What Was The Network Neighborhood?

By Clive Python | 14jammar

WizardCat: is [The Network Neighborhood] coming back

OwlMan: No, they just updated the homepage for the kicks

Every day new people find and join the website host Neocities and hear people talk about "The Network Neighborhood", most of the time it's in a bad light; but what exactly was it and why is it disliked and mocked by Neocities' users?

Our story begins in 2007 with Ken Doe and Brent Penrose, who were responsible for starting up The Computer Clan (or just "CC"), a website that focused on technology and computer related videos, it was on one of these videos in 2010 that OpenBooks (who for a short time was known as teal) found one of their videos and wanted to join, they were excepted and would work on various projects with them, including a 3D game called "Project: Mission" (a Wolf 3D looking game where the only weapon seems to be the double barrel shotguns from Doom that shoots out lasers), along with working on a Minecraft series called White Table, which continued until 2015 under the CC.

As time went on, OpenBooks would be less happy with what the CC was becoming and in January 2016, OpenBooks explained why they left the Computer Clan; (this quote is taken from "About the CC (aka "The CC Is Dying and I Held The Gun)", a very worth while read to learn about the less than clean things done by the CC)

As of late, the CC has shifted its focus to other videos, some of which I do not enjoy and would prefer to not be associated with, whether its because of the lackluster production quality or simply something I'd rather not have my name on.

Over the years, I had left and rejoined the CC numerous times, from petty disagreements to homophobic remarks against other members by Ken, the CC's leader and founder.

This brings me to the recent events that passed.

At the CC's New Years stream, myself and 4 other members left the CC. We had created [The] Network Neighborhood a year earlier, and had decided that's what we would rather focus our time on, because the Network Neighborhood focuses mainly on technology and computers, the very reasons we had joined the CC in the first place. But moving on wasn't the only reason we had left.


One of the more important reasons we left was for transparency. Many things happened in the CC that we, as members, were simply never informed of, such as the shift to more comedy videos and when new projects were started. We joined the CC to help out with projects, but most things went up without our involvement, even though we would have been willing to do our part if asked. Ken's reasoning was that it was faster for him to just do everything, but in my opinion, faster does not create a better result, and it shows. I strongly believe many of the things Ken made would have been much better had we been involved, even just to give our opinions.

A year before OpenBooks left (leaving in 2015 that is), The Network Neighborhood was started by four present members of the CC, that being 98plus, Packard Bell, OpenBooks and candyShark.

The name "Network Neighborhood" begins in 1994 with the release of Microsoft's Windows 95, on the Windows OS, it had many new features added to it vs older Windows operating systems, such as being the first Windows with the "Start" button, being the first to support longer than eight characters (letters, numbers, or symbols) long, plus the file extension, Windows 95 was also Microsoft's first operating system to fully support CD-ROMs, though Windows 3.x could also access CD-ROMs. Along with this, a program by the name of Network Neighborhood was made, the idea of this was so computers, printers and other resources connected to your local-area network (LAN) could exchange data between each other. Apart from this, the program has no other purpose if your computer is not connected to a LAN, except that it is required to link two computers using Windows 95's Direct Cable Connection (DCC) feature.

From its start, it was smooth sailing for the group, adding new members every so often. The private webring got so popular that it even managed to get to the front page of the Neocities' browse page, the same was mirrored by many of its members who were also on the very top of the browse page. In fact, 98plus even managed to get to the very top of the most followed site in 2015.

Possible Hacking

Sometime around the 14th of May 2016, the home page of the NN's website had a message to viewers saying "ALERT: A LOT OF NETWORK NEIGHBORHOOD SITES HAVE BEEN COMPROMISED. THEY WILL BE DOWN UNTIL WE SORT THIS OUT WITH NEOCITIES. THANK YOU.", furthermore, all member sites of the network would temporary shutdown their sites, replacing their landing page with the default 404-page message. Annoyingly, there are no archive saves of this happening apart from one by The Internet Archive and its archive.is mirror.

Even today the reason behind what this was about is still unknown.

An anonymous person on an IRC claims that the NN's website was hacked, stating that "I'm 80% sure that the founder of Aclevo hacked into Network Neighborhood accounts and deleted them. [...] Aclevo is a internet group simular to the Computer Clan."

