1, 2, 3, masks off!
Hello! If you aren't familiar with the Wordmongers' Masque: Poets' Ball, I strongly suggest you go find out what that was. This node isn't going to mean much to you, otherwise.
Well, the Masque is over and the New Writeups list is shaking off the last of our poetry like a wet dog trying to get dry. There were far more participants than I expected, and only a couple people said they would submit something but didn't get a chance to. All in all, I'm very satisfied with how everything turned out.
In alex's ed log for May, he briefly touched on the subject of the Masque, and poetry in general. He also had a few words with me while I was planning the quest. The gist of both was that poetry has been treated poorly on e2 for quite long enough. Even poems with multiple C!s often have nearly as many downvotes as upvotes. People seem to have a hair trigger for downvoting poetry on sight.
Another issue was the stigma in posting poetry. Our daylogs - all the way back to early e2 - are filled with hidden poetry, tucked away from judgmental eyes. One thing the quest achieved (albeit unintentionally) was putting poetry in the spotlight. There was enough of it in New Writeups that after a couple weeks, it didn't seem so strange to see five or ten poems on the list at once. Unfortunately, there is still a tendency among users to use daylog nodes as a safe haven of sorts. A couple of noders in the Masque reposted nuked material in daylogs, and I believe they enjoyed a better reception there. I don't represent the staff in any way, but I know alex shares my opinion that daylogs are not meant for hiding writeups that would be otherwise nuked (unless it actually belongs there in the first place).
One thing that made me very happy was seeing poetry from unexpected users, and good poetry at that. This was one of my goals with the quest. I'm glad some people stepped out of their comfort zone, even if it was just for the month. Another thing I intended for the quest was a willingness to experiment. I personally tried a couple different approaches to writing, and some were received better than others. We saw iambic pentameter, anapestic trimeter, haiku, pantoums, limericks, and free verse. Some of our noders even took to the catbox while in costume to terrorize the normals. I hope nobody developed any personality disorders as a result of the Masque. But then, having a new personality is the real part of the fun. Since everyone was trying to keep their identity secret, we had to write and act in a way that we normally would not. A couple of my poems were written from the female perspective, as well as a queer one. Doctor Uncle developed a bizarre style of talking in the catbox. Emberella talked to her other self a few times. One slip and someone might have guessed us, and there certainly were a considerable amount of correct guesses. In the first Wordmongers' Masque, only one noder was correctly identified, but that was not the case here, as we will now see.
30 noders made alternate accounts for the Masque, and 26 of them submitted at least one poem. After all the guesses were in, 18 noders' identities were still kept secret, and each of them will get 1050 GP for that, on top of whatever they get for submitting poems, guessing others, and being C!'d. It's a much larger amount of GP than I had predicted, but again, I never imagined as many as 30 people would be joining in, so thanks for that.
AlmostDeadly was Evil Catullus. A couple people tried guessing who AlmostDeadly was, but only moosemanmoo got it right.
Blackbeard the Poet would have been impossible to guess, since he was the elusive adhoc. But he never got noding, so he turned out to be a wild card that was not so wild.
bloodworm was lizardinlaw. Some users thought this was a joke account designed to mess up the quest, or satirize it. I assure you, the prolific and unflappable bloodworm was just doing her part. She was in fact identified, quite late in the game, by tentative.
capitalsloth was XWiz. There were a couple attempts at guessing him. None were successful.
clementine is classified, since no poems were forthcoming and it's a special circumstance. It's an account that's 8.5 years old, and the user is still active here. All I'm saying.
coverbard was lucychili, who walked away with what looks like the best C! to poem ratio in the Masque. And she stayed a secret.
The Detergent was tentative. Nobody guessed her, and all her guesses were correct. Nice sleuthing.
Diesta was GhettoAardvark. Just one poem, but that probably made it easier to conceal his identity.
Doctor Uncle was Ancientsnow, and was identified by Dimview. The Doc was not a real doctor or a real uncle, no, but she was one of the best-received submitters for the quest. That Dimview is a sharp one, though.
ElizabethH is one of our oldest Mask accounts, and although there were a number of users who participated in both Masques, ElizabethH was the only Mask that was in both. She was never identified because she had submitted poetry rather than fiction, so she took refuge with us. It was Lometa all along.
Emberella was Dimview, another noder whose name came up a bit in the guessing. They were all wrong though, and Dimview managed to scrape by unscathed. She did guess three others, however. Nice work there.
Freedom's Horse never existed, but it would have been DejaMorgana. Sorry we missed you.
Intentions was sangsoo, who submitted the most poems after bloodworm. We hadn't really seen a lot of him lately, but that was only because he had a mask on. Unfortunately, he spent more time in the catbox than perhaps he should have, and tentative caught him.
JapanBlack was cruxfau, a relatively new noder and one who doesn't spend much time in the catbox. A near-impossible guess, maybe, but everyone was welcome to enter so no grumbling.
