Is a little context too much to ask for? May 29, 2011 5:37 PM   Subscribe

A little context wouldn't hurt.

I know it's been MeTa'd before, and I'm not sure if there's been any resolution at the policy level. But at a simple etiquette level, I have issues with folks posting multiple YouTube video links to the front page, one link per word, with no context or explanation provided, even below the fold or in the title or the tags. It may be permissible, but it's not best practice. And sometimes it's downright annoying, as when the linked content is so banal and all over the web already.

Some of us are on smartphones, or in otherwise bandwidth-limited or data-allocation-challenged or touchscreen-means-I-can't-just-hover-over-a-link-to-see-where-it-goes or time-limited circumstances.

How is one supposed to know what this is? If it's NSFW? If it's of any interest? If it's disturbing content? If it's worth the time, megabytes, or effort to click through the links? If three of the videos have a million-plus views and have been posted all over already? If it's cute cats or dead soldiers or funny kids of a damn rickroll?

This goes double if the poster in question doesn't have enough of an FPP track record for me (at least) to be able to trust that the content will be worth the effort (as, in this case, for me, it definitely wasn't).

I think it's a matter of common courtesy: under the fold, please put a single sentence saying what the broad connection is between these links. Or at least use a better title or tags. It's fine to be clever and cryptic (even enticingly so -- I thought I was going to see a vintage Who clip or something) above the fold.

Make readers click through to the more inside if necessary. But I don't want to have to guess what I'm going to see. Thank you.

(I would also favor a hard limit on cute cat and singing kid videos as a class, but that's just me.)
posted by fourcheesemac to Etiquette/Policy at 5:37 PM (237 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

(should have been "OR a damn rickroll.")
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:41 PM on May 29, 2011


I agreed, until you got to the cat part.
posted by tomswift at 5:43 PM on May 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


How is one supposed to know what this is? If it's NSFW? If it's of any interest? If it's disturbing content? If it's worth the time, megabytes, or effort to click through the links? If three of the videos have a million-plus views and have been posted all over already? If it's cute cats or dead soldiers or funny kids of a damn rickroll?

Don't know? Don't click. It's not complicated.

That said, uh, yeah, that third link... No thanks. [Tasteless crack about Pete Townsend]
posted by Sys Rq at 5:43 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh this is worse than lack of context. It's using lack of context to bait people and set them up. If you ran through the links, you'd probably go like this.

1. Meh. Listen a bit, move on.
2. Meh. Listen a bit, move on.
3. WTF?!?
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:44 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't know? Don't click. It's not complicated.

Yes, I realize that's an option.

But for me, that defeats the purpose of Metafilter, where I expect to find cool curated content most of the time, and don't want to have to pass over something that might be good (as I said, I thought -- along with charlie don't surf -- that this was going to be a rare Who video, perhaps, which would have made my day) just because I can't tell what the post is about, even from the early comments. Why should we have to guess? Not even a "MLYT" tag?

And I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one who thought at least one of those links was disturbingly WTF and not something I wanted to see. I can imagine there's plenty of people for whom that would also be somewhat NSFW.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:49 PM on May 29, 2011 [14 favorites]


Yeah, I for one was disturbed by the burlesque boy. I don't want to be even /accidentally/ watching that; it's a bit too much of a sexualised child for me. Probably even for youtube.
posted by owlrigh at 5:51 PM on May 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


While slightly better, I still think this user is trying to spite you.
posted by gman at 5:59 PM on May 29, 2011


I don't mind them when they're good, but the post that this is about is exceptionally weak. Even within the videos he linked there isn't really a strong connection, aside from kids liking music.
posted by codacorolla at 6:06 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Slightly better?!? Every single link was exactly as advertised, a RATM song. I clicked through each link and none of them were unexpectedly offensive content (unless you really hate Dubstep music, ha). The post was not a massive attempt to troll people to look at inappropriately sexualized children by getting their guard down by putting 2 talented young musicians before them.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:08 PM on May 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Don't know? Don't click. It's not complicated.

There's already lots of stuff on the internet that I have not seen and never will. That's not what MeFi is about.
posted by DU at 6:10 PM on May 29, 2011 [22 favorites]


I hear the mods get free eye bleach.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:10 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tags:
kids
music
wonderful
posted by BeerFilter at 6:12 PM on May 29, 2011


I didn't see any tags like:

Crossdressing
burlesque
getyoureyebleachready
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:16 PM on May 29, 2011


I think you're overreacting.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:20 PM on May 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


There's already lots of stuff on the internet that I have not seen and never will. That's not what MeFi is about.

I didn't say it wasn't deletion-worthy. But its crumminess has less to do with context than content. If a certain style of post is not one's cup of tea, one is entirely free to skip over it; there's no use whining when you're the one actively choosing to inflict mystery meat upon yourself.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:21 PM on May 29, 2011


Mystery meat links AND pointless use of link shorteners? Really hitting all the shitty post checklist items there.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:24 PM on May 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


Don't know? Don't click. It's not complicated.

Toward the top of my list of complaints about MetaFilter as a community is that nobody can post a complaint, any kind of complaint on MeTa without incurring snotty replies.

Also, and unrelated, I agree with the OP.
posted by cribcage at 6:25 PM on May 29, 2011 [39 favorites]


I can imagine there's plenty of people for whom that would also be somewhat NSFW.

Well then shouldn't you, and they, be working instead of looking at metafilter?
posted by TheBones at 6:27 PM on May 29, 2011


I'm not a big fan of FPPs consisting solely of several tangentially related youtube clips (unless they're all super mega awesome) but posting a series of complaints and snarks about it and generally shitting in the thread seems even worse.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 6:32 PM on May 29, 2011


Well then shouldn't you, and they, be working instead of looking at metafilter?

It's pretty widely accepted that blame the victim shit like this doesn't fly on this site. Also a very insulting attitude to take towards your fellow users, in my opinion.
posted by codacorolla at 6:35 PM on May 29, 2011 [15 favorites]


Every MeTa is an "overreaction" to someone. Let me add that I wouldn't have bothered with MeTA had cronkhite not told me to "kiss his ass" for mildly snarking about the lack of context in thread (which I shouldn't have done, to be sure). Because this post was about cronkhite being ever-so-clever, not about pointing the way to awesome content we might otherwise never have seen or discussed.

I think the basic issue here is that this is a weaker-than-Denny's-coffee FPP to begin with (other than the third link, which is not banal, to be sure), which makes it all the more polite to add some advance warning that it's a stunt post (which I think it is, as opposed to pointing MeFites to cool unseen stuff -- number 2 has 42 *million* views already!). If I had clicked on those links and found each one to be a little gem with some interesting connection to the others, I'd have no issue. Even that third video could have been framed in a way that would have been an interesting subject for further discussion.

As for wonderful singing kids, how's this? (Warning: yodeling goat puppet SLYT)

Also, that RATM post from MechEng is awesome -- real MeFi quality stuff -- and does exactly what it says on the label. No problem here, gman.

Well then shouldn't you, and they, be working instead of looking at metafilter?

Dude, I'm on a hotel balcony looking over the Pacific Ocean in Waikiki. I didn't say it is NSFW for me. But we do have a longstanding convention here that NSFW material is normally labeled as such, because many of us do have jobs where it's OK for us to look at most of what is posted on Metafilter. I'd venture to guess that on many days (granted not on memorial day weekend) a good percentage of the MeFi readership is at work.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:35 PM on May 29, 2011

I can imagine there's plenty of people for whom that would also be somewhat NSFW.
Well then shouldn't you, and they, be working instead of looking at metafilter?
Are you my boss? My workplace is fine with people surfing the internet during working hours.

However, I'm not so sure that it would be fine if someone walked in on me watching a video of a prepubescent child dancing burlesque, dressed in a form fitting nightdress or whatever that was, plus fishnet stockings, with heavy makeup.
posted by Flunkie at 6:40 PM on May 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Dude, I'm on a hotel balcony looking over the Pacific Ocean in Waikiki.


First world problem?
posted by futz at 6:44 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it contextless post day or something? This link could have been a lot more well described. No context for the singer, the motives behind the song or anything else.
posted by zabuni at 6:44 PM on May 29, 2011


zabuni at least that post had tags that could tip you off.
posted by Sailormom at 6:46 PM on May 29, 2011


Yeah that post bugged me too. I mean what it linked to was kind of interesting, but it felt like some kind of trap for the curious, an irritating way to get people's attention without letting them decide (without clicking) whether or not they were interested.

I quite like posts that play around with the formatting and are not a simple link+explanatory context fair, but this one didn't need to be anything other than 'Here are some videos to some kids playing music. It's kind of net.'

Don't know? Don't click. It's not complicated.

I like not knowing and clicking because I want to know more. I also like to know what I'm getting myself into. Follow that through and you'll never use google because who knows what the results actually contain!
posted by litleozy at 6:47 PM on May 29, 2011




I thought it was a half decent post, and after I clicked the first link, pretty obvious what I was going to get with the rest (except maybe burlesque boy). I like kids playing music/performing, but not everyone does. I'm not sure any of it was worth the little fit you had in the thread, fourcheesemac. You might call it "mild" but you had three of the first ten or so comments, all expressing various forms of your displeasure.

The poster used decent tags, as BeerFilter pointed out, so I don't know what you're going on about there. Speaking of tags, though, "commonsense" and "wasteofmytime" for this MeTa are kind of not helping your case. Common sense, to me, would be things like: Everyone doesn't like the same kind of posts. Not all posts have to be the same. Context is not to much to ask for, but you should be prepared to have your request denied.

That said, this MeTa was an ok option if you really want to people to discuss the philosophy and acceptability of mystery meat posts for like the millionth time.
posted by donnagirl at 6:48 PM on May 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


The post had no consistency across the links, had one huge curve-ball which has already derailed the thread, and two videos (the lip syncing kid, and the toddler with the uke) that've been widely discussed on network television, much less here already.

Absolutely weak, which is unfortunate because that could be a pretty interesting post. Like that Brazillian sibling band that covers heavy metal. There are tons of great musical performances by kids on YouTube, and this has one of them.
posted by codacorolla at 6:53 PM on May 29, 2011


Agreed. I usually don't click on posts like that unless there are already some comments in the thread to give me some idea of what it is. And it's very rare that comments make me inclined to find out anything more.

I don't think we need a new a policy or anything, just, if you found something neat and you want people to actually look at it, don't do that.
posted by nangar at 6:55 PM on May 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


The poster used decent tags,

The tags aren't visible from the homepage, which is where I clicked from. It's not that I care where I'm sent to (even at work), it's just that when I get there, I expect it to be "Best of the Web" quality."

I'm tired of mystery meat posts. It's always just ass meat that the poster just stuffed in a single post-sausage, and no part of it is ever particularly appetizing.

Don't feed me your ass meat any more. Genug.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:59 PM on May 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's pretty widely accepted that blame the victim shit like this doesn't fly on this site.

Firstily, I would disagree that the NSFW issue has been resolved in any substantial way. Second, "Blame the victim" is a ridiculously over the top way to describe those who expect everyone else to respect and conform to their workplace regulations.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:03 PM on May 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


I agree with the OP. Yeah, I don't click things that don't have any context because it's come up before and people still keep posting posts like that. That doesn't mean the OP is wrong/weird/dumb to bring it up; if it makes just a few people think, "I didn't realize so many people weren't clicking on my posts because of the lack of context," or "I didn't realize posting things without context could be inconvenient or irritate people in these certain ways" and change their posts accordingly, then it was worth mentioning again.

I think a lot of people have the idea that having no context makes the post more intriguing so more people will click it, or they don't want to ruin some surprise, but... well, I would guess that it hurts a lot more than it helps, though I have no evidence to back that up.

Also, another side effect: usually when I've clicked a context-less post, I'm disappointed, either because it's not as intriguing as the lack of framing made it out to be, or it's just something I'm not prone to like anyway. If you lure someone in by lack of description, then you're likely to end up with a frustrated, disappointed person in your thread who wouldn't otherwise be there -- so it's basically not going to help the resulting thread much if you don't help people filter themselves out of the thread beforehand by being clear about what the link is. For example, if you post a contextless link to a heavy metal music video, and you don't want to hear people complaining about "ugh, I hate metal," you'll get a lot less of that if you simply mention it's a metal song because many metal-hating people will simply pass it over. You'll end up with a few odd people who can't help from commenting about how much they dislike stuff, but mostly you'll get people predisposed to give it a chance.

