[Foundation-l] Interwiki map criteria and nofollow

Rich Holton richholton at gmail.com
Wed May 2 13:23:13 UTC 2007

David Gerard wrote:
> There's been considerable discussion on wikien-l of rel=nofollow on
> external links, and how and why those don't apply to the interwiki
> map.
> (This is not wikien-l asserting dominion over meta and the interwiki
> map :-) It's because en:wp is most of the reason wikipedia.org has a
> stupidly high Google page rank, and so the SEO spammers whine that
> it's our job to make the spammers look good to Google, and never mind
> us or our editors or readers. But anyway.)
> It was suggested (and I concur) that if our page rank is so all-fired
> powerful, that it be turned to the benefit of Free Content, like
> ourselves. So Jonathan Stokely posted a suggested rewording
> (http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/2007-May/070344.html),
> which I reworded a bit and placed here:
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Interwiki_map#Inclusion_criteria_clarification.3F
> Please go there and/or discuss it here.
> Precis on the controversy:
> http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/04/28/wikipedia-special-treatment-for-wikia-and-other-wikis/
> (an idiotic TechCrunch story)
> http://blog.valuewiki.com/2007/04/29/time-to-overhaul-or-abolish-the-interwiki-map/
> (upset ValueWiki blog post)
> http://blog.valuewiki.com/2007/04/30/quietly-stepping-down-from-my-high-horse/
> (slightly embarrassed ValueWiki followup blog post)
> http://davidgerard.co.uk/notes/2007/04/30/seo-spammers-and-googlemancers/
> (my post)
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/2007-April/ (nearer the end)
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/2007-May/ (start)

As I stated in the WikiEn thread, the main issue here is the perception 
of conflict of interest (or the reality of it, according to some).

David's post suggests that we make it so that only links to site 
supporting free content be exempt from the nofollow attribute. This has 
some advantages, including being consistent with the goals of the 
project, and not be apparently arbitrary.

Some issues remain with this approach. Of course, we'd need to agree to 
some definition of "free content." Would no-commercial-use sites be 
included? Another issue is the situation where parts of a site are "free 
content" by whatever definition we use, and other parts are not.

Finally, it does not truly address the perception of conflict of interest.

Now, we can't hope to eliminate everything that someone might consider 
to be a conflict of interest. It's a question of judgment; cost to 
benefit, where neither are quantifiable.

As an aside:
Given the volume of complaining that the nofollow policy has generated 
from the SEO community, the so-called "link juice" from Wikipedia must 
be valuable. Have we considered the possibility of this as a revenue stream?


More information about the foundation-l mailing list