Proposal talk:Host Wikipedia from Space

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I am the author (MartinGugino 05:42, 25 August 2009 (UTC))

A satellite can be damaged by space debris. 14:03, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

It's not new!

As Wikipedia is web-based, everyone can host it and therefore also use it offline. --Jackson 19:27, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

I am not familiar with this. I assumed that Wikipedia had its own servers, someplace. The suggestion is also to facilitate the downloading of sections of Wikipedia to now terabyte local drives, for offline use - some packaging arrangement - a "one-button" download of "Volume 21: How to Hug". (MartinGugino 22:50, 10 September 2009 (UTC))
Wikimedia has servers in Florida, the Netherlands and Korea. Some other sites, not controlled by Wikimedia, also host copies or use copies (e.g. to provide other services. Filceolaire 11:54, 8 November 2009 (UTC)


Some proposals will have massive impact on end-users, including non-editors. Some will have minimal impact. What will be the impact of this proposal on our end-users? -- Philippe 00:10, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps being extrajurisdictional would prevent legal threats? 18:56, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
The negative impact of hosting from space would be
  1. cost of hardware, construction. The need for this facility to be maintenance-free might argue for its placement on the moon.
  2. the trade-off in downtime risk: downtime due to damage to datacenter vs downtime due to collapse of civilization.
Local copy, the alternative suggestion, would cause problems as to edit conflicts, were update propagation allowed. Ideally, post-collapse, it would be nice to allow updating of another's copy, or the "central copy". However this suggestion anticipates only the very bad case of central collapse, so that doing batch updates of a central database is not envisioned. (MartinGugino 23:23, 10 September 2009 (UTC))

Impact on end users

Version 1: hosting from space (or other site beyond the reach of cultural meltdown)

Insurance of availability of Wikipedia post collapse and possibility of continuing collaboration with others

Version 2: local copies

Insurance of availability of portions of Wikipedia of interest post collapse

Too pessimistic?

Do we assume that the electric grid will be functional at some level for the next 30 years? And so will the internet? If so, then the priority of this suggestion would be downgraded for a while at least.

The "How to Hug" option might be advanced at a lower priority as a long term strategic direction. (MartinGugino 23:40, 10 September 2009 (UTC))


As much as I wish I could support something "from space", I really don't think this proposal belongs on this site; it is obviously a joke. Is there a deletion process on this Wiki? Themfromspace 04:08, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

It's actually not a joke. I've had contact with this user; they see it as a valid option for providing a backup that's not geologically dicey. -- Philippe 05:44, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
It's not a joke it's just based on a longer timescale. Wikimedia is not listed on the stock exchange; it can think on a timescale beyond the next quarters results. I think it is invaluable to think long term - what will happen over the next thousand years and how we can influence that. How we can contribute to mitigating the next dark age and keep scholarship, science and knowledge alive while the libraries burn (or are privatised) and the grid goes dark (or gets locked down by censorship or DRM). Having a large mass of useful information available for free in multiple languages will definitely have some influence over how minority languages are seen and how Intellectual Property rights are viewed over the long term. We are changing the future world a little bit with every edit.Filceolaire 12:06, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Moon capsule

If we want to create a backup that could survive global civilisation collapse including loss of the Internet etc then I would suggest copying it, minus perhaps the deleted stuff to a permanent storage media and making some time capsules. However I'm not sure if that is yet feasible. electromagnetic storage media as I understand it are not permanent and degrade over decades or centuries without recopying. I don't know if laser technology allows for permanent recording, but if it does I'd support a few thousand dollars being spent on this. I would hope that whoever next gets to the moon might be amenable to leaving a time capsule there with a copy of wikipedia - providing we could find a longterm storage mechanism that weighed no more than a kilo or so. More practically if there were a way to create such a backup we could leave time capsules in places that are likely to be safe in the longterm, tectonically stable sites over 80 metres above sea level and that were ice free in the last ice age. en:Uluru, the en:Great Pyramid, en:Rano Raraku and en:Great Zimbabwe for example. WereSpielChequers 14:07, 6 October 2009 (UTC)


Does not have the funds to do this, as it would likely cost millions or even billions of dollars to implement. According to a quick Google I did on this it would cost at least 40 million dollars just to launch the satellite then there is paying NASA even more to maintain the satellite. Basically put it would be a waste of money. 01:40, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

That is how much it would cost today. In your lifetime the cost will fall to the point where commercial satellites will host a copy for free just for the publicity.Filceolaire 12:09, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Host from Hyperspace

Orbital servers have some problems for really long term security.

  • Satellites all have owners and every one is subject to some legal jurisdiction
  • Satellites can be damaged by space debris
  • Satellite orbits can decay over time
  • Satellites station keeping and orientation control can stop working after a while.

The solution for really long term security is a distributed system, a little bit hosted on every users computer, every bit hosted in multiple places.

Technically this is a much harder problem than an orbital server. When a user clicks on a link their computer searches the local PTP net for a copy of that page and recent diffs with changes, assembling the page by adding together the diffs till it has a complete copy. It then keeps that copy and makes it available on the PTP net.

Really long term survival is assured because, as new technologies are developed new client software can be developed with the content gradually transitioning to the new version.

Would that work? Should we ammend your proposal or should I do a new one on another page? Filceolaire 12:28, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Host Wikipedia from a cloud

One might be able to run parts of the system on Google App Engine (or another cloud platform) on demand. --Fasten 12:43, 13 November 2009 (UTC)