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November 8, 2002 8:39 AM   Subscribe

Dragging the dead horse out for it's monthly beating. [more inside]
posted by y6y6y6 to Etiquette/Policy at 8:39 AM (200 comments total)

Hello. My name is Jon. Most of you know me as y6y6y6 and rightly see me as a cranky bastard. I've been coming to Metafilter nearly everyday for the last couple years. I really love Metafilter (despite the fact that I had a melt down and told you all to go fuck yourselves a few months back.....). Anyway, I want to play nice now and ask for some constructive help.

As many of you may know Matt is seriously thinking about getting away from the site either by closing it or giving/selling it to someone else. This is very sad. Frykitty thought it might be helpful to compile an official FAQ. New members could be pointed at this. And a formal document referenced for things that keep coming up over and over.

Many people are working on this. I'm just a little worker drone. My task for the FAQ has been to dive into Metatalk and try to distill it into something that represents the knowledge, wishes, and opinion of the founder as well as the active members. This seems like an impossible task, but after going through hundreds of MetaTalk threads I think it's actually going to work out.

However...... The thing that keeps coming up over and over is - "What is a good post?" The million dollar question. I didn't set out to answer this, but I keep tripping over it. So I thought I'd throw something together and see what people thought.

If it was my task to write the entry for the FAQ on "What is a good post?" (and it isn't), I would write this:

---------------------------------------------

Q: "What is a good post?"

A: The answer to what makes a good post is an endless debate. One of the fun (and aggravating) things about Metafilter is that this obvious question can't be definitively answered. At the end of the day a good post is one that doesn't get deleted and doesn't have people trashing the place.

We don't necessarily like things safe. But we have a hair trigger when someone posts crap. It's tough. It's scary. Good luck.

But there are some guidelines that will help you. Please consider measuring your post against these before clicking that final "post" button.

A good post:

1) Is something actually on the web. You need a link.
2) Hasn't been posted before.
3) Is interesting to a large number of members.
4) Doesn't mess up the front page.
5) Won't be grossly offensive to most members.
6) Isn't trollish, divisive or inflammatory.
7) Has a purpose and is clear.
8) Warns members about special circumstances.
9) Isn't a "beating the dead horse" topic.
10) Links to a reliable and valid source.
11) Is not a "water cooler" conversation starter.
12) Makes an honest attempt at spelling and grammar.

These aren't rules. They are suggestions. Many good posts haven't met these standards, but almost all have. And of course we can (and do) spend all day debating the meaning of all these things. Just take them at face value and you usually won't go wrong.

Also remember that people may jump all over your post and criticize it even if it meets these guidelines. Don't take it personally. We're a tough crowd. But we think that's led to a pretty high quality website.

Keep in mind that just because something is a good post, that doesn't mean you have to post it. Metafilter doesn't do hot button issues well. The tendency is for things to descend into name calling and yelling. No one changes their mind and everyone leaves mad. Other sites handle this better. If you want to get everyone here yelling at each other, that's not to hard to do. But what's the point?

Posters should avoid:

a) Posting just for the sake of posting.
b) Trying to champion an agenda.
c) Starting flame wars with posts on politics, religion, gay rights, etc.
d) Posting on topics that Metafilter does not do well (politics, religion, gay rights, etc.).

But those aren't rules either. Just think about it. That's all I'm saying......

-----------------------------------------

So. What do we think? Too long? Too short? What did I miss?

Of course the FAQ will cover the details in a much broader and more documented fashion. This is just one piece.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:39 AM on November 8, 2002


Wow, I think that about wraps the good post question. I tried to find something to add, honest, mister, I did, but you've got it covered. I like the way it's demanding but never sounds forbidding. Wise work, y6y6y6 - and here was I thinking you were a big ole meanie!;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:54 AM on November 8, 2002


Too long. I gave up in the middle somewhere. You could easily lose the "Also remember..." and "Keep in mind..." paragraphs.

However:

Creating an official FAQ is, in my opinion, only going to create a new category of post, the "Hey, fuckwit, haven't you read the FAQ?" post. I'd bet big on that. The people who don't read the short guidelines now sure as hell aren't going to read a longer version of them later. People who will take the time to read and understand an FAQ aren't the problem anyway, because they're already the ones who are going to read the site for a while to get the gist of things before posting.

My $0.02.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:57 AM on November 8, 2002


I think its too long. And "9. Beating a Dead Horse" will be vague to newbies who have no idea what the horse looks like. I would propose combining that and 2 into something "Hasn't been seen or discussed before" maybe?

5 and 6 are redundant

12 really isn't necessary, let's not give the impression we're nazis. (Well, we are, but let's not give away the secret)
posted by Stan Chin at 8:58 AM on November 8, 2002


Good work. We'll probably want to define "dead horse topics," and be clear about what "water cooler conversation starters" are, and why exactly they should be avoided.

On that note, how about links from each bullet point to good examples?
posted by gottabefunky at 8:59 AM on November 8, 2002


on preview, what crash and stan said. especially crash.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:00 AM on November 8, 2002


Maybe something that addresses those "This is neat! Enjoy! sorts of posts? I don't have a problem with something short and sweet, but I dislike the "mystery meat" aspect (except, of course, when it's done with wit and style...) what were you saying about this being impossible?
posted by taz at 9:02 AM on November 8, 2002


"the "Hey, fuckwit, haven't you read the FAQ?" post."

I agree. But what do we do now? We say, "Hey, fuckwit, [insert 100 comment Metatalk thread which covers no new ground here]."

Having an FAQ is a very useful shortcut. It's a place that has the answers. Right now the place with the answers is MetaTalk. Have you tried reading MetaTalk lately? I have. It's freakin huge. Do you think an FAQ might be better?

Maybe not *the* problem, but *one* problem is that we don't have an FAQ. We have a 54853 entry long debate.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:11 AM on November 8, 2002


Also, a number of new users have asked for guidance....
posted by taz at 9:13 AM on November 8, 2002


Maybe #4 could be more specific (explain the "[more inside]" option)?

Also, I like #12. I actually find the "honest attempt" language comforting in that it accepts that everyone makes mistakes.
posted by originalname37 at 9:21 AM on November 8, 2002


y6y6y6 - I think it would be great to link to a variety of "good posts" that have occurred in the past, giving people an idea of what's hot and what's not.

We've accumulated some of these here (4/01), here (11/01), here (3/02) and here (8/02). (While you could just link to these discussions, and you probably should, I think it would be beneficial to pull out three or four specific examples of MeFi's varied and wonderful potential.)
posted by Marquis at 9:30 AM on November 8, 2002


good job y6y6y6, I think it could be condensed a little, but a great start.

On Preview: I like Marquis idea of showing examples of past good posts, as well, I would add, some awful ones, and what can happen....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:31 AM on November 8, 2002


I think it's a good first draft, y6y6y6. It could use some trimming and consolidation.

I agree with all your points except number 3: I think something can be a minority interest and still be a good post.
posted by timeistight at 9:32 AM on November 8, 2002


I agree with timeistight, and also 1 and 10 can be combined.
posted by Stan Chin at 9:37 AM on November 8, 2002


Long FAQs are tricky. How about a short FAQ with a few links?

Q: "What is a good post?"

A good post alerts us to an interesting web site that we haven't see before. Sometimes a great discussion will spring up around that post, sometimes there's little discussion, but that's OK. What's most important is sharing something cool, funny, unique, strange and/or new.

Here's a page linking to several excellent posts, some with lots of discussion and some with little: [link]. More like this, please.

Q: "What is a bad post?"

A bad post has no link or is designed to discuss a generic or controversial topic rather than to alert us to an interesting web site. MetaFilter is designed to share sites. It has a secondary function as a discussion board, but only if that discussion is about that great site.

In short, please avoid [edited list of points discussed so far]:

For a longer discussion of why and how these guidelines have been developed, see [link to longer explanation].
posted by maudlin at 9:38 AM on November 8, 2002


y6 * y6 * y6 = 216y^3 (long post, sorry!)

6) Isn't trollish, divisive or inflammatory.

i'd just say "isn't inflammatory," since trollish would need to be defined (if it hasn't been already in the faq) and both it and "divisive" would in any case seem to imply an inflammatory nature. or you might reword the guidelines to state that a good post's primary effect should not be to upset others.

9) Isn't a "beating the dead horse" topic.

i think this needs to be either more specific or otherwise reworded. a dead horse to some might be a new issue to a new user who hasn't been around a while. i would say instead: if your post regards current events, don't post it unless a lot of time has elapsed since the last post. (a week/month? i know i could go a month without seeing another i/p or war-on-terrorism post.)

10) Links to a reliable and valid source.

i think you should be more specific here. for example, some people post links to stories on ananova, but others resent that for they feel that ananova is not reliable. but it's still a news outlet. how would the thread author know what's reliable?

