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March 23, 2002 10:34 AM   Subscribe

I wonder ... should Matt just put a quick link to the Washington Post and the Guardian on top MetaFilter, and suggest that their discussion boards be used to discuss their articles?
posted by MidasMulligan to Etiquette/Policy at 10:34 AM (30 comments total)

"Move along, Mr Cohen: we've got a place where you can live right up close to all your friends."
posted by riviera at 11:00 AM on March 23, 2002


I understand where you're coming from Midas, but most of the links on the Front Page are from news articles and have been since 9-11 (welcome to NewsFilter.) The problem with posting to either publication's discussion board (or the NY Times and the Register in this case) is that it is a wholly different community. Posting to MeFi sparks discussion among the members of this community, which is usually the intended result.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:17 AM on March 23, 2002


What eyeballkid said (a lot)

I'm a frequent poster of articles from 'The Guardian' (who mention Metafilter again today, by the way), but I tend to only include articles which will promote a discussion, and also which may have been missed by my global cousins. Which I thought was the point.

Besides, no offence, but isn't this just a repeat of the discussions surround frequent posts from 'The Onion' and 'Salon'? The opinion then was 'yes, it's OK if they're any good', and I think that's also a valid point in this case.
posted by feelinglistless at 12:35 PM on March 23, 2002


by coincidence i was just planning to browse the guardian's website but don't have it bookmarked so i came to metafilter figuring i could probably follow a link from here... you should have put links in your post dammit...
posted by mokey at 12:42 PM on March 23, 2002


The opinion then was 'yes, it's OK if they're any good'

An opinion then was 'yes, it's OK if they're any good', but there was significant dissent, and different people differ about what "any good" means. I think we have way too many of these links, and I think we should consider raising the quality bar and have a lot fewer of them.

My suggestion would be to have as an experiment, a two-week period in which all links to articles in the media are banned, and see what this does to the dynamic of Metafilter. This means news articles, opinion pieces, and any other link to articles that are part of some media site. This means no links to CNN, the Atlantic, Slashdot, Free Republic, the Guardian, the New Scientist, CNet, Media News, Fark, News of the Weird, the NYT, the Merc, Cringely, etc. etc. etc. What's left? Web sites, made with some significant investment of energy and creativity by people with something to say, not just writers filling some prexisting niche on an already existing periodical.

The--and this is the key point--after the two weeks, we would talk about it here and ask, if Metafilter better or worse? There would probably be a lower volume of links, fewer flamewars, less discussion, shorter threads. I don't prejudge whether those would be good or bad things--that would be for the community to think about.
posted by rodii at 3:19 PM on March 23, 2002


I have to disagree rodii. The Guardian is much more than the online presence of a newspaper and to browse it all would take days. I suspect the same is true of NYT and others. It is of great value to come here and find myself pointed in the direction of articles or pieces from around the world I would otherwise miss.
posted by Fat Buddha at 4:16 PM on March 23, 2002


I wholeheartedly agree with rodii. Though I'd include articles from the less read magazines and newspapers that haven't been singled out and directly linked to by Romenesko, Boing Boing, Nutcote, Arts and Letters Daily or another well-know weblog. In sum, good stuff that only someone who read the magazine would have seen before, found by actually reading through it.

How would it hurt to try it for two weeks? I think links to the well-known periodicals could be worked into a "more inside" or comments in the thread. Say you see something in the New York Times. You search for another article on the same subject - perhaps more first-hand, more local, more specialized - and then frame the issue around it.

Let's do it, I say. People seem to have forgotten the lost pleasures of surfing. The word itself sounds so 20th Century...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:02 PM on March 23, 2002


Thankfully we have MemePool for the quirkier non-news items. Some weblogs are also good, but most of the 'A-list' bloggers just seem to rehash usability or news stories ;-)
posted by wackybrit at 7:09 PM on March 23, 2002


Gack, I tpye bad.
posted by rodii at 7:26 PM on March 23, 2002


I agree with rodii and Miguel...A large percentage of posts are not: "amazing and/or enlightening" or "most people haven't seen it before", because they are news stories that are not unique or for that matter, news. Carry on.
posted by Mack Twain at 8:00 PM on March 23, 2002


