Re: Draft Blog Post on Attribution


On Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 8:09 PM, Doug Schepers <> wrote:

> Hi, folks-
> One last revision tonight. I stripped away as much extra verbiage as I
> could while still keeping the main points, in response to Alex's suggestion
> on brevity, while hopefully still keeping to the gist of Chris' comments.
> I kept the separation between the fame-and-blame section and the
> motivation section, as I see a distinction. Fame-and-blame is about how
> others use the provenance, while motivation is about how attribution
> affects the contributor's behavior.
> I don't think this post is poetry, or perfect, but I think it's probably
> good enough to get the point across. Let me know if you disagree.
> (I don't note the links here, but they occur throughout.)
> [[
> == Credit Where Credit is Due: Content Attribution and Community ==
> One of Web Platform Docsí core tenets is attribution. Attribution is as
> central to our mission as our founding principles, the three pillars of
> Pragmatism, Inclusion, and Consensus.
> 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 or
> MSDN, we explicitly note 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.
> 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 coinÖ it helps users (and reusers) to
> evaluate any possible bias on the part of the original contributor, as well
> as identifying contributors who need guidance (and spammers). 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. In
> addition to altruism, part of what motivates these contributors is that
> well-deserved fame. Remove that attribution, and you undermine motivation,
> and the project suffers. Even people who donít want notoriety per se still
> have a sense of fairness, and may be discouraged if their contributions are
> not afforded equal treatment; potential contributors may be either
> encouraged or discouraged by seeing how contributions and attributions are
> handled.
> For existing resources, of course, attribution itself is not enough; they
> must be willing to contribute their content to Web Platform Docs. Where the
> source material isnít already available under a compatible license, we need
>  to seek an agreement with the owners to reuse it under our license. Even
> where licenses are compatible, such as on a site that uses CC-BY, we want
> to ask that source to use their material first, so we maintain our
> reputation as a good citizen of the web documentation ecosystem.
> 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. For
> more detail, you can read our guidelines on external attribution.
> ]]
> Regards-
> -Doug

Received on Thursday, 24 January 2013 05:23:09 UTC