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@please @make @it @stop!
September 3, 2009 8:14 AM   Subscribe

A reminder: @newpeople, using @username as a form of reply is discouraged on @MetaFilter. This isn't @twitter.

You are more than free to do it, but know that about 3/4 of the people that read what you wrote are not impressed. In the least. We have a few conventions here, and not using @ to reply to someone is one of them. Try instead:

> username:

username:

That isn't so hard, is it?

Posting because this behavior has ramped up the last few months, and this needs restating.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist to Etiquette/Policy at 8:14 AM (139 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

@Antidisestablishmentarianist, this is the first time I've used this convention, and it's to grumble about this post.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:17 AM on September 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


Now for our regularly scheduled Twitter 180s H@e.
posted by adipocere at 8:17 AM on September 3, 2009


Why? It seems like a perfectly sensible convention. What's the problem?
posted by Perplexity at 8:18 AM on September 3, 2009


For what it's worth, I was doing @replies in TechCrunch comments in 2006 before I'd ever even heard of Twitter. I'm not that offended.
posted by olinerd at 8:19 AM on September 3, 2009


Aside from the fact that Twitter is annoying and sux, what's wrong with this convention? I don't use it, but it does the job, cognitively speaking and ASCII-wise.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 8:20 AM on September 3, 2009


olinerd: Twitter is a bit of a red herring. I never saw that @ thing happen on here with any great frequency until Twitter hit the scene. I am well aware it didn't start there, but since twitter has hit critical mass, the @ convention has invaded everything.

So, twitter didn't start it, but took it over the top.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 8:21 AM on September 3, 2009


olinerd: "For what it's worth, I was doing @replies in TechCrunch comments in 2006 before I'd ever even heard of Twitter. I'm not that offended."

I would seek compensation for the use of your idea. I hear twitter has deep pockets. Don't take this shit from them!!!
posted by Gravitus at 8:21 AM on September 3, 2009


anyone who uses it is a tw@.
posted by jontyjago at 8:23 AM on September 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


What's Twitter? Who's Sarah Palin? Where are...where are my glasses?
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:24 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I recall seeing the @username thing on Fark prior to Twitter; it is admittedly compact and gets the point across, but it does encourage a style of conversation—short, almost-threaded back-and-forth remarks—that I'm not sure really matches Metafilter all that well.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:26 AM on September 3, 2009


@Antidisestablishmentarianist -- when did mathowie die and leave you King of MetaFilter?

I don't use @user as a rule so for you I'm making an exception, but you're being a little peremptory, don't you think?
posted by briank at 8:26 AM on September 3, 2009 [9 favorites]


In an earlier thread about exactly this, it was pointed out that talking "at" someone is pretty rude, while addressing them conversationally is generally more accepted.
posted by hippybear at 8:27 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


briank: Conventions are things that are conventionally done. What the users tend to do has nothing to do with who is in charge. I can observe and report just fine, if I have reported something that is not true, call me on it.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 8:28 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


We get to negotiate the resources of a community by our use of them, we don't get to control them or how other people use them. It's like trying to force people to talk a specific way. It's madness. Also, being snarky and condescending about it is only going to motivate people to exercise their own autonomy and use the control they have in using those resources, whether they agree with the suggestion or not, but rather out of spite. So I would be prepared to see a lot more of it around, and in this thread in particular. But good luck with your pointless charge!
posted by iamkimiam at 8:29 AM on September 3, 2009 [12 favorites]


The foundations of our discourse are under @ack!
posted by [@I][:+:][@I] at 8:30 AM on September 3, 2009 [8 favorites]


I think this is an issue where "lead by example" is the best course. A snorty post in Metatalk where, I expect, newer folks don't spend so much time, is basically an invitation to piss on Twitter or new people, and either of those seem worse in the long run for the community than an @.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:32 AM on September 3, 2009


Pointless post. Either this convention catches on or it doesn't, and there's nothing that can be done about it. So far it hasn't caught on, but if it does, so what? What's the harm, really?
posted by smackfu at 8:32 AM on September 3, 2009


And don't sign your posts, either!

yhbc
posted by yhbc at 8:33 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everybody's talking @me
I don't hear a word they're sayin'
only the #tweetsofmymind
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:37 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's the harm, really?

