Doing away with double deletions? March 14, 2006 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Doubleposts and deletions; now that MeFi is a bit of a monster, rather than a very small community, is it time to perhaps do away with the concept of doubleposts, and just let topics stand? For instance, this post was deleted as being a double, although the comments and links inside were significantly more active and amusing than the original, which wasn't linked by the deleter. (As an aside, if we're going to make content disappear because of doubleposts, may I request that the deleter please link to the original topic?)
posted by dejah420 to MetaFilter-Related at 9:25 AM (33 comments total)

Here's my take on it. The community used to be very small, and we would only have a few posts per day. But now, the community is very large, and we can have dozens of posts every day.

As writers try to come up with creative ways to post things to interest the community, sometimes previous FPP links may not be apparent, or come up in a search. I know there was the whole vibrating broom incident, and we all want to avoid that again, but I think some double posts are going to happen, and maybe it's just time to start ignoring all but the most egregious or accidental of them. For instance, breaking news stories, or double posts in the same day/week/month/ whatever.

But, I've seen recent posts deleted when the original post was before some of our members probably had access to a computer. I realize that none of us want to clog up the front page anymore than it is already, and I didn't choose the best of all possible examples here, but I would suggest that perhaps we might all be better served it we allow for double posts and the contributions from the new members on topics which have already been archived.

I was sad to see this particular entry deleted, just because of all the fantastic links inside the comments. I think that user contributions should weigh more than a topic having been previously posted.
posted by dejah420 at 9:33 AM on March 14, 2006

Well said.
posted by loquacious at 9:38 AM on March 14, 2006

My feeling is that keeping on top of doubleposts is even more important now that MeFi [and the rest of the Internet] is much bigger. I do understand your perspective dejah420, but with the site being bigger, having guidelines that are based on something objective works better for more people than something that is more subjective. I can't tell what's accidental and I can't tell what's egregious. I can tell what's five months ago and what's two years ago though, and so can everyone else.

I added a link back to the original post in the reason for deletion on the post you mentioned. The orignal post went to the same URL about five months earlier. For contrast, I left up this double post which linked to a slightly different URL than the original post several years earlier. Those sorts of things are okay. I think the system mostly works.

Generally people are good about using the flag feature or noting in-thread that something is a double-post without attacking the poster or otherwise. My personal feeling is that letting people link to stuff again is just going to lead to a lot of ugly judgement calls where people link to something a month later to try to get "better" discussion going. There's already a loose statue of limitations ["a few years" might be the best way to put it] and we work off of the flag queue, so if people stop flagging them, they'll stay.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:43 AM on March 14, 2006

While I agree to an extent, a double post is one of the few relatively hard and fast rules around here.
posted by AllesKlar at 9:45 AM on March 14, 2006

or what jessamyn said
posted by AllesKlar at 9:45 AM on March 14, 2006

Well that was only a few months old, and there was no new content.

Personally, I think the only exception that should be made is if it's been significantly updated or redesigned from a previous version of the site, or if the link is included in a round-up post that includes additional information and links.
posted by empath at 9:46 AM on March 14, 2006

That is in interesting point. (Though it also sounds like a TV show that finally has enough episoides to start re-runs)
posted by R. Mutt at 9:47 AM on March 14, 2006

I was sad to see this one go too, because it brought me great joy and I would never have clicked on P_G's original version. And the comments were great.
But I have to regretfully support deleting double posts. The place is already getting unwieldy as it is.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:53 AM on March 14, 2006

Is there any reason that the deleted thread's comments don't get folded into the non deleted post?
posted by filmgeek at 9:57 AM on March 14, 2006

My personal feeling is that letting people link to stuff again is just going to lead to a lot of ugly judgment calls where people link to something a month later to try to get "better" discussion going.

Yeah...I hadn't thought of that. Valid point. As is the flagging thing, which I'd completely forgotten. Must be the cold medicine. (hee.)

But on the other hand, we have a vastly growing community of people who will now be locked out of a wide range of topics because they were discussed and archived before they joined.

