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This 71 message thread spans 3 pages: 71 ( [1] 2 3 > >     
Define Webmaster
Job Description

 12:01 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Rosalind in another topic had the following comment
which is the reason for that thread:

"Of course it depends how narrowly you define "webmaster", because it can mean anything from graphic designer or programmer to a business person who runs the site but isn't involved in the actual building of it, plus many other sub-categories of webmaster jobs in between.'

How do you define webmaster?





 12:25 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

The public domain encyclopedia Wikipedia may say it best:

Webmaster is a commonly used term that refers to the person or persons responsible for a specific website. (Some small number of people have adopted the gender-neutral term Webster instead.)

On a smaller site, the webmaster will typically be the owner, designer, developer and programmer in addition to writing the actual content. On larger sites the webmaster will act as a coordinator and overseer to the activities of other people working on the site and is usually an employee of the owner of the website, hence Webmaster can also be listed as an occupation.


 12:51 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

adopted the gender-neutral term Webster instead

I am not going to start calling myself Webster... I have enough trouble gaining respect in the tech field as a webmaster already :)


 12:17 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think that we should add:
Managing server (Security etc..) and defining site policies


 12:49 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

henry0, while I would agree that the term 'webmaster' is often loosely used as a 'catch-all' job description, I would 'not' agree that server administration and security would be part of it.

Since a webmaster is typically responsible for websites, it would be a stretch for a server administrator to be called a webmaster, since in many cases, they don't have a clue what web pages are even on the servers they are responsible to manage and protect.

Either way, I think the term 'webmaster' is passe' and went out with the scrolling marquees and blink tags in the mid 1990's.



 12:56 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

I thought webmaster was a gender-neutral term. To master something just means you are good at it, not that you are male. I always hated the term webmistress that some people used to use. Webster just sounds like a dictionary.

We have web designers and web programmers, web developers, web marketers, etc. I guess if you are equally good at all, then you are a true webmaster.

I am a web designer that does some programming.


 1:15 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Personally, I think the problem is that the term is used so often by the great unwashed that it's become blurred.

For me, a webmaster is the person responsible for the overall maintainance and control of a website.

So, under the webmaster we would have the terms "web designer", "website programmer", "interface designer", "content writer", etc.

Of course, in reality most "webmasters" also have to do all the other tasks.

P.S. IMHO, anyone calling themselves a "Webster" deserves to be left in the kitchen at parties. :)

[edited by: Sanenet at 1:18 pm (utc) on Dec. 6, 2004]


 1:16 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hello Netguy
henry0, while I would agree that the term 'webmaster' is often loosely used as a 'catch-all' job description, I would 'not' agree that server administration and security would be part of it.

A few years ago, I went back to school (a major U) to take a Web architecture course
part of the program relied heavily on security and server management, although I regret it was not Linux since I only use Linux.

that brings us back to the conversation:
since there are no legal definition any other definition is quite flexible.



 7:28 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm new posting here but have been doing this a while, the word "webmaster" and webmistress" are particular sore spots for me. Please indulge my rant. :-D

For one, the initial definition - a webmaster is who controls the look, content, and function of a domain - would be fine except that if you have any respect for language at all, the word is often an oxymoron. Too often it is true that many "webmasters" (or webmistresses) really master absolutely nothing but their wallet. Like many quick fixes, they throw a few hundred bucks at a program like Front Page and Dreamweaver and expect the money to just start flowing into their account from the internet. And in the process, take up an inmmeasurable amount of ISP support time figuring out why this or that doesn't work.

The truth is that the more we learn we come to the overwhelming discovery just how much there actually is to learn, and that we've just cracked the surface. In essence, anyone but The Most Egotistic of Them All would come to the understanding that we really master nothing, but are on a (spiritual? Nahhh . . . ) path to attain mastery. Which is impossible, with a landscape that shifts beneath your feet faster than you can adjust to it.

Which is why, for the most part, I agree that the TRUE webmasters in this industry are indeed the system admins. My perl/php/asp/script/.htaccess/whatever doesn't work, who do you call? Who fixes it? Who **really** keeps the well-oiled (ok ok . . . often squeaky) machinery of the internet working for you? And who, if you p*** them off, can REALLY make your life miserable? The ones closer to the mastery than you can ever hope to attain.

As for webmistress. On one (very small) level, I oppose to this term simply because it attempts to attract attention: I Am Not a White Male, So You Must Treat Me Accordingly. But that's not my real beef.

