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(I in no way represent Everything2 administration, nor do I represent anyone who votes for things other than myself. The following writeup is an attempt to help explain why people dislike cut and paste writeups which may result in downvotes.)

Cut and paste writeups are some of the most frowned upon writeups on Everything2. The reasons for this are vast and different for each person who frowns. Some frown at the aspect of getting a node count for someone else's material, others frown at the lack of original material, and others just don't like reading what can be read (often in a better format) in other places on the Internet.

Copyright problems

The first, and most obvious problem with cut and paste nodes is that inherently, they are from other sources. Even citing these sources properly, cut and paste writeups would often fail in various tests for fair use - there isn't enough original material.

Original material is at the heart of what many people come to Everything2 for. We can go look up lyrics in countless places on the web, find more e-texts, often superior details of mindless statistics. Here, on E2, there is original thought - commentary on what the statistics mean, the making of the album or a glimpse at the poet's mind when writing a poem. Through adding this original thought along with the author's words, many issues of copyright fade away - and you have shown yourself to be an original thinker too.

For more information on the legal problems with copyright see copyright violation. This is not saying don't use quotes or text from other sources - just make certain that you write something too and clearly fall in fair use.

Not a node

As many here learn over time, writing for E2 is not the same as writing for any other medium. The vast majority of authors out there that write material that could be cut and pasted from weren't writing for E2. Just copying this material makes it feel awkward within the structure of a node. The formating is often off, and unless the noder has gone through it word by word and thought about it, the links make no sense (maybe just the names of the characters in an e-text) and have no relationship to what is at the heart of the issue.

Likewise, such common things as lists come out with poor style not making proper use of what is available here - <ol>, <ul> and <dl>, <cite> and <blockquote>. These HTML tags will help make text more readable and show that a noder has taken the time to work with the material rather than just blindly tossing it into a node.

Don't cut and paste from yourself

Noders are not your English teacher. That is fairly obvious, right? When writing something somewhere else (most often school), you are writing to get a grade - do it or fail. A node not written does not receive a failing grade, a node poorly written does. With each node that you write, write it because you enjoy writing it, not because you had to. Few things are as boring to read as the paper that was forced from your fingers and handed in to some teacher who judged the sentence structure and paragraph structure more than how much he or she enjoyed reading it. Yes, we judge (vote) on how well formated it is - but we also vote on how well written it is, how much fun it is for us to read it.

If you are truly excited about a project that you did as part of school work, consider re-working it for Everything2.

  • Think about the hardlinks as you rewrite it - where should they fall, what material is already out there?
  • Consider the audience. Everything2 has people that range in age from pre-teen to post retirement and everything in between from computer geeks to professional poets and playwrights. Is this jargon too technical for the the people of E2? Would it take too much time to write a sentence or two explaining it?
  • Everything2 is HTML formatted. As mentioned above, when working with html think about the style - how you can use <tt>, the various lists, the difference between <i> and <em> or <b> and <strong>.
Remember above all, noding for Everything2 is ideally a labor of love for the subject rather than something you must do - show us how much you enjoy the subject in your writing.

Taking Credit

The leveling system on Everything2 is driven by two factors - gaining experience and writing nodes. The vast majority of users on Everything2 have much more experience than is required for the level and thus this is rarely a limiter for a user unless the quality of the material is very poor. This brings up the drive to Node for Numbers (also known as NFN). By far, the simplest way to Node for Numbers is to copy large amounts of text from another source, and in doing so, essentially 'take credit' for writing them on Everything2.

By doing this, the user has taken works of other people and raised up their own rank with minimal work. Many users (of all levels) feel that this is unfair - and this feeling is especially felt among those who have written large amounts of original material and taken the time to get to the place where they are now.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with noding material that is out of copyright, many people regard a node of cut and paste material with a single line of original text in the same light as a node with a single line of text - just not enough original material. This is reflected in the node explicate your lyrics, however may be applied to most any lyrical work (with or without music).

Things get difficult when the material is deemed worthy and useful on the database (such as poems, Shakespeare, speeches, historical legal documents of interest, etc...). When noding such works, it is often encouraged to use an account dedicated for the noding of that rather than the 'real' account to avoid any possible accusations that the material noded was done for personal gain rather than enhancing the database. There are many such examples of such users: thbz-gene, everyone (which was created for noding The Jargon File), and Webster1913 (and many others).

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