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And the webby winners are...
July 18, 2001 10:42 PM   Subscribe

And the webby winners are... not the ones I thought would win (no Blogger? no Fray?). Personally, I'll be spending time hoping for a Best Of The Web award instead. Why someday you may even get into the WWW Hall of Fame!
posted by mathowie (102 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 


Doesn't that image from the Hall of Fame just reek of old school web browsing?
posted by Mark at 10:44 PM on July 18, 2001


I never noticed that Plastic was nominated in Print & Zines until now, and it actually won. I don't get that at all, it's never been in print, it's not a zine, and it didn't start until early 2001.

Nerve and Mother Jones are way more fitting nominees, especially Nerve since they've been one of the only sites to ever end up with a printed magazine.
posted by mathowie at 11:04 PM on July 18, 2001


LiveJournal walks away with multiple awards. Ug. I have to say, they do have a nice gig with impressive software going, but the livejournal clique just creeps me out to no end.

Blogger has a tool that's just as impressive on the technical side, but also knows how to put forward a pleasant public face.
posted by tomorama at 11:06 PM on July 18, 2001


A list of the nominees and winners, if you don't remember who was nominated.
posted by kathryn at 11:09 PM on July 18, 2001


Peter Pan won for Weird site! Although if you think about it, Randy was more deserving of the Personal Site award than any of the nominees.
posted by lia at 11:34 PM on July 18, 2001


Yeah, as much as I like lijevournal's service, I still can't understand why they're viewing Blogger as an enemy. Bad bad thing.
posted by kchristidis at 11:55 PM on July 18, 2001


big-time booeing when Microsoft Windows Update won the technical achievement award - and what the fuck was going on the arts category? depressing ...
posted by mschmidt at 12:07 AM on July 19, 2001


well, it's a good thing the webby's don't really mean squat anyway, right?
posted by Hackworth at 12:34 AM on July 19, 2001


Brad and I from LiveJournal just got back from the Webbies. We met Evan there... all I can say is that Brad and I don't view Evan or Blogger as an enemy. Frankly I wish we got along better, since we have more in common than not.

Here's what I said back on June 23rd:

"Although Evan Williams, the person who owns Blogger, made a few disparaging comments about us and our site, I urge all of you to put any ill will towards Blogger behind us. Both LiveJournal and Blogger empower personal publishing, and, as Evan said, "Anyone enabling personal publishers is cool in my book." We agree. Like it or not, LiveJournal and Blogger do similar things, and some amount of competition is bound to pop up at times, but we should temper that with respect, and work towards cooperation whenever possible. This is a "win-win" world, and not everything has to be about someone winning at someone else's expense. I sincerely hope that Blogger will receive the Webby-awarded prize for Best Personal Site. Weblogs have come a long way in the last year, and it would be a great night for personal publishing if both LiveJournal and Blogger won an award. It would go a long way towards honoring the hard work of everyone involved in the creation and development of the tools and sites that give all of us a voice."

Both Brad and I were surprised that Blogger didn't win. This was the year that weblogs really took off on the Intranet, and it would have been nice if there was more appreciation of that fact.

If LiveJournal has been competitive at times, it is only because we believe that our open source project deserves serious attention based on its merits, and because we are trying to advance our project. Frankly, there are too many disappointing open source projects out there that can't compete with commercial projects. I want LiveJournal to be a product that will be a "swiss army knife" of weblogs, able to really address a lot of people's needs.

It's exciting to me that LiveJournal has come so far in such a short time. I started using LJ last August and was account number 11,697. Less than a year later, we have about 255,000 accounts. I couldn't have predicted that kind of growth, much less that I would be so deeply involved with the site.

I would hope that everyone on all sides of weblog fence can stop this kind of talk about any of the weblog apps being enemies. The real future is interconnected. Imagine millions of LiveJournal users and millions of Blogger users syndicating content with each other, reading each other's weblogs through dynamically generated lists of customized content, and syndicating our thoughts, our music, our art... most likely using UserLand's SOAP or XML-RPC; It becomes really obvious how much we all have to gain from each other.

We're creating a whole new form of media here, where we are the channels, bypassing commercially controlled sources of information. If that isn't a future that we should all be excited about, I don't know what is.

So, let's build it already...
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:48 AM on July 19, 2001


Hey insomnia......who cares?
posted by ttrendel at 2:03 AM on July 19, 2001


Look pal (insomnia) now that you've won the people's choice awards, don't tell me that "this is a 'win-win' world, and not everything has to be about someone winning at someone else's expense", ok?

"We SHOULD win the Webbies"

"Everyday, Blogger and PayPal pick up votes that we, frankly, never get a chance at, since we are not on the ballot. At this rate, it is quite possible that we can lose our lead in both categories unless we do something about it now. Please, do what you can to stop this from happening".

Win-win, huh?
posted by kchristidis at 2:40 AM on July 19, 2001


The real future is interconnected.

Why, thank you.

Imagine millions of LiveJournal users and millions of Blogger users syndicating content with each other, reading each other's weblogs through dynamically generated lists of customized content, and syndicating our thoughts, our music, our art...

Why? Syndication is a bit of a red herring, it's only a mechanism to something far better: commenting and transpublishing. Consider, a lot of the content of weblogs is talking about other weblogs. It's like a very mushed up usenet, except it's extremely immature. For good conversations we need to be able to follow threads, embed single posts to comment on (or better would be to make the post and then be able to annotate the original weblog, linking to your reply).

most likely using UserLand's SOAP or XML-RPC

Why use procedure calls when the entire thing is flat files or can be done client-side?

A lot of this depends on technological improvements in the browser and support for the latest specs. By why limit these features to those sites which are built using CMSs (ie weblogs built with some kind of tool, the develops of which will roll in support for syndication, RSS generation, and so on)?

Build on what we already have: Find ways of making files suitable for syndication from any 'site. Find way of annotating on any 'site. Find way to distribute content to be commented on to any 'site. Don't rely on the backend tools because they shouldn't be relevent.

