Can we cut down on NewsFilter posts? October 5, 2005 8:13 AM   Subscribe

I hate to rehash this old problem, but as of 11:00 am EST, 4/10 Front Page Posts are of the Newsfilter variety. I've noticed that since Katrina hit, the Newsfilter problem has gotten much much worse. Is there a way to stem the tide?
posted by Edible Energy to Etiquette/Policy at 8:13 AM (88 comments total)

Set an example and post more good links on your own?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:14 AM on October 5, 2005


Don't read the newsfilter and don't post comments in them to the effect of "this is newsfilter and I'm tired of it."

Thanks. Have a nice day.
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:15 AM on October 5, 2005


Unfortunately, not clicking on them doesn't make them go away. My problem is I can barely find the real links in all the crap.
posted by Edible Energy at 8:17 AM on October 5, 2005


I was just thinking the same thing. By my count though 23 of the posts in the last two days aren't much more than links to things that are newsy.
posted by sciurus at 8:20 AM on October 5, 2005


And not just newsy in the sense of "cool panda is born in zoo." Newsy in the sense of "this is what is happening in the world that I'm outraged about."
posted by dios at 8:22 AM on October 5, 2005


Metafilter: Love it or leave it just ignore all the parts of it you don't love.

God forbid anyone would actually want to improve something instead of just ignoring the bad stuff.
posted by Bugbread at 8:23 AM on October 5, 2005


I don't think posting good non-news links will do anything to stem the tide, instead it will just increase the amount of stuff to wade through on the front page.
posted by sciurus at 8:24 AM on October 5, 2005


As we speak, another one is posted.
on preview: and deleted. wow, a double newsfilter post. That's quality.
posted by Edible Energy at 8:30 AM on October 5, 2005


EE, let anyone flag posts they deem as "newsfilter-ish". If a statistically significant number of users to page views deems it as newsfilter, it gets the newsfilter tag. Then enable a newsfilterfilter in profiles, so visitors NEVER see a newsfilter thread. Or something.
posted by rzklkng at 8:38 AM on October 5, 2005


And not just newsy in the sense of "cool panda is born in zoo." Newsy in the sense of "this is what is happening in the world that I'm outraged about."

Or the ever-so-popular "this news event helps perfectly illustrate my personal agenda!"

I'd prefer that if we do get newsfilter posts (and we will) that they at least be as neutral as possible. Save the agenda/outrage for the comments.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:45 AM on October 5, 2005


We really, really need news.metafilter.com, so we (er, #1 and #1b) can start deleting this shit here. News is fine, I don't mind the news. But I don't want it here any more than I want Friday Flash links on news.google.com.
posted by Plutor at 8:51 AM on October 5, 2005


Alright, I'll flag every Newsfilter item that isn't post-worthy I see as noise, and whoever else doesn't like em should do the same.
posted by Edible Energy at 8:57 AM on October 5, 2005


But flags only do what...let the moderators know that a post is bad, noise, etc. It doesn't do anything for you as a viewer and doesn't directly change anything, right?
posted by rzklkng at 8:59 AM on October 5, 2005


Is there a way to stem the tide?

Yes there is! Let me second Plutor's absolutely terrific idea of creating a new section of the site, titled "NewsFilter" where such posts are welcomed with open arms. This will satisfy both the large number of Mefites (perhaps even a majority) who like and enjoy news posts, and the large number of Mefites (perhaps even a majority) who absolutely hate news posts.

It would also help contain some of the incredible venom that inevitably arises in the political threads, and spills over everywhere else.
posted by LarryC at 9:00 AM on October 5, 2005


Is there a way to stem the tide?

