Part I · Part II

Based on the feedback I've received from yesterday's daylog, I decided I would address some of the assumptions at work, both mine and those of others, surrounding my stated beliefs and to speak to the volumes of commentary that they have provoked in the chatterbox from the established citizens of today's E2. No "makes an ass of you and me" jokes, kthx.

First, I began my anniversary daylog by stating that I had been largely inactive on E2 for the past two years. Looking around, I don't see that a whole lot has changed since I last frequented the site. My assumption is that things are essentially the same, with the probable exception that everything that's been in place is even more entrenched and established due to the simple passage of time. This may not be the case. There may be some major substantive changes that have taken place in the way that E2 works and the kind of dynamic that its new users have with the current system. I don't know. Oolong tells me that it's his perception that the staff has been "chilling out a lot more" over the past two or three years, so maybe the conditions I envision as being ongoing or worsening are not quite the case.

Second, the beliefs I have expressed are merely beliefs, not irrefutable facts. I do not know for certain whether or not the pessimistic outlook I have for E2's future holds any merit, or whether it is merely "bullshit" as has been openly suggested. I am basing my assumptions on what I have personally observed in the past, and on what I have been told by dozens and dozens of people whose writing I admired and whose presence on this site made the community friendlier and more like play than work. My beliefs could be wrong, and maybe the history of E2 could be preserved in some way that will give a reasonable person satisfaction. If E2 really is a "lighter side" of the authoritarian experience I last tasted here, then I guess I will need to observe that to believe it.

Third, I see a lot of reaction to my idea of splitting E2 perceived as if I was suggesting that this would damage, destroy or take something away from everything that Everything2 is right here today and now. I can't see where this assumption comes from, except maybe by my choice of the word 'splitting'. Maybe I should say 'cloning' or something. These are semantics. All I'm envisioning is a sort of backup copy of E2 that could be managed in a different way than E2 has evolved into being managed, with a different mission and ultimately a different attitude. At least it would preserve whatever remains of the past that would eventually be seen as unnecessary content by future judges of merit. Will anyone bother to show up to this playground? I have no idea. But if all it ends up being is a museum, I actually think that's good enough.

Fourth, I am assuming that there is even anything left of the old E2 that is worth preserving. Yes, 90% of everything is crap, and while it's crap I like and want to remember, I am not talking about every single last bit of it. The stuff in my node heaven alone is mostly crap that I don't really want anybody else seeing again. What I'm whinging about does not really have to do with most of the actual content on the site, either now or six years ago or whenever. What I see that we've almost completely lost is an environment that is conducive for the creation of the sort of magical nonsense that E2 used to inspire, but which it frankly doesn't anymore - hamburger joint analogies notwithstanding.

Which leads me to my biggest assumption of all. I have repeatedly failed to express this idea in everything I have said up until now probably because it was the thing that I erroneously believed that everyone understands. It's something that many of E2's most passionate missionaries for content quality do not get, or in some cases, do not believe in at all. Apatrix sums it up on his home node with the words "E2 is people. Take care of the people and the content will take care of itself." What he is really talking about may seem evident, but for many it's not.

Years ago, back when I found this place on the web and made a home for myself here, E2 was populated by a lot of people that are different from the sort of people we have here now. Yes, there are some of the same faces here today that were here even in the very beginning, but many of (*) the people who aren't here anymore are the ones who made E2 such a vibrant, fun, exciting community. Some of them were morons and trolls. Some of them were brilliant writers with low self-esteem. Some of them were teenage geeks caught in the years between GeoCities and MySpace. Some were elderly Japanese men with a fondness for cooking and poetry. Some were college students looking for an easy, creative distraction. And some were people like me who just happened along by accident and were attracted inside by the barely organized confusion.