Oh, and have you heard of Project Xanadu?
posted by mattw at 2:47 AM on July 19, 2001


kchristidis - You seem to be bent out about me posting in communities that have a few hundred readers asking people to vote, but how many people read the front page of Blogger? Tens of thousands. Evan posted three posts about the Webbies there. Blogger users got to hear about how LiveJournal was cocky and how our only interest was to "beat Blogger". Take a look at ev's post. "beat Blogger" is quoted. Now... find me the post Brad or I made about the Webbies that said "beat Blogger". You won't find it, because there is no such post. We intentionally avoided doing so. Yes, I did post saying LiveJournal should try to win the Webbies. I argued that it would bring LJ more media attention and the rewards that came with it. Ev argued the same thing in one of his posts, too.

Let's face it... it was a hard fought race for fans of Blogger, DancingPaul, and LiveJournal. Unfortunately, some Blogger and LiveJournal users bashed each other's site. To their credit, most did not... but Brad and I were both on record telling people to not be so damn personal or abusive. We respect the fact that many Blogger users love the site. We have fiercely loyal users too, and it is a testament to the success of weblogs that so many people voted.

Never fear. Blogger will still get a lot of press coverage in the future. Ev is good with the press and does talks at a lot of seminars. LiveJournal is just trying to do what all open source projects should try to do for a change... present themselves as a viable option to proprietary products. Part of that is getting media attention to our project.

Like I said... LiveJournal and Blogger do and will occasionally compete over mindshare/limited resources, just like everyone else who works in the same field... just like Blogger and UserLand compete too. We also compete when it comes to features... and that is a good thing. Both Blogger's users and ours benefit. That's no reason that things have to get personal however, and I'm sure that Ev and Brad would agree with me.

Basically, you prove my point. LiveJournal and Blogger are better off with each other out there than either site would be otherwise. I'm very glad that Ev seems to have focused more on the site since returning from his recent trip. It's nice to see more signs of development out of Blogger, and it is especially nice to see that he's allowing people to pay to remove banners from their blogspot accounts. That's a definite step in the right direction, since programmers ultimately can be counted on to develop for the people who pay the bills.
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:58 AM on July 19, 2001


I am totally confused about how livejournal could win as both a service AND a personal site. But mostly, I am disappointed that The Psychotronic Film Society didn't win for best movie site, people's choice.
posted by kristin at 4:07 AM on July 19, 2001


I still don't understand how Blogger and LiveJournal could be nominated as personal sites -- they're both services that enable personal sites, but they're far from personal sites themselves.
posted by lia at 4:19 AM on July 19, 2001


Mattw -

Actually, you are touching on many ideas that LiveJournal is already moving towards. I have advocated making commenting and syndication a common feature available for every website too. The devil is in the details... As with any improvements that would rely on changes in the browser, "Can we trust Microsoft?" might be a good question to ask, I'd think.

I've read a bit about Xanadu and the semantic web. I don't think it's fair to assume that things have to be either/or however, especially when it comes to open source software. We're willing to adapt to support people's needs and to the fluid nature of the web, wherever it leads us. I think it might be a case of crawling before walking in this case, frankly.

Ultimately, the great majority of our development is done by people passionate about specific projects... if and when all this becomes more of a reality, then, by all means, visit lj_biz... we can always use more visionaries...
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:41 AM on July 19, 2001


Lia - I agree with you. I said the exact same thing myself in the comments on the Webby site. Blogger and LiveJournal are a lot of things, but personal sites wasn't appropriate.

Frankly, I think of LiveJournal as more of a community, but Craigslist just was too big for us this year. We chatted with Craig a fair amount while waiting for the interviews and he's a nice guy... if perhaps a bit of a mixer. ;-)
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:50 AM on July 19, 2001


"Frankly, I think of LiveJournal as more of a community, but Craigslist just was too big for us this year."

so you encouraged your users to further obfuscate the public's understanding of the non-shopping mall web because you thought that getting name-dropped in some wire copy would further your goals?

it's bad enough that the nominees for 'personal site' were such a travesty. but it's worse when someone claims to want to help that community gain visibility, but is only interested in fleeting post-awards show gains in pageviews.
posted by maura at 5:07 AM on July 19, 2001


None of Blogger, LiveJournal, and Fray are personal sites.

Period.

Blogger and LiveJournal are web applications. Fray is a communal storytelling site. Why are they in the Personal category?
posted by Succa at 5:09 AM on July 19, 2001


Because anything not fueled by VC funding is either personal or weird, apparently.

Hey, Livejournal shill? Could you tone down your marketing speak here? Some of us are trying to have a discussion. Why don't you write about it...on your Livejournal?

Echo sentiments regarding Blogger, LJ, fray, etc.

It's hard to believe that at one point, people were excited about Web awards. Wasn't it in 1997 that Glassdog and Water won Cool Site of the Year awards and everyone thought that was the most? Ah, how far we've come since then! To go from Water to...Dancing Paul.

Hrm.
posted by solistrato at 6:52 AM on July 19, 2001


Yup, yup, and yup... true personal websites shouldn't have to "compete" for recognition with communities of thousands and thousands of users. It's apples and oranges. Or apples and gym shoes.

Now, having grown a community to that size is a cool thing (even if I agree with tomo re: creepiness) and probably does deserve some kind of recognition, but best personal site just. isn't. it.

But we're spending so much time on LJ-bashing that none of us seem to have the time for Tiffany Shlain-bashing, and that is just not right.
posted by Sapphireblue at 6:54 AM on July 19, 2001


Does anyone think there's room in the world for YAWAS (Yet Another Web Awards Show)? I'd like to see one that actually attempts to vote on merit, rather than commercial significance.
posted by waxpancake at 7:19 AM on July 19, 2001


Was it Joey or Steven who collected the award for Plastic with the five-worder: "Bankruptcy never felt so good"?
posted by holgate at 7:22 AM on July 19, 2001


It's a shame Lance couldn't get AW3AS off the ground. It was the right concept. Still, though, such an undertaking is beyond one mere mortal, regardless of how Lancish that mortal is.

