Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Internet etiquette

I'm not yet totally familiar with internet etiquette. I know not to steal other people's work. That's called plagiarizing, kids, and we learned that was bad in college. But what about when you find a recipe you really like and want to repost it? An article you think perfectly articulates your feelings on a subject? A comic strip you laughed so loud at that you almost got fired? These things need to be shared people! The world needs to know!

Links. They're a great way to add a little excitement to your blog. Sort of like Easter Eggs on DVDs, they are sometimes skillfully used to underscore a point, or as an easy way to just point people to the thing about which you are speaking. I believe this is the proper way of pointing people to those aforementioned things. Much less messy than simply posting the URL, or even the bit URL.

But what if you changed a couple things? Mostly (of course), I am relating this to reposting recipes. What if the changes weren't drastic, but enough to make a difference? (Which brings up another point, one about how you know when you've crossed that fine line of a recipe being someone else's that you simply tweaked and when it becomes your own, but I'll save that for another post.) What if enough things were kept the same so the recipe is recognizable but you can't link it exactly because you made changes? I'm just not sure the best way to go about it. I think you're supposed to ask permission in order to post someone else's recipe, even if tweaks were involved. I've seen both things on the blogs I follow. Some people post links, others post things like "adapted from" and then they provide a link to the original recipe, but also print the way they did it underneath.

And links, that's another thing. Can I link to anything around the internet I want? I don't do it in an offensive way (as in, if I said something was stupid and then linked a friend's page or something, inferring I thought they were stupid. That would be mean. And passive aggressive).

So, yeah, is there a handbook for all of this? There should be.

(you'll notice a lack of links in this post. I think I'm link-shy now.)


  1. I'm not sure what you're hesitant about. Linking is what makes the www what it is--it's the innovation that Berners-Lee brought to the internet.

    If someone puts something on the internet, the default assumption is that yes, it can be linked to.

    As for using others' work, I think generally you're good so long as you cite. So, link to the original and mention that you've changed it.

    There are exceptions, and it doesn't hurt to shoot the original author some notice. But the general procedure is that it's ok to post and you can remove upon request.

  2. Yes, but how do you KNOW when there are exceptions and when there are not? Like I said, a book!