Idle thought on Tumblr backups
I’ve seen rumblings again of people exchanging contact info and methods for backing up your Tumblr, out of some vague sense of foreboding that the next great fandom migration will soon be upon us/Yahoo is going to pull the plug on Tumblr any day now/a lot of things are going to blow up if net neutrality gets axed. I hesitate to predict the future, but here’s a thought if you’re in backup mode:
If Tumblr goes, all the fic and art and meta posted exclusively to Tumblr goes with it. Don’t just save your own stuff. Download a web scraper and make local copies of your friends’ blogs, your favorite artists’ art tags, your favorite fic aggregators, your favorite meta blogs. Download random shit you think has community importance or fandom-history value. Save anything you can’t bear to see disappear down the memory hole.
Reposting any of it elsewhere on the web is ethically sticky, but if nothing else, keep the local backups. For your own sake, and for the sake of anyone you might be able to rescue from catastrophic data loss if they didn’t get their own shit backed up in time.
I realize that Tumblr especially tends to have a low original-content-to-reblogs radio, that backing up entire blogs could eat up storage space, and that not everything you want to back up will be tagged. But still, save what you can’t bear to lose. I’ve been playing with Tumblr’s API, looking for a reliable way to request only posts the blogger has contributed to somehow (i.e. original posts + reblogs with comments). Naturally Tumblr’s API is a steaming pile of manure that can’t even accomplish that simple task without barfing up a torrent of false positives from pre-2015 reblogs, but I’ll keep you guys posted on what I can come up with in terms of fine-grained backup options. I might also tinker with the Tumblr-to-Wordpress import plugin, which is generally pretty good but has some issues with mangling video embeds and formatting photosets weirdly. It’d be cool to fix them, and maybe experiment with some bells and whistles like extracting “tag commentary” into a separate metadata field. Stay tuned.