The following was written by Mr. Hotel in response to an administrative discussion on how to handle nodeshell deletion. It best reflects the official attitude towards the nodeshell on E2. Please keep in mind the subjective nature of the nodeshell - one person's nodeshell treasure is often the next person's nodeshell trash. They come, they go ... we endure. Have fun with them.
- dem bones
use nodeshells for:
- opening dead links in writeups that seem particularily interesting
- providing a gateway from one node (and frame of thought) to another
- preserving a line of prose or lyric that I find intriguing
- leaving a message to the future of the database
...and for a bunch of other reasons that don't immediately come to mind, but I'd imagine my reasons are, on the whole, the same reasons others create and don't fill them. We shouldn't seem obsessed with filling these gaps. Or even calling them gaps. Most of the gaps in the database aren't even nodeshells yet.
While mindful of the fleeting nature of nodeshells, I'm not entirely sure why one would embark on a shell deletion spree. Unless of course the shells were particularily useless (windows error codes, etc) or offensive, but hasn't that always been the guideline? I don't think the signal-to-noise ratio has anything to do with it: nodeshells don't improve your numbers or damage the functionality of the database, so why does nodeshell creation vs. writeup creation enter into it?
Maybe I'm just in full on pacifist hippie mode, but nodeshells strike me as the least useful thing in the database to be expending time and thought eradicating or culling. There are exceptions, but I don't think nodeshells are the non-content that they're purported to be. Potential content is more accurate, but don't you ever run across a nodeshell and go, "No one could possibly fill this to any degree of satisfaction. It stays as is?"
Which is why I disagree with the nodeshelling as art being a dead link (a casual observer may be interested, and sign up to fill the shell), or nodeshelling as commentary being vandalism (especially since e2 offers no form of rebuttal outside of nodeshells and soft links).
Bah, I'm ranting. I think my point is: nodeshells are as valid, contentwise, as writeups. From an editorial standpoint, they should be treated as such. Does this offer content? Does this inspire content? Does this detract from the functionality and readability of the database? Does this facilitate my e2 experience? If your answer is yes, yes, no, or yes (respectively), then why delete it?
Oftentimes, I will find a node through a nodeshell that I wouldn't have found except through random nodes. And that's a great thing.
To me, it's like nodeshells are the pieces of thoughts I have before having a complete thought. Without them, my thought process would halt. Seemingly minor but completely essential. So there's noise, but sometimes noise becomes music.