Automated linking -- a crutch to enable slovenly thinking?

It has come to my attention that this blog now has an entirely new way to embed hyperlinks. It strikes me as not only lazy, but possibly dishonest, because all I have to do is write a post (presumably on any subject), and the new software will identify certain key words, then automatically suggest links for them!

I can only marvel at the unfairness of it all. For well over seven years, I have had to laboriously track down every blasted link in every post I have written in this blog, and have made sure that each one relates to what I am saying. And most of the time, I have had to satisfy myself that the content was either true or substantially reliable, and even if not true or reliable, that it at least said what I said it said.

But now, I can just be a total slob, and let the software do all the work for me, while I sit back and just do nothing. Worse (and better yet, because worse is always better and better is always worse in this insane new world), if the links prove untrue, unreliable, or even hazardous, I become utterly blameless, and without any moral responsibility. For I didn't do it! They are not really "my" links.

"The software did it!"

What a damnable outrage this is. I have no right to use it, and no right to like it.

So much for my moral indignation. Let's see how it works.

Phew. There are three links suggested below: moral responsibility, hyperlinks, and software. I clicked APPLY ALL, but fortunately they did not appear automatically in the text because I obviously have not learned how to make the damned thing work. What a relief.

But I should beware, because in theory this evil thingie could be made to work:

Adding hyperlinks is easy peasy lemon squeezy with Zemanta's single-click link suggestions

As you write your blog post, Zemanta picks out which people and terms are important in the text, and shows you link recommendations to include. And in one click, instantly inserts the hyperlink. All that's left for you to do is choose from the drop down menu the source you would like to link to. No more copy-pasting  embed codes, or scouring the web hunting down URLs.

I must turn away from it, and never allow myself to succumb to such evil material temptations.

posted by Eric on 12.14.10 at 10:19 AM


You may have noticed I had a little trouble with the post before this (It came up blank, then it came up with raw html, and finally the links showed up correctly).

Newer is always better - except when it isn't. Fortunately there is a "switch" to make it work the way it used to. Once I found it everything was fine.

As to automatic links? I can see much hilarity ensuing from time to time. Some of the links suggested for my previous post included stuff about "prostate cancer". Why?

M. Simon   ·  December 14, 2010 10:33 AM

I can see much hilarity ensuing from time to time.

There you go, luring me into temptation!

Eric Scheie   ·  December 14, 2010 10:44 AM

As long as you don't link to a Righthaven proscribed link. Then it becomes an ugly can of worms.

Mike   ·  December 14, 2010 6:56 PM

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