By: The Lizzard
As both a long-time Sailor Moon fan and a professional
I take a special interest in the quality of Sailor Moon
pages on the
internet. So do many of my co-workers, almost all of whom
are fans of
anime. Spare moments at the office are often used to visit
standards-enforcement pages such as this one. We find them
amusing. We find them to be true. And we find them to be
Yes, yes, we've all heard the plaintive wails from those
who have been
(or fear being) targets of enforcement gangs like the
It's said that they are unfair, cruel, and elitist.
The fact is, the world has this funny little thing called
those standards extend to the internet as well as to
everything else. As
a student, you would not turn in an incomplete, incorrect,
generically awful homework assignment and expect to get
away with it.
Why, then, should you expect to be allowed to commit such
It doesn't matter if your website project is dear to your
does it matter if your entire low ego is tied up in it.
You have made
it public, and as such have made it fair game for other to
opinions about it. That is the nature of public work. If
you wish to
avoid the possible humiliation of constructive criticism,
then you need
to keep your work to yourself, not put it on a website.
I may sound harsh, but that is because I have had it up to
the crown of
my head with inexperienced website makers crying foul when
that they are less than perfect. No one is infallible.
learn. Even those of us who make websites for a living
accept suggestions for improvement, be those suggestions in
the form of
flames or well-thought-out arguments. So quit protesting
like a pampered
brat. The "crime" of those who point out your mistakes is
truth. Your crime, on the other hand, is sticking your
bloated head in
the sand and wagging your rear in the air as you beg for
dispensations from the standards of society. Grow up.
If after reading the above, you're still too stubborn to
admit your own
faults, then you need to proceed to the following Suck
ChecklistTM . My colleagues and I have put this together over
lunch. Are the rules harsh? Yes. Cruel? Maybe. True?
1) Do you know what you're doing?
This is the major mistake made by most page creators. The
in WYSIWYG website makers has led to the false belief that
one does not
have to understand the basics of HTML in order to create a
Baloney. Many people do not realize that WYSIWYG editors
originally designed to assist those who already understood
saving time performing repetitive actions. Though greedy
companies have now begun to bill them as programs that make
inexperienced look experienced, the truth is that everyone
tell whether or not you know what you are doing.
How can people tell? Simple. WYSIWYG programs are much
language translators now available online. You can enter
English and the program will translate it into French or
you, but the translation is approximately as eloquent as
gorilla. Sometimes it doesn't even preserve the original
meaning of the
words. Using a WYSIWYG editor is the same kind of crap
shoot. If you
know a bit of HTML, you can correct the WYSIWYG's
If you don't know HTML, then nine times out of ten you end
up with a
really poor-looking page. Even other HTML-ignorant users
that it's not quite right, or worse yet, completely wrong.
I have seen people brush off the suggestion that they learn
excuses such as "I don't have time," "I don't have the
money," or "It's
too hard." The people saying such things have obviously
looked into the issue. Learning HTML is easy, cheap, and
light. Most people can teach themselves the basics of HTML
in a week or
less merely by using free online tutorials. No books,
software, classes at universities, or months of private
required. So either learn HTML or at least tell the truth
when you beg
off... You just don't want to do anything that requires the
of extra effort.
2) Do you have original content?
This is a close runner-up as far as frequency of crime
goes. Do you like
hearing your friends repeat the same stories over and over?
what? Internet surfers don't like seeing the same thing
over and over
again either. If another site has done a good job
material, that doesn't mean you should put the same thing
on yours. Why?
a) It's pointless. The material is already available.
Sailor Moon fans
know their websites by heart, and they will recognize
seen before. They will leave your site quickly, bored.
They may also
idly wonder if you are really as lacking in imagination and
thought as your page makes you seem. Perhaps you are that
so, then you're not someone who should have a website.
b) It's rude. You have taken what someone else slaved over
repeated it as though it was the result of your own
research and skill.
It reminds me of a two-year-old child who has nothing
better to do than
irritate his brothers and sisters by endlessly repeating
c) It's ILLEGAL.) Yes, illegal. Did you know that 99%
percent of the time
replicated on a new site, it is done without permission?
infringement of copyright! In a worse case scenario, you
can be sued
for it. In a best case scenario, you will gain a
reputation as a lazy,
corrupt, uneducated lout with no morals. This is especially
when you link directly to the graphics, sounds, or HTML
someone else's server. It's called stealing bandwidth. It
particularly heinous crime because there is no such thing
bandwidth. Not only do your links slow down the server
access speeds for
legitimate users, but the person housing the items to which
directly linking has to pay for the resources you use. Yes,
money. Congratulations, your direct links just made you
To further illustrate this matter, let me present you with
a brief case
study. Among the many websites I house on my own server, I
for Beej's Compleat Sailor Moon CD List (
http://www.lizzard.net/Compleat/index.html ). As the
webmaster, it is
my job to review the server statistics to discover who is
files stored on the space for which I am paying. Almost
every week I
come across new pages that are directly linking to Beej's
HTML, often in conjunction with copying his website
word-for-word and occasionally HTML-for-HTML. And then
they have the
gall to claim it as their own, either in so many words or
making no mention of the original source. What is this?
They can make
the effort to carefully remove all reference to Beej from
the page, but
they can't make the effort to create something original?
Sailor Moon music fans. Beej doesn't want or need the
material he has
sweated over so profusely mirrored elsewhere. And I don't
links to items on my server. If I catch you, and I will,
your ass is
grass and I'm a lawnmower. I don't make enough money to pay
pages, and Beej doesn't make enough to write them for you.
3) Do you employ the standards of good taste?
There are plenty of good websites that are not
But there are almost no bad websites that are not
This tackiness can refer not only to surface appearance,
content. Read carefully. How many of these laws of taste
a) Do not promote your site as "cool," "number one," or
That is an opinion. Your opinion. Your very biased
opinion. It shows
poor judgment as well as lack of tact. When most page
visitors see such
declarations of superiority, they turn away in disgust,
whether or not
your page is deserving of the statements. Note that
of private awards, "cool page" voting ballots, and
complimentary feedback from e-mail or guestbooks fall under
of tasteless self-promotion. I'm sure such things make you
special, but your site visitors couldn't care less. Every
your page anew, irrespective of previous opinions.
b) Don't talk about yourself unless it has direct relevance
to the topic
at hand. Your page visitors don't give a rat's rear end
about you. And
why should they? Unless they're your friends or members of
they'll never meet you or have any need to know so much as
And case you've forgotten, your friends and family already
you. They don't need to hear it again. Save the ego
stroking for your
diary and spare yourself a reputation as a spoiled,
c) Design your page to be as professional looking as
incidentally, includes both graphical and structural
forget that.) It's understandable that some websites will
looking than others, as design relies on talent. Let's
face it, some
people are meant to be artists, and others aren't. Yet
being one of the
artistic lowlies doesn't allow you to avoid providing
page structure and tolerable images. By way of example,
putting tons of
data on one page and making graphics that are fuzzy and
inexcusable. Study pages that are well-designed and learn
Recruit help from your friends. But don't put crap on the
don't steal from others to make up for your own
d) Be consistent. If you have a Sailor Moon page, don't
graphics on it. If your page is about anime in general,
links to your chess club. People come to sites because
interested in the subject at hand. Honor them by giving
them what they
want, not feeding them a vomitous mass of unrelated
e) For god's sake, use a spell checker. Please. Every
one, and they take only ten seconds to run. Those ten
seconds can make
a huge difference in the impression your page makes.
words makes you seem uneducated, lazy, and unreliable.
Even if your
misspelled commentary is profound, no one will pay any
attention to it.
They'll notice only your silly persistence in spelling
f) Get your facts straight before you publish them. I won't
explaining what being caught in a lie or major mistake can
do to your
page's reputation. I'll just limit myself to pointing out
SOS used to be the grand poo-bah of all dubbed Sailor Moon
Then came Prince Uranus. Enough said.
AQ Rant # 9 for some background on this.)
There are many more rules and regulations that my office
would like to
impose, but the truth is, they're merely desirable, not
Those listed above, however, cannot be ignored. Fail at
merely one, and
your page goes from excellent to pathetic in one fell
swoop. Some of the
sins could get you in serious trouble. Others will just
humiliated. But all are integral to having a good website.
the world, read up. Either redirect your defensive energy
your page better, or get lost. And remember not to let the
door hit you
on the ass as you leave.
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