No more meh May 31, 2006 11:51 AM   Subscribe

The first two posts in this photography thread, the fourth here, the first here, and the third here are all effectively "meh". Can we please reign in the 'thread derail to prove how hip you are because the photo "isn't doing it for you"' contest.
posted by Mitheral to Etiquette/Policy at 11:51 AM (68 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Cannot resist temptation to say, "sorry, your callout's just not doing it for me."
posted by JanetLand at 11:55 AM on May 31, 2006


Good point, Mitheral. I think we can all agree that only positive comments should be allowed from now on.
posted by jack_mo at 12:00 PM on May 31, 2006


Why allow comments at all if people aren't free to say that they don't find the FPP compelling? I frequently say "Nice post, thanks" in threads I like, and that never gets called out as inane and annoying although it's no less a matter of subjective opinion than the "mehs".

Suggesting that someone's FPP is not very good or interesting is not an (overt or covert) criticism of the poster and shouldn't be reacted to as such. Nor is it a criticism of those who like the post. People are free to defend their opnions as dhruva does in the first example you point to.
posted by OmieWise at 12:06 PM on May 31, 2006


Mitheral, being underwhelmed about the photographs which are the meat of the post is not a clear-cut derail. "Effectively meh" is an allowable (and valuable) mode of expression around here.
posted by cortex at 12:06 PM on May 31, 2006


Do you really think they were trying to show how hip they are, Mitheral? Because I don't feel that in any of those examples you linked to. And I don't see expressing an opinion which is on the topic at hand as a derail.
posted by iconomy at 12:08 PM on May 31, 2006


Oh my God! The negativity! Why can't we just praise all the pointless pretentious crappy photos? Then everyone will be happy!
posted by reklaw at 12:18 PM on May 31, 2006


No matter what you post here people go, "That sucks and you suck and your mother sucks". This place is just full of a bunch of jerks. Or maybe I just post crappy stuff. I don't know if I have a point or not. Probably not.
posted by ND¢ at 12:20 PM on May 31, 2006


ND¢, you're only on the comp album because your mom paid me.
posted by cortex at 12:24 PM on May 31, 2006


Sometimes I would have paranoid fantasies that I was actually retarded, but that nobody (friends, bosses, girlfriends) told me and acted like I was normal whenever I was around because my mom was bribing them. Everybody thinks that sometimes right?
posted by ND¢ at 12:33 PM on May 31, 2006 [2 favorites]


Comments help me to determine whether I will click on the links (especially if they are by users that I respect) and spend my precious time looking, when instead I could be posting inane remarks in MetaTalk.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:36 PM on May 31, 2006


What? Oh, no, you're as normal as they come, ND¢.

*goes to the bank to cash a cheque from ND¢'s mom*
posted by antifreez_ at 12:36 PM on May 31, 2006


I think someone on the internet would have told you by now, ND¢. In an animated gif.
posted by puke & cry at 12:43 PM on May 31, 2006


reklaw : "Why can't we just praise all the pointless pretentious crappy photos?"

I'm, like, 99.7 percent sure that's not what Mitheral is advocating.
posted by Bugbread at 12:51 PM on May 31, 2006


the same thing, and significantly worse sometimes, happens with comedy related threads, too. the difference, i suppose, is that in the comedy threads it's not so much "this particular artist isn't doing it for me," as it's "all comedy that references genitalia is immature and you're scum if you find it funny." (exaggeration intended.)

as far as photo threads are concerned, photo art is always contentious. there are people who don't dig stephen shore and ansel adams. they're free to say it. I, personally, think the problem is that there are too many crappy photo portfolio threads. i mean, seriously, i sometimes wonder if people just post the portfolios of their friends around here.
posted by shmegegge at 1:06 PM on May 31, 2006


