Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Perils of the Warp...I mean, Web.

This is a cautionary tale about the ephemeral nature of the internets. In the grand scheme of things it's not really important, but this story does speak to several issues that we will all need to come to terms with now and in the future.

So, there was this good gaming blog titled "Deep in the Game", in which the author expounded on current gaming theory and various ways to incorporate some new thinking into your own games. This particular blog was nice because, along with the theory, it gave practical advice anybody could use. And going by the chatter on several message boards, plenty of people did.

I had the site linked in the list over there on the right side of the page. I checked in on what was new every so often, but the best articles concerned flag framing and what the author named a "conflict web".

I just happened to click on my link to the site last night and got a generic host page instead. From there it was on to the forums at to see if there was any news about a site migration or whatever else might have happened. With a quick search I found this thread from the day before. I won't go into details; check the posts if you want to know more. Basically, he had written all that he wanted, and felt that many new games already incorporate the things he was talking about, so he took down the blog.

The moral of the story is this: If you see something you're interested in, or find useful while surfing, save a local copy. You could go back to see it the next day and it could be gone. While the interweb is perhaps the greatest collaborative communication device ever invented, its strengths are also weaknesses. It's all bits and bytes existing in nebulous space out there, not fixed in print. Something that exists today could be deleted (or re-written) tomorrow.

Of course like any creative author, this person can do with the data whatever he pleases. I think that's part of the original point of copyright. However, it's not like it was published and out-of-print copies still exist (well, there are partial archives in search caches, but that's another story) in the real world. It's just gone. That's something to consider as more and more content goes electronic and stays in that form.

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