Should a poster 'moderate' his post? October 3, 2001 8:06 AM   Subscribe

I just saw something I haven't seen in such a concentrated form before, so let me ask this question: Should a poster 'moderate' his post? Play talk-show host so to speak..?
posted by Perigee to Etiquette/Policy at 8:06 AM (24 comments total)

posted by daveadams at 8:09 AM on October 3, 2001

yeah, No.
posted by jessamyn at 8:35 AM on October 3, 2001

What are you talking about?
posted by revbrian at 8:54 AM on October 3, 2001

yeah, webchick did that after she posted her article on weblogs; I found it to be incredibly annoying (never mind that it was a self-post).
posted by rebeccablood at 9:04 AM on October 3, 2001

I was just about to post the same thing talking about this thread about the movie The Siege.

I found it to be more like an annoying professor than a talk show host.
posted by palegirl at 9:11 AM on October 3, 2001

revbrian, I think what Perigee is referring to is some peoples' habits of posting something to the front page, and then when people respond to it, responding to them as if they were the moderator of that particular post. So, there's a post on, whatever, legwax, and someone says "I like legwax." then the original poster says "I hear you, but don't you think that...blah blah blah?" and then does the same for subsequent posts, essentially replying to the posts that accumulate. I think it's a bad idea for a few reasons:

1. discourages posting from people who don't agree with the "moderator's" point of view, or who don't want to be part of and endless back-n-forth
2. discourages group communication and encourages many separate dialogs [better suited to, say, email]
3. threads get big, quick

not to say that you suck if you have more than one post in a thread, but at some point it's usually a good idea to step back and say "do I have anything to add that hasn't already been said, or do I just want to respond to this post because I'm framing the discussion here....?"
posted by jessamyn at 9:15 AM on October 3, 2001

"Moderate", no. Not that the person could implement the idea, anyway, other than through intimidation or somesuch.

I'm a little confused by your comment, though, Jessamyn.

1> Re moderator: see above. Next, if they don't want to be part of a "b-n-f", they can post their comment, never return, and they won't be. Problem solved. If somebody just *has* to talk to them, they can e-mail.
2> The post is public, everyone has the ability to read each comment, and make their own. Group communication. Where's the discouragement? If someone feels intimidated(or whatever) by lots of prior comments, that's not everyone else's responsibility. They're supposed to wait for the shy people to go first? Separate dialogue will happen because discussions break off into subtopics. Not a bad thing. The fact that it's sometimes a little work to keep track of them is a consequence of the way MeFi is structured(or not, rather.)
3> What's bad about big threads if there's actual discussion going on? If people get really granular, then yes, it should go to e-mail, but from scanning the thread(and I do plan to read it later), it looks like it remained relatively conceptual and good. The Webchick thread had many comments from some people I'm particularly interested in reading, starting with Zeldman. He didn't come in until pretty far down, though(see 2).

As for the Miguel post, that's just the way he "talks", and yes he talks a lot. It's been beaten into the ground. But it's also been acknowledged that he often brings up good points. Unfortunately that thread didn't go very far and it does look dominated.
posted by Su at 9:41 AM on October 3, 2001

not to say that you suck if you have more than one post in a thread, but at some point it's usually a good idea to step back and say "do I have anything to add that hasn't already been said, or do I just want to respond to this post because I'm framing the discussion here....?"

When I post a front-page thread, it's usually something I'm interested in discussing, so I will often post more than once to that thread and even engage in the post/response scenario, but I don't feel that I'm moderating so much as participating actively based on my interest level.

Consequently, I'm not troubled by people steering a thread as long as they aren't squelching discussion or engaging in other evil behaviors.
posted by briank at 10:20 AM on October 3, 2001

I'm all in favor of friendly discussion, even if it involves repeated posts [witness here], I've just usually seen the sort of moderator behavior in the past on MeFi where the post becomes one person's personal lecture or soapbox ["Dr Bronners rules, if you don't think so, you are suckers!" "let me explain to you why your ideas are misguided if you diasgree"] and discussion becomes impossible; it's just playing king of the hill as to who can post the most retorts. And then, in this case, the thread gets big with no real information being imparted [to answer your query, Su] and everyone loses.

