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Mystery Meat Links
August 21, 2011 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Hey, here's a link. Want to click on it?

Yeah it's the old complaint: please give us more information about the links on the front page. I'm not fond of "mystery meat" posts because MetaFilter is supposed to be about the links first, commenting second. I read MetaFilter by clicking on the links I find interesting and then I read or watch as the case may be. Then I read the comments. So your title won't be seen until after I checkout the links.

I know I am not alone in this.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy to Etiquette/Policy at 7:54 AM (181 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

Rather than debate with hippybear anymore on the MetaFilter page, I thought I should bring the topic here. Unfortunately I have run out of time and have to go make brunch. However, I do think this is worth discussing if only to bring up the pros and cons to anyone who is new to the site.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:58 AM on August 21, 2011


I removed the six (6) comments complaining about the mystery meat nature of the post from that thread. I think many people who post view the title as metadata and don't feel that they're making a total mystery post if they've explained what the link is about in the title. I'm aware that the title doesn't show on the front page, but this may be one of those "meet people halfway" situations where you need to peek at the title or the tags [or flag and move on]. I am in total agreement with you that true mystery meat posts are a bit of a scourge [and too cutesy by half, etc] I'm just not so sure this is a good example of that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:00 AM on August 21, 2011


The title says "Rhythmic Gymnastics With Ball... that is all." and one of the tags is ballhandling. I haven't clicked on the link but I have a great idea what it's going to be about.

I will take waffles with brunch tyvm.
posted by desjardins at 8:05 AM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey, that's exactly what the video is about. It's not as if it's a rickroll.
posted by desjardins at 8:06 AM on August 21, 2011


I'm confused - the title of the post exactly describes the video. That doesn't seem terribly mysterious. (or did a mod just add/fix the title for clarity?)
posted by elizardbits at 8:12 AM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't edit anything.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:13 AM on August 21, 2011


I agree with Secret Life of Gravy.
posted by grouse at 8:14 AM on August 21, 2011


then I remain steadfastly confused and would also like waffles.
posted by elizardbits at 8:15 AM on August 21, 2011


I really wanted a waffle yesterday (for weeks, really) but had to settle for French toast. Sigh.
posted by yellowbinder at 8:19 AM on August 21, 2011


I always serve my mystery meat with a side of secret gravy.

But why must the gravy be so mysterious? What are you trying to hide, SLoG?
posted by phunniemee at 8:19 AM on August 21, 2011


elizardbits, desjardins: as he explains... "So your title won't be seen until after I checkout the links." -- the title and tags are not visible on the front page. I assume there are a couple of groups of Metafilter readers: those that scan the front page for interesting links and click on them from the front page, and those that read the comments pages first (or read them via RSS or something that shows the titles) before clicking on the links in the post.
posted by neustile at 8:20 AM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


sniggers
posted by infini at 8:23 AM on August 21, 2011


DERP DERP. it just occurred to me that SLoG meant clicking first on the YT link and then on the link to the actual FPP. So yes, that is indeed annoying and confusing.

I still want a waffle tho.

(as she explains, actually)
posted by elizardbits at 8:23 AM on August 21, 2011


How about the third group that clicks on obvious links from the front page but checks out the title/comments before clicking less obvious links? Seems to me like if you've got the time to go into a thread and complain about the mystery link, you've got the time for an extra click of the mouse. Works for me.
posted by phunniemee at 8:24 AM on August 21, 2011 [17 favorites]


I clicked your link and it took me to the thread as the comment had been deleted.

I agree with what you say, although I clicked through and watched when I saw what it actually was. Just putting "This is amazing" on the front page tells me jack shit.
posted by marienbad at 8:31 AM on August 21, 2011


Also, I would like to jump on the waffles bandwagon, even though it is late afternoon here.
posted by marienbad at 8:32 AM on August 21, 2011


Dammit it's 10:45 on a Sunday here and there's nowhere to get waffles without a long wait.

Also the title is not the best place for demystifying links but it is worth checking even if you're skimming from the front page. I don't have this problem but I generally see the titles because I read through the RSS feed. YMMV.
posted by immlass at 8:47 AM on August 21, 2011


Yeah, bad link text. Remember not everyone uses a Grandpa Box to read Metafilter, 10% or so use smartphones where tags and post titles aren't easily visible and you need to judge by the link text.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:54 AM on August 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Thanks for a laugh, TheophileEscargot. I didn't expect to respond to that resemblance
posted by infini at 9:02 AM on August 21, 2011


Seems to me like if you've got the time to go into a thread and complain about the mystery link, you've got the time for an extra click of the mouse. Works for me.

Word. Doubly so if you've made a MetaTalk post.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:02 AM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't mind a mystery post once in a while, but it can't just link to the standard fare. A woman bouncing balls and bending over backwards would be mind-blowing if I saw it walking down the street, but to use "This is amazing" on a mystery meat FPP, that really would have needed to be a bowling ball.
posted by jwhite1979 at 9:03 AM on August 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


If it's mystery meat and the title doesn't clarify, I'll usually read a few comments to get a sense of things. Sometimes, that doesn't help much either. I just roll the dice if I'm feeling lucky.

I'd like blueberry waffles, please.
posted by likeso at 9:06 AM on August 21, 2011


Waffles with mystery meat please.
posted by Ahab at 9:08 AM on August 21, 2011


Here is the YouTube "official video" of Rick Astley's runaway 1987 hit single "Never Gonna Give You Up". Enjoy!
posted by Meatbomb at 9:14 AM on August 21, 2011 [18 favorites]


Here is the YouTube "official video" of Rick Astley's runaway 1987 hit single "Never Gonna Give You Up" Enjoy!

I was half-expecting that link to go to a video of some TV color bars with a prim British woman's voiceover repeating: "This is not a Rick Astley video. This is not a Rick Astley video."
posted by phunniemee at 9:19 AM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Mystery Meat


(is that ok?)
posted by sammyo at 9:21 AM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was totally expecting it to go here.
posted by Ahab at 9:21 AM on August 21, 2011


You know what might be awesome? A new site preference to show the title of posts on the front page. I know the danger of adding too may preference settings, so if it is decided this is not worthy of a checkbox, even just putting the title in the markup (but hidden) would at least allow people to write Grease Monkey scripts that display post titles for people who really want it.

(Me, I just mouse over the "X comments" link on the front page and look at the url in my browser status bar, which contains the post title.)
posted by ericost at 9:27 AM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


mouseover doesn't work on mobile devices, though, does it?
posted by elizardbits at 9:30 AM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


On my iPhone I hold down on the link and don't release until the thing slide up from the bottom that shows the url and gives me the choice, to open, open in new page, or copy. No idea about non iOS mobile devices though.
posted by ericost at 9:33 AM on August 21, 2011


Oops, excuse the comma after "choice" ^
posted by ericost at 9:34 AM on August 21, 2011


I'm baaaaack.

I guess I just don't see any Pros with a mysterious front page description. Is this to catch more people? What I mean is, do you think "This is amazing" will get a broader spectrum of readers to click than "This is an amazing gymnast?" Or is it that it takes to much time to give a more explicit description?

From where I am sitting there are several Cons. First, if I have a lot of posts and little time I will just skip over your interesting post with the mysterious title. Second, if I have a lot of time and few new posts (as happened this morning) I will maybe check out your link and if I find it less than amazing I will tell you so in the comment section. Third, if I have a particular interest in gymnastics and take a quick glance at the front page I might miss your post. Finally, I have to admit it ticks me off just a tiny bit that you are trying to tempt me to read/watch something by making it a big mystery.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:57 AM on August 21, 2011 [16 favorites]


I meant to add that I do usually mouse over the description of the link to check it out but www.youtube with a big long string of numbers doesn't tell me anything.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:58 AM on August 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yup, definitely a case where the actual website has taken second chair to the repackagers.
posted by Ardiril at 10:04 AM on August 21, 2011


Secret Life of Gravy writes "From where I am sitting there are several Cons."

