How apt. A Financial Times editorial appeared on the last day of the WeMedia conference (“Excuse me while I borrow liberally“) commenting on how the mainstream media should learn from bloggers to show attribution for ideas and provide transparency. While observing the recent cases of high-profile plagiarism, Tim Harford considers something bloggers have done well:
In a world where it is easier than ever to shovel someone else’s ideas into your own work, and where it is also easier than ever to detect when this has been done, readers are becoming more relaxed about whether a work is original and simply ask if it is useful, enjoyable or beautiful. Blogs are so liberally peppered with other people’s work that bloggers have developed a code to acknowledge an intellectual debt: HT, the hat-tip.
We should expect to see more writers grabbing other writers’ ideas, and more honesty about the fact that this is happening. That can only improve the quality of journalism, commentary and even novels. Stealing with acknowledgement is not only polite but economically efficient.
Therefore, HT: Tyler Cowen, Krishna Guha, Malcolm Gladwell, John Kay, Laurence Lessig and Charles Nevin.
This is just one of many example how grassroots bloggers, Wikipedians and citizen journalists have created conventions within the community to increase transparency and to fairly acknowledge original work of others. The MSM should realize that it’s a cultural two way street. Citizens are becoming involved in the practice of journalism by adopting professional media industry norms, but the online cultural norms of netiquette (or perhaps blogiquette) can provide examples of better practices for the traditional media.
(Cross-posted from Andrew Lih’s blog)