Fiddling With Doubles March 17, 2016 4:54 PM   Subscribe

A post linking to the story of Philip Johnson, thief of the Totenberg Stradivarius, was just deleted as a double, with this previous version of the story - an entirely different article, telling the tale of what happened when the violin was found - cited as the double.

I can see that the deleted post would have been improved had it linked to the earlier one as a 'previously', and I can see that 'Too Similiar To Previous Post' would have been arguably a fair enough deletion reason (although the deleted post tells an entirely different story to the previous one, talking as it does in detail about Johnson, who is dismissed in a sentence in the previous), but I thought that 'Double' had the specific meaning of 'This Link Has Been Posted Before'.

Because the link in the deleted post was not posted before. And so it was not, after all, a double.

Has the meaning of 'double' changed?
posted by motty to Etiquette/Policy at 4:54 PM (55 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Naw, "double" has always been shorthand for "we've seen this thing/story/topic before too recently or thoroughly to do it again right now," rather than "this exact link has been posted before." It's a little fuzzier, but the same general story within a couple of years usually gets counted as a double unless there's a really new development.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:57 PM on March 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've seen a lot of doubles in my time.

That is not a double.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:50 PM on March 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


Naw, "double" has always been shorthand for "we've seen this thing/story/topic before too recently or thoroughly to do it again right now,"

Even if that were true, which I'm pretty sure it isn't, the two articles are about two different subjects -- related, to be sure, but distinct -- and the first post was neither too recent (seven months ago) nor too thoroughly discussed (18 comments).
posted by Sys Rq at 7:03 PM on March 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm totally open to undeleting it if I can get a chance to look at it more thoroughly. On the recency point, the benchmark is usually something like two to five *years* - seven months is very much within the usual boundary.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:30 PM on March 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seems like an edge case to me where the initial post was to simple news reports about the story where the more recent post was to an in-depth longform article that gives a ton more insight and a new angle on the reporting. There are some new developments revealed as well, though not a shocking twist. Given that the latter is much more detailed and creative than the former post I'd vote for restoring it. The Grinder Rests.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:35 PM on March 17, 2016 [8 favorites]


the benchmark is usually something like two to five *years*

Yes, but that's for actual same-exact-link doubles, which this isn't at all.

if I can get a chance to look at it more thoroughly

This seems like something you maybe should have done first.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:45 PM on March 17, 2016 [14 favorites]


(I would think the benchmark for something like this would be exactly one month -- as soon as there's no longer an open thread to post it in.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:50 PM on March 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, on a quick skim it looks like something we'd generally delete as a double? It's not a huge policy point or anything, but it doesn't look to me out of line with our bog-standard double deletions.

And I suppose you could make an argument for a month, but that's nothing like what we've always done, and I don't think we're so short of good content that reposting content everyone's seen recently is something we should encourage. *Especially* when the earlier post got relatively little interest - we make exceptions for (valkyries descend to aid me) election stuff or similar zeitgeisty topics with a lot of room for different angles, but otherwise not so much.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:02 PM on March 17, 2016


To me this new article looks noteworthy enough to make another post about.
posted by cgc373 at 8:05 PM on March 17, 2016


Eh, cool, I undeleted it. Enjoy!
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:16 PM on March 17, 2016 [18 favorites]


I was the one who reported it. I see that the second post is more concerned with Johnson than the family, but it still feels like the same story to me. Anyway, questions like this are what the mods get the big bucks to resolve.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:18 PM on March 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


And they did!
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:18 PM on March 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


I definitely have gotten things deleted for being doubles that were over a year since the last time, so I don't think the time limit has ever been "exactly a month."
posted by Chrysostom at 8:46 PM on March 17, 2016


Right, but this isn't a double, is the whole thing. At worst, it's a followup. If it was within a month, then the first thread would still be open, so a followup would get deleted and you'd be told to throw it in the open thread.

Used to be, followups would go here in MetaTalk. Then that changed and we were told to put them in the Blue. If they're now getting deleted as doubles, then there's no place to put followups. Which, fair enough. But that should be written down somewhere.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:58 PM on March 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


Anyway, questions like this are what the mods get the big bucks to resolve.

Vote #1 quidnunc kid and I will undelete EVERY double and pay myself even BIGGER bucks, thereby increasing administrative efficiency by a factor of squared! Also I invented a new mathematics, which is cubed better that an exponential plus alpha! I don't know what that means, but ... well, the big bucks should be some consolation. Vote #1!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 1:45 AM on March 18, 2016 [41 favorites]


Sys Rq: "(I would think the benchmark for something like this would be exactly one month -- as soon as there's no longer an open thread to post it in.)"

