Sunday, March 27, 2005

Literary Masochism

I just hooked up with a writer's website, Everything2. I am a bit confused about the full intent of this site. From what I can discern to this point, it is a site for folks to post the written word in front of an apparently tough crowd. Previous experience with sites like this have left me battered, beaten, and torn asunder. No one is more brutal and honest than those who judge those who pretend to belong. I have yet to post. There are rules. Lots of rules. There are suggestions that fall just shy of rules. And then there are the fopahs. The unspoken rules you discover only after breaking them. Throughout the various FAQs I read, constant warnings of proper grammar, spelling and HTML skills were sprinkled. Playing fast and loose with the King's English is most definitely frowned upon.

After an hour or so of trying to get a handle on the ins and outs, I left and came here without posting or even lurking. Joining that community seems more intimidating than here. A blogger's world is a mob scene. A crowd of indivual expressions that take pride in not conforming, just connectting. And even connecting seems an afterthought with quite a few. This E2 site is sructured and rigid in comparison. You can apparently wax upon anything you want, but make it interesting, well written, and make a point. Instead of the typical blogger waitng a lifetime for a response, in E2, others are waiting to respond. Waiting to pounce. Any negatives quickly pointed out and often whole nodes(originating posts) summarily deleted before the next sunrise. Check your ego at the door. Thick skin required.


Joe Baldwin said...

You only really get pounced on if you post crappy stuff, to be fair...lots of people have made some good writeups as newbies and have survived pounce-free...

lometa said...

I like your style! It’s fresh, frank and honest.
Your commentary is a topic on E2 and this is how I found you. I hear ya because I’ve been there. It’s confusing as all get out and while there is some negative feedback there is a whole lot of positives. Like up votes and cools and messages from fellow writers! If you like to write fiction I can give you several writers to read that can set a good example. If you like to write factuals I can help you with that too! If it’s blogging we have a place for that too called daylogs.
I'm an editor there and if you ever care to dip your toe into the nodegel please feel free to create an account and message me or sign up for a mentor. We'll help you through the miasma of FAQ's.

pint said...

Not that I disagree with you, but to be fair there's one concept you're missing - it's okay to make mistakes; no one said you had to be perfect right out of the gate.

You don't have to post perfectly the first time through, and yes, there's a good chance your first (few) writeups will get nuked, but once you figure out the rules (which aren't that hard to follow, really - be interesting, keep angst to the daylogs, link your writeups, format well etc.) you'll soon find that conforming to our guidelines is better for you. Our bar is set pretty damn high, and we like it that way, it keeps the signal-to-noise ratio down, lets us keep the database healthy and, more importantly, readable.

You seem to write in an extraordinarily well thought out and witty way; I guarantee that, a few missteps notwithstanding, you'd do fine with us.

Halspal said...

Typo: ¶ 1, sent. 10: "fopahs" for "faux pas".

Evil Catullus said...

I've been around E2 for a while (somewhere around five years, now). And while I have gotten fed up with changing rules and styles and and the increasing rigidity of the structure there, I keep coming back. I still have a few first day writeups hanging around the site, and I have a number of writeups that aren't especially brilliant that have both a high reputation and several cools. E2 seems worse than it really is, granted it's not nearly as easy to jump into as it once was, but it's not exactly masochism either. Mainly I use it as a place to try out new things I'm writing and get a little help and commentary, some of it's pretty useful, and the criticisms that I don't find helpful, I ignore.

vivaldi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
vivaldi said...

Paragraph 1: "Lots of rules." is a sentence fragment.

Paragraph 1: "And then there are the fopahs(sic)." is a fragment. Why have the previous sentence end with a period if you are going to start off with "And"?

Paragraph 1:"The unspoken rules you discover only after breaking them." is a fragment. This is modifying the noun "fopahs" and should probably be in the same sentence.

Paragraph 2: "connectting" is misspelled.

Paragraph 2: "Waiting to pounce." is again a fragment.

Paragraph 2: "Any negatives quickly pointed out and often whole nodes(originating posts) summarily deleted before the next sunrise" is a fragment and a run on.

Lame ass disclaimer:

Phil said...

(r) BuffcorePhil says It's not all that bad, and I gather there are friendships to be made once you crack into the clique. It's addictive, once you're in there.

Just get your grammar and formatting right, [link to other relevant subjects], and don't worry about the downvotes and deletions. Trust me, in a year's time you'll look back on the ones that get deleted and be glad no one can see them.

Andrew Aguecheek said...

Be warned, it can eat your life.

- One minute you're at your desk, just typing some short piece, perhaps describing your favourite technique for putting together Ikea furniture. Maybe making a few smart comments about boobies in the catbox.

A month later, you submit a report or assignment to your boss or tutor only to have it returned with the comment that about 20% of the words and phrases have square brackets around them.

Then, out of nowhere you find yourself in London pub, surrounded by people you've never met before, who all appear to be experts on subjects you didn't think even had experts, discussing and debating subjects the existence of which you were previously unaware of -

Still, you'll probably not complain about it.

Wiccanpiper said...

You know, over two years ago when I first found E2, I thought it more than a bit intimidating. I read things on the site and, as I read along, I realized I'd better have my proverbial ducks in a row before posting anything.

I did that by reading some more ... the FAQs, Everything University, and anything else posted on how the site worked.

I created an account and then read some more, watched, and lurked for a while. It soon became apparent that this wasn't LiveJournal. It wasn't a blogging site, a place for people to post whatever came to mind, nor a public diary. It was Something Else.

Then, I posted my first few writeups while trying to adhere to the published rules and guidelines.

Oddly enough, I didn't run into any of the "problems" I've heard about. Yes, I received some downvotes - but not as many as I did upvotes and Cools and positive encouragement. I learned to banter with folks in the catbox. I received good feedback and I've seen my writing skills improve immensely.

Cliques? Yeah, we've got 'em. So does every other group endeavour in life. Problems? Those too, same comment. But, unlike some other places, we realize this and try to fix them as best we can.

The trick is to come to E2 without preconceived notions, without pretentiousness, without anything but a willingness to learn, to write, to help, and to enjoy. To understand that instant feedback is a component and a strength of the site. To realize that what's a great LJ entry may not be a good E2 writeup. There are excellent, even great, writers on the site willing to help anyone go as far as they can with words. Many people (myself included), for example, would echo Lometa's final paragraph. All you have to do is ask.

And I haven't even mentioned the fantastic community that comes along with all this. Check out the node "E2 Gatherings".

If you let it, E2 will not only make you a better writer, it'll change your life, also for the better. It has for me, like very few other things in my 45+ years on the planet.

Sontra said...

E2 is an interesting environment. Looking at Livejournal, Wikipedia, and a couple other public writing sites on the net, you can't find anything like it. We've got some of the most amazing and supportive people I've ever met on there. And we've got a few hard asses. But even then, they're trying to help the system. And if you wanna just lurk, that's fine. Personally, I lurked for months before I joined. And I didn't really get much done until a couple months ago. But every little bit helps. And we need all sorts! Either way, thanks for checking us out. We appreciate new eyes. :)

Tim said...

I've been on Everything2 for six years now and I'm still confused about "the full intent of the site."

Not only is it not stated anywhere, you'll get different answers depending on who you ask.

I've always treated it as a "Hitchhiker's Guide to Everything" and they haven't kicked me out yet.

Yes, it'a a tough audience, but you do get an audience.

LAS said...

E2 is considerably different from most writing communities, but there are plenty of people to help you get acclimated. Give it another chance! I bet you'll find it rewarding.