The person on the IRC continued by staying;

At the old OpenBooks server, there was a conversation between [OpenBooks] and another individual. I assumed it was Randall Newton/The Founder of Aclevo. I confronted Randall about it and he simply says "That was a different version of me from years ago or something like that[.] He also sent the invite link for the discord server that we were talking on to the Aclevo discord for "damage control"

Of cause, if Aclevo did indeed hack the NN or not, is still unknown.


Things were seemly going well for the webring until June 2016 when OpenBooks left the NN for unknown reasons. In April 2016, 98plus posted on his blog "WHEN IS 2.0 COMING OUT GODDAMNIT" that was soon removed along with the video. In the removed post, 98plus write;

this update is just to let you guys know that the webring i'm in and co-founded (remember that?) is on the verge of shutting down. yeah. the best way we can stay alive if is we get more members. hence, why i made this video:

yeah. here's a link to the application form. if you like designing html sites from scratch, then i highly recommend you join. thank you so much! it means a lot to me!!

From April to June there was nothing but dead air for the group, it would seem that 98plus' request failed in getting new members, as only one new member joined, that being 16-year-old BitchDuck.

It would seem that between OpenBooks leaving and BitchDuck joining, internal issues were going on. Whatever happened candyShark would also leave.

On the 5th of July 2016 the neighborhood was officially expanded, two days later, 98plus (now known as "Spriteclad", but in this article will still be known as their old name) summited a post on The Network Neighborhood website explaining why he and the other members decided to shut down the ring, writing;

[In] September 2014 [myself] and a few of [my] friends who were in another group were like "Oh hey, Neocities is a thing that exists! We should all make our own websites!!," and it kind of grew into a private webring known as the Network Neighborhood on September 12, 2014. Back when it first started, it was really fun. We set up our group website, we had ideas for websites like crazy, it was all great.

However, after over a year of being just a webring, we decided to leave the other group the NN members were in for... various reasons that I'm not going to get into. One of our lead members decided that we should become more than just a webring, and we created a YouTube channel, a GitHub, a Tumblr, and we were thinking of making a Medium at one point. One of our goals was to be bigger in popularity than the other group we left. Long story short... it failed, miserably. We all stopped doing stuff, members came and left for various reasons, we kind of outgrew Neocities, and long story short at the end there was only a webring with at most four active websites. Knowing this, it was time to cut it off for good and stop updating it.

That doesn't mean I don't regret helping making it, though. For the early days, it was a really fun time. Even if we didn't do much near the end, I'm so glad to have worked on this with most of you. I'm most likely eventually going to move my site to another web host, but when I do, I'll still keep an archive of my old one on Neocities for your guys's sake.

One day later on the 8th, OwlMan, who at the time was only known for stealing ASCII art, posted on his news page "The End of the Network Neighborhood", where he comments about how he knew about the failing NN;

On the 5th of July was the end of the NN, a Neocities webring that less than 1% of the site was apart of. I would say that I had no idea that it was ending, but I knew.

It would seem that OwlMan went on the now off-line Network Neighborhood Discord server and asked why no-one had contacted him on why;

Jun 17, 2016 OpenBooks:
yeah, we have a general age requirements just because many of our members are over 18 and it's just... there can be issues i'd like to adoid.

OwlMan (Being 17 at the time):
Am I to young then?

I don't think so, have you applied @OwlMan

I did but the NN never got back

Oh. That might have been during my absence, i'll check the applications.


Despite this, they never got back to him.

After the network shut down, the website was frozen in time; no updates, no pages removed, nothing apart from the landing page and the already mentioned postmortem. Everyone was sure that the Network Neighborhood would stay dead.

Letters From Everyone

The idea of Neocities was like Geocities but better. Because Neocities is based off Geocities, many people have decided to make their website with a 90's theme to it - of cause, there is nothing at all wrong with this, or even having a post-90's theme, Neocities can be used by anyone who has an idea; you can make your site any way you like. Because of how many people made their site look 90's-esque, OpenBooks wanted to make a point and on the 15th of May 2017, they wrote an open letter to everyone on the web host about how "you're doing Neocities wrong". Many people felt that the letter was written in a smug and superior way, mocking other websites on the host. In this upcoming quote, the subtitle is "Neocities is not your Geocities renaissance.";

Actually, I kinda see how you might be thinking this. The names are similar, yeah? Neocities is in many ways similar to the way Geocities used to be - but that doesn't mean we should all still be using table layouts and building pages like it's still the glory days of Windows XP and IE 6.

