explorador - 4:18 pm on May 6, 2010 (gmt 0) [edited by: explorador at 4:23 pm (utc) on May 6, 2010]
I've been working on the web for 10 years, I see the change. It felt better being a webmaster in the past years than now. Now any monkey grabs a free CMS and copy my stuff, no link provided and still they want me to add a link to their site. Now almost everybody claims to be a webmaster.
...amateur webmasters who think customizing a blogspot blog is "web design", when asked for a backlink, demand a reciprocal link from a "page that has at least a PR of 3" etc. Of course, placing so much importance on PR only confirms the fact that they are amateurs, but I digress.
My email used to stay cleaner, now beside spam I get silly emails from ridiculous sites (sorry, blogs!) asking for links to their copy paste sites or MFA.
And so us experienced webmasters turn to warmer, more "give and you shall receive" approaches (that require a greater investment of effort) to link and brand building, including various ever-evolving creative ideas such as conducting interviews to attract links.
True. Now on several forums/sites I feel the need to keep my sites unknown, secret, or else the others begin to copy content. It's like cold war. About interviews, it seriously hurts when you work hard to get people to work with you on a project and then you find lots of sites quoting your interview without even mentioning your work. (even newspapers)
I seriously think that a lot of new technologies allowed a lot of people with no seriousness about work to put up sites and blogs with no work, just stealing. In addition to what you say (which I totally agree), the term webmaster doesn't mean "colleague" anymore, now it means competition, even a possible content thieve.
It's understandable being so protective and defensive nowadays. People want to profit from your work.
[edited by: explorador at 4:23 pm (utc) on May 6, 2010]