_________Pointles____________Pointless
______Pointless post_______Pointless post.
____Pointless post. Eit___Pointless post. Eit
___Pointless post. Either this conv_______Poin
__Pointless post. Either this conv_________Poin
_Pointless post. Either this conventi_______Poin
_Pointless post. Either this convention c______P
Pointless post. Either this convention catch__Poi
Pointless post. Either this convention catches _P
Pointless post. Either this convention catches on
Pointless post. Either this convention catches on
_Pointless post. Either this convention catches
__Pointless post. Either this convention catche
____Pointless post. Either this convention cat
______Pointless post. Either this conventio
_________Pointless post. Either this con
____________Pointless post. Either th
______________Pointless post. Eith
_________________Pointless pos
___________________Pointless
_____________________Pointl
______________________Poin
_______________________Po

@
ack!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:37 AM on September 3, 2009 [9 favorites]


Hey, while we're here, can I bitch about people opening their askme questions with "SubjectFilter: Blah blah blah?" I feel like I'm seeing it more lately. I think it's cutesy and superfluous and I wish it would stop. Thanks.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:38 AM on September 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


@It's Raining Florence Henderson: That's actually really pretty.
posted by smackfu at 8:40 AM on September 3, 2009


I hate @ but that's mainly because it's ugly and hard to write. & is much less ugly but much, much harder to write, so the product is probably a constant.

O is pretty easy but also shows flaws because of the circularity. I think a nice classic A is best. Straight lines, symmetrical, iconic.
posted by DU at 8:42 AM on September 3, 2009


Also, new people: welcome to Metatalk, where we talk about Metafilter etiquette & policy, & home of the schmoopy on its good days.
posted by Pronoiac at 8:44 AM on September 3, 2009


#wevedonethistodeath
posted by bondcliff at 8:48 AM on September 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


"@username" vs "username:" vs "username > " is a red herring. If you are talking directly and only to a particular person, you should be memailing them. If you are responding publicly to the content, then quote the content, not "reply to" the person using any convention.
posted by DU at 8:49 AM on September 3, 2009 [8 favorites]


I think the @ convention is hideously ugly, a stylistic nightmare. But the argument that it's rude to talk "at someone" is, IMO, specious because it is simply a convention, intended to conveniently address someone, and saying it's rude completely ignores intent. No one using it is going "Ha, ha, ha, I'm talking at Joe just to be rude to him!"

Anyway, unfortunately, I think @ is here to stay.
posted by 6550 at 8:49 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


My favorite part of Star Wars was the @@ walkers.
posted by ORthey at 8:49 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I kind of like the use of the "@username" convention - with so many usernames composed of phrases, it's an easy signifier that what follows is a username and not some phrase I need to read over and over again before I realize that the poster is addressing someone.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 8:52 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]



@Antidisestablishmentarianist -- when did mathowie die and leave you King of MetaFilter?


This. Seriously.
posted by jerseygirl at 8:54 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I dislike the @ because usually comments using it don't quote the person they're replying to.

That makes it hard for those of us with short attention spans to work out what's going on:
What isn't feasible? Why did you call @ a twat? Now I have to scroll and find it. Sigh.
posted by subbes at 8:58 AM on September 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


Yay! This again!
posted by minifigs at 9:00 AM on September 3, 2009


@Antidisestablishmentarianist: The tone of this post is so snotty and self-important that I'm going to start using the @ convention just to be contrary. Enjoy!
posted by miskatonic at 9:03 AM on September 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Would anyone like to talk about favorites and how people are using them?
posted by jerseygirl at 9:03 AM on September 3, 2009


I, too, hate this.
posted by odinsdream at 9:08 AM on September 3, 2009


Taking a cue from this equally pointless metatalk post:

@Antidisestablishmentarianist This callout is pointess and you're a bad person for posting it.
posted by orville sash at 9:11 AM on September 3, 2009


Yes, JerseyGirl, let's. I favorite something when (1) I agree with the content or (2) the content made me LOL.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 9:12 AM on September 3, 2009


Various names of the "at" sign, pasted straight from Wikipedia
In Armenian it is "shnik" which means puppy.

In Belarusian it's called "сьлімак" ("helix", "snail").

In Taiwan it is xiao laoshu (小老鼠), meaning "little mouse".

In Czech and Slovak it is called zavináč (rollmops).

In Dutch it is called apenstaartje ("monkey-tail"), the use of "at" is increasing in popularity. [I would say standard usage by now]

In German it sometimes used to be referred to as Klammeraffe (meaning "spider monkey"). Klammeraffe refers to the similarity of @ to the tail of a monkey grabbing a branch. Lately, it is mostly called at just like in English.

