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Single Link, No Kids
March 27, 2011 8:50 PM   Subscribe

"Another single-link FPP? WTF." I am here to testify to you, my brothers and sisters, that the good lord smiles just as brightly on front page posts with a single link as he does on those with many! Hallelujah!"

[NOT LORDIST]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken to Etiquette/Policy at 8:50 PM (124 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

Whoops. One too many quotation marks. Stupid brain.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:51 PM on March 27, 2011


Can I hear an amen?
posted by zamboni at 8:53 PM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Agreed entirely.
posted by grouse at 8:54 PM on March 27, 2011


PREACH IT BROTHER!!!
posted by 47triple2 at 8:55 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Speaks in tongues]
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:59 PM on March 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Amen!
posted by hydrophonic at 9:00 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good things can come in singles. Single malt, for example.
posted by dazed_one at 9:01 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


*claps hands*
posted by rtha at 9:02 PM on March 27, 2011


Yeah, I don't really understand the angst toward single-link FPP.
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:02 PM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I now see languagehat got there before me, in somewhat more fiery tones. Whoops again.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:03 PM on March 27, 2011


*rides the snake*
posted by loquacious at 9:07 PM on March 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Has there really been a lot of anti-single-link-FPP sentiment recently? Honest question.
posted by ORthey at 9:11 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think if you've only got one link it better be a really good link.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:12 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not how many links you've got, it's what you can do with them.
posted by Decani at 9:14 PM on March 27, 2011


One good solid single link is hella better than a dozen limp ones.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:14 PM on March 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think if you've only got one link it better be a really good link.

Well, that's kind of the foundation premise of the site, after all.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:17 PM on March 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


I think if you've only got one link it better be a really good link.

And if multiple links, they better be really good ones. 5 mediocre links does not a great post make.

I wish I knew where this anti single link nonsense came from so I could go back in time and kill the messenger.
posted by justgary at 9:18 PM on March 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Another single-link FPP? WTF.

Chortle.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:19 PM on March 27, 2011


GUFFAW
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:19 PM on March 27, 2011


Hm. He's made 7 FPPs and five of them were single link. Maybe he was kidding. Or....something.
posted by iconomy at 9:20 PM on March 27, 2011


--I wish I knew where this anti single link nonsense came from so I could go back in time and kill the messenger.--

I seem to think it developed around youtube apologistics. People were railing against a file type or moving images (or something) and recalcitrant linkers prefaced their soiling of the front page with SLYT to assuage the guilt they felt and also to warn those with youtube allergies who might otherwise have had brain explosions on contact. Or maybe not..
posted by peacay at 9:26 PM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have a call out of my own to make: stop burying the lede people. I don't necessarily want to read a bunch of Wikipedia links and back story before I find out what your post is about.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:37 PM on March 27, 2011 [23 favorites]


I like the moving pitchers myself. And the single-linkers. I was really prepared to not like that post [the one you linked to way up there stav] because it was like a single link to some mainstream magazine and what.... but then I read it and it was such a weird story and the whole thing spurred some great conversation that not only did I really like the post but I also thought it was a good example of one of them single-linkers. Pulling just the one article out of the whole annoying universe of "things Fortune writes about" to find the one that was right for MetaFilter. Nice work.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:37 PM on March 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Amen, for reals.
posted by flex at 9:42 PM on March 27, 2011


A thank you to each and every one of you who makes FPPs with simple, unpadded links to good things with a sensible amount of descriptive text which may, sometimes, be quite short and still entirely reasonable.

Likewise a thank you to those of you that that make posts that are long by necessity and have a number of good, tasty links.

And if you like only one of those types of FPPs but refrain form posting snotty comments in the other then a very big thank you.
posted by Artw at 9:49 PM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Chuck Olman voice.

In 2001, Jack Van Impe Ministries "won" the parodic Ig Nobel Prize in Astrophysics for its assertion that "black holes fulfill all the technical requirements to be the location of Hell.
posted by clavdivs at 10:05 PM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


IT'S THE WIZARD, NOT THE WAND
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:25 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a single link. In my pants.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:41 PM on March 27, 2011


Diego Garcia.
posted by buzzman at 10:53 PM on March 27, 2011


Man, if I had made my last post a single link nobody would have derailed it into a hatefest on PETA. :(

But if I did, nobody would've known the context and would've bitched the same way about that.

