Can we maybe start trying to label video links in posts? June 14, 2012 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Could we maybe try to be a little better at labeling links that go to videos? Not everybody is in a position to view video content at all times and it might be nice to have a little advance warning.

This isn't a callout or anything (though this is the thread that inspired this post) but I was wondering if we could maybe try to label links in posts that go to videos. I've noticed that over the years more and more content that's linked to from the front page of the Blue is video-centric, even stuff that I would normally expect to be in a written format like news stories, gadget reviews, op-ed and philosophical commentary, etc. This is slightly problematic for me and perhaps for others as well.

I know that it's totally OK for people to post video content and I'm not asking that people throttle it back, but more often than not I find that I'm either uninterested in viewing or unable to view videos. Maybe I'm at work, or in a public place, where the sound would be inappropriate. Maybe I'm at home listening to music or enjoying a little quiet reading time with my partner and don't want that interrupted. Maybe I'm browsing on my phone and viewing videos would be somewhat cumbersome and inconvenient. Maybe I just don't want to totally devote my attention to a video for ten minutes, but would be willing to casually browse through a a written piece on an off over half an hour.

Now, I'm fully aware that the designers of my web browser have helpfully provided it with a back button, and I'm not shy about exercising that option. I also try to avoid going into threads where I've decided I'm not going to view the content and then making my opinion known anyway -- I'm not a barbarian, or at least I try not to act like one. ;-) But I quite often find myself excited about a link in a post, only to have my excitement turn quickly to disappointment after clicking on it and finding that the link goes to a video. It would be nice if that could be avoided, I think.

So what I'm asking is just whether or not people would consider voluntarily labeling links that go to videos in much the same way as we try to label links that go to PDF files (which are another content format that many people find unwieldy and not worth bothering with) so that folks can know what they're getting into before they click. I'm not proposing that we make this official policy or try to get the moderators on board with labeling links that posters don't label themselves, but I think it would be nice if more (even if not all) video links were labeled so that people such as myself don't have to deal with the feeling of vague disappointment that comes of having a promising link dead-end at content that we are unable or unwilling to sit through. I know it's a small problem, and that's why I'm only making a small request.

Is this something that people would be willing to take under consideration?
posted by Scientist to Etiquette/Policy at 10:56 AM (83 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

hear, hear!
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:59 AM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm not proposing that we make this official policy or try to get the moderators on board with labeling links that posters don't label themselves

Just making sure you know that there is a way to turn on the "YouTube & Vimeo video inline?" feature of MeFi so that you will see little icons next to video links (I think this works on your phone, let me know if it does not) otherwise I'd also be suggesting not browsing from your phone so you can hover to see where links are going, or using a Greasemonkey script to mark video links which is a perfect use for Greasemonkey.

Not that you shouldn't ask your fellow MeFites about this, of course, but there's a cruftiness inherent in having people format-label links and if this is not something that people see wide appeal or necessity for, there may be ways to totally solve the problem on your end.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:01 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, on iPhone at least, you can hold on link for a second and see the URL in the window that pops up, which helps further in screening for domain/content stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:06 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, I see the little icons (and it works on my phone) but they only work for YouTube and Vimeo of course. And I've found that hovering on links works sometimes but not all the time because many times video links go to sites that have a mixture of video and written content (like a news site, for instance) or the title of a link (such as the above-the-fold link in the post I mentioned above) is just a topic that I expect to be in a written format and so I don't take the second to hover. I usually only hover on links when I'm not sure where they go, and I admit that I could be better about this but I'm not sure it's going to solve the problem completely.

I'm also not sure that "not browsing from my phone" is really a good solution here. Out of curiosity, what percentage of views on MetaFilter are from mobile browsers? I'd bet that it's a significant minority, and a growing one.

Anyway, it's a small problem, and I'm open to the perspective that maybe the cure is worse than the disease (I hear you on wanting to avoid unnecessary formatting cruft) but I thought it was worth getting the community's thoughts on the matter to see if there's anything approaching a consensus on the issue.
posted by Scientist at 11:08 AM on June 14, 2012


I can confirm that holding on a link to see the URL works on Android as well, though it's more like three seconds. I actually knew about this feature (I've used it for copy and pasting URLs from links) but it hadn't occurred to me that it also replaces the hover-to-see-URL feature that I'm used to from browsers. So this thread has been worth it to me already just for that.

