RD: But you could just as easily not do it.
PF: I’ll be honest. You move on from certain URLs, right? I’m ready for a new e-mail address. I’m ready for a new self, because that site doesn’t capture … It captures who I was, some of it. My e-mail captures a lot of that better. I don’t like looking at that stuff, necessarily. Your 20s are a freaking awkward time, especially in New York City. I don’t need an anthology of my romantic regret at this stage in my life. I have 2 kids. I’m married; I own an apartment. These are things that my 22-year-old self basically found inconceivable.
I don’t think my 22-year-old self ever thought he would own anything, ever, right? And so, putting it in archive mode just means that there’s a reason I’m not updating it. I’m off doing other things. That’s very different than Harper’s, which was more of a cultural trust.
But I think there’s probably some compromise between those worlds. I could make sure that Archive.org indexes it, so it goes into this sort of meta-library that seems great, and it has great intentions but has only been around for X years, so who knows if it’ll be around 100 years from now. Given the way that it gets cheaper and cheaper to store stuff, it probably will.
I don’t know, when I’m talking about the foster kids, and I’m talking about all this other stuff, there is no culture of saying … The Web never grew up to that point, where it’s able to say, “This is done.”
The infrastructure is difficult, because it’s like, “OK, is it done? Because then what are we going to do with the URL? Who’s going to pay for it? Do we buy it for 10 years? Well, then will somebody be around 10 years from now to renew it?” Who will care about this 10 years from now?