Robots.txt

From Archiveteam
Jump to: navigation, search

ROBOTS.TXT IS A SUICIDE NOTE

ROBOTS.TXT is a stupid, silly idea in the modern era. Archive Team entirely ignores it and with precisely one exception, everyone else should too.

If you do not know what ROBOTS.TXT is and you run a site... excellent. If you do know what it is and you have one, delete it. Regardless, Archive Team will ignore it and we'll delete your complaints, just like you should be deleting ROBOTS.TXT.

For the unfamiliar, ROBOTS.TXT is a machine-readable textfile that sits on webservers that gives instructions as to what items, directories or sections of a web site should not be "crawled", that is, viewed by search engines or downloaded via programs, or otherwise accessed by automatic means. The reason is not often given, and in fact people implement ROBOTS.TXT for all sorts of reasons - convincing themselves that they don't want "outdated" information in caches, preventing undue taxing of resources, or avoiding any unpleasant situations where they delete information that is embarrassing or unfavorable and it still shows up elsewhere.

The purpose and meaning behind the creation of ROBOTS.TXT file dates back to the early 1990s, when the then-new World Wide Web was quickly defining itself as the killer application that would change forever how users would interact with the growing internet. Where previous information networks utilizing internet connections such as GOPHER and WAIS were text-based and relatively low-bandwidth, the combination of text, graphics and even sounds on webpages meant that resources were stretched to the limit. It was possible, no joke, to crash a machine with a Netscape/Mozilla web browser, as it opened multiple connections to web servers and downloaded all their items - the optimizations and advantages that 20 years of innovation have brought to web serving were simply not there. As crawlers/spiders/search engines came into use, the potential to overwhelm a site was great. Thus, Martijn Koster is credited with the Robot Exclusion Protocol, also known simply as the ROBOTS.TXT file.

It was an understandable stop-gap fix for a temporary problem, a problem that has long, long since been solved. While the onslaught of some social media hoo-hah will demolish some servers in the modern era, normal single or multi-thread use of a site will not cause trouble, unless there's a server misconfiguration or you're browsing a science project.

What this situation does, in fact, is cause many more problems than it solves - catastrophic failures on a website are ensured total destruction with the addition of ROBOTS.TXT. Modifications, poor choices in URL transition, and all other sorts of management work can lead to a loss of historically important and relevant data. Unchecked, and left alone, the ROBOTS.TXT file ensures no mirroring or reference for items that may have general use and meaning beyond the website's context.

Precisely one reason comes to mind to have ROBOTS.TXT, and it is, incidentally, stupid - to prevent robots from triggering processes on the website that should not be run automatically. A dumb spider or crawler will hit every URL linked, and if a site allows users to activate a link that causes resource hogging or otherwise deletes/adds data, then a ROBOTS.TXT exclusion makes perfect sense while you fix your broken and idiotic configuration.

Again, Archive Team interprets ROBOTS.TXT as damage and temporary madness, and works around it. Everyone should. If you don't want people to have your data, don't put it online.

Don't commit suicide. Don't use ROBOTS.TXT.


Archiveteam welcomes debate, dissent, rage and misery around the saving of online history. Please join the conversation and our various projects to rescue sites from destruction.


