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This 62 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 62 ( 1 [2] 3 > >   posting off  
Allowing Personal URLs
Personal URLs, Linking to lesser known sites.
brotherhood of LAN

 4:37 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld has been unique in the way that URLs in posts are dealt with. Unless it's an authoritative well known site, URLs tend to be removed.

I'm sure any member who's been here a while understands the reasons why. examiple: a user drops a link to a competitor and asks "why do they have hidden text" or "look at this link network"... links to malware et al.

What's everyone's opinion? Personally, I'd like to see links in posts relaxed a little, but there still needs to be some kind of ruleset due to the high visibility of these forums.



 10:32 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

No to links.
For all the reasons already given.

- that's personal links ;)
Authoratative are restrictive, but still workable. No change needed

[edit] for clarification[/edit]


 11:33 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have seen many posts here where it would have made it easier for the OP (or even the Reply) to point to a webpage as an example. But in fact, those examples may not be on the web a month or a year from now. Especially if they are examples of bad code, poor SEO, etc. so the no URL rule has a side benefit of making sure that these sagely pages will always make as much sense as they did the very first time !

Payloads, as has been stated, might be a big problem. Mods would have to test for malware warning. All kinds of weird things could go on with links posted on a site inhabited by webmasters and aspiring webmasters and anyone else who wants to.

In this kind of climate I'm not competent to even guess all the possible good reasons for such a rule. I have had links removed, and even posts removed by mods. It disappointed me, but I'm still a greenhorn at this stuff, so I won't be complaining about the rules yet.


 11:39 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

The links policy here is one of the best on the web this enables people to explain what they need

I actually think the existing policy is a benefit to members.

It forces us to work through how to write a post that accurately defines the issue.

That "working through" has often helped me to find my own solution to the problem at hand.

And if I haven't found the solution before I hit the "post" button, it helps other members understand the issue better.


 11:48 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hello MattCuts (short time, interesting forum name) and

Just my quick $0.02.

Didn't like any off of it.

Badger me off as the bad guy..........


 12:00 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

My jaw just dropped too. And completely agree with the keep as is crowd.


 12:01 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm all for links! It would sure take a lot of guesswork out of the equation. Ya, I know, you learn while guessing. Well, many times it just turns into one big cluster of ideas and nothing definitive. A discussion may go 100 replies and the OP may never get a correct answer, if there was one available.

Just submit and do the NoFollow thingy as instructed. Or, run all links through a super duper WebmasterWorld URI shortener and then one of those fancy schmancy redirect routines you folks conjure up around here. :)

I'm sure there have been quite a few defectors due to the existing link policies at the public level. I fully understand it is to protect the integrity of the platform. There are definitely pros and cons but I think the balance between the two has been met if not weighed in favor of the pros.

There has to be a way to do this and still maintain the integrity of the community. Since Matt is here, maybe he can provide a solid outline of the best way to approach this?


 12:02 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yeah, I'm not sure if I'm for allowing links, but if the auto-linking was turned off and unlinked URLs could be posted it could be a bit helpful.

Maybe 'linking privileges' somehow being credited with a level of membership or something similar would be an idea to go along with it?

One thing not being allowed to post URLs does is allows people to 'hide behind their profile', which I really didn't think about until one of the update threads a few years ago (a couple years before my currently published join date) when one of the most vocal 'Google's broken' posters made me feel a bit sorry for them and want to take a look at their site...

When I did I came up with a page of suggestions for them, which included: Remove the Viagra Links; Remove the 2px black-on-black H2 in the footer with 30+ keywords in it; Take the keyword stuffed alt tags off the images; and about 20 other things that were all, uh, how do you say, questionable?

And, I guess if the person had been allowed (required) to post some URLs they might have gotten laughed out of the place, especially for not following some simple suggestions I gave them... Anyway, since then I'm not sure if I'll completely believe anyone 'hiding' behind their profile when they claim G is broken again.

I guess my vote is: If you can find a way to do URLs (unlinked) so we can go have a look if we feel like without allowing links it might be an idea, but if not, please keep the links out for now anyway.


 12:16 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Have to agree with a couple of previous posts...

If it ain't broke, don't fix it... the benefits of a no URL's policy to the large majority far outweighs any gain from an allowed URL's policy to a miniscule minority.

Agree with ken_b that by carefully crafting a post to be easy to understand by the reader, you will often find your own answer.

There are work-arounds to getting an individual site viewed if that is an essential part of the question.

I pay membership to be part of a moderated and controlled meeting ground of peers. I'm not interested in being a member of a URL drop zone.


 12:17 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ mattcutts... I can see your point, but it works both ways. let's imagine a user is having an issue with adding something to a site. if they where able to simply drop a url they would get a direct answer, but the solution would be of limited use to other users. By keeping the topics very general, as opposed to specific the information available is a lot more useful to more members.



 12:41 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Little change 'o my mind here:

I'm for NO URLs... I think it would change the discussion from philosophical and conceptual to exact and specific, which really opens the door for copying a system rather than creating something unique based on the concepts and ideas presented.

-1 on adding links / URLs.


 12:48 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

We don't know what the new software is - at least I don't yet. There's plenty of quality forum software that will allow much more latitude in the posting of URLs. The no-URLs policy worked fine for a long time, but things have changed. Most of those in favor of the status quo are those that don't know the possibilities, or don't realize how well they work.

I started a forum 4 years ago and many of my early members came from another forum that used very antiquated forum software. Giving them choices and following their desires would mean a huge step backward. I decided to do what I felt was right and the forum has become the most popular in its niche.

My vote is to do what the forum software allows you to do and take advantage of all the security measures available. JUst because this is the only webmaster type forum that disallows URLs doesn't make it the best. I very rarely post here because of the limitations. I've certainly learned a lot, but I would be even better if those who wanted to help were given better tools to help with.


Jim McClain


 1:02 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

My vote is to do what the forum software allows you to do...

Just so you know:

They write the forum software here so it allows them to do whatever they tell it to.
It's definitely off-the-shelf. ;)


 3:56 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

URL's should not be allowed as I believe it is the USP of Webmasterworld


 4:11 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Absolutely NOT .. I cannot be in favour of any link that is not a *well known authority having to do with the subject matter at hand ..

If you want to drop/place *personal url's, there's a place in your WW Member Area to do it.


 4:57 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

OK, MattCutts wants your URL specfics. That could never end badly :p
Part of me would like to see a more relaxed URL policy but given that the restricted URL policy is one of the defining characteristics of WebmasterWorld and the fact that this is the only forum I've wanted to be an active member of for over 9 years - not sure opening that flood gate is a good idea.


 6:44 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Personal websites should remain personal.
If no links here is what brings in a lot of the community so keep it that way I say.


 7:28 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

...the restricted URL policy is one of the defining characteristics of WebmasterWorld...

It USED to be a good idea. Technology has improved, security measures have improved. A lot of regular members here, like you, haven't bothered with other forums for most of the last decade. Now you want to get feedback on doing it different. But no one likes change.

If the only thing you do change is to allow me an easy way to remove a thread subscription, I could care less about anything else. The biggest mistake I've made here since I joined is subscribing to this topic.



 8:37 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

No links!


 8:40 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Grump, I don't know that I haven't bothered with other forums - I just go to them and they're full of junk so I don't put a lot of time or effort into them :)


 8:52 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I too think the URL rules are particularly stifling and webmastering and the internet is a tough subject to discuss with a link firewall.

The main reason I tend to use other webmaster forums is that it's a lot easier to get some questions answered. For example, if I'm trying to discover classified ads software (just to pick a recent example) I can't research that here as easily as elsewhere.

I can't get links to code examples and good blog articles like elsewhere, I can't show people what I am talking about. The url rules here are the only reason I'm not around, because other less-draconian webmaster forums are better resources by treating outbound links as content instead of pagerank leaks or spam (I know there is such thing as forum spam, I run a similar-sized forum and have written forum software, but the rules here go way beyond spam and treat nearly all outbound links as spam).

