Remedies for over-posters urgently needed November 22, 2001 9:36 AM   Subscribe

Remedies for over-posters urgently needed. Please bear with me and take the time to advise.
posted by MiguelCardoso to Etiquette/Policy at 9:36 AM (116 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I have tried, guys. Honestly. And I see other users now making the same prolific mistakes I did. I remember my first thread on MetaTalk and realize nothing has changed. What can we over-enthusiastic people do? Loving MetaFilter and repression just don't go together. Are there any solutions at hand? I've found that posting to long-standing threads, like the MetaFilter Parody one, isn't annoying. Same with posting links to existing threads. Or is it all a question of time? I've been reading for a few days now and watching other new members, in their passion and error, making the same mistakes. I truly think any advice would be appreciated by a few people, apart from me.

Any hints from our wiser and more costive friends? Cheers!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:45 AM on November 22, 2001

I found my path. Saludos Miguel.
posted by Voyageman at 10:00 AM on November 22, 2001

Settle down, Beavis.
posted by NortonDC at 10:29 AM on November 22, 2001

Slow today. Is that because it's Thanksgiving?
posted by Summer at 10:34 AM on November 22, 2001


Organise a physical meeting with your local mefis. Their physical state wil leave a bad taste in your mouth and you will soon find no problem not talking to them.

posted by holloway at 10:41 AM on November 22, 2001

When you feel the urge to post:

1. Type your post.
2. Hit "Preview", but do not proceed any further. If necessary, convince yourself that Preview actually means "Invisible Post".
3. Close browser window and wait for invisible replies.

posted by jheiz at 11:09 AM on November 22, 2001

Miguel. I enjoy your posts, so I don't notice when you over-post. But the quality of your posts, whether I like them or not, is beside the point I know.

What you might consider, is setting up your own website and weblog. This isn't new advice, I'm just quoting something I remember someone saying when I joined "If you are posting one front page post per day or more, you need a weblog."

I'm assuming you are talking about front-page posts here? I see no problem with posting a lot of comments.

*Oh, ok, I see from the thread you linked to that you are talking about comments within threads as well as front page posts. In that case I have no idea what the acceptable limit is :/

In that case, one quick fix might be to pack up your computer, and send it to me for safe keeping. It will be safe, and I will be sure to keep it, you see?
posted by lucien at 11:27 AM on November 22, 2001

Thanks yourself for the racism, holloway. I see from the photo of yourself you chose to present to the world(in your user profile - quick, delete it now!)you are an admirable example of cleanliness and health, not to mention the Architectural Digest-style backdrop. Wow!
Apart from fellow Voyageman's reply - thanks all, ever so much, for your useful and amusing suggestions.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:30 AM on November 22, 2001

Dammit, too late to include lucien in the useful reply section. Computer now proceeding by return of post. And, since yesterday, I already have my own weblog, but it's just not the same. Fun, yes, but not the same!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:32 AM on November 22, 2001

Miguel, a lot of people used to tell Steven Den Beste to get his own weblog. He eventually did, then lamented the fact that no one visited and he felt part or "a community of one." I told him to stick it out, and eventually he'd get a readership, and it looks like his site has continued to blossom into something good.

Postroad eventually got his own blog too. Miguel, check out Blogger and Blogspot, it's simple, turn-key hosting that's free. You can write all you want in your own space without peeving anyone.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:38 AM on November 22, 2001

Thanks yourself for the racism,

Oh, come now. Surely this is just variation #33481 on the old "meeting online friends physically is always a weird experience" observation. He wasn't talking about Portuguese mefites.
posted by rodii at 11:40 AM on November 22, 2001

I think a Miguel blog could be interesting.. go for it.
posted by jheiz at 11:56 AM on November 22, 2001

And, since yesterday, I already have my own weblog, but it's just not the same.

So, don't be a tease, Miguel - where is it? You haven't linked to it from your user page. I want to be first in line to read it so that I can sell tickets to ColdChef.
posted by rory at 11:57 AM on November 22, 2001

And yet, they still criticize me. It's just that they can't say "Why don't you start your own web log?" anymore. Now they just say "Shut up!"

