Fate of Old Articles
Posted: 26 April 2018 05:44 AM   [ Ignore ]
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One of my projects for the summer is to revise the very old content on the site, the oldest dating back to 2001. Some of these articles are pretty straightforward revisions and pose no issue. (April Fool was the first.) But many, like book and website reviews, are just plain useless after so many years.

And some fall in between. I used to do a “word of the month” feature, in which I would feature one topical word and include a list of associated terms (e.g., one the of earliest is Enron, with a discussion of nonce words formed from that company’s name). In some cases, I’ll go through and create Big List entries for some of the terms in the list, but I’m not going to do that for every glossary term or even every month’s entry. (I’m not going to do it for Enron, for example.)

Should I just delete this outdated content? Or should I just leave it as is?

There is no issue with storage space. Text takes up very few megabytes. And the old entries are clearly display publication date at the top. But I’m not sure I want to keep obsolescent information up on the site even if the publication date is given. Undiscerning visitors may not realize the information is questionable. And for those word-of-the-month entries and their long lists of terms, I’ll be adding some of the terms to the Big List, but certainly not all, or even most. Do I keep duplicative and conflicting info up on the site?

I would appreciate any feedback.

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Posted: 26 April 2018 05:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’m not clear on what articles you’re talking about.  How do you access them if they’re not on the Big List?  In any case, without really knowing what’s being discussed, I’d vote for getting rid of obsolescent information—what’s the point of keeping it?

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Posted: 26 April 2018 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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They’re not that easy to access. You can do a search and they will show up, or you can can go to the bottom of the page, and click through the pages chronologically one by one. Click on “Last” to jump to the oldest.

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Posted: 26 April 2018 05:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’d argue for leaving them as is.

I have the soul of an archivist. (It’s in the files somewhere.)

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Posted: 27 April 2018 04:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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You can do a search and they will show up, or you can can go to the bottom of the page, and click through the pages chronologically one by one. Click on “Last” to jump to the oldest.

Oh, you’re talking about old Wordorigins posts/threads?  “Articles” is a very odd term to use for them.  In any case, with that clarification, I agree with Doc T: leave them as is.

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Posted: 27 April 2018 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I concur.

Too short for acceptance it seems. OK, I agree then.

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Posted: 28 April 2018 08:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I assume these are not forum threads, but refers to the main wordorigins site?

If yes, where there is an article that you think may be less than current, why not just mark it at the top of the page “Older content, may require revision. To be used as a basis for further investigation only” or something like that?

Deletion may leave a “hole” in other links (including external), plus being able to see that it is marked as “use with caution” can always help in deciding the accuracy of other sources (by comparison).

As in any science, you can learn a lot by looking at early work in terms of refining your argument or technique.  A bit of a dramatic example, but should we delete from our knowledge base all the early classification work of Linnaeus, just because he got a few things wrong by our modern standards?

[ Edited: 28 April 2018 08:22 AM by steve_g ]
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Posted: 28 April 2018 08:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Steve, I think it is in fact the archived threads to which Dave refers, not the articles on the main site.

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Posted: 28 April 2018 08:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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aldiboronti - 28 April 2018 08:20 AM

Steve, I think it is in fact the archived threads to which Dave refers, not the articles on the main site.

I am sure Dave can straighten this out, but given the sentence “go to the bottom of the page, and click through the pages chronologically one by one. Click on “Last” to jump to the oldest.” this is firmly on the Wordorigins home page.

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Posted: 28 April 2018 01:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I’m referring the articles/posts on the main site. Not the discussion forums.

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Posted: 28 April 2018 04:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Well, now I’m totally confused and back to not knowing what you’re talking about, because your instructions ("you can can go to the bottom of the page, and click through the pages chronologically one by one. Click on “Last” to jump to the oldest") only make sense in terms of the discussion forums.  Can you give an example of the kind of thing you mean?

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Posted: 28 April 2018 06:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Start at http://www.wordorigins.org/ and it’s exactly as Dave describes.

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Posted: 29 April 2018 05:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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OK, now I think I’ve got it!  In that case, I revert to my original opinion: if you think some of the old articles are misleading, delete them (or at the very least add a boilerplate message about how the content is outdated and should not be relied on).

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Posted: 01 May 2018 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Got it. Sorry to mislead you, Steve. And certainly they should be revised, Dave, especially if they do contain conflicting information.

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Posted: 02 May 2018 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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aldiboronti - 01 May 2018 10:46 AM

Sorry to mislead you, Steve.

Apologies not in anyway required, and I doubt I suffered any long term harm ;-)

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