Label fiction please? September 25, 2015 7:23 PM   Subscribe

In this post there is a fictional tale. The title/body of the post itself does not contain any indication this is fictional.

Personally I use the title and body of a post to determine if it is of interest to me; I expect and hope it will be obvious if the post is referring to fictional content. As pointed out in the thread, some folks on mobile devices don't see tags.

So, just a gentle suggestion that all posts with fictional material should contain something in the body or title of the post to denote that.

Partially bringing this concern to metatalk so this matter can be discussed here, instead of the post itself (which does look interesting).
posted by el io to Etiquette/Policy at 7:23 PM (218 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

I had the same reaction to this post.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:28 PM on September 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Partially bringing this concern to metatalk so this matter can be discussed here, instead of the post itself

Which is a good call, thanks for doing that. I'll leave a note in there pointing here in a minute if no one has beat me to it.

From my mod/personal perspective, I'm basically of two minds on this:

1. It's okay for a no-stakes post about a weird fiction-aping-reality art thing to be not overtly labeled as such now and then. That gets more complicated with other factors in play, but as a baseline thing this is more Slenderman than Manipulatively Falsified Breaking News, and nobody should really be too worried about being fooled by something that has zero riding on it and about which they haven't done a cursory google.

2. It's also okay to ask about labeling, and different folks feel differently about stuff, so whatever my opinion is and whatever our mod-side inclination about requiring any such labeling as a broad rule, I think talking it out here is a good approach to see where people are both on the specific case and in general.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:28 PM on September 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


Why is this tagged as FPP? Personally I opened this thread thinking it was about electoral systems.
posted by ddd at 7:29 PM on September 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't like getting tricked either, but it seems like a lot of the value of that particular post is getting you to come to it cold. If you engage with it knowing that it's basically a radio play, it loses a bit of the value that made it worth posting to MetaFilter in the first place.
posted by figurant at 7:30 PM on September 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


This request doesn't go far enough. I use the ultimate conclusion of any FPP story to determine whether I am interested or not, so please post a one-sentence summary including what happens in the end in any FPP with a narrative, whether fictional or otherwise.
posted by Behemoth at 7:32 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's rare to get the opportunity to experience this sort of effect, and as much as you may dislike stuff not being labelled as fiction, I dislike the fact that this MetaTalk will spoil the effect for many.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:34 PM on September 25, 2015 [11 favorites]


If you engage with it knowing that it's basically a radio play

But if you click on the main link, it says on that page that its fiction. The post itself is ambiguous, but you can't really listen to it without also seeing the "Are you a fan of Limetown? Love the idea of more fictional podcasts in the world?" line.
posted by thefoxgod at 7:35 PM on September 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


I didn't mean to trick anyone. The first tag is creepypasta. The story is presented as a real podcast / found footage and i just wanted to present it that way instead of putting a disclaimer on it. The site i posted has a disclaimer that it's fiction and i figured that anybody who felt compelled to click on a post about an obviously fictional event might end up figuring it out.

If your parents died in a tragic paranormal research community incident and my post was stressful to you I am deeply sorry.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:38 PM on September 25, 2015 [55 favorites]


My issue is that the FPP is, for all intents and purposes, a FanFare post. There's nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't explore a sociological angle on Limetown or fictional podcasts or anything else that wouldn't be served by directing the conversation over to the Purple. Does it really have any greater value on the Blue?
posted by Etrigan at 7:43 PM on September 25, 2015 [6 favorites]


But if you click on the main link, it says on that page that its fiction.

who honestly has time to read webpages on a friday night
posted by figurant at 7:44 PM on September 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


If your parents died in a tragic paranormal research community incident and my post was stressful to you I am deeply sorry.

And since that's not true for anyone here, you could just go ahead and say you're not sorry.
posted by in278s at 7:45 PM on September 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


And since that's not true for anyone here, you could just go ahead and say you're not sorry.

See, I'm not. Not at all.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:47 PM on September 25, 2015 [21 favorites]


Kinda figured that was implicit tbh.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:47 PM on September 25, 2015 [13 favorites]


My issue is that the FPP is, for all intents and purposes, a FanFare post.

The goal of FanFare was not to remove media posts from the front page, just to create a home for a broad spectrum of media posts that didn't fit on the front page to begin with. So I feel you on the structural thing, but do not see it as remotely a problem. People post flash games to the front page; people post interesting podcasts to the front page. Ep-by-ep threads go on FanFare, sure.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:48 PM on September 25, 2015 [12 favorites]


Etrigan, I actually nearly did a FPP about Limetown before remembering that oh yeah, we could discuss it episode by episode on Fanfare. I went with Fanfare instead of a FPP because of the show's irregular update schedule (Fanfare threads don't close), and the fact that were only two episodes up so far, but I don't think there's a real problem with "splitting" discussion of media between the Blue and Fanfare. The discussion tends to be pretty different between Fanfare and Metafilter posts.
posted by yasaman at 7:51 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


thsmchnekllsfascists, I am totally okay with you not being sorry about your post. I'm just calling you out on the sarcasm which I don't think was really a useful thing to direct at the folks who don't agree with you. That's all.
posted by in278s at 7:53 PM on September 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't think we really need that kind of passive aggressive attitude, in278s. It's not helpful to the community here. Thank you.
posted by Jimbob at 7:56 PM on September 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


thsmchnekllsfascists, I am totally okay with you not being sorry about your post. I'm just calling you out on the sarcasm which I don't think was really a useful thing to direct at the folks who don't agree with you. That's all.

If my goal was being useful I wouldn't be fucking around at metafilter at 11pm on a Friday night.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:56 PM on September 25, 2015 [43 favorites]


Please don't make light of trauma for a joke? Maybe that's too much to ask of the world.

I could have gone either way on the label.
posted by brina at 7:57 PM on September 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is some top-notch self-parody, everyone.
posted by ddd at 8:01 PM on September 25, 2015 [23 favorites]


Maybe that's too much to ask of the world.

You know, in the future, maybe a trigger warning for those of us who feel that people are always asking too much of them.
posted by Behemoth at 8:02 PM on September 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is your tired mod asking everybody if maybe they could either give their respective steering wheels a quick yank in the direction of an actual community practice discussion or maybe do something else with their Friday-evening-or-whatever-it-is-in-your-timezone.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:05 PM on September 25, 2015 [46 favorites]


This just really hit a nerve with me. It doesn't make me angry. There was a real incident in South Carolina where 30-some people vanished, including the sister of the best friend of one of my friends. It was a creepy armed polygamist cultist perversion of the Jesus thing and we went to extract her and there was nothing and nobody there. We were too late. Her brother was pounding the floor and crying and we never found her.

I can't find anything to link to. Too long ago. Farm outside of Greenville, 1988.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 8:06 PM on September 25, 2015 [15 favorites]


With this MeTa post, Limetown has hit the MeFi superfecta.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:06 PM on September 25, 2015 [10 favorites]


Go to bed Cortex. Sorry.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 8:07 PM on September 25, 2015


This is your tired mod asking everybody if maybe they could either give their respective steering wheels a quick yank in the direction of an actual community practice discussion or maybe do something else with their Friday-evening-or-whatever-it-is-in-your-timezone.

Sorry to complicate your evening. I will bow out. Please delete it if it's less hassle.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:09 PM on September 25, 2015


Chiming in here...

I don't think the post should be deleted. An extra sentence would have been useful. In this case, you can see from the first couple of contents what the deal is, and that is an effective solution in this case.

In the future, I think most people would agree (maybe not, so I created this thread) that adding a note about the fictional nature of the content would be useful to people that wanted to consume it.

thsmchnekllsfascists: I'm not interested in piling on you personally, just would like to see this not happen in the future.
posted by el io at 8:16 PM on September 25, 2015


Avoid Needless Hairsplitting.

It was obvious the material in question was fiction.

Some readers don't need training wheels.
posted by y2karl at 9:00 PM on September 25, 2015 [9 favorites]


If your parents died in a tragic paranormal research community incident
...
And since that's not true for anyone here


now just wait a goddamn second
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:14 PM on September 25, 2015 [21 favorites]


I get where you're coming from, el io, but I also am delighted by the strange position FPPs occupy, where there isn't a normative way for a particular type of narrative to be presented. I would like to keep that strange vagueness, since so many other sites present their stories as definite fact versus definite fiction. I like that mefi is small enough and idiosyncratic enough to allow for this kind of ambiguity.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:15 PM on September 25, 2015 [25 favorites]


No, I disagree that it was obviously fiction. Maybe it's obvious when you listen, but we don't all have the time or the opportunity to listen when we read a post. Even if I had noticed "creepypasta" that has no particular meaning to me, and the relevance of Halloween is not clear. Again, the comment about training wheels is not a helpful characterization of other members of this community who happen not to agree with you.
posted by in278s at 9:17 PM on September 25, 2015 [16 favorites]


Disagree with this proposal. Metafilter users ought to be considering that any post may contain factual or fictive content and exercise caution all times. Many outlets may not even label the falsehoods as kindly as this site; original posters may themselves be mistaken.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 9:25 PM on September 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


So you Google "Limetown" and after about 45 seconds conclude that it's fiction. Internet's a tough place, kid.
posted by ddd at 9:25 PM on September 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: Internet's a tough place, kid.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:27 PM on September 25, 2015 [6 favorites]


Jimbob, if you're saying I'm being passive-aggressive, please be clear and specific.
posted by in278s at 9:46 PM on September 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, this post got me. I was annoyed for like, all of two seconds, then intrigued, so I clicked the link.

You don't need to hold my hand metafilter. Push me, challenge me, confuse me. Just don't complain when my comments make zero sense and we're good.
posted by mannequito at 10:03 PM on September 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


nobody should really be too worried about being fooled by something that has zero riding on it and about which they haven't done a cursory google.

Huh? We're supposed to Google every FPP for accuracy? That seems like a weirdly onerous burden to place on the thousands of people reading the FPP. Why not just delete misleading FPPs and let the OP know to be clearer next time?
posted by John Cohen at 10:14 PM on September 25, 2015 [13 favorites]


I was briefly spooked and disoriented (how could I have never heard such a creepy story before?) but the FPP link leads to this: (upon scrolling down): "Are you a fan of Limetown? Love the idea of more fictional podcasts in the world?" So my disorientation lasted just a few seconds and I was able to Google for more info.

OTOH, if the Klaatu Nebula ever gets proper Internet service, we're fucked.
posted by maudlin at 10:32 PM on September 25, 2015


I think it's reasonable to tag it at least. I guess creepypasta kinda does that but that is a term not everybody understands.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:15 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Tags are so unimportant and so hidden--not even one of the tags is visible on the actual Metafilter frontpage, for one thing, and then on the post's page they're in a tiny box in the corner that your brain probably automatically filters out if you've been using the internet for any period of time because it's very common ad space--that I never even remember there are tags on posts until somebody specifically mentions them. Saying "But I tagged it as fiction (kind of, as long as you're familiar with a particularly dumb internet jargon word that doesn't actually even apply in this case)" is a pretty weak response.

And yes, of course fiction should be marked as fiction. Metafilter is almost entirely a news aggregator in practice if not in purpose, so of course things that aren't real world news but are kind of pretending to be news should be marked in some way, if only to avoid wasting the time of people who thought they might be seeing a real thing. The defensiveness and sneery tone of the people insisting otherwise is a pretty obvious indication that even they don't think they're right.
posted by IAmUnaware at 11:27 PM on September 25, 2015 [19 favorites]


One thing in life that's really fun is when you're listening to a story that starts believable but gradually gets more and more implausible until at some point you realise it's not real and start laughing. So I wouldn't like a blanket rule that everything fictional has to be labelled from the start.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:34 PM on September 25, 2015 [11 favorites]


I would have liked a label. For me, "300 people disappeared 10 years ago" is either (nonfiction) the most interesting thing I've heard in a month or (fiction) not the slightest bit interesting, and "creepypasta" just sounds like Garfield's sock-puppet account name to me.

