Scott Hanselman

410 Gone - Thoughts on Mark "diveintomark" Pilgrim's and _why's infosuicides

October 11, 2011 Comment on this post [66] Posted in Blogging | Musings
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Developer Tools - http___diveintomark.org_ (88)I don't know Mark Pilgrim personally. I only know his work and it's excellent. I knew of him first from his Dive Into Accessibility almost a decade ago and later from his other "Dive Into" books that educated a young generation on Python, and most recently HTML 5.

Mark is alive, but online he's gone. He committed "infosuicide" last week. All of his websites are Gone. That's capital G, Gone. Not 404, Not Found, but the not-often-used HTTP Status 410. And this is where it gets concerning to me.

HTTP Status 410 states per the spec with emphasis mine:

Indicates that the resource requested is no longer available and will not be available again. This should be used when a resource has been intentionally removed and the resource should be purged. Upon receiving a 410 status code, the client should not request the resource again in the future. Clients such as search engines should remove the resource from their indices. Most use cases do not require clients and search engines to purge the resource, and a "404 Not Found" may be used instead.

As it says, most use cases don't call for removal from a search engine, but in this case, Mark literally and figuratively "took his ball and went home," no longer interested in playing.

The first major "infosuicide" of note was that of whytheluckystiff, author of Why's Poignant Guide to Ruby. No one knows why _why left, but a tweet just before he left said:

programming is rather thankless. u see your works become replaced by superior ones in a year. unable to run at all in a few more.

Perhaps one can glean some meaning from that. In a similar vein, in 2008 Mark blogged on minimalism and then before Twitter existed Mark Pilgrim blogged (almost 7 years ago this month) a microblogpost, preserved via the Wayback Machine:

It’s time for me to find a new hobby. Preferably one that doesn’t involve angle brackets. Or computers. Or electricity.

Why do I care? I'm exploring this as someone who has been blogging publically and effectively nonstop since 2002. That's almost a decade, Dear Reader. For me to leave, either willingly or unwillingly, after putting so much useful (presumably, says my ego) information out there would be one thing. But to leave AND remove all that information, declaring it Gone and asking that it no longer be indexed seems, on the surface, to be a selfish act.

I realize it costs money to keep a website up but it's typically not a crushing expense. If one wanted to retreat from online life (as I sometimes do) one could add a banner to their existing sites that says something like "I'm taking a break and teaching high school" or "I've become a non-technical ER nurse" or "I've opened a hair salon" (each has been a one-time fantasy job for me) and setup an email auto-responder. This extraction from being online wouldn't take more than a week of prep and would be perceived as a much classier - although not as dramatic - move than a disappearance hinging on an HTTP status code.

Even so, Erik Meyer quotes Mark in a 2003 post:

"Embracing HTTP error code 410 means embracing the impermanence of all things."
- Mark Pilgrim, March 27, 2003 (

That's an accurate albeit mighty metaphysical reading into the HTTP spec. Do bloggers/teachers/infopublishers have the right to leave the community? Of course. Do we have the right to control, and ultimately remove our content? Surely. But to put so much information out and to remove it seems unnecessary. Is it to much to ask to maintain ones own archive, if only for a little while?

I've always said two things. First, respect the permalink. Second, don't give bile a permalink. While a 410 isn't bile, it's not the most respectful way to disappear.

Reading into Mark's blog, it's obvious that being on the web didn't feed his spirit. It does leave one to wonder, when you pass on, will you be mirrored or just 410 Gone?


The requested resource /
is no longer available on this server and there is no forwarding address. Please remove all references to this resource.

I truly wish Mark all the best in his disconnected life, as I do anyone else who wants to disconnect. If they come back, we'll be here.

Mirrors of Mark "diveintomark" Pilgrim's Work

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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October 11, 2011 3:20
Mark asked to be Gone. You say it's his right.
Do we have the right to control, and ultimately remove our content? Surely

And yet you post mirrors into his work - the same work which he implicitly asked you to remove from your archives. Is that in any way more respectful than his request to disappear?

