Everything2

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Everything2, or E2 for short, is a collaborative Web-based community consisting of a database of interlinked user-submitted written material. E2 is moderated for quality, but has no formal policy on subject matter. Writing on E2 covers a range of topics and genres, including encyclopedic articles, diary entries, humor, and fiction.

Contents

[edit] Nodes and writeups

E2 users called noders create entries called nodes and add information in multiple writeups. Only logged-in users can create writeups, and only the author of a writeup or an editor appointed by the site administrators can edit a writeup. E2 categorizes writeups into four types: person, place, idea, and thing. Writeups are written in a simplified HTML dialect and do not contain images.

There are other types of nodes that do not contain writeups; for instance, the administrators can create "superdoc" nodes (similar to Wikipedia's special pages) such as Everything New Nodes and Page of Cool that allow interaction, and each user has a "homenode" where he or she can add a short autobiography or other text (or a picture, if he or she is level six or above -- see Rewards, below).

[edit] Links

[edit] Hard Links

Hard links in E2 are simply words or phrases surrounded by [square brackets]. Any words inside square brackets in a writeup will become a link to the E2 node of that title. If a node with that title does not yet exist, following the link will bring up the option to create it. Recently, partial support for external URLs has been implemented. A hardlinked URL will provide, in addition to the option to create a new node, a link to the URL. Heavy use of external URLs is discouraged, however, as E2 is supposed to stand on its own and contain a largely self-supportive infrastructure.

[edit] Pipe Links

Pipe links are a variant form of hard links. While a hard link to the node Wikipedia would look like [Wikipedia], the pipe link allows the author a greater degree of freedom without restricting what nodes can be linked to. For example, one could write "[Wikipedia|Online encyclopedias] have started to become common sources in my students' research papers." The sentence looks like this to the reader, "Online encyclopedias have started to become common sources in my students' research papers."

Noders can link to a specific writeup within a node by appending (person), (place), (idea) or (thing) to a pipe link. For example, the pipe link [Wiki (thing)|Wiki] links directly to the writeup of the type thing within the Wiki node. If the node contains more than one writeup of the specified type, the pipe link returns a "Duplicates Found" page linking to every writeup of the specified type within the node.

Pipe links are comparable in function but not usage to Wikipedia's piped links. Unlike piped links, pipe links on E2 often add "easter egg" content, such as commentary, humor and hidden information.<ref>Pipe links and three-dimensionality@Everything2.com</ref>

[edit] Soft Links

At the bottom of every node, the system displays up to 64 soft links, though each node can store an unlimited number thereof. ("Guest User" -- any viewer not logged in -- can see 24, a logged-in user can see up to 48, and the senior administrators ("gods") can see up to 64). These are two-way links intended to approximate "thought processes". Whenever a logged-in user moves from one node to another, be it through a hard link, another soft link, or through the title search box, the system creates (or strengthens) the bidirectional soft link between the two; however, some nodes -- namely the special pages and the user profiles -- will not display the soft links so created. By repeatedly moving from one node to another, users can and do deliberately create such soft links; some users will use these soft links to make anonymous comments on others' writing. The site's administrators have the ability to remove soft links at their discretion.

[edit] Firm Links

Firm links are special, editor-created links that serve to redirect between nodes. Firm links are typically used to link multiple forms of a single name or title to aid searching and ensure that readers find the content that they are seeking. A typical use of firm links would be to permanently link the empty node titled 'U.S.A' to a node titled 'United States of America' that contained writeups about the topic.

[edit] Copyright policy

The copyright in a writeup rests with the author, and no agreement to any kind of license is entered into by writing on E2 (except for giving the site permission to publish). Authors retain the right to place their work in the public domain, to release it under a copyleft license such as one of those offered by the GNU project or Creative Commons, or to request the removal of their work from the site at some later date.

For a long time, the posting of copyrighted song lyrics and poetry to the site without approval from the copyright holders, while certainly frowned upon, was not actually prohibited. E2 chose to only passively enforce copyright law, in a manner similar to an ISP (for which see OCILLA section 512(c)). This policy changed in August 2003 to a more active one where writeups containing copyrighted material had to either conform to fair use guidelines (length limits, proportion of quoted material to new text) or be posted with permission.

[edit] Rewards

The administrators loosely based E2's reward system on experience points (XP) found in role-playing games. Every time a user creates a writeup, he or she earns one XP. Users with at least 20 contributed writeups and 50 experience points can vote (up or down) on a writeup, which has a ⅓ chance of giving or taking an experience point from the author depending on the direction of the vote and a 1⁄5 chance of giving a point to the voter. After voting on a writeup, a noder can see the writeup's "reputation," or number of positive and negative votes (administrators do not need to vote to see a writeup's reputation). The site's editors delete writeups that do not meet editorial standards or those whose removal has been author-requested. The only effect writeup deletion has on the author's XPs is that the 1 XP the author got for creating the writeup is removed. A user can view his or her own writeups that have been deleted through the Node Heaven feature.

New levels are attained by reaching a predefined, but arbitrary total of XPs and writeups, which are given in the FAQ.<ref>Voting/Experience System@Everything2.com</ref> An 'honor roll' further rewards users whose writeups have a 'reputation' that has achieved a high interquartile mean by lowering the writeups required to achieve any given level by up to a half.

The system grants special powers at other levels of writeups and experience, such as "cool" (reward author with three XPs and send the writeup to the front page), the ability to create basic chat rooms on the site, space for uploading a picture to a user's "homenode", and the ability to hide one's self in the list of logged-in users.

[edit] Messaging

Everything2 provides two communication tools: the Chatterbox and the message system.

