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Getting good at writing FPPs
September 14, 2012 3:28 PM   Subscribe

Am still a relative newbie here, and finding MetaFilter a fascinating source of high quality / low noise information and interesting stuff. But am struggling a bit with writing FPPs. So far, have had 7 go up, but 4 pulled. Stressing that am not complaining; every time there's been a reason politely given why, and I've retrospectively thought "Yeah, that's a fair point." But it would be nice to consistently put up interesting and always legitimate FPPs. I feel a bit that am learning the ropes of doing proper FPPs by trial and (often) error - perhaps have gotten practice on other forums, that are slightly or very different to Metafilter, hardwired into me and it's difficult to spot other than retrospectively when it's pointed out. Is there a sandbox area, or some other mechanism for getting other people to look at one's FPP before it goes 'live', to see that it's legitimate (beyond the clear warnings not to self-promote) in terms of content and style and any other criteria? I have no problem with constructive criticism, peer review et al.
posted by Wordshore to Etiquette/Policy at 3:28 PM (97 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Is there a sandbox area, or some other mechanism for getting other people to look at one's FPP

try a contact.
posted by clavdivs at 3:40 PM on September 14, 2012


There isn't a place to practice, but you are always welcome to use the contact form to send us drafts and ask for mod feedback. Some days I wish more people did that.

One good resource is the Why was my post deleted? FAQ entry. It covers the broad categories of problematic posts (although one that we should perhaps add is "thin" - something that just doesn't really stand on its own as a discussion topic.) There is also a deleted posts feed somewhere - I don't have the link handy, but I'm sure someone will chime in with it soon. It might be helpful for giving you an idea of what gets deleted and why.

And as always I want to emphasize that having posts deleted is common, unremarkable, and not at all something to worry about. I've had a couple deleted myself, and one other that was not particularly well-framed and probably should have been. Happens to literally everyone, including people who post a ton and do it well.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:44 PM on September 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Don't worry about this. Once you've been here long enough it will be relatively obvious what works and what doesn't. Also, even low-digit members get their fpps nuked once in a while and when that happens to you remember it's never personal or of importance.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:45 PM on September 14, 2012


The moderators here (who'll show up eventually; they get notified directly of new MeTa threads) are always happy to go over a post with you before you post it to the front page. Try using the Contact link at the bottom of every page. That sends email to all mods simultaneously. You can also memail individuals if you're more comfortable with that, from their profile pages.

I haven't gone back looking for your deleted posts, so I can't give you any more specific feedback. Do know that plenty of MeFites never even post a link to the front page— that's totally fine.

(on preview, beaten to the punch!)
posted by carsonb at 3:45 PM on September 14, 2012


You'll get it! Don't take deletions personally and don't consider your early attempts 'struggling.' And welcome, seriously.
posted by mintcake! at 3:45 PM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, also, I'd be happy to go over a post and present my opinion before you set it free onto the Blue. I am not a moderator though.
posted by carsonb at 3:46 PM on September 14, 2012


Or, you know, you could be me and lurk & snark for seven years before attempting a post on the Blue.

Shiver. Please don't hate it.
posted by cmyk at 3:48 PM on September 14, 2012 [11 favorites]


I really like the Glocal one! Also if you dig up more links on the librarian thing and reword it a little that seems like potentially a pretty solid post.
posted by Artw at 3:51 PM on September 14, 2012


Your deleted posts (at least, the ones I dug up) all seem to be pretty clear violations of the guidelines:
- Personal editorializing? That's a no-no.
- Fundraiser? That's a no-no.
- LOLXIANS? That's a no-no. (Should have gone with the R. Kelly mashup.)

What's unfortunate is that the guidelines they clearly violate aren't anywhere to be found on the guidelines page. Maybe they should be!
posted by Sys Rq at 3:52 PM on September 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


What's unfortunate is that the guidelines they clearly violate aren't anywhere to be found on the guidelines page.

That's a good point, and probably a spot where we should revise and/or reproduce the FAQ content.

Or, you know, you could be me and lurk & snark for seven years before attempting a post on the Blue.

Heh. We get a user's first post emailed to us, and I saw that and thought "but cmyk isn't new! Wow... seven years?"

