So I notice that Panties Panties Panties has gone offline, saying goodbye thusly:

Thanks to everyone who wrote in expressing concern. Enough emails were received such that some kind of explanation seems necessary. We simply thought it in our best interest to discontinue the blog. We’re each okay; it was just time to euthanize it. Anyway, thanks for reading, commenting, and sticking with us as the blog evolved. See ya, motherfuckers*, perhaps in some other place, in some other guise.

No, motherfuckers, you won’t see me. You may come back, but it will be a cold day in hell before I link to you again. You’ve demonstrated that it’s a waste of time trying to incorporate you into the warp and woof of the world information culture that is the internet.

I’m going to rant a little bit here, because I’m sick and tired and fed up with people who vandalize the web on their way out. This is not really about Bret and Hiromi, they are just the latest offenders in a long line. Plus, it’s been a bad week for this.

You see, when you build a good blog — and Bret and Hiromi had a very good one — people link to you. And those links are valuable. All links are valuable, and should be as permanent as you can make them. They bring order to the web — hell, they’re what makes it a web — and when you take your site offline for no good reason, you smash every one of those links. Not only are you spitting in the face of everyone who ever complimented your contribution by linking to it, you’re also in effect taking a sledgehammer and a torch to your little corner of mankind’s greatest invention, our unsurpassed cathedral of knowledge, culture, and art.

I expect plenty of hatemail on this subject, prating about “it’s their right” etc. And of course that’s true. Everybody has the right to yank their stuff offline for no good reason. Just like everybody has the right to buy books and then burn them. We don’t respect the latter sort of wanton destruction — indeed, we have a special horror of bookburners — so why respect the former?

I also expect people to chime in with all sorts of alleged “good reasons” why folks need to take stuff offline, especially adult stuff. Feel free, but I’m calling “bollocks” in advance. A couple examples to explain why:

1) “They got found out and are being outed.” If so, that can (rarely) be quite tragic, but honey, that ship done sailed.

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.”

If you put it up on the internet, it’s going to stay there, or come back if it seems to have gone. In addition to the currently-active public archives like the Google cache and the Wayback Machine, there are dozens of entities spidering the web and making private archives for various purposes (commercial research, government intelligence gathering, etc.) All the data in those archives is likely to become public — and be put back up on the web — at some point in the future. Meanwhile, there are a zillion quotes and excerpts of your stuff on every blog that ever linked to you, none of which material is going away. You can’t unring the bell, and you look foolish trying. You worried about shame and embarrassment? The whole point to this post is to try and make you more shamed and embarrassed over your dumb-assed internet vandalism than you could ever hope to be over the content of your blog. I’ll probably fail, but I’m doing my best. I know people will propose all sorts of consequences worse than shame or embarrassment that can motivate trying to hide an adult blog after the fact — the one that actually has my sympathy is the risk of consequences in an unexpected custody dispute — but none of that means a thing against the brutal fact that smashing your blog won’t hide its content or save you from whatever consequences you’re seeking to avoid. “Nor all your tears….”

2) “They got bored / lost interest / wanted to move on.” Fine, so stop blogging. No need to smash the excellent thing you’ve created and pee on the remains while insulting everyone who ever complimented it and while damaging the things they have created. Does it hurt so bad to just leave your archives up and your inbound links unbroken? If you can’t afford it, and that’s unlikely in this era of cheap bandwidth, find somebody willing to mirror your site or host your domain for you. If it’s good, there’ll be no shortage of offers. Hell, even if it’s bad, blogs are such great search engine fodder that a discrete text link in the header or footer saying “Maintained on the web by” provides enough traffic to make it an attractive proposition. I’d cheerfully maintain any sex blog I ever liked well enough to link to, on those terms, and I’m not alone. There’s never a legitimate financial reason to destroy a good blog.

I suppose that’s enough of a rant for now. Please, I beg you, when your blogging jones is exhausted, don’t vandalize the internet by destroying your creative work and everything that ever acknowledged the value thereof by building on it. It’s selfish, shortsighted, destructive, rude, and self-centered. You are part of something bigger than yourself, please don’t piddle on it when you’re done with it. Thank you.

Update and Reminder: Despite the ranting tone of my post, I will not accept namecalling or incivility in my comments. One comment deleted already.