I don't think what Mark Pilgrim did was right. But it was his choice to make, and you would do well to respect it.
October 11, 2011 3:30
That's funny Dor, he published so much under GNU, shouldn't we be allowed to redistribute that information?
October 11, 2011 3:30
I believe he has the right to remove his content, but Mark is someone who clearly believes in the HTTP spec, and by association, the web itself by his use of a 410. That said, I don't see how his use of 410 and the removal of this content implies that the rest of us should pretend it doesn't exist.

Do I as the author of a number of technical books have the right to reach into libraries and hard drives (My book is in PDF form) and remove ALL remnants of my publically published material? Surely not. I can only delete the source.

I don't see how publishing mirrors to this content, or the good work of the mirrors themselves, is anything other than a gesture of respect to Mark and his educational works.
October 11, 2011 3:30
Don't agree Dor, once you put something online, it takes on another life as it disseminates into the public domain. That info can be used and recorded by other people, and perhaps, just perhaps, it's lifespan should be determined by it's value to others?
October 11, 2011 3:32
Not only that, but Mark's "Dive Into" works were licensed under CC-BY-3.0. They are Creative Commons.
October 11, 2011 3:33
The sender would like to recall website.

Honestly, this is why licenses on everything are so important. Not just on code, but on content in general.
October 11, 2011 3:43
This is already an interesting debate. Ironically, I think it's the fact that everything online is forever that leads people to commit "infosuicide" in an attempt to reboot their lives. For better or worse, there really is no way to disappear online, as is being demonstrated here. I wish we could collectively just let people move on and be okay with that, but I also understand that's never going to happen.
October 11, 2011 3:45
Playing devils advocate...

We can't assume to know what has motivated Mark from pulling his stuff online except that he no longer wishes for his content to be made available.

This is a case of what you're legally allowed to do and what the author would like you to do, i.e. Morally vs Legally. You say this is a 'gesture of respect' but it goes directly against his personal wishes. He can't stop you from doing it, but he has implicitly asked everyone to remove references to his content.

Although this is a morally tricky situation and there is no right answer, either everyone respects his wishes and the world loses valuable repository of information or we respect the original authors wishes and remove his content.
October 11, 2011 3:48
Interestingly, Dive into HTML 5 explicitly says "The Work shall remain online under the CC-BY-3.0 License," which in turn says "You are free: to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work [...]." This kinda suggests that Pilgrim was willing at some point to give up (some) control of this work.

Anyway, it's a loss to us that he won't be posting any more (also true of whytheluckystiff). Hope they're doing ok in their new, non-online lives.
October 11, 2011 3:55
This reminds me of when I was playing Diablo II. I told myself I had to stop playing, but always returned to it. It was only when I deleted my character, the game, and gave away the discs, that I was able to finally tear myself away from it.
October 11, 2011 3:56
Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0, section 7b:

Notwithstanding the above, Licensor reserves the right to release the Work under different license terms or to stop distributing the Work at any time; provided, however that any such election will not serve to withdraw this License (or any other license that has been, or is required to be, granted under the terms of this License), and this License will continue in full force and effect unless terminated as stated above.
October 11, 2011 3:56
I totally agree with Dor. Uncool dude. There is a difference between what you can do and what you should do.

October 11, 2011 3:58
It does leave one to wonder, when you pass on, will you be mirrored or just 410 Gone.

As someone who more and more often feels burnt out, I find this statement deeply inspiring.
October 11, 2011 4:00
So you all are saying that 410 Gone means 410 "Recall" and his intent is that he no longer wishes his content to be available AT ALL ON THE WEB.

I want to point out that he could have said that in his Gone text at Why are we debating about his intent when he hasn't expressed it?
October 11, 2011 4:05
All that can be inferred from the 410 is that he wants his website taken down. Those who suggest this means mirrors must also be taken down are extrapolating without evidence
October 11, 2011 4:06
Relevant parts emphasized in bold:

10.4.11 410 Gone

The requested resource is no longer available at the server and no forwarding address is known. This condition is expected to be considered permanent. Clients with link editing capabilities SHOULD delete references to the Request-URI after user approval. If the server does not know, or has no facility to determine, whether or not the condition is permanent, the status code 404 (Not Found) SHOULD be used instead. This response is cacheable unless indicated otherwise.

