Wouldn't this be fun? No auth, no rules, no permanent database, just plain text that hangs out for a while (though people could reply to it - ours was more like a forum). The ones with replies jump to the top, everything else slowly falls off into the abyss where it can never be found again.
Literally had people posting ASCII-rendered child pornography within 24 hours
Also, did you keep the code? Might be a fun startpoint for others to springboard off of.
"Other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?" :)
Nah the code is gone. Wrote it in <24 hours, and it wasn't really worth keeping.
Do you have any comments ?
Of course we had pastebin very much in mind - not as a model to follow but as an analogous service in some ways. Our message is limited to 4096 characters so it isn't quite as useful for large docs ... but it's much easier to pass around the "code" chalked on the street ...
And then I see others have requested AMAs too.
pastebin is, after all, the #1 site. And you did (more or less) say you stopped running it due to stress/"interestingness" :)
Like another commentator said, you would've gotten one of everything.
So please do consider it. :)
Edit: I see you're behind whoisguard but hosted in Bulgaria, which is probably uninterested enough in chasing you.
Some will just scribble whatever, where-ever possible.
I wrote some heuristics to delete spam pastes, and only about 1,000 pastes were left, about half of which were spam still :(
I don't even know why they do this. They just do it.
Edit: It seems some of them were trying to damage competitor's SEO ranking by posting irregular links. SEO is wild west.
That's been my policy when running this kind of thing in the past - maybe I've been living behind CloudFlare and OVH for too long.
I wanted to make a publishing widget so minimal it would operate without fuss on a $5 digitalocean plan, and I think I almost succeeded!
It starts with this premise: https://aws.amazon.com/articles/1434/
There is an approach I've used for years and my site never goes down with high traffic and I didn't use load balancers or anything fancy. Its very cheap to run and maintain.
1) Use Amazon S3 and Cloud Front for all your web pages, including your web app as well along with storing anything such as file uploads, etc.
2) Have a simple cheap $5 Digital Ocean Droplet (Node or Go) used only as an API.
You can easily do image uploads as well or video too using this method and use the just-in-time signing method for those too.
Yes it is not secure if there is no signup etc but you can do crypto.generateRandom to put people in specific namespace path then show their URL after, controlling limited permissions and the location of where things are saved from your cheap API server.
Here's my little repo for signing to demonstrate this -> https://github.com/sebringj/siggy
Just a thought.
My server purred with hn traffic.
What's the CPU utilization like with this level of usage?
What's the back-end stack?
What's the normal latency like?
I'm just wondering why it would go down due to heavy traffic, when all it serves is basic text?
Live for how long though?
Too many publishing platforms sunrise and sunset. To use one that's not self-hosted, I really think one either needs to (1) charge money, and/or (2) offer guarantees like Posthaven or Svbtle, if you want users to publish good content on your platform.
I'd worry that's an abuse of archive.org except apparently their policy is basically "the crap is important too".
No need for modesty.
>> Black on white? How often do you see that kind of contrast in real life?
I mean where these people live? Don't they read anything on paper? Don't they look ad ads on the road, ads on TV. God, is this a plot on our eyes?.
The paper color of good books isn't glaring white, either, but has a slight yellowish tint. FWIW, I think the background color of HN might be a nod to that.
So good. For the record I'm a programmer, not a hipster. ;)
(Features: markdown preview and password for editing)
I say this not to be mean -- I understand where you're coming from, I myself have written a "pure plain text" service in the past and thought it would be revolutionary due to its simplicity.
Pretty cool nonetheless.
Try applying this logic to politicians or bankers or whatever class you don't like.
As someone also building and running a "plain text" service, I know there's a lot you can do with such a simple product, if you care to.  It's great to have more services like this -- it's what the web is all about.
Just in the field of text-sharing, there are tons of problems which are not being solved by these pure plain text services, while these are not new problems and other services are already trying to solve them in multiple different ways.
And certain services (like Write.as) keep track of all the posts you've written, and they can optionally can be tied to a pseudonym. I don't think that an assurance on who wrote what is always necessary. If the writing is good, the author doesn't necessarily matter. And anecdotally I think people who abuse anonymity online are in the minority -- most people use anonymity to share more candidly where they otherwise feel repressed.
And I think "worth" is best decided by the reader, and a human touch continues to be superior to any technical solutions we've come up with. Platforms who try to uniformly enforce some standard of "worth," in my opinion, risk alienating a large amount of people, and usually miss the entire standard they were going for in the first place.
But what other problems do you think exist with text publishing services? Or what do you think needs to change? How do we solve those things?
I'm not saying it is always necessary, but that it is a recurring problem that occur but txt.fyi doesn't care about.
> most people use anonymity to share more candidly where they otherwise feel repressed.
It doesn't matter if you share something anonymously in txt.fyi if nobody is ever going to find it.
> And I think "worth" is best decided by the reader, and a human touch continues to be superior to any technical solutions we've come up with.
You're proposing that we go read everything on the internet to pass our judgments on what is worth. That was the problem in first place. Categorization, ratings and reputation are some of the solutions already tried. I don't know if they've solved everything or if there is room for better solutions. What I know is that txt.fyi doesn't care about this problem.
> But what other problems do you think exist with text publishing services? Or what do you think needs to change? How do we solve those things?
I don't know. I just imagine that there are many problems we know of (such as the ones I listed) and the author of txt.fyi is not trying to solve any of these. Other problems may exist or come into existence, and it is up to platform developers to try to solve them too. There is of course room for pure plain text published anonymously, but the supply is already immense there. I don't think we should incentive new developers to write one more of these services (and worse: keep running it an improving it technically for a long time).
