It's the season of giving, and I ask that you think twice as hard before you click that submit button... is it something worthy of your good name? Let's have a month of exceptional postings. Remember - Santa and EDB are both watching you.


Worth a read:

Ok, National Novel Writing Month is over, so I gotta be responsible again. Sigh. In the so-called real world, that means looking for a job (blech). Around here I'll just be doing my usual nitpicking, always for the greater glory of e2. (Whee!)

About Noding Poetry

On December 5, Valrus asked me a question about noding poetry: should a poem on a particular topic be noded under that topic or its own title? Here's my answer:

You should node any poem under its full and complete title, and preferably with explication. You could use my Response to Koan in Sonnet Form as an example of how to node your own poetry - although I should give you the obligatory "poetry always gets downvoted" warning (especially poetry w/no explication). I hope that wasn't too jumbled an answer for you =)

More general advice on noding poetry and/or song lyrics, modified from an email I sent to another new user a month or so ago, includes: give your readers a little explication, for example a review or analysis of the work in question, the reasons you think it's worth putting on e2, etc. This goes for your own work, but especially that of others, because otherwise we could get in a lot of trouble for copyright violation or some such. It's important to always identify the author of a work, otherwise it seems kind of random or might even be interpreted as plagiarism. I'm especially aware of and sensitive to the problem of poetry and lyrics with nothing else, because I've been going over my old writeups for some time, and a lot of them are basically cut-and-paste song lyrics. I'm trying to fix that, but in the meantime I've been messaging lots of users trying to encourage them not to make my mistakes, and have a big long list of writeups of mine that need updating.

See Editor Log: November 2002 by Lucy-S for strong opinions about copyright and legality and suchforth. She suggests (and I strongly agree) that unless you know for sure that a piece is freely reprintable, it's a good idea to contact the author of any poetry, short stories, articles, or song lyrics you node and ask them for permission to put their work on e2. Check out mat catastrophe's All-purpose, handy-dandy Copyright Release/Permission Request Form for an example of what you could do. Be polite, explain that it's a noncommercial use and good publicity or whatnot. Make it into a fan letter! Ask questions and maybe get some inside info that'll make your writeup that much better! Show the author you care about the piece. It's good manners, plus once you've got the word that it's okay, you can add a little "reproduced by permission" note at the bottom of your writeup, and everybody wins. Obviously this only applies to living authors, but whatever research you do to track down a writer's contact information (Lucy-S points out that "a large number of poets have teaching gigs at universities, so most of them have email") should answer any questions of life or death you may have. (See: Mistakes which can be corrected by 5 minutes of research on the Web). Otherwise, you'll have to do a little more research to find out who you should be getting in touch with. And any extra information (biographical, critical, or other) you should happen across during this process is an added bonus of node fodder. Did I mention that everybody wins?

If and only if you don't hear back and you make multiple attempts to do the right thing, you can post a piece with a disclaimer like: "Every attempt was made to contact the author of this poem to obtain reprint permission. No copyright violation is intended in its noncommercial use here." (Words of wisdom courtesy Lucy-S again.) You might want to add in a promise to remove a piece if you hear back from the author and they don't give you permission, because to do otherwise would be really rude, not to mention illegal. But chances are if you're polite and respectful about asking permission, you'll get it eventually, and then you can update the writeup disclaimer to the happy "permission granted" kind.

Beyond that, my main advice is to explicate, explicate, explicate! Tell us who the author is and maybe give us some of that biographical information mentioned earlier. Tell us where the piece has been published, why it's famous or special to you, and any other fun facts you care to give. Oh, and for the love of whatever you love, read How to format poems and simple HTML if you haven't already! Wharfinger's Linebreaker is also available for help, and it rocks muchly, so use it!


