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November 6, 2002 4:29 PM   Subscribe

What can we do as a community to make Metafilter a better place? [more inside]
posted by Stan Chin to Etiquette/Policy at 4:29 PM (108 comments total)

Anybody who's been a Metatalker for awhile now really shouldn't be surprised at all about Matt's current view of Metafilter. Before I go into this, please note that in no way is this another plea for Matt to continue Metafilter just for the sake of us and at his sacrifice. Personally I would have dumped it a year or so ago when he had publicly announced the same thoughts (too lazy to find that thread, probably better if I didn't link to it anyway). I don't expect to 'save' Metafilter, but I think this needs to be discussed anyway. I'm also avoiding posting this to the other thread because that seems to be more "Solutions for Matt" oriented right now. This isn't a request for Matt to improve Metafilter, but an open call to the community to exchange ideas of how we can improve ourselves.

Avoid any and all instances that would require Matt's work to implement. Of course, this probably negates a lot of broken things. Don't worry about it and let's concentrate on how the community can improve. Obviously, the Metatalk population isn't the whole of the viewing audience, but I do believe no one cares more about this site or can have more influence. What do you view as the major problem right now? What would be the solution?

Here's some ideas:

1) Metatalk over three years has gotten redundant everyday. Nobody should be at fault for not reading it everyday. Time and time again, we're answering the same questions concerning etiquette/policy. What we need is a "Good Metafilter Member User Guide and FAQ" that describes what is expected of a good Metafilter member. Everything that isn't listed in the guidelines, the things that we frown upon everyday. We can use this as our own set of guidelines that we can point to for new users. Matt's guidelines will be the rule still, but we can use this to clarify our points. I'm certainly willing to help edit this since Matt spends his spare time maintaining the site.

2) Cut down on the Meta-Snarking in the blue. If its a crappy post, Matt will deal with it. Leave it be.

3) Obviously many people have issues with Newsfilter. Other than becoming belligerent with Newsfilter callouts, what can we do? It's impossible to fight this with ignoring the issue and posting good stuff ourselves, because of the sheer volume of news posts lately. I don't think it's possible to beat quantity with quality in this forum. People will view quantity as the norm. I have no clue how to help this.

4) Cut down on the rampant 'in-jokes.' If you really don't have anything to add, don't comment.

These are all my opinions. I'd like to hear what your ideas are, and keep it civil, try not to bash anybody else's idea for the moment. We can do that later.
posted by Stan Chin at 4:30 PM on November 6, 2002


Two ideas: chop and chop.

I FULLY second your 4th point Stan, it's something that's been irking me for a while. (Even if I have jumped in myself.) I mean, honestly, no one gives a damn about what catchy title you can come up with for MetaFilter or MetaTalk. Pancakes has run it's course and, umm, just isn't funny. I could go on, but I'd probably just end up offending people -- which I not my intent. Basically, "go #4, yeah!"
posted by Dark Messiah at 4:39 PM on November 6, 2002


I'd like to propose something that seems to have cut down on a LOT of similar problems over at e2: a mentoring system.

When similar "quality vs. quantity" problems began cropping up over there, a number of established contributors there volunteered to help newbies and people with questions about appropriateness, about the rules, about how to make the database work for them as well as everyone else. A list was drawn, with each mentor being allowed to help no more than 2 or 3 mentees at a time. The mentor and mentee converse by e-mail or via the private messaging system in place at the site, and it really seems to have helped.

I think a mentoring system such as this would be a tremendous boon to the community here as well: it would cut down on a lot of the repetitive "Why was XXX done?" or "why didn't you like XXX?" MeTa threads, build a stronger community amongst the older and newer MeFites, and would hopefully lessen the amount of time Matt has to spend putting out fires.

The system should be volunteer-only, but maybe some perks could be given to mentors of long-standing (for example, many of the "content editors" at e2 are drawn from the pool of volunteer mentors, don't know what an equivalent reward for Mefite Mentors would be ... a free customized bb jersey? :-)

Just a thought, but one I think is a good one because it allows us to give back, reduce the s/n ratio, and ease Matt's worries a bit.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:57 PM on November 6, 2002


I like the mentoring idea. It need not be anything more onerous than a pre-posting sanity check to produce a substantial improvement.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:10 PM on November 6, 2002


How to actually implement it? Have all volunteer mentors add themselves to a list somewhere, then have a coordinator send an email offering mentorship to any new member that looks like he might need one?
posted by gsteff at 5:18 PM on November 6, 2002


gsteff: the way it's done over at e2 is that a volunteer adds his or her name to this list and is withdrawn from it when the number of mentees hits 2 or 3 (or n ... some noders are gluttons for punishment, I think here we should limit ourselves to prevent burnout). The mentor list is part of the site's official FAQ (something we don't have here) and newbies or other interested parties are directed it via a private message or e-mail to check it out.

Once the mentee is deemed "indoctrinated" (usually a mutual decision) the mentor can either retire or take on new mentees.

Obviously any such system as implemented here would need to be its own thing, using the e2 system as a rough draft.
posted by WolfDaddy at 5:31 PM on November 6, 2002


Wolf when I first became a member I posted and at first missed the concept and then I didn't come across right. It was no big deal about my posts being deleted. As I received many nice helpful e-mails. I wonder if this still happens? And yes I do time to time e-mail a member but of late I have felt like it would be of no use. Like Steve.

On second thought if your new e-mail someone you enjoy. I guarantee they won't mind, plus they may think of your troll e-mail as fan mail.

Also, I was going about to post this on the other thread pertaining to this thread, the FPPs on the front slowed down, good. But since I looked two more, bad. Too many threads that could be consolidated.

Did anyone tell the newbies there is no pony for a prize, for most posts. Just a helping of pancakes shaped as ponies with blue bunny syrup.


I think one question would be good for all to ask, before posting to the FPP.

Is my post based on my idea(s)? If, yes, then post to your own blog. Because yes, folks do post interesting stuff from our own member's blogs.

If no, then yes post it. As, it's not about me but the community, Meta-Filter & Meta-Talk.

But double post and double news, double politics, & double Meta-talk posts; see the wrong theme of things...?

If the site goes, can I have some parts to build my meta-cycle?

PS, the commenting has slowed down too, for about 2 weeks. I'm at 4.something, yet moving up the latter fairly quickly of late.

PSS, self policing is a rule, that is posted at the top of the page, why are we here? And my ideas are not to tell or be Matt, just some examples that I want to share that may work.

