ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

GeoStupid —

You’re stupid and I hate you. I haven’t even met you, don’t even know where you are or what else you do, and I hate you.

It’s 7 in the morning. I’ve been doing a lot of not sleeping lately. I’ve been doing a lot of not sleeping for months. I’ve been working on backing up hundreds of gigabytes of data that you decided to delete. I hate you.

Somehow you thought this was a brilliant idea, to go ahead and shut down that GeoCities property because hey, it’s not a money-maker and it’s primarily a free service and someone, maybe Carol Bartz, maybe someone trying to impress Carol Bartz, told someone who wasn’t you that money needed to be saved and businesses needed to be gotten out of, and who the hell cares about Geocities anyway?

Maybe whatever retarded version of an RSS feeder told you that this was a brilliant move, this easy-before-breakfast shotgun death of GeoCities, since everyone made fun of it even being up. “Ha ha,” went the kind of people who are tasked with writing a half-dozen stories a day to keep the ad clicks coming. “Ha ha, Geocities was still up, isn’t that stupid. Good riddance to it.” You probably read some form of that and considered yourself one brilliant little middle manager indeed.

Well, you’re not. I’m at the vortex of a lot of people trying to save the data you flicked away, people who didn’t have to be indoctrinated or convinced or scammed or otherwise thrust into the role of data duplication of GeoCities because the obviousness of it is on its face. This is fifteen years and decades of man-hours of work that you’re destroying, blowing away because it looks better on the bottom line. You could have sold it, but that’s too much work. You could have donated it to archive.org, but I know that makes your reptilian brain hurt and so I understand that one. But you are, by this action, destroying so much.

I’m sure you think this is all going to go down with a silent little bump, like a robin landing on a nest in winter. Oh, you haven’t heard it yet, idiot. Go ahead and do a search on a real-time news engine, like, oh, Google’s. Go ahead and search for “geocities.com” in news and watch all the places that are, even in the last 24 hours, linking to Geocities sites in press releases and notices and what have you. People who are depending on it being there past Monday and apparently you have utterly failed to notify. These people are going to be hella fucking pissed when they find out that you took their stuff down, deleted it, and then hit the hotel bar by 4. They’re going to want their stuff back.

Remember the great Yahoo Geocities Boycott of 1999? Of course you don’t, you’re an idiot. But in that fight, Yahoo dropped new property-grabs on Geocities when they bought it, and declared that all data on it was theirs, and they could do anything they wanted to do with it. People flipped the fuck out and started going after Yahoo then, called for a boycott, and Yahoo backed down. Yahoo had people back then, people with a brain. People who heard other people being angry and thought “wow, people are angry at this action” instead of what you think, which is a sound not dissimilar to a cuckoo clock in a fishtank. The people of Geocities knew they had something very meaningful there, and wanted to protect it, and attempts to do otherwise drove them batshit. And now you’re going to delete it all. I hate you.

So here we are, with me spending way too much of my time working with good people to back up Geocities. We asked Yahoo for a number, some idea, some rough concept of exactly how much data is in the array. We don’t know if we have 10% or 80% or 99% of the data in Geocities. Nobody will tell us because there’s a germ of a concept of some sort of privacy violation in telling us. Which is fine. Except it’s retarded and stupid. We’re asking for a rough idea of all the people you are fucking so we can make them less fucked, but that’s not what you think we’re asking so we’ve just been skullhumping your servers day and night for six months, redundantly grabbing everything we can just to make sure we’re not missing anything. I hate you.

So now in two days you’re going to shut this place down, this collection of genealogy and pages by people who’ve died and collections of writing and art and music and you’re going to turn it into dust because Carol Bartz said Yahoo needed to save a few bucks and the same idiocy that shut down Yahoo Briefcase, Yahoo Briefcase which probably fit on a USB stick by the time it closed down for fuck’s sake, is going to shut down Geocities.  I would say something like “I hope you know what you are doing”, but I’m sure to you it would sound like me going ‘blah blah blah blah non-functioning-capital gains blah blah” and then your eyes would narrow and you’d ask me to stop shouting.

This has to have been one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done, and it’s your fault. Thanks to your level of galactic short-sighted stupid, I just basically got into the hosting business because I’m going to arrange for people to get mirrors of all the stuff we’ve downloaded and we’re going to keep putting it up and you’re going to keep seeing it up there and we’re going to tell people how stupid you are until your suit is a pile of rags in a garage and your car is holding soup in a hundred supermarkets.

I hate you.


Categorised as: computer history | jason his own self

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30 Comments

  1. Wow. Such passion.

    Good that somebody does this job.

  2. You wrote: “…instead of what you think, which is a sound not dissimilar to a cuckoo clock in a fishtank. …”

    I love the eloquence of this post, but the afore-quoted is a gem. I wish you the best for your heroic enterprise.

    Cheers,
    Rick

  3. Australian Adrian says:

    On behalf of all thinking Australians, THANK-YOU

  4. dbt says:

    That rant just earned The Sabbatical Fund $25 from me.