And Michelle - Shlain. My name is Tiffany Shlain. How the hell does anyone take her seriously with a name like "Tiffany Shlain"? She should be doing manicures at a mall in Jersey.
posted by solistrato at 7:50 AM on July 19, 2001


Scott: I knew you wouldn't let me down :)
posted by Sapphireblue at 8:13 AM on July 19, 2001


Water. Now THAT'S a blast from the past. Blew me away, totally. And it served as the portal to a really great on-line community, the first I'd ever encountered. Wow. The web was cool, then.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:18 AM on July 19, 2001


For those who care, the winner's speeches from last night's awards. Plastic's is my favorite.
posted by waxpancake at 8:18 AM on July 19, 2001


My big beef is with the whole five words thing. So, you give Ray Tomlinson and Douglas Engelbart lifetime achievement awards, and they get five words to respond? Meanwhile, endless amounts of time are spent on overly long "and the nominees are" films, other interstitial films (the opener was a doozie) and dubious modern dance/performance art. From watching the awards last night it seems that the nominees and the winners are an afterthought. The awards showcase something. I'm not sure it's about web sites.

Keep an eye out for Halcyon's "the man behind the web site" (name?) bit. It's really fucking funny.
posted by heather at 8:28 AM on July 19, 2001


One more thing. Alan Cumming is completely dreamy.
posted by heather at 8:34 AM on July 19, 2001


alan cumming is a wanker. i can choose movies by whether or not he's in the cast, because every movie he's been in has been a complete disaster. examples: Spy Kids, Get Carter, Viva Rock Vegas, Titus, Spice World, Buddy. need i go on?
posted by dogmatic at 8:51 AM on July 19, 2001


no wonder the webbys dont get nationally televised.
posted by ewwgene at 8:54 AM on July 19, 2001


but dogmatic, alan cumming is pretty good live, on stage (either in a play or joking in front of thousands at the webbys).
posted by mathowie at 8:57 AM on July 19, 2001


I don't want to go horribly off-topic, but Titus was incredible. Just had to address that. Now back to slamming Shlain.

Michelle: I'm there for you. ;)
posted by solistrato at 9:05 AM on July 19, 2001


You have to admit -- the Webbys are far more glossy than they need to be.

I think it's good. There's something to be said about getting the big names they do to judge, and the amount of work and money put into the production of the show... it's a forceful way of letting people know that some, maybe not the those you'd want, still think there's something worth shouting about. It's obviously not the goal net, but it keeps the ball in play.

Still, I think there's room for one more -- if the Webbys are the Oscars of the Internet, then we still need one that's the Golden Globes at the least.
posted by teradome at 9:20 AM on July 19, 2001


...that actually attempts to vote on merit - Define "merit." ?

Only time I laughed was the "Behind The Website" piece. Even my wife (a definite non-web/tech person) actually got the joke about cockybastard's Geocities address.

And although her "style" (???) can be criticized, let's not pick on Ms Shlain for her name - it's not as if she picked it from a list when she was born.

Hey - like any awards show - if your faves don't win, it's a sham, manipulative, meaningless, etc. It's just a show, people. Nothing to see here now...move on.
posted by davidmsc at 9:27 AM on July 19, 2001


People, people, we're missing out on what's really important here. I mean, the problems with Webby nominations and winners is insignificant compared to some of the larger problems humanity is facing.

What I'm talking about here, of course, is how Lil' Bow Wow could have possibly walked away with the "Favorite Male Singer" award at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2001.

When you look at the sheer talent and impact of the other nominees -- how Will Smith has helped the Miami community thru his poetic lyrics ("Temperature get to ya, It's about to reach five-hundred degrees, In the Caribbean seas, with the hot mommies screamin 'aye poppy'"), the world-changing hip swivel of Ricky Martin, Sisqo's evangelism of the underappreciated thong-style undergarment -- it's a crime against humanity that Lil' Bow Wow came out on top.

In comparison, the minor issues we have with the Webbys seem insignificant somehow.
posted by jkottke at 10:06 AM on July 19, 2001


All the complaining about Ms. Shlain seems like sour grapes. She did what many of you'all want to do - start up a huge web awards show. And if you hate the way they choose the winners, or the nominees, or the process, or the stupidity of the judging panel, you have two options - join forces with her and try to change things, or do exactly what she did and make yourself head of the Web Golden Globes.

What are we, in high school, that it is considered appropriate to pick on someone because of their name? What is next? Someone setting up an online Metafilter Slam Book?
posted by kristin at 10:40 AM on July 19, 2001


None of Blogger, LiveJournal, and Fray are personal sites.
Period.
Blogger and LiveJournal are web applications. Fray is a communal storytelling site. Why are they in the Personal category?


A communal storytelling site? So it's not ONE person, but it certainly is personal. Certainly more personal than most things in this media-driven commercial-centric web world we live in.

Sure, it's not as personal as any one of our blogs, but that doesn't mean it's NOT personal. And it's certainly a better read than most blogs I've come across.

I'd urge you to reconsider your definition of "personal".

That said, I agree that neither LJ or Blogger are "personal sites"...
posted by fooljay at 10:41 AM on July 19, 2001


I'd like to personally thank Mr. Kottke for reminding us all about our priorities.

Does Rosie still host that? Then I'm not watching.

Back on topic...at the company I'm freelancing at, their cafeteria has a bunch of TVs scattered throughout, all of them turned to Headline News. Now if that isn't bad enough, there was a feature piece today on the "Wild Webby Awards."

Ooh! Look at those wacky Web folk and their kooky shenanigans! They're so NUTTY!!!

The problem is the gloss, this marketing-derived "future gloss" that they slapped all over it. The AW3AS was an attempt to take the artistic merit of web sites seriously, which is probably why it never got off the ground, because people were saying, "Well, who are you to decide?" You're right, of course - the people are absolutely correct that Livejournal is the best personal site - but the point is that the concept of the AW3AS took the Web seriously as a medium for artistic expression.

With the Webbys, on the other hand, it's all gloss and surface. It's this total wankfest. It's this "we have fire-eaters! Now here's a commercial!" attitude that's totally phony. I remember Lance's anecdote about the marketroid who was bewildered by what cockybastard.com was about. No one gets it there.

And the problem with that, of course, is that the Old Media (I hate that term, but it's appropriate here) look at the nonsense and say, "See? There's nothing here but silliness."

So that's my beef with the Webbys.

P.S. Shlain.
posted by solistrato at 10:41 AM on July 19, 2001


What a bullshit site! There's something a bit pathetic (and amusing) about a page claiming expertise in web matters -- that doesn't even parse correctly. Bwhahha-ha!!! They inspire the same confidence as a toothless dentist.


