Orion stabs me in the heart with the dagger of his intentional obtusveness

September 16th, 2009 by Author

He posted an annotated blogroll, the kind people usually have in a separate page, to main blog at Epic Win. The witty run-down would be pretty amusing, but for this:

That said, he has a very successful sort of meta-blogging site in which he highlights various interesting posts and discussions from around the anime blogosphere. His commentary is usually quite interesting, as are the articles he links, even if the blatant lack of an easy feedback mechanism is endlessly frustrating.

What can be easier than throwing a post? Failing that, wring an e-mail? The feedback address is in every post, for crying out loud.

UPDATE: Blogrolls do not “damage” PageRank. For one thing it’s impossible to “hemorrage” to begin with. We know that Google applies certain modifiers to the calculated PageRank postfactum, and some of them discourage link farms. However, there are also ad-hoc modifiers for dealing with blogs. Oh and by the way: if you’re afraid of blogroll, shouldn’t you be more afraid of comments? Each one has a header that points elsewhere, and if you subscribe to the [bogus] theory of hemorraging…

UPDATE: Orion replies and continues to maintain, that:

1. PageRank across the internet is a zero sum game at its core. For one site’s PageRank to rise, it necessarily comes at the expense of another.

He never explains where he got this idea, except that “in my experience in the industry this understanding of PageRank and linking in SEO is very common”. I suspect (but without Orion confirming it, I cannot know), that the origin of this legend may be the Definion 1 of the Brin/Page/Winograd/Motwani paper, which deals with maximizing the eigenvalue c by corresponding deductions to R (the eigenvector based rank).

The fallacy here is, while c is maximized, the R is not (it’s not even a scalar), and R is used to rank pages, not c. In other words, at worst your outgoing links can dillute the rankings for the whole web, but so what? The relative order is still the same.

The real danger is that Google seens E to deter link farming. That is the SEO scumbag’s worst nightmare. But I don’t think a mere blogroll can trigger the reprisals. Look at thousands and thousands of links that SEO jerks use. Heck the punishment function is probably not even linear. All this, though, has everything to do with SEO being crooks and nothing with PageRank aiming for a “zero sum game”.

UPDATE: Mellow has trackback metadata commented out, yet Ryan managed to post one.

Trackbacks are a touchy part. In theory, they make a comment-like structure from the linking blogs, so that bloggers do not have to rely on search engines, which are always unreliable and controlled by outside entities. In practice trackbacks were essentially derailed by spam. Trackbacks do not carry as much information as e-mail messages, so content filters do not have much to go on.

Meanwhile, DS tries the same blogroll scan, without crediting Orion for prompting it. An extraordinary coincidence or bad etiquette?