The fragility of the Web poses an issue for any area of work or interest that is reliant on written records. Loss of reference material, negative SEO impacts, and malicious hijacking of valuable outlinks are among the adverse effects of a broken URL. More fundamentally, it leaves articles from decades past as shells of their former selves, cut off from their original sourcing and context. And the problem goes beyond journalism. In a 2014 study, for example, researchers (including some on this team) found that nearly half of all hyperlinks in Supreme Court opinions led to content that had either changed since its original publication or disappeared from the internet.
Hosts control URLs. When they delete a URL’s content, intentionally or not, readers find an unreachable website. This often irreversible decay of Web content is commonly known as linkrot. It is similar to the related problem of content drift, or the typically unannounced changes––retractions, additions, replacement––to the content at a particular URL.
This is a HUGE problem as I work my way through the J’s Notes archives and add old content back into the site. So much of the old Internet is dead and gone. The Internet Archive has captured a lot of it, to be sure, but there are many pieces that are never to be found again. Which is a huge loss of knowledge, especially when so much is never put to print anymore, leaving it dependent on digital archiving before things are deleted or domains aren’t renewed.
These figures are well-known to both researchers and the social networks. Some of them run multiple accounts across the different platforms. They often promote “natural health.” Some even sell supplements and books.
Many of the messages about the COVID-19 vaccines being widely spread online mirror what’s been said in the past about other vaccines by peddlers of health misinformation.
“It’s almost like conspiracy theory Mad Libs. They just inserted the new claims,” said John Gregory, deputy health editor at NewsGuard, which rates the credibility of news sites and has done its own tracking of COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation “superspreaders.”
From the Archives:
Sixteen years ago the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote an article on this newfangled “blogging” thing and asked for my input, which I happily shared. Then the world opened up and a slew of other bloggers chimed in, which introduced a lot of folks to each other and helped spawn some great conversations and communities through the years.
Times-Dispatch on Blogging (4/30/2005)
RTD Blogging Follow-Up (5/1/2005)
Blog Elitism (5/1/2005)
Even More On That Blog Article (5/2/2005)
Somewhat Relevant To This Weekend’s Blogging (5/2/2005)
(Note: Not all links are currently working at the moment, need to do the whole Internet Archive linking thing.)