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You got your hat tip in my reblog
March 12, 2012 7:13 AM   Subscribe

Introducing The Curator’s Code - a standardized system for honoring discovery and intellectual labor, using two unicode characters. But is it dead in the water already? [via]
posted by cashman (59 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yes.
posted by Simple Answer to a Simple Question at 7:20 AM on March 12, 2012


They should also include this symbol (via) to represent "stolen from blogspam which itself had no attribution".
posted by Jpfed at 7:21 AM on March 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is there a facepalm character for "Forwarded to me by a relative on facebook".
posted by empath at 7:22 AM on March 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


⊙▃⊙
posted by jquinby at 7:26 AM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is the table flip (╯°□°)╯ ┻━┻ for "stop forwarding me this chain e-mail/facebook post"
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:31 AM on March 12, 2012 [17 favorites]


Why does the world hate text search so much? Why must we deliberately choose "solutions" to non-problems that break existing features?
posted by DU at 7:36 AM on March 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


We could use ~ for "via" and ~~~~~~~~~ for "something I read once on the internet or in a book or overhead on a bus," with more ~ indicating a greater chain of vague association.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:37 AM on March 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


The main problem is I can't find these symbols on my keyboard, so additional effort is required to use them. Much easier to type 'via' or 'hat tip', unless using a rather special keymap. I can't see it catching on.

To avoid being dependent upon English (a noble goal) then 'via' is already halfway there, originating in Latin. Therefore perhaps we should replace 'hat tip' with agnitio...
posted by Talkie Toaster at 7:43 AM on March 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


The main problem is I can't find these symbols on my keyboard, so additional effort is required to use them.

It also doesn't help that the "hat tip" symbol is pretty much unreadable at smaller sizes....
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:46 AM on March 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


This will not solve the problem.

Infinitely long tumblr-chains and unattributed reposts will be with us until the end.
posted by helicomatic at 7:49 AM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


empath: ಠ_ಠ
posted by phong3d at 7:50 AM on March 12, 2012


Speaking as one who spends far too much time on the Internet, if I don't intuitively understand the difference between a "via" and a "hat tip," I'm probably not going to adopt these pleasant little icons, one of which I'm pretty sure used to be owned by Prince.

All the same, the gods of well-meaning earnestness did look down upon this website and smile. This tribute of squigglies has been received, and their creator will be heartened to know that his plate of beans is waiting for him in heaven.
posted by bicyclefish at 7:51 AM on March 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was under the impression that linking to the thing you are referencing is the standard way of referencing it.

That means the problem has been solved since HTML 1.0.

I mean, this is nice typography! Linking those symbols fits with existing convention and looks nice! But it doesn't convey much that regular links do not. I suppose it does make explicit the distinction between copying and transformation, but that distinction is even vaguer on the internet than everywhere else.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:52 AM on March 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think it's best summed up in the "standardized system" link where it reads [unrenderable character square fail] stands for "via"
posted by phong3d at 7:53 AM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was going to say that I was against this (or any form of attribution on image-stream sites like Tumblr) until I read this,
Maria spoke about attribution less as an obligation and more as an enabler of deep, surprising (and perhaps infinite) voyages through information. Through linking, the Internet connects disparate sources in a way that no other medium has before — effectively creating these meta-narratives of discovery. Maria called them ‘rabbit holes.’ With that one phrase, I knew that the site should demonstrate pathways of attribution by (literally) poking a hole in the Internet to glimpse the pathways of attribution beyond.”
That makes more sense, viewing it as an issue of information depth instead of as a moral imperative. However, this system is fairly clunky for the reasons mentioned above.

Regardless of that, the existing features on many of these sites (favorites lists, reblogs, likes) allows a limited version of this. I find a lot of cool stuff by opening up every reblog for a post I like in a separate tab, and then flicking through their content to see if there's more stuff I'm interested in.
posted by codacorolla at 7:54 AM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Conventions like this are part of the language of the internet. Like all languages, you can't just come along and say "Hey, everyone, from now one we're going to use this new convention". Different conventions arise based on need and ease of use, and different conventions stick in different subgroups. Newsgroups and email evolved the ">>" attribution format, with some circles prefering most-recent-on-top and some preferring most-recent-on-bottom, some preferring inline responses, some not. Fast forward past a bunch of communications systems and we get to Twitter with it's "rt" and "#" grammar. Heck, even Metafilter has its own distinct dialect (people politely italicize quotes and link back to comments) which came about because of a particular need with the Metafilter commenting system (no conversation threading, basic text editing).
posted by rh at 7:55 AM on March 12, 2012


Or, to put it another way, "bona luck mia amiko!" in your attempt to standardize a language from the top down.
posted by rh at 7:58 AM on March 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


The artist formerly known as "Hat Tip"?
posted by chavenet at 7:58 AM on March 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


.The main problem is I can't find these symbols on my keyboard, so additional effort is required to use them.

