Overrun by injokes November 1, 2001 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Well, so much for serious discussion...I might as well join in Another discussion I was interested in reading gets strangled in the crib by haiku posts, pancake gags, or self-perpetuating running jokes.
posted by Shadowkeeper to MetaFilter-Related at 12:39 PM (23 comments total)

I'm not really of the "MeFi was so much better in the old days" mindset, but it does seem to me that the truncation of good threads due to running jokes is becoming more common. For example, I forwarded a digest of the comments in this great Halloween thread to a few friends, and one of them replied with "what amusing and well-written comments these
are! they were a joy to read. for real. thanks for sending 'em.". So, see, I still think MeFi is a joy to read -- provided we can stay on topic

(BTW: This thread is in no way aimed for the originator of that quote -- the damage to this thread had been done long before he showed up -- but his comment seemed to encapsulate the mentality that causes good threads to go bad.)
posted by Shadowkeeper at 12:41 PM on November 1, 2001

(And then srboisvert had to come along, post a great comment to the linked thread, and undermine my whole thesis.)
posted by Shadowkeeper at 12:59 PM on November 1, 2001

(Shucks. If only Bin Laden had tried to escape in a white Ford Bronco....)

It seems to me that mattpfeff's post itself invited the frivolity. See above.
posted by shinybeast at 1:00 PM on November 1, 2001

For good or bad Metafilter is very unstructured. And the atmosphere of the place seems to change from month to month.

For a while it will be a Left vs Right yelling match. Then it will be a big love/hate Miguel fest. Then it will get serious. This week it's a circus.

The theme for Metafilter this week is: Clowning around and stupid questions.

The theme for next week will be: Spirited discussions of social issues.

We lack focus. Which encourages people to be silly and discourages people who want to be serious
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:01 PM on November 1, 2001

I agree and disagree with you, Shadowkeeper. I would have gladly continued discussing around the jokers, but it seemed as though the other serious discussants had already been scared off. And actually, the thread picked back up after the jokers moved on to the newer topics.

It's a shame when it happens, but I think trying to refocus off-track threads would backfire -- MeFi is itself an organic thing, so each post and accompanying thread develops in an organic way.

Perhaps there's some way to allow two threads to branch off the same post, one serious & one jokey (I suppose that's what MetaTalk is for), but I imagine it would be a coding nightmare.
posted by me3dia at 1:06 PM on November 1, 2001

Pancake jokes have always been pretty lame, and they're only getting more common. Maybe I'm just getting cranky in my old age, but the trend of perfectly good threads being overtaken by crap haiku and half-funny jokes seems to be growing.
Maybe y6 is right, and it's just a temporary trend. I hope so, 'cause I'm in the minority that doesn't even find the kitty pictures funny.
posted by Doug at 1:14 PM on November 1, 2001

It seems to me that mattpfeff's post itself invited the frivolity.

It did indeed (albeit inadvertently). (I seem to have a hard time resisting making a joke, sometimes.) And I didn't mind the frivolity, though I regret that (apparently) some people might have seen it as precluding their adding more serious comments.

Personally, I try not to make jokes that would disrupt the flow of a thread, even when some posts or comments cry out for humorous responses. But a thread is whatever it is to the people who read it, and I think that the best policy is to post your thoughts any time they seem important and relevant enough to post, even if they aren't relevant to every other comment in the thread.
posted by mattpfeff at 1:29 PM on November 1, 2001

I think it's a new technical flaw. matpfeff's post has two diving boards, as it were. One is Saletan's excellent article - mainly about how journalists create their own slants and then slyly attribute it to self-fulfilling "atmospheres" of expectation and mood. The other is the irresistible Bronco come-on. So "mon coeur balance" and all that. Push-and-pull set it in two different directions.
I made the same mistake on my longevity post. I shoe-horned in a last meal link which created the same fork-in-the-road effect. Posts should probably be clear and single-tuned, leaving its eventual multiple directions to those who comment.
I didn't post to mattpfeff's thread because I was torn between going with the excellent Bronco multiplier(and thus appearing to scorn or sabotage discussion of Saletan's article)or pretending to go all serious and shit and coming across as Miss Jean Brodie. IMO it's a problem that can be overcome: matpfeff should just be banned. ;-)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:47 PM on November 1, 2001

For the record, I am not anti-joke -- I think humorous asides play a vital role in any thread. What I do dislike, though, are the these thread death spirals, where someone makes a joke, and then the next guy has to try to make a funnier joke, and then the next guy has to try and make a funnier joke, and pretty soon the entire thread has become a big contest to see who can write the best hiaku using the name "Wolf Blitzer".

