It's okay to wait a few hours February 24, 2012 8:16 AM   Subscribe

I would humbly posit that if you can't consume the content of an FPP while at work, perhaps you should hold off until you get home before commenting on it? The thread will (usually) still be there, I promise.

More of this. Samples selected for recency, otherwise by random.
posted by Phire to Etiquette/Policy at 8:16 AM (77 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

When has not reading the links ever stopped people from commenting?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:17 AM on February 24, 2012 [12 favorites]


Just because people sometimes fail to live up to a certain standard doesn't mean we shouldn't have those standards.
posted by Phire at 8:20 AM on February 24, 2012


I can't care about it at work, but do you feel better now?
posted by liketitanic at 8:21 AM on February 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


If I wasn't at work I'd just flag and move on.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:21 AM on February 24, 2012


I would argue that there's a small (but important) difference between asking a question about the audio/video content, versus judging it unheard.
posted by inigo2 at 8:21 AM on February 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


Most of those comments are on topic and serve to further their discussion. What's the problem with that? I'd rather have people be honest when they haven't followed the link than just pretend to have rtfa'd.
posted by Think_Long at 8:21 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is content in the FPP itself that can be commented on, whether or not they click on the actual links in the FPP.
posted by empath at 8:22 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


The first link I opened was the Jason Webley one; he once scolded me in a manner much like this post is scolding us now. I'm not sure if that's ironic, but it's something.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:25 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


They want a bookmark in their recent activity when they get home.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:26 AM on February 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Perhaps ironically, the need for a search to need to be written this way:

"site:www.metafilter.com "I can't * at work" -cry -crying"

made me want to cry at work.


As for the point of the post, I actually agree with the spirit, but I just don't think the example given is a particularly good one.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:26 AM on February 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think there's definitely some value in asking yourself why you're commenting—essentially, "am I saying something that I think contributes to the thread and other folks' experience of it, or am I just kind of marking my place?"—but at the same time there's a lot of different sort of ways this sort of comment can play out, not all of them really problematic.

Like inigo2 suggests, there's a difference between e.g. "I can't access this/all-of-this right now but [here is some enthusiasm or related interesting stuff]" vs. "I can't/didn't click the link but [random snark]", and the latter is sometimes fairly obnoxious in the way the former isn't so much. So I don't totally disagree with you on where you're coming from here, but I don't think it's a problem so much with people being at work as it is people sometimes just being kind of obnoxious in their non-engagement with a post's contents regardless of where they are or what they're doing. Less of that would be nice, certainly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:27 AM on February 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think we can turn this into a pony request. pb? Can you code something up such that the Post Comment button isn't available until every link in the FPP has been clicked, and sufficient time has elapsed for the user to actually RTFA, digest the content, research the topic, and get a Masters Degree directly related to the subject? TIA
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:28 AM on February 24, 2012 [23 favorites]


I very, very seldom click the links, whether at work or at home. MetaFilter, for lots of people, is primarily for reading and posting in comment threads.
posted by escabeche at 8:29 AM on February 24, 2012


There are links?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:31 AM on February 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


But how will I get those sweet, sweet top-of-thread favorites?

You're all thinking it.
posted by gauche at 8:35 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


People have jobs?
posted by Splunge at 8:35 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I clicked on every link in this callout/complaint/recommendation/whatever except for the Google search one, but I did mouseover it and see what it was. At least two of the linked comments are really solidly amazing comments from a very handsome contributor and outstanding community member.

griphus, you move me.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:36 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree with inigo2.

In addition to inigo2's comment, I think it's one thing to make a uninformed nasty comment about something you haven't read/seen, and quite another to make a lighthearted comment, try to simply add to current conversation or to find out more information on the link.

I think in most cases of a comment in the form of "I can't view this at work but..." it is unlikely that the commenter is being mean-spirited, trolling, or trying to derail the thread, as they are decidedly leaving themselves open to the self-admitted issue of "I actually haven't seen this thing."

