Forgive me for shooting from the hip. These are just a few (mostly complete) thoughts.

A short note on personal attacks. From time to time people have disagreements with each other and the staff. While this goes along with being a part of a very diverse group of people, it shouldn't necessarily have to take on a personal nature. Common courtesy should be just that—common. Disagree all you want with someone but please remember to maintain a reasonable level of civility. Personal attacks in the catbox are petty, plain and simple.

On nuking policy, I feel it's worth mentioning that the staff are editors, not graders. There is no set of criteria a writeup must fulfill in order to be nuked nor can a writeup become immune to being nuked through gaining votes or C!s. Though those are used as a guideline they are not the final word on a writeup's survival. It is all left up to the individual editor's discretion and in general we respect one another's decisions. However, if you would like to appeal a deletion, feel free to take it up with a different editor privately. Bear in mind that publicly engaging an editor usually comes off as throwing a tantrum (whether deservedly or not) and in general causes a lot of needless drama. Civility, discretion, wa.

Some want to blame editorial policy for the drop off of activity in recent years but I think it's a minor cause that misses the point. An archaic user interface, a growing plethora of other sites which compete for the same demographic, and a change in how people view the internet in their lives are all a much larger aspect of E2's membership decline. It is not a lack or excess of rigor on the editor's part so much as the fact that fewer new users are signing up (the Site Trajectory is somewhat concerning). As far as priorities, I'd say that those I'd mentioned above are much more important than infighting about editorial policy.

Finally, I have noticed that (especially recently) there has been a lack of communication from the E2 staff. Because we tend to do most of our work through private messages, there often is little record of what we do which can create the feeling that we're hiding things that should be public. The fact that what we do is for the most part banal and mundane makes it easy for us to omit important communication. Considering the number of Ed Logs that have been made in the past few months, I'd say that the majority us are guilty of it and (buzzword alert) a little more transparency wouldn't hurt. So, with that in mind, I will make a log of all the writeups that I nuke along with a brief explanation of why and then post the list at the end of the month.

Seacrest out.

Good morning, ladies and germs. As it starts getting a bit nippy in the evenings, Orion is in the south-east and Jupiter is shining bright in the south-west. It appears that a short-tailed shrew has taken up residence in a pile of computer junk in my office. I figure it's eating the big, hairy spiders that like to invade at this time of year so I'll put up with it. This is a summary of things that crossed my inbox and mind during and preceding the month of September.

System status

No big news on the coding front. What was cooking last month is still on the stove. We're still wrangling the 500/503 error gremlins but the bottom line is that we need more hardware and don't have it.

Social calendar

You can still sneak into the E2 Secret Santa 2010 deal. Never mind the short list of participants, it just hasn't been updated. Whether you take part in it or not, you're invited to come bitch at me in person. Yeah, not everyone gets to advertise their nodermeet in an ed log. I do. But I also feed people. It's amazing how far two loaves of bread and a few fish will stretch when everyone's eating turkey and mash instead.

Interpersonal relationships

We are, broadly speaking, big boys and girls and more or less capable of managing our personal lives. Still, as a site we realise that there are crises of various kinds and in recognition of this fact of life have a permanent cadre of capable staffers on standby in case intervention or mediation is needed or requested.

There is one area in which it is in the interest of the community to poke our nose in someone's affairs and start asking questions. Some actions are good neither for the community nor for the individuals involved. We cannot (and will not) stand for threats, stalking, or harassment, whether it is something that happens on-line or whether it spills over from RL. For the definition of harassment, look it up in the statutes of your jurisdiction--the legal definitions are generally similar around the world.

We can spot the line between a dispute that may be unsightly and uncomfortable but is more or less under control and one that is impacting one of the parties to the point of being a serious burden. Should you be the latter party, you can request and expect the management's assistance. By the time you do so there is a pretty good chance that our vigilant "people persons" will have noticed something or caught a whiff of trouble through the grapevine and will be prepared to act.

Again, we are not interested in managing anyone's personal relationships on the site. We do have a stake in having noders be comfortable about being on the site without feeling personally pressured or threatened by other users.

Nuke this!

Some bitching went down about a month ago about the removal of a reposted writeup critical of the site. I had the usual "heads that should roll" requests in my inbox and a few heated discussions. I had cleared this particular deletion the first time around so heads were not going to roll, period, and quit asking for them to do so. In fact it is the norm and not the exception that editors consult each other and often also check with me before taking action that could prove controversial.

Some time in the past I stated that "bunk is bunk" for editorial purposes. This particularly includes writeups nuked with prejudice a week earlier and reposted without corrections. This particularly includes writeups by users who aim for a catbox confrontation before seeking guidance or dialogue. This includes poorly written writeups that gain 6 C!s. Sometimes C!s and votes indicate popularity of a point presented and bear no relation to the quality of a writeup as such. Bunk is bunk and crappy, unoriginal rants are crappy, unoriginal rants. I'm not big on critiquing works in public but this author decided to flout conventions and decorum and take it public and very loudly so.

The ensuing staff discussion revealed a very clear majority in favour of removing the writeup in question so I'm assured that it wasn't just the three bigwig admins arguing for it and out of touch. I was told that we should be ashamed for ignoring the "will of the people" and making poor use of power or something like that. My response was that perhaps someone made poor use of their C! power and that that was not going to sway me. Apologies to the people who complained but this time you were a smaller than usual vocal minority. As I told someone, I wish they had spent half as much time helping the user improve their writing and arguments as they did cheerleading for poorly presented noding about noding.

Writeups critical of the site or the management? Stick them in a Letter to the Editors. It's your soapbox. Inform yourself. Engage in discussions with staff members, current and former. Don't just post any old shite and expect that our fear of people crying censorship will keep us from axing it because it's shite.

Coming and goings

Oooooot: We thank Wuukiee and eien_meru for their services and will be seeing them around. Life gets busy.

Eeeeeen: Sensing a lack of geeky white American men in their thirties on the staff, we hired vandewal.

You cannot teach creativity--how to become a good writer. But you can help a young writer discover within himself what kind of writer he would like to be.
--Mario Vargas Llosa (coincidentally awarded the Nobel prize six days after I posted this piece)

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