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

Dean Mah dean.mah at gmail.com
Tue Oct 16 16:45:38 CDT 2007

On 10/16/07, Drs Marcel Feenstra, MALD, MBA <marcel at wintasy.com> wrote:
> Imagine a scientific journal that publishes a variety of articles, but tells
> its authors: "By the way, we're using a special technique to ensure that,
> for citation index purposes, your contributions don't count at all."

You've lost me already.  I'm pretty sure that all of the search
engines will index the articles on evolt.org so the contribution does
count.  IIRC, reference lists contain information with regards to:
author, article title, journal title and pagination, publisher, and
year of publishing.  The list does not contain the author's
credentials, biography, or other extra information.  evolt.org
provides the same amount information to the search engines.

> Dean Mah wrote:
> > I believe that authors are given proper credit.  Off-topic links are
> > still in articles.  Ultimately, I would choose to remove links and
> > text that did not further the point of the article.
> I respectfully disagree --I'd say that they are given *some* (or *partial*)
> credit, but not *proper* credit.

Ah, the bone of contention.  Who defines "proper credit"?

> Modifying texts so that they better express what *I* think they should say
> --the way *I* feel they should say it-- is not something *I* would choose to
> do

I actually agree.  evolt.org has a policy of not changing the content
or intent of an article without the author's permission.  evolt.org
does fix grammatical problems and sometimes layout difficulties.

> --instead, I would write another, better article myself. If I felt that
> an article was "bad" (or simply "blatant self-promotion"), I (as the editor
> of a site or journal) would choose not to publish it; but I certainly
> wouldn't alter it without the author's consent! --Good thing, too, for in
> The Netherlands that would actually be a criminal offense... ;-)

For viewable content, I agree.  I do not think that adding nofollow to
the links in the article changes the intent of an article--unless, of
course, the point is to promote a link.

> Dean Mah wrote:
> > Original intent does not matter to me here.  Things evolve.  The Web
> > evolves.  evolt.org's policy evolves.  Tables weren't intended to
> > impose structure, stuff happens.
> I only brought up the "original intent" behind "nofollow" to compare and
> contrast it with something it *wasn't* designed for. In addition to their
> *intended* use, tables were a convenient way to "impose structure".
> Apparently, "nofollow" is also a convenient way to... do what exactly? Deny
> proper credit, perhaps?

It is a convenient way of sending a message to members of the
evolt.org community and those that would abuse the community.  To wit,
evolt.org is watching.  We will not be overrun with spammers and
people that choose to promote themselves on the back of the community.

For my part, rather than decide what is appropriate and not
appropriate, I believe in treating all links equally.  And I think
that is what is up for debate here.

> (As for the "nofollowed" links in my article, *I* do *not* feel that they
> are off-topic --they are the actual sites for which I designed and created a
> content management system. But I'd rather discuss the underlying *principle*
> than something that is, in the end, a matter of personal opinion.)

And we disagree.  I don't think that it adds anything to the article
to list the actual site addresses.  In fact, not including the links
would likely make the article more timeless.  You'll note a lot of old
articles on the evolt.org site have broken links in them.

But I agree, I don't want to make this debate personal regarding a
specific article because as you say, it is a matter of personal
opinion.  My personal opinion is to give all links the same treatment
regardless of if they contribute or do not contribute to the articles

> Dean, I do hope that my arguments have been somewhat "convincing". I look
> forward to your reply, and I hope that other people will chime in with their
> opinions, as well.

I'll be honest, I'm still not convinced.  In reality, it doesn't
matter to me as long as we reach a policy consensus.  Unless anyone
else would like to debate the matter, should we put it to a vote?


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