How much is too much? January 23, 2014 5:44 PM   Subscribe

I know the general consensus seems to be that big posts are good posts - the December Posting Contest seemed to lean favourably towards link-heavy posts, much like this one that JHarris just posted. But where is the line drawn at how much is too much?

A lot of the text below the line seems to fall into the "get a blog" kind of area - original writing of JHarris to try to pull all this information into one FPP. And a lot of it seems to be copied and pasted from sites that are linked to. Isn't that the point of the link?
posted by crossoverman to Etiquette/Policy at 5:44 PM (307 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

Isn't that the point of the link?

As if people followed links.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:49 PM on January 23, 2014 [11 favorites]


When people stop reading them, liking them, participating in the threads, complimenting the post in the comments, and flagging as fantastic. That's when it's too much. I think it's self-correcting.
posted by ctmf at 5:50 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


This falls squarely into GYOB territory for me, but I can't discount that a part of that comes from my inability to grok anything about MLP. I don't think that megaposts are in danger of ruining the site or anything.
posted by rtha at 5:52 PM on January 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's a megapost, they're an occasional thing. There's no particular policy against them and they seem to be self-limiting.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 5:53 PM on January 23, 2014 [11 favorites]


Exactly. I'm not at all interested in that post, but *shrug*. If people are, then it's fine with me.
posted by ctmf at 5:53 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wow. That post is impressive, which I mean in the very best way, but I'm not sure that's the best thing for MeFi.

There's like a tendency, a continuum, and that post glides right across it, and somewhere off in the far, far distance it sails across the line, wherever exactly that line might be. It's like crossing the equator or the international date line after setting out in a catamaran from Portsmouth.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:57 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Good grief; the dude deserves credit for putting in a lot of time into making a definitive post on a subject (and if that isn't a definitive post, then...). No-one has to read every sentence, or follow every link, within.
posted by Wordshore at 6:02 PM on January 23, 2014 [19 favorites]


Normally, I'd say "flag it and move on" or "the line is wherever you personally want to draw it, so just don't read those posts"

But that post, where the author cheerfully mentions that its a 25 page post and if you're not into that, then just move along, is not something I personally would not like to see on this site without further controls to to manage posts. Ideally, one should be able to make that post disappear with from their personal Metafilter experience via a "Hide Post" button.

Burn it down, folks. Burn it down and salt the earth.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:04 PM on January 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


I have less than zero interest in posts like that. Fortunately, they take up just about the same space on the front page as any other post, so they aren't hard to scroll past.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:04 PM on January 23, 2014 [45 favorites]


Nope. That's too much for MetaFilter. We're not Wikipedia without editors.
posted by Curious Artificer at 6:07 PM on January 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


If you don't click on the post about the thing you're not interested in, it doesn't take up any more or less space than another post. If you are interested in it, I can only assume it is absolutely delightful that someone took the time and effort to curate such a thing.

If you click on a post you're not interested in to discover further content you are not interested in... why are you doing that?
posted by griphus at 6:07 PM on January 23, 2014 [45 favorites]


As always, if a post does bother you, feel free to flag it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:11 PM on January 23, 2014


But that post, where the author cheerfully mentions that its a 25 page post and if you're not into that, then just move along, is not something I personally would not like to see on this site without further controls to to manage posts.

? It takes up only 8 lines on the front page. That said, I wouldn't mind the comments link going to like, the actual comments instead of the top of the post.
posted by lalex at 6:11 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Post was too short.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:13 PM on January 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


It's hard to flag a post when you can't even find where it ends (and I say that while genuinely appreciating all that JHarris contributes to the site, this isn't about him).
posted by Curious Artificer at 6:14 PM on January 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


the dude deserves credit for putting in a lot of time into making a definitive post on a subject

Does he? Isn't the site called MetaFilter? Is there supposed to be some kind of filtering done?
posted by crossoverman at 6:15 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is there supposed to be some kind of filtering done?

I think it's a fairly safe bet that 25 pages is nowhere near a comprehensive rundown of the Brony material available on the internet.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:17 PM on January 23, 2014 [25 favorites]


Is there supposed to be some kind of filtering done?

I speak with JHarris offsite on a regular basis and I can assure you the amount of time, work and enthusiasm he put into this post (as he does all of his posts of this nature) is something MetaFilter as a whole benefits from.
posted by griphus at 6:17 PM on January 23, 2014 [36 favorites]


The 'back' button on your browser is broken?

I snark, but for real. Someone doesn't like every post. If it gets to be so frequent that it's a major problem here, then let's talk.
posted by ctmf at 6:17 PM on January 23, 2014


It's okay not to click on things that do not interest you. There is no completion requirement here. Huge posts like that are, imo, inexpressibly tedious because no one is ever going to watch/read/absorb all the linked information, no one not ever. But it harms no one, and it's not like there is a finite amount of FPP space on mefi that is being used up unnecessarily.
posted by elizardbits at 6:18 PM on January 23, 2014 [12 favorites]


The biggest problem here is, what are we supposed to say in response to it?

Ultimately it's a stunt. The only rational response is "Wow, you sure put a lot of work into that." But is that really what Metafilter is about?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:18 PM on January 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


What the hell, folks. Just skim right by it. It's only a huge post if you, personally, choose to make it a huge post. It's stupid as hell to be mad at somebody for making a huge post when all you have to do for it to not be a huge post for you is to not choose for it to be a huge post for you.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:18 PM on January 23, 2014 [10 favorites]


But is that really what Metafilter is about?

yes, because here it is on metafilter. qed.
posted by elizardbits at 6:21 PM on January 23, 2014 [17 favorites]


If it's taking you a month to write a post, that sounds more like a project and should be created on separate site, then posted to Projects for someone else to post to the front page.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:21 PM on January 23, 2014 [10 favorites]


I speak with JHarris offsite on a regular basis and I can assure you the amount of time, work and enthusiasm he put into this post (as he does all of his posts of this nature) is something MetaFilter as a whole benefits from.

Yes, we all benefit from a discussion at that post where most people are just referencing how big the post is. It's a stunt post.

If it's taking you a month to write a post, that sounds more like a project and should be created on separate site, then posted to Projects for someone else to post to the front page.

This.
posted by crossoverman at 6:25 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


We need to be careful with mega-posts, the internet is running out of space and ascii text is extremely bandwidth-intensive oh wait it's not 1982 any more carry on.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:26 PM on January 23, 2014 [48 favorites]


If it's taking you a month to write a post, that sounds more like a project and should be created on separate site, then posted to Projects for someone else to post to the front page.

I agree with this pretty strongly, for what it's worth.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:26 PM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Does he? Isn't the site called MetaFilter? Is there supposed to be some kind of filtering done?

A filter isn't a full stop, which means sometimes stuff gets through. Most of the time it gets deleted, other times it's just ignored, every once in a while people complain, and rarely someone flounces out muttering darkly about how crass and uncool MeFi has become. In this case, I thought it was excessively long, but I just skipped over most of it. However, that was less because of the subject matter in general, and more because my experience with bronies has been almost universally negative after the initial wave of goofy geeky guys was overwhelmed by the creepily obsessive wierdos and/or the ones using it as an outlet for sexual violence. There's a whole post that could be made about the awful stuff like Princess Molestia, but given recent events, that'd spin off a MeTa or three itself.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:27 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yesterday, people were complaining about posts that only have one link. Today, other people are complaining about posts that have too many links. Therefore, on average, all posts are just right.
posted by dg at 6:27 PM on January 23, 2014 [13 favorites]


Haters, please explain how megaposts harm you personally or metafilter as a whole because apparently I am just too stupid to get it.
posted by elizardbits at 6:28 PM on January 23, 2014 [52 favorites]


Really, we should implement some sort of maximum "time spent crafting post" threshold?

I mean, megaposts in general are not my thing and this one in particular is DEFINITELY not for me, but I think MetaFilter benefits from having all sorts of posts. And we definitely benefit from having members who are willing to put this level of time and effort into crafting posts.
posted by lalex at 6:29 PM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


JHarris makes great posts. What would MetaFilter be without his posts? Not as interesting, I guess.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:32 PM on January 23, 2014 [10 favorites]


Yes, we all benefit from a discussion at that post where most people are just referencing how big the post is.

That would be an issue with the commenters, wouldn't it? I mean, if the commenting about how long it is is making it a stunt post, isn't this MeTa equally at fault?
posted by griphus at 6:32 PM on January 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


Everyone is just SO BUSY. We just DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THESE BIG POSTS. I am SO BUSY. How am I supposed to find the TIME in my BUSYNESS to read this BIG POST (because it is COMPULSORY to read and comment on ALL POSTS) when there are so many OTHER POSTS that I HAVE to read?
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:32 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


And that is one hell of a post.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:32 PM on January 23, 2014


Hey all. My idea was actually to *decrease* the total amount of pony on the front page, by putting it all into one post. And I'd have thought it not being December would have made this *more* acceptable, for obviously not trying to win anything.

If you don't like it then fine, but I refuse to apologize for it. If anything my High Weirdness By Mail post was *worse*, and people seemed to *like* that one.
posted by JHarris at 6:33 PM on January 23, 2014 [69 favorites]


Is there a Greasemonkey script that puts the [more inside] on the front page that EVERYBODY ELSE is using and I don't know about? Is that the explanation for why people are whining about how long the post is?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:34 PM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


The best thing about the post is that now no one else can ever make another pony post again until the end of time. JHarris has done us a magnificent service.
posted by elizardbits at 6:38 PM on January 23, 2014 [26 favorites]


The actual space it occupies on the front page is minimal or at least standard. I fail to see why people complain about it. Either you're interested in the subject matter and read it, or you're not and move on.

JHarris: I have no interest in MLP, but salute your scholarship regardless.
posted by arcticseal at 6:39 PM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't love huge posts because I don't really have time to wade through them. I much prefer 1-6 link posts which are generally manageable. However, I understand that many users like megaposts, so I'm happy for them to get some to read. Every post, its readers!
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:39 PM on January 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


The best thing about the post is that now no one else can ever make another pony post again until the end of time. JHarris has done us a magnificent service.

Under the megaponypost, the beach!
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:40 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's one page on Mefi. I don't understand why someone would NOT want people making efforts like JHarris did in this post.
posted by Roger Dodger at 6:44 PM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


relevant
posted by elizardbits at 6:44 PM on January 23, 2014 [19 favorites]


The "who is it hurting" and "it's not like there's a limited amount of MetaFilter" arguments are the same arguments made for posting any old news story, "you should read this", or, for that matter, today's weather report for Boise. No one's hurt by those posts, they're not offensive, and no one is forced to read them.

It's a stupid argument. It's just dumb.

If crazy-long megaposts are part of MeFi culture, one of the occasional things that we collectively think makes MeFi what it is and are welcomed by mefites, that's totally fine. That's why we talk about these things. People voice their opinions and decide what kinds of posts are cool and what kind of posts are uncool. This is how the process works.

Saying that no one can object to a post or a style of post unless, you know, they're harmed by it or we're about to run out of MetaFilter space is just stupid. Did I write that already? Yes? Well, it's still stupid.

I think this post is excessive. I'm totally okay with a consensus that it's acceptable. I'm okay with disagreement. I'm okay with other people who think it's excessive. What I'm not okay with is people saying that there's something wrong with raising the issue.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:47 PM on January 23, 2014 [34 favorites]


elizardbits: "Haters, please explain how megaposts harm you personally or metafilter as a whole because apparently I am just too stupid to get it."

I don't think they harm the site. I am a teeny bit concerned that people are going to think "that big posts are good posts" and think they have to pad out posts with thousands of words. I rarely bother with big posts and I'd be sad if posters started thinking they need to construct essays when posting.

Also there is a line where a poster can avoid a self link delete of a personal blog post by just posting the whole thing to the front page. This post is almost 13,000 words. Like some one said this might have been better as a Project post.

Previous discussion of a mega post that was constructed to take five minutes to read.
posted by Mitheral at 6:48 PM on January 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


JHarris: you mentioned that the post is "25 pages," but on MetaFilter it is obviously only one page. Are you referring to the text editor you used to write the post? What text editor do you use?

on topic, the post takes up eight lines on the front page (excluding the title and signature stamp, which all posts have), on my screen. The next longest post is "Maple Syrup Revolution: New Discovery Could Change the Business Forever," at seven lines. The most recent post of eight lines before that is "I was not going to allow the system to...take my identity away from me.," which is on the second page, sorted in reverse chronological order. The most recent post longer than eight lines on the front page is The King Of New Orleans, at eleven lines.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:49 PM on January 23, 2014


I think this post is excessive.

Says the guy whose longest comment is 18% the length of this post's text.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 6:51 PM on January 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich, I don't think it's that it's not ok to raise an issue. It's that it doesn't happen often enough to BE an issue. It's one post out of many per day.

I like that there are all kinds of posts. Long, short, SLYT, the occasional mystery post... Choosing one (non-offensive) post to complain about just seems weird, that's all.
posted by ctmf at 6:51 PM on January 23, 2014


Maybe the URLs make it 25 pages in Word or something.
posted by winna at 6:51 PM on January 23, 2014


The biggest problem here is, what are we supposed to say in response to it?

Evidently "WTF? TL;DR," since you seem to be incapable of not typing any damn fool thing that comes into your head.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:52 PM on January 23, 2014 [13 favorites]


The best thing about the post is that now no one else can ever make another pony post again until the end of time. JHarris has done us a magnificent service.

Right, so this is part of the problem. I know, I know, bare with me. There was a mega-post in December about Get Smart. I love Get Smart. One of my favourite shows ever. And it was too long to read. If there was gold in there, I missed it. If there was things in there that I never knew about the show, I missed it. Because someone makes a definitive post about something - especially at this level - I then have to go through and filter out the crud myself. (Or, if not crud, then the things I've already seen/read/know about.)

I have little interest in MLP, but I clicked on the "more inside" because I thought it might have been a post that gave a little more insight into the phenomenon. All that a post like that tells me is that there's a lot of fanwork. That's it. It doesn't focus on anything. It's meticulous, but no one will ever read it all or look at all the links.

We could all do definitive megaposts about things that interest us, but no one would read them and the discussion would always be about how big the post is rather than the substance of the post.

Say there is gold in there. Say there's something great that everyone should see that might give us insight into MLP fanwork - we're going to miss it now. And if someone wandering along the internet finds a link to do with MLP that might have made a great FPP, it'll either be deleted as a double - because it's in that mega post somewhere - or mods will ask the poster to "add it to the open MLP thread".

It's easy to say scroll past it or flag it and move on. Sure. But I'm trying to understand how it's not a Project. Or why the mods aren't all GYOB about it. Is it because JHarris spent a month composing it?
posted by crossoverman at 6:52 PM on January 23, 2014 [36 favorites]


elizardbits: "The best thing about the post is that now no one else can ever make another pony post again until the end of time. JHarris has done us a magnificent service."

See I perceive this as a negative. There are probably several really interesting links in that post that now count as previously linked material for the purpose of doubles. And I won't see them because I'm not spending the next three weeks following links in that post and they'll be deleted as doubles if anyone else posts them. It kind of takes the "Filter" out of "MetaFilter".
posted by Mitheral at 6:53 PM on January 23, 2014 [13 favorites]


Or on preview fail what crossoverman said.
posted by Mitheral at 6:55 PM on January 23, 2014


I am a teeny bit concerned that people are going to think "that big posts are good posts" and think they have to pad out posts with thousands of words.

I've always found this sort of thing a bit specious. The concept of how an FPP can be constructed is pretty limited. If posters, as a group, were getting into the habit of doing something with their FPPs, we'd have seen it emerge at least once in the last, what, 14 years or so? I think, if anything, the only real pattern to be seen is that posting style is heavily idiosyncratic and will remain so. If there was going to be an epidemic of this kind of posting or that, it would've come and gone by 2014.
posted by griphus at 6:56 PM on January 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


"Haters, please explain how megaposts harm you personally or metafilter as a whole because apparently I am just too stupid to get it."

Honestly, they do make me visit the Blue less than I otherwise would. Because I know that like a significant minority of posts are not something supercool on the web but are basically a blog post about someone's cultural obsession. MLP characters, Grateful Dead t-shirts, Malcolm Maclaren songs.

Which can be cool, but often isn't. Why not chuck that stuff on your own blog and post it to Projects? If other Mefites like it, they'll post it to the Blue.
posted by dontjumplarry at 6:57 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, there was the 'ending a post with a question' thing.
posted by ctmf at 6:57 PM on January 23, 2014


"Choosing one (non-offensive) post to complain about just seems weird, that's all."

I didn't post and wouldn't have posted to MeTa to complain about it. Someone did. Things which are marginal are the things that someone is going to think, hey, this is maybe a problem and let's see what other people think. That's how this post was phrased.

The same argument defending the post can defend this post. It's an edge case, MeTa exists to talk about this sort of thing.

