Fanfare participation and design September 15, 2014 9:11 AM   Subscribe

In some ways fanfare seems incredibly popular already: there is a constant stream of new posts, lots of TV shows covered, and a growing number of films old and new. On the other hand, discussion within each post tends to be pretty brief, with a fairly small number of comments and little back and forth dialog. I don’t know if my preferences reflect the majority but I’d love to have more meaty, deeper discussions about the movies I’m interested in. I wonder if some redesign away from the traditional mifi scrolling posts format would help make the discussions deeper and more ongoing.

Like I'm not a site designer, but I think if it was easier to find the type of thing I was interested in there, and navigate easily around older posts, I might participate more, especially in movies and ongoing movie watching clubs on fanfare.

I can also imagine a spin off fanfare site separate from metafilter that would allow for separate pages for Movies, TV, Books, Games, allowing the full sweep of media discussion that is apparently going to come in the long term.

I know fanfare is a big project and there are a lot of big projects around here, but I wonder if there's will/energy/time/etc to think about making it stronger, and if others share my desire for more “friendly”, easy navigation. I also wonder if fanfare could be an income generator eventually with some tweaks, or if that’s even a concern.
posted by latkes to MetaFilter-Related at 9:11 AM (115 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I tend to agree that it's difficult to get engaged in conversations on FF. I think that having an option to sort by "recent comments" might help, too.
posted by rebent at 9:41 AM on September 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


Take a look at the Archive page on FanFare. It lists every TV Show and Movie that have been posted to the site. It's good to browse that every once in a while for discovery. We're also hoping the poster art on the front page helps people discover new things that have been posted, even if they've scrolled down the page. As I mentioned the other day, we're planning to add a My FanFare type feature. And you might check out the crowdsourced watch schedule on the wiki.

We probably won't be straying away from reverse chronological posts. We're trying to discuss media in the MetaFilter way. You could absolutely organize a media site in a radically different way, but then it wouldn't be MetaFilter. We're definitely thinking about how people discover older threads on FanFare. I think the My FanFare feature will be a good starting point.

FanFare isn't making much (if any) money for the site right now last time mathowie mentioned it. That's not the only measure of success, and of course we'd like it if it helped contribute to keeping things running. We're thinking about that too, but it's not guiding our decisions right now.

I think that having an option to sort by "recent comments" might help, too.

We have a Recent Comments tab on the front page already!
posted by pb (staff) at 9:42 AM on September 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


woo!
posted by rebent at 9:44 AM on September 15, 2014


FanFare isn't making much (if any) money for the site right now last time mathowie mentioned it.

Seems as if hooking it up to the Amazon referrals system would be cool and provide a bit of return, as long as it's transparent for the user. Though I'm guessing y'all already discussed it.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:45 AM on September 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


I know this isn't the sort of thing that metafilter likes to do, but tying it into people's amazon/netflix accounts would be nice. You log in, it says: Discussions for movies/shows you've watched recently. Easy peasy.
posted by empath at 9:52 AM on September 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


I just want to mention for anyone that doesn't know, because I only noticed it recently (I was going to ask for it as a pony but it is already there) that FanFare threads don't get closed to new comments, ever, as far as I can tell. Bit of a change from the blue and green, but smart, because it means you can drop into the thread about a thing whenever you finally get around to watching the thing. And if folks use the Recent Comments tab more, or that My FanFare gets implemented, that would help people notice recent comments in old threads more; the Archives is easy to navigate but it doesn't show you whether the stuff has been commented on recently.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:58 AM on September 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


It's a self-perpetuating cycle: There's no conversation, so no one converses.

Also, the big threads are TV threads, and there's not much actually on TV these days other than Doctor Who. The Fall TV season is only just starting up, so traffic will probably pick up in the coming weeks.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:16 AM on September 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


Oh, and as far as helpful suggestions: Tag 'em by genre.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:18 AM on September 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


pb, I was thinking about making a new thread for a feature request/bug report for FF, but since this thread is here already: Any chance that the recap links could be added to the mobile version?
posted by jbickers at 10:32 AM on September 15, 2014


I think it's just too diffuse. During the test launch, when were on just two shows, you were getting hundreds of comments per episode. The fan fare threads were closer to a big news thread on the blue, because they were closely tied to a current event --- the broadcast of a particular episode.

Now that fanfare covers anything and everything, though, I think people aren't as clear on what shows are being covered. And with so much of the ones being discussed not airing currently, you don't have that same watering- hole effect --- there's no sense of urgency. Even within shows that are popular enough among MeFi members to potentially prompt vigorous discussion, there's so many ways of talking about them that I think that tends to blunt interest --- I've seen twin peaks, I like twin peaks, but I'm not going to go through a slow-drip rewatch of all of twin peaks so that I can participate in an informed yet spoiler free discussion. Personally, I think we're in a bit of a vicious cycle with it....having the front page be 100 different posts on 100 different shows with five comments each makes you feel like not even looking for the shows you like, because it feel like commenting in the threads is like declaiming to an empty auditorium.
posted by Diablevert at 10:33 AM on September 15, 2014 [33 favorites]


I think it'll be interesting to see how FF fares (heh) in the Fall season. There are some good discussions around some shows, but the peak was for Game of Thrones and Mad Men when they were both airing. Then when the site was open for any and all to submit episodes, there were a LOT of shows that were posted for a few episodes, and either the show ended, or interest in the discussions petered out. FF opened up towards the end of the Spring season, so I think it can be better evaluated after it has been running for a year.

I can also imagine a spin off fanfare site separate from metafilter that would allow for separate pages for Movies, TV, Books, Games, allowing the full sweep of media discussion that is apparently going to come in the long term.

I think that would require a much higher level of activity on FanFare, otherwise it would get more diluted. I'm sure a few new people would come in to discuss media beyond movies and TV, but the benefit of focusing on TV and movies at first is that the list of potential things to discuss is much more limited, with a larger general saturation. Book clubs could be a way to get more ongoing discussions, but would be tricky as they wouldn't be as prominent as a TV series, with new episodes being posted every week or so, keeping the series visible. Of course, including books in the side poster/cover section would keep even older books visible in a greater way, as long as there isn't a flood of books to discuss.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:36 AM on September 15, 2014


I think you should be able to tag entire series, not just individual episodes - so you wouldn't have to tag ever episode of a series "sci-fi" or "drama" or "comedy" or "cartoon" or "anime", just the top-level category.
posted by Small Dollar at 10:56 AM on September 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


I don’t know if my preferences reflect the majority but I’d love to have more meaty, deeper discussions about the movies I’m interested in.

For me, it's been very meh over the summer, as most the shows posted are old stuff or current things I'm not interested in. I loved The Wire and have discussed it plenty, so I'm all wired out. Yet, there's no option to "Hide posts about this show" for that or any other show and one has to repeatedly wade through numerous shows they have no interest in, just to see what's new or what have you.

Finally, there's the annoying tendency to nitpick a show, which impedes thoughtful discussion, so there's little reason to say anything in those situations.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:00 AM on September 15, 2014


Any chance that the recap links could be added to the mobile version?

Yep, I'll add this to the FanFare list.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:10 AM on September 15, 2014


In the meantime you can always switch to standard view to see recap lists.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:11 AM on September 15, 2014


If you could add recent comments to mobile too that would be great
posted by InfidelZombie at 12:33 PM on September 15, 2014


Now that fanfare covers anything and everything, though, I think people aren't as clear on what shows are being covered

I said something about this before, but I strongly feel that books and movies do not belong on FF- just episodic TV. If you wanted to have separate tabs or whatever for non-TV content, fine, but I do worry about the dilution issue.
posted by pjern at 12:34 PM on September 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


I wonder if you want to consider requiring X number of people to "approve" a new series or movie before it gets posted. For example, the Series would get posted to Fanfare Talk, people interested would click a button saying they're interested, and after like 5 "yay" votes it would get posted to FanFare.