The real reason this term bugs me is the definition and inferrence of the word MISTRESS. By definition the word mistress does nothing to enhance the description of what you do for this domain. It has no place describing a position. That is, unless your position is on your back. :-)

So how do I classify myself? I do design, programming in perl, php, asp, Javascript, Flash, work with databases, and many other things, and create solutions for my customer that are both graphic and programmatic, both dynamic and static. If that's not "Web Developer" I don't know what is.


Thank you. :-D


 7:54 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

I like that; system admin has to be included in its description.
I agree that the TRUE webmasters in this industry are indeed the system admins

And as far as using “magic tools” I also agree that it will qualify as doing web business and web design but not as web mastering

I am not a code master but hard code my entire HTML, PHP-MySQL scripts and feel very good when using a new script delivers up to expectation, feels even better when errors are taking care of :)


 8:27 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Where have you all been, webmaster is a word we use to spot the n00bies. Anytime you see someone calling themselves a webmaster you know they lack skillz.

We all know the true secret word is...

<super_encryption> WEBGOD </super_encryption>

At least that's what I call myself :)

Contact me at webster@webster.god


 8:32 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Kidding aside, it would be funny to see someone have their email say,

webgod@example.com instead of the usual webmaster@example.com


 10:03 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think webmaster refers to the main architect of a Web site-- a swiss army knife type who has a sense of why and how to fit the pieces together:

  • business strategy and performance
  • admin of the Web layer including content, meta data, linkage and search
  • interaction design & information architecture
  • graphic design & visual communication
  • written communication
  • design & programming of the application layer
  • admin of the Web server layer

If you were to take a tally of webmasterworld contributors' personality types, I bet you'd find they are mostly INTP (architect), INTJ (mastermind), ENTJ (fieldmarshal) or ENTP (inventor)-- in that order of frequency. If this true, it wouldn't be difficult to figure out why the term "webmaster" continues to stick.

I'm sure of one thing -- it does not refer to the server admin and programmer alone. It refers mainly to the work of the Web-- the machinery that supports it are key of course, just as electricity and elevators are key to the design of a hospital building and would be sorely missed. There are finer points to building a good hospital than its basics though.


 11:40 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

We all wear many hats, hats that fit the broader description
However that spectrum is so broaden that I am wondering how one might get a certification based on such an array of qualifications if such a “Master in Web-Mastering” was to be taught.

Perhaps that’s the major factor in the non-existence of such a National or internationally recognized diploma.

On another hand most job descriptions in specialized IT or financial magazines classified are requiring so much qualifications than only a secretary reading an IT guest book might have listed the prerequisite knowledges


 1:43 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

I try not to title myself at all. I will use Web Developer if necessary and depending on circumstances/individuals; I will also use Web Designer ditto. Informally, I often call myself the "webbie". Webster is either a dictionary or an idiotic cartoon thingie (I think - or is that SpongeBob SquarePants I'm thinking about?)

I do all of the listed functions from the previous posts at some time or the other, clear up to sysadmin. I do NOT program in C++, etc. so normally don't try to pretend I'm a programmer. Coder, yes. I code a variety of "languages", some better than others. I'm a whiz at html and MUSH code, not such a whiz at php and css. I can tweak a precreated js or cgi script but can't code from scratch. I have not ONE clue about VB. It's all relative....

I don't do original graphics, because while I have wondrous pictures in my imagination, I can't get them into a visual medium of any sort. In other words I'm not an artist. I CAN tweak graphics to make something different and maybe better with them (with the originator's permission, and ONLY THEN!) So sometimes it might seem that "designer" isn't right at all.

Conundrums are only fun if you're not in the middle of one....


 9:18 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

I do NOT program in C++, etc. so normally don't try to pretend I'm a programmer. Coder, yes. I code a variety of "languages", some better than others. I'm a whiz at html and MUSH code, not such a whiz at php and css. I can tweak a precreated js or cgi script but can't code from scratch. I have not ONE clue about VB. It's all relative....

I think html is considered more of a set of rules for formatting web pages, since it has no mathematics I don't think its considered a programming language. On the other hand if you know how to write loops, functions and classes you pretty much know every programming language including C, just have to take the time to learn the particulars of each language. VB is like programming for dummies. It's the same as all the others but micro$oft tacked on a pretty front end to help speed up and bloat your applications.

Sincerly, webgod


 10:40 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

On march 15th 2004 I went on vacation.
I am currently thinking about ending it soon,
but as of today I still am not sure when I will go home.
Maybe sometime in February.

I am a WebMaster


 1:21 pm on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)


Actually, that didn't help at all.

And the OED, usually so precise, actually has a terrible definition:

• noun Computing a person who is responsible for a particular server on the Internet.

