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[META] Points Against The New Rule 8 and How To Amend It

I’m not very fond of rule 8, [which was introduced a few days ago](https://www.reddit.com/r/DataHoarder/comments/ovgrp7/quick_update_regarding_rules_wiki_removals):

>**We are not your personal archival army**

Now hear me out, that is definitely a sentiment I too share. r/datahoarder is definitely not a private army to be mobilized at arbitrary discretion. Which is precisely why I have taken issue with the tyranny that might result from the current *draft* of this rule.


As a quick disclaimer I myself identify as an archivist. Almost all my activity on the sub is devoted to watching what people are requesting be saved, what tools are being developed etc. I recognize that r/datahoarder is more than that, it’s also a place for sharing hardware, discounts, tutorials… The point I want to get across here is that we don’t all hoard data for the same reasons, and r/datahoarder in its current state is able to bridge many different interest groups. I am writing this because I want us to be able to maintain common ground which I feel the draft for Rule 8 jeopardizes.

Rule 8, being new and all, came with three points of elaboration, which I will be a bit of critical of.

> Do not use the subreddit to request archival of a site if you do not intend to assist with that archival.

Honestly, I think this could be a rule in its own right. A lot of folks make a new account, request something on r/datahoarder and don’t contribute much else. But the problem here, is that full-exclusion under the pretense of “we won’t do your job” disenfranchises a lot of newcomers or people who might not be very tech savvy.

Picture this: A website you frequently visit is shutting down, and you haven’t ever experienced something like this before. You’re new to the internet and really don’t know if you can do anything. By chance, you have heard of these folks on r/datahoarder and you can alert them, experts who have some knowledge of web preservation, to a situation they would not otherwise have been aware of. Whereas if you were to read through tutorials, this and that, by the time you had gained some expertise the website will be long gone. Don’t get me even started on finding people to delegate the workload to through multiplexing!

So clearly, something needs to be done about this, but we should not shut off r/datahoarder as a channel for people asking for help. That’s rule 2 afterall, keep it about datahoarding.

> You may request projects that have a very large possibility of becoming lost/destroyed, such as Sci-Hub, organizations that are in peril of Government shutdown, or an active crisis that should be archived.

Let’s be honest here for a moment. This has already been happening through the upvote/downvote balances on this sub, only now it’s been made into a policy. r/datahoarder projects are moving from being pluralist gatherings to populist ones.

Speaking of “Government shutdowns”, here’s a question for you: Name an archiving project within the last year, related to governments, which was **not** on US politics. To the few people who will point me to projects on the Hong Kong press, I will ask them to name a third one. The past couple of months have seen coups and assassination attempts across the world from Myanmar to Madagascar and elsewhere. And frankly, we are not able to keep up in terms of preserving footage and other material. That’s a serious deficit, not something we ought to further encourage.

If we are to prioritize utilitarian benefit over individual, we must do so **impartially** lest everything revolve only around (a fraction of) the English-speaking world.

> Requesting your favorite Youtuber’s channel be backed up by us is an example of what NOT to request.

Now I think this is a good point, but it could be worded a bit better. What if said YouTuber *was* reporting an ongoing crisis? What if said YouTuber’s channel was home to rare films? There is no categorical problem of requesting your favorite YouTuber, rather there is one in people requesting that their favorite YouTuber’s channel be archived **because they are their favorite YouTuber.**

That I believe is the essence of this new rule. It’s not that the requests are “personal”, heck one of the most personal requests for [help with archiving family albums](https://www.reddit.com/r/DataHoarder/comments/owj6co/i_want_to_digitally_archive_120_years_of_family/) made it to top of the sub this week. What we have and I think a better Rule 8 can fix, is an “r/datahoarder can take care of it” mentality. And I would be in favor of changing Rule 8 to:

>**We are not here to hoard data at your bidding.**

Or something to that effect, emphasizing it’s how requests are made, and not what requests are made that is the real issue here.


I’m not a moderator on this sub, above I just described how more than anything I’m an observer over the sub who wants to be able to keep that role. But if I might get involved in sub-moderation just this once, here is what I would do to make a better rule 8:

* Limiting the number of archiving requests per user.
* r/datahoarder is a horrible place to start new projects but a great place to get them rolling. Thus we should try and limit the number of new requests a single user can send over the duration of a day or week. Quality to quantity, simple as that.
* If you’re going to go hunting for websites shutting down at the end of the month, Archive Team or The Eye might be able to much better cater to your needs. But r/datahoarder has people to multiplex CPU-time, help with optimizations etc. which are a valuable resource in their own right. They just need to be allocated correctly.
* Alternatively, requests could be limited to a weekly megathread, as suggested by u/Mckol24 and u/spacecadet1965.
* Decentralizing the sub to relegate the responsibility of call to actions to r/DHExchange
* Clearly the mods are not the only people who have noticed the abundance of request posts. r/DHExchange is a sub started by data hoarders specifically for exchanging/requesting data minus the chit chat.
* r/datahoarder is better at building on top of previous work and we should incentivize sharing of projects. r/DHExchange can fulfill the niche of handling new requests if we promote it. That way r/DataHoarder can maintain its content diversity without risk of watering down.
* Impartiality!
* Instead of taking offense to a request being too “personal” and implying that not enough people care about it, Rule 8 should recognize that different people will have different interests.
* The criteria for Rule 8 ought to exclude certain kinds of requests rather than certain kinds of data sources.

So r/DataHoarder, what do you have to say?

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37 Yorumları

  1. I think this all sounds sane. I think a re-wording of the rule gets us where we want, and via moderation and upvote/downvote the issue will take care of itself.

  2. Finally we can get back to more important things like posting pictures of hard drives and coupons for hard drives I took at Best Buy.

  3. Yeah rule 8 is kind of stupid going to cause a lot of problems they need to stop amending rules and adding rules

  4. Where to post notifications of things going down then? Some things shut with little to no notice?

    Also as someone in Hong Kong that is still trying to source stuff where to go? It’s beyond normal people here, so do I need to make yet another fringe subreddit? Anytime I’d ever asked about stuff or sites I never had any level of expectation. Just like the when we almost lost TUHS, I mean where to go?! Is this then just for talking about disks?

  5. > Alternatively, requests could be limited to a weekly megathread

    Unfortunately, it seems only a faction of a community’s members view megathreads on a regular basis. I’m personally guilty of this. I’ve posted to megathreads in subs like /r/headphones, /r/flashlight, /r/buildapc and /r/monitors and I think I can count on one hand the total number of responses.

  6. What I had said:

    > > Requesting your favorite Youtuber’s channel be backed up by us is an example of what NOT to request.

    > Please but announcements/warnings are OK. The rules are fine but worded too strictly. I’m OK with an occasional post. But some of them got too frequent by people who have never used CTRL+F in their lives (and they come to this subreddit).

    Their full Rule 8:

    > Rule 8: We are not your personal archival army

    > * Do not use the subreddit to request archival of a site if you do not intend to assist with that archival.

    > * You may request projects that have a very large possibility of becoming lost/destroyed, such as Sci-Hub, organizations that are in peril of Government shutdown, or an active crisis that should be archived.

    > * Requesting your favorite Youtuber’s channel be backed up by us is an example of what NOT to request.

    You know something is *architecturally* sh​it when you need extra explanations, regulation and examples just to make it understandable and work. Beyound this ranty bit, I too found this too restrictive in wording, not in principle.

    > # Rule 8: We are not your personal archival army

    > * Do not use us to request something *done for you*. The safest place is on your hard drive. We will happily help you to get started.

    > * Announcements of endangered content are fine, and especially if they carry general significance: someone might actually get hands-on. (Still, do not expect it to be done *for you*)

    PS: Why does the sidebar not state the rules in full? Sometimes short bullet points are too short 🙂

  7. I agree very much with this sentiment. I don’t think outright banning “help me archive ${x}” type posts is the way to go.

    Sure, ban the low effort ones like [this](https://www.reddit.com/r/DataHoarder/comments/oxj20v/nyt_crossword_puz_archive_being_taken_down/) , where the poster doesnt stick around to answer questions or help. But there have been some genuinely interesting requests, like the bird database or the guy who’s mum passed away, that should be allowed to remain.

  8. Fully agree with the post and think the rule needs to be removed or reworked.

    I’m active in archiving certain media, like concerts etc. There have been times where I’ve posted here and requested help when it’s extended beyond my knowledge and toolset – and the community has always been very quick to assist.

    It’s rare to find communities that are as kind and supportive as this one. We should continue to facilitate that behaviour, not hinder it.

  9. Excellent write-up, fully in agreement here.

    A significant amount of the data that I hold comes from requests made here, and I was not fully aware of the new rule added to this subreddit.

    I think that your spot on with your interpretation, and I think that the mod team should heavily consider your points.

    I also don’t think that we have a problem that needs to be mitigated, the output and downboat system has served as well enough for determining which requests submitted here are worthy of a team effort, and which ones are just spam.

    I don’t think that we need a new rule determining who can post requests on what to archive, and I think that the natural moderation of the community via the up voting down votes, and regular community interaction on Reddit are good enough to moderate this community.

    A blanket rule like the new rule that you’re discussing is definitely not needed.

  10. Personally I like the explicit “we are not your archive army”. However I think that’s just the first part of a statement “we are not your personal archive army so keep that in mind as you make your request”. It’s just being explicit that mods reserve the *right* to remove stupid archive request posts.

    The /r/DHExchange and /r/archiveteam subs are better suited for archive requests. Not all hoarding is created equal so not everyone wants to just hoard random websites or YouTube channels. Most archive requests won’t be annoying here but I think there should be a little bit of prior restraint applied when making requests.

  11. I don’t see any problem with being notified that a resource is about to disappear. There is bound to be someone who’d find that resource useful to preserve.

    > We are not here to hoard data at your bidding.

    I think this is better worded.

  12. Maybe some sort of weekly/monthly/bi-monthly pinned thread could work for this sort of thing? It’d keep the feed from getting clogged up by requests while also aggregating them into one place in case somebody wants to look for new stuff to archive.

