Being kind about framing February 17, 2015 3:24 PM   Subscribe

Sometimes bad framing can make a discussion instantly go pear shaped. I would ask other users to pause and try to give links at least a cursory read-through before responding to solely what is written on the front page. Especially when your response is overridingly negative. Even a post with bad framing can have content that will generate quality discussion.

This happens very often, and sometimes I am guilty of what I describe above. What spurred me to post this was this FPP about film-grab.com. I love the fact gwint posted it, and thank them for introducing me to an awesome curated site.

However, the headline used to present the link on Metafilter positioned it as "What are the most iconic film images." People responded (seemingly without looking at much beyond the first images they saw on the site) very negatively, as if it were a best-of list. Subsequently the discussion was massively derailed. Note that the second comment is a pretty blase dismissal that shows they didn't really look at the site, and then a majority of the comments become about the framing.

It's a frustrating example of something that happens incredibly often. I'm not saying this is a growing problem (in fact, I would say it's gotten marginally better, having read the site's archives). I admit that it's difficult to always read the linked content before you reply to the framing, but I think if more people took the time to do so (or perhaps just didn't respond if they haven't) then the discussion on the site would be improved overall.
posted by codacorolla to Etiquette/Policy at 3:24 PM (55 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

When people don't understand what a post is about, I think mainly that is a failure of the post's authors, not the readers.
posted by grouse at 3:40 PM on February 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


Agree that this FPP could have been framed better.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:49 PM on February 17, 2015


There's actually very little about film-grab.com that would suggest that it wasn't trying to do what the FPP said it does. Its content is almost entirely images. So, sure, the framing sucked, but unless you specifically clicked on the 'About' page (and even then) there was nothing really to suggest to a reader that the framing was actually totally misrepresenting the point of the site. If there was a failure here, I'm pretty sure it wasn't on the part of the people who were commenting.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:49 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Communication failure is frustrating. It's frustrating as a poster to see the comments of people who don't understand the post. But can be just as frustrating as a reader to not understand the post in the first place. There are many more readers, and you may not even know that some of them are confused.

When you see people who obviously don't get whatever it is you're communicating, the moral isn't that those people should have done more research before responding. The moral is that they are just the tip of a larger iceberg of people who didn't receive your message.
posted by grouse at 3:53 PM on February 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Can someone explain what the purpose of the site is? I've poked around, read the about box and the comments here and in the fpp and don't see the disconnect.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 4:49 PM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of the things I've been trying to do when I notice a framing issue is to make the post I want to see - make a post deeply engaging with the subject matter. I've found that by shifting my focus from objecting to how other people respond to improving how I respond, I've been forced to actually become more deeply engaged with the topic at hand, which makes it easier for me to be generous toward others.
posted by Deoridhe at 4:50 PM on February 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


When you see people who obviously don't get whatever it is you're communicating, the moral isn't that those people should have done more research before responding. The moral is that they are just the tip of a larger iceberg of people who didn't receive your message.

I get what you're saying here, but I think that approach really does a disservice to the material linked in the post, which due to the way Metafilter operates will almost certainly never get posted here again.* It bugs the crap out of me (on both the blue and the green) when someone makes a comment having given the post a fleeting glance. If you can't be bothered to engage with the post, you have no business making a comment. This should apply to every post, regardless of how well it's stated or framed. If there really is a big problem, talk to the mods or take it to MeTa.

*not a complaint
posted by everybody had matching towels at 5:05 PM on February 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


Perhaps just even only one sentence from the poster would have .... framed it?

As it is, it's just a couple of links. The only thing I could take from that are 'here are the best examples'. What's to discuss, really? So of course it led to 'here's MY idea of what the best film grab was', and I don't see evidence that the first few posters didn't visit the link.
posted by Dashy at 5:09 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


It bugs the crap out of me (on both the blue and the green) when someone makes a comment having given the post a fleeting glance. If you can't be bothered to engage with the post, you have no business making a comment.

This isn't that.

