What happens when sites go abandoned

I seem to have lost about every Abandonware Blog backup I used to have so I decided to check out The Wayback Machine. Apparently the site has archived a lot and while searching for some interesting posts I found a discussion written by Jman, the Just Games Retro webmaster who used to write some great stuff for this blog. Sadly the comments are not archived.

So we all love abandonware right, and we have pretty similar thoughts on legalities or what should be done with such games. But what about our sites? DFL reminds us that domains expire, webmasters to move on to other things, and even *gasp!* people die and would leave their sites behind without notificiation. A little melodramatic, perhaps, but I’ll use myself as an example. If I gacked right now in the middle of typing this sentence, none of you would ever know. JGR would just stop being updated, and a year from now someone might grumble about “Damn that lazy Jman, not updating his site…”

I don’t know if there’s some unspoken agreement, but it appears not. So why not agree that our sites fall into the public domain?  Say after six months, a year, however long would be comfortable to declare the site abandoned but before it falls off the web, its contents are free for archiving, hosting, or whatever. If you know you’re going away for a while, if you’re taking a break, you leave a note on the site and no one touches it. Otherwise, it’s up for distribution.

Personally I would rather have JGR reviews get folded into another site than get deleted if I stop paying hosting and stop playing games. Though the CC license basically okays that already, I would want it to be understood that it’s there if someone thinks they’re worth keeping. Anyway, thoughts on the idea?

This discussion is from May 2007 but is still an interesting topic to think/talk about. When I decided to re-open AWBlog the first thing I did was visit some of my favorite abandonware websites. Seems like many of them have died: Classic Trash, Abandonrom Paradise, Da Fast Lane, Gosfish, BSOD, The Thing... just to name a few. This makes me look back even further, reminding me of sites such as Diskworld and Wizardware. The sad thing is that all the unique content, including some nice retro designs and great reviews are gone too.

It feels kind of creepy when you start thinking about it soo much. I've chatted and mailed with many of these guys, not knowing their age, their background, their life. Once you notice their websites are gone it makes you wonder if there's a special reason for it, and if you'll ever get in touch again.

Anyway, while writing this I got the idea of finding as much content on Wayback Machine as possible and add it to my site. If any of the original writers want it to be removed they can always contact me but I don't think any of them will disapprove with what I'm about to do.

Does anyone have something to say about this? :)