charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
[personal profile] charmian
http://news.livejournal.com/137089.html?thread=95366785#t95366785

LJ seems to have introduced an anti-spam measure which identifies and holds suspicious comments.

More info (Russian language)

It seems nowadays the best way to get info on what is happening on LJ is to read the journals of the Russian staff. Unfortunately, since I can't read Russian, I have to rely on Google Translate, so I am not confident on the details; however, it seems if you don't want to use this feature, you can turn it off in your settings. If this works, this will be a great advance, as many users are plagued with comment spammers.

Also as part of the new release, they've changed communities from being under their own domain to having URLs like regular journals. Possibly this may lead to better domain aliasing in the future? If this leads to comms being able to have persistent domain names, that would also mark a major advance.

There is also another change with external links in Plus and Basic journals: they will now have a "nofollow" attribute, which will, in the future, be applied according to a whitelist.

Date: 2011-04-18 12:01 am (UTC)
sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)
From: [personal profile] sophie
...that last bit, about the nofollow attribute being applied on Plus/Basic journals, saddens me terribly. :/

Date: 2011-04-18 03:24 am (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
Agreed--I was going to do it anyway, but turning nofollow on for all links from non paid journals is just plain wrong, complete abuse of what nofollow is there for.

Sure, I've switched to DW, but I know a lot of people use LJ, properly, for blogging, etc. If Google is supposed to work by aggregating links and counting value, for a site to completely cut itself out of that is to work against that basic principle.

@Charmian, any idea what the 'whitelist' will be?

Date: 2011-04-18 03:39 am (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
Nofollow is meant to denote the person placing the link does not trust it or value it.

It's bad because search engines, especially Google, are reliant on the weight of information coming from links, especially of mid to low level users, to weight sites.

Essentially, this, to a small extent, degrades Google results, and as no one has yet to come up with a better algorithm for websearch, that means it degrades the web.

Yes, it's an antispam measure, but that's not a good thing to do.

And frankly I don't care whether users care or not, it directly affects me by reducing the strength of the search engine that gives the least worst results.

Date: 2011-04-18 06:45 am (UTC)
foxfirefey: A wee rat holds a paw to its mouth. Oh, the shock! (myword)
From: [personal profile] foxfirefey
Sounds like the spam situation on LJ has gotten bad enough that they don't on average trust or value links from unpaid users. It doesn't necessarily degrade search, even if it tosses out some good data, if an overwhelming amout of the data is actually bad.
Edited Date: 2011-04-18 06:45 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-04-18 11:48 am (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
Thing is, unless the Whitelist is for users they're trusting (which would be difficult to do but acceptable), then they're saying my links can't be trusted.

I've been using my links there for search purposes for more than half a decade, some of my sidebar links are actually important at times.

Sure, my DW is now more important, but this means LJ is useless for a semi-pro blogger unless they pay.

Date: 2011-04-18 08:01 am (UTC)
azurelunatic: Teddybear that contains ethernet switch.  (teddyborg)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
Are you having a religious reaction to it? I am. Though mine may be somewhat less strong than yours.

Date: 2011-04-18 11:51 am (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
Pretty much, if done bluntly and applied to all users, it's Just Wrong on a very basic level. I dislike that users can post publicly and opt out of search, but I've learnt to live with that. That the site itself is saying unpaid users are forcibly opted out of contributing?

My LJ used to have PageRank 6, links from it were actually valuable (I never sold them, obviously, but I did make use of it for campaign purposes). Now? Even if I wanted to, i couldn't make use of the network of people on LJ that I know to do perfectly legitimate things unless they all pay money to a company I no longer want to give money to.

Date: 2011-04-18 07:28 am (UTC)
sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)
From: [personal profile] sophie
[personal profile] matgb explains it pretty well in his response above, I think. Nofollow is the equivalent of specifically not linking to a site to stop search engines from following it because you don't want to give them PageRank. It degrades the quality of search engine results.

There is more to it, though. Given that LJ basically *is* blogging in Russia, doing this pretty effectively aids censorship by preventing basically the entire Russian blog landscape from helping to make relevant sites be more widely known. (Remember, most users are going to be nonpaid; however, I'm not sure how much of that applies to the Russian demographic so some more data on that would be nice to know.)