"Says the guy whose longest comment is 18% the length of this post's text."

Is that supposed to be a defense of the post? :)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:00 PM on January 23, 2014


I like it when people who know an amazing amount about a subject put together a guided tour of their hobby. I felt like that Iron Chef post we had last month was great, for example. Broad, deep, but with plenty of handholding/comfortable places to jump in.

I hate it when people link every other word in a vaguely worded 2 sentence post, half of them being wikipedia articles. I hate when I don't know what the "main" link is. I don't bother trying to figure it out.

The difference between these two examples is one is curated, while the other expects me to do all the work about something I don't already care about.

JHarris' post is... a third thing. Like, I don't know, a reference tool? You have to already care, but it's super useful(?) if you do? I don't know. I don't care about MLP so I can't tell.
posted by danny the boy at 7:03 PM on January 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


... but no one would read them and the discussion would always be about how big the post is rather than the substance of the post...

... not something supercool on the web but are basically a blog post about someone's cultural obsession...

I suspect a big part of the issue people have with megaposts -- or SLYTs, or whatever sort of contentious post type we've seen around here -- is that, apparently, they are projecting their own reading habits and preferences onto the rest of the site and userbase. I have read through megaposts and commented in them in a way I feel is constructive. I think big posts about cultural obsessions are supercool when they align with my own. Other people clearly disagree, but "everyone this" and "nobody that" certainly doesn't speak for me, and if it doesn't speak for me, well, then it isn't everybody and nobody. And if it's going to be "most" rather than "everyone" or "hardly anyone" rather than "nobody," well, idiosyncrasy seems to be winning against consensus hands-down.
posted by griphus at 7:03 PM on January 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Is that supposed to be a defense of the post? :)

More of a "let's put this in perspective and drop the excessive piety." I don't think the post needs a defense.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 7:03 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Mega posts are my least favorite part of the site. But everyone gets to use the site however they want, so knock yourself out, mega posters. I'm sure I'll eat my words someday when I need to know every kind of twine there is.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:06 PM on January 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


How do I get JHarris interested in my fandoms because I would LOVE to see posts like this for the stuff I'm into.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:06 PM on January 23, 2014 [14 favorites]


I agree with Ivan Fyodorovich here - I'm not hating it, but I am saying its excessive. For the reasons that crossoverman says here, as well as for others, which will undoubtedly come to me at some point.
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:08 PM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ah, good; Mitheral already came up with those other reasons here.
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:11 PM on January 23, 2014


"25 pages": A couple of days ago I pasted the text into LibreOffice Writer. Apparently I didn't paste it all, but what made it was almost 22 pages. I estimated from there.

Also: the FPP implies that I copied and pasted it from other sources. I most certainly did not. Careful examination will reveal this.

Jacqueline: Tell me about them! MeMail is fine.

Curious Artificer: Again, no one complained about the HWBM post, I even won the Best Post contest that month with it. It does seem excessive, but more from a stance of personal sanity, I think, than suitability for Metafilter.
posted by JHarris at 7:12 PM on January 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's a stupid argument. It's just dumb.

No, your argument is stupid!

I'm sorry. That seemed like an appropriate thing to say in a dispute over Maximum Brony.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:20 PM on January 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


*frantically edits down homestuckendingmegapost.doc*
posted by emmtee at 7:23 PM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't have a problem with giant posts, although to me they usually seem more like works of art than like Cool Stuff on the Web. I never follow more than one or two links, but often more passionate commenters will point out their favorites so I can just come along and slurp up the cream after everybody else has filtered out the water. I personally prefer more focused posts, but as occasional set pieces I find megaposts kinda fun.

I'm not sure I like this one though. Not because of its length, but because I feel like it's pushing the "no editorializing" rule pretty hard. I don't feel like I am being shown something in hopes that I will find it interesting; instead, I feel like I am being persuaded to find something interesting by a fan who wants me to agree with him. I don't feel like I'm being left to make my own judgment about the quality of the subject matter.

Put another way, I think the post is in violation of the "important vs. interesting" guideline. As much as I respect the amount of work that went into this, it still seems like the poster thought that this was something we should want to see rather than something we would want to see. I'm not a fan of this post for that reason, and I wouldn't like to see that sentiment become more common here in posts of any size.
posted by Scientist at 7:36 PM on January 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


If there is any real downside to a MegaMonsterPost like that one, it is that it traumatizes a very small percentage of the audience into becoming unable to ever click on a [more inside] ever again. Now, if that percentage is over .0001, then we might have a measurable problem.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:39 PM on January 23, 2014


If you don't like it then fine, but I refuse to apologize for it. If anything my High Weirdness By Mail post was *worse*, and people seemed to *like* that one.

That post was amazing and brought back so many memories of my youth.

It's what inspired me to get a vanity plate for my truck that reads 'FNORD'.

You keep on keeping on, sir. If anyone gives you lip, get their names and I will poop on their heads.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:42 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


If there is any real downside to a MegaMonsterPost like that one, it is that it traumatizes a very small percentage of the audience into becoming unable to ever click on a [more inside] ever again.

Dear Mother,

the doctors say that I am recovering well & that I may be
allowed to return home to you within the month-
ev'ry day my eyes grow stronger and my sight grows more true
but do not allow my brother to follow where I could not go-
it is a dangerous land and no more shalt our blood be split there.

Yours respectfully
Sincerely
M. Filter
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:43 PM on January 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


It's what inspired me to get a vanity plate for my truck that reads ''.

Flagged as HTML/display error.
posted by griphus at 7:45 PM on January 23, 2014 [10 favorites]


Me in that post.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:45 PM on January 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Nope. That's too much for MetaFilter. We're not Wikipedia without editors.

I would be quite interested in seeing the scatterplot of space-separated-tokens-in-post vs. a-hrefs-in-post, plus maybe a regression line. Mods?
posted by Going To Maine at 7:51 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm going to chime in with those saying that the mega-posts are too much. Kliuless had an interesting looking post last week regarding income inequality, or at least that's what I think it was about because after the more inside bit it just went on and on. Lots of people, including myself, favorited the post but there were only 34 comments made total, and more than a few were simply remarking on the size of the post.

I understand that for an FPP the quality of the post matters more than the quality of the discussion but with these mega-posts I highly doubt that enough people actually go through the whole thing and follow the links to make any kind of informed decision on whether the mega-posts are of high quality or not.

An FPP containing a few selected links to JHarris' brony wiki or Kliuless' income inequality blog (via Projects of course) would have made the same content available and then given us windows to new places to explore and comment on at our leisure. Maybe discussion would flourish over time on some of the pages of those sites and everyone would benefit. Instead, 30 days are going to go by with very little added by the rest of the community before the post is closed to comments. To me, FPPs work better as introductions or highlights of resources as opposed to resources themselves. And the mega-posts make the FPP the resource.

Just say I want to save a few of the contained links for future enjoyment, I can't even use a favorite because coming back to it later on I'd have to wade through the entire thing to find those links again.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 7:52 PM on January 23, 2014 [10 favorites]


I don't think there's a problem with mega-posts per se, but something about this one in particular seems just too wikipedia/fan page to me. If I were to make an exhaustive fansite for my favorite TV show, and then self-linked it on MeFi, I'd be banned. But if instead of building my own site I just pasted all the content into an FPP, I'd be favorited like crazy? Because that's what I feel like is going on here. If this isn't GYOB, I don't know what is.
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 8:02 PM on January 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


How would being on projects be different from being on the blue, especially if you don't plan to read it either place?
posted by ctmf at 8:04 PM on January 23, 2014


If crazy-long megaposts are part of MeFi culture, one of the occasional things that we collectively think makes MeFi what it is and are welcomed by mefites, that's totally fine. That's why we talk about these things.
Thing is, we've talked about this very topic many times over the years. Remember the days when posts with a link on every letter were de rigeur? Some people hated them, some people loved them, most people just moved their mouse wheel a couple of clicks and read the next post instead. The post in question only differs in that the post text takes up more space after you click it. Long posts are good if you like them. SLYT posts are good if you like them. It's all good.
posted by dg at 8:07 PM on January 23, 2014


I generally don't mind highly-dense or super-dense posts because they aren't extremely common; the diversity of post types (single link, single media link, 3 links to different takes on the same topic, lots of links, lots of media links, super-mega-posts) is something that I like about Metafilter I didn't read this one because MLP is somthing I find myself profoundly uninterested in, even as a cultural phenomenon, but I've read super-dense-mega ones in the past that did spark my interest. I wouldn't want a front page full of them, but I like that they occasionally float by.

This topic has made me think about another aspect of this concern - Am I odd for taking some time on constructing my (granted, few) posts? The disdain for the amount of time spent on constructing the post is making me rethink my own habits.

I usually have a text-edit file in the background for composing a file, and I add and remove links from a post as I craft it on and off over a week or 10 days. I've done the occasional news-related item-centric posts (but even those are edited over a day or two), but I generally feel better about posts that I've put some serious thought into. Sometimes I'm scooped in that period of time, sometimes I decide that I don't have enough new content to make a worthwhile FPP in that period of time, and sometimes everything falls into place and I post.
posted by julen at 8:07 PM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm glad someone is "thinking of the children" here, but we're adults, and we can all protect ourselves from megaposts and enjoy them responsibly if that is our inclination.
posted by ignignokt at 8:07 PM on January 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Kliuless had an interesting looking post last week regarding income inequality, or at least that's what I think it was about because after the more inside bit it just went on and on. Lots of people, including myself, favorited the post but there were only 34 comments made total, and more than a few were simply remarking on the size of the post.

That FPP was incredibly frustrating to me. I'm in grad school studying economic inequality (as it relates to anti-poverty policy) and even I was completely overwhelmed by that post. There's a wealth of information in a FPP like that, and judging by the discussions that have gone on in other economic inequality-related threads, a lot of people are very interested in those topics -- but with a FPP so overwhelming and dense, it seems like people shut down and the air went out of the thread. Such a waste.

I think there's a sweet spot in terms of the amount of information that you want an FPP to have -- on the one hand, there has to be enough that there's something for people to learn about and discuss, but on the other hand, it can't be so overwhelming that nobody is able or willing to tackle it or it makes everybody feel as though they have nothing to add.

How would being on projects be different from being on the blue, especially if you don't plan to read it either place?

If the "project" links to something (as a reference for example), and the FPP links to the project, are all those links *within* the project now considered "doubles" and off limits for new FPPs?

If links/references within the project aren't considered doubles, then I think that would solve the "links going into the megapost black hole, never to be seen or discussed again" problem, which is personally my biggest/only probably with megaposts.

This topic has made me think about another aspect of this concern - Am I odd for taking some time on constructing my (granted, few) posts? The disdain for the amount of time spent on constructing the post is making me rethink my own habits.

I have a whole folder on my desktop filled with *comments* that I decided not to post but couldn't bear to toss completely because of how much time I'd spent writing them. No worries.
posted by rue72 at 8:10 PM on January 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


Man, I am way past caring pro or con about anything people do on this site, but the mega-posts make me laugh because you could have somebody put in the same amount of compiling effort, put it on "their own website", have Metafilter "link" to that website, and BOOM: Y2K best of the web. Nostalgia is magic! Well hey I think so.

I did enjoy the Iron Chef megapost of course, but only Iron Chef can be Iron Chef.
posted by furiousthought at 8:13 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


An FPP containing a few selected links to JHarris' brony wiki or Kliuless' income inequality blog (via Projects of course) would have made the same content available and then given us windows to new places to explore and comment on at our leisure. Maybe discussion would flourish over time on some of the pages of those sites and everyone would benefit. Instead, 30 days are going to go by with very little added by the rest of the community before the post is closed to comments.

I kind of feel you on this, but:

- I don't think lots of discussion adds up to a good post. Some of the worst posts have the most comments.

- That is the way I feel about any weekly magazine. I cannot read them all, and in some ways, that's frustrating. However, some people can read a good chunk of each issue, so it's still worth it for, say, the New Yorker, to keep doing what it's doing. Since MetaFilter is free to read, there's nothing wrong with checking out only one or two links from a megapost. Or even a medium post.
posted by ignignokt at 8:13 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


The biggest problem here is, what are we supposed to say in response to it?

Ultimately it's a stunt. The only rational response is "Wow, you sure put a lot of work into that." But is that really what Metafilter is about?


Well, no, presumably if you make a megapost you want to actually discuss some of the stuff in that megapost and other people who are also interested in the subject of that megapost will discuss it with you. It's fine if you're not interested! I'm not, so I mostly just marveled at it and moved on. But if I was an MLP fan, you can bet I'd be excited to talk about some of the links.

I do think there's a point to be made about making a post too dense a la that income inequality post, but it's not like the occasional megapost or overly dense post is a pernicious cancer upon Metafilter.
posted by yasaman at 8:16 PM on January 23, 2014


ctmf: "How would being on projects be different from being on the blue, especially if you don't plan to read it either place?"

Projects is designed for self links to your own projects. A post that takes a month to compose arguably is a project.

julen: "Am I odd for taking some time on constructing my (granted, few) posts? The disdain for the amount of time spent on constructing the post is making me rethink my own habits."

Nope, I have a few hours of work over several days into most of my posts fine tuning the voice and phrasing.
posted by Mitheral at 8:17 PM on January 23, 2014


How would being on projects be different from being on the blue, especially if you don't plan to read it either place?

If this was a Project, it would probably be broken out into separate pages or posts at a blog or on a website - much easier to digest things that way. I mean, nobody/most people don't post "24 page" posts on their own website or blog as one page/entry.

And if it was a Project, and someone posted it to the front page, they might link to a couple of highlight posts or pages - curating the links in a way that JHarris hasn't in this case.
posted by crossoverman at 8:23 PM on January 23, 2014


Projects is designed for self links to your own projects. A post that takes a month to compose arguably is a project.

Essays or blog posts aren't really what it's about here. We're talking larger stuff, like whole sites.
posted by ignignokt at 8:24 PM on January 23, 2014


Essays or blog posts aren't really what it's about here. We're talking larger stuff, like whole sites.

There is a website worth of information in that FPP.
posted by crossoverman at 8:26 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Eh, it's not like it's December, when I really do get a bit sick if everyone having a length competition with each other.
posted by Artw at 8:28 PM on January 23, 2014


If it's taking you a month to write a post, that sounds more like a project and should be created on separate site, then posted to Projects for someone else to post to the front page.

Bullshit. People should spend as much time as they like crafting a post. One line, five minute posts do not a good Metafilter make. If anything, the post being discussed probably would have benefitted from more time on the editing table, not less.

The long and short and even longer of it is that no one is forcing you to read this site. No one is making you scroll through the page. If your biggest objection is that it took a while to scroll down to flag the post, then suck it up, that's pretty weak.

...Apparently I have Strong Feelings about this.
posted by maryr at 8:33 PM on January 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


If there was going to be an epidemic of this kind of posting or that, it would've come and gone by 2014.

I don't have a problem with megaposts (hello i'm rhaomi i don't believe we've met), but I will give it to critics of the form that such posts have been on a steady rise in recent years. Looking at the Infodumpster's stats for longest posts of all time, for example, for all posts above ~8000 characters (about ten lengthy paragraphs, or a buttload of links):

1999: 0 posts
2000: 0 posts
2001: 1 post
2002: 2 posts
2003: 5 posts
2004: 2 posts
2005: 6 posts
2006: 1 post
2007: 10 posts
2008: 18 posts
2009: 20 posts
2010: 62 posts
2011: 76 posts
2012: 110 posts
2013: 86 posts

So, a bit of a correction last year, but a clear upward trend overall.

Interestingly, apart from the stray "every letter is a link!" stunt, all "megaposts" from 2005 and earlier were actually posts by y2karl making liberal use of the abbr tag to embed verbose explanatory tooltips. The modern essay-like, wall-of-text megapost did not really appear until late 2007, arguably starting with the_very_hungry_caterpillar's Nick Cave retrospective, followed by a weird re-appropriation of a Wikipedia article on The Killing Joke (sign of things to come?) and, oddly, a re-post of similar magnitude. They started to become de rigueur in 2008 -- I got bit by the bug with my Cartoon Network megapost and never looked back, and I suspect it's sidebarring/Best Post winning bolstered the concept of exhaustiveness/length equaling quality. It continues to skyrocket from there.

(Note that the Infodumpster does not account for posts that substituted the first comment for the [more inside]. There may be more early examples of the form it doesn't catch. Perhaps a megapost on this topic is in order!)

Personally, I think megaposts are a unique and valuable example of Mefi culture, on a web where so many other sites chase listicles and viral short-form content. If only we could see more such curation across the wider web. Reddit, for instance, doesn't even count upvotes/karma gained from link-heavy self/text posts.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:45 PM on January 23, 2014 [19 favorites]


Who has this kind of time?
posted by cjorgensen at 8:45 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


"One line, five minute posts do not a good Metafilter make."

