MatthewHSE - 2:54 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)
I am finding WebmasterWorld less and less helpful with the current policy. Sometimes you just need a specific recommendation, or sometimes you want to give a specific recommendation, that really would be helpful.
I can think of several ways linking and namedrops could potentially be permitted:
1.) Only members with over X posts can post links.
2.) Only those who have been members for over X time can post links.
3.) Add a link under each post for "useful." (Use AJAX to make it fast and easy to use.) Members who accumulate X votes for useful posts can post links.
4.) Weight votes in a system like #4 more heavily if given BY a member with a high number of useful posts.
You could even combine all four methods, e.g., those who have been members for over X time and with more than X posts become eligible for having their "useful points" accumulate toward getting to post links. The system could be further enhanced by requiring an ongoing number of "useful" votes to have the continued privilege of posting links.
With a system like that, you'd limit linking to people who were actually providing value to the forum, and their links would presumably continue to provide value. And while some would undoubtedly try to sell their ability to post links here, they'd be highly unlikely to post useless links and damage their reputation, so even the small number of paid links would presumably still be providing value to other members.