Dropbox Etiquette – Stu Maschwitz

Stu Maschwitz via

I’m a huge fan of Dropbox. I use it every day both to make my work computer-agnostic and to collaborate with others. I wrote about how I use it to monitor After Effects renders.

But there’s a problem with Dropbox, one that will be familiar to anyone who’s ever had a roommate. Actually, anyone who’s had more than one roommate.

If you have one roommate, the house stays pretty clean, because there’s accountability. If I see dishes in the sink, I know who left them there. I am unlikely to leave dishes in the sink, because I know that my roommate will know it was me who did it.

Add a third roomy to the scenario and an important thing happens: Now I can’t be certain whose dishes those are in the sink. I might be tempted to leave dishes in the sink myself, because no one roommate will know with certainty that I’m the messy culprit. Instead of accountability, I now have just enough anonymity to be a slob with impunity.

It gets worse. As soon as one dish gets left, and it most certainly will, the next anonymous roommate will almost certainly add his dish to the mess. The sink is already full of untraceable dirty dishes, what’s one more?

I share Dropbox folders with a great many people, and the only ones that ever sprawl out of control are the ones I share with more than one other person. It’s become enough of an issue that I decided to write up my three rules for a tidy Dropbox.

Name your Shared Folder Something Non-Stupid

Within That Folder, Use a System

Do the Dishes

Go read the explanations of the rules. Most excellent advice.

Dropbox Etiquette – Stu Maschwitz

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