Very interesting thing just happened. (Once again, standard disclaimer... I'm obviously not the first person to have this experience, but it's new to me...)

I got a trackback on my iTunes entry (the first trackback there...) from a Japanese MT blog. Anyway, I went over to the site and it was indeed an entry about iTunes, but no mention of me or my blog. Also, no link back.

So, maybe I feel a bit hurt, but nothing illegal going on here. Obviously it makes sense to try to direct people to more information about a topic and sending a trackback to an entry about the same topic makes sense. It just felt weird. I had been looking at trackback more as a two-way thing, but I guess they are technically one way.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Obviously, if it were spam or a link to a unrelated topic, I would erase the trackback, but it is a link to a legitimate entry about the same topic and I wouldn't think about erasing it. I guess it's just that I've never trackbacked to anyone that I didn't link to except in the case of a topic exchange thread...

25 Comments

This is just the beginning. The bad faith actors haven't really caught on to blogging yet, but they will, which will force us into an arms race with them. I've been giving this a lot of thought, and I really like a suggestion that Sébastien Paquet made to utilize an easy reputation system to moderate postings. Of course, you could still go back and upwardly moderate a trackback (or comment) if it came from an underlinked (or new) blog, but this would also create some accountability as well.

Interesting. Yes. I've been thinking of trying to integrate something like the Slashdot filter on my comments section, but my comments section has been very well behaved lately. (Maybe most posts aren't as interesting these days. My technorati ranking has gone down these days. I thought it was the war, but hmm... Maybe I'm not interesting anymore... anyway.) I think this reputation tracking makes a lot of sense. One question is whether you link individuals to their blog reputation in the case of comments. blogshares uses their logo on your top page as a way of authenticating your ownership of a blog...

So will it be "filter trackbacks unlisted in blogshares or technorati rankings of less than 1000 (Y/n)?" in the blog setup? ;-)

That's the problem with giving any weight to Trackback. Want to see something really insidious. Look at the Referers page for Scripting News. I might as well stop running it. Only yesterday was it explained to me why they do it. Google page rank. Uck.

I follow the trends in the adult world fairly closely and they have taken notice of weblogs and will soon be sinking their teeth into the traffic they offer. Google page rank is one reason they do it but it's also another link trap that someone could fall into. These folks are crafty and ruthless in pursuit of the almighty dollar and come up with some really smart and clever things long before the mainstream catches on. That's mainly why I watch what they're up to. But also it gives me a heads up on some of the more insidious tricks so I can end around them. Referer stats have been spamed since 95. At least thats when I was doing it and also the reason you don't see them on my sites anymore. They're reciplink magnets. The people spamming Dave aren't even smart about it. Traditionally you spam with a genuine looking domain and as soon as traffic picks up you do an Apache level redirect to your porn sponsor (which most engines will follow to spider the content on the other side) and just let the bucks roll in. Definitely keep your eyes out for these folks. If you want to read up on some of the weekly tricks go to trix.sexswap.com and sign up for the newsletter. It's a handy resource. Know thy enemy.

Oh yeah, and just wait till they get ahold of Wikis...

Hello and I'm so sorry sending one way trackback. I find out posting draft on my blog after see this article. I make correction and add link to your blog.

it's very easy to trigger a trackback ping with any manual operations. Thus I agree with Dave on the weight of TB. At least now, it's just for your reference. Sometimes, I think Stephen Donwnes' method could be a more useful one. At: http://www.downes.ca/referrers.htm

Those who forget Usenet ae condemned to repeat it...
The reason the web succeeded was the one-way links allowed it to scale all the way up the power curve to be fully connected. Two-way links hinder this.

So what are the alternatives? What other techniques can we use for the 2-way web? I link to you, you link to me is a manual process.

I like some aspects of trackback, but not others. I like Joi funneling his comments into an RSS feed, but I don't like the redundancies. Perhaps only the diffs?

I look at a one-way trackback without a mention of my site in their post or a link to a specific post of mine as nothing but link whoring. If their post is interesting and I want my readers to follow the thread there and read more about it, I leave it alone. If it is a link to nothing relevant, I remove it. So far it hasn't happened often, but I'm sure that could change sometime soon as people realize the power they have to get their site seen.

The issue of legitimate one-way TrackBacking backing has come up on a few occasions in the past. (Take this one for instance.) I documented a legitimate use of one-way TrackBack pinging around that time also.

In some sense I agree with the notion that TrackBack and any other forms of the two-way web are ripe to be abused. As Isaac noted manually or programatically setting off a TrackBack ping is easy -- its just an HTTP POST to a URI. (RESTful Web services at their greatest.)