In Greek, it is most often referred to as papaki (παπάκι), meaning "duckling".

In Hungarian it is officially called kukac ("worm, maggot").

In Italian it is chiocciola ("snail") or a commerciale.

In Kazakh it is officially called айқұлақ ("moon's ear"), sometimes unofficial as ит басы ("dog's head").

In Korean it is called golbaeng-i (골뱅이; bai top shells), a dialectal form of daseulgi (다슬기), a small freshwater snail with no tentacles.

In Macedonian it is called мајмунче (pronun. my-moon-cheh, little monkey).

In Polish it is called, both officially and commonly małpa (monkey); sometimes also małpka (little monkey).

In Russian it is most commonly sobaka (собака) (dog).

In Turkish it is et (using the English pronunciation). Also called as güzel a (beautiful a), özel a (special a), salyangoz (snail), koç (ram), kuyruklu a (a with a tail), çengelli a (a with hook) and kulak (ear).

In Welsh it is sometimes known as a malwen or malwoden (a snail).
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:14 AM on September 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


Maybe I'll change my username to @kins; then there where will we be?
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 9:17 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


@tila the Hun.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:20 AM on September 3, 2009


Ceiling c@ is watching.
posted by ericb at 9:22 AM on September 3, 2009


I am the king of New York! Why? Because I mentioned that people in New York tend to find it rude when you make eye contact in the Subway, so don't do that unless you want to make people upset. Take that lawfully elected officials, your power has been usurped!

Plenty of people have said I shouldn't have posted this, or suchlike, but no-one has particularly challenged my observation that only a small percentage of people posting or commenting on MetaFilter use the @ sign convention. MetaTalk is exactly for this kind of discussion, notice this post has not been deleted.

So, do what is tradition, or do what you want. If you don't use the @ no-one will fault you. If you do use the @ some, myself included, will not like it.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 9:30 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't use it. I would like some praise, please.
posted by iconomy at 9:35 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Maybe I'll change my username to @kins; then there where will we be?

In an Alfred Bester novel.
posted by Iridic at 9:35 AM on September 3, 2009


@Metafilter, there is [More Inside].
posted by empyrean at 9:39 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


* hurls praise @iconomy *
posted by yhbc at 9:39 AM on September 3, 2009


It's not just an observation if you make a metatalk post about it, Antidisestablishmentarianist.

Personally, I don't mind it. I do mind people backseat modding their pet peeves, though.
posted by flatluigi at 9:39 AM on September 3, 2009


@iconomy: keep up the good work!
posted by dirtdirt at 9:41 AM on September 3, 2009


"@", like a lot of verbal colloquialisms, gives the appearance of dumbing down discourse. That's why cliched internet constructions evolve into distorted usage or are otherwise signified in text-amirite?-is a good example.

It's not that there isn't a certain utility in flagging attention to a username, it's that it's a trendy convention that will seem silly in five years and fade into irony, the way that lulz has evolved from 'LOL' and 'omgwtfbbq' appeared.

Like @, these had some utility, but were so cheaply used that their superfluousness became almost immediately apparent, and like emoticons, grated on people who prided themselves on the quality of their written communication, and their willingness to spend an extra ten seconds typing out "That's hilarious!" as opposed to "LOL".

IMHO!!!1
posted by A Terrible Llama at 9:44 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


subbes: I dislike the @ because usually comments using it don't quote the person they're replying to.

I don't really mind the @ thing* but I wish people were better about quoting what they're replying to. It is annoying to have to either open up the thread from Recent Activity and find whatever it is that the comment is referring to.


* okay maybe I do a little bit
posted by Kattullus at 9:47 AM on September 3, 2009


the way that lulz has evolved from 'LOL' and 'omgwtfbbq' appeared.

I'd be far more "OMG! BBQ!" than "WTF? BBQ!"

Unless the BBQ fell on my LOLCAT then I'd be all DIAF BBQ! WTF!
posted by jerseygirl at 9:48 AM on September 3, 2009


I just spent about 15 minutes trying to figure out Unicode to the point where I could post the "@" in "Me@Filter" backwards (to spell "ta", GEDDIT??) but I have failed.

I'm very sorry to have let down the community.
posted by DU at 9:49 AM on September 3, 2009


notice this post has not been deleted.