The 410 response is primarily intended to assist the task of web maintenance by notifying the recipient that the resource is intentionally unavailable and that the server owners desire that remote links to that resource be removed. Such an event is common for limited-time, promotional services and for resources belonging to individuals no longer working at the server's site. It is not necessary to mark all permanently unavailable resources as "gone" or to keep the mark for any length of time -- that is left to the discretion of the server owner.
October 11, 2011 4:07
He has expressed intend. 410. intentionally gone.

A mirror isn't selective, mirror the 410.

October 11, 2011 4:08
'infosuicide' is an unfortunate neologism, especially when combined with the word 'commit'.

There can be literally no comparison with actual suicide; even these most dramatic of digital leavings lacks the defining characteristic of the real act: permanence.

It is also troubling to repurpose the term that concludes the most sorrowful and nihilistic of human conditions to describe what amounts to no more than an online hissy fit.

October 11, 2011 4:09
I just finished reading "The Moon and Sixpence" by Somerset Maugham( it is about this very idea.

What responsibility does the artist have to society? Should a great work of art be destroyed merely at the whim of the artist? Or once it has been created, does it belong to society at large? Do other people, have some claim to the existence of such a work?

The creative commons license is certainly implying the rights of society to the creation of art.
October 11, 2011 4:09
First of all, I never implied you weren't within your rights to distribute this content. It is freely available with a CC license, so clearly you are.

Second, I'm pretty sure that 410 Gone is a statement saying "I no longer wish you to have this content."

I do not presume to know Mr. Pilgrim's situation or what his wishes are; I'm also not saying what you're doing is morally wrong. All I'm saying is, don't say it is disrespectful of him to deny access to his content while posting the very same content.
October 11, 2011 4:12
Also, to all of you calling Scott out on posting mirrors to Mark Pilgrim's content: what part of "creative commons license" don't you understand?

Moreover, we're not talking about his personal blog here. What pain or difficulty will he experience through the continued use of his works? -- none, unless he is pathologically insecure or selfish.
October 11, 2011 4:18
woah, woah, woah. every digital analogy is a pale ghost by comparison with their real-life counterparts. I think that's understood. Mark purposefully terminated the original source and output of his online identity, which can be thought of as a separate entity. the analogy fits.
October 11, 2011 4:21

You misunderstand, no-one has said that it's not under CC nor that he hasn't a legal right to do so, only that it likely goes against the authors wishes.

Moreover, we're not talking about his personal blog here. What pain or difficulty will he experience through the continued use of his works? -- none, unless he is pathologically insecure or selfish.

So anyone who wishes to recall his own works is immediately pathologically insecure and selfish? Although removing his work will only serve as a detriment to others I'm not so quick to judge others motives.
October 11, 2011 4:29
Mark Pilgrim is a (very) smart guy, and I am pretty sure he stands by his agreements. He licensed much of his content under Creative Commons Attribution License, which means it's perfectly fine to mirror as long as you give attribution.

If Mark takes down his site it means he no longer chooses to host this content, nothing more. Second guessing and accusing others of disrespecting imaginary intentions is futile.
October 11, 2011 4:34
@Dor: Scott never actually said it was disrespectful of him. He said on the surface it seems like a selfish act. While I understand your point, I personally do not take issue with Scott's actions. In fact, I chuckled when I saw the link list at the bottom because I thought intentional or otherwise it was a satisfyingly subtle FU to (what on the surface seems to me to be) an act of douchebaggery regardless of Pilgrim's intent or rights whatever they may be. Certainly not a high crime but a dick move in my book.
October 11, 2011 4:37
Dor - Thanks for your comment! I think, then, we agree on most things except I interpret 410 Gone as "This link is no longer valid for this resource." and "I no longer wish to host it, don't look here again." I don't take it as meaning "I no longer wish this content to be available on the web." That is a far-reaching statement that is WAY outside the HTTP Spec, and also not inline with the content licenses.
October 11, 2011 4:38
The author's wishes, if you can read into a brief 410 message to this degree, are that people remove links to his now-empty site.

