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April 10, 2012 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Today there's a post that is only a series of links to a single retail website. The thread head offers no critique or external perspective: it's a glowing recommendation. If I were going to write an ad for that store (knowing mefi is my target sales demographic), it would look a lot like that thread.

Why is the thread OK? And if it's OK, why wouldn't any link to any website, ad, or Ugg-knockoff warehouse be similarly fine?

This smells like arbitrary policy to me---which actually smells sorta like corruption---so I'm really asking.
posted by diorist to Etiquette/Policy at 10:49 AM (267 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

'cause of the puppy.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:54 AM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


corruption? seriously?

I suspect a large part of what's going on there is that ColdChef is one of the most highly respected users around; zero likelihood that he is posting it as an ad.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:54 AM on April 10, 2012 [42 favorites]


100% ad. Flagged.
posted by scruss at 10:55 AM on April 10, 2012


ColdChef is sure playing the long game for designer handbags*

*I don't care how rugged and masculine they are, they are still designer handbags.
posted by Think_Long at 10:56 AM on April 10, 2012 [12 favorites]


The reason the post is brilliant is that coldchef is an undertaker and the merchant's slogan is they will fight over it when you are dead.

Also everybody loves dogs. (Well, everybody I know.)
posted by bukvich at 10:56 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


If ColdChef is a mole for marketers, he's doing an awfully thorough job, what with having been a site member for more than seven years and a guest on the mefi podcast.
posted by Diablevert at 10:56 AM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ad link posts stand all the time, depending on the nature of an ad. Any thread on a book/tv series, any movie trailers, anything discussing any form of moneymaking media can technically be classified as an ad. People will hate them or love them according to whimsy and/or personal preference and/or whether or not they have eaten lunch yet. So what's left if we eliminate all these possibilities?

That's right. I/P threads and nothing else. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT. IS IT.
posted by elizardbits at 10:56 AM on April 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


LobsterMitten: "ColdChef is one of the most highly respected users around"

I have no side in this game, as I don't read the blue, but I really think the length of time a user is around and/or how "respected" they are should have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not posts stand.
posted by Grither at 10:57 AM on April 10, 2012 [47 favorites]


Yes, corruption: of intent and of quality. I'm not sure how someone being an "in" member of the community should matter.
posted by diorist at 10:58 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


the length of time a user is around

I think it's more that if a user has been around for 10 years it is less likely that they are an SEO scumbag on their way to a banning. I'm not sure anyone on this site has the attention span to play such a deep game, tbh.
posted by elizardbits at 10:59 AM on April 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yes, corruption: of intent and of quality. I'm not sure how someone being an "in" member of the community should matter.

I would suggest to you that there are more important things in your life to worry about.
posted by empath at 10:59 AM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


The 'highly respected' criteria is meant to refute the accusations of guerilla marketing.
posted by Think_Long at 10:59 AM on April 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


In the last book of the Bible, "Jesus 3 - the Revelationing", God teaches us that the present universe in which we live inside of it will go away and will be replaced with a new heaven and a new earth. God also says that He will make all things new, save for those things he made new in the preceding sentence, because he just did those. For these reasons, I believe it to be a definite possibility that if this post is deleted, it will be made new and that those who are children of God will be reunited with it. But those who deleted it will be cast into the lake of fire, which is Hell, which is quite hot. Just something to think about, Cortexebub and Jessabelzemyn.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:59 AM on April 10, 2012 [12 favorites]


Why is the thread OK?

Two reasons:

1. The poster is a known entity who is beyond suspicion, so there's no weird "is this literally an attempt to astroturf" cloud hanging over it. Barring ColdChef suffering some kind of psychotic break or deciding to make a change from the family undertaking business, there's not really any concern here that he's posting for dubious reasons.

2. More generally, there's nothing a priori wrong with posts that link to marketing material, if it's being linked because the poster thinks its interesting in its own right rather than because they are trying to act as an advertising agent for the product or service or whatever. Our concern is primarily with (a) people linking to stuff they have a stake in, which is a bannable offense, and (b) people linking to stuff that isn't interesting, which is a good way to get a post deleted but that's about it.

Lots of stuff that is marketing or advertising would make a pretty dull post regardless of poster intent; if the answer to the question, "what's actually interesting about some random Ugg-knockoff warehouse?", is "not really anything", it would make a lousy post.

I know that ad/marketing media stuff is something people disagree, often strongly, about. Some folks would rather never see anything that has an overt commercial component posted on general principle; others enjoy seeing/discussing/dissecting well-made media regardless of whether it's an art-board-funded documentary or a Weiden & Kennedy spot. As far as that goes, it's fine to be in the camp that doesn't have any interest in advertising-related stuff, but it's not fine to make a fuss about that in threads. Discuss it here if it needs specific discussion; otherwise, just move on to a thread you're actually interested in.

This smells like arbitrary policy to me---which actually smells sorta like corruption---so I'm really asking.

The policy is not particularly arbitrary, no. There's the same sort of case-by-case flexibility in how we deal with ad-related posts as with any other posts, so if you want a single brightline rule that will unambiguously describe exactly what will and will not get deleted, you're going to be disappointed, but the general thinking above is what we pretty consistently adhere to.

Corruption is a curious and pretty loaded charge to make; if your implication is that what gets posted and what gets deleted is biased by some financial connection the mod staff has to any post subjects, I can tell you that you are very very badly mistaken.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:59 AM on April 10, 2012 [32 favorites]


Metafilter has many double standards and the moderators can be capricious. Fact of life. Get used to it.
posted by crunchland at 11:00 AM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's a fair criticism. MetaFilter has had a bad history when it comes to someone shilling for a website or pushing a particular product (which I tried to diffuse with the snarky title of "Puppsy Blue"). I don't expect or wish my posts to be judged by my tenure here or my personal history, but please know that I did put a bit of thought into my post. I didn't intend it as a advertisement, and I believe that I framed it as more of a "now this is a commercial website that feels personal and fun."
posted by ColdChef at 11:00 AM on April 10, 2012 [20 favorites]


Someone being a long-standing member of the community does matter when you're accusing them of "corruption of intent". When trying to determine intent--a very slippery and subjective thing--you take their previous behavior and their presumed motive for such corruption into account.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:01 AM on April 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


"I would suggest to you that there are more important things in your life to worry about."

Of course. But that's irrelevant.
posted by diorist at 11:01 AM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


"the length of time a user is around and/or how 'respected' they are should have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not posts stand."

Trust me, they don't.
posted by Ardiril at 11:02 AM on April 10, 2012


Barring ColdChef suffering some kind of psychotic break...

Well, certainly not again!
posted by The Deej at 11:02 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


ColdChef suffering some kind of psychotic break

I imagine that would work out quite differently from a simple puppy eulogy thread.
posted by elizardbits at 11:03 AM on April 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


I have no side in this game, as I don't read the blue, but I really think the length of time a user is around and/or how "respected" they are should have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not posts stand.

To reiterate the point: being around for a long time doesn't get you a pass on posts that would otherwise be deleteable. Being a really known quantity to the point where we as mods know you absolutely are not going to be astroturfing the site means that we aren't sitting around wondering if you're astroturfing the site.

Marketing-related posts that actually smell bad are something we spend a lot of energy on. I root out spammers for sport because I have a fundamental dislike for that sort of thing; you would be hard-pressed to find a link aggregation site that is more aggressive about policing attempts to market on the sly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:03 AM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


The company makes a cool product and has an interesting website, it got posted to the blue, how is it different than any other interesting website / viral video / ad that has been posted to the blue countless other times?
posted by mrzarquon at 11:03 AM on April 10, 2012


They call it The Long Con.

Well played, Cold Chef, well played indeed!
posted by The Deej at 11:04 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's right. I/P threads and nothing else. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT. IS IT.


You mean Iguana/Puppy, right?
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:04 AM on April 10, 2012


My question isn't about the poster. It's about the post and policy.
posted by diorist at 11:05 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Those bags have also been recommended quite a bit on the green.
posted by smackfu at 11:06 AM on April 10, 2012


I don't use MetaFilter for personal monetary gain. Except for when I steal business plans outright.
posted by ColdChef at 11:06 AM on April 10, 2012 [16 favorites]


It's about the post and policy.

Which is affected by the fact that ColdChef didn't sign up yesterday and make this as his first FP post.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:07 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Corruption? Seriously? Dude, ColdChef will bury you.
posted by bitmage at 11:08 AM on April 10, 2012 [51 favorites]


For a reasonable price, too, I hear!
posted by Grither at 11:09 AM on April 10, 2012 [27 favorites]


He's the last person in the wor... nah.
posted by Edogy at 11:10 AM on April 10, 2012


It's about the post and policy.

And if you have further questions based on what I've written here, I'm happy to answer them. I am not entirely clear on what you think the policy is or what precisely is corrupted; I've tried to address that at my best guess, but if you can clarify a bit what exactly your take on this is, taking into account the above, that would help.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:10 AM on April 10, 2012


Again: I absolutely understand diorist's point. I would also hate for MetaFilter to be nothing but a list of merchants. It's a fuzzy line and it deserves to be discussed. I tried to stay on the "hey this is cool" side of the line instead of the "buy this thing" side. I don't take any criticism of my post personally. (unless the suggestion is that I would use the site for personal gain, which I don't think you have)
posted by ColdChef at 11:12 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


If your implication is that what gets posted and what gets deleted is biased by some financial connection the mod staff has to any post subjects, I can tell you that you are very very badly mistaken.

Again: Corruption of intent and quality. Why would you assume I meant financial corruption?
posted by diorist at 11:12 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because that's what corruption means when most people use it. If you weren't intending to imply that, then use better words.
posted by empath at 11:13 AM on April 10, 2012 [20 favorites]


If it quacks like a duck...
posted by Ardiril at 11:14 AM on April 10, 2012


It's about the post and policy.

