Have you ever played that game called Pachinko? You know when the ball drops pinging and bouncing around all the little metal pegs as it makes its way into a slot? Sometimes I see users like that, whether or not they end up in a winning slot depends on which way they tip the game, but not in the playing games kind of sense; more serious than that.

I’m pretty much an objective oriented kinda person who takes things at face value so when I do contemplate it’s on the evidence presented. It’s also how I manage to not only survive but thrive in the midst of the subjectivity here. Next month it will be four years that I’ve been a noder and I have come slowly (at times utterly reluctantly) to see it as a good thing. I trust E2 and those that run it.

The purpose of this day log is to help the newer users to gain some perspective in where we have been and how we got here. The hope is that it may for a few allay some concerns over recent events so we can move on. Based on several events it is in my opinion that E2 is attracting a higher caliber group of writers as members now, as well as, others who want to join in but may feel strongly opposed to the lax copyright policy and I don’t blame them. This is how they provide for their families, put a roof over their heads and feed their children.

Recently I took a writing class and one of the questions I asked was,
” Is there a writer’s group here in town?”
The answer was categorically no with many classmates acknowledging that writing is a lonely profession.

How lucky we are, I think Pound and Eliot would applaud. Here is a real writer’s paradise with all kinds of feedback and ethics prevent those who make a livlihood by writing from joining in on the fun.

That’s a real dilemma and it would be selfish to leave it unattended. What follows is an edited reply to an e-mail composed last week about my thoughts regarding E2 and Copyright. One caveat; this is from my rather fuzzy headed way gathering of information --

    The E2 Backstory is pretty straightforward. nate created the E2 core and “node ball” I really don’t understand the concept behind a node ball but at the time he thought it was unique enough that the code might be marketable at some point. He wanted something to showcase his idea and E1 was born. /. was still in its formative years and there was a link put there.

    nate, dem bones, hemos (whose house keeps burning down), clampe, theguildedframe, lawnjart, Commander Taco, thefez to name a few off the top of my head may have been all high school buddies. No idea where all this whiz kid brilliance comes from. I asked thefez once what inspired all this creativity. Was it the school, a teacher, parents, each other? He couldn’t say but here they are. It astounds me.

    In the beginning of E1 nate wanted little blurbs of information much like a Reader’s Digest magazine. There could only be two write-ups per node and a character limit to the size of the write-ups at E1. Sometimes you’ll come across what were called “node strings”. If there wasn’t enough room for all we wanted to say we made a new write up and hard linked it on to the next one.

    Dorks and Geeks and Nerds showed up in droves from Slashdot and pretty soon we had all kinds of nuggets of odd little infobytes. It was great! A lot of fun. We were the happiest little noders on the net but there was no way to communicate as a group and for a while we did so through soft links and nodes.

    People began running around claiming,
    “Aha! I have 500 write-ups I’m a K noder!”
    “I have 1000 write-ups I’m an M Noder!”
    so there was competition.

    Some thought we needed a dictionary for our hard links and noded away on words and… oh! the Bible was important too because so much of literature is based on that so Bible verses were noded. This is where “noding for numbers” came from and while the quality may have been poor it laid an important foundation for the future users to come along and add to, or supercede.

    When E2 was born they auto noded Webster_1913 and the KJV, imported E1 and put in the catbox. That was the foundation of this “wonderfully complex beast.” The XP system wasn’t established for quite some time and was so confused by it-- I didn’t like it, but over time I can look back and see how it has encouraged me to become a better-quality writer.

    Why did nate call it Everything? I’ve been told it is because he is a Douglas Adams fan and you may have heard of his book titled “Life the Universe and Everything” About the same time www.h2g2.com came on line or maybe it was already there. I’m not sure if he got the idea from that web site or the ideas seemed to strike at the same time --anyway, they are similar concepts except I’m pretty sure that h2g2 owns the copyrights to what ever is submitted there and there is no cat box, leveling, or XP system. It’s not as close knit as E2 either as far as I can tell. They don’t seem to have this phenomenon of noder meets, but does run on a limited community feedback like a message board and seems to be successful.

    nate seemed to want the site to evolve naturally on its own as far as being self governing so there was a lot of subjectivity until the users began to develop some pride in their work and began to naturally define some FAQ’s. bones wanted information and creative writing. nate runs the coding and bones oversees the users, which I think has been a wise policy. It still pretty much runs on that combined process and from time to time the editors, gods, and noders will make an observation, bones will acknowledge that we have reached a certain point and sometimes the outcome is a policy change or an FAQ doc.

