This document is not current, and is kept only for archival purposes. Please refer to Everything2 Help for all up-do-date help documents.
The following is a useful outline to the general steps involved in creating a quality node. I realize it will take some time to read through it but if you follow these steps and have something valid to contribute you will get along fine on E2. Make sure you're already familiar with your E2 Glossary and the rest of the Everything FAQ before creating a writeup.
This place needs more actual content. Let's begin.
The search is your friend.
Type your intended title into the search box. Note your findings. Now, type some related concepts into the search box. Note your findings. Most likely you were shown dozens of nodes with similar ideas and subject matter--do you really need to create a new one? Sometimes you will, sometimes you won't...more and more often the answer is the latter. E2 will never be "complete" but sometimes it feels like we're creeping up on half-time.
If you choose to add a writeup to an existing node you're ready to go. If you decide to create a new node then do so--now we have a nodeshell.
Soft-link. Do it. Do it some more. No, that's not good enough. More. Okay, that's pretty good. I'm still not impressed, though... maybe do two more.
The least used and most vital part of the Everything "neural net" system is the soft-link. This makes me sad.
Whether you've got an empty nodeshell that you're ready to go to work on or you've decided to add a writeup to an existing node the first thing to do is add soft-links. You already have some idea of what your text is going to be, you've already seen the "Findings" page and that must have given you some node titles you'd like to link yours too--so do it.
Type in your related concepts into the search box again and this time click through on ten of the links and begin to fill out your soft-links at the bottom of the node. Because you haven't clicked "sumbit" yet you've got all the time in the world to properly prepare the node for your writeup. The mobs of critical voters aren't swarming upon you for the recent appearance on ENN... yet. When they do one of the first questions on their vitriolic minds will be "Did this doofus remember to soft-link and cross-reference his writeup?"
I SWEAR TO GOD THIS IS THE TRUTH.
Add your spell-checked text.
Yes, I know you got a 800/800 on your SAT's--using a spell checker should be really easy for you. We all make mistakes, that's the beauty of formatting your writeup on a Notepad program of some kind--you can catch those mistakes before you make them. I highly recommend you do all of your formatting, hard-linking and spell-checking using a plain text editor of some kind. That way you just cut and paste your text in, click submit and work out any formatting errors you may have made before the writeup even shows up in Everything New Nodes. Giving you plenty of time to finish up your soft-linking!
Remember--if you do this right 90% of your work is finished before you click "stubmit". You shouldn't be caught with your pants down when the writeup hits ENN. If you want to preview your formatting and links then use the E2 Scratch Pad or submit your text to your home node first and tinker with it there. Cut and paste it into your node when the text is ready.
Usually after clicking "submit" there are one or two things about the way your writeup formatted that are going to bug you--fix 'em up real quick.
Editing an Existing Writeup. Maybe you need to correct a typo or add additional information. Just go back to the node where you initially entered your masterpiece and scroll down beneath the writeups and the softlinks to the textbox. You'll find your words waiting for you. Make your changes in the editing box and then click Submit once again. This will change the writeup without creating a duplicate, effecting the number of votes it has received, or relisting your work on the New Writeups list.
Secondly, check all of your major hard-links out, especially phrases or strange titles. Be sure your hard-link actually leads somewhere if that was your intention...a slight misspelling or out-of-place hyphen can make for a bad link.
Use the pipe link.
Having a few dead hard-links in your writeup is customary--you think the phrase sounds interesting and maybe somebody with a little more time and inspiration will get around to filling it. Maybe you're right. Most of the time when you link for emphasis, however, you should use the pipe-link feature and point your "wacky-zany-good-times" phrases to an already existing "wacky-zany-good-times" node. They're out there, believe me. Just find one that deals with similar concepts as your piece of poetry and hook them up by placing a | in your hard-link. Check out link and link for pipe-linking.
More linking theory:
There is no arbitrary number of soft-links any given writeup should have. When choosing them just remember to soft-link any closely related nodes or concepts within your writeup (for instance, a writeup about David Bowie should probably have hard and soft-links to writer, composer, artist, rock and roll, actor and GOD). Once you've covered the basics the rest of the links are up to you--be creative with it: a writeup with clever links is like reading two writeups. Irony can be your friend.
Collect the votes, C!'s and msg's telling you what a brilliant genius you are. Save them. Dry them out and place them in a jar. Sell them on eBay in a few years for millions.
Most importantly be happy--you just put a lot of work into something you care about. I must warn you that if you keep this up and continue to share and contribute to E2 you're not going to be caring about votes, xp, or C!'s much longer. Enjoy them while you can. Whether you want to or not you'll be going through a certain kind of transcendentalism that will leave you brighter, happier, stronger and sexier than you ever were before.
It's in the FAQ - it must be the truth.