WikiIndex talk:How do you categorize a wiki that is no longer

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Temporary or permanent?[edit]

The difficulty here is to distinguish between a wiki which has gone offline forever, and one which is having temporary hosting problems. In the first case I would've thought keeping an entry with 'Inactive' is a bit pointless. Might as well delete the page. In the second case, we lose all the category information by switching all the them to Inactive, only to find the wiki comes back online again a few days later.

Actually it's all in the revision history, so we can easily revert the edit to bring back the categories -- Harry Wood 13:26, 30 Jan 2006 (EST)

It's also not clear to me why we add 404 pages to the index. Mark had an answer when I asked before, but I cannot remember what it was. I don't think there's any reason to delete a 404 wiki that's already in the index, but I also see no reason to add a page for that dead wiki. If it's not 404, but simply gone (the domain name works and they just don't have a wiki anymore), then I agree, deleting the page from here makes sense. TedErnst | talk 13:55, 30 Jan 2006 (EST)
I've added the instruction to use Template:Cannot connect for wikis which may be offline only temporarily. This seemed to be in practice when I started editing here. I don't know how long we should wait before deeming a wiki to be permanently offline. I know of at least one Wikipedia bot which will archive links which have been dead for a mere week. My personal rule of thumb is to wait a month and see what happens. Of course, there are some cases where it is obvious that the wiki is coming back, e.g., the domain is for sale or the site has been turned into a "parking lot". In those cases, I just use Template:Inactive. --MarvelZuvembie 17:31, 19 October 2009 (EDT)
Over on English Wikipedia, I've seen some cleanup templates, where the user can (optionally) add in the date that they tagged the article. Maybe Template:Inactive could be adjusted to work that way, and perhaps it could even be adjusted to be more like the wikiFactor template that automatically puts articles into different categories. Something like that might allow editors to look at a set of 'inactive' categories and then check out the wikis that have been inactive more than one month, two months or whatever.
I would also like to say that I disagree with the suggestion of a policy of deleting articles for deleted wikis. Things like wikiFactors are of no meaning to the subjects of the wikis that are listed here, but the wikiFactors give statistical information that is of use to anyone researching the 'value' of those wikis. The same sort of people may gain some sort of statistical information from knowing how many wikis were shut down in given years or by knowing how long certain wikis lasted before they were shut down.
If dead wikis really cause a problem for people, perhaps they could be moved to some sort of namespace for dead wikis. That way they wouldn't show up in a normal search, but anyone looking for former wikis would be able to tick a box and find them all. In a hundred years, when we are all dead (or brains in jars) there might be some future historians who are really grateful for this data. David Shepheard 14:16, 20 September 2010 (PDT)

Wikifetch[edit]

Wikifetch – this site seems to be off the air. What do we do in that situation? --Evan 11:11, 7 September 2006 (EDT)

Good question. One of my favorite wiki had a technical glitch take it offline for a week, but now it seems to be working fine. Another one *appeared* to go offline with a 404 error, but it had actually moved to a different server with a new domain name, and someone had simply unplugged the old server rather than leave a proper forwarding redirect. I think it would be rude to immediately erase every mention of the wiki in cases like that.

Even when the wiki maintainer repeatedly tells everyone "I'm getting tired of this, I'm going to unplug the wiki and wipe the hard drives clean in March", 2 kinds of people stumble across an old link (that no longer works) and wonder, "I wonder whatever happened to that wiki?". (a) People who were fascinated by the topics on that wiki, and wanted to become an active contributer -- perhaps we can point them towards other wiki dedicated to closely-related topics? (b) People trying to start up a new wiki -- we wonder "I wonder if I'm making exactly the same mistakes that caused that wiki to fail?". Perhaps we could have a little "obituary" up for a year or so, briefly describing what caused it to go offline, and what surviving "WikiNode neighbors" it has? --DavidCary 11:02, 12 December 2006 (EST)

We never delete wikis from this index. If they go 404, we just change the template from "Wiki" to "Inactive". If they come back, it's easy to change back. And writing information about why a wiki died could be done, but I haven't seen anyone do it yet. Go for it! TedErnst | talk 14:54, 15 December 2006 (EST)

Dead wiki URL taken over by cybersquatters[edit]

I bumped into WorldWideWiki.net and found that the URL that the page points to has actually been hijacked by cybersquatters who have set up a 'fake search engine'.

