It's been frequently noted that a lot of questions and answers seem to rely on a linked page for proper explanation of the content provided in the post.
However, with time the links tend to become dead and are of no use for future references. To prevent this the guidelines of StackExchange suggests to not rely on external links and make the post to be self-sufficient which might not be possible in some cases.
I thought of the following two things to address this problem and would like to have a discussion about the same :-
- A snippet of the page linked can be maintained on the StackExchange database.
- Instead of maintaining the snippets on the StackExchange database, they can be obtained from the WayBack Machine (http://web.archive.org/) which contains an archive of almost every web page from a particular point of time.
The second method can be used to replace already dead links from old posts. Let's take an example of the following post which has a dead link in it.
- The post is :- https://electronics.stackexchange.com/a/2721/203611
- The dead link from a comment on that post :- http://www.electronics123.com/s.nl/sc.8/category.241/.f
- WebArchiver Link :- https://web.archive.org/web/20100829201419/https://www.electronics123.com/s.nl/sc.8/category.241/.f
Implementation of the second method can either be by software (via APIs) or manually:
- An alternate forwarding link to web.archive.org can be arranged which the user visits instead of going to the dead link.
- The 2nd method can be listed on old posts in a small side box to guide the user through the steps required to obtain the link manually if they are facing trouble with dead links.
Would like to have your views on this topic :)