Wednesday, August 18, 2004

netiquette breach of Olympic proportions

Apparently the Olympics are going on right now, but not being a television watcher this really hasn't entered my radar until now. You'd think I'd have run into something on the web; the reason I have not might have something to do with the Athens 2004 policy on linking to their site:

For your protection and ours we have established a procedure for parties wishing to introduce a link to the ATHENS 2004 website on their site. By introducing a link to the ATHENS 2004 official Website on your site you are agreeing to comply with the ATHENS 2004 Website General Terms and Conditions. In order to place a link embedded in copy interested parties should:
  • Use the term ATHENS 2004 only, and no other term as the text referent
  • Not associate the link with any image, esp. the ATHENS 2004 Emblem
  • Send a request letter to the Internet Department stating:
    • Short description of site
    • Reason for linking
    • Unique URL containing the link
    • Publishing period
    • Contact point (e-mail address)

Once the request has been mailed, interested parties can proceed to include the link and will only receive a response if ATHENS 2004 does not accept the link.

Here we go again with the "mail us a letter to validate something web-related" thing, which in addition to being as silly as sending someone over to your neighbors house to ask if you can call them on the phone also makes some incorrect assumptions about nature of information on the web.

I especially like the 'for your protection' bit. How exactly am I endangering myself by linking to one web page from another?

If it's on the web, it's fair play. When are they going to figure that out? The whole fucking point of the web is to link information together - 'web' wasn't a randomly chosen word, it is descriptive of an architecture of information. Yet it seems like every month or so some company decides that the web is more like television or hard-copy print publications, and they try to impose out-dated rules on the medium. Even if they had some right to enforce a linking policy (they don't), you'd think they'd at least have enough clue to make the method of contact be email.

Here's a bunch of links to the Athens 2004 web site... I think I'll declare here and now that if anyone objects to these links, they must follow *my* notification requirements:
  • write your complaint on official Athens 2004 letterhead
  • wrap the complaint around the handle of the Olympic torch
  • have a team of relay runners hand-deliver the torch to my home

Any deviation from this policy will result in the letter being recycled instead of read. If these requirements are met to my satisfaction, I will respond (please allow 4 to 6 weeks) using either smoke signals, carrier pigeons, or just by thinking real hard.