Also, especially in the case of youtube video, it leads to more doubles. Both because mystery meat is easy to miss with a google search and because a visual grep of the site won't reveal the link/content.
posted by Mitheral at 10:05 AM on August 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


There seems to be some misunderstanding about the purpose of tags. There isn't any expectation that people are going to read the tags. If anything, the expectation should be that most people won't read the tags. That's fine; there's no need to. Tags are there in case someone wants to find multiple posts on a certain topic.
posted by John Cohen at 10:09 AM on August 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


First, if I have a lot of posts and little time I will just skip over your interesting post with the mysterious title.

So do that, then.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:09 AM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess I just don't see any Pros with a mysterious front page description. Is this to catch more people? What I mean is, do you think "This is amazing" will get a broader spectrum of readers to click than "This is an amazing gymnast?" Or is it that it takes to much time to give a more explicit description?

I like that there are a small percentage of mystery meat posts. I actively enjoy them.

Pro: some people actively enjoy the small percentage of mystery meat posts on Metafilter.

From where I am sitting there are several Cons.

That's cool, but not everyone is like you. We're not investors that lose money every time someone opts to not click a link in a post. It's okay if not everyone clicks the maximum number of posts that they might possibly enjoy.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:28 AM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


We're not investors that lose money every time someone opts to not click a link in a post.

Exactly. I have an extreme short position on link clicks.
posted by found missing at 10:33 AM on August 21, 2011


I recognize that not everyone is like me. I don't demand that MetaFilter conform to my wishes (see: favorites) I just wonder if the cons outweigh the pros. I'd love to see a poll on this.

We're not investors that lose money every time someone opts to not click a link in a post.

No, but again I have to say MetaFilter is supposed to be about the links. They are the number one priority on this site. Why should your enjoyment of a mystery take precedent over the widest possible audience for the links?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:35 AM on August 21, 2011


I ate at Waffle House yesterday. I had a waffle. Also some things that are not waffles. But hey, waffle.

When I ate at Waffle House a couple days before that, I had hash browns "all the way", which was kind of a mystery, and had meat in it, but no waffle.
posted by ardgedee at 10:45 AM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't normally like Mystery Meat either, but thepost delivered because it was amazing.and then the title tells you explicitly what it is, if you really are disgruntled. So I'm fine with the post.

I was less fine with SLofG dismissing this young woman's skill because she probably won't make a fortune from it financially.

I'm sure her grace, flexibilty, precision and discipline translate well into other areas of her life. But even if she performs simply for the sheer joy of it, that would make it worthwhile. Not all skills are quantifiable; how boring it would be if people only ever did what they could be paid to do!

I had a delicious homemade Belgian waffle for breakfast noms.
posted by misha at 10:48 AM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had bacon pancakes for breakfast.

I am not so sure that the ultimate value of the post, and I agree this person is talented, excuses the mystery meat link. The end does not justify the meat.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:52 AM on August 21, 2011


From where I am sitting there are several Cons

The main con is that it seems to have inspired both in-thread moaning about "mystery meat" (now deleted) and this utterly pointless metatalk post which rehashes the same fruitless conversation we've had innumerable times.

Even more of a "con," in this case, is that the title AND tags explicitly described the content of the link. People who have an issue with clicking links that they don't know the content of need to learn to read tags and titles. If after perusing the title and tags (but especially the title, for fuck's sake) the link is still unexplained, then they have at least a defensible case for their whining.

If, however, the link is explained concisely and explicitly in the title (as it is in this case), they should consider admitting to themselves they could have looked at the title and resolved their own (note: their own) problem without involving the rest of us, and quit their bitching.
posted by dersins at 10:53 AM on August 21, 2011


That's cool, but not everyone is like you. We're not investors that lose money every time someone opts to not click a link in a post. It's okay if not everyone clicks the maximum number of posts that they might possibly enjoy.

I keep all the best links I find secret, I don't want any of you to click on them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:53 AM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tags are there in case someone wants to find multiple posts on a certain topic.

Tags serve a lot of purposes. This is one. They can also help people determine what a post is about if the mystery meat aspect of it bothers them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:54 AM on August 21, 2011


Also, for breakfast this morning I had home-smoked garlic-rosemary pork tenderloin, hash browns, and eggs less than an hour ago.
posted by dersins at 10:54 AM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why should your enjoyment of a mystery take precedent over the widest possible audience for the links?

Widest audience? It's Sunday. MetaFilter's a ghost town on Sundays. It was never going to get the widest audience.

And, actually, it's doing really well for a Sunday post.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:54 AM on August 21, 2011


Why does my iPad
Not change what I have written
Into what I meant?
posted by misha at 10:54 AM on August 21, 2011


Er, eggs laid less than an hour ago.
posted by dersins at 10:55 AM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was less fine with SLofG dismissing this young woman's skill because she probably won't make a fortune from it financially.

First of all I wasn't dismissive of her. I wrote: I agree that this routine showcases amazing precision and agility but the end result is nothing more than a circus show. All those thousands of hours of practice and she will be doing what exactly? Are people lining up to see ball gymnastics? Can you make a living at this?

It's not dismissive to say that she has amazing precision and agility. I only ask (as the mother of an 18 year old girl) is there a living to be made? Is that such a terrible question? It is my first introduction to gymnastics plus ball and I was curious. She can't take that routine to the Olympics can she? Perhaps Cirque de Soliel? I am awed by her flexibility but a bit...dismayed..at all the thousands of hours she must have spent on that routine. At first I compared this in my mind to the amount of time some skateboarders spend on their stunts, but I think there is a niche for professional skateboarders. I am guessing she could be compared to a professional ice skater but again, there is a market for professional ice skaters.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:03 AM on August 21, 2011


MeTas about posting etiquette are perfectly fine... but can you eat them?
posted by ardgedee at 11:09 AM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Widest audience? It's Sunday. MetaFilter's a ghost town on Sundays. It was never going to get the widest audience.


And tomorrow is Monday. Lots of people don't look at MetaFilter during the weekend, I don't usually, but check in on Monday to see if anything interesting got posted. So with all the other stuff that gets posted on Monday this particular post will have to compete with everything posted in the past 48 hours.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:14 AM on August 21, 2011


On android, hold your finger on the link until it brings up a menu. On my phone, the top ofthe menu show the URL.
posted by zarq at 11:18 AM on August 21, 2011


This is my opinion on the matter.
posted by Chipmazing at 11:20 AM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am guessing she could be compared to a professional ice skater but again, there is a market for professional ice skaters.

Nothing personal here, but the fact that there is no market for some sort of super-awesome skill someone has sort of makes it even more amazing not less, in my personal opinion. I mean, I get that this just pushed your buttons in a number of ways, but reducing everything to whether you can exchange cash for it turns a world of wonderful things into some sort of stupid Running Man reality teevee dystopia where things aren't perceived to have any value outside of their cash exchange value. Similar critiques could be leveled at the time we spend on MetaFilter, though I can occasionally swap social capital for beer, I suppose.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:26 AM on August 21, 2011 [24 favorites]


I recognize that not everyone is like me. I don't demand that MetaFilter conform to my wishes (see: favorites) I just wonder if the cons outweigh the pros.

Ultimately, that mystery meat posts don't get routinely flagged to the dickens, and that a lot of folks seem to enjoy them when they're posted and defend them when this conversation goes another round in metatalk, suggests not.

Individual posts have occasionally been more mystery than meat, with both slight framing and not much on the other end to justify it; those tend to get flagged and deleted and the system works. But that's a problem with a bad post, not a problem with a general posting aesthetic.

Posts with slight if any explanation have been a part of the mix on the front page since the site has existed; as just that, a part of the mix, they're fine, and if we ever see a grand shit toward All Mystery Meat, All The Time we can worry about pushback at that point, but in twelve years it hasn't happened and I don't particularly expect it to in the future either.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:28 AM on August 21, 2011


Yeah, um, sometimes people do stuff for things other than money. Enjoyment, for instance.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:28 AM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I like drawing pictures of dinosaurs and baking pie. People tell me I'm good at these things. I know some people make money doing stuff like that, but I've yet to see any cash flow. If someone would like to pay me to draw and bake, that would be great. But I'm not going to stop doing it just because it's not marketable. Dinosaurs and pie are just way too awesome.
posted by phunniemee at 11:32 AM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ultimately, that mystery meat posts don't get routinely flagged to the dickens

I don't flag them because I've already ignored them and moved on, which is exactly the problem with them.

