“If using a search engine can be like drinking from a fire hose, Internet surfing using a Web ring is like sharing a cup of tea with a group of strangers who are batty about a favorite hobby, like collecting Australian emergency-squad insignia.”
Webrings are curated link chains, or tiny community-shared directories where links are shared one at a time by clicking through to the next website. The main problem with webrings is if members of the ring go offline or fail to properly update their code the ring can break. Basically, the rings only work as intended if everyone keeps their shit together, and are highly suceptible to linkrot.
Webrings are often dismissed as antiquated relics of Web 1.0, but the concept can be adapted to these fast and trying cyber times.
NeoCities site tags and surf mode can provide an unbreakable alternative to webrings, but the idea never really caught on. I can think of a few reasons. There isn't any sort of community consensus regarding tags. Users don't always tag their sites consistently and usefully and no one links tags from their main sites.
NeoCitizens can leverage site tags to create a maintenance-free community directories centered around specific interests. Link a well-populated tag like lain, webcore, 90s or vaporwave and boom, you have a hassle-free webring of related sites. Established webrings could also benefit from this approach (for instance, everyone in Yesterweb adding a yesterweb tag to their site.)
The main downside to site tags is also the benefit--anyone can join. So if Horrible Harold the Weird Cannibal adds your webring tag there's nothing you can do about it except ask him nicely to, uh, not. arrived at similar conclusions in Web-Site-Ring: Create one without scripting.
The Lainchan webring models a solution: every user lists the entire ring membership on their site, or as much of it as they care to. Since every member is providing links to multiple sites, it doesn't matter if one site goes down or fails to update their webring page, or even if Lainchan itself goes down. Each member also directly controls who they are linking to. This ring is a thriving collection of clearweb and onion sites. Users join via /tech/.
Many NeoCitizens already participate in NeoCities button culture and post collections of buttons on their sites, but the difference is most NeoCities button walls don't have a unifying theme beyond being mutuals or personal favorites.
Melonland Surf Club is an automated webring for Melonland Forum users who have populated a homepage on their forum profiles. It pulls meta information to give each listing a look that compliments the page.
Since stockpiling NeoCities links and items of interest is kinda my thing, here you go. I found some of these webrings led to hidden pockets of NeoCities I'd never seen before.