By | Wednesday, December 21, 2022 Leave a Comment
It's come up in recent months that a number of people are closing their accounts on various social media platforms. While I certainly understand where those folks are coming from, I am opting to simply not post at those sites any longer while still retaining my accounts. Because, even though I don't have a particularly large following anywhere, I don't want anyone stepping in to take over that account name and post material that might be reasonably assumed to be coming from me.

final Pajama Diaries strip
Do you recall the Ask Shagg comic strip by Peter Guren? He began it in 1980 but finally retured in early 2020. Somewhat unusually for a comic strip, he launched a website for his strip in 1996 and published the domain in the strip itself, so that readers had a place to write in questions that he would answer in the strip. I think it was basically just his email address originally, but he eventually added a dedicated form for submitting questions. I don't know how much mail he actually received, but it was certainly enough to keep him going with enough material for a quarter century!

Here's what his website looks like today...
Obviously, the domain expired and someone swooped in to populate it as essentially an ad server. From the domain registry information, this looks like it happened in September of 2021, about a year and a half after Guren retired his strip. It's not really surprising -- when I checked the site in 2020, it hadn't looked like it had been updated at all for five years, aside from the automatic population of the latest strip. Guren hadn't been paying much attention to it for whatever reason(s), so it's not a big shock that he let it expire after he retired.

The problem is that now he's got this huge chunk of his life's work embedded with a URL that points to that visual nightmare. (With the animations in particular on the page, it reeks of late-90s GeoCities aesthetics.) Because Guren stopped squatting on an electronic domain he spent decades curating, his work is now inadvertantly promoting Chinese casinos. Any future use of his post-1996 strips (which, I might reinforce, are 65% of his full body of Ask Shagg work!) is promoting something that is very much not his. I'm not saying you need to keep indefinitely squatting on every account you've ever set up, but it's something to at least consider when you relinquish your electronic addresses.
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