Posting on topics that Metafilter does not do well (politics, religion, gay rights, etc.).

i think there should be no "etc" here. if this is a FAQ, then it should be as clear as possible. list in as much detail as possible what threads metafilter doesn't do well, or explain some criteria so that the aspiring author could judge for him or herself if the topic is one mefi would not do well.
posted by moz at 9:41 AM on November 8, 2002


Oh, and a division between content problems (trollish, old news, etc.) and tech/layout issues (messes up front page, use of [more inside] marker, etc.) would also be useful.
posted by maudlin at 9:42 AM on November 8, 2002


6) Isn't trollish, divisive or inflammatory.

Although I wholeheartedly agree, those are somewhat subjective terms. Thanks to the wonders of emotionless text, it's some times hard to tell what is a sarcastic ribbing, and what is a true-blue insult.

As such, I'd suggest #6 be "Isn't trollish, divisive or inflammatory. (If you're not sure what that is, just describe the link and, if you simply must comment, throw it into the comments.)"

Comments don't kill posts, nor do they muck-up the front page — poorly worded / formatted / described posts do.
posted by Dark Messiah at 9:44 AM on November 8, 2002


Excellent start, y3. However it's condensed, I think this should be retained:
"...just because something is a good post, that doesn't mean you have to post it."
It's a definite turning point when you go (mentally) from "What can I find that I can post on MeFi?" to "Well, that's something I could post on MeFi, but... is it really worth it?" Anything that helps people achieve the second is valuable.

On preview: moz is right about no "etc.," and Dark Messiah reminds me to mention that the division between comments and posts should be clearly stated -- lots of newbies preface their first comment with "This is my first post, so be kind," and it's important to realize that many things that are acceptable in comments are not in posts.
posted by languagehat at 9:49 AM on November 8, 2002


All good feedback. Not being defensive here, just giving my reasoning.

"how about links from each bullet point to good examples?"

That's going to be a big part of the FAQ. Links to good posts and links to deleted posts. Also links to some "best of" MetaTalk discussions. And where quotes from Matt.

So there will be short answers with links for folks who want to do more research.

"something that addresses those "This is neat! Enjoy!" sorts of posts?"

That was one of the things I hoped #7 would cover. "This is neat!" is not clear.

"Maybe #4 could be more specific"

Yes, it will have to be. But that will be a couple separate questions (or more). "How long can my post be? Can I use pictures? Why are multiple paragraphs bad?"

"I agree with all your points except number 3"

This is why I said "a large number" rather than "majority". If only five members think a post is interesting, I think it fails the crap test. But if 50 like it, then it's probably fine. We'd have to be more clear about that.

"5 and 6 are redundant"

Hmmm..... I see your point, but I disagree. They could certainly be combined however.

"12 really isn't necessary, let's not give the impression we're nazis."

Nothing pisses me off more here than call outs for spelling. But it will happen. Over and over. It's a thread killer. Sad but true. if you want to see people poop all over your post, just get lazy with your spelling. I'm agreeing with you, but I still think we need #12.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:56 AM on November 8, 2002


y6y6y6 - I think it would be great to link to a variety of "good posts" that have occurred in the past, giving people an idea of what's hot and what's not.

Just as you suggested, a list of many of the outstanding links brought forward for praise in MetaTalk has been compiled to accompany such a FAQ. It's now in Frykitty's hands.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 9:57 AM on November 8, 2002


Hello. My name is Jon... [and I'm] ...a cranky bastard.

* The rest of MeTa Anonymous chimes in, "Hi, Jon!" *

posted by Shane at 10:01 AM on November 8, 2002


This is all excellent feedback BTW.

I need to go away for a bit and work. I'll be back in a bit with a second draft okay?
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:07 AM on November 8, 2002


Instead of having endless debates about what can and should be placed on the front-page, why doesn't the site just have an approval queue and several Matt-approved mods who can approve or nix content?

My guess is that the intent of the site was to leave it to community discretion, instead of resorting to a Farkish approval queue or a K5ish community queue.

While immediate FP gratification is nice, all the "Thou shalt nots" and "Tut tut, shouldn't have done thats" would lead me to think that some kind of backend approval system is in order...
posted by oissubke at 10:09 AM on November 8, 2002


oissubke, an approval queue would require a large, constant time commitment from Matt. We're trying to take pressure *off* Matt, remember?

Bravo, y6, for the excellent start. I think entry FAQ authors should be acknowledged somehow.
Now to figure out what I can write about...
posted by me3dia at 10:17 AM on November 8, 2002


Example of a Bad Post?:

Mattell Discontinues Vibrating Broom
Mattel have axed their inappropriately vibrating broomsticks much to the chagrin of young ladies all over America.
I know you want to read it anyway...
posted by Shane at 10:22 AM on November 8, 2002


Metafilter...the other United Nations!

A FAQ or whatever without teeth is like a UN resolution which makes demands but refuses to threaten repercussions for non compliance. I've read some of the most high level bitch-slapping on this site and it hasn't made a damn bit of difference. I'm not advocating WMD for first offenders but why should the group have to suffer for the sins of a few who continue to abuse the site? And many people will suffer if this site is lost. While it's Matt's decision alone to delete posts or banish troublemakers, it's everyone else's decision how they will react to boring, bad, or trollish posts. Metafilter is the home of some of the finest needle-point razor-sharp repartee artists on the planet or beyond, and it needs to be understood that there are also people who it bounces off of and who in fact thrive on the ensuing disruption.
posted by Mack Twain at 10:23 AM on November 8, 2002


Mack Twain: Nobody said this was going to be a ten (or 12) commandments of MetaFilter. A FAQ should be nothing more than a resource – a list of common questions and answers, arrived at by consensus.
posted by timeistight at 10:31 AM on November 8, 2002


in the Posters should avoid section:
c) Starting flame wars with posts on politics, religion, gay rights, etc.
d) Posting on topics that Metafilter does not do well (politics, religion, gay rights, etc.).


this should be deleted--there have been just as many reasoned informative conversations as flamefests on all of these topics...because a vocal minority doesn't want to see them as FPPs doesn't mean they can't be done right. Maybe in this section, examples of good and bad posts on sensitive topics could be given, like: "Instead of just a link to an obviously biased op-ed columnist at a publication known for its ideological bent, as was done here(link to bad), try to find a variety of viewpoints or a reasonable, factual explanation of the underlying issue, as was done here(link to good)."

I don't want to see politics, religion and gay rights singled out here...it's the formation of a "we don't discuss those things here" list, which is abhorrent to me.
posted by amberglow at 10:35 AM on November 8, 2002


"A FAQ or whatever without teeth is like a UN resolution which makes demands but refuses to threaten repercussions for non compliance."

How exactly? An FAQ is a handy compellation drawn from experience. The UN is a governing body tasked with the fate of nations. FAQs do not have teeth. FAQs are handy. The FAQ is your friend.

"it needs to be understood that there are also people who it bounces off of and who in fact thrive on the ensuing disruption."

Since I thrive on trolling and disruption you can rest assured that view point will be included. Okay little camper?
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:39 AM on November 8, 2002


One thing might be worth including - once you've decided that the post meets all the guidelines, sleep on it. Metafilter isn't a race. If the post is good it will keep for a day. If it doesn't look so good in the morning, nothing is lost.
posted by grahamwell at 10:39 AM on November 8, 2002


"because a vocal minority doesn't want to see them as FPPs doesn't mean they can't be done right."

Agreed. Matt has done an excellent job of articulating this. I assume the final version would reflect his position on this more than what I've written here.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:46 AM on November 8, 2002


Good one, Graham. And, as for a reason to have a faq, I'll paraphrase a little Greek saying, which goes something like: if you're drowning in the sea, it's all very well and good to pray to Athena to save you, but you might want to flap your arms around a bit, too. Nobody believes that a faq will solve every problem, but it's a constructive effort at making a change. Metafilter could (and might) sink, but let's at least go down flapping our arms.
posted by taz at 10:49 AM on November 8, 2002


Doesn't "gay rights" fall under politics and religion? It seem odd to single it out.
posted by hyperizer at 10:50 AM on November 8, 2002


Note to folks who are suggesting things for the FAQ:

Nearly everything you're suggesting is already being implemented. Not to squash suggestions, I just want to say we've got a good handle on it.

Jon, this was a great post and I like the list. We'll certainly work together to revise it and give it a special spot in the FAQ.

A suggestion of my own, though: can we keep this out of meta until we've got something to show folks? I think that will be more useful to the project, and avoid redundancy.

ETA: Probably late Sunday night.

[on preview] taz: SMOOCH! That's exactly it.
posted by frykitty at 10:51 AM on November 8, 2002


How about considering adding no promotional posts or self links.

and 10) Links to a reliable and valid source. seems to be targeted towards newsfilter posts. How would one verify a "friday flash post"?

Good start y6y6y6

posted by DBAPaul at 10:51 AM on November 8, 2002


c) Starting flame wars with posts on politics, religion, gay rights, etc.
d) Posting on topics that Metafilter does not do well (politics, religion, gay rights, etc.).


