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Do callouts have a shelf-life?
December 22, 2007 12:26 PM   Subscribe

I'll probably regret it, but I guess this is a callout.

This post seemed fishy to me, especially in light of lsemel's recently deleted friend-link.

A little poking around reveals that Lee Semel, a New Yorker, worked on ready.gov. He also worked on CommandShift3. He co-founded a company with a guy named Matthew Semel. Matthew Semel is, amongst other things, a film director and animator.

But wait a second! Here on MetaFilter, we have a user called MattS. And in his many years of being a mefite, he's only made a handful of FPPs. Amongst them, one to ready.gov, and one to CommandShift3. Furthermore, MattS (a New Yorker), seems to know a lot about filmmaking and animation.

Seems awfully hinky to me.
posted by thinman to Etiquette/Policy at 12:26 PM (148 comments total)

That account should have been axed after the deleted thread. It was obviously disingenuous, what the the 'gee i just found this site you guys might like' crap.
posted by puke & cry at 12:29 PM on December 22, 2007


I like your digging, btw. A sucker after my own heart.
posted by puke & cry at 12:31 PM on December 22, 2007


A little poking around reveals

as much about the poker as the pokee. What's the deal with the Nick Charles investigation thinman?
posted by three blind mice at 12:37 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


three blind mice, do you own a Stop Snitching t-shirt too?
posted by stagewhisper at 12:39 PM on December 22, 2007 [6 favorites]


As long as we're projecting...

Why are you so threatened by this three blind mice? Is this something you're guilty of too?
posted by 517 at 12:41 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


What's the deal with the Nick Charles investigation thinman?

Cocktails plus vacationing equals sleuthing, apparently.
posted by thinman at 12:42 PM on December 22, 2007 [8 favorites]


I actually think I started the suspicion on that thread, and I felt bad for it, but I distinctly remembered the "I'm starting up a company doing blah blah blah and there are three of us" and the Monkey labs from some other post, so I thought it was really fishy.
posted by misha at 12:43 PM on December 22, 2007


All of us are apparently just tools in the conspiracy.
posted by item at 12:55 PM on December 22, 2007


All of you, you mean.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:59 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


All of me, yes. I am probably the biggest tool.
posted by item at 1:02 PM on December 22, 2007


No, no, I am the biggest tool. What are we talking about again?
posted by found missing at 1:05 PM on December 22, 2007


I heard there was murder in NYC and they never solved the case.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:07 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm a small tool.

An Allen Wrench.

A Woody Allen Wrench.
posted by wendell at 1:10 PM on December 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Bully!
posted by item at 1:11 PM on December 22, 2007


Oh, wait, wrong Wendell. Sorry.
posted by item at 1:11 PM on December 22, 2007


HERE THERE BE HINKYNESS.
posted by cashman at 1:16 PM on December 22, 2007


If you're going to call out, do so with gusto. Don't dance around the issue, man!
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:25 PM on December 22, 2007


Methinks thou doth protest too much.
posted by wafaa at 1:25 PM on December 22, 2007


There's definitely some shady things going on, but unlike the last lame post, I thought the fake forms site was well done. That someone would post it here so early in its life raised my suspicions, but I think it's a cool enough site and concept to be worth sticking around.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:59 PM on December 22, 2007


You are way too soft, mathowie.
posted by puke & cry at 2:06 PM on December 22, 2007


To be clear, I wasn't actually calling out the fake forms site. (Although Josh and Dave Keay of Magnetism Studios participated with Lee Semel in Jelly, the same collective that produced Lee's CommandShift3.) Rather, I suspect that MattS is Matthew Semel, and he's pimped Lee Semel's work twice. Seemed smarmy to me.
posted by thinman at 2:15 PM on December 22, 2007


Great detective work, though. Somebody needs a gold star.
posted by ColdChef at 2:16 PM on December 22, 2007


BURN THEM
posted by poppo at 2:18 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Seriously, there should be a Metafilter Investigations Service. I'm amazed at the instincts and digital digging that root out the non-obvious self-linkers.

If the banhammer isn't going to get dropped, I think this guy should at least get a warning email and a Merry Frakkin' Christmas suspension of his account.

Metafilter gumshoes are onto you, dude. Watch your step!
posted by rtha at 2:23 PM on December 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hmm. I'm not sure how big of a problem this actually is, though. I do remember that way back in the day it was OK to link to stuff that your friends were involved in. After projects got started the standards became higher. Since some of this stuff dates back to 2003 I'm not sure it actually violated contemporary guidelines.
posted by delmoi at 2:43 PM on December 22, 2007


Don't worry. These sites will all be belly-up by summertime. Driving traffic by posting to Metafilter in violation of site guidelines is so lame that it tells you all you need to know about the business model and the character of the people who thought it up.

Ready.gov, indeed. This is for all you would be Web 2.0 wannabe zillionaires. (Youtube)

Some of us went through this the first time.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:52 PM on December 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


I don't know if I should make popcorn or sharpen my pitchfork!
posted by briank at 2:55 PM on December 22, 2007


I think that thinman's got it; pretty smarmy to be linking his brother's stuff.

delmoi, the CommandShift3 post was this month.
posted by ssg at 2:59 PM on December 22, 2007


I guess this is a comment.
posted by jouke at 3:06 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Delmoi, I'd be a little more sympathetic if not for the previously mentioned disingenuous attitude of this lsemel jerk-off. I really don't like people that think they can shill their own/their friends stuff on here and just get away with it.
posted by puke & cry at 3:08 PM on December 22, 2007


Agreed. Self linking is the smelliest type of shit one can drop around here and I don't understand why both the post and the poster haven't been disabled. Being "a cool enough site and concept to be worth sticking around" doesn't and shouldn't change shit to gold.
posted by item at 3:22 PM on December 22, 2007


And yet...
posted by Dave Faris at 4:11 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


item, I agree.