I'd still like to know what the general feeling is in the community on trying to give explicit notice of links that go to video content, especially when that content is something that a reader might not immediately expect to be a video. I guess when I was writing the post I sort of assumed that naturally people wouldn't bother to label YouTube and Vimeo links, as these are already labeled with the little play button, but that's clearly a silly assumption to make.

To clarify: when composing posts, can we maybe try to think about people's expectations upon clicking a link, and try to avoid ambiguity by labeling video links when people might otherwise not expect said links to go to video content? I know that that's far too complicated to expect 100% uptake (not to mention lots of people won't read this post, won't agree with the premise, etc. etc.) but any improvement would in my opinion be a Good Thing.
posted by Scientist at 11:15 AM on June 14, 2012


Putting a Flash blocker on my browser to prevent auto-playing video has changed my life.

(Though I agree that people who link to auto-playing media without warning should be banned forever.)
posted by no regrets, coyote at 11:16 AM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have a greasemonkey extension in my browser that prevents youtube from autoplaying video. IT IS AMAZING. Highly, highly recommended.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:18 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Further clarification: I'm not really talking just about auto-playing video although I agree that it's particularly egregious. I also run such a plugin. I'm talking about all video content here -- the problem is that I see a link, get excited, go to the link, find out that's it's a video (autoplaying or not is a secondary issue), become disappointed, and then hit Back. I'd prefer it if I could see the link, know that it's a video (which I'm not going to view) and then just move on to the next post without going through the excitement-click-disappointment-click cycle.
posted by Scientist at 11:19 AM on June 14, 2012


I, too, tend to avoid video links. I would find it wonderfully helpful if a trend started of marking them! Bonus pony: I would also find it awesome and fantastic and various other emphatic words if we started a trend of always linking to a video transcript alongside the video, when one is available.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 11:23 AM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Labeling links as video is a huge step in the wrong direction. In normal technological evolution, such indicators get abstracted away.
posted by Ardiril at 11:30 AM on June 14, 2012


> I, too, tend to avoid video links.

Same here, and I approve of this request.

> Labeling links as video is a huge step in the wrong direction. In normal technological evolution, such indicators get abstracted away.

I'm not sure what you're saying, but I'm pretty sure it's nonsense.
posted by languagehat at 11:36 AM on June 14, 2012 [20 favorites]


Take a UI class.
posted by Ardiril at 11:37 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


What do you mean, huge step in the wrong direction? Because why?

For my part, I would very much appreciate this also. I browse mefi on my phone a lot, in large part because my job is super tetchy about streaming video --- they don't block it because it's occasionally relevant, but they do monitor it heavily.

More generally, I share Sci's frequent disappointment with the fact that there's so many links that seem to require video -- sitting still for a ten minute video to give it my full attention is something I rarely have time for unless I'm browsing on a Sunday afternoon, and that's not often the case.
posted by Diablevert at 11:38 AM on June 14, 2012


Ardiril, I really tried hard to make this post in such a way as to not start a fight. It looks like you're trying to start a fight. This is annoying and disheartening. Could you please consider dialing back the contemptuous dismissal a little bit as a personal favor from one MeFite to another, and engage in a way that is a little bit less this-is-how-it-is-and-if-you-disagree-you're-an-ignorant-web-savage and more I-respectfully-disagree-and-here-is-why?

I ask only as a favor, knowing I have no authority over you or anyone else here. Still, I would count it a kindness if you would take a slightly gentler tone.
posted by Scientist at 11:45 AM on June 14, 2012 [19 favorites]


Scientist, I share your problems with video links, and I am also dismayed that so much content on the Internet seems to be going that direction.

