Rough Type’s article Is Wikipedia a blackhole? first allerted me to the “no follow” link strategy to deal with spam. This “no follow” links is an attempt to not pass on good Google ranking (e.g. High Ranking Wikipedia site to no name spam site).
I see three issues with that:
- Spammers don’t care if the links are no follow or not – All that wordpress spam has no follow, but still it continues – Akismet helps this
- Is it really addressing the problem ? or treating a symptom – Is the unauthorised entry really about getting more links? This solution doesn’t address information quality
- Need to display credit where it’s due, this removes that respect to good information on other websites
Solutions? .. I have some ideas
- Perhaps an aging of the links .. e.g. A link that have been there unmoderated for 3 months are ok so make them followable by search engines
- If it exists somewhere else in Wikipedia as a safe link (or close to a safe link) there is should be ok
Also at Rough Type, he talks about The link of least resistance and the perils of the positive feedback loop and single point of failure when many people use wikipedia by default.
It’s an interesting problem Wikipedia have, I don’t think just changing to “no follow” will change the mind set of spammers to game other sites for link karma instead. And clever spammers who can write might game a wikipedia article anyway .. a favourable piece of prose to persuade people to visit anyway.
We’ll see how this unfolds I guess as Wikipedia implement and re-adjust.