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I'm not a "curator" (marco.org)
109 points by rkudeshi on Mar 13, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 29 comments

> I didn’t even know the difference between “via” and “hat tip” until today.

I still don't know. What is this hat tip?

Frankly I never understood the concept of 'stealing' links. Once ago a friend on fb got very offended that I posted a link which was on his fanpage without 'via', like everybody is obligated to advertise random sources for stuff that already have thousands of views/shares. Maybe back in the day linking was worth something and I remember all those linkblogs like halfproject, surfstation, k10k, etc., but today with all those tumblrs and other tools to aggregate, suggest, reshare, cross-post, I don't see any particular value in clicking 'share/repost/+1' that needs to be credited. I'm with Marco on this But regardless of how much time it takes to find interesting links every day, I don’t think most intermediaries deserve credit for simply sharing a link to someone else’s work.

I'm pretty sure "hat tip" means "we appreciate this simple link, but we can't put as many ads around those", and "via" means "here's precedent, we're not the first to make this into blogspam. if you'd like to see the original, enjoy clicking through five pages"

I think "via" is the original source, and "hat tip" is how you found it (i.e. another site that linked to it).

(Or the other way around. I agree with Marco on that one, I think it's confusing.)

Curators Code wants it to mean this but that's not what it means in my experience.

In practice there is 90% overlap between these terms and both denote the tertiary source you became aware of the link through.

The difference when it exists is that "HT" is less likely to add anything you don't see in the source whereas "via" will sometimes be worth clicking through to see that person's insight.

Hat Tip:

A -> B -> Me

B added nothing, you should visit A for the source. Goodwill link to B, you should check out his site.


A -> B -> Me

B may have added something. You should visit A for the source and if you have time B might be worth it.

real world examples look like this

Flickr photo (ori) -> example.tumblr.com -> my blog "photo via example.tumblr.com"

Youtube clip (ori) -> John Doe on FB -> your FB "youtube clip via John Doe"

so 'via' is the place where you clicked repost/share not the original content

In practice, I don't think anyone actually has a definitive answer to what differentiates them.

I always interpreted them as mostly meaning the same thing.

I've used via as "from a website" and hat tip as "from a tweet", mostly because I will use "via" on my blog and "ht" on Twitter.

"Via" should not mean the original source because it means "through" or "by means of".

on tumblr, 'via' tends to be how your found it and 'src' tends to be the original post.

The via doesn't really apply in your example, if you look at the post and see the linked pages and his comments via is for attribution of original source.

I don't know what hat tip is but original sources are important and the least someone can do when they rewrite your content is offer up a direct link to you. The whole rewriting content thing is kind of annoying in the online news sites though.

Via links and hat tips help me find other "curators" who I might be interested in. It's a service to the reader, and in addition directs traffic to blogs that the hat tipper has clearly found useful at least once. Consider it federation, if that helps; an aid to discovery.

I don't think it's about morality or legality. It's just about being nice, and it's cool. I get a "via" shout-out from The Verge once when I tracked down an official contradiction to one of their rumor-articles. It was nice of them to mention that I was the one who found the info for them. (This was especially true since they're a professional blog and I didn't get any other compensation for doing their legwork for them.)

Isn't morality == 'being nice'

Nope. Morality is about doing the right thing. Being nice to someone isn't always the right thing. The whole point of this article was to debate whether being nice is the right thing when it comes to linking to tertiary sources.

The "Curator's Code" is an attempt to make things better on the web for sites that aggregate and curate content. It's definitely not perfect but Marco's complaint is pointless. His complaint amounts to "Sure, I try to drive the speed limit. BUT THERE ARE ALREADY SPEEDERS OUT THERE!!! So screw the speed limit."

Despite his throw-out-the-baby-and-bathwater approach, the discussion is worth having instead of dismissing the idea wholesale.

The NYT article he refers to covers the modest goals quite well. It's not a panacea that is just about using "via" and "hat tip" correctly. It's about making attribution clearer and putting in place some guidelines about attributing things to the original source.

The problem is that New York Times and certain big media sites were recently caught copying / rewriting blogger posts without linking or crediting the source.

Perhaps two odd symbols will solve the problem.

As interesting as Marco's discussion points are, his writing style makes me imagine him frothing at the mouth and spitting his words.

He never takes a marginal approach to an issue. There's a clear line down the middle and he is well and truly on one side.