Unlike Usenet, we as publishers have the ability to control and manged the situation. We will have to (and should) actively maintain the quality of such things. I'd advocate deleting low quality or spam pings. As a publisher of a weblog that uses TrackBack for post-to-post linking, I have the right to delete a ping I don't think furthers the conversation. (I've deleted pings because they just lead to a page with a link back to the post they where pinging.)

Its not like you are deleting their comment where that content is gone -- you are deleting the link, the content lives on. If the job of manging pings is too big (ala Slashdot) then perhaps a karma points/ratings system could be layered ontop of TrackBack. Right now I don't see anyone receiving that many pings in their weblog.

The bottomline is we will eventually need to a mechanisms such as IP blocking or other optional means of filter rubbish like any other interative medium. I don't see the spectre of abuse being a reason not to move forward if something like TrackBack is useful and effective in some context.

I think Vote Links could help mitigate this, as automatically-generated links like trackbacks could be given a vote of 0 until reviewed by the host.

1. A trackback is a suggestion. It is a request to the site owner to link to a particular thread. The site owner should feel free to accept or decline it. I reckon if you're really getting overwhelmed, you should only allow 'trusted' trackbacks to go up live, and moderate all others. (As a side-issue, I think there should be a decentralised, blog-based authentication system, but that's another story.)

2. A trackback is different from a two-way link. To my mind, if you want to have true two-way links between pages, this should be mediated by a third website. This would allow anyone to comment on any other website or page, and have their comment or relevant information available and easy-to-find for anyone who wanted to find it. (But this is not, repeat not, what trackback is for.)

all in my very humble opinion of course!

Indeed - this is in effect what I use Technorati for - a third party trackback service for my blog.

At this point, I'd guess you chould chalk it up to growing pains.
For most people, the concept of blogging is new, as well as the mechanics of it.
Certainly, the netiquette of a trackback is going to be lost on a large percentage of new bloggers.

Maybe some gentle reminder at first? (Just as you did.) After that, it should be up to the technology to prevent blind trackbacks.
(I would guess that in some future version, there will be an option that says 'Allow one way trackbacks'.)

All that being said, I've probably done it wrong once or twice - I rarely use them and when I do, I probably do it wrong. ;-)

I second the idea of a blog based authentication system. If blog's are important channels of communication, then authentication should be a part of it if the system is going to scale.

Indeed, the lesson of usenet for me is that identity matters if the noise is to be filtered out. It doesn't even have to be a real identity just a virtual one which can be held accountable.

On top of this a network wide service to measure "karma" (i.e. social responsibility) could be built. The idea is to let the network filter your relationships with strangers based on their past record in the network.

Sure its a barrier to the conversation and I'm sure it's not necessary at all now. But as things grows, I guess the option is to either seperate off into trusted little communities or police the wider community. Or at least the widest community possible on a voluntary basis.

I hope the geeks put something in place before the suits and The Man get their teeth into things. Because they most certainly will try...

Wow, some great commentary and a very interesting thread.

Dave

Ironically, this is what Google's PageRank was originally invented for:

Larry Page: "It wasn't that we intended to build a search engine. We
built a ranking system to deal with annotations. We wanted to annotate
the web--build a system so that after you'd viewed a page you could
click and see what smart comments other people had about it. But how do
you decide who gets to annotate Yahoo? We needed to figure out how to
choose which annotations people should look at, which meant that we
needed to figure out which other sites contained comments we should
classify as authoritative. Hence PageRank.

"Only later did we realize that PageRank was much more useful for
search than for annotation..."

via Brad DeLong

This is something I've commented about before. Using PKI is one possible way to get a handle on it. Not from the perspective of censorship or exclusion. But more from the perspective of being able to confirm that an identity does exist and that it's 'trustable' to interact with. The mechanisms behind larger trust networks are not trivial. But unless we start using them we won't be able to grapple with the next layers of complexity.

http://www.ideaspace.net/users/wkearney/archives/entries/000036.html

http://www.ideaspace.net/users/wkearney/archives/entries/000052.html

Taro-san: Don't worry about it. I didn't mean to force you to link to me...

Marc: Howard's been talking about the comments thing too. I definitely would like to see sort of outline RSS feeds where I can send you the comments to each entry in sort of a "sub-feed"... I'm assuming here that someone's going to tell me that I can already do this.

PKI... Hmm... I think we're segwaying into a much bigger discussion of identity. Comment writers, bloggers, blogs. I have a feeling PKI works for autenticating servers, but still not really happy with now PKI works for clients and individuals. I like the idea of linking to a blog like Seyed does, but then, what about people who don't have blogs? Or group blogs like Metafilter?

Actually - guess what that's called? ThreadsML!

Ben Hammersley showed an RDF file that had a thread with children embedded in it. Those are the alternate "sub-feeds" you refer to. This thing was architected right by Steve Yost and David Weinberger - open - by and for the community.

