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Here's an idea on how to combat spam URLs in user profiles: Hiding the website field in profiles of users with less than 15 rep1 from users who are not logged in would disable this exploit by making the URL invisible to search engines (URLs in such profiles would remain visible to logged-in users). I know this can inconvenience legitimate new users, but it would be a good idea to consider implementing this measure.

1Currently, URLs in profiles of users with less than 15 reputation are not active links but are visible to everyone.

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Do search engines still follow URLs if they're plain text? If not, why do we care? – animuson Aug 25 '12 at 5:45
up vote 7 down vote accepted

This is a peculiar request, because as I already answered, none of the links on very new user profile pages are actually hyperlinked.

Note that

  1. Links in your "about me" field don't work for low-rep users; we don't allow more than 2 links by new users in this field, and they aren't actually hyperlinked until you have 15 rep.

  2. The "website" field is not hyperlinked until you generate 15 rep.

I'm not clear how just displaying a non-clickable link could possibly be a problem. In other words:




Links that are not links are not "visible" to search engines already.

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Okay, so this isn't really an issue. Can you edit the question to add the [status-declined] tag? – bwDraco Aug 25 '12 at 14:23

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