And a technical achievement award for "Micro$oft Windows Update"? These lamers ever hear of Debian's "apt" system? I can update hundreds of programs without rebooting, or switch to an entirely new branch seemlessly. Sheesh ... Why not reward Amazon for *inventing* 1-click shopping.
posted by RavinDave at 10:57 AM on July 19, 2001


i thought the webby's was a neat idea at one point... then i heard sites had to PAY to be nominated.

hahah. whatever man. i thought payola died out in the 80's.
posted by jcterminal at 11:10 AM on July 19, 2001


What I really want to know is, were any of the judges there? Like, say, Gillian Anderson? (hotty, hotty, hotty)
posted by lia at 11:17 AM on July 19, 2001


Any way you slice it, Tiffany Shlain put out the bait and now is reeling them in. The webbies are nothing more then ego stroke and a temporary hit boost. They will never be anything more than that. The petty bickering between blogger and livejournal feed right into Tiffany's hands as well as reminding me that both services are substitutes for taking the time to learn how to do it yourself. They both herald themselves as these great things when one could easily do it themself by taking about 20 minutes to learn the ropes. Never cared to stroke their egos, sorry.

The webbies are the worst thing about the web. The fact that you only get 5 words merely points out your insignificance as a winner. It's the assembly line awards show. 5 words, next, 5 words, next. Want to know why the webbies don't go to really good sites? They wouldn't bother to show up for the award. I suggest we all do the same. Here's to the 2002 webbies no show.
posted by john at 1:02 PM on July 19, 2001


My big beef is with the whole five words thing. So, you give Ray Tomlinson and Douglas Engelbart lifetime achievement awards, and they get five words to respond? Meanwhile, endless amounts of time are spent on overly long "and the nominees are" films, other interstitial films (the opener was a doozie) and dubious modern dance/performance art. From watching the awards last night it seems that the nominees and the winners are an afterthought. The awards showcase something. I'm not sure it's about web sites.

Maybe you missed it, Heather, but the explanation for the interminable "Art" interludes happened right at the beginning of the show: Tiffany thanked GettyOne for "the images you just saw in the film I made".

Those were little Shlain Art Projects. I'm so glad I got to see them!
posted by anildash at 1:20 PM on July 19, 2001


The petty bickering between blogger and livejournal feed right into Tiffany's hands as well as reminding me that both services are substitutes for taking the time to learn how to do it yourself. They both herald themselves as these great things when one could easily do it themself by taking about 20 minutes to learn the ropes.

Yeah, because you have to know HTML, Web design, CSS, and maybe a little PHP to build your own Web site and content management system just to write things online.

On a related note, my drivers licence got yanked the other day because I couldn't rebuild a carburetor or locate the exhaust manifold on my car.
posted by jkottke at 1:36 PM on July 19, 2001


And everyone's really really bitter because the Webbys keep Tiffany Shlain in work, amid the lay-offs and the bankruptcies. Gah.
posted by holgate at 1:37 PM on July 19, 2001


They both herald themselves as these great things when one could easily do it themself by taking about 20 minutes to learn the ropes.

Twenty minutes huh? I was going to send Noah a small donation, but if it only took him 20 minutes forget it!
posted by justgary at 1:49 PM on July 19, 2001


'Those were little Shlain Art Projects. I'm so glad I got to see them!"

art projects? can you say product placement?
posted by heather at 2:58 PM on July 19, 2001


Geez. Who do you guys hate more, Tiffany Shlain or Jakob Nielsen? I'll never understand it.
posted by owillis at 3:21 PM on July 19, 2001


now appearing at theobvious.com, lance arthur, in "the webbys: now with weird dancing crap."
posted by msippey at 3:36 PM on July 19, 2001


hate tiffany? did it say that? hate is a very strong word.
posted by heather at 3:45 PM on July 19, 2001


Yeah, because you have to know HTML, Web design, CSS, and maybe a little PHP to build your own Web site and content management system just to write things online.

The only thing you need is HTML, the rest is just extra gravy on the top. We are talking weblogs right? I have no idea how PHP, CSS, and Web design have anything to do with writing. These webloging tools might make pretty sites, but don't do anything to help the writing. I don't go to someone's sight to gawk at their carefully wrought CSS web design. I was weblogging for 2 years before I even bothered with CSS.

But I expect this from you Jason. You are a web designer. Maybe a nice looking site is more important than the writing for some. I've never been that concerned about looks. But the web is a big place and I try to not hold my preferences against others. I just don't think those services are that big of a deal.

Twenty minutes huh? I was going to send Noah a small donation, but if it only took him 20 minutes forget it!

I don't consider Greymatter in the same league as the others.
posted by john at 4:49 PM on July 19, 2001


john: ...both services are substitutes for taking the time to learn how to do it yourself.

A modest counterpoint, FWIW: Until I stumbled across Blogger, the best I could do was a humble Geocities "PageBuilder" site. Using Blogger has led me to learn more about (please don't snicker - I'm still new to it) HTML, javascript, Flash, etc. I suppose that Blogger is like the so-called "gateway" drugs...one taste of Blogger's "Insta-Site" promise and I was hooked, and began perusing other Blogger's sites (+ more) to learn more and hopefully move on to other levels of design & tomfoolery.

My point: Deceptively simple "cookie-cutter" tools such as Blogger & others can be a path, not simply a destination. Eep. Too Zen-like?

jkottke: So what exactly were you doing when you were supposed to have been taking Auto Mech class in high school?
posted by davidmsc at 5:06 PM on July 19, 2001


lia, i see you're keeping up the gillian anderson comments from that last webby thread.
posted by lotsofno at 5:08 PM on July 19, 2001


Davidmsc,

I am merely stating an opinion from the perspective of one that doesn't judge a site by looks. I accept that it is a concern of many. To me, no matter how well you dress up your site, if the writing is bad, it doesn't interest me.

I guess I'm of the "teach a man to fish" school of websites.
posted by john at 5:38 PM on July 19, 2001


john: I understand your point - no hostility intended in my post. Content is king - and design is way down the list...but it never hurts to pretty it up, and learning as much as I can about the design-side is fascinating.

I guess I'm trying to teach myself to fish by watching other fishermen set their bait, drop their line, and...crap, I've run out of fishing references. Hell, I don't even know if I got those two references right. (Sigh) I know nothing of fishing.

