I was reading with a bit of amusement the exchange between Steve Rubel and Jeremy Pepper on what constitutes a “kosher” trackback or not. At issue is whether a five-months old post (Jeremy’s) can legitimately trackback a brand new one (Steve’s). In my book, if the old post is modified to include an update, and point to the new one as a relevant addition, then that’s fine. What does not work here (at least for me) is that Jeremy did not link to Steve’s post, but still trackbacked it. I would have done like Steve: check the post that sent the trackback, see that there was no link to my post, and delete the trackback.
Note that I am not saying that Steve is right and Jeremy is wrong in their particular context, but that it is also my policy: I only accept trackbacks that include a link to my post. Why ? Because trackbacks are a way to start/continue a conversation, and I am delighted to send traffic away to blogs that continue a conversation I have started, and that link to me. But trackbacks aren’t a one way street. And if you believe that your own post adds another dimension to the conversation, just leave a comment and mention the URL (like Narendra – co-founder of Webshots – did on my post regarding G’Talk with his rant on “we don’t need no stickin’ Google IM”).
Blogging platforms should actually have an option to analyze incoming trackbacks for the presence of a proper link. For example, if you trackback a CNET post without linking to it, your trackback will be ignored.
I also picked up a question from one of my regular readers, Zoli Erdos, who was asking if there are tools out there that allow you to track comments you have left, and monitor ensuing conversations. Integrated systems like Buzznet, and I believe Flickr, allow you to monitor these if you have an account on the platform. I also know that Blogware, the platform used by Master Eric Rice, can send emails when comments are made on a post you have commented on but that is email, and that’s not great. One could probably manually bookmark posts that he/she comments on, and come back to them after a couple of days, but that also is not great. So Six Apart, WordPress, please, can you guys agree on some mechanisms to get this functionality implemented.
In the meantime, any suggestion as to how to do this efficiently will be appreciated.