I was looking up some old articles and blog posts (circa-2009-2012, so not that old). I was saddened to be reminded how littered the modern Internet is with broken links.
The excellent archive.org, at its Wayback Machine, saves as much of the public Internet as it can, but it doesn’t quite capture everything.
If the link is broken, and the Wayback Machine doesn’t have it? Try your luck with a search engine and hope someone copy-pasted it, or the author cross-posted it to a website that still links it.
This highlights some significant modern problems:
- Slipping through the cracks this way seems like about the only way to actually disappear from the Internet.
- The web today, which has gotten pretty bad (but not irredeemably so), dominates search engine results in part because of recency bias and in part because those pages do, in fact, still exist.
- The central challenge of the age of ubiquitous “information” is that it’s hard to find real, good information.
The web is a god of chaos. Broken links are the debris of its manic, arbitrary antics.