Update March 18, 2002 -- It's been some time since I wrote this, and I'm not an Acolyte any longer. I'm leaving the following writeup as it is for two reasons: it was a totally accurate version of my views when it was written, and it's still (and probably will always be) extremely relevant.

First off, I'd like to admit that I'm fairly new to Everything, a mere Acolyte, and am still getting the hang of some of the unwritten rules. So I may be merely professing my ignorance by noding this, but here goes.

My interpretation of the Everything FAQ was that Everything is meant to be a universal information database, a sort of free-for-all newspaper column, encyclopedia, and journal all rolled up into one, where a person nodes what they know (or what they don't), edits it periodically for content, grammar and spelling, and lets it go after that.

But increasingly I'm seeing nodes where one person writes what they think about a topic, then a second person adds to the node, and the first person adds an HR tag and responds -- turning their node into a discussion forum of sorts. I assume that if Everything was intended to work this way, then each user would be allowed to post more than one writeup to a given node.

It's probably a minor issue that this breaks my understanding of Everything's original intention, since voting is designed to help control that. But this also makes nodes very difficult to read. I scan down the first node, then I have to jump ahead to the second one, then back to the first for the reply, and sometimes down to a third and back to the first again. It's even worse when you can watch the first node degenerate from a well-informed opinion into angry flaming.

Again, I'm relatively new on Everything, and I don't know if this sort of node-and-reply approach is common or not. But I'd like to know if I'm alone in my opinions above.

The best way to avoid this trend is not simply to avoid responding to write-ups posted after yours, but to respond to them tactfully.

Suppose I create a new node entitled The color of the sky, and write that the sky is blue. Then John Q Noder comes along, and adds a write-up to the node, claiming that the sky is orange.

A tactless way to deal with this would be to append my write-up with something like, "John: you are an idiot. the sky is obviously blue, and there's no way it's orange."

A tactful response would be an addition of something like: "Of course, there are some people who think that the sky is orange. However, if you simply look at the sky, you will notice that it is blue."

In short, don't directly reference other people's write-ups in the same node, just summarize their claims, and say what you have to say about them.

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