The only solution for when the MeFi posting police get on your case is to ignore them with dignity.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:58 AM on November 22, 2001

Surely this is just variation #33481 on the old "meeting online friends physically is always a weird experience" observation.
Actually, I was acting on advice that Miguel lives in france. But that's for defending the position, anyway.
posted by holloway at 12:02 PM on November 22, 2001


(infernal contraption)
posted by holloway at 12:03 PM on November 22, 2001

posted by Catch at 12:03 PM on November 22, 2001

Did someone mention Nazis?
posted by solistrato at 12:14 PM on November 22, 2001

Solistrato, no, the term used was "MeFi posting police".
[Obligatory ; ) ]
posted by Catch at 12:24 PM on November 22, 2001

I was MiguelCardoso's lab rat: Sometimes I think we only exist in his imaginaton.

Or mine...

In that case, I hope the last lines of Talking Word War II Blues apply.
posted by y2karl at 12:29 PM on November 22, 2001

Miguel you need to spend at least two days toiling over a weblog before you can possibly know whether you will enjoy life as a weblogger or not....

One day. A bit hasty, yes?

Do you have a forum on your weblog? Any software via which one can reply, even converse?

Sound good. Why haven't you included it in your profile? We can bring over some beer and mess the place up a little for you. Then it will seem more like home.
posted by lucien at 12:30 PM on November 22, 2001

We can bring over some beer and mess the place up a little for you.

Early Landfill or Toxic Waste Site? The choice is yours...
posted by y2karl at 12:35 PM on November 22, 2001

Miguel, you seem frantic and unhappy. Would you consider having a talk with your physician about the intensity of your relationship with MeFi and MeTa?
posted by Carol Anne at 12:50 PM on November 22, 2001

Thanks Matt and you all. Sorry, Holloway. I'm sure New Zealand is just as bad as France. So I've taken your advice and posted my blog on my user profile. Of course it's all in Portuguese, bwaaahahahaha.! And very Southern European design. And only one day old and full of bugs. But it doeslink to MetaFilter - and nothing else, unlike some of you traitors - and brand new users. Plus all the links I stole from here, naturally. So be gentle.
Yeah, but as Matt and lucien said, bah!, it's not the same at all. But it should keep me busy, right, is the undeniable message I'm getting from you all. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:51 PM on November 22, 2001

...and the obligatory translation link.
posted by holloway at 1:02 PM on November 22, 2001

about the intensity of your relationship with... We could be talkin' capital offense here, buddy.
posted by y2karl at 1:05 PM on November 22, 2001

Well, holloway: thanks again for making my day. You know, before you entered my life, I actually wanted to live in New Zealand, if Australia should turn my boat away. I've never met a Kiwi I didn't like. I.e. Catch, everyone's favourite MeFi. You would ruin this perfect impression, wouldn't you? Is your hatred of France an English thing? Have you no independence, man? Do you hate the Aussies that much?
But, returning to the thread - and given our admiration for Steven Dan Beste and Postroad - can I just warn prolific posters like me that " get your own weblog, fucko" is a very polite, pluralistic and typically Metafilterian way of saying "O.K.; we like you; but not so much we'd want you to post more than once a week"? The only good thing about having your own blog is that you get this cool "administrator" tool where you can OK or nix all attempts at registering or commenting. You can delay, delete, edit and muck about, to your heart's content, with anyone's attempt to participate.
Of course this is not such a great thing if you've only got 150 users...

posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:24 PM on November 22, 2001

Tell you why some of us détestons le français
posted by Catch at 1:38 PM on November 22, 2001

And then you learn to link-slut. Only it doesn't work. As Matt mentions, I do get a lot of traffic now -- no thanks to MetaFilter or the A-list. My traffic went up when my friend Brad at Stardock Systems linked to me a couple of times, but it really went through the roof when a couple of pros (specifically Glenn Reynolds and Matt Welch) linked to me. Now I'm running somewhat above a thousand hits a day on my main page, plus lots more to individual log entries. Last week I pumped out 1200 megabytes of data from my server.

I have no idea how that rates on the success scale; I gather that for a lot of blogs out there, a hundred hits a day is damned good. But I kind of wonder how much traffic some of the A-listers get; they never seem to say. All I can really say is that I'm not dissatisfied any longer; I'm writing a lot and it's getting read, so I'm not wasting my time.

But that took about six months to happen, and without the war it probably wouldn't have and I'd still be stuck down at about 300 hits a day, which is where I sat all through July and August.

The sites that get a lot of traffic, the A-list, primarily do simply because they've been around a long time and web log popularity is self-sustaining.

