Is it illegal to pass on neat websites?

I found a cool site titled “How Stuff Works” at and want to pass it on to Straight Dope members as I think it might be of interest to lots of people. Can I do that or will this post automatcally disintegrate? And is this the place to do it, or should I post it someplace else?

I guess it depends on the nature of the website. This one looks like a nice site to find out things, but sometimes people will pass on links to websites that are there just to collect money.

Do you mean legal as in according to this Board’s rules, or legal in general? I’m not qualified to speak for TSD and what its policies are, but I can give you some general information.

When, on your webpage for example, you link to a site that has advertising, you are not supposed to do a “deep link,” meaning you are not supposed to link directly to the information and bypass any advertising “popups” or other things which might be there to help whoever’s site it is make money. If you are simply sending an email around to a few friends, with a “hey, check this out” message, it’s not a problem; the problem comes when you are using the link on your own page and, by doing so, increasing the “value” (financial or otherwise) of your page.

There is a reported case or two on this issue, but I’m at home, not work, and don’t have the citation handy, and thus this is kind of off the top of my head. If anybody wants it I can get it, as well as a more thorough discussion of it, on Monday at the office. I do recall that that case involved posting a “deep link” on a website; I don’t believe it involved a bulletin board such as this. There might be a similar argument to be made, though, that posting such links increases the value, financial or intrinsic, of the bulletin board, and therefore is an infringement. If I were representing the owner/operator of such a board I’d argue that because posts and threads are pretty transient here it’s distinguishable from a situation where the link is a permanent part of someone else’s webpage.


Voted Best Moderator (Emeritus)

Melin, you went just a little too deep for my purposes. Please don’t go digging up case law on my account :slight_smile:

Was just asking if I can post links to interesting sites on the SDMB, and if I can, where should I post them, if at all.

I can’t even make the ‘link’ thing work, let alone worry about something like…uhhhhh…deep links or linking for financial gain. Was just curious - is this sort of thing frowned on around here?

I also have found a web site for all those people searching for barely-remembered song lyrics, if anyone’s interested :slight_smile:

sandyr -

My vote would be yes, as long as you’re not profiting from hits there. Strictly informational sites which are complementary to TSD would likely be of interest to manny. On the down side it may be well-known to manny other posters as well. It would be reasonable to start a thread in MPSIMS describing your “find”, though.

Links to commercial web sites seem to be tolerated as long as the link answers a question. For example, I have posted links to a network of used book stores that helps readers find & purchase out-of-print books. I would not start a thread about such a site, however.

I’m sure further clarification/corrections will be forthcoming; hope this helps in the meantime. It is strictly my opinion, however, & not TSD policy.

Sue from El Paso

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

It’s nearly illegal NOT to, Sandy.

Anything that will enlighten, amuse, entertain, educate, that’s all good stuff and we encourage it.

What we don’t want is blatant commercial solicitations, multi-level marketing plans or any other hypes or scams, links to “warez” or other disreputable sorts of things, or links to porn sites.

Hope this clears things up for you.

your humble TubaDiva
The Straight Dope

Go for it. Post em in MPSIMS

From an actual catalog: “Disco balls create an enchanting, dazzling effect of light shafts, adding movement and glamour to any occasion”
the Abrams’ bris was certainly memorable
O p a l C a t