Why I don’t reblog Sagansense and neither should you.
Sagansense reblogged a post I made on Women in Space, and well, he did not take it lightly when I asked him to just keep the Women in Space name on top. I will address why I think it is really bad that he does this, and I will also go into some of the accusations he trows at me.
Sourcing your reblogs
First things first. I hope everyone who reads this knows why it is important to attribute and source your posts properly. Not only gives it credit to the original authors, but more importantly it makes it possible for the readers to check out the original source and also find more of the same at the original author. This is true for art, but it is also very true for science, more often than not, the credibility of the science someone presents in a blog or news article depends on the trustworthiness of the source.
Now Sagansense does not remove the source altogether, he does however edits the layout of the post in such a way, that it appears, at least in my opinion, that he was the original poster. The two pictures on top of this post shows a reblog I made from a reblog someone made of the original post. What you can see is that the name of the person who made the reblog does not appear in the post itself, it does appear on top. If you look at the three screencaps below that, which are from a reblog of Sagansense reblog, you can see that suddenly Sagansense name is in the position were you expect the name of the original poster. To me, this feels wrong.
However he does place the original poster at the end of the reblog, with the word “via” added. Via means “through the medium or agency of”, in other words, it means to say that he found the content of the post via Women in Space, which was not the original publisher. However it was.
Additionally to that, many other internet blog, including a number of the tumblr layouts and tumblrs use the word via, or something similar at the end of a post to indicate through whom they had found the content of the post. Look for example at this Boing Boing post or like in this Tumblr reblog. It is in such widespread use, that if there is “via someone” at the end of the post, I (and I think many other) would be convinced, that that someone was not the original author.
Now you might comment that the source is clearly visible in the upper right corner of both posts. That is true on your dashboard. However, be honest, how many times do you actually check the source? And how many time do you go to Tumblr of the person who (you think) made the post originally? I think the latter is occurring more often.
There is a second problem as well, not all Tumblr layouts properly show the source outside of the dashboard. As you can see in this reblog, the source is not shown at all. In this other reblog it is hidden, the source is hidden behind a small link at the bottom. Note also that in the last example, there is also the word “via”, under which the person is hidden from whom the post had been reblogged. In the last example you cannot tell who was the original poster without clicking on any links, and if I would not know any better, I would say it was Sagansense.
In conclusion I think the editing that Sagansense does to his reblogs, ultimately obscures the original poster, and in this case, thus also the original author. While it does not go as far as outright plagiarism, it result in obscuring blogs that make excellent posts.
As you can see, Sagansense reacted in all caps when I requested that he did not mess with the reblogs anymore. He went as far as to call it hate mail, though if he calls this hate mail, I wonder what he calls the messages blogs like MedievalPOC receive. I already addressed why I don’t think Sagansense is actually sourcing and crediting, so I won’t address that in this part anymore.
First of all, he is referencing to my personal blog. Now if I could sent asks as “Women in Space” (WiS), I would. ( And if that is possible, I was not aware of that). WiS is not about me and should not be about me. I made Women in Space to increase to visibility of female astronauts, space scientist and space engineers. However, to reach this goal, people do have to be able to find the blog. And that is why it is important to me, that the posts of WiS are correctly credited to WiS. I do not care if my name is on it, I do care that Woman in Space is on it.
While I did indeed not take the photos (I try to credit them as best as I can), I did write the text myself, as I almost always do. I do find much of my information on the internet, however the longer articles that are posted originally on WiS are mostly a compilation of several sources. I also append the articles with my own knowledge, since I am studying to become a space engineer after all.
Especially for this post it is kind of awkward to hear that I apparently was not the original author. All in all, excluding the images, the information for this post came from about 20 different sources. I even checked some more sources for the part on Tale and Pirada, but decided against using the information, since it would unbalance the post. The amount of sources, was also the reason that, as an exception, I did not append them to the end of the post. If you check the other posts originally posted on WiS, you can see, the the sources are almost always clearly labelled at the bottom. And if you go to the sources, you will see that I do not normally copy text from those sources.
I am not out to attack anyone, I am not out to sent hate. I am willing to criticize people, who I think are doing something wrong. Whether it is this, or whether it is (for example) racism in the Netherlands, I’ve done both. Apparently I am not humble for running a blog that aims to put a minority which I don’t even belong to in the spotlight. Apparently it is not humble to put this post on my personal blog, since I want WiS to be about women in space.
If Sagansense, or anyone else, is willing to engage in this discussion, feel free. If you feel like I have not credited or sourced something correctly, also please let me know, as you can see, it is an important subject to me. I especially like it when you come with arguments, because, you know, that is how it goes in science.
Sagansense has since silently removed the comments he made under the post. He also seems a bit more consistent in naming a source a source in his most recent posts.