It's a racket, and you and I are the suckers who got in late. I only seem to have succeeded by sheer chance (if indeed I have succeeded), by being in the right place at the right time; I had already established myself in some people's minds as someone who knew a lot about military affairs when it suddenly became subject #1 for a lot of people who didn't.

I have been enjoying doing it, but to really do a good job of it takes a lot of time. That's fine, since I don't really have anything else to do right now. It keeps me busy.

You might also become a bit disillusioned when you read my friend Chris's take on the issue.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 1:45 PM on November 22, 2001

Quite right too. I forgot. Good thing you have long memories - they definitely could do it again. But - and it's as big but - when you measure that outrage against their contribution to civilization - it seems a bit provincial and short-sighted to hate the French as a whole. It was a Chirac thing. The world without France would be unbearable. Come to Paris and forget about it all. I know I did.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:47 PM on November 22, 2001

So now Holloway's a racist and I'm provincial?
Unlikely that a provincial racist's girlfriend would have been to Paris already.
Oh, and "nous detestons" was typed with tongue firmly in cheek.
posted by Catch at 2:04 PM on November 22, 2001

You would ruin this perfect impression, wouldn't you?
*sigh* Miguel, my patience is wearing thin on you. That you took what I said as racism exposes your view on the world. I don't "hate" the french. I was showing how interchangable my statement was with any people. Get it? Rodii was correct. Please Miguel, get it.
posted by holloway at 2:11 PM on November 22, 2001

Steven Den Best: wow, thanks!

Catch and holloway: I don't understand. I apologized. I sympathized. I'm really sorry I offended you because I do sincerely like you both, as I've often said. It's a language thing - believe me. Or do you think Portugal, my own country, is less provincial or easily offended than yours?
New Zealand, of all countries, is quite uniquely non-racist. Besides, my use of "racist" was ironic. Race refers to race and, as far as I know, Portuguese, French and Kiwis are more or less all the same race.
So I do get it, honestly. It's just I can't express myself in English. How sad that when I want to express affection and ribbing, as one does with one's best friends, I'm always interpreted as being aggressive.
Well here is the truth: I'm sorry; I didn't meant to annoy either of you. In fact, in my innocence and foreign-ness, I expected you'd be flattered.
You know: my mother's English, but I'll never get the hang of it. It's not a subtle enough language; it really isn't. Else why would there be so many misunderstood ironies - and even sarcastic comments - here on MetaFilter? No Latin language would ever need those quite irrelevant tags.
Friends? I hope so. I know I am. :)

P.S. Boy, it's good to be back here!

*/he said, retreating humbly, knowing what was good for him*
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:38 PM on November 22, 2001

> I apologized. I sympathized. I'm really sorry I offended you because I do sincerely like you both, as I've often said ... It's just I can't express myself in English.

I don't know why I get sucked into reading these threads, but fer chrissake Miguel, it is not a language issue. Your command of English is above that of the average native speaker: you just say weird shit and then try to explain it away by saying it is a language issue or a cultural issue.

Blagfh. Never mind.
posted by sylloge at 4:05 PM on November 22, 2001

you just say weird shit

It doesn't seem weird from here. Command of English has nothing to do with meaning what you mean to say. In fact, it can be a hindrance. You know, that "lulled into a false sense of security" thing. Plus, it works both ways. I often misinterpret what native speakers say. I feel your comment as being agressive, meaning "you're recanting and using your nationality as an excuse, when the truth is you know exactly what you said", but I'm sure, in a Canadian context, it's probably friendly advice, along the lines of "Think things through: stop pretending there's some unfathomable gulf. You know English well enough not to make the mistakes you do. Be more careful".
But, there it is: I don't exactly know; because language is submerged in culture. It's not a language issue, I agree. I was being facile. But it is a semantic thing. Sincerity - which you doubt - is paramount in Latin European culture.
Though I don't deny you've got me thinking. Anyway - very unironically and Portuguesely - many thanks, sylloge. Honestly!

(Why would I lie, for chrissake?!)

posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:14 PM on November 22, 2001

(Steven: re your first post above where you say "And yet, they still criticize me." I followed the link and I'm at a loss. I assume I'm missing something subtle as usual, but what?)
posted by rodii at 6:03 PM on November 22, 2001

Well, Miguel, as you know very well, you are one of the best MeFiers and a personal favorite of mine (and I think most others here). Your insightful comments have helped me through all kinds of personal difficulties and your inner rascal adds the kind of rich character which metafilter often lacks. The hotness of your hot latin heat, is, I'll admit, quite pleasing in these cold Canadian winters. The thing is ...

