October 06, 2004

Hyperlinking Cyberspace

Sullivan had an interesting link in today's post (Media overlooks successes in Iraq) while Sharon is wondering about the etiquette of providing links without asking the respective bloggers. Not so very long ago, I wrote an entry that included blind links to Playboy, Disney, and a Usenet group specializing in erotic stories all in the same sentence. A few years ago, back when Greyhawk Manor actually worked and I was getting a whole 15 hits per day, I got a very angry e-mail from a person who did not want a link to her mythology website on my page. She took a spiritual slant to mythology that I found intriguing, but she thought the Manor was too much like roleplaying and did not want to be associated with it. Incompatible neuroses, I suppose.

Way back when the internet was young, I read a book called "Earth", written by David Brin. One of the key elements in Earth is a global internet that is completely interlinked. Hyperlinks connect key words in news stories with maps, background articles, historical texts, and so on. Even recipes are hyperlinked to farming texts, shopping centers, and gourmet reviews. When an internet based text appears in Earth, there are always a dozen examples of first generation hyperlinks. He presents the internet as it was envisioned by its creators. Naturally, this is a whole lot different than the way it ended up!

And now, just because I can, I'd like to close with a paragraph that has every phrase linked to someplace else. What is the etiquette of linking in cyberspace? So far, there isn't one, and let's hope it stays that way for a long time to come!