Disclaimer: This is basically a re-post of a meta question I posted over at Programmers.SE
404 is a Bad Thing (tm). When StackExchange increases
404 errors, it's Making The Internet a Worse Place. (PLUS: I'll add from Bart's comment: "Deletion of questions seems to lead to quite a few dead links. Is there anything we can do about that?")
Prelude: I first posted this on Programmers, because I first noticed it there, but thanks to Yannis' very helpful and complete answer there I would now guess that this is a StackExchange wide problem.
So here's what I wrote:
I have been hitting quite a few 404's (...) lately. I was wondering how great the idea of perma deleting questions (...) really is.
Not saying that these questions are a good fit to the site, but removing them completely, leaving dangling links all over the internet (am I exaggerating? :-) certainly isn't my idea of Making The Internet a Better Place.
Note that I don't mind closing; I wouldn't even mind a
And, while I'm at it, I take the liberty to include a small part of the most upvoted answer by Stargazer. (Well, I guess it may qualify as a rant, but hey ...)
Are you making the web a WORSE place?
This one has an answer:
If the goal of software developers is to help the user with meaningful error messages, then I can confidently say that you are making the web a worse place. You're creating 404 messages despite the fact that the intent of the user was obvious.
Don't say that no one notices. This thread exists because people noticed. You're making the web a worse place.