I don't get it November 4, 2005 11:56 AM   Subscribe

Just so I, as a relatively new user, can understand: how exactly is this not a self-link, but my question was? (No hard feelings - I really would like to know.)
posted by ToasT to Etiquette/Policy at 11:56 AM (17 comments total)

I flagged both, yours a few weeks ago and ZenMasterThis just now. They're both self-links. ZenMasterThis just has a little more plausible deniability about whether generating traffic was the sole reason for the post.

His post was more subtle, in other words.

I would have expected more complaints in the thread, given that he's trying to sell merchandise.
posted by BackwardsCity at 12:01 PM on November 4, 2005

His link was necessary to answer the question, yours wasn't?

People were feeling dickheaded on the particular day you posted the question?

Probably doesn't bear analysis. On Mefi, it's best to be paranoid about avoiding the dreaded self-link.
posted by selfnoise at 12:02 PM on November 4, 2005

Well, their both selflinks. His is appropriate for the question, yours is the same with or without a link to your site. See, your question still makes sense without the link, whereas asking for criticism without providing a link would make the question pointless.
posted by puke & cry at 12:11 PM on November 4, 2005

but yeah, I flagged both.
posted by puke & cry at 12:12 PM on November 4, 2005

The difference was that he was self-linking in an effort to improve the quality of his site by asking for advice. You were self-linking in an effort to increase traffic for your site by asking for advice...but in doing so, you're accomplishing your purpose(1). A cynical person would wonder if that wasn't your intention all along and any actual advice you get is a bonus. Also, or probably primarily, as selfnoise says, his link was necessary and yours wasn't. But my point is valid, I think, because context matters.

1. Many people read AskMe.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:12 PM on November 4, 2005

I'm sure ZenMasterThis has linked to his site from here before (I clearly remember it,) but I can't be bothered digging through his posts to find out if this is a serious issue or not.
posted by fire&wings at 12:15 PM on November 4, 2005

If you have something online you'd like to have evaluated, how do you ask the question? "E-mail me for the URL"? Or should this kind of query simply be kept away from AskMe?
posted by ToasT at 12:28 PM on November 4, 2005

i think the crucial difference (apart from luck) is that you explicitly asked about increasing traffic. asking about increasing traffic right next to a link to your site is asking for trouble. the current post does at least avoid that.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:36 PM on November 4, 2005

oh. or what eb said.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:36 PM on November 4, 2005

it's simple. we like him better than we like you.
posted by crunchland at 12:44 PM on November 4, 2005

Crunchland beat me to the snark I was about to offer.
I have to get back to work. In the future, take his snark as an indication of mine until I return.
posted by klangklangston at 12:54 PM on November 4, 2005

They're both self-links. His is a little more subtle.

Moral for new users: do be sure your self links are subtle.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 1:21 PM on November 4, 2005

There have been examples in the past of "Please look at my work and tell me what needs help" and these posts require a link to what needs looking at. Yours did not, even though it may have been a completely legitimate question. There are some guidelines on the wiki if those are helpful.

In general self-links are frowned upon in posts because it's an obvious one-off way to boost traffic, and mathowie and I would love to not have to second guess anyone's motives for posting about their own site. They're cool in comments if they're appropriate. I've seen plenty of AskMe posts where people have a question about something specific like your example and there are folks in-thread who say "hey email me a link" or something similar. If you have the comic in your profile, people can put 2+2 together and figure it out if they're motivated.
posted by jessamyn at 1:40 PM on November 4, 2005

He's asking for help, you were looking for traffic. Seems pretty black and white to me (and yes, you could have lied and said "how can I improve MY WEB COMIC THAT EVERYONE SHOULD VISIT RIGHT NOW?") to meet my low bar of criteria.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:03 PM on November 4, 2005

Along with Matt's comment, had you posted your question, someone would have asked for a link anyway. No need to lie about anything.
posted by snsranch at 4:49 PM on November 4, 2005

I reckon the low bar should include that the link not be on the front page but in the first comment if it's a self-link. People will evaluate the question and decide whether it's worth their trouble to go inside and not just lazily click on a link. It's a subtle thing and of course it's viewer discrepancy but any link whatsoever on the frontpage of any of these 3 sites is going to gain traffic. Having it inside specifically rules out 'lazy' traffic at least.
posted by peacay at 7:57 PM on November 4, 2005

I think they're both self links. Even accounting for EB's point, which does draw a difference between the two, I thought we agreed long ago (led by Matt) that web projects should not be "unveiled" on AskMe whether under the guise of criticism, problem solving, or traffic building. I'm not saying that everyone with a CSS problem needs to avoid linking to their site and copy all the relevant code here, but that would be nice.

But still, there's a huge difference between offering a self link with "I have this bizarre width problem in CSS" and saying "HERE BE MAH WEZZITE! YO THOTS?" Few will click on the former. The latter just invites traffic.
posted by scarabic at 12:09 PM on November 5, 2005

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