Personally I'm cool with people rehosting my stuff if I'm no longer hosting it, but as long as I am, I'd like my site to be the place people find it so they have latest version and access to the information that it was posted with, as well as knowing who to submit bug reports to or ask for help. If people want to modify my stuff and then host their improved version, that's cool too. A link back would be nice.
If there was a central repository of sorts where I had personally complete control over adding/removing/modifying my files and the documentation/readmes associated with them at any given moment without having to go through someone else, and where the hosting service claimed no rights to my files other than to host, and where the host used HTTPS standard, I would be totally on board with that. It would be even cooler if it allowed forking (for developers that want to enable it), but we're getting into a whole other level of functionality there.
As for other people's stuff, I have to echo Kezune:
kezune wrote:I don't think that would be very respectful to the creators. Ultimately, it comes down to being respectful to them. While I think having these downloads would be better for the community in the short term, it's probably better not to risk burning any more bridges given how small it is now..
I believe if a community wants to have active developers, they need to start by respecting those developers. If a developer chooses to withdraw their stuff for any reason, that remains 100% their choice and right. It should be respected. I believe when we host files directly against the author's wishes, we not only disrespect all the efforts that went into creating those things, but we send a message to other would-be developers that tells them 'we are not a safe community to develop for, we do not protect the interests of our developers, we do not value our developers for anything other than what they can produce for us,' and that reflects quite poorly on the community.
But I think cases where someone specifically wants their stuff wiped from the records are kind of rare; in truth, most files we speak of fall into that weird gray area where someone just falls off the radar and takes their stuff with them, leaving no trace or means of contact, and we have to kind of just guess whether or not they would have wanted their stuff rehosted or not. I don't really feel comfortable stating whether we should do this or not, but I feel like if
we do, it should be clearly stated who developed the file, list any remaining archived links to the original hosted site, and of course, be immediately removed at the original authors' request. Furthermore, I think ongoing attempts should be made to get in touch with the original author at every possible point of contact to let them know their content is being rehosted, because someone who felt uncomfortable in the community might ignore emails asking to rehost their stuff, but have strong feelings if they are told their stuff is actually, currently, actively being rehosted. I feel that in order to rehost someone else's stuff in any good conscience, the original author needs to at the very least be given every possible chance to say no.
All that said, I also feel very strongly that the more open and free we are with our content, the more experimenting and growth we will inspire. I think that freely allowing others to build upon our content will help us build better things together. But just because I feel that way about my own creations does not mean everyone will. I believe that to remove content from the community harms the community as a whole, but I still feel it's more important that we respect those who want to retain full rights to the products of their labor and time rather than act as though we are entitled to them. After all, we would all rather have content for a short time than not have it at all, right?
Uhhh sorry wow that was just another wall of text, um, TL;DR: Respect people. People should come before files. I know this is the internet and it's sometimes easy to forget these strings of text are people, with feelings and wishes and dreams and rights to the content they poured their time and energy into, but well, they are.