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July 15, 2012 3:49 PM   Subscribe

At what point does frequent posting devolve into spamming a thread?

I asked another poster to consider dialing back the posting frequency a little (with an example of 9 posts in 18 minutes), and got a rather annoyed reply. We all go through occasional posting binges in busy threads, but how much is too much?

One could just flag it and move on, but the thing is I don't object to the content of the posts in any way, and flagging multiple posts in a row seems vindictive (since there are only a limited number of flaggable reasons) and tedious (multiple mouse-clicks, and very fiddly on a tablet).
posted by anigbrowl to Etiquette/Policy at 3:49 PM (213 comments total)

Those links aren't going to work because I'd already deleted the entire exchange. Substance of your question aside, that sort of commentary belongs here or in memail, not in the thread.

From this mod's perspective, I'd say I don't prefer that posting style, but it's not a crisis. It can get a little choppy in a busy thread because people are likely to comment in between, and it reads a little weird just because it's not really Metafilter standard style, but as long as the comments/links are substantive and it doesn't look like some weird stunt, I don't see it getting deleted. Again, that's my individual perspective, and my colleagues may disagree.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:55 PM on July 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well both request and reply have been deleted now, but I can probably guess who you're talking about.

For mine, I don't really care how much someone is posting so long as:

1) What they're saying is on topic
2) Substantive, and adding new information
3) Doesn't repeat itself

I think 3) in particular can be a sticking point with some people, and I've had my own challenges with some people in threads. This is said, it's a busy thread, with lots of comments by all different mefites, if some people care perhaps a little too much, I struggle to get het up about it. It's not like they were killing discussion.
posted by smoke at 3:57 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think that posts that add to the substance of the thread, say links to other sources that are discussing the same topic, are usually pretty ok. We have a couple of posters, ericb and homonuculus, whose posts I always appreciate because they aggregate information related to the thread. Sometimes a poster is arguing with all comers, and that is substantially less good, but that is a very different thing.
posted by OmieWise at 4:01 PM on July 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I appreciate those sorts of updates (we have a few posters who do that fairly regularly) especially when they come nearer the end of a long thread with a lot of stuff going on. Coming earlier in a thread they do have an odd effect on evolving conversation. I see this thread as more of the former type than the latter, but I avoid most political threads pretty much entirely, so I'm not the best judge of this sort of thing. If you're trying to have a conversation and you feel someone is basically linkspamming the thread and interfering with conversation, it's fine to politely mention that. However, calling them out and telling them to behave differently is unlikely to have a salutary effect.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:01 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure if you're proposing fewer links being posted, or combining links into a single comment rather than link-per-comment. I think that all these links belong in the thread; there's enough description, and where appropriate, teaser text. In a very busy thread with lots of comments, combining into a single post would be good, but when the posting rate is fairly slow like it is now, the advantage of separate comments per link is that they can be favorites independently, and one can use that as a filter on which are most interesting, if desired.

IMHO, I think the comments are perfectly appropriate for a thread that has a lot of news going on, but a slow comment rate.
posted by Llama-Lime at 4:02 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


But, I also don't think that it's a fair characterization to refer to multiple links too other sources as "spamming a thread," but I'd be interested to know why you think that's a fair characterization.
posted by OmieWise at 4:02 PM on July 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I find they add great value to the thread as it has slowed down. If it had been earlier when there was much back and forth, I could see your point.
posted by Mick at 4:03 PM on July 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


At what point does frequent posting devolve into spamming a thread?

At the point it starts to annoy me.
posted by Decani at 4:04 PM on July 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


Frequent postings within a short timeframe in a thread is a little weird and overbearing. I've noticed that I sometimes have the tendency to do this, and the only thing to do is to back away from the computer.

So I think this is something every member ought to know, and a Meta callout is warranted.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:06 PM on July 15, 2012


Complete non-problem.
posted by Anything at 4:06 PM on July 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was flabbergasted when I read anigbrow's comment and I flagged it as noise. EricB has always been a valuable commenter who links to outside sources more than he personally opines. How can more information be bad?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:09 PM on July 15, 2012 [32 favorites]


This seems rather a personal beef and better addressed in memail. I don't see this as being a particularly productive MetaTalk thread.
posted by Specklet at 4:13 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


But, I also don't think that it's a fair characterization to refer to multiple links too other sources as "spamming a thread," but I'd be interested to know why you think that's a fair characterization.

Purely in terms of frequency. In the original comment I suggested consolidating several links into a single comment or paraphrasing instead of quoting at length. The links and content are interesting and relevant and I wouldn't want anyone to stop posting that, but strings of 5 or 10 comments in a row change the flow is discussion. It kind of feels like interrupting the program for a commercial break.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:14 PM on July 15, 2012


In the Pit of Despair where shitty call-outs reside, this one is king.
posted by elizardbits at 4:17 PM on July 15, 2012 [24 favorites]


The links ARE the program.

I'm having trouble seeing how outside information is interrupting the "discussion." It is easy enough to skip over the highlighted links or the block quotes-- EricB always does a good job of making it clear where this is coming from.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:20 PM on July 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


I always appreciate ericb's curated links. Unwarranted fallout. No one was being silenced.
posted by spitbull at 4:26 PM on July 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


I've never understood this concept of "spamming" a thread. Surely it's better to comment four times in one thread than once in four threads, if each of your comments is substantive.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:26 PM on July 15, 2012


I MEAN... unwarranted CALLOUT...
posted by spitbull at 4:27 PM on July 15, 2012


Purely in terms of frequency.

I don't have a problem with the frequency, especially toward the end of a long thread.
posted by OmieWise at 4:33 PM on July 15, 2012


MeTa.
posted by homunculus at 4:34 PM on July 15, 2012 [15 favorites]


This is a weird callout. "Someone is introducing new information into the thread more often than I'd like! Oh noes!"
posted by desjardins at 4:37 PM on July 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


In the Pit of Despair where shitty call-outs reside, this one is king.

'I really value your comments, but could you please dial it back a bit' (or words to that effect) doesn't strike me as a shitty callout.

I'm having trouble seeing how outside information is interrupting the "discussion."

Not the issue. I've repeatedly stated the content itself is great. The 'discussion' is the conversation that takes place in a MeFi thread.

I've never understood this concept of "spamming" a thread.

I guess I don't think it's that substantive to put a link in one comment, followed by a 200 word quote from that link in the next, and a one-line zinger of one's own in a third, and to do this repeatedly. That just seems like the exact same content could be condensed into a single comment instead of 5 or 10 comments in as many minutes.

This is a weird callout. "Someone is introducing new information into the thread more often than I'd like! Oh noes!"

How many times do I have to repeat that it is not about the content? 'I don't object to the content of the posts in any way.' 'The links and content are interesting and relevant and I wouldn't want anyone to stop posting that.'
posted by anigbrowl at 4:41 PM on July 15, 2012


Then I think you really don't have a case here. If your beef is that you keep having to see a poster's name and a timestamp a few times instead of just once, yes, it's a pointless callout.
posted by cashman at 4:45 PM on July 15, 2012 [13 favorites]


How many times do I have to repeat that it is not about the content?