This is people reading a description, then clicking through to something that doesn't match that description. That's annoying. They're well within their right to say so. Seems to me it's the poster who couldn't be bothered to engage with the content.

At least, that's how I read it the first time around. Now I'm starting to see that maybe the question in the description was less Which of these iconic shots are more iconic than the rest? and more Can you spot the iconic shots among all these interesting but mostly not iconic shots?, which seems awfully discussion-steering to a delete-worthy degree, and steered the discussion straight into what it became: A chatfiltery list of favourite iconic shots. Which is not what the link even is.

I vote do-over.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:36 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not arguing that the post wasn't framed poorly. I agree that it was. Writing a good FPP is hard, and I think most people who post on a regular basis have seen one go up in flames because of a few poorly chosen words in their framing.

Crafting a FPP is largely a learned skill, and without posts we don't have anything to talk about. I often read people on here who express nervousness about posting because they're worried about it being poorly received, and when you see such extreme negativity from a miscommunication (as shown in the linked FPP, but also on many, many, many other posts) you have to wonder how many people are scared off from posting simply because of what is frequently a culture that brutally punishes failure.

Instead of expecting FPP writers to suddenly get better and make every post a home run, I think it's easier to have people be a bit kinder about commenting, and a bit more open to reading thoroughly before commenting, before going into the FPP to deride it. As matching towels mentions above, stuff mostly gets a single chance to be posted. Posting flippantly can, at best, create a hostile atmosphere right off the bat, and at worst, completely derail a discussion thread before anything interesting has a chance to happen. Perhaps, even going beyond that, some posters would be well served to just be nicer in general. Even going through frame-grab entirely, finding it wanting, and then coming in to say "this sucks," isn't really an enjoyable thing for others to read, or a good way to make interesting conversation on the site.

For example, here's me being a dick 2 years ago. That's a totally unnecessary comment (I apologize, I feel bad enough to remember it two years later), it immediately distracts the post from the content of the post to the meta-topic about whether or not XKCD sucks, and it adds nothing to the conversation other than garnering a few favorites. I read the link, understood it, and still shouldn't have made that comment. I should have accepted that I don't like XKCD (that hasn't changed, for what it's worth), shrugged, and then moved on. Instead I made the conversation actively worse.

I vote do-over.

Unfortunately, that's not how the site really works, outside of stuff like current events and obits, where there's endless deleted posts until someone gets it right.

By deleting stuff that's framed poorly you're creating a culture where respected and skilled writers get the stuff that sticks, and new members who aren't so good at the writing end yet (or people who are and just whiffed on that particular day) do not. That seems like a shitty way to create a growing community, invite new opinions, or generate conversation that breaks out of the same ruts over and over.

Furthermore, I'd argue that this isn't something that need policy or code to fix, but just an invitation for people to try to be a bit nicer. If possible, remember a time that a post you were excited to talk about has completely self-destructed because you choose the wrong word.
posted by codacorolla at 5:51 PM on February 17, 2015 [17 favorites]


Eh? Posts get deleted for framing all the time.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:59 PM on February 17, 2015


I think they get deleted for crappy framing which is likely to cause a fighty trainwreck, not a sub-optimal framing which may make people talk smack about the linked site because of thwarted expectations.
posted by Justinian at 6:03 PM on February 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, you seem to be imagining some huge negative reaction to that post. Unless there have been a ton of deleted comments, there's nothing negative there. Some minor confusion, and some slightly boorish "corrections" of the confusion, but, like...

Even going through frame-grab entirely, finding it wanting, and then coming in to say "this sucks," isn't really an enjoyable thing for others to read, or a good way to make interesting conversation on the site.


See what I mean? Nobody did that. At all.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:04 PM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Eh? Posts get deleted for framing all the time.

Those are the ones that are bad enough to require moderator action. What I'm talking about are instances like I link in my initial post, where it's probably not garnering a lot of flags and there are no clear policy breaks other than some poorly considered words. On preview, what Justinian said.

