Rantings and Ravings
  Joyful little columns by us.

Scales of the Web

By: CereCere

One of the hottest topics right now is the news about how several established and popular sites are either no longer updating, less frequently updating or being deleted all together. For some strange reason this has ticked of many site visitors and many site owners alike. It seems some site visitors donít like it if a page no longer updates, or updates less. Meanwhile site owners donít like being told they should update more, or should take their site down if they arenít going to update anymore.

Some of the reasons for the slow-downs and shut-downs:

  1. There has been no new Sailormoon material in over two years.
    People who have known the show for at least a year or more have seen everything by now, and covered just about everything. So who can blame them for moving on to other topics? Itís hard for anyone to keep interest in a story without anything new to do. Some still like Sailormoon, but like some new things more. People who fall into this category for the most part have either left their site up with plans to update once in a blue moon, or leave their site up with no plans for updates. Very few actually shut-down. The ones that do shut down are often a seldom few who have been turned off Sailormoon altogether.

  2. Some site owners are tired of too many demands from visitors, flames, and other general stupidity.
    This leads to the site owner becoming ticked off and shutting down their site in a rage. I canít blame them. We make sites for fun, when they stop being fun, why should we keep them going? Because of shut downs of this type, some claim SM fans have become much more demanding, too bitter, and too picky. Being a fan of SM on the Internet for over 4 years and SM site owner for almost 3 of those years, I have seen no real difference in attitudes. Sure some maybe pickier about correct information and stolen material, but flames and stupidity is at the same level it has always been. A few believe other Internet fan groups are not as bitter as SM fans, but this simply is not true. Other fan groups suffer from just as many flames (if not more) than SM fans. Flames have been part of the Internet longer than the World Wide Web has. It just seems SM fans are the only ones who waste their time complaining about flames and stupidity, rather than brushing them off like they should. Thatís where the difference is. There is no real increase in flames, itís just some site owners are tired of them. Then when they shut down because of it, many are translating that into an increase in flame levels.

The biggest problem in all this is, some sites start off slowing down as in "Reason #1", but then they receive so many emails demanding an update, they often end up shutting down because of "Reason #2". However, both reasons boil down to one thing. The site is no longer "fun" to work on. After all a fan site is a hobby, and because it is a hobby, when it is no longer enjoyable, you find something new to do with your free time.

Now a fan site is an interesting thing, itís actually about more than just "fun" for the site owner. Picture an old set of weight scales if you will. On one end of the scale we have "the hobby". The "fun" and "enjoyment", the two reasons why a site owner begins constructing a web site. However, on the other end of the scale is "Service" which gives a web site itís purpose. A web site is a form of media, a source of information and/or material to the people who visit it. A site which is built for a "hobby", but if doesnít provide a "service" to itís visitors it usually is an unsuccessful one. It has no real purpose and the scale tips too far to one side. On the other hand, a fan site which provides great "service", but no longer has any "fun" for the site owner, tips a bit too much the other way. So itís a delicate balance.

Luckily for newer sites keeping the balance is usually easy. Often the hobby is not just fun, itís interesting. The site owner wants to learn new things and put together the best site they can. They do the proper research, they make and scan graphics, they design layouts, and test their work.

Some site owners might hit a few bumps along the way. Like a review from a page like ours, or comments and even flames from others. The site owner should take those in stride, use them to improve and make their site better. They should only ignore the truly stupid flames with only things like "this page sucks". Everyone gets stupid flames every now and then, itís a fact of life for the Internet. Owners have to get use to them. If you canít handle them, well then maybe you picked the wrong hobby and itís time to get out. Sometimes the owner no longer wants to handle them. They donít have enough time or interest to do anything in response to the critics. Either way, the scale has tipped, the "hobby" weight has fallen off. The owner shuts down the site.

Sites that do survive the flames, the sensible critics, and the outright stupidity can eventually run out of new information to research. The owners become a bit tired of looking at the same material. The scale begins to tip. So does the site owner do? They start something new, but because they have spent so much time on creating their excellent service to visitors and feel proud of their work, they leave the site up. This way the site holds on to the "fun" the owner had when they once worked on it. The site also remains a service to newer visitors who have never seen the site before. By taking a break, the owner avoids becoming totally bored with the site, and someday may look at their "old friend" and decide to work on it every now and then. The memory of how fun the site was comes back to them for short periods of time and allows them to work on it with new life.

So where am I going with this whole scale analogy?

Well first of a message to visitors of web sites.
Keep in mind if the site owner announces they do not have time for the site right now, or has announced they will be working on other sites for a while, do not badger them or bug them about when the next update will be. Do not demand an update! Sure I have always said a frequently updated site is better than a seldom updated one. However, if a fan site takes a break from updating, it does not make it a bad one. When they get the time, they will update. Respect their decision. Remember, they do this as a hobby and do not get paid. You will only tick off the site owner, and they may shut down the site altogether.

In addition, if itís a large SM site, there isnít much the owner can update. Time may not be the factor, just a lack of ideas. The story did end two years ago, and larger, older sites have done just about all they can do. Calling a large, correct, original, yet inactive SM site "bad" because it no longer updates is plain stupid. How can they be "bad"? When they are often four times the size of many newer sites! Keeping old sites around does not effect the chance of exposure for newer sites. If a new site is good, it will be noticed soon enough. This goes back to the whole extremely stupid "Newbies VS Elitist" thing, and I donít have to tell you how I feel about that. (Read it in Rant # 11 if you really want to know.)

Second a message to site owners.
If you want to keep your site up, but it will be more inactive than it once was, still try to keep your site up. Place a noticeable message on your index page to your visitors about the current status of your site. If you get stupid emails asking or demanding updates, ignore them. They obviously did not see the notice or simply do not understand. If you get really tired of the stupidity, try removing your email addresses from the site, or get a web based email separate from your "default" email and change the email addresses to that new address. Then you donít have to check the email so often and people can still reach you. Please shut down only as a last resort, or only if you need the space for a new project. You may regret it down the road, and will disappoint some of your more frequent and loyal visitors. If you do shut down, then I respect it. We all should respect it. Like I said, there is no sense in continuing a fan site if the fun has completely gone out of it.

  • August 16th, 1999
  • As usual any comment made on this page is that of "The Amazoness Quartet" or one of its members. Tripod has nothing to do with our opinions, etc, lalala...

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