aug 11

Too Insidery

[Apologies for the insidery nature of this, but just this once.] Hey Blakeley, you managed to wrap what I like least about both Gawker and Tumblr in one simple paragraph! There's a whole established history of crediting links -- Gawker and Tumblr are the most flagrant abusers of that history.


Curating takes time, yo.

posted by Rex at 1:24 PM on August 11, 2008

It does take time, but I agree generally with Blakeley's post. It's a tough call. I'm not an editor or in the media, but appreciate the debate. I like to reward the quirky and truly unique. subjective, i know. But merely being first to know about a video or service launch, when it was bound to burst forth anyway... that's becoming less valuable, and less worthy of crediting I think.
Related, a great quote from a Ruby developer/artist:

"when you don't create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability. your tastes only narrow & exclude people. so create."

posted by michelle at 2:38 PM on August 11, 2008

It's interesting how many people have linked to that Tweet lately. I sorta wish I could see the history of its rise-to-prominence.

Which is my point!

I told this to Blakeley in email too, but I'm not suggesting that every single link -- or even 10% of links -- get a source attribution. But when it's clearly a) a unique link that isn't reblogged everywhere, b) from someone who spends a lot of time being a curator, and c) added value for the viewer, then yes, I think it deserves credit. And blogging has a long history of providing mechanisms for that credit. Tumblrs have been bad at ignoring that history.

posted by Rex at 2:45 PM on August 11, 2008

(For the opposite perspective, Brian Van thinks Gawker has become better about attribution. I'm not sure who is right.)

posted by Rex at 2:53 PM on August 11, 2008

brian van has an opinion about everything.

posted by ryan at 2:57 PM on August 11, 2008

Haha, that's true.

To toss more context onto the sourcing fire, here's Simon Dumenco today: Exclusive! First Pics of Adorable Montauk Monster Quintuplets! On the infamous photo:

While Gawker ran the image on July 29, making it an instant internet sensation, it actually first appeared a week earlier in an East Hampton newspaper, The Independent. (The snapshot was taken by local resident Jenna Hewitt, who encountered the corpse with some friends on Ditch Plains Beach on July 12. Local buzz about the beast led to the Independent's pick-up, and an e-mailed version of the shot eventually got forwarded to a Gawker Media editor.)

posted by Rex at 3:07 PM on August 11, 2008

Yeah, that Montauk Monster actually came across my Tumblr Dashboard several days before it got picked up on the Gawk.

I hate myself for writing that sentence.

But anyway, while I've noticed that Brian Van has been the recent recipient of some attribution, I agree with you that in general Gawker's been trending down in that regard. This is probably a chicken-or-egg scenario w/r/t the rapid reblog culture that's taken hold.

(I find it strange that THIS was the post you chose to editorialize as Too Insidery, btw! This discussion has fairly widespread relevance.)

posted by katiebakes at 3:48 PM on August 11, 2008

People hate when I mention Gawker. I mean, people who have read this site for a while.

Also, Katie, you have a long email string in your inbox where Blakeley and I argue about this.

Also yeah, I disagree with Brian about the attribution trend...

posted by Rex at 4:04 PM on August 11, 2008

Yeah, I do have an opinion about everything. Ryan aka Fake Brian Van totally has me pegged.

Tumblr has a great reblog mechanism that is actually more difficult to circumvent than to just lazily use, unless you are pathologically selfish or pathologically design-oriented (a "reblogged" post is a little untidy compared to a clean-slate post). It's to be considered in the debate. It is definitely possible that more people are not being attribution-friendly even when the whole thing is designed to be overly-attributive. I am not taking surveys on this.

Gawker, it seems, went from attributing zero posts to Tumblrers to attributing a few, when possible (and sometimes inconveniently for them). Credit where it's due. Also, sometimes in this age of "that should have been posted 5 minutes ago", it is nearly impossible to be thorough with any part of the process.