I hate lose/lose situations.
posted by flatluigi at 10:59 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I tend to prefer posts that only have one link, actually; if it stays on the front page it means the one link is pretty good, whatever it is. I'm more likely to click those, too; it's not like I'm averse to extra information -- not at all, really -- but I can look up more stuff on my own if the first link is interesting, plus someone inevitably links other good stuff in the comments and by then I have a context for it.

Some posts have more than one good link, but often a lot of them aren't that useful, or they're redundant, and it's not always obvious which link is supposed to be the main draw. I do appreciate it when people make the organization clear in the post, though, and there are a lot of people who manage to include the extra stuff without muddying things.

It does seem like there's a fear that a single-link post could be "thin" and so people add more padding than is necessary, but... well, if there's no one link that is good enough to potentially stand on its own, most of the time (not always) I think tacking on even weaker links can hurt more than it helps. A post is only as thin as its strongest link, and if a single link is strong enough then it's not a thin post. Going for quantity can bury the best link instead of supplement it.

The post linked in this MeTa had enough in a single link and sparked a good discussion, so the single-link snarking seemed a bit odd to me and I'm glad for this MeTa. It doesn't make much sense to talk about the number of links in most cases; if there's one link and it's weak, then say it's weak -- the problem is quality, not quantity, and couching it in terms of quantity just makes people unnecessarily pad their posts.
posted by Nattie at 11:02 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


That post was awful.

It would have been much better with a link to a wiki on interns...
posted by munchingzombie at 11:28 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: "I think if you've only got one link it better be a really good link."

Cat-Scan.com is one of the strangest sites I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these people got their cats wedged into their scanners, or why.
posted by tzikeh at 11:42 PM on March 27, 2011


What annoys me about this callout, stav, is that you've only linked one instance of this problem. It'd be nice if you'd actually gone to the trouble of finding a few more examples for us to talk about. It just seems lazy, is all.
posted by koeselitz at 11:50 PM on March 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Man, if I had made my last post a single link nobody would have derailed it into a hatefest on PETA. :(

was just thinking that. hmm...
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:54 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Right to the moon, koeselitz, right to the mooon!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:55 PM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Its metafilter...so no lord here. Also, california.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:43 AM on March 28, 2011


The linked comment was actually one of the first complaints about this that I've noticed in a while. What I find way more common is people apologizing for their single-link FPPs, which does bug me. Number one, there's nothing wrong with one, solid link. Number two, if you think your post is worthy of apology, why are you making it?
posted by brundlefly at 12:53 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, anigbrowl's comment was obnoxious. Perhaps we don't need a Metatalk about its obnoxiousness. FIAMO.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:03 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


My intention was not to suggest that it was obnoxious, merely to have a little discussion (and hopefully lighthearted one) that would hopefully make it clear to newer users of the site who may think that posts including a single link are somehow frowned upon that that is certainly not the case.

The 'callout' mentality that sometimes takes over in Metatalk is one I've never liked, and I've said as much a few times a few times in the past. The thread was in response to specific comment, which I linked to, but in no way am I attempting to single out anigbrowl for any disapprobation. Just a visible policy discussion, which is what Metatalk is supposed to be for.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:11 AM on March 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


A single link sounds great right now. Maybe a Polish, though a brat would be alright. (Though I am totally mystified by sauerkraut. A plain link can be just about perfect.)
posted by maxwelton at 1:13 AM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


What I'm trying to say here is that I was mostly just really hopeful.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:17 AM on March 28, 2011


I think both single-link and multi-link posts can be OK. I think it depends on whether the link is about a particular site or a particular subject. If it's a site; like a cool video, or a game, or a great article; it's better if it's a single link. Extra links just confuse the issue.

But if it's about a subject, then it often really needs a variety of sources to cover different angles and give some context.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:32 AM on March 28, 2011


Can a subject be best of the web?
posted by ryanrs at 1:42 AM on March 28, 2011


OTOH, I never read the links, so why am I even commenting in this thread?
posted by ryanrs at 1:43 AM on March 28, 2011


Can a subject be best of the web?