I think this needs to be left out or reworded. It's too specific. Furthermore, if someone wants to link to a site that is related to politics or religion or gay rights and is not a news article, someone should be able to do that.

And why lump "gay rights" with "politics and religion," anyway? There's no need for that, and as someone who's gay, I find it at least mildly offensive.
posted by Tin Man at 10:56 AM on November 8, 2002


Tin Man, I think that your feelings point to exactly
*why* gay rights was included. It is a topic that is so personal to many members that we (as a community) stand little hope of being able to discuss it in a civil or reasoned manner.
posted by Wulfgar! at 11:11 AM on November 8, 2002


"and as someone who's gay, I find it at least mildly offensive."

Well, I'm sorry about that. But you are proving my point. These are three things we can't even mention without people getting riled. That's why I lumped them. These three topics usually go bad.

But I'm agreeing with you and amberglow that it should be taken out.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:17 AM on November 8, 2002


oissubke, an approval queue would require a large, constant time commitment from Matt. We're trying to take pressure *off* Matt, remember?

He can assign some editors to handle the queue. I'm certain that there are at least a handful of regulars who would be qualified and willing to perform the task.

I'm not saying this is the only option, but I'm just puzzled as to why a site with such precise guidelines doesn't already have such a queue. If all the conversations about what should and shouldn't be an FPP were eliminated, I think the site's bandwidth and server strain would be significantly reduced. :-)
posted by oissubke at 11:29 AM on November 8, 2002


He can assign some editors to handle the queue. I'm certain that there are at least a handful of regulars who would be qualified and willing to perform the task.

(Self-reply)

Or, perhaps even better, he could add to the "x days before you can post" functionality with "y days before you can approve content".

Maybe FPPs take two editors (to make sure the motion is seconded) to approve before posting.

There are many ways to handle it with minimal programming, minimal effort on Matt's part, minimal public discussion about Thou Shalts and Thou Shalt Nots, and minimal annoyance on the part of the reader.
posted by oissubke at 11:32 AM on November 8, 2002


I don't know how to phrase this for a FAQ, but I get the feeling that some of the people posting "bad FPPs" don't actually read the site. Is there a way to say "Read the fucking site" without it sounding rude?
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:36 AM on November 8, 2002


Otherwise, wow! Nicely done - I wish I had had something like that to read when I first started.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:37 AM on November 8, 2002


Better keep these rules concise, simple, and easy to read--otherwise people will do a cursory Beavis "Words... words... um, more words..." and move on to posting without ever really reading the FAQ.

Be Zen, be Confucian (but not inscrutable): Find simple rules and poignant examples that cover a wide variety of potential situations...
posted by Shane at 11:47 AM on November 8, 2002


He can assign some editors to handle the queue. I'm certain that there are at least a handful of regulars who would be qualified and willing to perform the task.

mathowie has repeatedly rejected the deputy admins proposal, most recently here.
posted by timeistight at 12:06 PM on November 8, 2002


That's good stuff.

Perhaps oddly, my biggest problem is with no.3.

3) Is interesting to a large number of members.

Not trying to be clever, but how the hell can anyone make that judgement. More to the point, even if they could, should they?

To my mind some of the most interesting post (in the end) were on subjects that I had no prior interest in. That is one of the great strengths of metafilter - it is a living random expression of other peoples interests that end up rubbing of on you. This place gives you a chance to explore - in many respects it forces you to explore.

Taking my own experience (I'm still yet to become anything like a good front page poster) I've found that the more I try to post to the crowd, the worse my posts has been received.

I don't have the answers, but I think that the style and nature of the post is more important that the perceived potential interest level of the subject matter.
posted by RobertLoch at 12:09 PM on November 8, 2002


there have been just as many reasoned informative conversations as flamefests on all of these topics

I seriously doubt this, though I'm too lazy to do a count (and we'd disagree about particular threads anyway). I agree that topics shouldn't be banned, but I think there should be some sort of strong warning: "If you wish to post on topics X, Y, and Z, please be aware that they frequently lead to nasty and unproductive discussions and try to frame your post in such a way as to make this as unlikely as possible." But we're still going to get flamefests. I just won't be participating. (Thanks again, Steve_at!)

On preview: I agree with RobertLoch; we all think what we're posting is interesting, and how are we to know how many others it will interest? My post I thought was the most recondite wound up getting the most comments. (Still not a lot, but then I don't post on sex, politics, or brooms.)
posted by languagehat at 12:12 PM on November 8, 2002


The thing I am most tired about MeFi isn't the "bad posts," it's that it feels like every thread I go into has someone calling it a "bad post," even when I and others find it interesting. So, will there be a section of this FAQ about how to simply ignore posts you don't happen to personally like, rather than bitchslap the poster?
posted by dnash at 12:20 PM on November 8, 2002


Y2Karl's rude and petty denunciation of my frontpage link to an archive of rare Shel Silverstein work yesterday, has left me truly confused about community standards of posting.

If it is just Karl, fine, but if other long standing community members think I have diminished the boards, I need to know. Personally, I think his ugly interjection did a far greater disservice to the community.




posted by dgaicun at 12:27 PM on November 8, 2002


Following up my comment above and ossibuke's ideas, there might be a simpler method for improving posts and maybe generating revenue. Just enforce a 24 hour delay on FPPs. During the 24 hours the author can review and cancel the post if they wish. It's automatic, self-administered and would nix NewsFilter posts, help with double-posting, just might make everything more thoughtful.

I wouldn't have a problem with it, but I appreciate that some would. As a counter therefore, members could earn immediate front page posting rights based on their proven grasp of the guidelines - and - controversially, perhaps a handsome contribution.

It would be a two-tier filter and very different from the place as it is today, but it might be quite a lot better.
posted by grahamwell at 12:35 PM on November 8, 2002


I like this for the most part, but feel it's a bit too specific and comes dangerously close to rules. I can see comments such as "bzzzt! you broke #3 buddy-boy, can you even fucking read?" if it's really specific.

I'm thinking of rcade's post somewhere in metatalk that described succintly, without being overly specific, what makes a good post to MetaFilter. It had something about novelty in it, though I can't seem to find it. There was a wonderful finesse about it.

I prefer guidelines over rules because they leave some room for the human element, for special cases, and for interpretation. I think a faq is a great idea, and this question is arguably the most important of them all, but I don't want to clamp down too strongly on the mechanics and specifics of content, and would prefer to give people a descriptive, but loose definition linked with lots of examples.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:39 PM on November 8, 2002


Following up my comment above and ossibuke's ideas, there might be a simpler method for improving posts and maybe generating revenue. Just enforce a 24 hour delay on FPPs.

Or, perhaps even simpler, just allow post authors to edit or even delete their own post, based on feedback from comments.
posted by oissubke at 12:44 PM on November 8, 2002


I'm thinking of rcade's post somewhere in metatalk that described succintly, without being overly specific, what makes a good post to MetaFilter.

Was this it?
This would be a better weblog if members asked themselves one question before making a new post: How am I filtering the Web?

If a post's links are just the first thing that popped up on Google, the post doesn't meet the guidelines. The main point of this weblog is good links; if they're not new or noteworthy, none of the rest matters. People who post here simply to start a discussion can easily hide this fact -- take the 5-10 minutes required to find at least one good new link. Otherwise, you're not filtering the Web at all.
posted by rcade at 6:10 AM PST on September 27
posted by timeistight at 12:56 PM on November 8, 2002


Is there a way to say "Read the fucking site" without it sounding rude?

Something like this:

"Will you please, with sugar on top, read the fucking site?"

posted by matteo at 1:16 PM on November 8, 2002


Maybe I'm thinking of something else. I could have sworn he said something to the effect of "metafilter values novelty over timeliness" or something like that.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:24 PM on November 8, 2002


Q: How does one become a good poster or commentor at Metafilter?

A: Keep your ego out it. Good response doesn't mean we love you. Lots of comments means we care more about our opinion than your hard work. Negative response does not require strong defense, and that defense is frequently counter-productive. If people tell you you've done good, realize that the web is a wonderful thing ... don't take credit for it. You didn't create it, you've just shared it. If people crap on you, remember, you didn't create the link (unless that's what they're crapping on you for). No one's taking your toys away. If you want it to be about your ego, then be quiet, read the site, and feel smugly secure that you know more than the rest of us.

In no way am I trying to derail the efforts of FryKitty, y6y6y6, and many other nameless people trying very hard to save this website from itself. Kudos to you all, and I'm enormously happy that I'm not involved.

On preview, what matteo said.
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:25 PM on November 8, 2002


dgaicun: The reason y2karl didn't like your post was because it was, in interrobang's words, a link to a single poem. Not just that, but some people (myself included), couldn't even view the website it appeared on, thanks to net-nannies.

You could have cited and linked to the entire archive instead of one poem, then cited that one poem and said why you thought that was interesting. Additionally, you could have dug up some other information on Shel Silverstein's "adult" writings.

