When I was first introduced to Everything2 , I was a bit of a cynic... I should have stayed that way.

Initially, I was critical of a site which touted an open forum and the principles of high-minded quality knowledge sharing and appeared to be nothing more than a community rampant with cronyism where true effort appeared too few and far between. Contributing to it, I was sure, was an exercise in futility and I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to subject themselves to this kind of arbitrary sophomoric herd mentality interspersed with literary snobbiness ...

I simply couldn't comprehend why some nodes flew in the face of the Everything FAQ and University, and yet, were insanely popular, or why anyone cared to read, let alone ching pathetic GTKY logs poised as prose. Many nodes which seemed to violate the principles of the place were held in high esteem... Earn your bullshit. Right. In an attempt to understand, I read many of the initial write ups of many of the higher ups, and found more detritus than I expected. Surely those spouting such esteemed standards must keep them in their own work, even the earliest. Hmpf. Earn your accolades, then earn your bullshit, seemed to be the rule. Many of those who have earned their bullshit have done so with questionable material... Nodes and nodes full of pathetic unintegrated, half-baked three line wonders that would never make it off the new writeups list today, and yet they have the audacity to disperse their judgment on others without first remedying or culling their own prolific debris which litter the database.

I was curious why the individual who had introduced me would ever invest the time and effort it took to appease perfect strangers who were so lenient with themselves and strict towards newbies. He is self-assured, brilliant, driven and insightful. He has a fervor for knowledge that I have rarely, if ever, had the pleasure to witness and here he was, spending his time on e2. There are many here who have cited him as a knowledgeable source that has contributed to their nodes enough to be noted as such, but I digress... Like me - like many of us, he enjoys a challenge and that's an aspect of e2 which attracts a singular kind of person. It's a large part of the reason why e2 is so addictive.

But I lingered and I found a few gems and I read, I came to understand the rules and eventually... I believed...

What did I believe exactly? That somehow, this community of users, for the most part, really was dedicated to sharing, educating and a basic code of excellence. That the gods and editors, though tough, tried to be fair. That there was a genuine desire to raise the bar. That somebody out there thought it needed real content. I was careful to learn the lay of the land, to follow the rules, and to understand what was being asked of me as a noder. I wanted to contribute because I believed in the conviction and passion that I read about.

What I've witnessed today has called a great deal of that into question.

Today, the person who introduced me to e2 has, through the actions of a fledgling god, been demoted an entire level by the destruction no less than 54 nodes from his body of work. This individual took it upon himself to add to the database just as many other noders have done by integrating individual word write ups from the Devil's Dictionary into the nodegel. He has been contributing these nodes for no less than six months. Apparently the Management has suddenly and feverishly taken issue with these nodes as duplicative because Saige noded entire letters of the dictionary in sections. Ambrose Bierce was a satirist. If you find him offensive, you aren't getting it. I wonder what word he'd apply to this situation?

At no time did anyone suggest, editor or otherwise, that he terminate his efforts. Though there have been inquiries from the likes of dannye, who, and I quote, replied 'OK. I hope you're convinced this is time well spent. Good luck.' Furthermore, no other individual write ups containing integrated Devil's Dictionary definitions have been touched, though they are numerous. My point here is to take issue with singling out one user, and relying on reasoning which is will of the whim to destroy their work. (Don't even get me started on the Administration's apparent support of numerous projects in our corpus which contribute nothing but copy and paste tomes such as Webster 1913, Magic: The Gathering Cards, D&D Magic Items and Monsters and the Alice in Wonderland Project).

To me, this had the feel of a personal vendetta. This appeared, at first glance, to be a fledgling god individually targeting a user and decimating his body of work; effectively destroying nearly 70% of his nodes, which, I might add, were all *shockingly* systematically downvoted before getting eaten by Klaproth, to add insult to injury. This swipe of this scythe had the sound of a god applying justice as he saw fit to cull a user, rather than as it should be; to address nodes which may or may not fit a certain criterion.

After nosing into it myself, this definitely has the smell, fellow noders, of bullshit.

Shall we examine the evidence? Not to be pedantic, but no one ever accused me of not doing my research... Let us refer to the database for clarification...

Abasement      Abatis         Abdication          Abdomen         Ability      
Aboriginies        Abracadabra           Abridge              
hmmm... that's funny, most of the 'A' words have integrated, duplicative write ups... let's look at oh... how about Z?
Zany               Zanzibari       Zeal                 Zenith               Zeus      
  Zigzag            Zoology

you don't say... several of the 'Z' words have integrated, duplicative writeups.... must have slipped past him... actually, there are over fifty (I quit counting at that point... there are more, if anyone wants the list) writeups which are of the same ilk and noded by the likes of:

GollyGee
jkfghldagv
LITE
LordOmar
moJoe
Pseudo Intellectual
Segnbora-t
thecarp
These are untouched, unscathed, apparently left to 'clutter' the database, said god's hand having mysteriously passed over them. Such is the mercy and the charity of the gods?