It's funny how everyone is preemptively furious about "filler" comments intended to satisfy hypothetical minimum requirements for posting to AskMe/Projects, yet the same people are rabidly protective of the freedom to drop "meh" into a thread.
posted by cribcage at 1:07 PM on May 31, 2006


is it really the same people? and why is that funny? meh isn't filler. it's just succinct.
posted by shmegegge at 1:10 PM on May 31, 2006


Yeah, my point is that neither "Nice post" or "meh" need be filler. They can be, but they're also both equivalent comments of subjective reaction. That one is positive and the other negative really isn't an adequate reason to suggest that only one is unacceptable.
posted by OmieWise at 1:14 PM on May 31, 2006


I, personally, think the problem is that there are too many crappy photo portfolio threads. i mean, seriously, i sometimes wonder if people just post the portfolios of their friends around here.

shmegegge has it.
posted by puke & cry at 1:20 PM on May 31, 2006


"Nice post" is self-explanatory, whereas "meh" and "this sucks" doesn't do much beside show how important people think their own opinions are.

There's definitely room for criticism, especially of the constructive kind, but there's a big difference between giving constructive criticism and being this guy.


posted by Gamblor at 1:23 PM on May 31, 2006


A comment on the quality of the photos at least shows they read the link, which can't be said for all commenters.
posted by smackfu at 1:23 PM on May 31, 2006


Yeah, my point is that neither "Nice post" or "meh" need be filler. They can be, but they're also both equivalent comments of subjective reaction.

They're not equivalent, because "nice post" is usually intended to express gratitude to the poster. If someone wants to express the opposite of gratitude to the poster, then that's what metatalk and flagging is for.

If you're going to post "meh" to someone's post because you really think the content is overrated -- and not just because you want to throw some anti-gratitude at the poster -- then why not contribute to the conversation and explain why it's not doing anything for you?

Unlike posting "nice post" with our without justification and posting "Meh" with justification, there's nothing about posting "Meh" without any discussion of why that makes Metafilter more enjoyable for anyone, poster or readers.
posted by mendel at 1:25 PM on May 31, 2006


Amen, mendel. My point exactly. If you're not going to explain why you think it's a bad post, then it doesn't help anything.
posted by Gamblor at 1:29 PM on May 31, 2006


But that's a bit off track from the actual specimens cited—which were not literally saying "meh" but stating that the photos weren't doing it for them. Abstract, yes, but a reasonable response to Yet Another Photography Portfolio.
posted by cortex at 1:34 PM on May 31, 2006


I disagree. I think that the comments in posts influence the posts that we see on the front page. That's (one of the reasons) why we see so many political posts, I think some folks get a thrill out of seeing 90 comments attached to their FPP. That's natural.

I post nice post not just because I want to thank the poster (that's part of it), but also because I want to encourage more similar posts. I don't tend to post meh, but I do sometimes, and I do it both to express my opinion (which is a perfectly valid reason), and to discourage similar posts. The first post linked here is a great example of a crappy FPP that should be discouraged (in my opinion, obviously). There are some pictures that show a couple of cool things, but the quality of the photography is really horrible. Someone said they look like textbook photos, by which I think photos in a bio textbook were meant, and that's exactly right. If one cares about their FPPs then criticism, even in shorthand, should be considered.

I do think that there are situations where flagging and MeTa are the way to solve real problems, and I use flagging a lot, without leaving snarky messages in threads. But there are other situations where in-thread comments are perfectly acceptable to me. I'm not sure what other feedback mechanism people want.
posted by OmieWise at 1:36 PM on May 31, 2006


And yes, meh is a bit too shorthand, I think, or I have been using it in this discussion as shorthand. I prefer something like, "This isn't all that interesting."
posted by OmieWise at 1:37 PM on May 31, 2006


These mehs are towards the good end of the meh spectrum. No thanks for your contribution, now fuck off reaction at all.
posted by fleacircus at 1:41 PM on May 31, 2006


Here are two consecutive comments from that thread:

blaneyphoto: Boring shots, almost all of which are poorly composed and lit.

ab3: meh.

