Not every aspect of the tragedy in Haiti needs a FPP January 18, 2010 4:48 AM   Subscribe

In six days, there have been four FPPs about Haiti. Can I get a clarification as to what constitutes a double post?

The front page is already getting increasingly cluttered, and posts are starting to scroll off the front page with increasing speed. It seems to me (this is just, like, my opinion, man) that all of the posts could have and should have gone in the first, still quite active Haiti thread. Also, it seems that if my memory is correct (and it may not be), this is something that was more actively prosecuted in the past, and these later posts would have been axed. Has there been a change in policy, or am I just seeing things differently?
posted by billysumday to MetaFilter-Related at 4:48 AM (78 comments total)

The Mods are more lenient in times of great upheaval.
posted by stavrogin at 5:01 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's an experiment.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:01 AM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


They're not quadruple posts. There was one about about the earthquake itself, one about theological responses, one about charities (and questions about one of them), one about resettling Haitian orphans. They're all related to the earthquake, but they're not about the same thing. (Two posts about Pat Robertson's statement, though, would count as a double.)
posted by nangar at 5:24 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


All of those things were discussed in the original post, though. Pat Robertson was discussed in the original post. Yele was discussed in the original post. Resettlement was discussed in the original post. What ends up happening, as we already see in the orphan post, is that people start just posting links to the most up-to-date thing that is happening in Haiti. So it becomes Haiti post #1, Haiti post #2, Haiti post #3, etc., no matter the good intentions of the poster. And, again, it seems that in the past, these sorts of posts, spokes from the original FPP, were discouraged and nixed, whereas now they stand. I could be wrong.
posted by billysumday at 5:29 AM on January 18, 2010


I dont know. I deleted the most recent one because it was an extremely thin FPP, and yes people are just using it to post more Haiti stuff.
posted by vacapinta at 5:39 AM on January 18, 2010


What can an unskilled untrained person do to help write more posts about Haiti?
posted by pracowity at 6:08 AM on January 18, 2010 [13 favorites]


What can an unskilled untrained person do to help write more posts about Haiti?

Text your FPP to Wyclef Jean and hope it makes the front page.
posted by Mikey-San at 6:32 AM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


What can an unskilled untrained person do to help write more posts about Haiti?

Take it to Ask...
posted by twine42 at 6:33 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whichever approach keeps more visitors clicking through and choosing good charities and relief agencies and giving til it hurts, I favor. (As the poster of the original FPP, about 2 hours after the earthquake.)

This is pretty much the biggest shitstorm since the tsunami, and I would expect FPPs on it to continue for quite some time into the future. Right now, the only thing that concerns me is that the same advice is being dispersed across multiple threads. That advice boils down to:

1) GIVE
2) Give WISELY (if not, then GiveWell)
3) MeFites concur on Medecins Sans Frontiers and Partners in Health as recipients
4) MeFites concur a little less on the American Red Cross, but it's OK
5) Yele Haiti is at least a little problematic, possibly dubious, maybe corrupt, so don't give there now, and wait to see if they can be effective once the immediate relief effort subsides
6) Give again. And again.

So maybe an unlimited number of threads, but we could sidebar JUST links to the relief organizations we seem to have widespread consensus about (MSF and PiH). Remember that non-Mefites are coming here all the time, and we'd like to see them steered toward effective giving as well.

Let's try not to have any fights about Haiti for a while, huh? No conflict that has ever happened on this site is worth thinking about when there are 100K+ dead, orphan children starving in the streets, and doctors doing amputations with rusty hacksaws to save lives. Everyone is tense and upset about this situation. Lashing out at bigots like Robertson is a native instinct for most of us. A sense of urgency makes it hard to see nuance when the questions turn to the politics of the disaster.

It doesn't matter. Just give, and make sure others know where to give. What's been given and done so far is the tip of a massive iceberg of need that will extend for years into the future.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:39 AM on January 18, 2010 [13 favorites]


It's a big event, with many aspects to it. So I understand the impulse to break things down into smaller threads. Granted, as vacapinta says, the post about orphans being sent to Florida was thin, but I felt the subject matter was specific, and where the thread might have gone didn't (to me) seem to have as much to do with the earthquake as all sorts of other issues, including immigration and how Haitians are treated versus Cubans in terms of refugee status. The Wyclef Jean thread was about a pop culture celeb whose made a lot of noise about his supposedly humanitarian activities and utterly betrayed both common sense and legal and fiscal responsibilities, possibly for personal gain. His charity centered around Haiti, but it would be a pretty worthy story even if he were from Papua New Guinea or Moldova.

