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Thread: An ignorant webmaster

  1. #1
    Marketing Mentor Mikl is a Premium Member
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    An ignorant webmaster

    I belong to a local society that organises certain charitable events. The other day, I noticed that the society's website contains some out-of-date information. I mentioned this to the person responsible for the site.

    His reply astounded me. He said he was aware of the problem, but that his son ("who knows about these things") had told him that it was not possible to do anything about it. According to the son, "you can always add new information to a website, but you can never delete old information".

    I tried to point out to him that this was clearly nonsense, but he wouldn't have it. I said that, if his son was right, the web would be crammed full of out-of-date information, and nobody would ever trust it again. This is obviously not the case. I even offered to sit down with him, or with his son, to show them how to do edit and delete whatever they wanted. All to no avail.

    I'm not sure what lessons to draw from this story, but I thought I would share it with. What's really surprising is that the son apparently earns his living - wait for it - as a website designer.

    Mike

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    Chabrenas (31 August 2014), dsieg58 (31 August 2014), Kay (31 August 2014)

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    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    I suspect the son has read some simple SEO tips and tricks and misinterpreted the advice. Dunno about now, but several years ago it was considered to be a mistake if you removed a page, because you lost any SEO advantage which the page had earned. The advice at that time was to keep the page and repurpose it with similar content, thus keeping the page up to date without losing the advantage. Perhaps he's heard something along those lines and is adhering rigidly to the small part of it he understood.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikl View Post

    I'm not sure what lessons to draw from this story, but I thought I would share it with. What's really surprising is that the son apparently earns his living - wait for it - as a website designer.
    Hi Mike,
    IMHO the lesson is that there are still lots of money to be made providing quality web consulting services to local/small businesses

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    It's also possible that he simply misinterpreted his son. His son might have said that once you publish something on the Internet, you can never delete it. With the Internet Archive and many sites that copy content from other sites, that is more or less true. It would be easy for someone who doesn't really understand the internet to misconstrue a statement like that.

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    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    That had occurred to me too, David, but Mike said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikl
    I tried to point out to him that this was clearly nonsense, but he wouldn't have it. I said that, if his son was right, the web would be crammed full of out-of-date information, and nobody would ever trust it again. This is obviously not the case. I even offered to sit down with him, or with his son, to show them how to do edit and delete whatever they wanted. All to no avail.
    And for me this begs the question - why is...

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidS
    ...someone who doesn't really understand the internet...
    ... responsible for maintaining the website?

    If that's absolutely necessary, then couldn't they at least have someone in an advisory role?
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

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  8. #6
    Marketing Mentor Mikl is a Premium Member
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    All good points.

    Perhaps the most likely explanation is that society's webmaster (the father) never claimed any technical knowledge, and took on the role on the basis that his son would advise him, and there was an error in communication between father and son somewhere along the line. Either that, or the son is truly ignorant.

    Maybe I made a mistake in disputing what the son had said (or what the father thought he had said). When I told the father that the statement (that you can't delete stuff) was nonsense, he probably took that as a personal criticism of the son, and naturally wanted to defend him, to the extent of refusing to believe what I was telling him. Perhaps if the father was being advised by someone other than a family member, he might have been more ready to accept what I was saying.

    Mike

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