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

David Kaufman david at gigawatt.com
Wed Oct 17 16:33:09 CDT 2007

"Dean Mah" <dean.mah at gmail.com> 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.

No, I don't think the reviewer should have to do so on a link-by-link 
basis.  It should be all or nothing and, in the case of articles, you're 
*already* making the all-or-nothing decision when you either approve the 
article or not.  If evolt approves of the article -- if it is well written 
and relevant enough to be of value to our audience, I think the author's 
own site (and sites that are part of the article) *should* get the benefit 
of a bump in their page rank, by virtue of being linked to evolt.  Why not?

If the reviewer is too busy (or disinclined) to check the links, or if the 
pages they link to were to subsequently change for the worse and some 
inappropriate links slip through... I'm sure commenters will complain, and 
the situation will be remedied forthwith.  I also think that such a 
situation would be rare, even if the volume of articles we published 
returned to its past high point.

> ...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?

Okay but I don't think that article would not have be approved in the first 
place.  It's far more likely, if you look at the articles we do approve, 
that the author extends or expands on some HTML design, CSS technique, or 
PHP/Perl code and the article includes links to the "prior art", and links 
to resources she used to get ideas for her improvement, and a link to 
similar ongoing work that she is doing on her site, or discusses on her 

These sites *should* become more relevant, they should get a higher page 
rank by their association with evolt, and IMO, if she has Google ads on her 
site, or sells professional web development services, she should get higher 
rankings in search results, shouldn't she?  We're all web developers; while 
some are hobbyists, most of us are professionals.  Shouldn't her 
participation in the evolt community, her contribution of knowledge and 
experience to our ongoing dialogue help her site's traffic, whether that 
increased traffic translates into ad revenue, more clients, or better job 
offers with higher salaries?

Take the author of the PHP login system articles (some of, if not the most, 
visited articles on the site) for example.  Shouldn't his website be in the 
first few hits on google so that, when he applies for a job as a PHP 
programmer and is asked what he has done, he can simply say "google 'php 
login system' and you'll see"?  Shouldn't writing great articles for evolt 
make you a rock star?  I'd like to think so.

I agree with Marcel that our authors should be able to make their own sites 
a little more relevant, if we deem their contribution to our site relevant 
enough to publish.

I also understand your pain, Dean, and I don't want to make your job any 
harder than it already is.  Marcel's job title, his company, and his evolt 
profile page all put the dreaded "SEO" albatross around his neck.  But 
that, in and of itself, does not make a link to his site spam.  If he were 
to link his articles to sites full of spyware, popup advertising and porn, 
then I think adding nofollow tags to his links would be ridiculous.  We 
would delete the whole article, and probably ban him, right?

I think we ought to treat our authors better than comment spammers.  I 
think, page rank aside, links are what makes the web work, and branding all 
their links "suspicious" is insulting to the writer.  It's like the 
publisher putting a disclaimer on the bottom of every page of every book 
they publish saying "the author's views are not necessarily those of the 
publisher".  It makes US seem spammy.  It tells the world: we don't really 
know, care, check or control the links in our articles.  I hope we do.

> [...] 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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