I disagree with your suggestion, though, for a few reasons. First, I aesthetically dislike the idea of crufty tags added to links. Remember the whole Wikipedia^ thing? Second, even under the best-case scenario, the majority of video links are not going to be labelled, and so you haven't really solved the problem, as you are still going to be disappointed in video links more often than you are going to be warned away from them. Finally, I know that you specifically note that you do not expect this to become a strict rule or explicit policy, but I worry about pro-labeling users chastising posters who do not label their video links in the thread or via MeMail or email.

So, while I appreciate where you are coming from, I think pushing for this kind of tagging is a bad idea.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:55 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, on iPhone at least, you can hold on link for a second and see the URL in the window that pops up, which helps further in screening for domain/content stuff.

Ya' learn something new everyday! Thanks for the tip.
posted by ericb at 11:59 AM on June 14, 2012


even under the best-case scenario, the majority of video links are not going to be labelled, and so you haven't really solved the problem

I don't think that's clear. It seems to me that the majority of single link you tube posts do have [slyt] next to them because enough people bitched about them that site culture changed. So why not [v]? Three character, no trouble to type?

I agree it won't happen if the majority of users don't care. But if people do care, it seems a simple enough change.
posted by Diablevert at 12:13 PM on June 14, 2012


my question is - you get disappointed when you hit a video, but you admit that some links go to video+text and you'd like to see those labeled as well - but a lot of the times, the video+text pages give you all the content from the video in the text portion - so, wouldn't you miss out on content that you could read by thinking because it's marked video there's nothing for you there? i'm all for people doing things that don't take anything from them to make someone else happy, but you get most of the solution by hovering, and the ones that aren't obvious usually repeat the content in text, so you'll get the content without video anyway.
posted by nadawi at 12:15 PM on June 14, 2012


In an ideal world, I personally would like it if people only labeled as video links which were not already unambiguously video content and which contained only or nearly-only video content rather than a relatively even mixture of video content and text. I agree that there's a gray area there, and I think it would be OK if people just used their judgement.
posted by Scientist at 12:18 PM on June 14, 2012


Maybe I'm at work, or in a public place, where the sound would be inappropriate.

I keep a single earbud plugged into the audio jack for this exact reason. That way, I can still listen, if I want, without disturbing others.

Otherwise, this seems like a problem that's best solved by those who are bothered by it. I'm one of them. Asking others to do a better job of labeling things that are not bothersome to them strays a bit too much into the demanding zone, in my opinion.

Ultimately, we have things we'd like done differently, either on this site or other places. Asking others to change to their habits to fit our wants isn't scaleable. If the site begins doing this for a particular user, then not for another user, is that fair? What's the difference?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:18 PM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ardiril: “Labeling links as video is a huge step in the wrong direction. In normal technological evolution, such indicators get abstracted away.”

"The IBM personal computer introduced in 1981 was a huge step in the wrong direction. In normal technological evolution, computers become portable, and end up having much better performance."
posted by koeselitz at 12:19 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Brandon, I get what you're saying and I think I sort of agree with you. If it turns out that I'm the only one who wants people to do this, then I agree it would be silly to ask everyone to change their habits to suit my tastes. However, if there's a sizable chunk of the community who feels like this would be a good thing then it might not be too much to ask people if they are willing to adjust their behavior just a little bit, voluntarily, with no hard feelings if they don't want to make the adjustment for whatever reason.
posted by Scientist at 12:22 PM on June 14, 2012


I think I've brought it up before, but one of the curious things about MeFi is the tension between "If you don't like it, don't click on it", and "labels are unnecessary, just click on it."
posted by zamboni at 12:26 PM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


or hover over it, or read the comments first, or look at the tags.
posted by nadawi at 12:33 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I consistently tag my posts that have video in them with "video" and/or "youtube", and if it's not already obvious that it's a post/link about a video then often I'll indicate it somehow (smalltext or whatever) although for aesthetic formatting & framing reasons I don't always (and sometimes I just forget).

I have to say, I otherwise rely on people hovering over links to see where they go, or switching on the "video inline" option; since I myself do both those things. I also don't browse on a phone ever. So thanks for bringing this to my attention & I will try to be more helpful in my labelling to accommodate people in your boat.

