Geek Wars! Nate Silver Goes After Vox for Alleged Content Theft (Updated)

“Y’all should probably stop stealing people’s charts without proper attribution,” Silver tweets

Last Updated: April 13, 2015 @ 2:40 PM

Updated, 2:27 p.m. PT, April 13th

In a piece titled “How Vox Aggregates,” Editor-in-Chief Ezra Klein apologized to Silver.

“Our policy, to our staff, is simple: any time we use work created by someone else, we need clear attribution to the original author and a link back to the source,” he wrote. “When appropriate, we should do more than that: we should add to the conversation with new facts, ideas, or reporting.”

Klein went on to point out that the story Silver was upset about actually did reference FiveThirtyEight, but didn’t link.

The attribution there was clear. The first line reads, “Nate Silver and his team at FiveThirtyEight put together this great graphic summarizing the popularity of various key political players and how well-known they are to the general public.”

“But the post didn’t include a link. This was carelessness, not malice, but it’s a violation of Vox’s internal standards. Our policy requires attribution, and any time we fail that policy is inexcusable. It’s a betrayal of what makes the web positive-sum. Silver’s right to be upset by it. He has my apologies.”


FiveThirtyEight founder and chart champion Nate Silver went off on Monday, accusing the digital news and politics site of lifting his charts without attribution.

Anthony DeRosa, editor-in-chief of Circa, also got into the tussle.

Vox did not immediately respond to TheWrap‘s request for comment.


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