It's just fundamentally dishonest in a way that doesn't fit Metafilter. It's like seeing "300 people disappear, UFOs suspected" as a headline on CNN or something.
posted by mmoncur at 11:48 PM on September 25, 2015 [43 favorites]


While we're on this subject of fiction tags, please note that they do not appear in the mobile view.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:48 PM on September 25, 2015 [13 favorites]


I can see the point of coming down hard on anyone who's trying to get away with a real-time hoax or fake news. I can also see the point of not leaving people in suspense for a real life event that can be quite disturbing (in this FPP, I made it clear that the skier was rescued and added timestamps so people could choose to play through or skip to the rescue). But I don't see the point of insisting that all fiction be explicitly labelled as fiction right on the front page. If it's handled artfully, and if the fictional nature of the post is apparent from READING THE LINK or READING THE FIRST COUPLE OF COMMENTS, the post doesn't need to have a clunky label applied.

(I know that this isn't the first piece of fiction presented deadpan as an FPP, but for the life of me, I can't think of any other examples right now. Hope me?)
posted by maudlin at 11:50 PM on September 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


It wasn't immediately obvious from the post, and tags are not visible to all users, that's the point.
posted by pmurray63 at 11:58 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's the thing, though, if it requires reading the first couple of comments, then the OP is relying on other people to break the guidelines (saying it there instead of in MeTa) in order to make the post work.
posted by mmoncur at 11:58 PM on September 25, 2015


Orson Welles would have loved this place. Orson and P. T. Barnum.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:59 PM on September 25, 2015 [6 favorites]


The first line of The War of the Worlds...
ANNOUNCER: The Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air in The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells.
... is basically a fiction tag. So Welles would definitely love this place.
posted by mmoncur at 12:03 AM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Radioplay" tag would have been good. Brief explanatory note below the fold would have been fine too.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:17 AM on September 26, 2015


Tags are at the bottom footer below related posts on mobile.

But I would have appreciated a note or tag about a fiction story just so I know if I'd want to spend time on it or favorite and come back to it or whatnot, but it's not the end of the world for me, especially if someone clarifies in a later comment or on the source website.
posted by Crystalinne at 12:18 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


This kind of reminds me of a few years ago when someone posted a sketch that took a turn into shocking gore halfway through, and there were a lot of vocal people here who were very opposed to giving it a warning label because it would have ruined the joke.

For me, "300 people disappeared 10 years ago" is either (nonfiction) the most interesting thing I've heard in a month or (fiction) not the slightest bit interesting

This is well stated. I'm putting this into the broad genre of mystery meat FPPs, which are written in such a way to give readers just enough information that they'll be intrigued enough to click the links. I'm not a fan of this style because it gives me the impression that poster believes the content is too weak to stand on its own and has to be dressed up in a somewhat dishonest way to get people to engage with it.
posted by zixyer at 12:19 AM on September 26, 2015 [24 favorites]


I liked this post just fine. This was hardly deception on a grand scale--there were three huge giveaways available for anyone with the most cursory interest. 1) the contents of the main link, 2) the first several comments in the thread and 3) the tags, and yes I know not everyone reads them and not everyone knows what creepypasta is but both the tags and the definition of creepypasta are far from inaccessible. It is slightly uncomfortable to find yourself momentarily deceived by a creepy, truthy story. That's sort of the point of creepypasta, though. It should also be noted that many worthwhile things bring slight or even significant discomfort. This podcast sounds awesome and I plan on listening tomorrow. The framing made me more interested because it gave me a taste of the style of the show and not just a pithy executive summary.
posted by zeusianfog at 1:17 AM on September 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


And to address your point mmoncur, unless I'm woefully mistaken it's not breaking the guidelines to say "this is fiction!" It would be breaking them to say "why didn't you tell us this was fiction? That's not cool and shouldn't be allowed." So if something is transparently fictional and this is quickly remarked upon I'm really failing to see the harm, bad practice or guideline breaking.
posted by zeusianfog at 1:24 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think things need to be tagged as fiction. I was (momentarily) tricked by the thread in question, but I think I am strong enough to handle the feelings of shame this has wrought upon my ancestors.
posted by Literaryhero at 1:29 AM on September 26, 2015 [23 favorites]


If nothing else, a Fiction tag would have prevented 4 of the first 5 comments from being on the subject "this is fiction".
posted by mmoncur at 1:45 AM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Giving this a news-style intro without labeling it as fiction seems as weird as when somebody writes a bloggy, first-person intro to a FPP. It's not, like, deceptive or mean or anything, but it doesn't fit with site style.

(Creepypastas make me roll my eyes for this reason. The ones that are any good can stand up just fine as fiction and don't need a gimmick. But that's my own preference talking.)
posted by thetortoise at 2:19 AM on September 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


(Also, Ghostwatch totally deserves to be the cultural touchstone in these conversations. Sorry, Orson, but it holds up better than your broadcast.)
posted by thetortoise at 2:34 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Original FPP: In a new podcast from APR, host Lia Haddock investigates the disappearance of over 300 men, women and children from the research community of Limetown, TN...

Defence: If your parents died in a tragic paranormal research community incident and my post was stressful to you I am deeply sorry.

That really is not helpful.

This last few days the media has been extensively covering the anniversary of the 43 students who disappeared/were kidnapped/were murdered in Mexico, and that briefly came to mind when reading the FPP and orienting whether it was true or not.
posted by Wordshore at 2:34 AM on September 26, 2015 [39 favorites]


I'm another person on team "if this is real then I'm fascinated, if it's fiction I have zero interest and it's extremely unlikely I'll engage with the content", and thus a note or tag that made this clearer would have been welcome.
posted by terretu at 3:27 AM on September 26, 2015 [24 favorites]


I know that this isn't the first piece of fiction presented deadpan as an FPP, but for the life of me, I can't think of any other examples right now. Hope me?

In this FPP on the Mazes & Minotaurs RPG, I put something like that above the fold. The stuff below the fold makes it uncontroversial with respect to this MeTa, so in practice, I think the labeling recommendation is reasonable. But I like eccentric FPPs, and especially during first post month, the thing I'd encourage foremost is just going ahead and posting things you hope will be fun.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 3:32 AM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Not everyone lives in the US, and sometimes it's hard to keep track of all the mass murders and other tragic events that go on there. And in recent years, hundreds of women have simply disappeared in rural areas of both Canada and Mexico - it's certainly not inconceivable that it could happen in the US.

So when you post a headline about hundreds of people disappearing, it's natural that readers who have some human empathy might feel sad about it before they realize that they've been pointlessly tricked.

The fact that the OP decided to make a joke apology about it is really unsurprising.
posted by Umami Dearest at 3:49 AM on September 26, 2015 [43 favorites]


I initially thought it was real and was horrified/interested. I don't usually click on links until I know I want to read them, and this was a podcast and I was at work, so I just went to the thread to see if I could pick up the basics. It became quickly clear that it was a story. Now, I also love scary stories and in particular the type of found-footage this-is-definitely-real-you-guys style that has become popular in modern media, so I remain interested. However, I think that a small bit of below-the-fold "This fiction podcast has been running yadda yadda yadda" would not have gone amiss at all.

Basically, I would have been interested either way, but it is a different kind of interest, and shifting between those two unexpectedly brings about a kind of dissatisfaction or uneasiness that I don't think serves the content as well as proper framing would have done. In other words, I recommend proper framing for the sake of the content and not even as any sort of consideration for the reader or what-have-you (though I empathize with those who experienced this more negatively and would like to not feel like they've been made fools of or needlessly reminded of actual and awful things.)
posted by Scattercat at 3:56 AM on September 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


OP apologizes in the blue early in-thread but, hey, let's take him back of the shed and whip him anyway. Oh, gosh, I wonder why he's a little acerbic now.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:08 AM on September 26, 2015 [15 favorites]


The only reason the post needed yet more indication that the podcast is fiction is that the entire blue thread is repeatedly derailed by people bitching about it even though they're just repeating what someone else has said before. Lord knows we'd hate to talk about the actual podcast instead of redundantly griping.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:17 AM on September 26, 2015 [8 favorites]


The framing of that FPP feels like it's deliberately presented as non-fiction, with language like "investigates" and "what makes it worth a continuing discussion." I would have been satisfied with a "this is a work of fiction"-type note in the [more inside]; it would have been unambiguous without ruining the effect the OP was aiming for.

A lot of scary stories lean heavily on the "this really happened!" illusion. It's transparent for campfire ghost stories and most creepypasta, but when the presentation is more sophisticated and less 2spooky, it gets harder to tell and feels more like a cheap gotcha when the audience finally figures it out. The Blair Witch Project fooled a lot of people. But a ghost story doesn't need to end with the ghost standing behind you.

This is as much of a criticism of creepy stories in general as it is a comment on the FPP. If it's good, knowing it's made up doesn't make it any less haunting.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:23 AM on September 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yes, I never look at the tags, since they are so small and off to the side of the page. I would have preferred it if the OP had made a small note in the [more inside]. No big deal, but would have preferred.
posted by tickingclock at 4:29 AM on September 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


Campfire stories, be damned, I guess.

Or not. As an adult, I have very few opportunities to enjoy the momentary disorientation of being sucked into a good story. I find much fiction to be formulaic and always love finding a good read that stays with me throughout the day after I have put it down. This seems to fit that niche, and I found the post to be enjoyable the way it was framed.
posted by mightshould at 4:54 AM on September 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Dude: "Is it Halloween? (looks over shoulder) What day is this?"
posted by valkane at 5:06 AM on September 26, 2015


It is unfortunate that Fanfare became a thing only relatively recently. If mathowie had had the notion at the outset we might have seen a great archived discussion when, two weeks after mefi started, The Blair Witch Project was released.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:18 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some day, when confused aliens land in my backyard and insist I explain Metafilter, I'm going to point them towards this thread right here.
posted by Itaxpica at 5:24 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


One thing in life that's really fun is when you're listening to a story that starts believable but gradually gets more and more implausible until at some point you realise it's not real and start laughing.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:34 AM on September 26


I know a lot of people consider that sort of thing fun, but I consider it a waste of my time. I don't think I'm alone in this. Not that I don't enjoy wasting my time (else I wouldn't have paid $5 to join this site), but I prefer not to deceived into doing so.

Count me in with those who saw the FPP and immediately thought this was yet another story of a real-world tragedy involving people disappearing, or being "disappeared". Finding out it was fiction made me feel like I'd fallen for clickbait.

I'm not a fan of this style because it gives me the impression that poster believes the content is too weak to stand on its own and has to be dressed up in a somewhat dishonest way to get people to engage with it.
posted by zixyer


Wholeheartedly agreed. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big girl, and I can take it. Hell, I like creepypasta and I'm probably the last remaining fan of "found footage" films. Had I known from the get-go that this was fiction I likely would've downloaded it immediately. As it is, now I won't bother because of the clickbait-y way it was presented.
posted by magstheaxe at 5:26 AM on September 26, 2015 [17 favorites]


I don't like that feeling of being "tricked" or "fooled" into emotionally investing into something in the particular manner that come with believing it is a true event either, which is why whenever I'm confronted by an extraordinary claim about something I've never heard about before, I take half a minute to suss it out. I want fairly high bars on mandatory labeling/presentation requirements personally - even though I specifically dislike this sort of presentation (my feeling is if being upfront about it being fiction "spoils" the effect then it probably wasn't sufficiently well-executed in the first place. And I get that some people disagree and I respect that). Long story short I empathise with this post's objection but disagree with the proposed solution. Mandatory labeling requirements should be reserved for the relatively high stakes.
posted by nanojath at 5:51 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I went back and added the 'fiction' tag to all of my posts. HTH.
posted by carsonb at 6:45 AM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Was the creepypasta tag added after the post went up? Because, if it wasn't, the FPP was labeled as fiction. Creepypasta is spooky stuff presented as fact. That's what the term means. It's the modern analogue to Urban Legend or campfire tale. 30 seconds of googling, or even just clicking on the tag and looking at other FPPs make it pretty clear what creepypasta is. I don't have an exact date for when it popped up, but I've been seeing it online for several years at this point, so it's not even a new word, or even that rare of one. I don't think just because it's a word you don't like the looks of that you can just turn your nose up at learning it and then complain that there was no indication that the FPP was fake.