What? Sure they do. A good post is a link or links to something that many/most mefites are happy to learn about. That can be a mega-post, a single-link post, a SLYT post, a SLNYT post, a five-link post, or a mystery post, or whatever.

I really don't like the idea of emphasizing carefully crafted posts because that points in the direction of posts being about the poster and not about the community who wants to read them. The criterion should simply be whether the post is something that lots of mefites are interested in, not how much effort went into it. This isn't a performance.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:55 PM on January 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


To clarify: not that there's anything wrong with carefully crafting posts. All things equal, a carefully crafted post is probably going to be better in some sense than one that isn't carefully crafted. But that's only secondary. The content of the post, what it links to, is primary and its quality is sufficient. Everything else is gravy.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:57 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Projects is designed for self links to your own projects. A post that takes a month to compose arguably is a project.

Arguably. Functional difference?

it would probably be broken out into separate pages or posts at a blog or on a website - much easier to digest things that way.

Pagination? That's really what this is about?

Bookmark the page with pinboard or whatever. Come back to it at your leisure. Or don't. I honestly don't get why so many people are fixated on this once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence.

I can kind of buy the editorialization criticism, but the length thing is purely personal preference and it's extremely unlikely the mods are going to impose a limit. I mean, you can ask the community to maybe think about not doing that, but some fraction of people are still going to want to. And there we are, same as now.
posted by ctmf at 8:58 PM on January 23, 2014


What? Sure they do. A good post is a link or links to something that many/most mefites are happy to learn about. That can be a mega-post, a single-link post, a SLYT post, a SLNYT post, a five-link post, or a mystery post, or whatever.

I'm completely okay with megapost, even if it's not my thing. But this idea that a single link can't be a great post for metafilter needs to die. It's never been that way from day one, and I have no idea where people get this idea.
posted by justgary at 9:00 PM on January 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


People are fixated because the OP put forth that there is a consensus that good posts are long posts. Not everyone agrees in the specific, or limited, or exclusionary or general case.
posted by Mitheral at 9:03 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, I missed that. I don't agree with that statement (unqualified) either.
posted by ctmf at 9:06 PM on January 23, 2014


"One line, five minute posts do not a good Metafilter make."

Yes, I did say that. If you'll take a look at my posting history, you'll see I clearly do not mean that to be a hard fast rule. I have absolutely no problem with single link posts that take less than five minutes to compose.

That said, I think one should wait more than five minutes after discovering single link before posting them. Seriously. Wait a little. What's the worst that happens - someone beats you to the link? The same link that everyone in your Facebook/Twitter/email list/office/dorm/etc is talking about is not a good Metafilter post. Unless all your Twitter friends are Mefites. Then it's kinda unavoidable.

I think Metafilter has room for single link, single sentence posts AND giant megaposts. I am not complaining about either.
posted by maryr at 9:10 PM on January 23, 2014


elizardbits: "Huge posts like that are, imo, inexpressibly tedious because no one is ever going to watch/read/absorb all the linked information, no one not ever."

You'd be surprised. People have literally memailed and emailed me two or three years after the fact about individual links in some of my longer posts, or to simply ask questions. I posted something on 3-2-1 Contact back in 2010 and someone emailed me about it over the weekend. I literally had to go back and look up what was in it because I've posted hundreds of FPP's since then and damned if I could remember anything about it other than, "I once made a post about 3-2-1 Contact." On top of that, a small number of people have emailed me recently about some of the posts I made back in December to talk about how much they've watched and are enjoying them. Which is rather nice.

arcticseal: " JHarris: I have no interest in MLP, but salute your scholarship regardless."

Same. :)

crossoverman: "Right, so this is part of the problem. I know, I know, bare with me. There was a mega-post in December about Get Smart. I love Get Smart. One of my favourite shows ever. And it was too long to read. If there was gold in there, I missed it. If there was things in there that I never knew about the show, I missed it. Because someone makes a definitive post about something - especially at this level - I then have to go through and filter out the crud myself. (Or, if not crud, then the things I've already seen/read/know about.)"

I made that post.

On purpose, I broke it up into sections with bolded headers, used asterisks as bullets to create sublists, and added a bunch of show-appropriate jokes throughout to make it more appealing and less boring to people who were sifting through it. I deliberately and very carefully took the time to organize everything being presented in that post so it would be more readable.

In other words, I filtered the info for people's consumption.

It wasn't for you, and that's fine. But if you're saying it wasn't carefully constructed, then no, I'd have to disagree.
posted by zarq at 9:16 PM on January 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


Rhaomi: " So, a bit of a correction last year, but a clear upward trend overall."

When did blasdelb join again? :)
posted by zarq at 9:20 PM on January 23, 2014


Eh, it's not like it's December, when I really do get a bit sick if everyone having a length competition with each other.

Winter is like the worst time to have a length competition.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:27 PM on January 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Big posts occasionally have neat stuff I like to read, but I find that they often are the ones I send to people who don't read metafilter themselves, because they tend to be a really good compilation of groups of information done in an interesting way. Every few weeks one comes along where I might click on a couple of the links out of curiosity but know the entire thing will be of interest to someone in my family and I pass it along to them.
posted by NoraReed at 9:30 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes, but did that post have brony tails?
posted by planetesimal at 9:30 PM on January 23, 2014


But if you're saying it wasn't carefully constructed, then no, I'd have to disagree.

No, I didn't mean to suggest that. I think it's better constructed than this MLP post. But I was using that as an example of something I'm explicitly interested in - and it was still too long (for my taste) and I would hate to think that I missed something in there because you decided to create a mega-post.

People are fixated because the OP put forth that there is a consensus that good posts are long posts.

I appreciate that this was a generalisation I didn't need to make. But I'm glad I made it because the thread has cleared up the ways that I am wrong about that generalisation.
posted by crossoverman at 9:33 PM on January 23, 2014


but I refuse to apologize for it.

Please don't. I say that in all seriousness, and aside from the fact that I didn't see anyone asking for an apology, because if you felt like one was being hinted for then that's enough for me to think that the critique may not be, overall, as kosher as it could be.

Again, no reason for you to apologize and I for one am sorry you even had a hint that it was something folks would be fishing for or waiting to hear.

That post was awesome. Without a hard character limit for all posts/across the front page, and that's what is really being advocated for/questioned here (or if not that then what?), I don't see the basis for anyone feeling like their post isn't just as legit as the next SYLT of dogs frolicking or birds doing something bird-ish or wall of text on the history of *insert comic book cannon here* or the thesis on the Apollo-era US Space Program. I can't help but read this as a weird pseudo-mashup of the following complaints:

"I think this is too long",
"I think you used formatting that needs addressing by the community at large", and (sadly, possibly)
"This post isn't about a thing I enjoy or even approve of so I shall look down my nose upon it".

I hope the last one isn't the case but the pony/brony conversations get intense fast around here*. Honestly the only one I can give some credit to is the middle concern about formatting and pull quotes and even that seems a bit inflated because I'd rather have pull quotes to gimme an idea of what a given link is talking about or focusing on.

And the content is good, nowhere near wikipedia format/styling/level in my opinion. I guess the fact that someone went to the trouble to put it together (kudos again JHarris, it indeed looks and reads much better than some posts I've seen come and go without comment) combined with the fact that there's no hard rule against them from the mods or community alongside the fact that the content type isn't *exactly* an unknown/unappreciated thing around here makes post fine -> great in my book, no complaints, would skim again, A++++ poster and all that jazz.

* Full Disclosure: I'm not a MLP fan at all, but it is fun to read about fandom at this level for some things. Kinda felt like this needed to be mentioned, although I'm not really sure why...
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:50 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


MLP just doesn't interest me, but I love the fact that people are willing to go all out to create in-depth FFPs about the things that interest them. Maybe, someday, someone will write a post that deep about something I do like, and I'll spend as much time as I'm able to meander through.

If, say, someone were to put together something about Jim Henson (not just the epic Muppet Show post, but everything), or, say, the convoluted and fascinating history of Robotech and the politic chaos caused by the invasion of the clans, and the fallout thereof (you could replace Robotech with the World of Darkness setting) and I'd read it like I read threads about EVE Online. Just sayin'.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:57 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


It'd be hard to do something like that with the WoD setting because the totality of WoD materials resemble a clam: a bunch of gross stuff surrounding a lovely pearl.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:20 PM on January 23, 2014


I'd read it like I read threads about EVE Online.

Keep your eyes on metatalk, I've got one in the works for a happy announcement regarding EVE Online as it relates to mefites. T-minus a month or so to go.

posted by RolandOfEld at 10:21 PM on January 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the well-wishes everyone (or at least those who thought to offer them). And yet, I still can't help but think the post was a failure. Because the entire point was to introduce the fandom to non-bronies.

That's why I spent so much space on a glossary. That's why all that opening matter. That's why the statement about not needing to absorb it all at once, but coming back to it once in a while. That's why the post.

I said I spent a month on it, but that seems slight compared to the sweat I expended over it. And despite that, it seems like it's just fans who have even bothered looking at it. Several people have said something to the effect of I don't like MLP, but I'm glad for those who do, when really I was hoping you might have a look at it anyway, and see that the fandom really isn't composed entirely, or even mostly, of sad perverts.

Maybe I could have composed it better, but really, it was the composing of it that took most of the time, I had this thing up in git to keep versions straight. And I still cannot help but think, despite all the words spent trying to assure us it's the length, that it's still really the content that's the objection. A year and a half ago I made the longest post in Metafilter history on a semi-obscure book of obsolete addresses of kooks, and it went over better than a post on a fandom that's one of the largest subcultures on the internet today. I really think this would have gone better if I had written it on juggalos.
posted by JHarris at 10:53 PM on January 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


People have literally memailed and emailed me two or three years after the fact about individual links in some of my longer posts, or to simply ask questions.

I still can't help but think the post was a failure. Because the entire point was to introduce the fandom to non-bronies.

If a post is so exhaustive that it takes people years (or even days, frankly) to get through the links, then by the point that a critical mass of people has managed to go through the links well enough to finally have a substantive/interesting/relevant discussion about the post, the thread has already sunk far, far away from the front page and is likely even archived. That essentially means there can't be a community discussion of that subject, at least not using the resources/links in the megapost (which are likely the best resources out there, or maybe even the only resources out there -- which is why they're in the megapost!). And at that point, one of the few ways that people who have finally read through the megapost and have something to say about the subject can communicate about or discuss those (lovingly curated) links is to memail the one person who compiled those links in the first place?

To me, that means that the person who compiled the FPP ended up drowning out all discussion (of what is likely his own favorite subject!), or at least all discussion springing from the best links/resources he found on that subject. The FPP poster has also (inadvertently, I assume) installed himself as the resident expert, and all discussion about that subject, at least using those resources, is very soon going to be mediated through him (via memail, etc, once the FPP has slipped off the front page and/or archived) and separated from the rest of the community -- which means that nobody else gets the benefit of that discussion or the chance to join in except in a way that's mediated through the FPP poster.

I know those megaposts represent a massive amount of care, love and effort, and I'm not trying to knock those posts or the people who write them. They can be great resources, many people enjoy them, they obviously have a place on the site. But personally, I think that their value as resources is at the expense of the community and discussion aspects of the site. I'm not saying nobody should write megaposts, I'm saying that I think it's worth considering *when writing megaposts* that exhaustiveness of research and community involvement are often at odds with one another when it comes to how people interact with the links/posts/resources and that more of one of those things will likely mean less of the other.
posted by rue72 at 11:11 PM on January 23, 2014 [13 favorites]


That was a fantastic stunt megapost and I hope it never happens again.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:13 PM on January 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


I am genuinely glad I am too far past it to have been exposed to this particular phenomenon but think JHarris's FPP is absolutely awesome and can only hope for a post half as exhaustive about a subject I would gratefully spend my dwindling days devouring. There is something for everyone at MetaFilter and I love you all.
posted by Anitanola at 11:13 PM on January 23, 2014


It's ponies with ass tatts, man. People aren't usually ready to dive into a deep pool of magical ass-tatted ponies unless they're already ready to dive into a deep pool of magical ass-tatted ponies.
posted by planetesimal at 11:13 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


And yet, I still can't help but think the post was a failure. Because the entire point was to introduce the fandom to non-bronies.

Then a single link to a relevant medium-length article or short video would have sufficed.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 11:18 PM on January 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


One link for every post. Just one.
posted by mazola at 11:23 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


A single ping, Vasily?
posted by planetesimal at 11:41 PM on January 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


"...that it's still really the content that's the objection."

I can't speak for anyone else, but I have no opinion whatsoever on MLP. I'm as oblivious to MLP and everything related as I am to women's fashion, the ecology of temperate swamps, and the history of alpine skiing. Which is to say that I don't object to posts about MLP or these other things; in fact, I'm always happy to learn something interesting about a subject I know nothing about.

But, again, speaking only for myself, a mega-post just isn't going to do that for me. If I were interested in that much content about MLP or any other topic, I'd go find it myself. It's not hard. I do it all the time, as a matter of fact. Three-quarters of my time on the internet (which is most of my time, when I'm not reading a book) is exploring subjects that interest me.

So, to me, a mega-post is like a fan site or some other web resource about a topic that is of interest to me only if I've already determined that I'm motivated to learn more about something and spend time reading about it.

A mega-post is not going to inspire me to be motivated to learn more about something — although that's one thing that I hope for MeFi posts (among other things) to do for me. And for that to work, I need one or two or three things, at most, that are especially interesting and I know that the poster thinks they're especially interesting because they selected it among all the other possible things they might have posted.

If you stop by my house and give me the Encyclopedia of All Things My Little Pony, I wonder why in the world you're giving me an encyclopedia about a topic I have no familiarity with or interest in. If you stop by my house and drop off a really good magazine article about My Little Pony, I'll probably read the magazine article because you said that it's very interesting.

I completely skip mega-posts, without fail. If your aim is to introduce a topic to the community, in my case it's not working when in the form of a mega-post.

Other people are different.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:44 PM on January 23, 2014 [20 favorites]


JHarris, I think if you want to introduce a new topic to someone, an enormous wall of information is a little intimidating. I don't know much about MLP fan creations. I am vaguely interested, but this is like a whole day investment to read your post, since just reading it without watching any of the videos is missing the point, right? I got a few paragraphs and about 20 minutes of video footage in before just giving up. I don't know if I just need more context, or something, but that wasn't enough to hook me.

There's over 150 youtube links in that post, plus a bunch to other video sites. That is like two per every single episode of MLP. I think a lot of people would be better served with a post that highlights maybe the most interesting or funny or cute or whatever 15 links. Maybe with an additional link for where to find more. Because whatever highlights there are, totally get lost in all the enormous quantity of information and links. Instead of "look this stuff is really interesting" the message I get is "look there sure is a lot of this stuff".
posted by aubilenon at 11:51 PM on January 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


Upon posting without preview: Yeah, what Ivan said.
posted by aubilenon at 11:52 PM on January 23, 2014


I browse metafilter for cool links, but also (and possibly primarily) community discussion. I enjoy posts where people have things to say about them. I don't have the time for mega posts, and am generally speaking happy for them to fly by.

My problem is the same as that up thread: what if there were 2 or 3 really good articles/sites linked in a mega post? I am extremely unlikely to search for and find them in said post, and there will never be a post with them in again, because the mega post has devoured them as a sacrifice to its might.

Then again, there are lots of good links I just never click on because I don't notice them, so I don't think its the worst problem in the world. I just think either mega posts could make several posts, or they have too much cruft.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:58 PM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


JHarris, I think if you want to introduce a new topic to someone, an enormous wall of information is a little intimidating.

It is, yes, it is. It was a tactic I was trying. So many other things failed to work, I thought, let's try this.
posted by JHarris at 11:59 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm a big fan of flagging and move on, but since nobody asked me for my opinion, it seems as if one of the original guiding forces of MetaFilter is no self-linking, and that these megaposts have a quality of self-promotion to them that lesser posts do not have. They are not strictly about driving you to content; they are content themselves.

I'm all for JHarris contributing to this site as he sees fit, it's just that MetaFilter doesn't really lend itself to these megaposts in any particularly useful way. You can't favorite one link out of the hundreds listed to access later; it's hard to absorb or talk about all of it. The formatting is kind of shit, in particular I don't like the glossary at the end. And the headings and sub-headings are really hard to follow.

Ok, that and I really don't give a flying fuck about My Little Pony. The truth is, if this were about a subject I cared about, I would have really appreciated somebody putting this much effort into a post, so my hat is sincerely off to you. Internet burnout is a thing for me, and MetaFilter is my go-to place that keeps the internet amazing to me. I think it would be interesting, if the mods wanted to encourage these types of posts, that they open up some new formatting options to us users.
posted by phaedon at 11:59 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


that it's still really the content that's the objection.

No. Not from my point of view. The reason I clicked on the [more inside] was because I wanted to read the whole post before clicking on the links. And your wall of information stopped me in my tracks.

