Interwiki map criteria and nofollow

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Interwiki map criteria and nofollow

David Gerard-2
There's been considerable discussion on wikien-l of rel=nofollow on
external links, and how and why those don't apply to the interwiki
map.

(This is not wikien-l asserting dominion over meta and the interwiki
map :-) It's because en:wp is most of the reason wikipedia.org has a
stupidly high Google page rank, and so the SEO spammers whine that
it's our job to make the spammers look good to Google, and never mind
us or our editors or readers. But anyway.)

It was suggested (and I concur) that if our page rank is so all-fired
powerful, that it be turned to the benefit of Free Content, like
ourselves. So Jonathan Stokely posted a suggested rewording
(http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/2007-May/070344.html),
which I reworded a bit and placed here:

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Interwiki_map#Inclusion_criteria_clarification.3F

Please go there and/or discuss it here.


Precis on the controversy:

http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/04/28/wikipedia-special-treatment-for-wikia-and-other-wikis/
(an idiotic TechCrunch story)
http://blog.valuewiki.com/2007/04/29/time-to-overhaul-or-abolish-the-interwiki-map/
(upset ValueWiki blog post)
http://blog.valuewiki.com/2007/04/30/quietly-stepping-down-from-my-high-horse/
(slightly embarrassed ValueWiki followup blog post)
http://davidgerard.co.uk/notes/2007/04/30/seo-spammers-and-googlemancers/
(my post)
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/2007-April/ (nearer the end)
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/2007-May/ (start)


- d.

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Re: Interwiki map criteria and nofollow

Anthony DiPierro
On 5/2/07, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> (This is not wikien-l asserting dominion over meta and the interwiki
> map :-) It's because en:wp is most of the reason wikipedia.org has a
> stupidly high Google page rank, and so the SEO spammers whine that
> it's our job to make the spammers look good to Google, and never mind
> us or our editors or readers. But anyway.)
>
"The InterWiki Map exists to allow a more efficient syntax for linking
between wikis, and thus promote the cooperation and proliferation of
wikis and free content. Sites considered for inclusion should probably
(1) provide clear and relevant usefulness to the Wikimedia projects
(2) be trusted not to encourage spam links being added to the
Wikimedia projects (3) be free content (under a Commons-acceptable
license) (4) be a wiki (5) be reasonably developed."

If we're really going to rethink what should constitute an IW link,
I'd suggest adding "(6) be free from advertising".

"Sites included in the InterWiki Map are considered by the Wikimedia
community to be trusted not to encourage spam links being added to
Wikimedia projects, and thus "nofollow" is removed from InterWiki
links."

I strongly disagree with this, as it confuses the purpose of the IW
links.  If the only criterion for an IW link was number 2, then it
might be reasonable, but this isn't the purpose of IW links.

To quote Anthere: "Either all links (external and interwiki) should be
nofollow.  Or none of them should be.  Or we can work on white lists
together for both types of links."

Anthony

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Re: Interwiki map criteria and nofollow

David Gerard-2
On 02/05/07, Anthony <[hidden email]> wrote:

> To quote Anthere: "Either all links (external and interwiki) should be
> nofollow.  Or none of them should be.  Or we can work on white lists
> together for both types of links."


As she noted in a followup, that was her speaking as user:Anthere
rather than ex cathedra as Chair of the Board of the Wikimedia
Foundation. Jimbomancy is bad enough ...


- d.

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Re: Interwiki map criteria and nofollow

Anthony DiPierro
On 5/2/07, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 02/05/07, Anthony <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > To quote Anthere: "Either all links (external and interwiki) should be
> > nofollow.  Or none of them should be.  Or we can work on white lists
> > together for both types of links."
>
> As she noted in a followup, that was her speaking as user:Anthere
> rather than ex cathedra as Chair of the Board of the Wikimedia
> Foundation. Jimbomancy is bad enough ...
>
Of course.  As Board Chair she has no say anyway, just a vote if the
board wishes to pass a resolution.

