August 31, 2005
We have observed some flak in various quarters of the blogosphere about our policy of not asking for permission before linking people's blog posts. (Incidentally, 2 of those quarters had "Tomorrow i'm not free lah!!" stickers, so we cannot link to them)
The default position on the web is that you do not need someone's permission to link to them, and in the absence of other signs, this is the position we take. We don't expect everyone who does not wish to be linked by us to put up one of those the "Tomorrow i'm not free lah!!" buttons. However, we visit each and every blog post submitted to Tomorrow before we publish it, and if the blog has a specific "please ask for permission before you link" notice in the sidebar, we will not link it, even if it lacks password protection or the aforementioned buttons; if there is no disclaimer or notice, we will have no qualms about linking the post.
The reasons for this policy are simple. If we were to ask for permission from each and every author, not everyone would respond promptly, if indeed they bothered to respond to our queries at all. As a result, the quantity and quality of blog posts on Tomorrow.sg would plummet precipitously. More importantly, linking is the lifeblood not only of blogging, but of the Internet itself - if permission had to be sought for each and every link, the World Wide Web would not exist in a recognisable form, if at all. Most search engines wouldn't exist, for instance.
An analogy would be of a Person A standing in the buff in the publicly accessible alcove of an office building off Orchard Road, Person B coming along, noting Person A's lack of modesty (and blithe lack of concern thereof), and then running down Orchard Road telling people about the free show. Can Person B be castigated by one and all for making his proclamations?
Some might argue that 'ordinary' bloggers linking without permission is fine, because of the low volume of traffic that such linking would bring but that we, as a well-read site, should grant people this courtesy, but the principle is the same. If you don't want people to read your blog, even if you don't want to or cannot password-protect it, at least make it clear that it is a private blog and that you don't want links to your site.
Those who would prefer not to rely on our (or other parties') goodwill can try the following tools/sites which offer password protection:
Note: Tomorrow has an unwritten rule that we will not link to anyone with any link policy, ever. We will not email you for permission and neither will we do so even if you grant us the permission. We do not have the resources to examine every link policy and permission (sometimes requiring the skill of a lawyer) hence the rule of thumb we adopt.