According to many, Google has stirred up more confusion and panic among webmasters with its latest messaging surrounding unnatural links and "what to do about them."
I don't think the message is all that complicated or confusing. Google has no way of determining whether the garbage links going to website A were a bad attempt at positive link-building by website A (or its representatives), or a good attempt at negative SEO by website A's competitors (or their representatives). They can't send messages to the link builders because G doesn't know who they are. What they can do is send a message to the webmaster.
That message is: garbage links have appeared pointing at your site. If you're doing this, knock it off. If someone else is doing this to you, don't sweat it. If you don't have many real links pointing to your site, we're more likely to think you're the problem and your website itself is garbage -- clean up the garbage links and we'll reconsider. If you do have a lot of quality links pointing to your site, we'll view your site as quality regardless of the garbage links and just ignore the garbage -- no need to clean up.
As I argued previously, the point of all of this is to make garbage link building go away, which can only be done by: 1) correctly identifying garbage links as distinct from naturally occurring links; 2) valuing those unnatural links at zero; and 3) letting everyone who MIGHT be involved know that they are doing 1 & 2 to dry up the incentive (and money) to chase bogus links.
There are far more knowledgeable SEO folks at RKG than me, but if we assume the folks at Google are rational and not stupid, this is the only explanation that makes sense to me.
Am I wrong?