Everything2 was the BEST SITE ON THE WHOLE INTERNET for SEVEN GODDAMN YEARS, until this new idiot got ahold of it and tried to change it into My5p4C3 for the sake of his own stupid greed!
Moral of the story: If you treat everyone like trash, trash WILL be all that you have left! So long, and thanks for all the dolphin-safe tuna!
Update 4/25/2009 - What killed Everything2?
After storming out of here in a huff a year ago, I have just now dropped by out of curiosity, and discovered my login still active. And I have also noticed that the site is damn near covered in spiderwebs and dust - it seems like many, many people got pissed and left about the same time I did. Today's poll: "Userbase shrinkage by dannye - Why do you think there are fewer active users than in the past at E2?" is just a great indicator. Frustratingly, I can't pick multiple answers, so I just checked "problems with the management". That fit best - the final straw for me was when management started panicking about the shrinking userbase and began making shotgun, stupid changes which did nothing to grow the site and annoyed the people who were already here.
So, to get on with it:
Face it, there are a zillion websites where you can go, submit content, and get feedback. I often used to say of E2 that it was the first "Web 2.0" website - my apologies for using the W-word, but it fits here.
2. Inability to fix old write-ups.
Consider the Linux node, for instance. It belongs in a tomb in Egypt wrapped in bandages. Its most recent write-up was in 2001. The distributions listed are " Debian Mandrake RedHat Corel Slackware SuSE Caldera TurboLinux" - three of those are dead, two have changed their name. There's no way to fix this. There's no way to add new write-ups. There's no way to edit the write-ups that are there. Where are the original authors?
3. Shitty attitudes.
Of course, idiots and trolls are all over the web. That's life. But when an overwhelming majority of your experience on a site is getting flamed, flamed, and flamed no matter what you do, it gets tiresome. You got your new users, alright! You got the rejects from 4chan, Reddit, and MySpace.
4. The sense of fun was lost.
In creating a user-submitted content site, you can go one of two ways: you can be SERIOUS and FORMAL, like Wikipedia. Or you can be LOOSE and FUN, like TVTropes.org. Everything2 is prevented from being a formal, serious site by the lack of fact-checking and the inability to correct old, stale write-ups, and it is also prevented from being a fun site by trying to discourage levity on every front. For instance, I made a game out of rescuing nodeshells. Every time I dared mention that I had written a write-up as a challenge to fill a nodeshell that had a tricky title, I got flamed and softlinked to "Nobody cares if it was a nodeshell rescue".
5. Massive inconsistency.
One problem with a site that's gone on this long is that when you change the rules, you have a bunch of old write-ups from the time when the new rule didn't exist. There's a whole bunch of "why was it OK for him but not me?" going on. The inconsistency also came from site management being unable to make up their minds whether they wanted to monetize the site and make a business out of it, or keep it as a "just for fun" diversion run on a shoestring.
6. Navel gazing.
When the majority of a site's content revolves around itself, it has jumped the shark. E2 was able to survive as it did because it didn't take itself so seriously, and so the quirks and flaws were part of its charm. But when E2 suddenly shifted into "we have to keep up with the Jones'" mode, it began acting like a has-been starlet who has to keep getting facelifts and Botox injections. This led to a lot of fights over the changes, and the arguments and counter-arguments, and the nodes written to respond with yet another argument about how E2 was/wasn't/is/isn't friendly/hostile to new/old/intermediate users. When all a site has left to talk about is its own problems, it's become a bore.
7. Poor motivations.
One thing, I really got tired of working my way up to enough XP to get the next level, only to see the XP rules get changed yet again, putting me farther away from my goal. Does "who moved my cheese?" mean anything to you? Another great way to motivate users is to let them profit more directly from their involvement, by methods such as letting them have a portfolio, adding a footer that lets them link to their own site, or even getting a piece of ad revenue. I'm a freelance writer and designer myself, and I'm doing much better on sites like DeviantArt, which gives me the same benefits I used to get from E2, plus exposure for my work and traffic to my website, and the ability to submit anything from text to movies.
8. Technical issues.
Please, for God's sake, whose idea was it to build this monolith out of spaghetti-code Perl and host it on a server that runs on a AAA-battery? Every time I heard the response to technical problems, it was "the code base is too difficult to modify" or "we ran out of money". Hey, there's thousands of people out there who have a website that gets as much traffic as E2 now, and they use Wordpress and some PHP, code it all themselves (ONE person!) and host it for less than $100/month (cigarette money for some!). We don't want excuses, we want SOLUTIONS SOLUTIONS SOLUTIONS, or get the FUCK out of the way and let somebody who can do your job do it. I could go to RentACoder.com today and get a better website built in three days for $500.
9. Shitty attitudes from management.
Most recent news on the front page shows exactly what I mean. "we've decided to reopen Suggestions for E2. It's now for small things only, though. Don't try to tell us to restructure the entire way in which e2 is built. You can tell us that we need to change the colour of the drapes or that we need a new welcome mat. Simple things only." No shit? So you're going to open the floor to suggestions, but only the suggestions on your approved list? Where the FUCK did you people get your user policy from, Communist China?
Thanks for listening, brick wall! Enjoy your last gasping, struggling breaths as you sink into the tarpit. You did it to yourself.