None of these seem hugely duplicative, I agree with nangar on that. And I wonder, if Clinton's plane were to crash while he was on his way to Haiti, should that be part of the original Haiti thread? (He was mentioned in it, too.) It's a tough call, but as argumentative as I'd like to think of myself as being, I've never really found the mods' decision to kill a thread to be that ridiculous.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 6:40 AM on January 18, 2010


Oh, and we see to have some consensus that giving *directly* and without *earmarking* your gift is better than giving by text message or earmarking gifts specifically for Haiti.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:44 AM on January 18, 2010


Let's try not to have any fights about Haiti for a while, huh? No conflict that has ever happened on this site is worth thinking about when there are 100K+ dead, orphan children starving in the streets, and doctors doing amputations with rusty hacksaws to save lives.

Perhaps this may sound callous, but life goes on. People whose lives weren't upended can indeed look at various obscure aspects of a situation without having to be in full-on shock mode. You posted an FPP right after it happened, good for you, but you don't own debate on this site about the quake.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:47 AM on January 18, 2010


First of all, Dee Xtrovert, your comment in the orphan thread was awesome and it sucks that the thread was nixed if for no other reason than that was a great comment.

Secondly, if this were only about Haiti, then I get it. But recently we had two Avatar posts two days apart (and I think you'd agree that the public reception of Avatar is not as pressing or as important as the tragedy unfolding in Haiti). The first was a post about the script and the other was a post about the politics of Avatar. The only problem was that in the post about the script, many if not most people discussed the story of Avatar through a political lens - why did Cameron create such stereotypical characters, etc. So now there are two Avatar posts, two days apart, discussing essentially the same thing. They became Avatar post #1 and Avatar post #2. That sort of thing used to not happen, and the mods would delete one with a dry "we already have a post discussing Avatar."

So my question here isn't about Haiti, it's about what I see as a change in policy over on the blue, and I'm wondering if something did change, if there's less of a push to nix what could be construed as double posts, or if this is somehow just my warped perspective and nothing much has changed.
posted by billysumday at 6:49 AM on January 18, 2010


There are like 500+ posts about 9/11 - over 150 in the first month after the tragedy.
posted by gman at 6:52 AM on January 18, 2010


100,000 folks are dead, possibly as many as 200,000. Just in terms of human lives lost, this is an event that's 50 times larger than Hurricane Katrina, an event for which there were well over one hundred posts made within the first month. There were nearly twenty tsunami posts within the first month. It's a testament to the quality of the site that there were only eight posts on Michael Jackson in the first month.

Anyway, and from a functional perspective, I wholly support having as many FPPs on the earthquake as there are different aspects of the disaster, especially posts that might provide impetus for the site's readership to pull out their wallets and donate.
posted by The White Hat at 6:57 AM on January 18, 2010 [17 favorites]


Whoa, burhanistan, where do you see me claiming "ownership" of anything? Sort of a grade school- level accusation there.

I'm taking my own advice and not responding to the tone of your comment above, or in the original FPP, in kind. But you seem to be misconstruing my point consistently and obtusely, with fighty intentions because I somehow insulted Naomi Klein and that bothers you.

I am not saying we should avoid discussing the nuances and politics and implications of the event, and to imply that I am is disingenuous hyperbole at best.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:01 AM on January 18, 2010


Whoa, burhanistan, where do you see me claiming "ownership" of anything? Sort of a grade school- level accusation there.

I'm taking my own advice and not responding to the tone of your comment above, or in the original FPP, in kind. But you seem to be misconstruing my point consistently and obtusely, with fighty intentions because I somehow insulted Naomi Klein and that bothers you.


Are you seriously that deluded?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:04 AM on January 18, 2010


What is your problem, burhanistan?