It seems that you're arguing that more posts should be deleted, which I would say is a poor solution in terms of moderator workload, and site culture.
posted by codacorolla at 6:07 PM on February 17, 2015


One for John Boorman but that doesn't have either a big Zardoz head or Seannery in his leather manties? Bad.

Literally the second post in the read. I guess it doesn't say, "This sucks," but it does say, "Bad."

Secondly, this is about a larger issue in the community, and exists beyond the single FPP that I cite in my initial post.
posted by codacorolla at 6:11 PM on February 17, 2015


After looking through the site in question I think the problem here is that it's just not a very good site.
posted by Justinian at 6:12 PM on February 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


No need to get caught up in specifics, codacorolla's request for everyone to pause and be less negative or at least more thoughtfully negative is reasonable. Worth noting and trying.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:30 PM on February 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


One for John Boorman but that doesn't have either a big Zardoz head or Seannery in his leather manties? Bad.

Literally the second post in the read. I guess it doesn't say, "This sucks," but it does say, "Bad."


I read that as a joke, not an actual referendum - it's a reference to this image which is certainly, ah, iconic.
posted by muddgirl at 6:50 PM on February 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, I understand and recognize the main complaint, but to me it is a symptom of the larger problem of some commenters wanting to give their opinions before actually reading the link. I've certainly done this myself from time to time. Despite several Talk posts on the subject over the past decade, it still occurs.
posted by muddgirl at 6:52 PM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of the things I've been trying to do when I notice a framing issue is to make the post I want to see - make a post deeply engaging with the subject matter. I've found that by shifting my focus from objecting to how other people respond to improving how I respond, I've been forced to actually become more deeply engaged with the topic at hand, which makes it easier for me to be generous toward others.

Yeah, I think this is a good approach as far as ways to actively contribute to better threads and counteract some of the reflexive negativity that can come up as early tone-setting stuff. I try to do that now and then too, and have usually been happy about the results; one or two comments early on in a thread that start to actually dig in to what's interesting about the links can really get the ball rolling in a good way.

I think threads often tend to get there anyway even if they got off to a more snarky or one-liner-ful start, but it's nice to see them get there faster especially when the link or subject is something with some substance to it. And this is definitely a good case for the whole Be The Change You Wish To See thing. It takes a little bit of effort but can contribute a lot.

Posting flippantly can, at best, create a hostile atmosphere right off the bat, and at worst, completely derail a discussion thread before anything interesting has a chance to happen. Perhaps, even going beyond that, some posters would be well served to just be nicer in general.

Yeah, I think these are both points that it's worth it for everybody to consider periodically about how they interact with the site.

It's easy, and so sort of understandable, to be flippant or snarky as a one-off if something about the post/topic/link annoys you, especially if it's on a subject you're pre-annoyed about for whatever reason; but it's worth fighting that instinct, trying to catch yourself in it, and deciding to instead either look for something more substantial to say or just make that small effort to close the tab and move on to something that doesn't annoy you.

And it's also easy to get into a little more of a rut of that kind of reflexive negativity, and I think a lot of people have been there at one time or another and certainly at any given time we have a healthy couple handfuls of fairly regular users who are there right now. And when that gets to be a habit—when the reflexive snark or grumping or dismissal or thread-shitting behavior goes from being "I was having a bad day that day" to more like "it's a day ending in '-day'"—it really can be something that, in its small way, becomes an ongoing negative thing for the site. Probably not big enough for people to really notice or specifically complain about often, but enough to mean that the chances of any given thread getting off to a good start go down by that little bit, for each person in that habit.