I think it's highly probable that almost everyone here has a collection of cool links, stories, and projects they are passionate about and familiar with primarily because they and/or their friends and loved ones are involved in them. Part of the price of joining this community is having to promise to resist the urge to engage in this kind of conflict of interest.

I would be less apt to pay attention to the links here if I thought if even a small percentage of them weren't made in good faith. mathowie, with all due respect, I think leaving this link up sets a very bad precedent.
posted by stagewhisper at 4:15 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't know if I should make popcorn or sharpen my pitchfork!

I'm gonna sharpen my popcorn!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:17 PM on December 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Dammit. I guess that means I have to make a pitchfork.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:24 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'll get the jalapenos.
posted by ormondsacker at 4:33 PM on December 22, 2007


I'm making a sustainable gingerbread pitchfork.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:34 PM on December 22, 2007


We just made some popcorn. It's got butter and pepper and some freshly grated parmigiano reggiano in it. Some friends are coming over and we're going to eat the popcorn, drink Dark & Stormies, play games, and lament a world where posting self-links on Metafilter is given a meh. Later, I hope to be too drunk to even find my pitchfork, so I'll just throw popcorn instead.
posted by rtha at 4:35 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm pitch-cornin' ma pop-fork. Damn, that feels good.
posted by Abiezer at 4:35 PM on December 22, 2007


Hey flapjax! What a coincidence! We actually have gingerbread, too! I better put that out on a plate...
posted by rtha at 4:36 PM on December 22, 2007


Jalapeno popcorn is also pretty sharp.
posted by ormondsacker at 4:42 PM on December 22, 2007


And yet the doors of Valhalla remain closed. Where is the riding forth? Where is the righteous banhammering?

Count me among those who don't understand how any degree of self/friend-linkiness can be "cool enough" to be allowed to stand, particularly for repeat offenders. The brothers Semel must have had a clue or two served up last month when the Everyday Loopholes friend-link FPP got the beatdown, and yet "oh my! here's another link to a cool site (coincidentally, made by my friends Josh, David and Paul)." Perhaps the (relative) success of MattS' CommandShift3 post emboldened them. Allowing this to remain just seems like inviting future self-linking entrepreneurs and marketers to give it their best shot, in the hopes that an admin deems their link cool enough for a reprieve. That can't possibly be good.
posted by mumkin at 4:45 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


To piggyback, because it's not really call-out worthy, why wasn't this guy's account disabled? He seemed pretty disingenuous about the whole thing.
posted by kyleg at 4:49 PM on December 22, 2007


Oh, Abiezer, you're about 18 hours too late.
posted by chihiro at 4:49 PM on December 22, 2007


mathowie: There's definitely some shady things going on, but unlike the last lame post, I thought the fake forms site was well done. That someone would post it here so early in its life raised my suspicions, but I think it's a cool enough site and concept to be worth sticking around.

'No self-linking unless the site is good' seems like a bad precedent to set, given the amount testing it seems to ask for.
posted by koeselitz at 4:54 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, wow, Matt. My jaw's on the floor on that one.
posted by mediareport at 4:58 PM on December 22, 2007


koeselitz writes "'No self-linking unless the site is good' seems like a bad precedent to set, given the amount testing it seems to ask for."

needs repeating. either delete and ban self-links or don't. the 'coolness' of the site in question shouldn't make a difference at all.
posted by PugAchev at 5:03 PM on December 22, 2007


I'm with you fellers.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:15 PM on December 22, 2007


I disagree. I've just created a great site and I think its coolness deserves a self link. So I like Matt's new standard.
posted by Justinian at 5:22 PM on December 22, 2007


rtha writes "If the banhammer isn't going to get dropped, I think this guy should at least get a warning email and a Merry Frakkin' Christmas suspension of his account."

Well if Matt isn't going to everyone else could (send him a warning email that is).

koeselitz writes "'No self-linking unless the site is good' seems like a bad precedent to set, given the amount testing it seems to ask for."

This isn't a policy change, Matt has on several occasions let a borderline self link slide if he felt it was up to MF standards. After all the self link guideline is in place to stop the crap.
posted by Mitheral at 5:23 PM on December 22, 2007


Mitheral is right. Matt's let a few slide in the past. If it only happens once every year/two years or so, it's nothing to worry about.
posted by iconomy at 5:27 PM on December 22, 2007


Maybe Matt hasn't banned the guy because he's actually enjoying a Christmas Vacation? Maybe he should be banned, but this doesn't seem like a super-pressing issue.
posted by delmoi at 6:41 PM on December 22, 2007


And, speaking of a self-link.
posted by delmoi at 6:42 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am enjoying a xmas vacation of sorts, but that seo douchebag is banned.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:50 PM on December 22, 2007


Wow, pb had to delete it. The mods must be having a really merry christmas indeed.
posted by puke & cry at 6:52 PM on December 22, 2007


Hey, I beat pb to the punch! (his reason overwrote mine)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:58 PM on December 22, 2007


Is this the place to mention my new web site?
posted by maxwelton at 7:01 PM on December 22, 2007


Hey, I was just about to get that!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:02 PM on December 22, 2007


I was totally out at dinner and completely not even competing to delete that, which is why the deletion reason was mild-mannered rather than MIND-BLOWINGLY AWESOME.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:04 PM on December 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hey, I beat pb to the punch! (his reason overwrote mine)

And so it begins.

