This was originally a Thought, then a Thing, and then it ended up coming here. That does seem to be the general lifecycle for ideas that become main topics, though. This one just happened to bloom rather quickly.
It looks like one of our saved links broke. That's unfortunate, but it happens. It evidently wasn't important enough to us for it to be worth downloading and shuffling away in our folders. The website the page was hosted on still brings up the link in its search results but the page itself is gone. There's a web archive copy, though.
While we revisit it, we might as well write some thoughts about it. The article explains that personal websites that don't depend on social media are important and attempts to showcase how limitless websites can be through listing various (vague but intriguing) metaphors for website creation. Naturally, we read this article when we started out on Neocities.
We found the (broken) link in our notes while searching for something else, actually. Someone else wrote a blog post (or at least we assume it was a blog post) about growing a blog and the website it's on like a garden. This article isn't about that specific way of thinking but it does bring up and describe it. While we didn't quite connect with any of these ideas at the beginning, we understand the perspective much more now.
In the beginning, the website felt highly limited by our abilities and ideas. The philophies for website creation that we read about weren't as applicable because we were starting with a need for simple structure. The different ways of growing a website felt more like masks we could take on and off to find a perspective that might give us some more ideas on what we could add. It was an informative experience, and it did help us create the website, but it wasn't the experience that was actually being described.
The article starts off by explaining this. There's a difference between making a website, a functioning file or set of files that can be opened by a browser and understood by a viewer, and making that website into something. Something that means something, a site that's personal and full of things to see. When you have an HTML file with all the right parts but no content to hold, it doesn't feel like anything that really needs an encompassing metaphor besides maybe a design philosophy to add a few divs with. When you walk into a new, empty building, you may be able to imagine how it could be furnished and decorated as a house but, if you're there for a home, it probably doesn't feel alive.
In our experience, it's hard to plan something personal. You can plan something for someone else, for some functional purpose, or possibly for a theoretical audience. On the other hand, something feels personal when it's built on layers and layers of the residue you leave by being you. The space one section has to have blank because of an odd habit about what size images you use, the clashing kinds of visual themes you're drawn to that slowly get closer as you pile more on, words you wrote because they're what you think about and not because someone else wrote a list of things to say (and it's only a few words but every once in a while you add some more until you have to make a new page), things build on each other and replace each other the same way they do in a person. That's what makes those website philosophies feel real.
What kind of room is a website? Or is a website more like a house? A boat? A cloud? A garden? A puddle? Whatever it is, there’s potential for a self-reflexive feedback loop: when you put energy into a website, in turn the website helps form your own identity.
When we first read that article or the somewhat similar blog post, we had no clue what it meant to grow a website like a garden. We learned that it could feel that way, and that it was something we could possibly lean into if it helped. Eventually though, the understanding came as a sudden revelation that we just happened to have already known the words for.
This website is, currently, a garden to us. There are separate sections that grow in their own ways and tend to find ways to mix even when they aren't supposed to, the plants get more dense over time as more things sprout and grow, sometimes we get seeds from another person's garden that we plant because we liked the look of the grown plant, and sometimes we grabbed it just to have a challenge. Sometimes we find seeds that aren't what we want but they're still interesting enough for us to want to pass them on.
Maybe, someone will find some seeds they like in our garden, too. New seeds that are scattered enough to see the possibilities and be easily picked up, or a seed of something old that we've forgotten not everyone has lying around but it's just the thing someone else wanted to pick up. They could plant it in their own garden, or let it take the form of something more fitting for whatever kind of website they have. Neocities makes that kind of inspiration-searching very easy. It's much easier to find inspiration for a whole website on Neocities than it is on social media. We've gotten some ideas from Tumblr and Dreamwidth themes but growing a social media page is different from growing a website. Having a website philosophy surely isn't for everyone, but it's not a bad thing to have in the toolbox, either.
My favorite aspect of websites is their duality: they’re both subject and object at once. In other words, a website creator becomes both author and architect simultaneously. There are endless possibilities as to what a website could be.
- At some point, it would probably be a good idea to research intellectual property laws as they relate to artists.
