Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Copyright xkcd CC BY-NC

Back when I first started blogging, the standard post took about 5 min and was usually written in a hurry after I thought of something to say in the shower. If it had mistakes, I'd add/edit/reblog any fixes.

As my post have gotten longer and the institutions affected by my posts have gotten bigger, fussier and more necessary to protect - I've started becoming a bit more careful about what I say and how I say it.

Instead of blog first, think later - agile blogging - I now have a process that feel a bit more like blogging by committee. (Actually, it's not as bad as it sounds. You, the reader are benefiting from better thought through blog posts because of this process.)

When I have an idea, I usually hammer out a quick draft, stick it in a Google Doc and then invite in anyone that might be able to help including experts, my team working on the particular topic and editors and communications people. It's a different bunch of people depending on the post, but almost everything I've posted recently is a result of a group effort.

Jeremy Rubin, a recent MIT grad who co-founded the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT mentioned that maybe I should be giving people credit for helping - not that he wouldn't help if he didn't get credit, but he thought that as a general rule, it would be a good idea. I agreed, but I wasn't sure exactly how to do it elegantly. (See what I did here?)

I'm going to start adding contributors at the bottom of blog posts as sort of a "credits" section, but if anyone has any good examples or thoughts on how to give people credit for helping edit and contributing ideas to a post or an informal paper like my posts on my blog and pubpub, I'd really like to see them.

  • Jeremy Rubin came up with the idea.
  • I wrote this all by myself.


There are some Microformats/Indieweb ways to do this nicely, but I wouldn't claim to be an expert on the right way. With the various roles and types of contributions, maybe there isn't something that always fits your intent perfectly, but a simple h-card type attribution could at least point to a richer version of the person named?

I hope however it works, you'll blog more. :-)

I particularly appreciate ways of more richly acknowledging ways of contributing beyond co-authorship or mention in a bulk listing. This also resonates with themes J. Nathan Matias and colleagues are onto -- -- which are much needed!

(cc: facebook)

I suggest to add a simple drop down menu (approachable to search engines)

Klicking on the title of the post or a small icon next to it: The list of contributors unfolds. This keeps it simple and elegant any yet reveals the fractal structure of the autorship.

Footnotes, maybe? As for visual treatment, I love how Kottke is treating inline footnotes now -- check out this post here with the pink plus icon:

I think Virginia Wolf said it best:

“Masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.”

Perhaps you have also heard of Rupert Sheldrake and his term morphic resonance. We are all in the field of shared experiences and many of the concepts bounce from genius in the past to contemporary voices. Two or more individuals in completely different communities will all of a sudden have the same “epiphany” due to a “cloud of wisdom.”

In a “sharing economy,” the hardest part is having to trust that you will get the acknowledgement you need and most of all, will not be left out as your ideas trade hands, improve and take on a life of their own. Just like a child grows independently, so do ideas, and the same psychological individuation is required.

Perhaps this is why I think we need to do a better job of supporting, acknowledging and affirming one another. If more people feel “safer” in sharing their ideas, I think we will get a lot more brilliance from everyone around us.

Believe me, knowing this intellectually, doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot of insecurity in my bones.

Leave a comment