In a regular afternoon check of techmeme.com, I was intrigued to find a linkbait post of a most intriguing kind from Search Engine Land:
Get a Free Link from Wired
Sure enough, Wired has a wiki. I quickly hacked up a how to on conducting usability testing, plugging my own Scrutinizer Browser which is an interesting way to empower a novice with expert level ability to observe the thoughts of a test participant.
I didn't pay much attention to what Danny had posted to Wired, but it turns out he spammed them with non-how to promotional content. I did manage to check back, after calling attention to opportunity to my fellow Stomper faculty, Don Crowther. We're in the midst of launching a course on how to do social marketing. But unlike Danny's post, mine served Wired's presumed goal of accumulating a large number of how to articles.
Danny's post has been updated a couple times, so it's a bit late to do a blow by blow. Lots of folks followed suit in spamming wired, consuming Wired server and brand capital for purposes not advantageous to Wired. Editorial is keeping up with the low flow of crud thankfully. Search Engine Land has apologized for inviting spam.
There was an early update that I found quite homourous:
Postscript: Seems like Wired is now calling our test entry spam and deleting it. Plus, Ross Mayfield, Wired's Wiki Editor is incorrectly saying that nofollow doesn't "work" on wikis.
Ross Mayfield, a true technologist, countered that no-follow is inappropriate for wikis. Danny@SEL rebuked this statement strongly and others followed suit. When all the engines jumped on the no-follow bandwagon in January '05, I wrote a post title "Settling for Just Good Enough":
When Ross says that no-follow doesn't work for wikis, he's speaking from a semantic POV, not a SEO/business/untrusted content one. For the wiki to work, a wide range of potentially contrasting viewpoints are possible.
While the recent move across multiple industry players to support rel="no-follow" on links is a positive step, it falls rather short. Vote links, with -1,0, or 1 values, would have been a much more interesting solution to this problem and left room for the community to engender evolution, instead of simply elimenating a threat to the already plotted growth.
I'm confident that blogging tools will soon support this for comments and referrer links, but I regret that the effort will be spent on the most impoverished conception of link typing...
I find it sad that a linkbait stunt forced Wired's hand into going the no-follow route when they might have found an editorial or user feedback route to keep SPAM under control. Just because Wikipedia made what seems a smart decision to no-follow, doesn't mean that's the right solution for Wired How-To -- a smaller and more restrained content space.
I look forward to the day when a major search engine takes on not just a single boolean about the level of endorsement of a link to supporting a range of levels of support, or even relationships.