It's clearly de rigeur to weigh in on the linking controversy, so as far as my worldview goes, I'd say that for me, it is important to acknowledge a source if it's a piece I would have been unlikely to find on my own. Everyone has their own rules and that's the way I operate. It's my way of demonstrating respect for the efforts of those who have collected this information. But I certainly can accept that folks who don't always link do so more out of carelessness than any ill intent.
But there's one dimension missing from this discussion that occured to me today in the course of some of my offline discussions about this issue that I think merits attention and hasn't been touched on yet:
Terry is, primarily, a journalist by trade, and journalists are trained from day one to attribute, attribute, attribute. My background is also in journalism, so I have the same impulses and I try to be as scrupulous as possible about attributing. It feels vaguely dishonest to me to pass something off as my own (which I do believe is an impression someone who doesn't visit a wide range of sites might easily come away with). But that's my training, my "programming" if you will, and I realize not everyone will share that. That others may feel that it's a free-for-all out there and everything is fair game may simply be a function of the openness of the internet, or it may be a generational thing.
This is an important point, I suspect, because there is a real "Information is Free" culture out there, whose roots are entwined with the earliest days of the Internet, and perhaps at least part of what we're seeing is a clash of these competing ideals. I don't think it's particularly conscious but I expect it was inevitable.
What I do know is that I appreciate the traffic boosts I get from other well-traveled sites and I try to return the favor as often as I can. And I do think that ultimately everyone in this soi-disant "clique" of bloggers wants the same thing - to widen the circle of discussion of literary matters. I've had terrific worthwhile correspondences with a number of bloggers out there that I never would have had otherwise. To keep widening the circle of people who care about books is no mean feat.
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it ...