Well, to be frank, I think you've called out a well-loved member of the community who is loved for the thing you're calling out. See homunculus's link above for a pro-ericb callout. I think you've got a tough row to hoe here, and people are probably reacting emotionally to your position because they feel deeply the opposite. I know I do.
posted by OmieWise at 4:48 PM on July 15, 2012 [15 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out your point of view, anigbowl. The content is fine, you just object to how the content is conveyed? So if EricB posted several links together in one comment that would be better for you? Because I'm not seeing how multiple links in one comment is superior to one link per comment. Maybe it is just how I read a thread, but one link to one comment is no problem at all for me. Do the name and timestamp interrupt your reading?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:55 PM on July 15, 2012


ericb and homunculus - all light, no heat. High signal, low noise. Two of my favorite members. Keep on truckin, gents.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:00 PM on July 15, 2012 [15 favorites]


I know it's not about the content, it's about how often you see the ... exact same content. So this:

Some link
posted by desjardins at 6:48 PM on July 15

Some other link
posted by desjardins at 6:49 PM on July 15

Some other other link
posted by desjardins at 6:50 PM on July 15

is what's bugging you? And you'd rather see this:

Some link
Some other link
Some other other link
posted by desjardins at 6:48 PM on July 15

??

And that doesn't seem a little... weird and nitpicky to you?
posted by desjardins at 5:01 PM on July 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


You're not a moderator.
posted by inigo2 at 5:04 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


What if you're typing something and after you hit post you remember something else you wanted to say?
posted by schroedinger at 5:04 PM on July 15, 2012


Wow, this is about ericb? That guy rules. Totally different than must-have-last-word frequent posters who dominate the tail-end of a lot of threads.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:05 PM on July 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oddly enough, quite a few of you have taken the exact opposite position in the past, from which I had got the impression that machine-gun posting was a bad thing.

several links together in one comment that would be better for you? Because I'm not seeing how multiple links in one comment is superior to one link per comment.

Yes, that's my point. As I said at the beginning, we all binge post from time to time, so usually I do ignore it. But the example I linked to (now deleted) was of 9 posts in 18 minutes, which does seem a little excessive. For some of us, it makes the thread rather difficult to read, and seems more appropriate to a medium like Twitter. It's not meant a criticism of any particular user or the abundance of links to outside content, as I keep saying.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:06 PM on July 15, 2012


Oddly enough, quite a few of you have taken the exact opposite position in the past, from which I had got the impression that machine-gun posting was a bad thing.

The thread you linked was an issue with a taking-on-all-comers, repeated back-and-forth type of posting.

You called out ericb for posting information and links. That is not at all the same thing. Metafilter is all about the links.
posted by cashman at 5:10 PM on July 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oddly enough, quite a few of you have taken the exact opposite position in the past, from which I had got the impression that machine-gun posting was a bad thing.

There is a major substantive difference between repeating your argument or opinion many times in a thread, and posting a variety of links and quotes in a thread. From a moderation perspective, content is much more important than format.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 5:11 PM on July 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oddly enough, quite a few of you have taken the exact opposite position in the past, from which I had got the impression that machine-gun posting was a bad thing.

But that is totally different. That was one poster's opinions. If EricB was dominating the conversation by putting his two cents in every other comment, then yes-- that would be overkill. But he is posting outside links. Do you really not see a difference?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:11 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a pretty big difference between "Here is some relevant information" and "no, fuck you."
posted by griphus at 5:12 PM on July 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


Thank you EricB for enhancing the conversation with outside links.
posted by Artw at 5:14 PM on July 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


For some of us, it makes the thread rather difficult to read,

My browser has a little bar on the right hand side, if I slide it the window scrolls down past the bothersome bits. Maybe you should get something like that.
posted by Floydd at 5:14 PM on July 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's a pretty big difference between "Here is some relevant information" and "no, fuck you."

Let's not forget the third variation which is "snarky self-important observation ever other comment," not necessarily engaging anyone in particular. I could do with less of that. But relevant information should always be a good thing, if it's in one comment or nine.
posted by cabingirl at 5:15 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


You called out ericb for posting information and links.

I did not, and I have explained that repeatedly. How many more times are you set up this straw man?
posted by anigbrowl at 5:20 PM on July 15, 2012


Dig up.
posted by griphus at 5:22 PM on July 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


You can't really blame ericb for his rapid-fire style, given that he's always timing it perfectly to sync with rakim's smooth flow.
posted by koeselitz at 5:23 PM on July 15, 2012 [41 favorites]


Wait, I know what happened. It's Sunday morning. There was a big political story (Bain & Romney) on Friday, and it was clear that this Sunday morning was going to be full of commentary on the issue, on multiple shows on the main networks (abc/nbc/cbs). Something noted in the thread, a couple times. I taped Face the Nation and Meet the Press, and still wound up missing the important commentary that happened on the third.

And then there was even more pertinent commentary from prominent people in politics and government on Fox News and CNN. Hence there were a bunch of links to be posted. I am glad ericb posted the links he did, because I saw that a prominent republican had appeared on Fox, calling for Romney to release his tax returns "tomorrow".

There were a lot of posts to be made because there was a lot of news and commentary on the Sunday news shows. And I like having it in separate posts, for bookmarking purposes.
posted by cashman at 5:24 PM on July 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


It was early Sunday afternoon on a day when every Sunday morning news or politics show covered this issue. Or, on preview, what cashman said.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:26 PM on July 15, 2012


Eric B is President
posted by OmieWise at 5:33 PM on July 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yes, that's my point. As I said at the beginning, we all binge post from time to time, so usually I do ignore it. But the example I linked to (now deleted) was of 9 posts in 18 minutes, which does seem a little excessive.

If they're all quality posts adding to the discussion, who cares who they come from?
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 5:35 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Eric B is Never Scared
posted by OmieWise at 5:36 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


anigbrowl please just accept that you are never going to make us clap to this
posted by elizardbits at 5:36 PM on July 15, 2012 [13 favorites]


With its awesome Marley sample.
posted by OmieWise at 5:37 PM on July 15, 2012


ericb is an awesome source of links and information, but there are times he does seem to kinda dump the Talking Points Memo front page into a thread, headline by headline, with not much filtering.
posted by mediareport at 5:45 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I always appreciate ericb's curated links. Unwarranted fallout. No one was being silenced.

I MEAN... unwarranted CALLOUT..

Callout begets fallout. I just assumed you got there by a transitive operation.
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:45 PM on July 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nobody remembers Derek B... :-(
posted by Artw at 5:46 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


My major concern about this callout, anigbrowl, is that you'll get discouraged by all the chaff you're getting and stop posting as much.

My views appear to oppose yours at many points, but you have a powerful, convincing voice and have made me doubt myself quite a few times, and that's very valuable to me.

I venture to say, however, that in this case I'm inclined to wonder whether you are being entirely frank with yourself in asserting that the content of ericb's links has nothing to do with the degree to which you find the way he put them up objectionable.
posted by jamjam at 5:46 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huh, what do you know, there is a rakim on this site, and his only post is about history, food and Milwaukee. I like him.
posted by desjardins at 5:47 PM on July 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


f EricB was dominating the conversation by putting his two cents in every other comment, then yes-- that would be overkill. But he is posting outside links. Do you really not see a difference?

It's funny you mention that, because that's exactly what prompted my original request to dial it back.

Wait, I know what happened. It's Sunday morning.

Actually it was bugging me yesterday too but I just let it slide - again, because everyone does it from time to time, including me. I was (and am) quite interested in what the Sunday shows have to say about it and the discussion thereof, but when I came to catch up on it this afternoon it ended up seeming very one-sided, with almost half the posts today from one person.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:47 PM on July 15, 2012


This post would have gone a lot better if you'd called him a microphone fiend.
posted by elizardbits at 5:47 PM on July 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


What if you're typing something and after you hit post you remember something else you wanted to say?