You (and many others here) are inferring, with no evidence, that he also wants all mirrors and reproductions to be removed--which is a frankly ridiculous assumption; he of all people would know what a pointless and destructive demand that would be.

And, since you asked, I would question the emotional maturity of someone who would make that demand. It's just that I see no reason to believe that's the case here.
October 11, 2011 4:39
Oops. My last comment @ Demis Bellot.
October 11, 2011 4:52
It doesn't go away. He posted it to the web. Who here doesn't know that web content gets indexed, mirrored, and archived? You can take your content, return 410, but he should know that his content will not disappear, and he really has no control, or expectation that it will disappear. Intending it to vanish will not make it so. Once he posted it, it's no longer his alone. We have read rights to it forever.
October 11, 2011 4:56
The idea of reversibility on the internet is as foreign as security or privacy. The is no bill of internet rites, by executing a POST in plain text that information is public domain whether you want it or not.

It's like saying, "if I stop drinking in the morning, you can't blame me for what happened last night."
October 11, 2011 5:16
Suicide is a belligerent act. It's done to hurt someone.

He may have been depressed and unhappy, but when it comes down to it, this Mark guy just wanted to hurt someone. Maybe all of us.
October 11, 2011 5:58
What his intentions are now and what they were before when he was actively contributing his works are likely very different. Although I'm sure he is aware that he has no recourse in being able to recall his CC published works.

But what is his most likely intention? my belief is by using a 410 is if he wants his content removed. There is no more deliberate HTTP status code he could've used to show this intent. If he was ok with his content being mirrored I believe a 404 would be more appropriate, or if he didn't care what happened - just let his domain get parked. But he didn't, he actively opted into returning a 410 a code.

I also don't necessarily think this is a deliberate act with the intention of actively hurting others, my guess is its depression-related along the lines of recently realizing he has misspent his youth on an unfulfilling path and wants to eradicate all traces of this from his memory.

Although due to the Babara Streisand effect he would have a good platform if he came back and published 1 last book before becoming a recluse - my opinion is it would be a best seller! :)
October 11, 2011 7:27
While we are being pedantic about the meaning of 410 Gone, I would like to point out that if Mark Pilgrim's works existed at some mirror site that had a different URI then that work is in fact a different resource.

Resources should only have one URI that returns a 200, the rest should redirect (as per Issue#14 - Range

Therefore issuing a 410 Gone does not apply to the content at a different URI that returns a 200. And therefore issuing 410 Gone does not apply to mirrored content.

If you choose to debate this point, please include your opinions on what should be done with derivative works. :-)
October 11, 2011 7:33
@Dor, @Demis, Let's try a different argument. Say I gave you a gift, a painting. Then a year later I tell you, give me back my painting. Are you under any moral grounds whatsoever to return the painting?

In fact, that analogy doesn't go far enough to describe what Mark did when he chose to license his content under the Creative Commons. Creative Commons is modelled after the concept of The Commons.

The commons is terminology referring to resources that are owned in common or shared between or among communities populations. These resources are said to be "held in common" and can include everything from natural resources and common land to software.

Thus I'd argue, even if his intention was to recall all the content, you're not under any moral obligation to give the gift back. In fact, I'd say you're morally obligated to continue sharing the content. It's as if a person donated a library to the public and then decided that he wanted it back and everyone should get out.

But I don't think you can even argue that 410 means Mark's intention is to ask for all the copies of the content to be taken down. 410 refers to "the resource" which is the item specified by the URI. A copy of the content hosted elsewhere is a different resource. Mark understood HTTP. He would know 410 doesn't convey recall. If that's what he really wanted, he would've removed the content and replaced them with a page making his intentions clear.