I still think her quote is quite appropriate.  If we're going to turn
off nofollow for certain links, a good candidate would be IMDB, for
instance.  But they can't get an IW link per the criteria you set up,
as they're not a wiki.  So if we want to whitelist sites, let's create
a whitelist for all types of links.

But really I think we should stop doing the job of the search engines.

Anthony

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Re: Interwiki map criteria and nofollow

Rich Holton
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
David Gerard wrote:

> There's been considerable discussion on wikien-l of rel=nofollow on
> external links, and how and why those don't apply to the interwiki
> map.
>
> (This is not wikien-l asserting dominion over meta and the interwiki
> map :-) It's because en:wp is most of the reason wikipedia.org has a
> stupidly high Google page rank, and so the SEO spammers whine that
> it's our job to make the spammers look good to Google, and never mind
> us or our editors or readers. But anyway.)
>
> It was suggested (and I concur) that if our page rank is so all-fired
> powerful, that it be turned to the benefit of Free Content, like
> ourselves. So Jonathan Stokely posted a suggested rewording
> (http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/2007-May/070344.html),
> which I reworded a bit and placed here:
>
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Interwiki_map#Inclusion_criteria_clarification.3F
>
> Please go there and/or discuss it here.
>
>
> Precis on the controversy:
>
> http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/04/28/wikipedia-special-treatment-for-wikia-and-other-wikis/
> (an idiotic TechCrunch story)
> http://blog.valuewiki.com/2007/04/29/time-to-overhaul-or-abolish-the-interwiki-map/
> (upset ValueWiki blog post)
> http://blog.valuewiki.com/2007/04/30/quietly-stepping-down-from-my-high-horse/
> (slightly embarrassed ValueWiki followup blog post)
> http://davidgerard.co.uk/notes/2007/04/30/seo-spammers-and-googlemancers/
> (my post)
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/2007-April/ (nearer the end)
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/2007-May/ (start)
>
>

As I stated in the WikiEn thread, the main issue here is the perception
of conflict of interest (or the reality of it, according to some).

David's post suggests that we make it so that only links to site
supporting free content be exempt from the nofollow attribute. This has
some advantages, including being consistent with the goals of the
project, and not be apparently arbitrary.

Some issues remain with this approach. Of course, we'd need to agree to
some definition of "free content." Would no-commercial-use sites be
included? Another issue is the situation where parts of a site are "free
content" by whatever definition we use, and other parts are not.

Finally, it does not truly address the perception of conflict of interest.

Now, we can't hope to eliminate everything that someone might consider
to be a conflict of interest. It's a question of judgment; cost to
benefit, where neither are quantifiable.


As an aside:
Given the volume of complaining that the nofollow policy has generated
from the SEO community, the so-called "link juice" from Wikipedia must
be valuable. Have we considered the possibility of this as a revenue stream?

-Rich

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Re: Interwiki map criteria and nofollow

David Gerard-2
On 02/05/07, Rich Holton <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Some issues remain with this approach. Of course, we'd need to agree to
> some definition of "free content." Would no-commercial-use sites be
> included? Another issue is the situation where parts of a site are "free
> content" by whatever definition we use, and other parts are not.


I was assuming "free content" per http://freedomdefined.org/ , which
happens to be the definition we use. (And was written by Erik
Moeller.)


> Finally, it does not truly address the perception of conflict of interest.


True.


> Given the volume of complaining that the nofollow policy has generated
> from the SEO community, the so-called "link juice" from Wikipedia must
> be valuable. Have we considered the possibility of this as a revenue stream?


Hah! Sell it? Note, not selling interwiki mappings.


- d.

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Re: Interwiki map criteria and nofollow

Tim Starling-2
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
David Gerard wrote:

> On 02/05/07, Anthony <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> To quote Anthere: "Either all links (external and interwiki) should be
>> nofollow.  Or none of them should be.  Or we can work on white lists
>> together for both types of links."
>
>
> As she noted in a followup, that was her speaking as user:Anthere
> rather than ex cathedra as Chair of the Board of the Wikimedia
> Foundation. Jimbomancy is bad enough ...

