September 2002

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Broken links suck

September 22, 2002

This website has 400+ links on the research page alone. The whole idea of a "world wide web" or just this website's research database is that the pages we link to don't move. When website designers move something, our link breaks and everybody loses.

Running a website should not be like that carnival scam (Wack-A-Mole) where you are supposed to hit these mechanical groundhogs that pop up from random holes with a big mallet. The problem is that the groundhogs pop up faster than you can move the oversized mallet. The web is just to big to work if every site designer expects OTHER sites to compensate for their lazyness. The more sites fill with broken links, the less value the web has for anyone.

Here's how you can help.
1. If you find a broken link on this site, please email us. If we knew about it, it wouldn't be broken. It's that simple. We can't fix other people's sites, but we can fix our own links. We keep a backup copy of all the reports we link to, so we can post our backup copy if necessary. It's simply cheaper for us to pay for the bandwidth in these cases then be perpetually tracking down where a report has been moved to. If a report gets moved once, we're hosting it here. Less critical links content may just get deleted.
2. If you run a website, or know anybody who does, check out some of the links in our Website Design And Internet Activism page for theoretical and technical articles on avoiding linkrot.

While we're complaining, we should point out that some people get it right. Generally, if somebody does something correct, you'll never know. But kudos should go to the Drug Policy Alliance which merged two organizations (Drug Policy Foundation and the Lindesmith Foundation) and their websites without breaking external links to individual pages. Apparently, they thought their information was important enough to preserve the links. We hope that other organizations take their own writings as seriously and follow suit.

Sending newsletter links only once

September 19, 2002

Is more complicated than I thought. The necessary modifications to the database and sorting routines are easy, figuring out how to tell the database that a link has been sent is more complicated, at least to me. Read below for how far I got and my plea for assistance. Twenty bucks to the first person who figures it out. As always if you have a better way to solve the problem than I suggest, that would be great.

Gossamer Threads Support Forum.

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