Everything2 (1999- ), also called E2, is a sort of online, English-language writing club that anyone can join. It is at everything2.com.
Like the Wikipedia, it has many encyclopedia-style articles written by users, but there are important differences:
- Everything2 allows all forms of writing – essays, poetry, fiction, journal entries, etc.
- It has editors and a voting system that drives off bad writing and rewards the good.
- It has no Neutral Point of View policy. Writers can take strong points of view.
- Every piece of writing has only one author.
In short, Everything2 has gone for quality over quantity. It is much smaller than the Wikipedia and is more likely to have little or nothing on a given subject. But what it does have is written far better and therefore is more understandable and more enjoyable to read.
The Wikipedia went for quantity, becoming so big and important to the Internet that now there are enough moneyed interests who do not want to see it fail. Everything2, meanwhile, depends on the kindness of universities with spare computers.
The writing is better on Everything2 not just because of the editors and voting, but also because any given piece of writing is written by one person and can be written from a strong point of view. The writing therefore tends to be more forceful and hangs together better.
Where the Wikipedia will have one big, mishmashy article on a given subject written and edited by many hands, Everything2 will have several articles, each one written by a different author.
Voting is weighted. You cannot vote at all until you have at least ten of your own pieces live on the website. The most successful writers can vote a piece onto the front page. You can vote a piece up or down. Editors use voting to find the bad writing, which they either remove or make suggestions to the author on how to make it better.
Editors remove any writing that cannot stand on its own and be read independently. This limits flame wars.
The see-also links at the bottom of most pages are one of the best things about Everything2. Some of them are not directly related to what you just read but would probably interest you anyway.
Everything2′s writers seem to be mostly American, white, male, middle-class and left-wing, much more so than the Wikipedia’s. And way geekier too: Richard Stallman, famous in hacker circles, is referred to simply as “RMS”, while Beyonce does not even rate an article (though, to their credit, Lauryn Hill does). There are no articles on either T-Pain or Nia Long.
I have never written for Everything2: a blog gives me way more control and, besides, I get live comments, not faceless votes. Blogs arose at the same time as Everything2.
Everything2 was created by the same people who brought us Slashdot, a news website for computer geeks. But where Slashdot was bought and went on to greater glory, Everything2 has had trouble just staying online.