The policy is generally there is no blanket ban on ads on the front page. There is a blanket ban on spamming which this is not (as cortex has explained). There is a suggestion to make good posts [i.e. interesting things on the web that people haven't seen before that will encourage good discussion] which this seems to be. If you have extra questions about how the line gets drawn, let us know. This isn't actually even very close to it, in my opinion.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:16 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


If the material found when we click on the link is good and is not an overt shill for anyone, then it really doesn't matter if it's a retail site I don't think. I love what this guy makes and am very very happy ColdChef posted the link. I mean, I'm sure I'm gonna grow to hate him over the next few weeks and months when I realise I'm unable to raise the funds to turn myself into Indiana Jones, but until then, I'm grateful for the post.
posted by peacay at 11:17 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because that's what corruption means when most people use it.

The word is accurate, and the way I've used it is common.
posted by diorist at 11:17 AM on April 10, 2012


Kind of funny how you won't just apologize for using the word "corruption". You brought up a good point, but then ruined it by using inflammatory language about a respected member of this community.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:17 AM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Except for when I steal business plans outright.
Awesomest thing I've seen today, thank god for cortex's explanation comment a ways down.

posted by RolandOfEld at 11:18 AM on April 10, 2012


Earlier today:
Google Places ad
Book ad
Rapper ad
Band ad
British Airways ad
posted by smackfu at 11:19 AM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Corruption" is not "corrupted".
posted by smackfu at 11:20 AM on April 10, 2012


Yes, diorist. You have to remember that a lot of members of Metafilter are total idiots, incapable of grasping the concept that a word can have more than one meaning.
posted by crunchland at 11:20 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


diorist: "My question isn't about the poster. It's about the post and policy."

Spammers usually follow a specific pattern, and the mods are aware of that. Spammers typically sign up, make three light-on-content comments and then immediately spam the site. They don't engage the community and don't stick around before posting spam to the front page, most likely because a) that wouldn't be profitable and b) they're not interested in Metafilter as anything other than a means to an end.

Metafilter's rules have been modified to take this into account. Some of this is visible to you, as the end user: You need to post three comments before making your first post. You need to be a member for a certain amount of time before you can post. And threads are closed after a while, to prevent comment spam from cluttering up old threads. Some of it is not visible to you: first posts by users get emailed to the mods, for example.

What all of this means is that to the mods, ColdChef doesn't fit the profile of your typical spammer. Engaging and being a part of the community, especially for a long period of time, doesn't fit a known spammer pattern. So someone who has been here for a while may not get a knee-jerk response.

So ColdChef might be more likely to be given a little leeway for a post that looks like spam. That doesn't mean that if Team Mod thought he was financially connected to it, or it belonged to a friend of his that it wouldn't be axed and he wouldn't be lectured to or banned. But it's not a double standard in the way you seem to be thinking.

Look, I'm a publicist and promote my clients for a living. But I don't do it here. And after 400+ posts, I'd like to think that I've earned a little slack for posts that might look like spam. Meaning that the mods would at least look and investigate first before kickbanning me. But I guarantee you that my ass would be kicked to the curb if I broke the community's guidelines and violated their trust by knowingly posted SEO crap.
posted by zarq at 11:20 AM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


The poster is a known entity who is beyond suspicion

That is TOTALLY what he wants you to think. Congrats, ColdChef. You have tricked them all.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:22 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Again: Corruption of intent and quality. Why would you assume I meant financial corruption?

Because it's (well, financial or systemic quid-pro-quo stuff that's essentially equivalent) the most common referent of the word, and you hadn't clarified at all (and even then not really clearly) until about one minute before I finished writing a reply to the post.

If by corruption of quality you mean that your objection is just that anything that's advertising content shouldn't go on the front page because it's inherently less good than other kinds of content, I can respect the point of disagreement but it's a pretty big misunderstanding of how the site has functioned since pretty much day one. Folks sometimes think stuff that has an advertising/marketing component is nonetheless interesting as content. It's okay for them to post about it if they aren't doing so for shady or self-serving reasons.

If by corruption of intent you mean the that the motivation for a post is not one of above-board sharing with the community but rather doing stealth marketing, I agree that that's a bad thing when it happens, and, again, we are pretty militant about preventing it. Actively, aggressively so. But when it's clear that that is not what's going on, it's not a factor in judging a post.

If that's not what you mean by either or both of those, please do elaborate, because "corruption of quality and intent" isn't a phrase with a specific and familiar meaning to me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:22 AM on April 10, 2012


Oh chrunchland, you rascal!
posted by Edogy at 11:22 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


What do you mean by "corruption of intent" then? Spam and self-promotion are the big crimes of intent here.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:23 AM on April 10, 2012


Yes, diorist. You have to remember that a lot of members of Metafilter are total idiots, incapable of grasping the concept that a word can have more than one meaning.

Are you in a shitty mood today or something? You're coming on kind of strong.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:23 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Because that's what corruption means when most people use it.

The word is accurate, and the way I've used it is common.


Unless you have actual facts supporting an accusation that ColdChef is taking money to post that or otherwise stands to benefit from the post, then your use of the word is neither common nor accurate.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:24 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


cortex: "To reiterate the point: being around for a long time doesn't get you a pass on posts that would otherwise be deleteable."

Oh, I know this is how the mods see it. I'd just hate for other people to start thinking that it matters, hence my comment.
posted by Grither at 11:24 AM on April 10, 2012


Yes, diorist. You have to remember that a lot of members of Metafilter are total idiots, incapable of grasping the concept that a word can have more than one meaning.

"Idiot" is a word with several meanings, one of which is "handsome person, gentle lover".
posted by ColdChef at 11:25 AM on April 10, 2012 [37 favorites]


"handsome person, gentle lover"

That's why she calls me that!
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:26 AM on April 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure how someone being an "in" member of the community should matter.

It's more just being a known quantity. This doesn't have to do with being friends with us, though ColdChef is a friend, it has to do with having an established reputation on the site, even that reputation is "total ankle-biting asshole" We know you, you're not spamming us, you've passed a few of the "Is this spam?" hurdles that we have. And every now and again a longtime user goes away for a while and comes back and spams the site and that's always a bummer because it's basically an insta-ban and also because, gee, what a waste of a longstanding account/reputation here....

So, we're ever-vigilant against spamming, but that means something pretty specific. It's a pain in the ass to try to ferret out and takes up a solid chunk of our time regularly. We have a few other money-based proscriptions such as "no kickstarter posts on the front page" and "no fundraisers" that may have a little bit of wiggle room but not terribly much. They also won't result in a banning just a deleted post and maybe we'll add you to the watchlist for a while.

So let us know if you have questions beyond this and we'll try to untangle them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:27 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are you in a shitty mood today or something? You're coming on kind of strong. -- Sorry. Blame the gout.
posted by crunchland at 11:27 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Polysemist!
posted by Ardiril at 11:27 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey ColdChef I liked that post and I liked those bags and I liked that dog.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:30 AM on April 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


which actually smells sorta like corruption

Oh for god's sake.

At least you finally brought it to meTa.
posted by rtha at 11:31 AM on April 10, 2012


"total ankle-biting asshole"

I think we've found the slogan for the next round of Metafilter t-shirts.
posted by bondcliff at 11:31 AM on April 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


I mean, I'm sure I'm gonna grow to hate him over the next few weeks and months when I realise I'm unable to raise the funds to turn myself into Indiana Jones

Looking forward to the FPP about your kickstarter project!
posted by inigo2 at 11:32 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think the "This is not OK" angle is useful. Even if it isn't OK, the argument with regard to MetaFilter has long been settled. However, I do think a discussion of the specific marketing techniques used is completely germane, and should be in the thread and not here in MetaTalk.

Also, I miss Andrew Cooke:
i realise it's not one of your valued "what stupid piece of crap for my kitchen should i waste money on today because i can't cook for shit but boy i know how to use my credit card like a pro?" questions,
posted by Chuckles at 11:33 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


(seriously: every time jessamyn refers to me as her friend, my heart flutters a bit)

I think it's clear and established that diorist wasn't attempting to besmirch my smirchless name. So then the discussion point should perhaps be "How could I have framed a post about this funny website and dog story in a way that it doesn't seem to be promoting it?" Or do you think that it's impossible to link to a product without implicitly advertising it?
posted by ColdChef at 11:34 AM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sheesh, you bite one ankle...
posted by Ardiril at 11:35 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Arbitrary policy smells nothing like corruption to me. Perception of sense is funny. It's like if you just took a big toke of jimmy carter and somebody asked you pass over the dick cheney.
posted by Dano St at 11:36 AM on April 10, 2012


I really liked the post. The site is very cool and I loved it except for the guy always referring to his "hot wife" as if he had another one, not quite as sexy who did the dishes and everything.
posted by Anitanola at 11:37 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


The reason I mentioned ColdChef's reputation around here is just what the others have said above: the post links to a commercial site; if it were posted by a totally new unknown user it would be reasonable to suspect astroturfing, but coming from ColdChef that suspicion is ruled out.

Barring astroturfing, the main drawback is that the post repeats the brand narrative given at the site.

Is that your real complaint? That seems like a much fairer complaint than corruption.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:37 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Corruption uncovered in this intercepted email:
Hey, Metafilter staff: free burials for each of you if you let my leather bag post stand! -signed ColdChef
posted by The Deej at 11:37 AM on April 10, 2012 [12 favorites]


Sheesh, you bite one ankle...

Biting ankles is fine. But when you start biting them with your asshole, then we've got problems.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:38 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey, Metafilter staff: free burials for each of you if you let my leather bag post stand! -signed ColdChef

AND FREE BURIALS IF YOU DON'T. CATCH MY DRIFT?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:38 AM on April 10, 2012 [49 favorites]


A still penalty.
posted by Quonab at 11:39 AM on April 10, 2012


Regarding ColdChef's question, I for one think throwing in something negative, just for the sake of appearances, is a sub-par solution and hope that's not how people try to make things work out better.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:39 AM on April 10, 2012


Or do you think that it's impossible to link to a product without implicitly advertising it?

