Regarding the archiving thing. If archive.org can’t be relied on to carry things over for posterity, I wonder if there’s a way to take the old server-intensive stuff offline and re-upload it in a significantly less expensive way. (I’m sure this has been given plenty of consideration, but no harm done in airing it again to see if anyone has any answers.)
The answer to this is 100% yes. Either by running a spider against everything and re-uploading as-is on something like AWS, Google Cloud or Azure as a static site, or by taking a dump of the database, piecing together the important tables again and normalising it into something more workable/cheaper (There’s no doubt a lot of redundant stuff). As it’s largely articles, a document centric database rather than an SQL one may make sense and be considerably cheaper to run. Obviously, without having full access to everything and knowing what Sean’s server bills are currently like it’s difficult to know exactly how much they could come down by or how long it would take and whether it’s worth doing the actual work.
The real question for me is how does Sean and/or the community do it?
Obviously paying for dev time is out - Sean’s been understandably clear about this before - but (and I floated this once before to very little reception), I honestly feel like it’s something that the community could help with. There’s quite a few Software professionals here, and no doubt some hobbyists as well, so if people were up for it then we could offer Sean our time to see what we collectively think is a way forward beyond nuking the entire thing. We may not collectively be able to solve the problem in an ideal way, but many heads means collectively we would come up with a range of possible ideas for keeping the stuff Sean wants to keep online at a reduced cost, and maybe even (if it’s not too big a job) donate some time towards making the necessary changes.
If @AphexTwinkletoes and team were able to start a record label between them, I honestly don’t think it’s beyond the wit of those of us with the necessary skills to help out communally here. Of course, what I don’t know is if there’s enough of us with enough time, skills and willpower collectively to solve the problem (I could easily name at least half a dozen people with coding skills, but that doesn’t mean they could necessarily help for many reasons), nor whether it’s something Sean would be comfortable with exploring. I would be up for helping as part of a group personally, but it’s going to take more than just a bit of my spare time to solve DiS’s woes.