Friday, September 16, 2011

Explaining the "warning" in yesterday's post

I goofed. Not a bad goof, but it will take this post to correct the goof that I made in another post. Not a goof as in an error, but a goof as in an omission.

When I was preparing yesterday's post on bloggers and ethics, I was merrily writing away and added a line to the post. As I wrote it, I was thinking to myself, "I'll go back and add the link."

And yes, I forgot to add the link.

The line in question occurs in the third paragraph of my post Another story about bloggers and ethics - but there's a surprise!

Let me cut to the chase and quote the relevant piece of the New York Times article (warning: this is a New York Times article):

No, I didn't forget to link to the New York Times article.

What I forgot to do is to add a link explaining my warning.

You see, my warning was based upon a post by Dave Winer, which I'll belatedly link to now. Here's how his post begins:

First a few recitals:

1. I read a lot of NYT stories.

2. I link to a lot of NYT stories. My qualification for pushing a link is "Would an informed person want to be aware of the information, ideas or opinions in this piece?" If I read it, the answer is likely yes.

3. If the person who clicks on the link is not a "digital subscriber" it counts against their quota of free articles for the current month.

And this matters, because of the paywall that the New York Times has implemented. Rather than putting the whole site behind a paywall, they hit on an alternative solution. Their system allows readers to look at a few articles per month without paying, but (at least in theory) prevents you from reading the whole danged paper online every day.

Winer's post (which I'll link to again) describes this issue, and requests from his readers to put some type of warning before a New York Times link so that the user doesn't inadvertently use up their free articles. Winer answers this, noting that it's a bigger issue than the New York Times.

Heck, one could argue that I should post a warning before linking within my own blog. After all, people could argue that I'm misleading them by claiming to provide new information but instead providing that same old junk that I always write.

Perhaps Louis Gray (warning: Louis Gray works for Google) could come up with some graphics for link disclosures to supplement Gray's and Jeannine Schafer's graphics for FTC disclosures.

(And no, I don't have a warning for Jeannine Schafer. But maybe I'll think of one later.)
blog comments powered by Disqus