Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Old posts and the problem of broken links - revisiting the Brough intervention

I had intended to resume posting with a piece on the Tiwi Islands. This picture from Wikipedia shows traditional burial poles.

I knew that I had written something before, so searched around to find the posts. The Tiwi Island references date back to 2007 and were more fragmentary than I had expected.

One of the posts I found dated to 23 June 2007, Mr Howard, Mr Brough and Australia's Aborigines - 1. Is it really almost eight years since the intervention?

I felt a little sad reading the post, partly for personal, partly for professional, reasons.

At a personal level, I remember just where I was when I wrote. Other posts of the time contain references to the daily round of domestic duties as the primary child carer - Clare's hockey, cooking meals for the girls, the school runs etc.I miss it now.

At a professional level, so little has changed since the intervention. There have been advances, but we seem stuck in an endless loop destined to constantly repeat. I am not talking just about the problems in Aboriginal communities, but about the way that discussion within the Aboriginal community and beyond constantly circles.

I found that first Brough post to be good. It took a very long time to write because I was constantly checking sources, trying to provide the chronology of events. I think that the later posts were good too.

In checking the post, I found that formatting errors had crept in. Later when Google changed its system, a side quirk was the transformation of large slabs of text into red. I use red in quotes, but somehow the red then carried on into the text following the post, creating a big editorial correction problem.

I called the post up and started editing, checking the links as I did so.

In a recent comment, Winton commented about the problem of broken links in older posts. I agreed, suggesting that the problem was worst in the Government sector because of constant changes. Now in checking the links in the post I found that every Government link was dead.

There is enough detail in the post to follow the story without checking the sources. I left the links in the post with a footnote apology so that people would understand that it was based on research. However, you have to take my word without being able to check the original source material.

Having now revisited, I think it time to check all the posts in the series and provide a central entry point. The posts are not perfect, but they do provide a useful record.


Winton Bates said...

It is strange how we continue to have high hopes for interventions.
The results of the one you referred to are particularly disappointing. It seemed like a good idea to me at the time.

Jim Belshaw said...

While I had some reservations, I also thought that it might do some good, Winton. Instead, its complicated many lives.