EDIT WINDOW PLZ!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:52 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


My major concern about this callout, anigbrowl, is that you'll get discouraged by all the chaff you're getting and stop posting as much.

No, I'm OK with that. But I did feel like it was going to hard to get a word in edgeways in the MeFi thread.

I venture to say, however, that in this case I'm inclined to wonder whether you are being entirely frank with yourself in asserting that the content of ericb's links has nothing to do with the degree to which you find the way he put them up objectionable.

Well, more often than not I'm criticized for being too invested in the success of the Obama administration and excessively worried about the GOP. So I'm thrilled to see Romney on the defensive and think this is a major blow to his campaign, but I had hoped to hear other MeFites' considered opinions rather than a 'dump the Talking Points Memo front page,' so to speak. The latter can end up with an echo-chamber feeling, and crowds out other interesting and valid points of view.
posted by anigbrowl at 6:01 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just finished reading the thread to catch up on day and appreciated the many ericb links. An excellent review! And such delightful shadenfreude at the tables turning.

As an aside, I am actually less likely to read a bunch of links aggregated than spread in different post, though I know that's just a personal quirk about committing large blocks of time I don't feel that I have.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 6:10 PM on July 15, 2012


But I did feel like it was going to hard to get a word in edgeways in the MeFi thread.

If you followed your own advice and waited to compile your responses into one comment then you don't have to worry about getting anything in edgewise. Just post a long, well-thought-out response to several other comments, cited properly, and don't worry about the time factor. Other people commenting don't take away your comment box's functionality. The comment hopper is not running low. It's not a race, and nobody wins MetaFilter.
posted by carsonb at 6:38 PM on July 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


I was going to add my 2c and then I saw mediareport essentially did it for me:
"ericb is an awesome source of links and information, but there are times he does seem to kinda dump the Talking Points Memo front page into a thread, headline by headline, with not much filtering."
The only reason I would lend my imprimatur, as it were, to this observation is because this Meta post is here. I doubt I would say this via callout-comment/meta/memail because I'm mostly happy to see the majority of his link-comments and, of course, vive la difference! and all that. BUT!, as we are here, this sort of post reminds me that we all need to think about being a bit prefiltery before jamming every 2nd story update into a post on the blue. I don't hate ericb; I don't harbour any lingering grudges against the guy, but every now and then I've noticed that there was more reflexive linking than filtering going on for my own taste.
I wouldn't mind hearing from ericb though. As I say, this is speedbumpery and not substantial in the annals of annoyance. For me.
posted by peacay at 6:43 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry your backseat moderating didn't pan out, and now your callout thread isn't panning out either. Better luck next time, I reckon.
posted by Sternmeyer at 6:53 PM on July 15, 2012


Links get posted when they get found. Sometimes there are a string of links, and they get posted in a coherent comment. Sometimes, you can build a narrative in one comment, and post. Sometimes, you make a comment, then find something else interesting, and make another comment.

I don't have a problem with the posting style, or the request for more coherent commenting.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:12 PM on July 15, 2012


I don't hate ericb; I don't harbour any lingering grudges against the guy...

Clearly you've never gone on a snipe hunt with him. Don't let the innocent eyes fool you!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:12 PM on July 15, 2012


There's no "edgeways" in unthreaded comments. Your post gets posted when you post it, no matter who else has posted what.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:18 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


What cashman said.
posted by flabdablet at 7:23 PM on July 15, 2012


paging John Nagle...
posted by ryanrs at 7:47 PM on July 15, 2012


Just a point but there's some pretty stinky self-linking going on in that thread too.
posted by Talez at 7:53 PM on July 15, 2012


A disclosed self-link in a comment is generally fine. If it's especially sketchy for other reasons or something, or all that someone does, that's more of a problem.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:57 PM on July 15, 2012


The occasional clearly delineated self-link in the comments by someone who is a longtime non-spammy contributor is generally considered okay. That said, that link was weird and out of nowhere and I deleted it. He can drop us a note if we're missing something.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:57 PM on July 15, 2012


Funny, because I have a relevant system that a company I own sells that does away with self linkers once and for - and all for 7 easy payments of $139.95!
posted by item at 8:21 PM on July 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey, item, that was fucking funny!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:51 PM on July 15, 2012


The occasional clearly delineated self-link in the comments by someone who is a longtime non-spammy contributor is generally considered okay.

I don't have a stake and this is a minor point that probably never comes up, but that's a stricter formulation than I remember hearing ever before. The impression I've always had is that self-links in comments are okay if relevant, full stop. So if somebody wanted to join MetaFilter just to plug their blog about work boots, for example, it's fine just so long as they only comment in FPPs about work boots and in AskMe threads that solicit work-boot recommendations.
posted by cribcage at 8:56 PM on July 15, 2012


So if somebody wanted to join MetaFilter just to plug their blog about work boots, for example, it's fine just so long as they only comment in FPPs about work boots and in AskMe threads that solicit work-boot recommendations.

Nah, at that point we'll start to look at you funny after the first couple times if that's seriously the defining characteristic of your activity here. Someone should be here primarily because they want to be a member of this community, not because they see an opportunity to plug their blog or business or whatever. To do otherwise gets to looking pretty mercenary and is too close to the spammer side of the equation for comfort.

To be clear, this is a metric that comes into play maaaybe a couple times a year. Most folks never run afoul of it at all, and in the odd case where it does come up we'll drop someone a line to make sure they're aware it's an issue. They generally either throttle it back or wander off at that point.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:03 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


So if somebody wanted to join MetaFilter just to plug their blog about work boots, for example, it's fine just so long as they only comment in FPPs about work boots and in AskMe threads that solicit work-boot recommendations.

Kinda? It does have to be disclosed as a self-link - if we have to go sleuthing for the connection, we're going to be pretty cranky when we find it. And if someone isn't contributing otherwise, we're probably going to tell them to knock it off even if they are disclosing after a couple of links. Metafilter is not for comment-based advertising - the occasional, usually AskMe-based single purpose account is only ok if it's pretty much a one-off thing. (For most things, you'd have to start stretching the definition of "answer" to get many opportunities to comment, anyway.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:03 PM on July 15, 2012


So if somebody wanted to join MetaFilter just to plug their blog about work boots...

Funny you should mention that. I joined Metafilter just to plug my blog Bork Woots. I post there whenever someone on the internet says "WOOT" in response to something that Robert Bork says or does.

No one has said "WOOT" yet, though, so the blog hasn't gotten very far...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:16 PM on July 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


My view on this is that MetaFilter threads are basically conversations, rather than forums for any particular user to hold forth on a specific topic. I myself have a tendency to serial-post in threads about topics that I consider particularly interesting/important, and I try to dial it back when it starts to seem like the thread is in danger of becoming significantly about my views and peoples' responses to them, rather than a group conversation in which lots of people are contributing from different directions.

I think it's rather boorish for someone to dominate a thread, even if they're not being super argumentative or fighty (though thread-domination often shades into that one-versus-many, take-on-all-comers phenomenon and I hate it when that happens) because even if one is posting in good faith, too-frequent posting has a tendency to drown out the rest of the conversation and stifle the diversity of experience that is on display in the best MetaFilter threads.

