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Anyone know anything about how this term was coined?

It comes from Dungeon Master in Dungeon's and Dragons. It was a game that was popular around the time that the World Wide Web was conceived.

If you do a search for webmaster on, you'll find that the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing says that the term probably came from the term postmaster. I would suggest perhaps doing a usenet search to see when the term was first used there. Theshibboleth 07:31, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
Alright, I found the term first used on usenet in 1994. See The term is split into "web master". Theshibboleth 07:38, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
The Oxford English Dictionary gives the etymology of webmaster as: [< WEB n. + MASTER n.1] (The definition of master cited here as "A person or thing having control or authority"), but makes no reference to the word "postmaster" as a precedent. The OED also lists the earliest known print reference as having been in PC Week magazine in April of 1994, which predates your Usenet reference by about 7 months. Kevyn 05:35, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

As a 'webmaster' from 1993 onward, I can 100% guarentee the term's origin is to parallel postmaster (email) and hostmaster (dns). Will dig around for any appropriate cites or archives, but at the time we were all cognizant of the *master convention for existing infrastructure services, therefore webmaster was a logical progression. --jzp 21:09, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Relevance: Webmistress[edit]

I propose that the article be edited to move the term "webmistress" down in the article and to add some discussion about its relevance. It is fairly clear from the "sexism: webmistress" thread below that there isn't a clear consensus that "webmistress" is the simple feminine of webmaster.

Kevyn and others who support the current state of the article ("webmaster (feminine: webmistress)") need to provide some verification, not only of the term but of the assertion that it is the common feminine form. (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 13:05, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Agree... I can find no reputable source for the term "Webmistress"... And just pulling up a result on Google doesn't qualify; I can find plenty of spelling mistakes and outright errors on the web, that doesn't make them right. The assertion fo those who want to add this term as the default feminine term need to provide evidence of this; their personal observations and feelings that it's correct doesn't make it so. I'm really surprised this article has lasted in an incorrect form for as long as it has... (talk) 12:51, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Sexism: Webmistress[edit]

The term webmistress is sexist and chauvinistic. It sounds like other extraneous terms such as mayoress, dominatrix, aviatrix, and so forth. A woman can be a master, mayor, dominator, aviator, et cetera. What is next? Are we going to call a female doctor a doctress? Patchouli 10:59, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Sexist, chauvinistic and archaic-sounding as it may be, it is a term in wide use by some female webmasters - though its use is by no means universal. I have worked as a web manager alongside a number of enlightened, powerful, feminist women who have embraced the term "webmistress"... probably because of its tongue-in-cheek, in-control, BDSM connotations. In my experience, this is usually a term that the women adopt themselves, not one that men put on them.
I've re-written the intro to include the term - I do believe it is widespread enough to warrant inclusion - and created a section on the term to explain its usage and to indicate that this is not universal. Kevyn 16:14, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
True, the word mistress conjures the image of a horny woman that only designs pornographic sites. It has more to do with a concubine than a professional expert. Patchouli 21:15, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
As does the word "master" in webmaster - it's an inherently gender-biased term. However, whether or not you or I like the terms used is irrelevant here. What is relevant is that the term is in widespread use - and a Google search reveals almost 3 million occurrences of the word on the WWW [1]. That sounds like widespread use to me, which makes it encyclopedic, and worthy of inclusion. Please, don't inject your personal agendas into this article. It is important to be as neutral as possible in editing Wikipedia articles. I have reverted your edit. Kevyn 23:13, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
I had a coworker who wanted me (a white person) to call him a nigger so long as I didn't say nigga (without the r). Historically, many people have tried to adopt an offensive word and embrace it. However, I have never seen a link on the bottom of even a porno website named webmaster/webmistress.Patchouli 21:29, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
False analogy. We're not talking about terms that have been historically used as weapons against oppressed people. Webmistress is not a loaded word that is used as a weapon. There's no comparison between the two. A much better analogy would be gender-specific words like "actress" or "aviatrix." Kevyn 23:10, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Dear Friend, the 2003 Edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary — produced by the same company that makes Britannica — does not have any entry for webmistress; the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2006 which I have updated today has no such term. Here is the Google search result as of today
Also, look at the second result of my Google search using the keyword webmistress

Welcome to!Welcome to! Domain name host of BDSM themed websites. Please select your area of interest. Crave For Adults who are interested in ... - 2k.