PSS, one word, per Matt, Moderation...
posted by thomcatspike at 5:37 PM on November 6, 2002


I have a question: Assume that a volunteer or moderation system does work. We may arrive at a point where the quality of each post is very high, but the number is still simply too large to handle. Is this possible? I remember, during napster's heyday, a feeling of "musical ennui" coming on, where I had just gorged myself on so much music (much of it of very good quality) that i could no longer enjoy any of it.
posted by condour75 at 6:07 PM on November 6, 2002


As I see it, MetaFilter is fine as it is. The only real problem now is that Matt's tired. The danger is that he'll pull the plug. This is, to us addicts, the worst possible thing that could happen. So how about just not tiring Matt? That would mean a moratorium on:

1. Whining, bitching and fussing;

2. Making damn suggestions for "improving" MeFi;

3. Making damn demands for stuff;

4. Asking Matt why he did this or that;

5. Being obnoxious, rude and intolerant in general;

6. Sabotaging or snarking out threads you don't like;

7. Annoying Matt with all the dictator metaphors; "he's the boss and he does what he likes"; and "take a long holiday" stuff. Sometimes it sounds like we're speaking to him as a patriarch; others as if to a tiny child.

and

8. Being so damn ungrateful and selfish in general! (And that includes you, Cardoso....)

That should help a bit, surely.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:09 PM on November 6, 2002


I think a mentoring system could work well: there are still lots of folk that have been around for a while not getting the message about NewFi (see todays homepage), which pairing up could help.
I wish all of us that spar - in a left/right, or straight/gay, US/ROTW fashion - in threads, could just chill after making our points, and not bicker endlessly: we need to remember that few of us actually will be converted here, and gradualism ( as opposed to Pauline flashes of light ) is good enough. The high school debates have gotta be chopped!
Without overdramatising, my honest opinion is that we're on our last legs.
It wa sfun while it lasted. I've learnt a lot.

Thanks, Matt: and thanks everyone else, too.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:10 PM on November 6, 2002


P.S. Here's a good link to anyone interested in untiring Matt.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:14 PM on November 6, 2002


Re your point #2: as far as I can tell, that misses the whole point of self-policing, and instead places all the burden on Matt. I agree that the pile-ons get redundant after a bit -- after the first three people call "double post" it's maybe not entirely necessary to chime in with another "yeah! What he said!" But the best way for a new (or not so new) member to find out what the community standard is, is to hear from the community in all its snarkish glory. Otherwise all we get is a lot more "Hey, why did my thread get deleted?" posts, which don't help anybody. Maybe a bad thread -- which would've been deleted anyway -- gets trashed with pancakes and snarks. So much the better. Noisy as it is, I think that teaches the new member what's "acceptable" much more effectively than if the thread just disappears.

Re NewsFilter: It's understandable that there have been a flood of news posts in the past year: there has been a flood of news. These are interesting times, as the chinese proverb has it. There's obviously a demand for a site like NewsFilter, and with good reason. Unfortunately, MeFi's structure tends to cause the news posts to be nothing but the same diatribes repeated over and over. At this point we could autogenerate the next 50 news posts based on people's previous comments, and nobody would notice the difference.

My (rapidly calcifying) opinion is that the structure of MeFi is not well suited toward political debate: 90% of the anger and stress seem to come from the news threads, and 90% of the interesting conversation seems to come from the not-news threads. That's just my opinion, of course, and it's no doubt colored by my overall exasperation with politics in general at the moment... but if it were up to me, I'd split MeFi into two sites, one for news, one for everything else -- and would try to give the news version a different structure, one more suited to extended debate.

Which isn't something the community can do; it'd take a deus ex matthowie to manage it. So maybe this is in the wrong thread. So it goes.
posted by ook at 6:15 PM on November 6, 2002


I'll just recycle my comment from the other thread:

Stan Chin, I like your perspective. We can decrease the moderation burden on mathowie if waiting-for-deletion type thread derailment was replaced with non-snarky, well constructed criticism, with appropriate references to previous MeTa discussions (everyone here is capable of this). The efficiency of mathowie intervention has made us lazy; we rely on mathowie to make the point through deletion rather than doing a little work ourselves to share some history with a new user. This means less pancake fun, but it means the site continues to work.

Leveraging the older membership makes the site scalable indefinitely.
posted by eddydamascene at 6:19 PM on November 6, 2002


What can we do as a community...

I'm sorry, but this is basically a circle jerk. "We," the group who read and digest MetaTalk, are a tiny fraction of the members of MeFi. "We" can unanimously decide to avoid this, that, and the other, and it will have as much effect on the front page as my convincing several of my closest friends to vote for Fred Flintstone for president. The only thing that will have an effect is for Matt to institute some procedure that posters cannot get around. I think the mentor idea is a good one, but it cannot be voluntary -- just as now you can't post until you've made three comments, you wouldn't be able to post until you'd been cleared by a mentor. It's a pity this means extra initial work for Matt, but it (or something analogous) is the only way. Exhortations (especially in this back closet) won't work.
posted by languagehat at 7:29 PM on November 6, 2002


Leveraging the older membership makes the site scalable indefinitely.

In that way, I think Stan's #1 -- "Good Metafilter Member User Guide and FAQ" -- would be very useful. Written and edited collectively, with final approval by Matt. It's then a resource for "non-snarky, well constructed criticism, with appropriate references to previous MeTa discussions". Just to provide likely reasons why a post was deleted, at least!
posted by azimuth at 7:29 PM on November 6, 2002


"Good Metafilter Member User Guide and FAQ"

I have asked Matt for permission to compile this, following very strict guidelines. He may say no, so don't get too giddy. But if he gives the go-ahead, I'd love some help.
posted by frykitty at 7:36 PM on November 6, 2002


Good Metafilter Member User Guide and FAQ ... "I have asked Matt for permission to compile this..."

I asked Matt for permission to do the same thing quite a few months ago, and never received a response and just let it go.

I'm sharing this, not to be snarky, but to suggest that if people think it should be done, then just do it. Present the finalised version to him and if he thinks it's helpful, perhaps he'll publish it. If not, at least you can say you tried to help.

No doubt Matt has had a plethora of suggestions and ideas floated his way that never materialise - just like mine didn't - so perhaps he's a little wary of everyone's good intentions actually being followed through.
posted by cyniczny at 8:20 PM on November 6, 2002


if people think it should be done, then just do it.

I am working on it, but Matt has veto power for obvious reasons. He likes to keep things loose, and may be opposed to a FAQ. Guess we'll find out.
posted by frykitty at 8:34 PM on November 6, 2002


Another idea. Forget the "User Guide", and just compile a resource that will explain how good posts should look / read. Even if Matt doesn't endorse or publish it, it'd be a handy reference for posters, and more constructive than "this post sucks, make better ones".