Now on the other hand, you're basically asking people to label stuff so that you won't bother to look at it. So you're asking people, when they're excited to share something, to go ahead and do something to help limit their possibly-interested audience. I don't know how feasible that is...? For instance, I sometimes post the length of a video link to be helpful (especially if I want to show it's really short to encourage people to check it out), but I recently consciously chose not to do so because I didn't want people to judge it as "oh it's over an hour, fuck that" and not even click, when it was really funny and they might like it if they gave it a chance - I figured when they clicked it they could see it was that long then, I didn't need to give them a reason to reject it before they clicked. That's judicious framing.

I still remember posting something and having one of the first comments be a crabby complaint that didn't have to do with the post itself, just about how it was a video and they were tired of the internet becoming full of video; it got a crapload of favorites and, well, I felt pretty shitty, it sucks when MeFi is all like that because it's not like it's my fault or that I should be feeling bad that I chose to share something interesting that happened to be a video. So yeah this is obviously a common enough thing for people to be grumpy about but I worry accommodating it might allow to become yet another way people can be automatically dismissive & crabby at each other around here. SLYT complaining (or even just complaining about single link posts) is bad enough already, in my mind.
posted by flex at 12:34 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd also appreciate it if people would label video links, for the same reason that people usually label pdfs. It only matters if the content is mostly just video, not if it's a video plus transcript or an article with an embedded video.

It's not a big deal, and it's just a courtesy, but it lets people know so they can favorite it and come back later if they think it sounds interesting and can't watch it right away, and saves a few clicks.
posted by nangar at 12:45 PM on June 14, 2012


Also, on iPhone at least, you can hold on link for a second...

Oh my GOD, Cortex, THANK you! Guh, the stuff my phone does that's a big secret to me, I swear.
posted by Occula at 1:04 PM on June 14, 2012


I still remember posting something and having one of the first comments be a crabby complaint that didn't have to do with the post itself, just about how it was a video and they were tired of the internet becoming full of video;

I don't know what your post looked like, but if the link had been clearly labelled, maybe everyone who hates video would have just skipped it instead of trying to go read it and getting annoyed and commenting/favouriting.
posted by jacalata at 1:08 PM on June 14, 2012


Everyone likes the links that they post - that's why they're posting them. However, not all Mefites will like the link, and that's OK.

While it's tempting to think that my post would go over great if people would only give it a chance, cryptic framing is only clever when you like the link. We can decrease Gross Metafilterian Grar by not requiring people to click on links, interpret tags, trawl through comments and generally haruspicate a thread before finding out they weren't interested in spending time on it.
posted by zamboni at 1:11 PM on June 14, 2012


So what I'm asking is just whether or not people would consider voluntarily labeling links that go to videos in much the same way as we try to label links that go to PDF files

I endorse this idea and hope people do this. It's annoying to click on unlabeled links on an iPhone or iPad and get kicked off to another app without warning, and holding on a link for a second or two on every link, just to make sure it is okay, is kind of silly when there is a simple, non-technical solution that we already use for other types of content.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:13 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


...on the other hand, you're basically asking people to label stuff so that you won't bother to look at it...

I get this, but at the same time people label pdf files all the time as well in order to warn people what the link is, and presumably that discourages people from clicking on it. So I guess the question is, do you want more clickers and a higher disappointment rate, more fewer clickers but a higher satisfaction rate. Quantity or quality in essence.

I am not a huger FPP maker, but I think it is worthwhile to consider if you are linking to a source that we don't have in-line support for.


Take a UI class.