I think it's a dumb convention, but that's not really an obstacle for implementation. All it would take is an extra field in wordpress or a simple text replace macro.
posted by empath at 7:59 AM on March 12, 2012


Curation is not "a form of authorship," in the sense that it is of equal important to credit the "curator" as it is the author. I really don't think the web needs a new, special convention to credit curators to "keep the web open," as this project claims. That they are dressing it in a code of ethics you need to sign is more than a little self-important too.

I would be less judgmental if this were an earnest effort to credit canonical sources. It seems like an effort to credit link sharers frustrated about the marginal @ mentions they miss on twitter or something.
posted by spinchange at 8:01 AM on March 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I mostly think it's a dumb convention, because who cares where you found the link? A guy who posted a link on his twitter doesn't have any claim to ownership over it. He probably spent a grand total of 30 seconds copying and pasting it.
posted by empath at 8:01 AM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I use those symbols for my site, do I also have to give themn a hat tip and a via each time I use them?
posted by Postroad at 8:04 AM on March 12, 2012


Or, to put it another way, "bona luck mia amiko!" in your attempt to standardize a language from the top down.

Is it telling that I thought this was Polari before realizing it was Esperanto?
posted by griphus at 8:10 AM on March 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


That makes more sense, viewing it as an issue of information depth instead of as a moral imperative.

Yeah, I really dislike the moralizing, and would be a lot more receptive to the whole idea if it was positioned more as a way to preserve the chain of discovery so that somebody can follow it later to get more information, rather than a bunch of hooey about "honoring the creative and intellectual labor" involved in posting shit to Tumblr.

That means the problem has been solved since HTML 1.0.

Exactly. Although, at least in the case of Twitter (which seems to be one of the major use cases), that's a moot point because Twitter doesn't support HTML. But that's really the problem of Twitter being a bag of crap that's stuck using the best technology of 1985 as the basis for its whole platform.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:14 AM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's fun and sad for me, as a content creator, to watch "curators" furiously wanking about whether or not, and how, they might give each other credit for not creating anything. Do you know what, you jackholes? Without actual content, you have fuck all to contribute to society. How about giving some of your ad revenue to the people who make the shit you link to? Hmmmmmm?????
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:14 AM on March 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


chavenet: "The artist formerly known as "Hat Tip"?

No.

↬ = the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince.
posted by double block and bleed at 8:16 AM on March 12, 2012


How is it that people started feeling entitled to praise for passive consumption? I want to blame advertising. Specifically the kind of advertising that winkingly suggests you're way too cool with fall for this kind of advertising. That you're better than the sheeple because you consume better than they do. See this essay.

(I say this as someone who enjoys linkblogging, and had a community radio show in college. Nothing wrong with those things, but as accomplishments they're on par with bringing chips to a party.)
posted by phrontist at 8:18 AM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hate the pseudointellectual wankery too (Popova might just be the most annoying person on the Internet) but curators play the same role in the web ecosystem as retailers do in the market. In other words, no one would read without them, just like no one would buy stuff if there was no one to retail it.
posted by downing street memo at 8:19 AM on March 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


After using my Google-fu, it's still not clear to me what the difference is between a "via" and a "hat tip."

Anyone care to break it down for me?
posted by samizdat at 8:21 AM on March 12, 2012


Damn, where's my SarcMarkTM?
posted by Skeptic at 8:22 AM on March 12, 2012


Tough crowd today. Case of the Mondays?

