Criteria for the Fromper
Does your site encourage creativity, imagination, and the sense of wonder?
Have you been told that your site inspired someone to create something
new? You may qualify for the Fromper Award!
- All themes and topics are possible. Fantasy sites are not the only
ones that encourage "a sense of wonder." Sites about science
and history can widen our minds and encourage us to explore. Sites about
crafts, genealogy, or anything else may spark others to begin making
something of their own. Creativity is the essence of our humanity, and
it applies to everything in life.
- Intolerance discourages Frompers. Fundamentalist sites of any persuasion,
sites which proclaim any subject out of bounds for human speculation,
sites that encourage hatred, abuse, or humiliation of any individual
or group, do not qualify for the Fromper Award.
The rules against abuse do not prohibit satire, lawyer jokes, or
anything poking fun at Mephistopheles, who gets entirely too big for
his hatbrim on a regular basis.
- On your website, name at least three individuals who have created
something new inspired by your webpage. These creations do not have
to be on the web, but please include enough information so that others
can find the story / painting / whatever. You are promoting your friend's
- I will be influenced if people linked from your site or signing your
guestbook refer to you as inspirational, or if other people who see
your name in my guestbook testify that yours is a wonder-full site.
Signing my guestbook, or having your friends sign your guestbook
or mine, is not a requirement. Having links on your site, however,
is part of celebrating other people's creativity as well as your own.
- I also strongly recommend you read Thalia's
Tips for Accessible Web Pages, because if your pages take more than
45 seconds to load on an old (28.8) modem, or are not readable by my
friends with older browsers, you probably won't qualify. I say "probably"
only because if you have outstanding content that I want the world to
see, that will balance out some technical debits. I don't recommend
that you count on this, because I have regretfully noticed that nobody
ever considers our content as world-shaking as we do. :(
- The award is open to all sites -- personal, nonprofit, educational
or commercial -- as long as there is content on your site that celebrates
others besides yourself, and inspiration that others can get without
paying for it.
- This award is mainly about content, not design, and
I am biased in favor of written content, not just graphics.
"Celebrating creativity and inspiring it" is a pretty subjective
judgment. To be as fair as possible to all applicants, I have done my
best to codify how I react to sites, distributing 100 points as follows:
Content: 20 points
- Your site must display your own creativity with at least six pages
of your thought, art, or research.
- This may be poetry or fantasy artwork, but it also may be a description
of how you create a family life that encourages imagination in your
children, or the story of how you built your home business. (IF you
creatively built a home business; MLM's and other spam "business"
won't even be reviewed.) Creativity applies to everything in life.
- But it does have to be content. Links are not content. Reviewed
and categorized links are a valuable contribution to the Net, and I
will consider up to two pages of such as "creative research."
But if you don't have anything original of your own to present, you
are wasting your time applying for this award -- go create something!
- Less than six pages of content disqualifies you. Additional pages,
quality pages, win additional points, up to 20. If I gave a point for
*every* content page, big sites would always win over small ones, and
that's not the aim of this particular award. A haiku can inspire someone
as much as an epic.
- I know I'm getting into an ambiguous area again, saying "quality pages."
- Did you work on it? Is it coherent, grammatic, and free of spelling
errors? Does it look good on the page -- not fancy, but readable?
- Have you worked to both say what is in your heart *and* communicate
it to someone outside of your own head?
for Others: 20 points
- By "your site encourages creativity in others" I do not
mean just that you cheer people on. I don't mean just that you let them
use your graphics, poetry, or other creations on their webpages, either.
I mean providing your visitors with tools and information that will
help them create things.
- If you have nothing in this category, you don't win, you applied for
the wrong award. The more you have in this category, the more points
- I give credit for resources that I won't personally use. One award
winner, the Hanlon page, didn't start me doing my genealogy, but it
has inspired others to do so, and given them tools to do it.
- I have given credit in this category when other people have started writing, doing art, etc, by your example, even though your pages don't have explicit instructions, workshops, or other tools. Sometimes we help people the most when we are just being ourselves.
of Others: 20 points
- Your site should name and describe the accomplishments of at least
two other people outside of your immediate family, with links wherever
possible and appropriate.
- 2 points per name, up to 6 points
- 2 points per link, up to 6 points
- 1 point for each way in which you directly contributed to the
growth of the person you are acknowledging, up to 4 points
- 1 point for each accomplishment you praise that you acknowledge
not having anything to do with :)
- Alternate ways of making points in this category are publishing the
work of others in a zine or forum format, or managing a webring that
encourages creative pursuits. Webrings must have a home page and
your own site content in the ring to qualify. 2 points per person you
publish, or 1 point per site in your webring, up to 20 points.
