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January 2010
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On being a Good Neighbor

The web has allowed folks who areĀ  separated by hundreds and even thousands of miles to be neighbors. On the Internet we are next door. Because of our shared interests we form communities where we can share our experiences, point and link to folks whose experiences are worth noting, and build our communities, regardless of physical distance. Strong communities are built by good neighbors.

In scanning a blog the other day from a link that another blogger had posted, I saw an image that looked real familiar. I guess that is because of it being from one of my own my blog postings. I do my own photography, and image processing, which accounts for the raw look of a lot of the things I post here. It only took moments to discover that this was indeed my work.
Without permission, attribution or links to the source.

This is like going to your neighbor’s garage and ‘borrowing’ his tools without telling him. You may get away with this for a little while, but when your other neighbors discover this behavior, your integrity gets called into question. I don’t think that you want to be that guy.

Out here on the web it is common when using images by others to provide attribution and or links to the source of material whether it be words or images. The funniest thing about this situation is that the web is the one place where asking permission is actually easier than asking forgiveness.

Using other people’s stuff without either permission, attribution or links to the source is just wrong.

I am not mad but sad as in my 15 or so years on the web, I have had images stolen, entire postings hijacked, entire websites stolen, been hacked, had somebody take my online identity, do some real evil damage, and had just about every bad thing that can happen to you online happen to me at one time or another. When you are out here long enough, shit happens especially someone as outspoken as I am.

It is a short path from being a good neighbor to being the guy that folks avoid. Online this is even more so as the web has a memory like a herd of elephants.

As I mentioned earlier, on the web we are all next door. You have to decide what kind of neighbor you want to be.