The Weekly Review

by Chris Bowler

In the End, Creation Always Trumps Curation

Marco Arment opines that Curator's Code is solving the wrong problem. I'm a fan of Maria Popova and confident that she's put a lot more thought into this subject than I have, so I'm hesitant to add any of my own criticism to Marco's.

Giving credit where it's due is a good thing. I applaud those who make an effort to point people to those who are good at finding interesting things to read. And I agree with Popova's sentiment that current and upcoming generations will suffer with information overload and reward those who excel at filtering out the good from the commonplace. Indeed, she holds fast to the idea that content discovery is a work of labor and should be rewarded.

Marco obviously disagrees and places all the importance on creation. I have to agree that creation is greater than curation every time, but I do place high value in the work of an individual who excels at filtering and finding. The success of Jason Kottke and John Gruber proves that other folks value this as well.

So it seems everyone involved agrees on the value of curation, but not on how to document the attribution. Marco's point that the link itself on a DF linked list post is the best model is well made. But coming up with a system — one that is confusing to boot — that uses unicode characters doesn't seem like a solution that is destined for widespread adoption.

There are two issues with Curator's Code: First, the site is confusing. There's no clear, obvious answer to the purpose of the site when the reader lands on the page. Second, even if an author, a curator, decides to adopt the standard, it's not something that will be embraced by normals. The web is already arcane enough — there's no need to add confusion via symbology. Popova states that this is a need, but this solution only further adds to the often confusing landscape of the web.

Being overly concerned with the semantics of attribution is misplaced focus. If you are good at sharing, you will be rewarded with attention. I read John Gruber, not because I care a lot about his content, but because even when he's writing about other people's writing, he does it so well. I pay him with my attention.

In this case, like interface design, simplicity seems the best route.