[drupal-devel] rel=nofollow

Chris Messina chris.messina at gmail.com
Wed Jan 19 09:08:16 UTC 2005

I'm glad to see this discussion going on after Spread Firefox got
hammered this past week and I spent a couple hours manually deleting
50 spam posts from a nefarious user who created multiple accounts
after we blocked him/her.

However, I think that this new approach could be really damaging to
Drupal and its communities, in ways that have already been described.

Thus, here's what I propose for this new rel="nofollow" module,
borrowing very important thinking from Steven Garrity
(http://actsofvolition.com/archives/2005/january/thoughtson) but
avoiding his concern that this tool might limit "the wild-westiness™
of weblogs and the ability to benefit from the mass of communication
by improving search results."

I suggest that we create a new "permissions" role called "spammer".
Obviously this would not be a role that anyone would covet. However,
it would be easy enough for you, as an admin, to track down an
offender (ignoring anonymous comments ATM) and assign them this role.
Whereas most permissions role you think of as "granting" permissions,
this role would strip you of all power.

Not only would you be treated as a blocked user, but all of your
posts' links would have the rel="nofollow" tag input filter applied,
basically killing any spam links without censoring the posts. As a
more extreme measure, we should create a way to mass unpublish spam
created by one individual, but in leiu thereof, this approach might be
easier to implement (though I have no idea how to do it myself).

In any case, I think that we should be very careful about implementing
this new tool -- powerful though it may be, for it threatens to weaken
wild-westiness™ (as Steven said) of the web while only mildly imposing
upon the spammers.


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