So many other things failed to work, I thought, let's try this.

What other things failed to work? What does this mean?
posted by crossoverman at 12:01 AM on January 24, 2014


If I had been a mod first seeing JHarris's post, I woulda been like "yeah, no" *delete*.

Reason for deletion: This is not a good post for Metafilter.
posted by jayder at 12:18 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


So many other things failed to work, I thought, let's try this.

What other things failed to work? What does this mean?


Ha ha ha ha LOL

I was wondering the same thing.

I love it when people ask these obvious questions that no one really thinks to ask, but are damned good questions.
posted by jayder at 12:22 AM on January 24, 2014


It means it seems to be difficult to even broach the subject without getting overwhelmed with negativity. I post things on Metafilter when I see something interesting that I think people would like if they knew more about it. Those things that have an energy to them. It's not always easy to find a way to bring that out, to communicate that which makes it interesting. I wanted to see if I could find a way to get across that interest. It's just a difficult topic to introduce, on Metafilter or elsewhere.

Since a number of people have complained about the formatting, I should explain: my first attempt at formatting it was to use nested bulleted lists. I found out on preview that you can't use line breaks in lists (I don't know if that's Metafilter or HTML in general) and that turned the post into even more of a wall of text than it looks like now, just completely impenetrable, every bullet essentially an undifferentiated paragraph. And the different nested levels of topics meant I had to create headings and bullets manually, or find some other solution. I could have gone with an additional nested level beneath each item to explain it, but that'd require a litter of additional <ul> tags and I was already approaching the limit of my brain to keep the formatting straight with link tags.
posted by JHarris at 12:24 AM on January 24, 2014


I know that for any mega posts I might be inclined to make in the future, the lesson I'm taking away from this is, pick a few links that are genuinely exceptional and leave the rest to link later in comments if they seem appropriate.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:26 AM on January 24, 2014 [11 favorites]


Megaposts are fine, gigaposts could maybe stand if they were good enough, but I think we need to draw a hard line at teraposts and above.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:26 AM on January 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


I said I spent a month on it, but that seems slight compared to the sweat I expended over it. And despite that, it seems like it's just fans who have even bothered looking at it.

Thanks for doing it. I'm reading the doujinshi comics you linked to and enjoying them. I don't think I'd have found them in any other context than a megapost.

I feel that people who don't care for this stuff should spend their time contributing to threads of stuff they find interesting rather than spending their time fussing about stuff they're not interested in.

"Just click the back button and move along."
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:26 AM on January 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


I like these long posts on occasion, so that I can favorite them for days I'm in the hospital for observation or waiting for a car repair.
posted by davejay at 12:34 AM on January 24, 2014


I am reminded that I am old enough to have grandkids. And also reminded how happy I am that I don't.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:37 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't care about brownies, my little pony, and don't find this (or any post) on the subject worth my time.

But I am glad JHarris posted this, and I have appreciated his megaposts of the past (High Weirdness for the win!), and appreciate everyone that makes quality magaposts. If I'm not interested, I do the same as I do for single link one sentence posts that don't interest me - don't read them nor follow their link(s).

So thanks so much for your incredible effort JHarris, you rock!

And if mods started deleting posts like this, soon folks would give up writing ambitious posts, which would be a great loss to the blue.
posted by el io at 12:42 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


JHarris: "It means it seems to be difficult to even broach the subject without getting overwhelmed with negativity. I post things on Metafilter when I see something interesting that I think people would like if they knew more about it. Those things that have an energy to them. It's not always easy to find a way to bring that out, to communicate that which makes it interesting. I wanted to see if I could find a way to get across that interest. It's just a difficult topic to introduce, on Metafilter or elsewhere."


Do you mean the topic of bronie-dom? Or something else? Because there are more than 30 posts tagged with "mylittlepony" so I don't think this is actually a topic that metafilter is unfamiliar with... I sympathize with wanting people to love what you love and thinking if they only knew all the things you knew, they would love it too... but that seems to cross the line from "sharing your enthusiasm" to "agenda".

And I don't think doing the equivalent of dropping a 5000 page brochure on our desks is gonna do it...


I wanted to write "there are over 30 posts so I think this is pretty well-trod ground you're covering".
posted by danny the boy at 1:13 AM on January 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


re: my earlier speculation:

[Megaposts] started to become de rigueur in 2008 -- I got bit by the bug with my Cartoon Network megapost and never looked back, and I suspect it's sidebarring/Best Post winning bolstered the concept of exhaustiveness/length equaling quality. It continues to skyrocket from there.

Looking at the Infodumpster again for the same set of data (posts above ~8000 characters), breaking the totals out by month shows the various Best Post contests are largely responsible for the recent spike in megaposts:

JAN: 29 posts
FEB: 26 posts
MAR: 24 posts
APR: 25 posts
MAY: 28 posts
JUN: 21 posts
JUL: 24 posts
AUG: 46 posts
SEP: 36 posts
OCT: 29 posts
NOV: 29 posts
DEC: 83 posts

Recall that there have been two August best-of contests (2006 and 2012), and of course the now-regular December Best Post Contest (2006, 2008, and annually since 2010). Of the 400 lengthiest MeFi posts, these two months contributed nearly one-third, with December alone accounting for more than 20%.

Perhaps the recent shift to tiered, "MeFite's Choice" contests will tilt December content more toward medium- and short-form posts -- it may have already started to have an effect, judging by the dip in 2013 totals -- but I reckon the idea of megaposts as the ideal FPP form to strive for is pretty deeply ingrained at this point.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:36 AM on January 24, 2014


So, a bit of a correction last year, but a clear upward trend overall.

In the absolute number of megaposts published, yes, but how does this trend relate to the overall growth of Metafilter? Because it makes a helluva difference if there are 80+ megaposts on a total of say 1000 posts overall, or 10000 posts.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:24 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


the entire point was to introduce the fandom to non-bronies

I tried MLP one time because of this MeFi post, didn't think much of the show, and looked at its fandom with a sense that, well, I sort of get it by analogy with things I do like, but you know. Now, I've followed over 10% of the links in your post because they seemed to be 'deep cuts' that raised questions about what makes MLP interesting to an aficionado instead of being obviously likable to anyone. I get constant feeds of accessible but unmemorable content from literally a dozen other aggregator sites, and I appreciate that you've done something much more interesting than that.

It seems to me, at least, that you've tried to present something quasi-ethnographic. I hear the evaluative tone that others hear in it too, but not the proselytization--the evaluations strike me as coming from an everybrony POV, just framing the links with how an insider sees things, while commenting repeatedly that you know it isn't for everyone. And that rises well above what I think of as a 'blog' post. Of course, it's also more condensed than a wiki or independent site about this stuff would be: anyone who bothered to look at your "sources" links would have to agree you've barely scratched the surface of it, and if someone wants to go to a whole site about MLP, you've linked to a ton of them.

I also think you did a fine job of organizing the post to minimize the time someone would spend on realizing what it was about and whether it was for them. The stuff above the fold seems like a meaningful sample of what's below. I don't know why anyone would open it up if they didn't like those links.

All my life, I've heard people complain about texts that are stylistically and rhetorically "excessive" ... It's too long. It's not clear enough. It's nonsense. It's too hard. The prose is bad. It's too obscure. It's opaque. It's intimidating. It uses too much jargon ... Very often, those complaints are accompanied by jeopardy/perversity arguments about the ills of not being accessible. And typically, it's all horseshit. The understandable problem is that a difficult text may waste some readers' time (though yours shouldn't, since the abstract is brief and representative). But pretty much all the other jeopardy/perversity arguments are garbage. Discussion will be stifled? How is that your fault, and why should you care about welcoming chatter, as long as your post has readers? People aren't going to be able to favorite individual links in your post? Have browsers suddenly stopped shipping bookmark managers or find-in-page hotkeys? Etc.

Just forget it, and keep doing your thing. Pretty much every link on this site masks an opinion about what's worth sharing. Compared to most politics/newsfilter/ragefilter FPPs, yours was practically value neutral--at worst, we only have to share the value of thinking that someone else's whole subculture or lifeworld is worth taking in at once. I guess either there's an audience here that does think that's worthwhile, or else I'm probably in the wrong place myself.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 2:30 AM on January 24, 2014 [20 favorites]


JHarris, I enjoy the show (and grew up with the originals) but am super wary and weary of brony culture. However, I'm a huge fandom nerd in other (just as troublesome) areas and I'd love, love to be able to enjoy a curated best-of-MLP:FiM fandom selection, with hyperlinked glossary, summaries, and reasons for curation, etc. I'd love to be able to link small portions of this to other fandom friends, too. I'd especially love it if this curation was coming from a known source such as yourself. In short I suspect I was your intended ideal audience for that post. But dang I couldn't find a single link to click on once I scrolled the more inside. My eyes glazed over immediately. I didn't even realize there was a glossary until skimming this MeTa.

You should make it a blog, with weekly or monthly themed posts full of links and interesting related things. There, you could use any kind of formatting you want, you could make your own rules for comments, and your hard work could be expanded on or edited for as long as it held your interest. I would love it. I would vote for it on Projects. I would link it to my friends. But I'm absolutely not going to be reading that post. I don't want your work to go to waste, and there's definitely no rule saying that you can't reiterate post content on your own personal website. It could be a wonderful resource to help people enjoy something that is clearly important to you.
posted by Mizu at 2:35 AM on January 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


The post is well organized and laid out as are, oddly enough, most mega posts here. I don't think long posts will be a problem until this isn't true.
posted by klarck at 2:56 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I salute your effort on that fpp JHarris. Posts like that look like serious work, though there is a pleasure in making them too I'm sure, credit for admitting its flaws. Ultimately, it is quality that matters, not quantity. However, when someone consistently puts that sort of energy into a community it should be admired and encouraged I reckon.

...A year and a half ago I made the longest post in Metafilter history on a semi-obscure book of obsolete addresses of kooks...

This could be the opening line to a fine novel.
posted by 0 answers at 3:00 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


In the absolute number of megaposts published, yes, but how does this trend relate to the overall growth of Metafilter? Because it makes a helluva difference if there are 80+ megaposts on a total of say 1000 posts overall, or 10000 posts.

According to stats at Waxy.org, the FPP posting rate has remained remarkably steady even as comment rates have fluctuated wildly -- following steady early growth and a brief spike after 9/11, FPPs stayed between about 600 and 800 posts per month from 2002 all the way through 2009. Querying the site archives for various months since then suggest it's risen only modestly since, to a monthly rate of about 800-1000. Compare with the number of megaposts, which lagged in the teens (and largely the work of one or two posters) as late as 2008 before zooming into the dozens and then over a hundred by 2012.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:05 AM on January 24, 2014


Megaposts use a negligible amount of the resources of the people who aren't interested in them, provide fantastic value for people who are interested in them, and contribute positively to the variety of the site. I heartily approve of them and am vaguely baffled by the objections.
posted by Drexen at 3:22 AM on January 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


Predicting A Counter-surge Of Miniposts
Incoming. [more inside]
posted by 0 answers at 11:14 - 0 comments +

posted by 0 answers at 3:31 AM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

"Ultimately it's a stunt. The only rational response is "Wow, you sure put a lot of work into that." But is that really what Metafilter is about?"
Yes, yes it is. Everything everyone posts to metafilter, whether its this comment, a SLYT, or a megapost is a performance for the community. Here, all you are performing is an elaborately shitty disdain for things other people like and a scorn for the hard work of others, having payed off in ways you are clearly incapable of producing. Whereas JHarris has produced something of value that enriches us as a community, you are doing exactly the opposite, I know what I'd rather have less of.
"When did blasdelb join again? :)"
A good chuck of the trend Rhaomi sees is indeed pretty explainable by my coming back in 2009 and then the hole left when I stopped making these posts right at the end of 2012. As zarq knows, they are really non-intuitively hard to make in a way that fits the metafilter community, presents functionally much less well in metafilter's bare html, and they generally have a very steep learning curve where many of them will indeed need to be deleted for various reasons. That is all ok, and we are lucky enough to still have a handful of posters crazy enough to make them anyway, but I stopped when it stopped being fun to do because of the entitled and dismissive undercurrents of threads like this one.

I hope JHarris keeps making them, because fuck it FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC, and that thread was awesome. We benefit from a diversity in the kinds of posts on the front page, and this is all more than just ok.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:18 AM on January 24, 2014 [12 favorites]


I am interested in MLP and know next to nothing about them, so I'm in your target group, JHarris.

It's too much information as a post for me. I mostly just skim through posts on my smartphone, here. But if you were to make a fan page with the same information, I'd totally bookmark it and click my way through it. Because it wouldn't be a wall of text on grey background.

Anyway, I wanted to say please don't feel bad and I think you should take this megapost and give it its own site. It would be a great resource.
posted by Omnomnom at 4:45 AM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I dunno, the problem with a post THAT big is that there are mealy-mouthed glossings-over of some really heinous shit, and some heinous shit with heinous roots, just sort of tucked in there among the avalanche of words and links.
posted by ShawnStruck at 4:58 AM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


And yet, I still can't help but think the post was a failure. Because the entire point was to introduce the fandom to non-bronies.

Man, JHarris, I love your participation on this site and I have an intellectual appreciation for the effort you put into that monster, but, yeah, if that was intended as an introduction, it was a failure.

I'm sort of vaguely interested in MLP as in a "I should watch this and see what the fuss is about" way, and, therefore, I should be the ideal target for your plan, but the effect on me (and I'm speaking only for myself) was just the opposite -- rather than stoking that nacent interest, I feel overwhelmed and tired and kind of depressed. I hasten to repeat that this is all me -- megaposts do not work with my reading habits and interests; people should be free to make them, but I am almost certainly not likely to read them. And, since I like your work, I feel kind of guilty about my feelings, but I am unlikely to read that post, ever.

And that sucks. I made an FPP a few weeks back which was pretty slight content-wise, but I spent more than 5 minutes crafting. It received a few favorites and one dismissive comment (and a second comment that was spam, I think, now deleted). And that kind of rankles. I have no idea how I would feel if I had spent a month crafting an FPP and gotten this much guff for it.

As an aside, it's not just the megaposts; I am really unlikely to watch a video longer than 15 minutes, and then only if I see it at home (unless it's work-related). There was an FPP a while back which was a long video, and a couple of people were complaining that hardly anyone had commented after the post had been up for a few hours, and I was like how can people comment until they have watched it? Do you expect people to drop everything and watch more than an hour of video? I think people should be free to post long videos, but I also think it's ok to point out that a lot of people (or at least me) won't engage with a format like that.

So my hat is off to you, and I am in awe at your effort, and I sympathize with your disappointment, and I defend your right to make the post you want to make, but, yeah, for me (and only speaking for me)that post was a failure, if the intent was to engage me in MLP fandom.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:00 AM on January 24, 2014 [14 favorites]


The problem with bronies is the name:

Nobody likes bros.

Nobody likes ponies*.

*-horses are where it's at, yo. Brorses. Now *that's* a fan club I could get behind! Oh wait, I still don't like bros. Dudorses? Guyrses? Horbuddies? Ok, just forget it.
posted by Grither at 5:04 AM on January 24, 2014


It's a megapost, they're an occasional thing. There's no particular policy against them and they seem to be self-limiting.


There's another thing. Crafting a mega-post can take a LOT of time, energy and effort. They are incredibly labor intensive, especially if you want to engage people with the subject matter. Since they are so much work, they just don't come around that often.

I've banged out some pretty long, link heavy posts before - in fact, I have one that has been months in the making but I want to make sure it's accessible so I'm trimming it. Somewhat.


I also like mega posts because if someone is putting that kind of time in, it's usually a subject they are SUPER excited about. Even if it's not something I am into, I can sympathize with that impulse to SHARE ALL THE COOL THINGS.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:17 AM on January 24, 2014


I rise to speak against the motion. The occasional mega post does no harm and might be fascinating to some. I can well imagine wanting to spend a month working on a post but not wanting to GMYFB.
posted by shothotbot at 5:24 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Some subjects are too BIG for succinct exhibition. Limit the size, limit the scope.
posted by troll at 5:37 AM on January 24, 2014


Jesus are way too many of you just dicks to other people; there's this cartoon about friendship you should really watch that I think will help you
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:42 AM on January 24, 2014 [20 favorites]


How would this post be perceived if it was posted by a day old user called "pony man"? I think it would be non-controversially removed, probably with some variation of "this is amazing but pretty much an original work of editorial research rather than a set of links. It is kind of a weird fit for MetaFilter"

Jharris is (rightfully!) a respected member of the community, but isn't that reaction still true?

That said, I'm fine with this, and I didn't flag. But it's an extremely weird fit for MetaFilter.
posted by dirtdirt at 5:51 AM on January 24, 2014 [14 favorites]


Thanks, jharris, for the post and the energy put into it, nice work. Please don't consider it a failure...

