Friday, March 27, 2015

Broken links on some of my older domains: some feedback


Recently, I got an email from a college student about some broken links on my “doaskdotell.com” domain.  In fact, the page in question was a “links” reference page, and the links in question concerned Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty (GLIL) which was very active in the 1990s. I was the editor of its newsletter, “The Quill” in 1995 and 1996. 
  
I’ve experimented with several domains, as summarized on Wordpress in January 2014, here.  I started with Blogger in January 2006 and started increasing my use of it around the start of 2007, and using the “doaskdotell.com” domain less.  Generally, the only two files on “doaskdotell” that I maintain a lot to day are the “XREF” (upper left) cross reference, to major media reviews, and the “content navigation guide”. 
  

I do have a lot of “sidebar” and “opinion” pieces there that predate my starting with Blogger in 2006.  Generally, the functionality of these pieces is replaced by Blogger (and now Wordpress).  Likewise, the Movies, Books, and Drama (and music) reviews were continued on appropriate blogs on Blogger and now Wordpress (the special “Media Reviews” blog).
  
Also, my Wordpress blogs exist mainly for two purposes: to provide more detailed notes for my three DADT books, as new issues come up (replacing the “footnote files” on “doaskdotell”), and to reinforce older media reviews or do special ones related to my own writing projects.  I also document the progress of my screenplay, novel and music projects here.  Sometimes I place additional QA session videos here, too.
  
There is certainly an issue with allowing older sites to stay up when they are not often maintained.  I have thought about removing a lot of old content, but this would take non-productive effort!  What I will do more of is tagging many of the opinion pieces and link references with dates showing when they were created. Over time, many links in older pieces do tend to disappear. 
  
There is also an issue with the quality of comments.  Most of my blogs have automatic spam filtering of comments.  One of them does not, and so occasionally I have to mass mark about 2000 comments as spam.  The quality of comments on blogs is not what it once was, as so much commenting has moved to social media (although established newspapers seem to be able to keep attracting comments, as do more specialized sites). 
  
I’ve noticed that there is a certain immaturity even behind the legitimate comments.  There is a certain tendency to resent “know it all’s” and to looks for easy answers to immediate questions.
  
As to the links, I suppose I could consider installing a "broken link checker", link this one, on older sites, even blogs. You can read the pros there for using them.  I get a lot of emails and tweets from SEO and other website services, and get so wrapped up in "news" and current projects that I don't respond to them often. 
    
I can even imagine that in the future, web hosting companies or service providers could feel some incentive to monitor the quality of visits that websites and blogs, especially run by amateurs, receive from the public.  That could involve metrics like bounce rates, depth, distinct visitors, and new visitors.  They could also become concerned about the quality of links and their management.  But that speaks to a more authoritarian kind of world where speech and broadcast is not as spontaneous as it is today.  Sounds like China.  

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