  5. Ryder Ripps says:

    Jason,

    I sit here typing, drinking ginger ale and tequila.

    There is this ad that yahoo took out in AdAge a couple weeks ago.. its an image that is burned in my head at the moment. This image is of some typical kid in typical sneakers and a typical shirt that was probably designed in some shitty new york midtown office from some free illustrator vectors and was made somewhere in china. The ad points to different parts of this ‘hip’ youth and announces things like ‘My Yahoo Mobile, anywhere I am I keep in-touch with friends”. It reminds me of Microsoft’s attempt at rebranding… at one time these companies…. OWND…. Microsoft was the computer for the people, while Apple was the boushy, asshole, yuppie, ‘not for me’ computer… and somewhere along the line they lost their footing… and decided that pharrell williams and jerry seinfeld should be the new face of Microsoft.. no longer about the common man… they were desperate to become followers of the trends.. these internet Goliaths are now lost.. they are losers… they are posers.. Yahoo once was the internet.. now they are just grampas and grandmas attempting to dress young. They will fail. They offer nothing new, their motives are transparent and their vision is rehashed; stolen from the tweets of coked up marketing executives.

    I am 23, since the age of 9 I have spent almost everyday on the internet. I am of the last generation who will even remember a time before the internet (in a most populist sense). This is my landscape. This is a place that I love, and without, id have to start a new.

    When I was like 6 years old my dad took me to the MET, and i remember being awed and excited. Seeing old stuff from the people before me got my mind moving… These companies think its about the ‘new’…… up to the minute everything….. content with an expiration date; content without value. Which is OKAY, its just endemic of ‘Web2.0′.. Yet, I refuse to accept this as a trope human nature and society at large.

    My deepest admiration goes out to you Jason, and everyone else who has helped to save history from the hands of men without vision or insight.

    In the end we will win.

    Sincerely,

    Ryder

    ˚∆˚

  6. [...] et réservés à leur famille ou au stockage. Jason Scott ne mâche pas ses mots à ce sujet. S’dressant aux dirigeants de Yahoo! il déclare : “Les gens vont être putain d’énervés quand ils verront que vous leur [...]

  7. Epic Fail Yahoo, oder so werden keine Daten erhalten…

    Och, dass war noch Zeiten, Gif-Animationen, Terror für die Augen und vielleicht sagt Jemanden noch etwas die berühmte Hamster-Homepage.Nur Yahoo, damals gerne meine Portfolios an diesem Ort anzeigen lassen, wurde für mich auch irgendwann zu einem Unter…

  8. Ingvar says:

    But at least you got a (not entirely stellar) write-up in a UK newspaper out of it. :)

  9. cl says:

    You’re serious? You were under some illusion that you or any other “geocities” users owned anything? Honestly? Where do you people come from? How have we failed you? How have our parents failed to teach you the simplest of lessons? How do you not know what you own and what you don’t?

    I just can not comprehend how an adult who didn’t pay for a service. Doesn’t have a contract with a hosting company. Knows it’s a “free” service and subject to the will of the company providing it. Didn’t pay for the first server or transport line. Didn’t pay for the first service technician and engineer to support the data on servers that didn’t belong to you. How can you be under any illusion that you own anything or even have a right to be angry?

    There is something very wrong with this world, and you sir are at the root of it. You believe that you have a right to decide what happens on equipment you didn’t buy. You believe that, honestly, that you have some say in how a company that you didn’t sign the first service contract operates.

    Should I just assume that you can come to my house, open the door, walk in, eat the food, remove my belongings, and then yell at me for kicking your ass out of MY HOUSE? You are really not understanding the basic here are you?

    This world, your country, your parents, your leaders, your laws have apparently all failed you…because you sir are missing the very true a valid point…it is not yours. Geocities, the compnay, the equipment, the data, none of it was yours to begin with. You didn’t own it. Have no rights to it.

    I would like to say that you were failed…but something tells me at the tender age 3 you understood the different between mine and yours. Sadly this is a lesson that you have forgetten. And apparently you are not alone, which makes me very sad and fearful for the future of myself and my children.

    You really should re-learn this simpliest of lessons. Owning something gives you the God given, Natural right to decide what happens to it. And people who didn’t have a service contract don’t get to make decisions. And just incase you are lost on the subject EULA’s are not service contracts.

    cl

    • Jason Scott says:

      Small correction: I’ve never had a Geocities account.

      I’ll be sure to keep your comment archived here.

  10. [...] Scott and the Archive Team have created The Geocities Project and are working non-stop trying to download as much of Geocities as possible before it shuts [...]

  11. Drew Wallner says:

    Someone should let i09 users know that their cheesy hilarious home pages of obscurity are not, in fact, completely gone. ;)

    http://io9.com/5389825/the-greatest-science-fiction-sites-well-miss-on-geocities/gallery/

  12. Trev-MUN says:

    cl, before you delved into a haughty, presumptuous rant about how foolish Jason Scott is for (not) owning a GeoCities account, I think you should have read what he said concerning AOL Hometown’s demise last year.

