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I think Everything2 has failed.

Let me explain: people can and have nuked their own w/u because the reputation is low, and by doing so they increase their node-fu. This is done to gain a level by boosting their merit (avg. rep.) for the honor roll. When they do this we all lose. (This once was a bigger problem until the honor roll was thrown out but I still think it is happening.)

I'm not talking those w/u's that the writer feels the stigma associated could be damaging to them in some way. Whatever reason it might be, I'm sure it would be best if was removed. But to have your motivations be lead by the opinions of those who voted negatively upon it is to never know it's true potential. Who knows five years later that w/u might a receive comment saluting you on your idea, or it might come in the shape of a ching; I guess the point I'm trying to get at is, give it more time. Giving the node a little love and attention doesn't hurt either.

I'm not sure if e2 has a mission statement, but I'm almost certain that nuking your own shit isn't the idea. I think the idea is to have everything here, because someone, somewhere out there is going to find that something in your w/u that they will want to go back and read it again. When it's not there it hurts. I hate to see it happen, especially if there is no reason other than reputation.

Please, stop the self-righteous nuking of your own w/u's. You know, atleast for the sake of novelty.


February 4, 2008 | April 14, 2008

On Failure

Visit any library book-sale and one will not only find long-outdated tomes on medicine or sports or politics or whatever, one can find books which were published more recently than perhaps 80% of the library's collection. The reason? The books don't circulate and every single day there are more books which, perhaps, will be more popular, more informative, more useful to the users of the library. I can give examples of books which have earned many prizes, but have never shown up on the New York Times' Best Seller List.

There's a pretty rough story I heard about marketing that applies to the current topic. A store-monger put up for sale on his shelves ten-pound bags of shit. They sat there for weeks. Nary a bag was sold. He then discounted them 50%. Still no sales. The discount went up to 80%. No sales. Which tells one that no matter how cheap a product is, if it's shit it ain't gonna sell.

Now let's get to the point. Consider E2 a library. It is, really; a library of articles, prose, poetry, biography and more. The overwhelming majority of the content is quite good (else guest users wouldn't spend hours signed in, jumping from hard-link to hard-link). However, sometimes the voting population of E2 contributors deem a piece less than viable — no, not a piece of shit — just for one reason or another not right to have hanging around for a long time.

Of course, when a noder asks that his or her writeup be deleted from the nodegel, the noder may or may not reap benefits in merit or mean XP or other numbers. The finest noders on this site don't care about the numbers at all; in fact, one long-time contributor recently had his XP set to zero; I'm not certain of the reason why but I'd hazard a guess that "noding for numbers" was not that writer's intention.

I have deleted some of my own writeups. I've come to the conclusion that if a writeup is a year old and hasn't been upvoted (or worse, voted on at all) very much, it's best to make room on the servers for something of better quality. I print the file out; stuff it in a folder in my desk, and delete the writeup.

There's a lot of marginal material on E2 from long-gone writers that I, for one, would just love to get rid of. However, that's a decision that the noders of the future will make. There's been much lamenting the deletion of material that many folks around here feel has a great deal of value to the nodegel. But that's the way it goes.

The voters of E2 are a lot more forgiving than the editor of a newspaper or magazine for which someone may write an article for which they are compensated. We have a great deal of freedom in that we needn't worry about the editor (and Lord knows, we don't need to worry about the compensation, either). We have a great deal of freedom in that votes come from literally hundreds of "editors." Who knows, perhaps the editor at The Ladies Home Journal who rejected your article on knitting kitty-cat finger puppets had a sour stomach that day. Perhaps he or she awoke on the wrong side of the bed.

The suggestion that a writer can't do exactly what he or she wants at any time they want with the product of their own creativity is contrary to everything that E2 stands for. And to any person who would suggest that a noder's right to change or delete a writeup be challenged, even by suggestion, I say "write some shit and get out of everyone else's shit."

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