The Chatterbox is similar to a chat room. It appears as a panel on the right side of the page that logged-in users can use to read conversations and participate in them. The site's administrators used to have the ability to "borg" -- prevent from using the Chatterbox or message system -- those users whose behavior violated the unwritten standards of politeness and decorum. This was done through a bot called EDB (short for "Everything Death Borg"), which announced when it has "swallowed" a user. These silencings lasted for five minutes, though persistent trolls were silenced for a longer period -- sometimes permanently. As of 2003, the EDB was no longer much used, only making mostly token appearances for humorous effect.

The message system lets users send private messages to other users. The messages are stored in the user's mailbox to be read when he or she next logs in. The main use for the message system is giving constructive criticism to the author of a writeup; however, it can be and is used like any medium of private communication.

[edit] History and society

The predecessor of E2 was a similar database called Everything (later labeled "Everything1" or "E1") which was started around March 1998 by Nate Oostendorp and was initially closely aligned with and promoted by Slashdot. The E2 software offered vastly more features, and the Everything1 data was twice incorporated into E2: once on November 13, 1999 and again in January of 2000.

The Everything2 server used to be physically located with the Slashdot servers. However, some time after OSDN acquired Slashdot, and moved the Slashdot servers, this hosting was terminated on short notice. This resulted in Everything2 being offline from roughly November 6 to December 9, 2003. Everything2 has since been hosted by the University of Michigan. As the Everything2 site put it on October 2, 2006:

Now, we have an arrangement with the University of Michigan, located in Ann Arbor. We exist thanks to their generosity (which is motivated by their academic curiosity, I suppose). They gave us some servers and act as our ISP, free of charge, and all they ask in exchange is that we not display advertisements.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

E2 is privately owned by the Blockstackers Intergalactic company, but does not make a profit and is viewed by its long-term users as a collaborative work-in-progress. Some of its administrators are affiliated with Blockstackers, some are not. Administrators are often criticized for making policy decisions without consulting Everything2's user base, and the site is not a democracy, but the degree to which users influence decisions depends on the nature of the decisions and the administrators making them.

Writeups in E1 were limited to 512 bytes in size. This, plus the predominantly "geek" membership back then and the lack of chat facilities, meant the early work was often of poor quality and was overburdened with self referential humor. As E2 has expanded, higher quality standards have developed, much of the old material has been removed, and the membership has become broader. Many noders prefer to write encyclopedic articles similar to those on Wikipedia. Some write fiction or poetry, some discuss issues, and some write daily journals, called "daylogs". Unlike Wikipedia, E2 does not have an enforced neutral point of view. An informal survey of noder political beliefs<ref>E2 political compass@Everything2.com</ref> indicates that the userbase tends to lean left politically. There are conservative voices as well, however, and while debate nodes (of any kind, political or not) are rarely tolerated, well-formed points of view from any part of the political or cultural spectrum are welcome.

Like other online communities, E2 has a social hierarchy and code of behavior, to which it is sometimes difficult for a newcomer to adjust. Moreover, some people complain that new users are held to a different standard from established contributors, and that their writeups are singled out for deletion regardless of content. Another complaint is that all too often, site administrators remove articles that they do not agree with or which they do not see explicit value in, thus biasing the content of the database. Others dismiss such complaints as unjustified; they observe that few communities treat newcomers exactly like long-time members, and they claim that those who learn and obey the rules are usually—though not always—treated fairly.

There is no consistent, written site policy on acceptable behavior. Bannings have occurred for antisocial behaviour, albeit very rarely and only after a more personal approach to change the individual's behavior. Though these decisions are broadly accepted, some current and ex-members of the site believe that this amounts to mismanagement, and point to accumulation of disgruntled ex-users as evidence of a problem.

Everything2 solicits donations and states that the accumulated funds are earmarked for bandwidth and colocation costs, but does not disclose the specific details of how these donations are spent. This policy has met criticism due to concerns that the donations may be mishandled, especially as the site rarely upgrades its hardware, and has colocation and bandwidth provided for free by the University of Michigan.

Some of the management regard Everything2 as a publication, to which authors submit content. Although Everything2 does not seek to become an encyclopedia (even though the contents of Webster's 1913 dictionary have been assimilated into the database), a substantial amount of factual content has been submitted to Everything2.

Policy states that "Everything2 is not a bulletin board". Writeups which exist as replies to other writeups, or which add a minor point to them or which otherwise do not stand well alone are discouraged, not least because the deletion of the original writeup orphans any replies. This policy helps to moderate flame wars on controversial topics.

Everything2 is not a wiki, and there is no direct way for non-content editors to make corrections or amendments to another author's article. Avenues for correction involve discussing the writeup with its author; petitioning a content editor; adding a note in a special "broken nodes" section; or superseding the original writeup with an original, stand-alone follow-up.

[edit] Media coverage

In 2001, The New York Times cited E2 as an example of an emerging class of autonomous, self-organizing sites.<ref>Hafner, Katie. "Web Sites Begin to Get Organized, on Their Own", The New York Times, January 18, 2001.</ref> In 2003, Guardian Unlimited listed E2 as one of the best collaborative encyclopedias on the Web.<ref>"Six of the best", Guardian Unlimited, June 12, 2003. Retrieved on 2006-07-29.</ref> E2 was nominated for a 2004 Webby Award for Technical Achievement.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Software

E2 is run by the open source Everything Engine, a Perl-based system; its data is stored in a MySQL database.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

<references />

[edit] External links

pt:Everything2 ru:Everything2 simple:Everything2 fi:Everything2 sv:Everything2

Everything2

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