when did posts with incredibly little content become acceptable on Metafilter? November 5, 2006 11:21 PM   Subscribe

Ok, when did posts with incredibly little content become acceptable on Metafilter? How is this an acceptable post? Why not just link to the image on the front page so we don't have to bother clicking a link to see one image?

Likewise, likewise, likewise. I get enough crap like this emailed to me from my dad. Ok, I don't mean to be so frank and rude, but I fear for the future of Metafilter. Posts like these are not the best of the web.
posted by Citizen Premier to Etiquette/Policy at 11:21 PM (52 comments total)

Really? What is the best of the web, then? The "wtf a one link post???" meme is worse for this place than bevets--how is your complaint any more relevant?
posted by hototogisu at 11:49 PM on November 5, 2006


In think "best of the web" is the only metric that matters. Any time I'm critical of a post's existence it's because I think it fails a "best of the web" test. I think NewsFilter usually fails that test. But only because such posts are rarely botw. Not because their topics are unacceptable, nor because they might have only one link, nor that they might even be a one-word post.

So what's the objection here? That a post has very little content? Or that the link has very little content? Or both? Regardless, "very little content" doesn't seem to me to be inherently a violation of botw. It might suggest a greater possibility that a post isn't botw if the amount of content we're concerned with is the amount of content in the linked page/site. But imagine that, say, the President of the US was assasinated by no news outlet had video or a photo. However, imagine that there was a handful of people present and one of them had a cameraphone. And posted their photo to flickr. And then someone posted that photo to MetaFilter as a one-word post linking directly to the flickr photo. That'd definitely be botw, but it would be a one-word post, a one-link post, about a current news item.

Anyway, as to your examples...

The first is just mildly funny. It's fluff. It's not a good post, but on the other hand it's Sunday and mildly funny posts like this have their place here on the weekend.

The second is interesting in its own right (because of the weirdness) and is extremely web-culture centric. Seems like an okay post to me. Not botw, really, but then if we're really talking about the bulk of posts most of them are equally mediocre.

The third is a bad post, I agree. It's not as if humorous photos of people who are passed out are hard to come by on the web. They're ubiquitous, really. This is just more of the same.

The last example is, in my opinion, pertty much right on the borderline. Quotes about sex by celebrities aren't that hard to find, either. And it's not like this is a huge compilation of them. This post is a throwaway post sort of like the first one is, except as far as I know the subject of the first post is unique in its way, while this one isn't. It's not as common and done-to-death as the "photos of people passed out", but that's pretty much the only reason I see that it's not automatically a crap post.

So, as you can see, I somewhat agree with you that the quality of most of these posts isn't great. But I don't agree that the fact that they have veyr little content is why.

Are you one of those people who think the ideal MeFi post is a sort of Wiki entry on a subject? But that's just not what a MeFi post is supposed to be. A lot of people like such posts and so they've made a place for themselves here. But that other posts aren't like them does not in any way indicate that other posts are bad.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:16 AM on November 6, 2006


I have a swish. In my rants.
posted by loquacious at 12:34 AM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Yes, what is it with all these weird posts with just a single link to an entertaining page?

You might have missed it, but that's what metafilter is about. The 20-link rants about how bush is killing america are a nuisance that didn't crop up until later.
posted by fvw at 12:48 AM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Citizen Premier -- if you look through the archives of the site you'll see that it's always been about quality rather than quantity. No point confusing an issue with lots of links -- they simply defocus the real thing that's being linked to.
posted by feelinglistless at 12:56 AM on November 6, 2006


Sure, but the famous cat-scan link had picture after picture of amusingly-located felines. The pacman link that Citizen Premier cited had one barely-amusing diagram.
posted by matthewr at 1:16 AM on November 6, 2006


matthewr: Eh, you see one picture of a cat on a scanner, you've pretty much seen them all. Pieman, on the other hand, had me giggling for minutes.
posted by chrismear at 1:48 AM on November 6, 2006


...I fear for the future...

