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I am answering questions on Arduino Beta - some of those answers are quite lengthy, including images and code (as are answers by others) and it would be a pity if they were just lost one day.

If the Beta site closed, I could envisage one or more of:

  • Moving some of the questions and answers to my own forum
  • Moving them to the StackOverflow site (which already has a lot of questions/answers about Arduino)
  • Move them to the Arduino Forum, at which I am a moderator

Of course, in the case of my own answers there would be no issue of getting permission, and in the case of answers by other people this could follow discussion with the authors.

I would prefer to be able to access the markdown (question source) rather than having to redo the markdown when reposting.


So, my question is:

  • If a Beta site is closed down, is this after a warning period, so we have the ability to grab the markdown for answers we want to save (and any images)?
  • Do we have the option to migrate them to other sites? (I currently don't have enough rep for that, perhaps I might have when and if the site closed).
  • Even after the closing date, is there still a time period in which authors can migrate their questions/answers?
  • Are some questions/answers migrated automatically (eg. if they have a good score)?

(My searches haven't revealed an exact answer to this).

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No, they aren't lost.

Closed sites have their data made available as a dump. For example, you can download the dump from the old Arduino beta. This post links a bunch more closed beta sites which have dumps available: https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/130722/. So if the current Arduino beta were to fail, and you wanted to move questions from Arduino to your forum, you could extract them from the dump that would be produced. (Note that since everything is licensed under CC BY-SA, you wouldn't need to ask permission [merely provide attribution], though you might like to do so anyway.)

There is a warning period of some length (a week-ish) when a site is about to close, during which time other sites can see if they want to import questions from the site that's about to close. This at least happened when the first version of Astronomy went down (cf. Questions imported from Astronomy and Theoretical Physics - most of the questions went to Physics; a few astrophotography questions went to Photography) and when the first version of Economics went down (cf. Economics.SE is closing, do we want some of their questions? - a few questions went to Money).

After the closing date, the site literally ceases to be, so direct migrations aren't possible past that point. If there's any really good content in the dump that belongs on another still-alive site but didn't get migrated in time, you could always re-ask it, I guess.

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No.

•If a Beta site is closed down, is this after a warning period, so we have the ability to grab the markdown for answers we want to save (and any images)?

Yes. There is a period of a few days (the last time I checked) to one week where people can get information from posts. This period is also the time to sort out just where the material from the site goes. You can later get information from the site data dump.

•Do we have the option to migrate them to other sites? (I currently don't have enough rep for that, perhaps I might have when and if the site closed).

Yes. Two instances of this were the cases of Theoretical Physics and the first (failed) Astronomy proposal; question were brought to Physics.

•Even after the closing date, is there still a time period in which authors can migrate their questions/answers?

I don't believe so.

•Are some questions/answers migrated automatically (eg. if they have a good score)?

No.

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  • +1 didn't know about the second bullet point! – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Jul 14 '15 at 21:16
  • For most intents and purposes, the content becomes inaccessible to 99.999% of the humanity. Nobody can resurrect the sites from dumps with SE's brand, it's next to impossible to search in them, and the sites are purged from search engine caches. The warning period doesn't help at users who take a longer break, don't have time to fetch their content, or simply viewers who find the content linked from elsewhere. – Dan Dascalescu Jan 17 at 5:56
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Yes, for most practical intents and purposes, the content becomes inaccessible to 99.999% of the humanity, and also to bots.

  • the data dump is in an arcane XML format, and it's not easy at all to connect a question with its answers
  • let alone that the vast majority of readers won't even attempt to download the data dump
  • nobody can resurrect the sites from dumps with SE's brand
  • search in the dumps is very limited (basically grep)
  • the sites are purged from search engine caches

I've repeatedly asked what we can do to preserve that content. Here is my last attempt.

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  • "nobody can resurrect the sites from dumps with SE's brand" Not sure what you mean by that? I'd say that everybody could readily resurrect the content from the dumps and continue in place of SE, both from a technical and a legal perspective. It only needs a single effort and the data that is not lost would also become accessible again. Somebody would just have to do it and if the demand is high enough and the skills are there it might also happen. Mostly inaccessible is not lost, although there would be a certain risk that one leads to the other. – Trilarion Jan 18 at 10:07

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