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Author Topic: Mourning rituals & Goodbyes in the indie web  (Read 973 times)
Melooon
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« on: May 02, 2024 @611.71 »

I'm curious about people's ideas about goodbyes, grief and sorrow when interacting with indie web spaces. Do people mourn on indie websites, and if so how?

What happens when something close to you dies or goes away? It could be a person, a pet, a time, a thing, or even just a place/website you liked to visit. Do you make a space on your site as a memorial? What if that person helped you work on your site, or you have a lot of things on your site that remind you of the loss? Do you remove that stuff? Gather it away in a special section?

In regular life we have rituals to help with these things; those could be big ones like a funeral or smaller ones like getting coffee with a friend and talking it over. These rituals are some of the most important steps for managing a loss.

Do you think that people on the indie web, including this forum, are open to discussing and participating in mourning? (How about the wider web?) Or is that something you prefer to keep offline, and if so why is that? Some things of course were only ever online, so how do you morn websites? Or web creators you enjoy? How do you mourn an app being deleted or a feature being removed?

Some losses are far bigger than others, so I don't mean to compare a feature to a person, but all loss is a loss and needs its moment of reflection, so I am curious how you might have dealt with this in the past  :4u:

I have my own thoughts on this; primarily that corporate cultures have always handled loss badly or just ignored its existence entirely. I feel that the non-inclusion of loss is something quite unhealthy, and as an indie space, I'd like there to be more acceptance of it. Behind it all, I think that a lot of anger and frustration can come from unresolved loss and maybe the web would be a nicer place if it had room to let people express sorrow.

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starbreaker
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2024 @628.04 »

I try to keep most of my feelings to myself because in my culture a man's feelings only matter to him -- and shouldn't matter to him either. (Say you're American without saying you're American.)
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2024 @649.69 »

With regards to mourning an app or a game, I've definitely made stuff like that before. I haven't experienced much real-life loss yet but I imagine I will put some kind of tribute up on my site in that case, but at the same time I also tend to be sort of private about stuff that personal. We'll see.

This reminds me of how I often see tributes to pets or relatives on archived geocities sites.

Really interesting topic. Death on the internet is fascinating even just in the sense that your online presence doesn't disappear when you die.
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Paprika
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2024 @841.25 »

For IRL stuff I tend to keep it for myself. For internet stuff I'm willing to do a tribute/hommage somewhere. The question is currently happening to me because someone that was writing comic-book reviews has disappeared for a long time and I thought it was due to personal stuff, there was updates from time to time and then nothing for a couple of years. After asking too many questions for myself I tried to contact the person and I learned that he was sick and died not long ago. We knew each other a fair bit and now his website isn't there anymore there's just remnants of him on some blogs.

I'm thinking about writing a comic-book review for him since it(s how I met him in the first place, he always talked about the same universe and character, doing a revizw on it could be a nice touch without making it too awkward for visitors/readers I guess.

The main aspect for me is finding a proper balance between hommage and awkwardness. I've seen a couple of website with mourning posts and it's always a bit bizarre to me (but that's only my own opinion !) but ultimately I respect it. As a comic-book reader I remember a lot of posts and writings for Stan Lee's death (cocreator of several Marvel super heroes).
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ThunderPerfectWitchcraft
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2024 @928.92 »

Quote
Or is that something you prefer to keep offline, and if so why is that?

Pretty much that. Most of my social life is happening offline, and the internet is more a hobbyist space for me. Yet there are a few pure online-acquaintances I've; but up until now, I never got the news that some of these died (some of them just disappeared - which is okay for me).

Quote
Some things of course were only ever online, so how do you morn websites? Or web creators you enjoy? How do you mourn an app being deleted or a feature being removed?

I usually just go ahead, and do something different. Sometimes, I got a bit angry when things I used went down the sink when I was younger, and sometimes I still get a bit sad - but usually websites/platforms/video games aren't that important to me anymore.


