5 minutes of great reading. July 3, 2008 12:20 AM   Subscribe

Lest anyone miss it on the blue, this post needs to be added to the list of those that are referred to whenever someone asks what an excellent FPP looks like.
posted by allkindsoftime to MetaFilter-Related at 12:20 AM (195 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I hope not. While it's a fine piece of writing, an essay with a few throwaway links shoehorned in is not an FPP at all.
posted by cillit bang at 1:00 AM on July 3, 2008 [16 favorites]


It's a prime example of GYOFB.
posted by fire&wings at 1:41 AM on July 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


tl:dr
posted by chillmost at 2:20 AM on July 3, 2008


While it's a fine piece of writing, an essay with a few throwaway links shoehorned in is not an FPP at all.

What was clever was the five minutes angle, not the content, nor the subject matter, nor the writing, or the particular links selected (which were actually sort of lame.) Making the post long enough so the average reader would spend 5 minutes reading it (the same length of time Reynolds bought with the lives of the 1st Minnesota) made it a creative and original FPP in the way this was a creative and original FPP (with totally un-original content.)

It was, however, like the Star Wars FPP, a one off.

There is so little space for creativity in form on the Blue that forest well-deserves his kudos.
posted by three blind mice at 2:37 AM on July 3, 2008


It is but one style of great post (I loved it by the way). However, this was also a great post.
posted by caddis at 3:33 AM on July 3, 2008


Actually, forrest's post pretty much proves that there's no point trying to describe what an excellent FPP looks like. What's the goal, to get people to emulate this? How do you think that might work out?

He wrote it, it was a flash of brilliant guideline-breaking, and the favorites are piling up like dead Rebs, as they should. Let's just move on and not try to encourage people to be derivative.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 3:41 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Let's just move on and not try to encourage people to be derivative.

Absolutely. But by all means let's encourage them to be creative!

the favorites are piling up like dead Rebs

Badabing.
posted by three blind mice at 3:49 AM on July 3, 2008


That "excellent FPP" is close to unreadable for a non-American.

Or to put that better, the paragraph that appears on the front page does nothing to make me want to read any further. Unlike the opening of a newspaper article (which should effectively summarise or give the gist of what's coming), that paragraph - which presumably means something to an American - is just a jumble of crap with no context for me.

Gettysburg (ok, that's a battle in the civil war, yeh?) - Sickles (who?) - Cemetry Ridge (where? is that supposed to be famous for something?) - Union lines (wait, is Sickles Union or the other dudes?) - Wilcox? Lee? Longstreet? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE?

hm, more inside...HOLY MOTHER OF MERCY!! IT'S MORE OF THE SAME!!!
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:10 AM on July 3, 2008 [16 favorites]


dead rebs

my ancestors are rolling in their graves!


and still dead.
posted by pearlybob at 4:11 AM on July 3, 2008


(just sayin')
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:11 AM on July 3, 2008


Gettysburg (ok, that's a battle in the civil war, yeh?) - Sickles (who?) - Cemetry Ridge (where? is that supposed to be famous for something?) - Union lines (wait, is Sickles Union or the other dudes?) - Wilcox? Lee? Longstreet? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE?

To be fair, the very first link "Gettysburg" provides most of the context for people lacking it. I'm aware of and a strong opponent of the sometimes exclusive AmericaFilter, but I dont think this is a good example of that.
posted by vacapinta at 4:44 AM on July 3, 2008


Or to put that better, the paragraph that appears on the front page does nothing to make me want to read any further..... hm, more inside...HOLY MOTHER OF MERCY!! IT'S MORE OF THE SAME!!!

Made you look.
posted by three blind mice at 4:44 AM on July 3, 2008


Yeah, I also thought it was an excellent example of what an FPP should not look like. I don't have - (wait for it) -

all kinds of time.
posted by yhbc at 4:56 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


The flag of the 1st Minnesota falls 5 times and is picked up 5 times.

"FORGET THE ENEMY FIRE, SOMEBODY GET THE FLAAAAAAG!"

Sorry, sounds a little too much like Team Fortress 2 for me to take it very seriously. But, that's certainly a big post, and for the limited geographic appeal it possesses, I imagine it is profoundly interesting.

Happy Independence Day, though.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:56 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're a slave to a page in his post book.
posted by cashman at 4:57 AM on July 3, 2008


vacapinta - a lot of my gripe would have been swept away if the OP hadn't assumed that everybody knew who was on which side, and written something along the lines of "Union General Joe Sickles had taken his regiment ahead of the rest of his army's lines on the crucially strategic rocky outcrop known as Cemetry Hill, and found himself surrounded by the Confederate forces of Lee, Wilcox & Longstreet" (or whatever - I'm just making up who is on which side for the purposes of illustration).

Lee is at least familiar, from primary school songs ("waitin fo da robaht, waitin fo da robaht, waitin fo da robaht e leeeee" - all sung in blackface style, so he's gotta be from the south, right?) but fuck, it shouldn't be like a cryptic crossword just to work out the basics of what's going on.

Consider: "Ned Kelly had left Stringybark Creek with Scanlon on his tail, bound for Glenrowan. Little did he know, but the Victorians had sent a train full of police in his direction..."

Means nothing to you, right?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:58 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


To be fair, the very first link "Gettysburg" provides most of the context for people lacking it.

You mean the Wikipedia link? Yup, best of the web right there.
posted by ahughey at 5:03 AM on July 3, 2008


oh, and while i'm here, can somebody please answer something that's been in the back of my mind for years?

at what point did abe lincoln deliver his famous address? and how decisive was it in rousing the troops?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:04 AM on July 3, 2008


It was well after the battle. Not the next day or anything.
posted by subbes at 5:11 AM on July 3, 2008


That "excellent FPP" is close to unreadable for a non-American.

Don't worry, it was unreadable to many in the American Public School system.

The post was interesting, but it would not be a good idea to see lots of these. It's like the Sixth Sense, it might work once, but from then on the gimmick feels like a cheap, unimaginative hack.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:12 AM on July 3, 2008


You mean the Wikipedia link? Yup, best of the web right there.

Yeh, I'm not gonna trawl through that to find out what's going on.

Now that I've read the entire blurb in the FPP, it sounds like an interesting story, but perhaps a teaser would've worked better, like something along the lines of:

"Gettysburg was the decisive battle of the US Civil War. However, it could have turned out completely differently - with a victory for the southern Confederate forces, which would have changed American politics forever after - if not for a single quick decision, often overlooked by historians..."

And I'm genuinely disappointed that the address wasn't given in the heat of battle. Shakespeare would never have let such temporal nitpicking get in the way of a good story.

On preview: yeh, it's a one-off. I bags first dibs on the Waiting for Godot FPP concept.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:17 AM on July 3, 2008


A room. A blue screen.


Evening.




UbuRoivas, sitting on a low seat, is trying to craft an FPP. He types at it with both hands, panting.

He gives up, exhausted, rests, tries again.

As before.

Enter Vladimir.

UbuRoivas:
(giving up again). Nothing to be done.

VLADIMIR:
(advancing with short, stiff strides, legs wide apart). I'm beginning to come round to that opinion. All my life I've tried to put it from me, saying Vladimir, be reasonable, you haven't yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle. (He broods, musing on the struggle. Turning to UbuRoivas.) So there you are again.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:23 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Lest anyone miss it on the blue, this post needs to be added to the list of those that are referred to whenever someone asks the total opposite of what an excellent FPP looks like.

There. Fixed that for you.

*runs away, having angered the anti-'there i fixed that for you' members, the members who thought this was a great post, and the members who hate coy remarks in small text surrounded by asteriks. omg i just remembered.....i'm one of the people who hate small text surrounded by asteriks. ooops now I've angered the people who hate ellipsis use (especially when the wrong amount of dots are used), the people who hate internet abbreviations, and also the people who hate all lower-case typing. shit, I've also pissed off the spelling nazis, because I spelled asterisk incorrectly twice. jesus christ, now I've pissed off the people who abhor vugarites, the people who feel the use of "nazi" is in poor taste, and what the hell, now I've pissed off the atheists as well.*

But it's all okay, because...

I haven't had any coffee yet.
posted by iconomy at 5:28 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I thought what made it interesting was that I thought that there was going to be a post about something that was notable that happened on each day of Gettysburg. We got the first one by RussHy and then Forrest took the reigns. I look forward to seeing what happens in the blue about Day 3.
posted by josher71 at 5:30 AM on July 3, 2008


And you forgot to small-text the asterixed paragraph.

No coffee FAIL.
posted by yhbc at 5:31 AM on July 3, 2008


Yeah, no, not really my cup of tea.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:37 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed the post, but don't think it is sidebar or metatalk callout worthy. I think this here post shows how restrained most people were in the blue, most people who didn't like the post didn't comment. But post something here saying how great it is...then its okay to snark. Which is as it should be.

I like some of the essay type posts, I like posts to a single site where someone is doing something unique and creative on the web. There are a lot of posts I'm not interested in and don't read. I'm glad there is such a variety here.

As an American Civil War geek, I thought it was fun to have a Civil War post with a bunch of people arguing over left flank, right flank, Lee shoulda done this etc. Usually Civil War posts here turn into an argument about whether or not slavery caused the Civil War or why its okay to make of southern whites.
posted by marxchivist at 5:40 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Ned Kelly had left Stringybark Creek with Scanlon on his tail, bound for Glenrowan. Little did he know, but the Victorians had sent a train full of police in his direction..."

Means nothing to you, right?


But if you load it full of low-hanging links that I could easily find myself...

at what point did abe lincoln deliver his famous address? and how decisive was it in rousing the troops?

The tyrant Lincoln gave his swarmy speech months afterwards when the battlefield was being dedicated as a cemetary.

Meade gave a speech right after the battle to his assembled troops. Tried to get them to cheer. The men were not having any of it having spent the day recovering dead bodies and pieces thereof from the battlefield. Sort of like we are doing in this thread.
posted by three blind mice at 5:43 AM on July 3, 2008


Good point, marxchivist. I sure wasn't going to crap in the post itself, and I don't think anyone did, but this MeTa thread shows that absence of criticism doesn't always equal approval.
posted by yhbc at 5:45 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ned Kelly, the bushranger? Wasn't there a good FPP on Ned Kelly last year?
posted by RussHy at 5:49 AM on July 3, 2008


It seemed like a lot of people liked that post quite a lot. I was not one of those people but the people that did like it seem to have found it and be happy talking about it so hey, the system works!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:59 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Goodness, no. Posts like that are the reason I spend less time here.
posted by dobbs at 6:02 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh Hells No.
posted by chunking express at 6:09 AM on July 3, 2008


"FORGET THE ENEMY FIRE, SOMEBODY GET THE FLAAAAAAG!"

The US Civil War was fought in the waning days of formation fighting. The flags were important -- they told the average soldier where his unit was, and if he lost contact, he was supposed to use the flags to find his unit. Thus, the term "Rally 'round the Flag!" -- referring not to the US Flag, but to the unit's own colors.

Losing the colors basically meant losing the ability to control and reform the unit. It also evolved into a point of honor -- a unit who lost its colors was shamed. But the control aspect was the critical one. Break up a regiment, even with little casualties inflicted, but get the colors, and you've taken that regiment out of the fight, since it can't easily reform into good order.

Nowadays, colors are purely ceremonial -- we don't fight in formations, and soliders are taught to operate in much smaller groups, in direct contact with each other.
posted by eriko at 6:24 AM on July 3, 2008 [11 favorites]


Colors were usually given to the departing regiment in an elaborate public ceremony. The ladies of the town or county usually made the regimental flag and presented it. So there was a sense of "return with your shield or on it."
posted by marxchivist at 6:26 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


That "excellent FPP" is close to unreadable for a non-American.
I disagree, despite not being American or knowing much about U.S. history. I have no problem whatsoever with a local spin or assumption of knowledge on a U.S. story, just as I wouldn't be put off by a framing of a post set in Malaysia that treated me like an adult with reading comprehension and a bit of empathy. I only object to "U.S. filter" when a subject that is in fact not America-specific is framed that way.
I enjoyed the read and the history, but since the subject has been raised here, do not think it was a model post for the ages.
posted by Abiezer at 6:28 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I tried to read it and couldn't get interested through the fog of false historicism and war fetishism. A wikipedia link and a link to a single page from a "series of papers" did little to point to something interesting on the web. Then I looked inside and saw something even larger with less appeal for me. After it kept gaining favorites and comments I tried again, but it's simply not for me.

I didn't like it, lots of folk did. Like Cooter said, "the system works!"

(If that entire collection of "Glimpses of the Nation's Struggles" were linked to, that might be something special. "Glimpses of the Nations Struggles" is indexed at the Mollus War Papers. Some individual excerpts are available online, but not the entire thing as far as I'm aware.)
posted by ahughey at 6:39 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


And you forgot to small-text the asterixed paragraph.

No coffee FAIL.


Hello?? I said I hadn't had any coffee yet. It's a No Coffee WIN situ, baby. Anything I do incorrectly can be excused under the "no coffee yet" clause. Read the FAQ.
posted by iconomy at 6:42 AM on July 3, 2008


Like Cooter said

Don't.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:52 AM on July 3, 2008


Ned Kelly, the bushranger? Wasn't there a good FPP on Ned Kelly last year?

*searches*

shit, yeah! i must've been in Burma at the time.

Effigy2000 posted a FPP on Ned Kelly that shits all over that Gettysburg one, in just about every possible way. Plenty of great links, plus "Australia's answer to Robin Hood" in the front page bit should be enough of a hook to get people interested.

One gripe: "bushranger" probably means nothing outside of an Australian context. It translates into something like bandit or highway robber, with a strong overtone of being an escaped convict. Think wild west, think Jesse James, but with revolutionary aspect of oppressed Irish underclass v overbearing English colonialist rulers.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:53 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


RIDLIFIMO

Read it, didn't like it. Flagged it, moved on.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:55 AM on July 3, 2008


I really didn't cotton to it.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 6:59 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fussy little men in bow-ties, slavering with excitement over grim tales of human butchery and slaughter. What's not to love?
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:08 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've got to agree with UbuRoivas: It reads like Civil War fridge poetry.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:12 AM on July 3, 2008


I loved it. I've read through it three time now. Great post. Great comments. Best of the Web.
posted by RussHy at 7:14 AM on July 3, 2008


I loved it hated it. I've read through it three time now about halfway before rolling my eyes and moving on. Great Crap post. Great OK comments. Not exactly the best of the Web.

That said, I don't think it should be deleted or anything like that; it just isn't a model for what I am looking for here. But if a subset of users really like it and enjoy it, more power to them.
posted by Forktine at 7:28 AM on July 3, 2008


I haven't had any coffee yet.

You're that manic before coffee? Good God.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:34 AM on July 3, 2008


yhbc writes "Good point, marxchivist. I sure wasn't going to crap in the post itself, and I don't think anyone did, but this MeTa thread shows that absence of criticism doesn't always equal approval."

The weakness of the flagging system. I can't remember if I flagged it, but I was at least tempted.
posted by Mitheral at 7:37 AM on July 3, 2008


The variety of life must flow.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:38 AM on July 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Read it, didn't like it. Flagged it, moved on.

Really? You flagged it? Wow. I can certainly understand its not being everyone's cup of tea, but I can't really understand being that hostile to it unless you spend much of your time flagging the 98% of MeFi posts that don't live up to the Highest Possible Standards.
posted by languagehat at 7:47 AM on July 3, 2008


So, who's got the Gettysburg Day Three post for today?

*ducks*
posted by marxchivist at 7:55 AM on July 3, 2008


I think we all agree that we don't agree.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:59 AM on July 3, 2008


I liked it, I agree that it's probably not repeatable, and I didn't know any of the dramatis personae aside from Lee at the beginning but by the end I had figured it out.
posted by Skorgu at 8:01 AM on July 3, 2008


God, I hate this kind of thread. Someone likes or is moved by something, calls it out, people trip all over themselves to say ACTUALLY, that thing you like is so shitty it needs to be handled with rubber gloves on. Then other j-holes (myself included) whine and say, "can't you just LET IT EXIST, you lousy, lousy bastards, what did that nice thing ever do to you?!" and around and around it goes.

Fuck, I was all "MetaFilter is so great" while I was reading that thread about the Boingboing fiasco, and now I'm all "MetaFilter is so predictably crappy", and neither of them is true and I just don't know what to think.

As for the thread itself, I liked it quite a bit, but don't think it was the best of the best of the BEST. I agree with Languagehat, though. If that thread is not good enough, I just don't know what good enough is.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:02 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


You made my morning, you magnificent dork.
posted by Mister_A at 8:04 AM on July 3, 2008


I'll post something in five minutes after I kill ten thousand people
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 8:08 AM on July 3, 2008


what is a j-hole?

intrigued,

Jessamyn
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:08 AM on July 3, 2008


the ten thousand people who commented after marxchivist because I forgot to preview, that is
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 8:09 AM on July 3, 2008


damn
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 8:10 AM on July 3, 2008


but I can't really understand being that hostile to it unless you spend much of your time flagging the 98% of MeFi posts that don't live up to the Highest Possible Standards.

It doesn't even live up to the most basic standard - being a link to something interesting on the web. It could only have been a worse FPP if it had no links at all.

It's pretty obvious is that the kind of finely-crafted posts that attract lots of favorites and "Great FPP!" comments are the polar opposite of the kind of post that make the front page of Metafilter worth reading.
posted by cillit bang at 8:16 AM on July 3, 2008


"Really? You flagged it?"

I flag every post. I figure it makes Jess and cortex's days go by faster if they're kept busy.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:16 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


j-hole.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:17 AM on July 3, 2008


what is a j-hole?

J-hole is short for jack ass / ass hole. My answer isn't funny like dirtdirt's though.
posted by iconomy at 8:18 AM on July 3, 2008

Really? You flagged it?
Every time I tried to flag it, O'Brian picked the flag back up.
The post was interesting, but it would not be a good idea to see lots of these. It's like the Sixth Sense, it might work once, but from then on the gimmick feels like a cheap, unimaginative hack.
SPOILER ALERT: Lincoln was already dead.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:21 AM on July 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


It was a great post, completely in the spirit of 'best of the web'

To Uburoivas, this would make sense to an American:

"Ned Kelly had left Stringybark Creek with Scanlon on his tail, bound for Glenrowan. Little did he know, but the Victorians had sent a train full of police in his direction..."

In fact, I'd love you to write it up an post on the Blue about it. Sounds like a real cultural touchstone, similar to our Jesse James.

We Californians are ignorant of the tales of Australia.
posted by Argyle at 8:21 AM on July 3, 2008


When in doubt, look it up.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:23 AM on July 3, 2008


A j-hole is the place were all the hentai, bukakke, and other anime pr0n issues from and returns to.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:25 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Every time I tried to flag it, O'Brian picked the flag back up.

Is there a name for when a user who's been quiet for ages, swoops into a thread with a fantastic comment only to disappear again? Because its happened twice in the last 24 hours and the name I came up with - Zorrosterical - just ain't cutting the mustard.
posted by Jofus at 8:32 AM on July 3, 2008


I agree with too many people here. The continual attraction to the blue essentially stems from what's at the other end of the link(s). I love that there are as many different styles as there are posting members. I also know that we all scan the site when we are happy, sad, tired, looking for stupid, hoping for deep, are open to anything or want specific types of material for whichever headspace we have on when we arrive.

So although on this occasion my first reaction to the post in question was something approximating UbuRoivas' first comment above, I also know that vacapinta is right, that I could easily have overcome whatever hesitation and eyerolling I experienced (on this occasion) by actually going and looking at the damn thing. I didn't, but that's perhaps more about the way I'm feeling today.

The take away for me when these sorts of discussion come up -- whether it's about criticism or praising of the post-ironic esoteric styles or the sarcaustic and snide styles or the blockquote huge wall of words styles or the link-a-letter/word styles or the geo-local exclusionary styles or the minimally known politician or pop-culture idol of the day styles -- is that the poster has choices as to whether they want to make the material they think is cool accessible to a wider or a narrower audience, and too often times I reckon that they don't consider that everyone who passes by their words will view them with the same mindset that the poster themself envisioned.

I believe that the [more inside] feature allows for all kinds of crazy or extroverted or essayesque or link happy or pulpit bashing (well, not so much of that please) displays, but that the words on the front page need to inform in fairly plain english why a passerby ought to be interested in the cool thing(s) the poster has found. Variety is great but narrowing your audience down by making closed-minded editorial decisions seems to go against the original motivation we all feel: to share cool stuff with all these other people.
posted by peacay at 9:00 AM on July 3, 2008


FLAAAAAAG-ed it, actually.

(as fantastic!)
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 9:01 AM on July 3, 2008


languagehat writes "You flagged it? Wow. I can certainly understand its not being everyone's cup of tea, but I can't really understand being that hostile to it unless you spend much of your time flagging the 98% of MeFi posts that don't live up to the Highest Possible Standards"

If the poster had linked to the exact same content on his blog it would have been deleted out of hand. A post with 5900 characters comes across as someone avoiding that fate by cutting out the middle man.
posted by Mitheral at 9:06 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth that post was flagged more than one or two times. It seemed to be balanced out by the number of people who loved it, but there was definitely a set of members who saw that sort of post as being "not what MeFi is for" afaict.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:09 AM on July 3, 2008


I liked the post, thought it was clever. I think people are split over it because of a common disagreement I've been sensing here for a long time (my # belies the many years lurking), but have never seen stated clearly:

Is Metafilter the best of the web, or does it link to the best of the web?

Sometimes a FPP is so clever a collection of things on the web that I feel the FPP itself is an attempt to be "the best of the web." Some users seem to like this, others seem to want the stuff on the other side of the links to be the best of the web.

Not many people here seem to be defending the links in that post...so did forrest really link to the best of the web, or did forrest create some of the best of the web with a few links in it? I have a feeling it doesn't matter, because both happen on the front page every day, and some people hate it other people love it, and I don't think anything's going to change.
posted by jermsplan at 9:56 AM on July 3, 2008


I thought it was fucking awesome. Screw you guys.
posted by kbanas at 10:05 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


MetaTalk: I have a feeling it doesn't matter
posted by Burhanistan at 10:09 AM on July 3, 2008


[...] a creative and original FPP in the way this was a creative and original FPP (with totally un-original content.)

Aw, the tag box on the side totally ruins the inventive formatting. I think it would be evened out if a few more tags were added, extending the box down the length of the post. Can we get a couple of new tags tossed in there?
posted by painquale at 10:10 AM on July 3, 2008


This is a very long post, but I wanted to illustrate something. If you're an average reader, it took you 5 minutes to read this far.

If you're an average MetaFilter reader, you didn't read that far at all.

I don't know, maybe that's some justification for writing such a longass GYOFB FPP -- to prove something through longassedness -- but the writing and links aren't.

So... do other countries have so many fans of their own civil wars?
posted by pracowity at 10:33 AM on July 3, 2008


LOL now I want to play TF2.
posted by WalterMitty at 10:47 AM on July 3, 2008


I hated that post. But what I hated more than that post is the notion that it was some sort of shining example of what everyone else is failing to live up to. Baloney.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:49 AM on July 3, 2008


"Ned Kelly had left Stringybark Creek with Scanlon on his tail, bound for Glenrowan. Little did he know, but the Victorians had sent a train full of police in his direction..."
Means nothing to you, right?


Maybe not everyone is as ignorant of things outside of their own country as you think or are.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:50 AM on July 3, 2008


Apologies for the 'or are' at the end, that was sort of gratuitous, but my point is your Kelly example and the opening of the FPP being discussed do provide an introductory sense of context, one that should be - and is - fleshed out in the rest of the post. I agree with Brandon Blatcher that it's not a gimmick I'd like to see on the front page everyday, no one says you have to read the whole damn thing, or even care about the post, if you don't want to.
I don't bitch about math-related FPPs lacking context or being hard to parse because I suck at math and occasionally forget what a prime number is.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:02 AM on July 3, 2008


Maybe not everyone is as ignorant of things outside of their own country as you think or are.

I am. Oh, wait. "ignorant." I thought you said "indignant."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:02 AM on July 3, 2008


'...but no one says you have to read the whole damn thing..."
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:03 AM on July 3, 2008


too long; read anyway :P
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:13 AM on July 3, 2008


Oh, my -- my first MeTa callout. "Today, you are a man."

UbuRoivas, I thought about providing more info, but I figured the readers here are capable of googling things like "Sickles Gettysburg". (BTW, if you posted something saying Ned Kelley left Stringybark with Scanlon on his tail, I would probably have been confused -- mostly because Scanlon was killed at Stringybark.)

I have a small body of MeFi posts, many of which resemble the one under discussion here. I've been aware that some people believe those posts didn't follow the MeFi guidelines, but there was nothing like the vituperation being expressed now, especially by such venerable members. OTOH, those posts received a few favorites (including a couple by Matt), so it was hard for me to gauge what's considered acceptable.

I'm not as knowledgeable about Net trends as others are; I have neither the time nor the dedication to sniff out tidbits on the fringes. I'm often enriched and entertained by the posts and discussions here and I wanted to repay the community with what I could.

Anyway, the exit polling here seems to be running heavily against that post and the style in general. Warts notwithstanding, MeFi is one of the better communities on the Net. Any posts or posting style that causes divisiveness in that community just doesn't seem worth it.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
posted by forrest at 11:43 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


That post got more favorites (135 so far) than the total comments on this page (85 so far), of which a goodly number agree with allkindsoftime. So it looks like the ayes have it. Good job, forrest. Next item on the agenda, please.
posted by beagle at 11:53 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


forrest, don't let the harsh tone of people in MetaTalk get you down. Your post wasn't deleted for breaking the guidelines. You're not in trouble, here, it's just haters being haters. We have guidelines, and people can rail against them all they like, but until they change, it's just hot air.

I hope you're still reading and will consider reactivating your account. It was a good post with a strong style. Diversity is interesting.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:04 PM on July 3, 2008


forrest: you could easily ignore this entire thread and continue on your merry way. I'd strongly suggest that course of action.
posted by Skorgu at 12:07 PM on July 3, 2008


He deleted his account because someone made a MetaTalk thread about how wonderful his post was, and some people didn't agree with that assessment?!?

Christ.
posted by yhbc at 12:08 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


What Ambrosia Voyeur said.
posted by marxchivist at 12:09 PM on July 3, 2008


What yhbc said.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:13 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


He deleted his account because someone made a MetaTalk thread about how wonderful his post was, and some people didn't agree with that assessment?!?

Christ.


Yeah, fuck him, if you don't have a hide that can stop an atom bomb you shouldn't be posting to MetaFilter, amirite?

Sure, he overreacted (come back, forrest!), but I hope maybe one or two people whose snark is set on automatic are rethinking the need to tell the world how much they hated something solely because someone else praised it.
posted by languagehat at 12:15 PM on July 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


forrest: please undisable your account, and don't ever again read the grey if you get called out like this. It was a great post, one of a number of different kinds of great posts. Come on back, man.
posted by rtha at 12:15 PM on July 3, 2008


Consider: "Ned Kelly had left Stringybark Creek with Scanlon on his tail, bound for Glenrowan. Little did he know, but the Victorians had sent a train full of police in his direction..." Means nothing to you, right?

Ooh, ooh...I saw that film. Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom were in it along with Geoffrey Rush and Naomi Watts.
posted by ericb at 12:17 PM on July 3, 2008


So long and thanks for all the fish.

Wait, you just disabled the account you had for almost four years over the fact that some people didn't like the style of your post?

Some people will ALWAYS dislike your posts. It's nothing personal, and nothing worth taking your toys and leaving over.
posted by dersins at 12:22 PM on July 3, 2008


Gosh, 'hat; good thing I didn't end with my first draft: "I didn't hate his post before, but I sure as hell do now."
posted by yhbc at 12:22 PM on July 3, 2008


RUN, FORREST!

sorry, couldn't resist
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:28 PM on July 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Nothing personal, yhbc, I just quoted your comment 'cause it was handy. I don't think of you as a professional hater. But I really do get fed up with the need some people have to hate on something because somebody else liked it more than they find seemly. I see a lot of techie stuff praised that bores me silly, but I don't drop in and say "No, man, this sucks!" Other people liked it, I didn't, that's fine.
posted by languagehat at 12:32 PM on July 3, 2008


C'mon, any 'Murkin with a sense of history knows about Ned Kelly. He's this guy, right?
posted by ormondsacker at 1:03 PM on July 3, 2008


Dear lord, what a drama queen.
posted by longdaysjourney at 1:21 PM on July 3, 2008


But I really do get fed up with the need some people have to hate on something because somebody else liked it more than they find seemly.

I personally didn't like the post. I didn't think it was a great FPP, the links weren't that great, and there wasn't much meat to it at all in spite of its prodigious length. I didn't think it was terrible - but I certainly wouldn't hold it up as a shining example of the type of post I want to see regularly. It was fine.

Just because someone gets their feelings hurt and goes home doesn't mean that everyone else is an asshole.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:58 PM on July 3, 2008


The Light Fantastic: Since that was the first comment you've made in this thread, I don't see how you could possibly think I was talking about you. I have no problem with people not liking the post; if there were ever a post that every single MeFite agreed was great, the world would probably end. And I can perfectly well understand why people didn't like the post—it was very idiosyncratic, and yeah, some of the links seemed pro forma. I'm not talking about that, I'm talking about taking the trouble to go into a thread praising a post (or, for that matter, poster) for the express purpose of slamming it (or them). In my book, that's assholish behavior, and it's driven a good poster away.
posted by languagehat at 2:20 PM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I commented! And it was punny!

....no one notices me.....I'll just go now.....
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:32 PM on July 3, 2008


So you did! And it was punny! I'm sorry I didn't notice it—come back, The Light Fantastic! Come ba-a-ack!
posted by languagehat at 2:34 PM on July 3, 2008


I'm talking about taking the trouble to go into a thread praising a post (or, for that matter, poster) for the express purpose of slamming it (or them). In my book, that's assholish behavior, and it's driven a good poster away.

First off, no one "drove" a poster away - he got pissed and left. Secondly, I can't imagine why anyone would show up to quibble about this: "this post needs to be added to the list of those that are referred to whenever someone asks what an excellent FPP looks like." Come on! This isn't a case of bullies picking on a poor n00b - people (and I am one) disagree that this should be held up as a shining example for future FPPs.

I'm sorry the OP was upset - but I fail to see how this discussion was a personal attack in any way.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:41 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


i came back
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:42 PM on July 3, 2008


people (and I am one) disagree that this should be held up as a shining example for future FPPs

Well, OK, fair enough. The praise was a tad hyperbolic. I guess I'm reacting strongly because I've seen the sort of thing I'm complaining about too often around here. But this may not have been the best example.
posted by languagehat at 2:49 PM on July 3, 2008


See, I'm not seeing the "drama queen" or the "got pissed" in Forrest's comment. It is we who are making a big deal out of this, not him.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:10 PM on July 3, 2008


See, I'm not seeing the "drama queen" or the "got pissed" in Forrest's comment.

Well, he did disable his account in response to a few people saying they didn't like the style in which his post was written. That's evidence of some variety of oversensitivity, although whether it's drama-queenery, pisseditude, or something else is up for debate.
posted by dersins at 3:15 PM on July 3, 2008


Damn. Come back, forrest. It's not as bad as all that.

I was only trying to argue for more context within the story itself. I disagree that people should need to google or wiki just to find out which side Sickles was on, or whether he was a General or a headstrong Lieutenant or a turncoat or a British agent or a shark in a bear costume. That kind of thing.

I don't bitch about math-related FPPs lacking context or being hard to parse because I suck at math and occasionally forget what a prime number is.

That's a fair point, if a little spurious. There's a difference between something like "A number D that possesses no common divisor with a prime number p is either a quadratic residue or nonresidue of p, depending whether D^((p-1)/2) is congruent mod p to +/-1."

and

"Fermat was this famous mathematician dude who tantalisingly scribbled in the margins of a notebook something that was to intrigue & confound mathematicians for nearly a century..."
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:20 PM on July 3, 2008


Hey, thanks for the context, eriko.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:21 PM on July 3, 2008


Who are you calling congruent, buddy?
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:21 PM on July 3, 2008


See, I'm not seeing the "drama queen" or the "got pissed" in Forrest's comment. It is we who are making a big deal out of this, not him.

I would think quitting over the fact that some people don't think your post should be the model for all FPPs is a bit on the dramatic side.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:26 PM on July 3, 2008


Also: what everybody else has been saying just above. The negative opinions were only raised because the post was suggested as a shining example for the future, and clearly that's not something that everybody agrees with, and is a legitimate matter for debate. Nothing personal.

Speaking for myself, it wasn't even a case of flagging & moving on. More like "hm, I can't easily find out if these links are worth following unless I spend fifteen minutes reading" so more of a "too long; didn't read" & move on.

Your post has at least as many fans as dissenters, so you have no reason not to be proud of it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:32 PM on July 3, 2008


Who are you calling congruent, buddy?

Sorry, that was uncalled for. I meant discriminant; by which I mean a quantity (usually invariant under certain classes of transformations) which characterizes certain properties of a quantity's roots.

I didn't mean to imply the extremum test, which gives slightly more general conditions under which a function with f^('')(x_0)=0 is a maximum or minimum, and I apologise if you interpreted it as such.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:36 PM on July 3, 2008


I meant discriminant

Some of my best friends are black.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:40 PM on July 3, 2008


Some of my best friends are black.

Way to play the strawman, dude. If you feel the need to take the dicriminant out of context whilst disingenuously ignoring transformations involving imaginary values of X, then go ahead, but don't expect me to play along with your binary quadratic framing.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:49 PM on July 3, 2008


binary quadratic

Oh no you did not.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:56 PM on July 3, 2008


nthing what UbuRoivas said.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:59 PM on July 3, 2008


RUN, FORREST!

Run, Forrest. Run!
posted by ericb at 3:59 PM on July 3, 2008


I emailed forrest and asked him why he disabled his account. He's not upset or angry about anything. He said that he realized a while ago that his posts were right on the edge of the guidelines and he made a vow to stop posting if that ever seemed to be a problem. There seems to be some arguments going back and forth about that issue and he doesn't think any posts are worth getting people upset. Will Metafilter fall apart without his posts? No. Will his life fall apart without Metafilter? No. Will some people get bent out of shape if he posts? Yes. Do the math. Since he's not going to post anymore, he disabled the account.

I met forrest several years ago when we were both working on a suicide hotline together. Very affable man and a very unconventional thinker. He'd won several awards for community service and won a couple more at the crisis center. I went to his house one time and expected walls of plaques and certificates, but there was nothing like that. The only thing out of the ordinary was that one side of his refrigerator was covered with pictures of children in wheelchairs. I asked him about it and he said they were kids who couldn't afford the chairs, so he paid for a wheelchair each month to be given to some kid he'd never met before. The guy who built the wheelchairs took the pictures. That was his trophy case. If you want to continue to smear his character and call him drama queen and whatnot, believe me that you're just demonstrating your own innate assholery.

OK, now that the Guideline Gestapo have protected our borders against another interesting person, what say we get back to some Bushfilter and some more of those yummy youtube posts?
posted by joaquim at 3:59 PM on July 3, 2008 [17 favorites]


Sorry joaquim, he sounds like an awesome dude but working on a suicide hotline and with crippled kids, I would have imagined a thicker skin than most.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:08 PM on July 3, 2008


Wow dude, cue violin! I'm sure he's a great guy - and it's his choice what he does with his account - but ANYONE who quits in a MetaTalk thread is going to get a little shit. I'm sure he appreciates your support.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 4:21 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I tend to think that if someone gets freaked out easily maybe the break from the site is exactly what they need anyway. It resets the ol' perspective-o-meter.
posted by loiseau at 4:44 PM on July 3, 2008


vituperation? atom bomb? gestapo? really?

i must have missed some deleted posts.
posted by stubby phillips at 4:52 PM on July 3, 2008


Yeah..the "v" word! I thought that was a little over the top too.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 4:55 PM on July 3, 2008


It's not a matter of thick skin, td. I think he wanted to put back into the site a little of the enjoyment he'd gotten from it, but he just didn't know how to make interesting posts that didn't break the guidelines. The way he explained it, the disabling was a decision he'd made long ago: IF dissension THEN stop. It was automatic and not emotional. (I have to admit that the timing of the disabling was really bad, but maybe he just doesn't like unused accounts sitting around.)

but ANYONE who quits in a MetaTalk thread is going to get a little shit
Why? Is that in the guidelines? Where is it written that this has to happen? Or is that some people's lives are just so small that they have to snipe at someone else to feel good about themselves?

Admins, isn't this thread about dead?
posted by joaquim at 5:09 PM on July 3, 2008


it doesn't sound like a matter of skin thickness or getting freaked out; more that he recognises that his style of posting is better suited to someplace else.

as for "Guideline Gestapo" i doubt that anything would have been said had the post not been called out as a shiny example for others to follow. and remember: it was called out as an excellent post, not as a terrible one.

contra languagehat, pissing in the FPP would've been assholish, but if something is praised to the skies in the manner of this callout, remaining silent is akin to endorsing the sentiment. i would've expected a passionate defender of speaking one's mind to respect the right to disagree with hyperbolic praise without resorting to personal attacks.

in fact, framing criticism as "assholish behaviour" will make an absolutely dandy addition to the troll bingo card.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:15 PM on July 3, 2008


...so i decided to go back and read the comments from the original post. mostly rave reviews and in-depth discussion of the post. what gives?

well anyway, this is the internet. here's my vituperation:

1) i only read about 10 percent of the FPPs. i read this one, followed the [more], and enjoyed it very much. it was like a ride, and it was fun
2) i agree with ubu that it was a little hard to follow in spots, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it.
3) i know who ned kelly was, sort of. he proved that armor doesn't necessarily stop bullets, right?

on preview: this is a very odd flamout-by-proxy.
posted by stubby phillips at 5:17 PM on July 3, 2008


flameout. i have no idea what a flamout is.
posted by stubby phillips at 5:19 PM on July 3, 2008


Wow dude, cue violin!

Classy.

Thanks for the update, joaquim. Please tell him that I, for one, regret his departure and will miss his posts, and if he ever comes back I'm pretty sure I won't be the only one glad of it.
posted by languagehat at 5:20 PM on July 3, 2008


"flamout" is a french term. it's like a flambe, but only lasts a second or two.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:25 PM on July 3, 2008


if something is praised to the skies in the manner of this callout, remaining silent is akin to endorsing the sentiment.

It is? Really? So we can draw up a list of MeFites who have not posted in this thread and title it "Endorsers of MetaTalk Post 16429"?

i would've expected a passionate defender of speaking one's mind to respect the right to disagree with hyperbolic praise without resorting to personal attacks.


I would've expected anyone with half a brain to grasp the difference between defending the right to speak one's mind and insisting on being a jerk. I gave up trying to explain this to the nannies over at Making Light, but I didn't think it would be a problem here. To quote joachim:

Why? Is that in the guidelines? Where is it written that this has to happen?


Free speech allows snarking at every opportunity, but it does not mandate it.
posted by languagehat at 5:25 PM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


i thought ubu particularly had reasonable and constructive criticisms. you know, internet and all...

also, GYOFB is good advice. if he or she did, i'd bookmark it.
posted by stubby phillips at 5:31 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


...not that his post wasn't a welcome diversion in the blue. i should shut up now. probably won't.
posted by stubby phillips at 5:34 PM on July 3, 2008


Yeah, ubu's been pretty reasonable, but damn, don't pull that "if I didn't say anything, people would think I agreed" nonsense.
posted by languagehat at 5:35 PM on July 3, 2008


didn't ned kelly also have something to do with fellow australian mick jagger?
posted by stubby phillips at 5:40 PM on July 3, 2008


yep
posted by stubby phillips at 5:41 PM on July 3, 2008


Nitpicking - 1
Interesting Stuff - 0
posted by Argyle at 5:46 PM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


languagehat: i was planning to spend the next two days merely pasting your own comments from Making Light back at you, but I'll just go meta on this one & say "you win".

Aside from that, I think you are confusing "snarking" with "criticism" - and I mean the latter in the more formal sense.

So, let's shift to a metaphorical context:

"The Battle of Gettysburg has received many rave reviews, and while I thought it had some strong points & turned out to be a gripping & engaging story, at almost four hours it was far too long for a short film festival, and it took some time before it really got moving. In particular, the introduction was very confusing. All the soldiers were wearing similar uniforms, so took me half the movie to work out who was fighting who. Civil War buffs would probably love it, but I felt the director relied on the audience having too much assumed knowledge, and launched right into the story without adequately setting up the characters & the situation. All in all, I'd give it three and a half stars out of five, but you'd get a whole lot more out of it if you watched a doco or two beforehand so you could get right into it from the stunning opening sequence"
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:49 PM on July 3, 2008


"who was fighting whom" <- i got yer gestapo right here, pal.
posted by stubby phillips at 5:54 PM on July 3, 2008


vituperate this.
posted by stubby phillips at 5:56 PM on July 3, 2008


you preachy & elitist prescriptivist!
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:07 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


i can't believe i'm looking this up. i hate being outsmarted. you'd think i'd be used to it by now.
posted by stubby phillips at 6:23 PM on July 3, 2008


holy crap. that's exactly what i am.
posted by stubby phillips at 6:24 PM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


more that he recognises that his style of posting is better suited to someplace else.

More that he recognizes that that a loud minority will make any post look like asshole bait..

FPP, third comment: get your own blog.
This thread, praising the FPP. First comment: Get your own blog.

That so and so. Roughly every six months he would post a well-thought out entry here, as if it were his OWN BLOG, and people would read it and enjoy it and comment on it. This latest one has 134 favorites so far. Thank goodness that troublemaker is gone.

Whatever damage is done to MetaFilter by a post like that is tiny compared to what damage the "THIS SHOULDN'T BE ON METAFILTER" jackals do, every day.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:02 PM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's kind of too bad that "This is a shitty post" comments aren't deleteworthy, since they're pointlessly negative. There's a flagging button right there.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:06 PM on July 3, 2008


languagehat: i was planning to spend the next two days merely pasting your own comments from Making Light back at you

Yeah, I've been remembering my own comments myself. Look, I'm having a bad day, so what say we just have a couple of beers and forget this whole unpleasant incident?
posted by languagehat at 7:07 PM on July 3, 2008


No. There's too many assholes that still think "we" (the MetafFilter collective) did something wrong.

There were NO "this is a shitty post" comments in the original thread.

When a MeTa thread was posted that proclaimed the original thread as one of the best MeFi threads of all time, several people who didn't think so, said so.
posted by yhbc at 7:12 PM on July 3, 2008


Man, I'm so glad this all cleared itself up without me having to be the dick.

I flagged it as breaking the guidelines—I read the guidelines as encouraging an external focus, not an internal one, and think that the links were perfunctory at best even though I thought it was a neat thing to read. After seeing the praise-it-to-the-sky from allkindsoftime, I was coming here to weigh in and say, y'know, no, this really isn't something to emulate in form, though it was clever.

From there, I'd point out two things to Forrest—that you can contribute quite a lot without ever putting up an FPP, and that nearly every FPP gets some sort of snark. Oh, and that skirting the guidelines isn't de facto bad, but if you're going to experiment, you have to realize that some experiments fail. Just a fact of life.
posted by klangklangston at 7:20 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Whatever damage is done to MetaFilter by a post like that is tiny compared to what damage the "THIS SHOULDN'T BE ON METAFILTER" jackals do, every day."

Whatever good was done to Metafilter by this small post is tiny compared to the good that folks do by demanding high-quality content.

Get Your Own Blog is pretty good advice. But I don't really miss insomnia_lj posts or y2karl posts either.
posted by klangklangston at 7:25 PM on July 3, 2008


* raises a glass to languagehat *

as for the style of post, dirtdirt, i was only paraphrasing what joaquim reported the man himself saying.

without resorting to epithets like Gestapo jackals, it's no great secret that this site employs largely self-policed & self-defined standards, which are openly debated in the grey. in the blue, a flag is appropriate & AV is right that pissing in the thread on the blue should be discouraged.

if nobody took the time to question whether a post is the kind of thing that meets what people have come to expect from the site, it would quickly degenerate into 'anything goes', or else the mods would be forced to become more autocratic & heavy-handed. both of those extremes seem to me far worse than having people call out things that might or might not be appropriate, for debate.

and in this case, it wasn't even a question of whether the post was appropriate, but whether it was wonderful or not, which is a different - if related - question.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:38 PM on July 3, 2008


Religion
Politics
Fat people
American football


and now

compliments
posted by dirigibleman at 8:12 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can we all agree at least that we should post joaquim's description of forrest's refrigerator to the wiki as a model for how we should all adorn our own refrigerators? I think we're on solid ground there.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:20 PM on July 3, 2008


Sometimes I love this place and sometimes I hate this place but this is the first time that I feel both at the same time.

Great post. This was one of my favorite type of MetaFilter posts, where someone shares their expertise with us in the form of a little online seminar. Such posts are not driven by one great link, but bring together a group of resources along a common theme.

It is a shame some folks think that being an asshole is performance art.
posted by LarryC at 9:03 PM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


languagehat writes "I'm talking about taking the trouble to go into a thread praising a post (or, for that matter, poster) for the express purpose of slamming it (or them). In my book, that's assholish behavior, and it's driven a good poster away."

Which is not what happened here. Instead it was suggested that the post in question should be an example of an excellent FPP which is at least debatebly not the case. Or as The Light Fantastic said.

joaquim writes "Why? Is that in the guidelines? Where is it written that this has to happen? Or is that some people's lives are just so small that they have to snipe at someone else to feel good about themselves?"

Because, whether it's true or not, it reeks of someone taking their/the only ball and going home because they were called out stealing home.
posted by Mitheral at 9:16 PM on July 3, 2008


But I don't really miss insomnia_lj posts or y2karl posts

I see where you're coming from with insomnia_lj / markkraft, but you're fucking nuts if you really mean that about y2karl. He's posted some of the best posts in the history of metafilter.
posted by dersins at 9:56 PM on July 3, 2008


There's a difference between something like "A number D that possesses no common divisor with a prime number p is either a quadratic residue or nonresidue of p, depending whether D^((p-1)/2) is congruent mod p to +/-1."
and
"Fermat was this famous mathematician dude who tantalisingly scribbled in the margins of a notebook something that was to intrigue & confound mathematicians for nearly a century..."


And I'm engaging in a little spuriousness? Okay...

As for the accusing forrest of 'taking his ball and going home', did you folks actually read his comment and joachim's follow-up?
Not exactly howls of petulance there.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:15 PM on July 3, 2008


"I see where you're coming from with insomnia_lj / markkraft, but you're fucking nuts if you really mean that about y2karl. He's posted some of the best posts in the history of metafilter."

Yeah, no, these are the posts I meant and he's largely knocked that off. I really dig his music posts. I don't dig the block quote missives on how the war is going.
posted by klangklangston at 10:32 PM on July 3, 2008


Alvy, maths is an esoteric & specialised field, requiring heaps of study. Popular history is not. Comparing a failure to understand math posts with getting confused over who was fighting who(m) in a description of a battle are far from being similar things.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:34 PM on July 3, 2008


Yeah, no, these are the posts I meant and he's largely knocked that off.

No, yeah, I figured you meant the iraq / bush stuff. I just wanted to go on the record pointing out that, despite his reputation, he's far from a one-note polticsfilter guy, and has not only linked to but also created the absolute best of the web many times right here on metafilter.
posted by dersins at 10:48 PM on July 3, 2008


Alvy Ampersand writes "did you folks actually read his comment and joachim's follow-up? "

Well I quoted it, so ya. And it wasn't directed at forrest but rather in answer to joachim's general question of why "ANYONE who quits in a MetaTalk thread is going to get a little shit".

I'm not re-reading both of these threads to be sure, but I don't recall any ad hominiums directed at forrest (at least not until he quit and entered the "bait the flame out" zone). His post generated a bit of mild controversy after it's called out as one of the the best posts ever, and that trips his deadman to close his account. Whatever deep background reason forrest might have for taking that action, it's not hard to see that as being perceived as at least a little unreasonably irritable. But he also feels many have been directing vituperative statements his way so maybe I just can't see his point of view on this. Or maybe there has been a lot of heavy mod work or people have been MeFiMailing him. I don't know, seems like an over reaction to me. Then again I dislike the close your own account feature anyways. Doubly so when it's used to make a point.
posted by Mitheral at 11:11 PM on July 3, 2008


but also created the absolute best of the web many times right here on metafilter.

If you happen to like posts about old-timey blues music. Not to disrespect Karl. What works for you doesn't work for everyone. And you're "fucking nuts" if you think it does.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:59 PM on July 3, 2008


maths is an esoteric & specialised field, requiring heaps of study...

Your examples don't hold water, though. It certainly looks impressive to contrast what I presume is an excerpt of Fermat's Theorem against a staid bio, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the excerpt as the body of a successful post on the front page tomorrow, as long as it provided the context and fleshing out the Gettysburg FPP did (Hell, even if it didn't; people have made cryptogram posts, iirc.)

... Popular history is not.

That assertion seems to run counter to your non-Yank accessibility/Ned Kelly argument.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:11 AM on July 4, 2008


Oh, yay! Dave Faris is here to shout at me again! Excellent! I love when that happens!
posted by dersins at 12:17 AM on July 4, 2008


Exclamation point!
posted by dersins at 12:26 AM on July 4, 2008


... Popular history - when decently explained - is not.

We're talking about a battle here. I think we all know what goes on. Armies fight each other. It shouldn't be a great fog of war for the reader.

Y'know, it's really silly & annoying, but the only real gripe I had about the post could've been solved with just a couple of well-placed adjectives & it would've been fine, eg "Headstrong Union General Milhouse Sickle did blahdeblah etc"

Ditto Ned Kelly: "Fugitive outlaw Ned Kelly fled from the Stringybark Creek massacre site, followed by his accomplice, Scanlon. Little did he know, but his nemesis - the Victorian Police force - were descending on the town of Glenrowan, where he would meet his doom"

It's not much to trouble to add, as long as you remain aware that your audience doesn't necessarily have the same assumed background knowledge as you.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:27 AM on July 4, 2008


but also created the absolute best of the web many times right here on metafilter.

Considering the premise on which this Meta thread was posted, that comment amuses me to no end. Or kinda what Dave Faris said.

as long as you remain aware that your audience doesn't necessarily have the same assumed background knowledge as you.

I dunno. I know enough about William the Conqueror at Normandy, Nelson at Trafalgar, Wellington at Waterloo, Zhukov at Stalingrad and Berlin, to not stare in slack-jawed awe at a post that implies that the battles they were fighting might kinda-sorta have mattered a bit in the whole Course of Current Civilization thing, even if it's a story of those who served under them that's actually the main thrust of the links.

I'd rather raise my own bar to learn something than to ask someone to lower theirs to teach me.
posted by Cyrano at 1:25 AM on July 4, 2008


(Disclaimer: I *loathe* OMGYOUHAVETOKNOWABOUTHIS!!1 Outragefilter posts. Mostly because I feel my intelligence is similarly insulted by the assumption of ignorance. They rarely tell me something my daily net routine wouldn't and seem to be posted here mostly for affirmation. But I knew nothing of the 1st Minnesota before the other day, and now I know a little more than I did before and that's a good thing.)
posted by Cyrano at 1:32 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oy
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:55 AM on July 4, 2008


This is turning into an opera.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 4:01 AM on July 4, 2008


I just thought I'd mention that it only took me one minute to read the post. (I have apparently picked up the habit of reading the introduction and conclusion first, so I saw the 'this took you five minutes' bit and went back to time myself, deliberately reading at least at normal speed if not slower).

Do you guys all really read that slowly? How do you ever get anything done?
posted by jacalata at 4:36 AM on July 4, 2008


jacalata - i take it you don't work in the Public Service...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:30 AM on July 4, 2008


This is turning into an opera.

La Battaglia di Gettysburg

an opera by MetaFilter

Act I. Enter forrest, in a lecturer's robe, waving a pointer at an unseen map. He sings the endurance-testing aria "La linea unionista spaziava," in which he recounts dramatically the events of 2 July 1863 in a small town in Pennsylvania; after some recitative, three blind mice sings a shorter aria "A Sickles insaputa." After some lively interchange and eriko's impassioned "Non sei mai stato al campo di battaglia," the act concludes with a mass recreation of a cavalry charge.

Act II. allkindsoftime, a member of the ensemble in the first act, steps dramatically onto the stage and sings the brief but rousing "Quell' articolo eccelente." Unexpectedly, the trio of cillit bang, fire&wings, and chillmost run onstage and sing the defiant "Quell' articolo è merda." A fight breaks out; while it is at its height a messenger runs in with the startling news that forrest has decamped: "È partito il professore!" This bombshell provokes still bloodier combat, with the jester UbuRoivas momentarily distracting everyone with the patter aria "Un numero D che non possiede un divisor comune." The act ends with the stage awash in blood and beer.
posted by languagehat at 6:26 AM on July 4, 2008 [11 favorites]


Anyway, the exit polling here seems to be running heavily against that post and the style in general. Warts notwithstanding, MeFi is one of the better communities on the Net. Any posts or posting style that causes divisiveness in that community just doesn't seem worth it.

I may be late to the game, and I didn't read past this so, On Preview, whatever. But don't let the nabobs bring you down, man. Plenty of us liked it a bunch. It's obvious you put a lot of work into it, and it shows. Maybe seek out stronger links in the future, but don't stop on my account.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:27 AM on July 4, 2008


de gustibus non disputandum est
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:47 AM on July 4, 2008


Act III [entreunt anotherpanacea with the rousing aria "de gustibus"]:

Your ghost will walk, you lover of trees,
(If our loves remain)
In an English lane,
By a cornfield-side a-flutter with poppies.
Hark, those two in the hazel coppice---
A boy and a girl, if the good fates please,
Making love, say,---
The happier they!
Draw yourself up from the light of the moon,
And let them pass, as they will too soon,
With the bean-flowers' boon,
And the blackbird's tune,
And May, and June!

posted by UbuRoivas at 6:53 AM on July 4, 2008


God damn it.

You guys and your fucking narcissitic, bombastic, self-important loathing of everyone that doesn't have a user number as low as yours. I try to point out a particularly unique contribution, maybe screw up my call out a little bit, and you guys summarily eviscerate a contributing member of the site. I wish I had never posted this, and I wonder what kind of other thoughtful posts forrest could have given us had he not left.

And yes, thin skin on his part. And yes, thick head on yours. Just when I think we can't collectively take this site one notch lower in terms of community, you never cease to amaze.

joaquim, thanks for the thoughtful update. I've emailed him myself to apologize for opening up the floodgates of conceit and arrogance that this site brims so often with.

I'm all in favor of hugs, but half the time, I swear, everybody needs a lobotomy.
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:55 AM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


"You guys and your fucking narcissitic, bombastic, self-important loathing of everyone that doesn't have a user number as low as yours. I try to point out a particularly unique contribution, maybe screw up my call out a little bit, and you guys summarily eviscerate a contributing member of the site."
posted by klangklangston at 9:49 AM on July 4, 2008


Whups. That was supposed to be followed by a comment noting that the only bombast I see here is yours. You posted over-the-top praise. People disagreed, and pretty mildly and respectfully for MeTa. Forrest did not have his guts ripped out, user numbers have nothing to do with this, and you're the one having the hissy fit.

So lighten the fuck up, Francis.
posted by klangklangston at 9:53 AM on July 4, 2008


I thought the opera was pretty bombastic.
posted by languagehat at 10:26 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fugitive outlaw Ned Kelly fled from the Stringybark Creek massacre site, followed by his accomplice, Scanlon

Damn, UbuRoivas, why won't you learn to shut up when it's in your best interests? You keep quacking on about how the post needed more explanation because you, as an Australian, aren't up on every last bit of US history. You continue to throw up this Ned Kelly/Scanlon example even though it's been pointed out to you (by forrest, ironically), that Scanlon WAS KILLED BY the Kelly gang at Stringybark. He was not an accomplice, he was a policeman, he didn't leave Stringybark with Kelly, nor was he "on his trail".

Forrest had the grace to assume that the reader was at least as knowledgeable as he was about the larger aspects of the subject. You try to disprove that by claiming that noone would know about Kelly when you don't seem to know much about him yourself. Again, do yourself a favor and stop.
posted by joaquim at 10:29 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I thought the opera was pretty bombastic."

It was no Wagner.
posted by klangklangston at 11:33 AM on July 4, 2008


Forrest rocks, and I can't wait till he comes back. MeFi regulars can be insufferable in large doses.
posted by anthill at 11:42 AM on July 4, 2008


I think that's unfair; Metatalk is for hashing things like this out. Forrest displayed a rather overdeveloped sensitivity here. Slinking off in self pity because a couple people thought your FPP wasn't brilliant? Even though it got over 150 favorites?

It's true that Metafilter might not be right for you if you're that sensitive; that doesn't strike me as a problem with Metafilter.
posted by Justinian at 2:49 PM on July 4, 2008


This is a fucking shambles. I liked the post, I favourited it an other comments in the thread. You expect the snark, if this was a homozygous community I wouldn't be here.

I hope forrest comes back, but he shouldn't have left in the first place.

Now about our Australian cousins...
posted by Samuel Farrow at 3:38 PM on July 4, 2008


Scanlon WAS KILLED BY the Kelly gang at Stringybark. He was not an accomplice, he was a policeman, he didn't leave Stringybark with Kelly, nor was he "on his trail".

(heh heh heh)
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:54 PM on July 4, 2008


joaquim, a bunch of peoples' names does not equal the "larger aspects of the subject". that it was a decisive battle between the north & the south, yes, that lincoln addressed the confederate troops before the battle, sure, but nobody could be expected to have the slightest fucking idea which side wilcox or sickles were on, unless they're buffs, or have been forced to study the shit at school. it would've been the tiniest matter to include those details.

amongst other things, it's basic journalistic practice (not that i am a journalist, and presumably neither is forrest). you don't write an article & launch straight into "giuliani said yesterday that..." even if you could safely assume that at least 80% of your readers know who giuliani is. the first mention, it's always "Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani" (give or take a bit for snarking over spelling or official title or whatever).
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:16 PM on July 4, 2008


"that lincoln addressed the confederate troops before the battle"
I'm going to assume that's a joke.

And no, I don't work for the public service, I don't work at all. I just read fast so I can go back to playing flash games. Maybe I'll slow down when I have actual work to do :)
posted by jacalata at 6:57 PM on July 4, 2008


It was a good post. Too bad he left.
posted by RussHy at 1:34 PM on July 6, 2008


It was fine post. And I hope he comes back. The crap in this post, however, makes two things clear to me: why good people leave Metafilter for a while or forever and why some Mefites, like me, will comment but will never post.
posted by redfisch at 1:51 PM on July 6, 2008


Fair enough. I post infrequently, and I try to make sure "It's about the links."
posted by RussHy at 2:50 PM on July 6, 2008


We can be a rough group, really rough. Mostly, it is fair criticism, even if it is WRONG, LIKE IT WAS FOR THIS POST - YOU FUCKING BASTARDS DROVE SOMEONE AWAY BECAUSE YOUR PATHETIC READING ABILITIES DIDN'T ALLOW YOU TO FINISH THE WHOLE POST? WHAT A BUNCH OF MENTAL PANSIES!!!!!!!!!! Oh, sorry, brain burp there. So, basically, most of the time it is like when your one aunt who can't shut up, and who always judges everyone in the family quite harshly, and she is far below worthy to make such judgment, but yet she makes everyone feel bad, she disses you or your beloved family member, and you sit quietly and contemplate how lucky you are to not be Amy Winehouse. Do you wreck the whole family over that comment? Well, if you do then you are Amy Winehose, loser. If you don't, then think about that state of mind and then use it here to be nice. (i do appreciate the wry irony of some of my remarks, yes i do)
posted by caddis at 8:31 PM on July 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


caddis, take a powder. As has been said a few times here, the post was critiqued to thwart alkindsoftime's holding it aloft unchallenged as a template worthy of emulation or the somesuch. That forrest took it personally and that it appears like a gang of people were trying to discredit the post is collateral damage. Regrettable, sure, but in this peculiar set of circumstances in which the post was laid out before Meta, it was an understandable reaction and I hope forrest takes some time to get some perspective on this and recommences their membership. The faves given to the post outweigh the commentary in this post: that's the primo consideration.
posted by peacay at 9:58 PM on July 6, 2008


I guess that was a poor joke - sorry.
posted by caddis at 6:40 AM on July 7, 2008


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