A uniform quoting style for twitter links June 21, 2017 12:27 AM   Subscribe

Since tweets are being linked to or quoted more often than before, especially in the politics threads, I think there is a need to come up with a way to standardise these quotes/links. It could be either just a preferred in house convention or an addition to the buttons that are there below the comment box. Might also need to consider how to quote a thread of tweets or multiple tweets. What does MeFi think?
posted by dhruva to Feature Requests at 12:27 AM (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I'll let people discuss, but a couple of quick notes: we aren't likely (think snowballs and hells) to make a "link to twitter" sort of button for a number of reasons, but foremost among them: we are constantly struggling against too much twitter linking as it is. I implore people to actually link to the article when possible, rather than the tweet that links to the article.

In fact, I've followed mefi links to tweets that quote an article and don't even bother to link the source in the tweet, so I'm on Google searching quoted text to find the article that may or may not exist that somebody tweeted without linking or naming the source, and whose tweet somebody else then linked on Mefi, in order to try to determine if it's a real thing or whatever. So, yeah, if folks would practice good Twitter hygiene here it would be great. Take a few moments to examine the tweet yourself instead of automatically instalinking it on Metafilter:
  • Is there an actual article or blog post it comes from that could be linked instead (or at least, additionally)? Because that's going to have more info than a handful of clipped words in a tweet.
  • Is the Twitter source reliable / notable? Maybe explain how, if it's not obvious. Unknown person on Twitter says blah is less helpful than identifying them in a way that explains why their utterance is something we may want to pay attention to.
  • Generally, is it True, Reliable info? If you are not certain, can you try to determine this before dumping it in a Mefi thread?
  • Is this worth linking as a single tweet in a long, long, Metafilter thread? If it's not a blockbuster, consider including it in a compilation of interesting tweets and/or links that address the issue.
/exhales

So, Okay! Carry on amongst yourselves! These were my immediate top-of-the-head points; other mods may pitch in with further thoughts a bit later.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:33 AM on June 21 [25 favorites]


I was going to say I think hovering should be enough, but then I thought about the experience on mobile. I would love something to differentiate twitter links on mobile. I can put my finger on till the url come up but it's time consuming.

Generally, I would just love if they disappeared altogether in 95% of cases, but thankfully they are not real big in the threads I tend to follow more closely.
posted by smoke at 2:45 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


🐛🐦
posted by unliteral at 4:20 AM on June 21


Tweets are short. 99% of the time, I gain nothing by reading the tweet on Twitter (in a new tab, on a website that thrashes my mobile) as opposed to reading it quoted in whatever thread. By all means link to the tweet if there's an interesting discussion thread, or to just give credit where it's due, but why not just quote the tweet in full?
posted by Dysk at 5:56 AM on June 21 [13 favorites]


So basically I see the following types of twitter related links
1. Link to a single tweet.
2. Link to a tweet that is linking to an article
3. A tweetstorm or a thread of interlinked tweets.

For 1, I think a format such as @twitterhandle: text is sufficient. For 2, maybe something like Link (via link-to-tweet). For type 3, I have no good ideas. It just looks a mess and hard to read when the text is pasted as a series of sentences ending in 1/n.
posted by dhruva at 6:01 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


In the past, I've done something like:

@twitterhandle: the entire text of the tweet is a link to the tweet on the free website twitter dot com

I think that 1) informs the reader that it is a tweet 2) does not require the reader to click through to Twitter to get the info contained within the tweet and 3) provides a link back to the tweet itself.

If I were linking to the tweet because of a link within the tweet, I would just post the dang link, perhaps with a [via @twitterhandle] if the source of the link were important to the context, but I would probably not bother with a link to the tweet itself (barring some very specifically important context the tweet itself provides).
posted by Rock Steady at 6:13 AM on June 21 [14 favorites]


Yeah occasionally I see great commentary via Twitter. More often I see signposts to other great content, usually a single link. I would always prefer to have a link from MeFi to that single link but I never mind also reading the tweet since 140 characters isn't going to kill me. I do like being able to pull tweets out of longer threads, and I would always prefer to read the tweet on MeFi not have to go to Twitter to read it.
posted by jessamyn (temp) at 7:28 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


I get links from all over. I see no need to credit somebody's Twitter because they were my source. Unless the tweet itself is part of the narrative ("look who's pointing people to a story on XYZ") I just use the link & usually a pull quote from it.

If the tweet itself is the thing, I try to quote the whole tweet & indicate @who wrote it.

I'm still working on the "reliable source" thing. Don't judge.
posted by scalefree at 7:41 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


The proper way to link to Twitter is by saying "THREAD!" with three fireball and four pointy finger emojis after it.
posted by bondcliff at 8:16 AM on June 21 [10 favorites]


For type 3, I have no good ideas. It just looks a mess and hard to read when the text is pasted as a series of sentences ending in 1/n.

