Under the radar Blockbusters? March 19, 2012 1:52 PM   Subscribe

I guess I’m unclear on what’s an appropriate post. I find the summer blockbuster movie links to be weird, but wasn’t going to mention it, but then there’s the whole discussion about an article being to mainstream because it appears on CNN.com.

It seems as if every Big Studio Blockbuster has a post here. It almost seems like astro turfing to me. Is there really a concern that people won’t hear about the Avengers movie, or that there aren’t any places on the internet to discuss it? Do the studios really need more help with advertising?

I’m not picking on that movie, there are many examples, and I’m not really that bothered by it, just a little confused in light of other things that get deleted. What’s the thinking here?
posted by bongo_x to Etiquette/Policy at 1:52 PM (76 comments total)

There seems to be a weird trend recently of MeTa threads spawning their own MeTa threads. It's a little confusing.
posted by Scientist at 1:57 PM on March 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


I posted the link to the Avengers trailer simply because I thought it was fucking cool and wanted to share it with everyone. I figured it had about 50/50 shot of staying and if didn't, that was fine too.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:58 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


But I was right, it was fucking cool and deep down, you know that's true.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:59 PM on March 19, 2012 [12 favorites]


I think posting trailers along with other interesting links to things about the movie is fine. But no trailer on its own deserves a thread. Not even Human Centipede. I hope mods delete more of these even though some have been allowed to stand.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:01 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


But I was right, it was fucking cool and deep down, you know that's true.

Ha! Good answer, but I didn’t actually watch it. Not really a Marvel Avengers guy, more of a Steed and Peel Avengers fan. Again, not hating, just curious how this works.
posted by bongo_x at 2:02 PM on March 19, 2012


My next metatalk post is going to be about a metatalk post that's about another metatalk post that's about another metatalk post.
posted by crunchland at 2:06 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Essentially the threads that stay on the front page come down to this:

1. Someone, anyone, posts something, because they want it to be a post. There are no barriers to this.
2. If the userbase or the mods overwhelmingly think it is a shitty post, it gets deleted.
3. There are only two steps.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:07 PM on March 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


There's a whammy factor here that makes for a distinction in kind between a movie trailer and e.g. a news article, where one of the things that can motivate someone to post something is because they're just super fucking stoked about it. To the extent that we get that people like and get excited about pop culture stuff (or tech gadgets or news, or misc. entertainment/lifestyle stuff), it's a little easier to be forgiving about a post that's a little on the Hear Is That Thing Everyone's Talking About side of things.

This isn't any kind of established policy, for what it's worth; more just my take on the general thought process, and part of why I suspect a lot of folks are less inclined to flag or complain about at least some of these types of posts. It may make for a sort of odd inconsistency, but so it goes.

I do not believe we are seeing astroturfing for this stuff. Big entertainment stuff doesn't really need turfing as a motivation for posting the stuff; a lot of people are just genuinely into the Avengers flick or Ridley Scott's Prometheus or the new iDevice or whatever.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:09 PM on March 19, 2012


Heh.
posted by zarq at 2:13 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


My next metatalk post is going to be about a metatalk post that's about another metatalk post that's about another metatalk post.

I’m posting about this, and how I don’t like it.
posted by bongo_x at 2:20 PM on March 19, 2012


Big entertainment stuff doesn't really need turfing...

Is there a word for repping a Well Funded Production that you enjoy on its own merits? I mean "grassroots" implies it doesn't have an advertising behemoth behind it, and "astroturfing" implies the support is artificial.
posted by griphus at 2:21 PM on March 19, 2012


(If not, can we call it "terraforming"?)
posted by griphus at 2:27 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Promoting", I suppose, if your intent is primarily one of actively attempting to spread the word about something for the sake of raising that thing's visibility. Doesn't really need a new word; promotion is promotion.

My take is that generally when someone posts about some upcoming entertainment thing on mefi, though, it's not even that they're trying to raise the profile of the thing so much as they're just excited about the thing and think other people will be too and want to sort of collectively squee about it or discuss it.

