Etiquette: Linking to fragile sites October 7, 2003 11:53 AM   Subscribe

is, of course, notorious for falling to pieces if more than three people click on one of its sites (though anastasiav's secondary links more than make up for her first). It's happened to everyone, so I wonder whether more experienced posters have untold ways of guessing what sort of traffic a posted website will bear? Are there any ways to avoid the "MetaFiltered" meltdown? Are there any steps posters can take to preempt the predictable outcome, besides including the (unsatisfactory) Google cache? Can the content be saved in another way, in order to answer users' queries?

In short, what is the best policy for fragile links, assuming they're worth posting anyway?
posted by MiguelCardoso to MetaFilter-Related at 11:53 AM (15 comments total)

Great. I've been called out in Metatalk by Miguel. Oh, the indignity.

:-) Love you, Migsy
posted by anastasiav at 12:07 PM on October 7, 2003

Hee hee, dear Anastasia - I was one of the first to click on it (as I always do on your posts) so I got to go through the whole first link. Hence the "Just what the doctor ordered" joke, straight from the "Medical Clich├ęs" department.

In fact, your post answers my question perfectly: if there's a weak link, shore it up with a few other strong ones.

This is nota call-out; it's a friendly example of what often happens to well-intentioned posters. But you knew that already, didn't you? :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:17 PM on October 7, 2003

I like to include the Google cache link, if there is one.

I suppose an alternative would be to mirror the site, as has been done in the past (the Tucker Carlson phone number thread springs to mind, although that was mirrored for a different reason).
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:26 PM on October 7, 2003

In Montana where I grew up we had what's called "range law". This means that the cattle have the run of the whole "range", and if you don't want them in your yard/garden/corn field you need to fence them out.

I suggest the same thing here.

The World Wide Web is a "range" resource where you open yourself up to the public. If you want to keep your site from being shut down due to excessive bandwidth, then you need to do something about that.

If something is worth linking to from MetaFilter, then I would hope it's worth the extra work to find adequate hosting.

From the posting side, I think it's a bit silly to post a MeFi link that will go bye bye in 15 minutes.

"In short, what is the best policy for fragile links?"

Screw 'em.

It's evolution at work. Only the strongest hosting solutions will survive and live to breed comments.

And as to the impending pile-on: I give up. Seriously. Anything Miguel posts from now on is fine with me. No matter how many times we've discussed it before. No matter how worthless the ensuing discussion is bound to be. It's all good.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:30 PM on October 7, 2003

free geocities sites have a very limited bandwidth - i've seen them go down after only a couple of pageviews if the site is graphic intense. the annoying thing is - some people pay for geocities hosting and their sites are not handcuffed by the ridiculously low bandwidth choke, and i can't see a way to tell the difference.
posted by quonsar at 1:39 PM on October 7, 2003

mirroring a site might not always be a good idea, especially if the person has copyright issues regarding their webstuffs. i'd ask for permission first, if possible.
posted by t r a c y at 2:07 PM on October 7, 2003

Not to mention the fact that if the person doing the mirroring is also doing the FPP, he/she/it would technically be doing a SELF-LINK, right?

Or I shouldn't mention it.
posted by wendell at 12:49 AM on October 8, 2003

Someone, somewhere has set up distributed proxy caching system. I can't remember what it's called and who runs it - maybe someone else out there knows. The basic idea is, if there is content on the internet that you want people to download, but the initial site may have bandwidth limitations, you link to a URL this instead:

The proxying site, having had a request for that file, will download it and store it on a number of servers that people have donated to the cause. Further requests for the file will result in it coming from this distributed cache, rather than the original site.

Can anyone remember the website that provides this service, and would it be useful for people to use on Metafilter?
posted by Jimbob at 3:51 AM on October 8, 2003 would work, i think...
posted by t r a c y at 10:26 AM on October 8, 2003

Miguel: Omit Needless Words.

The topic is worthy, however.
posted by y2karl at 12:19 PM on October 8, 2003

Omit Needless Words? You might as well tell him to Omit Needless Cocktails. As long as the topic is worthy, I don't mind his excessively urbane multiple queries. Be grateful for small favors, say I.
posted by languagehat at 12:32 PM on October 8, 2003

I have an idea for a new post that would probably see lots and lots of people downloading a 100MB video file. I have absolutely no doubt that this will kill the current host. Can anyone volunteer to host a bittorrent seed for this video? I would do it myself but I'm within a university network which doesn't allow such things. Email me if you can help, thanks!
posted by adrianhon at 9:00 AM on October 9, 2003

adrianhon - I've found it!

Free Cache - read, follow instructions, and theoretically you should be able to link to the video file without burning down the host.
posted by Jimbob at 4:46 PM on October 9, 2003

Hey, thanks for that, Jimbob. That really is useful!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:38 PM on October 9, 2003

It doesn't look like it will solve the Geoshitties problem, though, Migs; Free Cache only bothers caching files larger than 5mb, so it's not really useful for web pages / images. For people linking to large files, however, it would be put to good use.
posted by Jimbob at 9:53 PM on October 9, 2003

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