1. What is your name?
Jason Christopher Bonci. I'm italian by name, so the family story
goes that by Italian pronunciation rules, it would be bon-CHI, but
instead it's bon-SEE. I guess it got americanized on the boat. I used to
hate it as a last name, since other people had such normal last names,
but now I don't mind it so much. Also, since I am Italian, you can guess
that I was raised at least culturally catholic, and you'd be correct. A
catholic tradition is choosing a confirmation name around your Junior
year of High school. It's a completely ridiculous experience, and no one
took it seriously, even the instructors. Confirmation names are usually
names from the bible or canonized saints, so I chose the saint that
made the most sense: Saint Nicholas. So toss that in there between my
middle and last name.
2. Tell us something about you, your background, and what you've been
up to lately, particularly if you've purchased any websites this year.
I am a website guy by profession, because, and this is completely
true, I didn't have any website experience before E2. I didn't know
anything about database structure, perl, scalability, any of it. So I
cut my teeth here, left for a while, and I've come home to apply what I
know to help fulfill the promise of where I got started.
Lately, I've been completely focused on the move to Amazon web
services, with the eventual goal that none of my time is taken up in the
operationalization of the website, and that myself (or anybody else)
can continue to add to it. It's important to me that this place not lose
its base cultural tone. In a lot of ways, it is a community without a
website, which if you are in the website building business, is probably
the best problem to have. By day I'm a software engineering lead for a
top-tier software company. I solve problems in web applications there,
so I took on this challenge as a way to expand my skills in the way that
I haven't been able to through my job.
3. How did you discover Everything, and how did you become a noder?
A friend of mine AlexZander,
was hooked on it for a while, and he got me into it. He left after its
initial fad period, but I made a bunch of great friends through the
site, many of whom are still counted among my friends on facebook.
Seriously, it was a great experience to meet the people that I did, and
it's neat to see the interesting lives people have gone on to
4. What made you decide to buy the site?
When I heard it was up for sale, I was planning on creating a site in
Rails that would do something similar. Instead I thought, why not just
buy the site? I can fix it up so that it's self-sufficient, and then we
can figure out where to go from there. It was also slightly a moral
calculation. I was one of about maybe two people outside of nate who
the technical chops and background to run the site without a huge ramp
up time, and I didn't think then (and still don't think) that running
something 100% by committee makes any sense. We've stabilized the
experience, and so it's time to execute the second step of my plan.
5. What plans do you have for the site's future?
About a million things that I've laid out in a few other places, but the themes are:
- Stability and ease of operations
- Explicit authorship
- Better content curation and authoring tools
- Search engine optimization and traffic steering
- Editorship as a core feature of the website, not a special
privilege. This sounds scary on its face, but I have a few great ideas
how to accomplish this.
- Monetization (ie, ad revenue)
- A bridge to the real world; publication, renown and something that you'd want to put on your resume if we do it right.
6. Will you be a fair autocrat or a malicious tyrant, and will you
cultivate a reputation as a Kim Jong Il-style murderous eccentric?
Other than having Kim Jong-Il's golf skills, we share nothing in common. So I'll go with technocrat.
7. What are your favorite writeups -- both your own and from other noders?
To be honest, I am so far in the weeds with code right now that I
haven't truly concerned myself with content in quite a long time. I
don't even read or cast votes any more. I'll sit back and enjoy the
8. Most of your writeups are root logs. When are you finally going to start noding some poetry?
One of my life goals is to write a fiction novel (even though I'm not a particularly huge writer) so some day I'll take a stab at that. I
took a good long look at what I had contributed as a content provider
and realized that if I was to stand as the face of the site, I had to
disavow my crappy content. People shouldn't say to someone "Jay has a
crappy writeup like this, why can't I?".
9. What are your favorite and least favorite memories from E2's history?
The history blurs. 9/10 and 9/11 maybe on both accounts.
10. What keeps you coming back?
I own the place. It's my duty to make sure it keeps standing. And I like the people. The weird, weird people.
11. What does E2 mean to you?
It's an amazing opportunity that we still have to shape the way content is curated on the web. No one does that well.
12. Who are your favorite noders? Which ones do you miss the most?
I miss the ones I haven't met yet. I miss the ones who are gone. I've
got an amazingly dedicated staff who runs content operations, and they
are what keep me going. It's nice to have a group of people truly
believe in your vision of what the place can be. I don't know a lot of
people because I'm always super busy and I don't participate in the
day-to-day stuff in that same sense.
13. Who would play you in the Everything2 movie?
I'm balding so nearly certainly Kevin Spacey.
14. Please fill in the blank: "E2 is to the Internet as ___ is to the world."
A small island nation that is self-sufficient and the people are
misunderstood, but those who are here are happy? So I guess Antigua?
15. Any questions that I didn't ask that I should've?
I'm not particularly sure. I've felt that honesty and accessibility
is the hallmark of any good technocrat, so if someone has missed
something, I'm happy to answer it, but please do not drag me into
discussions over a particular piece of content.
Everything2 Decaversary Interviews
If you have questions or comments, please contact jaybonci or Jet-Poop.