Thursday, March 01, 2012

A pox on hat-tipping

Saw this blog post via another blog that I'm not linking to:

When I write a post on a study from the Journal of Minutae and Obscurity, though, and later in the day you happen to post on it? I’m suspicious. We need those links. They’re how we build readership and grow.
Spare me.  Say Apu writes a blog post, and Bart writes about Apu's post, and finally Cartman sees Bart's post and decides to write about Apu's original post.  The intellectual contribution from Bart is so small that I see no reason to link to Bart with the unnecessary hat tip. If Cartman's post is also inspired in some substantive way by Bart's riff, that might be different.

I've done hat tips and vias out of sheeplenish in the past, but I plan to stop.  No one needs to do them for me either (just speaking for myself tho, not my cobloggers).


Nick Barnes said...

"Sheeplenish"? New one on me. I prefer "ovinity".

William M. Connolley said...

I do it. It feels like credit where its due; effectively, citing someone else's work. Not doing so is like plagiarism. You only need to do it to one level, though.

Hank Roberts said...

I'd agree with the guy you did link to above, who wrote:
I’m a little disappointed that Kevin said this:

Ideas don’t belong to anyone, and readers don’t much care where the inspiration for a story came from. Once it’s out there, it’s out there.
-----end quote

Seems completely backasswards to me. That's the data-mining approach to other people's work. It's lazy, apt to hide a misread or misquote, could as well be done by a 'bot pushing PR talking points.

Attribution is a chore. But it distinguishes you from the "tubes" who transport without either digesting or improving ideas.

Links are part of the tool, but also reveal some thinking (or the lack of it). When it's just the same old shit under new userids, I always suspect the bot machine out there shuffling through its series of identities, posting as Andy A., Bill B. or Chuck C.

Unknown said...

It isn't plagarism.

Ripping off the original source without credit would be plagarism.

Demanding that someone credit you just for finding links is narcissm.

Hank Roberts said...

"It" has an antecedent; Belette agrees with the blogger linked in the original post:

"... ideas and arguments .... should be cited. If I come up with a theory ... and I explain it clearly and carefully, then someone else taking my work and presenting it as their own thinking and reasoning is plagiarism."

"Unknown" either hasn't read the cited post or has misunderstood it.


Brian said...

Belette and Unknown might be talking about different things. Belette says if your idea even partially starts with someone else, at least give a hat tip, or in B's case, a ref. Unknown is talking about my position, which is if the person who inspired me is two levels back, just cite direct to that person and skip the middleman.

I should clarify there's nothing wrong with hat tips, and there's something good if you want to provide a link/tip/via/ref because you recommend the post although you have nothing special to add to it.