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RIP, ObitFilter
March 27, 2002 1:53 PM   Subscribe

I don't want to be insensitive, but with posts like this,
this, and this. Isn't mefi becoming too much of an obit page?
posted by jeblis to MetaFilter-Related at 1:53 PM (40 comments total)

Dead people got
No Reason
Dead people got
No Reason
Dead people got
No Reason to live
posted by aaron at 2:07 PM on March 27, 2002


People are just dying to get posted on Metafilter.
posted by crunchland at 2:17 PM on March 27, 2002


This would cease to be a problem if people would just stop passing away.
posted by ColdChef at 2:22 PM on March 27, 2002


3 obits out of 15858 posts is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many in my opinion. Come on - Spike and Dud are perhaps two of the all time funniest people of all time - they probably deserve a brief mention at their passing - (Perhaps with a few more links to funny stuff).

I was almost sure this thread would pop into matatalk existance at some point. It's all wah wah wah wah wah wah over here. . . . . . . .
posted by Spoon at 2:25 PM on March 27, 2002


obits and onion posts! the sky is falling! the sky is falling!

post trends on metafilter are like some strange El Nino...coming and going in various directions and flavours. This too shall pass methinks. It always does.
posted by th3ph17 at 2:27 PM on March 27, 2002


I don't think there should be any obit posts.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:32 PM on March 27, 2002


I don't know Spoon, a quick search on the word "died" in All Threads turns up about 120 posts. I didn't read any of the results to eliminate posts where Died wasn't being used to indicate somebody as opposed to something died, but then I didn't search for variants like dead, passed etc. 1 in every 130. That's a lot of death on this board.
posted by willnot at 2:46 PM on March 27, 2002


That's a lot of death on this board.

As in life.

posted by bittennails at 2:49 PM on March 27, 2002


For crying out loud, is there nothing that people won't complain about?

NO double posts.
NO Onion posts.
NO obituary posts.
NO wacky news posts.
NO general news posts.
NO posts from ______; they're conservative-biased news.
NO posts from ______; they're liberal-biased news.
NO self-links.
NO messageboard-like posts.
NO posts that won't inspire conversation.
NO posts with bold text.
NO posts with italicized text.
NO posts with page breaks.
NO posts with links that appeared on Slashdot within the past decade.
NO posts with links that appeared on Fark within the past decade.
NO posts with links that appeared on Memepool within the past decade.
NO uncredited posts.
NO credited posts.
NO blind FPPs.
NO posts using the term 'FPP'.
NO posts with no links.
NO posts with too many links.
NO posts with long strings of links that appear to be one link.
NO posts with pancakes.

I could go on for another ten pages, and find MetaTalk threads demonstrating each and every NO, but I should probably do some work today.

This is the part where daveadams steps in and points out that I'm complaining about other people complaining, but at least I didn't start a MeTa thread about it. Oh, wait...

NO posts using the term 'MeFi' and 'MeTa'.
posted by Danelope at 2:54 PM on March 27, 2002


Exactly. It's all wah wah wah wah wah.......
posted by Spoon at 2:57 PM on March 27, 2002


A MeTa obit post on MeFi obit posts.

Now, there's a new one for ya!

posted by mischief at 3:11 PM on March 27, 2002


Maybe that's the problem: so many topics have become taboo that all that's left is the obits.


posted by jeblis at 3:20 PM on March 27, 2002


and NO posting your thoughts on what sorts of links or user behaviors may be detrimental to your own personal vision of the Utopian MetaFilter Ideal, because it'll bug Danelope!

Don't mention it, daveadams, I'm always glad to help.
posted by Sapphireblue at 3:21 PM on March 27, 2002


Screw obit posts.
That said, they're probably not going to stop. So the posters should at least take the time to make them somewhat interesting. If there would actually be some material in the posts, I think people would deal with them a little better. But most of them are just another form of the monotopic threads:

"[deadperson] is dead. I liked [deadperson]."
'Yeah. I liked [deadperson], too.'
"I remember first seeing [deadperson] on/in [channel/periodical] when I was [age] and it [changed my life/made me laugh]...and so on.

