5/12/2022 - First Year Anniversary and Retrospective!!
It is the first year anniversary of my site. On May 12th, 2021 I began my journey into the small/indieweb, coding and webdev. (I did make this account on Jan 12th, 2020 as you can see on my Neocities profile, but 5/12/2021 was when I finally got off my butt.) I felt now was more of a good time than ever to get into my website's origin story and look back. As well with some other related ramblings along the way too. I have always tended to ramble and go on tangents, so prepare for those.
On May 12th 2021, in a moment of being tired as fuck, filled with rage at the current state of the web, and wanting a place of my own, entirely on an impulse: I decided to make a website. And then I really got into coding. I was angry at how things are constantly getting sanitized on the web, and how it's hurting creatives, and marginalized voices and creators overall. Twitter just announced tipping, and soon having a subscription service, and I smelt a repeat of the Tumblr 2018 NSFW Content Purge in the air. Apple banned NSFW channels in iOS discords a little bit earlier and their puritanical and draconian practices were showing up more and more.
Credit card companies getting involved with Twitter now means the end of adult content will be coming and again, Apple is Apple. Tumblr almost got taken off the app store permanently because of their policies, it was a driving if not the main force behind this purge. While Twitter banning NSFW content wasn't gonna happen yet, and as of writing this blog post it hasn't happened still, I knew it was gonna be a matter of time until it does.
Purges are not a new thing on the web, far from it in fact. They've been happening since the earliest days of the internet tubes existing, but at this point in time its safe to say ever since the Tumblr Purge of 2018 one can notice that things have ramped up at a very concerning pace. The santization of the web only hurts people, not helps.
They say its to "protect sex workers" or "protect the children" but it only puts sex workers in increasingly more dangerous stations. It takes away resources that youth (especially queer youth) can access to learn real sex ed knowledge that schools will not provide them and just promote abstinence instead. Suppressing knowledge and resources only harms, it never helps. These purges time and time again silence Queer, BIPOC, and any and all marginalized voices.
These purges disproportionately target them, and they have a consistent track record of doing so. I mean take a look at tumblr. The porn bots are still there, as well as nazis still on the platform that tumblr hasn't still taken care of last I checked, but queer creators and sex workers have been driven out, on the hunt for a new space for them, and it's getting constantly harder and harder to find a space.
This push to sanitize the internet harms creativity as a whole too, and will also hurt even the most SFW and PG Queer art. Because corporations lump all Queer expression as "adult content". No matter how fluffy, clean and "safe" it is.
My one friend who is an older queer, he knows who he is, and has been on the internet, fan spaces and otherwise for longer than I've been alive, (and sorry in advance to my friend if you are reading this and feel your "bones turn to dust" as you read that as you've told me countless times ^^; XD) has said: "Perverts and pirates will continue to persist on the internet" which does give me comfort despite the utterly frustrating and shitty situation that the santization of the web continues to bring.
(In terms of fan spaces: Bobaboard is a thing that is being worked on, and so far is the most promising one in the horizon. A lot of thought and care is going into it from Miss Boba and I'll continue to support the project! Yes I will continue to mention them because I am excited for it when it does happen. It's a project worth supporting!)
ANYWAYS! THAT'S ENOUGH OF A TANGENT, BACK TO MY WEBSITE'S ORIGIN STORY:
I was sitting with rage on my NSFW twitter (Which is locked, and I just haven't used much these days anyways because I'm too low on spoons to draw lately. Besides you don't need my spicy twitter, I have the spice zone on this very website!) looking at the compose tweet page. In just a sheer impulse, I decided to get off my ass and begin working on my website. Here is the tweet that sparked it all:
Fueled with anger towards the current state of the web, my love for my OTP, wanting to have a space I could truly call my own,
and wanting to post my old anime rarepair porn somewhere I got off my ass and put this account to use! I began learning HTML and CSS in the most macgyver way possible, slapping code together, reading how to pages(and being super confused at first), and lots and lots of crying and headaches.
