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Attribution in the Blogosphere
Posted on 16-Feb-2006 08:58 by M Freitas | Filed under: Blog

Chris Pirillo wrote an interesting article The scoop no longer exists and I was thinking of writing about something in the same lines before, but will comment on his post instead.

The whole thing started with a post from jkontherun about blog networks, with a final resolution here.

Chris says "Over the past couple of days, I've heard more than one of my friends complain about the lack of proper attribution - but I've seen the laziness unfold, time and again. Who knows who found what first? Here's the problem: getting a scoop isn't what it once was. Everyone gets the scoop, and everyone gets the exclusive.

I've stumbled upon gems over and over again, only to see them surface on more popular sites without necessarily stating that I was the originating source (with timing being of primary significance).

Well, I completely agree on this one... Here on Geekzone we live by press releases, or material supplied directly by the developer/manufacturer. If we don't get a press release or if we don't receive the material directly from the original source, then we post an attribution. And our policy is not to publish rumours (that makes our work a lot lighter and more reliable).

But I have received a few e-mails asking why we don't link to source in all posts. Hmmm. Do people really want to go and read the full press release with their "XWA, Inc, the world leader in always up to date hot cakes in your mobile device, today launched the most exciting product ever"? Hmmm. Nope, I didn't think so. Not strangely, the people that complain most about the lack of links to press releases are... other website owners. Of course, it makes their lives so much harder, since they can't find the press release and don't want to spend time going through XWA's website looking for the press page, right?

We do post links to companies that are new entrants in the market, otherwise some people wouldn't be able to find them and their services. But if we post about Microsoft launching a new initiative, shall I link to their press release, if there's no specific page for their new stuff?

Now comes the interesting thing: in the last couple of years we have posted lots of things that just because timing are posted in other sites simultaneously - most of us read the press releases or receive embargoed material at the same time. But it surprises me that sometimes (and it happened this week alone a couple of times) we find an interesting press release that went unnoticed for a week (in one case up to twenty days). A few hours after it flows to our RSS feed other sites publish the same item, as they were the finders.

And then, of course, smaller sites (and big networks too) will spread the word, without attribution to the source that found the item in first place, or attributing the item to the wrong source - because this wrong source didn't gave attribution to the scoop originator in first place.

Is it possible the everyone missed the fist release at the same time, and then everyone found the same release at the same time, but twenty days later?

Chris continues with "But being "first" is no longer important, as evidenced by all these damned memetrackers that I'm getting sick of hearing about. I don't visit Memeorandum on pure principle - I'm f*cking sick of the echo chamber. We all want to be on top, we all want to win - and sometimes in our quest to find the one ring to rule them all, we forget about giving credit where credit might be due (even if that comes in the form of a simple hyperlink or name-drop)."

This week I looked through 365 RSS feeds (out of almost 500 I had when 2005 came to an end) and cleaned the list down to 296. This is going to save so much time of my daily work of checking what's going on.

I blame Chris on this one. His Gnomedex conference seems really cool, and I once imported the OPML with the participants in 2005. I have to say that 1/3 of those feeds are now "out of business". Either their domains don't exist anymore, or their last posts are dated September 2005 (and if a blog is not updated for three months, well, it's not worth it). Another 1/3 of these seem to be part of the "echo chamber" Chris talks about. Any feed I found to be in the "echo chamber" was removed. Only 1/3 of the feed were original worthy content, which I kept in my feed subscription.

I mean, just look at Digg Technology and you will see some stories repeated over and over, instead of having a single entry with diggs being directed at it. But, no, it's like a lottery, everyone will post their own preferred site (their own), in the hope it will make to the digg frontpage and get a few page views, and fame. Too much wasted bandwidth, too much noise.

As for this year's Gnomedex, once again I am not going - an addition to the family is due very soon, and I wouldn't be able to make a trip away in the first few months.

To finish, Chris says "And for goodness sake, please don't comment on this entry... or perform a trackback... or write about this post elsewhere. If you do, please don't credit me.".

Too late, done...

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