So Yahoo, cowards that they are, announced in the most quiet and subtle manner possible that they were shutting down Geocities, the nearly 20-years-old hosting service and site that has been home to untold millions over the years.
I suppose I should be flattered that well over two dozen people have contacted me to ask, essentially, “Will Archive Team be trying to save and archive Geocities?”
And the answer, which I hope you would expect, is OF COURSE WE ARE. I’ve got experiments running as we speak, treating Geocities like a drunk cheerleader dropped into the exercise yard of a prison. It’s quite ugly: Geocities has this really insane thing where they only allow 15 megabytes of a website to be downloaded during a given hour, from anywhere, before that site goes “down” until the hour is up. This is playing hell with my scripts. They’ve also generally obliterated directories of users, but I have ways around that as well. In other words, the process has begun.
It’s cute and pithy to say “Well, good fucking riddance to Geocities”. And I totally understand that outlook, make no mistake. Many pages are amateurish. A lot have broken links, even internally. The content is tiny on a given page. And there are many sites which have been dead for over a decade. But please recall, if you will, that for hundreds of thousands of people, this was their first website. This was where you went to get the chance to publish your ideas to the largest audience you might ever have dreamed of having. Your pet subject or conspiracy theory or collection of writings left the safe confines of your Windows 3.1 box and became something you could walk up to any internet-connected user, hand them the URL, and know they would be able to see your stuff. In full color. Right now. In a world where we get pissed because the little GIF throbber stays for 4 seconds instead of the usual 1, this is all quaint. But it’s history. It’s culture. It’s something I want to save for future generations.
Already, little gems have shown up in the roughly 8000+ sites I’ve archived. Guitar tab archives. MP3s that surely took the owners hours to rip and generate. GIF files, untouched for 13 years. Fan fiction. Photographs and websites of people long dead. All stuff that, I think, down the line, will have meaning. It’s not for me to judge. It’s for me to collect.
I can’t do this alone. I’m going to be pulling data from these twitching, blood-in-mouth websites for weeks, in the background. I could use help, even if we end up being redundant. More is better. We’re in #archiveteam on EFnet. Stop by. Bring bandwidth and disks. Help me save Geocities. Not because we love it. We hate it. But if you only save the things you love, your archive is a very poor reflection indeed.
P.S. Fuck Yahoo! We are going to rescue your shit!
Categorised as: computer history
Comments are disabled on this post