No I am not "deluded." You, however, are mighty sensitive. So sorry if you got your feelings hurt.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:06 AM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hey, knock it off or take it to...oh right.
posted by billysumday at 7:08 AM on January 18, 2010


ANd you know what, fuck this. I don't need the bad vibes of this bullshit. Burhanistan, you can own *this* thread all by yourself or find someone else to fight with since you seem to be in the mood to fight. Call it even. Me, I'm going back to thinking about Haiti. Peace out.

Life goes on. You don't fucking say. For you it does, anyway.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:09 AM on January 18, 2010


fourcheesemac, a quick scan of your comments in that post shows that you are repeatedly saying that it's "not the time for politics", and then comparing Klein's announcements to the political right (ostensibly Limbaugh's remarks)? You then play up what a good caring person you are here while using loaded, insinuating terms as bolded above. It's quite possible to be interested in the situation, have donated, have empathy for the victims AND discuss political aspects of the fallout. To think that you are somehow more caring because you don't want others to discuss such things is very wrongheaded.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:13 AM on January 18, 2010


With twohundred thousand dead, I think four posts is on the low end, not that death toll warrants more posts. Natural disasters do though, as perviously mention Katrina posts and there were at least twenty Tsunami related posts in 2004, and a few more popped up in the year that followed.
posted by dabitch at 7:14 AM on January 18, 2010


You seriously sound like a 4th grader, burhanistan. I am saying I'm "more caring" than someone else? WTF?

My "loaded" "insinuating" terms were actually direct and straightforward. You're the one making insinuations on the basis of nothing I've said directly or even by implication (or can you show me where I said people who want to discuss political aspects of this tragedy 'don't care as much' as people who don't?). Look up "insinuation" and get back to me about it.

I stand by my non-insuated point above. You're acting like a 4th grader, mewling that "fourcheesemac thinks he's better than ME!" Stand down, soldier. The war is all in your head.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:21 AM on January 18, 2010


Mercy, four posts already? It's not like this Haitian incident is an American election!
posted by WPW at 7:21 AM on January 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wow.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:22 AM on January 18, 2010


Yeah, wow indeed. Grow up.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:24 AM on January 18, 2010


Oh, and we see to have some consensus that giving *directly* and without *earmarking* your gift is better than giving by text message or earmarking gifts specifically for Haiti.

Not for Canadians, who can get federal dollar-matching so long as donations are to funds specifically earmarked by such organizations for the purpose of responding to the earthquake.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:24 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


The mods can say if there has been any actual policy change, but from a casual user end, I haven't noticed any difference over the past year or so. I did notice the back to back Avatar FPPs, but it's not a subject I'm much interested in, so I can't say how much they overlap. There is certainly a high interest in, and a high tolerance for duplication of, mass-market science fiction/fantasy topics (eg Avatar, Wall-E, Lord of the Rings) here -- I think you have to take it as a feature, not a bug, even if it's not your thing.

As to Haiti, I'd hope that there would be continued FPPs over time, as new issues appear, as events happen, and as more nuanced writing gets published. I agree with 4cheese that the Klein stuff was a bit soon, and a bit dissonant, when and where it appeared -- I'd rather see the political analysis (whether or not I agree with it) play out in future FPPs, and I'd much rather see it when there is something more substantive that Klein's and Limbaugh's kneejerk responses to work from. The debate about Haiti's political future, given the past we share with it, is beginning (interesting Times article, for example) -- that political debate is important enough to not get tacked on at the bottom of one of the first FPPs on the disaster.
posted by Forktine at 7:25 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was actually thinking of turning this and associated links into a fifth Haiti post: "This is not the time to score political points ..."

But this thread seems like an appropriate berth for it.
posted by WPW at 7:25 AM on January 18, 2010

posts are starting to scroll off the front page with increasing speed
I disagree with that assesment. You're taking issue with 3 "extra" FPPs that came after the initial post. That's 6% of the front page of Metafilter.

One could factually argue that those 3 FPPs lessened the front page time of the 3 posts at the bottom of the page before each new Haiti thread was posted. I would respond by saying, "Well, so what?" That post was going to get bumped off the front in due course anyway, so at worst the new Haiti threads stole maybe an hour or so of exposure from some other post that was on the front page for roughly 3 days.

