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[rec.scouting.*] Scouting on the WWW (FAQ *)

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Archive-name: scouting/scouting-on-the-www
Last-Modified: 8 November 1996

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
*** New entries in this release:
- Added the Scouting Spider site to places to send your web address.
- Added link for finding Scouting clipart for web pages.
- Added report of potential child abuse to reasons not to include names,
  renaming the topic to the issue of names on web pages.
- Updated link to Chris Jacobi's guidelines for writing web pages.
- Added link to list of free web space providers.
- Added Mike Montoya's suggestions for writing and testing web pages.

*** About this Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) file:

This file contains information about how to find and access Scouting
home pages on the World Wide Web and how to create a home page on the
Web.  It is not intended to be a tutorial on the subject, but only
some thoughts from people who have created such pages to be shared
with someone who is contemplating creating her/his own page.

This file is maintained by Alan R. Houser (  If you
have any comments or suggestions to include, please send them to Alan.

This file is in digested format, like all FAQ files on this newsgroup.
If you're using nn as newsreader, type 'G %" to split the digest into
individual postings. In bn or rn, typing control-G should cause the
reader to skip to the next posting within this file.

There are fifteen FAQ files in the rec.scouting.* FAQ series. The FAQ 
files are posted in regular intervals (one file every three or four 
days) on rec.scouting.*, rec.answers and news.answers. They can also 
be retrieved through anonymous FTP from
(path: or via the World Wide Web at
<a href="">ScoutBase UK</a>
or at the <a href="">U.S. Scouting 

As the FAQ files are updated regularly, make sure that you have the
latest copy in your hands. The release date of this FAQ is indicated
in the line starting with "Last-Modified:" at the top of this file.
Files older than three months should be considered as outdated.


This file or parts of it may be freely used, printed and re-distributed
as long as you enclose this paragraph and keep the references to the
respective contributors and to the maintainer (listed below) intact.

-- Alan R. Houser **


1) Are there WWW pages about Scouting ?
2) Why would I want to create a Scouting web page ?
3) What software do I need ?
4) I have only limited Internet access. Is it still possible to get on the 
   WWW ?
5) How do I create my own site for my troop / group / council etc. ?
6) How should the pages be structured ?
7) Why do I need a title?
8) What about graphics?
9) Where can I get Scouting images for use on our web page? 
10) What about "Netscape Enhancements?"
11) What should I include on my pages ?
12) Should I include names on my pages ?
13> Why do I need to test my pages?
14) OK, my page is ready. Now what ?
15) How can I tell if anyone is reading my page?
16) Security concerns

Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 From: David Jansen <> Also-From: Alan Houser <> Subject: Are there WWW pages about Scouting ? Yes; a few good starting points are : <a href=""> The InterNETional Scouting Page </A> <a href=""> US Scouting Service </A> <A HREF=""> Scouting on the Internet </A> The first two sites are gateways to hundreds of other Scouting Web pages around the world, and they are frequently updated to include new sites. The third is a wonderful introduction to the World Wide Web of Scouting that should be considered a major supplement to this FAQ.
Date: Sun, 3 Nov 1996 From: Mike Montoya <mmm@IMS.MARIPOSA.CA.US> Also-From: Alan R. Houser <> Subject: What is the purpose of the web site? The first step when trying to accomplish any task is to decide why you are doing it and what you want to accomplish. What is the reason for this Web site? To put information that the members of your unit can access? To brag about your Unit? To list other scouting sites that are interesting and useful? To let your community know about your Scouting program? These and many other things can be accomplished by a Web site. Remember that the World Wide Web is a resource. It can be used for communicating with the members of your unit, such as the calendar of upcoming events or reminders for specific activities. Or it can provide information to people in your community who would like to find out if there is a Scouting program they can join. It can provide links to non-Scouting sites that may be useful in planning trips and other activities for your unit, such as the weather report or maps and trail information.
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 1996 From: Alan R. Houser <> Subject: What software do I need ? You need a WWW browser client, such as Netscape, Internet Explorer, or Mosaic. While web page authors should provide readable pages for those with access to the web with only a text-based client such as Lynx, more and more pages are appearing that can be read only by a graphical browser. For information on how to obtain browsers, check the following site: <a href=""> WWW Client Software products </a>
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 From: David Jansen <> Subject: I have only limited Internet access. Is it still possible to get on the WWW ? Yes (but limited). If you do have the ability to connect to the outside world using telnet, then there are a couple of sites you can use : - (limited, but works even without vt100 emulation) - (select service : www) - (login as : www) - many of the local freenets have a telnet -> www gateway as well Once you're in, type the command 'G' and the full location (URL) of the document you want to access. If you only have e-mail, you can retrieve documents through the modified LISTSERV at Just send a message to containing send to retrieve the InterNETional Scouting Page. You will then get a mail message with the text and a list of pointers at the end, so you have to send a separate message for each page you want to view. A description of this system can be found by sending a message with send without a URL. This description can also be viewed <a href=""> here</a>
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 1996 From: David Jansen <> Also-From: Alan Houser <> Subject: How do I create my own site for my troop / group / council etc. ? First, find out whether your system administrator and the people in charge will allow you to create pages for personal use. They may also be able to help you set up your pages. Alternatively, you can go to a local InterNet Service Provider (ISP). In the United States, you can check the following index for local ISPs: <a href=""> </a> Shop around because there can be big differences in the cost of maintaining your page. If you have already have InterNet access, but need a place to store your web pages, there are a number of sites that will allow you to post Scouting web pages for free. Check out this <a href=""> list of free web site providers </a> Next, learn about the HTML language. A good primer is <a href=""> A beginners guide to HTML </a> There has been an explosion of other resources for the beginner. Yahoo is a good place to find most of them: <a href=" _Web/"> Yahoo: Computers and Internet: Internet: World Wide Web </a> It's also a good idea to look at other pages and view the HTML source to find out how a certain effect can be reached. For a bare-bones, foot-in-the-door web presence, you can try using the templates that are available at the Troop 24 web site: <a href=""> </a>
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 From: David Jansen <> Also-From: Alan Houser <> Subject: How should the pages be structured ? Make a home page which acts as an index to your other pages. Don't include too much information on the home page itself, since this is the page that is going to be downloaded every time that someone acesses your site. Including too much on it will unnecessarily increase the network load and degrade everyone's performance. Also, remember that as you add more information to your pages, you don't want to keep changing the home page, so try to use a branching tree structure. It may be helpful to map things out on pieces of paper and tape them to the wall as you visualize your pages. Use subdirectories to keep your pages organized, but try not to use long names -- there may be limits to how long a URL can be, and the URL includes your site name as well as the path and file names. Visit some of the other unit pages listed in the above pages and see what works best for you. If you like a particular one, contact the person responsible (usually an e-mail address on the page somewhere) and ask if you can clone it. Usually, they will be flattered, if you ask.
