How Vox Aggregates [Link]

April 14, 2015 by Gabe | [mmd] | ℳ↫

From Ezra Klein at Vox:

But the post didn't include a link. This was carelessness, not malice, but it's a violation of Vox's internal standards. Our policy requires attribution, and any time we fail that policy is inexcusable. It's a betrayal of what makes the web positive-sum. Silver's right to be upset by it. He has my apologies.

I'm not a big fan of aggregation sites. I still have a low opinion of The Verge because of how they originally buried links. It smacks of desperation and says something important about priorities.1

No one seems to forget their byline or their own internal links. Proper attribution is a feature. A good news site wants me to leave and find out more. A good news site adds some value and then ushers me on my way. A good news site is designed with proper attribution as a central principle and not an optional meta property.2

If Vox, a news aggregation site, has attribution as a core policy then it should take forethought and effort to exclude it. Make that field required in your CMS. In the rare instance it's original content, then just type "Vox" and feel good about yourself.

  1. The Verge changed this approach after quite a bit of snarking. They are far from alone in their business model. Even relatively small sites fail to mention sources. Found something cool on Twitter for you affiliate-link driven shopping site? Then link the original source. Came across an interesting opinion that you agree with? Then post some call back at the beginning of your treatise. We don't need a a full bibliography but think about how you would feel if the tables were turned and then try not to be the scumbag. 

  2. I'm reminded of this post by Marco Arment on curation and attribution.