There are a number of short but descriptive posts about niche interests that end up with a relatively small amount of comments but are largely positive experiences for the few who are interested. I think that's a good thing. If you want to draw new people in, then I don't think you do that by essentially tricking them into clicking something by lack of context. Instead, give context for what is interesting about this particular thing you're linking; I've gotten into new shit thanks to MetaFilter because of posts just like that. For instance, I got into Lovecraft because of the post that linked the HP Podcraft's recording of "The Haunter of the Dark." The framing of that post is very specific, but it appealed to me to give it a shot. Now I've read nearly everything Lovecraft has written and listened to nearly all the episodes of that podcast, all because Artw took the time to give context that let me determine if it his link would appeal to me.

I assume people post things here because they want other people to enjoy them or talk about them, and they don't want people to ignore their post if they're someone who would enjoy it or talk about it. Well, context helps that. If you don't put context that's fine, but realize you're going to lose a lot of potential people who might enjoy the link or discuss it, and gain a lot of people who, statistically, probably won't.

Seriously, I would click a lot more things if they simply said "this is an article about economics" or "this is a music video" or "this is another cat video." Some people are great with context, but that bare minimum is a huge help.
posted by Nattie at 7:07 PM on May 29, 2011 [24 favorites]


The tags aren't visible from the homepage

I know the tags aren't visible from the home page, but fourcheesemac explicitly - in the thread (now deleted) and here - mentioned the lack of good tags as part of the general complaint. So, just responding to that particular part of the issue raised by this MeTa. Mystery meat debate can rage on.
posted by donnagirl at 7:07 PM on May 29, 2011


> Toward the top of my list of complaints about MetaFilter as a community is that nobody can post a complaint, any kind of complaint on MeTa without incurring snotty replies.

> Every MeTa is an "overreaction" to someone.

Most websites don't have a place where you can make complaints and discuss policy. Of course if you're making a complaint, there's going to be push back. But as grarry as it can get, it's a feature.
posted by nangar at 7:13 PM on May 29, 2011


Toward the top of my list of complaints about MetaFilter as a community is that nobody can post a complaint, any kind of complaint on MeTa without incurring snotty replies.

Care to try again? I'm not sure that was hypocritical enough.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:17 PM on May 29, 2011


No one told me we were supposed to be keeping lists.
posted by Sailormom at 7:18 PM on May 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well gee thanks for your permission to post here, donnagirl. I wasn't sure until you said so. I should have asked you first!

And yes, in fact, I do want to discuss mystery meat posts for the "millionth" time because cronkhite posted a shitty mystery meat post I really didn't like. So apparently 999,999 prior MeTas have had no influence on what I consider to be a substantial problem with cryptic stunty FPPs that link to banal and incoherently organized audio/video content, a problem exacerbated by the fact that many of us now read MeFi on smartphones and tablets with limited data plans and touchscreens that make it harder to figure out what we're going to see when we click.

I asked politely if in the future MLYT posts could have a one sentence contextualizing gloss below the fold, especially if they are going to link to potentially NSFW content (which again does not depend on the fact that it wouldn't be NSFW for me in particular).

I'm *not* arguing for a blanket prohibition on cryptic posts or MLYT posts. I do happen to think that this post is deletion-worthy (although I did not in fact call for its deletion either) on its face as a crap post, and I'm suggesting (quite politely, if you will re-read my post above) that people who post YouTube links please (as I said above, please! and thank you!) give a little context for those of us who like to know what we're clicking on, for whatever reason. As an etiquette issue, it bears repeating whenever the breach of etiquette (as I see it) happens. Just because it's been discussed before (and what etiquette topic has not been the subject of a million MeTas, might I ask?) doesn't mean the issue is resolved or closed, as evidenced by the many of us who were unpleasantly surprised by this particular batch of mystery meat.

It was a banal-to-bad FPP. I flagged it. I snarked mildly in thread (for which I have already mea-culpa'd, admittedly I was annoyed) but I didn't say anything more snarky than "how about a little context" and "could you do this with cat videos too?" as I recall, and I was fairly polite about it, (only to meet with a "kiss my ass" from the OP and a suggestion from restless_nomad that we take it to MeTa, which I did).

The thing some of us, at least, love(d) about this site and its community is that we do have standards for quality content, clear presentation, and basic etiquette, and a forum for discussing what we see as breaches of those standards. All of us fall short of those standards at times (or most of us, Miko doesn't). When we do, it's fair game to bring the issue to MeTa. That's what MeTa is for. (So I'll turn it around on the haters here and say "if you don't like this discussion, why are you reading it? Shouldn't you be doing work or something?")

That said, I shouldn't have bothered. I'll try harder not to care about the quality of discourse or content on Metafilter any more.

Enjoy your mystery meat sandwich. I hope it doesn't make you throw up a little the way it did for me. I'm going to enjoy my first world problem: go to the beach or take a nap? (Actually, I'm here working on "fourth world" problems [look it up], which is what I do for a living, but I admit to being able to afford a nice hotel and taking sunday afternoons off, with apologies to enslaved and impoverished MeFites of the third world, who are, I'm sure, legion.)
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:25 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm just going to pretend that all wasn't directed at me, because, wow. I wasn't being nearly as passive-aggressive as you seem to think, I actually honestly believe this MeTa was a better option than snark in the thread. I'd take it to MeFi mail, but you don't have yours enabled.
posted by donnagirl at 7:33 PM on May 29, 2011


Dude, for a guy who's sitting on a balcony overlooking Waikiki, you seem....tense. Maybe a trip to Trader Vic's is in order? He invented the mai tai, you know.
posted by Diablevert at 7:42 PM on May 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


> Look

It is very dark. It's very likely that you will eat a mystery meat sandwich. You see a very large mystery meat sandwich here. You're hungry, but you're not sure what it is. Just then, other people appear in the dungeon. They also seem to be hungry, and they're advancing on the sandwich.

> Wait

You wait. People dive into the giant sandwich, rippig off huge bites, chewing and swallowing. You can't tell if it looks like it's delicious or wholesome yet.

> Wait

Wise move. People are falling to the floor, vomiting and grabbing their stomachs. However, the people on one end of the sandwich to the south appear to be in good health, and they are eating more of that part of the mystery sandwich.

> South

You move several feet south along the length of the sandwich. It does look wholesome and delicious. There's plenty left.

> Get sandwich

You tear off a large hunk of this end of the sandwich with both hands.

> Look sandwich

The sandwich looks good! It appears to be a very nice and crispy BLT.

> Look

Nearby is the end of a large sandwich and several people devouring it. To the north there is Unwholesome Sandwich and a number of people who appear to be gravely ill.

> Eat sandwich

You eat the hunk of sandwich in your hand. It is delicious! Your final score is SANDWICH.

Play Sandwich Eater again? y/n?

>_
posted by loquacious at 7:42 PM on May 29, 2011 [42 favorites]


Is this where we start posting mystery meat recipes?

He invented the mai tai

Wouldn't know, don't drink.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:45 PM on May 29, 2011


I have to admit when I saw that post I said to myself, "Self, this better be about the Who or this is very confusing." I looked to see if it was flapjaxatmidnight who posted it 'cause he would do the whole Who thing, but it turns out it was not flapjax or about the Who. While I did think the banjo boy and his two bandmates (brothers?) were really good in a scary weird sort of way, I still have no idea what that post was really about.

Some context is good. More context even better. Too much, not so good.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:48 PM on May 29, 2011


Mystery meat posts are fine. Crappy posts are not fine. This was both, therefore not fine because crappy beats mystery into submission every time.
posted by dg at 7:58 PM on May 29, 2011


Mystery meat posts suck.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:00 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


When there's a run of mystery meat posts, the MeFi frontpage starts to look a lot like Twitter.

Make of that what you will.
posted by LogicalDash at 8:10 PM on May 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


Rickroll beats crappy beats mystery. This was a prank to get people to watch the 3rd video.

You know this post is well and truly screwed when I post a link to the actual original video of The Who performing "The Kids are Alright" and people are so traumatized just by reading the comments that they say they won't click on any links at all, not even that one.

Now let's play the sandwich game.

Nearby is the end of a large sandwich and several people devouring it. To the north there is Unwholesome Sandwich and a number of people who appear to be gravely ill.

> Eat sandwich

You eat the hunk of sandwich in your hand. It looks good, but suddenly you realize you were tricked, it is an Unwholesome Sandwich. You groan and hold your stomach. You turn vaguely green and try to suppress your nausea. Your final score is FOOD POISONING.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:29 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


To hell with the kids. Mama's got a squeeze box.
posted by Sailormom at 8:41 PM on May 29, 2011


If all FPPs were mystery meat, that would be bad for metafilter. If a reallyreallyreally small percentage are mystery meat, that's not bad for metafilter, it's just bad for people who hate mystery meat. If you hate mystery meat, then just skip the very small percentage of posts formatted like that, because some people actually like them.

And there is no way that little burlesque boy should've been labeled NSFW. That's ridiculous.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:42 PM on May 29, 2011


It is very dark. It's very likely that you will eat a mystery meat sandwich. You see a very large mystery meat sandwich here. You're hungry, but you're not sure what it is.

> Ask Metafilter

To determine whether you should eat this, you consult extensively with internet strangers who are Not Your Doctor, Not Your Lawyer, and Not Your Nutritionist. When you look up, the sandwich is gone. Your final score is STARVATION.
posted by Urban Hermit at 8:45 PM on May 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Some people like adventure. Some people need every little thing explained to them in minute detail until the magic of discovery is ripped out by its roots and strangled to death.

You're either on the bus or off the bus.
posted by crunchland at 8:45 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


That FPP should have been deleted. It was shittily thrown together - without any connective tissue other than 'kids doing stuff' (and one of them wasn't even a child...). The second link was to a video that made the ubiquitous rounds more than a year ago and we've all seen. The third link was just WTF. The other links? I mean...young child is sort of prodigious at instrument. News at 11. I mean, if you're going to make a post about kids doing cool stuff, then you ought to work a bit harder at it.

I personally think context was only half the problem. It was bad content. Mystery Meat is so often a juvenile attempt to make a post that lacks quality seem intriguing and bait the community. It isn't trolling, exactly, but it isn't a completely different sort of beast. If you have a genuinely interesting post, then you should be able to couch it appropriately. Yes there are ways to do this creatively in a similar format (c.g. aforementioned discussion of the RATM post). But this was not that.

And yes, it is worth calling it out. That's what makes Metafilter so unique and why it is arguably the finest community on the web. The people get to say, 'no more of this.' And this being the internet, not everyone will get the memo, so reminders are in order.

And the 'first world problem' ad hominem shit? Good lord; did you write that on your Macbook? Knock that off.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:00 PM on May 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


To amplify something that fourcheesemac said, tags are not visible using the mobile stylesheet, whether one the front page or inside the post.

Anyway tags are pretty unreliable at the best of times. We can't rely on tags to take the mystery out of the meat, especially for the increasing number of people reading mefi on phones.
posted by Rumple at 9:01 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The people get to say, 'no more of this.' And this being the internet, not everyone will get the memo, so reminders are in order.

People also get to say "No, MORE of this" and completely ignore your memos and reminders.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:04 PM on May 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


The people get to say, 'no more of this.' --- Just because you get to say it, doesn't mean we have to do it.
posted by crunchland at 9:05 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who was that guy who used to post where it was like a few words and every letter was a link. I think he even had a few where it was just numbers, or the text was obfuscated. Each of hos posts was a puzzle and an elaboration on a theme. This post was kinda just a crossup, "you like kids playing instruments? Well fuck you here is a cross dreaaig burleqsue act"
posted by Ad hominem at 9:12 PM on May 29, 2011


Rickrolling became tiresome several years ago, actually, it got tiresome after the very first time someone pranked you into watching some video you weren't expecting.

I expect better from MeFi.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:14 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, here goes, cheesymac. (Is that right? I can't be bothered to check the spelling, just like you couldn't be fucked to spell my handle correctly)

I've seen a lot of kids doing amazing stuff recently, in real life and online. I'm delighted by it. It gives me hope. It balances out he unrelenting barrage of horseshit I see and hear from adults (like you!), and it's what keeps me going day to day.