Oh god no. Several years is much more reasonable. If one wants to read the same content over and over again there are lots of places in the net one can do that.
posted by Mitheral at 5:01 AM on March 18, 2016 [6 favorites]


That was the shittiest stump speech I've ever heard and I'm still voting #1 - he's that good! You'd have to have severe brain damage from huffing organic solvents not to see the crystal purity of his form and purpose. Sheesh!
posted by Meatbomb at 5:16 AM on March 18, 2016 [10 favorites]


And yet the identical Tau Day double thing from earlier in the week stood - and basically had carbon-copy comments of the old thread.
posted by scruss at 5:22 AM on March 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


That's because tau itself is a double.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:32 AM on March 18, 2016 [20 favorites]


quidnunc kid, Mefi's own Donald Trump!
posted by y2karl at 6:24 AM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


MAKE LONGBOAT GREAT AGAIN
posted by zamboni at 6:27 AM on March 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


"we've seen this thing/story/topic before too recently or thoroughly to do it again right now,

So, probably we should just have one US election thread a year, right? /ducks
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:36 AM on March 18, 2016 [14 favorites]


Used to be, followups would go here in MetaTalk. Then that changed and we were told to put them in the Blue. If they're now getting deleted as doubles, then there's no place to put followups. Which, fair enough. But that should be written down somewhere.

Like everything on MetaFilter, there is a judgement call to be made as to whether or not the followup is interesting enough and different enough to warrant an FPP of it's own. I agree that letting it stand was the right call, but don't act like this was some unprecedented executive fiat.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:03 AM on March 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


quidnunc kid, Mefi's own Donald Trump!

Quidnunc kid could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I would still vote #1.
posted by Kabanos at 8:35 AM on March 18, 2016 [21 favorites]


Hell, I'll stand in the middle of TENTH Avenue and shoot TWO people! And I'll build a CEILING over Mexico, and forcibly eject EVERYONE from America! Trump THAT!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 8:54 AM on March 18, 2016 [53 favorites]


Even if that were true, which I'm pretty sure it isn't

restless_nomad's explanation is how i've always understood doubles and i think i've even pinged the mods a time or two when something was over a year old to ask if the new post was sufficiently different/enough time had passed/etc. i've never understood the double policy to be limited to the exact same links.
posted by nadawi at 9:37 AM on March 18, 2016


Cool. My post is back. What a pleasant surprise. Cheers.
posted by Fizz at 9:38 AM on March 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


Go ahead, vote #1 the quidnunc kid. Throw your vote away.
posted by maryr at 9:53 AM on March 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


If you want a vision of the future, picture a quidnunc stamping on a human face forever.
posted by y2karl at 11:06 AM on March 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


In fiberglass platform shoes with live goldfish in the heels.
posted by y2karl at 11:08 AM on March 18, 2016 [5 favorites]


Disco Qui?
posted by maryr at 11:47 AM on March 18, 2016


Disco Qui?

Docteur Qui.
posted by zamboni at 12:12 PM on March 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


Voter number 11 quidnunc kid to align yourself with the theme of this post
posted by scrump at 2:46 PM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


And yet the identical Tau Day double thing from earlier in the week stood - and basically had carbon-copy comments of the old thread.

I can't speak to that specific post because I'm not sure when and what played out there—I think I saw a flag in passing at some point and wasn't clear on what was up—but on the subject of doubles and flagging of doubles in general, there is a thing that happens at least some of the time where:

1. One or more people flag something as double, and
2. It's totally not clear what if any specific post they were thinking of when they did that flagging, and whether that post ever existed on the front page.

Which is a mix of a few things: no mod sees every post, so even if it was a clearcut double it might not be in the mod on duty's memory if they didn't see the original; some doubles have different links/sources which makes searching non-trivial; some "doubles" are things that came up in a comment in another thread, likewise difficult to find; some "doubles" are things the flagger saw not-on-MetaFilter but has a hunch maybe they did see here and so are impossible to find.

It's not a terrible idea to drop us a line or, in some cases, drop a comment in the thread with a link to the previous post, when there's a double or double-ish situation, since sometimes just flagging something as double is saying "hey, mods, go do a bunch of research to find out whether I'm remembering correctly".
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:01 PM on March 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


...Stealing goldfish from platform disco heels.

Assighnment: Max Smart
Qualifications: shoe phone

Nice post, the Ms. Asked and I do the headline brevity thing: man steals strat, plays it in public because it's old.

"Well it is old."
But it's happened before.
"A 1000 to one"
How did?...what the,

HEY!
posted by clavdivs at 9:03 PM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's a bundle of possible clear cases and edge cases around doubles that have caught me out (through my own lack of research, poor descripting and/or poor memory) when posting before, such as a nature video that had been previously posted but with a different soundtrack, or links to two inter-related things from the same subsection of the same website, or something where the passage of time has added a different context or twist to a previous link. It's maybe a good idea, if there's a repetition of links previously posted to do a "Previously on MetaFilter" thing below the fold, if the context is right.