A crazy concept for Metafilter I agree, but getting buy-in before something is posted might help with commenting levels and should weed out those titles that get only 1 or 2 comments.
posted by FreezBoy at 12:34 PM on September 15, 2014 [15 favorites]


I find the professional white background alienating. I was hoping the past thread about the user-created FanFare theme might prompt the assignment of a distinctive color, but I suppose that's not in the cards.

This is a serious comment.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:43 PM on September 15, 2014 [20 favorites]



I wonder if you want to consider requiring X number of people to "approve" a new series or movie before it gets posted. For example, the Series would get posted to Fanfare Talk, people interested would click a button saying they're interested, and after like 5 "yay" votes it would get posted to FanFare.

A crazy concept for Metafilter I agree, but getting buy-in before something is posted might help with commenting levels and should weed out those titles that get only 1 or 2 comments.




I'm trying to get a buy-in to commit to watching to a BUNCH of movies from 1999 here to avoid one or two comment threads.

posted by The Whelk at 12:47 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I like Freeze Boy's idea. I think it would help with making sure people know what's up for discussion and giving people a bit of a stake in getting involved in that discussion.
posted by Diablevert at 1:00 PM on September 15, 2014




I've tried to browse fanfare but it's really not a fun experience. I'm not interested in movies for example so it's frustrating seeing a million movies. Or if I want to find a recent, current episode I have to wade through all these rewatches.

In addition, there's so little discussion I don't even want to put in the effort of reading, much less commenting. You know those metafilter threads that get like 5 posts? Well that is almost all of fanfare. The thing I like about this site isn't just the quality, but that there's a good volume of comments. Even if say 10 people agree to a rewatch, that doesn't mean 10 people will actually rewatch, or 10 people will actually comment.

I think there needs to be less quantity, more quality. I'm not sure what the solution is, but I feel this free-for-all really brings the site down. If you have all these rewatches and current shows and movies going on at the same time, in addition to what the person might be watching anyway, it splits the interest assuming everyone doesn't have infinite time for entertainment and that there's no overlap.

I didn't participate in the summer preview, because I wasn't interested in either show but I think they greatly benefitted from the lack of noise.

Having said all that, it's summer when there isn't the same stream of tv pickings so I'd like to see what happens as the broadcast networks come back and the basic cable channels leave behind their summer fare.

Though I kind of wish fanfare had launched this fall instead, because of how slow tv is during this part of the year, it seems a lot of people have lost interest.
posted by Aranquis at 1:30 PM on September 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


Several people have mentioned that there is so much volume that each post gets little attention. I wonder though if there would feel like less of a volume of posts problem if the posts were more sorted. So I don't have to wade through the million TV shows I'm not interested in and Aranquis doesn't have to see all the movies they're not interested in.

I appreciate the tips for how to better access the content I want, but unless this sorting is easy and intuitive, I just wonder if we'll ever get lengthy, in depth discussions.
posted by latkes at 1:45 PM on September 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


In response to Aranquis' comment on the busy mix of new shows, rewatches and movies, I was thinking it would be interesting to be able to filter FanFare by Current Shows, Old Shows (rewatch/first watch), and Movies. I'm envisioning some check boxes at the top of FanFare:

⬛ Current Shows ⬛ Old Shows (first/rewatch) ⬛ Movies

Click a box, and the page would refresh to hide the items you don't want to see. Of course, I'm no coder, so this might be more of a headache than it's worth.

And as a counter to Aranquis' comment on the launch time, I think late spring and summer were ideal, because the site didn't get flooded, which could have overwhelmed the mods, whose time was stretched thin. I feel like the Mad Men and Game of Thrones posts "stress-tested" the system and helped set ground rules, while the relatively quiet summer has allowed other bugs to get sorted out, and more features to get added in during this lull.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:54 PM on September 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


I will have MANY MANY MANY things to say once the fall TV season gets going. Until then, well, yeah, of course it's dead over the summer -- TV is pretty dismal over the summer too.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:02 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


And Nthing getting rid of the white background. I do most of my MetaFiltering late at night in bed and my husband complains about white screens waking him up. The Blue, Green, and Gray don't seem to bother him so something as dark as those would be nice.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:04 PM on September 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


Jacqueline - See my earlier comment.
posted by marienbad at 2:19 PM on September 15, 2014


prize bull octorok - Rhaomi has written a new colour scheme for Fanfare that works with either greasemonkey or stylish.

Yes, we know; prize bull octorok even mentioned that in the comment you replied to. It's not the same thing. (Some of us access MeFi in many locations with different browsers, not to mention phones, and others aren't so devoted to the site that they'll start installing plugins to tweak it.)
posted by Shmuel510 at 2:26 PM on September 15, 2014 [5 favorites]


Sometimes I feel like I'm doing FanFare wrong, but then I remember it's the Wild Wild West of Metafilter and if I don't do it how I want it then I can't necessarily get it that way.

Am dying for "My FanFare" because I will NEVAR STOP COMMENTING on certain tags. #MATTHAU
posted by carsonb at 2:26 PM on September 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


I second filthy light thief's suggestion of having some way to separate out current shows, old shows, and movies.

Not being able to separate out old and current shows leaves the impression that FanFare is a place just for discussing old shows, because right now there are so many more posts discussing old shows.

I've been nursing along the FanFare viewing of Aldnoah.Zero and frankly it's a bit discouraging. FanFare right now leaves me feeling that the only anime people are interested in discussing are anime over a decade old, because the majority of anime covered are old shows. I have to admit Aldnoah.Zero has one of the more active discussions, which I think is because it's a current series and so there's something new to discuss on a regular schedule every week, as opposed to watching old series where people are watching on their own schedule and can't be expected to show up regularly for each new post.

Current shows tend to draw much more discussion. I think a FanFare front page that shows many posts with active discussions (i.e. current shows) is more likely to make people explore FanFare and join in on other less active discussions, creating a virtuous cycle, rather than the current busy mix of shows with few comments.
posted by needled at 2:30 PM on September 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm pleased that my tagging effort is dominating the cloud.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:50 PM on September 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


The great plugin - which I use on my computer - is awesome but not available on my mobile, through which 90% of my mefi browsing takes place. Changing the background would be great.
posted by sockermom at 3:12 PM on September 15, 2014


One option that I use on my phone all the time is inverted mode: Invert Your Phone's Colors For Easier Night Reading. I use it for websites and apps and I have the iOS triple-click home shortcut set to invert colors so I can turn it on quickly.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:35 PM on September 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


I said something about this before, but I strongly feel that books and movies do not belong on FF- just episodic TV. If you wanted to have separate tabs or whatever for non-TV content, fine, but I do worry about the dilution issue.

Just posting in agreement with this.

That said I consider Fanfare tv threads to be less about discussion necessarily and more about discovery. I browse it all the time seeing what tv shows people are watching. Even if they get few comments I appreciate seeing a post about them. Which is why i will continue to post about Being Mary Jane if I find the time ever.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:38 PM on September 15, 2014


Hey, speaking of fanfare, is there any plan to include books in the works? Because I've been itching to fangirl over the new October Daye by Seanan McGuire and the new Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham.
posted by NoraReed at 3:40 PM on September 15, 2014


Some of my favorite metafilter posts have like 3 comments. Comments are the only reason to post a fanfare thread. Also, holy crap there's a Houdini Mini-series? I must watch this.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:40 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


...is there any plan to include books in the works?

It's something we want to do someday but it won't be in the near term. Sorry about that.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:41 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


You log in, it says: Discussions for movies/shows you've watched recently. Easy peasy.

I can't wait for you guys to do Kitten Party.



(seriously that was what was most recently watched on my Netflix and it's going to get watched again. Never heard my toddler laugh so hard; it's apparently like the funniest shit ever to an almost-2-year-old)
posted by Hoopo at 3:48 PM on September 15, 2014


FanFare isn't making much (if any) money for the site right now last time mathowie mentioned it.

Could that be improved by better search visibility? It feels to me like TV and movies are things that do get searched on a lot; but yet I don't ever see FanFare threads or show pages appearing in search results.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:49 PM on September 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Could that be improved by better search visibility?

