Hoping my comments will remain on the level of issue...
> About time! That's the part of creating a website that takes
>real work. It is also a way that lets the Web as a whole vote
>on what's useful and interesting. Just consider each link a vote
>in favor of the information at the other end of the link.
Well, that might be OK for an inoffensive product, such as,
say, Granny's Garden Gnomes.:-) Yet the Economist article further
mentions how the leading work is coming from one Jon Kleinberg
of Cornell, and indicates that his divine inspiration is the
academic "citation index," which ranks the value of a paper
by how many times it is cited - in short, the same sort of
mainstream mentality that suppressed pasteurization, the steam
car, solar energy and countless other better mousetraps. (I use
the word "mentality" precisely; mainstream means a state of mind,
not a thinking process.)
>>question that most concerns me is: Will the Robots give some
>>links a higher priority that others?
If it were done with a pure librarian mentality, probably not. I
wouldn't be too scared if the Library of Congress were doing it.
Any other group given the power to pass judgement will carefully
and thoughtfully determine what is "best," all the while expressing
dismay at accusations of censorship, gradually moving into
haughty arrogance. Like, like... the media!
> If I were writing the program, I would give extra points to links
>from the major RELEVANT sites: for example, a link to a graphics site
>from Adobe Software would carry more weight than a link to that site from
>"Timmy's Cool Grafix Linx" on Geocities.com. This would require some
>degree of human ranking - some of the personally managed sites turn into
>major resources after a while - but would minimize the impact of those
>mindless "free for all" links pages. Actually, I'd try to figure out a way
>to neutralize that kind of page completely.
Would downgrading Timmy also disallow the likes of Matt, he of the
Script Archives? Or would he be "inside the loop" since he is heavily
linked, aka "has job experience."
> I would also limit the number of referral points a site can get
>from any other site - to prevent a cooperative ring from putting up
>links to each others' sites to bias the ratings. I know this idea
>has been discussed on some other Web forums.
So that one's been figured out, huh? Sure will disappoint people
selling Togo domain names.