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Show HN: I am trying to start a webring for geeks (geekring.net)
235 points by dusted 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 89 comments

This is really cool to see and I love how webrings are making a comeback. Here's one from Jack McDade filled with weird people/things. https://weirdwidewebring.net/

My favorite weird website: https://www.lingscars.com/

The only car salesman with nuclear capability: https://www.lingscars.com/missile-truck

The best part is her face in the home page's source code.

Yeah, that or this: "I take pride in having the most accurate prices on the web".

Here is a HN discussion on "Rediscovering the Small Web" which has some more webrings. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23326329

Are they making a comeback? I remember enjoying webrings back in the day, especially since searching wasn't so easy in the early days of the web.

As search continues to get more user hostile, I hope to see webrings make a comeback.

Is this not working? I don't see a site listing and the /random.html path doesn't load either…

http://geekring.net/site/0/random should work, but it's not a .html though, maybe the server choked at some point? To ensure maximum oldskooleability, this does run on a computer in my home, hosted on my very own homely private Internet connection ;-)

Could it be the hackernews hug of death?

I've not come across the concept of a webring before - but this is cool.

I feel like adding a link back to the ring (or at least next page) should be mandatory - else it feels a bit broken (I know the frameset version is there but feels less elegant). The third page ("https://finalkey.net/") in the ring when i was navigating had no explicit mention of the ring on the landing page...and that feels unfair?

I totally get that, and I've considered the pros and cons. For now, I'll have it be entirely optional, since getting people to join is kind of difficult to begin with.

That said, I might do something later on, to let the user choose to only browse sites with banners, so they don't need the frameset/iframe version, which have the problem of not always working/being allowed.

> Linkback/using the widget is encouraged but optional!

It's apparently by design.

Yeah some of the old ones from the 90s would render the ring in a separate frame so you could keep your place in the ring while navigating each page.

Yep I had the same issue and thought when I got to finalkey. I hit a random site after that and landed on another site where I couldn't find the link.

Got me thinking a browser extension could be useful for this type of thing.

Edit: there's iframes to solve this!

I _used_ to be a huge fan of stumble-upon, but at some point they added too much algorithm to it, and something else behind the curtain went south and it just started sucking.

Edit: StumBleUpon was a browser plugin (optionally, you could also use their frameset version at least earlier on), that would try to learn your interests based on previous sites you liked/disliked.

Nice, I often find myself missing the weird web of my youth. I hope this takes off. I think the ring needs a bit of curation though, of the few sites that are on it now the finalkey one seem to be... not relevant? Or at least unexpected. While cool and all this seems like a plain old sales site exept the thing sold is not made anymore. The site itself also lacks the ring widget.

In case you missed it there’s a r/hnblogs subreddit that tries to make it easier for some of the interesting non-commerical content within the community to be surfaced.



Show HN:


It's an ongoing experiment, but it's been going well so far and there have been a lot of interesting posts.

It's mostly people from HN and the submissions are restricted to (your own) personal blog.

I like the idea of web rings, but for me having a community where people can discuss the posts is a key thing that keeps me coming back to look for more.

Nice, and I agree, I'm definately guilty of going to the comments before I read the actual post. This might get me back to reddit maybe. But I also think that webrings actually could serve as a mechanism to "aggregate" more timeless info that don't fit in the blog format. Like collections of legacy manuals and binaries, the history of army radio equipment, things like that.

The "weird old web" was that way in part because there wasn't much in the way of curation. Occasionally encountering something unexpected was supposedly a good thing.

I remember webrings fondly because they introduced a minimal level of curation. If I'm on the Basic STAMP webring I don't want Tintin fancomics. That belongs on the Hergé webring.

> Basic STAMP


Yeah, that was the whole idea behind the "surfing" metaphor. Nobody surfs anymore, they just get an endless feed of algorithmic intellectual junk food.

They were entirely curated - but by humans, rather than algorithms. So there was more room for idiosyncracy. People also tended to have "kitchen sink" websites with a bit of all their interests on.

