An Everything2 Help Document

Avoid These Mistakes


See What writings are accepted on Everything2?

Following bad examples

The bar for E2 was not always so high, and we have many old, bad writeups from our formative years. Do not be misled by these inconsistencies. New work is held to a much higher standard.

Flooding new writeups with your own work

This can be a sensitive issue. First, we don't want to discourage any useful contributions to E2. We want people to contribute to the joint effort. Having said that, it's usually better to put up no more than three or four new items per day. Each time you add a new item, it pushes an earlier contribution off the main list on the front page.

Also, E2 users react in different ways. The reaction to your first few writeups will help you to understand what people here like and what they don't. By putting lots of short, simple items up in a short time, you may well get some negative feedback. Long experience has taught us that it's almost always better to put up only one or two and see how the community here reacts to those before putting more up.

GTKY Nodes

A GTKY (getting to know you) node invites just about everyone to add a short, personal comment. "Why I hate beans" or "How I lost my virginity" are examples. Similarly, 'list' nodes like "Books that will blow your mind" or "Cover songs that are really cool" and question titles such as "What is your favorite band?" or "Why is Porn Good for Geeks" are also a bad idea. You may spot a lot of these on E2, but they are usually 'locked' to discourage the addition of trivial me-too writeups. Write your title and your content to emphasize your take on a topic without inviting endless minimal and subjective add-ons.

"About Me" nodes

E2 would really like to get to know you better and we welcome and value writing from a subjective point of view. That's what "E2 is not WikiPedia" generally boasts about.

That said, we try to separate the simply personal (yet valuable) writing from articles that have a much broader appeal and general import. If you want to tell us about what you did today without a lot of people downvoting you for 'So what?' or if you want to express a simple preference or taste without turning it into an essay on the topic, we have special places for that. One place is your home node, where you have carte blanche, and another is the Everything Daylogs, which provide a diary-like space where you can write just about any kind of personal stuff.Unless the writeup leads to some sort of universal experience from which many readers who may not know you well can derive insight and enjoyment, you will find that it works better to put it in a Daylog. Daylogs are respected and have a large following, and excellent writing can be found in them. Use them well. If you want to vent, ask a question or express a short and simple opinion and get some response, try the Chatterbox.

Responding to other writeups

You may come across a writeup that states an opinion with which you disagree or one that you know is wrong in fact. Writeups inspired by what you read on E2 are of course welcome, but there are right ways and wrong ways to react to things here. If a new user makes a question node or somewhat dubious statement please don't feel you have to add a writeup to correct or argue a point with them. Ask yourself, "How big a deal is this?" Small simple points are best made by a message to the writer or a simple downvote, combined, if you like, with a message.

If it really is worth a proper writeup in response, the most important thing to remember is that whatever writeup you are responding to may be removed at any time. That means you must make your writeup stand on its own. Don't make direct references to the writer or 'the writeup above' and so on. Include enough context in your writeup so that it is understandable to people who have not read the writeup to which you are responding.

Just remember that nodes are for collecting multiple writeups on the same topic, not for conversational interaction. They are not discussion forums, chat rooms, or places for flame wars.

Whining about negative feedback

The E2 feedback system is important to E2 and to us, the readers and writers. Negative feedback can be accepted as helpful or hurtful. Our system does allow a certain amount of abusive behavior with both downvotes and insulting soft links. Voting can look like a mere popularity contest. Yeah, it happens. Problems sometimes come up when a writer thinks the negative feedback is wrong or unfair and chooses to protest publicly about it. Don't do that. It will only hurt your cause and predjudice others against you. The best course to follow is to discuss the matter calmly with a staff member or several of them. If you think there is something worthy of public discussion, sure, bring the topic up in a daylog or the chatterbox. But if you do, be calm and reasonable and don't push it too far if you don't get the sympathy you want.

One note for dealing with insulting softlinks: You can manipulate the softlinks in the same way others can. We encourage writers to create their own softlinks as part of integrating your work into the whole that is E2. The more relevant links there are, the less obvious the bad ones will be. With a little effort, you can drive insults away entirely.

Writing about E2

In the spirit of writing for the ages and writing for wider audiences, we discourage writing about E2 itself. In the fairly long history of our development as a site and community, we've had a lot to say about ourselves, but we now see that the general nodespace is not the right place for discussion and introspection on the site, our policies, the XP system or other specific aspects of E2 itself. Writing about E2 is like writing about ourselves. We encourage discussion and expression of fresh ideas and points of view, but the best places for that are the Daylogs, your home node, the chatterbox or discourse with the staff.

If some aspect of E2 inspires you to write something significant, fresh and informative, try setting it in a context that extends beyond E2 itself. For example, instead of writing about our XP and experience system, which is subject to change, write about community feedback mechanisms, on-line community structures or collaborative filtering in general.


The term 'metanode' is old E2 jargon for nodes about nodes, specifically nodes that index a category of nodes. A 'metanode' presents a collection of links to other nodes on E2 about a specific subject. It is bad form to use 'metanode' in node titles. When compiling a metanode it's best to put the information where a user is most likely to find it. Hence, a 'metanode' about the C++ programming language should exist as a writeup in the C++ node. If someone wants to find out what E2 can tell them about C++ that's where they're going to go first. Strictly speaking, E2 doesn't really need 'metanodes' at all; a quality writeup should include related hard links in its text to begin with.

Another argument against metanoding is that they require hard and constant work to keep up and useless if they're not kept up. New nodes are created daily and older nodes are nuked daily and a metanode needs to change to reflect that. If you are tempted to write a metanode, seek the advice of a staff member first.

Bad node titles

See Pick Titles Carefully.


ASCII art is not a writeup. Use ASCII art to illustrate a writeup when useful and appropriate, but only as a supporting element. The non-ASCII-art material must be at least double the size of the ASCII art element (by both line and character count).

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