Perhaps some sort of "link levee" system?
posted by ColdChef at 9:00 AM on October 5, 2005


I'd like to make it clear that I am far from the first to suggest a separate NewsFilter site.
posted by Plutor at 9:03 AM on October 5, 2005


I vote jessamyn be promoted to #1a. (mathowie to remain #1)
posted by biffa at 9:03 AM on October 5, 2005


But there aren't any wikipedia links on the front page yet today, and I suppose that's a start...
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:07 AM on October 5, 2005


I prefer the idea of a newsfilter tag that can be filtered out. That would leave everything on the main page for those who prefer it, but would make them invisible for those who are annoyed by them.
(And personally, my problem isn't with newsfilter, it's with SHITTY newsfilter. Especially of the one link variety. The news about the squids or the glowing sea was really cool.)
posted by klangklangston at 9:11 AM on October 5, 2005


Set an example and post more good links on your own?
Somebody always says this. It sounds nice, but a person only stumbles across so many great links. Most of the time "setting an example" consists of not posting when you don't have anything good to post - but that's invisible, and doesn't send any kind of message at all.

Don't read the newsfilter
That's the other stock response. I don't like it because it says, essentially, "post anything you want! The burden's on the readers to look over all the posts and pick out what's worthwhile." But the point of MetaFilter is very much in the filtering. It shouldn't be on the front page if it's not a great find, and if it's cut-n-pasted from news.google.com it wasn't a great find. We all know how to find that. And almost all the energy of the site gets sucked into these 100+ threads, taking attention away from the unique, off-the-beaten-path topics that really ought to get more.

While the "best of the web" slogan may not be an official description of what the site's about, I don't like the idea that it should become "MetaFilter: Most of the Web! Filter it yourself."
posted by Wolfdog at 9:27 AM on October 5, 2005


I'm starting to think that it would be good for there to be a newsfilter portion of the site, even though I didn't used to think so. Here's my incredibly long-winded reason why:

from the posting guidelines:

As a first-time poster or new member of MetaFilter, take a look at the older posts to get a feel for what constitutes a good link. Look at the links that carry 10 or 20 comments to see what everyone is talking about. Is the link you're about to post provocative enough to show to everyone? If so post away.

now, of course the number 10 or 20 comes from back when MeFi had fewer active members. It's the equivalent of 50 or 100, nowadays. So what gets a lot of posts? Inflammatory political newsfilter, frankly. Stuff like this encourages people to believe that those kinds of posts are what MeFi's about. I think we're at a point, now, where not only moderation policy, but the guidelines themselves and community response are encouraging inflammatory crap newsfilter posts, albeit unintentionally. I don't know if there's a solution besides official policy change on the subject. Are we going to be the guardian/cnn/bbc/nyt/wp discussion board, or are we going to be a more generalized community weblog? all signs point to the former, at the moment, and seem to imply that we can't manage being both.
posted by shmegegge at 9:33 AM on October 5, 2005


oh, and wolfdog nailed it.
posted by shmegegge at 9:34 AM on October 5, 2005


Metafilter, like many great cultural collaborations, relies upon the creative tension manufactured by internal contradictions. At times, Lennon hated McCartney (and no doubt vice versa), but they needed each other for what they bring to the table.

Whinging in MeTa for the umpteenth time when you can skip it or flag it - two inbuilt mechanisms the technology, or your own discernment, allows - is futile. This has been discussed to death.

The very same arguments you use against so-called newsfilter - that it clutters up the home page - can be used against your complaint: it clutters up MeTa. Please stop.
posted by dash_slot- at 9:46 AM on October 5, 2005


dash_slot- : "Whinging in MeTa for the umpteenth time when you can skip it or flag it - two inbuilt mechanisms the technology, or your own discernment, allows - is futile. This has been discussed to death."

Then perhaps an issue that hasn't been discussed to death: There is no "newsfilter" flag. If the official position is that newsfilter is bad (which matt has kinda indicated, but not severely), then how about getting "newsfilter" added to the flag options?
posted by Bugbread at 10:33 AM on October 5, 2005


There is another option, as well, which is to make sure to comment in posts that do float your boat. My interests are pretty broad, as are many other's here, and I see a lot of very good posts that only get a couple, or even only 10, comments in them. My guess is that a lot more people click through on many of those posts, and even enjoy them, but don't leave a comment. Then, when someone sees 178 comments for the latest BushCo outrage post, they might start to think that the community cares more about newsfilter posts than about artistic or quirky (or whathaveyou) posts.




