Permalinking vs Transience.

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last posted Sept. 20, 2013, 3:06 p.m.
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For me, permalinking is a much deeper thing than a mere pointer to a resource, because the web is inherently transient, and forever shifting. Link rot is what defines the web. Very few people grok the concept of "evergreen domains", and "citable resources".

A domain must be kept renewed for, at least, ten years for it to be evergreen, and content must be citable if you want to go down in history for your efforts. How we go about implementing citable resources is tricky.

Unless you are a Zen Warrior and quite enjoy Sand Mandalas, then you shouldn't be reading this. This article is for those that want to be found on the web for their work in the foreseeable future, and for those who don't want their work attributed to other people. You want authorship of your resource to be correct.

Nobody ever really owns a domain. Much like land, it trades hands with numerous parties before it belongs to any one person; in which case that person can then sell it off and buy new land. Everything is borrowed. You own nothing, really. Imagine these scenarios:

  • Domain expires for financial reasons; content can not be found.
  • Webmaster dies; so he/she can't renew it indefinitely.
  • Your content is simply sold because you got greedy, and you don't have authorship anymore.
  • Domain stays up for 20 years, but the TCP/IP stack is rewritten, and Meshnets now dominate. You fade into darkness. (You are no longer discoverable).
  • URLs point to the correct resource, but require proprietary software to view them. Only the intellectual elite can view the content.
  • Cached copies exist, but only at the whim of Archivists who slurp the web using Historious / Pinboard / / Google Cache / Reverse Proxies / Many Others... You can't rely on these people / companies for keeping your content permanent.

And so I conclude that permalinking is a much deeper concept than a mere URL that points to a resource. It entails a slew of other topics that all center around the age old philosophy of permanence versus transience. It's not just something bloggers use in Wordpress!