Good Grief! More Entropy
December 15, 2016 6:21 PM   Subscribe

In an email to its users, Dropbox has announced that their Public folders would be made private. Problem is, there's a game that's exclusively hosted in such a way: the completely insane Mastaba Snoopy (previously). Fortunately, the Internet Archive (which recently made the news by being serious about moving to Canada, previously) has a copy, as it does of a ridiculous number of things. If right-clicked and downloaded, the formatting is slightly altered, but no biggie. You may also choose to download it from the original source while you can (everything past first space in filename including .html will be removed - easily fixed by hand). (Content warning: body horror, sorta-sexual-kinda reference.) (Official game thread - creator's last reply was just last October, wow)

Game tip - if it seems like you've hit a wall and can't progress, use the Tab key to find the hidden link.
posted by BiggerJ (9 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Well, that just kinda sucked. Especially as I still have my comprehensive archive of ALL the released Ferguson trial documents there (if any one is still interested, throw me a MeMail. I will hook a brother/sister up). I wonder what launched the change other than IP law (which also sucks as I have gotten a lot of good PD/open sourced PnP and computer RPGs there.)...
posted by Samizdata at 8:05 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sharing links can be generated for any Dropbox folder. Unless I completely misunderstand what's going on, the only effect of this change is that the Public folders won't have sharing links pre-generated by default.

Existing links will need to be updated, but that's scarcely unusual for the Web.
posted by flabdablet at 10:46 PM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, it's real hard to see what the big deal is here.
posted by spitbull at 1:29 AM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

I made a mistake - Public-folder links have /u/ in the URL, but Share links such as Mastaba Snoopy's have /s/ in the URL. I thought only Public-folder shares could have direct file links. Here's the trick - in this case, change to . will also work.

flabdablet, spitbull: It's entirely possible that a lot of links using the Public-folder method may never be updated.
posted by BiggerJ at 2:10 AM on December 16, 2016 will also work

So will

Dropbox sharing links are usually generated with a ?dl=0 suffix. If you just change that to ?dl=1 before publishing the link, your readers won't have to jump through Dropbox signup-offer hoops to get to your content.

It's entirely possible that a lot of links using the Public-folder method may never be updated.

Quite so, but link rot is endemic on the Web; it's not a peculiarly Dropbox evil.

One thing that Dropbox did start doing recently that might disconcert some people is refusing to let users' HTML files render as web pages. That really is going to break a lot of Dropbox-hosted content, but there's reasonably sound security thinking behind it: browser cross-origin protection works per domain, not per subfolder, which means that anybody with a Dropbox account used to be able to set up a shared item that wrapped anybody else's publicly shared Dropbox content in malicious scripts. And since every Dropbox link includes a string of security-by-obscurity gibberish, the difference between the links to original and modified versions isn't going to be super-obvious.
posted by flabdablet at 11:01 AM on December 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

So will

The two examples I gave also skip the page, and more directly, with the bonus that they can be archived on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.
posted by BiggerJ at 4:31 PM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

So what if links aren't updated? I guess that means no one was actually using them.

Seriously how many people were playing this game? It was mildly viral a couple years ago. It's more absurdist art than real game. What's the great loss even if it does get rendered unplayable? Mastaba Snoopy really?

I mean, and there's always Geocities lol.
posted by spitbull at 4:06 AM on December 17, 2016

thanks for your great comment, spitbull
posted by Greg Nog at 5:31 AM on December 17, 2016

What's the great loss even if it does get rendered unplayable? Mastaba Snoopy really?

I first posted Mastaba Snoopy to Metafilter nearly four years ago. I know that I care. In fact, I care whenever any web site succumbs to linkrot, as it is yet another win for entropy, which I'll have you know will also score personal victories over each and every one of us.

Preserving old websites is another way to thumb your nose at the final end of all things, which is always a worthwhile act. Indeed, the only worthwhile act.
posted by JHarris at 4:08 PM on December 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

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