My biggest assumption is that the thing that attracted me to E2 in the first place was the same thing that attracted many of the best people who are no longer here. I base this assumption on meeting and talking to hundreds of noders over the span of six years. To me, so many of the things about E2 that we have worked diligently to purge over the years are the same things that brought the kinds of crazy people through our door who gave the nodegel its sparkly appeal. You may be inclined to view this as misty-eyed nostalgia because that's how I've been given to expressing it, and I think it's because I am failing to identify and articulate the nature of these intangible qualities which gave birth to the community - not the community the way it is now, but the way it was then. They are different. Do not assume I'm saying that everything that's gone now was good. Some of the bad policies and problems we got rid of were horrible nightmares that gave everyone no end of grief. E2 is the way it is today because we fixed so many things that we saw were broken about it. But if the easy standards we had and the chaotic bullshit we got rid of were not responsible for attracting the kinds of people who made E2 a crazy game instead of a professional writing project, I can not figure out why this does not jibe with what I have been told by so many of them.

I guess what I'm doing here is coming back from my long tour of "exit interviews" and issuing a report on my findings, along with a proposal of my recommended action. Obviously, E2 is under no obligation to do anything about this, and I have repeatedly stated that I don't expect anything to happen. But the visceral hatred, biting sarcasm and even name calling batted around in the chatterbox and directed toward me over the views I've expressed is really the best example there is for how many perceive the face of E2 today. We used to borg people for making personal insults in the chatterbox, but now you can unload on anybody however you want and everybody just shrugs. What kind of community is that? I'd like an E2 where people weren't complete bastards to each other, particularly when some of them have been friendly colleagues for years. Civility is always in order.

But that E2 isn't this one. Noders that stick around have really thick skins, and it's always been thus. This is another reason that I find so many people who used to contribute good content here decided to leave. They'd just had enough from the same individuals that never ever ceased giving them shit, no matter what they did. I suspect this was one of the reasons that Community2 was created. I think dann wanted to build a place that was like E2 was for us back in 2000-2003 but without the editorial spatula of extreme agony. He wanted a friendlier place to play the game without anybody being in charge, and it sort of fell apart while they were in the process of building a better mousetrap.

And that leads me to the last assumption (for now), which is what I and so many of the gone, growing in number would probably like to see happen for E2, but which is likely impossible for a whole lot of good reasons. It comes across like what we want is to go back to the "good old days" of yesteryear, but that's a crock. If yesterday was so awesome, there wouldn't have been any reason to change into what we have now. No, what I think we really want is an idealized version of everything good that made E2 the jive-ass dance club it used to be, but without so much pretense of trying to get serious and clean ourselves up for something legitimate. We want an E2 without a rising bar. A nodegel where you can fuck around all you want, node for numbers and make shit up, experiment and have fun without worrying about if you are good enough. Not some place without rules or consequences - no copyrighted material, no plagiarism, no being a dick are not unreasonable conditions of entry. But some place where you can write what you wish and not have it cut down solely by an unseen hand with a red pencil. I'm not the only one who wants to play in the nodegel again, like before everything mattered so much, but starting over from scratch just wouldn't be the same.

Clever people do the most interesting things when they think that nobody is paying attention. Insecure people give you amazing stuff when they feel safe that the risk of criticism is low. Hanging out with people who are having fun and playing is very different than being with people who are confidently trying to impress each other with their hard work. All these factors and others like them helped make E2 what it was in the beginning. It wasn't perfect, but is it nothing more than foolishness to wish for a place that could be? If so, then I'm just a fool in love with an idea that was never meant to be. Well, me and a hundred of my friends. Maybe in time, I can learn to accept that.

So by all means, keep Everything2 and all it has come to embody, both in reality and perception. Keep on going down that road, wherever it leads you. If you don't believe me when I tell you where I think it goes, that's okay. I could be totally wrong. I know a whole lot of you believe that there is nothing wrong with E2 the way it is, and in fact believe strongly that it is better than ever. You wouldn't be working here if you didn't. But maybe think about doing something for those of us who lived through E2's turbulent past and view it through a gilded frame. Maybe cloning the site for a museum-go-round isn't the best idea. I don't have all the answers, and never said I did. But I am not the only one who wants to remember, and our old picture keeps fading away.

* I'm told this was phrased in a way that implied that I was suggesting that everyone on E2 currently is boring and no fun, and other things that I was not trying to imply whatsoever. Please excuse my careless insult - I did not mean to suggest anything of the sort.

First off let me start by saying that I was never a very good writer. In fact when I first found this place I was a terrible writer. But I found a place here on E2. A place where I could at least attempt to hone my skills. A place where I could contribute.

