user since
Fri Jul 23 2010 at 23:54:44 (7.2 years ago )
last seen
Wed Apr 20 2011 at 04:13:19 (6.5 years ago )
number of write-ups
2 - View hiddenclara's writeups (feed)
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0 (Initiate) / 132
most recent writeup
the nodeshell that didn't want to be rescued
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Clara climbs the ladder into the attic. Her skirts brush past piles of boxes, picking up dust. She gets down on her hands and knees to pull a small cardboard box out from under several trunks, setting it on her lap. She opens one flap, then another. Then reaches in and pulls out a thick leatherbound book, disturbing a spider who skitters out across her foot into a crack. The book glows as she opens it, and curlicued letters form themselves on the first page: "Treat this book gently, for it contains the world."


I've been lurking for ten years before creating this account. As I am learning, simply reading nodes for that long only gave me a limited glimpse into the community that is e2.

My username is a bit of wordplay: hidden clarity, as in I go through life following a bit of clarity as best I can, but it can be hard to see if you're looking for it. It's best glimpsed out the corner of one's eye and followed with an air of just happening to walk in that direction for no particular reason.


I found out today that more goes on in e2 than can be seen in nodes alone. There's this big debate about whether nodeshells are good or evil. There's another debate over what kind of content is appropriate for E2, and whether it's good or bad to have self-referential noding around. In all my lurking, I only saw the edges of this. I never knew there were bitter rivalries between these factions, or power struggles about who gets to control the future of E2. All this and more eluded me until I talked to some people about it today.

Now I understand why my node the nodeshell that didn't want to be rescued bothered so many people, so I want to explain why I made that node. I had just made another node called language is a virus where I riffed on the literal meaning of the idea and came up with a story to suit it. I saw the nodeshell that didn't want to be rescued, and I wondered what this would look like in a story. I thought of the way treed cats resist rescuing tooth and nail. So I wrote a story about a nodeshell that behaved like a treed cat. Then I was surprised to see that while people had reacted very positively to my first node, the second really bothered people. Not the sort of bothered that comes from simple bad writing, but the sort of bothered like I had done something destructive.

But the reason for my writing what I did was as simple as what I said here. I was not trying to romanticize the idea of nodeshells or nodeshell rescue, or to make it into something cute. I was not making a dig at people who don't like nodeshell rescue or self-referential noding. I was not trying to make a political statement about what is and isn't good to do here. I was not even trying to node about noding or about E2. All I did was think, "What if there really was a such critter as a nodeshell, how would it behave if it didn't want to be rescued?" and write a funny story. That's clearly not everyone's cup of tea, and it's hardly wonderful writing, but it's not meant as any kind of statement or metaphor at all. Sometimes a funny story is just a funny story.

As for my actual beliefs, they're complicated and don't reflect any particular faction even if parts of them resemble parts of the beliefs of the various factions. If they seem to, think again. I'm just not a joiner. Given that this site is declining in membership, it might also be good not to react so harshly to newbies who aren't part of this fight and don't share the worldviews that cause it to continue. I'm not talking about constructive criticism, which we all need, but about newbies who accidentally push people's buttons and get flamed as a result. I'm not asking for mollycoddling, just for toning things down a bit when dealing with users who have no dog in this fight. I'm tough from long exposure to much nastier parts of the Internet, so everything here seemed downright polite in comparison. But not everyone has skin this thick and not everyone should have to.