I've never done this before - writing in a daylog that is. I wanted to come back and look at the day I joined E2 and see what was going on. Why'd I write here instead of August 25, 2002? I'm not exactly sure - I wanted a marker of my humble beginnings I could look back at from my humble present. I'm really starting to get the hang of this E2 thing, I think.

I learn a bit more each day. I've heard the sagas of Dman and Wharfinger - seen some great nodes and some that really should be subject to ridicule before being burned at the stake. I learned something the other day too. Dannye and I, who agree entirely on capitalizing node titles by the way, disagreed on one of my writeups - I wrote "The perfect hamburger" which was essentially about the process of making what I consider to be a perfect hamburger. He moved it to hamburger stressing the need for simplicity. I disagreed.

I thought the process and the thing should be in separate writeups because they were very different things, and cited the excellent How to cook the perfect steak as an example. He said that it should be under steak. Well, I went to Quizro who has given me excellent advice, and Quizro equivocated, saying we both had our points but leaning if just a bit toward dannye. I surrendered to their superior E2ned intellects and dropped the matter. In doing so I have learned a bit more about the shape of E2 - and that's fine by me.

I've met some great people, lost only two nodes to Node Heaven (and rightfully so - they stunk!), and have had the immense privilege of writing an E2 FAQ! (E2 FAQ: Prescription medications) I'm really getting to like this place!

My scratchpad is kludged up with half-written writeups, but I also use it to store private lists, so it has become a mess. I wish you could have two or three "working nodes" for stuff in progress - maybe I'll suggest it someday. Perhaps from time to time I'll put some stuff here in the past just to see how it looks. All in all, it's been a great month!

Thoughts on E2Medicine

It was just a few days after the conversion of my prescription FAQ unexpectedly to a superdoc that I thought of the E2Medicine usergroup. I had accepted admission to E2Religion, and had gotten the feel of how it (that usergroup at least) worked. I thought "How great if there was something for medical nodes too! I thought with the wealth of information in the medical field, that it was ripe for a usergroup all its own. Dem Bones was somewhat skeptical, but softened when I explained that it wasn't just for medicine=medication, it was for medicine=the whole field of human health. He had me join E2Science whil I gathered a requisite 10 noders total to join. I looked diligently, searching out nodes with the help of two others excited about the possibility. I found many willing, but not quite as many able, and finally was able to find seven more good noder to join us and make E2Medicine.

One month after I found E2, the usergroup was formed. Since then we have found many more great noders. I am very happy to have each and every one of you as part of the group. I feel that we need a concensus to go on with. You and I, as the charter members of E2Medicine, can, and should, decide its direction for the future. I founded it, and have the responsibility and desire to steer it in a certain direction to a certain goal, but I am not so megamaniacal that I will do that without agreement of our group as it stands right now. What we decide will be the standard from here on out. And so, let me share what I envision for E2Medicine and why.

My reasons for wanting the usergroup were twofold:

  1. To improve the quality and quantity of medical writeups on E2. I knew I had no chance of impacting the content significantly on my own.
  2. A much lesser but still, to me, important goal: to meet and become friends with others who share my interests.
The second would come automatically with the usergroup formation. But I approached the first goal with this logical progression:
  1. I want people to have good reasons for joining E2Medicine and noding medical writeups, therefore
  2. There must be benefits to being a group member who nodes medical items, and
  3. Compliments are fine, encouragement is better, but in the long run, the best encouragement on E2 is votes. That was purposefully intended by its creators and thus, it is designed that way. Therefore,
  4. I should structure the usergroup to provide both a community of noders with a common interest, and provide usergroup members with benefits in the form of increased XP for their writeups.
I struggled with this at first, because within the general structure of E2 nodevertising is discouraged, and expecting upvotes on every writeup, even if they are all of good quality, breeds disappointment. After participating in two Quests, however, and seeing both the quantity and quality of writups that came out of them, I saw that if structured correctly, the same drives that made the Quests so successful could be harnessed to meet the original goals of E2Medicine.