I am one of only 3 users who started writing on this website after it had standards and still managed to write 1000 nodes. I am one of our twelve m-noders. Some of you have been around long enough to remember back when people used to aspire to that. The term rarely gets used any more though, since writing 1000 nodes in the modern E2 seems like an almost impossible task.

I fell in love with E2 back in 2001. For a hundred years or more 2001 represented the future. Spaceships, flying cars, hoverboards and shiny clothes. Well it turns out we didn't get any of those, but what we did get in 2001 was an E2 that was vibrant, alive and seeing hundreds of new writeups a day. But then people started talking about quality. Now a little bit of quality is a great thing. I was completely supportive of the idea of some level of quality, so supportive in fact that I even wrote a writeup stating that the editors should support quality, and that they should clean their own houses first. You see back then much of the editorial staff had user searches filled with things that they themselves would never let survive in new writeups. Pointing out that little fact publically pretty much assured that I myself would never be allowed to join the staff. I would have to be content to try to shape the database and support the community as a normal noder.

A little bit of quality is a good thing. In the grand scheme of things it really doesn't take the author that much more time to at least give his readers an entire paragraph about the subject in which he felt compelled to comment on. But then someone had an idea to change the voting and experience system to further reward this quality. That was the first big mistake. That little voting and experience system that the administration doesn't take all that seriously was the single largest influence on the website. The proposed change essentially did two things, it encouraged people not to write nodes, and it further entrenched the old boy's network by favoring older users and older nodes over newer ones. When the userbase was asked for comments on the proposed changes I gave mine, and very clearly outlined what the results of those changes would be. My concerns were ignored, and then everything I said would happen came to pass.

I don't think I need to explain again why things turned out the way they did. It is simple enough to say that changes in editorial policy prompted changes in the website reward structure and the two just fed off of each other.

A few paragraphs ago I was talking about how I once fell in love with E2. I still love E2, I just can no longer say I am in love with E2. You see, we can't go anyplace anymore, we can't do anything together. But we can change that. I believe in the current E2 administration. The active administration today is people who really care about the website, not just the people who happened to log in back when the whole thing started.

You have the power to make E2 what you want it to be. It starts with you. Now I am not saying that you should go out there and write garbage, but go out there and write something. There used to be a time where people would fill in any hole in the database they found. Now they won't do that because they don't want to spend 5 hours crafting a node that only 9 people will read. You see, most people will read a paragraph or two on anything, but those giant 1000-3000 word nodes that have come into vogue on E2, I have a little feeling that much of the time the users just upvote them without even reading them.

Remember where I said that 2001 was the future? Perhaps it should be again.

OK, you know what? Enough of the angst. No, it's not like the old E2. But is your life the same as it was five, six years ago? Friends move away, people die, new people come in, folks change jobs. Life goes on. I mean, hell, it's been five years since wharfinger was on.

In the time I've been here, all the way back to January of 2001 when I was Alias Mother Jonez I've:

Life goes on. It always goes on, even without you. Even without E2. Is it different? Yeah. But so am I. So are you. Nostalgia is a killer. Believe me, I know.

For all the bullshit I've pulled, I still do like E2. I'm still writing, even if slowly and more cautiously. Part of that is age, and part of that is just life.

Like panamaus above says, E2 is people. I've met some amazing people; I even dated an amazing person, and I wish he could read this to know I don't hate him, and I hope he's happy. E2 is hard to define--we keep trying to. And we can't. And that's OK.

Jesus, don't cry
You can rely on me honey
You can combine anything you want
I'll be around
You were right about the stars
Each one is a setting sun

A very small, humble modest proposal

The current journey to the centre of the belly button of E2 seems like a good time to pitch a very small, simple idea I've had floating around recently.

The only thing we all agree on right now is our desire to get some fresh nodermeat around here. To that end, I propose that we start devoting our energies to recruitment, and set up a new group devoted entirely to marketing e2. I imagine it as running along similar lines to edev, an open source marketing campaign where anyone can pitch an idea for promoting E2 in the outside world. Here are a couple of ideas for what this group could do:

Not polling of the userbase, who are daylogging the bejesus out of their opinions at their moment, but polling of non-users and getting their opinions on this funny site of ours. There will be suggestions, which can possibly be refined into an RDD for edev. There will also be positive points about what we do, which will be useful in deciding who to target. For example, I think our clunky UI will prove popular with 30-somethings who remember the glory days of geocities.

