Posted by Double Compile on Friday, February 1. 2013
I noticed a little annoyance today about webcomics. Allow me to present the story of Alice and Bob.
Alice reads today's strip from a funny and clever webcomic. She is delighted at its content and thinks her boyfriend Bob would appreciate the strip in a similar fashion. The comic she's reading shows up on the front page of the comic's website (e.g. comic.example.com). She copies the URL in her browser address bar and pastes it in a tweet, e-mail, or Google+ message directed at her sweetheart Bob.
Bob doesn't get around to opening the link until the next day, at which time, a new, different comic has appeared on the homepage. He is confused by why Alice would think he would enjoy the current day's comic. In fact, we the audience knows she had meant for him to read the previous day's. The current day's comic offends him so much that they have a falling out and their relationship crumbles. Bob meets Carol at a local singles' bar and has a heated night of passion and intravenous drug usage which ends in his death from massive overdose.
Bob's failed relationship and death could have been avoided if the webcomic in question issued to Alice's browser a "
302 Temporary Redirect" sending her from comic.example.com to the permanent link for that day's comic (e.g. comic.example.com/2013-02-01). The URL she copied would always send Bob to the exact comic she read, no matter the day on which he opened it. The 302 is important because the new location changes whenever a new comic became available.
Webcomic authors: do this! Think of Bob.
…also, if Alice wasn't such an inconsiderate little bitch, she might have taken the time to share the comic's permalink.