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RE: Suggestion: 'rel="unrelated"' (was: Re: rel="nofollow" attribute)

From: Mark Birbeck <mark.birbeck@x-port.net>
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 15:07:03 -0000
To: "'David Woolley'" <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Cc: <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <010501c50094$0cb0cb80$6f01a8c0@W100>

David,

> ... but this is only going 
> to be used in machine generated blogs where the HTML is 
> either generated by the 
> machine or by someone who is not going to act on the 
> validation by the site owner.
> 
> If this attribute were inserted by hand, there would be an issue 
> with authoring tools, but it is only going to be inserted by 
> the blogging software, although possibly removed by hand.

Exactly! I think this is the key point of the whole package that keeps being
missed in the discussion. Too much attention is being given to the attribute
value, and not enough to the actual wording of [1]:

  <blockquote>
  Q: How does a link change? 
  A: Any link that a user can create on your site automatically gets a
     new "nofollow" attribute. So if a blog spammer previously added a
     comment like

     Visit my <a href="http://www.example.com/">discount
     pharmaceuticals</a> site. 

     That comment would be transformed to 

     Visit my <a href="http://www.example.com/" rel="nofollow">discount
     pharmaceuticals</a> site.
  </blockquote>

And what is "your site"? It's not the author they are talking to, but the
blog hosts:

  <blockquote>
  We hope the web software community will quickly adopt this attribute and
  we're pleased that a number of blog software makers have already signed
  on:
  </blockquote>

In other words the proposal is simply about adding mark-up to blog-pages
that wasn't there originally. It's *not* about asking authors to do
something different.

But since it is just 'machine to machine' they could easily have come up
with a solution that doesn't 'pollute' normal mark-up. For example, all the
blogging software companies could indicate that the 'type' of the page was a
blog. Or they could mark up the comments area as 'comments'.

Or one of any number of other solutions that's better than "nofollow".

Regards,

Mark

[1] http://www.google.com/googleblog/2005/01/preventing-comment-spam.html


Mark Birbeck
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Received on Saturday, 22 January 2005 15:07:57 GMT

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