I just don't believe that you don't understand that saying things like "everyone's favourite MeFi" (re Catch, above) will be interpreted as glib/facetious/inauthentic (and therefore patronizing or even insulting), especially when you say things like that constantly, about almost every member you encounter. (Obviously, people think, it can't all be true.)

Is it a cultural issue? Are people in Portugal constantly engaging in over-the-top flattery? That would surprise me, since the Portuguese people I've met (admittedly not a large sample) tend to be straightforward and down to earth. Therefore, it seems like it would be more appropriate for you to say "Sorry, I just can't seem to get beyond my own idiosyncratic habits" rather than "It is the way of my people to behave like this".

Further, it may have been a misunderstanding that lead you to say:
Thanks yourself for the racism, holloway. I see from the photo of yourself you chose to present to the world(in your user profile - quick, delete it now!)you are an admirable example of cleanliness and health, not to mention the Architectural Digest-style backdrop. Wow!
but it's pretty plain to me that you're being a jerk here. Maybe because you felt attacked or defensive, but nevertheless, following it up with
How sad that when I want to express affection and ribbing, as one does with one's best friends, I'm always interpreted as being aggressive.
You were being aggresive, and (I'd imagine) the aggression there is just as obvious to most readers as is the insincerity of the flattery.

So, I was being both agressive and friendly above. I do find some of your comments exasperating (hence the aggression) but your second interpretation is closer to what I was trying to convey. I like having you around (maybe not as much as ColdChef does, but still) -- you just drive me nuts sometimes.
posted by sylloge at 6:20 PM on November 22, 2001

lead/led - agressive/aggresive - continue as necessary.
posted by sylloge at 6:21 PM on November 22, 2001

what gets me is that Miguel seems to have an intricate knowledge of the american idiom...almost to good. where he got the racism about holloway is beyond me...he mentions something about language and its intended use...? H.D. had a wonderful line..."If you cannot understand what words mean/ How can you understand what words conceal?" I think our little pundit has an agenda."Why would I lie, for chrissake?!" for example. he leaves out the 'T' in Christ (boy is he Teed off) a typical merging of the word, leaving out the letter that breaks the rhythm of the phrase.

posted by clavdivs at 7:52 PM on November 22, 2001

or he coulda left out the 'T' by mistake.
posted by clavdivs at 7:53 PM on November 22, 2001

Rats. I linked the wrong one. Here's what I intended to link on that first comment.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:09 PM on November 22, 2001

It doesn't seem weird from here. Command of English has nothing to do with meaning what you mean to say.

What comes to mind here is that penultimate scene in Camp Concentration, which perhaps rodii knows verbatim, where the prisoners decide that they are going to work out their secret escape plan right out in plain English and their wardens freak and plug pull the whole program...leading to--well, you really ought to read the book. Right, rodii?

posted by y2karl at 8:28 PM on November 22, 2001

We can bring over some beer and mess the place up a little for you.

how annoying does one have to be before one gets offered this deal? it mite just be worth the hassle.

miguel, don't be a wuss. i'm really curious about "watching other new members, in their passion and error, making the same mistakes"

name names. link to the overarching passion. often metatalk is at least as interesting as MeFi ... drag some newbie in here, as you were dragged in. maybe you'll contribute the next contributor destined to be as legardary as you -- after, of course, a little slapping around by the MeFi elite to get her/him into fighting shape -- or did you intend for this thread to be about you?
posted by danOstuporStar at 8:45 PM on November 22, 2001

and i didn't mean "legardary" in any sorta racist sense.

posted by danOstuporStar at 9:13 PM on November 22, 2001

I think our little pundit has an agenda.

I wondered when others would pick up on this...layers like an onion, faces like a dodecahedron. North by northwest...I await the denoument eagerly and with just a touch of trepidation.

Viva la Miguel!
posted by rushmc at 9:23 PM on November 22, 2001

I don't really understand any of this.
posted by Succa at 9:31 PM on November 22, 2001

rodii knows verbatim

I remember the last sentence. "Let's sail til we come to the edge."
posted by rodii at 9:34 PM on November 22, 2001

It's a racket, and you and I are the suckers who got in late.

