Yahoo! WebRing —
This essay is based on postings to the Ring Managers List made after the January 16, 2001 changes. These postings were also made to the Yahoo! Club Webring News Uncensored.
This essay has been edited and unified from the multiple postings.
See also the links after the essay to other resources on this site and across the net including the WebringNews Club, the Ring Managers List and more.
To see Yahoo!'s remarks about the changes, click here.
To contact me about Yahoo! WebRing, either new problems or fixes to listed problems, email me.
Yahoo! WebRing — The Jan 2001 Changes
I spent a few minutes journeying through the changed Yahoo! WebRing.
I found some new features. I believe that the most important one, for "most" ringmasters will probably be the automatic checker. The most important one to me, was the way the webrings are listed. But I found nothing spectacular.
I found a few problems. But nothing particularly disastrous. (One significant one identified by others and documented in the Yahoo! Clubs was promptly fixed and is not discussed here.) Mostly the problems I found are just little sloppy errors or small bugs, probably easily fixed.
A QUICK LOOK
They changed the primary navigation. It seems that the top of page "My Rings" link and the "List All My Rings" link both go to http://dir.webring.yahoo.com/mbr?p=mr
I'm not sure why there are duplicate links, but it isn't "bad".
However, there is a problem. Once you get to the "My Rings" pages, neither of these two links exists. Thus as you travel through the list pages (e.g., to the 2nd and 3rd list pages) there is no way to go back to the first list page.
On the "My Rings" pages the "Webring Home" link has been made into a "button". I have no idea why, but again it isn't "bad".
The "My Rings" listings have changed substantially. Previously, the link in the "Web Site" column went to the registered website. This made it possible to hover your mouse over the link and determine to which specific page this entry was registered. This is gone. Now the "Web Site" link goes to the edit Web Site Information page.
The "Ring Name" link now goes to the Webring List (Hub) page.
Previously, there were three individual links to
These have disappeared. Item "B" moved to the "Web Site" link. Items "A" and "C" are now sub-links on the List (Hub) Page along with a duplicate of "B".
These items are now on the List (Hub) page, are listed under "Member Tools" and are labeled
The membership status now shows clearly and prominently. The statuses include:
There has been an interesting development: the webrings are listed in "clusters". They are clustered by the particular navbar stack onto which they appear. And within the cluster they are listed in navbar stack order. These clusters are separated from each other by a blank line.
Well, that is not completely true. For webrings and memberships existing before the January 2001 changes, they are not listed in navbar stack order to start with. However, if you do the stack ordering thing (see below), they will be listed in navbar stack order after you do. It is a subtle distinction, but an important one.
Note that you do not need to change the order. Just click on any listing under "My Web Site(s)". Then click Order Navigation Bar. Then click Submit. The listing on the listing page will now be in navbar stack order.
(Personal Note: Because of the large number of distinct navbar stacks I have, this is useful for me. The blank line is a also nice touch.)
If I click on the link for a webring I own (i.e., a link in the top portion of the page), it will show a listing of the webring members.
The listing uses two icons for "status": "Active" and "Suspended". (The third status, "Pending", only shows for sites in the Queue and those are on a different management page.)
There are three one-word descriptions for the navbar status: "Working", "Broken" & "Unknown". There is no clear description of exactly what constitutes "unknown". 
There are direct email links to the individual site owners (a nice new touch). And there is a test button to test the navbar stack (another nice new touch).
As part of my testing I viewed a dummy registration I had previously created that deliberately did not work. It correctly showed as "broken".
There is also an option (and note, is is an option) labeled "Auto Management" to let the system automatically activate and suspend sites. (For some ringmasters who use webrings as a kind of free-for-all link exchange, this may be the nicest new feature).
SOMe PeRSONAL ISSUeS
Although the registrations for the webrings to which I belong are listed by navbar cluster, and although the clusters will be listed in navbar stack order, there is not an obvious sequence to the clusters.
It turns out that they are listed in a sort of "reverse" order based on when they were "touched".
Whenever you reorder a navbar stack, it moves to the bottom of the list of stacks and becomes the last listing cluster. Now again, for many (perhaps even most ringmasters) this is not not an issue. However, I have more than 1,200 navbars in multiple stacks. The fact that whenever I reorder the navbar stack on the first page of my listing it immediately moves to the back of the listing is a significant issue.
