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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: 9,828,966  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 43

Lurker/Post Ratio: 762 to 1

Question of the Week: 75 - 1/14/2002

So What Do YOU Think of the Pagan Web?

What changes did you see in the Pagan Web last year? Were these changes good or bad? What do you hope to see happen or evolve on-line this year? What would you recommended to budding Pagan web weavers?

 Reponses:   There are 43 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 


Merry Meet, As A Pagan Webmaster Myself I Don't Get As Much... Jan 7th. at 9:36:42 am UTC

The Fluid Druid (Dade City, Florida US) Age: 38 - Email


Merry Meet,
As a Pagan webmaster myself I don't get as much time as I would like to surf the net, but I have noticed a few things over the past year.

First of all the number of ORIGANAL personal Pagan websites has drastically declined.
It seems that most people just post the basics, the information that is on almost everyones homepage, and adds their Bio. to it.

I have noticed an increase in multi-media, especially Flash.

I have found that the best way to get traffic is to have 2 things;
1) Fresh information, info that isn't on almost every Pagan website.

2)Interactivity. The more there is to do at a website, the more traffic you will get.

Witches Voice is a perfict example of this.
Lots of great content, as well as plenty of services.

Another developement over the last year is the increase in Pagan Internet Communities.
There are several Pagan Portals out there now, as well as a few full fledged Ccomminity websites, like mine at http://www.thefluiddruid.net .


I Think That The Pagan Web Has Come A Long Way, But... Jan 7th. at 9:44:33 am UTC

Sunfell (Little Rock, Arkansas US) Age: 41 - Email


I think that the Pagan Web has come a long way, but still has quite a way to go. For those of us who, for whatever reason, are isolated from the rest of our communities, the Pagan Web has been a real godsend- with The Witches Voice at the very top.

I noted that after the initial start up flurry, many sites are what I call 'cobwebs', with no updating since '97 or so. This is sad, because our community is still growing. I also noted a lot of common graphics and content, like the authors of some sites just 'pinched' stuff they liked and slapped it on their sites. This is sad too.

Although I am a Net-vet with nearly ten years online, I only put up my own personal website a year ago in March. I took a look at everyone else's sites, and decided that mine would be different. All original content, graphics, look and feel. No ads or popups, regular updates. Sunfell.com is a work in progress, and I regularly rip it to pieces and rebuild it from scratch. And I also try to update it regularly, because I dislike 'cobwebs'.

I hope to see the Pagan web continue to evolve and grow. Perhaps the creators of the 'me-too' sites can write some original content and build a site that is unique to their tradition. It doesn't HAVE to be black backgrounds, Halloween graphics, spinning pentagrams and rinky-dink music. Lose the music. Those of us who use the web at work will be grateful for the silence. If you HAVE to have music on your site, make the default OFF, and give the user the choice to listen or not.

Pay sites... an interesting problem. I am willing to pay for good content (Salon Premium, for example), but are there writers out there who are consistent and prolific enough to generate something new every week? Every month? Many Pagans I know aren't rich, and the nickel-dime aspects of the Web get irritating. It's a tough decision.

The Pagan community is beginning to mature. Sure, there are still many more beginners than there are more advanced members, but those of us who have been on board awhile want something more than Pagan and Witchcraft 101 sites. I try to serve that need for advanced studies with my own site, but our more advanced web weavers also need to contribute and build sites for the more advanced people. We can't stay in elementary school forever! Perhaps Fritz and Wren should create a search category for advanced studies sites.

Beliefnet is a thriving community of various religions, and they have expressed their desire to grow the Pagan segment of their site. In order to do this, we need contributions and participation from our various traditions. And we need to put our differences aside and step into the religious community as a diverse, but coherent whole. We could stand to benefit from positive exposure. People of many faiths read the various boards there, and look there to learn about us. It is an excellent opportunity for positive exposure to the world at large. Starhawk and Margot Adler contribute regularly- perhaps some of our other writers can step in with articles, too. We have eight major opportunities each year to say 'here we are'. Let's use them.

My hope is that the Pagan online community as a whole can put their differences behind them, and use the Internet as the wonderful global tool that it is. Building up and maintaining our community is vital in this uncertain time. Let's do what we can to support our online web weavers- by putting a dollar into their 'kitties' (if they have one) or purchasing books from their sites (which will help them build their own libraries). And let's not forget to thank the staff at The Witches Voice for their years of solid community building and support of the Pagan community. Without them, we'd all be ships passing in the night.

Blessings Be
Sunfell
www.sunfell.com


The Problem Is, You See, We're All "spoilt" From Having Such A... Jan 7th. at 10:53:38 am UTC

Jools (Rhyl, England UK) Age: 35 - Email


The problem is, you see, we're all "spoilt" from having such a wonderful website as TWV, and we expect the same high standard from everyone else. Having said that, there are few things more disheartening than finding a website while on the ever-present search for info, and then finding that it's not been updated since 1995! Come on, guys - are you expecting us to believe that you haven't had time to add anything to your website for six years or more?! Expecting anyone to put in the dedication and hard work we've come to respect and appreciate from Fritz and Wren is, perhaps, expecting a bit too much - but an update every six months or so surely wouldn't harm?! If Wren can update the Nest daily, why can't others update their sites too? If nothing else, it would show a bit of appreciation for the number of "hits", and indicate that at least the webcrafter responsible for the site showed a little bit of interest in it, having launched it upon the world in the first place. To plagiarise a phrase used by the RSPCA, " a website is for life, not just for Giftmas!".


I Think The Witches Voice Staff Is As Credible As Any Other... Jan 7th. at 11:41:07 am UTC

Wade Berlin (Jacksonville, Florida US) Age: 38 - Email


I think the Witches Voice Staff is as credible as any other service on the web (more so in many, many cases) and should offer an outstanding website award.

Make it a community project like so many of the other things the witches voice does, and allow us to Vote on links for quality, usability, style, etceteras....

Maybe even show us a popularity on the number of referrals the Witches voice sends to sites....


As The Owner Of One Of Those 'original 25' Pagan Web Sites... Jan 7th. at 12:50:59 pm UTC

Minerva Waters (Downers Grove, Illinois US) Age: 26 - Email


As the owner of one of those 'original 25' Pagan web sites (finally broke down and got a domain -- http://www.lunarshadows.net -- two years ago), i've seen and noted and adjusted to the numerous changes and trends in the Pagan web. A few of my observations:

I think the single most enduring trend is the search for original content. Most sites have nothing more than the same few pieces of information (Rede, Charges, "we're not evil, " etc.) and leave it at that. To find a site with new content that updates regularly is rare treat, but even the majority of these putter out after a few months. Over the last year, what seems to be taking the place of these sites is commercial or portal sites (which link to the same few sites that have actual content). This may be all very well and good, but how many identical portal sites do we need?

It appears that boundaries have been established as to what is acceptible for content. Few (very few) sites go beyond 'Wicca 101.' Most site owners would rather die than admit they don't follow the Rede's ethics. I can count on one hand the number of site i've visited that have more than a line or two about the author's personal Pagan practices and/or tradition before claiming "it's a secret handed down from Great Aunt so-and-so, so it can't be shared with others." I would enjoy seeing more sites stretch these limits in the next year.

On a similar note, it would be delightful to see more specialty sites. It's tiring to keep coming across, for example, a site on Tarot that have a sprinkling of Wiccan Sabbats, ritual design, pictures of the owner's 12 cats, and some poetry. Choose a topic and write exhaustively on it; make it the best site on that topic. Trust me, visitors will flock to your site if you do.

One trend i've noticed especially this past year is large and/or popular sites whose owners have financial problems announcing this fact to all who visit their sites, and expecting donations to keep their sites afloat. Back in the early days of the Pagan web, if you put up a site, you were expected to have the resources to maintain it. After all, no one is forcing you to have the site; why should you expect them to fund it? If you could not afford to keep it, you either closed it or gave it to someone else to maintain. That no longer seems to be the case. Of course, given the number of sites that have disappeared over the last few months (Encyclopedia Mythica, for example), i'm guessing at least a few sites didn't have much luck finding sponsors.

Something i would really like to see (wishful thinking, of course) are more Pagan sites designed for the visitor. No more 7pt fonts, dark grey text on black backgrounds, flashing animated graphics, sites that only work in IE, badly coded Javascripts, 500K entrance graphics ... If you want people to visit (and return), it would help if the visitors could read what you have to say. Not all of us are youngsters with perfect vision and infinite patience.


I Agree With A Lot Of The Previous Posts. Let Me Add... Jan 7th. at 12:58:57 pm UTC

UrthGuru (NYC, New York US) Age: 23 - Email


I agree with a lot of the previous posts. Let me add my two cents, if I may...

I think the quantity of pagan websites has exploded in the last few years. And I think it is a double edged sword. Nowadays, I only visit a handful of my favorite sites regularly.

For the most part I come across sites that have basic information and the same pics and gifs that every other site has. B-O-R-I-N-G. Also, I've seen sites that purport word of mouth half-truths as Wiccan Laws. And hey, to each his own, as long as they are not broadcast as movement-wide rules.

A majority of these sites are by newbies, and I am far enough along my path to find no good info on these sites. I think some people that are farther along the Pagan path should make some sites. These could have some really great insights on how to live a Pagan life.

What I would enjoy seeing on the Web would be some pagan sites that have original information on them. Sabbats that were actually written and performed by the site owner, instead of copied out of a book or off another website. Essays and thoughts about pagana and life in general. And maybe a message board where you could post feedback and have some good pagan conversation.

I feel that if you are going to have a website at all, it should be original. And if you're not going to update it regularly, take it off the web.


My Hope Is To See More Politically Proactive Sites On The Web... Jan 7th. at 3:05:03 pm UTC

Jason Pitzl-Waters (Champaign, Illinois US) Age: 28 - Email


My hope is to see more politically proactive sites on the web that move beyond the "pentacle at school" stories, and address some of the bigger issues that should worry people coming from a pagan point of view.

Some sites have done so including both Starhawk's and Issac Bonewitt's personal pages, and the newly formed Pagan Unity Campaign are definate steps in the right direction.

My own site MythWorks is an attempt to find the political pagan voices of all stripes that are missed by the understandable urge of most sites to avoid controversy.

The next step is making our opinions and voices heard on not only civil liberty cases (which I am not downplaying the importance of) but on the social and political issues that shape our nation (and the worlds) future.

MythWorks
http://www.wildhunt.org/myth/


Well, I'm One Of The "newbie" Website Owners, Having Just Started My... Jan 7th. at 4:37:10 pm UTC

Daven (Nashville, Tennessee US) Age: 34 - Email


Well, I'm one of the "newbie" website owners, having just started my website in June of 2000. That means that it has been in existance for about 18 months, with massive changes to it in that time.

Lets see, it has original content, written by me and articles for those looking for more expanded info.
It is a "Wicca 201 and 301" site, taking the basic information and continuing on with it to a logical conclusion.
I have my lessons that I have been giving on the Internet in the last two years posted to the site.
It's updated every month, sometimes every two weeks.
There is interactive content available, a mailing list so the people can talk to each other, along with my sending out updates.

You know what, with all that, with all the work I have put into my site, it seems that I can't PAY visitors to come to my site. There are tons of interactive things to do, or there were, but they were not used and so I got rid of them. I had a guestbook, I had a classroom (message board), I was going to go even farther and host my own message board but didn't for space considerations. I don't have ads, I don't beg for money, I don't sell anything, but you know what?

No one is coming or using what I have put there. I get about 4 emails a month from someone going "Good job" or "Love your site" and visiting it regularly. You all want updated content, well, the content that is there needs to be looked at and visited and used to get that. And an email every once in a while telling the webmasers that you like their site and you found something useful in their content will make their day.

http://davensjournal.com


I Haven't Noticed Much Difference In The Past Year Other Than What... Jan 7th. at 7:43:29 pm UTC

Akima (Gorham, Maine US) Age: 30 - Email


I haven't noticed much difference in the past year other than what Fritz noted, but I think that the fact that most sites are no longer updated is the biggest and most obvious observation. One of the larger carriers, FreakyPlanet, was up, down, and sometimes half visable, which was a big damper on some rookie website designers. They offered alot of very easy editing tools, message boards for members, etc. But unfortunately, they are gone (atleast from my PC) I believe that some website failure is caused by a lack of support from various expected sources. It takes alot of money to do a good job, AND keep an interest, and even more so, it takes ALOT of time, more than most people with full time jobs can fit in a week. The only recommendations I have for any budding developers are 1. Determine what you want out of it, either money, or personal warmth knowing you are making a difference, or what have you. 2.If it is for money, my advise stops here, I have no experience there, but if it is because you want to help the Pagan community, as a whole or in your area, just take it one day at a time until you are tired of it, and once you have become tired of it, get some of your inspiration back (I choose to look at the beautiful job these people here do - wink) and get your fingers typing again. The Pagan web is what WE make of it, no one else :) Brightest Blessings!


What I Saw On The Pagan Web Last Year That Moreand More... Jan 7th. at 10:19:59 pm UTC

moonbeam (lakecounty, California US) Age: 15


What i saw on the pagan web last year that moreand more sites were integrating more history and information instead of all spells and no education sitesthat seems to be made for the kids that have seen "the craft " too many times.
i thought this is good because in order to reaffirm our selves in non-pagans minds as a positive religon is to put out as much info as possible. Thsi year I'm hoping to find more information on the Old religon and more information sites on how to's and stuff like that. I suggest to the newbys is go out and get involved in groups that are based aroun learning and do as much resaech as you can on the web.
bright blessings, moonbeam


I Tend To Agree With Many Of The Other Posters--new And... Jan 7th. at 10:34:10 pm UTC

Lupa (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania US) Age: 23 - Email


I tend to agree with many of the other posters--new and improved! Wicca 101 is overdone; it's time not only for Wicca 201, 301, etc. (at least what is allowed to be given publicly per tradition) but also more sites on other trads--paganism, traditional witchcraft, Asatru, Druidism, and so on. Too many people think pagan equals Wiccan all the time, when that is hardly the case.

I also think it would be a good idea for surfers to start looking at less-travelled sites. I've found many gems just by typing in random combinations of paganish words in Yahoo or other search engines. If you find a site you like, spread the word! This goes not only for struggling commercial sites that could use the extra business, but little-known wealths of information about traditions you may never have heard of. Here's to the little pagan! ;)

Lupa
http://www.athenasunwolf.com


One Thing I've Found Is That A Lot Of The Sites Are... Jan 8th. at 6:15:56 am UTC

Anonymous3.14 (Oldbury, England UK) Age: 19


One thing I've found is that a lot of the sites are very traditional and slightly snobby to beginners. Maybe it's just me misinterpreting.


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