Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

Dear Business Week

Thanks for featuring Fray, my humble site, in the lead of your recent story, You Are What You Post. We always appreciate journalists taking the time to use a 5 year-old personal story contributed to our “obscure” literary site as a to peg to hang a fear-mongering, hysterical story on.

But it would have been nice if you had at least linked to the original stuff to let readers judge the threat for themselves. The original story was called Letterman on Drugs and was written by the talented storyteller Lance Anderson.

Young Josh posted his story to the posting area that follows every Fray story. His contribution appears at the top of the second page. As you can see, he’s in good company. There are 39 pages of stories like Josh’s.

You might not know this, since it takes a tiny amount of research, but I have a robots.txt file in place that prohibits search engine spiders from indexing the posting areas on Fray. We do this to try to protect the stories posted there from exactly the kind of prying eyes you describe so colorfully in your story.

If you really found a link to Josh’s story on Fray in Google, then the story is that Google is not respecting the robots.txt exclusion protocol as they say they do. But, looking for myself, I see no link to Josh’s story, which kinda puts a big hole in your story, no? So perhaps the story could be about the methods conscientious website administers can use to keep their user-contributed content out of search indexes.

But I understand if spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the wild world of the user-generated web is more your thing.

SEE ALSO: Josh’s two cents.


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Hi, I’m Derek. I make awesome community-centric web stuff. I sometimes post things to Instagram and Twitter. I’m mostly harmless. More.





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