This is just in my MeFiToPia, mind you, in general MeFi is fine with me.
posted by jessamyn at 10:54 AM on October 3, 2001

No. Doing so only leads to you being accused of hogging the thread. Make the front-page post, respond where you feel you have something worth saying in response. Otherwise let it lie.
posted by aaron at 12:55 PM on October 3, 2001

Jessamyn: Okay, I see what you mean now. And yes, I agree in that sense.
posted by Su at 1:11 PM on October 3, 2001

I never thought of it that way but, yes, it's probably counter-productive to moderate your own post. I'll certainly stop doing it, after reading everyone's comments here and hints elsewhere, as it seems to reduce the desired communality of a thread - or even sabotaging it - by turning it into a mere multipolar dialogue. (Sorry about the wordiness, you get my drift...)
Perhaps it has a lot to do with politeness. You're so grateful someone responded you feel compelled to consider his or her comment. Or at least thank them.
When all it does is embarrass them, making them feel their comments aren't going to be left alone.
It's true!

This probably introduces an unwelcome artificiality to the thread as, if one only answered according to instinct(i.e. as if to someone else's thread), then they wouldn't be so numerous and finally restrictive and off-putting.
I suggest, then, that the responsibility for one's post terminates at the moment it is offered to the community.
So we should only respond when refraining from doing so would be downright painful.

As we're talking about collective authorship and community-building this seems to make sense. TThank you in the name of all us hot-headed over-zealous and eager-to-please initiates.

Plus, I'm truly sorry for not having understood this before. There's definitely some knee-jerk Latin thing at work, which sort of compels you to acknowledge other members' participation.

New members, take note: others are not offended if you don't respond. The point is discussion, not dialogue. Reading and taking comments in are usually enough.

*apologizes for yet another fiasco and promises to behave better from now on* :-)

posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:59 PM on October 3, 2001

I don't see anything wrong with it.
posted by sudama at 2:15 PM on October 3, 2001

Hey guys. I'm not sure if this post was aimed at the pacifism thread I started or not, but it certainly applies. I certainly responded quickly and often, but that was because
a) most of the comments were aimed towards me and my opinions.
b) a lot of the comments misunderstood my opinions, and I felt the need to clarify, especially since I feel particularly strongly.
c) I appeared to be the only poster who represented my view.

I don't think I tried to steer the discussion -- rather, I responded to everyone who responded to me.
posted by tweebiscuit at 2:21 PM on October 3, 2001

I've done it a few times, I think, (including a new thread I just started, kinda) and felt guilty as well. This is part of what I was trying to get at when I accused you of making cheerleader posts somewhere or other, Miguel.

But as far as "So we should only respond when refraining from doing so would be downright painful" I don't think that's the point here at all. Why bother starting a discussion if one's not going to take part? I think there's a clear difference in 'moderating' a thread that one's started (which some folks, myself included reckon is bad) and participating in it (which is clearly a good thing, I think).

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:10 AM on October 4, 2001

posted by daveadams at 8:53 AM on October 4, 2001

Where's the harm? One of the slogans of Metafilter is "Weblog as conversation". Why should the initial poster, of all people, be discouraged from participating in a conversation that they themselves started?

Another thing: Sometimes posters editorialize, and if they do not monitor the direction the thread is taking, they may check back eight hours later to find that they've been misinterpreted, and as a result, unfairly dogpiled.
posted by Optamystic at 9:29 AM on October 4, 2001

I was thinking of the thread about pacifism and thinking it would have been unfair to discourage tweebiscuit from participating as much as he did, and would have resulted in a far less interesting discussion.
posted by sudama at 10:58 AM on October 4, 2001

I thought UncleFes did a great job of MC-ing his famous beer post. Kept it lively, added new information, set a tone and maintained it.
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:17 PM on October 4, 2001

well, I think there's a difference between keeping something lively and answering nearly every post to a discussion in an attempt to keep things on your own agenda.
posted by rebeccablood at 6:36 PM on October 4, 2001

posted by daveadams at 7:15 AM on October 5, 2001

As for my moderating my own posts, I'm not doing anything different from what I've done over eighty-seven times before in this place, and am increasingly disgusted that people keep coming up with new and restrictive things they dislike about how other people utilize MeFi. It's cliquism and peer pressure. Every time I come in here, y'all fabricate something new that I'm doing wrong. Who's writing these godforsaken rules, anyway?

A poster SHOULD moderate his own linkposts. It's his responsibility. He started the conversation. He should contribute to it. He initiated the idea of talking about it. It's his responsibility to participate in it. If sometimes this means encouraging discussion by explaining his point of view, so much the better.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:22 AM on October 28, 2001

posted by webchick at 9:14 AM on November 17, 2001


I like your posts, and your style of "moderating" the threads that result is both useful and low key.

The argument here is about people trying to dominate a thread such that it has a shape that reflects the bias of the original post.

That is both unacceptable and stupid.

(has only posted two FPPs, so should be ignored)
posted by thatwhichfalls at 10:10 PM on January 19, 2002

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