A node response is generally a bad thing and is frowned upon, unless it is done properly. It occurs when noder Alpha leaves a Writeup that noder Beta wishes to comment on, as if Everything2 were a newsgroup or message board. It is in fact not either of those things. Generally if detected, other noders will respond to a node response by voting it down into negative digits until the node gods see it and send the offending node response into node heaven. There are a number of reasons why this occurs.

Node responses are rarely free standing. They usually necessitate the existence of the original node in order to actually make any sense at all. They're also just rarely very funny, and not incredibly useful for other readers. Finally, a node response is usually just bad form and makes both the original node, and the response(s) to the node look stupid. In some cases it can even unintentionally insult the intelligence of anyone who happens to come by and read it, which is usually the real reason why other people downvote the damned thing.

There is a way to accomplish a node response that doesn't tick everyone off, and may actually break even in the XP department. It is very tricky, and may still backfire, but the keen and savvy noder can successfully get whatever's on his mind off his chest and still please the unforgiving nodegel of the gods. In fact I would like to point out that some of the best Writeups I've ever seen were in fact carefully disquised node responses. You see something someone else has written, and it inspires you to write. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact that is to be commended and encouraged. However, it is the intent of this Writeup to help improve upon what is left in the node gel for posterity's sake.

  1. Is This Really Necessary? : Would it be better perhaps for you to just privately leave a message in the Chatterbox for the person who wrote the original write up, voicing your concerns? Could you perhaps simply create a node shell and link it back to the offending node and feel content with that? Must you write a response to the previous node? Could you sleep at night if you just ignored it and moved on? Is it worth the effort, or is it more effort than it is worth?
  2. Node for the Ages : In fact this can never be stressed enough. Is what the node responsor wants to say really something that should be said? Is it something that six months from now the node responsor won't be ashamed that he committed it to the nodegel? Will your node stand alone, or will it only make sense if someone has read the offending node first? A node which may itself get sent to node heaven at which point your response to said node will make no sense at all?
  3. What Makes A Good Writeup : The responding noder must take into account all those things which make a node good in the first place. Is it funny? Is it useful and chock full of information? Is it generally an objective work that reacts well to the original node title giving more substance and less grandstanding? Or is it just self-indulging crap?
  4. Information Overload : Perhaps the predominant reason why you wish to respond to the write up that has you all higgledy-piggledy is because you believe the previous noder did a shabby job of the topic in question. Well don't just say that -- prove it. Search the Internet for better information and use the previous noders information but expand upon it. If he just mentioned that rainbows have many colors but didn't go into detail what colors, list the colors in your node, talk about Roy G. Biv, look up details about light refractions and why prisms are so shiny, and then top it all off with quotes from Joan Baez, the Pogues, Kermit the Frog, Brian Wilson and other artists and lyricists who have incorporated rainbows in their work. Outshine that previous bastard by deed and not word, and your words will in fact go further.
  5. Stick to the original node title : Don't create an entirely new node like responses to Jhrulith's nodes or Pedro's response- or smarmy response to the dammit "puss" node or Response to hodgepoge and others who wish to bear arms or A Response to Pealco: It's time to define the point of a node. These are blatant node responses and though some of them are rather endearing, they do not productively contribute to the node gel. Instead, stick to the original title of the node and write based off of that. Or if you feel that node title is incorrect and poorly worded, create a new node title that vastly improves upon the idea and work from there. Remember to keep your titles short.

Finally, keep in mind that despite all your efforts, someone is going to get pissed anyway. You can construct the greatest node ever read by Mankind, and someone will privately message you and tell you that ain't ain't a word and you shouldn't use it. You simply can't please everybody. So just please yourself, and try not to take everything too seriously.

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