Regarding the Thoughtful Cultivation of the Archived Internet

Bookmarked Regarding the Thoughtful Cultivation of the Archived Internet

“Approximately no one ever reads any post on this site that’s more than a few years old, but is that an argument for or against deleting them? (If a tree falls in the woods, etc…) Should I delete but leave a note they were deleted? Should I leave the original posts but append updates citing my current displeasure? Or like Mister Rogers used to do, should I rewrite the posts to bring them more into line with my current thinking? Is the kottke.org archive trapped in amber, a record of what I’ve written when I wrote it, or is it a living, breathing thing that thrives on activity?”


I have ~17 years of archived posts that I’ve rescued from my lost and broken blogs of yesteryear – approximately 670 posts in all. I keep considering hitting the “publish” (republish?) button on them, but everytime I’ve stopped myself.

The “purist” in me me thinks they should be reinstated. “Cool URLs don’t change” and all that… plus that they’re a form of personal history. I was blogging before I’d left my teens, and I’m in the upper half of my 30’s now. A lot has happened over the years, and a lot of it is captured in those archives.

But there’s also a lot there that is basically junk. Old links that no longer work; media that no longer loads; interactions with blogs that no longer exist; posts that I cringe about when reading now, with the benefits of nearly 2 decades of hindsight, growth and experience. If I was really unlucky, there’s probably something in there a troll could take out of context and weaponise against me, much like old tweets have been turned against their authors.

So for now the archive sits there unpublished while I consider what to do with them.


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