I kinda wish you would explain what you mean instead of throwing this out. If you got a legit position let's hear it. I'm not dropping months of time and hundreds of dollars to understand a mertafilter comment.
posted by edgeways at 1:16 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


TIL "haruspicate".
posted by Scientist at 1:17 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


(grr delete that extraneous "more" for an "or")
posted by edgeways at 1:17 PM on June 14, 2012


that's what the back button is for.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:17 PM on June 14, 2012


iPhones don't have a back button.
posted by jacalata at 1:28 PM on June 14, 2012


Also, I've taken UI classes, and don't know what Ardiril is talking about. I guess his next comment will be something like 'take a better class' or 'pay more attention'?
posted by jacalata at 1:29 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


As someone who often browses MeFi on the phone as a quick timekiller, I'd also like to see more video labelling. It would be really helpful. On the iPhone it's not just a matter of hitting Back, you have to close the YouTube app and go back to Safari. It's not a huge deal, but it does get a bit boring.
posted by KateViolet at 1:46 PM on June 14, 2012


This was rather an annoying (but not terrible) problem for me a while back, either while at work or when I was using the netbook almost exclusively, especially with articles with multiple links.
Flashblock (Chrome, Firefox both have versions of this; I can't speak for other browsers) helped a bit, and this greasemonkey script did the rest of the work. It isn't perfect, but it's greasemonkey and can so be customized.
posted by neewom at 1:46 PM on June 14, 2012


jacalata: "iPhones don't have a back button."

Mine does...
posted by Karmakaze at 1:49 PM on June 14, 2012


Also, damn me for not actually reading. (oops!)

iPhone stuff... not a perfect thing, but enabling restrictions helps a bit.
posted by neewom at 1:50 PM on June 14, 2012


neewom, that is an interesting script and I may give it a try. Shame there's no such thing as greasemonkey on phones, but believe it or not I do do most of my browsing on a normal computer. I use my phone increasingly though and I am starting to wonder when mobile browsers will become a big enough chunk of the web's userbase that people will stop designing semi-functional ghettoized versions of their websites for them (MeFi is much better about this than most places, don't get me wrong) and instead start designing primary websites to work equally well either on desktop or mobile browsers.
posted by Scientist at 1:52 PM on June 14, 2012


hear, hear!

view, view! might be a better way to label video links.
posted by Kabanos at 1:54 PM on June 14, 2012


Good UI design is all about mystery, excitement, adventure and surprise!

More clicking means more engagement!

(Everybody knows that, right?)
posted by nangar at 2:34 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


That might be describing something, nangar, but it sure as hell isn't describing good UI. Thankfully.
posted by Phire at 3:11 PM on June 14, 2012


How about turning the volume down until you know what you're dealing with? Works for me.
posted by Decani at 3:12 PM on June 14, 2012


jacalata: the one in question was labelled obviously enough.

zamboni: I wasn't talking about cryptic framing, I was talking about choices in framing, and gave an example (my posts usually err on the side of too much information, not too little),

We can decrease Gross Metafilterian Grar by not requiring people to click on links, interpret tags, trawl through comments and generally haruspicate a thread before finding out they weren't interested in spending time on it.

I don't believe this is true. I think people are going to grar and complain no matter what b/c they feel that's okay to do and making this an Official Thing might just add more fuel to that - look at all the threads over labelling NSFW or not. That's just my perspective. It's not that I don't understand or even empathize, but no one's paid to post here, and this is kind of a "this thing makes me grumpy so you should make it easier for me" which I guess I'm old-school enough that I personally don't find it a super-convincing argument that it's hard work to hover over links or look at tags & comments, basically do your own few seconds of footwork before clicking.

edgeways: it already is something I think about when I post. I was just pointing out - it's an interesting angle, you're asking people to do something against their interests, so how successful can that be? It doesn't matter how right or reasonable labelling may be if people could be subconsciously inclined not to do it. Again, framing. Maybe there's a better way to frame it than "I want you to label something you're excited to share so that I won't bother to look at it".
posted by flex at 3:15 PM on June 14, 2012


How about a pony to allow any user to add the tag "videolinks" to any open thread?
posted by XMLicious at 3:26 PM on June 14, 2012


add the tag "videolinks"

One of the main gripes about videos is that they're a hassle on mobile devices. You can't see tags on the mobile site.
posted by zamboni at 3:32 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


jacalata: "iPhones don't have a back button."
Sure they do - it's that little arrowy thing down on the bottom left. There's two of them - left for back, right for forward ;-)

The labelling of .pdf files is something of an oddity brought about by anger at people having their browser and device hi-jacked because the files open in the background (or some other technical blahblahblah) without any indication of what is happening and take up all the resources while they do it. People used to get cranky about this happening without warning (because if you didn't know you had just started opening a huge .pdf, you had no idea why everything had stopped), so they started getting labelled.

