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The Insidious Ring of Moriarty


a message from the Ringmaster's desk to all members:

Hello, all!
Well, we've been "transitioning" over to the new Yahoo! system for a while now, and after working to figure it all out, I've come to the conclusion that we all need to have a discussion about this. Once you read this message, check out the Moriarty homepage for my latest updated instructions and explanations about how the Yahoo system affects the management of the ring. Even try out doing stuff like "signing in" or "associating" your website, just to find out whether this all makes sense to you, or is frustrating.

Now, as I see it, we need to come to a decision. We have a number of options that we can consider.

  1. The majority of us like the new Yahoo! system or don't object strongly to it, and we all agree to do as Yahoo asks--i.e., obtaining a Yahoo! ID and then associating our websites to it. It will be our option to choose to use the new navigation system (called the nav-bar), or continue to use our old HTML code (called the nav-box, or navigator), for however long that Yahoo lets us.
  2. The majority of us dislike the Yahoo! system and wish to use a different webring provider, such as Bravenet. The disadvantage of this choice is that everyone, including members who recently changed their HTML code already, or have just joined, shall have to sign up for membership in the webring all over again.
  3. The majority of us feel apathetic or disgusted enough that we shut down this webring altogether. That leaves the minority with the option of joining (or staying on) the Baker Street webring as an alternative to this Moriarty webring. I do not know Porlock's plans for that webring.
  4. Anyone who hates being ruled by the majority's opinion can, like rogue adventurers, willfully decide to leave this webring and start their own. Or offer me suggestions of what you want. Or do whatever else they wish to do. But please at least vote or let me know what you want.

Now, don't interpret this message to mean that I, your Ringmaster, don't want to manage the ring anymore. I would be happy to continue and do whatever the ringmembers want to do. I am just giving you the facts of our situation so that we can assess where we intend to go now.

These four options are not yes or no questions. If, for example, you would vote for number 2, but are willing to grudgingly do number 1, or vice versa, you can specify that to me. But try to describe how strongly you feel about your choices, so that I can make a good judgment of whether there's a great difference separating your first and second choices.

Please send me a note if you have questions about these options. Once you understand your options, please vote in the next fortnight or at least send me a quick note saying that you won't be able to vote (for however long) because of something going on right now in your life. I will extend voting time at my discretion, and of course assist in helping you understand these options.

Staying with Yahoo!

Let me clarify the implications of choice #1: I have of course been trying to get all ringmembers to update their HTML code for a while, simply because their nav-box code had outdated and error-causing links. That problem existed before Yahoo! got involved, and needs to be solved no matter what (unless we end up with no ring, and hence no code altogether). Some members have already done the updating that I requested; some have not. Had I known that Yahoo would come in and shake up everything within months of my taking over, I might not have bothered to ask anyone to do any updating in the first place. However, now I know and have to work with it.

If most of us choose #1, you first need to follow my instructions for getting a Yahoo! ID and associating your website. Then, each of you will individually make another choice that involves the HTML code. If, for instance, you already changed your HTML and are tired of the hassle of messing with it, you can choose to install the new Yahoo "nav-bar", a one-line code of Javascript that entirely replaces the multi-line code that you have now. Once installed on your website, this "nav-bar" will generate your navigation and needs no further maintenance by you. It's not as customizable in appearance as your old HTML code, but if that makes no difference to you, don't worry about it. If you like the old HTML code, or like customizing what it looks like, you should check with me about whether your existing code is current or not.

If I tell you that your existing code is current, then leave the code where it is and do nothing. Do not respond or follow along if Yahoo suggests that you sign-up for the new nav-bar. Installing and using the new nav-bar is entirely optional at this point, if you were an existing member before September 2000. However, Yahoo will not tell me how long the nav-bar remains optional. You might have weeks or months or whatever to use the HTML code before they require the new nav-bar. I don't know for certain. Take the risk if you want to. I might.

If I tell you that your existing code is not current, then you must get the current HTML code from me. I'll most likely email it to you, customized for your website, or if I'm short on time I will point you to the default version that I maintain on my website. You can't get this code from Webring's site anymore because they don't offer it. Just please don't continue using your old code with the defunct links.

In summary, choice #1 means that you have to do what Yahoo says when it comes to getting and associating an ID. However, then you may do as you wish when it comes to updating your HTML code. Either dump the code and get the new nav-bar, or keep the code and check with me that it's current.

Going elsewhere

Bravenet is a popular choice for those ringmasters who are leaving Yahoo! Webring. I am a member of a webring that left and joined Bravenet. If we as a group agree to leave, I'll figure out how I, as Ringmaster, re-create our ring over there and I'll handle deleting our ring off of Yahoo. I'll also make an initial design of what our nav-box looks like. Bravenet's nav-boxes look very much like Webring's original nav-boxes. They give the Ringmaster the ability to customize the appearance, but I'm not sure how much control is given to the ringmembers yet.

Of course, if you know of other services similar to Bravenet and would like to recommend it as one you've had good experiences with, go right ahead. Feel free also if you have special requests about the appearance of the box. Do you want something smaller, or that uses less graphics? Do you want to continue having a variety choices like Dave made for you?

Up in the air

I think that choices #3 and #4 are self-explanatory. You won't hurt my feelings or make me angry if you choose that way. Thank you all for listening.



This document last modified 23 Sept, 2000.

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