(Actually, we get damned near everything emailed to us, but I finally broke down and auto-filed some of it.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:00 PM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thank you for the comments and suggestions. I should stress (again) that I thought the reasons given for my posts being deleted were fair and politely given by the mods. Also I don't take them personally (was co-moderator of a notorious community forum for a few years and ended up with a skin like a rhinoceros, an understanding of online legal issues and an empathy for forum moderation) (plus a strong desire to never moderate again :)
posted by Wordshore at 4:02 PM on September 14, 2012


Do you keep track of which posts by other people are deleted via the greasemonkey scripts or the deleted post blogs? I find that's the best way to get an intuitive feel for the community standards.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 4:07 PM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I recommend that you just do what I do and double post things other people have already posted. Then, when you get deleted, you'll know it's just because your post was so awesome someone already made it.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:11 PM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


You can also check out the deleted thread blog to get a sense of what doesn't stand.
posted by lalex at 4:16 PM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


lalex: thanks; the deleted thread blog is a quick and easy way to see why rejections were made. Also, the reason given by cortex for rejecting this one made me laugh possibly too loudly (sorry neighbours).
posted by Wordshore at 4:29 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do you keep track of which posts by other people are deleted via the greasemonkey scripts or the deleted post blogs? I find that's the best way to get an intuitive feel for the community standards.

If you use Plutor's Mefi Deleted Posts greasemonkey script you'll see what posts get deleted and what the deletion reason was. Or you can check the
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:30 PM on September 14, 2012


deleted thread blog that lalex linked to.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:31 PM on September 14, 2012


Is that why everyone has been asking for an edit window? I'm sorry everybody. I now feel your pain.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:33 PM on September 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


Everybody gets FPPs deleted. I've been hanging around here for years and I still lose about one out of five. Don't sweat it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:04 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


The best advice I can give you about making an FPP is to let the material you're posting stand on its own merit, with you getting in the way as little as possible. (When I say this, I'm talking about shorter posts. Some of my mega-posts have quite a bit of me in them, but if you're creating a mega-post, it typically requires it.)

What I mean when I say that, my own personal way of doing that kind of thing, is that if I am linking a magazine or newspaper article as the main topic of my FPP, I try to use the actual article title or headline (not write my own) and to find an actual pull-quote from the article to include to elicit interest rather than providing my own summary or whatnot.

Single Link YouTube posts I usually write my own blurb and make the entire post as short and sweet as possible.

Longer posts are where you're most likely to get into trouble with editorializing. As far as I can tell, the best rule of thumb is: are you posting to share something you think is neat and worth sharing? Or are you posting in order to make a point or try to spark some kind of discussion (and maybe trying to steer that discussion in the direction you desire)?

If you're sharing something neat, that's nearly always going to work well as a post. If you're trying to make a point or spark discussion, you're entering into iffy territory. If you have a quality thing you're sharing, even if it has a definite bias, let that thing speak for itself rather than attempting to make your post about what you think people should discover or talk about in relation to the material you're linking.

Basically, nearly all the lessons people learn from "the blogosphere" are wrong when it comes to MetaFilter. Don't summarize in your own words very much, use pull quotes, don't tell people what you like or don't like about something, and don't end your post with a question to spark discussion.

If you really want to soapbox about things you discover online, get your own blog. If you want to share things you discover online with people and can let go of control of the discussion once you've shared, then MetaFilter is a great place.
posted by hippybear at 5:06 PM on September 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Hi there and welcome!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:33 PM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've been here for 12 years and have never made a front page post. There's no rule that says you have to post to the front page. I love the place but I've always had my own blog and I've always enjoyed what other people post so much that I've never made the time to put anything together for the front page.

Don't take deletions personally. Take your time, etc. It'll all work out.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:43 PM on September 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


The last time I did an FPP I had a question about the format of it and sent in a contact and Cortex e-mailed me in around an hour with the answer to my question and offered further help if I thought I needed it.
posted by bukvich at 5:48 PM on September 14, 2012


I've made a grand total on one FPP in my 6 years here, and it lived. But only because it contained a reference to large metal chickens. Takes nerve to make your first post, the fact that you've made several puts you ahead of the majority of users. Don't sweat the deletions, you'll learn what works here. And welcome!
posted by arcticseal at 5:54 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


And don't worry, no matter how many times you make a post, you will somehow miss a glaring spelling mistake or garbled syntax.
posted by The Whelk at 6:02 PM on September 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


I've been here two years and created maybe three FPPs, none of which have gained much if any notice (positive or negative) -- they're just interesting things I found online that I genuinely wanted to share. I feel flattered anytime anybody runs across one and favorites it.