I think it's impossible, but I also think that's a drawback of consumerism, not metafilter; mefi's just doing the best it can within the economic system it sits in, and that's fine with me.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:39 AM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


stiff penalty, I mean. Man, I can mess up any joke.
posted by Quonab at 11:39 AM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Or do you think that it's impossible to link to a product without implicitly advertising it?

There will always be a segment of the user base who think that any link to any commercial product (including entertainment products) are a form of advertisement, and should be banned.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:39 AM on April 10, 2012


*goes to read the Andrew Cooke link*

....Someone actually tried to give a sincere answer to that 'Planet Human' question?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:40 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Barring astroturfing, the main drawback is that the post repeats the brand narrative given at the site.

That's also a fair criticism.
posted by ColdChef at 11:40 AM on April 10, 2012


I for one think throwing in something negative, just for the sake of appearances, is a sub-par solution and hope that's not how people try to make things work out better.

Yeah, I'm not a big believer in that, either. I prefer posts to be neutral, instead of balanced. I can see that perhaps I missed the neutrality in this one, but if it required me to put anti-manpurse links within my post just to make it suitable, well, that's the kind of post I'd never like to make. (though I'm sure I've done that in the past).
posted by ColdChef at 11:43 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Also: I'd never heard of Saddleback Leather before I saw this this morning and made this post, so I had no idea it was an established brand. It seemed much quirkier, which is what I like about it.)
posted by ColdChef at 11:44 AM on April 10, 2012


The answer seems to be that moderators determine persistence of content based on judgement of the poster's intent and general community interest value---irrespective of whether that content is commercial. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

By corruption, I largely meant what cortex has so eloquently offered: "the motivation for a post is not one of above-board sharing with the community but rather doing stealth marketing." But I want to be clear that I'm not impugning ColdChef at all. I posed my question as a policy query because the post (not the poster) struck me as inconsistent with the community timbre and to find out how but how commercial corruption (yes, I said it again) is and will be prevented.

Cortex's answer is that the moderators make that judgment call, and I do respect that they have the authority and expertise to do that, consistent with the values of their community.

In my years of reading mefi, this site has generally impressed me as noncommercial---and, again, the linked post stuck me unusual in that regard. In an age where we're all smart enough to be aware of social media manipulation, I'm surprised that the response to my concern about has been so defensive.

Finally, to put a rest to the rumor that I somehow hate ColdChef: I don't know him/her, I am not questioning his particular motivations, and I don't expect him or anyone here to know me. My question was in good faith. I am sorry that "corruption" seems to have become a trigger word---not because I think the imposed interpretation is incisive, but because that sidebar has tainted an otherwise constructive conversation.
posted by diorist at 11:47 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I thought the post was fine until I realized he made a bag out of his dead dog. Uncool, man.
posted by found missing at 11:47 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Barring astroturfing, the main drawback is that the post repeats the brand narrative given at the site.

That's also a fair criticism


Is it? I thought the whole point of the blue was to showcase stuff on the web. We're supposed to entirely reframe the sites now?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:51 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


In my years of reading mefi, this site has generally impressed me as noncommercial-

Not to put you on the spot, but I'm really curious about that. If you've been reading for years, you've undoubtedly seen posts about new books, TV shows, albums, etc. All those things exist in the marketplace -- they are commercial products. Is it OK to post about them?

Why does someone selling a bag strike you as commercial and someone selling a novel doesn't?
posted by neroli at 11:56 AM on April 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


In my years of reading mefi, this site has generally impressed me as noncommercial

Mefi/Tags/Apple.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:57 AM on April 10, 2012 [13 favorites]


The answer seems to be that moderators determine persistence of content based on judgement of the poster's intent and general community interest value---irrespective of whether that content is commercial. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

No, I'd say that's about right. That there's a commercial aspect to what is being linked is not by itself a factor one way or the other in whether a post is okay. There can certainly be specific problematic commercial angles to a post on a case-by-case basis and we're pretty reactive to those when they do come up.

In my years of reading mefi, this site has generally impressed me as noncommercial---and, again, the linked post stuck me unusual in that regard.

I would say that mefi is generally pretty noncommercial indeed, in the sense that we specifically discourage self-promotion or shilling on the front page, do not accept paid submissions for post content or run similar payola schemes, etc. Our overriding desire is to have the posts that end up on the front page be the stuff that good-faith members of this community think are interesting stuff worth looking at for their own sake, period; money should not come into it, and users trying to monetize the front page get banned licketysplit when we see it happening.

Mefi is also not anti-commercial in intent, may be the main point of contention. And different folks fall at different points on the spectrum from neutral to anti-commercial, which is fine, but that's a personal-preference thing, not a site policy thing. There are places on the web that have an anti-commercial or anti-marketing or advertising-critical mission, which is great if that's what you want, but Metafilter is not one of them.

In an age where we're all smart enough to be aware of social media manipulation, I'm surprised that the response to my concern about has been so defensive.

The concern is fine. That people do astroturf, or even just run more enthusiastically in the moment with some bit of viral advertising than they would with a clear head a day later, is not in dispute, and like we've said we spend a lot of energy trying to make sure no one is maliciously pulling something on the Metafilter community along those lines.

The framing of your concern—repeatedly complaining about it in the thread on the blue, even after I'd asked folks to stop, and then using loaded language in here and not making it totally clear in this post and your first few comments what exactly you did think was going on—is where the pushback is coming from. However much it may have been just miscommunication, you gave the impression that you were basically calling out the post as sketchy, ColdChef as sketchy by implication, and moderation policy on the site as somehow corrupt or in the willful service of commercial interests. That's gonna bother people here. So it goes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:57 AM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, I can see a difference between presenting this site as "Joe makes bags the old fashioned way; he has a great story about his beloved dog" etc (which sort of repeats the branding narrative in its original terms) as opposed to "Saddleback Leather is a company with an interesting backstory" (which does a little more to creates something like editorial distance in the framing of the post).

Not saying this is a reason to delete, just saying this might be what is bothering a few people at a gut level about this framing.

I completely agree that adding negative links for padding/"balance" is a bad way to go.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:59 AM on April 10, 2012


Arbitrary policy smells nothing like corruption to me.

Being arbitrary about the one rule that exists here is pretty much the definition of. Granted, it's not the depth and significance of corruption in the sense that people turn on their tap water and it catches fire, true, but it is making an exception because of some reason or another. I can see why that would make some people uncomfortable.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:02 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can see the call-out here, and think it's a good one -- to clarify things, make sure everything is on the up and up, I know for sure now that it was not posted as an ad, that the mods have eyeballed it closely. I trust everyone involved anyway, but I can see the call-out -- a member trying to make sure Metafilter stays a safe place, clean of dreck.

But regardless of intent, due to the post on MeFi this guy is going to have a serious spike in April income; I'd say pennies from heaven except I don't think it'll be pennies coming his way from heaven, more like dollars from Metafilter. I'm buying a wallet from the guy, I've been looking for a long while, this wornout lump riding my hip pocket has needed to go for over a year, today I found its replacement.

Anyways. Good callout, good responses, good thread, Metafilter as it's supposed to be.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:02 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


cortex: Some folks would rather never see anything that has an overt commercial component posted on general principle;

Ya, not that uncommon--see discussions of having a MetaFilter classified add engine that we've had many times-- and pretty deluded itself. Money isn't the root of evil. Only people who have all they want can afford to harbour that misconception.

ColdChef: I didn't intend it as a advertisement, and I believe that I framed it as more of a "now this is a commercial website that feels personal and fun."

Which was pretty obvious to me, for one, but obviously not to everybody.. I think maybe the problem is how the products of that site, unlike the will it blend guys or the knife guys, happens to resonate very well with MetaFilter's users. Just look at how many people are writing about stuff they've bought there, or how much they desire stuff for sale there.

cortex: Marketing-related posts that actually smell bad are something we spend a lot of energy on.

See, the leather bags do smell good, cortex says so :)

ColdChef: So then the discussion point should perhaps be "How could I have framed a post about this funny website and dog story in a way that it doesn't seem to be promoting it?"

Who knows, this place can be a challenge. Possibly by pointing out how stupid you'd have to be to buy a $500 leather bag? Nah.. Even though you'd have to be pretty fucking stupid, that line would make it worse. As Andrew Cooke pointed out, MetaFilter is full of people who know how to use their credit cards really well on consumer products that make them feel more free and wild and individualistic.

EmpressCallipygos: ....Someone actually tried to give a sincere answer to that 'Planet Human' question?

Sure :) I guess it isn't the best link, but Andrew Cooke frequently railed against the kind of consumerism embodied by that thread.
posted by Chuckles at 12:03 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


embodied by the bag thread, that is...
posted by Chuckles at 12:03 PM on April 10, 2012


I have concerns that Cortex has been corrupted by Senator Mathowie, and that they're up to something sinister.
posted by neuromodulator at 12:04 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


It appears to fall under the "Overall Consumer Joy" exception to the Pepsi Blue Exclusionary Rule. And by that I don't mean the Joy of Overalls, though there's probably a site with a shopping cart out there for that, too.
posted by Gator at 12:06 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Crap, meant to link to the FAQ there.
posted by Gator at 12:06 PM on April 10, 2012


Being arbitrary about the one rule that exists here is pretty much the definition of.

I'm not sure if you're just talking conceptually in general or feel like there's been some arbitrary enforcement of the no-self-linking rule here. Can you clarify? ColdChef is not shilling on the sly for this bag company. There's not a grey-area thing here.

I have concerns that Cortex has been corrupted by Senator Mathowie, and that they're up to something sinister.

I think we've been clear that there's a firm No Mod Slashfic rule.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:07 PM on April 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


there is?

