The Issue of Giving Credit for Blog Ideas

March 21, 2012By

The issue of writing and giving proper credit and attribution came up again.

The New York Times brought up the issue.

For bloggers, it’s important. I thought it would make sense to address the topic here on Ghost Blog Writers.

Now, the idea of credit in this sense is the thought of giving a person credit for an idea or thought they have had. The main takeaway is that whenever possible it’s best to give a person credit for something they said. You can do this in a few ways when blogging.

Here is the article, A Code of Conduct for Content Aggregators:

As custody of content becomes more tenuous, there’s a risk that we may end up passing around and putting topspin on fewer and fewer original works. This has created a growing sense of unease among both digital immigrants and natives that the end of “ownership” could eventually diminish the Web’s value.

It’s a tricky topic, but an important one.

How to Give Credit When Blogging

The article above is mostly addressing content aggregators. As the article says, “You’ll know it when you see it.” There are quite a few sites out there that take a news topic or any topic from a website. They wrap it in their own words and call it good. The original source of information can get lost in the shuffle.

In an ideal world, everyone would link to each other and give full credit for ideas. That’s what I try to do in most cases. When possible I’ll use a short snippet from another site and provide a link with the anchor text I can. This is what I did with the New York Times article above. The anchor text is the title of the post. I try to use the title when possible and encourage readers to visit the link to get the full story.

That’s an important aspect of giving credit when blogging. You really want to encourage readers to follow through on links. I don’t want to assume, but as a writer I love when other bloggers link to my articles. They can even use quoted copy. It’s nice when they encourage their readers to visit the link and read my entire post.

The world is not an ideal place, though.

The fact of life in the case of blogging is that sometimes people will use ideas as take them as their own. Sometimes it’s on purpose and other times people do it without even realizing.

The best thing to do as a writer is to always give credit by naming names and using links. Whenever you come across an idea that someone else had it’s good to honor them. Readers even seem to like this method quite a bit. People know that one writer doesn’t have all the answers. It’s ok to look for the answers and give credit.

Give credit whenever you can. I don’t know if there are set methods to really follow. Use links. Use names. Ask for permission to use things.

On the flip side of things. As a writer, people will probably use your ideas without asking from time to time. It will likely bother you, but at the same time there is really only so much you can do.

What I try to focus on is what I’m writing right now. People can always take ideas I’ve had, but they can’t take my future ideas.

You kind of just have to save your energy for your writing instead of chasing down credit. It seems to be better for your blog and for your health as well.

The takeaway from this post is to give credit where due.

And don’t worry too much about someone taking content from you. It takes a lot of effort to chase down credit. It’s better to focus on your writing instead.