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On citing sources and attribution

Recently, I’m seeing a trend of people copying and pasting entire articles from other websites as a facebook note in their profile, without citing the source. It got me thinking why. Do these people want comments and discussions to be centered around their note in facebook? That can still happen if sharing is done with proper attribution. Or maybe they want to be perceived as hip interesting among their friends. Withholding credit goes some way in creating that perception perhaps?

To be fair, these notes usually make it reasonably clear that they were not originally written by the poster. Regardless, failure to cite sources is bad, and even comes off as dishonest. A quick Google search reveals the source of the article. However, as we increasingly assume the roles of editors and content curators, it’s our responsibility to make sure credit is given where it is due. In this case, the original article states:

You may share using our article tools. Please don’t cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

That’s really not asking for much. It’s not like you’re prevented from sharing. Even in the presence of an easy method to post to Facebook, the poster went through the hassle of copying the entire text, making some slight formatting changes and pasting it as a facebook note.

If only proper attribution was to be found in the note, this wouldn’t look so bad.