Steven, the A-list (who is that again?) is not out to get you. People like, f'rinstance, Ernie over at little yellow different started blogs waaay after they became popular, yet he gets a large amount of traffic by almost any standard.

Maybe people just have interests that differ from your own?
posted by anildash at 9:38 PM on November 22, 2001

I'll be go to hell
posted by y2karl at 9:43 PM on November 22, 2001

another Miguel thread?!? Just because Mr. Cardoso phrases every question he asks in terms of himself doesn't mean every thread he initiates needs to be about him personally. Anyway.

What can we over-enthusiastic people do?

All any of us can do is listen, and learn. Some of us can hardly hear, but when we do, we learn good. Some hear, but forget what we learn a moment later. Such is life.

Are there any solutions at hand? ... posting to long-standing threads ... isn't annoying. Same with posting links to existing threads. Or is it all a question of time?

Miguel, you are a writer. There are two things a writer must know: himself, and his audience. (This is of course mostly wrong but sounds much better than the whole truth.) The audience on MeFi does a rare and wondrous thing -- it talks about itself. It says what it likes. It even knows what it likes, most of the time.

After reading MeTa all this time, do you really not know how to answer your own question? There's no consensus, but there are pretty clear indications of common preference. And, generally, offensive behavior is called out. (What makes you think there's some widespread perception of you as an "over-poster", anyway? Or are you posting this question more because you think others are over-posting?)

As for technique, I find I employ jheiz' suggestion (well, just the first two steps, actually) much of the time. A comment probably occurs to me in 90 percent of the threads I read, and I probably write it up about a quarter of the time. Sometimes I post it; sometimes I read it in preview and decide not to. Sometimes I don't even bother to preview what I've typed. If I have a thought or link or joke I feel good about to contribute, I am more likely to post, but in general I try not to. (Sometimes I can't help it anyway, but that's OK.)
posted by mattpfeff at 10:10 PM on November 22, 2001

sorry. jheiz' suggestion. (I thought that used to work....)
posted by mattpfeff at 10:14 PM on November 22, 2001

Anil, I don't think that the A-list is out to get me. (I can't think of anyway they could do so, for one thing, short of launching a DOS attack against my server, or to harass me on MeFi and try to make me stop participating here.)

I have a lot of other opinions about them, but not that particular one.

(And you know full well who the A-list is.)

But I do think that what I was told last Spring was disingenuous. "Steve -- with all the cool stuff you find, why don't you start your own web log?" So I did -- but it turned out that the reason most wanted me to start my own web log was so that I would stop posting to MeFi so they could ignore me. Great; just great. During the first month after I started it I averaged 30 hits a day.

Bitter? You bet I'm bitter.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 12:32 AM on November 23, 2001

(And you know full well who the A-list is.)

Maybe he does, but I don't. I want names. I want URLs. I want accountability. I want my girlfriend to stop wearing that yarn bikini when we go to the coast, 'cause it forces me to try to look tougher than I, wait, I'm drifting again.

Really, would someone please post an A-list list? Or point me to one extant? Surely some disgrunt has compiled such a list. I wanna know who is supposed to be dazzling.
posted by Opus Dark at 1:50 AM on November 23, 2001 [1 favorite]

MiguelCardoso: I've often said. It's a language thing - believe me. .... It's just I can't express myself in English.

Your command of English is above that of the average native speaker: you just say weird shit and then try to explain it away by saying it is a language issue or a cultural issue.I

Are people in Portugal constantly engaging in over-the-top flattery? That would surprise me, since the Portuguese people I've met (admittedly not a large sample) tend to be straightforward and down to earth.II
Just to add to sylloge's points, Miguel, your mother is English,1,2,3 if I am reading correctly, you were valedictorian (came in first) of your class when you earned your B.A. in Economics from Manchester University in 1978,4 and have lived in England for eight years,5 during which time you bought and read through "all the Sunday papers" by "three in the morning."5 To top all this English exposure off, you also own and use the complete 20+4 volumes of Oxford English Dictionary, "Cassidy's (and Hall's) Dictionary of American Regional English (D.A.R.E.) and Lighter's Historical Dictionary of American Slang."6 For someone with that much exposure to English and 'English-speaking culture,' where exactly is the language (and/or cultural) barrier? You have had more experience with English and The English than many at MetaFilter.