LarryC writes "It would also help contain some of the incredible venom that inevitably arises in the political threads, and spills over everywhere else."

Larry raises an incredibly important point. The strong feelings about politics mean that newsfilter/politics posts often give rise to moments of vitriol which poison the tone of the site. Many of the same arguments and insults shift from post to post, and then even outside newsfilter threads it can be hard for people to tone their rhetoric down to anything remotely civil.
posted by OmieWise at 10:54 AM on October 5, 2005


Well, heck, I wouldn't mind an explicit Newsfilter portion of the site.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:56 AM on October 5, 2005


Schmegege: No, usually the posts with 20-30 comments are the ones that are the best links. There's just not a lot to yell about there.
posted by klangklangston at 10:57 AM on October 5, 2005


Yes there is! Let me second Plutor's absolutely terrific idea of creating a new section of the site, titled "NewsFilter" where such posts are welcomed with open arms. This will satisfy both the large number of Mefites (perhaps even a majority) who like and enjoy news posts, and the large number of Mefites (perhaps even a majority) who absolutely hate news posts.

It would also help contain some of the incredible venom that inevitably arises in the political threads, and spills over everywhere else.


Don't we already have a place for newsfilter and venom? It's called Fark if I recall correctly.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:59 AM on October 5, 2005


I agree that it's time for MeFiNews. It'll keep the personalities confined to a specific location instead of all over the Blue, thus causing a decrease of hostility in threads that have nothing to do with news, politics, religion, etc.

More important, it'll keep the Blue focused on what's really important for the Blue: best of the web gems that you've stumbled across. It's clear that there's a large minority of people who like the News; fine, just keep it off the Blue and confined to NewsFilter.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 11:01 AM on October 5, 2005


Except that Fark isn't MetaFilter, and we're concerned about MetaFilter, Pollomacho. Metafilter.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 11:02 AM on October 5, 2005


If the official position is that newsfilter is bad (which matt has kinda indicated, but not severely)
I think it's more complicated than that:

Matt isn't anti-Newsfilter, or anti-Wikipedia.

Clearly, he - and Mefi itself - is eclectic. What is there, is there to be used. And used wisely.

Blanket all-embracing dismissals like newsfilter is bad, or stem this tide! are as out of line as posting everything from CNN.com.

There is no "newsfilter" flag.
On the guidelines page, mathowie does not mention Newsfilter, or the practice which that phrase is short for. If he disapproves so much, isn't that where he'd comment?

Discernment is the essence of the filter; discerning posters, commenters and readers. You are not expected to like everything on the library shelf, the TV schedule or the cinemaplex. Exercise choice. Skip joyously and philosophically past what you find distasteful,......and relax. Why not?
posted by dash_slot- at 11:07 AM on October 5, 2005


confined to a specific location instead of all over the Blue, thus causing a decrease of hostility in threads that have nothing to do with news, politics, religion, etc.

I agree that the spillover effect is bad. For instance, this comment is pure unadulterated noise. It really struck me how a thread about nature and the season of Fall could illicit that kind of response.
posted by dios at 11:11 AM on October 5, 2005


FWIW, I agree about the poisoning of Mefi by the shrill, the the inarticulate, the pure bloody rude. I occasionally protest at that, and it occasionally works. I don't know why more folks don't get as upset at the doodyheaders as they do at the newsfilterers.

Horses for courses, I guess.
posted by dash_slot- at 11:11 AM on October 5, 2005


dios:

How about we stay on topic here? your comment's an excellent example of cross thread partisan sniping. Would you have brought that one here if an ideological ally of yours had said it?

Please, see this as a rhetorical question - it needs no reply.
posted by dash_slot- at 11:14 AM on October 5, 2005


Except that Fark isn't MetaFilter, and we're concerned about MetaFilter, Pollomacho. Metafilter.

Really? So you're saying that we should waste Matt's time, energy, bandwidth and money on another layer of the MetaEmpire to provide a space that is full of easily locatable news items and the snarky agenda filled comments that follow them rather than just deleting the posts and letting people go to one of the million other sites like Fark, LGF, etc., ad infinitum... that provide precisely that. How dare I suggest that I was the one thinking of MetaFilter!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:15 AM on October 5, 2005


Skip joyously and philosophically past what you find distasteful,......and relax. Why not?

