By Richard Dunlop-Walters, Instapaper’s editor for The Feature:
Once you go down just one single level in the chain, the hits drop off and nobody gives a damn where it came from. Via links can’t be adapted and molded into something that creates what Popova wants - a giant web of links pointing back to her - the attention isn’t there.
It’s clear to me (with a few years under my belt of posting to The Feature) that the simple act of passing along a link or nugget of information really isn’t particularly valuable. Someone that’s good at it can gain a reputation and a substantial following, as Popova has, but the discrete acts that contribute to that reputation aren’t that valuable on their own.
Agreed. Link to great stuff often, and you’ll build an audience. But subsequent linkers don’t owe credit to every intermediate linker. It’s nice in some cirustances as a courtesy, but it’s never necessary. And even when a “via” link is included, most readers don’t care and don’t click.