Should I know anything before (trying to) make a webring (again)?

I have an idea for a webring. I like the idea of sites linking to each other, but it involves

  • trusting someone else’s javascript
  • each member doesn’t have much autonomy over how it’s presented in the webring
  • dead or inactive sites

I have my own ideas on how to structure a webring or something ilke it.

Example: https://likho.neocities.org/microblog/webring/latest

But I’m uncertain if it’s too unconventional to have other people join it. Any feedback?

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Consider reading through this page from @brisray 's site if you haven’t yet: Webring Technology

As for being too unconventional… You should see some of the unusual things webring managers require to join their ring :joy:

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Actually, I can’t figure out how to join… So maybe more clarity on how to do so?

I have a separate and more generalized idea for a webring that more people could join.

The example I linked (my microblogging webring) is actually geared towards people who use my microblog generator. Normally, people can join if they run the script, allow it to generate a webring json file, then upload it to their site.

If you really want to join, you technically could fill in these fields then link the json file to me.

{
    "username": "likho", 
    "url": "https://likho.neocities.org/microblog/", 
    "avatar": "https://likho.neocities.org/microblog/images/avatar.jpg", 
    "short-bio": "fanfiction writer and python user. <h1>trololo</h1> long self-description truncation test 0987654321 abcdefhijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 0123456789 \u0435\u0436\u0435\u0432\u0438\u0301\u043a\u0430 \u043a\u043b\u0443\u0431\u043d\u0438\u0301\u043a\u0430 bla bla bla", 
    "post-count": 70, 
    "last-updated": 1707910889
}

last-updated uses epoch time. You probably want a script or program to figure that out for you.

Edit:
You would need a script to fetch everyone else’s json files to link back as well.

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A webring similar in practice, but not in execution, to yours is maybe the Faircamp Webring. It requires members to be using the Faircamp static site generator. I don’t think there’s anything unconventional about your webring at all! Great work, and I love that you’re even open to allowing exceptions in as well.

Long term, managing the ring is as important as signups. The bigger the ring the more important this becomes.

I just like webrings, they are a great way of linking sites that visitors might like to explore. Looking after them is a bit of work and some of the larger ones (hundreds of sites) have collaped because it became too much for the owners to look after. Yesterweb and Hotline are just two. Others were given up because the owners got discouraged because they did not attract sites like Red Robot.

JavaScript based webrings are usually considered safe because all they should do is create the links from the list of websites that you, or the main webring code producers, keep. JS can be used for bad purposes but I haven’t heard of any of the current codes in use doing that.

The only webring system I know of that had issues was PHP Ring from years ago. They had some vulnerabiliy issues when that was active in 2008, and happened because the writer left a vulnerability in the cookie code they used. PHP Ring was a complete webring system and the vulnerability meant the password in the cookie was not checked properly allowing other people into their database.

To me, a webring differs from a simple fanlisting in that it has at least “previous” and “next” site links. Some webring owners have very definite ideas about how the links should look, others just supply the JS or other code and let the ring members style it themselves. The page I have of the webrings I belong to, has a mixture of those.

Dead sites are always a problem for ring owners. I regularly check the ones I list and only around 1/5 are fully navigable. While a ring is still small, the links can be checked by visiting the sites. Later on, as the ring grows, a simple PowerShell, JavaScript or other script can work through a list of site pages looking for particular strings of text.

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That was a longish post and I hope I haven’t put anyone off creating or joining a webring.

Webrings were great for discovering new sites especially when it took weeks or months for the search engines to list them. I think they are even more important now as the “small web” sites are pages deep in most listings, if they are indexed at all.

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I found it really simple to make a webring using onionring when I decided to make one, and it was surprisingly intuitive to figure out how to offer multiple options for the code (so I have one that’s plain text and one with images). Mine’s less than 10 sites so easy to pop through the ring.

Something more complex like yours is outside of my experience - it might be helpful to add a little explanation on the page? Since if I hadn’t clicked on the link to get there I might have thought it was just a regular microblog or the link was wrong or something, and not realized it was a webring.

@jackdaw
The explanation was originally on the microblogging script.

Though if I’m going to be flexible with webringing, I decided to hold off on my second idea for a webring an build upon my first, or at least give it a webpage.

Are there any suggestions on unifying a webring between

  • people who don’t want to use javascript
  • people who don’t write their own scripts and just want to copy and psate a widget?

Giving site owners a fixed link to the next and previous sites will eventually lead to problems as sites disappear or are no longer interested. To work properly there has to be some sort of scripting, JavaScript, or a CGI program (PHP, Perl, Python etc.) to produce the links.

I turned off JavaScript and took a look at what happened to the rings I belong to. Half stopped working, and some didn’t display at all. The ones that remained working all worked the same way. They have a link back to the “home” site with some sort of URL string, which then processes it, and sends back the links.

The point being, there has to be some degree of trust. Without it, none of the rings can work.

Sites belonging to a ring do not need to know any scripting. They can just copy what the ring owners give them. Some allow you to style the ring code, others don’t. The ones that use the URL string method are easiest to style yourself, but if the ring owners say they’d prefer you only use certain styles, then I’d be happy with that.

Epic, which relies on JavaScript, gives a choice of pre-made styles to choose from.

I made this website. You can use it to host your ring if you want

The downside of this is that you have to convince everyone that wants to join to make an account on my site. The upsides of it are no sketchy javascript from someone else’s site… and I guess that you can configure the ring to automatically accept people or you can manually approve them.

It’s pretty cool. I expected it to catch on more than it did.

I guess there is still a chance that one day it will have enough users that it will be the defacto way to webring, but I kinda doubt it at this point.

But it has turned into a directory of pages that’s pretty cool I suppose.

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This isn’t really documented anywhere on neorings but I did write it about it here… Neoring | divsel

There is an API you can use to make your own custom webring home page.

I guess that’s probably coolest feature now that I think of it

I’m really glad you made Neorings. We needed a webring host. This is very democratic since it allows anyone to start a webring without knowing a lot of technical stuff.

It will catch on, just give it some time.

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I built it last year when I didn’t have a job and I just spent all day everyday working on it. But due to not working I lived on a pretty fixed income and couldn’t really deploy it so it just sat in my projects collecting dust. Several months later I finally got a job and I decided to put it up. By the time that happened, I had already been not thinking about it for a long while so I haven’t done much with aside from maintain the server its on. Being busy with work and having other projects I want to work on, I almost forget its there until people start asking about webrings, and I’m like, “Well… you could use neorings…” at which point I log in and see a few more people have registered pages.

Just a suggestion: make a banner promoting Neoring for the 32-Bit Cafe banner exchange.