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1996 From: Alan Houser <> Subject: Why do I need a title? Having a title on your home page is very important when one of the robots which scan the World Wide Web for new URLs finds your page. The description you have in your title (between the <title> and </title> anchors) is what will get indexed by the robot and what may be used in key word searches. Therefore, make sure that you use the word "Scout" in your title, for example, "Berkeley Boy Scout Troop 24." If you don't (and I didn't when I first created my troop page), someone searching for Scout pages in an online index will not find your page (and they couldn't find mine). For an informative discussion of how search engines analyze web pages, check this <a href=""> Search Engine Tutorial</a>. One of the interesting points is that if your web page is an image map, some search engines will simply ignore it; there's nothing for them to analyze or catalog. Including the name of your city or area is also a good idea. If someone wants to find out what WWW pages are out there for his/her home town, you want them to find yours. I often find web sites for Scout units without mention of where they meet. I would like to include them on our list of Scouting web pages, but I don't know where to put them. If you have multiple pages, try to use a descriptive title for each one. The title is also the description that will appear when someone saves a bookmark to your page. If your title just says "Home Page," or if all of your pages have the same title, the person who saved a particular page into his or her bookmark file may not remember which home page it was.
Date: Wed, 4 Sep 1996 From: Alan Houser <> Subject: What about graphics? Be judicious in your use of graphics, especially large ones. If you have a lot of graphics in your pages, some people will have trouble downloading them over dial-up lines. You may need to provide alternate pages without graphics for such users. In general, for large graphics (such as photos) you should indicate in the text how large the file is so that the visitor can decide whether or not to download it. The single thing which slows page downloads the most seems to be the use of background graphics, especially large ones. A small graphic that is tiled seems to have less effect on download speed. Another feature that seems to hold up page downloading is using a web counter, a program that counts how many times a page has been downloaded, that resides on a distant site. I have frequently stopped downloads to find that everything on the page is fine, except for the web counter, which is quite busy because many different pages have linked to it & are trying to get an updated count at the same time. If you want a web counter, try to get one that runs only for your page. Photo albums with pictures of your Scouts in action are nice, but be sure to use thumbnails -- smaller versions of the pictures -- that show the image in a reduced size and include a caption to suggest to the visitor whether or not she/he might want to click on it to see the full sized photograph. Or warn the visitor ahead of time that the next page contains xxxK of graphics. Also, don't use graphics as anchors for other pages unless you also provide text anchors for those who cannot or do not download your graphics. Use the ALT= option in IMG to specify a string to display if the user is not receiving your graphics. There is nothing about a string of "[LINK] [LINK] [LINK]" to suggest there is something worth clicking on. This is especially true if you use a clickable map. Without a set of text anchors, some visitors will be unable to get beyond your first page. One thing to consider is that many web robots will not bother to index a page that has only graphics. If it doesn't index your page, no one will find it. The preferred graphics formats are GIF and JPEG. GIF works best for line art and small objects, such as buttons for the visitor to click on. JPEG is preferred for complex images, such as photographs.
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 1996 From: Alan Houser <> Subject: Where can I get Scouting images for use on our web page? There are a number of FTP and web sites with Scouting clipart images which you can use. I have tried to maintain an up-to-date listing of them at <a href=""> </a> The use of these images probably falls under the rule of "it's OK because you are using them to promote Scouting." But, I'm not a lawyer, so if asked to remove them, it's probably a good idea to comply. As long as you use them in a manner consistent with the Scouting ideals and not in conjunction with some unScout-like themes, you are probably OK.
Date: Wed, 4 Sep 1996 From: Alan Houser <> Subject: What about "Netscape Enhancements?" While it is estimated that 80% of web surfers are using Netscape or Internet Explorer, which permit some extensions to the HTML standard, it isn't nessarily so for the folks who will be visiting your pages. Some enhancements do not impact the file's readability with Mosaic or even Lynx, but others (especially tables) become a complete mess if the browser doesn't support them. You should offer a text-only or standard HTML page alternative for such visitors. Also note that some authors will overdo it with the HTML extensions, especially backgrounds. Backgrounds should be kept as neutral as possible. A busy background will often make it difficult to read a page, and strong colors will also obscure the text. Keep the background light and simple. Frames seem to be the latest fad for "Netscape Enhanced" pages. But very few pages with frames are set up for easy use. One of the main problems is moving backwards in a chain: most pages with frames do not allow you to back up because each page must have a backward pointer. And if an anchor points to a page outside the local site, there is no easy way to return to the local site without starting over from the beginning. Some browsers do allow you to back up by right-clicking in the frame (PC) or clicking and holding in the frame (Mac), but most casual users are probably not going to know that.
