Note: If Blogger is running slowly today, you might want to try wandering around the mirror to the ring homepage, which might be running a little more quickly, and will include all of the basic information about the ring.
Before we continue, I should mention that I am not the founder of this ring. I'm not sure, but I suspect that I'm not even his replacement. I adopted the thing after my predecessor found that he no longer had time to run it, and so the first thing I had to do, before writing a homepage for it, was get a firmer sense of what the darned thing had come to be about in the time since I had joined it. The short form: it seems to be about the ways in which we seek the truth, as we see it, or that which we desire, through means which others (mistakenly in our view), consider madness. That, as much as anything else.
Each ringmaster brings his own preferences to the admission process. Those sites that were here when I took over, so long as they have a clear path back to the ring, satisfying the administrative requirements of ring membership, are grandfathered in. Whether I would have admitted them or not is largely beside the point for those sites, unless their owners do something so truly outrageous in matters of content that I have to let them go (eg. start carrying kiddie porn). That being said, I am not shy about screening sites for what I would consider quality, which is not quite the same thing as what I would like. There is one site that comes to mind, that has an anatomical sketch that I find stomach turning. Some people like grotesquerie, I do not, but I can't deny that creating something like that takes real talent. So, I smile, because this is a matter of personal preference, not personal disapproval, shrug, prepare to admit the site, and look on the bright side. My weight being what it is, a killed appetite is not entirely bad news, these days. But I digress.
The process of admission is subjective, a fact for which I do not apologize, but it really isn't particularly harsh. This is a ring for amateurs, not professionals, so mainly my question is, "is what I am seeing a credible effort", not "will it win awards". I'd like to see this ring grow. Yes, I did move a lot of members back into
the queue, but not because of quality issues. I did so because acceptable ring code was absent from most of them; in a few other cases, because the sites on the ring were being used as beacons to new sites off the ring. Either way, because the members were shortchanging the ring, and as of the time of this writing, unwilling to insert the needed code and start doing right by their fellow members. While I'm not happy about the thought of cutting the ring to one third its former size, it was that or have a broken ring, so I am doing what I have to do.
Some people aren't happy about that. As whacky as the complaint is, even whacky complaints get around; doing the right thing seldom wins one any popularity contests. I'm realistic enough to expect a low rate of applications for a while, so after a while (toward the end of this January, in 2006), I'm going to start requiring would-be applicants to follow this procedure:
1. Log into Yahoo; clicking that "keep me signed in button" while you're doing this might save you a little time. If you don't have a Yahoo account, you'll need to sign up for one.
2. Sign up for my ring management list. If you prefer, you can use this form to join that list (you won't need a Yahoo! ID to join that way).
3. Introduce themselves.
4. Mention that they'd like to join this ring.
5. Mention which ring they'd like to join, because I run more than one and am not psychic.
6. Give me the url for your site, because really, seriously I actually am not psychic. I wouldn't lie to you about that.
7. Wait for a while, while I get around to looking it over, as time allows.
I am not trying to make you jump through hoops. I'm just trying to work out a compromise that ensures that you won't have to wait for months to see your application processed, without my having to log in every day to check for applications that will probably be months apart, at the very least. The spam problem being as out of hand as it is, just giving an e-mail address doesn't work as well as it used to. Legitimate e-mails get lost in all of that mess, far too often.
Also, and this thought does appeal to some people, I do try to make the running of my rings a project in community building. If you get in, your input on future applications will be listened to and thought about. I won't be putting the decisions up to a vote; your role would be as an advisor, but obviously I have a vested interest in keeping my membership happy, so have faith when I say that I would not disregard the advice I get, lightly. The way I'm setting things up, I'd probably have to pay a price for doing so - the loss of much of my membership - so I'm not going to do that unless it is a matter of conscience.
As for your own application: Yes, I really and truly will read your site, all of it if I can. If you haven't already guessed, political correctness is not a big thing with me. Civility, however, is.
You don't have to be a feminist or liberal or pro-globalization to join any of my rings; I am none of these things myself. But you do have to refrain from the promotion of Hate. How does one define that? In the basic, common sense, pre-1980s traditional way, but if one needs a philosophical exposition on those values, I can point you to an article which does a reasonably good job of defining where it is that one draws the line. Those who fail to meet the minimum standards set by that code, be they Klansmen, Louis Farrakhan supporters, homicide endorsing man bashers, "keep them barefoot and pregnant" misogynists, apologists for Al Quaeda or some of those newfangled hatemongers who want to kill all Muslims, or anybody else of that ilk just won't be welcome on one of my rings. I don't demand that you be a nice, warm huggy person, but you do have to at least appear to be a reasonably decent and civilized human being. You can be as strange as you want, just don't be a total jerk, in other words - and don't imagine that I will be accepting or supportive of politically motivated double standards in my own personal definition of civility.
Two last items:
1. If you were wondering how to make you that link blink, directions can be found on this page. The ring logo is not my creation. It was already in place, courtesy of one of the previous ringmasters, and I liked it so much that I decide to keep it in place, and design the new navbar for the ring around it.
2. If you haven't guessed from visiting one of my sites, I am truly, deeply tired of those "are you really (fill in the blank)" questions; I'm me, and I don't like to talk a lot about my personal life. I've met some strange and vicious people online, vicious enough that I had to get the police involved at one point, after they started making threatening phone calls to my mother, as she came back from chemotherapy and yes, the offenders knew about that. If I seem a vague and shadowy figure on my sites, I'm only as vague and shadowy as I wish to be, with fairly good reason.
I think that should cover it, but if not, please feel free to drop by my ring management list, where I'll be happy to answer any respectful, non-hyperargumentative questions you may have. Oh, and in case you were wondering, no, I didn't create the ring logo you see appearing on the navbar for the ring. I inherited it from my predecessor. I took one look, fell in the love with the little thing, and couldn't dream of bringing myself to delete it. The new navbar was built around it, and I hope the creator of the image likes what I've done with it.
The smileys are courtesy of spacespider.net. (Temporary note added, April 7, 2008 - The ring is now in the middle of a transition to be discussed elsewhere. At present, you should see two identical navbars below. I know that's confusing, but I'll fix that when I have time. The top navbar goes to the Ringlink / World of Webring System version of this ring, the one that follows going to the Ringsurf version of the ring).