/removes links from profile
posted by jacalata at 12:08 PM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Fair question, neroli. I think the short answer is balance. Typically the headers about written media, like books, address the content or topic of books. Most headers about new albums address the band and the album. Most headers in most posts---even ones that are product/ad focused---contain links to multiple sources, at least some of which are noncommercial.

In other cases where that hasn't been true, I suppose I generally felt the same twinge that caused me to post this question. Only today I did it. Why? Maybe it was because the header had deep linking to the retail site, instead of just one link, and that felt more off than usual to me. Or maybe I'm just a little arbitrary, too.
posted by diorist at 12:08 PM on April 10, 2012


Can I make an FPP about STM Bags then?

They're fun and youthful in a social media kind of way and they offered to fix my five year old bag that's ripped and torn.
posted by Talez at 12:09 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mmmmm...firm mods.
posted by ColdChef at 12:09 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's for tea, Mum?
What's for tea, darling?
Darling, I said "what's for tea?"
What's for tea, daughter?

Heinz baked beans
posted by Ardiril at 12:09 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most headers in most posts---even ones that are product/ad focused---contain links to multiple sources, at least some of which are noncommercial.

So, would this post have seemed more balanced to you if I linked first to a history of leathercraft and saddlebag usage through time?
posted by ColdChef at 12:12 PM on April 10, 2012


Timbuk2 bag post with a few other links for window dressing...

Quite dated, but I'm zero surprised to find it.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:12 PM on April 10, 2012


Good job on your brave stance against Big Leather, diorist.
posted by Justinian at 12:13 PM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


> Good job on your brave stance against Big Leather, diorist.

FetLife is thataway.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:16 PM on April 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think "Hey, here's a cool ad campaign!" tends to be a bit of a boring post, no matter how cool the ad campaign in question is.

I do think there's a huge difference between a longtime member making a post I, and obviously others, find a bit boring (much as I love you, ColdChef, my boredom threshold for ad campaigns is awfully low) and us being spammed/astroturfed/marketed to by someone who's being financially compensated for same.

It is one of the mods' jobs to delete the spamming/astroturfing/viral marketing. It is not necessarily one of the mods' jobs to delete posts about ad campaigns, even though some of us find them boring. My scroll button is working fine.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:18 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


links to multiple sources, at least some of which are noncommercial

Augh, no, stop the padding madness!
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:20 PM on April 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


RolandOfEld: "Timbuk2 bag post with a few other links for window dressing..."

I miss Timbuk3.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:20 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


In my years of reading mefi, this site has generally impressed me as noncommercial

Really? MetaFilter is a fantastic community, no questions, but it is also a commercial entity that pays 6 full time employees (am I missing anybody?). One of the reasons MetaFilter makes money is that it links to and evangelizes expensive consumer gadgets like Apple computers and Saddleback bags (and Moleskine, and who knows what else.. I try not to waste too much of my mental capacity on that noise). Anyway, If you go back ~7 years, you will be able to find discussions about whether MetaFilter should go in that direction, but the ship has sailed.
posted by Chuckles at 12:21 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, would this post have seemed more balanced to you if I linked first to a history of leathercraft and saddlebag usage through time?

I don't think so, ColdChef...but only because a person took front-stage in your header. I did (up until the end) expect the header to end with a doorknob link...that the company founder was dead or arrested for recently returned from free-dived the Marianas Trench. Even though that would be only one link, it would be different (better, in my view) than an obligatory veneer of diversity.
posted by diorist at 12:24 PM on April 10, 2012


One of the reasons MetaFilter makes money is that it links to and evangelizes expensive consumer gadgets like Apple computers and Saddleback bags

This is misleading. Are you suggesting Mefi has some kind of affiliate program or direct payments from those companies?

As I understand it, the site makes money mainly from ads which are served to non-logged-in users. It is able to make money this way because it has reasonably high quality content (ie, user-created posts and comments), and thus draws a lot of traffic from search engine users.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:24 PM on April 10, 2012


Thanks for the info LobsterMitten.

I use adblock so maybe I'm immune or misunderstanding something there, anyway TANSTAAFL.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:27 PM on April 10, 2012


"...dead or arrested or in the news for his recent free-dive of the Marianas Trench in a leather dive suit" is probably what that should've said.
posted by diorist at 12:27 PM on April 10, 2012


I did (up until the end) expect the header to end with a doorknob link.

I did not, primarily because I have no earthly idea what you are talking about.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:27 PM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


One of the reasons MetaFilter makes money is that it links to and evangelizes expensive consumer gadgets like Apple computers and Saddleback bags (and Moleskine, and who knows what else.. I try not to waste too much of my mental capacity on that noise)

Not really, or least not in a way that makes a lot of sense to me from this formulation.

I mean, in the sense that those are among the big variety of things people like to chatter about on the site, you could put a fraction of the revenue from $5 signup fees on people paying to be able to be here and talk about that stuff I guess. (As far as that goes, I'd say we make proportionally more money from that channel off people hating the current state of American politics, say.) But I think it's probably fairer to say the cash from signups is attributable to the overall quality of site culture here, that people converse in a reasonably literate and civil way.

Most of our actual revenue comes from google text ads in the askme and mefi archives, so if something is paying the bills it's not Apple product ogling nearly as much as it is people not knowing how to break up with their boyfriend or wanting to know what to name their cat or wondering where you can get an Audi serviced in Iowa.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:29 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Doorknob question.
posted by diorist at 12:29 PM on April 10, 2012


LobsterMitten, did you really mean to type that first line? Anyway, I'll skip over that...

It is able to make money this way because it has reasonably high quality content (ie, user-created posts and comments), and thus draws a lot of traffic from search engine users.

AskMetaFilter is full of consumers asking questions, and people recommending products that will solve their special snowflake consumer needs. That is great business, and I am asserting that that is where most of the money comes from. Nothing wrong with that.
posted by Chuckles at 12:30 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nothing wrong with that.

You mean, other than the fact that it's not true.
posted by neroli at 12:33 PM on April 10, 2012


The dead dog was my doorknob.
posted by ColdChef at 12:33 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Step 1: Get people to recommend consumer goods to one another.
Step 2: ??
Step 3: DMCA from Comedy Central.
posted by griphus at 12:33 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


AGH, I meant "Cease and Desist."
posted by griphus at 12:34 PM on April 10, 2012


Well, the ads from those threads are the bread and butter for the site, but it's not some kind of hidden SEO conspiracy.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:34 PM on April 10, 2012


The dead dog was part of the marketing website.
posted by diorist at 12:35 PM on April 10, 2012


And, FWIW, (at least to me) the beauty of a thread comes--not in the original post, necessarily--but in the links that people provide within the thread where they point out "Oh, you think that's a good bag? This is a good bag." or "Let me show you how much ham I can carry in my backpack." To me, that's the beauty of MetaFilter.
posted by ColdChef at 12:36 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'll take it to be that you're refering to the google text ads that appear in questions/archives (as cortex mentions). Anything outside of that would be shady indeed, but if it's happening I'm not aware of it.

In that case I'll deal with them the same way I would take a bible pamphlet secreted into the kickass bag I lust after purchasing, by ignoring it and taking zero offense/notice.*

Other folk's mileage may vary.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:37 PM on April 10, 2012


"Oh, you think that's a good bag? This is a good bag."

This happens a lot in knife-related threads, especially.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:37 PM on April 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


AskMetaFilter is full of consumers asking questions, and people recommending products that will solve their special snowflake consumer needs. That is great business, and I am asserting that that is where most of the money comes from. Nothing wrong with that.

Ah, I see what you mean. That's definitely part of what's in the archives, yeah, but I think it's maybe overstating it to characterize it as "evangeliz[ing] expensive consumer gadgets" when people ask, even within the fraction of questions that have anything to do with product recommendations, about a pretty wide variety of things. Computers or phones or saddlebags, sure, but also used novels and budget toolboxes and cheap recipes.

One of the things that eats up our time in terms of spam patrol stuff is actually watching for folks who google their target keywords (as a sales person or as an SEO provider or whatever), find an open askme thread, sign up, and then dump a usually-conspicuously-worded Oh Hey That Reminds Me Of This Great Product plug into threads because they want to capitalize on the site traffic. If we actually wanted to monetize the archives in that sense, there'd be some money in (a) tolerating or encouraging that stuff for a fee and (b) taking up the folks we get email daily from asking to buy link placement on this or that thread.

But it's not somewhere we want to go, at all; that there's commercial stuff mentioned and sometimes linked to in threads where that's the nature of the question is pretty much just a neutral practical fact about how good-faith answers work in that case, not something that we're particularly keen on fostering. We don't really look at it as a revenue stream, at all.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:38 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


ColdChef, That's what I was looking forward to as well. I wasn't disappointed.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:38 PM on April 10, 2012


The dead dog was part of the marketing website.

Yeah, I know. I just wanted to type "The dead dog was my doorknob." I figured it was a sentence that's never been typed. Ever.
posted by ColdChef at 12:40 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


This happens a lot in knife-related threads, especially.

Except when someone pulls out a spoon instead of a knife. Then if you haven't played knifey-spooney before it gets a bit weird rather quickly.

Also, cortex, can I make an STM Bags FPP or not? I'm in love with their Revolution backpack and as a modern Apple product owning member of society I believe it would be valuable information to be shared with other modern Apple product owning users. I just want to check that it's cool with you first.
posted by Talez at 12:42 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's weird that the mods are responding in this thread, now that charges of corruption have been aired.

This needs to be turned over to Internal Affairs and investigated. Until then, ya'll are riding desktops while the backup up admins do the heavy lifting.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:44 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Goddammit Talez. This is a community. There are rules.

Ironic guerrilla marketing statements need to have company or product names followed by ™, ©, or ®.
posted by griphus at 12:45 PM on April 10, 2012


Do you think their web content is in its own right really great? Because that's the thing that matters; I don't care if they make bags or not, since "they make bags" isn't really a metafilter post, and neither is "I like their backpack", as happy as I am for you that that's the case.

