Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Linking to sites you don't like

The problem of course is that by pointing to that site you are inadvertently promoting them. You and anyone other critics who point to the site are helping increase it's Google page ranking or Technorati authority. It does not matter, necessarily, if your site has low authority, others might pick up on this with a higher authority. So what can you do?

If it is a big news site there is not much to do, link direct.

If it is a site like the Discovery Institute I humbly suggest that you do not link direct but link to its Wikipedia article. The advantage is that you both do not promote the site directly and, by going through wikipedia you help promote that entry above the home website. The advantage of that is that since many users click on the first relevant entry they see they might be exposed to a more balanced view of the site under criticism - due to Wikipedia's Neutral Point of View Policy - although there may be ongoing debate on how neutral the article is, of course.

If it is a site that does not warrent an entry in wikipedia and you have found it via a blog, rather than just hat tip that blog who has a pointer to the site in question, link to them instead when referencing the site in question. If they brought the issue to your attention help promote them so they will be encouraged to do it again.

Of course, if you happen to be the first then by all means link to and criticise that page/blog/site on whatever basis you deem relevant. Hopefully others who pick up on this will link back to you.

These thoughts were triggered by me live blogging at the Weird Science meeting last Saturday. Not the my site has much authority it has been mostly dormant till recently, still I felt uncomfortable linking to sites under criticism by the speakers, especially since I largely agreed with the speakers.

Is this a good solution, are there better ones, or should I just link direct?


Db0 said...

I generally don't have much of an aversion to linking to pages I don't agree with. However when that page is also stupudly inane or absolutely not worth any positive linkage, I generally do it with a demeaning anchor text.

I like your idea of linking to the wikipedia entry as well but very few places would have one. An alternative to that, when talking about a major corporation, would be to link to their knowmore article I guess.

martino said...

Well a major corporation would probably be in wikipedia. Good to know alternatives though. Can always link to stock profile in S&P or the FT instead.

Podblack Cat said...

I believe that some people suggest the 'no follow' option (there's a particular feature that allows that, which is easy to find). I've certainly had others suggest not linking to 'bad sites'. Yet linking to a Wikipedia article is a new strategy... I think I might try that in future... Seems like a sensible move. Either that, or something like the Skeptic's Dictionary? :)

martino said...

Yes putting 'rel="nofollow" 'inside and after might work your 'a href' tag. nofollow. Of course and thanks
Orginally just waned a quick method when live blogging. Still I like the idea of pushing awikipedia article or fellow blogger over the article in question.

Danny Boy, FCD said...

I use the nofollow tag when I must link to disreputable sites. Another method is to link indirectly via search engine. For instance, instead of linking to the DI, link to the google search for the keywords discovery institute. Yet a third way is to link to sites that argue against their viewpoint. I use this method whenever I refer to quackery or pseudoscience. Instead of linking to the woo-woo site, I'd link to Skepdic or Quackwatch.

faithlessgod said...

Yup all good points Danny Boy, I maybe should have expanded upon just choosing wikipedia as an alternative. I like google search option when there is not obvious neutral or critical site.

Joe D said...

what if the organisation you don't like is wikipedia? do you link to it like this? ;)

faithlessgod said...

Hi Joe D

I certainly would link to conservapedia indirectly via wikipedia.

Now if, for arguments sake, I did not like wikipedia then I would use a google search link, I certainly would not chose an alternative that is obviously worse in every respect!

(Anyway since this post I have revised my view on creating such links more anon).