Personally, I think MegaPosts are just fine. I don't have the patience to create one, my ADD gets in the way of doing anything that long and complex without someone holding my puppy hostage or something.

Is every MegaPost of interest to me? Of course not, but anticipating someone doing that MP on a topic that interests me is one of the things that keeps me here.

I also sincerely believe that the topic of this post is probably a factor in the reaction to it, and, if that's the case, that's very sad indeed.
posted by HuronBob at 5:53 AM on January 24, 2014


JHarris, I don't really like MLP that much, but if you made this into a website and posted it to Projects, I would vote for it. It's a resource.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:00 AM on January 24, 2014


All I really know for sure is that jharris is the fucking best.
posted by Jofus at 6:00 AM on January 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


For me, I tend to pass over megaposts like this because by their nature they are more interested in the topic then they are with any particular link. And (ideally) I come here for the links first.

That said, one of my favorite posts of all time is the megapost on Starship Titanic (from Rhaomi???) from a few years ago, so it's extremely subjective for me and I wouldn't want to see any moderation policies adjusted for these things. I guess this MeTa, like most MeTas, has just proven to me yet again that I am a big ol' hypocrite.
posted by Think_Long at 6:08 AM on January 24, 2014


The only reason I don't like megaposts is because they make me feel...inadequate.
posted by digitalprimate at 6:11 AM on January 24, 2014


Because the entire point was to introduce the fandom to non-bronies.

As a non-brony, I'm completely perplexed by the methods used. It's just a giant wall of text that starts off on uninteresting aspects (background characters), while constantly apologizing for how much content there is, how geeky the post was or that there were problematic aspects. It read very much like the poster was working hard to convince people that this really is a good thing despite X, Y, Z. Just...post something cool, there's no need to apologize or explain it.

That's why I spent so much space on a glossary. That's why all that opening matter. That's why the statement about not needing to absorb it all at once, but coming back to it once in a while. That's why the post.

There are some hugely problematic aspects of the subculture. These are things I wasn't aware of (Princess Molestia, what the...), that this post introduced me to, which leave me with considerably less favorable of some of the fandom.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:14 AM on January 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


These are things I wasn't aware of that this post introduced me to, which leave me with considerably less favorable of some of the fandom.

Also known as "fandom."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:16 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh wait, I still don't like bros. Dudorses? Guyrses? Horbuddies? Ok, just forget it.

Palfreys.

posted by bleep-blop at 6:18 AM on January 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Bah.

I really don't understand the mindset of people who see a fantastic post like this, see the amount of love and detail put into it and think, "I know, let's complain about it in metatalk".

It's such a shitty, childish thing to do.

Don't like it, don't read it.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:21 AM on January 24, 2014 [14 favorites]


I kind of felt that there was a lot of stuff in that post-- heavy editorialization, comments like "I haven't read this link but I hear it's NSFW"-- that would have likely got it deleted if not for the "but so much work went into it" factor. Definitely falls strongly into the GYOB category for me. I'm not bothered by other people enjoying posts that I don't; just talking meta here in this MetaTalk.
posted by threeants at 6:25 AM on January 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's such a shitty, childish thing to do.

Were as this is such a model of maturity.

Don't like it, don't read it.

The same goes for you. If the only options you're suggesting are reading or not reading it, rather than discussing it in the section of website designed for such things, then you should just flag it an move on, right?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:34 AM on January 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


I agree with some of the commenters that large posts like this aren't the best at creating a discussion. People tend to just start axe grinding about whatever tangential subject they want to.

On the other hand, the site is about the links, not necessarily the discussion. A post can still be a good post, even though a lot of people aren't commenting.

Also, it seems really disingenuous to complain about this post. Kliuless regularly posts giant, and in my opinion rather unorganized posts about whatever economic hobby horses he's currently interested in. He has done this for a long time, and most of the threads that are produced by his posts are people directing ire at whatever economic issues that are interested in, even if these are totally unrelated to the links. I think I might have flagged one at some point in time. I usually ignore them, as I did. This last one almost made me contact the moderators, but I stopped, because it wasn't worth it.

As the above paragraph shows, I really don't like his posts. But that's ok. But I haven't seen much strum and drag over them. The only deletion I've seen was when people started fighting in one of his posts, and even then it had a meta because of "Excessive Moderation".

Now, if you want to posit that My Little Pony fandom is now a contention topic, and we need to be more cautious, ok, but then we have to come to the fact that My Little Pony is now a fucking contentious topic on Metafilter. It's not global warming, it's the I/P conflict. It is a cartoon.

The same goes for you. If the only options you're suggesting are reading or not reading it, rather than discussing it in the section of website designed for such things, then you should just flag it an move on, right?

This post is trying to change the community agreement on what types of posts should be allowed, and therefore, moderator actions. Metatalk is how policy is formed, so it cannot be ignored, if we want these posts to stay up. You're not just talking.
posted by zabuni at 6:43 AM on January 24, 2014


Flagging doesn't really work that way in Metatalk, now does it?
posted by MartinWisse at 6:43 AM on January 24, 2014


Also, what zabuni said.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:44 AM on January 24, 2014


On the constructive criticism front, since that seems to be what we're mostly doing here, it's sort of weird to preface an intended "introduction to the field" with

A warning: Whatever you think of bronies, I should warn you that we're going to be swimming in the deep end of the Geek Pool here. You don't write fiction about characters on a show, any show, or for that matter write a 25-page post about them, without testing positive for nerd. If the thought of all this makes you scratch your head, you probably should just move on to another post.

You don't successfully draw people in on a diverse site that way. Not everyone here constructs their identity as a beleaguered nerd with impossibly rarefied interests; not even all people who are into this sort of stuff. And I imagine that's why editorialization in general is frowned upon; forefronting the poster's orientation to the material feels intrusive.
posted by threeants at 6:47 AM on January 24, 2014 [12 favorites]


Because I think this metatalk post and all the people earnestly arguing that, really, such long posts are bad for the site are potentially doing much more harm to MetaFilter than these sort of monster posts could ever do.

First, by harshing on one of the better, more interesting posters here. Second, by creating the impression that big posts like these are somehow damaging to metafilter and not really wanted here.

That's important enough to try and counter.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:50 AM on January 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


You don't write fiction about characters on a show, any show, or for that matter write a 25-page post about them, without testing positive for nerd. If the thought of all this makes you scratch your head, you probably should just move on to another post

I think it's just being honest though, people who get into fan works are generally pretty deep fans and a small minority of most watchers. The type who are not satisfied with just watching a show once a week and find their imaginations drawn to the topic more often. Or, the type who has to catalogue and name every single thing in every single frame of the show. The post seemed to be about what those folks produced. As for just introducing the show itself, I think we have done that before.

The sex weirdos involved are a small minority of this minority which is what makes it annoying when they are held up as representative of fans of the show.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:52 AM on January 24, 2014


Maybe I could have composed it better, but really, it was the composing of it that took most of the time

"Reverend fathers, my letters were not wont either to be so prolix, or to follow so closely on one another. Want of time must plead my excuse for both of these faults. The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter."
      —Blaise Pascal, Provincial Letters, Letter XVI, 4 December, 1656.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:53 AM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


(I mean, I care barely at all about fan works (sorry J :P ) and I'm probably one of the bigger fans of the show on the site)
posted by Drinky Die at 6:53 AM on January 24, 2014


This post is trying to change the community agreement on what types of posts should be allowed, and therefore, moderator actions. Metatalk is how policy is formed, so it cannot be ignored, if we want these posts to stay up. You're not just talking.

The fourth comment in this post established exactly what moderators thought of changing anything. Everything else is just casual spit balling and people expressing opinions. Nothing will be different.

That's important enough to try and counter.

Why, if nothing is changignng
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:54 AM on January 24, 2014


... but I stopped when it stopped being fun to do because of the entitled and dismissive undercurrents of threads like this one.

It's not entitled to point out that many (though not all) megaposts are functionally self-links and belong instead on your own blog or in projects.

And, as has been said above, they tend to lack the curatorial aspect that makes for a good FPP.

If I controlled the delete button, I'd get rid of a somewhat higher percentage of them on the basic "get your own blog" standard, but there are definitely long posts that pass that test. The one linked in this MeTa definitely does not and is a weird fit for Metafilter, but lots of others bring a curatorial eye along with a broad or detailed sweep into an interesting subject. So I definitely wouldn't want to have a blanket ban based on length, but I'd strongly argue for a more critical moderatorial gaze on stunt posts.

(As for the people who always type extraordinarily long comments, I wonder if they do so knowing that many people skim right past those walls of text?)
posted by Dip Flash at 6:56 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "Just...post something cool, there's no need to apologize or explain it."

Metafilter has a rather high bar for front page posts. Much higher than other general interest "found a cool link" websites like Reddit or Digg.

As you know, we have a long list of topics that are iffy, or simply don't go well here without careful framing and presentation. Also, a small contingent of Mefites are likely to complain if the content of a link is presented in a way they dislike -- if it is presented in Flash, or broken across multiple pages, or written in an unusual way, or not labeled in a way they deem acceptable, or is on a website they dislike (regardless of the quality of the linked content), or is written/created by someone they don't like (also regardless of the quality of a link's content) or is even presenting news about a company they dislike in a positive way or vice versa.

For this reason, I can understand why JHarris might feel compelled to apologize when posting a topic which could conceivably spark grouchiness (justified or unjustified) in some users. It's not how I personally would have handled it, but it actually is quite understandable.
posted by zarq at 7:00 AM on January 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


... strum and drag ...

Also known as acoustic night at the gay bar.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:06 AM on January 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


Posts longer than a handful of paragraphs mean I probably won't bother engaging with the post. They have a sort of "WOW!" factor but I don't actually delve into the information they present, because there's just too much stuff. It causes me to disengage rather than engaging, even if the subject might be interesting.

I mean, some people seem to think that they're good, and vote for them come December and best post contest time. So that's fine, the megaposts just aren't my thing. If some people like them, then I guess they have a place here. But people making them should know that I'm probably not the only one who shuts down on seeing one.
posted by graymouser at 7:07 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


when really I was hoping you might have a look at it anyway, and see that the fandom really isn't composed entirely, or even mostly, of sad perverts.

Most of my thoughts about why this post was ineffective if this was the goal have been already suggested.

Seeing as how these mega posts are so time consuming, perhaps there could be some informal peer review or early on editorial assistance available. It looks like to me JHarris became hyper focused on the detail but a bit of distance or overview may have helped find a more effective direction.


Oh, and a small pony request: Add a [MEGAPOST] tag to the title automatically after 5000 words in the submission.
posted by sammyo at 7:08 AM on January 24, 2014


I'm not bothered by other people enjoying posts that I don't; just talking meta here in this MetaTalk.

Me, too. I absolutely would not want this post deleted, but I don't think it's irrelevant to say, in a MeTa where we are discussing long posts to say that I am really unlikely to read a megapost. I feel that there is a sense on the site that long posts are good and deserve more attention than shorter ones by virtue of that length (this is often in play in Best Post Contests); I don't think it's unreasonable (or disrespectful to JHarris) to say that I strongly disagree.

I do agree with JHarris that there is also a certain amount of Brony-hate going on under cover of the length debate, but that's a separate issue.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:10 AM on January 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Hee hee hee (Horshack snort sound) , I mad a pony request in a discussion about ponies!
posted by sammyo at 7:10 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Don't like it, don't read it.

You got yourself a deal!

It seems unlikely that there will be a consensus that these are bad, so I'm not going to start flagging them--the mods know which are the megaposts and we've had enough people express their concerns that they can take action if they want (and it seems like they won't, which is fine). No worries.

It strikes me, though, that the old chestnut about a good FPP being "this is cool, people will want to see this" versus "this is important, people need to see this" applies here. The megaposts strike me as aiming for the former category, but solidly in the latter.

Personally, I don't think the fig leaf of "it's a labor of love!" should turn a deletion-worthy "this is important" post into "flagged as fantastic."

I don't read any blogs, and I don't come to Metafilter to read a blog post dressed up as a FPP. If you think X is the coolest thing, show me the best of X, not 100 samples of X. It is, literally, the least effective way of proselytizing.

Perhaps the mods can liberalize the no-self-linking rule to allow a poster to focus on their top links in the FPP, and then link to an "appendix" on their own blog somewhere, provided that the self-link is not really self-promotion. That could be a hard line to draw, but I'd prefer some gray-area self-linking than megaposting.

YMMV. It's a community site; people come in all stripes, and use the site in different ways.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:11 AM on January 24, 2014 [11 favorites]


MartinWisse: " First, by harshing on one of the better, more interesting posters here. Second, by creating the impression that big posts like these are somehow damaging to metafilter and not really wanted here."

JHarris, I hope you keep some things in mind.

1) Only about 2% of the userbase reads and participates in Metatalk. We may be a vocal subset of engaged users, but even though we may sometimes help steer site policy, we don't necessarily represent the opinions of the whole, or of non-members who read the site. What you read here is not a consensus. Just a small group of all registered users expressing their preferences.

2) It is never, ever going to be possible to please every member of Metafilter. Even FPPs which are respected as "great posts" are not universally lauded.

3) Some of us do indeed deeply appreciate the effort you've put into this and other posts, and enjoy your contributions to the site. Thank you for them
posted by zarq at 7:12 AM on January 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


Blog post? It's larger that many fan web sites!
posted by sammyo at 7:12 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


sammyo: " Oh, and a small pony request: Add a [MEGAPOST] tag to the title automatically after 5000 words in the submission."

Why?
posted by zarq at 7:13 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


but I stopped when it stopped being fun to do because of the entitled and dismissive undercurrents of threads like this one

Isn't one of the big guidelines on the blue that a good post is generally "Hey, this is something cool I found that I think someone would like!" and a bad post is generally "Hey, here is something people need to know about"? I don't think it's a stretch, based on JHarris's own quotes here, to say that this megapost is in the latter group.

And I don't think it's entitled or dismissive to bring this up. In fact, this comment was the first bit of ad hominem I noticed in this discussion.
posted by bfranklin at 7:15 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


sammyo: " Oh, and a small pony request: Add a [MEGAPOST] tag to the title automatically after 5000 words in the submission."

Why?
posted by zarq at 1:43 AM on January 25 [+] [!]


To make it easier to find megaposts when we have the time for them.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 7:20 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ah. OK.
posted by zarq at 7:21 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Metafilter has a rather high bar for front page posts. Much higher than other general interest "found a cool link" websites like Reddit or Digg.

You can easily post a single link to single cute animal video. That's not a high bar at all.

sammyo: " Oh, and a small pony request: Add a [MEGAPOST] tag to the title automatically after 5000 words in the submission."

Why?


To filter them out, via MyMefi. It would be useful to filter via size when you only have a short time to read something.

This feature is extremely unlikely to be added, but if it was, I'd use it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:22 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


i really love long posts. i liked this one. i will continue to post dumb single links of men singing puppies to sleep to balance out all the work others do in constructing megaposts.
posted by nadawi at 7:27 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: " You can easily post a single link to single cute animal video. That's not a high bar at all. "

Sure it is. People can and have complained in the past (and no doubt will in the future) that SLYT posts don't measure up, or are ruining the site.
posted by zarq at 7:33 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't want to be thought of as disrespecting JHarris's contributions. I am sure I have liked and participated in their previous efforts. This part of the site is for meta-discussions of what makes a good post, why or why not, and such, so I hope people can take some light criticism (from me, at least) on the nature and structure on the subject of megaposts.

Also, it's generally considered good practice to not become emotionally invested in a post. I think the same advice applies to any post, short or long.
posted by Think_Long at 7:33 AM on January 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Now, if you want to posit that My Little Pony fandom is now a contention topic, and we need to be more cautious, ok, but then we have to come to the fact that My Little Pony is now a fucking contentious topic on Metafilter. It's not global warming, it's the I/P conflict. It is a cartoon.

You could try this FPP which generated this MeTa, or this FPP which generated this MeTa or threads that required moderator action, like this, this.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:45 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: " This feature is extremely unlikely to be added, but if it was, I'd use it."

A few of us are already using the MegaPost tag. I agree that automating it is an unlikely pony, but I'll continue to add it to my posts if people find it helpful.
posted by zarq at 7:46 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Maybe we shouldn't make this MeTa about FPP length into one on the contentiousness of bronies? There are people in this thread like myself who support posts like JHarris' (both in length and content) without being too enamored with segments of fandom(s).
posted by zombieflanders at 7:58 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


A few of us are already using the MegaPost tag

zarq and others who use this tag -- is "MegaPost" in the eye of the beholder? I'm looking back at some of my link-rich posts and wondering whether I should back-tag them as MegaPosts. Can you elaborate a little on what you think qualifies for the tag?
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:59 AM on January 24, 2014


"All my life, I've heard people complain about texts that are stylistically and rhetorically "excessive" ... It's too long. It's not clear enough. It's nonsense. It's too hard. The prose is bad. It's too obscure. It's opaque. It's intimidating. It uses too much jargon ... Very often, those complaints are accompanied by jeopardy/perversity arguments about the ills of not being accessible. And typically, it's all horseshit. "

A thousand times yes.
posted by stagewhisper at 8:15 AM on January 24, 2014


And yet, I still can't help but think the post was a failure. Because the entire point was to introduce the fandom to non-bronies.

