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> "Everything that doesn't fit elsewhere", and robot access
Peter Evans
post Sep 1 2006, 05:59 AM
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As you may have noticed, I've just posted an egregiously web-irrelevant message under "General interest|Off topic". I'm not sure if it was OK to do so. If it wasn't, a moderator is free to delete it.

Is this message OK? If not, perhaps "This is the forum for everything that doesn't fit elsewhere" should be rephrased: "This is the forum for everything web-related that doesn't fit elsewhere", or similar. If it is OK, then I wonder whether it might be necessary to distinguish between (a) messages such as mine and (cool.gif flamebait, etc.

Whether or not I was right to post my particular message, I worry about the lack of a robots.txt to prevent indexing of the "General Interest" area. I think that this should remain inconspicuous: a pleasant fillip for people who contribute to other, more central areas of forums.htmlhelp.com.

This post has been edited by Peter Evans: Sep 1 2006, 06:00 AM
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John Pozadzides
post Sep 1 2006, 11:51 PM
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QUOTE(Peter Evans @ Sep 1 2006, 05:59 AM) *

As you may have noticed, I've just posted an egregiously web-irrelevant message under "General interest|Off topic". I'm not sure if it was OK to do so. If it wasn't, a moderator is free to delete it.

Is this message OK? If not, perhaps "This is the forum for everything that doesn't fit elsewhere" should be rephrased: "This is the forum for everything web-related that doesn't fit elsewhere", or similar. If it is OK, then I wonder whether it might be necessary to distinguish between (a) messages such as mine and (cool.gif flamebait, etc.

Whether or not I was right to post my particular message, I worry about the lack of a robots.txt to prevent indexing of the "General Interest" area. I think that this should remain inconspicuous: a pleasant fillip for people who contribute to other, more central areas of forums.htmlhelp.com.


Your post was totally appropriate.

If anyone posts SPAM in that forum we'll treat it like any other and ban the user and delete the spam.

Liam would be the man to make the robots.txt decision, but I am indifferent towards the idea. I guess I don't understand the logic behind excluding it... but again, I don't really care either way. smile.gif

John
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Peter Evans
post Sep 2 2006, 09:08 AM
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Thank you for the approval!

My worry was that people would follow rules to the letter but not the spirit, for example advertising their services where you say they may and without obvious gushing or other blatant cues for the "spam" label -- but with at least as much apparent interest in the handling of their posts by Google etc. as on the effects of their posts on people who anyway frequent forums.htmlhelp.com. Also, you allow self-advertising (in its place), but self-advertising is a form of advertising, and essential to advertising practice is the notion that you have to drum in your name in order to have some long-term, cumulative effect. I think you risk having people who'll too persistently commend their own expertise -- why encourage them by letting Google amplify the effect of their suave but repetitive self-promotion?

Also, consider what would happen if I posted to the "doesn't fit elsewhere" section a coolly and politely argued piece forcefully advocating the impeachment of [insert name of a statesman here] for violating the constitution of [insert name of his or her nation here]. Chances are high that the statesman would have his or her admirers here, and that you'd have a flamewar (or in less fashionable language a row). The trouble with rows is that they're not easily contained: chances are high that the animosity would soon spill over into discussions of, oh, the implementation of CSS2 in M$IE7, etc etc etc. Would that be OK? It might be, but I think it's better to consider such scenarios before any of them happens.
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Liam Quinn
post Sep 2 2006, 10:39 AM
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I like the idea of everything being indexed. Even if I didn't like that idea, I don't see a way to block particular forums with robots.txt; URLs of messages in one forum aren't distinguishable from URLs of messages in a different forum.
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John Pozadzides
post Sep 2 2006, 04:18 PM
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QUOTE(Peter Evans @ Sep 2 2006, 09:08 AM) *
Chances are high that the statesman would have his or her admirers here, and that you'd have a flamewar (or in less fashionable language a row). The trouble with rows is that they're not easily contained: chances are high that the animosity would soon spill over into discussions of, oh, the implementation of CSS2 in M$IE7, etc etc etc. Would that be OK?

If (when) we have something like occur, we have a number of options:
  • Nicely chime in and let people know "that's enough".
  • Lock the thread. This will end the discussion forcably.
  • Warn a user that persists in picking at scabs.
  • Ban a user that won't heed warnings.
Frankly none of us wants to babysit, but the desire not to intervene is secondary to the desire for everyone to get along. So in the interests of keeping the forums a friendly place we may have to boot people out occasionally. smile.gif

John
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