It's way too much to read into 410 that he wants his content removed from the web. I think a more reasonable interpretation of a 410 is to think of it as a permanent 404.

10.4.11 410 Gone

The requested resource is no longer available at the server and no forwarding address is known. This condition is expected to be considered permanent. Clients with link editing capabilities SHOULD delete references to the Request-URI after user approval. If the server does not know, or has no facility to determine, whether or not the condition is permanent, the status code 404 (Not Found) SHOULD be used instead. This response is cacheable unless indicated otherwise.
As the W3 points out

The 410 response is primarily intended to assist the task of web maintenance by notifying the recipient that the resource is intentionally unavailable and that the server owners desire that remote links to that resource be removed. Such an event is common for limited-time, promotional services and for resources belonging to individuals no longer working at the server's site. It is not necessary to mark all permanently unavailable resources as "gone" or to keep the mark for any length of time -- that is left to the discretion of the server owner.
October 11, 2011 8:46

So what's the correct Status Code he would use if he wanted all his works to be removed?

If we're going to use a gift analogy lets use something similar to what it actually is - written literature on a website.

Say you're were writer in an religious faith who is hosting some propaganda on a website under a CC licence that you truly believed in at the time. During this time a church found your writing so persuasive it was also mirroring content off your site. Then a fundamental event occurs that shakes your belief system and you no longer believe in what you wrote so you took down your website. At this time you also wish the church mirror to stop hosting your works so your efforts are not used to recruit others. What status code do you use in this case? and does the church have a moral obligation to respect your wishes then?

Although if this were case he would've actively taken measures to express his intent which is obviously not the case here. So this scenario, although closer to what actually happened, just like giving a painting gift - isn't what happened either. We don't need to hypothesise about another scenario we can use what we know.

He didn't actively express his intent to remove his content from all mirrors (in a way he had no right to ask). But he has actively taken steps to remove all traces of his digital life, that he could do without communicating with or imposing himself onto others. My belief If he only wanted to detach himself from his works (and would've preferred it to live without him) he would've zipped it up and put it on a torrent somewhere which would've taken less effort than digitally erasing himself. He didn't do anything like this.

At what point are you morally obliged to respect his wishes? What would be your opinion if he asked mirrors to stop hosting, would you be inclined to do so then?

Nope I genuinely think he just doesn't want to see any of his works in circulation anymore in the same way some would tear-up an ex-partners photos after a bad break-up and would not want to ever see or hear from them again - out of sight, out of mind.

No doubt Mark's an intelligent guy and theres a very real and concerning reason behind what motivated him to digitally delete himself. My guess is at one stage he found helping others rewarding, hopefully there is a chance he can use his talents to help others at some time in the future again.

409 - So until he re-connects back online, I wont be mirroring his content :)
October 11, 2011 10:04
It’s time for me to find a new hobby. Preferably one that doesn’t involve angle brackets. Or computers. Or electricity.

Yes, maybe a good choice... to take some time to see the world before it is all "eaten by software". Not waste it bickering about the meaning of a HTTP status code and what he might have meant with it.
October 11, 2011 10:22
This discussion is ridicilous. Everyone in their right mind knows that the internet remembers all. In a decade filled with "information gone AWOL" through accusations against Facebook and cases like Wikileaks, we should know by now that information isn't recalled or permanently deleted from the web.

I don't know Dave - not in real life, nor from blogs - but my impression after reading this post is that Dave is/was a fairly seasoned techie. In that sense I would say it's more disrespectful, and even an insult of his intelligence, to imply that he expected the 410 to make everyone remove his work from their mirrors/usbsticks/e-readers/print-outs.

The way I see it, Dave wanted to disconnect, start over. That's fine and we should respect that. Respecting his decision, however, does not mean drawing false conclusions or implying Daves naivety.

