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Torrent not started but shows share percentage

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I have several torrents saved as "Download Later." A small number of those torrents, but not all, show incrementing share ratios even though I have not started the download. I don't believe I noticed it before upgrading to V1.14. The share ratio I'm talking about is the column showing in the list of torrents/size/progress, etc. (I apologize - I don't know the term for that section of the interface). When I view the torrent's Summary, everything there is at zero.

BitComet V1.14; DSL connection; Westell 327W15; port forwarded; Windows XP Home SP3; Comodo firewall; Avast! antivirus. I've enabled Long Term Seeding.

I'm concerned that the share ratio on those torrents shows anything at all. It would seem to indicate that I'm sharing a torrent I haven't ever started. And as I said, it's not on all the torrents, just on a few. There doesn't seem to be a discernible pattern.

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You don't have anything to worry about, but you do have what I fear is a very common, gonna-become-more-common, perfectly understandable confusion.

We've done a wretched job of documenting torrent-sharing. So let's try this:

Use Windows Explorer to find a .torrent file, anywhere on your system. Doesn't matter which torrent file. Right-click on the filename and select "properties" Look at the size of the file.

It's just a few kilobytes. It's much too small to be whatever you wanted to download - video, movie, application, whatever -- those are large, megabytes (at least) in size, so whatever this is, it couldn't be the video/movie/cd/sofware/ebook that you wanted. It's far too small for that.

Hope you're still with me.

Now open Notepad and drop that .torrent file onto it. (Or, open the file using Notepad's FILE menu. Either way. We're going to look at the file but not change it. Any tool you have to do that with is fine.)

You should see that it is readable by, albeit very boring to, a human. Most of the file is just base-16 numbers. A torrent client like BitComet uses that file, but you yourself can't.

This is not exactly correct but you can think of the .torrent file as a set of instructions that tell BitComet how to go get the material it references (the video/movie/cd/application/ebook that you actually wanted.) Now just close Notepad without saving the file.

Still with me? Ok, now torrent-sharing. Torrent-sharing is about sharing those .torrent files, NOT about sharing those videos/movies/cd's/applications/ebooks. (Sharing THOSE is what bittorrent is for.) You're sharing the map, not the treasure. You're sharing with others the instructions for how BitComet can go get the macguffin, but you're not sharing the macguffin itself.

It's telling you that you've shared X percent of the .torrent file, not of the macguffin. Somebody saw it in your list, said "I want that!" and started downloading the .torrent from you. Once they have it, they can open it in BitComet and start downloading the macguffin itself, just as you said you plan to do sometime later.

You're effectively recommending the torrents you share. You're saving someone the trouble of finding it for themselves on, say, IsoHunt or Demonoid and downloading that torrent themselves. But when they do get the torrent from you, they do not see the description that was posted on whatever website you got the file from, and they don't see any comments about it that were posted there. That other person would have to browse to that web site in order to see those things. They would also have to know, figure out, or guess, which web site you got that torrent from, so that might be a problem.

I hope that's clear. (I'm trying to rewrite the documentation for this right now, and it's rough sledding.)

So it's quite comprehensible that you could share the torrent (which you HAVE downloaded, usually just takes a few seconds) even though you haven't downloaded its referenced contents (which usually takes hours).

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That was beautiful! Thanks! Especially the macguffin. Now I got it. And thanks for not saying RTFM 'cause I had read what I could find. :D

I'd never noticed the increments before, perhaps I'd just not chosen anything that much of anyone else wanted. That wouldn't surprise me. Either way, I am much relieved.

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Wow! Now I'm really confused. Just to make sure we're all on the same page here, is this the share ratio everyone is talking about here?


Because if it is, well kluelos, as of now I'm in total dark here. I was under the impression, just like felicitysgramma I think, that this column shows my share ratio of the actual data files shared not of the torrent file. I mean, why on earth would I ever want to know how many times someone has retrieved a torrent file from me through the torrent share feature of Bitcomet. I don't really give a darn. OTOH I really want to know how much I've given back of the data I've downloaded from the others in order not to become a leecher and this all the more on a private tracker for example, since, as you know they monitor closely this particular thing. This would mean that Bitcomet introduced monitoring of a totally useless feature (torrent sharing) and left out a very important one (file sharing). But I just can't believe that.