There are huge groups of people out there searching for something like E2. I'm sure of this. A organised promotion team could find forums and websites where these people gather, and encourage them to join us.

Referral schemes
Bringing in new noders should be rewarded, and we should have a scheme for encouraging existing noders to recruit their mates. I would suggest a 500XP bonus for a referred friend who reaches level 2, but this is something which the promotion team could define.

Other stuff
There's lots.

To sum it up in one sentence: we should work together to form a coherent strategy for bringing in new noders.

Is this a foolhardy quest, given that E2 is dying, all editors are assholes and nobody wants to write anymore. Nope. E2 is a self-defining, self-organising, and, importantly, a self-policing website. Do you want to see changes in policy? Don't pester the gods, just get new noders in.

Every change in E2 policy has been user-driven. Seriously. That includes raising the bar. It may have been brutal and badly handled, but it succeeded because deep down we all wanted it. Therefore, change in editorial policy is only possible by bringing in new users.

That's the truth.

Let's get some fresh meat in here. Begin.

In other news, happy St Patrick's Day! Go n-eiri libh!

I'll be brief. I love maus as though I actually know him. I love kyle too. I've made lots of friends here, friends I confide in, friends who know more about me than my own parents do. People who would pull the gun out of my hand, try to staunch the bleeding.

You can wax poetic all you want: E2 is a website. It's a huge collection of lines of code. I've written hundreds of thousands of lines of code in my day. It's a tool. It's a textarea and chat box. It's a search engine and stack of links.

The only thing any of us have to remember is that E2 exists with or without us. It's been coded. It's been instanced on a web server. It's got an IP address and DNS information and server space and a team of developers to make sure it doesn't get all busted up. It is done.

What happens to E2 isn't up to one person. It's not up to the content editors, it's not up to President Bush, it's not up to the upvote-all-the-time-regardless users, my cell phone service provider, my job, your pizza delivery boy, or our hopes. E2 is finished. It's that pesky content that isn't done yet. Always evolving. Capricious. You want to direct some of that change... do it.

Or don't.

I love all you people so damn much, I can't really stand it sometimes. You're passionate, intelligent, belligerent, obnoxious, charming, handsome, repulsive, left and right. You make me want to be a better writer, more emotional, more in touch with people. Make me want to drink less and smile more. Change the world and fix my spelling. Hate less.

It's cliché to say it, but E2 is what you make of it. It's your bane or your release. Your merit or your text-based-RPG. You can write or not. E2 doesn't demand either from you. There's no romanticism attached to this. E2 is unfeeling, uncaring, unthinking, and remorseless. I am not E2. You are not E2. We are E2.

There are problems. None of them are E2's fault.

Well, I haven't been able to make myself read past the first couple of paragraphs of any of the postings in the latest dustup on the state of e2. I created my account in January of 2001, then known as Captain Wings, which was a nickname bestowed by my wife's clan, who all had nicknames. After we divorced in 2004 I had my username changed to maxClimb, which sort of relates my hang gliding activities. So I've seen the change in tone and emphasis over time. I take a look every day, for some reason, though I rarely post anymore. I've never tried to be part of the e2 social scene, but there are personalities here who I like, care about, and miss when they don't post or I don't see they're gabbing in the catbox.

I was drawn to e2 because it was like an encyclopedia with quirks and personality. There was hilarious stuff, moving stuff, and informative stuff. It was interesting as hell. I like scanning the catbox and contributing the occasional bad pun. It still is more interesting than just about anything else I've seen on the web, but I don't know if I would create an account if I had just discovered it today. The writing is better now, but it is less informative overall. The purely fictional stuff usually holds scant appeal for me unless it is extremely well written. Some of the stylistic excursions are interesting. I like to learn things when I surf e2, and to laugh a bit. When I come across things like some of originalzin's recent writings, I'm moved. The writings of those who are troubled or greatly burdened yet still manage to function, grow and contribute keep my compassion at an acceptable level, jaded to the core though I am. If all the poetry got deleted tomorrow, I wouldn't miss it.

