My only thought on this is that the lack of automatic redirection could be a feature instead of a bug: no spying through redirect chains, for example. This isn’t that but it’s a step towards it.
I do think itemtype 3 is a dog’s breakfast and is ripe for more conventions on how to make those messages useful, and parsing it into more user-friendly representations based on those conventions sounds helpful, but I wouldn’t add automatic redirection to a client myself. I think there’s too much potential for abuse. If I ever implemented something like this myself it would be strictly manual.
The intention was a permanent redirection because I am aware of the problems with non-permanent redirections. Also, the lack of redirection bit me a last year when a site I was following started returning errors. It took me a while to realize the site structure had changed and I missed the memo on the restructuring.
This seems quite reasonable; I’ll add optional support for it to my iOS gopher client soon.
I like how you carefully slotted in a potential solution with graceful degradation. I also hope some of the popular gopher clients pick up on this.