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  • wordnik: a new way to learn about words.

    October 31, 2008

  • Wordnik is a term used describe a geek fond of words.

    Examples:John is such a wordnik that he can often glue himself to a dictionary for days without ever dragging off. People just call him wordnik of the wordniks.

    April 4, 2009

  • Wordnik is a person with close association with words, as "-nik is a suffice meaning associated with. As "Erin is a wordnik, because she has spent so much time working with words."

    Wordnik is closely related to "logophile," a lover of words. As "people who contribute to Wordnik are usually lovers of words, or logophiles."

    April 14, 2009

  • Do you know what a nudnik is? Yeah, well a wordnik is just like that, except in reverse.

    May 12, 2009

  • You'll just love my friend, Paul. He's a real wordnik - a mensch with savvy language skills to boot!

    May 12, 2009

  • And now in open beta. Judging by, they've got WeirdNet too.

    June 9, 2009

  • Wordnik is a new online dictionary that brings real-life examples, real-time twitter usages, and related images from Flickr together in one place, with audio pronunciations too! For technophilic verbivores only :)

    June 11, 2009

  • I hate talking to him. He is such a wordnik-picker that he corrects everything I say.

    June 14, 2009

  • When your thesaurus fails you, try wordnik.

    June 17, 2009

  • My word expert is a wordnik.

    June 25, 2009

  • Seriously, you don't have a definition for this yet?

    July 8, 2009

  • Hey folks, wanted to let you regulars to be the first to know, they is now we. We've been assimilated :-)

    September 9, 2009

  • Should have mentioned this in the blog post too: Wordnik is officially adding madeupical to the corpus. A sort of bring-the-new-neighbors-brownies kind of gesture :-)

    September 9, 2009

  • Ermmm... First of all, congratulations John, you slack bastard! I'm extremely happy for you. Very exciting.

    I'm also awash with trepidation. But I'm sure that's just the lack of sleep. It'll all go smoothly, and we'll never notice, except things will just get better and better, right? Right.

    September 9, 2009

  • Mmm. We'll have to wait for more specific, concrete plans to get a clear idea of what John and whoever's in charge at Wordnik have in mind. Certainly Wordnik's present word pages are hugely crowded, very much as opposed to Wordie's minimalist approach, so combining content without spreading it awkwardly across several related pages per word could prove quite a feat of Web design. (Edit: even more pages per word, rather, since Wordnik already has several + a combined summary page.)

    September 9, 2009

  • I'll probably be a dropout before I become a wordnik.

    September 9, 2009

  • Following a moment's thought... I can see more potential for data-sharing than for trying to mash functionality together. So you'd perhaps have a Wordie list/talk page and a Wordnik information page, and then link them together (with a subdomain for the social part, including what's presently the Wordie front page?) or perhaps have some JavaScript-enabled tabs at the top of the page to flip between them. Beyond that I really start to have Jack-of-all-trades worries, and not just in Web design terms...

    Edit: oooh, some of these tags are nice. They are going to adopt our format (with spaces), though, aren't they?

    September 9, 2009

  • You're not joking about the busy-ness of that page, wowza. Hopefully we can figure out a way to keep the minimalist approach.

    September 9, 2009

  • I totally understand trepidation. I have it too--I very much hope that my favorite Wordies stick around, and that Wordie+Wordnik works for the people who've contributed so much. So I am going to plead with you all to hang in there at least until we see how it goes. And to tell me what would make it work for you--I'll reiterate my promise to listen to everything everyone says and take it to heart.

    VO: A redesign of Wordnik is imminent and in my purview. One current thought is that there might not be as many, or any, sub-pages, except for a talk page--the Wordie page. Sort of like Wikipedia--one data page (better organized and easier to use than the current series of Wordnik data pages), and one discussion page (hopefully funnier and less contentious than Wikipedia's). Which would help the talk pages stay a little cleaner and more Wordie-esque than the data-intense pages (though I think data density can be a great thing when it's well-organized).

    This is for word pages--I'm imagining lists will pretty much remain as-is functionally, though they'll wear Wordnik's upcoming new design. Though we (I have to admit, it's fun being more than just a royal we :-) are totally open to ideas.

    September 9, 2009

  • Can I say that the idea of merging with a whole preexisting community sounds kind of terrifying to me? Moreover, they look more like educated and "adult" dictionary people, while we are rather old schoolkids that play with words.

    I hope everything will be fine. Sigh.

    September 9, 2009

  • Though thousands of people use Wordie, really there's only about twenty or thirty 'regulars' who provide 100% of the spirit of the place. It's a social community and a pretty tight one as the internet goes. I'm guessing a feeling of a lot of us is "the madcap days are over". I don't think this has to be. Things will feel different for a while. We're definitely growing up a bit. But I don't think we have to lose the Wordie spirit. At least, I hope not.

    September 9, 2009

  • Congratulations, John!

    Having played around on Wordnik for a few minutes now, I'd guess Wordie could be a portal into Wordnik once the databases are integrated. That could let the minimalist Wordieview be maintained.

    There are some great features on Wordnik, like the ability to suggest related words. (Something that was suggested on Wordie a while ago, by yours truly.) So John, I hope you'll dredge back through the features suggestions and dust off some of them for implementation.

    Does this mean we get capitalization? How is Wordnik going to handle all our games and non-English characters (like ΒΑ�?Α�?Α)?

    September 9, 2009

  • John, a belated congratulations!

    I too am trepidatious (so much so that I don't even really care if that's a word), but interested. I have no plans to quit Wordie, but like others, would like to see the playground-type spirit of the place preserved. Intend to explore Wordnik more as time permits.

    Meanwhile, congrats on your new adventure! :)

    September 9, 2009

  • Thanks everyone :-) I think things will work out Pro--in part because the Wordnik community is still nascent. Erin and co. are hoping we *become* the Wordnik community, schoolyard antics and all. Milosrdenstvi is right--14,000 people have signed up for Wordie, give or take a few bots, but it is what it is because of the spirit of a few score of us. I really hope and believe we can transplant that.

    Moll, Wordnik is case sensitive--we'll finally be able to talk about turkey and Turkey without confusion. Wordnik has some heavy duty engineering talent, which is going to enable a growing number of very cool things. One existing example: Wordnik's autocomplete, which is awesome. As opposed to mine, which was so useless it verged on being another form of 'random word.'

    September 9, 2009

  • John is no longer a dull boy.

    September 9, 2009

  • So...couldn't we assimilate them? Then Prolagus and I wouldn't have to grow up. :-)

    September 9, 2009

  • What if they don't allow fart jokes?