I'd been hoping to express this for a while, and didn't see a clear way to do it until today. I chose music as a unifying theme (hence the oblique Who reference) and in the interest of diversity I had Bluegrass Kids, Ukulele Kid, Burlesque Kid, and Lip Synch Kid. They're all un-self consciously doing their thing, and it all happens to be on youtube.

It NEVER OCCURRED to me that anyone would have an issue with Burlesque Kid, and upon rewatch I'd say if YOU have a problem with it, you've got issues. Cross dressing is a grand and proud tradition, and I've seen Little Rascals movies with more racy stuff than that. Lighten the fuck up.

This isn't your clubhouse, and it's totally insulting to be threadshitted like that straight out the gate, from someone who is allegedly sitting on a balcony in Hawaii. (If this is how you choose to spend your time in paradise, vomiting on children and me, you're a sick man indeed.)

If you don't like the look of the post, don't click it. God damn is that simple. I do it all the time! So does everyone! IT'S THE INTERNET, THAT'S HOW WE DO.

Instead, you write PAGES of complaints about a five word post. You start ANOTHER THREAD to bitch in, instead of, you know, taking a walk or getting a Jamba Juice.

The every-word-is-a-link style is what brought me to metafilter in the first place. I love it. I also love the mystery, because in general I trust that no one here is going to link me to a malware site, or porn, or any nonsense like that. Meta FILTER, bro.

So you (and the other threadshitters) are wrong. It wasn't a prank, it wasn't a crafted insult, and it wasn't anything other than some talented kids doing their thing. All this vitriol is on your end.

I posted the links to have some fun, and spread a little cheer, and it blew up in my face.

Thanks.

The kids were alright.
posted by chronkite at 9:29 PM on May 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


chronkite, I certainly don't think some explanatory text would have rendered the joy and happiness in sharing these links any less, do you honestly feel that?

If you want the most people to share your pleasure in these links, adding some text certainly would have helped - for me, at any rate.
posted by smoke at 9:33 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


As far as mystery meat goes, I'm still trying to figure out with the Nuns + Cocks post was really about. I started making fun of it after a while because there was so obviously NO connection between the two subjects in the post.
posted by hippybear at 9:38 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is that right? I can't be bothered to check the spelling, just like you couldn't be fucked to spell my handle correctly

Irregardless of everything else, people do make typos. Calm down.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:38 PM on May 29, 2011


Some people like adventure. Some people need every little thing explained to them in minute detail until the magic of discovery is ripped out by its roots and strangled to death.
You're either on the bus or off the bus.

Yep, but you don't have to ride the same bus every day. It's good to catch the bus to and from work that is reliable and you know what to expect. It's also good to just jump on a bus and just see where it goes every now and then.

I like mystery meat posts a lot, but I wouldn't like it if that's the way they all were any more than I'd like it if buses just wandered around in random directions all the time. In the case of the post in question, I don't think any more explanation would have made it better or worse, because there was nothing more to it than 'here's some cute videos'. It was pretty thin, but it was honest.
posted by dg at 9:40 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of these things is not like the others,
one of these things just doesn't belong.
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
by the time I finish my song?

A: Talented Kid Playing Banjo.
B: Cute but untalented kid playing Ukelele
C: Young boy in drag mimes to music and dances
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:43 PM on May 29, 2011


I really, really hope there isn't a flameout tonight.
posted by Rumple at 9:43 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like The Who. Perhaps this is a post about The Who!

*clicks 3rd link*

ahhh I'm going to be arrested
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:57 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


>IT'S THE INTERNET, THAT'S HOW WE DO.

No, this is MeFi, that is NOT what we do.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:59 PM on May 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


The great wide internet is replete with obfuscated mystery meat links, some of which can have (relatively) dire or annoying consequences and one of the great attractions of MeFi is, to me, that most posters are sufficiently courteous to provide at least some hint of what you're in for when you click.

Meta FILTER, bro.
posted by islander at 10:00 PM on May 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, that third one was just . . . I dunno, inappropriate. And I think that the folks in the thread claiming that the discomfort comes from it being a boy doing the burlesque are missing the point. I feel the same way about those damn child beauty contest reality shows. It's not about the gender issues. It's about the inappropriate sexualization of children. It veers to close to exploitation for my tastes. And if you can't understand that then I think that you need to have a seat over there . . .
posted by anansi at 10:03 PM on May 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


By happenstance I kind of guessed at what the links were going to be about—talented, healthy kids!—and after the first two I thought, "This is going to get really good" (it didn't) and "I hope flapjax at midnite sees this because he might really dig it" (he wouldn't).

To say that it went somewhere unexpected with that third link is an understatement. That third link is a (presumably) male-gendered child in drag, fishnet stockings, and heavy make-up vamping for the camera. It is also presumably being recorded by an adult.

I am trying to write this with an open mind and without getting a little sick to my stomach. I understand there are a variety of world cultures where it is feasible where this sort of thing would be acceptable. Myself, I spend a great deal of time in the US and in the Caribbean—and specifically working with kids—so my bias is that this presentation is overtly unacceptable.

However, I would also like to point out that I am the president of the Key West Gay & Lesbian Community Center and that I have a solid background in transgender politics and other LGBT-related issues. And while sitting in my own house when the aforementioned video came on, a good friend came to my own home's door and I immediately shut it off. In fact, there are few audiences I would be comfortable watching this video unless for academic reasons leading immediately to discussion. Which, for the record, here we are.

In a sense I feel as if I had been ambushed.

I am an adult. My guess is this FPP was a case of bad judgment. But the third video had next to nothing to do with the first two. And Keenan Cahil (fourth link) is a personality. By the time I got to video five, I felt as if it were just a toss-in as an attempt to fill-out a weak FPP.

Just recently, I posted a SLYT video on the Blue about 11-year old Timmy who sings (belts, really) Lady Gaga songs into a banana. As I see it, the video I posted is of a child of indefinite sexuality or gender freely blossoming as a genuine human being with their parent's support, humor and guidance. I posted it because it shows how wonderful it can be when kids are encouraged and loved and taught self-worth and self-respect.

But most importantly (as can be read in the comments and easily-discovered backstory) Timmy's video depict's this with Timmy and Timmy's parent's permission. For this reason, it is inspiring.

The third video in the FPP we are discussing is posted on YT apparently without any such permission. What more, it is put up without the wishes of either the parent or the young person. It is vile not specifically because of the content but because of the context: The video's own description says "I found this. It's disturbing. Any idea who this is?"

Wrong wrong wrong.

Mystery meat posts notwithstanding, weak FPP's notwithstanding, "found" (yah right) voyeur videos of children from any culture even playing at doing adult naughty things do not belong on the front page of Metafilter. So yeah, I agree with the OP plus one.
posted by Mike Mongo at 10:03 PM on May 29, 2011 [30 favorites]


I think that the folks in the thread claiming that the discomfort comes from it being a boy doing the burlesque are missing the point. I feel the same way about those damn child beauty contest reality shows.

Exactly the same response here, anansi.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:06 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: All this vitriol is on your end.

(uh, yeah, pretty shitty post, but points for the ironically self-ironizing ironic tagline, so - you're evened out. We can forego a notation in your Permanent Record... THIS time.)
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 10:09 PM on May 29, 2011


This is a bad post and it should be deleted.
posted by grouse at 10:12 PM on May 29, 2011


Seriously, bitching that the youtube videos weren't up to snuff for your Waikiki 4g vacation lol wut?

Also: Eye bleach? Sexualized children? lol duble wut?
posted by klangklangston at 10:13 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


HAMA74LIFE!
posted by klangklangston at 10:16 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It NEVER OCCURRED to me that anyone would have an issue with Burlesque Kid, and upon rewatch I'd say if YOU have a problem with it, you've got issues.

I help moderate a forum with 25,000 users, and just the other day I ran into a guy kinda like chronkite. I banned him for trolliing, we have a very low tolerance for trolls. He argued that his ban was unjust and that I was unfair. He insisted that the word "Troll" in his username did not refer to internet trolling, but was a reference to a Eastern European folk tale and he was honoring his heritage with that name. And he felt like he was doing people a service by offering them "challenges" to their way of thinking, forcing them to confront their "issues." I told him to go find some other place to fuck with people.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:18 PM on May 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


~just the other day I ran into a guy kinda like chronkite~

I can guarantee you you didn't.
posted by chronkite at 10:20 PM on May 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


I help moderate a forum with 25,000 users, and just the other day I ran into a guy kinda like chronkite. I banned him for trolliing, we have a very low tolerance for trolls... he felt like he was doing people a service by offering them "challenges" to their way of thinking, forcing them to confront their "issues." I told him to go find some other place to fuck with people.

Yeah, this isn't helping much either. I didn't much care for the content of the FPP, or how it was presented, but I haven't seen any indication of the bad faith you're proscribing to chronkite. On the other hand, your claims that the whole thing was a trick to ambush people with the third link is unfounded at best and bad faith at worst.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:28 PM on May 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't have a problem with burlesque kid. I took a look at his facebook page, he goes on tv, does public appearances and seems to bask in the glow. I don't know what his native country is, but I think the cultural mores might be different than what we are used to. It is what it is, and I'm not sure we need to project much on to it.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:32 PM on May 29, 2011


I help moderate a forum with 25,000 users, and just the other day I ran into a guy kinda like chronkite. I banned him for trolliing, we have a very low tolerance for trolls.

Rude. Either come out and call the guy a troll or not, but don't hide behind some story about some other guy on some other forum who you know is a troll.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:38 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pardon me if this has been stated in this thread, but it gets repeated in all of these threads.

Metafilter is to be considered NSFW. Beyond that, we make the best decisions we can with the information we have (yes, that is the benefit of the doubt). With very little information, you chose to click. Then you were (emotioned), and then you came here.

But let's leave NSFW off the table.
posted by bilabial at 10:41 PM on May 29, 2011


Part of it is the inconsistency. A few posts above it there's the 'Killing In The Name Of' post, which is apparently links to performances and covers of that song. This uses a similar structure, so you might assume it was all Who links.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:48 PM on May 29, 2011


BeerFilter: “I think you're overreacting.”

This. That "the kids are all right" post was my favorite post today; it was awesome, and full of awesome videos that made me very happy. I could tell five seconds into the first video what the rest would be like, but I wasn't prepared for how great all of them were.

This is one of those things on Metafilter that I think people will just have to accept. I accept the fact that there are favorites; though I wouldn't choose that, whatever, I love the community so I trained my loud-mouthed self to shut up about it. I'm not saying that anybody else has to do that – most people aren't loud-mouths like me – I'm just saying that maybe, just maybe, there are things about Metafilter you learn to shrug at because you like the place anyway.
posted by koeselitz at 10:53 PM on May 29, 2011


charlie don't surf, chill out. Passive aggressive chest pumping like "I help moderate a forum with 25,000 users, and just the other day I ran into a guy kinda like chronkite. I banned him for trolliing, we have a very low tolerance for trolls" makes you sound like an asshat.
posted by dazed_one at 10:57 PM on May 29, 2011


I posted the links to have some fun, and spread a little cheer, and it blew up in my face.


Lurk more, brah.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:58 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I help moderate a forum with 25,000 users, and just the other day I ran into a guy kinda like chronkite. I banned him for trolliing, we have a very low tolerance for trolls. He argued that his ban was unjust and that I was unfair. He insisted that the word "Troll" in his username did not refer to internet trolling, but was a reference to a Eastern European folk tale and he was honoring his heritage with that name. And he felt like he was doing people a service by offering them "challenges" to their way of thinking, forcing them to confront their "issues." I told him to go find some other place to fuck with people."

Dude, what the fuck, seriously.

He posted a bunch of kids playing music and a kid vampin' to Burlesque. That's not a fucking challenge and all "troll" shit is a fucking passive-aggressive way to undermine Chronkite as a member rather than saying that you didn't like his post. Plus all your weird-ass eye bleach shit, like, what the fuck is your deal with the kid doing Burlesque? You don't like it, fine, whatever, but you seem personally offended by some kid dancing on the internet. The fuck?

Are y'all on the three-day crazies this weekend?
posted by klangklangston at 10:58 PM on May 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


I didn't like that third video either. But once we've see chronkite's comment/explanation here in MeTa, I think the least we can do as a community is to stop doubting his intentions.

All that happened is that an FPP didn't go down as well as the OP thought it would. Film at 11?
posted by vidur at 11:01 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't have a PROBLEM with Burlesque kid (assuming he is cool with it being on the internet, and so on).

