W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webplatform@w3.org > January 2013

Re: Draft Blog Post on Attribution

From: Alex Komoroske <komoroske@google.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2013 18:43:35 -0800
Message-ID: <CAPwaZpVURqcvKR6MgS1-+bUh6-Oi-XXinSSB7zBU6S=++mGCmg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Cc: Chris Mills <cmills@w3.org>, Eliot Graff <Eliot.Graff@microsoft.com>, "public-webplatform@w3.org" <public-webplatform@w3.org>
Thanks for writing this, Doug! It looks really good over all.

My gut feeling is that it's a bit long. Blog posts are most likely to be
read if they are kept short and succinct. Some of the extra bits seem to be
a bit wonky; we can leave those bits for readers who wish to dig in more to
the actual External Attribution guidelines (which we should link to
prominently at the end). Other bits seem to substantially restate something
covered in an earlier sentence, just with a slightly different perspective
or emphasis.

Further comments inline. None of these are particularly important, just my
personal opinion. Feel free to do with it what you will, including ignore
it. :-)

On Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 1:53 PM, Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org> wrote:

> 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 here.

I don't think this line is necessary. It's a slight negative and begs the
question what the snafu was, when what is important is understanding these
attribution principles going forward.

> 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 attribution.

The preceding two paragraphs get pretty wonky. Perhaps just summarize in a
sentence or two?

> 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.

This paragraph focuses on blame, which sounds pretty negative. Perhaps
focusing instead on something positive like "credibility" or
"trustworthiness"? The paragraph also feels about a sentence or two too

> 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.

This seems like it repeats the "fame" argument with a slightly different
spin. Maybe combine it with the preceding paragraph?

> 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 from.

We should end with a prominent link to the External Attribution guidelines
where users can learn more.
Received on Thursday, 24 January 2013 02:44:26 UTC

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