Maybe you should use QuickTopic for your blog. BoingBoing does.

> Maybe you should use QuickTopic for your blog. BoingBoing does.

Marc: You're suggesting Joi ditch part of tool he just invested in.

I've never liked threading in general and think its an overused eyesore.

If I'm understanding Joi's concept of "sub-feed" you could create an RSS comment feed as an individual archive so there is one for every entry. I've done it already. Also while not the solution, Ben Hammersley wrote up a piece for O'Reilly that gives some hints and tips:
http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/javascript/2003/02/28/rss.html

Timothy: I'll agree that poorly implemented threading can be an eyesore. Dumping a bunch of indented messages on to a single page --as too many apps are wont to do these days-- doesn't give me the kind of overview that threading should provide.

But that's a problem with a bad interface, not threaded discussion itself.

I've written up a blog entry on the specific topic of how we might implement lightweight blog authentication, without the need for a PKI infrastructure to start with. Be interested to hear what y'all think.

Joi,

this discussion is very worthful to me and the currently ongoing discussion on my own weblog...

I think aswell that "A trackback is a suggestion. It is a request to the site owner to link to a particular thread. The site owner should feel free to accept or decline it."

please check http://weblog.cemper.com/a/200312/28-trackback-spam-complaints.php
for more...

best regards, christoph

Leave a comment

17 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: One way trackbacking....

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://joi.ito.com/MT-4.35-en/mt-tb.cgi/729

Joi Ito's Web: One way trackbacking... トラックバックで見に行ったら自分のtころへの言及もリンクもなくて戸惑った。技術的にはありなんだけど、なんか感じ悪い。技術そのものが双方向的に〓. Read More

Last Night Joi posted a bit on one way Trackbacking that got me to thinking which is sometimes bad. Very... Read More

Trackback is still for techie from Satoshi's Wireless Weblog: User Interface is an Art
April 30, 2003 12:00 PM

As Joi Ito had pointed out, weblog is still a tool for techies. Writing simple weblog is reasonably easy (although I don't like the fact that the user still need to see HTML tags), but the concept of Trackback is... Read More

Joi Ito says had been looking at TrackBack more as a two-way thing until he recently was pinged by another weblogger that did not mention or link to him -- a one-way TrackBack ping. I recount a legitimate use of one-way TrackBack pinging and offer my v... Read More

One of the really annoying things about the Internet is authenticating yourself - that is, having to remember lots of Read More

Has the world of Blogs evolved into a marketplace in which links create value? That's the concept behind BlogShares, an online game in which Blog share prices rise and fall based on the number of inbound links. The site is... Read More

Has the world of Blogs evolved into a marketplace in which links create value? That's the concept behind BlogShares, an online game in which Blog share prices rise and fall based on the number of inbound links. The site is... Read More

Has the world of Blogs evolved into a marketplace in which links create value? That's the concept behind BlogShares, an online game in which Blog share prices rise and fall based on the number of inbound links. The site is... Read More

One-Way Trackbacking from E-Business Weblog/Newsfeed
May 6, 2003 5:15 PM

Interessante Diskussion in Joi Ito's Web: One way trackbacking... Antoin O Lachtnain: "A trackback is a suggestion. It is a... Read More

This weblog is indeed fulfilling my ongoing quest of learning and discovery of this wild web out there. I've just... Read More

Trackback Validation from It's Always the Quiet Ones...
May 24, 2003 12:53 PM

There was discussion on Joi Ito's blog about trackbacks, and the fact that disingenuous linkers and the adult sites are likely to start using trackbacks to up their Google pagerank. I decided to try my hand at figuring out a... Read More

Trackback Validation from It's Always the Quiet Ones...
May 25, 2003 2:20 AM

There was discussion on Joi Ito's blog about trackbacks, and the fact that disingenuous linkers and the adult sites are likely to start using trackbacks to up their Google pagerank. I decided to try my hand at figuring out a... Read More

I've just been flamed for pinging entries in other blogs and not mentioning them in my entry (here's one of the entries that I trackbacked to). Some rude people have called me a kid looking for referrers. I can just... Read More

I'd like to thank Doug, Mike and especially girlie for being sensible about the whole issue... and pointing out how trackbacking was meant to be used the way I do it. Mr. Fisher has apoligized for his rudeness (which unfortunately... Read More

The current discussion about offended sites being trackbacked led me to search the web for similar happenings and discussions: I found some interesting discussions about the One Way Trackbacking topic at ...... Read More

... And there you have it. Two days after we install Movable Type 2.661, which uses redirects on comment links to neutralize the incentive to spam there, we get our first trackback spam. Check it out here, just this once,... Read More

This was suggested as being relevant by a visitor. Read More

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Business and the Economy category.

Books is the previous category.

Computer and Network Risks is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index.

Monthly Archives