Two character posts found harmful. May 20, 2010 3:58 AM   Subscribe

This post may have been weird, but I don't think it was bad. Explain the badness.
posted by twoleftfeet to MetaFilter-Related at 3:58 AM (71 comments total)

For one thing, it was kind of a double.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:01 AM on May 20, 2010


I bow to the double. Thanks.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:04 AM on May 20, 2010


Also, a lot of people on Metafilter can't cope with obscure, "mystery meat" posts. It makes them lose their shit.
posted by crunchland at 4:18 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


a lot of people on Metafilter can't cope with obscure, "mystery meat" posts.

Could you explain that a little more? Are you saying that Metafilter users can't cope with ambiguously worded posts?
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:27 AM on May 20, 2010


possibly.
posted by gman at 4:31 AM on May 20, 2010 [19 favorites]


No poetry is possible in these posts. Just the facts, Ma'am.

Ambiguity is or is not the lifeblood of any intelligent discourse.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:38 AM on May 20, 2010


Many people on metafilter need to know precisely where they are going and why. They get very agitated if a link on the front page is obscured by cleverness. So your post was doomed to fail, if only because these people would have derailed the thread with their angst-ridden outcries -- not because of the quality of the link, or that it was a link to a single animated .gif file -- but because of the way you posted it.
posted by crunchland at 4:41 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, sometimes people get weird about posts that aren't explained.

But this post wasn't great because it was a single animated gif. It wasn't horrible, but it was on the bubble. You had to have known that. Which makes me curious about why you started a MetaTalk post about it. It seems kind of like a stunt.
posted by OmieWise at 4:47 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Are you saying that Metafilter users can't cope with ambiguously worded posts?"

I think that's what crunchland is saying. If it isn't, he should be.
posted by nthdegx at 4:48 AM on May 20, 2010


In short, poor FPP followed by poor MeTa.
posted by fixedgear at 4:49 AM on May 20, 2010


In short, poor FPP followed by poor MeTa.

Obviously I disagree.

Among the two dozen or so posts every day there isn't room for one post that varies the format slightly? Who really wants the same format over and over again without interruption?

I'm going to stick with the idea that these online formats are opportunities for occasional poetry. I'm going to stick with the idea that poetry won't always succeed. I'm going to stick with the idea that some of you will hate it and I'll do it anyway.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:54 AM on May 20, 2010


twoleftfeet -- not to stop you, but the debate you are embarking upon has been had before. You may find insight here.
posted by nthdegx at 4:59 AM on May 20, 2010


I'm going to stick with the idea...

So there it is, the reason you started this MetaTalk post. If you're sure in your convictions, plan to continue presenting this kind of front page post (which I don't particularly object to), and don't really care what anyone else thinks, the it seems like the only reason you started this MetaTalk post was to say your creed. That's a shitty reason to start a MetaTalk post, and suggests that you're probably less interested in poetry than in performance art.
posted by OmieWise at 5:02 AM on May 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


Well, that's good. Way to stand up for your principles! Metafilter has a history of withstanding people who are intentional thorns in their sides.

Oh, wait... No they don't. But you should be ok, provided the mods aren't among the ones who hate the mystery meat, and their willing to put up with the cries of metaphysical anguish from the ones who are.
posted by crunchland at 5:02 AM on May 20, 2010


Many people on metafilter need to know precisely where they are going and why.

Look, the internet is big, really big.* There is so much stuff for me to look at the internet that I can barely find time for any of my other hobbies, like employment and sleeping. (If I couldn't eat in front of the computer, I might starve to death.) If you want me to look at something so much that you post it to Metafilter, could you perhaps do me the small courtesy of offering a hint as to why?



* I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's peanuts compared to the internet.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:05 AM on May 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


Ambiguity is or is not the lifeblood of any intelligent discourse.

I would hold to that if the subject were ambiguous. The subject is not ambiguous; the presentation (the near-anchorless link) is. One is a David Lynch film, the other is a TinyURL. One has room for a great deal of rich discussion, the other is a hyperlink to gods know where.
posted by adipocere at 5:06 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


There will come a time, my children, when hypertext communication becomes the norm. Scholars of hypertextual communication will look back on early efforts and they will discover my post. Shitty, yes, but shitty in a new way. Maybe it will take two hundred years. But then I will laugh at your petty objections.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:12 AM on May 20, 2010


Twoleftfeet, I'm sure you're a cool guy and all, but here you're coming across as a bit of a turd.