I wish e2 was still more factually oriented, but I wish lots of things, idly. I'm 45 and more into accepting the things I cannot change these days. What e2 is at any time emerges from the gestalt of those who are the most active at that time. Wherever it IS going, I'll probably keep hanging around. I have a few writeups I really want to do if I ever find the time. I'd sure like to see another of my Gone in Sixty Seconds plays produced; of course, I'd have to write another one...

So the discussion is good - like a family meeting can be good. As long as there are few unbridled emotional outbursts, no regrettable statements you can't take back, and no loudly slammed doors. There's enough of that in meatspace.

I had intended on writing two sentences on the subject and then writing about how I spent most of the day doing yard work, how a newfound sense of ownership has unexpectedly emerged now that my older brother, whom I love dearly and have enjoyed living with these last three years, is actually moving in with his girlfriend of seven years (whom the family first met at MY wedding, some months after HIS divorce). I lived here for years, then moved in with my future wife. My Bro moved in here after his divorce, forcing the tenant out a month early. I moved in here 'temporarily' three years ago. We've gotten on well and have started a web design business with a third party and have taken on three more part-time partners who'll go full-time when there's enough work and income for everyone. Might be soon.

I don't have a lot of typing left in my fingers tonight, so more about all that later, I guess. I hadn't realized how things like having the big trash bins (trash/recycling/lawn waste) in the driveway bugged me until I moved them out behind the garage today. I'm a "don't sweat the small stuff" kinda guy, but maybe I'm retaining water from not sweating enough.

I just hope I don't have to go back and fix these pipe links - I ALWAYS get it backwards.

(Yep, every one was worng...)

Love is Actually...

Love is a recollection of memories about another person. Nothing more, nothing less. Hear me out.

Love has its roots in three other useless concepts that the human race should have abondened years ago.

1.) Jealousy

2.) Ownership (Possessions)

3.) Desire for Unnecessary Sex

Love is a learned human trait. We are not born to love, animals do not love no matter what you say.

We socialize with members of our species, we find ones that are interesting or attractive mates. From there we do a little dance to get them interested in us, lots of different methods work (Being drunk at a bar works pretty well). Love comes in when people start to be jealous that you are hanging around other people, thinking they might be having sex with others. The fact you are having sex with them makes you feel like they are yours. Jealousy develops when they talk or look at others. Through these three things Love is developed. An idea we created to control others.

Sex simply feels good so we know what to do when its time to reproduce. It was not meant for extracurricular activity (sportfucking). Although it is pretty sweet.

Free yourself from love. It is the single most evil in the world. People will kill themselves over it, people will wage wars over it.

Destroy love now or be doomed to the cruelest of fates. Im going to get my kicks someplace else.

And I hope all of your hearts are fucking broken too, you sheep.

This site has been having an identity crisis since day 1. That's the point.

I finally registered my account here on E2 on January 2, 2003, having spotted a nodeshell in my travels and finally being able to say "Hey - maybe I could write something there". I'd been perusing the database for months before, seen writeups come and go, learn how hardlinks worked (at first I thought them wholly random, somehow generated by E2 itself), discovered all sorts of user-written content you couldn't find elsewhere on the web. This was before "Web 2.0", before Wikipedia and its ilk came into vogue. The whole idea of a user-written encyclopaedia seemed fantastic.

And to me it still is. Here on E2 we have so much - we have a community, we have in-jokes, we have a team of gods and editors who really do seem to want to build a better website. There may be fewer lesbians, monkeys, and soy, but today's E2 still lures me back, day after day.

Undoubtedly things have changed. ENN no longer scrolls half as fast as it once did. But reading the writeups being created everyday, the difference in quality is astounding. The bar has been raised. When I first browsed the site five years ago I would check out a couple of nodes, chuckle, and then head off again - today I can be sucked into a whole collection of fantastically-written pieces, and try to provide the same in return.

But the community is still here. If you want to find short, humourous writeups, you can! If you still look for the little in-jokes, the community references, and so on, you'll still find them. The other side of the coin, away from the long and detailed writeups, is that E2 is its own place on the Web, different and special. It's not Wikipedia or H2G2. And it doesn't try to be.

From this relatively new noder's perspective, E2 is still growing and changing. But it's still the E2 I joined.

