Looking for Some Feedback…

Hello, friends!

Years back, I got a compliment that was the absolute best compliment I’ve ever received.  A close friend said to me: “You make me want to go learn stuff.”

Obviously I love science and space exploration best, but on a more fundamental level I love learning.  I love opening up my mind to find that the universe is a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more complicated than I could have possibly imagined it to be.

On this blog, I want to share some of the cool space and science stuff that I’ve learned.  I also want to make it easy for you to go learn more on your own, if you want to.  As a corollary to that, I also want to make it easy for you to fact check the things I say on this blog, because there’s way too much misinformation about science out there on the Internet, and I really, really, really don’t want to add to that problem if I can help it.

So it’s a little distressing to me when I get comments asking where I got my information from.  I’ve gotten a few such comments in the last month or so, which makes me think that I need to change up the way I cite my sources.  Currently, when I have a source I want to cite, I usually say something like “According to this paper” and make the words “this paper” a hyperlink to the paper in question.

That feels like a straightforward way to do it to me, but obviously that’s not working for everybody.  Would it be better if I did a sources cited section at the end of my posts?  Or is there something else I could do to make this clearer for readers (both regular readers and new people)?

Like I said before, I do not want to be responsible for spreading misinformation on the Internet.  But also, if you read something here on Planet Pailly and want to learn more, I want to make that as easy for you as possible.  Citing my sources clearly and easily addresses both of those concerns.  So how can I do that better?  Any and all feedback is welcome!

29 thoughts on “Looking for Some Feedback…

  1. I personally think linking is fine. Experienced blog readers usually look for the link near where the topic is introduced. I actually think they’re more natural for a web site than formal citations at the end. I have noticed that many people do tend to overlook the links (the styling of WP themes don’t always help), but it’s not clear to me they’d be any more likely to notice citations at the end.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That’s kind of my feeling as well. If I’m reading something online, and I want to learn more, it’s nice to have the link right there rather than having to scroll down to find it. But there are a lot of blogs that do list sources at the end, so I’m wondering if that’s better for some people.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You mentioned WordPress themes, and that got me thinking… I’ve been looking over my blog, and my current theme does hyperlinks in grey, which kind of blends in with the black text. That might be the root of the problem.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Unfortunately last year when I was looking at various themes, most of them made the links hard to notice. I had to add custom CSS to make mine stand out more.

        But people still overlook them. In some ways, that’s a compliment. It means they were into what they were reading enough not to notice variations in text color.

        One trick I’ve noticed that helps is to make the anchor big, as in having a lot of words included. When it’s only one word, it’s easier to miss.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. To judge by some of the email lists I subscribe to… both. The link as you do now in the text where I naturally encounter the reference (which I understand) and then at the bottom a reiteration. Yes, more work for you, but since you have the link, maybe not too onerous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess that could work. And I don’t think that would be too much extra work. It just seems a bit redundant to me. But then again, maybe a little redundancy is worthwhile if it means less confusion for readers.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I try to include links (the hyperlinks on text) in my own blog posts and then add a “thanks to XYZ for their article / paper / whatever” at the bottom. From the feedback I get from WP, very few people click the links. It is a handy way for me to keep track for myself, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If you are posting information with a link to your source and yet someone then inexplicably asks you what is the source of your information, then I do not believe it is you who has to change your approach.

    🙃

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That was my feeling the first time. It’s happened a few times now, though. Enough that I’m concerned.

      Of course, no matter what I do, there will always be somebody who still doesn’t get it. I’m keeping that in mind as well.

      Like

    1. That’s kind of what I thought, that people don’t always scroll to the end. Glad to get some validation on that thought.

      And I enjoyed your post a lot. Always happy to meet a cool new blogger!

      Like

  5. Just linking is perfectly acceptable here. It may be beneficial to put the links at the end in a “read more” style format, but there isn’t a real need for that. The way you’re citing sources right now is already good!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Link specifically to yourself! For instance someone of note makes a statement about our nearest star system and lets say you’ve written about both before, the celebrity and alpha centuri – well then by doing this you immediately clarify, gain more readers instead of sending them away and rise in seo because folks will appreciate and believe what you’ve written and not someone else. Open source images are worth a thousand words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I do link back to my own posts sometimes, if I’m touching on something I already talked about. As I understand it, it does help with S.E.O. How much it helps, though, I don’t really know.

      Like

  7. I’ve done posts that I’ve linked to my sources and what I did was at the end of the paragraph put in parathesis SOURCE and have that linked. That way seemed obvious enough to me, but what you did seems obvious as well, so it may be an issue of people just not paying enough attention as we do sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Putting it in parenthesis makes sense too. The source is still right there, so people don’t have to scroll all the way to the bottom to see it, but it draws attention to itself even more clearly than a hyperlink would. I might try it that way. Thank you for that!

      Like

  8. So I personally don’t find it a problem and I was actually wondering why anyone does! But then reading through the comments I think you’ve got a few solutions already. Increasing the number of words in the hyperlink is a good tip and one I try to implement in my posts as well

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My guess is that 80% of readers see the hyperlinks just fine. If there’s something I can do to make it 90%, I’ll do it. And I’m really happy with some of the suggestions people gave me. Including more words in those hyperlinks is a great idea, and it never would have occurred to me to do that on my own.

      Liked by 1 person

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