A few years back, that would never have passed muster, despite the fact that it is the best, most appropriate link to the story - direct to the source - and it was posted by a reliable member whom the mods can implicitly trust. Allowing that link was absolutely the right decision.
"Links" and "Spam" are interrelated, but not intertwined. You can't have white-lists or the above wouldn't have got through, the diversity of sources is too great.
It is possible to open up the links policy whilst keeping a lid on spam. Just that the policy needs to be clearly defined. For regular members: how often have you seen an edit reason "no URLs please, see terms of service"? The thing is, where in the terms of service does it say that WebmasterWorld doesn't allow links? ;)
- links to news stories MUST have a link / attribution
- sometimes the real source is a personal blog. If this is the best link, then it must be allowed.
- either you can talk about something, or you can't. If you can talk about it, then you can link to it. ie. if you talk about something on Matt's blog, then add the damn link! Same for products - if the mere mention of a tool is permitted (not seen as spam), then we must link to that tool's site. No halfway houses where we allude to something but refuse to link.
When I was an admin, I regularly added links to posts, especially for news stories where the member omitted attribution due to a misunderstanding of the URL policy. This is not the members' fault, this is due to the arcane, under-defined and obtuse linking policy currently in place.
As Brett said:
(...) how can we update the TOS in such away that a) the members can understand it, b) the mods can get behind it, and c) it holds up to the smell test.