I read New Scientist, Science News and selected portions of The Wall Street Journal because I subscribe to them and because I can read 'em on the pot. I can't afford subscriptions to all these other sources you're all bitching about and I can't spend my entire life reading stuff on line (never mind my eyes wouldn't hold up for it), so I appreciate the folks who point out something in the Washington Post or The Onion or whatever that warrants my attention. No, don't assume I've seen it before---tell me about it if you think I ought to know. ---And if somebody decrees that these sources are off-limits for MetaFilter, please e-mail me [janetkagan@inetcentral.com] your suggestions personally. Thank you.
posted by realjanetkagan at 9:30 PM on March 23, 2002


I would guess we see a lot of links from The Guardian:
1. because it most closely articulates the viewpoints of the majority of regular Mefi participants.
2. It is also one of the best news portals out there alongwith WP and NYT.
I would tend to think that if NYT didnt have those annoying cookies, we would also see a lot more NYT link. As it is, we see a fair number of Friedman column links.

If I may use the Friedman column example - his article also seem to generate some really great discussion. Which brings me to the point that I wanted to make. Mefi everyday gives me:

-Some great links I haven't seen before
-Some great discussions
-Sometimes a combination of both

Some of the most stimulating discussions are sparked by 'current events' stories. The most objective reporting of 'current events' are usually found in mainstream publications (IMHO). It is just better to link to a Palestine story as reported by NYT than by Miami Herald (not that Miami Herald is a bad publication. I am told that its a great one ). Your thread simply acquires more gravitus by association ....


So, if your beef is - should mefi have a lot of current affairs links / discussions - that is a different debate. If not, we should probably live with NYT/WP/The Guardian.
posted by justlooking at 9:37 PM on March 23, 2002


on preview: and what realjanetkagan said.

I simply read NYT online. And sometimes WP. And stuff like BW, HBR, WSJ offline. So I always appreciate the new links that I find here ....
posted by justlooking at 9:41 PM on March 23, 2002


If you're subscribing to New Scientist and the WSJ, no wonder you can't afford any others! Those are $$$!
posted by aaron at 10:32 PM on March 23, 2002


If you're subscribing to New Scientist and the WSJ, no wonder you can't afford any others! Those are $$$!
posted by aaron at 11:40 PM on March 23, 2002


Midas, rodii, and to all those who believe NewsFilter is a bad thing: Before 9/11, people didn't follow real world issues because they assumed that it didn't affect them. They were wrong. So people began to envelope themselves into the news as if their lives depended upon it.

Okay...now we all know that news are crucial to daily lives, but we also know that news aren't completely irrelevent. So eventually, given a couple more months and a few more news posts, the MeFi community will realize the value of important news and ignore every petty issue that comes up otherwise.

Bottom line...getting rid of news is an arrogant approach to solving the overposting. Allow the members to recognize the importance of news posts. Allow the members to get a feel for the real world and understand that some things are important, others aren't. Trying to control impulses and actions, IMHO, is an overbearing approach to establish community guidelines.
posted by BlueTrain at 1:42 AM on March 24, 2002


Sorry, 2nd paragraph, first sentence, news aren't crucial to daily lives..
posted by BlueTrain at 1:55 AM on March 24, 2002


%Since you're at it, BlueTrain, news isn't crucial to daily lives, but we also know that news isn't irrelevant. Perhaps you were you thinking of media which is plural but often used in the singular. Though it's still a remarkable mistake - specially after your correction. %
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:21 AM on March 24, 2002


you were you. Serves me right!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:38 AM on March 24, 2002


Censoring what this community thinks are the most interesting stories/opinions from journalism's mainstream, and censoring the liberatingly heated discussion that always follows, would turn this place into a game of saturday morning softball (I repeat I hate sports analogies but...) slow underhand pitches, that big fat ball that never seems to go anywhere, gloves and helmets not required, walks around the diamond. I almost forgot, no hot dog vendors would show. Too boring for them too.
posted by Voyageman at 5:04 AM on March 24, 2002


And where would we be without our Mefi Hotdogs?
posted by Apoch at 5:34 AM on March 24, 2002


BlueTrain, this site had gone down the Newsfilter path long before 9/11. To say people "didn't follow real world issues" before that is ludicrous.

Voyageman: it's not "censoring." This site's original purpose was not to post new stories. It has evolved in that direction, and there's no reason it can't go back. There are hundreds of site where one can discuss the news, or you could make the hundred-and-first if you want. I just feel like we're reaching some sort of low point when people start posting the scores of basketball games, "via Sportsfilter." Is our purpose really to chew over ephemera that have already been chewed somewhere else already?