Oh, right, and fisherwomen, too. No sexist, me.
posted by davidmsc at 5:49 PM on July 19, 2001


lia: I believe that J-Ko can tell you more about Gillian, if my sources ("looking quite plain") are reliable.
posted by holgate at 6:08 PM on July 19, 2001


"I don't consider Greymatter in the same league as the others."

Huh? Greymatter is a wonderfully done piece of software. Noah seems to have an inate sense of zenlike clarity and usability, and it shows in what he created. There are things about Greymatter that both LJ and Blogger could, should, and probably will learn from.

If I were to use a weapon-like analogy, LiveJournal is currently like a shotgun, Blogger is like a Colt 45... and Greymatter is like a samurai sword. It's not for everyone, but it is an elegant piece of work that is a beautiful thing in the hands of a master.

I think Kottke has a point. Handcoded weblogs are a wonderful way to design captivating, content driven websites that usually take entirely too much of your life to maintain... all while still failing to be interactive. And is your life really that interesting anyways?! Unless your name is Justin, I probably wouldn't want to read it.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:33 PM on July 19, 2001


Please stop with the negative spin. Greymatter is not in the same league as blogger and LJ. This doesn't mean I think its worse. I think its entirely different.

Handcoded weblogs...take entirely too much of your life to maintain

Believe what you want. I don't buy it.

As far as what is interesting, I never thought a strict journal site was ever interesting which is why I've pretty much avoided all things livejournal.
posted by john at 6:54 PM on July 19, 2001


I hand code my weblog and it doesn't take any more time than if I were using a tool to do it. well, maybe 10 more minutes a night.

I use notetab pro which does allow me to highlight text and with one click make it "strong" or an entry or whatever I've set it up for. I highly recommend the software.

but the time comes in on finding interesting links and the writing. blogger isn't going to reduce that time for me ever.

in fact, none of these tools would work as well for me as hand coding does since I tend to spend time arranging the entries once I've decided what I'll include. I don't want to just throw them up as I find them. I need to look at it on the page and see how it flows and where I need something lighter, or more serious, or whatever.
posted by rebeccablood at 7:12 PM on July 19, 2001


There are things about Greymatter that both LJ and Blogger could, should, and probably will learn from.

Greymatter has some learning of its own to do.

Yes, it does have some very desirable features (i.e multiple templates, built-in comment system, independence from zany servers), but the lack of password encryption strikes me as a big drawback.

It is also vulnerable to some standard security attacks.
posted by mgtrott at 7:35 PM on July 19, 2001


Your assignment:
Derogate the uniqueness of the web, and by so doing, ridicule its importance.

Well, here's an idea...

how about let's recycle the tired concept of a TV awards show?

Nourished by:

rampant cock-a-tail swigging
rented evening wear
Media chops unrelated to the boring event at hand
bogus categories
bogus judges
et-fuckin-cetera...

See, this will help dispel that nagging notion that the web could be a world unto itself, unique to itself, and valid all by its own self. Instead of perpetuating that nutty myth of a virtual world being nurtured by a talented cadre of mysterious stewards, why not gather up all the flesh-and bone wankers and skankers and real-world spotlight-moths and film them being small and ordinary - thus advertising the web's impermanence, and its lackluster and decidedly un-mysterious origins. See? Just a bunch of losers, boozers, schmoozers, and brick-and-mortar wannabes, jes like U and me, pulling a few code-strings and hosing down a few servers.

And let's use Sam Donaldson and A. Cumming to prove that the web requires B-list gadflies to justify itself as entertainment.

And, the awards can illustrate, in painful and precise ways, just how shallow are the accomplishments of this nascent little world. We can elevate tiny programming accomplishments to "giant l33t leaps for mankind" status.

And while Oz's deluded clique numb themselves with applause, the OtherWorld looks on, sighs, burps, mumbles "what the fuck?", and clicks out.

Nothing like an anemic copy of a traditional-media glamfest to insult the integrity of the web. Everybody practice your tongue-in-cheek, play dress-up, rehearse new and entertaining ways to sound self-deprecating, and chew on the dog bone that lasts 15 minutes...

Lights, Camera, Action ... now, get out there and cheapen it!

Can't wait until next year. Maybe we can open with a shabby chorus line of homeless geeks lip-synching "The Thrill is Gone"...

(wee troll: excuse - hot night in Texas...some slapping anticipated...)
posted by Opus Dark at 7:39 PM on July 19, 2001


Rebeccablood,

Good points. I use arachnophilia. It's a great editor that even parses javascript, java, CGI, perl, etc. It has a spellchecker. It has customizable menus, toolbars, and right-click menus. It also has a built FTP client updater. I don't want to come off as if doing everything in notepad. Oh yeah, it's careware.


BTW, Nice post Opus.
posted by john at 8:07 PM on July 19, 2001


<sarcasm>So what you're saying then is that after years of honing your chops on the web, you've finally nailed down a system that only takes up an extra 60 hours of your time a year? That's impressive.

By the way, if I wanted to link to individual entries, have commenting on my site, or syndicate entries, how would I do it? Is there any way I can do all this without having to learn any html first, or can I just kind of ease into it? </sarcasm>

Tools are a good thing. They make life easier and expand technology to everybody. They also improve with time. Admittedly, weblog applications are still in their infancy, but they're getting better rapidly. Is handcoding better? Maybe for some, but for most people, it makes as much sense as John Henry trying to beat the steam-powered drill. The Internet was built with tools, as was your computer. Tools are our friends.

<sarcasm>Just out of curiosity, have you considered the creative advantages of carving on stone tablets instead?!</sarcasm>
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:03 PM on July 19, 2001


John~
I'm all for the 'do it yourself' approach. I just think you're assuming everyone who wants to publish on line have the same intentions, talent, and time that you have.

Blogger serves a definite purpose. Some people just want to post and publish. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I don't blame a mother of three if she would rather use blogger than develop her own 'system'. I think blogger, when it's working properly, does have a lot to offer. It all depends on what your needs are.

I hand code my weblog and it doesn't take any more time than if I were using a tool to do it. well, maybe 10 more minutes a night.

