James S. Huggins' Refrigerator Door: Click here to go to my Home Page. the wazillion navbars project; yahoo! webrings; yahoo! webring navbars; yahoo! navbars
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


Project Overview

This section of my website holds my reference information about the old Yahoo! WebRing system. The Yahoo! WebRing system no longer exists. 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.

This page provides an overview of the Wazillion Navbars Project.

This article is part of the Wazillion Navbars Project: a project to explore and write about the Yahoo! WebRing system. For a list of these articles click here or see the section menu at the bottom of this page.

Note that the Yahoo! WebRing system no longer exists. It has been spun off to the independent WebRing.com system. The Wazillion Navbars Project has been closed. These pages are thus, no longer accurate and do not apply to the new WebRing.com system. Instead, these pages are being maintained for a "historical record".

For current information on the WebRing.com system, see my webring subsection about the WebRing.com system.


What is this all about?

In September 2000 Yahoo! made many changes to what had been the Original WebRing system. It became Yahoo! WebRing.

Many of us believe that the changes were detrimental to the system and disrespectful of both the ringmasters and webring members.

As a result of those changes I began The Wazillion Navbars Project. This page explains some of that.

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.

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.

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.

How is it spelled? I see "web ring", "webring" and sometimes just "ring". Which is it?

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.

When did the Yahoo! changes start?

. This is the WebRing.com system logo as of Oct.2006. 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 WebRing.com system.
This is the new logo for the WebRing.com system, implemented in their changes of Oct.2006. It distinguishes this webring system from the other systems like Ringlink, RingSurf and Bravenet. See also my articles: WebRing.com Logos and Is Webring a Trademark?

There were some preliminary change in the 4th quarter of 1999. The motivation for the changes was never well explained, but there was some speculation that they were attempts by the staff of the Original WebRing to change the system sufficiently to remain "independent" within the Yahoo! system.

Many of the changes were disliked and there was substantial disagreement expressed on the closest thing to an "official" forum: a Yahoo! Club named Webring News.

Whatever the motivation for those changes, they were clearly not sufficient to keep the system independent.

In August 2000 Yahoo! sent out an email announcing the integration of the Original WebRing into the Yahoo! system. It encouraged everyone to get a Yahoo! ID. It was the beginning of several months of frantic activity as ringmasters attempted, with little success, to find out what Yahoo! was actually doing, and why.

On 05.Sep.2000, Yahoo! introduced the new Yahoo! WebRing system. It met with extreme reactions from the ringmasters. It was introduced before it had been completely tested and there were consistent system failures. The level of discord and disagreement within the Webring News club resulted in the moderator beginning to censor messages and ban members. Rival, satirical, competing clubs began to appear. Eventually, all the history of messages to that that club were completely deleted (including the messages from the 4th quarter of 1999 about the earlier problems) and the Webring News club was disbanded. One of the replacement clubs, Webring News Uncensored continued with the largest message volume. Eventually it was joined by other more specific clubs. (I list some of them below in the links.)

What were the Yahoo! changes?

In the Original WebRing system, a ringmaster would create whatever custom HTML was desired to identify and promote the webring. That HTML would include links to the system database. These links would "pass" information identifying which webring was involved, which site was doing the link, and the function desired. These functions could include going to the Webring Home page, listing the sites, going forward, going backward, and others.

Yahoo! changed all that:

