Monday, July 25, 2011

Itchy Blog

Seven years ago today, I crept out onto the blogosphere.

To celebrate my anniversary this year, I set a goal earlier in the summer to finally chase the chaos out of the archives. There are (were) a lot of problems that date back at least to when I moved the blog to new digs last summer, and I've been dealing with the worst of them -- the incoherent labeling and missing images -- for the past weeks, and I'm pretty close to getting through it all. I might even finish by the end of the night, but since I just poured myself a glass of wine (**tink!!!!**), I figured it would be an appropriate time to take a break and type up a celebratory post.

There are some other issues that will see some ongoing attention -- dead links, mostly. The internal ones are easy (though time-consuming) to dispatch, but the external dead links are a bit more of a problem. What say you, other bloggers? Do you ever go back and find dead links? If so, what do you do about them -- just take them out, or try to find replacement links?

The process of going through old posts has been an interesting experience, rather like watching my life flash before my eyes, albeit very, very slowly. It was a frustration and then a thrill to read through posts from the 2008 election cycle (I thought this was a particularly good post!) and then a little disappointing to revisit how infrequently I've been posting since then -- enough so that I'm motivated to try and put together some more substantial posts as this year wears on.

Along the way, I've discovered a new appreciation for all my fellow bloggers out there, some who are still at it (and have earned my intense admiration) and others who have gone quiet (and I miss you very much!). I'm also thankful to all those who have commented over the years -- I am grateful for your contributions and hope you felt appreciated at the time.

Seven years. Wow. And, in the immortal words of Monty Python, I'm not dead yet...


Keera Ann Fox said...

I've sometimes had reason to go back to older posts, only to find dead links, but I do nothing about it because I think hunting down a fresh link for a 5 y.o. post can be both misleading and even a tad dishonest. Misleading because I may not remember why I linked to that URL after all this time and therefore a new link may have the intended effect, and dishonest because it does alter the post (though a note about that could be added).

Anyway, happy anniversary! I hope to keep hanging out with you in the blogosphere for a good while longer (and yes, I know it's my turn now. :-) ).

alice said...

Thanks, Keera! I hope so, too.

As far as the links, go, I'm not talking about linking to something different -- just updating a dead link so that it works again (you run into them most often when a site has been overhauled and old content has been given new URLs). Similarly, while I've been fixing missing images, I've also caught some posts with embedded videos that no longer work -- and if I can find a new source for that same video, I'll update the code so that the post's content is restored.

I'm not talking about changing the content of a post (which I'm not opposed to doing, though, as you suggest, I would also include a note explaining what I did and why).

alice said...

Still pondering about this... what bothers me is those archived posts that no longer have any content of value because of outdated links. But now that I think about it, if a reader is really interested in that content, he or she can chase down the fresh links just as well as I can, so maybe it's just not worth bothering with...

Keera Ann Fox said...

Depends. How long does it take a link to die? I'd expect them to be around for about a year, yes? If any post has that sort of timeless value (rehashing the history of the Dead with lots of references, for example), then yes, update links for your readers. If your links aren't a whole bunch of "read more here, here and here", then the reader can probably figure out where to find fresh links if yours are dead (without hunting for clues in the code).

This whole thing does have me wondering: Is there some other way to present links? Some other way to keep the content readable even if the links go dead? Like a list of footnotes or the URLs in plain text or something?

Then again, most blog posts have pretty short expiration dates. How important or expected are live links on something written in 2004?

As you can see, nothing but questions and no answers. I do see, however, that writing in such a way that it is clear where the link goes and why you've included it, can keep a post's value even if the link goes dead.