Global Share Ratios

April 7th, 2005

In the wake of EasyTree’s closure, I got to talking with some friends about the nature of share ratios in regards to Bittorrent.

When Bittorrent first launched, all of the trackers were just pages and pages of *.torrent files that anyone could access. As it became apparent that the nature of people is to take take take and not give back, torrent trackers saw it necessary to devise membership schemes with share ratio requirements in order to keep users in check.

But what happens when a tracker is taken down? What is your share ratio worth then? Not a thing. I’ll admit, when EasyTree went down my share ratio was 0.26; almost the bare minimum ratio you can have and still download files. I believe I had something along the lines of 130 gb downloaded and 34 gb uploaded. But what did it matter? The site was gone and I had plenty of live shows to show for it. The saps who spent hours and hours maintaining their 1.0 share ratio had nothing to show for their work.

What I’m getting at is the idea of global share ratios. What if there was a portal where everyone could create an identity and then every tracker they downloaded from would report their share ratio back to the portal. Obviously such a scheme would require cooperation from all of the trackers, but think of the effects such a system could have.

Certainly there are limitations and complications to such a system. How would the portal keep individuals from registering new identities as they leech their way to dismal share ratios? How much bandwidth would the portal need access to in order to receive all of this data from so many trackers on the Internet? How much more bandwidth would trackers need to use in order to report the data to the portal?

The idea is very similar to how Counter-Strike (and other Half-Life mods) servers dealt with the problem of hackers when it became apparent that the problem was rampant: create a global blacklist to be shared amongst all of the servers. If the person’s ID is banned one server, it’s banned on all of them. Same idea, different arena.

2 Responses to “Global Share Ratios”

  1. Jslice Says:

    share ratios are lame. As long as they require a certain bandwidth of upload while downloading it should be fine. Of course, I’m sure some of the stuff I’ve gotten was only because people were uploading stuff to increase their ratio. Damn damn damn.

  2. Brian Says:

    Another interesting point that has been made many times over concerning ratios is that a community cannot sustain a healthy userbase by allowing users to have inordinantly high ratios (e.g. 5:1 ratio). When people allow their ratio to become this large, they cheat other users out of the chance to upload.

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