Well, from a quick look at my favourites for examples, I'd say the Mandelbulbs, African-Americans in the Wild West and Andrew Crosse posts are good, multi-link posts that are about subjects rather than a specific site. Yes, best of the web.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:13 AM on March 28, 2011


-What I'm trying to say here is that I was mostly just really hopeful.-

Who are you and where did you bury stavrosthewonderchicken's body?
posted by peacay at 3:12 AM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


More proof that users can pretty much work things out if they're given the space.

Nice try at cheering us all up Stav, but Mefi is now to happiness what Portobello is to the French Riviera.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:25 AM on March 28, 2011


Thank you stavros. Single link FPPs were good enough for us in 2003 and as god is my witness they are good enough for 2011
posted by the mad poster! at 4:00 AM on March 28, 2011


Arguably, some of my best were been single links, basing this callout on a single off-hand comment by one user seems a little... hypersensitive.
posted by crunchland at 4:18 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Snap! IMHO the platonic ideal of a metafilter post is a single link to something cool with brief, concise explanatory text.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:22 AM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes.

This site was originally set up to feature the best of the web. It has morphed at times to an educational site in which people seem to want to overwhelm us with links (many times but not always because the original link was thin.)


I don't really care for the multilink posts, but I am pretty meh about it. But I do get my feathers ruffled when people diss the single link posts.

(I have been here under one incarnation or another for just about a decade. It's always been that way. Deal.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:11 AM on March 28, 2011


Three. Three links. All post should have exactly three links. Three is a magic number, and fortune comes in threes. And there are three Icy Hot Stuntaz.
posted by BeerFilter at 5:25 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can I hear an amen?
Amen!
posted by dg at 5:52 AM on March 28, 2011


two lights above the sea writes "Yeah, I don't really understand the angst toward single-link FPP."

I think some of it comes from equating the special case of single link mystery meat (which I've railed against on many occasions but is popular with others) with all single link posts.
posted by Mitheral at 5:58 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


nobody would have derailed it into a hatefest on PETA.

If your post mentioned PETA in any way, that would likely have happened. I'm sorry that your incredibly cool post turned into the same people hollering at each other about the same stuff.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:09 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Single Link Post

Multi-Link Post

Missing Link Post
posted by logicpunk at 6:10 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Relatedly, it wouldn't break my heart at all if people stopped with the "SLYT" and other "SLblahblah" designations when they DO make a single-link post. The "SLYT" thing was in direct reaction to those people who used to gripe about links to YouTube, but, as noted above, we have grown beyond that, and it has turned into one of those in-joke things like the much-aggrieved "special snowflake inside" bit on AskMe that has long outlived its moment.
posted by briank at 6:30 AM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Most of my FPPs flop horribly. I'm just not terribly good at them. I'm happy this one went off well, tho - I think it's an important issue, and the discussion has been interesting.

Angibrowl seemed ideologically opposed to discussing this sort of thing (somewhat right-of-center on economic/labor issues), and took an unrelated and insincere rhetorical dig at it to undermine the post's validity. Unfortunately, that had an explode-in-face effect that I find amusing.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:30 AM on March 28, 2011


Most of my FPPs don't even have links. They're just several paragraphs about the government, the weather, black helicopters, and Lou Diamond Phillips.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:50 AM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thanks for posting this in MeTa - that comment rubbed me the wrong way, too, and I'm glad to see this as well as languagehat's little bit rougher-voiced response. What St. Alia said pretty much goes for me, too.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:07 AM on March 28, 2011


Single Link Post

Multi-Link Post

Missing Link Post


Weak Link Post
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:28 AM on March 28, 2011


Brunnian Link Post

High-dimensional Link Post
posted by Wolfdog at 7:35 AM on March 28, 2011


Yes, thank you very much. Apparently people are seeing "this is thin" as a criticism or reason for deletion and thinking that it means add more links. Everywhere! No matter what!