But I do wish I hadn't chosen to open it on my work computer (in my lunch hour). If anyone was looking through my cache, I would not like them to see it. (I know I can delete my browsing history, but I feel even worse being the sort of person who has to clear their browsing history to delete sexy children.)
posted by lollusc at 11:02 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whoah, charlie don't surf, using the B-word? No F-word way.

I like mystery links okay (or I'm not in the mood, so I skip 'em), but this didn't turn out to be much of a mystery post to me, since I did see the tags. I figured it would be videos with kids, at least.

Personally, I liked the Burlesque boy, though I can definitely see where some people might have trouble with that at work (though, really, I wouldn't watch videos at work if there were possible problems that way; just too iffy no matter what). But I was intrigued and followed the breadcrumb trail to find out more, saw that this kid has been on a lot of TV shows in Taiwan, and eventually found this informative posting.
Chiu Yu-cheng (邱于承), nicknamed “Little Fatty Brother” (小胖弟), attracted public attention last year when he imitated Jolin Tsai’s (蔡依林) dancing moves of her song Honey Trap (美人計).

Yu-cheng has support from his mom and four elder sisters, who helped setting up the “stage,” applying makeup and choosing music.

They posted the latest video clip onto the Internet three days ago, which has received numerous praises.

“Certainly we hope he can be invited to perform in the US [just like “Taiwan’s Susan Boyle” Lin Yu-chun (林育群)]. He really loves dancing, but our dad doesn’t like him always cross-dressing,” one of his sisters said.
So, he has a Facebook page where he posts his performance and TV appearance vids because he's something of a little celebrity in his country and culture... and he's apparently gone viral, though maybe if he were displaying just as much talent in gender normative way, even with sexualized moves or lyrics (I don't know? Michael Jackson pelvic thrust and crotch-grab?) it probably wouldn't have.

So, all in all, interesting to me, and I didn't personally feel squeamish just because he's obviously totally, totally into the dance thing, though I'd like to be assured he's choosing what he wants to perform entirely on his own.

For the most part, though, just like little girls who are into gaming or action heroes mostly have to imagine themselves in male roles because there are so few good outlets with a female point of view, if you really, really want to dance to pop culture music, it mostly girls who have all the great moves. It sort of reminds of the little boy I read about/saw somewhere (probably here) who was going to his sister's cheerleading practices and follow the moves on the sidelines – because what is equivalent for boys in most schools?
posted by taz at 11:05 PM on May 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Mystery meat is fine. Mystery meat is good, or, not a bad way of posting interesting new things you find, in and of itself, and I wish, wearily, that people whose reaction to the initially unexplained is "Hiss! Recoil!" would just screw off the site already. It's not like that sort of person is ever going to find anything interesting anyway. They're too busy hissing and recoiling. Meanwhile, I read this book report the other day and vaguely wondered if I could get away with front-page-posting something similar on the topic of caulk, or maybe bunions.
posted by furiousthought at 11:06 PM on May 29, 2011


Yeah, charlie don't surf's crusade over burlesque boy speaks volumes more than that kid's awesome lip-synching.
posted by dazed_one at 11:07 PM on May 29, 2011


I'm a pretty paranoid guy and I live in a country that has pretty strictly monitored Internet. That third link was just messed. And if something is even mildly NSFW I'll label it.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:17 PM on May 29, 2011


Thank you taz for doing a bit more digging. The DIY feel doesn't help this video but He seems like a legit phenomenon.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:21 PM on May 29, 2011


Meh. The explanation Taz found pretty clearly clears things up with regards to the boy's willingness to perform and his parents' views on it, and if you don't like mystery meat posts or are in a location where it may be innappropriate to open a mystery meat link, then DON'T CLICK ON IT. Wow, see how easy that is?
posted by dazed_one at 11:23 PM on May 29, 2011


a little celebrity in his country
In his renegade province of China, thank you very much. Let's not add splittism to the list of grievances here.
:p, just in case
posted by Abiezer at 11:25 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


What kind of bugs me is that I live in a country where if a 15-year-old girl did that sort of thing in a cheerleader outfit, it'd be considered just perfectly normal, whereas some kid in his bedroom must be messed up for wanting to do the same damned thing. But what do I know - I've never been good at figuring out what "weird" or "just wrong" mean when they're applied to kids who like to perform in some way.
posted by koeselitz at 11:26 PM on May 29, 2011


they just seem a little weird.
posted by clavdivs at 11:27 PM on May 29, 2011


I just found the cheerleading brother update, if anyone's interested. :)
posted by taz at 11:33 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


To the "don't click" crowd: if you don't want to read complaints about mystery meat posts, don't click on them.
posted by grouse at 11:46 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


To the "don't click" crowd: if you don't want to read complaints about mystery meat posts, don't click on them.

I'm in the "don't click mystery meat posts if they bother you" crowd. Why would I not want to read complaints about mystery meat posts? I click on complaints about mystery meat points so that I can voice my opinion that mystery meat posts are fine.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:52 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have an idea.

Since there seems to be a sizable group here who hates mystery meat with the passion of a thousand suns, you all could form a group where you take turns, erm, "investigating" the meet, and posting comments that consist entirely of explanatory text to take the mystery out.

I don't think that would be against posting guidelines...?
posted by LogicalDash at 12:06 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


To the "don't click" crowd: if you don't want to read complaints about mystery meat posts, don't click on them.
posted by grouse at 2:46 AM on May 30 [+] [!]

I don't mind reading complaints about mystery posts: I think they're fine and don't mind saying so. It's the people who See Things One Way and feel that they must change things to suit themselves who appear to want to avoid subjects they may disagree with.
posted by dazed_one at 12:13 AM on May 30, 2011


I agree with fourcheesmac in principle -- mystery meat posts are kind of lame and cheesy, and also inconvenient because I have to read the comments before deciding whether to click. However, hardly anything bad has ever come out of Tucson, AZ*, and, well, you can read the comments before clicking on the mystery links. So it all evens out. However, I do end up skipping a lot of video posts because I have no idea what they're going to be about and don't have time to check volume, hook up my headphones, etc.

* For example, Pima County was, I believe, the only Arizona county to vote for Obama in 2008, and was also the only red-shaded area in the state on the "cannabis use by county" map someone posted awhile back. I miss that place.
posted by Maximian at 12:37 AM on May 30, 2011


To the "don't click" crowd: if you don't want to read complaints about mystery meat posts, don't click on them.

This is a category error. The 'don't click' crowd aren't complaining about the complaint, they're offering helpful advice on how to deal with an issue that people are complaining is a bother to them.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:46 AM on May 30, 2011


Oh, OK. I thought the "don't click" people were tired of seeing this in MetaTalk.
posted by grouse at 12:48 AM on May 30, 2011


I like The Who. Perhaps this is a post about The Who!

"What's on Pete Townshend's computer?"
posted by Meatbomb at 1:03 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, charlie don't surf's crusade over burlesque boy speaks volumes more than that kid's awesome lip-synching.

And everyone's missing the point of my remarks. The similarity to the troll in the other forum is that they both insisted their content was fine and that they never considered that it would upset or offend anyone, and that those who would take offense have "issues" that they have to deal with. Cronkite has the issues, not us. He falls short of the obvious maliciousness of the other troll.. only in that his level of plausible deniability is high enough. We can't prove he maliciously put burlesque boy right after 2 innocent clips to trick us into watching it. But the result is the same, whether he was malicious or just stupid enough to believe that burlesque boy fit in thematically with little kids playing the ukulele.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:04 AM on May 30, 2011


If you can't be bothered with context, I can't be bothered with your post.
posted by Put the kettle on at 1:10 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


We can't prove he maliciously put burlesque boy right after 2 innocent clips to trick us into watching it

That presupposes there is something terrible about burlesque boy, something that would cause tricking you into watching it to be a malicious act. Yes it was a curveball, yes you can take issue that he provided no context, but he didn't link to tub girl, 2 girls one cup or clip2.avi. He linked to something on YouTube, something that seems to be acceptable enough that the clip has been there a while, along with other clips that are very similar.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:14 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The similarity to the troll in the other forum is that they both insisted their content was fine"

But the content is fine.

I mean, seriously, "trick" you into watching it?

Don't be such a goober.
posted by klangklangston at 1:23 AM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Irregardless of everything else, people do make typos.

*asplode*
posted by dersins at 1:36 AM on May 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Little Fatty Brother": young performer or badly translated menu item?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:27 AM on May 30, 2011


This clip gives an indication of just how much skill and talent Little Brothe Fatty is deploying.

Kid's a Chinese Billy Elliot.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:38 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Considering the first comment in the thread, posted 9 minutes after the post was made, might give you a clue about the "curveball." I suspect that if Chronkite had done what some of you are suggesting, and spelled every little thing out to you, you'd still be upset the about the little fat cross-dressing kid who is just dancing.

I think this says more about you than it says about Chronkite or the little fat kid.
posted by crunchland at 4:15 AM on May 30, 2011


I think a lot of people have the idea that having no context makes the post more intriguing so more people will click it, or they don't want to ruin some surprise, but... well, I would guess that it hurts a lot more than it helps, though I have no evidence to back that up.

This is how I feel. I don't click on mystery meat posts, but I feel bad for a few seconds: "dude, you're obviously really excited about something you found and want to share it. You took the time to make a post about it! Maybe it's awesome, maybe it's dumb. I'll never know".

And yeah, a lot of folks will say, "I really don't care that a bunch of people are going to completely ignore my post. Too bad for them!". Which is fine. But I wonder if they really realize that a whole bunch of people who would have checked out their post, don't, because of the mystery meat format.
posted by the bricabrac man at 5:29 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: I'm a pretty paranoid guy and I live in a country that has pretty strictly monitored Internet. That third link was just messed. And if something is even mildly NSFW I'll label it.

Yes, the Not Safe For Australia tag is underused, I agree.

To second bilabial, the NSFW argument is a red herring. While I'm lucky enough to work at a place that doesn't frown on a little surfing, how do I know who's coming up behind me, or what the IT dudes are peeking at in their lair? The Blue is useful not just for its content but for its design: the colour is a constant reminder that I'm going to be exposed to stuff that may be outside of my realm of experience, and I'd better make sure similarly open-minded folks are around if I'm clicking links for the first time. NSFW, but how low does that bar go? Not Safe For Work, And By Work I Mean Sunday School?

So, weak post? Unfortunately chronkite, yes, but thanks for sharing. Are mystery meat posts good, bad, or just ugly? I think that depends on the mystery, and how it reveals itself. I like the dada/weird/non sequitur ones, and I like the ones that work harmoniously to a theme, but a subpar post won't ruin my day. Would I investigate a mystery meat post on a mobile platform? No. Was chronkite trolling? No. Was Burlesque Boy "messed"? I certainly don't think so, but I can imagine some people being upset at a video like that. There was a certain amount of controversy over the toddler making friends with the dead squirrel vid, and that post was framed with adjectives like "cute" and "precious". What if Little Fatty Brother gets his own, well-researched FPP?

We'd have the same argument as here, minus the accusations of trolling. Or, some folks would have realized that watching a boy dance in a dress just pushed too many of their buttons, and they would abstain from viewing/commenting.

But where would be the fun in that? This is Meta FILTER!
posted by Chichibio at 5:30 AM on May 30, 2011


This is how I feel. I don't click on mystery meat posts, but I feel bad for a few seconds.

Why feel bad? There's all manner of stuff on the blue I don't click on for all manner of reasons.

I don't give any of it a moment's thought. Move on and move on.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:31 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


> ... if Chronkite had done what some of you are suggesting, and spelled every little thing out to you, you'd still be upset the about the little fat cross-dressing kid who is just dancing.

I think this is pretty uncharitable. I think the 'burlesque kid' link done as a FPP on its own, in more typical MeFi style, with a bit of explanation (just a bit), a link to the background information taz found, and maybe links to some of the kids other videos, would have been fine. People would have talked about whether or not it's appropriate, sexualization of children, cross-dressing, gender, and whether they liked it or not in thread. It would have been just another FPP.

(Yeah, people that don't like it still wouldn't like it, but I don't think the post would ahve been an issue.)

I also think it's very uncharitable to assume that chronkite was intentionally trying to trick people into clicking on something NSFW, or to compare him to a troll. There is no reason to take his explanation of what he intended when he made the post at anything other than face value.