This perplexes me - it strikes me as self-evident that if I send a friend a song because I want to introduce them to a band I'm excited about, they may well listen to it and like it (and possibly listen to more, either on their own or by asking me for more) or not. If I send them the bands discography along with huge swathes of bootlegs and tribute albums, they're not going to ever touch any of it.

The sheer volume of the post effectively filters out far and away most people who don't already have an investment or interest in the subject matter - the shorter and more digestible something is, the wider its potential audience.
posted by Dysk at 8:25 AM on January 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


(Not that there's anything wrong with a hugely in-depth megapost about something that only people who are into said something will read, just be aware that it's not really a great way to introduce people to something they don't already have a good deal of familiarity with)
posted by Dysk at 8:28 AM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't like massive posts because I just don't have time to read them. I like metafilter because I get digested bites of interesting things. I read books or search myself if I want more details. After all, in a month, half the links in a megapost are broken anyway.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:29 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's not entitled to point out that many (though not all) megaposts are functionally self-links and belong instead on your own blog or in projects.

And, as has been said above, they tend to lack the curatorial aspect that makes for a good FPP.


There's a guideline on Wikipedia about "no original research" which means that you're welcome to make a page about anything fitting the guidelines but you can't really introduce your own theories and support them with primary source material, though you are welcome to write something about other people's theories and include those sources. I'm another person, speaking mostly as a user at this point, who dislikes megapost because I feel like they are GYOB-ish and tend towards original research. Nothing against JHarris or what he was trying to do but I never, never, have time to click all those links and I feel like MeFi is about linking to something on the web and not creating a thing on the web.

However, as we can tell by the discussion above, the line between those things (what about an index to a large topic on the web, as JHarris has tried to do) is blurred. People like megaposts. They also tend to admire the work that went into them even if the subject isn't that interesting which means they can be safe, if complicated, ways to make a post that most people will comment favorably in, if they comment at all.

I liked the High Weirdness by Mail post specifically because I'd loved the book and JHarris did some research to link to the content that was already structured and in the book. To me that was sort of adding "web value" to offline content. There are a lot of ways of assembling rather large posts that do this sort of thing. We've also seen some great posts of the "Let me tell you a story" variety where there is a short narrative that is hyperlinked with more information all the way through. I like these as well because I can read the story and decide what else I want to read more about but the post itself stands alone as a neat thing to read.

This post was almost 13000 words. Not only did I not read it, I didn't even get started. As a mod these posts make me twitchy because if there is even one error, then we have to wade through this mess to fix HTML or something else (and this used to come up a lot in the past, less so now). They also make many other posts into insta-doubles even though there's a fair chance people haven't even seen much less engaged with, the original link. So, I waited until later in this thread to chime in with my own opinion since this is really more of a community matter than a mod one. I'd rather have megaposts than have people feel unwelcome, but I think we're really pushing the limits of how the form works on MetaFilter and if you're making a post that no one is reading only admiring from afar, it may be that the post isn't serving its purpose.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:47 AM on January 24, 2014 [50 favorites]


MonkeyToes: " zarq and others who use this tag -- is "MegaPost" in the eye of the beholder? I'm looking back at some of my link-rich posts and wondering whether I should back-tag them as MegaPosts. Can you elaborate a little on what you think qualifies for the tag?"

Off the top of my head...

Length: If it takes a 'page down' or two to see the end of the post
Quantity: If the linked content will probably take more than one sitting to go through.
Complexity: (Will vary by poster style) If the material being presented is broken into sections for easier consumption. I break most of my posts into sections even when they're not that long, so YMMV.
Admiration Factor: If it appears the post took a large amount of effort, care and time to put together. Most of blasdelb's and many of Rhaomi's and flapjax' posts fit that criteria to me.

But it's totally subjective, and what you think makes a megapost might not be any of these things. :)
posted by zarq at 8:51 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


We've also seen some great posts of the "Let me tell you a story" variety where there is a short narrative that is hyperlinked with more information all the way through. I like these as well because I can read the story and decide what else I want to read more about but the post itself stands alone as a neat thing to read.

That's a helpful framing. Thanks.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:54 AM on January 24, 2014


I don't understand the problem here - if you think a post (or comment) is too long, just do what I do and read every third word. Then;         summarised                     necessity              go            entire      ,       word,         and         you'll - hang   ,     on ... you're                now               me,                      you?           actually                  ME!!!                               think                               anyway, this                          ...       swear,                          oughtta ...                               everyone                          #1                ban                     you                .
posted by the quidnunc kid at 8:57 AM on January 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


MonkeyToes, Also, I've not tagged posts where the quantity of linked content was huge, but the post was relatively small. I made a small post about the Internet Archive's live performance section last year, which quite literally contains many weeks' duration worth of live performances. Didn't think it counted.
posted by zarq at 8:58 AM on January 24, 2014


They also make many other posts into insta-doubles even though there's a fair chance people haven't even seen much less engaged with, the original link.

Good point. I'd been on the "What harm do they do? I mean, is FPP space a nonrenewable resource?" side of things as I was reading the thread. But this seems like an argument that there is, in an odd sense, a sort of nonrenewable resource that these megaposts use up.
posted by this is a thing at 9:04 AM on January 24, 2014


This perplexes me - it strikes me as self-evident that if I send a friend a song because I want to introduce them to a band I'm excited about, they may well listen to it and like it (and possibly listen to more, either on their own or by asking me for more) or not. If I send them the bands discography along with huge swathes of bootlegs and tribute albums, they're not going to ever touch any of it.

As a reader who dips her toes into various fandoms and was interested in MLP and the brony phenomenon (but not from the fandom_wank/trainwreck end), I had the same reaction to the post and the "I wanted to introduce non-fans" comment. For me, that post did not work because it was insufficiently curated/filtered, but it might have made a great series of posts that wasn't so intimidating. That wasn't an introduction, it was a grad-level seminar.

Having said that, I don't have a broad objection to megaposts, but I do think people making them should consider what they want from them and whether a megapost is the best way to achieve their goal (stimulate discussion, provide an introduction to a subject, etc.). The way a member makes a post clearly affects the outcome (who reads and comments, etc.) so if you have a goal beyond "this is cool!", you need to think about that.
posted by immlass at 9:21 AM on January 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


jessamyn: "As a mod these posts make me twitchy because if there is even one error, then we have to wade through this mess to fix HTML or something else (and this used to come up a lot in the past, less so now). "

An 'edit your own post' function would probably decrease the frequency of those requests. The OP has an advantage in that no one will be more at-a-glance familiar with the html intricacies of their own megapost. We've probably spent a lot of time staring at/editing the raw html version prior to posting.

I know that pony is on the "possibly some day, but not right now" list. But thought it worth pointing out.
posted by zarq at 9:23 AM on January 24, 2014


An 'edit your own post' function would probably decrease the frequency of those requests.

It's also a lot bigger of deal both technically and behaviorally, is part of why it remains in "maybe, some day" territory. The balance of things is not such that "would not have to go wade in to fix someone's HTML on the odd super-long post" outweighs all the potential added costs/complexities, so it's not really an argument that tips that scale any.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:26 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Understandable. Megaposts are rare, so it not like it comes up that often.

That's fine and good to know, thanks. I don't mean to be a noodge. It's just a feature I'd really love to have.
posted by zarq at 9:31 AM on January 24, 2014


They also make many other posts into insta-doubles even though there's a fair chance people haven't even seen much less engaged with, the original link.

Other people made this same point up-thread, and it's the one I found most compelling. I still don't think disallowing them is a good idea (and it's clear you don't either), but I think this (along with the very, very many people who say they don't and won't read them) is something that megaposters will probably want to take into account when they're deciding whether their megapost is the best post they could make.

If you really want people to see the 47th link out of 289, it might be better to just hold onto it and make another post about the topic in a couple of weeks that actually features the 47th link as top level content.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:32 AM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Although if the server could deliver fresh donuts and iced coffee to my door every day that would be swell.
posted by zarq at 9:32 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


My idea was actually to *decrease* the total amount of pony on the front page, by putting it all into one post.

Fuck that. If that's really why you do this -- to cock-block everyone else out of making FPPs on certain subjects -- then please don't.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:34 AM on January 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


I like megaposts: for topics that I know nothing about, they are a great sink-or-swim entry point; for subjects I love, they are fun to marinate in and to see what I can learn; for things I don't care about, they are OK to ignore.

If I had a way to turn them into Plex channels or playlists, I would LOVE them.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:38 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


That much content might have been better organized into an .epub file and distributed via the Projects site.

That said, I am still delighted to see such a binge laid bare on the home page; after Samuel Johnson, "Sir, a woman's preaching MeFi megapost is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."
posted by wenestvedt at 9:42 AM on January 24, 2014


As it was, I think that it just would scare off casual readers who might already have notions that Bronies are obsessive weirdos.
posted by planetesimal at 9:45 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


wenestvedt: " If I had a way to turn them into Plex channels or playlists, I would LOVE them."

Can you play Youtube playlists through Plex? I once created a YT playlist for my Great Big Sea post, and would be happy to do it for others when I have time. (The key words here being "when I have time.")
posted by zarq at 9:48 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just as a data point: I'm mystified by, but not a hater of, MLP and its fandoms, and I found this post much, much too much. I already had no idea where to start with this subject, and the fpp did not make it clearer or easier for me. I saw the wall-o-text and clicked out after half a scroll.
posted by rtha at 9:49 AM on January 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


Fuck that. If that's really why you do this -- to cock-block everyone else out of making FPPs on certain subjects -- then please don't.

That seems like a terribly unfair reading of what he actually said about his intent.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:50 AM on January 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


A few of us are already using the MegaPost tag. I agree that automating it is an unlikely pony, but I'll continue to add it to my posts if people find it helpful.

This is a useful solution that would keep everyone mostly happy. If people could continue using or start using the MegaPost tag, that would allow people to find or filter them as they see fit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:56 AM on January 24, 2014


Just don't capitalize "megapost".
posted by planetesimal at 10:01 AM on January 24, 2014


Unless you're using it as a proper noun, as in Mega Post vs. Snarktopus.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:05 AM on January 24, 2014 [12 favorites]


That seems like a terribly unfair reading of what he actually said about his intent.

It seems like a terribly unfair intent. One user shouldn't get to monopolize an entire subject.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:05 AM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


This post made my RSS reader unhappy, at least on mobile. On the other hand, ponies!
posted by snickerdoodle at 10:07 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Unless you're using it as a proper noun, as in Mega Post vs. Snarktopus.

MegaPost is one word.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:10 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have a number of strategies for reading through megaposts. For the stuff that I'm really interested in, sure, I'll go through it all. But for most megaposts that I'd only be vaguely interested in, I'm mostly going to be scrolling through and selectively choosing content that interests me - even if I'm not totally interested in the subject, there's still areas I can probably look at and identify with and appreciate. In this way, I appreciate megaposts that are constructed as a link-dump with brief summaries of the links for me to further explore and hone into.

However, this FPP was constructed poorly for that purpose. Every paragraph seemed to feature massive amounts of exposition and detail to the point that I had no way of skimming it and determining at a glance if I would be interested enough to follow up on that point - it felt like the FPP centered more around the writing of the FPP itself rather than the links themselves (and at that point, I have to agree with the assessment of "GYOB"). Furthermore, where there was too much writing to help me identify links of interest, there was also paradoxically too little writing - a lot of the links felt completely blind in how they didn't really talk about why the link was of interest (like what was special/unique about the link) but instead relied on what felt like assumed insider information about seasons or characters or so forth. Maybe I would have had this information if I had thoroughly read through the fifty paragraphs above, but I've already established I'm not reading through the FPP linearly. Not to mention all of the editorializing and disclaimers and the glossary - I don't want to have to read through a bunch of documentation before I can even find the main content accessible.

I'm more than happy to spend some time on exploring a topic that I'm not familiar with, but I'm not going to invest that much time if the FPP makes me feel like it's holding me as a captive audience to an obsession in the way it's constructed. I appreciate JHarris' hard work in making this, and I agree it is impressive - but in terms of introducing me to the Brony fandom, it does absolutely nothing and feels completely like a stunt post.
posted by Conspire at 10:13 AM on January 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


It seems like a terribly unfair intent. One user shouldn't get to monopolize an entire subject.

His intent seemed to be a lot more positive than that. Rather than deliberately blocking other people from making posts about MLP for self-serving 'mine! all mine!' reasons, he was trying to do a service to the community by building one giant post instead of having a constant flow of MLP related content on the front page -- something people have complained about in the past both regarding MLP and other subjects that seem to come up a lot (Game of Thrones, every product Apple releases, etc).

You might prefer the constant flow, and there's certainly something to be said for having a multitude of perspectives on a topic, but the selfish, almost malicious, motive you attribute to him seems to be something you're just making up.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:16 AM on January 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "This is a useful solution that would keep everyone mostly happy. "

That's fine. I'm happy to continue doing that.

In addition to the MegaPost tag, some of us are now using other tags to help separate out posts by theme. filthy light thief started the following tags last month: fullfilmography, deletedTV and BBCtapewipe. I've added fulltvshow.
posted by zarq at 10:17 AM on January 24, 2014


So:

1. Megaposts as a thing are probably fine, but
2. This particular one didn't succeed in achieving its goals.

Ok!
posted by kavasa at 10:20 AM on January 24, 2014


MegaPost is one word.

So prescriptive, so soon!

But, please, "megapost." Otherwise, people will abbreviate it MP, and it will get confused with MetaPhilter, the only community weblog that can also be randomly generated from a wandering monster treasure table.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:32 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


GenjiandProust: "the only community weblog that can also be randomly generated from a wandering monster treasure table."

It's all fun and games until MetaFilter destroys Tokyo.
posted by zarq at 10:39 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but without the quote marks.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:40 AM on January 24, 2014


I admit that there have been a few comments that were kindasorta hostile to JHarris and harsh in criticism of his post, but the vast majority of the comments that question the appropriateness of this and other megaposts were both complimentary and respectful of JHarris and the post. Many people have gone out of their way to couple praise and admiration with their criticism of the post. I think that claims that the criticism is mean and childish and egregious are very unfair.

Also, it's a non sequitur to defend megaposts on the basis of their care and quality of crafting. All any of us really care about is the final product and one person might be able to write an exceptionally good post in an hour while another person might spend a week on a crappy one. And "quality" and "crappy", in the end, apply to the links and not to how well written was the post. MeFi isn't a platform for members to publish their own content. That's a different site.

"I wonder if they do so knowing that many people skim right past those [comment] walls of text?"

Speaking for myself, absolutely. And it's interesting to me because back in the day when I was the only person who wrote long comments, there were many complaints about them predicated on the idea that I was narcissistically expecting people to read them. But I've always taken it for granted that people who don't like long comments won't read them, and people that are tolerant (or like them), will. And that's fine with me; the last thing I want to do is force myself on other people.

So it's interesting to me that this sentiment doesn't seem to apply to posts. Which is really weird because in my view of things, posts are the whole point of MeFi and in some sense we're sort of expected to read them. Or scan them. People won't see comments in threads they haven't decided to read, no one expects anyone to read all the threads. But there's sort of an expectation that people will read the front page of the blue. That said, I'm comparing two different things from two different periods, and maybe just in general MeFi is far more tolerant of longform stuff and more inclined to the "don't read it if you don't want to" view. That's cool, I think that's a good thing, in general.

But raising the issue about long comments is good, I think, because over time how I think about them has changed. At first, I pretty strongly had the reaction to criticism of "I don't expect people to read them if they don't want to, and they can skip them, etc.". Partly because I felt defensive (difficult to avoid when the criticism is explicitly saying there's something wrong with my character for writing long comments) and partly because I sincerely believed it.

Over time, though, I realized that in all other respects I think that MeFi's evolving community standards are good things and having such standards is part of how communities work. It's not so much whether one particular example of a behavior is bad or disruptive, and maybe not even that this is the case in the aggregate, but simply because, as is the case with using standard written English, it's just part of the community culture.

And so the community culture has evolved standards about comments — the standard written English thing, other stuff. But that includes style of participation, too. Which itself includes things like comment length. Someone who is an outlier on this, either with some comments that are longer than anyone else's, or where they make frequent comments that are only ever very long, will get some pushback.

That's okay. And I'm okay with people pushing back on mine when/if they get excessive (by the community's standards). That's how this works.

We talk about what kinds of posts are good and what kinds of posts are bad. It's not a personal evaluation of someone's character. Or it shouldn't be. And it's not even an evaluation of the posts on their own terms. It's just an evaluation of the posts as MetaFilter posts. There's a "house style", it was primarily defined by and is primarily maintained by Matt and the mods, but it's also something that has been allowed to evolve according to community sentiment. So we talk about this stuff. It's not an attack, or shouldn't be, on anyone.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:51 AM on January 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think that post could function as a NORAD-like early warning system.

When the vast hordes of MLP fanatics finally resolve their leadership struggles and begin to descend upon rich, vulnerable Metafilter in their hundreds of thousands, the multitude of daily favorites that post will begin to garner should give the Mods time to stem the tide and save us-- always assuming the prospect of $10,000 bonuses from sign-up fees doesn't stay their hands, of course.
posted by jamjam at 10:58 AM on January 24, 2014


I totally ignore those posts if possible, and feel a pang of outrage if I get tricked into clicking the more inside, and sometimes flag them if I'm feeling the urge to write some shitty comment about how I don't like them. I think that anybody who thinks that those posts are exemplar FPPs is deeply misguided.

But, people are wrong on the internet all the time, even around here, and lots of people clearly like them. insane people. They are here to stay, for worse or worser.

I'm having a feeling like I already wrote basically this comment the last time this topic came around. And I could have favorited one of the other comments above that said basically this, but I do feel strongly about it and I'll have my voice heard in this, the appropriate forum, when it rolls around from time to time.
posted by Kwine at 11:08 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


"... And it's interesting to me because back in the day when I was the only person who wrote long comments, there were many complaints about them predicated on the idea that I was narcissistically expecting people to read them. ..."

I for one am glad that you clearly haven't listened :)
posted by Blasdelb at 11:13 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Kwine: "and feel a pang of outrage

Seriously? A pang of outrage?

Being passionate about the site, I get. Allowing the length of a single post to literally enrage you, not so much.

if I get tricked into clicking the more inside,"

No one is tricking you into clicking "More Inside." It says what it does right on the link: "More Inside."
posted by zarq at 11:21 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's okay. And I'm okay with people pushing back on mine when/if they get excessive (by the community's standards). That's how this works.

Sure, I get that, and I'm sure there has been push back at various times. But my point was actually a bit different, about wondering why people who so clearly want to communicate (because why else the flood of words?) were picking such an ineffective style. I can tell within the first sentence or two of a post long enough that the author's name is hidden below the bottom of the screen whether it's written by a compelling writer who just happens in that moment to have a lot to say, or by one of the people who routinely blah blah blah their way through multiple paragraphs when a sentence would have served, and I adjust my reading accordingly.

There's a guideline on Wikipedia about "no original research" which means that you're welcome to make a page about anything fitting the guidelines but you can't really introduce your own theories and support them with primary source material, though you are welcome to write something about other people's theories and include those sources. I'm another person, speaking mostly as a user at this point, who dislikes megapost because I feel like they are GYOB-ish and tend towards original research.

Someone far above noted that typing up a post like that on your blog and then linking it in the FPP would get you banned -- it seems a bit dubious that simply putting that same text, which belongs on a personal blog, into a monster FPP is ok. I'm not complaining about the length of an FPP, but rather about the content, which is what the wikipedia guideline you describe clarifies. Huge megaFPPs can fall into either category, and others are ambiguous. I'd argue that the one linked in this MeTa is clearly of the "belongs on your own blog," while many of the others that have been linked or mentioned in the comments here fit well within the guidelines.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:25 AM on January 24, 2014


No one is tricking you into clicking "More Inside." It says what it does right on the link: "More Inside."

Maybe if the FPP is tagged "megapost," the link could change to read "A Lot More Inside."
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:02 PM on January 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


"More than you can possibly imagine inside"
posted by rtha at 12:10 PM on January 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


JHarris's post was freaking awesome and I only scanned it, for a very loose definition of the word "scanned". I wish he would do one on my fandom but I'm not going to memail him the details because unless I have invited you inside my home you are very unlikely to know it, and I would like to keep it that way.

I know only Jacquiline was invited explicitly to do that but I am guessing he wouldn't be too insulted if others memailed him and said Hey! please do mine! mine!
posted by bukvich at 12:11 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


No one is tricking you into clicking "More Inside." It says what it does right on the link: "More Inside."

Yeah, but I think the "more inside" is an invitation to have an "enjoyable" (broadly defined" experience after the jump. Clicking through in the expectation of a digestible, curated presentation of a topic (like 99% of the posts) and then ending up with a Collyer brothers-like collection of links that one would have to spend countless hours sorting through to find "the best of the web" breaks the social compact.

It's annoying, in the same way that the one-link-per-letter posts were annoying in their heyday. Particularly so if you're browsing on a mobile device. Consequently I do try to avoid all posts by megaposters, but on mobile that's harder to implement, given limited screen real estate; sometimes posters are listed off screen.

If the new custom were to make the first word MEGAPOST in the title or opening paragraph, it would certainly be helpful to both those who seek these out and those who seek to avoid them. Everyone would win!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:12 PM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm in the GYOB camp, especially on a post with such heavy editorializing. Similarly, "sweated over it for a month" = "post it to Projects".

Also, I know there's a tendency here to at least give some sort of lip service to needing to create a "great post" or whatever, but I tend to think it's overblown. While I've certainly discovered lots of great things on Metafilter through links on FPPs, I can get links to things on the internet on a million websites. What I generally come to Metafilter for is the discussion, not the links. And it seems like this post engendered very little discussion about MLP relative to discussion about the post itself. I don't even mean here in MetaTalk - I mean in the FPP itself: It's replete with discussion about itself, not about its subject. That doesn't seem, to me, to be coincidental.
posted by Flunkie at 12:15 PM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


"I'm not complaining about the length of an FPP, but rather about the content..."

That's a good way to put it. There's arguably some problems with length, but that's a separate and probably less important issue than what you're talking about.

This stuff is so far from being clearly defined, it's not like we could, or should, come up with some categorical rule. But I've always felt that MeFi is about highlighting for its readers really cool stuff that we've found elsewhere on the web. What it's not about is creating a post here that is cool. It's much more about the link than the post.

But, again, that shouldn't be translated into some hard rule. Making posts with carefully crafted content is perfectly fine. It's a good thing, in fact. It's just ... that shouldn't be the point.

Honestly, I would really like to read a version of MetaFilter that's all about members writing real blog posts, the way some other community blogs work. I'd definitely not want it to be a free-for-all; I'd want there to be some sort of editorial filter, somehow, on it. But there's so many people here who could contribute to something that would easily be one of the best sites on the web for that sort of thing. The sort of thing that we regularly link to.

I imagine that creating a subsite for something like that has come up before. And there was that magazine. If Matt is opposed to a subsite like that, maybe we could talk about building a loosely-affilated site expressly for that purpose? I don't know.

The point is that, speaking for myself, I'm not opposed in any way to the interesting and brilliant and creative people here, JHarris and many others included, putting a lot of effort into creating something that is effectively a new thing on the web, deserving of attention for its own sake. I just don't think that this is what MeFi has ever really been about, and I like what it's been about. It works for me and a lot of people. Obviously, some of this sort of thing, to some degree, is acceptable. But I think one of the issues raised in this post is about whether people think that because this sort of thing is acceptable, when limited, means that they think that this is really what MeFi is about.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:21 PM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


You might prefer the constant flow, and there's certainly something to be said for having a multitude of perspectives on a topic, but the selfish, almost malicious, motive you attribute to him seems to be something you're just making up.

I didn't make up the comment where he said that's what he was doing. I'm sure JHarris really does believe he's doing us all a favour. But something something good intentions.

Personally, I don't mind megaposts. I don't read them -- I find them overwhelming, and I feel they are largely missing what I believe to be the entire point of this site -- but I don't mind that they exist, or that other people enjoy them ... except (and this only occurred to me after I read JHarris' "less pony" explanation upthread) ... If someone finds a truly great link one day, and goes to share it with us all, only to find it's a double of a link buried in a megapost where there's a very good chance absolutely nobody clicked through to the awesomeness, and all the discussion in the megapost thread is about the general subject (or worse, praise for the effort that went into the FPP) rather than the specific link, that would be, in my opinion, a net disservice to MetaFilter.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:30 PM on January 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


and feel a pang of outrage

Seriously? A pang of outrage?

Being passionate about the site, I get. Allowing the length of a single post to literally enrage you,



I was not the panger (pangee? pangist?), but "feel a pang of outrage" is literally not the same thing as "literally enrage you".
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:37 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jeez, People! Two Hundred Forty Four... Five comments in and not a single...

ALL HAIL MEGAPOST!!!!

You're welcome.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 12:39 PM on January 24, 2014


If someone finds a truly great link one day, and goes to share it with us all, only to find it's a double of a link buried in a megapost where there's a very good chance absolutely nobody clicked through to the awesomeness ...

Then perhaps they could hold onto that link they belatedly discovered just a little longer, combine it with a completely new link as the lead, and reference the link in the old post with a slightly elaborate 'previously.'

The value of both posts increases, and meanwhile, at least the folks who took the time to read the megapost enjoyed something cool, while this double-posting straggler meandered around the web. ;)
posted by Monsieur Caution at 12:43 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Celsius1414: " I was not the panger (pangee? pangist?), but "feel a pang of outrage" is literally not the same thing as "literally enrage you"."

Being outraged over it in general struck me as an over reaction. A bit less so now, after reading Admiral Haddock's comment.
posted by zarq at 12:45 PM on January 24, 2014


This is a difficult question. On the one hand, too much of something is bad enough...but something's coming over me to make me wonder.

On the other hand, too much of nothing is just as tough.

I need to know the way to feel to keep me satisfied.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:56 PM on January 24, 2014


... are those song lyrics?
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:26 PM on January 24, 2014


Sounds like The Clash.
posted by 0 answers at 1:35 PM on January 24, 2014


It's a Spice Girls song. I looked it up so you didn't have to.
posted by Curious Artificer at 1:39 PM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is the day when 0 answers confused The Clash with the Spice Girls.

-2 credibility.
posted by Think_Long at 1:52 PM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I've been waiting for the MLP casserole recipe.
posted by sammyo at 1:58 PM on January 24, 2014


Well, JHarris had a project, whether we approve or question, he took his project, finished and published, put it out there. Being one among many with projects never seeing the light of day or getting past a few notebook scribbles, JHarris I salute you.
posted by sammyo at 2:04 PM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Think_Long: "That said, one of my favorite posts of all time is the megapost on Starship Titanic (from Rhaomi???) from a few years ago, so it's extremely subjective for me and I wouldn't want to see any moderation policies adjusted for these things. I guess this MeTa, like most MeTas, has just proven to me yet again that I am a big ol' hypocrite."

To be fair to your sense of self-consistency, I don't know if that one would qualify as a megapost -- it's long, but a good two-thirds of it consists of a highly detailed step-by-step explanation of how to install the emulation system needed to run the game. And as far as it being awesome, well, it had a lot of help in that regard from yoz's mindblowing behind-the-scenes narrative, which is what really elevated that thread from "pretty cool" to "legendary." It's still my personal favorite moment on the site.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:59 PM on January 24, 2014


Ivan, posts like this (even though there are more than there used to be) are just so rare that they don't really have any effect on "what the site is about" and aren't going to. They also (unless a meta is made I guess) don't generate the sorts of firestorms that make it tough for other subjects to clear the bar. I think the innefectuality of this particular post will also probably discourage JHarris from similar projects in the future.
posted by kavasa at 3:10 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ho, the Megapost!
posted by Scientist at 3:37 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


But I've always felt that MeFi is about highlighting for its readers really cool stuff that we've found elsewhere on the web. What it's not about is creating a post here that is cool.

It's a floor wax and a dessert topping.

Some of my posts are just simple one link pointers to neat stuff elsewhere, some are much more elaborate posts that a couple of links and extracts about a given subject and put a bit of a narrative, not unlike that of a proper blogpost around them, so much so they could've just as well be used as posts on my blogs (and indeed, have). And some are just there to get a nice comment thread started.

The best posts here always go just that little bit beyond "here's a cool thing I found on the interwebs", inject a little personality in them, have a bit of a spark to them. JHarris' post fit that bill for me. It wasn't perfect, but it was one of the sort of things I like to read MeFi for, seeing somebody have that enthusiasm to try and explain something dear to them to people they value.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:56 PM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


The length only bothered me because it was too much information at once. I was bummed because I saw this Mega FPP and thought, "Oh cool, finally a chance to find out what this whole MLP thing is about!" and when I clicked the "more inside" it was a well organized wall of text and I felt deflated --- even more so when there were "Instructions for Use". That was waaaay more time than I wanted (or had) to devote to learning what the whole MLP fan thing was about. I skipped it and moved on and then saw this Meta.

I agree with those who say that JHarris should make a fan page or blog with all that information; so much care and time went into it as a resource, but it didn't do well as an introduction to MLP fans, which is what he had hoped for. Someone upthread made a great analogy comparing it to reading an encyclopedia vs. reading a brochure.

JHarris - as a teacher who spends her day trying to get students interested in things I appreciate your struggle to do that. It is a balance to give your audience a taste without overwhelming them. Could you make your first paragraph of the "more inside" a TLDR paragraph, like an abstract and label it as a TLDR? (I would have read that) Think like your readers can only give you five minutes of their time for you to hook them in. I do an activity with my students called an "elevator speech" where they have the amount of time of an elevator ride to introduce someone to their organization/topic so they have to filter the information and get to the meat: What is going to draw me in and engage me? What is a good example of it? Why would this interest me?

If you do something similar and post a few links in a TLDR version, THEN you can go nuts with all the detailed resources. You will have achieved your goal of introducing people to your topic and your FPP will draw in both fans and noobs. If you give people a more manageable bite, you'll be more likely to see them participate with comments as well.

I would also not lead with in-jokes. Only fans will get them and they make people new to a topic feel unwelcome and are sometimes confusing. Save the in-jokes for later.
posted by NoraCharles at 4:37 PM on January 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


I really don't understand the mindset of people who see a fantastic post like this, see the amount of love and detail put into it and think, "I know, let's complain about it in metatalk".

Right, so you understand that there is some discussion about A) whether it is fantastic, B) whether or not love and detail should matter to whether or not it should stay or go and C) this is my first complaint MeTa thread in over four years - and only my second in the 6.5 years I've been a member here?

You might think it's a shitty thing to do to complain - but there are plenty of people who think that this particular post is problematic and coming off the megaposts of December, I felt like I was running into more and more of them. Obviously this all depends on the posts I click on. And there are plenty of posts big and small that I do just scroll past. But I thought it was worth asking the question about length - but also about the content of these kinds of posts.

I don't make MeTa threads lightly and just to complain.

Thank you to jessamyn for her input. I thought maybe mod discussion had ended with restless_nomad's comment - and I was a little perplexed by that.

And let me make this clear, I was not criticising JHarris specifically and I was not criticising the subject of the post at all. I was criticising the length of the post and the style in which it was written. Admittedly, I see that my real criticism was on the GYOB style of the post (as there can be great posts of any length, even if I mostly won't read megaposts myself) - and the onflow effect of making all those links doubles for any future person trying to make a MLP post.
posted by crossoverman at 5:18 PM on January 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


Also not helping the get your own bloggishness of the post is that of the 100 comments on the post so far, 17 of them are from the OP. I appreciate Jharriss' contributions to the site as a whole, and I'm even a fan of the show myself, but between the volume, the editorializing in the FPP and the thread babysitting, it really seem like it would have been better as a Prjoects link further on down the line.
posted by ShawnStruck at 6:11 PM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's a megapost, they're an occasional thing.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:53 PM on January 23


I think you mean ITS A MMMMMMMMMMMMEGAPOST
posted by four panels at 8:20 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I agree with those who have said the problem is the editorializing, as much as the length. Its an immediate apparent difference between this post and the Iron Chef post.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:25 PM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


M-M-M-MONSTERPOST
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:07 PM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I wrote a two-graf comment about all the reasons that people who write to be read - magazine copy, instructional text, museum labels - write short. I lost it in the crash. Ah well. The upshot: if you want people to read what you write, err on the side of editing and pruning. Keep it short. No matter how brilliant your introductory piece, a lot of people start out enthusiastic, but start to find it a slog, and flag, and just give up and move on. My favoritest posts ever tend to be one line (here's an awesome thing, bam) or one paragraph (here's a succinct summary of an awesome thing, and I have selected no more than a dozen or so of the best, most interesting and varied links on the thing and embedded them).

Oddly enough, I'd rather read 100 multi-line comments on a great, short post than read 100 lines of an FPP compiled as a single post. Leave something to be revealed, discussed, discovered.
posted by Miko at 10:24 PM on January 24, 2014 [12 favorites]


I spent nearly two years planning my pet-project post, but it only ran 178 words and 23 links. I have a year and seven months until the next post I'm planning ahead for. I can only hope it turns out half as awesome as JHarris' Marzipan Mascarpone Meringue Megapost.


crossoverman: “…[T]he onflow effect of making all those links doubles for any future person trying to make a MLP post.”
I thought about that. Obviously with so many links covering such a broad range, JHarris could have posted a My Little Pony post just about as often as the community would tolerate. I'm not convinced just getting it all out at once isn't better.