Some links are thin and no amount of padding is going to make them chewy. Some links are fine on our their own, and get padded out anyway, which usually makes a worse post. Some links are potentially interesting but they do require some background or supporting information to bloom. And good, interesting single-link posts are just peachy.

mmmmm! Chewy bloomers!
posted by taz at 7:36 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Chain link post
posted by TedW at 7:39 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Some links are thin and no amount of padding is going to make them chewy. Some links are fine on our their own, and get padded out anyway, which usually makes a worse post. Some links are potentially interesting but they do require some background or supporting information to bloom. And good, interesting single-link posts are just peachy.

You are a terrible cook.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:39 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some links are thin and no amount of padding is going to make them chewy. Some links are fine on our their own, and get padded out anyway, which usually makes a worse post.

A good example is that "192 national burgers" post - I clicked about 4 different links trying to find the one that was the actual point of the post before I found the right one. One of them was to the CIA World Factbook (to illustrate the 192 nations), which seems like a link for the sake of a link. We just want to see 192 delicious burgers, fuck all the other cruft.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:44 AM on March 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Multi-link posts are like albums. Sometimes there's only one decent song on an album.
posted by philip-random at 7:47 AM on March 28, 2011


Amen to that.

I like the single link posts. I like the multi-link posts. I hate the multi-link posts where only one of the links is actually important and the others are all just random supplementary material, backstory, and padding. I especially hate the padded-out multi-link posts where you can't tell which of the links is the important one.

Also while we're at it I really dislike it when people mention for example a movie in the comments, but instead of just naming the movie they have to get cute and say something like "hey what about this one", since IMDb's urls don't give any indication of what movie they correspond to, so everyone has to go on a roundtrip to the site just to know what the hell the person is talking about. That's annoying.

Basically if you're bothering to link something it should be clear why you bothered to link it. That applies whether we're talking about one link or fifty.
posted by ook at 7:59 AM on March 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


I may have been unduly influenced by the fact that I live just down the road from filthy light thief, one of MetaFilter's Masters of the Multi-Link, but I do think twice when I only have one link to work with. But then, I also live just down the road from the late Jack LaLanne, and I don't emulate him ... obviously. But when I wrote his "obitfilter", I made it a 12-link workout.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:09 AM on March 28, 2011


taz: "Some links are thin and no amount of padding is going to make them chewy. Some links are fine on our their own, and get padded out anyway, which usually makes a worse post. Some links are potentially interesting but they do require some background or supporting information to bloom. And good, interesting single-link posts are just peachy.

shakespeherian: You are a terrible cook."

But she sounds like a helluva gardener.
posted by zarq at 8:13 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also while we're at it I really dislike it when people mention for example a movie in the comments, but instead of just naming the movie they have to get cute and say something like "hey what about this one", since IMDb's urls don't give any indication of what movie they correspond to, so everyone has to go on a roundtrip to the site just to know what the hell the person is talking about. That's annoying.

Also IMDB apparently runs like thirty flash thingys in the background and hosts a trillion invisible images on every page and their server is located on the moon and data transfer is done via flashlight because dear christ is that site ever way slower than it by all rights ought to be. So yeah, when you link to a movie and don't say what it is you are literally worse than Hitler.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:15 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Single Link YOUTUBE Posts should be really awesome (but aren't always).
Extra links just for padding are often lacking in awesomeness.
It's possible for a Single Link Post, even a link to a Reddit thread, to be Best-o-the-web.
Extra awesomeness is always welcome.
posted by theora55 at 8:15 AM on March 28, 2011


We just want to see 192 delicious burgers, fuck all the other cruft.

AMEN!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:18 AM on March 28, 2011


Also IMDB apparently runs like thirty flash thingys in the background and hosts a trillion invisible images on every page and their server is located on the moon and data transfer is done via flashlight because dear christ is that site ever way slower than it by all rights ought to be.

Yep. This and the lack of informative URLs are the reasons I link to Wikipedia when I can.
posted by brundlefly at 8:25 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't care about single link, but in this case, people got all excited, gassing on about ratting her out to the IRS and the Canadian equivalent, and hoping that her office supplies would be looted by those unpaid workers, and generally piled on without figuring out exactly what the business was. Decorating by web= you send a photo of your living room, pay $20, and someone gives decorating advice. I'm willing to be that most of the unpaid workers are women who fancy themselves as interior designers, and want to validate that idea by association with this business.
When toni jean wanted to become a barista by volunteering, Mefites didn't leap to tell her how she was snatching the bread out of worker's mouths.