I remember when I used StumbleUpon to discover random things. That was cool

You are right, I need to add the widget to finalkey, to be honest, I never sold many of them, but I provide a lot of support for people still building them in 2020, and I think more people should use non-cloud hardware password managers! :P

I did something similar here that you may be interested in:


Blown away by the positive reception and the many submissions! I thought it'd be really fun not to give people the usual form where everything is laid out for them to fill out. Lot's of kind words and interesting sites to surf! I can't wait to have a closer look at them tomorrow! :)

I've added all outstanding submissions for now, and will come back tomorrow to add more :)

Someone asked me if "todays date" was local or universal. It's a good question, and it's actually "whatever the server runs" +/- 24 hours :) so yesterdays date and tomorrows date may also work depending on your location :)

This is great! I just put in a submission and added your links to my homepage.

I will say, so far most of the sites I have tried with the random button are missing the webring links. I seem to remember most of the rings I was involved in in the past required that the ring links were present on the homepage in order to be a member of the ring, maybe its worth adding that to this ring? Or maybe rank sites lower in the random priority that don't link back?

For now I am using the iframe browser version

Yes, I did make it optional in order to lower the bar of entry, same with not having to register a user account to submit a page. I will definitely do something about it in the future, maybe if the ring approaches A THOUSAND sites, I will probably make the random selector favour sites with the links, I will also consider some way for ring visitors to browse only the pages that link back.

Well, you came to the right place! :-)

I approve off your plan ;) Just this morning I tried to find a paper but couldn't so I looked at my HN history. Wading through past years I noticed there aren't many information resources on the web left that don't suck, and I noticed that for some time now, whenever I wanted to look up something CompSci-related, I don't even bother using general-purpose search engines anymore (except maybe CiteSeer) but go straight to HN's Algolia search to locate the story where a particular product or other topic is "treated".

I love this. webrings were one of the best features of the pre-monetized internet

What happened to linking to blogs you like/read (also called blogroll) and letting develop such ring (or rather network) organically? It's quite common among law blogs i.e. Popehat, SCOTUSblog, ..., also among various science blogs: Language Log, Observational Epidemiology, Critical Inference, ...

But for some reason it's rare among techies. It almost looks that because they know about SEO, they are afraid of outside links so not to lower their own search positions.

Some blogs link to websites in citations with rel nofollow, but there's no organic seo in it

<a href="https://news.ycombinator.com/" rel="nofollow">HN</a>

someone ought to reinvent el goog again

> It almost looks that because they know about SEO, they are afraid of outside links so not to lower their own search positions.

IIRC, WebRings disappeared because of that

I hit "Random" and got taken to https://finalkey.net/, but that site doesn't seem to have the ring buttons.

I found that one from the previous and the first thing I noticed was that it's selling a product.

> Who can join?

> Everyone who has a website where making money is not the primary goal.

I think it's a pretty sweet geeky project that I might consider buying - but selling the product definitely seems to be the primary goal.

I'm glad about the feedback, I don't intend to make or sell any more finalkeys so I'll definitely redo the frontpage to reflect that, and remove the buy option entirely :)

It took me a while to find the actual "ring" functionality, so here's[0] a direct link (there seem to be about 6 sites at the moment.)

[0] http://geekring.net/site/0/frameset

Back in the 90's web rings seemed like infinite collections of crappy home pages. Some people seem to feel differently, is it nostalgia or were there some really good ones out there?

> infinite collections of crappy home pages.

I think that's the point. People miss home pages in general.

I'll join! What is the simplest place to host a simple webpage?

In general? Probably a static page on GitHub pages. Or S3 static site hosting.

Thanks - I went with Netlify though. I just set up http://www.programminglanguagenews.com (no content yet though!)

Netlify is great. Good choice.

sdf.org (SDF Public Access UNIX System .. Est. 1987) offers free webhosting.