By making this forum a dead-end (with few exceptions) on the internet it's no longer very useful to me. It has been a long time since I've learned anything here, while lesser sites have been a rich resource for great links to articles, code examples, etc.

My 2 cents.


 8:56 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have yet to see a case where posting a URL would have resulted in the poster getting better advise or insight on any given topic.

There is no reason to post URLs unless they are to an authoritative website as an example.... W3, JQuery, YUI and things like that should be fine, but I don't need to see the front page of your website to see the problem you are having.

Another reason I am for a strict URL policy is that people become lazy when they ask for help if they can drop URLs. I would rather have someone post the pertinent code and explain the problem then post an URL and ask "what is wrong with my nav?"

I think it has the side effect of getting people to better describe their problem.


 8:58 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I remember an example from back when I used to haunt this board as a regular.

Someone was trying to convince Brett that this site could be done in CSS in as little code as he was doing it in tables. The guy coded the css to prove it but had to get a special exception to post a link to the sample of the code.

Anyway, to each his own I guess. I'm sure lots of people find everything they need here without outbound links, but it's been a long time since I've picked up information here that wasn't an outbound link (now my use is restricted to using the front page rss feed for news article discovery and that is waning as well due to better feeds).


 9:24 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld's current link policy is what make it special. Go to a few of other big SEO forums and see the garbage posted to get a link.


 10:46 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well it's hard to comment often without links to view the situation.

Isn't there some middle ground ?


 12:35 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes, no links please. I mean: What would the world wide web come to, when people would start linking to other websites. Just think of what could happen: People pointing out interesting blog articles on the internet, pointing to useful information elsewhere and so on.

And even worse, maybe even starting discussing all that information they linked to.

Brhhh. Makes you shudder.


 12:56 am on May 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

@jecasc good point, I can easily see how that can get out of control (insert slippery slope fallacy). Mayhap this is a garden that is best kept walled.


 10:55 pm on May 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Nobody even mentioned something that does come up when moderators do miss a personal URL, or even just a website or commercial name. The post here can outrank their own site, and then we get a panicked request to deal with it.

Hidden payloads on the other end of the link are another issue, especially when they are implemented after a first inspection. The only virus I have had in ten years came that way - a link to a previously clean site.

No, the person making the post is not necessarily malicious. But by posting their url publicly, it advertises the potential traffic to the criminals around the world who start probing it to see what kind of hacks and parasite hosting are possible. And a nofollow does absolutely nothing to stop that kind of nastiness.

I'd personally like to find a way through this maze of positives and negatives. We have been talking about finding a workable approach for years.


 4:42 am on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't see a quick or easy automated way to do what human moderation can. The current policy of "no" and the moderation policy of "if it meets the smell test" seems to work. I have noticed in this discussion that most of those wanting to drop links are the more junior (number of posts). The majority of the senior (more posts) not only seem okay with the current policy, but strongly support it. I take that to mean they've been here long enough to know when it is appropriate to provide a link. On rare occasions I do link out and all but one or two passed moderation. As a result of the above cogitation it seems to me that some Webmasterworld member growth is required before any trust by mods can be obtained. Which makes sense.

Those say that other newer and less draconian forums on the web are better... I'm not all that thrilled with user drive by forums where a question (and link drop) is asked and if not answered in 5 minutes or less that user goes to another forum, joins, asks the same question (and link drop), waits another 5 minutes, and moves on to a third... that kind of pollution we don't need on the web, much less here at Webmasterworld.


 5:26 am on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

The post here can outrank their own site, and then we get a panicked request to deal with it.

Side comment: that problem also arises when people use company names as their user names.


 6:09 am on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

The no link policy is, generally, a good one. But...

Generally links to well known authoritative sites are fine as a point of reference...

There is no clear definition to "well known authoritative sites." This has, from time to time, caused me some confusion (and aggravation).


 9:01 am on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

How about relax the URL policy (in certain cases) for Senior posters with over 5,000 posts or whatever cutoff point that can't be easily achieved, or members for x number of years. That won't let spam in easily.

URL posting could also be restricted to major algo updates.

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