Everything2 is a good idea in principle.
It's a user-created "open source" encyclopedia that borrows a lot
from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Users fill out
little pockets of knowledge based on their areas of expertise. One of the
problems with the initial version of the Everything guide was there was no
real oversight over what was being entered into the guide. The guide began
to get loaded down with too many entries like "Let me tell you about
my big dick" or "Why the Detroit Lions suck this year".
concept was recast as Everything2. Quality control is helped along by
allowing users to cast votes (up votes or down votes) on other people's
entries. Entries that cross some threshold of "down votes" come
to the attention of editors who can delete entries. If your entry gets
voted up, you get "experience points". As you add entries and
gain experience points, you get increased user privileges (additional
people do not always vote based on the actual quality of the nodes. As in
all shared human endeavors, Everything2 users get to know each other. Some
users get along. Others don't. Some fall in love. Some don't like who
others are falling in love with. Down votes and up votes end up getting
cast for reasons other than quality of the actual entry authored.
arises from something called "soft linking". The entry author
can, of course, create hypertext links from his/her entry to other areas of
the guide. However, readers can themselves create hypertext links in a sort
of "see also" section beneath the entry. These are called
"soft links". Everything2 users quickly figured out they could
add soft links as a form of commentary on the entry or the author. It's not
uncommon to see soft links like "slut", "whore", or
"bitch" added to the bottom of a female user. Yes, real mature.
editors began to turn Everything2 into a dumping ground for their short
stories, poems, and literary "experiments" while at the same time
deleting the entries of the "lowly" users who mistakenly thought
they could emulate the behavior of the editors. The original intent of
Everything, an open source encyclopedia, has been forgotten by some of the
people charged with keeping things like "Let me tell you about my big
dick" out of the guide. The editors, given power to delete nodes,
suspend accounts, and edit other's work, began to refer to themselves as
"gods". As a nod to modesty, the editors prefer the lower case g
variant of "god".
For a time
editors kept a public log of what entries they were deleting, along with a
reason why the contribution was deleted. I found this a reasonable
check-and-balance on their power. It was also educational for users,
teaching them what was acceptable and what was not. Users could see that
even long-time, experienced users got material deleted. It helped users see
they were not being picked on. However, after a time, editors stopped
making any attempt at justifying their actions. It seems they prefer the
exercising of power over the exercising of responsibility.
It appeared to
me some of these self-styled gods came to think of Everything2 as existing
as a big favor to users, when the relationship is two ways. After
contributing about 1,300 entries to Everything2, I grew tired of the
pettiness and uneven application of editorial control and left. However, I
archived about 450 of my favorite Everything2 entries. At right are some of
I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing
It's not nice to fool Mother Nature
For A Day
. . .
Deep Fried Mars Bar
White Castle Hamburgers
. . .
DOS: A history by the numbers
The Extra Terrestrial for the Atari 2600
Softscape: Creators of M.U.L.E.
Richard Garriott (AKA Lord British)
The Rise and Fall of Infocom
West Coast Computer Faire
. . .
Dallas Egbert III
. . .
. . .
. . .
Canadian Bank Notes
Devil Went Down to Georgia
How To Approach a
Developer who may well be Working and Ask Him a Question
How Zeller's Club Z Ruined
. . .