That is, assuming the User Guide / FAQ is a bust, as far as Matt supporting it goes.
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:35 PM on November 6, 2002


I've long been a supporter of someone doing a faq (cCranium started one back in the day), I just don't have the time or the search skills to track everything down.

This might actually be a good use for a wiki, by letting a group assemble a bunch of ideas for questions and look up answers en masse.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:37 PM on November 6, 2002


I've long been a supporter of someone doing a faq

Yay! I'm on it, boss.

I'm not so good with the wiki thing, but I am doing it blog style, so others can help. I'll ask cC if he has anything mouldering the vault. We were great partners on the Blogathon, so I'd love to work with him on this too.

If anyone here would like to help out, drop me a line at frykitty AT ureach DOT com, and we'll coordinate efforts. The methodology is very straightforward (I'm actually going through Matt's comments and threads), and with a little help we can probably bang this out in no time.
posted by frykitty at 8:47 PM on November 6, 2002


I think the mentor idea is wonderful. I lurked long enough to get the basics down, but even so there have been many, many times when I had some quibbling question or confusion that was far too minor to take to Matt or Metatalk. Those of us who are pathologically shy also find it a little intimidating to email a random user with such a question--it would help a lot to have an "official" user who volunteered. Or maybe less formally, just a list of users who have said they don't mind receiving newbie emails begging for help.

"We," the group who read and digest MetaTalk, are a tiny fraction of the members of MeFi....The only thing that will have an effect is for Matt to institute some procedure that posters cannot get around.

Or to greatly increase the MeTa readership. I have no brilliant ideas for how to do this, especially how to do it without also exponentially increasing the MeTa traffic.
posted by hippugeek at 8:51 PM on November 6, 2002


You know, I think the deal is-this ISN"T a community, and we keep treating it as one. What this place is SUPPOSED to be is a venue to point people to interesting and unique sites on the Internet, while having the opportunity to discuss those sites.
Sitting in a circle around the campfire singing "Kum-bah-ya" isn't going to do anything.
When things get this large they get unwieldy, and at some point eventually Matt will say "Enough!"

Till then I think the rest of us should realise that in our attempts to protect this place we are in the process of killing it. Mefi has gotten the publicity and the hype, everyone has wanted to be a part of it, and the site is choking on its own success.
If you really love this place, find unique things to post, do it infrequently, and make the discussions re these sites civil.
That's all.
posted by konolia at 9:01 PM on November 6, 2002


By the way, remember back when signups were off and I was asking for comments on letting new users in? One of my favorites was the system where new users only gained entry after having a current member "vouch" for them and be responsible for teaching them how the site works.

It sounds like a mentoring system, but it was panned and it never went anywhere.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:01 PM on November 6, 2002


But it was panned and it never went anywhere.

C'mon, Matt. You of all people should know that everything gets panned around here. I say go with your gut.
posted by frykitty at 9:10 PM on November 6, 2002


frykitty, rather than a straightforward Q/A, I think the FAQ should read like the best. meta. ever. complete with links and quotes. For news posts, for example, we can yoink material from these two. The first is informative, and the second is a good example of how self-policing can get out of hand.

Anway, let a 'group assemble a bunch of ideas for questions and look up answers en masse' seems like the way to get the most people involved. I am willing to do some link fishing.
posted by eddydamascene at 9:11 PM on November 6, 2002


Matt, I'm sorry I missed that option, I definitely would have supported it, because that's the very way I was able to have someone sneak me in the back door that was around right before you threw open the floodgates again. I had to -- not very strenuously, I'll give you that -- prove I was eloquent and interested and capable of finding some good stuff out there.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:11 PM on November 6, 2002


It's great to have a FAQ if people would take the time to read it. Considering how often people post here without paying a blind bit of notice to the current guidelines and suggestions on the 'Post a Link' page, I don't think it will make a great deal of difference.
Sorry if that sounds negative. Like Miguel and Stan, I can think of a whole lot of things not to do, but can't really see what action we can take.
While I'm posting, (OT) when did Miguel become so ... cuss-y?
posted by Catch at 9:14 PM on November 6, 2002


I think the FAQ should read like the best. meta. ever. complete with links and quotes.

That's exactly what I'm doing. :) Right now I'm limiting it to Matt's links and quotes, but may expand after the initial research is done. Just for everyone's info, the format is:

Question or Topic

Brief blurb (if necessary)
Supporting quote from Matt.

List of references

List of examples
posted by frykitty at 9:29 PM on November 6, 2002


[this is good]
posted by eddydamascene at 9:31 PM on November 6, 2002


Wooooo!!! ...wait, that means I have to do some work now. Dammit, why can't my ideas ever go down in flames? Frykitty, I'll e-mail you suggestions this weekend when I have time. I think we should also have a short intro section that describes Dark Messiah's idea of examples of Good MeFi posts. This may require another Metatalk post where we survey everyone for what they consider some of the best posts ever, but we'll cross that bridge later.

Catch, konolia, languagehat: Even if it doesn't alleviate many of the problems right now, it sure will cut down on the time Matt explains himself on Metatalk. And that's a good thing, right? I don't agree with the concept of "nothing we can do about it", it certainly is worth putting some effort into in return of Matt's work.

And, I am also in complete support of the Sponsorship idea. Maybe when a newbie posts, his posts will go into a queue, and then Metafilter members can go in and approve it to the front page? Then the newbie will be allowed regular member rights. This is bordering on submission queue, which has been discussed before, but if we restrict it to newbies I don't think it'll be a problem.
posted by Stan Chin at 9:42 PM on November 6, 2002


By the way, remember back when signups were off and I was asking for comments on letting new users in? One of my favorites was the system where new users only gained entry after having a current member "vouch" for them and be responsible for teaching them how the site works.

I'd certainly support that. 'Course my favourite system is the one where only those people who can find the back door get in.
posted by timeistight at 10:06 PM on November 6, 2002


Matt, would you mind if one of us posted a link to this MeTa thread - and the comment that sparked it - on the front page? It's unusual, I know, but your frustration with the site and the attempt here to create something useful from that frustration seems the kind of thing the community should know about. Even those who don't read MeTa.
posted by mediareport at 10:34 PM on November 6, 2002


Weak post, and well-constructed criticism from dhartung before it gets axed. Provided he was around to see the first comment, the poster got a pretty good explanation why his post didn't last. This, with maybe a FAQ entry directing people to lofi.mefi if they can't find a post, would greatly decrease 'where did my post go/why was this deleted?' questions.
posted by eddydamascene at 11:17 PM on November 6, 2002


Question: Does metafilter need news threads? At all?