"This is Amazing" absolutely does not cut it though, even a sub-average Fark headline has more detail.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:33 AM on August 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Don't the people who spend a lot of time building a freaking awesome, content- and link-rich post get a little pissed off when we all give "mystery meat" (ie no context, no serious effort) posts a passing grade? If I managed content on this site, I'd be worried that the freaking awesome posters will just say fuck it, why bother! My posts don't need quality to stay on the Blue, why should I put any effort into it?
posted by Brocktoon at 11:35 AM on August 21, 2011


She can't take that routine to the Olympics can she?

I think it's actually beside the point, but she can. Rhythmic gymnastics has had world competitions since the 1960s, and been in the Olympics since 1984.

I kind of feel like you're grasping at straws to disparage the post: first mystery meat, now maybe pointless as a life pursuit and I wonder why. It's a post, I thought it was fun, and like some others, I don't mind the element of surprise at all. We've talked about mystery meat extensively and as recently as June, and it seems that it's a personal preference thing.
posted by donnagirl at 11:36 AM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ultimately, that mystery meat posts don't get routinely flagged to the dickens, and that a lot of folks seem to enjoy them when they're posted and defend them when this conversation goes another round in metatalk, suggests not.

I don't think they will enjoy them any less if they had a bit of obvious context (tags and titles don't cut it, IMO).
posted by Brocktoon at 11:43 AM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like mystery meat.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:43 AM on August 21, 2011


If I managed content on this site, I'd be worried that the freaking awesome posters will just say fuck it, why bother! My posts don't need quality to stay on the Blue, why should I put any effort into it?

Well, again, if this was the sort of feedback we actually got, that would be something. As it is, it seems like most folks who post choose to do so in the way they do because it's what makes sense to them, what gives them satisfaction as a poster to Metafilter. There's no reason that someone who likes making essay-style posts should necessarily be bothered by the fact that other people make slimmer presentations, any more than the folks who make slim posts should be bothered that others put more framing work into theirs.

If anything, we get complaints from people who make terrible posts and get those posts deleted and don't understand how Metafilter works well enough to get why the deletion happened. Those posts are worse than a bit of mystery on a cool random thing on the internet, hands down, and the complaints about them are a lot more common than complaints about the occasional mystery-meat deletion by the person posting it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:44 AM on August 21, 2011


MetaFilter: a grand shit toward All Mystery Meat
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:44 AM on August 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


I TYEP GOOD
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:46 AM on August 21, 2011


Your typos are funnier than my regular jokes!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:48 AM on August 21, 2011


Nothing personal here, but the fact that there is no market for some sort of super-awesome skill someone has sort of makes it even more amazing not less

I can only speak for myself, and I do regret calling the sport "silly", but with my comment I was more intending to say, "this is really cool, it's too bad more people won't get to see her perform", and not so much "why can't she make a million in lucrative sponsorship deals" or something like that. In my defense. O_o
Sorry again about the "silly" comment. Point taken. Won't do it again. Etc.
posted by Glinn at 11:53 AM on August 21, 2011


No, but again I have to say MetaFilter is supposed to be about the links. They are the number one priority on this site. Why should your enjoyment of a mystery take precedent over the widest possible audience for the links?

Maybe links aren't the number one priority on this site. Maybe members are.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:53 AM on August 21, 2011


I like pate, sausage, and hotdogs, so I guess I like mystery meat.

And if I could parlay my skill at identifying raptors while I'm driving on the freeway into a lucrative career, I would. But I'll enjoy it even though I can't.
posted by rtha at 11:55 AM on August 21, 2011


I do not like mystery meat links.

I also do not like rhythmic gymnastics, curling, that thing where they have horses dancing, soccer or the tour de france.

That link somebody posted the other day of John Kruk batting (?) against Randy Johnson in the All Star Game? That was more awesome than the Metatalk thread where everybody was seeing how many f bombs they could write in three sentences.
posted by bukvich at 11:57 AM on August 21, 2011


Don't the people who spend a lot of time building a freaking awesome, content- and link-rich post get a little pissed off when we all give "mystery meat" (ie no context, no serious effort) posts a passing grade? If I managed content on this site, I'd be worried that the freaking awesome posters will just say fuck it, why bother! My posts don't need quality to stay on the Blue, why should I put any effort into it?

Speaking purely for myself here: I often make content- and link-rich posts and could care less whether other people's posts are or are not single-links. I make those too.

I don't see it as a competition. (In fact, some of my favorite posts have been single links, and some have been linkfests.) As cortex said, I make posts in that style because I like to. It's fun for me.

Mystery meat posts are not my thing. I generally skip them. But they're certainly not discouraging me from posting.
posted by zarq at 12:01 PM on August 21, 2011


I kind of feel like you're grasping at straws to disparage the post: first mystery meat, now maybe pointless as a life pursuit and I wonder why

This MetaTalk was about me expressing my personal dislike of posts without explanation. Along the way someone chose to drag in a remark that I made in my example of a mystery meat post and I chose to defend myself. It isn't that I think that is a bad post or that the video is a bad video or that the what the gymnast does is not incredible. I think the post per se is fine, the video is interesting and what she does is outstanding-- not my cup of tea, but really, really skilled.

I don't think it is a pointless to pursue gymnastics-- I even enrolled my own daughter at a young age because I believed it would have great physical pay-offs. I would, however, be dismayed if she as a teenager decided to put all her time and effort into something that doesn't have a possible future in it instead of spending hours on her school books. Note that I didn't even dismiss the possibility of a future pay-off, I just asked "Can you get a job doing this?" and it wasn't a rhetorical question. I'm not sure why everyone thinks I'm crushing her dreams or putting her down.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:12 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Never offer up bits of your personal life for these jackals to gnaw at.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:21 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I would, however, be dismayed if she as a teenager decided to put all her time and effort into something that doesn't have a possible future in it instead of spending hours on her school books.

Hey, I have my New Mexico Music Teachers Association high school diploma in piano performance. By my senior year I was spending 4-5 hours a day practicing toward my senior recital and my performance exams. It's basically impossible to make money with such a thing. Even if you're a brilliant pianist (which I'm not) the odds of it becoming a money-making subject of study on any level are slim to none. Yet parents encourage their children in music study all the time, much more than they do gymnastics.

The point of doing such study isn't about the physical payoffs, nor is it about learning the skill, per se. It's about learning how to apply onesself toward excellence in something, learning how to dissect a task to achieve mastery, learning how to break down a large goal into smaller component parts, learning how to focus on something big and follow it through until you achieve it.

None of these are skills taught in school. None of them are skills one will learn through team sports. But through things like gymnastics or music education, young people gain valuable life skills and experience which have nothing whatsoever to do with the subject at hand and everything to do with the kind of success they can achieve later in life.

If you're having her study gym becuase it has great physical payoffs, and then discouraging her from pursuing it if it holds her interest into her teenage years, then you're going to end up crushing something extremely valuable for her, and teaching her negative lessons about passion vs. earning capability.
posted by hippybear at 12:21 PM on August 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


I thought the grand shit was on reddit this week.
posted by Aizkolari at 12:44 PM on August 21, 2011


Is the father of a grand shit referred to as a great-grand shit?
posted by grouse at 12:48 PM on August 21, 2011


The internet is about clicking links and seeing what is behind the links.

If you don't like clicking links, don't go on the internet. It's really very simple.

The general elimination of mystery meat posts is one of the things that has made metafilter's quality dive over the past few years. But, hey! On the bright side, all of our Michele Bachmann posts have very good descriptions!
posted by koeselitz at 12:58 PM on August 21, 2011


I mean, why do we even have descriptions at all? It should just be a numbered list of links. Why the hell do you need to know if a post is amazing or not?

You know what? Why even links? Just post the URL. NO, the IP address of the site in question.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:06 PM on August 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


The complaining about how things have gone downhill on Metafilter used to be far better. Back in the day, the good old days were frequently and sharply contrasted with the then current shitty state of affairs. Nowadays, our current shittiness in contrast to the old days is rarely mentioned, and then only meekly and tepidly.
posted by found missing at 1:08 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Good mystery meat link: How does she defy gravity like that? (SLYT)
Bad mystery meat link: This is just amazing. (SLYT)

It pushed my "I want to MeTa this" button too.
posted by girlhacker at 1:22 PM on August 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Did I miss the waffles?
posted by DaddyNewt at 1:23 PM on August 21, 2011


I'm sorry I didn't check out MeTa first thing this morning, because right about as this was posted I was making my famous (well, in this house anyways) waffles from scratch. I get up an hour early to whip up the batter, because I have to let it sit for an hour before I pour it into my Krups waffle iron. And then while the waffles were cooking I cut up some delicious fresh peaches that my wife picked up yesterday, to smother the waffles in before drowning them in maple syrup. I would've had whipped cream too, but my wife insisted she needed that cream for the food she is cooking up for tonight's big family get together.

But if I had seen this, I would've made enough waffles for everyone to come over, have a sit down and talk this mystery meat thing over. And you can be damn sure I would've been able to make whipped cream for them, 'cuz all of you would've been coming over too and I would've been like "We can pick up more cream later! Friends coming over! Friends from the internet!"

So there you go, Metafilter. You missed out on waffles with peaches and whipped cream because I was a little too bleary eyed this morning to check out what was going on in MeTa.

I think we've all learned something valuable. I know I have.
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:36 PM on August 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I like getting presents and unwrapping them. It's even better when I have no idea what the present under the wrapping is. I think this is pertinent here.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:39 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The general elimination of mystery meat posts is one of the things that has made metafilter's quality dive over the past few years.

No, it isn't.

brought to you by the Committee to Also Make Up Unverifiable Semi-Facts
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:49 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I skipped the original link because there was nothing on my grandpa box suggesting I'd like it other than that a (presumed) young person thought it was amazing. However, this MeTa thread got me interested enough to go watch it. Thanks for that.
posted by Obscure Reference at 1:49 PM on August 21, 2011


The long term health consequences of being a gymnast are a concern.

I read a New Scientist article in the 80s claiming that most ('almost all' is what I not quite confidently enough remember) competition level female gymnasts have chronic lower back problems by their thirties.
posted by jamjam at 1:49 PM on August 21, 2011


I too hate mystery meat posts, but only because they clutter up the page. I don't click on them; to me, they're just in the way. This isn't a conscious thing: I have been trained by the internet to scan for anti-content and screen it out, and mystery meat posts go into the same trash bag.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:52 PM on August 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


I hate mystery meat posts. I mostly read MeFi on a phone or iPod, so I can't see the title on mouseover, and bandwidth matters, as does the time it takes to load the page. All even more true when the content is a YT video, which launches a separate app on my phone and consumes significant data, which is no longer unlimited for most of us, even if you just watch the first few seconds to determine you've been duped, once again, by mystery meat bullshit.

I just think it's common damn courtesy. "This is amazing" is a tease, and when what it links to *isn't* amazing by any measure of mine, it's only a tease.

I know MeFi public opinion divides into my view vs. "suck it, asshole, your problem if you don't want to play the game."

And I think people who hold the latter view are jerks.
posted by spitbull at 2:19 PM on August 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


I hate mystery meat posts.

I have mixed felings about such posts. Mystery Meat istself can be somehat appetizing.
posted by jonmc at 2:26 PM on August 21, 2011


I know MeFi public opinion divides into my view vs. "suck it, asshole, your problem if you don't want to play the game."

Funny, I think MeFi public opinion divides into "I want everyone to post in a fashion that maximizes the way that I enjoy the site, and I don't care at ALL about people who enjoy the site differently than me" vs. "It's okay to miss or skip a post sometimes".

Guess which ones I think are the jerks?
posted by 23skidoo at 2:34 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did I miss the waffles?

Nah, we're still waffling about mystery meat.
posted by hoppytoad at 2:36 PM on August 21, 2011


Does anyone have a recipe for vegetarian mystery meat-substitute?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:44 PM on August 21, 2011


Nah, we're still waffling about mystery meat.

People compete for fresh roadkill deer around where I live. This made me think of that.
posted by longsleeves at 2:49 PM on August 21, 2011


To make the connection between this MeTa and the Meta two doors down:

Mystery Meat Spouse
posted by found missing at 2:52 PM on August 21, 2011


Does anyone have a recipe for vegetarian mystery meat-substitute?

You know the mat that the gymnast was dancing on? Well...
posted by phunniemee at 2:53 PM on August 21, 2011


I saw the post this morning, on my phone, as I was waiting for the water to heat for coffee (it heats faster if I glare at the kettle occasionally). I saw that it was clearly marked as a SLYT, and there was the little video icon. I clicked to the inside and saw from the title - which is much more noticeable in the mobile version than the non-mobile - what the video was about. I decided to wait until I was at my laptop to watch the video.

So I don't see what was "mysterious" about it, at least from a mobile phone perspective.
posted by rtha at 3:01 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I almost never click on mystery links, so, while they do not enrage me, if your goal is to get me to follow the link and then participate in my usual scintillating* way, then a link with no hints is not a winning strategy. Part of this is due to a coworker who sends out floods of emails with "read this article" in the subject line. About 1 in 10 relates to me, so I just delete them all.

*Your scintillation** may vary.

**Or your opinion of mine
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:08 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are two kinds of people: metafilter members who have electric kettles, and metafilter members who don't, and who must resort to glaring at their slow stovetop kettles. To the second kind, I say wake up and smell the coffee, sheeple! Electric kettle: cheap, fast, easy. You know you want it.
posted by taz at 3:09 PM on August 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


it heats faster if I glare at the kettle occasionally

Sometimes a glare will work, but sometimes one must resort to base flattery.
posted by likeso at 3:10 PM on August 21, 2011


(taz and I both like the word "resort")
posted by likeso at 3:11 PM on August 21, 2011


Electric kettle: cheap, fast, easy. You know you want it.

I do, kind of. But I also don't want to sacrifice more counter space. I troll through the offerings on Amazon occasionally, and think about it, but I dunno. Maybe.
posted by rtha at 3:22 PM on August 21, 2011


Electric kettle: cheap, fast, easy. You know you want it.

I have an electric kettle, and I use it regularly. However, based on your use of "sheeple," I am wondering if I haven't gone horribly, horribly wrong in my water boiling agenda.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:25 PM on August 21, 2011


rtha: You'll never go back. It's also useful for getting a jump start on boiling water for pasta or anything else you're cooking.
posted by grouse at 3:26 PM on August 21, 2011


Honestly, I really miss posts like this and this. Now posts like those are pretty much banned here (or at least are almost unknown). I feel like everyone now is a product of a post-Rickroll curmudgeon-ness that has overcome internet society. "Warn me first!" "Tell me if it's NSFW!" "Warm me if there are spoilers!" Meh.

I understand that no one else feels this way. That's okay. But it still seems like something is lost when the internet stops being about finding new, exciting things you didn't expect.
posted by koeselitz at 3:27 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have no handy outlet in my kitchen so my stovetop is actually more convenient than an electric kettle would be. If they make a reliable USB powered one, maybe I'd consider it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:28 PM on August 21, 2011


Honestly, though, I tend to get a bit chilly if there are spoilers, so please do warm me first.
posted by koeselitz at 3:28 PM on August 21, 2011


Also, on the stove question, I have a huge, awesome gas stove from the 50s and a pretty red kettle which whistles in a pleasing way. Your electric kettles are fine and dandy, but they do not offer the visceral pleasure which my stove does.

Good god, I'm becoming the thread reactionary
posted by koeselitz at 3:29 PM on August 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Electric kettles promote the visceral pleasure of FASTER TEA.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:32 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have a simple kettle and an electric stove. I can grab my kettle out the door in case of zombies.
posted by Ardiril at 3:33 PM on August 21, 2011


I've got Edison three wire circuits in my kitchen so I've got 240V available at my counter tops if I want to change out a socket. I've been tempted on a few occasions to source a European 3000W kettle. I figure as awesome as electric kettles are one with twice the power would have to be even more awesome.
posted by Mitheral at 3:36 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


(This is a good example of a fantastic mystery-meat post, by the way.)
posted by koeselitz at 3:38 PM on August 21, 2011


I agree with koeslitz and I miss vronsky a lot.

Op feel free to skip my coyly crafted links as much as you like or perhaps even more than that as in usually.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:40 PM on August 21, 2011


To be more clear about my personal reactionary annoyance my most recent post contained a surprise ending. It wasnt nsfw, and it had no spoilers, but SLOG complained in the thread because I didn't give away the surprise and coached the link in a slightly cute way. 2 Questions: Why do you care yo? and also B. FIAMO? (that's more of a statement). What would happen if you didn't complain about this would it ruin the front page somehow? You're kinda being a spoilsport slash wet blanket. That is my opinion as of right now.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:48 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: cheap, fast, easy. You know you want it.
posted by hippybear at 3:50 PM on August 21, 2011


I have no handy outlet in my kitchen so my stovetop is actually more convenient than an electric kettle would be. If they make a reliable USB powered one

Unfortunately, owing to things like USB standards and whatnot, this is very very unlikely. Sorry :(
posted by kingbenny at 4:03 PM on August 21, 2011


I like mystery meat posts, for what it's worth. Not everything has to be explained to me in detail before I invest my precious time looking at it. YMMV, as may the value you place on your time.
posted by dg at 4:06 PM on August 21, 2011


I like heating the kettle on my gas range, because the first thing I do in the morning is put cold water in the kettle and put it on the stove, and at that point I have the situational awareness and fine motor skills of a dim toddler.

By the time I've gone to my office and deleted a couple of posts and the kettle noise has dropped to that presaging hush before the whistle, I'm finally ready to handle boiling water, and then really only just.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:15 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


To be more clear about my personal reactionary annoyance my most recent post contained a surprise ending. It wasnt nsfw, and it had no spoilers, but SLOG complained in the thread because I didn't give away the surprise and coached the link in a slightly cute way. 2 Questions: Why do you care yo? and also B. FIAMO?

B. first: I very. very rarely flag things and then only if it is a double or just complete crap. I don't flag things just because I think they can be done better.

A: You completely misnamed the post. You called it a Save the Date Card when it was nothing of the sort. That doesn't matter in a big way except that I had already seen those photos twice before (once when they were called "B Movie Mine" and then deleted.) I looked through them with closer attention because I thought there was something missing and hadn't noticed any Save the Dateness about them. Sorry you didn't like my ensuing comment. FIAMO, you wet blanket.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:41 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


And now back to tea: this afternoon I was reading the beginning of the Hobbit where Gandalf and the dwarves show up and start eating all of Bilbo's seed-cakes and drinking all his tea and it made me so thirsty that I stopped reading and went and made a giant mug of tea and buttered some bread (Yorkshire tea and Acme whole wheat seed, for those playing at home) and I don't know why I mention that except that I understand there are some people who don't like tea at all, who can't stand it and see no reason for it to exist, but all the same they don't ask for its removal from store shelves, they just walk right past it. A very neat solution that leaves everyone happy.

And if you don't like tea, you should really try some caffe del fiamo.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:04 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tea is okay, but what about those otherwise entirely unlabeled white tins that just say "Amazing Product, 8oz" on them. How can you walk past that?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:10 PM on August 21, 2011


Since they're free, if I have time I'll give 'em a sniff, if not I'll stride past singing "fiaaaamo! andiamo fiamo va beeeeene!" in my best counter-tenor.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:17 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some of them smell like poppies, some like tubgirl, some like the tortured souls of orphan children.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:35 PM on August 21, 2011


This is probably among my most favorite posts that I made. Half of you, it seems, go nuts if every little thing is spelled out for you completely and thoroughly.

I'm not saying that a mystery meat post to a 2 minute youtube video is the best of the web, but I also don't think you have to completely lose your shit if your personal ideals for a post, one that caters to you and spoon-feeds your total lack of imagination and investigation, should be the norm. If you don't want to click on it because it doesn't fulfill your requirements for total hand-holding, then just don't click the fucking link.
posted by crunchland at 6:07 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


For the record, I don't mind well constructed mystery meat. "This is Amazing!" doesn't hit that bar though. A link to a Louis CK bit with "This is funny!" wouldn't do it either.

We don't need posts like "This is awesome!" or "This is sad! :("

It's not too much to ask for some minimum level of effort.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:26 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


My comment that was deleted was something like
"It's nice when the post has a description of the content."
I think SLYTs are often not very good posts, and I think description of the content really makes a better post. Meanwhile, my panties were, at no time, in a twist. Mystery meat isn't a hangin' offense, but I think it's bad form. So, please, fellow MeFites, provide some description for your post. Thank you.
posted by theora55 at 6:39 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just love how this thread that started out kind of GRAR about mystery meat has evolved into a discussion of kettles, tea and hobbits.
posted by arcticseal at 6:47 PM on August 21, 2011


In general, people who like SLYT posts like funny / cute / fascinating video content that's less than five minutes long, by definition. That kind of content also tends by its nature to be surprising. If Huplescat doesn't want to ruin the surprise on the front page, more power to him. Of course, he left you the option of opening up the post and reading the title too, if you want your surprise ruined.
posted by Apropos of Something at 6:52 PM on August 21, 2011


crunchland: "125This is probably among my most favorite posts that I made. Half of you, it seems, go nuts if every little thing is spelled out for you completely and thoroughly."

Ooh, that's cool. Nice post!

I believe this is about as close as I've ever come to a mystery meat post. Guess I do 'em wrong. :)
posted by zarq at 6:52 PM on August 21, 2011


This is not enough of a big deal for me to warrant a policy or an endless metatalk argument. It's just a matter of courtesy.

If some members prefer to have some idea of what they'll be clicking on before they hit the link, would it really be so hard for FPP posters to include that little bit of context? What is the *value* in "This is awesome" (*take a chance!) posts? How are they an improvement over "Here is an amazing rhythmic gymnast doing her thing?" instead?

I mean, if you want that, or you want to do that, fine. But be aware that many readers will not be clicking on that link. It's consciously exclusionary to do that, which seems antithetical to the spirit of the site. It's not terrible. It's not self-linking or (usually) NSFW content. It is just a way of saying "hey, I don't care enough about my reader to give them a reason to read/view/click my link."

What gets me much more heated are the members who come back at this criticism with the equivalent of "fuck you if you don't like it." We are allowed not to like something. Saying so is not calling for deletion or banning or a new policy. Saying so, in fact, may convince future FPP creators to think for a moment about whether they are providing sufficient context, which seems to me to be the whole point of MetaTalk -- discussion leads to improvement.

Crowing that people who care enough to say what they think would improve the site are assholes ruining it for others is much worse than any mystery meat post. It's really the worst of MeFi, and always has been: the reflexive "your opinion sucks" response to any sincere expression of opinion.
posted by spitbull at 6:52 PM on August 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Or what theora55 said.
posted by spitbull at 6:55 PM on August 21, 2011


"I'll take 'Conversational Gambits' for $100, Alex"

None of them are skills one will learn through team sports.

"What is a false non-sequitur, Alex"
posted by Kwine at 7:07 PM on August 21, 2011


Here is the YouTube "official video" of Rick Astley's runaway 1987 hit single "Never Gonna Give You Up". Enjoy!

Groan. Can't you just tell me what it's about? Would a Wikipedia link for 'Rick Astley' have killed you? And stop commanding me to enjoy already - who died and made you Mod?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:17 PM on August 21, 2011


Can't you just tell me what it's about?

It's AMAZING.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:24 PM on August 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


crunchland: "This is probably among my most favorite posts that I made. Half of you, it seems, go nuts if every little thing is spelled out for you completely and thoroughly..."

I think, crunchland, that you perfectly described the situation around mystery meat posts here:
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.
Of the small number of posts I have made, I like this one the best (yeah, best of a mediocre bunch, I know), which is the very model of a mystery meat post. Reactions were ... varied, but obviously a few people weren't bothered by the lack of explanation before clicking. Not every post has to be perfectly tailored to every user's taste.
posted by dg at 7:38 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


All good.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:50 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


spitbull: What is the *value* in "This is awesome" (*take a chance!) posts?”

The joy of discovery and the potential poetry of hotlinks, both of which were seen as what the Internet is about some years ago, but which are now apparently seen as annoying and lame.

"I mean, if you want that, or you want to do that, fine. But be aware that many readers will not be clicking on that link. It's consciously exclusionary to do that, which seems antithetical to the spirit of the site."

Yes, by not including a detailed description, you are excluding people who don't like clicking things. But I don't think it's actually that tragic if people who don't like clicking things are excluded from the Internet. That is, after all, what the Internet is for. (Besides porn.)

"What gets me much more heated are the members who come back at this criticism with the equivalent of 'fuck you if you don't like it.' We are allowed not to like something. Saying so is not calling for deletion or banning or a new policy."

On the contrary, the constant and unabated whining about "mystery meat" posts has changed the policy here. These kinds of posts now are regularly deleted. And it's gone so far that many members have felt excluded from the site, and at least one valued long-term member quit while at least one more that I know of finally felt he didn't have a place here.

I haven't said "fuck you if you don't like it" at any time. (Apparently I or someone else said "the equivalent," but you seem intentionally vague on when that happened.) If you want to view people being "exclusionary," you should instead take a peek at the dozens upon dozens of angry threads that have been posted over the past decade demanding a paragraph of explanatory text before the have to go to the trouble of pushing a button on their mouse, and insisting loudly that any post not in compliance with this demand be deleted.
posted by koeselitz at 8:16 PM on August 21, 2011


Exactly what spitbull said here.

I have mixed feelings about mystery meat. I generally prefer context but do also like posts like crunchland's, which are mysterious in a thoughtful way to make a point ("what are these significant geographic coordinates?"). But with all due respect to Huplescat for posting the link (and for having a Flickr stream that makes me quite jealous), "this is amazing" could probably apply to almost any post, and therefore, to me, wasn't all that useful.

It's surprising to me that there hasn't been more consensus on this point. Is there really anyone here who accesses the site through the front page who can't say "no big deal, but yeah, a little more description might've been helpful?" I do understand the argument, "yeah, it could've been better, but it's not worth making a fuss about." But as a discussion has been started, and in a non-fussy way, I'm surprised not to see more consensus around "yeah, it might be nice if posts went one step beyond 'this is amazing.'"

I don't understand how some people can argue that the front page description doesn't matter as long as there's a descriptive title. If it doesn't matter, should we have the New Post interface include default link text ("this is a notable link on the internet") for anyone who doesn't want to bother actually describing their post? (I see furiousxgeorge and I went the same hyperbolic direction out of disbelief at "how can anyone really think that descriptive words aren't helpful?")

Anyone saying "check out the tags" needs to be aware that the mobile interface does not show tags. The users that have no access to them are the same users for whom YouTube is a slightly bigger deal. I was like: "'This is amazing'... hmmm. Oh, 'This is amazing' mystery YouTube video? Hell no. Hope it's not that amazing!"
posted by salvia at 8:17 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


the trouble of pushing a button on their mouse

Just musing, maybe that's the problem - the shift in the devices used to access the site, rather than a shift in member behaviour?


But I don't think it's actually that tragic if people who don't like clicking things are excluded from the Internet. That is, after all, what the Internet is for.


Yes, that is what it was and that was the way to have fun in the good old days where one went down a rabbit hole. But now, we see:

I mostly read MeFi on a phone or iPod, so I can't see the title on mouseover, and bandwidth matters, as does the time it takes to load the page. All even more true when the content is a YT video, which launches a separate app on my phone and consumes significant data, which is no longer unlimited for most of us, even if you just watch the first few seconds to determine you've been duped, once again, by mystery meat bullshit.

So, mystery meat et al is fun and all that, but not if it means the unknown link (without the ability to evaluate it) takes you somewhere where it eats up a week's worth of budgeted data.

From pb's link to browser/OS from members, it seems 10% of users are now on some kind of handheld device. You can take that as "It's only one out of every ten people" OR that's a trending for the future - if not next year then the year after.

I've seen the site get more and more global over the past 6 years I've been here - certainly on my visits home to Singapore the site isn't dead anymore (thanks Cydonian and flapjax and Ubu et al) - the point is, hopefully, it will become even more global and more likely than not, even more mobile.

There's already talk of 'mobile first' as a UX design principle (if I'm not mistaken) - my aim here isn't to say that we *should* do this or we *should* do that. It is simply to point out the weak signals of a change taking place, both in demographics and expectations of the user base as well as the technology and origin of said users.

Knowing this, the choice then becomes - does MeFi have to/ choose to adapt to these changes, or like the rest of the look and feel of the site, take a decision to stay the way it is (and a haven for us old ones).

I don't know but this observation has been a fascinating real time peek in the personal sense into stuff I tend to look at anyway. And I prefer having some clues which way the fog of war will clear (and not take my scout straight into someone else's castle) thus allowing choices in landscape navigation far enough ahead of time in order to be better prepared.
posted by infini at 8:40 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can we get back to the waffles at hand?
posted by DaddyNewt at 8:54 PM on August 21, 2011


There are waffles at hand? Great! Let's eat!
posted by salvia at 8:57 PM on August 21, 2011


Just chiming in to say I liked the post and I like mystery meat posts in general. With this one, I saw that it said "This is amazing" so I got the brief little thrill as I clicked the link wondering "Is it really amazing? Ho ho ho we shall see......wow, that's amazing!" If the post described the link or if I had bothered to read the title (didn't because I was too interested in clicking the link to see what was behind the curtain) then it would not have been as good. I wouldn't have been as drawn to click it because maybe I wasn't in the mood for rhythmic gymnastics, or maybe I was but I didn't know it. I bring this up for those who argue that people are less likely to click a link without a clear description, some of us are actually more likely. Sometimes you're in the mood for adventure.

Also, people really need to stop complaining about the post in the post.
posted by Danila at 9:05 PM on August 21, 2011


These kinds of posts now are regularly deleted.

No they really aren't. There hasn't been a policy change. Please feel free to go back through the last several years of deleted posts and let me know where you see us deleting posts because they're mysterious [as opposed to, say, not being good posts]. This is not a stated or unstated policy here, period.

at least one valued long-term member quit while at least one more that I know of finally felt he didn't have a place here.

People come and go a lot here. I get that this general topic is making you unhappy, but holding up the departure of an unnamed longtime user as some sort of "see, this place is really going to shit" point doesn't seem like a very compelling way to make an argument.

It's fine to have discussions about site etiquette here in MeTa, it would be nice if people didn't turn them all into lines in the sand. You can simultaneously say "I didn't mind that post very much" and also "But more description can aid mobile users for A, B, and C reasons" and have a discussion about it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:29 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Apart from the bandwidth on mobile devices (in my experience) being far better than that available on any device in the early days of the Web, infini makes a good point about the limitations of mobile devices and the greater downside of clicking a link from such a device that may consume a lot of expensive bandwidth (brings back memories of those early days ;-). I still think that people can choose to click such links or not and that decision may be different for different devices (with the common fact(?) being that such devices allow the user to see where the link is going before committing to following it), which shouldn't stop people from continuing to post mystery meat. I concede, however, that there may come a time when the number of mobile users rises to the point where the case for mystery meat posts falls away.

I wonder if this could lead to a change in the way links are generated from sites such as YouTube, given that they are currently all 'mystery meat' based purely on their URL.
posted by dg at 9:44 PM on August 21, 2011


jessamyn ★: “There hasn't been a policy change. Please feel free to go back through the last several years of deleted posts and let me know where you see us deleting posts because they're mysterious [as opposed to, say, not being good posts]. This is not a stated or unstated policy here, period.”

I'm sorry, I was certainly blowing this out of proportion. And I misread your first comment in this thread. I'm sure there are a lot of things you view as "scourges" that you don't delete as a matter of course simply because your job is not to act on your opinions alone. I respect that.

jessamyn ★: “People come and go a lot here. I get that this general topic is making you unhappy, but holding up the departure of an unnamed longtime user as some sort of "see, this place is really going to shit" point doesn't seem like a very compelling way to make an argument.”

This is true.

If anything, I guess it just sort of burns to be called "exclusionary" and be accused of telling people "fuck you if you don't like it" when I haven't really warranted it. But that is my own personal shit that really doesn't matter here.

After this many years, there are going to be conversations in Metatalk about it, I guess. And there will continue to be conversations in Metatalk about it. I just read through an argument from 2003 about it, and it looks disturbingly similar to this one. That's not such a big deal, and if I don't like these discussions, I guess I can move one.

I'm glad "mystery meat" posts aren't deleted, though. And I hope you don't give in to the pressure and start deleting them. I think after a while the social pressure here kind of ran them off of the site, and knowing that we'd provoke massive outrage by making posts like that led most of us to just quit making them; that's okay, it's part of the ebb and flow of the community. Sigh.
posted by koeselitz at 9:48 PM on August 21, 2011


I wonder if this could lead to a change in the way links are generated from sites such as YouTube, given that they are currently all 'mystery meat' based purely on their URL.

Or the now automated link shrinking as practiced by Twitter et al (much to the annoyance of a certain sci fi writer/wired blogger we tend to follows)

A corollary to this behaviour would be the factory worker chappie out in India or some such place telling me that he prefers X brand website/app store for downloads on his prepaid account because it tells him how much the download will cost in terms of bandwidth used (in addition to the cost of the app or ringtone itself) and so is transparent, allowing him to choose how much of his available prepaid minutes/money he wishes to spend on said item. The others (mystery meat equivalent) are opaque and so often you spend money downloading something and it turns out to be crap which you wish you hadn't spent money on.

These trade offs may become concerns for the rest of us as well regardless of our income levels.
posted by infini at 9:51 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nice to be lectured about "what the Internet is for" when I've been online since 1990 and computing since 1981.

It's for transmitting data. You can keep your delight in surprises. I like my information with context. Most mefi posts provide context. Those that don't waste my time and bandwidth much more often than they delight me with an unexpected discovery.

There was no google in 1991. And the net was a fraction of what it has become.

Just tell me what I'm being advised to click on. Is it really so hard on a community weblog? Not to do so is selfish or inconsiderate.
posted by spitbull at 10:28 PM on August 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Preferring

"this is an amazing video of a gymnast"

to

"this is amazing"

is not standing in opposition to the spirit of the Internet (now or historically).
posted by spitbull at 10:42 PM on August 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Preferring it is absolutely fine. Expecting others to cater to your preferences, not so much.
posted by dg at 10:48 PM on August 21, 2011


We do a lot of catering to preferences here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:52 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I mostly read MeFi on a phone or iPod, so I can't see the title on mouseover, and bandwidth matters, as does the time it takes to load the page. All even more true when the content is a YT video, which launches a separate app on my phone and consumes significant data, which is no longer unlimited for most of us, even if you just watch the first few seconds to determine you've been duped, once again, by mystery meat bullshit.

I'm curious/confused about something, though: on the front page, this link is labeled "(SLYT)," so the Youtubeiness of it shouldn't really be a suprise for mobile users, right?

And, is the little arrow graphic that shows up on YouTube links not visible in the mobile version?

Because I can see tons of Youtube links on the front page that are fairly descriptive in terms of subject matter, but that are not labeled as Youtube links and not at all obviously video type links, and that seems that it would be much more of a problem for those worried about bandwidth.

For example, in desjardin's current post, the "a modern homage to the 30 year old PC" link goes to a YouTube video. If mobile readers aren't seeing the little "video arrow," then they might click on that thinking it was a link to a text essay.

So it seems to me that the mobile bandwidth problem being described here has little to do with mystery meat, per se, and more to do with unlabeled video links.

The post that is under scrutiny in this post, though, was labeled as a YouTube link... so a mobile user could be more wary about clicking, and have a look at the comments to see if it's something they might be willing to spend bandwidth on. (That's actually how I usually approach video links, anyway, just as a holdover from my old dial-up days.)

The mobile problem seems like something that should be discussed... but I'm not really seeing the big connection specifically with mystery meat.
posted by taz at 10:59 PM on August 21, 2011


What yellow arrow graphic? I don't see it at all (Win XP/Firefox)
posted by infini at 11:12 PM on August 21, 2011


weird. I'm also Win XP/Firefox, and this is what I see:

[image from front page]

I've been seeing the arrow graphic ever since we've had inline video capability on MeFi.
posted by taz at 11:21 PM on August 21, 2011


maybe I should call it a "'play' arrow" though.
posted by taz at 11:22 PM on August 21, 2011


Hm, could it be regional? I see a frog encased in an ice cube and a domain unregistered image blocked text when I click on your link.
posted by infini at 11:28 PM on August 21, 2011


about that frog, its monday afternoon here and I'm quite sober
posted by infini at 11:28 PM on August 21, 2011


we've had inline video capability on MeFi.

Is this a preference setting?
posted by infini at 11:29 PM on August 21, 2011


ah ha! Yes, it is a preference setting.
posted by taz at 11:35 PM on August 21, 2011


and, huh; I didn't realize that imageshack is apparently no longer actually letting people view uploaded images. They let you upload an image, but don't let anyone see it? Weird service.
posted by taz at 11:41 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm curious/confused about something, though: on the front page, this link is labeled "(SLYT)," so the Youtubeiness of it shouldn't really be a suprise for mobile users, right?

No, yeah, the YouTubeiness was well-labeled. The issue is that YouTube videos have to meet a higher threshold of interest to deserve the click. That's why it would be nice to know what kind of video it is. I don't want to wait all that time just to find out what's amazing: that a bear can defeat three cougars? that a three year old could produce that much snot? ...?

YouTube URLs give no hint:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyyNPB9iCAM
=
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/black-bear/
or
http://www.babycenter.com/400_how-can-i-get-my-son-to-blow-his-nose_500185_0.bc
or
???

People will say, but yes, you can click into the thread, look at the title, and read the comments to investigate the content of this potential video. But I'd personally rather use that time, you know, writing long answers to AskMe questions or something. :)
posted by salvia at 12:09 AM on August 22, 2011


taz, from your imageshack link :

This might be because of the increasing bandwidth costs due to huge amount of users uploading images for free. ImageShack.us probably, would have run out of ideas to control the bandwidth.

*grins*
posted by infini at 12:31 AM on August 22, 2011


I should also admit that while my issue is 95% from wondering whether it's worth it because it's a mystery YouTube link, there's a secondary phenomenon for that other 5% that is something like: "uh, if that's all you have to say about this link, I probably won't care that much about it." It seemed so widely targeted that I imagined it to be just the latest in an infinite stream of YouTube videos that practically anyone would find mildly amusing. You're bound to miss some of those anyway.
posted by salvia at 1:07 AM on August 22, 2011


crunchland writes "I'm not saying that a mystery meat post to a 2 minute youtube video is the best of the web, but I also don't think you have to completely lose your shit if your personal ideals for a post, one that caters to you and spoon-feeds your total lack of imagination and investigation, should be the norm."

There is a very wide middle road between the two ditches of those extremes. I'd like to think my recent post on Any Card at Any Number was straddling the middle line of that road. The front page part of it was descriptive without giving away the farm. The more inside spelled it out for those who want it and as a hedge against future link rot. And I think the tags would be useful for future searches though as always there are probably glaring gaps and variations in spelling.

dg writes "Of the small number of posts I have made, I like this one the best (yeah, best of a mediocre bunch, I know), which is the very model of a mystery meat post. Reactions were ... varied, but obviously a few people weren't bothered by the lack of explanation before clicking. Not every post has to be perfectly tailored to every user's taste."

Functionally this isn't any different than the post consisting of a single period. Hard to say how clever it was as the site currently has nothing but a blue-yellow badly graduated background. I don't think anyone is asking for perfect tailoring just a minor bit of context. Not giving some description is going to limit your audience.

taz writes " I didn't realize that imageshack is apparently no longer actually letting people view uploaded images. They let you upload an image, but don't let anyone see it? Weird service."

