Seven Deadly Lies of the Web
by Sandy Antunes
Hello. This is a soapbox essay. I was getting tired of seeing sites
that said "We're the roleplaying site", "the premiere roleplaying
site", "the best site on the web", etc. It's like a bad rap song, mouthing
the virtues of the performer while totally lacking in coolness. Good sites,
like good songs, balance the hype with actual substance.
That said, below are the top seven lies of hype seen on RPG sites.
- We're the number one site for ...
Yes, you and the other dozen of similar sites. Do you really think you
are pleasing all the people, all of the time? The Web is built on
diversity, and the law of millions suggests your unique concept might, just
might, be shared by others.
- Under construction
As if any good site is ever totally frozen, perfect, encapsulated. The
worst case of these excuses are entirely blank pages that simply say "under
construction" or "coming soon". Either make the page, or don't link it yet.
- Recipient of the Best Site Award
My favorite case of the "award of the week" syndrome was a site that listed
itself as the proud recipient of a "Best site" rating... of its own ranking
scheme for Best Sites. They even included instructions on how you too could
try to achieve their personal "Best site" rating.
Guess that #1 slot was permanently taken, though.
- 100,000 visitors!
Yeah? Name them. For a talk on trying to figure out visitors from hits,
look at the checklog talk.
It's intrinsic to the web that you can't really count people.
- (akin to that) 250,000 visitors per day!
I loved the gaming site that put that up. Well, actually, the site was
lame, but imagine! That's something like 1 out of every 100 webheads
out of there, visiting them each day! Even the best magazine doesn't get
that sort of share of the market! Worse, that's probably more people than
there are role-players on the web.
- Over 1 million hits!
Let's see, a page with 5 images actually records 6 hits when accessing,
more if you forget to type the "/" at the end of the directory name.
Subtract the robots and search engines, plus your own checking of the
pages, and that drops by one to two orders of magnitude. And we're back
at a few thousand people per month. Undramatic, but true. There are
cases of pages more accurately assessing hundreds of thousands of
"page accesses", which is a good step towards more accurate reporting.
One hopes that the high number is because the visitors are happy
(browsing merrily, or using forums or auction sites), and not just
due to poor design!
- I'm sorry, but you need a different browser to view this site
Actually, this just means the site needs a different designer. Imagine,
anarchist net people from all over the world get together and manage to
agree on a very liberal set of standards (HTML), just so you can ignore
that and make your site difficult and prejudiced? Amazing, this technology