Ok, National Novel Writing Month is over, so I gotta be responsible again. Sigh. In the so-called real world, that means looking for a job (blech). Around here I'll just be doing my usual nitpicking, always for the greater glory of e2. (Whee!)

About Noding Poetry

On December 5, Valrus asked me a question about noding poetry: should a poem on a particular topic be noded under that topic or its own title? Here's my answer:

You should node any poem under its full and complete title, and preferably with explication. You could use my Response to Koan in Sonnet Form as an example of how to node your own poetry - although I should give you the obligatory "poetry always gets downvoted" warning (especially poetry w/no explication). I hope that wasn't too jumbled an answer for you =)

More general advice on noding poetry and/or song lyrics, modified from an email I sent to another new user a month or so ago, includes: give your readers a little explication, for example a review or analysis of the work in question, the reasons you think it's worth putting on e2, etc. This goes for your own work, but especially that of others, because otherwise we could get in a lot of trouble for copyright violation or some such. It's important to always identify the author of a work, otherwise it seems kind of random or might even be interpreted as plagiarism. I'm especially aware of and sensitive to the problem of poetry and lyrics with nothing else, because I've been going over my old writeups for some time, and a lot of them are basically cut-and-paste song lyrics. I'm trying to fix that, but in the meantime I've been messaging lots of users trying to encourage them not to make my mistakes, and have a big long list of writeups of mine that need updating.

See Editor Log: November 2002 by Lucy-S for strong opinions about copyright and legality and suchforth. She suggests (and I strongly agree) that unless you know for sure that a piece is freely reprintable, it's a good idea to contact the author of any poetry, short stories, articles, or song lyrics you node and ask them for permission to put their work on e2. Check out mat catastrophe's All-purpose, handy-dandy Copyright Release/Permission Request Form for an example of what you could do. Be polite, explain that it's a noncommercial use and good publicity or whatnot. Make it into a fan letter! Ask questions and maybe get some inside info that'll make your writeup that much better! Show the author you care about the piece. It's good manners, plus once you've got the word that it's okay, you can add a little "reproduced by permission" note at the bottom of your writeup, and everybody wins. Obviously this only applies to living authors, but whatever research you do to track down a writer's contact information (Lucy-S points out that "a large number of poets have teaching gigs at universities, so most of them have email") should answer any questions of life or death you may have. (See: Mistakes which can be corrected by 5 minutes of research on the Web). Otherwise, you'll have to do a little more research to find out who you should be getting in touch with. And any extra information (biographical, critical, or other) you should happen across during this process is an added bonus of node fodder. Did I mention that everybody wins?

If and only if you don't hear back and you make multiple attempts to do the right thing, you can post a piece with a disclaimer like: "Every attempt was made to contact the author of this poem to obtain reprint permission. No copyright violation is intended in its noncommercial use here." (Words of wisdom courtesy Lucy-S again.) You might want to add in a promise to remove a piece if you hear back from the author and they don't give you permission, because to do otherwise would be really rude, not to mention illegal. But chances are if you're polite and respectful about asking permission, you'll get it eventually, and then you can update the writeup disclaimer to the happy "permission granted" kind.

Beyond that, my main advice is to explicate, explicate, explicate! Tell us who the author is and maybe give us some of that biographical information mentioned earlier. Tell us where the piece has been published, why it's famous or special to you, and any other fun facts you care to give. Oh, and for the love of whatever you love, read How to format poems and simple HTML if you haven't already! Wharfinger's Linebreaker is also available for help, and it rocks muchly, so use it!


  • Fatboy Slim (person) by ryano because it was superseded by Zero Signal's writeup
  • Fatboy Slim (person) by WarMachine because it was superseded by Zero Signal's writeup
  • David Brin (person) by adrianthomas because it was factually incorrect - the author's most famous/acclaimed series is called Uplift/Uplift Series, not "uprising". I've left a link to the node title in the hope of luring someone into posting a good biography of the author. Update 8 December 2002: My thanks to dg, who fulfilled this request in record time.
  • Like Paying a Stripper with Susan B Anthony Dollars (idea) by Exarch because I talked it over and the user said I could go ahead and remove it. The writeup had more than a few "let's pretend all feminists are anti-sex bitches and all sex work is debasing and objectifying to all women everywhere" issues, AND didn't even mention the practical difficulties of the activity in question!
  • Declawing your cat by StormHunter because it was wrong (by which I mean factually incorrect as well as personally offensive to me for other reasons) and getting rightly downvoted to hell. Cruel and unusual mutilation should not replace taking the time and care to properly train a pet. A wiser head than mine prevailed on this one and undid my kill. I still want to see a good writeup describing the actual surgical procedure, to balance all the opinions.
  • Epiphany (thing) by Quizro because I talked to Quizro and he agreed that his writeup was superseded by LaggedyAnne's writeup, although he did have a few suggestions for improving hers. Yay! Also, the Epiphany node in general is kind of a mess but I'm working on it and Quiz is helping and life is good.
  • Jane Roe (person) by rfc1394 because it should have been under Henry Wade but the user already has a writeup there.
  • E2 Nuke Request (idea) by arcanamundi because that's what you do with a nuke request.
  • Believe (thing) by arcanamundi by nuke request
  • E2 Nuke Request (idea) by Haschel47 because the writeup requested deleted had already been removed.
  • July 17, 2001 (thing) by bol by the author's personal request.
  • July 18, 2001 (thing) by bol, also by the author's request to me.
  • mondagreen (idea) by rfc1394 because more or less the exact same thing is noded at mondegreen. Fled user audit continues...
  • mondagreen (idea) by Illumina because it's superseded by the writeups at mondegreen.


  • mondagreen because the topic is discussed at greater length in (and better served by) writeups at mondegreen.


If I point out a typo in your writeup, it's probably a good idea to go through it and check if I missed anything, because chances are I only read through once and pointed out the ones that most offended the anal-retentive English teacher who lives in my forebrain. And like it says on my homenode, I only suggest corrections to writeups that are worth improving.... I'm trying to help. As always, I prefer to /msg users and have them correct their own grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting. The exception are a few folks who've given me or the editorial staff as a whole carte blanche to fix their textual errors, and good writeups by users who haven't been around for a few months; I'll go in and fix those myself, although I try to leave messages and Editor Log entries when I do any meddling in those, just in case.

  • Fixed a little typo in paragraph 2 of wharfinger's David H. Souter (user has not been seen in 9.8 months)
  • Fixed some typos in Arrachnia's Depo-Provera (user has not been seen in 5.6 months)
  • Added formatting and pipe links to Stejar's Confutatis Maledictus (user has not been seen in 1.8 years; a fled user audit is in progress.)
  • Fixed a typo and added P tags to Tilyrna's meson (user has not been seen in 2.4 years, which probably means it's time for more fled user node audit fun).
  • I messaged I'm The Pumpkin King about a typo in Conservative leaders misappropriate Christian values in October, when the user had not been seen for about 3 months. Now I'm following up on this stuff (I occasionally use the cc feature on the blab! button to make records of my editor-type comments so I can keep track of what changes I've requested) I see no change and the user still isn't around. Hence, I went in and fixed it myself, and closed some P tags while I was at it.
  • Corrected typos and paragraph tag usage in Stejar's Christmas (fled user audit complete).
  • Fixed some formatting in rfc1394's excellent Bowers v. Hardwick (idea) writeup (user has not been seen in 5.3 months, and it's a timely piece, so...)
  • Added an "e" to Tank Girl by Malikon, who has not been around in... um, ever? The fled user in question has been adequately audited, but I would nonetheless love for someone to write up this fine film before I do it.