Raising the bar indeed... no one mentions that occasionally that bar is used to bash individual noders exclusively, turning a blind eye to all those which have noded in the same manner. Well, I refuse to ignore this *coincidence*... and I'll live with the consequences.

So what am I calling for? What's my point? Well, unfortunately, I think the damage has been done. Is there a precedent for such an occurance? Are we basically dealing with a hydra? There is no recourse and no accountability. If this had been a careful, unemotional, targetless, methodic, across-the-board destruction of all integrated Ambrose Bierce definitions, so be it. I would have nothing to bitch about, and the noder in question would not be alone in having garnered an insane node-fu. It would have been an unfortunate oversight that no editor or god had discouraged this noder sooner, considering the amount of time it took to contribute. I'm calling for acknowledgement. I'm calling for exposition. No one ever said the gods weren't human. There is one who has been acting a rather poor example, and he should acknowledge his actions as such.

You say, erevapisces, you silly, lowly novice! It is folly! It is futile to question the whims of the gods... they bless, they are compassionate, they are tough yet tender... yes, in most cases they are. Unfortunately, in this case, one has shown himself to be singularly vindictive and his actions beyond indictement or reproach.

CYNIC, n.
A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.

Ambrose Bierce
The Devil's Dictionary

Roninspoon has since explicated his actions in this matter in Editor Log: March 2002. The writeups in question have been marked for destruction. I encourage everyone to read it.
With Regards to E2-Gods-being-(insert-angry-adjective)-of-the-day:

Who cares?

Ultimately if you node you must accept the fact that in 'noding for the ages' ninty nine point nine percent of everything you write will be destroyed at some point anyway. Sometimes the wrong tenth of a percent gets nuked. Thats life. Eventually someone will decide that E2 really isn't a suitable medium for an in depth study of whatever or whatnot and start their own. Thats also life, shit happens. In medievia I have often heard the phrase, "it's just text", and thats essentially correct here. You aren't looking at the knowledge of the ancients, or the sum of all mathematical discourse, or what have you. Just text, sorry. Any idea you make from text is your own, and if you node for any reason outside personal enrichment and enjoyment, as in some idea that you will somehow become "famous" or that one of your aged writings will be set down as the 'gospel', then you are probably wasting your time.

Everyone here comes from different backgrounds, places, and the like. To think that more than ten or twenty people will actually read (or rarer; care about) something you write here in the course of a year is usually a silly notion. If you haven't developed friendships and connections with people here, then its unlikely that anyone cares. E2's nature is social. You will get constructive criticism from people who know you, rude (usually worthless) criticism from those who don't, and with few exceptions. Of course there are those exceptions, but if you truely care about something you write, keep your own copy.

This is my first daylog ever. I also hope it will be my last.

Shanoyu: I disagree with you on so many levels it's hard to know even where to start. But if you're saying "Who cares?" about E2 editorial policy, then I have to answer that

I do.
To me, and presumably to almost everyone who has taken liveforever's Covenant, E2 is not just a game like Medievia. Neither is it a social experience: I never use the Chatterbox, I don't know anybody on E2 in real life, and I don't particularly want to. And neither am I expecting fame or fortune from my endeavours -- hell, I'd prefer it if people could not connect "gn0sis" to my real-life identity, although I am aware that connecting the dots isn't too tough and I keep this in mind while noding.

So. Like most factual noders, I think that Everything is (or at least has the potential to be) the ultimate encyclopedia, offering all information from all points of view, hyperlinked to yet more information. Such a thing would be immensely useful once it contained even a fraction of the world's knowledge, and to some degree E2 is already useful as it is. We factual noders strive to increase that percentage of coverage, to make it exponentially more useful. No, I don't node expecting that my immortal words will be treasured by all and sundry, my only expectations are that

  1. the information is there if someone needs it, and
  2. the factual content of the information will be retained in any superseding writeups.
That's it. It's not very much to ask for, and nearly always the Management keeps things this way. If it didn't, I wouldn't be here, but at Wikipedia or Nupedia.

And this is why I think unjustified mass deletions are worrisome, in fact so worrisome that they sometimes make me wonder if there is any point to noding at all. erevapisces's argument sounds a little overly paranoid to me -- e.g. one easy reason why only noder X's definitions were nuked is that it's trivial to find them with a user search, while going through the entire Devil's Dictionary by hand would be quite a job! -- but the total lack of transparency and accountability in the editorial process bothers me quite a lot. There have been abuses in the past (ask DMan1, holloway, Saige, bexxta...) and, unless they are checked somehow, there will be abuses in the future. All I can offer are a few suggestions:

  • Automatically generated editor logs. This really shouldn't be that hard to implement, and it would remove a burden from those valiant editors who keep such logs by hand.
  • Automatic messages, identifying the editor/god in question, sent when nodes are edited or removed
  • A waiting period and advance notifications for removing nodes with positive reputations (eg. "This node will be automatically nuked in one week unless you can tell me why it should stay")
  • A public forum and/or arbitration process for discussing editorial policy
Enough for now -- back to lurking.