If the answer is no this could be added to the guidelines. A temporary noticed could even be placed at the top of the main page - "no more news stories, please". The number of posts would go down and the average quality of posts would go up.

On a side note, I made a double-post to the front page yesterday. In my excitement (yes, I genuinely thought the community [or non-community?] would love it) I neglected to change the time period in the search box, and so my search yielded no results. Also, because my main link was to a site about the site which I referenced later in the post a double post wasn't identified that way either. Now my point is, it only takes one clued-up user to kindly point out to me that I made a heinous error. Not really seven or eight.

Also - an observation - and this may just be a personal pet-hate. Providing a link to a metatalk or metafilter post or comment isn't really making a point. Referencing with such links to back up or provide context to a point you're making is different, but I don't think readers should have to follow a link in order to understand the point being made. There have been discussions about descriptive linking on main posts. Why not descriptive commenting?


posted by nthdegx at 12:05 AM on November 7, 2002


What can we do as a community to make Metafilter a better place?

Take this thread and this one and put them in the guidelines, the sidebar, everywhere. Make everyone (yes, old members included) take a written test on them; anything. Make sure everyone remembers how close we once came to going away for good.

Assuming, you know, that we don't.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 12:14 AM on November 7, 2002


(sings)


*please ...please dont go ..

honey ....pleeaase .....dont go...

i ....love you so
........*

posted by sgt.serenity at 12:40 AM on November 7, 2002


close membership again. this place has gone OTT.
posted by Frasermoo at 3:05 AM on November 7, 2002


Yes, it's self-serving of those of us who are already here to urge it, but: if the place is growing beyond scalability, close membership again. You're under no obligation to allow all comers. If that's not enough, charge.
posted by languagehat at 5:26 AM on November 7, 2002


kill that bastard quonsar.
posted by quonsar at 5:47 AM on November 7, 2002


matt, i'd say that if you feel the site needs to shut down and it isn't worth it to you anymore, then hang it up. i'm no long timer, i've only been here a year or so but i find myself coming less and less and not being as interested as before so i can only imagine that it's much worse for you. so if you need to shut it down to be happier about things, go for it. i appreciate all that you've done, but if you've got to go well, it was nice while it lasted. thanks.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 6:01 AM on November 7, 2002


Now my point is, it only takes one clued-up user to kindly point out to me that I made a heinous error. Not really seven or eight.

Heh! I tried, nthdegx (how the hell do you pronounce that? "UHN-the-Deggz"? Kinda fun.) Don't worry, though. It may feel mortifying to a new post-er, but when you hang here for a while you'll realize these kind of shout-outs are commonplace and fade from memory quickly. Still, I don't know if the shout-out-ers realize just how much of a total knock-down that is for a newbie who is excited about posting... And it's not exactly a heinous error...

posted by Shane at 6:04 AM on November 7, 2002


What can we do as a community to make Metafilter a better place?


Well I know what I, as one member, can do:

I offer my fellow compatriots an olive branch. I have come to realize that the threads of a political nature, are often only participated in by members deeply entrenched in their political persuasion, myself included. No minds will be changed, and therefore the discussion has the quality of yelling at a wall. Most of these posts have the context of a message: "My side is correct, your side is wrong! How about that?" Furthermore, this issue will only stop when we, the membership, stop participating in these threads.

Some of the same names I see over and over again on MetaTalk bitching about MeFi going to hell, are the same names I see in these very same threads that are causing the problems.

Therefore: I am no longer going to participate in posts of a political nature. I ask all other members that are concerned about MetaFilter, to join me. Remember, it only works if we all avoid these posts like the plague. That means people of both sides of the political aisle.

As for NewsFilter: that is moot. There are some things that are worth being posted in the news. I especially enjoy getting the vantage point of our non-American members on certain news items.

and thomcatspike, if you have issue with me, email me, don't take a cheepshot in a thread...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 6:13 AM on November 7, 2002


"I am no longer going to participate in posts of a political nature."

Metafilter just got better.

Now the rest of you, it's your turn. Raise your right hand. Repeat after me........ "I am no longer going to participate in posts of a political nature."
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:18 AM on November 7, 2002


Another POTENTIAL idea. I read PlanetCrap a lot. Almost all of their articles get 500-1000 comments. (Ignore the quality of many of those comments; if you're looking at the site.) Here's my oh-so-unoriginal idea:

Articles (or, in MeFi's case, FPPs) have to go through a posting que where, I believe, everyone reigstered with the site is allowed to vote on whether or not it hits the front page.

There's two ways to do that:

1 - "The More Painful Way" - Matt, and only Matt, has to give the 'OK' to posts before they hit the front. Not really feasible since Matt would be tied to this site pretty-much all day. As such, #2 seems a lot more appealing.

2 - The entire community has the vote. If a post in the "FPP que" recieves, say, 10 votes (or whatever number is deemed adequate to allow a post to hit the front page), then it is added to the front page. Negative votes wouldn't impact the post as much, however, if say the number of positive votes, plus an additional 50% (so, if it's 10 votes to add to the FP, then it's 15 to 'kill' it). Posts would then stay in the que until they either recieved 10 positive votes, or 15 negative.

This COULD eliminate a lot of double-posting, self-linking, and other things that fall under the umbrella of a "bad FPP". Additionally, a poster could be contacted after a negative vote is cast; to explain why such a vote was levied. (It could also encourage positive feedback being e-mailed, instead of short comments like "[This is Good]" which, although very nice and respectful, are really unneccessary.)

That's just an idea I cooked up in my head. It would probably take quite a bit of coding on Matt's part. (How much, I'm not sure, as I've never added such a system to any of my sites, nor am I familiar with the guts of MeFi.)

A more simple version would simply hold posts in "limbo" for, say, an hour. Considering breaking news posts seem to be a "I have to get this posted, so we can start talking about it" thing, the loss of momentum would likely ensure that knee-jerk FPPs don't get posted, and Matt would have time to axe "bad posts" before they hit the front.

Again, this would require more coding... I love being all ambitious when it's not me that's doing the work. :)
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:19 AM on November 7, 2002


"I am no longer going to participate in posts of a political nature."
Oh wait, I didn't in the first place. Alright then, "I am no longer going to pile on the in-jokes in posts of a dubious nature that will get deleted anyway." There's my contribution.

posted by yhbc at 6:21 AM on November 7, 2002


Question or Topic
Brief blurb (if necessary)
Supporting quote from Matt.


Two cents (and nothing more): While "supporting quotes from Matt" certainly have a place in any MeFi FAQ, I would strongly suggest not quoting Matt on each and every topic. A big part of the "self policing" bit is that the standards of conduct around here are shaped by many different participants, not edicts from Matt.

