user since
Thu Oct 23 2003 at 01:42:33 (14.7 years ago )
last seen
Fri Dec 16 2011 at 13:00:21 (6.6 years ago )
number of write-ups
25 - View xiong's writeups (feed)
level / experience
0 (Initiate) / 338
mission drive within everything
To achieve Level 3
specialties
sloppy proofreading
school/company
Eagle House
motto
It's not a network of machines; it's a community of people.
most recent writeup
Code of Honor
Send private message to xiong

If we have shortcomings, we are not afraid to have them pointed out and criticized, because we serve the people. Anyone, no matter who, may point out our shortcomings. If he is right, we will correct them. If what he proposes will benefit the people, we will act upon it.

-- Mao Zedong, "Serve the People" (September 8, 1941), Selected Works, Vol. III, P. 227

Welcome You!

Who am I? I am an author, graphic artist, sculptor, and crotchety old man.

Who am I? I am Xiong2 (="Bear"). Written properly:

I'm sorry, I don't speak Chinese.

I am really new around here, so I should keep my mouth shut, huh? Too bad. I am not only an anarchist, I am a modern Social Darwinist.

If you want to see what's worth keeping, throw it in the tank with the others and see what eats the rest.

-- tell 'm I told ya so.


Rant

After several writeups, I've identified a trend. Some of my writeups are cooled and voted way up; others are voted into the ground and/or killed by a god. Why?

Certainly, some of my stuff is rubbish. I have not yet met the man who never wrote rubbish, unless he never wrote. But that's not the whole explanation, I'm sure.

The big difference I notice between writeups that earn praise and chings, and those that garner boos, hisses, and one-way trips to the football stadium, is that the former are fairly conventional expositions of "safe" topics. Speculative, amusing writeups, or those that present a new point of view, are canned. You can see this for yourself if you browse my Everything User Search.

Older writeups on E2 seem to be much more entertaining. More recent ones are increasingly thick and dull. It seems to me a highly defensive strategy: Node what nobody else knows, and node so heavily that everyone is afraid to touch it.

There are enormous reference works out there -- online and (gasp!) in print. They contain vast and definitive information on every topic under the sun -- carefully edited to ensure that every entry is factual, correct, and nearly immune to criticism. When you have seen, for example, a dictionary of typesetting, printing, and graphic arts terms, you will begin to realize that there are some things that even tens of thousands of uncoordinated volunteers cannot do well -- and despite the name, "everything" is one of them.

When I see nodes that read like a poor man's rehash of the Encyclopedia Americana, I sigh. Any college sophmore can regurgitate the conventional wisdom.

I can't decide whether to be amazed, amused, or annoyed when I see that, although Corporations are Inhuman is getting its share of downs, it's been chinged twice -- while Banks are Evil, which says much the same thing, is evenly tied, with an overall rep of 0, with 24 votes cast. The big difference between the two WUs is that the former is written almost entirely out of my head, with hardly a reference to any outside source; while the thoroughly documented latter relies on other, presumably greater authorities.

If you don't want to read what I think, and you don't want to read what other people think, what's left? Tip:

If all you want are lots of chings and ups, write stuff at great length and in great detail about obscure, yet non-controversial topics. Make it sound like you know so much about the topic that you don't need to cite sources -- you are the authority.
An engine like E2 is especially weak in presenting dynamic information. You will not find the Rolling Stones' current tour dates here. E2 cannot compete with the entire net. Nor should it try.

E2 does have the excellent quality of providing a forum for new, offbeat information, for speculation, for "outlaw" and subversive material -- for stuff that will never make onto the mainstream reference shelf. I'd like to see more of that, and I plan to node more of that.

E2 would be really cool if there were more nodes that introduced novices and laymen to highly specialized topics. Each one of us is an expert in some field or another. Wouldn't it be nice if we could get a quick handle on other specialties without sitting through three months' worth of lectures?

When you cast your vote, I ask you to ask yourself: Is this rubbish because it is poorly written? Or is this rubbish because I don't agree, or because I have no interest in the topic? On the other hand, Do I upvote a writeup merely because it is so dense and pedantic that I cannot understand it well enough to downvote it?

By all means, node for the ages. But node stuff that somebody will actually want to read.


Standard of Great Writing

Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore

http://members.tripod.com/~gwillick/biblios/kuttnerbib.html


Mailbag

Q: ...why not hard link to a node name, when writing "that's another node"?

A: re But that's another node!: I could point out that this *is* a hard link to another node name -- but I fear your wrath. I am in the process of changing all such to pipe links to Create a node. If I can think of a node name, I hard link to it. If I can't, I say: But that's another node!

Q: re Faster than Light: Recommendation: read the database before thinking you have something original to say.

A: re the database: Well, you have certainly proven me to be an ignorant fool. Would you care to restrict your suggestion to any particular gigabyte of the database, or should I read it ALL before daring to node anything?

Q: Corporations are very human - they are created by humans and their characteristics are very like those of humans...

A: re Corporations are Inhuman:Land mines, computers, the golem, napalm, SUVs, traffic courts, and corporations are all created by humans who desire to achieve human goals. The creations are not, however, themselves human, nor do they always serve human interests. Sorry!