This Quest ended at midnight, server time (12:00 AM Thursday, May 15).
XP bonuses will be distributed within the next few days.

In all, 83 well-researched writeups were contributed to the nodegel.
Thanks to everyone who contributed!

Here's a new kind of Quest for you guys to throw yourself into. The name of the game is research. The topic is whatever you want it to be, as long as your writeup is factual (i.e., not a short story or other creative work). The goal is to research your writeup as thoroughly as possible, using multiple reputable sources of information.

Now, the catch: you may not use Web pages as documented sources. Not even one URL, if you want to take part in this Quest. You're going to do your research the old-fashioned way, the way your high school composition class taught you: in the library, the newspaper, magazines, and professional interviews. While Web sources are useful and reliable (well, on the right sites), I want this Quest to demonstrate that noders can do good research away from their browsers when they have to.

Here's the ground rules:

  1. This quest is organized and judged by me, mblase, and sponsored by Rancid Pickle. He will be handing out XP bonuses at Quest's end, while I'll handle the judging and other niggly details.
  2. You may choose any topic you like, as long as your writeup is factual. You are not required to choose a new node with no writeups, but if you're amplifying existing writeups, make sure your writeup is good enough to stand there on its own.
  3. Writeups must be up to composition-class standards: good punctuation, spelling and grammar, topic sentences in each paragraph, all that stuff. There's no point in researching your facts if your writing isn't going to reflect your hard work.
  4. To keep people from just punching these things out, there is a minimum 800-word count on each writeup submitted for the Quest. To get a conceptual idea, this is the average length of a typical article in a major newspaper.
  5. You must use at least two books for each writeup. This will earn you 25 XP right off the bat. Yes, that is an incentive.
  6. Additional XP bonuses will be given based on how many non-electronic sources you employ, in proportion to the length of your writeup. What this means is: don't pretend you used twenty sources to research a ten-paragraph writeup. Make every source count in terms of how much content it produces for you. Don't think I won't double-check your list myself at the library if I think you're just making shit up. A maximum bonus of 50 XP exists for each writeup. This, of course, is over and above any XP you may gain from ordinary voting and C!s.
  7. No electronic sources of any kind will be acceptable for this Quest, even if you have ten non-electronic sources besides it. Don't waste your time. Even if you search for magazine or newspaper articles online, I'm still going to make you go to the library to get a page number. One noder has asked if a television biography is acceptable, and I said yes -- by "electronic" I mean stuff you can read or search on your computer.
  8. Your "sources used" list at the end of your writeup should be a regular bibliography, professionally cited. (One noder points out the Harvard Referencing System as one acceptable standard.) There are a near-infinite number of subtle variations on the format depending on the work you're citing, so ask your local librarian if you don't remember how to do it.
  9. Plagiarism will not be tolerated.
  10. This Quest will last for three weeks, beginning the minute this writeup was created. /Msg me (mblase) when your writeup is complete, and it will be hardlinked from this writeup.

Now, here's some free suggestions:

  • Pick something you're interested in. Remember, it doesn't need to be a nodeshell. Find nodes that lack content and knock those old sloppy writeups out of the water.
  • Factual doesn't have to be boring. Pick your favorite author, band or poet; your favorite school subject or after-school activity; a major event in history that impacted your family; an invention that you couldn't imagine living without. (Whoever softlinked The Content Rescue Team : Nodes was a shrewd noder.)
  • Unlike your composition class, E2 encourages imaginative writing style. So if your writeup is more in the vein of "Rolling Stone" or "Maxim" than "Newsweek," it's still good stuff. Research is what's important here, not stuffiness.
  • Don't skimp on these writeups, people. Anyone can type out three paragraphs using Web pages as source material, but a few well-chosen books will give you enough for three pages and more besides. Make your teachers proud of the time they spent with you.
  • If it fits the requirements, feel free to node your homework!
  • Think outside the box when choosing source material. After you've found what you needed at the library, or in your own bookshelves, search through some magazines or professional journals. Search the major newspapers. If you really want to earn your XP bonus, cite a personal interview with a knowledgable source. (If they want to know why they're taking time with you, tell them you're researching an article for an online publication. They'll probably be too impressed to say no.)

That's it. Let's crack those books, kids --