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Back. Blame alex.

My convictions have grown deeper in the interim. Some of them haven't changed. Feedback remains the single most important tool we as noders and editors have. If we're going to foster a healthy community of writers, it's going to need to be at the cost of enforcing some form of standards and behavior.

I believe very strongly in the need of the administration to foster and support those in staff positions. Appointment to the staff isn't the pinnacle of success here, it's another method of fostering those skills which saw us appointed. To wit, some of my best professional development has come from experiences here and discussions I've had with my fellow editors.

Time in the hot seat of technical writing has solidified other opinions. I believe strongly in the art of writing to meet standards and writing to specifications. While E2 has more of an open format than most publications or websites, we too have standards. We must encourage them as writers, as editors, if our work is to continue and improve.

In that vein - in the last 24 hours, I've had some good conversations about earning your bullshit. I'd like to thank those who've participated in that dialogue, either agreeing or disagreeing. It's good food for thought and editorial policy. My takeaway from these discussions is that you never, ever should believe you've earned your bullshit. Time in grade is not an excuse for generating sub par work. The idea that you are abruptly a good writer due to tenure, or abruptly a good staff member due to tenure, is poisonous. If any of us are going to progress as writers, as editors, as administration, it's worth the time to re-examine the assumptions that have us here.

We may be that paneled private club with posh leather seats, or we may be that coffee shop serving Folgers. My verdict is still out. I'm looking forwards to seeing where it takes us, where it takes me.

Hey folks,

I'm freshly returned to the staff myself, and looking forward to getting back into the groove in that regard. What the heck do all these buttons do? All I know is if I push the wrong one, I'm liable to get all kinds of unkind words. The masking tape labels are faded and peeling, so I'm going by feel, here. And some joker wired everything with the same color wire, so trying to trace the contacts is an exercise in humiliation.

Jokes aside, I realize that I'm not nearly as tenured as many of the users and staff, but in the six-plus years I have been around, I've seen a lot of changes in the community and culture of the place - some good, some bad, some indifferent or orthogonal. Qualitatively and quantitatively, though, this is a different place than it used to be. Normative opinions on that topic will differ wildly of course.

It's my opinion that change is not necessarily bad, and purposeful, careful change is sometimes preferable to Darwinian (or perhaps Hobbesian) evolution. While not nearly as exciting or romantic, care and curation can steer us clear of the dead-ends in which unthinking responses to disorder can sometimes result.

To put it bluntly, I'm extremely interested in helping to develop a culture of content here at E2. I won't comment on "earning your bullshit" directly, but I do think that it is incumbent upon all of us, whether staff, old-timers, or brand new faces, to seek out and reward the creation of interesting and well crafted content.

It's also incumbent upon each of us to offer constructive criticism and generally help shore up the weak spots of people making their best efforts.

Why?

It's very simple. Content is what drew us all here in the first place, and it's what makes most of us stick around. Aside from the (very old and well-trodden) discussion on what, exactly, E2 is, what's more important is what it has:

Engaging content, and the users who furnish that content.

In my opinion, all questions of mechanics, features, community, and chatbox that don't directly address what we can all be doing to foster excellent content are secondary. That's not to say by any means that I think they are trivial, or unimportant, only that they should be seen as seasoning and not the main course.

What's marinade without the steak (or vegan steak substitute) to put it on? The corollary, of course, is that the steak is rather plain without any seasoning.

No, I'm not about to go taking hostages and making demands, but I do intend to voice opinions and try to help to shape decisions and policy such that the focus of E2 moves in a consistent and constructive direction.

Questions, comments, and bags of flaming dog shit are all welcome.

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