If the intent is "this is a neat website / this is some really neat media on the web / this is interesting as an artifact of web advertising culture" or something, that could make a good post. That's my read on what ColdChef's post is doing, essentially.

If the intent is "this is a nice product that people might want to know about and buy", that's not really a mefi post, no. Would maybe fly more on Boing-Boing since they have more of a "here's a cool gadget, go buy it" aesthetic in their mix, but this isn't BB.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:46 PM on April 10, 2012


Turn in your banhammer and go work on back tagging until you're cleared.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:46 PM on April 10, 2012


I only have one question left: Does it do what it says on the tin?
posted by The Deej at 12:47 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Whereas "the dead dog was marketing," should be retired from language altogether.
posted by diorist at 12:47 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: "This needs to be turned over to Internal Affairs and investigated. Until then, ya'll are riding desktops while the backup up admins do the heavy lifting."

Well, the truth of the matter is, I don't report to a Commissioner. I report to a committee. Some of whom are appointed, some elected, and the rest co-opted on a bi-annual basis. It's a quorum, so to speak.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:49 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I posted a very similar thread several years ago, and that thread was also called-out in MetaTalk. Mine was posted on AskMe rather than the main site, but still, I think the context was very similar. The businesses certainly are, and I could have made mine into an FPP as ColdChef did: The company in my post has a storied history and all sorts of amusing ancedotes like, "Your pants saved my life during a bear attack!" I think it could sustain an FPP.

The reason I mention this is consistency. My thread was called-out, and the moderators let it stand. (I didn't participate in the MeTa.) So it isn't surprising to me that this thread is called-out and also allowed to stand. It appears consistent.
posted by cribcage at 12:53 PM on April 10, 2012


which actually smells sorta like corruption

it would actually make more sense if you meant putrefaction in this particular case.
posted by elizardbits at 12:54 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Do you think their web content is in its own right really great? Because that's the thing that matters; I don't care if they make bags or not, since "they make bags" isn't really a metafilter post, and neither is "I like their backpack", as happy as I am for you that that's the case.

If the intent is "this is a neat website / this is some really neat media on the web / this is interesting as an artifact of web advertising culture" or something, that could make a good post. That's my read on what ColdChef's post is doing, essentially.


So they need a touching tribute to a really cool dog and then I can shill for them in an FPP on MeFi?
posted by Talez at 12:55 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are you trying to get actual advice or just give me the business? Because I'm happy to try and help you get an answer to an actual question but if you're just fucking around with me let me know so I can stop spending energy on this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:57 PM on April 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


So they need a touching tribute to a really cool dog and then I can shill for them in an FPP on MeFi?

Tone can be so hard to read on the internet, but I can't fight the nagging suspicion you aren't asking the question in good faith.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:57 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


So tired of the rules-lawyering and conspiracy theories.
posted by batmonkey at 12:59 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


then I can shill for them in an FPP on MeFi?

Achievement Unlocked: I-Told-on-Myself
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:00 PM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just today ColdChef sent me an email asking me for my bank account information and credit card numbers. I replied with said info, along with my social security number, assuming it was an oversight on his part not to ask for it, with the message: "Just don't spend all my $$$ lolz!"

I'm sure it'll work out fine.

I keed, I'm kid
posted by eyeballkid at 1:03 PM on April 10, 2012


well, I was looking for a laptop bag, but now I'll just make one myself.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:03 PM on April 10, 2012


Mine was posted on AskMe rather than the main site

This was another "We know cribcage, he's legit" situation but for the record we look very sideways at post in AskMe with a lot of links. Our general rule of thumb in AskMe is to nix all links that aren't necessary to the post so we don't have to worry about whether you're spamming or not. Different parts of the site have very different guidelines.

I can shill for them in an FPP on MeFi?

Are you asking an actual question? This is the difference between "Hey you might like this album by this band for $_REASONS_THAT_APPEAL_TO_MEFITES" as opposed to "This band has a new song out"

So in answer to your stated question: No. In answer to your implied statement: wtf dude?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:04 PM on April 10, 2012


Cortex: you've said it's a gray line, and I think we get that. I choose to read Talez as saying he was in the gray once and it feels unfair.

This thread has not been devoid of emotion by the moderators, either. Not criticizing; we're all people. Just trying to keep the peace on a thread I started.
posted by diorist at 1:08 PM on April 10, 2012


Just trying to keep the peace on a thread I started.

That's usually referred to as threadsitting, and is generally against the cultural norms here.
posted by Quonab at 1:13 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm starting to believe ColdChef just secretly set up this whole this whole damn MetaTalk so he could show off about how classy and good-faith he is. GO DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE, PEOPLE, GOOGLE "NICE COOL MAN"
posted by Greg Nog at 1:14 PM on April 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


I thought the dog tribute was adorable. it nearly made me sniffly. I figured he posted the thread because that was awesome and the rest just fleshed it out.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:19 PM on April 10, 2012


GO DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE, PEOPLE, GOOGLE "NICE COOL MAN"

"My name is Andreas and Seeking Boys from Berlin To Dating. i like to travel to moldova and meet cool guys"
posted by Madamina at 1:19 PM on April 10, 2012


i like to travel to moldova and meet cool guys"

That's so ColdChef!
posted by Greg Nog at 1:20 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are you trying to get actual advice or just give me the business? Because I'm happy to try and help you get an answer to an actual question but if you're just fucking around with me let me know so I can stop spending energy on this.

A little from column A, a little from column B.

If I could have gotten some more clarification it would have been tempting to do an actual FPP to test the waters on it as a thought experiment if there was something cool enough. I don't feel like said thought experiment (if it were to be conducted) should involve throwing shit at a wall to see what sticks and I'm pretty sure we both agree on that one.

But seeing as one more person posting a similar FPP probably wouldn't prompt the "what if everyone started doing this?" debate that I would hope to provoke from said thought experiment it seems kind of useless looking at it from the outside in.

Nevertheless I'm still curious to the thought process so it's more really a favour to satisfy my curiousity more than anything. Whether you wish to expend energy on that is purely up to you and I'm more than happy to drop my line of inquiry if you don't want to.

I choose to read Talez as saying he was in the gray once and it feels unfair.

Not so much I was in the gray once. But more along the lines of "if I'm in the gray area too will I be kicked back into the white?". It's a bad habit but my ears perk up when any equilibrium of egalitarianism starts to wobble. I blame my boorish Australian upbringing.
posted by Talez at 1:22 PM on April 10, 2012


If you stick your foot in your mouth while you have your head up your ass, does that result in a total ankle-biting asshole?
posted by Riki tiki at 1:23 PM on April 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


I accept your guidance, Quonab. Please, do carry on assuming the worst of each other without my further interference.
posted by diorist at 1:24 PM on April 10, 2012


If I could have gotten some more clarification it would have been tempting to do an actual FPP to test the waters on it as a thought experiment if there was something cool enough.

A thought experiment, by definition, is not actually carried out.
posted by dfan at 1:24 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Carrying out an experiment dreamed up originally a thought experiment then, dfan.
posted by Talez at 1:26 PM on April 10, 2012


Does that mean all experiments were once thought experiments at one point then? Else where did they come from? hamburger and all that.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:28 PM on April 10, 2012


This smells like arbitrary policy to me

....I think it smells more like teen spirit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:29 PM on April 10, 2012


Well, this is sure stupid.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:29 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Xavier School is known for their hands-on philosophy when it comes to though experiments.
posted by griphus at 1:30 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I did a hamburger thought experiment once: suppose you had two twin hamburgers, and sent one off at near light speed to Alpha Centauri, and then it returned, again at near light speed. Can I eat it? I say yes.
posted by LionIndex at 1:31 PM on April 10, 2012


If I could have gotten some more clarification it would have been tempting to do an actual FPP to test the waters on it as a thought experiment

I think as a general rule, any post idea that is partly motivated by an "I wonder what would happen if I tried to do this on the front page of Metafilter" line of thinking is a post idea that needs nixing. That's getting into the general territory of stunt posting: using the front page for something other than just unambiguously feeling like something is worth posting for its own right.

So, again, totally fine talking about our moderation practices and perspectives if you have specific questions about something. Not such a good idea to make a post to try and see if it causes trouble or not. If you want further clarification on the idea of a post specifically about those bags beyond what I've tried to address, let it rip and I'll explain whatever I can, but I would very much prefer to drop any sarcastic sort of "oh so it's okay if I shill" type framing as far as that goes because it leaves me not knowing what you actually substantially want out of the conversation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:32 PM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


If I could have gotten some more clarification it would have been tempting to do an actual FPP to test the waters on it as a thought experiment if there was something cool enough.

Wow, cortex did a great job of reading that one. Stunt post averted!
posted by Chuckles at 1:33 PM on April 10, 2012


"I wonder what would happen if I tried to do this on the front page of Metafilter"

Been there, done that, got the time-out.
posted by Ardiril at 1:37 PM on April 10, 2012


Yeah we've got a Wikipedia-like guideline to not use the front page of MetaFilter to make a point about MetaFilter. There are rare in-joke things like capslock day or random theme days but generally speaking playing "What if..." with the front page is something we'd really prefer not happen if there is any other alternative. And if we think you're actively trolling or fucking with the site, yeah it's timeoutland. Which hey, I hear it's nice this time of year, cherry blossoms and all...
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:40 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


What are the EXACT rules so I can annoy everyone by playing tattle-tell and/or figure out the loopholes to leap through myself later.

Also known as Rules Troll or Gaming the System Troll. They care about moderation more than the moderators.
posted by FunkyHelix at 1:42 PM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have on more than one occasion seen people ask questions of the form "Would it be alright for me to post x here?" and get an positive response from the mods. I have never, not once, seen a question with the exact same verbiage, but proceeded by a "So then," get a positive answer.

