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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
rogoff




msg:4139369
 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 ;)

 

kaled




msg:4142830
 12:49 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

BeeDeeDubbleU said
We do not all find the rules to be inconvenient

Whilst many many think the rules (on urls) are sensible (and I have not said otherwise) they are undoubtedly inconvenient - that is true whether you agree with the rules or not. Do you seriously expect me to believe that there's a significant number of users who have reached even a few hundred posts but never wished to post an url (for someone else's benefit). Certainly, when answering questions, I have often wished to post urls - not for my benefit but for the benefit of others. The rules are undoubtedly necessary, but that does not mean that they cannot be improved.

I made sensible suggestions to discourage spammers and self-promotion whilst allowing more urls to be posted. You might wish to maintain the status-quo, and there are many that agree with you but, without any doubt, many people find the rules annoying so a compromise, implemented partly by technical changes, would seem to be a sensible subject for discussion. I find the fact that no one seems to be interested in doing do, both sad and astonishing.

So far this thread has achieved nothing other than to emphasise there are two intractable positions with few people willing to consider the other point of view.

Kaled.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4142850
 1:37 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Whilst many many think the rules (on urls) are sensible (and I have not said otherwise) they are undoubtedly inconvenient - that is true whether you agree with the rules or not.

The rule may be inconvenient to you Kaled but please accept the fact that I do not consider it to be so. That is my opinion, firmly held.

so a compromise, implemented partly by technical changes, would seem to be a sensible subject for discussion.

Well that's perhaps phrased a little better. ;)

I find the fact that no one seems to be interested in doing do, both sad and astonishing.

Who said no one is interested in discussing it? That's what we're doing, is it not? Let's get on with it without starting to fall out about it. As we say in Scotland "keep the heid".

When it comes down to it I trust Brett to make the right decision on this. I will still be around if the decision is taking to relax this rule and I am open to suggestions. If it becomes totally open then I won't be around and probably neither will Webmasterworld.

kaled




msg:4142982
 3:21 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Who said no one is interested in discussing it? That's what we're doing, is it not?

That would be me. A useful discussion with 150 posts should have yielded some sensible policy suggestions (other than no change please) that would command wide support.

If a policy of no change results from this thread then it will have been an entirely pointless exercise.

I suggested cloaking links so that they are hidden entirely from search engines. This would largely eliminate the motivation to drop spammy, self-promoting links (provided everyone knew about the policy). As a policy change, this seems entirely sensible to me. Doubtless, there would still be a few idiots that would try to drop self-promoting links but these are normally easy to spot (because idiots aren't clever enough to be subtle).

Kaled.

Webwork




msg:4142999
 3:44 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm doing my best to bring focus to the URL-drop policy and implementation question, and elicit concrete policy suggestions, in this thread [webmasterworld.com].

I'm doing my best to stay out of the discussion itself.

subexpression




msg:4143020
 4:05 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

There's interesting after effect of URL restrictions from which other forums cannot benefit.

I've frequented other technology forums, and when a question is asked, well-meaning users will post URL's to other websites where the answers can be found.

The problem with this is that users are sent away, and subsequently leave the forum.
This unconsciously sends the message, "Go away, find the answer somewhere else."

It's laziness on the part of answerers.
They could post the answer in their own words and enrich the quality of information on the forum.
Whereas, with WebmasterWorld, the answer is posted in full.

It's a fair trade off.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4143022
 4:09 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

If a policy of no change results from this thread then it will have been an entirely pointless exercise.


I don't think so. You may do but perhaps only because the result was not what you want. In any discussion about change status quo is generally an option. ;)

freejung




msg:4143031
 4:19 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is this a forum about the worldwide web or some kind of stupid quiz show?


I think this is a separate topic. The policy against links and the policy against niche-specific or keyword-specific comments are not necessarily tied together.

I would be in favor of relaxing the policy on niche-specific comments. I think it would often be very useful to discuss what's going on in a particular niche, and to refer to specific search terms -- especially now that different people are seeing very different results for the same terms.

Presumably the disadvantage of this is that you find out who your competition is? But you probably already know that, at least to some extent, and if you're worried about your competitors getting inside info on you, don't participate in such discussions.

I think the SEO analysis threads would be much more productive if you could say "hey, check out what's going on in the SERPS for 'red widgets'! Isn't that weird?" - "Yeah, I'm seeing that in 'fuzzy green doodads' as well, let's see if we can figure out what those terms have in common..."

Quadrille




msg:4143050
 4:44 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

We could narrow down the issues;

1. Whether to change at all, or not:

As stated above, the status quo is an option

2. Change what:

If we change, is it for all links? All threads? All members?
Or what?

