Should links be described? November 16, 2001 7:47 AM   Subscribe

Shouldn't front page posts describe the content of the linked material? Lately a few posts have offered a brief opinion of the linked material without describing it (e.g. this one, this one, and this one), which I find a bit of a nuisance because I have to dig just to find out what's going on. By no means am I trying to criticize the posters; I simply wanted to draw attention to a general trend that might need correcting. What do you think?
posted by mcwetboy to Etiquette/Policy at 7:47 AM (11 comments total)

As someone who's posted a link or two with no descriptive text, and been scolded for it, I say "get over it." But only if the link is clever.
posted by solistrato at 8:29 AM on November 16, 2001

Teases are great if they're well done and contain a hint of what they contain - if they don't disappoint. Solistrato, IMO, does it well. For instance, here. As do old-timers in general. It adds pique. After you click you go "aah...!". But us mere mortals had better be as descriptive as Dante's Hell until we've mastered the syntax. I.e., probably never. It's too risky a gamble. A related problem is over-description. I'm always guilty of that: a spoiler slut. That's just a big a bummer, IMO.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:49 AM on November 16, 2001

Hey mcwetboy, how do you do that cool title rollover stuff with your thread links? Do you have to write those attributes manually into the <a> tags or is there some way to get MeFi to do it for you?
posted by dlewis at 9:00 AM on November 16, 2001 [1 favorite]

<a href="link here" title="rollover stuff here">
posted by mcwetboy at 9:05 AM on November 16, 2001 [1 favorite]

If it's adroit...OK with me.
posted by y2karl at 9:28 AM on November 16, 2001

I think I see your point, y2karl and Miguel: if done well (and, presumably, sparingly), fine. But I don't think adroit would include "Neat" "This sucks" or suchlike.

Not suggesting that all posts should conform to a particular style, just raising the issue as another point in our intermittent discussions about tone and quality. Short posts should be brilliant and witty. Long posts should be brilliant and witty, for that matter. To strive for, etc., etc.
posted by mcwetboy at 10:01 AM on November 16, 2001

Come to think of it... title attributes could actually be a good way to do a brief, witty front page post and still include a description.
posted by moss at 10:12 AM on November 16, 2001

mcwetboy: what you're saying should be carved in stone. It's not down to experience or talent, as y2karl and I hopefully suggested: it's down to work; actual graft. Good things(even rollovers!)take time to make. So it's really a question of preparation - revising and rewriting, testing and proofing. That's what clinches the deal. Would that it were otherwise, but you're absolutely right.(*deep sigh on confirming there are no free lunches, et caetera*)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:15 AM on November 16, 2001

Saying that it is a time waster tells me what I need to know ... from there, caveat emptor.
posted by purplecow at 11:32 AM on November 16, 2001

Where's Mo Nickels? He's always got great advice, and I think descriptionless posts are a pet peeve of his.
posted by jpoulos at 11:36 AM on November 16, 2001

Descriptionless posts are a peeve of mine, not because I want to piddle on anyone's creativity but because six months from now, when I'm searching the archives, I'm much more likely remember a keyword from the description than I am to recall whether it was posted with just the linktext "Wow!" or "Holy cow!" or "A feel good story".

A good description or amplification of a link is not just for now, it's for posterity.
posted by bradlands at 1:27 PM on November 16, 2001

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