This page is my FAQ about webrings in general.
It addresses topics relevant for all "brands" of webrings, not just webrings in the WebRing.com system.
This includes the WebRing.com system, Ringlink, RingSurf, Bravenet and others.
FAQ is the Internet abbreviation for Frequently Asked Questions. It refers to an information page containing such questions and their answers. It is a convenient way of introducing a concept.
Webrings are communities of websites, united by a common interest and organized into a circular "ring" of mutual links, together with some technology to make it all work. Links on each page permit you to go from site to site, to travel the entire webring, eventually returning to the page from which you started. Links also permit you to access the list of member sites and to join the webring.
The inspiration was a similar structure called eUROPa ((expanding Unidirectional Ring of Pages). EUROPa began on 22.Dec.1994. Dennis Howe thought it up and wanted to see how many people would join.
To join, you create a eUROPa page on your site by copying one from someone else's site. Then you ask that person to add you in. That person changes their "next" link to point to you and sends you the URL that used to be their "next" link to make your "next" link. That "inserts" you into the ring.
(I joined eUROPa. Click here to go to my eUROPa page.)
Sage Weil thought that he could create a cgi program to manage the ring. Later, Jerry Heirro suggested using a centralized cgi program.
Sage created Webring in June, 1995 and launched it in March, 1996.
By the beginning of 1997, there were over 1,000 webrings. By May of 1997 over 10,000. By April, 1998, there were over 40,000. By Jan 2000 there were over 80,000.
In 1997, Sage sold Webring to Starseed, Inc., in Ashland, Oregon.
Sage Weil sold WebRing to Starseed. Then Geocities bought Starseed. In Spring of 1999, Yahoo! bought Geocities, and with it, WebRing. There had been little obvious activity in integration until August 2000.
In early August 2000, Yahoo! began sending an email to ringmasters and ring members. The email was "signed" by the WebRing Team.
For that reason, some ringmasters, including myself, began to write our members to tell what we know about all of this and to offer both some calming words and a suggestion.
I also began writing the ringmasters of all the rings to which I belong.
Then, on 05.Sep.2000 Yahoo! WebRing turned off the Original WebRing and turned on the new Yahoo! WebRing. Many ringmasters are visibly upset by this. To read about all of this, check out my Wazillion Navbars Project.
On 09.Sep.2000 I wrote this note on a page my site:
Over a month later, on 16.Oct.2000 I wrote on that same page:
I have an entire sub-section of my site dedicated to the Yahoo! WebRing system. It is called: The Wazillion Navbars Project.
On 12.Oct.2001, Yahoo! announced that it was leaving the webring business. The Yahoo! WebRing system was "spun off" and new operates as the WebRing.com system. See my section on the WebRing.com system for the latest information.
Let's say you are on a site with a page devoted to some particular interest, let's say Underwater Basket Weaving). You see a webring link for the Underwater Basket Weaving Webring.
Clicking to the next page on the Underwater Basket Weaving Webring will take you to another page on another site for Underwater Basket Weaving. If you click enough you will return to the original page you started with. The pages link to each other to form a ring of links.
The term has evolved over time.
Sage Weil developed the original term "webring" and registered the domain name "webring.org". After the Original WebRing System was sold to Starseed, and then Geocities and then Yahoo!, Yahoo! seemed to be making a distinction between "Webring" and "Ring". They seemed to be using the term "Webring" to mean the (original) Webring system. And they seemed to be using the term "Ring" to mean an individual webring within the Webring system.
Based on that, I began to distinguish on my site. So, while I had previously used "Webring" to mean both I began to change. For all new information, I began to use "Ring" or "Web Ring" to mean an individual webring within the system. And, I began using "Webring", "Webring aystem" or "Webring.org" to mean the system.
But, on 05.Sep.2000 that changed. On that day Yahoo! "assimilated" the Original WebRing into the Yahoo! system. Suddenly it is no longer "Webring" but "Yahoo! WebRing". As a result of a wazillion changes, I began to research the term just a bit.