    September 9, 2009

  • I can't speak for other Wordies of course, but as far as I'm concerned your problem isn't so much trepidation (or rather, and putting it less psychologically, awareness that the intended goal presents considerable challenges) but the blunt fact that I'm not excited. The announcement we've got pretty much says this is a surprise fait accompli but with most of the detailed, concrete planning still to be done; and I can't share in any grand, optimistic vision if it barely exists yet and isn't being laid out at length. It's hard for me not to sound negative when, seriously, the prospect of a functional autocomplete isn't going to inspire me with enthusiasm; and indeed, I do presently think the 'portal' model sounds the most straightforward one for connecting two sites with complementary but distinct aims (there's probably a reason why the with-photos is a redirect).

    Yeah, I'm seeing all the negatives again... and it's not as though I want you to turn project manager, or indeed to channel the spirit of Demosthenes. I'm willing enough to wait for some kind of consultation paper--but let me reiterate, your problem is not fear. It's that the headaches are presently much more obvious to me than the sweeping opportunities you apparently see, and for that reason I'm simply not excited.

    That of course may yet change...

    September 9, 2009

  • John, how could you leave New Jersey when you love it so?

    Just kidding. Many, many congratulations on your new venture! How exciting! I can't say that I'm not a little anxious about this whole Wordie-nik idea, but that doesn't mean I'm planning on going anywhere. An addiction is an addiction, after all. :-)

    Still, like other Wordizens, I'm hoping the spirit of the vast, fuflun-strewn playground that is Wordie remains. And much as I avoid fart jokes (sorry, skip), I sure hope they're welcome in the new assimilated world. After all, if we can't talk about delicate subjects, then what are we here for? ;->

    September 9, 2009

  • Oh, and madeupical? I'm honored. :-)

    September 9, 2009

  • Numerous congratulations John and Wordie!

    I checked and found out that trepidatious is included at least in the Heritage dictionary and that I'm not feeling like that at all! So please make that the little neophiliac in me is right. :-)

    Also this is probably a great opportunity to add a bulk moving feature for words and categorization for the lists page. And I'm looking forward to case sensitivity.

    Best of luck!

    (By the bye, a few years back I once used erinaceous in a school exam.)

    September 9, 2009

  • I've nosed around Wordnik a couple of times and while it's superficially interesting there's currently nothing to keep me there. I like data and would love to see this merger (are we calling it that?) result in much richer social data - along the lines of librarything. The left-right brain analogy is a good one. What makes wordie fun is having the majority of the "homepage" devoted to comments, and the rest to other recent activity. Commenting and perpetual motion is the lifeblood of it - you've got to keep that interface as the default, not just tuck it away as an option. I can't help feeling it's easier to graft data onto a community than vice versa. It is exciting though and if you don't screw it up it could be wordvana. I think Nicola speaks for us all.

    September 9, 2009

  • Wheee! Exciting new changes. Congratulations, John! Fellow wordienikizens! let's not be scowly pessimists. We can lower the tone of any forum, I am confident. Or Rick Santorum is not an insufferable assmarmot.

    Let's make wordienik a tappening kind of webcorner!

    September 10, 2009

  • I got out to get some milk, and you go sell half the kitchen!

    September 10, 2009

  • Oh, man, I'm gettin' goosebumps!! WONDERFUL NEWS, John. Congratulations-cubed! *staring off into the middle distance, counting blessings to come*

    September 10, 2009

  • sionnach, I'll bring my specific excrement, if it'll help.

    September 10, 2009

  • Oh, John, I'm so happy for you! Congratulations! I can't wait to see what you and the Wordnik people cook up. :-)

    Now, a question: How involved would you like us regulars to be in this process? Are you looking for suggestions from us? If so, we might want to start a Wordnikie Suggestion Box, just to keep all our suggestions in one place.

    September 10, 2009

  • wait...what? Oh, crap. I just started a diet and now this?

    September 10, 2009

  • Good thought, ptero!

    September 10, 2009

  • Ptero: thank you, and extremely involved! All suggestions will be listened to and seriously considered, and many implemented, I hope. Though since I'm no longer a one man band I have to retire my standard excuse for non-implementation (lack of time and competence) and start using a new one: Erin* won't let me :-)

    Totally kidding. Actually when Erin (McKean, CEO of Wordnik and my new boss) saw that people were concerned that Wordnik was too serious for the likes of us, she laughed and laughed. Then paused, possibly horked a little, and laughed some more. Wordnik does some serious shit. The corpus is enormous, growing rapidly, and a feat of engineering. But it's not meant to be a mausoleum for words—more like a theme park.

    * Until now I had totally forgotten about that Errata post from two years ago, but I clearly wanted Wordie to join Wordnik before Wordnik even existed. How weird.

    September 10, 2009

  • John, presumably Erin has a Wordie account. Why not ask her to say a few words to us?

    September 10, 2009

  • That would be appreciated. :)

    September 10, 2009

  • The Wordnik Treatment doesn't roll off my tongue as easily as the Wordie Treatment.

    September 10, 2009

  • Whoof. I suspect this page is going to go down in Wordie history for comments.

    I've digested the news for about a day now. I'm getting more sanguine all the time. For one, I trust our beloved slack bastard (can we still call you that? Better yet -- can you make sure that's your official title?)

    For two, I'm convinced that if the Wordie crew sticks around, there's no earthly way Wordnik could withstand the onslaught. For thirdly, if you doubt me, just remember the Wordie treatment, Mi-Vox, Waldo's list and Greetings.

    For fourthness -- aw, heck, I think there's a lot of potential. Go for it!

    September 10, 2009

  • *Wonders idly what kind of spammers Wordnik gets*

    Thinks they are in for a surprise, the first time the Wordnikie treatment is unleashed.

    September 10, 2009

  • Hey guys! This is Erin, for reals. (Ask John, this is really my Wordie account -- I haven't listed many words although all these are sort of mine ...)

    I want to hasten to reassure y'all (I'm Southern, I can use y'all) that we would not have invited John to join Wordnik if we didn't really, really want the Wordies, too, and neither would we have done so if we didn't really want the Wordies to *keep* being Wordies.

    In fact, we would like you to be as Wordie-ish as possible, please. Go ahead, turn the dial marked "Wordie" allll the way to the right. Bring it on. We, for one, welcome our new Wordie ... you get the idea. :-)

    At this point we feel like all the cool kids have rsvp'd "yes" to our party invitation, and so now we have to stock the coolers, hang the piñata, and tidy up before you come over ... but while we're doing that, feel free to ask me whatever you like: what I can answer I will and what I can't answer off the top of my head I will think about (and consult John about) and get back to you. You can leave a comment here, on my Wordie profile, or just email me at erin at wordnik dot com.