Sure, but it's not a quick process. FanFare is a new site. It feels like it's been around for a while but keep in mind that the domain has existed for five or six months. It's not yet a source of authoritative information in the eyes of search engines. We hope it becomes a place that people want to go to find good conversations about things they're searching for. It takes time to establish that.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:06 PM on September 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


FanFare is slowly mending the part of my heart that broke when TWOP died. Thank you.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:03 PM on September 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


I've only dipped into FanFare but the experience I had was mildly frustrating — a First Watch was proposed for a series I haven't seen yet but which, it became clear after one episode, is VERY much the kind of thing I like. (Got the DVDs from the library, watched two episodes, bought the box set.) It was originally suggested as a two-post-per-week thing, but in practice seemed to be one a week and (at least for now) seems to be defunct after the first two episodes.

The spouse and I said "oh well, guess this means we get to episode-binge!" and have been having a fine time that way, but it would be nice to be able to discuss the show with more than each other.
posted by Lexica at 6:28 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Lexica, as tempting as it is to lay claim to a particular series (I WILL POST ALL THE TRUE DETECTIVES) I think everyone on FanFare is pretty low-key about various and sundry users making posts. After a season of one user posting 20 episodes themselves, two per week, it has recently come to light that they wouldn't mind a little help occasionally. And since many of us were bingeing on SSN2 already, we've determined that we can handle an increased pace. More from one user would be grueling, but together we can post faster and make it easier on everyone.

If you don't want to just snatch up the reins without warning, maybe start a FanFare Talk thread about the series and gauge interest. Or just go ahead and start posting! If you post it, MeFites will discuss, to bastardize a dumb old movie saying.
posted by carsonb at 6:39 PM on September 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


I must admit I think Fanfare would be better and far less diluted if, at least temporarily, only new shows/movies/whatever were allowed. There is so much cruft cluttering up FanFare right now that nobody seems to care about except the OP that it renders the entire subsite less useful.

Unlike the blue where some of the very best posts can have very few comments, FanFare is explicitly about the conversation. A post which gets 3 comments is almost definitionally an unnecessary post which is cluttering up the limited real estate.

I love TV. But FanFare is not big enough and people are not interested enough in so many of the shows people are posting that I'm avoiding the thing since wading through the crap is so annoying.

Please please please stop posting so much stuff nobody cares about.
posted by Justinian at 7:07 PM on September 15, 2014 [10 favorites]


Murder, She Wrote is NOT CRUFT. You take that back.

But seriously, I think FanFare can be the worst example of "Not For Everyone" on MetaFilter. On the Blue, plenty of things are generally interesting, even if you're not into that particular thing/topic, and there are always a ton of questions to read and think about on Ask.Me. But I don't think people find as much enjoyment or interest in FanFare at the same ratio of interested:not interested as on the other major areas of the site. Because of that, people either have to get used to not reading and getting involved in as many discussions, or find some way to filter the content, either via My FanFare, some Greasemonkey-like scripting, or selective vision.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:16 PM on September 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


Maybe the better model to follow for FanFare is the IRL one, where somebody posts a potential movie/ show and then see if there's sufficient interest for a discussion. A bit like Freezboy's 'buy in' concept, but in this case, it's not alien to MeFi, since we already use something like that for IRL. This way it would also slow the number of shows posted.
posted by dhruva at 7:17 PM on September 15, 2014


Prior thoughts, continued... The internet is nigh infinite, so "real estate" is only about page space, and the reader's patience to navigate to other pages. I understand that the comment was about the current "front page" of FanFare, but I don't think that idea is the best way to view FanFare.

For example, if you like procedural dramas, there will likely come some time that there will be enough sci-fi posted (and tagged) on FanFare that you could spend days reading through the episode posts with the scifi tag, adding to (older) discussions without having to re-tread old ground. But we're not there yet.

Until something changes, FanFare won't be about page space, because threads have no end life. You could come back to a discussion about an old Mad Men episode three years later, and still chime in after just having watched the episode for the first time, or re-watching it and seeing something new.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:25 PM on September 15, 2014


The spouse and I said "oh well, guess this means we get to episode-binge!" and have been having a fine time that way, but it would be nice to be able to discuss the show with more than each other.

I think the only "perfect" solution to timing episode discussions is either with current shows, or discussions of complete seasons or shows, because otherwise you're hoping that there are enough people who can stick to a certain schedule and have the interest, time and patience to keep that pace. Binge watching is common, but not everyone will binge watch the same number of episodes, and some people can't or won't do that at all.


> You log in, it says: Discussions for movies/shows you've watched recently. Easy peasy.

As long as FanFare doesn't get too smart for its own good.
"You've watched LeapFrog: Phonics Farm 5 times in the last week. Are you sure you don't want to talk about it?"
"No, FanFare, I know it too well without discussing it with others, bugger off."

> I can't wait for you guys to do Kitten Party.

Oooh, discussing kids shows is tempting, only because there are plenty of parents here who could probably enjoy snarking about the things their kids are obsessed about right now.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:32 PM on September 15, 2014


I'd like to just go down the show/movie archive and check boxes next to the shows I want to follow. I'd also like to be able to select tags so that when I visit 'My FanFare' all of the posts for all of the shows and tags I'm subscribed to are in order of last comment.

This, I realize, is remarkably similar to bulletin board discussion functionality.
posted by carsonb at 7:43 PM on September 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


Please please please stop posting so much stuff nobody cares about.

See, I know I'm starting to repeat myself now which is a sign I should shut up, but, I don't care about the stuff that everybody cares about, like the latest Game of Thrones. On the other hand, I care very much about French New Wave cinema. I would love to talk about French New Wave movies with a community of smart, thoughtful people with manners, and I think that community exists here on metafilter. However, as it exists now, if I post about some obscure Godard film, you will see it as "stuff nobody cares about" and as cluttering up fanfare and I will also be sad because no conversation will generate.

Again (here's the repeating part) I feel that this problem could be solved by either changing the layout of fanfare, or allowing very intuitive and easy customization, in order to allow users to focus on the specific niche they're most excited about. That way you can ignore Godard, I can ignore GOT, and we can each find a community of people who are excited to talk about what we're excited to talk about.
posted by latkes at 7:58 PM on September 15, 2014 [12 favorites]


You could come back to a discussion about an old Mad Men episode three years later, and still chime in after just having watched the episode for the first time

But that's not a discussion...that's a guestbook. What's the incentive to leave a note in a three year old thread that's effectively abandoned, about a show that may have already wrapped?

That's not aimed at you, filthy light thief; it's something I've been thinking about a lot. The challenges to making Fanfare more viable are really fascinating to me, because each solution comes with its own new problems, until eventually you're not really pondering how shows should be covered but rather what a message board even is.

I really really want Fanfare to be successful. I even have a series of films I was going to propose (Criterion on Hulu) with a full "syllabus" already mapped out and even the Talk page intro written, but I've held off because I don't want to add to the flood. Fanfare's issue isn't separating signal from noise, it's that it's the signal is so overwhelming it can be indistinguishable from noise, and I don't want to contribute to that.

I don't have an answer, but I'm really intrigued by the process of trying to figure it out.
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:03 PM on September 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


(I want to participate in your series when you're ready to launch it Ian A.T.!)
posted by latkes at 8:07 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I could see wanting to go into an old thread to be like, hey, I have some questions about this, and the people who still have it in their Recent Activity might have answers, or opinions, or whatever. I showed up 2 months late to the final Agents of Shield thing because I had THINGS TO SAY ABOUT IT and because I thought that maybe other people would have things to say about the things that I have to say. Though no one responded to it, so it's possible I am wrong about how this works. I certainly didn't mind the comments trickling in for a while on Guardians of the Galaxy and Winter Soldier. So maybe the solution is to just leave Marvel threads open forever, since I apparently am incapable of talking about anything on this website that is not related to Marvel or feminism
posted by NoraReed at 8:09 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


It would be really nice if we can eventually set up an entire half-season or season's worth of posts in advance and let them just autopost on the appropriate dates. That's how I used to do the Battlestar Galactica Open Threads on my old blog and it worked really well.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:12 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


> You could come back to a discussion about an old Mad Men episode three years later, and still chime in after just having watched the episode for the first time

> But that's not a discussion...that's a guestbook. What's the incentive to leave a note in a three year old thread that's effectively abandoned, about a show that may have already wrapped?

