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CHAT: Wayback philosophical issues x: CHAT: facing your own mortality (as a conlanger)

From:Nomad of Norad -- David C Hall <nomad-conlang@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 21:59
li_sasxsek@NUTTER.NET wrote:
>> [] On Behalf Of Rick Harrison >
> >> If you have web pages that you want to stay online after you > can >> no longer pay the hosting bill, what options are available? > The >> Wayback Machine at doesn't catch everything and it > might >> not be around forever. > > That would be the point of the trust fund. How long would > basically mean how much you leave behind. There are hosts that > can run as little as $100/year. It's just a matter of having > someone else to keep the site maintained. > > I know won't be carrying on my sites. I had to > threaten them with a copyright lawsuit to get them to take my > domain down. The point was that I don't want obsolete > information being posted.
You know, it's interesting. I watched a documentary series in the early to mid 90s about Charlie Chaplin, talking about his own history and the history of his films, how he want about making them, and so on. At one point, they mentioned that they'd found this private collection of all these films of his, a large part of which consisted of raw footage on reel after reel that had come about as he'd filmed his films, and it was a fascinating study for film historians because they were able to watch exactly the process he went through in creating his movies. This was something he'd wanted to keep hidden away from his audience, his film fans, because he didn't want anyone to know *how* he'd gone about crafting his films... but the unused footage had all been preserved nonetheless. And it turns out the way he'd gone about things often times was to literally make it up as he went along. He'd create an elaborate set, and then he'd let the plot play itself out in the set he'd built, *as* he tried to figure out how and where the story was going, discover for himself what kinds of characters he had in the film, and so on. Sometimes he literally tore down sets and went back to the beginning again to start making the movie over from the beginning, with the sets and the vista changed to something different, the characters changed to something else, and so on. But by the time he was done with it all, he'd generally created another masterpiece of silent comedy cinema. I remember distinctly one particular example. He was doing a film in which a blind lady selling flowers on the street corner mistakes him, a homeless street begger, for a millionaire and later ask him to pay for eye surgery... and so he had this one scene, on the street corner, where the mistaken impression happens. He kept filming the same scene over and over and over again, for several days, and knew that it just wasn't working. He couldn't figure out how to *sell* the fact to the audience that the blind lady suddenly came to think he was this rich guy. Finally, one day, it dawned on him the solution. He is at the street corner -- an intersection, actually, with lots of vehicles waiting to pass. He is on the opposite side of it from the blind-lady's flower stand, and there is this fancy carriage parked right there at the street corner, between him and her, beside him. He spots a beat cop some ways off, coming down the street on his side, thinks "Uh-oh! I gotta hide!" He looks from the distant, approaching cop, looks to the carriage, looks to the cop... and then right quick he plucks open the door on the carriage, ducks into the carriage, and then as quickly opens the carriage door on the opposite side and steps out. Whew! Narrowly escaped *that* situation. Then he spots the lady selling the flowers, and decides he might as well buy a small lapel flower with the one little coin he has to his name. He gives her the coin, she plucks up a flower, turns to him, and then *feels* *about* *on* *the* *front* *of* *his* *jacket* searching for the little pocket to insert the flower into... and in the process revealing to him, and to the audience, that she was blind. She now turns around to make change. At that point, behind him, the rich guy gets into his carriage and closes the door -- Thunk! -- and bids the drive to drive on. The blind lady, *hearing* the door close, turns around and says "Oh, THANK you!" meaning now she can keep the change. At this point, surprised, Charlie looks behind him, where she was "looking," realizes what had just happened, and then, so as not to dispel this magical and precious moment in her life, he *quietly* tiptoes away from the scene, in order to allow her to continue to believe it was the rich guy that had bought the flower and let her keep the change. Now, I'm sure Charlie Chaplin didn't want people having "the outdated versions of" his films (the older, unused footage), and had in fact said as much. A bit like a magician not wanting anyone to actually know how his illusions really work. And yet he'd kept all this footage in his personal collection, and decades after his death, film historians and the like discovered this cache of films and found it all absolutely invaluable in understanding not only the craft of his making the movies, but also what kind of person he was in making them. And it would have been a *ginormous* loss to the history and understanding of film had he in fact burned all those reels of raw footage. It would have cheated the world, and future historians, out of something precious and irreplacable, because no one would ever have known HOW he made these films, HOW his creative process actually worked, and civilization would have been at a loss for that. You stated that you demanded that's Wayback Machine delete all copies of your website, "[because] I don't want obsolete information being posted." You misunderstand the fundamental purpose behind the Wayback Machine. The funamental purpose behind the Wayback Machine is to create a complete, comprehensive snapshot of *the* *entire* World Wide Web at any given date in its history, so that a person a decade from now, or a century from now, or a thousand years from now, can say, "I wanna know what the Web, and a given page in particular, looked like on October 9th, 1999" or "...October 9th, 2009" or "October 9th, 2019." And he should be able to follow ANY link to ANY other place that the page links to, or that the page that it links to links to. Period. To do otherwise is to cheat that person 1000 years from now out of valuable information that might not exist in ANY other form or be preserved in ANY other place. The very *context* of that information (who and what linked to it and why, f'rex) is *itself* precious and irreplacable. It is like when archeologists lament looters digging into ancient sites before they can get there, in order to steal valuable artifacts for the black market, thereby wrenching them *out* of the archealogical context in which those artifacts originally existed in the ground... Okay, so someone sees what your language page looked like in, say, 1999 (assuming it went back that far). Anyone that's interested in studying your language *for* *its* *own* *sake*, by definition, is going to want to look at the most recent *copy* of it. If one day, you die, and stop updating the site, and then the site goes byebye because of course you stopped paying for the domain to be kept up... the last-updated-copy of your site would still appear in Wayback for them to look at, and to follow archived links from other sites to. Only those that wanted to study the *evolution* of your language, study the *creative* *process* you actually went through in creating it (separate and distinct from the *implied* history of the development of the language as it is said to have existed within the conworld you've created) -- directly analogous to those film historians studying the proverbial "lost footage" of Charlie Chaplin's dailies -- would still find it an invaluable thing for those interested in the craft of creating conlangs and the like, or of understanding how *your* creative processes worked, assuming you ever became as important to literary history as Chaplin did to motion picture history, or even if you didn't but had had *some* impact on it, if ever so slight.... I think the likelihood of "outdated copies of" your site continuing to exist at Wayback has a snowball's chance in the Sahara of actually causing harm to the language, simply because *by* *definition*, Wayback is designed to keep everything *up* *to* *and* *including* the last updated copy of the page, and anyone that finds a link to your page on an existing site, but finds the site has now gone, is more than likely only going to WANT to look whatever the last (most recent) complete version was, and will therefore select whatever the last date was, and only work his way backwards if the last (most recent) preserved copy of the page turns out to be a cybersquatter page or a "We've moved" page or something, at which point he'll work his way backwards to FIND the last, actually complete copy of the page. The only thing you'd want to be concerned about was if someone *else* MANUALLY made a public, mirror copy of your site at some point and THEN stopped *updating* *it*. Wayback, by definition, ISN'T going to do that, because they're *automated* and *by* *definition* will continue making updated mirrors of your site until *they* *cease* *to* *exist* (which means, by definition, your page goes byebye along with *everything* that Wayback has preserved) or until doomsday arrives, whichever comes first. In short, I think you've got blinders on, and really should rethink your stance on this. All IMNSHO, of course. :P :D :D :D
> > >> The conlangers of ancient times published their ideas in > books, >> which has preserved them to some degree, although some of the > old >> books are scarce collectors' items, unavailable from libraries > and >> never webified. > > And for all we know there are many who never wrote anything and > their ideas are long forgotten. > > >> Is it arrogant to want some of your ideas to live on after you > die? > > Well, now you're getting philosophical. As an atheist, I could > care less what happens after I cease to exist, and it's the > quality of the existence that matters more than the duration.
Just remember, though: You exist as a part of the overall continuum that is our civilization, and all of us are linked together in that what we create influences what someone else creates which in turn influneces what someone else creates. Take a piece of that out and destroy it, and you destroy a link to the past, and a link between those persons who have influenced you and your stuff and those that have been influenced by them *through* you and back again. It might be a minor thing, that link, it might be a *major* thing, that link, but often we don't know the true magnitude, or the lack thereof, until well after we're gone and some guy on some library planet in the 51st Century tries to research this aspect of turn-of-the-2nd-Millennium life. :-D -- Nomad of Norad (David C. Hall) --- *TeamAmiga* --- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - For a dementedly wacky sci-fi continue-the-story project, join my WebBBS. ---------------------------------------------------------- This is the Emergency Backup .Signature File, it kicks in if the Regular Backup .Signature File fails to load.


Edgard Bikelis <bikelis@...>