Ivan Fyodorovich: “Honestly, I would really like to read a version of MetaFilter that's all about members writing real blog posts, the way some other community blogs work. I'd definitely not want it to be a free-for-all; I'd want there to be some sort of editorial filter, somehow, on it. But there's so many people here who could contribute to something that would easily be one of the best sites on the web for that sort of thing. The sort of thing that we regularly link to.”
It occurs to me that Medium would be a perfect platform for something like that. Maybe a couple of hundred words isn't worthy of a Projects post, but something that runs into the thousands of words and upwards of 25 pages might be. That's above my pay-grade though.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:38 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am rethinking my 12,000 line post on the Westinghouse Triple Air Brake Valve.
posted by pjern at 4:39 AM on January 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


I could give two shits about MLP and Bonies confuse the shit out of me, although I really try to live by "to each, his own," since I like some pretty weird shit myself, but here's the deal. People who put that much effort into posts are absolute treasures. We're lucky, as a community, to have anyone who will volunteer the hours that monumental efforts like that require, and I am going to be the last person on the site to tell anyone they put too much work into a post.

I was not a fan of SLYT when it became a thing, but YouTube is now a pretty ubiquitous thing, and so that's how it rolls, plus sometimes animals are cute, etc. One link, two links, 30 links, copy/pasted sections, expository sections, whatever it takes to float your boat as a poster. The steady inflow of content keeps the site alive and I trust the moderators to determine its quality via the "delete" button.

Thank you JHarris for being a kick-ass contributor!
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:06 AM on January 25, 2014 [14 favorites]


Needed more clop.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:02 AM on January 25, 2014


Yes, someone should do a post about the hats of Maramureş, Romania
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:33 AM on January 25, 2014


The megaposts that I really don't understand are the ones that link to 100 videos. Do they really expect people to watch them? Or are they just cataloging them in a public place?
posted by smackfu at 7:44 AM on January 25, 2014


Again I say, if someone can turn those video-drenched posts into YouTube playlists (or maybe post the extracted links someplace so they could be pointed at by a Plex channel or an unofficial Roku channel) then we would really be on to something sweet.

Now that I have said this three or four times, it means I'm going to have to figure out how to do this myself, aren't I? Dang. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 8:31 AM on January 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Bonies

o.O

That might be the highlight of this whole discussion for me.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:37 AM on January 25, 2014


...or maybe post the extracted links someplace...

You could always head over to labs for Recent YouTube Links in Posts.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:41 AM on January 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


Don't like it? Then don't click on it.
posted by Renoroc at 8:54 AM on January 25, 2014


Conspire: I have a number of strategies for reading through megaposts. For the stuff that I'm really interested in, sure, I'll go through it all. But for most megaposts that I'd only be vaguely interested in, I'm mostly going to be scrolling through and selectively choosing content that interests me - even if I'm not totally interested in the subject, there's still areas I can probably look at and identify with and appreciate. In this way, I appreciate megaposts that are constructed as a link-dump with brief summaries of the links for me to further explore and hone into.

This is my hope when I make a megapost, that I craft it in such a way that it's clear what the links provide, and if those aspects of the post interest you, you can read or see more.

Posts where every letter of a sentence is a link are the real stunt-posts, because you can only guess at the content based on the URLs, and it takes a lot of work to see all that, or if someone like y2karl uses the abbr tag to provide more information for those who can and care to hover their cursor over links.

If people find the megapost tag useful for filtering these longer posts, you can ask people to tag their posts as such, and you can tag posts made by a mutual contact (you have linked them and they have linked you).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:09 AM on January 25, 2014


The size of the post didn't bother me nearly as much as how it called attention to itself with lots of editorial comments. For me, it crossed a clear line from "look at this cool thing I found" to "look at this cool thing I did." The internet has lots of space for people to do cool things, but I don't think MeFi FPPs are one of them. I am really surprised that it wasn't deleted, as I though it had crossed well beyond GYOB territory less than a fifth of the way in. It really did feel like a way to get around self-linking by just hijacking the front page for a personal project.

If the consensus says we want to do that, I can live with it, but it seems to me that we should at least be conscious of the fact that we are agreeing to change MeFi culture if we do.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:10 AM on January 25, 2014 [14 favorites]


On a positive note for those that don't like it there isn't a lot of room for more new pony posts, and there's a lot of content there so you can probably flag as double just about anything else written on MLP for the next... oh year and a half.

If I wanted to be a MLP semi-expert, this is the post I would scour. Since I don't, I'm glad to see it, but largely I'll look at something else after I click a few links.

Also, the first few comments on a post like that are just priceless (especially since it takes a while to find them), as is the subsequent MetaTalk. Just hum the theme to Indiana Jones and slowly scroll down from the top of the post to the first comment - its like an adventure in its own right.
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:55 AM on January 25, 2014


In my eyes, there are a few classifications of megaposts: paragraphs of text with links scattered throughout, a bit of information and lists of links (to TV episodes, short stories, images, etc), and the menagerie of materials. And there's the length of the post.

I think any of the tree are OK for a few screens, but it's harder to parse the menagerie of materials sooner than the other two. JHarris' post in question is almost 27 screens long for me, and the formatting is diverse.

I have to agree, this is too broad and long of a post. I think you could have focused on a few aspects of the fandom and it would have been good, highlight the unusual ponies that people have latched onto and why, or the various Ponies on your Desktop apps, and it would have been more digestible. Or if there were other resources online that gathered the various facets of this fandom, you could provide 5-10 links and highlight what you thought were the best from those sites.

I think the MLP post is different from the High Weirdness by Mail post because it was a third shorter (18 screens vs 27) and more evenly formatted with clear section headers. Also, it all came from one source, instead of being your own compilation of material.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:33 AM on January 25, 2014


ob1quixote: "Obviously with so many links covering such a broad range, JHarris could have posted a My Little Pony post just about as often as the community would tolerate. I'm not convinced just getting it all out at once isn't better. "

Or somebody else could. JHarris isn't the only MLP enthusiast around here, but now other people who want to post about something MLP-related that they find interesting or fun may be blocked because it would be a double. Only, as suggested above, not really a double because nobody actually followed the link the first time because it was buried in a mass of other links in an offputtingly large post.

I'm also perplexed by the apparent idea that many or most MeFites dislike MLP-related posts but we somehow have to allow a certain number (but not too many!) or maybe just one big one to disperse the MLP energy even though the community can barely tolerate it. I have pretty much zero interest in MLP, but as far as I can tell there hasn't been an excess of MLP posts on the Blue. And even if there had been a bunch of them, there's nothing compelling anybody to read them.
posted by Lexica at 10:53 AM on January 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I really have no idea whether there have been a lot of MLP posts because I'm pretty sure that as soon as I see one I'm already moving on to see what the next post is, so it would have to be, like, 3 or 4 MLP posts a day before it would start to occur to me that there were too many.

As for the idea that a megapost sort of floods the zone and prevents future posts due to doubling, I would think that links buried in megaposts should be able to start their own, future FPPs that wouldn't be doubles. I realize this approach would require some judgment calls, and sometimes there might be disagreement about whether a post is a double or not, but it's the kind of disagreement I could tolerate, I think.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:14 AM on January 25, 2014


wenestvedt, I will create playlists of some of my longer posts, when I have time. But can Plex play playlists? Years ago, it couldn't.
posted by zarq at 11:17 AM on January 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


That might be the highlight of this whole discussion for me.

It was an honest-to-god typo, but it does seem to work in a Freudian sort of way.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:31 AM on January 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


The monopolization of the topic, with the self-proclaimed aim of preventing further posts on bronies, is a serious problem, and a good reason to stamp things like this down. That sort of thing has negative effects on the site as a whole. But on a more narrow level, my concern with megaposts posts like these, as clearly exemplified in this particular post, is that they basically quash conversation.

My experience here has been that in the early days of a post, any post, people mostly pull out individual things about it that they find particularly worthy of comment. Conversations mostly develop as multiple people pull out the same thing and start talking to each other about it. A lively thread doesn't come from a post with a thousand links, it comes from one with two or three links so people pick out the same topics of interest. With something this big, there's just no real basis for people to click on the same element, and what posts happen are more meta-commentary on the post itself, rather than its content.

Look at this one. 19 posts - almost a fifth of the entire thread - and nearly an hour before anyone posts anything about something actually in the FPP. Everything before that is metacommentary on the size, or sarcasm that you already knew all this. What topics have persisted are commentaries on brony culture at large, wrangling of definitions, or recognition of the careful omissions and deliberate whitewashing in the post itself.

Nothing about what's actually in there, because what's in there is too much to process at once. Nobody can engage with it. This isn't a question of "might scare off casual readers", it demonstrably has.
posted by kafziel at 11:40 AM on January 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


Maybe they were also scared off by your persistent need to urge people to Google x-rated content?
posted by Drinky Die at 11:49 AM on January 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Kafzeil, I'm pretty sure you know what Rule 34 is, which means you should know it applies to everything. There is literally no end to the amount of objectional material on the Internet, most of it not related to ponies. Nearly none of which is okay to link on Metafilter. Objecting to the omission of objectionable links by calling it 'whitewashing' is just perverse.

Also, I just want to note for the record that I think JHarris is a very valuable Mefite.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:26 PM on January 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


this is my first complaint MeTa thread in over four years - and only my second in the 6.5 years I've been a member here?

Maybe you should've waited longer, instead of making accusations about cutting and pasting?
posted by MartinWisse at 1:31 PM on January 25, 2014


Maybe they were also scared off by your persistent need to urge people to Google x-rated content?

The post itself warns us TWICE in the first few hundred words that there is such a thing as MLP-specific porn ("clop"), although as clearly stated none of it is in the post or endorsed by JHarris. All that protestation just left me with the feeling that pony porn is indelibly linked with MLP fandom, which I admit made me hit my "Back" button pretty quick.

So for what it's worth, it wasn't the comments that scared me off.
posted by jess at 1:49 PM on January 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


The post itself warns us TWICE in the first few hundred words that there is such a thing as MLP-specific porn ("clop"), although as clearly stated none of it is in the post or endorsed by JHarris. All that protestation just left me with the feeling that pony porn is indelibly linked with MLP fandom

The thing is we have had some really bizarre situations in the past where certain folks have extreme difficulty not turning any discussion of the show into a discussion of how weird they find the X-Rated content. If every Star Trek thread was derailed by people giving detailed complaints about slash fiction to make some point about the Trek fandom and repeatedly linking to it as often as possible authors would have to try and frame the post away from it too.

That isn't to say MLP porn content isn't out there and disgusting and weird, but it is not something general fans of the show have caused or have any ability to police. We have had threads more focused on the weird part of the subculture but that is not what this thread was supposed to be about. I appreciate the moderator efforts to try and keep these conversations on topic but it's an uphill battle a lot of the time.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:10 PM on January 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Maybe you should've waited longer, instead of making accusations about cutting and pasting?

It was based on this comment in the original post:

*** Glossary (some adapted from this Know Your Meme page)

I was wrong, I admit it. I made an assumption. But if it wasn't copied & pasted, it was more "original research" and editorialising, which is also frowned upon.
posted by crossoverman at 2:59 PM on January 25, 2014


If every Star Trek thread was derailed by people giving detailed complaints about slash fiction to make some point about the Trek fandom and repeatedly linking to it as often as possible authors would have to try and frame the post away from it too.

I disagree that authors "have to try" to bring up X-rated content multiple times and/or early on in order to discourage discussion or interest in X-rated content. In fact, I think that's probably the worst possible way to frame the discussion if you don't want to talk about X-rated content. Isn't that like telling someone, "Whatever you do, don't think about pink elephants!"? Of course then everyone's going to think of nothing but pink elephants.

As a counter-example: we've had multiple Supernatural-related FPPs, none of which have framed the show in terms of its overwhelmingly visible slash-obsessed fan contingent, and none of those threads have had notable slash-related derails. This is the only website I know of where that's true, Supernatural fandom is basically all slash all the time in most places. Maybe that's the model to follow if you want to talk about things other than the X-rated stuff that is probably part of the fandom of literally anything.

Honestly, if JHarris wanted to do a whole FPP on "clop," I'd be more likely to read that than I would be to read his most recent MLP megapost. So if he was bringing up "clop" in a wink-wink-nudge-nudge kind of way, that's fine with me. But if he wasn't, and he actually did want to discourage discussion and interest from going in that direction, then bringing it up so nobody would miss it was probably a mistake.

I guess I'm saying this because I don't want the next FPP about some pop culture thing to be framed as BUT WHATEVER YOU DO DON'T LOOK AT ALL THAT CRAZY X-RATED STUFF! because then the discussions will probably be about the X-rated stuff and the dorky, minutia-obsessed discussions that I personally like will be left in the dust.
posted by rue72 at 4:31 PM on January 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


You have a method for getting people not to bring it up in the thread? Because not mentioning it doesn't work either.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:28 PM on January 25, 2014


Hrm, weird. I usually deal with topics I don't care for - or posts that might be too much for the time that I have to read - by either not clicking or clicking away quickly. I've never been told that reading every single thing on the site is mandatory, so I assume it isn't, and manage my reading accordingly based on time at hand and interest in the topic.

I rather enjoy megaposts put together by people passionate about their topic. Granted, this is the longest one I've ever seen, but I'm entertained by it and have favorited it for later reading, too. (I often go back to the amazing Gatchaman post when I'm bored, too. It's not as long, but it's detailed and awesome and clearly put together with a loving hand.)
posted by MissySedai at 5:55 PM on January 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


You have a method for getting people not to bring it up in the thread? Because not mentioning it doesn't work either.

If you don't want something mentioned OR not mentioned in the FPP's framing, then...no, I don't see a third option.

If you don't want to talk about something in the thread itself, all you can do is not engage in conversations about that thing. That was a takeaway from the long thread about derails in trans* threads, and it seems to apply. I can't promise that a significant number of people won't be interested in that thing and have a discussion about it anyway, but at that point the onus is on you to shrug and go on about your day. Or you could double down and flag all of their comments as noise, but then you'll get a reputation.

My point was that if don't want to talk about or draw attention to something, then it's probably a bad idea, especially as the person posting the FPP, to talk about and draw attention to that thing.

Anyway, if clop-free MLP threads seem like an impossible dream, take heart -- I once believed slash-free SPN threads to be an impossible dream, too.
posted by rue72 at 6:06 PM on January 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


If I were to flag I would flag as derail, which I do sometimes but with the volume of posts it's not really going to solve the problem. My main point here is that you can't put the blame for derails on the author of the FPP, whether or not they are explicit about the topic, it's the job of the commentators to try and stay reasonably on topic. If a thread is not about something, and the author points that out specifically, users here should be adult enough to try and honor that even if human psychology might be pushing them in the other direction.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:16 PM on January 25, 2014


As something sort-of-related to the issue of megaposts, I'd like to point to this FPP. While not a megapost, in the "more inside" section it features a multi-paragraph, 669 word pull quote. While the article seems interesting, that sort of large-scale quoting seems also to be somewhat counter-MetaFilter norms as well. Not something offensive or flaggable, but another type of deviation to consider.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:23 PM on January 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I once believed slash-free SPN threads to be an impossible dream, too.

"Don't they know that we're brothers?"

"...I don't think they care."
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:38 AM on January 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


MetaTalk: another type of deviation to consider.
posted by planetesimal at 12:29 PM on January 26, 2014


Least effective turn-on for your personal ad.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:44 PM on January 26, 2014


We now return to your regularly scheduled MeFi post, "Rory Marinich Has Listened to a Band."
posted by meadowlark lime at 2:28 PM on January 26, 2014 [5 favorites]


He has a job now so he's not posting anymore like he's better than us or something.
posted by The Whelk at 2:30 PM on January 26, 2014


Metafilter: Least effective turn-on for your personal ad.
posted by maryr at 9:42 PM on January 26, 2014


He has a job now so he's not posting anymore like he's better than us or something.

His account, alas, is disabled.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:38 AM on January 27, 2014


Boo
posted by Drinky Die at 8:28 AM on January 27, 2014


His account, alas, is disabled.

I don't see any sort of catalyst for it, so I'd guess he's just in nose-to-the-grindstone mode on a project and can't be distracted.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:07 AM on January 27, 2014


Just to return to my mention of that large pull quote, the actual article being linked is 1688 words long - in other words, the pull quote is 39% of the article. Percentages are probably a better way to measure these things, since people post some quite long articles here.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:16 AM on January 27, 2014


« Older Out of our depth?   |   Can You Ace This One Weird Quiz? CLICK HERE to... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments