On Credibility

Eric is angry today. His blog article on 75 Rules of Thumb of Software Development (Chinese site) was quoted by CSDN without prior notification on the homepage. The worst is, under another person’s name. 27 comments quickly followed the original article including an editor from CSDN.

When I just started this blog, I read this article: Honesty Honesty (Credibility Revisited). It is a very good starting point for me to keep my promise on credibility. I became very careful to quote, and to give credit to where it belongs to.

You can build web site credibility by providing third-party support (citations, references, source material) for information you present, especially if you link to this evidence. Even if people don’t follow these links, you’ve shown confidence in your material.

Quoted from On Credibility (via Honesty )

My Rules

Here is my own rule regarding credibility – always check the owner for permission before quoting any article. I seldom quote (in full) articles on this site since they belong to where it is. If I want people to see it, why not just give comment and provide a link? Readers can go there to see themselves. Pulling the content into my own site and even worse, pretend it is my own content does not help to build up my own credibility.

Nice People Always Check with me before Using my Content

I appreciate people who checked with me before using my articles or photos. The second most frequently received emails in my email box are mails requesting permissions (the first frequently asked questions are about visiting Shanghai). I happily granted all of them – I don’t remember a single rejection so far and I always thank them for asking. At least I know my pictures appeared at a TV commercial in Tokyo, many text books in universities in U.S. and Europe. I know my article went to some websites. The most interesting story is, one musician used my photo as the cover of his album.

I am happy that they at least provide a link back to my site or they print my name with the pictures or articles. Some even promised to send me a hard copy when the book is published. They are all nice people.


Dan discussed about credibility and credits with me and we laughed a lot about his experience. He said one newspaper (I’d like not to mention the name but it is among the largest) editor called him to ask for permission to use his article. He suggested some modification and asked to put a link on the article. The editor said “Well, but the article is on yesterday’s newspaper already.”

Creative Common

Not everyone will check permission like this editor (although he checked too late). Isaac Mao and other guys are working on the Creative Common in China – the idea is label the content with granted permissions so people don’t need to check for permission before use the content. Even in CC, link back and credit are required since it is the property of the content that should always go with it. I didn’t adopted Creative Common yet since I still didn’t really read the full license yet.

4 thoughts on “On Credibility

  1. WJS, I think it’s great that you’re considering a creative commons license. I think it’s a great scheme with a lot of promise. I hope that the effort is better internationalised, so everyone can take advantage of it.

    Speaking of licenses and intellectual property, I saw a couple of policemen chasing people selling counterfeit CDs near Nanjing Lu today. Not long after that, I signed onto the Washington Post (US newspaper) web site and saw a story claiming that there was no IP enforcement of counterfeit CDs and DVDs in Shanghai. Interesting.

  2. Creative Common & GNU are the two common ways for the author to delcare copyright. Ever read CC, it has some types, and is suitable for articles. GNU is more suibalbe for software. Maybe you can consider CC later.

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