Good point. For whatever it's worth, I wasn't promoting my ideal view of FanFare, but what (I believe) is currently the general plan for the site. How did TWOP work? Did threads get "bumped up" when there was new activity?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:37 PM on September 15, 2014


You've got to be realistic about these things. Fanfare is not going to ever successfully function as a place where you can show up 3 years (or 3 months even) late to the party and comment in a thread and have a bunch of people show up and continue the conversation. The vast majority of commenting will take place in the week after a thread is posted and the vast majority of threads with a lot of commenting will be those posted for shows and movies which have just aired for the first time.

You can propose all kinds of pie-in-the-sky functionality to combat that but it's not the way the internet or TV fandom works.

It would be better to recognize that fact, focus FanFare on new shows and movies at the time of their first airing, and get rid of all the cruft. I'm sorry if someone doesn't think a Different Strokes rewatch is cruft but it really really is.
posted by Justinian at 8:47 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


"I love TV. But.. Please please please stop posting so much stuff nobody cares about."

That's where you lose me. Why not post things about things that nobody obstensibly cares about. That's what I enjoy doing most on the Blue. Unearthing stuff that you don't know or care about. And discovering that you do.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 8:53 PM on September 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


Because the Blue and Fanfare have diametrically opposed functions. The Blue is about the post. Fanfare is about the comments.
posted by Justinian at 9:03 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


"I love TV. But.. Please please please stop posting so much stuff nobody cares about."
---
Fanfare is not going to ever successfully function as a place where you can show up 3 years (or 3 months even) late to the party and comment in a thread and have a bunch of people show up and continue the conversation.

So exclusionary! So defeatist!

I was pleasantly surprised when, after a week(end) or so, several people dropped into the Hopscotch post and commented that they'd re-watched it after many years or decided to watch it for the first time because of the post. That was immensely gratifying! And I shall continue to post about interesting movies that might have flown under the radar for a lot of people in the hopes that that sort of thing will continue to happen.

FanFare Talk can be the engine behind resurrecting old posts. So one person went through and posted the entire season of Aldnoah.Zero and nobody talked about it at first. Why not start a FanFare Talk post three years down the line and organize a re-watch? The old threads will still be open, and with a good schedule and some notification people can just resume or restart the conversation in the existing posts.

I suppose that's what people mean when they talk about 'Real Estate'? Staking out films and shows with little interest now perhaps precludes others from taking it up in the future, but perhaps it doesn't with enough organization and interest down the road.
posted by carsonb at 9:16 PM on September 15, 2014 [5 favorites]


I don't have much interest in TV shows because of reasons, so I hadn't paid much attention yo FanFare. Then I realized it also covers movies and was initially excited, but after a couple of weeks I don't have a good handle on how movies are supposed to work.

When does one post a movie on FanFare? Movies do not have the urgency episodic TV does: even for a new film, not everyone will see it on the opening day, to generate next-day discussion. Many of the posts say little more than This Movie Exists, predictably generating little discussion except for people coming in to say I Like This or I Don't Like This.

Does a weak post like that take over the movie it covers for ever? If something interesting comes up on the web later, maybe a better post can be put together, while a link in the comments of an old threead would be below many people's radar.

This has possibly been discussed before in MeTa, but I think some clearer guidelines on movie posts - probably visible in the FAQ or new post page - would help generate better discussion on movie posts.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:46 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


If the Blue and Fanfare have "diametrically opposed functions", perhaps they don't belong together. But I don't buy that. I feel that Fanfare can expose me to things that I might want to read/watch/listen much like Metafilter does.

And much like Metafilter, it will expose to me an enormous amount of things that I'll just have to pass on. And that's OK.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 9:58 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'd sort-of like less popular shows to have bumpable threads that pop to the top for each new episode but contain four episodes in the thread (or half a season or whatever). Probably there will only be five of us who want to discuss Reign BUT WE ARE GOING TO DISCUSS THE SHIT OUT OF IT. Like the one time I said to my husband, "Man, this episode is lacking in random murder" and instantly they shoved an on-shreen character into a conveniently-located meat hook. IT IS THAT KIND OF SHOW.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:08 PM on September 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


For me one of the issues with Fanfare is the timing and the potential lifespan of a single post. I'm horrible at remembering schedules so that's totally my fault but with the way it works there doesn't seem to be a point in commenting on older posts. I was hoping someone would post about the BBC Sherlock series but was busy and missed it with when the posts for the series 3 episodes went up in 3 days.
posted by oneear at 10:56 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ooh, ooh, could we have older movies queued for one day a week? Because that would be pretty neat to have a bunch of older movies to rewatch coming out on Thursday for weekend re-watching, knowing that other mefites are also going to be watching and discussing those films over the weekend, instead of seeing them drift in over the week.
posted by viggorlijah at 12:02 AM on September 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


That archive link is useful, but to be honest it's almost unreadable. There really needs to be more ways to sort things than just shows/films. Basically customisability is key.

You know, the more I think about it the more I wonder if we've been going about this the wrong way. There's been a focus on basically putting up a thread and letting people comment. The thread itself will have a brief synopsis of the episode.

Yet is that what drives discussion? The Av club, Tv without pity, all these popular places for talking about shows, have authored content. They take the time to describe the episode, what they like and didn't like. That gives room for more conversation about the show. I appreciate that creating such posts would put a much larger burden on users, but I wonder if this would help liven conversation? I know theres the recap feature, but that is hiding on the right (also, when I made the one post that I did, it seemed like I couldn't add recaps as I made the post, which was weird)
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:13 AM on September 16, 2014 [8 favorites]


There is something to be said for focusing on "what's playing now". For anything else, you get little participation because of the diminishing combinatorial of i) watching some show which is not airing anywhere in particular right now; ii) remembering to visit FanFare and finding the right thread at the right time (not 4 months later) iii) and then have something to say and iv) being motivated to post in a potentially older thread with 3 comments to date.

For me it really falls apart because I don't have this prodigious "fan" memory that a lot of people do. I've actually recently watched a number of series up on Fanfare right now, but since I watched Twin Peaks s02e05 many weeks ago now, I have literally nothing to say about it in the thread unless I go watch it again. Same with Arrested Development, which is awesome and I'm glad I finally got around to watching it. I've now lapped the posting schedule (it's a 20 minute show!) and again I simply don't remember all the little things that made me laugh a week later.

If any sufficient portion of the needed audience for Fanfare is like me, you will never get post volume because of the above. Unless an old-school "runs on TV" -> "gets posted on Fanfare" routine drives the action.

Finally it's unclear to me whether I turn into a pariah if I say something critical in Fanfare threads. (Criticism: "the analysis and judgment of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work".) The person who used the word "nitpicking" above may have meant "all criticism" for all I know. There seems to be a "don't be negative" vibe on Metafilter, so I try not to be (new user), but this impedes thoughtful criticism of anything. I would like to discuss why I borderline disliked Hannibal's first 40% and loved the last 60%, and find out if others feel the same. Can't do that when everything revolves around literal "fandom", an approach I tend to find echo-chambery and in-crowdy.

TLDR/addon: how much is to be said about one episode of a TV show, especially when criticism (intra-show, inter-show) in a larger sense is generally seen as a "downer"?

And +1 change background color.
posted by sylvanshine at 12:24 AM on September 16, 2014


Honestly, I think this is a summer problem. Also, I think that we just have to accept that First Watch, Rewatch and repertory film clubs will only have a small amount of participation (for instance, I'm a season behind the Mad Men rewatch). But, for the half dozen or so people who do turn up it can be nice to just express their enjoyment of something. For instance, no one in the UK bothers seeking out So You Think You Can Dance except for me, and while it was the same 5-6 people saying 'I really liked this dance, it reminded me of that other dance' I really enjoyed spending a teeny tiny amount of time expressing mutual appreciation for a reality dance contest.
posted by dumdidumdum at 12:53 AM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


How are you supposed to know if people care about a show until you post about it? I mean except for Being Mary Jane. I realize most Mefites aren't into that show, because it's on BET. But that's why I'm posting about it so hopefully people will watch it with me! Or we could just limit Fanfare to the 5 biggest white boy shows. I guess that's what "everyone" wants to talk about.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:12 AM on September 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


That's a good example - Being Mary Jane is a show I intend to watch and wouldn't plan on it without knowing there will be mefites around to discuss it with. I'm greatly enjoying the small but happy discussions on The Great British Bake-Off which don't go far, but are fun.

