A writeup that consits entirely, or almost entirely, of a facts. This is a writeup that makes no attempts to change anyone's opinion, or claim value of the information therein, but just provide facts for the reader to do with as they will.

Probably one of the best types of nodes that Everything can have - as long as the writeup actually matches the node.

Unfortunately, the system in E2 does not encourage factual writeups. People will vote for what they like, and that generally requires either a unique piece of information or, more likely, comedy. And generally, the thing that makes that piece of information unique is that it's funny.

So the goal of E2 has drifted from factual noding to entertainment. You get points for entertaining people. Not for pissing them off. Not for factual noding either. Most factual nodes remain around 0 rep. This node is a fact, but no one likes to hear it, so I have no doubt in my mind that it will be downvoted, just because people don't feel that this should be the point of E2.

However, as it was pointed out through satire in Jesus Christ Trigonal Planar, what we say reality is and what is actually the truth are often two VERY different things. You can say that the point of E2 is to node facts, and that may have been the original intent, but unless the users who control the flow of the nodegel agree, you can never dictate the direction of E2. And it doesn't help that the E2 Gods don't always set a good example......


And as dem bones pointed out to me... I do not encourage this comedic style of noding. I really wish that E2 could be about factual noding.

Fortunately, there's so much freaking information on here that there seems to be enough room for both to coexist. It's just my opinion, but maybe BOTH should be encouraged. And perhaps eventually they'll come up with a designation that you can create for your node - "Serious" or "Comical" or "Other", or something along those lines- and then a user could choose to turn off all nodes of one type or more. The ones who want comedy can keep their comedy - the ones who want seriousness can filter it all out.


Another addendum - dem bones made a good point just now. Opinions disguised as facts are BAD! I'm all for comedy. Be as funny as you want. But don't say that something is a fact if it isn't. One might say that this writeup is an opinion, but I truly believe that this is a fact. And I don't feel like proving it, but I'm sure it could be proven by examining voting habits on E2.

But posing an opinion as a fact is the one way for you to make information on E2 detrimental to the user reading it...


Let me go ahead and accredit dannye's concept of balance to him. He suggested that for every comical node, their should be at least one serious node. And that's great... if you can enforce it. But the structure of E2 as it is, I believe, is incapable of such enforcement... But you want to be popular and generally accepted by the everythingians, right? That's the way to do it. Balance yourself by including more facts than opinions and jokes.


And concerning Gone Jackal's wu below, that's still not always the case. Providing extensive information does not always guarantee upvotes (though it does make it more likely). The idea of spicing up a wu is a very good idea, and that's what I would suggest for a factual writeup. The problem is that a lot of the people voting on E2 don't really seem too interested in factual writeups... so they seem to read nodes with funny titles more often. If there's a node that says Adrastea in the New Writeups list and a node that says love animals, don't eat them, which are you honestly more likely to read?


Another good point by dem bones that I'd like to clarify. This is only true now. As I cannot see the future, I do not know how E2 will change. I would imagine that it would remain much the same unless the developers take it in a different direction. Or perhaps it will change on its own. I can't speak for the future, but I can speak from the now. And perhaps we can learn from it or perhaps it will remain true forever.

If I ever see that the attitude on E2 has changed, I will note it here.


Inspired by Shanoyu - Comical nodes are likely to get extreme votes either positively or negatively. So don't think that all comedy will be appreciated. Just because I think that it's OK to node comedy doesn't mean that it's OK for you to node BAD comedy. If you feel the need to node comedy, make it good comedy. That means that it shouldn't discriminate against anyone, and it shouldn't offend anyone. And it should be funny, not something that -you- find funny and no one else does.


Someone mentioned that experiential nodes get upvoted as well. I feel (OPINION) that experiential nodes are just as factual as factual nodes. Especially if told objectively. Let people learn from your mistakes.
bah, humbug. all right...I'll add my two cents. Factual writeups are great, but most people get very confused about the style. A bland, dry laundry list of information is not interesting, and in no way separates Everything from your common dictionary or encyclopaedia. If you care about your topic, make it witty and interesting, and present it in a way in which the reader doesn't feel like he's stuck in a lecture hall; generally, it will then receive the votes it deserves.

