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Remarks on Deadwood December 22, 2005 – 11:33 a.m. – Permalink

A while back here in Colorado Springs, the Nevada Avenue corridor north of Austin Bluffs was designated an urban renewal area. For those readers unfamiliar with the layout of Colorado Springs, this area is a region full of old motels, many boarded–up businesses, and empty lots galore.

Colorado Springs, then, can be compared to the Web. The frequently updated websites of the Internet are, say, Woodmen Road during the holidays. The backwaters, meanwhile, make up the Nevada corridor mentioned in the paragraph above.

These backwaters, per se, are called deadwood in old Internet terms — old because upon searching for “deadwood” in Wikipedia, the results are a town in South Dakota and another in Alberta, Canada.

I’ve often speculated about a need for a “cleansing” of the Internet.

For example, if a company were to purchase the entire Nevada corridor north of Austin Bluffs and turn it into a large housing development with profitable businesses and a nice environment, the urban renewal label could be removed. The only drawback of this is the fact that money is at short hand in Colorado Springs (no wonder the traffic lights are so ugly!).

It would be the same kind of event occurring on the Internet — deadwood being replaced by more IP addresses for newer sites, and conserving space for others. If there were to be a Web 2.0 (also see “The Trouble with Web 2.0” and “The Trouble with Web 2.0 ... 2.0”), this “cleansing” would be a vital step toward attaining it. However, as with the funding problem of the urban renewal example, there would be a lot of legal hassles to bypass and also frustration of Web site operators worldwide.

But before we go any farther, what is deadwood, really? Deadwood can be anything from an outdated movie site (like Mars Attacks) or a company that is out of business. It can be any site updated extremely infrequently or not at all.

This cleansing that is the focus of this entry would take place on an international level — files that have not been updated in the last six months would be removed in a massive move. Major search engines would announce that they would not index pages that have not been updated in the last three months.

The same process could be used with pages that use outdated and deprecated markup.

If this doesn’t occur, we might be faced with an Internet full of grimy piles of crap and nowhere to put it. And then this wonderful network of information might not exist.

In other news Microsoft has revealed that it will no longer support Internet Explorer for Mac by the end of this year. The Web Standards Project has a response.