I think a lot of this will change when it's possible to customize your view of FanFare because there's just so much available. I'd be happy to include movies on a separate tab though.
posted by viggorlijah at 4:15 AM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


My input as someone who has been generally active in commenting and posting on Fanfare, and this echoes some thoughts I shared in the Fanfare talk threads.

Posting new threads of anything...

First, no one owns anything on Fanfare. If a television show is a re-watch or airing live on a weekly basis, it's entirely common for one member to heft the responsibility of posting a new post for every episode and its perfectly fine to wait and see if they will make the relevant post. But, if the show aired on Wednesday and there's no post Wednesday night or Thursday or Friday, feel completely free to make that post! It's not a difficult process and at worse, requires one to offer a quick synopsis of what happened.

Corollary: Re-watches of older shows, off the air, should establish a reasonable schedule for posting on a Fanfare talk post before jumping into the show. First, the very process of the Fanfare talk post will help establish interest and also avoid a posting schedule that feels too quick on the turn around and might drive away interested commenters who feel they cannot keep up with the schedule. Once a week for an hour long show has come across to me as a pretty good interval. Twice a week for a half hour show could work, but I haven't experienced that personally.

Second, movie posts. New movies should generally be released after they open in the theaters.

Corollary: Non-mainstream / art house films which might hit the tour circuit of festivals may or may not be suited for immediate posting due to lack of accessibility. Consider VOD access before posting these movies.

Older movies should probably begin with a Fanfare Talk post. Rather than say, "E.T., who doesn't want to talk about E.T?!" and post to Fanfare, instead post a topic in Fanfare Talk, "E.T. Post Coming!" or "Interest in E.T.?" The Fanfare post should serve one very important purpose, provide people a heads up that an older movie is going to be discussed and provide an approximate date (a firm date would be best) which allows ample time for everyone interested to find the movie and re-watch it (if they choose). Even better, try and tell everyone where it can be accessed, such as Netflix or HuluPlus availability.

Third, diversity of subjects. This is a tough topic to address because Fanfare should serve as a well for everyone to dip their ladle in for a drink, rather than be a soda fountain labeled with popular choices. The problem with having that diversity is that it does lead to lower participation and it's always disappointing or less interesting to see a post that has anywhere from zero to four or five comments, This also has the general appearance of a lot of people throwing parties and no one attending.

Despite these problems, I think the diversity of shows/movies is a great and defining aspect. I think the problem is the sense of being overwhelmed by the choices available and also being able to better comprehend everything. Being allowed to tag the show pages by genre, as suggested above, would allow users to browse by subject and topic. It might also be very beneficial to develop a set of standards for show tagging, such as genre, year, principal actors, and so on. Thus, if someone loves Elizabeth Mitchell, they can discover discussions of Lost, V, and Revolution (as an example). Likewise, movies can be tagged with director, actors, etc. I'm sure, especially with the relatively low number of shows/movies so far posted, that a team of volunteers could easily move through them and tag them accordingly. In short, better organization that won't overwhelm the user.

Fourth - Background color. There's a reason that most people ridicule the professional white background on Metafilter. I love the current theme that was created and I've been hoping for it to be adopted or something similar.
posted by Atreides at 7:13 AM on September 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Seems to me that user awareness of FF is at the heart of the problem. More people might be up for discussions if they knew they were happening, and it's not a habit yet to check FF regularly. How about a box on the blue, just above the sidebar, that says "Today's new FanFare posts:" and then has a comma'd list of just that day's posts?
posted by jbickers at 7:15 AM on September 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


Yet is that what drives discussion? The Av club, Tv without pity, all these popular places for talking about shows, have authored content.

I think that FanFare posts will eventually develop into something more like Metafilter posts, which for the most part are carefully authored content. The typical MeFi post is an advertisement. It tells you why you should pay attention. FanFare posts, on the other hand, don't typically advertise themselves or generate interest: they assume that readers have seen the episode or movie in question. That doesn't get other readers excited. It makes the front page a boring read. FanFare needs more of MeFi's tabloidism.

As community norms develop, FanFare will hopefully improve. The front page of the blue isn't diluted with a ton of terrible posts because there are strong norms about what constitutes a good post. New members are often frightened to make a first post; this is a good thing, because it shows we tacitly have high quality standards. FanFare doesn't have those standards yet. I think we'll discover that hot current shows and movies can get away with a short episode description, but older shows and movies demand more carnival barking on the part of the poster.
posted by painquale at 7:26 AM on September 16, 2014


I really, really wanted to participate in the Mad Men rewatch but the pace was just wrong. I kept binging on episodes and then was behind and had to rewatch again and then would get ahead again so I just gave up (and then my baby started rolling, so I forgot it existed for a few weeks. Whoops.

I hope things will improve with this tv season, but I agree this feels a bit like a ghost-town. The conversations about TV are why I wanted fanfare to existed but right now there's just really not much talking. This was actually the problem with the metacooler, too. I honestly think limiting the site to currently-airing shows would have been the solution, but that ship has sailed, I guess.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:27 AM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm mostly a lurker, and tend to post more when I disagree with something because I end up feeling that if I'm just saying "I liked that bit," like most of the other comments, I'm just adding noise. But then, if I disagree with somebody who seems to have the weight of the commentariat behind them, I'll probably refrain from posting anyway, so the result is I end up reading through threads and keeping silent. When traffic is so low, like Fanfare, I may check into a thread and see what's up, but not return to it later. The thread for Innerspace is an example of low traffic on a movie I really like, and I forced myself to say something and it's there in the thread but...have I really said anything? (Apologies, I didn't mean to have my existential crisis right here, but apparently that's what's happening.)

And so these days in the absence of TWOP, which was very high-traffic but which occasionally had a site culture that got under my skin, I tend to lurk over at Previously.tv. Even Snarkfest, which formed in the wake of the closing of Fametracker, is so low-traffic that I can only show up there every so often, when there's been time for people to say stuff. The only Fanfare threads that have really worked for me are for shows that are airing currently and have people posting in the next few days after something's aired.

I wonder if a page can be borrowed from TWOP, where low-volume shows (older ones, generally speaking) can simply have one thread devoted to discussing the show entirely. Rewatches could be organized inside the thread where people go episode to episode but are not constrained to being active in multiple threads, one per episode. That way everybody isn't obligated to have a strong opinion on episode 15, season 3 of the Golden Girls, but can discuss the show as a whole and bring in specific episodes as examples for whatever they're saying.
posted by PussKillian at 8:04 AM on September 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


Fourth - Background color. There's a reason that most people ridicule the professional white background on Metafilter. I love the current theme that was created and I've been hoping for it to be adopted or something similar.

I know it's a derail, but while I agree that this is a loudly held view, I'm not convinced it is a widely held one.

I will admit my own bias, which is that if Professional White didn't exist, I would have a very hard time reading MeFi, because I find the default scheme really offputting. That being said, my feeling is that expressing disdain of Professional White is more about signaling in-group status (and tweaking a prominent internet person for daring suggest MeFi isn't perfect) than it is about any real aesthetic argument. If Anil Dash hadn't been the one to suggest it, and if it hadn't become such a snarky in-joke to declaim it, I don't think there would be nearly as entrenched a stance against it.

More on topic, the specific color scheme of FanFare is the least of its problems, and worrying about that brings to mind deck chairs and doomed ships. For me, the problem is one of pure volume.

I enjoyed the beta of the subsite, and liked participating. I was excited by the summer movie club, and was even inspired to re-watch old favorites along with that, although never in time to feel like I coul get into the discussion. Pretty soon, though, the whole thing felt overwhelming. There's just too much stuff, too fast, and conversation too dispersed, to feel like I had any idea of what I should focus on.

While I know it seems to go against the way MeFi works, I feel like the only solution is to severely limit what shows and movies get posted (preferably with community input and choices made based on professed interest). This would understandably upset some people, as they'd feel that FanFare wasn't going to give them the experience they want. Nonetheless, I think that while in theory the free-for-all model satisfies all desires, in reality it is satisfying almost none.
posted by tocts at 8:12 AM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


That being said, my feeling is that expressing disdain of Professional White is more about signaling in-group status (and tweaking a prominent internet person for daring suggest MeFi isn't perfect) than it is about any real aesthetic argument.

I find it too bright and harsh, like fluourescent lighting in a waiting room I'd rather not be in. While I am aware of the history behind the "professional white background" joke, it's a legit aesthetic and eyeball-comfort issue for me.
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:59 AM on September 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


I really, really wanted to participate in the Mad Men rewatch but the pace was just wrong.

I hear ya. It's been fun for me personally (and my life at the moment allows for the deliberate pace of two eps a week), but 10 comments an episode, down from hundreds during first watch, is disappointing for sure.

The couple of us (me, tracicle and donajo) who are posting had an offline conversation last week and we're open to a scheduling tweak, but it kind of feels like whatever pace we choose isn't going to work for somebody.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:32 AM on September 16, 2014


The basic problem is indeed organization. Reverse-chronological posts are fine, but readers are faced with a long list of random show posts. They do not have a sense of a) all the shows/movies that are on the site and b) are actively discussed.

At the top of FanFare there needs to be lists of the, say, 20 or so most actively-discussed TV shows, alphabetized. Another list should exist for movies. There could be "more" buttons that expand it out to the full lists.

Below that perhaps there could be recent posts that have attracted heavy discussion or are trending upward.

"Subscription" options for particular shows/movies that generate a customized My Fanfare type section, as has been discussed elsewhere, need to be clear.

The rest of the posts shouldn't be on the front page -- they should be stashed away. Readers should have click to get to the show subpages.

The current view -- "show me everything at all, sorted reverse chronologically" -- is really a specialized view that some people might want for kicks, but is not going to be attractive to a large population.
posted by shivohum at 9:35 AM on September 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


I find it too bright and harsh, like fluourescent lighting in a waiting room I'd rather not be in. While I am aware of the history behind the "professional white background" joke, it's a legit aesthetic and eyeball-comfort issue for me.

Same here. Sites with white backgrounds also keep my baby up while I'm on my tablet in bed with her, but I realize I'm probably the only one with this problem.

The couple of us (me, tracicle and donajo) who are posting had an offline conversation last week and we're open to a scheduling tweak, but it kind of feels like whatever pace we choose isn't going to work for somebody.

Yeah, that's understandable. I suspect posts about whole seasons or half seasons would have been more effective, but the discussion would have been really different overall.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:55 AM on September 16, 2014


I wonder if a page can be borrowed from TWOP, where low-volume shows (older ones, generally speaking) can simply have one thread devoted to discussing the show entirely. Rewatches could be organized inside the thread where people go episode to episode but are not constrained to being active in multiple threads, one per episode. That way everybody isn't obligated to have a strong opinion on episode 15, season 3 of the Golden Girls, but can discuss the show as a whole and bring in specific episodes as examples for whatever they're saying.

This is an essential feature for non-serialized shows.

Right now I'm spending every free moment watching Columbo for the first time. It is simply AMAZING. And I just want to talk about who the best villains are and the clothes and the sets and the show's general tone and moral stance and the basic episode structure and what a terrific character Columbo is. But when I checked FanFare, I found three separate threads for the first episodes of the first season with 13, 6 and 3 comments attached, respectively. There's a certain kind of discussion it makes sense to have about a long-running series with lots of striking features and memorable moments but no over-arching plot, and you can't really have that here as far as I'm aware.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:01 AM on September 16, 2014 [10 favorites]


it's unclear to me whether I turn into a pariah if I say something critical in Fanfare threads

Not in the Under The Dome posts, which are pretty much nothing but critical.

But more seriously: no, I haven't seen a "say something positive or say nothing at all" vibe; for me, Fanfare has been pretty good for critical discussion.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:02 PM on September 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Finally it's unclear to me whether I turn into a pariah if I say something critical in Fanfare threads. (Criticism: "the analysis and judgment of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work".)

This is a can of worms. If that's the definition of critical, then I think most people agree it's welcome. But that's not the criticism we see on MetaFilter when, say, a thread is about Olive Garden or Thomas Kinkade. I would prefer not to see FanFare turn into a place where you can discuss TV and movies just so long as you agree that Michael Bay sucks and Community is awesome. From my perspective, the site is called FanFare. If you're a fan of a show and you love tearing it apart for analysis, that's cool. But don't go into threads just to shit on media you dislike.

I've been posting unpopular-popular shows: Big Brother, America's Got Talent, etc. Participation has been sparse because although millions of people watch these shows, those aren't the same people who tend to chat on MetaFilter. I'm hopeful that may change. I know the userbase is much larger than we see daily, and as FanFare picks up steam, I'm hoping participation will diversify. In the meantime I'm glad that disinterested people are choosing to steer clear of these threads rather than jump in to complain about how much Howard Stern sucks and network TV is awful. I don't share many of the stereotypical MetaFilter interests and I'm enjoying having the place to chat lightheartedly about the dumb shows I do like.
posted by cribcage at 12:43 PM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Now that fanfare covers anything and everything, though, I think people aren't as clear on what shows are being covered

Honestly, I've simply opted to not participate anymore. It's just become too much of a trainwreck, with every damned thing being thrown in. Current shows, re-watching of current shows, re-watching of current shows' past seasons, re-watching of ancient shows, current movies, movies with books, movies without books, HBO-only shows, Netflix-only shows, shows found somewhere unknown...and all thrown together willy-nilly. And it's all seemingly geared for people who binge-watch. It's just too much damned work.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:47 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen a "say something positive or say nothing at all" vibe

And um: then I read the most recent The Strain post, which is a bit of a "but-you're-nitpicking" train wreck.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:50 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


But more seriously: no, I haven't seen a "say something positive or say nothing at all" vibe; for me, Fanfare has been pretty good for critical discussion.

This is emphatically not true for me. I disagreed with the premise of a show I faithfully and thoughtfully participated in and where I rooted for the antagonist. Because that was fun and part of what the show was encouraging in the lines it drew and because having grown up with the nuances of the premise, I could speak to what the writers were trying to accomplish. I was told to leave the thread and stop commenting because obviously I hated the show and how dare I have an opinion that didn't agree with the prevailing view.

I commented that a particular episode of a different show was boring and was told that I was blathering and should should stop commenting. Moreover, I was accused of calling of the show terrible and loathsome. (An episode that other online commentators agreed was absurdly boring, mind you.)

So, yes. I've experienced the only say good things or get out already. Character assassinations and slurs are okay for some people if you don't agree with their opinion.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 2:10 PM on September 16, 2014


If you're talking about the thread for The Strain I think "character assassinations and slurs" are a pretty crazy extreme way of characterizing what looks to me to amount to somebody saying "I don't know why people who dislike the show still watch it". But maybe I missed something.
posted by Justinian at 2:31 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I haven't experienced any super negative commentary, but by the nature of fandom, I don't doubt that there has at least been a perception of it, if none at all. People do identify with shows and characters and a criticism of said shows or characters can be felt personally, hence, high emotions. That FanFare hasn't devolved into growl matches is a sign of the quality of the commenters, I believe. I think in the same league we expect civil discourse in posts on the Blue, this obviously should continue in FanFare. Though they were not popular posts, the episodes of Defiance posts, I thought did a fairly good job of allowing positive and negative criticism of the show. A golden rule, as always, should be to criticize the show, not the commenter.
posted by Atreides at 2:57 PM on September 16, 2014


I want to note, that, having had both Brandon Blatcher and Ik ben afgesneden comment on the nit-picking thing, I have noticed that this is kind of a thing going back and forth lately between the two of you specifically and I feel like it's something you two need to work out with each other (or with us if this isn't something you can mediate yourselves by just sort of shaking hands on it or walking away from it) more than it is a general issue on FanFare.