I think this is probably the best time to announce this, given that a lot of people are making similar announcements. Much as I'm ashamed to admit it, I'm afraid I'm not leaving E2.

I've been here for about five years, and in that time I've seen a lot change, but I've also seen a lot stand still. I've seen noders come and go. As time has passed we've struggled through downtime and lag-which-might-as-well-have-been-downtime aplenty. And yet we're still here, doing the same old thing. All this has combined, with a few other factors, to make me think that now is simply the best time for me to stay.

I wish it could be another way, but it's got to the point where E2 is just not something I can do without anymore. I have to move on with my writing and get on with my life, and I have come to the unavoidable conclusion that that means continuing to node. Beyond that, there are other, more personal reasons for sticking around; I don't feel at liberty to discuss my deeper motivations, but suffice it to say, the one-time actions of certain people who shall not be named contributed to my decision. They may or may not know who they are. It doesn't really matter. The point is that what these people did is indicative of the direction E2 is going, and that's something I'm having no difficulty whatsoever dealing with.

I guess there is the vague possibility that I may leave at some point in the future, but frankly... it seems unlikely from my current point of view. We'll see.

Okay, I guess this is it. If I ever see you all again, it'll probably be sometime tomorrow morning.

Take care,


Excalibre says You won't be missed, dude.
sam512 says Whatever. I guess I'll never know.

      I've been part of this website for what seems to me to be a ridiculously long time - 5.6 years, according to my homenode. Ever since (my homenode is even more obsessive than I am) Fri Jul 27 2001 at 17:36:23. Server time.

      I remember that time. I was working at Ask Jeeves, which has since (irritatingly) renamed itself Which would be far less irritating if they didn't put out commercials where people said "Why don't you ask Ask?" Oh fuck does that make me shudder.

      My friend Jean sent around a link to Your hands do the work of 10,000 highly trained lesbian jumping beans. The title delighted me and the hardlinks sucked me in. I immediately learned how to hop around the site reading whatever I wanted, learning more and more about it all with each link. It took me a lot longer to learn that I could read a softlink by hovering over it instead of clicking on it and then having to hit "back". Sometime well before that, all my hopping through the queer nodes led me to conclude that there was a real dearth of transgendered material on here, and sign up just to chuck some in. I've always been proud that my first writeup hasn't been deleted yet, although it sure needs polishing.

      I made plenty of mistakes early on, especially posting writeup after writeup my first day and wondering why I was getting so viciously downvoted - until someone was kind enough to explain to me that people get really annoyed when one user fills up New Writeups. (Don't display in "New Writeups")? Are you nuts? Then I won't get any attention! What's the point of writing if nobody ever sees it? I'm not a fucking Zen koan over here.

      I think that's always been my mistake with E2. Noding for attention. I can't help it, it's a disease! I've done a lot of work over the past lo these many years to let go of that need for approval, the sweet high of those upvotes and the buzz of the C!s. At some point I got more interested in /msged feedback than the shiny shiny points. But I still have that inner child whine sometimes - I know this is good! How come it's at +21/-9?

      Obviously, the attention is like a drug in another way - I need more and more of it to be satisfied. I know from experience that I'll only really be satisfied by my own approval. Getting 4 or 7 or 12 C!s on a writeup so that I am willing to momentarily believe that my writing must be good because other people think so is marvelously codependent and only a temporary fix.

      And as my desire for more points was growing, my standards for myself grew along with it. At some point I noticed that all my recent writeups had gotten C!ed, and I resolved to keep it that way. It wasn't enough for my writing to be fun anymore, because I wasn't writing for me. It wasn't enough that I might learn something new or fill a hole in the nodegel. And I didn't even notice for a long time. I thought that it was because we had raised the bar, the bar kept going up, that now writeups had to be lavishly formatted, decadently long, able to capture and keep the reader's attention like a chapter of a book. That it wasn't worth just whipping out something quick and true to fill a cavity.

      The reality, I realize now, was that those smaller, quicker writeups would have gotten the same kind of votes that they always had, as others' did. That +24/-4 and 1 C! is damn good for an 800-word writeup that I crapped out at work. That whoever said maybe we just need to let ourselves have fun with it all again was right, or at least they were right about what I need.