If your thought experiment or whatever you want to call it would fit comfortably into the sentence template "So then, would it be alright for me to post x here?", you're almost certainly going to be told "no".
posted by Ipsifendus at 1:42 PM on April 10, 2012


ColdChef, if you are shilling for Dave, please get him to edit the last paragraph of the Blue eulogy which I loved except for the part where he analyzes who -- wife or dog -- would behave better after being locked in a trunk. That kind of ruined it for me!
posted by thinkpiece at 1:47 PM on April 10, 2012


Behave "better"? Wow, did we ever read that differently.
posted by ODiV at 1:50 PM on April 10, 2012


Which hey, I hear it's nice this time of year

Maybe for you. The pollen, arrrgh the pollen...
posted by bitmage at 1:58 PM on April 10, 2012


So, again, totally fine talking about our moderation practices and perspectives if you have specific questions about something.

When it comes down for me it was like when you draw a line in the sand and some smart ass comes creeping up to it, puts their big toe over the line and says "I'm still behind the line!". Especially with the "puppsey blue" title.

Also known as Rules Troll or Gaming the System Troll. They care about moderation more than the moderators.

On the rare occasion that I post an FPP I spend a fair amount of time agonizing over things. I try to bring relevant backlinks (not just Wikipedia) into the fold, I try to bring in pieces of the story that wasn't quite FPPworthy but can still add value to the narrative of a post and I try to pay attention to try and write with neutral language and try to leave my axe at the door. So yes, I get a little pissy from time to time when people play a little fast and loose with what they post. That doesn't make me some sort of troll.
posted by Talez at 1:58 PM on April 10, 2012


When it comes down for me it was like when you draw a line in the sand and some smart ass comes creeping up to it, puts their big toe over the line and says "I'm still behind the line!". Especially with the "puppsey blue" title.

Again, that is not what I think ColdChef was doing. He's certainly far from the first person to reference "Pepsi Blue" as site jargon in their own post; it's generally more a playful acknowledgement of that old bit of jargon or of the mixed feelings on mefi about ad-related content than some sort of HA HA I'M GETTING AWAY WITH IT, SUCK IT sort of thing.

If I thought ColdChef was actually trying to be a dick by making the post, I'd have removed the post and told him not to act like a dick, or maybe sent him an email if it was more of a borderline situation, like "hey, this looks kind of dickish, please let us know what the deal is" or whatever.

So yes, I get a little pissy from time to time when people play a little fast and loose with what they post.

Ultimately you kind of have to accept that not everyone has the exact same set of preferences about post construction as you do. This is a big place, with lots of different people, and they are going to vary in how they approach the site even when everybody is doing so in good faith like 99.9% of the time. I can totally sympathize with you being annoyed when someone does something you make a point of not doing, but "that's not how I would do it" is not the same thing as "that's not what's allowed on the site", so getting pissy about it publicly can be sort of counter-productive a lot of the time.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:04 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


We are not entitled to be pissy on MetaFilter.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:14 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


cortex: " Not really, or least not in a way that makes a lot of sense to me from this formulation."

Do amazon links still get autochanged to a Metafilter referrer? If so, if someone were to follow an amazon link from Metafilter and make a purchase, a percentage of that purchase would go to mathowie. I do not know if the site uses other affiliate programs, but it would make sense to me to do so.

Now that I think of it, I've included a few Amazon links in my posts over the years. Videos on Amazon prime. Links to books, dvd's and technology. It would be nice if they've given some small amount of funding back to this place. :)
posted by zarq at 2:16 PM on April 10, 2012


Ah. Yep they still autochange.
posted by zarq at 2:17 PM on April 10, 2012


Do amazon links still get autochanged to a Metafilter referrer?

Yep. I don't know the exact numbers (mathowie is pretty much the money guy) but it's a teeny bit. I don't think at this point we do any other affiliate stuff but someone might know better than I do.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:18 PM on April 10, 2012


We are not entitled to be pissy on MetaFilter.

The last 400 MetaTalk threads to the contrary.
posted by absalom at 2:20 PM on April 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


Again, that is not what I think ColdChef was doing. He's certainly far from the first person to reference "Pepsi Blue" as site jargon in their own post; it's generally more a playful acknowledgement of that old bit of jargon or of the mixed feelings on mefi about ad-related content than some sort of HA HA I'M GETTING AWAY WITH IT, SUCK IT sort of thing.

Yeah, pretty much this. I've been on MetaFilter long enough to expect some people to take umbrage with a post dealing with a product (or, you know, pretty much anything) which is why I tried to obliquely deal with this by saying, "Yes, I know it looks like I'm pushing a product, but really I'm trying to say, 'Hey! Lookit this!'"
posted by ColdChef at 2:20 PM on April 10, 2012


"it's a teeny bit" - Sockpuppets are far more profitable.
posted by Ardiril at 2:20 PM on April 10, 2012


When it comes down for me it was like when you draw a line in the sand and some smart ass comes creeping up to it, puts their big toe over the line and says "I'm still behind the line!". Especially with the "puppsey blue" title.

I've often been called ass, but rarely smart.
posted by ColdChef at 2:21 PM on April 10, 2012


I don't think at this point we do any other affiliate stuff but someone might know better than I do.

I think that's the only one. I remember like idle discussion over email some possibilities in the past but nothing we ever actually went live on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:23 PM on April 10, 2012


Sockpuppets are far more profitable.

Neither one are mission-critical to the solvency of MetaFilter, so people are welcome to pitch a few coins in the bucket but we're not standing here with out hand out.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:25 PM on April 10, 2012


jessamyn: "but it's a teeny bit."

Aw.

I was all set to write an awesome epic bedtime story for my kids entitled "Donuts for Cortex."

cortex: " I think that's the only one. I remember like idle discussion over email some possibilities in the past but nothing we ever actually went live on."

Ah. No worries. Was just curious. And I know it's probably not something you'd widely encourage anyway. But if say, I'm making a larger MLYT post and a video is available on a for pay site I usually try to include links, like the third line of this one. Would expand my scope if there were other affiliates.
posted by zarq at 2:28 PM on April 10, 2012


'Puppsy Blue' would have atoned for a multitude of sins--if there would have been sins to atone for.

What a waste!
posted by jamjam at 2:37 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fine. Leather. Goods.

Treat yo' self.
posted by yeti at 2:38 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


The site is hucksterism of the worst kind. It's carefully manufactured to create a folksy appeal designed to resonate with consumers who think of most marketing as being beneath them. His business model simply relies on using third-world labour to create a product that customers have been conditioned to then pay a considerable premium to own. The personna he creates looks to be a clone of J Peterman's marketing, which was basically a re-working of The Banana Republic. This is a pretty common theme in clothing marketing; here in Canada Tilley has been doing this forever as just one tiny example of this hackneyed genre. There really is nothing new here.

The guy himself is a bit of a twit, as well. He let his dog impregnate dozens of third-world animals, and thinks that bull-fighting is a worthwhile pastime. More testosterone compensation, and a deliberate part of the "brand". As mentioned above, the reprehensible misogyny scattered throughout the site is also deliberately designed to appeal to macho meat-heads with more money than sense. As a SCUBA diver myself, seeing that leather bag underwater really illustrates his corporations willingness to exploit consumer suggestibility.

Unwilling to rely on merely these techniques however, he also ruthlessly exploits the religious inclinations of the market, and claims that his bags are the work of God himself ...

So I prayed for God to help me find the greatest bag ever, just like the one I had in my head. Well, as it turned out, He helped me to find that bag, but in a way I wasn't expecting.

God directed me to the perfect bag that didn't even exist yet.

He then allows that the company's success is a result of further divine intervention ...

Suzette and I began praying for just the right person to take us to the next level.

God was kind enough to listen to their prayers, and provided a miracle in the form of Chuck Bowen, whose mission statement reads ...

My vision is to please God daily by using my talents to help entrepreneurs like you transform their ideas and passions into tangible profits.


Yep, nothing pleases the Lord like tangible profits.

I have absolutely no suspicion of Cold Chef's intent here, but think that the criticism of the post does have some merit. A worthwhile post could have been made using Saddleback Leather as a focal point. There are all sorts of interesting possibilities here, from examining the manufacturing process, to comparing different providers, or the varying properties of materials employed, or (indeed) how marketing of this kind succeeds or fails. This post missed that mark, and I suspect that it might have been deleted had someone else, not as well-known, posted it.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:54 PM on April 10, 2012 [32 favorites]


^ now *that's* how you criticise a post.
posted by batmonkey at 2:55 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I hope you repost that in the main thread. Excellent, excellent. I was actually kind of mortified about the dog thing.
posted by absalom at 3:04 PM on April 10, 2012


He let his dog impregnate dozens of third-world animals

Were the other animals also dogs? 'cause if not, that's kind of FPP-worthy.
posted by Greg Nog at 3:11 PM on April 10, 2012 [16 favorites]


here in Canada Tilley has been doing this forever as just one tiny example of this hackneyed genre.

I've got a pair of Tilley pants. Got them in a Value Village, I think.. I don't like the velcro, it will be a while before I know if they are actually durable at all.
posted by Chuckles at 3:20 PM on April 10, 2012


I don't always agree with PareidoliaticBoy, but I agree with what he says here, especially that Saddleback Leather's religious thing is both creepy and brilliant marketing.
posted by box at 3:45 PM on April 10, 2012


Hey ColdChef, I'm sending you this private MeMail on the down-low to let you know how much I love the discount leather bag!
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:47 PM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


oops
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:47 PM on April 10, 2012


Well coldchef can post what he wants, he's done lots for the site. Oddly, I think if you get a certain amount of askme best answers, you get to make a self link/ Pepsi blue post. Or some such munificence.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:42 PM on April 10, 2012


now this is a commercial website that feels personal and fun
Seriously? It seems like a big ol' ad to me.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:47 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


> This thread has not been devoid of emotion by the moderators, either. Not criticizing; we're all people. Just trying to keep the peace on a thread I started.