  • Fatboy Slim (person) by ryano because it was superseded by Zero Signal's writeup
  • Fatboy Slim (person) by WarMachine because it was superseded by Zero Signal's writeup
  • David Brin (person) by adrianthomas because it was factually incorrect - the author's most famous/acclaimed series is called Uplift/Uplift Series, not "uprising". I've left a link to the node title in the hope of luring someone into posting a good biography of the author. Update 8 December 2002: My thanks to dg, who fulfilled this request in record time.
  • Like Paying a Stripper with Susan B Anthony Dollars (idea) by Exarch because I talked it over and the user said I could go ahead and remove it. The writeup had more than a few "let's pretend all feminists are anti-sex bitches and all sex work is debasing and objectifying to all women everywhere" issues, AND didn't even mention the practical difficulties of the activity in question!
  • Declawing your cat by StormHunter because it was wrong (by which I mean factually incorrect as well as personally offensive to me for other reasons) and getting rightly downvoted to hell. Cruel and unusual mutilation should not replace taking the time and care to properly train a pet. A wiser head than mine prevailed on this one and undid my kill. I still want to see a good writeup describing the actual surgical procedure, to balance all the opinions.
  • Epiphany (thing) by Quizro because I talked to Quizro and he agreed that his writeup was superseded by LaggedyAnne's writeup, although he did have a few suggestions for improving hers. Yay! Also, the Epiphany node in general is kind of a mess but I'm working on it and Quiz is helping and life is good.
  • Jane Roe (person) by rfc1394 because it should have been under Henry Wade but the user already has a writeup there.
  • E2 Nuke Request (idea) by arcanamundi because that's what you do with a nuke request.
  • Believe (thing) by arcanamundi by nuke request
  • E2 Nuke Request (idea) by Haschel47 because the writeup requested deleted had already been removed.
  • July 17, 2001 (thing) by bol by the author's personal request.
  • July 18, 2001 (thing) by bol, also by the author's request to me.
  • mondagreen (idea) by rfc1394 because more or less the exact same thing is noded at mondegreen. Fled user audit continues...
  • mondagreen (idea) by Illumina because it's superseded by the writeups at mondegreen.


  • mondagreen because the topic is discussed at greater length in (and better served by) writeups at mondegreen.


If I point out a typo in your writeup, it's probably a good idea to go through it and check if I missed anything, because chances are I only read through once and pointed out the ones that most offended the anal-retentive English teacher who lives in my forebrain. And like it says on my homenode, I only suggest corrections to writeups that are worth improving.... I'm trying to help. As always, I prefer to /msg users and have them correct their own grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting. The exception are a few folks who've given me or the editorial staff as a whole carte blanche to fix their textual errors, and good writeups by users who haven't been around for a few months; I'll go in and fix those myself, although I try to leave messages and Editor Log entries when I do any meddling in those, just in case.

  • Fixed a little typo in paragraph 2 of wharfinger's David H. Souter (user has not been seen in 9.8 months)
  • Fixed some typos in Arrachnia's Depo-Provera (user has not been seen in 5.6 months)
  • Added formatting and pipe links to Stejar's Confutatis Maledictus (user has not been seen in 1.8 years; a fled user audit is in progress.)
  • Fixed a typo and added P tags to Tilyrna's meson (user has not been seen in 2.4 years, which probably means it's time for more fled user node audit fun).
  • I messaged I'm The Pumpkin King about a typo in Conservative leaders misappropriate Christian values in October, when the user had not been seen for about 3 months. Now I'm following up on this stuff (I occasionally use the cc feature on the blab! button to make records of my editor-type comments so I can keep track of what changes I've requested) I see no change and the user still isn't around. Hence, I went in and fixed it myself, and closed some P tags while I was at it.
  • Corrected typos and paragraph tag usage in Stejar's Christmas (fled user audit complete).
  • Fixed some formatting in rfc1394's excellent Bowers v. Hardwick (idea) writeup (user has not been seen in 5.3 months, and it's a timely piece, so...)
  • Added an "e" to Tank Girl by Malikon, who has not been around in... um, ever? The fled user in question has been adequately audited, but I would nonetheless love for someone to write up this fine film before I do it.

I plunged gladly and unhesitantly into the stinking shallows
where amidst weedy walls and sunken streets
fat seaworms feast upon the world's dead.

What the Moon Brings, H.P. Lovecraft

Reward Wisdom.

  • None found, yet.
Correct Ignorance.

Flog with Wet Lettuce.

Nuke requests by the author not logged. Contents may settle during shipping. This product is meant for educational purposes only. No salt, MSG, artificial color or flavoring added.

In my previous logs, I have discussed topics such as:

Nose to the grindstone:

<- Old Ones | Spawn ->

Seated on the weathered porch railing of the Everything Home for the Aged, Constable B---- read the day's mail, slowly, to ancient Noah as the latter teetered back and forth in his rocking chair.

A fleeting shadow passed in front of the midafternoon sun, darkening the cloudless sky. The left side of B----'s face spasmed a bit, and he ran a scarred hand through his dark, lank hair, but he gave no other sign of concern. No one in the seaside community of Everything paid much attention to shadows -- not twice, anyway.

"phoebus adnubilated! Tenebricose, Obs." muttered Noah in a reedy, tremulous voice. "Halliwell. ©."