*hunkers down in bunker, trembling*
posted by mediareport at 7:06 PM on December 22, 2007


Nuke the whole site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by clevershark at 7:15 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is it just me, or is six the canonical number of comments spammy self-linkers make before making their big move? It seems like every time I go back to check out the history of a banhammer victim, it's six posts along the line of "Ha ha this is very good post I have much laugh" and then WHAM.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 7:39 PM on December 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


(NOT RACIST!)
posted by thinman at 7:44 PM on December 22, 2007


You remember that one time when that one guy posted that one thing?
posted by Sailormom at 8:04 PM on December 22, 2007


You remember that one time when that one guy posted that one thing?

Yeah, that was cool.
posted by amyms at 8:16 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


*Breathes on fingernails, buffs them on lapel*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:35 PM on December 22, 2007


L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg, I could be wrong, but I'm waiting for it.
posted by stagewhisper at 8:39 PM on December 22, 2007


It was Col. Mustard, in the Blue Room, with the Pb pipe wot did it!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:41 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


i've said it before, but a self-link brings out the snarky, chewy heart of metafilter. portobello, lest we forget, 12/11/05.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 11:13 PM on December 22, 2007


MC Hammer is perhaps the most misunderstood artist of the early 90s.

You know that song, "Can't Touch This"? At the time, you thought it was a song for getting a funky dance move on. Alas, no. It was a plea for help. The key to the whole song was when Hammer uttered the phrase "Stop, Hammer time!" You see, he wasn't informing you that this was, in fact, his time to shine. No. He was actually begging you to put a stop to Hammer Time. What he referred to as "Hammer Time" was actually the breakneck pace that his life had taken on - the constant performing, the recording, the promoting, it all took its toll. Things were moving at the speed of light for poor Hammer, and he just couldn't take it anymore. He was heading for a full-on mental breakdown, which is why he warned you that he was ready to "break it down." The title of the song itself referred to his unfortunate predicament - as much as he wanted to help himself, as much as he wished that someone would reach out and lend him a hand, his life was on a collision course with sadness, and there was no possible way to "touch this."

While he may have come off as a brash pop artist, the name of his hit album, "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'em," refers to the sensitive artist that was suffering inside. While some may have mistaken name this as a plea for MC Hammer not to hurt an unnamed adversary, it was actually the artist's plea that we not dash his poor soul upon the rocks of fame and stardom. Yes, we could subject him to the rigors of the limelight - go ahead, hammer a bit! - but for crying out loud, please don't hurt 'em. Don't let him burn out comlpetely and become another Behind The Music cautionary tale!

But did you listen?! Did you listen?! What did you do at the time?! Did you spare a moment from your nintendo-playing, roller-rink-cruising, mall-hanging-out, hypercolor-wearing life to think about poor MC Hammer and his struggle for identity? NO YOU DID NOT! YOU DID NOT! OH, YOU HAMMERED, ALRIGHT! OH DID YOU EVER HAMMER! BUT YOU ALSO HURT 'EM! YOU HURT 'EM GOOD!

And now here you are, like sinners in the hands of an angry god, awaiting final judgement for the uncaring, thoughtless way that you treated such an insightful and gifted artist. MAY THE LORD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL!

And if you have learned anything from this experience, you will kneel down this very moment and pray. For that is what one must do to make it today.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:15 PM on December 22, 2007 [11 favorites]


So, it's later, and I'm definitely tipsy, but we ate all the popcorn, and I still have no idea where my pitchfork is.

Is this self-linker banned or suspended or anything yet? Has there been tarring and feathering and pitchforking?

*passes out face-down in bowl of burnt kernels*
posted by rtha at 12:09 AM on December 23, 2007


Afroblanco, from now on, in my head, your name will be Patrick Bateman.
posted by Addlepated at 12:18 AM on December 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


You remember that one time when that one guy posted that one thing?

You know who else
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:24 AM on December 23, 2007


mumkin, of course a banning is done to the tune of Emigrant Song!
I never realised until your suggestion.
posted by jouke at 2:15 AM on December 23, 2007


Afroblanco, can you explain the title of Push it too? And why they were called Salt 'n Peppa?
posted by jouke at 2:18 AM on December 23, 2007


It's actually mispunctuated. Should have been Pu' shit.

Pu' shit real good!
posted by flabdablet at 2:31 AM on December 23, 2007


Dillonlikescookies, Portobello wasn't a self-link, but just a case of a newbie not quite getting the site. She died some months later, but not before reaching the point of being quite amused by her inadvertent contribution to the MeFi lore. *pours one on the moss for MiHai*
posted by taz at 3:55 AM on December 23, 2007


I think it's a cool enough site and concept to be worth sticking around.

This is a terrible rationalization. If it's so cool, let somebody else post it. I'm all in favor of Xmas cheer, but letting self-linkers (and repeat offenders at that) get away with it sucks.

/Scrooge
posted by languagehat at 5:41 AM on December 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


Now, perhaps this is just me, and perhaps its with the benefit of call-out hindsight, but the actual post actually reads like a lazy cut and paste of their press release. So much so that the post admits the poster's ownership/involvement.

Of course, it's possible that this is nothing more than a copy and paste of the actual content of the site -- I wouldn't know because all I get when I visit the site using Firefox with AdMuncher is a blank, white page.

Either way, it's a fail on every level.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:07 AM on December 23, 2007


FFS. Ban him, damn it!
posted by ryanrs at 9:30 AM on December 23, 2007


jouke: Oh yeah.
(NOT a literalist!)
posted by mumkin at 9:37 AM on December 23, 2007


Dude needs to be banned. Christmas time self-links are the worse.
posted by chunking express at 9:42 AM on December 23, 2007


Is it just me, or is six the canonical number of comments spammy self-linkers make before making their big move?

The three comments rule gets them to click on a few threads. MetaFilter is quality, and the probability of this idiot with an idea stumbling across a post and/or discussion they actually enjoys is high enough that they actually start to enjoy the site. Then, whoop! A few more comments and the dumbass remembers The Purpose. Sadly, at this point the connection between the quality enjoyed and restriction on self-links is not realized, and a bannable offense is perpetrated.

Or, three for before and three to defend. Then they're axed. I think that's more likely.
posted by carsonb at 9:54 AM on December 23, 2007


Oh, and I wonder what lsemel has to say about all this? Maybe Lee is repentant. Maybe he read this thread and fled. MeFiMail rocks!
posted by carsonb at 9:57 AM on December 23, 2007


You know what else doesn't have a shelf life? White creme de menthe.

Which I know, because I found a bottle in the back of the cabinet and am experimenting with it at present for a possible Christmas cocktail.

1 part white creme de menthe
1 part peppermint schnapps
1 part milk (or cream? I don't have any of that tho. It would be frothier if I did.)
2 parts vodka

Does this already exist? It must, as I feel there are almost no new libations under the sun. Does it already have a name? Can we make one? (please don't suggest anything "-tini")

I have this Peppermint Snow from Williams-Sonoma, maybe I could sprinkle a dash on top.

For the record, I find thinman's sleuthing to be well done. And I disagree that "because it only happens once or twice a year, it's okay" is a good precedent. Would have preferred a statement of "Because I am El Jefe, I am letting this one slide because it amuses me" -- which is at least not a position that the next self-linking genius will decide he/she can slither around.
posted by pineapple at 10:44 AM on December 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's kind of similar to an Iceberg, subbing vodka for Goldschlager.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 12:53 PM on December 23, 2007


Oooh, that looks tasty, pineapple. My drink du jour is 2 parts mint bailey's to one part vodka, add milk to taste, serve over ice.

To keep on topic, I loved the forms site but if it's a self- or even selfish-link it should be wiped.
posted by jtron at 1:07 PM on December 23, 2007


Now, perhaps this is just me, and perhaps its with the benefit of call-out hindsight, but the actual post actually reads like a lazy cut and paste of their press release.

That's what really makes me want to wallop this douche-in-a-pear-tree with a Louisville Slugger: that smarmy, chirpy, patronizing "I am really not trying to sell you something, now bend over" PR press release tone.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:42 PM on December 23, 2007


There's definitely some shady things going on, but unlike the last lame post, I thought PepsiGreen was well done. That someone would post it here so early in its life raised my suspicions, but I think it's tasty enough to be worth sticking around.
posted by googly at 4:09 PM on December 23, 2007


This is Dave K from Magnetism - I just found this thread, and thought I'd weigh in to clear things up. Lee is not involved with Magnetism Studios or the Bureau of Communication.

To clarify, he saw the site at Jelly on friday, and asked us if it would be OK if he posted it to metafilter. we're always happy when people like our stuff and want to spread the word. We didn't put Lee up to the post, and he didn't put us up to this - we found this thread after following some referral logs and comments links.

Lastly, Lee's a good guy. I think Lee posted the site because he legitimately liked it, I don't think he has any ulterior motives.

Dave

PS: Glad you guys like the site. In the future, I recommend using the airing of grievance form. It can be very cathartic!
posted by davidk at 7:17 PM on December 23, 2007


Thank you Dave. Please wait while hell is unleashed.
posted by Jofus at 8:45 PM on December 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


Doesn't matter if he's not 'directly' involved with the site, Dave. It's fairly obvious that he knows you guys on a rather intimate level, which is on the wrong side of the self link fence around here. He's been a member here long enough that he should know that, and combined with the previous bullshit posts he's pulled should be reason enough for a disabling of his account.

Oh, and by the way, you should refrain from signing yr posts. Just ask Todd Lokken.
posted by item at 10:12 PM on December 23, 2007


mathowie writes "Hey, I beat pb to the punch! (his reason overwrote mine)"

So the question is, is this a deliberate feature coded into the admin panel by pb or merely an oversight?
posted by Mitheral at 11:33 PM on December 23, 2007


Self-linking also appropriates the use of MetaFilter as your guestbook. If you just wrote a thought provoking piece and want to get feedback on it, try Blogger or Typepad, which allows you to add comment functionality and community interaction to your own site. Don't link to friends' or family members' sites.

Unless it goes over well. Between this and hearing a Metafilter ad on the radio yesterday (Sounds of Young America, brought to you by Metafilter . . . .), I can't help but feel the site is becoming less about the links and more about Mathowie's bankroll.
posted by landis at 7:23 AM on December 24, 2007


"Because I am El Jefe, I am letting this one slide because it amuses me"

I like pb's civility, but Matt, you gotta steal this line and use it next time you let a self-linker live.
posted by quin at 7:47 AM on December 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I probably shouldn't be saying anything else. Admittedly, I'm not part of the MetaFilter community (I paid for a membership just so I could add these posts). I just want to clear up what actually happened. The reality is that I didn't even know Lee's name up until this thread came up. He was just one of the many guys who came to a work social. He's a nice guy who posted a cool site that he saw at a coworking event. Now, he's being punished for that, so I figured it would be good to speak up.

In his defense, and the defense of future posters, I do think that people should be able to post links to the sites of people who they have actually met in person. People have to find out about new sites somehow and blogs aren't the only way to do it. Moreover, it seems like the site was well-received your community, and thus a quality link. While I agree that friend posting can problematic, and I don't know about any shady business in Lee's posting history, I just want to make it clear that it's not the case here.

Now, I hear it's christmas eve, and I think I'm going to turn off my computer for a while.
posted by davidk at 7:48 AM on December 24, 2007


I do think that people should be able to post links to the sites of people who they have actually met in person.

The rule isn't about not linking to people you've met, it's about linking to friends/associates/coworkers and/or something you have been involved in. In short, where the connection between you and the person who created the content might be close enough that it eeps you from having an objective assssment of the content. That's the intent anyhow.

I haven't followed the trail of who-linked-to-who's-what here but the rule isn't going to change. The intent of the rule is to keep people from posting meh stuff just because they really like the person who created the site, and to keep SEO spammer dickheads from filling the site up with drek and/or SEO linkspam. Mathowie has, a few times in MeFi history, made exceptions. This is one of those times.

No one is being punished. We've got notes in both accounts basically pointing out this shady set of associations so that we know what they are going forward and we'll let both of them know that friend/associate linking needs to pass the smell test better than it has in the past.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:01 AM on December 24, 2007


You can put notes on users accounts? Can we appeal those?
posted by item at 9:40 AM on December 24, 2007


hearing a Metafilter ad on the radio yesterday (Sounds of Young America, brought to you by Metafilter . . . .)

This is a joke, right?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:18 AM on December 24, 2007


This is a joke, right?

I don't think so. The SoYA guy is a MeFite and I think mathowie chipped in some money to keep his podcast going. Also, iirc, Jesse is interviewed in the next MeFi podcast.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:33 AM on December 24, 2007


If I hear "brought to you by Metafilter," I don't know whether I'm smashing my radio or my computer. All's I know is, there's a-gonna be some violence.
posted by languagehat at 10:41 AM on December 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that how I felt, LH. It seems to this relative noob that between the new profile crap and the "it's okay if it's good" attitude to self-linking, mathowie hopes to turn the place into a myspace/digg hybrid then wait for the money to roll in.
posted by landis at 10:58 AM on December 24, 2007


Snarc!
posted by katillathehun at 11:07 AM on December 24, 2007


You ain't a pimp and you ain't a hustler
A pimp's got a Cadi and a lady's got a Chrysler
Black's got respect, and white's got his soul train
Mama's got cramps, baby look at your hands shake
(I heard the news today, oh boy)
posted by Sailormom at 11:16 AM on December 24, 2007


I can't help but feel the site is becoming less about the links and more about Mathowie's bankroll.

landis, I don't see how those two things turn me into money grubbing scum instantly in your mind. I help underwrite a public radio program. It's as much a donation to a non-profit as it is an advertisement -- I just wanted to support a show I like instead of just throwing a few bucks into a whole station's coffers and a side-benefit is that it's mentioned on the show, which is played on a few markets around the country (I just listen to the podcast and wanted to support that). I interviewed Jesse for the next podcast and I explain the whole thing, about how I see a lot of myself in him and how he is struggling to do this own thing like I was 5+ years ago. And before you accuse me of interviewing him to further promote mefi as digg/myspace clone, several members asked me to interview him as a general semi-famous person that happens to be a member like adam savage.

And as it has been shown upthread, once each year or two, some post that has shades of self-linking is left up because the content is actually good and members appreciate the site. I know this violates THE RULES in some people's minds but that's why we have guidelines instead of absolute rules (because rare exceptions are worth letting through once in a blue moon). It sounds like the person that posted it wasn't connected to the site creator if they don't know each other personally and we take them at their word.

How that somehow is evidence that I want to build a myspace/digg clone escapes me.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:26 AM on December 24, 2007


Matt, I appreciate you wanting to help out a younger you; I just found it stunning to hear the commercial at the end of the broadcast. Why couldn't you have made an "anonymous" donation to the show, just like any other listener? Has Mefi come to such a pass that you must start advertising for members?

I'll leave the whole post/self-link thing alone; your decision is what it is.

But all the bells and whistles that have been added around here recently could certainly be mistaken for slapping on a new coat of paint before the house goes up for sale. As I said previously, I still think of myself as a newbie around here, and yet my user number puts me close to the middle of the pack in terms of members. I'm not sure what I'm trying to get at here; perhaps it's a feeling that I think many here have: Mefi is changing for no good reason. Or at least, for reasons that many think are the wrong ones.
posted by landis at 11:52 AM on December 24, 2007


all the bells and whistles that have been added around here recently could certainly be mistaken for slapping on a new coat of paint before the house goes up for sale

The only thing that has changed is that we can roll out changes quicker (1 week instead of 1 year) because I have an extra set of (real) programming hands on it. I'm not trying to sell the site, there are a thousand crazy money-making schemes I could be doing that I'm not (I turn down more ads than I take these days), and I'm simply adding things people are asking for to make the site a little nicer. You'll never, ever see a "mefi this post" button on another site, something I certainly would do if I were interested in becoming digg/myspace. Community sites rarely get bought out and even rarer survive a buyout so if I could plan my perfect life out, it will never, ever change hands.

Stuff like last.fm, flickr, and twitter are there for good reasons. People are into music, take good photos, and find microblogging useful. User pics are another obvious feature from ten years ago. None of these things are done to make the site more lucrative.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:21 PM on December 24, 2007


I disagree. My user pic makes the site more lucrative.
posted by item at 12:28 PM on December 24, 2007


Maybe it's the rapid rate of recent change (see what I did there?) that throws many people; I know it throws me. Having said all this, I have to go; Matt, and everyone else, have a good holiday if at all possible (that's as close as I get to "Merry Xmas!") I do like this site, and I'm glad it's here.

And Matt, if you really want to clean up, send me a mefimail; I've got an idea that'll be bigger than e-gold! Talk about a ground-floor opportunity!
posted by landis at 12:39 PM on December 24, 2007


Well, whatever I guess. Just don't let this fuckhead self-link a 3rd time and get away with it, ok?
posted by puke & cry at 2:15 PM on December 24, 2007


The recent changes certainly threw me (of course, I don't weigh much).
posted by Nabubrush at 8:16 PM on December 24, 2007


What is the difference between a podcaster self-linking on MetaFilter and MetaFilter self-linking on a podcast?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:36 PM on December 24, 2007


MetaFilter used to be a nice little "underground" community of bright, literate folk. Now it's a massive, commercially-advertised(?) semi-community of bright, literate folk.

Actually, if I've any current beef, it's that things move waaaaay too quick now. When I hit the front page, most of the posts already have massive threads in them.

Maybe we're headed the way of Usenet. When I first started participating in Internet messaging, one could read the entirety of alt.sex each day. It had a community of recognizable participants, like Elf Sternberg, who were well-spoken, well-informed, and well-respected.

But the network had an exponential growth curve, and alt.sex became entirely impossible to read in its entirety. And then the recognizable participants mostly moved on, and a massive influx of loud-mouthed gits swarmed the media, and then the death of everything good — commercialism, in the form of newsgroup spamming — made it unusable.

I think we're a good way from that point, though. There'd have to be some pretty striking changes made to MetaFilter policy for it to get quite that bad. (I question whether it can handle a higher capacity of front page posting; I suspect the admins are going to have to start selecting them manually before long.)
posted by five fresh fish at 10:51 PM on December 24, 2007


I have a few entiretys left over. If you want me to spare you a few, just ask. I don't need to keep the entire lot of them, it'd be entirely too much.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:54 PM on December 24, 2007


It's ok, FFF, the internet sucks. Hopefully we will turn it off soon.

In the meantime, though, mushrooms!
posted by blacklite at 12:51 PM on December 25, 2007


Why couldn't you have made an "anonymous" donation to the show, just like any other listener? Has Mefi come to such a pass that you must start advertising for members?

Why does donating to a podcast = advertising for members?
posted by pineapple at 1:56 PM on December 25, 2007


It wasn't the donation, it was the advertisement at the end of the radio show (brought to you by Metafilter . . . blah, blah, blah, Metafilter.com, blah, blah) that seemed to be, well, advertising.
posted by landis at 2:59 PM on December 25, 2007


It's PUBLIC FUCKING RADIO, a NONPROFIT media outlet. It's not Clear Channel, it's not News Corp, it's PUBLIC FUCKING RADIO.

Please repeat this to yourself until it sinks in.
posted by item at 10:06 PM on December 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


And again, how is that any different than self-linking on MeFi?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:39 PM on December 25, 2007


Nonprofit doesn't mean that no one makes any money off it.
posted by landis at 11:41 PM on December 25, 2007


That is to say: . . . an NPO may accept, hold and disburse money and other things of value. It may also legally and ethically trade at a profit.
posted by landis at 11:45 PM on December 25, 2007


And again, how is that any different than self-linking on MeFi?

I assumed you were kidding before. Self-linking on MeFi is a guideline of how to behave in a certin online setting. The reasoning behind it is that we don't want people to use MeFi to hype their own stuff, SEO using MeFi's page rank or use MeFi to launch their viral advertising nonsense. Most self-links are also bad. Linking to a friend or close-associate's stuff is frowned upon because often people are not the best judge of their friends' stuff [or are helping their friend do any of the above]. Some friend links are also bad, some are not. Back when the site was teeny and all the FPPs were by mathowie, he was the arbiter of what was okay to go on the front page. Now there are a bunch of guidelines that help people grok what is and is not a good front page post for MeFi. At the end of the day though, mathowie gdoes have veto power. He's made decisions that go against the guidelines that were set up maybe a handful of times. Seriously. I can think of maybe two other times this has happened.

The SoYA guy is a MeFite who does a podcast that mathowie and a lot of other MeFites listen to. Matt chipped in some money to help him keep the podcast afloat. So, it was a sponsored show and that's how the sponsored shows do things. No one's shilling for more members. No one's breaking the rules to forward their own crappy agenda.

It's different from self-linking on MeFi in that THEY'RE TWO TOTALLY COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS. SoYA doesn't have rules against self-linking. Self-linking makes no sense in a podcast format. Saying thanks for a donation/sponsorship in a contextually appropriate fashion does not mean mathowie's looking for places to advertise the site (he's not, did you read what he wrote "if I could plan my perfect life out, it will never, ever change hands") anywhere else. I don't really know what else to tell you. Unless you think it's an ad even if the person who put it there doesn't think it's an ad in which case, well we're at a semantic impasse.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:44 AM on December 26, 2007


Here's something to try. Take the copy that was read at the end of SOYA (which I've been trying to find, but the show isn't up yet), substitute "Chevrolet" for each instance of "Metafilter", replace the copy describing Mefi w/ copy describing the new line of Chevy SUV's, and read the result at the end of any broadcast.

Then try to explain how that's not an advertisement for Chevrolet.

I don't think this is a sematic imp ass, as Fred Colin would say.
posted by landis at 8:30 AM on December 26, 2007


And I understand that Matt says he will never sell the site. But the crasser part of me has to point out that simply increasing membership by, say, implementing a host of whiz bang user features and subtly placing Mefi ads in other media would boost the bottom line significantly over time. I'm not saying that Matt has a master plan to go big w/ Mefi; I'm just saying that, to someone from the outside looking in, all these recent developments could certainly be construed as same. Which is what I meant by my comment about mathowie's bankroll.
posted by landis at 8:55 AM on December 26, 2007


And make that Fred Colon; that'll teach me to show off w/ fancy literary references.
posted by landis at 9:00 AM on December 26, 2007


I guess I'm not quite getting where the actual problem is. Worrying that hypothetical people who don't know enough about the site to know that Matt isn't trying to sell it might think based on their lack of context that Matt is trying to sell it, but who necessarily have pretty much zero involvement with or effect on the site seems like shades of beanplate.

Not saying the question of perception isn't interesting, but, yeah, I'm not really clear if there's actually a line in the sand here or where it would be and who would be in danger of crossing it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:15 AM on December 26, 2007


Unless it's really important for you to be the "I told you so" guy in the distant future, I'm with cortex here. Are you saying mathowie isn't even AWARE that he's on some Slippery Slope to Selloutland?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:34 AM on December 26, 2007


landis I can assure you that $5 from new memberships doesn't outweigh the cost of underwriting a show. That's why I don't consider it advertising because I lose money on it but I'm fine with supporting a show I like (much like how I donate to friends' causes, buy albums and art, etc to help support them).

That's why I wrote a reply in the first place. Calling a radio mention/ad and a few features a myspace/digg clone ready to sell astounds me.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:38 AM on December 26, 2007


I can see how it would be jarring to suddenly hear your favorite Community Weblog get mentioned in a place normally reserved for the likes of Archer Daniels Midland, but SOYA isn't Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser, and its audience is likely very simpatico with MeFi. If anyone joins as a result of hearing that underwriting nod, they'll probably be a welcome addition to the community. Personally, I'm glad to hear that mathowie's contributing to worthy causes in the name of MeFi.

I realize that there's a shed-load of unused, sharpened pitchforks just lying around this thread, landis, but I think you've got the wrong target. Let's go find us some self-linkers and ask 'em if they're feeling lucky.
posted by mumkin at 10:30 AM on December 26, 2007


I give up. Lead the way, mumkin. I've got your back.
posted by landis at 11:10 AM on December 26, 2007


I don't care if you give up, landis, I've been following your folly for the last couple days and I must vent. This late in the year, you have come through with the single stupidest callout of 2007.

Personally, I am a non-repentant self-promoter (Let me show you my pokemonsblogs) because, years ago, before MetaFilter was even a glimmer in Matt's eye (or a mote), I learned that in our advertising-inundated society, it is virtually impossible and generally impractical to be a non-profit purist. I have also learned that in this advertising-inundated society, anything less than totally whoring yourself out is not profitable. And simply participating in the Internet and other media as they now exist will place you in situations that may appear 'over-commercialized'. But Matt is still miles away from the 'whoring yourself out' point and the slope, while downhill, is not very slippery and has numerous plateaus along the way (way to overuse an analogy, wendell!). So, non-profit foundations with nothing to sell, megacorporations selling nothing in particular but trying to improve their images and products you can buy at WalMart all underwrite Public Radio programs and get pretty much the same boring-announcer-blurb for it. It doesn't make MetaFilter the same as Chevrolet or Ask MetaFilter the same as a Chevy SUV.

As for turning MetaFilter into a "digg/myspace clone"... you blithering idiot, have you ever actually seen those two sites? Not only do they have damned little in common with MetaFilter, they have almost nothing in common with each other, making your wording appear doubly stupid. Anything considered "social" on the Web is being lumped together under the poorly used title "Web 2.0". And MetaFilter is very much "social"... it's a Community site. But since co-op ownership of websites does not exist, this Community has a single owner and we're all tenants here. But damn, Matt is the best Virtual Landlord I have ever encountered. And unlike physical communities, it's easy-peasy to move out and very common to have residences in multiple communities without being a millionaire.

Embellishing and improving the technology "Web 2.0-wise" is absolutely NOT the same as adopting the same corporate ethos of digg, myspace, boingboing, slashdot, fark, facebook or even craigslist. Matt has employed ONE programmer/designer, not a Google-office-full. And I, for one, am delighted that he has built up the resources in this enterprise enough to do so. If you aren't, go somewhere else. If you can't find anyplace better (which you probably can't), build your own, based on your own overly-simplistic principles, and good luck. You'll need it.
posted by wendell at 12:05 PM on December 26, 2007


you blithering idiot, have you ever actually seen those two sites?

My actual words were "a myspace/digg hybrid", not clone. Hybrid in the sense of combining a social network with a link dump. As in "you got your peanut butter in my chocolate" or "two, two, two mints in one!" My wording appears "doubly stupid" only if you can't fucking read.

. . . anything less than totally whoring yourself out is not profitable.

Years ago, before Metafilter was even a glimmer in Matt's eye, I learned that any society that was driven by greed and stupidity wasn't worth taking part in. Of course, I myself may be stupid, in that I cannot recall any decision I have ever made being weighed in terms of "profitability" in the sense that you use the word "profit."

But since co-op ownership of websites does not exist, this Community has a single owner and we're all tenants here.


All posts are © their original authors. The percentage of the site that has a single "owner" is left up to you to decide.

And simply participating in the Internet and other media as they now exist will place you in situations that may appear 'over-commercialized'.


the chariest maiden is prodigal enough,
if she unmask her beauty to the moon;
Virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes:

Things appear 'over-commercialized' only when everyone is trying to turn a buck. And the temptation to capitalize fully on one's effort is, while understandable, not in a community's best interest.

I could argue things point by point 'til the cows come home, but what's the use. Yes, wendell, it's a whore's world. And you look gorgeous under the streetlamp.
posted by landis at 2:35 PM on December 26, 2007


So I guess that answers the question posed in the title of this thread. Callouts have a shelf life.



Close 'er up, boys.
posted by item at 3:33 PM on December 26, 2007


Did landis just flame out? Or was it... murrrder?
posted by thinman at 3:44 PM on December 26, 2007


I make it a point to admit when I make mistakes (even in the heat of annoyance), so my apologies for the "myspace/digg clone" misinterpretation; it was not your wording, but rather mathowie's, in his response to you, but you didn't correct him. I still would argue that any resemblance between MetaFilter as it now exists and a bastard offspring of those two sites in particular is a figment of your fevered imagination.