    It’s right here: http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/1617

    Actually, you know what? Let me just quote the relevant part …

    “And before you sneer at AOL people, these people who trusted AOL: how about your Flickr? Your Facebook? Whatever the hot new wig-wag that you’re dumping hours into without thinking about it? What, you’re paying for something? Check this recent event out, paying subscriber: you have shit. Because of a cascade of EULA and Best Practices, and most importantly, a complete disregard for the importance of this data, we’re going to let it happen again. And again. And again.

    Think your site is untouchable? Think again, pokey.

    What am I saying here?

    I’m saying that, like a real eviction, there should be practices in place. When you open your doors to hosting user content, you should have rules in action that, unless it’s a complete and total fire sale and you have no hope of even staying open that long, then you should be required, yes by law, assholes, to make the data available to customers for an extended period of time.”

  13. Give Jason Scott a high-five for his hard work saving Geocities…

    ……

  14. ABM says:

    Someone linked to this page on Fark and all I can say is “Wow.”

    I guess my pictures of my Lego spaceships from ten years ago live on, somewhere in your collection. What you have done (or tried to do) is not unlike Don Quixote calling Dulcinea a lady in spite of all evidence to the contrary, and then running off to attack windmills. But it was probably worth doing. Good job.

  15. [...] Due to the nature of our digital communication methods, we’re losing a little bit of our history every second, but this one could have been avoided. Yahoo! isn’t a charity, and I understand the economics of the decision, but you have to stop to wonder if they realize they’re destroying an internet time capsule, and whether they care. [...]

  16. Olaf says:

    I hate Yahoo for what they have done with Geocities…

  17. Ingvar says:

    cl @ #9:

    When you present something you own for anyone to use, you are intentionally giving up (some) rights to it. When you have let people use it freely for over a decade, there is an understandable backlash when you remove said “property” from public use.

    You can argue that there should not have been any “let people use it freely” initially, but there was. This was something that was well-known when Yahoo bought Geocities and something that should have been budgeted for, for all foreseeable future.

  18. morphia says:

    Hi,
    I wanted to say two things.
    First – With all the hate you display in this post I still think you’re doing a great thing and I hope you know at least that much.
    Second… well, on a more personal note, my father’s site (which my mom slaved over building) has been deleted thanks to this stupidity… and we desperately need some of the data back… Is there anyway I could retrieve the lost data?

  19. Steven P. says:

    hi… ive been using the interweb for about 14 years now….meaning i started in 95…. im actualy really sad that geocities is going to be wiped out!!! i remember sittin in front of my ibm cyrix 586dx4 100mhz with 8mb ram computer building my first website… reading and learning from primitive totourials, teaching myself htm-f’in-l

    i was so proud of my first website… and the subsequently following ones…. back then all hosted in geocities…. some might even still be there, i just dont know the urls anymore

    im sure this wont really have a big impact on the internet itself and all the retarted so-called “web 2.0″ kiddies dont give a shit anyway…. but the few of us that have been around a lil longer than the rest will surely feel a disturbance in the force when geocities gets killed!

    regards, Steven

  20. Merlyn says:

    Why is it that it is always someone else’s responsibility to backup MY data? I have had to move my websites to/from many different servers over the years and have always had PERSONAL backups. Has made the process extremely easy. I guess we do not teach personal responsibility any more ??

  21. greebsnarf says:

    Thank you.

  22. Jiff says:

    I believe GeoCities had ads on everyones free page and they were making money from those ads, just like Google does. So by shutting down free pages they did disservice to the public. Personally I missed the shut down and lost my entire site. It does not matter that it was free and was not owned by me, but it was my contents and Yahoo was making money by running ads on it. I will never do business with Yahoo and so will many others. I guess GAY (Geocities Abandons Yahoo) is not the cool word anymore.

  23. anon says:

    oh noes all Mai animated GIFs BAWBAWBAWBAWBAWBAWBAW

  24. anon says:

    dude. seriously. fuck geocities. are you also one of those people who saves every scrap of garbage in your house till it overflows and you die at the center of a garbage maze like that ukrainian guy? because that’s geocities. a giant maze of garbage that yahoo paid >3 billion for for some reason and have finally had the good graces to scour from the internet. now if we can get someone to purge myspace similarly we’ll have got some progress made.

  25. [...] Jason Scott si è poi sfogato contro lo staff di Yahoo!, lamentando un’assoluta non-collaborazione, tanto da cominciare a odiare Yahoo dal profondo del cuore. Come dargli torto? Ma come abbiamo visto Yahoo ha sempre trattato Geocities come un estraneo, non salutando neanche quando lo ha accompagnato all’uscita, verso il paradiso dei siti web. Condividi e godi: [...]

  26. latefag says:

    Hahaha, stay butthurt bitch. Geocities was always a piece of garbage. All you’re saving are everyone’s random assortments of animated flames, rainbow text, and god-awful fanfiction with kawaii images of gay anime sex and Pocky at the end.