|Don't ask to ask, just ask|
A few years back I came across a site that was a fairly interesting read. Since then, I've sent many friends who were interested in the topic to the site. I recently went there and found that the site isn't really updated anymore, the author removed his email address, and the forum is almost a ghost town. I began to worry that this good resource might disappear, and I want to preserve it if I can.Now, I eventually found the author's email address and sent him a message about this, but this whole situation got me to thinking, what exactly do we do with dead websites, if the information can be of use to people? Here's a sample scenario:
A website falls into disrepair and the author can no longer be contacted, yet you have an interest in the content and feel it should be preserved, what should you do?
Should you just let it fall into obscurity?
Should you take it upon yourself to preserve the information?
At what point would it become stealing, even if you have good intentions?
Is it ethical to reproduce the information without permission if you can't get the permission?
Personally, if I felt that the information was worth saving, and I had the resources to do so, I would mirror the site and write a disclaimer to the effect that my attempts were only to preserve the information, and that it would be taken offline at the authors request.What would you do?