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
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
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.