Self links are like wire hangers: None. Ever. June 17, 2012 2:26 PM   Subscribe

Self-links are always forbidden. Always. Without exception. My question is: why?

One of the fundamental, basically unquestioned rules of Metafilter is "no self-links." jessamyn has a nice summary of what is/isn't acceptable here. On some level, I can understand this - we don't want the site turning into a mess of advertisements for everyone's Kickstarter projects.

On the other hand, there are cases where self-links add interesting things to interesting posts. This post was deleted a while back, which led to this Metatalk discussion about why the post was merely deleted rather than the post being deleted and the poster being banned. It was actually jessamyn's comment on the deletion reason ("Super duper not OK"), her subsequent comment in the MeTa thread ("we're still sort of shaking our heads"), and cortex's comment in that same thread ("super weird") that got me thinking to ask this question.

As a relatively new contributor to this site (but a lurker for a while), I don't understand why all selflinks are always such an unquestioned "bad thing" all the time. I'm clearly not alone in this lack of understanding, since someone with a lot more time on the site got a (otherwise great) post deleted for self-linking. Why aren't fully labeled, fully disclosed self-links allowed in the context of a larger, interesting post? Is it a "slippery slope" argument? If so, why don't we just trust the moderators to make the call about where the line is? They already do a damn good job making these nuanced calls in other areas; why can't we let them make the call here?
posted by Betelgeuse to Etiquette/Policy at 2:26 PM (48 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

As a relatively new contributor to this site (but a lurker for a while), I don't understand why all selflinks are always such an unquestioned "bad thing" all the time.

We have the bright-line rule about self-links and friend-/company-/client-links because they are frequently seriously problematic (because it's marketing or self-promotional, or because the poster has an inappropriate degree of investment in it, or because they don't have sufficient distance to judge the material objectively); because self-links are the form that essentially all spam on the site takes; and because communicating and enforcing a more grey-area approach to the subject would be a nightmare both at a spammer and a good faith user level.

Basically, this is one of the rare situations where the problems associated with a specific kind of behavior are significant enough that the normal "we trust you" approach of assuming everything's fine unless it's established to be otherwise doesn't really strike the optimal balance for managing the site. Spam on the one hand and lack of objectivity and an invitation to rules lawyering and special pleading on the other make it pretty much not doable to take a case-by-case approach.

The only downside of the bright-line rule is that, as you say, sometimes someone has auctorial responsibility for or a direct social or economic connection to something really neat that would otherwise make a totally solid Metafilter post. And if the rule meant there was no way for them to share that with the mefi community, I think that'd be more of a problem, but that's not where we are; we have a whole subsite, Projects, for folks to share their personal web-based work on, and we've always been okay with users making occasional fully-disclosed self-links in comments when they happened to have something relevant to share in a thread (so long as they didn't essentially start the thread to use as a proxy for that self-link, something that we have seen little of but has happened). And mefites as a group are pretty active with the whole social networking thing, so even talking to each other that way can get folks' eyes on something.

Is it a "slippery slope" argument? If so, why don't we just trust the moderators to make the call about where the line is? They already do a damn good job making these nuanced calls in other areas; why can't we let them make the call here?

The problem with slippery slope arguments is that they can be used to create an unreasonable extrapolation from e.g. a small problem to a projected larger one. In this case, it's more the case where Matt figured out early on, and our collective experiences over the years have time and time again confirmed, that this particular slope is in fact slippery as all get-out and just a terribly frustrating and unfun one to keep one's feet on. The rule is there as a moderator-installed guide-rail with a sign that says "STAY OFF THE DAMN SLOPE". It's not user-enforced so much as mod-enforced: we all feel strongly that it is on the balance important and very useful to have this be a non-negotiable sort of thing, because making the call every time on this particular front is a terrible mess.

So we really do appreciate the trust side of this and I think the large majority of mefites would be non-pains about the case-by-case stuff if that's the direction we wanted to go with it, but it just isn't; we'd rather save our energy for the stuff that's worth the nuance and attention.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:27 PM on June 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


One of the benefits of bright-line rules is that you don't have to agonize over close cases, and it makes expectations clear. Grey can be tricky and time-consuming. This is pretty much the case in all areas. So it's a determination by the site that the loss of posts like k8t's is outweighed by the benefits of avoiding all these other hassles.
posted by J. Wilson at 2:34 PM on June 17, 2012


why don't we just trust the moderators to make the call about where the line is? They already do a damn good job making these nuanced calls in other areas; why can't we let them make the call here?