It had a lot of potential, it just needed a little more finesse.
posted by rocketman at 1:32 PM on November 8, 2002


Nice Pulp Fiction reference, matteo.

Also:

"How would one verify a "friday flash post"?"

Hopefully one wouldn't, and they would all disappear like farts in a high wind.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:33 PM on November 8, 2002


"I prefer guidelines over rules because they leave some room for the human element, for special cases, and for interpretation."

Understood. I tried to go for the "here are some helpful hints" sort of thing rather than rules, but we should certainly make that more clear.

After reading a huge amount of what you've written in MetaTalk in the last few days I'm gaining a greater appreciation for why things work here as well as they do. Trying to take it all in in one big gulp I'm left with the impression that Matt is right and I (and most everyone else) is wrong when it comes to admin stuff here. Not just because you have the last word, but rather that you have the best ideas.

Dude, you rock. I'm humbled.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:34 PM on November 8, 2002


y6y6y6, I would thank you kindly for removing your nose from my ass. :)

Staying impartial, trying to remain fair, and walking the fine line between being an administrator and a participant/peer at the same time isn't easy and I deliberately do a lot of things towards those goals, but then again a lot of it is happy accidents, so I wouldn't be so quick to deem my writings as divine just yet.

I'll go over any submitted stuff for a faq, guidelines, or tips for the posting page with a fine-toothed comb once they're further along, so that they remain guidelines without being hard rules, but overall I think added documentation will help a lot of new users out.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:50 PM on November 8, 2002


I get the feeling that some of the people posting "bad FPPs" don't actually read the site.

So what makes you think they will read a FAQ?

Possible additions:

Per rocketman: Don't link to sites not allowed by net-nannies.
Also: Don't suggest that Matt delegate authority to anyone. He ain't gonna do it!
Finally: So far, Matt has threatened to shut down MetaFilter i times. [Insert current value for i]

That is all. ;-P

posted by mischief at 1:52 PM on November 8, 2002


Not just because you have the last word, but rather that you have the best ideas. Dude, you rock. I'm humbled.

Hey- administrator's pet!!!!

*Fires spitball at y6y6y6, winks at the cute girl in in the far left row*
posted by gsteff at 2:01 PM on November 8, 2002


Thank you y6y6y6. And to all the rest of the MeFiosi who are pitching in on FAQ and other "Save Matt" projects. I've been here a while, and I hope to be here a while longer.

Hmmm: I just realized that Matt is my Ferris Beuler.
posted by zpousman at 2:01 PM on November 8, 2002


rocketman,

Why is it preferred to link to the larger archive first, and then to the single poem included within it, instead of vice versa?

The poem embodied what the archive represented. It introduced the wider body of material.

Furthermore why is it necessary to do research at the public library and turn every post into some didactic seminar on the topic? Is that what MetaFilter is about? Or is it just about sharing good links-diamonds in the rough?

I didn't ask for subjective opinions about how the post could have been better, that has nothing to do with this thread, I just wanted to know if Karl was the only member with seniority who thought that my thread actually violated posting standards. If so then it relates to this thread.
posted by dgaicun at 2:02 PM on November 8, 2002


dgaicun, my previous comment was actually aimed at you, and those who feel personally wronged as you seem to. Give it up and let it go ...
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:07 PM on November 8, 2002


relacks, jason; it was a good post and also a good example of why guidelines need to be loose. Most times, links to a single item within a larger archive don't work. This time it did - probably because it was something interesting that most people hadn't seen before, and warranted discussion from others. I think y2karl was just a little cranky, and read more into the subject matter than was necessary.

But don't you get all cranky about it either.
posted by yhbc at 2:08 PM on November 8, 2002


dgaicun, I just noticed you have posted 2 links to MeFi and both have incest as a part of the 'subject.' I'm not trying to be snarky or critical, I just thought that was an odd and funny coincidence. One more of these and they'll be calling you the 'incest guy.'

Since I'm here, my only advice on the post you're worrying about is "Don't worry about it."

posted by Shane at 2:09 PM on November 8, 2002


dgaicun, One: respect y2karl's opinion, but realize it certainly isn't shared by everyone. Two: rocketman and whomever else is involved list E-mail addresses in their profile, please use it.
posted by Stan Chin at 2:13 PM on November 8, 2002


How many different ways can we all say the same thing? I don't envy those faq-writers, nosiree ...
posted by yhbc at 2:15 PM on November 8, 2002


I still think there should be a written test on whatever we come up with

We could grade down for spelling ;)
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:24 PM on November 8, 2002


Per rocketman: Don't link to sites not allowed by net-nannies.

how am i supposed to know what page will or will not be blocked by a 'netnanny'?

sometimes a single use of the word fuck will cause a page to be blocked by some software..

i think this would fall under the 8) Warns members about special circumstances. guideline. if you think your 'nanny' won't let you see the link and are properly warned of the content, it shouldn't be a problem.

just because some stupid blocking software thinks the link is bad, that doesn't make it so.
posted by PugAchev at 2:42 PM on November 8, 2002


I'm a little late to the party, but I wanted to thank y6y6y6 for his valiant effort.
posted by revbrian at 2:56 PM on November 8, 2002


dgaicun, I just noticed you have posted 2 links to MeFi and both have incest as a part of the 'subject.' I'm not trying to be snarky or critical, I just thought that was an odd and funny coincidence. One more of these and they'll be calling you the 'incest guy.'

Hah! Damn you Shane! You ruined my covert operation to post a holy MeFi trinity of incest-related threads (no, seriously). Oh well, I'll probably post #3 at some point anyhow.

posted by dgaicun at 3:01 PM on November 8, 2002


Ok here's an idea. We make the FAQ's really vague and scary. We threaten the mis-poster with all kinds of ruin and hellfire. That might cut down the number of posts on the front page.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:37 PM on November 8, 2002


mr crash

I really think Mr. Wolf could help us fix the site's problems.
Don't you?

posted by matteo at 3:46 PM on November 8, 2002


Nicely done - I wish I had had something like that to read when I first started.

Joey Michaels's point says it all. Even if only a minority look up the FAQ, it will have been worth it. I was against it, as late as yesterday evening, but after reading y6y6y6's draft and, given that this will be a user-to-user, non-binding, "for your information" FAQ, I'm convinced it would be A Good Thing.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:57 PM on November 8, 2002


The number of UK, Portuguese, Norwegian, Australian, Korean, blah blah blah members speaks to the essential internationalism of the web, and particularly of Metafilter.

It would be helpful in decreasing the number of NewFi posts if the embryonic FAQ's mentioned that any post which was essentially of interest only to the citizens (or subjects) of an individual country - any individual country - does not meet the guidelines, inasmuch as they will not be interesting to most members (case in point, #1: case in point #2.)*

I for one have no idea what is going on in the Norwegian Parliament. If I did, I would locate a suitable online resource, and read & post there.

*Not picking on any one, just the two nearest the top at this point).
posted by dash_slot- at 5:33 PM on November 8, 2002


If I did want to know...obviously....
posted by dash_slot- at 5:34 PM on November 8, 2002


dash_slot: As international as MeFi is, I'm quite sure the vast majority are in the U.S., so both your cases in point are in fact of interest to a great many members and meet the guidelines. Are we supposed to post only about UN meetings? Furthermore, if there's a story about the Norwegian Parliament that the poster genuinely thinks would be of interest to a great many members, he or she should post it. (And it would be a hell of a lot less likely to start a flame war.)
posted by languagehat at 5:50 PM on November 8, 2002


To be fair to dgaicun, I unfairly dumped on his post. I'd just gotten up, misinterpeted the lyric linked and was in a cranky mood--not that that is an excuse. My initial comment about it in MetaTalk was also overboard, the later ones somewhat less so. I still think it was weak and confusing and did Mr. Silverstein somewhat of a disservice. I have a sharp tongue and can't always go the Miguel drinking-his-tea-with-pinky-extended politely cheerful route, if at all. But most of the time I'm cheerful enough.

But whoa, when did I become a senior member? I tend to reserve that rank to the pre-9/11's. I guess there are 7 internet years for one dog year.
posted by y2karl at 6:01 PM on November 8, 2002


I mean, seven dog years for one internet year, I think.
posted by y2karl at 6:03 PM on November 8, 2002


y6^3: Okay little camper?

Q: What are 'DA RULEZ'?
posted by eddydamascene at 6:04 PM on November 8, 2002


Oh well, I'll probably post #3 at some point anyhow.