You posted a link to the YTMND Ball Machine, first off. Which, let me tell you, is maybe one of the most well-known things on the Internet. It was created by SomethingAwful users more'n half a decade ago. It's the most-viewed GIF on an extremely popular web site. And you didn't just post a link to it, you posted to a link that wasn't the original, which included a soundtrack and repeated the GIF.

Then you titled it something incredibly pretentious. Now, if you'd just let this thread get deleted, that's cool, that seems like a joke. But now that you're in here defending it I feel like either a) you actually thought it would foster an interesting discussion, or b) you know you're being an asshole and you're continuing to be an asshole.

Then the link is phrased with a dot. On MetaFilter, as you well know, . tends to mean there's a death. But nobody has died! So I'm misled. And your exclamation point suggests I'm supposed to give a shit about this stupid GIF. Then I click it and I'm taken to something that I'm pretty sure I saw before my bar mitzvah.

It would be clever if it was the Green Ball Machine, because, you know. Green links. But the link was not green and so you failed to imbue your link with anything of remote interest.

Now you're claiming that you're a fucking hypertext performance artist? Buddy, get off your high horse. You're like me when I was seventeen and wrote a neverending 200-page sentence claiming that was performance art. But that's not how it works. See, being unique and weird isn't what defines good art (though perhaps it indicates a certain level of ambition). Art is defined in large part by if people like it. Being experimental might help you there because it gives you new forms with which to express yourself — I'm thinking of Bloom's Soliloquy — but it's not going to instantly make me give a shit about your art, or about your goddamned MetaFilter post. Let's face it, you're no Treaty of Versailles.

You offend me because I work with hypertext-related art. I spend months and months working with people figuring out how to make cool things with an emotional charge. Now you're plopping down your blight of a post and claiming that you deserve to be treated seriously.

Also. Dude. It's a one-link thread to a static image. All your pretentions aside, one-link anythings are risky unless that anything is worth a conversation.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:36 AM on May 20, 2010 [26 favorites]


you're no Treaty of Versailles

Well, we all know how well that turned out.

I begged off when I realized the link was a double.

There is room, I think, for experimentation in hypertext communication. Such experimentation might include adding a link to a period followed by an exclamation mark. (Now that I think of it again, that's still a good idea.)

Here's the deal: You can hate my ideas as long I can show them. In return, I won't show them very often.

Be well. Thanks.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:52 AM on May 20, 2010


There will come a time, my children, when hypertext communication becomes the norm. Scholars of hypertextual communication will look back on early efforts and they will discover my post. Shitty, yes, but shitty in a new way. Maybe it will take two hundred years. But then I will laugh at your petty objections.

You sound like that kid in my first-year philosophy class who thought that mind-expansion was an excuse for not researching a subject for his paper. He was all about original thought. He sat there with a bunch of context-less, obscure latin phrases tattooed to his arm, and threw out bits and pieces of things he'd read on Wikipedia and tied them together in some bizarre, individualist way and called it original thought.

I mean, the kid meant no harm and was nice enough, but I don't know anyone who could stand more than five minutes of his "new for the sake of new" style without wanting to strangle him.
posted by Hiker at 5:52 AM on May 20, 2010


It was a bad post, and you should feel bad for making it.
posted by paisley henosis at 5:53 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh good. The argument about context vs no context in fpps. We haven't had that one for a while.

But it made me think of hama7.
posted by rtha at 6:02 AM on May 20, 2010


It was a bad post, and you should feel bad for making it.

I do feel bad, if that makes you feel better.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:06 AM on May 20, 2010


Here's the deal: You can hate my ideas as long I can show them. In return, I won't show them very often.

But I don't hate your ideas. I don't actually think you have ideas. You have comprehensively failed to explain why that dot-exclamation point combo had any meaning whatsoever, or, failing meaning, any kind of emotional impact on the viewer.

When I see a .! the first thing I think of is the fact that you have two dots with a line above the one. I see a sequence, in other words. If your post had been about a sequence and it used the .! as a visual metaphor, that might be interesting. Even more interesting if you fit did a .:! or otherwise cleverly extended the sequence. Then suddenly you're adding syntactical meaning to links that might otherwise be unrelated. You have created something without which those links would have no meaning. That fits a certain definition of art.

Or perhaps you use your links to create an emotional statement. Say if you researched every dead body in Mt. Arlington Cemetery and posted row after row of dots with links to the individuals. Then upon clicking links I start to feel a profound loss for all these various lives. It would take effort, but the result would be something approximating art-by-MetaFilter post. (Though if you do that, I'm going to pull an Andy Warhol and insist that you're merely executing and that my idea was the important bit in your work.)

