Regular readers of Google engineer Matt Cutts' blog will know that he has his comments on pre moderation. This means that if a lot of people reply before he accepts those comments, all you really have is comments, rather than discussion. Still, you'd think that when he drops some idiot site right in the firing line over some telltale signs of deceptive spamming he might actually answer the almost universal question everyone is asking. At the time of writing, there are 48 comments, of which about 85% are on the theme of "hey! what about legitimate reasons to hide text with css?" with no word from Google.
There are many stupid reasons to use CSS to deceive users, but there are also many legitimate reasons. Some of those might be:
- To work around CMS issues, just as we do here at TW
- To provide screen readers with links that normally sighted visitors simply don't need to see.
- To Achieve asthetically pleasing complex CSS design
- For DHTML bells and whistles
If Google are stupid enough to try and catch spammers by looking for display: none; in CSS files and embedded in HTML (which, it has to be pointed out, Matt did not say) then they'd dump a whole boatload of good sites.
Some might say that GOOG are no stranger to throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and that collateral damage is to be expected with algo tweaks, but in this case, i think there would be a lot more sites trashed than they may expect....