Business Insider once again reprinted one of my posts on Quora verbatim. This isn’t the first time and I am sure won’t be the last. On some superficial level it’s flattering to be quoted elsewhere (albeit disconcerting that the good answers never make it), but in the long run it is painful, wrong, and the antithesis to courteous openness.
Reprinting me without my knowledge has many pitfalls:
- If I don’t know about it I can’t react. I have been approached a good few dozen times by American and international newspapers, both in print and online, about reproducing my content. I always say yes. And then I keep an eye on the post, especially online, to join the conversation if one arises. Just reprinting me without letting me know not only takes my work for someone else’s profit (Business Insider is a business, not a band of funny indie rocker punk philanthropists) it also takes away my chance to join the conversation about it.
- Quora answers are sometimes fluid for me. I write on a Transformer Prime in the kitchen between cooking, stocking, prepping, and after hours when I am tired and sometimes much less than perfectly coherent. I do this under the presumption that my writing is editable by me, fluid, and will be malleable as new knowledge arises or my BAC falls. Taking my writing from me without telling me deprives me of control over my own words, words uttered under an understanding I have with Quora as to the changeability.
Let me be clear here, I do not object to citations with attribution or even whole reprints. I object to the unannounced re-purposing of my content without giving me a chance to either object or – at least – remedy glaring errors or incorporate further discussion taking place in the comments.
I’d have thought Business Insider to have better sense than that. I guess I was wrong.