I also struggle with twitter threads. On the one hand, I'd like to keep most of the content in the MetaFilter thread as people seem particularly averse to being linked to Twitter, threads on the Twitter platform aren't always easy to read, and I know that for some people on mobile, clicking on a Twitter link opens up the app which is super-annoying.

On the other hand, this commment did not turn out how I envisioned and it's absolutely hideous. More recently I tried this, which excerpted the first 10 tweets in a thread and then linked the rest. I've actually considered reformatting tweet threads into paragraphs but idk.
posted by lalex at 8:57 AM on June 21


The proper way to link to Twitter is by saying "THREAD!" with three fireball and four pointy finger emojis after it.

This is unwise without the proper signs and sigils to defend yourself against the chance of summoning a wild Eric Garland.
posted by Copronymus at 10:34 AM on June 21 [4 favorites]


Twitter is just not built for longform text. I get that people want to capitalize on their following within the site but if you have something to say that's longer than a couple or 3 tweets put it on a blog. I will never point people to a tweet thread or take one & reformat it to post myself. Ugh, just ugh.
posted by scalefree at 10:35 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


What if the mods add a "link tweet" button to the posting box but when you click it you are automatically logged out of MetaFilter?

Or what if the "link tweet" button does exactly what it says (links the tweet) but also it reverses the posting order of everything on the site for that user so that the threads start at the bottom?

Just spitballing here.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:55 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


Twitter's thread handling for tweetstorms is less than useless. Use Medium to translate long tweetstorms into something coherent.
posted by Talez at 12:59 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Yes! I've been procrastinating starting a metatalk about this myself!

Metafilter should have a house style for links to twitter. For example, some people link to the mobile site and some don't. Since a mobile device will tend to go to the mobile site whichever is linked, we should standardize on linking to the non-mobile site. I get annoyed whenever I click a link and it brings me to the mobile site...
posted by Justinian at 2:15 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Single tweet? Just copy the whole tweet, including at the very least the @ and the timestamp (if we have to do the math on those recent "25m" ones, we'll manage, even if it does mean cringing at the flagrant misuse of metric symbols; the time something was tweeted is very often a relevant and welcome bit of information, particularly in a quick-moving thread), and heck, maybe even keep the retweet count and all that crap stuck on if you just can't be bothered to do a lot of careful highlighting or format-fudging ('cause who cares? it's not like it's huge). Then make that whole copied tweet a link to the original.

Copy tweet, paste copy, copy url, highlight copy, linkify, done.

As for upthread example #2: For the love of Jeep-Chrysler-Mitsubishi, please just link to the thing the tweet links to -- using the full, unshrunken url. Give a "via so-and-so's twitter" if you really feel the need to give credit to someone who didn't do any more than you're doing when you're doing this thing you're doing.

Tweet thread? Ehhhhhhhhhhh... You wouldn't paste a whole article in a thread, right? Just tell us what it is and who it's by and link to it the same way you'd link to any other article. Maybe pull the juiciest excerpt if you feel like it.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:54 PM on June 21


Is there an actual article or blog post it comes from that could be linked instead (or at least, additionally)? Because that's going to have more info than a handful of clipped words in a tweet.

I've linked to tweets that link to article sometimes just so that I'm not necessarily giving page hits to RedState or The Intercept or such.
posted by octothorpe at 3:56 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


I straight up don't link Donald Trump's tweets. I know he doesn't get the hits but I just...can't.
posted by lalex at 9:08 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


I so dislike "tweetstorms."

Anyway I wanted to make a pitch I've made in the politics threads here too. When you link to a random tweet that links to an article, you're harming (or at least not helping) the journalist(s) who wrote the article unless it is the journalists' own Twitter or that of their employer. I know a lot of journalists and they live and die by people linking to their content directly. It's good if someone tweets the article. But then if subsequent links refer to the tweet (especially if not on the journalists' or their employers' website) it doesn't drive traffic and it isn't measurable by the journalists' employer.

If someone tweets a WaPo or NYT or whatever article link they often do so without crediting the author(s) of the article and then that gets replicated here.

The Trump administration is demonizing journalists by name along with their organizations. The very best thing you can do to support vigorous investigative journalism in an era where that is under both political and economic threat is to name the journalists whose work you are citing in your post, and link directly to the original article at its original source, or at least to the article link on the journalists' own Twitter feeds (and then follow them, this helps them keep their jobs, which are always threatened).

I personally wish Twitter had never been born.
posted by spitbull at 5:24 AM on June 28 [2 favorites]


If you don't want to link to Trump, link to Unfollow Trump (@UnfollowTrump), which retweets for those who have the same problem.
posted by Peach at 2:30 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


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