404 makes bunnies cry

responsible blog reboots

it’s a new day. you wake up, and for whatever reason you want to start blogging again. time for a fresh start, you say to yourself! this time it’ll be different!

but you visit your old blog and it’s looking old and dusty. the last post was 2 years ago. the design is tired.

on the other hand, you want to keep the domain. it’s a good domain, you think, and you’ve been paying for it for all these years.

so: out with the old, in with the new, right? just wipe out that wordpress database and start over with a spiffy new theme.

before you hit that delete button, please wait!

have you ever been in this situation? you’re looking for the answer for a programming question on stackoverflow (for example). you find a useful answer that includes a link to a blog post that contains more detail.

hopeful, you click on it. boom: 404. the blog itself is still there, but at some point in the past the author decided it was time for a fresh start. “i’ve rebooted my blog!” says the author, triumphantly. hooray for fresh starts, i guess, but the relevant post is missing. gone. useful information, lost to the ether. if you’re lucky, maybe you can dig it out of the wayback machine. if you’re not, tough luck.

this is commonly known as link rot. it breaks the web. it makes bunnies cry ;_;

please: don’t delete the old content! keep it around somewhere, even if hidden from the normal flow of your blog, and redirect the old links to the new archived location of those posts.

or at least do the lazier alternative (which is what i did with this blog1), which is to keep the old site up at the old URL, and start a new blog at a new subdomain.

thanks. future generations of information seekers will thank you too.2

  1. mainly because i didn’t feel like messing with mod_rewrite :P perhaps at some future date. 

  2. and so will the bunnies! 


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