>He never takes a marginal approach to an issue.

Who does and is interesting to read?

That's easy, Tyler Cowen with "marginal revolution" :-)

Not everyone enjoys the Zed Shaw style spit-flecked rant, some of us enjoy reading thoughtful commentators who are not %150 sure of themselves.

Amen, brother. If somebody can't do anything but rant, I won't bother with 'em. It's lazy; they're making me do all the work of evaluating when their limbic eruptions are legitimate.

I understand the same content works by businessinsider brought this in context.

Businessinsider apology types - "We don't "scrape" content, at least not in the way Marco thinks we do.." (http://businessinsider.com/marco-arment-business-insider-201...)

Cameron koczon in http://m.alistapart.com/articles/orbital-content/ mentioned the same orbital content strategy, which my blog coverage - http://mjux.tumblr.com/tagged/strategy on aggregation and curation. The whole point of ".. this transformation of our relationship with content will force us to rethink existing reputation, distribution, and monetization models—and all for the better."

  is move away from "read once and save".
Similar judgement - http://twitter.com/mjUX/statuses/169836710174277632 " content + credits reads as the only #contentstrategy."

The via and h/t links make the same flaws but place only bits for twitter content.

  /edit: As much I enjoy the apropos elements in instapaper. It provides the same "context and immediacy" in twitter - http://twitter.com/mjux/statuses/179422000517873666

Curators work at museums.

This is a big pet peeve of mine. 'Curate' doesn't mean 'select a list of things I like and think other people will like'. Overusing and misusing words eventually causes them to lose their meaning altogether.

It's not a list of things when dealing with links, it's the actual things, and as far as I know that's exactly the meaning of 'curate.'

Good post. Both HT and via have been part of blogging since the beginning. Creating a new icon and standards page won't stop the re-bloggers from re-blogging and not attributing.

I have started working on a technical solution to news attribution. The original Atom spec had a definition for a 'source', which isn't being used. It didn't get adapted into hNews. I am working on extending Microdata so that links to the main source of the story can be attributed and read by search engines and aggregators.

The idea is that with the support of search engines blogs and websites that don't properly attribute with microdata markup can be penalized as duplicate content. A lot of the re-blogging content networks rely on search referrals for traffic and revenue, and referrals from aggregators for readers. This would also solve the problem where stories from wire sources such as Reuters and AP are republished hundreds of times on hundreds of different news sites and pollute search results.

The standards already exist, they just need to be documented and adapted (and added to the BlogPost schema[1]). It just as important for applications to be able to read attribution links as it is for readers.

for eg. at the moment when Business Insider reposts one of Marco's posts there is no way for a crawler to know which is the original. Microdata can help that and help keep mirrored or ripped content out of search engines and aggregators (like Google News, etc.)

The other problem I have with this group is that the entire committee is made up of representatives from large media companies, and they are all writers. Not a single independent blog, or indy blogger represented, or part-time blogger, or designer, or programmer, or software implementor, etc.

[1] http://schema.org/BlogPosting

Proper attribution has been a part of the web since... well since forever.

I think this is a great article because the idea of curation has and is continuing to become something that's very trendy. And of course, with trends, people feel the need to redefine things that often don't need to be redefined. (And on the way they're bastardizing the meaning of curation as well)

Marco hits on a number of great points and the notion of being credited for discovery is a huge one. Like many ideas (startups, creative or otherwise), discoveries can happen in parallel. Discovery tends to be heavily overrated

The choice of symbol for via is confusingly similar to an out-of-range symbol.

If I saw it in a piece, I would think that someone had tried to use some clever bullet point without specifying the character set properly.

Funny, in my head the meaning of those was always inverted:

- via, means which way you passed "through" before getting the information. It's the site/blog/curator that sent you to the original…

- source, is the source of the information on the internet. Sometimes information comes from non-public press statements, real world interviews, or other media. But the website that publishes the information, is IMHO the one deserving the "source" link (and the only one to which we can effectively link).

This might just be the largest rich people problem I've ever heard of. Re-appropriating copyright doesn't need a justification, just continue to do it and stop pretending like you really care about the original artist more than they can bring you visitors.

They don't even pertend to care about the original artist, they pretend to care about the middleman who told them about the artist. You're one [share] button click away from calling yourself a 'curator'.

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