source : http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2003/1/4/125411/1900
Somebody builds the Sears tower in 1/10,000th scale in Legos, puts up a few photos for his buddies to check out, and the next thing that they know their server is flooded or their bandwidth cap is maxed out and they don't have the use of their server. Or, even worse, the provider just tacks on a fee for bandwidth usage and some poor schlub is facing a monster bandwidth bill that they didn't anticipate. I don't belive that people should have to get permission to link to another site, in general. If you put something on the Web without putting a password on it or whatever, you're explicitly allowing others to link to it -- at least in my opinion. Don't put something on the Web that you don't want other people to see. However, the folks who run Slashdot, et al, know that they carry an inordinate amount of influence when it comes to driving people to a website. (Hence the term, "slashdotted.") If they link to a JPEG of a used tissue, at least 1% of their audience -- which is of considerable size -- is going to click on the link just for grins. 1% of a site that probably gets hundreds of thousands of page views per day comes up to quite a few people. They can easily disable a site for a few days until the post is off their front page -- making life miserable for someone who just wanted to put up images for their buddies. (Often these things are not submitted by the owners of the site.) The moderators/owners of these sites should be doing the following:
1. Ask permission if the site isn't a major site that can handle the traffic. Obviously, Met4filter linking to Slashdot isn't going to cause a problem for Slashdot, or Slashdot linking to CNN.
2. Mirror the site. If the site owner is ameniable to having their content exposed to the world, but doesn't have the bandwidth/server resources to handle it, they should ask permission to mirror the site -- at least temporarily -- to handle the load. It hasn't happened yet, but I see a "reckless linking" lawsuit where someone sues Slashdot or another site for causing monetary damages.
3. Drop the link. If the site owner isn't willing to be mirrored, and the site is obviously going to suffer if linked, then the post should be dropped or not put up in the first place. Not because Slashdot and the rest lack the legal right to link -- but out of common courtesy. Not everyone wants to share their Lego picture gallery with the rest of the world, at least not all at once.
I was just thinking about this because I ran into another link that was unreachable via Slashdot this morning, and yesterday I went to a link off of Fark where the site owner had replaced the content with a plea for donations to pay for bandwidth because they had been unexpectedly Farked. It's one thing when it was an unexpected side-effect. The first few sites slashdotted were kind of a surprise, I'm sure. However, now that the effect is well-documented, these folks should be a little more careful -- and a lot more courteous -- in the links that they post."