      The funny thing, to me, is that I left E2 for about two years. I've posted six things since the last Presidential election, many of which I had already written for other sources. Mostly, I left because I lost interest: not because of anything E2 had done, but because I had a soul-killing office job which was slowly draining all the creative energy I had. Any energy I had left was going toward handling drama with my abusive co-parent, handling drama created by my psycho boss, having full-time custody of my kid, and fighting for guardianship of my kid. And the funny thing about it is that when I came back, nothing seemed any different. I hear a lot of people talk about how people were meaner, the community hung together less, it was all different. But I never experienced that. Maybe it's because I don't hang out in the catbox, because that tiny square that it happens in changes too fast for me. If I could scroll back and post in the same window, it would be different. As it is, my E2 life is all about posting, reading, and usergroups.

      So I've been thinking. I see these big debates and blow-ups and announcements when they happen, but I never post anything. By the time I get to the end of the daylogs, I realize that all the perspectives are amply represented and that as always it seems to boil down to everyone talking and then everything being okay again. And it makes me realize... I don't participate in E2 the way I want to.

      It's the fun thing. I spent last year working to let go of fear, guilt, shame, and controlling assholes. My New Year's Resolution this year is to bring more fun and joy into my life. I've noticed that I can't do that without letting go of all the tight, restrictive old fears... just as I can't have the fun I want here without letting go of my shame, fear of not being good enough, whatever you want to call it, and doing it out of the joy of writing what I want and being myself.

      Do you want to know what I love about e2?

      • The quests. All those incredibly creative and inspiring challenges, the glittering prizes, the lists of awesome new things to read under each one, the amazing beauty of even just the quest writeup itself.
      • The usergroups. Outies, ninjagirls, e2parents, e2pandas, NoCal, recipians, greenfingers, mentors, helpline, nanowrimo, and all the ones I'm not a member of yet too.
      • Writing anything I want. Sharing it. Getting feedback and ideas on it. The camaraderie and support around writing.
      • Doing the same for others - the joy of telling them what I love about what they've written, and helping with typos and such.
      • The community - hearing about other noders' marriages, turning points in their lives, finding people with shared interests and experiences.
      • The catbox - I might not be able to hang out there for any reasonable amount of time, but whenever I check in there is somebody saying something completely hilarious.

      That's probably not all. But you know what I've always wished I could do here?

      • I've always wanted to participate enough that everyone knows me. I want to be some kind of a byword. A byword for something good.
      • I want to keep up my friendships here, and everywhere else. I want to appreciate people more, and make a point of enjoying their company and putting some energy into our relationships, whether I went to college with them or just know them as pixels on a screen.
      • I want to host a nodermeet, and go to a nodermeet. I want fun and debauchery and to actually participate in this place.
      • I've always wanted to be an m-noder!

      What passport said made me think. "Some of you have been around long enough to remember back when people used to aspire to that. The term rarely gets used any more though, since writing 1000 nodes in the modern E2 seems like an almost impossible task."

      If I posted one and one-quarter writeups a day, I would become an M-noder at the end of 2008. Hell, that asshole wouldn't even be officially out of office by then.

      I'm going to do it. I'm posting something every single day. You're my witness. I'm going to start taking part in E2 the way I've always wanted to.

As much as I try to avoid short, pithy statements and mindless hero worship the fact that we seem to have lost our way often means that we need to find an example of what we should be doing. While pondering this and the many problems of the current E2 I thought of just what would best represent this. What can we point to to describe best what E2 should be and how noders should treat it when it occurred to me:

What would sensei do?

Will there ever be someone who best represents the potential of this site than he? Even though he had earned it, did he ever succumb to the idea that we should tolerate his bullshit? For that matter, did he ever bullshit?

sensei represented what was best about the "good old days" of E2. He wrote some excellent factuals, but also supplied us with recipes, observations, poetry, and, dare I say it, soul. How would a two line write-up on the right to sunshine fare today? Would it be immediately voted down? Survive only because of name recognition?

I do not wish that we should mythologize a man. There is no true glory in being put up on a pedestal and viewed only as some impossible ideal free from criticism. Instead I think that perhaps we should look to the past. At the greatness that has already been done and at someone who has already shown us the way to create a site that is both serious, yet warm.

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