Metafilter is not about us
December 16, 2002 4:49 PM   Subscribe

MetaFilter is not about us; it's about what we find out there on the web. If so, we should be in the background of our posts if not outright invisible, and we should avoid phrasing our posts as personal blog entries. First example: "I found no post ... I only post it now ... as I see in my weblog's referer log ... that's how a few people found my site." Second example: " I hope ... I've searched ... It has special relevance to me since I am ... Being 25 and wanting to pay off my loans, I may have ... " And posts like this, which are all about personal experience and nothing else, are right out.
posted by mcwetboy to Etiquette/Policy at 4:49 PM (48 comments total)

woo hoo!
posted by quonsar at 4:57 PM on December 16, 2002


You're right, mcwetboy, for what it's worth.
posted by timeistight at 5:13 PM on December 16, 2002


Remember the guy who put up a frontpage post asking for advice because his daughter was smoking and listening to punk music. . .and then he put up an arbitrary link to a Green Day fan site in a cynical attempt to mimic posting guidelines?

How can we get some more of that?
posted by dgaicun at 5:15 PM on December 16, 2002


You're right, mcwetboy, for what it's worth.

I agree and I think it's worth $10, which is what I will give the next person who refrains from making a post like that.
posted by jaden at 5:44 PM on December 16, 2002


Ooh, lucky me, I refrained.
posted by jaden at 5:44 PM on December 16, 2002


"...and any time you feel the pain
hey jaden, refrain..."

This Pseudo-Beatles Moment® has been brought to you by the letters F and W, and by the number 11817.

Oh, and I concur with everyone. Especially quonsar.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:55 PM on December 16, 2002


", we should be in the background of our posts if not outright invisible"

I don't agree with that, but that buy.com post is fully bad. I don't know how Matt has been able to avoid deleting it. The thing is like a huge flashing "delete me" button. It is so madly bad that it seems like it should delete itself.

"Hi. I bought something on-line and I got bad service. Discuss."
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:22 PM on December 16, 2002


fully bad

So what happens to the partially bad, sort-of bad, moderately bad, semi-bad, or the good-with-slight-bad-leanings?
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:52 PM on December 16, 2002


I'm going to respectfully disagree here, althought the cited examples do push the boundaries.

From the "about" page:

Metafilter is a weblog that anyone can contribute a link or a comment to. A typical weblog is one person posting their thoughts on the unique things they find on the web. This website exists to break down the barriers between people, to extend a weblog beyond just one person, and to foster discussion among its members.

If this were memepool, then I would expect the posters to be in the background, if not invisible. It's not, though; it's still a weblog, and also a group weblog. As such, everyone posting to it has a different style, and some will necessarily put more of themselves into their contributions.

All things in moderation is, as always, a good guideline.
posted by yhbc at 6:57 PM on December 16, 2002


Ja, but zey vere all BAD.</ahnuld>

At the very least, y6y6y6, even if limited doses of self-referentiality may be tolerated, we shouldn't be making posts that are all about ourselves, or even thrusting ourselves into the foreground.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:57 PM on December 16, 2002


<--- signs up to be in yhbc's camp on this one
posted by rushmc at 7:30 PM on December 16, 2002


yhbc: Good quote! It illustrates the double standard Matt has established for MeFi, simultaneously proclaiming it to be a discussion site or weblog in one place, but not a discussion site or weblog elsewhere; saying it's not a good forum for political discussions while devoting an entire day to a highly political issue.

No wonder so many perceptions exist of what MeFi is!
posted by mischief at 7:36 PM on December 16, 2002


If they're well crafted, I don't see any reason not to have self-referential material in a post. Oissubke (among a few others) does this all the time, and I generally enjoy his contributions.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 7:47 PM on December 16, 2002


its better than people telling others what to do , thats for sure.
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:56 PM on December 16, 2002


No wonder so many perceptions exist of what MeFi is!

I find your observations strangely compelling, and mystifying, even.
posted by hama7 at 8:11 PM on December 16, 2002


I think the two posts are sort of different. One has links and new information [military one] and happens to have personal commentary in the FPP. The other [t-shirt] is badly worded, but a reasonable link. The Buy.com FPP is a link which is an excuse, basically, for a discussion about service, which might have been a good post if there had been some more research and though-provoking links.

illustrates the double standard....saying it's not a good forum for political discussions while devoting an entire day to a highly political issue.

You mean Link & Think? AIDS is political? Is cancer political? Taking a day off for an all-politics day is actually completely in keeping with the "MeFi's not [usually] good for political discussion" I really don't think it's a double standard as much as a flexible one. Matt [and others] seem to try hard to be cool to people who may not know better and come down harder on those who should. I've been gone for quite a while and don't know any of the folks implicated in the three stated posts, but I must say I don't mind when the front page posts aren't all my-me-mine. If there's a way to make it relevant to the person posting the link, and to the average MeFi member, so much the better.
posted by jessamyn at 8:15 PM on December 16, 2002


Where there's newsfilter, there's always mischief.
posted by Stan Chin at 8:17 PM on December 16, 2002


Virtually everything about AIDS is political.
posted by mischief at 8:19 PM on December 16, 2002


[waves at jessamyn] Hi.

" If there's a way to make it relevant to the person posting the link, and to the average MeFi member, so much the better."

So web journal posts are good to go on the front page? Hell, I've got tons of stuff I've passed on posting because i thought it belonged on my blog rather than on the front page of Metafilter.

If we're going to filter "cool things I want to talk about" rather than "cool stuff on the web" then I have plenty of things I think we'd love to chat about. I only get one per day right? That should work out just about right.

(look, we're splitting hairs here. the buy.com post could have been done well. it wasn't. it was just a web log entry.)

"For those keeping score, I still haven't heard back from them regarding my cancelled order."

Pure web log.

I draw the line at personal stories with the link as an after thought. Find a novel link. Then worry about the personal beef. Don't start with the beef and dig up a link so you can post the beef. Please.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:34 PM on December 16, 2002


Virtually everything about AIDS is political.

No, it's religikal.
posted by The God Complex at 8:42 PM on December 16, 2002


Virtually everything about AIDS is political.

Didn't even bother to understand the point, did you?
posted by eyeballkid at 11:31 PM on December 16, 2002


whether or not aids is political, links during "link and think" were still supposed to be good links. if someone had, for example, a friend dying from aids who used to work at buy.com, making a post declaring this with a buy.com link would still suck bigtime, even if it was "about" aids/hiv.

it's not that complicated - the guidelines say: A good post to MetaFilter is something that meets the following criteria: most people haven't seen it before, there is something interesting about the content on the page, and it might warrant discussion from others.

can't people simply sit down and read that sentence? note the words "and" and "might" in particular. you can deduce (yes, all of you, even the amazingly stupid ones, who seem to be posting more and more) that: the link itself has to be interesting; discussion is good but not the main point.

how much clearer do you want it to be? sweet jesus give me patience.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:35 AM on December 17, 2002


i don't understand why that stupid buy.com post still exists. there is nothing interesting about that linked page. there is nothing mefi-worthy in a YARC tale - yet another ripped-off consumer - and dozens of sites exist which depend on fresh YARC. this is a shitty precedent. but hey, it's only a website.
repeat after me:
there is something interesting about the content on the page
there is something interesting about the content on the page
there is something interesting about the content on the page
oooooooooooooooom.
oooooooooooooooom.
oooooooooooooooom...
posted by quonsar at 5:32 AM on December 17, 2002


Goddamnit, I didn't think I'd ever want to do this, but...

Matt, I'm posting as an individual, but I presume I'm speaking for quite a few of us when I say we'd appreciate hearing directly from you what your rationale is for keeping the buy.com post. Given your rather more active trigger finger with regard to deleting sub-par posts and comments of late, this one for reason(s) that aren't at all obvious somehow passes muster. I apologize for being rude enough to be "calling you out" on your damn site like this, but individual members treating MetaFilter as their own personal LiveJournal weblog is a particularly frightening precedent, and a change of heart on your part that allows this type of posting is worth hearing about in public. I'll read around the occasional NewsFilter post, but I'll be damned if I want to wade through a front page of MetaFilter full of
"... and they totally left the pickles on even though I told them not to!!!!!!!"
Of course, the usual "I complain because I care" and "Thanks for all your selfless hard work and dedication to keeping MetaFilter engaging" apply...
posted by JollyWanker at 5:35 AM on December 17, 2002


we'd appreciate hearing directly from you what your rationale is for keeping the buy.com post.

Did it not occur to you that perhaps Matt hasn't been onsite since this FPP was submitted?
posted by mischief at 5:38 AM on December 17, 2002


JollyWanker, we're not privy to Matt's schedule; he may simply not have seen the offending post yet.
posted by mcwetboy at 5:39 AM on December 17, 2002


Still, I think the worst post (or wierdest, or right up there) I've seen was that guy asking why people use daytime running lights. Anyone remember that one?
posted by adampsyche at 6:00 AM on December 17, 2002


Did it not occur to you that perhaps Matt hasn't been onsite since this FPP was submitted?
we're not privy to Matt's schedule; he may simply not have seen the offending post yet.

Don't be stupid, of course I considered that. The chances of Matt not having seen - at all - a MeFi post and a resulting MeTa thread about it after almost 24 hours seems relatively remote to me, since this is weekday activity. As I mentioned in my post, Matt has been fast and furious with the deleting lately, usually within an hour or two. Based on that, I infer he's decided to leave the buy.com post. If I'm wrong, I will apologize to him here for making that assumption. Until then, my post stands as written, but thanks for your concern.
posted by JollyWanker at 7:49 AM on December 17, 2002


Do you still believe in Santa Claus as well?
posted by mischief at 7:55 AM on December 17, 2002


No, but I do believe in not wasting effort on incessant babblers with nothing to add to a discussion.
posted by JollyWanker at 8:07 AM on December 17, 2002


I suppose you don't own any mirrors either. ;{P
posted by mischief at 8:12 AM on December 17, 2002


JollyWanker, with all due respect, you are not "speaking for" me when you essentially tell Matt he must justify himself over this. I think this sort of request/demand makes Matt's job onerous and thankless.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:23 AM on December 17, 2002


jollywanker:

I apologize for being rude enough to be "calling you out" on your damn site like this, but individual members treating MetaFilter as their own personal LiveJournal weblog is a particularly frightening precedent, and a change of heart on your part that allows this type of posting is worth hearing about in public.

this is hardly precedent, jolly. metafilter's been around for a long time, and a lot of different posts have been made. self links have been allowed, as well as posts made purely for discussion (like one post, in essence, asking people what their favorite drink is -- guess how many replies that one had, including some from me). exceptions get made in a few cases, but as well the site has not before been policed as heavily as it has been lately. were you to look, i bet you'd find many clunkers in the archives.

that said, the buy.com post was bad. no offense to robbie, but it was bad. it's probably still there because matt hasn't been around to do anything about it; i realize that is precisely the situation you minimize. have a little faith in matt. i imagine sure he enjoys answering callouts and complaints about deleted posts about as much as he enjoys actually deleting posts.

matt's last posting on metafilter was at (PST) 10:26 am; on metatalk, 9:42 am. matt has posted no thread to either metafilter or metatalk in the last day or so. the buy.com post was made at 11:55 am, so it can be thus stated that there is no proof matt was here to do something about it.
posted by moz at 8:49 AM on December 17, 2002


"i imagine sure" = "i imagine". i edit mistakes into my posts pretty often.
posted by moz at 8:50 AM on December 17, 2002


that guy asking why people use daytime running lights. Anyone remember that one?

oh yeah! a classic!
ya know - a collection of deleted mefi posts COULD have been a hilarious thing. educational too. too bad nobody foresaw the possibility. :-)
posted by quonsar at 8:57 AM on December 17, 2002


I don't mind first-person posts when they're interesting, but most of the time it's like the examples chosen by mcwetboy -- a bunch of pointless shaggy dog details that sap my will to live.

Here's two good reasons why first-person shouldn't be absolutely prohibited: my family's in the Zapruder film and I lived in Tanzania's Rift Valley.
posted by rcade at 10:23 AM on December 17, 2002


Until then, my post stands as written, but thanks for your concern.

Lighten up. Some of you take this place way too seriously.

Santa is Real!
posted by The God Complex at 11:28 AM on December 17, 2002


Ditto rcade.

Jolly. Settle down.
posted by rocketman at 11:49 AM on December 17, 2002


I was busy with the creative commons launch and hadn't seen the buy.com post until it was very late (also have intermittent blackouts at home in the recent storms).

FWIW, I agree with a lot of these points and wanted delete just about every old thread mentioned here, as the three links in the original post here all point to posts that were basically mailing list questions, personal blog posts, or excuses for discussion.

I'll be more judicious with the delete key, and wire in a "Reason for deletion" field that will be displayed on the deleted thread page.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:17 PM on December 17, 2002


"I was busy with the creative commons launch..."

And? Come on, don't keep us in suspense here.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:07 PM on December 17, 2002


Read all about it.
posted by timeistight at 1:11 PM on December 17, 2002


It looks great, by the way.
posted by timeistight at 1:18 PM on December 17, 2002


I was just going to bring up that Tanzania village link, rcade. It also managed to be a great post despite violating MeFi's prime directive against self-linking. Why? Because it was an absolutely fascinating link that nobody had seen before. If every violation of the rules led to something as wonderful as that, Matt's job would be a lot easier.
posted by snarkout at 1:18 PM on December 17, 2002


I read all that stuff, timeistight. I was hoping for something a little more personal and revealing, like "We all got drunk and toilet-papered the Googleplex".
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:57 PM on December 17, 2002


"and wire in a "Reason for deletion" field that will be displayed on the deleted thread page."

This would be pure gold BTW. It could only lead to more head nodding and less head scratching.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:33 PM on December 17, 2002


I'll be more judicious with the delete key

If buy judicious you mean absolutely ruthless, yippee! I would gladly buy you a new keyboard if you were to wear out the delete key on yours :-)

(I have a mental image of a special mathowie keyboard with "delete comment" and "delete thread" buttons)
posted by dg at 2:47 PM on December 17, 2002


a collection of deleted mefi posts

Maybe we could call it KillFilter! ;-P
posted by mischief at 3:16 PM on December 17, 2002


Thanks for the clarification, Matt. I appreciate it.
posted by JollyWanker at 8:48 AM on December 18, 2002


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