Xena Online Resources is the Web’s premier Xena Links Directory (actually, it’s a Hercules and Xena directory now). I started it as a news group posting in 1996 and launched the first version of the Website in December 1996.
Within a few months I was so overwhelmed by submissions I had to recruit a team of editors to help maintain the directory. We eventually migrated the site from hand-coded link lists to the Gossamer Threads Links script, and today we’re still using that software.
My partner, Dixie Harrison, took responsibility for managing XOR and the XOR Team in the fall of 1997 but about 2 years ago she and I became so overwhelmed by offline responsibilities we were unable to restore all the functionality to XOR services after a server move.
I realized this weekend that the Hercules and Xena Banner Exchange had not functioned since April 2008, which is when we made the last server change (I think). And XOR had a lengthy queue of Website submissions that had not been processed in a long, long time.
Because I’ve been updating HTML infrastructure for the Xenite network I had to work on these services. I got to them a little sooner than I expected but I felt a sense of urgency once I realized there was broken code all over the place.
I’ve cleared the submissions queue, updated the code, formally shut down the banner network, and rebuilt the directory. I did not, however, have time to review all the existing listings (there are over 1600). I know there are many dead GeoCities links in the directory, for example.
The XOR Team have all moved on. They created one of the greatest fan resources for Hercules and Xena fandom, in my opinion, and I don’t want to shut down the directory. The Gossamer Threads software is outdated but still performs its job well. I suppose I can keep it going on my own with occasional updates.
Working on those sites was a bit like opening up an old shop that had been shuttered for years. The place was dusty, filled with cobwebs, and it thundered with the memory of a thousand conversations. Voices from the past echoed in my mind as I looked at the templates for all the pages.
Spica, Vrondi, Simon, Dixie, Christine … so many names from the past kept coming up. We’ve lost touch through the years.
The SF-Fandom moderators are the last of the volunteer groups that helped us build a great fan network. There was a time when Xenite had directory editors, fan fiction writers, fanfic editors, and even a few code engineers working under the hood.
Online fandom has put down the tools of the trade, so to speak, and moved on to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and dozens of other services that make it easy to create content on the Web.
You can create content but you’re not creating great fan sites, in my opinion, through social media. I don’t mean to take anything away from all the hard-working fans who have set up hub pages and other tributes to their favorite shows, books, and movies. But social media-based fan sites just don’t look and feel the same to me.
Call me old school. I just always loved working on the craft of building a fan site from scratch. I loved looking at the sites other fans built from scratch.
My sense of nostalgia was sparked, I think, by looking at some of the old fan sites that have been archived. Kym Taborn posted a thoughtful comment on Whoosh! not long ago. She, too, has moved on. But she went back to clean up a few things.
These old Websites feel like the houses we grew up in. Of course, Xenite is still very much alive. We add new content, and I try to keep updating the pages (and the code). I have no intention of shutting down the network any time soon.
But I miss the old days. We had a lot of fun times, a lot of intense deadlines.
We were fans sharing an experience. You can’t really replace that with Tweets.
Not in my opinion.