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Re: rel="nofollow" attribute

From: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@iinet.net.au>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2005 12:26:11 +1100
Message-ID: <41F05A33.20603@iinet.net.au>
To: Asbjørn Ulsberg <asbjorn@tigerstaden.no>
CC: Anne van Kesteren <fora@annevankesteren.nl>, Jens Meiert <jens.meiert@erde3.com>, www-html@w3.org

Asbjørn Ulsberg wrote:
> 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.

Indeed, nofollow is an extremely poor choice and I consider the 
relationship to be quite harmful [1].  However, "no-credit" is not much 
better because, although it more accurately describes its function, it 
says nothing about the relationship between the resources, nothing about 
what the linked-resource is, nor the purpose of the link.  ie. It does 
not express any semantics whatsoever.

Additionally such values make no sense in the context of any type of 
user agent, other than a search engine that uses the some kind 
page-rank, or equivalent, algorithm; which just empahsises the fact that 
it's yet another useless, proprietary extension.

Better choices would express something like the link originated as a 
result of a user contribution and/or the document author/owner does not 
implicitly endorse the link.  Using such values a search engine, for 
example, may then determine whether or not the linked resources is at 
all related to the content of the linking document before issuing any 
credit for the link – completely unrelated documents should not be 
issued any credit.  In that way, some illigitimate pharmaceuticals site 
(or other spammer) is unlikely to benefit from spamming a blog relating 
to web development, yet a commenter that links to their blog entry on 
the same topic will.

Of course, that is much more complicated than a simple yes/no style 
relationship like nofollow, but the more semantic approach should not 
adversely affect the vast majority of legitimate contributors, as 
nofollow does.  Additionally because the relationship expresses the 
semantics of the link, rather than how it should be used by one 
particular type of UA, it is possible for others to do something else 
more useful with it that may benefit the user.

[1] http://lachy.id.au/blogs/log/2005/01/link-relationships-revisited-part-1
-- 
Lachlan Hunt
http://lachy.id.au/
http://GetFirefox.com/    Rediscover the Web
http://SpreadFirefox.com/   Igniting the Web
Received on Friday, 21 January 2005 06:07:11 GMT

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