The Curators Code site explains the Unicode glyphs are proposals, that continuing to use "via" and "HT" are perfectly acceptable.
The unicode symbols ᔥ and ↬ are simply shorthand for the familiar "via" and "HT," respectively. While you may still choose to use "via" and "HT" the old-fashioned way – the goal here is to attribute ethically, regardless of how you do it – there are two reasons we are proposing the unicode characters: One, they are a cleaner, more standardized way to attribute. Two, since the characters are wrapped in a hotlink to the Curator's Code site, they serve as messengers for the ethos of the code itself, as people encounter them across the web and click to find out what they represent.
The unreadability of the glyphs at small sizes are both a limitation of commonly available display technologies and eyesight.

To those whining about the "moral" tone of encouraging attribution, I'm sure your folks probably raised you to know better.
posted by mistersquid at 8:22 AM on March 12, 2012


I'm sure your folks probably raised you to know better.

Oh yes, I remember my pappy looking me sternly in the eye and saying: Tumblin' is hard work son, be sure to acknowledge your Tweeps.
posted by phrontist at 8:25 AM on March 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


After using my Google-fu, it's still not clear to me what the difference is between a "via" and a "hat tip."

This is apparently more subjective than I thought, but I think of 'via' as linking to the place where you got what you're re-blogging and 'hat tip' as a thank you to the person who told you about something but who is not necessarily the source of the link that you're re-blogging.

So, one's the link and one's your heads-up for the link and both merit thank-yous.
posted by librarylis at 8:28 AM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


How is it that people started feeling entitled to praise for passive consumption? I want to blame advertising. Specifically the kind of advertising that winkingly suggests you're way too cool with fall for this kind of advertising. That you're better than the sheeple because you consume better than they do. See this essay.

I think that this whole project gets off on entirely the wrong foot by bringing morals in to it at all.

It's like the citations of an academic paper, part of it is a moral responsibility to show that an idea wasn't entirely yours, and to give credit where credit is due, but the other part of it is that by listing sources it lets other people who are interested in whatever the topic is to have a basis for their own research. A bibliography is more than a list of credits for the ideas of the paper, it's also a jumping off point for further research and discovery by later writers and readers.

Information richness is the greatest value of attribution, which this proposed system doesn't do anything at all to contribute to. In fact, using links that go to the Curator's Code website does more to obfuscate original source material, since if it would even be used at all (it won't) it will make people satisfied that they're meeting some vague code of ill defined ethics instead of actually making a meaningful connection to the source material.
posted by codacorolla at 8:30 AM on March 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


That post I made three months ago to try to get people to install high character count Unicode fonts on their system? You're welcome.

seanmpuckett: It's fun and sad for me, as a content creator, to watch "curators" furiously wanking about whether or not, and how, they might give each other credit for not creating anything.

GROAN.
posted by JHarris at 8:31 AM on March 12, 2012


samizdat, right there in the fixed-position header for the Curator's Code site is an explanation of the difference between hat-tip and via:
a.) Via! Indicates a link of direct discovery.

b.) hat-tip! Indicates a link of indirect discovery, story lead, or inspiration.
Both explanations have "more" (JavaScript) links.

On preview, to librarylis
posted by mistersquid at 8:32 AM on March 12, 2012


Encouraging proper attribution is defo a good thing, but the symbols are much more confusing than the text they're intended to replace.

I'll be sticking to 'Via example.com' for stuff I've seen on other sites and 'Thanks, Ms. Example!' for people who send in stuff to put on my weblog via mail, Twitter, whatever.

How about giving some of your ad revenue to the people who make the shit you link to? Hmmmmmm?????

On my weblog I mostly link to - sorry, curate - free/open source software so I signed up for the FOSS Tithe (i.e., I donate 10% of the profits from my site to FOSS projects). This doesn't really make much sense, since 99.9% of the projects I link to don't get any cash, but it does make me feel like less of a parasite for slapping ads around links to other people's hard work!
posted by jack_mo at 8:34 AM on March 12, 2012


The 'via' symbol displays as a square in Chrome on my (work) XP machine.
I do not think this will work.
posted by Acheman at 8:41 AM on March 12, 2012


You know, words are generally easier to use and understand than uncommon and vague symbols. The @ symbol gets use because software incorporated it to mean something and have a specific effect. This is pretty much the same as telling people to use "v:" instead of "via" but worse (because their symbol is hard to deal with).

Also, the Curator's Code website is a great example of what not to do when you're making a modern webpage. Really distracting gizmo and I didn't even read the top banner until scrolling down and finding nothing.
posted by demiurge at 8:47 AM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I kinda figure that people who care about attributing the source of their cool links are already saying "via foobar"? What's the point? This is a solution in search of a problem.

