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Good file discipline

1. Name folders after projects, not people

Name shared folders after what you’re going to do with them, not after the person you’re sharing with. It’s less confusing for them, but still useful for you. It also shows that you’re thinking of what these files will look like on their computer, and not just your own.

2. Version control

Name, date and version tag all files and call them something useful: “Gardening.csv” is not a useful file name, “yymmdd_Author_Gardening_v4.csv” is.

3. Take our the garbage

Your collaborators aren’t your father/mother/guardian/anal housemate/hired help – clean up after yourself. Don’t leave “test.RData” in a shared folder and don’t leave old versions lying around.

4. Ask before deleting individual files

Because of how services like Dropbox work, files you delete in those folders aren’t just deleted from your folder: they’re deleted from the folder of everyone you shared with. If you really need the space, there’s a workaround.

5. Disconnect from folders you’re not using

Delete a file from a folder and it’s gone for both you and the other user; delete a folder from your computer and it’s just gone for you. That’s how it works in Dropbox.

So if you need more space in your Dropbox, delete the entire folder, or drag it outside your cloud-syncing service and onto your computer. This allows your sharing partners to keep the files as long as they want but keeps those same files from filling your folder.

6. Don’t overfill folders

Don’t fill folders with large, unnecessary files. You might have paid Dropbox for extra space, but your sharing partner hasn’t. Think before you drop a 5 GB monstrosity into a folder because odds are you’ll be the only person who can sync it. Don’t overwhelm people if you can avoid it.

When you share a folder with someone on Dropbox, you’re tying a folder on your computer directly to one on someone else’s. Adding massive files, constantly saving changes or cluttering things up could cause others annoyance – and that’s just plain bad manners.

7. Respect the system

If you’re not head honcho of a folder, respect the filing system. If you are, make sure to use subfolders.

You want to change the world.
We want to help you do it.

The Good Alliance