That said, I think there's a conversation to be had about what the tags get used for as part of the community culture, because as a way of conveying information they failed this time. Honestly, I think this would be the thing I'd use tags for. Letting people know that "hey, this isn't real" without breaking the flow\premise of the post. I think tagging it with "creepypasta" is like shelving the book with fiction instead of Writing "THIS ISN'T TRUE" on the first page of Frankenstein.

I don't think complaining that the OP didn't use the word fiction instead of the name of a genre of fiction (that some people didn't recognize) in the tags is going to go anywhere other than some place grumpy.
posted by Gygesringtone at 6:46 AM on September 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


Metafilter is almost entirely a news aggregator in practice if not in purpose

Absolutely not.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:48 AM on September 26, 2015 [26 favorites]


To clarify: if creepypasta wasn't added after the FPP was posted, it was there originally so the post was already labeled as fiction when this MeTa went up.
posted by Gygesringtone at 6:56 AM on September 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


I like my mind being played with and welcome further efforts in that direction.
posted by biffa at 7:09 AM on September 26, 2015


I like my mind being played with and welcome further efforts in that direction.

When drawn, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton appear similar from behind.
posted by Wordshore at 7:20 AM on September 26, 2015 [8 favorites]


When drawn, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton appear similar from behind.

Hugely embarrassed to admit this, but I was terribly dissapointed that this wasn't drawings of butts.
posted by Literaryhero at 7:33 AM on September 26, 2015 [11 favorites]


To me, even without tags, it was self-evidently fiction. There's no way that 300 people actually disappeared from an American research facility without it being in the news for weeks. When Malaysian airlines lost one plane over the ocean, that led CNN day after day. Just imagine the ongoing cadre of conspiracy theories and annual memorials if Limetown had really happened.

Admittedly, my skepticism dial is stuck on "11," but this didn't read to me like it was really trying to fool anyone. I'd be curious to know what percentage of MeFites saw the post and thought it might actually be real. And, to clarify, I'm not saying you're gullible or an insufficiently critical thinker if you did. Maybe 90% of the site reads it that way, and in that case, I see how a fiction label might help. I could be the weird outlier here. But I was surprised to see this objection come up.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:45 AM on September 26, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'm another person on team "if this is real then I'm fascinated, if it's fiction I have zero interest and it's extremely unlikely I'll engage with the content", and thus a note or tag that made this clearer would have been welcome.

This is me also. I can pretty much get it from context in this case, but as a general guideline I like the idea of stuff that is fictive being indicated in maybe some stronger way. I know I'm kind of out there on the spectrum of people who really dislike this kind of thing so I'm just putting it there as another data point, not a request for people to change
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:54 AM on September 26, 2015 [8 favorites]


I never clicked on the link. I knew it was fiction in a glance. If 300 people had disappeared over years from any town in Ohio without any explanation, I would have heard about it for decades already if only through having heard or watched thousands of trailers for hundreds of radio and television programs hashing and rehashing the topic from a thousand angles. It would be the biggest of big news. In two words: Well, duh.
posted by y2karl at 7:56 AM on September 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


To me, even without tags, it was self-evidently fiction. There's no way that 300 people actually disappeared from an American research facility without it being in the news for weeks. … Just imagine the ongoing cadre of conspiracy theories and annual memorials if Limetown had really happened.

This, ever so much. And I'll say it: you have to be dangerously gullible to have believed it to be fact.

Let me be the first to give you folk a heads-up about something big that's coming up this fall: NASA has not left a man on Mars by accident.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:02 AM on September 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


I didn't think it was real (though who cares if people are gullible?), but it gave me viral-marketing-for-horror-movie vibes, so I moved on. If it had said "fiction," it would have piqued my interest. I guess this is some kind of defense against clickbait.
posted by thetortoise at 8:10 AM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Metafilter is almost entirely a news aggregator in practice if not in purpose,

This is not at all the way I see Metafilter, and I think the data is on my side. Here are the topics of the FPPs on the first page of MF as I write this. I'll bold the ones that might be considered news, and I'll try to be as generous with that label as possible.

The UK tracking detailed internet activity
A long, high bridge made of glass
A history of angry women
A stringed instrument called a harpejji
Limetown
A weird Simpsons VHS
Funny Twitter Mom-bots
The film HUMAN, consisting of interviews conducted by a French photographer
Fun with the .horse domain
The battle for the rights to Manos: Hands of Fate
Android x86 (Android OS running on a PC)
A review of Windswept, a book by Adam Rakunas
An experiment in transmitting signals from one brain to another over the internet
All Thurber prize finalists are women (plus details)
Criminal investigation against Sepp Blatter
Little known movie/short film “The Wizard of Speed and Time”
The cultural meaning of hair
McKenzie Wark on the work of Hiroki Azuma
Level Up music video and background
The man behind a mascot creation company
Syrian refugees: who is leaving and why
Class signaling and inconspicuous chic
The Pope’s rock album
The Outbursts of Everett True, a comic strip
Boehner resigns
A glimpse of the Mexican drug trade
The man who gamed “Press Your Luck”
First female solo author wins Winton Book Prize
Beardyman’s One Album Per Houe session from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
A short story about all information on the internet being hacked
How graphics worked in early computer/video game systems
Rents will continue to be high over the next decade
Tranquil videos of America’s National Parks
Difficulties categorizing crabs
Space Patrol, a 1962 TV series with puppets
Dreadpunk—gothic inspired horror and fantasy
Andrew Davies’ televised “Pride and Prejudice”

Baobab trees
Photos and observations about autumn
A new 3D laser printer
Unusual job posting for a teacher in Scotland
Testing your password security by trying to break them
The first portable color computer, the Commodore SX64
A fake Shakespeare play from the late 1700s
Pope Francis Canonizing Junípero Serra
Creationism and science denial
A train for dogs
Hi-rez, textless movie posters

I'm getting 11 out of 50, and that is generous. Really only five of those are the kinds of political/tragic/etc. things that make CNN or your local newspaper. Assuming this is typical (which I think it is) MetaFilter is somewhere around 5-10% discussions of things currently in the news. That is a long, long way from being "almost entirely a news aggregator."

Turn that around. How many of the FPPs are links to fictional tales or about fictional tales? I'll italicize them. You probably already noticed that, since I posted this after doing so. I count 13 that are fiction, analyses of fiction, or adaptations of fiction. So not only are we not a new aggregator, we are somewhat more likely to discuss fiction than hard news. Maybe news is what needs a label. Who really believes that Boehner resigned?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:36 AM on September 26, 2015 [20 favorites]


This, ever so much. And I'll say it: you have to be dangerously gullible to have believed it to be fact.

Or you could be tired and not at your sharpest. Or you could not have been alive in 1983, and the news coverage would have died down long before you were born (just to give an example: I recently explained about the Jonestown Massacre to a millennial co-worker who'd never heard of it). Or any number of perfectly normal reasons that don't mean you're stupid and gullible.

Let me be the first to give you folk a heads-up about something big that's coming up this fall: NASA has not left a man on Mars by accident.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:02 AM on September 26


You know, just because a person was briefly fooled into thinking an FPP was true when wasn't--especially when the author of the FPP worked to deliberately obfuscate that fact that it was fiction--doesn't mean he or she is an idiot that's incapable of telling fact from fiction. Implying such really doesn't further the community discussion here.
posted by magstheaxe at 8:39 AM on September 26, 2015 [32 favorites]


I read it, was intrigued, clicked through, saw "creepypasta", put it on my to-listen list. I think it's entirely reasonable to remind that not everybody knows what that means as a genre term and that using "fiction" instead is better for a wider audience, but to talk about this like it's in some way misleading feels ridiculous to me. I don't think this is the sort of thing where one extra click to see the tags on a post that one could probably guess already was fictional to confirm that it's fiction is a problem. It's not any different than if it appeared below the fold. The only thing I think needs disclaiming above the fold is if the presentation would otherwise suggest that a public figure has died or that a disaster is happening at this very moment... things with some urgency. This is not that.
posted by Sequence at 8:40 AM on September 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


Who really believes that Boehner resigned?

CONNECT THE DOTS, SHEEPLE
posted by Greg Nog at 8:42 AM on September 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


To me, even without tags, it was self-evidently fiction. There's no way that 300 people actually disappeared from an American research facility without it being in the news for weeks.
It wasn't 100% clear to me that Limetown, TN was a US city. Also, 10 years ago is a relatively long time ago. I have no idea what happened in the US 10 years ago. I did not follow foreign news all that well at that time. That was before social media, before 24 hour news. The text did not make it clear that those 300 people disappeared all at the same time, or if it was more of a gradual thing. Why is 300 people disappearing in the US completely illogical, but dozens of people in Mexico not? To me, as someone who doesn't live in either country, that's not immediately apparent at all.
posted by blub at 8:42 AM on September 26, 2015 [8 favorites]


> It was obvious the material in question was fiction.

Yup. I knew it was fiction as soon as I read the post description on the front page. I can understand people being groggy and not instantly thinking "Come on, if this had happened it would have been big news," but, well, it should really be obvious if you're fully awake.
posted by languagehat at 8:43 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


especially when the author of the FPP worked to deliberately obfuscate that fact that it was fiction

That's pretty uncharitable when the OP actually posted at least one tag that marks it as fiction and another that sure implies it (I could be wrong, but aside from the recent podcast, doesn't the term serial generally apply to fiction stuff, like Dickens Novels, radio plays, or TV shows?).

I'm not saying that they were successful at labeling it fiction, because we're having this conversation, but they absolutely tried.
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:46 AM on September 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


> o when you post a headline about hundreds of people disappearing, it's natural that readers who have some human empathy might feel sad about it before they realize that they've been pointlessly tricked.

You know, you can present your point of view without claiming that anyone who disagrees with you has no human empathy. Belligerence is permitted on MetaTalk, but not actually required.
posted by languagehat at 8:49 AM on September 26, 2015 [13 favorites]


Get off my monitor.
posted by y2karl at 9:14 AM on September 26, 2015


> That's pretty uncharitable when the OP actually posted at least one tag that marks it as fiction

My understanding is that the author tagged the FPP as "creepypasta", a term which--as evidenced by many people's responses to it--is not a self-evident synonym with any fiction genre.

And I say that as someone who's an unabashed fan of creepypasta. Nonetheless, I've also occasionally had to explain to people what the term means because at first glance it sounds like a special brand of noodles that's only sold during Halloween. (I love creepypasta content, but I think the term itself sucks because it does a lousy job of communicating what the genre is).

I'm not saying that they were successful at labeling it fiction, because we're having this conversation, but they absolutely tried.

I think that trying would have involved actually using the word"fiction" along with "creepypasta" in either the tags or the FPP. The author may have assumed that everyone knows what "creepypasta" means, but IME that's not a good assumption to make about words that originate online.
posted by magstheaxe at 9:36 AM on September 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Does anyone know why that which is creepy is pasta in this term?

Until this post came up I was unaware that the term existed; the -pasta bit would otherwise have left me to infer that it may involve the Flying Spaghetti Monster exerting vengeance upon those who oppose gluten or something.
posted by mr. digits at 9:40 AM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm another person on team "if this is real then I'm fascinated, if it's fiction I have zero interest and it's extremely unlikely I'll engage with the content", and thus a note or tag that made this clearer would have been welcome.

Trouble is, this argument applies to all "mystery meat" posts, not just those with fiction/nonfiction issues. I'm very interested in board gaming, and very little in video gaming, so I'm a bit annoyed when a post refers to "gaming," unqualified, and it's not clear which is meant from the FPP — but I accept that different people have different posting styles, which is part of what makes MeFi interesting even of some of those styles don't appeal to me — and I don't go around insisting that posters clarify whether they mean board or video gaming in their posts, instead understanding that occasionally I might have to (horrors!) click through to the thread and read the first few comments to figure out which it is.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:44 AM on September 26, 2015 [9 favorites]


Copy-paste -> copypasta -> creepypasta

So this is really a creepypasta only by the loose definition, because it's not a creepy story you copy and paste.
posted by thetortoise at 9:44 AM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Some day, when confused aliens land in my backyard and insist I explain Metafilter, I'm going to point them towards this thread right here.

