Internet Attribution

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I got "A"s on my papers in college.

Well, most of the time. There was a "Personal Creed" paper I had to do on eschatology which earned me a "C" because--as the professor told me in his scribblings on the page--it was "NOT a paper to share my personal beliefs" (which happened to go against his own on his pet subject).

Personal Creed ... NOT my personal beliefs. --?

Wow, how did I get there? Sorry, I still have issues. Veering back on topic.

My college grades proved me to be a gud ryter. m'kay?

But I struggled with proper citation in High School, especially when we were told to follow the "official MLA format" which varied from year to year and depended largely on what your teacher thought. So much for "standardized citation" (Holzmann, 48).

I never got in trouble for plagiarism, but I did get docked now and again for putting a comma on the wrong side of this or that, or missing a semicolon somewhere. But now that I'm out here in the Blogosphere, I'm discovering that I am again struggling with "proper citation," and others have this issue as well. I do love links, so I don't think I've committed blog plagiarism yet, but it raises sparks when it happens. [NB: The linked issue has been resolved in the comments.]

This whole issue reminded me of something Weird Al has said: Misattribution is his biggest problem with file sharing. And he has put his songs where his mouth is. [Look at that logical fallacy: Appeal to authority. Oh well. This is a blog post, not a logic midterm.]

What do I do to deserve a "C" for blog standard links?

It's a little thing called "Hat Tips" that I'm still getting my head around. I have yet to do a hat tip, and I feel like I should put one here, but I can't remember which blog it was where I first noticed this concept... which proves to me the importance of hat tipping.

Hat Tip

So, whoever you were, I doff my hat to you, and I will do my best to make such things an official link in the future.

~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father


Holzmann, Luke; 48th post on, accessed 8/22/2008.

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  1. Dana

    Well, I enjoyed :)

    There is a difference between hat tipping and attribution.

    When you quote someone, standard rules apply. The link gets you out of the commas and periods. But this is a legal issue and can get you into trouble if a blogger decides to pursue you, however unlikely it may be. It will also get you spurned by bloggers everywhere.

    Hat tipping is a bit different.

    I will "hat tip" to a blogger where I first read a story, even though my entire post deals with the article they linked to and not at all to their thoughts on it.

    It is sort of etiquette, but more of the link happy quality that helps involve you in the conversation, draw others in and hopefully promotes traffic. And it often puts a trackback on their blogs so their interested readers will come to see what you have said. That is most of why people do it.

    I doubt you've committed any internet crimes through failure to link to where you first picked up a story. Or to the post you were reading three weeks ago when an irrelevant thought began to emerge that ended in a post.

  2. Luke

    Oh, I completely agree, Dana! But it is good to get confirmation that I have yet to commit internet crimes.

    However, I do plan to get into the "link happy" world of Hat Tipping. It is part of the internet etiquette that makes sense to me.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and reassuring me that the internet police aren't after me. ...yet. <smile>