Quote of the Day: January 31, 2012
Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? New York Times Edition

Chris Blattman: Where Are the Citations? Where Are the Hyperlinks?

Chris Blattman:

More on yesterday’s cheap shot at @freakonomics and @WSJIdeasMarket: What irked me… [is] the impression that large and profit-oriented blogs, especially ones that are affiliated (past or present) with media giants are less generous with attribution than the rest of the world.

On some blogs, intermediate sources are not hat-tipped, a practice which is bad manners at best, and worse things at worst. On others, like Freakonomics, hat tips exist but are merely unhyperlinked. The latter discussion is perhaps not worth the bits and bytes it involves. Unhyperlinked is not even a word. I’ll let readers be the judge. But the former offense deserves more attention.

Why spend more blog space on such frivolous things? No good reason. On this occasion, I started it and I should fess up when I overstate myself, or falsely accuse.

Also, I have an overdeveloped sense of justice, which often pushes me in the right direction, but sometimes leads me along silly and fruitless paths, such as accosting strangers on New York City sidewalks for littering, or (more successfully) trying to bring order to Dubai airport lines when hundreds of people are jumping queues during a 4am rush.

I will admit: I still get a great sense of satisfaction from the memory of hundreds of people from as many nations meekly looking ashamed and falling back into line. How should I feel looking back on this episode? Reader opinions welcome.

This is a great division between academics and--let's call them journamalists. Academics think that their arguments are stronger and thus that they are stronger and more persuasive when they cite and link. Journamalists think that if they give their readers a whisper that there are other, perhaps better sources of information, then--OH NOES!! THE REEDRS GO READ SOMETHING ELSE!! TEHRE GOEZ R ADVERTIZING REVENUE!!

This makes academics think that journamalists are immoral, mannerless cads--the type of people who you invite to dinner who then urinate on your bedspread. Journamalists, by contrast, are puzzled: "What's the big deal?" they ask. "Everybody does it."