Neocities and a Lack of Passion
We need interesting people, now more than ever.
2018/11/01 update: This piece really divided people, and I decided to write a followup with some clarifications and responses to some of the reactions I got. My opinion largely hasn't shifted, but I figured, as this is one of my most popular essays, it was a topic worth revisiting.
This is likely gonna be my meanest rant to date, because I am telling some of you that you shouldn't be on Neocities. Yes, the dreadful sin of excluding people. I'm sorry about that. I'm out of cookies.
A secondary focus of my attack on nostalgiamining from earlier this month was the concept that nostalgiaminers are largely boring people with nothing to say. Interesting, creative people can think of interesting and creative ways to present themselves or the things they do, or at least have the self-awareness to know that they aren't web designers, leave it minimal, and get out of the way.
Nostalgiaminers, meanwhile, aren't creative or interesting in the fucking slightest. From the way they present themselves to the topics that have been retreaded on this site so many times they're asking for a break from the constant pounding of feet, the sites of nostalgiaminers are flavorless and tedious. They're useless to absolutely everyone involved. If they disappeared tomorrow, Neocities will be better for it.
Thing is, I really didn't focus on that when I wrote that piece, and I feel like I should've. Nostalgiamining is a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself. The problem is that Neocities is full of boring, passionless people. Seeing as though I mobilized some with my nostalgiamining rant, here's a preach on why this lack of passion is killing Neocities in the hopes I can get through to some others.
Now, listen. You're probably a fine person. You probably have friends, and they probably like you. You have hobbies, and maybe talents even. You can safely go about your life without anyone giving you a second or fifth glance. Congratulations.
That doesn't necessarily mean you should have a site.
Too many people on this platform see the terminology—"new Geocities", "free web page", "creativity", "beauty"—and immediately make an account, never once stopping to think if they have anything to actually offer the site or its users. This is a common issue among the early adopters of any medium: you're here because it's new, it's shiny, and it said "free web page". Once the novelty began to wear off, I'm sure many of you hit a rather familiar wall: "what do I do with my site?"
Neocities deserves sites made by passionate people, about things. Neocities deserves to become a catalog of fascinating topics that no one outside of wiki walkers would even think exists. Neocities deserves to host obsessive love letters to bands, directors, authors, and personalities across the world, in English, in their native tongue, all of it. Neocities deserves to show off the works of talented artists, even (especially!) the most timid, easy to overlook doodlers and scribblers.
It does not, however, deserve another site from a little kid talking about how much they like coding. It does not deserve another empty personal site from someone with an empty life. It does not deserve a million garish, substanceless three ring circuses clad in fucking rainbow and obnoxious animated GIFs.
If any of that describes you, you do not belong here. You didn't have some idea for a site and spend hours crafting it up to share your passion with all of us. You have nothing, absolutely nothing, unique to offer. I'm telling you, emphatically—you make Neocities worse with your presence. Please, kindly, from all the interesting people: delete your account and fuck off.
Okay, marycucks, but I'm actually interesting.
Are you? What are you offering with your site? What's your purpose? If you say your site doesn't need a purpose since it's just about you, who are you? What do you do? What makes you worth listening to? Why are you here?
So what do you want then?
If someone can get you on a topic and you spend an hour talking at length about the minutia of that topic, make that fucking site. If you draw, sculpt, model, animate, even if it's terrible, you turn Neocities into your goddamn portfolio. Do you love aardwolves? Write a site about them, man. Obsessed with LSD: Dream Emulator? Talk me to sleep about it. Sites about sea cryptids? Russian lit? Self-insert Monkees fanfic? The Black Parade? Where they at.
Neocities needs passionate people. If you think no one will care, and that's why you stay away from it, write about it anyway. I care. I, Neocities' biggest knobhead, care about whatever weird shit you think is too weird for this site. I want to see your artwork, your music, your photos. Do you worldbuild? Take me there. Are you just plain obsessed with something? Talk my ear off about it.
I want to see Neocities turn into a community that embraces the creativity, the fandom, the minutia, because that's what this site is built for. That's what Geocities was built for. That's right, it wasn't just GIFs and MIDIs, folks—it was passion.
And don't think that everything on your site needs to be neat, orderly, professional, and perfectly written the first go around. It absolutely doesn't. You can clean it up and make it spiffy later. Your site could be an absolute goddamn mess and your content would make up for it. Just engage me. We need it. Neocities needs it.
If you're not boring, show me. If you are, the relevant page is here. Demand better from your friends and fellow Neosteaders. Have a reason to make a site. Share what you love (or maybe even what you hate?) with all of us. We'll end up with a more vibrant and interesting site for it.