I have two more anniversary retrospective pieces to write, but the going is slow because so many of the old links are broken. In some cases the weblogs, and the webloggers are gone–and when I did stop thinking about them?
Mostly though, we changed weblogging tools, or there was a time when all of us Movable Type users were convinced that we needed to go with a different file naming structure, and hence most of us broke our links. We thought we had proper redirects in place, but over time, and with moving servers or a lack of interest in maintaining such old archives, the links no longer work.
Perhaps we were never meant to revist old discussions. I read the comments now on the older posts, and I see a lot of names of people who have since gone silent–either by cutting the association, or just a gradual drifting away. I think I wrote something on this once; that we’re not supposed to have such sharp details on old conversations, and that’s why our memories grow faint over time.
When I remember the discussions long past, I seem to remember that they were more eloquent–passionate, rather than acrimonious, intense rather than angry. Then when I finally recover the original writing, sometimes I think I am going to destroy every last one of my archives.
Rather than trying to decipher the mapping between old links and new, I resorted to using Google to recover the posts, typing in a person’s name and few words about the topic. Success! I find the old posts, but gradually, I found myself distracted by the entries returned by the search engine. As I look down the page, I see other old references to the same writing, or writing about writing, from other weblogs and webloggers, and I found myself just typing in names, by themselves, and skimming the pages.
Try it for yourself, typing in one or two or more weblogger’s names, and a topic (such as Creative Commons) or just the names themselves, though the blogrolls play havoc with the results. It’s an interesting experience. Not one I necessarily recommend.
One should never do retrospectives in weblogging.
Now, why is it we weblog, again?