  13. Isn’t this whole thread overkill? This is the /r/datahoarder subreddit, for data hoarders to talk about data hoarding topics. At least, that’s what my impression is. Are we, as a subreddit, an emergency archival team? Maybe some type of group focused on that would be a better fit for those circumstances.

    “Sir, this is a Wendy’s”

  14. I know that r/DHExchange is a thing, but what if someone started a sub specifically for archival requests? I wasn’t aware about the new rules on here, but I knew that the purpose of this sub was for discussing the act of data hoarding itself, rather than for sharing or requesting content.

  15. Just a thought to follow on for this. Has anyone thought of doing a tutorial on how to archive a website and content?

    One of the things I have a problem with is that I do not know how to do things like this, and trying to work through multiple posts trying to find good info on how to start makes it a little difficult to begin with.

    Having a resource available on how to begin archiving (and I do mean begin, so no fancy multi-TB arrays :P) would also help cut down on the type of requests rule 8 is supposed to slow down.

    I recognise that this would be a lot of work to begin with, because someone would have to actually source software for windows (most new people would likely have windows to begin with) and then write a relatively stupid-proof guide, but I think it would be more valuable to the community as a whole, and it can even be added to a bot so that any “Help archive [XYZ.com](https://XYZ.com) before it shuts” type posts can have a link to it to begin.

  16. Agree! Rule #8 is a great sentiment, but it shouldn’t be a rule. I personally don’t want to discourage folks from sending up a signal flare about collections going suddenly offline. It’s totally legitimate to find some way of impressing upon folks that posting here does not compel anyone else to do anything for you, but some may choose to do so.

    Maybe there’s a way to phrase these posts as informational (“hey, collection XXX is about to go dark because blah”) rather than imperative, and that should be the rule, not the current phrasing.

  17. Mods: would you be inclined to do a poll on this and perhaps take action based on the results?

    I don’t agree with OP personally, but if that’s how the majority feels, I’d understand.

  18. I honestly think asking for people to archive anything shouldnt be banned. Nobody is obligated to actually do it, and demanding should be banned. But if someone is new to this or doesnt have money for hardware, they should be banned from just asking if anyone is interested in archiving it

  19. Very well stated and I agree. (While I do understand the usefulness of the rule)

  20. I’m not privy to the background of rule 8 being created, but its language is a clear nod to 4chan – “we are not your personal army” has been a thing on there for many years, whenever someone shows up and tries to sic script-kiddie DDOS tools like LOIC on some two-bit site that wronged them. But it’s a little abrasive for this community. If it comes across as overly harsh, selective enforcement would be an option, but selective enforcement is never the best option.

    “We are not here to hoard data at your bidding” is good. Anything more in the spirit of “we’re here to help, but we’re not here to do your work for you” would be a good change.

  21. Should make an archive request sub or stickied thread

  22. If you’re going to request the community to help with something, it must have importance and value to the larger community. If it’s only important to you, then it’s up to you to hoard it.

  23. Very much agreed. The data which I am hoarding is very Niche but rare and hard to obtain in the first place. I would love to have more requests so I could focus my efforts to helping people rather than just grabbing random things.

    Basically, I’m new to the niche of dead tree scanning and always appreciate help deciding WHAT to buy and scan.

  24. Is this enough of a problem to even be a rule? If no one likes it just downvote the post and be done with it

    I’m confused why it even needs to be a rule. If it gets upvoted and a lot of attention, then people want to do it, which is fine?

    As usual, moderation for the sake of moderation.

  25. Well said.

    Something I’m saddened to see lost on today’s Internet is the sense of community that used to exist on old forums and such; I get that /r/DataHoarder isn’t a service, and to keep it from becoming that way I do believe that rule 8 should be enforced when appropriate. If somebody shows up and disrespectfully demands that we do something to preserve data, I suppose that’s when the rule applies.

    There’s a big difference between that, and a newcomer asking respectfully for help.

  26. Was this rule actually necessary? I rarely see archival requests.

    I personally find all the US-centric hard drive deals more annoying!

    Ultimately, are we data hoarders or not? If someone puts a target on some data, we can choose to hoard it or not.

  27. Not everyone has the Bandwidth, Space or Knowledge to assist hoarding, should these people keep shut and never request something?

  28. I appreciate this post. As someone who is both pretty new to heavy-duty archiving and has an interest in a community with easily lost content, helping people who are new to datahoarding shouldn’t be discouraged.

  29. Exclude emergencies. Emergent events like an iconic website shutting down in (very) short notice (eg at most 1 week notice) should not be under this rule, or any restrictive rules at all.

    That said, the sentiment where it is still a “normal situation”, I undersstand and agree that those “normal” archiving requests should not be encouraged.

  30. I’d agree. If someone asks for us to watching their favorite YouTuber, let the downvotes flow…

  31. Also agree! Very well said. I rather see those posts than risk some content disappearing forever when it could be preserved otherwise. Also sometimes I learn about new content because of those posts.