Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Picture, video, PDF, TXT, Doc/Docx, XLS, etc permenant hosing site for forums

RogueRose - 23-12-2019 at 18:11

One of the MOST frustrating things about going through older forum posts on other sites and sometimes this site (when the files are larger than SM allows) is that all too often the files are deleted, user accounts are deleted or removed (by site admins), or the site just goes under.

Most of these free file hosting sites seems to last for a few years and some even up to a decade or more, but then they seem to start dropping like flies and then we are left with 10's - 100's of thousands of dead links to media files posted on threads and it REALLY destroys the quality of the threads.

I'm trying to figure out an alternative to using these free services which seem to rely on some "professional accounts" to support all the free users, and maybe some advertisements/ads on the sites - or even reducing quality or load speed of the files.

The sites I'm talking about are things like photobucket, imagur, flicker and other file-sharing/dump sites. It seems that flicker has just sent out an email to all it's users saying they are not financially viable and for all users to upgrade to the "professional service" (of like $50-80/year IIRC) but he even said with this step he doesn't think it will save the site - and on top of that, they are reducing the storage allotment of free users. From what I've seen from other sites, this is going to be a pattern that will spread through the free hosting services in the next couple years.

Now there are A LOT of forums like this and other tech, science, car, research, etc which heavily rely on these free hosting sites to host the media in their threads and I'm worried that many of the good threads are going to become unusable in the next 1-3 years - or greatly diminished.

Now the good news - with the MASSIVE increase of storage space available (hard drives) and MASSIVE speed increase of SSD/M.2/nVME drives/etc, allows for so much more data to be stored on a single server than 5-15 years ago (some capable of storing 100-200x the data on one server - and serve it up 2-20x faster!). Then also the network connection speeds have changed from symmetrical 1/1Gbps to 10/10 or even 40/40Gbps connections for these servers, many with no data transfer caps! This means that a single 1/2 rack server or full rack server could do the job of 5-20 full rack servers of 5-15 years past - AND they are very competitive to the server costs of years before (buy you need 5-20% for the servers needed before so a 80-95% reduction in cost and MUCH faster transfer rates).

I think there is a major opportunity to offer hosted services for people to host their media for extremely low costs like $5/yr to $1-5/month for much larger storage capacities, and even lower rates if you choose 2,3,5 or 10 year plans (up to 70% discount for 10 year plans!!!). The thing is free services are abused and not respected. Even charging a nominal fee makes people not abuse the service and take it more seriously. Maybe after a 10 year service plan, the data could be transferred to new servers for a very low rate for something like $20 for another 5 years of hosting (because server sizes and prices had dropped so much).

I'd like to see something like this be created and used for most forum, maybe providing discounts to users of specific forums (or multiple forums) or some arrangement. The reason being is because it is usually for educational purposes and loosing this info not only hurts the community immediately but also all the people in the future.

I'm wondering how many of you would be interested in paying these small fees to be able to host your media on a long term basis where you don't have to worry about the data disappearing in 2-5 years when the site goes under.

I've found a number of open source programmers & developers who are on the same page as me and are more than willing to work on a project like this.

Also, the servers would be spread out to each continent in sizes determined by local demand.

Also, most the people interested in development are very interested in creating something like a YT like clone (or similar to bitchute and others) with minimal free accounts (can't upload 5TB of 4K 60fps videos' of your home surveillance that no one watches) but allows free hosting of "popular" videos and hosting of any video's based on plans purchased to host XXX amount of data - and it would have live streaming, chat, donations (to channel host) downloadable video's and more - with 100% support of free speech as long as it doesn't call for violence against anyone - basically what YT should have continued to be. It would create a much better search and suggestion mechanism (there are many open source - git-hub published libraries) that do a better job than YT which can be incorporated. On top of all of this, there are ways to provide access to all of China and other authoritarian states that firewall their internet (details with-held ATM for obvious reasons) - which would allow for things like HK protesters to communicate, publish their videos as well as Uyghurs posting any video's they can smuggle out (some of them encoded inside other video's that can't be detected until they are extracted by an outside channel - basically getting around gov censorship).

There is so much that is now possible for SUCH AMAZING prices, fractions of prices from 2005-2012, and 10's of thousands to 100K's more people willing to freely work on development of these sites.

I'm looking for people interested in this, either in using the end product, helping with development, helping spread the word once the product is up and running, any help in advertising (small promo on site/posts/etc), ANYTHING! I'm working on an "affiliate referral process" where people who bring in new members get free premium services or even cash payments if the referrals are large enough.

I now this forum (scimad) can upload pics/pdf's/etc but are limited by size and having an eternal site to hose this stuff would GREALTY reduce the load on the server in many ways - pages would load faster, lower bandwidth costs for the hosting, and more. SM could also retain all the files posted in the thread (in a specific folder that is only used if there is a problem connecting to the external host site - but rarely needed) and as a means of creating a full site backup.

Please let me know if you have any questions, if you would be interested in a service like this, concerns you have with a service like this and any other questions. Also if you want to help create a site like this, LMK and I will get our contact info and notify you at specific times of development or deployment.

Belowzero - 25-5-2020 at 04:48

Completely agree with your arguments.
This is a big problem on the internet in general and seems to be the natural way old content dies.
This argument even goes for hosts that are considered reliable such as youtube which has changed their URL formatting some years ago, effectively blackholing 10's if not 100's of links on SM alone.

I don't think we can solve the problem of already destroyed content but preventing this issue further down the road seems viable.
Depending on how sciencemadness is hosted (dedicated hardware or VPS) a single donation for a storage server or just a bunch of HDD's could already solve this problem.
HDD's die and servers age so this would need replacement every few years (another donation round?)
Even externally hosting such a platform and being able to link content to this 'reliable' location would be a major step forward.

My background is in hosting/networking and I would be glad to help with such a project.

[Edited on 25-5-2020 by Belowzero]

Texium (zts16) - 25-5-2020 at 06:58

You know that it’s already possible to attach photos and other files to your posts without using external links, right? It’s a feature that many people use all the time.

I don’t know how much space is available on the server that Polverone uses, but last I heard, we aren’t in danger of running out of room.

andy1988 - 25-5-2020 at 12:37

Agreed it is a problem on the internet.

I am fond of the Wayback Machine's solution to the problem:
It allows the user to go “back in time” and see what websites looked like in the past. Its founders, Brewster Kahle and Bruce Gilliat, developed the Wayback Machine with the intention of providing "universal access to all knowledge" by preserving archived copies of defunct webpages.

Somewhere on youtube I watched the developers talking about the idea of making the functionality distributed instead of centralized, so that anybody can donate space/bandwidth on their computer to store/host archived websites as part of their distributed algorithm. With redundancy and everything so content shouldn't be lost.

[Edited on 25-5-2020 by andy1988]

Belowzero - 25-5-2020 at 22:31

Quote: Originally posted by Texium (zts16)  
You know that it’s already possible to attach photos and other files to your posts without using external links, right? It’s a feature that many people use all the time.

I don’t know how much space is available on the server that Polverone uses, but last I heard, we aren’t in danger of running out of room.

Indeed, so in part this lies in user education too.
Perphaps by showing a banner to users who place a link in their post or something like best practices/guidelines.