That's not to dismiss it as something either or both of you is legitimately bothered by; I just feel like it's really needs noting that there hasn't been a significant general issue with this on FanFare that we've seen over the last several months and approaching it as a general problem rather than specific unhappy interaction between a couple of users doesn't seem like it well help much. I feel like the simplest short term solution would be for you two to just kind of ignore each other and let it be, and if the nitpicking/antinitpicking issue is something that either or both of you feel like remains unresolved that's something to bring to us to try and help you sort out more or less privately.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:02 PM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Nthing that the white background is uncomfortable to read on, and vote for a change of color scheme. As someone said above, it's an "eyeball comfort" thing and really impacts my experience of FanFare. I don't want to install a greasemonkey script or whatever the heck it is, I would like the change to happen on the site itself.

Pulling and quoting this whole comment as I wholeheartedly agree:

Seems to me that user awareness of FF is at the heart of the problem. More people might be up for discussions if they knew they were happening, and it's not a habit yet to check FF regularly. How about a box on the blue, just above the sidebar, that says "Today's new FanFare posts:" and then has a comma'd list of just that day's posts?
posted by jbickers at 7:15 AM on September 16 [5 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


I understand that FanFare is still very much in an experimental stage but I think some cross-promotion needs to start happening. I would even start a FanFare Twitter account as well, maybe start putting stuff on the sidebar? If you're looking for a sidebar tasker man oh man would I love that job...

To end on a positive note, I love FanFare so far and am really digging seeing new shows that I never knew existed before (like "Being Mary Jane" mentioned above). I make mental notes to check 'em out.

I really like that people can add any movie (usually one that they love or think is significant), rather than just recent movies. I don't consider it cruft or "noise" at all and am surprised that people think of it that way.

Really liking filthy light thief's idea of radio boxes that you can tick, maybe add:

◼ dramas ◼ comedies ◼ horror

etc. to filter stuff that the user wants to see.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:28 PM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Fourth - Background color. There's a reason that most people ridicule the professional white background on Metafilter. I love the current theme that was created and I've been hoping for it to be adopted or something similar.

I know it's a derail, but while I agree that this is a loudly held view, I'm not convinced it is a widely held one.


Commenting to agree with tocts re background color. I've never commented on this when it's come up in various discussions, but for the record I like the white, have used it for as long as I can remember. So when people began complaining about the white in FanFare, I was confused at first because I'd actually forgotten that MetaFilter has different background colors.

Season 4 of Game of Thrones is being broadcast on a pay satellite channel in Japan right now, and I really do enjoy going back to the massive FanFare threads after each episode to read what everyone had to say. But regarding the FanFare section in general, I'm sort of resigned to the fact that I'll never be able to participate in any of the TV threads as they unfold at their most active and most interesting timings because none of the shows being discussed will be broadcast at the same time here in Japan. So if not for the movie rewatches, there really won't be any way for anybody outside the US (or UK for stuff like Sherlock and Dr. Who) to participate, which is off-putting in a way as well, at least for me.
posted by misozaki at 4:29 PM on September 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


I've been posting unpopular-popular shows: Big Brother, America's Got Talent, etc.

I love shows I know will never be popular on metafilter because they're considered too low-brow. That's why I miss twop. I could talk about the bachelor, and I didn't need to act like it was anything it's not. I didn't need to lower my head in shame, or be afraid of being judged. I like deep shows, but at the end of the day, sometimes I just want escapism. Just because a show isn't artistic doesn't mean it doesn't have merits worth discussing.
posted by Aranquis at 4:43 PM on September 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Amen. I was pleasantly surprised how many people joined in the America's Next Top Model thread I started last week. Discussing "low-brow" TV with Mefites is great fun!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:05 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


The white background is awesome and I hope all of the sites switch to it!
posted by carsonb at 5:26 PM on September 16, 2014


The drop in participation bothers me as well.

I've tried not to queue up shows that I don't think will be popular because the lack of participation isn't worth the effort of sustaining a show and I feel the clutter issue. I've dropped one show already and The Knick I keep massaging along only because it's so well-done on many levels (despite its many flaws).

Extant and Intruders are two shows that should be widely discussed but I don't think there's a following. Someone did try with Intruders but that appears to only have lasted one episode.

Sometimes the worst shows have the most participation. Under the Dome is pretty bad but has a high participation rate. Z Nation may turn out to be similar.

I find the rewatches and new watches for old shows difficult even for great programs like Orphan Black and Doctor Who. I try to comment on these but I'm not going to watch the episodes again when there's so much current TV already in my queue and I have to remember to only comment on that episode so as not spoil anyone. It's just not worth the investment of my time.

FWIW, I find the white background overly bright and annoying.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 7:51 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I agree with Latke's (and other similar posts here) point -- I'd like to participate in FanFare more, but it feels like whatever I'd say would get instantly buried, and the same is true for anyone who would talk to me in kind. I know I can scroll down or search or use RecentActivity, but it still feels buried. This is why I haven't participated.

It would be nice to have an option to only show the FF threads for shows I watch. For me that's only a few shows; I'm not a major media consumer, I guess. But with 'only' a few things I'd follow, I click on the FF page and feel ... excluded.

++background_color_change().
posted by Dashy at 8:09 AM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've dropped out of FF temporarily due to other-stuff-going-on-right-now issues, but I love it and hope to pick it up again as all the fall TV programs start.

I'll admit to dropping the ball on a few shows I've proposed, partly due to my own life stuff going on as well as limited interest in (or knowledge of) the shows.

I wonder if a page can be borrowed from TWOP, where low-volume shows (older ones, generally speaking) can simply have one thread devoted to discussing the show entirely. Rewatches could be organized inside the thread where people go episode to episode but are not constrained to being active in multiple threads, one per episode. That way everybody isn't obligated to have a strong opinion on episode 15, season 3 of the Golden Girls, but can discuss the show as a whole and bring in specific episodes as examples for whatever they're saying.

I definitely would be on board with this. There are a lot of rewatches I would love to discuss but because they're posted per episode I don't participate in the discussion because I usually can't remember details of particular episodes and I don't want to 1) post anything spoiler-y, or 2) want to discuss broader themes that probably fall outside the purview of that particular episode and don't want to get off topic. When I think back on series that I've watched in their entirety, I tend to break it up mentally into seasons, with a few standout moments or episodes and I think it makes sense to discuss things that way (as a whole or per season). This is how shows are discussed on Mefi, which is why the discussions are usually so good - because people aren't constrained to any one episode. Example 1, 2, 3, 4

I'm bingewatching The Good Wife this week ahead of the season premiere on Sunday (100 episodes!) and when I'm done, I'll do a mefi search on it to see any discussion that people have had about it in the past. I do this with a lot of shows, because when we have a tv show discussion on the front page, it's great. There are threads that I've deliberately skipped because I don't want to see the spoilers, but when I'm done watching the shows, I'll go back and read them, which is gratifying even if I can no longer comment.

So my thoughts are that for future episodes of programs, having threads as they air (or right after) so that people can discuss shows right away is great. For past shows/series, more Mefi-style threads (in FanFare) discussing the show in general or threads dedicated to full seasons would make me much, much more likely to participate as we'd be discussing general themes rather than episode particulars.
posted by triggerfinger at 10:13 AM on September 17, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think that's a good idea, and I'd support amending the FanFare format to encourage it, but I also think you can do it fine with the current setup. There's no requirement that you need to post a thread for every episode. If you want to discuss the sixth season of Golden Girls, just post a thread for its finale. If you want to discuss the entire Sopranos run, then a thread for "Made in America" would be inclusive. That's basically what is happening for some ongoing shows already. WWE doesn't need weekly threads, and Big Brother certainly doesn't need three threads per week. So people are posting sporadically. Not every episode gets a thread.
posted by cribcage at 2:25 PM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


I really like the idea of ordering posts by show as I still cannot, for the life of me, navigate FanFare. I find it really hard to locate an individual show in the first place and the non-segregation of 1st watch and re-watch makes the conversation look really fractured.

