Matt Gemmell is wrong about permalinks. I’d never seen this post before but it came up in the Slack community for Micro.blog. Gemmell thinks that permalinks which include a blog post’s date are inelegant cruft, but they aren’t.

Sure, the text of a blog post might itself include its date, but including the date in the permalink itself means the reader gets potentially-crucial context about a link without ever having to click on it. If I’m looking for recent discussions of this or that subject, I’m unlikely to follow links to posts from nine years ago, and it’s a waste of my time to have to click a link in order to find out it’s that old. Date-inclusive permalinks immediately show me that context right in my browser’s status bar.

What’s more, Gemmell makes the peculiar argument that date-inclusive permalinks “dilute your article’s standing” because they indicate that what you’ve posted isn’t “definitive” but instead merely what you had to say about a subject on a certain date and time.

Well, yes.

That’s exactly right, as that’s what a blog is: what you had to say about something on a certain day at a certain time. Date-inclusive links don’t dilute anything; they provide relevant context for the reader as they browse the web.

In a sense, blogs were never meant to be definitive.

They aren’t a destination, but a journey, and like the old paper journals which logged offline journeys, a weblog is meant to have dates. Presenting them in both the text itself and the permalink is a way to help the reader navigate their own journey through yours.

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