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I've been thinking about this for ages, and I want my own contribution to this to be a simple webring service.

If you're unfamiliar with the concept, a webring was a simple circular linked list. You had a link on your knitting-themed site to the "next knitting-themed site", that site had a link to the next one, etc.

To join the ring, you just emailed someone and said "hey, I, too, have a knitting-themed site, can you add me to your webring?", they looked at your site, and changed their link to your site, you added the link they previously had, and the ring continued.

I want to build something simple that'll serve a small widget with previous/next/random site buttons, it'll work like the webrings of old regarding the curation aspect, so to get added you'll need to be referred to by someone.

Would you use something like that? You'd basically just drop a bit of HTML on your page and it wouldn't load heavy JS/analytics/crap, just whatever was necessary to paint a few links.

There was a small resurgence of webrings in last year:

Hotline Webring: https://hotlinewebring.club

XXIIVV Webring: https://webring.xxiivv.com

Weird Wide Webring: https://weirdwidewebring.net

I'm personally more into personal directories and blogrolls than these random clicks - but they still seem to be a good way to put together a small community. (And this post isn't meant to discourage you - but rather to encourage you to form your own.)

Oh I like the Hotline one especially! Easy to implement and some of the sites on there are very cool indeed. Thanks for these links.

Hmm, that's very useful information, thank you! Personal directories seem more useful and easier to put together, I think you're right.

Well then here are some little directories to inspire you! :)

* Edwin Wenink's 'etc' page: https://www.edwinwenink.xyz/etc/etc/

* Gabby Lord's: https://omglord.com

* Fingers.today: https://fingers.today

* Neonauticon: https://neonaut.neocities.org/directory/

* Gwern: https://www.gwern.net (the whole thing is a massive personal directory)

Great list. I would like to add UbuWeb, a massive collection of hard-to-find avant garde art, movies and texts. Curated by hand by Kenneth Goldsmith. Online since circa 1996 (and I think he has also more or less kept the original layout).



Thank you! These are all delightful.

Personally I also started longing for webrings recently; they seem more personal to me than directories, and there's more excitement of surprise and discovery. Also I think they're more "slow paced" and involved: you have to go through them one by one, whereas with directories you may look at the titles and already start making judgements based on the titles alone.

I think I'd say there's space for directories (again???) and there's space for webrings (again!). Though it kinda feels weird to me how Google removed the need for directories and webrings at a time (and I distinctly remember the relief), and now Google results got so crappy (destroyed by SEO?) that the need starts to come back :/ such that even I myself feel it.

I agree that webrings had a surprise factor, but like clicking on "surprise me" on https://wiby.me! (Or at least, that's the closest almost-analogous thing I use today).

Curlie (https://curlie.org/) is the closet I've found to a proper curated directory, and it's really quite good.

> now Google results got so crappy (destroyed by SEO?) that the need starts to come back

That is exactly my thought process. You can't get quality content on Google any more, it's all lowest-common-denominator paid content from huge content farms.

I'm working on a webring type project right now, with a central site that pulls in RSS feeds of all the ring members to create a central news feed (HN style interface), to help with discoverability too.

You add the webring to your site, allowing your visitors to discover more sites you specifically like, then you can opt-in to have your RSS feed fed back to the main site.

Absolutely. Working on this for a rural area near me with many local artisans. A simple "Our Friends" section that rotates and encourages users to explore artisans in the area.

Great idea! Renaissance of the original Internet.

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