Projects like IPFS aim to revolutionize the Internet itself by laying it on new protocols, making it more stable and persistent; at the cost of the need of users seeding content, though.

In a torrent-like system, it's frequently an issue of having someone keeping files on their computer to make it available for others. Without this principle, similar peer-to-peer system can't exist.

It assumes and demeands responsible behavior: something not everyone has. Several users would wipe out every data downloaded to free disk space.

In such a system, how can even only one website encourage (or in worst case scenario: enforce) its userbase to seed the contents of the site itself, at the very least the part they already visited?

Without it, projects like IPFS cannot work on the grand scale, failing their vision of becoming a viable alternative for the masses.

2 Answers 2


I'd question if it really demands responsible behavior from all users. The point of peer to peer systems is to reduce the load on a single point of failure. At worst, if nobody seeds then you are no worse off than if the system didn't exist. Benefit is gained whenever anyone behaves benevolently and seeds what they have accessed, regardless of if anyone else does.

Every community is going to have more and less active members and any large community is going to have problem members. You can attempt to identify and evict problem members or even relatively inactive members from the community, but it's something worth looking at the cost of doing (both in resources to do so and the impact on the overall group). inactive members may become more active at a different time and problem members may sometimes become members in good standing. Getting rid of them makes this transition less likely and may hurt the group overall if they aren't causing trouble.

You can also try pro-active encouragement of the group through setting the culture of the group to encourage behaviors that benefit the group or through active PR and encouragement or even by incentivizing behavior (such as faster load times being offered to those with favorable seed to leech ratios). It really depends on the community and how it is developing and what the reason people aren't participating is.

Researching the community is also key to this last point. You need to understand why people aren't contributing in the way you want before you can really address fixing the problem.


Internet access and storage are cheap nowadays, so even a slight motivation makes people seed. I suggest a motivation from my subjective point of view. (I never saw a scientific study of such motivation and would be very interested to read it myself.)

The motivation for seeding is that I like the content. For example, I want to read it in the future, or I want people to see it. Hence an overall suggestion to a web site owner: publish great content. I made it more specific below.

  • Publish content that is better than somebody else’s content. When I clean up my HDD, I keep the best content.
  • Make your content small. For example, use a binary data format instead of a textual data format. I delete biggest directories first.
  • Organize your content such that navigation is easy. For example, a book as one file is better than an archive of chapters. I do not need two copies of the same content, so I keep the version that is easier to navigate.

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