There's altogether too much of this going around.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 3:08 AM on November 6, 2006


You think this is bad? CP, you remember the old days just as well as I do. Heck, you've been postin' here longer! Back then, we had whippersnappers closin' their damn FPPs with the word "Discuss" tossed in like some sorta command! As if anyone visiting this place wouldn't know it was a discussion site, and assume MeFi was...some kinda clone of Memepool or somethin'! Heh, heh, heh - Meemepool, I just crack myself up whenever I think about that. So where was I? Ah,yes. Things could be better, but it's a damn big improvement from when it wasn't. So stop gettin youself knotted up over nothin', ya fussbudget, and go with the flow.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:19 AM on November 6, 2006


I still can't believe this post wasn't deleted. Meh.
posted by gsteff at 3:33 AM on November 6, 2006


Im ur community weblog, killin ur futures.

But to an extent, I agree. There's a lot of crap on mefi these days. I don't know if it's any better or worse than when I started stalking this place 4-5 years ago. I tend to ignore the bad posts and just enjoy the good stuff which still is the majority of posts.

I can't see any real solution to this 'problem'. What do you suggest we do about it? The flag-system already filters out the worst of it.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:37 AM on November 6, 2006


Nothing wrong with one-link posts.

Nothing wrong with fluff, if it's new, funny and interesting.

What does piss me off is when I see something on BoingBoing or Del.icio.us, then it turns up here 3 weeks later. I've said before I don't have a problem with Metafilter posting the same stuff every other site is posting, but people at least need to get with the program and make it snappy. If you missed the chance to post it when it was new, we don't need see it now. Sometimes we start to feel about as up-to-the-minute as Memepool...
posted by Jimbob at 3:49 AM on November 6, 2006


i just like to say fitznorble.
posted by quonsar at 4:15 AM on November 6, 2006


Jimbob: Anything that is truly the "best of the web" will stay so several weeks later. (Another reason why NewsFilter is not.) I really don't care whether someone else posted it on another site weeks ago.
posted by grouse at 4:18 AM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Anything that is truly the "best of the web" will stay so several weeks later."

Well, that's true and in pointing that out you've shown me that what I wrote earlier is incomplete. I think that the standard is (or should be) botw along with some degree of novelty. Otherwise, of course, one consequence would be that thigns could justifiably be posted over and over and over again. And it really isn't providing anyone much of a service for discovery of "best of the web" if it isn't a discovery and just a representation of what we're already familiar with.

And just in the same way that it doesn't make sense to argue that anything should be acceptable to post because there's someone in the mefi membership who will think it's "the best of the web", it also doesn't make sense to argue that something well-known should be acceptable to post because there's a mefite who hasn't yet seen it.

We're not going to be able to define the criteria for what makes something best of the web. But we can agree that there's stuff that we mostly all agree is "best of the web" and that, as a consequence, it's possible to have some vague sense of what "best of the web" is for most mefites. Similarly, it's hard to say exactly how ubiquitous something has to become, or what sites on which it has to have previously appeared, before most mefites are likely to have already seen it. Even so, we can probably that there's a handful of sites that if something has already appeared on most of them, it's not going to be new to most mefites and won't, then, make for a good post.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:39 AM on November 6, 2006


There is nothing not "acceptable" about any of these posts. Some of them aren't great (whatever that means) and some of them aren't funny, but I don't think any of them harm Metafilter or deserve deleting.

Moaning at people for posting stuff they find amusing, on the other hand, is total poison to any community.
posted by cillit bang at 5:26 AM on November 6, 2006


Moaning at people for posting stuff they find amusing, on the other hand, is total poison to any community.

Not us, we thrive on this shit.
posted by knave at 5:28 AM on November 6, 2006


Sometimes we start to feel about as up-to-the-minute as Memepool...

If most MeFites are super up-to-the-minute folks, then 3 week old posts violate the posting guideline that says your link should be one "most MeFites have not seen". However, I've seen no evidence whether the majority of Mefites or the minority of Mefites are super up-to-the-minute folks, so I don't see what basis there is to call it either way.

Me, personally, I'm definitely not an up-to-the-minute guy, so I appreciate when MetaFilter works as a meta-filter, that is, a filter of filters, selecting the good stuff from memepool, or de.licio.us or whathaveyou.

And I've yet to see a MeFi post which I disliked because it was more than 3 weeks old.
posted by Bugbread at 5:36 AM on November 6, 2006


Here's a new guideline: the next person to use "best of the web" in any sort of argument or observation gets smacked around with a large trout. Usage of the acronym will increase the penalty to a large trout recently pulled out of quonsar's pants.
posted by signal at 5:41 AM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


What does piss me off is when I see something on BoingBoing or Del.icio.us, then it turns up here 3 weeks later... If you missed the chance to post it when it was new, we don't need see it now.

That's ridiculous and shows a basic misunderstanding of what MeFi is for. If MeFi turned into an assortment of Hot! up-to-the-second links where you came to see stuff before BoingBoing discovered it, I'd stop coming. BoingBoing and Digg and whateverthefuck are irrelevant to MeFi. The only relevant criteria are 1) is it postworthy? and 2) has it been on MeFi before? If the answers are Yes and No respectively, then it's a good post. I'm really, really sick unto death of people whining about BoingBoing and the like. I don't read those sites and I don't give a damn about those sites. If you insist on reading them and then getting all freaked out because some of the same stuff appears here later, that's your problem.
posted by languagehat at 5:42 AM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


I agree with CP. Those FPPs are pretty shitass and, indeed, when I clicked them, I thought of the emails my mother sends me and I'm king of the one-link posts (not in the way that I'm best at them, but that the vast majority of my FPPs are one link posts)--these posts don't suck because they're one link, they suck because they suck.
posted by dobbs at 5:54 AM on November 6, 2006


And airplane food, what's up with that?

Oh -- this isn't the observational comedy thread?
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:17 AM on November 6, 2006


I'd say the philosophy of sex and 12 signs you've been drinking too much links were basically crap, but really, that's just because I didn't find them funny and they remind me of e-mail forwards.

The pacman link was very clever, but not worth a FPP on its own, I don't think.

The goatse Mastercard one is pretty much classic metafiter content.

Anyway, I didn't think any of them deserved a call out. They're just 'so-so'-to-poor fpp.
posted by empath at 6:26 AM on November 6, 2006


languagehat nails it. The thing is, MeFi just about works as what it was intended for -- the community weeds out the large amounts of crap posted on other sites and brings the good stuff here. The goatse credit card one had a great thread, and the other two were so-so, but for the most part Metafilter has about the right blend of interesting stuff from the internet and inflammatory political commentary, at least for me.
posted by graymouser at 6:29 AM on November 6, 2006


I was a bit shocked anyone liked that pac-man one.
posted by smackfu at 6:33 AM on November 6, 2006


.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:48 AM on November 6, 2006


I don't read those sites and I don't give a damn about those sites.

I don't either.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:49 AM on November 6, 2006


The pacman graph made me laugh out loud.
posted by cortex at 6:49 AM on November 6, 2006


I have no problem with one-link FPP's, it's just that when a link just goes to a few pictures or such, I think to myself, "there's so much of this stuff on the web, the majority of posts on Metafilter could easily all be like this someday."
But maybe Metafilter won't cross the line into crap. I'm just a pessimist myself.

And signal, bring on the fish!
posted by Citizen Premier at 7:00 AM on November 6, 2006


Well clearly not all my links scream out quality like "Over 300 proofs of God's existence!" or Jesus swimming, but I try.
posted by clevershark at 7:22 AM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


I agree with you cp that a one image post is generally not up to snuff. However, fifteen people so far have marked that one as favorite, and it did make me laugh.
posted by caddis at 7:26 AM on November 6, 2006


Sometimes I want to spend 30 minutes digging into links with depth, but sometimes I just want a quick laugh. So I am glad we usually have a mixture of brainy and breezy.

