In which Justin ruminates about quality, length, and the state of e2.

There was discussion in the catbox today about scaring off new members. It seems that some of us disagree about everything and anything when it comes to quality. Is it okay for one node to add to another or should the new node incorporate the old node's information and supersede it? How does this change when the author of the original node is an active user (logged in within the last month)? Why do we, the voting community, seem to think that length is equitable to quality, or at least that brevity is evidence of a lack thereof?

This is my take on the matter. If a noder is active, and you think you can add to the node then go ahead. It isn't my goal to take nodes away from people that are actively contributing to the database. If the author of the node you want to supersede has been gone for over a month, feel free to supersede it and request a nuke. If your addition to a node only constitutes a sentence, /msg the author and ask him or her to add it. If you don't get a reply or if nothing happens, then try to supersede the old one. The point here is "give the original author a chance."

If you've genuinely got something to add then do it. It shouldn't matter if you're adding one paragraph or seven. Meaningful information is meaningful information, and we as voters seem to have lost sight of that. Short writeups are downvoted with reckless abandon. A short writeup doesn't mean that the subject wasn't well researched and well written. It could just mean that the subject can be adequately covered in only a paragraph's worth of text.

So next time your finger hovers above that minus sign, ask yourself why. Is it because the writeup is short? If so, decide if it adds to the node and is well-written. If so, either throw it an upvote or leave it alone. If not, consider messaging the author with tips for improvement or a link to the FAQ or the university. We're just going to keep scaring off new noders if our only feedback to their initial efforts is that minus sign and a collection of insulting softlinks.