I think it would really suck if people started quoting Matt with little bible-style citations (as was sort-of-jokingly suggested not too long ago). Matt runs this place according to very rough and flexible guidelines. He is also hands-off much of the time. Compiling a list of quotes from him and presenting it as the "rules" of the site would be contrary to this approach.

That said, an FAQ is great idea and think it's great that frykitty and others are willing to put it together.
posted by Mid at 6:29 AM on November 7, 2002


"I am no longer going to participate in posts of a political nature."

Me (if it wasn't already obvious from my previous posts) too.
posted by ook at 6:33 AM on November 7, 2002


I'm also going to try to remember to close my [small] tags from now on.
posted by ook at 6:35 AM on November 7, 2002


I'm going to eat more fiber.
posted by adampsyche at 7:01 AM on November 7, 2002


kick out anyone who has posted more than 7 threads to MetaTalk. They are obviously causing trouble.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:00 AM on November 7, 2002


An example of what I am talking about.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:11 AM on November 7, 2002


As a newcomer to the posting side of this place after a long time as a passive observer, I've got to say that all four of the initial suggestions were quite valid. I may not know jack-squat about how to post as I'm just getting my feet wet, but it is certainly not helpful to be barraged with snarky comments or inside jokes, this seems to me from an outsider's perspective to be just as negative to any sense of "community" as wheels-a-spinning political banter that I have been guilty of being drawn into as many others. It took me a long time (we're talking years here) before I even got an account and I have yet to post any links, but this is mainly because I still have no idea how this is "supposed to work" and what is an "appropriate" post. I'm learning, slowly (I'm quite daft really) about what is, but it seems to me that just as many posts where commentary ranges from continued "let's see how many times we can say that this is a double post and show how archive savvy I am" to the same inside jokes over and over are just as prevalent as the black holes of political discussions. I haven't been posting commentary here long enough to either know the ropes nor to have formed any personal relationships with any of the old folks, but I read, I observe and I'll get better, but this seems to be the only way for someone like me to do this, hell maybe one day I'll have the cajones to actually put up a link of my own! I know I've been bad, but I'm learning, give me time (that is if I've got any time left).
posted by Pollomacho at 8:15 AM on November 7, 2002


Alright then, "I am no longer going to pile on the in-jokes in posts of a dubious nature that will get deleted anyway." There's my contribution.

Yes, but posting jokes in a thread that will get deleted anyway (double post) is such fun. Especially is the double poster joins in.
We don't have to get too serious. Do we?
posted by ginz at 8:22 AM on November 7, 2002


1. Subscription: $5 a month seems cheap enough. Who works for free? A labor of love has turned into a non-paying job for Matt.
2. Penalty Box: If you post something so duffus it needs to be deleted, you can't post for a week.
3. Death Penalty: Anyone who emails Matt or asks "why was my post deleted" in Meta Talk is history.
posted by Mack Twain at 8:30 AM on November 7, 2002


Oh, all right have your fun you kids. No, please don't get too serious at all, it just doesn't help the new guys like me, its like sitting around in the cafeteria in high school making fun of the new kid who has no clue what's going on sometimes though, help us, some of us are worth getting to know (maybe not me, but some of us anyway) If you see your friends jump on some newbie for a newbie mistake, help them out. I'm sure some on the inside would like to see some of the tired jokes retired anyway, maybe not, what do I know?
posted by Pollomacho at 8:32 AM on November 7, 2002


I'd like one of the Mefi nuns to get out their ruler and smack me on the knuckles for posting in this. It's not really an issue I care about, and the thread is just destined to be ugly and unproductive. I don't know what I was thinking. Consider this an auto-self-policing moment.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:41 AM on November 7, 2002


Pollomacho (and other newer-than-me people): pick someone whose posts/viewpoint you admire/respect and enlist them as a sounding-board via email....I did it with Wolf for something I wanted to post a while back, and it helped clarify a lot of issues....

otherwise you're doing fine, I think.... : >
posted by amberglow at 8:51 AM on November 7, 2002


As a relative newbie, I like the silliness and in jokes; MetaFilter has its own culture and learning it jokes is part of the process of joining.

I've found that when I confess my ignorance and ask about references, whether it's pancakes or "pour a 40 on the curb," someone usually comes along and provides the context.

Pollomacho, it really isn't as cliquey as it seems at first here. I don't think very many MetaFiltarians are friends in the real world. Most of the fabled a-listers are no longer active.
posted by timeistight at 9:02 AM on November 7, 2002


Pollomacho: I don't mean making fun of, but making fun with. Double posters aren't always newbies btw.
Happens to all of us sometimes.


posted by ginz at 9:04 AM on November 7, 2002


1. Kill Metatalk.
2. Ignore double posts.
3. Erase the guidelines.

Metatalk is bad for Metafilter. It's just noise and really doesn't do anything to help or improve things. Double posts don't do any harm, really, except to start fights. Who cares that it's a double post? If anything, something posted twice at least confirms that two people found it interesting. Nobody pays attention to the guidelines, anyway - the only time a user looks at them is when he/she wants to copy and paste a line from them into their snarky metatalk comment. Erase them. The self-policing will happen on its own.

What can the community do? The community will do whatever the community wants to do.
posted by swift at 9:04 AM on November 7, 2002


I don't think very many MetaFiltarians are friends in the real world.

I'm thinking that could come in handy...

The first annual MeFi invitational battle royale. All proceeds go to adding new features to the site.

Now, to go polish my steel chair and do some post-match research.
posted by Dark Messiah at 9:08 AM on November 7, 2002


more innane ideas:
Don't add a comment when there's already more than 10 in a thread. It's not a discussion site.
Don't add comments every second day. Eg: No comment tuesdays (only links, glorious links). I could deal with 60 FPP if I didn't have to (compulsively) read every single comment posted.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:18 AM on November 7, 2002


I'm willing to be a mentor (and would have said so when the suggestion was originally made). And I'm very happy to help with an FAQ. And I'll do my best to avoid pancakes in soon-to-be-deleted posts; instead I'll give constructive criticism. I'll do whatever's necessary to be part of the solution.
posted by me3dia at 9:18 AM on November 7, 2002


Metatalk is bad for Metafilter. It's just noise

No it's not. And if you think that, what are you doing here?

Who cares that it's a double post?

Matt cares. It's his site.

steve_at: That was impressive. I'll take the pledge.
posted by languagehat at 9:26 AM on November 7, 2002


FAQ, mentors, very good ideas, for my two cents. Especially if you were to do away with the talk, how else is one to know what drives people crazy?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:28 AM on November 7, 2002


I posted something here already, but the relavant part is this:

As someone who's been around awhile, Metafilkter has always had news posts. Percentage was more leaning towards web-related stuff, but still, there were news posts.

