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That Other Mark

Everything2 is this website, see, where people write stuff called 'writeups' that other people can then vote on. You can vote up or down, yea or nay, plus or minus. You can abstain, withold, and ignore. You can vote without reading, vote after reading, or vote during reading. If you really like the work, or really like the author, or really need to throw your extra meaningful super-vote away, you can ching the damn thing. Doing so marks that writeup with your name, forever. Eternally. Everyone will, forever more, see your name attached to that writeup. It's like you sat down with the writer and said, "Hey, nice job," and then turned around to the masses, saying, "HEY EVERYONE THIS IS AWESOME READ IT NOW READ NOW PLEASE READ NOW!"

That's the way this website works, see. Lopsided, ain't it?

This Mark

We can Ching!. We cannot unChing. There is no yang to our yin. There lacks a balance. The Force has the Jedi and the Sith. American politics has Republicrats and Dempublicans. Everything2 has upvotes and downvotes. You may register your love, but not your hate. Counselor Deanna Troi of Betazed once said that emotions are not good or bad, but how we act on those emotions that makes a positive or negative outcome. She works on a starship. Where do you work, McDonald's? STARSHIP. Think it over.

Everything2 is just this website, see, where things are all out of balance. Ever sat on a see-saw alone? Not fun.

The unChing works like the Ching. You read a writeup. You're okay with that anonymous minus sign next to the writeup's title, but when the page refreshes, and you see that +10/-3, and that bizarre 1C!, and you feel like it's not gonna disappear from the nodegel. That writeup is gonna stay. And that upsets you. You want to make some noise. You look for the uC? link (presumably this should be next to the C? link) but it just doesn't exist. No, apparently you're only allowed to passively dislike something.

Not because it's poorly written, of course. The poorly-written writeups eventually get shuffled off to node heaven. No, you want to vent. You don't want to be the creepy guy who runs to the catbox, interrupting conversation, to say that Writeup X's multi-ching is something you cannot fathom, that its reputation likely has more to do with the writer's fan club and less to do with real quality. No, that noder, see, is annoying. You don't wanna be that guy. That guy complains about his table at the restaurant because it's too close to the kitchen (why don't you people just eat at home?) and there are babies nearby and his waiter smoked a cigarette a week ago and he can smell it still. That guy got picked last for all the games at recess because he could never step up to the plate and register his emotions when it was appropriate and then act on them like a grown-up.

This new mark does not exist to sow the seeds of acrimony. No, dear sir/madame, this mark would ensure that the bipolar nature of this website (Everything2, see) be fixed. The binary core of up/down revealed, finally, with glitter and fanfare and drums and peace and harmony. Not contention. Harmony. It's also a girl's name.

Nature of the Beast

The unChing would act much like a Ching. It is stamping a writeup. Presently, the C! stamps the writeup with your name, next to the writer's. We all know that. The unChing must act the same way as its opposite. A mark, a grade, a subjectively given sign that some other writer has an opinion about this piece of work.

There are two (3) ways to go about implementing this new mark.

  1. Keep the Ching! public. You want to mark something as a piece you thoroughly enjoyed enough to permanently put your name next to it. Sure. Fine. The unChing must also be public. Your name, attached to that writeup. You know what you're saying.  Maybe a writeup has 4xC! and 3xuC!. Butterfinger McFlurry is just as contentious. And the presence of that writeup has spawned numerous other writeups, conversations, &c. It's a healthy debate. If the C! is marked by name, so must the uC!. The user still gets hir XP from the C!s, and loses none from the uC!. It's just another mark. The reputation, as we all know, is what is truly important. Those other decorations? They're just public opinions.
  2. Make the C! private, anonymous--unseen. If it is just a mark, passed by someone, no one can get happy, no one can get sad. Balance, remember. This prevents retribution from uC!s being arbitrarily passed by cliques of that writer who has written a piece that is now publicly unliked. This also keeps from C!-swapping (hey, man, you ching my stuff, I'll get yours back!) and the possible uC!-swapping (You don't like my work, huh? I hate yours more!).
  3. The final option is to recognize that C!, uC!, upvoting, and downvoting are all contentious. You want to shield yourself from all bad feelings, get rid of all of these devices. I do not support this. My skin is thick enough that I want to know when someone wants to beat me with a stick or if someone wants to rub me down with cocoa butter. If your skin ain't that thick, cobber, maybe you don't belong on this site. Maybe Wikipedia is more to your liking. Ain't no democracy there.

Whichever way it is implemented, this new mark will engender more discussion about a writeup. It's not saying to Everything2, "Hey, would you kindly delete this drek from the nodegel?" No, it's saying, "Hey, this has created serious issues in my soul. This is un-cool." Bones wrote that a C! is a way to reward a noder for "a particularly good writeup whether it be factual, humorous or artistic." This uC! is the balance on the see-saw. This makes the game more fun.

Special thanks to gitm for encouraging me to flesh out what is really his idea, bewilderbeast and grundoon for help in the scratch pad phase and for saying things like 'plz to post unching' in messages.


Now, who wishes they had an unChing! to go along with the downvotes? :) Since there isn't one, feel free to message me with concerns, questions, gripes, insults, etc. My skin is oh-so thick.

I’m not very good at written debates or arguments or counter-arguments. It’s not my forte and not something I enjoy. I can never organize my thoughts. Arguments in person are always more effective because most people will bow down to a forceful voice and can be shut down with intimidating body language. But I think I’m losing my taste for that too, because nobody ever changes their ideas in a debate, they just get more defensive.

That said, I type this with a bit of trepidation, because I can’t stand toe to toe with the unChing node above on logic, but I will try to convey why I find this idea so distasteful.