If the issue is that the environment you are viewing MeFi in isn't conducive to video being displayed (such as , say, a workplace), the solution may be that you don't view MeFi in that environment or that you take extra care to ensure that any link you open is suitable for that environment.
posted by dg at 3:37 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


the tension between "If you don't like it, don't click on it", and "labels are unnecessary, just click on it"

So, smartphone users can't mouseOver to see the link's URL before clicking it??
posted by Rash at 3:44 PM on June 14, 2012


I would also appreciate having video links labeled.

The computers at my workplace are quite old and the processors are quite slow, and often I will unknowingly click on a video link and it will slow the browser to a crawl, or even crash it. I imagine that may also be the case for a lot of people using public computers.
posted by Jeanne at 3:47 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's annoying to click on unlabeled links on an iPhone or iPad and get kicked off to another app without warning,

You mention pdfs, but Youtube links also launch the youtube app, in my experience, which is what I was referring to, and doubtless what Blazecock Pileon was referring to. I wouldn't be surprised if other video links cause similar things.
posted by jacalata at 4:03 PM on June 14, 2012


I'd be happier if people labelled video links. I'll live if they don't.

Often you can tell by context, but I actually had the same reaction to the post Scientist mentioned. I didn't mouseover to check because the link text just didn't read as if it would be video. And it didn't read as mystery meat either, really it came across as if it would be text.
posted by nat at 4:10 PM on June 14, 2012


I think people are going to grar and complain no matter what b/c they feel that's okay to do and making this an Official Thing might just add more fuel to that - look at all the threads over labelling NSFW or not.

I don't think it's possible, or even desirable, to mandate clear and effective communication, but I do think it's something to encourage.

For any given post, there will be mefites who are:
  1. interested
  2. uninterested/disinterested
  3. going to complain whatever you do
Why not let the second group spend their time more profitably?

I guess I'm old-school enough that I personally don't find it a super-convincing argument that it's hard work to hover over links or look at tags & comments

It's not hard, simply unnecessary. If we all had unlimited time to play on MeFi, it wouldn't be a problem. A 'few seconds' multiplied by a day's worth of posts becomes an inconvenience. Wouldn't it be a good idea to encourage interested people to participate in your thread, and let the sensible disinterested folks go elsewhere?
posted by zamboni at 4:23 PM on June 14, 2012


So, smartphone users can't mouseOver to see the link's URL before clicking it??

Touch gestures ("click") and mouseOver ("hover") events are quite different events.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:34 PM on June 14, 2012


I really do want to know what Ardiril is talking about.
posted by cmoj at 5:32 PM on June 14, 2012


I greatly dislike any links to YouTube, including the groovy ironing one.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:04 PM on June 14, 2012


Yeah, I'd love to know what Ardiril meant, mainly so I can keep up with how badly UI teachers are training their students about the best way to serve users.
posted by mediareport at 8:31 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Two other link types I like to know about in advance when browsing on my phone are flickr and twitter, which both have TERRIBLE mobile sites with a million redirects, and then flickr takes forever to load (and has shit navigation) and half the time twitter gets lost in its own redirect and just takes you to the front page instead of the specific tweet or user you were after. The multitudinous redirects make it hard to "back button" back to metafilter unless your thumb is fast.

But people don't need a special code, I just appreciate a little link context so I can guess it's going to be twitter or flickr: "JoeSchmo has been live-tweeting the event ..." "Lots of info at #BronyParty" or "Sue has been archiving her shots on flickr, here are some of the best ones." Those are all plenty clear so I know not to click while web browsing.

Something that's like, "GREAT PICTURE!" and it's a surprise flickr link, that's annoying. Or "People are talking about the election" where two links go to NYT op-eds and the rest go to random tweets. That's aggravating on a mobile and link preview is difficult.

