July 1, 2011

on attribution and credit

Regardless of context, John Gruber speaks the truth:

Why do we put bylines on stories in the first place? Because writers deserve credit, obviously. But bylines also serve the reader. All work is better when it is signed by its creators. Edward Tufte says:

Agencies, departments, and organizations don’t do things — people do things. People’s names should be on things to foster both accountability and pride.


  1. Deron Bauman on July 1st, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    That’s one of my favorite Tufte ideas.

  2. Derek White on July 2nd, 2011 at 12:25 am

    I disagree completely. Bylines puzzle me. It underscores the story or book as an art object. You don’t go to a museum and see a bunch of paintings with names on them, or at least it’s not so typical to sign them anymore. The object is what is important, not who made it, we are merely meme propagators. I would think it would be cool if you just saw books or stories and read them, and if you liked it and are curious you could look into who wrote it. Bylines are as strange to me as people who say they own their dogs.