    Most dictionaries are deadly-dull and only accidentally (and infrequently) entertaining. Wordie's not like that, and with your help Wordnik won't be like that, either. If you love words, wouldn't you want their home to be as welcoming as possible? That's what we want for Wordnik.

    So -- you're all invited. BYOW. (Bring your own Wordie-ness.)

    September 10, 2009

  • Oh my gourd... that's really, actually ERIN MCKEAN. Here! On our page! The only person, other than Nancy Pearl, who I want an action figure of!

    I am starstruck. I am weak at the knees. You could knock me over with a, a, one of those long fluttery things that grow on birds. Thingies. Feathers! Yes!

    *waves madly* Hi, Erin!

    September 10, 2009

  • I think this is a great merger — healthier, too.

    Kinda like mixing up the gene pool. Now I can throw out the chlorine!

    Thank you John. Welcome, Erin.

    September 10, 2009

  • Welcome, Erin! Great leaping padded face holes, it's good to see you here. I love when John conjures up magical people. :-)

    I second Asativum's sentiments--the more time passes, the more excited I get about this merger. I think it'll be great. And if I know my fellow Wordiezens, they'll bring the full force and effect of Wordie zaniness to Wordnik--complete with helicopter funships and double-barrelled splotguns. It's a Brave New Worldie out there. :-)

    Can I have an action figure too?

    September 10, 2009

  • Oh yes, ptero, you’re so right! I, too, want that action figure. And one of Gene Wolfe. :-)

    (Is he joining us, too?)

    September 10, 2009

  • Hold on a second here. Much as I appreciate Erin dropping in and being Southern as y'all (P.S. Erin? Have you met skipvia??), if anyone's going to be talking action figures, we damn well need one of our slack bastard little teapot. Don't we?


    September 10, 2009

  • Now *I'm* all verklempt at being mentioned in the same action-figurable category as Nancy Pearl and Gene Wolfe!


    September 10, 2009

  • Yes, I think we now have a complete set, so long as the Slack Bastard Little Teapot is included. Where do I place my order?

    September 10, 2009

  • *rocking furiously on the porch*

    Are fingernails low-carb? *hopes so*

    September 10, 2009

  • Oh, right! We need a porch in our Brave New Worldie. Dontcry, how many movers will you need?

    September 10, 2009

  • I for one welcome our new Wordnik overlords.*

    *I just wanted to be the one to say it.

    September 10, 2009

  • "Overlords"?! Umbrage! Umbrage, I say!

    Wait... If we have overlords now, will there be cake? Cuz I'm down with cake.

    September 10, 2009

  • I've heard that most overlords are partial to cake.

    September 10, 2009

  • Umbrage? How dare you take umbrage at my comment, you silly bear! I take umbrage at your umbrage!

    And you sully the good name of cake with your umbrage! I am outraged!

    September 10, 2009

  • No fufluns for you!

    *takes more umbrage and flings it (relatively gently) at plethora*

    September 11, 2009

  • I have liked Wordnik since I first discovered it a few months ago, and the upcoming amalgamation doesn't give me the jitters, not too much at least, largely because John has proved himself time and time again to astonishingly level-headed and responsible for someone who likes to call himself a slack bastard little teapot. So I trust John. And I like Wordnik. And I also know that Wordies are tenaciously protective of what we've got.

    But I do have a question. Wordnik seems to have a noticeable bias toward, well, how can I put this, English. And though I love English and even make my living from it, I also deeply appreciate Wordie's (and Wordies') openness to other languages, e.g my Slovene and Russian, as well as Indonesian, Urdu, Chinese, Georgian, a raft of Amerindian and African languages, not to mention the Madeupical tongue, beloved by many of us. So will these possibilities continue in Wordnik? Will we feel compelled to bite our many tongues? Will Wordnik become multilingual? Will it be useful for learners of foreign tongues?

    Or perhaps, Wordnik will prove even more adaptive, such as by having links to foreign-language dictionaries? That would be very neat.

    September 11, 2009

  • M..m..m..move the porch?! Ack!

    *breaks diet* *eats plethora's forbidden fufluns* *is also down with cake*

    September 11, 2009

  • rolig, *excellent* question about Wordnik & English ... we've started with English, because that's the language we all know best here at Wordnik HQ. But we've already started some tiny steps towards a French version (and I mean TINY, as in, we have partnered with a research group who is exploring the possibility) and we're definitely open to the idea of Wordnik-style sites for other languages.

    We're also open to showing information for words that might "officially" belong to other languages but are often used alongside English words by English speakers -- there is no strict English-citizenship requirement for a word to be included in Wordnik. As long a word is used in a context where we can show something helpful about it, we'll show it.

    I hope this helps!

    September 11, 2009

  • I second rolig's suggestion, actually. One of the coolest things about Wordie is coming across those purty Georgian letters 'n' stuff. A row of dinky links to foreign-language dictionaries would be hot hot hot.

    September 11, 2009

  • While I would applaud Wordnik-like efforts in other linguistic communities (Словник, Besednik, Wortnik – would the French Wordnik be named Mo'nique®, by any chance?), I'm not enthused about the idea of segregating the languages. The working language of Wordie is, by and large, English, though conversations in other tongues do occur and are in no way discouraged, but we still talk quite a lot about non-English words: what they mean, how they sound, what Beatles songs they bring to mind (see oplaziti), and so on. Will there still be a place on Wordienik for non-English words, nonce words, symbols, ideograms, glyphs, numerals, and all the different alphabets that some of us find so fascinating, delightful, comical, or horkworthy. What will happen to 42? Or will they be consigned to their own respective versions of Wordnik?

    September 11, 2009

  • Thanks rolig! I think the short answer is -- if it's of interest to speakers of English, it's of interest to Wordnik; numbers, glyphs, ideograms, nonce- and non-English words definitely & absolutely included.

    Will we go out and try to find all the words of all the other languages deliberately, in the same way that we're trying to map all of English? Not just yet ...

    The general idea behind Wordnik is that there's too much arbitrary gatekeeping in dictionaries as it is, and we certainly don't want to add to it. So here's how it works now (and how it will most likely continue to work): you look something up on Wordnik. We show you what we've got. If that's nothing (insert sad face here), feel free to log in and add something (a tag, a note, make it a favorite, etc.). Ta-da! Whatever you just looked up is now a permanent part of Wordnik (unless you do something completely & egregiously offensive, as we do reserve the right to delete outright asshattery).