I can respect an interesting plan, well-plotted in advance, executed patiently over time... Makes me wish I had one.

posted by Shane at 6:21 PM on November 8, 2002


I like it just as you wrote it, y6y6y6. I don't care much for most of the subsequent suggestions. *shrug*
posted by rushmc at 6:26 PM on November 8, 2002


i'm all for the approach of the site's founder not to want "rules," etc., but allow me to observe that as someone who has read this site for probably 2 years (at least once an hour every hour M-F), i have NO FUCKING CLUE about what an FPP shouldn really be, mainly because i simply can't keep up with MetaTalk. people get slammed left and right for crap posts, and while a lot of the time it's pretty obvious, there are times when i have no clue, and read the ensuing smashfest with naive interest. this is after two years, folks, and i don't think i'm particularly dense.

you can't honestly expect every poster to read the hundreds of MeTa comments every week about the peeve du jour and accomodate it, do you?

i read meTA, i've read the guidelines, i read the site every day, and i *still* never know what's going to be "blessed" by the mefiosi? there's GOT to be a better way, and i'm not sure that rules aren't it.

you all complain incessantly when things "suck" on mefi, so what's so bad about a few hard and fast frigging rules so it's not so damned vague and varialble week to week?
posted by tristeza at 7:29 PM on November 8, 2002


Didn't you get your MeFi coin when you joined, tristeza? Flip it...then flip out!
posted by rushmc at 7:45 PM on November 8, 2002


tristeza, if you've read the site for two years, I have a hard time believing that what passes for "good" evades you. Think of the last three threads you read on MetaFilter that you liked. What were they about? What made them good? If you find a site similar to the subjects of your favorite posts, you'll post it right? If you're still stuck, stay away from the edge cases. Instead of wondering why some news threads are good and others lazy and bad, post something you know people will love, like someone's giant collection of potato chips shaped like US Presidents.

There are no hard and fast rules because I know not everyone could agree on rules, and if I implemented them according to my tastes, they would be frequently abused, or taken too far. Also, if you want to start a list of things people shouldn't do, if you started today, in five years, your list of rules would still be inadequate, and some guy would make a post in 72 point, purple script that takes up 10 screens to view, and claim innocence, because it wasn't in the rules (you can't think of every possible rule breakage). Also, rules pertaining to human behavior and especially writing and linking can never be exact. I can point out a single or handful of cases where at least one thing in y6y6y6's list of things not to do was broken, and it was still a good post for a special set of circumstances. To adopt rules would be to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on everything, and we all know how far that will get us.

If there was a rule saying absolutely never ever post a news item or tidbit about politics, people would bicker about anything remotely related to either and yell for their deletion, regardless of how big the news was or interesting the subject matter. Instead, there are things like guidelines of how to act in a community. If there are too many political threads, don't post any more.

The bottom line is use your head, don't go overboard and if you never post to the front page, it will be quite alright and the site will keep on going. If you can't figure out what makes a good post, then don't make one, there's no pressure on people to post, if anything the pressure is on people not to post, and that's a good thing, or there'd be even more posts per day then there are now (and they are plenty already).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:37 PM on November 8, 2002


"...the site will keep on going."

I'm going to hold you to that, Matt. :)
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:49 PM on November 8, 2002


* goes googling for presidents + "potato chips" *

Seriously - that's a great summation, Matt. When I first started reading MeFi, I was impressed with the "non-rules/guidelines" aspect, and thought that it was really working well. It still is, but as you know, it takes a great, GREAT deal of patience to deal with.

The only rule I've added in my frickin' fantasy football league in the past 12 years (yeah, the one that spawned my nick - Your Humble and Beloved Commissioner) is the one (in two parts) that Matt's benevolent leadership inspired, as follows:

a. The Commissioner has the final say in any interpretation or application of these Rules, or in anything not explicitly covered by these Rules.

b. The Commissioner still tries to be fair, though, and just wants the whole thing to be fun for everybody! (Himself included!)

Just make sure it's still fun for you, and that's all I'll ask. (okay, have I supplanted y6y6y6 in the brown-nose dept. or what?)
posted by yhbc at 9:02 PM on November 8, 2002


It's going to be difficult to separate a poster's agenda from the kinds of things she posts. Unfortunately it is impossible to implement a control group to determine whether signal:noise, a bumbling bunch of us these days or a highly charged global political climate are to blame with this ongoing purity-of-MeFi debate.

Mefi was conceived in the salad days at the end of the dot-com boom. An appealing prospect about starting a site like this was that all them neat idiosyncrasies of the web, which seemed so bountiful, could experimentally, be compiled all in one place for the enjoyment of the growing community, which itself was also worth "filtration" on other hypothetical up and coming internet communities. Many of those idiosyncrasies are now gone. Sure we have blogs, but word.com is gone and so is authorauthor.com, two of my favorite old haunts. Maybe I'm jaded. I believe in the web. But I will say, were it not for Metafilter, my faith in it wouldn't necessarily be broken, but it would be tried.

Let it ebb and flow with the times. What we're witnessing with our beloved MeFi could be symptomatic of the larger issue that the web is organizing and consolidating itself. It is being tamed and watered down by the forces of demonstrable profit, while we refuse to go along.
posted by crasspastor at 1:01 AM on November 9, 2002


if anything the pressure is on people not to post, and that's a good thing, or there'd be even more posts per day then there are now (and they are plenty already).

Unless the day is really special and really good and interesting, with 17,000 MeFi users (what do we have, 7,000-8,0000 active users I guess, or more?) it would be great to have about 10-12 good posts a day on average, let's round it up to 5,000 FPP's a year
I'm guilty, I certainly posted my amount of crap on the FP (albeit when the userbase was much smaller). But the idea of reducing the amount of posts per user, the frequency of it, maybe has legs.

MetaFilter -- The Pressure is on People Not to Post
That's good, we could use that

posted by matteo at 1:28 AM on November 9, 2002


7,000 - 8,000 active users
sorry
posted by matteo at 1:30 AM on November 9, 2002


yeah, the one that spawned my nick - Your Humble and Beloved Commissioner

The last MeFi mystery solved. I can leave happy now.
posted by rushmc at 7:01 AM on November 9, 2002


Matt once suggested that a wiki would be a great way in which to write a Metafilter FAQ. Since I've been experimenting with them recently with a Mars advocacy community of mine, I decided to set one up for a Metafilter FAQ (not, note, for Metafilter in general. Yet.)

It uses UseModWiki, which is one of the simpler and more ubiquitous wiki engines out there (I tried TWiki but I didn't have the permissions to do chown) and you can find it at http://www.mssv.net/wiki.cgi. It's up to people whether they want to use it or not, but it's available.
posted by adrianhon at 8:48 AM on November 9, 2002


tristeza, if you've read the site for two years, I have a hard time believing that what passes for "good" evades you.

OK, true, i let hyperbole get the better of me. i do know what makes a good post. i think i should have said that it is a challenge to determine what makes a BAD post.

what is frustrating me is not that we have guidelines instead of rules, per se, but that the mefiosi's interpretations of the guidelines change so frequently, making it really hard to use them properly.
posted by tristeza at 9:58 AM on November 9, 2002


i do not know if anyone mentioned
or has replied to my proposal
about addressing all our comments
in ye pentameters of iambic................
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:32 AM on November 9, 2002


I think we need "What makes a good FAQ entry?" guidelines. Anyone wanna get on this?
posted by condour75 at 11:37 AM on November 9, 2002


Sgt.s: I am not completely sure
whether it was your wish in that last note
to show iambic pentameter in
action upon the Metafilter page.
If not please completely ignore my rant.
If so I am afraid you cannot count.

(Probably showing myself up as a
pedant and an ignorant one at that)
posted by Grangousier at 12:07 PM on November 9, 2002


There are numerous ways to solve this entire problem.

* Points based moderation. Kick the crap to the bottom, so people don't have to read it.

* Personal per-person moderation. Allow people to 'killfile' certain other users so they don't see their comments anymore.

(Bibliography: any major community site)
posted by wackybrit at 1:16 PM on November 9, 2002


yhbc's explanation of his nick has been on his user page all this time ;)

Thanks so much for doing this for us, jon (and frykitty!). I hope you don't mind if I call you jon, you introduced yourself that way so I'm following your lead. I don't think the FAQ is too long; if people can't read that little bit to get a feel for the place then they don't deserve to be here. A question: are test and generator posts included under the umbrella of "water cooler posts"?

Hey, is it time for me to bitch and complain about test and generator posts? Why, yes, I believe it is!



Thread: From now on, don't call me Generic MetaFilter User #000, ok? Call me Smurfy La Smurf, my new Smurf Name!!! What's your Smurf Name?

Poster 1: Who gives a shit? (ok ok, mine is Humpy vonSmurf)

Poster 2: Mine is Strumpet La Smurfette. Teehee.

Poster 3: Whooo! Mine is Frums Smurf! I scored a palindromic smurf name! Worship me!

Poster 4: Heh. Mine is Goo-Goo DollBaby Smurf.

Poster 5: I hate smurfs.

Poster 6: Mine is Astro-Smurf. It rhymes with astro turf.

Poster 70: Mine is Smurfitty Smurf Smurf.

Poster 800: Mine is Snoop Smurfy Smurf.

Poster 999: Mine is Boom Boom Huck Jam Smurfboi.

Poster 3,201: Mine is Smurfin' Safari.