In light of the tragedy, I'm ok with that.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:26 AM on January 18, 2010


Forktine: thanks for being the only poster to answer my actual question. I do appreciate it! I suppose I've just been on the site more in the past month or two than I have in a long while, and the double posting thing jumped out at me as being different than what I remembered, but apparently this is how it's always been.
posted by billysumday at 7:28 AM on January 18, 2010


Censoring of Haiti Posts: Racism on Metafilter? You decide!

(film at 11, after the fold, following the jump)
posted by blue_beetle at 7:33 AM on January 18, 2010


Yeah, wow indeed. Grow up.

No, the "wow" was at your seeming complete inability for self-awareness here. But, what would I know about that, being a fourth grader?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:36 AM on January 18, 2010


Well, I should say, thanks for answering one of my questions - the other question regarding what constitutes a double post will require a mod's perspective, I'm guessing.

One reason why I ask this question is because the functionality of the site has changed. With the 'my comments' and 'favorites' tabs, it makes it easier to follow a few threads as they grow and evolve. In other words: it's easier to follow one Haiti thread than it is to follow four, or five, or six, or however many Haiti threads. Threads can definitely get too large and unwieldy, and that's a problem that could potentially be solved with collapsible comments for every batch of 200 or something, but if I remember correctly, the mods have taken that off the table.

And just to clarify, my issue is not with people making multiple Haiti posts - it is just a call for a clarification regarding what is a double. I probably shouldn't have used Haiti as an example and should have instead used Avatar. Either way, I'm not sure what the line is that differentiates between a post being close enough to a former post as to make it a double, and what makes a new post unique enough to stand on its own.
posted by billysumday at 7:37 AM on January 18, 2010


posts are starting to scroll off the front page with increasing speed

I disagree with that assesment. You're taking issue with 3 "extra" FPPs that came after the initial post. That's 6% of the front page of Metafilter.


No, I'm talking about Metafilter in general in the past six months or so. I feel like posts scroll off the front page faster - a side-effect of more members posting more FPPs, I'm guessing.
posted by billysumday at 7:45 AM on January 18, 2010


No, I'm talking about Metafilter in general in the past six months or so. I feel like posts scroll off the front page faster - a side-effect of more members posting more FPPs, I'm guessing.

It's a feature, not a bug.

I just posted a MeTa last night, so I can't make a pony request post today, but if any of the mods are reading this far down....

I'd love the ability to specify how many posts show up on the front page when I'm browsing. Specifically, I'd like to be able to manually increase the number of entries I can see at one time from 50 (I think it's 50?) to 100 or perhaps decrease them to 25, depending on whether or not I'm on a broadband connection. Is this hard to do? Would it be difficult or problematic to implement this as a user-definable preference?
posted by zarq at 8:00 AM on January 18, 2010


We're going to see more posts about Haiti, I think that's a given. It's a great big horrible event that has a ton of angles and is affecting a ton of people in the world.

That said, we're going to see good posts that are somehow substantially new and different from what's already open, and we're going to see bad posts or thin posts or posts that function as little more than "oh and here's another news story". That latter group of posts are headed for deletion.

We try to keep cascades of meh posts from piling up when there's something big going on, with the understanding that sometimes something big enough that serial posts on the general subject are gonna happen, and when the posts are done well and made with good contextual judgement that's pretty much okay.

There's no firm, hardline rule that says there can never, ever be two posts touching on the same subject concurrently. In practice, whether a new thread on subject x is really necessary or worth keeping around is going to be a judgement call based in part on feedback from the community and in part on our mod view of the lay of the land.

So my question here isn't about Haiti, it's about what I see as a change in policy over on the blue, and I'm wondering if something did change, if there's less of a push to nix what could be construed as double posts, or if this is somehow just my warped perspective and nothing much has changed.

This is just you. We haven't made any change in policy; the above is how it works and how it has worked for years. There's gonna be situations where multiple posts on a topic survive, and some of those may be a little grey area (like the Avatar thing, whether we really needed a second post is kind of a shruggo thing but that doesn't mean it's automatically doomed).
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:16 AM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


And Burhanistan and fourcheesemac, take it elsewhere a lot faster next time. You were both being obnoxious.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:16 AM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


The mods can say if there has been any actual policy change

Definitely not. The only thing we like to see is posts that are sort of about something, not just "more on the Haiti situation..." and then a single link to one news article about it. Obviously what's happened was horrible and things will be seriously messed up for a long time. Many people sort of watching through the Internet feel helpless and this makes people want to know what they can do and know what other people are doing, etc. I'd even reckon it makes some people more ootchy in a sort of free-form way and that causes bizarre fussing in MeTa.