Like, I doubt anyone posting about a new big movie or game or whatever coming out is under the impression that most people will be like "wait, what is this strange thing you speak of"; I doubt someone posting about Prometheus thinks they need to make people aware of the film, but rather they're just stoked about it and think other folks will be stoked too. Less promotion in any sense and more consumer/fandom enthusiasm, basically.

Annoying stuff like street teams and astroturfing definitely exist, and it's something we try to keep an eye out for, but barring exceptional circumstances the likely explanation for a mefite posting about a major media thing is just them being into that thing and wanting to share their excitement with others. Which doesn't always make for a great post, certainly, but at least I don't think what we're generally dealing with is anything other than on the level.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:36 PM on March 19, 2012


Man, good thing there's never ever been movie trailers posted to MeFi before. (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Spider-Man, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.)
posted by entropicamericana at 2:49 PM on March 19, 2012


So I get why a lot of mefi members want clear rules (not guidelines, but fuckin RULES) because our demo is heavily geek/nerd/techy. But man it's like, in your circle of friends, aren't they naturally attracted to certain things and not others? There are underlying rules there too, complex ones, that could be articulated. But why bother? If you misjudge the appropriateness of something with your friends, it's ok. If you make a post people don't like, and it gets deleted, it's okay.

One of the rules of most real life social circles is that you don't usually get to ask about the rules. I see that it's got to be different here, but I think there's some value in really making sure you understand the community's cultural standards before you jump in--rather than the opposite which happens sometimes: posting something not great and then using the letter of the law to be butthurt about it.

But I am from a guess culture, so.
posted by danny the boy at 2:50 PM on March 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


I’m going to admit that I’m a pretty big Alien and Scott fan and had not heard of Prometheus until I saw it here (my wife is a Alien fan-a-tic and hadn’t either, I don’t know what…). But I still didn’t check out the links, I figure I’ll know more than I want to about it by the time it hits theaters, and it will take all my will to get me there before it’s on disc anyway. I am getting lame in my old age. I can’t believe I still have my geek fan card, oh wait, it’s expired.
posted by bongo_x at 2:52 PM on March 19, 2012


My take is that generally when someone posts about some upcoming entertainment thing on mefi, though, it's not even that they're trying to raise the profile of the thing so much as they're just excited about the thing and think other people will be too and want to sort of collectively squee about it or discuss it.

Yeah, that's why I think there should be some sort of distinction -- I was about 75% kidding with "terraforming" (a boy can dream, right?) -- between saying "check out how cool this is" and "you ought to be aware of this thing and maybe help it succeed."

I doubt Brandon is in anyway invested (literally or figuratively) in the Avengers. I also doubt anyone excited about it really cares that the movie does well outside of that maybe producing a sequel. If it's good (hell, even if it isn't) it has more than enough inertia to be a hit The sort of support for it is totally different than trying to get people to see an indie flick or a Socially Important movie or something.
posted by griphus at 3:04 PM on March 19, 2012


I'm sort of suspicious when stuff like movie trailers get posted. I'll admit that I checked out the profile of the person who posted the Prometheus trailer to see if they had much of a history on the site, even though I know that cortex's radar for nefarious motives by posters is far more advanced than anything the rest of us could manage. I think when I looked, their profile looked like they are a member in good-faith on the site, and they just decided it would be cool to post something that's all over the google+ "what's hot" stream.
posted by crunchland at 3:12 PM on March 19, 2012


I've had the Deleted Posts script installed for years now, and I can't recall ever seeing an attempt to astroturf a Hollywood movie. Has that happened before?
posted by griphus at 3:18 PM on March 19, 2012


I saw an article about how the marketing for Hunger Games was organized, and I thought it was really cool. I considered posting it, but was afraid there'd just be a bunch of "Best of the web?" snark, so I didn't.

I'm hoping someone else posts it, or something else about the Hunger Games, soon, though. I'd really enjoy another HG thread soon.
posted by meese at 3:20 PM on March 19, 2012


> But I was right, it was fucking cool and deep down, you know that's true.

It was pedestrian pandering and it barely rubbed the top layer of dust from my ennui.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:30 PM on March 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sure, there are a zillion other places you could talk about The Avenger or Prometheus or Hunger Games. But once you develop a community, people naturally want to discuss stuff with the friends they've made and the people they know there. It's certainly not that anyone thinks it's really "best of the web," but it's not astroturf either -- it's just "I want to discuss this with the gang at Mefi."