That, in itself, doesn't preclude something from being thought of as shit.
posted by jerseygirl at 9:50 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I always associated the use of @username with the comments section on Making Light.
posted by ShawnStruck at 9:51 AM on September 3, 2009


Jerseygirl, think of it how you want. I value this community and believe that my post will make it a better place.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 9:58 AM on September 3, 2009


Christ, what an @hole.
posted by not_on_display at 10:00 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm late here so nobody will read this, but I get mildly peeved when people who whine about this @ business blame it on Twitter. Surely there are two @ conventions in common use on the Internet:
1) a convention on blog comment threads where @username is used to address a comment to a specific user.
@iconomy: You are excellent.
2) a newer convention on Twitter where the @ character is used as markup to indicate that the following text is a user name: it is used both as a method of marking your twittering as addressed to a particular user (second person), but it is also used when talking about a user (third person).
@iconomy: You are excellent. but also:
That @iconomy sure is excellent.
The difference from the older @ convention is that here it is machine-readable markup that tells Twitter clients that @username is a username and should be clickable.

It is surely only the former, non Twitter-specific, convention that is used here when people are trying to force a threaded discussion into a space designed for a flat list of comments. I propose, therefore, that future MeTa complaints about this hideous convention focus on (a) the indisputable argument that it's rude to talk 'at' someone or (b) the cultural insensitivity of using a symbol that might mean 'snail', 'maggot', 'cabbage' or 'anus' to address somebody, rather than the mistaken notion that Twitter is somehow relevant.
posted by nowonmai at 10:04 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Surely there are two @ conventions in common use on the Internet:

*cough*email*cough*
posted by DU at 10:06 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


You are more than free to do it

Why, thank you! I wanted to ask, but I was too afraid of not impressing you.
posted by katillathehun at 10:06 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Katillathehun: I'm not giving anyone permission to do anything, just pointing something out. I'm sure you knew that but were looking for an opportunity to snark. Direct hit!
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 10:09 AM on September 3, 2009


I totally got called out for using @ on here way before Twitter happened.

I'm so ahead of the curve here for being behind the curve here.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:12 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm @MetaFilter and I could overthink a pl@e of @@@@@@@@s.
posted by owtytrof at 10:15 AM on September 3, 2009


Katillathehun: I'm not giving anyone permission to do anything, just pointing something out. I'm sure you knew that but were looking for an opportunity to snark. Direct hit!

No, I'm pointing out that you're taking an authoritative tone on behalf of a community that may or may not agree with you and over something ultimately trivial. I'm also saying "chill out."
posted by katillathehun at 10:16 AM on September 3, 2009


I'm late here so nobody will read this

Peevy metatalk threads that are only two hours old are nowhere near that stage. If your comment is in the latter half of the thread by the time it's done, I will be shocked. Heh.

I dislike the hell out of the @username convention on mefi—I've gone on at length in previous threads so I won't go into detail here, saying only that it's visually ugly, adds no value to the site compared with existing quote/reply conventions, and encourages poor quoting habits—but I do agree that this post could have been framed a bit better. It's fine to bring this stuff up, but aiming for a less didactic/pushy tone would have been a good idea.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:16 AM on September 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


People, we're missing the real point here, which is to speculate on who Antidisestablishmentarianist used to be. So far we have:
- used to have a short(er) user name
- originally joined in 2003
- kind of snooty

Granted, that describes a lot of us, but ...
posted by yhbc at 10:20 AM on September 3, 2009


It is true, I wrote this early in the AM before the coffee had kicked in, so my tone was a bit off. I could have framed the post much better. I believe my observations are valid, but sincerely apologize for the manner in which they were presented. I am normally very careful to have an even and measured voice, and did not do so here.

Oh, I was nobody important in my former life, but having a secret past is so much fun!
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 10:24 AM on September 3, 2009


The use of sock puppets is discouraged as well.
posted by dios at 10:26 AM on September 3, 2009


You are more than free to do it, but know that about 3/4 of the people that read what you wrote are not impressed.

Count me in the 1/4 who think a comment's content is far more important than the way it is formatted, then.

That isn't so hard, is it?

Restricting oneself from smugness and condescension isn't either.
posted by zarq at 10:27 AM on September 3, 2009


Dios: this is the only ID I ever use, the old one is dormant. The mods can figure this all out from the IP's associate with my posting and login history if they wish to. Rest assured I have no sock puppets, and am not a sock puppet.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 10:29 AM on September 3, 2009


I do agree with the "using the @ is likely to mean that the comment being responded to is not commented upon" comment.

