We're all out to get you

This seems to be the prevailing thought amongst the folks who are just joining the E2 family. They see folks high up on the Other Users nodelet and those folks with a $ or @ by their names as people who are very standoffish, mean and to be avoided.

I get the occasional newbie /msg asking for some node advice or because they were referred to me by other users, and the newbie acts as though I have three kegs of gunpowder in my shorts while I'm smoking cigars. You can almost hear them tiptoe-ing around, apologizing profusely for disturbing the sleeping giant.

I had two folks tell me today via /msg that they were afraid of Dem Bones and jessicapierce. Well, OK, 'Bones scares the hell outta me too, but sweet JayPea? (*grin*) But seriously, sometimes the only interaction the newer folks have with the Gods, Content Editors and denizens of the Everything's Best Users list (even though the EBU folks have no special powers) are when they're performing their additional duties, such as cleaning up bad nodes or feeding folks to the EDB for being obnoxious or disruptive in the Chatterbox nodelet.

Part of becoming an established member of E2 is helping others when you're able, and I'd guess that 99% of the folks who are Level 6 and above do their best to help newcomers. E2 is made of people, and there are some folks who are grumpy or who may be having a bad day, but it is rare that someone who is on the EBU list or has God/Editor powers will be mean to you for no reason at all. If you get borged and you think that you did nothing wrong, it is possible that it was done accidently (thefez borged me when I was Level 2 because he mis-read a comment I made in the chatterbox, and he did apologize when he realized it). It happens. I fully expect to get borged again someday because I'm either being an imbecile at that time or there was a communication error. Gods have even borged other God-level folks because it was needed.

For the new folks here to E2:

Don't be afraid of other users. Having a metric tonne of XP just means that that person appears higher up in the Other Users nodelet. That is the only benefit. They're still the same folks who joined E2 a while ago at Level 1, just like you are. They have high XP values because they had a knack for writing that others enjoyed. Ask their advice, you're almost certain to get help in improving your writeups.

Don't be afraid of the Gods and Editors, for they are your friends. Sometimes the only time you hear about them are when others are complaining about getting borged or someone killed a writeup of theirs. That is the job that Gods and Editors volunteered to do! Our job is to weed out the worthless, insulting one-line nodes so the writeup you just spent two hours on can have its time in the sun. There is no need to act as if you're bugging us, for another part of our job is to help you. Be respectful, and you will be treated the same. That old "do unto others" saying applies to Everything2.

In my inbox, from an anonymous user: Here's another of E2 Public Relations Issues: nodes that imply gods are good and great get to stick around, nodes critical that might imply they make mistakes don't

My reply: There are a few critical nodes still living in the nodegel. IMHO, 97% of the time critical nodes are written after someone was borged or they had a writeup nuked. It's a way of blowing off steam. Gods and Editors are far from perfect (except for MoJoe and Jet-Poop). In general, it is mass-lumped under whining (whether it belongs there or not). Just today, someone got multi-borged and started posting the same node several times in a row complaining. It was nuked each time, then he got multi-borged again. If you feel someone is being unreasonable with you, you can take it to a higher authority, which is usually Dem Bones. If someone is being a jerk for no reason, a pattern will emerge and the establishment will correct this. This is far from a perfect system, but for the most part it works well. Also, remember you (the user) are a guest here on E2. If Nate decides he hates the letter "R" and kills every user account with that letter, that's his perogative.

In conclusion: We like you (the user), we want you to stick around and add to the nodegel. The vast majority here will do their best to help you.

wertperch says: I have to say I felt a little the same until my mentoring proved that there should be no fear. Thanks a lot!
Disclaimer: I'm going to assume this node now exists for the purpose of, in public, airing out the dirty laundry, as it were. This node would actually be better named "E2 Power Structure Public Relations Issues," otherwise, the answer is "Google and Lycos have too much market share."


Nuke for the Ages
As Rancid Pickle points out, it is the duty of editors and gods to walk through the database, culling the weeds. Sometimes, those weeds were very good nodes that weren't well-received. Other times, they just plain needed to die. It's not that editors can't be bothered to /msg you; it is that they are very busy. Look over at the Statistics nodelet. As I write this, the number of writeups today is 356. That means that the difference between new nodes and deleted nodes is 356. That's actually a lot. I've seen days where the difference at 23:00 is still negative.
Still, being busy isn't enough of an excuse. When a well-crafted node is nuked, a /msg should accompany it. If one of your nodes is nuked, dont fly off the handle: try /msging a god or friendly editor. They will usually happily go figure out what happened and why, and tell you.
Avoid noding about noding
Go through the nodes about noding. Not the ones about E2 bacchanalia, but ones like this. Note how many gods and editors write them.
Nodes about noding must be good to survive. Gods and Editors tend to be good noders. Note that good here is in the eyes of the nukers
Defensive responses
Gods should expect to be questioned. Most of the noders live in free societies, where questioning authority is a fact of life. If you get defensive, it looks like you did something wrong.
"If you don't like it, leave"
"You don't know how frustrating it is up here"
"Don't rock the boat, especially not when you're in it"
The single biggest PR issue of E2. These are divisive attitudes. Fix them. Imagine how the world would be today had Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin listened to that advice.

Yes, I was the anonymous noder in Rancid Pickle's Wu. And yes, I've earned my bullshit: 209 bullshit points.

And no, you're not all out to get me. Some may be, and some are just insensitive, but most of you are trying your best to build your idea of an ideal online community and database. This is not a criticism. It's a set of suggestions to the community for dealing with the misperceptions on both sides.


