Be warned: This is kind of meta. And somewhat ranty. But short.
The internet is not, as some would have it, a series of tubes. It’s not even for Trekkie Monster’s favourite pastime, although that clearly takes up a lot of people’s time.
No, what the Internet actually boils down to is a series of links.
Links to and from content, services, adorable cat videos, more content and Mahir*
Which is why, as someone who makes the vast majority of what I call my living from writing online, I’m rather fussy about attribution. Links, in other words. It’s why anything you read on Fat Duck Tech is either sourced back to not only its actual source, but also where I first saw it. I’m not going to pretend that I’m the originator of every single news piece that runs here, because that would be beyond the capabilities of any one human being.
That’s why, to throw up a couple of recent examples, when I wrote up Telstra’s decision to terminate its 2G network yesterday, I not only referenced the Telstra Exchange post where the announcement was made but also Allie Coyne’s excellent piece on ITNews, because that’s where I first saw it.
Likewise, this morning’s story on Marvel offering its Unlimited digital comics service for 99c?. Saw it (oddly enough) via Gizmodo UK, so that’s where I linked to.
That’s not just a matter of professional courtesy, but also a way (in my view) to enhance stories. Where I’m not the original source, I don’t intend to rip the entire meat of a story away from its primary writer. Links are there so that people can follow them, learn more about the topic and come away with a better understanding. You know, the way the Internet is meant to work?
What rubs me the wrong way is that many, many publications — both large and small — don’t take this simple and polite step. Sometimes it’s a matter of professional competition, and while I get that this is so, I think it’s very poor form.
Right. Rant over. Back to the shiny tech things.
Source: Alex’s brain.
*You may now laugh nervously if you understood that. Yes, you’re old. So am I.