Nonetheless, I won't revert your edit and maybe in the future through arduous campaigning it may become prevalent. By the way, you can master computer science, but you can't mistress (huh?) computer science. One more point, the spellchecker of Google's toolbar underlines webmistress with red as a spelling error but the same is not true with webmaster. Patchouli 04:04, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

OK, first of all, please do not call me "Dear Friend," as you do not know me, and I do not appreciate the sarcasm. I am trying to maintain a professional debate on the issues here.
The fact that the word "webmistress" does not appear in dictionaries, Encarta, or Google's toolbar spellchecker is irrelevant to this discussion -- we are not debating whether or not the word exists or not - it clearly does (dictionaries take time to catch up with the language). What we are debating is the appropriateness of including the term in this article.
The equation of Google results comparing the number of occurences of "webmaster" with "webmistress" is also not relevant, because nobody is arguing that "webmaster" is not the more common term. The fact that "webmaster" is by far more common does not change the fact that the term "webmistress" is in widespread usage, as evidenced by the immense number of women out there who use the term, based on the Google search.
Your choice of singling out the second Google result - which I also got on my search - as an argument for not including the term escapes me. I do not deny that some women use it in connection with the BDSM Mistress connection - and even wrote it into the article yesterday - but based on a cursory look through the Google results, a great many of the women who use the term do not appear to be using it with that meaning in mind. Rather, the connotation of mistress as "woman in charge" seems to be prevalent.
The same can be said of your argument about "mistressing" computer science - you are arguing the term "master" in the adjective sense, which is not the etymology of the word. The Oxford English Dictionary lists the etymology of webmaster as being from the noun form of master: a person or thing having control or authority. That's what the term "webmistress," as a feminine form of the word master, is all about - a woman in control. (The other definition for "mistress" that you cite in your edit earlier today, "a concubine," is clearly not what women who use the term have in mind.)
Finally, I am most troubled by your comment, "maybe in the future through arduous campaigning it may become prevalent." From this I infer you believe me to have a motive promoting the term "webmistress." This, I can assure you, is definitely not the case. As a Wikipedia editor, I report on what is, not advocate for what should or should not be. I pride myself on my neutrality in my editing, and strive not to let my views colour my choices on what should or should not be included in this encyclopedia. I said it before and I will say it again, you or I may not like the term, but it is -- and that is what an encyclopedia is all about: reporting on what is.
Regards, Kevyn 05:24, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
  • What is can in some instances be wrong. Today Google produced 9,140,000 results for "you was" and 103,000,000 results for "off of." Now does this mean that Wikipedia editors should write articles using and promoting these erroneous phrases? Many individuals act nonsensically, should you and I follow suit?

My suggestion was to acknowledge the existence of webmistress by leaving your "Use of the Term Webmistress" section intact but stating that webmaster can refer to everyone and is more common. Plus, in a modern industrialized society androgynous names are always the way to go.Patchouli 02:02, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

  • Of course, if a female webmaster wanted me to call her a webmistress, I would not be obdurate and would listen to her.Patchouli 02:09, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
I would caution against a comment like this, as it is another example of injecting personal opinion into an area that by definition, should be free of it.
Certain titles will invariably have two gender based forms in common usage, while others will not. For example -at a restaurant you have a waiter or a waitress, but a female bartender is never the bartendress. Similarily on an airplane, you have a steward or a stewardess, but the captain is always the captain. (I know that certain oranizations promote universal usage of the term waiter or steward, but the gender based forms of these titles will probably always remain in common usage).
This has nothing to do with sexism (though I'm sure some would argue this), it is mearly the peculiarities of the english language. The proposition of androgynous names and titles becomes almost impossible in other languages, French especially comes to mind, as even inanimate objects have masculine or feminine connotations. Regardless, you finding the term sexist is irrelevant to this article, except to say that "some people may find this term offensive". PanicTest 20:19, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Waitress is common today though no woman will be offended if you call her a waiter. Our family's experience indicates that not leaving a tip has a much greater likelihood of creating subdued anger towards customers.

Did you know that there are languages in which the same word is used for he and she? See Persian grammar#Pronouns if you need an example.--Patchouli 06:30, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

A few girls (teens) prefer to use webmiss. Should this be added? --Howard the Duck 10:25, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

I don't understand why this is "the lesbo side of the story" -- plenty of straight woman think the term is bizarre and silly and borders on offensive. I say borders because it is mostly just silly. (talk)

I'm going to delete "(feminine: webmistress)". Although on this talk page the opinions seem devided, most things I hear on here are OR or opinions. The google thing doesn't impress me, since if you make a common typo in most words and google it, you'll get millions of results to. The way the "(feminine: webmistress)" is phrased makes it sound factual, which it isn't, as explained by the lack of reference material supporting it, and the various opinions here. If anyone wants to include it, I suggest it's either referenced with proper sources that explain it as "the norm" or "correct" by anyone's standards, or put it to some kind of vote, here on the talk page. As clear-cut as it's presented on the page itself, the issue clearly isn't. (talk) 14:00, 20 November 2008 (UTC)


In many classifications that indicate an individual's level of achievement, rank, or position, "Master" is very common. It is also often used to indicate, in a respectful manner, the relative age of the person so named. For instance "Master Lifter" is applied to those over a particular age that compete in powerlifting; you can probably think of many other examples. Apparently there is no term that is used to indicate that a "Webmaster" has achieved a certain level of experience by virtue of spending a significant amount of time in the field and having acquired an, assumed, wealth of "Life Experiences" (not fond of that term) by virtue of just getting older. This is a term of respect, but is not due to income, certification, or formal training. To this end I propose the title "Web Elder" to be used by those webmasters over 60 years old, with a minimum of 10 years experience as a webmaster, and being active in the field. Any thoughts?

  • Is there anyone rooting for web-builder or webuilder?--Patchouli 06:35, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Proposed merge of "Online Producer"[edit]

Disagree - Someone has proposed merging online producer with Webmaster and pointed the link here. I almost removed the proposed merge because that person should have started the discussion, not me. But I oppose merging Online Producer, because I am employed as an online producer and I am definitely NOT a webmaster! Online Producer is now a common occupation where broadcast media meets online media, so I guess the best solution is to find some citations (it's hard, as the best evidence is in job advertisements, which tend not to stay online: see google). Can you help? Any webmaster working in media will know an online producer is not a webmaster. Most online producers I know don't even have HTML skills these days. The webmaster article even mentions online producer as a different role. Tale 07:08, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

I've removed the merge proposal tag, as it's about 1.5 months since it was tagged, with only my Disagree and no input from the proposer. The tag was also used incorrectly according to the merge guidelines as it was only placed on one of the articles. Tale 00:02, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Ah ... The merger proposal may have actually been an attack on my contributions, as I had reverted the user's vandalism to Sydney gang rapes. See User_talk: for what was going on at the time. Tale 00:26, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Webmaster Directory[edit]

I have created a directory called webmaster forums since it will be useful to webmasters to around world wide

The directoy only contains a list of webmaster forums not than any other thing

Dmoz only contains 12 webmaster forums

but my directory has more than 125 forums and why can't be it included in external links as it will be useful to webmasters —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ramanean (talkcontribs) 23:56, 4 June 2007

Are you affiliated with this site?Ttrain88 (talk) 23:16, 13 December 2007 (UTC)tom

Webmaster Resource[edit]

I am proposing that is placed into the webmaster resource.

I tried once and was told it was spam. I am not the owner nor am I affiliated. I often use phpBB for my web forums and this site, however new it is, was the first to inform me that the newest version was out. I also use the SEO-Friendly directory list all the time. They don't charge for much, just a few things here and there. I am sure it's not spam. I placed the link to help people out not to increase visibility to the site.Ttrain88 (talk) 23:14, 13 December 2007 (UTC) tom

The link should be Ripped Edge Webmasters Unite and lead to --- its very useful.Ttrain88 (talk) 23:15, 13 December 2007 (UTC)tom

I am going to add it them, if anyone has objections please place them here before deleting it. Ttrain88 (talk) 17:05, 15 December 2007 (UTC) tom

I've objected and removed the link per WP:EL. OhNoitsJamie Talk 17:41, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
This link does not violate any external link policy. The site is non-commercial and contains valuable current information.Ttrain88 (talk) 00:07, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
It doesn't have a lot of information, and it's soliciting advertisements. Wikipedia is not the place to promote your website. OhNoitsJamie Talk 00:19, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
This is not my website. This is a collaborative effort of four other webmasters. The website is fairly new but I think solicitation of advertisements is acceptable as long as the purpose is funding of the site. Wikipedia accepts donations. The purpose of the effort at Ripped Edge is to provide a commercial free webmaster resource site that isn't motivated by sales of a product. As far as the External Link Policy is concerned this site doesn't seem to break the rules.Ttrain88 (talk) 00:49, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Edit: Doesn't seem to break the rules per my interpretation.Ttrain88 (talk) 00:55, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

The site is empty at 27/06/2008 (talk) 10:06, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

Merge with web developer[edit]