Humor good. Thread-derailment via orgies of one-upmanship bad.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 1:54 PM on November 1, 2001

Miguel that is the greatest number of metaphors I have ever read in one post.
posted by Karl at 1:55 PM on November 1, 2001

Shadowkeeper: why
do you hate Haiku? It is
the premier post form.
posted by UncleFes at 2:05 PM on November 1, 2001

if all you can add
to a thread is an in-joke
don't add it at all
posted by holgate at 2:24 PM on November 1, 2001

he who hate haiku
hinders hundred hale, hearty
"ha ha ha ha ha"s

(That said, Fes, I think
you were unfair, suggesting
Shadow hates haiku.

Also, I'm grateful
that my original thread
grows more serious.)
posted by mattpfeff at 2:50 PM on November 1, 2001

ya guys forgot the season.
posted by clavdivs at 2:54 PM on November 1, 2001

Fear not, good MeFites.
Though winter fast approaches,
clavdivs is here.
posted by mattpfeff at 3:06 PM on November 1, 2001

Karl: The New Yorker used to have a regular "Block That Metaphor!" section. It was hilarious. A lot of good it did me. My point still stands, though: mattpfeff is sowing a whirlwind of sour grapes and bitter harvests in his crusade to bring things to a boil and he should be stopped like a runaway rhino on the cob.
God, I hope they don't read MetaFilter...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:12 PM on November 1, 2001

God, I hope they don't read MetaFilter...

This one definitely does.

posted by liam at 3:27 PM on November 1, 2001

::backs slowly away from this thread::

As someone who likes to talk crap and make lame jokes at every available opportunity, I feel Shadowkeeper's pain, and couldn't agree more. As much as I love the Laff! Riot! element of MeFi, I started hanging out here for the cogent, informed discussion, and that's why I stayed.

Plus, the kitties. Of course.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:37 PM on November 1, 2001

Did someone mention kitties? (via CamsKittyWorld)
posted by fooljay at 6:23 PM on November 1, 2001

Well, I've mad enough smart ass remarks and Simpsons quotes but when I write a thought out comment, what do I get but in Voyageman's Language Tools post? And it's not like there isn't a buch of official Springfield Fake Books out there to copy this sort of stuff out of... Not that it's signal's fault, but, goddamn it, I absolutely refuse to dumb it down to the level where I'm oohing and ahing over some clip art plus a bunch of motherfuckin' fuckin' this's and motherfuckin' fuckin' thats's >insert ANTHRAXhere< to set up one joke per panel comic strip like it's the second coming plus the holodeck edition premier of First Person Bladerunner. And don't get me started about the endless stream of bad design with Flash animation sites and pages that're treated like Tex Avery meets A.I. on 30,0000 micrograms of DOM... I mean, oh, jeez, you'd think diminished expectations need not be that diminished.
posted by y2karl at 11:13 PM on November 1, 2001

oh dear, I thought I was hitting preview again: there I go misspelled and uncut...
posted by y2karl at 11:14 PM on November 1, 2001

Now, that, ladies and gents, is Comedy Gold!

::Pins star to y2karl's lapel::
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:11 AM on November 2, 2001

Humor good. Thread-derailment via orgies of one-upmanship bad.

For what it's worth, I tend to think of it (and I do admit that 'it' sometimes goes stinky) not as 'one-upmanship', but more as collaborative riffing with the boys (/gals), having a bit of fun.

Agreed thoug, that derailing threads for the sake of silliness, if those threads are still living things, is Bad.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:22 AM on November 2, 2001

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