You're being really shitty here. You started out using a loaded word like "corruption," defended it against all comers, and now you're accusing the mods of reacting emotionally, plusmaking the laughable claim that you're "trying to keep the peace." You would have done a much better job of that by not making this stupid callout.
posted by languagehat at 4:51 PM on April 10, 2012 [16 favorites]


While I have ZERO concern about ColdChef's intentions (clearly he's not a spammer and has no relationship with the business or personal gain from it, I'm sure), I still flagged that post (and then came here to realize there was a big discussion about it). I even LIKE the company and have drooled over their merchandise for many years, but it just felt out of place and odd for the blue. I mean, there's nothing particularly amazing or "best of the web" about it IMHO and the subject matter of the post to me indicates that it should have an even higher "quantum of proof" of best-ness than other usual posts (much like certain controversial topics, like say newsfiltery stuff or whatever). Anyway, that's my 2 cents FWIW.
posted by 1000monkeys at 4:52 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Huh. sgt.serenity is still here.
posted by Gator at 4:54 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


cc: liam eht ni si kcehc eht, sknaht
posted by madamjujujive at 5:00 PM on April 10, 2012


cc: liam eht ni si kcehc eht, sknaht

Speaking in transliterated Russian won't help you, Liam!
posted by Talez at 5:07 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


The site is hucksterism of the worst kind. It's carefully manufactured to create a folksy appeal designed to resonate with consumers who think of most marketing as being beneath them. . .here in Canada Tilley has been doing this forever as just one tiny example of this hackneyed genre.

Huh. I received a Tilley hat (one of the cotton duck ones) as a gift in 1994 and I have been wearing it while working outside when the sun is strong ever since. It is sweat and paint stained but otherwise in good shape. It is able to go through the washer ok. Does a great job of keeping the sun off of me. And it is 18 years old.
posted by mlis at 5:09 PM on April 10, 2012


OP, how dare you question ColdChef's motives! Fuck you. Seriously.
posted by radioamy at 5:34 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


'how dare you question coldchef?' That's straight up bullshit. I disagree with this MeTa but anyone who can't handle their friends not being world wide accepted as nice people should get off the internet. Seriously.
posted by jacalata at 5:39 PM on April 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


The site is hucksterism of the worst kind. It's carefully manufactured to create a folksy appeal designed to resonate with consumers who think of most marketing as being beneath them.

You say that as if it's a bad thing. I might be on board if the products were shoddy. But all accounts seem to indicate that they are in fact very high quality, handsome products. In which case, I'll make allowances for a company's spiel to move goods as they like.

FWIW, I dislike sappy dog stories, genuine or not. I think us first worlders are stupid about our pets. But that's just me.

I've generally been "BFD" about pepsi blue posts. And that's how I feel about this post. Good is good, commercial motives or not. There's no reason to believe ColdChef thought the site was anything other than fun and sentimental, regardless of the commercial content.
posted by 2N2222 at 5:43 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tilley makes great stuff, the point I was making, mlis, was that this specific marketing technique on the web site is neither new, nor really noteworthy, on its own. Neither is the lengthy warranty; many companies have used this strategy, from Sears and Snap-on through Budget Brake and Muffler to Tilley. Like 1000monkeys, I also really like Saddleback's stuff, (although I think that it's a bit over-priced) and have recommended considering it in Ask, back when I participated there.

There is much that I don't care for on the site itself however, and the Evangelical proselytizing and misogyny is especially off-putting to me, personally. It's actually offensive enough that I likely wouldn't buy any of their products on principle, and should I ever feel the need for a $500 leather case of some flavour, I'd likely just have a local craftsperson make me something suitable instead.

I hope you repost that in the main thread.
posted by absalom


Nope. Not going to happen. Criticizing the very premise of a post is against the guidelines. That's what flagging and Meta is for. Hard to believe as this might be to some, I do endeavour not to create extra work for our mods, which is why I (mostly) bite my tongue, and keep my curmudgeonly sarcasm here to a minimum. Were I to suddenly start posting exactly what I think about every post or comment I read, I'm guessin' my sorry azz'd be banned within a day.

On preview radioamy, there is no call for such language.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:44 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have often suspected ColdChef's posts about the hurricane in New Orleans, which did as much as anything to encourage me to leave before the levee broke, was actually a secret attempt to get New Orleanians to move to Baton Rouge and eventually die there, to pump up work for him.

Nice try, old friend. Nice try. But I'm in Hollywood now, and there is nobody to bury me here but the sun, the sand, the coyotes, and various trashy rock and rollers.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:54 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


OP, how dare you question ColdChef's motives! Fuck you. Seriously.

I love ColdChef to death but this is totally not okay. Do not do this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:58 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I really want to talk nerdy about quality bags. There's not a lot of people who like to talk serious about bags. Has anyone used one of those bags made out of recycled highway cone whatever?
posted by fuq at 6:03 PM on April 10, 2012


I have a bag made out of testicle material. Two, actually.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:04 PM on April 10, 2012


What do you keep in them?
posted by jacalata at 6:07 PM on April 10, 2012


I find it more convenient to have one bag that holds two testicles.
posted by klangklangston at 6:07 PM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


What do you keep in them?

Five bucks same as in nope doesn't work here.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:09 PM on April 10, 2012


...Saddleback Leather's religious thing is both creepy and brilliant marketing.

The really creepy part is that it only registers about 7 milliTebows on my scale.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:11 PM on April 10, 2012


I love ColdChef to death...

Ok, awkward.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:15 PM on April 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


I find PareidoliaticBoy's use of italics delightfully idiosyncratic.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:23 PM on April 10, 2012


OP, how dare you question ColdChef's motives! Fuck you. Seriously.

Wow, don't ever cross long-time users!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:40 PM on April 10, 2012


Geez, guys. My participation has been sponsored by Scott Lawn and Turf Products for years and no one's even noticed.
posted by Miko at 6:46 PM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Anyway, that's my 2 cents FWIW.

HOW DARE YOU
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:51 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


"sponsored by Scott Lawn and Turf Products" - You're Carl Edwards!!!
posted by Ardiril at 6:52 PM on April 10, 2012


But who is sponsored by Carl Weathers?
posted by winna at 7:05 PM on April 10, 2012


Please pardon my good friend radioamy's street language. She lives in New Orleans and will cut a fool.
posted by ColdChef at 7:17 PM on April 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


Good thing she is on the side of right and good.
posted by Ardiril at 7:25 PM on April 10, 2012


lol
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:27 PM on April 10, 2012


Who does radioamy shill for?
posted by crunchland at 7:37 PM on April 10, 2012


Big More Jurassic park Mr. S? Mostly. Maybe. Hopefully.
posted by infinite intimation at 7:48 PM on April 10, 2012


Like everyone else in New Orleans, she works for Mardi Gras beads and voodoo hexes.
posted by ColdChef at 7:49 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


ColdChef has been so reasonable and good natured in this thread that I now feel ACTIVELY BAD that I didn't like the post in question.

On the more general question of fairness (and justice, its official-format companion), I think you basically have two options: One, you can a lot of rules, and exceptions, and addenda, and procedures, and and and ... This works well enough but can be cumbersome, slow, and tends to encourage people to game the rules instead of seeking actual fairness. (Since all rules will introduce distortions of fairness.) Two, you can have a few loose rules, or guidelines, and express the mission or values of the organization, and trust humans to decide from in the messiness of human interactions, what fair looks like. Two is usually both faster and more humane, and it can run brilliantly well when the community trusts the deciders and the deciders take their job seriously ... Both things that are true at MetaFilter, I believe. If the deciders do as poor job or the community doesn't trust them, it goes down in very shouty flames.

I think sometimes people are asking the mods for the rules and precedents and statutes and administrative procedures and chapter and verse you'd get from Type One, when MetaFilter is run as Type Two. And they get frustrated, sometimes, that there is no extensive rulebook to lawyer with. But I like Fairness, Type Two, as it's done here. It is, as I said, very humane, and stays closely focused on the mission of metafilter and fairness to individual members, without a lot of "stuff" getting in the way.

I've been reading on theories of law, justice, and fairness, so this is possibly much too much thinking into it, but oh well.

"stiff penalty, I mean. Man, I can mess up any joke."

No, no, you killed!

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:04 PM on April 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


My participation has been sponsored by Scott Lawn and Turf Products for years and no one's even noticed.

I accept no money for my endless shilling for Paul Weller, Inc. Only soulful looks over the microphone stand and the occasional ass-grab backstage. no, your Modness, the pleasure is all mine
posted by scody at 8:08 PM on April 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


By the way, I should confess I'm a shill for Big Eyebrow. We have a secret plan; by the end of it you will all look very surprised.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:25 PM on April 10, 2012 [17 favorites]


Come to think of it, we've never seen you and Treat Williams photographed together.
posted by Gator at 8:33 PM on April 10, 2012


Criticizing the very premise of a post is against the guidelines.

OTOH, criticizing the subject of the post is quite within the guidelines. AKA, you shouldn't complain that it was posted, but you can complain about what was posted.
posted by smackfu at 8:41 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


You should have seen the post he wanted to make.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:42 PM on April 10, 2012


smackfu: " OTOH, criticizing the subject of the post is quite within the guidelines. AKA, you shouldn't complain that it was posted, but you can complain about what was posted."

Within limits. Sometimes it's better to take that to Meta.
posted by zarq at 8:52 PM on April 10, 2012


I'm constantly shilling for Dawn Powell. "But wait," you may say. "Didn't Dawn Powell die flat broke? Wasn't she buried in an indigents' group grave?"

That's what Big Powell wants you to think. But perhaps I have said too mu
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:12 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

"Criticizing the very premise of a post is against the guidelines."

