Website Manifesto

Website Manifesto

I've been exploring Neocities and the general Indie Web for some time now, and I've noticed a diversity of opinions about the current problems with the World Wide Web and what should be done about them. I've seen a lot of people's thoughts on things like nostalgia, accessiblity, corporations, javascript, and more. So I thought I'd write up the philosophies and technologies that my site are built upon.

Websites As Homes

I believe that websites are a wonderful form of personal expression. If you visit someone's actual living space, you can probably learn a lot about them just by looking around. Well, to me the ideal personal website feels like a lived-in space; a place you can wander around and get lost in. There's always going to be that one page that no one ever visits because it's an obscure index page or it's buried beneath multiple nested sections or something.

In the real world, a home evolves over time. It fills up with new furniture. Walls may be painted new colors. New decorations go up and down with the seasons. Furniture breaks and needs to be replaced. You just accumulate more... STUFF over time. All of these things accumulate to make your home feel lived in by you and I think websites are very similar as well. As time goes on a website updates and adds pages and new areas to explore. I prefer visiting lived-in websites, and my goal is to hopefully build out this site more and more to make it feel more like my own every time I update it.

I am very disappointed by sterile, shallow websites. You know the ones that are just a single page linking to social media profiles or store pages, where the real content goes? These websites are not really homes and feel more like a billboard or highway sign intended to direct you somewhere else.

I truly value websites that feel more like an explorable space. As such, I don't really prefer websites that are only blogs even when they are independently hosted. I mean, I think blogs have a place and are totally welcome as a feature of websites, but when a website is only a blog it doesn't really feel like a place to get lost in, it just feels like a one dimensional feed. I want to explore, and not just scroll. That being said, I'm not trying to say I hate blog websites, I just don't want my site to be only a blog. I tried that and didn't like it myself.

Privacy Policy

Fuck Google. Fuck Analytics. This website does not contain any client-side analytics, tracking, marketing, or other scripts designed to invade your privacy. Go ahead and check the source code, and you'll find I only use scripting for goofy effects, loading in feeds, and other things that respect your privacy. See the next section for my specific thoughts on JavaScript.

Both of my hosts have basic server-side tools enabled which do track things like page visits and unique visitors. Neocities provides public access to these site traffic stats if you'd like to see them. Both instances of these server-side analytics only record very basic data that your browser and network provide to the server while connecting: things like IP address and user agent string. This kind of stuff is enabled on basically every website ever. This data is only used internally for those traffic charts, and will never be used to profile or target you in particular. (I guess if you try to DoS attack this site then you'll probably be IP-banned which is technically targeting you in particular with this data but. Obviously that's a special circumstance.)

As of right now, this website does not use any cookies at all. If, for some reason, I ever add some goofy functionality that requires cookies, they will never be used to track you and will only be used for goofy functionality.

My Stance On Web Technologies

Personally, I'm actually a fan of JavaScript as long as it isn't used in evil or particularly annoying ways. However, for my personal website I have a very specific technicality that I wish to avoid: I do not want to use any modern JavaScript frameworks. Things like React or Angular or even jQuery. I don't want to bundle together megabytes of other libraries just to get my pages to load. But sometimes I want to have fun buttons to click that do silly things. The Classic Mode button on my About page was such a fun addition to the page and made me realize how much I love random JavaScript like this every now and then.

I also use JavaScript to automatically adjust and style certain parts of the website. Things like changing the desktop background of this site depending on the date and time of day, which was an idea I've wanted to put onto a website since I was a kid. The navigation menu is also built using JavaScript so whenever I add new navigation I can adjust it in one place instead of a million. You can read more about how I use scripting in my blog post about my site's launch.

While I use JS throughout my website, I make sure that it is still perfectly usable without scripting (outside of things like quizzes and games which just can't exist without it obviously!). If you ever find a webpage that should work with scripts disabled but it doesn't, please contact me and I'll fix it!

In regards to HTML and CSS, I prefer to use their modern versions (HTML5 and CSS3). I know some people prefer to make retro-styled websites using retro-styled HTML, but I prefer to remake the old in more modern tech. For those who want to access my site on older, potentially ancient hardware, check out the version of my site hosted on the Gopher protocol. For those on modern machines that would still like a text-only experience, you can view a version hosted on the Gemini protocol. For more information, visit my page on those protocols.

Cringe is Dead

The web is a place to be passionate. The world of slow and static websites is not typically filled with drama or bullies because things like algorithms and notifications do not typically exist, and when they do exist they are still uncommon, manual, and decentralized. On this side of the world wide web, you should never be afraid to share what you're passionate about just because it's deemed as cringe.

Cringe is dead. Be passionate and talk about whatever you want to on your personal website. I have a whole accordion section on my site. So yeah.

This page was partially inspired by Sadness's Internet Manifesto.