But yeah, more good posts are fine. Single link "this might be happening...." news stuff is always less good as an FPP.

zarq, I can't speak to your specific request except to say that 35 comments in to a Meta about a totally different topic is probably not the best way to bring it up and get attention from the folks who could answer it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:17 AM on January 18, 2010


billysumday: "No, I'm talking about Metafilter in general in the past six months or so. I feel like posts scroll off the front page faster - a side-effect of more members posting more FPPs, I'm guessing."

This is demonstrably untrue.

So far in Jan 2010, the average post has spent 42.7 hours on the front page. For 2009, it varied between 41.1 (July) and 48.3 (September). I don't see any seasonal trends. It hasn't been above 50 hours average for a month since October 2006, when it was 53.6 hours. Back in 2006, there was a lot more variation: Jan and July were below 40 hours, and April and May (in addition to October) were about 50 hours. Looking at it per-year, the average time on the front page has been pretty steady since five-dollar signups started:
1999 - 477.1 hours
2000 - 97.5 hours
2001 - 55.3 hours
2002 - 48.4 hours
2003 - 55.6 hours
2004 - 56.5 hours
2005 - 45.3 hours
2006 - 46.4 hours
2007 - 42.0 hours
2008 - 43.7 hours
2009 - 43.6 hours
2010 - 42.7 hours
The code:
cat postdata_mefi.txt | perl -MDate::Parse -lane '
push @id, $F[0]; $stamp=str2time($F[2]." ".$F[3]); push @s, $stamp; push @f, $stamp if (@s > 50); }
for (my $n=2; $n<>

posted by Plutor at 8:17 AM on January 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Sweet, the code got ka-borked. Pastebin to the rescue.
posted by Plutor at 8:20 AM on January 18, 2010


And Burhanistan and fourcheesemac, take it elsewhere a lot faster next time. You were both being obnoxious.

Eh, I posted what I thought was valid metacommentary about fourcheesemac. Perhaps it seems heartless in the face of the quake tragedy, but then it was met by derision and insults.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:22 AM on January 18, 2010


No, I'm talking about Metafilter in general in the past six months or so. I feel like posts scroll off the front page faster - a side-effect of more members posting more FPPs, I'm guessing.

I don't know if there is a local upward trend for the last six months. I would guess there hasn't been a significant change, but you could calculate this with the data in the Infodump's postdata files pretty easily.

But as someone was just pointing out in another thread, the volume and rate of posts over the last several years has been remarkably steady, which is a pretty strong first-blush indication that there's no systemic change occurring here and that it's probably just you seeing what you expect to see for whatever reason.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:22 AM on January 18, 2010


It's still better than the annual NY worst persons post.
posted by edgeways at 8:23 AM on January 18, 2010


Well, there you go. It was me all along. This was proven to me through SCIENCE, and I thank you all.
posted by billysumday at 8:25 AM on January 18, 2010


Or what Plutor said.

Eh, I posted what I thought was valid metacommentary about fourcheesemac. Perhaps it seems heartless in the face of the quake tragedy, but then it was met by derision and insults.

And you both kept going, and that was obnoxious on both your parts. I'm asking you two to display some more self-awareness next time and cut it the hell out promptly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:27 AM on January 18, 2010


I found a picture of Burhanistan and fourcheesemac on the inter-net!

healing schmoopy thread
posted by Rumple at 8:30 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I feel like posts scroll off the front page faster - a side-effect of more members posting more FPPs, I'm guessing.

