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John Gruber’s detailed critique of Trackback

posted by Andy Baio   Jun 12, 2003

John Gruber’s detailed critique of Trackback.

Reader comments

FelixJun 12, 2003 at 4:19PM

For all the detail, he misses the point entirely. Trackback is not a competitor to the link, it’s a way for other people to add metadata (in this case, usually links) to your posts without having to make them editors.

Links are great. Semi-automated metadata pruning is a wonderful addition to links. Referer logs are a broad-brush, relatively lame attempt to solve the same problem — not sure why Gruber would like the latter but dislike Trackback.

BenJun 12, 2003 at 4:59PM

Trackback needs an elevator pitch.
“Trackback is an opt-in referrer metadata system” or something of the sort. It would be way easier than carrying all those diagrams on poster board. This way, if you don’t get it, you probably couldn’t care less what it is because you will never use it. If you do get it, you should be able to grasp the concept.

Jim RayJun 12, 2003 at 5:05PM

Exactly, Ben. For people that get trackbacks, it’s a fine thing and it serves it’s purpose rather well - though I must admit that Gruber’s refer log is amazingly effective in its simplicity.

What’s dissapointing is that people that should get trackback don’t. Like Slashdot. Why are Slasdot posts not trackback enabled? The nerds over there would go crazy with something like that. Instead, they went the exact WRONG route and tried incorporating bloggin/journaling features into the site itself.

Phillip WinnJun 12, 2003 at 7:05PM

I think that Trackbacks are far more like comments than links. I wrote up a response to John, but neither his nor Jason’s blog are TB-enabled, so you’ll have to follow the link. :)

pbJun 12, 2003 at 10:52PM

I see trackbacks all over the place, click on them occassionally and find them of negative value. Yes, trackbacks could use an elevator pitch.

Thompson Jason Dec 10, 2003 at 3:44PM

There is no end to the adventures we can have if we seek them with our eyes wide open.

Reyes Oscar Dec 20, 2003 at 8:20PM

Nature is not anthropomorphic.

Johnsrud Karin Jan 09, 2004 at 10:39AM

Be wiser than other people if you can; but do not tell them so.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.