And remember, the only reason why anyone would want attribution on a blog meme in the first place is basically to have more sex. The type of person who purposely seeds blog memes must be the type of person not getting enough satisfaction / girl reaction. Or vice versa. "Hey, guys, I started the Montauk Monster!" Who gives a shit?

posted by BrianVan at 4:10 PM on August 11, 2008

"c) added value" is the great variable. It's almost never a warranted factor. I'm on Team Michelle and Blakeley in that regard. I agree with Rex about everything else. How's that for taking sides? I think I'm turning into Rex.

posted by krucoff at 4:57 PM on August 11, 2008

to be clear: blogging is not reporting and, unless you're getting paid on an ala carte page view model, who gives a shit? even if you are, who gives a shit who came first -- you're not breaking a story, you're pointing at something you saw.

i think the attribution on gawkah (its more fun when you misspell it!) and elsewhere (to tumblr, or whatever) is not trend worthy -- there are just more people self-publishing (and over-sharing, if you want to go all the way with this) so there's bound to be some frustration amidst all this traffic, though it will surely wane when re-blogs are no longer considered cool points (please, karp/someone fix this).

parenthetically yours

posted by ryan at 5:04 PM on August 11, 2008

Because I don't really care enough to follow the above thread, I'll just add to the conversation the follow: look what happens when Gawker actually credits a Tumblr - it turns out to be bullshit!

posted by fek at 5:31 PM on August 11, 2008

Good point, Fek.

to be clear: blogging is not reporting and, unless you're getting paid on an ala carte page view model, who gives a shit? even if you are, who gives a shit who came first -- you're not breaking a story, you're pointing at something you saw.

Your point is that attribution should occur when... when you're getting paid for it? Or wait... never? Because you're not "really" "reporting"?

I'm not sure where to start there. But I seem to know another class of inviduals who deride a certain subset of the media machine for not actually doing any reporting and leaching off the system: It's what reporters say about Gawker.

And to be clear, I don't think Gawker is that bad at attribution. They do it sometimes. But Tumblrs (to generlize) are really bad at it, especially when the link comes from outside of Tumblr.

Also, this sounds really whiney, so I'm gonna stop now.

posted by Rex at 5:37 PM on August 11, 2008

I don't think there's a trend in attribution either way, but do agree that attribution should be the norm (and that there really is a palpable sense of injustice when you're not attributed for something you've published). These are really two separate conversations though.

Apparently I have an opinion about it too.

posted by ryan at 5:48 PM on August 11, 2008

Hmm...thats a lot of words up there. I would tumbl it all if I knew how to. Where did everyone learn to do that?

Also, when I meet AK on the corner and had him parts of my blog printed out on small sheets of paper, he credits me on his tumblr, and as I said, I dont tumbl. just blog. and twitter.

ditto for Gawker, which receives my blog via paper planes.

the weirdest part about all this is that when I had a child 12 years ago and named him Rex, I never saw a link here on fimoculous.

posted by paolo mastrangelo at 8:10 PM on August 11, 2008

If I see it on seven blogs and yours happens to be the first, but the other six didn't get it from you, then fuck you and your via. It's not hard to find a job doing this shit for (small amounts of) money, so only do it for fun if you're not gonna be a bitch.

posted by Nick Douglas at 10:04 PM on August 11, 2008

When I got tired of never getting credit for finding other people's work, I went out and made some work of my own. And two months in, that's started to pay off.

posted by Nick Douglas at 10:04 PM on August 11, 2008


posted by Rex at 11:25 PM on August 11, 2008

You were curious about the _why quote referenced above ("taste.... create").
_Why (full name: _Why the Lucky Stiff) is a Ruby developer/artist/designer, has many works of art on the web, a pretty unique personality followed by many on twitter, etc. grabbed his quote, it quickly got dugg up, made it to front page, and from there... -> here.

posted by michelle at 1:02 AM on August 12, 2008


Amazing, the kind of bullshit that makes money, no?

posted by fek at 1:02 PM on August 12, 2008

As far as bloggingtypeplatforms go, I think tumblr is highly-attributive, whether it's the reblog architecture or the bookmarklet that auto-inserts a "via" text.

posted by josh at 4:22 PM on August 12, 2008

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