The Case Against Curation

Randy Murray:

A web site or a blog with links pointing to other web sites or blogs is not being curated. Such things are lists. There may be commentary, but by the very nature of the web, the person assembling the links does not have primary responsibility to care for the linked things. He or she has no control over them. They are not preserved and maintained by the one who links to them.

It’s the wrong term.


It’s called “reporting.” All of these sites are doing journalism. It’s news, not a museum.

And my suggestion is this: embrace the term reporting. It’s a noble profession. And it needs more good people practicing the art.

While I don’t normally blockquote such a large amount of text from someone else’s site, I really like what Randy is saying here.

The term “curation” has popped up all over our corner of the web. It’s fairly understandable, actually. People with sites like mine (or whose sites I copied when starting Forkbombr three years ago) hand-pick our linked items and sweat over our long-form articles. Most of us even care about things like line height of body text, validating CSS and good grammar.

As much as I agree with Randy about curation being a wrong term for weblogs, I am not sure reporting is the right word to serve as a replacement.

Reporting is often defined as follows:

give a spoken or written account of something that one has observed, heard, done, or investigated.

I’m not sure linking to an XKCD comic counts as reporting. Linking to news stories or reviews with a line or two of commentary doesn’t make the grade in my book, either.

Maybe a better word is editorializing, which is defined as:

make comments or express opinions rather than just report the news.