On preview, I see the two posts previous. It's not the obits themselves, or taboo topics. The real problem is that the posts are, well...suboptimal©.

©Rodiicorp Int'l

posted by Su at 3:29 PM on March 27, 2002


RELEASE THE PASTEL-SUITED JACKALS!
posted by jcterminal at 3:29 PM on March 27, 2002


GREAT, NOW WE LOST UNCLE MILTIE....THANKS
posted by clavdivs at 3:53 PM on March 27, 2002


If only J. Edgar Hoover were alive to enforce the madness...
posted by ed at 4:13 PM on March 27, 2002


Science has proven it takes less space to tell who died than to post the names of all those who are still alive.
posted by Mack Twain at 4:29 PM on March 27, 2002


Then why do you bother coming back here, Danelope?
posted by jpoulos at 4:58 PM on March 27, 2002


RELEASE THE PASTEL-SUITED JACKALS!

.oO "Is there a problem here?"
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:10 PM on March 27, 2002


when people i like die, I want to know about it.
posted by Hackworth at 6:28 PM on March 27, 2002


I'm much more interested in the deaths of people I don't like.
posted by gleuschk at 7:45 PM on March 27, 2002


I'm sorry, but how is that Johh Fahey post an obit post? Except that the post text mentioned that he died a while ago, it looks to me like a post about an important musician that most people don't know about. Kinda what MetaFilter is about isn't it?

posted by dchase at 7:52 PM on March 27, 2002


People die, and others want to talk about them, no big deal.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:52 PM on March 27, 2002


In all fairness, I must point out that Mel Lyman and Bill Monroe are dead, too.

The horror, the horror...

Of course, we could clear the decks for more farting-related posts ;)


posted by y2karl at 8:19 PM on March 27, 2002


Death, Farting...all parts of a well-rounded life...
posted by jonmc at 8:32 PM on March 27, 2002


Thank you, gentlemen, for the fart jokes. In moderation, they are a tonic to my soul.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:54 PM on March 27, 2002


you slay me.
posted by Frasermoo at 1:12 AM on March 28, 2002


"People fart death farts when they die."

- Leonard Cohen
posted by pracowity at 4:53 AM on March 28, 2002


I see your kitten and raise you a schnauzer.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:46 AM on March 28, 2002


you know, except for some of the obvious hyperbole — and the link credit double-bind — danelope's list is actually a pretty good compendium of suboptimal metafilter posts.

other than the self-link, none of the types of posts on the list are banned outright...but one should exercise extreme caution and restraint when considering posting anything that falls into any of those categories.

i've been on metafilter for more than two years (i was a non-member lurker long before i joined) and i've never posted a link. why not? because i've carefully considered everything i might have posted and found it lacking in some way. much of the material would be fine on a personal weblog, but i believe that we should have a higher standard in this shared space.

does it annoy me to see people posting utter crap all the time? hell yeah. but it's matt's pool and he chooses to allow people to piss in it. fortunately, i can stay in the deep end, where the urine is so diluted as to be barely noticeable. and i, for one, will always choose to swim in a pool where peeing is permitted, rather than in one where someone caught peeing gets yanked out by the owner, who then chops off the transgressor's dick while the other swimmers look on and cheer.

matt's hands-off approach to metafilter is one of the primary reasons that it succeeds so much more often than it fails. lots of people have lots of ideas for improving metafilter, including the camp that believes that matt should take a more active moderator role. that would change metafilter, but i'm not convinced that it would make it 'better'.

metafilter truly is an incredible story. matt build a website, mainly so that he and his friends — and anyone else who happened along — could share cool stuff they'd found on the internet. and from this simple seed grew one of the most vibrant communities to be found anywhere...on the internet or in real life (i know that metafilter sure as hell is more of 'real' community than any of the suburban towns in upstate new york).