Because, like AskMeFi, MeFi posts scroll off the page rather quickly and are overwhelmed by one specific category of post: News. Further, the popularity of News creates a vicious cycle of encouraging more news and discouraging some of the more interesting links out there. News focuses on comments in the thread (thus creating a hierarchy where more comments is seemingly "better" than less); News focuses on the exchange of information in the thread (instead of focusing on great links); News creates rivalries and personality conflicts; News isn't, by definition, a great find (it's simply there and worthy of discussion).

NewsFilter is great for disseminating information, but terrible at creating "gems of the web". Therefore, I think that a separate site here would be the best solution.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 11:17 AM on October 5, 2005


I vote jessamyn be promoted to #1a

Oh thanks. Here's my feeling on NewsFilter posts: they won't go away but they can be mitigated to be less lousy and less obtrusive.

updatefilter if you have something to say about a topic that is already represented on the front page, post it in-thread instead of as a new post. If folks see lame updatefilter posts, flag them as doubles and maybe even take the time to put a comment redirecting to the existing thread for folks interested in XYZ topic

trust the community If you don't have time to make a good post about a newsy topic, skip it. Someone else will post something better. This is the allen.spauding rule of newsfilter.

use your tags It's easier to see if your topic has been posted recently if you search tags and if people accurately tag the things they do post.

give it a chance some of the lamest newsfilter posts can be saved by some useful discussion and more good links. If the thread isn't already derails by too many "SUXX0r5 n3WZF1L73r!!!" comments, maybe adding some relevant info or observation would help.

if you must newsfilter there are breaking news items that will be of interest to many MetaFilter members. Your pet item is likely not one of them, but it might be, and you're going to post it anyhow. Find a good story to link to [original writing over AP/wire services dreck], include additional links to backgrounders, links to other MeFi posts on the same topic or good commentaries on the topic.

These are just my ideas, they're not rules or guidelines or anything else, but I think while "flag and move on" and "just ignore them" are somewhat overly simplistic solutions to the newsfilter problem, there are other things people can do besides just posting better links generally.
posted by jessamyn at 11:32 AM on October 5, 2005


On the guidelines page, mathowie does not mention Newsfilter
I think that's precisely what "A good thread values uniqueness over novelty" is about, although it's phrased so obliquely that it's hard to notice what it's saying.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:34 AM on October 5, 2005


some of the lamest newsfilter posts can be saved by some useful discussion and more good links.
...and I have an excellent recipe for soup made from rocks.
The moral of that tale may be "by working together, with everyone contributing what they can, a greater good is achieved" or it may be "you can arrange matters so that other people contribute everything, and you contribute nothing." Choose your moral according to taste.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:39 AM on October 5, 2005


Wofldog: As a kid, I always assumed the latter. The soup was still good, though, and we wouldn't have had it if not for those nice soldiers....
posted by lodurr at 11:44 AM on October 5, 2005


^250,000 MetaTalk comments. We all talk too much
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:45 AM on October 5, 2005


Can I be bored with calling for NewsFilter rather than bored with news FPPs? I'm pretty sure that Matt could figure out how to put another Metafilter instance up for news if he wants to. He hasn't. That's really all the answer I need.
posted by phearlez at 11:49 AM on October 5, 2005


Pollomacho writes "It's called Fark if I recall correctly."

Fark has no intelligent disscusion unless the topic is naked people.
posted by Mitheral at 12:02 PM on October 5, 2005


XQUZYPHYR writes "250,000 MetaTalk comments. We all talk too much"

That's actually a kind of sad statistic, we're up to just under 1.07M comments in the blue and 400K in the green, so about a sixth of our energies are meta.

PS: Matt threads http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/1 thru http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/18 throw CF errors, maybe a redirect on at least 1 pointing to 19 would be appropriate.
posted by Mitheral at 12:11 PM on October 5, 2005


Fark has no intelligent disscusion unless the topic is naked people.

