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BitTorrent FAQ


Starting in 2002, and continuing into early 2005, antsmarching.org offered downloads of full live shows to its members via their SHN Server and an extremely generous donation of bandwidth by a friend of the site. At the time, this service was a unique one; boasting over 900 live shows, and able to serve hundreds of users at a time with blazingly fast speeds. At its peak, the SHN Server was serving over a terabyte worth of shows per day. Unfortunately, as the recording industry began suing organizations and individuals for alledged copyright infringment, it was decided that the SHN Server should be shut down to avoid drawing any unnecessary attention to the source of its donation.

Since that time, we have wanted to bring downloads back to the antsmarching.org community. While anyone can run their own tracker and seed shows, we wanted to once again tie together the act of sharing and community to form a unique and rewarding experience.

What is BitTorrent?

BitTorrent is a protocol designed for transferring files. It is peer-to-peer in nature, as users connect to each other directly to send and receive portions of the file. However, there is a central server (called a tracker) which coordinates the action of all such peers. The key philosophy of BitTorrent is that users should upload (transmit outbound) at the same time they are downloading (receiving inbound.) In this manner, network bandwidth is utilized as efficiently as possible. BitTorrent is designed to work better as the number of people interested in a certain file increases, in contrast to other file transfer protocols.

There are two methods of starting a torrent: Seeding, and peering. Seeding is when you already have a complete show to share, and you wish to create a torrent file in order to seed (share) it. If you wish to download a show that you do not already have, then you are interested in becoming a peer of that torrent.

How to seed (share) a show

Before you begin to take steps towards seeding a show, there are a few things you need to be sure of. First of all, it is important that the show you wish to seed is as close to the original generation recording as possible. For example, it is not desireable to take a show you have on CD, rip it, and then create a torrent out of that show, especially when that show’s digital recording is already available in “zero-generation” form. Secondly, you must include the original source information for the show, as well as the checksum information/fingerprints of the recording. It is also important to check to see if a show you want to seed has already been seeded on the site. If these guidelines aren’t followed, your torrent will be removed, and repeated offenses will result in lost access to the torrent areas of the site.

Key Points:

  1. Do not rip a show to seed if a higher generation is available.
  2. Always include accurate original source and checksum information.
  3. Make sure the show isn't already seeded.
  4. Only seed a show if you can reliably seed it for at least the next 24 hours, or until 5 other seeders have joined.


Now, onto the fun stuff! For this tutorial, we will use the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent. If you do not use uTorrent, don’t worry – we plan on adding tutorials for other popular clients in the future, and pretty much all the concepts talked about here are consistent between different applications anyway, so it should apply just fine to your client of choice.

If you’re already well-versed in the process of torrent creation, you have three simple steps to follow:
- Create a .torrent file with http://tracker.antsmarching.org:2710/announce as the tracker URL
- Upload the .torrent file to antsmarching.org
- Re-download the .torrent file you uploaded and seed with that file

If you’re new to the concept of BitTorrent, we have compiled a tutorial for getting started with BitTorrent on antsmarching.org below.

If you have downloaded a full show via BitTorrent from antsmarching.org and want to seed it, simply leave it open in your Torrent client. There is no need to follow the steps below if you've already downloaded the show from antsmarching.org.

Step 1: Create a .torrent file

After starting up uTorrent, goto the File menu and pick Create New Torrent. A window will pop up asking you for various pieces of information. First, click the Add Directory button. A file listing will pop up. All you have to do is select the folder that the show is contained in (for example, d+t1997-02-07.daud.shnf), and click OK. In the Torrent Properties section, you need to add “http://tracker.antsmarching.org:2710/announce” (without the quotes) in the Trackers field. Do not check any of the optional boxes presented to you, such as Start Seeding or Private Tracker. Once you’ve done that, click the “Create and save as” button. At that point, a box will pop up asking you where to save the torrent file. Go ahead and save it anywhere that you can find it easily. Once it has created the torrent, go ahead and click Close. There you go – you’ve just created a torrent file!

Step 2: Upload the .torrent file to antsmarching.org

Now that you’ve got your torrent file created, you need to upload it to the site. Start off by heading to the forums, and then choose the correct subforum based on what year the show is from. Once you’re in the correct forum, click the New Torrent button as you would create a new thread. On the subsequent page, simply choose the correct information from the relevant fields, copy and paste both the Source Information and the Checksums, and then click the “Attach Torrent File” button. On the window that pops up, click the Browse button, and find the file that you created in step 1. Click the Upload button, and once it’s uploaded, click “Close this Window.” You will be back at the new torrent page. Finally, click “Create Torrent Thread,” and you will have uploaded your torrent file to the site! Just one more step to go, but it’s an important one…

Step 3: Re-download the torrent file and seed it!

This final step is crucial to the process. In order to avoid confusion, it is probably best to go ahead and trash the original torrent file you created at this point. To begin seeding your torrent, you must now download the torrent file you just uploaded. Once you’ve downloaded the new file, open uTorrent, and from the File menu, choose Add Torrent. Find and select the torrent file you just downloaded from the site, and click Open. When the Add New Torrent window pops up, make sure that under the Save As area, you browse to and select the folder where the show resides. Once you’ve verified that you have selected the correct location of the show, go ahead and click OK. uTorrent will check the contents of the directory you just chose and, if you followed the directions correctly, will now report that you are “Seeding” that show! Congratulations! You’re on your way to becoming a contributor to the antsmarching.org downloads area!

How to become a peer (download)



To find available shows to download, you can either browse the Torrent Forums or head over to the Torrent Download Area. If you see a show that you’d like to download, joining the BitTorrent swarm is easy! Simply click on the show that you want and download the .torrent attachment. Note that you must be logged in with your antsmarching.org account to download attachments. Then, open uTorrent and select Add Torrent from the File menu. Find and select the .torrent file you just downloaded, and click Open. Choose a location to save the show, and click OK. That’s it! Please remember to stay connected to the swarm even after you've completed downloading the show!

Once you've downloaded a show, head over to the Discussion Boards for tips on how to convert and play a show!

Ettiquette

BitTorrent is a method for sharing files that depends on seeders; that is, it is considered bad form to hop on a torrent, complete your download, and then immediately close your torrent application. It is strongly encouraged that you leave your torrent application open, even after you’ve completed your download, so that you may continue to share with other users of the community. Users found to have extremely low upload:download ratios combined with a lot of data downloaded might find their accounts suspended.

Ratios and Wait Time

Currently, there is no ratio enforcement, and no wait times to endure for new torrents. As time progresses, members who have downloaded a large amount of music without contributing enough music back by uploading will incur wait times when new torrents are posted before they are allowed to join the swarm. The best way to avoid having this apply to you is to leave the torrent open once you are finished downloading it, so that you can become a seeder and share the show with the community.

Torrent Expiration / Reseeding

We now prune torrents if they are inactive (no seeders, no leechers) for seven days straight. When the torrent thread is deleted, a reason is posted which describes which show was removed and states that it needs to be reseeded. Follow the instructions above to create a new torrent if you wish to reseed a pruned show.

Benefits

It is always a good idea to maintain a good upload:download ratio. Periodically, antsmarching.org will reward prizes to the users who share the most on the site. It is also a great status symbol to have a good ratio; the information is displayed in your membership information for everyone to see.


   


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