/chatteroff

1: Yeah, DMan is a complex case, and I know half his writeups were plagiarized and much of the rest was flamage. But he still noded some awesome stuff at times, eg. nearly all the dim sum recipes now indexed in Chinese recipes -- but before I waded by hand through all of DMan's writeups in search of them and wrote that node using the results they weren't accessible anywhere, because DMan's dim sum metanode had been nuked!

Although greatly generalised, I believe the majority of concert goers can be split into three categories.

The first being those people who like it moshy and crazy. Squashed like sardines in a can, moving as much as humanly possible in the sweat bath which surrounds them. They push to the front, directly before the stage, a mass throbbing in time with the music.

The second being those people who sit on their bums, perhaps going as far as to bob their head, or tap their feet if they get hyped enough. A variant of type two being those who insist they cannot dance, and stand amidst the crowd bobbing their head to their favourite songs.

And last but by no means least is the third type of concert goer. Those who dance like no one is watching, and sing till they're out of breath. They're the middle ground. Usually located just beyond the hardcore moshers, where there is a little space, plenty of people, and a great vibe. They float on the music, their bodies building up to the highs, and mellowing out on the lows.

I am a type three. And tonight's Incubus concert was fucking awesome.

Seeing the ecstasy on a face when the first riff of a personal favourite vibrates through the room.

Witnessing the pleasure in a persons eyes at the acoustic unexpected -

'Earth Angel. Earth Angel. Will you be mine... I'm just a fool. A fool in lust with you.'

I had the most amazing night. And as the hum of the speakers faded, and the lights came on, all I could think was - Wish You Were Here

After a haitus from this wonderful place of about a week, perhaps a little longer, I decided to login today and check how things were going. And I noticed I had several messages in my inbox and at least one of them was a note saying a node of mine has been nuked. I had noded some of the more favorite quotes of Ralph Wiggim from the Simpsons and was rather proud that I could hunt down the exact wording and posted them here only to find that they didn't add anything to the database. Then I saw that I had a new E2 Mentee as I was a mentor so I decided to jump back in the fray. It was then that I read the daylog written by erevapisces, I hope I spelt it right :) And it raised my ire once again.

Earlier this year, I started having a conversation with VT_Hawkeye about the lack of historical and/or factual nodes and the amount of GTKY crap that has been thinly disguised as content. Who decides what is actual content worthy of the database? Is a fictional node better then a historical node? If quotes of Ralph Wiggim don't add to the database what do these daylogs add to the database? Better yet what about Dream Logs and the other useless drivel that fills the database? Ever done a search on Valentine's Day and look at all the content that you find there. Ever done a search on the Olympic Games and find an entire node dedicated to games that shouldn't belong in the Olympics. I posted to this node during this years olympics and was quite quickly nuked because of the GTKY nature of my node. But was the entire node nuked? Did all of the other noders loose a write up that day?

The more I think about it, the more this place is just like a BBS, except the cool people are the ones that get together and get drunk. They are the ones that write nodes about Everything2 Get Togthers that somehow add valuable content to the nodeshell? I don't understand it. Everyone says Earn your bullshit, I say go out drinking with the gods/editors and drop you username and watch the votes come pouring in on pure drivel that describes how the get together went and how drunk you were by the time it ended.

I don't want to socialize with people here that's not my style. I don't use the chatterbox, I have never had a rl converstation with anyone from this place. When I came to e2 two years or so ago, I found it as a place to write what I know and to post some all the obscure trivia that I know and also find new information. Now I view it as a place to read senseless drivel when I have nothing else to do.

This morning, I woke with a start, shaking and sore across every inch of my body. I had slept only fitfully, dreaming of a labyrinthine world, of an information economy come a century too soon, all full of gears and punch-cards, elegance and arrogance. I tore myself from sleep and into wakefulness by forcing myself into a sitting position. A stream of profanities came to my mouth unbidden, and I pressed at my eyes with my open hands, first massaging up-and-down, then twisting back-and-forth. I hadn't slept long, perhaps four hours. I was alert without being rested. My body was slow to move, my mind was more sluggish than usual. Standing up, I yanked my window open to expose my bare skin to Minnesota's cold March air. I paced back and forth for perhaps five minutes, mumbling dark and incoherent things to myself. The cold, dry language of logic and algorithms, of structures and performed searches. More warm, sweaty profanities. I relished my muddled speech, each word having its own taste on my tongue, fading but still palpable.

Slowly, the cold air flooding my bedroom dragged me into full consciousness. The stupor of too-little sleep began to drift away, leaving behind a dull full-body ache as a reminder of trying to do too much, too quickly. Not sore muscles, not a headache, just a light grating pressure on every nerve in my body. As I dressed, this ache flickered between nonexistence and high resolution, until finally it disappeared entirely.

Here, in this place between sleeping and waking, no conclusions can be made. There is only one certainty, a ruthless pushing-forward which can never stop, never slow, never soften, until forward motion is gone forever. Even when sharks sleep, they must keep moving, lest they suffocate. In this respect, humans are not really all that different from sharks. Keep moving until you die.

Read House of Leaves. Listen to Poe's Haunted.

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