    (If you're worried that doing this would make a word in some way "officially English", feel free to add appropriate tags, like "Slovene" or "madeupical" or "number" or "Wordies Having Fun", etc. etc.)

    Hope this helps/is reassuring/makes sense ...

    September 11, 2009

  • Could this be the start of the Human Lexome Project? Where do I send my resume to be biology editor for Wordnik?

    (Lexome or lexisphere . . . lexome or lexisphere?)

    September 11, 2009

  • Thanks, Erin! I am feeling reassured. Ooh, but I like Molly's idea of a Lexome Project. The best of all possible words! Borges's Library of Babel but with scores of writing systems! Now that would be something.

    September 11, 2009

  • I fear that the beautiful random growth that is Wordie is about to join something organised with a goal.

    September 11, 2009

  • I do like the organic nature of the conversations around here and how they're focused on the words themselves (or lists, or tags)--I think we've had this discussion a bit on the features page (seem to recall a few folks now and then suggesting that Wordie become more of a social networking site, and that suggestion getting shot down...?).

    Maybe I'm echoing yarb's comment below, but I'd like that aspect of Wordie to remain, whatever happens.

    And I do get a little thrill every time I think that John has found a way to make Wordie his job as well as his vocation. Right on, Brother Teapot!

    September 11, 2009

  • I don't mind foreign words, especially those which have cool etymological connections to English. What I don't really care for is scrolling through pages of comments of simple definitions in characters I don't recognize. These unfortunately just end up being background noise to me, and distract from my real mission, which is to read all the awesome comments. I don't think much would be lost by having some segregation between different languages. As for numbers, dates, punctuation, etc., those could remain in a language neutral section, or be tagged multiply for all languages where they are valid.

    September 11, 2009

  • Question (actually the only thing I'm a little apprehensive about): do we keep Palatino? It's so pretty...

    September 11, 2009

  • And the white background! *Bambi eyes*

    September 11, 2009

  • Wordnik has a pronunciation tool. Does that mean that any collaboration with Forvo is to be excluded?

    September 11, 2009

  • I think Pro should be hired as the pronunciation expert (along with mollusque as biology editor, except that I get the birds).

    September 11, 2009

  • I dibs being the Special Correspondent on Sarah Palin.

    September 11, 2009

  • I do hope 'We've been assimilated' turns out to be the wrong words.

    September 12, 2009

  • Question. I just had a terrifying thought. What's going to happen to all our lists and tags and stuff? I assumed they'd be carried over (or at least archived) in some way, but...

    September 12, 2009

  • We're *definitely* bringing over all the cool lists, tags, comments, etc. that Wordies have created. It'd be a crime not to!

    (Actually, a couple of us Wordniks were talking the other day about how to make some lists for some editorial tasks we want to do, and after going back and forth for a minute with various inconvenient suggestions, we just looked at each other and said "Make 'em at Wordie!")

    September 13, 2009

  • Wow! You have an algorithm that segregates the uncool ones, 'luette? Wow!

    September 13, 2009

  • Yes, gangerh, we do. It's a very simple algorithm, to wit:

    "Is it on Wordie? Then COOL = YES."

    September 13, 2009

  • Aha! To wit, indeed! To woo, as well! It seems some fellow Wordies know of you already, 'luette, and hold you in good stead. I knew nought of you 'til now, am apprehensive, but your stock is rising. Be gentle with me. My days are in awe of the wonder that is Wordie.

    'Tread softly because you tread on my dreams' - W. B. Yeats.

    September 13, 2009

  • Erin, great idea to list chores on Wordie--but beware the inadvertent Wordie Treatment. We'll try to behave, won't we, skip? :-)

    In other news, I'm relieved (nay, thrilled) to hear that all of our lists and tags and stuff will be shipped to Wordnik. I'll help unpack.

    September 14, 2009

  • Speak for yourself, reesetee... :-)

    September 14, 2009

  • Me too re: reesetee's thrill. It may sound silly (though my fellow Wordizens will understand), but my stuff represents more than two years' worth of "work." If any of my lists went away, lost their tags, were placed out of order or jumbled up somehow... Is it possible for one's heart to literally sink to the floor? Because that's the feeling I'd get. I would just go lie in bed for a few months and call it a life.

    September 14, 2009

  • Skipvia: Apparently I didn't kick you under the table hard enough. ;-)

    Edit: Wait. That doesn't sound right.

    September 15, 2009

  • (Relevant) comment from chained-bear some months ago on yes we have no bananas -

    'Keep it up, gangerh. I'm going to love this page! :) Just think: A one-page, go-to reference for "Yes, We Have No Bananas" in almost any language! That's what Wordie is FOR!'

    September 17, 2009

  • Wow. I must've been smart back then. ;)

    September 17, 2009

  • So the Wordnik redesign is up. I think I love it, but honestly I've been staring at it so long I'm not sure. But I definitely tried hard to make it a suitable landing pad for when we move house—it should take only a little poking around to see I plagiarized Wordie more than a few times. And with this in place it'll be easier to make minor tweaks more or less on the fly, so we'll continue noodling with it up until the point Wordie is integrated, with the goal of making that seamless and pleasant.

    Something else you may notice about nuevo Wordnik is that it's ripping fast, despite having hugely more data than it had even a few months ago (and ludicrously more than Wordie). There have been many pretty rad engineering changes under the hood with this update, thanks to my colleagues Tony and Kumanan.

    As always, please let me know if anything is broken, or if you have suggestions, questions, or criticism.

    October 16, 2009

  • Rad indeed!

    Of course I still lack feel for the new design, but it looks pretty neat. Can I somehow rearrange the modules on the word pages? I’ll go exploring it in the afternoon. :-D

    Edit: Isn’t my user name supposed to be displayed near the upper right corner? My feeling tells me it should.

    Edit no. 2:

    Sorry, I logged out and in again: now it’s there.

    October 16, 2009

  • Having some trouble logging in today, but I did see the Zeitgeist link at the top. I like that page! :)

    October 16, 2009

  • I like the new Wordnik page with its Zeitgeist link too. I especially like the sparseness, white background, the type font and large text - all pleasingly reminiscent of the Wordie format. Great creative use of a "tag cloud" to provide a strong concise statement about the site as well. Cheers to all involved with the design.

    October 17, 2009

  • Beautiful. Except, in my opinion, for that huge comment box under the word... if you don't want to comment, you don't really need it, so it could be smaller (and why not, inflate when you click on it).