But seriously. Art is hard. It's not enough to be different. You have to come up with something that's not just clever but has an impact. Like when George Clooney posted to the MetaTalk thread about the woman who was namedropping celebrities. Clever — though done before — and a post that altered tone of the thread it was in somewhat, gave it an extra flavor. (Though I'll argue that Reddit is vastly cleverer with sockpuppets than we are, because on Reddit sockpuppets don't cost money and so they have florished.)

For what it's worth, I think I've only once tried to advantage myself of MetaFilter's syntax to play a joke. It wasn't a particularly clever use, but when you're dealing with a limited array of formats in the even more limiting context of the site as a whole, it's hard to be both playful and relevant.

That's what you're missing. In order to succeed as an artist you must exist in context of the larger work. Your art will only work if it is MetaFilter and art in unison. Otherwise you've failed to appreciate the context of your actions. If you don't like that, get a blog. I have one blog that specifically exists for random whimsical acts like this one, where I can post:

o0o0o0o0o0o0o
O0O0O0O0O0O0O
oOoOoOoOoOoOo
oO0OoO0OoO0Oo
o°o°o°o°o°o°o°o


and not have anybody get pissed off at me for adding what would basically be noise anywhere else.

If you're really looking to do something meaningful and profound on a community website, then all power to you. But impulsively squirting out a link without context isn't meaningful or profound. If you're going to really knock our socks off, you have to put some thought into your actions. Rather than, you know, pretense. Pretending that you're the only person on Metafilter with these Deep Thoughts or with an understanding of these Artistic Forays kind of offends me. And then I respond with my own Artistic Foray, which takes the form of a long post that nobody reads, and then won't you feel sorry.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:13 AM on May 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


which takes the form of a long post that nobody reads

For what it's worth, I read it.

For what it's worth, I was just trying to say that I didn't realize that I made a shitty post which was shitty because apparently everybody (except me) who has ever been online had already seen this particular animated GIF.

And I was trying to defend the idea that a period followed by an exclamation mark could still be an interesting post, in part because it works well with a link to this specific animated GIF and in part because it breaks up the syntactical flow of the usual posts that we see, and breaking up that flow is a Good Thing, a thing that could eventually create a kind of "Internet Poetry".

I've made mistakes. Who hasn't?
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:24 AM on May 20, 2010


Does every comment need to be an essay?
posted by 6550 at 6:24 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't lose my shit when I see no-explanation mystery link, I just...ignore it. Just scroll right by without giving it a second thought.

I don't think I'm alone in this.

So, if you're goal is to pat yourself on the back for being super-clever with a post that a small percentage of only the most discerning (bored?) front page browsers take a look at, go crazy.

But if you want your post to actually be actually looked at by a bunch of people, a smidgen of context would be nice.
posted by the bricabrac man at 6:30 AM on May 20, 2010


and breaking up that flow is a Good Thing

I get what you're saying. But it doesn't necessarily break up that flow. Because — here's another important thing to remember — every MetaFilter post comes with a full line of information that acts as essentially a break to each post. "posted by twoleftfeet at 9:24 AM - 5 Comments" means that your post is smaller than the information that follows it. So while you'd have created a meaningful break otherwise, here you're still creating that longish line and so the break isn't apparent. You also didn't title your post anything that might suggest a break.

But you're saying that you're kind of doing what Andrew Sullivan does when he breaks up posts about murders in Iran with videos of dancing puppies. That's cool. The question I think you have to ask is then how you can create a similar meaningful break through MeFi posts, when you can't directly embed a video to break up all the text. What do most MeFi posts look like? How do you break that? Possibly you could do that with a long line of characters rather than a shorter one, so that it looks specifically like a break. Then the challenge is how do you make a long line of characters look meaningful on a fluid-width site where everybody sees a different line width.

Like maybe you could do an iceberg! With a few lines of ASCII iceberg that link to a story about how people don't care about melting icebergs or something. And then with the MORE INSIDE it could be something 9 times larger illustrating all the sorts of things that rely on icebergs to survive. And you could call it "The Tip of the Iceberg". Or something. And then people could click your links and go like "Hey, that's cool. It teaches me about icebergs while looking like an iceberg. And there's a lot below the surface." Or else they'd call you a douche and steal your lunch money. But I wouldn't.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:31 AM on May 20, 2010


Does every comment need to be an essay?

Nobody reads my sonnets.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:37 AM on May 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also that gif is old as hell.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:42 AM on May 20, 2010


I do feel bad, if that makes you feel better.

I think we've accomplished what we've set out to do here. Is there any point to keeping this thread open?
posted by slogger at 6:43 AM on May 20, 2010


1: What does a ghost wear on a rainy day?