[view]  [edit]                   Archive Team                  
Current events Alive... OR ARE THEY · Deathwatch · Projects
Archiveteam.jpg
Archiving projects Archive.is · BetaArchive · Gmane · Internet Archive · It Died · OldApps.com · OldVersion.com · OSBetaArchive · TEXTFILES.COM · The Dead, the Dying & The Damned · The Mail Archive · UK Web Archive · WebCite
Blogging Blog.pl · Blogger · Blogster · Blogter.hu · Freeblog.hu · Fuelmyblog · Jux · LiveJournal · My Opera · Open Diary · ownlog.com · Posterous · Powerblogs · Proust · Roon · Splinder · Tumblr · Vox · Weblog.nl · Windows Live Spaces · Wordpress.com · Xanga · Yahoo! Blog · Zapd
Cloud hosting/file sharing AnyHub · Box · Dropbox · Google Drive · Google Groups Files · iCloud · Fileplanet · LayerVault · MediaCrush · MediaFire · Mega · MegaUpload · MobileMe · OneDrive · Pomf.se · RapidShare · Ubuntu One · Yahoo! Briefcase
Corporations Apple · IBM · Google · Lycos Europe · Microsoft · Yahoo!
Events Arab Spring · Occupy movement · Spanish Revolution
Font Repos Google Web Fonts · GNU FreeFont · Fontspace
Forums 4chan · College Confidential · ESPN Forums · forums.starwars.com · HeavenGames · Yahoo! Messages · Yahoo! Neighbors
Gaming Atomicgamer · City of Heroes · Club Nintendo · Desura · Emulation Zone · GameMaker Sandbox · Halo · Infinite Crisis · Minecraft.net · Player.me · Playfire · Steam · Warhammer · Xfire
Image hosting AOL Pictures · Blipfoto · Blingee · Canv.as · Camera+ · Cameroid · DailyBooth · Degree Confluence Project · deviantART · Demotivalo.net · Flickr · Fotoalbum.hu · Fotopedia · Frontback · Geograph Britain and Ireland · GTF Képhost · ImageShack · Imgur · Inkblazers · Instagr.am · Kepfeltoltes.hu · Kephost.com · Kephost.hu · Kepkezelo.com · Keptarad.hu · Madden GIFERATOR · MLKSHK · Microsoft Clip Art · Nokia Memories · noob.hu · Odysee · Panoramio · Photobucket · Picasa · Picplz · PSharing · Ptch · puu.sh · Rawporter · Relay.im · ScreenshotsDatabase.com · Snapjoy · Streetfiles · Tabblo · Trovebox · TwitPic · Wallbase · Wallhaven · Webshots · Wikimedia Commons
Knowledge/Wikis arXiv · Citizendium · Clipboard.com · Deletionpedia · EditThis · Encyclopedia Dramatica · Etherpad · Everything2 · infoAnarchy · GeoNames · GNUPedia · Google Books (Google Books Ngram) · Insurgency Wiki · Knol · Lost Media Wiki · Neoseeker.com · Nupedia · OpenCourseWare · OpenStreetMap · Orain · Pastebin · Patch.com · Project Gutenberg · Puella Magi · Referata · Resedagboken · SongMeanings · ShoutWiki · The Internet Movie Database · TropicalWikis · Uncyclopedia · Urban Dictionary · Webmonkey · Wikia · Wikidot · WikiHow · Wikkii · WikiLeaks · Wikipedia (Simple English Wikipedia) · Wikispaces · Wikispot · Wik.is · Wiki-Site · WikiTravel · Word Count Journal
Magazines/Blogs/News Cyberpunkreview.com · Game Developer Magazine · Gigaom · Helium · JPG Magazine · San Fransisco Bay Guardian · Scoop · Regretsy · Yahoo! Voices
Microblogging Heello · Identi.ca · Jaiku · Mommo.hu · Plurk · Sina Weibo · Twitter · TwitLonger
Music/Audio AOL Music · Audimated.com · Cinch · digCCmixter · Dogmazic.net · Earbits · exfm · Free Music Archive · Gogoyoko · Indaba Music · Instacast · Jamendo · Last.fm · Music Unlimited · MOG · PureVolume · Reverbnation · ShareTheMusic · SoundCloud · Soundpedia · TuneWiki · Twaud.io · WinAmp
People Aaron Swartz · Michael S. Hart · Steve Jobs · Mark Pilgrim · Dennis Ritchie · Len Sassaman Project
Protocols/Infrastructure FTP · Gopher · IRC · Usenet · World Wide Web
Q&A Askville · Answerbag · Answers.com · Ask.com · Askalo · Baidu Knows · Blurtit · ChaCha · Experts Exchange · Formspring · GirlsAskGuys · Google Answers · Google Baraza · JustAnswer · MetaFilter · Quora · Retrospring · StackExchange · The AnswerBank · The Internet Oracle · Uclue · WikiAnswers · Yahoo! Answers
Recipes/Food Allrecipes · Epicurious · Food.com · Foodily · Food Network · Punchfork · ZipList