    Also, what does "take this word and comment on it" do exactly?

    October 17, 2009

  • One more question: how do you edit/delete comments on wordnik?

    October 17, 2009

  • John, linking to more than one word makes links borked... see iroquoisy.

    Also: does Wordnik automatically create a page for every sequence of letters you look up? I think I have just created iroquois] and [fruit bat.

    Also, italics tags are appearing as text instead of being turned into formatting.

    October 17, 2009

  • It seems to me

    you can't do this

    on Wordnik comments.

    (Divide into lines, I mean, but I'm not sure this is how you say it.)

    October 17, 2009

  • Perhaps it can be called something like "allowing the use of hard returns to format lines within a comment". A nice feature on Wordie, I agree, Pro.

    October 17, 2009

  • Thanks a million for those bug reports—I'll fix the line breaks, the word linking, and the use of html in comments.

    Super glad people are checking out Wordnik, but of course it's totally kosher, and maybe for the best, to keep on using Wordie for things social until we move over. With a little time to rasp away the rough edges, things should Just Work when that happens.

    October 17, 2009

  • For me, the way words are listed to the right hand side of the Zeitgeist page is a design disaster. It is an unnatural way to read a list and just deters me from wanting to scan it.

    October 17, 2009

  • Thanks gangerh, I agree—that page is more or less a stub right now. In the near future we'll add more data to it, and try to make it more easily scannable. Any suggestions? Are vertical lists better?

    October 17, 2009

  • For me vertical lists are the superior way to list. I don't know the scientific understanding we have of it. It may have something to do with a tangible interruption between each item on a horizontal list?

    October 17, 2009

  • Good work, John! Definitely an improvement over the old Wordnik. A few comments and questions.

    On the Wordnik profile, I would like my favorites to be public but my browsing history to be private, as on Wordie, but that's not an option on Wordnik.

    Should I update my Wordnik profile, or will my Wordie profile be migrated?

    Unlike Wordie, Wordnik has a pre-existing corpus. Will Wordnik still show who first listed a word? Will it be possible to add words to the corpus without listing them? To me, listing words and building the dictionary are two separate activities. The only downside of separating them is that it would no longer be possible to have "ghost words".

    I'm not sure I like the homepage. It makes a reasonable first impression, but I think it will get old quickly. I find myself thinking, it would be cleaner if "is" weren't in blue. And maybe the same for "in the known universe". How about just "Wordnik: the most comprehensive dictionary".

    On the zeitgeist page, "Favorited" should be "Favourited" for panvocalicness.

    How will comments be mapped from Wordie to Wordnik for words like polish where capitalization matters?

    October 17, 2009

  • Why is dictionary the Word of the day for two days in a row?

    October 17, 2009

  • Congrats on the new design, John! I've only just started tinkering, so I don't have many comments, but I'll pop back here as I use it more.

    October 18, 2009

  • I would also like the site to use typographic quotation marks and apostrophes, oh, and dashes (m&n) and all that fancy stuff. :-)

    October 18, 2009

  • I don't know; it seems to me that there is an insurmountable dissimilitude betwixt Wordie and Wordnik.

    October 19, 2009

  • Gangerh, good observation about the vertical lists. I can pick panvocalics out of a vertical list much more rapidly than out of a horizontal list. I'd say relegate horizontal lists to cloud view.

    October 19, 2009

  • Excellent and disturbing point, sobriquet. All 20 of the examples Wordnik pulls in for "gound" are incorrect, based on typos of "ground". What is Wordnik doing that adds any authoritativeness? Why pull in definitions from other online dictionaries? Doesn't OneLook serve that purpose? Or the dictionary links on Wordie?

    I'd much rather see Wordnik give a venue for "lexigraphic irregulars" to help devise definitions and provide compelling quotations, than be another portal that mashes up the same old stuff.

    October 19, 2009

  • Again I say: I fear that the beautiful random growth that is Wordie is about to join something organised with a goal.

    October 19, 2009

  • A valid apprehension, gangerh, as that spontaneity is predominately why I joined.

    Mollusque, it is good to see that Wordnik at least retrieved a valid use in the sense of 'gown' from Twitter.

    October 19, 2009

  • John, it appears that comments can't be edited? The comment I added to spoony was all borked up and I couldn't do anything about it...or am I just an idiot?

    BTW, nice work on the new look!

    October 21, 2009

  • Yes, I think I mentioned that in one of my comments here...

    October 21, 2009

  • What, that I'm an idiot? :o)

    October 22, 2009

  • is a commercial website for people who are fans of words and their meaning / significance.

    ( like me :) nmw

    October 25, 2009

  • John, your reply to madmouth on Craigslist - stuff for sale raises a question. Will we be able to capitalize existing listed words that are supposed to be capitalized, or will we have to drop one and add the other?

    November 1, 2009

  • Hey folks! John's up to his eyeballs working on making all the Wordie goodness fit into Wordnik (or actually, more accurately, making Wordnik fit around Wordie goodness), so I thought I'd jump in ... we should be able to edit comments soon (so oroboros, if there's an idiot around here, it's not you ...) and we're working the capitalization thing as well, so that we can distinguish well between Turkey and turkey, Polish and polish, and so forth. That's been a long-term goal.

    More (very) soon!

    November 7, 2009

  • Thanks for the update!

    Now back to work. *cracking whip*

    November 7, 2009

  • hi all. mollusque, as of now you'd have to drop the case you don't want and add another, and if you were moving from lower to uppercase, it would mean not seeing the comments on the lowercase version. which is clearly not the desired behavior in most cases. once wordie is in and we work out any kinks, dealing sensibly with case sensitivity is high on our to-do list.

    speaking of integration, it's going to happen next week :-) there might be a brief period (an hour?) during which both sites will redirect to a maintenance page, after which requests to wordie will be redirected to the equivalent page on wordnik. all our accounts and lists and words will get moved over en masse. and when there are username conflicts (happily, there are fewer of those than i expected), we'll have a process in place for working them out.

    the plan is that within a week or so of the migration all wordie features will be fully available on wordnik. but immediately after the migration, a few minor features will be temporarily unavailable. i'll post details soon, but they'll include collaborative lists (existing ones will work, but you won't be able to create new ones) and email notifications.

    pretty much the entire wordie homepage is going to get stuffed into zeitgeist, though there are a few items on it that won't be available immediately. again, in a week or two anything that didn't make the first pass will get moved over.

    we're trying hard to make this as seemless as possible. and once the transition is complete, i think you'll see fewer bugs, better performance, and we'll have all this dictionary shit to enjoy or crack wise about. as always, please post here or email me if you have any questions or suggestions.