I discovered that Yahoo! had attempted to trademark the term "Webring" but that registration had been denied. (I wrote my research and what I found on my page titled Is Webring a Trademark.)
Once I found that, I began converting back to "webring". My new standard, for my site, is that the term "webring" means any webring, whether in Ringlink or RingSurf or Bravenet or the WebRing.com system (the successor to Yahoo! WebRing) or in any other system. In lower case, it refers generally; I'll use it upper case only as part of the name of a particular webring, as part of a title, at the beginning of a sentence, and in other places where general English usage requires capitalization.
I'll use the double capitalized "WebRing" to refer specifically to the WebRing.com system.
But, there are two problems. First, my site has been written over time. You will see "Webring", and "Web Ring" and "webring" as I slowly clean my pages.
Second, my use, my standard, is not "official". It is not the standard of the world. So you will also see other uses as I quote other people or reference their names. And across the net you will see both forms because people just chose different ways.
Actually, it is not "what" but "who". The ringmaster (or ringmistress as some prefer to be called) is the person in charge of a particular webring. They create the webring, create the "home" page containing information about the webring, admit pages/sites to the webring, remove pages/sites from the webring, answer inquiries about the WebRing and maintain the central information about the webring. The ringmaster is the "owner" of the webring.
The Original WebRing system (before the Yahoo! Assimilation) provided for "helpers". It was possible to give helpers less than "full authority" but still have them perform some functions on the webring.
After Yahoo! assimilated the Original WebRing these options disappeared. For the Yahoo! WebRing system, only one Yahoo! ID can perform ringmaster functions. This means that assistants must be given access to the Yahoo! ID, which is very dangerous.
The other webring systems (RingSurf, Ringlink, Bravenet, etc.) also do not provide facilities for "helpers".
A member is a person who owns a page that is in the ring. Technically speaking, people aren't "in a ring". Rather, pages in their sites are in rings. However, we speak of the person who owns the page that is in a ring as the member and the page that is in the ring as the member page or member site.
Technically speaking, sites aren't in rings, pages are. It is technically possible to register several pages on one site separately in a ring, although this is rarely done and almost always discouraged.
Thus, because it is customary to only register one page of a site, we also talk about a site being in a ring.
The Webring Controls are the HTML code, and the associated graphics (logos) that permit a visitor to move from one site in the ring to another site in the ring.
Webring Controls were more commonly called a "Ring Fragment" or "Ring Code".
With the changes introduced by the Yahoo! assimilation of the Original WebRing system, the term became "navbar" (short for "navigation bar").
The term Webring Controls is my particular name for the things. I don't know of anyone else who uses the term.
each member of a ring places the Webring Controls on one (or more) of their site's pages.
Most ringmasters create a graphic image that is used within their Webring Controls to identify their ring. Some create a graphic that is used in addition to text based links. Others create a graphic that is used as an image map for linking. Still others may create two or more graphics (e.g., a main graphic and a graphic to associate with "next".
After the Yahoo! assimilation of the Original WebRing system, Yahoo! reduced the size of the permitted navbar logo to only 50x50 pixels. Yahoo! still permits a 150x150 pixel logo to be used on the page that lists the Yahoo! WebRing members.
The links on each site pass information to the WebRing System to identify:
Possible functions include:
Note: All of these functions were available on the Original WebRing system prior to the Yahoo! assimilation. Not all of these functions are available on the new Yahoo! WebRing system. Also, not all of these functions are available on the other webring systems.
The Ring ID is a sequence of characters that uniquely identify a particular ring to the webring system. All webring systems use the concept of a Ring IDs. However, the different systems construct their IDs differently.
The controls for a webring use the Ring ID to identify the particular ring involved. For example, the URL to invoke a particular function might include the string "ring=ringid" where ringid is the Ring ID for the particular WebRing.
A Site ID is a sequence of characters that uniquely identifies a particular page in a particular webring in a webring system. All webring systems use the concept of Site IDs. However, the different systems construct their IDs differently.
