I haven’t quite been able to get my head around why my first reaction to this auction is anger.
One of the big mistakes a historian or archivist can make is that the stuff they’re collecting is “theirs” or somehow, because they have a particularly large pile of stuff, other smaller piles should naturally go out of their way to join the large pile. This just isn’t the case. You do what you can, and based, sometimes, on personality, whim or other factors, people choose or don’t choose to contribute items.
Of course, part of this is different because the artifact is digital; you can make an exacting duplicate of it with no less of the item in your possession after you’re done. Except, of course, exclusitivity, which is basically what’s being sold here.
All told, it’s 20mb of textfiles. He wants $8 for a copy of it. Were I to get a copy of it, I would immediately put them in the textfiles.com BBS message collection, because that’s what I do with this stuff; immediately distribute it far and wide. He’s chosen not to do that, but to instead make money from it.
I know of a number of BBS packages that were sold by the authors to people who immediately turned around and opened them to the public domain. Just to do it. I don’t know what sort of funds were involved, but I would assume it was a lot more than $8.
For the record, I have basically expanded my mission to take pretty much ANYTHING from the era of BBSes, including printouts, boxes, disks, CD-ROMs, old machine parts… you name it. Never hesitate to contact me before you consider throwing anything out.
It’s an interesting reaction I have. Maybe I’ll understand it at some point.
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