I still like my definition in post 7, tho.


 1:43 pm on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

... since a WebMaster appears to master the entire web, which seems just too much, I prefer to be a HostMaster instead ...



 7:01 pm on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Am I the only one who has never heard the "webster" term before? I think it's totally absurd - reminds me of that silly tv show.

Would anyone here actually be willing to describe themselves to a potential client as a "webster"!?

I would burst out laughing!


 7:09 am on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think "webmaster" is basically a person who is responsible for running a website. Kind of a "webmanager," really. I run my own site entirely, and webmaster pretty much sums it up.

A "master" in this context is not by definition a man, but someone who has mastery over something. You can master something without being a man, so why not a female webmaster?

As for webster -- um, no. That's just silly. It reminds me of "wait person" for waiter, a term which I seem to recall some people were pushing for a while -- but what's wrong with calling a waitress a "waiter"? They're both waiting. It's as if we had to say "student" and "studentess" or "student" and "studster" or -- well, never mind!


 5:47 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

And in the process, take up an inmmeasurable amount of ISP support time figuring out why this or that doesn't work.

I'm curious who you host with that you get support with your scripts. I have never asked an ISP for help, never saw it posted as an option. Always had to figure it out the hard way.


 6:50 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

voices, my host will provide any help I need that they have a clue about. That includes scripts I install NOT provided by them, which is a fair amount of what I use. I've been with them for 5 years or so, and they've always gone out of their way to help me when I dug myself a hole....


 6:53 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm curious who you host with that you get support with your scripts.

I work for an an ISP/phone company that distributes MANY communication products, including hosting. We have a fairly large internet support department.

People pay you $12-$20 month for a domain, they are somehow under the impression that you are responsible for helping them make it all work. Since customer first is a good policy in any business, our support department helps them in any way they can, and saying "sorry that's not our problem" is not an option.

For example, we get calls all the time from Front Page people that can't get their sites to work - publishing, web forms, it doesn't matter - if it's broke it seems like the first thing they do is call.

We don't just say "well our servers are all working, tough luck." Our support department actually investigates whether it is INDEED a problem with their work our something on our side. 95% of the time - it's not, but this can be a time consuming and tedious process, interrupting the work of everyone from tech support to developer to system admin.

Then there's the ones who call up and disguise their communication. They begin with something relevant, something that indicates they've got (paying) work for you, and after a few minutes you find out all they really wanted to know is why their certain script isn't working. "Can you just take a look at what I've done already? go to . . . . "

All this stuff adds up.


 8:25 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I second rocnbil
I am at the other end of the problem (dev)

My customers call me when they have a problem with their web
But indeed they pay me for that :)
I am available even on WE

I know what you feel; a family member did a commercial site by using MS publisher!
After calling me a few times they understood that it was going nowhere and ordered the real thing.

Support for MS publishing tools should be for a fee
at least the professional will get a few dollars

Which brings a favorite of mine

Has anyone felt that large companies such as (Cannot remember the name! But it’s in the US) and presently advertising a lot about offering a full website (Automated creation) for just very few dollars a month are drawing away from local web dev a chunk of the small biz on the look for a new web?


 10:30 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Maybe I'm missing something here, but does it really matter what a webmaster is?

Regardless of what you call yourself, you or your business creates good work, bad work or mediocre work and you either make money or you don't.

I personally hate mediocre work and - as my employees will tell you - I am all too fond of saying that mediocrity is a crime, worse in some respects than downright bad work.

Anyway, I am asking myself why I'm even contributing to this discussion if I don't care what a webmaster is, then again what I really want to know is why the definition of a webmaster is considered important.


 11:26 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

You could just go in edit and delete your post; a blank would have the same meaning!


 12:17 am on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Point Taken!

For what it's worth my definition of a webmaster is a person responsible for the correct functioning and overall performance of a website, someone - generally speaking - who employs or manages others with greater talent in individual areas to achieve the best results.

This person should not neccessarily - probably won't - be an expert in any given field but they will have well rounded experience, an ability to think strategically, be able to plan and have a wider interest / appreciation of the internet and related technologies and the way in which they relate to business productivity, efficiency and profitability in general.

What I don't understand is the prevalence of this type of discussion and I am really interested in knowing why we consider it important to define what a webmaster is.


 12:28 am on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just remembered who calls themself a "Webster" - all site mailings from Ryanair are from "webster@"!

Only time I've ever seen it in use, tho.


 2:05 am on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

PericlesStrategy: I imagine it's simply one other facet of the human need to categorize, and having neatly "shelved" something, then further define it.

This 71 message thread spans 3 pages: 71 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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