How to make everything2 a better place

OK, so e2 is a great place already. It has a constant, dedicated user base. It is full of entertaining or interesting or educational writeups. And it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. So how, you ask, can it be a better place? Well, for starters, the reason it is such a great place already begins with the users. So, if we increase the users, we increase the greatness (as you marvel at my superior logic, remember to close your mouth. It is hard to look like the sexy cools with drool stains on your shirt, and we have a strict policy of only letting the sexy cools in the door). But it isn't enough to just get more users. We need to keep those users, and keep it interesting for the folks already here. (You might not believe that a room full of the sexy cools can get stale, but I've seen it happen *cough cough you two know what I'm talking about cough cough cough*). So break out your personalized e2 sexy cools emo reading glasses and follow along as I list seven suggestions for making everything2 a better place. (Sorry about the "sexy cools" but I've been watching a lot of The Penguins of Madagascar with my daughter, and the lemur king's voice is stuck in my head).

Do it from the top and from the bottom!

Everyday we get a pile of votes. (At least you probably do, I lost that ability a while back in a little temper tantrum and I'm slowly trying to regain it). Coincidently, every day new writeups appear for our reading pleasure. Now, some venerable members might say XP doesn't matter and not to concern yourself with it (and woe unto you if you do, etc. etc.) but deep down we all secretly enjoy seeing those little black messages when we log on that tells us someone voted on our writing. So let's use those votes and spread some joy. When you first log on, use a couple of votes on the top of the "New Writeups" list and a couple on the bottom. This way, every writer is getting at least a little feedback.

Even better, if you have the time, send one or two comments to a writer. Especially keep in mind new writers, who benefit the most from feedback early and often.

Now I'm not recommending that you push niceness or anything like that, (though if you do, that would be super). If you see something that really needs to go away, downvote it! If you see some kind of egregious error, point it out! But in all cases, try to contact the author with a brief message. This helps everyone improve without needlessly driving folks away.

Do it with strangers, and do it with friends!

By the very fact that you're reading this, you must be awesome. Everything2 attracts awesome people like Butterfinger Mcflurry attracts controversy, like William Shatner attracts monkeys, and like Ninjagirls attract cameras. Which is to say, a lot! And because you're awesome, you probably have awesome friends. So introduce them to e2, and help increase our specific gravity of awesomeness. With enough people, everything2 will become the nexus of all that is awesome on the Internet, and we will be the gatekeepers of electronic culture. OK, that last part might be a little bit of a stretch, but this place would be even better if everyone brought a friend. So, if you haven't done so already, introduce one of your friends to the site.

Everything2 is filled with a lot of great people, people who I had never met before. This reminded me that there is a sea of bright, interesting, creative people out there just waiting to be bumped into, or conversed with, or to wake up in an Iowa cornfield together. So let's take a chance on humanity (something I'm generally reluctant to do) and introduce a stranger to E2. How, you might ask? Remember, we are generally a creative group, so be creative! Think about the kind of people you would like to see writing here, and think about where those people are found. Do you like to watch horror movies and read Rue Morgue? Then create some handmade inserts with the site's address and stuff them into some copies on the shelf at the local bookstore. Feeling mischievous? Get creative with some graffiti! Make yourself an everything2 T-shirt, or shave the address into the side of a stray dog, just get it out there somehow! (Disclaimer: the management of e2 and Monkeylover do not endorse the mistreatment of animals in any way. Also stray dogs may have rabies or other communicable diseases and should not be handled. That last bit was just an example to get the creative juices flowing. It isn't like I have ever stolen a dog. Or returned one to a different home. Or anything like that.)

Do it by yourself!

Want to help make everything2 better but feeling particularly antisocial or uncreative? No worries, you can improve the site on your own. In fact, you can do it in a few ways:

  • Write something. Then write something else. Then do it again. Wash, rinse, repeat. This place is focused on writing, and the number one way to make it better is to write more. Write a daylog. Write a haiku. Write a recipe, or a love story, or a biography of Traci Lords. Put those crazy thoughts into words, and good things will happen!
  • Update your homenode. Behind all of the wonderful writing on this website is a group of interesting people. That includes you (remember, you're sexy cools). And your homenode is there to really display what makes you you, to pull the curtain back a little and let everyone see the Wizard. And it cannot be downvoted! I cannot count the times I have felt blue or bummed and just spent time drifting through people's homenodes. It always cheers me up, either because of the witty in-jokes or comforting anecdotes or just seeing that there are people out there who share my sometimes esoteric interest. Hell, Lometa alone almost single-handedly got me through a rough summer without knowing it by some of the inspirational things on her homenode.
  • Improve an old writeup of your own. Sometimes this is easy and obvious, such as when a user points out a misspelled word or grammatical error. Other times, it is a matter of reading through our earlier writing and thinking, I can make this better. Generally, we can always improve our earlier work. So if you're not feeling particularly inspired to write something new, just take a few moments and edit something old. Make it better, and in doing so you will make the whole place better.

Do it with a group!

At least some of us have had the experience of being on the wrong end of a clique. But here at everything2, it is possible to be in one without being an elitist snob or superior jerk. (Hey, we're all superior already. Only the extremely superior or extremely slow would still spend time on a website that is text-based and driven by Perl underneath. I prefer to lean toward the extremely superior option.) So don't be afraid to ask to join a group, or even start one yourself. Never seen any groups on e2? Then go here and take a look at the list. There are groups for writing about comic books, or being Christian, or being one of her Majesty's subjects. There are social groups who spend their time with pantyhose and katanas. Joining a group helps to focus your writing in a particular direction, and provides a ready-made review group to vote and comment on your work.

Do it everyday!

It's easier than ever to have constant access to the Internet (Ipads, Ipods, smartphones, etc.) and many people are no longer constrained to getting online late in the evening or on the weekend. Personally, it is extremely rare for me to use my desktop computer to access everything2. Instead, I browse through everyone's writing while sitting on the toilet, or standing in the kitchen with my daughter as she snacks, or sitting on the toilet again (I spend a lot of time in there!). This availability has made it easier and easier to regularly check in to the site, even if it's only for a moment or two. It can take less than a minute to read an article and vote on it. It can take less than a minute to answer a message from a user or make a recommendation to someone new. Even the most limited participation, when it is happening every day, makes everything2 a better place. So the next time you're waiting in a long line, or riding on the train, or any other mundane moments throughout the day, check-in to E2.

Do it in creative and unexpected ways!

Most of the suggestions listed above are obvious or directly related to users and their writings. But there are other ways to improve the everything2 experience. Send a postcard to a user. Even though the EMAR is no longer maintained, some of those addresses are still valid. And a few users have posted current addresses at the successor to EMAR, which can be found here. Other users just post their address on their homenode. If you come across one, drop them a postcard. We have been responsible for a lot of mail here, just ask Segnbora-t!

Feeling crafty? Then create your own postcard, or knit a sweater, or something else that is everything2 themed. Participate in one of the secret Santa rings. Attend, or even better, host, a nodermeet.

In summary, just doing a few of these suggestions can make everyone's experience here that much better. Including your own!

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