  1. Instead of having a webring member place the webring HTML on his page, Yahoo! adopted a system called Server Side Navigation Bars (SSNB). The webring member places JavaScript on the page. The JavaScript "delivers" the required HTML at the time the page is browsed. The HTML is delivered in the form of uniform bars (navigation bars or navbars) into a "stack".
  2. The use of JavaScript completely removed all creative control from the ringmaster. Aside from some trivial color choices and an optional miniscule graphic, no real customization is permitted. All the navbars (navigation bars) look the same.
  3. The use of JavaScript completely removed all operational control from the ringmaster. All the links in all the navbars are always the same. Every navbar links to (a) a join panel, (b) a list of sites (called the "Hub", (c) a "random" site, plus "next" and "previous".
  4. The Yahoo! system completely eliminated the links to the Webring Home Page. Particularly for webrings promoting a cause or with complex membership requirements or providing substantial information as a part of the webring, this change severely impacted the ability of a ringmaster to effectively use the webring system.
  5. Because the Yahoo! system must deliver the navbars to the page when it is being browsed, the load on the Yahoo! servers has a substantial impact on the load speed of the page. Also, if the Yahoo! Server fails for any reason the navbars do not display and the remainder of the page also does not display. Inexperienced webmasters who place the JavaScript at the top of their pages risk having unexplained page failures.
  6. The use of JavaScript disenfranchises the sight impaired who use text-only browsers that cannot support JavaScript.
  7. The focus of the new system became (a) to generate more Yahoo! IDs and to use those (b) to drive visitors to Yahoo! pages at the expense of the Webring Home Page and (c) to crossmarket those to other Yahoo! services.

What did ringmasters do?

When the changes from Yahoo! began, I offered substantial postings in the Webring News club (now deleted), as well as in the the subsequent clubs (e.g., Webring News Uncensored). I was joined by many other caring ringmasters.

I started a Problem List (see also below) as a way of trying to reduce the multiplicity of postings of the same problems.

We all offered our criticisms and suggestions.

Unfortunately, we were shut out. Yahoo! did not announce the opportunities to comment and eventually forbid their staff from commenting in the forums or contacting us or responding to us in any way. All of our attempts to help resulted in nothing except Yahoo's hope that we would all get tired and go away.

Their communication dwindled. They issued an update on 22.Sep, 05.Oct, 16.Oct and again on 16.Jan.2001.

eventually, I realized that while the new system was of absolutely less value to a ringmaster, and while the navbars were ugly, and while the navbars were JavaScript and would not appear on my primary pages that I could still join webrings in the Yahoo! WebRing system if I controlled it carefully.

Thus I created The Wazillion Navbars Project.

What is The Wazillion Navbars Project?

The Wazillion Navbars Project is my attempt to join a whole bunch of Yahoo! WebRings (a wazillion of them), to achieve a variety of interrelated goals:

  1. express my dislike of the look and feel of the navbars
  2. express my disapproval of the use of JavaScript for the navbars particularly because such JavaScript is unavailable to many browsers, including many of the browsers used by the sight impaired
  3. express my disapproval of the new limited role of ringmasters within the Yahoo! WebRing system
  4. Illustrate what it actually looks like when people join multiple webrings and to illustrate the design implications of such joinings
  5. Through mirroring of my navbar stack on a variety of page environments, illustrate the significant design problems of text and background colors
  6. "Stress test" the application and webring membership process (which identified dozens of  previously unidentified "opportunities" within the Yahoo! WebRing system that were not previously identified and identified the maximum number of navbars that will fit into a stack: 168)
  7. Provide a "home" for ringmasters needing to park some memberships to keep skeletons of their former webrings "alive"
  8. And, last, but certainly not least, provide me a humorous release from all my postings to the various forums discussing the Yahoo! WebRing system and Webrings in general (see links below) and from my maintenance of the list of my Personal and Unofficial List of Yahoo! WebRing Problems (yes, also below).

Am I Anti-Yahoo!?

No. Not really. I am disappointed with what Yahoo! did to the Original WebRing system. I am disappointed that the concerns of the true owners of webrings, the ringmasters, were not adequately addressed during the assimilation into the Yahoo! system. And I a disappointed that the official feedback mechanisms seem to not work.

But I am not "anti-Yahoo!". I do not oppose the company or their owners or their employees. Rather, I disagree with what they did. My objection is not to "them", but rather to their actions.

What kind of Yahoo! WebRing system webrings do I join?

What kind of Yahoo! WebRing system webrings do I join?

  1. There are "content based" webrings in the Yahoo! WebRing system for which I clearly qualify (humor, motivation, science, technology, Multiple Sclerosis, etc.)
  2. There are "advocacy" webrings in the Yahoo! WebRing system I wish to support (artists'/creators' rights, free speech, POW/MIA, etc.)
  3. There are "community" webrings in the Yahoo! WebRing system in which I want to participate (cyber hugs, mutual support, friends, etc.)
  4. There are "protest against Yahoo!" Webrings I'd like to support (some created especially for this page) 
  5. Finally, there are webrings in the Yahoo! WebRing system that don't seem to fit any of these, who's ringmasters have invited me to join because they wanted their navbar to appear on this page as their own way of expressing their disapproval with Yahoo!

If I'm so upset about this, why am I joining webrings in the Yahoo! WebRing system?

Because if everyone who understands what happened, why it happened and why it should not have happened just packs up their toys and leaves, it will be exactly what Yahoo! wants.

Besides, though I have very strong disagreements with Yahoo! WebRing, my disagreements with the Yahoo! WebRing system are not disagreements with individual webrings or with individual ringmasters.

What does Yahoo! think about all this?

Let's just say I won't be getting a Christmas card from them.

Where are my navbars?

My navbars now appear on special dedicated pages just for the navbars. I have a list of those pages in the links below.

Are any of those navbars ones I created?

Someone wrote to suggest that I just create bunches of Yahoo! WebRing system webrings for the stack. Sorry. That would be "cheating".

I am a ringmaster of only two Yahoo! WebRing shown on my pages.

One is a webring called Pegasus. I use the Pegasus webring to help me "create" a new stack. I explain that on a page by itself.

The other is a webring called RingMasters Disappointed With Yahoo! WebRing.

But, some other people have actually created special webrings in the Yahoo! WebRing system just to promote my stack. The Just for James webring, the 404 navbar webring and the blackholegenenerator webring are all examples. 

If you would like to create a Yahoo! WebRing for my navbar stack, please feel free. It can express your feelings about the Yahoo! WebRing merger, or just about anything else. Just email me and invite me to join. Don't forget to send the Webring ID. Or you can use the "invite" function on the Yahoo! WebRing system: my Yahoo! ID is Wazillions_Of_Ugly_Navbars.

More Information

Since this page was originally written, the Yahoo! WebRing system has ended and the WebRing.com system has taken its place.

If you are interested in staying in touch with webring issues, I strongly recommend joining the Ring Manager Community list.


 Webring News and Announcements


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


The Wazillion Navbars Project

WNP Table of Contents 
The August 2000 email: Text 
  Project Overview 
 The August 2000 email: Advice 
  Yahoo! WebRing Lite 
  The August 2000 email: Remarks 
  The Jan 2001 Changes 
  Webring System Hosts 
  Forums and email Lists 
  Comments Across the Net 
 Mirrors of My Wazillion Stack  
  Links and Pages 
 Other Large Navbar Stacks  
 Letters from RingMasters  
  Problem: Split Stack 
  Webrings That Moved or Closed  
  Problem: Navbar Graphic 
  Media Articles 
  Personal/Unofficial List of Problems 
  Other Yahoo! Integration  
  Why You Should Not Delete 
  Other Yahoo! Issue Sites  
  Why You Can't See The Navbar? 
  My Yahoo! WebRing Memberships 
  Is "Webring" a Trademark? 
  Help With Yahoo! WebRing  
  The January 1999 email: Text 

Want to link to my Wazillion Navbars Project?
Want to suggest a link for me to add?
Please read my
Requests and Suggestions for Linking

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.

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

Webrings: General Information

This subsection includes general information about webrings. Webrings can be hosted by a variety of different services. This section deals with the overall concepts and issues, not with any one particular "brand" of webring.

It includes my Webring FAQ, links to articles about webrings, and general help information. Click here or on the graphic.

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.

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 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:
Wed, 20.Jun.2001

Last updated:
16:18, Sat, 10.May.2014

. . .


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