Storing files that may be of future use attached to a repair item

I’m beginning to enter data into the repairs (previously done by others) and trying to be as informative as possible (some will read this as being verbose). The aim being to be as descriptive and as helpful to a potential reader who might work on the same device again as possible.

Two things have come up that would be useful to attach to the repair as files, over and above using photos and/or weblink to externally stored info.

The first is PDF files of difficult to source user guides, service manuals, schematics etc. I know this might be an issue with regards to copyrights as well so will require some consideration.

The second is storing CAD files for 3D printing solutions e.g. knobs that have been reconstructed for a specific item. less of a copyright issue as can be open sourced by the Fixer who is posting them. (btw I recommend use of creative commons for such content)

Whilst the above could be linked to external storage platforms, this usually requires the fixer to sign up to YAP (yet another platform) which they may be reluctant to do and I’ve had resistance to such suggestions. And to some extent the argument might be why should they when they have signed up to this one and this is where the info might be most secure from deletion, or web rot and is most needed.

One solution might be to signup to such platforms with a generic account e.g. Leicester Fixers and use that in such cases, but then that either becomes an extra administrative burden on potentially many platforms for Hosts or a security issue when many people have the login credentials.

If such an area for storing files already exists on restarters.net then where is it please.

If it doesn’t not then this post is now a feature request to be commented and voted on please.
What do people think?

ooo-xxx

Agree this is potentially useful. I think we might need more evidence that the data we are collecting is improving in terms of Brand / Model / Comments. At the moment, we need to prioritise making sure that groups are collecting a sharing this data before any of what you mention because useful at scale. Perhaps @monique or @neil can shed a light on data quality developments.

Indeed… However takedown notices are always good publicity :wink: and help make the point that manufacturers are trying to stop us from repairing.

We discussed this here. I think with these files we might simply encourage fixers to cross post in other open-licensed places too.

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The work on improving the repair data collection, at least as far as bulk upload via spreadsheet goes, will include fields for linking to online information and could be used to link to files on 3rd party platforms. The issue with maintaining such links is the sustainability of 3rd party platforms and their file URLs. If/when the platform closes or if/when they change their file URLs the links we hold will be useless.

Providing custom file storage, bandwidth and efficient upload interfaces is expensive. My experience in providing these things for large, crowd-sourced data projects is that the initial, modest, requirements evolve quickly from “I want to upload files” to “I want to bulk upload very large files very quickly”. I’ve often had to explain that insert name of small charity with limited budget is not Facebook and sadly cannot afford the same user experience. Some users will either stop uploading files or host them elsewhere.

A platform that is shared between Restart and volunteers, e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox etc., would likely provide a cheaper alternative for storage. The issues here would be one of configuring access/roles/permissions and moderating content, copyright, abuse of storage allowance etc. Also the issue of being at the behest of the platform provider in case they take exception to the file content, the entire concept or they get bullied by a manufacturer etc., to wake up and find that they’ve closed the Restart account would certainly trigger publicity. With cloud storage it is wise to maintain an off-line backup of files… which brings us back to custom storage.

I don’t have the answer, it would be for Restart and the community to evaluate the options and vote accordingly.

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There isn’t currently a file hosting section - at present the only option is to provide a weblink to repair information. As mentioned though obviously this can suffer from linkrot.

IMO I agree with Janet, I don’t think there’s enough traction in regularly entering the existing repair data as it is, for us to take the time at this stage to add file sharing functionality (at least anything complicated). But that said let’s get the community discussion going!

One quick and simple thing to avoid files disappearing from the web completely could be for TRP to take a copy of files that have been linked to. (Of course that doesn’t the problem of where to host them to make them available again…)

For us (i.e. TRP as an organisation) to host files there’s the technical and legal things to think about, as nicely discussed above. I’ve had a quick first pass at summarising some of the different options, I’ll make it a wiki post, anyone feel free to add/edit! (if it’s a bit cumbersome to edit here, I’ll just share the original spreadsheet)

Built-in to Restarters Nextcloud Central GDrive Central Dropbox P2P File mirroring
Build file hosting in to Restarters. Setup a shared NextCloud instance. Shared Google Drive space for files. Shared Dropbox space for files. Share files on P2P networks, link to mirror links or similar in Restarters Use existing links and periodically download them for remote backup in case of takedowns.
Technical
Self-host? Yes Yes No No N/A N/A (offline)
File storage costs Yes Yes No No No Negligible
Setup costs Significant development costs Either time or money depending on self-host or not No No No No
Maintenance Part of general Restarters maintenance Either time or money depending on self-host or not None None None Running of backups
Complexity to use? Easy (if UX design is good!) Easy Easy Easy Complicated It’s more of a Plan B option that continues to simply use web links. Complexity comes when web links disappear.
File permissioning Use Restarters permissions Restarters integration? Needs maintaining Needs maintaining N/A N/A
YAP (yet another platform…) No Yes Probably Probably Not really N/A
Legal
Content moderation TRP TRP TRP TRP Individual (although maybe grey area, if Restarters has the links) N/A
Who is responsible for takedown? TRP TRP TRP TRP Individual N/A
Susceptable to closure? If TRP can no longer support If TRP can no longer support If Google decides to close it down If Google decides to close it down No No
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Slight correction on costs: neither Google Drive nor Dropbox are free for any significant amount of data and you know that people will start uploading repair videos.
IIRC they are only free for up to NGb where N is 5-15 typically: not very much.

You could set up multiple accounts & stripe the files across them to keep each account within the free limits, but that would be a massive maintenance headache.

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