Oh, wait, I did that wrong.

subbes: I dislike the @ because usually comments using it don't quote the person they're replying to.

I agree with this statement.

Since MetaFilter doesn't have threaded comments, it can be difficult to locate exactly what is being responded to. Plus, the implication is, "nobody else should read or respond to this, because it's being directed toward a single person rather than part of the conversation as a whole."

MetaFilter is the quality, award-winning website that it is because most people take the time to try to make it so. Breaking down the conversation into not-easily-trackable side conversations creates problems with reading at thread. I'm not in favor of the whole @ use convention, but I've gotten beyond freaking out about it anymore. Mostly it means, regardless of the quality of the comment, I just disregard it, because it wasn't meant for the general public to read.
posted by hippybear at 10:33 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, if you are trying to "restart" with the new username, that's one thing. Brand New Day is a good principle.

If you just wanted a different username because you were bored, then it might be useful to identify yourself. Because the only identifier we have that allows this community to be a community is username. Shared history is important to a community.

I have no issue with people changing accounts. But using sock puppets is wrong. I will take you for your word that you are not doing so. Thanks.
posted by dios at 10:47 AM on September 3, 2009


Why do you care what username he uses?
posted by kathrineg at 10:49 AM on September 3, 2009


It bugs the ever-living shit out of me when people do that "@username" thing, but I'm easily annoyed.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 10:55 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ahem. "ever-loving shit".

You know what else bugs me? The "i" and "o" keys being so close together. What the fuck is up with that?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 10:56 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have some thoughts on the matter!

1. Antidisestablishmentarianist, I don't think anyone is doing this to "impress" people.
2. The condescending tone of your post ("That isn't so hard, is it?") did not impress me. In the least.
3. "@username" is a convention. There is nothing intrinsic to it that makes it inherently worse than a different convention, such as "> username".
4. That said, it is not Accepted Metafilter Style, so I don't use it here.
5. But not because it sucks or is illiterate or illustrates the downfall of civilized electronic discourse, but just because I try to fit in in whatever particular societal context I find myself in.
6. In passing, I really don't understand the knee-jerk Twitter hate here, especially since mathowie and jessamyn (at least) use it regularly. But it seems pointless to fight it.
posted by dfan at 10:56 AM on September 3, 2009


m_c_d: you may be easily annoyed, but you are also easily satiated. You can go from HULK SMASH to happy on a dime just by seeing a picture of a pair of your favorite things.
posted by dios at 11:04 AM on September 3, 2009


We have a few conventions here, and not using @ to reply to someone is one of them.

I suppose I count as @newpeople, relatively speaking. But apart from whether or not @ is a good way to reply to people, I have never seen this stated as a "convention." What I have seen is people vigorously arguing this point; but if that counts as a convention then I'm rather confused.

I am the king of New York! Why? Because I mentioned that people in New York tend to find it rude when you make eye contact in the Subway, so don't do that unless you want to make people upset.

I see. Then this is the issue: you claim to be speaking on behalf of all Metafilter. But judging by the comments thus far, you clearly aren't.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 11:07 AM on September 3, 2009


I think that although there seems to be a move towards tolerance, there has been a lot of twitter hate here. So it's not surprising that someone would post a metatalk that represents a now-out-of-fashion view of twitter in mefi.
posted by kathrineg at 11:07 AM on September 3, 2009


if I were to see @Spatch in glorious ASCII I would think "Oh geez, I hafta fight a snake, a rock piercer, a giant ant, a lurker below, a cockatrice and a mind flayer before I can get to the end of this hallway?!"
posted by Spatch at 11:08 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


By that I mean that there is no reason to pile on antidiseldkjf;lkj, we are all a bit guilty for contributing to the @hate
posted by kathrineg at 11:08 AM on September 3, 2009


Don't talk @ them, talk 2 them.

2Antidisestablishmentarianist: I approve of this idea.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:11 AM on September 3, 2009


dios knows me well.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 11:16 AM on September 3, 2009


I see. Then this is the issue: you claim to be speaking on behalf of all Metafilter. But judging by the comments thus far, you clearly aren't.

Well, to be fair he's claiming to be speaking on behalf of 3/4 of Metafilter.
posted by zarq at 11:19 AM on September 3, 2009


My intention was to point out something that I believe to be generally frowned upon, and very infrequently used. My language went a bit over the top. I'll apologize again, I think if I had framed things better, this would be a more constructive discussion.

