Marco Arment’s “I’m not a ‘curator’” offers an excellent analysis of Maria Popova’s Curator’s Code, a project that I learned about from a New York Times article yesterday. Curator’s Code proposes that those who write online use two symbols to acknowledge online sources: ᔥ for via, “a link of direct discovery,” and ↬ for hat tip, “a link of indirect discovery, story lead, or inspiration.” Arment suggests that the ethics of attribution online are not best addressed by using symbols to acknowledge sources:
The proper place for ethics and codes is in ensuring that a reasonable number of people go to the source instead of just reading your rehash.That’s exactly right.
One point to add: The Curator’s Code project seems to me to misunderstand the meaning of via. Here is the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate on via:
1 : by way ofOne quotes from, not via: “To be or not to be” is from Hamlet, not via Hamlet. What I think of as via is what Curator’s Code calls hat tip: an acknowledgement that one has found something by means of someone else’s work. The confusion of via and hat tip seems to me a problem with Curator’s Code that can be solved only with new terms. How about from and via?
2 : through the medium or agency of; also : by means of
[I disagree with Marco Arment about hat tips (or what he also thinks of as via): I think it’s appropriate, whenever possible, to acknowledge how one has come across an item of interest. Many an OCA post contains a via. Everything in this post though I found on my own.]