Often you will come across a node with a multitude of writeups, many of which are a paragraph or less, and yet the subject will still not be covered fully. What E2 needs here is an assimilation writeup that is greater than the sum of the node's parts. At the time of this writing, E2 is less than 3 years old. Imagine E2 in another 3 years. Now, imagine E2 in another 20. As time crawls on more and more nodes will accumulate more and more writeups - which will then get more and more difficult to sift through for the reader. So, writeups must evolve.
There are a few guidelines which should be followed when working on an assimilation writeup:
- Be polite. If the author of the writeup you plan to make redundant still logs onto E2 regularly please msg them before creating your writeup. Make sure they have a chance to upgrade theirs first. Many users will tell you to go ahead and take their writeup verbatim and some will happily improve their own and save you the trouble. If a user hasn't logged onto E2 in more than a month send them a msg but feel free to proceed with your work. If another user was of great help to you and/or their writeup served as a fundament to yours please feel free to give them a shout at the bottom of your writeup - a note saying "Thanks to user X for the help/inspiration" never hurts.
- Rewrite. "Assimilating another writeup" may sound like a job for simply cutting and pasting the text but that is not how it's done. You'll find yourself in a world of hurt if you go this route. Unless the author gives you permission to cut/paste his/her text, you need to not only rewrite but flesh out their writeup. Research it a bit more, find another source, another quote, a few more facts - what this is all about is improvement. Evolution. Better replaces worse. Best replaces better. You're not only improving the node itself by reorganizing its content - you're improving the content.
- The Perfect Node is always what you're striving for. Add some new soft links. Some nodes may have been added to E2 since anyone really worked on this node. Make sure it's current.
- Summarize. While you may have created the definitive writeup on the subject, it's good to have a brief introduction and summary. If one of the existing writeups does a good job of it, choose whether to begin yours with a summary that will replace it or whether to let the old one serve as a concise article that will complement yours.
- Clean up. When finished you should have a handful of writeups that will need removing. If the authors you've been msg'ing haven't already filed an E2 Nuke Request then you will need to do so. When requesting other user's work be deleted, always make it clear in the nuke request a polite reason for doing so. "The author has been contacted and his/her writeup has been superseded." is an excellent reason. If you wait half an hour to post this nuke request you may not need to bother - editors often see the node on ENN and will mark superseded writeups for deletion.