I use notetab too. I hand code my pages. Then I paste them into the 75 templates of greymatter. See, I just don't want to handcode every entry. For me, with everything greymatter does, and it does a lot, ten minutes is not even the beginning of the time it saves me.
posted by justgary at 9:10 PM on July 19, 2001


what's your deal, insomnia? I was only making the point that for my needs hand coding is the best choice. and that I wouldn't save that much time, day to day, by using any of the available tools, anyway.

it's up to each person. some people enjoy playing with technology, some don't, some would if they had the time. the best tool for the job is the one that works best for the given individual, not the one that brings them up to an imaginary standard.

I don't have a problem with the tools that are out there; on the contrary, I'm the one who compared the creation of free, web-based publishing tools with the invention of the WWW in a little essay I wrote a year ago. ;)
posted by rebeccablood at 9:15 PM on July 19, 2001


The only thing you need is HTML, the rest is just extra gravy on the top.

Ok, fair enough. Should my mom need to learn HTML to write things online? I don't think so. She doesn't need to; she can just use a weblog management system (a WMS? a mCMS (microcontent management system)?) like Blogger or Pitas. Learning the Blogger or Pitas interface is far easier than HTML. (In an ideal world, very few people would need to know HTML. There would be a standard that all the browsers would support, and everyone would use WYSIWYG editors to output that standard code.)

mCMSs are tools for writing online. Your tools are a text editor, HTML, and FTP. Your tools are good for you (and for me...I don't currently use a mCMS for my site), but they aren't for everyone. I would wager to say they aren't for most people. Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods and the Sandman graphic novels, writes very well on his weblog. He uses Blogger to update it. He fires up his browser, types in his entry, publishes, and he's done. Quick and simple, a completely non-obtrusive writing experience for him. Should he bother with the HTML every time he updates? That would be silly.

Also, what about MetaFilter? Shouldn't we all be sucking it up here and hand coding our responses in Notepad and uploading it to Matt's server instead of using this little textarea to do it?

And if you're running a weblog, a mCMS offers more advantages than just handling the HTML output. Automatic archiving, automatic permalinking, automatic date and time stamping, the ability to have multiple people posting to the same site, the ability to change the look & feel across your entire site in a few minutes just by publishing with a new template, syndication, and post-based comments are all things that at least one (if not most) of the popular mCMSs do.

While none of these pertain directly to the simple act of writing stuff online, they are important nonetheless. Archiving your writing means more people can find and read your writing. Permalinking allows people to link to certain posts and discuss them on their site, forming distributed threaded discussion systems. Post-based comments give you access to reader feedback. Discussion of your thoughts and writing with others can be helpful for any writer. Writing a weblog with others can be useful for the writer as well.

Also, a quick note on design. Design is not about "looks", "[dressing] up your site", or "[prettying] it up". Aesthetics is just one part of design. Design, in the context of the Web, is basically arranging the bits of stuff on the screen so that you're communicating what you want to your audience. That's a horrible way of putting it, but that's pretty much the gist of it. Anyway, design != aesthetics.

(BTW, does anyone have a link to a good definition of design akin to my messy one above? It would be nice to have around.)
posted by jkottke at 9:38 PM on July 19, 2001


Two cents.
posted by fraying at 9:55 PM on July 19, 2001


Rebecca -
That is why I said "Is handcoding better? Maybe for some..." Handcoding isn't for everyone, though.

I guess I've heard arguments against tools for entirely too long a period of time during my life... it's like being told "What's the point of making software anyway?"

Other than that, I just felt like a sarcastic release... no ill will was intended. Handcoding is cool, but it's impractical for most people. It's been a long, interesting 24 hours and I have a slew of new stories... unfortunately, I couldn't even begin to touch upon the whole experience without flaming the false idols of the web, so I won't even go there. ;)
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:02 PM on July 19, 2001


Justgary,

I'm not assuming, I'm stating an opinion. I don't assume anyone to share my opinion either. I could care less what people use to build their sites with.

jkotte,

I don't know where the insinuation that I demand everyone to learn HTML and code their own pages came from. If I don't hold a tool in value, it doesn't mean it is worthless. It's real simple. I like good writing. I have the opinion that anyone can learn basic HTML in about 20 minutes. I would like to empower people by letting them do these things on their own. There is no opportunity for anyone using blogger to understand how all this stuff works since no one can look at the code as far as I know. If blogger dies, they are lost.

Yet this whole time, I understand why people use it. I am merely stating why I don't and why I rather encourage people to learn for themselves them spend their internet existence with training wheels attached.

Lastly, I wish you didn't remind me about Neil's website. Ugh, what a pathetically boring read. It was halfway decent when he was talking about the book publishing process, but now his site mirrors the tedium of book promoting to an astonishing level of banality.


People are so ready pounce on perceived attacks. Metafilter, where no opinion goes unpunished.
posted by john at 10:05 PM on July 19, 2001


Please Hammer Kottke, don't hurt 'em!

Word to your mutha!
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:11 PM on July 19, 2001


insomnia_lj:

Why are you so strident about an interstitial tool? It is an evolutionary dead-end, you know. Useful to some extent now, soon to be supplanted/assimilated. Nobody is rushing to buy up this 'technology' because it really is nothing extraordinary. (Yeah - Trellix defibrillated Blogger - wise and well-placed charity - not shrewd business.) It is possible that if LJ and/or Blogger get swollen enough, a BigTurd will buy 'em, but the buyer will be after wORLd dOMiNaTION, not the dinky source. (LJ is open source anyway, isn't it?)

This stuff is not new at all. It's just (gag) enabling.

And what that means is...

another member of the quietly desperate can scribble another message-in-a-bottle...
click the handy-dandy submit button...
and float it out to join the irrelevant flotilla...

Issa miracle! Quick! Give the enablers an award!

These wonder-tools also sanction a dreary presentation style, and they anoint AnyText as content.

Color me unimpressed and uninspired.

Gauntlets tend to fatigue the unmotivated, deflate the under-inspired - IOW, they collect litter before it has a chance to become litter. Building a better web is not as simple as democratizing it. Unfortunately, that is software's most compelling raison d'être.
posted by Opus Dark at 11:12 PM on July 19, 2001


Jesus, wether you use blogger/live journal has nothing to do with the quality of your content. Someone could hand code everything and it could still be crap.