B---- nodded in the distracted manner of one not truly listening and folded the last letter up. He set the mail gently on the card table beside Noah, and patted Noah's shoulder gently in farewell. As B---- stepped down from the porch, he pulled his sturdy woolen cloak tightly around his thick torso, somehow chilled despite the warm afternoon sun. B---- set off down the main road, limping slightly, tapping time with his truncheon against one meaty thigh.

As B---- strode passed the town hall, a booming voice called out, and from inside a figure beckoned. B---- turned and entered the hall, where the mayor stood at the door to his office. The mayor wasted no time on pleasantries. "What do you make of this, B----?" he asked.

B----'s facial tic worked a bit as he took a long look at the mayor's office. A pair of skeletal footprints were burned deeply, as if by acid, into the geometric center of the room's flagstone floor. From there, two short strides had apparently taken their maker to the mayor's desk. Carved deeply into that dark mahogany surface by some sort of sharp instrument, or perhaps a claw, were a set of runes. Each glowed with an inner light as if they were filled with shifting, molten lava. B---- tried to jerk his eyes away but the strange message drew him into the room. He strode forward clumsily, under compulsion, his footfalls covering each of the strange prints as he neared the desk. B----'s vocal chords began to work without his permission. "Free my children and desist hereafter from imprisoning them, or face my wrath!" B---- uttered in a sepulchral voice not his own. Sweat beaded on his brow. "Ignore me at thy peril!"

With a shudder B---- took a step back from the desk. He wiped his face with a corner of his cloak. B---- tried to speak, and coughed weakly. The mayor offered his hip flask. B---- drank deeply, coughed again, and handed it back. "I knew this day would come," B---- said, "and I have kept a list of those involved. It is the work of a day's shift, perhaps two. I will attend to it immediately." The mayor nodded. "My thanks, Constable," he said. B---- met the mayor's gaze, and nodded, then left.

The mayor shuddered, having seen a shifting, orange light in the depths of B----'s eyes. He glanced back into his office. The footprints were gone, and the magohany desk was slowly dissolving into a pool of sawdust and ash. The mayor sighed. He lost more desks this way ...

We have been contacted by the literary agent for Arkham House, a publishing firm which claims to hold all rights to the works of H.P. Lovecraft. While there is some cause to doubt some or all of Arkham House's claims in an academic sense1, in a more practical vein E2 can't get into a legal tussle over the issue. As promised in E2 Copyright Violations, having been duly contacted, we are removing all Lovecraft's texts from E2 (Those listed in H.P. Lovecraft - Fiction List and H.P. Lovecraft - Poetry List). Please do not add any other material written by Lovecraft (not even letters). Your admins thank you, and the Great Old Ones take special note of your cooperation.

Of course, we can discuss the works and make short quotations for fair use purposes, and also write our own works in the Lovecraftian style, which is way more fun than just copy-and-paste and hard linking the author's works anyway.

  1. See

Like something?
Upvote it.
Don't like something?
Downvote it.
Really like something a lot?
Give it the old C! if ya gots one.
Don't understand something?
Send the noder a /msg.
Pissed off at the whole world?
Have a drink and call a friend.
It isn't rocket science.
Rocket science sucks.
Just do as you will.
Don't complain when the tide seems to turn against you.
Invariably, it will.

People will upvote your work here. People will downvote it. People will C! your contribution. No one will C! your contribution. Does it really matter? It depends on how tight your sphincter is.

Why is there so much talk and so much whining about downvotes and who gets C!s and who gets upvoted to infinity? Why is there so much concern over getting something removed? Not everything makes it in the final cut and you can't start pointing fingers at what in your mind was weaker than your offering. If you are comparing yourself to other crappy writeups there is something wrong to begin with.

There are people here who get their mental regurgitations cooled. There are newcomers who have what they thought was a brilliant piece of monumental work deleted. Is it fair? No. Neither is life. As I think I've said before, Stephen King could write a book about "I went poo poo in the toilet today" and it would be a best seller. A junior copywriter will read the book it took you six years of work to write and pin a form letter to it after browsing his way through the first ten pages while eating a chicken salad sandwich. This is a microcosm of life, and honestly, e2 is a lot more fair than real life.

Which brings me to my point.
Fear and Shame.
AKA Snails and Oysters.
AKA Silver and Gold.

I know of people on this website who are afraid to hit the C! button because, well, because what they really like might not be up to the accepted standards here. If you really like it, cool the son of a bitch. I think of my C!s as my permanent bookmarks. They are a way to get back to the things I've really enjoyed reading here. That is my personal philosophy and it doesn't have to be yours. Your votes and your C!s are yours to use as you wish. Don't pull your hair out over them and don't listen to the sick birds rambling on and on about properness. Do as you will, Wilbur.