Which, it's hard to be totally mindful of this stuff, especially if part of what is driving the negativity is that you're actually genuinely and in some way or another justifiably annoyed about part of what you're being negative about. But it's important to remember this is a community space, that other people posting and commenting are your fellow community members, and everything you do here affects a lot of other people's experiences. So I think it's an unalloyed good to put in that effort to periodically think about how you interact, why you choose to make the comments you do, whether you're doing it because you expect it to actually improve the thread for everybody or just because you're annoyed and want to express that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:53 PM on February 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


That post gave me the sweats and I had to call my snarker's anonymous sponsor.
posted by boo_radley at 7:03 PM on February 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


It would be really good if people developed a sense of being careful about what they post very near the beginning of a thread. Those first ten or so comments have such a powerful influence on the subsequent thread, for both good or ill.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:25 PM on February 17, 2015 [23 favorites]


This might seem counterintuitive, but I think it is best as a commenter to give the non-link text of an FPP the lowest possible priority in processing its content. It really comes down to just what's in the links. The non-link text can be useful in making a collection of links seem like they coherently relate to one particular subject, but beyond that, it should be ignored. The more content someone tries to put in the non-link text of their FPP, the more vulnerable they are to GYOBing, editorializing, or shitty framing.
posted by Jpfed at 8:37 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's not the framing of the FFP, it's that the site is no big deal.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:59 PM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's what I said!
posted by Justinian at 9:21 PM on February 17, 2015


I shared this comic on Facebook last week - "posting" by Jim Benton - with the caption "fairly accurate to MeFi". It's relevant here.

When someone makes a post, it's because they found a cool, interesting, etc. thing online that they want to share. And much like the comic they're offering it up to the site like "hey, I found this thing I thought was worth sharing - I thought you all might be into it, what do you think?" And when commenters are just RAWR GRAR SNARK, THAT THING SUCKS, OBVIOUSLY DID NOT READ THE LINKS it's not very encouraging to the poster to come back & share more.

Meanwhile the front page scrolls on and people always want more links to look at & more discussion threads to talk in. Well, fine, but when you discourage members from sharing when they do step up - or make them not even want to bother stepping up because they see the negativity that posting can attract - you're working against that. "Well, they should frame it better" - I agree framing is crucial but 1) learning how to frame a post well for MeFi takes practice & 2) no one gets framing perfect 100% of the time on MeFi; most regular posters have seen at least one of their threads go awry over a framing issue before. Framing issues are worth discussing but there's a big difference between a thoughtful or "adding to the post/engaging with it more deeply" approach - and just being flippant to score points or be snappish.

The points made above about posts only getting one chance (you can't double-post links) and those first ten comments or so being pretty important to the overall reception of the post & the flow of the discussion - I think those points are really worth keeping in mind. Lulzy snark or lazy dismissiveness right up at the top of a thread - especially when it attracts a whack of favorites - has an outsized impact on posts and therefore on the community as a whole that I think people don't consider in the moment they're making that comment or responding to it.

People aren't getting paid to post here. They don't get anything out of posting except whatever participating in this community does for them. I appreciate community norms & quality standards a good deal but - like, really, is it worth it to make another member of your community feel crappy because something they shared here, unpaid, isn't up to the standards of a bored commenter's five-second assessment?
posted by flex at 9:28 PM on February 17, 2015 [36 favorites]


But my ennui is the light of the world.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 9:46 PM on February 17, 2015


it's because they found a cool, interesting, etc. thing online that they want to share.

Or because they found something they're angry about, or because someone died, or they wanted to be the first to post a breaking news story, or they're trying to post every single day, or...
posted by Wolfdog at 2:09 AM on February 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think if people don't get called out on bad posts, then we are going to get more bad posts. I think it's rare for the links to go unclicked because of unfair comments, too.
posted by michaelh at 2:18 AM on February 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I remember posting an FPP last year and getting a really poor reception - because one link used some less-than-ideal language about a trans woman. (It was a slight misunderstanding of the correct pronouns to use rather than anything deliberately malicious or insulting.) The link in question was a report from a local newspaper, but I felt like I was being held personally responsible for the content of each and every link. In my view, it wasn't a bad post, it was one local journo on a tight deadline making a grammatical error which got me the tirade.

The FPP was swiftly taken down ("this isn't going well" was the reason given) and I haven't even entertained the notion of posting anything to the front page since, instead retreating to AskMe and the occasional comment on the blue. The reaction I got was quite extreme and slightly abusive - I think someone must have been having a bad day at the time - but I felt really discouraged from posting again. I felt like someone's punching bag and probably won't share anything on the blue again.

