When writing columns for About.com and Madison Square Garden, I regularly find myself cutting-and-pasting quotes from other sources. I’m finding more and more sources that do this:

The professional sports version of road kill came into the Garden without having won an away game all season. The Wizards left New York with that losing streak now at 21 as Stoudemire and Chandler led the Knicks to a 115-106 victory.

See that long, awful “read more” link? I didn’t put that there… the site I cut/pasted the initial quote from – in this case, NYDailyNews.com, inserted it automatically. Annoying, right? It was worse… initially, that URL was so long, it ran half way into the right column of this site.

Here’s the thing: because, I’m a responsible blogger, I would have credited the source of what I copied. And I would have linked to the original article. But now, thanks to this system they’ve put in place, I have to do extra work to make my very responsible link back to their article look less like a train wreck.

What does this accomplish, exactly? Unscrupulous writers – those that would copy this content without proper credit — are simply going to take an extra couple of seconds and delete the automatic attribution. People like me – who care about giving credit where credit’s due, but in a format that won’t be so damned ugly – are going to delete the automatic attribution and put in something a touch more readable.

There are WordPress plugins that make it easy to add this same automatic attribution to your blog. My recommendation: don’t. You won’t be doing anything to deter content thieves, and you’ll annoy people who might otherwise link your piece.

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