Technically, they are not aliens. They are late stage human-alien hybrids ("hubrids") that need assistance in order to infiltrate human society. The aliens got all the genetic information they need long ago and have moved on to producing more and more advanced hubrids, but despite their powerful mental abilities, they still need help passing as humans, attending baseball games, reading Metafilter, etc. I worry you are doing a disservice to Metafilter and its potential role in a new human/alien society by pointing them here rather than at a thread involving dancing kittens or drunken Republican Debate commentary.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:49 AM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I might have to (horrors!) click through to the thread and read the first few comments to figure out which it is.

There's nothing horrifying about it, it's a personal preference offered in the thread that is supposed to be about seeing how people feel about this sort of thing. "I would have welcomed this having been done differently" is a long ways away from insisting that people do something differently. I'm not sure why people conflate the two.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:55 AM on September 26, 2015 [16 favorites]


Had to google "CreepyPasta", never heard of it before now.
posted by octothorpe at 10:11 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think if it was obviously fiction, the link plainly states it's fiction, and a quick google would clear it up then I don't see the problem with a mention of fiction below the fold.
posted by edeezy at 10:46 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think if it was obviously fiction, the link plainly states it's fiction, and a quick google would clear it up then I don't see the problem with a mention of fiction below the fold.

Exactly. "It was obviously fiction" and "requiring it be labeled as fiction would have spoiled the effect" are contradictory.
posted by in278s at 10:58 AM on September 26, 2015 [13 favorites]


Come to that, "it wasn't tagged as fiction" and "it was tagged as fiction, but the tags are way too small / in a place I never look / used a word for "fiction" I don't personally recognize" are also contradictory.
posted by kythuen at 11:18 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Haven't read this whole thread, but let me add my voice to those saying they're not particularly bothered when fiction is presented as not being fiction.

I write fiction myself and would consider people actually believing one of my stories to be high praise indeed. I'm also a fan of Fargo which everybody knows is a true story.

finally, I took one look at the above the fold copy on this particular post and immediately thought, I bet this is some kind of meta-fiction.
posted by philip-random at 11:26 AM on September 26, 2015


Come to that, "it wasn't tagged as fiction" and "it was tagged as fiction, but the tags are way too small / in a place I never look / used a word for "fiction" I don't personally recognize" are also contradictory.

I never claimed that tagging was a problem (although a 'fiction' tag would have been more useful than a 'creepypasta' tag). As tags go though, 'creepypasta' is a tag that has been applied to non-fictional material, so it's not necessarily an indication of fiction.

Also, people reading on mobile devices don't see tags.
posted by el io at 11:38 AM on September 26, 2015


This is the problem with that argument, el io -- conflating points made by separate posters and claiming they're contradictory and therefore both invalid is ... well, let's just say I'm struggling to find a polite adjective and leave it at that.

Everyone in this thread could say "I never claimed [insert one of those contradictory things things.]"

Also, as has been pointed out earlier in the thread, people on mobile devices can see tags. I'm looking at them right now. They're at the bottom footer under "related posts." Not the most user-friendly placement, I admit, but they're there if you want them.
posted by kythuen at 11:49 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I read the FPP recently about the stories on Reddit by the Search and Rescue guy (forgive me for being too bone idle to find and link it). I don't do Reddit so I didn't know it was a fictional campfire-stories type series and I read the link before the comments. I was horrified and bewildered and full of ooooooh! and then read the comments only to find out it was fiction. If I'd known it was fiction beforehand I wouldn't have bothered, so I'm actually glad I didn't know in advance because I would have missed out on sitting in work being all freaked out and that. (Maybe it was tagged as fiction but I don't see them on mobile - on preview they're there but I've never noticed them). So I'm ok with things not being labelled as fiction always because life is too short to never get accidentally duped into being amazed. (To be fair though I'm terribly gullible and suggestible so YMMV)
posted by billiebee at 11:53 AM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's no secret I'm not of fan of mystery meat and while this isn't that the post is problematic in a similiar way. I saw it on the front page, assumed it was yet another expose of some horrific IRL event and just skipped over it because it happened long enough in the past that I won't need to know the details to participate in water cooler talk.

However I am interested in fictional accounts of horror.

So posts that get too clever like this one can turn away people who might have an interest in Subject A by appearing to be Subject B. And people who are interested in Subject B but aren't interested in Subject A are going to be annoyed they invested time in something they aren't interested in.

Expecting people to read the comments and tags before the context is a complete non-starter. We should be encouraging the opposite. It's very frustrating when people comment in threads on the projected content without obviously having having read the content.

Pater Aletheias: "To me, even without tags, it was self-evidently fiction. There's no way that 300 people actually disappeared from an American research facility without it being in the news for weeks. "

y2karl: " glance. If 300 people had disappeared over years from any town in Ohio without any explanation, I would have heard about it for decades already if only through having heard or watched thousands of trailers for hundreds of radio and television programs hashing and rehashing the topic from a thousand angles. It would be the biggest of big news. In two words: Well, duh."

Well we have a similar thing happening here in Canada and it;s really only very recently that it has made the mainstream news in a way that everyone knows about it. If the missing were poor POC I don' share your confidence in the media.

Gygesringtone: "(I could be wrong, but aside from the recent podcast, doesn't the term serial generally apply to fiction stuff, like Dickens Novels, radio plays, or TV shows?"

Or as a modifier applied to killer.
posted by Mitheral at 12:00 PM on September 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


I would prefer that fictional posts are clearly labeled as being fictional. My train of thought when coming across the post in question went something like: "Holy crap. There's no way this is real, is it? *click, click, click* Yeah it's not real. Jerks." As indicated by the relative absence of profanity in that thought, I wasn't that upset, but I was definitely mildly irritated.
posted by jordemort at 12:34 PM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is the problem with that argument, el io -- conflating points made by separate posters and claiming they're contradictory and therefore both invalid is ... well, let's just say I'm struggling to find a polite adjective and leave it at that.

Point taken. What I should have said is that "it was labeled as fiction" is not an argument against a requirement or preference that such posts be labeled as fiction. To my mind, if a post is to be labeled as fiction, the word "fiction" is to be preferred to a term of fairly recent coinage and less widespread usage.
posted by in278s at 12:35 PM on September 26, 2015


That story in Canada crossed my mind but as this was a small town in Tennessee -- and not, as I misremembered, Ohio --- and, as Pater Alethias noted in your quote, the people were not poor people of color working as prostitutes, but rather people involved with a research facility, a large number of people in a small town and therefore central to the local society and economy, I saw a huge difference in that this was something the local media just would not ignore. And if they didn't ignore it, I would have heard of it.

Just as they did not with the Green River killer in my part of the USA, although it was a similar story to the one nearby in Canada. But then perhaps our local media was previously sensitized by Ted Bundy.
posted by y2karl at 12:36 PM on September 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Metatalk: Definitely Mildly Irritated.
posted by kythuen at 12:42 PM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was looking at a plate of beans and they weren't even real
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 12:44 PM on September 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


I don't really care how fiction is presented here and I can figure it out for myself but count me among the "dangerously gullible" people who thought this was real at first from what was visible on the front page. I read a lot and I often come across horrible things that 'everybody' knows about in some region or time but I've never heard of, so the 'if this happened you'd have known' flag didn't go up for me.

I didn't know the word creepypasta and even after reading everything here and Googling it I am still a bit confused. It seems like it's mostly used for modern campfire ghost stories which are now passed around in emails or whatever instead of word of mouth. This doesn't seem to be that. I also found examples of it being used for tales of Dahmer and (actual documented) medical experiments on psychiatric patients which were both real events and not being fictionalized.

Nearly all of the podcasts I listen to are (real) history or conversational but rarely pure fiction so the fact that this is a podcast didn't make me thing 'fiction' at first. Also there are serials of real things. I just finished a re-watch of Band of Brothers which I understand is a bit fictionalized but I would consider it both a serial and non-fiction. There are serials in the newspaper that go further into a story

I am not saying anybody needs to change anything with posting but some of the comments here were fairly mean. I am just a gullible guy who leans heavily toward taking things as stated literally. Discussion is one thing but I don't think being trusting deserves mocking.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 12:54 PM on September 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I wasn't really all that upset that the post wasn't labeled as fiction (though I would have preferred that it was), but I am getting pretty upset at the people saying that anyone who didn't realize that it was fiction right away is a gullible idiot.
posted by zixyer at 1:00 PM on September 26, 2015 [17 favorites]


Did I say anyone was a gullible idiot ?

No.

I just noted that I thought a story of 300 people disappearing over the years from a research facility in a small town in the Midwest and the average MetaFilter reader not having heard of this rather unlikely. I fail to see the need to take umbrage at that.
posted by y2karl at 2:10 PM on September 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Did I say anyone was a gullible idiot ?

No, but that sentiment is definitely expressed in this thread. ctrl-F "gullible": And I'll say it: you have to be dangerously gullible to have believed it to be fact.
posted by dialetheia at 2:16 PM on September 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


y2karl I don't think anyone said you called them a gullible idiot, but you did say:

Avoid Needless Hairsplitting.

It was obvious the material in question was fiction.

Some readers don't need training wheels.
posted by y2karl at 11:00 PM on September 25 [5 favorites +] [!]

Which implies some of us (to me it wasn't obvious) need training wheels - for everyday reading comprehension I guess? I'm aware that I take things too literally but if it must be said there are nicer ways to say it.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 3:00 PM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just noted that I thought a story of 300 people disappearing over the years from a research facility in a small town in the Midwest and the average MetaFilter reader not having heard of this rather unlikely.

Depends who is disappearing. I figured the odds of it being true were low, but as has already been well documented upthread, a remarkable number of people from vulnerable populations can disappear before a situation makes it into the news. So landing on somebody's amateur dramatics podcast page just felt gross. Not full body shower gross, but stinky fart in a crowded car gross.
posted by wotsac at 3:20 PM on September 26, 2015


The CBC satire radio show This Is That regularly results in people becoming astonishingly upset that they've been fooled. I've been fooled by it, too. There's nothing like working up a good head of steam over some outrageous this or that, to suddenly realize that it's a put-on ... my gosh, what to do about that energy no longer needed? To the battle stations! Myself, though, I take it as a lesson to be slightly more skeptical of what I'm hearing, to wait for a bit more detail and maybe a confirmation of its veracity. I sure do feel dumb for a minute, though. Glad I can laugh at myself.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:49 PM on September 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


If that's in response to me, not sure if you'll believe it, but I wasn't fooled by this post originally either. I just think the comments in this thread are unnecessarily mean-spirited towards the people who were.
posted by zixyer at 4:00 PM on September 26, 2015


Not in response to anyone.

I was fooled by the post initially. But before clicking through I realized that surely I'd have heard about several hundred scientists going missing. So I didn't click, cause fiction on the web ain't my thing.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:04 PM on September 26, 2015


For my part, the fact that it was fiction was noted pretty quickly in the thread, so I was briefly misled, but figured it out. I didn't feel tricked, but I also wouldn't mind if it had been labeled. I also liked the post and I'd hate if people felt discouraged to post this kind of content.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:15 PM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I also would not like for people not to post this sort of link. Audio drama is great. But, so if of course it will be noted in thread because the fact that a link is to a piece of fiction is a notable aspect of the link. but the post lost viewers/readers/listeners because it didn't say what it does on the tin (and right or wrong some people can't read everything always so if it doesn't give the salt content on the tin they will skip that one, which deprives the thread of various views which might have been really helpful or interesting: passers by might read a post but skip the comments saying 'neat fiction' if it seems to be something else). I enjoy a good this is that as much as the next, but people have described above reasons they would skip this post as presented. I don't want the poster to feel bad or to change. But I don't get the idea that a story is 'better' or has some extra integrity if it is deceptively presented as 'true'. It just feels like it makes the discussion worse (of course the first six comments [or more] will be about the truth status of such a thing; that is literally how 'creepypasta' is presented generally and passed on [OMG THIS HAS TO BE READ TO BE BELIEVED]), but turns off some, and makes others who would love it—actually skip over it. Again no urge to change the post, or poster, just a thought for future. Lovers of serialized podcast fiction (several found their way to that thread would miss it if they hate newsfilter, and newsfilter folks would hate it for deception. No hate intended, but I'd rather a small note in the post rather than the first comments feeling duped or being only about that relatively odd 'one trick'. There is clearly much more to talk about internal to the story. And I don't blame the people commenting. Saying it is fiction in those first comments is actually helpful. But the post might have had more internal insights on the story, or the creators or connections to similarly themed podcasts (as came later) had that been out of the way right in the post. Disclaimer I have framed posts actually badly, with posts that haven't drawn discussions at all so no imperatives or directives intended by this comment. It may even just be my bias in not finding value in hiding the fact of a fiction in an invented story, if a story stands, it stands, but slender man is annoying, not creepy. Similarly, Blair witch is an interesting enough film, but the 'this was totally real' marketing always felt forced and boring, it stood fine alone.
Tldr: if by not disclaiming fiction, one will get people saying uhh this is fiction (an appropriate comment), there is no 'secret' that it is fiction, this can create an artificial friction rather than a tiny comment in post to get it out of the way, and then allow for the delight of digging into an audio drama fiction. It is what it is, hiding that doesn't build it up, but can help to hide the post from potentially interested parties.
posted by infinite intimation at 5:18 PM on September 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


"To me, even without tags, it was self-evidently fiction. There's no way that 300 people actually disappeared from an American research facility without it being in the news for weeks. When Malaysian airlines lost one plane over the ocean, that led CNN day after day. Just imagine the ongoing cadre of conspiracy theories and annual memorials if Limetown had really happened."

Seconded. I immediately thought, "If that's true, why haven't I heard of it before?" followed by "Oh, must be fiction if I haven't." But that doesn't mean we can't mention the word fiction somewhere in the post anyway. Might as well.

" Technically, they are not aliens. They are late stage human-alien hybrids ("hubrids") that need assistance in order to infiltrate human society. The aliens got all the genetic information they need long ago and have moved on to producing more and more advanced hubrids, but despite their powerful mental abilities, they still need help passing as humans, attending baseball games, reading Metafilter, etc."


But, but, but what about the ultraterrestrials? The Silurians?
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:32 PM on September 26, 2015


I still believe it.
posted by clavdivs at 5:43 PM on September 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm on team "label things clearly as fiction". I'm pretty far down the extreme end of that preference, I must admit (I'm still pissed about Memoirs of a Geisha). But the framing of this post seemed particularly clickbaity, which I'd prefer not to have on metafilter. (Note - not American, so don't know anything about tennesee news, nor is Halloween really on my radar).
posted by kjs4 at 5:46 PM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I relish the moment where my brain is trying to figure out if something is real or not -- in small doses of course--, and Metafilter is one of the places where I hope to experience that.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 6:20 PM on September 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Metafilter is almost entirely a news aggregator in practice if not in purpose

No. Really, not.

Considering it was tagged with a word that means it was fiction, it seems the concern isn't that it was a misleading post, it's that the fictional nature of it wasn't telegraphed enough. Also considering how quickly it's revealed on the linked page that it's a fictional podcast (scroll down a screen and/or click the 'About' page), I find it difficult to work up much sympathy for anyone who seems upset with not having realised it was fiction.

This is exacerbated by comments such as,

I'm not a fan of this style because it gives me the impression that poster believes the content is too weak to stand on its own and has to be dressed up in a somewhat dishonest way to get people to engage with it.

and

The defensiveness and sneery tone of the people insisting otherwise is a pretty obvious indication that even they don't think they're right.


that are all defensive about it. Checking out the links before commenting is a pretty good recommendation for all MetaFilter FPPs, though, and always has been, so I imagine it's not great to have been caught out as being a 'comment without looking' type.

I think the framing was actually a good way to preserve the idea of sinking into the podcast equivalent of a found-footage horror - there's a tag and some very easy ways to see that it's not real, but it's also possible to click through and enjoy the mystery. Of course, between this FPP and the first few comments that chance of immersion is much less likely, which isn't great in terms of respecting how others enjoy the site, and indeed things like horror, in different ways.

So it's fine to have a greater or lesser appreciation for mystery meat posts in general, though a different debate, but I don't think it's reasonable to suggest the OP was being deceitful just because you missed the signs or didn't look at the link. And I think chiding them for a joke about parental paranormal investigators is just silly.
posted by gadge emeritus at 6:29 PM on September 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


Checking out the links before commenting is a pretty good recommendation for all MetaFilter FPPs, though, and always has been, so I imagine it's not great to have been caught out as being a 'comment without looking' type.

I think you misread my comment, and I realize I wasn't completely clear. When I said "engage with it", I meant clicking the links and consuming the content, not commenting on the Metafilter post.
posted by zixyer at 6:39 PM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sure, but you phrased it as if it were somehow dishonest to use mystery meat framing, rather than a stylistic choice or something that might actually to be a preferable way to encounter the material. As if mystery meat was always hiding, well, mystery meat, rather than anything nice. It's not about tricking people into substandard quality, and it's pretty churlish to say that it is.
posted by gadge emeritus at 6:51 PM on September 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


Ok, I can understand that perspective, but I think it's just another way of looking at the same thing.

My impression is someone who writes up a mystery meat post is thinking "I want to share this great thing. How can I write this post so that it gets the most clicks? I'll obscure what it actually is so that people who might not otherwise care will be intrigued enough to click on it. Then they'll see how great it is." My perspective is that they're obscuring details so that more people will click the links; basically Buzzfeed-style clickbait. If you're more charitable, they're just arranging things so that people have an optimal experience in encountering the material.

I agree that my using the words "somewhat dishonest" without fully explaining my thoughts was a little too strong.
posted by zixyer at 7:13 PM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


My impression is someone who writes up a mystery meat post is thinking "I want to share this great thing. How can I write this post so that it gets the most clicks? I'll obscure what it actually is so that people who might not otherwise care will be intrigued enough to click on it. Then they'll see how great it is."

I think you should consider the possibility that the intent was "it is fun to pretend" rather than "this will get more clicks".
posted by Gygesringtone at 7:30 PM on September 26, 2015 [12 favorites]


I don't think this is that kind of post, though. The reason to obscure what it is (to the extent that it was) is that horror that pretends to be real is at least theoretically more effective. That trick is as old as the hills, and the point isn't to fool people in to clicking, it's to scare them.

I can see people not wanting the rules that govern horror fiction being site norms, but that's what's happening here, not Buzzfeed style clickbait.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:30 PM on September 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


The reason to obscure what it is (to the extent that it was) is that horror that pretends to be real is at least theoretically more effective. That trick is as old as the hills, and the point isn't to fool people in to clicking, it's to scare them.

That's a good point and I hadn't really considered that. My kneejerk distaste for clickbait kind of misled me here.

I appreciate you making the effort to understand my perspective so that we could find common ground. i think that's a much more productive way to have a discussion like this.
posted by zixyer at 7:37 PM on September 26, 2015 [9 favorites]


Everyone understands that OP isn't getting paid for the number of people who click the link (which then says it's fiction), right?
posted by Lyn Never at 8:10 PM on September 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


Fiction, eh?

That's what they want you to believe...
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:15 PM on September 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


So is the plate of beans we've been referencing all these years is also fictional?

(sorry, just noticed someone already said something like this. Downvoted.)
posted by Tacodog at 8:30 PM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really just wanted to present the story like the storytellers presented it. It wasn't malicious or anything. I really like the frission that happens when I don't know if something fantastical is real or not, and Limetown gave me that little buzz, so I thought I'd try to share the feeling.

Sorry if that scanned as clickbait, but tbh if your clickbait threshold is set so high I'd imagine that you're not the sort of person who blindly believes the content of a metafilter post at face value without any further investigation.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:31 PM on September 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


(sorry, just noticed someone already said something like this. Downvoted.)

Ooh, pony request!
posted by ddd at 8:38 PM on September 26, 2015


Sorry, that pony has long since been Findussed.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:00 PM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


One instance of a remarkable number of people from a vulnerable population who disappeared over a period of years from the margins of one Canadian city without public mention or notice has been brought up twice. Which in itself is a tragedy and a shame.

Its twice mention might also have something to do with the fact that no instance of three hundred men, women and children disappearing over decades from one research facility in a small town without public notice or mention, nor any similar story, is yet available in the historical record.

At any rate, that it depends on who is disappearing is something on which all would seem to emphatically agree.
posted by y2karl at 9:10 PM on September 26, 2015


It seems to me that splashing "fiction" all over that podcast might not respect the artistic intention of the podcaster.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:29 PM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Was the creepypasta tag added after the post went up? Because, if it wasn't, the FPP was labeled as fiction. Creepypasta is spooky stuff presented as fact. That's what the term means.

But I didn't know that. I had never heard of the term before I saw your comment.

Also, no one should rely on tags to convey important information that you need to know before reading any of the post. Tags are there in case anyone wants to click to similar posts, and so that the post will show up for anyone looking for posts on a certain topic. But readers are free to ignore the tags, which are in small print, off to the side.
posted by John Cohen at 3:47 AM on September 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


if your clickbait threshold is set so high I'd imagine that you're not the sort of person who blindly believes the content of a metafilter post at face value without any further investigation.

You're right that people should generally be skeptical of what they read — but that doesn't excuse lying.

And I'm not sure what a "high" "clickbait threshold" has to do with anything. Who are you even responding to there? You didn't quote or name anyone, but some commenters had said they felt it was "clickbait." A "high clickbait threshold" would suggest someone who doesn't click on many things. But anyway, it isn't for you to decide how a person's "clickbait threshold" should correspond to their level of skepticism. There are all different kinds of people out there, and you should know many of them will be deceived by what you posted.
posted by John Cohen at 3:55 AM on September 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


My $0.02:

1. Tags are not a reliable way of communicating information about the post to people reading the post. Never have been, never will be. They provide some help in searching MetaFilter, but that's about it. Perhaps that needs to be clarified on the New Post page?
2. I think there can be artistic value in presenting a fictional thing as non-fiction, however I don't think that value is significantly diminished by knowing that it is actually fiction from the start.
3. You can never assume that someone will be able to discern fiction from non-fiction just by the subject matter itself. It's a big world, and people come at it from all different angles.
4. Some people really don't like being fooled, others relish it. Most fall somewhere in the middle, depending on the circumstances.
5. I think some of the displeasure in this particular case is because of the specific subject matter. Unexplained mass disappearance is a real and incredibly tragic part of life in many parts of the world. I think if the podcast in question had been about someone inventing anti-gravity or exploring Antarctica, feelings in this thread would be a little less raw.

This is all to say I don't think there is anything wrong with the post in question, or with presenting fiction as deadpan non-fiction, and you are going to displease some and miss some of your target audience whichever way you go, so it is ultimately up to the poster. That said, I think it is hard to go too far wrong by very artfully suggesting the true nature of the subject matter somewhere within the body of the post, and that should probably be the default stance.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:22 AM on September 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


I don't rely on titles or tags or anything other than a vague sense of 'ooh this looks interesting' to make me click on whichever link seems to be the main one, and if it isn't my cup of tea then I back off and continue scrolling until I find something that I do like.

I'm honestly bemused by all these people who are taking this as a terrible trick on them, as if (as mentioned numerous times above) the War of the Worlds broadcast, The Blair Witch Project and other found footage films and og knows how many other examples are some kind of horrible deception.

If you don't like it, the back arrow is your friend. Lots of people do like fiction disguised as documentary, and putting an obvious spoiler in at the beginning can ruin the whole thing.
posted by h00py at 5:33 AM on September 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


That said, I think it is hard to go too far wrong by very artfully suggesting the true nature of the subject matter somewhere within the body of the post, and that should probably be the default stance.

I don't disagree, but "very artfully" and "default" are terms that probably don't belong on the same spec sheet, especially where there are large-ish numbers of people involved.
posted by Wolof at 5:44 AM on September 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Quick, name 300 mefi users you'd like to see disappear.
posted by item at 7:01 AM on September 27, 2015


I just really don't understand some of the anger I'm seeing. So you clicked on a link you might not have clicked on and you were exposed to a fictional story when you didn't want to be.

SO FUCKING WHAT. That doesn't mean anyone lied to you or deceived you. You lost maybe a few minutes of your precious time, if that, to something you ended up not having an interest in (or, you have a genuine interest in the material, but you're so weirdly mad at the way it was presented to you that now you're refusing to ingest the material on principle or something and casting weird aspersions on the person who posted it, which honestly just reads as petty and sort of childish from over here).

Calling the OP a liar because you didn't realize that the story is fiction is way over the top, incredibly shitty, and I'm really surprised to see that apparently the mods are okay with that. What the actual fuck, all of Metafilter.
posted by palomar at 7:20 AM on September 27, 2015 [17 favorites]


I think some of the displeasure in this particular case is because of the specific subject matter. Unexplained mass disappearance is a real and incredibly tragic part of life in many parts of the world. I think if the podcast in question had been about someone inventing anti-gravity or exploring Antarctica, feelings in this thread would be a little less raw.

Yeah, this. When I read this post, I immediately felt the sense of dread that you always feel when you read terrible news stories. So many people, that means so many survivors, not knowing what happened, that must be so awful. Other famous mass disappearances (Mexico, Argentina) came to mind, and the stories of the people that told about them. This all has an emotional cost, and I'm surprised that so many people here completely dismiss that.
posted by blub at 8:03 AM on September 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


> I'm honestly bemused by all these people who are taking this as a terrible trick on them,

> I just really don't understand some of the anger I'm seeing.

The concept of Limetown is an exploration of the tragedy of three hundred men, women, and children vanishing without a trace from a research community. That's a pretty upsetting premise, given that there are plenty of real world tragedies of people (large numbers and small) disappearing, some of which touch people personally.

We're not taking as a terrible trick, we're not putting it on the same level as War of the Worlds, and we don't think think Blair Witch or Paranormal Activity or V/H/S were real. We are not big, whiny, gullible babies, which seems to be what some people in the thread are suggesting.

What we're saying is that in a world where people can completely disappear without others knowing about it and where it can be hard to get the authorities to care, it would have been nice to not have the story presented as though it actually happened.

> So you clicked on a link you might not have clicked on and you were exposed to a fictional story when you didn't want to be. SO FUCKING WHAT. That doesn't mean anyone lied to you or deceived you. You lost maybe a few minutes of your precious time....

I can't speak for others, but my time is in fact precious to me, and I thank you for recognizing that. And since it's precious to me, I tend to dislike any effort by others to take it from me, even if it's just a couple of minutes.
posted by magstheaxe at 8:13 AM on September 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


your time is so precious that it's productive to spend much, much more time complaining about how someone wasted maybe two minutes of it by trying to show you something they thought was cool?

okay then!
posted by palomar at 8:17 AM on September 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


I also think the anger seems a little over-the-top, but I also originally thought the thing was true (and wondered how the hell I could have missed hearing about it), am not familiar with the term "creepypasta", and think it's a good idea to label fictional stuff as fictional. I totally am interested in this fictional podcast and have listened to the first two episodes, and I don't really think it loses anything if you go in knowing that it's fiction. And I guess that, even if it did, that would kind of be a failure of the producers, because not too many people listen to podcasts without knowing anything about them, and I think that a podcast that depends on people going in uninformed is not a podcast that's going to be very successful.

Anyway, I hadn't heard of Limetown previously and am really enjoying it, so I'm glad that the post was posted, even if I agree it might have been better to frame it so it was clearer that it's art, not reporting.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:24 AM on September 27, 2015


I haven't seen a lot of anger in this thread. Speaking for myself, I was just expressing a preference for things to be clearly labeled. I prefer posts to be a straightforward presentation of what the content is. If you had a friend that you thought would like this podcast, and you were telling her about it, would you pretend it's a podcast about an actual thing or would you say that it's a cool fictional podcast? But I can see how in unusual circumstances like this a more artful presentation might be more fun for some people.

Everyone understands that OP isn't getting paid for the number of people who click the link (which then says it's fiction), right?

I think this is responding to me. I did explain why I viewed "mystery meat" posts as clickbait but you might have missed it. My perception is that the motivation isn't to make ad revenue, it's that the poster wants a lot of people to click the links because they think the content is great and they want everyone to see it. It's a different motivation but the same result.
posted by zixyer at 9:05 AM on September 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, palomar, because I get to make the choice to waste it as I like, too. Thank you for appreciating that.
posted by magstheaxe at 9:06 AM on September 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


palomar: "your time is so precious that it's productive to spend much, much more time complaining about how someone wasted maybe two minutes of it by trying to show you something they thought was cool? "

This is a policy discussion; the subject at hand is deeper than a single post.
posted by Mitheral at 9:39 AM on September 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


This all has an emotional cost, and I'm surprised that so many people here completely dismiss that.

The prisoner who now stands before you
Was caught red-handed showing feelings
Showing feelings of an almost human nature
This will not do.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:00 AM on September 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


First I was all, "Bzuh? I never heard of that before, and I'm probably maybe semi-savvy, at least... I should click in and check this out... "

Then I was all, "Ghunh? That's not real... well, I guess that explains why I've never heard about this before... "

Then I was all, "Meh? This isn't my cup of tea... sort of a bummer... "

Then I was all, "Did I just feel bummed that an FPP about the disappearance of 300 people is fictional? What the fuck, me? Smarten up!"

Then I went about my day.

And since it's precious to me, I tend to dislike any effort by others to take it from me, even if it's just a couple of minutes.

That's why I think the site formatting should be changed to put usernames before the comment. You owe me at least a couple minutes.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:16 AM on September 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


What we're saying is that in a world where people can completely disappear without others knowing about it and where it can be hard to get the authorities to care, it would have been nice to not have the story presented as though it actually happened.

Sorry, but this just doesn't scale at all for me. It seems to be arbitrarily putting limits on how fiction should be allowed to present itself (though to be fair, it's not saying "must", it's saying it would be "nice"). Beyond the simple counterargument that some fiction just works better if people first think it's real (based on the verisimilitude of its presentation), there's a deeper one that goes something like ...

At the heart of every fiction is a truth that couldn't get out any other way (because only when an author applies that mask can they really come clean), just as all non-fiction is, on some level, an untruth, because nobody ever knows the full truth about anything. In another other word -- paradox.

And so on.

I get that some subject matter can't help but contain triggers and that there are some who would like to be warned up front. But at what point are we starting to argue for a new classification system? Not G, PG, R, X etc but one that warns of such stuff as possible meta-confusion or an unhappy ending, or whatever?
posted by philip-random at 11:27 AM on September 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sorry, but this just doesn't scale at all for me. It seems to be arbitrarily putting limits on how fiction should be allowed to present itself

All I'm saying is that when fiction presents itself here it should say "Hi, unlike most of the things here, I'm fiction."

At the heart of every fiction is a truth that couldn't get out any other way (because only when an author applies that mask can they really come clean), just as all non-fiction is, on some level, an untruth, because nobody ever knows the full truth about anything. In another other word -- paradox.

I'm willing to accept that, due to the fundamentally unreal nature of reality and the fundamentally real nature of fiction, fiction tags may not be 100% accurate. That's OK.
posted by mmoncur at 2:43 PM on September 27, 2015


Put me in the camp of people who feel that this should have been described as a "radioplay" or "fiction" above the fold. If I wanted to read made up bullshit, I'd be on the Onion, not Metafilter.
posted by Megafly at 3:50 PM on September 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


what's showing at the Strand this evening?

Oh, more of Shakespeare's made up bullshit.
posted by philip-random at 4:37 PM on September 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Come to think of it, those things that are real are far more distressing to me, and I'd really prefer things to be clearly tagged as "reality". I am dead honest when I say that reality is often a major emotional trigger to me. I wish it were fiction.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:39 PM on September 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


This is what comes of the belief that the Serial podcast was journalism. You people made this world.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 5:34 PM on September 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


That was fiction too? Huh, I thought that "Baltimoore" place sounded kind of made up.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:49 PM on September 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I both have to watch The Wire and not watch The Wire. Catch-22.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:29 PM on September 27, 2015


Schroedingered again.
posted by y2karl at 7:39 PM on September 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


If I wanted to read made up bullshit, I'd be on the Onion, not Metafilter.

Ulysses? Macbeth? Just some made up bullshit.
posted by Jimbob at 9:23 PM on September 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am dead honest when I say that reality is often a major emotional trigger to me. I wish it were fiction.

Realizing that the real world is truly, deeply scarier than anything out of any person's imagination is probably one of those things that separates adults from children.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:24 AM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Realizing that the real world is truly, deeply scarier than anything out of any person's imagination is probably one of those things that separates adults from children.

I disagree.The world is scary, yes, but what happens on TV crime shows is far more extreme than what happens in real life. The world is scary enough in the terms of things like climate change but for what was the topic here: the disappearance over a couple of decades of 300 people of all ages in a small town in the Midwest, imagination is far scarier than what has happened in the real world. If it had happened, we would have heard about it.
posted by y2karl at 8:07 AM on September 28, 2015


far more extreme than what happens in real life.

I have an apprenticeship for you.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 8:31 AM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


"[I] am delighted by the strange position FPPs occupy, where there isn't a normative way for a particular type of narrative to be presented."

Yes. This. When I looked at the front page early this morning, my very sleep-deprived brain was unable to tell, looking at the above-the-fold bits of this post, whether it was a post about archaeology or a satire of contemporary capitalism, and I found the ambiguity delightful.
posted by gauche at 8:47 AM on September 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't care for a FPP about fiction that presents as reality, personally, though I'm more of the "I don't care for this" bent than the "we should have a policy against it."

I find the nastyness here between people with differing opinions on the matter about a thousand times more disturbing.
posted by phearlez at 9:12 AM on September 28, 2015 [17 favorites]


The "is it fiction or not" seems a little beside the point, for me at least. The core issue as it affects this place as a community is the fact that the OP's original stated goal was essentially to trick members into taking the story as if it were real, because to do otherwise "ruins it" or something.

That's the issue that bugs me the most about this. In fact, I am way more likely to follow up and listen to this radio play when I have the time knowing that it's fictional, versus skimming over it because of dreading the all-to-real occurrence of some mass burial of people involved in weapons research or some shit, and associated cover-ups and just terrible humanity shit. As a work of fiction? Yea, I can look forward to arranging my schedule so I can enjoy that, because it isn't fucking depressing.

So, to then learn that in fact the whole goal of the post was "haha gotcha you thought humanity was terrible" is kinda yuck.
posted by odinsdream at 2:04 PM on September 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


SO FUCKING WHAT. That doesn't mean anyone lied to you or deceived you. You lost maybe a few minutes of your precious time,

ha ha,.+1 to that.

I also don't understand people making a big deal about a few minutes of their time wasted because they were "deceived" by this thing.labeled as creepypasta, but apparently are willing to spend a great deal of time arguing about it in a MeTa.
posted by jayder at 3:23 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


You know, I initially jumped into this discussion because I agreed with the OP that my preference would be that fiction was labelled. I thought we could have a nice bit of friendly discussion on a bit of administrivia.

Now, though, I'm just reading it and wondering what the hell happened to Metafilter. Lately every single Metatalk discussion gets ugly, petty, and mean.