I'm incredibly bored at work right now, so I decided to run some numbers. Sampling post numbers from each December across the last decade, as well as the total number of posts per FY (starting 31 December) for each year, I came up with the following data:
Date	Posts in Dec	Posts in FY (31 Dec)
Dec '09	858		10051
Dec '08 896		10053
Dec '07	785		10430
Dec '06	773		9452
Dec '05	798		9687
Dec '04	900		7776
Dec '03	565		7892
Dec '02	621		9133
Dec '01	682		8467
Dec '00	433		4533
Dec '99	84		465


The data suggest a linear trend with a slope of 59.7 extra posts per month every year, but the correlation coefficient is only 0.81, which implies a fair amount of year-to-year variability. This point is underlined by the fact that there were more posts both in December and for the year over the last two years. Now, while I didn't run the numbers for the other individual months, I'd be surprised if the data were too much different. The overall effect is roughly two extra posts per day per year, which is hardly epidemic and, in my opinion, surprisingly little considering the growth in the user base of the site.

Do I get the beanplate award for the day?
posted by The White Hat at 8:32 AM on January 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


jessamyn: zarq, I can't speak to your specific request except to say that 35 comments in to a Meta about a totally different topic is probably not the best way to bring it up and get attention from the folks who could answer it.

Yeah, I figured as much. No worries. Obviously there's no rush on this. I'll wait six days, then post it to MeTa.
posted by zarq at 8:38 AM on January 18, 2010


Do I get the beanplate award for the day?

THE DAY HAS NOT YET ENDED.
posted by FishBike at 8:40 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


My sense is that there are certain topics for which the mods and the metafilter community will tolerate more posts. For example, people link to Roger Ebert posts and videos every few months, no one ever calls them doubles, and everyone raves about how wonderful they are. Major world events such as natural disasters, wars, global warming, etc also are felt by a majority of the community to be worth examining and talking about from numerous angles, hence numerous posts are made and allowed to stand. Again, I think this comes from the community at large more than from the mods.
posted by serazin at 8:47 AM on January 18, 2010


Well the good news (in the Gary Condit - 9/11 sense) is California is looking likely to wash out to sea some time later this week which should pretty well kill the Haiti news cycle in the states.

fourcheesemac writes "Whichever approach keeps more visitors clicking through and choosing good charities and relief agencies and giving til it hurts, I favor. (As the poster of the original FPP, about 2 hours after the earthquake.)"

I think this is a horrible metric for what posts should stay or go. Metafilter isn't the local 10 o'clock news, we shouldn't be using the front page guilt people into courses of action or as some sort of quasi PBS fund driver.

The White Hat writes "It's a testament to the quality of the site that there were only eight posts on Michael Jackson in the first month."

This doesn't count deleted posts does it?
posted by Mitheral at 8:58 AM on January 18, 2010


The substance of the post has to be the metric, not the geographic focus or even a particular event - as a non-American there's vast swathes of US electoral politics that's pretty much all much of a muchness to me but obviously contains various nuances of interest to our primarily US user base. So as has been said above, so long as it's worthwhile content or some angle different to previous posts, can't see why the mere fact it's about the tragedy in Haiti would be sufficient reason to delete out of hand.
posted by Abiezer at 9:04 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pat Robertson voodoo doll.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:40 AM on January 18, 2010


1999 - 477.1 hours
2000 - 97.5 hours
2001 - 55.3 hours
2002 - 48.4 hours
2003 - 55.6 hours
2004 - 56.5 hours
2005 - 45.3 hours
2006 - 46.4 hours
2007 - 42.0 hours
2008 - 43.7 hours
2009 - 43.6 hours
2010 - 42.7 hours


Dude, linear regression was designed for this kind of thing. There's an obvious slope to the line indicating a shorter and shorter front-page window, even if you remove the outliers.

By my calculations, some time in the year 3517 posts will be on the front page for NEGATIVE TIME. So either the universe will be destroyed, or things will start showing up BEFORE they are posted. And this time we won't be able to blame JRun or ColdFusion.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:44 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Eh, I posted what I thought was valid metacommentary about fourcheesemac.

You were wrong, and you started the whole grade-school back-and-forth: "you don't own debate on this site about the quake" was a shitty and unprovoked thing to say. Quit defending yourself and think twice about your metacommentary next time.
posted by languagehat at 11:25 AM on January 18, 2010


I found a picture of Burhanistan and fourcheesemac on the inter-net!

Which one's the ugly puppy?
posted by Caduceus at 11:39 AM on January 18, 2010


blue_beetle: "There's an obvious slope to the line indicating a shorter and shorter front-page window, even if you remove the outliers."

