Would I be a spammer? May 21, 2003 8:29 AM   Subscribe

How about this: I run a newsbot (which shall remain unlinked) that parses MeFi regularly, looking for news articles. I am wondering: would it be kosher with y'all (Matt most importantly) if the bot pinged back MeFi with added information about any links that it found (using the existing trackback infrastructure)? Useful value-add or trackback spam? [more inside]
posted by costas to MetaFilter-Related at 8:29 AM (10 comments total)

The bot typically only gets NewsFilter-type posts --my logs show that it only gets ~10 links from MeFi per day on average. The added information it can provide via TB are things like: discussions in other "big" weblogs, like Slashdot or Kuro5hin on the same link(s) (incl. double posts in MeFi itself) and related news articles --including articles newer than the FPP link(s).

I'd like to try this because I think it's a neat idea, but I don't want to look like spamming MeFi for free click-thrus, but rather contributing to the FPP itself.
posted by costas at 8:37 AM on May 21, 2003

Oh, I should also mention that the 10 links/day figure is biased high: usually FPPs link to >1 sources, so although the bot may grab say 10 links from MeFi those will usually resolve in fewer unique FPPs tracked-back per day (say ~6 or so).
posted by costas at 8:43 AM on May 21, 2003

Although I appreciate the idea for added service, that's not really what trackback was for and I'm guessing it'd look more like trackback spam than anything else.

I'm curious though, what would some sample output look like for a link from today?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:14 AM on May 21, 2003

Well, here's a good example of a link that has much a lot of meta-info added on by the bot. The trouble is that, at least in my reading of the trackback specification, the "blog excerpt" is limited to 255 characters of plain text, not HTML. So in those 255 characters there will be room for only aggregated meta-data: e.g.: "Wired article also linked to by 3 other sources. Discussions in Slashdot, Metafilter. 6 more related articles found."
posted by costas at 9:30 AM on May 21, 2003

And needless to say, if Matt doesn't like it, I ain't gonna even try :-)
posted by costas at 9:31 AM on May 21, 2003

That's a really cool idea. People should be able to subscribe their blogs to a bot like that.
posted by perplexed at 4:15 PM on May 21, 2003

Memigo looks like a pretty sweet site. I don't think that I'd like it appearing on MeFi, but this mention here should get it some deserved attention (and I'm certainly not accusing you of any nefarious intentions, costas). I've signed up, and I'll be playing around in the next week or so to see if it takes.
posted by Ufez Jones at 5:45 PM on May 21, 2003

perplexed: yes, I think that's a good idea for sites that are more blog-centric than mine: Technorati, Blogdex or Daypop could do this --although it would be too resource-consuming to ping-back everybody. I could do TB for memigo users as well, but right now memigo doesn't parse any and all blogs, just some "leading predictors" like MeFi, /., K5, etc.

UZ: I've advertised on MeFi (as in textads, not shameless plugs :-)... memigo is 1.5 years old at this point, so I am not (just) trying to get attention, I just thought it was a neat idea to try. Glad you like it though...
posted by costas at 1:59 AM on May 22, 2003

perplexed: I thought about this some more and did some research. I will be adding this feature in the near future (watch the meta forum). You will have to have a blog that supports TrackBack and TB auto-discovery.
posted by costas at 6:08 AM on May 22, 2003

As a final note: I've implemented this feature. More details here.
posted by costas at 6:47 AM on May 27, 2003

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