Flutterby™! : The politics of weblogging

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The politics of weblogging

2008-07-01 22:56:49.177309+00 by Dan Lyke 13 comments

So there's been a big kerfluffle in the b(l)ogosphere today over one site "unlinking", that is removing all posts that refer to, a person who runs another site. They didn't give their reasons, and in being oblique about the two sites I suppose I'm being as disingenuous as well. Flutterby has links to both sites, but my links to the first site have always been somewhat reluctant.

Flutterby also has lots of archives, some of which give Google juice to sites that no longer deserve it.

I've been considering a couple of things: Either adding rel="nofollow" to every link indiscriminately, adding a feature to pre-render all the pages so that we can afford to look up the various URLs at render time and figure out if we want to remove the Google juice from that link, or inserting a new intermediate script on Flutterby that all links redirect through.

I'm thinking of applying some combination of these two things to the current situation in order to express my displeasure at the lack of transparency with the first party's handling of it. Comments and suggestions accepted...

[ related topics: Web development Net Culture ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-01 23:02:34.930938+00 by: Dan Lyke

I should note:

Adding rel="nofollow
Easiest to do, but pulls Google juice away from many sites which also deserve the respect, and, if everyone were to do this, removes the value of that distinction from our outbound links.
probably a good long-term strategy, lets me introduce various alternate abilities for classifying links, but lots of code.
Redirect script
Quick and easy, but breaks link color for already followed links, and makes mouseovers and hovers harder to read.

And, if you really care about the middle school level politics of the whole thing, here's the former party's discussion, here's the latter party's discussion.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-02 02:28:39.142749+00 by: meuon [edit history]

I remember the sad day when tom and Frank were suffering from some insanely stupid argument (money and feelings) and tom didn't want Frank to join us for group (chia) lunches anymore. The lunch rules were something like: we have transparent intelligent discussions. I missed Frank a lot. I seldom agreed with him, but I appreciated his ability to discuss things, his perspective, his "salt". I have no clue what the reality of the issue was, but I missed Frank and Chia was tainted.

I ran into Frank at Panera's tonight with some other people, I still don't agree with him on many things, he still rants about 200+ character / line "Dan code"... and many other things... and while his "salt" can burn open wounds, it can also makes things taste better.

Boing Boing just lost some high quality "salt" and their meat is now tainted.

As one of the abusers of Dan and Flutterby's Google Juice, I understand the issues... and hope it never becomes middle school playground politics.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-02 03:23:45.757745+00 by: ebradway

I won't go into detail, but I wouldn't keep harping on tom about wanting to rearrange the seating at CHIA lunches. The spice mix here on Flutterby has been similarly stifled in the past.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-02 14:39:04.156473+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yep, there have been a few suppressed threads. I think, except in one case in the past month or so (if anyone wants specifics I can go find it, these things don't actually get deleted, there's just a bit flipped in the database) where I disappeared a technical thread because I realized it gave more information away about what I was working on than a client would have been comfortable with, I think I've been reasonable about at least acknowledging that I've disappeared discussions, and I've tried to give my reasoning.

And, not counting things like duplicate posts, the number of disappeared threads is about one hand's worth.

I don't pretend that my reasons and reasoning have always been optimal, my choices are generally "gut feel" based, and I don't dispute any of Eric's complaints about the disappearance of the particular thread he's thinking of.

There may be good reasons for what the former party in the incident that started this post is doing, I see it as an impetus to figure out how to implement some tools that need implementing anyway, and a reaction against spin control mechanisms that would make Scott McClellan[Wiki] blush.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-02 17:40:47.14736+00 by: Larry Burton

One of the many differences between web publishing and dead tree publishing is the ability to unpublish things. Granted services like the way-back machine means that some things can't be unpublished but for the most part an article on a weblog from a year ago can be made to disappear by the publisher. The same can't be said for an article in Time Magazine.

I personally see no reason to chide folks for taking advantage of this ability.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-02 17:58:08.192197+00 by: John Anderson

Maybe it's my background in the sciences, maybe it's something else, but this whole "we'll just make stuff go away and it's like it never happened" pushes my Great-Ghu-That's-Just-So-WRONG button so hard it threatens to break. I mean, what's the fracking point of putting timestamps on stuff if you're just going to go back and change it without any warning or notice? Why bother reading something that could be different by the time you get through it? <fx: throws hands in air, continues muttering into beard about the damn kids these days>

Dan, on the technical issues, I agree the universal rel="nofollow" sort of stinks. I think the issues with mouseovers and the redirect script could mostly be handled by Javascript if you were so inclined, and I don't see how the intermediate render step ends up being any more code than the redirect script in the long run, given that the intermediate render step is effectively "pre-clicking" each link and sending it through the same logic it would have to go through in the redirect wrapper.

Dammit I need to get off my butt and start posting again...

