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From: Aaron W. LaFramboise (aaronrabiddog51_at_[hidden])
Date: 2004-07-22 02:00:04

Aleksey Gurtovoy wrote:
> Aaron W. LaFramboise writes:
>>Miro Jurisic wrote:
>>>Tinyurl (and similar services) discard valuable information from the URL. I
>>>often use information in the URL itself to judge whether the topic being
>>>discussed is of interest to me.
>>To add another example of existing practice, in some forums where
>>hypertext links are used, it is considered impolite to post a clickable
>>URL without at least mentioning in plaintext the domain name that it
>>refers to.
> Sounds like a drastic practice on empty grounds. Do you *really* care
> whether the link takes you to
> or Why?

I'm not sure if its drastic or not, but I do appreciate it. (A
degenerate counterexample is when friends used to send links to me on
AIM that said 'click here' and there was no way to tell what it was
until I did.)

Also, for these two URLs, I can't figure out exactly what tinyurl adds.
 Neither has been broken by wrapping, and even if they had, I can
trivially fix it in less time than it takes to form a tinyurl in the
first place.

>>I don't know how much information a domain name adds, but I
>>think a lot of people, myself included, don't like clicking on blind
> Can you cite a single example of the Boost posting that contains a
> link that you didn't follow because you were afraid/didn't know where
> it'd take you in terms of the domain?

No, but I do feel generally that the more information I have before I
click, the better. As the OP pointed out, a URL can (and perhaps
should) say a lot about the material it refers to, which makes it a lot
easier to judge whether or not its something I'm interested in. (This
may not seem important, but for someone like me who browses hundreds of
emails a day, URLs and similar are highlights that my eyes jump to when
attempting to quickly glean information from posts.)

>>Also, how long do tinyurls last?
> They never expire. Of course there is always a chance that the service
> will die and the domain will be acquired by somebody with entirely
> different goals, but then there is very little in this world that is
> truly permanent.
>>A year from now, when someone is
>>searching the archives, will they still be able to follow a tinyurl?
>>Three years from now?
> The *original* URLs, especially the ones we are using tinyurls for,
> usually don't last/become uninteresting in a fraction of that period
> of time.

This point is reasonable. However, there are quite a few opposing cases
where information in an email lives for a long time. Countless times I
find myself retreiving a valuable link from an archived email perhaps a
decade old. Often the URL is dead, but at the very least, I have an
organization name, a username, or at least a filename, that gives me a
fighting chance to find the information with a search engine. If
tinyurl dies, all of this information is gone forever, and quite likely
much would not be retreivable.

My interested two cents,

Aaron W. LaFramboise

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