Introducing the Delimiter Link Blog


site news Over the past few months I’ve been grappling with what I should do about the tricky topic of linking to other people’s stories from Delimiter.

You might have noticed on Delimiter that I sometimes publish a post on the site where I include a paragraph from an article on someone else’s site and then link to that site directly. A good example would be this article, where I have linked to John Birmingham’s piece The end of the Wii era on his Fairfax network blog.

I’ve been doing this because often there is great content out there on other sites that I really want to highlight to Delimiter’s audience, and for the past few months it has seemed like the best way of doing that.

Not everyone has been happy with this behaviour, and in fact some people have accused me of stealing other people’s stories by linking to other sites in this manner.

But I’m confident this behaviour is legitimate. After all, Slashdot, Reddit and Digg, as dedicated news aggregators, have been doing this for years. And I have received feedback from some site owners that they welcome the traffic I have been passing to them.

So far, I’ve confined this linkage to the ‘opinion’ category on Delimiter. It has more or less been in the nature of an experiment. But after a few months of trialling this approach, I think I’m ready to draw some conclusions now.

Firstly, many Delimiter readers clearly like me linking to valuable content elsewhere. They don’t always have the time to find all the best stories themselves, whereas it’s part of my job to do so.

Secondly, sometimes linking to other sites results in readers discussing those articles on Delimiter, and sometimes it results in more readers discussing those articles on the other sites themselves. I’m not quite sure why either approach happens, but I suspect it has much to do with how easy it is to comment on the other sites in each case.

Readers tend to want to comment on the site where the story originated, but if that is too hard, they might instead comment on the site which ‘aggregated’ or ‘curated’ the content.

Lastly, all of this behaviour has led me to investigate whether it’s time to setup a dedicated technology news and content aggregator site in Australia – such as a Reddit fragment, for example. A kind of Australian Slashdot or TechMeme, if you will.

However, two things are stopping me doing so. The first is the complexity of such a solution. After investigating various open source news aggregator packages such as Slashcode and Reddit, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have the skills or the infrastructure to set up those packages on my own server just yet. If there is anyone out there with a spare Linux webserver that can have its software heavily customised to my demands, let me know ;)

But also, I’m not convinced just yet that there is a big and active enough audience in Australia to make a dedicated technology news aggregator with a voting system functional just yet.

Previous efforts such as Norg Media have broadly failed to get any traction (sorry, Bronwen) and I’m not convinced that a user driven technology news aggregator site would take off.

However, there is a bright side to all this investigation and rumination. Over the past few weeks since I have set up the Delimiter forum (which runs on phpBB), I have found the platform to be ideal for posting links, quoting from stories and discussing content.

Making a quick post on the Delimiter forum takes only a handful of seconds … less time, even than posting a brief link story in Delimiter’s WordPress platform.

Consequently, to solve the link problem, I have created what I am calling the Delimiter Link Blog. It is merely a sub-forum within the Delimiter forum. And yet it meets all the objectives I want from a link blog. It allows me to quickly post links to stories that I want to draw readers’ attention to, it allows readers to very quickly comment on those stories, and it looks purty :)

Entries in the Delimiter Link Blog will not appear in the Delimiter main posts RSS stream, although it will have its own WordPress widget on the front page of Delimiter, but will instead have their own RSS feed, which you can find here.

Please post any feedback below this article – what you think of the Delimiter Link Blog idea, what it should cover, what it shouldn’t cover, and what you think of my thought process!

Image credit: Well, d’uh.


  1. hoop jumping fenfen.

    I personally don’t care how you send me a link. Nah sayers be damned.

    • Oh I’m not so worried about whether people complain about linking to their articles, I more wanted to get the format right for linking to them — making it easy for both myself and readers to get at the content … using the forum has worked out to be the best way, but it may take people a bit of getting used to, after the more familiar blogging WordPress format etc …

    • Agreed with said fenfen, I’m guessing It’s only the old school journos complaining, your Fairfax and Foxes. The ones that think google linking to their website is stealing their story and not beneficial. I can’t wait for the day they put up the Paywall and lose 90% of their traffic.

  2. It makes perfect sense you’d do something like this.

    I’m not sure how you can be accused of stealing someone else’s content if you’re linking directly to it, citing the source, etc, and a lot of sites do very well (in terms of readership) by offering a curated selection of links and excerpts that are of interest to their users (Daring Fireball is an obvious example).

    And as you say, people usually appreciate their work being linked to, at least it’s certainly something I’ve found.

    • I quite like the way ZDNet does links to other sites — but I want to do it a bit more … so I feel it would flood Delimiter’s front page if I did it too much that way.

  3. I am so surprised that your readers would be so non-net-savvy to accuse you of staling when you provide ample attribution with your posts. Attribution and sharing via links IS the internet!

    Anywho, thank you for continuing to filter all of the noise and help bring all the best content to the surface.

    Keep on truckin’

    • Actually it’s not readers so much Mike as it was a couple of other journalists — but I’m not too worried. I have good relationships with most :) Cheers for your kind words!

  4. Still surprised that nobody has commented on my hilarious use of Link from Zelda as a pun … come on people, don’t you like Dad jokes???????????

  5. Looks a bit round peg in square hole. If you like the Digg type site (and I think there is a bit to like) you should consider Pligg (at the address you would imagine). It has a pretty good way of putting links in and you even have the crowd voting and commenting with it as well. I run an aggregator site for AFL Footy on it and works pretty well (a bit more automated then you are probably after but that feature is optional).

    Just a thought

    • It’s an interesting idea Phillip, but looking at the most popular sites using Pligg, 99% of them appear to only have one vote per story — in other words, they are dysfunctional. Digg itself is basically dead now (ask any site admin how many page impressions they get from Digg now compared to 2 years ago).

      The Reddit model appears to be the most successful at this stage — and certainly site admins report that is where they are getting most of their social media page impressions from — that, Twitter and Stumbleupon — but implementing Reddit requires quite a customised Linux server, with very specific package selections. It’s not something you can do on a basic hosting plan offered by someone like BlueHost or MediaTemple. I’ve looked into it.

      It could be successful if you could get someone locally to sponsor a server for it — but otherwise it seems like a pain in the ass atm.

      How easy is Pligg to install and setup? I found MediaWiki, WordPress and phpBB a piece of piss to setup and use, which is why I — and many other people are using them.

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