Monday, January 11, 2010

On Giving Linky Credit Where Due

A side thought:
In today's other post, above, I encountered some internal resistance as I was picking links. Was it necessary to link to some automated index, which had vacuumed up these stories from their respective sources, or just to the original articles?

Why was such a commonplace even an issue? If you've ever discovered your own stuff lifted, as a whole — as distinguished from partial, Fair Use referencing — on some parasitic phantom site, you know where I'm coming from. Fie on those who profit (however slimly) off someone else's labor, while adding no real value of their own.
As I've been (slow-)blogging these last few years, I've given a lot of thought to linking, trying to achieve the right balance of interconnectivity with relevance to the piece. Every widely-travelled surfer has seen articles where the author, excuse me, the "content producer" has gone hog wild with links, producing madly distracting sentences with four or five separate words underlined and flight-ready, often just to a word's Wikipedia entry. Gee, thanks, but I can look it up myself if I'm puzzled; kinda gotten the hang of that now.

It never takes long for "link fatigue" to set in with these baubly pages; the writer is expecting you do so much work, not just reading but evaluating every third word to ask if you should follow the pointers to another, another, yet another page.

Then there are the opposite extreme, people who are, let's be blunt, too lazy and "self-preoccupied" (the mildest form of that dis I can come up with,) to make the little extra effort to be sure their borrowings are at least minimally attributed. C'mon, people, it's fun — and you know that if someone were quoting you...

(In this case, I did wind up choosing to link to that index, because it's BusinessWeek's, an established publication where one assumes some editorial effort was involved, and further inspection showed that one of the stories was their own, disguised as a related brand.)

Related, here:
35 posts tagged "giving credit where due"

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