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    I got my ticket to an “eternity in obscurity” much earlier, by being a co-author in some papers and one patent (now expired, and it wasn’t a software patent anyway). There’s a tradeoff of course: on one hand, it’s in (more or less) publicly accessible and searchable archives, so someone can stumble upon my stuff. On the other hand, it’s unlikely to outlive our civilization as we know it.

    In any case, I just mean I had time to contemplate this issue so an arctic vault badge wasn’t thought-provoking to me. Most people are immortalized exactly this way: imperfect and impersonal. Take a paper from the 60’s, and chances are most (if not all) authors are dead by now.

    Then, suppose there are three authors who did the research together, a PI and a couple of PhD or grad students. Student A wrote the manuscript, student B designed a key experiment but later dropped out. Now student B’s name is kept in the journal copies for as long as academic community exists, but no one can learn anything about the contributions or even the writing style of that person.

    Myself, I guess I came to terms with it.

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      On the other hand, it’s unlikely to outlive our civilization as we know it.

      What do you mean?

      Now student B’s name is kept in the journal copies for as long as academic community exists, but no one can learn anything about the contributions or even the writing style of that person.

      Yep, he’ll be remembered just by the fact that he joined the research and then left. However, these infos, even if small, defines him in some way. How much of his personality can be inferred from these limited, impersonal, unemotional facts? The answer to this question (which is certainly subjective) may lead us to think of an “eternity in obscurity” (as you call it) or the other way around.

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      Never even thought about this angle. But I don’t seem to care. Maybe because I’ve always been of the opinion that everything I post on the internet will be available forever. That’s why pseudonyms and nicknames exist. Also I learned the hard lesson that if you want it to stay available, it won’t (* cough* Geocities * cough*)

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        I think my dotfiles are in the vault since I updated it within the 80 day window. It’s strange that something so personal—it’s a glimpse into how I work, and similarly I’m the only person who’d find it useful—will last so long.

        It’s also kinda interesting that my dotfiles have changed since then. I’ve already outgrown the version of the dotfiles that will outlive me.

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          I think my dotfiles are in the vault since I updated it within the 80 day window.

          You can check whether you contributed to the Arctic Code Vault by visiting your GitHub profile. You should get a badge in the left sidebar under “Highlights”. In addition, if you hover it you see which repositories of yours are in the vault.

          It’s strange that something so personal—it’s a glimpse into how I work, and similarly I’m the only person who’d find it useful—will last so long.

          Yep, it’s really strange. I think they’re definition of active repository is kind of wide, I wonder how many “useless” repositories got in the vault.

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            if you hover it you see which repositories of yours are in the vault

            The format seems to be “{{three most starred repos}} and more!”. I don’t see a way to get a complete list of repos that went into the vault.

            I wonder how many “useless” repositories got in the vault

            A lot of archeological artifacts are items people have thrown away—often because they broke or worn out. I think future historians may find dotfiles more valuable than programs because it’s a glimpse into how people actually used computers in our time. If someone accidentally added their command history files, that’s even better.