Statement: 10 points
- This doesn't have to be formally called "Mission Statement,"
but your site should have a purpose and it should be clear from the
front page on what that purpose is. "I made this website because...
well, everybody else had a website." isn't a very creatively exciting
- Your purpose may be as clear and focused as that of the composer Greg
Spence, one of the Fromper Award winners, or it may contain "creative
and useful etcetera" like Jonathan's Corner. I didn't have this
codified at the time I gave the award to those two sites, but on this
scale, Jonathan would get "5" in "Mission" and Greg
would get "20". If your page starts with "This is nothing
much, just my ramblings," you get 0.
Competence: 30 points
- You demonstrate that you have learned the skills to express your creativity,
including in the creation of your website.
- Attractive, readable design. This does not have to be fancy. 10
plus points for a good basic design, minus 1 point for every page
with twisty purple letters on a black textured background, or the
- I can navigate through your entire website without getting lost
or using the "Back" button. 1 point off whenever I have
to hit the back button or edit the address line myself to get back
to a directory page.
- Pages are grouped and structured by topic; I don't keep hitting
"Next" and wandering through a grab bag of "this
was the next page I put up." 5 plus points just for knowing
what a subdirectory is. 1 point off for each "Next"
page that's a non-sequitur.
- Reasonably fast loading even on an old modem. No big, long, eternal,
Netmechanic.com recommends that a page load within 12 seconds on
a 28.8 modem. In actual practice, I don't find many of the major
pages in a site, including mine, can do that. I'll be patient with
anything up to 45 seconds on a 28.8 modem and up to a minute (that's
on a 28.8 modem!) if you warned me *first* -- that's before I clicked
the link for the huge page, not while the huge page is loading.
Slower than that loses 1 point for minor pages, 5 points for major
ones, like the main page of a directory.
- All, or almost all, links work (including images). 1 point off
for each page with more than two broken external links. 5 points
off for every page with broken internal links.
Some sites I gave an award to years back now flunk this category.
Partly that's because I didn't have this part written down, so I
didn't hold them to it. Mostly it's because living sites are always
being modified, and some of us get over-eager and make huge updates
on a manic binge in the middle of the night and then we don't test
thoroughly before we post because we are so wildly enthusiastic
about what we want to share. If I let you know about broken links,
and you fix them, you can make your points back. Just don't start
using me as a link testing service, please. :-)
- Accessible. If you don't know what "accessibility" is, try your
page on "Bobby."
Again, I've made a lot more allowances for this part in the past.
As of January 2003 I'm getting tougher. Chris the Bicycling Guitarist
set a tough standard for the rest of you.
- If you use Flash, Java, or other tech, you must have an alternative
for visitors who don't have the plug-in. Do NOT force anyone to
download the plug-in, and do NOT imply that we are Luddite morons
if we don't. A Flash menu that has no alternative cripples the usefulness
of your site, so that's a disqualifier right there.
- 2 points off for every page with music I can't turn off.
- 1 point off for every graphic without an "alt" tag.
I didn't always check this in the past. I have better tools now,
so I can.
In the interests of full disclosure I should warn you that I am annoyed
by splash pages, trailing cursors, and popups. I want to see what you
have on your site, immediately. I don't want anything obscuring any
part of it, not those butterflies trailing my cursor or the popup that
said, "HI! Thank you for visiting me!"
I will try to restrain my crotchetiness. This means that if everything
else on your site is good, I won't flunk you for annoying me with butterflies
and popups. But if you are on the edge, they will tip it to the minus
In the interests of your own traffic, I warn you that there are a lot
of other people out there who are crotchety in the same ways I am.
You have to get at least 5 points in each category to qualify, and a
total of 85 points to win the award.
I will let you know within 4 weeks if you have won the Fromper Award.
However, I've got a lot of other mail to answer, too, so I don't send
out notices if you didn't win. If you don't hear from me within a month,
check over the criteria again. The two most frequent reasons I haven't
given the award have been: 1) the site is about you and your interests,
but does not celebrate others or contribute to their growth; 2) the site
does not pass Bobby's accessibility
criteria. If your site changes in the future (and changing either of those
two characteristics can only bring you more traffic!) then you are welcome
(The next most frequent reason is that yours is an entirely commercial
site. Having creatively inspirational material for sale-only isn't enough
to qualify for this award.)
If the Frompers agree that they like to dance on your pages, I will ask
you to download the award graphic and
post it in a suitable position of honor on your page, with a link back
to my site -- and to give me a graphic to post on my award
page and link back to you. If you do not have a graphic logo or button,
I will be happy to help you create one.
If I find your site inspirational, I may even write something about you