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Thursday, March 30, 2006

GWOnline and linking policies

Today I got a polite PM from one of the GWOnline forum moderators asking to post (or for me to post) the PvP Beginner's Guide I wrote on their forums. Here's my reply:
I did consider posting it on GWO but to be honest the reasons I didn't were that I would have to {a} reformat it to use forum format code, {b} not use any links to other relevant articles I or others have written and {c} maintain a separate copy when I update the article. {a} is just a chore, {b} is a significant problem especially considering I need to add a "further reading" link section and {c} means I'm doing any updates N times where N are the number of sites I posted the article (probably about 4 if I did the same elsewhere).

Somewhat on-topic, I personally think the GWO linking policy is wrong. A lot of value on the Internet comes from linking useful information so the no-link policy strikes me as being more interested in GWO's own ad revenue than fostering discussion and knowledge sharing in the playerbase.
Here's their stated reasons for not linking other sites. The relevant quote is:
We do not intend to serve as a linking service or a search engine to other sites. Links that wouldn't be allowed anywhere on the forums (including signatures, and location) would be to links to sites (commercial OR personal) that have:
...
Sites offering similar or the same content as GWOnline.Net. It has taken many 'man' hours to compile the sites' content and as such our commitment to the promotion of that content is total. Neither do we allow visitors to use our forum membership as a means to build their own sites from, using our Private Messaging system to recruit writers and/or their content or membership drives for their own forums.

I'm not sure that my site does offer the same content as GWOnline in any event, but it seems that most of the site admins take the rule as meaning simply "don't link" - otherwise, the polite PM would have said "by the way, we linked your article in that thread over there".

This is a tricky one. Do I sigh and obey their wacky link policy? What about GWGuru and the Guild Hall? I'm sure more people would see the content if I did repost there. GWOnline does have a lot of members albeit a terrible signal/noise ratio. At the end of the day, giving people some information to help them was the point of writing the article.

It's not clear to me, I'll have to think about it.

In general, as I said in my reply to the forum moderator, I think these kind of linking policies (incoming or outgoing) are misguided. BoingBoing sums it up pretty nicely.

3 Comments:

Blogger Brinstar said...

I don't think you should have to follow their linking policy, which would of course mean that you couldn't link to your guide over there. And since it's a huge hassle to update several documents, then maybe you could do one of those Fight Club things:

"There's this blog out there with a PvP guide for beginners. I can't tell you where it is with a link, but it's somewhere on the internet, and it's written by a person who goes by Clamatius. Do a Google Blog Search and you'll find it."

So mysterious! So clandestine!

3/30/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Clamatius said...

Seems like if they didn't want me to link it and a direct link post would be destroyed via moderator that an oblique reference would similarly be sent to /dev/null.

Another interesting thing is that they already linked this site elsewhere. Weird.

3/30/2006 03:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GWOnline is a self serving nazi moderated cult. The modding is so heavy handed that anything and I mean anything that's seen as "hostile" to them will get you a ban.

And yet Ive had a mod PM me with vile hateful comments that I wonder if they've got split personality issues.

Anyway, I say dont bother with them and link your site on the other two GW sites instead. The quality of people on those two are much better anyway.

4/03/2006 01:57:00 AM  

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