(I am of the opinion that most daylogs of the past couple years are too long. Hello, I'm the pot, you must be the kettle, and my, isn't it dark out.)
No, seriously, discussion is good.
I meant to post my opinions yesterday, but it's probably better that we got panamaus' and golFUR's further opinions. They help define the opposition, clarify the conflict.
The reason I didn't post yesterday is... actually relevant to this. I was writing a livejournal post. See, there's this "5 questions" interview meme going around over there. One of us rambles on about whatever personal issues or pop culture junk a friend wants to quiz us about, and then their friends quiz them. It's been going on for a few weeks and it's surprisingly fun.
What I'm saying is, it's as GTKY as you can get and around here it would definitely be shunted into the daylogs. It's not "important" to the web as a whole. It's only interesting to strangers if strangers decide they find it interesting. But we find it compelling and we're gonna keep doing it.
The relevance is, over 90% of my livejournal friends are people I met through E2, and that's about sixty people. In most cases, people I've traveled to see multiple times and get drunk and smoke bowls with, but there's some I know just through mutual respect of writing.
So, there's a great deal of people who simply no longer feel welcome here. We'll get into why a little later.
First, everybody needs to gain some proper perspective.
Why do I consider myself the Mr. Hotshit McGod's-Gift-to-E2 who's entitled to provide it?
- I'm one of the few 2001 people who still checks in.
- I still come here EVERY DAY and read and vote (well, every weekday), not just every few months.
- I've never been an editor or a god. I don't even know how to code.
- I've met more noders than everyone, I believe, except for dann and panamaus.
- I run the gathering node - because I did the research and took the responsibility (because I cared about it like crazy) - so I've seen that phenomenon rise and fall.
Okay? All right? Good, yes? Ready to learn things?
The problem with panamaus' daylog is he doesn't want to offend anybody.
Now let's take a little trip back in time to March 2005, when panamaus posted his editor log that got all the attention.
Those of you who have joined in the past couple years might be wondering, "Oh, so that's around when the problems started?" No, that's when the systemic problems which were apparent in early 2003 had UNDENIABLY SOLIDIFIED. And/or, when I was traveling around the country in 2002 shaking hands and crashing on floors, most of my new friends had ALREADY given up contributing on a regular basis, because they did not find the slightest merit (see what I did there?) in the idea of quality over quantity. Work over fun.
(Now, obviously it's a sliding scale, and most of the people I'm still really close with wrote a lot of things I think are awesome and which they themselves are proud of, but:)
The cumulative effect from disenchanted noders upon seeing a respected member of the administration calmly explain, "I honestly believe this ship is sinking and I fear we may need to stop using all our buckets as percussion instruments," was a dogpile of praise not seen since September 11th. If I remember correctly, it achieved 70 upvotes and 19 C!s in under an hour. Some people broke a fled status of many months just to ching it. The IRC channel went bananas (not that it's a far trip), and you could tell that behind the scenes there was a flood of emails, IMs, even people literally turning around and yelling to their roommates, "Hey, check this out! FINALLY!!!"
However, the next day panamaus removed the editor log because of hurt feelings. (He and I have talked about this at length; please don't think I'm guessing at his motives.) I believe this was unwise. Had it remained, it could have represented a watershed moment in our history. Assuming each one of those upvotes symbolizes not just "I believe this is a valid lucid viewpoint which belongs here" but "I wholeheartedly agree", we seemed to have crystal clear evidence that the vast majority of our userbase was of the consensus that we had taken a fatal wrong turn. A sea of raised middle fingers.
Now, did those seventy people organize collectively and do anything creative with their angst? Did they run over to C2 and cajole dann into coding in blackjack and hookers? Did they take over this place with their sheer numbers and shiny charisma?
No, they didn't. Why? Well, there are a lot of personal reasons, but the big one I see is: When a band you love sells out or changes their style or mellows in their old age, you don't keep going to the shows and booing the whole time. You just ignore what they're doing and seethe every time somebody mentions their name. Because you FUCKING HATE them so much now you can't even think straight.
These people make fun of us all the time, did you know that? They think we're ridiculous. When I tell people I still log in every day, I get the same looks as when I say I saw The Phantom Menace seven times in the theater. No one's even allowed to mention the name of this site in #everything, which is supposed to be our official IRC channel. That's how big of a sore spot it is, this perceived betrayal.
"Fled" noders is a misleading term. They didn't run screaming out of fear of research. Call them "angered" or "saddened" or "perplexed" or, best I think, "disgusted".
The problem with golFUR's daylog is he has no idea what he's talking about.
He's "sick of this shit"? Excellent! I welcome him to the E2 I remember, where people argued constantly and passionately!
Respectfully, he's ignorant.
Seriously, respectfully. It's not his fault. His first login date is October 2004. Everything had been settled long before that. What is he supposed to do, get in a time machine? Most people reading this simply don't know what it used to be like here.
I use golFUR as a spokesman because he posted, but I've seen this same viewpoint from many fine contributors here like TheDeadGuy and paraclete and kthejoker and even Lord Brawl: They say "This site is about the writing, it was ALWAYS about the writing, anyone who doesn't get that is a lazy whiner, I really don't see what the problem is blah blah blah this is how I fulfill my 3000 word minimum." The problem is, it WASN'T always about the quality or the length. We had way more class clowns than overachievers, and even the overachievers wanted to prove they were cool.
I'm tempted to make a long list of specific personalities that I miss, but for right now, why don't you just go to my homenode after you're done here and click on a random link from the top of the Trapezoid of Friendship. Actually, you know what, so many people had all their stuff nuked (out of spite!) when they left that this tip is only ideal for editors who can peer into Node Heavens.
I need to convey an impression. Not just of the old writeups, but of the environment which gave birth to them. The way the catbox used to be, the way editorial policy used to be, the way daylogs used to be, the way nodeshells used to be, the way softlinks used to be. All of these nurtured (or negatively reinforced) the process, inspiring in different ways, but the system has fallen apart.
To properly convey this impression will take much time and care, and this writeup is already too long.
If you've read this far, especially if you have no idea who I am, I thank you. I promise I don't hate you and I'm not angry at you. I stick around, like panamaus, because I believe there's hope for the future (but also because I haven't finished digging through everything from the past). You deserve to know the ugly truth.
I want to leave you with two quick interrelated thoughts.
ALL GREAT NODERS SUCKED WHEN THEY STARTED.
One of the things I do, because I'm bizarrely OCD, is I vote tag, meaning I pick a person and read EVERYTHING that person has written. No one knocks anyone's socks off at first. The desire to improve and impress is a gradual impulse that takes time to blossom.
ONE CANNOT SEPARATE WHEAT FROM CHAFF WITHOUT CHAFF.
When we tightened submission standards, all we did was alienate our strongest enthusiasts. Every single piece in New Writeups isn't meant to be outstanding. Duh, that's what C!ed Writeups is for.
I really hope I was not too hard on you guys, but I want this topic to remain open to debate and I'd rather ruffle too many feathers than none.