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This 181 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 181 ( 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 > >   posting off  
Get rid of the draconian policy on URLs and mentioning products

 10:54 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

firstly let me just say that i think Webmaster World is a great source of really useful info. however, i actually stopped using it so much because of the overbearing policy on URLs and mentioning 3rd party products. i know it's difficult to figure out if people are unscrupulously promoting their products. but, please use better judgment on the new site. in the past, my posts have been edited when i was clearly not promoting a product. yes, i mentioned it because my question was a technical issue to do with the product!

also, it's actually very useful to see a discussion about the relative merits of shopping cart A versus shopping cart B. and just because i post about this doesn't mean i'm promoting either one. you just need to use better, more sensible judgments in my opinion. (by the way, those aren't real products so you don't have to edit this ;)



 12:39 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

I can give you a recent one.

In the thread about Facebook privacy, someone posted a link to a website that is using the Facebook API to reveal the private contents of Facebook postings to demonstrate the giantic privacy hole in most posters settings. In addition, the link included a Facebook security audit information for people seeking to secure their profiles.

And of course, the link was deleted.

Maybe I am missing it but I don't understand how the link made the advice or insight any better.

Their point couldn't be made by simply outlining all the facts, what added value to the discussion did the link add?

If the link was to an article on the BBC website that did a story on it then that would be allowed because it adds value and a source to the story.


 12:46 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Perfect example of why the usefulness of the site is affected by that kind of thinking.

Example: Hey there is a really interesting new innovative search engine. But, I can't mention its name or a link to it. Crickets..... End thread.

And you can't see why this was deleted? You're serious, right?

Seeing how most other media, news, tech sites posted a link to it as an example of Facebook's privacy issues, it is a germane and valid example.

Funny that NPR, The Guardian, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, etc had no problem with the link. Oops, I am allowed to mention newspapers?

[edited by: frontpage at 12:54 am (utc) on May 27, 2010]


 12:52 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

... and that Facebook-related link is a dead link within days of it being posted... making the link totally useless from that point on, and it is yet more work for moderators to find it and clean it up.


 12:55 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Still missing the point. It is a current/topical event in social media affecting 400 million Facebook users. And, I just checked and the link is still working.


 1:18 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

First of all, I would like to thank all the Mods for their personal time & efforts on maintaining the quality of the WW website.

Regarding the discussions about URLs, News sites and Search Engine Press Releases are allowed in the current landscape...
I think that is more than sufficient.

I don't think it will kill anyone to spend an extra 49 seconds of their time to StickyMail someone if they need some information about something specific.

There is no need to change the current policy on URL inclusion into posts.

WW is a unique high quality forum which differs from the avatar & spammy signature creating forums out there.

People come to WW for serious discussions or getting answers to real problems or difficulties. This has been achieved so far for the last 10 years without including URLs...Why fix something when it isn't broken?


 1:30 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree on allowing URLs. It can be very helpful when posting code examples others have provided. Rather than scrape other people's content and put it in the forum, I find it more respectful to link to it. If the solution already exists, it makes more sense to link to it than to plagiarize or beat around the bush saying search for this phrase and hope personalized search doesn't give you different results.

As for the comment that outgoing links could become outdated. I've many times come across WW posts that are outdated. It happens because technology changes.


 1:34 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I totally agree with the original post: more "moderation" is needed on the part of "moderators".


 2:03 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Frontpage I may have misunderstood your post. In fact it appears I did.

I thought the link you were talking about was showing how these privacy details could be accessed.

I need to start reading more thoroughly before popping off. My apologies.



 2:20 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

How many spammy links get dropped here every day?

I'd guess it's a lot more than most members realize because the mods and admins do a pretty good job of deleting them in short order.

Allowing links would only make te problem worse.

And the mods here are volunteers who have other things to do as well. Like working to make a living.


 3:36 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Title of thread:
Get rid of the draconian policy on URLs and mentioning products

Yes, please.

It gets silly when you can't even mention keyword searches in the SEO forums. I've seen some examples lately of keyword searches being mentionned but the whole widget thing gets old.


 4:05 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

How many spammy links get dropped here every day?

