I little bit of everything history
With e1 512 was the maximum number of characters that a writeup could contain. This led to many short writeups. This is not to say these writeups were not good. In fact many people spent a lot of time figuring out how to get the maximum usage out of those 512 chars and wrotes some pretty damn good nodes. That 512 was total. It included all HTML tags, usage of the pipe, everything. (In reality I think we only had 510 usable characters since 511th and 512th were system added characters, but the db field was 512 chars)
This and the 2 writeups per node restriction made e1 short on good writeups, especially when both writeups were taken by crappy ones. It also made the place very interesting and a very different beast from what we know now.
This also spawned the usage of reply nodes and continuation nodes with the :rN, :N, or a few other conventions. Information seemed to flow a little differently in e1. While I like e2 better there was something about the way it used to worked, not bad, just different. Maybe it is just nostalgia.