Kevin Marks at Epeus’ Epigone is posting about a very important subject: anti-links or vote-links:

I propose that we add an optional attribute to the (link) tag in HTML. Its name is ‘vote’. Its value can be “+” “0” or “-“, representing agreement, abstention or indifference, and disagreement respectively.

An untagged link is deemed to have value “+”.

Additional human-readable commentary can be added using the existing ‘title’ attribute, which most browsers show as a rollover.

The motivation is, of course:

how about some extensions to the ‘a href’ tag to say “I’m linking to this, but I disagree with it” and maybe “I’m linking to this but don’t count the link as a vote”. Google and other link spiders could note these distinctions, and distinguish between popularity, notoriety and ubiquity.

There is also a lot more scope for deriving a personalised search this way – excluding what Cory calls ‘left-handed whuffie’ and returning search results from places you are likely to agree or disagree with, as well as showing more nuanced rankings.

I’m all for this. In the past I’ve either deliberately avoided linking to some sites I disagree with, or linked to them with strong misgivings.

I also agree that a numerical value (vote=”3.14159″) will not be as efficient, as there’ll be disagreement over the maximum and minimum values – should they go from -1 to +1, -10 to +10, -100 or +100, or what? And people are sure to post values beyond the limits, possibly causing some breakage. On the other hand, at least one degree of nuancing might be good to have – so I’d propose “++”, “+”, “0”, “-” and “–“. And missing or invalid values would be equivalent to “+”.

Joi Ito has picked up the subject; read the comments on his site, very interesting. Some people there are advocating FOAF or RDF solutions, which I think are way too complex for simple page-to-page links.

Let’s hope this will be implemented in some form…