Noding for Numbers, or 'NFN', is a somewhat vague term which refers to the practice of adding gratuitous writeups to the database. It's an unavoidable side-effect of the voting/experience system which requires a minimum number of writeups to make the next 'level' and gain certain powers.

A few examples of this (long since deleted):

  • A user once attempted to add a writeup for each zip code in the U.S.. The node would be titled '22451' and the writeup would read "A zip code in the Chicago area". Some of the writeups actually read "A zip code that has yet to be assigned to a region".

    This user is no longer with us.

  • Adding a writeup for each past tense or plural of any given word. A writeup for 'elephants' that reads "Plural of elephant".

    These were commonplace when E2 was the infantile E1 and writeups like this were accepted and welcomed. Unfortunately, when we switched URL's and evolved into Everything 2 we imported all of the writeups from E1 and they have been setting bad examples ever since. Many of the older users still have writeups like this floating around and we delete them as we find them.

    A recent feature known as the 'firm link' will make this style of noding completely antiquated as we'll be able to permanently link a nodeshell like 'elephants' to the 'elephant' node. Of course, we do our readers a disservice in assuming they couldn't figure out the root word in the first place. E2 does not need to be perfectly clear to seven year olds or simpletons.

  • Creating a number of different writeups for information best presented cohesively, in one node. Examples of this have included creating a writeup for each two dozen different colors of candles and listing the properties of each color. Instead, the information was collected into one node, Color symbolism for candles, and was then soft linked to 'candle' and 'candles'. You must consider, again, that your researcher has a certain amount of sense and a finite amount of patience - he or she isn't going to be happy about clicking over twenty-five different links to find their 'power candle'.

It should be made clear that 'noding for numbers' is not the same thing as submitting a lot of writeups. Noding for numbers is submitting a lot of writeups without a good reason. Noding for numbers is creating multitude of unwise, superfluous or inane writeups in a short period of time. Users have a tendency to get upset when an author 'floods' the new writeups list with a series of writeups. It's unfortunate, since often it simply means is someone is working hard, but downvotes can be a result. Users get around this by using the "submit writeups hidden" option. A common sign of true "noding for numbers" is a complete lack of soft links as the user hurries to create the next node. Bad form. The Perfect Node is your only hope.

See also: E2 FAQ: Is E2 Just Like E1? and Is Everything 2 really everything?

Contrary to popular belief, Noding for Numbers is not automatically a Bad Thing. Noding projects are an essential part of what makes Everything2's database useful to everyone. Many nodeworthy subjects are simply too massive to be confined to one writeup, while others are better off being broken up into many nodes so that they can be searched individually.

The trick to successful NFN, if there is a "trick" to it, is to do it in such a way that it conforms to E2's normal standards for quality noding. Posting a large number of individually-worthwhile nodes is considered valuable here. Posting as many quick-and-dirty writeups as you can without putting any effort into them is not.

If you're looking to create a few dozen or a few hundred closely related nodes, then, try to remember the following tips--not just for the sake of your own XP, but for the general edification of the database.


Make me care

Don't just node stuff that's already common knowledge, or that no one who didn't live your life will be interested in. Pick a subject that will interest the reader, something that will draw most people to say "That was a really worthwhile effort," and a few to spend an hour or two exploring your entire metanode.

  • Bad: Obscure Garage Bands from My Home Town
  • Good: England's Number One Songs and Why They Were Hits


Write your own stuff

E2 rarely appreciates writeups that are nothing more than cut-and-paste content from other sources, especially as part of a project. Writeups which are nothing more than identically-formatted cut-and-pasted text will be voted down at least as often as they are voted up. But when you append a few of your own original thoughts to those writeups, or combine information from other sources, you're making a contribution.

  • Bad: Band Lyrics I Copied Blandly from the Liner Notes
  • Good: Well-Formatted Lyrics, How The Song Sounds, and What They Mean


Quoting statistics won't impress me

The most hated NFN projects on E2 (read: vote dumps) are built from list after list of bland, uninteresting statistics. These are bad because they prove you put little original thought into them, but even worse, they provide little or no context for the information. You have full use of the English language at your command for every writeup you create; use it to make yourself clear.

  • Bad: Boring Numerical Properties of the Atomic Elements
  • Good: The Elements and How They Were Discovered


Pick titles carefully

If every single node title in your project is an obscure string of words and numbers that no one would ever hardlink or search for, you should rethink your titling scheme. Titles that people are likely to come across casually or by chance will increase the "interestingness" of your project as well as the sheer number of upvoters over time.

  • Bad: 1989 Pontiac Trans Am Limited Edition (Metallic Navy Blue)
  • Good: Trans Am


Don't display in New Writeups

If you're going to be creating a lot of nodes at a time, it's common courtesy not to flood the New Writeups nodelet with half a dozen writeups on the same topic. (Besides, annoyed noders tend to downvote by reflex.) Either check that box or space your writeups far enough apart that no more than three are displayed at a time.

  • Bad: Battle of Gettysburg, Battle of Hastings, Battle of Ingersol, Battle of the Bulge, Battle of This, Battle of That...
  • Good: Battle of Gettysburg


Finish what you start

There's few things more annoying than when a noder begins a noble and comprehensive metanode and stops halfway through, leaving the reader hanging on an eight-month-old promise of "more to come". If you're determined to Node for Numbers, be comprehensive. If you create a project which will need to be updated in the future, leave it open at the end in case you're not around to complete it next year.

  • Bad: Academy Award Winners Up Through 1978
  • Good: Academy Award Winners with Hardlinks Deliberately Left for Next Year's Results


And, of course, the usual guidelines as spelled out in Everything University apply to your writeups themselves.



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