Social bookmarking Addinto · Backflip · Balatarin · BibSonomy · Bkmrx · Blinklist · BlogMarks · BookmarkSync · CiteULike · Connotea · Delicious · Designer News · Digg · Diigo · Dir.eccion.es · Evernote · Excite Bookmark · Faves · Favilous · folkd · Freelish · Getboo · GiveALink.org · Gnolia · Google Bookmarks · Hacker News · HeyStaks · IndianPad · Kippt · Knowledge Plaza · Licorize · Linkwad · Menéame · Microsoft Developer Network · myVIP · Mister Wong · My Web · Mylink Vault · Newsvine · Oneview · Pearltrees · Pinboard · Pocket · Propeller.com · Reddit · sabros.us · Scloog · Scuttle · Simpy · SiteBar · Slashdot · Squidoo · StumbleUpon · Twine · Vizited · Yummymarks · Xmarks · Yahoo! Buzz · Zootool · Zotero
Social networks Bebo · BlackPlanet · Classmates.com · Cyworld · Dogster · Dopplr · douban · Ello · Facebook · Flixster · FriendFeed · Friendster · Gaia Online · Google+ · Habbo · hi5 · Hyves · iWiW · LinkedIn · Miiverse · mixi · MyHeritage · MyLife · Myspace · Netlog · Odnoklassniki · Orkut · Plaxo · Qzone · Renren · Skyrock · Sonico.com · Storylane · Tagged · tvtag · Upcoming · Viadeo · Vkontakte · WeeWorld · Weibo · Wretch · Yahoo! Groups · Yahoo! Stars India · Yahoo! Upcoming · more sites...
Shopping/Retail Alibaba · AliExpress · Amazon · Apple Store · eBay · Printfection · RadioShack · Sears · Target · The Book Depository · ThinkGeek · Walmart
Software/code hosting Android Development · Alioth · Assembla · BerliOS · Betavine · Bitbucket · BountySource · Codecademy · CodePlex · Freepository · Free Software Foundation · GNU Savannah · GitHost · GitHub · GitHub Downloads · Gitorious · Gna! · Google Code · ibiblio · java.net · JavaForge · KnowledgeForge · Launchpad · LuaForge · Maemo · mozdev · OSOR.eu · OW2 Consortium · Openmoko · OpenSolaris · Ourproject.org · Ovi Store · Project Kenai · RubyForge · SEUL.org · SourceForge · TestFlight · tigris.org · Transifex · TuxFamily · Yahoo! Downloads
Torrenting/Piracy ExtraTorrent · EZTV · isoHunt · KickassTorrents · The Pirate Bay · Torrentz
Video hosting Academic Earth · Blip.tv · Epic · Google Video · Justin.tv · Niconico · Nokia Trailers · Qwiki · Stickam · TED Talks · Twitch.tv · Ustream · Viddler · Viddy · Vimeo · Vstreamers · Yahoo! Video · YouTube · Famous Internet videos (Me at the zoo)
Web hosting Angelfire · Brace.io · BT Internet · CableAmerica Personal Web Space · Comcast Personal Web Pages · Extra.hu · FortuneCity · Free ProHosting · GeoCities (patch) · Google Business Sitebuilder · Google Sites · Internet Centrum · MBinternet · MSN TV · Nwnyet · Parodius Networking · Prodigy.net · Saunalahti Iso G · Swipnet · Tripod · University of Michigan personal webpages · Verizon Mysite · Verizon Personal Web Space · Webzdarma · Virgin Media
Web applications Mailman · MediaWiki · phpBB · Simple Machines Forum · vBulletin
Other AOL · Akoha · Ancestry.com · April Fools' Day · Amplicate · AutoAdmit · Bre.ad · Circavie · Cobook · Co.mments · Countdown · Distill · Dmoz · Easel · Eircode · Electronic Frontier Foundation · FanFiction.Net · Feedly · Ficlets · FunnyExam.com · FurAffinity · Google Helpouts · Google Moderator · Google Reader · ICQmail · IFTTT · Jajah · JuniorNet · Lulu Poetry · Mochi Media · Mozilla Firefox · MyBlogLog · NBII · Neopets · Quantcast · Quizilla · Salon Table Talk · Slidecast · SOPA blackout pages · starwars.yahoo.com · TechNet · Toshiba Support · Volán · Widgetbox · Windows Technical Preview · Wunderlist · Zoocasa
Information A Million Ways to Die on the Web · Backup Tips · Cheap storage · Collecting items randomly · Data compression algorithms and tools · Dev · Discovery Data · DOS Floppies · Fortress of Solitude · Keywords · Naughty List · Nightmare Projects · Backup Tips · Rescuing floppy disks · Rescuing optical media · Site exploration · The WARC Ecosystem · Working with ARCHIVE.ORG
Projects Audit2014 · Faceoff · FlickrFckr · Froogle · INTERNETARCHIVE.BAK (Internet Archive Census) · IRC Quotes · ISP Hosting · JSMESS · JSVLC · Just Solve the Problem · Project Newsletter · University Web Hosting · Valhalla · Woohoo
Tools ArchiveBot · ArchiveTeam Warrior (Tracker) · Google Takeout · HTTrack · Video downloaders · Wget (Lua · WARC)
Teams Bibliotheca Anonoma · LibreTeam · URLTeam · Yahoo Video Warroom · WikiTeam
About Archive Team Introduction · Philosophy · Who We Are · Our stance on robots.txt · Why Back Up? · Software · Formats · Storage Media · Recommended Reading · Films and documentaries about archiving · Talks · In The Media · FAQ
Personal tools