Planted: February 17, 2023
Last tended: August 13, 2023
Do You Believe In God?
Agora Road - 4 Jul 2023
When I was younger, I’m pretty sure I suffered an existential crisis. Like, unironically yo, lol. I remember sincerely asking myself: “Why am I here?” (there were some underlying nihilistic sentiments). I was feeling like life wasn’t worth living (killing myself was sorta on the table, fortunately I’ve never struggled with that); I remember being so desperate, I resorted to asking my parents.
I brought up the topic of religion and God(s) and asking them what they believed and why. Their answer basically amounted to: “It’s what they were raised with / what they were taught”. My dad was a little rebellious about it, but even he acknowledged that the social pressure surrounding it wasn’t really something worth fighting against. They basically told me they followed the routines and rituals and norms, but that, ultimately, they just believed whatever they wanted on a personal level. Mom had some thoughts, dad others. But I left that conversation feeling they didn’t really have an answer, they said they didn’t know. It wasn’t a big deal to them, I took it a bit as they didn’t care, but, reflecting on it now, it’s a weird thing, to have a concrete answer to that kinda stuff, I think.
Dangerous too, people with “answers”, I mean. That’s exactly what I looked for though, and I basically found peace (and meaning too kinda) with Taoism & Gnosticism. I read a lot on that journey, but the texts that connected with me the most came from a dangerous(?) person. I’m a pretty strong believer in separating message from messenger though.
Anyway, at the “end” of that debacle, I compiled what I thought we’re some of the key takeaways that were important for me into a doc that I’d reread periodically. Eventually I printed them out into a binder that I kept in my closet. Eventually, I thought: “Maybe you shouldn’t just be in a closet…” I remember how I felt during the crisis, nothing else mattered at the time, my life circumstances didn’t matter. Who knows what I might’ve done…
It’s not that my “final destinations” should be another’s, but maybe they can serve as stepping stones on their journey / search. Potentially help get a person away from a dangerous headspace. That was my mindset when I created my site and it’s first section: Readings That Have Helped. The Belief article addresses the question of this thread, but I don’t believe the answer to that question by itself is sufficient. I’d advise combining it with the Meaning article.
Answering this kinda stuff, it can be pretentious, I think. But, it can help. I’m living proof. But it can only help with your mindset. Once that’s solved, it’s time for action. And that’s a whole other can of worms imo.
On Excessive Positivity #2
Yesterweb Forum - 6 Apr 2023
If you’re comfortable sharing, how do you reconcile the hyper kind vibe of stuff like Melonland with the vibe of chan-esque users? They seem like complete opposites of a spectrum to me, and have a hard time imagining someone genuinely liking both. (but no worries if you think this might get long or way too controversial)
I believe in balance as an essential piece for navigating life. Hot and cold, life and death, light and darkness. MelonLand is delibretly light. My understanding of Melon’s mentality is darkness is bountiful and his forum will not contribute to its abundance. MelonLand is kind, laid-back and fun.
And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. First off, like @glacial_pace, @madness & @Cobra wrote, MelonLand is his website, to manage as he wishes, on top of being a shared public space with the owner’s identity attached to it. But besides that? Honestly? I also think he’s kinda right. There IS a lot of negativity online. Maybe too much. I don’t know…
What I am quite certain of however, is that life is NOT exclusively kind, laid-back and fun. Suffering, sadness, seriousness— they exist, there is truth in them, life is full of them. I worry the positivity-exclusive places lead to things like their: inadequate acknowledgement, supression, dismissal, “positivity elitism”, political manipulation, internalization.
My concern is with a mindset, a perspective, that a person may acquire in thinking positivity is the end-all, be-all. “You’re not a 100% positive person? Then you are a lesser.” We are black AND we are white. Innocent AND tainted, whole and broken.
I believe meaningful social communication is a balance of honesty & kindness. Honest, not just with others, but with one’s self… I work in education, it is an extremely political profession. The majority of my time is spent in a “positivity-exlcusive” space. One of the reasons I made my site was to find a reprieve from that. A space where I can be HONEST. Honesty— Truth, isn’t always pretty. A person’s feelings, irrespective of whether they are wrong or right, the whole spectrum of ’em, are valid.