I made this mistake too. You can tell by looking at my old site, if you were around then. But that was because that was all I knew how to make at the time. But it's 2016. There's no excuse now, we have frameworks like Bootstrap and Zurb Foundation, and my own Weave.css. It's not hard to make a site that works on all devices with a modern, readable design.

Neocities gives us a free, easy, and accessible web host - anyone can publish anything they want. So why are we so focused on emulating an era than many of us weren't even alive for? There's so much more that can be done with Neocities - and that's something I'm trying to show with the new OpenBooks.

After the NN shut down, 98plus didn't really do much surrounding the Neocities community, the only notable thing they did was buy the domain spriteclad.com, however, on the 10th of July 98plus left Neocities in favour of DigitalOcean. In a post to their blog, they wrote why they decided to stop using Neocities;

I have switched web hosts from Neocities to a DigitalOcean droplet. You might be wondering why this is. Well, I have a few reasons as to why I've finally decided to move somewhere else.

1. No FTP uploading. That's right, no FTP. If you haven't ever used Neocities, you might be wondering, "WELL GOSH GOLLY GEE SPRITECLAD, HOW DO YOU UPLOAD STUFF TO THE SITE THEN?!" You have to drag and drop all of your files and folders to the site to upload them. Now while this might not be bad if you have a small-ish site, for me it starts to get really annoying really quickly because I have to make sure I dragged in the right files and whatnot. Plus, when I'm in my site editor, I can't even move files or folders without deleting or reuploading them! [...]

2. The community isn't great. Like... okay, as you can imagine, a website that has its mission to revive old nerd culture via personal homepages has its drawbacks. I can't count the sites I've seen that are either memes, "vaporwave", fauux ripoffs, little kids, or just edgy Trump supporters (eckh).[...]

I'm not going to completely delete my old Neocities site. In fact, I'm actually going to find a use for it in the future, but I have zero idea on what it would be yet. We'll see on that front. In fact, if you want to use Neocities for your static site, then by all means, go ahead! I even put in a section for it in the Static Site Comparison Table in the Webdev directory this update, so. (Just don't touch the community with a 35-and-a-half-foot pole, though.) But for the time being, I am completely done with Neocities. It's been an incredible journey, but it's time for me to grow wings like the Angel of Death and fly into the sunset.

Ten days later on the 20th, Melonking (known for making GifyPet) wrote a blog post commentating on 98plus leaving Neocities and about how you should stay true to yourself, he states;

If you have browsed my site at all you'll have seen I have a bit of an obsession with old computers, people ask me all the time why that is. Well to start with they are cool bits of history, however as I have collected them and used them, I have learned that they just work. I mean, you can write on them, make websites, model objects, chat online, make artworks and program. The realisation for me was that, you don't always have to have the newest thing. Whatever you have, if it works, its good enough. Not only that, but the differences, limitations and unique features of older tech often lead to creative and new ideas.

However, today we live in a world that is so focused on the next new thing. Every year or two you're expected to get a new smartphone, or move to the next hot new social media platform. For humans its important to always progress and improve, but I feel like we often confuse true progression with replacements or substitution.

Neocities fits into all this because its an old idea. Its a remake of the service GeoCities, its all about creating static websites. If you don't know, static websites are considered ancient history, having been replaced by dynamic, generated and social media sites. However its also a hybrid, bringing in social ideas such as the website list, following and commenting features. This is exactly the kind of thing I feel the world needs more of, it accepts that some older ideas are often simple and worthwhile, while still augmenting them with some newer features an ideas that make them more accessible without compromising their integrity.

Apart from Melonking's post, there were very little comments about 98plus leaving, until OwlMan's post...