Yet there is digital art I do as a result of grief. A few years ago, when driving to work, I failed to see a little sparrow that seemingly took a sunbath in the sun on the road; I only saw him when he tried to get away - but it was to late for him to fly away, and to late for me to brake. He haunted me for weeks, and my second album "farewell, the birds" was about this thing.
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Melooon
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2024 @938.58 »

Yet there is digital art I do as a result of grief. A few years ago, when driving to work, I failed to see a little sparrow that seemingly took a sunbath in the sun on the road; I only saw him when he tried to get away - but it was to late for him to fly away, and to late for me to brake. He haunted me for weeks, and my second album "farewell, the birds" was about this thing.

This is really sweet and I think it also captures one of the best types of memorial you can have on a site. It's easy to think of a memorial page as being a whole page clearly dedicated to a subject, but often a memorial on a website can be a single image or a choice of music. (Thinking about it, most of the images on my site have this sort of meaning)

I suppose in truth people do all sorts of obscure memorials; theming your desktop to a Windows XP style is a kind of memorial to a past era and all the things it represents.

In a way, a lot of what we call nostalgia on the web, is actually like a huge Day of the Dead celebration :dl: That's an unusual angle, I like it!
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2024 @350.19 »

I suppose in truth people do all sorts of obscure memorials; theming your desktop to a Windows XP style is a kind of memorial to a past era and all the things it represents.

I always had the feeling that nostalgia is a longing for ones own past - a result of the knowledge about the own inevitable process of aging that will eventually result in death, and a grasping for the symbols that represent our youth (or, ultimately, life itself) - in an attempt to hold to it.
I don't know if we, as individuals, are even able to feel grief that is not, in the end, selfish - not because we are bad, or cynical, but since the whole world is only a image that we see through the lens of our own existence.
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Melooon
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2024 @737.03 »

symbols that represent our youth (or, ultimately, life itself) - in an attempt to hold to it.
Without getting too far off topic; I think it's a little different for me. I don't think that nostalgia is personal, it's collective - we are nostalgic to connect to something beyond ourselves - which is why I think a lot of younger teens who never experienced a past era tend to become interested in nostalgia as they start to reach out in the world, it's part of our way of participating with the wider moment of life around us.

Grief on the other hand has always been about scale to me. I grieve the loss of a moment becouse I know that in all the moments that ever were and ever will be again, from forever until forever, that moment could never happened before and can never happen again.

That's also why I like the web, becouse each time a page loads, it's a moment out of time, a web page is nostalgic for the moment it loaded. A webpage doesn't know when or where it was born, it could be milliseconds or ten-thousand years between the time a server sends an HTML file and a browser renders that file. I find that relatable for some reason :tongue:
« Last Edit: May 03, 2024 @880.15 by Melooon » Logged


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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2024 @843.65 »

it's interesting how the internet is built without consideration of death and loss! there really isn't a space for it online, practically-speaking or socially-speaking. when someone dies, their accounts usually just sit there. much like abandoned buildings! they just sit, unmaintained, until they're unceremoniously demolished. there isn't really an established "next of kin" process built into creating an account anywhere.

my dad died a long time ago now and his flickr is the only thing of his still online; i look at it sometimes and wonder how many people have glanced at it in the nearly 20 years since he passed and think about how those people probably assumed (incorrectly) that the photographer was still out there somewhere, or wondered what he'd been working on lately, or idly hoped he'd post something new someday, or tried to talk to him... it makes me sad to think about that, and about how much of the Stuff we see online - even in passing - is a sort of sad memorial for somebody's loved ones like that flickr is for me.

online memorials of all kinds tend to strike me as tacky or somehow bad or inferior to something more "real" -  i know people who attended funerals via zoom early in the pandemic, and the idea of a zoom funeral just seems really "wrong" to me. i think that's true for a lot of people (maybe?). it's hard to articulate why that is exactly! every other aspect of life is online, even very serious things - meetings and banks and jobs and relationships and doctors appointments and therapy... something about death just puts it in a different mental category from everything else for me, i suppose.



