It took a lengthy server break to make me see it, but I've finally realized that Wikipedia is what E2 will never be.
- Content, content, content. Wikipedia already has much, much more information than Everything2 and is evolving much more rapidly.
- All content is free under the GNU Free Documentation License. No risk of it all being lost if E2 dies or decides to take its marbles and go home; there are already completely legal and completely separate copies floating about.
- Lower barrier of entry. No need to craft 20 writeups from scratch acceptable by the esoteric criteria of E2, anybody can plunge in and fix a typo -- without even logging in!
- No silly power structures. Everybody can edit everybody's writeups.
- Actually, there are admins, but they are a non-exclusive group (134 members as of this writing) and their powers are largely restricted to temporarily freezing pages subject to an edit war.
- No silly Edit These E2 Titles bureaucracy. Writeups can be moved, renamed, redirected and unredirected easily by all. (Deletion is a bit more complex, but with only one mutating writeup per node, it's also needed far less often.)
- No XP. The system works just fine without it, and it eliminates
all the silly behavior associated with it (XP whoring, noding for numbers, etc).
- Full accountability. Every change ever made can be viewed in the history and rolled back if need be. This means:
- You can see exactly who screwed around with your content
- You can see exactly what they did to it
- You can be automatically notified of changes
- You don't have to painstakingly handcraft a log of your edits
- The system keeps backup copies for you
- Messages are stored next to each node, providing a full log of discussion for all to see.
- The annoying parts of HTML are streamlined:
- Forget UL/OL/LI, just write *.
- Forget PRE/TT, just start the line with a space.
- Forget I/B, just write '' or '''.
- Forget P, just press ENTER twice.
- Integrated pictures and real tables are supported. Bye bye, ASCII art! (thanks for the reminder sekicho)
- Multiple languages seamlessly integrated; not only can you use Unicode, there's a Wikipedia for each language and cross-Wiki links are easy.
- And, for that matter, external links are also easy.
- Footnoting is easy too.
- Links are conjugated automatically. Write [foo]ing on Wiki, and it'll be shown as fooing but linked to foo.
- And to fix those screwups beforehand, not only is there a scratch box, but a preview button too!
- Full text search actually works.
- Broken links are differently colored.
Sure, Wikipedia's just an encyclopedia while E2 is meant to cover everything, and it's true enough that this encyclopedic nature makes it more boring -- no more whoring for XP by regaling you with tales of Japanese girls in a hot tub while dissecting a brand of sake. But as a factual noder, 99% of my writeups are fit for Wikipedia as is, and there are plenty of others of my kind who have seen the light.
So long, and thanks for all the fish...
13 Dec 2003
P.S. I don't burn bridges, so I may pop in occasionally in the future. But I've resigned my editorship and I doubt I'll be writing much new content.