I don't know what can be done about this, or whether anything should even be done, but I would love to see a more encouraging and supportive and less intimidating atmosphere around posting FPPs - sort of like July by Women, but more like March by Everyone.
posted by winterhill at 2:25 AM on February 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Hmm, that was odd. I looked up that deleted post, and there was one very negative comment (which I consider to be angry-sounding and I can't blame you for taking personally) and one that was clearly positive. Maybe a better response would have been to remove that negative comment instead. But it's a touchy topic and I can see why the mods might have been a bit extra risk-averse in this case, and who knows how it would have turned out? Not me.

Still a shame that you did not feel up to doing a rewrite, as suggested. It was just one person's opinion.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:46 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Or because they found something they're angry about

Bad reason to post.

they wanted to be the first to post a breaking news story

Also bad reason to post.

they're trying to post every single day

Bad reason to post something you don't think is cool or interesting that you want to share.

Sure, some posts could definitely be better. Wolfdog's fourth example, obituaries, are routinely deleted if they're too poorly formulated, for example. But not reading the links and posting quickly with snark and dismissiveness are two things that it would be good to see a lot less of. Especially in tandem. Even things you don't like should be led with something closer to a proper rebuttal, especially if you're amongst the first to comment; there's always time for scorn later, if you must.
posted by gadge emeritus at 3:07 AM on February 18, 2015


What a surprise that the first Johnny-pop-up responses in this thread are also knee jerk negative. I agree with the op but I don't think there's any way to reach people who feel they MUST respond with criticism 2 seconds after a post goes up.

Instead my solution is to try and post something positive or ask a question or otherwise just sort of be in the thread not being snarky as soon as the post goes up. This probably won't stop the insta-bummers but it will at least dilute them.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:30 AM on February 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


I guess that this FPP could have been framed a little better but the site itself clearly says on the masthead "A growing archive of stills from the best films ever" so it wasn't all that tough to figure out.
posted by octothorpe at 4:35 AM on February 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


One reason people react badly is when the link doesn't deliver on the promised content. That FPP looks like it's going to be an article on the subject, and instead it's a bunch of screengrabs of films from extremely well-known directors.
posted by smackfu at 5:58 AM on February 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd rather people considering their framing when posting. The reader can only go by what's there.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:07 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would ask other users to pause and try to give links at least a cursory read-through before responding to solely what is written on the front page.

Flag 'em. I routinely flag comments that only react to the text of the FPP.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:46 AM on February 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Well, this particular example aside, we all know that many derails could be avoided if people would RTFA before having a knee jerk response to a provocative title or framing. I've been guilty myself, which is why I know the phenomenon exists. On the other hand there is a fair bit of RTFA-shaming that tends to happen after the first few knee-jerk comments or one particularly knee-jerkish comment, often a comment that reveals the commenter has not even glanced at TFA, and is only seeking a toilet in which to leave a turd. In a vicious circle, this tendency is enhanced around controversial or outrage-inducing or taste-categorizing subjects, and in turn invites aggressive responses, damaging many a thread with an initial derail and causing others to avoid the conversation in disgust.

So all in all, just at the level of informal site culture, much good is achieved by an expectation that commenters will have at least glanced through to TFA before hitting "post comment," and it behooves us all to self-police on this (for me covered under the "whoa, this is a hot button subject for me, I'm getting over invested, it's only mefi discussion, life goes on" general warning status) and for moderators and engaged participants to continue calling people out for (or deleting drive by turds that reveal) not having Read The Fucking Article.

Of course the more canonical and academic-debate idiom that still prevails here is indeed to RTFA and then shred on the subject of how other commenters misunderstand (and are wrong/ignorant/evil/stupid for misunderstanding, sometimes, if only by implication) TFA, or even more typically, how TFA is Full Of Shit.
posted by spitbull at 7:16 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


His voice was no more than a hoarse, throaty whisper as he breathed into her ear:
"I'm going to flag you now. I'm going to flag you hard and fast. And you're going to love it. You'll want me to never stop flagging you."
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:18 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Her killfile must have malfunctioned with the latest Chrome update.
posted by spitbull at 7:21 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I'm going to flag you now. I'm going to flag you hard and fast. And you're going to love it. You'll want me to never stop flagging you."

