Dear Lawnjart,
My name is Mark Frauenfelder, and I'm writing a story for The Industry Standard about "open source encyclopedias." I interviewed Nate Oostendorp of Everything2, and he gave me your name, when I asked him if there were any e2 celebrities who might be willing to answer a few questions about the experience of participating on the site. Would you be interested?

Best -- Mark

fire away!

Thanks Lawnjart!
Here are my questions:
1.) Tell me a little about yourself - where you you live, your age, what you do for a living.
2.) How did you hear about everything2?
3.) How much time do you spend on everything2?
4.) What do you like about it? (feel free to explain in detail the appeal of the site)

That's it!
Best -- Mark

It goes a little something like this...

1.) I am a twenty eight-year-old grand rapidian, I have done a great many things for money, but most recently I am a carbon based data wheelbarrow for the only major telecom company whose stock hasn't plummeted to the floor of the stock market. Out of respect for my employer, I will let you make your own inferences. I spend forty hours a week in front of a desktop, in a cube, paid entirely too well, and trying to resist the temptation of our full T1 to the Internet. When I do indulge, it’s offshore e-mail and of course, E2.

2.) Well, I have known Nathan for a number of years now, and I heard of everything1 (everything) when it was being built, but I had not the machine, nor connection to participate. When I got comfortable with my current job, I added everything to my favorites, and began surfing all casual like when no one was looking…I had just decided to get a user account (user name:crimeasaurus) when e2 launched. Early this spring I began to node under my now universal net identity “lawnjart”. When I got married, blockstackers intergalactic donated a wonderful machine to my wife and I. Since then, 90% of my (good) friends have scattered the continent but on e2, it is quite easy to run into them everyday.

3.) Far too much/not enough. What with noding, grooming old nodes, homenode maintenance, voting, the chatterbox, editing and nuking, and research, there is always something you should be doing on the site. Whether for education or entertainment, (the line is very thin on this site)one could lose years staring at the ever-changing text-river that is e2.

4.) Everything2 is divided into two factions, one who thinks the database should consist of purely “factual nodes” and the creative set who appreciate the factual content, but use the site for a creative writing forum. I am a member of the second camp. The mission of everything2 is to gather the sum of human knowledge…as important as facts are, creativity is something that defines humanity, and is inseparable from “everything”. e2 is the midwife of the rebirth of my desire to write. For years I scratched out my thoughts and poems in notebooks on sticky tables in all night coffee joints and restaurants across the country. I had shown my “work” to a few people who were curious and though I received favorable response, I never had any real plans for it. After a while, I just came to the point where I was staining perfectly good paper with ink just to see myself talk and I was tired of feeling like an ass when I asked someone to read something I wrote. My work has received a very warm welcome on everything2, and the positive reinforcement/constructive criticism has rekindled something in me I thought extinguished. There is a whole social aspect to e2 that I enjoy…in addition to most of my real world friends, there is such a diverse culture…any intriguing person is only a /msg away. Noders travel to meet one another, they gather and enjoy friendships already built. There is a The Great Grand e2 Mix-Tape Lotto that has us mailing our music around the globe (I have to send a CD-R to Australia this week). And the Chatterbox is full of the most incredible wit I’ve encountered outside of my immediate circle of friends. The editorial aspect of e2 has come under fire from many users, but I think that the selfless, unpaid editors that ceaselessly scour the database removing the insipid, pointless, and sometimes offensive material is part of what makes e2 remarkable. Such dedication to a project guarantees it’s importance, not only to the individuals, but to the web as an example of what can be accomplished when people get together to work toward a common goal of quality. Some of the best reading I have ever read can be found on this site. And to wrap it all up, I would like to say a few words about nate. The man who built this thing is a man of vision, brilliance, and generosity. e2 makes $0.00 dollars (though there is a new merchandise line, which has been a thing noders have been howling 4 4 quite some time now but will do little to defray the cost of maintaining e2) and nate provides this wonderful thing that so many give an obscene portion of their awareness to at little or no monetary benefit. I bemoan the day it becomes cost prohibitive to maintain the site, a day which speeds near as the nodes keep pouring in and the users keep signing up. Will popularity save or destroy the digital dream known as everything2?
Whatever happens, it is a pleasure to be a part of this project.

-whistling a tune of puncture,
lawnjart.

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