I know of people who slowly get radicalized into proper hatred by hanging out on toxic/edgy/chan-esque places and slowly get more and more into the alt-right bubble, which is why I look at these places with a lot of skepticism and worry.
The other side of the coin: The echo chambers of hate and negativity, the wallowing in darkness. Are they not rejecting light? Obviously, this is also a problem. Arguably more of one? Yeah, maybe. But there is truth here as well. It can be unpleasant to look at, to feel, to deal with, but it’s there. You can’t have a complete picture without it. And, maybe, the best path forward isn’t around it, but through it? I. Don’t. Know.
I would encourage the willing to be a bit more adventurous / bold. Obviously, within personal reason, but growth can also happen in places outside of one’s comfort zones. In facing adversity and learning how to handle it. Attempting connection, rather than isolation.
Yesterweb Forum - 5 Apr 2023
A year ago, I found sadgrl.online. I read the entirety of its Cyberspace section. It is the reason I have a website today. And working on that website makes me incredibly happy. I’ve had experiences, and have met people I never would have otherwise. Those feelings still remain with me.
It’s sad to think that I might not have been the intended outcome. But that message I received: “Make a website. Own yourself. Say something. Share something.” Among many things, to me, was one of autonomy. I am grateful to have experienced a little bit of ‘Yesterweb’, but I believe I would not be living up to the ideals if I couldn’t live without it.
1,000 thank you’s for your time, effort, dedication and message.
I sincerely believe it changed my life.
All the best, yo.
On ChatGPT & Teaching
Yesterweb Forum - 1 Apr 2023
I’m a teacher: Recommendation letters, grading, feedback, parent-collegue-student communication, admin filler work, etc. My job has to have become at least 40% less annoying. I have a lot of hate for the predatory ed-tech industry, but AI could legitimately make working life easier… MAYBE.
One thing I teach is programming, and, honestly, if the kids learned to use it effectively, it’s gotta be a better teacher than me. Obviously, plenty of my job a chatbot could never do, but, I mean, what it’s doing here is arguably the core of my work. It’s incredible. I’m going to write about it at some point, but I sincerely believe institutionalized technology education is significantly inferior to diving in head-first yourself. There’s nothing stopping the capable, only their will.
Last thing: This Hacker News thread does well to remind many of security concerns regarding ChatGPT. I think it’s very possible for a leak of data collected to occur.
Y’all be careful out there, yeah?
Post Your End Credits
Agora Road - 31 Mar 2023
Yesterweb Forum - 25 Mar 2023
I love webrings. It is sad to see one die, but I understand and agree (mostly) with your decision here.
In my experience, most webrings and similar projects are not as well managed as they should be. Be it from their barrier to entry being too low, review of new members being too superficial, insufficient time and effort being dedicated to them.
Websites are ever-changing; that attribute makes them more life-like than other forms of art. Lends them to being insightful reflections of ourselves, among other things. But that also means that a project unable or unwilling to keep up with them is likely to falter.
But time is our most valuable resource, and keeping up uses a lot of it. To expect a single person or limited entity to do so for many others is unreasonable in my opinion.
I’ve spoken about the Lainchan Webring and their decentralized approach. The responsibility is left largely to the individuals. No one leads the ship, and yet, anybody can, if they’re willing. That kind of flexibility and autonomy, I believe it is a better model for managing something as alive as websites.
I don’t mean to be topical, but with the fast-approaching, quickly evolving beast of AI, I believe communities like this are going to need more resilient forms of… staying strong? Keeping together? Resisting an even more impersonal internet?
Your personal website… You, are something worth sharing. Worth finding. As long as anyone believes that, these projects are worth our time.
On the Lainchan Webring
Yesterweb Forum - 10 Feb 2023
Recently I’ve been exploring the Lainchan Webring. I like a couple of things about it:
You must make a banner to join. Not the hardest thing in the world, but I feel like it’s a solid enough barrier to entry that also encourages you to reflect / connect / think about the identity of your site; as it is, kind-of, an “ad”.
It is decentralized. You are expected to host every banner of, & every link to, the other sites on the ring somewhere on your site. If one site dies, the ring should still exist on all the others, there is no central manager or underlying coded system. Just hyperlinked images.
