NEW VIDEO: "Why good web governance leads to online stability" now published. Watch now or read more on my blog. (June 2018)

Web Governance Tutorials: 8 lessons + 90 mins of video + supports

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Go placidly amid the noise and haste of your web team,
And remember what peace there may be in keeping silent.
As far as possible without surrender
Be on good terms with your designers and developers.
Speak your requirements quietly and clearly;
And listen to others,
Even dull techies and ignorant senior managers;
They too have their story.


Avoid loud and aggressive marketing-types,
They are vexations to the spirit of online experience.
If you decide to benchmark yourself against other sites,
You may become vain and bitter;
For always there will be greater or lesser budgets than your own.
Enjoy your Q1 achievements as well as your Q2 plans.


Keep interested in your own content, however humble;
It is a real possession in the changing fortunes of internet-time.
Exercise caution in online security;
For the web is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what MashUp opportunities there are;
Many other teams strive for high ideals;
And everywhere webmasters are full of heroism.


Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection for your users.
Neither be cynical about online governance;
For in the face of financial aridity and executive disenchantment
It is as perennial as your Domain Name.


Take kindly the counsel of Jakob Neilsen, Gerry McGovern, JJ Garrett, Jared Spool, Jeffrey Zeldman, et al.
Gracefully surrendering the things of web 1.0.
Nurture data-backup to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings about poor traffic.
Many fears are born of fatigue and low Google rankings.
Beyond wholesome discipline in website maintenance,
Be gentle with yourself.


Your site is a child of Berners-Lee,
No less than YouTube and Facebook;
You have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
No doubt your online objectives are unfolding as they should.


Therefore be at peace with your web team,
Whatever you conceive them to be,
And whatever your promotional labors or viral campaigns,
In the noisy confusion of the web,
Keep peace with your target audience.


With all its sham, drudgery and broken links,
It is still a beautiful World Wide Web.
Be standards compliant!
Strive to be accessible!

(Compare the webmaster's Desiderata to Ehrmann's original text.)

A photo of Shane Diffily

About Shane Diffily

I am an experienced commentator on web operations. In 2015, I released the web's first online training course in website management and governance. Back in 2006 I published the Website Manager's Handbook, the original guide to online operations.

Find out more about me or download slides from my recent conference talks.