Please alert interested parties
January 24, 2013 2:08 PM   Subscribe

"It looks all but inevitable that Twitter, who acquired Posterous last year, will be eliminating the blog platform. This means that all my blogs will vanish, which is a shame, because all my blogs are actually compendiums of very specialized comic book material, meant to be permanent galleries, available forever."
posted by misterbee (41 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
So someone was silly enough to host "specialized, permanent" things on a free blogging platform. Nice.

Given all the content, time, sweat, and love people put into their work on blog platforms, summarily shutting down a platform – because it no longer comports with a business plan – strikes me as something like a book burning.

I can't shed too many tears if the guy doesn't care enough about these things to drop $10 a month on hosting.
posted by Jimbob at 2:12 PM on January 24, 2013 [21 favorites]

I feel bad for this person, but... life ain't easy for digital sharecroppers.
posted by GuyZero at 2:12 PM on January 24, 2013 [7 favorites]

So... what's the current prognosis of this happening to tumblr? (Enquiring freeloaders need to know...)
posted by progosk at 2:16 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

As good a reason as any to do at least some of your blogging the old-fashioned way, not relying on processing tools and mini-blog sites. I've been re-upping my efforts to drag my images to my remote machine via FTP and to write in the IMG tags rather than letting Wordpress figure out where to host my images because I don't trust that tool to manage my images. At least when I'm done I have a simple images directory laid out that I could download in an afternoon if needed.

Posterous is a good tool, and it will be a shame if it's phased out. It's highly functional, moreso than that other micro-blogging tool that everyone uses. But, let's face it. Tumblr is cooler.
posted by NedKoppel at 2:16 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Nothing is forever but permanent and internet just don't mix.
posted by RolandOfEld at 2:16 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

There has to be a Wordpress plugin to transfer everything over.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:21 PM on January 24, 2013

Can I export my Space’s to Wordpress, Tumblr, Blogger, or another service?
Over the coming weeks we’ll provide you with specific instructions for exporting your content to other services.
posted by sageleaf at 2:22 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Hm. I guess the "you paid nothing so you deserve nothing" crowd is out in full force. It could have been worse; at least in this case there's still time to archive it.

Is there any actual announcement that Posterous is shutting down?
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 2:22 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

My first reaction is "buy some hosting," and to hug Nearly Free Speech tight to my chest, but you know, I'll be royally pissed the day Yahoo shuts down Flickr. It's tough when you've got a bunch of work into something, then it turns out no one can make enough money running it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:22 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

It's not like he didn't "pay anything" for the content. The content helped (or should have helped) Posterous generate revenue - without user-generated content there would have been no Posterous. He was doing Posterous a favour, not the other way around.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:24 PM on January 24, 2013 [15 favorites]

Hm. I guess the "you paid nothing so you deserve nothing" crowd is out in full force

It's not a matter of deserving nothing. It's just a bit lame to claim you were preserving vital cultural artifacts, doing some important work, but were unwilling to do anything to make sure it was actually secure and permanent.
posted by Jimbob at 2:26 PM on January 24, 2013 [12 favorites]

I can think of no way this information cannot be backed up and redeployed to another system....

Nope, computers just don't work that way.
posted by mattoxic at 2:28 PM on January 24, 2013 [6 favorites]

Well, he's doing that now, isn't he? Posterous hasn't even announced a shutdown yet, and he's declaring that this archive is possibly at risk, and somebody might want to grab a copy.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 2:29 PM on January 24, 2013

Hm. I guess the "you paid nothing so you deserve nothing" crowd is out in full force.
No, but the "you paid nothing, so you should've expected nothing" crowd is milling around saying "damn, he got good value for money there - and now he's whinging?!"
posted by Pinback at 2:32 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

I haven't seen if Archive Team is working on saving Posterous sites, but they did support a "cheap, working export" by a third party.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:33 PM on January 24, 2013

Both those blogs are fascinating if you love old comics. His scans reproduce all the little coloured dots, and on the masthead one you can see the tiny details the artists put into those logos. They were graphic designs in themselves, but I never noticed them much when reading the comics as a kid.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:33 PM on January 24, 2013 [5 favorites]

No, but the "you paid nothing, so you should've expected nothing" crowd is milling around saying "damn, he got good value for money there - and now he's whinging?!"

It looks to me like he's mainly trying to make sure that someone, who cares enough to pull down a copy, can find out about it and do so while it's still possible.