    November 9, 2009

  • Thanks for the update, John. I like "seemless", which seems less corporate than "seamless".

    November 9, 2009

  • *packs Wordie suitcase for transition*

    November 9, 2009

  • There is always the possibility that we'll arrive on Wordnik and discover the Statue of Liberty half-buried in sand.

    November 10, 2009

  • John, I'm pretty sure I *completely* buried the Statue of Liberty in the sand.

    November 10, 2009

  • Redefining Chronology!

    Wouldn’t it be useful to have the Wordie URLs link directly to useful pages like Zeitgeist and the comments pages?

    And I hope—do hope—Unicode finally works! *hɵʊp̚*

    And the IPA pronunciations of words containing the “cut” phoneme (/ʌ/) is still broken.

    Can I edit? *test*

    November 11, 2009

  • Too bad edit doesn’t work yet...

    In the profile page redirection a slash (virgule :-) seems to be missing.

    November 11, 2009

  • John! I was lowercased! Argh!

    November 11, 2009

  • I just looked up penis after seeing it was on the "recent words", and now it's s big word on my profile page. D'oh! I'd like to choose custom levels of privacy in my settings (OK to lists and favorites, OK to comments on my page, no to words I looked up).

    November 11, 2009

  • Seconded.

    And my newly created list Shiny German words throws an error. Right after creation I was able to add one word, but then it wouldn’t load anymore.

    November 11, 2009

  • Oh, telofy -- shoot, that bug (adding a new list, then a new word, then ... boom) is one we thought we caught. It's high on the list to fix. We're also working on those IPA problems -- we're about to get a newer, cleaner data source for those.

    Prolagus, I'll see what we can do about your missing upper-case P. I think we have some extras around here we can swap in. :-) And we are planning on eventually letting you "hide" words from your public lookup history at some point!

    I also wanted to pop in here and say that for 99% percent of Wordies, your Wordie username should work at Wordnik, you just have to reset your password (with this link: If your username DOESN'T work (that is, if you lost the arm-wrestle for that username to another user on the Wordnik site), you'll get an email with your new username, which will be super-whateveryourusernamewas. You'll also have to reset your password.

    Some Wordniks lost the username-contest to stronger and craftier Wordies; they will also have to assume the burden of superness and reset their passwords.

    If we were pretty sure you were the same person on Wordie and Wordnik (same username, same or suspiciously similar email addresses) we merged the accounts. If we messed up and you are now living with a stranger, let us know ASAP! (It was only a few folks, so we hope we got it right!)

    November 11, 2009

  • Thanks! Also the Zeitgeist page is not up-to-date, but I guess that is obvious enough that I needn’t mention it. The want of edit buttons however induces me with surges of trepidation whenever I’m about to post something.

    New IPA data source: Yay, there are (soon were) also inconsistencies between IPA and audio regarding yod-dropping (at least in one case, adduce).

    Good luck!

    November 12, 2009

  • <sarcasm>Edit</sarcasm> (which I hope isn’t going to be filtered, turning all this into unfathomable jabber): AJAX puts new comments at first somewhere above the “n Comments” text. After a reload everything’s fine again of course.

    And thanks for fixing the Zeitgeist.

    Edit: Thanks for Edit, I fixed the filtered “HTML” up there—I hope. :-)

    November 12, 2009

  • Please post here your responses to the conversation on Possible Underscore's profile.

    November 29, 2009

  • Accepting Pro's invitation, I will summarize here a comment I added earlier to that same conversation, then deleted because it seemed too negative. It can be summed up in a string of questions:

    What is the purpose of the new site? What is it trying to achieve? And for whom? Who are the target users, and what is the site trying to provide them?

    OK, it's really the same question, expressed in different ways.

    As I've been hanging out pretty much exclusively on Zeitgeist, or on pages that I've been led to by Zeitgeist, it's possible that I'm missing something fundamental. But there's really no temptation to enter the site anywhere else. I'm relieved to see many of the old Wordies around on Zeitgeist, disappointed not to see others.

    I will refrain from commenting on the many technical glitches that seem to be plaguing the combined site; I admire the zeal others have shown in the bughunting and reporting game, but have no particular desire to engage in significant amounts of beta-testing myself. But I would single out two features that baffle and frustrate me. (I'm assuming that the weird linking and general difficulty in finding anything are wrinkles that will be resolved over time). One is the apparent inaccuracy and/or unintelligibility of many of the statistics quoted - 'has been looked up X number of times, appears on Y lists, first listed by Z' being the main ones. The other is the examples, or 'vexamples' - in many cases these just seem to be random internet garbage; in what way are they supposed to help me, other than replacing Weirdnet as a moderately amusing, but ultimately tedious, diversion.

    I'm getting grouchy. I'd better stop. But let me ask one final question - given that we may have lost some of our more valuable Wordies in the transition, what is it about the new site that would attract equally talented fresh blood?

    November 29, 2009

  • Is it possible that *gasp* Wordies are questioning their existance??

    No, I agree with a lot that 'nach said. I know that when I type the address I type: I don't even bother going to the opening page anymore. Zeitgeist is the opening page. However, in response to sionnach's last question, I think it would be the Wordies, and the comments that attract 'talented fresh blood'. With no comment on my talent, that's what I found most appealing about Wordie when I first joined (including the list making).

    In relation to all those technical glitches, I've been relying on time to straighten them out.

    I'm not entirely sure what point I'm trying to make, except maybe patience is the way to go? I don't think anyone's trying to be negative, but realistic.

    *wrings hands nervously*

    November 29, 2009

  • Guys, I know it was a rough transition, and that it's not finished. But a little perspective.

    VanishedOne, you implied that Wordie had a clearly targeted purpose. It didn't for a long time—it evolved, as will Wordnik. Wordnik has an overarching goal, which I love: the collection of all English words and as much information about them as possible. But the culture and spirit of it are up to us. It won't be dictated by an amorphous "them." There's only five of us in the office anyways. When we get pizza we fit in a both.

    The only material that changes on the site is the automatically collected stuff, like example sentences, and then because we're trying to dramatically improve their quality. As many have noted, they need it.

    Things we contribute, like comments and pronunciations, don't get touched unless they're unequivocally abuse or spam. So yes, Wordnik is a dictionary, and yes, it's educational. But there's no such thing as "not meeting our purposes." And while some features exist or not because they just happened to get built one way (or not), nothing is cast in stone. We have a pretty long list of things we have to do, which we're slowly working through (the downside of fitting in a pizza both), but just keep bothering me. I feel like I have a pretty long record of building what people ask for. And I appreciate both the bug reports, and also the understanding that glitches will be fixed over time. Those things aren't mutually exclusive.