...and so on and on and on and on and on. Does anyone really believe that these things are for real, and that they're the only person who scored the WuTang name of Hard Baller? The posts are doubly bad because the resulting thread never seems to discuss the site itself, which is basically what we're after here, no? The thread always just consists of person after person posting the results of their James Bond Girl Glam Name Generator or their Unofficial and Not Endorsed By Mensa IQ Test or some other waste of MetaFilter bandwidth. Generators and tests are manna for people who want to participate in the site but don't want to be bothered by actually thinking. They're silly and fun, don't get me wrong; I've taken them dozens of times, but I wouldn't post that stuff to my own site, let alone MetaFilter. I respect you, MetaFilter. I love you, MetaFilter!

*covers MetaFilter with big, wet, sloppy kisses*
posted by iconomy at 1:53 PM on November 9, 2002


One thing I've noticed about those kinds of posts (leading to those kinds of comments) is there doesn't seem to be any reading of previous comments; there is little or no interaction or response. You get the feeling that everyone is skipping right down to the bottom of the page to post.

That is what ultimately weaned me off the "I say blah-- you say blooh--" or the name generator posts. I figure if no one is reading, why bother to write.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:07 PM on November 9, 2002


*covers MetaFilter with big, wet, sloppy kisses*

ooh, ick, you slobbered on me!

Mom...

Oh, wait a minute.

And anyway, I'm Smurfity Smurf Smurf Smurf, thank you.
posted by y2karl at 2:09 PM on November 9, 2002


i'd like to say that i am against points-based moderation, and i don't want to see it here. i don't want metafilter to come to the point where there is a need for such a system, and i am a little afraid implementing it might cause people to be a little more careless about posting comments if they know it wouldn't affect all the readers.
posted by moz at 2:17 PM on November 9, 2002


Somethings wrong here. I'm Gargamel.
posted by yhbc at 5:56 PM on November 9, 2002


Q: What is a good post?
A: There are no hard and fast rules. (more)
posted by eddydamascene at 6:40 PM on November 9, 2002


*covers MetaFilter with big, wet, sloppy kisses*

Hey, where's your NSFW warning?

Y6, I feel that your FAQ is pretty good, obviously in need of a few revisions, but on the whole it's fairly comprehensive. Good job.

Matt, I'd just like to say that you strike me as one of the fairest, most clear-headed people I've never met. Your sense of morality, ethics and judgement is remarkable. I become more impressed with how you run your site (and presumably your life) with each passing day. Perhaps it's not appropriate to this thread, but I felt that you should know this anyway.
posted by ashbury at 8:12 PM on November 9, 2002


Same here, ashbury.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:25 PM on November 9, 2002


I'll let Googlism speak for me:

y6y6y6 is not always right
y6y6y6 is right

frykitty is awesome

iconomy is one of my favorite mefites
iconomy is the ernest hemingway of metafilter
iconomy is obviously a hostess shill



posted by Winterfell at 8:41 PM on November 9, 2002


Winterfell, I love your subtle sense of irony. Look for your free case of Hostess Twinkies in the mail tomorrow.
posted by iconomy at 9:08 PM on November 9, 2002


It's been two days since anyone posted anything to MeTa... strange.

It's kinda like being a little kid who hears a fight between parents, and then quietly behaves to avoid stirring up more trouble.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:01 AM on November 10, 2002


On weekends it's basically you, the chicken and me, YAN. No one in their right mind comes here for, you know, pleasure. Eeewww! No, it's strictly for the purpose of truancy and (English slang alert) skiving off work. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:42 AM on November 10, 2002


I agree that some of the FAQ text could be condensed, but remember we want our fellow users to be informed and this may not be accomplished with brevity.

Seconding Wulfgar!, it would be good to include the suggestions regarding "Is your ego or your desire to inform posting this link?"

Many thanks to Jon and others for putting forth such effort on all of our behalf.
posted by sillygit at 4:04 AM on November 10, 2002


Actually, Miguel, weekends are the only time I can get in the doors without bribing someone. Dress code, or something like that.

The chicken might have trouble with that, too, who knows. But what's your excuse?
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 4:47 AM on November 10, 2002


Suppose I could start a thread about inciting criminal behaviour.....
posted by ginz at 5:50 AM on November 10, 2002


...nah.
posted by ginz at 5:51 AM on November 10, 2002


*arrives, slightly breathless*

Did somebody light up the Chickenbeacon?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:59 AM on November 10, 2002


"Thank god you're here, Mr. Wonderchicken! Things were just starting to get trite and inane--with your help we can get things back on track!"
*stares at the wonderchicken rapturously, and with much awe*
"Mr. Wonderchicken, you're my hero!"
*plucks feather floating in the air and surreptitiously pockets it, not before taking a deep sniff of said feather*
posted by ashbury at 6:21 AM on November 10, 2002


Maybe MetaTalk could play that game? Where we all see who could be quiet the longest? Ready... set... go!
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:34 AM on November 10, 2002


[Gay rights] is a topic that is so personal to many members that we (as a community) stand little hope of being able to discuss it in a civil or reasoned manner.

I couldn't disagree more and am surprised you think that's true, Wulfgar! - especially given the routinely thoughtful way g/l/b/t folks have responded to some fairly ridiculous provocations here in the past. In my experience, it's almost never the gay people at MeFi who fail to argue about gay rights in "a civil or reasoned manner." So why should we be discouraged from posting about the issue? That *does* border on insulting, sorry.

Also, as someone who has enjoyed many, many fascinating political discussions here - sparked by good, solid posts - I agree with amberglow:

"there have been just as many reasoned informative conversations as flamefests on all of these topics...because a vocal minority doesn't want to see them as FPPs doesn't mean they can't be done right."

His suggestion for dealing with the topic in the FAQ seems a good way to go.
posted by mediareport at 8:19 AM on November 10, 2002


Recently added a fair amount of content to the Metafilter wiki I set up; people here might find it interesting to read and comment on it.
posted by adrianhon at 8:31 AM on November 10, 2002


Um, on the wiki thing, there is a subject called "Dead Threads" which seems to me to encourage the practice of posting garbage and chatter to double posts and the like. This is bad.

I have no idea how to actually place this comment on the wiki thing.
posted by Mid at 8:39 AM on November 10, 2002


Here is what I am talking about.
posted by Mid at 8:40 AM on November 10, 2002


Oops, you're right, I didn't write that very clearly. To edit pages you just click on the 'Edit text of this page' link at the bottom of the page. I'll let you edit this one if you want.
posted by adrianhon at 8:55 AM on November 10, 2002


It's been two days since anyone posted anything to MeTa... strange.

On weekends it's basically you, the chicken and me, YAN.


Well, also, this post is 100+ comments already and is getting just a little moldy, but I think everyone in their right mind is still too chicken to bump this post down towards the bottom of MeTa...
posted by Shane at 9:12 AM on November 10, 2002


seems to me to encourage the practice of posting garbage and chatter to double posts and the like. This is bad.

Uh, how exactly? I'm not saying the chatter is one of the glories of MeFi, but the reason the tradition started is that the thread is going to be deleted. Once it's deleted, the chatter is gone. So where's the harm? "Contributing to the death of MetaFilter" seems a little excessive.
posted by languagehat at 9:16 AM on November 10, 2002


We've been over this point several times in MeTa, but the main reason posting garbage in "dead" threads is bad is because it isn't anyone's place other that Matt's to declare a thread dead. If everyone took to posting crap in threads they thought should be deleted, many threads would be wrecked. Put another way: you and I probably would disagree whether Matt should delete a certain thread. You would likely be ticked if I began posting "pancakes" and the like to a thread you thought was worthwhile.

Also, languagehat, the "quote" featured in your post ("contributing to the death of MetaFilter") is not anything that I actually wrote. If it "seems a little excessive" to you, you need to take that up with the guy who wrote it, I guess.
posted by Mid at 10:39 AM on November 10, 2002


Here is one of several MeTa discussions about posting chatter to threads that one feels should/will be deleted. Here is a relevant comment from Matt in the thread.
posted by Mid at 10:46 AM on November 10, 2002


Well said, Mid.
posted by rushmc at 11:12 AM on November 10, 2002


Seconding mediareport's seconding of amberglow. (Thirding? Seconding squared?) There was a thread a week or so ago that had a slightly snarky yet fascinating discussion of gay marriage versus staying outside of traditionally hetero institutions. Can't find it now, though.
posted by hippugeek at 11:24 AM on November 10, 2002


Good point, Mid, and I'll buy it. I thought it was clear that I wasn't quoting you but the Dead Threads page you linked to; however, now that I go back there I see the language I quoted has been removed and language reflecting your recent comment has been added. So... never mind!
posted by languagehat at 11:39 AM on November 10, 2002


Hmm. I think adrianhon is making edits to the linked page. Sorry for the snark, the stuff you quoted was not there when I read the wiki-thing, and I guess is not there now.