In any event, my observation is that a minority of users follow the @ convention, most users do not, and people have been calling out the @ thing as what not to do for some time. Maybe things are changing? I don't think so, but I'm not saying it is out of the question either.

So, sorry I made my post so authoritative. My tone was all wrong.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 11:23 AM on September 3, 2009


By that I mean that there is no reason to pile on antidiseldkjf;lkj, we are all a bit guilty for contributing to the @hate

Perhaps. But I imagine that the Twitter-hating contingent didn't exactly force him to click the "post" button.
posted by zarq at 11:26 AM on September 3, 2009


I personally have always wondered why Metafilter doesn't just have a tiny reply-to button added to each comment that would, you know, just do the right thing.
posted by jeffamaphone at 11:30 AM on September 3, 2009


Because we can't decide on the right thing.
posted by smackfu at 11:37 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, sorry I made my post so authoritative. My tone was all wrong.

Fair enough.

I'm glad you made it though. I've been having fun reading various comments on the two previous MeTa posts.
posted by zarq at 11:43 AM on September 3, 2009


> *cough*email*cough*

Oh no I didn't! s/Internet/WWW/ or whatever.
posted by nowonmai at 11:46 AM on September 3, 2009


I personally have always wondered why Metafilter doesn't just have a tiny reply-to button added to each comment that would, you know, just do the right thing.

It's been brought up a few times. How do you feel about Soul Food?
posted by zarq at 11:47 AM on September 3, 2009


I've come to enjoy Twitter for the sheer stoopid fun of it, especially after coming to know that HOBODARKSEID IS! However, I would prefer that Twitter conventions stay out of Metafilter. I like the MeFi Bubble and fear the encroachment of outside conventions. Back, Change, Back, I say!

However, railing against encroaching conventions and language use seldom gains the result the railer wishes for. Despite years of my protests, people continue to say "proactive" and "irregardless" as if they are words. Listen hard enough and you can hear them doing so right now. AarrrGggG!

Therefore, I am content for the moment to use "proactive" as a flag-word which designates a sentence which I need not read or listen to the rest of and the @ Twitter convention in MeFi as a handy n00b-flag which will, one hopes, eventually be lowered as the given user spends more time on the site and figures out the mores of our seckrit club.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:02 PM on September 3, 2009


Hey, while we're here, can I bitch about people opening their askme questions with "SubjectFilter: Blah blah blah?" I feel like I'm seeing it more lately. I think it's cutesy and superfluous and I wish it would stop. Thanks.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:38 AM on September 3 [4 favorites +] [!]


Agreed. And can we please stop pimping everything.
posted by Who_Am_I at 12:04 PM on September 3, 2009


I always think of the reality of pimping when I see that, like, what, you want to abuse and sexually exploit your baby's crib?!?
posted by kathrineg at 12:07 PM on September 3, 2009


Say no to strudel!
posted by breezeway at 12:14 PM on September 3, 2009


I have no issue with people changing accounts. But using sock puppets is wrong. I will take you for your word that you are not doing so. Thanks.

He's put you on notice!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:17 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have no strong opinion on the @ issue, but I don't like the idea of preemptively trying to discourage the adoption of an up-and-coming new language convention. Let the syntax of the internet, and this site, evolve naturally.
posted by rocket88 at 12:33 PM on September 3, 2009


I pretty much hated Twitter until this.
posted by Perplexity at 12:41 PM on September 3, 2009


r@@@@ and fiddle dee dee.
posted by Night_owl at 12:42 PM on September 3, 2009


Sweet Christ, who cares.
posted by WCityMike at 12:43 PM on September 3, 2009


I had a dream last night that I was outside a casino, and this big dog/mountain lion hybrid came along. It was very hungry and I put my balled-up fist in its mouth while it scarily hugged me with both front legs. In the dream I sent my husband into the casino for a bowl of mashed potatoes.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 12:46 PM on September 3, 2009


Okay everybody. I wrote a Greasemonkey script to fix this issue.

You're welcome.
posted by odinsdream at 12:59 PM on September 3, 2009


I hate @username, and if this post makes it more common out of defiance I will be sad.

I had a coworker once praise me by saying I was 'big pimpin', and I asked them if they meant to compliment me by implying I profited from the sexual trafficking of women. I am no fun.
posted by winna at 1:05 PM on September 3, 2009


Hi, I'm on MetaFilter and I could overthink a pl@e of beans.
posted by cerebus19 at 1:09 PM on September 3, 2009


I AM OUTRAGED AT @!
...AT AT?
...@ @?
...@ AT?
fuck it.
I AM OUTRAGED AT SOMETHING!
posted by JeffK at 1:18 PM on September 3, 2009


To me, @ will represent the clenched orifices of those who hate it so much.
posted by rocket88 at 1:19 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh no! It's a c@astrophe! He's going c@@onic!
posted by Pronoiac at 1:20 PM on September 3, 2009


I find that a post starting with an @ is kind of like a backwards baseball cap or a bluetooth earpiece worn when not actually talking on it: it is a handy signal that here is a person I need not bother taking seriously.

Thanks to all who save me time this way!
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:39 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't use the convention but it's fine with me if other people type what they want to.

What annoys me is people who have opinions on things that really don't need an opinion wasted on.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:39 PM on September 3, 2009


Honestly, most people who are new enough to MetaFilter to be dropping "@" without knowing that it's a contentious convention here are probably not reading MetaTalk (though I may well be wrong about that). People who know and don't care aren't likely to be swayed by a callout either.

Instead of doing a callout, just send them a friendly MeMail. That's what I do when I notice someone new sort of missing a MeFi social norm. It's easy to do without being a jerk about it, and I've only received positive replies to such messages.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 1:41 PM on September 3, 2009


No comment from languageh@? *goes into rage mode, shoots everyone r@@@@@@@*
posted by Cranberry at 1:42 PM on September 3, 2009


Whenever I see a comment starting with @username, I only read the first 140 characters.
posted by hoppytoad at 1:43 PM on September 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hey, is this thread overs@ur@ed with puns yet?

You're tired of the fl@ulence? Try being more ingr@i@ing next time, & less p@ronizing.

(Okay, I'm s@i@ed. Enjoy.)
posted by Pronoiac at 1:47 PM on September 3, 2009


> What annoys me is people who have opinions on things that really don't need an opinion wasted on.

Totally! That is my opinion too! Er, wait a minute... never mind.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 1:51 PM on September 3, 2009


Dammit, where is @klangklangston when we need him?
posted by DWRoelands at 2:02 PM on September 3, 2009


Is this the fl@meout thre@d?
posted by fixedgear at 2:35 PM on September 3, 2009


no, this is the fl@ulence thread.
posted by not_on_display at 2:51 PM on September 3, 2009


I very much want to start using @ just because it pisses off people. But being that contrary really goes against what I think is right.

Decisions... decisions...
posted by deborah at 2:53 PM on September 3, 2009


I've been using the @ to indicate that a reply is directed at someone online since well before Twitter. A lack of an @ would indicate that the reply is directed at the OP.
posted by Brian Puccio at 3:01 PM on September 3, 2009


Maybe I'll change my username to @kins

1953, Alfred Bester wrote the classic (now) story, The Demolished Man, a supporting character was named @kins. There is also Wyg&, and ¼main. He didn't write many Sci Fi novels but those first two...
posted by edgeways at 3:08 PM on September 3, 2009


Antidisestablishmentarianist, could you do another callout about

THIS and

Grok?
posted by applemeat at 3:18 PM on September 3, 2009


I very much want to start using @ just because it pisses off people. But being that contrary really goes against what I think is right.

Go for the gusto. Use #thehashmark #instead
posted by zarq at 3:23 PM on September 3, 2009


I like science fiction too, but using “grok” in general conversation is like wearing your Star Wars pajamas to school.
posted by applemeat at 3:25 PM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


In an earlier thread about exactly this, it was pointed out that talking 'at' someone is pretty rude, while addressing them conversationally is generally more accepted.

Rochefort: If you were a gentleman, I would speak to you. I was speaking at you.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:38 PM on September 3, 2009


Another thing that rubs the wrong way: Posts or comments framed in the first person plural. Especially the ones that go something like "around here we _____" that come from people who have been here for, what, four months?
posted by mudpuppie at 4:16 PM on September 3, 2009


I'm going to quote a tweet from a friend here: I dislike using @ in front of people's nicknames, because I come from the golden age of IRC, and in that time to get a @ in front of your name you had to deserve it.
posted by qvantamon at 4:42 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


"But using sock puppets is wrong."

$5 to the first person to turn this into a PSA about the internet.
posted by klangklangston at 6:15 PM on September 3, 2009


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test along with a digital rectal exam (DRE) to help detect prostate cancer in men 50 years of age or older. During a DRE, a doctor inserts a sock puppet into the rectum and feels the prostate gland through the rectal wall to check for bumps or abnormal areas. Doctors often use the PSA test and DRE as prostate cancer screening tests; together, these tests can help doctors detect prostate cancer in men who have no symptoms of the disease.

The more you know.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:43 PM on September 3, 2009


I like to use the username colon / excerpt / response method of directing a statment, Where the excerpt is a hyperlink to the statement I am responding to, because I am passive aggressive and I am the only one who knows I am calling the person a feces filled lower intestine.
posted by idiopath at 7:21 PM on September 3, 2009


The problem with it is that it looks terrible, whereas "username:" looks fine and takes up just as many characters.
posted by ignignokt at 7:57 PM on September 3, 2009


It's seriously annoying. Not as annoying as Wikipedia Carat Notation that was all the rage for a while (where the hell did that come from?) but still very annoying. it's annoying because it's pointless. Prepending an at sign adds nothing and looks awful. You can just type the users name without the at and it would carry as much information.
posted by delmoi at 8:05 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the praise. I deserve it.
posted by iconomy at 8:54 PM on September 3, 2009


Doctors often use the PSA test and DRE as prostate cancer screening tests; together, these tests can help doctors detect prostate cancer in men who have no symptoms of the disease.

Remember kids, to avoid prostate cancer, avoid @s. Use your colons.
posted by qvantamon at 8:56 PM on September 3, 2009


idiopath: "I like to use the username colon / excerpt / response method of directing a statment, Where the excerpt is a hyperlink to the statement I am responding to, because I am passive aggressive and I am the only one who knows I am calling the person a feces filled lower intestine."

Plutor's Totally Awesome Greasemonkey Quote Script
posted by minifigs at 1:08 AM on September 4, 2009


@ Antidisestablishmentarianist
Good lord, get over yourself.

How is
> Antidisestablishmentarianist
any better?

I find that the @ sign makes it clear to me what the poster is responding to, and I find it very helpfu.
posted by SLC Mom at 1:00 PM on September 4, 2009


when did mathowie die and leave you King of MetaFilter?

Irritable internet user is irritable.

I like how we don't even have to say "film at 11" after something like that because, hey, language evolves. Memes do too. That said, I'm not psyched about the @ thing for a few reasons

- if you're doing it in AskMe, there's a pretty good chance you're replying to other people in the thread and possibly not answering the OPs question. That's not a great thing.
- for whatever reason people love to hate Twitter and anything that makes MeFi look more like Twitter will make some MeFites itchy for no particular reason
- it makes you look like you're not familiar with how we do things here as opposed to how people do things elsewhere on the Internet. No big deal really but we're a little proud of our clubhouse and I think it makes some people feel "Next thing you know they'll be complaining about th eblue background and wanting avatars!!!"

There was a while where people were doing that little caret thing too... I don't even remember what it was, link to Wikipedia or something? That died out, this probably will too. If it doesn't, I guess we'll just have to get used to it. I'd personally rather interact with a website full of script kiddie text, than one that was all full of crotchety get-off-my-lawn-ers but that's just me.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:12 PM on September 4, 2009


Is there a code for the "with" symbol (the "c" with the line over it)? Because then we can speak WITH someone rather than AT them and that seems so much more polite, no?

Uhm, ok, no.
posted by NikitaNikita at 4:21 PM on September 4, 2009


I hear @ adds about 25lbs to a username.
Also, I am for a general adoption of the symbol's newer name: asperand.
Oh also
@Metafilter: about 3/4 of the people that read what you wrote are not impressed.
posted by carsonb at 4:43 PM on September 4, 2009


It's been brought up a few times. How do you feel about Soul Food?

Not suggesting threaded comments. Just a button that auto-formats and paste text from whatever you want to reply to into your little comment entry box. No change, just automation.
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:20 PM on September 5, 2009


SLC Mom: "I find that the @ sign makes it clear to me what the poster is responding to, and I find it very helpfu."

You know what makes it even more obvious what you're responding to? Quoting what you're responding to as well as who you are responding to.

DEAR READER:
If you use @ to show what you're responding to, be overjoyed! There's an option that is even more explicit about doing that. And you can even have a handy button that does it for you.
posted by subbes at 12:18 PM on September 6, 2009


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