If I could "choose" it would be "nice" if the clusters were in some "obvious" order. The sequence I would suggest is "alphabetical" by the URL of the registered page.  This would also make it possible to provide an "index" listing so that I could go directly to the particular cluster in which I was interested. (Currently I have to single step through ten pages of listings trying to find the one I want.)
It would also be nice if the clusters were "labeled". Having the blank line is nice; it delineates the listings. But there is no indication which particular navbar stack is being shown. A label would be a great feature. And again, I would suggest the URL of the registered page.
(See below for a personal workaround I developed to the labeling issue.)
There is no convenient way to find a particular webring membership out of 500+. Of course, this problem, however real for me, may not be a problem for most. And, while it is possible to go next, next, next to look through my 500+ webrings. However, there is no direct way to go backwards (except by direct manipulation of the URL). Again, sequencing the clusters and providing an index would assist this.
On the page to get the Webring Navigation Bar it says
This may be a slight discrepancy. At this time it appears that the link is not titled "Customize Navigation Bar" but rather "Order Navigation Bar".
I can easily get the Webring Navigation Bar page to fail.
When you go to the "Process New Submissions" page it says
This confuses me and also contradicts both the registration email and the approval email. First, I would like to know if they have installed the navigation bar before they are approved.
Second, the email to the registrant says:
Thus the registration email contradicts the page and sends the Navigation bar. (See below for the approval email.)
There is a new feature: the ability to automatically expire submissions every 7, 30 or 90 days. However, while this feature appears optional to turn on, there does not appear to be any way to turn it off!
For example, my webring has no expiration set. However, if I choose 7, 30 or 90, there appears to be no way to go back to "no selection". "Never" is not a button option. It is unclear what happens if I leave it unchecked. But it does appear that if I do check it I cannot go back to "never". 
I added a test site to test. When a site is approved, the status is "unknown". (This is at least one meaning of the status "unknown". There is no definition what the other meanings are.) The system does not, apparently, automatically test a site upon approval. I am unsure why. Clicking on test, it was able to identify the registration as broken in less than 2 seconds It would seem to me that upon approval of a registration, a test should immediately and automatically be run. (Or, better yet, that the test should be available before approval.)
Since it is not possible to test a site before approval, if you approve and then test and then suspend . . . the user will receive an approval email then a suspension email. I am completely puzzled by this approach.
(Let me recap this: the system says "Applicants will be sent navigation bar information once they are approved". However, it is sent in the registration email and it is not sent in the approval email.)
The link labeled "Navigation View" was far less than intuitive to me. I finally figured out what it did, but I wonder how many newbies will have a clue.
Why do I make these points? Because right now to move a navbar from the bottom of a 168 navbar stack to the top of a 168 navbar stack requires 167 individual clicks (and it is not possible to just click-and-hold).
A PeRSONAL WORK AROUND FOR CLUSTeR LABeLING
As I noted earlier, the clusters of listings are not labeled. But I've designed a personal work-around.
When I register my page into my own webring, I use name that describes the URL. For example, if I am going to have the navbar stack for /rng3/yahoo_navbars.htm#a2, I use the description "RNG3 Yahoo Underline Navbars A2".
Since my own webring will appear at the top of the stack (and hence the top of the cluster listing), it will effectively "label" the listing.
I found a few nice new features. I also found a few errors I'm surprised their QA didn't catch. I did not find any big surprises.
1. Subsequent to this article, Andreasrings researched this question through her contacts at Yahoo! WebRing and added this to the the Manager FAQ at Andreasrings' Y!WR Help Site: "Unknown refers to new sites that haven't yet been reviewed by the AMS and those that timed out when the AMS attempted to load them. Clicking 'test' will often return 'working' or 'broken'." [back]
2. Alphabetization is not simply a function of pure ASCII Collating Sequence. It is not simply a character sort. Rather, proper alphabetization must create a "sort key" based on standard English alphabetization rules. At a minimum, such a key should eliminate the effects of "case". That is, webrings named "AAA", "aaa", "AaA" and "aAa" should all occur before webrings named "BBB" or "bbb". More advanced rules would include, for example, elimination of leading articles (e.g., a, an, the), handling of numbers (e.g., 100 Reasons vs. One Hundred Reasons) and compound names (von Trapp, Mc Mahan). The curious can obtain more information from the American Society of Indexers, a Selected Bibliography for Roman Alphabetization, and sample alphabetization rules for the Wesleyan University Library Card Catalog. [back]
The Wazillion Navbars Project
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.
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.
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 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.
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