Tom Vanderbilt reuses Ask MetaFilter question and answers in his book Traffic
Tom Vanderbilt is apparently MeFi user jgballard
. He posted a question
in 2005 about how people merge in traffic lanes.
He then excerpted some of the answers in his 2008 book Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)
). Check pp. 4–5, where he writes “I posted an anonymous inquiry on Ask MetaFilter, a Web site one can visit to ask random questions and tap into the ‘hive mind’ of an anonyous audience of overeducated and overopinionated geeks.” MeFi users muckster is quoted (not by name).
I would say Vanderbilt has trouble with the definition of “anonymous,” and also a bit more trouble with attribution. Journalists trolling for material should be up front about what they’re doing.