I think the post was lazy.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:27 AM on March 28, 2011


Yep. This and the lack of informative URLs are the reasons I link to Wikipedia when I can.

But you don't need to link to Wikipedia either. We all know where Wikipedia is. It's marginally better than IMDb, since at least the URLs aren't obfuscated, but it's still unnecessary linking-for-the-sake-of-linking.
posted by ook at 9:07 AM on March 28, 2011


When toni jean wanted to become a barista by volunteering, Mefites didn't leap to tell her how she was snatching the bread out of worker's mouths.

Can you point to where toni jean talks about volunteering?
"I just got a job at an awesome coffee shop. …what I really want is to be the best Barista on the face of the planet.… I just love the business that I am going to be working for and I would love to be an asset to them."
posted by zamboni at 9:13 AM on March 28, 2011


ook: " But you don't need to link to Wikipedia either. We all know where Wikipedia is. It's marginally better than IMDb, since at least the URLs aren't obfuscated, but it's still unnecessary linking-for-the-sake-of-linking."

Digging deeper for better links is great, but there are times when wikipedia is the best organized and most concise source of information on a particular subject available online. If you're doing an FPP about someone who is a Pentecostal Christian for example, (where their beliefs matter to the FPP) it wouldn't be a bad thing to point out wikipedia's page for those who want to know more.
posted by zarq at 9:20 AM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


There are also definitely people who have the weird "What is this?" response to posts about things that may be common knowledge in some circles and unheard of in others. Offering a Wikipedia link as a quick shortcut to more information about a subject can sometimes a) make mystery posts less mysterious and b) make it clear that the poster is trying to give you information about a subject and not deliberately being coy/cliquey. Obviously linking every noun to a Wikipedia page isn't a great practice, but done in moderation it can add context without cruft.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:24 AM on March 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


There are also definitely people who have the weird "What is this?" response to posts about things that may be common knowledge in some circles and unheard of in others.

Boy, that is the single most irritating thing I see in early comments for threads. "Uh, CONTEXT? How am I supposed to know what this thing is?"
posted by Greg Nog at 9:34 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Linking every... what? Oh that clears it up.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:34 AM on March 28, 2011


In Defense of the Single Link Post

Until the New Post Form changes and no longer facilitates the whole post being a single link, I'll say the single link post is great, when done well. (I'm ignoring the "via" links.)


In Defense of the Multi-Link Post

Where this was overkill, this is epic.

In a shorter form, this is a post I return to as a prime example of a solid multi-link post. It isn't overwhelming in terms of text or links (9 links total), the links lead where you think they will, and they all lead to related topics.


ryanrs: Can a subject be best of the web?

I'd like to think so, because that's often what I post.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:34 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


But you don't need to link to Wikipedia either. We all know where Wikipedia is. It's marginally better than IMDb, since at least the URLs aren't obfuscated, but it's still unnecessary linking-for-the-sake-of-linking.

Sometimes, sometimes not. If the main link (note: multi-link posts do not have to have one "main" link, but it is often the case that they do) is on some obscure topic that many people have not heard of, especially if the main link does not have enough background on the topic in and of itself (it assumes background knowledge that many MeFites may not, in fact, have), then a link to the relevant Wikipedia article is often welcome.

OTOH, it is unnecessary and even somewhat annoying to link to Wikipedia articles such as "World War II" or "Pacific Ocean" or "Bacon" where it is safe to assume that most if not all MeFites are aware of the topic.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:35 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Uh, CONTEXT? How am I supposed to know what this thing is?"

Yeah I personally find that damned annoying but I think there are posts that presume some sort of "well eveyone knows the backstory, so let me jump right into the recent developments" knowledge. And others where if you read the link you can figure it out. And others that are inscrutable no matter what. But I think people feel that theit grousing over context is actually more like complaining about mystery meat when sometimes that's not the case.