The two terms mean almost the exact same thing. I think we should merge this article into web developer, since the latter is used more often. — FatalError 08:23, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Against. It could just be that I'm wrong, but I've always used the term "webmaster" to be someone who administrates and manages a site, but never to mean anything to do with writing and developing it. The same in reverse for a web developer - while they write the code and whatnot, they may never really actually run the site, beyond testing, bugfixing, things like that. Unforgiven24 Talk|Contribs 18:41, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Against. As a web developer I'm very much against being called a web master. Web developers write technical specs, architect, and program web sites, but often don't administer them. Webmasters deal with users and maintenance, but often don't program the site. I'm not the webmaster of any web site I've built professionally. Typically the business side has a webmaster, while the IT side has web developers. The two tasks are very very different. --Matt Schwartz (talk) 02:37, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
Against. In spite of the description provided in this article's intro, blurring the jobs of a Webmaster with a Web Architect/Web Developer, many contemporary Web Developers out there would agree that a Webmaster is much more about website administration and maintenance than development, architecture or design. A Web Designer/Developer may assume the extended role of a Webmaster after the development process has ended, but not necessarily. IMO the real problem here is with the article's content, which should be updated to reflect the consensus building up in this discussion. --Kgwikipedian (talk) 15:27, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Removed Merge. Clearly the definitions of a Webmaster and Web Developer are different. Considering these differences, I have removed the merge suggestion from the web developer article. If anyone disagrees, you can re-add it for discussion. – Gregsabia (talk) 10:15, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

What's with the "Community website" FUD?[edit]

This sentence strikes me as a bit opinionated for Wikipedia: "On community websites, webmasters are able to change and manipulate any comment that the users make."! It's not based on any fact, and it's biased against "community websites" (whatever they are). In fact, any number of corporate / government website administrators could change and manipulate any comment that users make also, whereas plenty of community websites take great steps maintain their integrity... IMHO the sentence should therefore be removed! Thoughts? Iaindb (talk) 05:46, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

How is it opinionated? It's clear fact. Webmasters are project managers--they have access to the source and database of the websites they manage in order to perform their job effectively. It's a simple point to reinforce the responsibly of webmasters. If you don't even know what community websites are, then you're clearly not educated enough on the topic to suggest something as dramatic as removing the statement from the article. "Community website" is simply a site that allows the public (community) to add content. dearly (talk) 21:03, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

A contemporary Webmaster definition[edit]

According to the above discussion on merging Webmaster with Web Developer, a considerable consensus exists that both are not the same job. However, the definition provided in the article intro still implies that a Webmaster responsibilities include web development / designing by default. So, based on our discussion, i think that we may want to revise the definition we provide here. I have located this definition on "Tech Terms":

"The webmaster is the person in charge of maintaining a Web site. The jobs of a webmaster include writing HTML for Web pages, organizing the Web site's structure, responding to e-mails about the Web site, and keeping the site up-to-date."

According to the opinions made above in our discussion on the merge, some of us may actually find this definition more appropriate to incorporate, while adding that "in some cases" these responsibilities can include the initial design and creation of websites as well. But frankly, I do not know how credible "Tech Terms" is considered at Wikipedia. I appreciate your opinions. --K.G. (talk) 17:14, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Etymology and origins and history of use[edit]

Someone coined this term, we need to know who and when, and also when it fell into common usage. With sources. Laval (talk) 05:56, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Fairly simple formation from the earlier 'postmaster', the admin responsible for maintaining email servers. 'Postmaster' in turn derives from RFC 822 (822?), the RFC that defined email services. All mail servers were required to have a functioning 'postmaster@<hostname>' mailbox that could be used to receive admin messages. Andy Dingley (talk) 09:19, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

I would like some help on adding an additional reference for Webmaster if it is allowed.[edit]

I act as a virtual Webmaster to small businesses. The Internet provides the technology to work for companies anywhere in the world. Would I be allowed, or could somebody add the definition of Virtual Webmaster? Wishing you all a successful 2012.


Pete — Preceding unsigned comment added by Drachsi (talkcontribs) 09:50, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

No offense to anyone using it, but that's a novelty job title. It doesn't matter if you administer the website from an office or from your home/remote location - the job function doesn't change and rarely do the tools. It's like saying you're a Virtual Accountant, because your clients are in one city, and you're in another. In fact, I can't imagine why you'd refer to someone as a Virtual Webmaster anyway, when there are probably more telecommuting webmasters than there are webmasters working in an office - it's kind of high on the list of jobs that can be done virtually. I am the Webmaster for a non-profit in California, I'm in Illinois - it's hardly a unique arrangement, which is clarified by the label of "Virtual" Webmaster.

I do believe it has some encyclopedic merit, to add a note about the commonality of webmasters in the telecommuting world. But I see no reason to list every obscure job title that someone chooses to use. 90% of a webmaster's work is done virtually - even if you do have a desk and a cubicle, in most cases the server that stores your website/database/etc isn't in your office building. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:26, 30 May 2013 (UTC)