6 Replies - 759 Views - Last Post: 06 April 2013 - 05:46 PM

#1 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

  • holy shitin shishkebobs
  • member icon




Reputation: 6018
  • View blog
  • Posts: 10,444
  • Joined: 28-September 07

Page redirection and personal ethics *dun-dun-dun*

Posted 03 April 2013 - 11:06 AM

The title is a little melodramatic for the tale I'm about to tell, but we'll all survive regardless.

Here's the deal:

  • We have a form on our website in PDF format.
  • Google has crawled the site many times over the years and a Google search results in links to the new version AND older versions of the form.
  • There is much drama today because someone submitted last year's form instead of this year's form.
  • To prevent anyone from reaching an old form through Google, I've moved all the old forms to an archive file.
  • This lead to more drama because now we have invalid links on Google.
  • I have now been asked to make the old PDF forms redirect to the new PDF form.


I've done a little Google searching and found that there are ways to accomplish this... but it seems like a really shady, ethically questionable practice to me.

So I'm wondering what the community-at-large thinks... am I overreacting? Should I force PDF redirects at my employers request? Or should I stand my ground about this being a skeevy practice?

Is This A Good Question/Topic? 0
  • +

Replies To: Page redirection and personal ethics *dun-dun-dun*

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

  • Suitor #2
  • member icon



Reputation: 9096
  • View blog
  • Posts: 34,155
  • Joined: 12-June 08

Re: Page redirection and personal ethics *dun-dun-dun*

Posted 03 April 2013 - 11:30 AM

My gut reaction is remove the old pdf, let the old links die in the google search, and be happy.. but I know how work gets so if they are super duper concerned about dead links just do the redirect..
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#3 JackOfAllTrades  Icon User is offline

  • Saucy!
  • member icon

Reputation: 6058
  • View blog
  • Posts: 23,496
  • Joined: 23-August 08

Re: Page redirection and personal ethics *dun-dun-dun*

Posted 03 April 2013 - 03:07 PM

It looks here like the Googlebot will detect 301s and maybe remove them from their list of links?

Quote

301 (Moved permanently) The requested page has been permanently moved to a new location. When the server returns this response (as a response to a GET or HEAD request), it automatically forwards the requestor to the new location. You should use this code to let Googlebot know that a page or site has permanently moved to a new location.

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#4 AdaHacker  Icon User is offline

  • Resident Curmudgeon

Reputation: 452
  • View blog
  • Posts: 811
  • Joined: 17-June 08

Re: Page redirection and personal ethics *dun-dun-dun*

Posted 05 April 2013 - 10:16 AM

View PostBenignDesign, on 03 April 2013 - 01:06 PM, said:

but it seems like a really shady, ethically questionable practice to me.

I guess I don't understand why you think this is ethically questionable. I mean, it doesn't sound like the intent is to deceive anyone. You'd just be redirecting to a newer version of the same form. What's wrong with that? In fact, if the current version is the only "correct" version for users to download, then that sounds like the opposite of shady to me, i.e. good user experience.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#5 BetaWar  Icon User is offline

  • #include "soul.h"
  • member icon

Reputation: 1147
  • View blog
  • Posts: 7,134
  • Joined: 07-September 06

Re: Page redirection and personal ethics *dun-dun-dun*

Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:12 AM

My personal feeling is that redirecting them is a good thing overall, instead of allowing them to submit old forms which aren't going to be looked at (or aren't valid).

One thing I am wondering (and think I may know the answer too - bureaucratic BS) is why you aren't using a web-based form instead of a PDF and simply showing a page instead of the form when it is inactive letting people know when it will open up again. That way the user can always use the same link between years.

I think Jack's way sound like it may be the way to go overall.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#6 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

  • holy shitin shishkebobs
  • member icon




Reputation: 6018
  • View blog
  • Posts: 10,444
  • Joined: 28-September 07

Re: Page redirection and personal ethics *dun-dun-dun*

Posted 06 April 2013 - 04:17 AM

Many of my co-workers and our administrators are very, very resistant to change. It took years to talk them into a web-based admissions application (they finally agreed to it last semester... but insist that I also make Word and PDF versions available on the site, too). Baby steps. The specific PDF form in question... the person running that department refuses to use a computer... refuses to check email more than once per semester... making the leap from PDF form to web-based form is a long way off for this particular issue.

As far as why I'm questioning the ethics.... it just seems shady to me. If I were to click a link on website expecting a PDF file and instead see I'm being redirected, I'm going to panic, assume the site has been compromised, and exit the page. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's paranoia. I wouldn't trust a redirected PDF so I don't expect my site visitors to trust one either - regardless of whether it's done with good intent.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#7 JackOfAllTrades  Icon User is offline

  • Saucy!
  • member icon

Reputation: 6058
  • View blog
  • Posts: 23,496
  • Joined: 23-August 08

Re: Page redirection and personal ethics *dun-dun-dun*

Posted 06 April 2013 - 05:46 PM

I understand completely, and agree that a healthy paranoia is always a good thing. Fact is that the web is made for just this sort of thing, as evidenced by the presence of specific redirect codes.

Don't sweat it B9! :)
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

Page 1 of 1