Disclaimer: This daylog contains state-of-E2 commentary, and it's not particularly well written. Skip unless you care.

(It occurs to me that that sounds sort of whiny and angry, like "Skip this UNLESS YOU CARE ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING TO E2!" That's not what I meant at all. I meant only that I personally don't think opinions about E2 itself are the most interesting of E2's content, and unless you wanted to read something like that, this writeup too could be safely skipped.)

I am perhaps one of the silent majority Kidas mentions (not in so many words) in his daylog today. Although I don't have a lot of writeups or a high level, I have been here (with hiatuses) since E1. Debates about policy, power structure, where the site is going, et cetera, have come and gone. I mostly ignore them. It's in the nature of groups and communities to have power dynamics.(1) It's also in the nature of communities that, when decisions come down from authority, most people interpret the decision and the reasons behind it to suit themselves. The noise will pass, the site will survive (indeed, the reason why we have an authority group making necessary decisions is so that the site will survive) and we can all continue adding content.

So why am I writing a daylog here? I don't really know any other E2 users personally (although many of you have seen me from time to time on #e), and I've never troubled myself with any sort of decision making or even level gaining. But I'm still here. And if people like me are silent, and are a majority, or even a significant chunk of the user base, it might possibly be of interest to someone else to know why I'm still here. (Or not; that's why this is a daylog.)

Now I can post my radical ideas about the nature of E2 which have already occurred to others. Fundamentally, the reason I'm still here is that E2 is unique.

  • E2 is not an online encyclopedia. At least one person has suggested that my nodes would be welcome on Wikipedia or PlanetMath. Certainly these sites have better support for rendering the kind of content I write than E2 does. But E2 is not just a repository of factual information; that's just what I have to contribute to it, so I do.
  • E2 is not a chat room or message board, and we have the much-derided editing system, complete with Klaproth, downvoting and nuke-with-penalty (not any more)(2), to thank for that! Perhaps the amount of bullshit which is tolerated has sunk a little lower than some people want it to, and is still too high for others, but that's not a debate I'm interested in participating in.
  • E2 is not a blog, although it is certainly a cousin to blogs; the emphasis on on-site content and links rather than off-site links means that E2 is largely immune to the "hey, look at that" effect that makes a lot of blogs I've seen look like a crowd of people with very short attention spans, all pointing in the direction of the most recent interesting thing. (I have mixed feelings about the fact, pointed out by someone in the catbox recently, that nodes summarizing CNN headlines tend to show up in "Cool User Picks!" an hour later.)
  • E2 is not (and should not become, and I don't see it becoming) a pretentious writing circle where we read each other our latest masterpieces. I don't believe the comment about "a writer's site for writers" in E2 Copyright Changes was intended to imply this. Anyone who produces original content and puts it on the site is a writer; I think a lot of the furor over this latest policy comes from people confusing content control with people control or social engineering.

What E2 is to me is an induplicable shared repository of personal experience. And no, that doesn't mean "big group diary", although (unlike some people) I believe diary-type things are valuable, and I'm glad to see daylogs providing a space for that alongside the main database. What this site is, much more than a group diary, is a place where people distill their experiences and the things they care about into a form they can share with us. Some of it is humorous bullshit, only significant to a few people; some if it is heavily influenced by personal prejudice or contingent circumstance and would lead you far astray if you took it for objective fact; some of it is just technical data about what they've been thinking about lately. The diversity of things you find here is one of the principal strengths of the site. I'm not sure I'd still be coming back if it weren't for the fact that here you can find everything from Yurei's and riverrun's war stories to information about any number of classic movies to Heisenberg's catalog of humanopathogenic worms.

All right, I'm done talking. That's what I care about; that's why I still come back here; I don't think anyone has done anything recently or will do anything in the near future to seriously damage it; we now return you to your regularly scheduled dayloggers.

1. Recently someone posted a node with a transcript of a very enlightening talk about the power dynamics of long-lived online communities. The talk was titled "A Group is its Own Worst Enemy", by Clay Shirky. You can find it at E2 FAQ: Online Community Dynamics or (this seems to be the authoritative location)

Thanks to BlueDragon for finding this.

2. jessicapierce points out that nuke-with-penalty has been gone for at least a year, perhaps two. That shows you how long it's been since I read Everything University.