I mean, the REAL problem is copying stuff without attribution to the original creator, "remixing" stuff without attribution, etc. This "curator" seems more interested in promoting other "curators" than the people who actually made the shit they're collecting?

I don't care that you reblogged that awesome picture from Fumblewumpus. I care that Sarkle Mumblefups drew it. In the absence of any signature or URL (quite possibly because it was cropped off the picture), sure, I'll follow a chain of vias if it's SUPER AWESOME. Maybe even google any names that were dropped in the copying, or tineye it. A lack of a link to ORIGINAL SOURCES is the problem I have, not a lack of a link to who you're retumbling this from.
posted by egypturnash at 8:49 AM on March 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


What the fuck is 'curating'? Is this a word that any normal person uses? Fuck them and their unicode twiddles.
posted by unSane at 8:56 AM on March 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


On non-preview, what egypturnash and others say: link to the original source and stop trying to pretend anyone except you gives a shit that someone reblogged it from you.

This is all about page views, ie money.
posted by unSane at 8:58 AM on March 12, 2012


mistersquid:

Thank you. I saw that at the outset, but the precise difference between direct and indirect wasn't clear to me.

Should I be embarrassed that I've been on the internet as long as I have and never once noticed the "hat tip" thing before?
posted by samizdat at 9:02 AM on March 12, 2012


Interesting concept.

Can we all agree not to credit spammy popular science fluff pieces that pissed you off so much that you actually discovered the real source material? Or is there an anti-curation character for denoting "curators" who have done more harm than good to the source?
posted by b1tr0t at 9:14 AM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


What the fuck is 'curating'? Is this a word that any normal person uses?

Yes, sadly. For my sins, I've had fairly lengthy discussions with a few folk who use the term. As a former art critic who's known and worked with lots of, you know, actual curators, I find using the term to describe posting pictures and links on a website completely bloody ridiculous - there's no reason to adopt it beyond the desire for a highfalutin word for a job/hobby that is lumbered with the (admittedly horrid-sounding) title 'blogger'.
posted by jack_mo at 9:35 AM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, you don't get credit for "finding" other people's work. If I think your site is interesting, I might indicate where I originally saw the blogspam. If I got it from Gawker or Boing Boing via Reddit, then I will put that shit on Facebook and my relatives will continue to think I'm the coolest person on the Internet.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 9:37 AM on March 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


'hat tip' as a thank you to the person who told you about something but who is not necessarily the source of the link that you're re-blogging.

The hat tip thing originated, as far as I can tell, as a "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" tradition among bloggers who wanted readers.

I don't see a custom originated in a self-interested circle-jerk of click-hungry bloggers as really dictating norms for "honoring discovery and intellectual labor." Why does a person who mentioned something, but is not the originator, merit a "thank you"? That's taking attribution to ridiculous levels.

I hear about lots of stuff in various publications, stuff they are just writing about, and I don't think they deserve thanks or acknowledgment for just bringing that thing to my attention.
posted by jayder at 9:57 AM on March 12, 2012


Sort of surprised that this page is from Maria Popova. Shouldn't it be in linkbait list format?
posted by eyeballkid at 10:21 AM on March 12, 2012


A! B! A, B, C, D! ( O(+>)
posted by muckster at 10:22 AM on March 12, 2012


Curator's code? Public pledge? What the fuck fucky fuck shit piss fuck?

Footnotes? Attributions? Okay. Okay. But those fucky fuck emoticon shit piss fuck fucky fucks?

No way! No way! And you can tell them I said so!

Anyhow, do you think someone would give me a via for this?

Let me know. Better yet, get in touch with my legal staff.
posted by mule98J at 10:34 AM on March 12, 2012


Perhaps '℅' would have been a more readible character that already signifies an intermediary in content delivery?

But, if we're going for assigning meaning to obscure characters, may I also suggest 'Ѿ' for 'ass-hat'?
posted by rh at 10:55 AM on March 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


I mostly think it's a dumb convention, because who cares where you found the link?

Well, if there's one thing I would like to get everybody on the internet to get right, it's not to post a link to a Gawker or The Awl article if that is just a reposting of somebody else's work; but I agree that the intermittent steps can be skipped.

(OTOH having these sort of link chains can be interesting for sociologist/future historians and such.)

