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I'm kind of disappointed to see everyone so cynical lately.
June 13, 2006 9:20 PM   Subscribe

Mmmm. A one-link post to a mediocre commercial.

I dont think there is anything worth discussing about this commercial. [more inside]
posted by mathowie to MetaFilter-Related at 9:20 PM (235 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

Except its delicious Columbian blend, of course.
posted by icosahedral at 9:22 PM on June 13, 2006


What the hell? This is a fucking brilliant freaky little commercial and downright daring for a corporate client. It's twisted, edgy, and amusing.

Is MetaFilter now one big hipster pissing contest where we race to see how can be the most jaded and cynical about everything? Lately it seems I can't read a single post without 2-3 people saying it sucks and should be gone (and that's not even taking flags into consideration). It's like we've veered into self-parody at this point if a quirky commercial brings out nothing but "it stinks!"

So yeah, I know this is out of the norm for me to bitch about my own partial creation, but I'm kind of disappointed to see everyone so cynical lately. That silly video is what I built the site to showcase but every single thing on the web seems to get a shoulder shrug around here, no matter if it's good or not.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:23 PM on June 13, 2006 [7 favorites]


*grins*
posted by icosahedral at 9:23 PM on June 13, 2006


What I mean to say is there are good things on the web and there are bad things linked here. In many cases, bad things are worthy of scorn. My argument is we're throwing the baby out with the bathwater by scorning everything, including the 2 or 3 really compelling things that come up each day.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:26 PM on June 13, 2006


Just start banning people, sir.
posted by smackfu at 9:32 PM on June 13, 2006


Did this really deserve its own Meta post?
posted by gsteff at 9:33 PM on June 13, 2006


Is MetaFilter now one big hipster pissing contest where we race to see how can be the most jaded and cynical about everything?

Well, if you have to ask...





yes.
posted by MrZero at 9:36 PM on June 13, 2006


Did this really deserve its own Meta post?

I didn't want to shit in the thread by yelling at all the naysayers. I love about 2 or 3 posts per day here, and lately even the gems are filled with tons of comments saying how everything is shit and stupid and why is the poster wasting their time, etc.

I used to think I was the most cynical person I knew, but lately I feel like a giant happy faced optimist compared to the comments I read here.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:37 PM on June 13, 2006


^ kidding

I actually do think that most of the Youtube videos are crap, and while there are exceptions like this, overall, the site would be better off without them entirely. That's not an option, however, so I skip them. This situation kinda reminds me of the "Newsfilter!" posses that ran around way back when; eventually that brand of cynicism faded (though didn't dissapear), and likely this will too.
posted by gsteff at 9:38 PM on June 13, 2006


Flag it and move on.
posted by brownpau at 9:39 PM on June 13, 2006 [4 favorites]


Is this the end of metafilter?
posted by interrobang at 9:40 PM on June 13, 2006


BROWNPAU FOR THE WIN!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:43 PM on June 13, 2006


What I mean to say is there are good things on the web and there are bad things linked here. In many cases, bad things are worthy of scorn.

If there are bad things linked here, worthy of scorn, then surely they are also worthy of deletion. I suggest that if you wish to see the site head another direction, you'd best take the helm.

F'rinstance, it's been a hella long time since the IP conflict ruled out front pages. I'd be equally happy to see the same happen with youtube links.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:44 PM on June 13, 2006


Metafilter: one big hipster pissing contest where oh fuck it.
posted by nanojath at 9:44 PM on June 13, 2006


Sorry, that post sucked. And the commercial sucked. And since you're the guy in charge it's not going anywhere. Why are you bitching about it? Unless you're trying to show you're above the hipster pissing match.
posted by puke & cry at 9:47 PM on June 13, 2006


I don't think it's necessarily just youtube. It just seems like people can get inflexible about a lot of things. Like all youtube posts must suck and all links that are in any way remotely connected to a company making money must suck and all news stories are newsfilter and should be deleted. Even the good ones.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:48 PM on June 13, 2006


Me, I thought it was a pretty good commercial, in a "WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW" kind of way.
posted by brownpau at 9:48 PM on June 13, 2006


lately even the gems are filled with tons of comments saying how everything is shit and stupid

Well, you're uniquely situated to change that. This thread is an okay start, but given the small number of users who read MeTa, is probably a bit of an empty gesture. Maybe put a sticky note up somewhere it can have a wider effect?
posted by mediareport at 9:49 PM on June 13, 2006


Why are you bitching about it? Unless you're trying to show you're above the hipster pissing match.

No, I'm saying is it just me, or does every thread feature someone saying it sucks because it seems like it. I'm not saying I want to impose any rules or change the structure here or code something. I'm just asking everyone if they've noticed it too.

And the "ban all youtube links" speaks to what I'm saying is the problem -- not all video links suck. Any blanket rule kills the good with the bad. Remember how this site has no rules just guidelines?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:51 PM on June 13, 2006


28% of all the comments here are from some guy called mathowie. Quit pissing in the god damn thread. . . even if you are right.

Of course, I'm just here for the pissing.
posted by absalom at 9:53 PM on June 13, 2006


You know, Matt, back in the day people actually respected your MeTa posts (since they are such a rarity). Already this thread is full of zingers. I think, maybe inadvertently, people have shown you that 1) Yes, this place is full of jackoffs that only care to inflate their own egos through one-liners and 2) Even your opinion isn't enough for people to take their contributions here more seriously (or more whacky, depending on when they've had their last cup of "happy morning").
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:53 PM on June 13, 2006


Can't say I spotted the gem in that commercial.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:53 PM on June 13, 2006


puke & cry writes "Sorry, that post sucked. And the commercial sucked."

According to the GOD-THAT-IS-YOU and all the other naysayers in the thread. It was interesting, and interesting to me. If it is not interesting to you, get off you broken down hobby horses and realize that just because you may not like it, there is a goddamned community of users here that might.

NOTE TO NAYSAYERS: THE SITE DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND YOU! OTHERS ARE ENTITLED TO THEIR OPINION AND ARE ALLOWED TO POST AND/OR COMMENT IN THREADS THAT ARE OF INTEREST TO THEM*.

* If you do not like the substance of a post simply based on supposed personal opinion of what is good or bad, SHUT THE FUCK UP.
posted by purephase at 9:54 PM on June 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I should elaborate to say that I think the days of people shaming each other into behaving more appropriately are long gone. People are more interested in creating controversy (or watching it) rather than trying to solve it.

I seriously think that you should consider closing sign-ups for that reason. I know it's your paycheck and all, so my opinion here is useless, but I do think that banning people and ensuring the inability to rejoin later makes for a great incentive to post responsibly.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:59 PM on June 13, 2006


If you want these people to know you mean business, you should consider cutting off your hand.
posted by trondant at 10:03 PM on June 13, 2006


Half the time I feel stupid for liking a post because of all the snarky-ass comments that go with it. It's like criticism for criticism's sake, and it's highly depressing. The other half of the time I feel as though I genuinely have something to contribute, but I'm already discouraged by what I can only imagine would be the responses to my posts. So I just relegate them to my own sad little site that no one reads, where I can continue enjoying them in peace.
posted by Lillitatiana at 10:09 PM on June 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


Having said that, that commercial wasn't that great. ;)
posted by Lillitatiana at 10:10 PM on June 13, 2006


NOTE TO NAYSAYERS: THE SITE DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND YOU! OTHERS ARE ENTITLED TO THEIR OPINION AND ARE ALLOWED TO POST AND/OR COMMENT IN THREADS THAT ARE OF INTEREST TO THEM*.

You do realize that I could say the same to you, right? You have your opinion and I have mine. You can comment in threads and so can I. So yeah, the site does not revolve around you.
posted by puke & cry at 10:13 PM on June 13, 2006


God forbid anyone express cynacism -- being from a media inundated public. [via some website]

Really -- what is this about? All videos aren't under attack here. It's obvious that there's a certain sensitivity here when it feels like we're been marketed to. (Hence -- the Pepsi Blue meme.)

Youtube has simply made video media move prevelent. Metafilter by its very nature will reflect that. And since metafilter has good days and bad days -- some days you'll find things that move you and are memorable. (ex. the link above from 2003.) Some days, things just won't strike you. I'm not sure why you think things are broken, simply because you disagree with a few opinions in various threads.
posted by icosahedral at 10:13 PM on June 13, 2006


For the record, my "naysayers can choke on a bucketful of cocks" comment in the thread in question came before I saw this post. And now, having read Matt's version of the same statement, I believe mine to be more succint & to the point.
posted by jonson at 10:15 PM on June 13, 2006


People are more interested in creating controversy (or watching it) rather than trying to solve it.

It pays in American politics. See: the last 12 years.

Good one, gsteff.
posted by intermod at 10:17 PM on June 13, 2006


Is MetaFilter now one big hipster pissing contest where we race to see how can be the most jaded and cynical about everything?

This attitude, to me, is really tired. This dismissal is dished out so often about everything and it's just useless. Do you honestly think people complain about FPPs because they think it makes them hip? That comment is as valid and insulting as when people say, "You just don't like it because it's popular"--which gets said often about people who don't like mainstream music/movies/whatever. It does the discussion no good.

They don't agree with you so you question whether they're sincere or not--actually, you don't question, you out and out declare that they're not.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I've crapped in threads in the past to state that I think an FPP is ridiculous and without merit--I do not think it about the thread you're referring to in this MeTa post--("recently" did it in the one where that guy announced how great the new album was by such and such and the one about American Idol). I didn't do it because I'm too hip for American Idol or underground bands. I did it because taking it to the grey is useless, flagging it is useless, and letting it pass (scroll past) is also useless. People have been scrolling past the shit (GYOB posts, unimportant newsfilter, whatever), and what's been the result? More of the same posts because people seem to think that because they're still there and no one's complained, that that's what the purpose of the blue is.

Yeah, it absolutely sucks to crap in threads (especially on the blue). Really, it does. But your logic of deleting the underground band thread (it ain't what metafilter's for) and leaving the AI post (it's culturally relevant) are at cross purposes to one another. Do you honestly not see why we're getting more shit posts about things like reality television, bad youtube/googvid posts, etc? Do you honestly not see why more and more people are crapping in those threads?

I'm not being facetious. I'm sincerely baffled that you're surprised by people complaining. It seems to me to be a logical progression of the slapshod job of moderating that you're doing. (And I say this as someone who a year ago defended your moderating!)

I don't think that there's an easy solution that'll satisfy everyone--not even one that will satisfy a good number of folks--we're too far down the slippery slope now. However, I think some consistency on what the blue pages on MeFi are for would be a good start. It used to be clear or at least possible to discuss in a logical fashion. It ain't anymore.
posted by dobbs at 10:20 PM on June 13, 2006


I think that if that link was so incredibly great, there'd be more unanimity about it. Some thought it was awesome. Others thought it was a television ad.

What happens if Matt flames out?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:20 PM on June 13, 2006


I know for a fact that a number of people are afraid to post what may be really informative, compelling, or fun links because they bother to read the comments (and sadly, take the jerkwater comments to heart). It's hurting MetaFilter for the sake of two dozen or so wannabe quonsars who don't even get who quonsar is or half of what he posts.

"Hey, did you see the way I totally lacked anything erudite or insightful to add to that thread?" Yeah, we all saw.

There seem to be 10 or 20 users who constantly refresh the page and have to be first to comment on everything. It's not so bad, unless it's negativity. For some of our more reticent posters, it's like having your sand castle filled in. If it's not constructive criticism, if it's aimed at the poster not the link (which is subjective, and hard to separate for some), if it's mean-spirited, if it's meant to make the poster look cool (to the 10-20 other refresh-jackholes and no one else); it's a derail, it's destructive, and it doesn't belong here. I'm not asking for the comments to be censored. I'm asking for the commenters to be censured. By us, the readers who don't think to speak up for the OP or the link. Sadly, though, we're usually the kind who check the page twice daily and by the time we get there, it's already a pile-on/two-minute-hate/circlejerk.
posted by Eideteker at 10:20 PM on June 13, 2006


I'm not sure why you think things are broken, simply because you disagree with a few opinions in various threads.

I love the psyops thing too. It's sitting on my xbox and I show it to anyone that's never seen it before.

I'm not saying things are broken and I'm not saying it because I like something two people don't -- it's just a symptom of a larger issue I keep see coming up, that people seem to bend over backwards to crap on things, even the good stuff. It's tiresome is all.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:21 PM on June 13, 2006


"I used to think I was the most cynical person I knew,"

Wow Matt, that statement blows me out off the water. Honestly. I would rate you as one of the most credulous and ingenuous persons I have encountered on the internets. And that is meant as praise.
posted by arse_hat at 10:24 PM on June 13, 2006


I don't know about you all, but I'm through being cool.
posted by Eideteker at 10:25 PM on June 13, 2006


I'll be damned if this here isn't the best $20 bucks I ever spent via PayPal.


...but on a more serious note, thanks for the defense - and the defense of others - and your site, but it's pretty much cool.

Almost everything I've ever posted I've expected at least someone to bitch about it. (Whether or not that's indicative of the problem you're outlining I'll leave to you and others to decide - and I mostly agree) But I also only post stuff that I know at least a few people will get a kick out of.

Besides, I didn't say "grow a hide" so many moons ago 'cause I was just paying lip service. It cracks me up how much energy some people will devote to criticizing something - or even critiquing and deconstructing it - myself included.

As for the content in question, fuck yeah it's skeezy, smarmy marketing. Most of us here are adult enough to not be influenced by it and to be able to just look at the funky shit a little more objectively. God knows I'm not running out and buying a can of fucking Folgers just 'cause of that shit. I'd rather punch myself in the junk repeatedly and drink bat guano, besides.

If I had the tools and host provider I'd totally rerip the video and just edit out the Folgers references and tagline at the end, 'cause it'd still be just as fucking freaky.

And Matt, by all means do feel free to lead and influence the site to your whims. I think most of us trust you. There's a reason why it's so successful and should remain so.

Anyways.