First of all, you're making it sound like those nuanced calls in other areas are uncontroversial, but actually they're often very controversial. Second of all, self-links are special because the self-linker will often try to conceal the conflict of interest, so trying to moderate with a fuzzy rule would be very difficult. That would take lots more time; new employees would need to be hired. That would be a big deal — I believe they get salaries, 401(k)s, health insurance, etc. Hiring new people would cost more money, possibly leading to more ads on the site. Also, the site has a clear way around the problems you've mentioned: you can post your link to Projects, and if it's good enough, it will probably get posted as an FPP by someone else.
posted by John Cohen at 2:41 PM on June 17, 2012


We are poor judges of quality when it comes to things we are invested in. I've had lots of projects zip past me, though my own activities or through friends and family, that I would have loved to post about. Inevitably I would overestimate the appeal of these things, and a lot of these posts would probably be marginal and might get deleted. The bright-line rule has ensured that my (rare) FPP's have been of relatively high quality. Without it we would get endless posts about people's friends' bands/shows/films/articles/projects etc.
posted by PercussivePaul at 3:02 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


A link to Metafilter will see a huge spike in traffic for the website - I've seen it when I've linked to YouTube videos. So even if your blog or your mate's blog is brilliant, you're still taking advantage of a route to many hits and a bit of exposure. I always thought that was behind it, because it would be unfair if you used your FPP to benefit you or those you know in that way.
posted by mippy at 3:05 PM on June 17, 2012


There are sometimes FPP's that stay where it is arguable that/if the OP wanted to showcase their own work. Came up today here in Meta actually, something like the Weavrs FPP for example - the selflink is in the first comment, the post has many other links though.
posted by travelwithcats at 3:33 PM on June 17, 2012


They already do a damn good job making these nuanced calls in other areas; why can't we let them make the call here?

Because you would need an army of mods to investigate each and every link that comes through.
posted by bleep at 3:33 PM on June 17, 2012


The hard ban on self-links is a distinguishing characteristic of this community.
posted by Ardiril at 3:47 PM on June 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


If so, why don't we just trust the moderators to make the call about where the line is?

The moderators did make the call about where the line is. They are the origin of the rule. There appears to be from all past experience 100% moderator agreement on the rule.

It's a line I strongly agree with and it seems like wherever it's been discussed the majority of the site agrees with it. There is too much inherently mercenary potential in self-linking. People would take every "too self-promotional" deletion to MetaTalk and argue that they totally weren't selling anything, it's coincidental that the Kickstarter they launched the day before is linked on the same page, they didn't even mention it!

We already have Projects, Music and Metafilter Curated Projects page at Kickstarter. As far as I can tell pretty much nobody wants to open this can of worms.
posted by nanojath at 3:51 PM on June 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Hey hey hey.
Don't be so cray cray.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:57 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why all selflinks are always such an unquestioned "bad thing" all the time.

Technically mathowie could make a call along the lines of "this self-link is so great I'll let it stand" which maybe has happened in the past when the site was smaller but couldn't really happen now. We've explained it before a little but the point I want to make super clear is that we like having a hard and fast rule specifically so we don't have to make judgment calls about how fishy a link seems versus how cool it might be. The rule is "don't do it, and if we catch you we may ban you" and this is usually a good enough disincentive for most long-time members that they don't do it.

In short: we don't want to be the arbiter about whether a self-or friendslink is cool enough to stay. We have enough to do. We've set up other places for appropriate self-promotion and we just want people to not do it on MeFi [or AskMe] proper.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:59 PM on June 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


something like the Weavrs FPP for example

Honestly, had I seen that at the time I'd have deleted the comment immediately. It's far enough into sort of hairy "oh and while I'm at it HERE IS MY STUFF" territory that we actively discourage folks from doing that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:10 PM on June 17, 2012


We keep the moderati busy enough.
posted by holgate at 5:08 PM on June 17, 2012


Self-links are always forbidden. Always. Without exception. My question is: why?

Because people would completely lose their shit when the post with their subpar vacation photos was mocked by users, flagged to hell and then deleted by the mods.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:29 PM on June 17, 2012


What's a "grab ass party", and why does Jessamyn fear such a thing? It sounds like it could be quite fun!
posted by Meatbomb at 5:42 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


What's a "grab ass party"...