I'd guess it's a lot more than most members realize ...


... because the mods and admins do a pretty good job of deleting them in short order.

There's a lot of help from forum members who report problem posts as soon as they spot them. Everyone in the community who has ever reported an "iffy" post should take a bow here too.


 4:34 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

"Get rid of the draconian policy on URLs and mentioning products"

I absolutely agree. In fact, because of that policy, I hardly visit this site nowadays. Its content is too abstract.


 4:37 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you have a thread that has been viewed 350 times and 200 people flagged a comment for spam, then you can go ahead and assume that the comment is spam.

That doesn't always work though because people cheat the system to remove what they consider unpopular speech.

Although I wonder at what point you throw the baby out with the bathwater.

If that starts happening, where people start flagging a controversial stance or whatnot, then the mods need to exercise their discretion. That's the problem with Digg. If you go to a posted story that is linked to a positive conservative story, any liberal slanted discussions get buried into oblivion. And vice versa.

However, what's nice is that if I go to a story on digg about some sort of cool new technology, people can discuss it and post links to other versions of that technology, more info on that technology, etc. etc.

You know how you can go to Wikipedia or YouTube and get stuck going from related topic to topic or video to video? That's because they link to other cool related sites or videos.

If people cannot act like adults, then maybe that option is only left for the paid members? If so, I'd start paying and come back.


 4:59 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

How many spammy links get dropped here every day?

I'd guess it's a lot more than most members realize because the mods and admins do a pretty good job of deleting them in short order.

Way too many... and I snitch on 'em when I find 'em... "report msg".

Self promotion links are not beneficial. Links to bad code help me fix are not beneficial. URLs to this is a spammy domain are not beneficial.

News sites, search engine announcements are not only generally allowed they are REQUIRED. I like the policy the way it is now. This is one that that does not need to be fixed.

And for all youse guys wanting to add self-promotion links, read the WW threads which tell you how to get 'er done in the real world.


 9:06 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Reading this thread is like going back in time - it's as if rel="nofollow" hasn't been invented.

I'm a TC over on Google Webmaster Help - we absolutely INSIST on URLs being posted - it's in the Forum Guidelines. Many people don't post them because they're been brickbatted here - and the first answer by anyone in many threads is "URL" and we don't proceed without them

So we don't get hypothetical, abstract, time-wasting discussions. And it's absolutely amazing how often the OP's suspicions about what is causing his/her problems is very wide of the mark.

Anyone can post a link over there. Until you've reached a certain level of trust, it's left as an ASCII string. Once you have reached that level, Google turns it into an anchor tag.

Anyone everyone says you'll get commercial spam - but you don't. There are a lot of urban myths - I've posted my real phone number all over the web - I think there are 400,000 copies of it on Usenet, various fora and my website. Instances of abuse? Two in over twenty years.

I left because I got bored of fighting bull#*$! assertions without being about to post the URLs of positive proof to the contrary out in the real world. Webmaster World is now an anachronism.


 9:07 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

And net nannys annoy me just as much.


 9:23 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Listen folks, I have been active on this forum since 2004 and in that time I have never once had a major problem with this policy. Those who say they have cannot be very imaginative. I have never had a problem describing a problem or contributing to a thread without using links.


 9:52 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

OK, here's a quick example. I'm looking for an ecommerce platform (shopping cart system) where we can automatically create multiple storefronts for 3rd party companies. All the stores need to run off our central product database and checkout system (white label shops). This is not an easy thing to find and I would love to ask this question on WW because I know there are a lot of very knowledgeable people here. I would love to mention the products that I'm already looking at which would help to clarify my question. But, I just don't bother anymore because I can't mention the products and people won't be able to freely give me recommendations. So, I simply go elsewhere. (by the way, if anyone does have any recommendations please sticky mail me if you understand my question)


 10:04 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm an avid supporter of allowing links. I've mentioned in other WebmasterWorld Feedback Days that this policy needs to change if this community is to move forward into the 21st Century. It is next to impossible to accurately define challenges and provide feedback when you CANNOT see that which is being discussed. That's like taking on a client and not being able to ever see their site, it doesn't make sense.

