self-link in comments crosses line to self-promotion September 30, 2002 6:05 PM   Subscribe

When does a self link inside the comments of a post every now and then border on sheer un-adulterated pimping of your personal site? More than half of this guy's comments are links to his own site.
posted by machaus to Etiquette/Policy at 6:05 PM (25 comments total)

or gal is the case may be.
posted by machaus at 6:06 PM on September 30, 2002

Thanks, I really should have brought the issue here first. I would not have noticed the issue had not Babylonian stuck his or her head above the parapet with 4 links in a row to the same site. There are 2 charges (bring the prisoner before the bar!) here in my opinion:

1) The front page post is to an interesting story about tensions between Special Forces (with the more sophisticated cultural anthropology type tactics that they have attempted to use in Afghanistan) and regular units and Generals who want to 'let's roll' no matter what the situation. So spamming the comments with 'the war sucks' is derailing.

2) No self-linking! But, it's OK in comments. But what if every one of your comments is a self-link? That seems like the larger MeTa question.
posted by crunchburger at 6:21 PM on September 30, 2002

Sorry, here's the post that I'm talking about.
posted by crunchburger at 6:27 PM on September 30, 2002

Since it's related (if more benign) and since I think everyone would agree that tacking a sig onto each comment you make is a bad idea, I also note that this is not such a good idea.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:31 PM on September 30, 2002

Death by bunda, I say.

It seems there have been a lot more "sigs" appended to the bottoms of posts, and I was also under the impression that's what one's user page is for. I sure hope we don't end up with every post looking like the ones on those car-talk forums from this thread.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:45 PM on September 30, 2002

Since this person hasn't actually posted all that many comments so far (18 when I looked) it would seem to me that they haven't yet committed any particularly grievious sin, but are just on a trend towards doing so. They may not even quite realize this. Although, I haven't been a member here long enough to really have any opinion that should be listened to on the policy points of this post.

I thought I would point out, however, that all of the links to his/her site are actually links to reprints of articles from other news sources, and it would have been just as easy for babylonian to link to the original sources rather than to what is simply a copy on his/her site.

posted by advil at 6:51 PM on September 30, 2002

point taken.. but it would be impossible to find the relevant articles without knowing where they are.. there's no obvious search term to use

[posted by Babylonian at 6:02 PM PST on September 30]

It's only fair to point out that Babylonian, apart from only linking to news articles, seems to have done so out of convenience and did respond immediately to crunchburger's criticism. If you call someone to MeTa then you should make it clear the poster responded - and link or quote that response. Otherwise it seems he/she couldn't care less.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:02 PM on September 30, 2002

As far as sigs are concerned, I think they should simply be forbidden. They're not signatures anyway - all comments are already signed. If a self-link is important then its justification should be given within the comment, rather than a link just lazily added on. Otherwise, user pages are the right place to offer and to look up users' websites.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:07 PM on September 30, 2002

I don't think anyone has yet called Babylonian to MeTa - I jumped on him in the thread, with snarky criticism, had a little dialogue, and don't really feel comfortable calling him out any further. But I do think that what he has been doing violates the spirit of the rule against self-linking, and, as I told him, it undermines his credibility.
posted by crunchburger at 7:18 PM on September 30, 2002

I mean I don't know if anyone has informed him that his posts are being discussed in MeTa - obviously we are having a call-out, whether Babylonian knows it or not.
posted by crunchburger at 7:22 PM on September 30, 2002

I didn't mean you, crunchburger - I thought your exchange with Babylonian was fair. I didn't even mean machaus, as his post here was made at the same time Babylonian responded. I meant that MeTa threads that criticise a poster's behaviour should, as a matter of course, always include any defense already presented by the accused. In this case it fell to me to present it - hence the justification, so it wouldn't seem I was simply defending him/her out of the kindness of my heart. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:31 PM on September 30, 2002

well, sorry

my intention was not to 'come on strong'.. merely to 'share the wealth'

posted by Babylonian at 6:10 PM PST on September 30
posted by Babylonian at 6:28 PM PST on September 30 also links to news from babylon...
posted by dash_slot- at 7:36 PM on September 30, 2002

"As far as sigs are concerned, I think they should simply be forbidden. They're not signatures anyway - all comments are already signed."

Hear hear. People signing their nicks right before their nicks show up in bold yellow anyway? What is up with that? It's like a weird stutter at the end of a note.

Sigs are provided on some messageboards, but those that don't provide the ability to append them, don't want them. That seems fairly clear. I always turn sigs off when I am using a message board that does allow them...endless repitition of a phrase or picture is just annoying.
posted by lucien at 7:44 PM on September 30, 2002

It's a fairly gratuitous self-link, since the articles he (or she, whatever) is referring to (and so helpfully cut and pasted onto his site) are also linked, so it's not like he couldn't have linked directly to the original source.

It may be within the "letter of the law" to link like that, but it's unbearably tacky. So are those sigs, actually. I'm hoping they're both brief aberrations.
posted by stefanie at 8:18 PM on September 30, 2002

I always turn sigs off when I am using a message board that does allow them...endless repitition of a phrase or picture is just annoying.

Ugh! ~smacks her head~ You mean you can turn them off!? Wow, those signature messages are a big pain in the booty....who ever imagined they would be a good thing? (And # 329 on the list of why I love Metafilter--no sigs!)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:21 PM on September 30, 2002

"Ugh! ~smacks her head~ You mean you can turn them off!?"