Yet, the contentious newsfilter posts here are real gems of intellectual enlightenment?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:15 PM on October 5, 2005


Pollomacho : Yet, the contentious newsfilter posts here are real gems of intellectual enlightenment?

Unless Fark has changed signficantly in the year or so since I gave up on it, Newsfilter here is like gold, relatively speaking.

/and there aren't as many failed jokes in the headlines
posted by Godbert at 12:21 PM on October 5, 2005


dash_slot-: I hear you, and I agree that Matt is not severly anti-newsfilter. I would guess, however, that the reason that newsfilter isn't in the guidelines is because the guidelines were written before the great News Rush of '02 (or thereabouts) (add or subtract one year for Daylight Guessing Time). I know that he's explicitly given the thumbs up to things like news about the tsunami, Katrina, WTC, and other "big-ass" news. I know that he's complained about smaller news. And doing a search on "newsfilter 'by mathowie'", it looks like I've slightly misremembered both his position and what 'newsfilter' means: newsfilter is "stuff you see on the front page of cnn.com", not (as I was selectively remembering it) "news about some sort of fault of politicians whose party you don't like". From what I can see, Mathowie is anti-newsfilter, but the stuff we're calling "newsfilter" probably more accurately would be called "polifilter", and Matt has pretty clearly stated both back in 2002 and last month that Mefi 'doesn't do politics well' and that he's tired of the DailyKos stuff. Of course, that's not saying that it's against the rules, but since the rules are pretty vague, matt saying "I don't like" and "I'm tired of" generally means "probably shouldn't be done".

I know there were some better quotes from matt about polifilter (was it post November2004 rush where he went on a news&poli killing spree?), but I'm lousy at finding quotes by people.
posted by Bugbread at 12:21 PM on October 5, 2005


Newsfilter here is like gold, relatively speaking.

So if we do newsfilter better than the other newsfilter sites, doesn't that make ours the "Best of the Web" and thus worthy of the blue?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:24 PM on October 5, 2005


Metafilter: SUXX0r5 n3WZF1L73r!!!
sorry

I think this is all just wishful thinking. For starters, I think splitting the site like that is a terrible idea. It'll lead to (a) endless debates over what belongs where, which inevitably leads to (b) endless cross-posting and/or (c) segmenting the user base, all of which are bad.

Also, news is inherently "new", and it's happening all the time, so the percentage of "new stuff on the web" that is news-related is going to be inherently higher than stuff that's just neat.

I think this has all been exacerbated lately by the spate of major news that provokes outrage discussion.
posted by mkultra at 12:26 PM on October 5, 2005


I like newsfiltery stuff. So there.
posted by delmoi at 12:42 PM on October 5, 2005


Again, using the tag (not flag) system to mark things as "newsfilter" and giving a "sort by" that would exclude things tagged as newsfilter seems to be the best way to keep everything on one page and allow those who want to see Newsfilter to participate in it, while those who don't can be blissfully unaware.
posted by klangklangston at 1:14 PM on October 5, 2005


That's a very sensible solution, klangklangston. However, it will lead to fragmentation of the community - by effectively, if not literally, creating a subdomain news.metafilter.com - and I doubt that that's where Mefi is going (if it were, it woulda...)
posted by dash_slot- at 1:28 PM on October 5, 2005


I honestly don't mind a bit of news filter as long as it's not the same stuff - different pile that we've seen every day for the past week/month/year. Maybe we should be aiming for 1 big "Bad GOP, no cookie" thread, 1 big anti-gay outrage thread, 1 big "topic of the month" (hurricaines right now) per week so we all can still vent and discuss this stuff without it taking over the front page.
posted by Mitheral at 2:02 PM on October 5, 2005


I like NewsFiltery stuff.
I like it so much that sometimes that's all I want to see.
So I love (and was going to suggest) the idea that one be able to require/exclude certain tags upon arrival at MetaFilter, and -- a separate issue -- urge people to include the new "newsfilter" tag in their posts, when appropriate.
posted by Aknaton at 2:26 PM on October 5, 2005


In order to sympathetically reify such a far-reaching perspective into the collective preferment and taste of an eclectic group - and the normative relations emerging from same - it is neccessary to pick a context, a framework if you will. No such valuation of individual contribution can be considered as more than self-reflective noise without a background, a metric agreed upon as meaningful by the community as a whole.