Back in the days, this policy was needed. We are no longer back in the days, that's for sure. This is probably the ONLY destination I go to everyday where links cannot be shared for discussion. I'm not talking about promotional URIs either. I'm referring to Articles, Blog Posts, Tutorials, Pictorials, etc. Stuff that we want and need to see so that discussions are more focused on the challenges at hand and not 200 replies of "who knows what".

Seriously, if there is one area that needs a major overhaul, this is it. And, if you abuse the policies, your arse is out of here, don't abuse the privileges. That policy would be well defined and there would be a 3 Strike Rule in effect. This I'm sure would apply mostly to all the drivebys that occur here. I know, I used to nuke them daily when on duty, it's a real pain in the arse! Those particular folks have a 1 Strike Rule in effect. :)


 10:06 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

one of the reasons always quoted about why we cant post URLs is this: if the webpage disappears then the entire topic becomes redundant. they'd much rather we post the actual code or problem without referencing the page. that kind of makes sense, but it's also giving an overblown importance to each topic. the idea that people will still be wanting to read that same old topic in years to come is a bit silly. especially when it comes to questions about shopping carts like phil_payne suggested. a lot of the time the product name and link will be the only useful piece of information in the entire piece, the only thing that you need. if you take that away there's nothing left worth talking about.


 10:24 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

It wasn't just to do with that, londrum. The idea (as far as I understand/stood it) was to make the thread generically useful.

I've lost count of the time I've ended up on sites looking for answers to questions where either
a) the original poster has removed the URL because their question has been satisfactorily answered and they don't want it out in public any more,
b) the problem doesn't exist any more so the link is irrelevant to what is being talked about and the information in the thread just refers to what is no longer on a page/site,
or c) the page/site just doesn't exist.


 10:24 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I always thought Hyperlinks were what the World Wide Web is about and have always found the harsh linking policy here on webmasterworld to be totally out of line.

Nobody wants spam links. But I had links deleted in the past just because the information I linked to was presented in form of a blog. What kind of stupid policy is that to deny links to valuable content because of the form the content is presented.

The web has changed to what is called Web 2.0. There are tons of valuable information out there in form of wikis, blogs, and other web 2.0 content created by enthusiasts and professionals.

But we are not allowed to link to it because - sorry not posts to wikis or blogs. A small update here folks: That's the way most of the information is created out there nowadays. Nobody sets up a traditionall website anymore when he can create a wordpress account in 30 seconds.

Let people post links if they add value, that is what the WWW is about. Delete links if they are spam or too promotional.

That's one of the major problem here in my opinon. Webmasterworld has cut itself off from most of the content that is out there today. Someone has posted some outstanding advice on his blog and I want to dicuss this solution? Not here on webmasterworld.

I feel that it is the responsibility of a moderator to check a link, then judge if its SPAM or not and then delete it - or leave it. Not simply delete links because they are links.

[edited by: jecasc at 10:48 am (utc) on May 27, 2010]


 10:29 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Have any of you guys been to SEO and webmaster sites where links are allowed? These places are rendered useless by SPAM.

One of the linch pins that has kept this place special is the current rule on links and product mentions.

Brett, Please don't change it it would be a big mistake.




 10:48 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Why not either use nofollow, parse them so example.com when clicked would go to webmasterworld.com/out.php?url=example.com

Also, why not allow uploading if you are afraid pages will fade away

- Game Overload


 10:50 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

What kind of stupid policy is that to deny links no on the content they are linking to but because of the form the content is presented.

Plain and simple, it's called a no links policy. ;)

I have been involved in countless discussions in here over the last few years and I cannot recall a single occasion where there was not simple way round this policy. Many of the people who are advocating a change have also been involved in these discussions and I have never had any inkling that they were struggling to particpate because of the lack of links? Come on guys it is really only an occasional and very minor inconvenience.

Google UKBF forum if you want to see an example of how links can cheapen and reduce the quality in a forum. This is potentially a good forum. It's the biggest business forum in the UK and all it takes is for someone to ask for a recommendation for a product or service and it gets lost in a sea of dubious links from all over Asia and the rest of the world (this is a UK forum). Many of the people posting in there can hardly speak English and they recommend all sorts of dubious products and services.