They're both criticism, but the first one explains why the he feels the post is bad. The poster can learn something from it, and (maybe) re-evaluate other links they might consider posting. The second comment is just noise and is done, I suspect, mainly for vanity.

"Not doing it for me" may be wordier than "meh", but it gives about as little direction.
posted by Gamblor at 1:47 PM on May 31, 2006


Yeah, but the other comment was already there. I guess my point is that the argument here is about a matter of style. It's fine to debate style (and I do prefer the style which you seem to prefer), but that's different than suggesting that (as does this MeTa post) that negative comments should be "reigned in" because they meant to derail and prove hipness.
posted by OmieWise at 1:55 PM on May 31, 2006


I agree with you in general, Gamblor—explicit criticism is better than the contentless sort. But that runs on a spectrum and depends on context, to wit: "meh" following an explicit criticism, as cited above, takes on a measure of implicit agreement with the stated criticism.
posted by cortex at 1:55 PM on May 31, 2006


well gee i dunno one mans beetle is another mans inspiration - if this was by some german guy claiming that the beetles were self portraits of his dysfunctional post modern family then i would have loved them.
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:06 PM on May 31, 2006


Remind me to start up www.meh-or-heh.com.
posted by fleacircus at 2:08 PM on May 31, 2006


If you're going to post "meh" to someone's post because you really think the content is overrated -- and not just because you want to throw some anti-gratitude at the poster -- then why not contribute to the conversation and explain why it's not doing anything for you?

That would require people to know something about photography, or whatever the subject of the post is. And it's easier to say "meh" than to know stuff.
posted by rocketman at 2:08 PM on May 31, 2006
















posted by fandango_matt at 2:31 PM on May 31, 2006


They're not equivalent, because "nice post" is usually intended to express gratitude to the poster. If someone wants to express the opposite of gratitude to the poster, then that's what metatalk and flagging is for.

What? Dunno about everyone else, but when I say 'nice post' it's to express my opinion that the post is nice, which includes an element of gratitude, but is mostly a comment on the stuff I've read on following the link. Same goes for a 'meh' - nowt to do with the poster (though I agree that just saying 'meh' is pointless, explaining the mehness is the way to go).
posted by jack_mo at 2:34 PM on May 31, 2006


meh.


I mean, what?
posted by danb at 2:35 PM on May 31, 2006


I agree with OmnieWise. I think it's perfectly reasonable to express an opinion along the lines of "This isn't the best of the web, please be more discriminating" whether or not you actually flag it as noise.

I regard flagging as an "F". The comments cited by Mitheral seemed more like a "C" or "C+".
posted by justkevin at 2:56 PM on May 31, 2006


You're saying this comment is "effectively meh"?
I guess I just don't get it: except for this one, they all look either Photoshopped or blurry in the style of an inept camera operator.

Interesting concept, but not so much in the execution.
My reading of this is that you were pissed that someone criticized the photos you posted (and loved), so you passive-agressively brought it to Meta as a "general problem", after digging up some more examples.
posted by smackfu at 3:06 PM on May 31, 2006


"Why can't we just praise all the pointless pretentious crappy photos?"

I'm, like, 99.7 percent sure that's not what Mitheral is advocating.


Surely, if he's complaining about these 'meh' posts, what he wants is for them not to be made. If you took them out, all that would be left would be gushing praise.

The argument seems to me to be something like "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all". The response to that is that if you leave out the criticism, you can't tell when something is actually good, because everything is met with the same polite "nice post" crap.
posted by reklaw at 3:18 PM on May 31, 2006


Let's see less "meh" and more "tafilter."
posted by staggernation at 3:18 PM on May 31, 2006


My reading of this is that you were pissed that someone criticized the photos you posted (and loved), so you passive-agressively brought it to Meta as a "general problem", after digging up some more examples.

