Robert_Charlton - 8:24 pm on Jul 28, 2013 (gmt 0)
diberry et al - I think you're overthinking this. Hanging out in blackhat forums is simply a figure of speech. Goodroi had it right, and it's worth repeating...
Matt's comments are not about your browsing history. This is about following risky advice. If you trade black hat tips you are very likely to be utilizing some risky black hat technique on your sites. It is not surprising that Google penalties will eventually catch up with your risk taking.
Also, JS_Harris, I'm confused about where you're coming from on this. I just happened to see, on one of your posts in another thread [webmasterworld.com...] about black hat backlinks, that you seem to completely understand the concept of upstream and what Matt was talking about....
Actually I think they get that first comment on your site pointing to another site and that site points to their main site. This way, if your page gets penalized, they break the chain and protect their main site. You get all of the ranking problems and the chain no longer reaches their main site so theoretically they don't lose rank.
It takes a lot of energy to be lazy! Thankfully Matt Cutts suggested that these 'tiered' linking methods will meet their demise later this summer in an update he expects all SEO's to talk about.
Are you simply putting too much into the chance juxtaposition of a bunch of items on a list that Matt was discussing?