Thursday, April 5, 2012

Strange / The Ring

Comment: If you are finding the print on this page a little too eyestrain inducingly small for your taste, this might not be a problem. You can find a mirror (of sorts) to this page located here, with the same content, but with much larger print. That site and this blog are tied together with a lot of linking that should make returning to the ring a very easy matter, so don't worry about following that link. It will all work out.

April 5, 2012, 5:31 am / This will start out a little more cursory than I intended, because it is so late that it's early, I've been up all night trying to find a hosting service that worked, and I'm eager for bed.

This will be a ring for sites that don't really fit into the other rings on the ringlink systems. Sites that are a little odd, or about people or things that are a little off. In one way or another, insanity is involved or at least strongly suggested. That covers a lot of territory. Rebuttal pages written about incidents in which one ran into crazy people who went on the attack and started spreading rumors at one's expense because one didn't join them in their insanity? I have a few of those, and they're welcome on this ring. There should be a place for such content - really, there has to be, because so little has been done about the problems of defamation and harassment online. What a strange and bad world we live in when the crazies, so often, are the only ones whose side of a story gets heard. I'm glad to accept those. I'm also glad to accept rebuttals to rebuttals, so long as these are reasonably well written, and passably clean. No R or X rated material.

I'm actually inviting people to submit more than one site each to this ring, as long as they do so within reason. Let's say, no more than three sites each, with an option to negotiate. Kvetching will happen, and that's not always bad, but a ring of nothing but would get tiresome. Let's try to mix in a little of our own creative madness with the stories of the kind that needs to be treated with medication. There's no better time to laugh than when one is in a mood to scream and strangely enough, often no better time to write things that will help others to laugh, as well. Comedy is tragedy viewed fully from the outside? Take your awful day, retell it broadly, mocking the cruelty of your own fate, chopping down any element of genuine horror to such a size that the reader isn't emotionally drawn in to the reality of it, and you might have something. Or not.

I'll decide how to have people get into contact with me after a little sleep and a lot of caffeine.

April 7, 2012, 1:11 am / I've created a group on for the use of those who wish to join the ring. You can find that group here. Please read the introductory blog post before posting to the forum. What you do is join, and a post a personal introduction in which you talk about your site, including a link to it - and then you wait. How long? I don't know. The more people I get on the ring, and the more of them I get to know and trust, the more moderators we're likely to have, and the shorter the wait, but as I point out, the wait might be measured in months, because the first few applications will be coming in years apart. I'll try to send you a message when I either approve or reject your post, unless we're looking at something that you clearly should have known better than to post (eg. spam or trollage).

April 10, 2012, 1:57 pm / This ring is about to become a member of some other rings. That's not so unusual. What's a little different is that I've given at least a little thought to a question that usually doesn't get asked. Let's say that one ring - let's call it the member ring - belongs to another ring - let's call it the metaring. A visitor comes to the member ring from the metaring, wanders it for a while, and having seen what he wants to see, decides that he's like to return to the metaring. How does he find his way back? How does one make a ring, as a member of another ring, live up to its obligations under basic notions of webring navigability?

Take a look at the logo for my ring. No matter which site on my ring you go to, that logo will link back to the ring. It won't just take you to the homepage for the ring. It will take you back to a point just a short distance about the ring code, with a link in clear view taking you back to the page on which you entered the homepage for my ring. You'll find the same ringcode on both pages, but if you do feel the urge to return to the "metaring" - ie. whichever of the rings to which my ring belongs you were on, previously - through the same page you left it from, you can do that. If you just want to go straight back to one of the "metarings", you can do that, too, with a minimum of effort. For the manager of that other ring, this offers the promise of a greater rate of return to his ring, because visitors won't have to go hunting it down, or go scrolling through content that they've already read. Or even wait for that content to load, which will be an issue for some viewers, because not everybody has broadband. Or will.

April 10, 2012, 4:57 pm / I've submitted this page to a number of webrings, and now hope that the managers of the ring will accepted that the copy of the ring homepage that will be on their rings is, in fact, a post on a blog - this one. Where you probably are, at the moment, if you are on the entry page for my site.

This might seem to be a strange thing to do, maybe too strange for some ring managers to accept, but there are good, sound, logical reasons for this. There is an awful lot of flakery in the free homepage hosting business. I'm not saying that will be one of the flakes. I don't know that it will. But then, I don't know that it won't, having been one of its users only briefly, and I've been unpleasantly surprised, before. I've seen companies suddenly vanish with no sort of warning sent out to users, even though we had provided contact addresses when we registered. I've also seen companies, for reasons seldom explained, suddenly change the permissions on our sites so that even we didn't have access to them. Either way, I've logged back in to make the unpleasant discovery that one of my sites has been down long enough for a number of its ring memberships to have expired, forcing me to send a letter to ring managers who already have plenty to do, explaining the situation, and asking to be readmitted. While hoping that the next hosting service didn't flake out as well, and yes, I've had that happen. It's a nuisance for ring manager and ring member alike, one that I'm trying to avoid.

For most of my pages, I'm doing so by establishing mirrors to my pages on Webring Webspace, and running my Webring memberships through those, tying the mirrors together to provider the needed navigability in the manner you see. The problem, in this case, is that the ring for which this is the homepage is not a ring. While I'd really, really like to host the page on Webspace, I'm not sure that Webring would be OK with that, because Webring, itself, expressed such uncertainty, when I asked. The way Support put it was that while hosting such a page on Webspace would probably be "frowned on" (their own quotes), they probably wouldn't object. They were trying to be nice about it, I think, but I'd like to be standing on more solid ground than that, and I'm guessing that a ringmaster, not wanting to see his or her ring get broken, would understand why.

So, one improvises. Blogger supports SSNB, and it seems stable in a way that no free webhosting service I could name does, having been stable practically as long as the word "blog" has existed. So, it's an odd way of creating a homepage, but one that does work, and maybe is the best way available, at least until Webring can feel certain about its approval of using Webspace for these purposes. The blog will include more than just this introduction, and this copy of the Webring return page, should anybody else join this ring. This will be the update blog, on which I'll write briefly about the new sites that have been admitted to the ring.

This blog is associated with a site which is also called Strange. As you prefer, you can go to the hubpage for my ring, at this point, or go to the main page for the site I just mentioned, to see if there is anything else to be seen there, yet. Yes, there is a clear path back to the ring from all pages on that site.