This is all sort of moot now, given the changes.
posted by Mid at 12:01 PM on November 10, 2002


I really like this wiki thing. I'll stop playing with it immediately.
posted by ginz at 12:26 PM on November 10, 2002


mediareport, in the most general sense, what we find hurting MeFi is the play of attack and defense. I wasn't meaning to single out gay rights posts and threads as deserving any more consideration than politics or religion. But, because of their personalizing nature, they all have to be considered as old nitroglycerin, ready to blow with the slightest shaking. I don't believe that anyone has suggested not posting such topics, but you really better pause before you do, and consider why you're doing it.

As aside, my very first involvement at Mefi was questioning why those who would attack an effort towards gay rights find the issue so very personal. I would hope that alleviates any surprised disdain that may have been felt at my comment in this thread. And, for what its worth, I'm glad that Jon has agreed to strike that specific wording.
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:32 PM on November 10, 2002


they all have to be considered as old nitroglycerin, ready to blow with the slightest shaking.

I understand your point, Wulfgar!, but I'm not going to fret over whether a gay issues post at MeFi might act as "old nitroglycerine" to someone who reads the site. Instead, I'll continue to 1) avoid simple news posts, 2) make sure my posts point to unusual and interesting sites on the Web and 3) work to frame my posts in fair, non-inflammatory ways.

I bet those three guidelines can handle pretty much any topic.
posted by mediareport at 2:01 PM on November 10, 2002


*exhales red faced and spluttering*
i cant do it rj, i just cant do it ...
of course thats pentameter!
its ten thingumybobs!

posted by sgt.serenity at 3:13 PM on November 10, 2002


Did somebody light up the Chickenbeacon?


posted by y2karl at 7:38 PM on November 10, 2002


y2karl, you're sick. Get help. ;-)
posted by Wulfgar! at 12:28 AM on November 11, 2002


I'm sorry, but hasn't anyone else noticed the list on adrianhon's Metafilter Wiki "InJoke" page? Anybody?... Anybody?
posted by taz at 3:51 AM on November 11, 2002


Metatalk is officially dead. Cool.
posted by Summer at 7:21 AM on November 11, 2002


Metatalk is officially dead. Cool.

That makes this kinda like a wake, right? Isn't their food at those?
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 8:51 AM on November 11, 2002


taz: Thanks for pointing that out -- I hope Miguel is proud to be included...

YAN: You mean "there"! *runs away shrieking with guilty laughter, flapping nonexistent wings*
posted by languagehat at 8:57 AM on November 11, 2002


Food and drink YAN. In fact this is an Irish-style wake. Everyone's drunk so much Guinness they're just lying around in Mefi groaning.
posted by Summer at 9:26 AM on November 11, 2002


Huh? What? Where? What's a poster boy? Is that something to do with the decadent Kennedy cousins? Is it a gay icon?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:50 AM on November 11, 2002


Since this thread has dissolved, I will now pounce with my off-topic question:

How do you pronounce "FAQ"? F-A-Q or "fack"?

In other mysteries, why does Miguel end most of his posts with small text?
posted by internal at 10:07 AM on November 11, 2002


*Groans*
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 10:18 AM on November 11, 2002


internal, it must be an End-Joke.
posted by taz at 10:20 AM on November 11, 2002


I pronounce FAQ as "fack", and I occasionally end my posts with small text.

But not this time.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:26 AM on November 11, 2002


FAAAAAAAAAAAAAK!

No, I'm not explaining how I pronounce 'FAQ.' This thread has just compelled me to say
FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAK!
posted by Shane at 10:30 AM on November 11, 2002


I pronounce FAQ as fuck, never thought you could pronounce it as fack. Must be a Dutch thing.

posted by ginz at 10:41 AM on November 11, 2002


That could be a new MeFi epithet, Shane.

*bad post*

"Ahh, Fack (meaning "you should have read the FAQ") it. Stupid newbies."
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 10:42 AM on November 11, 2002


"Ahh, Fack (meaning "you should have read the FAQ")

Cool, I'm all for these subtle (or not-so) code-thingies. Of course, the more "direct" MeFites would just shout
"Feckin'Fack,Fuckwit!Feckin'Fack!"
posted by Shane at 10:50 AM on November 11, 2002


You poster boys have just screwed up an historic thread and I hope you're all pleased with yourselves. For years to come, newbies will come to this thread looking for a reasoned discussion of how to post and all they'll retain will be seasoned members telling each other to FAQ off. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:17 AM on November 11, 2002


...and all they'll retain will be seasoned members telling each other to FAQ off.

Or alternately, if they'd be better off on another website altogether: "Fark off!"

"MeFi: Love It or Fark Off"
posted by Shane at 11:22 AM on November 11, 2002


You poster boys have just screwed up an historic thread and I hope you're all pleased with yourselves

I'm so sorry! I've ruined... wait, who is it I'm apologizing to here? ;)

For years to come...

Yeah. But doesn't everyone new wind up reading 1142 anyway? That's so confusing that anything else confusing barely matters.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 11:41 AM on November 11, 2002


all they'll retain will be seasoned members telling each other to FAQ off

"seasoned" members?
You all have 5 digit user numbers...

posted by matteo at 12:02 PM on November 11, 2002


According to y6(3), this thread was a dead horse when it began. It's liquid by now.
posted by Shane at 12:03 PM on November 11, 2002


some delicious members, lightly seasoned...
posted by taz at 12:05 PM on November 11, 2002


You all have 5 digit user numbers...

Matteo, it's a well known fact you get more pleasure if you use all five digits. Or only one. Anything in between is just unserious. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:10 PM on November 11, 2002


Metafilter: You just screwed up a historic thread.
posted by eddydamascene at 12:15 PM on November 11, 2002


Mmm....nothing like licking up the liquified remains of a thread.

Unserious?
posted by me3dia at 12:18 PM on November 11, 2002


Oh, great. We liquified him. What a mess.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 12:26 PM on November 11, 2002


Ach! I don't believe it! I wonder how much Gunther IV would bid for that user name?
posted by taz at 12:31 PM on November 11, 2002


What makes a good post by mathowie in a bunnyfire thread.

by the way, did everybody notice this in this? Now that's funny.
posted by eddydamascene at 12:50 PM on November 11, 2002


Thanks, I'll be here all week...
posted by languagehat at 12:58 PM on November 11, 2002


*runs away shrieking with guilty laughter, flapping nonexistent wings*

Thanks, I'll be here all week...

This is gonna get old real fast, I can tell.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 1:04 PM on November 11, 2002


Since people have been complaining about the tired old in-jokes here, maybe we need to spice things up with new ones, like "Fack it!" or "Liquified Horse--Move On." And with all this talk of proper grammar, maybe we should all make funny mistakes, i.e., "I'm so tired I'm lying here prostate on the floor."

I don't know. I'm just grasping at sqaws, is all.
posted by Shane at 1:08 PM on November 11, 2002


You all have 5 digit user numbers...

Matteo, user numbers don't matter. User number one said so.
posted by timeistight at 1:28 PM on November 11, 2002


Who here likes FAQs? I love FAQs.
posted by eddydamascene at 1:31 PM on November 11, 2002


I think some people have a weird, basic urge to post to MetaTalk, myself. But with no new threads around, we're all stuck posting to this one.

"Liquified Horse—Move On." Absolutely hilarious.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:17 PM on November 11, 2002


I think some people have a weird, basic urge to post to MetaTalk, myself. But with no new threads around, we're all stuck posting to this one.

Well thanks for wasting my time and Matt's bandwidth.
posted by hyperizer at 2:39 PM on November 11, 2002


*quack*
posted by i_cola at 4:04 PM on November 11, 2002


after an email, frykitty told me that she's nearly organized everything from the volunteers and should be finished tonight. It sounds like it's going straight to mathowie before the jackals (by which I mean me) can pick at it, however.
posted by eddydamascene at 5:13 PM on November 11, 2002


I don't know if this has already been covered (I'm a politico and still under piles of work thanks to November 5th and only popped in here for a second), but why is "Posting on topics that Metafilter does not do well (politics, religion, gay rights, etc.)" necessarily a bad thing?

I'm a bit biased yes, but I don't believe that DEBATE itself is a bad thing. Uncivil debate is, but not debate itself. Should we avoid all debate because of some bad apples? I hope not. It gets pretty boring around without diverse opinions.
posted by jennak at 6:14 PM on November 11, 2002


jennak, the point is not that there shouldn't be debate but that the debate caused by those topics very quickly tends toward the uncivil. (Check out some threads if you don't believe me.) That's what's meant by "does not do well." (There may be sites out there that do politics and religion well, but I'm not motivated to look for them myself; I prefer to have shouting matches with friends and family.)
posted by languagehat at 6:38 PM on November 11, 2002


Stavros, is that really you? You have a spaceship? You are too cool! Thanks Karl! I ♥ stavros and y2karl!
posted by Lynsey at 6:47 PM on November 11, 2002


Jenn, some context: two comments by mathowie. The first is the direct basis for the argument against politics &c, and the second is the reason for much eggshell-walking and teeth-gnashing round here of late.
posted by gleuschk at 7:39 PM on November 11, 2002


"seasoned" members?
You all have 5 digit user numbers...


