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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 19,114,748  

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Question of the Week: 87 - 12/1/2002

The Pagan Web 2002... Your likes? Dislikes?

No other spiritual paths have embraced the web as dramatically, quickly and extensively as the Pagan communities [Link] have done.

So here we are some 8 years later... What do you look for in a Pagan Web site? What brings you back? What are you tired of? What is missing? Do you believe that the noise to signal ratio is out of whack? Too much chatter? Too Little?

What changes have you observed? What trends have you noticed? What do you see for the future of the Pagan web?

NOTE: Mean spirited attacks against specific Pagan Web sites will be promptly removed.

 Reponses:   There are 50 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

State Of The Pagan Web Dec 3rd. at 11:56:14 am EST

Norvok (Oregon) Age: 45 - Email - Web

I'm fairly new to the Pagan Web community but a theme that seems to pervade the majority of websites is the unnecessary/overuse of graphics and distracting backgrounds. This makes the content hard to read and the site painfully slow to load for those with dialup access.

I think that group oriented sites like discussion boards, mailing lists, etc are a great networking tool but I have to agree that they are usually dominated by a few active users. However, this is not unique to the Pagan community, it’s human nature. On a positive note, there are enough of these sites out there that you should have no trouble finding one that suits your personality.

Fluff is rampant. The Internet provides us with the ability to post the electronic equivalent of a roadside billboard and for a lot of people, it’s their only connection with the larger Pagan community. Forgive them their exuberance and use guest books and forums as they were intended. Provide your host with some positive feedback as well as some sage advise.

Focus on your interests and don’t try and make your site all things to all people. If you follow a particular path then focus on it and share your knowledge. There are others traveling the same path that can benefit from your experience.

Overall, I enjoy surfing the Pagan web since it allows me the opportunity to meet and interact with such a diverse group of people.

What I Don't Like And What I'd Like To See Dec 3rd. at 12:42:10 pm EST

Ashe Winterwolf (Irving, TX) Age: 38 - Email

I've lost track of the number of websites that have the same basic information you can find in a hundred different Wicca 101 books. I also dislike finding out that the website creator has been practicing for less than a year, read three books, and now are telling all of cyberspace they have enough knowledge to teach others.
What I would like to see are more sites geared to Elders and experienced practitioners. How do you deal with the covener who is habitually late or continues to bring their crying baby to circle? How do you deal with a solitaire who is doing through a spiriutal crisis and seeks you out for advice? What are the limits to the amount of counseling that should be done by a HP/S or a coven before the person receiving counseling should seek out a professional. How about more sites that offer intelligent essays and the insights of long-time practitioners? These are things that would be of great value to our community, not having another site describing the Quarters and their corresponces or the Sabbats for the umpteeth time.

Pagan Web 2000 Dec 3rd. at 12:44:54 pm EST

steven (winnipeg) Age: 19 - Email

I think, for the most part, the responses given here have been reasonable and thought provoking! It's nice to see such sincere interaction taking place.

I definitely agree with the comments about similarities between personal pagan web sites within the past few years. It's something that appears to have gotten better recently, but for a while there, everything looked as though it had been plucked from a "free design set" web site. You know the ones, standard border background with buttons & an overly large, standard issue header graphic. Or the contrary, pages that seem drab as though the author was neglecting the potentially creative side. In this respect, it seems no one is happy - even if you are someone who started from scratch. You've got one person who comes for the beautiful graphics you've spent hours stirring up, and an equally unhappy person complaining about the fact that they're sick of seeing imagery of the Moon depicted on a page like yours. You can't make everyone happy, so I've learned to use common sense while designing what I know most will enjoy.

Content is certainly an important part of a pagan web site. Unfortunately, most don't seem to go much further than "A simple candle ritual", for example. It's a shame, and I'll have to agree; for the majority, the content of the pagan sites out there is tantamount with one another. Bigger text doesn't necessarily mean a larger article! Though text-stealing shouldn't occur, I really liked the comment made earlier about how one person may take a ritual, for example, and recreate it to their own likings; expand the ritual & make it work for them. As long as there's something interesting underneat that "Table of Contents" header. ;)

If I see or hear a midi begin to load on a pagan web page, I'm usually to leave immediately and do my best to avoid ever returning. I'm not quite sure why the pagan web (especially) has found the overuse of midi files on their pages, a successful webcrafting tool. It's about as impressive as the blink-tag that hasn't worked since Netscape 2. Enough said.

It seems that the web sites that were beginning to gain a lot of common interest a couple of years ago have almost flourished nowadays, earning the credit & top-spots on the search engines they deserve. It's nice to see that the web seems to be weeding out the smaller sites with less original content, and these older & more well rounded sites are stepping to the plate (so-to-speak).

But as much critisizing I may have done here, the web is an extremely great way for people of a common interest to network and voice their opinions. If we're all not established webcrafters, we should observe forethought when commenting specifically. How much time has gone in to a certain web site? How much of this person's own money has been fronted in hopes of establishing their own publishing outlet? Of course, this goes for any site, pagan, religious, or otherwise.