But this is an old argument. Any point I'd make has already been made in these two articles.

a "cheap, working export" by a third party

Almost a year ago. It's a dead link now.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 2:41 PM on January 24, 2013

$10 a month? How about $20 for the first year? ($100 for the 2nd). I liked Dreamhost but it didn't support all the features of WordPress's multi-blog, so I took advantage of someone else's promo deal. I may still pop for it just to re-test them a little (offer only through Friday Midnight, Pacific Time... if it doesn't work for you, try going to this Lifehacker page first).
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:42 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

It seems the root of this guy's problem is he's hosted at, inside the domain name. If he simply moved to his own domain name, say, then he could migrate all the content to whatever hosting platform he wants. Also, I hate to be the guy to say this, but it's not clear to me how strong a fair use argument he has for hosting these scanned mastheads. Overall I'm having a hard time getting upset that someone's republishing a collection of other people's creative work on a free hosting platform may be impinged. There are ways to make "permanent galleries", and this isn't it.

That being said, it is a cool collection and I hope someone finds a good host for it.
posted by Nelson at 2:45 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

I agree with him about the dots, because they were an integral part of the artwork and original reading experience. Reprinting older stories with swathes of modern colour just doesn't look right. Some of the more recent collections are printed on non-glossy paper with recognizable dots (Dottage? Dot-flux?) and the results look much better.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:52 PM on January 24, 2013

Kevin Street: You may find this recent bit from artist Jim Rugg comparing print colouring vs. digital interesting; he touches on reprinting briefly at the end.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:58 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

Posterous isn't open source, and open source isn't free -- it requires technical understanding to install and maintain. Comic Book Guy used Posterous because it was easy and someone else was doing the work to keep it up. That somebody else will always eventually stop, and as it happens, now all the content is locked into a CMS that can't be migrated wholesale.
posted by effugas at 3:03 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

That's the thing about the internet.

That 10,000 word story you wrote in a sleep-deprived induced trance - the one that somebody is offering you money for? Gone forever because somebody hacked Blogger.

That photo of you stretching your anus to epic proportions? Saved everywhere and turned into an icon.

The only sure way to make sure that your writing or archives or whatever are never destroyed is to write them on your distended anus or figure out how to attach them to the code of shared pictures of your pets.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:04 PM on January 24, 2013 [6 favorites]

My informal rule is never exclusively store on the internet, paid or unpaid, anything you care about deeply.
posted by edgeways at 3:05 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

My informal rule is never exclusively store on the internet, paid or unpaid, anything you care about deeply.

If you don't have two copies of something, you don't care about it very much.

Maybe it is snarky to say he is getting what he paid for, but that's the truth. It sucks, but anything that important should have been archived in at least one other place.
posted by gjc at 3:15 PM on January 24, 2013

Wouldn't it be nice though to have the sort of internet where people doing unique work, archiving stuff that pretty much no one in the entire world was willing and able to do, wouldn't have to waste time worrying about this kind of thing? Because storage space really is cheap and having to work out your own system for backing up files seems as silly as having to write your own mouse driver.
posted by straight at 3:24 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]

My wife has been keeping a Diaryland blog for over 10 years and sometime back I installed HTTTrack and every couple of months I let the spider go to town on it and burn a CD-R as well as back up the hard drive it was downloaded to on another external HD. It's easy, it works well even if the site doesn't explicitly support export (Diaryland theoretically does but it's very unworkable), and if Diaryland ever goes poof she can toss a copy of it onto NearlyFreeSpeech for posterity where it will be indistinguishable from the original.
posted by localroger at 3:25 PM on January 24, 2013

Posterous is fantastic because it's one of the few microblogging services that lets users view and download images in their original size; so, Tumblr is not quite a great alternative. It's a shame that Gimme Bar doesn't look like it'll be around for a very long time, otherwise I'd've certainly and fanatically recommend it -- I dearly wish I'm wrong though, because I maintain it's the best visual bookmarking service out there; unlike Pinterest, which resizes images to 600px width when 'pinned' and completely defeats the purpose of image bookmarking by not giving a damn about linkrot, GB actually saves anything you want it to, lets users view/download images in their full resolution glory and it could very well be utilised as an image-centric microblog. If I owned 4CP, I would just move everything over to Google+ (with its lack of API, it wouldn't be a pretty process to go through, however) because not only it's got the prettiest gallery format, it does let people download full images; and it's Google, closest you'll ever get to 'forever' for free.
posted by cihan at 3:31 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

Twitter also shut down DabbleDB, which was a paid service (and as far as I know, a going concern) when they acquired the team behind it for some unrelated trend-analysis software. There were businesses using DabbleDB to run their business. It was a painful transition.