and the reason that this happened is that matt, like any good parent, gave his child plenty of independence, allowing it to find its own way and to develop its own personality.

metafilter is now a teenager. maybe it's time for matt to sit it down and have a little 'discussion'. no, he doesn't need to set any more rules, but maybe he should urge the membership to think a little harder about what each of them wants metafilter to be and what they can do to make it that way.

i suggest that the site go down for two or three days, during which time the only thing viewable be the mefi main page, on which matt posts his first 'message to the membership', a kind of 'state of the metafilter' address.

in his notice, matt could talk a little about the history of metafilter, how proud he is of what it's grown into, and his vision for the future. he can thank the membership for participating...and urge them to continue doing so, but to maybe just be a little more thoughtful when posting. he could stress quality over quantity and explain exactly why certain types of posts are suboptimal.

i think it's key that this message appear on the front page and that nothing else of the site be active. matt's statements in various metatalk threads are read by a small minority, as would be a 'founder's message' link on the sideblog. simply adding still more material to the 'guidelines' page or the 'post a link' page would mean simply adding more material that would go unread.

i think that everybody needs to stop, take a deep breath — or two, or even three deep breaths — and then see how different metafilter can be upon reboot.

am i being too earnest, too idealistic? or is metafilter grown up enough to 'do the right thing' when dad presents the opportunity?
posted by mlang at 7:24 AM on March 28, 2002


How's about we change the name to hecklefilter, cuz like the House of Lords, y'all get into it bigtime. Why else would someone bitch about an obit FPP (and then claim it was lacking in style, after-the-fact)? Cuz 'round here, heckling is major sport, and seemingly immune from the rules of style and relevance they claim to be protecting.

Being that only Matt can kill a post for lack of proper form (whatever that might really mean) its all a bunch pseudo-elitist bullies that gives MeFi its well renowned locker-room ambience.

posted by BentPenguin at 8:02 AM on March 28, 2002


I myself would rather see some suboptimal(TM) links than a few days of a dead 'Filter.

I haven't seen any condemnation of posting links that have been floating on Blogdex (meaning a lot of weblogs are linking to them) a couple days before they show up on MetaFilter. But generally the discussions are better than the links anyway.

The first (nondouble)post I made, I'd seen on Blogdex and a couple other sites, but I figured somebody else would post it to MeFi if I didn't, and it generated a pretty good discussion, I thought.

[added after Preview]its all a bunch pseudo-elitist bullies that gives MeFi its well renowned locker-room ambience
Well, there is something to that. I was a lurker for a few months and really didn't plan to register, due to this kind of ambiance, but I joined because for some reason that day I couldn't access the front page without a login. And I came in with my guard up. I've relaxed a little since, however, and have really enjoyed most of the discussions I've followed (though I don't participate in most, if only because I don't have anything to add).
posted by StOne at 8:28 AM on March 28, 2002


If you drop your soap, you should probably just kick it home.
posted by crunchland at 8:37 AM on March 28, 2002


Alls I'm saying about the obit links is they definitely fall within the "news link" or "everyone's likely to have seen it before" categories. It's not the end of the world, but how are these not readily available at any news site? Both of these stories were on Yahoo!'s front page as headlines before appearing on MeFi.

Understandably, people die and people want to talk about it, but if you discourage chit chat about news, don't you have to discourage chit chat about news about people dying?

I'm not hugely worked up about this or anything, I just think a little bit of consistency is in order.

