Collective Multidirectional Links

The co-link project, created by Alex Primo and developed by Ricardo Araújo, is an interesting idea in making website links dynamic connection points that can be easily modified by the site’s user community.

As this demonstration shows, visitors can add targets to a javascript-based list of target URLs that opens when any text link is clicked on.

Of course there are some downsides to this rethinking of the standard static hypertext link, such as the current lack of moderation. Obviously any links that can be modified by any member of the public would result in several pages of spam links nearly overnight, requiring some form of moderation, be it automated, manual or simply limiting users to those registered and approved by the site maintainer.

Another problem is that the ability for users to add unmoderated links to the list does nothing to indicate the relevance of those targets to the link text parent.

For example, if the author is writing about the politics of blogging and links to the appropriate section of wikipedia, one gets a good idea of what the author intended with that link. If visitors add links to essays and opinion pieces on the same topic, the value of that link is enhanced. If, however, visitors misunderstand the link to be about anything blog related and add everything from links to free blogging sites to blog technology pieces, they can quickly crowd out the more relevant links.

Still, the co-links project is an interesting experimental take on the static hypertext link, so it’s worth checking out to see if they can overcome these problems.

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