Stealing Whuffie

Just a short thought from the car-ride to work today.

If we are moving to a reputation based economy, where one’s ability to make a living is based on their network reputation, stealing attribution is a far greater crime than stealing intellectual property. The newspaper reporter who does not link to the blog that actually broke the story they are covering is committing grand larceny compared to the petty theft of pirating movies (all of which come with intact credits).

After all, steal a man’s fish, he goes hungry for a day. Steal a man’s ability to fish…

Adding: When students write for an audience of one (e.g. the teacher) they aren’t really stealing whuffie if they don’t attribute correctly. They have nothing to bestow, so they haven’t really robbed reputation (in the way that the article of a journal article might). Which means (I’m sure you saw this coming) that getting them to understand attribution requires they publish for a real audience….

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