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This document is not current, and is kept only for archival purposes. Please refer to Everything2 Help for all up-do-date help documents.

Welcome to Everything2! We always recommend that new users browse the site for a while to get a feel for it before contributing; but we know that you're probably impatient to begin! So we've created this page to cover the basics of contributing to E2. The most important thing to remember is that Everything2 gives your audience the power to tell you what they think of your writing by way of the vote — it's a good idea to know what works here and what doesn't before getting started. Master the stuff below and you won't have any problems.

Before adding anything to the site, ask yourself whether others will find it interesting.
It's always useful to run a quick search (from the search box at the top of each page) about your chosen topic, just to make sure it hasn't already been covered by somebody else. Whatever you do end up writing about, tell us all about it. One line isn't enough. We'd like to know more. Don't assume the reader knows everything you know. Your readers may not be your age, have your educational background, or live in your country. Oh, and if you aren't sure, ask someone else!

E2 requires HTML formatting.
Unless you have TinyMCE (a WYSIWYG HTML editor) turned on in your writeup settings, all the text you enter in the E2 Scratch Pad or the text editing box will get lumped together in a huge, continuous single paragraph, unless you format it with HTML. Your attempts at tabs, new lines or blank lines will be ignored by the browser. Instead, you must "mark up" your text with HTML tags. At the very least, separate your paragraphs by putting a "paragraph tag" (<p>) at the beginning of each one and a </p> at the end. To learn more, check out " E2 HTML tags".

Use the E2 Scratch Pad to see what your stuff will look like before posting it.
You can type your text on any software before pasting it into the text box provided, but the Scratch Pad allows you to share your draft with other users before you post it. You Scratch Pad is accessible from your Homenode or from the Epicentre (among the items on the right hand side menu bar). The preferred way to ask for opinions is to send a private message to someone, asking them to check out your Scratch Pad and give their opinion (remember to click the checkbox above your Scratch Pad to share it!).

Make hard links.
It's easy: just put [square bracket]s around words and phrases. What kinds of things should you link? Pretty much anything that someone else might want to write about (or better yet, things people already have written about on E2 and that are related to your topic.) People, places, technical terms, ideas — you name it. By connecting your writeup to others, your writing will find some context in the world at large. Our internal links are a distinctive part of the charm and culture of E2.

Spelling and grammar count.
Everyone makes mistakes, so it's a very good idea to run your piece through a spellchecker before hitting that "Submit" button. E2 is a community of writers and readers, and we really notice these things. When, as is inevitable, you do let a typo slip through the net, you are likely to get a friendly private message pointing it out to you; no need to get defensive, they're genuinely trying to help! Just don't try to convince the editors of the site that your use of l33tspeak is a unique personal style worthy of inclusion...

You can ask for help directly via chat.
Using that little chat thing (on the right side of the site - the "Chatterbox") is probably the best way to get help and advice with E2. We have lots of helpful staff (the ones with "$" or "@" next to their name in the Other Users box), but most of our regular members will also be glad to answer most questions you have about how to do stuff and make a good impression here. And if you want to talk to someone directly, you can just send them a message! To send a private message, type /msg in the box next to the "talk" button, followed by the user's nickname, and then your message.
/msg someuser Hey, what's going on?

You can get help and advice from an experienced user.
If you want to have a trusted pair of eyes to look over your work before it's sent out into the cruel cruel world, or are finding the culture and jargon of E2 hard to get into, or you just want an E2 buddy, you can ask for what we call a "mentor". This will be an experienced user who has specificaly volunteered for the task (so you're not imposing on anyone!) and who will be happy to help you out and proud of your subsequent achievements. You can keep this relationship going for as long or short a time as you feel you need it - the power is all in your hands, your mentor is here to help you. E2 Mentoring Sign-Up is the place to go ask for one.

You can edit writeups you've already submitted.
Just go back to the link where you posted your writeup (a quick search should find it) and scroll down to the textbox near the bottom: you'll find your words waiting for you. Change whatever you'd like and click Submit once again. This'll update your writeup, but won't affect the number of votes it's received or move it back to the top of the New Writeups list.

When in doubt, there's always the FAQ.
The FAQ is the definitive resource for answering any questions you have about the many features and facets of Everything2. It's a little too long to digest in one sitting (that's why we have this Quick Start), but if you want more info on writing, voting, editing, or any other topic, the FAQ is the best place to find your answer.