I'm going to go hang out on Reddit for a while to calm down. I wish to God I was kidding about that.
posted by mmoncur at 3:53 PM on September 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


jayder, perhaps we are more upset with people who laugh at our feelings and apparently think that a fucking Shakespeare play is the same thing as saying that NPR is investigating something that is made up.
posted by Megafly at 4:59 PM on September 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


APR = a fictional news organization. NPR = a real news organization.

I can understand that some people may view a post like this as an intriguing, disconcerting mini-mystery, and other people may view it as a deliberate attempt to deceive them, and all sorts of positions in between, I guess.

But while I managed to have a really friendly and useful conversation about this in the real world with someone who disagreed vehemently with my position, it looks as if trying to discuss this online, especially in the points-scoring atmosphere of MetaTalk, seems to be fucking doomed.
posted by maudlin at 6:04 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


But while I managed to have a really friendly and useful conversation about this in the real world with someone who disagreed vehemently with my position, it looks as if trying to discuss this online, especially in the points-scoring atmosphere of MetaTalk, seems to be fucking doomed.

Wait -- we get POINTS???
posted by Sys Rq at 6:30 PM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


You just lost points for that. Thanks for playing.
posted by maudlin at 6:35 PM on September 28, 2015


I really just wanted to present the story like the storytellers presented it. It wasn't malicious or anything.


Okay I'm just gonna call bullshit on this, because consider how this would go if you were at a dinner party or something like that. You have this cool podcast to share with people. And to do this, consider whether you'd speak the text of your FPP, tacitly leaving out the part where it's fictional, and playing it with a straight face the whole time. "Yea man, 300 people. Gone. I know, right!? Unbelievable yea, definitely check out this podcast about it when you have time."

Then when your gullible friend gets back in touch with you the next week, they're gonna think you're a sociopath.
posted by odinsdream at 6:38 PM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Quick, name 300 mefi users you'd like to see disappear

This thought exercise is getting easier
posted by phearlez at 6:52 PM on September 28, 2015 [7 favorites]



Okay I'm just gonna call bullshit on this, because consider how this would go if you were at a dinner party or something like that. You have this cool podcast to share with people. And to do this, consider whether you'd speak the text of your FPP, tacitly leaving out the part where it's fictional, and playing it with a straight face the whole time. "Yea man, 300 people. Gone. I know, right!? Unbelievable yea, definitely check out this podcast about it when you have time."


First off, this place isn't a dinner party. Second, I'm just going to go ahead and guess you didn't read the OP or the comments thread, where my first interaction with the comments was pointing out the tags and apologizing if anybody was actually misled. I never responded by playing it straight. Calling me sociopathic is way over the top.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:49 PM on September 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yeah, let's dial down the heat in here please? We can discuss preferences on this issue without calling each other wimps or liars etc.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:52 PM on September 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


Okay I'm just gonna call bullshit on this, because consider how this would go if you were at a dinner party or something like that. You have this cool podcast to share with people. And to do this, consider whether you'd speak the text of your FPP, tacitly leaving out the part where it's fictional, and playing it with a straight face the whole time. "Yea man, 300 people. Gone. I know, right!? Unbelievable yea, definitely check out this podcast about it when you have time."

Then when your gullible friend gets back in touch with you the next week, they're gonna think you're a sociopath.


I find this a really odd comparison to make. There is a kind of twilight between telling something totally straight-faced with the intent to deceive, at one extreme, and explicitly telling them, in advance, that a story is fiction. This twilight is represented in our culture as the "tall tale," "pulling someone's leg," "folklore," "urban legends," "creepypasta" -- the effect is ruined if you tell people that the tale is fiction.

One time I had a really odd experience hanging out with some people that I didn't know very well. We were all very drunk, it was late at night, and one guy, sort of a typical slacker type, started telling me a very outlandish tale; this was so long ago, I have no idea what it was about. And I was half-listening and nodding along very credulously. And suddenly the guy launched into a big thing about "I'm kidding man, I can't believe you actually believed me." And this was really remarkable because I had never believed him, but I also had never disbelieved him, and it was the first time I realized that there is a twilight between belief and disbelief; it's a state of noncommittal, sort of premised on there being a form of discourse that doesn't aim at truth, it's just entertaining bullshit that no one commits to believing, confirming, or disputing. And I was kind of at a loss for words because this was a new experience for me; I was embarrassed to be perceived as gullible because that was really not my mental state, but it was really hard to explain what my mental state actually was, until I thought about it later. I certainly didn't think the guy was "sociopathic"; it was a joke, it was a joke at my expense, but it was not a grievous offense that I was going to be upset about. It was a "tall tale," an institution that has a central place in our culture.

So anyway, when the OP said "I really just wanted to present the story like the storytellers presented it. It wasn't malicious or anything," I totally understand what they mean. It would have detracted from what the OP was trying to do, and the intent of the work, to put a big blinking *FICTION* warning before the piece. I think putting "creepypasta" as the tag was actually supererogatory.

I say this with the greatest fondness and affection: people here seem to be looking for things to get upset about. On the scale of things to get upset about, 0 - 10 with 0 being absolutely beyond reproach and 10 being something totally unconscionable and totally offensive to any reasonable person, this is a hard 0.
posted by jayder at 8:02 AM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Creepypasta, TN, APR - these are not terms that mean anything to me; the last two because like a lot of people I'm not an American (I still get confused about where the US Midwest is), the first because apparently I am not aware of all internet traditions. I wanted to know why I hadn't heard of Limetown. Was it that it hadn't receieved the publicity it deserved, or was it being overblown by a sensationalist FPP? I was looking forward to lots of details in the comments from MeFites who were local to it. Comments about it being fiction answered my question but also killed my interest in it.

I'm not keen on mystery meat posts as they make it harder for me to find things I'm interested in. But I'm also not keen on requiring any sort of labelling beyond what general courtesy would suggest.

It'd be nice if posters remembered that not everyone shares their US/Internet reference points, because Metafilter has a broad audience with a variety of perspectives. The FPP was labelled but not with the precise level of clarity the poster thought it was; people who like Subject A were disappointed, people who like Subject B missed out. No harm, no foul.
posted by harriet vane at 8:06 AM on September 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


jayder, "no reasonable person could actually object to this" is a crap way to engage here after a bunch of reasonable people have been explaining why they object.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:07 AM on September 29, 2015 [13 favorites]


By the way, if you have been listening to public radio in the US as long as I have, you may remember something called APR (American Public Radio) which was re-branded as PRI (Public Radio International). There's also APM (American Public Media). I know lots of folks assume that everything they hear on public radio is NPR, but no. The mention of APR certainly did not scream "fake" to me.
posted by in278s at 8:16 AM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


I say this with the greatest fondness and affection: people here seem to be looking for things to get upset about.

If that's affection then you can keep it.
posted by phearlez at 8:37 AM on September 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


On the scale of things to get upset about, 0 - 10 with 0 being absolutely beyond reproach and 10 being something totally unconscionable and totally offensive to any reasonable person, this is a hard 0.

Rating other people's feelings in this way does not seem like a good faith way to be approaching this issue.

Just putting a bunch of numbers of your own devising up like this only shows that maybe you would not be upset about it. It in no way makes any factual statements about other people's feelings except how you are feeling about their feelings. So even though this looks like a "because math" argument it's really a "because feelings ... MY feelings" argument to which I would say "Yeah but MY feelings..." and then we're back where we started.

I'm reasonable. I have a low level objection to this. I'm not mad, it's just not what I prefer. So you can either decide I'm not reasonable which, ok good luck with that, or decide that maybe you're drawing a bit of an indefensible line in the sand here. It's a big community with a lot of different sorts of people and many of them are different from you, or me.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:43 AM on September 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


My understanding, jessamyn, is your objection is more of the mystery meat variety rather than thinking the OP was lying with his framing, or that he was being cruel in allowing other users to think there had been this tragedy when there hadn't.

Because not to speak for anyone else, but I find the first objection a lot more reasonable than the second two.
posted by gadge emeritus at 12:37 PM on September 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


And suddenly the guy launched into a big thing about "I'm kidding man, I can't believe you actually believed me."

That's a really interesting analogy, actually. This situation really does feel like one where a trusted friend starts telling you a story that sounds pretty unlikely, but hey, they're a good friend and they usually know what they're talking about, plus it's pretty basic manners to not immediately (and vocally) assume people are outright lying, so you'll give them the benefit of the doubt and politely listen to what they're saying. Then they go "OMG I can't believe you thought I was telling the truth! I totally got you!"

....yeah, congratulations, that's hilarious, look how gullible I am, etc.

There's a reason I don't have friends who pull that crap very often anymore. I don't really appreciate it in an online community either. And just like that annoying dude, it's not a huge deal that it happened, and I don't need a rule to make sure it never happens - but I'm not gonna be friends with the bullshitting guy, because I get to spend my time with people that I enjoy, not ones I find obnoxious.

I wouldn't have bothered commenting here since again, not a big deal, just a minor annoyance, except that a bunch of people are saying I'm oversensitive and gullible for not wanting to be friends with that guy, and that's a weird and disappointing thing to hear on metafilter. So maybe just consider that not everyone enjoys getting "tricked", and there's nothing wrong with that (or them).
posted by randomnity at 1:52 PM on September 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


Again, speaking just for me, my objection to this reaction is that you weren't tricked. I'm going to use an outdated reference, but it's like you picked up the DVD cover promising one thing, and then when you flipped it over to read the back you missed, or didn't understand, that it said it was fiction. It was in the new releases section, so no clue there, but it actually did say that it was fiction in the tags, and on the main link, and incidentally in the first few comments.

So objecting because you don't like mystery posts in general? Or objecting because the label wasn't big enough? I disagree, but fine. There's definitely a validity to that, to suggesting tags might be more prominent, what have you. But the post didn't lie, it didn't mock you for falling for it, and so characterising it as this deception, or the users getting upset about how it could have been real how dare you ... that's what draws a "... Really?" response.
posted by gadge emeritus at 2:21 PM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


This situation really does feel like one where a trusted friend starts telling you a story that sounds pretty unlikely, but hey, they're a good friend and they usually know what they're talking about, plus it's pretty basic manners to not immediately (and vocally) assume people are outright lying, so you'll give them the benefit of the doubt and politely listen to what they're saying. Then they go "OMG I can't believe you thought I was telling the truth! I totally got you!"

Except in this situation, no one is actually going "OMG I can't believe you thought I was telling the truth! I totally got you!", that's actually just coming from your own ego, so...
posted by palomar at 3:04 PM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Like, it sort of seems like 95% of the problem here is that people feel misled, and instead of looking at it as just a thing that happens, they're looking at it like they were deliberately tricked, like someone is out to make a fool of them. Which is... weird.
posted by palomar at 3:05 PM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

Spinal Tap still managed to trick many of its moviegoers into believing the band existed. Reiner observed that "when Spinal Tap initially came out, everybody thought it was a real band... the reason it did go over everybody's head was that it was very close to home".
Is there an uncanny valley for fiction?
posted by ddd at 5:19 PM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well...yes, we were deliberately tricked. I don't think there was any malicious intent by the poster or creators, but come on, it wasn't accidentally vague phrasing, the post was obviously trying to mislead people into thinking it was a real event. Otherwise when the post's misleading nature was pointed out, it would have been quickly corrected with the addition of a clarifying word or two in the post (not just in the tags, which are not intended to serve that need and which I don't see at all on my phone, and yes, I looked for them), nobody would have objected, and none of us would be here. The misleading nature of the post is not in debate here - the question is whether that trick is something people like or dislike, and it seems there are strong opinions in both camps, so we'll probably stick with the status quo, which is fine. I can accept that annoying things happen sometimes while still expressing my preference for avoiding them by e.g. being informed about whether something phrased as fact is actually fiction (kinda like how some people prefer to know whether links have things like auto-playing sound or NSFW images or graphic descriptions of rape or whatever).

