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Webrings - - - A chainmail web of rings - - - This graphic identifies pages of my website about webrings in general - - - This graphic is by Dylon White. Graphic copyright 2001 by Dylon Whyte of artofchainmail.com and James S. Huggins

Webring FAQ

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.

 

1.  What is a FAQ?

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.

2.  What are the questions?

  1. What is a FAQ? 
  2. What are the questions? 
  3. What is a webring? 
  4. Where did it come from? 
  5. What happened with Yahoo! WebRing? 
  6. Why is it called a "ring"? 
  7. How is "webring"it spelled? 
  8. What is a RingMaster? 
  9. Does the RingMaster do it all by himself/herself? 
  10. What is a member? 
  11. Are sites in rings or are pages in rings? 
  12. What are Webring Controls? 
  13. What is a logo? 
  14. How do the links on a typical Webring site work? 
  15. What is a Ring ID? 
  16. What is a Site ID? 
  17. What is the "Home"? 
  18. What is the difference between the Ring and the Queue? 
  19. How does a site join a webring? 
  20. What is Ring Management? 
  21. Are there any other terms I should know? 

3.  What is a webring?

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.

4.  Where did it come from?

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.

In late 1998, Geocities bought Starseed, and with it, Webring. Then, in early 1999 Yahoo! bought Geocities. On September 5, 2000, Webring became Yahoo! WebRing.

5.  What happened with Yahoo! WebRing?

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:

In September 2000, Yahoo! began the integration of WebRing with Yahoo! As of today, 09.Sep.2000 it is not going particularly well. 

Postings to clubs and newsgroups by ringmasters indicate large scale failures in the system as it went live. There is some indication this is the result of a lack of configuration control in either the test environment or the live server environment or both (i.e., differences between the two environments). And, promises are being made that the problems will be fixed. 

However, even if it is "fixed" it is unclear whether many ringmasters will stay or will leave for similar competitive services. The new system seems to have removed many of the features that ringmasters liked and introduced "features" as "requirements" that many ringmasters loathe. 

In addition, the new system requires that sites obtain the navigation controls through the use of JavaScript. This requirement makes the Ring navigation invisible to everyone using a browser that does not support JavaScript. And it makes the rings inaccessible to many sight impaired who use such browsers. 

Over a month later, on 16.Oct.2000 I wrote on that same page:

It is now 16.Oct.2000. Over a month has passed. The system has settled down some, but there are substantial gaps in features and substantial disagreement between many ringmasters and Yahoo! WebRing.

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.

6.  Why is it called a Ring?

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.

7.  How is "webring" spelled? 

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.

8.  What is a RingMaster?

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.

9.  Does the RingMaster do it all by himself/herself?

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". 

10.  What is a member?

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.

11.  Are sites in rings or are pages in rings?

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.

12.  What are Webring Controls?

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.

13.  What is a logo?

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.

14.  How do the links on a typical Webring site work?

The links on each site pass information to the WebRing System to identify:

  • What WebRing is involved?  (the Ring ID, see below)
     
  • What Site is involved?  (the Site ID, see below)
     
  • What function is desired?

Possible functions include:

  • Previous List
    Shows a list of the "previous" sites in the ring and permits a choice from among those listed. 
     
  • Skip Previous
    Go to the site before the site before this site. This function is useful for "skipping over" a broken site.
     
  • Previous
    Go to the site before this site.
     
  • Next
    Go to the site after this site.
     
  • Skip Next
    Go to the site after the site after this site. This function is useful for "skipping over" a broken site.
     
  • Next List
    Shows a list of the "next" sites in the ring and permits a choice from among those listed. 
     
  • Random
    Go to a random site in the webring.
     
  • List
    List the sites in the webring.
     
  • Home
    Go to the "home page" for the webring.
     
  • Statistics
    Show statistics for the webring. These might include number of visitors, sites receiving the most visitors, sites sending the most visitors, etc.
     
  • Search
    Search the site information to find a particular site in the webring. 

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.

15.  What is a Ring ID?

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.

16.  What is a Site ID?

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.

17.  What is the "Home"?

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.

18.  What is the difference between the Ring and the Queue?

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.

19.  How does a site join a webring?

Joining a non-Yahoo! WebRing is very simple. In general, the process is the same for every non-Yahoo! WebRing:

  1. Register your site in the Webring Queue using a simple form.

    This form is either present on or linked to by the Webring Home Page. It generally asks for the some combination of (a) site title, (b) URL, (c) description, (d) webmaster name (e) webmaster email address, (f) keywords and (g) a description. Some webring systems (e.g., Ringlink) also ask you to supply your own Site ID.

    When submitted, the webring system creates an entry in the Webring Queue for this site, and, if necessary, assigns a Site ID to your entry and stores all  your information.

    Many webring systems also send a confirming email to the webmaster email address.
     
  2. Copy any required graphics from the Webring Home Page to your server.
     
    Most ringmasters do not want you to link directly to their graphics. Instead, you must copy the graphics to your site.
     