And the argument that people wouldn't know about celebrity deaths if they didn't get posted on MeFi seems a little odd. If one of MeFi's roles is to be your celebrity obit page, then fine. But if you really want to keep track of whether Bob Hope's still kickin', aren't there more appropriate places to turn?
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:00 AM on March 28, 2002


mlang - You make some good points. And when it comes to things like "wacky news" posts or just plain pointless stuff, I couldn't agree more.
But like you said, metafilter is a teenager now. Meaning it's kind of mutated a bit. When I first started coming here, it was all about the links which was great. Now with 14000 or so people around, I find myself coming here for different reasons.
Even though a post may link to something we've heard about elsewhere these days, the discussion that follows will inevitably be more interesting than what I'll see on Meet the Press or talk radio or down at the corner bar, and why is this?
I was emailing another mefite yesterday and we were discussing what made metafilter what it is and I said this:

"Whenever I tell freinds about MeFi, I say 'Imagine your typical web board, only everyone involved(more or less) is of Mensa grade intelligence and/or has led an unbelievably interesting life."

Now intelligent content online is certanly not unique, most of the better online communities I've been involved with were very narrowly focused and berated you for going "off-topic."
Here pretty much anything is open and I know that because of the people here, more often than not, it'll go somewhere interesting and it'll sometimes change my mind on something. It's because of the 'Filter that I now enjoy Devo's music(thanks everyone) and have come around to respecting Noam Chomsky(thanks talos). I remember Matt saying once that the ability to change the way someone feels about something was one of the main goals he had for the discussions on the site. In my case(and I'm sure I'm not alone)he's succeeded more often than he's failed. Even with it's various growing pains, this is still best community online.
posted by jonmc at 9:10 AM on March 28, 2002


BentPenguin: Why else would someone bitch about an obit FPP (and then claim it was lacking in style, after-the-fact)?
Uh...how are we supposed to bitch about them before-the-fact? Call Miss Cleo?
"Yah, mon. Stavros gonna be makin' post 'bout Christina Applegate, she snarf a Cheet-O t'other day and end up in d'hospital. An' that post, baby, it gonna be baaaaad."

Like Kafka already said. There should be consistency. If the obit posts are going to do nothing more than point to a newspaper listing like the two current ones, then they should fall under news links and probably go. Take a little time to find some other material, and they'd probably be fine.

posted by Su at 9:51 AM on March 28, 2002


Jon, I got to agree with you, it's the best (or I wouldn't have started hanging around in the first place). Best signal-to-noise ratio I've seen yet.
And any real community has some disagreements, unlike a "Pleasantville" where everybody is perfectly content and agreeable. (What a nightmare that would be.)

posted by StOne at 9:52 AM on March 28, 2002


I remember Matt saying once that the ability to change the way someone feels about something was one of the main goals he had for the discussions on the site:
This worthy if somewhat unworldly goal is one reason I like the place, also the interesting links, endless sociological fascinations, the geographic and cross-cultural connections--today I got an e-mail from a lurker in Italy about steel guitar in Jamaica--and whole Oh The Humanity! aspect where you see people grow and change as persons, sort of like characters on a TV sitcom, only in print and online, and the jokes and the hugs and yes, even, the hairsplitting, and on and on, the whole possibility of it, the whole impossibility of it.

mlang had points and so did danelope's list, but bold, italic, stylistic and grammatical restrictions I reject out of hand.
This isn't grade school, this is recess: people who think outside of the box tend to write outside of the box, if I may invent a cliche. There should be standards and consensus, yes, but also the observance in the breech thereof on occasion. Every thing in measure.

Upon reflection, I really like the world aspect--if and when the rolls are unfrozen, I would to see an "International lines, you're on the Art Bell Show..." sort of extraterritorial beyond-the-borders sign ups preference myself. Or so I think right now.

And I did find the inclusion of my John Fahey post--Oh, the ingratitude!--on the original list irksome for obvious apples and oranges reasons.
posted by y2karl at 10:22 AM on March 28, 2002


Thanks, Su. Now I have a blast-pattern of Guinness on my monitor. Christina Applegate snarfin' Cheet-O's. That's good stuff.
posted by Optamystic at 2:51 PM on March 28, 2002


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