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26 January, 2005

Yeah, but where from?

A mundane aspect of my job is to repair broken links across the University website; as individual departments maintain their own subsidiary websites, and don't always notify each other, or me, of changed addresses, links from the main site are sometimes broken without my knowledge.  I always appreciate fault notifications, but those reporting always seem to make the same mistake.

If you ever find a broken link on a website, and are kind enough to let the maintainer know, please be aware that the important part is to identify the page containing the fault, not necessarily the non-existent destination. That is, it's less useful to know that "the link to Page X, '../dept/oldlink.htm' is dead" than to know that "the link from Page Y '../core/directory.htm' to Page X is broken". The latter more accurately describes the fault to be repaired; the former requires a lot of investigative work if 'Page Y' could be any of several hundred!

However, as I said, responsible web maintainers welcome fault notifications - even if you don't have the full information, that's better than nothing ;)

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