MeFites can be pretty pedantic about doing things the MeFi way. This is normal. MeFi has been around for a while and developed it's own culture, conventions and etiquette. This is pretty much the same thing as people ranting at people for using the @ sign, or otherwise violating MeFi conventions: "Use capitalization!" "Put your quotes in em tags!" "Don't use texting abbreviations!" "What is this, fucking twitter?" etc. etc. etc.

I'm in the 'don't like mystery meat' camp, but that somebody made post that contravenes the (current) typical MeFi posting style is not a crime against humanity, and is not the same as trolling.
posted by nangar at 5:49 AM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'll just add, I assume that mystery meat posts are usually 'Oh, look! Something cute / funny on youtube!" I usually ignore them (unless the thread is really active and I get curious what the fuss is about), but I assume that people who are into that kind of thing like them. I think we can all exist on the same site.
posted by nangar at 6:04 AM on May 30, 2011


But the content is fine.

Yes, it's fine, in some other post. Not this one.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:05 AM on May 30, 2011


Whenever I see a mystery meat post, I just read the related comments to see if I ought to even bother clicking on them. I rarely "just click." That percentage drops for videos and approaches near zero for TED talks because WOULD IT KILL THEM TO HAVE A TRANSCRIPT?! JUST ONCE?! IN THIS ROCKET CAR AGE OF TECHNOLOGICAL MIRACLES, A TRANSCRIPT SOMEHOW ELUDES THEM!?!

Ahem.

So, yeah, I don't know why people do that. It's a successful post-construction tactic only if your target is eliciting commentary from people who will click on anything. Excuse me, I gotta go punch this monkey.
posted by adipocere at 6:09 AM on May 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


The similarity to the troll in the other forum is that they both insisted their content was fine and that they never considered that it would upset or offend anyone, and that those who would take offense have "issues" that they have to deal with.

charlie don't surf, the only similarity between this issue and this anecdotal super-mod tale you keep bringing up is you. You have an issue with the cross dressing kid. We get it. However, Metafilter does not exist to post things solely dependent on your approval.

Mystery posts will continue. Posts about subjects that make you uncomfortable will continue. Sometimes they will overlap, and I sure as hell hope your shrillness won't stop them. In fact, I know it won't.
posted by dazed_one at 6:10 AM on May 30, 2011


If you can't be bothered with context, I can't be bothered with your post.

I don't think anybody has a problem with your "so I just don't click on it" approach. bravo!
posted by russm at 6:17 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's how I deal with posts that irritate me because of their presentation, formatting or for any other reason: I ignore them. I recommend this approach. Life is short.
posted by Decani at 6:23 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I see the new rule on sapoilers is "spoilers as soon as possible, without warning, without consideration". Thanks a bunch, Metafilter.
posted by Artw at 6:56 AM on May 30, 2011


And... that was in the wrong thread, and so out of context.
posted by Artw at 6:58 AM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


When someone is composing a FPP they're making a sales pitch. Some posts lure me in with their well presented message and others don't even make me slow down when scanning the front page. A few FPPs with no context have lured me in because they had a good hook that grabbed me. More often, it's because the FPP is from a user who has made enough of an impact on me that I remember and trust the user name.

The variance of the posting styles is one of the charms of this place for me. I love that I can be drawn in by an obsessively detailed post one minute and then have a ridiculous two or three word mystery meat post pays off the next. And other times they both can let me down and I move on to the next one. I'm sure I miss some great stuff, but on a good day I probably only dig into a third of the FPPs, so I can't even imagine this being something to be concerned about. But to be honest, part of me also loves that there are people here that lose sleep over this kind of stuff and lead the charge to address it. I'm sure there are several MeTas that I rolled my eyes at ended up making my enjoyment of MeFi better without me even knowing it.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:59 AM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Gee thanks for spoiling that thread Artw, GEEZ
posted by wheelieman at 7:00 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, you fuckers are all torrenting it ahead of time.
posted by Artw at 7:04 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I for one am reluctant to click on video links for any reason - simply because I'm not willing to invest the time. So for me, some kind of sales pitch is mandatory. [i.e. "This is the first-ever BMX triple backflip!"]

Video plus mystery meat? Pass.

[Trip through the spanking machine optional.]
posted by Trurl at 7:04 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The funny thing is, no-one who likes mystery meat posts has anything against those that don't skipping them. It's the people who don't like mystery meat posts and who are saying that because they don't like them, no-one should be able to see them.

It's like someone who doesn't like pies going around and banning them for everyone instead of say, you know, avoiding pies.
posted by dazed_one at 7:11 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I never bother with mystery meat posts with no context. I just assume that it wasn't worth the effort for the OP to add even a plaintext word or two because they are just making the post to get their post count higher than their favorite count. I certainly care less about what the OP has to say than the OP cares, so if they don't care enough to provide a word or two description I just assume the post wasn't meant for anyone to care about and the OP just wanted to make a post.
posted by fuq at 7:11 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


dazed_one: It's like someone who doesn't like pies going around and banning them for everyone instead of say, you know, avoiding pies.

While I agree with you, I think for many of the people that are taking issue think the analogy is closer to walking into their favorite pie shop, but all of the pies are in boxes. A few of the boxes don't have pies. Some have pizza, some have peanut butter sandwiches, and a few have dead squirrels and old gym socks. They would prefer someone to take a marker and write "cherry pie" on the boxes with cherry pies and "dead squirrel and gym socks" on the box with the dead squirrel and gym socks. Of course, once that happens, some joker will write "apple pie" on a box that actually contains a link to a video of a dead squirrel and some gym socks.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:20 AM on May 30, 2011


For that analogy to work, every FPP would have to be a mystery post. That is clearly not the case, hence my puzzlement at the strangely selfish attitude of those complaining about mystery posts.
posted by dazed_one at 7:25 AM on May 30, 2011


You have an issue with the cross dressing kid.

I have an issue with the kid in this context. Is that so hard to get?
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:30 AM on May 30, 2011


I get it, charlie. You would have been ok if the little fat trannie kid had been playing a banjo, too. Right?
posted by crunchland at 7:35 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


charlie don't surf, the post was about enthusiastic, talented kids. Burlesque boy dances way better than I ever could. There does not is nothing wrong with the video, the person that posted it or the videos it was posted with.
posted by dazed_one at 7:41 AM on May 30, 2011


Don't know why I left that extra "does not" in there.
posted by dazed_one at 7:42 AM on May 30, 2011


I'd be interested to see the people who have no problem with the burlesque six year old share their opinion about toddler beauty pageants.
posted by codacorolla at 7:44 AM on May 30, 2011


Ok. What's disgusting about the toddler beauty pageants is that the whole industry is driven by the desires of the weirdo parents. This kid dressing up and dancing around has absolutely nothing in common with that.
posted by crunchland at 7:56 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd be interested to see the people who have no problem with the burlesque six year old share their opinion about toddler beauty pageants.

I'd be interested in people dropping this connection, because to me a chubby asian kid who crossdresses and can dance really fricking well has nothing to do with nonchubby toddlers who don't crossdress and can't dance really fricking well.

Like, nothing at all to do with each other.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:59 AM on May 30, 2011


Ok. What's disgusting about the toddler beauty pageants is that the whole industry is driven by the desires of the weirdo parents. This kid dressing up and dancing around has absolutely nothing in common with that.

Unless you read Chinese or know more information than I don't think you can say anything about the intentions or motivations of any party involved in those videos.
posted by codacorolla at 8:05 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


>Irregardless of everything else, people do make typos.

*asplode*


Dance, puppet! Or asplode. Either way, Muhahahaha!

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:13 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why not tell us in what ways you think his performances are like a toddler beauty pageant?

To me, they're almost exactly opposite. Instead of being encouraged to be the epitome and pinnacle of gender conformity, he's being allowed to express himself in a completely different way.

Might it be fucked up? It might. It might, if he feels that he can only get love and attention by performing (and possibly by performing in a particular way). But I very much doubt that his mother and sisters would have no interest in him if he wasn't doing what he does. Five women ignoring and rejecting the baby brother? It's just so unlikely. I think he's probably dearly loved and greatly indulged, and this choice is mostly all him.

But this is conjecture from my end; it's possible that there's a horribly abusive dynamic in his family... But one certainly can't jump to that conclusion, either.
posted by taz at 8:14 AM on May 30, 2011


> the analogy is closer to walking into their favorite pie shop, but all of the pies are in boxes

For that analogy to work, every FPP would have to be a mystery post


Proposed new analogy: it's like walking into their favorite bar, and there's a bunch of bottles lined up behind the bar including e.g. the scotch they love, the gin they like, the Jaeger they can't stand, etc, fifty brand liquors down the line.

And then there's Mystery Booze, an opaque glass bottle with no label, wrapped in a wicker girdle, near the daily specials chalkboard. $1 a shot, no complaining, no refunds, and who knows what's in it today.

There's a certain excitement and foolhardy danger in spending that money blind. Some people don't want to bother. Other people want to buy it and slam it in one smooth motion and try to figure out what just happened to them after the fact. Other people yet are curious and yet cautious enough to drop a single counter, take the shot, and then hold it up to the neon beer sign, sniff it a bit, take a little sip, and decide to bail or commit after that. Sometimes a bold imbiber chatters about the flavor to an assembled crowd of curious onlookers.

It's one of the bottles on the shelf; it's always there, it's always a bit confounding if you're not looking for a surprise, and it's always just one bottle among the more clearly labeled many. The bartenders haven't been getting any suggestions to replace the rest of the labeled stock with more Mystery Bottles, and wouldn't entertain the suggestions even if they'd gotten them because they know that's not the sort of bar they want to run or the kind their patrons expect.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:14 AM on May 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


But this is conjecture from my end; it's possible that there's a horribly abusive dynamic in his family... But one certainly can't jump to that conclusion, either.

I'm not judging what he's doing - I'm saying that putting something with sexual overtones that features a child who (under most laws everywhere) isn't judged old enough to make decisions with regard to that, which could have lasting implications to his life as he enters his adolescence, and which could be misused by people with abusive intentions is a bad idea. Absent any other information we're left to imagine why those videos were made, and in the act of imagining people tend to put their own hang-ups and hopes into the video. For you it's an innocent expression of free will, but others see highly sexualized clothing, make-up, and provocative dancing. I think you're being dishonest if you can't see where concern can come in with this video, especially since there's no explanation provided.

With something as divisive as the video it just causes a lot of baseless arguing, and is a good example of why the FPP being discussed is abysmal. When you post something like the third video you should probably have a pretty good post to surround it, and not 4 other barely related YouTube videos.
posted by codacorolla at 8:22 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


But there are so many videos of kids acting out their favorite music videos, even ones with sexy moves or adult language or concepts! If this kid were not so good, it would probably be seen more as a goofy thing. I agree with whoever said that his amazing talent is what actually tends to push it more over into uncanny valley for a lot of people.

Anyway, there were about a hundred million Single Ladies videos of kids (mostly girls, yes) copying the Beyonce moves, etc. Here was one little boy that was disappoint!.
posted by taz at 8:45 AM on May 30, 2011


> What kind of bugs me is that I live in a country where if a 15-year-old girl did that sort of thing in a cheerleader outfit, it'd be considered just perfectly normal, whereas some kid in his bedroom must be messed up for wanting to do the same damned thing

He's nine. It's the age that bothers me, not the gender. A nine-year-old girl in full makeup disturbs me just as much.

People should choose for themselves if they want videos of themselves dancing burlesque to circulate on the Internet, and he's too young to make that decision.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:50 AM on May 30, 2011


charlie don't surf: "But the result is the same, whether he was malicious or just stupid enough to believe that burlesque boy fit in thematically with little kids playing the ukulele."

It still sort of pisses me off that you think that these things are intrinsically different thematically. The boy's parents clearly don't. A crapload of us don't. Why don't you get it?
posted by koeselitz at 9:25 AM on May 30, 2011


It still sort of pisses me off that you think that these things are intrinsically different thematically. The boy's parents clearly don't. A crapload of us don't. Why don't you get it?

Is there a statement from the boy's parents, or any other information related to this video? If so then I'd love to read it. You must have access to such a thing if you can claim that you know their intentions for a fact, so if it's not too much trouble then perhaps you could link it.
posted by codacorolla at 9:37 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


> And then there's Mystery Booze, an opaque glass bottle with no label, wrapped in a wicker girdle, near the daily specials chalkboard. $1 a shot, no complaining, no refunds, and who knows what's in it today.