We have fewer posters nowadays who make totally mystery meat posts so I think the trend is to have posts that make sense to a slightly more general audience than, say, five years ago. But there are also a ton of new users who get nervous about making posts so they err on the side over possibly overexplicating and then people bitch about Wikipedia. At some level you can't win where winning = making every nerd happy at once. Except sometimes.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:39 AM on March 28, 2011


Metafilter: making every nerd happy at once
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:42 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


It ain't the link it's the lotion.

yeah, i got nuthin
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:43 AM on March 28, 2011


I am in favour of linking to Wikipedia.

If most people are going to be looking up the subject of the post anyway, you might as well make it a bit more convenient for them.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:48 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Boy, that is the single most irritating thing I see in early comments for threads. "Uh, CONTEXT? How am I supposed to know what this thing is?"

That is annoying, but so are posts that take the form "Joe Blow offers his take on the frobulator," full stop, when you have heard of neither Mr. Blow nor the frobulator in question.

I don't think Wikipedia links are a very good solution to this, though. Better to just describe who someone is with a word or two in the post text.
posted by enn at 9:53 AM on March 28, 2011


If I were a mod, I would be unable to resist deleting one of those monster filthy light thief - type posts with a reason like "I don't know, it just doesn't 'pop'."
posted by Wolfdog at 9:54 AM on March 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'll tend to link to a better general intro than Wikipedia if there is one - in my last post that was the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy which IMO beats out Wiki on the subject - but not bother if that's not the case, though it's a fair point about making it easier. Definitely usually try to have one single link as the lede/focus of a post and am more than happy with other people's single link FPPs.
posted by Abiezer at 10:02 AM on March 28, 2011


Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp.
posted by ericb at 10:02 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here's the thing:

I'm gonna link to Wikipedia when I think it's useful, like say more information about a person mentioned in a comment.

If there's a FPP that I find confusing that lacks context, I 'm probably going to post a comment asking for clarification of said context. You can either point to something I've missed in the post, provide context, ignore me or get into a furry costume. Whatever. Just get on with the interesting links and information.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:06 AM on March 28, 2011


jessamyn: "But I think people feel that theit grousing over context is actually more like complaining about mystery meat when sometimes that's not the case."

I find it frustrating when people ask politely for more background ("I don't understand, could you please explain?") and get jumped on for it. But yes, it happens a lot less nowadays and that's great.
posted by zarq at 10:11 AM on March 28, 2011


Would this be an acceptable FPP?

SLYT
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:18 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wolfdog: If I were a mod, I would be unable to resist deleting one of those monster filthy light thief - type posts with a reason like "I don't know, it just doesn't 'pop'."

Looking back, I'm surprised someone didn't kill this one with a comment along the lines of "if it's too big for the post form, it's too big for MetaFilter." The frickin' overflow was too big for a single comment!
posted by filthy light thief at 10:19 AM on March 28, 2011


Yes.
posted by Artw at 10:19 AM on March 28, 2011


Abso-fucking-lutely.

I sometimes wish there was a single link equivalent to Flash Fridays (do people even do that anymore?). Shame there's no obvious alliterative candidate. Monolink Mondays, maybe?
posted by jack_mo at 10:43 AM on March 28, 2011


Single-link Slursday.

Slursday is, of course, the day after a Chicago meetup.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:04 AM on March 28, 2011


I can't believe I forgot that both days in the weekend start with an 'S'.

But Single Sundays sounds like a maudlin Christian Rock group, and Single Saturdays sounds like something at one of those bars that advertise free shots for 'chicks'.

Slursdays it is! I hereby promise to make a single link post the day after every Chicago meetup.
posted by jack_mo at 11:13 AM on March 28, 2011


Word.

I assume people are over compensating when they have more than one link in a post.
posted by chunking express at 11:16 AM on March 28, 2011


chunking express: I assume people are over compensating when they have more than one link in a post.

That's what he said.
posted by gman at 11:24 AM on March 28, 2011


Amen, stavros.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:25 AM on March 28, 2011


My memory is likely failing me, but I thought the FAQ once subtly encouraged multi-link posts via reference to someone's (crunchland's?) user-page which had guidance on constructing them.

