Like a lot of web pages, this one started off as what I fondly refer to as my "cheesy vanity page". It had a main page with way too many banners, a family pics page, most of which still exists, a links page and the #OakGrove on DALnet page, which now refers to a pretty much extinct channel on IRC. Most of the original work was done longhand, me writing and learning the basics of HTML as I went. It was fun and exciting to see it take form, and I pestered friends unmercifully to "Go check out what I've done to the site..."
As time passed and the grove began to look more and more like every other Pagan site, I decided that enough was enough and the grove began to take on a new form, more like it is today. The old background image had to go due to popular demand (Too hard to read text printed on it) and guests kind enough to comment steered me into a combination of text and link colors that was reasonably legible on this one. I saw the grove as more than just another page of Pagan links but something other than a place to show off my kids' pictures. I saw it as an extension of myself and a place where anyone could come and stroll through the cool shade to relax, laugh, and perhaps learn a little. Other than the much welcome constructive criticism regarding the legibility, the comments have all been good, so I guess I did something right for a change!
Somewhere during all the writing and twiddling I decided to post this site on one of the many "Vote for #1" lists. Every day I made sure to get in my vote, and it became almost an obsession checking their page periodically to see if anyone else had voted for me. Each vote was a thrill, ("WOW.. Somebody liked the site!") and Amberflame got lots of entertainment just watching my face light up when the grove moved up a little more each week. Last weekend was a small milestone for us, being our 4 month wedding anniversary as well as our 1 month handfasting one, so as a surprise to me she put in shameless plugs on some of the mailing lists she's on for people to please go vote for the grove. A few people did, and as a result the grove received enough votes to go to the top 5 ("Woo-HOO!! Look, kids, Daddy's banner is on the list!!" "Yeah, okay Daddy.., now come play Nintendo...") Despite the lukewarm enthusiasm from the children, once in the top 5 the grove continued to get votes enough to stay there, and all was well with my world... until 2 nights ago.
One thing I've done since being on the list is checking out other sites, usually those ranked at the bottom. I've found a few that were real gems and voted for them so they could move up, others I waited seemingly forever to load all their .gifs and .jpgs and Java and crap, finding out just why not even the site owners bothered to vote for themselves in the process. (Who has 10 minutes to wait for the main menu to come up anyway?) As I was checking out one more site's links page the other evening, I saw something I never thought I'd see on a Pagan page: a banner ad for an adult porn site.
Now don't get me wrong, personally I have nothing against adults viewing pretty much anything they want. But this rubbed me wrong 2 ways: First, we Pagans have enough misconceptions to live down already to be associated with graphic pornography. Even more importantly, there was no age check on the banner link, so any minor browsing the Pagan site could go straight to the porn site. I e-mailed the rating list owner about my concerns:
To which I received the following:
Gee, I thought that was clear enough... oh, well:
By 6:00 PM the next day, almost 20 hours later, there was still no response and the Pagan site still had the questionable link up, so I wrote again:
At midnight, still no response, so the links on my site came down. The next morning I found this in my mailbox:
Good grief, you'd think I'd kicked his dog! Okay, one more try:
I really miss watching people vote for the grove.
I'm still waiting for a reply.
The links are still gone.
And I'm still proud of my "cheesy vanity page".
Sometimes you just have to have principles.