It's not as slopey when you look at the month-by-month data. Here's the last 48 months, and the last 72 months.
posted by Plutor at 11:40 AM on January 18, 2010


languagehat, what's the point in stirring the pot again?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:43 AM on January 18, 2010


THE DAY HAS NOT YET ENDED.

I have not yet begun to beanplate!
posted by The White Hat at 11:47 AM on January 18, 2010


By my calculations, some time in the year 3517 posts will be on the front page for NEGATIVE TIME. So either the universe will be destroyed, or things will start showing up BEFORE they are posted. And this time we won't be able to blame JRun or ColdFusion.
posted by blue_beetle


Posts about the Large Hadron Collider willen on-have cause this. Just one of the funny side-effects of anti-negative backwards Higgs Bosons.
posted by Babblesort at 1:34 PM on January 18, 2010


I'm one of the posters responsible for the/an 'extra' haiti post. Normally just a consumer here at mefi, (and happy to be so) I understand that timeliness is one part of what makes or breaks a post. So I typically don't. But I'm also not hyper-aware of all of the etiquette involved beyond the guidelines.

In a situation like the one now in Haiti (both Katrina and 9/11 come to mind), I can get kind of voracious for information, background, context, and even meaning (like in this case, the earthquake in Haiti means that the US now has an additional protectorate, overnight).
And more often than not, metafilter is one place I go to get a little different angle on things, a little timely-news-not-shallow, and a little "I like to see how others process the information" and thus read the comments. Uh, just like all of you do.

The post was just one rare case where I felt like I had a little to add above the fold. I wouldn't be defensive at all if the post gets deleted, but in this case I feel strongly enough that I'd be tempted to modify it to trim whatever was offending and put out the message again (ok, a couple of bits wrapped together, each pretty good in their own right) - which I'd not seen in the blue before.

*shrug*, it didn't feel like it fit into the two posts that were open last night, but now that I read how some feel that comments get funneled to whatever latest, I can see how that would be a drag for some. point taken, thanks for the feedback, y'all. see you back in the blue.
posted by ilovemytoaster at 3:08 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


ilovemytoaster, that was so calm and refreshing. you must be a schmoopy troll!
posted by liketitanic at 3:09 PM on January 18, 2010


ok, then, how about: "If I could have added a soundtrack, I would not."
But I am fighting the urge to post a direct link to the donation pages of two charities.

If there's such a thing as a "troll for good," well, I don't really want to be that, either.
posted by ilovemytoaster at 3:29 PM on January 18, 2010


I feel weird talking about this, because people obviously feel very deeply about it, but I think the poster has a point.

In these situations, metafilter doesn't seem to be anything other than an echo chamber for American news, and I can't help but feel that the increased focus on the more popular tragedies (and I use that term warily) does little but to increase weariness of any tragedies that happen down the road.

I think that a breaking-news post and a how-to-donate post with strong sidebar links would probably suffice.

Although, as these really bad tragedies only break every three years or so, I'm probably overthinking things here.
posted by seanyboy at 3:45 PM on January 18, 2010


Also, note that ilovemytoaster (and it could have been anyone who said this) mentions Haiti, Katrina and 9/11 as the pre-eminent tragedies of the last 10 years. No mention of Sumatra (tsunami in 2004; earthquake in 2009), Iran, Kashmir, or the Sichuan Province. If you need proof that your disaster sensibilities are mediated by the news, then there it is. By allowing multiple posts about whatever is the tragedy-de-jour, you're helping to amplify that emphasis.
posted by seanyboy at 3:55 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


ilovemytoaster, i was just kidding. not being a rage-a-hol on the gray is a good quality, is all.
posted by liketitanic at 4:03 PM on January 18, 2010


Although, as these really bad tragedies only break every three years or so, I'm probably overthinking things here.

This is kind of a key thing: exceptional situations are not great for framing general, day-to-day policy. I think I addressed the overall "sometimes stuff happens that generates multiple posts" thing up-thread already, but trying to game out down to a per-post level how to deal with weird rare circumstances is kind of a fool's errand; relying on judgement and feedback from the community on how much is too much and what's good enough vs. not so much is a practical approach that works and doesn't require declaring anything too specific as a model for accommodating the exceptional situations.