I generally come to MetaFilter in the hopes of finding something beyond what I can find in the New York Times. I come here expecting to find posts from 'ground zeros' from around the world, posted by people who are nearby or feel passionate about these issues. And I am never disappointed. Lia's threads from 'ground zero' on over-throwing of President Estrada (1, 2); murray_kester, lagado et. al.'s threads on s11/s26 protests in Melbourne (1, 2, 3, 4, 5); margaretlam comment about local news media coverage of the China/EP-3 crisis; and now jetgrrl's post about Singapore are some of my favorite examples of the global nature of MetaFilter. I had typed (more like 'constructed') a comment in Greek to costas' thread on Greek ferry tragedy, but the preview messed it up. I like the mostly England centric posts by feelinglistless. I was surprised to find that two of my current favorite threads were posted by New Yorker Voyageman. Then again, I am always partial to other New Yorkers. I realized the value of the thread dealing with the accessibility lawsuit brought against the Sydney Olympics website posted by (Canadian) Joe Clark, when I learned of his commitment to the cause.

Miguel, none of these people were lost in translation. To you, all I have to say is: Ja chega! Eu posso aprender amar te mais, Miguel, so se podias ser um pouco mais 'Portuguese.'

You will have to reply in English, since I exhausted my zero knowledge of Portuguese in writing that sentence.


Steven Den Beste: And you know full well who the A-list is. ... Bitter? You bet I'm bitter.

Steven, just to add to Anil's comment: "Maybe people just have interests that differ from your own?" you have a thriving blog with no less than 138 registered readers (I included), most sharing similar interest as you. While you and I have once 'miscommunicated,' many have expressed their fondness for you in their own eloquent words:
There are about five or so sites I visit daily, or even several times a day, and U.S.S. Clueless is one of them.


Your's is the only web log I read. I check out several others, but some were really dumb, others were unintersting, some were not updated as frequently... you get the picture.
-Andrew J. Brehm
You have a core group of devout followers, who, in your site have found a voice and kindred spirit for their own thoughts:
Britain, which once stood astride the world, seems to shrink more and more every year into just another one of those European countries more concerned about welfare programs than defense. And whose idea was it to allow all those Muslims, who are now rioting in the streets and shouting "Death to whites" and going off to join bin Laden, to immigrate? What madness in the guise of tolerance and "diversity." I hate to paraphrase Hermann Goering, but whenever I heard the word "diversity," I want to reach for my pistol.
-praetor lex

Metafilter, my #1 source for new links,also happens to be the home of a political flat earth society...rabid, frothing at the mouth haters of western culture, especially American;Snarky little trolls who refuse to accept that left is a Position rather than a direction, and thus refuse to see any possible good coming out of the war on terror, or the need to validate their antiwar/antiamerican stand or to offer any sort of options.The first time 'Arab Terrorists'was used in the press, the owner of Metafilter posted a "the racism has begun"
post. It was upsetting to me until I realized that most of these folks are 'me too', wannabe liberals, their feet not firmly planted on the bedrock of any ethic which they can explain. Its really sad.
You were recently linked by the "A" in A-list, Kottke. With all this success, why hold a grudge?
posted by tamim at 5:31 AM on November 23, 2001 [2 favorites]

Whoa. I guess I'll have to check out Den Beste's thingy to see if anyone ever says anything that doesn't sound like the mumbled snarling of a mothballed VFW stool-warmer.
posted by Opus Dark at 5:44 AM on November 23, 2001

Wow, tamim! And whew! Nothing like another academic to put a guy in his place. OK, OK, no more universal stuff - you've just earned yourself a brand new correspondent in Lisbon! Centre of the world! Well, sort of... ;)

posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:11 AM on November 23, 2001

tamim, you never cease to amaze me.
posted by j.edwards at 6:28 AM on November 23, 2001

I think we know who our CIA spook is now. ;)

But wait! SDB is not a key member of the A List?

:::grinding noise as fundamental assumptions about the world shift and move:::
posted by rushmc at 7:57 AM on November 23, 2001

Hmmph. Kottke linked to me because of this thread on MetaTalk. (It also happened after I finally had decent traffic.)

Opus, Tamim selected certain specific posts with that kind of slant from my discussion system. Most of the discourse there is not like that. (For instance, this exchange of war stories about software engineering between Bill deHaan and me, or this recent discussion about aircraft carriers.)

And while I was very flattered by Andrew's comments, he and I are old online friends; we go back at least six years. (About a year ago, he actually called me from Berlin and we had a pleasant conversation. I think he wanted to find out what my voice sounded like.)

