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"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?
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
that brings us back to the conversation:
since there are no legal definition any other definition is quite flexible.
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. :-)
Thank you. :-D
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 :)
We all know the true secret word is...
<super_encryption> WEBGOD </super_encryption>
At least that's what I call myself :)
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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
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....
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.