OwlMan Quitting Neocities

Nearly a month of nothing had passed, life on the web host moved on from 98plus until OwlMan posted on his "After Dark" blog "I'm Quitting Neocities" where he parodies both 98plus and OpenBooks' open letter by opening off by saying;

Hello there everyone, Clive here. I am writing this to inform you that I have decided to stop using Neocities for a number of reasons. I know that you're all very sorry and upset to see your favourite site, owlman.neocities.org, leaving but I feel like I am wasting my own time on this site if I stay any longer.

I will be deleting this website by the 20th of August and I will be moving my site to the super web host, Wix.com, where I will be free of any criticism simply because there is no community (more on that later).

I would thank people like Jake Online, Froge, strata and I guess more people for being kind and warm spirited, but I dislike all of you and hope to never speak to any of you people again ever in my life. So that's that.

After the post was made, it became quite popular on Neocities, and becoming, to quote joppiesaus, "the first ever Neocities meme". OwlMan's parody would be remade by a number of Neocities' users including joppiesaus, Rocketmix and WizardCat.

This would result in 98plus removing his farewell from Neocities letter on his spriteclad.neocities.org and his spriteclad.com site, along with this on his spriteclad.neocities.org landing page he replaced his "Spriteclad has moved." message to just " Chill out.". Clearly not wanting people to know about his farewell letter, he would block The Internet Archives' archiver bot, ia_archiver, from viewing his site along with stopping people from viewing it via the Wayback Machine.

On this same day, the 12th of September 2017, OwlMan posted an article titled "Archiving Everything" - where he talks about how you can archive websites even if the owner doesn't want you too.


After more than one year had passed, with no updates at all, a miracle happened on the 7th of September 2017: The Network Neighborhood updates its landing page. While what the update was not obvious, when you viewed the source code, you would have seen two very suitable words; "It Waits.", and so the Neocities' community waited until the 12th when the landing page was updated to show that the NN was not quite dead, the center image would lead to index2.html, a page that, in a big font reads "12.01.2017" - a date that would not be met by the network.

Much like 98plus' site, you can no longer view the Internet Archive's archive of the site, for some time at least anyway - you see, for some reason you can still view the archive of The Network Neighborhood, this might, *might* have been due to an error regarding a mix up with .gov and .mil website, or not. Whatever the reason was, you can view the history of The Network Neighborhood via archive.is.

We would have to wait two more months to get a new update to the site, on the 13th of November the landing page was changed to show, what we can only guess, the new logo of the webring. However, once again, nothing happened. Also on this day, JakeOnline made a countdown clock until the big day... a day that would never come...

Explaining The Network Neighborhood 2

Around the 22nd of October JakeOnline was asked by Joppiesaus to explain to them what the Network Neighborhood 2 is, the next day Jake uploaded the video Explaining The Network Neighborhood 2. The video sums-up the past events that happened around the network up to that point. For sometime the video was lost until it was unearthed by OwlMan in April 2018.

A True End for The Network Neighborhood?

So, the 1st of December 2017 came and went, but there was still no updates to the site, what was going on? Was this all just a joke pulled off by past members of the webring? Unlikely.

Once again, internal arguments and disagreement seemed likely from this transcript between OpenBooks (keeping in mind that they were called 'teal') and a number of other Neocities members on the public Neocities' Discord server;

Transcript took place on the 22nd of November 2017
[9:33 PM] Jake Online: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/210174078672175105/381195230491181070/image.png
[9:36 PM] teal.neocities.org: ...please don't.
[9:36 PM] teal.neocities.org: as much as i dont like them, they don't deserve this.
[9:37 PM] Jake Online: >:(
[9:39 PM] Jake Online: the password is "Spriteclad"
[9:43 PM] teal.neocities.org: well that was unwise
[9:45 PM] Jake Online: i dont care
[1:08 AM] OwlMan: Oh nice, people wanting to punch me
[1:02 AM] Retroity: Wait, what's going on with Network Neighborhood? Where is that page from?
[1:08 AM] きらきら JOSHY: Same thing that's always going on with it
[1:08 AM] きらきら JOSHY: Nothing
[1:09 AM] hosma: that page is from a parody site
[1:09 AM] hosma: well, was
[1:33 AM] Retroity: Ah, makes sense.
[1:33 AM] teal.neocities.org: the network neighborhood will likely try to reform itself, but not on neocities.
[1:33 AM] teal.neocities.org: probably back as what it was when it first started, just a group of friends, not a massive webring
[1:34 AM] teal.neocities.org: but idk anymore i'm no longer associated with it
[1:34 AM] Retroity: Ah, that makes sense. It kinda lost focus of what it was about along the way, so it makes sense they're gonna start it over with that original vision.
[1:35 AM] Retroity: Any reason why it's not on Neocities?
[1:35 AM] teal.neocities.org: the current uhhh... leader, has a paid web host
[1:36 AM] teal.neocities.org: so they'll likely use that
[1:38 AM] Retroity: Ah, that makes sense. Better to use something that is already paid for and that probably has better hosting than a free plan
[1:38 AM] Retroity: (Also they probably get other programming languages like PHP)
[1:39 AM] teal.neocities.org: yeah. in the beginning we were nver really attached to neocities, it's just what we used b ecause it was free
[1:39 AM] teal.neocities.org: and working with the limitations was interesting to us at the time.

