Draft only, created 28 May 2003. Not finished. Not to be taken as policy. Comments to Gritchka.

It can be tempting to add a large number of small writeups on a common theme. These may add useful information to the database, and advance you quickly up the levels. However, we would prefer you did not do this. Each writeup should be justifiable on its own merits, and we don't need information for the sake of information. Small writeups set a bad precedent.

In the past, of course, standards were different, and you will see many long series of short writeups. Some of these were lazy noding, but many were legitimate by the standards E2 had in 2000. This doesn't mean that the same kind of writeup is acceptable today. On the other hand, it would be unfair to old noders to remove all those.

Posting them with "Don't Display" doesn't make any difference. They're still there in the database as an example for future noders: "It's okay to put very little effort in."

Nor does using a not-for-XP account. Many noders have realized it would be unfair to in gain levels on their "own" account with work that's not up to their usual standard; but have wanted to add the information anyway, for completeness, so have used specialist accounts knocked down to large negative XP. Unfortunately the short writeups are still there, sending the same message to less experienced noders.

E2 is here for the writing and explanation, not primarily for the storage of facts. Make something of your explanation. This doesn't mean each one has to be an essay: short writeups are fine. What we want to avoid is brief lists of facts with no individual work on them. We'll never get more than the tiniest proportion of the facts out there, and it's far too easy to come up with lists that can be expanded into a few lines. Here are some examples: each one of these could be multiplied by hundreds.

Bad method: Noding lists item by item

Example 1.

Dhiyab ibn Isa bin Nahayan
Sultan of Abu Dhabi from 1761 to 1793, of the Al Abu Falah dynasty.

The website that came from also has every single governor of colonial Kentucky, all the rajahs of the Malay states, the prime ministers of Syria: thousands of thousands of rulers. In a list under, say, Abu Dhabi, they can be a useful part of a writeup about the country. But no-one will ever wonder who Dhiyab ibn Isa bin Nahayan is, and go and look him up under his name to find out. This isn't useful as a writeup by itself, just for recording these bare facts. Nor are any of the other thousands of short factual writeups you could make out of such lists.

Example 2.

One of the dwarves in Tolkien's The Hobbit. He was the cousin of Bofur and Bombur, wore a yellow cap, and played the clarinet.

Completism is the urge to have all of a set. There's a lot you can say about Thorin, or about Balin, because he comes into The Lord of the Rings. There might be more you can say about Dwalin or Bombur, because they had specific characters or parts in the story. But beware the urge to make a complete set by noding dwarves who are really quite indistinguishable and of no individual importance.

Example 3.

The telephone area code of Bloomington, Indiana.
< Previous -- US area codes -- Next >

Even assuming E2 did contain all information, you'd look under B for Bloomington if you wanted to know its area code; and you'd look under something like US area codes if you wanted to look up where 812 was. But there's no way you would want a separate entry for the number 812, telling you what area code it was, as well as which events happened in that year, as well as the factors of the number.

Fear of Walloons.

Anyone can make up words, once a simple pattern has been established: xylophonophobia, yakophobia, zebraphobia. If there are ever any genuine cases of zebraphobia described in the medical literature, and for which the physicians felt the need to coin the word, then we can legitimately node this.

Good method: Noding lists as lists

If you have a list of things, node it as a list. If there's a chance that someone might want to look up some of the things on it, you could nodeshell them and softlink them back to the list. There's no need to create anything more than a softlink.

To mention...

  • BioTech has special dispensation.
  • Magic The Gathering cards go out of date.
  • glossaries
  • anything else you've nattered about, possibly

See also...