Well, if you looked at the posters, you'd see that it was my thread and not Mitheral's.

I debated whether or not to post it, because it is pretty thin. I put it up because I've seen and enjoyed similar threads that link to some random photographer. If you don't like those threads, or the particular guy I posted, that's cool with me. Personally, I would just ignore threads on topics I wasn't interested in, but I know that that's a pretty uncommon behavior here.
posted by danb at 3:24 PM on May 31, 2006


reklaw : "Surely, if he's complaining about these 'meh' posts, what he wants is for them not to be made. If you took them out, all that would be left would be gushing praise...if you leave out the criticism, you can't tell when something is actually good, because everything is met with the same polite 'nice post' crap."

Or silence. Removing "meh" does not mean we have to post "this is good" in its place. (I'm not arguing that we should stop the "meh", per se, just that I think that Mitheral is being misinterpreted)
posted by Bugbread at 3:35 PM on May 31, 2006


Well, if you looked at the posters, you'd see that it was my thread and not Mitheral's.

Okay, I read that post wrong -- you were talking about Mitheral's earlier thread. My apologies, reklaw. I stand by the rest of my post, though.
posted by danb at 3:37 PM on May 31, 2006


haters.
posted by 3.2.3 at 4:06 PM on May 31, 2006


This thread sucks.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:46 PM on May 31, 2006


Personally, I would just ignore threads on topics I wasn't interested in

Same here, but I'm interested in photography, so when someone links to a photopgraphy website, I'm bound to click. It seems perfectly reasonable to make a comment saying that I find the photographs in question mediocre, if I do.
posted by jack_mo at 4:46 PM on May 31, 2006


smackfu writes "My reading of this is that you were pissed that someone criticized the photos you posted (and loved), so you passive-agressively brought it to Meta as a 'general problem', after digging up some more examples."

Actually I was cruisin' thru some of the photo posts I'd marked as favourite for later viewing and saw doctor_negative's first comment "hmm, just doesn't do it for me" to grapefruitmoon's post seemed to set the tone for most of the rest of the thread. Next I saw marvin's first comment "it's just not doing it for me" and I was "WTF?". Is there some kind of trend here?

So I checked each of the photo themed posts for several front pages and saw all of them with similiar non-helpful comments and voila here we are. The comment to my post just happened to be caught up and was the best of the bunch. I just about left my post out but I didn't want to hear comments about how I left comments to my post out. I never can figure which side of the razor of MF self post alerting to jump on.

With the long acceptance of imaging threads on MetaFilter I think we should be embracing stuff that isn't news/poli filter instead of kicking threads right from the start like there was some kind of /. style, first post contest.

bim actually implies that we shouldn't bother posting anything less than Ansel Adams. 'Course he has zero FPPs so we're not sure what else he considers worthy beside Ansel Adams.
posted by Mitheral at 5:10 PM on May 31, 2006


a href image source - the goons at the gay pride parade - height six hundred and width half of that close > quotation marks somewhere www. a href close image source.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:12 PM on May 31, 2006




I debated whether or not to post it, because it is pretty thin. I put it up because I've seen and enjoyed similar threads that link to some random photographer.

Excuse me, but that's a really terrible reason.
posted by languagehat at 5:25 PM on May 31, 2006


bim actually implies that we shouldn't bother posting anything less than Ansel Adams. 'Course he has zero FPPs so we're not sure what else he considers worthy beside Ansel Adams.

Well, it's pretty clear he'd go for August Sanders or Diane Arbus, actually.
posted by cortex at 5:36 PM on May 31, 2006


You don't need anything more than meh. If I go to a photo thread and see twenty meh's all in a row, I get a pretty good idea of what to expect before clicking the link.

Several meh threads have saved me from wasting 5 minutes on a stupid video that only proved the original poster was someone with an impotent, anemic sense of humor.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:02 PM on May 31, 2006


your favorite band photographer sucks.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:08 PM on May 31, 2006


So I checked each of the photo themed posts for several front pages and saw all of them with similiar non-helpful comments and voila here we are.