I looked back a bit in the msg archives of E2Science and E2Religion. Yes, people felt comfortable letting others know when they had noded something relating to the usergroups emphasis, and within the group structure, this resulted in beneficial feedback and critiqus, and ultimately in more accurate, better written, and more attractive and readable nodes.

Finally, I took what I had learned, and wrote a list of Do's and Don'ts, and posted them on the E2 Medicine homepage.

Just a few days ago, I looked back at my writeup list and noticed several writeups that I has msg'ed the group about and added to the homenode list, that languished with a low reputation despite being not exciting, but (I thought) decently well-written and solid nodes. I began to look at other users' lists and noticed that the same thing was happening there. This resulted in my recent message encouraging more active voting on medical nodes.

Let me address current E2Medicine members, especially those of you above level three. I was recently a newbie. The drive for approval is a big part of E2, at least in the early stages. We have members across a spectrum of different levels, including some talented and promising newbies. If they see that their medical nodes languish with reputations of +2 or +3 and idiotic "How to pick up girl" and "Here's my disgusting but funny story" nodes get C!'s and wild XP, then what will they be more inclined to write?

And for all of us, I think we can be a solid, cohesive group of noders, supporting each other with encouragement, constructive criticism, our individual areas of knowledge, and our upvotes, without descending into a clique mentality. I deeply appreciate those of you who sounded a measured warning about my message - please be assured I don't want to preside over a back-slapping party any more than you want to participate in one, but I do think the goal of encouraging good medical writeups can be reached reasonably and effectively by doing things within the usergroup that can't be accomplished outside of one - otherwise, what's the purpose? I have boiled down to its essentials what I feel is a good purpose statement for E2Medicine:

Each member of E2Medicine is encouraged to uphold the following standards:
  • Be willing to share your knowledge freely.
  • Be willing to share your medical writeups with the usergroup so it can be improved by group input, or so that the other members can enjoy a well-written node.
  • Be willing to provide positive contructive criticism and accept it in turn.
  • Attempt to review every writeup noded by members of E2Medicine that time and energy permit.
  • Reward good writeups with your votes.
  • Improve fair writeups by helping others improve them, or by improving them if they happen to be yours.
And above all, enjoy yourself!

Let's all ponder this purpose, come to a consensus, and then get on with writing! I do not want to lose one of you over a perceived disagreement with the group's goals, so let's make sure we all can live with E2Medicine as it is, or adjust it until we all agree. We should set the standard now so there's no question later.

Reformation - September 28, 2002

After the thoughtful and insightful comments by BlueDragon and momomom, I have pondered quite a bit about the future of E2M. As a doctor, I understand intimately the pressures of work, family, and personla time, and don't wish to alienate anybody by making them feel pressured to node quantity.

I think a shift in emphasis away from quantity is fine - no usergroup could expect to completely node their field of study in every aspect (except perhaps the E2Dungbeetle usergroup), and so quantity is not really an important issue.

I have been quite pleased with the quality of writeups by each member of our group, and by the response of everyone to which I have given suggestions about additional content or formatting. We have a great group!

If everyone agrees (or fails to disagree) I would like to rewrite the homenod "Purpose" statement to reflect this shift in emphasis. I can't bear to lose another noder of such unusual quality as BD, and don't wish anyone to feel left out. This is, after all, something that should be enjoyable and rewarding.

Thus, I'd like to emphasize quality of writeups and the community aspects of E2Medicine. I'd truly be just as pleased to see one amazingly excellent writeup as a dozen plain ones. Both are needed, and each of us should node toward our strengths, and use the group to hone our skills.

Please msg me privately about your thoughts, or if you have a point that bears discussion within the group, bring it up consisely so as not to flood everyone's message boxes.

Your fearless leader, Chark

See also...
May 20, 2002 (idea) and Writing for a wider audience by BlueDragon
These are well worth considering while formulating writeups