On the Subject of n+1

This post at Conversational Reading discusses the new article on n+1's website in which Benjamin Kunkel talks about the state of the novel. The only problem? The article in question is no longer there. Which is especially strange considering that the Conversational Reading post was put up today. Not even the WayBack Machine can find the article so I can read it.

This is, of course, the same thing that happened to the article on the short story we covered two weeks ago. What n+1 is doing, in other words, is putting articles up on the front page of their website and then taking them down. I suppose their thinking is that they're teasing us with a preview so that we'll go out and buy the latest copy of their magazine. This behavior is absurd. Particularly if they're putting articles up then taking them down on the same day. Such buffoonery will only turn people off when they stumble across a link like the one on Conversational Reading.

One of the advantages to putting things on the Internet is that they're in a permanent place where they can be found years later and linked to and be discussed. Unlike physical paper magazines which by their nature are periodically thrown away, a piece of writing can remain online indefinitely with relatively little effort or money. We've learned to expect things to remain in the same place where we found them before. We bookmark them. We link to them. We scribble URLs down on post-it notes and stick them to our monitors. Taking things down right after you put them up only serves to alienate your readers. But then, the editors of N+1 also believe it's within the normal experience of their readers to earn forty dollars an hour as a copy editor, so what do we know?

Dear n+1, please knock it off.

[Edit: Well I'll be the first one to admit when I have egg on my face. Benjamin Kunkel's article on the novel was never put up on the n+1 website, I simply misunderstood Scott's post on Conversational Reading. So, no, n+1 didn't put it up and then take it down on the same day.

This doesn't change the fact that they did put up the article on the short story that we talked about two weeks ago and then took it down, or that they've put up and taken down articles in the past. Which behavior they need to knock off.]

[Edit: I have been informed by an editor of n+1 that Elif Batuman's article on the short story can be found here. There was, however, no link to it anywhere that I could find on the n+1 website. According to the aforementioned editor, "All of [the articles] have obvious, intuitive html addresses. If you can't figure one out, you can email me or Chad [the web editor]." I'm not sure I understand—they move articles off the front page to other URL's, and then if you can't find them you're expected to email the editors about it? Is that all that different than taking the article down completely? I remain confused and frustrated.]