Is this about an AskMefi thread? If not, how is "great post" a "helpful" comment and who is to judge what is helpful and what isn't?

Can you imagine that "useful" might be helpful to someone else?
posted by stirfry at 8:11 PM on May 31, 2006


"This doesn't do it for me. Can someone explain what it is they find compelling about these photos?"

Would that be better, Mitheral? But I agree that "uninteresting photos" is a pretty uninteresting thing to bother to say.
posted by mediareport at 8:18 PM on May 31, 2006


Mitheral, I know where you're coming from but there's really nothing you can do about it. I posted a thread this morning that was, within minutes, met with a few unbelievably vicious responses... I doubt they even had time to read the piece. Matt even deleted one comment that was ended with "Does anyone give a fuck?" One person later commented on the "vitriol" and I said:

"As for the vitriol, well, you get some people who sit around on Metafilter refreshing it all day waiting to be the first to post in the strongest possible terms how little they care. All it does is make it difficult for anyone who does care to say anything."

Some of the remarks I agreed with, but it seemed like most people were, just as you say, just trying to prove how above the content they were, and how metafilter is oh so much hipper than that. It does derail the thread, and it's meant to -- these guys punish people for what they don't like, in part to make sure that people really take care before they post anything to the front page, something I can understand. But it's totally annoying and it sometimes makes me hate the site. As one person said in Metatalk, in response to an overzealous surveiller of FPP, "go back to policing the shopping mall, citizen."

If an FPP doesn't interest me, I skip over it. The need to go in and attack it -- as if to pre-empt anyone else's interest in it -- seems juvenile, and you just have to ignore it or quietly steer the discussion toward more productive ends. Unfortunately it can really stifle civil discourse in the threads and make people afraid to share, which is far more of a threat to the integrity of metafilter than a bad post. As the poet Mandelstam said, "If people want it, they'll keep it." I really don't see the need for all the fuss.
posted by bukharin at 11:18 PM on May 31, 2006


bukharin: I can understand why the response bothered you, but it seems to me your sensitivity meter is turned up too high. The only early response that could plausibly be characterized as "unbelievably vicious" was "What a horrible article" (posted by sgt.serenity, who I like despite the fact that he has a bad habit of leaving useless turds in threads). Let's face it, if you post a link to an article about Brad and Angelina's behavior in Namibia, your best bet is to go hide in a foxhole for a day or so and then peer out to see who's still standing. You really can't expect a sedate succession of "Hey, nice link!" remarks.

Off-topic, but as a Mandelstam fan I'm intensely curious: where did he say "If people want it, they'll keep it"?
posted by languagehat at 5:32 AM on June 1, 2006


This should have been posted in bugs.
posted by Joeforking at 6:04 AM on June 1, 2006


bukharin writes "I know where you're coming from but there's really nothing you can do about it"

Agree. I've taken the maximum action.
posted by Mitheral at 7:58 AM on June 1, 2006



languagehat, that may be the case. I actually wasn't so sensitive about it, but another person did comment on the level of vitriol, which was higher before the thread was moderated a bit, I think, unless memory skews.

But wow, you know Mandelstam! That quote from the second volume of his widow's memoirs, Hope Abandoned. I just found it at the beginning of Chapter 30. My paraphrasing deformed it slightly, but it says:

M. spoke to his readers as equals, or even as his betters, and all he expected from them was a 'sympathetic hearing.' In fact he never used the word 'reader.' [Footnote: "Mandelstam's word for 'reader'... is always sobesednik, literally a collocutor, a person who converses or communes with.] ... He was unable not only to get his work published, but even to read it to an acquaintance met on the street (by this time most people affected not to know us.) In more normal circumstances.... he never talked of readers, but quite simply of 'people': 'People will keep it.' 'If people need it, they will find it -- they always find what they need.' (p 337 in my copy)
posted by bukharin at 12:17 PM on June 1, 2006