Have a look at some of the signatures that people use in there too. Is that really what you guys want?


 11:01 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Have a look at some of the signatures that people use in there too. Is that really what you guys want?

Signatures are a no-no, I think that has already been discussed. Those things are poison for any community. If I were a Google Engineer, I'd shoot first and ask questions later with communities that allowed signature links.

There's too much old school, old fashioned, WebmasterWorld thinking going on here. Something has to give with the URI Posting Policies or there will be a slow agonizing death. Well, maybe not that severe but it does appear to be one of the top discussions in the Feedback Days Forum.

If there were Voting Buttons here and thankfully there ARE NOT, I'd be Voting Up all the "Yes URIs" and Voting Down all the "No URIs." :)

There are too many quality folks involved with this community for any of the above to take over WebmasterWorld. This is an entirely different ballgame from those other fora you mention. I think a little more credit is due to both the Administration/Moderation here at WebmasterWorld and the community membership itself.


 11:03 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Plain and simple, it's called a no links policy.

That's not quite true. Webmasterworld does allow links - but only to Web 1.0 sites. But nobody with his right mind sets up a Web 1.0 site with HTML and what not when it's so easy to create a Blog, Wiki and so on. About 70% of the websites I regularly and daily visit are blogs. And I do not mean "Hello I went for a walk with my dog today" blogs. I mean blogs that provide valuable information for professionals. Only that I can't come back here on webmasterworld and discuss this information here. Webmasterworld is like an island that has cut itself of from the outside world.

And nobody here has said anything about allowing signature links or allowing SPAM links. All I want is that the website I link to is judged by its content and not by its form.

How about this: Why not lower the link policies in some of the subforums and see how it goes? Perhaps there are a few moderators here who would volunteer for a test on their subforum.

[edited by: jecasc at 11:11 am (utc) on May 27, 2010]


 11:07 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree with this. Not allowing any links in a webmaster forum is odd.

Whenever I have a problem, I post it on several websites. I usually make a test HTML page on my server which displays the problem. So I post that link on other forums and get good replies to the problem, but here I always have to take out the HTML part and post it as text and users here have to have an expert knowledge of HTML or copy the code and make an HTML file on their own pc or server just to try it out.

This is really so much more difficult than it has to be. When you can show the problem in action, why not allow this, just because it would otherwise be abused by some to market their website? So what, it happens all over the internet and is nothing new.

I moderate a couple of forums myself and the number of times that a user advertises something while disguising it as a "real problem" can be counted on one hand. Most of the advertisement we get is just blatant spam, like those "click here for cheap iPhones" types of messages, which are instantly spotted by the moderating team and taken down.

If you are worried about getting a bad Google reputation for having ad links on your forum, the solution is simple: use the REL=NOFOLLOW property on outgoing links.

And you can also simply make a script that obscures links, for example: http://www.webmasterworld.com/outlink.php?id=hh32393hekjh3

That's my two cents for improving this otherwise wonderful website :)


 11:15 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have mentioned URLs by accident a couple of times, do the moderators really need to delete the URL and send a private message like telling off a child? Just modify the post silently.


 11:26 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Allowing obfuscated nofollow links would be a viable workaround - and there's plenty of options, from allowing shortened URLs to javascript to ... well, you know better than I. But then the next campaign would be for non-obfuscated or non-nofollow; link droppers will always seek a way, and ultimately don't care if the forum is damaged by their link drops.

In the very, very rare occasions when a link is actually very helpful, an email to a mod should be able to get a decion in reasonable time.

It's interesting that WebmasterWorld is accused of being 'old fashioned' in this respect, as its highly successful 'no spam' policy has always the envy of many other forums; they'd all do it if they dared, but are frightened of losing people.

There's much easier ways to lose people ;o)


 11:34 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's interesting that WebmasterWorld is accused of being 'old fashioned' in this respect

Exactly! IMHO Webmasterworld set the standard. It's the others who are out of touch and who are operating with reduced standards.

In my experience most of the people who want links in a forum are those who want to post spam for their own ends. If they decide this forum is not for them they are no loss to our community.

This 181 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 181 ( 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 > >
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