FYI and reading pleasure, a whole heap of new links have been added to the Links Page. Lots of great resources and information there!
Where did these new links come from? I’m glad you asked.
We received an email a few days ago from a Kate Cutler and her 13-year-old son Arden of unknown location, but probably somewhere in the USA. Long and well written, it supplied a link to a page on another website with lots of information and useful links of interest to ‘beginner model railroaders’ that they had found a great resource. And she suggested we might like to link to that page as Arden said ‘in school [we’ve] been learning about being good Digital Citizens and this was a good way to brush up on [my] skills while school is closed’.
Now, if that is all true it is an example of great parenting and I fully support such excellent Digital Citizenry!
But Kate’s email address was from a domain used by a company that provides ‘Social Media Marketing, Strategy & Services’ and the page she provided is within the domain of a privately owned ‘Title Lending Business’ (whatever that is!) based in Georgia in the US. They appear to have written and published lots of superficial pages on various subjects (such as model railways) — presumably as a way of trying to improve the performance of their main web page in the Google search indexes — a process called ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ (SEO — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization).
How to respond? The text on the page she linked to was superficial. It was all correct but just a collection of general and generic sentences that looked like they had been copy/pasted from other web pages. But it also contained loads of links to other interesting web pages that did indeed look genuine. Presumably these were the original sources of the text on the web page! But a significant proportion of the links were dead, so I assume the page is a little old now.
So what I did was check each link on that page myself. Assuming it worked and the content was useful, I added it to our own web site (https://wamrc.org.au/links) in a new section. If Kate is a real person and the story in her email is genuine, then we thank her and her son for the information they supplied. On the other hand if she is actually a mail-bot run by the ‘Social Media Strategy’ company to promote a ‘Title Lending Business’ in Georgia, then we have neatly side-stepped that trap!
What do you think? Am I old and cynical? Or did I do the right thing? 🙂