Remember Friday night? Same thing, but without cocaine or donkeys.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:47 PM on June 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


army of mods

I'm gonna post it up
A moderation army couldn't hold me back
I'm gonna link it up
Getting those hits right behind their back

And if I make a tiny bit of cash with that, what's it to you?
You're gonna really like these links, and that's what I'll do.

And the traffic spike on my graph says do it again!

(cue iconic guitar solo)
posted by Meatbomb at 5:51 PM on June 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


grab-ass party = fun
grab-ass party at work = less fun
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:57 PM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Depends where you work, I suppose.
posted by dg at 6:30 PM on June 17, 2012


As a relatively new contributor to this site (but a lurker for a while), I don't understand why all selflinks are always such an unquestioned "bad thing" all the time.

Because Matt said so.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:34 PM on June 17, 2012


Self-links are always forbidden. Always. Without exception.

NOT!
posted by - at 6:45 PM on June 17, 2012


Self-links are always forbidden. Always. Without exception.

There are gradients. Like I said, Matt is basically the only person who can say "I'll allow it" on a pretty clear self- or friendslink. I don't think he ever does that anymore, but it's his site and he could.

The post being discussed in that MeTa thread was, in fact, axed. We didn't ban the poster for reasons we explained. 95%-ish of self- or obvious friendslinks result in immediate banning for the person who posted them. We rather start from the "We can totally ban you for this" position and occasionally be benevolent than start from the "We'll decide what to do individually each time" position which involves a lot more arbitrariness than we're comfortable with.

Because Matt said so.

We do very little of that "because I'm the mod, that's why" shit here and we'd appreciate if people didn't oversimplify it as if we did that. Matt said so because people are often terrible judges of their own and their friends' projects and because we don't want to have to do the legwork to determine if people are trying to game the site in some way. Self- and friendslinks used to be allowed. Then the site grew. Now they are no longer allowed because having them isn't conducive to this community running the way people have said they'd like it to run.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:55 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Because Matt said so.

Yeah. What inspired me to ask this question was precisely that the site doesn't work like this. The moderators take time to think about why they are doing what they're doing and then take the time to explain it to all of us. One of the things that I think is truly remarkable about the Metafilter Empire is that Metatalk exists. It's a place where everyone can talk about decisions that, basically everywhere else on the internet, are made behind a curtain of secrecy.

That said, what cortex and jessamyn said makes perfect sense . . .

. . .That is, until I saw travelwithcats's link to this post. How is a post followed by a self-link as the very first comment really that different from a self-link in the post? I can understand if it was a front-page/not-front-page issue, but k8t's self-link in the referenced post was within the "more inside." Is this just one of these cases where, since the poster is not officially breaking the "bright line" rule, it's let to stand even though it's effectively the exact same thing as a self-link in a post?
posted by Betelgeuse at 7:26 PM on June 17, 2012


Self-links are always forbidden. Always. Without exception.

NOT!


In fact, the post containing that self-link was deleted. One can say that self-links don't quitealways mean banhammer, but the link itself got its ass forbidden off.
posted by Etrigan at 7:28 PM on June 17, 2012


We do very little of that "because I'm the mod, that's why"

That's one thing I like about this site. Compare this place with other sites where they leave a big flag, with a note saying 'This user was banned for X.' Here, if something is deleted, it's not pointed out, there's no shit being flung. The only people aware of the deleted thing are the people that either wrote, commented, or moderated it. The only publicity on deleted things is when someone posts a MeTa about it.

I'd much rather have the higher bar and the lower signal/noise ratio than it brings rather than wading through crap that got through. Also, I'd like the mods to not go insane because we demanded the bar be lowered, which would lead to an increased GRAR level.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:28 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Doh! I didn't see cortex's comment pointing out that the linked post is actually not OK.
posted by Betelgeuse at 7:33 PM on June 17, 2012


until I saw travelwithcats's link to this post. How is a post followed by a self-link as the very first comment really that different from a self-link in the post?

cortex mentioned this above. While it's technically letter-of-the-law okay, it's generally speaking not at all okay. We didn't see it when it went up. We would have deleted that comment if we'd seen it. In fact we'd probably delete it now except that people are talking about it and people had mentioned it in the thread at the time.

even though it's effectively the exact same thing as a self-link in a post?