I've come across this in academic writing all the time; the subject can be absolutely fascinating, but bad prose sucks all the joy out of it. The best book I've ever read was on Hittite history; it combined dry, otherwise mind-numbing archaeological fact with concise and interesting remarks.

Lastly, fact is fine; but if you tell me only that an emu is a large, flightless bird, I've come away no more informed than I was before. If you tell me about its habits, habitat, and taste when cooked into a decent chile, you will have given me facts which I can use and then apply. p.s. Mind, I fall far short from the ideal, but that doesn't mean I will stop writing factual nodes. Quite frankly, I don't really care if they're upvoted, but if not, they should be re-examined if not rewritten, because there's probably something off. All right. Enough of that, then.

There is a lot of discussion about how people on E2 prefer opinion or experience to fact. But what is a 'fact'?

According to Webster1913 it is:
1. A doing, making, or preparing.
2. An effect produced or achieved; anything done or that comes to pass; an act; an event; a circumstance.
3. Reality; actuality; truth.
4. The assertion or statement of a thing done or existing.

We can see from this that facts are not, necessarily, objective.

"Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre" is factual.
But so is "I went to Dillons and bought a copy of Jane Eyre. I was so busy reading it that on the way home I knocked over an old lady. Her shopping went everywhere, and the eggs broke all over the pavement."
And so is "I felt horribly guilty, if only I'd been looking where I was going, it would never have happened. She looked so stricken, I felt as bad as if I'd punched her and I couldn't stop apologising"
And so is "And after all that, when I finished the damn book, I wished I hadn't bothered. I think Jane must be the stupidest character in the whole of English Literature."

Feelings and opinions are factual for the person who experiences them, and an experiential node or a node of opinion is no less factual than a node which tabulates objective information.

As far as I can see, there are only three types of non-factual nodes on E2:

The complaint really, is that people seem to prefer subjective fact to objective. It does seem to be true that a write-up which provokes an emotional response will be more likely to receive chings and upvotes than objective information -- but that is probably because subjective fact is accessible, relevant and interesting to a wider spectrum of noders than, say polynomials or quantum physics -- it is simply more universal. Downvoting experience nodes because 'they aren't factual' is as spurious as downvoting a node on crop rotation because it is 'boring' .

If we accept that our objective nodes will always have a smaller audience and more specialised appeal than our subjective ones, we can at least take pleasure in knowing that each upvote for those nodes will either be an informed vote, or an expression of respect for our knowledge or ability to put the information across. We can also feel satisfaction in providing other noders with knowledge that they wouldn't otherwise have had -- not a bad trade-off for lower XP.


Thanks to Boldra for reminding me of the utter nonsense nodes (At least, thanks in the context of this wu grin)


A proposed compromise

I too like fact-laden nodes. They're useful, and bring E2 one step closer to being the mass sum of human knowledge with every submission. They make E2 worth searching for knowledge!

However, it does sadden me when an entirely factual node I spent a good while researching (so as to be accurate) and wording (so as to be less dry and able to stick in the mind easier) but no less true for either activity gets modded down.1

Is it because the voter did not like the subject matter at hand? Is it because my particular style of speech ( or manner of writing as it were) did not agree with said fellow noder? Is it because that node, for once, did not have clever witticisms strewn about, as the above noders have suggested be the case?

I cannot help the first two instances I proposed, but if the debate is to be cut and dry factual over wet humorous2, why not compromise and have both? Have the body of your text be straightforward and full of nice, shiny facts, and keep the majority of the wit and humor intended to keep your level high and your XP higher, not to mention your readership pleased, contained within footnotes3.

Footnotes can very effectivly seperate straightforward facts and personal opinion, thereby producing a informative node that pleases the kids to boot. I tend to use footnotes a bit, because they're also good for shoving in tangental thoughts that might not really be strong enough to carry a node by themselves.

So, there it is, my small, but I believe potentially useful, compromise. Footnotes Take them as you will :)


1Which is not to say that every node I make is a paragon of noding virtues, but I have my good and my bad.

2 Get it?

cut and dry<->dry factual :: wet humorous
Ha. Ha ha. Right, nobody likes a SAT english geek ;)

3Footnotes! Like this one! And like the ones in the long example I wroteup under (oddly enough) footnotes just to accompany this node. Hope this helps the community in general, even just a little :)

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