You being a relative newbie, maybe less posting and more reading until you get the hang of it?

I'll also second those who've said not to take deletions personally.
posted by Sara C. at 6:23 PM on September 14, 2012


I joined eleven years and 351 days ago and have not yet made an FPP.

So don't get ahead of yrself, whippersnapper.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:25 PM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


You're doing well. I've had 33% of my FPPs deleted (okay, one of three) for editorializing. And restless_nomad was so gentle about it...
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:35 PM on September 14, 2012


It's not a moral failure to get deleted. Trust me. And after perusing the deleted posts blog even I feel better about my nuked posts.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:46 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, having a post deleted is really no cause for shame. Try to learn lessons from what may have gone wrong (bad subject matter, bad presentation, the moon was in the wrong star sign, etc) and incorporate those into any future FPPs you make.

Really, don't take anything being deleted on MetaFilter (FPPs or comments) personally. It's all about the greater good of the community. I have comments and posts deleted all the time, and only once or twice have really felt like it was something to contest. The contact form is the place to start when I feel like that. The mod team is really responsive and will work with you to help you understand what's going on. In rare cases (none of which I've been part of) they will realize they were wrong and will reverse their decision. Honestly, I can't think of any group of people online who are more worth the money they are paid than the MeFi Mod Team.

I wish they all had superhero uniforms to wear to meetups and such. Because that would be awesome for the rest of us, and embarrassing for them, and would likely be amusing to mathowie as he writes their checks each month. ("You didn't wear your tights and spandex to that shindig? 20% less for you this time around!")
posted by hippybear at 7:24 PM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone once wrote a really good "how to write a good FPP." Was it Katullus? somebody like that, who'd made a lot of good posts. Where is that thing? It was useful.
posted by Miko at 7:28 PM on September 14, 2012


It was a user that started with a "C", but I've been here so long my name issues have transferred to usernames. crunchland?

(Also, I'm appreciating this "long-time user, few-time FFPer" support group. Four posts in 8 years. One deleted. One not that good.)
posted by muddgirl at 7:47 PM on September 14, 2012


I'd like to think I make FPPs pretty frequently and the only thing that makes you better at it as posting more. The better you understand why your posts (and others') are deleted, the better your own would be. The deleted posts script is indispensible. Then you get better about making an FPP where people discuss the content -- or nothing! The quantity of discussion is not the be-all end-all of a post! -- and not the post itself.

With rare exceptions the FPP itself should be transparent and, always, nonjudgmental. Show, don't tell I'm not sure what your deleted posts look like, but let's take politics for example. If you want to make a post about a politician doing something stupid (although those aren't encouraged, with good reason) don't say "look at this asshole." Instead say "look at what this guy did" and let us suss out for ourselves if he's an asshole, and what that means. If you want to post about a band you like, show us why we should like them.

Anyway, those are all just opinions. Feel free to disregard it all, but just keep making FPPs, and keep striving to make them better.
posted by griphus at 7:50 PM on September 14, 2012


Crunchland.

Wiki: What is a Good Post?. What is a Bad Post? Contests.

I've had at least a dozen posts deleted over the years. It happens to everyone.
posted by zarq at 7:52 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wordshore, I'd like to make a request of you.

Like most people coming into something fresh you have the perspective to see what oldtimers take as a given. As you discover these things could you update the wiki in order to save the next new person the pain of rediscovery?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:57 PM on September 14, 2012


Oh and if you ever want the opinion of a non-mod on a potential FPP, feel free to give me a shout.
posted by griphus at 7:58 PM on September 14, 2012


I'd like to think I make FPPs pretty frequently and the only thing that makes you better at it as posting more

I still strike out all the time. Doubles...weak responses...
posted by Miko at 7:59 PM on September 14, 2012


(Also, I'm appreciating this "long-time user, few-time FFPer" support group. Four posts in 8 years. One deleted. One not that good.)

Yeah, I've just realized that in about two weeks it'll've been four years since I joined and I've never posted an FPP. Sometimes I do have very vivid ideas for fantastic metafilter posts but when I wake up I can't remember them anymore.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:59 PM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


The only two real criteria are:

- is this something I didn't make?
- is this something I find interesting and worthwhile to share?

Item #1 is a rule, here, to curtail the commercial or other promotion of one's own work (while commercial promotions of other people's work is okay, using the site to do your own promotion is not what Metafilter is for).

