This whole click tracking thing...
April 18, 2000 6:39 AM   Subscribe

This whole click tracking thing... There's a spinoff discussion going on concerning the fact that I post links with embedded click-counting munging, so that I can see how many people are interested in the various topics I post, both here and on my own 'log.

On the basis of 2 replies, Matt's decided "he's glad he doesn't do that", and I think that might be a slight overreaction...
posted by baylink (18 comments total)
So, what do y'all think? Is the idea of wanting to know how many people (note: Greenspun's code doesn't log anything except the fact of a hit; no addresses, no referrers, no nothing except '1') are interested in something in some way horrible, creepy, or "counter to the traditions of the net" somehow?
posted by baylink at 6:41 AM on April 18, 2000

I don't like it because I can't immediately see where the link is going, which is an important piece of "hidden" information for me. All I see in my browser's status bar is "" and then the very first bit of the URL I am actually interested in. Derek's site messes with that as well, among others.

But the click-tracking doesn't bother me really. At least you stopped signing your posts.

posted by jkottke at 8:03 AM on April 18, 2000

i agree. when i mouseover a url my eyes instinctively hit the status bar so i can see exactly where i'll be taken. i even did it on the word "derek" above, even though i knew where it would go. the clicktracking is like being a kid and your mom tells you she's taking you to disneyland, but you get in the car and she takes you to the dentist first without telling you. sure, the dentist doesn't take that long; but you don't know what's going to happen while you're there, and you would rather just have gone straight to disneyland. like ericost said, it has a sort of "big brother" feeling about it. weak analogy, i know. not every link is like going to disneyland.
posted by bluishorange at 8:31 AM on April 18, 2000

Well, Jason, you're invited to blame your browser, there; *I* hid those stupid, useless, status bar consuming buttons in NS 4.7, and now I can see the entire URL.

Frankly, I find it much less annoying than these JavaScript StatusLine people. At least I'm making the URL hard to read for a *purpose*.

You know, I'm in a rotten mood this week in the first place, but if I'm really pissing in everybody's Cheerios this badly, I can always just leave again. I'm the new kid on the block, sure; but was "at least you've stopped signing your posts" really called for, Jason, oh ghod of weblogging?
posted by baylink at 8:39 AM on April 18, 2000

Personally, I don't really like it when mouseover effects touch the status bar at all, unless the link I'm mousing over is a link to another page on the website I'm viewing.
I think it's a safe rule of thumb: if your link goes off-site, don't mess with the onMouseOver!

Derek's little system is pretty good too.
posted by Succa at 8:43 AM on April 18, 2000

I think Derek would keep from annoying anybody with his JavaScript URL comments (which I find entertaining in spite of the fact that the break in standard UI bugs me) if he would just keep the URL first and then put his comment. Wouldn't that be the best of both worlds? The URL would be where we expect it, followed by joke!
               ~~  ERIC COSTELLO           ~~
               ~~  WEB DEVELOPER           ~~
               ~~  555 621 4141 p          ~~
               ~~  555 646 0137 f          ~~
               ~~  eric_at_schwa_dot_com   ~~
               ~~  http//     ~~
               ~~  DON'T LIKE MY SIG? GO   ~~
               ~~  PISS IN YOUR CHEERIOS!  ~~
posted by ericost at 9:11 AM on April 18, 2000

The sigs were a little pointless in my opinion ... mostly because the "posted by ..." has similar functionality (tells us both who you are, and we can follow the link to get to your website, via your profile).

They were annoying on the main MetaFilter page though, because they weren't really relevant to the post.
posted by fil! at 9:52 AM on April 18, 2000

let's not get too touchy here, baylink! I really hope that MetaFilter can transcend places like UseNet, where there is no such thing as constructive criticism. The whole click tracking of links in a public formum seemed odd to some, but no one is trying to attack you personally!
posted by chaz at 10:27 AM on April 18, 2000

I wasn't taking the commentary on the click-tracking stuff personally at all -- and I'm doing even less so now that my blood sugar is back up over, say 6 :-) -- but I did feel that Jason's intimation that "I ought to know better than to sign postings here, because no one else does it" was a bit over the top.

I've made a fairly good living, over the past 15 years, doing things unlike others, and for that matter, so does Jason.

And yes, it's blatant hit-slutting. Cope. ;-)

-- jr 'will sign postings for food' a
posted by baylink at 11:00 AM on April 18, 2000

do you want me to call the wahmbulance baylink? because i will. listen, nobody's attacking you because you're a new kid--he was teasing you. cope.

and in my opinion, signing your posts here with a link to your site doesn't make you different. it's just annoying (that's why no one else does it).
posted by nicholm at 1:09 PM on April 18, 2000

I'm coping, I'm coping.

Not having been around for the first 705 users, I have no way to know that anyone had done it before and annoyed people.

I won't get into projecting one's own annoyances onto unknown audiences, but apparently, it's not all that damned annoying, or someone would have bitched before now...

I think this is pretty much off topic by now...
posted by baylink at 1:19 PM on April 18, 2000

Oh, oops. This is the thread where it's *on* topic.
posted by baylink at 1:21 PM on April 18, 2000

What's the point of trying so very hard to track hits when people will undoubtedly find a way around your tracking? (I copy the URL and hack off the beginning.) Doesn't this send you a message? Tracking can be annoying, it messes with how the web normally works, and it's not even accurate.

Messing with the status bar can be annoying to a lesser extent . . . but can't people use the title attribute instead?

And sigs are just stupid.
posted by gleemax at 2:01 PM on April 18, 2000

It does not mess with how the web normally works. (Dook dook dook dook) And it's ridiculous to compare Greenspun to Big Brother. Where but baylink's log can I see that 7 people clicked through to see the Crotchy Dog story on what's-it-called? And if you say that you'd like to see what ephemeral boy said about weblogs but are against the clickthrough you're some kind of hypocrite. Must support writers' rights to remove ill-conceived material from their sites. Now go visit shitstorm of chaz cause a man who posts to metafilter while drumngk is a man after my own mink.
posted by EngineBeak at 3:11 PM on April 18, 2000

Me ... well, hey, even if I could do click-tracking on my blog I don't think I would. (I'll shortly have a real web host, so we can see how that statement holds up ...) Anyway, the reason, for me, is that I don't really CARE what my readers do with the links I give them, only that they come back. Tracking outbound links, to me, represents a level of commercial interest that makes blogging work. ("Am I giving my customers what they want?")

I see Metafilter as both an alternate site for someone like me to post (except I've only commented so far, I think) and a way for someone to experiment with blogging, but going out of your way to do something like this seems, to me, to be saying "hey, time to get your own blog".

That said, do I care that baylink is tracking me? Not really. Editing out the greenspun bit, as somebody above said, is even more anal than putting the greenspun bit in in the first place. ;-)
posted by dhartung at 4:49 PM on April 18, 2000

hypocrite? Are you drunk now engineBeak?
posted by ericost at 5:43 PM on April 18, 2000

Now that's a perposterous accusation, Eric. Hypocrite is the wrong word anyhow. It means someone who disagrees with me on both counts.
posted by EngineBeak at 6:03 PM on April 18, 2000

Beak was definitely drunk. :-)

As for "what do my readers want", Dan, I actually *do* care about that *here*... my own 'log, though, I write mostly for me. But it's still interesting to see what people think are interesting stories. Call it good practice for later.

Oh, and that's "Crotchy the Clown". ;-)
posted by baylink at 6:26 AM on April 19, 2000

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