Andy_Langton - 9:05 pm on Oct 25, 2012 (gmt 0)
I guess we both are implying the same conclusion. If some links Google thinks aren't in good taste, then it might effectively 'nofollow' them. If those links were holding up your site, then ranks naturally fall. Some may call it penalty, which I disagree with and merely call it discounting the links.
That wasn't quite what I meant. I agree that in many (most?) cases Google discounts link value (i.e. a lack of positive). But I also believe that in other cases, the presence of links can cause worse rankings than if links did not exist at all (an actively negative effect).