It’s a shame how many don’t do that. The ones who have the full collection are a handful. If there were more, I’d be more confident in its longevity. And yet, something just feels more intimate about it than a lot of the other webrings I’ve explored.
It encourages having alternative mirrors of your site, like a .onion or I2P. Heck, those can be your primary, not a mirror. But, basically, you can exist as many times on the ring as the amount of mirrors you’ve created.
It’s strongly reliant on, and respectful of, personal autonomy. A strength and a weakness. Unfortunately, I feel it could be better with a little more direction / leadership. Of course, that’s a tricky thing to handle, but I believe they have (as of present) not struck a good balance.
On Static Site Generators
Yesterweb Forum - 3 Feb 2023
I think static site generators are an interesting topic, particularly in this yesterweb culture. Clearly, there is a hunger for independence and autonomy in this movement. There’s a lot more than just that, but it is a cornerstone. Making use of another’s platform can be seen as giving in to the current state of the internet, not always (like with Neocities) but definitely if that platform hinders your self-expression via either your design or content or both. On the aspect of design, static site generators, I feel, could contribute to website homogenization; specifically with the factor of themes. A completely optional factor, sure, but a powerful one in my opinion. I’m not as big on design, but I mention it because I know many of you here are.
If, like me, you don’t care as much about design, please consider checking out: https://themes.gohugo.io/
They could also be seen as making you more dependent, be it on the generator itself, a theme you are using, or dependent on dependencies in the event that your site is more layered (as some pre-built themes are). In a way, though, that’s where I feel the independence as an ideal, as an extreme, can stand to loosen up. The reality is we are dependent on countless things, for better or worse. In comparison to glorifying effective, kind, productive cooperation, we see autonomy as virtuous far more frequently. So greatly do we want to stand on our own that perhaps we too often forsake standing together.
Yesterweb Forum - 30 Jan 2023
People from this community inspired me to make my website. I could never consider anything that spurred me to action like that to possibly be a failure. And even if it were: “Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of it.” I can only imagine community management to be quite difficult. More-so in one such as this, where, if I’m reading into it correctly, individuality is valued over the homogenization of corporatism. Managing themes like free speech, website autonomy, harmful / dangerous ideas, taboo topics, exploitation (financial or otherwise), etc. must be a mess. The group and the individual, a push and pull, pros and cons to each. Where are the lines? Who draws them? When do they change? When does pushing the envelope go from “how brave” to “how dare you?”
I don’t know. But no one, including yourselves, should ever fault you for trying. If I were to push for a virtue: it’d be transparency, honesty. Perhaps we cannot find common ground, but we can know where one another stands. 1000x thank you’s for all the effort and time you dedicate to this project.
~ Written for Morrigan ~
Yesterweb Forum - 28 Jan 2023
Preservation is a topic I also hold dear. It hurts to lose something one cares about. There’s this page I came across a few months ago titled stability; it’s very short, consider giving it a look. “Death is a part of life, not the end of it.” I don’t remember where I heard that, but please know I do not mean to invoke anything religious with it. Just perhaps that there’s a certain… flavor? quality? magic? to life that exists because of loss.
If I feel like that about it, then why bother with preservation at all? It’s so easy to go to extremes, isn’t it? All or nothing… To preserve something, I think it’s an act of love. I don’t believe that something being preserved is dead, at least not entirely. I think there’s a beauty in that, perhaps not the same beauty as when that thing was more alive, but a beauty nonetheless. Preservation gives a chance for that beauty to reach “just one more person”.
A little weird, I guess, right? I see this a bit as a spectrum, not a binary one or the other. To me, preservation exists in the in-between, in the gray. It’s important because it can be lost. The CAN is essential there though. To “outstay one’s welcome”, there’s an ugliness to that, no? Life AT-ALL-COSTS, NO MATTER WHAT sounds a little scary to me. Death is not someone you leave at the front door when they come knocking. You let them in, offer some tea, maybe talk a bit. Much more graceful than having your place broken into in the middle of the night.
basement community - 27 Jan 2023
What’s your website about?