If grandma wants to use a web tool good for her. No one has to read it except those that choose too.
posted by justgary at 11:31 PM on July 19, 2001


Opus -

You got me. What was I thinking? There's nothing new to our software. All we're doing is typing text into a window on a monitor somewhere, pressing buttons, and littering the Internet. What's the point of that?

Any comments?! ;)
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:43 PM on July 19, 2001


insomnia_lj writes:
Any comments?! ;)


Yup - now we're friends! ;)
posted by Opus Dark at 11:51 PM on July 19, 2001


So now that we're all friends... was Gillian Anderson there? Heh.
posted by lia at 2:50 AM on July 20, 2001


lia pestered:
[...]was Gillian Anderson there?


Yes. She and Francis Ford Coppola popped out of a huge cake constructed by ex-Boo designers, and then they danced the mazurka to the dulcet yet lively accompaniment of David Bowie singing a cleverly re-mixed version of "Space Oddity".
posted by Opus Dark at 3:55 AM on July 20, 2001


Jason said: In an ideal world, very few people would need to know HTML. There would be a standard that all the browsers would support, and everyone would use WYSIWYG editors to output that standard code.

Isn't HTML a standard code that all browsers support? I mean, isn't it supposed to be?

It's frequently asserted that "you shouldn't have to learn HTML" to publish on the web, but really, how difficult is it? There isn't much on the common diary or weblog that requires knowing more than how to enclose text in an anchor reference, or emphasize it in some way.

Even using a publishing tool such as LiveJournal, Blogger or GreyMatter, if you want to customize the appearance of your page in any significant extent, you're going to be knee-deep in scary demon HTML. Using an mCMS doesn't necessarily absolve you of learning markup.

It's not an awful thing to "require" learning at least a soupcon of markup. If nothing else, it brings the user a bit closer to understanding the technical underpinings of the software and machine they're using. Once you grok enclosing text in &lt;B> tags, you're closer to understanding how your WYSIWYG word processor works and what sorts of things it's doing automagically behind the scenes.

The more you understand your word processor, the less mysterious the machine becomes, and -- eventually -- the less reticent you are to explore, experiment and create using it. Learning to write simple shell sort programs in BASIC 25 years ago certainly gave me a leg up in understanding spreadsheets and scripting today, and took away a lot of anxiety I might otherwise have developed about computers in general because I "got" how they worked.

Fear not the tag!!
posted by bradlands at 4:01 AM on July 20, 2001


not really against CMSing... though i have kept it old-school with my hand-coding (we don't need no stinkin' permalinks!), i'm planning on switching to greymatter soon (oh wait.. maybe we do.)... anyway,

Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods and the Sandman graphic novels, writes very well on his weblog.

you fail to mention how many times blogger f-ed up on him and he was either forced to rewrite his stuff, or complain and say he'd put it up later.

It was halfway decent when he was talking about the book publishing process, but now his site mirrors the tedium of book promoting to an astonishing level of banality.

he's a busy guy... it's a shame his blog won't still be up after the business, as i'm sure it'd definitely be quality...
posted by lotsofno at 6:15 AM on July 20, 2001


It's frequently asserted that "you shouldn't have to learn HTML" to publish on the web, but really, how difficult is it?

Here, here. I think it is unbelievably easy to learn—and even better you can easily teach yourself with a book or a simple tutorial—for grandmothers and granddaughters alike.

It's frequently asserted that "you shouldn't have to learn HTML" to publish on the web

Not sure if it is a complete analogy or anything but one must learn to use the English language in order to write (in English anyway); and in order to make websites perhaps one should have to be familiar with the language of websites, and since it is so (see!) easy to learn HTML, it seems a no brainer that one should have to at least learn the basics—even if you go and apply those basics inside a "tool".
posted by bruyneel at 6:50 AM on July 20, 2001


Everything is good and wonderful. There are no wrong answers. I love you all, regardless of the method you choose with which to post your words. You are all beautiful and smart and your opinions are based on well-researched premises and first-person experiences dealing with a variety of technologies on various platforms using testing methods that are not colored by preconceptions or prejudices concerning those technologies, carried out over a number of months, documented and presented with charts and graphs to support your thesis. I admire your tenacity and trust that every word you record here is true because I have used the Web enough to know that everything everyone says, even when they switch their opinion mid-sentence or contradict themselves with a poor choice of words, reflects what they would say if they stood up before a panel of experts to report the same findings and opinions. My tooth hurts.
posted by honkzilla at 9:58 AM on July 20, 2001


Not sure if Webby-related comments are still acceptable in this thread. (I use Blogger and Diaryland for portions of my sites...there, now I'm on topic.)

I think the Webbies are great. I had a great time. Met some amazing people and learned some new URLs to check out.

Events like the Webbies help the rest of the world (read: non MeFi folks) take the net seriously. I think Tiffany Shlain does a service to the web community.

I know its cool to listen to Fugazi and make fun of all the sell-outs…but I also think it would be cool if people who created amazing web creations could make a living doing so (The same way that people who create Oscar-winning art do)

P.S. Sam Donaldson said this of me:
"Get a look at that guy! He loves himself. I myself have never been in that category. What an ego!"
posted by halcyon at 10:21 AM on July 20, 2001


"It's frequently asserted that "you shouldn't have to learn HTML" to publish on the web, but really, how difficult is it?"

Here, here.

Where, where? Maybe people should learn at least one human language well before starting in on the computer languages. I think that would do a lot more to increase the quality of weblogs than learning HTML. When I go to a bad Web site, what drives me away usually isn't the HTML, but the lack of communication skills.
posted by kindall at 10:39 AM on July 20, 2001


Halcyon,

I feel that the method of the awards needs some work. It seems to be modeled as a poor man's Oscars. I think that that's the wrong approach. The web is too varied a thing to have one body begin chopping it up into categories and saying who's best. That group can't possibly know the subject matter for everything.

I would rather have established awards expand to accept internet content or ones like them to be formed. Take the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes as examples. This way the rewards would actually mean more than a few extra hits and the ability to quote a journalist judging your ego. I haven't seen much indication the world takes the webbies seriously. The random person on the street certainly doesn't even know what they are.
posted by john at 11:00 AM on July 20, 2001


Why should anybody even be allowed to write if they can't make their own paper and ink? (Or cuneiform tablets, for that matter?)
posted by harmful at 11:32 AM on July 20, 2001


honkzilla sez: Everything is good and wonderful....

