A follow-up to yesterday’s post, after receiving comments/tweets and an email from one of the subjects.
First, lest anyone mistake this blog for a quality news and analysis outlet, let me remind everyone I blog hurriedly in my nearly non-existent spare time, and do not think much before I write. For if I did, there would not be a blog post every day.
Nonetheless, there is thoughtless and then there is reckless. Sometimes I am the latter.
We’ll start with the minor bit: Freakonomics departed from the NY Times at least a year ago.
More importantly, a clarification and apology. I’ve received links and hat tips from both blogs in past years. Freakonomics references sources and hat tips routinely, but on balance refrains from hyperlinking. To link or not to link? Politeness will remain in the eye of the beholder. But I should not call that plagiarism, or allude that. It’s a serious charge not to be thown around lightly, as I did. For that I apologize.
Finally, a small stand. What irked me is far less serious than plagiarism, but not ignorable. It’s the impression that large and profit-oriented blogs, especially ones that are affiliated (past or present) with media giants are less generous with attribution than the rest of the world.
On some blogs, intermediate sources are not hat-tipped, a practice which is bad manners at best, and worse things at worst. On others, like Freakonomics, hat tips exist but are merely unhyperlinked. The latter discussion is perhaps not worth the bits and bytes it involves. Unhyperlinked is not even a word. I’ll let readers be the judge. But the former offense deserves more attention.
Why spend more blog space on such frivolous things? No good reason. On this occasion, I started it and I should fess up when I overstate myself, or falsely accuse.
Also, I have an overdeveloped sense of justice, which often pushes me in the right direction, but sometimes leads me along silly and fruitless paths, such as accosting strangers on New York City sidewalks for littering, or (more successfully) trying to bring order to Dubai airport lines when hundreds of people are jumping queues during a 4am rush.
I will admit: I still get a great sense of satisfaction from the memory of hundreds of people from as many nations meekly looking ashamed and falling back into line. How should I feel looking back on this episode? Reader opinions welcome.