Scotts post is as always well written and to the point, and it raises an important point not directly related to Daves story; If you don't want your information shared or copied. Don't post it on the web.
October 11, 2011 11:01
Not quite sure why I wrote "Dave" - as I of cource meant Mark.
October 11, 2011 11:35

Mark is not an ordinary seasoned techie or web developer, he's of rare intelligence with an intimate knowledge of web technologies like few do. I will be the last person to be challenge his understanding of any web protocol or standard.

And I thought I was speculating, you're insinuating I'm disrepectful? insultive of his intelligence and bleeding blind naivety? because I think we should respect his wishes? nice conclusion hopping (and use of bold text, I see your point).

You seem to think he's having a case of the Mondays where he just wants to disconnect, pick up his toys and go play with something else. I personally think his issues are a tad deeper than that. Where someone who has dedicated most of his career learning technology has reached the point where he's deleted his online identity, excuse me for being cynical, but I don't think he's set his computer to hibernate and just started his lawn mower. I think he would prefer his works, like the rest of his digital life to be erased -- but evidently that's just me.

And like everyone else you're more than entitled to your opinion - feel free to explain how you've reached yours.

If you don't want your information shared or copied. Don't post it on the web.

Great advice - and how well does this insightful little gem work after the fact?

Anyway I'm flogging a dead point here, and it looks like this thread has just started picking up some valuable contributions, I'll be steppin' outside - feel free to continue the discussion.
October 11, 2011 12:16
I don't interpret the 410 as a global recall of information.

The reason I would use a 410 is because I know that when the domain expires it will be snatched up by a domainer who wants to fill the page with adverts. They do this to benefit from the residual traffic sent to quality sites by search engines and back links.

By using the 410 status code, you empty the search engine indexes and tell people to remove the back links. This doesn't just prevent some domainer from squatting on your old domain trying to monetise your visitors, it also gives everyone a chance to switch their links to another source of the information.

We can only guess what Mark Pilgrim intended with the 410. If only he had used a custom 410 error page to explain his intent. Without any such notice of intent, we have to take the simplistic view that he just didn't want to run his site any longer - we shouldn't try to extrapolate further meaning about removal of legal copies and extracts.
October 11, 2011 13:10
I would have to agree with @haacked that the use of 410 in this instance is just the mechanical means of saying, "I'm ending this website, I want my sites off of Google searches, stop looking here for stuff." That's all the evidence we will have to go off of, a mechanical http status. I believe anything beyond that is an emotional assumption that we would make given what we've seen so far.

With that being said, I do wish him the best of luck. Whatever his intentions are, most of us have greatly appreciated the work he has provided to the community.
October 11, 2011 13:43
Oh, no. Wanted to check if 'Gone' was mentioned in the 'rest for toddlers'-blog-post but it was 'Gone'.
October 11, 2011 15:56
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October 11, 2011 17:08
Perhaps it has something to do with his August 23, 2010 post where Mark writes:
[...] you should all be reading Tweetage Wasteland and then unplugging everything you own, just like I am and have.
October 11, 2011 17:14
Part of the psychological aspects stem from a desire to build/make/create things with some sense of permanence. A lasting result. Our grandparents made things we can often still touch or use. We make things with bits and bytes, about as permanent as sand castles on a beach. If that bothers someone, they need to find another career.
October 11, 2011 18:26
I never said that what Scott did was morally wrong. I said it was not respecting Mark's wishes, according to what Scott wrote in his article.
October 11, 2011 18:56
A good friend of mine committed infosuicide some years back. It was nothing against his online life - I have good reason to believe that he misses his 'Net family, which included Electric Minds - but because he was taking a job in a public library. It was easier and faster to clean up his online presence by bulldozing it off than trying to sift through and just bleach the stains.

When I finally save enough to be able to go luddite, I will likely do much the same. If none of my postings or sites exist, I won't wonder what other people are commenting or posting in response...
October 11, 2011 19:11
His wishes regarding his works were already explicitly disseminated, with the creative commons license.

It is in no way disrespectful to publish links to a mirror, or publish the actual content on a different resource, as long as you follow the licensing requirements. Assuming anything else is absurd.

