aethersanctum.net is finally dead
We have experienced a catastrophic hardware failure. We probably will not be restoring the site.
It was nice while it lasted, but it's been on its last legs for longer than it was actually kind of good.
Here's a chronology for those that are interested:
- The Aether Sanctum is created by Ben Hardy as a zine celebrating the gothic subculture in Australia. Even though it is a web zine, it comes out in issues. The first issue is rather thin on content, but manages to catch the attention of someone who knows more about music than Ben, Haydn Black.
- By the end of 1996 we'd cranked out three issues, as you can see here using archive.org. There were lots of music reviews and other stuff. We had a gig and club guide going too.
- This was probably the peak year. We got Issues 4 and 5 out and they rocked. This is what was in there at the time. A lot of good interviews in there. Lots of visitors and people linking.
- We moved the site to www.goth.org.au to start to build it more into a real community type site. These efforts completely failed. Not much got done other than that. Not much happens for a long time while the web site maintainer has to deal with crazy relationship issues. Fortunately, Anthony Cook and Haydn Black and others can actually write and do so prolifically.
It takes forever but we finally manage to get Issue 6 out. The horse, despite the floggings, is putrescent by this point. But that doesn't stop us Ben from leaving the country and letting the site languish.
- Ben has been spending too much time on Slashdot and reorganizes and redesigns the site to function more like what was called a weblog, back then, abandoning the issue-based format. We also partner up with the new kid in town, Sydney Gothic, and work together on stuff, but gradually grow apart in aims as the people working on Sydney Gothic are actually still in Sydney unlike Ben.
- Things have gotten slow again and we question the usefulness of the site. Despite this a fair bit of writing is done.
- Cruising along. K signs on and writes stuff. The web log format seems to be working out OK, even if the frequency of articles is really low.
- Ben, Anthony and K decided that maybe it's in the site's best interest to be interested in not just stuff that's goth and industrial, but stuff that we find interesting that we think is good. This would result in a lot of things that are not goth/industrial being included, which is good, and excluding the goth/industrial things which are crap, which is also good. Better filtering. We also decide to make the site more community based, so people can sign up, make friends, list interests, send messages to each other, and eventually write their own articles for the site (though this last part we never got working). We moved to the web adddress aethersanctum.net to signify that we're not limiting ourselves to stuff that's in the goth genre or located in Australia. K did a very nice redesign of the site. This was the result as it appeared in 2003.
- The new format seems to be working well. Lots of articles, Anthony and K are churning them out. The site soon has hundreds of members, who chat on the boards and with each other, and do fun social networking type stuff (that's right we were doing it BEFORE myspace, dammit).
- Things have slowed down again, so desperate to make things interesting, we lose the brown. James Lowry chips in a few articles to save us from complete fossilization, but it's too late.
- Absolutely nothing is added to the site. Amazingly, people continue to sign up for it at the rate of about 10 a month. Nothing happens on the message boards, though. Everyone uses Sydney Gothic and LiveJournal now, which is fair enough really. That whole "build it and they will come" thing requires continuous building.
- The site's hardware finally fails. Ben declares it dead.
So what next?
As of 2007 Ben is still living in the United States and he thinks it would be pointless to be trying to create web sites which have anything to do with the goth subculture in Sydney because he hasn't actually lived there for 8 years and doesn't regularly communicate with anyone who does, and really hasn't had time to do it for about a decade.
He toyed briefly with the idea of creating software which enables people to build their own small scale social networking sites easily, a build-your-own subculture kinda deal, a metanetwork of smaller social networks, with weird AI stuff built in, but that ain't going anywhere either.