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http://company.wizards.com/sitemissing/community

The dreaded "Not sorry" message from Wizards of the Coast as they took away the WOTC forums instead of keeping it all archived for posterity.

Thank you for your interest in the Wizards Forums.

Social media has changed significantly over the last ten years, and discussions about games aren't exclusive to company-hosted forums. The majority of community conversation takes place on third-party websites (such as Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and many other fantastic community-run websites), and it is up to us to evolve alongside our players. All information posted to the Community Forums as of November 5 has been deleted.

In the past, they have changed their link formatting and we've have meta posts about getting them fixed. However, there is no "fixing" these links as their source content has been removed from the site. Example of a post affected (Chuck E. Cheese is no longer a valid link.)

What should be done about these links now that there's no fixing them?

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You can often find archive copies of, um, existentially challenged web pages on the Wayback Machine.

A quick way to do this is to prepend http://web.archive.org/web/*/ to the URL; for example, a list of the archived snapshots of the original Chuck E. Cheese thread can be found at:

Alternatively, to get a direct link to the latest snapshot, replace the /*/ with /9/ (actually, any number greater than 1 should work); for the earliest snapshot, use /0/. If a snapshot is found, these numbers will get replaced by the closest actual snapshot timestamp, in the format /YYYYMMDDhhmmss/ (YYYY = year, MM = month, DD = day, hh = hour, mm = minute, ss = second).

Note that the archived pages can sometimes suffer from styling and/or scripting issues. For example, on the linked page above you'll need to scroll down a bit to see the actual content. Also, images and links may or may not work; sometimes, trying a different snapshot of the same page can help.


Ps. Here's an SEDE query to find posts that need fixing, loosely based on this earlier query by Brian Ballsun-Stanton. Or you can just search for url:http://community.wizards.com/forum.

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    \$\begingroup\$ what's the stability of wayback links like? Would wayback be a better place to link than ENWorld's copies (assuming they get organized)? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Nov 27 '15 at 1:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 The stability of the Internet Archive is “nearly bombproof” as it's mirrored on three continents. They're not immune to takedown legal letters, but barring WotC taking that very strange course in this case there's no stability concerns. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 27 '15 at 9:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ One issue to be aware of with the wayback machine is it applies robots.txt retroactively. This can sometimes cause stuff to become unavailable even if noone actively tried to get rid of it. Still until/unless that happens the wayback machine is often teh least bad option for dealing with broken links. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Green Nov 30 '15 at 1:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Wayback Machine’s copy of Wizards’ wiki seems to be broken, at least http://community.wizards.com/wiki/dnd:CharOp/Defenders \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 4 '15 at 15:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan: Yeah, that can sometimes happen. In this case, I suspect the problem may have been with the page itself: this archive copy from 9 September 2013 works fine, but the next copy ~20 hours later just shows a "Page Not Found" error (from the Wiki, as crawled by archive.org), as do all later copies that I checked. So it looks like the page was deleted from the Wiki around 10 September 2013. \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Dec 4 '15 at 15:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ohey, thanks! Excellent. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 4 '15 at 16:05
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Ideally, all these links should be updated to lead to ENWorld's copy of the WotC forum. Sadly, this is (as far as I can tell) both somewhat disorganised and somewhat incomplete.

I think where possible, if the content is available at an alternative location, the link should be replaced with one leading to said alternative. For example, Chuck E. Cheese has been posted on the Brilliant Gameologists forums.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Now the real question is, should there be a proactive editing effort to replace the broken links on high-impact questions or should it be on a per-request basis? \$\endgroup\$ – Axoren Nov 26 '15 at 20:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Axoren What would be a per-request basis? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Nov 27 '15 at 0:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Links should probably be updated as they are brought up again. If you come across a page that needs updating, do it. But don't go out of your way to edit the posts ... we don't need that front page flood. What would we do if it was a less used site that silently shut down, or come across other dead links? \$\endgroup\$ – Tritium21 Nov 27 '15 at 3:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener If someone requests it in the comments, for example. \$\endgroup\$ – Axoren Nov 27 '15 at 8:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did ENWorld (or anyone else) get a copy of Wizards’ wiki? I cannot find a replacement for http://community.wizards.com/wiki/dnd:CharOp/Defenders anywhere. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 4 '15 at 15:23

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