My fear is that the double post rule, at this point, leads us towards becoming more and more "newslinky" and current events topics, rather than, for instance, were someone to revisit topics that have been covered by Matteo or Miguel. (Or a whole host of others that have contributed amazingly well researched and broad spectrum posts in the past.)
posted by dejah420 at 9:58 AM on March 14, 2006

Apparently, a year is okay between reposts.

hey look, the longboats were in there all this time
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:01 AM on March 14, 2006

I was surprised that this double was allowed to stay. Yes, it added new content, but the original thread was still open. Sure, since folks tend to not read older threads, the new content likely would not have been seen, but it seems to add support to dejah420's position.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:04 AM on March 14, 2006

You're all missing the most interesting part:

now that MeFi is a bit of a monster

I imagine a giant blue pulsing organ with tentacles kinda fing, aye? All "AKiiiiiirra" style right - but with 'at big multiple brain kinda fing, right? All electric crackling, eclectic cackling, ball lightning and ball sacks flinging about. Stompin' right up over cities, right? And it's like the kind what smashes up the place, topples towers, changes the course of rivers and suchlike - then at the end, gently succumbs to the understanding of a sensual and voluptuous maiden or swain.
posted by freebird at 10:16 AM on March 14, 2006

But on the other hand, we have a vastly growing community of people who will now be locked out of a wide range of topics because they were discussed and archived before they joined.

I disagree. There is nothing preventing anyone from making a post about a "topic" that has been discussed before... take just about any topic found in the blue on any given day. Many of those "topics" were discussed the day before.

If you link to a wacky site about Ninjas, only to find out that it was posted about two years ago... well, it doesn't matter if you only joined Metafilter last month, the Ninja site was "so two years ago" and should be deleted.

Now if you find something that was "so two years ago" but hasn't been posted to Metafilter, then go for it.
posted by Witty at 10:17 AM on March 14, 2006

What I found interesting about the two Glaucoma threads was how similar the comments ended up being. People thinking they are being original and making the same jokes about medical marijuana. Last night, I sent my friend a link to the Glaucoma site and his comment was something about medical marijauna also.
It reminds of a David Sedaris essay in which he worked at a store. There was a display of some kind of glass eyeballs or something, and every single customer would hold up the eyeballs to their eyes, "hey, look at me," like they were the first ever to think of doing it.
posted by chococat at 11:39 AM on March 14, 2006

Wait, there's wacky Ninja sites on the interweb? Where was I that day?
posted by blue_beetle at 11:46 AM on March 14, 2006

"like they were the first ever to think of doing it"

I think you can track most of my witticisms back to quotes of either Hawkeye Pierce or mid-70s Mad Magazines or maybe just the Mad satire of the movie M*A*S*H.
posted by mischief at 11:49 AM on March 14, 2006

Wait, there's wacky Ninja sites on the interweb? Where was I that day?

Whenever you aren't looking, all of the internet is wacky Ninja sites.
posted by loquacious at 12:07 PM on March 14, 2006

Question: What happens to the metatags on a deleted-double? Are deleted-doubles flagged as "no-index"?

They should be crawled, at least, and the post that it doubles should always be linked.
posted by lodurr at 12:33 PM on March 14, 2006

Says #1, all deleted posts now have a noindex, nofollow meta tag.
posted by Gator at 12:43 PM on March 14, 2006

Wasn't there a policy that provided for double posts, as long as they were a year or two after the first posting?
posted by Count Ziggurat at 12:44 PM on March 14, 2006

dejah420 is the queen of the internets, but I must disagree here. Double posts bad. The internet is not running out of good material for Metafilter. With so many new users who've just never seen that catscan site (how did they get those cats wedged in there?), opening up the door to doublepostery would make Metafilter suck real bad, real fast, I think. The demographic has changed a bit around here from the past, when it was more people in love with the internet, towards just internet users.

But I do agree that a link to the original when a double is deleted might be nice.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:48 PM on March 14, 2006

I agree with jessamyn.
posted by languagehat at 1:13 PM on March 14, 2006

Only posts deleted punitively should be noindex, nofollow.

Other than punishment for the poster, there's just no sound rationale for removing deleted posts from the crawl. And the punitive rationale is pretty suspect, IMHO.
posted by lodurr at 1:22 PM on March 14, 2006

Whenever you aren't looking, all of the internet is wacky Ninja sites.


