[thelist] what IS a webmaster?? THANKS!

Anthony Ettinger ettinger at gmail.com
Mon Nov 28 12:55:51 CST 2005

In the old days the webmaster was the person responsible for the corporate
web page.

It's evolved into web development team with web developers.

It's still standard practice to have a working webmaster at foo.com email
address forwarding somewhere (ussually this email gets displayed when errors
are encountered on the site - see apache configureation).

On 11/28/05, bill <bill at first-encounter-design.com> wrote:
> Thanks Marc (and Chris, Ron and Ian) for your thoughtful responses to my
> question.
> It seems like the general feeling is that 'webmaster' is a, according to
> Ian
> at least (and I agree), a dated term for a website manager. And also a
> term
> used by people -- in my case the Board of Directors who  --  not
> understanding the technology, jobs and skills involved -- lump together
> everything it takes to keep the website up, running, looking good and
> current, under the term 'webmaster'.
> As you stated below, Marc, the nonprofit I work for is a small, sorely
> underfunded group that naturally wants to get the best virtual face it can
> to get its message across without expending resources it doesn't have.
> We're
> at a place now, though, where we need to start thinking about renumeration
> in some form -- preferably cash :-) -- in order to stay up and running.
> Also, as a volunteer, it's helpful for me to define for the Board what the
> distinct elements are that go into planning, building and maintaining a
> site. That would allow me to do more of the part of the job I especially
> like more effectively and provide a framework for them (and me) to either
> find other volunteers to fill certain roles or have specific roles defined
> if we need to contract out or hire someone in the future.
> It seems the most flexibility in describing to the Board what it is I do
> would come from defining my role, as was suggested by just about everyone
> who responded, as a managerial position responsible for overall planning,
> developing standards and practices and  overseeing the tasks involved in
> our
> staying up and functioning. In effect, that's what I've been doing, except
> that as the manager I've been supervising myself in several roles -- not
> always a great setup for anyone involved!
> So, again, thanks to all who've responded. I'm off to do some job
> description writing, now.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: thelist-bounces at lists.evolt.org
> [mailto:thelist-bounces at lists.evolt.org] On Behalf Of M. Seyon
> Sent: Tuesday, November 22, 2005 10:59 PM
> To: thelist at lists.evolt.org
> Subject: Re: [thelist] what IS a webmaster??
> Hi Bill,
> It is an interesting question, and certainly one that is likely to
> generate
> a variety of responses.
> I'll start by saying that, in an industry that is really much less than 20
> years old, it's expected that there not be a definitive job description
> for
> a "webmaster". I suspect, though, that originally the term referred more
> to
> the person responsible for maintaining the hardware/software of the web
> server itself.
> [snip ... snip]
> As the industry expanded so did the job description, so now you do have
> webmasters who are jacks of all trades.
> In my personal experience, and opinion, you're more likely to find these
> do-it-all types in non-profit or small freelance markets where there may
> not necesarily be enough work to justify having more than one full-time
> staff member (or even regularly paid consultant) on the payroll.
> [snip ... snip]
> I think the main idea you should communicate to your board is that the
> "webmaster" should be a managerial level position with a budget and with
> the authority and ability to make decisions, and to liaise with other
> managers.
> The position should be more of an analytical/planning role than a
> webmonkey/mouse jockey role. If your webmaster is too consumed with
> routine, trivial tasks like troubleshooting staff email problems, then
> then
> whose steering the website to make sure it's meeting company goals?
> The webmaster should have at least a conceptual idea of all that goes on
> in
> his domain, and should even have some level of competence in the major
> areas. But in the same way that the Director of HR wouldn't roll up his
> sleeves and scrub the toilets if the janitor staff goes on strike, the
> webmaster should not be expected to personally handle every single task
> related to the company's website.
> [snip ... snip]
> regards.
> -marc
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Anthony Ettinger
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