Damn, then I must be beyond seasoned and well into hot-n-spicy territory.

yay, me!
posted by jonmc at 7:54 PM on November 11, 2002


Or, you could just have a very old "sell-by" date.

YMMV, of course.
posted by yhbc at 8:16 PM on November 11, 2002


two comments by mathowie, ... the direct basis for the argument against politics, and ... the reason for much eggshell-walking and teeth-gnashing

In neither of which does Matt explicitly ban such posts, but that is the interpretation many have embraced and then used to derail front page threads instead of making their case in Me-Talk. This latter behavior tends to be much more disruptive than the occasional hot debate.

posted by mischief at 12:50 AM on November 12, 2002


There was one of those today, mischief (well, yesterday, now); I mentioned the whole anti-politics thing as quietly as I could. Afterward, I felt sort of bad, since the thread went pretty well.

The problem is, political posts like that one are the ones that, nine times out of ten, lead to pointless flaming and pissing matches that go all over the place. I hate it, you hate it, I'm sure Matt hates cleaning it up.

Self-policing is a good idea; trouble is, over the last few months, we've shown that we aren't very good at using it to affect positive change. We're all perfectly good at calling people out, but when we're done everyone goes home with a heart full of hate and ready for the same argument the next day.

I like a good political thread, dammit. I think the reason political threads are so popular here is that we consistently do have good content in them. More so that on, say, PoliGlut, we've got people that can articulately make almost every argument out there (even if some are in the minority.) I had to tear myself away from the one I mentioned above, because I was afraid I'd comment on it again.

There's a reason I didn't, which I partially explained above. We can't consistently make them good, and it's become better to just be rid of them completely. It's scorched earth, which is unfortunate, but it's the only option left.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 1:18 AM on November 12, 2002


to affect positive change

Therein lies a huge issue, the disagreement over which direction of change is positive.

posted by mischief at 2:06 AM on November 12, 2002


Metafilter: You just screwed up a historic thread.

I'm still chuckling about this one. On a related note:

MetaFilter: Well thanks for wasting my time and Matt's bandwidth.

As far as political threads go, I still think we could have an occasional good discussion here. It just needs to start off civil and inquisitive and stay that way through the comment thread. Maybe the right kind of post could set the tone for a good discussion, the kind that would foster understanding between MeFites of opposing views. What I'm interested in hearing asked and answered, is:

"I understand that you [support/oppose] [Bush/environmental issues/war in Iraq/etc], but how did you personally come to this decision? What is your background, what is your reasoning on the issue, where are you coming from?"

The thing is, I know we have a very intelligent, informed crowd here. It seems like there must be a wealth of personal viewpoint that goes beyond the simple Liberal vs Conservative/Democrat vs Republican heated banter that we usually see in a political "thread."

Let's face it: There's no way for MetaFilter to escape politics completely. Politics is everywhere and infects just about everything. Political issues and opinions will pop up in threads that aren't even marginally political.

Maxim?: Look, you know how these things go; So Thou Shalt Keep Politics Civil! Tread lightly in MetaPolitics or don't go there...
posted by Shane at 6:12 AM on November 12, 2002


Does anyone else think that Carlos Quevedo is really just an extra account that Miguel had lying around? They both have small type disease... I've got my eye on you Miguel.
posted by machaus at 6:19 AM on November 12, 2002


Metafilter: We Aren't Very Good At It

Does anyone else think that Carlos Quevedo is really just an extra account that Miguel had lying around?

Ah, how the mystery man doth play with us.

posted by rushmc at 6:34 AM on November 12, 2002


MetaFilter: What Moronic Title Will We Bestowe Upon It Today

and / or

MetaFilter: We're Not As Funny As We Think We Are
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:41 AM on November 12, 2002


"Should we avoid all debate because of some bad apples? I hope not. It gets pretty boring around without diverse opinions."

My point in adding that wasn't to suggest that we should ever discuss these things. Just that these threads usually "don't do well". Whatever that means. More of a warning than anything else.

Here's the deal - I kept running into threads where someone would say, "Hi. I'm new. I just posted about [insert hot button topic] and the discussion didn't go well. What did I do wrong?" I was addressing that. It needs to be more clear. But when answering the question, "What makes a good post?", I think there is serious debate whether something that's mostly just a name calling slap fight qualifies.

My personal opinion? Fuck it. Post whatever. The fact is that not every post needs to be a good post. But if you want to give people some pointers, this is one of the obvious things you need to point out.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:22 AM on November 12, 2002


Well spotted, machaus! Carlos is my best friend. We live in the same building; write a joint weekly column for the Diário de Notícias and I help him with his English (and, yes, encourage him in the hallowed ways of small print).

We are very different though: he's a theatre director Argentinian, left wing, older than I am and, in every way, a better man than I am.

posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:32 AM on November 12, 2002


Shane: Very well put, and I think that your sample post should be given as a model in the FAQ (fack).

YAN: Personally, I was very glad to see your gentle call-out in that thread; if we're going to police ourselves, that's how to do it. (A couple of times I've commented in political threads in the vein of "I would say something, but..." with a link to Steve_at's "ain't gonna study politics no more" comment, trying to make the same point.) The thread will of course continue, but maybe the reminder helps keep it civil.
posted by languagehat at 7:56 AM on November 12, 2002


hmmm,
steve did a good thing there,
as my political views consist of invading england with
a force of kilted warriors,
i feel i have little to contribute to any political discussion.
perhaps the lame political threads are a reflection on the
current state of politics itself.
posted by sgt.serenity at 8:12 AM on November 12, 2002


sgt. serenity: once more I suspect our musical tastes converge:

In Scotland we flatter the English
By giving victories over them a significance
They don't fuckin merit.
If it was such a big deal to defeat the English
Other countries wouldnae get so fuckin bored doin it.


Sound familiar? :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:39 AM on November 12, 2002


Celtic insecurity. I've literally lived with it for so long.
posted by Summer at 8:54 AM on November 12, 2002


TOMMY: Doesn't it make you proud to be Scottish?

RENTON: I hate being Scottish. We're the lowest of the fucking low, the scum of the earth, the most wretched, servile, miserable, pathetic trash that was ever shat into civilization. Some people hate the English, but I don't. They're just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonized by wankers. We can't even pick a decent culture to be colonized by. We are ruled by effete arseholes. It's a shite state of affairs and all the fresh air in the world will not make any fucking difference.

posted by timeistight at 9:01 AM on November 12, 2002


Celtic insecurity produces some great works of art. And music - yep, I've been listening to Roddy Frame's amazing new album, Surf on wonderful Radio Forth 2. Great stuff! Makes you proud of all your Postcard vinyl singles, it does. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:42 AM on November 12, 2002


MetaFilter: What Moronic Title Will We Bestowe Upon It Today

best. tagline. ever.
posted by eddydamascene at 11:08 AM on November 12, 2002


y6y6y6, I kept out of this post. After your last comment, I felt compelled to express my thanks to you for your work and effort also to your support team, too.

Thank You (my hands are clapping)
posted by thomcatspike at 12:21 PM on November 12, 2002


Celtic insecurity produces some great works of art. And music - yep

Does Orange Juice count?

MetaFilter: We're Not As Funny As We Think We Are

Speak For Yourself, Buddy.

And that's MiguelMyNameIsLegionCardoso, thank you.

The above courtesy of LiquifiedDeadHorseVaporware.com
posted by y2karl at 2:56 PM on November 12, 2002


"and there were times i'd take my pen, feel obliged to start
again...."
raw scots talent
scottish net innovator
scottish broadcasting talent

yes miguel,it does sound familiar indeed.

ah hiv tae say thit that quote fi trainspottin's bang oan by the wey cause that's whit every cunt thinks aboot scotland thit steys there likes, especially in embra. ah dinnae ken aboot they weegie cunts though, mind you some cunts huv read that book n some cunts huv lived it eh?
no thit theres that many gadgies stoatin aboot is there wis,
ah'm jist a radge fi wester hailes likes n a went tae auggies n thats n the book n aw whin they huv tae lie aboot whit school they went tae fir the joab interview,thits ma fuhken school ken?
anyweys:

metafilter: come ahead ya fuckin radge!

i hope this clears things up.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:18 PM on November 12, 2002


It doesn't answer my question.
posted by y2karl at 8:27 PM on November 12, 2002


If there is any one thing that repels me from Mefi it is this singular desire for order. Y6^3 is the most bored person on earth by a longshot. Making rules for the sake of making rules. Trying to make order in MefI because his own life has no order. I'm sure we could all band together and buy your sorry ass a life.
posted by ttrendel at 12:13 AM on November 13, 2002


of course orange juice counts!
this however, does not.
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:20 AM on November 13, 2002


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