I don't blame the mods for not wanting to play whackamole with those posts. So long as they're not overwhelming the front page, I'm OK with them.
posted by tyllwin at 3:33 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


but was afraid there'd just be a bunch of "Best of the web?" snark

i've been a member for coming on 10 years and up until recently i had made two FPPs ever. i would find something neat, think about posting it, discourage myself by thinking, "they'll just shit all over it" and then i wouldn't post. but recently i decided to post instead of talking myself out of it. some people snarked, other people seemed to like it, and i just tried to release it into the world and let it go. it was a positive experience. then i did that again with the same results and again, again with the same results. so far, it's going pretty well, i think (the day is young, my latest post could still make it to metatalk).

i was encouraged some months ago to stop worrying about what the naysayers say around here and just make the posts i want to make. i encourage you to do the same.
posted by nadawi at 3:37 PM on March 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


This member would rather not see FPPs that are mere SLYTs of movie previews. To me, that's just promotion (irrelevant to me if the source is on the payroll, or just a tool) and there's too much advertising in the world already.
posted by Rash at 3:41 PM on March 19, 2012


it's just "I want to discuss this with the gang at Mefi"

Aren't we told repeatedly that that's what MetaTalk is for?
posted by Rash at 3:42 PM on March 19, 2012


No, we're told not to make front page posts strictly to generate a conversation.
posted by crunchland at 3:46 PM on March 19, 2012


I've had the Deleted Posts script installed for years now, and I can't recall ever seeing an attempt to astroturf a Hollywood movie. Has that happened before?

Not that I can recall. There have been a couple of fairly bizarre "seriously, major media property, you hired someone to pull this kind of shit?" occurrences over the years for I can't even remember what now, along the lines of a publication that's way way too big to have any reason to stoop to skeezy promotion still ending up contracting to someone who pulled something skeezy after all, so it's not a totally unprecedented sort of thing, but it seems to be awfully rare around here in general.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:47 PM on March 19, 2012


i was encouraged some months ago to stop worrying about what the naysayers say around here and just make the posts i want to make. i encourage you to do the same.

Likewise. My only requirement for whether something would make a good FPP is "do I know a few MeFites that would enjoy this?" If the answer is "yes," it gets posted. I've had FPPs snarked in, deleted and outright ignored, but, honestly? Who cares. Haters gonna hate and being a dick in a thread reflects on the dick and not the thread (or the poster.) Mods gonna mod and we don't get demerits for bad FPPs, otherwise none of the regular names on the blue would still be around. If it's unexceptional, oh well.
posted by griphus at 3:55 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've had a post deleted before, it wasn't so bad. A FPP is whatever you can get away with.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:05 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Avengers trailer has this awesome shot of the Hulk catching Iron Man in mid-air that got people really excited seconds after it was put on-line. Prometheus has a major filmmaker revisiting his own classic 33 years later. These are good things, independently of their "blockbuster" status.
posted by elgilito at 4:13 PM on March 19, 2012


I've had a few posts deleted but nowadays most of my posts are about contemporary art so they mostly get a few 'My kid could do that!' comments and that's the only damage done.

It's also the only commenting done, but eh.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:21 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's funny is that Trainspotting shot that expresses the joy over the Hulk grab is, I'm pretty sure, from when the dude poops out the heroin and then goes swimming through his own poop to get it.
posted by angrycat at 4:26 PM on March 19, 2012


There hasn't been any good art since Pink Floyd.

wait
posted by griphus at 4:36 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


This member would rather not see FPPs that are mere SLYTs of movie previews. To me, that's just promotion (irrelevant to me if the source is on the payroll, or just a tool) and there's too much advertising in the world already.

This is how I feel about it, but honestly it’s not that hard for me to skip right over them now that I know. It just caught me off guard a couple of times because I thought "surely there’s more to this than just a movie trailer".

There hasn't been any good art since Pink Floyd.

My kid could do that.
posted by bongo_x at 4:41 PM on March 19, 2012


your kid should do less drugs.
posted by nadawi at 4:47 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


No, his kid was phoning it in with shiny turds like "Learning to Fly". Clearly, he needs to take more.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:56 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


No, we're told not to make front page posts strictly to generate a conversation.

