Everything2 and Wikipedia are similar beasts. A lot of people make the mistake of assuming from this that we have similar goals. That we are, in some sense, competing, and that E2 is perhaps even losing. This is not the case, and this node* attempts to explain why.
This node can also be used as a first port of call for Wikipedians hoping to take up noding.
Superficial similarities between E2 and Wikipedia which may lead you to think they are mortal enemies
- Both are large databases of user-submitted writeups.
- Type pretty much anything into the search box and you will find something written under that heading.
- You may create a user account and submit new content.
- [Square brackets] are used to link things to each other.
- Work you submit is instantly visible to everybody.
- Standards of written content are high.
- Neither are free speech outlets or indiscriminate collections of information. Inappropriate submissions are found and removed by administrators.
- E2 and Wikipedia are both ongoing projects without a well-defined end point.
- Both are free to use.
Where E2 differs from Wikipedia (the major stuff)
No anonymity. You can't submit anything without creating an account and logging in.
Your work stays yours. Content submitted to E2 is NOT licensed under the GFDL or any other kind of license. It is NOT freely available for anybody who reads it to copy and use. All the rights to your work remain unaltered, except that you have implicitly given E2 the right to publish said work on the internet, a right you can withdraw at any time. (See Writeup deletion and Who owns our writeups?.)
Your work appears under your name and cannot be altered or deleted by other users. The only people who can do this are a handful of carefully chosen Content Editors, who will keep their direct interference with your work to an absolute minimum.
Other people can vote on whether or not they like your work. (See Voting/Experience System.)
You get a "score" based on how people vote on your work. The better your work and the more you submit, the higher your score will get. (Again, see Voting/Experience System.)
Not all users are equal. As your score and number of writeups increases, you can gain user levels and new E2-related abilities - such as the ability to vote on other people's work, which is not available instantly to new users. (Once again, see Voting/Experience System.) This is separate and distinct from the Content Editor system.
E2 is not an encyclopedia. E2 has many encyclopedia-like entries, and theoretically all of Wikipedia could be noded here. However, Everything2 has no purpose, because its admins and users alike have strenuously resisted committing to one.
E2 is not NPOV. E2 is about as far from NPOV as it's possible to get. Some noders feel disappointed to read a factual article and not find some sort of opinion or conclusion at the end of it. Wikipedia is the place to report the news; E2 is the place to comment on it. Wikipedia is box office numbers; E2 is passionate (or damning) reviews. Wikipedia takes a balanced perspective; E2 takes a stand for one side or the other. Provided they meet the aforementioned high standards, all these things are welcomed and encouraged.
Wikipedia demands sources and prohibits original research. E2, on the other hand, is THE place to post original material, original research, pet projects, pet theories, personal anecdotes, advice, poetry and fiction. All of these are held to the same high standard, however.
E2 is a very different community. Mainly this is because it is much more community-oriented than Wikipedia, because, as I say, writeups about yourself are fine and we are not all utterly focused on a single goal. We have a live chat room, a private messaging system, and regular nodermeets. Many of us are here not simply because we want to read and write, but because we enjoy each other's company.
There are also massive technical differences and many more subtle differences which you will doubtless discover in due course, but these are beyond the scope of this writeup and more suited for the extensive Everything2 Help files. For now, I hope this helps.
* "Node" is nominally the Everythingian word for "article". (I say "nominally" because there is actually a trifling and irrelevant technical difference between the two.) "Node" is also a verb meaning "To write a node (noun)". Thus the act of writing a node is called "noding" and someone who nodes is called a "noder".