    For example I think it was the observations made in a write up about how rude a user was to a professional writer that has been one of various impetuses for this change. Like many it was sad for me to learn about that and sorry for the potential that was lost.

    Throughout all of these changes there have been some tough times for me personally. I learned early on to detach from the gossip and politics. Even though I may be clueless about a lot of things I know that because of this decision to stay out of all that I am much more relaxed about my writing and can enjoy others and the site because of it.

    Sometimes users decide for whatever reasons it’s no longer in their best interest to write here and leave. I have no idea what is going on behind the scenes but there seems to be desires to have users come who are interested in writing as a serious endeavor, as well as, to get the professional writers who have been attracted to the site to join in.

    Writing more than chatting has consistently been emphasized as the goal and at this time seems to be getting focused in on more intensely by the Admins. If someone is here just to chat or to make trouble or there are sour grapes over these modifications in expectations, it’s unprincipled. Understandably many members of the community don’t want the new users put off by all of this. I have to admire this group of editors for keeping it well balanced and using their integrity.

    There appears to have been a schism among the long-term users in early spring and C2 was created, in a way, to catch those who would predictably fall away. They say it will be run in a “new” way but I can’t figure out what they mean by that at this time. If it goes public I will be interested in seeing how it does. Maybe at some point in the future the sites will dovetail.

    What caught my attention was the comment that E2 will not be able to keep its non profit status so I wondered--is there a goal to make a profit and if so how? One can only guess for now …maybe charge people for a membership? Pull articles and publish them in the hard print media? I don’t know but it’s interesting to watch and hope I may have a place in that. I don’t think there has been any firm decisions made. At any rate I agree, there must be a higher level of journalistic integrity in place.

    As for feeling guilty about fitting in with E2 I encourage you to be kind to yourself. Your flexibility and willingness to learn has been key in getting off on the right foot. Your experience has been one that I wish to see more of. Some of the new users that pop up on the radar jump in only to discover that this may be more than they wanted for a writing experience. E2 is not for everyone and that’s okay.

    For sure E2 is going through another bumpy ride, some more growing pains and the composition of the community is changing again. I think there will always be some sort of community spirit but it will transform and only time will tell us what the outcomes will be. I hope the noder meets will renew in spirit; they contribute so much to E2.

    Some of these comments are only explorative on my thoughts about the recent events against the backdrop of E2’s past. I hope you will keep that in mind. I thank you for your opinion. It’s valuable to me for many reasons and one is that it helps me see through less jaded eyes and forms a personal outlook about the situation. I hope the long amble down memory lane is as helpful for you as well. Let me know what you think.

There you go Dear Reader, I trust it will be enlightening to some. If I’ve made mistakes in my recollections well that’s okay, tell me about it and know that they’re honest ones.
Yours truly.
morven says re August 16, 2003: Much in agreement.
Wuukiee says re August 16, 2003: nicely, nicely put.
arieh says re August 16, 2003 : I think you're largely right, and it's interesting to see some history laid out. E2 seems a little afraid of history sometimes. E2 is moving in the right direction, I'm sure.
The only thing that worries me is a change in the primary E2 paradigm. I came here for the database, not to be a writer. It was - sort of - altruistic, in that there was a mission, a common purpose. Things like the CRT reinforced this idea.
There's an ancient jewish proverb: "it's not for you to finish the job, but neither are you free to quit it".
Somewhere on the way, I started enjoying what I do, wanting to take pleasure in my creations. E2 may attreact writers, but it's much more important that we create them.
I've been thinking for some time about how E2 should develop, and it's nice to see the discussion being had without all the massive recriminations that normally come with it.
Wiccanpiper says re August 16, 2003: Dear Lometa, this is without a doubt the most well-reasoned take on recent events. I hope everyone reads it. Thank you!

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
- Hebrews 13:2