By happy coincidence I've just done a post this afternoon on modems and related technologies where the double issue repeatedly came up as new things were found for going below the fold. Hurrah for the "This link is in a previous post" auto-checking when previewing in post. Some of the links discarded altogether, and some of the de-duplicates put into a "Previously on MetaFilter" section.
posted by Wordshore at 10:14 AM on March 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


And yet the identical Tau Day double thing from earlier in the week stood - and basically had carbon-copy comments of the old thread.

In my defense, the link didn't come up in the ordinary search because they were different links.

the benchmark is usually something like two to five *years*

And the original OP was five years ago, suggesting that it still would have stood as non-recent.

I've had so much fun with tau this week that I can't believe some tau story is not worth reading now and then (every five years, say.)
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:19 AM on March 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


More like six and a quarter, surely.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:01 PM on March 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I will say one thing that annoys me is when a mod makes the wrong call, then instead of admitting they were wrong, tries to stretch the ambiguities of a previously pretty rote guideline and restores the post with a tone of acceding to popular demand, as if making the right call is an indulgence for vocal complainers rather than what should have happened to begin with.

It's OK to admit you're wrong, mods. Preferable even. It cuts down on the sense that if we don't hash this out right now, we're going to see the same thing happen again. And it cuts down on the tendency to argue back against whatever definition the mod is presumed to be acting under.
posted by klangklangston at 4:47 PM on March 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


Not getting that tone from r_n's post myself.
posted by Panthalassa at 6:36 PM on March 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


 â†’ I've had so much fun with tau this week that I can't believe some tau story is not worth reading now and then (every five years, say.)

Perhaps you should consider getting out more.

I've never been sure if the tau thing was either weak trolling or from someone who really didn't know how to number. Neither situation encourages me to dig any further.
posted by scruss at 7:20 PM on March 19, 2016


A lot of the calls we make are borderline or judgment call things, where it's reasonable to go either way. This is one of those cases. I don't think r_n made the wrong call, and this isn't some weird new definition of a double. Deleting it was reasonable, not-deleting it would have been reasonable with a bit of explanation (that it's a double in the sense of covering the same event, but it's also novel in that it's a more detailed account of something that wasn't explored in the original coverage). Un-deleting it after hearing from people in here and confabbing with other mods was also reasonable.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:23 PM on March 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


More obits should be deleted as doubles. People die, like, pretty much every day, it's not that novel.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:39 PM on March 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


The only thing that bothers me nowadays is when someone dies and there is, inevitably, a comment that says "fuck you, 2016, fuck you." It's getting reeeeeeeaally played out if you ask me.
posted by teponaztli at 11:29 PM on March 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I've noticed that there have been a lot of people dying lately, but I didn't want to say anything.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:36 PM on March 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, damn you, other people's clichés, damn you is pretty plaaayed oooouuut, too. We can't all not be G. Harrold Carswell all the time.
posted by y2karl at 11:48 PM on March 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Perhaps you should consider getting out more.

I'm a nerd, and proud of it. Nerdy enthusiasm is basically in my job description. If you don't like this sort of thing, I have to wonder how much of MetaFilter really suits you.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:41 AM on March 20, 2016


So the whole cool people dying thing is a kind of unfair reason to get upset. I mean, sure, we had some big ones this year BUT seriously 350,000 people are born every single day. I bet out of all those births at least like...three of them are full bore awesome. So it isn't like awesomeness is a nonrenewable resource or anything. And that's just people. Imagine all the awesome puppies and ball pythons and kittens I guess. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that we are going to be all right.
posted by Literaryhero at 6:46 AM on March 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Anyway, what I am trying to say is that we are going to be all right.

A real literary hero would never leave you standing there at the end with a simple feeling of optimism. I call shenanigans.

(Also, I'm very glad the post got undeleted. And sad that Philip Johnson wasted his life.)
posted by ambrosen at 7:33 AM on March 20, 2016


> BUT seriously 350,000 people are born every single day. I bet out of all those births at least like...three of them are full bore awesome.

But are any of them as awesome as the quidnunc kid? I think not. Vote #1 quidnunc kid and keep MetaFilter awesome!
posted by languagehat at 8:28 AM on March 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


quidnunc kid: He'll Keep The Flies Off The Fish!
posted by y2karl at 10:20 AM on March 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


BUT seriously 350,000 people are born every single day.

Yeah but like 10,000 of them are doubles.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:24 AM on March 20, 2016 [12 favorites]


Vote #1 quidnunc kid and keep MetaFilter awesome!

Don't be satisfied with "some" awe, friends! Vote #1 quidnunc kid and MeFi will be FULL of awe! So make MeFi awful with quidnu-- wait a second that doesn't read right ... Uh ... Ok, how about: Vote #1 quidnunc kid and keep MeFi awkward!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:28 AM on March 20, 2016 [13 favorites]


🎰#⃣☝️💷👊🙇!
posted by clavdivs at 9:40 PM on March 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{
posted by y2karl at 5:36 PM on March 22, 2016


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