I've always been happy to fulfill requests from individual members of the
Wikimedia management team. Jimmy has encouraged this. I've done jobs for
various members of the board, plus Brad. Of course most of those things
were uncontroversial. I'm not blind to the issues here, see my comments on
[[m:Talk:Interwiki map]].

-- Tim Starling


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Re: Interwiki map criteria and nofollow

Anthony DiPierro
In reply to this post by Rich Holton
On 5/2/07, Rich Holton <[hidden email]> wrote:
> As I stated in the WikiEn thread, the main issue here is the perception
> of conflict of interest (or the reality of it, according to some).
>
> David's post suggests that we make it so that only links to site
> supporting free content be exempt from the nofollow attribute. This has
> some advantages, including being consistent with the goals of the
> project, and not be apparently arbitrary.
>
But it's obviously just retrofitting these consistent goals to fit the
status quo.  If we were really going to come up with a system from
scratch, to say which links should be nofollowed and which shouldn't,
I don't think anyone would suggest the 5 criteria that have been
listed.

> As an aside:
> Given the volume of complaining that the nofollow policy has generated
> from the SEO community, the so-called "link juice" from Wikipedia must
> be valuable. Have we considered the possibility of this as a revenue stream?
>
I thought about that, and I came to the conclusion that if Wikimedia
derived any significant revenue from such a thing the search engines
wouldn't like it.  As such they'd probably find a way to either take
away the benefit from the links or else lower the rank of Wikipedia
itself.

Anthony

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Re: Interwiki map criteria and nofollow

Mark
Anthony wrote:

> On 5/2/07, Rich Holton <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> As an aside:
>> Given the volume of complaining that the nofollow policy has generated
>> from the SEO community, the so-called "link juice" from Wikipedia must
>> be valuable. Have we considered the possibility of this as a revenue stream?
>>
>>    
> I thought about that, and I came to the conclusion that if Wikimedia
> derived any significant revenue from such a thing the search engines
> wouldn't like it.  As such they'd probably find a way to either take
> away the benefit from the links or else lower the rank of Wikipedia
> itself.
>  

I'd be surprised if they don't already special-case Wikipedia, nofollow
or not. Nofollow is merely advisory, and a search engine is free to
completely ignore it, if they feel ignoring it, or treating it in some
other unspecified manner, would improve their search results.

-Mark


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Re: Interwiki map criteria and nofollow

Anthony DiPierro
On 5/2/07, Delirium <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Anthony wrote:
> > On 5/2/07, Rich Holton <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> >> As an aside:
> >> Given the volume of complaining that the nofollow policy has generated
> >> from the SEO community, the so-called "link juice" from Wikipedia must
> >> be valuable. Have we considered the possibility of this as a revenue stream?
> >>
> >>
> > I thought about that, and I came to the conclusion that if Wikimedia
> > derived any significant revenue from such a thing the search engines
> > wouldn't like it.  As such they'd probably find a way to either take
> > away the benefit from the links or else lower the rank of Wikipedia
> > itself.
> >
>
> I'd be surprised if they don't already special-case Wikipedia, nofollow
> or not. Nofollow is merely advisory, and a search engine is free to
> completely ignore it, if they feel ignoring it, or treating it in some
> other unspecified manner, would improve their search results.
>
I'd be very surprised if they already special-case Wikipedia, as
they've said before that they don't do that sort of thing, and it's
much cleaner from a design standpoint to not fill up code with
special-cases.  They also allegedly asked Jimbo to turn nofollow on,
which would imply that such a move had an actual effect.

It would make a lot more sense if Google just found a way to detect
sites like Wikipedia that were likely to contain user-submitted
content, and apply an algorithm intelligent enough to separate the
wheat from the chaff (using the length of time the link appeared in
the text, for instance).  But if they did that, why bother Jimbo about
whether or not Wikipedia has enabled nofollow?

Anthony

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