Thus I don't think there can be any real progress on this issue until the deeper, more fundamental one is addressed. This deeper issue, and its ramifications, touch everything that is MetaFilter, and until it is discussed we are only observing symptoms and effects, not problems and causes. An issue such as this, which frankly stares any reader of the site in the face upon looking into any thread, can be ignored only at risk of the long term health and vibrancy of the community.
posted by freebird at 2:41 PM on October 5, 2005


Doesn't this mean that this post is newsfilterfilter?
posted by clevershark at 2:59 PM on October 5, 2005


freebird channeling EB. Nice.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:24 PM on October 5, 2005


Let me clarify myself a little bit. Rereading my post (which I had written after waking up and looking at the front page), I realized that it sounds like I'm against all news items on the blue. I'm not.
Like any other link, if it's truly unique and interesting, it's a good post. There've been plenty of worthy newsy posts that I recall (especially the obituaries).
It's just that I feel the community's tolerance for shitty news posts has skyrocketed after Katrina. Some people in this thread encourage skipping crappy posts, but how is that self-policing? I think that MeFites have to be even more vocal about crappy news posts.
posted by Edible Energy at 3:57 PM on October 5, 2005


Some people in this thread encourage skipping crappy posts, but how is that self-policing?

If a user is unwilling to make a post they think interesting for fear of invoking the wrath of the community, is that truly self-policing? Or merely another example of the mob-rule which has lurked beneath the surface of every community since the advent of humankind? If MetaFilter is to be something truly different, something better than the brute shouting discourse of the street or the juvenile hue and cry of LGF, can we really settle for this fascism-in-sheep's clothes?

Do you really want to leave the MetaSoul in the safekeeping of the MetaDemagogues? Place control over the earnest bustle of the front page in the hands of the elite denizens of MetaTalk? In this "land of the free" with all its troubled history, do you really want to bring forth another War between the Blue and the Grey?
posted by freebird at 4:11 PM on October 5, 2005


"In this "land of the free" with all its troubled history, do you really want to bring forth another War between the Blue and the Grey?"

You've been saving that up for a long, long time waiting for just the right thread, haven't you?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:13 PM on October 5, 2005


i love newsfilter posts for the sole reason that newsfilter seems to piss so many people off.
posted by Stynxno at 4:17 PM on October 5, 2005


You've been saving that up for a long, long time waiting for just the right thread, haven't you?

It's been done.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:40 PM on October 5, 2005


actually M_C_D, I was planning to head in more of a panopticon direction. But I'm reading Vidal's "Lincoln" and that just kinda fell right out of the coffee. I'm pretty happy with it though... OP: damn it! ah well Kirkaracha, great minds think alike I guess. :)
posted by freebird at 4:45 PM on October 5, 2005


What most people call newsfilter is usually quite good. Any time somebody takes an interesting current issue, adds context and supporting links, and throws it on the front page--I'm happy. So, I'll do the contrary dance and issue a call for more newsfilter posts. Part of filtering the web is indeed filtering the current news. (This is also why news.metafilter.com wouldn't work. Newsfilter posts are not just single-link news items. They often have very valuable context, framing and supporting links.)

Again, the issue isn't newsfilter. It's quality of the posts in general. There have been plenty of great newsfilter posts and plenty of bad ones. Rather than calling for an end to newsfilter let's call for an end to Easter. The whole affair is nothing more than consumeristic indoctrination. I mean we hide candy from kids and then they 'hunt' for it? And the Easter Bunny is this creature who 'brings' happiness--so happiness is no longer an internal state it's an acquired product?

Err. Sorry. Let's just have better posts.
posted by nixerman at 4:50 PM on October 5, 2005


I've noticed that since Katrina hit, the Newsfilter problem has gotten much much worse. Is there a way to stem the tide?

