Wikipedia Adds NoFollow
I learned from a post by Barry Schwartz today that Wikipedia has slapped the nofollow attribute to all external links. The obvious reason for this is that the site has become a breeding ground for spammers who just want the benefit of a link to their web properties.
This reminds of a similar outcry that emanated from the blogosphere when Technorati put the nofollow attribute on all outgoing links. This upset many people especially those that were actively engaged in tagging their content with URLs that pointed to Technorati. Their reaction was justified as the bidirectional benefit of links between sites now become unidirectional in Technorati's favor. Similarly, links to Wikipedia will continue to benefit Wikipedia, but links from the site won't help when it comes to search engine rankings.
So what do you do as a blogger? I suppose you could protest by not linking to Wikipedia or perhaps by adding nofollow to your own links. The latter idea is probably a better approach since it allows you to continue to provide value to your readers. I don't link to Wikipedia myself all that much so I don't have to do anything special. And while I've done a little link development using Wikipedia, the loss of a link or two isn't going to make much of a different (I hope).
Will Wikipedia become a "cleaner" resource now? Perhaps. What I do know is that Technorati is still full of spam and they've been using nofollow for many, many months now. Any reduction in spam has come about from active management by the owners of Technorati rather than some automated process of modifying outbound links.