January 23, 2007

Wikipedia "nofollow" aftermath

"I felt a great disturbance in the [Net], as if thousands of [high-pagerank links] cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced."

A brief roundup of some miscellaneous observation on the "black hole of Wikipedia:

The change is now stated to be "Indefinite".

Regarding Wikipedia taking and not giving back: Well, I've said it before - It's Wales' world, and we just work in it (for free). There's a big difference between autonomy and the illusion of autonomy. And that difference should be clearest whenever the top-down decisions are evident (even if they're good decisions).

Some people say this change doesn't matter much, since Wikipedia's content is echoed and scraped, and those links may remain active. However, the scraper sites tend not to have a lot of rank or trust to pass on. And more importantly, Google knows how to deal with duplicate sites in terms of not counting them repeatedly (not that it can't ever be fooled, but page-duplication is a very old issue).

I've seen conjecture that this will lower Wikipedia's search ranking, since it'll now look like a spammish site, having many inlinks and no outlinks. That's wishful thinking. Wikipedia is "trusted" enough so that it can hoard outlinks like Scrooge, it won't be a problem.

And while I'm amused by the idea of removing Wikipedia from results, or returning the favor to Wikipedia by similarly denying it any link-juice, I'm a little skeptical that anybody with enough power is listening.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in wikipedia | on January 23, 2007 11:58 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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Actually, I think Shelley's idea may be a good one; not remove it, but sidebar it elsewhere, so that it always shows where relevent, but isn't actually part of the search results, SEOs can then ignore it and users can find it easily.

When I'm looking something up, I tend to search both, separately, anyway (using the firefox searchbar), so it's a to be expected user behaviour anyway.

Posted by: MatGB at January 24, 2007 12:09 PM

Boring. Get over your hostility to Wikipedia. It makes you look peevish. Did somebody once edit one of your contributions and you could not stand to be corrected?

Posted by: RP at January 24, 2007 07:10 PM

"...it can horde outlinks like Scrooge..."

Genghis Khan had a horde, Scrooge had a hoard.

Posted by: Alan at January 27, 2007 01:51 AM

MatGB: Maybe. But it brings up complicated issues of favoritism.

Alan: Thanks, I've fixed it. I'm terrible at proofreading. Sadly, spellcheck doesn't do anything to help catch such errors.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at January 27, 2007 01:58 AM

I have cited this article in my blog: Wikipedia and Academia Hit News Headlines Again http://lit2542006.blogspot.com/2007/02/wikipedia-and-academia-hit-news.html#links

Posted by: Mohamed Taher at February 18, 2007 11:26 PM

I have a reply to the comment made by RP.
My reaction is about Wiki and its 'contributors.' I had terrible experiences with un-qualified / un-ethical practices of editing my stuff. Those who had no idea of my subject or specialization, walked in, and boldly deleted my content. No discussion and no talk was felt necessary. Permission to edit by any walkie-talkie is the birth right; you don't even need to be a registered user, that is worst part of this often cited reference tool. Even those who are registered need not show their original name or full name!!!

Posted by: Mohamed Taher at February 18, 2007 11:38 PM