Let’s say you saw the coolest thing ever on the internet. So of course you are going to put it on your blog. You found about this thing on another blog called Adventurous Comet. You could just write about the coolest thing ever and link to it and never mention Adventurous Comet. There is no law about that. But you want to give credit where credit is due! So somewhere in your blog post you put:
via Adventurous Comet
You’ll probably link that to their blog post about it, in addition to a direct link to to coolest thing ever. That’s just good practice.
Now tomorrow you see another coolest thing ever on the internet. This time you found out about it on Smockk, but Smockk credits BMX Tips in their article with a “via” link. Do you credit Smockk? Do you credit BMX Tips? Do you credit both? There are easily arguments for all three of those choices.
“Both” feels like the most honest and most credit-where-credit-is-due, but leads to some ridiculous situations when it’s not just two sites, but a whole chain of sites crediting on another back to an original source. I see this kind of thing on Tumblr a lot:
via Double Dragster
via One Blonde Nugget
via Hot Girl in the Corner
via Old Man in the Bathtub
That’s at the ridiculous level. That’s noise. It gets much worse than that, like when it’s not even clear what the original source is.
I think just linking to the place you first read it is also very honest and the cleanest way to go. If people want to follow the chain, they can do it from there.