• Creditmongering

    I very much like Drum’s expanded take on creditmongering. In particular, I like these bits:

    • If I’m responding directly to someone, of course I link to them.
    • Even if I don’t respond directly to someone, but only to a piece they linked to, I’ll probably provide a link if they said something interesting.
    • If someone links to a common story that I would have seen anyway, I don’t.
    • If someone links to a story I probably wouldn’t have seen on my own, I usually give credit one way or another. […]

    Beyond that, though, several people have suggested that if you get an idea from someone, you should credit them regardless of any other linking/credit rules you might follow. This is where I’d make the distinction between ideas and IDEAS. The former is inspiration: if I read something that makes me want to dig into the plight of the long-term unemployed, I’m not likely to credit anyone. It’s just a topic. Lots of people have addressed it, and the fact that I happened to get my inspiration from one person rather than another probably doesn’t matter much.

    But an IDEA is different: this is a very specific theory or model or explanation for something. Or maybe an original insight. If you mention an IDEA, or riff on it to produce one of your own, you should credit the originator. […]

    I guess maybe the overriding rule for credit is this: it doesn’t cost anything and it can’t hurt. If in doubt, give credit.

    Having discussed this topic with other journalists, I can add that Drum’s conventions are not universal. Not everyone thinks it’s important to provide credit to someone for shedding light on a story (or source or paper) they’d not have seen on their own. Not everyone thinks it’s important to give credit to an IDEA, particularly if it is one they might have come up with on their own.

    I point out that that property — that you might have come up on your own with an IDEA you saw elsewhere — is unobservable to the reader. I can’t know if you came up with the IDEA on your own or if you copied it from the post on another blog that appeared yesterday. What I would stress to journalists and bloggers is that you should not even want such a suspicion to creep into the mind of your reader. If you read it elsewhere and you repeat it, even if it isn’t the deepest IDEA in the world, and you might have thought of it on your own, you should credit the originator. Otherwise, it could look like you’re trying to get away with something. That doesn’t look good. Moreover, a link doesn’t cost you anything. If you’re worried it’ll make it look like you have fewer original ideas then you’ve already admitted you’re doing something wrong.


    • In an age of instaneous sharing – and where social curation is part of your brand – it’s a very real issue.

      Good on TIE for raising it.

      I completely agreed with Shannon re: blogging.

      The other, more pervasive media: Twitter.

      If someone unearths an article, must you RT? With limited characters for your own comments, do you always owe someone a hat-tip?

      I started thinking on this when Emma Sandoe kicked off the brilliant #HealthPolicyValentines hashtag — as it blew up and her first tweets were forgotten, I felt compelled (probably because I knew her a bit) to help Emma get some recognition. Especially as some tweeters with more followers were drawing the plaudits she deserved.

      It gets to a point that Austin’s made. We have eminence-based conversations – in many spheres. And very easy for the small academic blogger (or small-time tweeter) to lose out.

      • I don’t think credit must always be conveyed on Twitter. For marginal cases, I don’t think it’s a requirement in blogging either. But I think one should try to do it as much as possible in all cases, knowing that one will not be able to or will forget now and then. What’s most bothersome is the habitual lack of credit sharing. If one finds one has done that, it’s easy to make amends. Just heap a bunch of praise in a showy kind of way. E.g., if you’re a big time blogger who relies on a small time blogger for a lot of ideas and you haven’t been so good at making that known, just put out a post that says, “Everyone should be reading XYZ. It’s awesome.” Trust me, that goes a long way. Same for Twitter. Just be as generous as you can.

        Related, if someone gives you a hint that you should have shared credit, don’t get defensive. Take an honest look at it and see if you can be more generous. Update your post, as warranted. It reflects well on you if you do, poorly if you don’t. We all want to look good! It’s a win-win.