Now we know what Biden was saying.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:25 AM on February 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't think there's any way to reach people who feel they MUST respond with criticism 2 seconds after a post goes up.

If only they could learn the rush that is having an immediate dislike of a post but then deciding not to say anything because obviously somebody else liked it and just letting that smug sense of superiority sit in their chest while not making other people feel bad.

SO SATISFYING.


(to be clear, this does not apply to any posts mentioned here, of which I have no opinion yet)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:35 AM on February 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


What a surprise that the first Johnny-pop-up responses in this thread are also knee jerk negative.

It is actually possible to be negative about something without my knee jerking. Totally possible. I just tested it again by reading your comment over and over, and my knee didn't jerk even once.

In this case, I had just seen the FPP a few minutes before I saw the MeTa about the FPP, so my confusion over what film-grab.com was supposed to be doing was still relatively fresh in mind. Before I responded here, I went back and looked at the FPP again, and at film-grab.com again, to see if I could figure out what it was supposed to be doing if it wasn't what was suggested in the FPP. It wasn't difficult to find the about page, but it wasn't something I would expect most people would do when reading an FPP that offers such a straightforward and completely plausible explanation of what was happening. Given the usual practices of the internet, it actually seemed way more likely to me that someone was attempting to catalogue the most iconic images from a bunch of movies than that someone was simply attempting to catalogue a bunch of images from a bunch of movies, so on first read through, I never had any reason to question whether the FPP framing might have been inaccurate.

So, yeah, I read this post, thought 'huh, I just read that FPP, it was weird to me, too', re-read the FPP being discussed, revisited the site the FPP was about in an attempt to understand the mismatch in expectations and what was delivered and then commented here. I don't think that was particularly kneejerk. Negative yes, but considered first.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:39 AM on February 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Writing a good FPP is hard, and I think most people who post on a regular basis have seen one go up in flames because of a few poorly chosen words in their framing.

I think a lot of these problems would be avoided if people put less effort into the supposedly arcane skills of FPP-crafting rather than more. Why not be content to write plain-vanilla descriptions of the links rather than trying for cutesy or clever or leading framing?

I mean, look at the FPP under discussion. My heart often sinks when I see those FPPs (like this one) where someone has made every word of a sentence (or every damn letter) a link. Why should an FPP be something you have to randomly click around in order to figure out what it's about? I think the OP got so caught up in putting that together that they didn't really think about the sentence they'd written as the pretext for all those links. Why not just "film-grab.com: it's a cool, and growing, archive of movie stills." No room for confusion and no attempt to steer the discussion. If you really had to single out some particular images then you could do a below the fold: "Here are some of my favorites:" with, ideally, the name of the film given as the link to the image.
posted by yoink at 10:33 AM on February 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


I once ignored a whole section of the Met because the framing was just so bad.
posted by Kabanos at 10:54 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think a lot of these problems would be avoided if people put less effort into the supposedly arcane skills of FPP-crafting rather than more. Why not be content to write plain-vanilla descriptions of the links rather than trying for cutesy or clever or leading framing?

It's fun. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by zarq at 11:21 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's fun. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Which is an unanswerable justification so long as it actually is fun. I mean, I'm not paying you a dime to put together the FPP, so if it amuses you to do it in an opaque, puzzly sort of way, well, that's your privilege--and I'm sure there are Mefites out there who love those kinds of FPPs as well as the ones like me who find them a little irritatingly self-indulgent (I'm more in the "if you want to tell me about a cool thing you found on the internet, make it about the cool thing--not about the cleverness of the way you present that thing"--but I recognize tastes vary widely in that regard). My only point, though, is that I think some of the people struggling to complexify their FPPs are doing so not because they think it's "fun" but because they think it's somehow de rigueur--that they'll be laughed off the site as simple-minded rubes if they just straightforwardly present the thing they've found. I think for those people it might be useful to know that there are people on the site who are happy to just be told in straightforward terms: "here is this site; this is what it does/is about; enjoy." Certainly the chances of blowback for anyone taking that approach are considerably diminished.
posted by yoink at 11:41 AM on February 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