This is unless I've got it all wrong until now and all private trackers monitor the sharing of the torrent files instead of the actual data files these torrent files refer to. But this doesn't make any sense at all since this wouldn't show how much actual data you've uploaded.

So, which is what and what does the Share ratio column in the task view pane stand for in the end?

Edited by greywizard (see edit history)
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Wow! Now I'm really confused. Just to make sure we're all on the same page here, is this the share ratio everyone is talking about here?

Yes, that's the one I talked about.

Kluelos, I'm confused again - I started one of those downloads this morning and saw the share ratio jump to 5483.0 within a few seconds of starting, but it did decrease. Its Summary shows 0 uploaded but it's currently got a share ratio showing. (Screenshot)


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We (the support staff) don't know many of the answers. Torrent-sharing was dropped on us by surprise too, and we're in the process of figuring out how it works. But I can supply some definite answers, and we can conjecture from there:

BitComet can't unilaterally change what it reports or how it reports it, to trackers. That's rigidly defined by the Bittorrent protocol, it's too late to change that now, and there is no provision for reporting any data about .torrent files.

If Bitcomet tried to change this, trackers everywhere would reject the information, the metafile, as garbled, please resend.

The share ratio is computed by the tracker, at sites that track ratios. They don't care what your client may have to say about it, and there's no provision in the metafile definition for your client to tell the tracker what it thinks your ratio is anyway. Bram Cohen, the guy who created bittorrent, didn't include provisions for ratios, and discommended them in his blog, when the notion came up and trackers started using them. (He was right.)

People who run trackers are vastly disinterested in arguing with you about what you or your client think your ratio is. Theirs is the first, last and only word, and if you don't like it, don't use their tracker, kthxbye.

You can get the metafile definitions from www.bittorrent.org in the developers section, if you want them. The metafile definition contains "Kbytes uploaded" and "Kbytes downloaded", but not "U/D ratio". The tracker has to compute the ratios for itself.

Those definitions are frozen in the sense that if you wanted to change them, you'd have to get all the other programmers of trackers and other clients to agree, and to make it all backwards-compatible so nothing breaks for those who won't do it.

Nevva happen.

(BitComet tried unilaterally introducing padding files to align file and piece boundaries. The results were painful. Other clients COULD have easily hidden those empty files too, but they chose instead to whine, b**** and moan about it. Torrent sharing is also a unilateral change, not supported by any other client, but it also won't affect any other client. They could add it but almost certainly will not.)

There is no central authority, and the internet is an anarchy, so it's empirically impossible to change any definitions now. (It's been tried once and went nowhere. The effort was abandoned.) The only reason that DHT worked, was that it was a simple overlay. It needed no serious changes in the existing code of any client, merely add-ons. Even so, we've ended up with two different, incompatible versions of it.

Moral: you can't change any core bittorrent definitions or behaviors.


In light of that, what your BitComet reports any ratio to be, really and truly does not matter to anyone except you, and maybe not even to you. This applies to both the regular task ratio column, and to whatever the torrentshare ratio column really means.

What DOES ratio mean in the torrent sharing context? On one hand, I don't actually know, I haven't seen the code. On the other hand, as a programmer, I sympathize with the desire to re-use code, and I can understand not taking the extra trouble to remove the ratio column from existing display code, even though it's not needed and doesn't really make sense. Much more trouble to take it out & louse up the page formatting, than to just leave it there and ignore it. Nobody's paying for anything at all, much less aesthetics.

(On the gripping hand, as a software quality engineer I wince at the confusion this creates.)

Put all that together and I think you can safely say that in this torrentshare screen, the "ratio" column contains a meaningless number, no matter how it's calculated, and it should just be ignored. Not a very satisfactory answer, I know.

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Well kluelos, I guess that in the grand scheme, looking at the bigger picture what you said makes sense.

Nevertheless, considering the smaller picture (i.e. my computer, my Bitcomet client and my downloading tasks) and disregarding everything else, I guess that, given any single downloading task at any time, it stands to reason that my client should be able to keep track how much data(in terms of bytes) have my computer downloaded and uploaded up to that point, for that respective task. Calculating a ratio from that it's merely a division operation.

