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Re: Draft Blog Post on Attribution

From: Julee Burdekin <jburdeki@adobe.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2013 15:09:03 -0800
To: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>, Chris Mills <cmills@w3.org>
CC: Alex Komoroske <komoroske@google.com>, Eliot Graff <Eliot.Graff@microsoft.com>, "public-webplatform@w3.org" <public-webplatform@w3.org>
Message-ID: <CD25AB4B.5151E%jburdeki@adobe.com>
Great post. But in the external attribution doc
we essentially telling folks here that the first four contributions won't
get attributed.

How should we tell editors to handle attribution before they come from an
canonical source?



-----Original Message-----
From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Organization: W3C
Date: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 1:53 PM
To: Chris Mills <cmills@w3.org>
Cc: Alex Komoroske <komoroske@google.com>, Eliot Graff
<Eliot.Graff@microsoft.com>, "public-webplatform@w3.org"
Subject: Re: Draft Blog Post on Attribution
Resent-From: <public-webplatform@w3.org>
Resent-Date: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 1:54 PM

>Hi, folks-
>Revised from feedback. Please let me know what you think:
>==Credit Where Credit is Due: Content Attribution and Community==
>One of Web Platform Docs' core tenets is attribution. Attribution is as
>central to our mission as our founding principles, the 3 Pillars of
>Pragmatism, Inclusion, and Consensus. A recent minor snafu on our
>project resulted in some of the attribution being inadvertently removed;
>it was quickly replaced, but as part of the community discussion, we
>reemphasized the reasons for attribution, so we thought we'd share that
>So, just what is attribution? In our case, it is keeping track of who
>has contributed what, and sharing that information with our users. Web
>Platform Docs tracks attribution in two key ways: for content
>submissions by individuals, we log every edit by user name; for content
>contributed in bulk by organizations, or transferred over from another
>project like MDN, we explicitly set the original source.
>As an open collaborative project, attribution is critical from a legal,
>practical, and motivational perspective.
>On the legal side, our license is CC-BY, or Creative Commons
>Attribution. When users agree to the site license, we all agree to honor
>this. Failing to provide attribution, or removing past attribution, is a
>violation of the letter and spirit of this license. Note that there are
>a couple of exceptions to this:
>     documents that only state facts, and not interpretation, are not
>protected by copyright, and are thus outside the bounds of licensing .
>But this line can be gray... a compilation of facts is protected by
>copyright if the selection and arrangement of the material is original.
>Thus, if the contribution is based on another source, it's safer to
>provide and preserve attribution;
>     if all the original material from a particular source has been
>excised from the article, attribution for that source can optionally be
>removed; in practice, however, we are only using this to deliberately
>simplify the license the article is available under, e.g., if the
>original content was under CC-BY-SA (Attribution and Share Alike), we
>might remove all the old material so the replacement article can be
>reused under CC-BY. Even so, we may choose to keep the original
>On the practical side, attribution is used for fame and blame. Fame is
>praising the original contributor for their content, so people know who
>to credit and thank when they are reading, learning from, or reusing the
>content; it also helps us to think about who to ask to do future work.
>Blame is the flip-side of the same coin... it helps users (and reusers)
>to evaluate any possible bias on the part of the original contributor,
>as well as identifying vandals or trolls or just those whose work needs
>some improvement. We are a friendly community that aims to value any
>positive contribution, even that of those who are not quite hitting the
>mark; in such cases we will help contributors to improve. Provenance is
>a powerful and versatile tool.
>On the motivational side, we are lucky enough to have many primary bulk
>content contributors (such as Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Opera),
>and we hope to have large numbers of community contributors over time.
>Part of what motivates those contributors ­in addition to altruistic
>desires to contribute effectively to the web community, to aid others in
>learning, and to help the web to evolve­ is the aforementioned
>well-deserved fame... remove that attribution, and you undermine
>motivation, and the project suffers. Even people who don't want
>notoriety per se still have a sense of fairness, and may be discouraged
>if their contributions are not afforded equal treatment. This even
>affects people who are potential contributors... they see how
>contributions and attributions are handled, and that may affect their
>decision on whether they will start contributing.
>It's worth stating that attribution itself is not enough, of course; the
>creator of the content must be willing to contribute it to Web Platform
>Docs. Even in the case where licenses are compatible, for example a site
>that uses CC-BY, we want to extend the courtesy to that source of asking
>to use their material, so we maintain our reputation as a good citizen
>of the web documentation ecosystem. If the source material isn't
>available under a compatible license, naturally we would need to seek an
>agreement with the source to reuse it under our license.
>So, we encourage all of our contributors to always get permission and
>give credit when adding content, and only to remove existing attribution
>after community discussion. And we invite our users to feel free to
>reuse our content with confidence, knowing just where the material came
Received on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 23:10:50 UTC

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