Thursday, January 20, 2005

You Link It, You Own It, II

Scott Rosenberg takes issue with my previous "You Link It, You Own It" post. I mean, basically I just agree with him - he just posted the longer version of what I wrote, fleshing it out a bit. There are lots of ways to link to something, and obviously if you link to it with the caveat "this is bullshit" you aren't "owning it." And, nor did I mean "you own it" in a legal sense. I just meant that in the context of "credibility," one major credibility issue is how credibly you act as a filter for every bit of information on the internets that floats across your transom. If I link to something saying "go read this" then I've put my stamp of approval on it. It's bullshit to come back two hours later and say "uh, well, I didn't write it, I just linked to it... not my problem."

And, quite importantly, there's an obvious distinction between blogroll-type links and links in posts. Drudge links to about every major media site in the world -- he's obviously not responsible for all of their content. But, a link in a post without a note of skepticism or a word of caution is an implied endorsement. I'm responsible for directing people to good information -- if I send them to nonsense on a regular basis I'll catch shit, unless I'm a conservative blogger in which case I'll win awards. I know that insitutional web sites always worry that they'll be held accountable for every single link on their page, and that's just silly - they shouldn't be. But drawing attention to a media outlet with large amounts of content and drawing attention to a particular story are entirely different things.

I'd say one of my better blogging qualities is that my bullshit detector and my "too good (or too bad) to be true" detector work pretty well. I've linked uncritically to a few stupid things over the years, but on the whole my record's pretty good.