Defrauding the Manifesto

In a startling moment diverse proponents of agile methods discovered what united them. This articulation became the Agile Manifesto, with author's names attached, and soon after a mechanism for others to similarly sign. I moderate those signatures and have seen and fought the relentless growth of SEO spam.

Signers must provide an email address which can optionally be linked to their name.

Signers may provide an affiliation which could once be optionally linked to a website.

The links were important to the authors when the movement was young as validation of the general value of their discoveries. The site itself became important as the agile movement grew. But then, almost as a force of nature, search-engine optimizers (SEO) found that they could exploit the site's respect and popularity.

Now the arms race begins.

I had always moderated submissions and denied the blatant advertisements. I eventually converted the links to be generated 'nofollow', an instruction to google's robot that erases their SEO value. I eventually removed the affiliation link mechanism in toto.

The Agile Manifesto's moderation page where today's crop of abuses are denied.

Much to my surprise an occasional linked affiliation showed up. Some signers provided a url as their affiliations. I denied these. But others showed up as linked company names. How could this be?

I denied all affiliation-linked signatures but they still arrive even to this day. By what mechanism? To what end?

I found that the signature machinery did not properly escape html injection. One could write their affiliation as an html tag even though I had removed the affiliation link option. Was this common practice? To a degree, yes.

I searched through the many thousands of signatures and found a half dozen that had slipped through my moderation before affiliation linking was a red flag. These began late in the history of signing in response to my application of no follow to the links I made. Clever bastards. They knew what I wanted but they wanted otherwise.

As fraud goes this is about as minor as it gets. Still I am hurt. I've been kind to the world by sharing my best insights openly and invited others to join me in my work. More to the point, any system that can be abused will be abused. This is the internet today.

See Troll Farm for an example of state funded abuse.