Why I'm Moving To Wikipedia

It took a lengthy server break to make me see it, but I've finally realized that Wikipedia is what E2 will never be.

  1. Content, content, content. Wikipedia already has much, much more information than Everything2 and is evolving much more rapidly.
  2. All content is free under the GNU Free Documentation License. No risk of it all being lost if E2 dies or decides to take its marbles and go home; there are already completely legal and completely separate copies floating about.
  3. Lower barrier of entry. No need to craft 20 writeups from scratch acceptable by the esoteric criteria of E2, anybody can plunge in and fix a typo -- without even logging in!
  4. No silly power structures. Everybody can edit everybody's writeups.
    • Actually, there are admins, but they are a non-exclusive group (134 members as of this writing) and their powers are largely restricted to temporarily freezing pages subject to an edit war.
  5. No silly Edit These E2 Titles bureaucracy. Writeups can be moved, renamed, redirected and unredirected easily by all. (Deletion is a bit more complex, but with only one mutating writeup per node, it's also needed far less often.)
  6. No XP. The system works just fine without it, and it eliminates all the silly behavior associated with it (XP whoring, noding for numbers, etc).
  7. Full accountability. Every change ever made can be viewed in the history and rolled back if need be. This means:
    • You can see exactly who screwed around with your content
    • You can see exactly what they did to it
    • You can be automatically notified of changes
    • You don't have to painstakingly handcraft a log of your edits
    • The system keeps backup copies for you
  8. Messages are stored next to each node, providing a full log of discussion for all to see.
  9. The annoying parts of HTML are streamlined:
    • Forget UL/OL/LI, just write *.
    • Forget PRE/TT, just start the line with a space.
    • Forget I/B, just write '' or '''.
    • Forget P, just press ENTER twice.
  10. Integrated pictures and real tables are supported. Bye bye, ASCII art! (thanks for the reminder sekicho)
  11. Multiple languages seamlessly integrated; not only can you use Unicode, there's a Wikipedia for each language and cross-Wiki links are easy.
  12. And, for that matter, external links are also easy.
  13. Footnoting is easy too.
  14. Links are conjugated automatically. Write [foo]ing on Wiki, and it'll be shown as fooing but linked to foo.
  15. And to fix those screwups beforehand, not only is there a scratch box, but a preview button too!
  16. Full text search actually works.
  17. Broken links are differently colored.

Sure, Wikipedia's just an encyclopedia while E2 is meant to cover everything, and it's true enough that this encyclopedic nature makes it more boring -- no more whoring for XP by regaling you with tales of Japanese girls in a hot tub while dissecting a brand of sake. But as a factual noder, 99% of my writeups are fit for Wikipedia as is, and there are plenty of others of my kind who have seen the light.

So long, and thanks for all the fish...

13 Dec 2003

P.S. I don't burn bridges, so I may pop in occasionally in the future. But I've resigned my editorship and I doubt I'll be writing much new content.

Why I'm Staying Here at E2

It took a lengthy server break to make me see it, but I've finally realized that all those other places out there on the Web will never be quite as cool as E2 is.

  1. Community, community, community. You guys rock. Even though places like LiveJournal and chat boards are specifically set up for feedback and conversation, I get far more thoughtful and insightful comments here.

  2. Content, content, content. This ain't no hushy-shushy library full of dry facts; it's like a super-duper Chinese Buffet of writing. Gritchka's Linguistini is always hearty, the Chop Suey Jet-Poop is always delicious, and the Fried Iceowl is amazing -- you should try it! Find a stale E1 eggroll? The wait staff is replacing them with fresh new treats wherever we find them. And if the Newbie Green Beans are a little wilted today -- they'll be crisp tomorrow. You can read yourself silly here, and there's always more.

  3. No silly limitations on content. I can write about any damn thing that pops into my weird little noggin and I'll get helpful feedback if I ask for it. I've ended up writing and selling articles that just plain wouldn't have existed if I hadn't found this place. E2 encourages me to try new things.

  4. By that same token, E2 doesn't force you to give up rights to your work. I'm all for the open source movement, but the real world of publishing doesn't work that way ... and isn't likely to. People seldom know or care who wrote their software, but once they get past the utilitarian level of an encyclopedia article or manual, readers crave the pleasure and insight found in individual voices; the generic novel was a spectacular failure. Just because both use alphanumeric characters does not mean that writing and software can be treated like the same thing.

  5. XP! Chings! New level privileges! Yes, it's not "real" like a cookie or a paycheck, but it's still encouragment, and we need that kind of stuff.

  6. Anonymity if you want it, identity if you don't. You can be yourself here, or be somebody else. It's all good, as long as you're good.

  7. We have standards and goals. Yes, we expect things from people joining our group -- we expect people to try to do better than they had to on LiveJournal or Usenet or their own personal website. If you stick with us, you can become a better writer, a better coder, heck, maybe even a better cook, crafter or thinker than you were when you first arrived. And we'll be happy to help you. All you gotta do is ask.

So, in short, although I might not be around as much as I was before because I finally got a full-time job, I'm here to stay. And now that the servers have the safe harbor of the University of Michigan, I think the odds are much better that E2 is here for the long haul as well.

Let's get back to work.
This party's only just started.

One door closes.
Another door opens.

I remember pondering during the E2 "summer vacation." I pondered what brings us here and what keeps us coming back. I suppose one could wander off in another direction and stumble upon a greener field. One could send out their minions to seek a new castle to call home. Does it really matter why you are here? Does it matter that you aren't over there?

It is the nature of humans to wander and explore the pathways of life until they find a place they want to call home. Any new patch of land can be exciting, but often the oasis is a mirage. You pontificate upon your dreams and the crops you wish to plant of this oasis, but when it dries up and goes dead, you either move alone or fight with the sand.

The real test is when your oasis, this place you call home, goes away. Consider the couple that goes to the same beach and stays in the same hotel every year. One year they discover that their hotel is undergoing renovations and is closed for the summer. They try another hotel in the area.

When they return to the beach the following summer, they may go back to their old favorite hotel. They may at least check out the changes made during the previous year's remodeling. They may go back to the old hotel or they may decide the new hotel was more to their liking. They may have been so disappointed by the alternative hotel that they vow to never go anywhere other than the first hotel. They may realize the new hotel offers more that they enjoy. They may decide to check out all the area hotels and stop being such boring single-minded weirdos that go to the same hotel every year. The way things turn is the way of the road. This is life.

Real faith comes from knowing no matter how far you roam, you will always come home because home will always be there. This can be a rock or it can be an anchor. If you are too afraid to lose something, it will weigh you down like an anchor. If you truly believe in something it will be your rock, that which you can depend on throughout all life's misadventures.

E2 is a rock for some and an anchor for others, just as people, places and things can be throughout our lives. We may fall in love and find later that it was just a passing fancy. You may truly love and find that no matter where you go or what you do, that love stays with you. With people this is easier to connect with, but with places and things it has meaning as well. E2 has been a rock for me, even as I spent the last month and a half considering how much "more" I could do without pouring my time and energy into this place on a regular basis.

You must wander and you must explore. If you set your tent down in the first open field and cement the tent pegs to the ground you may have security but you'll never know what's over the next rise. People, places and things change over time. E2 isn't the same now as it was three years ago. If you set your tent pegs with cement and expect your clearing to always stay the same, you've forgotten too many things. The weather always changes and sometimes they pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

The E2 summer vacation was a great time to evaluate focus and purpose. For those who came back and were eager to find this place back in action, welcome back. For those that found a new oasis and are enjoying a frozen margarita and some steak sticks at the bar on the other side of the last hill to the left, enjoy.

Those that pass through leave their mark
Those no longer here created their own memories
Those that stay want to till the land

There shall be crops in abundance
We are homesteaders and traveling bluesmen
We leave our mark
We were here

This is real life.
This is text.

[](r)(ra) (Content Editors) @ TheDeadGuy says Sometimes people get more passionate when you nibble on their ear and whisper a few ideas they've been burying in their subconscious for a while.

[]r)(ra) (Content Editors) $ ac_hyper says Unruly noders who refuse to care about what they're writing don't get ear-nibbles.

Everyone wants to increase the quality of writeups, and everyone agrees that is the mission of the volunteers. They have certain tendencies, however: I'll call them the Seducers and the Guardians.

I'm thinking of Socrates and the Guardians of Plato's Republic. For those of you who require a more multimedia approach, I'll suggest 1960's pop cliché:

If there were a soundtrack/video for the Guardians, it would be All Along the Watchtower (as performed by Jimi Hendrix) with video from Apocalypse Now. These are the admins/editors who championed the highly controversial "raising the bar" campaign, and got themselves mired in an Intarweb quagmire not unlike Vietnam. For the Guardians, this is like the Tet Offensive, nuking trashy writeups as fast as they emerge from their tunnnels. It's not yet 1975 with the Hueys evacuating people off the Embassy roof.

For the Seducers' soundtrack, to keep with my Sixties theme, I can't choose between Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit ("Go Ask Alice"... "Feed your head!") or Scott McKenzie's San Francisco ("If you're going to San Francisco/Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair..."). Video from Leonard Nimoy's 'The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" rounds out the picture nicely. Our Seducers lead by example, but the example they set is ... challenging.

No one really fits these categories, of course (except TheDeadGuy, who is a Seducer through and through) but most of us have strong tendencies one way or the other. Some of us a have multiple personalities: "dannye the God" talks and acts like a Guardian but "dannye the noder" writes like a Seducer.

I aspire to seduction but fear I don't have enough writing talent to pull it off.

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