When discussing the mechanics of warfare link boosting vis a vis off-grid as it is now versus on-grid as myself and some others are pushing for, two of the most compelling points in my opinion for the status quo are the "It Favours The Prepared" and "Better Than Another Fighting Pilot" arguments.
I've done some thinking and pondering and I've come up with my reasons why I think both of these reasons are not adequate to prevent boosting from only working for ships on grid with the booster.
"Favours the Prepared"
This is the more compelling of the two arguments and and can be basically can be summed up as this: if a pilot or group of pilots have the foresight to prepare an off grid booster character in a safe spot like a POS or deep space with the correctly trained skills and in the properly fitted ship, then they deserve the bonus that boosting character gives their fleet over the enemy.
It holds weight because in a competitive game like Eve we want to reward those that plan ahead and make preparations over the pilots that simply fly by the seat of their pants. HOWEVER... upon closer examination it falls down.
If we are calling it "skill" and "effort" to train some skills on an alt and to buy and fit the right ship setup to do gang link bonuses, then I think we are greatly devaluing things that do take skill and effort, such as learning to fit and flying a ship in combat. Let's be clear: there is no secret half known formula for creating a boosting alt, or the Loki that he has to sit in.
As for rewarding preparation, that would imply that if two sides were to meet that were both equally prepared the both sides would have the same advantage. Right? However, off grid boosting does not reward the prepared in so much as it rewards a static defender over a roaming attacker. The roaming fleet has to risk their alt in the Loki to get it into a system where a fight might occur and get it to a safe spot (unlikely a friendly POS available) whereas a defending fleet camping a gate has their boosting ship already in place (probably in a friendly POS in many cases). In other words, off grid boosting actually rewards gate campers (which I'm hoping doesn't need explanations as to why that is undesirable).
"Better Than Another Fighting Pilot"
This argument can also be labeled the "Better than a Falcon" point as that is its most common version I have heard. Essentially it goes like this: the advantages afforded by the off grid boosting alt are not so bad, and are far less annoying than if that pilot were to show up in a Falcon (or other combat ship).
Any pilot that has been burned by a decloaking Recon ship or a sudden local spike in the middle of a close fight understands the emotion behind this argument. The advantages afforded by off grid boosting can be overcome, and especially the Skirmish Warfare links that boost speed, signature radius, and tackle modules instead of boosting the enemy's tanking abilities.
But this point only really applies in a very slim set of scenarios, such as in 1-or-2 versus 1-or-2 fights where one side has an alt that is the boosting pilot. The advantages afforded by the fleet-wide boosts are small in small fights compared to the advantages that another combat ship provides, but in larger fights the cumulative affects of every member being boosted quickly outpaces the advantage of one more pilot in the direct fight. Furthermore, an alt acting as a second combat pilot is at a lot more risk since they have to be on grid to fight (i.e. target, activate modules, maneuver, etc), whereas an alt providing off grid boosting simply does nothing but sit there in virtually complete safety.
* * * * *
I logged in and looked to see if there were any fleets up. There was one advertising free Loki boosting in Heydieles, the system I was in. I joined and watched the range of my faction warp scrambler and webber jump on my plex-hunting Dramiel. For me the effort and preparation was zero yet while in Heydieles I had a significant advantage over any enemy This fleet had about 8-10 pilots in it, all of them gaining an advantage from one afk Loki alt, at no cost to themselves. Had I engaged anyone they would have not known I was boosted out the gills for my tackle gear until I scrammed them at ludicrous range. If the situation was reversed, I would definitely rather know what I'm up against by seeing another pilot on the grid (cloaked Falcons notwithstanding).
Off-grid boosting has got to change.