Smallweb Subway

The map below shows a subway style network of webrings! Each line represents a themed webring and each station is a different webpage in that theme.

On mobile, tab a station to see its info, then tap the info box to visit the site in a new tab. With a mouse, hover over a station to see the info and click to visit!

What is this?

The Smallweb Subway is an experimental project that seeks to connect communities online using webrings.

A webring is a list of websites linked together in a circular structure. The usage of webrings dates back to the early days of the internet before search engines were widely adopted and when there were no big social media platforms with discovery algorithms. Webrings were ways for people to discover new sites by clicking through conveniently organized links, eventually bringing you back to where you started.

In our current time of Large Social Media and The Algorithm (praise be), this kind of personal connection is often missing in the turbulent sea of internet chatter. To me, these connections offer a sense of place that is more human than what can be offered by the large platforms.

The subway system theme is my attempt at making the internet feel more like a place where you can have neighbors. If a webring looks like a subway line, then it's easier to imagine a friend only a few stops away!

Can I join?

Yes! You can follow these instructions to join.

Essentially all you need to do is put two new lines of code on your site where you want the widget, then let Gus know you did, either by an email (smallwebsubway at gmail dot com), a DM on social media site (see sidebar), or a pull request!

How does this webring work?

By the power of community! And also JavaScript!

Since it would take a lot of coordination to constantly ask folks to update the links on their website every time a new site gets added/removed from the webring, a little snippet of code was written by Gus (with the help of a few resources) to check a single file hosted on GitHub and determine where links should go before and after each site. Only a tiny bit of code needs to be added to a site, and all the heavy lifting regarding link management will be handled automagically! You can see the code for the project on the Smallweb Subway GitHub Repo.