Wikipedia: Shortsighted Cowardice and Alternatives to Nofollow

In what is receiving positive and negative attention, Wikipedia is nofollowing all of their external links.

There is legitimate reason for the community frowning upon this choice. Essentially, the death of the link is coming more rapidly that we thought. In the eyes of webmasters, the net impact of losing valuable link structures is far less tangible than the immediate impact of averting link spam. However, the link is the most key element to content relationships and search engine algorithms. Without it, our most important online application – the search engine – fails.

Perhaps most disheartening is the death of community authority linking. Wikipedia has cowered out of the community and chosen a cheap fix over innovation. If Wikipedia cannot create a viable, relatively spam-free method of academic, community linking, who can? Simple innovations could be used to remove link-spam, such as the following…

1. Nofollow Aging
The easiest solution is to integrate a no-follow aging algorithm. Simply put, the number of edits a link survives in a Wikipedia post affects it’s nofollow status. All links begin nofollowed, but over time and through numerous edits, unchanged links are freed from nofollow tags.

2. LinkSleeve & Akismet
Incorporating Wikipedia posting into the LinkSleeve and/or Akismet API could be valuable to both Wikipedia and these APIs.

3. Link Reviews
Creating random link reviews that occur when logging into wikipedia

4. Link Black Listing
When a link is added by 3 different users and removed by another 3 different users, it is blacklisted for that page (or something of this sort).

These three additions alone could make substantial impacts on the volume of linkspam. I am sure there are hundreds of other fantastic ideas floating around about how to stop link spam without destroying authority linking from communities like Wikipedia.

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  1. Everett
    Jan 22, 2007

    The only one I see having a chance is #2 (Askimet). Even if you made links start out as nofollow and remove the tag after a certain time, or after review, spammers are still going to keep trying in hopes of getting that one link in one-thousand that makes it through.

    Spammers are nothing if not persistent.

  2. Tim Linden
    Jan 22, 2007

    I think #1 would be good enough. People edit pages after they’ve been edited almost instantly..

  3. kelvin newman
    Jan 23, 2007

    I have added geniunely usefull links that weren’t spammy and barely made ten minutes on wikipedia, they seemed to be doing a good jobs already policing it…

    Though some of these suggestions do seem viable, much like a moderator approved status on a link which would lift the no-follow….

  4. SEO
    Jul 22, 2007

    yeah… those stupid wiki’s!
    wonder what happen if we all use nofollow to them?

    Have a good one.


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