Ah, that explains it—I haven't read the second volume. And I can't find it online in Russian, either (the first is here), which is a pity because I'd love to know the original. Anyway, thanks very much for responding!
posted by languagehat at 1:45 PM on June 1, 2006


(Your quote is on p. 297 of my edition, by the way—the footnote helped me find it!)
posted by languagehat at 1:45 PM on June 1, 2006



Ohh, thanks for the link! I'd never seen it in Russian! :)
posted by bukharin at 1:46 PM on June 1, 2006


Mitheral says -- The first two posts in this photography thread, the fourth here, the first here, and the third here are all effectively "meh". Can we please reign in the 'thread derail to prove how hip you are because the photo "isn't doing it for you"' contest.

Could we please reign in the running over to MetaTalk and whining about how deficient other posters -- in order to inflate our own self worth? It's a tad juvenile to say the least.

There's always one kid in every class who brownnoses and sucks up to the teacher.

Look around and decide if you're it. :)

Mitheral says also -- bim actually implies that we shouldn't bother posting anything less than Ansel Adams.

Actually, that isn't implied by the sentence you are referring to at all. Work on your reading comprehension.

Mitheral continues to ramble on '-- Course he has zero FPPs so we're not sure what else he considers worthy beside Ansel Adams.

Is there some rule about how many FPP's you have to post and how often. On the one had, you'd probably complain if newer folks posted too much and "too soon" in your opinion, but then you also complain that new people haven't posted anything. That's a bit of a catch 22, it seems to me.

Worry about your own posts, Mitheral. I can't for the life of me see a single MetaFilter post of yours that's all that interesting -- starting with a bunch of blurry ass photos taken through an ice lens. A boring post doesn't merit much more than a boring answer.

Thanks for doing your part to set the posting "bar" pretty low. I'll try to live up to that standard.
posted by bim at 5:06 PM on June 1, 2006


bim writes "Is there some rule about how many FPP's you have to post and how often. On the one had, you'd probably complain if newer folks posted too much and 'too soon' in your opinion, but then you also complain that new people haven't posted anything."

Nope, no rule. I can't imagine complaining that someone is making too many FPPs unless the postee is pulling some kind of protest. But I think setting an example of what you'd like to see is both the better course of action for MF and obviously less disruptive of threads than tossing in a "just doesn't do it for me". Especially if you're the first person to comment.

bim writes "I can't for the life of me see a single MetaFilter post of yours that's all that interesting"

Well we already knew our tastes are different.

bim writes "Thanks for doing your part to set the posting 'bar' pretty low. I'll try to live up to that standard."

We await your first post with bated breath.
posted by Mitheral at 7:24 PM on June 1, 2006


Suggesting that someone's FPP is not very good or interesting is not an (overt or covert) criticism of the poster and shouldn't be reacted to as such. Nor is it a criticism of those who like the post.

The advice was oft given shortly after the attack of the $5 n00bs: If you're going to post to MeFi, where your asbestos undies. Don't take it personally.

"Meh" communicates a whole world of meaning in three letters. I would rather have that on one of my FPPs than three paragraphs from Etherial Bligh.
posted by Doohickie at 7:49 PM on June 1, 2006


wear your asbestos undies, even...
posted by Doohickie at 7:50 PM on June 1, 2006


Not bad bim. My first post was newsfilter too. [takes deep breath]
posted by Mitheral at 6:05 PM on June 2, 2006


Not bad bim. My first post was newsfilter too. [takes deep breath]

Thank you, dear. Very nice of you to say so. Very nice post of yours on gay marriage too -- a subject that always gets my attention.

Peace.
posted by bim at 7:34 AM on June 4, 2006


« Older Contacting the Admins   |   Background color works in preview, but not in post Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments