The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: May 20th, 1999

The Standards Are Rising

By: Kiri Chiquita

In 1996, with Netscape 1.22 in my virtual hot little hand and little to no web knowledge, I set out into the new world of the 'Net. I poked around at some Star Trek pages at first, and then gradually crept into the Sailormoon realm. Eventually I discovered Navigator Gold 3.0, and was able to view things decently. But still, the bad browsers and the long time it took to get places was worth it. Sure, the pages were crap by today's standards, and a lot of them were bad even then ... but they were mostly something made by kids in their early teens and younger, and were worth a gold medal to each. Including my own to me.

A lot of the people browsing through the Sailor Web today are now in their late teens and early twenties - some even older. Yes, there are younger fans, but the majority are these older ones that have had pages since 1995, 96, and 97. Maybe even longer. As we've grown, we've improved. But think. Some of us have not had the amount of practise and time to learn all the tricks of the trade and are just starting out, like the rest of us were those few years ago. We shouldn't come down hard because a few images were taken - 'borrowed' if you will - by a 'newbie' ... we were all newbies at one time, and we should all remember how it felt.

We were practically alone.

We didn't have ICQ, Yahoo Pager or AIM to connect to others at first. We had e-mail, yes, and chat rooms, but most of us started our pages alone and kept them up alone, with little to no feedback from others or any standards to go by. Webpage creation was a breeze and fun. Basic HTML was our tools. The sizing of title text, the italicizing, bolding, and underlining of regular text, hyperlinking to other places, and coding images to show on a page was the extent of what most of us knew. Tables were a new trend to be over-used. Actually getting a visitor was something to get excited about ... having the counter hit 100 was a large milestone. Especially if only 30 were visits you yourself had made.

Believe it or not it's the same now, even with the browser advancements and WYSIWYG page editors that are widely available. The new homepage owners are the same as we used to be. Creating a page on their own and with a small amount of HTML knowledge. But it's also harder for them than it was for us 'oldies.' They have standards placed upon them. Their page should have so much of this, and none of that. Oh! And they definitely have to have this!!

Remember when pictures were mostly public domain? No one was paranoid about having their images taken. Most, if not all of us started out with borrowed pics and HTML-shrunk fake thumbnails. It was one of the first rungs on the ladder of improvement. Soon we were able to get our own scans or edit the old with the brand-new and 'wicked-cool' Paint Shop Pro, Adobe Photoshop, or other related programs. Then they became 'mine' and not 'ours.' People got angry when the taking continued. Images were no longer public domain. Originality reigned.

And then it started.

The standards were set. The pages on the lower rungs were ridiculed, the ones on the topmost rungs praised. Reviewers popped up and seemed to pick on those on the lower rungs, and raised the standards of the page look and feel. We should have original graphics, in-depth information, original images, and lots of extras. At least, that's the feeling that is constantly conveyed to the newbie -- and the oldie.

My question is: "What's the big deal?" If a person wants a page, let them have one. Just like in the Real World they should be able to have something without the fear of being judged or be expected to improve on in a set period of time. Like an artist who is just starting out, you can't expect him or her to be a great sculptor, designer, or painter all at once. It's just not done that way. Except for the minuscule few people born with the talent and the ability to learn quickly, we have to work at it and strive to be good. Of course, some of us stop half-way, perfectly happy with our current talent and not wanting to improve further. This is just fine.

It's the same with homepages. Some of us just don't want to improve beyond the discovery of tables. The only problem with this is that the standards we have set for ourselves and future participants don't allow it. People can't stop half-way up the ladder. People seem to think that it will block the rest of us. The thing is, it won't. The ladder's wide, and there is plenty of room for everyone of every stage.

The internet is full of pages that conform to our precise little standards, and it is also full of pages that don't. It's not the end of the world, and it's not the end of decent pages on the web. So you might have to sift a little to get what you want to see. The rest of the pages are by those who just wanted a little bit of themselves for the world to view. They who don't care about how it looks to those of us who have been here for years and have seen it all before. There are those who haven't seen even the over-used stats and the common pics. To them it's all brand-new, like it was to us when we first stumbled our way into the virtual on-line world. Even our first 'gold medal' pages which turned out to be just over-polished brass had things that were new to others ... for they were definitely new to us.

So sit back and reflect. So some pages are bad by today's standards. What about yesterday's standards? The standards you held when you first started out? Maybe, just maybe we're starting to take this homepage thing a little too seriously, and are forgetting that it is supposed to be fun. Those pages that are just starting out are beginning like we first did. No help, raw basic HTML, and little to no regard for any standards thrown at them from above. They are taking their first steps onto the ladder. Maybe they'll make it halfway. Maybe they'll come further. Maybe they won't even make it to tables. We won't truly know until it actually happens.

Give them a break. We all had crappy pages once, and the ones we have now might even be considered such a year from now. The way things are going, they might even be bonked down a few rungs next month.

The standards are rising ...

Comments on this article can be sent to: Kiri Chiquita.

Comments made on this page are opinions of the author. They are not necessarily shared by Tripod and the Amazoness Quartet.

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