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

Dean Mah dean.mah at gmail.com
Tue Oct 16 19:48:22 CDT 2007

On 10/16/07, Drs Marcel Feenstra, MALD, MBA <marcel at wintasy.com> wrote:
> 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."

But the benefit is there.  Someone reading a journal article has the
ability to view the author's biography, reference list, etc. and then
follow up if they want to.  Similarly, people reading an evolt.org
article still have the ability to follow the links within the article.

I don't think that there is nested citation information in a citation
list.  I wouldn't expect an index to list an article and then sublist
all of the articles that the article references.  We're not talking
about so sort for Erdos index.

> 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?!

Like I said, I throw the baby out with the bath water.  I don't want
to have to make the judgment on which links are appropriate and which
are not.  For instance, if I wrote an article on creating Javascript
popups and I happened to have tested my work on my network of porn
sites, can I drop a link to my test pages?  Or maybe I have a search
engine optimization site where I've tested my theories on manipulating
Google PR, can I link my site?

> 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".

Things change.  I've been accused of reminiscing about the old days
when signatures where a maximum of 4 lines long, Usenet was cool, I
could leave my e-mail address in messages without worrying about being
spammed and scammed, top posting was reviled, etc.  evolt.org used to
be open to non-subscriber posts.  That changed.  evolt.org used to
give out member accounts on our server.  That changed.  Etiquette,
like all things, evolve.

> (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.)

Like in the Open Source community, recognition by your peers is the
reward.  I don't think PR ever came into the discussion.  And
evolt.org has never participated in link exchange programs of any kind
throughout its history.

> 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.

I don't believe that.  An author's thanks is the recognition that they
gain from having an article published (on evolt.org or elsewhere) and
the ability that they have to list it on their Web site, on their
resume, in their biography, or however else they choose to let people
know about it.  Sometimes doing something is its own reward.  Look at
the volunteers who maintain evolt.org.  Most of us work behind the
scenes.  I doubt that I can even name any of the Web sites of the
current core maintainers.

> > 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!

Sounds good.  Let's put this baby to a vote on Monday.  Anyone
interested in making comments has until then to chime in.  So I would
suggest the questions be:

1) Should 'nofollow' be added to links in user profile (signatures and
personal information blocks)?

2) Should 'nofollow' be added to links in comments?

3) Should 'nofollow' be added to links in articles?


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