His 'wishes' regarding the 410 status should not even be in debate. There is but one meaning of this 410 status. The URI that returns this status is gone, removed, not intended to come back. That is what he informed us with this. He intends not to come back to this. Perhaps he also intended this lively debate as an instructive exercise on HTTP.

I hope Mark is having fun with his disconnected life, and I thank him for the amazing work he leaves behind. It is apparent that whatever he chooses to do, he will succeed and excel in that.

October 11, 2011 19:52
Infocide. 410 style.
October 11, 2011 21:22
I would say the 410 is more like a book publisher closing down and shuttering its doors. It means the content will no longer be published there and there is no reason to come back later looking for it. The content is now out of print.

But if a book publisher stops publishing a book that doesn't mean they get to come take back the book you have, or that you are intended to burn the book. It doesn't mean it is removed from libraries or other locations.

All it means is that the content is no longer published by the original source. Sure the web is a different beast, but especially for CC licensed works the idea is essentially the same. You can stop publishing it, but you don't get to take it back from those who have it.

- Chris M
October 11, 2011 22:02
My opinion comes from an entirely different perspective than what I've seen in the comments.

I am a consumer of (primarily developer-produced) content. I read & reference & recommend. I occasionally create & publish content... but only if I discover a solution I can't find online & think it could be helpful.

We're a community. Content gets written because there is a need.

Just last week, a recruiter for a Dallas Silverlight position called my CELL phone. Instead of getting pissy, asking how he got my cell number, I told him I knew of someone, via Twitter, looking for a Silverlight job in Dallas.

The recruiter proceeded to tell me he was aware of Twitter, but hadn't really wrapped his head around it. (To which I gasped and) I referred him to this very web site & told him to read Scott's Twitter section.

My point is, If Scott's posts on Twitter 101 didn't exist, someone else would write one. If Scott's posts on Twitter weren't good enough, someone would write a better one. Because they exist (with permalinks), others can focus their attention on creating other NEEDED content, with faith that useful content of the past will exist in some form, as it's the nature of the internet.

I suspect there were many books & blog posts that were NOT written BECAUSE Mark Pilgrim created "Dive Into Accessibility almost a decade ago and later from his other 'Dive Into' books that educated a young generation on Python, and most recently HTML 5."

He educated a young generation on Python? What if Jeff Atwood decided to go 410 tomorrow, taking Stack Overflow with it? How devastating would that be? How many people would that affect? If that example doesn't resonate because it's not his personal blog, how would we, in the .NET Stack, feel if Scott Guthrie went 410? We all reference his great blog posts. How would SQL devs feel if Pinal Dave, or [person whose blog has content that YOU reference] took down their blogs & went 410?

I'm not saying I think if I've seen it on the web that it will exist forever, but there are things we reference online & depend on (and we all kind of feel that way, no?)

I know you might want to flame something like, "Do I think it's not a possibility that any given link might return a 404/410 someday?" Of course it's a possibility, but what am I supposed to do, go mirror everything I've ever found useful so I'll have a reference just in case there's a zombie apocalypse? Come on, none of us have time for that.

There are many, many blog posts that people aren't writing because the content exists. If you think it's not harmful to take your content down just because it's content that was written by you, I beg you to consider the possibility that the content would have been written by someone else AND WASN'T because you published it, first & publicly, and it resonated.

If Scott decided to 410, I would feel betrayed. Why? I don't know Scott. How would I feel personally betrayed by someone I don't even know? Because Scott's passion has driven him to make contributions the community finds valuable, so in my eyes, I would see it as a selfish betrayal of community.

That being said, I'm not insinuating he doesn't have every right to do such a thing, but from what I know of him through posts, I would believe that would only happen if a part of him that once existed so vibrantly - that drive to teach, that drive to help, that drive to mentor, had died.