By "leader", OpenBooks is most likely talking about 98plus, who has hotlinked music from his website to that of the Networks and is also one of the only publicly know past NN members to own his own paid web host (vs having a subdomain).

At the same time as this transcript was made, JakeOnline openly showcased a new website of his; Network Neighborhood 2, a website that he encouraged people to edit, however, it didn't quite end well for him, as soon after he made the password public, someone changed the password so that only they could login. Only three archives exist of the site;

On the 20th of November, a new website was born; n2hub, there's not much to say about it really, just see for yourself.

Is the Network Dead?

As there have been no official words from the webring about its own destiny, our only way of getting information about it is via ex-member, OpenBooks, who quite often posts on the Neocities' Discord server about the network, on the 22nd of December 2017, yet another person asked about what The Network Neighborhood is, and thanks to OpenBooks we get to learn about what will happen to the network...

we're not trying to come back anymore, we're doing something else. same logo different name.

As we can tell by this, it looks like The Network Neighborhood will not be coming back on Neocities, but - from guessing at least - will move over to YouTube doing technology and computer related videos, in vain of The Computer Clan.

Is It Finally Dead?

On New Years Day 2018, the What Was The Network Neighborhood? article was published, its aim was to inform new viewers to the history of a webring that fell from grace. One month and 23 days had passed since anything to do with the neighborhood had took place, until the night of the 23rd of February 2018, when out of the blue an update on the NN home page appeared. It was the sign of death. The neighborhood's landing page was now the default not found page that is found on Neocitie websites that have been deleted (for example, the Wizzard Cat website), however, one big give away that the website has not been deleted is;
1. The robotos.txt is still up, and
2. if the website was truly deleted, then that would mean https://neocities.org/site/networkneighborhood would redirect to a 404 page, rather than redirecting to the website (for example, the Wizzard Cat profile goes to a 404 as the website was deleted, while the OwlMan profile does not redirect to a 404/the landing page, as it's owner has nether deleted the site, nor has he redirected his profile to his landing page - got that?)

The moment was captured on the unofficial Neocities' Discord server...

[3:37 AM] OpenBooks: https://networkneighborhood.neocities.org/
[3:37 AM] OpenBooks: it's gone
[3:41 AM] Nikku4211: R.I.P.
[3:42 AM] OpenBooks: good riddance
[4:25 AM] BBS(Pump and MorganVT): Pardon me asking, but what WAS that?
[4:26 AM] OpenBooks: thank the GODS you don't know
[4:26 AM] OpenBooks: bless
[4:26 AM] BBS(Pump and MorganVT): Well, I saw it
[4:26 AM] BBS(Pump and MorganVT): But I never really looked at it.
[4:28 AM] BBS(Pump and MorganVT): Seriously, tell me.
[4:29 AM] OpenBooks: i'd really rather not
[4:29 AM] OpenBooks: it's dead now anyway
[4:29 AM] OpenBooks: neocities is better without that kind of bullshit
[4:29 AM] BBS(Pump and MorganVT): Letme guess, a sort of webring but way different?
[4:29 AM] OpenBooks: a webring of toxicity
[4:30 AM] OpenBooks: from 2016. it deserved to die
[4:30 AM] BBS(Pump and MorganVT): Now, do websites shut down after a 'bout of inactivity?
[4:31 AM] OpenBooks: on neocities?like automatically? no
[4:32 AM] BBS(Pump and MorganVT): Okay.
[5:06 AM] almostblue: ok

Ending Points

Is there any hope that The Network Neighborhood will ever reform? Probably not, Hell, at this point you probably have a better chance of The Beatles coming back. Will Neocities miss The Network Neighborhood? Maybe a select few, but for the rest, no. For most, the NN has been made obsolete by the new kids on the block; our space, Hyperlink and possibly even The Vampire Club, who both have a greater acceptance policy for new members and are growing every day.

