My Fascinatingly Detailed Editor Angst Bullshit Day Log
Several years ago, I stumbled onto a site called Everything. I read it, now and then. I enjoyed much of what I read, and thought about joining, but always reconsidered. Too many half-assed factuals. Too many in-jokes that were inaccessible. Signs of cliquey factionalism, real and imagined.
Some of what older noders recall as the good ol' days kept me from the site—- although, having no access to the catbox, I could not see the same site they were seeing.
About four years ago, I was recovering from an invasive medical procedure, and looking for other places to try my fledgling Timeshredder identity. I returned to an E2 that seemed a little more critical of itself-- or perhaps I just saw it with more perceptive eyes. Accepting, certainly, of well-written folly, but eager to encourage writing intrinsically worth reading. I concede myself an odd match for the site. When I joined, I was older than most of the old-time users. I did not plan to remain for any length of time. I misunderstood several aspects of the site’s workings.
I was on pain medication.
Years ago, I belonged to a writers’ group. We moved on; none of us live in the same city anymore, except for the pair who married. Virtually all of our members have gone on to publish work; some have achieved a measure of fame. This place became my new writers' group. It wasn't the same as meeting in the park and at people's apartments, but the 'Net has its allure, too.
The internet is writer's cocaine. One may not make money, but an audience will find you. Response will be swift. At e2, that response amounts to more than say, the "I feel your pain" Oprahcity that marks so many blog sites and boards.
Raising the bar has had many beneficial effects. It has helped eliminate the bad factual: urban legends masquerading as fact, half-remembered accounts by writers too lazy to research. It has helped encourage good writing. Certainly, the site changed, but every day sees odd and original and bright contributions. And anyone too insensitive to put their writing before the noders of e2 has little chance with publishers or live audiences.
We have problems; we will always have problems. They are being and will be addressed, though (humans being what we are) never to everyone's satisfaction. But this bar-raised E2 has attracted writers such as bewilderbeast, Excalibre, hapax, kerawall, paraclete, and rootbeer277. I think I can live with that.
I already knew a number of writers; now I know more. The fact that I have a jazz musician, an astronaut, and a guy who has lived in Antarctica among my e-mail contacts I owe this site. At midlife, this almost counts as cool worth caring about.
Of, course it consumes time, and I may find some day that I, too, need to move on.
Communities experience movement, pendulum swings. Too much goofiness? Promote serious, factual work. Too much seriousness? Complain about the lack of fun.
Things not like they were in the good ol' days? Yeah, that’s a novel complaint. No other community has gone down that road before.
Some people, as others have noted, will move on, changed. Some have simply become someone other than the person who first logged onto the site. Some will confuse their personal changes with ones occuring at e2.
Others will remain for years, fascinating people, people like I met in the old writer’s group, but more of them, from more places. They may become friends. And, if I leave at some future date, I suspect I'll experience greater difficulty quitting them. And my feelings aren't unusual. A noder who recently chose to publicize his departure expresses great excitement at the prospect of a forthcoming nodermeet.
Four years have passed. I still don’t have a really good idea of how XP and merit work, and I’m not that motivated to care. I remain interested in reading and writing here.
You want a clear, more-or-less accurate, objective factual? Wikipedia’s doing well. You want to read or write unedited, grammatically-challenged rambling? Check out Myspace or livejournal. You want material written by people whose heads are so far up their asses they're probably viewing the world out their own mouths? Place any controversial topic into Google and follow the trails of text.
You want writing on anything and everything, writing that has passed some kind of standard, survived the consideration of dedicated editors and a community of informed readers? Do you want your writing to receive that kind of scrutiny and feedback? This place remains vital.