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February 24, 2005


Mrs Tilton

Eh, perhaps you judge a bit harshly.

Let's say there is a current event X. You post about it, as do (say) three other websites. And so do I. Though we are all posting about the same event, I am not directly addressing the points you or the other bloggers make. Still, I ping each of your sites, because it might be that readers of the other posts would be interested in seeing yet another.

Mind you, I don't think I've ever done this; it is a hypothetical. But, assuming this hypo, is it really as wrong as trackback spam?

Of course, I think it makes sense (even if one does not directly respond to points in the other writers' posts) to include at least a link at the end of the post to sites where one leaves a trackback, in a sentence like, 'Other people writing on this topic are Abiola, Mr Y and Ms Z'. That would seem to be common sense and (for all I know) a basic requirement of netiquette. At any rate, it would be common courtesy -- if I think readers of the other posts might be interested in mine, it should also occur to me that readers of my post might be interested in the others. But I don't know that failing to include a link in the text is always tantamount to spam. Bad practice, yes; evil, no.

Abiola Lapite

"But I don't know that failing to include a link in the text is always tantamount to spam. Bad practice, yes; evil, no."

But actions which go against even the most rudimentary notions of courtesy are "evil" by definition, aren't they? Trackbacks from posts without links to the posts being pinged are like spam in that one wishes to receive the benefit of traffic from others without burdening oneself with conferring any sort of reciprocal benefit oneself. To me, they send a simple, clear message: "I want to be read by those who read you, but heaven forbid that *my* readers discover what you have to say."

The most annoying thing about the whole business is that it's never the most popular weblogs that engage in such shenanigans, and indeed, what's much more typical is to find that someone's linked to what you have to say without even sending a trackback; there is an established etiquette for sending the things, and most people (I myself included) try to refrain from trackback pings unless they have something of substance to add to what the person they're pinging has to say. I don't regard it as a tool for simply leeching traffic with minimal effort on my part, and I look down on those who act as if it is.

Sebastian Holsclaw

I've always found the trackback thing mildly mysterious. There are many MT or Typepad sites where my trackbacks just don't seem to work. They have trackbacks from other people, so they aren't off, but my pings aren't going through. I figure the attempt and the link are enough if the trackback doesn't go through.

I have also been getting pure trackback spam. Highly annoying.

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