This is distinct from someone who just happens to have gathered a lot of resources on a particular topic and just wants to bring them in in order to give people some things to talk about but who happens to do so over the course of several comments – I'd prefer if that was done all in a single comment, but if it's the kind of thing that's meant to simply provide resources to further the discussion rather than to be a part of the discussion per se, then I don't think it has quite the same negative effect.
posted by Scientist at 9:31 PM on July 15, 2012


Ericb often has some really interesting links - sometimes he'll find a link that is directly to the straight information, which I really appreciate. But sometime he can be a bit spammy - he'll drop a few links with large blocktext into a conversation, and often it is very politically pointed conversation. So it feels like he's doing exactly that thing - wanting to have the last word - except hiding behind another person's words. So you can't exactly argue with /him/, because /he's/ not saying it, it's just this enormous block of text.

It is also annoying (for me) to see people that post three times without waiting for another person to comment. It just seems kind of masturbatory at that point.

That said, I'm not sure there should be a rule against it or anything, but it definitely does feel like spamming a thread to me.
posted by corb at 10:15 PM on July 15, 2012


No doubt ericb plays for my team, politically speaking, but he constantly links to factually based and/or well-written and reasonably opinionated stuff.

Linking to stuff on the internet is kind of what the internet is for.

A conservative mefite is welcome to do the same. In fact, I'd genuinely relish seeing high quality conservative commentary links beyond "HURF DURF NOBAMA," "Jew! Soros!," and "Kenyan Socialist."

Thing is, as of 2012 it doesn't exist.

Sorry if your side has painted itself into such a factually challenged corner. Thank Karl Rove for that one.
posted by bardic at 10:47 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is also annoying (for me) to see people that post three times without waiting for another person to comment.

I do this all the time, but my second and third comments are usually sheepish apologies for my appalling typing and proofreading.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:52 PM on July 15, 2012 [4 favorites]



A conservative mefite is welcome to do the same. In fact, I'd genuinely relish seeing high quality conservative commentary links beyond "HURF DURF NOBAMA," "Jew! Soros!," and "Kenyan Socialist."


Challenge accepted.

I do this all the time, but my second and third comments are usually sheepish apologies for my appalling typing and proofreading.

Oh yeah, I don't mean this stuff! I do that too, with the hasty "No, I meant I DON'T eat babies! DON'T eat babies!" I more mean when it seems like it is functionally indistinguishable from a bot.
posted by corb at 10:57 PM on July 15, 2012


Speaking as a user-member (not moderator) my typical trajectory in news/politics posts is to begin reading at the beginning and follow the conversation comment by comment until the tedious, repetitive oneupsmanship arguments begin between a couple or few posters, at which point I usually leave off reading in a linear style and just start scanning for a few commenters who, to me, reliably provide calm, analytic observations, plus I look for updates and new developments, so ericb and homonuculus and a few others play a significant and welcome role in how I view threads when I'm simply reading for my own edification.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:00 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Challenge accepted."

Like I said, go for it.

Ten bucks says you eventually give us a Breitbart or Malkin link, and that's where I LOL at you.
posted by bardic at 11:03 PM on July 15, 2012


Ten bucks says you eventually give us a Breitbart or Malkin link, and that's where I LOL at you.

Nah, Malkin's crazy (and actively dislikes me), and Breitbart's dead, so I think you're safe.
posted by corb at 11:07 PM on July 15, 2012


Breitbart's dead

Randians and Scientologists must be surviving on pure inertia then.
posted by Talez at 11:10 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Zombie Breitbart has a healthy stable of crazy still going on. And intelligent conservatives have roundly been drummed out of the GOP when people like Frum realized that the Teabaggers weren't actually principled small government activists, but racist cretins who decry government spending at all times except when they draw Medicare of disability checks.

Yeah, go for it.
posted by bardic at 11:15 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gotta say it is getting tiring seeing anigbrowl spam MeTa with crappy posts like this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:19 PM on July 15, 2012


Asking for community input on questions about how we collectively use the site is not spamming, it is exactly what Metatalk is for – which is why we ask people not to derail threads with site issues, but bring them here (or contact us) instead.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:38 PM on July 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


This is my only post to this thread and it is too many.

Think about it.

But don't think about it too much.
posted by mazola at 12:27 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


That said, I'm not sure there should be a rule against it or anything -- He's only been doing it forever. Why would we change anything about it now?
posted by crunchland at 3:59 AM on July 16, 2012


Isn't there a greasemonkey script that hides commenters' usernames? Seems like this would solve anigbrowl's problems without ericb having to change his perfectly acceptable behaviour.
posted by jonnyploy at 4:04 AM on July 16, 2012


I made a similar metatalk post about ericb's in 2005. It received a similar reaction.
posted by crunchland at 4:48 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Actually, it didn't. Half of the commentary in that thread, including and especially my own, would have been clamped down hard by the moderators now.)
posted by crunchland at 4:54 AM on July 16, 2012


Half of the commentary in that thread, including and especially my own, would have been clamped down hard by the moderators now.

Indeed, crunchland. Jewels like...

As for the rest, go fuck yourselves.

... are the kinds of comments that I'm happy to have removed by the moderators now. You may long for the days when you could say things like that to people, but I happen to think the site is better for it now that you can't.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:43 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


And let me make it clear that I too have, on occasion, said pointedly nasty things to people here that crossed a line of civility. I'm not proud of those moments, some of which have been deleted, I think, and some haven't. So it's not my intention to come off as holier-than-thou in this regard. I'm just saying that I'm glad the mods are here to axe shit like that, cause it really doesn't do anyone any good.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:32 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Brandon was joking there, taz. :-)
posted by Scientist at 6:42 AM on July 16, 2012


more often than not I'm criticized for being too invested in the success of the Obama administration and excessively worried about the GOP ... but I had hoped to hear other MeFites' considered opinions rather than a 'dump the Talking Points Memo front page,'

As long as the links brought to a discussion are brought in reasonably good faith and are reasonably on topic, it's going to be futile to try to micro-manage the provenance of every reference. If you're invested enough in the conversation to care where the links come from, then you're invested enough to disagree with them if you find them, uh, disagreeable. If your only complaint is that you think someone else's contributions are superfluous, then you want to go down the hall to the Department of Teeny-Weeny Complaints.

... he'll drop a few links with large blocktext into a conversation, and often it is very politically pointed conversation. So it feels like he's doing exactly that thing - wanting to have the last word - except hiding behind another person's words. So you can't exactly argue with /him/ ...

So your complaint is that you dislike it when someone contributes something which you sorta dislike, but with which you can't be bothered to disagree, so you think that something maybe kinda should be done about it? Do I have that right?

Nah, Malkin's crazy (and actively dislikes me)

That's not a feat. Malkin exists on a diet of rage and bile. She dislikes everything (eventually).
posted by octobersurprise at 6:42 AM on July 16, 2012


So your complaint is that you dislike it when someone contributes something which you sorta dislike, but with which you can't be bothered to disagree, so you think that something maybe kinda should be done about it? Do I have that right?

Nah, my complaint is that I dislike it when someone is spammy - contributing a ton of links, with huge blocks of text, in rapid succession, and I do agree with anigbrowl's original contention that it was spammy. The bit about opinionated stuff that it's hard to argue with because it's not the poster's actual opinion or they can claim it isn't is a niggling side annoyance, but not something I think is necessarily wrong. I was throwing that in to people who said that they didn't consider linkspam spam, but they did consider opinionspam spam.
posted by corb at 6:51 AM on July 16, 2012


I'm pretty sure Brandon was joking there, taz. :-)

Taz was referring to Blazecock with that comment, not me.

Stop thinking about me so much, that clinical trial is over.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:04 AM on July 16, 2012


my complaint is that I dislike it when someone is spammy

Unless ericb's contributions are off-topic or otherwise disruptive, you're simply wrong to characterize them as "spam." So I don't know what your complaint is.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:16 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I made a similar metatalk post about ericb's in 2005

Jeff Gannon, now there was a fun Republican scandal. I wondered what happened to him and apparently he is alive and well and is a National Press Club Activist/Blogger.

These people are zombies, they never go away. I took my eye off Nixon's Watergate crew for a few decades and suddenly they took over the country under GWB. Don't ever relax your vigilance!
posted by madamjujujive at 7:21 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I also think that 9 posts in 18 minutes is a bit much and the effect in the comments section of a web page can be similar to what it looks like when someone's spamming a chat room. So if the OP used the term "flooding" instead of "spamming" would the consensus here be any different?

I also wonder what the replies here would look like if ericb was active for a year or less.
posted by ladygypsy at 7:29 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


the effect in the comments section of a web page can be similar to what it looks like when someone's spamming a chat room.

There is a vastly greater degree of asynchrony here than in a chat room. There's no hurry to read the links here, if you wish, and no chance that the page will scroll away from you. You can return to, or linger on, any point in the conversation at any time, for however long you wish.

The "spamming a chat room" metaphor is a fine one, except that Metafilter isn't a chat room and ericb's links aren't spam.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:50 AM on July 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Wasn't one of the early taglines Weblog as conversation? (answer: it's the wiki.) If the participation in the thread is good conversation, then the risk is that the commenter is not really listening, or dominating the conversation, just as in real life. If the commenter is just beating a drum, it's just as annoying here as in any discussion. It's always a good idea to reread your comment, and the ones above, take a few calming breaths, or count to 60, before posting.

If I were going to ask another member to slow down on the comments, I'd do it via memail.
posted by theora55 at 7:56 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm just saying that I'm glad the mods are here to axe shit like that, cause it really doesn't do anyone any good. -- I wasn't suggesting otherwise.
posted by crunchland at 8:00 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the commenter is just beating a drum...

JUST beating a drum? Madame, as one who has devoted the better part of his life to playing the drums, I take issue with your comment! You try beating a drum, effectively and artistically, and see if you can still call it "just" beating a drum! Good day to you, madame!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:04 AM on July 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I also wonder what the replies here would look like if ericb was active for a year or less.

If a user active for less than a year was providing the same level of highly useful and pertinent information as a good faith effort to enhance the conversation then I am pretty sure we would applaud and defend them as well.
posted by elizardbits at 8:08 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo tired of elizardbits commenting in this thread.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:12 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


And that fuckin Blatcher just won't shut the fuck up.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:13 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not your parents' divorce, but an incredibly simulation.
posted by griphus at 8:14 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Speaking about drumming ... how about the drum-off [starts at 08:30] that Will 'Sexy Leprechaun'' Ferrell had with that boy on 'Late Night With Conan O'Brien' back in the day?
posted by ericb at 8:14 AM on July 16, 2012


I have heartburn. You people aren't helping.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:22 AM on July 16, 2012


CHALLENGE ACCEPTED
posted by elizardbits at 8:28 AM on July 16, 2012


And that fuckin Blatcher...

No, you're not on the VIP list.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:40 AM on July 16, 2012


People should look in front of the meta-mirror and say to themselves:

"Am I a wonderfully erudite and gregarious portugese writer, who's very presence imbues the threads with the aroma of fine port and cigars ? Am I relaxing on a balcony in Lisbon while I type ? Or do I inhabit the basement of some dreary commune in Wisconsin ?"

And in that answer, that fearless meta interrogation - is the indication as to ones ideal frequency of posting - as I gaze over at the bannana flats of leith, i will make no further comment.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:32 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I
posted by philip-random at 9:41 AM on July 16, 2012


sort
posted by philip-random at 9:41 AM on July 16, 2012


of
posted by philip-random at 9:41 AM on July 16, 2012


agree
posted by philip-random at 9:41 AM on July 16, 2012


As long as the links brought to a discussion are brought in reasonably good faith and are reasonably on topic, it's going to be futile to try to micro-manage the provenance of every reference.

The provenance of links is not the issue, nor the content thereof. If you read this thread from the beginning, you'll see that the objection is to rapid-fire dumping, in the vein of Twitter or liveblogging. I don't think this works that well on MetaFilter because it undermines the 'filter' part. 'Spamming' may not have been ideal word choice, but rather than suggesting that the posts resemble ads for diet pills (when in fact I have have been at pains to praise the value of the information), it refers purely to the feeling of saturation that results from posting many comments in a row, many times over.

One can of course scroll past such material, but it's worth remembering that on MeFi users' names appear in smaller text at the end of the comment. So if you are actually reading your way down a thread the effect is something like: 'link to wellknownpundit.com...mm-hm...posted by anigbrowl...wall of text on the issue...mm-hmm, mm-hm...wait is this original or extracted from the link in that previous comment? there's no attribution...posted by anigbrowl...oh OK I guess it's from the link...witty one-liner, heh...posted by anigbrowl...er...link to someotherpundit.com...posted by anigbrowl...wait, when did this become BrowlFilter?'

Not everyone reads this way - some just follow links, some look through the names of the commenters and ignore some while paying close attention to others, and so on. But I think a lot of people do read linearly, and if you've got tons of interesting stuff to share, then perhaps you'd be better off hitting the Enter key to start a new paragraph instead of hitting the post button every time. Particularly if you are alternating between adding links and quoting long excerpts from those same links and then commenting on the content of those excerpts, which seems to veer into GYOB territory.

For the last time, it's not about the content of these particular posts, or the poster. We all go on posting binges from time to time, and I've done it too. My question was about the etiquette of a particular behavior and not meant as a callout or referendum on the content of the material posted. I opted mention it first in-place and then here rather than in MeMail, because my experience is that taking posting etiquette issues to mail frequently results in flaming because people take such criticism so personally.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:11 AM on July 16, 2012


While I disagree with the majority of this callout, and particularly deprecate the insulting term "spamming," I have sympathy to the objection to the "wall of text" part. If you're going to post a bunch of informative links, which is fine, I think you should keep any quotes from them to a bare minimum, just enough to give a general idea; we can visit the link if we want to know more. It's a lot harder to scroll past long paragraphs than brief links.
posted by languagehat at 10:51 AM on July 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


If you're going to post a bunch of informative links, which is fine, I think you should keep any quotes from them to a bare minimum, just enough to give a general idea; we can visit the link if we want to know more. It's a lot harder to scroll past long paragraphs than brief links.

Yeah, I think this would knock out most of my objection to it. I'd still be mildly annoyed, but only in the way some people are annoyed by the Oxford comma.
posted by corb at 11:00 AM on July 16, 2012


I concur actually. I find the general practice of adding really long pullquotes to pretty much anything to be a slightly noodgey "You REALLY should read this so I'll leave it here because I don't trust you to click the link and read the article" move, though that may be my own baggage.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:04 AM on July 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


it refers purely to the feeling of saturation that results from posting many comments in a row, many times over.

Maybe I am alone in treating metafilter threads as texts to be read instead of sensations to be experienced. So, so, alone.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:32 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


a slightly noodgey "You REALLY should read this so I'll leave it here because I don't trust you to click the link and read the article" move

When I do it, it's intended as a "this is the bit I think people should read, but I'm going to link to the article as a reference".
posted by zamboni at 11:51 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is what I do, zamboni - here is a point that I found significant, and here is the source link if you want to read further or see things in context.
posted by madamjujujive at 12:14 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's my exact intent, zamboni and madamjujujive.

As to my posting style, I tend to read lots of websites, papers and magazines. I read them fast and retain most all of it (i.e. eidetic memory). I let info synthesize and then return to the bits I think are of value contributing and commenting on. Always my style. Always will be. Old dog. New Tricks.

jessamyn: "However, calling them out and telling them to behave differently is unlikely to have a salutary effect."

Bingo ... and that's why I took offense on someone telling me what way I should be behaving when posting. Rather prescriptive, dontcha think?

Pota-toe, POH-tato.

Mee-Fight. Mee-Fight and only Mee-Fite. Ever other pronunciation is wrong. Just wrong.
posted by ericb at 12:30 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


> I have sympathy to the objection to the "wall of text" part. If you're going to post a bunch of informative links, which is fine, I think you should keep any quotes from them to a bare minimum ...

> I concur actually. I find the general practice of adding really long pullquotes to pretty much anything to be a slightly noodgey ...

You know, I can see this. I was pretty unsympathetic to this MeTa initially. And, taken as a complaint that ericb posts too much, which is how I understood it, I still am. ericb's news-updates links in news threads are generally a good thing, and they are usually just one-line links.

But yeah, a bunch of people were posting link + pullquote comments in the Bain thread, and I can see how that gets annoying, especially if people are doing that a lot. And ericb was responsible for a couple of the longer pull quotes in the thread, even though that's not his usual posting style.

I'll have to note that I do this too. (I think when I do it in comments, I do it for the same reason zamboni does. When I use pull quotes in FPPs, they are usually really short and just intended as teasers.) When I'm tempted to use pull quotes in the future I'll try to keep them short and think about why I'm using them.
posted by nangar at 12:32 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rather prescriptive, dontcha think? -- Because no one on Metafilter ever tells anyone what to do.
posted by crunchland at 12:36 PM on July 16, 2012


Exactly. Now you know how you must pronounce MeFite. Right?
posted by ericb at 12:37 PM on July 16, 2012


a slightly noodgey "You REALLY should read this so I'll leave it here because I don't trust you to click the link and read the article" move

I do it that way 'cause, when the shoe's on the other foot, I know I'm too lazy to click the link and really appreciate it when someone helpfully summarizes/quotes the relevant bits.

OTOH, my bit of baggage is the sense that links just left hanging out there sans context/summary/key quotes were left by lazy saps who couldn't be bothered to make my life a little easier and I'll be GOTTdamned if I click that link and reward indolence that way.

But like I said. That's just some of my own baggage.
posted by notyou at 12:40 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't see anything wrong with people posting multiple comments in a row unless they're being deliberately jerky about it. ericb is not being jerky.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:46 PM on July 16, 2012


Always my style. Always will be.

You're usually wonderful and useful and excellent and all the rest, ericb, but I don't think you have to assert some inviolable posting style you can't ever possibly modify to hear that some folks think that on occasion you might want to take a little more time to collect links into one post, or avoid massive walls of text, or perhaps even filter out mostly duplicate news stories.

I think your contributions are exceptionally valuable here, but none of us is above a little honest suggestion or two.
posted by mediareport at 12:47 PM on July 16, 2012


mediareport -- I hear ya'.

But, we have already been over two previous Meta's regarding my contributions and style to this community site.

For me it's retread territory.

I have listened to the input ... and modified my style at times -- especially, after my early days here.
posted by ericb at 12:51 PM on July 16, 2012


Again, I love seeing your links and hope you keep it up.
posted by mediareport at 12:58 PM on July 16, 2012


Metafilter is all about the links.

I thought Metafilter was All About the Benjamins. This explains a lot.
posted by Nabubrush at 1:21 PM on July 16, 2012


Everyone has their own posting style, but if ericb's diarrhetic post updates were a twitter feed, I would have unfollowed a long time ago, even if I can't precisely explain why I think that one comment with ten links is inherently better than ten comments with one each. It's like bringing out a birthday cake, one ingredient at a time.
posted by crunchland at 1:45 PM on July 16, 2012


Let's take a contemporaneous example.

Over a period of 16 minutes (currently happening in the Romney/Bain thread) there was a discussion regarding Romney and his Mormon faith. I recalled a number of articles, resources and attitudes expressed online and in print elsewhere about it.

I provided my perspective/viewpoint ... and then went to find the articles I had read on the subject from earlier this year ... and earlier today. I posted links to them, as I found them. That's how my mind works. I know what I read. I know where to find the sources. I find them. I post them ... as, they come to me.
posted by ericb at 2:11 PM on July 16, 2012


BTW -- suppose you know someone who deals with OCD, eidetic memory and some other issues. Telling him/her how they should behave ... or, how they should post on an online community website might be a challenging -- and, possibly, a futile effort.

No foul, no harm.
posted by ericb at 2:14 PM on July 16, 2012


With respect, we have to strike a balance between the way your particular brain works and the things other people find jarring to read or wade through. Not a big deal, but it's at least worth trying to synthesize what people are saying here so that your additional links added to threads can be impactful and useful and not just considered noise and overlooked.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:20 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I mean, by analogy the thing that I've found most useful for me when e.g catching up on a busy Metatalk thread is to pop open a second tab of the thread, copy bits I want to respond to the comment box in that second tab's comment box, and sort of accrue the three or four things I might end up having something to say about, so that I can continue following the thread as I read while not having to literally remember the things I wanted to respond to. I just don't have the kind of robustness of short term memory to pull something like that off otherwise.

And once I've caught up I'll pop over to that second tab and write out my responses to those quoted bits all as one comment, rather than dropping three or four smaller comments all in sequence into the thread.

So the notional striking of a balance thing might be as much as anything just a similar method—if you're on the prowl for related followup stuff to a thread and find yourself posting more than one or two of those in a row, that's where you could start to think about putting on the brakes on hitting post for a couple minutes and see if you end up piling up a few more things. At that point, making them all part of one comment by just accruing them in a spare comment box may be a way to both get your bonus linkage on while reducing the proliferation-of-sequential-bylines thing that some folks find irksome.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:31 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


... the things other people find jarring to read or wade through ... it's at least worth trying to synthesize what people are saying here so that your additional links added to threads can be impactful and useful and not just considered noise and overlooked.

Okay ... I really need to step back and consider whether I should consider continuing participating in this community.

If I have be jarring or distracting, I apologize.
posted by ericb at 2:36 PM on July 16, 2012


Seriously, this is more at the level of "your cooking is awesome but maybe a little less garlic sometimes" than "you're ruining dinner". In the interest of peace in the valley it can be a good idea to just take a second glance at the handful of recipes that have the most garlic, you know?

Your contributions in general are great, this is just something worth thinking about the outlier cases on and maybe nudging your handling of those a little bit.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:42 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Surely don't stop based on our mild annoyance. Drip, drip, drip is better than nothing at all.
posted by crunchland at 2:57 PM on July 16, 2012


Okay ... I really need to step back and consider whether I should consider continuing participating in this community.


