You might have noticed that the kajaswords website got a big facelift lately. I’ve been working hard all month to make this space as pretty, functional, and easy-to-navigate as possible in preparation for some exciting announcements in the coming months.
Part of that process has involved cleaning up the blog specifically, which I’ll admit I’ve neglected over the past year. There were missing images, formatting weirdness left over from the last theme change, and limited navigation tools.
I’ve now fixed all of those issues, with one big exception: there are still a number of outbound links in my old posts that lead to pages that no longer exist. Specifically, any link to a post or page on the old Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly website (on the “boxwrestlefence.com/valkyriewmaa” domain) doesn’t work anymore. This includes all blog posts, info pages, image galleries, and event listings.
The reason for this is simple, and frustrating as hell. On August 6, 2020, the Valkyrie WMAA website was hacked. After a few days of trying to restore deleted files (the attack got into the site directory) and dig out a truly astonishing amount of ransomware and homophobic vandalism, our admins conceded defeat and the website was shut down. We got a placeholder up and running pretty quickly, and the school has had a fully functional site for the past year or so.
What’s missing, though, is the archive of our past work, including some pretty solid blog posts and online resources, profiles of guest instructors we’d hosted, and listings from tournaments and large scale events like Violence Dynamics Vancouver. In the immediate aftermath of the hack, we scraped as much content as we could from the Wayback Machine and saved it to an offline folder with the intent of restoring it in some form.
It’s sat there ever since. The end of 2020 also saw the closure of Valkyrie’s physical space, and rebuilding the website took a backseat to figuring out how to keep our classes and community going through a global pandemic. Things have calmed down a bit on that front, and I’d like to think that I’ll find some time and energy to rebuild at least a partial online archive in the near future.
In the meantime, I’ve been wrestling with what to do with those broken links. On the one hand, they’re probably not great for SEO and it doesn’t look super professional to have them scattered throughout my business website. On the other hand, I can’t bring myself to delete them and rewrite all the blog posts around them to erase the fact that they ever existed. And there remains the possibility that they’ll go somewhere useful again once I’ve built that archive.
So this is my compromise: if you find a link to a Valkyrie thing that was posted before August 2020 and it leads to a 404 error page, consider it a temporary memorial to the five years of work that were wiped out by some anonymous asshole’s bot army. And maybe also a small beacon of hope that that work will be restored one day.
It’s awkward and inelegant, but so is grief. It’s going to take me a while to really get over the events of late 2020, and few things will be a little messy in the meantime. I’ll fix it the rest of the way when I’m ready.