I am not familiar with Mark Pilgram's work, but if he once cared enough to become known for a series of deep dive books, that is not something that happens to someone who didn't once have a spark or a zest or a passion for it. We can all assume we think we know what his wishes are now, but I can guarantee that if Hanselman went 410 tonight, I'd be spending tomorrow trying to find & archive a mirror of his site of my own to keep & reference. And quite honestly, I'd also mourn the loss of a passion that once burned so bright.
October 11, 2011 22:39
I'm more concerned that we lose Mark Pilgrim's future contributions forever. What he posted has been very valuable, and not lost as they're being archived. But no one can re-create his future contributions. BTW, is Mark Pilgrim employed by Google? What's also strange was he committed info suicide in the same week that Steve Jobs passed away. Maybe just coincidental...
October 12, 2011 18:48
A 410 literally just requests that other sites should no longer link to the content, there is no statement regarding content mirroring.

And if he had used the usual 404, everyone would be assuming there was an error on his site and the target was missing (or hacked, or whatever).

Yes, we would have preferred Mark to put up a simple custom message stating his actual intent - but then wouldn't we be debating his reasons? Or if he stated his reasons, would we be analyzing them?

At least we can assume that he didn't intend "Gone until I get the attention I deserve" (HTTP 447).
October 12, 2011 19:30

You are not gonna do something like that, are you? if you are, I am going to make a copy of all your blog posts right now!
October 13, 2011 20:03
Thanks for linking the mirrors, when I first heard about this "infocide" or w/e my first thought was "I knew I should've dl'd jump into html5 when I had the chance".
October 14, 2011 16:42
I'm thinking 'committed infocide' sounds a bit nasty.

What about 'gone to fly model pterodactyls'?
October 15, 2011 5:28
HTML codes do not alter contracts. If he wanted to alter the content licensing, he need to actually alter the license directly. A couple of people here have dug in and are doing little more than ‘reading tea leaves’.

@Demis, “He didn't actively express his intent to remove his content from all mirrors (in a way he had no right to ask). But he has actively taken steps to remove all traces of his digital life, that he could do without communicating with or imposing himself onto others.”

You cannot have it both ways, you have been insisting that the code published by him communicating with others. People have already explained to you that you’re reading into his motives. As to ‘in a way he had no right to ask’, his rights are clearly outlined by the license he used. He does, in fact, have those rights. That he did not invoke those rights are far more telling than your assumptions of some html code overriding a legal contract.
November 14, 2011 18:54
If only Microsoft would use 410 instead of just randomly pulling content...
December 01, 2011 14:56
a@'s Infosuicide article seems to have taken it literally.

(Or was it pushed...)
December 16, 2011 9:14
Like the blog due to impressive article submitter
December 19, 2011 15:44
I had no idea Mark had 'passed': we take a holiday from October 1 to the last week of December each year and don't interact with anyone off-island.

As we were preparing to go, I decided I wanted to spend some (concentrated) time with Mark's Dive Into HTML5, but since we are without 'net access for two months I archived a copy of his site for off-line review.

It's so odd to learn Mark deleted himself and I'm so glad I didn't delete the copy of Mark's site from my computer after I read through it: I have the O'Reilly book, but the site is so much more beautiful.

I feel a little like I did the day I found my brother's gloves the year after he died. I couldn't throw them away, but didn't want to use them either.

Good luck Mark. Enjoy whatever you are doing now. Thanks for everything.
December 22, 2011 8:45
Congratulations on your almost 10 years of blogging, and for refusing to commit "infosuicide". Love the term. Believe it or not this is the first time I've heard it.

Good thoughts - thanks.
January 02, 2012 10:59
Interesting article, definitely food for a lot of thought. Would write a mini essay on it but maybe when I'm not on my iPhone...
April 08, 2012 8:13
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December 21, 2012 22:36
Okay, so, someone posted a "404" joke, which led me to think of the "410" that Mark pulled. Mark and I were buddies in college. The chatter I'm coming across after doing a Google search combining his name and 410 is just gold. Knowing Mark as I do, I can assure you. He is just flat out laughing his ass off at everyone, just like he did with all the fan mail he used to get from wanna-be hackers in 1993. Oh Mark, I miss you!
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