We've had some discussion of adding an archiving feature to MathOverflow on the private moderators list, and I thought I should report on the current situation. (You might also read earlier threads Long-term archiving of MathOverflow, Should top mathoverflow threads get DOIs and be permanently archived?, and Improving citations of MathOverflow posts.)
Proposal: We have a server that responds to URLs of the form http://archive.mathoverflow.net/questions/QQQQ/TTTT, where
QQQQis a question number, and
TTTTis a timestamp, returning to the best of its ability a snapshot of question
QQQQat the moment
TTTT, or the nearest moment thereafter for which a snapshot is available.
- If the timestamp
TTTTis not available, the server should redirect to the earliest available later timestamp
SSSS(possibly the current moment), so that the displayed URL once the page renders accurately reflects what is shown.
- A URL of the form http://archive.mathoverflow.net/questions/QQQQ (i.e. no requested timestamp) should redirect to http://archive.mathoverflow.net/questions/QQQQ/TTTT, where
TTTTis the current moment.
- Pages returned should be immutable, and if a timestamp has been delivered, it should always be available in the future.
- To cite a page, a user could request a snapshot using the URL http://archive.mathoverflow.net/questions/QQQQ, and then use the URL they are redirected to.
- Archiving of all of MathOverflow's content can be arranged merely by having a script periodically retrieve new snapshots. (Obviously, there would be some rate-limiting involved here.)
What does everyone think? Would this be useful? What should be changed?