I was driving down the road the other night and suddenly a white car with lights on the top pulled onto the street at the stoplight. Now, I'll admit that I was going a hair over the speed limit, but when I saw that car on the street - you can be sure I stayed on the slow side of 34.

For some reason it didn't look like the police car was going anywhere - they weren't speeding away with sirens blaring - just staying there comfortably beside me. You can be sure I was shaking at this point, my hands were trembling. I've gotten pulled over once before for a failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign - it took awhile before I realized that it was me he was upset about.

License, registration, and proof of insurance.

(fumbling about in the glove box)

Do you realize why you were pulled over?

Umm... no officer.

You didn't come to a complete stop at the stop sign back there.

Hmm... Ok, that makes sense - unfortunately, its an easy one to miss.

Well, here's the ticket.

Or something like that.

There is something intimidating about seeing a white car with red and blue lights on the top when it is sitting there behind you on the road. Still, we like to watch the cop shows and see them get the bad guy. There is something that we respect (and fear?) about the uniform - and often we over react when we see it, making sure that each and every action that we do is well within the confines of what is allowable.

Granted, not all the men and women in uniform are mean cops, but it just takes one bad experience with them to polarize you. It might be driving while black, or driving while 16... who knows, you felt that you got pulled over and ticketed unfairly and now you distrust the authority and sometimes actively go out and see ways to disrupt it.

Still - just think of the fear that you feel when driving down the road and see a police car turn on its siren and lights and pull over a car that appeared to be obeying the law for no apparent reason - it kind of makes you wonder, and afraid.

At the time of this writing, I'm a content editor. This means that I am not the administration and don't pretend to speak authoritatively on subjects where it matters whether one is an administrator. I'm a user with a broom. Dig it? My HTML is perfect and I never node about noding. Ever.

I'd like to put it plainly for all those who have concerns which they consider PR issues. You've been mortally offended. Klaproth is being a right gluttonous old bastard and EDB thinks you're one of the food groups. Whatever. Of course I'm not always in total agreement with my editorial colleagues as regards the proper use of those tools; there is no requirement that I be and I'm far from perfect myself. But where there's smoke, there's fire. Examine your own situation before blaming others for your predicament. Put introspection before accusation. Then complain.

Life ain't fair, you know. I hear people gripe about someone who acts semi-anonymously but can be held accountable for being less than stellar in attitude or judgement and will respond when challenged. You don't hear editors whine about getting mass-downvoted by unaccountable hit-and-run assassins because they signed the wrong Klaproth message. I deal, even when you softlink my latest and greatest to Butterfinger McFlurry. Not because I'm a soulless killing machine immune to annoyance but because I'm in a position of trust, new users are expressly encouraged to look up to me, and I feel obliged to lead by example. Did you know that some editors node their editor logs as "definitions" or quit noding them altogether because they're sick of people downvoting the fact that they publicly explain their actions for all to see? You want to gripe? Gripe about that. As an old-time IRC administrator said before getting booted off EFnet, "life sucks, buy a helmet." Sure, I'd love it if we all got along like a big Roman lovebird orgy but we have to accept the fact that so many personalities in one place make that unlikely. But it doesn't hurt to try and make it work the best we can.

Whatever problem you have, TALK to someone. T-A-L-K. Clearly, if you're reading this node and considering adding your two cents, you have something to say. You have several options. You can play the sympathy card with the oppressed masses, node your issues, and consequently engage in what, however well you present it, will still be the epitome of unoriginality. Your radical ideas etc. that have already been noded and nuked umpteen times in the last two years. Or you can take it up with any one of the editorial staff and more likely than not get a VERY reasonable answer to all your questions and perhaps gain some of the respect you think you're not being afforded and come out of it a better noder with a clearer perception of how those charged with the task keep this ark of insanity afloat. Or you can use your allotted homenode space to host a perpetual rant about the evil that's people with any semblance of authority. In which case you've chosen a path of confrontation and the best I can do is pretend that your lack of understanding doesn't bother me. Whatever you do, it's not public relations as long as it concerns only you and other people on this site.

Let's examine the overall issue of "public relations." What its contributing members think of E2 and what differences they have with its established practices is not a public relations issue unless they take it outside the site or put it into writing for the whole world to see. The casual visitor sees no dichotomy between the noding userbase and the administration, and we'd be better off if we quit inventing one on the inside. We're all just names occupying a few pixels above what the visitor came to see. Public relations are between E2 and the outside world that comes into contact with the site and peruses our work. A stranger comes and the first writeup he sees could be yours. When that's the case, you're representing E2. When the first thing he sees is your complaining about how you've been wronged, you've created a PR problem.

I'm not going to give you any E2 is a Community lecture. Hell, I'm still not sure I buy it myself. It is merely my opinion that what issues we have among us should be kept among us, particularly when having a word with an experienced user of a certain standing can turn a mountain back into the molehill that it really is. There's nothing that can't be solved with, in the absolutely worst case, shutting up and accepting that being part of this big, well, thing, is not all roses and we'll be served the odd lemon and be asked to bite into it. Strangely enough, the facts of life apply to E2 as well, even more so as it develops into a community, and every one of us, from the top of the hierarchy to the newbie who signed up five minutes ago, is subject to them. Believe it or not, lemons are just as sour at the top of the totem pole.

E2 is not just the administration nor is it just the editors. E2 is all its people. YOU are E2, YOU make it what it is as much as everyone else does. What you create here--the good work, the bad work, the sparks of brilliance and the GTKYs--reflects upon all of us. Show some pride in what we're all doing here, realise that we have a pretty amazing thing going, and act like you really care.

Addendum, 2003-06-07: I've been an admin for a pretty long time now. My views on this subject have not changed.

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