There is a difference between what's in the more inside and what's in the first comment. The "more inside" is considered part of the post. The first comment isn't. I know it's a stupid rules lawyering position to take, but we have to draw these lines because people demand we draw them and because, as we've said several times above, the less we have to make judgment calls on this sort of thing, the more we can use our mod brains for other stuff.

Self-linking, defined, is linking to something of yours in the body of your post. Following up later with something you wrote in a comment is sometimes okay on a sliding scale from "pretty sketchy" [i.e. this example] to "totally 100% okay" [later on in a thread, referencing some past thing you'd written, when you were not the OP of the FPP, etc]

So the OP of that post with his sketchy first comment is now watchlisted which means if he tries something like this ever again it's basically a one way ticket to bantown without plausible deniability.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:33 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


There has also been a rare occasion when a (relevant, fleshing-out, but innocuous) self link from the OP was allowed in a comment by the OP. With prior mod approval, though.

Point being, if there's any doubt that something might be in a grey area, an email to the mods is the best way to ensure you are not wasting your time with something that might end up deleted.
posted by The Deej at 7:42 PM on June 17, 2012


Once upon a dialupdays time, when the place was still in training pants, if not diapers, a person, say, *coughSDBcough* could post one, two, three times a day and selflinkyness seemd as common as dandelions in an unmown lawn. But that was at least seventy dog years ago.
posted by y2karl at 7:43 PM on June 17, 2012


So the OP of that post with his sketchy first comment is now watchlisted which means if he tries something like this ever again it's basically a one way ticket to bantown without plausible deniability.

I find a usually steer to the forgiving side when it comes to talk of bans etc, but this is one situation where I feel somebody's getting off pretty easy. That is, it feels like jeffkramer's gamed things in a nakedly obvious manner, to his own benefit (certainly that of his blog) with that Weavrs FPP. But rules-is-rules, I guess.
posted by philip-random at 8:44 PM on June 17, 2012


army of mods

And if you complain once moooooore
You'll meet an
Army of mods
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:56 PM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


But rules-is-rules, I guess.

And this is part of the reason we're mostly not so hot on rules when we can go with guidelines instead. Because as soon as it's a stark line in the sand, people start worrying out the details of when maybe a toe is on one or the other side of that line and what needs doing. Which is understandable, we're pattern recognition machines, but it isn't always fruitful or much fun to deal with when it gets out of hand.

Part of how we look at this stuff is in terms of the actual net benefit of taking action at a given time. So on the one hand, not banning someone for something that seems like it's really pushing the limits of a generous interpretation of the self-linking proscription may reasonably seem like it's letting them off light (because that's the rule, right?); on the other hand, we're asking ourselves as mods what the utility of banning someone a month and a half later for a grey area transgression with uncertain intent is (because we're primarily concerned with the intent of the rule, not the rule for it's own sake).

So it's complicated. Watchlisting someone after the fact if we're pointed to something sketchy but not cut-and-dried drive-by spam is pretty consistent with how we approach this stuff: the most important thing to us is to make sure that the problem is contained and won't recur again. That's the same reason we generally watchlist likely spammers and wait for them to spam to actually ban; we may be pretty sure, but we're going to wait for the thing we're worried about to actually happen before we punish someone for it.

That ends up putting us in a weird position of being cynical softies sometimes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:59 PM on June 17, 2012


The "show it to someone else and see if they think it's worth posting it" has always seemed a good idea to me. Sometimes I think we should do it for all posts, not just self-links.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:32 PM on June 17, 2012


on the other hand, we're asking ourselves as mods what the utility of banning someone a month and a half later for a grey area transgression with uncertain intent

I didn't catch that the post was that old, which yeah, makes the grey area even greyer.
posted by philip-random at 10:55 PM on June 17, 2012


What about self links in comments, done by others than the original poster?

My impression was that selflinks in posts are verboten, for obvious reasons, unless explicitely allowed, selflinks in comments by the original poster a bit iffy and selflinks in comments by others reasonably okay, as long as done in moderation.