Item #2 is more subjective, but, basically, if your goal is to share something cool, then it will make a good post. If your goal is to strike up discussion or play on the innate hatreds of the part of certain MetaFilter users, then it will likely make a bad post, even if it doesn't get axed.

It's pretty clear if a post falls under the first guideline. Not always so clear with the second one. But if you keep posting, you'll get a feel for what works and what doesn't. As far as "peer review" goes, that can take the form of "threadshitting" comments in your post, all the way to bullying in Metatalk. So I'd really just ignore the mob here as much as possible and just concentrate on the sharing-of-cool-stuff part. I've found that works well for me. Good luck!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:59 PM on September 14, 2012


I understand the fear of posting. It took me years to make a post, but my frequency has been increasing almost literally exponentially each year. My posts are usually slight, but after passing over so many wonderful slight things that I saw posted anyway in the following hours or days I don't worry so much about that. Deletions happen and they're lessons, not embarrassments.
posted by yellowbinder at 8:03 PM on September 14, 2012


Oh and if put a lot of effort into a post but the entire discussion becomes ranting about something tertiary to the content, or an argument ensues over god-knows-what tangential remark, don't take it personally. If you own a bar, there's, eventually, gonna be a bar fight. You will see shit-starting in the most innocuous of threads. Just step back and be glad you don't have to clean it up, and don't blame the FPP.

Lastly, don't be afraid of being wrong. You will be wrong at some point, guaranteed, and someone will call it out. And you'll say "whoops!" and correct it if necessary and keep on trucking'. We're all wrong eventually . MeFi is definitely somewhere I feel there's someone who knows more than I do about any and every subject, which is what I absolutely love about this place. Part of making FPPs is, in my opinion, a call to action to discuss whatever with people who know a hell of a lot about whatever, and can teach you or show you a perspective you didn't think of.
posted by griphus at 8:10 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've just realized that in about two weeks it'll've been four years since I joined and I've never posted an FPP.

I joined a few days after you did and I've only ever posted one.
posted by immlass at 9:05 PM on September 14, 2012


Nearly 11 years here and I've only posed one FPP. And it was a totally safe one about baby chickens.
posted by chiababe at 9:37 PM on September 14, 2012


I'm sensing a trend here. Fowl are a safe bet for your first FPP.
posted by arcticseal at 9:43 PM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Okay, hold up. I looked at your profile and I don't know how you don't have a fair amount of good FPPs. You're damn near "the most interesting man in the world". Which means you're overthinking it. Don't overthink it. And please, make more FPPs. Or shit, just send me mefimail the next time you're doing pretty much anything you talk about on your user page.
posted by cashman at 9:54 PM on September 14, 2012


Hey cortex (or other infodumpster divers), now I'm curious. Can the infodump give us stats on posts per year of membership? Most, fewest, longest gap between joining and first post, average posts per year, etc. I've only made 5 in my (ye gods) 7 years here, and I am not even bitter my prisencolinensinainciusol post got deleted as a two-year-old double.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:54 PM on September 14, 2012


All of my FPPs were deleted.
BY ME BEFORE I POSTED THEM
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:46 PM on September 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Four-year member, three-time FPPoster here. I think all of my posts so far sprang from conversations like this with Mr. daisyk:

Me: Let me tell you all about this cool thing I found out!
Him: You know, this would be a good post for MetaFilter.
Me: Argh, really? I suppose I'll try, if you'll proof it for me...

So, yeah, I agree that having another MeFite to bounce your ideas off or run posts by is the most helpful thing. I also endorse lurking a lot and then consciously trying to mimic the MeFi 'house style', such as it is. I just imagine a vast angelic chorus of MeFites being channelled through me, probably conducted by jessamyn standing atop a pillar of golden fire. ;-)

My first FPP was not about fowl but was about saints running around with their heads cut off. Does that count?
posted by daisyk at 1:39 AM on September 15, 2012


I honestly admire anyone who keeps making FPPs. I've been here for seven years and I've never done one because I still don't fully understand what makes some survive and some not. I mean, sometimes it's obvious, but other times... it isn't. Not to me, anyway. A one-minute SLYT kitty vid? Cool. An apparently interesting and topical post about some political event? Sometimes cool, sometimes not. To me it feels like some people simply have the feel of what makes a "good post for MeFi" and others struggle with it. I think I'm probably in the latter category so I don't even try. Very wimpy of me, I know.

Actually, there was just one time I did try. It was on the anniversary of Viv Stanshall's death and I noticed that there didn't appear to be much about the man and his work. I got about halfway into a fairly long, link-heavy post and then decided it was probably a cluttered mess about someone many Mefites probably hadn't even heard of. And then I decided that that might make it a good post. Or possibly a bad post. And then I gave up. Like I said: I'm an FPP wimp.
posted by Decani at 2:05 AM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've gotten better, I think, at writing FPPs, just by doing it more. And reading a lot of old threads, and a lot of 'why was my post deleted' MeTas.

Now that I feel more secure, I have branched out a little, but this is probably not a good idea.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:36 AM on September 15, 2012


I'm sensing a trend here. Fowl are a safe bet for your first FPP.
posted by arcticseal at 12:43 AM on September 15


Real ones, maybe. Be careful with metal representations, though. :)(Your own experience notwithstanding.)

My "Fifteen Years Is Big Metal Chickens!" post pissed a lot of people off. At least one person declared it the worst thing they'd ever read on Mefi. Big argument in the thread. I got memail from people who really liked it. I got memail from people asking what the fuck I'd been thinking to post it.

Humor is Subjective.
posted by zarq at 4:54 AM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I, for one, am glad to know I can e-mail the mods.
Last night, whilst extremely drunk, I found something I thought was awesome!

Not that I am not a relatively new chum but my rules are:
Is there an open thread in the past day or two I can bang this into?
Is it Single Link? What more can I add?

Those two rules have served me well thus far for all 27 posts! Sure, the Blue has missed out on bon mots of fun, but that's life.

Now, deleted comments? Oh, I take those personally.... although all the ones I know about are usually okay. I just wish my little pony would tell me when and where. But, hey, as a community this works better than most.
posted by Mezentian at 6:29 AM on September 15, 2012


Mezentian> But, hey, as a community this works better than most.

Yes, indeed MetaFilter does. Think this is at the heart of why I find it so fascinating.
posted by Wordshore at 6:40 AM on September 15, 2012


I honestly admire anyone who keeps making FPPs. I've been here for seven years and I've never done one because I still don't fully understand what makes some survive and some not.

You know, when you have a post deleted, it doesn't hurt. Really. You can live another day. It's a minor thing.

I think people build it up way too much. Of course we don't want people posting just whatever crap crosses their mind or screen, but there's a lot of room between that and being so paralyzed with fear that you don't share good content to see what happens. I wish it were less intimidating for people. Just post. The worst that can happen is that it will be deleted. Sometimes there will be some snark in the handful of responses that get in before that, but that's about the worst of it. Just post. Once you've done a couple, it takes the edge off. I'd rather more people gave it a try, because we'd get a more diverse range of material, than that a lot of people sat on their hands because it seemed too scary.
posted by Miko at 7:31 AM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, when you have a post deleted, it doesn't hurt. Really. You can live another day.

It does, however, go on your Permanent Record.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:38 AM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, there was just one time I did try. It was on the anniversary of Viv Stanshall's death and I noticed that there didn't appear to be much about the man and his work. I got about halfway into a fairly long, link-heavy post and then decided it was probably a cluttered mess about someone many Mefites probably hadn't even heard of. And then I decided that that might make it a good post. Or possibly a bad post. And then I gave up.

The whole basis of MeFi is about seeing stuff we would otherwise not have heard of. Go and do the post, the more people link to things that might be of interest the better off we are as a community.
posted by biffa at 8:34 AM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just post this. It'll be fine, I promise.
posted by Wolof at 8:54 AM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe because I have been here forever and I'm heading into old fartdom, but I honestly don't understand why people are afraid to go ahead and make a post here. It will either stay or be deleted, and either way, no permanent harm done. The rest of us don't stand around memorizing usernames and pointing and laughing. (Well, theoretically the mods might but it would seem fairly out of character. Well, maybe not Cortex, but...nah, not him either.)

Go ahead and try!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:34 AM on September 15, 2012


The rest of us don't stand around memorizing usernames and pointing and laughing.

It's not the pointing and laughing that bothers me, it's the MetaTalk pileons and the flameouts. The one thing I posted was a pop culture item and a topic I only care about a little because people here can be really snarky and awful about things they don't deem cool enough. (And that's not even getting into politics/elections/social justice/etc. topics which can get really nasty easily.) The cool things I find on the web are generally related to the things I'm the most interested in, but paradoxically they're often things I'm not likely to post to the blue.
posted by immlass at 10:37 AM on September 15, 2012


Don't feel too bad; it can take a while to learn the tone of a new forum. Besides, the one about Jehova's Witnessess was a bad deletion, so it's really only 3 that deserved it.
posted by spaltavian at 10:51 AM on September 15, 2012


Happy birthday!

You've gotten a ton of good advice here and we badly need to rewrite the guidelines page with some more current information.

I've found that, for me personally, the posts that go the best are ones where I get inspiration from someplace Not The Internet (usually a book I am reading). This means that people almost always haven't heard of it before or don't have a preconceived response, or at least not because they're reading the same short list of 100 websites that most users of MeFi probably read.

This also means that people comment or have something to say usually because they've looked at the links somewhat which helps. I also, again this is just my preference, try to avoid topics that involve a lot of conflict. Other people post about these topics successfully, others less so but they are not things that interest me and I think it requires a level of finesse that I don't have to make posts about touchy or troublesome topics that are not ugly and messy. And I really like it here so I err on the side of "posts that I think will go well"

That said, while I think it's not that tough to make posts that don't get deleted (you'll learn the more nuanced rules over time, you decide how you want to adjust your posting style to accommodate them, or not), I think it's more challenging to make interesting posts about things you and other people might care about that will encourage discussion and not get deleted. And, as restless_nomad says, there is absolutely no problem on our end with the occasional deleted post. If we think you have some sort of problem here understanding the guidelines, we'll talk to you about it, but most active MeFites have had a few posts deleted and it's not a big deal to them, us or most other people here and this is how we feel that it should be.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:59 AM on September 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seems to me the trick for most deleted posts would be to improve it & try again.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:09 PM on September 15, 2012


griphus: Oh and if put a lot of effort into a post but the entire discussion becomes ranting about something tertiary to the content, or an argument ensues over god-knows-what tangential remark, don't take it personally.

Yup. In fact, I try to stay away from the discussion on the posts that I make. I already know my opinions, and by staying away, I resist the temptation of making GYOBish posts.
posted by vidur at 2:24 PM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The #1 rule I use for deciding whether or not to post something (beyond the guidelines):

If I find something to be very precious to me, and I don't want to see how people-who-are-not-me will react, then I don't post it here. This is probably why I don't post much - I'm a hoarder and I don't want things to be 'ruined' by the different impressions of others.

I think zarq's metal rooster post is a great example of that - I was called a buzzkill and accused of 'vitriol' because I was confused by it and wanted to discuss why with other readers. Not everyone is going to react 'the correct way' to a post. That's one of the great things about Mefi.
posted by muddgirl at 2:30 PM on September 15, 2012


(I don't think zarq himself called me a buzzkill, just to be clear)
posted by muddgirl at 2:35 PM on September 15, 2012


I've been a member here for ~5 years (3 years on a different username) and have only posted one FPP. And the one I did post had me pretty discouraged about doing it again. I agree it would be nice to have better FPP guidelines, if only to stop people from threadshitting about how bad the post is. Ahem.
posted by two lights above the sea at 2:54 PM on September 15, 2012


We're actually somewhat more proactive now about deleting non-contributive "This sucks" sort of comments. If people are engaged with but just don't like the content, that's one thing. If people are like "this shouldn't be a post" or something else that is either meta or not really part of a conversation (especially early threadshitting) flag it and we'll axe it if we see it.

I am assuming by now people know the difference between a Be Nice mandate (which we do not have here) and deleting early "this sucks" threadshitting, but if not, please let me know and I will provide you with a link to where we have explained it before.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:22 PM on September 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


two lights above the sea: just went to it and did like your post; reminded a bit of this recent news piece. Also, it did appear to be just the one person in the comments who was dismissive; many more people were positive.
posted by Wordshore at 3:59 PM on September 15, 2012


Huh. I'm surprised reading through this thread to find that so many people have such a high ratio of deletions to posts made. I've made 74 FPPs and only had one deleted, because it was a double.
posted by orange swan at 5:14 PM on September 15, 2012


Decani, I hope you make that Viv Stanshall post someday.
posted by homunculus at 5:27 PM on September 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I get FPPs nuked all the time. It doesn't bother me because I figure it's just the mods working hard to make me look good.
posted by unSane at 7:22 PM on September 15, 2012


If I find something to be very precious to me, and I don't want to see how people-who-are-not-me will react, then I don't post it here. This is probably why I don't post much - I'm a hoarder and I don't want things to be 'ruined' by the different impressions of others.

I think zarq's metal rooster post is a great example of that - I was called a buzzkill and accused of 'vitriol' because I was confused by it and wanted to discuss why with other readers. Not everyone is going to react 'the correct way' to a post. That's one of the great things about Mefi.


It's also something which, if carefully observed, can teach those who make posts how to avoid pitfalls which will cause people to react in ways which aren't desired by the community.

(Note: I didn't say in ways which aren't desired by the poster. Once you make a post, you pretty much have to let go of what you've made and let people do with it what they will. But if you pay attention to the posts you* and others have made which have gone awry in the discussion thread and learn to see how they've gone bad, you can figure out how to make posts which don't sabotage themselves in overt and covert ways right out of the gate.)\

*by "you" I don't mean any specific person, I mean "you" in the general sense.
posted by hippybear at 7:54 PM on September 15, 2012


Yeah, I am totally cool with people bringing up legit points about the content of the post, which did happen in mine and that didn't bother me at all. I'm a scientist after all, so if spirited discussion discourages me then I have a serious problem. But the "this is a a bad post" stuff is what kills it for me, and it only takes one person [repeatedly dragging the conversion though the shit] to ruin it. Blah.
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:20 PM on September 15, 2012


And kudos to the mods for cracking down on that stuff. Maybe I'll attempt another FPP sometime soon.
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:24 PM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


But if you pay attention to the posts you* and others have made which have gone awry in the discussion thread and learn to see how they've gone bad, you can figure out how to make posts which don't sabotage themselves in overt and covert ways right out of the gate

Unfortunately, the only message one can glean from that particular post is, "don't make it or anything like it in the future." There is no other overarching lesson here about making that post "unsabotagable." The reaction of the posters had nothing to do with the way the post was constructed. Framing wouldn't have changed the content. Or The Blogess' personality. Or the way the post was written. Which is what people objected to.

Once you make a post, you pretty much have to let go of what you've made and let people do with it what they will.

Sure. I agree.

I make a conscious choice not to post stuff from certain sources or on a variety of topics any more, because of the way that threads have gone. If I were more stringent about it, I'd probably post less.
posted by zarq at 9:39 PM on September 15, 2012


this is a a bad post" stuff

To the mods' credit - and the community's too, probably both - I haven't seen that in ages.
posted by Miko at 9:54 PM on September 15, 2012


Unfortunately, the only message one can glean from that particular post is, "don't make it or anything like it in the future."

It's an unfortunate lesson, because I thought that post was entertaining and said so at the time, and still stand by that statement.

I'd welcome more posts of the same vein any day. It (apparently) made me laugh to tears when it was first posted, and I giggled to myself as I re-read the link to refresh my memory of it just now.

Looking at the post itself... yeah, there are no lessons to learn from how badly it went. You did pretty much everything I would have done if I were making the post -- pull quote, no editorializing, single link short-and-sweet...

I think the main lesson is that humor is not universal.

Let's get together for comedy outings and movie nights. I bet we'd get along.
posted by hippybear at 10:58 PM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have also started several FPPs and abandoned them all in frustration. (Each time I would overthink it and it would quickly get impossibly complicated until I wasn't able/didn't have the energy to wrangle it in.) My first one ever was going to be about Snoop Dogg changing his name to Snoop Lion, but I decided it wasn't FPP material for several reasons. Then someone else posted about it the next day! Ooh was I annoyed with myself... I think I did an actual face-palm.
posted by désoeuvrée at 11:51 PM on September 15, 2012


I tend to visit deleted posts more than the other kind. Also, only four deleted posts? Kiddo, get back to me when you've had five in a row deleted, making you an "ace", like moi.
posted by telstar at 2:46 AM on September 16, 2012


Dude have you seen John Waters' Cry-Baby? It kinda defines 21st century politics and society, everything is a SQUARES vs. DRAPES dicothomy, now this film is brilliant because even the squares have good music, but don't be fooled, Mefi is totally DRAPE territory, you gotta join us, examine your deleted posts, they're all SQUAREish, you gotta be crazier and more DRAPEish, that's the secret! Also more gay and diverse, white-hetero is too boring.
posted by Tom-B at 3:55 AM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey man, do u fly helicopters for real? that's AWESOME, I wish I could fly choppers, have u tried an FPP about that? (stuff u love and know), I think it would work splendidly, try! What's your favorite chopper? Why?
posted by Tom-B at 3:59 AM on September 16, 2012


Wordshore, the FPPs of yours that stood are well done. Especially this one. You're doing just fine here.
posted by futureisunwritten at 11:13 AM on September 16, 2012


Unfortunately, the only message one can glean from that particular post is, "don't make it or anything like it in the future." There is no other overarching lesson here about making that post "unsabotagable."

