There are two possible problems with Everything that I see right now. (Whether or not these are actually problems depend on how you look at it.)

  • Overlinking: People link every other word. They'll type a sentence such as "And this was a problem during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when JFK attempted to blockade Cuba." "Cuban Missile Crisis" should probably be linked, "JFK" should probably be linked, and "Cuba" should probably be linked. "Blockade", "problem", "during", and "attempted" probably shouldn't be. It's like linking "the".
  • The inability to have threaded discussions can be a real problem. As it stands now, a user can write exactly one writeup per node. When someone else writes a response, most of the time they seem to do a good job of letting readers know what they're talking about. But when someone who has already posted writes a response to a writeup which came later, it has to be put in the original nodelet. This can create a mess.

I'd like to see a kind of topic tree which can come up in response to node requests too, so that you can have one node about Hackers, and one node about Hackers the movie, instead of actually having to call the node "Hackers the movie." This would take some thinking to find an elegant implementation for, though.

I'd like to envision a site like Everything as being a generic repository of information, sort of like the Encyclopedia Galactica which was mentioned. Halcyon&On has been putting a lot of biomedical-related data into the database, for example. To really do a good encyclopedia we'd need all sorts of editorial controls and such so that when new data becomes available on a topic it can be updated without the old cruft laying around. Again, this is an implementation challenge. I don't know an elegant solution for it.


When an archeaologist looks through the archived journals and papers of past times, they find the news and encyclopedias interesting. However, it's the editorials, diary entries, letters, arguments and jokes that provide the most insight into how a people were thinking, feeling and dealing with life.

Back in the 16th century, people weren't writing their letters thinking "ooh, I must make sure I put interesting and factual things in here because someone in the 21st century will be disappointed if I don't." People didn't organise their diaries specifically to put their version of events across to me in the 21st century, they wrote about feelings, hopes, fears, loves and hates.

It doesn't matter where E2 is going, we should just live the experience and stop trying to "debug" our conversations. E2 is not a piece of software with a bug list, we won't get prizes for good design or useful correspondence.

E2 will be useful however it is used.

I was under the impression that the purpose of E2 wasn't so much to have a defined goal, but to see what would happen if people were let loose in this kind of environment; sort of like Night City in William Gibson's Neuromancer

Night City was like a deranged experiment in social Darwinism, designed by a bored researcher who kept one thumb permanently on the fast-forward button. Stop hustling and you sank without a trace, but move too swiftly and you'd break the fragile surface tension of the black market; either way, you were gone, with nothing left of you but some vague memory in the mind of a fixture like Ratz, though heart or lungs or kidneys might survive in the service of some stranger with New Yen for the clinic tanks

It may be excessive quoting, but, there's some figurative meaning there. It may be wrong, but...

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