[theforum] Vote re: nofollow tags in articles

Drs Marcel Feenstra, MALD, MBA marcel at wintasy.com
Tue Oct 23 08:01:14 CDT 2007

Elfur Logadóttir wrote:

> Now I think I will vote no to adding the nofollow attribute.
> Because, as Paul said, it's reward for writing - but other means need
> to be
> used to address SEO spamming (or whatever it's called). Makes me wonder
> wether such articles should be published at all and also if the
> nofollow
> filter could be added to comments only?

I agree with what you’re saying --IMO, the editorial process should ensure
that only "suitable" articles are published, whereas "spammy" or
predominantly self-promotional pieces are *not*.

As for the desirability of "nofollow" in comments: no argument there! I
would actually prefer if these could be added automatically, rather than
manually, since:

1) it would be a bad use of volunteers' time to do the latter, IMO; and:
2) if spammers see their links appear *without* the "nofollow" attribute,
they may be encouraged to *keep* spamming (not knowing that the NF will be
added later on), whereas the "instant feedback" from an automatic NF may
drive home the point that it's useless, and thereby deter them.

Adrian Simmons wrote:

> Whilst it would be nice to give author's that little SEO (SEM?) boost,
> I
> think the overhead of checking links is too much at the moment.

If I understand correctly, you advocate using "nofollow" in articles "for
practical reasons", so that the links won't have to be checked during the
editorial process. I suspect that checking links only accounts for a small
percentage of the total time required; but more importantly, I would argue
that you *still* need to check, even if you *do* use "nofollow"!

If someone submits an article with links to a few "adult" sites, then
*surely* you'd want to notice that before you decide to publish the article,
rather than say, "I have no time to check where I may be sending the
visitors of my site, but I'm adding a 'nofollow', so I've done my duty"?!

> It's not
> just at time of publishing, people change domains, change career,
> legitimate
> sites become spam sites etc. evolt articles are around for a long time.

I agree that "link rot" is a serious problem. For example, DMOZ contains
over 4 million links, and given such a large number, it is inevitable that
several (lots!) of them go bad over time. That's why editors also spend time
on "maintenance" of existing links, both by checking categories ourselves
and by responding to "feedback": If we get reports from the public regarding
links gone bad, we take them very seriously, and deal with them ASAP.

I'd say that the "first responsibility" (so to speak) could be the author's
--he or she could check, say: once a year, if all links in the article still
work (and are appropriate). However, it should also be easy for (any member
of) the *community* to report "bad links", and these reports could be dealt
with quickly.

Finally, if an author deliberately tries to trick us, e.g. by *redirecting*
links to inappropriate sites after the article has been published ("bait and
switch"), that would be a very good reason to consider *removing* the
article altogether, IMO.

Drew Shiel wrote:

> Reasoning is: comments and articles are already moderated.

It had been my understanding, so far, that articles *are* "moderated", but
comments are *not* --am I mistaken?! (Or rather, someone *is* currently
looking at the comments, but *only* because of the link spam; there would be
*no* moderation otherwise.)


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