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Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson is a social software consultant and writer who specialises in the use of blogs and wikis behind the firewall. With a background in journalism, publishing and web design, Suw is now one of the UK’s best known bloggers, frequently speaking at conferences and seminars.

Her personal blog is Chocolate and Vodka, and yes, she’s married to Kevin.

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Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson is a freelance journalist and digital strategist with more than a decade of experience with the BBC and the Guardian. He has been a digital journalist since 1996 with experience in radio, television, print and the web. As a journalist, he uses blogs, social networks, Web 2.0 tools and mobile technology to break news, to engage with audiences and tell the story behind the headlines in multiple media and on multiple platforms.

From 2009-2010, he was the digital research editor at The Guardian where he focused on evaluating and adapting digital innovations to support The Guardian’s world-class journalism. He joined The Guardian in September 2006 as their first blogs editor after 8 years with the BBC working across the web, television and radio. He joined the BBC in 1998 to become their first online journalist outside of the UK, working as the Washington correspondent for

And, yes, he’s married to Suw.

E-mail Kevin.

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Corante Blog

Saturday, September 4th, 2004

To ping or not to ping

Posted by Suw Charman-Anderson

Horst Prillinger explains trackbacks, and discusses when you should and should not trackback. This is something I’ve been thinking about lately too.

Horst’s first point is that you should not ping if your post does not have anything to do with the post you’re pinging, which is good common sense. He also advocates that you don’t trackback if you do nothing more than link to a post without adding to the conversation somehow.

My response to that second point is that some software automatically pings - i.e. if I link to you in a linklog style post, the software will ping you anyway. The software doesn’t differentiate between post styles, it just sees a link, derives a trackback uri and pings. I may be able to tell it not to, but I’ll probably forget.

I can see why Horst feels that a trackback from that sort of post is not worthwhile, as linklogs aren’t really adding to the conversation per se. But you do get some useful information from that sort of ping - it brings to your attention bloggers who are reading you and with whom you may have something in common.

That may seem like a very author-centric reason for accepting this sort of ping, but readers may also derive value from being able to follow the link trail to other blogs which, even though they don’t pass comment may also point to related posts that do.

There’s another circumstance where the value of trackbacks are debatable, and that’s when someone pings even though they are not quoting a post directly, but just talking about the same subject.

I had a trackback like that a while ago and initially I was rather miffed. I’d followed the link back to the referring blog, but there was no link to my blog there at all. In retrospect, I think my annoyance was down to my ego - here was someone implying they had mentioned me and they hadn’t.

On balance, this sort of trackback is no less useful than any other sort. It is, after all, extending the conversation and that is what trackbacks and comments are all about.

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One Response to “To ping or not to ping”

  1. Steph Says:

    And don’t forget !