the absolute state of neocities

date published: 11/16/2022

i have been thinking of a few things i want to say to new users. actually, this mostly came out of a post tumor/strawbabie/lullabye discussion.

this blog post is not about it, so i will not be discussing it. i feel like i've made my thoughts on the situation clear, but if you would like, you contact me via email for more info.

during said discussion, a friend asked if it was elitist to expect new neocities users to at least know the basics of coding. i want to elaborate on that a bit here.

this post is half inspired by mariteaux's article
"neocities and a lack of passion."

let's tackle that question, "is it elitist to expect new neocities users to know the basics of coding?"

obviously it isn't, right?

web development, at least the kind you find in spaces like neocities, is a mostly hobbyist venture. you aren't going to find many professional, i-get-paid-to-do-this types roaming the autoplay, looping gif and rainbow gradient halls of our favorite web host. you just aren't.

and, just like any hobby, web development requires you to pick up a certain set of skills to be, at the very least, a novice at it. for web development, those skills are HTML and CSS. learning those two coding languages are the bare bones basics of what you need to learn in order to pick up web development as a hobby.

now, would you go into a kitchen, start throwing ingredients together haphazardly and call the finished product a cake? obviously not, right?

so, why would you do the same with stolen bits of code from others' websites? or worse, you just copied the source code of your carrd and started hosting it here. do you get to call yourself a webmaster?

i don't think so.

the main argument i see against this line of thinking is something along the lines of "stop gatekeeping"


sorry, when did "meeting the lowest barrier for entry" suddenly start meaning "gatekeeping"? i must have missed that memo. i thought gatekeeping meant "unfairly prohibiting someone from a particular hobby or subculture," not wanting them to read the book before going to book club, as it were.

this also somewhat ties into a point brought up in the essay linked earlier in this blog. it's less that these people are being gatekept from webmasterdom, and more "do you actually have anything worth putting onto a public website that potentially millions of people are going to see?" because 9 times out of 10, the answer to that question is "no."

i've seen far too many websites that could have simply been a carrd, because they are nothing but forests of labels, DNI lists and little else. genuine question, why would you chose a platform like neocities to host that when carrd is just as powerful, and much easier to use?

i am going to be blunt, less than a fraction of this community genuinely cares about your mountain of labels. that isn't to say we're full of bigots who will misgender you, half of the front page is taken up by LGBT folk, like myself. we just don't care about the very, very online (and frankly unsafe) custom of listing all of your mental health conditions, triggers, squicks, personal info and whatever else you think a stranger totally wouldn't maliciously use against you.

i guess to wrap this up, just be creative. neocities doesn't expect you to list your race, country of origin, ability, mental health status or anything else about yourself to be accepted. you can be as open or as anonymous as you want. all we ask is that you actually learn to code before coming here, don't blame others for your lack of knowledge, because again, being frank, you aren't entitled to the help of your favorite webmaster to make your site.

you can ask us for pointers, advice, anything else! but we aren't required to help you. a good rule of thumb is that if you can easily answer your own question by either plugging it into your favorite search engine, or using inspect element, you don't need our help.

we aren't teachers. we can't give a full, tailored-to-you course on HTML via an E-mail. that is just the work you will have to put in yourself in order to be a part of this community. that isn't gatekeeping, it's just the price of entry.