[theforum] nofollow in articles (was Re: New article)

David Kaufman david at gigawatt.com
Mon Oct 15 06:06:31 CDT 2007

Hi Marcel,

Marcel Feenstra <marcel at wintasy.com> wrote:
>>> Tonight, I noticed that my article (about search engine friendly URLs
>>> with ASP) had been published, but apparently the system had added
>>> "nofollow" to the external links (including my user profile, BTW).
>>> I *assume* this is not intended. After all, nofollow was meant to 
>>> *fight
>>> spam* --it is a way of saying: I'm linking to this site, but I *don't
>>> vouch* for it... I can understand if it is used *in the comments*, but
>>> surely not *in the articles*?! Anyway, when I tried to *remove* the
>>> nofollow, the entire article disappeared... :-(

Dean Mah [dean.mah at gmail.com] wrote:
>> No, the 'nofollow' attribute is intended.  As a policy, evolt.org has
>> decided to add that to all links.  Articles go back into moderation
>> whenever an edited to the article is performed.

>> I am quite surprised that you should have made that a "policy" [...]
>> I can certainly understand that evolt is unable to offer *financial
>> compensation* for articles written, but I do *not* understand why it 
>> does
>> not want to give *proper credit* --wouldn't that be, more than "simply
>> polite", a matter of basic Netiquette?! (When I submitted the article, I
>> did *not* expect any money for it. I *did* expect the article to be
>> either rejected --if it did not meet evolt's standards-- or printed "as
>> is" --but *not* substantially modified, which includes the addition of
>> "nofollow".)

>> [...] If you would like to withdraw your article, I can certainly
>> understand that.
>> For my part, I do not have the time to decide which links do or do not
>> require the 'nofollow' tag based on a value judgment.

> I think it would be a little premature to withdraw the article at this
> time, I'd much rather *discuss* this matter first... :-)
> Actually, when I followed that thread, I found a post by David Kaufman:
> http://lists.evolt.org/theforumarchive/Week-of-Mon-20070507/006235.html
> that sounded *very* similar to what I wrote in my earlier e-mail:
> "I need to dig a little deeper now to see if/how I can force links in
> *comments* to use this filter, but not links in approved, published
> articles." :-)

It is true that I did not intend, initially to add nofollow tags to links 
in Articles which the content team has reviewed and approved.  The fact 
that this done was collateral damage in our war against comment spam links. 
There was no simple, easy way to set up a second Drupal input filter, like 
the one we have already heavily customized, that differed only in this one 
detail.  I did intend to try to fix this later, but found neither the time 
nor the inclination.

Marcel, the maintainers of evolt.org have developed a very wary attitude 
towards "internet marketing" and SEO, because due to our unusually high 
page rank, we are aggressively and relentlessly targeted -- no attacked is 
a more suitable word -- by unethical marketing schemes of all stripes. 
>From link spam in comments, user profiles, to avalanches of SEO site 
submissions to DEO (our site directory, now frozen for just this reason) to 
profiteering users signing up simply to deluge us with thinly veiled 
self-promoting article after article.  I'm sure there are ethical internet 
marketers out there -- there *must* be... but it's become so tiresome for 
our volunteer content team to even *try* to separate what we think *might* 
be of some interest to our members from all the meaningless marketing hype 
and blather, that we have all but given up trying.

So I apologize if our reaction to this particular complaint sounds 
dismissive.  My first reaction to your complain was Noooooo!  We want to 
keep anything and everything on the site that is helping discourage 
link-spammers and SEO's from bothering us, especially the stuff that is 
automated!  And to my knowledge, you're the first author to complain of the 
nofollow tags on articles.

But after googling about the SEO industry's (not unfounded) backlash 
against these tags I see that the complaint is certainly common and not 

So, since we do review and approve articles, and (as you noticed) we are 
protected from someone attempting to alter their article after we've 
reviewed, approved and published it, I would support your suggestion of 
removing automatic nofollow tags on links in articles.

Thing is, I still don't know how to go about it...

We have all this customization on the Drupal HTML "Input Filter" that is 
shared by both comments and articles, and that is where the nofollow was 
configured.  If we duplicate it, we have to maintain changes in both 

It seems like a more work than I'm drupal-savvy enough to step up and be 
responsible for -- is it worth it?  Is someone willing to maintain these? 
Do we never tweak this filter anymore, making the change easy and the point 


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