Ladies and gentlemen: let's not get hasty.
Gord makes several excellent points in general about the content levels of E2 today versus its levels prior. 12 to 8 to 5 to 1 is indeed a puzzling conundrum. But, as they say, there are lies, damned lies, and .. well, follow me to the history of September 5 in the annals of Everything2.
So, we look back and see that in 2002, 172 writeups were submitted to E2. Not too bad ..
In 2001, 250 writeups saw the light of day.
In 2000, 488 writeups were born.
488, that's right. By comparison, on September 4, 2003, 61 writeups were submitted. Slim pickings indeed.
But there is much more to this. Using an as equally unofficial method as Gord, I randomly selected 20 writeups from September 5, 2000, September 5, 2001, and September 5, 2002. I excluded daylogs (since we're arguing about content, we can concede that daylogs are important but not in the same category) and cut and paste public domain offerings and copyright violations (to focus on original content). I then pasted the entirety of these writeups into one large Word document and got the word count. Sure, this will include a lot of "words" that are nothing but math notations, meaningless sources, and Perl documentation. But all of this is technically under content, and since each year was treated equally, there shouldn't be any real outliers. Once again, this is unofficial, so do your own damn study if you're so inclined.
Here are the (unofficial) results:
In 2000, the 20 writeups had 3,337 words, for an average of 166.85 words per writeup (wpw).
In 2001, the 20 writeups had 7,452 words, averaging 372.6 wpw.
In 2002, the total increased to 10,158 words for a 507.9 wpw.
Pretty good, huh?
Now I took a random sample of 20 writeups from the past three days (ENN), once again excluding public domain and copyright stuff.
For the first 19 writeups, there were 17,941 words, for a 944.26 wpw average. But, Kyle, you say, I thought you did 20 writeups for each year. And you're right I did. But the reason I only averaged 19 writeups into the equation is because ...
One writeup alone this year had 9507 words!
That's right, Noung's amazing account of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has 9507 words all by itself, bringing the 20 writeup average of 2003 up to 1372.4 wpw!
To be clear in the implications here: Noung's single writeup has added the equivalent content to the database as 57 writeups from 2000, 26 writeups from 2001, and 19 writeups from 2002. On average, a writeup written today will provide 8 times more content than a writeup from 2000, 4 times more content than 2001, and 3 times as much content as a writeup from just one year prior.
But numbers don't tell the whole story. So let's turn back the clock, courtesy of A Year Ago Today, and take a snapshot of September 5, 2000, and see some of the things posted:
Now I'm not saying these things are not important. But compare these to Noung's writeup on the USSR, or to Servo5678's comprehensive writeup on Dr. Zoidberg, or the excellent biographies of Augustus Toplady (drownzsurf), Robert Emmet (Oisin), or Wilfred Thesiger (olmanrvr). There are thought-provoking writeups on cancer, leaf proof gutters, computer science, and biotechnology. There are song reviews, movie reviews, and poetry analysis. In 2003, our content counts!
Gord is right - it's not for a lack of topics that the noding has slowed down. But our voting standards have raised significantly. Frankly, I am surprised more of those writeups from September 5s past have not disappeared, superceded by better nodes. There is still a great deal of information floating out in this world that needs to be hauled and in thrown into our little pack rat closet. And when the information runs out, we will have to process it all. There will always be room for analysis, philosophy - and of course, humor, which is, I believe, E2's bread and butter at heart. And there will be room to grow, and it will grow, as it continues to grow, as it always had.
This place needs more actual content. Let's begin.
amnesiac: yeah - 9,000 word writeups have been judged to be "good" - small writeups are "bad"
I think amnesiac places too much of an affirmative effect on my daylog. I wasn't trying to say, "9000 word writeups are the standard by which we should live by!" I was instead trying to both a) refute caknuck's claim that E2 was fading away in terms of content and b) refute that our content today is equal to our content three years ago. It's true, having a one line definition of Banffshire and fuel filter is important - these are the writeups that fill in the gaps and go unappreciated too often - but you wouldn't point to these as the best writeups on e2. I think it's also a very plain fact that many of the writeups from three years ago can be superceded with a minimal of research and effort by our writers today. Things like Butterfinger McFlurry and You noders still fucking suck, your needing my wisdoms bad are timeless classics (and, in fact, too few writeups of the same nature are appearing today), but there is a lot more to offer than one line factuals. In the end, I was just reassuring any worried minds that indeed, E2 is alive and well and will continue to be so long into the future. Hey, we're even letting in one line writeups to this day! Now, as for borgo's concerns, well ... that's an issue not easily solved with numbers and backslaps. Strangely, the only solution to the lack of "fun" lies in the content - so get to it, noders! Don't just inform, entertain! Don't just think, create! Don't just act, be! You know, Socrates was a rather dapper wit ...