5

I will describe the situation in a language-agnostic manner, but if you are interested in some specifics I will supply them at the bottom of the question.

I have a few open source libraries that have their documentation hosted by the the same service that hosts the packages for downloading. This hosting platform is going through some major changes, and one of those changes is that they are dropping support for hosting documentation and are advising users to use ReadTheDocs instead. In itself this is not an issue, but here are some facts that complicate matters:

  • Uploads to the old documentation hosting platform have been disabled
  • Automatic redirects to the new hosting service are not possible (both because we cannot upload our own and because the service does not support it)
  • Old documentation currently on the old hosting platform can be deleted

This has created the following situation:

  • The old documentation is now out of date because I have released new versions since uploads have been disabled.
  • Any link on a website out of my control to the old documentation will go dead.
  • 3 out of 5 of the top Google hits for my projects point to the old documentation hosting platform, so I am not excited about deleting the old documentation.
    • As a test, a few weeks ago I deleted the old documentation for a less-used library, and for this package some of the top hits point to ReadTheDocs, but there are also still links to the old documentation.

I was thinking of adding a conspicuous note at the top of the README on the GitHub page that documentation hosting has been changed, but that does not seem like enough.

Should I bite the bullet and delete the old documentation and hope that the internet will "heal itself" with time? Or is there a better solution to take that will lead to a smoother transition for documentation?


For those interested, the ecosystem here is Python and the hosting platform that is reaching end-of-life is pythonhosted.org. Removing documentation hosting has been part of a roadmap for some time, but it seems that only #1 and #5 of the roadmap were actually implemented. This has caused issues where people such as myself want to make redirects but cannot (see here or here for relevant GitHub issues).

  • As of March, 2018, there is a new GitHub issue marked as a high priority feature request regarding this problem: Add ability to configure a redirect for documentation previously hosted by PyPI. I suggest that you comment on this GitHub issue stating how important this is and asking for updates regarding it's progress. If/when this issue gets resolved, information can be posted here regarding the solution. – 3D1T0R May 28 '18 at 22:52
1

http://pythonhosted.org is owned by the Python Software Foundation. You should contact the sysadmin for Pypi and the PSF to discuss with them if they can setup some redirect to your new doc site.

Alternatively or in addition to this, you could setup an HTML meta redirect in your docs:

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url=http://example.com/" />
  • 1
    Regarding your second point, I cannot update the docs whatsoever, even to add a redirect. This is the whole reason for my question. – SethMMorton Sep 6 '17 at 23:09
  • As for the first point, the two links I gave at the bottom of the questions show people doing exactly that through GitHub, and the answer is no. Or are you suggesting to somehow find specifically the sysadmin and email them? If so, then I would be getting special treatment and does not seem like a satisfactory solution. – SethMMorton Sep 6 '17 at 23:11
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    I did not see these additions to your question until now... Short of contacting the admins, you seem to have no way out, I guess? – Philippe Ombredanne Nov 6 '17 at 22:28

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