Kicks Condor

Reply: Vias and HTs

Chris Aldrich

I’ve been fascinated with this idea of vias, hat tips, and linking credit (a la the defunct Curator’s Code) just like Jeremy Cherfas. I have a custom field in my site for collecting these details sometimes, but I should get around to automating it and showing it on my pages rather than doing it manually.

Links like these seem like throwaways, but they can have a huge amount of value in aggregate. As an example, if I provided the source of how I found this article, then it’s likely that my friend Matt would then be able to see a potential treasure trove of information about the exact same topic which he’s sure to have a lot of interest in as well.

All the concentrated salience contained in a single offhanded link.

My level of fervor for these kinds of links has gone way up since reading Rebecca Blood’s simple comment in The Weblog Handbook (2002):

I would go so far as to say that if you are not linking to your primary material when you refer to it—especially when in disagreement—no matter what the format or update frequency of your website, you are not keeping a weblog.

These are really strong words! But I kind of think she’s spot on. Blogs become less bloggy when they don’t have blogrolls, linking back, linking to - this is the stuff of hypertext. She goes on to explain how these links are more than just attaching a URL for mere credit - you’re basically attaching an entire conversation and history.

And if we look at the state of the Web in the present day - I think we need to be much more generous with our links if we’re going to survive. The more links, the more we’re connected and intermeshed. It’s a bond.

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