Historical revisionism

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I have spotted a worrying trend with one of the email lists I archive. So far I have fielded about ten requests to remove emails from the archive, with four of those being in the last couple of weeks. I wont name the offenders, but handling these requests takes a fair bit of time on my part. So, I ask for opinions. Should I be deleting emails from a public archive, given the mailing list is open to subscription from anyone? Does it matter that this is a third party archive, and I am not the list administrator? Should people think before they post?

Given the long memory of search engines, and the increasing probability of an employer Googling for you before hiring, I wonder if this sort of request is going to become so common that it endangers the public archival of things like mailing lists?

A penny for your thoughts…

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Why does every man and his dog put man pages online?

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So, I know that I have a few man pages online, but then again I wrote either the code they document, or some of the generation toolchain to create them, so I think that is different. Why does every man and his dog feel that he should put man pages online? It actually makes it really hard to search for things if the first page of Google results are the same man page over and over again from sites who seem to think that they’re making a contribution to the community.

Are they just doing this to grab some pagerank?

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Sensis Australian search

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With Sensis obviously spending the entire national debt of most third world nations on advertising their “search engine for Australians”, I got curious as to what they return for queries about me, given that I am an Australian, living in Australia. It seemed relevant as well because of recent discussions about the Pandora archive here. They did return results, but none for the “results about Australia column”. So, let’s try some other queries:

A search for G’Day world (an Australian podcast) returned a bunch of Australian blog entries, all from sites ending in .au (so, ironically not the G’Day world site itself). A search for Linux Australia seemed to do the right thing, but their domain is an .org.au.

I checked my traffic logs. A user agent claiming to be from Sensis hasn’t crawled my site this week, and I have no entries for them in the referrer logs either.

So, I surmise from this that Sensis is reselling someone else’s results, and doing the equivalent of a site:.au at the end of the query to get the Australian column, which seems like the most ham fisted way possible to return that kind of result set? So, apart from propping up advertising providers, Sensis doesn’t appear to have much to contribute to the search space.

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