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 From: David Jansen <> Also-From: Alan Houser <> Subject: What should I include on my pages ? This of course depends on the type of page you are preparing, but in general, you should mention whether or not your page is "official". Again, look at other pages for ideas. BSA members should note that BSA does not support any official use of the InterNet beyond its own informational page. Read this <a href=""> disclaimer</a> from BSA which appeared about 9 months before its web site appeared. Because it has no control over the content of any page other than its own (and perhaps eventually, official pages by local councils), don't expect BSA to recognize any web sites. E-mail Address: ============== Be sure to include your name and e-mail address for feedback, or better, if possible, include a mail form or a "mailto:" link. But don't leave off the email address, because not everyone will have forms support, or some folks will see only a printout of your page. Return to Home Page: =================== Include an anchor or button that will allow a visitor to return to your home page. Some browsers reportedly don't handle back ups very well; even more likely, someone may come in from another path. For example, if you have a council-level page, it may get listed separately from your unit home page in some of the master lists, so some visitors to the council page may not be aware of your home page. What's New ========== To encourage return visitors, have a What's New page so that they can see what's been added since their last visit without having to go through everything else. For those sites with a What's New page, I will save a bookmark to that page so that I can go there directly. But, if you have a What's New page, be sure to use it. Otherwise, I won't know what you've added and won't know to look for it.
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 1996 From: Alan Houser <> Also-From: David Jansen <> Subject: Should I include names on my pages ? It's a good thing to remember that whatever you put on your page, can be read by EVERYONE. Privacy should be a major concern. Do not identify anyone by full name, address (electronic or real), or phone number without his or her permission. And for youth members, probably that is not even sufficient--use only first names and/or initials, if anything at all. There have been discussions on Scouts-L and rec.scouting.* on the use of full names of Scouts on web pages, but no one has offered a convincing argument that it adds any value to the page that would not be there if only the first names or first names and initials were used. Perhaps it is true that it would be harmless to list full names, but what if it's not? I have received a report from one unit that experienced an attempt by a pedophile to contact members of the unit electronically. What if one of your Scouts were the victim of such an approach? What you say to the parents? Take a look at these suggestions from Chris Jacobi: <a href=""> </a> Also check whether there are any local laws or rules of your Scouting organization that apply to putting other information on your pages.
Date: Sun, 3 Nov 1996 From: Mike Montoya <mmm@IMS.MARIPOSA.CA.US> Subject: Why do I need to test my pages? This is the part of any programming task that is usually the most time-consuming and frustrating for the new programmer. Without a solid knowledge of HTML, it is often very hard to track down the error in your code that makes the page appear differently than you intend. While this can be a chore, it is probably the most important part of the process. There is nothing worse than surfing around the net and trying to access a page that is not working correctly or is formatted poorly. Before you upload your files to your host, be sure to thoroughly test all the pages on your system at home, checking your spelling, punctuation, grammar, as well as the functioning of all your links to other files. Make sure you are on-line when you check your external links or you will get errors. One consideration in Web design is the way different browsers, such as Netscape, Internet Explorer, or Mosaic display the same HTML code. It is a good idea to test your pages in as many different browsers as you can to make sure something strange doesn't happen. Along with this, the more generic your Web page code is, the more compatible it will be with the different browsers your visitors may use. Try not to use too many features that are specific to one browser or another unless you plan to provide alternate paths for other visitors.
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 1996 From: David Jansen <> Also-From: Alan Houser <> Subject: OK, my page is ready. Now what ? Announce it. Post in on SCOUTS-L, rec.scouting.misc, and if appropriate also on Scouting-Europe (or rec.scouting.usa), Scout-Girls-L, (and/or, and any local Scouting or other specialized list. Check the list of mailing lists and discussion groups in the MacScouter's <a href=""> Scouting on InterNet</a>. You should also notify one of the people below who maintain index pages, although they will probably read the announcements as well (unless we're out camping). David Jansen <a href=""> </a> Scouting Spider <a href=""> (submission form) </a> US Scouting Service <a href=""> (submission form) </a> Alan Houser <a href=""> </a> The latter two maintain lists only of US Scouting pages, while the first two will index pages from all over the world. There are a number of other folks who maintain lists of all the units in their own country. You can find their email addresses through their pages on the <a href="">Scouting around the World</a> list of national scouting organizations. If you do not subscribe to one of the mailing lists above, you can send an email message to one of the sites above and ask them to post it for you. You might also want to announce it to non-scouts in your local area. After all, these pages are an advertisement for your unit. Is there a page for your local community, either through the local government or the library or a public service page? And then there are the major WWW page indices such as <a href="">Yahoo</a>, <a href="">Alta Vista</a>, and <a href="">Lycos</a>. which will allow you to register your page with them directly.
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 1995 From: Alan Houser <> Subject: How can I tell if anyone is reading my page? Check with your system administrator to find out where the access logs are maintained. He or she can also tell you how to read the logs and maybe even help you with a program that will read the logs for you. The error logs are a good thing to check, too, to make sure that your links don't contain any typos that prevent your readers from seeing your pages.
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 1995 From: Alan Houser <> Subject: Security concerns Unless you are a professional in the computer sciences field, this subject is probably more complex than you can imagine. Discuss security arrangements with your system operator or service provider, then FOLLOW THEIR INSTRUCTIONS. ------------------------------ End of rec.scouting.* FAQ #6 **************************

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