Why archiving pages is useful
Why archiving pages is useful:
Saving pages on your laptop means you can read them later on the bus, train or plane, no matter how big is that page.
For many people, the internet is an expensive luxury, saving important information offline means it can be accessed permanently, anytime, with a bit of electricity and a cheap device like a Raspberry PI.
Articles can be easily edited many times, without warning. Prices of products can jump up and down over time and the description, or terms & conditions can change.
By saving multiple copies of the same page over time, or from different geographic locations, you can track the history of changes and preserve the necessary proof.
Usually a print-screen is not enough, because it can be manipulated and it doesn’t capture enough data, or the context of the whole page.
Making copies of your own website
Some people are not very technical, but they have websites hosted in places they don’t control like: Blogger, Tumblr, Squarespace, even Wordpress.
They can archive important pages as a backup. In case of disaster, they can recover the text and images, maybe even the audio and video, depending on how they save the archive.
Again, a print-screen is not enough because all the text needs to be either manually re-written, or processed with OCR software, but the formatting is lost, the quality of the images is reduced, and all the other media is lost.
A year ago I wanted to find pen-pals on Reddit and I made a post that received a large number of responses. I sent letters to some of the people who replied.
Two weeks later when I checked my Reddit post, half of the replies were deleted! Only my answer to their (now deleted) reply was there!
The discussions were really nice and friendly, definitely not embarrassing or anything like that, but for whatever reason, those people wanted to delete their own replies, which I understand and respect.
But still… I wish I had a copy of their reply in private, just for me, like a memory, because some of them were truly beautiful and heartfelt. I wish I made a copy of that page a day after I received all the answers…
On Reddit at least, some people use software to delete all their posts and comments, then delete their profile and create a new one. Every year or so.
This means all those discussions are lost forever.
Websites can be blacklisted either by your internet provider, or by your country.
Websites can also be taken down by corporations and governments, for whatever reason.
Also domains expire and the owners move the domain, or just stop paying for it.
Making a copy of the page, or website means you can share it with other people via messaging, e-mail, file-sharing software, or other mirror websites.
This is especially important for smaller, alternative media websites, or alternative arts, that are very likely to disappear.
Social media posts that are controversial, because they “dare to challenge” the official story, or criticize influential corporations are very likely to be lost over time. For example: Tweets, Reddit posts, Youtube videos.
“Challenging the official story” is not that hard and it has nothing to do with conspiracy theories. If all we hear are:
- straight people’s conversations, or
- academia only conversations, or
- democrats conversations, or
- “government approved” conversations, or
- the voices of a bunch of influential corporations
… we lose the voices, ideas, aspirations, and culture of humanity as a whole. The voices of the majority are lost this way, and we don’t notice, because they are either hidden, or deleted.
All that being said, archiving websites is like using a sharp knife: it can damage if not used properly.
Archiving websites that need the trafic and ads to support themselves can damage those websites, so use with care and consideration.
For my website, crlf.link, I’m doing my best to keep the links, or redirect to the new location, if that’s possible. I don’t even have traffic, 90% of the website visits are from Google bots…