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A Former Data Hoarder with story and some advice.

Hello… I am 25 years old currently, have been struggling with depression and anxiety for a [long time]. I have since approximately 2014 collected and saved almost all my photos and video i’ve taken with my phone and cameras, memes I’ve found funny, Youtube videos I wanted to archive, video game saves of games that I’ve played, emulator roms, screenshots from games, certain chatlogs, and audio recordings. All of it stuff that I’ve created, or I felt became a part of me in some way, because I watched it, it influenced me, I wanted to use it for something later etc.

The amount of data that I stored wasn’t so much of an issue. I could easily store it all on a 4TB disk. But the folders of random meaningless junk grew. To some degree I thought it can’t be any problem if all my data can be stored on a common consumer 4TB disk. However, I needed the files to be organized, just in case I need to find it. Because of course, when I want to relive that random “happy memory” of a video I watched when I was alone in my room at 2 am while playing Kerbal space program and eating a taco bell shredded chicken burrito while watching House MD season 7 episode 16 of “Out of the Chute”, I can find it immediately. Turns out organizing 200,000 files in general is a lot of work.

Of course I don’t want to lose all of my precious collected media of stuff I’ve created and meme’s I’ve found, and game saves I’ve created. And I obviously don’t want to lose the incredibly hard work I put into organizing and storing them! So I need a solid as a rock backup solution. What if my house burns down? What if my state gets flooded? Let’s set up RAID. Okay let’s also set up Rclone. No let’s try Google Drive Backup and Sync. Let’s do Veeam B&R + LTO Tapes. It was a lot of time, money, and hundreds of hours wasted. Albeit, I learned quite a bit from the process, but not nearly as much as we like to think we are learning from our Tech hobbies…

And I would continue to game, and look at memes, and watch youtube videos, and waste time thinking as long as I’m saving all of this, It’s not progress lost! And it’s all still there. It’s not a lot- only about 3 Terabytes. I haven’t gone through it in about a year, since beginning through a severe bout of depression. I hardly ever look at any of it anymore. I think about it, laugh about it, and never really care to look at it. The more I look at these old screenshots of my guild from 2013 after we slayed Ultraxion, the more I do not give a shit anymore.

Since about March of this year I’ve got checked into therapy/psychiatry treatment. Turns out I have a pretty big case of OCD and severe trust issues. Data hoarding and organizing my data was just one of many ways for me to avoid interacting with other people, and building my own domain, where i have control, and i can trust it, since I’m the one who saved it. I don’t know if any of you out there are like me, but I just want to tell my story, and if you see yourself in my shoes.

Before you crank out another 6 hours going through S1 of 2018, ask yourself if you are spending enough time balancing out the other aspects of your life. It is not a bad thing to store lots of data if it’s important, but anything in excess can be a bad thing. Data hoarding and organizing can be absolutely addictive, and can easily trick you into thinking you are doing something productive, when you will probably look at it in the end and not give a flying fuck.

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32 Yorumları

  1. “Data hoarding and organizing my data was just one of many ways for me to avoid interacting with other people”

    Yeah but, to be fair, most people suck.

  2. I’m not a data hoarder (yet?), but I really can’t stand that the videos in my curated playlists on YouTube keep disappearing / becoming unavailable. Most of the time YouTube users are not able to tell what exactly had gone. I got so paranoid and had since built a YouTube back up solution and now I download and store any new videos that come into my interest. It took so much effort I’d rather do something else but I’m obsessed and just had to.

  3. Everyone is different and there are definitely shades of this I can relate to.

    My need to secure the ever growing photo and video archive of my children, thanks to my wife, fueled my adventure and investment in data management infrastructure.

    Thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours later, I have reached my goal. I love being able to control the way our data is stored and not having to rely on any one company, and reality it would be multiple due to walled ecosystems.

    I am also in therapy and have severe anxiety and OCD, but I do feel this journey has added value and a sense of accomplishment, confidence, and healthy curiosity leading to knowledge and growth as a life long technology enthusiast.

    Now if I can just remember where I left those encryption keys for my TrueNAS pool with all those family photos and videos…


  4. R/datahoarder is split between people who would be better served calling themselves “self hosted” or home IT but some people here sure seem to exhibit hoarding. My parents hoarded stuff. My wife’s mother and maternal grandparents hoarded stuff. I easily slip into it if I’m not careful. My wife too. I’m convinced that hoarding has a lot to do with depression and loss and fear. Keep working on yourself and keep aware of the hoarding tendency. Even digital hoarding is a problem. Best wishes.

  5. Time spent doing something you enjoy is never wasted.

    Think about it like this. You learned a lot with this data storage hobby, which you could monetize in the near future and use it to launch a new career and bring yourself financial security.

    The trick is to learn that computers are tools, and we should not be slaves to them, but they exist to make our lives easier.

    So really what you are learning is self mastery. Master Yoda would be proud, you’re heading in The right direction because you are learning your own limitations. Now take that knowledge and use it for self improvement.. ?

  6. you need balance. i have 300TB hoarded without affecting family and work time

  7. I feel you. I deleted a lot of data in the last few months because I realized I’ll never go through these pictures or videos or files again.

    May this new journey bring you peace fellow dh!

  8. I hoard data so I don’t have piles of paper work to go through, and delve into self hosted services that fit my needs. Some may be garbage currently, but few of them became valuable to someone else that I traded for some services they provided that I needed at the time.

  9. I stopped reading at the taco bell shredded chicken burrito. If there’s a thing I wish could’ve been saved, it’s that. But damn it, can’t store them burritos in a RAID array :/

  10. I’ve been there, I can give you some advice to help you organize very quickly and efficiently but if you find yourself too messy and lazy, just create yearly and monthly folders.

  11. That’s a good diagnosis. A semi pathological version of people who write and maintain diaries

  12. Great story! archived it and added it to my “I quit data hoarding” collection.

  13. I collect, first and foremost, live pop music of my preferred (late-mid 20th century) era, and all the little (humorous or heart warming or sexual) graphic media which circulate on the internet, the former much outweighing the latter. To me, they are little slices of heaven, though, luckily, I developed a good cataloging system for the music (to archive, find stuff, and avoid duplications). I think about enjoying them in my retirement, though perhaps the weirdest thing is to realize I possibly (minor) might not make it that far, and, certainly, one day we will be forever parted. Still, I think it is a harmless enough hobby. If I wasn’t doing that I would probably just be doing more IT work, and I already do plenty of that for my job. I think the main reason that I probably don’t enjoy that stuff as much as I might is working too hard, though not excessively by many people’s standards. Work just takes a lot out of me.

    tl;dr but, yeah, for godssakes devise a good cataloging system or else that stuff will just pile up and mock you to the bitter end. and backups are also important, or you will have a lot of anxiety. i looked into raids way back when but disks became some dependable that I just found having two good copies of everything on good hard drives was enough to safeguard it to a high level of confidence.

  14. I don’t really organize any of my things, I just have it indexed and use a third party search.

  15. It’s not a disease and it’s sad that a lot of people will buy that doing whatever hobby you want now makes you a sick person. Doing all that stuff makes for a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that other stuff (or people) don’t provide, and that’s OK. We are what we are, and no one has the right to call what are the things we like or not. Unless you’re doing harm to other people ofc.

  16. > building my own domain, where i have control, and i can trust it, since I’m the one who saved it.

    Yuuuuuuuuuuup. This 100%.

    > ways for me to avoid interacting with other people

    Nah, I’ve got plenty of other excuses for that. 😉

    > Turns out organizing 200,000 files in general is a lot of work.

    Truth. I used to have a pretty massive photo gallery, but the hosting situation dried up and I didn’t take good backups. I still have all the original files but not all the context that was in the gallery descriptions. At this point I could recreate only shreds of it from memory, and all the rest is just gone. I haven’t been good about organizing and describing my photos ever since, and I sometimes wonder why I take them anymore.

    There’s a lot of truth in this post, OP. Thank you for sharing, it’s valuable food for thought.

  17. While I’m glad you got help, imagine going to /r/woodworking and saying

    > Woodworking was just one of many ways for me to avoid interacting with other people, and building my own domain, where i have control, and i can trust it, since I’m the one who saved
    > I hardly ever use any of my tools anymore. I think about it, laugh about it, and never really care to build something. The more I look at everything I built in 2013 and what I could build now, the more I do not give a shit anymore

    Interests change. What got you super excited 10 years ago might not excite you now. That’s a personal thing not something the whole community needs to evaluate themselves right now.

    Further your mental health can affect many things including what drives your interests. That’s unrelated to any hobby and also a personal thing.

    This post seems much more appropriate for a mental health sub not /r/DataHoarder

  18. deleted probably around 5tb of unused data this past month, been a huge relief. Not worrying about where i’m going to put new data.

  19. Thanks for this post.

    I’m a bit on the other end of this, as are alot of others. There is a ton of priceless photos, home videos, audio recordings, etc. that are in a duplicate hell across many terabytes of about a dozen drives. Not having the time to sit down and cull that down into a usable and easily accessible format / area for my family kind of puts a damper on things. It is definitely a source of anxiety, and I’ve even contemplated doing something as ludicrous as just wiping everything and not having to worry about it. Perish the thought.

    Anyhow, I definitely appreciate the perspective you have given, and will have to take it into consideration when trying to find a solution to my situation.

    edit: to (not got)

  20. >ask yourself if you are spending enough time balancing out the other aspects of your life.

    yup! not a problem.

    I’m very glad you got some help, though! Enjoy!

  21. Great introspection!

    For me, data hoarding “scratches the itch” that physical world hoarding does for me. Probably due to growing up with scarcity and me being a natural collector.

    It may not be the healthiest, but so long as it doesn’t take a ton of my time or resources I think it’s a decent coping mechanism.

    I’ve also found making it useful to others in my life (e.g. Plex) allows me to use my hobby to connect to people vs. push them away like the physical manifestations of a house full of crap (and money spent on crap) would.

  22. Try a truenas box and set a cloud backup with b2 so you won’t have to invest too much time into it. If you feel it’s not enough do another cloud backup until you feel you have enough copies. Sorry you had to go through what you’re going through.

  23. Thank you for being willing to open up and be honest. I hope other people will find this helpful and that it’ll help them continue to ask themselves, “am I still deriving value from what I’m doing? Is it impacting me in any harmful way?” and so on.

    I hope you can find some peace.

  24. Congrats for opening up …

    I am wondering why am I storing the data for. Is it for kids (don’t have any) ? Is it for me ? Is it because I like to live in the past ? Will anybody care ?

  25. I really enjoyed your story and advice. It’s similar to advice I just gave on this sub yesterday. I hope you figure out your OCD and trust issues, and find people to care about. You are a lot more important than you think, and you have a lot of unrealized, potential importance.

    I told someone the other day, which doesn’t fit very well with this but more about life in general:

    “I do my best for everyone. It’s the *most* I could do, and that’s kinda the point.”

    Do the most for yourself, because *you* are included in the “everyone”.