As to my "success", it's very recent and largely fortuitous. Here's a plot of my daily hits beginning in August when I began to log them automatically:

Most of my rise in traffic has been driven by the fact that Matt Welch has linked to me about five times. (He also writes me very nice letters.) And he is a pro, not a web logger; he's a professional journalist living in LA, and tends to run about 10,000 hits per day on his site. So when he wrote several log entries about me, it's helped a lot. That's where most of the rise in November came from.

On the other hand, I've gotten maybe 50 refers from Kottke for his joke entry, if that.

Why do I still bear a grudge? Because I've always hated cliques. Fundamentally I believe in meritocracy, and that isn't how the current structure of webloggery works. The sites which are successful are usually no better than the ones which are not -- and sometimes dramatically worse. So why are they successful? In most cases it appears to simply be longevity -- and I really hate geritocracies. (Union rules about seniority are one of the reasons I hate the unions: people are promoted and laid off based solely on how long they've been working there rather than based on how well they'd do a job. It's one contribution the Unions have made to the decline of American heavy industry. It's no accident that the most dynamic industry in the last ten years, electronics, is largely non-union.)
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:12 AM on November 23, 2001

Another point about that chart: the spike in September was mainly caused by my readers visiting more often rather than by an increase in readership, because I was trying hard to cover (and more importantly to speculate) the bombing.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:17 AM on November 23, 2001

Hmm... ;)

Given that the Web is so young, it's really hard (for me, at least) to find rants against against cliques and geritocracies compelling. I mean, Steven, don't you think you should at least publish your own blog for as long as these "A-listers" you're so worried about, before you begin to resent their success?

And, yes, many blogs are more popular than the quality of their writing would warrant, all other things being equal. But that happens in everything. So most of people would rather read something they know other people are reading. That's their choice; it's another sort of quality people look for. If that's what they want, who are you to say they're wrong?
posted by mattpfeff at 8:41 AM on November 23, 2001

I would not have gone into this were it not for the fact that Matt Haughey tried to use my experience as a good example of how well the system works. I don't agree that it works; I think I succeeded through sheer luck. It was just as possible that I might still be languishing down in the 200-per-day level by now.

(And MattPfeff, you know full well that Metafilter ignores the first term in the URL. works equally well, as does

Actually, the only real break I got that really helped when I really needed it was when Sean Meade convinced Jorn to link to me from Robot Wisdom. That happened in the early days and made my ongoing traffic levels approximately double.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:00 AM on November 23, 2001

The sites which are successful are usually no better than the ones which are not -- and sometimes dramatically worse.

Sounds like a personal judgement call to me. I think anyone who regularly reads weblogs has a few favourites that they think are likely underappreciated by readers as a whole (for example, I think everyone should read quiddity more often). Thanks for sharing your traffic graph with us all, though.. I'm so very sorry that despite the fact that your (already substantial) traffic doubled in the last month, you haven't been accepted into an elusive and possibly non-existant social group.
posted by jess at 9:05 AM on November 23, 2001

Why do I still bear a grudge? Because I've always hated cliques.

This clique accusation, it pisses me off. You don't piss me off, Steven, just your choice of words.

Maybe I've got baggage attached to "clique" that you don't share. For me it draws images of the high school cool kids that would look down their nose and force people away because their families don't make enough money, they aren't on the football team, they aren't a cheerleader, whatever.

This is why the word pisses me off. The typical names dropped in a-list examples - Kottke, Matt, Zeldman, whatever - each and every one of them doesn't give two shits whether I live or die, but every time I've corresponded with them (which is really quite infrequently, most of which has been through MeFi) they haven't asked to see my credentials, they've responded to queries with answers.

And they haven't been civil about it, they've been downright friendly, helpful, often giving me far more than I asked for and going out of their way to give me a boost up.

Well, except Kottke, but he's a cantankerous bastard anyway.

Fundamentally I believe in meritocracy, and that isn't how the current structure of webloggery works.

I agree, but what merits should define webloggery rule? Again, all the typical a-listers have significantly contributed to the community, either through their personal projects (Kottke and Osil8, Matt and MeFi) or through their careers (the Pyra gang).

I agree that a lot of their current popularity is a residual effect of, for some, older work (Osil8's gotten slower as Kottke's gotten busier of course) but where is your matching contribution?

