An Everything2 Help Document

Why it's important to read this before you start writing

"This place needs more actual content. Let's begin."

It's just possible that someone has written on your chosen topic before, and it's possible that you are not aware of some of our standards for creating new material. Rather than just submit something and rough it out, it's important to understand something of how E2 works before diving in.

Every writeup requires a "node".

A node is a title or a a topic. Think of it as a bucket or container for writeups. More than that, a node is a target for links. Links are what makes writing for Everything2 different from ordinary prose. This is why regular Everything2 users are called "noders".

  • You must search first.

    There are two ways to find a node for your writeup: add to an existing node or create a new node. Either method requires a search of the database.

    • Adding your writeup to an existing node:

      Type your intended title into the search box. This will either take you to an existing node, or the Findings page will show you a list of possibly similar nodes. If you decide that one of the existing titles is sufficient for your writeup, click on that link, and down below any existing writeups you will find a textbox into which you can type or paste your writeup.

      Adding a writeup to an existing node is by far the easiest way to get started. Be advised, however: nodes are not discussion threads. Don't reply to existing writeups. If you just can't resisting making a comment on an existing writeup, comment on the idea or the argument, not the author or the writeup.

      Ideally, your writing should stand alone without needing support from previous writeups. You should assume that other writeups could be removed at any time.

      Before you submit a writeup, hard link it.

      Put square brackets around every word phrase which might be the title of a writeup: every person, place or thing, every concept worth writing about. It doesn't matter if you found no existing node to link to... someone eventually will add that node.

      If you searched first, you have a list of possible hard links, which you may regard as opportunities to add depth to your writeup, relying on the work of others. Linking in writeups is not optional.

    • Making a new node:

      On the search "Findings" page, down below the list of node titles will be a blurb:

      "Since we didn't find what you were looking for, you can search again, or create a new draft or e2node (page)"

      ... followed by an option to "Create new...". Choosing "New node" will create a new, empty node, with a text box ready for you to fill. Users call the node without any writeups a "nodeshell". This nodeshell will remain, waiting and empty, until someone fills it.

      Before you submit a writeup to a new node, soft link the nodeshell.

      Search related concepts or things and click on the results on the Findings: page. This creates a soft link. When a new writeup appears, voting users will expect to find the soft links under the writeup. These soft links demonstrate that you searched the database first, before you added something.

  • Format and spell-check your text.

    Before publishing a writeup, you first post it as a draft. This gives you a chance to correct any mistakes in the content or formatting before anyone else reads and can vote on it, or to ask other users to make suggestions or improvements.

    The bare minimum HTML tags are <p> before each paragraph, and </p> after each paragraph.

    There's more, of course: centering, outlines, bold or italics , just to name a few. If you are new to this and don't want to learn how to use basic HTML tags, go to Writeup Settings and check the box next to "Use WYSIWYG content editor to format writeups". The textbox below the writeups will now be a basic editor which will add a few of the more common HTML tags for you, automagically.

    Use some kind of spell-check: a plain text editing program of some kind is recommended. Some of the more advanced word processors add non-standard characters to your text, which then transfer to your Everything2 writeup when you cut and paste (those cursed "curly quotes" for example). Drafts will preview how the writeup will appear on Everything2. This catches surprising errors caused by proprietary tags, non-standard characters, and any formatting not supported by Everything2.

  • Editing an Existing Writeup.

    Usually after clicking "Publish Writeup" there are one or two things about the way your writeup is formatted that are going to bug you--fix 'em up real quick. Maybe you need to correct a typo or add additional information. Just go back to the node where you initially entered your masterpiece and scroll down beneath the writeups and the softlinks to the textbox. Make your changes in the editing box and then choose "Update writeup". This will change the writeup without creating a duplicate, affecting the number of votes it has received, or re-listing your work on the New Writeups list.

    Secondly, check all of your major hard-links out, especially phrases or strange titles. Be sure your hard-link actually leads somewhere (if that was your intention) ...a slight misspelling or out-of-place hyphen can make for a bad link.

    If the title of the target node is different from the text in your writeup, you can still make a hard link, using a variation called a pipe link.
  • More on links:

    You may wish to consult: Links on Everything2. Please do not neglect the "soft link". These are made whenever you click on a hard link or when you do a search from the page on which your writeup appears and complete the search by going to another writeup.

    Once you've got an empty nodeshell that you're ready to go to work on or you've decided to add a writeup to an existing node the first thing to do is add soft-links. You already have some idea of what your text is going to be, you've already seen the "Findings" page and that must have given you some node titles you'd like to link yours too--so do it. Type in your related concepts into the search box again and this time click through on ten of the links and begin to fill out your soft-links at the bottom of the node.

    If your new node doesn't have soft links, users may add them for you. Some of those may be subtle, malicious comments on your writeup. For example, a new writeup on the ever-popular idea of Religion as a means of social control might be soft linked to Your radical ideas about religion as a mechanism of social control have already occurred to others. This is not a good thing.

    Having a few dead hard-links in your writeup is fine, but when you link for emphasis, however, you should use the pipe-link feature and point your "wacky-zany-good-times" phrases to an already existing "wacky-zany-good-times" node. (They're out there, believe me.) Just find one that deals with similar concepts as your piece of poetry and hook them up by placing a pipe (|) in your hard-link. Check out "Links on Everything2 for pipe-linking.

    With your last minute editing you've probably changed your mind on a few links or added some new ones with the pipe-link. Good. Click on those new/edited links and flesh out your soft-links.

    There is no arbitrary number of soft-links any given writeup should have. When choosing them just remember to soft-link any closely related nodes or concepts within your writeup (for instance, a writeup about David Bowie should probably have hard and soft-links to writer, composer, artist, rock and roll, actor and GOD). Once you've covered the basics the rest of the links are up to you--be creative with it: a writeup with clever links is like reading two writeups. Irony can be your friend.

  • Collect the votes, C!'s and msg's telling you what a brilliant genius you are. Save them. Dry them out and place them in a jar. Sell them on eBay in a few years for millions.

    Remember--if you do this right, 90% of your work is finished before you publish your writeup. You shouldn't be caught with your pants down when the writeup is exposed to the critical eye.

    Most importantly be happy--you just put a lot of work into something you care about. I must warn you that if you keep this up and continue to share and contribute to E2 you're not going to be caring about votes, xp, or C!'s much longer. Enjoy the game while you can.

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If you believe that this document needs updating or correcting, send me a message.

Updated on October 14, 2012 by haqiqat.

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