I repeat, I understand that in the bigger scheme, trackers don't care about and disregard that. But for me, for my personal use it can provide somewhat of a reference point as to how much longer I need to keep seeding (uploading) after I've finished downloading the task in order to reach some seeding ratio I've set as a goal for myself (1:1, 2:1, 3:1 or whatever). Even on the Tasks page of the Options menu in Bitcomet we have the possibility to set a task to stop after reaching a certain percent of (locally calculated) seeding ratio.

It stands to reason that trackers and other clients are not willing to accept the ratios my machine computes, even only for the simple reason of avoiding cheating.

But as I said, for me, my local ratio can prove somehow useful, if not for anything else, but for helping me not to become a data sucking leech. :D

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I'm okay with ignoring that column in the grand scheme. I would like to have some quick indication of which ones I can let go as properly seeded, but I can judge that from the Summary from here on out. With a slow upload speed here, I try not to cheat anyone and let mine go as long as I can. (Though it would have been fun to have had a 5483% share ratio. ;) )

What I _don't_ want to do is pound on you folks who are doing the work to make sharing easy, and not charging me a penny for it. I do a good bit of volunteer website work, and though I get a boost to my ego out of making something work the way a client wants it, there are times when I want to scream that they're expecting a heckuva lot for zero cost. You've got grander challenges than I, and my hat's off to all of you.

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I don't disagree, Greywizard but will bet that you really don't care at all about any ratio involving these shared torrents. I can't see why anyone would, except as a theoretical basis for one of the silliest one-ups I can imagine.

The column is meaningless only in the context of torrent-sharing. It's still valid, for some value of valid, when it comes to normal bittorrent transferring and as Graywizard points out, you can use the calculated value to control when your task stops seeding.

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WoW, what a confusing read. I was alerted to this topic because it seems to be confusing people on if we are talking about simple "share ratio", or some new feature "torrent share".

I had to read this topic, then realized I needed at least a few hours sleep a lot more then I needed to understand everything said here, so now back, well rested, I will summarize...

What Kluelos is saying is that the torrent/s this person loaded in bitcomet, but have not downloaded are being shared with torrent-share. If then the torrent is uploaded to one person (remember that torrent is only a few kb in size, so you could in theory send hundreds/thousands a min), the share ratio will be 1.0, two people will be 2.0.

As you can see, you can end up with a huge "appearing" share ratio this way, but as Kluelos said, its meaningless because its only telling you the stats on the actual file.torrent, not on the data this torrent will ultimately download (when you start it).

As for Kluelos analysis on this problem, my hats off, well done... I don't think I could have pinpointed this in such a timely manner... I will however withhold giving points for clarity lol

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There's one other point here that I guess I need to nail down.

Nobody, anywhere, has any interest in your ratio of shared torrent files via torrent share. There's not even any reason why you yourself should care about this.

It is not and should not be a part of your regular bittorrent transfer ratio. Nobody is interested in how many bytes of .torrents you have offered to share with other peers, or have actually transferred to them, or how many they've transferred from you. That information is not reported or retained. The tracker is only interested in the referenced content data you have transferred.

Your torrent share ratio is not reported to anyone, nor should it be. So any number that appears in the RATIO column when you are looking at shared torrents, is just an artifact of program code -- I would not even assume that it is accurate, because no programmer would bother to report this or make sure it was correct.

The "right" thing to do would have been to remove that column from the torrent-share display, but that would have meant a lot of rewriting and reformatting to get the page looking ok again.

Ok, yawn, you get that. But.

There is also no way to know whether there's a lot of sharing activity on your torrents or not. (Does anybody care about these torrents you've shared? Are they popular? Have they EVER been downloaded by anybody? Any of them? No way to tell.)

There is no way to tell whether somebody is downloading a torrent from you at this moment, either. So when you go offline, you might be cutting someone off from one of your shared torrents, in mid-download. The same might happen to you. No way for either of you to know.

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Share ratio has nothing to do with TorrentShare.It is only a value that uploaded by downloaded.

To felicitysgramma:

Its Summary shows 0 uploaded but it's currently got a share ratio showing.

There is a problem. I think that is wrong uploaded. Thank you.

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