- We don't really have a plan in place for how often this blog should be updated or where we're going to get ideas for main topics. Maybe some blog posts will be missing a main topic or just go into depth on our thoughts about something we (would) link in Things.
- We've been discovering some different kinds of music lately. We're probably going to make a page for music we like at some point. Branch 3 could definitely use some more content.
- Most of these songs are apparently considered "weirdcore," which doesn't actually seem to have a very well-defined definition in music besides "somewhat offputting." More generally, it seems to be based off of liminal spaces and dissociation.
- Here's a song we like. It has no lyrics.
- We decided to make a shrine for it as an example for the shrines page.
- How do most people make blog posts? These posts are probably much more in-depth than the ones many people make, but we work on them over multiple days. We have seen other long posts that probably count as essays but we haven't seen any indication of how long they take. We're not going to rush on these, though.
- In each post there tends to be one section that needs to have more content before we feel ready to upload it, and everything else continues growing while we get the lacking section caught up. So far, it's kind of hard to tell how sustainable the process is. Issues with the format get overwritten by the fact that we aren't on a schedule for these and we're lenient with how much content each section has to have. The other way to tell would be to know how readable this is for other people but that would vary by person anyway.
- Someone is giving us hiccups every time they front.
- It doesn't always feel like the main topic of a blog post is actually the most important part of it. Reorganizing the pieces each time doesn't feel right, though. We'll probably keep it the way it is and just naturally lean more towards talking about whatever we find most important in this thoughts section. If we have something we really want people to see, we can always link to it or rewrite it on the main website.
- Working on this website has been good fronting practice, actually. We set aside time to focus on it and different people want to work on different things.
- This list is probably hard to read.
- We finished this blog post a while ago and never uploaded it. Oops.
- There are probably a few typos in these blog posts. We write them in Notepad++ because we didn't expect them to be this long. Blog posts we know will be linked on the writings page will most likely be checked for typos but we don't bother with the others.
- "Math Has a Fatal Flaw" by Veritasium
- Somewhat like a summary of the other videos we've watched recently.
- "Why do prime numbers make these spirals? | Dirichlet’s theorem" by 3Blue2Brown
- "Dreamyverse" comic by Yanadose
- Two chapters out so far. The format is like a visual novel. I like the art style.
- "How This Tiny Fish is Cooling Our Planet" by Deep Dive
- Learning more about the ocean is nice, but the possibility of the ecosystem being so largely disturbed by humans interacting with even just these fish is concerning.
- "The Future of Writing About Games" by Jacob Geller
- We probably watched this a while ago and forgot about it. We don't play the games mentioned in the video, but the descriptions of how perspective changes how one remembers a game reminds me of us building a narrative in Spore that changed as we discovered different game mechanics.
- "The Revenge of the Circulating Fan" on the Low-Tech Magazine
- Fans are nice. We have a ceiling fan and a floor fan where we're currently sitting.
- "Why Monetizing Social Media Through Advertising Is Doomed To Failure" by synecdochic, parts one, two, and three
- We've been considering making a Dreamwidth account but we're still undecided on it. If we do make an account, it probably won't be anytime soon.
- "Fairy Tales, Trauma, Writing into Dissociation" by Sasha LaPointe
Here's a few fictional stories recommended by Rocky.
- "You, Disappearing" by Alexandra Kleeman
- A story from 2014 about an apocalypse that's happened more "casually" than expected. A few things stood out as being similar to what's been happening in reality.
- It's a nice story, although whoever was fronting when we read it didn't seem to get much out of it personally. People simply disappearing may not be that strange to us.
After the announcement, people did one of two things. Either they tried to care more, or they tried caring less. ...For a while we did whatever we had chosen with dedication. But it was difficult to stay dedicated for more than a few weeks and eventually we middled, caring about things sloppily and in spurts. ...In the end, there was only one kind of person.
- "The Orangutans Are Skeptical of Changes in Their Cages" by u/ZacharyAdams
- An interesting concept for a horror story. We don't usually read horror on Reddit though, so it may be more common than we think.
- Changes in tone may have caused some of the effect to be lost, in our opinion.
- We Men of Science by Raphael Bob-Waksberg
- This one is similar to "You, Disappearing" in some ways. The playing with different kinds of opposites is fun.