3. How to introduce the change:

If links are to be allowed in some/all circumstances, what form should they take; what protection for the forum and its reputation.

g1smd




msg:4143106
 5:36 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think the SEO analysis threads would be much more productive if you could say "hey, check out what's going on in the SERPS for 'red widgets'! Isn't that weird?" - "Yeah, I'm seeing that in 'fuzzy green doodads' as well, let's see if we can figure out what those terms have in common..."

...except within ten minutes of starting that thread, the thread would be right there in the SERPs you're discussing, for the keywords that are mentioned in that thread.

pageoneresults




msg:4143110
 5:40 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

1. Whether to change at all, or not.


Based on the responses to date, I'd say there was enough feedback to make some changes in the WebmasterWorld linking policies.

2. Change what


I'd say it is an all or nothing proposition. The logistics have to be far more challenging if you start cherry picking which are allowed.

3. How to introduce the change


I think one option would be to choose a highly trafficked forum and perform alpha/beta testing there. Instead of links, I propose http references only, no hyperlink. I really think that diminishes most incentive. But then you have the whole URI Discovery thing.

If that is a concern, which I'm sure it is, then it comes down to running all links through a script which appears to be a common approach to this.

The introduction of http references is something that is earned and not given. There needs to be a post threshold before the feature becomes available and maybe even a per user threshold.

Whatever WebmasterWorld decides to do in this instance, I do hope it will take the lesser voices here and take that feedback to heart.

Absolutely no signature links, period! You have a profile, use it to your advantage. It will outperform signature links any day.

The one major challenge I see are the help me topics. Those may become an uphill battle. There are enough of them now and if http references are allowed, they may increase. There will definitely need to be restrictions in place and it may come down to a per forum level. Some fora are just going to attract the type of person who wants to buck the system. ;)

I'd support a Report Spam function also. If enough members Report Spam, the reply is nixed from public view. Mods/Admins can then clean up later. I've seen it in action and it works like a charm.

Quadrille




msg:4143123
 6:00 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'd support a Report Spam function also. If enough members Report Spam, the reply is nixed from public view. Mods/Admins can then clean up later. I've seen it in action and it works like a charm.


Excellent!

subexpression




msg:4143140
 6:15 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'd support a Report Spam function also. If enough members Report Spam, the reply is nixed from public view. Mods/Admins can then clean up later. I've seen it in action and it works like a charm.


You mean something like the Youtube comments?
They use a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" icon voting method to determine if a post is hidden from view...and a Spam flag icon.

My concern is that user-moderated forums are subject to abuse.
The Yahoo Answers forums are horrible in this respect.
I've witnessed several instances where disgruntled users gang up and report other users...to get their posts deleted.
Because there is such a high volume of complaints in the queue, moderators tend to just believe the report without checking the Original Post.

Reporting Spam seems like a great idea, but it opens the door for user-moderated abuse.

jatar_k




msg:4143146
 6:23 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

>> I'd support a Report Spam function also. If enough members Report Spam, the reply is nixed from public view.

<<<<< report_msg

we have it

jecasc




msg:4143148
 6:26 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

we have it

Yes, which completes the circle to the discussions about the design - seems many have not noticed it.

pageoneresults




msg:4143149
 6:27 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Over at the left, you'll notice a report msg link. That is a Report Spam function but requires manual intervention by a Moderator. It's been there for at least a few years I think. I'm sure many miss it just like the recommend link that appears at the bottom of each topic. Some things need a little more play around here! :)

The current report msg function would now become automated so that questionable replies can be arrested and reviewed by staff for further action.

<added> jatar_k beat me to it. Aren't you supposed to stay out of these topics?! :)

jatar_k




msg:4143150
 6:30 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

done :)

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4143165
 7:00 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'd say it is an all or nothing proposition. The logistics have to be far more challenging if you start cherry picking which are allowed.

^ IMHO this is a doomsday Scenario ^.

Absolutely no signature links, period! You have a profile, use it to your advantage. It will outperform signature links any day.

I proposed a signature a while back in this thread. You say "no way" because of performance issues? Unless I am misunderstanding you it is not about the "performance" of the proposed links. A proper forum signature has nothing to do with performance as a link. It is all about telling people who you are and what you do so that they can decide if you are qualified to comment on or offer advice on any given subject.

pageoneresults




msg:4143167
 7:07 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

You say "no way" because of performance issues?


Didn't even think of it from that perspective. No, I'm thinking of it from a link saturation viewpoint. There's so much equity loss in forum signatures that it wouldn't even be a consideration if the decision were mine.

I see nothing wrong with the current profile method where there is one link to your choice of destination. The goal is to focus (funnel) that equity to one page instead of bleeding out 20, 30, 50 times per page. Yikes!

