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.... and then I realise that some of the stuff I've read comes from people who look at this whole business almost exclusively from a 'how can a rort the www to the fullest extent and forget about domain names just buy another one' perspective.
A 'white hat, black hat, grey hat' indicator on profiles would be really handy for newbies (and also for the more naive amongst us - like me). Optional of course. (I guess the absence of a domain name in the profile is not a fair indicator?)
I know one gets an idea eventually - maybe a 'My Hats' (like 'My flags') is the way to go. Too much overhead?
I am very "white hat" (although gray is my favourite colour) and do not list a domain. I create sites for others. My own is for testing not broadcasting. Lots of other "not trying to hide anything" reasons for not listing.
It is also extremely helpful to know the "dark side of the force" for at least three reasons:
I guess a personal flagging system would be the most reliable and fairest (unless we all vote - just kidding). Fairest because if I make a call and I'm wrong then it's on my head.
This is what I do anyway (long hand).
I have nothing against black-hatters, it would just be useful for me to be warned that that's where a reply to a post may be coming from. (But then I guess a few black-hatters don't reply, just watch, or dress up in sheep's clothing.)
I like to think of myself as a white hat but... I take calculated risks, I want to maximise my SERPs of course, but my sites are in it for the long haul.
Is the overhead in another flag too great? Make it available to subscribers only?
The best way to figure out who's doing what and what's the best thing to do is keep reading and educating yourself.
Learn about all of the different SEO techniques. Learn which techniques have risks and which don't. Learn which techniques the search engines like and which they don't like. And then tailor your strategy to fit your own personal comfort level.
As for the idea of an extra flag or indicator for each member - a fun idea, but not for WebmasterWorld.com. Brett likes to keep the board as streamlined as possible, so those types of options are not offered here. Keeping the clutter to a minimum is key!
I'm seeing a geometric type avatar (not a goofy face) that I place on you, about you, for my eyes only, not that you place on you. (A bit too expensive too I guess.)
A placeholder to remind me what I think about your approach. Select from one of ten non-human images (eg. triangle, square, diamond, circle, plus, minus) and allow me to keep track of what each one means to me.
[I think I would have found this particularly useful in my first year - the last year - but than again.... who knows?]