Back when the first discussion about deleted questions came up, I promised to look into building an official unofficial read-only archive for good deleted SE content.
I had a plan to build something like this:
Each link would point to a 1:1 scraped Stack Overflow (or other SE network) deleted question (of course with a big fat disclaimer to the top, historical data, legal stuff, yada yada yada - and of course after asking Stack Exchange for permission, seeing as this would go far beyond what the CC license allows.)
I also registered a domain name that would (IMO) suit nicely,
However, when thinking about it, I realized doing this properly is a lot of work. You would have to:
build a scraper that can use a 10k+er's OpenID to fetch the deleted question (using the API or the data dump is for wusses. If we go through all this trouble, we want a historical document of what the site looked like "back then", right?)
edit the page's DOM to remove dynamic elements, remove the "deleted" CSS classes, remove all the voting abilities from the buttons, and add the "this is historical data" disclaimer
fetch - this is the biggest part and applies even if you use the API or data dump - all linked image resources (even those from Imgur - even images used only in deleted questions could be purged one day), store them, and link them
fetch all associated CSS style sheets and store them intelligently - preferably in a way that you don't fetch a copy of each file for each page (as normal page scrapers do), but also in a way that doesn't break if SE update their style sheets
long story short, I won't be in a position to build this any time in the foreseeable future - with old work, new work, and studying, I really have enough on my plate already.
Of course, if somebody else in the community feels like giving this a try, cool! But what I was really thinking is - maybe this is something Stack Exchange should build after all?
I know Jeff's official stance on these questions
is used to be
@system I did think about a sweet place for them, in the bitbucket. – Jeff Atwood♦ Dec 29 '10 at 1:54
but come on. Think about it:
Future deletion discussions and changes in on-topicness policy would become way more relaxed because the popular and loved stuff has a place to go.
A site for "overflown" questions could be curated by selected community members, who decide whether a contribution deserves to be archived or not.
A separate domain name (I'm happy to donate overflown.org for the purpose if desired) and the separate site design would create enough distance to the Stack Exchange network: it would be crystal clear that this read-only archive is for historical purposes only, and the existence of a question there does not mean you can ask something similar on one of the live sites.
The pages would be 1:1 scrapes of what the site looked like at the time of the scraping, making it a general historical archive as well.
These questions traditionally drive a lot of traffic. The possibility of continuing to show ads in the usual places would allow Stack Exchange to take advantage of that traffic without endangering content quality on the SE network.
Hosting an archive like this is a job for a business, not us regular joes. A private project hosted by some community member can go down once they forget to pay a bill, or decide they want to password protect their private blog or photo album. The ideal place to host a site like this is at a company with professional admins that intends to stay online for a long time.
How about it?
archive.sitename.stackexchange.com? That might not be bad, as long as it's portrayed as a dusty shelf in the basement and not Valhalla :) But ads on something indicate we want people spending time there, when in fact we want them spending time writing great answers to current questions. I like the idea of having a read only place to send them, but I don't want it to become a proverbial bug light.