It’s interesting how often my wanderings lead to kickscondor. Foundations of a Tiny Directory meshes with thoughts I was having on this subject.
I maintained several websites in the 90’s and the common convention was a links page. On my personal site (they called them vanity sites, which is awesome in its own way) I linked my friends and sites I found interesting. On my fandom sites the links page focused on good sites of the same subject, or if content was limited, basically whatever sites on the subject I could find. In the case of the latter, I was performing the role of a search engine by scouring the web for Obscure Anime Show and making sure I had the most comprehensive list possible. At one point I had the definitive fansite for Obscure Anime Show, and having an up-to-date series directory was a big priority for me and it got a lot of traffic.
As blogging became popularized in the form of Wordpress-style sites Blogrolls were a common feature. At some point people started calling lists of links “affiliates,” effectively making it as impersonal and sterile as possible.
I cruised Neocities looking for directories. I didn’t find many, but I think that’s because the common parlance on Neocities is “links page.” If you instead look for links pages, you’ll find most Neocities sites have one. It’s also very common practice on Neocities to link friends and neighbors using their banners on the site’s front or homepage. Neocitizens have replicated the friends page of silo social media in this way.
Some links pages are just that–a list of hyperlinks. Some are organized into categories and some have additional commentary.
(Slightly off topic maybe, but as someone who has published content online for a long time I will tell you that a link back, and even the most brief comment as to why, is worth more than 10,000 impersonal clicks of the like button. I have come to despise one-click feedback but that is another post.)
The value of tiny directories, or link pages, seems to diminish as specificity and curation decreases. The types of directories that are most interesting to me are link-o-the-day type sites, which highlight specific interesting things for the sake of highlighting specific interesting things, or directories that have collected good links on a narrow theme, or small personal collections.