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

Drs Marcel Feenstra, MALD, MBA marcel at wintasy.com
Wed Oct 17 06:24:18 CDT 2007

Dean Mah wrote:
> 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 certainly agree that there is a benefit, but I would call it "partial",
rather than "full" or "proper" credit.

Dean Mah wrote:
> 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?

Well, I think that making that judgment is part of the editorial review
process --is this a ("proper") article that we want to publish, or a
"thinly-veiled attempt at self-promotion"?

Personally, I'd consider the presence of porn links sufficient reason for
not publishing the article "as is". Depending on how interesting the
remainder of the article looked to me, I'd either ask the author to use more
suitable examples, or simply reject the article altogether.

By the way, funny that you should bring up JavaScript as an example. I
happen to have a site about "JavaScript for beginners":


--don't worry, no popups! ;-)

based on an eleven-part series that I've written for a Dutch computer
magazine. If I were to write, say, that article about JS pop-ups (or perhaps
a translation or a summary of the site in English), I'd find it hard to
maintain that a link to the site was somehow "inappropriate"!

As for your second example ("PR manipulation"), I find it slightly more
difficult. Let's assume that the link (BTW, not necessarily to the
*author's* site, we're talking about links in general!) was 100% relevant, a
perfect illustration of the techniques used, etc. In that case, the question
would not be: do we want to disallow or "nofollow" the link, but rather: do
we want to publish articles about PR manipulation on our site, at all?! --If
the answer to that second question is "yes", the link would be acceptable,

Dean Mah wrote:

> Like in the Open Source community, recognition by your peers is the
> reward.  I don't think PR ever came into the discussion.

I just took a quick look at a few (random) Apache projects, and you're
absolutely right, I saw no mention of PR whatsoever. Contributors who have
websites, get links --without any "nofollow".

Dean Mah wrote:

> 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?

It should not come as a surprise that I am *in favor* of adding "nofollow"
to material that has not been editorially reviewed, such as comments and
user profiles; and *against* using it in material that *has* passed
editorial review. :-)


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