Adrift on a Sea of Bogons

rat on a raft in a sea filled with holes

Q.: What’s a bogon?

A.: It’s an IP address that hasn’t been assigned to anyone, making it the Internet equivalent of a phone number that leads only to the “not in service at this time” recording.

It’s also a pretty cool word. In this picture, the bogons are represented by glory holes—another cool term. They’re just as scary in real life as in pictures.

Do Not Read This Sign

sign reading “nofollow”

The name of the picture is properly

<meta name = "robots" content = "nofollow">

. . . but you try making that not look like a technical error.

Q.: What, if anything, does it mean?

A.: It’s an instruction to search engines. You’ve never seen it in person—unless there really was a technical error—because it’s buried in the page’s HTML where no human will see it. Essentially it means “I may have no choice about linking to this page, but that doesn’t mean I’m lending them the weight of my own repu­tation”. Or, in short, “don’t tell them I sent you”.

Query String

one rat firing an incomprehensible question at another

Look up at your browser’s address bar. Not the one you see right now: pick one from some random other site. Forums and search engines are generally a good bet. All that stuff after the question mark is collectively called the query string. The individual sections, separated by ampersands, are parameters with values.

Q.: And your point is . . . ?

A.: Those bits and pieces of information are what lets the web page get built. A page generated by q=ᐊᐱᖅ and s=ᕿᓂᖅ might be quite different from one that says q=ἐρώτημα< and s=ζήτει, or even q=frage and s=such.