That seems like a big overreaction to what's been expressed here. Most people really like what you add.
posted by OmieWise at 3:00 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, ericb, I know we often disagree on stuff, but I never have issues with your simply posting links and have found many valuable places I would not have otherwise. Most recently, I was fascinated with that sex-in-the-Olympic-village piece, for example.
posted by corb at 3:03 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay ... I really need to step back and consider whether I should consider continuing participating in this community.

I for one would appreciate it if you kept participating.
posted by cashman at 3:09 PM on July 16, 2012


Okay ... I really need to step back and consider whether I should consider continuing participating in this community.

I don't think that's warranted. Really, this isn't a big issue.

You'll see, if you go through the thread, that the people who have objections to your posting style (and what objections there are, are mostly minor) are in the minority.

I personally have no problems with the way that you post.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:23 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


You could start a call out thread of anyone who posts a lot and a few people would come up with something to complain about. This is a non-issue EB.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:27 PM on July 16, 2012


I've got something to complain about: I'm not sure how best to find the earliest ericb and Rakim joke.
posted by box at 5:52 PM on July 16, 2012


EricB, for what it's worth, I say keep on rockin'.
posted by Nabubrush at 5:53 PM on July 16, 2012


And by EricB I mean ericb.

dammit
posted by Nabubrush at 5:59 PM on July 16, 2012


And ericb has disabled his account. Sad, his contributions are great.
posted by feste at 6:18 PM on July 16, 2012


wtf? That's a real loss for this community.
posted by lalex at 6:23 PM on July 16, 2012


Nice work, anigbrowl.
posted by notyou at 6:27 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry to see you go, ericb.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:35 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


ericb, I hope you decide to come back.
posted by homunculus at 6:39 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nice work, anigbrowl.

I don't think that's particularly fair. I wasn't a fan of this callout, but I think it's clear to anyone reading that ericb is a valued member of the community. Were I the subject of this callout I would feel more, rather than less, wanted, when all was said and done. I hope eric comes back, but I think adults can make all sorts of choices, on their own, about whether and how to participate in a website.
posted by OmieWise at 6:42 PM on July 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sometimes people just need to take a break for whatever reason. Come back soon ericB.
posted by Artw at 6:47 PM on July 16, 2012


Nice work, anigbrowl. -- That's totally unfair. ericb was shrugging off all criticism until Jess and Cortex weighed in at the end. I'm not blaming them for his fit of pique, but it certainly isn't anigbrowl's fault either.
posted by crunchland at 7:25 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, sometimes people just need a break, and I'm beyond trying to read minds at this point so I just accept that everybody's got their own headspace and does what they need to do. I look forward to him coming back and hope that it's soon, but if he needs some time away that's just pretty much his call.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:28 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm a bit shocked. "A fit of pique?" You're talking about poster of 8-years standing, a calm voice in many contentious threads. These call-outs suck--they should be banned. I wish the real shit-stirrers would be the ones to disable their accounts.
posted by feste at 7:52 PM on July 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


ericb was shrugging off all criticism until Jess and Cortex weighed in at the end.

Really? What else was going on in ericb's head, crunchland? You seem to have the inside track. Was "Drip, drip, drip is better than nothing at all" involved, in your expert opinion?
posted by mediareport at 8:05 PM on July 16, 2012


This dinner is awful, where the hell is the garlic?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:23 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think that it's sad that ericb has decided to disable his account in response to constructive criticism, and I hope he returns. That said, I also think it's sad that people are now beginning to blame people who expressed concerns with his posting style for his departure. Not a single person in this thread asked for or wanted him to leave, and I'm sure everyone is equally shocked.
posted by corb at 8:33 PM on July 16, 2012


This is shitty.
posted by inigo2 at 8:39 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nobody asked him to leave, just to stop contributing to the site in a main way in which he contributes to the site. So, not sure what reaction was expected.
posted by inigo2 at 8:41 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


What else was going on in ericb's head, crunchland? -- well, for one, I can read what he wrote. From what he wrote, he was discounting any criticisms, and saying that his mind worked only one way, and that he had no intention of changing course. It wasn't until the messages by Jessamyn and Cortex late this afternoon that he voiced any alternative to doing what he's always done. That's my expert opinion, emphasis on opinion.
posted by crunchland at 8:45 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bloody hell.

ericb actually added content, not noise to FPP's, and he did it consistently and well. He often raised perspectives that had gone unconsidered in threads. Or updated them with new content or news reports. And he did it in as minimally invasive a manner as is probably possible.

So now we've managed to drive him to disabling his account by complaining about the way he added content to Metafilter? And make no mistake, he actually contributed. How many fucking complaints have we seen over the years about other members who contribute more noise and heat than content to threads? We need more people like ericb. We shouldn't be running them off.

How pathetic.
posted by zarq at 8:56 PM on July 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


This is a shame, and I don't know if there's anything to be gained by looking for someone to blame. I hope ericb decides to return. You can tell I'm serious by the way I'm not making a joke about knowing the ledge or whatever.
posted by box at 9:00 PM on July 16, 2012


This place is turning into Wikipedia.
posted by Artw at 9:01 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Toxic culture strikes again. Fucking kudos.
posted by absalom at 9:02 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I kind of feel like there was once a time when posting on this site just meant talking about stuff, and not really worrying about whether you're using the proper form and tone for talking about stuff.
posted by equalpants at 10:44 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well that frickin sucks.
posted by cashman at 11:16 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Congratulations, anigbrowl.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:43 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, you're not on the VIP list.

So, not all that picky about your spouses, then, Brandon? And here I thought you loved me.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:55 PM on July 16, 2012


Well that's torn it. Metafilter sure has lost it sense of humour. No joy. When did that happen exactly?
posted by de at 11:55 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do you know Metafilter's lost its sense of humor?

No, but if you hum a few bars, I can fake it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:33 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


You get the music flowing and I'll start another OKCupid thread ... we can't miss.
posted by de at 12:48 AM on July 17, 2012


This MeTa was less off a call-out than past ones, and the piling onto anigbrowl here was far worse than anything that was said about ericb's posting style.
posted by ladygypsy at 4:38 AM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, sometimes people just need a break, and I'm beyond trying to read minds at this point so I just accept that everybody's got their own headspace and does what they need to do.

I'd bet money that ericb wasn't thinking about needing to take a break before this call out. There wasn't a problem with him that had been brewing at all. I can't read his mind either but I'd say that it is pretty obvious why he disabled his account.

I really valued and appreciated his contributions. This makes me really mad.
posted by futz at 5:20 AM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Boy, you would think it wasn't that difficult to type a few words in a white box and tap "post comment," but this community certainly does have strong opinions on how, when, and what should be typed.

It is hard to believe that ericb disabled his account over this mild chastisement but I have to hope that after 8 years his metafilter habit is too ingrained to stay away for long. ericb, you will be missed and the 16,778 favorites are proof that your posts are valuable to the community.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:30 AM on July 17, 2012


We need more people like ericb. We shouldn't be running them off.

How pathetic.


It really sucks that he disabled his account, but this MeTa wasn't "Stop commenting." It wasn't even "have different content" or "comment less" this was "could you consider formatting your comments differently?" surrounded by large swaths of "I love his comments, he shouldn't change anything. You suck for suggesting he change." As much as ericb will be missed, I think that the idea that he was run off is overstating the level of aggression and ill will in the thread by several orders of magnitude.

I hope he returns soon, and I also hope that this doesn't turn into a mob looking for somebody to punish.
posted by Gygesringtone at 5:58 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't read his mind either but I'd say that it is pretty obvious why he disabled his account.

