About 98% of Trackbacks are spam. Obviously that can’t be addressed with a new spec without breaking backward compatibility. (For added humor, see the front page of the Trackback Development Blog.) The charter of the new trackback abandons the only thing that made Trackback interesting, and incidentally one of the things it was created for, content aggregation and category aggregation and other applications that don’t require a link at all. (Essentially a push application of what everyone uses tags for now, it was way ahead of its time.) In the meantime, they’re re-inventing Pingback with XML-RPC replaced by Atom/REST.

5 thoughts on “Spamback

  1. I encourage everyone to check out the use cases we are collecting for the working group effort. My hope is that we don’t abandon anything, and perhaps even bring TrackBack (or some version thereof) back to its roots. And through this process allow the community to influence what the protocol can, cannot, should and shoud not do.

    In regards to backwards compatibility… retaining it is a goal, not a requirement. Members of the community have already submitted Paces that would break backwards compatibility and their proposals have been well received. Which is encouraging considering that the goal of this effort is to improve upon the protocol, not to codify an admittedly broken one. What good would that serve?

  2. The central artifact of the Trackback protocol is an HTTP request called a “Ping” that is used to essentially communicate that “resource A is related to or linked to by resource B”.


    The pingback system is a way for a blog to be automatically notified when other Web sites link to it.

    It still says “is related to or is linked to” on the trackback charter site.

    Although not encouraged, non-backwards-compatible changes to the basis specifications will be acceptable if the working group determines that the changes are required to meet the group’s technical objectives and the group clearly documents the reasons for making them.

    Sounds like it could be removed. Do you have some inside knowledge that says this functionality is going to be removed? In the mailing list I see people advocating its removal, but I also see people fighting to keep it around. It’s rather a dilemma. If you allow non-linked trackbacks, spam becomes almost unmanageable. If you don’t allow non-linked trackbacks, why not just use Pingback and save blog developers a bunch of time?

  3. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. In the year I’ve been blogging I’ve received about 4 spam trackbacks, and probably about 400 (or more) spam comments. SK2 takes care of both anyway, so I’m not caring 🙂