In my other intersts I collect Dungeons & Dragons links (why I do that isn't really relevant to this problem) and I've noticed that there are a number of vultures out there, who wait for dead websites to expire and then snap up the URLs. I believe that they do this so that they can also hijack the page rank that search engines, like Google, give to the dead websites. I think that the same thing that has happened to dozens of dead D&D websites has happened to WorldWideWiki.net.

I've posted a message about this on the appropriate talk page, but I think that this is an issue that will effect multiple dead wikis.

At the moment you have the Category:Inactive thing, but that keeps the link active and 'feeds the cybersquatters' a level of visitors. However, I wouldn't propose deleting the dead URL either, as someone might want to feed it into the Internet Archive WaybackMachine and search for archived content.

These cybersqatters are profiting by stealing page rank that doesn't really belong to them, so ensuring that any page rank they are getting from WikiIndex will help make it less economically viable for these people to hijack dead wikis.

(Actually going beyond this and reporting cybersquatters to various search engines might be even more effective, as it could get the dead wikis permanantly removed from search engine listings. However, that might might be something the managers of this wiki don't want to get involved in.)

Anyhoo, I put this up here, so that people can talk about what should be done. At the very least, I'd like to see the dead URLs retained but disabled. David Shepheard 10:15, 12 April 2009 (EDT)

I hadn't thought about the page rank issue. There's also a Category:Dead, but it seems not to be in use. Maybe what we should do is replace the wiki's URL with the Internet Archive URL. That way, the actual wiki can be seen instead of the cybersquatter. --MarvelZuvembie 17:15, 8 May 2009 (EDT)
Linking to the Internet Archive's copy of the wiki sounds like a good idea, MarvelZuvembie.
In addition, as I said above, I think we should also link to a "live" wiki or two where people can continue talking about same topics that were discussed on that now-dead wiki. --DavidCary 11:16, 17 October 2009 (EDT)
That's a good idea. I had been removing categories from dead wikis per a discussion with Mark Dilley. But it is possible to link to a subject category without including the article in that category. That might be a good way to go. Should we use all the former wikis categories, though, or just the main one? --MarvelZuvembie 17:16, 19 October 2009 (EDT)
You can link to a category without including that page in the category by prefacing the word category with a colon. I think linking to the main category is all that's required, but linking to each category would be helpful. --MarvelZuvembie 14:29, 20 September 2010 (PDT)
I love the idea of linking dead wikis (squatted or gone) to the Internet Archive WaybackMachine. That is the best way to allow people interested in that wiki to continue to gain access to the data. And gaining access to a variety of information seems to be what WikiIndex is best at.
As for the categories. How about having a category called something like 'Category:Dead foo' which is put into both 'Category:Dead' and 'Category:foo'. If something like that was done, someone searching for wikis on a subject might browse to a category and see 56 wikis, but also be able to hop into the subcategory to see that there used to be another 10 wikis on the same subject.
And if some dead wikis are on the Wayback Machine, while others are not, it might be worth using different categories for 'archived' and 'lost' wikis, instead of grouping them all as dead. I think that a bit of thought would be needed (by someone who is better at thinking out structure than me) before I'd be happy with making, or supporting, a specific suggestion. But I think more thought should be put into the value of information on this sort of content. David Shepheard 15:08, 20 September 2010 (PDT)

I like the idea of having an "archived" category. The "dead foo" isn't a bad idea either. --MarvelZuvembie 20:09, 20 September 2010 (PDT)