I was looking over Christminster reviews on the IFDB, and one of the ones listed as an “editorial review” from Xyzzy News took me to some site about slots games when I did the click for full review thing. The main Xyzzy News url goes there too. It’s not a redirect, that’s just what the address is being used for now.
So I’m a little concerned that 1) there are other games on IFDB where reviews that no longer exist are being prominently teased only to link to something unrelated, and 2) an unknown number of actual reviews from whenever the site was legit have potentially been lost. This one said it was by Eileen Mullin…does it exist anywhere else?
I guess I should try to contact someone on IFDB itself about the links, but I’m only aware of the one at present.
Link rot is inevitable but, fortunately, there is a great solution for it called the Wayback Machine.
For example, the page you are interested in has been archived many times. Here’s one of them:
Is IFDB actively maintained? I know people add information occasionally (myself included), but the site is starting to feel abandonded. I don’t mind old tech as such, but somebody has to oil the machinery.
Would it be possible to change stale links on IFDB, in an automated fashion, to point to the wayback machine instead? Especially when they point to 404s, domain parking pages, or even gambling ads. They are numerous, they are annoying, and they affect the pagerank of IFDB and of anybody who links to IFDB.
Edit: Let me rephrase that, because it came out misleading. IFDB, and anybody who links to IFDB, are using their own pagerank to promote the questionable content that is now reachable via these links. Still not good.
In Jan. 2019 I briefly corresponded with Mike Roberts about zapping a spam reviewer, so at least back then he was doing some behind the scenes maintenance. If you have an idea about how to take care of the stale links automatically, it might be worth getting in touch with him and offering to help.
For that matter, maybe it would be worth trying to bring IFDb under the IFTF umbrella? That could perhaps open a way for more people to be able to work on this kind of thing.
Dealing with stale links in an automated way is non-trivial. You can find all of the 404s straightforwardly, but it may not be easy to automatically find the right archived page in the Wayback machine. But the gambling ads and domain parking pages are not so easy to autodetect.
I see. Perhaps it could be crowdsourced in some way then? Maybe a thumbnail image of each editorial review could be shown next to the link, so readers can know at a glance whether the full text is available or not.
I realize this sounds like whining, but I’m concerned about the site. As more and more reviews go missing, people have less incentive to visit IFDB, let alone contribute to it.
When the Baf’s Guide website went down, there were a bunch of links to it on IFWiki that no longer worked. I auto-replaced the Baf’s Guide links with Wayback Machine links. I chose a date when the Baf’s Guide site would have still been active, but not right before the site went down, and put that date on all the links. Wayback won’t necessarily have a snapshot from that exact date, but when you click the link, it will search for a snapshot close to that date.
Also, I believe all the editions of XYZZY News are available at the IF Archive. I don’t think it’s possible to link directly to a review, but you could link to a particular issue, or, if all else fails, to the folder that contains all the issues.
(Edited to correct “Internet Archive” to “IF Archive”)
Also at http://ifarchive.org/indexes/if-archive/magazines/XYZZYnews/ .
The problem is that while IFDB is user-edited, there’s no way to update the URL for an existing review.
You can update the URL for these off-site reviews by editing the page. Click “Edit This Page” at the very bottom, and you should get a thing that (among other things) lists “Off-site reviews.” Click “Edit” next to the one you want to edit, and you can correct the links.
I just did that for Christminster; the link to full review goes to a Wayback Machine archive of the Xyzzynews review, and the link to “Xyzzy news” goes to the IF archive link you just posted.
So that’s solvable in principle without getting into the backend… the question is whether we can automate it, I guess, because it seems like it’d be time-consuming to do all the Xyzzy News links by hand.
Ok, thanks – I tried to do that but failed to find the right controls.
Doing them all this way would be tedious, but a volunteer group could tackle it.
Actually, I’ve checked a recent IFDB SQL dump, and there are only 25 games with xyzzynews URLs in the external-reviews table. Here’s the IFDB ID list:
s261gocee0qwv4rs, a1ako4ajhv6horjo, f9zdxmllvwj53omk, 28uhmejlntcbccqm, xclicgz9z79nzblt, nwyd2hk2ntmhodlg, ptd5vgjvr089dpzr, m80jfuxzhsaanewf, mtglkpecro1rq2mp, tqpowvmdoemtooqf, abcm2cglt04exd3p, ehgrdmftq2kj7cci, phnv25a48no14tja, aqd90c2ot0zkxe88, 9bgglbug7g1fxlxe, bi8rb6cieq8p05wl, v5xsbaedcb9p29bq, bv8of8y9xeo7307g, zywbjqch3w9elp79, fq26p07f48ckfror, 1ho4lvchvukpgfld, a3ym4ipix7sjsfrf, plvzam05bmz3enh8, 2xyccw3pe0uovfad, ju778uv5xaswnlpl
(Christminster and I think one other has already been waybacked.)
I can update all of these. I have been slowly providing Play Online links for games at archive.org, I can just put these in my work queue as well. Did we just want to redirect to the Wayback Machine archive with the latest date?
Any date that has the reviews would probably be fine! I’d fear that if we went by latest date we might catch a snapshot from after it had been squatted.
All of the links for the games in the list that @zarf provided have been updated. I used the same process that @matt_weiner used.