The controls for a webring use the Site ID to identify the particular site that is sending the control information. It identifies the particular site you are coming from. Within the URLs used to control webring access, the Site ID is required for functions like Previous, Next, Skip Previous, Skip Next, Previous List and Next List
While some webring systems (e.g., Yahoo! WebRing) uses a number for the Site ID, it has absolutely nothing to do with the "order" that sites are arranged in ring. The WebRing System may take you from 1 to 12 to 100 to 2 to 8 to 14 to 90 etc. In addition, the ringmaster can change the order so that the sites that were your "next" and "previous" sites yesterday aren't that today.
The "home" of a webring is a page outside of the webring system, that describes the ring, tells the qualifications to enter the ring, provides the ring logo and possibly the ring controls. It also gives (usually) contact information for the ringmaster.
The "home" has been a fundamental part of the webring concept since it was created. However, Yahoo! WebRing (following the assimilation of the Original WebRing system) significantly de-emphasized this functionality from the system.
The standard navbar for the Yahoo! WebRing system no longer contains a link to the webring "home". In addition, Yahoo! WebRing no longer permits the specification of a webring "home", separate and distinct to the ringmaster site. Instead, Yahoo! WebRing requires the ringmaster to have a site in the webring and permits the ringmaster to designate that site as the "ringmaster site". If it is so designated, a link to that site will appear on the webring list page.
This de-emphasis of the "home" function is peculiar to the Yahoo! WebRing system. It appears designed to direct webring visitors to the Yahoo! WebRing pages, instead of the ringmaster's own pages, to generate banner advertising revenue.
Most webring systems maintain two lists of sites for each webring.
The first list contains all sites that are actually part of the webring. Each of these sites has applied for membership, placed the webring controls on one or more pages of the site and been approved for membership by the ringmaster. The "Next" and "Previous" links on these sites will work and will move you from one site to the next.
The other list was called the Queue in the Original WebRing system. It is a list of sites that have applied for membership but haven't yet been approved.
Joining a non-Yahoo! WebRing is very simple. In general, the process is the same for every non-Yahoo! WebRing:
Ring Management is a set of pages within the a webring system that ringmasters use to control the ring. For example, ringmasters (or their helpers) can use Ring Management to approve sites, or to remove sites. Some webring systems also permit a ringmaster to "suspend" a site.
RingMasters can also use Ring Management to change webring information such as descriptions and the various email message text.
In addition, most webring systems except Yahoo! WebRing, permit the ringmaster to change the registration details of a site.
Ring members can also use Ring Management to change the registration details for their site.
Yes, "surfer" or "ring surfer". This is someone who is traveling the ring, either by clicking on the "next" or "prev" or similar links, or by going to the list page and checking the ring member sites one at a time. The surfer is the reason for webrings.
Webrings: General Information
Webring Sections and Subsections
The Webring Section is a large section of my website. I have divided it into four major "subsections".
each "subsection" has it's own special "logo".
As you travel in the various subsections you will find, near the bottom of each page, links to pages within that subsection and also links to the other subsections. To go to any subsection, just click on the "logo" or on the text link for that subsection.
The WebRing.com System
This subsection includes specific information about the WebRing.com system.
While not the only webring system on the net, it is the best known and the most used. I own many webrings in this system and belong to many webrings in this system. (I also own and belong to many webrings in other systems as well.) Click here or on the graphic.
The Wazillion Navbars Project
This subsection is a historical section about the Yahoo! WebRing system. It was begun during the early days of problems with the Yahoo! WebRing system in September 2000.
It ended when the Yahoo! WebRing system spun off into the independent WebRing.com system in October 2001. I maintain it for the historical record. Click here or on the graphic.
Webrings I Own and Belong To
This subsection shows all the webrings I own and links to all the webrings to which I belong. This includes webrings in Ringlink, RingSurf, Bravenet and the WebRing.com system as well.
If you are looking to join one of my webrings, this is a good place to start. If you wonder about the webrings I belong to, this is the place to go. Click here or on the graphic.
This page created: