A quick trick to save Medium articles before they go bye-bye.

Entirely unsurprisingly, the SV start-up / blog platform known as “Medium” is in a bit of a spot at the moment. They have nfi how to employ 150 people, they have no revenue stream to speak of, and their product is readily available elsewhere and without so much excess baggage.i They have “buzz”, sure, but that and $5 will buy you coffee.ii

Needless to say, link-rot is the quiet tragedy of our times. There really is nothing quite as disappointing as finding a gem of an article, maybe only two or three years old, but riddled with seemingly tempting hyperlinks to nowhere. It’s like finding the perfect watermelon at the market, only to flip it over and find it halfways infested with fruit fly larvae.

The solution is, of course, archiving. Leaving aside the single points of failure issues,iii there can be further issues with the quality and completeness of the archive. Seeing as Medium’s days are numbered, let’s run down this simple two-step recipe for saving their articles in their entirety :

1. Save link at archive.org or google cache
2. Save resulting link at archive.is

That’s it!iv The cake is baked and we now have one less SV start-up to rely on. Carrying on.

___ ___ ___

  1. You don’t need “likes”-come-“hearts” to be a successful mass-market business. If anything, Twitter and now Medium have demonstrated that these feel-good buttons are a contraindication of success rather than a marker of it. Basically, if you’ve stooped to this point, there’s no saving you.
  2. See Harlan Ellison for the seminal take on the “free publicity” scam. And no, don’t ask me why Taleb uses this godforsaken platform when he has his own website. There’s no waiting for him to come ’round. Here are his Medium articles, properly archived:

    The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority
    Commencement Address, American University in Beirut, 2016
    How to legally own another person
    We Don’t Know What We Are Talking About When We talk about Religion
    The Intellectual Yet Idiot
    Where You Cannot Generalize from Knowledge of Parts (continuation of the Minority Rule)
    Foreword to Ed Thorp’s Memoirs (A Man for All Markets)
    Strength Training is Learning from Tail Events
    Syria and the Statistics of War
    The Syrian War Condensed: A more Rigorous Way to Look at the Conflict
    No, Jesus was not a “NonWhite” refugee who would have voted for …
    Inequality and Skin in the Game
    An Expert Called Lindy
    Surgeons Should Not Look Like Surgeons
    *This list will be continually updated*
  3. Despite being the Republican standard, the Eastern European owner of archive.is is an individual shrouded in mystery and as yet outside the WoT.
  4. Exclusively using archive.org results in links that are bounced straight back to Medium’s homepage, exclusively using archive.is results in pages with no pictures,   and exclusively using google is little better than Medium.

10 thoughts on “A quick trick to save Medium articles before they go bye-bye.

  1. Much simpler solution : if you find a medium article worth reading, unlikely as the proposition may be, drop it in #trilema. The bot auto-archives. The end.

    But I must confess I was amused by their self-serving proposition that it was somehow a thing, that it existed. I hardly ever noticed them. The USG.SV’s ability to create things in general is ever reducing to their ability to create scamcoins — easier and easier to entirely ignore, start to finish, each passing year.

    MAGA 2011!!11

    • Pete D. says:

      The issue isn’t the simplicity of the archiving solution but rather its completeness. Yes, scriba archives links but seeing as it still uses archive.is as a foundation, as noted in footnote iv the same issue of dropped photos remains. This might not matter for Taleb’s IYI piece but it does matter for his identity politics or syrian war condensed pieces.

      Unless you’re using lynx and curl anyways in which case your imagination is your best friend!

    • It doesn’t just use archive.is, afaik. See http://btcbase.org/log/2016-08-19#1524920 and previous discussion.

    • Pete D. says:

      See Framedragger’s note below. As I suspected, it’s just archive.is atm. The Medium trick stands… for now.

  2. Framedragger says:

    > The issue isn’t the simplicity of the archiving solution but rather its completeness. Yes, scriba archives links but seeing as it still uses archive.is as a foundation, as noted in footnote iv the same issue of dropped photos remains.

    I agree! Right now, scriba’s archiving module is very simplistic and entirely archive.is-centric: for every URL seen in #trilema (including multiple URLs per single IRC message/line), it simply submits it to the archive.is service. (MP’s “doesn’t just use” remark included a much-too-charitable interpretation regarding the current powers of scriba, I’m afraid…)

    I improved the “check if submission is actually successful, and write to log accordingly” part, but the latter is not publicly seen. It’s only indirectly exposed via the (new) `!$ getarchive URL` (where URL is link to be checked) command which returns the last archive.is URL for the given link (if such an archive.is URL exists), and also reports whether that link had been archived by scriba itself.

    Notably, scriba does not save local copies of sites seen in channel. On the other hand, archive.is does archive images, stylesheets etc. needed for “correctly rendering” sites. You can see this if you go to archive.is and manually submit a new site with many images in it. I do like this latter feature.

    Obviously the single-point-of-failure nature of this all is unacceptable in the long run. It is better than nothing, but local site retention (ideally with images as stylesheets, as you noted re. Taleb’s Jeebus piece, etc.) should eventually happen. In regards to scriba, for what it’s worth at least it has a complete log of what it archived – those original (and/or archive.is’ed) sites can be re-run with a better, future archiver. (And replicating archive.is wouldn’t even be that hard, but it would require some infrastructure.)

  3. […] (Just complained to Taleb about him using Medium. This whole “scrape article right after it’s published because the unicorn it’s riding on may go real…” is a bit stupid. On the small off chance that he replies with a request for a suggestion to […]

  4. […] saved using my little two-step trick because it’s blocked from archiving using the usual one-step method. […]

  5. […] Medium instead of your own blog is, for the record, unforgivable even for heavyweights, nevermind weights so feathery they’re readily mistaken for mirages. You’re not […]

  6. […] posted thereon will eventually and inevitably link rot without their author’s even knowing until it’s too late… […]

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