I think it's akin to being in a circle of friends and acquaintances at a party where one person may not have seen/read/listened to a movie/book/song yet still wants to be involved in the conversation, and does so by either by trying to find out more about the topic or adding dialogue based on what they feel are similar experiences/topics/related items. I think it's a very common occurrence in that scenario, and I have no issue or umbrage with it here on the Internet Party that Metafilter is.
posted by Debaser626 at 8:40 AM on February 24, 2012


and get a Masters Degree directly related to the subject?

Especially with linguistics, all those plebs giving uninformed opinions... *groan*
posted by Meatbomb at 8:40 AM on February 24, 2012


I didn't look at any of the links, but I was also scolded by Jason Webley once.
posted by helicomatic at 8:41 AM on February 24, 2012


I am honored to share the spotlight with you, shakes.

Also, between being called out for not consuming the material before commenting and not consuming the material before posting it to the front page, I believe some sort of booby prize is in order.

What? No. What's a "k-line"?
posted by griphus at 8:42 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was at one point, as someone only dimly aware of Webley, under the impression that he had actually died rather than just performance-art "died", and thought that was a bummer because I liked Against The Night, but then it turns out he was actually alive and so I was slightly annoyed.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:54 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Eh, if no one else is bothered by it, I'll just take my ball minor twitch of irritation and go home.
posted by Phire at 9:00 AM on February 24, 2012


I can't read this now, but let me just comment because look at me!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:03 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


You've got a bit of smirch in the corner of your eye, there.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:05 AM on February 24, 2012


About the only time this bothers me is when people launch into a tirade about how something is terrible without looking at it...

...which appears to be NONE of these examples.

So "meh".
posted by Artw at 9:12 AM on February 24, 2012



I think there's definitely some value in asking yourself why you're commenting...


Oh man, if folks (myself included) actually did, that reasonable sane thing, I think the internet would collapse in a giant puddle of 'meh' overnight.

Which may, or may not, be a good thing.
posted by edgeways at 9:17 AM on February 24, 2012


Eh, if no one else is bothered by it, I'll just take my ball minor twitch of irritation and go home.

No stay! We're gonna do charades, bobbing for favorites, pin the tail on the poster and my favorite: spin the link.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:18 AM on February 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


But what if I don't want to have a tail pinned on me?
posted by Phire at 9:19 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


We will pin it on a poster of you. I think that's what he meant. You would get that if you weren't a chat-bot.
posted by Mister_A at 9:20 AM on February 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


While I haven't actually read ArtW's comment above, I can only assume it's about comic books or science fiction some dumb crap like that. I'm sorry but if that's what we consider the "best of the web" I'm just going back to reddit.
posted by griphus at 9:21 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's a fair assumption.

WTF is everyone doing on thsi site anyway? It's all just pictures of cats! (probably)
posted by Artw at 9:23 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


You mean you can click on the yellow things?

I thought links were supposed to have underlines!
posted by mazola at 9:38 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't let a little thing like work get in the way when I have important assumptions to make.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:38 AM on February 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


But what if I don't want to have a tail pinned on me?

I talked to Sal and he said we can do a horn, no sweat.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:43 AM on February 24, 2012


People read MetaFilter outside of work? What do you do during those 8+ hours of downtime?
posted by naju at 9:47 AM on February 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm ignoring customers at work and scrolling to the bottom of this thread without reading all of your comments because these thoughts spilling out of my brain and all over this keyboard are so utterly necessary to the continued health and thriving growth of my ego projection onto the digital social network sphere that I have to type this NOW and you absolutely MUST READ IT before anything else ever happens or you have another pre-me thought, whew.
posted by carsonb at 10:01 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think it's a problem so much with people being at work as it is people sometimes just being kind of obnoxious in their non-engagement with a post's contents regardless of where they are or what they're doing. Less of that would be nice, certainly.

Agree entirely with my esteemed colleague. I deleted a first-in-my-memory AskMe question that was clearly written by someone who either knew none of the site conventions, or was posting from her phone in a blizzard because her question was almost unreadable. We deleted it and said she could post again next week [it was nothing time sensitive] when she could capitalize, add spaces between words and use punctuation.

People's visible level of effort in making comments is sometimes taken as the actual amount of effort they're taking with the site and the other people on the site. So short dismissive "Can't be bothered to read it but here's my unfounded snark about what it might be about" comments can be seen as irksome and disrespectful to the people who are trying to have a real conversation. This is also true for sort of casual offhanded insults where you can't be bothered to check/care about whether you're inadvertently insulting someone who is right there in the thread with you. So sometimes a thread has turned into general grabassery in which case hey, go nuts, grab ass with the rest of them. Other times there are people having a conversation and showing up to just lazily snark about what you haven't even read [the Bruce Springsteen thread comes to mind, didn't see it linked above] is often indistinguishable from trolling. It's good to be distinguished from trolls.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:06 AM on February 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


I have commented on paywalled/registration walled articles without reading them a whole bunch of times. Because I can't read them, at least not with any ease.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:17 AM on February 24, 2012


In hindsight, the "I can't read this at work, but..." construction clearly wasn't the best way to frame my complaint. As cortex and jessamyn have both pointed out, it's more the willful non-engagement with content that the OP cared enough about to have posted on the Blue that annoys me. I guess that's just a different way of framing the RTFA argument, which is pretty contentious in and of itself.

I come to Metafilter for the comments, for sure, and I often read threads without having read the original article. If I'm commenting, however, I make sure to go through the original content first to make sure that I've at least glanced at the relevant background information. But I concede that how I engage with the site isn't going to be how everyone else engages with the site.

Also (I'm terribly sorry):

Metafilter: Grab ass with the rest of them
posted by Phire at 10:25 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't check here at work, but jeez, really?
posted by Ironmouth at 10:30 AM on February 24, 2012


Inasmuch as I've pretty obviously used this construction a few times, I tend to see it as actually evidence of a sincere attempt at engagement with the community, as it's a disclaimer and caveat about the comment to follow, as opposed to Didn't RTFA Gonna Snark Anyway.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:32 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: showing up to just lazily snark about what you haven't even read
posted by grouse at 10:36 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


A while back, I posted an article which was hosted at Playboy.com. When two or three mefites said (non-snarkily) in the thread that they couldn't visit Playboy.com while at work, I privately asked them if they would like me to memail them the text of the article. And then did so. It took minimal effort.

In case anyone runs into that situation in the future, I'd just like to note that I don't mind doing that for text links in my own posts -- when I have time and it's technically possible, of course.
posted by zarq at 10:40 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Inasmuch as I've pretty obviously used this construction a few times, I tend to see it as actually evidence of a sincere attempt at engagement with the community, as it's a disclaimer and caveat about the comment to follow, as opposed to Didn't RTFA Gonna Snark Anyway.

Well, again, it can go either way. I think there's stuff that's structured like [disclaimer about the shortcomings of my context][attempt at productive/enthusiastic engagement with the thread based on what I have discerned], and that's totally fine a lot of the time even if it does mean a risk of RTFA-related derails by a well-meaning but off-the-mark commenter.

But there's also stuff that's more like [half-hearted excuse for the following knee-jerk snark/complaining/hobbyhorsing/lameness/derail][knee-jerk s/c/h/l/d], and that tends to suck a duck pretty much always. It doesn't make anybody a bad person or anything, I think it's something we all find ourselves doing at least once in a while because we're in a mood or something pushes our buttons or we're just wandering into a thread when we ought to know better, but it's definitely not great. It doesn't improve threads.

And I think it can get a little blurry between the two cases sometimes when someone has some kind of sincere enthusiasm driving them but it's more of a negative or critical enthusiasm rather than something constructive: "oh, x? I love x and here is why!" may in a structural sense be the complement to "oh, x? I hate x and here is why!" but the effect the two approaches tend to have on threads is actually pretty asymmetrical. Positive enthusiasm is a lot less likely to start a fight or derail a thread.

This is sort of where my feelings come to on folks who tend to react to a thread about x with some angry link about thing-tangentially-related-to-x, because I don't really doubt they're coming from a place of actual engagement with or enthusiasm about the thing they're bringing up, but it's that sort of critical/negative vector that is the problem, and someone being really passionate about how much they think thing-related-to-x sucks or is bad or needs attention doesn't make it any less of a derail.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:44 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: knee-jerk snark/complaining/hobbyhorsing/lameness/derail

This is like shooting fish in a barrel.

And now I will seriously stop.
posted by grouse at 11:05 AM on February 24, 2012


in hindsight, the "I can't read this at work, but..." construction clearly wasn't the best way to frame my complaint. As cortex and jessamyn have both pointed out, it's more the willful non-engagement with content that the OP cared enough about to have posted on the Blue that annoys me.

Then it's not just the framing, but the examples you provided. I mean more than half of them come off like people that are really excited about the material to me, including your first 2.
posted by Hoopo at 11:26 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also don't much care for "I am so excited that I'm going to talk about how excited I am in a generic fashion without actually having looked at the content", but like I said, people can approach the site however they want, and I'm much more willing to let that type of engagement slide than the "I'm too cool to read the links before I snark" model.
posted by Phire at 12:01 PM on February 24, 2012


well that describes 1 of the linked examples then, but none of the others are snarky even. One of them dates back to Feb 2010...I mean, is this really even a problem?
posted by Hoopo at 12:21 PM on February 24, 2012


Still, keep in mind that the very fact taht this thread exists elevates metafilter from the lumpen masses immediately
posted by infini at 12:36 PM on February 24, 2012


Well, all of the linked examples talk about not having looked at the posted content due to being at work. People disagree on whether or not this in and of itself is a problem. The prevailing attitude seems to be that this is mainly a problem if the comment is also negative and dismissive. I agree that snark is often problematic, but I also find it annoying even when the comment is positive, because I tend to feel like looking at the content should be the baseline for contribution. This is why I posted the MeTa. That said, it's okay to me that I'm in the minority position on this particular issue, and that just tells me I should recalibrate my annoyance meter and maybe go look at pictures of kittens for a bit.
posted by Phire at 12:40 PM on February 24, 2012


Kitten.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:43 PM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


If I had to make a sort of tiered list from great to not so great, it'd be like:

1. Substantial comment from someone who has actually clicked the links.
2. Comment that acknowledges lack of clicking but is otherwise substantial and engaging.
3. Comment that acknowledges lack of clicking and is insubstantial but not starting shit.
4. Comment that acknowledges lack of clicking and is insubstantial and starting shit.

So I don't think I really disagree with you much, I just draw my line of serious objection more between 3 and 4 than I do between 2 and 3 or 1 and 2, if I'm going to draw one bright line. If I can't ask people to be perfect, I can at least ask them not to start shit, basically, much though my ideal metafilter would involve everybody having the time and patience and unfiltered internet to always check the links first and substantially engage second.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:44 PM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Shoot, I agree with Phire. While "Didn't check the links, but I am nice and guessing about what they are about" is better than "Didn't check the links, but I am a jerk", both pale in comparison to "I checked the links and I am nice and I know what they are about."
posted by 23skidoo at 12:50 PM on February 24, 2012


1. I didn't start the shit, but I can tell you an interesting story about the shit, because I am a shitologist, and can talk shit like it's my profession.
2. I didn't start the shit. I also didn't start the fire or shoot the deputy. But I know who did.
3. I didn't start the shit, but here are twenty great videos of people airing out their shit-flinging trebuchets.
4. I started the shit, but it's not like the shit wasn't sitting there waiting to be started. It's shit. It needs to be started. Otherwise, it spends its life feeling unfulfilled. Won't somebody think of the shit?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:20 PM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would think positive but not terribly substantial comments like desjardins' in the OP might encourage people to make more posts on the topic, or voice approval and enthusiasm for a topic that might not get covered much. That's a good thing in my mind with respect to topics that aren't frequently covered. For Lady Gaga maybe not so much.