So the fact that Posterous was a free service doesn't make the users any more vulnerable.

After Yahoo accidentally telegraphed that they were going to shut down, I was heartened that Maciej Ceglowski, the guy behind Pinboard, seemed to be in it for the long haul. I still worry about Flickr (for which I pay).
posted by adamrice at 3:39 PM on January 24, 2013

This isn't surprising, but that doesn't mean it's not a big problem. Dave Winer just posted on the topic: "Preserving the early blogosphere".
posted by jjwiseman at 5:36 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

See, this is something I've thought about a lot. I used to be a "web designer," then I became a "web developer," then I became a "web services programmer," now I'm pretty much a "data transformation and analysis programmer." This is a little bit of a strange career path, but it's given me a different perspective on what the valuable part of data is, and it's not the appearance and the presence at a specific part of the Internet. Like everyone else on Metafilter, I have a dozen dead blogs floating around somewhere, and sites lost forever, and on and on—but the funny thing is, the data that has lasted the longest were those idiotic posts to Usenet that I never really cared about that much.


Because Usenet was a data medium. It was data highly replicated and easy to archive, separate from its representation. You could look at it in Outlook Express and I could use slrn, and everything was as it should be. The same is true of your writing and photos: the important part is replication and the content itself, not the presentation. Don't write things "on tumblr," write a text file and paste it into tumblr. Archive the text file for fractions of pennies on any of a dozen cloud services, your local hard drive, and a $10 USB thumb drive.

Learn to write in a markup format, so you don't even have to think about HTML. You can learn reStructuredText in an hour or less, and then use dozens of tools to publish in PDF, HTML, docbook, and so on. If you care more about typesetting, learn LaTeX. (It'll take much longer, but the concept is the same.) If you have structured data, store it in a structured way: put your recipes in text files that follow the same rules.

You can do a remarkable amount with content and data that you have treated like data, as opposed to an immutable and permanent edifice that You Have Built.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:12 PM on January 24, 2013 [12 favorites]

You know what I really, really like?

A Wordpress install living on my own web host.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:24 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

All these memories something something something like tears in the rain.
posted by happyroach at 6:41 PM on January 24, 2013

He's worried about preserving digital images scanned from a mass-produced, commercial medium? #doingitwrong
posted by Ardiril at 6:41 PM on January 24, 2013

Even if they weren't being shutdown, does he trust that they'd never have a hard drive failure that wiped out some of their hosted content?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:13 PM on January 24, 2013

This reminds me of Jason Scott's summary of Yahoo's shutdown of Geocities (and a dozen other things):
Two graduate students, intrigued by a growing wealth of material on the Internet, built a huge fucking lobster trap, absorbed as much of human history and creativity as they could, and destroyed all of it.
I find the lobster-pot metaphor apt: these services are designed to lure content in, and that content can be instantly and irrevocably yanked out.

I don't know what the solution is. Obviously many wonderful things come out of free hosting, but I feel as though all these services should display a huge red blinking banner on the edit screen: "ALL THIS STUFF COULD DISAPPEAR AT ANY MOMENT AND YOU WILL HAVE NO RECOURSE".
posted by pont at 12:39 AM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

I've been scrambling for a year now, looking for a solution that will help me transfer my Posterous blogs to Wordpress. Has anyone found a solution? Posterous posted that "over the coming weeks" line ages ago and nothing. I would even pay someone to do it for me, dangit.
posted by jeanmari at 1:05 AM on January 25, 2013

jeanmari - there is a Backup button now, that I hadn't seen before. Log in to your Space and you'll see it along the top menu. I've just started the backup process now, so I have no idea what it's going to look like at the other end aside from an email link to download the backup. Hopefully the backup is in a format that can easily be imported to WordPress etc.
posted by {quick brown fox} at 2:59 PM on January 27, 2013

Goodbye Posterous - you shined so briefly, but so brightly, like a meteor across the Russian sky...
posted by Wordshore at 2:46 PM on February 15, 2013

i don't get this post at all. It wouldn't be hard to reproduce what this guys done here elsewhere. I could roll my own in an afternoon.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:59 AM on February 16, 2013

« Older It's never been a better time to be a Japanese...   |   GET QUIZZED IN THE FACE Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments