> # URGENT UPDATE

> 
> We were seeing a significant drop in Google (organic) traffic for Server Fault after instituting this "follow links if enough upvotes post-edit or post-create" policy. 
> 
> We traced it back to what we *currently* think are a string of posts on Server Fault that got nofollow removed through "trust", but were being interpreted by Google as link farms or spammy pages. Examples:
> 
> - https://serverfault.com/questions/24885/how-to-remove-iis-asp-net-response-headers/24889#24889
> - https://serverfault.com/questions/158874/hardware-recommendations-for-a-diy-storage-system-based-on-zfs/159077#159077
> - https://serverfault.com/questions/24282/how-do-you-secure-your-mobile-computers/24287#24287
> - https://serverfault.com/questions/243439/hp-proliant-dl380-g4-can-this-server-still-perform-in-2011/243441#243441
> - https://serverfault.com/questions/298/how-to-troubleshoot-windows-post-your-checklist/304#304
> 
> So, for the record, we're not 100% sure, but this is the only thing we've changed -- and **the evidence is fairly damning so far**, though not quite conclusive. I had many reservations about risk in doing this at all, so the idea of following any links is going away for the forseeable future until we rule out other possibilities.
> 
> Back to the old safe, sane, policy that I advocated from the first day this came up: no external links are followed.\*
>
> Sorry. 
> 
> -- Jeff Atwood
> 
> <sub>\* Except for the URL field on your user profile, which at 2k rep follows. This isn't new but I wanted to be clear it isn't going away.</sub>

Stack Overflow is *driven* by incoming links&mdash;ranking SO results high in Google is crucial&mdash;and it is those incoming links that bring people to the site.

We really should take your comment about *"not getting the Google juice they deserve"* to heart.  Stack Overflow is about making the Internet a better place and giving back. 

`rel="nofollow"` serves a purpose but, perhaps, there is some criteria that can determine when a post surpasses the potential for wide-spread abuse and can be placed in the "giving back" column. Some combination of:

 - Time
 - Voting
 - Reputation (i.e. trust)
 - User History (i.e. tracking tendency for a user to link to the same domain)
 
I'm not pretending to *know* the criteria, or even if there *is* a criteria. **But agree with the *principle* of your request, though.**