1. MeFites are mammals
2. MeFites post ALL the time
3. The purpose of the MeFite is to call out and kill people


MeFites can post anything they want! MeFites post dupes ALL the time and don't even think twice about it. These guys are so crazy and awesome that they call people out ALL the time. I heard that there was this MeFite who was reading on the blue. And when some dude posted a link he had seen before the MeFite called out the whole town. My friend mathowie said that he saw a MeFite totally make negative comments about some kid just because the kid signed his comment.

And that's what I call REAL Ultimate Power!!!!!!!!!!

If you don't believe that MeFites have REAL Ultimate Power you better get a life right now or they will flag your post!!! It's an easy choice, if you ask me.

MeFites are soooooo sweet that I want to stop reading BoingBoing. I can't believe it sometimes, but I feel it in my heart. These guys are totally awesome and that's a fact you could post as Newfilter:. MeFites are fast, smooth, cool, strong, powerful, and sweet. I can't wait to start customizing my user page next year. I love MeFites with all of my produce section (including my portobello mushrooms).

Q & A:

Q: Why is everyone obsessed with MeFites?
A: MeFites are the ultimate paradox. On the one hand they don't give a crap about reposting the worst of the web that they found on other sites, but on the other hand, MeFites are very careful and precise about answering targeted questions about high-quality liquors and giving possibly destructive medical advice.

Q: I heard that MeFites are always making cruel and mean posts. What's their problem?
A: Whoever told you that is a total liar. Just like other mammals, MeFites can post callouts OR totally awesome comments.

Q: What do MeFites do when they're not self-linking or calling dudes out?
A: Most of their free time is spent searching the archives, but sometimes they comment. (Ask mathowie if you don't believe me)
posted by soma lkzx at 1:46 PM on March 14, 2006

soma lkzx: that was awesome.
posted by ducksauce at 2:21 PM on March 14, 2006

With the Internets becoming just one huge recursion it seems that more and more of the posts if not doubles are nearly so. I miss those earlier days when the whole newness of things seemed to inspire wonderfully quirky and creative sites. They are still there, but they are drowning in commercial pabulum. If something is old but really good I often don't mind a double, but generally I remember the first one and just find the double annoying.
posted by caddis at 3:48 PM on March 14, 2006

I can't believe that a search was done on the post Jessamyn let stay. It's the first result. For this reason I think it should be deleted.
posted by tellurian at 3:49 PM on March 14, 2006

Noindex, nofollow is foolish for double posts and there should certainly be a link to the legitimate thread for the topic. Usability dictates it!
posted by Count Ziggurat at 8:30 PM on March 14, 2006

As much as I've got a sort of double I'd love to post [1] I think we should maintain the no doubles rule. In fact I think it should be tightened up, there are way to many anniversary and annual event doubles allowed to remain on the front page.

[1]There's a site I think about posting every six months or so, unfortunately madamjujujive already posted about the topic.
posted by Mitheral at 6:59 AM on March 15, 2006

It all seems pretty fluid when it comes to doubles nowadays - I flagged and left a comment on this double post and either jessamyn or mathowie added a 'previously on MetaFilter' text linking to the original post. Seems like a pretty decent way of dealing with a double where significant new features or content have been added to the site, but I still reckon the hard and fast 'no double posts' rule seems a better way of dealing with them (not to mention less effort for the admin people).
posted by jack_mo at 10:35 AM on March 15, 2006

jack_mo, that post was originally deleted and insomnia_lj lobbied hard in MeTa for it not to be removed. I saw his point, though I didn't totally agree, and we found the compromise that wound up being the final post. Sometimes we just don't see the newness of a site that otherwise has the same URL and so it's helpful if people can include that information in their comments, which is what I read in the post that MrMoonPie links to which was not heavily flagged and pretty much walking the line between what is a double and what is a new enough update to warrant non-deletion. The increased growth of the site often means that decisions that are made about a post's worthiness often wind up being LESS subtle not more just because of the sheer number of decisions that are made daily/hourly and the fact that a lot of people use the flagging feature so there are a lot of possible double posts/offensive comments and whatnot that need investigating.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:48 AM on March 15, 2006

If a post is made noindex,nofollow, it might as well just be deleted. For real.

In fact, that would be a more honest way to deal with it. Making the dupes noindex,nofollow is really just a sop. They should either be indexable, or they should be deleted. As is, they're effectively down the memory hole.
posted by lodurr at 12:41 PM on March 15, 2006

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