Plus, forum signatures tend to come across as somewhat unprofessional. I've never seen a good implementation of them in my travels. It also brings another level of moderation into the equation as each and every one of those would need to be reviewed. There are all sorts of after the fact risks to contend with. It's much easier to manage membership equity from a profile page.

OT, I would like to propose a change in the Profile URI.

WebmasterWorld.com/pageoneresults

I like em' simple. And at that level too. :)

Quadrille




msg:4143266
 9:54 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I knew about the 'report' button, and have used it. Didn't know it had any cumulative auto remove functions. Nice one!

g1smd




msg:4143632
 6:01 pm on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

You wanna see my sig. 12 000 times?

Me neither.

albo




msg:4144558
 11:21 pm on May 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

I know you (we?) must leave the policy as is. I'm simply chiming in, to say this.

There have been times when I've felt obligated to cite a source, or perhaps felt I had a useful information resource (e.g., cnet release or techcrunch release or...) to offer. (But who am I, to judge?) These would be available only via URI.

I've managed to get around it via doublespeak, of the sort "domain dot com, whatever html" ...so I guess that'll have to do, ¿qué no?

jlander




msg:4144958
 3:25 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I support cloaking links, allowing users to report spam, and moderating newer users posts that include links.

I also feel it appropriate to allow each board to have its own policy. What is appropriate on one may not be on another...

Doucette




msg:4144972
 3:46 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I like signatures, with links, because I don't know anybody. I like to get to know people outside of any particular forum. I'm not just a webmaster, not just a coder, not just an XNA developer, not just a video game developer, not just a shmup fan, etc., I'm all of that plus more. It's people who are everywhere, like me, who are turned off by no links and no signatures and rules and restrictions. And we are not spammers. I was actually booted out of a audio/video forum once for "spamming" because my signature, one that was accepted everywhere else on the internet, contained a link to my free and non-profit website which happened to have google ads which paid for my webhost. This type of unwelcomeness blocks new users and makes them feel unwanted and judged. To be immediately judged as a greedy spammer when I could have been a valuable member of the community, was purely insulting. Just two cents from someone with less than 20 posts.

Doucette




msg:4144976
 3:50 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

g1smd, I want to see your signature (at least) once. And I would have on the 12,129th time!

tangor




msg:4145030
 4:36 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Doucette... sorry you feel that way, then again can you not see why? Your value is what you have to share, not your sig or even your site. Levels the playing field. You're here to share info, right? Learn something? Who needs sigs to get that done? Choices are what they are. I chose to play under the clubhouse rules (and not p[ss in the corner when unruly). I'd say this is my two cents, but these days we don't know what two cents is worth!

Doucette




msg:4145043
 5:06 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

tangor, i see your side totally. we both want the same thing. i almost made the point that the power of the internet is that we don't judge others. it's your house and your rules, so i'll leave this complexity to be resolved up to the owners!

youfoundjake




msg:4145225
 9:43 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just a quick jump in...
Does anyone have any statistics on how many penalties and algorithm updates have been discovered here, despite the lack of URLS?
I cringe at the idea of outgoing links from WebmasterWorld that may require me to have the most recent antivirus installed if i dare click on them.
I think what makes WebmasterWorld so successful is that the information gleamed from all the discussions are contained within WebmasterWorld itself, and I don't have to go link hopping to keep up with the discussion.
Can you image a forum littered with this:

Free Traffic [webmasterworld.com] ]: Top 10 Lists [webmasterworld.com] : Double Your Income from Home [webmasterworld.com]: Dominate the Engines [webmasterworld.com]

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4145290
 11:33 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Can you image a forum littered with this:


Yes I can. I can also show you a few if you like. ;)

youfoundjake




msg:4145319
 12:43 am on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

BeeDeeDubbleU, bite your tongue. Of course the only thing missing would be the colored text links, but can't seem to figure out how to do that here, otherwise I think it would have driven home the point more.
BTW, I've gone to those forums...once...

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4145536
 8:53 am on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

OK I'll do it again for those who missed it first time around. As you see from my sig below it can be quite tastefully done.;););)

Widget design services Jibrovia | SEO Yourtown | Accountacy in Nowheresville | Shoe repairs | Horse Castration in Nutsgoneburgh | Etc.

But seriously, this is what happens when a forum loses control over this. People do use sigs like this. What makes it even sadder is that in the forum I am referring to they think this is perfectly acceptable. I raised this issue a few weeks ago and I was roundly condemned by the "perpetrators". Eventually I had to back off - they want to keep their links!

(YFJ: For info - adding colour codes - [colourname]text[/colourname]. I think this forum only supports red, blue and green but I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong. There is no reference to this in the help files that I can find.)

Future




msg:4146201
 11:19 am on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wont agree with allowing URLs, this shall only encourage spam via link-building, infact even allowing the criteria of total number of posts or member age, will not help..
(Spammers will cross this limits)

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