There is still this FAQ entry though it looks like crunchland's userpage no longer has the content originally linked.
posted by exogenous at 11:37 AM on March 28, 2011


harmony
posted by clavdivs at 11:40 AM on March 28, 2011


Yeah that's no good, I updated that FAQ entry.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:53 AM on March 28, 2011


My memory is likely failing me, but I thought the FAQ once subtly encouraged multi-link posts via reference to someone's (crunchland's?) user-page which had guidance on constructing them.

Did crunchland wipe his Method from his profile? IIRC, it wasn't only about multi-link posts, just great advice on how to find cool stuff and how to judge whether it was good for MeFi.

Also, the format of the posting form (Link URL, Link Title) is a pretty much a tacit endorsment of the single link, no?
posted by jack_mo at 12:11 PM on March 28, 2011


I don't post many single links, but I don't mind them. A lot of times what I've found in my own posts is that something I want to highlight gets sidetracked by the supporting links around it. I know the purpose of a FPP is the link and not the discussion, but it's frustrating to see the discussion go screwy because of a tangential link.

It's a matter of providing the right amount of information, which can be difficult to do as we're not mind readers. Does the post require supporting information, or is it better served with no outside information. I'm reminded of a Youtube post a few months ago of a talent show from the Philippines with an insane, gothic rendition of my Heart Will Go On. The post was framed to give as little information as possible, and the effect was that the big reveal in the video was more surprising. Three supporting links would have killed the surprise, but I was also reluctant to click on it because I didn't know exactly what it was (ended up going there by browsing popular favorites).

One thing that I think really helps SL posts (although makes them slightly less SL) is a Via link. That lets you know where the item is coming from, and gives a little bit of added value to the post.

My two cents, anyway.
posted by codacorolla at 12:26 PM on March 28, 2011


For what it's worth, I am fine with single link FPPs. Not everything needs to be the Resolute Desk.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:21 PM on March 28, 2011


The thread was in response to specific comment, which I linked to, but in no way am I attempting to single out anigbrowl for any disapprobation.

Actually, I don't have anything against single-link FPPs, as such. It's thin linkbaity FPPs that I object to, and I don't think I'm entirely alone in this, as evidenced by the recent impending doom MeTa thread examining a subset of that genre. I have made several SLFPPs myself, yes. I got criticized for that more than once, and with hindsight I think rightly so. Since MeFi offers so much flexibility in constructing an FPP, and people's time is limited, quality matters. That's why I only post an FPP about once every 3 months, on average; to me there's a big gap between 'interesting' and 'good enough to be worthy of a thread.'

So rather than dissing that intern-related FPP on the basis of having only a single link, I should have mentioned why it seemed such weak sauce. (Of course, several people would prefer if I had not commented at all, and doubtless someone wishes I had never joined MeFi, or had chosen to express myself in some other medium entirely. You can't please everyone.*) It's not so much a question of explanatory context, as whether a single link stands well on its own. Many do - those that are simple and funny, or reference something of historic import, or about perennially popular subjects, or unique, or of such high (or low) written/artistic/journalistic quality as to be significant in their own right. The best SLFPPs need no context at all, and a single word may be sufficient. In turn, by posting something with a single link one implicitly asserts that the linked article/page/site has some distinctive quality - at least, that's my standard which obviously some don't share.

* However, physics suggests that a parallel universe exists in which that actually happened, as does another one in which every FPP meets my exacting standards to such a degree that further comment from me would be superfluous. Two alternate realities for the price of one!

The thing is, if the standard for an FPP is just 'somewhat interesting link-and-a-quote,' rather than 'best of the web,' then one might just as well read Twitter or some other link aggregator. This is especially true for newsy or op-ed material. Every news site I visit has a bunch of headlines in a sidebar that are labeled Most Interesting! or Most Talked About! or Most Read! and the purpose in highlighting those stories is to get a snowball effect of more eyeballs, more comments, more controversy and (ultimately) more pageviews for ads. A good deal of such content is not particularly well-written, informative, or significant, but sensationalized and designed to provoke a response - arguably a case of the medium being the message or more cynically, the tail wagging the dog. It takes longer to report on something in depth, and the more self-explanatory and complete an article or video segment is the fewer questions and comments will be appended to it. Whether one sees this as a propaganda technique, or reductionism inevitable under capitalism, or a symptom of declining attention among the public, insubstantia is a mainstay in media these days. This is a problem because it crowds out better stuff. It's not a criticism of the subject matter or its likely interest to MeFites.

