I've asked a number of questions that received great responses on Startups.SE, and today I wanted to send someone a link to one of these questions.

However, I found that the site hadn't survived beta and was completely taken down after over three years. That's 3+ years of carefully curated content wiped out. Completely.


Why can't we just leave those sites there for posterity, with messaging explaining that no new questions can be asked? Is it a cost/hosting problem? I'd be happy to donate to an effort to keep Startups.SE up, just as I was happy to donate to the Internet Archive - though I highly doubt this is an issue, as ads monetization would likely more than pay off for static hosting of sites no longer requiring any human resources. Jeff Atwood and Shog9 share this opinion.

But now that the site was completely deleted (repeating the same mistake we've made with On Startups), I can't even find the URLs to my questions, to search for them in the Internet Archive. And no, please don't have me download raw data in a .ZIP and hunt for my questions there - I might do it, but 99% of the users will not. Keep in mind that besides the effort of digging into a giant ZIP file, most failed proposals involve less than technical users, as the techie ones have been covered by established SE sites. Also, even if I find my own question, I'd have to somehow upload it, along with its answers, into a presentable format somewhere.

Side note: it drives me bonkers when I find a thread on reddit that has been "archived". Not only can I not even upvote an answer, but if I have a valuable contribution to make to it (e.g. there's a new solution available in the meantime), I can't! This Startups.SE situation is even more infuriating. Leave the dang data alone, or let users who paid with their content, easily access their own content, at least.

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    You can find many discussions about this on meta.stackexchange.com (search "data dump"). All sites are archived for use by anyone to continue properly curating a site, and there have been many discussions along those lines. But this issue is off topic here and will not be seen by those who make these decisions. Jan 3, 2018 at 1:32
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    @RobertCartaino: who makes these decisions? Jeff Atwood himself proposed in 2014 to keep Startups.SE (and other long betas) as read-only, but that hasn't happened. Can you please move this question to the appropriate place, or at least point me to it? Sep 6, 2018 at 4:03


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