Well, I think it's pretty obvious that this thread was the impetus, but it's not to me at all obvious why, is where I am on it. But this is me thinking about how I would react to stuff, and I'm not ericb, and I can respect if this is something that for whatever reasons struck him very differently than it strikes me. That's the not-a-mind-reader side of things, basically; I don't really get it exactly, but I don't need to get it, he can do what's necessary for himself and I'll just look forward to him coming back.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:59 AM on July 17, 2012


ericb, please reconsider or take a brief breather. Your fans are legion and already miss you.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:20 AM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


That's totally unfair. ericb was shrugging off all criticism until Jess and Cortex weighed in at the end. I'm not blaming them for his fit of pique, but it certainly isn't anigbrowl's fault either.

I am coming late to the party but, to a degree, I must respectfully disagree. I have always found ericb's links of value. So, the amount of garlic was just fine by me. I saw no need for this post nor for the mod comments late in thread.

In my experience, moderator comments carry ten times the throw weight of members. Mods have each others back and cover each other as a matter of course. And when it's one member against two mods, it can seem like a pileon. One way my brain, and, from observation, all our online brains seem to work is that people get upset when they feel piled on. I don't mind that so much when the callout involves someone acting like a jerk. That most definitely was not the case here.

I, too, sincerely hope ericb gets over his upset and comes back.
posted by y2karl at 11:26 AM on July 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm surprised and disappointed to see that ericb has disabled his account, and hope he changes his mind. From the beginning I said I valued his contributions, and still do.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:18 PM on July 17, 2012


If anyone in this post knows how to contact ericb I'd really appreciate it. With his consent, of course.
posted by futz at 7:01 PM on July 17, 2012


Was "Drip, drip, drip is better than nothing at all" involved, in your expert opinion? -- Time and time again I'm presented with the lesson that the stuff I do on this keyboard has impacts in ways I'm apparently completely incapable of comprehending or predicting. I certainly didn't imagine my criticism would lead to ericb's decision to disable his account when I made them. I do regret and apologize for any part I played.
posted by crunchland at 3:01 AM on July 18, 2012


Ericb, in some sense I'm sort of puzzled by your leaving. On the other hand, I have the impression that you put a fair bit of effort into your activity on MeFi -- and that maybe now, because of some responses here, you've had some kind of shocking doubt about how your activity is received by people?

I said above that the form, or frequency, of your posts is a complete non-problem. I really mean that literally. And the strong impression I have that most other people as well simply do not understand the point of the argument. The critics, mods included, are just wrong, and wrong in a particularly non-remarkable way.
posted by Anything at 1:55 PM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, yeah, do re-enable your account, because people like myself often have Metafilter as one of their primary ways of staying informed about things and your links are a very useful part of that.
posted by Anything at 2:01 PM on July 18, 2012


I'm not sure if all the critics understand the point themselves actually. It's just something people from time to time participate in out of habit rather than out of any actual perception of a problem needing to be corrected. Well, I do, anyway.
posted by Anything at 2:13 PM on July 18, 2012


Also, maybe you're reading people's caveats in their criticism as 'I do value the substance of your comments, but only to such an extent that even this minor quibble about form I have is enough to make them a negative overall'. If that's the case, I understand your reaction, but I honestly don't think that that's what is actually meant by any more than some tiny number people. And those, if they do exist, are some weird people.
posted by Anything at 2:52 PM on July 18, 2012


'Tiny number of people', not 'tiny number people'.

Though you can never be sure.
posted by Anything at 2:54 PM on July 18, 2012


I leave threads in my Recent Activity often in the hopes of updates from ericb and homunculus. ericb you will be missed if you choose not to return, but I get that sometimes you just want to change.

also i like to think that ericb and carsonb are brothers, wonderful brothers that make the whole community better.
posted by readery at 3:08 PM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I also enjoy garlic.
posted by flabdablet at 8:20 PM on July 18, 2012


That's a shame. ericb's content is very valuable.

One of the good things is that it is proper hypertext, not just text - it reminded me of the idea that the web is about constantly linking to things. You don't have to explore every link, but you should reference every claim you make - because, you know, bytes are free! The web gets stronger.

And I suppose that kind of linking from threads does indeed shut down "the conversation". Most people come here to air their well-established views in a largely sympathetic echo-chamber, not engage in an actual argument. So if someone actually posts content with links that you'd have to understand or respond to, rather than simply personal commentary - well, then, you've gone from your comfortable "he's said X, so I get to say Y!" game to actually having to engage with grown-up, complex issues. And that's no fun.

So running ericb out of town makes sense. People want to shout and posture, not read and discuss: that's too much like hard work. It's a shame for the site, though.
posted by alasdair at 12:23 AM on July 20, 2012


People want to shout and posture

I prefer to twist and shout, myself.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:39 AM on July 20, 2012


I swear I remember a time when Metafilter, under Matt's personal direction, was more about the outside links than personal comments. Am I misremembering this? I just feel as though when I first joined there was more pressure to joke less and link more.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:21 AM on July 20, 2012


First, I agree, and even if it has not been that way in the past (I wouldnt say that it has), that it would be great to go that direction in the future.

Second, every time this thread gets updated, I keep hoping its ericb rejoining.
posted by cashman at 5:32 AM on July 20, 2012


joke less and link more.

How 'bout jokes that include links?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:37 AM on July 20, 2012


How about a link to Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp that's also kind of a joke? Yeah, I threw that shit at you.
posted by box at 5:52 AM on July 20, 2012


Hey ericb, been a few days for things to blow-over. Hope you feel better. Come on back, guy.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:59 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm back. I love this place, but was shaken by some comments.

y2karl and Anything are insightful ... and got it right, regarding my response. My reaction.

Fuck form over content.

Content comes first.
posted by ericb at 8:26 PM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


Huzzah!
posted by homunculus at 8:38 PM on July 20, 2012


ericb, I must say, I'm a little offended that you used three line breaks in that comment.

just kidding
posted by philip-random at 11:16 PM on July 20, 2012


Woot!

I've been feeling like I should fill in with links, and I'm guessing others have had the same sense.

So. Thank Creation you're back! Yours are mighty big links to fill.
posted by notyou at 2:08 AM on July 21, 2012


Excellent. I can stop refreshing your profile page now! It's good to see you.
posted by OmieWise at 3:21 AM on July 21, 2012


Good to see that you did not stay away forever. You are a very valued member and your contributions would have been greatly missed.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:17 AM on July 21, 2012


More garlic please.

No, even more than that. Can't have too much garlic.
posted by flabdablet at 6:03 AM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yo, ericb, welcome back!

Now where the fuck is Rakim?

i know, i know. you're sick of that, right?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:13 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


It ain't no joke.
posted by box at 8:33 AM on July 21, 2012


Look, your dad and I didn't want to tell you this, but last night, after twelve, your sister fed Rakim some hip hop. He was worse than a Gremlin, he started trembling. The thrill of suspense was intense. We were horrified. We thought it might be something from a movie, like "Tales from the Dark Side." But, of course it wasn't. We thought he just needed a cigarette, but he didn't, know what I mean? It turned out the prescription was a hyper tune, something harrowing, so we tried to get him a stage, a mic, and a mix, but we weren't fast enough. I'm sorry, Rakim isn't with us any more. So close your eyes, and hold your breath...
posted by OmieWise at 10:56 AM on July 21, 2012


Hell Yeah!
posted by cashman at 7:51 AM on July 23, 2012


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