MetaTwitter? (or, Kill It While It's Young)
April 21, 2009 8:54 PM   Subscribe

Is the @ tag really welcome in MetaFilter?

I've seen at least one MeFi thread with a derail about people using the @ sign to address others, rather than linking to the comment being responded to or other ways of addressing co-MeFites. Is the use of this really a welcome development? It feels somehow cheapening (to me), but then, I'm not a Twit (or is that Twat?), and would prefer to see its conventions stay there and not infect EVERY corner of the series of intertubes.

Is it unreasonable to want to stamp out the @ as a form of reply indicator? If so, how can we discourage this?
posted by hippybear to Etiquette/Policy at 8:54 PM (320 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

But round things fit through the tubes better.
posted by liketitanic at 8:55 PM on April 21, 2009 [12 favorites]


Don't talk about it and it will go away.





This thread is closed etc. etc.
posted by nowonmai at 8:56 PM on April 21, 2009


It's not that big of a plague here, and it seems like the new users that adopt that convention generally tend to stop doing so when they open their eyes and see that it isn't used much. If they don't then they can be insulted and mocked.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:57 PM on April 21, 2009


So, insulting and mocking IS an acceptable tactic to use? I've generally tried to keep from doing that directly, I hope, with all my interactions here thus far. I can change that, if it will keep the @ out.

We need Oxyclean for @.
posted by hippybear at 8:59 PM on April 21, 2009


Insulting and mocking is THE acceptable tactic, you daft pansy. Look, everyone! Look at the daft pansy!!!
posted by yhbc at 9:02 PM on April 21, 2009 [11 favorites]


So, insulting and mocking IS an acceptable tactic to use?

No, insulting and mocking is not appropriate.

Telling people "oh hey we don't really do that here" is actually a better way to solve the problem than starting some "I am a twitchy irritable person, please do as I say you'll make friends and influence people!" sidebar commentary. Though people seem to prefer the latter method and I do not know why.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:02 PM on April 21, 2009 [7 favorites]


We need Oxyclean for @.

Damned @ne.
posted by The Whelk at 9:02 PM on April 21, 2009


@ Raymond Samuel Tomlinson
posted by tellurian at 9:03 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Short answer: No.

Long answer: Hell no!
posted by Pronoiac at 9:03 PM on April 21, 2009


We need Oxyclean for @.

Maybe you can just make an entry in the wiki somewhere about why that convention is frowned upon here--blow some smoke about the reasons being that it discourages open discussion and reduces comments to binary discussions. I tend to agree that the ampersand style looks kind of odd and doesn't sit well with me, but I'm not sure it isn't just negative association with other websites. Can you really elaborate why the site is better without it?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:03 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


@hippybear

@ stands for @nal

i only say that because i'm an @sshole
posted by pyramid termite at 9:04 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh! and previously.
posted by tellurian at 9:05 PM on April 21, 2009


i wish to coin the term for the group mocking of an individual for using twitterisms on mefi as an "@tack". thank you.
posted by the aloha at 9:07 PM on April 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's really not that big of a problem. I don't like it either, but as far as I can tell, nobody who stays around here for any length of time uses it regularly. Use it here long enough and someone will tell you that it's not the convention in these parts. And while I think that mockery is inappropriate for this particular (usually unwitting) transaction, ignoring the fact that virtually no one uses "@" here will get you mockedified.
posted by kosem at 9:08 PM on April 21, 2009


The connotation of talking at someone, rather than talking with them, is unpleasant.

Though I'm using square brackets - [[like this]] - to mark up my next Wikipedia link, so maybe I should just be quiet.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:11 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is it unreasonable to want to stamp out the @ as a form of reply indicator?

Yes.

If so, how can we discourage this?

By, each time you see someone reply with an "@", donating $30 to your local food bank.
posted by WCityMike at 9:12 PM on April 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


> rather than linking to the comment being responded to or other ways of addressing co-MeFites

Use this quoting bookmarklet, and point others to it, if you would prefer them using it instead of the @ sign.

(actually, could we somehow get something like this added to the standard mefi js library?)
posted by mrzarquon at 9:14 PM on April 21, 2009 [8 favorites]


Burhanistan: well, outside of this comment where it's made clear it's not a welcome convention (thanks tellurian), it's lazy and exclusionary in community conversation. Well, and the things you said. And the things other people have said here, and in tellurian's link.

Please close this if it needs to be. Although nearly 3 years after the previous discussion, maybe it needs to be had again, in the context of the now.
posted by hippybear at 9:15 PM on April 21, 2009


The Eternal Now will not be contextualized!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:18 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


I personally love it when people use the @ sign in replies, specifically because it pisses so many people off. I also love posts that involve twitter for the same reasons. I guess I'm a dick, but I find it hysterical that people get so burned up over a few characters.

The user posted an @ sign, he didn't show up at your door and punch your stupid cat in its stupid face. Simply do not reply in the same form, or make mention of it and it will go away. It's not like we have an epidemic of @ sign postings. Subtle community standards have worked before and they'll work here.
posted by Science! at 9:18 PM on April 21, 2009 [25 favorites]


Just want to go on the record as saying I'm not where it's @.

They don't make me mad, but they do annoy me, because they break up the reading space. Look at the preview window: tehere's plenty of room!. You don't need to confine yourself to a measly 140 characters. You don't have to make up itty bitty replies to people. Don't be araid to quote what you're attacking/agreeing with/saying wtf? about.

It's disruptive to the flow of the conversation, because people using @ are replying to the other person directly, and I feel like they're taking themselves out of the larger dialogue.

Mebby we need quote and reply buttons or something.
posted by lysdexic at 9:25 PM on April 21, 2009


No. RT @hippybear Is the @ tag really welcome in MetaFilter?

I think I did that right.
posted by pokermonk at 9:41 PM on April 21, 2009


@choo

B< u
posted by netbros at 9:49 PM on April 21, 2009 [15 favorites]


With a long, smouldering gaze at hippybear, speaking to him with a vaguely Eastern-European accent and a wry manner: There are more creative alternatives.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 9:50 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


But what I want to know is: what do you call the "@" sign?

Me, I like "cat butt".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:51 PM on April 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


Communicating with @ is bad and you should feel bad for doing it. THAR SHE BLOWS!
posted by ob at 9:54 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


The user posted an @ sign, he didn't show up at your door and punch your stupid cat in its stupid face.

For the record, while my cat may be stupid, his face is quite clever.
posted by dersins at 9:54 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Have a heart @tack @tack @ck @k!!!
posted by The Whelk at 9:56 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


You oughta know by now.
posted by dersins at 10:00 PM on April 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


very briefly, I thought Matt would, for April Fool's, enforce twitter rules on comments.

I still think MAKE IT START was one of the better ones in recent memory.
posted by boo_radley at 10:03 PM on April 21, 2009


Serial Killer Slumber Party: *fanning self* Goodness! Well, now, um... how do I get you my phone number?

Oh, wait! That was supposed to be threatening? I was getting turned on!
posted by hippybear at 10:05 PM on April 21, 2009


Shouldn't there be an etiquette page that describes reasons why things are done here they way they are? Not a "rules" page per se, but a guide to being a better member of the community? If we had a resource to point people at like that it might help.
posted by bigmusic at 10:08 PM on April 21, 2009


@ing at someone is barely one notch above top-posting.

Friends don't let friends top-post.
posted by Justinian at 10:10 PM on April 21, 2009


Overthinking a pl@ of beans?
posted by ORthey at 10:22 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


The MeFi hate for @ is so strange. In the years I was lurking, it seemed that every few months I'd see some new person try it, and then someone else would instantly step in with a very solemn "Please don't do that here". Like the other person was handing out copies of The Watchtower or secretly masturbating at the dinner table. And I would just feel like, why does it matter? Who cares what other people do?

It's just one of those things, I suppose.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:25 PM on April 21, 2009 [17 favorites]


it's useful in twitter because it's got additional functionality there. maybe if there were a greasemonkey script to make them more visible or useful in some. @replies aren't too different than "boo_radley, i think blahblah" right now.
posted by boo_radley at 10:35 PM on April 21, 2009


why does it matter?

It's noise on the page that interferes with the readability of the site. Arguably in a very minor way, but noticeable all the same. It's perfectly understandable that people here work occasionally to keep it at bay.
posted by mediareport at 10:40 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I like it because it does make it easier to figure out whose name belongs on the list come the revolution.
posted by Kattullus at 10:43 PM on April 21, 2009


Whatever you say, K@tullus.
posted by dersins at 10:52 PM on April 21, 2009


If somebody new does it, send them a friendly MeMail that's all "hey, welcome to MetaFilter, it's nice to have you here. Just so you know, the @ convention is likely to draw some fire round these parts, so be forewarned."

If it's someone who's been around for a while, just let the folks who are angrier than you are about it shame them into compliance/fail to do so whilst making an unnecessary derail.

Thanks, folks who are angrier about it than I am.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 11:02 PM on April 21, 2009


Also, if you choose to judge the @users silently, be sure to do so harshly.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 11:08 PM on April 21, 2009

Won't somebody think of the blockquote?
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 11:14 PM on April 21, 2009


no
posted by 31d1 at 11:24 PM on April 21, 2009


I appreciate proper English grammar and addressing conventions. It makes me feel wholesome.
posted by Meta Filter at 11:29 PM on April 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


i only say that because i'm an @sshole

Man, that's wider than goatse man. I'm more of an .sshole myself.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:30 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


i wish to coin the term

Personally, I'd rather quoin it. Look at me! I'm adding corner stones to your term! LOOK AT IT.
posted by katillathehun at 11:38 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]



i wish to coin the term for the group mocking of an individual for using twitterisms on mefi as an "@tack". thank you.


and the obvious corollary:
an assault by an Imperial All Terrain Armored Transport is an @@@tack.
posted by juv3nal at 11:41 PM on April 21, 2009


Heart @tack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack!
You oughtta know by nowwwww...
posted by katillathehun at 11:46 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ahem.

thief of jokes!
posted by dersins at 11:51 PM on April 21, 2009


And it gets better every time.
posted by katillathehun at 12:03 AM on April 22, 2009


First the @@s destroyed Echo base, now they're after Metafilter. I'm not going down without a fight. That's what she... never mind.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:03 AM on April 22, 2009


What's it called? An ASPERAND!

As in "one as'per'and!" (keeps goosing to a minimum!)

It's also called a mouse. And a puppy. And a snail. And a monkey tail. And a maggot.

posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:08 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ, what an @hole.
posted by loquacious at 12:10 AM on April 22, 2009


We call that sign a "monkey" here, so it's kind of weird to see people addressed as "Monkey jessamyn" and the like. It sounds like the monkey version of "comrade".
posted by pracowity at 12:16 AM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


#comment @ {
display: none;
}
posted by clearly at 12:20 AM on April 22, 2009


I don't see a problem with it and I'd rather not see threads derailed into an argument about it.


(then again, I also don't see a problem with twitter-related FPPs and I'd rather not see threads derailed into an argument about/hatefest on twitter, so I'm apparently in the minority here)
posted by flatluigi at 12:32 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


@jessamyn: Though people seem to prefer the latter method and I do not know why.

If sufficiently frequent to appear systematic, it weeds out the weak and/or those who are unable to deal. The mild atmosphere of intellectual and personality darwinism means that the responses to my posts and comments will generally be worth reading, and I'll learn something every time I visit the site. I like that. I also like the occasional reminder that I am not a special, beautiful snowflake.

That said, there's a real problem when the amplitude - rather than the frequency - of hostility starts to ramp up, and you guys (the mods) have that well in hand. So everybody wins.

The site is good and it's really working and it has for a while now: can we please not change it socially any further, but just add ponies?
posted by Ryvar at 12:37 AM on April 22, 2009


@hipebare: bcuz itz creepng txtspk, th@'s fukin y w3 h8 it
posted by fleacircus at 1:47 AM on April 22, 2009


@fleacircus u taek tt bk u sod b4 i av mi brova cum round an cut u
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:51 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


more like the f@t sign amirite
posted by killdevil at 1:52 AM on April 22, 2009


I agree. Also, twitter sucks. Discuss.
posted by mullingitover at 1:55 AM on April 22, 2009


mullingitover: I agree. Also, twitter sucks. Discuss.

Let's not and say we did.

Actually, let's not and say we shouldn't.
posted by flatluigi at 2:08 AM on April 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


I used @ to address people in forum posts for years before I even heard of Twitter. I think rejecting a fairly useful convention (i.e. making it clear whom you are addressing) on the grounds that a program you don't like uses it also is a bit silly.
posted by Scattercat at 2:36 AM on April 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


"I appreciate proper English grammar and addressing conventions. It makes me feel wholesome."

Like hypertext? The @person convention is older than twitter, it makes perfect sense, everyone knows what it means, and everyone's dislike for it is confounding me.
posted by gjc at 2:55 AM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Clearly, if we're going to have a MetaFilter's Style and Conventions Guide For Wholesome, Hive-Accepted Communication, we should also discuss the use of the serial comma. This is a critical issue to me, as I find that the serial comma INTERFERES WITH THE READABILITY OF THE SITE and that I am UNABLE AND/OR UNWILLING to kowtow to the mumblings of the incorrigible idiots who would dare defy the MSACFWHAC's explicitly defined stance on the use of serial commas.

This isn't Vietnam, man. This is Metafilter. There are rules.

If we can't spend the better part of our day ruling from on high how best we, as human beings, should express ourselves, and what conventions we should or shouldn't use, in good taste and in accordance with the democratically-arrived-at MSACFWHAC, then why did I even spend my $5?
solipsophistocracy: If somebody new does it, send them a friendly MeMail that's all "hey, welcome to MetaFilter, it's nice to have you here. Just so you know, the @ convention is likely to draw some fire round these parts, so be forewarned."
This is the most fucking ridiculous thing I've seen suggested here in some time. Seriously? We're going to take the time and effort to gently spam the ever-living-fuck out of someone new to the site who does something they're used to doing elsewhere on the internet because it offends our sensibilities? That's what this has come to? (Counter examples: self-linking, Pepsi Blueing, gratuitous use of the BLINK tag. But this isn't any of those, for reasons below.)

I am ridiculously embarrassed that we're seeking to actively nanny-state-nitpick the individual grammatical and stylistic choices individuals sometimes make when contributing to the site in good faith. This is not something that needs policing. This is not something that is even objectively wrong: I don't mind the @ convention if someone is replying immediately after someone and not quoting them outright—it makes it easy to skim to see "replies". If it's clutter to you, I'm sure that if you search, you will find deep within yourself, a strength that allows you to soldier on without MeMailing the offender or starting another MeTa discussion complaining about the perceived awkward convention someone else is daring to employ in their contributions to this hallowed chamber.

If I received a "friendly MeMail," I would think I had stumbled into a room full of pompous, erudite ponces who are afraid of change and like to keep their apartments at a balmy 78°. WE MAY, IN FACT, BE THOSE PEOPLE. Let's not jump on every single stray from unspoken "convention" as an opportunity to prove it whilst demonstrating first and foremost that we're beanthinkers before we even consider how little something like this actually matters.

Alternatively, add it to the FAQ so people have fair-warning that we care about such tripe to the degree that we (or a fellow agent of the Ministry of Grammar and Metafilter Styles and Conventions) will actively police your reply style. Or create a GreaseMonkey script that determines if the @ sign is being used immediately preceding a username, (but NOT as part of an RFC 2822 email address) and strip it out in these cases, saving our minds the precious cycles we would have otherwise spent quizzically staring at the symbol and wondering what fresh hell this was. While reducing screen clutter and increasing readability.

Christ.
posted by disillusioned at 3:01 AM on April 22, 2009 [51 favorites]


People can't handle the @. It makes them uncomfortable. I mean look @ it. It's like it's smirking at you. Sitting there, all smug and concise. @ is in your face. It rides the handlebars with its arms crossed in front of its burly chest and looks at you with a raised eyebrow as it rolls by. It walks up to the donut plate in the break room, just as you were walking up to it, takes the last jelly donut, and just looks at you, smiling, as it takes a bite and chews loudly and slowly. @ drums his meaty fingers loudly on his desk as he listens to his iPod, and doesn't care if you're trying to work over there - if you glare @ it, it'll just start singing. And don't ever tell @ that you have your eye on some girl, because next thing you know, you'll catch the two of them making out in the office lobby.

The best thing you can do is just acknowledge @, but don't let it get to you. It's what it wants.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:14 AM on April 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


@.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:46 AM on April 22, 2009


All the twitterers love @doublepostguy.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:47 AM on April 22, 2009


Loathing the @-convention is just one of those visceral reactions. Almost everything said against it here is accurate: it degrades conversation, it's talking at someone not to them, it's an obnoxious text-ism. If people get called to task for it every single time it is used, the whole "self-policing" thing can actually work. But that's going to need to happen until the use stops.
posted by graymouser at 3:50 AM on April 22, 2009


@disillusioned: I didn't propose this MSACFWHAC. okthx.
posted by clearly at 3:50 AM on April 22, 2009


It is rude to talk at people. Just don't do it.
posted by caddis at 4:41 AM on April 22, 2009


I thought this was an ampersand: &
posted by Grither at 4:46 AM on April 22, 2009


well said @disillusioned.

solipsophistocracy: If somebody new does it, send them a friendly MeMail that's all "hey, welcome to MetaFilter, it's nice to have you here. Just so you know, the @ convention is likely to draw some fire round these parts, so be forewarned."


Sounds like something Ned Flanders would say. Pffft...
posted by the cuban at 4:48 AM on April 22, 2009


@hippybear

So, insulting and mocking IS an acceptable tactic to use? I've generally tried to keep from doing that directly, I hope, with all my interactions here thus far

You started off by implying that people who use twitter and the @ sign are cunts: "I'm not a Twit (or is that Twat?)"

Historically, that's not a great idea nor does it indicate that you try to avoid 'insulting or mocking' people.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:49 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I usually start my user-specific posts like this:

HEY ASSBUTT!!!!!!!!!! (where "assbutt" is the user name). Seems to get their attention without using the annoying @assbutt convention.

(Ever been to an assbutt convention? Fun!)
posted by The Deej at 5:09 AM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


In Polish, the @ symbol is called malpeczka or "little monkey".
In Russian the @ symbol is called cабачка or "little dog".

The Slavs have an important message to share with us here. What do you think it might be?
posted by Meatbomb at 5:27 AM on April 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


@ Meatbomb
We should use a larger font?
posted by fish tick at 5:30 AM on April 22, 2009


I suppose that is one possible answer, fish tick, but it wasn't the really deep and interesting answer I was thinking of. Anybody else?
posted by Meatbomb at 5:37 AM on April 22, 2009


Meatbomb! You've arisen from your honeymoon room!
posted by netbros at 5:43 AM on April 22, 2009


Vertebrates with a multiple of three letters in their name?
posted by fish tick at 5:51 AM on April 22, 2009


Today we are ALL twitterers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:58 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Those little stars the Nazis made the Jews wear weren't "that big a problem" at first either.

Okay, but seriously, yeah, the @ shit is really irritating, because at a minimum it indicates you're not interested in adhering to the posting style for this particular site, which is generally, I suppose, to talk like an actual human being. MetaFilter doesn't really take kindly to all-caps or l33t-speak either, and you don't get to have "signatures" on your posts, and if you posted like that because another board allowed it you'd be roundly mocked.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:13 AM on April 22, 2009


I've seen at least one MeFi thread with a derail about people using the @ sign to address others, rather than linking to the comment being responded to ...

Neither of those is the convention. (I don't like when people talk "at" me.) You do it like this. Linking to the comment is a nice touch but not the norm.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:21 AM on April 22, 2009


Don't talk @ me. Talk 2 me.
posted by Eideteker at 6:21 AM on April 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


@gjc So why didn't you use it?
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:22 AM on April 22, 2009


I hate the @ convention being used here.

The thing that I like about MetaFilter is that it is a community where effort and intentionality are treasured and rewarded. Generally speaking we try to spell correctly, punctuate, and even think about what we write. In here shortcuts like @ seem like the first sprays of Krylon under the highway outside our nice civilized village - maybe they aren't TERRIBLE on their own, but they portend the coming of the barbarian hordes. If you can't take the 5 seconds to quote someone and/or link to their comment, maybe you should wait until you have 10 seconds, so you can think about what you are going to say, too?

Oh, and I am a fairly avid Twitter user. But that doesn't matter because the @ thing predates Twitter, as I recall.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:24 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


The thing that I like about MetaFilter is that it is a community where effort and intentionality are treasured and rewarded.

Yeah, right.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:28 AM on April 22, 2009


And also, if you do use one of those fancy greasemonkey scripts to reply, strip out that number in the beginning; it makes you look lazy.
posted by inigo2 at 6:31 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Assh@s.
posted by gman at 6:33 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


@Brandon Blatcher: j/k lol!
posted by dirtdirt at 6:33 AM on April 22, 2009


Don't talk @ me. Talk 2 me.

I kinda like it when you talk with me.
posted by netbros at 6:37 AM on April 22, 2009


doesn't really take kindly to all-caps or l33t-speak either

JIBE rap, on de oda' hand, be puh'fectly acceptable. Slap mah 'fro!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:42 AM on April 22, 2009


JIBE rap, on de oda' hand, be puh'fectly acceptable.
Surely you mean gybe rap? Avast, ye scurvy dog.
posted by fish tick at 6:46 AM on April 22, 2009


where it's @
i got two turntables and a microphone
where it's @
...
posted by double block and bleed at 6:48 AM on April 22, 2009


lol wut?
posted by lysdexic at 6:52 AM on April 22, 2009


@DIRTDIRT

THAT'S NOT FUNNY MAN.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:00 AM on April 22, 2009


Don't talk @ me. Talk 2 me.

How is Prince's new album, by the way?
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:04 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hear it's delightful.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:11 AM on April 22, 2009


3@E

OH, YR DELICATE EYES. U JUST GOT TXTMODE GOATSE'D.
posted by bunnytricks at 7:13 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Slimepuppy: You started off by implying that people who use twitter and the @ sign are cunts: "I'm not a Twit (or is that Twat?)"

Indeed, you are correct. Although that *joke* was not one of my own, but rather was stolen from a very good source.

Really, this discussion was brought here because of the derails I've been seeing in main threads, and it seemed like it would be good to really hash this out rather than having the topic scattered and incomplete.

Honestly, I rarely use most kinds of internet shorthand outside of actual chat, and even then I will type most things out or use less acronymic conventions to communicate. And now everyone will scour all my postings to see if that's true or not.

I agree that mocking is not a community building exercise, which is why I questioned it in the first place. However, there's a difference between singular and collective mocking, and I am certain that, while you are correct for having called me out on my possibly tasteless joking word choice in my question, I'm sure that most took it for the humor in which it was intended.
posted by hippybear at 7:14 AM on April 22, 2009


Perhaps ye would'st rather a forme of writt'n word that used not such Strange and Unusual punctuations. Verily, the Master Typesetter of this Auspicious Publication would fain wald thank thee if ye did.
posted by double block and bleed at 7:16 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ack. Much better link than the one above.
posted by hippybear at 7:18 AM on April 22, 2009


Is the @ tag really welcome in MetaFilter?

The "talking at" idea is kind of lowbrow to me, and I really like it when people talk in complete sentences.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:22 AM on April 22, 2009


Can I talk near you?
posted by waraw at 7:23 AM on April 22, 2009


@metafilter: writhing pointlessly on a plate of beans.
posted by _dario at 7:25 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the hell?

I've seen @username to reply to others in long threads since way before twitter (Making Light, haloscan comments section, etc). Years.
posted by ShawnStruck at 7:27 AM on April 22, 2009


Is the @ tag really welcome in MetaFilter?

Ah'm agin it.

@@: please keep away from Metafilter, thanks.
posted by FishBike at 7:34 AM on April 22, 2009


Scattercat : I think rejecting a fairly useful convention (i.e. making it clear whom you are addressing) on the grounds that a program you don't like uses it also is a bit silly.

On the other hand, I just accomplished that very thing; both making it clear who I am addressing, and which of your points I'm speaking to, without using the @ sign.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it raises ire more because it breaks up the flow of the conversation than that it's used by Twitter. XQUZYPHYR upthread made a nice comparison to l33t-speak; there certainly could be a use for it here at times, but as a common convention it would become very distracting, very quickly.
posted by quin at 7:35 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


In here shortcuts like @ seem like the first sprays of Krylon under the highway outside our nice civilized village - maybe they aren't TERRIBLE on their own, but they portend the coming of the barbarian hordes.

@-replying is the new top-quoting.

I'm actually serious about that, and not just so that I can pad out a "X is the new Y" oneliner. It's a communications convention that worked in a specific setting but soon became commonplace elsewhere, much to the consternation of traditionalists and smart-thinking people types. And unfortunately there's not much the traditionalists can do in the face of the oncoming hordes except try to keep up their favorite standards themselves. Top-quoting escaped from Outlook email chains and took over Usenet, and while it's true the quality of discussion has declined greatly in recent years, it's not solely due to the top-quoting mentality.

I say this with great resignation because I know that no matter how shouty I could get about @-replying (and I hate, hate, hate seeing it outside of Twitter, where it's got functionality) I wouldn't make much of a change. I can go on using my favorite reply conventions and maybe feel a little smug about it. You have to feel smug about something on the Internet. And in cases like MeFi, there is no set quoting feature so people have to use what they're comfortable with. I'm comfortable with cutting-and-pasting in italics for context. If there were a handy-dandy "quote and reply" link after each comment, I'd use it. And there would surely be a decline in @-replies, I'm sure.

But there'd also be a huge surge in quoting entire comments just to add a one line reply. It's a trade-off, really, and I guess in the end you ought to figure out which you find is the least annoying, and either grudgingly put up with it or snark accordingly (when it's necessary and funny.)
posted by Spatch at 7:46 AM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I honestly thing the best way to get rid of the @ thing, if it's a concern, would be to build the "quote" feature currently provided by add-on Greasemonkey scripts into the site itself.

People use "@" because they want to respond to another user's post, but without having the script installed it's kind of a PITA to do it the 'right' way: you have to copy/paste a bit of the user's post, format it appropriately, copy the URL, and link their username. Especially if you're in a hurry, I can understand why people just do the @username thing instead; it's much more compact and requires far fewer keystrokes/operations to accomplish. The efficiency-loving part of me really likes the compactness of @username, at least when it's used on a system that interprets it and turns it into a link, or directs it back to the username in question (which Metafilter obviously doesn't, which is why it's annoying).

IMO, the solution isn't to just go after people who use "@", it's to provide some mechanism for what they're trying to accomplish -- directing a response to a particular user or post -- that's more acceptable to the community and isn't much more complicated to use.

Okay, we can go after them too.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:46 AM on April 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


Scattercat: I used @ to address people in forum posts for years before I even heard of Twitter.

That doesn't mean you have to do it here. Sure, you can do it, but a lot of people find it irritating, includng me. I'd rather see what you're commenting on than who you're talking to. I hate having to scroll up and find whatever it is you're responding to, especially if it's some long thing and you're addressing maybe a single sentence. It's too easy to lose the train of the entire conversation.

I think rejecting a fairly useful convention (i.e. making it clear whom you are addressing) on the grounds that a program you don't like uses it also is a bit silly.

Well, my point is that it's not useful and is distracting. We're not about the "who" in the conversations. We're about the "what".
posted by lysdexic at 7:48 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, who really gives a fuck? I do not. I am aggressively opposed to giving a fuck about this kind of thing.
posted by Mister_A at 7:51 AM on April 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


Oh yeah? Oh YEAH? Come over here and say that, Mister_A!

:P
posted by lysdexic at 7:59 AM on April 22, 2009


;)
posted by Mister_A at 8:00 AM on April 22, 2009


:o
posted by The Whelk at 8:03 AM on April 22, 2009


I used @ to address people in forum posts for years before I even heard of Twitter. I think rejecting a fairly useful convention (i.e. making it clear whom you are addressing) on the grounds that a program you don't like uses it also is a bit silly.

I was annoyed at the use of @ as a prefix to replies before I even heard of Twitter. It's a gratuitous convention—there have been less visually obnoxious methods of reply and quotation around here for years, notable among them the use of someone's username without any line noise in front of it on the understanding that people here can read the whole thread and will understand that you might address them after they've made a comment.

I like and use twitter, and the utility of @ over there is clear. I don't have a problem with other places having @ as an established reply convention if that's how they roll—every place is different. It's not a moral issue for me, it's a metafilter issue. Other places are welcome to avatars and sig files and nested autoquoting, too, but this isn't other places: this is metafilter.

This is the most fucking ridiculous thing I've seen suggested here in some time. Seriously? We're going to take the time and effort to gently spam the ever-living-fuck out of someone new to the site who does something they're used to doing elsewhere on the internet because it offends our sensibilities?

I've done this gently and occasionally a number of times over the years. Generally with the explicit acknowledgement that it's not a "ur doin it rong" thing so much as a "this is silly, but heads up on local conventions, caveat @or" thing.

Taking the time and effort to give some one a polite and genial heads-up about the site they're new to in order to save them some potentially more jarring tar-hiding down the road? Yes, that's the kind of crazy bullshit I get up to now and then.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:06 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll say it again, a little less politely this time.

I know it's in vogue to hate on Twitter but you don't have to fucking try to eradicate anything that might even slightly resemble a twitter message. What's next, making sure every comment you leave is over 140 characters?

Yes, people that are so narcissistic that they assume others are interested in their every waking thought are annoying as fuck. This is the same for any media they use, whether it be Twitter, blogs, vlogs, texting, endless cellphone chatter, or just shouting at the top of their lungs.

It's also fucking annoying to hear newspeople chatter endlessly about Twitter, but again this is the same for any cutesy thing they pick up and focus on. Get your ire up at the fact that our media would rather spend time on little things like that than on actual news.

Now, onto the actual issues: The vocabulary's certainly twee as fuck but you can't actively change that. The 140-character format may be limiting but it can't be changed or they'd lose the major text-messaging facet of the service. What's left to be angry about Twitter?

The answer: Nothing. Get over it.
posted by flatluigi at 8:13 AM on April 22, 2009 [14 favorites]


This post couldn't have been written without you being a dick? The twitter hate here seems a bit lame.
posted by chunking express at 8:13 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hate twitter so much that I don't even use the @ in email addresses anymore.
posted by mullacc at 8:24 AM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah this whole thing seems really strange to me. Everybody has their different way of replying to a comment, and I think we'll continue to see many different conventions until there's some quoting ability built into MeFi (which would be awesome as it's nigh-impossible to catch up on long-ass threads). I think bitching about it doesn't really accomplish anything and for the few people you call out for doing it, you'll have that many more people doing the same thing.
posted by booticon at 8:28 AM on April 22, 2009


SAIT
IANAL
First they came for..
You know who else..

I could go on. There are a half a hundred annoying abbreviations and expressions used and abused on this site every day that make me want to go all stabbystabby at the screen. Many of them are actually exclusionary towards new members because they are Mefi inside baseball speak. I would sooner advocate for a reduction in those tired/boring usages than rally around this anti-@ cause.

@ is an internet convention (although I've used it in handwriting for many years). There is no misunderstanding what it means.

I think I might start using it here actually. Let everyone do whatever the hell they want.
posted by peacay at 8:32 AM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Folks on Facebook were using the @ form of address on comment threads way before the advent of twitter.

Is it unreasonable to want to stamp out the @ as a form of reply indicator?

It seems like a rather superficial cause to take up, but to each their own.

If so, how can we discourage this?

Remember, pillage first, then burn.
posted by zarq at 8:33 AM on April 22, 2009


I hate twitter so much that I never walk behind people, lest they think I'm "following" them.
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:40 AM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Everybody has their different way of replying to a comment, and I think we'll continue to see many different conventions until there's some quoting ability built into MeFi

No, not really. Almost everyone does it the same way, like this.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:49 AM on April 22, 2009


It seems like a rather superficial cause to take up, but to each their own.

+1
posted by cairnish at 8:50 AM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


>No, not really. Almost everyone does it the same way, like this.

Well, if you say so.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:50 AM on April 22, 2009


Jaltcoh said: "Everybody has their different way of replying to a comment, and I think we'll continue to see many different conventions until there's some quoting ability built into MeFi

No, not really. Almost everyone does it the same way, like this.
"

Wrong wrong wrong.
posted by booticon at 8:52 AM on April 22, 2009


I hate twitter so much that when I hear Rockin' Robin, it goes like this:

FUCKITY-diddly dee
FUCKITY dee dee
FUCKITY-diddly dee
FUCKITY dee dee

He rocks in the treetops all day long
Hoppin' and a boppin' and a singin' his song
All the little birdies on jay bird street
Love to hear Robin goin' FUCK FUCK FUCK

Rockin' Robin
(FUCK FUCK FUCKITY dee)
Rockin' Robin
(FUCK FUCK FUCKITY dee)
Oh Rockin' Robin
We're really gonna rock tonight.

It sounds weird coming out of young Michael Jackson's mouth.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:04 AM on April 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


In the past when I would address someone specifically in thread, it would go something like this

absalom: You're really getting worked up over something so minute as to not even worry about.

But, after this, I'm going to reprogram myself to instead start doing it like this:

@absalom: You're really getting worked up over something so minute as to not even worry about.

HOLY SHIT, YOU ARE RIGHT! THAT @ SYMBOL REALLY DESTROYED ALL OF THE READABILITY! WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN NOW?!?! IT'S TOTALLY L33T SPEAK!

Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

(And, no, I'm not joking. Every time someone calls me on it, I'll point them back to this comment. And the one below)

@You: This site is plagued with thoughtless snarking, unreasonable levels of vitriol, rampant derails, and a generally exclusionary attitude. But AT SYMBOL is really something we need to work on stamping out.
posted by absalom at 9:11 AM on April 22, 2009 [15 favorites]


@absalom: chill out dude.
posted by Mister_A at 9:12 AM on April 22, 2009


If the @ symbol truly bugs you, I've put together a Greasemonkey Script that strips them out of Metafilter pages. It's one line of code that does a search and replace for all @ symbols, so it's terribly inefficient and will certainly break all email addresses and URLs with @ symbols in them. I've also noticed as I type this that it breaks the live comment preview. It will probably also cause all your hair to fall out and lead your family to disown you. Needless to say, I am releasing it without warranty or guarantee. Caveat emptor.

But at least you won't see any @ symbols on Metafilter, so there's that.
posted by turaho at 9:20 AM on April 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm willing to bet one trillion quatloos that the MeFites who jape and jeer the most about Twitter are the same ones who post glib or inane comments at the beginning of seemingly every damn FPP. If that is indeed that case, it's not surprising that they see no need for the Twitter, since they already have a venue for their vacuity.

Me, I post my glib inanities somewhere near the middle of a conversation, generally after it's peaked. I'm sneaky like that.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:28 AM on April 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


PEACAY IS RIGHT. EVERYONE SHOULD JUST DO WHATEVER THE HELL THEY WANT. I'VE DECIDED THAT I'M ONLY GOING TO USE CAPS IN COMMENTS FROM NOW ON. COMMENTS IN ALL CAPS STAND OUT MUCH BETTER AND ALLOW ME TO DOMINATE A THREAD WITHOUT EVEN TRYING, BEING CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL AND ALL THAT. AND IF IT ANNOYS YOU, THEN IT'S YOUR PROBLEM NOT MINE.

THANK YOU PEACAY FOR FREEING ME FROM MY BONDS AND ALLOWING ME TO SEE THE LIGHT. EVERYDAY IS NOW CAPS LOCK DAY FOR ME.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:30 AM on April 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


@+uR@h0:
But at least you won't see any symbols on Metafilter, so there's that.

A+++
posted by lysdexic at 9:34 AM on April 22, 2009


AT SOME POINT TWITTER MADE ME HATE THE HUMAN RACE. THAT WAS BEFORE I STARTED USING IT REGULARLY. I FIND THAT THE PEOPLE WHO CHARACTERIZE THE SERVICE AS BEING A HAVEN FOR SHORT FORM NARCISSISM SEE THE SERVICE LIKE I USED TO.

IT TAKES REGULAR USE TO REALLY UNDERSTAND ITS POTENTIAL.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:36 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm with absalom. The practice of using the @ symbol to address someone predates Twitter by years and years; I've seen it on forums and in chat programs for as long as I've been using them. Everyone whining about the @ symbol is not actually upset about that, it's just that a largish proportion of you have a completely inexplicable bug up your asses about Twitter, and start acting like babies with dirty diapers whenever the topic comes up. We get it. You hate Twitter. Give it a fucking rest now.
posted by Caduceus at 9:40 AM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


But at least you won't see any @ symbols on Metafilter, so there's that.

Alternatively, you could set it up where it randomly replaced the @ with something different like # and !, because it would be fun to open up conversations with threats or seduction attempts.
posted by quin at 9:41 AM on April 22, 2009


wh@
posted by trip and a half at 9:42 AM on April 22, 2009


on the other hand ive decided that punctuation and capitalisation are merely societys way of keeping the man down readability is an unfortunate but necessary casualty in the glorious revolution the symbol that people are referring to in this thread does impair ones ability to parse the conversation and as demonstrated there are neater ways to reply to a specific comment
posted by patricio at 9:44 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is a critical issue to me, as I find that the serial comma INTERFERES WITH THE READABILITY OF THE SITE and that I am UNABLE AND/OR UNWILLING to kowtow to the mumblings of the incorrigible idiots ...

I could care less about use of @, but THEMS FIGHTING WORDS!!!
posted by exogenous at 9:47 AM on April 22, 2009


I used @ to address people in forum posts for years before I even heard of Twitter.

And Mefites have been objecting to it for years -- long before there was a Twitter.

I think rejecting a fairly useful convention (i.e. making it clear whom you are addressing) on the grounds that a program you don't like uses it also is a bit silly.

OK, how exactly is @East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 clearer than East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94?

It has nothing to do with Twitter; it's just an unnecessary affectation and in some ways a manifestation of a certain annoying faddishness. The MeFi convention for responding to someone is to quote the statement you're responding to and/or just use the person's name.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:48 AM on April 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


YOU GO PATRICIO LET IT ALL HANG OUT IM WITH YOU BROTHER OR SISTER AS THE CASE MAY BE
posted by eyeballkid at 9:50 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't be such a sp@chcock
posted by ob at 9:50 AM on April 22, 2009


Everyone whining about the @ symbol is not actually upset about that

Again, no. This is not solely a war-by-proxy between Twitter supporters and Twitter haters, and those of use who have a position on it that's not premised on one or the other of the endpoints of that grand religious continuum are tearing our hair out a bit at seeing it presented as such.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:51 AM on April 22, 2009


See, everyone, this is healthy discussion. Well, for the most part. At least it's clear that there are passionate views about the subject. Even more clear, there are passionate views about people who hold passionate views about the subject.

The idea of filtering out content is repugnant to me. The point of the question wasn't, how do I keep from seeing a specific character on the screen, but was more trying to address the (rather high) posting standards which MeFi has always had.

I still find the typical use of @ to be excluding, somehow. And it does disturb the flow when you have to scroll back to find exactly to what previous post the @ is referring. And really, since when is posting to MeFi about taking shortcuts? If you don't have time to post a thoughtful, well-composed response to someone, the impulse to write is likely coming from snark or jokiness. I participate in both of those, too, but those are generally not the comments from which I draw sustenance.

Still, great discussion. I knew it needed to be talked about.
posted by hippybear at 9:54 AM on April 22, 2009


@ is an internet convention (although I've used it in handwriting for many years). There is no misunderstanding what it means.

This is appalling. Handwriting!?

Just a data-point: It is not at all clear. I had to look it up to figure out what the hell it meant, because reading it as: "at Someone: Here's my reply to your message" makes no sense. You would not say or write this. You would write: "Someone, in regard to your message" or "Someone: I don't agree."

It may be an internet convention, but it certainly doesn't make any grammatical sense.
posted by odinsdream at 9:58 AM on April 22, 2009


The idea of filtering out content is repugnant to me.

But MetaFilter is designed specifically to filter content out from the wider web. Do you find MetaFilter repugnant too or did I just blow your fucking mind!?!
posted by Science! at 9:59 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


2 1/2 pounds dried white beans such as Great Northern
1/2 pound fresh pork rind
2 1/2 pounds confit duck legs
6 fresh parsley stems (without leaves)
4 fresh thyme sprigs
5 whole cloves
12 garlic cloves
1 (1-pound) piece smoked salted slab bacon, halved crosswise
3 cups chopped onion (1 pound)
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound meaty mutton or lamb bones, cracked by butcher
1 cup rendered goose fat
6 large tomatoes (3 pounds)
5 bay leaves (not California)
1 quart beef stock (not canned broth)
1 (750-ml) bottle dry white wine
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 1/2 pounds fresh garlic-pork sausage (not sweet or very spicy) such as saucisson à l'ail au vin rouge,saucisse de canard à l'armagnac, or a mixture of the two
1 1/2 cups plain dry bread crumbs
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Special equipment: a small square of cheesecloth and a wide 10-quart enameled cast-iron pot

PreparationDAY 1 Act 1: Nasty Work
Bring 5 quarts water to a boil in an 8-quart heavy pot. Boil beans, uncovered, 1 1/2 minutes, then turn off heat and let them soak 50 minutes.

While beans soak, do all the really disgusting work with the meat. Put pork rind in a 3-quart saucepan three-fourths full of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil pork rind 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold running water, then do it again. (Sometimes you know it's ready because it grows nipples.) After draining, cut the truly repulsive boiled pork rind into pieces that are big enough to identify (about 2 inches), so you can fish them out before serving.

Scrape off and discard fat from confit duck legs and shred meat (the more it shreds the better). [Editors' note: Those who have no problem with identifiable meat in their food might want to keep the shredding to a minimum.]

Act 2: Slightly Less Nasty Work
Put parsley stems, thyme, whole cloves, and 8 garlic cloves in cheesecloth and tie into a bundle to make a bouquet garni.

First seasoning of beans: Add rind pieces, bacon halves, 1 cup onion, bouquet garni, and salt to beans. Simmer, covered, 1 1/4 hours, skimming regularly. Cool, uncovered.

While beans simmer, brown mutton bones. Do this by heating goose fat in enameled cast-iron pot over moderate heat until it smokes, then cook mutton bones, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Set them aside on a plate. Drop remaining 2 cups onion into pot and brown that, too. This can take as long as 15 minutes. Stir regularly.

Peel seed, and chop tomatoes.

Act 3: Nasty Gets Nice
Flavoring the meat: Add browned bones and shredded duck to onion. Add bay leaves, beef stock, tomatoes, remaining 4 garlic cloves, white wine, and pepper. Simmer, covered, 1 1/2 hours. Cool to room temperature,uncovered.

Put pot with meat and pot with beans in refrigerator, covered, overnight.

DAY 2 Act 1: Crescendo (1 hr)
Poke holes in sausage with a fork and grill it slowly in a well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderately low heat 20 minutes (to get the fat out). (Sausage should still be slightly undercooked on the inside when you're done.) Transfer to a cutting board and cool slightly. Slice into thin (1/4-inch) rounds.

Remove and discard bones and bay leaves from meat pot. Remove duck with a slotted spoon and put on a plate. Reserve cooking liquid remaining in pot.

Remove bacon from beans and cut into tiny, fat-free pieces. Put pieces on a plate and discard remaining bacon fat. Discard pork rind and bouquet garni from beans.

Julia Child says: "Now is the time to drain the beans and dump them into the ample, leftover meat cooking juices." In my experience, there is nothing left to drain. What you are looking at, when you stare into the bean pot, is a fairly solid wall of beans, with some gluey goop in between. So, pour reserved meat cooking juices into bean pot. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, and simmer 5 minutes, skimming any scum. Then turn off heat and let sit another 5 minutes.

Act 2: Final Assembly
Preheat oven to 375°F.

Spread a layer of beans on bottom of enameled cast-iron pot. Layer half of sausage and bacon on top, then another layer of beans, then half of duck (and any mutton), then another layer of beans, et cetera, ending with a layer of beans. Then add enough remaining liquid from bean pot until beans are submerged. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and parsley.

Bring the whole thing to a simmer, uncovered, over moderately low heat. Then stick it in oven 20 minutes. Break through bread crumbs in several places with a spoon, allowing the liquid to mess up the look of the thing. Then reduce heat to 350°F and leave it in another 40 minutes. Serve very hot.


And that, my friends, is how you make a plate of beans.
posted by TedW at 10:02 AM on April 22, 2009 [10 favorites]


Everyone whining about the @ symbol is not actually upset about that, it's just that a largish proportion of you have a completely inexplicable bug up your asses about Twitter, and start acting like babies with dirty diapers whenever the topic comes up.

I've never used Twitter. I had no idea until this Metatalk thread that this convention was used on it. I dislike the use of "@name:" in a reply for reasons that have nothing to do with its use on Twitter. Specifically, I think it looks bad, comes across as kind of rude, and does not flow nicely when reading it.

That said, if the worst thing that happens to me all day is somebody uses "@fishbike:" in a reply, it's a pretty damn good day.
posted by FishBike at 10:04 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


it does disturb the flow when you have to scroll back to find exactly to what previous post the @ is referring

As does a quoted snippet without an authorial reference. It's easier to scan the usernames, which are a different color, than to hunt for something that may be embedded in a lengthy comment.

That said, this is not a vote of support for @s. I am an old-school USENET person and want to read quoted threaded MeFi in trn [which makes me a poser and one who craps upon the eternal tradition of hacking the stream to read posts before they're written by God and Kibo, but what can I say - I like threads].
posted by catlet at 10:04 AM on April 22, 2009


EVERYONE WHINING ABOUT THE @ SYMBOL IS NOT ACTUALLY UPSET ABOUT THAT

I HAVEN'T BEEN WHINING IN THIS THREAD, MORE LIKE YELLING-- BUT I DO LIKE TWITTER AND DON'T LIKE THE @ CONVENTION ON THIS SITE. AS HAS BEEN STATED MANY TIMES UPTHREAD, THE TWITTER @ SERVES A SPECIFIC FUNCTION. IT IS USED TO IDENTIFY REPLIES ACROSS DIFFERENT TWITTER TIMELINES AND HYPERLINK THEM. HERE IT HAS NO USE BUT TO ADD AN EXTRA, UNNECESSARY CHARACTER AS ANY REPLY IS DIRECTED AT A COMMENT MADE EARLIER IN THE SAME THREAD ON THE SAME PAGE.

BUT THEN I DON'T EVEN LIKE THE GREASEMONKEY REPLY SCRIPT.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:06 AM on April 22, 2009


Science-bang: MetaFilter is for filtering content to find the good parts. That's an inclusive process, and I don't use MeFi as my exclusive contact with the tubes so I do look beyond the filter.

Running a greasemonkey script will filter without possibility of view. MeFi doesn't block from view, but rather points toward good places.

It's the difference between having an auto-pilot and having a guide book. One gets you someplace without choice, the other helps you find what you want. By your analogy, MeFi *should* lock down my computer and only allow it to see websites it discusses. That's not the case, and therefore is not repugnant.
posted by hippybear at 10:08 AM on April 22, 2009


As does a quoted snippet without an authorial reference.

Truth, but unless I feel something is missing from the context of the quote, I'm generally content to allow the non-referenced quote to be spoken to by the response. If I do feel the need to locate the source, my browser does allow me to search on a page for an uncommon word or phrase in the quote.

Oh, wait, sorry...

catlet: As does a quoted snippet without an authorial reference.

better?
posted by hippybear at 10:13 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I used to care about things like this before I started a fight in mind with a bear. Now when I bother to look outside of my head, nothing bothers me because, compared to fighting a bear, most things are trivial. I have to go now, I hear the bear coming.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:16 AM on April 22, 2009


THANK YOU PEACAY FOR FREEING ME FROM MY BONDS AND ALLOWING ME TO SEE THE LIGHT. EVERYDAY IS NOW CAPS LOCK DAY FOR ME.

But... you do still hate us all, right?
posted by languagehat at 10:31 AM on April 22, 2009


While we're here, can somebody make me a Greasemonkey script to replace any reference to that stupid-ass "plate of beans" semi-joke with the phrase, "We are the knights who say 'NI!'"?

that way, it would still be a cring-inducing, overplayed, embarrassing injoke, but at least it would be something that was once funny.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:36 AM on April 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


I like the @ sign as it looks like a curled up kittycat!
posted by Artw at 10:42 AM on April 22, 2009


I had Chinese@lunch.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:44 AM on April 22, 2009


yhbc: Look, everyone! Look at the daft pansy!!!

Oh, thanks. You reminded me to put new pansies in the corner space. It's our little bit of gay pride here in this redneck town.
posted by hippybear at 10:49 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't give a fig about Twitter. Quoting the sentence your replying to allows everyone to follow the threadless conversation seamlessly. The "@" cuts others out of the conversation. Easy-peasy.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:51 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


on the other hand ive decided that punctuation and capitalisation are merely societys way of keeping the man down readability when a couple of guys who were up to no good started makin trouble in my neighborhood i got in one little fight and my mom got scared and said you're movin' with your auntie and uncle in bel-air i whistled for a cab and when it came near the license plate said fresh and it had dice in the mirror if anything I could say that this cab was rare but I thought man forget it yo homes to bel-air
posted by lysdexic at 10:55 AM on April 22, 2009


For drjimmy11
posted by turaho at 10:57 AM on April 22, 2009


I don't use @username here, either, but it honestly never bothered me.

You know what does though? When someone who's been smoking at the bus stop takes one last drag as the bus pulls up, and exhales as they step on. Hey man, thanks. That's just what I wanted as I sit here in this ricketing, suspension-free can that already stinks of the drunk guy sitting behind me exhaling his beer breath onto my neck - a big ol' cloud of Winston smoke billowing out of your lungs. Ditto smokers who light up just before stepping outside. What's the matter, afraid the typhoon-force gales out there will rip the cigarette out of your mouth?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:57 AM on April 22, 2009


This is stupid you're stupid etc.
posted by grobstein at 10:58 AM on April 22, 2009


But that helps me avoid smelling the drunk guy!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:58 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


2 1/2 pounds dried white beans such as Great Northern
1/2 pound fresh pork rind

....


I think we have a new treaty of westphalia here.
posted by lysdexic at 10:59 AM on April 22, 2009


Has anyone actually said don't do it because it's the convention on Twitter? I think a lot people just plain don't like it, regardless of what's done on Twitter.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:00 AM on April 22, 2009


I hate so much I won't even say the word "".
posted by owtytrof at 11:10 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I HAVEN'T BEEN WHINING IN THIS THREAD, MORE LIKE YELLING...

Stephen A. Smith? You've moved to Metafilter now that ESPN dumped you?
posted by inigo2 at 11:12 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


As long as we're getting rid of @, oh revered protectorate of linguistic convention, can we get rid of the following:

IANAL
IANAD
Wendell
DTMFA
FTFY
GYOB
TL;DR
SAIT
SLYT
NAFTA
Smart-assed remarks
Loneliness
War
Electric Bills
Octomom


@ everyone who is complaining about @ -- explain to me again why people care about this?
posted by orville sash at 11:14 AM on April 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is your c@ f@? If so, it is because it is lazy. Get it declawed, defanged and detailed @ Harry's Custom C@s
posted by Mister_A at 11:16 AM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Don't be such a sp@chcock

I beg your pardon!
posted by Spatch at 11:16 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


As long as we're getting rid of @, oh revered protectorate of linguistic convention, can we get rid of the following:

In what respect, orville?
posted by lysdexic at 11:25 AM on April 22, 2009


This topic needs a fail whale.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:36 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Speaking of getting way too annoyed at someone for breaking conventions, I just had to talk myself out of a snit over this question's format.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:40 AM on April 22, 2009


Don't Have a Snit, Flag That Shit.

Maybe 1 in every 20 askme questions that features bold above the fold actually has a reason for it. The other 19 get those tags stripped as soon as I see 'em, which happens faster if they show up in the flag queue.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:45 AM on April 22, 2009


You really should have put the apostrophe and ess in the link brackets.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:46 AM on April 22, 2009


While we are at it can we introduce a minimum char count for comments. Also, sorry for using @ once, I dinnae know, but the mocking soon took care of that
posted by fistynuts at 11:46 AM on April 22, 2009


N
posted by dersins at 11:48 AM on April 22, 2009


Maybe 1 in every 20 askme questions that features bold above the fold actually has a reason for it. The other 19 get those tags stripped as soon as I see 'em, which happens faster if they show up in the flag queue.

Duly noted for future reference. Also, "features bold before the fold" sounds like some weird burlesque barker come-on.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:49 AM on April 22, 2009


jeez dersins, I can't believe you went there. WHAT THE HELLACIOUS DIVE-BOMBING FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? HAVE YOU NO DECENCY?

T
posted by Mister_A at 11:52 AM on April 22, 2009


@Mr_A: N
posted by dersins at 12:05 PM on April 22, 2009


Kh@@@@@@@@N
posted by Burhanistan at 12:18 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have a T@2 on my arm. It is a T@2 of a boot stomping on a human face, forever. It is captioned:

T
posted by Mister_A at 12:26 PM on April 22, 2009


Cortex: I've done this gently and occasionally a number of times over the years. Generally with the explicit acknowledgement that it's not a "ur doin it rong" thing so much as a "this is silly, but heads up on local conventions, caveat @or" thing.

Taking the time and effort to give some one a polite and genial heads-up about the site they're new to in order to save them some potentially more jarring tar-hiding down the road? Yes, that's the kind of crazy bullshit I get up to now and then.


Right, which, in the counter-examples I cited, is valid, though still awkward. My issue is that this isn't one of those things that need gentle correction because this *isn't* a local convention yet. And it's clear in this thread that there isn't a consensus, and so the community should just let the usage evolve on its own, and mind their P's and Q's and write how they want to. Not everything needs to be established and set to a style guide and written under the auspices of an ISO-9001 certified control. This is the fucking internet. And you know what? Metafilter is pretty damn readable without bitching out users for innocuous @ signs.

Maybe we need Metafilter Mentors, like how Everything2 has a mentoring program. And a Metafilter University, ala Everything University/FAQ. Maybe we should also require an admissions essay to ensure that those wishing to contribute to the hive "get us" and know our conventions—even those not actually established, agreed upon, or in any way real, except for a fickle dozen or so who have complained about a given way of doing something.

Yes, this brave, new, homogenized world we are entering in to will be fantastic; the most readable site on the internet, with nae a dissenting comma, semicolon, @ sign, or thought.
posted by disillusioned at 12:30 PM on April 22, 2009


Maybe we need Metafilter Mentors

I'm not sure I follow you. We have them. They're the ones who say "hey fyi we don't really use the @ notation here generally"

I see it like the spoilers discussion. Our mod assertion is that we'd like people to not post spoilers, we'll clean up egregious ones and expect people to be cool about other minor ones and @ notation is no different.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:33 PM on April 22, 2009


MY CROCKETY IS ALL BLOATED!!! I NEED THE BEANS TO RELEASE THE GAS!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:35 PM on April 22, 2009


Maybe we need Metafilter Mentors, like how Everything2 has a mentoring program.

A master and an apprentice, no more, no less.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:37 PM on April 22, 2009


Maybe we should also require an admissions essay ...

As someone who lurked for many, many months watching carefully for the signups to be briefly opened, I will go on-record as supporting your proposal for an admissions essay.

"Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind. About your mother."
posted by odinsdream at 12:43 PM on April 22, 2009



Don't be such a sp@chcock


I sp@chcocked two chickens this Sunday and grilled/smoked them with a spice rub and a last minute brushing with some bbq sauce. DELICIOUS. Once you start sp@chcocking chickens you will never go back. 25 minutes a side on the grill, with a pan of water in the center of the grill to get some moisture and indirect heat. Meat scissors my brothers and sisters, don't front on meat scissors.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:44 PM on April 22, 2009


As long as we're getting rid of @, oh revered protectorate of linguistic convention, can we get rid of the following:

I'd add "seriously" to your list. It seems to be used more and more, and it's fast approaching meaninglessness. Seriously. (See what I mean?)
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:47 PM on April 22, 2009


@^ amirite
posted by neustile at 12:48 PM on April 22, 2009


My issue is that this isn't one of those things that need gentle correction because this *isn't* a local convention yet.

It's specifically unconventional here, in fact, which is why mostly-new people dropping it into play run the risk of getting grief from people who are more familiar with conventional usage around here, which is in turn why giving those new people a gentle heads-up about it is kinder than waiting for them to get savaged by some less gentle interlocutor.

The same holds for folks who show up and sign their posts. I drop 'em a line about it when I see it, to keep the Todd Lokkenry from becoming a distracting thing where possible.

There's a very long road from a collective-but-not-unanimous dislike for creeping @ usage and a "brave, new, homogenized world we are entering in to will be fantastic; the most readable site on the internet, with nae a dissenting comma, semicolon, @ sign, or thought", and it's hard to take objections to the former seriously when they're couched in terms of the latter.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:49 PM on April 22, 2009


Spatchcock is either from "dispatch cock" or "spitchcock, a way of cooking an eel." Bet you didn't know that.
posted by languagehat at 12:52 PM on April 22, 2009


It's a little too close to SHITCOCK for comfort, don't you think?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:53 PM on April 22, 2009


Don't be an eel cooker.
posted by Science! at 12:53 PM on April 22, 2009


Spatchcock is either from "dispatch cock" or "spitchcock, a way of cooking an eel."

Everyone knows that, but it's common usage is to indicate a flattened penis so good luck getting that genie back in the bottle.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:55 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I did know that hat, but only because the only thing I'm nerdier about than cooking is obscure, obscene sounding cooking terms.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:57 PM on April 22, 2009


Yes, this brave, new, homogenized world we are entering in to will be fantastic; the most readable site on the internet, with nae a dissenting comma, semicolon, @ sign, or thought.
posted by disillusioned at 12:30 PM on April 22 [+] [!]


flagged as eponysilly.

I'm at Mefi for the links and conversations. FborFw, it's a community weblog, with a nice emphasis on community. There aren't community "standards" so much as conventions, some written and some not.

If you wanna use '@', go right ahead; I've already said why I don't care for it. I'm more apt to ignore comments starting with it because it's noise to me.
posted by lysdexic at 12:59 PM on April 22, 2009


THE F@ C@ S@ ON THE M@ AND PISSED OFF THE R@, C@ AND B@.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:01 PM on April 22, 2009


Metafilter sometimes seems to strive on its nature of exclusion. It's a club with very, very steep entrance requirements to 'fit in'. I mean, Christ, in a recent post a user (jokingly) mocks another for being considered an "old-timer" at Metafilter because they've been registered on the site for only 8 years. I've seen the same elitism expressed in less jovial terms several times. The amount of in-jokes and acronyms used here on a daily basis leave most of us who don't frequent Metatalk every day a bit lost. I keep seeing references to users who left over 5 years ago. Some people still lament that users, like myself, are able to simply buy themselves in.

Don't get me wrong, some of these idiosyncrasies is what makes this place a community blog, but to aggressively discourage new users from using an @ sign because 'we don't do that here' is yet another way of dissuading people from joining up. I spent a few years stalking this place before signing up because the 'X comments' link often lead to a very cliquey inner circle where not only did I feel I didn't belong, but that new users were actively discouraged from participating...

I'm glad I did sign up and these days I partake in a lot of the inner-circle stuff, but I bet there are a lot of people who never take that step. And hell, I still occasionally feel left out because I've only been active on the site for less than half a decade and my user number is in the ten thousands. I guess my point is that dictating how people should format their comments in a thread is an exclusionary tactic rather than an inclusionary one which is not a policy that keeps a community alive (or striving at the very least) for too long.

...and I feel kinda bad having written all of that up as I've been reminded that 'Everyone needs a hug.' Mefi cuddle puddle meetup?
posted by slimepuppy at 1:12 PM on April 22, 2009 [10 favorites]


Don't be an eel cooker.

I'm not an eel cooker or an eel cooker's son, but I'll cook eels 'til the eel cookers come.

Other things I'm not:

- spatchcocker
- fig plucker
- sheet slitter
posted by dersins at 1:13 PM on April 22, 2009


Other things I'm am:

-Assbutt
-Richard Dawkins
-Darryl Dawkins
-Darryl Strawberry
-Strawberry Shortcake
-Joanie Cunningham
-L'il Opie Cunningham
-Robert Langdon
-Langston Hughes
-Hugh Jass
-Assbutt
posted by Mister_A at 1:18 PM on April 22, 2009


METAFILTER SOMETIMES SEEMS TO STRIVE ON ITS NATURE OF EXCLUSION.

QQ MOAR NOOB.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:19 PM on April 22, 2009


dictating how people should format their comments in a thread is an exclusionary tactic rather than an inclusionary one

It's like the "No brown M&M's in Van Halen's dressing room" contract rider - it's not (specifically) to be a picky assclam. It's to make sure you are paying attention, because if you've paid attention enough to get the little things chances are you've paid attention to get the big things. Because, again, it IS a community, and although new folks are both necessary and inevitable, the community will do better in the long run if the people who are participating in it are paying a little bit of attention to what 'it' is.

I feel very self-conscious when I quote someone in this thread.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:21 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


*SPAWNCAMPS EYEBALLKID*
posted by Mister_A at 1:22 PM on April 22, 2009


@ is an internet convention (although I've used it in handwriting for many years)

note to @self
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 1:23 PM on April 22, 2009


I think it's interesting that people are saying that using the atmark is disregarding the conventions here, but as far as I've been able to tell (and I've been posting here since 2007, and lurked before that starting around 2004), there is no convention. Some people (myself included) italicize the text we want to respond to, others use that Greasemonkey script that inserts "[user] posted, ", others just call the person by name.

There is no "convention", merely several ad-hoc ways of doing it. Hating on the atmark because "that's not what we do here" is ludicrous and stupid, and I cringe every time somebody says "we don't do that here" in the same way they'd talk about screaming misogyny, unreconstructed sexism, or linkspamming.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:37 PM on April 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


dirtdirt said: "Because, again, it IS a community, and although new folks are both necessary and inevitable, the community will do better in the long run if the people who are participating in it are paying a little bit of attention to what 'it' is."

Again, I think it's kinda silly to harp on these things until there's some official rule in place with a "proper" quoting convention, or there's an official quoting system. Until then, though, people are going to bitch and moan, and everybody else will live their lives, quoting however they please.
posted by booticon at 1:38 PM on April 22, 2009


The amount of in-jokes and acronyms used here on a daily basis leave most of us who don't frequent Metatalk every day a bit lost.

That's a fair point in general, but it seems unlikely to me that importing odd—and certainly non-universal, even if more widespread—conventions used on other websites would help the situation.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:38 PM on April 22, 2009


in a recent post a user (jokingly) mocks another for being considered an "old-timer" at Metafilter because they've been registered on the site for only 8 years... I keep seeing references to users who left over 5 years ago.

Speaking of, anyone seen or heard from jonmc? No comments in more than three weeks. Where's he @?

Hiya jon.
posted by netbros at 1:39 PM on April 22, 2009


other people ripping my style has inspired me to think about getting a sock puppet named the @loh@-h@-h@ so i will always have the last laugh even though it will also make me an *ssh@
posted by the aloha at 1:39 PM on April 22, 2009


For drjimmy11

For me in the sense that it does what i requested? Or for me in the sense that i am the asshole who needs to be removed?

Not mad, just a bit confused.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:40 PM on April 22, 2009


@lysdexic: I regret that I can only favorite your comment once.

[Any of the @-supporters want to explain to me how the above is just as conducive to conversation as actually quoting the comment I'd like to multifave?]
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:41 PM on April 22, 2009


Oh after reading the script I see it does indeed do what i asked, with a bonus feature of substituting "Hitler" for "you know who else..."

I was just confused because of the word "assholes" in the title of the script.

so um... thanks.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:42 PM on April 22, 2009


@Metafilter: I suggest a pony that automatically creates a hyperlink on any existing '@' sign pointing back to this thread. Thus all participants can be fully aware of the consequences and bean-plate overthinkingness that results from its use.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:43 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it's interesting that people are saying that using the atmark is disregarding the conventions here, but as far as I've been able to tell (and I've been posting here since 2007, and lurked before that starting around 2004), there is no convention.

I think there's some sort of confusion here about the lack of convention. If the question is "How do peopel indicate what they're replying to when they make a reply in a thread?" I think you have a prescriptive/descriptive thing going on. People tend to

- italicize a pullquote without attribution, largely
- quote the user and the pullquote (less frequent, but the greasemonkey thing does this)
- > sometimes people do this
- sometimes they use the name
- sometimes they @

So in a sense there's no convention as in "we don't all do it the same way and there's not a rule that says one way is the best/approved way" but in a sense there is a convention in that we mainly see the italicized option which doesn't actually quote the username so people can CTRL-F to figure out who said it.

Hating on the atmark because "that's not what we do here" is ludicrous and stupid


So is hating on haters.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:45 PM on April 22, 2009


@lysdexic: I regret that I can only favorite your comment once.

You're just doing that to make me scroll up and see, aren't you? :P
posted by lysdexic at 1:47 PM on April 22, 2009


In contrast to slimepuppy, I paid my 5 bucks, partially because Metafilter uses "exclusionary tactics" and is "elitist" and uses a truckload of in-jokes and acronomyns. That's half the fun.


Things to get rid of:

Totes and bb. Seriously, WTF? Who can't write out baby? And how do even come up with totes as an abbreviation let alone see it and think "yes this is a good thing. I should use it"
Friends don't let friends use "totes".
posted by nooneyouknow at 1:48 PM on April 22, 2009


Metafilter sometimes seems to strive on its nature of exclusion. It's a club with very, very steep entrance requirements to 'fit in'.

I came here from Barbelith and trust me, you ain't seen nothin'.
posted by Shepherd at 1:49 PM on April 22, 2009

Hating on the atmark because "that's not what we do here" is ludicrous and stupid
So is hating on haters.

But what of hating on hating on haters?
posted by dersins at 1:49 PM on April 22, 2009


disillusioned: Maybe we need Metafilter Mentors

jessamyn: I'm not sure I follow you.

Just check your Twitter account.
posted by gman at 1:50 PM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Spatchcock is either from "dispatch cock" or "spitchcock, a way of cooking an eel." Bet you didn't know that.

No I didn't. I knew that if I wrote "Don't be such a sp@chcock" I'd get interesting replies and I was right. I'll have to think of some other bizarre word to put 'Don't be such a" in front of.
posted by ob at 1:56 PM on April 22, 2009


There is no "convention", merely several ad-hoc ways of doing it.

There is no one unwavering convention-as-single-way-to-do-it, no. There sure as heck are conventional and unconventional practices, though; the "several ad-hoc ways of doing it" that have been most prevalent and consistently used over the years here are, precisely, local convention. Denying that that exists seems pretty silly.

And local convention isn't magical or anything, but it is part of the background character of the place and being aware of it and responsive to it is one of those things that people do in social settings to lubricate their participation. Nobody is required to adopt those conventions, but nobody gets a "get out of critical reception to your flouting of local convention free" card, either, if they intend to hang around.

People in general should try to be cool about it in both directions, and I think in general they actually are—there's more polarity in some of the back-and-forth here than I think manifests under more organic here-and-there convention-friction burps in random threads, and the @ discussion in particular has lately been conflated with the extra contentiousness of twitter love-or-hate stuff, which makes it seem a bit rawer than I think it normally is.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:57 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


But what of hating on hating on haters?

Isn't that your job?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:59 PM on April 22, 2009


Things to get rid of:

Totes


Oh, totes. Hella totes.

and bb. Seriously, WTF?

WTF is bb?

[NOT BLATCHER/DOCTOROW/SMARTPHONE-IST]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:02 PM on April 22, 2009


How many stages of hate recursion are needed to arrive at ABSOLUTE HATE?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:03 PM on April 22, 2009


But what of hating on hating on haters?

I h@e that shit.
posted by GuyZero at 2:03 PM on April 22, 2009


Of course the word will have to be sound like it's somewhere on this line:


vaguely rude---------------------------------------------------------------disgusting


without actually being so.
posted by ob at 2:04 PM on April 22, 2009


HOW MANY STAGES OF HATE RECURSION ARE NEEDED TO ARRIVE AT ABSOLUTE HATE?

I'M GLAD YOU ASKED BURHANISTAN I'LL SEND YOU SOME LITERATURE ON MY PROCESS.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:06 PM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am not against the @, per se, but I am against the idea of labeling quotations with usernames generally. Just quote the text and respond to it. Almost all of the time, it doesn't matter who wrote it; when it does, use the @ to indicate who wrote it if you want. There is, for example, a sometime-bad-behaved user whose name has to do with numbers and hues who in my opinion has a hard time getting a fair shake even when he/she isn't behaving badly, just because of their username. Other users are deferred to or favorited because of their famous username even when they are being total dicks. All of that is for the birds. I like good ideas and funny jokes no matter who makes them. I say this as someone who is more or less fascinated by the social dynamics of the site; but I see that interest as totally tertiary.

I recognize that my perspective might be idiosyncratic, and on the other end of the spectrum I apologize if someone has already said something similar, as I haven't read this thread very carefully.
posted by Kwine at 2:07 PM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


more like languagef@ lol
posted by Pronoiac at 2:12 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


until there's some official rule in place with a "proper" quoting convention, or there's an official quoting system

Jeez, the site owner and both of the full-time mods have repeatedly said they don't like the "@" thing. That's about as close to "some official rule" as MeFi ever gets. Seriously. This site isn't exactly known for the hard and fast law thing.
posted by mediareport at 2:12 PM on April 22, 2009


Here is another acceptable way of quoting/addressing/replying/attributing:

I think there's some sort of confusion here... there's... a rule that says... hating on the atmark... is ludicrous and stupid.

-jessamyn "Jay-Dub" vonTwittersteen
posted by Mister_A at 2:19 PM on April 22, 2009


I'm not sure I follow you. We have them. They're the ones who say "hey fyi we don't really use the @ notation here generally"

Sorry, this was tongue-in-cheek and a bit out of context if you're not more familiar with the E2 Mentor program; there you could be assigned a specific mentor to look over your posts before sending them to the hive, and who would assist to ensure you were versed in the ways of their conventions.

My point was that because we're not publishing pieces of literature toward a single golden standard, it's not necessary to nitpick down every single approach to contributing on things that are so innocuous and where there *isn't* an established convention. Who's to say "we don't really use the @ notation here generally"? I think it's pretty clear some of us do, and we're not brand new, dew-eyed users of the site who wouldn't know better.

That's my issue; for want of an @, we're beanthinking a bit too much something so insignificant, and moreover, a convention that *isn't* set.
posted by disillusioned at 2:37 PM on April 22, 2009


Oh, totes. Hella totes.

Dude, I'm so disappointed. But you hold the line on @ and are cool is so many other ways so I can overlook this flaw.

WTF is bb?

An abbreviation for baby. Everytime I see it, it makes me want to hit something. Type the a y, douchebags.

Am I the only one who, when you go to copy the url for a comment you want to link to, will all the fucking time occasionally copy the url for the user's profile page?
posted by nooneyouknow at 2:40 PM on April 22, 2009


I'm trying to think of a clever pun using the word arobase, but I can't. So instead, here's an elephant:
                  ___.-~"~-._   __....__
                .'    `    \ ~"~        ``-.
               /` _      )  `\              `\
              /`  a)    /     |               `\
             :`        /      |                 \
        <>
         `-. `--'_.'-.;\___/'   .      .       | \\
      _     /:--`     |        /     /        .'  \\
     ("\   /`/        |       '     '         /    :`;
     `\'\_/`/         .\     /`~`=-.:        /     ``
       `._.'          /`\    |      `\      /(
                     /  /\   |        `Y   /  \
                    J  /  Y  |         |  /`\  \
                   /  |   |  |         |  |  |  |
                  "---"  /___|        /___|  /__|
                         '"""         '"""  '"""
posted by JeffK at 2:40 PM on April 22, 2009


> I'm trying to think of a clever pun using the word arobase, but I can't.

Arobase berong to us?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:43 PM on April 22, 2009 [7 favorites]

@>nooneyouknow wrote:Type the a y, douchebags.
They did, but Cory wasn't jake with them.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:50 PM on April 22, 2009


I came here from Barbelith and trust me, you ain't seen nothin'.

Tell me about it. They require an application essay to join. Apparently my essay was not good enough, for I was not accepted.

I pause to weep into my hankie.
posted by winna at 2:52 PM on April 22, 2009


oh, hell. everyone else h@s commented in this thre@d & i'm st@rting to feel left out. whoever's keeping score, m@rk me down @s thinking the @usern@me thing is a trite web f@d. but then @g@in, note th@t b@ck in the l@te 80s when my friend w@nted me to go to the @gor@ to see the cl@sh, i s@id, 'eh. they're just a fl@sh in the p@n.'

mor@l of the story: p@y no @ttention to the poster behind the curt@in!'
posted by msconduct at 2:59 PM on April 22, 2009


just a fl@sh

MISSED ONE. LULZ.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:00 PM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I paid my 5 bucks, partially because Metafilter uses "exclusionary tactics" and is "elitist"

And given the site's growth over the last few years, it's pretty clear these elitist exclusionary tactics aren't working very well.

We need more haters.

Sorry, I meant taters. We need more taters.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:04 PM on April 22, 2009


Hardcore or softcore?
posted by dersins at 3:10 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Softcore on the blue, hardcore on the gray.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:54 PM on April 22, 2009


#plateofbeans
posted by NikitaNikita at 5:04 PM on April 22, 2009


What was the @ sign used for before the internet?
posted by gjc at 6:34 PM on April 22, 2009


"each".
posted by boo_radley at 6:52 PM on April 22, 2009


Barbelith. I had totally forgotten about that site. I wonder if my account still works ... and it does. See you later, suckers!
posted by chunking express at 7:12 PM on April 22, 2009


As a former 6-year lurker who hasn't yet built up the courage to post on the blue due to the intimidating nature of the site, I must throw my h@ in: the @ is cheap, tacky, half-assed, jarring, ugly, lazy, not-really-intuitive-and-just-cutesy-really, etc. Just sayin'.

It does look out of place here and it's amusing to me how many people have jumped in to defend the fact that the "@user" convention pre-dates Twitter; you seem to be proving cortex's point:

It's a gratuitous convention—there have been less visually obnoxious methods of reply and quotation around here for years, notable among them the use of someone's username without any line noise in front of it on the understanding that people here can read the whole thread and will understand that you might address them after they've made a comment.

(Emphasis mine -- others have already explained that this is not just about hatin' on Twitter, but I had to of course skip to the end of the thread and cite this. Is irony the right word?)

MeFi's exclusionary nature is why it doesn't suck; sounds harsh to acknowledge this reality but yeah, it's a filter in more ways than one. If you think it sucks, what exactly is it that compels you to remain here? This is a compelling place with a sometimes-seemingly-strict social order, and yet a lot of crazy, off-the-wall shit goes down too. Sometimes it feels hostile and unwelcoming, but I think this is a natural self-preservation mechanism. MetaFilter has always been populated by snarky, pedantic mofos, along with a lot of nice, earnest folks that fit right in somehow. It is curious to me that many years ago I jumped right into Everything2 with aplomb, yet upon discovering MeFi it took considerable time for me to work up the nerve to post a comment.

The Krylon analogy is perfectly apt. The increasing @ sightings make me feel the way I felt when AOLers got unlimited internet access and started stinkin' up the joint. Yeah, there are plenty of cool AOLers out there and it's pretty asshole-ish to bash anyone who happens too like AOL ; many of 'em ditched AOL to adopt the @aol.com stigma and/or started adopting the norms of the communities they wanted to belong to.
posted by aydeejones at 7:36 PM on April 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


I meant to say "to like AOL; many of 'em ditched AOL to abandon the @aol.com stigma..."

Sheesh. I am in ur church beggin' 4 4given1zz
posted by aydeejones at 7:41 PM on April 22, 2009


The increasing @ sightings make me feel the way I felt when AOLers got unlimited internet access and started stinkin' up the joint.

AKA Eternal September.
posted by odinsdream at 7:52 PM on April 22, 2009


In the past when I would address someone specifically in thread, it would go something like this

absalom: You're really getting worked up over something so minute as to not even worry about.

But, after this, I'm going to reprogram myself to instead start doing it like this:

@absalom: You're really getting worked up over something so minute as to not even worry about.


Well, then you're just going to find less people talking to you altogether, because you're an asshole.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:00 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is, for example, a sometime-bad-behaved user who in my opinion has a hard time getting a fair shake even when he/she isn't behaving badly, just because of their username past behavior. Other users are deferred to or favorited because of their famous username past behavior even when they are being total dicks.

Yep. Just like in real life. Reputation matters.
posted by ook at 9:09 PM on April 22, 2009


I promise I won't snark if you make a FPP aydeejones.
posted by netbros at 9:13 PM on April 22, 2009


Use of the @ is far less offensive than putting a Wikipedia-linked caret after a word when you could have just put the Wikipedia link on the word itself.
posted by oaf at 9:30 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


What was the @ sign used for before the internet?

wait, I know this.......

100 wild geese by the pond @ 5 ounces of greenish poop per bird per day = you do the math
posted by longsleeves at 9:37 PM on April 22, 2009


$20, SAIT
posted by niles at 11:43 PM on April 22, 2009


I'm so pleased that we've gotten nearly 260 comments into this and while people have snarked about my sexuality and snarked about my jokes about Twitter and snarked about my question... nobody has snarked about my horrible grammar problems in the last line of my post.

As correction.. that should read, "If not, how can we discourage this?"

This probably has gone on long enough, so if mods want to close this up, all possible points have probably been made already.
posted by hippybear at 12:16 AM on April 23, 2009


Yo, whachu lookin' @?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:49 AM on April 23, 2009


tw@

I have the mousepad at work
posted by inpHilltr8r at 1:39 AM on April 23, 2009


Standing in the way of the direction that internet lingo is developing sounds strangely like "hey you kids stay out of my yard-ism." Language use is going to develop the way it wants to develop. If you don't like the use of the "@," then don't use it. If its a useful and effective way for somebody else to communicate, why should you care that they use it, or that they use it here.

What you're saying is "don't use @." The message that's coming across is "don't come around here with yer new-fangled twitter way of talking."

Also, I fucking hate Twitter, but that's why I don't go there, but I hate it for reasons much more profound than a useful shorthand way of letting somebody know you're talking to them.

Basically, my hate is better than yours, plus I am cool with people using "@" anywhere they want.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:45 AM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


the @ is cheap, tacky, half-assed, jarring, ugly, lazy, not-really-intuitive-and-just-cutesy-really, etc.
This.
posted by fish tick at 5:33 AM on April 23, 2009


This thread started off good but made me really really uncomfortable near the end there. Thanks a lot.

flattened, indeed.
posted by Spatch at 5:35 AM on April 23, 2009


Language use is going to develop the way it wants to develop.

Please don't anthropomorphize language. It's not a sentient being. While it's true that language develops largely due to the unconscious influence of its users, that doesn't mean that those who attempt to consciously influence the development of language are somehow infringing on language's natural rights or otherwise wrong to do so.

Just because descriptivists like myself won't say that a certain usage is wrong doesn't mean we have to be detached observers careful not to influence language ourselves, nor that we have to like that particular usage, nor that we can't make a conscious effort to direct the development of language.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:49 AM on April 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


gjc asked: What was the @ sign used for before the internet?
The first known instance of its use...occurred in a letter written by a Florentine merchant on May 4, 1536. Sent from Seville to Rome by a trader called Francesco Lapi, the document describes the arrival in Spain of three ships bearing treasure from Latin America.

"There, an amphora of wine, which is one thirtieth of a barrel, is worth 70 or 80 ducats," Mr Lapi informs his correspondent, representing the amphora with the now familiar symbol of an "a" wrapped in its own tail.
-- merchant@florence wrote it first 500 years ago
see also: Where it's at and At sign: History...
posted by jammy at 6:40 AM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Postliterate age, indeed.
posted by gman at 6:41 AM on April 23, 2009


to aggressively discourage new users from using an @ sign because 'we don't do that here' is yet another way of dissuading people from joining up.

And that's a good thing. While we need new members to keep from becoming inbred and desiccated, we don't need overwhelming floods of new members, and if the ones who don't show up are the ones who use the @ sign, so much the better.
posted by languagehat at 6:43 AM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know who else was inbred and dessicated?

ZOMBIE CATHERINE THE GREAT

that's who.
posted by Mister_A at 8:09 AM on April 23, 2009


>the @ is cheap, tacky, half-assed, jarring, ugly, lazy, not-really-intuitive-and-just-cutesy-really, etc.

This.


Are you making a funny?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:20 AM on April 23, 2009


> Use this quoting bookmarklet

Thank you, mrzarquon! This is nifty. *gazes fondly at shiny new toy*
posted by Quietgal at 8:51 AM on April 23, 2009


> Thank you, mrzarquon! This is nifty. *gazes fondly at shiny new toy*

Don't forget to thank ardgedee as well since he coded that.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:03 AM on April 23, 2009


The "talking at" idea is kind of lowbrow to me

2 dunkadunc: I hear you.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:56 AM on April 23, 2009


@thread

I'm happy that so many people are admitting the writing styles that bug them most. I'm taking notes, and intend to employ exactly these writing styles when responding to these people. Wheeeeee!

Kidding, of course. I assure you, if I irritate you, it's not because I'm trying.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:02 PM on April 23, 2009


People can't handle the @. It makes them uncomfortable.

MAUDE
My art has been commended as being
strongly @. Which bothers
some men. The symbol itself makes
some men uncomfortable. @.

DUDE
Oh yeah?

MAUDE
Yes, they don't like seeing it and
find it difficult to say. Whereas
without batting an eye a man will
refer to his "$" or his "%" or
his "%".

DUDE
"&"?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:18 PM on April 23, 2009


Please don't anthropomorphize language. It's not a sentient being. While it's true that language develops largely due to the unconscious influence of its users, that doesn't mean that those who attempt to consciously influence the development of language are somehow infringing on language's natural rights or otherwise wrong to do so.

Oh, give me a break. Surely you recognize that writing "its going to develop the way it wants to develop" is just another way of communicating "language develops largely due to the unconscious influence of its users." I don't believe that language is some shambling shuggoth-like creature devouring all in its path.

This is a subjective topic. Yes, of course you have the right to speak up if you don't like how something is being used.

However, if you're constantly derailing discussions to fight this battle (and I see no evidence that you are, so please recognize that this is a generic use of "you"), you're doing Metafilter a much larger disservice than some new person using "@." In my opinion, you're both derailing the conversation and potentially alienating a new user.

Besides, @ doesn't like it when you try to stop it. @ gets angry and will seek revenge using its mighty ~.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:22 PM on April 23, 2009


I don't believe that language is some shambling shuggoth-like creature devouring all in its path.

Yeah, but wouldn't it be cool if it were?

However, if you're constantly derailing discussions to fight this battle... you're doing Metafilter a much larger disservice than some new person using "@."

Well, on that we agree, but I think we (this "we" being the generic "we" of MetaFilter, not you and I particularly) have actually been doing a lot better on that front as of late. Many is the time in the past several months where I've seen @username used in threads, and I raise an eyebrow but don't say anything about it, and to my surprise (and delight) no one else does either (which absence delights me not because I approve of the @username convention, quite the opposite, but because I don't think a thread should be derailed for it), whereas in older times someone would have made a comment in-thread about it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:38 PM on April 23, 2009


@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@MARIA STOLE THE PRECIOUS THING, I'VE DECIDED THAT YOUR TACTICS ARE BEST. I AM ALSO GOING TO USE TEXT FORMATTING THAT GETS ME NOTICED. BECAUSE WHEN I GET NOTICED I GET AHEAD. AND WHEN I GET AHEAD I AM IMPORTANT. AND WHEN I AM IMPORTANT ON THE INTERNET I AM UNSTOPPABLE. INVINCIBLE. I AM A MOTHERFUCKING GOD BITCHES.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:42 PM on April 23, 2009


MY PREVIOUS COMMENT ALSO APPLIES @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@MARISA STOLE THE PRECIOUS THING.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:43 PM on April 23, 2009


There's no evidence that language does not indeed devour everything in its path.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:46 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


eyeballkid: "AND WHEN I GET AHEAD I AM IMPORTANT. AND WHEN I AM IMPORTANT ON THE INTERNET I AM UNSTOPPABLE."

ACTUALLY, I AM THE MOST IMPORTANT ENTITY ON THE PLANET.

-TOKI WARTOOTH
posted by dunkadunc at 12:49 PM on April 23, 2009


I don't believe that language is some shambling shuggoth-like creature devouring all in its path.

Yeah, but wouldn't it be cool if it were?


On this, I think we also agree 100%.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:59 PM on April 23, 2009


@eyeballkid
What is a "god bitches?"
tia.
posted by dersins at 12:59 PM on April 23, 2009


SORRY. I SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE SPECIFIC.

I AM GOD'S BRITCHES, UM...

BITCHES.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:04 PM on April 23, 2009


There's no evidence that language does not indeed devour everything in its path.

Language does, indeed, devour everything in its path. Ask any deconstructionist.

Hey, Any Deconstructionist, what do you say?
Lévinas refuse, on le sait, d'attribuer à Autrui le statut d'une modification intentionnelle de l'ego comme le fait Husserl dans la cinquième Méditation : envisager Autrui en tant que phénomène intentionnel de l'ego, constitué par apprésentation analogique, signifie neutraliser son altérité absolue. Dans la pensée husserlienne de l'alter ego se donne à lire de manière exemplaire pour Lévinas cette « allergie irréductible » qui constitue le caractère le plus profond de la philosophie occidentale. Derrida ne souscrit pas d'emblée au jugement de Lévinas : il commence au contraire par rappeler tout ce qui, dans les Méditations Cartésiennes, témoigne du respect de Husserl pour l'altérité irréductible d'Autrui. Et tout d'abord ce qui marque une véritable interruption de la phénoménologie : si l'autre en tant qu'autre doit nécessairement se présenter à un ego, parce qu'autrement le respect même de son altérité serait impossible, la présentation d'Autrui a la forme d'une non-présentation originaire. Si Autrui est un phénomène de l'ego, il est le phénomène d'une non-phénoménalité irréductible. L'interrogation se déplace ainsi à un autre niveau : elle porte sur la structure égoïque de l'expérience. Toute expérience, y compris l'expérience de la sortie hors de soi vers l'autre, a toujours la forme d'une expérience vécue comme mienne par un ego en général. Il s'agit là d'une évidence qui semble à l'abris de toute discussion, qui se donne comme une archi-factualité (Urtatsache), une factualité transcendantale qui renvoie, en dernière instance, à la finitude originaire. Et c'est précisément dans ce point crucial de son analyse que Derrida fait intervenir la question du Présent Vivant. Si toute expérience est nécessairement vécue par un ego, c'est bien parce que toute expérience, dans le monde de la finitude, a la forme universelle du Présent Vivant. La structure égoïque de l'expérience dépend du présent comme forme du temps. Si la violence coïncide, comme Lévinas semble le penser, avec la nécessité pour Autrui de se montrer dans le Même et pour le Même, cela signifie alors que la racine ultime de la violence n'est rien d'autre que le temps.
...OK, OK, forget I asked.
posted by languagehat at 1:06 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


@disillusioned: favorited your comment.

Also: is there a medication that you're supposed to be taking?
posted by neuron at 1:16 PM on April 23, 2009


That French guy sure talks about memes an awful lot!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:21 PM on April 23, 2009


Your mom est le phénomène d'une non-phénoménalité irréductible.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:32 PM on April 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Language does, indeed, devour everything in its path.

Because its a virus.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:35 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Joey Michaels gets 5 bonus points for bringing up Laurie Anderson.
posted by hippybear at 1:41 PM on April 23, 2009


I am absolutely going to begin making up quotes in conversation and attributing them to "Eh-nay Dey-con-strooc-shun-eeest".
posted by Kwine at 1:44 PM on April 23, 2009


Anderson will redirect three of those points to Burroughs, and collect an additional point deducted from hippybear for insufficient attribution.

SEE, NOMIC IS FUN.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:56 PM on April 23, 2009


cortex wrote in this post, "...collect an additional point deducted from hippybear for insufficient attribution."

Okay, so, this brings up a good point, then... First off, did I get all those attributions correct? Okay? Good.

Now, what exactly should the etiquette be when quoting someone or referring to a post which is directly above yours, and remains that way even in preview?

I have been operating on the idea that, if the two posts are net to each other, then context will be clear, especially if you make certain to mention, say, the previous poster's name.

Are you saying that, for full attribution, I should be doing a full contextual link in every and all cases?

Or does your attribution comment refer to something else which I have missed? In which case, you'd best get to linking properly so I can know what you're talking about.

;)
posted by hippybear at 2:23 PM on April 23, 2009


er, um... "the two posts are next to each other"
posted by hippybear at 2:24 PM on April 23, 2009


Who's Laurie Anderson?
posted by lysdexic at 2:28 PM on April 23, 2009


Now, what exactly should the etiquette be when quoting someone or referring to a post which is directly above yours, and remains that way even in preview?

I fall mostly into the "do what you prefer" camp when it comes right down to it, but as long as we're shoulding, here's how my thinking goes:

Links:

Am I replying to something someone said fairly recently in the thread? Then I'm not going to bother to link. Has it been quite a while since the bit I'm replying to was posted? Okay, I may go ahead an include a link to the comment.

Quotations:

Am I replying to a specific portion of a larger comment, or to someone for the first time in what is not yet an established back-and-forth, or commenting in my reply on some literal aspect of the original comment such that displaying said bit is useful? Then I'll definitely include a quote, generally set off with italics and double line breaks to indicate the boundaries of the quotation.

Does none of the above apply? Specifically, is my reply directly following (or very nearly so, and unambiguously) the comment I'm replying to, in a slow-moving thread, as more conversational in nature than argumentative/fisky/etc? Then I might omit the quote. And then one in four times someone else will comment in the mean time anyway and make me look like a jackass, so maybe I should have included the quote after all.

Usernames:

Will it help with clarity to mention the person by name? Is this my first response to that person? Am I quoting one person as an illustrative part of a reply to some other third person rather than as a reply to the quoted person? Does this person have an amusing username, or perhaps a username that it gives me pleasure to abbreviate? Then I will probably include their username in my reply.

I don't use any quoting scripts (and am, curmudgeon as I am on this subject, please see metatalk archives for my lengthy argumentation on the subject, glad that we don't have a quote button on the site itself, though I have zero objection to third-party scripts and am happy people who want them can seek them out and use them), so the formatting of my replies is more manual and case-by-case than template-driven, which I like; the tiny bit of craftsmanship involved is part of the writerly pleasure of this place, for me.

Are you saying that, for full attribution, I should be doing a full contextual link in every and all cases?

Nope. I think most people do a reasonable job, personal idiosyncrasies and all, of making quotation and attribution decisions, and I haven't noticed you as any sort of exception to that rule.

So I wouldn't have been saying that even if that was what I was talking about, which it wasn't, and, so:

Or does your attribution comment refer to something else which I have missed? In which case, you'd best get to linking properly so I can know what you're talking about.

I was zinging you for mentioning Laurie Anderson re: Joey Michaels' link to the Language is a Virus video, because to the best of my knowledge it's a William S. Burroughs line that she picked up and ran with.

Which:

- The two collaborated and were friends, and so it's a bit fiddly even to draw the distinction when it's all mushy and above-board like that besides. So I'm being a pain in the ass just for the sake of being a pain in the ass.

- The above aside, the transgression of namechecking Anderson but not Burroughs is also pretty minor considering that the phrase may, question of originator notwithstanding, probably just as well associated with Anderson as it is with Burroughs or nearly so, as far as being part of a recognized piece of work.

Calling Watchtower a Jimi Hendrix song is likewise a pretty forgiveable thing to do in most contexts (whereas calling it a Dave Matthews Band is stepping over the line and asking for a punch in the nose).

- The above and the abover aside, it's not even like you were referring to Laurie unprompted, since the whole thing came up via Joey Michaels' link to Laurie's video.

- Still, though: Burroughs.

- Also, I wanted an excuse to mention Nomic. And arbitrary assignment and distribution of points is usually a pretty good time, too. And it's been a long week and I'm feeling silly.

Anyway, for reading this whole thing you get two points back, so you're up one, Joey still gets some points, Anderson gets some points that I ironically enough misdistributed to her rather than to Joey, Burroughs keeps his as well, and I lose a point for fucking up the distribution of points in the first place.

Who's Laurie Anderson?

Oh no you didn't.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:53 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now, what exactly should the etiquette be when quoting someone or referring to a post which is directly above yours, and remains that way even in preview?

If it's directly above mine, I'll use no quoting or names. If it's within a page up or two, I'll usually use the quote with no attribution, if it's more than that, I'll try to use the quote and the username. There is no real rhyme or reason to this other than it seems to feel the best in terms of maintaining the easiest readability
posted by quin at 2:59 PM on April 23, 2009


In honor of my newly earned points, I'd like to point out that Laurie Anderson also has offered some invaluable tips on How To Write.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:17 PM on April 23, 2009


Laurie Anderson also has offered some invaluable tips on How To Write

That makes me miss her larger performance pieces SO much, it's painful. It seems everything she's done since then, even Empty Spaces, was so much... smaller.

Not less important or less meaningful. Just... smaller.

posted by hippybear at 3:25 PM on April 23, 2009


Laurie Anderson was pretty hot on WKRP, but she's like 60 now :(
posted by team lowkey at 3:32 PM on April 23, 2009


What are these points you speak of, and how can I get some?
posted by dersins at 3:40 PM on April 23, 2009


I dunno, I like the @ thing. I think it's cute. I don't really see the big deal. This isn't a place where you can thread comments, and people call each other out for a back and forth all the time. It's no more exclusionary with the @ than it is without it.

Now, if people were constantly doing one-liners with it, well, okay, I guess I can see how you might get annoyed. Our community expectation is more meaty comments than something that would fit on twitter. But @replying to someone doesn't mean you aren't writing a meaty comment, or that you're trying to exclude anyone. In a group discussion, you direct your comment "at" someone in particular on a regular basis, in response to something they've said, in the context of the group. Think of it as a stage direction: @jessamyn could mean "facing jessamyn and making eye contact".

I dislike the acronyms far more, because I always forget what they stand for.

I'm amused that it's new users that are thought to use the @. I'm pretty sure I've used it a few times, and I would have been pretty amused to get a "we don't do that here" memail from a relative newbie. But whatever floats your boat.
posted by Hildegarde at 3:59 PM on April 23, 2009


the phrase may, question of originator notwithstanding, probably just as well associated with Anderson as it is with Burroughs

Ok, but just so long as everyone knows the idea of language as a virus is a key element of Burrough's early 1960s Nova Trilogy - The Soft Machine, The Ticket That Exploded and Nova Express; he also talks about it in interviews from the 70s. It's clearly originally a Burroughs idea, later appropriated by Laurie Anderson.
posted by mediareport at 4:40 PM on April 23, 2009


If its a useful and effective way for somebody else to communicate, why should you care that they use it, or that they use it here.

That's missing the point. It's unnecessary noise on the page at an all-text site. We ask new users to do all sorts of things to fit in to MeFi; asking them to not, as a matter of routine, add unnecessary noise to the page when existing conventions already do what their unnecessary noise attempts to do is hardly asking too much.
posted by mediareport at 4:52 PM on April 23, 2009


Mediareport: That's missing the point. It's unnecessary noise on the page at an all-text site.

This depends on your definition of noise, I suppose. I just quoted a lengthy section of your post, following accepted convention. This reply would actually have taken up less space without significantly changing the content if I'd done it like this:
@mediareport: This depends on your definition of noise, I suppose. I just quoted a lengthy section of your post, following accepted convention. This reply would actually have taken up less space without significantly changing the content if I'd done it like this.
One line response with exactly the same content as opposed to a two line account, one line of which is merely a repeat of what you've already said. In fact, I would propose that the constant cutting, pasting and repetition that our current system almost requires is, in fact, more "noisy" than the simple use of a single keystroke.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:06 PM on April 23, 2009


I just read a 300+ comment thread about the @ sign and I have not advanced my understanding of the @ sign one iota. I would like to mention that I saw Dave Matthews play Watchtower live and he is no Bob Dylan. I also say him do Me and Julio and he is no Paul Simon. On the other hand I saw him do Sledge Hammer and he is Peter Gabriel. As for covers in general, I would put the Grateful Dead as one of the best cover bands ever. Jerry always said if they couldn't do it as well but with their own interpretation they wouldn't do it. Listen to their version of Not Fade Away. You can hear the Stone's version influence in at as well as Buddy Holly. Me and Bobby McGee has both the original from Kris Kristoferson and of course the Janis Joplin version is there too. But the covers the Dead do best is when they cover their own songs. Listen to Friend of a Devil from every year and you hear it go from a 4 minute fast song to a 15 minute drawn out song so slow you want to kick Jerry in the ass to get him going then they start picking it up again faster in the later years. The pace probably follows Jerry's drug choice du jour. The coked up fast version then the nodded out smack version then back to the speed ball version somewhere in between.

Took my $20 bill and vanished in the air...
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:11 PM on April 23, 2009

This depends on your definition of noise, I suppose.
I agree.
I would propose that the constant cutting, pasting and repetition that our current system almost requires is, in fact, more "noisy" than the simple use of a single keystroke.
I disagree.
posted by Liver at 6:08 PM on April 23, 2009


the constant cutting, pasting and repetition that our current system almost requires

It is not required or even almost required, it is useful to provide context but not compulsory. Your two examples are not equivalent: the first provides context, the second does not. It's equivalent would the same set of sentences without the extraneous @, which, you will note, is the shorter of the two, defeating your own argument.
posted by tallus at 6:24 PM on April 23, 2009


Shouldn't there be an etiquette page that describes reasons why things are done here they way they are?

Ignorance of the lore is no excuse.
posted by flabdablet at 6:45 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


With all the geeks here in MeFi, I can't believe no one's mentioned the @-@ Walker.
posted by ikahime at 10:29 PM on April 23, 2009


ikahime, I think you'll find that it was mentioned very very early on in the thread.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:34 PM on April 23, 2009


In that case, why hasn't someone done a photshop mashup with Walker, Texas Ranger and the AT-ATs?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:42 PM on April 23, 2009


I guess this comes down to what the intended use of the site is- commenting on posts/questions, or having rollicking conversations? Since the site was designed without threaded comments, and the occasional editorials from the moderators, I always thought it was meant to stay on-topic. If that's the case, then the @username is innappropriate- comments are always directed at the original poster. Like a town hall meeting. The presenter says their piece, and the audience has their say. Or a courtroom- you make your case and let the jury decide. Starting sub-conversations is rude.

Again, what's the point? Are we here to share information and add opinions and experience? Or are we here to chit-chat and pontificate and navel-gaze for the delight of our own egos and the readers so privileged to be able to behold our snowflake-like wonder?

However, we all seem to want to start sub-conversations. Metafilter has to decide how to handle this. Either allow it and find a way to make these sub-conversations more user-friendly, or not allow it and moderate these "Jane-you-ignorant-slut" style derails out of existence.

(I'd vote for leaving it single threaded and banishing the noise/derails. Frankly, site is less usable and enjoyable when we have to do our own filtering. For sure on ask, probably on the blue. Here, maybe threads would be useful.)
posted by gjc at 6:46 AM on April 24, 2009


Think of it as a stage direction: @jessamyn could mean "facing jessamyn and making eye contact".

But I use the Internet so I don't have to make eye contact with people!
posted by Spatch at 6:46 AM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


One line response with exactly the same content as opposed to a two line account, one line of which is merely a repeat of what you've already said.

Same content but no context. It forces me to scroll up and try to find out what you are responding to. There's a reason for the way we do things, arbitrary as it may seem.
posted by languagehat at 7:13 AM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Who's Laurie Anderson?

Oh no you didn't.


Yeah, as much as I hate displaying my ignorance at such a big party as MeTa, I don't listen to radio or music in general. Any new stuff I hear is filtered through Weird Al first.

That being said - that was a really good piece, cortex. Still listening. Will hear the original in a minute

/derail
posted by lysdexic at 7:37 AM on April 24, 2009


Either allow it and find a way to make these sub-conversations more user-friendly, or not allow it and moderate these "Jane-you-ignorant-slut" style derails out of existence.

Or allow it and leave it exactly as user-friendly as it currently is. I'm not speaking for or against, but there are many more options than the two you suggest.
posted by owtytrof at 7:49 AM on April 24, 2009


Like a town hall meeting. The presenter says their piece, and the audience has their say. Or a courtroom- you make your case and let the jury decide. Starting sub-conversations is rude.

This is true to a degree specifically and only in AskMe, where the comments should all be focused on answering the question asked (though occasional brief exchanges between users to clarify or elaborate on some point are usually okay too).

It really doesn't apply to the blue or the grey, though. Completely nutso-cuckoo flipout deathmatch derails are a problem and we'll generally do something to contain them when we see them, but wandering topic and branching subconversations are a-okay and in fact one of my favorite things about this site. It's not rude, it's organic conversation.

The presence or absence of @ doesn't bear on that, regardless: people have ways of managing to carry on subconversations (sometimes even melding two streams back into one reply with e.g. multiple quotations) that don't hinge on that symbol or explicit threading. Attaching @ to someone's username does not magically make it a reply where it was not before, and those of us who find that specific typographical prependum obnoxious in a mefi context find it so in no small part because it's superfluous.

Yeah, as much as I hate displaying my ignorance at such a big party as MeTa, I don't listen to radio or music in general.

Aw, I'm just giving you a hard time, lysdexic. I am actually pretty much constantly lost during conversations about bands—I've gotten very good at nodding and smiling so that my friends don't have to screech to a halt and try and explain who the hell The Fetching Mothers are why it's interesting that their guitarist covered a rare Otis Redding b-side on his solo EP or whatever the hell it is they're going on about at that moment. So I feel ya.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:30 AM on April 24, 2009


> Don't forget to thank ardgedee as well since he coded that.

Thanks, ardgedee! (Sorry I left you out the first time but then again, hey, another chance to use the shiny new toy.)
posted by Quietgal at 7:54 PM on April 24, 2009


sed "s/@\([^\n]\)/Dear Mr.\/Mrs. \\1,\n/g"
posted by miyabo at 7:46 PM on April 25, 2009


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