The NIN Hotline

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The NIN Hotline is a Nine Inch Nails news web site started in 1999. It is linked to by nin.com and is considered the finest NIN news source on the Net.

The site was created in June of 1999 while Matt Dunphy, aka Leviathant, was in between jobs, as a result of general community disapproval of the way NIN news sites at the time (such as Seems Like Salvation Nothing News & Above the Trees' news page, not to mention the long-idle news.nin.net) were handling things. In order to provide an alternative to the major news sites, which were each run by individuals, three members of the EFnet IRC chatroom #nin99 created a site on Xoom.com and shared the login information. Dunphy, Paul LaBarbera (aka Pablo), and John Sampson, aka }static{, were the original three collaborators, but soon more staff were added to help post news as it happened. Initially edited by copying and pasting HTML source code, at some point a hacked-to-bits version of the Guestbook Script from the infamous Matt's Script Archive was implemented, allowing accurate timestamping and a consistent layout. During 2000, French and German versions of the site arose, and plans were in the works for a Russian edition of the site as well, but that never quite materialized./

By the end of 2000, flaws in the "everyone is equal" method of running the site led to abuse of power by one of the staff, leading to a reorganization of the site in February 2001, paring staff back down to five people, including the original three founders. A new administrative backend was implemented on this revision, allowing much greater ability to add, change and delete news stories, archives were automated, and the layout was based off a (admittedly crude) template system. Unfortunately, the source code in this backend was especially horrible, and it was not successfully ported over to the German & French editions of the site, which eventually were removed entirely.

In 2004, alternate skins for the site were made available in blue, white, and black, based on photography by Hotline staff. In 2005, the layout was reorganized to be XHTML-strict and CSS2 compliant, an RSS feed was made available, and several external feeds were consumed and rebroadcast on the front page. In 2008, the site underwent another layout change, opting for a liquid layout that fills the screen regardless of screen resolution, influenced by the layout update to ninremixes.com. At the same time, the Year Zero ARG overwhelmed the format of the NIN Hotline, and the newly-founded NinWiki helped organize information about NIN in depth well beyond any fan site or individual page on Wikipedia.

In the 2010s, the hosting company where the NIN Hotline resided became unreliable - unannounced changes to the server sometimes broke the content management tool, and in 2014, a botched server move done without notification resulted in the deletion of the MySQL database, and the removal of the Perl interpreter rendered administration unusable. Regular updates migrated to Twitter, and the site withered on the proverbial vine while events in Dunphy's life ramped up. Hotline staffer Carrie Shetler Clark (aka sweeterthan) began managing the otherwise dormant Facebook presence of the site.

In 2019, twenty years after its foundation, the site was migrated to a new host, and underwent a complete redesign, featuring rotating cover artwork on a mobile-friendly interface, and elimination of all third-party tracking scripts. This was done as a move away from social networks, and a return to the independent web.

This page was last modified on 25 November 2019, at 22:52. This page has been accessed 27,859 times.