Will the Network rise like a phoneix and fly from the ashes, or will it forever rest in its grave? Sadly for its owners, the latter is more likely. The Network may be dead, but at least it had one Hell of a story.


Windows 95
https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_95 [Internet Archive, archive.is]

What is Network Neighborhood?
https://www.webopedia.com/TERM/N/Network_Neighborhood.html [Internet Archive, archive.is]

Project: Mission - Dead link as of c. 2015
https://web.archive.org/web/20111028200211/http://www.thecomputerclan.com:80/CC/Games.html [archive.is]

A New First-Person Shooter Game (Old Video - Archived)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx_RtUnAW4w [Internet Archive, archive.is]

The Hunt for Evil IE's - SFC Plays Project Mission
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmD2omYNOW0 [Internet Archive, archive.is]

About the CC (aka "The CC Is Dying and I Held The Gun)
https://github.com/anemoneteal/Archived-OpenBooks4/blob/3.1/web/articles/cc.txt [archive.is]

About the CC: The CC Is Dying and I Held The Gun - Dead link as of c. December 2017
https://web.archive.org/web/20171021224843/https://jakeonline.neocities.org/articles/leavingcc.html [Internet Archive, archive.is]

NN Members as of November 2015
https://web.archive.org/web/20151118190003fw_/http://networkneighborhood.neocities.org/members.html [archive.is]

https://web.archive.org/web/20160512000226/http://98plus.neocities.org/mainframe.html [archive.is]

Neocities' browse page as of 27/12/17
https://neocities.org/browse [Internet Archive, archive.is]

Neocities' browse page as of 25/10/15
https://web.archive.org/web/20151025035417/https://neocities.org/browse [archive.is]

Neocities' browse page as of 31/03/16
https://web.archive.org/web/20160331230753/https://neocities.org/browse [archive.is]

The End of the Network Neighborhood - Dead link as of late 2016/early 2017
https://web.archive.org/web/20160706070856/http://networkneighborhood.neocities.org/postmortem.html [archive.is]

OwlMan's The End of the Network Neighborhood
https://owlman.neocities.org/news.html#08%20July%202016%20-%20The%20End%20of%20the%20Network%20Neighborhood [Internet Archive, archive.is]

You're doing Neocities wrong - Dead link
https://web.archive.org/web/20160826214757/http://openbooks.neocities.org/letter.html [archive.is]

98plus' leaving letter
https://web.archive.org/web/20170817233601/https://spriteclad.com/blog.html - URL lost in time [OwlMan Archive, 1, 2]

https://spriteclad.neocities.org/bye.html - Dead link 09/10/17
https://web.archive.org/web/20170710183349/neocities.org/site/spriteclad [archive.is] https://web.archive.org/web/20160826214757/https://openbooks.neocities.org/letter.html [archive.is]

All about Neocities!
https://melonking.net/thoughts/neocities.html [Internet Archive, archive.is]

I'm Quitting Neocities
https://owlman.neocities.org/library/midnight/18.html [Internet Archive, archive.is]

People who are also quitting Neocities...
https://joppiesaus.neocities.org/imgoingtowixdotcom.html [Internet Archive, archive.is]

https://hosma.neocities.org/note.html [Internet Archive, archive.is]

https://web.archive.org/web/20170817235636/https://rocketmix.neocities.org/ [archive.is]

https://wizardcat.neocities.org/bleg.html - Dead link 09/10/17 [archive.is]

Top quote - talk about famous last words!
https://web.archive.org/web/20171113235239/https://neocities.org/site/networkneighborhood [archive.is]

Written by Clive "James" Python, help by JakeOnline, 01/01/18.