Without actual content, you have fuck all to contribute to society. How about giving some of your ad revenue to the people who make the shit you link to?

Every wannabe creator thinks they don't need editors...

There is a role for people who can find interesting, obscure things on the internet and bring it to the attention of new audiences. Calling it curating is probably too much honour, but without linkbloggers and other (re)publishers, wither Metafilter?

Speaking of which...

Metafilter: on par with bringing chips to a party
posted by MartinWisse at 12:54 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


samizdat, I don't think ignorance of blogger conventions (or any conventions) is cause for embarrassment. Personally, I found the curator codes site a bit graphically busy and a bit difficult to gather information from. You're right that the explanation is not readily apparent from the terse explanation. The first linked article explains things with better prose and better, imo, layout.

A few people have made the very good point that the Unicode symbols are not as easy to use as text, and I totally agree. The comparative ease of typing "via" (or typing "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" for that matter) as opposed to using a Unicode symbol is an accident of history as most computer keyboards were made without Unicode in mind. For my part, I use "via" to indicate source and regular anchor tags for other types of attribution (including but not limited to bibliographies) on my own blog.

I'm surprised at the potty-mouthed outrage directed against people who want simply attribute the sources they're quoting. I'm guessing these froth-at-the-fucking-mouth types don't blog or, if they do, they aren't interested in providing attribution. Fine. Go shit on your own plate.

I spend A LOT of time trying to track down original sources, and it just ain't always possible. Encouraging people to at least use a "via" would enable spiders to at least find the original creator.

Finally, this is not about holding curators/bloggers/archivists above content creators. Content creation and promotion are two separate and often interrelated activities. Getting all shit-in-your-pants angry about it is just plain stupid.
posted by mistersquid at 1:20 PM on March 12, 2012


This seems to be, really, all about the adds:
I feel like such a token," Carr said at one point, addressing his fellow panelists as much as the audience in Austin this weekend. "I'm so glad that you're all here to repackage and repurpose me." Not just repackage, but remove the ads. "Which is, by the way, how I eat." This laugh line is at the heart of the problem, not just for Ad Age but for any publication that relies on page views: as more companies are established that curate other organization’s work, they will have to find ways to make sure that credit — and traffic — goes to the right source.
---David Carr, via The Verge
posted by bonehead at 2:09 PM on March 12, 2012


Do you know what, you jackholes? Without actual content, you have fuck all to contribute to society. How about giving some of your ad revenue to the people who make the shit you link to? Hmmmmmm?

I'm all in favor of mocking people whose contribution to the net organization of the universe consists of reblogging pictures of half-naked hipsters on their ThingsIThinkAreSexy tumblr or whatever, but like it or not we have a massive surplus of created material at this point. You can say that most of it is shit, but that's what happens when you let everyone on the planet who can make it to a cybercafe publish content.

Curators may be all trendy and hipster-chic right now, and that generates lots of growling from people who find their music digging through the racks and their ephemera combing through physical libraries and so on. But decent curation (even semi-crap curation if the so-called curator manages to sustain a reasonable amount of focus) helps shift the signal to noise ratio. Curators were all we had on the 'net for a long time -- it's how search sites like Yahoo got their start, after all. They were replaced by algorithms, and slowly but surely the algorithms have been crushed by the onslaught. Now the best algorithm is basically an aggregation of curatorial decisions.

Bitch and moan about self-important hipster bloggers all you want, but the underlying service is needed.
posted by verb at 5:20 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


i actually thing the sentiment behind this is kind of cool. I don't understand how it breaks current systems, if anything it seems to strengthen the system that currently exists in terms of linking back, which you still do with these characters. Unless I'm reading it wrong, it seems to just be a quicker way of writing some common words that people use to acknowledge source material. I'm not against using new characters as long as they are relatively easy to type!
posted by cell divide at 5:29 PM on March 12, 2012


they should have picked this character instead 💩💩💩💩💩
posted by lemonjel at 8:25 PM on March 12, 2012


Man, if we used XML and XSL for the web, rather than HTML and CSS, we could simply use a special tag like this:
<via href="http://www.example.com">Zombie Ronald Reagan<via>
Alas.
posted by sonic meat machine at 9:13 PM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


<a rel="hattip" href="http://www.example.com/">Ninja Pirate Jesus</a>
posted by LogicalDash at 8:45 PM on March 13, 2012


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