Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Linking

It has come to my attention that I've been lax in the tradition of providing links to people who linked to you. I have been reluctant to build a huge link list, and I've finally figured out why.

Back in the early '90s, when I was the first person in Motorola to host a website, and I spent a good part of my time promoting this new way of exchanging information, I realized that no one would use it if they didn't have the addresses of the servers. There were no search engines back then.

So, I began an indexing service. Every time I discovered a new web, or gopher, or wais or ftp server inside the Motorola network, I provided a link and a description. Soon a good fraction of the servers out there linked back to my list, and it became the single most visited page on the Motorola Web, far eclipsing the traffic on all the real business related pages I hosted.

Time went on. Soon there were hundreds of links, and I was getting regular emails from people I'd never known, from contries I didn't realize we had offices in, asking for an entry into the index. About the time I was making several edits a day, just to correct links that had gone bad ( I had automated the link-checking) I gave up trying to do it all by hand. I set up a form, and let a script do the adds. The only problem with that were the people who liked to click the submit button a dozen times, and those that cut and pasted their web descriptions out of Word documents with all the ugly text that that created.

By the time Motorola IT took it into their head to provide a master uber-website and charge departments by the page for their contributions, I figured the index was no longer needed and retired it. But it had a good multi-year run.

So, when I looked over at that link list to the side of my blog, that you have to hand edit the html to maintain, and realized that I have hundreds of links worthy to occupying a slot, I shivered and put it off. I am not going to try to automate blogspot's template code.

So, now the issue is, which links do I include and who get's their feelings hurt when I leave them out. I know I can't link everyone, and the more I add links, the harder it is for people to find the archives. Hmm. This is a problem.

For today, I've made a few edits. I'll be thinking out a good policy. Maybe a rotating list of ten? I'll have to make it easy to maintain, or I won't keep it up. For those of you who've solved the issue, I'd like your inputs.

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