Somewhere, out there, in the darkness...
People gather at the edge of the forest...
They look inwards and see...
Evidence you have left behind...
Do you know who has read your writeup?
Although Everything2.com is tucked away into a quiet little cul-de-sac on the edge of the electronic universe, it is there and can be accessed by anyone in the world. The internet offers powerful tools, one of which is the magic of anonymity. I was once reading an interview with a very famous singer. She said that she often turns to the internet to search for information on a variety of subjects. If she used Google, she might have ended up finding that information in your writeup here on E2.
A few weeks ago I was searching for information about a certain individual because he had been a topic of conversation between two co-workers and myself. I had forgotten that I had done a writeup on this person over a year ago. My Google search revealed what I had forgotten. My E2 writeup was the third match that came up during my quest for information.
This week, a Guest User contacted both dem bones and myself regarding a writeup here. It was one I had done on a rather obscure actress* some time ago. She told us that the writeup needed to be updated. Since I reported in my writeup that the actress in question was single, she wanted it amended to show that the actress was now married. The date of the wedding and name of her spouse was provided. I tried to verify this information, but could find nothing anywhere that substantiated the claim.
There was an exchange of e-mails and I attempted to determine how this person knew the information in question and whether or not it was correct. Her tone and manner led me to believe there was no reason to doubt the information. There was no reason for her to give me some false information about an obscure actress with a node on a website in a far corner of the internet. I took the information and updated accordingly, thanking her for her time and attention.
I think she could tell by my tone that I was quite curious as to why this was such an important matter to her. Turns out that she is the actress' mother-in-law. It was important to her because her son is now married to the actress and she had been looking for information on the internet regarding her daughter-in-law. She found very sparse information. Three sentences at IMDB and close to nothing elsewhere. Then she stumbled upon my writeup on E2 and found it to be the most complete, comprehensive and interesting. It wasn't a cold three sentences noting that her daughter-in-law had been in some movies but pretty much was never a big star, just a second tier character actress. Mine gave her personality.
"I e-mailed a link to her.
I think she'll like it."
There have been other, mostly isolated incidents where relatives and associates of people noded hereabouts or people involved in events written here have contacted noders. There is never any real way to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt who these people are. Yet, the important thing to remember is that such individuals are unlikely to make contact unless they either have a problem with what has been written or they are very impressed with what was said. Guest User could be anyone.
So, as you work on your writeups and wonder about the importance of them being well written, comprehensive and factually correct, try not to forget. You never know who is lurking in the shadows wearing the veil of Guest User. A leading professor of history, a high ranking political figure, the artist you wrote about yesterday, the novelist whose book you discussed with us last month, the manager of the band you love so much you've gone on about every album they ever released... the possibilities are endless.
There are many reasons to raise the bar
This is one of them
We are not alone
* Yes, it was Kimmy Robertson, okay?
The detective work of the noder population is quite astounding
The guy who married her was a Brit who met her at a Twin Peaks fan convention.
I'll be making reservations for the next convention Sherilyn Fenn attends, thank you.