Am I right or wrong in this?
posted by MartinWisse at 2:38 AM on June 18, 2012


Honestly, had I seen that at the time I'd have deleted the comment immediately

That's interesting - I'm reasonably sure that I flagged that comment as something I wasn't sure was guideline-breaking, but possibly didn't get around to following up using the comment form, as I'd planned (because I wasn't sure if the prohibition on self-linking in the post extended to a comment posted directly after the post itself... but it didn't seem like the OP was actually a part of the project, just enthusiastic about it). It's useful to be able to recalibrate based on the responses from the mods here.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:09 AM on June 18, 2012


elflinks in comments by others reasonably okay, as long as done in moderation.

And you're fairly transparent about the fact that they are self-links.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:47 AM on June 18, 2012


um...hm. Elflinks. The possibilities are almost limitless.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:51 AM on June 18, 2012


Self-links in the comments are fine if you're not the OP and the link is relevant (e.g. pix of your cat in a thread about cats) and you disclose that it's a self-link. That's what I've understood the guideline to be.
posted by rtha at 5:48 AM on June 18, 2012


I'm curious about how this guideline/rule is enforced. I haven't been here long enough (or paid sufficient attention, maybe) to have seen it in action, but it seems like, were I to post a self-link, it would have to be the case that the linked site contained enough information to match the fairly meagre PII in my profile, and, moreover, someone would have to notice, and report it to a mod. The mod would have to verify; presumably, they know my real name because of how I paid my $5, but it's completely possible that the site to which I self-linked contains no PII (maybe I linked my counterfactual chiptune album uploaded to 8bitpeople's collective under some nom de bloop, never having mentioned my fondness for chiptunes on MeFi).

Now, I'm sure that in most cases, the mods can work it out, but it sounds like a potentially energy- and time-consuming business, and I'd also be surprised if random MeFites actually routinely suspect random FPPs of selflinkery and investigate. So, is it possible that self-links are flying under the radar all the time, but they're not, with respect to the spirit of the rule, problematic? I suspect, and hope, that instead it's just that, by and large, everyone is on the same page re: the sensibleness of the rule, and so just doesn't self-link.

But, how and how frequently is self-linkage unmasked?
posted by kengraham at 6:17 AM on June 18, 2012


The aggressive blowback from the moderators in that thread was really odd. Sure, delete the post and send an explanatory email. But it was a "full disclosure" self-link and nobody was trying to pull a fast one on the readership.
posted by moammargaret at 6:39 AM on June 18, 2012


So, is it possible that self-links are flying under the radar all the time, but they're not, with respect to the spirit of the rule, problematic? I suspect, and hope, that instead it's just that, by and large, everyone is on the same page re: the sensibleness of the rule, and so just doesn't self-link.

But, how and how frequently is self-linkage unmasked?


It's possible, sure. In fact there are frequent accusations (often by self-linkers) that this sort of thing does, in fact, happen all the time. It would be a fairly shitty thing to do for very little actual long-term gain because as soon as you were caught you'd be banned. We've talked in the past about how we do this sort of thing which includes comparing things like your IP address, your PayPal details, your social profile (if any) and your past contributions with any and all information about the site that you linked to. It is, in fact, fairly time-consuming. For people who we can't neccessarily find a link but something smells fishy--like they have no other contributions to the site or they seem to have a close link to someone involved in the link but we can't prove it--we put them on the watchlist and see if they try it again.

What about self links in comments, done by others than the original poster?

These are fine assuming they are 1) very on-topic 2) specifically disclosed as "here is something that I wrote" and 3) rare. That is, we look sideways at people who show up in AskMe only to add a link to a blog post they wrote about the topic as their main contribution here.

The aggressive blowback from the moderators in that thread was really odd.

Having a long term member somehow not understanding that what they did on the site was not just not cool but an actual bannable offense was really problematic from our standpoint. The site operates very much on a "we trust you" good faith basis most of the time and having someone simultaneously tell us that this place is like her home and having her break one of the cardinal rules here was troubling, to say nothing of the MeTa thread it generated with a bunch of people being like "Hey!" and requiring a response from us. The "aggressive blowback" was specifically so that other people would know that it was super not okay but that we were making an exception in not banning her so if people tried that sort of thing again saying "Hey it was okay this one time" they wouldn't expect us to just look the other way.