    Note: For some webmasters, particularly those using "web editors" like those for Geocities and Yahoo!, "copying to the server" is sometimes a mystery. They think it means "put the graphic on the web page". It does not. But, I've got special instructions to help those people.
     
  3. Put the Webring Controls on the page you registered and make any modifications required according to the instructions you receive.

    Some webring systems pop-up a page with the Webring Controls, some require you to go to a page to get them, and most also send the Webring Controls in the confirming email.
     
  4. Notify the ringmaster that you put the Webring Controls on your page.
     
  5. The ringmaster reviews the site and moves you from the queue into the webring.

20.  What is Ring Management?

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. 

21.  Are there any other terms I should know?

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.

 
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 Webring News and Announcements

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WebRing.com Changes Big Time ---  It was October 2001 that WebRing.com came into existence following the end of Yahoo! Webring. Now, 5 years later, WebRing.com is changing again. Moving from primarily a free service to primarily a paid service, the system is undergoing massive change. Stay tuned.

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This is the logo for the Ringlink system. This logo is shown ONLY to illustrate the logo for purposes of this article. The appearance of this logo in this article does not imply any endorsement or affiliation of any kind between this site or the author and the Ringlink system.  

Ringlink Activity  ---  While Ringlink has not released a new version since Version 3.2 on 21.Feb.2005, the system seems to be getting a lot of activity. Many people are discovering this great webring system and moving their webrings here. If you don't know about Ringlink, definitely check out this great webring system. I personally recommend it.

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This is the logo for the World of Webrings Community. This logo is shown ONLY to illustrate the logo for purposes of this article. The appearance of this logo in this article does not imply any endorsement or affiliation of any kind between this site or the author and the World of Webrings Community.  

WoW  ---  The World of Webrings features the World of Webrings discussion list. It offers a forum for both webring owners (ringmasters) and webring members to discuss the latest hot topics about all webrings, including WebRing.com, Ringlink , Alt-Webring, RingSurf, Bravenet and others. If you belong to any webring in any webring service, you should join this list.

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This is the logo for the RingSurf system. This logo is shown ONLY to illustrate the logo for purposes of this article. The appearance of this logo in this article does not imply any endorsement or affiliation of any kind between this site or the author and the RingSurf system.  

RingSurf Passes 3 Year Anniversary  ---  It was 3 years ago, on 16.Aug.2003 when the WoW list list noted that RingSurf's domain name registration had changed. Then the new owner came forward. A RingSurf Feature List was developed and debated. Then, on Thanksgiving day, 27.Nov.2003 the new owner posted on the WoW list that the new RingSurf is up! If you haven't checked it out lately, see what has happened in the last three years.

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James S. Huggins is interviewed and quoted in a new Salon.com article entitled: The Strange Saga of Yahoo and Webring (05.Dec.2001)  

Article About Webrings  ---  Check out this excellent Salon.com article about the history of Yahoo! and WebRing.com: The Strange Saga of Yahoo and Webring . For some, it will bring back memories. For others, it will explain the history. Now, I wonder if they will update it to talk about the latest WebRing.com changes.

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Webrings: General Information

Webrings: General Information
 
Why Copy Graphics
 
Webring FAQ
                           CHANGED ARTICLE!!
19.Jan
Webring Welcome Pages
 
Articles Across the Net
 
How I Join Webrings
 
Webring Systems
 
Master Design of My Pages
 
Page editors
 
Standard Controls
 
Is Webring a Trademark?
 
  Webring Host explanations
 


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Webring Sections and Subsections

The Webring Section is a large section of my website. I have divided it into four major "subsections".

  • General Information
  • The WebRing.com System
  • Webrings I Own and Belong To
  • The Wazillion Navbars Project

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 - - - An interlocking stack of gold rings symbolizes the system - - - This graphic identifies pages of my website about the Webring.com System - - - Original image copyright Jeff McIntosh - - - Licensed through iStockphoto.com

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.

Wazillion Navbars Project: Yahoo! WebRing - - - A stack of "ABC" blocks symbolizes stacks of "navbars" - - - This graphic identifies pages of my website about the Wazillion Navbars Project - - - Original image copyright Jeff Allen Johnson - - - Licensed through iStockphoto.com

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 Webrings I Belong To - - - A floating stack of rings - - - This graphic identifies pages of my website showing webrings I own and webrings I belong to - - - Original image copyright Jeff McIntosh - - - Licensed through iStockphoto.com

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.



The chain mail graphic at the top of this page copyright 2001 by Dylon Whyte of artofchainmail.com and James S  Huggins.

James S. Huggins is interviewed and quoted in a new Salon.com article entitled:
The Strange Saga of Yahoo and Webring

The extra text menu links (previously here) are being removed in the site redesign.
Browser and search engine improvements have eliminated the motivation/necessity for them.

This page created:
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Wed, 16.Aug.2000

Last updated:
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webrings faq, webrings information, what is a webring, how do webrings work . . . webrings faq, webrings information, what is a webring, how do webrings work