Well, that's certainly easier than having an opinion.
posted by jkottke at 11:41 AM on July 20, 2001


I'd like to see web awards that are voted on in the same way that the oscars are: by peers. for most of the technical awards, only others in that field vote: costumers for costuming, editors for editing, etc.

of course, the web isn't as specialized (and importantly - unionized) as the film industry, but at least we could keep the celebrity judges off the panels and have real web people (read: not VCs and "web personalities" but people who actually make sites) doing the judging.

I think gillian anderson should be paid to attend the awards ceremony for everyone to look at, though.
posted by rebeccablood at 11:46 AM on July 20, 2001


If blogger dies, they are lost.

As long as we're making broad statements, if Blogger didn't exist, they wouldn't have been found in the first place. And something like Blogger will always exist...there are 20 alternatives to it already.
posted by jkottke at 11:53 AM on July 20, 2001


Gillian Anderson=I don't get it
Denise Richards=I get

What do you mean Starship Troopers doesn't count as sci-fi cred? :P
posted by owillis at 12:05 PM on July 20, 2001


Has anyone who's bitching about the Webby judging process actually bothered to read the list of judges or the judging process? If you did, you might find that there are a whole bunch of great people, smart geeks, and talented thinkers there. And, yeah, a few stars for the media to get all excited about. Big deal.

It's a list as diverse as the web. Is it perfect? Of course not. So why don't you contact them and tell them what you think or volunteer to get involved. Make the process better.

Or is this thread just about bitching and moaning and trashing anyone who dares to come in here with a sense of humor?
posted by fraying at 12:09 PM on July 20, 2001


Isn't HTML a standard code that all browsers support? I mean, isn't it supposed to be?

It is supposed to be, but it's not. Each browser has its own flavor that it supports, making it all but impossible for a WYSIWYG product like Dreamweaver to produce standard code that works everywhere.

Don't get me wrong, I love HTML. If HTML were a pretty girl, I'd marry it. I code HTML by hand because Dreamweaver doesn't give me what I want and need for my sites to be clean and work everywhere. But I would love it if I never had to see HTML again. I don't need to know the underlying format Word documents because Word takes care of that for me. Hopefully HTML editors will someday do that effectively as well.
posted by jkottke at 12:10 PM on July 20, 2001


If Blogger didn't exist, it would be necessary for humankind to create it. So sayeth the acolytes.

Really, why are the Webbies such a big deal? The only way in which you're going to make these bloated ceremonies so goddam regal is if you fail to recognize them as a vacuous veneer. Unlike the Oscars or the Grammies, the Webbies have not been around for decades. I say, nip the bastards in the bud before they blow out of proportion. If no one cared, there'd be no way for the Webbies to be blown into such gargantuan proportions. And certainly turning a blind eye upon this sham, that accolades Peter Pan for being "weird" when it's about as unfunny and blase as a New Yorker humor piece, is an easy feat after the dot com bust.
posted by ed at 12:24 PM on July 20, 2001


i really wonder if something such as an html editor -- as it exists today -- is really feasible. word and html differ in at least one, very significant fashion. the underlying format of word implies both structure and layout; the underlying format of html implies only structure. some concessions have been made in areas of html for layout purposes -- for example, setting widths of table columns in pixels -- but ideally, css should take up the slack.

i think it would be really neat to produce a webpage editor of the future, for i think it would resemble no like-minded product in the market today. in a future webpage editor, i envision inserting and deleting entire boxes of content at a time, dragging margins and padding, and so on. however, the complicity of css worries me -- how effective would it be to roll all of the possibilities of css into some sort of dialog window of options to choose from?

maybe some of that happens today -- i don't know. (the last time i used a wysiwyg editor was a couple of years ago.) simplicity can be in the form of elegance -- i.e. with power still available to you -- or in the form of restraint (with little power available to you). speaking as someone who has designed programming languages in the past, ones which attempt make life a bit simpler, it's hard to find your way to elegance.
posted by moz at 12:50 PM on July 20, 2001


I've tried to be civil in stating my thoughts. I haven't been well the past few days. I have had 3 hours of sleep in 3 days. I didn't post to attack anyone here. I am coming from a perspective on what I think one should know about the web in a world where tools come and go, but HTML, etc. remains. I figured anyone could learn HTML after I spent less than 20 minutes showing my father, a computer novice, the ropes. Perhaps I should just take back my bad assumption posted while in an irritable mood.

I'm sure if I had the time, I might try and offer advice and service to the webby folks, but threads like this show me how much I don't know the web design mentality. I will instead continue with supporting communities that I understand better like Siggraph. You will hear no more about blogger-like tools or webby awards from me.
posted by john at 1:15 PM on July 20, 2001


What do you mean Starship Troopers doesn't count as sci-fi cred?

as if it were ever about sci-fi cred...
posted by lotsofno at 1:43 PM on July 20, 2001


What do you mean Starship Troopers doesn't count as sci-fi cred?

as if it were ever about sci-fi cred...
posted by lotsofno at 1:43 PM on July 20, 2001


doh... finger slipped.
posted by lotsofno at 1:43 PM on July 20, 2001


The reactionary juvenile Heinlein novel or the Paul Verhoeven movie?
posted by ed at 2:02 PM on July 20, 2001


nice one ed...one of those rare "the movie was better than the book" situations.
posted by modofo at 2:07 PM on July 20, 2001


nice one ed...one of those rare "the movie was better than the book" situations.

i'd have to disagree... i just thought it was a different "experience." Though the movie wasn't as good as the book in my opinion, it still was a lot of fun to watch.... kind of like in the anime/manga world, where though usually the television show is horrible compared to the comic, sometimes the show is a great supplement to the manga, if not just as good.
posted by lotsofno at 3:25 PM on July 20, 2001


modofo: Not exactly a complete slight. Heinlein wrote the book with adolescents in mind, sort of ROTC meets Boy's Life.
posted by ed at 4:47 PM on July 20, 2001


Where, where? Maybe people should learn at least one human language

Shit, you got me, I think your absolutely write.
posted by bruyneel at 12:35 AM on July 21, 2001


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