Part of the downside to community policing is that everyone has a bit of a say in our moderating decisions so it's important that we be fairly consistent and that most of the guidelines are understandable especially if the penalties are severe [getting a double post removed, not so bad; getting your account permabanned, sort of a big deal]. We do occasionally operate on a "If we see this one more time we'll ban you" basis once in a while and in cases where there's been a big-deal rule breach it's important to let people know that this is what's going on.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:50 AM on June 18, 2012


Now, I'm sure that in most cases, the mods can work it out, but it sounds like a potentially energy- and time-consuming business, and I'd also be surprised if random MeFites actually routinely suspect random FPPs of selflinkery and investigate.

What you forget here is that SEO spammers are really, really thick and it's quickly obvious that they're spamlinking.

There may occasionally be others who selflink, but the investment to be subtle enough about it to not be noticed and yet gain something from it is probably too large for it to happen often.

Also, if a tree selflinks in the forest and nobody hears it, is there a problem?
posted by MartinWisse at 6:52 AM on June 18, 2012


You could always ask for pre-approval on any post that's iffy. I checked with taz before writing my one post on someone I'd met in real life, although I'd never actually held a conversation with him.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:53 AM on June 18, 2012


So, is it possible that self-links are flying under the radar all the time, but they're not, with respect to the spirit of the rule, problematic?

It's possible that they're flying under the radar regularly, but I don't think it's actually that common. With respect to the spirit of the rule, they're always problematic; that is the spirit of the rule, the whole point is that we're expecting folks to recognize and abide by this big bright-line proscription because they understand that it's not how the site is intended to work.

We have pretty good tools and pretty good eyes. Actual spammer types are responsible for the vast majority of self-link stuff we see come through and most of them are pretty deeply unsubtle so there's not a ton of work involved there (linked site matches "website" field matches username, or paypal matches whois, gimme stuff like that); more effort goes into the stuff where we're staring more from a point of something smelling than someone actually plopping a smoking gun on the desk, but it's an effort I don't mind putting in because I feel pretty strongly about this issue.

If someone makes a lousy post that we think might be sketchy but can't really make a firm connection, we'll delete it as a lousy post anyway and watchlist 'em for future sketchy activity; we don't want to ban folks just for looking a little shifty, but we will watch the shit out of them until such time as they either goof up more damningly or prove through long good-faith behavior to actually be here because they want to be a mefite.

So mostly the "what self-links are we missing?" question comes down to people who know the site well enough to make posts that don't feel weird in terms of basic tone and presentation and either intentionally or cluelessly frame a post about something they have a stake in as if it is something they are a disinterested third party about.

The people intentionally sliding under radar we can't do a whole lot about because someone has to notice something. They're meticulously and with care violating the guidelines of the site, which is basically a huge fuck you to us and the userbase, but if that's who they are and what they're doing I guess that's that. It's something we've tripped across once or twice in the past; I don't think there's a lot of them here.

The people who are good-faith members who end up violating the self-link rule cluelessly are, I am hopeful, the folks we're reaching with discussions about this stuff when it comes up, and whether once they have their moment of realization that "oh shit, that's totally not a thing I should have done" they let us know about it or not is mostly secondary to the notion that they will indeed cut it the fuck out going forward because they care about this place.

If I had a magic wand that detected all self-links, I would use it. I don't think it would turn up much that we had missed, but I'm sure it would turn up a few things. That'd probably make for a few bannings of one-off linkfarming or whatever that we missed and a few members in otherwise good standing who'd need a really serious headcheck if they wanted to continue being members of this community. In the absence of that shortcut, we're just attentive and pretty dedicated to following up on stuff that doesn't seem quite right.

Having ten thousand spare pairs of eyes to help point out the stuff that seems maybe troublesome doesn't hurt, either. Flags and the contact form help.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:58 AM on June 18, 2012


Self-links are always forbidden. Always. Without exception. My question is: why?

Because there is no shortage of FPPs now, and the important part of Metafilter is the filter. The whole internet is composed of links and comments; it's the links and comments that aren't here that make it useful.
posted by msalt at 10:14 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


kengraham: "I'd also be surprised if random MeFites actually routinely suspect random FPPs of selflinkery and investigate."

MeFites are (as a group) a highly suspicious of possible self-linkage.
posted by Lexica at 10:18 AM on June 18, 2012


(One of the first search results on that "Pepsi Blue" search was asking whether anyone would make an FPP about a new phone for any purpose other than marketing. Misty pre-smartphone wars watercolored mem'ries...)
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:25 PM on June 18, 2012


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