Then, of course, there's the fact that while paid users finance the site, free users provide most of its content. (Again, this could be different in Russia, I have no real idea, but this point applies to everywhere.) The idea that LJ doesn't trust its free users is kind of insidious, and in the long run can only lead to people leaving the service.
Edited (Oops, typos.) Date: 2011-04-18 07:29 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-04-18 07:59 am (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
It's something that gets a morality-based reaction from me, weirdly enough. On an intellectual level, I know that what [personal profile] foxfirefey is saying makes perfect sense: there's a horrible infestation of spammers that's been growing for years, they just cut out a chunk but they've been metastasizing, I'm gathering there will be refinements down the road ... but it still strikes me as a moral wrong when applied to non-spammers. It's not just a "this is not a good thing", it's a more visceral reaction. It's very interesting to see what weird web-things activate that reaction in me. The last time I felt something similar, there was a Security by Obscurity incident, and I wound up ranting loudly about it on public transit, filling the Recommended Daily Allowance of "religion-ranting lunatic" for several people.

Date: 2011-04-18 08:31 am (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
Intellectually, I don't think it's terrible. And morally, my "spammers are a bane upon everything they touch" is currently in negotiations with "links should be indexed unless deliberately private or untrusted" for which is a worse sin. So I'm feeling the unease of conflicting morals, but not half as strongly as security-by-obscurity gets me. I just find it interesting from an applied-psychology standpoint that I'm having an actual reaction where my moral code is getting involved, rather than intellectually-held principles.

Date: 2011-04-18 12:24 am (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
Interesting.

Date: 2011-04-18 03:57 am (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
I did not. I'm not really following LJ dev that closely any more.

Date: 2011-04-18 12:45 pm (UTC)
pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)
From: [personal profile] pne
If this leads to comms being able to have persistent domain names, that would also mark a major advance.

I'm not sure what you mean by a persistent domain name that is currently not available for communities?

Domain aliasing already works, kind of - http://lje.mizinamo.org/ , for example, has been going to [profile] lj_ellinika for quite some time. (Though I think that protected entries aren't displayed, due to cookie issues - but I think that's the same whether the target of the alias is a community or a personal journal; in either case, the domain name is not *.livejournal.com.)

Date: 2011-04-19 05:11 pm (UTC)
sub_divided: cos it gets me through, hope you never stop (Default)
From: [personal profile] sub_divided
There are plenty of people who will be upset that they can no longer gain Google levels by providing high quality on their Livejournals. What about all the BNFs who won't show up when you Google their fanfiction?

Date: 2011-04-19 10:13 pm (UTC)
sub_divided: cos it gets me through, hope you never stop (Default)
From: [personal profile] sub_divided
I think you're seriously underestimating the number of people with fandom ambition on livejournal. Sometimes they're on livejournal because it is (or was) the best way to get a lot of readers who will interact with you to a high degree. I know a bunch of people who have a personal website, but use it to link to their entries on livejournal so they can keep all their comments (and work) in one place. Of course, with those annoying pop-up ads, livejournal's not the best platform for archiving your material anyway, but that doesn't mean that everyone who stays there doesn't care what non-site users see when they look.

Date: 2011-04-20 01:08 am (UTC)
sub_divided: cos it gets me through, hope you never stop (Default)
From: [personal profile] sub_divided
Do you know whether unpaid communities are going to be hit with nofollow, or just unpaid individual journals?

I guess it's true that if you want to interact with the wider world, you don't chose (English language) livejournal as your platform. Still, it irks me to think all of the users of an entire site are going to be relegated to second class internet citizens status.

It is true, though, that in the past you could get an unfair pagerank boost just by e.g. friending lots of popular journals, since you'd show up on those journals' profile pages as a "friend of". I mean, that's probably what made the site attractive to robot spammers in the first place, right: robots don't even have to leave comments (which might be filtered or deleted by the journal owner) to gain rank.

Forgot to mention that I think the two other things mentioned in your post - community domains and spam filters - are awesome

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