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Drew Bragg
Drew Bragg

Posted on

Giving credit where credit is due

About a month ago I wrote an article on an issue I had run into a few times and the solution I eventually came up with.

By 'came up' with I mean:

  • review various documentation
  • read numerous articles
  • search StackOverflow for similar issues
  • then compile everything I've read/learned into a single place where I or anyone else could access the information.

What resulted was my take on all of these sources put together and tested in a few of my personal and work apps.

Since I had worked on the problem for sometime and used countless resources I didn't think to include a credit section in the article. But recently someone left a comment on my article saying I should give credit to another article with extremely similar code to what I used and that was posted well before mine. Interestingly enough, I did not come across this article when I was working on my original solution. So, if I did have a credit section, I wouldn't credit that particular article but it did raise an interesting question.

When should I include links to other articles, docs, or StackOverflow questions I used in researching my problem?

Naturally, if my solution is pulled directly from or heavily influenced by 1 or 2 other articles I would state that but in this case the 'credit' section would end up looking something like this:

(this is just based on my browser history as far back as it will go)

Which seems... excessive and would also mean that everything I write from here on out would need links to every article, SO question, or doc I've read on the topic. I want to make sure I give credit where credit is due and not receive comment essentially accusing me of stealing someone else's article. I guess I just don't know when my code starts being mine and stops being a culmination of everything I've learned or read.

What do you think? When do you include a 'credit' section and what sources do you include in it?

Top comments (2)

femolacaster profile image

All what we think we know are experiences and ideas cummulated over time from different sources. Originality involves you presenting these ideas in your own way till it looks like it was you that came up with it. What we somewhat know as paraphrasing. How well you paraphrase determines how little the evidence your accuser would have to hang you. So give credit when the paraphrasing still does not seem like or can't be made to reflect you, and include source(s) that reflect your already paraphrased idea more. Because those deserve the credit really. For the idea to be so strong that is hard to be paraphrased lol.

dmkash profile image
Dana Kashubeck

I would think it would be enough to link to the sources in the text of your post, not specifically call them out. Something like, "The docs say . . . " and have "docs" link out to the documentation. Or "I found this StackOverflow post which pointed me to . . . " and "StackOverflow post" would be a link to . . . um . . . that post. Then folks can follow along as they prefer!