2: Ghouloshes ;)
posted by Damn That Television at 6:47 AM on May 20, 2010



I do feel bad, if that makes you feel better.

I think we've accomplished what we've set out to do here. Is there any point to keeping this thread open?
posted by slogger at 6:43 AM on May 20 [+] [!]


This may be useful, but it is unfortunate and nothing to be proud of.
posted by nickjadlowe at 7:09 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there any point to keeping this thread open?

Recipes.
posted by fixedgear at 7:16 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd be a lot happier with links that were obscured by cleverness if there were fewer people laboring under the illusion that obscurity is cleverness.
posted by lore at 7:17 AM on May 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


There is a more important conversation to be had here that everyone seems to be overlooking:

Maybe it will take two hundred years. But then I will laugh at your petty objections.

twoleftfeet plans on being able to laugh at us in two hundred years. And we all know that can mean only one thing;

Vampire.

*grabs stake and silver*

Let's do this.
posted by quin at 7:21 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Peanut butter oatmeal:

1 package oatmeal
2 tbsp peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
chocolate syrup (optional)

Prepare oatmeal as directed, but make it a little bit runnier than you prefer. Add peanut butter. Mix until smooth. Add chocolate syrup if desired.
posted by Plutor at 7:22 AM on May 20, 2010


Single link post to gifs almost always get deleted. If you're committed to poetry, that's certainly your right, but you may be experiencing a higher-than-average number of deletions. That is also fine, no rule against it, but if you come to MeTa with all of them, it's going to get annoying.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:24 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Among the two dozen or so posts every day there isn't room for one post that varies the format slightly?

We have plenty of posts "that vary the format slightly", from the semi-cryptic one-liner to the pages-long linkfest, with the odd experiment in quirky formatting showing up now and then among them.

What you're actually defending with this post is a post that varies about as aggressively as possible from "the format", if we want to take that loose variety of approaches that folks generally work within as some sort of aggregate house style or whatever. Framing your defense the way you did seems silly and a little dishonest.

Aside from which, no, there's no hard policy against odd posts but you should know well going in that when you intentionally get weird you willingly up the odds that your weird experiment is going to end up in the dustbin. If you want the right to fly your typographical freak flag without constraint, mefi is a little more of a large community with shared expectations and less of an anarchist free-for-all than you might be hoping for. Sometimes a lot of people will look at a post and say "really, that's it?" and the post will fail to be so awesome as to justify that reaction. This is safely one of those cases.

All in all, not a great big deal I don't think, and if you hadn't seen the Blue Ball Machine previously I can see it being an "oh neat" sort of thing that you'd be inclined to post, but an intentional non-post to a single .gif is a really low bar to reach for for a post to the front page under even the best of conditions and this was not the best of conditions. I know getting your post deleted can be frustrating, but while starting a metatalk about it is your right it seems like kind of unnecessary in this case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:25 AM on May 20, 2010


There is room, I think, for experimentation in hypertext communication. Such experimentation might include adding a link to a period followed by an exclamation mark. (Now that I think of it again, that's still a good idea.)

The format of the post was not the problem. twoleftfeet seems to be reacting to an unfortunate characterization, in this thread, of MeFites as people completely bereft of any sense of whimsy or imagination:
Also, a lot of people on Metafilter can't cope with obscure, "mystery meat" posts. It makes them lose their shit.
There has been mimimal, if any, criticism of the format of the post; rather, the reaction seems to be, "Wow, a dated animated GIF. Yawn." So, twoleftfeet, format your post in your colorful and expressive way, and link to something worth putting on the front page.
posted by Mister_A at 7:30 AM on May 20, 2010


It was a bad post, and you should feel bad for making it.

Oh jesus, please. Get some fresh air and pick up a 12 pack of perspective on your way back.
posted by Kskomsvold at 7:39 AM on May 20, 2010


Now you're claiming that you're a fucking hypertext performance artist? Buddy, get off your high horse.

Erm, I think twoleftfeet may have a bit tongue in their cheek when they made the hypertext-as-art claim. People are awfully quick to fight these days, especially when the offending party is obviously only half serious in their objections.
posted by Think_Long at 8:03 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Erm, I think twoleftfeet may have a bit tongue in their cheek when they made the hypertext-as-art claim.

Really? Huh. I didn't get the sense of tongue-in-cheek or winking in this post, or in the follow-ups. No big deal, and doesn't affect my reading of the whole situation (not great post, deleted, MetaTalk to talk about it, we talk about it - that's MetaFilter spinning in greased grooves as far as I am concerned), it's just an interesting diversion of interpretation.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:13 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: hypertext as performance fart.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:21 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was a bad post, and you should feel bad for making it.
posted by paisley henosis at 5:53 AM on May 20 [2 favorites +] [!]