The web is growing. Metafilter was created years ago when the web was smaller and growing and Matt saw the need to filter out the interesting stuff for people.

The Remixed idea is a step in the direction I'm thinking. Filtering Metafilter. Two main categories that can't be viewed together would be a good thing.

News links
Website links

Yes, yes, yes.. we don't want 'newsfilter'. But history shows that there *are* interesting links off news stories, relevant to news stories.

Plus, this forced interface would help modify behavior automatically to make people think before they posted a news article. Since the news links, sectioned off by themselves, would be easier to monitor and control (and delete) when they aren't really 'metafilter material'.

And for everyone who says this isn't a community - well, maybe not in a traditional sense, but when you have a group of people that start to know eachother's idiosyncracies, styles, and such, (and begin meeting eachother out for drinks and parties) you are moving towards community.
posted by rich at 9:29 AM on November 7, 2002


Metatalk is bad for Metafilter. It's just noise

No it's not. And if you think that, what are you doing here?


Making noise, just like you.

Who cares that it's a double post?

Matt cares. It's his site.


He should stop caring, take a vacation, and let the site go free-form.
posted by swift at 10:57 AM on November 7, 2002


"He should stop caring, take a vacation, and let the site go free-form."

You should stop posting, take a vacation and go away.

It's interesting when people start making plans on your behalf, isn't it?
posted by websavvy at 11:02 AM on November 7, 2002


gearing up for:
completing projects followed by a long vacation


posted by PrinceValium at 11:13 AM on November 7, 2002


"He should stop caring, take a vacation, and let the site go free-form."
You should stop posting, take a vacation and go away.
It's interesting when people start making plans on your behalf, isn't it?


I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that it is exactly this kind of bickering that made swift say that MeTa is a bad idea...most of the threads are about is MeFi turning into BlahFilter or "why was this deleted..." Snarkyness will always come with self-policing as such, but I am curious as to how many people actually read MeTa in the first place. That is why I also think a mentoring system of some sort is a good idea. I know its not always true, but newbies mess up in posting because they're newbs and haven't read the guidelines and don't care about MeTa. In the current state of MeFi, though, MeTa is the utlilty of the self-policing state it had become. If there was only the blue, then newbies (or anyone for that matter) wouldn't know what was good vs. bad (you could say read the guidelines, but they are a little bit open ended) or even know that NewsFilter is hated as much as it is.
posted by jmd82 at 11:25 AM on November 7, 2002


Ditto to jmd82! The sickly brown (as it shows up here) picks up where the guidelines left off, but I am pretty sure that as a newbie I am far more the exception than the rule in that I read this noise and learn from it! I haven't even been baited into a political shit-fling since I read Matt's sad posts from yesterday, one day at a time, one day at a time, maybe I could get Steve to be my sponsor?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:38 AM on November 7, 2002


Amen to jmd82.
posted by languagehat at 12:12 PM on November 7, 2002


*puts hand over heart*
I am no longer going to participate in posts of a political nature.
*sighs*
*feels better somehow*
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:12 PM on November 7, 2002


Try to keep it civil. (looking in swift, languagehat, and websavvy's direction)

At this point, I'd like to mention to Matt (I'll try to e-mail this too), that even though we're trying to come up with ways to help with things like a FAQ, that in no way are we trying to prolong the suffering. If we manage to publish the O'Reilly Guide to Metafilter with a pony on the cover and you decide to end Metafilter it will be fine by us.

I personally am going to try to work with Frykitty with the FAQ, we'll probably make an open call on Metatalk to help or something like that soon.

Also, to clarify (and maybe to change my mind after some thought), I don't mean to suggest completely banning in-jokes or news. Everything in moderation.

TIMING! What's the Secret to Comedy?

Listen, if someone's already beaten you to the punch by posting Metafilter: I welcome our Pony overlords with Pancakes in a thread, you're really not going to be that funny by posting it again.

News as we've all seen, can be done correctly. Nailing down what exactly is a good news post (as Matt's mentioned before), is what we have to address in the FAQ. Trolling for conservatives with your Op-Ed link probably isn't a good news link.

Lots of things to look through the Metatalk archives about. I'm personally going to concentrate on the FAQ, somebody else can do the mentor thing if it suits their fancy. The FAQ right now is badly needed... because it's sustainable. It won't be forgotten like last week's metatalk posts.
posted by Stan Chin at 12:25 PM on November 7, 2002


Pollomacho, you don't want me as a sponsor, but thanks.

I also would have to agree that some of the MeTa threads are a bit high-handed...

But lets all remember, that all of these things are part of being a community... The problem is that we need moderation... Too much of any one thing is bad for a community...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:27 PM on November 7, 2002


Steve, I have to same I disagree with you about the political threads. I've actually found many of them enlightening. I consider myself liberal, and so are most of my friends and peer group. I had never had the opportunity to engage in reasoned debates with principled conservatives about many of the pressing issues of our day. For instance, the recent gun control debate (post sniper.) Though my main viewpoints on this issue did not change because of the debate, I learned alot about why those who oppose me believe what they believe. I think there is real value in discussing these issues with those we disagree with.
posted by pjgulliver at 12:39 PM on November 7, 2002


I don't know PJ, as of late, I just don't see them going anywhere. The farther the thread goes, the nastier it gets, often resorting to name calling and really fringe prognostications of doom. While I defiantly do agree that there is real value in discussing issues with people who do not agree, as I have said before, there is little point in attempting conversation with people who want no part in it. There is a group of members who use every thread that is political in nature to insult and flame, instead of discuss. (Yes, once or twice I myself have gone too far, but in general I belive that I am even handed and stick to the issues.)

I feel that these threads are creating a lot of animosity amongst members, and are pointless, since they are normally two things: 1. Based off off a opinion that a pundit has, and the biases that come with 2. are often posted to vent hatred at someone, or some group that the thread's author dislikes.

Almost all of these threads start off with something to the effect "My side is correct, your side is wrong! How about that?" in nature. I am more than willing to discus all things political with anyone, but belive that the current climate here is going to give me an aneurysm...

