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The state of legacy Mojo articles: a cry for help

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Eighteen months ago I unveiled the first phase of an ongoing undertaking to bring old Mojo articles back online. To make a long story short*, the various redesigns of Mojo over the years, and the not-always-diligent efforts to port previous features over during these transitions, would cause articles from the sunsetted version of Mojo to simply get left behind in the process. The cumulative effect was that well over fifty percent of Mojo's content ended up missing.


For years I've been keen on addressing that travesty, but the more I dug into it the more I came to understand why prior staffers gave up on the challenge. Mojo backups are woefully limited when it comes to the really old stuff, and though the backups have come to my aid many times on an individual basis, generally speaking the only strategy you really have when you want to recover an old article is to turn to the Wayback Machine and extract the content of a snapshot/crawl (hopefully, one even exists) by hand. This at least gets you the text if not always the media -- and without the media, many articles are borderline pointless, such as the Gold Guy Exposed article, which I only recently got the images for with the help of Jake. Not all articles have such a happy ending, though.


Aside from the major issue of lost media, the other problem is that modern Mojo is way more restrictive on the presentation of features in terms of layout and available markup tags. This lockdown was deliberate and undoubtedly a good thing going forward, but it makes for an absolute nightmare when trying to adapt old articles, which were written with a laissez faire attitude toward handwritten HTML, to MojoEx. (Gabez in particular seemed to love to make his articles as bespoke as possible, and I'm going to die five years sooner than I otherwise would have died due to my traumatic experiences in trying to recreate them with any accuracy.) The end result is that it's often impossible to replicate the appearance of older articles even when you are lucky enough to have all the actual materials on hand. Sidebars, for example, once used regularly in Mojo, are simply not a thing in MojoEx. The compromises pile up.


I'm still committed to getting everything back in whatever form possible for posterity's sake, and I've made a point of linking to Wayback Machine snapshots at the end of the retrofitted articles for reference. I also make a point of putting a link to the original news posts at the end of the resurrections, though hopefully Zaarin will at some point be able to associate the articles with their originating news posts the "real" way that modern features do. Similarly, we need to get the old articles properly backdated in the system. I have to say I consider what has been achieved even now to be a minor miracle, but there's plenty to be done.


The reason I've made this thread is because I need the readership's help. I think/hope we're at a point where every legacy article is at least in the system now, in variable states of restoration. But I've pretty much taken this as far as I can bring it by myself. Now that the forums have returned and the community has a place to gather again, I am relying on any readers who share an interest in getting the old stuff back to help me fill in the remaining gaps -- by pointing out missing, incomplete or faulty articles, and maybe even helping me track down some of the stuff I could not. So if you spot something funky, point it out here, and I'll see if I can address it. With multiple sets of eyes on this, it'll be a lot easier to bring this insane excavation to the next level of polish. And then we'll really be cooking with Spaff grease.


*Sorry for lying

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I will put out a promise right now. Two in fact:

  1. Sidebars will return in MojoHEX.
  2. MojoHEX will arrive in 2020.

And that's a Remi PromiseTM.

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