On the 30th of March 2011, Jason Scott, the man behind the textfiles.com archive and Archiveteam, the group that brought Geocities back to life, has published a transcript of his talk at the Personal Digital Archiving conference.
It is a very tense text, almost a manifesto. Some quotes:
On the current attitude to data loss:
In fact, if you step back and look at it, the loss of data has moved to epidemic proportions. I use the term epidemic specifically here; I mean that there is a mental condition to accept the loss of data as the price of doing business with computers. And beyond that, the expectation that data will be lost, and the spreading of this idea to the point that data loss becomes no big thing.
The current natural order of things for hosting user-generated content
is this: Disenfranchise. Demean. Delete.
On the uniqueness and significance of Geocities users’ experience:
But I think what they lost was that Geocities arrived in roughly 1995,
and was, for hundreds of thousands of people, their first experience
with the idea of a webpage, of a full-color, completely controlled
presentation on anything they wanted. For some people, their potential
audience was greater for them than for anyone in the entire history of
their genetic line. It was, to these people, breathtaking.
How services should deal with User Content:
This is about understanding that user data is a trust, a heritage, history.