Seeking out sources

I saw this set of Marvel characters morphing into their movie counterparts in my social media feed. If you use Tumblr long enough, you’ll recognize when something comes from a photoset (a grid of images in different configurations, which are captioned and/or animated) even after they get screencapped and land elsewhere, like Twitter, or Imgur, 9gag, or Pinterest.


  • I could finally make out the credit watermark on the Imgur post,
  • and an actual article on Google linked to the original,
  • and said Tumblr-er hadn’t switched usernames.

I found more sets by going into her “my stuff” tag: Avengers, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, Winter Soldier, Spider-Man, even Watchmen, and so on. (Not enough notes on those ones, so go like and reblog.)

This was one of the quicker reverse-searches. Most of the time, people are content being entertained by unattributed content.

When sources disappear

A recent disturbing phenomenon is editing & reposting videos with large blocks of text at the top & bottom: text that summarizes, meme-ifies, or makes them as viral as possible. They aren’t the creators of those videos, and zero mention of the source can be found. (I don’t really see this happening elsewhere, so I’m blaming the desperation to get eyeballs on Facebook.)

A video made in said style addressing said problem

I love the Web, but reposting without attempt to credit the original is frustrating. We’re using a platform that is connected by links, but people can no longer be bothered to keep the chain going, for selfish or lazy reasons.

Even the upcoming MacOS Sierra will bake in a Siri feature to insert images in your document instantly, with copyright & intellectual property as an afterthought.

Compare this to the culture of reblogging on Tumblr, where popular text posts start to get even funnier responses, and their entertainment value snowballs with when someone adds a comment to the reblog. Context & attribution remain intact. (Of course, they eventually become memes screencapped and reposted elsewhere, without links to the original blogs.)

Compare this to Flickr photo pages, which indicate the usage rights of any given photo, whether it’s “all rights reserved” or can be reused under specific conditions according to Creative Commons.

Attribution matters

Does giving credit still matter if it’s “just” a viral video, or “just” a derpy text post, or “just” a derivative fanwork?

Yes. Credit them because they put time and effort to create something, create for something they’re enthusiastic about.

The least I can do is go to the source and point directly to that, so more people can find out who made it.

The Web is made of links. Use ‘em.

First published on Medium.

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Design × Code × Words for a better Web,
made in the Philippines by Sophia Lucero.