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Welcome to Everything2. E2 is a complicated place, and what you don't know may cause you trouble. You'll be a lot happier if you make a good first impression, so here are a few tips to help you get off to a good start by avoiding some innocent mistakes commonly made by new users. We want you to have fun and enjoy your time here, but it is important to remember that we are in search of quality writing. You are writing for an audience that has certain expectations when it comes to what is posted here. It is a wise user who spends some time reading existing writeups, especially those that find their way to the Cool Archive, writeups that are chosen by established users as amongst the best the site has to offer. This will help you get a good feel for the kind of writing we're looking for. Read before you write.

  • Your First Writeup

    1. Before adding a writeup to E2, ask yourself whether others will find it interesting. If not, you'll want to find something else to write about. Some brand-new users assume that we'll all be fascinated by their random thoughts on a topic, but they learn the hard way that doesn't make it here: Editors delete that stuff. It can be rough, but we don't want a database full of aimless navel-gazing. We have "daylogs" as an exposition for the type of entries common to diaries, journals and blogs. There's one every day, and they're always linked from the front page. The title is always the current date in the following format: March 17, 2005, for example. If you are uncertain, or simply want a second opinion from an experienced user, we have the E2 Scratch Pad, where you can see what your writeup will look like before posting it.

      Whatever you write about, tell us all about it. One line isn't enough. We'd like to know more. Don't just tell us that Bob's House of Botulism is a restaurant: Tell us where it is, tell us what it's like, why we would want to go there and give some context. Personal experience is good, but avoid being too subjective. If you're adding a writeup to a node that has a lot of writeups already, read the others first because your information may have been added by someone before you got there. Repetition isn't always a good thing.

    2. Make hard links. You can't link to outside URLs, but you can link to anything on Everything2. Links are very important to us here, and are an important part of a quality writeup. Links are not only part of the culture of E2, but they are needed to ensure that everything connects to everything else. Without them, your writeup can be lost to the sands of time and never found again. Your writeup on Franklin D. Roosevelt is easier to find if it is linked to things like World War II, The Great Depression and The New Deal. It's easy: Just put square brackets around words and phrases. The following daylog entry provides examples of links:

      My job at [McDonald's] is depressing because a [giant frog] lives in the [fryer]. His name is Anthony, and he ate three [customer]s just last week. Their anguished cries haunt me still, but I got to eat their food so it wasn't a total loss. The frog knows all the words to "[Bohemian Rhapsody]". He has the voice of an angel.

      When the writeup is displayed, "McDonald's", "giant frog", and the other bracketed text will become links to other E2 nodes, like so: McDonald's, giant frog. Link things that matter. Linking articles and prepositions is moronic. Link to related concepts that might interest the reader and to things the reader might need to look up. Link all titles, names of authors and rock bands, etc. Use your head.

    3. Spelling and grammar count. Proper capitalization is important. You must use apostrophes in contractions. You may not agree, but a lot of people here care about doing things right. You will never convince them that it's better to do things wrong. It is especially important to spell your links correctly, because if they're misspelled they won't lead anywhere. For example: There is already a node for McDonald's, but there is no node for MacDonolds and even if there were, it would be about something completely different than what you are referring to. On the other hand, if you link correctly to nodes that don't exist yet, but are valid terms or names, you'll already have a link for when it does exist.

    4. Formatting is a good idea. If you don't know HTML, you can at least separate your paragraphs by putting a "paragraph tag" at the beginning of each one:

      <p>This is a [paragraph].

      When the time comes to learn more, you can read E2 HTML tags : Quick Start. Don't just put a close-paragraph (</p>) tag at the end of each paragraph, without first having the open-paragraph (<p>) tag at the begining. That's broken HTML and some web browsers don't tolerate it as well as others. If you get lost, you may wish to try Magical Text Formatter, which will create a good deal of the HTML for you. Your Scratch Pad is a good place to test formatting and then you can ask your mentor to take a look at it for you before posting. You can also ask the chatterbox general chatterbox crowd - but be prepared to face anonymous strangers if you do that.

    5. Read it again before you submit it. You'll catch a lot of errors that way. If you get into that habit, you'll do much better here.


  • After Your First Writeup

    1. Editing an Existing Writeup. Maybe you need to correct a typo or add additional information. Just go back to the node where you initially entered your masterpiece and scroll down beneath the writeups and the softlinks to the textbox. You'll find your words waiting for you. Make your changes in the editing box and then click Submit once again. This will change the writeup without creating a duplicate, effecting the number of votes it has received, or relisting your work on the New Writeups list.

    2. Your masterpiece is complete, but nobody seems to care or Your masterpiece is complete and somebody voted it down. That happens to me, too. You may be angry and feel a need to complain in the Chatterbox (that little chat thing on the right-hand side of this page), but that's a bad idea: Stoicism is admired here. You won't make any friends by complaining. Here's what you can do: It's okay to ask nicely for help. Don't just blurt out your question in the Chatterbox though, send a private msg to a friend asking for assistance. People will understand and try to help. The format for private msgs is detailed below in item #2. Don't have any friends here yet? Send the msg to an editor or god, you can determine who they are because they have the "$" and "@" next to their names in the "Other Users" list.

    3. Maybe there's a message in the Chatterbox with a checkbox next to it. When that happens, it's a private message directed to you by another user. Nobody but you can see it. You can reply privately by using the "/msg" command in the Chatterbox:

      /msg wharfinger I swear to God, Mick Jagger was in the Beatles! He really was!

      If you click the checkbox before you send your reply, the message to you will disappear. If the message is a suggestion or a correction, they're not being mean. They're being helpful. Here's more information about the Chatterbox: E2 FAQ: Chatterbox



We haven't covered everything, but you don't need to know everything right away. This is enough to get you started. You might want to read the Everything FAQ too, but it's more fun to play than to read the instructions. Have fun.



Further Reading:

E2 FAQ: What NOT to do

If every new user read E2 FAQ: What NOT to do, they'd all be happier.

The Perfect Node
Excellent advice about writing nodes from somebody who spends way too much time here.

Capitalization in Nodes
Capitalization matters. Here's how to do it right.

E2 FAQ: Chatterbox

E2 HTML tags : Quick Start

Voting/Experience System
How your work is rated, and what that means for you as a user.

The Power Structure of Everything2
Who's in charge here, and what they can do.

HTML Symbol Reference
How to use characters with accent marks, and how to put "significant" characters (<, >, [, ]) in your writeups.

Everything Style Guide
More advice about writing for E2.

Small helpful scripts for noders
These are very useful if you're comfortable running Perl scripts.

Wharfinger's Linebreaker, E2 Paragraph Tagger, E2 Source Code Formatter, E2 List Formatter
Tools for formatting poetry and lyrics, prose, lists of things, and source code.





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Everything FAQ