Earlier, I wrote about these new content curation/news aggregation guideline initiatives that were brought up at SXSW, and first reported on by The New York Times’ David Carr. I didn’t look much at what others were saying about them before I shared my own thoughts (which are that they won’t work, basically).
Since then, I’ve looked at some other articles that are making the rounds, and I get the idea that most in the industry are of a similar mindset. Hamilton Nolan, an editor for the popular Gawker framed his take under the headline, “We Don’t Need No Stinking Approval From the Blog Police“.
“The day that I ask the editor of Esquire for a seal of approval on my blogging is the day that I sign a fabulously lucrative contract to write for Esquire.com,” he says.
The editor of Esquire, by the way, is part of the Council on Ethical Blogging and Aggregation, described in Carr’s report, though little is known at this point about the guidelines this council wants to bring to the Internet. The Curator’s Code, has a bit more clarity around it, in that it appears to simply be a more visual way to use “via” and “hat tip” without adding much incentive (to anyone, including the original content creator) that isn’t present with a simple link saying “via” or “hat tip” (unless I’m missing something).
“The motives are honorable, the objectives reasonable, and the timing … timely,” says Rob Beschizza at BoingBoing of the Council. “But no-one is going to care about these folks or whatever theses they nail to pastebin’s door, except for their entertainment value. The problem isn’t that we lack a necessary formal system of crediting and linking to sources. The problem is that people break and exploit social norms and standards, which can’t be regulated by committees.”
ReadWriteEnterprise’s Scott Fulton has an interesting angle on the “Curator’s Code”. He uses the code on his article about it, and goes so far as to propose a third entry:
I agree with Popova [the person behind the Code] that there is a fundamental disconnect in the way we pass on information through this medium, and I also agree that it is ethically prudent to attribute what we’ve learned to where we’ve learned it. I may even use her symbols because it’s a good idea to do so. But I fear that, in the interest of substantiating this horribly inefficient system we’ve concocted for disseminating information by attaching it to 1) noise and 2) reverb, we are confusing reproduction with creativity, and confusing source with origin.
So in addition to the two characters Popova has appropriated, may I suggest a third: one which enables someone not to just cite where information was discovered, but where the person citing it believes it originated. This way, someone linking to this article I’ve just written will accept it for what it is: a comment as opposed to a genuine flash of original inspiration or an original exercise in journalism. Not everything I produce is worthy of exaltation.
I still fail to see how these symbols and code do anything to improve the situation over linking.
Furthermore, it will be interesting to see if Fulton continues to use the symbols on future articles.
I like Danny Sullivan’s take:
Chris O’Shea at FishbowlNY says, “As aggregators ourselves, we completely agree that there should be some sort of standard. But there’s a couple problems with the CEBA. Maybe the most troubling thing is that for a group developing rules for bloggers, there aren’t many bloggers taking part.”
Do you write for the web? What do you think of the Council and the Curator’s Code?