By allowing multiple posts about whatever is the tragedy-de-jour, you're helping to amplify that emphasis.

If there is a region-sensitive media effect in the news-reading/-watching habits of the aggregate mefi userbase, then there is. Mefi is not fundamentally a news source even if newsy stuff gets a lot of attention here, and it's not the responsibility of the site, or of us as mods, to try and stage some sort of counter-programming attack on media biases or whatever. We're not going to clamp down extra hard on e.g. posts about Haiti just to make sure people don't accidentally pay attention to it more than they paid attention to Other Disaster X.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:26 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Other Disaster X

Sounds like a cool techno tune.
posted by philip-random at 5:01 PM on January 18, 2010


Latest estimates for Haiti are 200,000 dead and 1.5 million homeless. So complaining about "cluttering" up metafilter with Haiti-related posts seems a bit tone deaf to me.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 5:20 PM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good point, HP! Good thing I didn't make that point, and merely asked about the policy of double-posts.
posted by billysumday at 8:15 PM on January 18, 2010


I...merely asked about the policy of double-posts.

Really? You explicitly argued against multiple Haiti posts:

Not every aspect of the tragedy in Haiti needs a FPP

And wrote that since... The front page is already getting increasingly cluttered...all of the [Haiti] posts could have and should have gone in the first, still quite active Haiti thread.

And thus you were complaining about "cluttering" up metafilter with Haiti-related posts.

Which, regardless of whether the argument is warranted or not, seems a bit pedantic and insensitive given the nature and magnitude of this still unfolding calamity.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 8:25 PM on January 18, 2010


Got me. I only wrote it because I hate them blacks getting so much attention. The mods must agree, they even nixed one of the posts!
posted by billysumday at 8:31 PM on January 18, 2010


The posts that I thought were a bit dubious were about Pat Robertson and Wyclef Jean, not about the people of Haiti. I stand by my assertion that not every single aspect of the tragedy in Haiti needs an FPP. I don't really see how anyone could argue with that, it's pretty, uh, broad.

If you had read the rest of the thread, you would have seen that I wasn't complaining about the front page being cluttered with Haiti related posts. I was very clear about that.

But whatevs, your comment has got my blood up, and I suppose that's what you wanted, so good job, you win the internet.
posted by billysumday at 8:38 PM on January 18, 2010


HP LaserJet P10006: "Latest estimates for Haiti are 200,000 dead and 1.5 million homeless. So complaining about "cluttering" up metafilter with Haiti-related posts seems a bit tone deaf to me."

Yeah, guys. We should abandon the tenets of our Internet community if thousands of lives have been lost. Because if we're discussing that, we're clearly not busy digging bodies out of the rubble with our own two hands.

There's a word for this fallacy, but damned if I can remember it right now.
posted by Plutor at 5:12 AM on January 19, 2010


There's a word for this fallacy, but damned if I can remember it right now.

Don't know if I'd use the word "fallacy" in this context. More of just a guiding principle:

WHEN THE SHIT HITS THE FAN, SOMETIMES YOU'VE GOTTA BE FLEXIBLE.
posted by philip-random at 8:50 AM on January 19, 2010


I am feeling a bit confused about the Haiti FPPs myself. I almost want to have sub-postings within the major FPPs for the different threads that pop up. There are some fascinating comments in those threads -- and then a lot of others on side topics that I would rather skim past.

With this kind of horrific event it seems that having more (topic-specific) FPPs are better than fewer ones (with more off-topic threads in them).

And, I apologize, since I am one of the ones who could not figure out where my comment would fit -- maybe I should have worked it more to make it an FPP?

BTW, I personally don't think it is ever 'too soon' to discuss the political issues around this kind of disaster.
posted by Surfurrus at 10:36 PM on January 19, 2010


I just found this thread. I was the person who posted the news story on Haitian orphans; I later realized that it was subsidiary to other posts and asked mathowie to delete it. Sorry about that, dudes. ilovemytoaster's eloquent comment expresses my thoughts exactly. (Although I have to say, y'all spend a lot of energy contemplating the criteria for front page posts!).
posted by ms.codex at 10:24 PM on January 20, 2010


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