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Re: rel="nofollow" attribute

From: Asbjørn Ulsberg <asbjorn@tigerstaden.no>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2005 01:42:22 +0100
To: Anne van Kesteren <fora@annevankesteren.nl>, Jens Meiert <jens.meiert@erde3.com>
Cc: www-html-editor@w3.org, www-html@w3.org
Message-id: <opskxf8wgslo81gp@quark>

On Thu, 20 Jan 2005 21:23:09 +0100, Anne van Kesteren  
<fora@annevankesteren.nl> wrote:

>> Rather some alternative solution than this attempt, which in my opinion
>> should be ignored.
>
> So world wide implementations should be ignored?

No, but the word «nofollow» is wrong in so many ways that I don't even  
know where to start. I acknowledge and admire the intent, and I think the  
pace of the implementation has been remarkable. Too bad the word is so  
utter nonsence in this context.

> If the W3C had proposed something for this a while ago, maybe in a single
> draft, I guess it would have been possible.

However any such mechanism floats to the surface isn't important. How it  
is picked up, processed and implemented is what matters. And I think  
another word should have been chosen that reflects the same purpose and at  
the same time honours the intent of the 'rel' attribute.

> However, since it seems (I may be wrong) that the W3C is currently not  
> really looking for what authors need, solutions are find in one way or  
> another and implemented in user agents.

Solutions are good, but someone should have used at least five minutes to  
read the specification text of the 'rel' attribute and at the same time  
think about the intent of the attribute's value before they settled on the  
word «nofollow». It just doesn't make any sense at all.

> This particular thing is/will be implemented in at least 3 major search  
> engines and in at least 10 weblog systems[1]. And that is only on day of  
> release.

Yes, it's great. But the word still sucks.

> I do not think the W3C can simply ignore such things and say that some  
> alternative solution should be made. If the W3C wants some influence on  
> where the web is heading it should act before such a thing as this  
> happens.

That I can agree with completely.

> They can easily do this by looking for what authors want and what useful  
> extensions would be for HTML and XHTML that authors need today instead  
> of in 20 years.

Correct. But just because W3C doesn't give today's authors exactly what  
they want, doesn't mean it has to be a brainless anarchy out there,  
either. It's perfectly allowed to think and discuss extensions to the HTML  
standard even if you're not discussing with or within W3C.

It seems to me (but I can be wrong; which doesn't exactly shed brighter  
light over the word «nofollow») that the rel value was made up in a hurry  
and without much discussion before implementation. Someone with the  
knowledge of the 'rel' attribute's semantics should have been involved in  
the discussion. Someone with knowledge of the semantical meaning of  
«nofollow» should also have been involved. It seems neither has, which is  
a pitty.

A better value could have been e.g. «no-credit» or «none» which says that  
the current document does not credit the referenced one («no-credit») or  
does not have any relation to the referenced document at all («none»).  
«nofollow» is just wrong.

-- 
Asbjørn Ulsberg     -=|=-    http://virtuelvis.com/quark/
«He's a loathsome offensive brute, yet I can't look away»
Received on Friday, 21 January 2005 00:38:47 GMT

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