Angibrowl seemed ideologically opposed to discussing this sort of thing (somewhat right-of-center on economic/labor issues), and took an unrelated and insincere rhetorical dig at it to undermine the post's validity. Unfortunately, that had an explode-in-face effect that I find amusing.

On the contrary, I went on to say why I considered the trend unsustainable and express my skepticism in the idea of it becoming the norm in 10 years. For those who enjoy trawling through comment histories, I have grumbled about overly thin FPPs quite frequently, and indeed recently.

I am most certainly not opposed to discussing this sort of thing; I just don't think a CNN blog article is much more than filler designed to plug a gap in the daily news hole. Also, I do not consider myself right of center on economic issues, but I do frequently challenge people on handwave-y left-of-center arguments because handwaving is misleading, even when it's inadvertent or unintentional. There are enough left-leaning people on MeFi that handwave-y right-of-center arguments have usually been dissected by the time I see see them; on some other sites I frequent I tend to have arguments with libertarians.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:36 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yup, there used to be more on crunchland's profile, it's gone now. In searching for "crunchland method" posts, I found this reply to the crunchland method, which quotes some of the old profile.

I think the crunchland method also referred to the presurfer, and some now-stagnant odd link aggregation sites.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:37 PM on March 28, 2011


ricochet biscuit: For what it's worth, I am fine with single link FPPs. Not everything needs to be the Resolute Desk.

But it's fantastic to have the Resolute Desk here, just two posts up from Not a very Christy win and three up from The 2009 No-Pants New York Subway Ride. But some of those paragraph-long links are a bit heavy on the eyes.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:42 PM on March 28, 2011


This is when single link FPP's were at their prime.
posted by adamvasco at 1:57 PM on March 28, 2011


Yup, there used to be more on crunchland's profile, it's gone now. -- Yeah, sorry about that. While I'm flattered that people still are inclined to refer to what was there, I decided that my method for making front page posts was really out-of-date and invalid, since it relied so heavily on link blogs, which have become rare. I also came to the conclusion that it was probably not a good idea to endorse the practice of serial posting, which may have been ok five years ago, it's not necessarily great to post every single day any more. I managed to do it for a stretch of time -- nearly a year, I think -- but looking back, not every single post I made was completely stellar, and I was posting for the sake of posting, and not posting really good stuff.
posted by crunchland at 2:20 PM on March 28, 2011


I think some of it comes from equating the special case of single link mystery meat (which I've railed against on many occasions but is popular with others) with all single link posts.
This is probably true - mystery meat posts are nowhere near as common now as they used to be, but perhaps the two have been conflated somewhat. Personally, I love mystery meat posts although understand why people would be nervous about clicking on them. I would almost certainly not click on one that had a shortened URL, for example unless it was from a use that I trusted absolutely.

Variety is the spice of life, indeed and good links of all kinds are, well, good. Bad links will always suck no matter how many other bad links you add to make the post seem more 'rounded'.
posted by dg at 3:08 PM on March 28, 2011


> I now see languagehat got there before me, in somewhat more fiery tones.

My dander was up! And amen to you, Brother Stav.
posted by languagehat at 3:29 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


languagehat: My dander was up!

They have shampoo for that, you know. Oblig. definition/wordlplay link.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:59 PM on March 28, 2011

"Uh, CONTEXT? How am I supposed to know what this thing is?"
Is this something I need a context to understand?
posted by rhizome at 4:35 PM on March 28, 2011


I left my context back in college, probably somewhere behind the vents in my dormroom.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:28 PM on March 28, 2011


Now THIS is what a slyt should be.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:10 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Somebody mention dander ?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:45 PM on March 28, 2011


Slippery SLOpEd.
posted by flabdablet at 11:11 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks, St. Alia! That is one of my daughter's favorite songs; I can't wait to share that video with her.
posted by TedW at 4:41 AM on March 29, 2011


This is when single link FPP's were at their prime.

If only he wasn't such an asshole, it would have been a golden age.
posted by chunking express at 4:47 AM on March 29, 2011


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