And the best part? Here at the MetaFilter Saloon, Mystery Booze is free!
posted by languagehat at 9:44 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


codacorolla, did you see my link? I think we can assume he's not appearing on various TV shows against the wishes of his parents.
posted by taz at 9:57 AM on May 30, 2011


Is there a statement from the boy's parents, or any other information related to this video? If so then I'd love to read it. You must have access to such a thing if you can claim that you know their intentions for a fact, so if it's not too much trouble then perhaps you could link it.

Here's the kid dancing on television. No, I can't understand a word of what is being said, but it seems to me that the mere fact that people are laughing with him, and the kid seems to be having fun, means that maybe you should get off the "But What If The Parents Are Creepy" horse.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:59 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, ok, I missed that link because I was reading from recent activity. I apologize. I still think it's creepy, but I don't think it's exactly exploitive.

Anyway, it's the sort of thing that should probably be included in any posting of the link because of the controversial nature of the video. The fact that it's derailed two threads makes that evident. That's the danger of a mystery meat post, and why it pays off to put time and consideration into them, instead of just slapping up the first vaguely relevant things you find on YouTube.
posted by codacorolla at 10:03 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fact that it's derailed two threads makes that evident.

Here is the meat of the matter, indeed.
posted by hippybear at 10:12 AM on May 30, 2011


Anyway, it's the sort of thing that should probably be included in any posting of the link because of the controversial nature of the video. The fact that it's derailed two threads makes that evident.

If someone doesn't know this is controversial (and seeing the kid on TV should make it perfectly clear that not everyone is bothered by this), then if I would describe this video as "Cute Dancing Fat Kid", I don't think that adding my description would've prevented anything that happened. I think the same things would've happened: people would've been upset by the cute dancing fat kid, and said so. The problem isn't that this is a controversial mystery meat post, the problem is that the person who made the post REALLY had no idea that anyone would be bothered by this.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:20 AM on May 30, 2011


It still sort of pisses me off that you think that these things are intrinsically different thematically. The boy's parents clearly don't. A crapload of us don't. Why don't you get it?

I get it, that they are all similar thematically in the sense of "stuff people put on the internet." It might be worth noting I also objected to the kid lip syncing too. There is a huge difference between kids performing music in the first two posts, and kids imitating something in the next two. But it doesn't piss me off that you don't get it, even if I find your righteous indignation unseemly.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:27 AM on May 30, 2011


Anyway, it's the sort of thing that should probably be included in any posting of the link because of the controversial nature of the video. The fact that it's derailed two threads makes that evident.

Well, again, I didn't mind not being "warned," or not having each child's background scoured to make sure they weren't being exploited by their parents. I wanted to know more about this boy, if there was more to know, and I found it.

I really do understand some of the concerns that people have, but my feeling is that a) he's from a different culture, where perhaps there is less fear about pedophiliac predators, and/or perhaps more latitude for "performance" stuff, or other factors that I just don't know anything about, and b) I know that a little girl playing a male role, wearing male clothing, acting out a male part, wouldn't be the focus of such disturbance. This may be mostly true for only the last 20 years or so, but for the most part girl children are no longer corrected that they should be nurses instead of doctors, secretaries instead of engineers, wear pink instead of blue, practice ballet instead of soccer... yet, we can't really say the same for boys. We are still fairly terrified that if we allow people to see boy children acting in ways that aren't masculine, and especially in ways that are *explicitly* feminine it will ruin their lives – and we're bad people/parents for not hiding that away. I don't think that's a good thing.
posted by taz at 10:31 AM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


charlie don't surf, you might not care for dance as much as music, but dance has always been considered an art. The children playing music were also not the first ones to play those notes; they've studied famous musicians and tried to copy their licks, too.
posted by taz at 10:37 AM on May 30, 2011


There is a huge difference between kids performing music in the first two posts, and kids imitating something in the next two.

If the third kid was "imitating something" by learning a dance from a Christina Aguilera video, then the second kid was totally "imitating something" by learning a song by Jason Mraz. Come ON.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:47 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the "grabbing at straws" stage has been reached by the honourable opposition. That kid is clearly comfortable doing what he does. I wish some of the people in this thread were as secure and confident as he comes across.
posted by dazed_one at 10:55 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Unless you read Chinese or know more information than I don't think you can say anything about the intentions or motivations of any party involved in those videos. --- I watched three of those videos of that kid dancing, and I didn't see any chinese characters to interpret or misinterpret. Unless you're talking about the calendar on the wall.
posted by crunchland at 11:13 AM on May 30, 2011


Huh. I saw that post earlier and only clicked the first two links. Yeah, the burlesque kid is weird.
posted by delmoi at 11:29 AM on May 30, 2011


Cortex - I hope you open a bar some day. I would love to drink there.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:52 AM on May 30, 2011


I don't have anything else to say about the matter. It was a really, really bad post that seemed to be mostly about trying to find a way to incorporate the Who lyric into a FPP than to actually show other members of the site interesting content on the Internet. That being said:

I wish some of the people in this thread were as secure and confident as he comes across.

I'm not calling you a self righteous, borish, shit-head in public, so I'd thank you to likewise not speculate into my personality.
posted by codacorolla at 11:57 AM on May 30, 2011


Some people like adventure. Some people need every little thing explained to them in minute detail until the magic of discovery is ripped out by its roots and strangled to death.
You're either on the bus or off the bus.


And some people feel that, like Metatalk, the world is grey rather than black and white. For instance, just links on the front page with a little explanation after the fold? Nice compromise.

I personally don't care for mystery meat. I like context in a post because I'm sorta compulsive about that anyway; when something interests me I like to find out more. If I question the validity or bias of a link, I look around until I find enough info to get the issue fleshed out.

Because of this, some of you might recognize me as that annoying person who comes into a thread with quotes and links to shore up one position and debunk another (maybe yours).

So, mostly, I skip the mystery meat posts.

But as someone who likes to learn about stuff in general, it saddens me when a poster, who was obviously enthusiastic enough about the subject to put it on Metafilter, doesn't put in just a little more effort to share their enthusiasm with me. Because I promise you that, if you did, and I click on your post, I'll make the effort to really understand where you're coming from and not just snark in the thread.
posted by misha at 12:24 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good LORD you haters are miserable to read.

Even after I explicitly stated my intentions, and several people have defended the kids and the post with much more nuanced assessments than I ever imagined, you accuse me of what, being an obsessive Who fan?

Seriously?

I BARELY even thought of the fucking Who when I posted the links, it's a phrase that has been around FOREVER and it TOTALLY FIT THE SPIRIT OF THE POST.

And after a mile and a half of discussion someone has to weigh in with "the burlesque kid is weird"?

Why did you even say that? Just to be part of the conversation? He's weird, huh? What amazing fucking insight.

Tell you what, next time I'll just repost something from boingboing or fark, like half the FPPs seem to be these days. That way you'll be safe and secure and unthreatened by the scary scary children with their scary scary dancing.

I'll sign off this discussion with my gramma's wisdom:

"If you smell shit everywhere you go, check your shoes."
posted by chronkite at 12:30 PM on May 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


*grabs popcorn bag and a comfortable chair*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:37 PM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


But as someone who likes to learn about stuff in general, it saddens me when a poster, who was obviously enthusiastic enough about the subject to put it on Metafilter, doesn't put in just a little more effort to share their enthusiasm with me. Because I promise you that, if you did, and I click on your post, I'll make the effort to really understand where you're coming from and not just snark in the thread.

"If you don't share your enthusiasm with me, I will snark in the thread" is a crappy attitude. If you snark in the thread, that's not something you should try and blame on a poster for not trying hard enough.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:47 PM on May 30, 2011


charlie don't surf wrote: Now let's play the sandwich game. ... > Eat sandwich ... Your final score is FOOD POISONING.

Dude, you totally failed at the sandwich game. I even gave you plenty of hints and instructions. You're supposed to actually look at the sandwich and the other people eating the sandwich first and wait to see if they get sick or not. And then - if it seems safe - you eat the sandwich.

This is a really complicated way of saying "Only fools rush in."

There's a naturalist/survivalist technique for finding edible food in the wilderness. That technique is "watch what the other mammals eat, and then eat that". If other mammals are eating it, chances are good it won't poison you or make you sick.

The internet is just a reflection of our world. Our world has no safety guarantees. It's a weird, bizarre and often threatening place.
posted by loquacious at 12:55 PM on May 30, 2011


I'm not calling you a self righteous, borish, shit-head in public, so I'd thank you to likewise not speculate into my personality.
posted by codacorolla at 2:57 PM on May 30 [+] [!]

I was referring more to the assholes who were calling for "eye bleach" after watching the video in question, but nice zinger as you left the room. Don't let the door smack you on the way out.
posted by dazed_one at 12:56 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


charlie don't surf, you might not care for dance as much as music, but dance has always been considered an art. The children playing music were also not the first ones to play those notes; they've studied famous musicians and tried to copy their licks, too.

And I'm not the first person who ever used the 26 letters of the alphabet, or words in a dictionary, to write a message either. Your point?

There is an order of magnitude difference between the kid playing banjo and the burlesque kid, or the kid lip synching. The musicians achieved levels of artistry that most adults will never achieve. I don't see how you could compare this to the burlesque kid or the lip syncher.

Let me put it another way. A long time ago, I saw a MeFi thread with mp3s of a musician's master class. The diva was teaching young college students to sing. She argued that while there are many young kids with prodigious talents, there are no true prodigies in the arts until they have their first sexual longing (yeah yeah, Mozart and all that, let's stick to HER argument). She argued that all singing, all music had lust fueling it. Until young adults reach out for their first lover, they do not have the passion within them to draw from, they don't have the personal experience that elevates music from reproducing notes on a page, into the realms of art. So their expressions are naive. We call their works "juvinilia," works done before they found a mature voice.

The burlesque boy is a perfect example. Putting him in a situation that is intended to express himself sexually only shows how he is incapable of it. We can look at it and say "wow, he's really free with his expression" as chronkite thought, or we could use that tiresome hipster "ironic appreciation" to give it hollow praise. But if we look at him as adults, can see how his naivete undermines his message to the point where I start thinking of Poe's Law, and trying to decide whether he's a parody or is serious. And then I have to think, the kid is incapable of putting that level of thought into his work, some adult put him up to it.

The musicians are artists. The burlesque boy, in this context, makes a mockery of artists. I wonder how the banjo and ukulele kids would feel, knowing they "shared a stage" with him.

Anyway, this thread has become pointless. Chronkite weighed in with his monumental straw men, ad hominems, and contempt for people who didn't acknowledge how brilliant his post was. From his total inability to address the issues in this thread, it has become obvious that his post had a an agenda that had little to do with showing kids "un-self consciously doing their thing."
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:28 PM on May 30, 2011


it has become obvious that his post had a an agenda that had little to do with showing kids "un-self consciously doing their thing."

You're wrong. You're so obsessed with thinking that this was a awful post that you completely overlook all the posts who say they liked the burlesque kid.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:34 PM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tell you what, next time I'll just repost something from boingboing or fark, like half the FPPs seem to be these days.

Maybe you could make a good post instead?
posted by grouse at 1:35 PM on May 30, 2011


*grabs Blazecock Pileon and a comfortable chair*
posted by vidur at 1:39 PM on May 30, 2011


Maybe you could make a good post instead?

De gustibus non est disputandum.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:40 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


De gustibus non est disputandum.

By bringing it up in this way, Chronkite seems to imply that a BoingBoing or Fark post is undesirable. I'm not going to dispute that.
posted by grouse at 1:44 PM on May 30, 2011


grouse: “Maybe you could make a good post instead?”

He already made the best post of the week so far; what do you want?
posted by koeselitz at 1:44 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

I watched three of those videos of that kid dancing, and I didn't see any chinese characters to interpret or misinterpret.
His facebook page is in Chinese, apparently

Here's what google translate comes up with for his 'about' page:
Here is the order of the fan zone to help cheer on the order of the place with recommendations of any inappropriate remarks and criticism moderator will delete all, please self-love! fat free brother will personally reply to everyone Oh!! Thank you
Which doesn't tell you that much about his motivations or whatever, at least not that I can tell from the auto translation.
And after a mile and a half of discussion someone has to weigh in with "the burlesque kid is weird"?

