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

Drs Marcel Feenstra, MALD, MBA marcel at wintasy.com
Tue Oct 16 17:59:07 CDT 2007

Dean Mah wrote:

> 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.

You're right, I should have phrased that more carefully. Perhaps: "By the
way, we're using a special technique to ensure that your references to
external publications --your own, your friends' and colleagues', or any
other-- won't count at all. That is to say, external publications will get
no benefits; our publication will get all available credit."

Dean Mah wrote:

> 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.

To do so for *comments* seems perfectly reasonable to me; no argument there.
But again, surely not in *articles* that have been *reviewed* and accepted
for publication?!

The message *I* think it might send is: "Look, we've received this article,
which we think is good enough for publication. However, because we know that
there are spammers out there, we're making sure that the *author* of this
particular article won't be able to enjoy any "additional benefits" --that
will teach the *bad guys* out there a lesson! You see, we're a community of
*takers*, not *givers*." I somehow suspect that is *not* the message you
want to send! ;-)

As I wrote in one of my first posts, I think that it used to be "basic
Netiquette" to "credit" contributors with a link, as a way of saying "Thank
you". (It was understood by all parties that, in most cases, the link was
the *only* "reward" contributors would get, since the site was unable to pay
them any money; and everyone was fine with that.)

With "nofollow", Google et al. have introduced a technique that --even
though it was never *intended* for that purpose-- *can* be used to "thank
people without really meaning it", so to speak. But just because you *can*,
doesn't mean you *have to*... In my opinion, if you think that an article is
*bad* (or has been written primarily for self-promotion), you should not
publish it in the first place; but *if* you do accept it, I think it is
reasonable to offer a "proper" thank you, not a half-hearted one.

Dean Mah wrote:

> 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?

If that is the way things are done on Evolt, and if you think that everyone
who may have *wanted* to respond has had enough time to do so, that's fine
with me!


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