Anyway, those are the two sites that I, as a user who reads on a smartphone frequently, absolutely freaking hate accidentally visiting while on my phone.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:09 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I guess I'm not sure what form you want these video link warnings to take. I mean, I get that you like the "[PDF link]" or something similar for that kind of link, but do you really think that I should take the time in a post I write up such as this one to indicate what are videos and what are not?

Or are you more talking about single link posts and such?

I don't browse from a phone at all, and from my iPad only rarely, so I really am not aggravated by links that I'm not interested in, even if I link them. If I was interested enough to click through, and then not interested enough once I see what the link is to follow through with actually reading/watching whatever came up, then I just go on to the next thread. It's not really that much time out of my day to do that.

While I can appreciate on an abstract level your dissatisfaction with not having every link properly described as to what lies beyond, I think that at some point, in this multimedia world we call "the internet", you're fighting a losing battle if you expect to know what lies beyond every bit of linkable text on a page before you click on it.
posted by hippybear at 9:48 PM on June 14, 2012


Yeah, I’m not sure how to actually get people to label things like that, even if it is a good idea. I’m pretty much never going to watch a video, and am nearly always annoyed, and I’m never using a phone or ipad. I do have Flash blocker going so it’s slightly better. I agree with the Twitter thing too, because I’m never going to read that either, but that’s just my personal bias.
posted by bongo_x at 10:41 PM on June 14, 2012


Maybe this problem could be indirectly solved by always including a transcript link when its available. Its a bit of indirect solution, but if you have Link1 and Link2 [transcript], it would tend to suggest that Link1 was A/V type stuff.

Plus it would solve my pet peeve, when someone makes a post like this:
"Here's 18 hours of rambling poorly edited video to make 30 seconds worth of actual summarized point, with absolutely no transcript or even extended description"

Then there's always some shitstorm during the discussion about who did or didn't watch the fucking video. Which is amusing in that clearly no one could have possibly watched the video in less than 18 hours since the post is made.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:11 PM on June 14, 2012


Remember the moving pictures in the newspaper from the Harry Potter movies. I expect to see similar albeit smaller video thumbnails to be the norm in the near future.
posted by Ardiril at 11:12 PM on June 14, 2012


I find it hilarious that you say this on a text-based website, Ardiril.
posted by nat at 11:23 PM on June 14, 2012


I expect to see similar albeit smaller video thumbnails to be the norm in the near future

That future's already here. Its called an animated GIF. Here's a good example of their use by IO9 for looping Prometheus Alien Deepthroat.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:27 PM on June 14, 2012


The PTB here have to include code to exclude all but text, nat. Google could easily circumvent that in Chrome with a loop of the first 10-seconds of a youtube link displayed in a tiny localized window.
posted by Ardiril at 11:34 PM on June 14, 2012


Oh man, I so look forward to Chrome "circumventing" the markup of webpages I go to.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 11:41 PM on June 14, 2012


Remember the moving pictures in the newspaper from the Harry Potter movies. I expect to see similar albeit smaller video thumbnails to be the norm in the near future.

Maybe I'm old and out of touch, and I definitely have no qualifications as a futurist or a UI expert or whatever... but I share the sentiment of the OP. If I have to listen to some 25 minute video that probably has crappy music and where its not 100% clear what I'll get out of it ... I just skip it. If the post is very clear what the video is about, and its a topic that interests me, POSSIBLY I'll set aside time to absorb it but I really prefer reading.

Had I known it was a video I would never have clicked on it in the first place. Should people stop posting video links? Absolutely not. Will my life suffer greatly if they don't mark it as a video? Nope. But it'd be a nice convenience.