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-02 21:58:37.960847+00 by: ziffle

I suppose I should chirp in: :)

tom and Frank had a radio show together where I was not bashful about showing tom was wrong. There was someone who coined the phrase 'tom you are wrong' but it was not me, however correct.

I did not know tom had that rule, but I could feel his hostility. He was particularly demeaning when I introduced my three sons to the Chia table - he attempted to ridicule me in front of them. I sometimes wonder what the internal chaos and makeup is like of someone who has to act out like that. It appears to me he is a small person but I'll let others decide about tom for themselves. I do not miss tom, at all. Betsy told me he was only one sixteenth indian. As one balds out from white genes it must appear silly to see a long pony tail wither away, a whisper of the past where one tries to be that which one never was.

Dan: for context: we were talking about code commenting, readability, and version control. It was a programming group. I did not feel I 'ranted'; I did mention a particularly famous three line piece of C code written by Dan that worked and was fast but I (and presumably others) could not understand the code. I also mentioned great coding by Dan and others (Lee Templeton you are the best wherever you are), so meuon, your comment seems out of context. Of course you do not believe in version control (meuon thinks a big zip file sent somewhere is version control!)

From time to time I miss Mike and Dan and a few others, but would have been more impressed if others had stood up to tom on principle and not kowtowed to nonsense. Of course this presupposes the conversation is based upon reason and facts but that is not always the case.

Having said all that I do feel its right to exclude others at times, but it all depends upon the reasons.

Have the years flown by? Have all of us attempted to grow emotionally and humanly? I have tried and as I follow that journey what I appreciate changes and I exhilerate in discovering more about who I am and hence how much I do miss the greatness in many people I have known.

Good to see Mike, and I am impressed by and have best wishes for your wonderful relationship!

Mayberry is not in California. :)

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-02 22:17:01.83435+00 by: Dan Lyke

Meuon and Ziffle, everyone rants about my code, and yet it seems completely comprehensible to me. Sometimes. Grin.

So at least for my take on the personal aspects of this, I think I've fairly well trained myself to, when someone says something that hurts, say "thank you", because if it's hitting that sort of chord in me it's a place where my conscious vision of myself probably doesn't mesh with the reality.

John, I think you're right, I think pre-rendering a bunch of stuff is the way to go. Means I need to rebuild a bunch of infrastructure that I've let lapse...

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-03 02:21:19.300301+00 by: TheSHAD0W

For anyone not following the wagging tongues...

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-03 03:45:03.269223+00 by: Dan Lyke

Thanks, Shadow, looks more and more like my first suspicions. I've exchanged a few emails with Violet, and I know which friends I'd ask if I wanted a face to face introduction with her. I've followed the BB crowd since they published on paper. Gut feel says Violet's version is closer to the truth, and the BB crowd will come out of this looking like the cool kids because they'll dismiss the truth with enough snark.

And I guess this really isn't anything but a little personal squabble, except that it's also a fairly prominent website saying "permanent links and the integrity of the web matter less than our little snits and whims of the moment". I definitely don't want to reward that attitude.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-03 12:38:15.031619+00 by: other_todd

Gut feel says Violet's version is closer to the truth, and the BB crowd will come out of this looking like the cool kids because they'll dismiss the truth with enough snark.

Amusingly enough, my gut feeling is exactly the opposite of that, for both clauses.

I do agree with your second paragraph. The difference is that I tend to believe that the BoingBoing folks are blissfully unaware of their status as precedent-setter, like an enormous Irish setter that still thinks it's a wee puppy and doesn't understand why it can't behave like it is one. The alternative is that they're being disingenuous (if not outright deceitful), which I find difficult to swallow.

Well, either way, they won't have the liberty to ignore it much longer. This is going to hurt them badly, and I think that's a shame. Meanwhile VB, whom I think should have her picture next to the definition of "disingenuous," is going to come out as a Wronged Heroine.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-03 14:05:47.492828+00 by: Nancy

wow...while I'm blissfully unaware of all the tom/frank history, it does appear that some old wounds are being revisited. This can be a good thing. Or not. I don't know enough to say.

Personally, I'd prefer to hear 'ranting' about code (yawn) than about someone's genes or balding pattern/hair style. At least from a non-geek perspective, the latter seems personal and unnecessarily irrelevant. But, like I said, I don't know the tom/frank history and don't really care.

"when someone says something that hurts, say "thank you", because if it's hitting that sort of chord in me it's a place where my conscious vision of myself probably doesn't mesh with the reality" - Dan, that is profound. I am going to put it in front of my own consciousness as long as I have to until it 'takes'. I have long felt that taking offense - taking things personally - if, eliminated from our existence, would make for heaven on earth. 'Course that's sometimes only theory, but a good goal. Again, I really, really loved your comment quoted above.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-19 00:40:50.402602+00 by: John Anderson

Lessons (Not) Learned