August 26, 2004

Digital Ethics

Ben Casnocha wrote a post on the ethics and transparency of linking to people/posts that link back to you favorably. In other words, what appears to be reciprocal appreciation. He mentions the example of Jeff Jarvis' referral to Doc Searls' article on the fate of radio, where Jeff enthusiastically point to Doc.

Ben then quotes Doc's comment on his blog about how we figure out the ethics of linking, and pointing others to pieces we are positively mention in, and how others will see this, in a transparent online world where links can be looked up and people note the exchanges. The idea is that pointing or referring to others, is both directing attention, and letting readers know where the ideas originated from, while the writer iterates further. And so Doc says:

So I would say it's right to point, for referrals and attribution, and lineage of thought, for community building and transparency. I'd rather know that Doc and Jeff refer to each other explicitly, than have it all happen behind the scenes, as if we all develop every idea in a vacuum, the way old style journalism appears to develop their stories. The people formerly known as the audience still maintain some of the training from big media, where we were led to believe this was true and real. It is not.

This is a matter of people getting used to the new online queues, the new behaviors and tools that support them, including both first and second order ones. But as people adjust, I think this ethical question will be worked out, and people will see the transparency and linking for what it is, and appreciate knowing the lineage up front, so they might make their own decisions about the ideas, the texts and the relationships within different communities who collectively collaborate on ideas and plans.

Posted by Mary Hodder at August 26, 2004 08:14 AM | TrackBack

Yeah, it's a toughie, that one.

The thing is, it's hard to write about rules when there ain't any. Just patterns.

Plus you can get silly with all the recipcrosity.

Posted by: hugh macleod at August 27, 2004 10:25 AM