Further Comment On Intellectual Appropriation, Attribution Of Credit & Privilege

Commenter Bijan Parsia made an important point in our discussion of intellectual appropriation and attribution about the role of good faith all of this:

One thing to remember is that *good faith* is critical: One shouldn’t let the idea of better than due diligence prevent one from doing work (or posting), but if one makes an attribution mistake it helps to apologize and try to rectify (as you did in your case).

This requirement of good faith also pertains to the manner in which one becomes aware of a failure of attribution. And it is exactly why RandomObserver’s “gotcha” game–trolling around a blog or other body of work solely for the purpose of looking for unintentional failures of attribution–is a complete load of fucking horseshit, and does not merit response.

It is trivial to go around intentionally looking for innocent failures of attribution and find them. When innocent failures manifest themselves through the natural process of good-faith intellectual dialogue–as they did in the anecdote I related in my post–then courtesy, honesty, and practicality demand acknowledgment. Bullshit rhetorical gotcha games like RandomOberserver’s do not.

The main reason for this is that it is a total waste of fucking time and effort for people to add attributions to an existing work if the innocent absence of those attributions isn’t relevant to anyone other than some asshole playing a game.