"OTOH, criticizing the subject of the post is quite within the guidelines."
If you're really good with words, you can make one comment apply to either, but I wouldn't advise boasting about it later.
posted by Ardiril at 9:15 PM on April 10, 2012


It's a good thing ColdChef is such a nice guy. Otherwise, I sure would hate to be his next customer! There you are, laid out on the slab, and his mind is wandering, he's muttering to himself. "Fucking don't understand me, huh? Those fucking trolls..." And suddenly he has to sew your arm back on. That'd suck.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:16 PM on April 10, 2012


That might be just a tad harsh.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:04 PM on April 10, 2012


OP is clearly shilling for French couturist and cosmetic/perfume sales operation in their user name.

Such practices smell sorta like corruption to me. Ban please.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:58 PM on April 10, 2012


Will shill for herring.

Or Lee.

I'll show myself out.

posted by arcticseal at 12:04 AM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wondering if anyone's bought the Brian Eno album because of my marketing-motivated name. And where is the praise and gratitude from Mr. E?!?
posted by ambient2 at 1:03 AM on April 11, 2012


This message brought to you by Devil's Ranch Brand Authentic Tasmanian Bedeviled Eggs.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:39 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


diorist: "
This smells like arbitrary policy to me
"

And it is. Nothing new here. What gets deleted is extremely arbitrary. Won't list examples, there's plenty of them and no reason to be rude to the original posters. I imagine that such arbitrariness is hard to avoid.
posted by 2manyusernames at 4:55 AM on April 11, 2012


diorist: Please, do carry on assuming the worst of each other without my further interference.

You mean like accusing each other of corruption?
posted by spaltavian at 5:45 AM on April 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


True, suggesting any sort of corruption is over the top and nearing the tinfoil hat stage. Having one thread get deleted and the other not for what may appear to be arbitrary reasons doesn't take corruption. It just takes a mod's opinion which may vary from another or even from the same mod at a different time. A deletion which may also be swayed by the number of flags?
posted by 2manyusernames at 5:56 AM on April 11, 2012


I'm a shill for The Homosexual AgendaTM. If you cross me, you'll wake up one morning to find yourself gay married.
posted by rtha at 6:04 AM on April 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


It just takes a mod's opinion which may vary from another or even from the same mod at a different time. A deletion which may also be swayed by the number of flags?

So, mods are people, each with their own understanding of what does or does not make a good post, with a large overlapping area of agreement on what constitutes such, and they take community input into consideration when making deletions.

This sounds worse to you than than a long set of bright-line rules, like (making this up) "No fpp can contain links to a site that sells something" (because commercialism/marketing=bad post)?
posted by rtha at 6:10 AM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


It just takes a mod's opinion which may vary from another or even from the same mod at a different time. A deletion which may also be swayed by the number of flags?

Sort of like that but backwards. I see it this way (for MeFi)

- always deletable posts - spammery, "you seem to be on the wrong website" posts, stunt posts, kickstarter posts, obvious double posts
- usually deleteable posts - stuff on topics that goes terrible, posts with totally off the wall formatting or something else. These posts usually get deleted unless there is a compelling reason to keep them
- meh posts - posts that are sort of shruggo and could go either way, thin posts, maybe ad posts. This is the bulk of the borderline posts we see in MeFi and the flags are a big decisionmaking factor in whether they stick around or not
- decent posts that people hate for some reason - we won't delete these unless the flags reach a point where there seems to be some sort of community mandate that they need to be axed

There are two kinds of posts that we see more often because they get emailed to us directly: posts from people on our watchlists and people's first posts. It's probably not that surprising that a lot of people's first posts wind up being in the middle two categories. People don't have a feel for the place yet or something. So we keep an eye on both these posts and the flags.

So our opinions come in to play but it's not as if we look at each post and say "Do I like this or not?" We spend a lot of time thinking over the past decade+ of posts on MeFi and try to make a decision, often in collaboration with other mods and feedback we get from the community, about what to do. I know it seems capricious to some people, but it's not arbitrary, it just may not align with your own personal opinions about how those posts should go. And MeFi is a living organism and some of the "should it stay or go" stuff is really contextual to what's going on on the site in a particular day/week.

Our goal isn't for people to be able to tell in advance whether any particular post is always going to be deleted or always going to not be deleted. Our goal is to be as consistent as we can, to be available to discuss mod decisions, and to help people who want to make posts that aren't deleted to make those posts.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:20 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


If I was rating it as an FPP, I'd give it a C, maybe a C-. It's ok, above the line for deletion, but nothing great. Actually, I think you could use the same source material, reframed, as the basis for a fascinating FPP about how some small businesses can effectively market themselves and the whole "buy something that will last forever" phenomenon -- those are far more interesting questions to me than the actual bags themselves.
posted by Forktine at 6:22 AM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am again impressed with the indefatigable patience of jessamyn and cortex. I would have banned a least six people in this thread hundreds of comments ago. I guess that's why I don't run a community website.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:29 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


rtha: "It just takes a mod's opinion which may vary from another or even from the same mod at a different time. A deletion which may also be swayed by the number of flags?

So, mods are people, each with their own understanding of what does or does not make a good post, with a large overlapping area of agreement on what constitutes such, and they take community input into consideration when making deletions.

This sounds worse to you than than a long set of bright-line rules, like (making this up) "No fpp can contain links to a site that sells something" (because commercialism/marketing=bad post)?
"

I didn't say it was worse. I didn't even say it was bad. That particular text was agreeing with spaltavian's comment that there was no need to bring "corruption" into the debate.

The point was simply that yes deletions are often arbitrary and completely unavoidable without some sort of terrible zero-tolerance rules. Wasn't a diss on anything.
posted by 2manyusernames at 6:38 AM on April 11, 2012


I guess maybe we're working from different definitions of arbitrary (or I just haven't had enough coffee yet, which is always a possibility), but okay, I hear you.
posted by rtha at 6:41 AM on April 11, 2012


There are two kinds of posts that we see more often because they get emailed to us directly . . . and people's first posts. It's probably not that surprising that a lot of people's first posts wind up being in the middle two categories. People don't have a feel for the place yet or something.

Unrelated question: Do you make an effort not to delete people's first FPPs? Or is it the exact same standard for first FPPs and later ones? (Of course you would delete really bad ones; I'm talking about the borderline ones). Just curious.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:23 AM on April 11, 2012


Datapoint: My first post wasn't anything fancy and it made the cut, take that however you'd like.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:29 AM on April 11, 2012


Hugs all around, people. good heavens.
posted by DWRoelands at 7:49 AM on April 11, 2012


If I was rating it as an FPP, I'd give it a C, maybe a C-. It's ok, above the line for deletion, but nothing great.

So...average? I'm okay with that.
posted by ColdChef at 8:07 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also beignets, I work for beignets. And funny videos of small children who may or may not grow up to be undertakers.

And I apologize for my earlier language. Dollar placed in the swear bucket.
posted by radioamy at 8:14 AM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


jessamyn: we won't delete these unless the flags reach a point where there seems to be some sort of community mandate that they need to be axed

Just curious, but how many flags does it take for there to be a mandate? Also should this number change over times given the user base is increasing in size? I know you probably can't quote a specific number, as like most guidelines I suppose context is everything, but I would be interested in a ballpark figure.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:33 AM on April 11, 2012


but how many flags does it take for there to be a mandate?

Let the counting of sockpuppets begin...
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:35 AM on April 11, 2012


Let the counting of sockpuppets begin...

ahhhh...good point...disregard.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:43 AM on April 11, 2012


Do you make an effort not to delete people's first FPPs? Or is it the exact same standard for first FPPs and later ones?

It's basically the same standards across the board. With a first-time poster, we may be a bit more detailed and proactive about deletion reasoning stuff since they're more likely to be confused by that process, but deleteable is deleteable. Maybe in a very narrow sort of borderline case we might be a little bit of a softie and try and repair a shaky post from within with a quick mod comment in the thread, but it's not a matter of policy.

And really, even though first posts tend to be shakier as a group, most of them really are fine, so it's not something we really have a serious policy on. We watch them more for the spammer aspect than anything.

but how many flags does it take for there to be a mandate?

There's no specific number; I'd describe it as A Surprising Amount, something out of scale with normal flagging rates even for posts people don't so much like. Like, we're literally surprised/confused that there's so much negative response to something that seems okay to us. And from there we'll talk it out over email, try to see if we can understand what's up; maybe there's a "well, I can see people disliking x or reading it in negative fashion y even if I don't really get that" angle, but sometimes not so much.

In practice, I think it's awfully rare for one of those "wow, these flags, really?" situations to come up in a vacuum; usually we'll get email from folks or there'll be a metatalk thread, and it can get talked out a bit so we're not left guessing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:48 AM on April 11, 2012


rtha: "I'm a shill for The Homosexual AgendaTM. If you cross me, you'll wake up one morning to find yourself gay married."

Will I get my promised toaster oven?!
posted by deborah at 3:33 PM on April 11, 2012


I don't mean to draw this out any longer than it should be but I would be genuinely curious about the thought process whether or not this one stays or goes. It's basically "buy my favourite comic's show!" padded with other comics shows to buy and a pretty thin on the ground article. Especially when you try and compare and contrast this one and a couple of others before the "here's my fave Kickstarter!" fad was nipped in the bud.
posted by Talez at 5:26 PM on April 11, 2012


I've no dog in this hunt, but just a point of fact: since checking it out from the fpp, the Saddleback site is now part of the ad mix being delivered to me, everywhere I go.
posted by thinkpiece at 5:41 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


You should toss your cookies in that case.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:45 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't mean to draw this out any longer than it should be but I would be genuinely curious about the thought process whether or not this one stays or goes.

Please feel free to see the other MeTa already in progress about the post that post is based on. I think it's supposed to be about the odd model that comedians are using lately. I wish it was made differently but it wasn't. And it's not deleted. Just like ColdChef's post wasn't deleted.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:07 PM on April 11, 2012


Will I get my promised toaster oven?!

Please allow four to six brunches for shipping and handling.
posted by rtha at 7:08 PM on April 11, 2012


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