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I appreciate WW's desire to keep spam at bay and I think as a general rule it's the correct approach. However, I think including URL's in tutorials could be valuable. Or WW could do as Amazon.com Associates did recently and permit a thread where members could post, for the edification of others, the addresses of the sites they manage.
I think the main factor (spam aside) is that people don't come here to have their sites torn apart by their peirs.
Most people here have there own ideas and methods that might not suit others, or be "technically" perfect, as they may excel in one area and not another.
The beauty of the forum is that you don't have to take one persons word on a subject area - there are always plenty of people willing to provide an opinion (some more so than others! ;)).
Many members don't want to let the world, mainly SE reps, know where their sites are. There are quite a few here who do shady tactics to get high rankings. Others may be in an undiscovered niche and don't want to breed competitors. We are a community of marketers. We don't want to wade through constant promotion responses. Guerilla marketers will create ways to exploit examples and tutorial sites. It is best for the community to live with out it; however, I do understand your thinking. In the code forums it would be much easier to say here look this is the problem. Unfortunately too many spammers have taken advantage of this on other boards and have destroyed their usefulness.
But if we discuss things in words, then those words maintain their usefulness indefinitely, as well as making our discussion easier to find through a site search or web search.
I completely understand the problems with showing examples, but thinking beyond search engine marketing, I believe that using example sites could help us explore areas beyond getting traffic.
Getting online traffic is one thing, but there are ways to use sites to market in other ways and most important, once people get to a site there can be a lot of factors that influence conversion, either hindering or encouraging buying. That can involve factors that are based on not only web-specific issues, like load time, usability, etc., but factors that fall within the realm of the discipline of marketing as a whole.
There are always differences in opinion, but there have to be principles that have proven themselves over time, not isolated to web sites but across different venues as well. Most things can be described or detailed using words, but some pages have a certain "magic" that can't be decribed using words, there's an overall ambiance that has to be seen. Sometimes suggestions based on a visual perception can create a magic that wasn't there before.
There generally isn't flexibility with big sites belonging to big companies, but there could probably be a lot done for people who are small business owners with limited budgets, not only to discover how to use their sites for marketing beyond search engine placement, but how to improve those sites to increase their revenue, which is quite often the biggest problem the small business person faces.
There are cases where there's plenty of capital tied up in inventory ready to ship, rankings and traffic are there, and yet conversion has to be increased to be able to sustain a profit.
That would be tremendously helpful to some. I believe that would have to be classified as a "Marketing" forum geared to those who need it, with conversion factors being an important part of it.
I'd be the first to "volunteer" if it were at all possible to have such a forum, but I don't see how that could be handled without opening the door to any number of problems, most of which have been mentioned already.
[edited by: Marcia at 6:53 pm (utc) on April 21, 2003]
Marcia, you seem to appreciate the value of what I'm suggesting although in the end you are forced to agree with the restrictions that are in place on posting URLs. In some ways maybe WW is a victim of the broad scope that is also one of its virtues. Clearly the SE section drives the train (with about 224k messages) but "The Webmaster World" (with 138k messages) covers subjects -- design, CSS, WSIWYG -- that all lend themselves to learning by example.
Simply set up a subdomain of WebmasterWorld with some sort of
form/post/CMS to enable folks to paste code that will be
posted/become a web page. On each page, simply have a link
that says "create a page off this page" that pops up an
"input form" page to enter the new web page upon -- along
with a text box for the link text from the original page to
the new one you are creating and adding to the site. This
way, folks could post single pages or several pages to
illustrate a given directory or link structure.
Keeping the spam out would be as simple as a check in the
script that accepted the pasted in code that is to become
a web page that weeds out URL references that are outside
Folks can then reference the specific page(s) on the
WebmasterWorld subdomain they are talking about -- and all would be fine.
Heck, they don't even have to claim authorship of the pages
they are talking about...since no one would know who created
which pages unless the person talking about them wants to
claim ownership....and thus risk "peer review".
How about that?