The following guidelines should help you decide if your site belongs as part of the Infinite Fractal Loop. We regret the necessity of having guidelines, but if we don't, there's bound to be some jerk who will take advantage of the Loop for something other than its original intent. Questions or comments regarding these guidelines should be directed to me.
         The following things will absolutely prevent your site from being admitted to the Loop:
  1. Page Theme
    The purpose of the Infinite Fractal Loop is to showcase the best of fractal art on the net. The emphasis in the Loop is art, not mathematics. If there's a lot of math on your pages, that's okay; we realize mathematics is a part of fractals and sometimes separating the two is difficult. But if the primary thrust of your page is the math, then the IFL is probably not for you. (Please note: crude diagrams of mathematical constructs do not constitute art.)
  2. Artistic Concerns
    Over the past several years, fractal art styles have changed and evolved. Advancements and enhancements of fractal software now allow users to create true-color images, apply versatile coloring algorithms and combine fractals in layers for a different artistic effect. The IFL is most interested in presenting sites which feature images where the artist's creative input can be clearly seen. Using a software's default coloring schemes and doing very little zooming or creative image composition may be interesting to you, but those touring through the IFL may quickly lose interest with much repetition of these kinds of images.

    Yes, it takes more time and practice to learn to use fractal software in an artistic manner, but there are several sources of help out there — tutorials, mailing lists, newsgroups, etc. — through which more experienced users are almost always willing to share their knowledge with others.
  3. Java Pages
    Similarly, pages of Java applets with a few fractal pictures added in will not get you into the IFL. It's not about how well you can write a Java applet to generate fractals, it's about the fractal images you produce. (And we'd like to see those without needing Java enabled in our browsers, please.) If your site has little to offer besides "Java wow" then the IFL probably isn't for you.
  4. Links Pages
    Pages which primarily consist of links to other pages, even if they are fractal-related, do not belong in the IFL. It's okay to have fractal links, but again, if your page is not mainly about fractal art that you have created, it's not IFL material. If you have such a page, it can still be listed on the links page. Just send me the URL.
  5. Ring Overload
    Pages containing three or more other web rings will not be accepted. There are some folks who seem to think that a page with a huge collection of rings, but no real content, is the cat's meow. I'm not one of them. If you want a mammoth list of web rings, go see RingWorld at WebRing. Please don't bother submitting such sites to the Loop.
  6. Banner Requirement
    After you're accepted for membership in the Loop, you will need to place an IFL banner on your page (but not until then). This banner must appear on the page you specify in the sign-up form. If you want the IFL to link to an entrance page to your gallery, that's fine—but the IFL banner will have to appear on that entrance page. Further, this entrance page should be an entrance page, and not just a home page where your fractal images just happen to be one link of many. We want your fractals page, not your personal page.
  7. Unsuitable Content
    Pages containing pornography, sexually explicit material, information about illegal drugs or activities, messages of hate or racism, or direct links to such material will not be accepted regardless of the fractal content. If you wish to peddle such garbage, that's your option, but you will not be using the IFL to direct visitors to it.

Made it this far? Okay. Here are some things that, while not required, will probably help your chances of being accepted into the Loop:

  1. Thumbnails
    Sites without thumbnails are difficult for the average person—who has a 28.8 modem—to browse your site. When the browsing gets difficult, visitors tend to bail out of the Loop and go somewhere else. This hurts all the other sites further down the Loop. While we don't require thumbnails, we certainly recommend them. Your viewers (and the rest of the IFL members) will appreciate it.
  2. Bandwidth
    On a related note, you should try to keep the initial page size to a minimum. Thumbnails help, but using large backgrounds, big MIDI files, gallons of Java, massive Shockwave files, or huge ActiveX controls means your page will take a long time to transfer. It's okay to have these in your pages—you should just try to keep the first page, the one the IFL links to, reasonably small. (That means less than 200K, preferably less than 100K.)
  3. Language
    Most of the people who browse the web can read and understand English. While we understand that many would like to be able to have their pages in their native language, we ask (not demand) that you provide English-language versions of your pages, and that either you have the IFL link directly there, or the link to the English version be prominent and easily located on the page the IFL does link to. We ask this for the same reason we ask for thumbnails—so people don't bail out of the Loop when they get to a page they can't read.
  4. Aesthetics
    One last thing: sites that are butt-ugly are difficult to browse, no matter how beautiful the fractals are. While it's unlikely that anyone with an aesthetic sense good enough to produce work worthy of the IFL will produce web pages with a startling lack of such aesthetics, it has happened in the past and will undoubtedly happen again in the future. So take a critical look at your page and make sure your background doesn't obscure your text; that your text and background colors don't clash; and that your page layout is not hideously lame. For examples of what not to do, try Web Pages That Suck. For examples of what you should do, try The High Five. For help on how to actually put together web pages, try the HTML Writers' Guild.

Still here? All right—you're ready to fill out the sign-up form.

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Copyright © 1997-99 Damien M. Jones