I’d rather not go line by line deconstructing why I think is a horrendous idea because wordnerd’s points are very sound and probably would foster more debate. The unChing! isn’t a bad idea, much like communism isn’t a bad idea. But I can’t see it working because of the way people work.

What I see is this:

“Wow, this new write-up is a pile of shit. Downvote….”

“ “What the fuck? It’s at (+21/-4)? And has four chings?”

“/msg author: Hey, your new wu is rambling, has poor grammar, and doesn’t add anything to the database!”

Author of shit nodes says something slightly smarmy and while apologetic and thankful for the criticism, indicates that he has no intention of changing shit node.

“That fucking bastard. Well, here have an unChing! That’ll teach him, the prick.”

LameGuyThomas says “Hey, BookReader just unchinged your write-up October 31, 2007. Suck it, bitch.”

“What! Well fuck him. Here’s another unChing.”

It’s petty and I don’t like petty things. I spent most of my high school “career” being petty and dealing with petty people and it gets tiring. I personally don’t want to be petty and I will not support any system that encourages pettiness either consciously or unconsciously, even though wordnerd assures above that there can be checks for this sort of thing. I’d like to think of myself as an optimist, but I doubt this sort of thing changes with age. And I will leave the website the moment a bot like LameGuyThomas is created to help those who in their overzealous march to foster debate would knock egos down to build up their own. (“Well, fine, BookReader. We don’t need you,” they say nodding to themselves and smiling knowingly.)

I know the retribution issue is addressed in point number two above. But the process by which one gives out the uC is mired in pettiness. The clique bit can be solved. On an individual level I don’t see how this would work. Klaproth exists so that editors afraid of retribution from high powered noders don’t have to put themselves into anybody’s crosshairs. I am not an editor. If I knock down some high level user, who is not as nice of a guy or gal as he seems, what do I do? Just suck it up? There was an ability to curse noders that gods have, it might still be around (even if seldom used) and it is anonymous, unlike the unChing!. Then we get the danger of systematic downvoting.

Why don’t we just get rid of anonymous voting all together? With every vote signed we don’t even have to bother with unChings. Or chings. wordnerd says that the ching is "HEY EVERYONE THIS IS AWESOME READ IT NOW READ NOW PLEASE READ NOW!" Yeah, that’s exactly right. That’s what I do when I cool a write-up. Or use it as a boost to encourage budding talent. If you’re not willing to cool for the ages, why cool at all? The unCool does say “Let’s delete this foul shit” because it works as a negative to the existing ching and I have a hard time viewing it as anything else.

Hmmm. This all was a bit longer than I intended.

LameGuyThomas says “Hey, your write-up unChing! has just been editor unchinged. Your reward is smelling like dog shit."

On the "Un-Ching!" and why it's "Un-"necessary.

Let's use E2's ratings systems as a metaphor for methods of positive and negative ratings of employees in the workplace.

Think of upvotes and downvotes as positive and negative notes left in one's file in the Human Resources department. Too many downvotes and it sucks to be you. You'll probably leave because you're not cut out for the corporate culture of where you're at. After all, who but the most clueless employee would endure more than two or three of those discussions which begin with one's supervisor or a member of the Human Resources team closing his/her office door on the two of you, sitting down, sighing, and discussing why a negative notation's been put in your HR file.

Now think of a Ching! as the earning of the distinction of "Employee of the Week." Well, kinda.

Given the above definition of Ching!, then Un-Ching! is kinda like one's boss, or one's boss's boss, posting a sign in the coffee-room which says "[Insert Name Here] is a worthless idiot whose last project sucked!" Guess what? That just doesn't go on. Not, at least, in any businesses that I'm familiar with.

Now, of course, business does, arguably, have its own version of the Un-Ching!; however, it usually happens when one employee harasses another, steals or defaces company property, or commits a similar act of malfeasance. Typically, such behavior results in termination. At E2 it means one's account is locked and alternative login names from one's IP address are quashed promptly.

BEGIN SARCASM MODE

Perhaps there is a good side to the "Un-Ching!" E2 wouldn't need Content Editors any longer because enough Un-Ching!s would no doubt automatically blast a writeup into Node Heaven.

Currently, it's up to all of us who spot a writeup which causes us to go "Ugh," or "Ack!," or "Oh, the humanity..." to /msg the offending writer and explain in explicit detail why their writeup is unworthy of existence. Then, one will need to go through the back-and-forth of rational argument with said writer until one has "sold" said writer on immediately putting a writeup deletion request for his/her own crappy piece of trite, meaningless verbal vomitus.

Of course, once the "Un-Ching!" is implemented, we'll need not go through such troublesome processes.

END SARCASM MODE

I am aware that, as some have /msged me, E2 is not a business. I'm just using this model as an example.


But seriously, folks:

Explained, it's certainly not (if you're old enough to remember) the same "un" as used in the innovative soda ad from the '70s: "The Un-Cola" nor nearly as brilliant an idea. Un-Ching is a "negative" thing, not a "different" thing.

"Not." "Nor." "Un-" (Unaccounted for, Unappreciated, Undoing, etc.) "Not."

Negative.

A Ching! is positive, an affirmation that one's work is good.

Does E2 need any more negativity? Does E2 need a new vehicle for unleashing bad vibes?


Feedback:

14 Nov 07: General Wesc says re unChing!: It's not Insert Name Here is a worthless idiot whose last project sucked!" It's merely "This project sucked!" The "I'm a worthless idiot" is something the recipient thinks himself.

14 Nov 07: rootbeer277 says "Personally, I think that unless it's a solution to an existing problem, which it clearly isn't, it's better off not existing."

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