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The Best of My Everything 2 Writings






About Everything2


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".


The Everything 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 "powers").


Unfortunately, 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.


Another problem 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.


Worse, some 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 my favorites.




v  Corinthian Leather

v  Helsinki Formula

v  I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing

v  It's not nice to fool Mother Nature

v  Queen For A Day

. . .


Fast Food

v  Deep Fried Mars Bar

v  Where's Herb?

v  White Castle Hamburgers

. . .


Computer History

v  Asteroids

v  Computerland


v  David Crane

v  Donkey Kong

v  DOS: A history by the numbers

v  E.T. The Extra Terrestrial for the Atari 2600

v  Frogger

v  Heath Kits

v  History of Epyx

v  Ozark Softscape: Creators of M.U.L.E.

v  Richard Garriott (AKA Lord British)

v  The Rise and Fall of Infocom

v  Scott Adams

v  SoftRAM Scam

v  West Coast Computer Faire

. . .


Geeky History

v  Dave Arneson

v  Finieous Fingers

v  Gary Gygax

v  History of GenCon

v  James Dallas Egbert III

v  Wormy

. . .


Pop History

v  Earthshoes

v  Pop-Tarts

v  Snapple

. . .


Just History

v  Cosmos 954

v  Fritz Haber

v  Tonton Macoutes

. . .

Just Whatever

v  Canadian Bank Notes

v  Devil Went Down to Georgia

v  How To Approach a Developer who may well be Working and Ask Him a Question

v  How Zeller's Club Z Ruined My Life

. . .