And then there is the continuing story of "downvote shame." Sounds like a broken record in my ears. Let me use the example of unexplicated lyrics. A certain contingency here on e2 believes they are the evil spawn of Satan and must be destroyed, lest we offend some copyright standards. These same people do not downvote unexplicated lyrics, but they ask for them to be deleted. You know what I think? If you aren't willing to downvote something because you feel bad about doing so, what exactly are you saying to the editor you are asking to delete them? Want to stop the ongoing submission of unexplicated lyrics? Downvote them. If all the people who ask for them to be done away with downvoted them, all the unexplicated lyrics would have at least a -5 reputation and the users who submitted them would think twice before giving us more. In one case the user asking them to be deleted actually upvoted the lyrics in question. Why? To use up a vote. I was forced to throw twelve flower pots at this individual's head. I did not want to, but I had to.

Take the power back...

Reputation can make or break a borderline writeup's life on e2. Believe it or not, many editors here look at reputation as a deciding factor in borderline cases. You, as a voter, can change the fate of a writeup. Upvote it if you like it and help save it. Downvote it if you think it is substandard tripe and help doom it.

People are people.
Writeups are writeups.
You go on even if your writeup doesn't.
Feel free to complain sometime if...
TheDeadGuy steals your spouse...
dannye sends your children to a foreign orphanage...
Apatrix gets you fired from your job...
iceowl steals your car and fills it with naked sorority girls...
liveforever raids your wine cellar and drinks all the good stuff...
Halspal disguises himself as a cable repairman and rifles through your sock drawer...
A random Content Editor takes naked photos of your grandma and posts them on the Internet...
These are real issues.
If any of these things happen, call the cops.
Writeup deletion is not all that important when it comes down to it.
And neither are C!s, upvotes or downvotes.

Once upon a time a user complained to me because her writeups weren't getting as many C!s as they used to. Apparently, unless her writeups got at least 3 C!s there was something wrong. There are others who write very good stuff that barely gets noticed at all. Then, of course, there is the one comment that is worth far more than any amount of random votes or C!s from people who were in a good mood that day. Write to write and write for those you know will read. Contribute facts and worthwhile information because you believe in this website. A user recently asked me, "Do you think there is someone out to get me here?" Probably. There is probably someone out to get all of us here. You can't make everyone love you. If everyone loved you then you wouldn't have any reason to grow, adapt and evolve. We exist to challenge each other, don't we?

Grow from your missteps.
Retool your writeup if it can be saved.
Let it rest in peace if it cannot.
And for the sake of whatever deity you enjoy thinking about
Stop dwelling on it and move on.

PS: Please stop including phrases like "I know you're going to downvote this, but..." and other silliness about votes and C!s and "please read the writeup above first." Writeups need to stand alone without disclaimers that relate to voting, experience points, other writeups, and being a work in progress. A good writeup doesn't need excuses. It flies on its own. Thank you.

Now, more importantly, can anyone tell me why Michael Douglas has been playing the same bitter, jaded middle aged man in every movie he has made in the past ten years?

There may be answers to this question after all! Here's what you said!

  • Random noder #1: "It is very possible that Michael Douglas is a robot or a Martin Sheen clone."
  • Random noder #2: "Cruel Hollywood typecasting, or is he just a bitter jaded middle aged guy and he doesn't feel like having to strain himself in his roles?"
  • Random noder #3: "It is a mystery given that he is, like, 400 years old and gets cast opposite women a fraction of his age."
  • Random Noder #4: "It has to do with the radium clock." (I'm not sure what the hell this means but I'm upvoting it anyway)
  • Random Noder #5: "Because Michael Douglas is a bitter, jaded middle-aged man. Clearly, Catherine Zeta-Jones isn't helping, and he should give her up and send her over to (me)."
  • Random Noder #6: "What ever happened to Mike Douglas?"
  • Random Noder #7: "I blame flouridation. If he lived in a country that didn't flouridate its water he'd be playing toothless old men who cackle."
  • Random Noder #8: "He can't play the part of "bitter, jaded elderly man" yet because his father has those locked up. Besides, who pays money to see middle-aged white males who are completely satisfied with life. Think of a recent movie with a role like that. Now think of one that broke even. ...? I didn't think so."
  • Random Noder #9: "Most of your respondants are missing the point. Michael Douglas has reached the point where, like Al Pacino, he can get away with just playing himself in movies. He doesn't have to act anymore, but did he ever?"

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