If the future is all sitting around watching videos of things on pieces of electo-paper instead of reading an article then the future needs to get off my lawn and explain to me what friendbook is.
posted by Admira at 11:44 PM on June 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think we're being trolled by a markov chain generator.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:03 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I agree with the poster's gentle request here. In fact, I'd like to see everyone say something along the lines of (5min vid) after the relevant link. I like to know how much timesink is involved as much as I like to know it's going to be a film.
posted by peacay at 12:34 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's annoying to click on unlabeled links on an iPhone or iPad and get kicked off to another app without warning

You can disable the "flip to YouTube app" behavior in iOS (scroll down). I'm told it causes problems with embedded videos, but you may find it worth it.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:29 AM on June 15, 2012


I posted the FPP, and I think Scientist makes a reasonable request. Maybe it would be helpful if there was a sort of drop-down list to give some standard tags for these sorts of things...
posted by jhandey at 5:25 AM on June 15, 2012


do you really think that I should take the time in a post I write up such as this one to indicate what are videos and what are not?

Interesting that you did label most of the actual videos in that post, while not labeling the ones that are using YouTube as an audio player.
posted by smackfu at 5:35 AM on June 15, 2012


Take a UI class.

Take a usability class.

I like video links but I like to watch them when it's convenient for me. I don't think labeling should be mandatory but I'm glad that this was raised so that in the future if I post, I will be more mindful of people who are like me and format my post accordingly.
posted by like_neon at 5:39 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Google could easily circumvent that in Chrome with a loop of the first 10-seconds of a youtube link displayed in a tiny localized window.

Given how much YouTube throughput completely sucks where I live, or via my ISP, or whatever... I shudder to think how any implementation of this would destroy my ability to surf the internet.

(Why oh why? I live only a couple of hundred miles from the Google serverfarms down along the Columbia next to the hydroelectric dams! Why must it so often take 10 minutes to load up a 30 second video???)
posted by hippybear at 6:16 AM on June 15, 2012


I'd like to see everyone say something along the lines of (5min vid) after the relevant link.

I've been trying to do this as a matter of course for nearly all my posts, especially if the video is longer than a minute or so. I started doing this after being surprised by links to 2 hour videos, and figured if I wanted to know ahead of time how long a video was, I should let others know when I'm in the position to write one up.
posted by hippybear at 6:18 AM on June 15, 2012


One more consideration for linking video links clearly is of course that they're ... less than useful... for those of us who might be visually impaired.
posted by MartinWisse at 7:00 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


And then an added complication there is that Youtube is the only legit way to link to songs. So in that case they are technically videos, but only the audio matters.
posted by smackfu at 8:19 AM on June 15, 2012


Just wanted to pop back in and say that for my personal purposes this thread had been quite successful, and I appreciate that we could have this discussion. I'd suspected that I might not be the only one who would appreciate a little more labeling of videos, and now I know I'm not. Also hopefully the community is now incrementally more aware of the issue, to the extent that it is an issue, and maybe we'll see a little movement toward video labeling being more commonplace, or at least maybe people will be more likely to consider whether or not it's obvious that their posts are linking to videos, which is all I wanted to get out of this thread when I started it.

As expected, not everyone is on board with the idea. I'm fine with that, I still love you all. People are gonna do whatever they think best, I just wanted to raise a little awareness that this is something that would maybe be worth thinking about when constructing posts.

So I at least am totally satisfied with the way this thread has gone, and I want to thank you all for listening to what I had to say and for talking about it so considerately and thoughtfully. Hugs and beer for everyone.
posted by Scientist at 9:19 AM on June 15, 2012


One more vote for marking video content. I don't see how it would be onerous to mark a link as [v] or [vid] along the lines of [slyt] or [pdf]. The distinction for me is the ability to skim - I can quickly skim a webpage and get a sense of if I'm interested or not. It's much harder to skim video content.

Also video-displaying websites tend to be crufty ad-serving and resource-hogging nightmares. If you're running a script blocker it can take a while to figure out which cryptically named 3rd party site serves the actual video you want to see.
posted by werkzeuger at 11:13 AM on June 15, 2012


OK, Scientist et alia, I tried. Hope it is more clear!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:10 PM on June 15, 2012


Metafilter: "Could we maybe try to be a little better . . . "
posted by Anitanola at 10:15 PM on June 15, 2012


Why change how a site operates for a user's inability to use available technologies? Welcome to the future, OP.
posted by sjvilla79 at 8:27 PM on June 18, 2012


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