Novelty Website - A public experiment in communication
, conducted over the internet
, using the HTTP
protocol (and, possibly, related technologies) in innovative ways.
Very early novelty websites usually revolved around the notion of nonlinear text. Things like "interactive fiction" were the inevitable gropings of people who felt intuitively that the hyperlink was a powerful tool for something, but who didn't know for what. The novelty of these sites did not last long, because people were quick to notice that they were still clicking through a field of text circumscribed by the webmaster.
Webmasters tried to pump novelty back into their sites by adding multimedia elements. One example of such a site was the dissect a frog type of site. This kind of thing was very cool at the time, but in essence, it was the same thing as interactive fiction, but with picture map hyperlinks instead of text. Still, the richness of that multimedia experience seemed to be just the thing to propel HTTP into the commercial consciousness, and the "World Wide Web" as we now know it was born. The internet as it had been known up until that time was a casualty, but C'est la vie. Art is not eternal.
As the money flooded into the "new" technology, and inexperienced users crowded the internet, novelty websites became the rule, rather than the exception. "Serious" sites, with their dry, textual content, were all but driven out by streaming this and personalized that. A great many new novelties were invented, and some of them even stretched old ideas of "communication" (often in uncomfortable directions), but they all still had a couple of very old things in common. One: Content was created by a provider, and served to the consumer, and Two: Hyperlinks were carefully crafted by the provider, and designed to guide the consumer to a predestined end (usually, to leave some money behind).
The original goals of WWW (in particular), which were no less than the overturning of traditional ideas of communication, had apparently been forgotten. The old internet was gone, and a new advertising medium had grown up to replace it.
Behind the scenes, though, there were still a few social outcasts, drug-addled D&D yeti, and wannabe beatniks who continued to think about the potential of the form of HTTP to revolutionize... well, everything.
The novelty website genre that they invented finally managed to strike at the root of the traditional assumptions about communication. And they did it using nothing but our old, boring friend, text.
Their initial foray was called Something. It was a website, and it was novel indeed. Its first heresy was to allow the content, and its hyperlinks, to be created by what used to be the "consumers". The old terms no longer fit, so the users of that site came to be called modulators, or "moders", for short. Its second heresy was to allow hyperlinks to be created dynamically, by the way the site's content was drunk in. Even non-moders shaped the content in this way.
At one time, I had intended to return to this node and improve it - polish it, complete it. I doubt that I'll ever get around to it. Perhaps one day Klaproth will come to call...