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Re: link relation "external", was: Link relation types and validity in <link>, was: ACTION-182 and Issue-27

From: Edward O'Connor <hober0@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2010 10:42:39 -0700
Message-ID: <AANLkTi=Jb7naSFm+yfkeQ9Q=x_XSzjn2Kqm3qwgXtrJG@mail.gmail.com>
To: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
Cc: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>, Paul Cotton <Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>, "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
Mark wrote:
>> rel=external "indicates that the link is leading to a document that is
>> not part of the site that the current document forms a part of." I
>> believe it was first popularized by WordPress, which uses it on links
>> left by commenters.

Julian wrote:
> If the use case actually *is* what Mark P. writes here, than it
> definitely overlaps with "nofollow", and is *not* what the description
> in the spec is about.

I think Mark is half-right, and the half he's wrong about explains the
reason for allowing rel=external on <a> but not <link>. He's right that
rel=external originates in the blogging world (I don't know offhand if
it was specifically WP that popularized it), but it's not for links
found in comments.

It's for links within blog posts, so that the blogger can stylistically
distinguish between internal links to other posts of hers on the one
hand, and external links to other blogs/sites on the other. Such
distinctions are also made by popular wiki software, e.g. MediaWiki.
External links on Wikipedia appear with an arrow thingy after them. [1]

I believe the relation is allowed on <a> but not on <link> precisely
because the motivating use-case for the relation is only to style some
links differently than other links, and only <a> links are visible.


Ted

1. http://bits.wikimedia.org/skins-1.5/vector/images/external-link-ltr-icon.png?2
Received on Thursday, 5 August 2010 17:43:33 GMT

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