Why did you even say that? Just to be part of the conversation? He's weird, huh? What amazing fucking insight.
Don't be such a whiner.
posted by delmoi at 1:46 PM on May 30, 2011


Looooooooooooooooooool forever.

So after all this, it's *me* whining.

You are a funny, funny man.
posted by chronkite at 3:55 PM on May 30, 2011


I'd say you've been pretty much vindicated, while helping to clarify community standards and expose personal assumptions, which led to cortex' brilliant summation. You should be happier, chronkite, the kids are all right.
posted by psyche7 at 4:22 PM on May 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


"If you don't share your enthusiasm with me, I will snark in the thread" is a crappy attitude. If you snark in the thread, that's not something you should try and blame on a poster for not trying hard enough.

Wow, you completely missed the point of my post.* Way to go.

First off, I never said I'd snark at a contextless post. In fact, I specifically said I skip those FPPs. But even so, snarking is not threadshitting. Commentary that takes on the content of a post is a lot different from just going in a thread and just saying something dismissive like, "All music posts totally suck." That would be threadshitting.

I don't threadshit, period. If you actually read what I'd written you'd realize that my point was that I'm more likely to skip a post with no context. I'd rather learn something new, so I'd appreciate the OP making the effort to include some context. Then, instead of skipping the post, I'll make the effort to read it. And even if I don't agree with you, I will make the effort to engage with you about it.

Clear enough for you now?

*Even though I provided context!
posted by misha at 4:24 PM on May 30, 2011


I think the logical endpoint of mystery meat FPPs will be an obit thread, which will read like this:
-----

.


-----
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:06 PM on May 30, 2011


I don't threadshit, period. If you actually read what I'd written you'd realize that my point was that I'm more likely to skip a post with no context. I'd rather learn something new, so I'd appreciate the OP making the effort to include some context. Then, instead of skipping the post, I'll make the effort to read it. And even if I don't agree with you, I will make the effort to engage with you about it.

If that was your point, you probably should've left off the phrase "and not just snark in the thread". Because that is what made me think that you were talking about snarking in threads. The fact that you specifically mentioned it.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:36 PM on May 30, 2011


Clearly the only logical obit for Vincent Flanders.
posted by Chichibio at 5:36 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


So let me get this straight. There's bar that serves mystery shots and pie, and they're putting in a spanking machine? Also here they play the "sandwich game?"

Where is this bar located?
posted by jtron at 5:53 PM on May 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


Did you just say pie?
posted by loquacious at 7:28 PM on May 30, 2011


I would like a double shot of mystery spanking pie, please.
posted by loquacious at 7:29 PM on May 30, 2011


Things that make me hate youtube posts a little less
- using title="informative text" in the URL to indicate content
- context in the description

Change to MeFi that would make me hate youtube links less
- an indication of how long the video runs. I suspect this could be programmed. 95% of videos are a waste of time; I like to know how much time.
posted by theora55 at 8:51 PM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


the pie better not be a lie, like that damned cake
posted by nomisxid at 9:00 PM on May 30, 2011


I suspect this could be programmed. 95% of videos are a waste of time; I like to know how much time.

That's an interesting idea. I had a look through the Youtube data API, and it will apparently accept a video ID as search query and return all its metadata in JSON which does in fact make this easy. Here's an example using the five video IDs from the post that's the subject of this thread:
$ for ID in HBxKEmDwyuA ErMWX--UJZ4 w3FeXYW_Je8 G7YXn-lfHXc zTHgDQFnMZc; do
    curl -s "http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/api/videos?alt=json&q=$ID" |
      perl -MJSON -e 'printf "%d:%02d\n", int $_/60, $_%60 for
        (decode_json(<>)->{feed}->{entry}->[0]->{q{media$group}}->{q{yt$duration}}->{seconds})'; done
1:57
1:33
1:50
3:30
2:13
posted by Rhomboid at 9:49 PM on May 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


Someone get that kid a contract.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:55 PM on May 30, 2011


If you don't put context in, I don't click on it. I like posts that have context better than posts without. I would like to ask people to put in context, because that makes the site more useful to me.
posted by Jpfed at 12:15 AM on May 31, 2011


Context? Like, maybe with tags? Tags that this post had?
posted by koeselitz at 12:52 AM on May 31, 2011


This post was fine. Jesus fucking.
posted by cj_ at 3:03 AM on May 31, 2011


Indeed.

So... I found the answer to another thing I was curious about: possible Taiwanese mores related to crossdressing performances. An ethnomusicologist has written a dissertation called Performing Postmodern Taiwan: Gender, Cultural Hybridity, and the Male Crossdressing Show [PDF]. Here are a couple of snippets:
In Taiwan, male cross-dressing performance played a very important role in the early development of traditional Taiwanese theater—about a hundred years ago, it was found in almost every theatrical genre. Male cross-dressing performance in traditional Taiwanese theater is becoming rare, while in the meantime, a new performance context for male cross-dressing, the fanchuan show 反串秀 [male cross-dressing show], has made a big impact on Taiwan’s entertainment industry since the mid-1990s.

...

From various Taiwanese textual and visual media, I learned that Redtop Arts was one of the hottest showcases in Taiwan’s entertainment industry. Following the popularity of Redtop, other male cross-dressing troupes established themselves one after another to take part in this new trend. Redtop Arts members, as well as other professional male cross-dressing performers, were frequent guests on Taiwan’s televised game and talk shows. The visibility and popularity of fanchuan show in the late 1990s became so well-known that it became a new Taiwanese cultural phenomenon. The media called this new upsurge of show business fanchuan rechao 反串熱潮 [the great mass fervor of male cross-dressing performance].
This suggests to me that there is perhaps a somewhat different attitude than our (mostly) Western ideas and expectations. If the fanchuan performers have been popularly featured on TV and in fan magazines, etc., I'm thinking that the idea of a little boy who wants to emulate popular female performers is maybe not as startling as it is in some other cultures.
posted by taz at 4:40 AM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Context? Like, maybe with tags? Tags that this post had?

People have mentioned above that when reading the site on mobile browsers, the tags aren't displayed for them.
posted by pseudonymph at 5:39 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's the Metafilter Cinderella Dilemma: some posts have too much context, others have too little.

Our reactions to each say as much about us as they do about the posts themselves.
posted by zarq at 6:54 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


points:
  • the original complaint says "Or at least use a better title or tags."
  • the tags are fine
  • the original poster is not responsible for what you can see on your mobile
  • some pretty mean stuff has been said here about a post that's just fine
  • the post is just fine
posted by taz at 7:55 AM on May 31, 2011


Now I'm kinda bummed that my local bar doesn't have a Mystery Booze special.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:56 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


The post was fine. We have some general style suggestions here but very few airtight rules. Mystery meat stuff falls into the category of "things that annoy a small group of people a lot, a larger group of people a little, and some people not at all" If you want to reach the widest possible MeFi audience, that is not the way to do it. However, if this is not a concern of yours, the post was fine. If you use the mysteriousness of your links to try to make some larger point, your point may not be made or people may read into your point that which is not there. As riskiness goes, this is not so risky. People seem to be getting a little het up about this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:06 AM on May 31, 2011


jessamyn: "People seem to be getting a little het up about this."

Hetters gonna het.
posted by zarq at 11:13 AM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


The up seems really tight around here sometimes.
posted by Sailormom at 11:47 AM on May 31, 2011


What a sad commentary on the state of MeFi's "community" this thread has been.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:58 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Because everybody pretty much thought you and Charlie were flipping out for no reason?
posted by klangklangston at 12:08 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thank goodness America hasn't been exporting any animations, for the last 50 years or so, where the hero dresses in drag and keeps kissing another male! on the lips!!
posted by nomisxid at 12:19 PM on May 31, 2011


Now I'm kinda bummed that my local bar doesn't have a Mystery Booze special.

They probably do. Ask for a "mat shot."
posted by rhizome at 12:32 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Because everybody pretty much thought you and Charlie were flipping out for no reason?

Ummm, I think characterizing fourcheesemac as "flipping out for no reason" is a pretty good example of what he's talking about as being sad, probably.

This thread reads to me as "could we get one sentence below the fold, here are reasons why it would be helpful, please" vs "meta FILTER, bro" with the latter turning out to be the popular opinion.
posted by neuromodulator at 12:37 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


"This thread reads to me as "could we get one sentence below the fold, here are reasons why it would be helpful, please" vs "meta FILTER, bro" with the latter turning out to be the popular opinion."

Really? You missed all the ZOMG NSFW over some kid in drag? You missed all the entitled moaning from Fourcheese et al. and passive aggressive please-demand-thank-you phrasing? You missed the "blame the victim" nonsense upthread?

This thread reads more like a legitimate but niggling complaint derailed by the wild over-reaction of the promulgators and the real issue being that they didn't want to see a roly-poly little Burlesquer for some weird reasons of their own being presented as the problem of the community for not adequately protecting their delicate sensibilities.
posted by klangklangston at 12:51 PM on May 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


I guess I did miss it. I did scroll through the thread looking for what caused you to describe it that way, but I guess not carefully enough. Mea culpa. I was really basing this on the early part of the thread, which seemed pretty reasonable and not deserving of much ire.

I do think there are a spectrum of valid reactions to that video (from "ugh talent-show parents" to "OH NOES sexualized children" to "LOL he's just having fun") that are all fairly reasonable and valid, and that most of the discussion is pretending that there's One True Reaction here, and everyone else is being a jerk.
posted by neuromodulator at 3:52 PM on May 31, 2011


Don't know? Don't click. It's not complicated.

Yes, but readers applying that rule means that an improperly-framed poster's work will then go unseen by many.

fourcheesemac was voicing a complaint, but it was in the form of a suggestion -- "want more people reading your links? Here's how!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:15 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread reads more like a legitimate but niggling complaint derailed by the wild over-reaction of the promulgators and the real issue being that they didn't want to see a roly-poly little Burlesquer for some weird reasons of their own being presented as the problem of the community for not adequately protecting their delicate sensibilities.

Not that I disagree with you, per se, but I hope you don't run a daycare facility.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:34 PM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Not that I disagree with you, per se, but I hope you don't run a daycare facility.

This is my new favorite line.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:50 PM on May 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


Providing context in an FPP, even just one sentence, serves two purposes. First, it helps your fellow metafilter readers make informed decisions about what to read. This seems to me, quite clearly, to be the respectful and courteous thing to do. Second, the context can quite easily be the most interesting content--my favorite FPPs are the ones with a handful of vetted links, carefully assembled by a knowledgeable mefite, and tied together with a paragraph or two of insightful synopsis. I read the FPP and I learn something--and if I want to go deeper into one particular area of the topic, I can click on one of the well-labeled links and dive in.

Mystery-meat posts come off, to me, as lazy, otiose, and disrespectful. And while I follow the "if you don't like it don't click" strategy as a practical matter, I feel it's a bit obtuse to think that this is really a solution for what (some of us) see as a problem. Briefly put, even if us "haters" don't click, the mystery-meat posts still degrade the signal-to-noise ratio and, in my opinion, the overall quality of metafilter. I genuinely (and perhaps mistakenly) believed that metafilter had a higher standard, and this regression to the mean is a bit sad. (And let's face it, on the internet, the mean is pretty damned low.)

I can see, in very specific cases, the deliberate omission of context and the resulting "mystery" making a post stronger. But those posts were rare. And chronkite's post was not one of them. There was no surprise, no "eureka" insight, that would be spoiled by chronkite including a few words of context, e.g.: "I've seen a lot of kids doing amazing stuff recently, in real life and online. I'm delighted by it. It gives me hope. Here are five Youtube videos on that theme."

That's all fourcheesemac is asking for. (I go a bit farther, myself: I think it'd be best above the fold.)

I wish Metafilter had more members like fourcheesemac, to be honest. And, after reading through this thread and chronkite's inarticulate, flustered flailings (complete with genuine ANGER CAPITALS, even!), I wish we had fewer--zero--like him.

(But that's just me. And there are others with different tastes. So I'll just go back to quietly not clicking the mystery-meat posts as Metafilter gradually becomes indistinguishable from Yahoo Answers.)
posted by kprincehouse at 10:07 PM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, good grief.
posted by taz at 10:30 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Mystery-meat posts come off, to me, as lazy, otiose, and disrespectful."

