[Decaying Webmasters Unite?]
July 1, 1997 by Dave Kristula
I know this seems to be an odd topic, but what exactly happens to a web site if its webmaster dies? The web being a subdecade invention, there probably arenít all that many webmaster obituaries to read, but, just what if?
With a good 99% of web sites useless, I guess it is not really all that much of a concern, but what if it was useful, who will update it? What if no one knows his/her password? Would it stay up, or would it be deleted... and who decides whether it was useful or not in the first place.
I really doubt the web will die anytime soon. Sure, the protocols will change, but it will still be here. But in the self-publishing world on the web, there is no real publisher to stop printing, no bookseller to decide it isnít worth shelfspace any longer. Instead, the author has full control over the work in our medium.
I suppose if it is a commercial domain, Internic and the host will probably delete it as soon as the bills arenít paid. After a few years, GeoCities will delete it for not being active. And the universities, they are probably on a tight budget with hard disk space.
Maybe in a few years someone will form a Web Site Historical Preservation Organization or the such that will help save those sites that would otherwise be deleted upon the ownerís death, but who will fund it? Then again, if it actually was a useful site, Iím sure it is worth a few advertising bucks!
Iím sure in the end it will all turn out just fine, but I hope Iíve got you thinking. Sometimes I like to imagine the only reason a webmaster is ignoring my inquiries is because they are six feet under in a Wyoming cemetery...
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