Sadly not all of the time. It depends on which message board/s you read. You may be able to do so under your user profile.

Otherwise, I just turn pictures off with a shortcut I keep up on my links list. At least that speeds things up a bit.
posted by lucien at 9:59 PM on September 30, 2002

who ever imagined they would be a good thing?

They're a hold-over from Usenet and mailing-list days, when nobody had websites (or user pages) and it was the only way of adding some meta-information about yourself to your posts. There's probably a direct relationship between the level of anonymity on a board or newsgroup and the compulsion people feel to append a sig; it's your only shot at letting others know a bit more about you.

That may be why we're seeing more of them right now - new members are feeling lost in the crowd. But they're better off dropping them, I believe, because the traditional lack of sigs on MeFi actually encourages readers to develop a stronger sense of individual posters' personalities. If you have to make an effort to find out more about a poster - even if it's just clicking on a link to their user page - you'll be more likely to remember what you find. If it's rammed down your throat all the time, you just end up resenting it.
posted by rory at 2:56 AM on October 1, 2002

.sigs which are simply links to another site are, IMHO, nothing more than (a) unnecessary ads and/or (b) lame attempts to increase your site's Google rank (since they judge sites based on how many places link there.

I don't see anything really wrong in the occasional self-link in comments, but gratuitous self-linking to a site which contains nothing more than an article cribbed from some other site is just obnoxious.

posted by mkultra at 7:48 AM on October 1, 2002

But if we turn off sigs, how will people know that my message contains 100% recycled electrons?
posted by Shadowkeeper at 8:09 AM on October 1, 2002

...and how will we get Great Justice?
posted by interrobang at 8:35 AM on October 1, 2002

what if every one of your comments is a self-link? That seems like the larger MeTa question.

I've seen more a lot in the past month.
It started with this thread (not judging the thread or comments Yet it's where I noticed a start and progression. Again, I mention this as I thought it would go no further than that thread). Not sure if it is wrong but it can lead to FPP to have them too.

To me it seems a waste to link to my blog, because it is already posted. One thing that I like about Meta-Filter, is that the authors don't advertise post their writings. Yes, members sites are posted in comments and FPPs by other members which to me means more. That is what I like in Meta, members respecting members that they would use them as a reference, not self-posting or, basically sharing of other's knowledge.

Ever have someone say, "It doesn't matter if I'm wrong, I'm still right"? That is where the problem with self-posts can lead to in a discussion.

P.S. Lets not forget we are discussing to filter, not for argument.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:26 AM on October 1, 2002

Holy cow, just saw what Babylonian has been doing. How bizarre. Notice that every link in the, er, kinda stolen article here goes to another "newsfrombabylon" reprint, which only links to other "newsfrombabylon" reprints.

It's like some strange imploding hyperlink black hole. If it gets dense enough to cross the event horizon, will it become a porn site, a warez site or a Flash kitten site? I'm fascinated.
posted by mediareport at 2:39 PM on October 1, 2002

Hey as long as my posts are the topic of discussion here, I hope I'm not intruding by poking my head into this somewhat mean-spirited thread, yet here I am.

I didn't realize what I was posting was such an issue that it would warrant its own discussion thread with a couple of dozen posts, but evidently I am clueless about how things work here. All I knew is that one person made a snide remark, but never mentioned any rule I was breaking, and as mentioned earlier I apologized and explained my intentions - to share information.

I honestly thought (and still do) that the articles I posted contain thought-provoking content, and were relevant, and interesting. Perhaps I was wrong - some of you seem to disagree, quite strongly. Yes they hyperlink to other articles on the same site. But I think the hyperlinks are useful and add depth to the stories. I was inspired by Also it seems like many of the articles that get posted eventually expire, since papers like the LA Times and Yahoo News expire things so quickly. But that's just my opinion. Maybe you would rather have people link to articles which will disappear in 10 days.

I did not intend to engage in "sheer unadulterated pimping" my site, or be "unbearably tacky" or be offensive or break any rules, and so now that I know my behavior was borderline or perhaps over some line, I will cut it out

posted by Babylonian at 3:12 PM on October 1, 2002

Babylonian - you would have found out about this thread if you displayed your email on your personal page (I even searched around your site for an address, but couldn't find one).

Metafilter doesn't have a set of rules, but it does have a pretty long tradition. Why is the number of new users restricted? Why is there all that blurb before you sign up as a new user? To try and get you to think about this kind of thing for yourself - to help you realise just how clueless you indeed are before you start posting, not after.

A good way to not offend people is to behave in a similar way to others in the community. No-one else is posting a whole bunch of links to their own pages. No-one. It's not about content. It's not about relevancy. It's about self-links. People only post them with good reason, wait a long time between each, and generally note them as such (and often apologise too).

Enough. I, too, was pissed off when, as a relative newbie, I first found out about a discussion "behind my back" on meta (indeed, that's why I looked for your email). It happens. This place is far from perfect. But it's better than anything else I know of. So skip the offended tone (the last thing we need is another flame-the-newbie fest), back off with the self links, and enjoy... Welcome to the club.

[Woo-hoo. My turn to play condescending1 big brother.]
1but ironically self-aware
posted by andrew cooke at 5:24 PM on October 1, 2002

the last thing we need is another flame-the-newbie fest

What newbie you be now Andrew & Babylonian ? Meta-bies : )

PS, dg, I found one for you list, Andrew's last line.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:01 PM on October 10, 2002

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