Lance911 was raincomplex. This had the potential to be a pretty funny persona judging by the name, but raincomplex was a bit busy with edev, so we only got one poem from Lance.
lantern was Angela. She's one of the noders who have been hiding their poetry in daylogs. She only did one poem here, but it's nice to get some poetry out in the open. That's what I wanted to see.
Milt Yarberry was Aerobe, another one-hit-wonder (Milt, that is, not Aerobe), submitting her only poem on the very first day. Milt Yarberry was another of my favourite names, but no one figured out who it was.
Perpetual Indulgence was moosemanmoo, who submitted entirely in daylogs, in the style of the first Masque. He got AlmostDeadly as Evil Catullus, who then retaliated by guessing moose. I believe this was the only case of two noders guessing each other correctly, and now you have to fight to the death. It's in the rules, somewhere.
Plaztec was tkeiser. No submissions. Dude, I saw you in the catbox almost every day; no excuses.
PUZZLE PIRATES RULES was Shanoyu, a recently-unfled noder from way back. He hasn't been seen in nearly four weeks, so it's possible that he's disappeared again. Another hard-to-guess participant. What am I going to do with these GP prizes?
RomancingTheBone was artman2003, as both Junkill and Dimview supposed. Junkill actually guessed artman2003 back in 2006, when he was Mo'nizzle. Knowing who everyone was from the beginning, it's hard for me to say how well people were disguised, but I think RtB's particular brand of erotic poetry may have been the easiest to guess in the Masque.
Saphinos was eien_meru, who messed up and posted two of his three submissions early. They were not officially included, which is too bad. Who's running this thing anyway? Go check them out, regardless.
SayLovey was dichotomyboi. This was another daylog-exclusive series of poems. dicho tried three different styles of poem over four writeups, which is great, but Evil Catullus and moosemanmoo both guessed him. Don't worry; those two are busy fighting to the death.
Spectator Sports was the handsome and talented Rapscallion. I had an idea of where to go with that name and persona, but I totally veered off that path. No one guessed who I was, and nearly all of my guesses were correct, but I don't think they count.
spurious was etouffee, who messaged me to say he only had one poem to submit. Curious, spurious, but it was nice to have him.
TenPin was Jack. One poem, no guesses. Another participant who just dropped by to say hello. There were a fair number of those, and my thanks goes to all of them.
TillmanVariation was The Custodian. Not a noder I usually associate with poetry, which I was happy to see. That's what I wanted to accomplish: new poetry writers. That guy is sitting on a mountain of nodes though, so there's probably some in there somewhere. And maybe more forthcoming?
Valse de Verse was Demeter. Some noders guessed Valse as etouffee, but nobody got Demeter. And she was in the catbox for a bit, too. Pay attention, people.
Zero LeMat was Junkill, messaging me to say he "had this crazy idea all of a sudden to write some poetry." He got four done, too. That's pretty fruitful for a crazy idea. But Dimview was too good, and guessed him eventually.
Zubaran of Ishar was Hazelnut, who strategically posted his two poems in the final week, ensuring that guessers would have less time to figure him out. And then I extended the guessing for five more days. Whoops. He made it anyway, despite my best efforts.
The Special Prizes
eien_meru accidently posted one poem a week early, and when I told him, he posted another! What bizarre behaviour. Sorry about the confusion; I guess the 10th was an odd start date. Have 10 extra GP.
Ancientsnow gets this award for going the extra mile when it came to her costume. A number of noders ventured into the catbox, but I think Doctor Uncle creeped enough people out to earn an award. 25 GP.
A Rare Case of Poetry Madness:
This one goes to lizardinlaw, for giving me about twice as much clerical work by writing pretty much nonstop. Although nearly all of her efforts ended up in Node Row, she refused to let the critics and accusations of trolling get to her. Aerobe and Dimview even went as far as calling her Simulacron3, which they should probably apologize for. I award you 50 GP for your persistance, and apparent madness.
A Sad Shake of My Head:
For those few who joined up and then never submitted anything (adhoc, the mysterious clementine, DejaMorgana, tkeiser). I'm sure your costume name was hilarious or sexy or intriguing, but that just ain't gonna cut it. Sorry about that. You get nothing but vague disapproval, and a bucket of "what ifs" to mull over.
Gravely Disappointed Look:
Spifficus Rex, you said you'd join but never even picked a name. Do you hate poetry? You are awarded negative 50 GP. You- wait, hold on. (Hm? What do you mean? ...Why not? ...oh, fine!) Okay, so I can't give you negative GP, but you still have to live with the undying shame that you probably already feel festering in your gut.
And that's it! Thanks for attending the Poets' Ball, everyone. Your GP will be distributed soon, and I hope to see you all at the Wordmongers' Masque: Nonfiction Soiree next year!