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Study identifies distinct types of digital hoarding (newatlas.com)
11 points by clumsysmurf 4 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 9 comments



I feel like a lot of the concerns are not applicable by the fact that unlike a real life hoard, it's really really easy to find almost anything digitally regardless of how it's organized.

You can totally spend a lot of time making sure stuff is categorized in the right folders. Anyone who has had an illicit mp3 collection has probably spent a ton of time doing just that. However, that's less relevant today, and for documents and pictures, I can basically just chuck them in a folder then search by date, location, or even person in them without a ton of effort. Full text searches are fast at the "these are my documents" scale, and the price of storage is cheaper than a nice meal at a restaurant per year.

I'm able to keep almost everything, store it for pennies a week, find what I want instantly, and spend almost no time doing any of that. I feel like going through a decluttering would spark less joy than tossing everything into a folder and going on with my life.


Finding the best tools to mine your data take some work, but once you do, it scales for a long time! Unlike physical hoarding, which unless you are very rich, rapidly runs into limits and causes many negative side effects.


With (nearly) unlimited storage, and decent on-device search capabilities, I don't see any real reason to waste effort pruning my digital garden.

So what if I ever need that scanned PDF from 2007's taxes - finding and deleting it would take more effort than just leaving it on my NAS...


The so-called "digital hoarding" might not be an obsession but a perfectly reasonable approach when the time needed to clean up the contents of your archive would cost more than you are willing to pay. Google was one of the first companies explicitly encouraging this behavior (displaying "Why delete email when you can archive it?" when you tried to remove messages). After all, it's not easy to be 100% whether you are going to need a particular document or not. And, given the fact that archiving is cheap, it seems more reasonable not to take the risk.


> If it doesn’t spark digital joy then maybe it should go in the virtual bin.

OR... maybe... you just haven't found an app that can gracefully clean up your mess yet.

I can't help with general documents, but for photos and videos, I wrote PhotoStructure to tidy up my family's digital disarray. It's runs everywhere, libraries are cross-platform and cross-machine, it imports almost all image and video formats, has robust image and video de-duplication, and at least for the next couple weeks, is still free to use during the beta, in exchange for your feedback. https://photostructure.com/faq/why-photostructure/


> The Disengaged Hoarder

> Here, digital hoarders are characterized by laziness or a general lack of organization. Data accumulates over time and without active management habits a disengaged hoarder can accidentally end up with a mess of digital clutter.

What's the harm of having nested "old PC junk" folders containing everything on every PC I've ever owned? Storage technology has continued to progress, so it doesn't cause any problems, and it's kinda out of sight, out of mind.

I think it's a mistake to apply a word with negative connotations like "hoard" to behavior that doesn't actually cause any problems (except ironically as in /r/DataHoarder).


Personally I don't fit neatly into any of the categories, but I guess I'm an anxious collector?

I have two Synology devices, one at home, one at my parents' place as an offsite mirror. I use both Dropbox and a self-hosted Seafile. Instead of deleting stuff I just trust that soon I'll have more than twice the storage for less than I paid last time. And since I got into tinkering with Raspberry Pis and Arduinos, I've also been recording gigabytes of environmental and personal data in case I want to "mine" it some day.

Maybe I do have a problem...


The sidebar of https://old.reddit.com/r/DataHoarder/ offers a more nuanced view.


I have 38,000 digital photos I've taken throughout my life. They're in folders all over my computers and backup drives. Does that mean I'm a hoarder? This article doesn't seem to make clear what exactly is a hoarder. Documents left over from a job 8 years ago still on my hard drive. Is that hoarding? I guess the real question is: Why is digital hoarding a bad thing; where's the harm??




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