Viewing others' aesthetic choices as "otiose and disrespectful" is grandiloquent, entitled twaddle.

The view that this is somehow a regression is false nostalgia, and the specter of turning into Yahoo Answers is a silly boogeyman to invoke.

Further, deriding Chronkite's commens as "inarticulate, flustered flailings" shows you to be humorless and wishing for his departure shows you to be a boor. Especially since you have yet to make an FPP — deciding that he makes MeFi worse while you're not making it better seems pretty bold.

In sum, you managed to wrap a moderate opinion in a great helping of sounding like a prick.
posted by klangklangston at 10:52 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mystery-meat posts come off, to me, as lazy, otiose, and disrespectful.
Oh, good grief indeed!

To characterise all those who make such posts as indolent and disrespectful is a ludicrous position to take, regardless of how long someone has been here or how many times they've braved the snark-troll by making an offering on the altar of MeFi. To suggest that another member has no right to be here because they made a post that some others didn't like is not only disrespectful, it's downright nasty. Perhaps instead of scouring the dictionary for obscure words to impress people, your time would be better spent looking up what 'respect' means in the same dictionary.

In sum, what klangklangston said.
posted by dg at 12:08 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I stated my opinion about the no-context posts and said why I feel that way. I made no statement about others' aesthetic choices. I believe we can disagree without calling one another names.

The view that this is somehow a regression is false nostalgia, and the specter of turning into Yahoo Answers is a silly boogeyman to invoke.
Yeah, you're right. I could have phrased it better, and it's true that this is not a new phenomenon. Please allow me to try again: Metafilter is a place I truly value for the informative, interesting discussion that often goes on here--it's an uncommonly insightful community. I feel that FPPs that seem to be the top five hits of typing "cute kids music" into Youtube are something I could get anywhere.

My describing chronkite's comments as "inarticulate, flustered flailings" was harsh. Upon re-reading this, however, I feel my description was accurate and I stand by it. I feel his second and third paragraphs did well in making his case, but the rest was angry and vituperative. Do you disagree?

And yes, I do feel that the optimal number of comments like that is zero. I did not assert that he has no right to be here, however. There is a difference between saying "if you are going to behave like that then I wish you would leave" and actually pushing someone out the door.

Well, that's how I feel and why; dg and klangklangston, it's quite alright with this humorless, boorish prick if you disagree.
posted by kprincehouse at 1:15 AM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, I learned of the word 'otiose' today and my world is a wee bit happier for it.
posted by pseudonymph at 4:55 AM on June 1, 2011


Well, that's how I feel and why; dg and klangklangston, it's quite alright with this humorless, boorish prick if you disagree.

That was really gracefully done. Bravo.
posted by Wolof at 5:31 AM on June 1, 2011


I know who I'm havin' a beer with.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:21 AM on June 1, 2011


(it's chronkite)
posted by BeerFilter at 6:22 AM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter is a place I truly value for the informative, interesting discussion that often goes on here--it's an uncommonly insightful community. I feel that FPPs that seem to be the top five hits of typing "cute kids music" into Youtube are something I could get anywhere.

Metafilter is a place I truly value because informative, interesting discussion can take place right alongside lulz from watching videos of dancing fat kids. The fact that not everyone likes the same things? That's a feature of metafilter, not a bug.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:06 AM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know who I'm havin' a beer with.

I suggest you don't drink the third beer.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:57 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


kprincehouse: “Mystery-meat posts come off, to me, as lazy, otiose, and disrespectful.”

What the hell does "otiose" mean? And don't tell me I have to look it up. Using words that most people will have to look up just confuses readers as to your meaning and degrades the signal to noise ratio and, in my opinion, the overall quality of metafilter.

“I genuinely (and perhaps mistakenly) believed that metafilter had a higher standard, and this regression to the mean is a bit sad. (And let's face it, on the internet, the mean is pretty damned low.)”

Look, I'll mostly ignore your annoying sideways swipes at metafilter – although, honestly, just insulting the community here isn't really the best way to win friends – but you might not have been around long enough to know that this is something we used to do much, much more. It's only through a constant hectoring of "mystery-meat" posters that that kind of thing has gradually died off. And some of us think that's pretty annoying. We used to have posters like this guy who posted some pretty awesome stuff, much of which was "mystery meat."

And he's just one example I remember. But if you comb through the archives, you'll see that this stuff used to be much, much more common around here.

“I can see, in very specific cases, the deliberate omission of context and the resulting "mystery" making a post stronger. But those posts were rare. And chronkite's post was not one of them. There was no surprise, no ‘eureka’ insight, that would be spoiled by chronkite including a few words of context, e.g.: ‘I've seen a lot of kids doing amazing stuff recently, in real life and online. I'm delighted by it. It gives me hope. Here are five Youtube videos on that theme.’”

So apparently the only reason you can see for making a post that doesn't describe in detail everything one might find in the links is because sometimes there might be some sort of "surprise" to be "spoiled?" As nonsensical as that is – aren't you trying to argue that this stuff should be spoiled? – there are other reasons why one might choose to make a post the way that chronkite did here.

For one thing: the poetry of it. It's a very nice phrase, "the kids are all right." There's a reason the Who wrote a song around it; it has a lilt. And it's sort of thrilling, the way it feels on the tongue, frankly. Whereas your long explanatory body of text is awkward, it's unpoetic, it's fairly pretentious, and frankly it's a waste of space on the front page.

“I wish Metafilter had more members like fourcheesemac, to be honest. And, after reading through this thread and chronkite's inarticulate, flustered flailings (complete with genuine ANGER CAPITALS, even!), I wish we had fewer--zero--like him. (But that's just me. And there are others with different tastes. So I'll just go back to quietly not clicking the mystery-meat posts as Metafilter gradually becomes indistinguishable from Yahoo Answers.)”

You know what? This is a really douchebag thing to say. I'm guessing you aren't a douchebag yourself, and I am not calling you one; but it's really very unpleasant to wish aloud that certain people would just leave the site. It's pretentious, crude, and frankly not conducive to good community.

Aside from that, however, I will try to explain my perspective on posting methods.

I think something significant has changed about the way people approach the internet over the past ten years. It's reflected clearly, I think, in the change in posting styles here on Metafilter. Over the past ten years, metadata has gone from being a mysterious thing one collated and collected for oneself, an airy mist of extra information that surrounded certain objects ethereally, to being an expected, required, necessary thing. People don't just expect to be told precisely what a thing is before they look it over; they demand it, and are somewhat perturbed if they aren't told.

This clearly was not the case in the early days of the site. This hardly ever came up then. I can't find a Metatalk argument about it earlier than about four years ago, and in that time they've ramped up steadily.

I guess there are a lot of reasons for this change in attitude about the internet; people have gotten used to the Wikipedia way, I guess, the necessary taxonomic effort that yields tags and search terms and linked webs of information. Most of all, though, I think people have gotten used to finding things on the internet; so much so that, at this point, finding a thing on the internet does not carry any joy in itself whatsoever for most people. Maybe we've been trolled one two many times with tubgirl; maybe we were rickrolled just enough to make us sigh and shake our heads at blind links. But the fact remains: it really isn't interesting or incredible to us any more, the act of clicking a link and seeing a new thing that's interesting and unexpected.

The thing is, some of us still like that feeling. Some of us still like an artful and poetic set of words laid out with dynamic links that lead to awesome and exciting and unexpected places. Some of us still like clicking a link and not knowing what interesting page we'll be taken to, but accepting the small amount of trust it requires to click and see. Some of us are still of the conviction that that is a big chunk of what the internet is about.

And why is it so awful to allow us those posts that are well-designed and pleasing in their simplicity? Why is that annoying or tedious or whatever it is you think "mystery meat" posts are? Why is that making us indistinguishable from Yahoo Answers, in your phrase? (How does that even make sense – is Yahoo Answers really full of blind links put together with poetic or interesting phrasing? And if the links themselves are bad, isn't that a separate issue?)

This has always sort of annoyed me, the pretentiousness that demands that everything must be explained ahead of time. I don't ask an author to explain everything before I read a book, I don't ask a director to explain everything before I watch a movie, and I'm not about to ask a poster to explain everything before I click some links. That's just not how artistic creations should be enjoyed.
posted by koeselitz at 6:08 PM on June 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


I've been thinking about this a bit since yesterday. There's a lot of unnecessary hostility in this thread and I certainly added to it. I received some bad news about the health of a friend and was in a dark mood; I wasn't as conscious as I should have been about the effect that was having on me. When I read this MeTa what I saw was a guy making a polite, simple request; instead of a civil back-and-forth, it met with a bunch of hostile piling-on and replies like chronkite's that just seemed really out of order (it still does, in fact). And it set me off. I should have just walked away (or, failing that, at least made my point without the inflammatory phrasing). So for the dickishness in my original comment, I apologize.

And koeselitz I appreciate your temperate response.

Otiose is a wonderful word that rolls lazy, pointless, without substance and serving no purpose all into one. It was not the simplest word I could have used but it was the one that most precisely matched the thought I was trying to express. I wasn't trying to confuse or impress anyone... I just like words.

I still feel the negatives outweigh the positives for no-context posts and blind links, in general, and chronkite's post, in particular. And koeselitz, you make some interesting points that deserve a thoughtful response. I'm tempted to try to finally realize that civil back-and-forth that was so conspicuously lacking upthread. But I'm just too weary of this and I fear this thread has been irredeemably poisoned by animosity, hypocrisy, and deliberate misunderstanding.

So, the horse is dead. Different people are different. And, magically, I just don't care about it as much as I did when I was having a shitty day.
posted by kprincehouse at 3:33 AM on June 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


kprincehouse, you just keep looking cooler and cooler.

So I'll say this on your behalf:

What the hell does "otiose" mean? And don't tell me I have to look it up. Using words that most people will have to look up just confuses readers as to your meaning and degrades the signal to noise ratio and, in my opinion, the overall quality of metafilter.

koeselitz, this is a bad thing to say and you should feel bad for saying it. Because "otiose" is such an awesome word that I'm surprised you weren't immediately compelled to look up what it meant.

....And because Metafilter's got much, much bigger problems than an individual user's fucking choice of word.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:40 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is not a bad thing to say (nor should one feel bad in saying) that there is a comparison to be made between a poster who makes a mystery meat post and a poster who uses a word whose meaning isn't known by most people.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:08 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


all I can say is that I feel like grabbing my crotch and saying I got'cher otiose right here.

Which seems seems kind of self-defeating.
posted by taz at 8:53 AM on June 2, 2011


I think it's incredibly ironic that someone complaining about mystery meat posts uses such an obscure word as "otiose."
posted by crunchland at 1:26 PM on June 2, 2011


Do you guys want to work on a list of words you've designated as pompous or whatever so that we can avoid them?
posted by neuromodulator at 1:41 PM on June 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


What the hell does "otiose" mean? And don't tell me I have to look it up. Using words that most people will have to look up just confuses readers as to your meaning and degrades the signal to noise ratio and, in my opinion, the overall quality of metafilter.

I am going to assume that was a hilarious joke.

At any rate, it is hilarious.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:28 PM on June 2, 2011


neuromodulator: "Do you guys want to work on a list of words you've designated as pompous or whatever so that we can avoid them?"

OK, I'll start:

Trump.
posted by zarq at 3:35 PM on June 2, 2011


"Lugubrious" and "unctuous" belong on the list, as well as "stymied."
posted by crunchland at 3:55 PM on June 2, 2011


I love the word meretricious and if you think you can pry it out of my cold dead hands you underestimate the degree to which rigor mortis will tighten my fingers around the dictionary.
posted by winna at 6:42 PM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


crunchland, no! Stymied is a great word, so much fun to say. For best results, bark 'I. AM. STYMIED!' in the same way Weasel growls 'I. AM. WEASEL!' in these credits.

On a more serious note though, unusual words used for love of language and wordplay, or for some fun linguistic spice aren't inherently pompous. It's when they're used as a bludgeon that it becomes a jerk-move. Whichever way you* saw it as being used, 'otiose' is a great little word, I'm thieving the hell out of it.


*this is a generic you, not directed at you, crunchland
posted by pseudonymph at 8:06 PM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've always been a fan of cutlasslessness, but it doesn't come up in conversation that much...
posted by russm at 3:45 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Only you can fight cutlasslessnesslessness, russm.
posted by dersins at 7:57 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


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