Imageshack also retroactively bans entire domains for breaking it's TOS. I've been stumbling on this over and over again in the past few weeks in forum archives and it is very irritating. Can't wait for Yahoo! to limit free Flickr accounts and maybe even lower tier paid accounts in similar ways. The dead links and GRAR! across the internet will be awesome to behold.
posted by Mitheral at 1:13 AM on August 22, 2011


TEST: can you see this? Trying out imgur rightclick uploader plugin for FF

Anyhoo... my feeling about mystery meat links versus other kinds of posts: I like diversity, I like things not always the same; I dislike uniformity. So I'm happy when I see stylistically odd but good posts, careful and painstaking but good posts, mystery meat but good posts, simple and straightforward but good posts. Multilinks, single links, every letter a link, tooltip explanations, it all makes me happy. I'd be less happy if all posts were the same style.

If there's a problem with mobile browsing, maybe we should talk about possible solutions to specific problems instead of getting angry and insulting posters.
posted by taz at 2:29 AM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


From where I am sitting there are several Cons.

Someone bail her out, please.


if you don't like mystery meat, you might not want to eat that sandwich.



I really just wanted to brag about my bitchin' waffle iron. It has "waffle tone." It's all like "BEEP! WAFFLE TIME!"
posted by louche mustachio at 2:57 AM on August 22, 2011


Maybe metafilter mobile just needs a redesign so that tags and titles appear on the front page. Assuming we'll all be accessing the web with our iPads when we're flying around in our jet-packs in the future, then it seems like its the next evolutionary step for the site.
posted by crunchland at 4:41 AM on August 22, 2011


I think real estate is tight enough on the mobile version without more of it being used by the title (which can be seen in just one click, and doesn't necessarily tell you anything about the post or what's in the links) or the tags (which I often forget to look at in the non-mobile version unless someone says "Love the title!" or somesuch).
posted by rtha at 5:48 AM on August 22, 2011


I don't bother with mystery meat - if the FFP isn't very descriptive, I move on to one that does catch my interest.


Depending upon the age training began, gymnasts can start falling apart long before their 30s. A lot of my competition group were already seeking medical attention for failing knees before we finished high school. Surgeries and body braces are familiar to the scene.
posted by _paegan_ at 6:16 AM on August 22, 2011


The point of MetaFilter is to link to interesting things on the Web, not to celebrate your own creativity and cleverness; the front page is not a place for you to do a little dance. When you post a link you are asking each Metafilter user to give you a little of their time and attention, and in the aggregate you're asking for quite a lot of attention. When you repay them only with a puzzle – "Can you figure out what this is linking to?" – or a gamble – "Click it, you might like it!" – rather than with a clearly-described link to something you think is interesting, you're wasting most of that time.

But some people don't give a shit whose time they waste, and I guess we want them around for some reason, so:

1. people posting mystery meat should tag their posts "mysterymeat", or the admins should add that tag to those posts, or a "Mystery Meat" flag category should be added and the tag added automatically to posts getting some number of such flags.

2. then people like me who think wasting other people's time is rude and annoying could filter the RSS feed to skip that category.
posted by nicwolff at 8:00 AM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


If there's a problem with mobile browsing, maybe we should talk about possible solutions to specific problems

This is probably a good idea generally. We've definitely made some decisions about how the mobile version of the site looks and works that have impact on this sort of thing but the "Should people be writing content for the site taking into account mobile browsing?" is a question that is much bigger than this narrow topic and a lot more of an open question.

I sort of feel that the Mystery Meat topic has been hashed out before and wound up with one of those "Some people will continue to do this, most won't, feel free to flag and/or move on. Yes it's nicer when people include more context so it's fine to talk about this as a point of etiquette but like all etiquette issues, some people will ignore them" However, the mobile browsing issue is much more of an unexplored area.

I know for people who interact with MeFi mostly from their phone it can seem that some design choices we've made are problematic. I know from a mod perspective there are ups and downs to having more and more people interacting with the site from mobile devices. However, mobile users are still a small (but growing) subset of users here so while I think it's a good idea to be mindful of this shifting demographic here, we are not really in a place where we're in a "mobile first" design situation. We are not trying to sell people things, we are trying to do what works the best for this community and it's always a balancing act in that regard. If people could presume a bit more good faith on the part of other people trying to talk about this, it would be helpful.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:13 AM on August 22, 2011


MeTa: the front page is not a place for you to do a little dance
posted by infini at 8:16 AM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mystery meat? HAH! You think the gymnast with a ball post was mystery meat? Listen here, young 'un, lemme tell you about...

... hama7.

Now that boy, he could serve up some gaddam mystery meat.

Now get off my lawn.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:16 AM on August 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


When I first saw SLYT, I thought it was a feminist euphemism for vulva. So I clicked on the link, but it was just a video of some stupid guy singing a song.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:22 AM on August 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


dg, it's a community. Respecting the preferences of the community is encouraged. I'm surprised at how many people like posts with a single link to youtube, and a sparse, vague description. I'm now more aware of the preferences of the community. I probably won't post mystery meat, but I don't recall many discussions where anyone sincerely complained that a post was described. I think there might have been a MeTa about a very lengthy description.
posted by theora55 at 9:26 AM on August 22, 2011


I had waffles with strawberries and ice cream the other night. Tasty.
posted by theora55 at 9:26 AM on August 22, 2011


There's way too much waffling in this thread.



*whistles*
posted by infini at 9:30 AM on August 22, 2011


Whittling is a better use of your time since you end up with stabby things.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:35 AM on August 22, 2011


Mitheral: "Functionally this isn't any different than the post consisting of a single period. Hard to say how clever it was as the site currently has nothing but a blue-yellow badly graduated background. I don't think anyone is asking for perfect tailoring just a minor bit of context. Not giving some description is going to limit your audience.
There's no doubt that the linked site is, well, somewhat unusual in its presentation and you need Javascript enabled to actually see it. Still, I thought it was pretty cool and a number of others did, too. I think lots of stuff that is linked here is a waste of time, but others think its cool. There's no right or wrong here - a community of this size will have widely varying tastes and thresholds of cool and not every single post has to appeal to every single member. 'Limiting my audience' is fine with me and providing a more descriptive presentation would, in my view, not have made a better post out of the link. That's not to say that every link is suitable for this sort of presentation, either - horses for courses and all that.


theora55: "dg, it's a community. Respecting the preferences of the community is encouraged."
Agreed. However, while many people describe a preference for lengthy descriptions of links to remove doubt about what the destination is, many have also stated that they are fine with the occasional trip down the rabbit hole. From where I sit, the 'preference of the community' is at best unclear and I haven't seen any evidence that, as a whole, the community is set against mystery meat to the extent that the occasional such post breaches any sort of community standard.


nicwolff: "When you post a link you are asking each Metafilter user to give you a little of their time and attention, and in the aggregate you're asking for quite a lot of attention. When you repay them only with a puzzle – "Can you figure out what this is linking to?" – or a gamble – "Click it, you might like it!" – rather than with a clearly-described link to something you think is interesting, you're wasting most of that time.

But some people don't give a shit whose time they waste, and I guess we want them around for some reason
"
i don't think it's fair to ascribe any such motivation to members here - I doubt that anyone posting any link to MeFi 'doesn't give a shit whose time they waste'. What is a waste of time for one is an enjoyable trip to the unknown for others. Every person (member or otherwise) makes their own decisions about how they spend their time here and, if that time is so precious that the risk of following a link that turns out to be something a person doesn't like means they won't click on something unless there is a clear description of what's coming up, well that's their loss, in my opinion. It's absolutely fine for your to dislike links that don't tell you where you are headed, but it's not fine for you to expect others to cater to your personal preferences. It's also fine for you to never click on such links and, if mystery meat posts rose to such prominence that they dominated the main page of MeFi, you'd have a legitimate right to complain. But that isn't the case and almost certainly never will be.
posted by dg at 2:59 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


If only we had some kind of standardized decision making procedure.
posted by flabdablet at 4:53 AM on August 23, 2011


It seems like maybe what would make the most people happy is a pony request/userscript to display post titles on the front page, and establish the convention that mystery meat links should have straightforward titles. People who appreciate the mystery meat can continue as normal, people who don't can just turn the post titles on. Is that feasible?
posted by nerdinexile at 1:42 AM on August 24, 2011


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