Writeup does not mean Reply

Once upon a time on E2, there was a node with the above title. It hasn't been around for awhile, so I can't reliably report on the discussion formerly contained therein --- but I can tell y'all what that phrase means to me.

Simply stated, it's my opinion that an E2 writeup should stand on its own. Writeups that exist only in response to other writeups (hereafter abbreviated as "reply writeups") are one of my personal pet peeves on E2. At their worst, they're nasty personal attacks about politics or other controversial topics, rendered cryptic, if not outright meaningless by vague references to other writeups that no longer exist. At best, they're one of the reasons that "getting to know you" nodes get softlocked. Either way, I like to think we can do better.

So, what does this mean in practical terms? Well, if I do anything for you by noding as I do, here's some things you can do for me.

  1. If at all possible, don't create writeups that reply to other writeups. If you read something that inspires this urge, write a ranting reply on your Scratch Pad and let it sit there for a few days. Chances are it won't look so good after you cool off a little, but if nothing else you may be glad you got the rant out of your system.

  2. If you absolutely must create a writeup that replies to another, please make it stand on its own. Namely, summarize whatever point it is you're responding to in the other writeup, so that if that first writeup gets deleted, yours isn't rendered completely meaningless.

  3. If you absolutely must create a writeup that replies to another, please also try to include some new information in there. Don't waste our time with nothing more than "No, you're wrong."

  4. Don't create a writeup that begins "Username:" and proceeds to address another user's writeup. Even if you don't mean it as a personal attack, it's likely to be read as such --- which is to say you'll look like a jerk. It also looks really dumb when the writeup you're replying to disappears (as writeups inflammatory enough to inspire replies are oft wont to do).

  5. For the love of whatever you love, don't ever create one of those godforsaken writeups that quotes another writeup in its entirety and refutes it point by point. It's possibly the only thing uglier than the "Username:" writeup format (with which it is sometimes combined) and looks even worse when the writeup you're replying to disappears.

  6. Check back on your reply writeups every so often to make sure the writeup you're addressing is still around. Although in general it's good noding for the ages to review your old writeups from time to time, it's especially important with reply writeups, since they're in some ways more time-sensitive than other, less context-dependent writings on E2.

Now, these are just my personal recommendations. Not everybody on this site agrees with me on this topic; as I mentioned earlier, useless reply writeups are a pet peeve of mine, so I feel strongly about them --- hence this editor log. I don't like writeups that reply to writeups that no longer exist, especially when they get personal or don't bother to make it clear exactly what it is they're replying to. If reply writeups contribute something new to the database, I try to encourage their authors to rewrite them to stand on their own, but usually I downvote them, and they make up a high percentage of the writeups I delete. Consider yourselves warned, I guess. Other discussions of this topic can be found at Everything is NOT a BBS, Everything as a discussion forum, GTKY, and the ever-popular Node for the Ages. Thank you for your attention.

I now return you to your regularly-scheduled usual boring edlog stuff:


As always, if you don't like seeing your ex-writeups in my editor logs, please drop me a /msg and I'll remove the deletion record.

  • Why neither the French nor the Italians are the worst military nation (idea) by ilteroi because a writeup should stand on its own, like I wrote above, and this one had already attracted more than its fair share of downvotes.
  • Navy SEALs (thing) by pec06 because it was superseded by another writeup. User has not ever been seen on E2, so it may be that time again.
  • Navy SEALs (idea) by mcSey because pec06's writeup was superseded, and this made no sense without its predecessor.
  • Navy SEALs (idea) by NPC because pec06's writeup was superseded and this made no sense without its predecessor. User has not been on E2 in over a year.
  • Why people dont stay christian (idea) by Fearing Sanity because it was misspelled, cited a definition without a source, and more. (I sent the author a long private /msg with suggestions and advice). Filed nodeshell deletion request as well. Sigh. Your first writeup will be nuked: Don't give up leaps to mind.
  • Garden (thing) by Girlface because the correct title of the song is Garden of Simple and there's already a writeup about it there.
  • What's the difference between an oboe and a bassoon? (idea) by emil greer because a writeup should contain more information than a restatement of the node title.
  • seeing the world in your own backyard (thing) by Hunnybee because it was unformattted and often misspelled and incorrectly punctuated, and the author hasn't been around in years so I couldn't ask for corrections.
  • Dating in High School (idea) by King Francis because it was unformatted, unlinked, and frequently misspelled. I /msged the author to suggest a reading of E2 Quick Start, if not Everything University.
  • Worm Dancing (idea) by Sporus because there was something weird going on with the text and formatting. The author has not been seen in 8 months, but Klaproth said it would be okay to resubmit an edited version.
  • Deutsch Bahn (thing) by mhwang because it was superseded by mawa's writeup. Author has never been seen on e2.

Editor Cooled

Yeah, I know, I haven't editor cooled anything in about a million years. For awhile, it felt like all the really good nodes were taken, or maybe I wasn't reading in any of the right places, or.... I don't know! Anyway, that feeling's gone this month, I tell you what. Here's what I think's the cream of the crop.


Like it says on my homenode, if I write you with a suggestion about your writeup, it's a compliment. I don't bother trying to edit writeups unless I think they're worth improving. That said, I prefer to /msg users with correction requests rather than alter anyone's text myself, because I think fixing your own mistakes can be a valuable learning experience. It also improves your chances of finding typos I overlooked. I will make cosmetic edits (spelling, punctuation, formatting) in writeups by users who haven't been on E2 in 3 or more months, since they're not likely to reply to my /msg requests in a timely way. Finally, there are a few lucky kids who have given me explicit permission to fix mistakes in their writeups AND whose writeups are so consistently worth improving that I'll fix their little slips without asking. Everybody I edit gets a /msg from me, and I try to record the stuff I fix here as well.

  • Some very minor formatting and one typo I should have spotted in Lysisatra Project by Tlachtga before C!ing it. My bad, so I went ahead and fixed them.
  • Typos and formatting in transform's masculine generic. I /msged the user about them in October 2002, did not receive a reply, and now they haven't been around in 3 months, so it's fixed.

Update, 6 March 2003: The anal-retentive English teacher who lives in my forebrain has joined forces with Typo Death Squad. Be afraid.


  • Updated and reformatted The Content Rescue Team : Roster. We've lost and gained a lot of members since the last big update. Any editors reading this who want to earn my undying love (and lose a lot of free time) should consider volunteering for crtleads, if factual noding and organization are your thing.

  • Straight out of my Message Inbox for all you voyeurs out there:

    2003.03.08 at 18:40 Scribe says Maybe in a past life you were a misplaced apostrophe. Your need to correct them stems from your knowledge that hundreds of apostrophes are wasted every day in misplacements and your mission is to save their punctuation lives!! ;)

  • And on that note, I C!ed it's vs. its by stupot because this is the typo that most often sends my forehead English teacher into conniptions. I hereby promise to link to this writeup often in my blab!s.

  • Because I am firmlink-shy, I put a hardlink to Acceptable Use Policy in the text of AUP. That and the existing softlinks ought to take care of connecting the two. (Thanks to Siobhan for pointing out a typo in this entry to me. Typo Death Squad forever!)