Looking for arcane, extremely thorough, amateur websites
October 8, 2015 12:52 PM   Subscribe

I am looking to find some examples extremely detailed websites about arcane topics created by amateurs. Detail inside.

-Thorough: I'm looking for sites where I can spend hours reading/browsing, and when I'm done, I want to feel like an expert on the topic.

-Arcane: The more specific the topic, and the less... well-known, the better. Aside from that, subject matter is not important (although make sure it's SFW).

-Amateur: I'd prefer to get sites that were created by a lone individual documenting their passion, not something created by a company, university, or mainstream media outlet. If possible, I'd like it to be completely amateur : no WordPress, Bootstrap, or anything. Hand-coded or maybe Dreamweaver, but clearly homemade.

Most of the sites I can think of like this are generally pretty old, so bonus points for sites that are still being updated.

Some examples of sites I'm talking about:

-This site about the offense run by the University of Nebraska's football team in the 1990s.
-The Internet Hockey Database.
-The unofficial Dr Pepper FAQ.

Thanks in advance.
posted by kevinbelt to Computers & Internet (46 answers total) 69 users marked this as a favorite
Ian's Shoelace Site
posted by sparklemotion at 12:58 PM on October 8, 2015 [5 favorites]

You might be interested in this classic AskMeFi thread.
posted by redfishbluefish at 12:59 PM on October 8, 2015 [6 favorites]

I think The Schumin Web is the classic example of "extremely detailed about arcane topics." Just browse around a bit. Enjoy Ben's Fire Alarm Collection. Read about the Canadian TV show Today's Special (one of the site's "Major Areas") , and just pick any random journal entry to read way too much about, say, the sweetener in Diet Pepsi.

The entire site is truly fascinating.
posted by bondcliff at 1:01 PM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

The Internet Pinball Database.
posted by rachelpapers at 1:06 PM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

This might be a little too arcane, but: the homepage of :David-Wynn: Miller, creator of QUANTUM-LANGUAGE-PARSE-SYNTAX-GRAMMAR.
posted by divined by radio at 1:12 PM on October 8, 2015

fire hydrant dot org, started by a friend's brother, gradually grew to become essentially the foremost web resource on fire hydrants, for whatever that's worth.
posted by LionIndex at 1:17 PM on October 8, 2015

I don't know how arcane this topic is but this site about hiking New Hampshire's 4000 Footers is very detailed, is hand-coded, exists on Earthlink, and has a tilde/username in the URL. (full disclosure: I used to know the guy who created the site though I haven't seen him in many years, since before he built it)
posted by bondcliff at 1:17 PM on October 8, 2015

Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages!
posted by kenko at 1:22 PM on October 8, 2015

Darin McQuoid on class V wilderness kayaking in california.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:27 PM on October 8, 2015

EAR/ONS. Don't read when you're home alone.
posted by gentian at 1:29 PM on October 8, 2015

Someone I was livejournal acquaintances with has a blog about the Tam Lin folktale and its many variants.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:35 PM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Messybeast is an amazing resource for cat genetics and related curiosities.

Chicago-L.org was mentioned in the thread linked above, but it's worth mentioning again.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:40 PM on October 8, 2015

Remember when Flash animation was considered state of the art for content and navigation? I present to you, Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music.
posted by mmascolino at 1:43 PM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

In a smiliar vein as Chicago-L.org, there is Cincinnati-Transit.net which covers major roads, bridges, viaducts, the abandoned subway and what not of Cincinnati.
posted by mmascolino at 1:45 PM on October 8, 2015

It may not be truly hand coded in Dreamweaver, but the Roller Coaster Database has quite comprehensive coverage of all the world's roller coasters.
posted by mmascolino at 1:48 PM on October 8, 2015

I'm fascinated by the deep knowledge of "The Suits of James Bond", a stylish blog with articles such as "Q's History Through Ties" and infographics like "James Bond's Dinner Jackets by Color".
posted by Petersondub at 1:49 PM on October 8, 2015

Godchecker - "We have more Gods than you can shake a stick at"

American Mustache Institute - "Protecting the rights of, and fighting discrimination against mustache Americans by promoting the growth, care and culture of the mustache" (and home of the Goulet Award)
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:03 PM on October 8, 2015

You will lose days in tilingsearch.
posted by scruss at 2:07 PM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Chris Creamer's SportsLogos.net (since 1997!) is an amazing visual resource.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:18 PM on October 8, 2015

Project Get Out And Walk - A comprehensive, illustrated chronicle of assisted aviation escape systems and the people associated with them.
posted by hackwolf at 2:22 PM on October 8, 2015

Growing Taste is a website about gardening that is very specifically focused on the taste of different types plants (for example, there's a whole page on taste difference across different varieties of cucumbers). It's surprising how few gardening sites focus on taste.
posted by OrangeDisk at 2:30 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Douglas Self's Museum of Retro Tech and Unusual Locomotives.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 3:15 PM on October 8, 2015

It's arcane, it's thorough, and it's amateur. It's Time Cube! YMMV of course, on becoming an expert.

(really, though. seconding Sheldon Brown's bicycling page. It's still the Holy Bible of bicycling.)
posted by General Malaise at 3:24 PM on October 8, 2015

No one's mentioned Piero Scaruffi yet? I'm surprised!

This guy's site: Piero Scaruffi's knowledge base is insanely huge and contains lots of content, mostly on music. I've found it really fun to pore through his album reviews and lists because everything is colored with his personal taste and approach to music and really contrasts with a lot of music publications that are the product of collective tastes mixed and distilled down together.

Reading through his lists of music from the decades and reviews or artists and albums can teach you a lot about both more mainstream and non-mainstream "rock" music. I'd start with his best albums of all times page if you want to do that! He's got a strong 60s/70s bent. I got into Robert Wyatt because of Scaruffi and just for that I am eternally grateful.

Not interested in music? There's also content in philosophy, politics, history, cinema, etc. Enjoy!
posted by musicismath at 3:34 PM on October 8, 2015

Taylorology, centered on the unsolved 1922 murder of silent film director William Desmond Taylor.
posted by betweenthebars at 5:57 PM on October 8, 2015

#1. The Pathology Guy.

#2. This one started out as just the sort of thing you are talking about--a guy collecting things of personal interest to himself on notecards, then on punchcards, then it became a book, in 1996 a website, and soon THE worldwide exhaustive resource on the topic. By 2002, the author, Neil J. A. Sloane, was personally adding 100-200 new entries to the database every day. It continued as his personal web site through 2009, when it just became too big for any one person to handle. Sloane set up a foundation to continue the work--he continues as foundation president. So, nowadays it's a little beyond a 'one-person web site'--but still, it was maintained by a single person for over 35 years. And if you read the site you will definitely learn a lot & become an expert on the subject: The Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences. History of the OEIS.

FWIW I find myself searching for or referred to something on OEIS a couple-three times a year, year in and year out. WHY anyone who is not working on research in, say, Number Theory would ever need to look up an integer sequence is quite beyond me, but there I find myself doing it, year after year. It's fascinating stuff and more or less exactly the type of thing the internet was invented for . . .
posted by flug at 8:50 PM on October 8, 2015

michaelbluejay.com is just the beginning of a vast number of subsites featuring such gems as How to Not Get Hit by Cars, Bicycle Universe, saving electricity, life in a cult, and Vegas tips and many, many more. Endless hours of educational and entertaining browsing!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:05 PM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

New World Economics.

Skip the gold standard, but stay for incredibly detailed descriptions of Very Narrow Streets in the Traditional City (scroll to the bottom for that part of the archive).
posted by steady-state strawberry at 4:48 AM on October 9, 2015

Myrtle Beach Remembered
posted by bellastarr at 6:04 AM on October 9, 2015

Everything you ever wanted to know about British Roads is all here. Honestly, you'll never escape. Discussion on these matters mostly happens on the Sabre forum.

In a completely different vein, one of my all time favourite websites is Atomic Shrimp. Very much home-made in the truest sense of the word, and full of useful (and not so useful) info, tit-bits and... well, you have to visit to find out!
posted by car01 at 6:50 AM on October 9, 2015

vexen.co.uk, or specifically the various sub-sites of it.
posted by Drexen at 9:43 AM on October 9, 2015

DDY's Late Show with David Letterman Fan Page. Checks every box. Created in 1996, and man, does it look it. But it's been updated as recently as last month. It's more than just a fan page about David Letterman's Late Show, it's a love letter to the real people involved in the making of the show. The devotion of Dave Yoder is incredible.
posted by BeBoth at 2:48 PM on October 9, 2015

Dom's How-To Make Kefir and Recipes. He's been basically doing kefir for longer than I've been alive, and I learned *so much* about kefir from the site.
posted by ethidda at 3:56 PM on October 9, 2015

Acclaimed Music - run by a Scandinavian statistician. It compiles every single "best of" list for songs and albums and tries to track the most critically acclaimed of each. It contains more data on musical "best of" lists than any other site I've ever seen.
posted by kingoftonga86 at 5:54 PM on October 9, 2015

Oh! And Danny Yee's book reviews, which are maybe the best long-term, low-volume mailing list thing I have ever subscribed to. The dude reads an insanely broad spectrum of stuff and always has something interesting to say about it.

Also, the Arch Linux Wiki is super helpful for most things Linux if you are into that kind of thing.
posted by brennen at 1:17 AM on October 10, 2015

Ok, and lastly, jscott is a professional, but textfiles.com might scratch the same kind of itch.
posted by brennen at 1:21 AM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Join me in my hobby of planning elaborate multi-day train journeys all over the world using the frankly incredible Seat61.com!
posted by Happy Dave at 10:21 AM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure how arcane picking your own produce is, but Pick Your Own is pretty thorough. I find it oddly reassuring that I could find a U-pick near my house, or while traveling in Malta, or Japan.
posted by Frenchy67 at 2:18 PM on October 10, 2015

Sorta late, but one of my favorite sites is: The Sand Atlas. It's about sand, beautiful, wonderful sand.
posted by montaigneisright at 8:26 AM on October 11, 2015

Alloy artifacts for information on 20th century hand tools and the companies that made them.
posted by qsysopr at 6:11 PM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

The old Geocities page on Sir Boyle Roche (from MeFi's own ubiquity) comes to mind.

Lots of the old Usenet FAQs will scratch this itch. Speaking of Usenet, Kibo's site is definitely Something.
posted by grouse at 11:28 AM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

CitizenInsane.eu, for all things Radiohead.

TheSmartAss.info, for Java emulation of thousands of old-school games.

J-archive.com, an exhaustive Jeopardy fansite.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:53 PM on October 13, 2015

OK definitely TREEOSAUR.
posted by brappi at 8:01 PM on October 13, 2015

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