Also I am one of these people who doesn't have the option of sound at work. I can usually check it at home when I go home for lunch, but even still there have been times when people have posted lengthy video of talks and interviews and some comments have been to the effect of "I'm at work, is there a transcript?" I actually support that too; even on a topic I am really, really into I am unlikely to sit down and watch, say, a 90-minute video of something that could alternatively be read and really does not have to be in video format at all.

This just reminded me of something else, too. The other day there was this, which piqued my interest right away, but was for whatever reason entirely comprised of youtube videos. It isn't any kind of shortcoming per se, but the fact it was entirely youtube put it on the list of "better check that one out later", which then never happened and I would have completely forgotten about it if it weren't for this conversation. So sometimes a little help in terms of text or descriptions or something other than video isn't a bad thing, either, and might go a long way to eliminating these sorts of comments.
posted by Hoopo at 1:30 PM on February 24, 2012


Phire: "Eh, if no one else is bothered by it, I'll just take my ball minor twitch of irritation and go home."

IANAD but you might want to have that minor ball twitch checked out.
posted by Splunge at 1:39 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you have to dig up comments from 2010 in order to make a MeTa post, perhaps you need to rethink your complaint.
posted by desjardins at 1:52 PM on February 24, 2012


THAT IS NOT A KITTEN.
posted by maryr at 1:53 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


desjardins: positive but not terribly substantial comments
posted by desjardins at 1:59 PM on February 24, 2012


THAT IS NOT A KITTEN.

It is a bare.
posted by Artw at 2:05 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hell, I'm commenting without even reading the comments!
posted by davejay at 3:52 PM on February 24, 2012


Artw: "It's a fair assumption.

WTF is everyone doing on thsi site anyway? It's all just pictures of cats! (probably)
"

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by deborah at 4:39 PM on February 24, 2012


Well, what am I supposed to be doing at work, then? Huh, wise guy?
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:26 PM on February 24, 2012


I started the shit
That started the whole world shitting
Oh, if I'd only seen
That the shit was on me

posted by Sidhedevil at 10:04 PM on February 24, 2012


Is this where I reveal I took off my reading glasses before clicking on something vaguely like a thread?
posted by infini at 11:20 PM on February 24, 2012


People shouldn't be dicking around on the internet while at work anyway. There. I've said it.
posted by Decani at 12:59 AM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Burhanistan: "Kitten."

Some warning please. I was all prepared for "ahhhhh, yes, you're a kitteh" and instead got "arghhhhhhhhhh!".

And yes, I agree with the need to at least RTFA before we comment.
posted by arcticseal at 2:31 AM on February 25, 2012


What the fuck is that thing? I nearly wet myself.
posted by Iteki at 1:47 PM on February 25, 2012


It's probably Australian.
posted by desjardins at 2:01 PM on February 25, 2012


I told you, it's a bare.
posted by Artw at 2:02 PM on February 25, 2012


There are links?

Yes.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:10 PM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree with the OP. If you have something to say on the subject that is a positive contribution, and you can't read or see the subject, just go ahead and post it--your being helpful so who cares if you've read it.

If you have some kind of jokey derail on the subject: don't. You should click links before attempting to change the subjects.

If you have something negative to contribute, definitely don't, whether you eventually click the links or not. Go find another thread.

The only time its appropriate to mention that you havent clicked the links before commenting is if you work in the government and the thread links to wikileaks or something. And even then maybe you should just not.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:51 AM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


> It's probably Australian.

German (sick bear in zoo.)
posted by bukvich at 6:35 AM on February 26, 2012


If people commenting without clicking the links because they're at work is a problem, there's a very simple solution. People should stop going to work.


You're welcome.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:49 PM on February 26, 2012


tumid dahlia: "Well, what am I supposed to be doing at work, then? Huh, wise guy?"

Wait until you're working for 'Can-Do Campbell', then you won't be playing around on MeFi at work ;-)
posted by dg at 1:59 PM on February 26, 2012


Ok, fine. Here's a cat. Please use drugs responsibly.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:20 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


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