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leaving tracks

Red Pen:
Funeral Parlor:
A Midsummer Nights Dream by Trekofthestars (newbie effort, msged and pointed to the faq, etc.); Philips by monoceros (accidentally posted); Academic Socialism by Wyclef (copyright); October 7, 2004, October 8, 2004 and October 29, 2004 by golFUR (per author's request); modernism by chaconne (newbie effort, msged some advice); The Joint Chiefs of Staff by Benjamin Flex (per author's request); Letter from Gabriel García Márquez to George W. Bush by Swap (per author's request);
Directing Traffic:

Mentees: A Feeble Mind (not around); Eusebio.

It’s been two weeks since that Sunday night I logged back in and found things looked a wee bit different. Once I recovered from the surprise, and thought about what’d just happened, the sense of responsibility set in.

Time to do what I usually do in these situations: read every bit of documentation I could get my hands on. I wanted to know what all those new buttons were for, and when or why I might use them. I wanted to know what others before me had done. There’s a lot to slog through, but the saving grace is that most of it’s pretty informative and sometimes entertaining.

I messaged other editors about why they’d nuked a particular writeup, testing my thoughts against theirs.

My editorial philosophy? I’m finishing that up (though it’s been longer than two weeks in the formulating).


Thus far:

  • Coffee ‘n’ donuts: welcomed some new noders and pointed them to the FAQ. I continue to assist new noders with their writeups, something I was happy to do even before I became an ed.
  • Wielded the sword:
    • The Hardest Thing. I read this and a voice screamed in my head, “Daylog!” The noder was so advised.
    • Hobo Tax. Advised noder that this would be better suited as a daylog.
    • porcelain. Superseded.
    • But Why?. But why would we keep this, and the noder is apparently fled.
    • anarchy. Advised noder that this was more in the nature of a rant than a writeup and pointed it to the FAQ.
  • Typos: fixed some in nodes I didn’t keep track of (better record-keeping next time).
  • Audited: themanwho, indigoe.
  • I'm glad to be here.

    My favorite part is having access to edit someone's node directly.

    This is a powerful tool, and one that must be wielded with utmost care. One of the greatest differences between Everything2 and Wikipedia is that not just anybody can come by and edit your hard work as they see fit. This is why I write for Everything2 and not Wikipedia, and why Everything2 has an article on hydropulpers and Wikipedia does not.

    Used without due respect for an author, the ability to edit someone's node can raise some extremely bad feelings, I'm sure. This is why the administration has chosen to give only a few users they can trust access to this feature. I have never edited a currently active user's writeup without permission. This is the sort of thing that can only lead to trouble: mistrust, hurt feelings, power struggles, complaints to the administration... things I don't want to see happen to Everything2.

    So I have used it sparingly, but when I do, I find it the most powerful tool in the editor's arsenal. It's certainly more powerful than having infinite votes and C!s, and much more versatile than the ability to nuke a writeup.

    When a user has been gone for several months, I can take it upon myself to make some corrections. Sega Dreamcast controller port repair had a minor factual error which I corrected with the strikethrough tag and an editor note. Typos, misspellings, and formatting problems I simply correct. In any case I sign the node with an <!-- HTML comment --> in case the user comes back and notices it has been tampered with. The nice thing about this is that I can now make even minor corrections that before I would have felt overly pedantic about submitting to Broken Nodes.

    New users have also benefited from this. Often, a new user is unfamiliar with the formatting and linking procedures here, or may be unfamiliar with the finer points of HTML such as definition lists or proper use of the PRE tag. Sometimes it can be difficult to explain what they need to do in the limited confines of the /msg box, and it would be easiest to just show them. After obtaining permission, I can directly edit their work, leaving <!-- HTML comments --> in my wake explaining what I did. I've helped out a number of new users this way, and Everything2 can benefit from their new skills.

    I also recently completed a node audit. There are a number of ways to potentially go about pointing out things that need correcting in a large number of nodes: I could have sent a large number of /msg and flooded the inbox. I could have copied things into an e-mail. I could have listed things in my scratch pad. None of these really seemed convenient for me or my auditee though, so I obtained permission to add <!-- HTML comments --> where I thought corrections were needed. To the outside viewer, the writeup was completely unchanged, but to the author the text input box below detailed everything I wanted to note in one place, each conveniently right next to problem area itself.

    Finding creative ways to use my editor features is what makes this job fun. Doing it for the benefit of Everything2 is what makes it rewarding.

    themanwho also suggests using the E2 Annotation Tool for ease of making large numbers of corrections. This has the significant advantage of being available to non-editors.

    This is my first editor log, and I don't intend to use it to announce the writeups I've killed, those I've chinged or the neophytes with whom I have offered advice. Those things are done, and ready to be forgotten. I'm going instead to argue what sort of writeup should live, and those that should be borne away in the arms of Klaproth. And how both the Grim One and Mr. Cool can be used for the betterment of all.

    Rule number one has to be content. If a writeup contributes content, it deserves to live, at least until something better comes along to supersede it. . Definitions deserve to live, as do one liner writeups until replaced. Upvotes are fine but Cool Man Eddie shall remain cool to the itsy-bitsy writeup.

    These are writeups not begging for death, but relief. They served their purpose, held their spot in the line until a new shining star bursts like a supernova upon the Page of Cool. For now lesser nodes hold down their minimum upvote jobs like good little footsoldiers.

    There are many unstatisfying nodeshells here, too much GTKY, too much opinion, jokes that fall stale, insufficient soy protein. They aren't places we'd want to show off as representing the best e2 has to offer. But as a science fiction fan I am very well aware what editors did back in the Golden Age. Back then a good idea and some promise was enough. Men like Hugo Gernsbach and John W. Campbell earned their pay pushing neophytic writers through their growing pains, turning amateurs into professionals.

    The publishing industry no longer works that way. Fantasy and Science Fiction and Analog are in trouble, and many classic periodicals have already been visited by The Grim One. The short story is disappearing from bookshelves. Editors today select from a huge pile of professional works, and they have no time to edit, to help out the new writer still learning his craft.

    Here we still have time to do that. We have space for the short story, the well-crafted essay, the poem. The best of our work is truly excellent, and a noder who sticks to it and contributes steadily can improve his writing through doing, without accumulating a roomful of discouraging rejection slips. In the pro world, a story submitted is done, here they can be polished, perfected. Node maintenance can be a teaching tool if we can get noders to go back and re-read their old writeups, they may see them the way an editor does.

    We need to edit, not like today, but back in the golden age. We need to build writers as we build content.

    I'm not a poet, and the last time I tried she stopped speaking to me for weeks. For me to nuke poetry would be like putting a blind man on a firing squad. Nuke what you know.

    There is no such thing as a "filler" node.

    I keep bumping into lightweight wu's that people create to fill hardlinks in what they consider the "primary" node involved. I was guilty of this myself once, before wiser and better users here pointed out the error of my ways. At least I can savor the irony.

    For example, let's say I was noding "car", and used the term "wheel", making it a hardlink. Following the link, I find that there isn't a wu for wheel, and decide to create one.

    The problem occurs when the wu created relies on the node linked from to provide context. In the above example, if I write under "wheel" that it is something that holds up a car (hard linking the word "car"), it is a recursive loop that doesn't tell the reader anything. If I say that wheels are made of rubber, have metal rims, grooves for traction in water, etc, without saying that a wheel is a round thing that rolls and in conjunction with an axle can support weight, etc, I am only explaining features, not defining the thing under consideration.

    This is related to the factual wu where the writer assumes that the reader knows the primary definition of the term in question, so talks all around the topic without actually saying what the hell the thing involved is.

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