Yeah, this is something (regardless of what we're told about it) that I've always considered very much Not A Metafilter Thing To Do.

*furrows brow*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:59 PM on March 19, 2012


(irrelevant to me if the source is on the payroll, or just a tool)

Did you just call people who post stuff you don't like "tools"?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:59 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll admit that I checked out the profile of the person who posted the Prometheus trailer to see if they had much of a history on the site,

I did too.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:29 PM on March 19, 2012


pedestrian pandering
I got three points on my licence for that once.
posted by Abiezer at 6:03 PM on March 19, 2012


That's it? I had to spend a week in county.
posted by griphus at 6:05 PM on March 19, 2012


So is this a stunt post?
posted by cjorgensen at 6:19 PM on March 19, 2012


No, it has 42 comments.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:44 PM on March 19, 2012


Not really a Marvel Avengers guy, more of a Steed and Peel Avengers fan.

Wouldn't it be just incredibly cool if Dame Dianna Rigg had a cameo?
posted by sammyo at 6:47 PM on March 19, 2012


I think the bottom line truth on this one is that people like to nerd-out on certain things even if they are big business, mainstream fodder. Comic book movie posts aren't important but they are harmless and unlikely to get ugly or require a lot of mod attention and if it isn't your thing you know, just ignore it. People find it harder to ignore, you know, the leaving the baby to die outside story with all sorts of spiky possible religious and political and cultural angles, and the fact that it is a single link CNN kind of thing makes it an easy target to abuse just the post in and of itself, which means more noise and flags and everything I'd assume.
posted by nanojath at 6:49 PM on March 19, 2012


The new Avengers trailer is like the first hit at www.avengers-movie.com, I don't see what's so obscure about it.
posted by tumid dahlia at 7:59 PM on March 19, 2012


What are you blathering on about?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:02 PM on March 19, 2012


But I was right, it was fucking cool and deep down, you know that's true.

Actually, no.
It was BIG Hollywood cgi superhero stuff that will be disappointing.
Deep down, you know that's true.
posted by philip-random at 8:05 PM on March 19, 2012


Tranformers 3 was great, so Joss Whedon should be able to top that easily.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:18 PM on March 19, 2012


I'm going write and direct a blockbuster that costs $750 million to make and will be 180 minutes of giant naked robot women shooting lasers and missiles from their lady parts while attacking cities on various planets.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:29 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


It seems as if every Big Studio Blockbuster has a post here. It almost seems like astro turfing to me. Is there really a concern that people won’t hear about the Avengers movie, or that there aren’t any places on the internet to discuss it? Do the studios really need more help with advertising?

Metafilter isn't a charity that divvies out posts to worthy causes in need of attention.
posted by empath at 8:40 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not when there are sites like onetinyhand.com, that's for sure.
posted by crunchland at 9:05 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's been done, Burhanistan. Done incredibly poorly, mind you, but it's been done.
posted by griphus at 9:06 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Burhanistan: "I'm going write and direct a blockbuster that costs $750 million to make and will be 180 minutes of giant naked robot women shooting lasers and missiles from their lady parts while attacking cities on various planets."

I posit that Neil Gaiman will be disappointed.
posted by arcticseal at 1:11 AM on March 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


The new Avengers trailer is like the first hit at www.avengers-movie.com, I don't see what's so obscure about it.

I put www.google.com in the box at Google and a cookie came out of my computer.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:27 AM on March 20, 2012


Flavor?
posted by zarq at 4:14 AM on March 20, 2012


Flav!
posted by SpiffyRob at 4:25 AM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


He has a cameo in my film.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:21 AM on March 20, 2012


Cameo
posted by arcticseal at 6:40 AM on March 20, 2012


Is there a word for repping a Well Funded Production that you enjoy on its own merits? I mean "grassroots" implies it doesn't have an advertising behemoth behind it, and "astroturfing" implies the support is artificial.

I think we should call it "gunning to be Patient Zero."

Because it's a viral thing, right? You know everyone else is going to catch it eventually. But you set out to be the first, to infect everybody else: it's a competition to be a Typhoid Mary or that random guy who refuses to go into quarantine.