Text is communication. Anything else is an increase of human efficiency at a cost of data. I wouldn't say the web's about text...but I would say that it's about communication, and that services like this clear away the extra frills to get to the essence and remind us all.
Hopefully it can become a good contribution to the independent web: a place to put words without any fuss or fury.
Seeing how something this simple reacts to such events would be interesting. I'll be as transparent and open as I can
(the latter is a reply to a post to the platform about difficulties running a similar service)
What languages are the site written in?
Looks like C# possibly since ASP.NET popped up.
Being able to pull microformats out of the posts to reconstruct feeds, automatically embed txt.fyi post summaries, syndicate to facebook/twitter/etc (with comments backfed in to it) is super nice for low-bandwidth sites like these, you can add a lot of useful value for little more a few extra HTML classes. The core of a lot of this, the "webmention" standard is a W3C recommendation, even.
: http://indieweb.org/ http://microformats.org/
Is it like schema.org microdata?
If they were used ubiquitously, there could be an obscene amount of power in essentially being able to run one SQL query across different data sets on multiple websites.
It would be pretty easy to add the proper HTML elements like <header> and microformats.
Instead I have to, e.g., manually select a street name and enter it into a OSM search field.
I wonder, why haven't thet gotten more popular?
It makes the page unstyled
For me the monospace text is difficult to read for longer text because I can't chunk as effectively.
Incorrect. This uses storage on a server to store post data. When I first read that I thought this would be a distributed p2p platform of some sort.
The p2p web platform being worked on at OFTN makes it very easy to create a truly static version of this website (100% client-side p2p logic & data distribution) without a server database.
You will be liable for illegal content uploaded to your server (when notified of its existence), so you will be required to remove content from your server when you receive court orders/DMCA takedown requests/etc. With a proper p2p tracker-based system, you can simply forward legal proceedings to the ISP of infringing users, and avoid the legal time sink involved with this kind of site.
I believe most people would call this a "document store", to contrast it with a RDBMS, or colloquially, a database.
I see how you can call this independent (eg. not a big hosting company), but for me the independent web is people hosting their content and keeping control on it. The ideal case is everyone hosting on their own machine (the old WWW?)
What sorcery is this??! Page size is not even 1mb and there's no React front-end component :)
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I think half the "pastebin problem" has been solved by just avoiding setting up your own backing store (and frequently your own input step), and instead being a presentation-proxy for a more "raw" content-editing service, like Github Gists. For example: http://gist.io
There are a few services like that; what I'm still yearning for, though, is one that either
1. has a real design team focused on making its pages "read" well, like Medium does; or
2. does have accounts, to let you set up a custom theme for your pages. (Though you can be creative about this, for example by letting the Gist include a JSON/YAML/TOML/whatever properties file that specifies the theme, and by making the themes Github repos that the service just pulls and caches on first use rather than needing to own itself.)
A service that offered either of these would finally fulfill the promise of letting me separate "writing" from "blogging", such that I wouldn't really need a "blog", just a microblog containing links to my own posts.
Overall this strikes me as a project borne of a sweet domain name, but I still dig it.
I guess what's happening here is the usual HTML thing of compressing all whitespaces. I would just be concerned that if a plain-text medium is being used then whitespace becomes more important for formatting and it should perhaps be preserved.
Also, a way to make ninja edits with a cookie for 24 hrs.
These types are becoming more popular for people who don't really care to blog and just want to get something up quickly. I think pen.io were the ones who pioneered the idea of it.
So many others followed and I wrote something similar: https://mypost.io/
It allows for much more user control including easy HTML and CSS usage with the ability to set your own URL. It hasn't receive as much thrill as your product has on Hacker News, but it is being used worldwide.
I even had to build my own captcha as people learned how to automate the creation of mass-posts. Some Russian guy emailed me (it was in Russian, but the translator basically told me he was pissed off because I added the captcha), but I knew it was him who created about 2000 posts in less than an hour. They then learned how to somehow bypass the Google Recaptcha and so I ended up building my own, which fortunately, at the moment, has successfully stopped bots from being able to automatically post thousands of posts at a time.
I'd rather people use it for its true purpose: getting webpages up on the Internet in seconds; learning how easy it is to code, etc. than to have hundreds of thousands of "spam" posts on the website. So those have been my battles since creating it: fighting bots and fighting people who are coming up with clever ways to "hack it".
Lots of these types of sites usually have some limit. That is, if the page hasn't been visited in 6 months - out it goes. Curious what the time limits are.
Also, unable to test (site under heavy load) but is there an edit link that's made available after making a post? From the comments, that doesn't appear to be the case. So if I wanted to use it as a knowledge base for something, I wouldn't be able to keep updating it. I think this is the missing (basic) feature.
Edit: Now that it's back live, you might want to change the secret.
I don't see the value. Feel free to enlighten me -- anyone.
Plus, the line spacing eliminated the possibility for sane multiple-line ASCII.
Definitely hipster not true oldskool. I will live and dream...
I doubt this site will still exist in 5 years.
Where is the data being stored then? Some kind of key value store or filesystem maybe?
You POST your uploaded doc to 'do.php', which renders into an html file and puts it on disk, which is served by Apache. That's about as simple as you can get. Let the web server do what it does best (serve files).
For text files?! Get outta town ;)
txt.fyi took too long to respond.
Oh, I'm sure the internet archive guys will honor that request.