I found out another site was aggregating my, and other’s, blogs, indicating that they had the best folks in knowledge management. Flattered as I was, I asked that my blog be taken off their roles. Let me explain why.
First, I hadn’t been asked. I think it’s only fair to ask for the right to copy someone else’s work (I recall the time Jay and I found a white paper we’d jointly written being given away as an article in a university consortium’s newsletter!). Let the author know why you’re doing it, and what the proposal is for them (publicity, cash, what have you). Many would be happy to be included in a list, but I want to opt-in, not opt-out. I wouldn’t even have found out if WordPress (my blog software) didn’t track references to the blog as comments.
I note that the indication of who the posts are from is hard to find. There’s a link to the original, to be fair, but otherwise there’s no list of who’s included in this list. Where’s the blogroll? Who is aggregated there?
Another concern is that there’s no indication of *who* is behind this. From an authenticity and trust factor, I like to know who’s behind a site. I get mighty uncomfortable when I find site for organizations and there’s no human name to be found. Why are they hiding it? One of the criteria in being web-literate is knowing not only the authorial voice (who you’re listening to), but also editorial voice, that is, who’s doing the selecting, who “approved this message”.
However, worst of all was the advertising all around the page. Google ads to the left and right, Amazon ads in the body! So, if people go to that site, this (unknown) person’s making money. And I don’t mind people making money, but they better add value. That’s why I recently went through the trouble of getting a Creative Commons license for my site. I want attribution, and I don’t want anyone making money off of my work (at least, if I’m not :). I don’t have a thing against ads on blogs or sites, if they’re making a contribution, e.g. an aggregation, adding value by being selective, communicating who it is and why they should be trusted.
So I opted out. I’m willing to be wrong, but frankly this didn’t strike me as a fair relationship. And a lesson in work literacy. So, am I too uptight? Or was this a reasonable decision? (And fair warning to my fellow bloggers.)