Duh! Have less hurricanes!
posted by freebird at 4:59 PM on October 5, 2005


Fewer.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:24 PM on October 5, 2005


Really? from Bartleby.com, I see:

The traditional rule says that you should use fewer for things that can be counted (fewer than four players) but less with mass terms for things of measurable extent (less paper, less than a gallon of paint).

So, if I were predicting that the number of hurricanes this season would be below 5, I would say "have fewer than 5" but as I am using a mass, non-specified quantity, shouldn't it be "less"?

On the other hand, I'd have to say "fewer" sounds better, so I suspect you're correct.
posted by freebird at 5:30 PM on October 5, 2005


stynxno!
posted by cortex at 5:56 PM on October 5, 2005


but how is that self-policing?
I've always taken the idea of "self-policing" on this website to apply to both the site as a whole and each individual participant. if I'm to share the responsibility of policing my peers, I should feel comfortable doing the same for myself. so, if I have the right to take it to metatalk I also have the responsibility and freedom to move along past posts (both FPP and discussion) that don't suit me. I do so confident that metafilter will reward me soon enough and yet again with some awesome biography or art collection or music archive or all at the same time.

as for newsfilter, sometimes it's fun. there's been plenty of signal lately though, it seems like, so whatever.

On the other hand, I'd have to say "fewer" sounds better, so I suspect you're correct.
"I'd have to say _______ sounds better, so I suspect it's correct." should be a valid rule of grammar.
posted by carsonb at 6:37 PM on October 5, 2005


CarsonB: If you're so damned self-policing, how come you've never taken yourself to MeTa? Right. That's what I thought, buddy.
posted by klangklangston at 6:51 PM on October 5, 2005


I'd have to say "damn" sounds better, rather than "damned," so I suspect it's correct.
posted by carsonb at 7:29 PM on October 5, 2005


cortex!
posted by Stynxno at 6:20 AM on October 6, 2005


I say just wait until the next election. Then there won't be so much NewsFilter on the front page.

(At which point we'll be in MeTa bitching about PoliticsFilter.)
posted by caution live frogs at 6:22 AM on October 6, 2005


freebird : "If a user is unwilling to make a post they think interesting for fear of invoking the wrath of the community, is that truly self-policing? Or merely another example of the mob-rule which has lurked beneath the surface of every community since the advent of humankind?"

Answer: It's truly self-policing.

That aside, the issue comes down (looking over mathowie's previous posts on newsfilter) to people using different definitions of "newsfilter". Some people (such as matt) are using it to refer to crappy news posts that you could read by just popping over to cnn.com. Presumably, everyone thinks that's bad. Some other people are using it to refer to any and all posts involving news. Some would find that bad, some would find it good.

Personally, my opinion (not that anyone has asked) is that news is like politics: Mefi doesn't do it well. If news posts tended to be really interesting, deep posts that show a particularly good site/link, and leading to interesting and informative discussions, then that would be awesome. If political posts tended to be really interesting, deep posts that show a particularly good site/link, and leading to interesting and informative discussions, then that would be also be awesome. Unfortunately, neither of those are true, so I think that getting rid of news/poli would be more akin to "sacrificing one innocent in order to protect the lives of many innocents" more than "throwing out the baby with the bathwater".
posted by Bugbread at 7:32 AM on October 6, 2005


Answer: It's truly self-policing.

Nonsense - that would be policing by a mob. That would be individual judgement and thought being forced into conformity with a normative hegemony imposed by the dictatorship of the crowd. A hollow jest laughed at by the rulers of discursive fashion who steer it from the shadows; a cenotaph of the ideals of freedom and community.
posted by freebird at 9:02 AM on October 6, 2005


freebird: your stilted prose, it is like hot chocolate on naked skin to me.

