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Webmaster World Request for Comments on URL Posting

RFC 1 : URL Posting



1:21 pm on Mar 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

WebmasterWorld URL Dropping Policy 1.0
Last updated: March 26, 2001

URL Drop: eg: the act of inserting a URL into a post.

We are a unique forum with a unique set of visitors. The majority of our members are tech savvy webmasters, promoters, and web marketers. Many members operate or promote hundreds of websites.

In that environment, if we were to allow open posting of urls, the forums could become a spam filled mess within 24 to 48 hours.

Instead of posting a loophole filled set of guidelines to url posting, we feel it is better to let you know our thought process on url drops. We do not enjoy editing posts - it is a last recourse. Before a url is edited, we stop and discuss the following questions. The intent of the message is our main determining factor.

  1. Is this a long-time, contributing member?
    If so, we give the benefit of the doubt to all but the repeat droppers.
  2. Is there any hint of self-promotion? Any affiliate links?
    If so, we edit it out (see comments below).
  3. Was the url required, or could a "mydomain.com" work as an example just as well?
  4. If a url for a commercial product, is the poster related to the product in any way?
    This is the tough one. We try to stay away from product discussion whenever possible. Without fail, a discussion of software brings in the author and/or their promotion firm - that in turn leads to lots of free advertising thrown at members.
  5. Is this a pure ad?
    try me - buy me type ads are deleted.
  6. Is the URL in response to the original post and honestly appropriate to the discussion?
    On topic URL's are often appropriate to further information. We often look to whether the drop is to a commercial website or an authoritative source.
  7. Is this a signature style url?
    We don't allow signature style urls to be posted because it would lead to open url posting. (member see's it here, and thinks it is ok over there). This is why we have Profiles.

Unless a drop is CLEARLY a Terms Of Service [webmasterworld.com] violation, it is usually discussed in the mods forum. Often clear violations are discussed as well. Every effort is made to avoid editing, we consider the poster's history here and at other forums and try to determine his motivation for the drop in question.

We work to keep these boards a source of high quality information, rather than a jungle of promotional posts with a few useful bits hidden here and there. Someone who dummies up a question or an example just to have a link posted to their site, is diluting the usefulness of that particular thread and downgrading the board in general. That's when we edit.

We almost always email the person involved to explain -- we're not just arbitrary censors. In fact, we'd prefer NEVER to edit anything.

Your Own Sites and Profiles:
Post your site in your profile. That way, you can make reference to the site without dropping the URL in the post. While we may have to work to figure out the intent of a URL in a post - you always know your own intentions. Profiles are a very powerful way to create referrals.

Why The Extra Caution:
For the benefit of those who may be new to forums, there are paid site promoters and affiliate programs offering incentives to url-drop. Besides individuals, we have uncovered teams of promoters working in pairs, framing seemingly innocent questions that are then "answered" by an url-drop from the other operator.

The importance/weight of this can't be emphasized enough when we ask our do we edit questions. We try to consider not only the volume of posts by a user, but also whether they have tried to contribute to the community, even if it's something as simple as helping to point someone to a past thread.

Our Part:
We do not operate in a vacuum here, our moderators and members are some of the best read on the web. We often can see a post in question working its way across numerous forums and are already on the alert here. What appears to be a single, innocent drop to the members is known to us to be a part of a systematic campaign to advertise via forums.

While we operate as a group, and routinely post what do you think of this? requests for other moderators to review our own decisions on an url in question, WebmasterWorld is now a HUGE place and the individual moderator's sensitivity to the use of urls may vary from forum to forum.

On occasion, we will allow an url-drop to stand because we are knowledgeable about the product or service and wish to provide an opinion about its claims.

We also are committed to being educators first. Posts involving urls can often be about a specific persons page or site. In that instance, we point the user in the direction of the information they need instead of spoon feeding them the answer. It's that old Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day vs teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime parable.

On Member Contributions
We are very respectful of peoples contributions to the board. I think this is one of the few forums on the net whose terms of service specifically state that member contributed content may not be copied out of the forums without the dual consent of the administrators and the poster. That is born out of respect for member contributions.

Lastly, thank you to our long term members who have supported us and contributed to the above.


5:01 pm on Mar 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator 10+ Year Member

Very well thought out Brett and I'm sure the members here would wholeheartedly agree on this. This community is a site of information exchanging and not URL dropping.

Thanks for the clarification on this subject as I've seen in the past members question why some URL drops are OK while others are not. Now we have the definitive word.


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