Remove nofollow on links deemed reputable
I propose that after a certain amount of time has passed since the last edit on a question or post, that all links within that post should no longer be flagged with
rel="nofollow". Here is my reasoning:
The web is built on creating meaningful links. There are literally hundreds of thousands of really good answers on Stack Overflow pointing to lots of great information elsewhere on the web. By blocking crawlers from following these links, those pages (with useful info on them) are not getting the google juice they deserve, and the web as a whole suffers.
The community is very active at self-policing. It would be unthinkable that a question or answer which has spam links in it would survive for 5 minutes, let alone whatever the time limit would be on
I can however see a downside - users would have extra motive to link to their own websites or blogs in answers. I could see that this might lead to a bit of resentment from other users who might question your reasons - you already feel slightly guilty doing the occasional self-plug...
Perhaps instead of a time limit, it might be a certain number of votes, or the reputation of the user, or whatever combination of these things isn't too complicated.
Update: this proposal was tested and the data so far is pointing to it resulting in a fairly severe drop in organic web traffic for Server Fault. Therefore, we are declining this proposal indefinitely as too risky.