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March 22, 2006

Blogs and Attribution

Heather Green

A recent mini-brouhaha over attribution got me thinking about the whole messy issue. On Monday, the gadget blogger Dapreview accused Engadget of using their news and not giving them credit. The details are a little complicated, but in the end Engadget apologized for what it called an unintential mistake.

I'm with Problogger, who wrote that the bigger issue here seems to be about how you source an item when you blog about it. There are lots of approaches to this, though I still find some confusing. Off the top of my head, the standard style used by Engadget comes to mine.

My point about Engadget is different from Dapreview's. It's more about the style they use to attribute a post. Engadget reports its own items or writes up a brief explainer of some item found on another blog or site. Most often the way they attribute back to the other blog is site is with the LINK button at the bottom left hand corner of the site. (Like here with this BBC item on Apple.). More rarely, they will do the classic "via" statement, like here with Akihabara News and an MP3 player.

Their approach always struck me as odd. Wouldn't it make more sense just to consistently name the other blog or site in a a "via" line or within the post itself?

09:15 AM

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We have more or less the same style as Boing Boing: a "Via" or "Thanks" to the place or person where we found something, and a direct link at the bottom of the post to the source. There are lots of different ways to do this, but we thought putting one link at the bottom would make it clear that that was what we were blogging about. It's worked well for Boing Boing for years now, and that's who we modelled ourselves after.

Posted by: Peter Rojas at March 22, 2006 12:48 PM

Hey Peter,

Thanks for popping by. So I have to admidt, I don't read Boing Boing, so I never noticed it. I see how you would model after that style, though my question is the same.

Posted by: Heather Green at March 22, 2006 02:54 PM

Well, mainly to differentiate ourselves from what Slashdot does. I personally find it a little frustrating to have to mouse-over stuff in a post in order to find what it is the post is really linking to. I've always preferred the way Boing Boing did it, which is to make it really clear right at the end of the post. Since 99% of posts at Engadget are about a single thing, this seems to work pretty well. Of course, there isn't a single way you have to do things, I think each blog has its own style that works for itself and its readers.

Posted by: Peter Rojas at March 22, 2006 09:49 PM


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