“I sometimes think that the only real purpose of an initial design is to evolve some sort of of plan to get one started in an otherwise confusing and complex situation.”
Bill Mollison

Permaculture: A Designer's Manual

Courteous Linking


My pingbacks & incoming links indiciate that some of my posts have been linked to on other sites. Some of these sites (to be honest, most) are empty shells which usually have very little to do with the actual content on my site. I don’t what their motivation is for linking – I am guessing it has to do with traffic manipulation. I’d rather they didn’t link to me.

I also recently encountered an article by Dave Winer on some invasive technology Google is cooking up. It’s called SideWiki and it enables people to annotate any web-pages (mine and yours included) – it does so in such a way that when other readers (using this sidebar) visit the page – they can view it together with the annotations that other people made. I agree with Dave – my pages are mine and should be kept that way. Other people are welcome to comment on them as I see fit.

This got me thinking about the one-sided dynamics of the internet – anyone can link anywhere else without any … well… courtesy. I’d like to be able to refuse people who link to my pages in a context or fashion that I don’t like. Technologically I can’t prevent them from linking, but from my limited understanding of web-servers, it is definitely possible to turn them away.

I’d love to have a technology that enables me to intervene in this way:

  • I’d like to benefit from services such as Akismet – and to be able to turn away links that are known to be spam.
  • When I indicate that a pingback comment is spam, in addition to being removed, I’d like it be diverted away (redirected).
  • I’d like to have links that are turned away redirected back to where they came from (maybe 10 times – so their servers would pay a penalty).
  • If possible, I’d like this to work retroactively, so that from the second I activate the plugin that does this, all known abusive links, sources in the past will not be able to link to me anymore.

I’d like to be able to turn away people, companies and technologies that are abusive and rude when they visit with me. After all it is my place.

This entry was posted in outside, Tech Stuff, Wordpress. You are welcome to read 10 comments and to add yours


  1. Posted October 10, 2009 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    It didn't take long and this appeared in my incoming links:
    <a href="http://www.google.com/sidewiki/entry/ariomail/id/…” target=”_blank”>http://www.google.com/sidewiki/entry/ariomail/id/

    I can't respond to it (unless I have and use a Google account).
    I can't get his email to respond to him (unless I have and use a Google account).

    It is like a parasite because this content would have no context without this web-page.
    It is abusive – there is an option to comment on the page (one that I elected to use on my web pages), but this person (a Google employee) preferred to do it his way, simply because he can!

    It is down to what I want vs. what he wants, if he had any respect for me and my writing, ESPECIALLY on this topic, he would have simply commented (and been welcomed to the page) … and folks there you have a demonstration of what Google can and will do.

    I'd love to have a WordPress plugin to prevent Google from doing this: <a href="http://www.iamronen.com/2009/10/wordpress-plugin-…” target=”_blank”>http://www.iamronen.com/2009/10/wordpress-plugin-

    Now I have even more reason and proof to beware of Google: <a href="http://www.iamronen.com/2009/04/google-organic-fo…” target=”_blank”>http://www.iamronen.com/2009/04/google-organic-fo

  2. Posted October 10, 2009 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    ironically, I wouldn't have known about this at all – had it not appeared in my visitor statistics…

  3. Posted October 10, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Google SideWiki is imitation of many other similar Post It Note type services for web pages. You're correct: this enables and empowers spam, trolls, hate speechers, and assorted psychos. Shame on Google. I love Google. But not this. Hopefully they'll see their gross error and repent and stop this insane service.

  4. Posted October 12, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    it seems the Google employee (http://www.google.com/profiles/ariomail?hl=en#sid… has removed the SideWiki comment he wrote about this post…

  5. Posted October 12, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    it seems the Google employee (http://www.google.com/profiles/ariomail?hl=en#sid… has removed the SideWiki comment he wrote about this post…

  6. Posted October 12, 2009 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Welcome to my online-home Ario, it's so much nicer to meet you this way.

    Our friction-filled interaction is just one example of a fault in SideWiki. I prefer talking to your face then you talking behind my back – and that's what it felt like. We can pursue to no end what "SideWiki actually IS" – but I am trying to get across to you what it FEELS like to me – here in this page that I created (content, graphics, layout) on the server that I pay for every month so that I can have an opportunity to share, reach out and touch others (like you).

    I am confident you understand my position (though you may be in disagreement with me) and I'd like to believe that you not only respect but also embrace my feelings and as a result would invest reasonable effort … to be respectful of them… a basic courtesy.

    I've read on your profile that you are involved in Yoga, and as you can see I am too… so I hope you can relate to my belief that intentions go a long long way – they are born in the heart, but they manifest through body & mind (consciously and unconsciously). Somewhere in the Google SideWiki project there are intentions that (consciously or unconsciously) do not respect the wishes of others. There has to be conscious intent (such as enabling people to express, share, etc.), otherwise there is a vacuum that gets filled with unconscious motivations (such as making money, controlling the internet, etc.). <a href="http://www.iamronen.com/2009/03/glimpses07/” target=”_blank”>http://www.iamronen.com/2009/03/glimpses07/

    You and I have collaborated and done some research & testing for Google:
    – You can add to the Google Webmaster tools a Checkbox for enabling SideWiki (leave it unselected by default, send an email, invite the webmasters who want to, to enable it).
    – Enable Webmasters to interface between SideWiki and their blog comment systems.
    – I am sure you can come up with other great ideas.

    Please care about the people in your technological, philosophical, economical and social ecosystem.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write here. I appreciate it greatly.

  7. Posted October 12, 2009 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Hi Ronen, I'm the author of the entry you're referring to. To summarize what I had written, I just wanted to clarify that my SW entry was not altering the page itself and that it was only visible to others who had opted in to the tool. I removed the entry because I realized it wouldn't really add anything here since you'd probably not see it (and the entry was intended for you to see). I came back to this post to write what I'd written in your comments section, but you beat me to it by finding the entry via your visitor stats.

    I also wanted to point out that my Google profile has links to all my online properties where I can be contacted directly. In addition, the Gmail address of Google profile users is visible in the URL for their profile.

  8. Posted October 12, 2009 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Hi Ronen, I too appreciate the effort and time you've put into writing your thoughts on this. I acknowledge the concerns you've written here and definitely understand the perspective you speak of with regard to intention.

    I am by no means the official spokesperson for my employer, my words here represent my personal views. I am paying close attention to the feedback that is coming in and there are many passionate, well-intentioned users who wish for the tool to retain the ability to write on any non-https page. One example here is in the realm of scam sites that would not want entries visible on their page. Perhaps now with SW, users will be alerted to the scam and danger thwarted. Here is a tangible example of that already taking place:


    There are a myriad other areas where I feel free speech is important and may go counter to the wishes of the webmaster. As a webmaster myself, I understand the concerns that have been voiced and all I can say is the team is working hard to create something that balances the wishes of our users, that of the webmaster community, and fights hard against spam and abuse scenarios.

    I also agree the tool is at a distinct disadvantage on page like this which has an existing commenting system with a webmaster that is fair and allows for a mixture of well-intentioned opinions (however, this is not the case for many pages). For a page like the following however, SW has a better shot of demonstrating its utility.


    Thanks again for engaging with me.

  9. Steve02476
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    Hi Ronen, I posted a reply to your reply on http://www.scripting.com/stories/2009/10/03/myWeb


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