Sometimes I spend a lot of time to write an answer, and such posts become valuable to me. However, I am afraid that StackExchange may be down for some reason (although this is very unlikely) in the future (e.g., out of business, company acquisition, etc.).

Should I "export" some of my notes?

If so, how can I do it?

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    The very fact that you thought to ask this question should tell you unequivocally what the correct answer is. – whuber May 8 '17 at 15:11
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    @whuber I was trying to ask how other people deal with this issue. I found so many valuable resources (my and other answers), but find it takes time to organize and archive. Want to know how other people rely on the website. – hxd1011 May 8 '17 at 15:13
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    That doesn't sound like the question you asked, though. – whuber May 8 '17 at 15:14
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    There are no guarantees here. If you're worried about this, always keep safe copies somewhere that will be safe. (I don't see this as a CV-specific question. Always keep copies of whatever is valuable to you if access is not guaranteed.) – Nick Cox May 8 '17 at 15:28
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    There are publicly available back-ups made every so often: see… – Scortchi May 8 '17 at 16:28
up vote 23 down vote accepted

Given that metaoptimize disappeared overnight without any warning, and that - in my opinion - Stack Exchange doesn't care much about the perennity of user content, that's a fair question. We should all be worried about such an eventuality, and be prepared for it.

Stack Exchange provides back-ups, which are made infrequently, typically once every few months. These backups do not include images, which is a huge limitation. It would be nice if there were some initiative to create a dump of all images.

If you just care about your questions and answers, you can run this query: What is the easiest way for me to download all my questions+answers across all Stack Exchange sites?

It is very disappointing that Stack Exchange doesn't provide an easy way for users to export the entirety of their content. (but it's still better than Quora or Reddit, which don't even provide a dump)


You can use software or a browser extension to save your posts as .mht files, while you are looking at a post in the browser. These files can then be viewed off-line by any program that can open them, keeping all the website formatting. Due to this they are a bit heavy, something like a few MB each.

Further, in my experience you can copy-paste from an .mht file to, say, a word document, and the formatting of the mathematical notation will be preserved (but I think it won't be recognized as math symbols to be further worked with an equation editor).

Along the lines of @Alecos Papadopoulos's answer, it is pretty easy to save webpages to your hard drive and view them offline, or if the site disappears. These are only a couple hundred KB. They can be viewed in a browser just as if they were live. Note that, if the site disappeared, the links to other CV pages, for example, would not work.

Another possibility, should you not have saved a page and the site disappears, is to go to the internet archive Wayback Machine. From there, you can enter the address of the page you are interested in and go to an archived version of it. Be aware that pages are only scanned every so often, so changes made between the last scan and when the site disappeared from the internet would not be recorded.

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    thanks for the tips. I am actually doing it. But there are hundreds of pages I like, such approach and@Alecos Papadopoulos' approach may not be salable. – hxd1011 May 11 '17 at 14:49
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    Same here, to save my ~5000 questions + answers, assuming 10 seconds per page (which I believe is an underestimate) it would take me 5000* 10/3600~14 hours. I guess we could write a script to take care of that. (crossing fingers Stack Exchange does not ban the IP on the way). – Franck Dernoncourt May 11 '17 at 15:30
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    +1. One can force to save any page at any moment: see "Save Page Now" right on the front page – amoeba May 11 '17 at 15:32
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    Right now I have 1,309 As & 12 Qs, plus 416 favorited Qs, w/ maybe 50% of those numbers on SO. I certainly wouldn't want to save all of that. The most I could ever want to save might be ~1k. That is pretty doable as you go along; in the interim WbM is something I'm perfectly comfortable relying on. – gung May 11 '17 at 16:09
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    @amoeba they also have a Google Chrome extension: Google Chrome extension to archive a web page and even better some API API or library to obtain a mirror of a link so perhaps one day someone motivated may write some script. I guess the API has some limitations though. Stack Exchange also has some limitations. – Franck Dernoncourt May 12 '17 at 2:14

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