Christian Heilmann

Fighting Linkrot and harmful tutorials at the same time

Sunday, June 12th, 2005 at 10:31 am

I must have been kissed by a Muse at @media, because I had another idea, that I’d like to get help with.

The problem

  • There are far too many outdated, obtrusive and plainly badly written tutorials and scripts out there
  • As they have been around for a long long time, they are ranked very high in search engines, and new, interested developers will find them instead of The Good Stuff™.

The dilemma

As the developer or writer of these scripts and articles, you do have the choice of the rock and the hard place:

  • You hardly have the time or the inclination to rewrite the articles, sometimes they have been published by a third party and you cannot do that.
  • You don’t want to delete them, as you do get visitors, and they might be persuaded to explore your publications more and find The Good Stuff™.

One solution

What I thought about, and many people at @media agreed is that there should be an option to keep these scripts and tutorials for achived reasons and tell the visitor about The Good Stuff™
The idea is to set up a service, which I intend to call Obsoletely Famous (yes, I miss Futurama), which is basically a RSS feed listing good, modern articles and resources for the topic at hand.

(Basically a pre-filtered, as many people linking to it sadly enough does not necessarily mean it is a good quality resource, it is simply popular, probably by oversimplifying the issue at hand. A good example of that are a lot of ALA articles, where the real good information ended up in the comments, but not many users go there)

As the developer / maintainer of the script you can set up a bridge page (or a custom error page) that tells the visitor that the above was fun while it lasted, but the list here actually shows better ones.

The benefits
  • We re-use the high google ranking to promote The Good Stuff™
  • We help writers and scripters / developers to back off things they are not proud of any longer without giving the visitors alternatives
  • We ensure that newer users find The Good Stuff™
  • New writers of The Good Stuff™ can easily reach more people

The plan of action

Give me the bricks, and I’ll build the house

Basically, we need to identify our areas of expertise and define The Good Stuff™ links. Then I can set up the RSS feed and create some example bridge pages. In the long run, I might persuade my evolt colleagues to host it.

Areas covered:

  • JavaScript
  • DOM JavaScript
  • CSS
  • HTML
  • Visual Design
  • Usability
  • Accessibility

We can start by listing some here in the comments.

Check your own stuff
  • Let’s all go through what we have online and see what is a possible candidate for becoming obsoletely famous (I know for a fact that 75% of my is). Squint your eyes and look at it in a menacing way – make it aware that its days are numbered*
  • Scan your bookmarks for good, modern tutorials and name them here.

* optional

Share on Mastodon (needs instance)

Share on Twitter

My other work: