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July 5, 2009 3:07 PM   Subscribe

Is this post about shark species extinction, and the member who created it (a "Shark conservation biologist"), crossing the line into spamming/schilling? The linked article is weak and has an obvious agenda, the user and the writers of the blog linked have many connections and the username chosen by the poster is based on the title of his upcoming book. I don't think any harm was intended but it sounds like the guy is using the front page to sell himself, his cause and his book. If so, is that ok?
posted by Brandon Blatcher to Etiquette/Policy at 3:07 PM (192 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I flagged it and figured it would be gone by now. It raised my eyebrow pretty immediately.
posted by dead cousin ted at 3:10 PM on July 5, 2009


The cause is good but the form is bad.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:13 PM on July 5, 2009


It is an interesting topic, too bad the post was so weak.
posted by b1tr0t at 3:13 PM on July 5, 2009


*ominous cello stabs*
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:13 PM on July 5, 2009 [13 favorites]


It doesn't seem to really violate the self-link rule, and if we got rid of all posts that were ax-grindey in the sense that the poster feels strongly about the issue, or is trying to "raise awarenes" of something they think is important, you'd lose a lot of interesting FPPs.

Provided the guy doesn't try to moderate the resulting thread, it seems like it could lead to an interesting discussion, which really strikes me as the ultimate point.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:16 PM on July 5, 2009


I'm imagining Cortex as a judge who, having just witnessed an insane bit of illegal and improper activity by a lawyer, rubs his chin and says:

"I'll allow it."
posted by The Whelk at 3:17 PM on July 5, 2009 [14 favorites]


Even if the product you're selling is good, coming here with the intention of selling things (from which you directly may profit) is not good.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:18 PM on July 5, 2009


My big issue is that's it's pretty apparent that the guy signed up here solely to post that link and I'm willing to bet we'll hear nothing from him ever again unless it has to do with pumping his (good) cause.
posted by dead cousin ted at 3:18 PM on July 5, 2009


It's not that he has his "axe to grind"; it's that the account was apparently created specifically to post his own work. This is not community participation, "best of the web", or anything other than broadcast. Not a good idea.

"Hey, for $5, I can give you a captive audience of mostly liberal pals/users/voters/whatever."
posted by Maximian at 3:21 PM on July 5, 2009


He was the author of the dolphin-safe tuna article featured in the 3 Quarks Daily post, and he signed up to respond there.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:26 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not that he has his "axe to grind"; it's that the account was apparently created specifically to post his own work.

To fair, that probably isn't true. He seems to have made it in response to another front page post and he has made comments about other, non-shark topics. Like I said, it's probably not meant to be spamming, the dude's just passionate about a particular topic.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:29 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


He might just be ::ahem:: fishing for material.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 3:47 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Relax. It seems more a question of tone than anything else. (I think a shark expert would fit in perfectly around here.)
posted by R. Mutt at 3:48 PM on July 5, 2009


Like a shark, MetaTalk has to keep moving or it'll die.
posted by The Whelk at 3:48 PM on July 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


Disclosure: I flagged it cause it seemed so borderline. The username didn't help either.
posted by The Whelk at 3:49 PM on July 5, 2009


I don't see the problem.

Now, admittedly, most of my posts have been about games or weird animals. But several of my posts have also been about philosophy, and could be called out for the same reason people have been calling out this guy's shark post. But as long as no self-linking is going on, no rules have been violated. Even if, as dead cousin ted worries, this is the only kind of post he makes, still no rules have been violated.
posted by voltairemodern at 3:51 PM on July 5, 2009


How about we don't squish the passionate members of the site? It's an ok link, not great, but ok, and his personal interests shouldn't enter into it.
posted by Rumple at 3:53 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


. . . he has made comments about other, non-shark topics . . .

So if he posts again he will officially have jumped the shark?
posted by The Bellman at 3:54 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


What brandon blatcher said... he has contributed to other threads since joining. It doesn't seem like his intention was to join and flog his stuff. The post is questionable only because it addresses a specific topic, and based on his screen name and profile (dude, third person? seriously?) the topic is both his interest and his career. However, I think many people's FPPs are a reflection of their specific interests and, to some extent, their professions. It doesn't seem like spamming or shilling (no "c"), but the link won't load for me so perhaps viewing the link would change my opinion.
posted by necessitas at 3:54 PM on July 5, 2009


I'll say it was pretty fortunate that he signed up to comment in the dophin-safe tuna thread. That, like so many others, was starting to go south with a few key assumptions -- false as it turned out. And now he's a MeFite, and thinks we may be interested in his area of expertise and concern. Oh noes.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:00 PM on July 5, 2009


The post is clearly not schilling because it's not curt enough.
posted by breath at 4:00 PM on July 5, 2009 [10 favorites]


I also don't see the problem with it.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:05 PM on July 5, 2009


*ominous pitchfork stabs*
posted by koeselitz at 4:14 PM on July 5, 2009


I'm glad to have him (and his post) here, and I look forward to reading him more. Specialized geeks are GOOD for MetaFilter. Shark on, mister!
posted by heyho at 4:15 PM on July 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


No bloody socks!!!
posted by ericb at 4:23 PM on July 5, 2009


He's obviously a serious shark dork, but I didn't see any connection between him and the actual linked content. We're pretty paranoid about this sort of thing, so we tend to do a fair amount of googling when a first post comes up like this. If I missed a direct connection, someone please lay it out explicitly so we know what's up. But this seemed to me more like okay-with-some-likely-friction stuff than a sign of someone actually posting in bad faith.

I thought the post itself was borderline okay—basically, yeah, a little bit of a tone issue but nothing that struck me at a glance as really problematic, and I hate to kick people around on their first post if they haven't gone off on a total bizarro sort of posting failure and whatnot.

Obviously if his activity here basically stays Shark Shark Shark and pushes at the self-link (rather than just hardcore-nerdy) envelope, that's a problem, but for now it doesn't really feel like it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:29 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Most articles linked to in a front page post have an obvious agenda. It's pretty much This is great! or This is terrible!

In the world of shark conservation, I imagine that anyone's Bacon number is pretty low. How many shark conservationists are there, anyway? Not many, I'd think. So, yeah, I imagine that he'll be linked to the author of said agenda-dripping article.

He's a shark conservationist — I imagine half of his battle is trying to convince people that sharks are an important species to conserve, not just the fuzzy koalas and personable dolphin family. He doubtlessly spends a lot of time trying to convince people ... why sharks matter. Might as well be his job definition.

Brandon, sweetie, as your spouse I can say this: I think this is a reach.

Is this our first tiff?
posted by adipocere at 4:34 PM on July 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


He might be a shark. I'm just saying.
posted by found missing at 4:34 PM on July 5, 2009 [10 favorites]


As long as he doesn't turn into a bloody The Rumpus I'll be okay with his continuous justification of sharks' existence.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 4:35 PM on July 5, 2009


Hi, everyone!

I'm the one who posted the link that's generating such discussion.

As others pointed out, I originally joined because someone (who I don't know) posted a link to one of my articles, and I wanted to respond to some comments that have been made about it.

The article I posted is NOT a self link. I did not write it, and I have no affiliation with those who did other than we both like sharks.

The guidelines I've seen don't say that you can't post on topics you care about, only that you can't "self-link", and I haven't done that.

As for my profile name- it's the same name that I use for all my internet profiles, including my shark conservation blog (which I have not linked to). I kept the same name to AVOID appearing like a "sock puppet" and posting under multiple names.

As you all have noted, I'm new at this. If I've crossed a line, please let me know what I can do differently in the future.
posted by WhySharksMatter at 4:39 PM on July 5, 2009 [28 favorites]


As you all have noted, I'm new at this. If I've crossed a line, please let me know what I can do differently in the future.

You haven't really crossed any lines so much as just kind of pushed some buttons accidentally. The site's had a lot of weird collisions with sketchy self-promotional stuff over the years, and it's one of those things folks tend to be keeping half an eye out for any time a post comes up from a new user, and postin' about the thing your username references kind of makes people go "boo" if they don't already have a sense of you as a good-faith member of the community.

The community has a pretty active immune system, basically, and it's not too hard to set it off accidentally with a little bad luck, which is what I think is going on here. So long as you hang around and seem to want to be a member of metafilter for its own sake rather than as a shark-advocacy platform, you should be fine, and I appreciate that you were as aware of and attentive to the posting guidelines going in.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:46 PM on July 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sorry, I hit "post" too soon and forgot to include this:

I really appreciate the "community" aspect of metafilter, and I'm willing to do what the community wants.

It seems like some people are against me posting shark-related information (that isn't a self-link), while others are supportive of this.

What should I do? I don't want to step on anybody's toes, but it seems like many of you want to see more information about this topic.

I will never self-link. I understand the reasoning for that rule and support it.

But do you want me to not post about sharks at all?
posted by WhySharksMatter at 4:48 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


All those wasted years of me fretting over a post about my true passion: those Yearning for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence...
posted by yeti at 4:49 PM on July 5, 2009


(I think a shark expert would fit in perfectly around here.)

Agreed, and maybe he has some friends who are cephalopod experts!
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:50 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, hello!
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:52 PM on July 5, 2009


duhDUHduhDUHduhDUHduhDUHduhDUHduhDUHduhDUHduhDUH...
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:58 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


What should I do? I don't want to step on anybody's toes

I wouldn't worry too much about that. You could give everyone unicorns that shit money and people will still have a problem with it.
posted by ryanrs at 4:58 PM on July 5, 2009 [35 favorites]


I WANTED A WHITE ONE! HOW CAN I CALL IT SNOWFLAKE NOW? HMMM? IDIOT.
posted by The Whelk at 4:59 PM on July 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


WTF MY UNICORN ONLY SHITS RAINBOWS.
posted by elizardbits at 5:03 PM on July 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


WTF THE MONEY IS IN LIKE, LIRA OR SOME SHIT. IT'S GONNA TAKE FOREVER TO CRAP OUT A SINGLE DOLLAR'.
posted by The Whelk at 5:04 PM on July 5, 2009 [8 favorites]


I don't appreciate the humor. Long story, short: My father was killed by a sharp unicorn kick to the head while he was reaching for what he thought was money. It was actually unicorn poop.
posted by found missing at 5:06 PM on July 5, 2009 [14 favorites]


Seriously, folks... would people prefer that I not write primarily about marine conservation topics? I will never self-link from the front page, but this is the area I know the most about, and therefore the area I can contribute most to the discussion of.

Also, the FAQ's say that self linking is allowed in the comments section, but only if it's relevant to the discussion at hand. Thoughts?
posted by WhySharksMatter at 5:07 PM on July 5, 2009


Brandon, ... I think this is a reach.

Dude clearly feels he has repetitive audience and what he's doing is ok and I'm sorry, crappy, single link posts to sites that push his agenda feels all kinda wrong to me. The excuse that this isn't a self-link doesn't fly either, if he's linking to posts by others in the same field, who has some sort of connection with, and just happen to agree with agenda.

The mods see it differently and that's there call, but the more I see of this guy and his "Oh hey friends (dude, we just met), I'm happen to be an expert on the subject of this post I made, in fact it's my life's work and I'm writing a book about it, so any questions you have, I'm here to answer them!" the less I like what I think he's pulling, however innocent it may be.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:07 PM on July 5, 2009


a serious shark dork

I'll see you, and raise.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:11 PM on July 5, 2009


Dammit
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:13 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I both flagged it on principle (too close to the material) and thinness... but I also read the article and appreciated it. Separately, I also think it would be cool to have a shark expert around, and I do think that topic comes with a good ratio of "stuff not many people know about" to "stuff many people are interested in."

I also think that WhySharksMatter has indicated pretty publicly that he wants to do the right thing around here and play by community standards, which is great.

But, to play devil's advocate, I know many of the MeFi Watchdogs would have flipped if the self-interest-but-not-self-link subject were something that didn't fit into the site's overall ideological bent.

Oceanic conservation? Thumbs up!

Circumcision? SEO? Ann Coulter's new book? Abstinence classes? Installing keystroke loggers on your teen's computer? Scientology is so awesome? Thumbs waaaaaaay down.

Ponder that for next time, is all I'm suggesting to the rest of you (not the mods or the OP, who are pretty squared away at this point). If the policy is a solid one, it ought to be solid regardless of how you feel about the poster's personal passions.

In other words, we all have personal interests and material that we are close to... but the sheer existence of those interests doesn't make them all necessarily good FPP fodder, nor does it necessarily need to drive broad policy.
posted by pineapple at 5:14 PM on July 5, 2009


WhySharksMatter: hi, welcome.
One thing you should know is that this section of the site (the gray background, MetaTalk) has a sort of jokey culture. So people are likely to goof around in this thread, don't take it personally.

But as to your real question: definitely posting comments on your topic of expertise is good. Especially if it's "here are some biology facts" rather than "here's a petition!" If your tone is too much "This is outrageous! Be outraged! Here's what you should think/do!" people here will not receive that in a good spirit. (Even if they are pro-shark and agree with your point of view, the preaching/advocate tone is off-putting.) In comments, that sort of thing is sort of okay although people may give you a hard time. In posts, it's a *really* bad idea, because people will react to the tone rather than the content.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:16 PM on July 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


We're gonna need a bigger boat.

Shark on shark man, shark away.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:19 PM on July 5, 2009


Brandon,

The only connection I have with the author of the post I linked to is that we both like sharks. I read his blog occasionally, but I have never met him in person, spoken to him on the phone, communicated with him via e-mail, etc.

I'm sorry that you think the post is "crappy". I'm new at this. Rather than criticizing it, could you do me a favor and suggest ways to improve posts for the future?
posted by WhySharksMatter at 5:23 PM on July 5, 2009


Oh, don't mind him WhySharksMatter - that's just my internet husband's way of acting out when he's had a crappy day.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:25 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


WhySharksMatter - Welcome to Metafilter! It seems like you've grokked the self-link rules pretty well. I think the concern about you posting about sharks was just concern about self-linking and axe-grindyness - that is, a concern that someone with a username like yours might be prone to spamming the front page with a bunch of sub-par shark posts. I also think that, after your response in this thread, those concerns have largely been addressed. As an expert in the subject, I reckon you're uniquely well-equipped to produce high-quality FPPs on sharks, and, for what it's worth, I've got no problem with you doing so.

Now, as for the difference between a high-quality and a subpar FPP, well, that's a whole 'nother MetaTalk thread, but in general: a post with links from varied sources and points of view that gives the reader a nice, well-rounded introduction/education on the subject at hand and provides plenty of grist for the discussion mill = good FPP. Personally, I dig it when the links are not only from varied sources but also provide a variety of experiences - like, a link to an article, a video, a podcast, some pictures, etc. That's an FPP with flavor!

Single links to editorials or blog entries aren't quite as good. They don't tend to provide as much to discuss and the "amirite?" factor tends to be quite high.

Now, this is just one user's subjective opinion and, obviously, we've seen crap multi-link posts and brilliant single-link posts here at times, so there's certainly exceptions to everything I've said. I hope you stick around and participate a lot - there's no such thing as too many smart, passionate folks on a board. You'll know what makes a good and bad FPP because you'll see a bunch of both, and you'll bring that experience to bear in crafting FPPs of your own.

So, in short, it won't offend me in the slightest if you whip up badass shark-related posts. Sharks rule and they totally matter.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:27 PM on July 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


The excuse that this isn't a self-link doesn't fly either, if he's linking to posts by others in the same field, who [he] has some sort of connection with, and just happen to agree with [his] agenda.

That's a pretty slippery slope you're sliding down, Brandon.

What about people like Mutant, who always comes up with such thorough & fascinating explanations of financial dealings, or Thomas J Wise, with her fantastic posts, often about esoteric treasures hidden away in the world's libraries?

And there'd be plenty of others, posting about what is simultaneously their work and their passion, and who would have to - by definition - have "some sort of connection" with many of the people, organisations and/or "agendas" that they write about.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:28 PM on July 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


*sighs the sigh of a weary spouse, compresses his lips together in a tight line, and goes looking for that tube of Ben Gay he can rub into Brandon's shoulder when he's done straining it*
posted by adipocere at 5:30 PM on July 5, 2009


Links to multiple sources (not self-links), including varied points of view, multimedia resources, and things like that... I can do that. Thanks, EatTheWeak.

If I do that (and don't self-link from a front page post), would people be ok with me primarily posting about marine conservation topics?

And again, the FAQ's say that self linking IN THE COMMENTS is ok as long as it's relevant. Is that true? Again, I don't want to step on anyone's toes.

Finally, someone earlier mentioned a concern with me "moderating the discussion". I don't see anything in the rules about that, could someone please let me know what is and is not ok in that regard?

Thanks, everyone! I'm glad to see so many passionate people here, it makes me feel better about joining.
posted by WhySharksMatter at 5:38 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seems natural to me that someone who likes sharks would like MeFi. Different species, same attitude.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:38 PM on July 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Another point is that you should check out AskMetafilter, the sub-site with the green background. (Link is at the very top of each page) There, people ask questions and others post answers. Expertise is really good there, and you can check back and answer older questions (up to 1 year old i think) by clicking on the tags in the right margin. For example the science and nature category (shark- or ocean-fauna related questions might also show up in food and drink, pets and animals, etc).
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:40 PM on July 5, 2009


Also, several people have mentioned my upcoming book and how I might "profit" from using metafilter. "Upcoming" is a relative term, it isn't even done yet and is at least a year away from publication. There is really no way that I can profit as a result of Metafilter.
posted by WhySharksMatter at 5:42 PM on July 5, 2009


Coincidentally, I have two-week old shark in my fridge. Is it okay to eat??
posted by found missing at 5:43 PM on July 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


Rather than criticizing it, could you do me a favor and suggest ways to improve posts for the future?

Ok, but just realize I'm fairly blunt and to the point, but it's nothing personal.

The post is very "OMG, DANGER!!" and considering it's your area of experience, it feels like another in a long line of people pushing their very important cause at me. I get that every day, don't need more of it.

You've got years of knowledge in your head, about sharks and marine life and the ocean and science, but the post is just a single link to supposedly noted researcher making a rant and thena news article. Why no link to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature? What is a shark specialist, what do they do? You say 1/3 of sharks face extinction, which ones would those be? Which are in critical danger? Are there any links to photographs of those species? You write "sharks are essential to keeping ocean ecosystems in balance". I didn't know that, could you provide some links showing how they do that? Who the hell is Wolfgang Leander and why should I care who his is?

I find your username off putting for the same reason I wouldn't like someone using the name "WhyYouShouldn'tEatMeat" or "WhyAbortionIsWrong" It's a hard, cheap sell and hints at someone looking to convert others, so their conversations revolve around that topic to an endless and annoying degree.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:43 PM on July 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Seems natural to me that someone who likes sharks would like MeFi.

I think you misspelled snark.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:43 PM on July 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


That's a pretty slippery slope you're sliding down, Brandon.

Oh, totally. This guy just seemed to be on the wrong part of that slope, based on my perceptions of his first post. Hope I'm wrong.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:47 PM on July 5, 2009


Is this where self-link paranoia jumps the shark?
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 5:48 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, moderating the discussion - that's more of a murky etiquette thing than a hard-and-fast rules kinda thing. In general, it's a bad idea to start a thread then hover over it to play referee. It kinda poisons the well, discussion-wise, when a user hangs about trying to shape and direct the conversation to their liking. There's usually a pretty aggressive push-back when the community senses that a user is trying to run a seminar in the discussion thread.

Think of the FPP as the seed and the thread as what grows from it - plant well and a quality thread is usually the result. Plant poorly and a poor thread usually sprouts from it. Trying to prune and shape the thread rarely produces a beautiful bonsai. It usually just chases folks out of the discussion.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:51 PM on July 5, 2009


A few points about moderating the discussion. "Moderating" means that you're commenting frequently in your own thread, answering other people's comments, as if you are the leader of a roundtable discussion on that subject. That's not the expected way posts go. You post the link/s, and then other people can comment and a discussion sometimes will start from there, with everyone contributing as equals. You aren't assumed to have special status as the poster, so if you act as if you do have special status, it can come off as a little bit overweening.

It can be hard to step back from your post, if people are complaining about it, or if it's something you're really invested in. But it's a good idea to step back (ie, refrain from commenting more than once every, say, three hours), for a few reasons:

1. A post should stand or fall on its own. The content you link to should be intrinsically interesting. No amount of after-the-fact kibitzing by you in the comments thread will make up for a post that's made up of boring, thin, etc material. So, if you're feeling like you have to "stand up for" your post by answering everybody else's comments, it's time to back away.

2. Metafilter (the front page, with the blue background) is a varied group, some people will enjoy your post without saying anything, and some crankypants users will comment "oh, this post sucks" to almost anything even if they haven't read the links. It's best to IGNORE those kind of comments, rather than engaging them. Don't take it personally, don't try to "get the last word" with those people, it's unwinnable and doesn't matter because other people are mostly ignoring them anyway.

3. Threads on the front page (the blue background) are never about individual users, even the person who posted the links. Any behavior that seems to make it be "about you" is seen as tacky - this includes posting very often, always needing to have the last word, etc. So, for example, in most cases if someone's trying to pick a fight with you, the best course is to ignore it.

Disclaimer: I don't know if you were doing that stuff at all, I'm just talking in generalities.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:53 PM on July 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thanks, LobsterMitten and EatTheWeek. This is all enlightening.
posted by WhySharksMatter at 5:57 PM on July 5, 2009


would people be ok with me primarily posting about marine conservation topics?
And again, the FAQ's say that self linking IN THE COMMENTS is ok as long as it's relevant. Is that true? Again, I don't want to step on anyone's toes.


Posting mostly about marine conservation: totally ok
Posting with a tone of "oh god, the oceans are going to hell and only you can stop it!!!!!!": people will get out their pitchforks even if they agree with your conservationist point of view

Self-link in comments is ok if it's something that really answers a question someone asked, and you would typically say something like "I have a post on shark metabolism on my blog, here's the link." It's extra nice if you say "The short answer is: it varies depending on the temperature"

Sefl-link in comments is not ok if it looks like you're just shoe-horning your own stuff in where it's not really called for. If it looks like gratuitous self-promotion, and ESPECIALLY unannounced/not clearly marked self-promotion, people will push back.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:01 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Since there is a biologist in the house, do lobsters actually have mittens? (I don't wanna waste my weekly AskMe question)
posted by Rumple at 6:04 PM on July 5, 2009


Hiya, WhySharksMatter. Welcome to your mefi initiation - your first post, and your first callout, all in one day!

You should listen to cortex, who is a mod and a very reasonable and explain-y person, and also to LobsterMitten, who is not a mod but has been around a while and knows what's what and is also nice.

There are probably nearly as many definitions of what makes a good post as there are active users here. Sometimes a single-link post is fantastic, all by itself. Sometimes posts with a lot of links get complaints for having...too many links (where "too many" is variable, depending on the topic, user's history, phase of the moon, drunkenness of commenters, etc.). There are some mefites who pretty much post on things in the same topic area, and obviously have great familiarity and love for it, and this can be a wonderful thing. There's a ton of people here with expertise/knowledge/love of a huge range of arcane subjects, and a desire to share that, and it's one of the things that makes Metafilter a great place.

The money-pooping unicorns are just icing on the cake, so to speak. You make your $5 back in no time!

Oh - and if you're going to be near 10th anniversary (of Metafilter) meetup site, you should go! It'll be fun! Mefites are not really as contentious in person as we are here in the wild.
posted by rtha at 6:04 PM on July 5, 2009


It's a thin post to an even thinner blog entry that culled most of it's meat from an AFP article.

Don't get me wrong WhySharksMatter - I think a post on this topic would be great. I live in Hong Kong where a huge amount of shark fins end up so I see the end of result of finning. But you could have added a bit more to the post. For example linking to the 2009 Year of the Shark website which has some useful links to estimates of sharks taken in commercial fishing, and some videos about the practice of finning. And for some light relief a link to this video which is a Hong Kong-produced short video about the consequences of demand for shark fin soup (and a parody of the woman who lost it at HK airport a few months ago).
posted by awfurby at 6:05 PM on July 5, 2009


You guys are the ones who tell how to brew alcohol on a research vessel, aren't you?!
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:05 PM on July 5, 2009


how to make beer in a coffee maker with basic ingredients I knew it!
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:07 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks, AwFurby! I'll plan a better post for the future. I didn't realize that multiple links were the accepted protocol.

Yes, LobsterMitten. My co-writer was the one who wrote the post about brewing alcohol on a research vessel.
posted by WhySharksMatter at 6:08 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


WhySharksMatter said: "Also, several people have mentioned my upcoming book and how I might "profit" from using metafilter. "Upcoming" is a relative term, it isn't even done yet and is at least a year away from publication. There is really no way that I can profit as a result of Metafilter."

You had me till this, WSM. I would wager that merely as a function of your having posted a front page post (FPP), and being a subsequent topic of discussion in this MetaTalk post (commonly abbreviated to MeTa, both the site area and the specific posts), that people have seen your website link in your profile, and clicked through to learn more about you.

And right there on the front page of your website, you are promoting your book, with verbiage that makes it sound like you've already got an ISBN.

Unless you are saying you truly don't understand the search-engine optimization value of being on the front page of MetaFilter (a Google of "Why Sharks Matter" already has a MetaFilter hit on the first page)... or how click-throughs might convert to subscribers at your website... or how all of this adds up to improve the potential sales of your book when it does come out next year.

Because otherwise it feels really disingenuous for you to say, "I can't imagine how I could profit from this" with a straight face.

We really like our full disclosure around here.

Also, it feels weird that you've now asked twice for an approval stamp on whether you can self-link in the comments. How to get self-links into the mix really shouldn't be a priority if your main goal is to chime in on conversations about marine conservation. If you're hoping to get a big line in the sand drawn for you so you know how close you can tippy-toe up to it without going over, people are going to suss that out pretty quickly.

Also, on behalf of the shark-phobic among us, I will request title tags in any img links, thx. If I pee my desk chair out of fear, I'll send you the bill. :)

Also, usually we don't cotton to many smileys/emoticons around here. But... I'm a MAVERICK!
posted by pineapple at 6:09 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


didn't realize that multiple links were the accepted protocol.

They're not. A post can have a single link or multiple links. But when it's a single link, it should be really good. The single link in your post was a short paragraph or two, followed by a news article.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:10 PM on July 5, 2009


Thanks for engaging in this discussion, WhySharksMatter. And welcome!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:23 PM on July 5, 2009


I didn't realize that multiple links were the accepted protocol.

THEY ARE NOT. Sorry, just wanting to be heard. Single-link posts are and always have been integral here. You don't *have* to plan out comprehensive multi-link extravaganzas (tho lord knows I've pulled a few). Basically, you post when you found something cool to share on the web (and single blog entries that are just links to single newspaper articles are pretty weak definitions of "cool").

If you find something interesting and feel like fleshing it out with more angles and links, go for it. But it's not necessary at all if the one link you're posting is rich enough.
posted by mediareport at 6:23 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


...that people have seen your website link in your profile, and clicked through to learn more about you.

I don't think you can fault WSM for that; it's a long-accepted part of how the site works - I'm pretty sure Matt considers it a feature, not a bug.
posted by mediareport at 6:27 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pineapple,

"it feels weird that you've now asked twice for an approval stamp on whether you can self-link in the comments"

I asked it twice because no one answered me the first time.

People have asked questions that I've answered before in posts on my own shark conservation blog. Answering them would be easier if I could self link, but since I'm new here I wanted to double check that this was ok.

And I don't think you understand how science literature works... I'm not really expecting to make money off of the book. And yes, I understand how search engines work, but I think it's a stretch to say that I'll make any money as a result of posting here.


As for blog subscribers... I make zero money from the blog. I hope that people who like what I write and want to learn more do subscribe, but that's because it's part of my job to educate the public about sharks. I make $0 from the blog whether I have one subscriber or a million.
posted by WhySharksMatter at 6:30 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


My advice is to ignore everything you read here about what you should post. You obviously know the rules and understand how it works. Thinking that you are going to learn anything more from this particular discussion would be a big mistake.

The exceptions to this are that you should listen to cortex who is a mod and has the keys to the banhammer, and EatTheWeak who is right.
posted by GeckoDundee at 6:40 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, WSM's blog is already one of the better known Science blogs.

I agree multiple link posts are not expected, and often when they do occur none of the links are in themselves "best of the web" meaning the post smells a little bit of "Get Your Own Blog".
posted by Rumple at 6:40 PM on July 5, 2009


There is really no way that I can profit as a result of Metafilter.

Its true ... sad, pathetic even, but true...
posted by R. Mutt at 6:42 PM on July 5, 2009


mediareport said: "I don't think you can fault WSM for that; it's a long-accepted part of how the site works - I'm pretty sure Matt considers it a feature, not a bug."

As it should be. But people get banned from here all the time for trying to engineer MetaFilter posts to direct traffic to their websites, so it's a feature that does get abused. If we are saying "this particular case is an exception," I think we should be very clear about why.

WhySharksMatter - it's not merely about dollars and cents. Pageviews and site traffic are also a valuable commodity, and a lot of people try to game MetaFilter to benefit from the high numbers that the site can generate. If you are truly trying just to educate the world about sharks, and not trying to manipulate the site for personal gain, that's wonderful... but a lot of people have less noble motives, and they often come here and start with a brand-new user account, very little interaction on topics that don't fit their niche, followed by some quick self-links. I hope you can understand why a lot of people are gun-shy, and I hope you don't take it personally.

"Answering them would be easier if I could self link, but since I'm new here I wanted to double check that this was ok."

A mod can answer this better but in my opinion, it's a case-by-case thing. It has to be really relevant to the situation. Otherwise, I see someone self-linking in the thread as an attempt to redirect traffic away from MetaFilter, when the conversation lives here. MetaFilter should be viewed as a two-way street, not a cul-de-sac with No Thru Traffic.
posted by pineapple at 6:42 PM on July 5, 2009


Can someone explain this boat from the beer article to me? Is it supposed to do that? There's a staircase and some antennae that look like it's supposed to be vertical. Why would you build a boat like that?
posted by tylermoody at 6:43 PM on July 5, 2009


Seriously, folks... would people prefer that I not write primarily about marine conservation topics?

One thing to consider is interest threshold.

You're a marine biology geek, and that's fine. You and other marine biology geeks find a lot of marine biology stuff super interesting. But the rest of the MeFi audience isn't and might not. Some recent paper and youtubed conference presentation about a 1% fall in the sperm vigour of the Eastern Caribbean Variegated Sea Cucumber may be super interesting to marine biology geeks, but it would probably make a lot of eyes glaze over in the general audience.

The same applies for lots of other flavours of niche geekery: gamers, anime fans, etc.

So, if you find something that makes you go "Ohh, I must post this!", and it happens to be in your field, let it rest for a while and see if your appraisal of post-worthiness is mainly due to it being Your Thing. If it still seems good to go, maybe collect some context links if the main link is obscure stuff.
posted by CKmtl at 6:47 PM on July 5, 2009


WhySharksMatter: with regards to moderating a discussion, take a word of advice from someone who took a looooooooooooooong time to learn the lesson:

If you have a question and have posted it in a comment, or people are taking issue with something you have said, give it some time. Outside of the three mods, no user here has the authority to give you "The Answer" and it almost always is better to err on the side of patience and wait for more than one person to give their two cents.

Taken in aggregate, you can get a more clear gist of what the do's and don'ts are rather than trying to thank / refute / acknowledge every single poster with an opinion on whatever it is you are talking about. In aggregate, we are pretty cool. Individually, we can be a little glib / snarky / whatever.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:51 PM on July 5, 2009


damn...I really wanted the "we need a bigger boat" line...

why the hell do I spend my days living a life instead of hitting refresh...

Welcome, shark guy...I'm looking forward to more posts...

there are NO sharks in the Huron River
posted by HuronBob at 6:53 PM on July 5, 2009


Does this mean I can post about the urgent problem of Chocolate Pickles?

The world faces a crisis here, folks!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:54 PM on July 5, 2009


Foci for Analysis: "The cause is good but the form is bad."

The Hallelujah challenge was last month, buddy.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:56 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


People have asked questions that I've answered before in posts on my own shark conservation blog. Answering them would be easier if I could self link, but since I'm new here I wanted to double check that this was ok.

Basically, that's a-okay when it happens organically and in moderation. The random distribution of expertise among the userbase here is one of my favorite things about metafilter, and having the good sense to know when to reiterate vs. excerpt vs. link pre-existing material, whether your or someone else's, is a good skill to hone.

One of the core conflicts here is one of concern over situations where it seems like someone is trying to (or not trying very hard not to) use Mefi as an advocacy platform. The line between merely being, in the midst of your erstwhile metafilter membership, passionate and talkative about subject x, and being apparently on mefi primarily as an outlet for subject x: sometimes fuzzy, problematic when crossed.

We (as mods) really want people to stay on the former side of that—be passionate, sure, but let it be in the course of the time you're spending here because you want to be a part of this community anyway. If you're that mefite who happens to be into sharks, no problem. If you're that guy who uses metafilter opportunistically (even in a well-intentioned way) to do Shark Talk, Round VII, more of a problem.

So to come back to this:

Seriously, folks... would people prefer that I not write primarily about marine conservation topics? I will never self-link from the front page, but this is the area I know the most about, and therefore the area I can contribute most to the discussion of.

Talking (i.e. commenting in threads) about it when it comes up in conversation: go for it. Feature, not bug.

Posting (i.e. making a front page post) about it sometimes: great, if your links are good. Much as I'm okay letting today's post stand as not-terrible, I will say that the critical breakdown Brandon Blatcher and others have provided is pretty on-target, and more posts in the shape and with the same relative lightness of content of today's would not be a good idea, and if it wasn't a finally-sort-of-chill moment after a rough early weekend, today's might not have lasted either.

Posting about it a lot may be an issue. Everybody's got their personal preferences, and there's nothing wrong in moderate proportions with posting on a subject you have special insight into, but, again, it needs to not feel like metafilter is being treated as an extension of your own blog, etc.

Definitely make a point of consuming a couple extra helpings of the front page before your next post. Variety is a spice of life here, but getting a little more familiar with the general site culture isn't a bad idea as far as what does and doesn't work for posts. And if you're not sure or you have questions, feel free to drop the mod team a line via the contact form (look for the link down in the bottom right of every page), we'll be happy to give you a second opinion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:10 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


It seems like some people are against me posting shark-related information (that isn't a self-link), while others are supportive of this.

What should I do? I don't want to step on anybody's toes, but it seems like many of you want to see more information about this topic.

But do you want me to not post about sharks at all?


This is just my opinion, and I haven't read the replies to your question. I could be in the minority, but I suspect I'm not. Here's my opinion: sharks are your thing. One of the great things about metafilter is that there are so many people with unique perspectives they've gained as a result of whatever their "thing" is. So you're the shark guy, post about sharks! I don't see a single thing wrong with it. We can all benefit from being exposed to people's "things"
posted by necessitas at 7:22 PM on July 5, 2009


We can all benefit from being exposed to people's "things"

Why, oh why don't I preview? I can't believe I typed that.
posted by necessitas at 7:23 PM on July 5, 2009 [17 favorites]


Yeah, this seems like it's brushing right up against "get your own blog".

We can all benefit from being exposed to people's "things"

If your "thing" is on the front page on a weekly basis then it's going to make some waves.

Otherwise, whatevs.
posted by GuyZero at 7:27 PM on July 5, 2009


We can all benefit from being exposed to people's "things"
Why, oh why don't I preview? I can't believe I typed that.


Well, now you stepped in it. Quick -- kick this off with a photo, and we'll forgive you.
posted by heyho at 7:29 PM on July 5, 2009


Metafilter: We can all benefit from being exposed to people's "things"
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 7:29 PM on July 5, 2009


Thanks for all the advice, everyone!
posted by WhySharksMatter at 7:37 PM on July 5, 2009


Fin.
posted by flabdablet at 7:38 PM on July 5, 2009 [14 favorites]


Candygram.
posted by Sailormom at 7:55 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fin.

I see what you did there.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:59 PM on July 5, 2009


Candygram

Why, yes, do come in ... ARRRRRGGGGHHHH!
posted by joe lisboa at 8:00 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Alright, who wants sushi?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:01 PM on July 5, 2009


Why, oh why don't I preview? I can't believe I typed that.

The fact that you typed that is part of the reason I love Mefi.

GROUP HUG!

Maguro nigiri for me, please!

posted by elfgirl at 8:06 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


omg baby sharks can eat each other in utero?
this is why we look back through the AskMe archives, people.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:07 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


is this the line for the free money-crapping unicorns?
posted by spinturtle at 8:11 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fin.

I see what you did there.


Yeah, I bet he was circling around, waiting for that opportunity.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:18 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fin.

I see what you did there.

Yeah, I bet he was circling around, waiting for that opportunity.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:18 PM on July 5 [+] [!]



Hah! Good one. Let's be chums.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:20 PM on July 5, 2009


GUYS GUYS GUYS CALM DOWN

Unicorns don't don't crap money; we crap these.

Years ago we worked out a waste distribution system with Six Flags and the Cracker Barrel people, so it all works out.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:27 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, snap.
posted by flabdablet at 8:40 PM on July 5, 2009


Unicorn on the cob, your waste distribution system is almost as practical as this one.
posted by necessitas at 8:45 PM on July 5, 2009


UbuRoivas said: "Yeah, I bet he was circling around, waiting for that opportunity."

I wracked my brain for about five whole minutes trying to come up with something to follow the "Fin" and I could not. Fair play to you, sir. I appreciate a pun with teeth.
posted by pineapple at 8:45 PM on July 5, 2009


I think it's a stretch to say that I'll make any money as a result of posting here.

The concern about self-linking or self-promotion here has very little to do with whether you would make money as a result or not. It's more about the fact that people aren't necessarily good judges of the quality of their own work, or of how interesting or relevant it will seem to other people.
posted by ook at 8:51 PM on July 5, 2009


I appreciate a pun with teeth.

Yeah, just as long as it's not so laboured that you feel like you're being hammered around the head with it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:05 PM on July 5, 2009


Gillzone!
posted by Rumple at 9:08 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can someone explain this boat from the beer article to me?

That ship is FLIP!
posted by adamdschneider at 9:16 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


necessitas: Unicorn on the cob, your waste distribution system is almost as practical as this one.

Seriously, that's why there are so few of us. It's like how French bulldogs are typically born by Caesarean section; unnatural.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:18 PM on July 5, 2009


Just checking in (late) to say that I noticed this this afternoon, and that I'm heartened to see WhySharksMatter's posts in this thread. Keep up the good work, and send us an octopus guy. Those things are amazing.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:21 PM on July 5, 2009


Note: Even sharks need a hug
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:23 PM on July 5, 2009


What do you want to know about the noble octopus, Paisley? I'm an amateur in that field, but a fan of 'em.
posted by WhySharksMatter at 9:27 PM on July 5, 2009


Yeah, just as long as it's not so laboured that you feel like you're being hammered around the head with it.

Agree totally. Ubu, this is why you're so great; white noise and meaningless chatter don't distract you.
posted by pineapple at 9:30 PM on July 5, 2009


pineapple: as long as your interpretation of "white noise & meaningless chatter" is the same as mine - ie the actual topic that we're supposed to be discussing - then I think we're on the same page.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:38 PM on July 5, 2009


just as long as it's not so laboured that you feel like you're being hammered around the head with it

which often happens on the grey. Nurse, I need aspirin.
posted by flabdablet at 9:39 PM on July 5, 2009


I find your username off putting for the same reason I wouldn't like someone using the name "WhyYouShouldn'tEatMeat" or "WhyAbortionIsWrong" It's a hard, cheap sell and hints at someone looking to convert others, so their conversations revolve around that topic to an endless and annoying degree.

Honey, you're sounding overly tetchy here. If we're judging on usernames, ooooooof.
posted by desuetude at 9:40 PM on July 5, 2009


ok then. is this the line for the rainbow-lollipop-crapping unicorns?
posted by spinturtle at 9:44 PM on July 5, 2009


And I don't think you understand how science literature works...