I don't know. I don't have any answers. I do know I remain unperturbed and (sadly) unfluffed.

Speaking of which, where's my goddamn hookers and blow? You're late with this month's shipment.
posted by loquacious at 10:34 PM on June 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


What my friend loquacious means to say is "all naysayers can choke on a bucketful of cocks!!!"
posted by jonson at 10:37 PM on June 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


Wow dobbs. You're still pissed about a single American Idol post from a month ago?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:39 PM on June 13, 2006


i thought that commercial was so annoying and irritating that it deserved to be brought to our attention ... especially as i would never see it otherwise

i'm sure we've all noticed the increasing fractiousness of our society due to certain political controveries we all know of ... my theory is that attitude's slowly creeping into other areas of public life ... america as one big boiling pot that's had the lid on too long and too tight to do anything but froth over ... and metafilter is a reflection of that ... and seeing as people can't do anything about the things that are really frustrating them ... the government, the state of the world, their jobs, the idiots around them, the sheer unreality of modern life ... they take out their frustrations on the little things that they might change ... such as allegedly lousy posts on metafilter or other posters ... just like rats start freaking out on each other when their cages get too crowded

it's going to get worse until it gets better ... and whatever is done on metafilter isn't going to solve the real problem, just a small symptom
posted by pyramid termite at 10:50 PM on June 13, 2006


honestly, I think it's simply because the site has a much larger number of contributors than it used to. If you put however many people actively contribute to the blue in a room and showed them something, making it clear that there was no impetus or expectation that anyone remark on it, you'd get a couple people going "meh. what a waste of time." statistically, it's a little more than likely.

what actually bothers me is that people find this to be some terrible sin. I like to consider mefi to be like a bar. (as in, a bar where you go to get drinks.) Not everyone in the bar is going to be your best friend, and some people in the bar are going to be annoying and/or obnoxious. But to believe that every action that happens within earshot of you in that bar must meet a certain level of your acceptable behavior is insane.

So is the problem that you're being too thin skinned? No. The problem is that you're seeing each of these comments as though they were directed at you or at a company of people of which you are a part. REALLY, it's just that someone else in the bar is having a conversation (possibly just with themselves) that you don't really have to be a part of.

Metafilter, as I understand it, has always been about the idea of just grabbing what the internet has to offer and filtering it through the seive of what individual uses want to bring up. Just as the internet is full of people who comment about what they don't like, so is metafilter full of people who comment about what's been brought to them that they don't like. They're not inflicting themselves on a topic, or a person (most of the time. hopefully the exceptions to this get deleted/banned, right?) but they're expressing themselves as the forum has given them license to do. If you're in a bar, and some dude puts "Cat Scratch Fever," on the jukebox, it's not that big a deal if someone else in the bar goes "I fucking hate this song," and that's CAT SCRATCH FEVER, GODDAMMIT. The person who put the song on, or likes that it was put on, is free to get super pissed off about the comment, but really it's just that they're getting way too worked up about nothing. People emote. It's what they do.

Of course, I've always been a proponent of honestly expressing what you think about a thread, because if something truly sucks, and one person is free to say so, then so are a thousand people. And when a thousand people think something sucks, we can delete it. When we have some kind of taboo for the sake of everyone's comfort level on what kind of criticism is or isn't allowed, then we really just get a lot of crap left on the blue, flags or no flags.

now, i'm not saying you're advocating for eliminating the "meh" comments, or whatever. But I think maybe we all need to learn that not every comment needs to be read as if it's intended for everyone else to enjoy. Haters, and I've been one of them when I hate a post, (damn you, global fussball OK.) need to enjoy hating something with other haters, sometimes. Let them.
posted by shmegegge at 10:56 PM on June 13, 2006


oh and now that I've seen the commercial, wtf? daring? it's kinda funky I guess, but that doesn't even rate in my top 100 freakiest most daring commercials.

shall I post a link to the "come fly me" airline commercial which the ad writer flatly admits was intended to make men want to fuck their stewardesses and therefore fly their airline? that was daring, and it's old enough that it doesn't even remotely resemble commercial endorsement on the front page.

but again, that's just my opinion. we have those, you see.
posted by shmegegge at 11:08 PM on June 13, 2006


What I've noticed is that the results of a thread completely depend on whether the little bitches show up in the first three comments. That's really the only factor.

What I expect is that people put a little effort into their hating, at least. If you really have to piss on something, show a little style, the rest of us wind up reading it.
posted by furiousthought at 11:08 PM on June 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm not pissed about the AI thread and don't think that I ever was--at least that's not the word I'd use.

Matt, you started the thread with a blanket dismissal or suggestion that complaints from people were simply attempts to one-up one another or state their hipness. As someone who has complained (in the blue), I took exception to that and explained why I'd done it and I gave examples.

My complaints stem from my disappointed and confusion about the state of the blue, not a desire to appear hip. Simple as that.
posted by dobbs at 11:10 PM on June 13, 2006


I don't know how you solve this. Dipsomaniac was the first person to post, and poisoned the well. But it's not like that poster is one of those wonderful few who have a history of shitting up threads. Just a random person in a bad mood.
posted by smackfu at 11:13 PM on June 13, 2006


What I've noticed is that the results of a thread completely depend on whether the little bitches show up in the first three comments.

This rings very true - you can predict whether it's going to be a 200 comment shitstorm by the initial reaction a thread gets. It seems to be coupled with some desire to post first, particularly post first negatively (often without actually having spent the time to digest the relevant links). I don't know how you solve it either, though.
posted by greycap at 11:14 PM on June 13, 2006


furiousthought and greycap make a very good point, which I think ties back to my own point. (cause I'm self-centered like that.)

it reminds me of slashdot, where the first thousand or so comments to a post are normally uninformed nonsense, and then someone says the sensible thing miles down the thread. this is what happens when you have a large readership I think. the difference in slashdot is that their threads are... threaded is the term I think? that sounds wrong, but you know what I mean. when responses to a comment indent from the parent comment. so people are much more able to ignore the crap they don't care about, and the thread digressions get their own little ghetto.

but we've never had, and don't want (I think) that kind of threading. so I don't know what the solution is.
posted by shmegegge at 11:19 PM on June 13, 2006


mathowie: yes. It's why I haven't read the blue much in ages, and stick primarily to AskMe because I enjoy contributing to it.

Honestly, though, the only way it's going to change is if you do something. You run/own the site. You and jessamyn need to start deleting comments from threads that are just "this post sucks", emailing the user saying "flag it instead, or in situations like XYZ, post to MeTa about it", and keep a count so that if you email the same user 3 times, they're banned or at least suspended.

That, or you need to put a "thumbs up" / "thumbs down" voting system in like the one on the forums of slickdeals.net or something.

This site pays you good money from the ads, so I suppose you don't want to alienate any of your userbase... but if you care about the quality of it, you're going to have to take control.

(side note to constant brownnosers: Look, I like what mathowie has done with this site, but if I read another comment about how he's some kind of pauper who's donating plasma to keep the freaking site up and we should all give him more money, I'll flip out like a ninja)
posted by twiggy at 11:37 PM on June 13, 2006


Is there any other purpose to a ninja but to flip out and kill people?

No.
posted by loquacious at 11:43 PM on June 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

loquacious: God knows I'm not running out and buying a can of fucking Folgers just 'cause of that shit. I'd rather punch myself in the junk repeatedly and drink bat guano, besides.
That's all good and well, but since you saw this video -- how much time had you spent considering Folders Coffee? Did you watch the video more than once while crafting (or after posting) the front page post? Doesn't matter if you're going to buy it or not -- you've just spent more than three minutes considering that corporate message. You then went on to share that with thousands of people -- who will then go on to consider this message. Point, game, match. The system works.

Even if you *were* to edit out the company that was putting this out there -- people would be impelled to seek out who created it since it's so intriguing and unique. It would essentially be the same endgame.

I'm not trying to be willfully combatative -- I just find it disingenuous that you acknowledge that it's smarmy marketing in one sentence, and that you try to downplay it's intended impact in another.
posted by icosahedral at 11:43 PM on June 13, 2006


WHAT. THE. FUCK. MATT???

Number 1 is flaming the community??? THE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US!

/begs someone to hold him.
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:49 PM on June 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


icosahedral, I like films I see online that are different than anything I've seen before. I've seen a lot and few things are unique at this point. Maybe those few unique ones are s arty or funny or just plain weird. Sometimes those films are made by art students, other times a big commercial hollywood studio pays someone to make it. Rarely, the film is an advertisement. That doesn't take anything away from the impact of the film.

To be so anti-marketing that any advertisement no matter how good or how interesting or how funny is instantly suspect is missing the point entirely.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:59 PM on June 13, 2006


icosahedral: Oh, for fuck's sake.

*stabs truckload of baby nun kittens to death with a Bic(TM) brand ball point pen*

There. Look what you made me go do. Are you happy now?

Damnit, grow a hide and develop some personal responsibility for your own thoughts. People choose to be sheep. If they didn't, this kind of marketing would be worthless.
posted by loquacious at 12:06 AM on June 14, 2006


It took me awhile to figure out AI means American Idol on MetaFilter now, not artificial intelligence. Which basically sums up what's wrong with MetaFilter; too many wannabe Simons running around, not enough intelligence (artificial or otherwise). I don't need 100% genius comments from everyone, all the time. I'd settle for just dropping the fashionable pretense.
posted by Eideteker at 12:09 AM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Pony request: ban a randomly selected hater each week. It'll be awesome! Anyone who criticizes this feature would of course be added to the hater list.
posted by mullingitover at 12:23 AM on June 14, 2006


These things come and go, in waves. Silly Metatalk threads with nothing but noise and recycled image macros take over for a few days, then subside. Hipper-than-thou snark waxes and wanes.

It sucks, but I don't think it's much of a sea change.

If you think it's getting out of hand, start deleting comments of that kind; users so smacked-down will get the picture. If they don't, probate the fuckers.

And I say that while hating comment deletion.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:41 AM on June 14, 2006


It's not about personal responsibility though. If it were, then 50s-era advertsing would still be effective ("Buy this!" "Okay!"). It's not about the artistic merits of these ads -- because the folks who create these things are clearly talented. It's about the sheer *ubiquity* of marketing teams trying to influence you with their brands and products. It's about people who have spent years trying to find ways to engineer sematic links to their advantage.

These type of ads are not necessarily about *buying* their product. It's about defining and communicating what they want this brand to mean to the public. How you feel, who uses it, and so forth. It about hearing a friend say "Man, I felt like shit this morning", and then having an involuntary cognative spasm that says "Well - you didn't have a few hundred golden people following you around, now did you? (where did I see that again?)". It's mental noise, and everyone will react to it in a different way -- seeing as we all have individual sematics maps of the world around us. I just take umbrage with the fact that there are teams working constantly to try fight for mindshare, succeeding in taking over our public spaces, constantly barraging us with this static -- it's frustrating.

So - even though an ad might be amazing, the only reason it exists is to enrich that company's shareholders. No social commentary. No real intrinsic value to the person who's viewing it. It's hard not to regard advertisements as attacks -- especially when it's constantly occuring in American society.

Heading to bed. Fun / Interesting talk.
posted by icosahedral at 12:54 AM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


icosahedral: I agree with everything you've said.

But realize you're talking to someone that has never owned a TV. Actually, strike that, I do own a TV. It's a little early 90s cheap ass radio shack pocket LCD TV with all the resolution of an original Gameboy. I occasionally use it for art experiments, and it otherwise resides in my big bag of emergency preparedness goodies.

I generally don't watch the crap. I have no idea what the plotline to Lost is, American Idol makes me want to puke, and I very occasionally sit around watching South Park or PBS or something with friends.

I even once did an "art" experiment where I tried to go an entire week without consuming any form of advertising. It was maddening. Radio advertisements blaring from shitty car stereos, billboards the size of God's own asshole everywhere, junk mail, everything. All that nigh-unescapable mental assault. I had to forgo the internet, magazines, newspapers, everything.

But it was life with blinders on, and so much inescapable noise, and so much insane OCD behavior it just about did my head in trying to accomplish my goals.

What I learned during the experience and experiment was that it was much more valuable and important to be able to be of your own thoughts and not so easily swayed or perturbed by the relentless onslaught of advertising noise. Because then, and only then, would I be invulnerable to advertising and unswayed by it's adept psychological manipulations.

Because advertising is neither new nor is it going away any time soon. If it's not billboards, it'll be barkers. If it's not junkmail, it'll be handbills. If it's not TV ads, it'd be trucks roaming the streets equipped with loudspeakers.

To use a favorite metaphor: If you're hiking through some beautiful, pristine forest and you spy a patch of brilliant and gorgeous wildflowers ahead of you on the path, but arrive there to only find a discarded candy wrapper - does that make the original, in-the-moment aesthetic appreciation any less enjoyable?

Yes? No? Why?

I'm telling you from long experience and way too much thought devoted to the subject, the umbrage is all in your own mind. There's little you can personally do to reduce the amount and pervasity of the advertising you experience - but you can do everything and anything you want about how you react to it.

So. By all means, fight the good fight. Lobby for restrictions on advertising, signage, billboards, commercials, and anything else you can think of to actually attempt to change things.

But also realize that you yourself allow it effect you. And that the "entertainment" you may or may not choose exposes you to these things. And you - yourself - have all the power in the world to deny them your mindshare. Don't worry about everyone else - you cannot control, change, manipulate them or make them "see the light". Just worry about you.

And sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a patch of gorgeous wildflowers is just a candy wrapper.

And sometimes you can find art, beauty, or be provoked to deeper thought by discarded trash - or even a smarmy commercial.
posted by loquacious at 1:18 AM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


icosahedral writes "It's not about" etc. etc.

Welcome to the future. Pull up a chair, make yourself comfortable. It's going to be around for a while. Alternatively, you could buy a small shack in Lincoln, Montana and start working on the great american manifesto.

Seriously though, you're right and at the same time it's all what you make of it. The stuff is easy enough to avoid. Read books, play outdoors, cancel your cable.
posted by mullingitover at 1:23 AM on June 14, 2006


*High fives loquacious*
I've never seen a second of Lost/American Idol/etc. Not having a TV is awesome.
posted by mullingitover at 1:26 AM on June 14, 2006


Mathowie doth protest too much.
posted by bardic at 1:29 AM on June 14, 2006


I think we should ban mathowie for flame baiting.

I do of course, kid. Really.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:31 AM on June 14, 2006


I don't think the posting of single-link videos is an either/or proposition. Rather, people should be encouraged (at gunpoint, so to speak) to write up a broader post of which that single link is the centerpiece - in this case: link a few other 'daring' commercials for people to compare and contrast.

It reduces that horrible single-link feeling that MeFi is turning into digg/boingboing. Memepool is rife with examples on how to construct such a post.
posted by Ryvar at 3:49 AM on June 14, 2006


I agree heartily with Ryvar. I don't mind youtube posts, but if that's the meat of the post... they're probably better being held off on, until there's more content, or a more significant raison d'etre. Even memepool usually manages to kludge a bunch of weird links into each post.
posted by duende at 3:56 AM on June 14, 2006


Yes, Matt, I've noticed it, too. And it's why I stick to AskMe these days.

I don't know any way around it given the current setup, though. I will say this: as someone who absolutely abhors moderation, I have always agreed with your temporary bans (and, for the most part, your comment culling). If people are being asses, ban them from posting for a couple of days like you used to.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:11 AM on June 14, 2006


Simple. Just set up a script to automatically delete the first 3 or 4 posts to every thread. Then people settle down.

Seriously, it may be time for another quality post contest. That really improved things for a while last time.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:29 AM on June 14, 2006


Actually, I just had an idea. A strike system.

A user gets 3 (or 5, or whatever) strikes. You and Jess make the call, obviously (fear of mob rule, and all that). When a user gets their limit, they can't post for a week. Auto banning, basically.

The twist is that, like points on a license, a strike is removed for every month a user goes without getting a new strike, until they're back to zero. You can opt to include the strikes on their profile, if you believe in power of public shaming (as I do).

The reason I think this is a good idea is that it usually takes something hellaciously eggregious to warrant an outright ban. So many users get by being sub-eggregious dicks without any fear of admonishment or punishment. This way it's easier for you: if someone's being a dick, they get a strike. No big deal. Doesn't affect their ability to post or anything. But if it happens enough times... the temporary banhammer smiteth.

If I were designing it, I'd have each strike record the ID of the comment in question. Then a user later complaining (via email) that they've been banned get a nice list of 3 (or 5, or whatever) comments to back you up.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:43 AM on June 14, 2006


Rather, people should be encouraged (at gunpoint, so to speak) to write up a broader post of which that single link is the centerpiece - in this case: link a few other 'daring' commercials for people to compare and contrast

1200 words minimum?
posted by cillit bang at 4:46 AM on June 14, 2006


Is MetaFilter now one big hipster pissing contest ...

It's been that way for a while, really -- at least part of it, anyway. As a matter of cosmic history, it has always been easier to destroy than to create.
posted by mcwetboy at 5:15 AM on June 14, 2006



posted by peacay at 5:20 AM on June 14, 2006


This problem is like letters pages in newspapers. If you print anything you get, the quality descends really quickly and you end up with "Bush is a p0tty head! lolz". If you only print the best, the standard is raised.

I think if you went on an offensive and just deleted every single "this post is crap" comment (except Dios's, obviously), they'd stop really quickly. Add a "complaining about the post" flag and we'll all help.

FWIW, I agree. There *are* more posts like that, and there *is* a really snarky new voice (compared to the pretty snarky old one)
posted by bonaldi at 5:24 AM on June 14, 2006


Metafilter: one big hipster pissing contest where we race to see how can be the most jaded and cynical about everything

Two mathowie taglines in mere minutes. There must be something in the water
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:26 AM on June 14, 2006


/pre-emptively agrees with bugbread
posted by Kwantsar at 5:29 AM on June 14, 2006


Matt, have you considered that all MetaFilter users suck? If that's the case the best solution is to read the links you find interesting, then treat the comments differently and read the comments you find interesting.

Otherwise you just get baseless opinions and people arguing in a way that would get them shanked in person; shanked about the @ symbol and shanked about the conventions of making a post, probably even shanked about enjoying the morning.
posted by Captaintripps at 5:30 AM on June 14, 2006


I'd just like to second two things: the bucket of cocks and closing signups, unpopular a notion though it is.
I used to read the blue religiously but I trailed off after the big influx, when it seemed the tenor of conversation plummeted and the dull snark (speaking as a snark lover who comes here to savor the clever) exploded. These days, it seems my favorite posts are often the ones that end up with less than 20 comments.

And every now and then I've found myself commenting in threads I wouldn't normally have much to say in, just to thank the poster for something I liked that was getting shat upon.

(And I'm terribly amused that I also took AI to mean robots instead of TV contests, given that I am one of the least geeky people here. Or thought I was. I may have to reconsider.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:36 AM on June 14, 2006


I like the idea of a "complaining about the post" flag.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:40 AM on June 14, 2006


If you think it's getting out of hand, start deleting comments of that kind; users so smacked-down will get the picture.[...]
And I say that while hating comment deletion.


I agree with the wonderchicken. Both sentences.

/pre-emptively agrees with bugbread

/post-emptively agrees with Kwantsar
posted by languagehat at 5:44 AM on June 14, 2006


The only way to stop people from gratuitously crapping on posts is to implement a moderation system.
posted by empath at 5:48 AM on June 14, 2006


Maybe an addition to the bottom of the post.

*think this post sucks? Good for you -- flag it, and let other people try to enjoy it* along with a -- 'complaint about fpp' flag for posts.
posted by empath at 5:50 AM on June 14, 2006


Apropos of this subject. I just posted something to the front page for the first time in eight months, and the very first comment I get is some fucktard calling SalesFilter on me. Not sure why I bothered.
posted by mcwetboy at 5:51 AM on June 14, 2006


icosahedral: So - even though an ad might be amazing, the only reason it exists is to enrich that company's shareholders.

... and in that aim, it will surely fail.

You seem to have been influenced by the current obsession with "brand marketing." You see the ad as having the aim of promoting "consideration of the brand." I'll quibble a bit with your terms (loquacious never even for a single moment considered Folgers, though he certainly regarded it), but you seem to feel that thinking about the product is an end in itself.

The end is not getting people to think about it; the end is getting people to try it.

Or, at least, to associate it. As several people pointed out in the initial thread, they'd forgotten who sold the coffee by the time they came to discuss the commercial. So it failed at association. (And I'd argue that its creators knew it would, or should have known. But that's another discussion for another time.)

Think about the "conversion" process -- that path you follow from being in the market for some coffee to being a Folgers Brand Member. Step one is to get them to consider the product. Step two is to get them to try it, and use it. Step three is to get them to make ti their first choice. Step four is to get them to make it their only choice. (As the brand-marketers like to say, make it so that when they are considering a purchase of coffee, they have a "consideration set" of one, where the one is Folgers.)

This commercial is really only effective at step 3 and 4, if even there, because it associates the brand so poorly with itself. It's bad marketing. I happen to think it's scab-pressingly creepy-funny, and I'll definitely be showing it around. None of the people I show it to will buy folgers; most of them will forget that's who the commercial was for.

And loquacious, re. your comment somewhere that you'd like to edit out the Folgers part: I think without this being an actual commercial with an actual product, it's not nearly so creepy. It's the contextualization as a sales-pitch (at least, to me) that makes this so bizarre.
posted by lodurr at 6:10 AM on June 14, 2006


... oh, and: The single best thing about this thread is that Matt is strongly expressing his views. That's a good thing, whether we like them or not.
posted by lodurr at 6:11 AM on June 14, 2006


I think some of this just has to do with more users, as has been said. This raises both the number of FPPs and the number of comments, leading to more cynical snarking.

I'm also a big believer that it's acceptable to criticize posts, though, in the thread. It's one of the ways that we help to shape the Blue. I know that I leave many many more simple positive comments than I do negative ones for exactly the same reason. Maybe there should be a system whereby people who post FPPs must include an email to which the flags on a given post are sent. That would allow flags to be used to give such feedback.
posted by OmieWise at 6:13 AM on June 14, 2006


Yeah, I've noticed the "everything sucks" attitude too. Everyone has their own opinion of how the site is supposed to be, and nothing -- not the guy who started it, not a majority, not the established history of what is acceptable -- is going to change their minds.

If people would just shut up about it when they don't care about a thread, or something's "not doing it for them," we'd be fine. But they won't. I don't really know of any solution beside more heavy-handed moderating.
posted by danb at 6:16 AM on June 14, 2006


Just start banning people, sir.

Please. You can fix this Matt, no one else can.
posted by LarryC at 6:23 AM on June 14, 2006


Well, I'm fairly new and don';t post much, but my take on this is if anyone has the Dunkin' Donuts "Karateeee!" commercial link, please post it.

For the children.
posted by genefinder at 6:23 AM on June 14, 2006


...and while you are at it, ban all political posts, because that is where a lot of the bad behavior begins.
posted by LarryC at 6:24 AM on June 14, 2006


It's like we've veered into self-parody at this point if a quirky commercial brings out nothing but "it stinks!"

But it did suck. It sucked in an intriguing way worthy of an FPP and discussion.

I believe what getting to you is that there's too much grudgeful nonsense going on between people just waiting to question the worthiness of each others FPP. Shooting FPP's out of the water has become a bit of a sport. And while it might raise the quality, it sure makes for a prohibitive and pissy environment. Without getting into specifics there's some bad blood around here. I think the people constantly calling for a MeTa callout should get as much scrutiny as the people posting "bad" FPP's. And suspensions be handed out appropriately.
posted by Skygazer at 6:25 AM on June 14, 2006


Having been raised in a rural environment and not having the dubious pleasure of American TV; I know that AI is
Artificial Insemination. As to the Folgers commercial who gives a fuck? I just object to this rubbish being called coffee. The rest was some sickly, sweet annoyingly cloying rubbish. But thats just my opinion as a European who is not in awe to the TV gods. I had nothing noteworthy to say in the blue and little enough here. I like this idea. Scroll on.
posted by adamvasco at 6:34 AM on June 14, 2006


Banning people for "bad taste" (who's taste?) -- and let's be clear, that's absolutely what the bann-ists are advocating -- is a mind bogglingly stupid idea. And they should know it.

On the other hand, random week-long bannings -- for no reason other than membership -- would probably be a good thing. Akin to randomly locking citizens up in jail for a week.

Ban-Ban Matthew's Banning Hammer... nobody knows who, or when.
posted by lodurr at 6:39 AM on June 14, 2006


I really don't see what closing sign ups will accomplish.
In this case, a completely valid FPP was posted by a 17k member and shat on by a 10k - a 10k member, who has posted 6FPPs, 4 of which were single link NewsFilter.
Fuck you, Dipsomaniac, and fuck off.
Go try and suck the fun out of somewhere else, killjoy.

And P&C: Are you okay? Everything's cool at home? I ask only because it seems like it's all cry and no puke these days, and it makes me sad and worried about you.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:43 AM on June 14, 2006


Maybe if people could tag their comments with one of a few set tags (like the post/hate the post/comment on topic/replying to other comment) readers could then filter comments and easily skip over non-topical replies. Obviously this would need to be fleshed out more (no more than 5 comments tags tops) and some method of enforcement would need to follow it up.

That way people who want to kvetch about a post without explanation ("this sux!" "PepsiBlue!" etc) could do so with a 'hate the post' tag and others could easily skip over them. Those that want to comment their disproval on the topic ("This sucks - there's no way Magic Johnson should come out of retirement to play on the Globetrotters!") can do so via a 'comment on topic' comment. But if someone tries to say nothing more than "this sucks!" and places it under 'comment on topic' that is clear grounds for comment deletion.

So you can still say anything you want, but you have to do so in the correct way to make it last.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:46 AM on June 14, 2006


This is why some other community sites have rating systems and comment thresholds. No need to monitor every thread for pissy comments, let those who read and/or comment take care of that. The crap eventually disappears from view. It's not perfect, but the current flavor of self-policing just isnt' cutting it.
posted by tommasz at 6:50 AM on June 14, 2006


robocop may be on to something. Why not make a "don't like the post" flag? That, combined with a more strict enforcement of "flag it and move on," would clean up the comments considerably. After all, no one else benefits from user x telling us he didn't like the post.
posted by danb at 6:57 AM on June 14, 2006


"it's just a symptom of a larger issue I keep see coming up, that people seem to bend over backwards to crap on things, even the good stuff."

Good stuff? You know, that's not an objective measure.

Look, I liked the ad, I thought it was interesting. I think part of being media aware and culturally literate is being able to discuss advertising intelligently (just like pornography). The post was a little thin, but no big deal.

And some people OMG hatered it. But you know what? I'm not so big a pussy that having other people not like things that I do like, even when they express themselves dismissively, causes any great consternation.
As to the charge that this derails the conversation— it doesn't have to, and that thread came out pretty fine (even with the off-topic discussion on lsd vs. shrooms). As to the charge that this cuts down on good links from good people— are we hurting for front page posts? I don't have time to read them all, and would submit that anyone who does probably both spends too much time online and has a mind so broad that things fall out.

So... What's the beef? It seems more like this is on you, Matt, than on the people who posted dismissals. If you think they're just too cool for school, which dobbs rightly criticized, ignore 'em. Or feel free to post a comment that disagrees with 'em and says why you disagree. That's what us commoners have to do.
posted by klangklangston at 7:00 AM on June 14, 2006


Matt:

Why not just write a script that adds 'In my own dumbass opinion' in front of every comment?

Voila!
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:03 AM on June 14, 2006


danb writes "After all, no one else benefits from user x telling us he didn't like the post."

That's not true. Negative commenting is a valuable feedback mechanism, just as positive commenting is. If you want to ban all comments that are shorter and less incisive than a two paragraph dissertation (with hyperlinks to the original article), then that's fine, but this attitude that negative comments are simply bad is just incorrect.

I'm glad mathowie made this post as with it he's able to highlight the things that he likes (and those he dislikes) about MeFi, but the fact is we cannot have a MeTa thread for every FPP, and in lieu of that, negative feedback in the thread is just that, feedback.
posted by OmieWise at 7:07 AM on June 14, 2006


Why not make a "don't like the post" flag?

That could work too. However the 'flag it and move on' could be enforced mechanically by disallowing people who hate the post from commenting further on the post.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:20 AM on June 14, 2006


Let's face it, the thumbs-up or thumbs-down system at Digg is what you're looking for.
posted by Joeforking at 7:23 AM on June 14, 2006


Seems to me that some of you guys need a tall steaming cup of Folgers.
posted by graventy at 7:25 AM on June 14, 2006


What Omiewise said.

What languagehat said (except for the part about agreeing with Kwantsar).

But definitely what dobbs said.
posted by dios at 7:26 AM on June 14, 2006


The MetaFilter community is big enough that it's reasonable to expect that every post is going to have its ardent fans and scornful detractors. I'll always defend the right one has to critique a post, but the problem here isn't that people are complaining, it's the tenor of the complaints, which is often purposefully insulting.

What grates on me is the anonymous coward syndrome so prevalent on the internet, and that this site suffers from it just as much as anywhere. People post things they wouldn't say to another person's face and feel free to be unpleasant. I'd have to agree that most people do it in an attempt to win cool points, or because they're just in love with the sound of their own voices.

I think it's definitely worse than it used to be, and despite all the complaining that's happening, I believe that the quality of the links remains about the same as when I started reading MetaFilter about four years ago. I don't know what that means exactly, except that maybe the community's grown so much that it's hard to get noticed in this swarm of thousands, and people will go to greater extremes to get their username recognised, to become MeFi 'personalities' (barf).
posted by picea at 7:42 AM on June 14, 2006


There have been a lot of really, really bad posts the last few months. YouTube accounts for a fair proportion. There is nothing wrong per se with posting YouTube, but it just seems like people are posting any old crap. Boing Boing is really kicking our asses these days, but even BB is filled with heaping piles of garbage. Perhaps we really have reached the end of the internet. Despite the crap, I agree that pretty much every day brings several real gems. The Folgers commercial doesn't strike me as a gem, but I still liked it. It didn't suck.

This position that people should "never" criticize a post in the blue is as silly as never posting YouTube, never posting news etc. Never say never. More judicious and sparing criticism might be better, but the really bad posts should get negative feedback to deter future bad posts. Just save the negativity for the ones that truly suck.

Once a year everybody should look through anastiav's posts just to remind themselves how a real artist practices her craft here on MeFi.
posted by caddis at 7:49 AM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


this attitude that negative comments are simply bad is just incorrect.

Says you.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 7:52 AM on June 14, 2006


loquacious: Most of us here are adult enough to not be influenced by it and to be able to just look at the funky shit a little more objectively.

Exxxxxactly. It's worth snarking about an ad if the ad is somehow sneaky. But we're grown-ups, we're tech-savvy, we can make up our own damn minds. Also, when I drink Folger's, it makes me shit green watery poops, so it doesn't really matter whether the ad makes me laugh, I'm not buying it.

icosahedral: Doesn't matter if you're going to buy it or not -- you've just spent more than three minutes considering that corporate message.

I'd rather spend those three minutes considering (and either accepting or rejecting) Folger's message than considering most freely given political opinions, FWIW.
posted by ibmcginty at 7:55 AM on June 14, 2006


Just need a counterpart to "5 users marked this as a favorite". "5 users marked this post as the suck".
posted by smackfu at 7:58 AM on June 14, 2006


I was going to FPP Slo Mo, the Rappin Retard, but I knew that people would complain about it. The response is so predictable that I am thinking I won't FPP it.
posted by dios at 8:01 AM on June 14, 2006


Too many people have Snark Penis.

If you don't have anything constructive to say, don't say it at all.

And yes, there are lots of hipsters pissing on everything, because that's what they do. Fortunately there are fewer here than most other places. That's why I joined.

Hopefully one day optimism and earnestness will come back into fashion. Until then, cynicism and apathy are where it's at.
posted by meringue at 8:01 AM on June 14, 2006


But you know what? I'm not so big a pussy that having other people not like things that I do like, even when they express themselves dismissively, causes any great consternation.

That's not Matt's complaint. It's that there's a continual drive, in the majority of threads, for complaints about the post itself to come to the fore, instead of discussions of its subject matter. There are plenty of ways to "not like" the advert and to discuss that, rather than whining about it being posted in the first place.
posted by bonaldi at 8:01 AM on June 14, 2006


"Snark Penis" - hilarious.

I barely ever visit the blue anymore...maybe twice a month, and only if I'm really bored. It kind of sucks. And the advent of the "one link posts really suck" attitude bought my not so illustrious posting career on MetaFilter to a close.

AskMe is where I spend my MF tokens these days.
posted by iconomy at 8:04 AM on June 14, 2006


That's not true. Negative commenting is a valuable feedback mechanism, just as positive commenting is. If you want to ban all comments that are shorter and less incisive than a two paragraph dissertation (with hyperlinks to the original article), then that's fine, but this attitude that negative comments are simply bad is just incorrect.

I'm not sure why you thought I was arguing for longer or more incisive comments.

Why is the type of comment we're talking about valuable? "I didn't like it." "Me either." "Well, I liked it." "No, it sucked." "It was great." "Meh." All I get out of that sort of discussion is: some people liked the post, some people didn't. Is that really important? Can't you say that about every post?

If there's an overwhelming majority that dislikes the post, fine -- axe it. That's a useful feedback mechanism. But it's pretty irritating and useless to just see a handful of "I don't like it" comments on every single post. That's why I recommended a flag for that sort of thing, so it doesn't clutter up the comments. There are going to be a handful of people that dislike every post. And who cares?
posted by danb at 8:10 AM on June 14, 2006


I watched the ad twice, and from a UK perspective I didn't think it was all that funny or edgy. In fact, the thread was more interesting and informative (Folgers? wha?).

But yeah - peeps should just leave threads alone if they think they suck hard, and let them die a quick death. Stop trying to jump in with the fast-snark.
posted by Blip at 8:16 AM on June 14, 2006


The main reason I don't hang or post here anymore is because I think the majority won't appreciate it. I think you're right about the cynicism level, Matt. It isn't just you.
posted by sciurus at 8:17 AM on June 14, 2006


one big hipster pissing contest

I probably wouldn't have crapped in the thread, but I really don't need MeFi to bring me Saatchi & Saatchi's latest, either. Maybe people are cynical, but I don't think a desire to avoid big corporate commercials is a primary symptom of cynicism.

I've spent time at these big ad agencies and they depress the hell out of me. As brilliant as some of the commericals are, they're all the more depressing because all that raw talent and creativity was harnessed to do... what? shill some of the most crap coffee in the world.

Obviously you thought it was funny, Matt, and reacted to someone crapping in the thread. But don't blow up a healthy distaste for advertisements into some kind of social malaise.
posted by scarabic at 8:34 AM on June 14, 2006


Re: Criticism of FPP material-

Productive:
yeah, the advertisement part of it was lame. but i think we are mature enough to watch a really funny commercial and still be able to resist running out to buy foldgers.

Unproductive:
Wow, thanks loquacious; It's so hard to find commercials to watch these days. Here i was wasting time that i could spend being marketed to.

Best of the web, indeed.


Any questions?
posted by rollbiz at 8:40 AM on June 14, 2006


What icosahedral said here.

To be so anti-marketing that any advertisement no matter how good or how interesting or how funny is instantly suspect is missing the point entirely.

Suspect? It definitely is instantly suspect. Instantly bad, inappropriate...? Maybe not. But suspect? Absolutely. You'd better approach all advertising with critical thought or you'll find yourself packaged up and sent off to a consumption camp.
posted by scarabic at 8:40 AM on June 14, 2006


Double

Metafilter: Just a random person in a bad mood.
posted by Otis at 8:57 AM on June 14, 2006


This one time, at consumption camp, I hide some folgers in my fat rolls.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 8:59 AM on June 14, 2006


What icosahedral said can be said of almost any aspect of American society -- especially politics. All the information we get on a daily basis from national, and probably many local, sources is designed "to define and communicate what they want this brand to mean to the public." The conversation about all big national topics -- terror, Iraq, gay rights, abortion, the economy -- is a conversation about spin.

Which doesn't mean that's a good thing, and which doesn't mean that's not dangerous, but it also means that the "I'm too cool to watch TV ads" thing is weird. We endlessly debate political speeches and stances, which are just ads for a certain "lifestyle" in the end; we're constantly talking about what amount to advertisements. You can't "not be marketed to" if you want to participate in Western society (and possibly Eastern society; I don't know).
posted by occhiblu at 9:00 AM on June 14, 2006


"but the fact is we cannot have a MeTa thread for every FPP"

Matt, whatever happened to the "discussion tab" idea you mentioned a while back? Where you were going to put a sort of "MeTa" for the FPP attached to every post so that people could talk about the subject matter in the FPP and about the FPP itself in the discussion?

Just need a counterpart to "5 users marked this as a favorite". "5 users marked this post as the suck".

I also wanted to move to that +/- | thumbsup/thumbsdown voting system we talked about. I think that a +/- system, coupled with the discussion tabs, could bring the level of discourse AND the quality of FPPs way up, as the feedback would be clearer and more coherent. Flagging is a terrible system for one reason: Feedback. It's like those buttons you push to cross the street. You don't know if you pushed it hard enough, so you push it again and again, but really, there's no way to know if it's even connected or if it's just a placebo. If you make the system more transparent, I feel a majority of the users won't have to piss all over to make sure they're heard. A few still will, of course.

WHAT.
DO.
YOU THINK.
MATT?
posted by Eideteker at 9:14 AM on June 14, 2006


Negative criticism can still be intelligent and useful. (Some) people were pointing out why they thought it sucked, and this was useful, and it engendered conversation, and this is what we do here.

One-link movie posts are pretty much always going to get dozens and dozens of single-line comments, whether the movie in question is amazingly good or amazingly bad. You get out what you put in.
posted by blacklite at 9:15 AM on June 14, 2006


I probably should have used the blink tag to make sure he saw that comment. <=/
posted by Eideteker at 9:17 AM on June 14, 2006


we're constantly talking about what amount to advertisements

Be prepared for more -- Product Placement Deals Make Leap From Film to Books.
posted by ericb at 9:19 AM on June 14, 2006


I also wanted to move to that +/- | thumbsup/thumbsdown voting system we talked about. I think that a +/- system, coupled with the discussion tabs, could bring the level of discourse AND the quality of FPPs way up, as the feedback would be clearer and more coherent.

I disagree. Voting turns into a popularity contest. If dios made the best post MetaFilter had ever seen do you think it would get an overall positive rating? I doubt it. He's made too many enemies. People already stop posting because they are afraid of criticism. You can imagine how much fear of negative votes would drive people away. Only the very worst posts should get criticism. For all the stuff in the middle whether it is a good or bad post is often just a matter of personal taste.
posted by caddis at 9:31 AM on June 14, 2006


Kwantsar : "/pre-emptively agrees with bugbread"

You know, there's nothing quite as yummy as a spoonful of human feces.
posted by Bugbread at 9:32 AM on June 14, 2006


Metafilter has made my computer into a living, breathing, thinking, feeling person, and this thread is kind of giving me the creeps-- maybe a little like waking up and finding your kid with a rash and a fever after that vaccination yesterday.

I've recently been made aware just how much work the site is getting to be for the moderators. I interpret matthowie's remarks here as one expression of the weariness almost any of us would be likely to feel, I imagine, if we were responsible for reading every single contribution and making sure it wasn't actively harmful to the site or any of its members, not to mention libelous, or even criminal.

Could you do it? I could not. Can the site do without it? Clearly not. If members cannot prevent metafilter from burning out mathowie and Jessamyn, the site will effectively have committed suicide.
posted by jamjam at 9:44 AM on June 14, 2006


Voting turns into a popularity contest.

worse, it encourages cliques and the suppression of minority interests ... the end result will be a lot of arguing and mediocrity
posted by pyramid termite at 9:55 AM on June 14, 2006


Only the very worst posts should get criticism.

I agree but that's obviously not happening. So you can either delete the criticism, which would piss people off and be a lot of work, or you can provide an alternate outlet like a thumbs down.
posted by smackfu at 9:55 AM on June 14, 2006


Well, if it makes you feel better I noticed the exact same thing in that thread. Personally I think trashing the comments is not out of the question, I don't care if an anonymous internet user states that the link in question sucks. It's not like there is any substance beyond a joke in those comments anyway.
posted by geoff. at 9:57 AM on June 14, 2006


" Where you were going to put a sort of 'MeTa' for the FPP attached to every post so that people could talk about the subject matter in the FPP and about the FPP itself in the discussion?"

Yeah, I think it's time for you to do this, Matt. It'll solve several different problems at once.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:05 AM on June 14, 2006


No, it won't. Because the people who complain about the posts aren't going to care about the "MeTa" page. Why? Because there nobody will see their precious snark, and without their audience they are nothing.

It's the same as asking them to take it to email.
posted by bonaldi at 10:25 AM on June 14, 2006


bonaldi, I would actively move discussions over to the talk pages, and provide an option for anyone to post to that page. I think after a rocky few days it would even out and hopefully move most editorial to another page people don't have to see unless they want to.

I've been delaying it because it'll be a lot of work watching threads for a few days and reminding people to keep editorial off the main comments and moving those that don't get it. I'll eventually get to it when I time to concentrate on it. I suspect by the end of the summer it'll definitely be in place.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:53 AM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


That would be awesome, mathowie.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 11:01 AM on June 14, 2006


"No, it won't. Because the people who complain about the posts aren't going to care about the "MeTa" page. Why? Because there nobody will see their precious snark, and without their audience they are nothing.

It's the same as asking them to take it to email."

Counterpoint, most people just won't read it, thus rendering the positive functions of negative feedback moot.

Hey Matt, if that's gonna take a lot more time and effort, moderation wise, why don't you just skip that step and spend more time and effort moderating now? You know, deleting comments, bad FPPs, etc.?
posted by klangklangston at 11:15 AM on June 14, 2006


Matt, you are like a liberal parent who creates elaborate and unworkable behavioral modification systems when anyone can see that what the little rascals need is good whuppin'. A good whuppin' I tell ya!
posted by LarryC at 11:18 AM on June 14, 2006


let's pass out smile stars and hope buttons and stop bitching so much.

i like Civil_Disobedient's strikes idea! it would quantify the "whiiine whiiiine this person here is aaaaalways stepping on my tooooes" and give a much fairer way of dealing with repeat offenders. maybe keep track of how often our posts are flagged negatively (noise, whatever) and actually deleted. if we reach a certain threshold in a 30 day period, timeout!
posted by soma lkzx at 11:29 AM on June 14, 2006


why don't you just skip that step and spend more time and effort moderating now? You know, deleting comments, bad FPPs, etc.?

Yeah, deletions work so well after all. Never hear a peep about them. Not. A. One.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:33 AM on June 14, 2006


It's funny; last week I was dealing with the fallout from a couple of volunteer groups' meetings. Essentially, one or two people were being difficult in each case, and the groups' response was, in each case, to propose resolutions to reorganize how the groups conducted their business, without necessarily naming names or pointing fingers. My response, in both cases, was to say that it was a mistake to propose a systemic solution to an essentially personal problem. One group was literally turning its meetings upside down, making their agendas six times as complicated and causing no end of grief for the secretary taking minutes, in order to deal with a difficult person without dealing with her as a difficult person.

In other words, if people are being assholes (thanks for pissing all over my thread today, BTW), deal with their assholery directly, rather than treat their obnoxious behaviour as proof that the system needs reorganizing. The system is fine so long as people behave themselves. That people aren't is their fault, not the system's.
posted by mcwetboy at 11:34 AM on June 14, 2006


"Yeah, deletions work so well after all. Never hear a peep about them. Not. A. One."

Yeah, and? I'm sorry to hear that you're a delicate desert bloom, Matt, but if we've already stipulated that a vocal minority is going to disagree no matter what you do, that's not really a reason not to moderate. I realize that a large part of this is that you want to come up with a systematic way of addressing the problem so that you don't have to, but I don't think that would be nearly as effective as learning to ignore some complaints.
But then again, I didn't see the need for a whole MeTa whine for the bit of disruption that's been going on, so maybe you're just more sensitive than I am.
posted by klangklangston at 11:58 AM on June 14, 2006


(thanks for pissing all over my thread today, BTW)

Matt has been tidying up in 52,296.
posted by caddis at 12:01 PM on June 14, 2006


We endlessly debate political speeches and stances

I don't think you can equate posts about politics with posts of advertisements, simply because both politicians and advertisers have messages to send. Interesting point, but your treatment is a little facile.

First, politics affects the laws that govern us directly. It's much more vital and necessary to debate politics than to view product placements.

Secondly, whatever you think about the Media, at least politicians' messages are mediated. Reporters report on what Bush does and says. Analysts and opinion writers comment on what Bush does and says. Political posts tend to begin with one of those two sources of mediation.

The next time someone links directly to a transcript of the state of the union speech, or some video of a campaign ad, then you'll have your political analogue of linking to a product advertisement. I doubt anyone here thinks Bush's speech transcripts would make a good post.
posted by scarabic at 12:13 PM on June 14, 2006


I guess my comment was also negative. Mine was the second comment, but I hadn't seen the first. I found the commercial irritating, like the Spree, and said so. I had looked over the website that the commercial linked to and found it more interesting that the commercial. And said so.

I wasn't in a bad mood. (Not that early, ever.) I didn't feel I was "shitting in a thread." (I do that in the restroom.) Or being cynical. (I'm not.) Or hip. (I'm not.) I simply didn't like the commercial.

Why did I comment at all? Because if you make a single link post -- without any real explanation -- aren't you effectively saying "Look at this cool thing!"? And when I go to look at that "cool thing" I will tell you what I thought. It's our contract.

If you want to make enough effort to explain the link I will decide if your FPP is something I want to see. If it isn't I'll simply not go and you won't get my "meh" comment.

Based on that thin FPP and the resulting comments it can be easily argued that some expected something to do with LSD. That's where the acid comment thread arose. The comments are more interesting than the commercial.

FPPs are not a precious resource. With the great number of members we can easily have more than any one person could read. Each and every member is going to dislike a percentage of FPPs. That number is going to grow as the population diversifies. If you really don't want to see the "meh" comments then quit trying to be hip, cool, or obtuse and explain your post. It wouldn't have been difficult:

A commercial I think is creative and funny. (Quicktime video)
posted by ?! at 12:18 PM on June 14, 2006


A commercial I think is creative and funny. (Quicktime video)

Oh, yeah, that'll work good. I can hear the cries of GYOBFW now. It wouldn't reduce the snark quotient.

I'll stick to my snarky ironically hip pop-culture-aware descriptions, thanks.

As I mentioned before this isn't my callout thread and I could give a fuck what the meh-heads have to say. It's their own breath and energy they're wasting, not mine.

For more serious stuff, sure, I usually get more descriptive. But this one demanded lampooning.
posted by loquacious at 12:30 PM on June 14, 2006


And if all of MeFi was as droll, tired, and plain as "A commercial I think is creative and funny. (Quicktime video)" I'd probably run away, screaming. Jesus, how boring.
posted by loquacious at 12:31 PM on June 14, 2006


My point was more that we can't avoid marketing at all. We all think we're pretty savvy when we deconstruct political spin, so it's odd when people get up in arms about marketing or ads. Just do the same thing, you know?

It's not like we have some pristine spin-free world into which marketing intrudes; we're constantly dealing with it, and analyzing it, and sometimes blindly accepting it. Heaping all this scorn on marketers, as if they're evil awful manipulative creatures who are completely unlike the rest of society, seems silly.
posted by occhiblu at 12:31 PM on June 14, 2006


"I disagree. Voting turns into a popularity contest."

This wouldn't affect the 98% of users who don't really follow the drama and infighting on the site. I think the site as a whole would be better without these "factions" and team-ups. The idea is not to get the highest rating (in fact, a 'score' would be inadvisable) but to determine if there was a broad community acceptance for the post. You can do this as an overall tu/td rating system. If you see a post has a general thumbs down (after a threshhold of votes... 25? 50?), you're more likely to avoid it. If you really want, you can give it a percentage (but no absolute rating), as in feedback for this post is 13% postive. Feedback for this post is 89% positive. Feedback on this one? Negative 63%. Controversial posts will usually hover around 0, but that will reflect better than posts that are just plain bad. But no no no to "75 thumbs up, four thumbs down." That's a bad implementation. This way, there is no total vote tally.
posted by Eideteker at 12:32 PM on June 14, 2006


Is MetaFilter now one big hipster pissing contest. . .?

As one who has recently been pissed on for an FPP, I' must say that many of the negative comments that my post received were constructive and instructive and were appreciated. It was those comments which tried to pack as much scorn and derision as the words could carry which had the unpleasant smell of urine about them.
posted by Neiltupper at 12:38 PM on June 14, 2006


You can do this as an overall tu/td rating system

I must say I'm quite attracted to this system in the abstract. But I wonder whether it wouldn't do more to encourage the factions and the general sense of soap opera. Even if scores weren't explicitly associated with your user page or something, you would still get attempts to gather super high/low scores, and in-fighting about who got the lowest score this month. What might would work best in theory is a big virtual post-it note before you make a comment saying "you sure you want to comment? have you actually read the post and all its links, all the way through? and if you have, make it constructive. If you think it's crap, say so constructively." But post-it notes never worked in my shared university kitchen - "don't eat my food"... yeah right - and I doubt they'll work amongst 30,000+ users. Still, nice utopian ideal to daydream about.
posted by greycap at 1:06 PM on June 14, 2006


I took one shot at posting in the blue, and I doubt I will ever do it again. If I ever find anything cool to post again, I am keeping it to my damn self. I hate the thread-pissers.
posted by msali at 1:15 PM on June 14, 2006


Personally, I think a lot more people would read MeFi "talk" threads associated with posts than currently read MeTa. And part of why people want to criticize in threads is because it's impractical and unacceptable to post a new MeTa thread for every complaint, and also because complaints closer to the source are more effective in establishing and illuminating community thinking on these sorts of things. But a talk page would, I strongly believe, serve those functions. Leaving the regular threads much improved.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:18 PM on June 14, 2006


So Matt and Jessamyn would have to babysit four different sites, effectively, rather than three?

Horrible idea. Rather, goodish idea, but impossible to implement practically. Certain mefites crave, crave, crave attention, be it positive or negative, and like to drop their turds in as many places as possible. As others have stated, the solution is for Numbers One and Two to delete more, time-out more, and perma-ban more.

And I fancy myself an anti-authoritarian IRL. Go figure.
posted by bardic at 1:23 PM on June 14, 2006


"I took one shot at posting in the blue, and I doubt I will ever do it again. If I ever find anything cool to post again, I am keeping it to my damn self. I hate the thread-pissers."

Your post was OK, and you got one or two folks complaining about how new it was. For that you'll never post again in the Blue? Welcome to the internet, n00b: Sometimes people make fun of you. Fucking unclench.
posted by klangklangston at 1:24 PM on June 14, 2006


as if they're evil awful manipulative creatures who are completely unlike the rest of society, seems silly

But they are!! ;)

I think I get your point, that you can't just pull a gate across the entryway to any single camp in the media forest, you have to take them all in, process them, etc.

I would tend to agree with that. You can complain about ads or not on MeFi depending on how you look at it. One of my main angles is that I've already got billboards, TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, the placard on the shopping cart, the space on top of the gas pump, the area underneath my bottle cap, banners dragged behind planes, and countless other media for advertisements. I look to MeFi for something different. If I ever got interesting debate on commercial advertisement here, as we do for politics, I would complain less about "here's an ad," posts.

Anyway, this thread isn't about whether or not to ever link to ads on MeFi. It's about whether it's okay to bitch a little, whether rolling our eyes and going "oh jeez, thanks for the shill" can be part of what you describe as dealing with it, and analyzing it.

I think dismissal is definitely one appropriate response to such content, and doesn't make you a cyncial, too cool for school, hipster.
posted by scarabic at 1:25 PM on June 14, 2006


Amen, I just read through that thread msali and it was about as good as it gets. And what's more, as good as it should get. It wasn't the perfect post and some people let you know that, but people still took the opportunity to comment on the substance and have a conversation. If the rules are that we have to think everything is perfect before we comment, well, then, those are shitty rules.
posted by OmieWise at 1:27 PM on June 14, 2006


If I ever got interesting debate on commercial advertisement here, as we do for politics, I would complain less about "here's an ad," posts.

What would constitute "interesting debate"?

The main barrier to "interesting debate" on marketing and advertising is simplistic snark posts. The next barrier -- not much less substantial -- is the knee-jerk Hicksian reflex ("marketers should do us all a favor and kill themselves").

I, for one, am quite happy to have a serious discussion about advertising, or marketing, however you want to slice it. I have occasionally seen such discussions here. But adoption of a standard Hicksian attitude pretty much excludes one from participating in it. After all, if you think the practitioners are evil (";)" duely noted), you're hardly going to be interested in hearing anything that sounds like a defense of their activities.

It seems quite clear to me that many people feel about advertising the way many rationalist atheists feel about religion: It's evil, it will lead to the end of civilization, end of discussion. As with religion, that's not a useful position if what you want is to actually increase your understanding of anything.
posted by lodurr at 1:40 PM on June 14, 2006


Welcome to the internet, n00b: Sometimes people make fun of you. Fucking unclench.

Thanks, Klangklangston, for proving to me what I already knew. You have only reinforced that I will try to limit my participation to askmefi. People are asses for no real good reason at all - other than it is easy to be shitty on teh internets.
And to think, I actually thought that sometimes you could be clever *sniff*
posted by msali at 1:42 PM on June 14, 2006


that's not a useful position if what you want is to actually increase your understanding of anything.

Seems you answered your own question there, lodurr.
posted by jonmc at 1:42 PM on June 14, 2006


Your post was OK, and you got one or two folks complaining about how new it was. For that you'll never post again in the Blue? Welcome to the internet, n00b: Sometimes people make fun of you. Fucking unclench.

That's hilarious! I'm not sure I could come up with a better distillation of Metafilter bitch self-parody if I tried.
posted by furiousthought at 1:43 PM on June 14, 2006


It's the internet, you don't have to be nice.
posted by smackfu at 2:03 PM on June 14, 2006


Anyway, this thread isn't about whether or not to ever link to ads on MeFi. It's about whether it's okay to bitch a little, whether rolling our eyes and going "oh jeez, thanks for the shill" can be part of what you describe as dealing with it, and analyzing it.

I agree with scarabic. I don't want to limit how people wish to interact with or describe anything.
posted by loquacious at 2:08 PM on June 14, 2006


But is Mefi just an extension of what's bad about the internet, or a community weblog?

Lots of people like to defend their behavior by reminding us that hey, it's the intarweb, grow a pair. Which is honestly how I look at this place now, having learned the hard way that to ever let your guard down here is suicide. So if this place ever winds up being no better than Fark, we've only got ourselves to blame.
posted by bardic at 2:09 PM on June 14, 2006


The talk pages on Wikipedia are quite entertaining. Maybe it's a good way to go.
posted by gsb at 2:10 PM on June 14, 2006


dude. DUDE. dude

consistency?
posted by caddis at 2:13 PM on June 14, 2006


If you want consistency, buy a robot.
posted by smackfu at 2:17 PM on June 14, 2006


icosahedral writes 'Except its delicious Columbian blend, of course.'

Dear Matt: can I please get a "It's Colombia, not Columbia, dammit!"-flag? I know it's a trivial peeve, but I've been extra good this year.
Thanks.

posted by signal at 2:17 PM on June 14, 2006


How can I help you?
posted by caddis at 2:28 PM on June 14, 2006


Which is honestly how I look at this place now, having learned the hard way that to ever let your guard down here is suicide. So if this place ever winds up being no better than Fark, we've only got ourselves to blame.

Wow, bardic is right on the money yet again...
posted by Mr. Six at 2:47 PM on June 14, 2006


There's also the other option of never putting your guard up to begin with. Not having a guard is great. It's called nonresponsiveness. Someone calls you out in MetaTalk? Just don't respond. It's easy. They get to have their echo chamber, you never have to see it.

Hell, if they do it in the thread you still don't have to respond. It doesn't cost you jack squat.

bardic: Which is honestly how I look at this place now, having learned the hard way that to ever let your guard down here is suicide.
posted by Captaintripps at 2:48 PM on June 14, 2006


There's also the other option of never putting your guard up to begin with. Not having a guard is great. It's called nonresponsiveness. Someone calls you out in MetaTalk? Just don't respond. It's easy. They get to have their echo chamber, you never have to see it.

Well said.
posted by bardic at 2:51 PM on June 14, 2006


There's also the other option of never putting your guard up to begin with. Not having a guard is great. It's called nonresponsiveness. Someone calls you out in MetaTalk? Just don't respond. It's easy. They get to have their echo chamber, you never have to see it.

Exactly my point. It bears repeating.

People often say something like "OMG posting to MeFi is so scary!" - but only if you let it be. I remember my first post, and I was a little breathless, but it wears off if you just try to not take it so seriously, so personally, or invest too much emotion and value in it. People say dumb stuff - that doesn't mean it's true.

This isn't a carte blanche to just post whatever and not actually care, but sometimes even the best posts have snarky bastards mucking up the thread.
posted by loquacious at 2:57 PM on June 14, 2006


Caddis, mathowie posted in that thread indicating that it was pretty much OK, do you know why it got deleted? Am I being dumb?
posted by teleskiving at 3:01 PM on June 14, 2006


I couldn't agree more, but some users make a habit of threadcrapping. Instead of getting a time-out, they build a constituency that cheers them on in the name of "self-policing." Drop the freakin' tempo-bannination-hammer a few times. If they don't stop, give 'em the boot.
posted by bardic at 3:01 PM on June 14, 2006


No, I'm saying is it just me, or does every thread feature someone saying it sucks because it seems like it.

It's the law of large numbers. Even if 1000 people like it, if one person thinks it sucks they'll complain about it.
posted by delmoi at 4:17 PM on June 14, 2006


i agree with everyone in this thread who says that we should eliminate negative comments on the blue. we should always say something nice at all times, and no one should ever be allowed to say that they think something sucks. after all, we all wanted to join metafilter because of how much we all love discussion meaningless persistent affirmation.
posted by shmegegge at 4:19 PM on June 14, 2006


I'm telling ya, Matt, this would really make your life easier. You wouldn't have to stress about any of the flack you might get from a bannination if someone knows it's imminent. And your threshold for strikes can be set a whole lot lower than your threshold for bans. This specifically deals with the repeat offenders, and their consistent annoying-but-not-enough-to-get-banned behavior that, when multiplied over hundreds of threads and thousands of users, brings the whole site down.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:20 PM on June 14, 2006


See, shmegegge's even shitting on this thread now. Strange since he bothered to post some long comments before. What can you do?
posted by smackfu at 4:42 PM on June 14, 2006


I shit on nothing!

seriously, though, I'm just disagreeing with the people who honestly believe that "if you don't like the post, stfu" is actually a good policy for the site.
posted by shmegegge at 4:47 PM on June 14, 2006


i agree with everyone in this thread who says that we should eliminate negative comments on the blue. we should always say something nice at all times, and no one should ever be allowed to say that they think something sucks. after all, we all wanted to join metafilter because of how much we all love discussion meaningless persistent affirmation

The problem is equating "discussion" with "shitting on a thread", which are two entirely different species of comments. Discussions carry a thread; thread-shitters derails threads. It's pretty obvious in which camp "this post sucks!!!!111!!"-style comments lie.
posted by Mr. Six at 4:52 PM on June 14, 2006


Not so much "stfu" as a normative and zen-like indifference to that which doesn't matter to you. Or shouldn't matter. You'll live longer.

In the words of Yeats, "Cast a cold eye / On life, on death. / Horseman pass by!"

Or something.
posted by bardic at 4:53 PM on June 14, 2006


hockey time!!
posted by ersatzkat at 5:02 PM on June 14, 2006


I'm amazed at how many people just post "this sucks" as their equivalent of "first post". I know that it has made me want to post less and for the most part, just skip over the first ten comments in any thread. In my last post, people were calling PepsiBlueFilter -- for a free OS !!

I would like to see culling the content-less comments down aggressively until the "first posters" get over the novelty and the real pithy conversation gets started. Assuming that sort of thing is possible, of course.
posted by milovoo at 5:04 PM on June 14, 2006


I just read "Metafilter Platinum" where the three great links a day are kept.
posted by craniac at 5:05 PM on June 14, 2006


mathowie: Is MetaFilter now one big hipster pissing contest where we race to see how can be the most jaded and cynical about everything?

loquacious: For more serious stuff, sure, I usually get more descriptive. But this one demanded lampooning.

loquacious: I'll stick to my snarky ironically hip pop-culture-aware descriptions, thanks.

So, mathowie, the answer to your question seems to be, yes, it is. And that FPP was born cynically hip.

?!: If you really don't want to see the "meh" comments then quit trying to be hip, cool, or obtuse and explain your post. It wouldn't have been difficult...

loquacious: And if all of MeFi was as droll, tired, and plain as "A commercial I think is creative and funny. (Quicktime video)" I'd probably run away, screaming. Jesus, how boring. How did "if you" become "if all?"

Anyway.

Rather than grading FPPs I'd like to see a simple score of the number of users who actually followed the links.

A problem with so many FPPs is that other snarky ironically hip pop-culture-aware posters forget that Metafilter isn't about proving how snarky ironically hip pop-culture-aware they think they are, but it is certainly all about pointing us to something interesting on the net.
posted by ?! at 5:06 PM on June 14, 2006


Huh, I thought that honda ad was three types of awsome.
posted by delmoi at 5:08 PM on June 14, 2006


It's really only the same few people who consistently do the "this post sucks" thing---give em all timeouts or something maybe? It's noise and it's not helping.
posted by amberglow at 5:08 PM on June 14, 2006


If you're talking about this post, Matt, wherein you praise a post and I hate upon it mercilessly in the very next comment, well then that's unfortunate. I assiduously reserve the right to heap scorn incalculable upon Malcolm Gladwell, anything he writes, and anyone who has ever enjoyed anything he has ever written.

If you want to read social science, then I suggest you read books by actually researchers who did actual research. You'll learn more and look like less of an idiot on the bus.

If you want to read the precious, indulgent blather of an aggrandizing diletant who could not be more proud of the fact that they just learned some neat theory from someone infinitely smarter than them trying to pass it off as their own, I suggest you become a psych 101 TA.

I'm sorry, but praising someone for being able to "explain things so that you can understand them" reflects poorly upon you, not well upon him.


Plus, there's interesting stuff to read in the New Yorker. We get it. There are moritoriums on doubles from Fark and BoingBoing and Slashdot, yet there are two, sometimes three links to the New Yorker a week and few seem to mind. The guidelines say something to the effect of "an FPP that has appeared already on another popular blog like BoingBoing is not a good post because its like most have already read it there." Yet we continue to let this constant NewYorkerFilter slide? AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO GIVES A SHIT ABOUT ANYTHING ANYMORE?!
posted by ChasFile at 5:09 PM on June 14, 2006


loquacious: And if all of MeFi was as droll, tired, and plain as "A commercial I think is creative and funny. (Quicktime video)" I'd probably run away, screaming. Jesus, how boring. How did "if you" become "if all?"

I generally try to be straightforward and specific in my links, I figure if more people know what they're going to get, less people will complain about having seen it.
posted by delmoi at 5:09 PM on June 14, 2006


>"Yeah, deletions work so well after all. Never hear a peep about them. Not. A. One."

>>Yeah, and? I'm sorry to hear that you're a delicate desert bloom, Matt, but if we've already stipulated that a vocal minority is going to disagree no matter what you do, that's not really a reason not to moderate.


This is true, if a bit snarky. You can't have it both ways, Matt, and you seem determined to do so, and to be honest, you get a bit whiny when people remind you that it doesn't work.

There is precisely one person who can decisively steer the direction that 'weblog as conversation' proceeds on this site: you. Your refusal to do so for the most part other than the occasional irruption of distaste like this thread -- and I can only guess at your motives for your reticence, but I think they are honorable and libertarian and non-paternalistic at heart -- has created this situation as much or more than anything else has.

I understand people calling for a closure of new memberships, and this is why: the 20,000 increment in the user count in recent times (even assuming that many if not most of those are not actual new users) has created a massive surge in the active userbase -- more than doubling it in real terms, I suspect. Most of those people joined for AskMe, I'm sure. But without any real idea how the place is meant to work (other than the long-overdue arrival of the FAQ, which most of them probably don't read), the presence of the kind of comments you revile, rightly, seems de rigeur.

Now, I'm not blaming the newbs, here. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the shit in question is flung by a smallish contingent of sub-20K people -- the usual suspects, and some other people who are having a bad day. But the reinforcement feedback cycle beds down the attitudes and behaviour when it's unchecked by any moderation action at all -- and here I mean visible moderation. I've argued strenously before that deletion is bad, but invisible deletion is absolutely destructive and I won't bother going over that ground again. Visible deletions will result in more bitching, you complain? Well, like klangklangston, I'm not inclined to sympathy. You seem to want to avoid confrontation, but you're swapping short term freedom from getting bitched at for long-term low-level flame-broiling, and the damage to the community.

Add all that to the idea that is prevalent on the internets that Metafilter is by nature a snarky, hipper-than-thou site, and you get Moderator Hell, Arizona -- population: you. Again, because the feedback loop remains largely interrupted, and your haphazard (or at least haphazard-seeming, which amounts in the end to the same thing) punitive moderation policies do little to moderate it.

I don't think criticism is bad -- it shows we care about quality. I don't think snark is bad, if it's done with a light touch and a bit of wit. I also don't think moderation is bad, strong-handed or otherwise, if it's done visibly and in accordance with a clearly stated moderation yardstick. I'm not looking for an essay here. Anything in excess is bad.

I understand that you feel caught between a rock and a snarky place -- undermoderate (by your lights) and chaos takes over. Overmoderate (again, by your estimation of what's right) and you get bitched at. But I can't sympathize too much, because you have allowed this situation to fester (and I don't think it's all that bad, or too much worse than it always has been) and you have been and continue to be the only one who can decisively fix it.

You've been praised in the past for your light touch, and rightly so. I don't think you have to change all that much, but I think you do need to take a stand about what you think is acceptable on your own site (in a more visible and mission-statementy way, perhaps, than just this thread), and moderate both visibly and consistently according to that stand, and make it clear that the people who bitch about it can kiss your shiny metal ass if they don't like it (but are free to discuss it to death, a discussion to which you will listen with consideration if it's civil).

Sorry for the length.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:13 PM on June 14, 2006


Caddis, mathowie posted in that thread indicating that it was pretty much OK, do you know why it got deleted? Am I being dumb?
posted by teleskiving at 6:01 PM EST on June 14 [+fave] [!]


I have no idea. I saw it over at LarryC's profile page and it just struck me as being similar to the Folgers ad. I didn't even see that Matt had commented in it and then deleted it. Weird.
posted by caddis at 5:24 PM on June 14, 2006


oh, and nice thoughts stav. I agree.
posted by caddis at 5:26 PM on June 14, 2006


Maybe people are just completely disillusioned.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:30 PM on June 14, 2006


The problem is equating "discussion" with "shitting on a thread"

no, it's not. the problem I was referring to was equating "criticising a thread," with "shitting on a thread." if a post sucks, then we are and should be free to say so.

but since apparently explaining myself twice isn't satisfactory, let me once again say that I was responding to the people who believe that "if you don't like a post, stfu" is a good guideline. if that's not what you said, then i'm not referring to you.

specifically, i'm responding to these types of comments here.

to be even more clear: there's nothing wrong with deleting or frowning on unnecessarily mean-spirited attacks on a post. but there's also nothign wrong with pointing out that a bad post sucks. stop acting like every comment has to meet your special criteria.
posted by shmegegge at 5:41 PM on June 14, 2006


oh, and I completely agree with stavros about the inconsistent moderation thing.
posted by shmegegge at 5:47 PM on June 14, 2006


if a post sucks, then we are and should be free to say so.

I agree, but the spoken and unspoken community agreement -- near as I can see it -- has always been to "say so" in Metatalk, where it is appropriate behavior, and not in the thread.

If you need to complain about a thread and the community with the desire to derail the discussion -- as some usual suspects seem they feel the need to do -- just flag it, email the admin, or take it to the grey where your complaints belong. It's not hard.
posted by Mr. Six at 5:58 PM on June 14, 2006


I read the post and looked at the video despite the flames. It was an interesting video/ad.

I have to agree that flaming an FPP is a waste. Flagging or MeTaing are available if one thinks an FPP is trash. I think flaming an FPP is a form of trolling and the guidelines say trolling is bad.

Follow the golden rule willingly and we'll all get more out of MeFi.
posted by taosbat at 6:03 PM on June 14, 2006


The flashback was blinding.

Eideteker writes "It took me awhile to figure out AI means American Idol on MetaFilter now, not artificial intelligence. Which basically sums up what's wrong with MetaFilter; too many wannabe Simons running around, not enough intelligence (artificial or otherwise)."

Your not alone, I couldn't make heads or tail of those comments until I saw your comment.
posted by Mitheral at 6:06 PM on June 14, 2006


caddis: I think the Honda ad link was deleted because of the suspicion the poster owned the linked site.
posted by ?! at 6:13 PM on June 14, 2006


Well then, in answer to my question: yes, consistency.
posted by caddis at 6:56 PM on June 14, 2006


oh, and I completely agree with stavros about the inconsistent moderation thing.

In case I wasn't totally clear (which happens a lot), a quick addendum to what I said before. I understand that it can be difficult to be consistent, and there are grey areas aplenty, and no matter which way Matt falls on a given issue, there are bound to be people who'll bitch about it.

But on issues like the one this thread is about -- pre-emptive non-substantive piddling in threads -- I do think a clearly stated moderation standard and consistent, visible enforcement of that standard will steer the good ship Metafilter slowly back on to course.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:06 PM on June 14, 2006


shmegegge: I wrote "constructive", not "nice".

"Constructive" doesn't have to mean praise, it can mean constructive criticism as well. As in, "I don't like this for xyz reasons" not "You suck you stupid jackhole get off my internet".

That's all.
posted by meringue at 7:07 PM on June 14, 2006


Of course, the problem with using deletion to deal with pre-emptive non-substantive piddling in threads (which I agree is the issue) is that effectively doing so means you have to watch the site like a f-ing hawk, since the whole issue with pre-emptive piddling is it changes the course of a thread. 30 comments down, someone posts the same three-word brush-off, they just don't get noticed.
posted by furiousthought at 7:54 PM on June 14, 2006


msali: I sincerely hope you reconsider, as I really enjoyed your FPP. In the end, the only responsibility members have when making a post is to the guidelines and the subject.
If it's good it's good, and there's nothing any twat can say to change that.
I've never seen an FPP deleted because of the Douche Bag Choir.

As a side note, I never fail to be amused yet disgusted by the 'It's the internet, n00b! If you're this sensitive and thin-skinned in the real world, you're never going to get through life!' attitude.
If the bullies and jerks were as big an assholes face to face as they are hiding behind their monitors, they wouldn't get through life either, unless you consider an unending series of beatings and asskickings life.

Who knows, maybe they are and they do.

Maybe they're typing their ignorant little snipes from hospital beds in the embrace of full body casts, pencils clenched in their wired jaws, the eraser worn to a mere meniscus of malevolently red rubber from years of hunt and peck prickishness.

People are people*. Just because you don't care if anyone respects you doesn't mean everyone else subscribes to your shitheel POV.



*Well, except for trolls and sockpuppets.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:08 PM on June 14, 2006


As usual, stavros says what many of us think, but better (and with more feathers).

mathowie, the buck stops with you - if you want things to get better, only you can make it happen. If you want things to get better, a short-term investment of time and some no-nonsense decision-making will pay off big-time in the longer term.
posted by dg at 8:16 PM on June 14, 2006


I stopped reading comments awhile ago.
posted by boost ventilator at 8:49 PM on June 14, 2006


I agree, but the spoken and unspoken community agreement -- near as I can see it -- has always been to "say so" in Metatalk, where it is appropriate behavior, and not in the thread.

this is simply and flatly untrue. There are certainly users who believe this, and if all you go on is those people who constantly whine about in thread commentary, then it's easy to see why someone might think this. But it's been said in this thread and many many other places that there cannot, nor should there be, a metatalk post every time someone thinks an fpp on the blue sucks. before flagging, the only place you could criticise a post without resorting to meta, which should only be used for severe violations, was in the thread itself. Since flags have been adopted, the common rallying cry of the special snowflake contingent has been "flag it and move on," which is another wholly unmerited claim of site policy that simply doesn't exist. Since flags have been instituted here, there has been a complete lack of both community consensus and official decree from the admins about what that means for in thread commentary. So no, no one can say that there's a strict and defined ban on in-thread criticism anywhere on this site, and I'd be interested in seeing someone link to one.

I'm honestly curious: If you really believe your statement above, why do you imagine that there have been so many MetaTalk threads that have been met with responses like "this doesn't merit a MeTa callout," and "Why are you bothering us with this bullshit?" and the like?

Further, if there shouldn't be any in thread commentary, why have the blue fpp talkpages that mathowie intends to code at all? why not just delete all the negative criticism, ban all the repeat offenders and let the remainder all feel special all the time?
posted by shmegegge at 10:26 PM on June 14, 2006


meringue: consider my link to you retracted. sorry about that. I should add, though, that I'm curious about what you'd consider constructive. for instance, how about "this post is terrible," which is neither mean spirited nor altogether informative about WHY the post might be terrible.
posted by shmegegge at 10:29 PM on June 14, 2006


shmegegge : "Since flags have been adopted, the common rallying cry of the special snowflake contingent has been 'flag it and move on,'"

Actually, the special snowflake contingent is separate from the "flag it and move on" contingent. The flag contigent generally appears to be of the opinion that matt should decide what goes or stays. The special snowflake contigent believes every post is a special and unique snowflake, and therefore no posts/comments should be deleted. The special snowflake contingent is more likely to say "if you don't like it, skip it", not "flag it and move on".

shmegegge : "Further, if there shouldn't be any in thread commentary, why have the blue fpp talkpages that mathowie intends to code at all?"

Er, wouldn't the fact that matt is considering making a new page that moves all the commentary out of the thread into a different page be an argument against the idea that matt likes inthread commentary, instead of an argument for that idea?
posted by Bugbread at 10:47 PM on June 14, 2006


If you really believe your statement above, why do you imagine that there have been so many MetaTalk threads that have been met with responses like "this doesn't merit a MeTa callout," and "Why are you bothering us with this bullshit?" and the like?

Because reasonable people often disagree? That doesn't mean the usual suspects should be allowed to shit-in-threads. And if those responses you mention are what come about: so be it. At least all the noise is kept in Metatalk (where noise should have been anyway) and signal can continue. These are two entirely separate and non-exclusive points you're bringing up.

Further, if there shouldn't be any in thread commentary, why have the blue fpp talkpages that mathowie intends to code at all?

If I understand correctly, the "talkpages" are still separate from the thread. So it's like "Metatalk II", only that:

• People who like to shit-in-threads will have to shit-in-Metatalk II, instead
• Metatalk I doesn't get polluted by celebrities' opinions ("this doesn't merit a callout, etc.") about what gets discussed in Metatalk II
• The page background color is blue instead of grey

Seems like a win-win-win plan all around, to me, in that those who shit-in-threads can be clearly identified for who they are and what they are trying to accomplish, namely derailing threads about topics they don't like.
posted by Mr. Six at 11:05 PM on June 14, 2006


Thank you, dg, you are too kind.

bugbread, you risk oversimplification. I, for one, welcome don't fit into any of your buckets. I reckon, for what it's worth:

a) Matt should decide what stays or goes (based on his own judgement, in turn based on standards which he should be clear and public about, and on flagging (which is still far too clunky))

b) Posts should be deleted even more often than they are. The quality varies, of course. They should remain visible, as they are now, on lofi, the existence of which should be more common knowledge. Comments should deleted less frequently than they are now, and there should be some unobtrusive way to see that that has happened, but not the actual offensive comment itself.

c) 'Flag it and move on' is the rallying cry of the Victim Culture; those who have been brought up to whine about what they don't like and let daddy/mr president/god/mathowie clean it up for them, rather than taking responsibility themselves (ok, that's over the top, but I liked the sound of it, so sue me).

d) Commentary pages virtually 'alongside' MeFi threads are the worst idea I've heard proposed since forever, and I can't believe Matt's still planning to implement them. Perhaps I'd change my mind if I had a clearer idea what he's talking about, but I think it's going to be a disaster of lilliputian proportions ('cause it's all a tempest in a teacup, after all), one even more laden with unintended consequences than the introduction of the flagging mechanism (which, by the way, I believe is one of the root causes of the problem Matt addresses in this thread, because it's silent. It may have made his life easier (and jessamyn's), but it has introduced the idea that complaining will make everything right, and there'll always be those for whom complaining with no visible result (ie flagging) is just not enough, so they piddle inthread).

e) Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah -- expedient bandaids slapped on stuctural problems tend to cause as many problems as they solve.

f) Beer is not only great-tasting, but good for you, too.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:10 PM on June 14, 2006


a) you forgot about his whims, which after all is much more entertaining than clear public standards.

b) I agree completely.

c) Maybe.

d) No, no, it's just more MetaTalk, which can only be a good thing.

e) Aye.

f) I no longer have the patience for it though.
posted by timeistight at 11:27 PM on June 14, 2006


a) Your mom.*

b) I just packed my nose full of slices of habenero peppers.

c) SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GET BACK IN THE BOX, GIMP.

d) Hi. I'm naked. Mind if I sit here?

e) I'm soaking in it.



a2) is quonsar.
posted by loquacious at 3:13 AM on June 15, 2006


Commentary pages virtually 'alongside' MeFi threads are the worst idea I've heard proposed since forever, and I can't believe Matt's still planning to implement them.

I don't normally find myself agreeing with Stav so often, but he's absolutely right about this. Links + commentary are what make MeFi fantastic. Implement a separate "discussion" area and you're going to end up with the Blue looking like an RSS feed, and the "commentary" area looking like, well, like the Blue does now. What's the point?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:15 AM on June 15, 2006


So no, no one can say that there's a strict and defined ban on in-thread criticism anywhere on this site, and I'd be interested in seeing someone link to one.

No, there is no strict and defined ban on in-thread bitching about the quality of the post . . . because there are really only one or two strict and defined rules of any sort. That doesn't make it acceptable behavior. There is no hard rule against single-link op-eds either, but the community norm is that they are a bad thing and require extraordinary attributes to be tolerated.

I feel the same way about negative comments about the quality of a post in the blue, especially those that amount to 'this sucks' without anything accompanying justification or analysis of the actual subject. If you'd like a link, shmegegge, showing where #1 agrees with me, well here you go.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 5:50 AM on June 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


mathowie: I've told you (and Metafilter) this before. Eventually the community gets too big to have common ethics. Sometimes having a short, sweet, easy-to-understand and interpret policy can help steer the community in the direction the administrators/founders want.

Lots of people have really strong feelings about policy always being bad, but I'm here to tell you, as an administrator of much smaller communities that policy can help immensely. There's a central place where fundamentals (like: editorials on posts go to Metatalk or check the deletions page [and by the way, this is where you find it] before posting, or whatever) that even non-admins can point to when instructing those who are new.
posted by kalessin at 6:28 AM on June 15, 2006


"Which is honestly how I look at this place now, having learned the hard way that to ever let your guard down here is suicide."

No, it's not. To let your guard down is to occassionally be mocked on the internet. That's it. That's why I don't have a lot of sympathy for the folks who think any criticism is a horrible scourge upon them, and why I don't agree with the bullshit that this somehow countenances bullies.
Sometimes people disagree with you, even excessively and profanely. Sometimes that even makes you mad. But then you step away from the computer and, hey, it's a beautiful day outside. And certainly here on Metafilter, where attacks that are truly beyond the pale tend to earn both community disapprobation and deletion, and where the most notable long-term grudge holders (the only ones who would hold a guardless moment after a particular discussion was over) have been banned.
So "suicide"? Only if you're an internet martyr.
posted by klangklangston at 7:13 AM on June 15, 2006


"Which is honestly how I look at this place now, having learned the hard way that to ever let your guard down here is suicide."

Never saw this the first through xth time through, but it's wrong, I think. Let your guard down entirely. As in the rest of life, doing so will make the weak attack you and the strong respect you, and weathering it all will make you better and happier.

But kicking back when you're kicked may be necessary, and some folks aren't down for that, I know. Each to their own.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:40 AM on June 15, 2006


stavrosthewonderchicken : "bugbread, you risk oversimplification."

Nah, I didn't risk it, I ran into full force. Sorry. I didn't mean to say that, for example, the "flag it and move on" people all think the same things, or that the only three schools out there are the "complain anywhere", "flag it and move on", and "special snowflake" schools. I just meant that, regardless of how many broad or narrow categorization schemes we use, it would never be very accurate to say that "flag it and move on" people are "special snowflakists".

klangklangston : "Sometimes people disagree with you, even excessively and profanely. Sometimes that even makes you mad. But then you step away from the computer and, hey, it's a beautiful day outside."

Klangklangston, I'm not necessarily disagreeing with your central tenet, which is that people should strive to take stuff a little less personally, but so that you can perhaps see where the other side is coming from: people don't want MeFi to be a stressful place that makes one angry and necessitates stepping away from the computer. People want it to be a place that makes you want to step to the computer. I think this is the key difference that causes the gap in philosophy between the "more civility" and "thicker skin" camps.
posted by Bugbread at 8:07 AM on June 15, 2006


Er, wouldn't the fact that matt is considering making a new page that moves all the commentary out of the thread into a different page be an argument against the idea that matt likes inthread commentary, instead of an argument for that idea?

no, it means that in thread commentary doesn't have an assigned place right now, and specifically means that metatalk is not the place for all commentary of a thread.

These are two entirely separate and non-exclusive points you're bringing up.

no, they're not. the point is that metatalk is NOT the place for every gripe about a thread to go, and your response doesn't indicate any reason to believe otherwise.

now, regarding the talkpages, I agree that they give excellent reason to believe that mathowie wants thread criticism to go someplace that isn't the original thread , and that they are a win-win situation all around. I think they're a marvelous idea. I also think that if there were a place besides the original thread for minor thread criticism to go (and please remember, that's different than "shitting in the thread," as I've said a hojillion times in here, already. the place for "shitting in the thread" to go is, I'd like to think, a swift and merciless deletion.), then we wouldn't need the talkpages at all. So since we need them...

I feel the same way about negative comments about the quality of a post in the blue, especially those that amount to 'this sucks' without anything accompanying justification or analysis of the actual subject. If you'd like a link, shmegegge, showing where #1 agrees with me, well here you go.

There are plenty of hard and fast rules about what is and isn't allowed. Your notion of the single link op-ed not being allowed barring extraordinary circumstances isn't even valid as one of them, though, because we get them all the time now and no one does anything about them. That said, one can go through metafilter history and find the points where things like Pepsi Blue, GYOBFW, and the like were either communally agreed on or administratively kiboshed as "not okay." The only trend I can see to show that any of that has changed is that things that used to be unacceptable are now allowed, such as newsfilter and the afforementioned single link op ed. One cannot, however, find a point in metafilter history where simple in-thread criticism of a bad post has ever been either a) not allowed, or even b) not expected. This post? This is just Matt whining, it's as far from an official decree as he can possibly get. just because he doesn't like something doesn't mean we can't say it.

posted by shmegegge at 8:12 AM on June 15, 2006


there was a clause missing from the above response:

in the sentence "I agree that they give excellent reason to believe that mathowie wants thread criticism to go someplace that ins't the original thread," that should be followed by a clause in italics as follows:

once those talkpages have been created,
posted by shmegegge at 8:14 AM on June 15, 2006


Er, and to be sparkling clear: I'm not talking about what MetaFilter can be, realistically, but what people want it to be. I think even the hippiest person here understands that there will be times that MeFi pisses one off, and that can't be completely removed. However, the hippies want effort to be put into minimizing the amount of anger causing stuff, and the cynics want effort to be put into minimizing personal reactions to anger causing stuff.
posted by Bugbread at 8:15 AM on June 15, 2006


shmegegge : "no, it means that in thread commentary doesn't have an assigned place right now, and specifically means that metatalk is not the place for all commentary of a thread."

Ah, ok, that makes sense too.
posted by Bugbread at 8:17 AM on June 15, 2006


"However, the hippies want effort to be put into minimizing the amount of anger causing stuff, and the cynics want effort to be put into minimizing personal reactions to anger causing stuff."

And I'd like a balance between the two, but I also don't think that Metafilter as it is now is any great cause for rending of clothes and gnashing of teeth, and would submit that people who will NEVAR POST AGAIN because they got a couple of snarks in an otherwise positive thread are better served by not posting. In general, Metafilter is pretty decent even though it does have abrasive moments, and other communities have already Nerfed to five nines of cute/polite. Monkeyfilter's signups are still open.
You know, as an alternative to attempting to legislate against brusqueness in a community of 30k. Perhaps this makes me a MeFi Conservative.
posted by klangklangston at 9:54 AM on June 15, 2006


How about two new flags?
meh
flag it and move on
If you think that a post sucks, you can use the "meh" flag for feedback, instead of posting a comment that says "Meh."

Of course, people will still post comments that say "Meh". Then other people can flag those comments with "flag it and move on."
posted by russilwvong at 5:29 PM on June 15, 2006


I don't get the problems stav and others have with thread talk threads. I wonder if stav misunderstands the concept a little bit. Or I do. As I understand it, and advocate it, there would be a thread for every post where all and only metacommentary about the post would occur. For consistency's sake, I think this should include positive commentary as well as negative. It shouldn't include peripheral metacommentary that appears as part of a regular comment. It shouldn't include any of the discussion that otherwise occurs in a post's thread. It should include metacommentary about user behavior in the regular discussion thread.

I think this would unburden regular discussion threads enormously and would improve them greatly. It also would create a place for allowed metacommentary that, right now, is mostly out-of-place anywhere else. Most criticism is inappropriate in-thread. Most criticism is also not important enough for its own MetaTalk post.

I really don't see what the downside might be. Obviously dios and his adversaries would be regularly and heavily engaged in arguments in the talk threads—the same arguments about bias or appropriateness of posts that now poison the regular discussion threads. This would be a good thing. Those that don't care won't have to see them. Those that do care know where to find them. Yes, there will be gray areas where the placement of comments—in the regular thread or the talk thread—will be ambiguous, but I think the community and the admins can sort that out as the thing evolves.

Another thing that might be implmented and would satisfy many people, would be to move objectionable comments to the talk thread rather than deleting them entirely, as is currently the practice. They could appear in the talk thread with the placement and timestamp of the deletion time, and marked very clearly (in another color or something) as deleted comments removed from the thread. No more would the deletions be the black holes people complain about—they'd still exist in the talk thread where, importantly, it'd be appropriate to discuss their deletion.

Matt, I urge you to make this a priority. I think it would help the site quite a bit.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:18 AM on June 16, 2006


E_B, I think your response illustrates one of the problems I see with the idea of a "talk thread." You start out by pointing out that we probably don't all share teh same idea of what it would be; then you move on to explain how you envision it.

Which is as it should be -- that's exactly what needs to happen in a software requirements analysis, which is essentially what is going on here w.r.t. talk threads.

The problem I see is that you have to provide that description of what the talk thread "should" be. There's no obvious constraint -- nothing that says "this is the talk thread and you need to do THIS." With blue/gray and green/gray, there's a practical constraint: You have to know that the gray thread exists, and go to it, and when you're there (assuming you're not colorblind) you have lots of contextual reminders that you're NOT IN THE THREAD ANYMORE.

I see the talk threads ending up as just another discussion thread. You could easily see parallel threads developing, fostered by people who don't "get" your distinctions. (I'd be one of those people, frankly; I understand that you see the distinctions you see, and I can see them, too, but to me they're distinctions that, when drawn, reduce the value of the discussion. The overall discussion has the potential to be richer for combining meta-critique and discussion, and what's more I sincerely think that it often is richer for it.

I don't have as visceral a reaction against talk threads as others do, but I don't see it doing anything good. I see it as a major point of confusion for users. I see it diluting discussions and confusing people and leading to a fair amount of "dude this is the fucking TALK THREAD" acrimony. Which will be dealt with.

meta/aside: You know, as much as people complain about things here, stuff does get hashed out. It may not feel like it, but things do get resolved. Mefi is much "healthier" in that regard, objectively, than a lot of "communities", virtual or otherwise.
posted by lodurr at 5:50 AM on June 16, 2006


"Most criticism is inappropriate in-thread."

No, it's not. What makes criticism inappropriate in-thread is how it is formulated, not the nature of it being criticism.

And do you really think that Postroad is going to read the talkpage when he posts something retarded the the Blue? Your best chance at communicating with many users is within that single discussion.

Lodurr also makes good points comparing the talk page to threading. The same fragmentation will occur.

Further, metacriticism is hard to delineate. If I complain about the sources used for a newspost and come up with some of my own that are more accurate, that's metacommentary. And commentary. Should it go on both pages? Or should the overwhelming mewling from those who see any disagreement as tantamount to murder mean that things like that are moved to talk pages?

So, you'll see more shitty posts because there won't be a clear feedback on them (and most users will ignore the talk pages, as well as site visiters that join later), and you'll have a poorer discussion in a measurable way. All because when Dios comments all the little dogs go yip yip yip?

Talk pages are good for Wikipedia but bad for Metafilter.
posted by klangklangston at 6:42 AM on June 16, 2006


Succinct criticism in the Blue is a Good Thing. Most users, afaik, never read MetaTalk, so unless they're directly informed in the thread, they'll never learn what not to do.

The problem is when everyone and their dog piles in with a critical comment. A valid criticism only needs to be said once. "Me too"ing doesn't further educate the sinner.

Talk pages would be the single stupidest thing ever to be done to MeFi. See Klangston's post for details.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:54 AM on June 16, 2006


So, you'll see more shitty posts because there won't be a clear feedback on them

You make good points, klang, but I don't see how they support this conclusion. I think we'll see a wider variety of posts when the community gets to a place where people don't feel like their contributions will be shouted down as unworthy, simply for existsing, by a couple of assholes. Variety may mean more shitty posts but it's just as likely to mean more great posts too, and, in the end, I 'd rather be given more choices than less. The talk threads can help get us to that place.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 7:55 AM on June 16, 2006


If nothing else, I agree the page shouldn't be called talk. Comments on the quality of this post would be good, but too long. Maybe the link text should be a symbol, not a word, the hovertext that phrase, and the page title "metadiscussion" with a clear explanation of what the page is for featured prominently.

I disagree that there will be huge amounts of ambiguity and resulting confusion. Organic, secondary metacommentary should be tolerated. Examples: "This is a great post—I'd never heard of the Gay Irish Folkdancer Movement before and I find these people fascinating." "That site is interesting, but I wish the poster had included some links to anti-Gay Irish Folkdancer Movement sites, too, instead of just alluding to them."

Some of the examples I can think of where political bias of the poster is/might be involved, and where they might feel that it's pertinent to the larger discussion, on some consideration seem to me to likely be better for keeping such comments out of the thread. Yes, ad hominem arguments are sometimes legitimate and relevant, but even when this is the case they also are highly provocative.

I feel like I'm missing something when I read comments saying that talk pages would be the worst thing ever done to metafilter. I just don't see that at all. I can't see what the harm could possibly be. Fractured discussion? Maybe, but I think the risk of that is low and the harm of it were it to happen certainly not the worst thing that could happen to mefi.

In contrast, the upside of talk pages seems very large to me. It would make threads in the blue much less annoying to read. And, perversely, I suspect that, like in the case of MetaTalk, the sort of argument and sniping that is so annoying in the blue would actually be separately entertaining in the talk pages. Also, the community ethos of what is and is not a good post needs to be clarified by wide participation in discussion of this matter. Only a small minority read MetaTalk. I think a much larger portion of people will read the talk pages. And maybe it's the case that Postroad won't read the talk page associated with his post—but it seems much more likely than him reading MetaTalk.

Finally, I don't think talk pages would make MetaTalk obsolete at all. I think it would make MetaTalk more clear and useful. The increased granularity of metadiscussion would help all around.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:29 AM on June 16, 2006


I still hate the talk page idea. It'll create so much extra work for the admins, what with them having to keep an eye on both the "regular" threads and the corresponding talk threads, manually moving comments from one section to the other, dealing with the inevitable and never-ending complaints about "Why was my comment moved" and "Why wasn't so-and-so's comment moved" and people gaming the system by including snark and metacommentary along with "regular" commentary. (This happens all the time in AskMe, where wisecracks are allowed to remain as long as the commenter includes something helpful-looking in their comment). The intentions behind the talk page idea are nothing but good, but I don't see how it creates less stress and work than simply stepping up the moderation a little, and deleting more of the derailing remarks.

For consistency's sake, I think this should include positive commentary as well as negative.

I don't understand this. I see what you mean as far as consistency with the purpose of the talk page, yeah; but seeing a series of "This is good," and "Great post, thanks!" comments in the thread is one of the things that some of us (a lot of us?) look for when we're deciding whether or not to bother clicking the links in a post, and it's also one of the best methods of positive enforcement -- one of the best ways to know you've made a good post and encourage you to make more posts like it. If anything, we should see more positive commentary like that on good posts, not less, and certainly not have it shuffled off to the talk page where people are less likely to see it, I think.
posted by Gator at 8:33 AM on June 16, 2006


I'm wondering what talk pages actually contribute to Metafilter, aside from database bloat and more JRun blorts. I'm unclear on what problem they solve, because I guess I just don't understand the boundary between "meta" and "non-meta." Maybe some use-cases would help.

Anyway, I think we all know (or should know) that, at least for the first six months and probably forever, the majority of people won't be able to figure out what should go on the "talk page" and what should go on the "thread page." For a thread with 50 participants, I suggest that there will be about 40 different ideas of what constitutes "talk", with the difference ranging from subtle to dramatic.

I have a suggestion: Build on the existing framework by providing a link to the MeTa page for a story, where one exists. But don't provide an easy way to create one from every story.

Implementation is probably not killer, but would require a new field on the MeTa posts (the number of the referenced story, non-required). Probably not as big an impact as starting up a talk page.
posted by lodurr at 8:40 AM on June 16, 2006


Maybe they're typing their ignorant little snipes from hospital beds in the embrace of full body casts, pencils clenched in their wired jaws, the eraser worn to a mere meniscus of malevolently red rubber from years of hunt and peck prickishness.

*howls with laughter*
posted by Neiltupper at 9:10 AM on June 16, 2006


"Only a small minority read MetaTalk. I think a much larger portion of people will read the talk pages."

And on what do you base this?

"And maybe it's the case that Postroad won't read the talk page associated with his post—but it seems much more likely than him reading MetaTalk."

Which is much, much less likely than him reading his own thread. Boom, problem solved with the magic of the status quo.

"Maybe, but I think the risk of that is low and the harm of it were it to happen certainly not the worst thing that could happen to mefi."

The "risk" is a certainty. By the very nature of dividing the pages, you're fracturing the discussion. And the reason why this is bad is that threaded discussions are bad. They destroy communities.

"You make good points, klang, but I don't see how they support this conclusion. I think we'll see a wider variety of posts when the community gets to a place where people don't feel like their contributions will be shouted down as unworthy, simply for existsing, by a couple of assholes. Variety may mean more shitty posts but it's just as likely to mean more great posts too, and, in the end, I 'd rather be given more choices than less. The talk threads can help get us to that place."

I have a couple of responses to that. The first is that I don't think that the front page is all that bad now, variety-wise, and don't anticipate any great gains. Second, if people are truly being shouted down by assholes (which is something that happens far more rarely than people advocating talk pages seem to represent) rather than getting some simple criticism, the easier solution is to simply delete those comments rather than moving them to an anarchic Siberia which will rapidly be filled by animated gifs and quonsania (as less people are likely to read it, and by sheer volume there will be less opportunities for moderation, and from post after post it can be seen that when there is an intelligence vacuum people here respond by filling the empty space with inanity).

In all, talk pages are a solution in search of a problem, as every deficiency they mean to remedy can be handled in the existing system. The real solution, and one that I've mentioned before, is hiring/bringing on a third mod. The problem is volume, not variety.
posted by klangklangston at 9:34 AM on June 16, 2006


I like MeTa. On a good day it reads like The Comittee of Public Safety editting a zine.

I worry that "discussion" pages would focus attention on conflicts of opinion that are essentially unresolvable at the level of comment-by-comment criticism. The front page of MeTa at least brings these issues into a certain relief (as they wax and wane). Perhaps better would be to encourage more thoughtful criticism at this level, in MeTa.

</de-lurk>
posted by ~ at 4:21 PM on June 16, 2006


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