....for fear of invoking the wrath of the community, is that truly self-policing?
and
....forced into conformity with a normative hegemony imposed by the dictatorship of the crowd.
naw, that's just being wussy. you paid your five bucks (or whatever) to participate, so participate. the wrath of the metafilter mob is not the end-all be-all. it's not nearly that bad; more like dirty little kids beating their fists on the ground most of the time. oh, and the phrase "dictatorship of the crowd" made me laugh.
posted by carsonb at 9:30 AM on October 6, 2005


freebird : "Nonsense - that would be policing by a mob. That would be individual judgement and thought being forced into conformity with a normative hegemony imposed by the dictatorship of the crowd. A hollow jest laughed at by the rulers of discursive fashion who steer it from the shadows; a cenotaph of the ideals of freedom and community."

Yeah, but it would also be self-policing, and one of those "exception proves the rule" dealies whereby we get good things from mob rule. That's what makes it so special and damn-near miraculuous: it's like mob rule resulting in everybody getting a fudge sundae and a foot massage.
posted by Bugbread at 9:32 AM on October 6, 2005


I read that "foot sundae and a fudge massage" the first time. I'm going back to bed.
posted by carsonb at 9:45 AM on October 6, 2005


Doing what the dangerously murmuring crowd surrounding you with balled fists suggest is hardly self-policing.
posted by freebird at 10:12 AM on October 6, 2005


*crowds around freebird, balls fists, murmurs dangerously*
posted by cortex at 10:36 AM on October 6, 2005


freebird : "Doing what the dangerously murmuring crowd surrounding you with balled fists suggest is hardly self-policing."

Well, since the crowd surrounding you with balled fists can't actually do anything to you with those fists, and you can do what you like without them having any power at all to stop you, I can't see what else it could be. It's certainly not policing by the mob, because the mob is impotent.

Basically, any time you prevent yourself from doing something, you're self-policing. If you're prevented by Matt, it's Matt-policing.
posted by Bugbread at 10:41 AM on October 6, 2005


The mob may be impotent, but TomKat, apparently, isn't. NewsFilter at 11:00!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:47 AM on October 6, 2005


I am really excited by the wide support in this thread for a new section of MetaFilter for News and Politics. But really, only one man's opinion counts here. Matt, what do you think of the idea?
posted by LarryC at 10:51 AM on October 6, 2005


any time you prevent yourself from doing something, you're self-policing

You misunderstand freedom and coercion in a modern context. The powers that be discovered long ago that sending jack-booted troopers around to physically force citizens to the will of the State is much less economically efficient that making you "choose" to do what the state wants, through the "soft", seductive persuasions of culture, consumerism, and group dynamics. The latter is also much more effective, as the naive believe they are making their own decisions - "self-policing" if you will.

If we want MetaFilter to be just another such self-perpetuating panopticon of one-way mirrors and the opiate smoke of self-congratulation, we may as well just lay down and open all orifices to the well-greased PepsiBlue bottles of the arbiters of dialectic fashion.
posted by freebird at 10:58 AM on October 6, 2005


MetaFilter: just another such self-perpetuating panopticon of one-way mirrors and the opiate smoke of self-congratulation... lay[ing] down and open[ing] all orifices to the well-greased PepsiBlue bottles of the arbiters of dialectic fashion
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:04 AM on October 6, 2005


freebird : "You misunderstand freedom and coercion in a modern context...If we want MetaFilter to be just another such self-perpetuating panopticon of one-way mirrors and the opiate smoke of self-congratulation, we may as well just lay down and open all orifices to the well-greased PepsiBlue bottles of the arbiters of dialectic fashion."

Ah, but what if we don't want to open all orifices to the well-greased PepsiBlue bottles?

Your argument is basically "people influence others. If you allow yourself to be influenced in any way by others, you're living a fascist nightmare and may as well do stuff you hate." It's a silly argument, and there are years of proof in the archives that, hey! Metafilter can support self-policing, and, hey! It can also dislike PepsiBlue! Telling us that we have to like one if we like the other is like me telling you that you have to like spam if you like getting email from friends.
posted by Bugbread at 11:15 AM on October 6, 2005


*crowds around balls, murmers freebird, fists dangerously*
posted by cortex at 11:20 AM on October 6, 2005


cortex : "*crowds around balls, murmers freebird, fists dangerously*"

Sorry, cortex, dangerous fisting belongs in this thread.
posted by Bugbread at 11:30 AM on October 6, 2005


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