I know I'm kind of late to the party, but I think it's worth reiterating that even if you don't sell your articles or books at Barnes & Noble, it's still not really cool to use MetaFilter to draw attention to any of your own published work.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 10:01 PM on July 5, 2009


ok then. is this the line for the rainbow-lollipop-crapping unicorns?

It sounds like a good idea but, you really don't want the lollipops, even after you ash them, is what I'm saying.
posted by The Whelk at 10:02 PM on July 5, 2009


Nurse, I need aspirin.

Whoa there tiger.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:20 PM on July 5, 2009


The community has a pretty active immune system, basically, and it's not too hard to set it off accidentally with a little bad luck, which is what I think is going on here

Someone get the shark guy some Naproxen Sodium, stat!
posted by morganw at 10:22 PM on July 5, 2009


We're gonna need a bigger MeTa
posted by The Whelk at 10:23 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nurse, I need aspirin.

Whoa there tiger.


Yeah, some people think of aspirin like it's some kind of great white hope.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:25 PM on July 5, 2009


or little ray of sunshine.
posted by flabdablet at 10:32 PM on July 5, 2009


beat you to that one, Ubu. Don't let it make you blue.
posted by pineapple at 10:42 PM on July 5, 2009


Are we skating off-topic?
posted by flabdablet at 10:43 PM on July 5, 2009


Mako love not gar.
posted by Rumple at 10:57 PM on July 5, 2009


Don't let it make you blue.

On the contrary, I'm having a whale of a time.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:11 PM on July 5, 2009


What do you want to know about the noble octopus, Paisley? I'm an amateur in that field, but a fan of 'em.

Ah, that would be your cue.

If, in a day or two, you were to put together a post on an aspect of the octopus that Metafilter is currently unaware of, preferably something freaky and a little bit scary, and you fleshed out the post with a handful of interesting links to relevant but diverse media, it would show that you're an amazing new addition to the site, alleviate peoples' fears that you're a one-trick sharkpony, and provide us with new opportunities to marvel at one of nature's most fascinating creatures.

Of course, some people would still find something to complain about. But you know, that's just Metafilter. There are thousands of us posting here; some of us are always going to be having a cranky day.
posted by MrVisible at 11:24 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


a one-trick sharkpony

they're called seahorses.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:32 PM on July 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


I will pit my sharkpony against your seahorse any day of the week.
posted by MrVisible at 11:37 PM on July 5, 2009


MegalodonFilter.
posted by Devils Slide at 11:52 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I too was in this thread.

OMG THERE IS A FUCKING SHARK HERE
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:06 AM on July 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I welcome whysharksmatter, but if "whyelbowsquidmatter" shows up I'm sealing the bunker.
posted by maxwelton at 12:07 AM on July 6, 2009


I will pit my sharkpony against your seahorse any day of the week.

My seahorse is best mates with an entire gang of blue-ringed octopi. Good luck!
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:08 AM on July 6, 2009


I wouldn't worry too much about that. You could give everyone unicorns that shit money and people will still have a problem with it.

For the record, I would have no problem with this.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:20 AM on July 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


The question is: what do money-shitting unicorns eat?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:24 AM on July 6, 2009


What a lovely thread this is for apt username spotting. It's like an 'under-the-sea' themed dance.
posted by Catch at 12:35 AM on July 6, 2009


Rays are cool.
posted by Rumple at 1:22 AM on July 6, 2009


Have a look at my thing. Now, now, don't resist, you know it's for your own good.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:14 AM on July 6, 2009


*landshark*
posted by moonbird at 4:38 AM on July 6, 2009


The question is: what do money-shitting unicorns eat?

The answer is: they dine exclusively upon paté made from the fattened livers of the geese that lay the golden eggs. Well, I suppose one must also include the lightly-buttered toast points thereunder...
posted by pernishus at 4:47 AM on July 6, 2009


...send us an octopus guy. Those things are amazing.

Yeah--but do they have elbows?

That thing still scares the crap out of me.

Kudos on the megashark vs. giant octopus ref.

posted by elfgirl at 4:50 AM on July 6, 2009


I don't think I've ever seen such a wonderful assortment of shark related puns.
posted by WhySharksMatter at 6:02 AM on July 6, 2009


I don't think I've ever seen such a wonderful assortment of shark related puns.

Welcome to MetaFilter! Now you're seeing the benefits as well as the nasty paranoia! Don't mind the paranoid folks, they're just trying to Keep MeFi Safe (though some of them are being unnecessarily jerky now that you've shown yourself to be a good guy). Listen to the mods, ignore the snarkers, and have fun; I myself look forward to your informed posts and comments (and yes, it's perfectly OK to self-link in comments, though obviously if you do it constantly people will look askance).

I'm languagehat, and I write about language a lot here—BURN ME!!!
posted by languagehat at 6:31 AM on July 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


I moderate a website with a similar seat-of-the-pants Potter Stewart-esque policy regarding self-promotion, and sometimes I'll get in a discussion with a user who is extremely concerned with the exact placement of the ok/not-ok line, and we have involved email exchanges about like how many links per day are ok and where they can go, and whether they can post on certain topics and how much, and so on and so forth.

I used to think that a user like that was trying to figure out where the line was so she could stand riiiight next to it and wiggle their ass over it and maybe put a toe over and see if anyone notices, and that used to leave me feeling a little bad.

But I've come to realize that most of the time, it's just a person who has a hard time dealing with ambiguity in this area for whatever reason and wants some hard and fast guidelines. Spammers and shills don't bother asking questions, for the most part.

Anyway, this feels like that. Welcome to the site, WhySharksMatter!
posted by Kwine at 7:01 AM on July 6, 2009


Kwine said: "I used to think that a user like that was trying to figure out where the line was so she could stand riiiight next to it and wiggle their ass over it and maybe put a toe over and see if anyone notices, and that used to leave me feeling a little bad.

But I've come to realize that most of the time, it's just a person who has a hard time dealing with ambiguity in this area for whatever reason and wants some hard and fast guidelines. Spammers and shills don't bother asking questions, for the most part.
"

This is a really solid observation, Kwine, and it makes a lot of sense to me, because I just clicked on the fact that someone who wants to clear up ambiguity (good; not with agenda) could look a whole lot like someone who wants to measure the inch exactly so she can take the mile (bad; possibly with agenda). My brain, on the other hand, just sort of assumes ambiguity and runs with that; I'm a little more loosey-goosey about that sort of thing, so I hear those questions and think zebrashark, not seahorse.

LH, if you think I'm being unnecessarily jerky, I must prostrate myself at your feet and beg apology. I throw myself on my trident!
posted by pineapple at 7:15 AM on July 6, 2009


LobsterMitten: Posting with a tone of "oh god, the oceans are going to hell and only you can stop it!!!!!!": people will get out their pitchforks tridents even if they agree with your conservationist point of view

FTFY ;)
posted by zarq at 7:20 AM on July 6, 2009


I'm languagehat, and I write about language a lot here—BURN ME!!!

Eh, the flesh is too tough and grizzled.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:26 AM on July 6, 2009


Finally, a Mefite who can answer my questions about the elusive halfsharkalligatorhalfman.
posted by clockwork at 9:53 AM on July 6, 2009


The question is: what do money-shitting unicorns eat?

I thought they just ate dough.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:54 AM on July 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


The real reason we're giving you a hard time is that MetaFilter is Jets territory, Shark boy. You're lucky we didn't knife you.

/Riff riff
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:58 AM on July 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Once you're done flambeing languagehat, maybe you can roast flapjax at midnite over the coals for posting about music, and hasn't that asavage fella mentioned some TV show he works on? Ban him, too!
posted by jtron at 11:23 AM on July 6, 2009


...send us an octopus guy. Those things are amazing.

Yeah--but do they have elbows?

That thing still scares the crap out of me.

Kudos on the megashark vs. giant octopus ref.
posted by elfgirl at 7:50 AM on July 6 [+] [!]


OH MY GOD -- I am never setting a single toe in the ocean ever again.
posted by Julnyes at 11:58 AM on July 6, 2009

I'm languagehat, and I write about language a lot here—BURN ME!!!
MORE LIKE LANGUAGE FAT AMIRITE



LOL

posted by scrump at 12:09 PM on July 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the post should be deleted. Not because he's schilling, but because I hate sharks.

Octupuses rule, sharks drool!
posted by Evangeline at 12:15 PM on July 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


He might just be ::ahem:: fishing for material.

YEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH
posted by EarBucket at 1:53 PM on July 6, 2009


> The guidelines I've seen don't say that you can't post on topics you care about, only that
> you can't "self-link", and I haven't done that.

You're that clever land shark, aren't you!
posted by jfuller at 4:21 PM on July 6, 2009


MrVisible: If, in a day or two, you were to put together a post on an aspect of the octopus that Metafilter is currently unaware of, preferably something freaky and a little bit scary, and you fleshed out the post with a handful of interesting links to relevant but diverse media, it would show that you're an amazing new addition to the site, alleviate peoples' fears that you're a one-trick sharkpony, and provide us with new opportunities to marvel at one of nature's most fascinating creatures.

This is something that I would literally phone home about.

I spent no less than an hour talking to my mom about octopi just last week, and then after we got off the phone, I called her to talk about the dreaded candiru.

Besides octopus, I am also prone to puppy-like levels of enthusiasm over jellyfish. Irukanji must to be one of the very top scariest things in the ocean.
posted by paisley henosis at 5:49 PM on July 6, 2009


I did a little digging around, about this languaghat character - my suspicions were alerted when he said that he writes about languages, and he has the word "language" in his username. Turns out that he has a blog, called...wait for it...languagehat (dot com)! Coincidence? I THINK NOT!!!
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:52 PM on July 6, 2009


This is something that I would literally phone home about.

Start dialin'!
posted by rtha at 7:29 PM on July 6, 2009


I like jellyfish too. Especially the big ones.
posted by flabdablet at 7:30 PM on July 6, 2009


Octupuses

Is this where we do the plural thing? Octopii? Octopum? Octopeese? Octopattle?
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:41 PM on July 6, 2009


The new post is the good kind of post.

Now you need to wait a week and follow up with a dozen great links to lawyer jokes.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:02 PM on July 6, 2009


I like "octopi" because it's silly.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:02 PM on July 6, 2009


It's 'octopodes', isn't it?
posted by st looney up the cream bun and jam at 9:13 PM on July 6, 2009


2nd Octopodes.
posted by pompomtom at 9:28 PM on July 6, 2009


Just catching the tail end here.
posted by humannaire at 9:29 PM on July 6, 2009


It went swimmingly, humannaire.
posted by pineapple at 9:33 PM on July 6, 2009


rtha: This is something that I would literally phone home about.

Start dialin'!


Yeah, pretty great post, I really enjoyed it. I emailed it to my mom tonight, and I'll be calling her about it tomorrow.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:05 PM on July 6, 2009


We're all friends here. Surely, it's octopals.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:07 PM on July 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Or octoposse if you're down.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:08 PM on July 6, 2009


Miss Octoposse, if you're nasty.
posted by pineapple at 10:35 PM on July 6, 2009


Dammit, pineapple! I was just trying to figure out some way to frame a Janet Jackson reference!
posted by cgc373 at 10:42 PM on July 6, 2009


Octonauts
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:20 PM on July 6, 2009


Octopumvirate.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:34 AM on July 7, 2009


So, what are a group of octopuses/octopodes?

A squirt of octopuses?
A cloud?
A squiggle?
A zoom?
posted by elfgirl at 5:09 AM on July 7, 2009


> I did a little digging around, about this languaghat character - my suspicions were alerted when he said that he writes about languages, and he has the word "language" in his username. Turns out that he has a blog, called...wait for it...languagehat (dot com)! Coincidence? I THINK NOT!!!

Curses—foiled again!
posted by languagehat at 5:58 AM on July 7, 2009


> It's 'octopodes', isn't it?

That was the standard plural in Ancient Greek. If you want to speak Ancient Greek, I'll be glad to suggest some resources. In English, however, the standard plural is octopuses; I would be the last person to tell you you have to use the standard plural, but if you want to use an extremely rare plural most people will never have heard of, you will want to pronounce it ok-TOP-ə-deez, because otherwise those people who are familiar with it will think you're an ignoramus.

Also, even the Greeks didn't always use the standard plural; see here. As I wrote toward the bottom of this LH thread: "It does sound like your average Greek-in-the-street might not have connected polypous (and by extension oktapous) very closely with pous, podos and might have used oktapoi as a plural (and been slapped down by the Safires of the day)."
posted by languagehat at 6:09 AM on July 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


We're all friends here. Surely, it's octopals.
posted by cortex at 12:07 AM on July 7

And don't call me Shirley.
posted by Evilspork at 2:48 PM on July 7, 2009


40 hours since the last pun? Has everybody flaked out?
posted by flabdablet at 6:50 AM on July 9, 2009


Don't be such a hardnose, flab. I'm just busy trying to win an ebay auction for a cookiecutter from South China.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:21 AM on July 9, 2009


A squirt of octopuses?
A cloud?
A squiggle?
A zoom?


A Doom of Octopi.
posted by The Whelk at 8:38 AM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you're basking cookies, I'm goblin 'em.
posted by flabdablet at 8:39 AM on July 9, 2009


Can we work Octomom into this?

"Yo' Octomon SO FAT when she stretch her legs she look like sea anenome"
posted by Rumple at 9:42 AM on July 9, 2009


If you're basking cookies, I'm goblin 'em.

BEWARE -- that's how the Basking Sharks lure you in.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:16 AM on July 9, 2009


Indeed: Basking & Robbins
posted by Rumple at 10:56 AM on July 9, 2009


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