Everything is becoming more dense. Plain informational nodes have been written for most common words, everyday concepts, and, since we are on the whole a technology-minded bunch, many computer-related ideas. It's unlikely that you'll find any bit of useful information to add to the person node, or the cold feet node, or the Unix node, especially thanks to Webster 1913. In a way this is good, because it means everything is becoming a more and more complete bank of knowledge. But at the same time it prompts the question: what now?
I think the answer will be different for different people. For some, this is not a problem, because they generally node about personal experiences, feelings, emotions, and these are never in short supply, and are unique from person to person. For the people more concerned with Everything being plentiful in objective knowledge, it's unclear in which direction we should channel our efforts.
There are people who pursue various projects based on noding a body of reference material such as the Windows Error Lookup Guide. While potentially useful, I would never have patience enough for exhaustive projects like this, and I find myself wondering why I would come to Everything for information like this, instead of a reference manual specific to that subject.
Some people use everything as a soapbox for their political opinions. I am guilty of this in a number of different cases, and looking back, I wish I wouldn't have. The reasons are this:
- There are more appropriate, convenient forums for this kind of discussion. They allow real replies instead of the <hr> method, which is a very poor method for having any real discussion or debate.
- Node for the Ages: in a year, no one but a historian will care to hear the ten-thousand reasons why none of us can stand George W. Bush.
- It breeds hostility between a bunch of people who all came here for similar reasons. I'm not saying everyone has to agree all the time, only that we ought not to lose sight of our goals and the reasons we came here. They didn't (I hope) involve trying to convince the whole world to think the way you do.
What I think is the most characteristic thing about everything is how it is a human database. The writeups here are not inanimate, lifeless groups of words that give formal definitions of things and ideas. That's cool for two reasons:
- You get not only a definition and an explanation, but you get subjective spatterings as well. I can look up Java at whatis.com and get a terse definition, or I can look it up on Everything and get not only a definition, but some opinions on whether it's useful, if it's a pleasant language to program in, or whatever the noder felt like throwing in as auxiliary information.
- Nodes can explain specific concepts that people might never have gone looking trying to find. One example of this is my node why it's fundamentally impossible to tune a piano perfectly. A person unfamiliar with the principles behind tuning might never have gone seeking that information, but since it was packaged together and accessable, at least someone (I hope) learned something they wouldn't have learned otherwise.
So that's my answer to the question I asked at the beginning. My personal focus will become adding a human touch to the information I contribute, and sharing interesting and uncommon knowledge I've managed to pick up, in hopes that everything becomes an even more useful and interesting place to visit.