Don’t Link to Aggregators

alligatorWhen someone submits a post from Boing Boing to Reddit, one of the first comments to appear is usually complaining of “blogspam.” This term, though sometimes used unfairly, is intended to deride a blog post that only contains a brief summary or quotation to complement a link pointing to the source viewers are actually wanting.

Interestingly, there are two parties who are partially at fault here for what is basically a misunderstanding, and neither one is the blogger.

Users of link aggregating sites like Reddit are browsing the site because they want to be pointed in the direction of interesting content.

Frequent readers of blogs in the style of Boing Boing are looking for the exact same thing, albeit curated by a smaller staff of bloggers rather than community mob-rule. Boing Boing is the type of site that exists more to aggregate others’ content than to produce original material. Their audience is their regulars, not social media. (Or, at least, it should be.)

So what’s the problem here? It’s not user who cries “blogspam,” and it’s not the blog that produces little in the way of original content; the issue is the user who submitted an aggregator to an aggregator. It would be equally silly for Boing Boing to link to a Reddit URI that links to original content. (This is even more ridiculous when you have a page linking to a page that links to the original page…)

This is an important bit of linking etiquette. One should always link directly to the original source, rather than a secondary aggregating site, unless said aggregator is adding new information or quality commentary to the equation.

  • Jaesi (@jaesib)

    Agreed. It’s annoying to follow a tail of links just to get to the original source.

  • Canta

    Agreed too.

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  • John Higgins