So, for now anyways, I am going to enjoy Poemfilter, and wait to see if members can learn to discus political issues, and not just self-righteously flame each other.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:26 PM on November 7, 2002


Yeah, I guess there is justice to what you say. I hate the opinion piece posts as well (though like a moth I'm and drawn to them, and have made the mistake of posting one myself!) But I do hope a reasoned, factually, logical way can be found to discuss these issues in a way that teaches, not flames.
posted by pjgulliver at 1:33 PM on November 7, 2002


And the talk of writing an all-encompassing FAQ rears its head again. There is a MeFi FAQ. It's right here.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:37 PM on November 7, 2002


I may not agree with Steve in a political discussion, but I have to agree with him regarding them here, while there is sometimes fantastic debate on substantive issues, there also tends to be quite a bit of insult, injury and pointless circular banter. There are places on the web where political debate is the main focus, this happens to be a site that links to interesting and rare tidbits on the web and not one that caters to that sort of debate. Occasionally I can see some neat little gem cropping up that is political in nature, but posts about how Ashcroft is the anti-christ right in the link does not spark constructive discussion, it just trolling.

I am not with Steve in that I won't promise NEVER to get back into a political talk on here, I just want to reserve my comments for when one of a worthy nature does crop up. I would hope Steve and others would be there to call me a moron too!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:40 PM on November 7, 2002


Pollo...out of curiosity, where are the other good political discussion sites on the net? Perhaps I can get the politics out of my sytem there....
posted by pjgulliver at 1:43 PM on November 7, 2002


That's my problem PJ, I end up back here after I get sick of the others. Seems most are populated by extremists on both fronts and where else can you also get lively talk about cowbells and ez-cheese links all on the same page?

In case you're curious try some news sites, the Guardian (British paper) has lively international political debate, but be prepared for all sorts of fringe types, here at least the fringes stay somewhat civil (you'd be surprised)
posted by Pollomacho at 1:49 PM on November 7, 2002


Well, I definately want to be able to talk about the necessity of cow bells and the supposed perversions of Shel Silverstein....how else would I be able to laugh a little every hour or so at work!
posted by pjgulliver at 2:00 PM on November 7, 2002


Judging by the current front page of MetaTalk, may I suggest that those compiling the FAQ concentrate upon what is permissable, rather than what isn't? I suspect it will substantially reduce the work involved.
posted by normy at 2:19 PM on November 7, 2002


I suggest that those compiling the FAQ concentrate upon what is permissable

And tell us what you plan on using to enforce the FAQ. Demerits? Or are the New FAQWriter Overlords going to have our accounts banned?
posted by eyeballkid at 2:26 PM on November 7, 2002


Scarlet Letters for those who disobey!
posted by Pollomacho at 2:28 PM on November 7, 2002


A FAQ is just what the acronym stands for: a list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions. It's not some Overlord Rulebook that must be obeyed under penalty of expulsion. It's just a resource.
posted by Dean King at 2:42 PM on November 7, 2002


As has been mentioned already, it seems that the vast majority of users do not read the dark side of MeFi at all, so discussing what we can do here is not much use. We have argued, discussed, wrung hands and patted each other on the back over and over again about how to make things better but, as soon as people go back to the blue side, the blinkers go back on and the knives come out.

The only way I can see to make things better would be for someone to wear out their delete key for a while wiping out crappy posts (crappy meaning anything not of the absolute highest calibre) until users get the message and follow the example of those that survive the massacre, accompanied by the instant deletion of all MeTa threads asking "why did that get deleted?". Oh, and close new user sign-ups (I'm in now, to hell with the others ;-)).
posted by dg at 3:18 PM on November 7, 2002


Shane - it was appreciated, I assure you.

And it's Enth Deg Ex...

At least that's how I would pronounce it if I ever had cause to say it aloud ;)
posted by nthdegx at 3:50 PM on November 7, 2002


it seems that the vast majority of users do not read the dark side of MeFi at all, so discussing what we can do here is not much use. We have argued, discussed, wrung hands and patted each other on the back over and over again about how to make things better but, as soon as people go back to the blue side, the blinkers go back on and the knives come out.

Very true, dg. Good work - good links; good comments - is done on the blue and works positively as an encouragement to others, an example to newcomers and a general benefit to MetaFilter and its community.

Perhaps if some of the energy expended here on MeTa - pointing out faults; suggesting alternative ways of running MetaFilter and generally whining and playing at would-be mathowies - were directed towards making good posts and comments on the blue, things would improve to the point of there not being much to whine about on MeTa.

But wait - that would do a few professional whiners and nitpickers out of a job. And that we can't have, can we? ;)

P.S. I treasure Stan Chin's contributions but I don't trust him - or anybody but Matt - with elaborating a FAQ. In fact, even if Matt wrote the FAQ, I think it would be redundant. MeTa is far too negative of late. I sometimes get the feeling that some users live here exclusively, like grey long-bearded hermits, and so have become convinced the "end is nigh".

Look at the blue and you'll find three to four good posts every day - the product of MetaFilter as it is; with the guidelines; Matt's light-handed control and, of course, good old MetaTalk. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:21 PM on November 7, 2002


What can we do as a community to make Metafilter a better place

I don't even know if this is possible, but I would like to see an end to the caustic invective that gets thrown around here. I'm not just talking snarkiness over bad/double posts, I'm talking about the abuse we heap on each other in the comments. Sure, a lot of this occurs in the political posts, but some of it takes place right here in Metatalk. I'm not using any links, because I don't want to single anybody out.

If someone writes something nasty, there is no need to reply-- just leave him/her dangling in the breeze with his/her pants down showing the community what an ass he/she really is.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:52 PM on November 7, 2002


I hope I didn't give anybody the impression that I wanted to do this. :P I figured, hey, why not, couldn't hurt, and apparently the way it's going now wasn't working. If nobody likes it then it'll obviously fade into oblivion like cCranium's FAQ which I can't find a copy of.

Saying that we'll be better people is all well and good for us Metatalkers, concentrating on making better comments and posts, but I think a community-compiled FAQ would have been a nice by-product of all the endless-bitching Metatalk has been. Something for people who don't read Metatalk, that we can politely point to for clarification. It certainly isn't going to be the your new Overlord manual unless you allow other people to use it that way.
posted by Stan Chin at 4:55 PM on November 7, 2002


I sometimes get the feeling that some users live here exclusively, like grey long-bearded hermits

But Miguel, it's so warm and cozy here; it's cold and nasty over there.
posted by timeistight at 5:09 PM on November 7, 2002


it seems that the vast majority of users do not read the dark side of MeFi at all

(gives in to curiosity)

I've been wondering: is this really true? Not that it's impossible or anything, but I read Metatalk every time I come to Metafilter. It's not exactly hidden. I mean, there's two links to it on every Metafilter page!

I know waxpancake will occasionally break out Metafilter pageview stats; does someone do the same for Metatalk?

