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Building a Town That Doesn't Exist

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The town of Question Mark, Ohio has a city hall, a newspaper, a library, a chicken joint, an ice cream store, a dump, a haunted factory, two cults, a sordid past, and a mysterious glowing void in the woods.

None of it is real, of course, but all of it exists on the web, thanks to Eleventy, Tailwind CSS, and Alpine.js, the crucial building blocks for creating a year-long immersive novel told not in a book but across the entire internet. This talk looks under the hood at how one person built 40 websites to tell the story of Question Mark, Ohio, a town that disappears into time.

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This is a talk session at the 11ty International Symposium on Making Web Sites Real Good.

CloudCannon Artist Activist
Dan looks into the distance. He has thick rimmed glasses and a very long beard. Dan Sinker
A web site made real good:

Dan Sinker is a journalist, multimedia artist, and designer from Chicago. He founded the influential magazine Punk Planet in 1994 at just 19 years old and chronicled underground music, art, and politics there for 13 years. In 2010 he wrote @MayorEmanuel, the foul-mouthed, surreal Twitter account that The Economist called "the first truly great piece of digital literary work." In 2016 he co-founded the current-events podcast Says Who with YA author Maureen Johnson which has been releasing weekly for eight years.

In addition, he is a regular contributor to Esquire magazine and has written for The Atlantic and the New York Times. Most recently he has embarked on a year-long collaboration with the novelist Joe Meno to create Question Mark, Ohio, a multiplatform novel told across the Internet.


Time Talk
17:15 UTC
You're Probably Doing Web Performance Wrong
17:40 UTC
Building a Town That Doesn't Exist
18:15 UTC
11ty Sites for People Who Don't Think they are Web Developers
View the full schedule
The possum mascot floating on a red balloon via a light blue tether attached at the waist. They are wearing oversized glasses.
An alley way with a green dumpster. A brick building sits in the background with a small possum floating on a red balloon in the window.