& if the contrast of a little light on dark here and there is too much stress for your eyes to take, pick up a pair of spectacles, grandpa! lol.

-steven danyluk

Gotta Have It Dec 3rd. at 1:11:10 pm EST

Ciarrai (New Jersey) Age: 35 - Email

At one point in my life, I think I may have hit just about every site that I possibly could (in addition to making some major bookstores rich, that is, until I learned about the buying power w/ Pagan Pride!) I've learned, I've been amused, I've been disappointed, and I've been offended, but it was all necessary. All part of what I need to learn. It's good to know that if I need to "surf" about that I can. It's great to know that I can go to WITCHVOX and find everything that I want & never be afraid to ask for it. It's wonderful to know that I don't depend on it - I now ENJOY it. Like I said, we just gotta have it!

Whatever Floats Yr Boat Dec 3rd. at 3:13:16 pm EST

lilith (la ciudad de nuestras senora de los angeles) Age: 33 - Email


[1] witchvox-- very much! structure is good, graphics arent overwhelming, it is updated frequently, seems to have fairly intelligent readers, allows for disagreement, and guess what-- YOU CAN ACTUALLY READ IT because its not done in purple on a black background! hey! how about that!

[2] there are a plethora of good tarot related sites on the web. while i dont specifically think of tarot as witchy or pagan, there's no denying a slight connection between the two, and damn, there are some great tarot sites out there.

dislikes [unfortunately more of these than the other]:

[1] most websites, not just pagan ones, are poorly designed and poorly thought out. and above all else, hasnt ANYONE out there heard of spellcheck? or learning some basic grammer? or the dictionary?

[2] dark on dark cannot be read. period.

[3] the new agey-fluffy strata that so many feel inclined to bitch about is annoying. about as annoying as the Anne Gwish "i painted my turtle black-- am i spooky?" clique. i dont care how beautiful you think the world is and how many poor witches you think were burned at the stake some hundred years ago, and i dont care how many times you have read the satanic bible and how much black you wear. it is utterly irrelevant. i wear more black than you do anyway.

i think as a subset dislike i would add

[4] personal revelations and how much of an expert you think you are when you have read three books, all by buckland or cunningham, and how you discovered paganism three months ago through ren-faire, or how the movie "the craft" effected yr life-- all of that does not provide an iota of enlightenment to anyone else. or, put another way-- there is very little PRACTICAL information and knowledge out there. i think ashe winterwolf said it best in an earlier post.

[5] cumbersome slow-loading sites are annoying no matter who has one.

[6] plagarism. dont get me started.

anyway, thats my bit.

From A Webmaster Dec 3rd. at 3:16:39 pm EST

Greyhart (Colorado) Age: 38 - Email - Web

As a Pagan Webmaster, or a Webmaster who is Pagan, I have an issue or two from the OTHER side. I hate getting email from people who give you a piece of their mind, but then neglect to tell you which site they were on.

For example (This is an actual email I got a couple of days ago.):

"Why is this page even here NOTHING works in it ,most of the links and not good anymore....
Take it down or keep it updated.

Really kind of gives us a bad nman as being lazy and not careing."

Now, I have three active sites that I run, Some pagan, some not. I also probably have a few old sites that were "free web space with your account" that I haven't worked on for years. I would have removed these sites, but in the lapsed time sice they really were active, I've lost track of the passwords.

If you have constructive criticism, tell me. I'm open to other points of view. If you are going to criticize, at least tell me WHICH site you're looking at. It's easy enough to tell when it's a site that has it's own domain, but if it's one of the free sites, I won't have a clue unless you tell me, and if the links are out of date, and the calendar of events says 1997, then you can probably bet that it's an old site that is no longer active. If the site is still active, the links all should work. If they don't, then yes, I want to know about it, but don't scream at me with bad grammar, and expect a nice response. If you're going to acuse me of being lazy, and not caring, you should at least proof read what you're emailing for grammatic and spelling errors. I'm not going to take you seriously if you're going to tell me I'm lazy, and you're too lazy to check your own spelling.

I put time and effort into creating, and maintaining the websites I have. I'm not perfect, and there may be mistakes in content, or coding. I do my best, and I would hope that others coming to the sites would understand helpful information is welcome, flame letters will only get you quoted in a public forum.

The Pagan Web Dec 3rd. at 4:21:06 pm EST

Starling (Montreal, Canada) Age: 24 - Email

What I look for in a Pagan website, nowadays, is a sense of community, acceptance of everyone's way, information on current issues pertaining to the religion, as well as to related subjects, information on what's new as far as books, movies, music goes (that's Pagan-related). A website where I can state my opinion, without being be-littled by people who think their way is the only way.

What brings me back, is definitely the design, the information therein, the frequency of the updates, and whether or not the information is relevant to whatever I am currently into. Recently, I was very into cooking recipes, and I found a Pagan forum that had all kinds of recipes classified in many different ways, whether seasonnal, cultural origins, etc.

What I am sick of is fancy cursors (they simply annoy me), animated gifs (urgh...), dark backgrounds with dark writing, or colors that clash too much (yeow, my eyes!), sites that are simply too graphics heavy (especially when there's a pentacle every square inch or so...). I am also sick of the attitude of some people who think they're all that, whether fluffy or non-fluffy. Too 'fluffy' simply is of no interest to me, too much of 'We are right, everybody else is wrong' sickens me, and 'I hate the fluffs, they stink' well, those people should realize that everyone has to start somewhere, and instead of putting others down, they should try to GENTLY show them something more, and if they (the so-called Fluffs) don't want to hear it, then so be it! Either way, get over yourselves...

Hadn't Thought Much About It Dec 4th. at 7:15:27 am EST

squib (Oregon) Age: 32 - Email

at least, not until last week, when i googled "incense recipe". The amount of lifting and blatant plagiarism was staggering. Countless pages full of the same, exact stuff. The same spells. the same oil recipes. the same rituals. But no actual interesting content. Lots of fluffy stuff (whatever floats your boat, man...) but nothing really to sink my teeth into. Lots of people adore the creative, beautiful aspect of the gods and goddesses but manage to completely ignore the darker natures of the same.

Really, the only pagan site i've found that i reaaally enjoy, and come back to constantly, is this one :). Content updated constantly, different voices, different ideas... it's what it should be.

As for the commercial sites, well, some are fine. Some people DO put a lot of love and effort into what they make to sell. Maybe it's expensive, but it's expensive because it's been proven to fetch the price asked. You don't have to buy it. You can spend the time to gather the things needed or the money to buy the components and perhaps see why they bring the prices they do - that's a lot of work and effort (anyone check the going rate for bulk benzoin? Criminy....) I'll not begrudge a craftsperson for wishing to make a living off their talent, me being in a band and all...

More In-depth Info! Dec 4th. at 9:26:48 am EST

Maedhril (somewhere in NY) Age: 16 - Email - Web

Pardon my inaccuracies, if indeed they do occur, but I haven't braved the Pagan web in some time! I do research when it's needed, but mostly I've turned to books for my magickal needs. That said, I have seen quite a few sites in my travels (most notably this one - great job, folks!).

Things that annoy me considerably - well, for starters, the lack of depth. When I was younger, I used to flock to sites that had "Wicca 101" guides. However, since then, I have grown considerably - and learned a lot more than most guides have to offer. Just as with books, I would love to see more advanced information online. Also, many sites are poorly designed, although perhaps that's due to a lack of HTML skills more than anything else. I've seen content be sacrificed in favor of a flashier site. I do wish it were the other way 'round. Some of the best sites I've been to are simple in their design but very functional, with loads of info. I love seeing the webmaster's personal perspective on things, not just a list of spells and an email address. What made you, the designer, so passionate about Paganism that you decided to design a site and share with the rest of the world?

As for things I like - lots of content. That's definitely way up there on my list. Simple navigation helps. If you can't do frames, don't try. Trust me on this one! If you have to include music, only do so on your splash page. If you aren't going to use a splash page, I would suggest you either make every link from the page with the music open in a new window or, well, don't use music. There's nothing more annoying than going back to the navigation page and hearing the same song start up. After awhile, it makes the user want to throttle the designer.

Before starting your own website, please look around at recommended sites and see what makes them work. I'm not saying steal their design, but figure out what about said design works well. Why do people go flocking back? That's the key, really. Know what works and use it. It's a bit like magick, when you think about it. Link to More info related to this post -- HERE

Info!! Dec 4th. at 1:38:11 pm EST

Alexandra (oregon) Age: 18 - Email

I look for correct information! Even the best of sites are bound to be incorrect or misleading in some areas (including this one!)...

*Just A Newbies Words* Dec 4th. at 2:26:53 pm EST

Spiritmother aka Earthjurnee (Atlanta ga) Age: 32 - Email

Merry meet all,

so far i have been able to find alot of info.Being a newbie on this path i have been able to live and learn through this i really cannot give to much to say/just that keep up the great work.we newbies need sites like these to help us on the chosen path .........

Blessed be

Good And Bad Dec 4th. at 3:49:14 pm EST

The Sweeper (OK) Age: 48 - Email

Looking around the internet;

I wonder at all the fascination, with bells and whistles, gadgets and doodads, and other trapping that are suppose to be the tools of the Craft.

I wonder at the apparent shallowness and lack of dedication to the spiritual aspect of the Craft.

I wonder at the great numbers of those who wish to learn and the lacking in numbers of those who wish to teachers.


I am amazed and pleased by the incredible volume of people and places that are out there.

I am amazed at what a huge and wonderfully diverse place the Pagan world has become.

I am amazed to find that beneath the noise, there are those who are truly dedicated and quite wonderful.

The Sweeper

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