(This tweet doesn't convey it but I was crying a lot at the time from frustration, trust me! XD)
The beginnings were very humble, as some archived screenshots I have:
My homepage was super simple and I still had to figure out what I wanted to really do with it at the time. You actually can look at this on the wayback machine in full, since I archived it at that time. This worked though at the time though, just a hub for me to figure out my pages.
Some pages have also stayed pretty much the same in terms of layout since their creation. Such as my fun things page, all the shrines I've made, my button wall, and others. Others have went through many changes, such as my about page. Here's the earliest version of it:
And some snippets from other pages too:
The earliest form of my about page! It was so small back then! Ah... memories.
Early Galleries! You can actually view them all (at least their second pages, all the content is in the newer verisons and nothing was removed when styles switched) here! Main Gallery and The Sketchbook.
And lastly some early versions of the Mayalock zone enterance!! Versions 0.1 and 1.0 as I'll dub them.
Version 0.1! The very beginnings of this section!
Version 1.0! It's beginning to take shape now!!
Those are the main archived screenshots I have on hand. I do actually have the early codes and such in my harddrive as well as the site's server too. (I am very a sentimental person) One day it would be neat to have a place for these earlier versions of these pages to chill for others to see. I can't promise if or when this will happen. My site is also on the wayback machine too, so you can check out some stuff there also, if you wanted to.
Here are the tweets I made once my site had its very beginning of it's foundation:
I was very proud at the time, I can't even describe it with words. It was the beginnings of something completely new for me. I put a lot of sweat and tears into making this site. And the sense of accomplishment I felt when I first began to make it, and as I've continued to make it grow, has been like nothing else I've ever experienced. It's an unmatched feeling, forging your own space on the web! Either it be here on Neocities or somewhere else, making your own space and the sense of fulfillment you feel is truly an unmatched experience.
My HTML ans CSS training was (and has been) very informal, and for sure there are still things I am not very knowledgeable yet one year later still because of it. But I learn better with certain things doing the experience and reading as I go along. My process of learning coding is exactly the same as how I learn digital art programs. From SAI, to Photoshop, to Procreate, Clip Studio Paint, etc. But I do want to do more proper coding courses sometime in the future too.
I'm also impressed with myself. As someone who is known to give up on a hobby if I'm not instantly good at it, I managed to keep on. Convincing me I didn't put all my stubbornness points into art after all! (Well the monetization, santization, and centralization of the web as well as absolute spite are truly powerful motivators.)
I've also gotten better at making my out layouts since I began my journey into webdev. If you didn't know I distribute them on my layouts page! I can't promise a consistent schedule for them but it's work checking out from time to time! (I also promise to update my changelog and RSS more.)
I love forming my own layouts inspired from what I grew up seeing, Geocities, and the plethora of fansites and fanlistings that showed up in the 2000's as well, and I also take inspiration from sites I come across today that still are online all this time later.
I'm even getting better at making pages and layouts mobile friendly! One day I'd like to make this entire site mobile friendly but still have that feeling I want to capture at the same time too if possible. But I cannot promise all of my site will be mobile friendly at this time, a massive overhaul would be required for that and I don't know if I'm up for that spoons-wise right this moment. I've justs got a lot on my plate these days and some massive fish to fry right now. But it is something I would really like to do once I have the time.
Despite my struggles over time this site grew and blossomed into something truly special, and making this site has been the most rewarding experience I've had in recent memory. I'm so grateful I took that jump into making this site. I've met a lot of wonderful people, come across many wonderful sites, found incredible things I wouldn't have otherwise if it weren't for making this little space.
Thanks to Harlock and Maya/Mayalock, as well as my anger at the current state of the internet, more and more platforms being sanitized of 18+ content, love, passion, and dedication for your OTP as well as spite against the commercialization of the internet as well as how it has negatively affected the internet in so many ways are FANTASTIC motivators I tell you!
I'm by no means a coding expert... but it's been fun having a new hobby and learning a new skill as I go along. I might be pursing coding as my career. I don't know for sure yet but it's given me a wonderful new hobby, skill set, and potential unannoying way to gain a way to have a way to afford food and shelter in this capitalist hellscape: So thank you Harlock x Maya, and Neocities for giving me a sense of direction!
