Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Digital Decay

The internet is forever...except when it isn't.

I mean, this blog's ill-maintained sidebar is a monument to that fact. To say nothing of the links in 17,000+ posts stretching back some fifteen years. Every now and again I have to go back and edit one in the archives when I get an automated Google email letting me know that the web address of a former blog or forum to which I linked in some throwaway Tuesday morning post back during the second Bush administration is now being cyber-squatted by a Kazakhstani malware ranch.

This is an ongoing, and ever-growing, problem:
"While jotting down thoughts for this edition of the newsletter, I opened up my web browser’s bookmark folder and started clicking through saved items to see which bits of the internet I loved still existed. The results were … pretty grim.

Long, self-indulgent essays from a writer I idolized, a gorgeous online portfolio of photos taken by a photographer in Japan, a repository of old State Department language learning resources, all gone. Link rot is real, folks, and with it comes a slow, steady sloughing off things on the internet we once loved — or still love, in absentia.
That linked newsletter has some clever ideas on better preserving things you really need to preserve, and maybe realizing which links are best left to fade away...