...if it amuses you to do it in an opaque, puzzly sort of way, well, that's your privilege--and I'm sure there are Mefites out there who love those kinds of FPPs as well as the ones like me who find them a little irritatingly self-indulgent (I'm more in the "if you want to tell me about a cool thing you found on the internet, make it about the cool thing--not about the cleverness of the way you present that thing"--but I recognize tastes vary widely in that regard).

Creative and/or cutesy does not automatically mean opaque or editorialized. There are also quite a few topics that could instantly derail (and have in the past) if not presented carefully to the community. Frankly, some of the nastiest arguments in MetaTalk have been over posts that presented a link without putting it into some sort of wider context. That's why posts on trans topics are now sometimes presented with "Trans 101" links.
posted by zarq at 12:00 PM on February 18, 2015


I think asking people to respond to the material somewhat independent of the framing is a perfectly understandable desire that is incredibly unrealistic to expect beyond whatever extent it naturally occurs.
posted by PMdixon at 4:15 PM on February 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm not a big fan of link-every-word posts either: not just the mystery-meat thing, but also it's difficult to see the link boundaries without scrubbing your mouse over them to see the highlight changing. I agree with yoink somewhat here: while there are many ways to construct a post, the simple, clear, single-link is in no way a second-class option.

But also, there's a certain amount of be-the-change you -- as a reader -- can apply if you feel discussion is being derailed by poor, or misread, framing. Flag; contact form; and contribute to re-railing the post by commenting on the subject of the post rather than on the derail.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:44 PM on February 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think asking people to respond to the material somewhat independent of the framing is a perfectly understandable desire that is incredibly unrealistic to expect beyond whatever extent it naturally occurs.

This is to say that people's response to framing is completely immutable. In that case, let's close the thread now, because there's nothing to discuss.

If it's not, I'd like to give posters a nudge, however slight, towards having the lightest touch- the most transparent framing possible. And I'd like to give commenters a nudge towards ignoring framing to the extent possible. It is in specific recognition of the undue power of framing that I ask that people try to minimize its influence on their posting and commenting habits.
posted by Jpfed at 8:56 PM on February 18, 2015


Yeah, as soon as I saw the thread go south I was wishing for a "Reframe this post" button (or maybe "Delete my Post Without Waking An Admin"?-- instead I just apologized) I had hoped that as people clicked around the site and saw all these wonderful film stills, they would start sharing their favorites, talking about what they liked about them, discover films they hadn't known about before, etc. That's why I posed the sentence as a question rather than a statement. But even given the admittedly poor framing, I was taken aback by some of the hostility (although it seems maybe the thread has been cleaned up a bit?)

I don't think all FPPs should conform to a One True Format, I find the diversity of how posts are styled one of the enjoyable qualities of this place. But yeah, I wish I'd done this one differently.
posted by gwint at 9:16 PM on February 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I once ignored a whole section of the Met because the framing was just so bad.

You joke, but how many people have even been to the American Wing?
posted by smackfu at 2:01 PM on February 19, 2015


Pear shaped? Is apple shaped better or worse?
posted by discopolo at 4:05 PM on February 19, 2015


Framing is important, just as it is also important to read (or even just skim) with some level of openness and flexibility. Even then, you can't please all the people all the time.

I'm generally not a fan of cutesy posts, especially if it's the kind of thing where I have to click on, say, the third link to get something resembling an introduction or an overview to the topic at hand, and when it is also not clearly labelled as such.

Harumph harumph harumph.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:30 AM on February 20, 2015


« Older FPP about a "hotel" in NYC or brooklyn?   |   So, what would be the fallout of a MeFi security... Newer »

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