I understand Milos' concern, actually, and this is
the most reasonable
objection to a URL link for attribution purposes that has been raised so
far. It is true that the Internet is by its nature impermanent, evolving
both in content and in structure. It's by no means guaranteed that if we
in a printed book in 2009 it will still be accessible in 2019.
I'm familiar with that issue, of course, and respect those concerns.
That doesn't sound like what Milos was getting at, though, as his
subsequent comments seem to indicate. Anyway, our developers are quite
conscious about ensuring that links to our pages from external sites
work in a reliable manner. It's also been mentioned that people like how
our meaningful URLs make it somewhat easier to predict where to find
things. I imagine there's probably room for improvement still, but I
think we do fairly well in this regard. At some point, if people really
don't trust the internet for anything at all, they probably shouldn't be
republishing thing they found there.
Back to the question of attribution, as it relates to the medium. Milos
made the observation about print as an older ("less advanced") medium
that shouldn't have to point to the newer ("more advanced") medium. In
reality, pointing across different media happens regularly, as has been
mentioned. I also find it curious, for people to whom the difference in
medium matters, that some of them would be pushing to impose more
stringent attribution requirements on the older medium because of the
imperfections of the newer one. Let's not punish print for the faults of
the internet. You would almost think that some people are trying to
ensure that their contributions can only ever be reused as online text,
which is of course contrary to the purpose of free licensing. Nobody yet
has found the perfect answer to cover all media forms, but that
shouldn't stop us from trying to work out solutions.