But my proposal is: let's be empirical. Instead of just supposing Mefi will turn into slow-pitch softball, let's find out. Those of us who remember what it used to be will suppose differently, but maybe we're wrong. Let's find out.
posted by rodii at 8:10 AM on March 24, 2002


I am of the same view as justlooking, but I agree with you, rodii: it's 100% worth trying.

Matt? Would you consider such a proposition? I think it's a good one.

I am beginning to get frustrated (like machaus) that MetaTalk's impact on actual policy, etc., seems negligible. That in itself is something I'd appreciate a response to, Matt. Are we useful to you? Or is MetaTalk's highest purpose as soma, or a forum for navel-gazing?

And I don't mean that as harshly as it comes out: I'm simply curious whether we should propose policy adjustments or unconventional MeFi suggestions (such as this one, or PoliticsFilter, for instance), or whether it's so extremely unlikely that such things would be implemented by you that we should simply sit back and let your sure hand guide the ship.
posted by Marquis at 10:02 AM on March 24, 2002


I'm a little surprised nobody's coing up with money for Matt to design a NewsFilter and a PoliticsFilter, and pay someone to moderate them.

Apologies for offending, if general consensus is that my recent link to "The Washington Post" was a waste of time. (It was way too long, I hit post too soon.) I did try to add value to that link, as did the people claiming to be physicians. When others take the time to go through the mainstream media, the WP and the Guardian and add a few related links of interest, I really appreciate it. (I'm not in a big city where that sort of information is available on every corner.) Checked out the Washington Post message boards, as per Midas' suggestion, but they don't work for me in the default "guest" setup. Perhaps some power user here knows how to adjust the WP display so that you can see more at one time than an excerpt from a single message, in a small font. The customization here at MetaFilter is great-- I really like being able to enlarge the font size to read without glasses!

It's easy for me to find real-life social gatherings where discussion of news, politics, or religion is anathema. Maybe that's the way this site was supposed to be too, I don't know. I do feel a bit distressed that Matt gets subjected to so much complaining from all sides, when he's doing something really nice for all of us, free of charge.
posted by sheauga at 1:02 PM on March 24, 2002


But my proposal is: let's be empirical. Instead of just supposing Mefi will turn into slow-pitch softball, let's find out. Those of us who remember what it used to be will suppose differently, but maybe we're wrong. Let's find out.

I have a question, rodii...how would you implement this?
posted by BlueTrain at 6:55 PM on March 24, 2002


I would talk Matt into it, of course. I'm aware that that's the only way it would happen. Maybe I would threaten to harm...his bike! :)
posted by rodii at 7:10 PM on March 24, 2002


I would talk Matt into it, of course.

No, that's not what I meant. Obviously you'd talk Matt into it. But I think the reason why there's a lot of talk in MeTa but not all that much implementation is because we do a lot of talking, but not a lot of solving. So, based on this, how would you implement this? Would you put a banner on the front of MeFi saying, "These are the sites to avoid posting for the next two weeks..." or what?
posted by BlueTrain at 7:15 PM on March 24, 2002


I recently suggested a "two week experiment" here and realized that regardless of how good the idea is or enlightening the outcome would be its much too late in metafilter's evolution to start making drastic changes.

Like someone suggested: pay for a newsfilter. Metafilter doesn't have to be the only stop on the internet. Learn some php and make your own site. If its nice you can buy a text ad and draw mefites. If its great maybe Matt will mention it on the side-column.

I don't think metatalk has much impact on metafilter either, Matt simply isn't gung-ho about new versions and adding features like the kids at slashdot (or wherever) are. Whether or not he has better things to do or just doesn't want to spend six hours on a social experiment is his business.
posted by skallas at 7:16 PM on March 24, 2002


BlueTrain, your question is a good one. I've wondered about it before. Some sort of announcement would have to be made on the front page--a banner or whatever--that would amount to a "fireside chat with mathowie." Such a thing has never happened and, in fact, if it did, I think it in itself would have a major impact. If Matt just said "Hey kids, here's some stuff I've been thinking about and I'd like to ask you not to do this and to do this..." it would start a lot of conversations going, at the very least. But Matt doesn't seem to want to play that role, and so we try out ideas and sit and wait...I'm in complete agreement with what Marquis said above, and have no solutions to offer.
posted by rodii at 7:52 PM on March 24, 2002


Before 9/11, people didn't follow real world issues because they assumed that it didn't affect them.

YMMV
posted by walrus at 5:28 AM on March 25, 2002


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