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At WWDC 2020, Apple updated their Developer Forums.

This has broken links to the old developer forum such as https://developer.apple.com/forums/message/335101:

Error - Page Not Found
The page you’re looking for can’t be found

This will be a major problem for Ask Different and other Apple support website.

Can these links be easily fixed either by coordinated editing to find a new forwarder or programmatically like when bots upgraded posts from HTTP to HTTPS?

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  • @bmike Agree that the "side-wide cleanup effort" should live on Meta. My original question though was more for what I can do when I find a broken link and want to locate it on the new forum. And to make sure that answer shows up on Google. Should we answer that here or re-open on Ask Different? – pkamb Jun 29 at 17:57
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Thanks for you concern! The example you reference is a relatively new scheme; there are only two hits, both on your question today. Stack Overflow has nine hits, and I've checked a few and they all work.

However, the old scheme (e.g. https://forums.developer.apple.com/message/143196) has a lot more hits; over 450 across the network, 9 of them on Ask Different. A related search gives 224 hits (6 here) but some of them might be duplicate. And not all those links are broken, e.g. https://forums.developer.apple.com/message/11908 still works.

I do have some experience with mass-fixing broken links on Stack Exchange sites; I'll have a look what I can do. The main problem is that I can't fix them all at once without flooding the front page with old posts. There, I opted for a strategy of three posts per day. That might work here too.


Update: the first attempt at fixing them automatically isn't such a great success. Most of the times, the Wayback Machine didn't archive the link; when it does, e.g. this one, you can find the thread by looking for the 'canonical' link:

<link rel="canonical" href="/web/20161005194839/https://forums.developer.apple.com/thread/4276">

and use that link, https://forums.developer.apple.com/thread/4276, to get redirected to the current one: https://developer.apple.com/forums/thread/4276. My script fixed four of these cases on Ask Different (e.g. this one). For five more I was able to figure out from the context which message/thread it referred to, but there's no way to automate that (at least not for me). On Stack Overflow, it fixed 15 posts automatically. Next step is perhaps to collect all broken links, check which ones are often used and try to find the matching new link by hand.

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  • 2
    That's a surprisingly low number of links to the Apple Developer Forums, which is perhaps a comment on the overall usefulness of the forums vs. Stack Exchange. FWIW I do often post Apple Developer Forum links in comments: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/338704/… – pkamb Jun 29 at 20:35
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    @pkamb ah, that's a different URL scheme. In that case, I get a lot more hits... hundreds across the Stack Exchange network! – Glorfindel Jun 30 at 6:27

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