Metatalk circa 2000: There is no Cabalâ„¢
Metatalk 2002: We are the Cabalâ„¢

Just wondering if I'm missing something, is all.
posted by tyro urge at 5:56 PM on November 7, 2002


I have a question for the folks who just pledged to not participate in threads of a political nature:

1. Is this a post "of a political nature"?

2. How about this?

3. Or this?

4. And this?

In short, how are you defining "political?"
posted by mediareport at 8:25 PM on November 7, 2002


I would most definitely vote Exploding Varmints as being political, but not Apocolypse Cow which was obviously a troll post. ;-P

posted by mischief at 12:56 AM on November 8, 2002


mediareport, the last of those three are not really news posts; Exploding Varmints linked to a couple non-news sites. The last two were posts about religion (which is a whole new can of worms, I'll grant you.) The first post was a bit newsy/political, though.

Still, none of the threads in question were the kind of open-ended "Here's what's up with Iraq" (or I/P) deals that always spark flame-wars. Perhaps a larger question: is it okay to have discussions concerning issues like ads on police cars and religious splinter groups, as long as the post is crafted well enough to avoid recyclable anti-bush/gun/war/organized religion rants and their similarly canned rebuttals? Or is Metafilter supposed to be little more than "Look what I found this morning! It's pretty cool" type posts?

Are specific issues okay, or are we talking slippery slope here?
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 1:40 AM on November 8, 2002


my personal opinion seems to contain internal contradictions. asok's go rin no sho:
approach each thread with no preconceptions.
do not take baggage from one thread to another.
deal only with what is written on the screen.
no personal comments should be posted regarding the other members, or more specifically, assumptions about other members.
if someone else has posted a comment that covers what you wanted to say, say nothing. do not say 'what x said'.
respect all members of the community. newbies will make mistakes, live with it.
if you do not have anything constructive to say, say nothing.
swearing, whilst *hilarious*, is often just so much noise. avoid.
support comments with links where possible.
try to show some humility.
do not make comments that attack the community.

i have not seen a drop in the overall quality of the site IMHO. some threads are a waste of bandwidth, some are pure gold. some are a mixture of both. what i have seen is a turnover of posters. some of the 'old guard' have left, the old in jokes and banter have gone. they have been replaced with new in jokes and banter.

on the subject of political threads, when people discuss the issues rationally they can be of great value. i am with Pollomacho, in that Mefi gives me a chance to discuss issues with people of a political stripe whom i never normally get a chance to interact. when they express themselves coherently it can be a very rewarding experience for me. it may frustrate me to hear them expressing ideas that i find objectionable, but i then must explain my position, which is never a bad thing.

i am learning how to Mefi. it has helped me in RL, i think.

metatalk was by far the most scary place to be for me as a newbie; threads filled with in jokes and technical blah which appear in a matter of moments. they are often only hot for one hour. also a great place to 'get to know' the community. usernames who were at each others throats in the blue could be seen engaging in group hugs in the murky grey/brown.
posted by asok at 5:23 AM on November 8, 2002


mediareport:
I would have to go with Yelling at Nothing's definition: recyclable anti-bush/gun/war/organized religion rants and their similarly canned rebuttals

If the topic can be civil, and does not obviously and purposely attempt to pit one side against another, than it is fine in my book. I am going to over the same fights that already have been fought.

posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 5:53 AM on November 8, 2002


mediareport: In my book, 1&2 yes, 3&4 no. But exact definition isn't important; what's important is that when I look at a post (and, if doubtful, check inside the thread) and determine that the discussion is or will be of the nature "You're wrong! No, you're wrong!" and nobody will learn anything and tempers will just get worse and worse, I now leave without a backward glance, stifling any vestigial impulse to leave my $0.02. Nobody but me cares how I feel about bush/gun/war/organized religion, and why do I need to see my position on the thread? For this relief, Steve_at, much thanks.
posted by languagehat at 9:05 AM on November 8, 2002


Languagehat: I could have not said it any better.

If a thread happens were I have something new to bring to the table, I will not restrict myself, but posting my well know position for the sake of posting something that has already been talked to death is pointless. For example, MidasMulligan just now posted that the UN has passed a resolution on Iraq. I see no need for this to be posted, sorry Midas but this has gone on over and over again. No need for it. What is the point of having this argument again? The redundant worthless threads of a political nature are the ones I am vowing to ignore.

On a side note: MeTa front page is way too small. I think this to be an important discussion on improving the community, and it has been bumped off the front into the Archives... too bad...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:20 AM on November 8, 2002


Perhaps I'll amend the vow to "I will not comment on bush/gun/war/organized religion/etc. threads," and any other thread that devolves into "You're Wrong! No, You're Wrong!"
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 10:51 AM on November 8, 2002


I've been a longtime reader of MeFi, but only recently registered. Speaking only for myself, I never came to MeFi for the latest news or discussions thereof; there are vast numbers of sites that exist for that purpose. My interest in the site is consistent with what I think Matt is trying to say in the guidelines -- to find things I wouldn't have found myself. If I'm looking for the latest big news story and/or want to read/participate in partisan bickering about it, I don't have to look far.

Yet, despite the very best of intentions, after registering I found it appallingly easy to get sucked into repetitive, combative topical arguments that always digress in familiar directions and in the end, change no-one's mind and generate only ill feeling.

My own worthless opinion is that a moratorium on headline news stories, supported by prominent sentence to that effect on the "Add a Link " page, would probably be a very good thing.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:11 PM on November 8, 2002


(Yes, once or twice I myself have gone too far, but in general I belive that I am even handed and stick to the issues.)

Your constructive comments are well put but the above is spin, pure and simple. You were prolix and combative until your recent conversion. I am no saint and have been a hothead all too often. That said, let me add that next to the Never Wrongs, I distrust the Holier Than Thou Maybe Once Or Twice Upon A Time Ever So Slighty Wrongs. A preachy tone grates--whether on the topic of politics or not.
posted by y2karl at 5:44 PM on November 8, 2002


Steve_at, much thanks.

Yep. Good idea. We need to save our sanity for when we really need it.

But we can make exceptions on Christmas and Easter, can't we?
posted by hama7 at 7:00 PM on November 8, 2002


Therefore: I am no longer going to participate in posts of a political nature. I ask all other members that are concerned about MetaFilter, to join me. Remember, it only works if we all avoid these posts like the plague. That means people of both sides of the political aisle. 6:13 AM November 7

Ahem. 1:25 PM November 8. To paraphrase William Jefferson Clinton, I guess it depends on what your definition of political is. Again: more practice, less preach, please.
posted by y2karl at 7:20 PM on November 8, 2002


I, for one, welcome our new...

This was hilarious on the Simpsons. It was even funny once or twice in MetaFilter.

It's not funny anymore.
posted by bwg at 6:18 AM on November 17, 2002


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