The older I get, the more tired I get of social media. I'm 25 now, and I'm at my wits end with social media and am just fucking tired of it. And with twitter becoming more and more of an absolute dumpster fire especially recently... I am just TIRED. Can't say that word enough. (I am actually not on there that much these days! I've gotten really good at cuttiny my time there and only being on to post art and reply to dms, check people who are only on there, but I still hear about things via the grapevine)
This tumblr post really sums up how satisfying having your own site is as a person in fandom:
"for any anons that want to post fan content but are old and tired: making a tiny static personal site with just your writing or art tends to be more cathartic for me personally than social media."
-Exerpt from an ask, full post here
And it's really true!! Having a neocities is so much more of a cathartic and awesome fandom experience for me. You can dedicate as many pages, or hell a whole site, to your favorite OTP, show, character or whatever! (I mean I can only think of one other person who would make a whole webshrine dedicated to Harlock and Maya after all) You can host your fanworks there! Link to your Ao3 too! Your Dreamwidth also! Etc! I just highly recommend it.
I just wanna have fun online. Indulge in my fannish tendencies in a new way I haven't done prior. And overall just be a little freak on the web, post my art, indulge with and share and talk about what I love, and have fun.
Also just having a place all your own is fantastic even if it's not for fandom realted reasons. Fuck social media. Make your own website!!
People have told me, countless friends, as well as people on social media telling me the passion I've put into my sites, either it be this one or my Leijiverse fansite, has inspired them to make their own spaces on the web. It means more than I can even put into words. I'm really just blown away and honored. It means the world to me.
Making this site has been one of the most enriching and wonderful experiences of my life. There is truly nothing like forging your own space on the web. It is truly unmatched and I implore any and all to take part in it. Anyone can make a website, and it's a beautiful thing!
I'm still utterly blown away by the warmth I've been shown, the kind words, how this page has grown. It's utterly surreal to me that as of writing this, my site has 150,000+ views now!! Which is something I never expected. I do not do things for engagement, nor did I make this site for that. This is my little space to be unhinged and just post about what I love.
(I mean one of my main factors for making this site was for a space to post my old anime rarepair porn, kinky and otherwise XD)
I mean my site was featured in an article about the small web, which I am still just... BLOWN AWAY by. You can check out said article here too. I would have never expected this when I decided to forge my own space on the web on a whim and impulse. It seriously just blows me away.
I also feel so honored when people tell my my site reminds them of a site they'd see on Geocities. I grew up with those sorts of sites, just so many pages on Geocities I'd visit often. So I really wanted to capture that overall vibe. As a kid whenever I saw Geocities in that url, I'd think to myself every time: "Oh this site is gonna be awesome then." as a small websurfing Linky.
This might be cheesy, but I really don't know what else to say except: Thank you so much.
Thank you so much Neocities, and all its Neodenizens. Thank you so much for the kind words left in emails, DMs on various platforms, my profile (even if I can't really reply these days because of a bug that still has not been fixed) and my guestbook over this past year.
Thank you so much to Neocities itself for giving an accessible (as well as cheap if you choose to pay) space to forge your own space on the web.
Thank you to everyone who has told me kind things about my website outside of Neocities as well. Either it be on bird hell, discord, dreamwidth or other places!
It's been great to see others come to the small/indieweb to forge their own spaces. Either you do it on Neocities, a different host, your own servers, or somewhere else entirely. Especially since social media sucks ass ,as this blog has went on about. (more than once even) Purges and santization of the web are harmful as well and will only continue to harm and suppress the marginalized.
And nobody can deny how much social media just, fucking sucks. (Seriously, you should make a website!)
I look forward to continuing the growth of my site in the years to come, as well as the growth of others sites. I look forward to getting into webdev more, and continuing to forge my own little zone on the internet and grow my coding skills. A place where I can have fun, be creative, be an unhinged little freak, and be unapologetically passionate about what I love.
Thank you so much everyone for all your support and kindness. It has been a truly amazing, wonderful and unforgettable first year!
You can check out the full list of posts that have been made here.