I just don't see that the post was 'sabotaged'. Many people liked it. Some people didn't like it (or like me and EC were confused by it). A very, very small number of people said stupid shit about it. That's about par for the course on Mefi.
posted by muddgirl at 5:30 PM on September 16, 2012


Unfortunately, the only message one can glean from that particular post is, "don't make it or anything like it in the future."

I didn't care for that post (and am not a big fan of the Bloggess fwiw, but that's just me not digging her schtick, more power to those who do) and in general my reaction is not to comment about things I don't care about or can't respond to positively, i.e., don't rain on other folks' parade. I blew it on that one and wished I hadn't. Sorry about that. There was nothing wrong with the post; the thread was a clusterfuck of a Rorschach test of the participants.

The lesson I got from that wasn't "don't post funny stories on Metafilter" but "there's really no predicting how some threads are going to go".
posted by immlass at 6:28 PM on September 16, 2012


The more poor-quality posts that are deted, the better the posts will get. Evilution in action. (sic)
posted by five fresh fish at 6:41 PM on September 16, 2012


muddgirl: I just don't see that the post was 'sabotaged'. Many people liked it. Some people didn't like it (or like me and EC were confused by it). A very, very small number of people said stupid shit about it. That's about par for the course on Mefi.

Sabotaged is the wrong word.

However, a rather large number of commenters clearly did not like the link and were quite vocal about it. It did not strike me as a small number. Which is fine. It really is! People are entitled to their opinions, and once I click post, those FPP's belong to the community, not me. However, I can and do

When the metafilter community seems to dislike something I post intensely, I am a lot less likely to post similar content in the future. As five fresh fish says, that's how it's supposed to work. Positive/Negative reinforcement.
posted by zarq at 4:47 AM on September 17, 2012


When the metafilter community seems to dislike something I post intensely, I am a lot less likely to post similar content in the future.

Don't let that discourage you. I've made posts such as this, and it won't stop me from making more such posts in the future.

Consider all of yourselves warned.
posted by hippybear at 10:31 PM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just throwin' this out there .... But, uh, exactly what would it take to stop you...?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:39 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


After reading through the comments and advice on here again, have tried again with a FPP just now. (waits nervously to see if it stays up or gets pulled)
posted by Wordshore at 7:03 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a great post, Wordshore. I've spent most of the morning going through the links and tunneling through the various wormholes it has opened. Very nice work.
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:25 AM on September 18, 2012


SpiffyRob: thank you.
posted by Wordshore at 4:37 PM on September 18, 2012


That was very definitely a good one. Thanks for posting it.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:01 AM on September 19, 2012


Don't let that discourage you. I've made posts such as this, and it won't stop me from making more such posts in the future.

Heh. Good! :)

For the last year and a half, I've been deliberately trying not to make posts that wind up in Meta, and/or cause too much drama or work for the mods. To varying success. But I'm paying attention.
posted by zarq at 11:03 AM on September 19, 2012


When I had my first deleted FPP I felt freaked out and embarrassed because it felt like a social faux pas...like the time I ragged on my hometown to somebody I had forgotten still lived there. (they haven't talked to me since). But it's really not that big a deal and it did teach me to hang out at Metatalk and read the FAQs more carefully.

In a way it's a lot like submitting an article to a magazine. You can get rejected for a weak piece or for a piece that's not a good fit, but you can always try again.
posted by emjaybee at 6:27 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tell Me No Lies: thank you.
posted by Wordshore at 11:55 AM on September 21, 2012


Something I'm working on: don't put the most interesting part of the FPP inside. I have to remind myself to put the meat up front, and it doesn't always work.

What I find interesting isn't what other people will find interesting, though.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:57 AM on September 22, 2012


MetaFilter: Put your meat up front.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:05 AM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


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