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Wilko220

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I think Keith has posted on here in the past.

I remember discovering the site 20 years ago when it was austin-rover.co.uk and it was a fantastic source of knowledge.  It's very sad news that the site will cease to exist altogether but I understand Keith's reasons. Life is too short for things that are no longer enjoyable.

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When I first discovered it well over ten years ago I would often start my day reading a development story a day. I still revisit back and forth to refresh my memory. The articles are so well put together that even after a number of reads they are still enjoyable. 
I must admit I was quite confused recently by the local newspaper style advertising on the site. I actually wondered if it had been hacked in some way. 
A sad loss. 

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A sad day, but for totally understandable reasons.

I've noticed recently that other weighty reference sites have started to vanish. No doubt for similar cost/time issues, It feels like we're passing peak internet of detailled reference sites that send you down rabbit holes.

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53 minutes ago, Cheezey said:


I must admit I was quite confused recently by the local newspaper style advertising on the site. I actually wondered if it had been hacked in some way. 
 

That's the main reason Keith gave for calling it a day as this didn't sit well with him at all. Respect to him for caring about the readership and not selling out.

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I think its something to do with the copyright of the content being handed back to its respective creators.

@alcyonecorporation will possibly  know more about this kind of thing though as I'm unsure how it works.

What I'm sad about is the loss of the first hand accounts of people who worked in the industry. Given the age of the site, its very possible that some who spoke to Keith for an article published a very long time ago may not even be alive any more to tell their story again.

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This is sad. I discovered austin-rover.co.uk (as was) around 2001 and quickly became fascinated by the "inside stories" of familiar BL models. This triggered a deep interest in the automotive industry which I still have today. All that great content needs to be saved somehow? 🥺

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I am sure the content won't be lost, and content creators can licence their work under many terms (I see a remark in the comments about Facebook and social media sites protect themselves very carefully - by uploading images you act in accordance with the terms and conditions of signup which include assigning any image a licence for them to redistribute and sublicense without remuneration - and downloading the image is a license, however, reusing it is not but they're protected at that stage).

It costs a lot to host and maintain a site of that size and complexity, and ads don't make that much revenue. Arguing with copyright trolls over image rights is tedious - I'm from that industry and used to give seminars on the social media side of it for photographers.

The fees paid for licenses for editorial use are miniscule and if a photographer with an image on there had any sense they'd take the two-figure fee, get the DACS credit for relicensing on a popular website, and move on. The minute an agency is involved in retrospective claims the fees become obnoxious.

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It's a shame, hopefully if nothing else most pages have been picked up by the Wayback Machine.

When a site like this closes its not just the authored content that's lost, it's the thousands of comments that add information and context too. Though in the case of some people posting on AR, the comments are barely legible drivel :D

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There’s a huge amount of interesting material on the site, especially discussions with industry figures.

What happens going forward is anyone’s guess. I’ve been following the site long enough to remember a couple of occasions like this in the past when Keith lost interest. The first when it was handed over to Craig Cheetham. The second when there was some kind of partnership with the Honest John site. In both cases the site came back to Keith after long enough for him to recover his interest. Lately the site has been in a poor state, though, with numerous crashes, lockups, cookie loops and other woes.

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When it was partnered with Honest John I did some of the support and coding to integrate it. A long-lived wordpress site like that without commercial intent is very hard to maintain, very time consuming to update, and it's astonishing just how much work Keith has done formatting, editing and publishing contributions, as well as the work of contributors that has gone into this.

Although we work together still, I've been unaware of this issue coming up as I really don't do much with AROnline now (I was going to write up K666 MGR but life got in the way) and I'm not going to push or pry - legal hassles from third parties on top of the effort of just keeping this long-tail archive alive almost single handedly is definitely Keith's right to sack off and get out of his mental space. But I would be prepared to resume maintaining and updating it to keep it alive if that were a path worth exploring - I currently pay a lot of underused hosting.

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2 hours ago, EyesWeldedShut said:

Problem with that is it doesn't retain a 'database' of wordpress, just served HTML, so it's not as rich and can lose external media and links very easily. One thing I'm sure of is that no-one connected to AROnline would just erase it, it will be backed up and restorable.

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2 minutes ago, RichardK said:

Problem with that is it doesn't retain a 'database' of wordpress, just served HTML, so it's not as rich and can lose external media and links very easily. One thing I'm sure of is that no-one connected to AROnline would just erase it, it will be backed up and restorable.

At a push you could crawl the site using something like HTTrack and grab yourself a local copy - OK that's only going to be a static copy. Be better if the guy would share the database but I'd baulk if it was me as folks are just as likely to get shitty about GDPR as they are about copyright and the thought of trying to sanitise a WP database does not thrill me

I think sites like this are sadly going to diminish over time in favour of FB and the like :-( 

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Sad - but odd?

Are hosting fees flat or priced on bandwidth? I have various websites in my favourites which are notionally dead but still hosted.

Broadly in agreement that it needs buying by a museum - similar to https://www.roads.org.uk/ (still going strong) which is basically a unique encyclopedia of British road history, created by somebody as a hobby.

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