Are trackbacks worth it?

Trackback has always bothered me as a solution. Why would I have to ping your site to tell you I’m linking to you, when search engines can easily tell you who is linking to your site? When I look at the trackbacks I get, almost all of them are spam. And even when trackbacks are working as intended, the excerpts include tend to be irrelevant, so you still have to click through to find out what’s going on in this conversation.

What’s your experience? Are trackbacks helping or are they just a dated technology made obsolete by Technorati, memeorandum and their ilk? If you were to implement a new lean blog engine, would you include trackback support?

3 comments

Yes. Trackbacks are decentralized peer to peer. enough said. They are decentralized comments. That said - their usability could be improved tremendously.
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That's an important point, but let me rephrase the question, then: Have you gotten significant value out of trackbacks? When you read other people's blog posts, do you read the trackbacks, or skip past them and straight for the comments? The fact that it's decentralized is important, but if it fails to deliver the core value it's designed to, then the question of decentralized vs. not is moot.
By Lars Pind on Sat, Dec 24, 05 at 21:28 · Reply
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I think the shortcoming in trackbacks is usually the automated nature of the excerpting. I often skip over them in favor of comments, but mostly because I don't get a good enough idea of what the article is about to go read it. If blogging platforms gave user the ability to edit their excerpts prior to pinging, that might help substantially.
By Kevin Scaldeferri on Sat, Dec 24, 05 at 21:28 · Reply
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