One unique advantage of a single-image post is that love it or hate it, you only lose a few seconds of your time looking at it. Contrast, e.g., YouTube videos and flash games.
posted by brain_drain at 7:31 AM on November 6, 2006


The only thing really wrong with those posts is a lack of context. If there had been even a half-sentence of description to give us a clue what we might be clicking on, they would be fine.
posted by LarryC at 7:33 AM on November 6, 2006


Okay, I didn't read all your silly comments. But the first post linked brought unto me the glory of We Have Pie Charts. And that makes anything else irrelevant.
posted by dame at 7:44 AM on November 6, 2006


Okay, I read all of your silly comments now and my point still stands. As long as I Have Pie Charts, all is right with the world.
posted by dame at 7:51 AM on November 6, 2006


tags give context,
links make happy;
go, MeFi, go!
posted by blue_beetle at 7:51 AM on November 6, 2006


Will it kill me if I drank one of those pre-packaged douche thingies? I thought it was a new kind of fancy iced tea.
posted by loquacious at 8:01 AM on November 6, 2006


Someone with skillz, please, create a "Summon EB" card for discussions of what makes a good post.
posted by Rumple at 8:23 AM on November 6, 2006


Someone with true skills and time on their hands and the good fortune of never having tried something similar (so, uh, not me) should create a whole elaborate CCG set with a full complement of card types. We could self-publish at Kinkos and play over the internet.
posted by cortex at 8:26 AM on November 6, 2006


*marks floor with circle, strips naked, salutes the cardinals*

Oh eternally pontificating blatherskite, please here us now. We seek your wisdom and guidance in the gray, discussing the blue.

*ignites thread-bound grimoire comprised of Harper's back catalog, the unexpurgated OED and Strunk and White. Stands back from the massive bonfire*

Ok, now we gotta piss that sucker out. You ready?
posted by loquacious at 8:46 AM on November 6, 2006


create a "Summon EB" card

Oh. Card. Well, shit, that was a lot of work. I thought you just said "Summon EB".

"please here us now."

What the hell is wrong with my spelling lately? Great, now it's not going to work.
posted by loquacious at 8:48 AM on November 6, 2006


I FEAR FOR THE FUTCHAR OF INTERNETS.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 8:55 AM on November 6, 2006


All your insightful, unique, timely post are belong to us, my friend.
posted by Mister_A at 9:12 AM on November 6, 2006


Well, on some level, I'm with you. Those links were ass, and ass due to the content, not the context. There's nothing wrong with the soul of wit, but LOOK AT TEH DRUNXORS is retarded and deserves to be deleted. Otherwise if fails the very basic "filter" test.
Pacman made me giggle, and I think that it's the exception that proves the rule regarding dumb one-link comedy (it's funny only when unexpected and rare).
posted by klangklangston at 9:26 AM on November 6, 2006

That's ridiculous and shows a basic misunderstanding of what MeFi is for. If MeFi turned into an assortment of Hot! up-to-the-second links where you came to see stuff before BoingBoing discovered it, I'd stop coming. BoingBoing and Digg and whateverthefuck are irrelevant to MeFi. The only relevant criteria are 1) is it postworthy? and 2) has it been on MeFi before? If the answers are Yes and No respectively, then it's a good post.
Beautifully expressed. I'd just like to add that, with billions of pages out there, there's an immense amount of stuff that hasn't made it to MetaFilter or any of the above aggregators. A page doesn't have to have been coded within the last three weeks to be relevant or fun or interesting; back in August, I posted a link to a BBC news story that was seven years old and people still liked it.
posted by jason's_planet at 12:02 PM on November 6, 2006


i just want to clarify that when i came up with that phrase 'best of the web,' i was referring to the people at metafilter, not the posts...
posted by troybob at 1:46 PM on November 6, 2006


This is all your fault, then?
posted by loquacious at 1:54 PM on November 6, 2006


It was thee who dubbed that phrase, TroyBob?
posted by Mister_A at 1:55 PM on November 6, 2006


to be fair, i didn't dub the phrase, but i certainly took the initiative in having it come about...
posted by troybob at 2:00 PM on November 6, 2006


I liked those links so much that I packaged them up into a PowerPoint presentation & emailed them to everybody I know, along with a selection of feelgood quotes from the Dalai Lama.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:46 PM on November 6, 2006


I am king of one-link post in that I am best at them.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:10 PM on November 6, 2006


man doesn't like post. cries. news at 11.
posted by shmegegge at 7:18 AM on November 7, 2006


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