kaled - 1:12 pm on Dec 22, 2010 (gmt 0)
Is it reasonable that Google is concerned to inform/protect users of/from potential problems?
I think most people would say yes - those that would say no need not participate in this discussion other than to voice complete opposition.
So that just leaves a decision to be taken best course of action.
I would say the first course of action should be to attempt to contact the webmaster (and from what Matt Cutts has said, Google seems to share this opinion) but if contact cannot be made some further action must be taken. So the argument should be broken down into several parts
1) How should Google you contact the webmaster (or host in some cases)?
2) How should Google protect users?
3) How should Google allow webmasters to contact them in order to ask questions and inform them that the problem has been solved.
Issue 1) has been discussed but it would be helpful if Matt told us definitively what methods Google uses otherwise it's impossible to know what other methods to suggest.
Issue 2) is guaranteed to be contentious but I'll throw in another suggestion...
From time to time we see a notice that results have been removed as a result of a DMCA complaint. Why not remove the results but put up a notice to that effect? This could include a link to a detailed explanation that also provides a link for webmasters.
Issue 3) is straightforward - but the method needs to be clearly visible.
Question for Matt Cutts
If Google can identify spam/hacked pages why not
a) negate any benefit the target might receive
b) publicise that you intend to do this automatically in future
This would remove the motivation of hackers/spammers to use these tactics. Surely that has to be worth doing.