I discovered the Homebrew CPU webring less than 10 years ago and was amazed to find it's still full of great projects. Still going strong today, and many of the links are on GitHub now.


Just occurred to me that a .ring TLD would be awesome for this :)

I love, love, love this.

I was just talking to some younger colleagues, and they'd never even heard of important pieces of computer / internet lore, such as blinkenlights or even something as recent as bash.org.

I miss this part of the web, and am happy to see others putting effort into keeping its spirit alive.

The web was such a better place back then despite the dial-up.

This is really cool, and I have another idea; there could be a widget or snippet of code or something, which would make recommendations for other blogs at the end of blog posts.

This would solve the discoverability problem for indie blogs, which Medium has an advantage.

web ring...thats a word I have not heard in a long time.

I, for one, am looking forward to the triumphant return of the web counter.

Let’s not forget the guest book.

And the "under construction" gif with yellow and black barriers and a guy digging.

they're not dead. not yet anyway

I love this!

Can we do this with gopher somehow? Gopher needs curation like this.

Well, there are no redirects in gopher, although a similar thing can be done, by having a link to the ring menu, and then doing the rest there. The ring menu could be programmed to put two asterisks next to the active item, so that you can easily see where is next one and previous one. Some item could denote it as a ring menu, so that client software that supports it can display it in an alternative way if the user has enabled that function.

I miss seeing '.cgi' or '.pl' at the end of the http endpoints to give it that authentic 90's look and feel :)

also the user directories. domain.com/~user/

This breaks on the 3rd site in the ring because people don't look as though they're including the webring code on their page.

> Not all sites link back to the ring, so if you don't want to hunt for the banner, use The good old-fashioned frameset version or The new-fangled iframe version

Already covered

Ah goodo.

FYI - there's mixed HTTP/HTTPS content on this page. You can fix the security warnings by loading images with https.

Good point, I should use relative links for the images, I definitely want to keep the ring open for HTTP, I'm only of those crazies that still takes his Windows 95 for a surf once in a while :D

Isn't the entire Internet a "webring for geeks"? Seriously; what sets this apart from the rest of the net?

Sites without aggressive SEO and ad placement may as well not exist as far as the Googles of the world are concerned.

This allows for surfing and exploring the web in a non-structured way. If you're not explicitly searching for a site or a site doesn't comes up in a feed you subscribe to, then you'll never discover any of this stuff. Web rings help to decentralize the web and make it more discoverable again.

Discoverability, I suppose.

At least one human has voted that this page is worth spending the time to do the data entry task to get it to show up.

The early internet yes, the modern internet encompasses everyone and everything, it's a victim of its own success from the geek perspective.

Hmm, I always wondered, why are webrings rings (w/ next) as opposed to hub/index/portals of similar sites.

A curated index (vs the dynamic/generated search indexes of google) could be better broken into (related) topics.

If I don’t see a dripping blood horizontal rule as I click through the ring I’m going to be real disappointed.

Nobody got drippingbloodhorizontalrule.net yet?

I have never heard of geekrings before, I love it! I can see that included in my morning web routine. Bookmarked!

Is it for English sites only? Do you think it make sense for a ring to be multilingual?

I wish directory websites made a come back. Like old Yahoo.

Have you looked at https://curlie.org/ (successor to DMOZ)?

What problem do you think directory websites solve that search doesn't?

My website is miscdotgeek.com. This is extremely relevant!

I'd love to include your site, but, because I want to give people a way to remove their site from the ring again, please use the form or contact me on IRC, so I can add your site and give you your secret that lets you view stats and remove the site.

Remember when `geek` was a derogatory term? I'm triggered by this word.


My first thought was "Why a webring for freakshow performers on HN?"

I guess I'm getting old.

I like it.

You could start with some CSS

It doesn't need CSS. CSS is something we can do without. I like it without the CSS. Lets the settings by the user to take precedence instead, please.

I definitely could, I decideed however, to end before some CSS :)

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