    I don't think the idea of a serious dictionary with a not-serious community is so far fetched. I mean, it even has a name: the mullet strategy. Though for what it's worth, I totally disagree with Peretti that most user-generated content sucks. Or at least, this group is the exception that proves the rule.

    November 29, 2009

  • Hi kjola, could you try the password reset page, using the email with which you signed up for Wordie? If that doesn't work please email

    November 29, 2009

  • I think kjola meant something different, more related to the discussion we are having.

    November 29, 2009

  • Well, they talk about the pros and cons of turning a hobby into a job...

    I'm not going to split hairs over implicature, or what the aim of the merger was if Wordie is/was characterised by aimlessness; I thought I was actually saying something pretty moderate. Look, I can well understand if you just want to be the tech guy: send one of the others out to do the leadership stuff. But if you want to execute big plans...

    November 29, 2009

  • I read all of sionnach's initial comment and it didn't seem grumpy to me at all. Mostly I'd rather a spade wasn't called 'A tool for digging and cutting the ground, having a rather thick iron blade, usually flat, so formed that its terminal edge (either straight or curved) may be pressed into the ground or other resisting substance with one foot, and a handle, usually with a crosspiece at the top, to be grasped by both hands.'

    If I can summarise my own thoughts about various issues and features:

    - 'Rough transition' is an understatement. Most Wordie features we loved have not made the transition well or at all. I find myself struggling to waste as much time as I used to as Wordnik is just far less useable. Unfortunately this has led to an increase in productivity in my job :-(

    - Definitions: passable. But featuring 'American Heritage Dictionary' as the top-listed dictionary seems unfortunately/unintentionally ethnocentric to me.

    - Examples: mostly odd, as we know. Featured example just under the links bar is also unwelcome.

    - Twitter feed: who the fuck cares? Seriously.

    sukezou: @nujima @jonpei @kaichuck @bakageso @spade_k @umaaaaaa @machaxxx @mov_ 3泊4日は長いかと思いきや、あっという間に終わってしまいました。

    - Pronunciations: a great feature. But this view is probably skewed by the fact we are enjoying the novelty of it so much.

    - Tags: are on the wrong page.

    - Random word: I'm reminded of those poor waifs in the Philippines and elsewhere who live and scavenge on rubbish dumps. Random just seems to pull nonsense out of its word-parsing flightiness and spread the stinky goo out to fester in the heat.

    - Lists: have a tourniquet around their neck after being bitten by Wordnik. Most of Wordnik directs users to word pages, not comment pages. Hence you don't get to see what lists words are on. The casual chancing upon a list takes hard work.

    - Overall: I don't care that some stuff doesn't work, yet; it's not unknown for a 'beta' site to have borky bits here and there. The main issue is what this place is, a.k.a. the existentialist question. I agree with the sentiment that the direction of the project is unclear. Is this a commercial project? Where's the money coming from to pay these 5 people if there aren't any ads? We've already been promised it will remain free. What user controls will there be? What tools for self-management of the community? More mullet: "...the best way for Web companies to increase traffic is to let users have control."

    Confession: I'm just not having much fun any more. That's the simple truth. Or as much insight. Or as much sense of a community. Or as much felicitous serendipity. Or as many opportunities - and these seemed to cheerfully, miraculously, materialise on YOW - to interact meaningfully with other users.

    I've been trying very hard, as one does, to inject some energy into the place. I'll give it a shot but in the even leather ears aren't much protection for cranium contro countermure.

    November 29, 2009

  • VO, sorry that I got defensive, and kjola, sorry I missed your point.

    Bilby, valid points, and you're right, 'rough transition' doesn't do it justice. I'm doing what I can to fix what's broken, listen, and make things easier to use and more fun--to be productive, so that you don't have to be. There's another batch of fixes for Monday evening, and they'll keep coming.

    November 29, 2009

  • bilby, I think you're particularly right about the Twitter. It really doesn't tell you anything about the word at all, except how other people misuse or abuse it and I also agree about that random word bit...unfortunately. Yesterday I was on and off all the time, but nothing much was happening at all. I know there will be some slow days, but there was nothing and I fear that there will be more of that.

    I know it's going to take time, but these last few posts are going to make me cry.


    Edit: By-the-way John, I took so long to type my post I missed yours. I'd just like to say we still really appreciate all the good intentions and understand how difficult it must be for you too.

    November 29, 2009

  • Hey guys, thanks for your comments. We do read them all and I promise we take them seriously.

    We do have a BHAG, which is (as John pointed out below) to be the most information about the most words for the benefit of the most people, ever. We're not nearly there yet ... but that's the goal.

    The main thrust of the next few months will be to improve & expand our examples & statistics (I'd love for 'vexample' to eventually be tagged "archaic" or "dated"!) while improving the rest of the experience of the site ... which also includes the Random word function, which is slated for discussion on Monday. :-)

    I can't promise that we'll act on every suggestion -- in fact, with such a small team, we can't -- but I can promise that we will always listen. You guys all know our first names, and we're all, so feel free to email us directly, as well as leave comments.

    November 29, 2009

  • I was one of the original Wordies but I haven't been active on the site in close to two years. (teardrop) So I'm sure there's a buttload of community that's been built and a gajillion cool things I've missed during my absence.

    When I got the email announcing the site had been Wordnikized, I took the opportunity to jump back into things and see what's changed. And much to my cryonic surprise, it doesn't seem like much has at all. Which may be a downer if you're super-progressive about internet roadmaps but I thought it was just swell to find things in a similar state to when I had left. There are some new faces but a lot of familiar ones also. There are some icky bugs but there were plenty of bugs back on YOW too (if those were fixed after I vanished, I never knew). WeirdNet and Vexamples are practically interchangeable. Plus, now we have PRONUNCIATIONS, which I think are freaking cool.

    Not to mention, John has multiplied himself into no fewer than 5 busy bees—in an office, no less—and knowing that the resources behind this thing have quintupled feels downright liberating. I'm stoked.

    Suck it, whiners. (I mean that as a brother among cherished brethren, with all due respect to my fellow Wordnikkers.) My experience may be… incomplete… but this is still one of the best corporate takeovers I've been part of and I have only optimism for the future of this crazy lexicommentary web site thing. Why so serious? Drive around the potholes and try to enjoy yourselves! Cheers!

