How to use a Ways folder

A Ways folder is an online resource where an author or group can store documents for sharing useful ways of doing things. To use a Ways folder:

  1. Create a folder (or other directory subdivision) and name it “Ways”.
  2. Add a file that explains a practice you’ve found useful.
  3. Add more files as the occasion arises.

A Ways folder can be as simple as a directory on a personal webpage containing plain HTML documents. In fact, simplicity is one of the aims of the convention.

The documents contained in a Ways folder should:

  1. Explain a way of doing something that you, personally, have tried and found useful.
  2. Prioritize that explanation, pushing any context or additional comment farther down the page.
  3. Strive for accessibility.
  4. Exclude ad surveillance and other technologies that have tended to favor the accumulation of money and power over the mutual exchange of useful information.

While not required, your first document can be a Ways file (like this one) explaining the convention. This page is public domain, so you’re free to copy it directly to your own Ways folder.

The idea for Ways folders grew out of this post:

Putting information that you’ve found useful on a simple web page with no ads, no scripts, no ulterior motives—this is a valuable online service.

The popularity of the post suggested that there might be some appetite for an informal convention, similar to Now pages or blogrolls. The convention was also influenced by wiki software, which you could use for building a Ways folder, though the convention is designed to embrace less complicated implementations.