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Fellow torrent users, please step up and do what I cannot


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My rule of thumb has always been to seed to at least a ratio of 3000% (3x); I originally set a target of 10,000%, but that was insane.  However, I have never been able to reach that goal with all torrents; the best my aggregate ratio ever got was 2.7x, and that required that I keep my slow ADSL uplink active 24/7 to manage it, which makes my ISP very suspicious.  Of course I set that goal because the seed ratio needs to be much higher than 100%; I never seed an entire torrent sequentially to a single person, only pieces, and more importantly I can't know the seeding motives of the people who leech from me: will they in turn seed or simply walk away?  I have to account for the selfish people (or those with exceedingly poor uplink speeds like me).  I figure no less than 2 of every 3 leechers will walk away, so I must seed long enough to reach that third person and help make sure he gets the whole file so that he can in turn seed it.  Failure to do this is why so many torrents go sour after the honeymoon is over.  Because of my humiliatingly slow service - an uplink of less than 512 kbps - my goal is often impossible with anything but small torrents, but I felt it was critical to try, especially with less popular torrents!  Imagine you're the guy who tries to get an old and/or less popular torrent after the crowd has already left, and you can't get all of it, because there are no true seeders left and your peers combined have only preserved part of it.

I persisted with this goal for years, but time and slow service were against me.  I accumulated a huge 2TB torrents folder with little hope of seeding most of them to that goal.  I don't have enough spare storage to keep hoarding these torrents for the benefit of others, essentially duplicate storage of everything I've ever downloaded.  I even archived some older torrents onto a spare old disk, thinking that *some day* I'd have fast enough service to rescue them from obscurity, but that day has never arrived.  Today I've begun deleting most of the contents of that torrents folder, and it pains me greatly.  I hate to think of other people not being able to enjoy the rare torrents it sometimes took me months to complete, but I have no choice.

Some of those torrents may now die, simply because I can no longer be a backstop for them.  Maybe there is hope for other such torrents?  I hope that those of you with huge fat pipes will step up and do what I cannot: preserve every torrent you acquire, especially the ones with few seeds, and be that backstop for them that I can no longer try to be.  I will go to sleep at night imagining that the world is full of such generous seeders and not a mob of selfish leechers, and that there is hope for the future.  Please make it so!

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