1. What is your name?

My stage name is chromatic. My pen name... varies.

2. What is your quest?

Leaving the world a little more awesome today than yesterday.

3. What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

That depends on many variables. How big is the swallow? How thick is the air? What planet is this? Is there a tail wind? Is the swallow in a box of magnetic tapes in a station wagon barreling down the Interstate?

4. How did the idea for Everything and later Everything2 come about?

I always heard that Nate and Rob had been drinking.

5. What were the biggest challenges and rewards of creating the site?

I worked almost exclusively on documenting and then fixing bugs in the backend. I remember writing a little bit of front end code for E2 and PerlMonks.

The biggest challenge I remember is fixing a bug in a slightly different way than one of the other developers, who reverted my partial fix in favor of another partial fix. That was the point where I realized that comprehensive tests were essential, or we'd get stuck in a cycle of arguing over who had the better partial fix.

I can prove that working on the Engine put my name out in public enough that it's helped me get work in the intervening years.

Then again, given that PerlMonks has been stuck with really old code for a decade that it hasn't ever managed to migrate away from, I'm not sure I want to attach my name to some of that code.

If I had a third hand, I'd say that in 2006 I realized that almost everything Ruby on Rails does we'd done most of a decade earlier, if messier.

6. Do you have any favorite writeups, either of your own or from someone else?

I always liked the one about Soy.

7. What do you see for the future of Everything2?

I haven't been on the site in ages. Somewhere between the original two-writeup everything.slashdot.org and the current everything2.org, it became less of a crazy encyclopedia of everything and more of a collaborative creative writing/journaling project. That's totally cool (and it feels good to think that it preceded Wikipedia and managed not to get a real hoity toity attitude), but my interest was mostly in the code.

8. What has surprised you the most about the evolution of the site? Is there anything that you expected to happen that hasn't yet?

I thought there'd be more people using the backend code, but it needed a lot of work when Blockstackers shut down the business. You may remember the years 2000 and 2001 as being difficult to sell Internet software.

9. Are there any questions I should have asked but didn't?

It's still the coolest company name I've ever worked for.

Everything2 Decaversary Interviews

If you have questions or comments, please contact chromatic or Jet-Poop.

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