Anyway my "annoying friend" analogy was a bit flawed, sorry - I didn't mean to imply that the poster was trying to trick people in order to make fun of them. The mocking aspect referred to a few people in this thread, not the original post. I don't really want to single anyone out, but I don't think anyone can deny that there were multiple extremely scornful, condescending comments (and assumptions) made in this thread about the group of people who didn't instantly realize that the post was fictional (or the overlapping but slightly distinct group of people who would prefer that these things be labelled as fiction). I recognize that the majority of comments here were not like that and I appreciate it. All you people who like being "tricked" and/or vehemently oppose fiction labels on things like this, it's cool, we can still be friends, as long as you don't make fun of me for wanting to know whether I'm browsing in the fiction or non-fiction section before I decide which book to read (yes, even if the description on the back makes it seem unlikely to be real).
posted by randomnity at 5:41 PM on September 29, 2015 [9 favorites]


I started typing a long thing then I had a meeting and randomnity said it better than I was going to. Here's the shorter (but still not short) version.

I didn't feel misled or tricked by the post. I didn't get right away that it was pointing to fiction but I'm used to not getting things right away. It didn't make me feel bad but I can understand how it might for some.

My issue is with some comments in this MeTa which to me read like 'oh come on. It's so obviously fiction and your level of gullibility should be weaponized. I mean to not know what creepypasta means or that you could possibly live under a rock large enough to have missed this if it were real just seems impossible.'

I'm not saying anyone here said those words. I'm not saying most of the people here said or implied anything close to that. I am saying that a few comments here made me feel that way. That STILL didn't make me mad or sad. I just feel disappointed to read those kind of comments at MetaFilter.

The actual discussion about tagging fiction as fiction can be had civilly and it started but it's been buried.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 7:22 PM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well...yes, we were deliberately tricked.

Yeah, I guess what I mean by that is tricked with malicious intent. Like this was done cruelly, specifically to target people for mockery. That's the interpretation and subsequent reaction that I'm not understanding.
posted by palomar at 7:34 PM on September 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


randomnity goes on to explain that reaction further in the comment that you quoted.
posted by zixyer at 8:22 PM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think people were complaining about being mocked in this thread until they actually were mocked.
posted by misfish at 10:16 PM on September 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I still get confused about where the US Midwest is.

No worries, it's pretty confusing to most Americans as well (even those who live in the Midwest).
posted by el io at 1:09 AM on September 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well it's confusing for no other reason than that Tennessee is as far west as some Midwest states, but is really part of the South.

I still think it's weird to call this a "trick" because this is such a common horror fiction trope that it doesn't have the maliciousness I associate with the word trick. It's like saying you were "tricked" by the Blair Witch Project, it's just a part of the way horror works.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:01 AM on September 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


I still think it's weird to call this a "trick" because this is such a common horror fiction trope that it doesn't have the maliciousness I associate with the word trick. It's like saying you were "tricked" by the Blair Witch Project, it's just a part of the way horror works.

The horror fiction trope, though, generally doesn't work by actually tricking anyone. It works by allowing people to trick themselves. The Blair Witch Project advertised itself as real, yes. Fake newsreels, fake police reports, fake IMDB actor listing. But even before it was released there were interviews with the (still living and not lost) actors; if you so much as watched the news during the week of release, it was quite clear that it was a horror-film-presented-as-documentary, and not an actual documentary. For example, here's a contemporary CNN piece that clearly labels it for what it is (horror) and talks about its advertising strategy. If you were following the news there really was no question, even then, that it wasn't really found footage.

But, at the same time, I remember people back in '99 arguing about whether it was real or not. There was a ton of internet-driven hype, and a lot of people went to see it having heard it was good but not really having heard anything about it, exactly, beyond that it was a good creepy movie. And if you did go into it expecting it to be creepy, it apparently did feel plausible -- people did believe. And if you went in expecting a creepy movie, you got exactly what you wanted! There was no false advertising in that sense: it was advertised as creepy. The emotion and engagement you were being sold was 'horror,' wrapped up inside documentary framing. It wasn't be sold as, or advertised as, a 'dry documentary about an unsolved disappearance.'

Likewise here, I think people are articulating a difference between a piece of fiction selling itself as real, and a friend recommending a piece of non-fiction that starts with 'this is a work of fiction.' Here, the post frames it as non-fiction journalism (that's certainly how I read it, and how other people read it) but the first page linked to notes that it's a fictional podcast. So the podcast isn't really tricking anyone: the page says up front that it's fiction. The post is, and that's the distinction that people are drawing here -- that there's a difference in context that makes it feel different to the reader.

That said, 'trick' implies more intent than I'm comfortable with, and whether or not there was intent doesn't really matter if the question is 'should fiction be labeled' -- I'd like it (not as a rule, just as a thing for posters to consider) if we labeled fiction as fiction, and left the fiction to label itself as real. Sometimes (as with the Blair Witch Project) it's fun to let yourself be tricked.
posted by cjelli at 8:58 AM on September 30, 2015


First of all, I want apologize. Ohio and the Midwest have nothing to do with Tennessee. For some reason, my memory kept conflating Limetown, Tennessee with a city in Ohio.

Be that as it may, the number of missing was 300. For a small to middle sized American city, that is an enormous number. Then there was the phrase research facility. Now we have a stock element of science fiction and horror movies. And the victims were men, women and children.

Half asleep as I was when I clicked on the link, at a glance the idea that such a large number of people that included any children at all could disappear from a laboratory or research complex in a small town could happen at all was impossible. That it could be missed or suppressed was even more impossible. Heck, one child disappearing from one research facility with no investigation and the place not shut down is impossible to believe.

Hence my reaction.

Children sinisterly missing in the scores in the land of Amber Alerts ? And we missed it ? Oh, c'mon. Life does not imitate Stephen King.
posted by y2karl at 9:25 PM on September 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Then there was the phrase research facility
The phrase used was "research community". I interpreted that as a town with a focus on research (possibly because of its location, like a town near places with archeological value). And because of the word "community" the fact that there were children missing did not seem strange.

To me, the suffix -town has more associations with non-American cities. I don't know any US cities whose name ends in town, but I do know a few non-US cities that do (like Georgetown and Bridgetown). Just like for some reason your brain placed Limetown in Ohio, my brain placed it in South America.
posted by blub at 1:42 AM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


A research town? In South America? I recognize this trope — it'll be full of Nazi scientists! They probably disappeared inside the hollow Earth, following their leader, who they resurrected as the Lizard King Hitler. Next thing you know, we'll be hearing that Sarah Palin is consorting with them. You never could trust her.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:02 AM on October 1, 2015


Life does not imitate Stephen King.

Well, Stephen King is clearly marked, marketed, and shelved as fiction. Some of the advertisements for his books are phrased like the FPP, but they all say "in the new novel by Stephen King". I disagree with this MeTa request that all fictional posts need to be labeled as fiction, but it's clear for a lot of reasons (subject matter, wording, etc.) that this specific post rubbed people the wrong way. If all that was needed to know it was fiction was to be half awake then again I don't see why including "radioplay" or whatever below the fold harms the intended effect for those who would want to listen to a creepy podcast, while including it clues in people who didn't catch it and those who don't want to listen.
posted by edeezy at 10:18 AM on October 1, 2015


On that topic, btw, I have been soaking in the internet since before a sizable percentage of metafilter was born and working on it is how I make my living. If I had ever heard the term "creepypasta" before I'd forgotten it and was unaware of what it meant. So how obvious it is can be argued. If it's as obvious as claimed by some then, as edeezy says, another obvious term (but more widely known, like 'fiction') would be no more of a giveaway.
posted by phearlez at 11:15 AM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Life does not imitate Stephen King.

Well...
posted by brianrobot at 2:21 PM on October 1, 2015


Yeah, I've been living and working on the Internet since before the WWW existed, and I hadn't heard of "creepypasta" before this. The tag has been used on Mefi only 9 times, and to be fair the first one is a description of what Creepypasta is from 2007-- but 3-4 of those aren't even fiction.

It's important to realize that terms on the Internet may not be universal to all communities.
posted by mmoncur at 2:56 PM on October 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


y2karl, I have no idea how many people might live in a place I've never heard of, and so I've got no idea if 300 is a lot or a blip in the statistics. The post doesn't say it's a small to middle-sized city. It says "community" not "research facility". I don't know anything about Tennessee except that it makes good booze. I've never heard of Amber Alerts. I'm not ignorant, I'm just not American. So all the context you're bringing to the paragraph is meaningless to me.

And we've had excellent posts on the blue about the thousands of missing-presumed-murdered young women and girls I'd consider children in Canada, and Roanoke (a small colony), and other real-life mysteries. Under-privileged people (again including children) go missing all the time without much fuss made about it - that's usually how serial killers get away with it, by picking people who won't be missed. So that's the background context I was bringing to the post, and saying its improbable is where you are incorrect.

I figured it out within 30 seconds and realised it was in the Blair Witch style, but I don't think it was stupid or gullible of me to make that momentary mistake based on the FPP. And I don't think it was a terrible post, just one that likely missed its main audience while mildly inconveniencing others. Context matters, and its useful to remember that hardly anyone shares the same cultural knowledge when you're making a post you hope people will enjoy.
posted by harriet vane at 2:13 AM on October 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Facility or community makes no difference other than to betray the vagaries of my memory. Both imply a small organization within the context of a small to middle sized town where 300 would be a huge number to go unnoticed even if said organization sought to suppress it. Especially with children being involved. Within the context of an organization located in a small city. Or, for that matter, a city of a hundred thousand.

This has nothing to do with a serial killer preying one by one on marginalized people on the outskirts of a city of millions to my mind.

But obviously that is a matter of belief and pointless to argue.

As to whether the.post represented fact or fiction, by your account it took you a half minute to figure it out. I concluded as much after a perhaps shorter interval, too insignificant a difference to matter insofar as the need for a fiction label. To my mind. As to that need, you may have a different opinion.
posted by y2karl at 12:53 PM on October 4, 2015


Apart from something about the finale of Friends supposedly revealing the series all to be the episodic dream of a crack addled Phoebe, to which I thought, Ooh, ick, thanks for nothing, she was the only one I could stand -- I am not exactly sure for what creepypasta stands. But then I never pay attention to tags that much, so six of one, twelve dozen of another, you know what I mean ?
posted by y2karl at 3:13 PM on October 4, 2015


That these things are a matter of opinion and *context* has been the point of everyone in this thread you and others have been insinuating is stupid and/or gullible, so I'm glad you've finally acknowledged it, sort of.

I mean, you've read a lot of detail into the text of the post that isn't there on the front page, after all. Neither facility or community imply a small town, that's your own background assumption. I assume the only research facilities and communities you know of are in small towns, but that's not true for all of them or even a majority of them. I live in a city of two million people, which some describe as small because these things are relative. The disappearances weren't said to happen all at once, instead of one-by-one, that's again your own assumption. You're convinced these things are obvious but your imagination supplied those extra details, leaving the rest of us to muddle on as best we could with what was actually in front of us.

No-ones asking for mandatory labelling, just making suggestions for the OP and anyone who wants to post something similar in future on how to write the post so it finds the right audience. It's not hurting anyone, so all the sneering about how wrong we were for being momentarily confused is pretty damn rude. In my opinion. Which you have graciously allowed me to have.
posted by harriet vane at 6:13 AM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


When someone you care about - and I'd hope we care about each other as a community, even if not each specific individual - tells you "this bothers me" you get to make a choice between listening and arguing. Listening doesn't require agreeing. Nor does honoring their feelings require agreeing.

But I guess for some it's more important to be right than to communicate giving a fuck about other people's reactions.
posted by phearlez at 7:47 AM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


In regards to my first comment, please bear in mind that sometimes people answer in an instant with feeling from a phone. For me, taking offense at such a mild if exasperated and undirected remark would require telepathy, a power beyond my grasp. Ideally, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and not take offense. But I do sometimes. I just asked such a reaction to be deleted the other day to a remark directed to me elsewhere. I have been here a long time. I have had some truly horrible things said to me and about me. What people have chosen to take offense at here is such weak weak tea in comparison. In my opinion.
posted by y2karl at 10:31 AM on October 7, 2015


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