[Haskell] page renaming on the Haskell Wiki

Wolfgang Jeltsch wolfgang at jeltsch.net
Tue Feb 21 13:16:05 EST 2006

Am Dienstag, 21. Februar 2006 10:56 schrieb Graham Klyne:
> In making such changes, please bear in mind "Cool URIs Don't Change":
>   http://www.w3.org/Provider/Style/URI
> This isn't to say "don't", but where possible, provide some redirection
> from the old name to the new name.
> To be effective, the web relies on stable links, so that references from
> elsewhere don't fade away.  In the end, it is publishers own (presumed)
> goals in publishing to the Web that are compromised if URIs become
> inaccessible.
> #g

Hello again,

well, there are certain points in the above-mentioned article which one should 
really think about.  For example, I totally subscribe to the point of view 
that a URI shouldn't expose implementation details and should therefore not 
include a path component like "cgi-bin", for example.  In a similar regard, 
we should probably think about removing the path component "haskellwiki" from 
our URIs since this path component "forces" our site to be a wiki.

On the other hand, I think that the above W3C article is far too extreme.  It 
tells you that stability is the most important thing concerning URIs.  But I 
think that this is not true.  In my opinion, another very, very important 
thing is that your URIs are reasonable and your URI-space is well structured.  
Otherwise you will confuse your users.  How should a user know, for example, 
that one page uses sentence-style capitalization for its title and the other 
one doesn't.  Or look at some URIs they use on the w3.org website:




	Patent Policy

This inconsistency seems not very good to me.

You cannot plan in advance what naming scheme will be appropriate in 50 years 
and maybe the one that will be appropriate then won't be appropriate now.  I 
think that "good URIs somethimes have to change".  Especially on a wiki where 
there is no webmaster allocating URIs so that you will often need to "fix 
things" later.  Websites are changing, they are, in a sense, always dynamic.  
This holds especially for wikis.

That said, I'm sure that changing of URIs is not something which should be 
taken too lightly.  At least, one should always provide redirects from the 
old URI to the new.

MediaWiki automatically inserts a respective redirect if you move a page.  
Alas, MediaWiki's redirects are not really (HTTP) redirects.  Instead 
MediaWiki delivers a page under the redirect's URI which contains the content 
of the article the redirect points to, together with a note that a 
redirection took place.  So the URI you see in your browser will be the "old" 

Having said that redirects are important, let me state that, in my opinion, 
redirects shouldn't live forever.  Normally, a redirect introduced by moving 
a page should be removed after a certain amount of time when nearly everybody 
had a chance to update his links.  Managing a growing set of redirects is 
just not feasible.  Keeping redirects forever also clutters the "All pages" 
page with lots of old page titles.

Best wishes,

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