The Problem with Using Time-based Words - Montana Webmaster

The Problem with Using Time-based Words

A business contact was confused in trying to find There were 4 problems, this is the 2nd and the 3rd. The second problem is a time-based word, and the third problem is confusing branding in the form of domain names. Read the first problem.

Graphic showing various final versions
If you search for “final version” in Google images, you will find quite a lot of images like this.

We’ve all done it … named a file or a website folder with the word new or old or current or final. And, years later when we are on the upteenth version of the file or site, we don’t know which new is new.

If I start work on a site that someone else built, it’s a pretty safe bet that I will find two or three versions of the site in the files … on the server.  This is a very bad thing, because those old versions probably aren’t being updates. So, they are a security risk to everything in that server account.

And, if there is a weird … undocumented … server twist, I may even make a mistake in figuring out which copy is the “real” website.



Recently, I found myself in a situation where I caused a viewer … and myself a time-based wording confusion. Some time, my site was hacked because I hadn’t taken the time to move it from an insecure webhost. This site is finally the replacement, but I haven’t taken those out-of-date files down from the old host, and there is still a domain pointed at it, which is causing considerable confusion: – note that the only difference is the “s”. The person who contacted me had gone to that address and saw the word “recently” and assumed, well, that it was recently … not several years ago!

Similarly, it’s quite a problem when looking up a software question online to be sure that the instructions you find are for the version of software you have, or are even relevant to current best practices. It’s not uncommon to find what looks like a solution, only to find out that it’s outdated. And, Google doesn’t help much because the old solutions have been around for a longtime and often have top placement in the search engine results.

The Solution

The solution for my immediate is to move all the great content from the “old” site that describes the hack to this site, and then move the domain. The reason that I bought in the first place was to avoid confusion. Now it is causing confusion!

And, the long term solution is to not think in the “now”, but to remember that what is posted online needs a time reference.

Version Control Is a Solution
Image from GitHub Presentation

GitHub Presentation

The solution for the first problem, that of managing multiple versions of files and sites, etc. is version control software. The web service, GitHub is one option.


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