    November 29, 2009

  • It seems that folks have been pretty encyclopaedic, especially bilby, about what feelings are and aren't, so I don't have a whole lot to add. Reiterating that I have faith in y'all that you're going to work things out. I know it. You've all made awesome things before and you're going to make something awesome again. We just need time for it.

    I think, though, that one of the things I liked best about Wordie (or I suppose I should call it YOW) was how practically everything came from the users: the etymologies and examples and often the definitions, as well as the fun conversations and the organisation of everything into lists. What I'm afraid of is that that's going to attenuate on Wordnik, now that we have things pulled from other sources so much more powerfully. I love the Examples -- I've found several awesome books from there already -- and the definitions are so much nicer, if with a little less character, than WeirdNet -- but I don't want to come to see everything that the computers have come up with. I want to see a word and see everything the community's come up with. If I just wanted a pre-written definition or an etymology, I'd go to Merriam-Webster Online.

    Basically: user content more to the front! I know a lot of old Wordies in their hearts want the comment page to be the default page again, and I know that's not our goal, but I'm sure with all the bright minds about we'll wake up to some ingenious solution someday. Anyway, I've said enough.

    November 29, 2009

  • Well, gee, guys, I'm sorry to hear you're feeling down about Wordnik. Personally, I'm feeling great about it, despite the rough transition. I think we're in a great situation here, for two reasons:

    1. As John said, even though Wordnik has an overarching goal, the culture and spirit of it are up to us. In fact, pretty much everything about it is up to us.

    2. The Wordnik team have proven that they're willing to work their tails off to accommodate our requests. If there's something you don't like about Wordnik, all you have to do is mention it and it gets changed.

    I agree with P_ that patience is the way to go (patience and constructive feedback, that is). In the meantime, I think I'll go joyriding with uselessness as he swerves around those potholes... it looks like fun!

    November 29, 2009

  • Oooh, I just realized that I used synesis in that last comment. Synesis makes me happy. :-)

    November 29, 2009

  • Being the person who started this conversation (the fattoria issue), and being john's first comment basically a response to mine (although he never mentions my name), I think I should write something and at least share my point of view.

    I never said that Wordnik is worse than Wordie. It's just different. It doesn't matter how much energy I put in it - and I think everyone can see I put a lot -, the conversations are not of the same kind. The spirit has changed. The time it takes to get to a conversation is different. Pronunciations are fun - a cool feature. But I have always thought that they did not belong to Wordie. That's why I always tried to convince everyone to join Forvo. After all, if we can upload pronunciations, why not videos? Why not photos? My Wordie PRO! list made fun of all those websites that need to add features to attract people, as opposed to Wordie, where you had the most fun with nothing else than the digital equivalent of white paper and a pencil. And a lot of friends.

    I don't know what my point is. Just thought it was necessary to express my opinion.

    November 30, 2009

  • Well, it's always fun to be poked by uselessness (oddly enough, I mean that without even a hint of sarcasm), and it's a joy to see a_z once again! So I'll admit to have been a little grumpy yesterday (is there a day on the calendar that is more ennui-provoking than the Saturday after Thanksgiving? - I think not, for those of us not fortunate enough to be surrounded by relatives and in-laws to bicker with).

    I fully agree that patience is the correct response to the various technical glitches, and not to acknowledge the fantastic responsiveness of the whole Wordnik team would be graceless indeed.

    While a part of me finds the romanticism behind adopting a BHAG inspiring (though the acronym itself reeks regrettably of the worst kind of corpspeak, but since I worship the ground that Erin treads, I will happily let that pass), the pragmatic side of me feels impelled to point out that, in the real world, there is a lot to be said for clearly articulated, concrete, measurable goals as well.

    But the discussion is an encouraging one, and goes a long way to alleviating my concerns about any possible attenuation of the unique spirit that keeps me interested and participating. And I certainly wish the entire Wordnik team a better outcome than the Beckett-like fate of responding to an ever-more querulous user base as they become submerged to chest (neck?) level in the detritus of stale half-gnawed pizza crusts and fast-food takeout containers.

    November 30, 2009

  • I think really, in the end, Wordnik will be what the Wordies (and wordniks) make it. All technical glitches can be resolved eventually, but the spirit depends entirely on the people. If the spirit relied on some website, then it wasn't true spirit and I'm sure that isn't the way it was.

    What's really troubling me is the disappearing Wordies.

    November 30, 2009

  • Erin said: "We do have a BHAG, which is (as John pointed out below) to be the most information about the most words for the benefit of the most people, ever. We're not nearly there yet ... but that's the goal."

    I'm sorry, but this bothered me the instant I read it, and continues to do so. It's about as reassuring (and as informative) as if you'd written: "What we're ultimately striving for is world peace. We're not there yet.... but that's the goal". Actually, "world peace" would be even more concrete than what you wrote, because at least one could judge objectively to what extent the goal had (not) been achieved. Maybe "world happiness" would be a closer analogy.

    Given the fuzzy nature of the destination, the question is - what may we expect along the way? Who sets the priorities, and according to what criteria? What is the guiding philosophy regarding site content? It strikes me that a similar question must hold regarding the resolution of technological issues, but I am sufficiently ignorant about the choice of platforms and tools available to be unable to articulate it usefully.

    I am sorry if this is construed in any way as whining - that is emphatically not my motivation. Nor do I wish to pick to pieces something Erin may have written on the spur of the moment. I do, however, feel that these are important questions, the answers to which still remain frustratingly unclear to me at this point.

    I have an analogy in mind which may strike some as outrageously arrogant, but I will throw it out there to stimulate discussion, nonetheless. It is this: for the site to "succeed", there is perhaps an implicit expectation of the users, namely that they invest a certain amount of intellectual energy in contributing to the overall spirit of the place. Thus, there is an underlying appeal, akin to that of asking for intellectual venture capital. But, in the real world, if it were an actual capital investment that were being solicited, I suspect very few people would commit without being given a more concrete description of the site's overall goal, the steps that are to be taken to achieve that goal, and some measurable yardsticks of progress along the way.

    I know; I've obviously spent way too much time working in corporate America. But I've also seen way too many worthy projects flounder, despite the best of intentions, for want of concrete, measurable, clearly articulated intermediate and long-term objectives. Sometimes they foundered in the murky waters of competing technologies, sometimes due to the lack of a clear beacon to guide the overall direction. I would be sad if Wordnik were to succumb to either fate.

    December 1, 2009

  • I thought Wordnik, Inc. was part of corporate America.

    December 1, 2009