I suppose in truth people do all sorts of obscure memorials; theming your desktop to a Windows XP style is a kind of memorial to a past era and all the things it represents.

In a way, a lot of what we call nostalgia on the web, is actually like a huge Day of the Dead celebration :dl: That's an unusual angle, I like it!

this is an interesting way to think about it! to me, it often seems like nostalgia (especially the kind present in indie web spaces) is more like a refusal to accept the loss of something than a memorial. recreating and preserving things is, to me, really different from mourning. not bad, just different!
i think it's hard for many people to feel or cope with the loss of things online because so much can be preserved and recreated when it's digital. things are often not "gone" the same way they would be in real life. myspace and livejournal and geocities are great examples - they're dead, but they're also not, you know? when does something count as dead enough to mourn when it's digital? is there a point, when it could theoretically reappear at any moment when someone digs up their old harddrive or fixes their old computer or reuploads their work elsewhere...?
there's also a very fine line between mourning a thing itself and mourning what surrounded the thing; do i miss an old game, or do i miss being a child experiencing video games for the first time? do i miss a website, or do i miss having a community and friends?
i guess it might seem like the same thing, but one of the things is actually gone (the time, the moment, the community) and the other isn't (lines of code)...

i don't really have any conclusions or solid thoughts, oops! i think death & grief & loss on the internet are really interesting to ponder, though it's hard to talk about articulately!
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« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2024 @88.52 »

This isn't particularly indie but I miss when animal jam was a browser game so much. I used to have a group chat based around it but they died quickly. I know its not technically gone but its just different.
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2024 @112.66 »

Warning: post mostly made thinking on when I was a literal kid on the internet!!

One of the first websites I stumbled upon when my dad finally decided to get An Internet Connection at home was a virtual cemetery for pets. People made lots of posts every day about their fur friends that had passed away. I remember one woman very vividly, because she'd lost two of her chihuahuas and posted every single day, telling them about her day (and her other chihuahuas' days). Even at that time, I thought it was kinda unhealthy that she did that for months. But was it, really? What if that virtual cemetery was the only thing keeping her together in her "real" life?
I've also been in many forums, and people going off the forum grid and basically disappearing never stopped being hurtful to me. My first male best friend ever disappeared for good, I know his full name and still can't find him anywhere even on social media. I met him through a pokémon forum, then we moved to facebook when it died, then to skype when our moms got a facebook account. And then one day he just logged off and I've never seen him since. Me and another forum friend knew a guy named Charly who used to come back to twitter like once a year after the forum died, but we haven't heard from him in like six years and every time we talk long enough, he comes up. Remember Charly? I liked his graphics very much. I hope we still had some.
My grandma's cat died when I was like 13 and we buried her in our backyard because my grandma's house doesn't have one. At that time Blogspot was The Big Thing with tweens like me, so I made a blog post about it, saying goodbye to my grandma's cat and thanking her for everything and wondering why do pets sometimes die so young (clue: she was an outdoor cat). I wouldn't consider Blogspot "the indie web" but it definitely felt like it at the time, because it was the place we went to to hide from social media.

And recently my own dog passed away, and I made one instagram post when she died and another one on the two-year anniversary of her passing. I made them from the bottom of my heart, and from a literary standpoint I think they're beautiful, but they really don't feel as genuine as my previous mourning experiences through indie-r web circles. I know I mean it, but I don't think people think I mean it, like it can come off as a like grab.

I kinda wish now that I had collected more things for the friends and animals I lost in the way and put it someplace I can never lose it - I'm not very versed in making my own site apart from a third party like neocities, which would be enough for me to think it would never go away while it was in my control, so it would make me more comfortable to put that kind of stuff there. I wish I had screenshots of me and my best friend's conversations, saved Charly's graphics, pictures of my grandma's cat, a scrapbook of my dog's life. I think the indie web would be a very nice place for all of that to rest.
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