It’s about me, I guess. It’s primarily a digital garden. Meaning, I start and finish things when I feel like it. It’s also about personal websites, and psychology, and philosophy, and education, and my struggles and interests.
What’s your favourite part of your website?
That’s a tough one… But I’d probably go with Personal Web Pages. I just really L-O-V-E exploring other people’s sites. Like, what do they care so much about that they’d go through all this hassle… Spend all this time and effort. What’s their world like? What’s their message?
If people could only view one part of your site, which part would it be?
Dear visitor, I do not know what it is you are looking for… But, in my time spent exploring the sites of others, sometimes finding the things I wasn’t looking for proved just as valuable.
On Site Navigation
Yesterweb Forum - 25 Jan 2023
In my opinion, in a “perfect world”, a site could be navigated in any way the visitor wishes.
~ Thematically (by Category) ~ ideally in the manner / order the webmasters considers most valuable / important.
~ Via Sitemap ~
~ With search ~ And good search, mind you. Ideally, having indexed every word on the site.
~ Through sorting ~ via date, via last modified, via page title, etc.
~ By tags & “contributors” ~
Those are the ways that come to mind, and I believe are most common. Each with their own pros and cons. But if you have them all, I guess the cons don’t really matter. Obviously, that is quite difficult and certainly asking too much of (some) hobbyist web developers.
I organize my content thematically (by category). I acknowledge that it makes it difficult for the visitor to find what they’re looking for; to easily reach the things that interest them. But I see my site as art. I will organize it in a manner that best reflects that art. Dear visitor, finding the things you are looking for is important, but so is finding the things you are not.
I take great pleasure in navigating personal web pages. I can only go through so many in a day; I try my best to dedicate the time necessary to have felt that I properly explored another’s invested time and effort, their world, their message. Perhaps there is some value in encouraging people to take the time to slow down, in addition to improving navigation.
Not that I believe you are guilty of this sixeyes, but to others that perhaps find themselves consumed in this conundrum: your site is probably more important than its navigation, don’t let this stop or delay you from making it. Time is so valuable.
On Digital Gardens
Yesterweb Forum - 24 Jan 2023
I consider digital gardening to be a better introduction for a first-time webmaster than the more traditional route of blogging. Perhaps it shouldn’t, but, to me, blogging has a certain baggage to it. I feel like it’s expected to be more… substantive? I love going through personal web pages, so by now I’ve seen plenty of examples to the contrary, but I just can’t get over that idea. Add-on that they’re usually expected to provide RSS and I feel an ever greater need to make whatever is going into someone’s feed worthwhile.
In a way, it’s funny that we’ve given this a name, as I am sure most with a website would agree that tending to it is very much like a garden. They might consider the categorization redundant, but the focus is on also treating your “content” this way as well. I believe that when you treat the entirety of the website in that manner, anxiety is less abound, and the joy of creation can permeate. That’s my personal experience, at least.
On Excessive Positivity
MelonLand Forum - 6 Jan 2023
This is an interesting topic. The concept of change, online identities, privacy, etc.
My favorite flavor of change would probably be redemption. But to “repent” one must have “sinned”. I look around at what’s online these days… correction: what I feel is most prominently online (cause all kinds of things are out there) and I see essentially highlight reels, an almost obsessive need to appear… perfect? Happy? Marketable? Hopefully you get the essence of what I’m referring to. I don’t mean to knock that attitude, but I do feel that it perhaps leads to a rejection of anything but. Instead of issues being addressed, they’re suppressed. I believe strongly in the concept of balance. That one way to look at life is as a continuous balancing act. The atmosphere makes me feel everyone saying: “Yes, all yang. No yin, please. Thank you”. I particularly worry when I see negative topics addressed, superficially. As if everyone is going: “All is good, no tilted scales here.” And the person experiencing that is meant to consider the matter addressed?
This goes for the other side as well, mind you. The echo chambers of hate and negativity, the wallowing in darkness. Are they not rejecting light?
When I see you pondering this, it feels like a breath of fresh air. A semblance of sanity. We are black AND we are white. As for what you should do, I’d say it depends on your goal and what you’re trying to achieve. I say with your mindsets, you can’t go wrong.