If you write something and show it to people, it should be worth reading. If a lot of people think it's worth reading, it'll get voted up and possibly even chinged or (speak softly) editor cooled. Do you want that to happen to you? Your fascinating personality may not be enough. Here's how to improve your chances:

  • First, it won't kill you to proofread.

    Check your grammar and spelling. If you can't be bothered to go back and re-read what you've just written, you've got a hell of a nerve asking us to waste our time reading it. When we find spelling and grammar errors in a writeup, it's customary to /msg the user about it, because we all make mistakes -- but if your writeup is riddled with errors, some people may think that you haven't put forth enough effort to deserve the courtesy.

  • Be sure that what you've written makes sense.

    Bear in mind that we are not you, and we can't read your mind. When you read your writeup, you already know what you're trying to say. We don't have that advantage. You are in a position to fill in the parts of your intent that aren't being communicated effectively; we aren't. If you're not communicating, why bother? Are you writing only because your fingers need the exercise? If so, that's fine, but if not, you should be revising absolutely everything you write. Everything, including but not limited to /msg's, grocery lists, your signature, confessions the police made you sign in the back room, anonymous death threats, manifestos, and angry letters to your congressman about the Vegetarian Mind Control Ray Projectors that NASA's building on Saturn with your tax dollars! There are no exceptions.

  • Try to write short, declarative sentences.

    Long, wandering sentences lead to incoherence. Re-read the previous paragraph if you don't believe me. Your writing is bad enough already (and that goes for all of us), so don't make it worse. Divide up your paragraphs by subject while you're at it.

  • Facts matter.

    Don't get your facts wrong. Don't leave facts out, either. If you're doing an informative writeup, tell us what it is, where, when, how (if applicable), and take a good shot at why. A couple of paragraphs should suffice. If you're here, you have access to the web. The web is a convenient tool for the kind of shallow quickie research that I'm describing: We're not demanding a doctoral dissertation. If you're writing about a person, I expect to find out when s/he lived and where, what s/he did that's so special, and why I should care. It's similar for things: Leave me thinking that I know something interesting about it, and with some idea of what the big deal is. That's not a lot to ask; it should take you twenty minutes or half an hour. If you're not doing an "informative" writeup, you should still refrain from presenting works of the imagination as fact. Wanting something to be true doesn't count, not even if you want it really, really, really bad. That even applies to politics, believe it or not.

  • Don't hardlink parts of things.

    Don't give me this "The Call of the Wild" crap. If you're discussing something, provide a link to it, not just to some of the prepositions used in its name. Most of us have seen all the more common prepositions before, and the thrill is gone.

  • Do hardlink anything relevant that is, or ought to be, noded.

    If it's a track listing, hardlink each track. If it's a discography, bibliography, or filmography, hardlink each title. If it's not noded now, it probably will be someday. When that happens, you don't want your writeup to be missing a link to something important. E2 is a work in progress, and it will remain so. Don't pretend that it's finished: Take future additions into account.

  • Gibberish is boring.

    If you think you're being "poetic" or "creative", you're probably writing gibberish. If you're outraged by this suggestion, then you are almost certainly writing gibberish. Gibberish is that which "sounds cool and means nothing", with the added caveat that it doesn't sound anywhere near as cool as you think it does. Trust me on that one. When people read it, it looks different to them than it does to you.

    If you know you're writing gibberish and you think that's okay, you're wrong. We don't have much patience with any of that nonsense about how "everything is subjective". We can tell good writing from crap. I don't care if you think you can "prove" by logic that dog food is cheese: I still won't be putting dog food on my pizza. This is called "common sense".

  • You are boring and your problems are boring.

    Yes, and I'm boring too. Before you reveal your innermost soul in a writeup, stop and visualize yourself listening to a nice old lady telling you about her hip problems and her gall bladder operation. Focus on how exciting that would be. Then ask yourself why your gall bladder is more interesting than hers. If you don't have a good answer, consider writing something that somebody cares about instead.

  • Your best move at all times is to do writeups about Amon Duul II.

    Lots of them! Lyrics, reviews, histories of the band, anything. Anything at all. Amon Duul II writeups get you into heaven faster than the other leading brand. Would I lie to you? Never!

And whatever you're doing, hard link.

These rules are mostly just common sense, but some of the common sense may not seem all that obvious to a new user because it's related to the way Everything2 works. Not one of them is arbitrary (except about Amon Duul II, but that was a joke). Ignoring any one of them will get you downvotes from some people. If you ignore all or most of them, you probably won't be here very long.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.