Possibly I'm just a dolt but I've always found MeFi navigation non-intuitive (searching old posts, hitting up the archives etc) but that doesn't matter on the other subs because the whole point of the site is that you can't anticipate what the topic of any one post will be. In FF however it seems wantonly stubbon to not offer up (for example) a full titles a-z link page with tabs for 1st watch/re-watch or at least a set of subgenre categories opening to reveal show titles by A-Z to facilitate general browsing.

A 'My FanFare' might resolve the issue if, as pointed out above, we can tag by series and new/re-watch status with a recent activity tab for just those posts, whether or not you have commented.
posted by freya_lamb at 2:29 PM on September 17, 2014


In FF however it seems wantonly stubbon to not offer up (for example) a full titles a-z link page with tabs for 1st watch/re-watch

The Archives page sort of does this, although not with separation between 1st/re-watch. Also, it took me a long time to train myself to remember that, though, because it's completely different from how the Archives pages on the other subsites work.

Maybe rather than or in addition to the [view more tv] and [view more movies] under the image sections, there could be a more prominent [view all shows and movies] right above/below the Fanfare Talk widget? Or Archives could be named "Index" instead, to indicate that it's not divided the way the blue/green/grey archives are?
posted by kagredon at 4:17 PM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed the one-thread-for-entire-show format for the TWOP series that didn't get the multi-thread forum + recapper treatment, but doing that in Fanfare would make using the Recent Activity function a constant source of spoilers unless one added & removed threads weekly from RA. Also, on TWOP I think the posting time/date appeared at the top left of the comments, so if you were catching up on a thread you could tell when you were getting close to the date of the most recent episode you were up to & stop before you got past it.

I wonder if for some shows, it would be better if we had to do an FPP on the blue first? Then once that thread closed for comments, the closing note would include a link to the new Fanfare post. And new Fanfare posts could link back to the originating Metafilter FPP. I know there have been lots of multi-link megaposts for shows done on the blue that I always meant to go back to but never did; a series-finale Fanfare post could let those discussions continue.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:26 AM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking about posting something on Pushing Daisies because I'm watching it for the first time, but have held off because I assume those threads will get about two comments each.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:14 AM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


DevilsAdvocate and I recently concluded a run of The Prisoner on FanFare, and it was both great (excellent comments! jokes, new information, fan camaraderie!) and frustrating (fatigue!).

I think fatigue was the main problem -- brief though the series is, it's still 15-17 hours of television, and its big moments are pretty front-loaded. And since it was a Rewatch, we tended to talk about foreshadowing in the episode where it happened, rather than the episode where it paid off.

We probably could've gotten away with some kind of "fast forward" post that invited discussion on the series' second half, then a post for the two-part finale. Would've lost some good stuff, but it might have been better to keep the conversation more consolidated.
posted by thesmallmachine at 8:53 AM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think the unobtrusiveness of the show recap links is an issue, since the addition of a link doesn't show up in Recent Activity. Would there be a way for the posting of a recap to cause an automatic 'recap from site whatever' comment to post, or should we be making a pull-quote comment when we post a recap link?
posted by oh yeah! at 10:19 AM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


We probably won't be straying away from reverse chronological posts. We're trying to discuss media in the MetaFilter way. You could absolutely organize a media site in a radically different way, but then it wouldn't be MetaFilter. We're definitely thinking about how people discover older threads on FanFare. I think the My FanFare feature will be a good starting point.

The metafilter way is to make user generated "static" content largely obscure by putting it on user pages, or only aggregated by way of clicks through user pages i.e. favorites or "My Metafilter." "My FanFare" just hides the threads from whtaever the main fanfare userbase is.

reverse chronological only makes sense for shows that are just being released, which would totally exclude media consumers like me, who don't see things until, sometimes, years later. most media content is static. most of the audience for something is looking at a show or movie that's been out for awhile.

it would be awesome if FanFare had a static list of movies with comment threads that could be updated over years as more people watched the movie. the strength of metafilter is the userbase, not some "way."
posted by ennui.bz at 3:43 AM on September 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I have not used FanFare but I have clicked on it a few times, intrigued by the concept. I am happy with the background color. I find it very difficult to process and navigate the main screen for the sub site. I think there are some good ideas here on how to potentially improve the sub site and make it more user friendly, and I hope some may be implemented. I think the main issue is being able to sort/find what you are looking for and also the chronologic setup of the postings that makes discussion a challenge.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:48 AM on September 20, 2014


I know there's a queue before episodes go live so I'm wondering if there's a notification given if an episode you're putting up is already under consideration for another user.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 2:43 PM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


In the long run I think the plan is to just drop the Fanfare queue entirely and let folks just put stuff through in real time, which should obviate a whole bunch of little complexities that folks have otherwise had various ideas for dealing with.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:37 PM on September 20, 2014


I'm using Fanfare only to comment on two currently-running tv shows. I don't think I'd ever be interested in a re-watch, unless it was LOST (please don't, not yet anyway).

I expect that with the new tv season, I'll be following a couple more . My only request is to post the day of the week alongside the date.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:05 PM on September 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


My problem with Fanfare is that it just doesn't fit into the way I use MetaFilter. I start with Recent Activity. When I'm caught up there, I'll peruse the Front Page. Very, very occasionally I'll look at MetaTalk. There are a couple of ongoing Fanfare series posts I'm interested in participating in, but with the volume of posts on the FF front page, they have no visibility for me without looking at the Archive page or otherwise messing around with finding if it's posted or not.

I also feel bad about posting things sometimes. I see people putting MetaFilter Front Page levels of effort into their episode posts, but that's just not in the cards for me. So, after waiting a while and not seeing the next post for a show I'd like to discuss, I feel like a heel for posting with basically a cribbed from IMDB description and nothing else.

Frankly, I'd almost rather see "posts" on Fanfare be more like suggestions for a post, perhaps notionally the same as flags or "votes" as suggested above. When the post is made, it gets pulled off the queue, and the title and description are gathered from Freebase, IMDB, et cetera, automatically. Thus there would be some uniformity in the posts themselves. This would also remove the "ownership" problem. Let the effort people are putting in roll into the comments instead.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:27 PM on September 22, 2014


I will have MANY MANY MANY things to say once the fall TV season gets going...
posted by Jacqueline at 5:02 PM on September 15


OPINIONS! I be having them now.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:14 PM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


~*hic*~
posted by Jacqueline at 11:13 PM on September 22, 2014


I'd always assumed FanFare was Not For Me. I live in Australia, where we get things way behind their US air dates for the most part. I don't really have a functional live-to-air TV anyway, I tend to binge-watch DVDs after they are released. (The Good Wife, for example, which I would LOVE to discuss, has only just had S5 come out on DVD.)

So I don't think I ever looked at FanFare until the colour scheme change, when I got intrigued by all the mentions of purple. I'm surprised to find the discussions of movies and re-watching older series - I may be able to catch up on the Fringe one, which I've been planning to re-watch for a while now. And I was doing my own kind of ad hoc Robin Williams retrospective. So now that I know there's more to it than raving about GoT and all the other current US shows, I'm going to keep an eye on it. Agree though that it would be nice to have a way of filtering - that way I don't have to peek at the screen as I scroll past all the posts relating to shows I might get to watch someday, just to avoid spoilers.
posted by Athanassiel at 1:26 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ooh, just noticed the turn summary off thing, no more peeking! Hooray!
posted by Athanassiel at 1:27 AM on September 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


When the test period was on and I was watching and reading GoT threads, Fanfare got me back into MeFi (whether or not that's desirable is a separate issue). I started watching "The Prisoner" to participate in the rewatch thread, and while I was around I poked about my old haunts. Then the volume of posts went up about 20 times and the whole thing became useless to me. Just my experience, but if the idea is to build a new subsite that will help drive traffic to the site, I think it's pretty much gone completely off the rails.
posted by mzurer at 7:49 AM on September 25, 2014


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