Marco reacts to the Curator’s Code, a proposal from Maria Popova of Brainpickings that aims to standardize “via” links and “hat tips” in two symbols. I agree with Marco that making these distinctions between “vias” and “hat tips” isn’t going to make that much of a difference in letting readers know where they got their content from, but I disagree with his take on when and when not to attribute.
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.
Reliably linking to great work is a good way to build an audience for your site. That’s your compensation.
But if another link-blogger posts a link they found from your link-blog, I don’t think they need to credit you. Discovering something doesn’t transfer any ownership to you. Therefore, I don’t think anyone needs to give you credit for showing them the way to something great, since it’s not yours. Some might as a courtesy, but it shouldn’t be considered an obligation.
It’s a valid argument, but it still seems dishonest. It doesn’t matter if your linking to something that everyone is linking to on Twitter, or if it’s a blog that probably all your readers read like Kottke or Boing Boing, you don’t know if all your readers are weblog savvy like you are. It’s dishonest because you appear like you’re “working a lot” finding all these great links, when in reality you’re not working as much as that “first” link blogger.