All posts are © their original authors. The percentage of the site that has a single "owner" is left up to you to decide.
The site's owner is the one to whom the domain is registered, who owns or leases the physical server space, who designed and set up the means by which our © posts can be added to the site. And who can, if he chooses, delete everything and re-build MetaFilter as a "myspace/digg hybrid" if he wishes. Which he, obviously to everyone but you, does not wish. And before you claim a share of ownership here, first try deleting your own comments without Matt-or-his-direct-employees' help.

Years ago, before Metafilter was even a glimmer in Matt's eye, I learned that any society that was driven by greed and stupidity wasn't worth taking part in.
So how do you get Internet access from your desert island? (And please don't tell me you're eight minutes away from the greatest fishing... I prefer to deal with one asshat at a time)
posted by wendell at 3:57 PM on December 26, 2007


Oh my... thinman posted while I was writing my last comment. For the record, I did not pull the trigger... I have no authority here to do so... I don't own the place. However, if I provided the last straw to the camel's back before he PUSHED THE BIG SHINY RED BUTTON, I accept the responsibility... or credit, if you prefer.
posted by wendell at 4:09 PM on December 26, 2007


I'd prefer we dropped it, really. I may not agree with landis' take on the situation upthread, but you were pretty obnoxious in that big reply to him for, as far as I can tell, no good reason.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:49 PM on December 26, 2007


Was it really worth driving Landis off MetaFilter, guys?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:10 PM on December 26, 2007


One of the reasons Metafilter is as good as it is: Matt can make a living from it, and support jessamyn, pb, and cortex to greater or lesser extents as well. Without moderation this community would be a steaming heap--or would get there fairly quickly. Even the most dedicated volunteer eventually gives up or finds a new interest. So more power to whatever level of advertising it takes to keep things going. If the community changes for the worse over time, it will probably be self-correcting.
posted by maxwelton at 5:15 PM on December 26, 2007


Damn, summa y'alls is sum mean sumuvvabitches.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:17 PM on December 26, 2007


Yeah, but we have fun, don't we?
posted by item at 5:52 PM on December 26, 2007


.
posted by mumkin at 8:44 PM on December 26, 2007


Hi,

This is the Lee, and it's my post that spawned this thread, which I just found out about today.

I'm really sorry because it looks like I violated some of the rules of posting on Metafilter, which I didn't intend to do.

When I posted the Bureau of Communications link, I did check the posting guidelines, and the warning on the posting page, which says that "linking to your own site or a project you worked on in this space will result in a deletion" and read over what makes a good post on the guidelines page. I obviously haven't be involved enough to know that you are not supposed to post links to projects or sites you find out about from people you know in the real world (even if you don't stand to gain anything, or have any financial stake in them) which is what I did. The other posts you dug up from Matt fall in a similar category.

I've never read the MetaTalk forum until today, but from reading it, and from reading this thread, it looks like the rule is that you are not supposed to post sites from anyone you know in real life, and that any new site makes an especially suspect post.

In light of what I've read here, I would agree that these are not good posts and in I'm sorry if I've violated any written or unwritten rules about what to post. Overall, I've never intended to post things that people wouldn't genuinely like.

I've really enjoyed Metafilter and Ask Metafilter over the years, above most of the other online communities I've encountered, which tend to be filled with spam, flaming, and other garbage which makes them less fun to use and less valuable.
(A long time ago I wrote a blog post about how well MeFi/AskMeFi work compared to every other "community site" because of the dedication of the people who run it.)

Because I've gotten so much out of these sites, I would hate to think that my posts have been contributing to make the quality of content worse, rather than better. Everyone here obviously cares a lot about what goes on the site and wants to keep it full of quality, intelligent, literate, and interesting posts. Feel free to delete these posts or do what you have to do to ensure MeFi continues to offer good content.

Lee
posted by lsemel at 12:53 PM on January 7, 2008


Thanks, Lee. We're a little leery of apologies after the Holden nonsense, but yours sounds honest and heartfelt. Yeah, the idea is that you can't be objective about stuff done by people you know. It seems to be hard for people to grasp, but it's important—enough crap gets posted as it is! Not that yours was crap, of course, which is why Matt let it live.
posted by languagehat at 1:41 PM on January 7, 2008


Thanks languagehat. I think it would be helpful (for people who either newish or don't post all that often, and who don't read MetaTalk) to make what you just said very explicit when people are posting. If it said that posting links related to people you have any sort of real-life contact with are considered suspicious and bad--regardless of your degree of affiliation with their project--that would be helpful in conveying the rules and ensuring objectivity in people's posts. Without having seen this thread and looking through MetaTalk, I wouldn't have realized it.
posted by lsemel at 2:45 PM on January 7, 2008


If it said that posting links related to people you have any sort of real-life contact with are considered suspicious and bad--regardless of your degree of affiliation with their project

Lee, part of the issue here is that that isn't really correct. There's a general prohibition about posting things you are close to, with the degree of prohibition loosely correlating to the degree of proximity.

So there was a bad reaction to the Bureau post, because people suspected you were very close to it, which they suspected because you have a bad history on the subject. At two weeks out I'm half-blank on this now, but what I took from this is that you weren't particularly close to the Bureau project—probably far enough out that it wouldn't have been a problem out of context.

But the context! You posted this, previously, phrasing it like a chance discovery rather than a plug for a project of a friend of yours. That was not cool, and people around here have a long memory. By all accounts, you could have been banned without a second thought, but we thought it was maybe half-misunderstanding and ultimately left you alone about it.

That's where the scrutiny came from.

Another weird blip, and this I wouldn't mind an answer to, is what your relationship to MattS is. That's, honestly, a tremendously fishy situation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:12 PM on January 7, 2008


The internet has made us boring.
posted by koeselitz at 11:16 AM on January 8, 2008


I was boring before there was an internet.
posted by flabdablet at 2:17 PM on January 9, 2008


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