Anyone else notice the "related discussion" links at the bottom of a forum page yet? Links to years old forum threads, the kind that when you try to post you are asked if you really have something to contribute when it's that old?
What's up with this?
There is only one plausible reason for this. The forums must be bringing in worthwhile ad revenue. Therefore, we're going to start seeing changes as HP leverages that revenue.
I assume that to be correct, but what would providing a link to 5 year old forum threads be of value to anyone? I don't see google as approving it as SEO, and if we follow the link we'll just be told it's really too old to revive!
This is definitely a new low. Information in a five-year-old thread is going to be hopelessly outdated and full of obsolete advice that could really hurt people who don't know any better, especially newcomers. It's hard to believe that the programmers were spending time on this instead of the things which could bring in more traffic from Google.
I'm hoping it is some kind of Beta test, to be refined considerably before considering it a finished product. Just cannot imaging giving links to a years old thread as being useful in any manner.
That's a good point, WF - and I'm also wondering whether some of the rancorous threads of a few years ago might better be left buried and forgotten. There used to be terrible (really awful) abuse on the forum, and the community feeling it created was 'us versus them.' We don't need for those threads to surface again.
I see nothing wrong with posting Related Discussions. One can always diversify and have some input in various hubs on the same or similar subjects. It's great to diversify!
I just saw them, wilderness. Didn't look close enough to see that they were old. Interesting addition to the forums. Strange, but interesting.
Perhaps for you to see if your question was, or was not, related to another question? Maybe for you to look at the others to find out if there is another answer to your question which you prefer?
I think this along with the probability that the forum ads are producing revenue. Obviously some of the content is old and outdated which could be a problem for newer writers looking for answers.
I think the site is wanting the click-through traffic. I understand that in theory, but I can see problems. I'm wondering if GM's thread (the subject reads Ssssss! Ssssss!) could have been promoted from seeing a very old thread revisited here?
No, not an old thread Marcy- this occurrence happened in a VERY RECENT thread in the Religion and Philosophy Section.
Thanks for clarifying, GM. I agree - those particular topics can get very heated.
Yes, the discussion can get intense; however, it is up to the posters not to regress into personal attacks if there is disagreement with another poster. There are a few posters in such forums who strongly aver that their perspectivrs/opinions/observations are the only valid ones and anyone who elects to disagree and present an entirely different perspective, in their eyes, are either uneducated, miseducated, unintelligent, and unaware.
Yes, I noticed them, and I checked the thread I started on "noticing beauty around you" (or whatever it's called) and there were no related posts. lol. At least there weren't this afternoon.
Hmm. There is no beauty in the forums? Or just in that one?
I've noticed a lot of questions from 2 to 4 years ago have been popping up in the stream as well. I'm definitely with wilderness on this, what could you possibly contribute to something that old.
I was just trying to post an update on an old thread of mine to let others know how my sister was doing after her accident last year because I still had people asking me about her. The first thing I noticed was that it had a notification stating that it didn't have a post in two months so I should look at starting a new threat before posting on that one, unless I had something to update. It left me scratching my head so I went ahead and posted my update. I just noticed that it didn't show up in the forums, so I'm not sure what to think.
But I saw it, wondered why it was being revived, read your post and understood. That made good sense, at least to me.
But to reply to someone that asked for personal advice on regaining a spouse 5 years ago? Or how to spread a 1000 backlinks through the web? Those kind of things are best left alone.
Wilderness - you make a good point here. It would be difficult to filter the old threads, but just as the threads with rancorous comments should bd left alone, the examples you mentioned should also be left to the past. Maybe HP could do some screening based on searches (for hot button topics, or illegal content) and just plain delete the bad stuff.
I hadn't thought of it before, but would those things (forum threads) be crawled by Google and factored into our site's rankings? Yikes!
I'm not a programmer, but it seems easiest to simply not put anything over 6 months old in the "related discussion". I'd hate to see those old threads all go away; as an example I've bookmarked a couple where the 60/40 split is explained and periodically give a link to them. So there IS good information there; leave it alone for searchers to find. But it wouldn't seem appropriate to give links to threads HP does not want revived.
Would be nice if the OP of these old forum discussions could get a cut of the clicks.
That sounds like a good idea. Do they listen to suggestion from writers?
Digging up old forum threads can be useful. Although those threads may be closed to comments today, we can now pick up a relevant entry from way back and continue the discussion to provide answers to the present situation. For example, are you interested in finding out the long term effects of Editor's Choice hubs:
Please tell us your findings here.
I'm definitely still learning as far as websites, ranking, the search engine, indexing, etc. go. But I am thinking the 'related discussion' thing is internal linking, which, if I understand the technique correctly, is an SEO strategy. So, it has something to do with the value of the links. On the one hand, maybe the old ones have age and therefore value; on the other, they might not be helpful to the visitor and so be detrimental to user experience. Some old threads can be useful; I've even found some in the SERPs that had some relevant information; just like other old content.
Or if that information is generally outdated, possibly the 'related discussion' links should be restricted to just more recent threads. Or, is it possible for old forum threads to link to the more relevant and recent threads and not the other way around?
Edit: Actually I think the "related discussion" links have more to do with what Marcy mentioned, click-through, and probably keeping a visitor on the site for a longer duration. I really don't know if value of the links themselves has anything to do with it. I don't know if that's how it works internally, though I know it does externally.
Edit (Again): According to this article, internal links do have link juice and distribute it through the site. http://blogtimenow.com/seo/internal-lin … nking-seo/
But are links at the bottom of a page treated the same as links in the text?
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