The fact that you'd have to explain the term probably militates against its adoption.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:08 AM on March 20, 2012


And I know you're probably thinking that Flav's cameo would be something typical like a pimp on one of the moons of Saturn who gets his comeuppance from the killer robots while slapping one of his girls, but he's actually going to be a space forces general who flashes a big gold smile to the camera after delivering a patriotic line.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:14 AM on March 20, 2012


elgilito: "Prometheus has a major filmmaker revisiting his own classic 33 years later."

Prometheus is not an Alien prequel. Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof "did not want the film to be burdened by all the tropes of that franchise with Facehuggers and Chestbursters." It is approximately in the same universe as the former, but the titular aliens will not play any part in the plot.
posted by Plutor at 7:23 AM on March 20, 2012


Prometheus is not an Alien prequel. Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof "did not want the film to be burdened by all the tropes of that franchise with Facehuggers and Chestbursters." It is approximately in the same universe as the former, but the titular aliens will not play any part in the plot.

Are you talking about the Aliens prequel? I heard it’s awesome. Where can I see a trailer? I can’t wait to see the Aliens.
posted by bongo_x at 10:43 AM on March 20, 2012


shiny turds like "Learning to Fly"

You finally made my shit list, Burhanistan.
posted by brina at 10:00 PM on March 20, 2012


I ain't no tongue tied, earthbound misfit.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:28 PM on March 20, 2012


Plutor: Prometheus is not an Alien prequel
That's what they said, but I suspect that there's a little bit of misdirection here. The Space Jockey and its chamber in Prometheus are the same as in Alien. Ridley Scott actually recreated a entire set of his previous movie, and it's an iconic one. Unless he's playing tricks with us (the Space Jockey is Jonah Hill in disguise and the whole thing is a comedy), that's at least a serious connection, and a xenomorph-like character does show up in the new trailer. Indeed, this has been a big part of the appeal of the movie since it was announced: it's going to be different (no Ripley, no xenos running around, "not a prequel") but the many hints are tantalizing.
posted by elgilito at 2:14 AM on March 21, 2012


My guess as to the 'it's not a prequel, PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT SPACE JOCKEY BEHIND THE CURTAIN' is that it's not the same space jockey that winds up on LV-426.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:40 AM on March 21, 2012


Or possibly that he's going Many Worlds on us and even if this is the LV-426 jockey (though where did all those nice urns go?) maybe this time he didn't end up on LV-426 or the circumstances otherwise didn't play out the way we expect them to. Or something. But then there is a thread about this stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:16 AM on March 21, 2012


Huh, I clicked onto here from Recent Activity and hadn't even noticed that this wasn't that thread.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:22 AM on March 21, 2012


shiny turds like "Learning to Fly"

You finally made my shit list, Burhanistan.


Learning To Fly is not a hill worth dying on. Of course, it would be far less annoying (merely shiny smooth and rather average) if it didn't bear the Pink Floyd moniker.

Roger Waters may not have been Pink Floyd but there's never been a Pink Floyd worth acknowledging without him. Everything since has been toothless. Or more to the point, dentures. Functional, but not the REAL item.

Yes, as a matter of fact, it is time for this Meta get serious and become a discussion of the sins of latter day Pink Floyd.
posted by philip-random at 9:07 AM on March 21, 2012


> a discussion of the sins of latter day Pink Floyd.

They mainly all can be grouped under the one sin of not packing it in after 1983 and never touring or releasing anything again.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:18 AM on March 21, 2012


Err ... Sorry. I was thinking of this Learning to Fly. Burhanistan, you've been removed from my shit list.
posted by brina at 2:37 PM on March 21, 2012


My grubby halo thanks you.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:40 PM on March 21, 2012


The secret solution is that Roger Waters was never Pink Floyd: Rick Wright was Pink Floyd, and when Waters made him stop contributing the band never recovered, regardless of personnel.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:42 PM on March 21, 2012


That thing he's doing touring around while replaying The Wall ought to stop.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:46 PM on March 21, 2012


Let him have The Wall, it was half filler anyway.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:47 PM on March 21, 2012


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