Oh jesus, please. Get some fresh air and pick up a 12 pack of perspective on your way back.
posted by Kskomsvold at 7:39 AM on May 20 [+] [!]

I think what you meant to say there, Kskomsvold, was "paisley henosis, would you be so kind as to pick up my Humor Detector on your way home from work? It's in the shop for repairs, and I keep mistaking jokes for serious statements." And if you're lucky, paisley henosis will do it for you!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:27 AM on May 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


that's MetaFilter spinning in greased grooves as far as I am concerned

That is the fucking sexiest thing I've read all morning.
posted by Think_Long at 8:30 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


There is room, I think, for experimentation

I remember that room. We painted glow-in-the-dark murals on the walls and grew pot in the closet. It was awesome. 30 years ago. Now it's a rental with beige walls and new carpet smell.

Oh, 70's! Where has the time gone?

.!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:01 AM on May 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: hypertext as performance fart.

Every year at Hampshire, right around Accepted Students Day, some genius painted the "Arts Barn" sign to read "Farts Barn."

And every year, I chuckled.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:41 AM on May 20, 2010


   
posted by y2karl at 9:46 AM on May 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


.!
posted by barrett caulk at 9:47 AM on May 20, 2010


Nice one, y2karl.
posted by fixedgear at 9:53 AM on May 20, 2010


y2karl, that was pretty damn great. Invisible links! How the fuck do they work?
posted by Mister_A at 9:59 AM on May 20, 2010


Invisibly
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:20 AM on May 20, 2010

And I was trying to defend the idea that a period followed by an exclamation mark could still be an interesting post, in part because [...]
Yawn.  If you have to explain it, it didn't work.
posted by Aquaman at 10:38 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


   
posted by y2karl at 10:52 AM on May 20, 2010


All you had to do was include "shifting the paradigm" in your defense speech and I'd be all ready in line for the face-murder.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:52 AM on May 20, 2010


That was seconding aquaman, by the way.
posted by y2karl at 10:54 AM on May 20, 2010


1. Yawn. If you have to explain it, it didn't work.

2.

3. That was seconding aquaman, by the way.
posted by polymodus at 11:00 AM on May 20, 2010


Sorry, meatball doesn't work that way.!
posted by y2karl at 11:10 AM on May 20, 2010


Sadly, the education of the youth of MehduhFilter is declining in more than one way. The other day I was on the blue and the reader was unable to identify a simple dotbang.
posted by fleacircus at 11:15 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


fly your typographical freak flag

Man, Cortex's posts are just filled with potential sock puppet names. Like a friggin' gold mine.
posted by dnesan at 11:28 AM on May 20, 2010


twoleftfeet writes "There will come a time, my children, when hypertext communication becomes the norm. Scholars of hypertextual communication will look back on early efforts and they will discover my post. Shitty, yes, but shitty in a new way. "

FYI: Not shitty in a NEW way. Meta that spawned that stunt post.
posted by Mitheral at 11:42 AM on May 20, 2010


Stunt posts! How do they work?
posted by killdevil at 12:37 PM on May 20, 2010


It's a metaphor for hopelessness, for Nietzschean eternal recurrence, for the Sisyphean struggle we take part in every day as living, breathing, conscious beings fighting to maintain some semblance of purpose against the backdrop of an uncaring and disintegrating universe. It's a metaphor about devotion for the sake of devotion. It's a metaphor about ˙x˙
posted by decagon at 1:47 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Will you help teach me about this, what did you call it, new way?
posted by dirtdirt at 1:52 PM on May 20, 2010


Well I'll be damned. Foiled by an old MetaFilter in-joke. My apologies paisley henosis.
posted by Kskomsvold at 2:52 PM on May 20, 2010


Heh. I just did a search for the folowing term: .

Try it yourself. It's a good search result.
posted by BeerFilter at 2:57 PM on May 20, 2010


It's up to you to justify clicking on what you provide a link to.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:32 PM on May 20, 2010


This may be the most (mostly) unintentionally hilarious MeTa thread in a while. Well done, people!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:46 PM on May 20, 2010


Whoa, Rory Marinich is taking down someone for being annoyingly precocious, pretentious, and abstract without purpose?! It's like opposite day!

Naw, just kidding Rory, I always appreciate your comments and find you to be very thoughtful, no hamburger
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:57 PM on May 20, 2010


Asperger's? Autism?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:29 AM on May 21, 2010


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