If you want the merit they receive, perhaps you should contribute to the community on the scale they have. A weblog as just a weblog is not going to propel you into stardom. It will give you a place to speak your mind on your terms, but speaking your mind doesn't get people places.

Talking on MetaFilter isn't contributing to the community either. It's participating in the community, and you've certainly educated the community to a large degree, but you've never created something that was the focus of the community, you've created something that is the focus of yourself.

A perfect example at the fickleness of the weblog meritocracy is Adam Trenchant. He was in the scene early, with his own weblog, and then he began charting the community with webloglog, he became an archivest and gained readership.

When he shut webloglog down his readership undoubtedly dropped a large degree. Then he worked at Deepleap, a company attempting to contribute to the community with their software. Again, his popularity went up. When his Deepleap employment ended, his readership waned to some degree.

Then he started working on Organizine, a content manager, and he started getting MeFi posts and stuff. When he decided he wasn't able to support the project properly, once again his readership dropped.

A meritocracy exists, Steven. Unfortunately, the merits you display - which are many - aren't the ones that act as currency in this community.
posted by cCranium at 9:29 AM on November 23, 2001

Fundamentally I believe in meritocracy, and that isn't how the current structure of webloggery works

Sorry Steven, but what a load of horseshit.

According to this logic, because Jason Kottke has been running his site for three years (and *only* because of that fact), he gets a lot of traffic. He could be the most boring writer on the web, yet because he has kept doing it, he has traffic? His success is hinged on having the most links back to his site, due to its age?

I'll admit that age helps, and contributes to popularity, but it's not the number one thing responsible for traffic (I wouldn't put it in the top five reasons).

Do you think readers are robots? Do people simply blindly follow links, and keep going to a site just because? I can think of plenty five year old sites with low traffic. Does Justin Hall get much traffic at these days? I'm sure it is at a pretty decent level, but probably not as much as According to the geritocracy logic, Justin should be grandmaster of the A-list, since his site is probably six years old, but he isn't.

Steven, content is king. People get readership when they provide content, it's not who they know, what "clique" they are a part of (you say "I hate cliques" and if you picked out any blogger you wanted, my bet is they do too, and people claiming they are a part of some sort of secret a-list clique is merely them projecting that onto unwilling parties), or how long their site has been around.

Put simply: if you are a boring writer, you will lose readers. If you don't update, you will lose readers. If you are a bad writer, no matter how much you write, you will lose readers.

Look at Mena's site, or Jish's site, WebVoice, InstaPundit, or BoingBoing. All these sites are relatively new (about a year old, give or take a few months (yes I know boingboing is older, but Cory hasn't been there that long)), but get major traffic and have nice little followings that often populate their comment systems. I've long believed, and still believe anyone that can write well, design well, and/or photograph well could start a blogspot blog tomorrow, and be widely known in a matter of months, without doing anything but patiently producing good content and waiting to be found by web surfers.

And one last point, if you're bitter about anything, it's going to come out in your writing, and when you lose readership due to bitterness, don't blame it on the geritocracy hypothesis.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:38 AM on November 23, 2001

I don't care whether I'm accepted by the A-listers. I'm not writing the same kind of blog that they are. Noticebly absent from my site are descriptions of my day-to-day life (which is boring) or pictures from my vacation, or "today's word from the dictionary". I find those kinds of sites awesomely banal. They reveal someone who wants (or feels an obligation) to write, but doesn't actually have something to say.

I'm writing commentary on current events, and the like. I provide analysis and historical background. I'm not maintaining an online diary, or a personally-maintained portal. On my site, the writing is the point, not the links.

I think I've been doing a lot of good writing, and since I'm not getting paid for this, the only reward is knowing that people are reading it. Until just recently, not many were.

I greatly resent the fact that most of those who lent their voices to the chorus demanding that I start my own web log were doing so not because they wanted to read it, but as an indirect way of trying to kick me off of MetaFilter.

(So after that thread on MetaTalk, I wrote to Matt and asked him his opinion, and he suggested that I should stop posting. So I did. Then a few days later he wrote to me and asked me to start again. So I did. Note to the rest of you: Matt's opinion about what I do here is the only one I care about, because it's his system.)

Oh, by the way, want the A-list? Go to these sites and look at their lists of people linked to: (1 2 3) Not everyone listed there is A-list, but virtually everyone who is A-list is linked on at least one of those three.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:39 AM on November 23, 2001

I don't care whether I'm accepted by the A-listers.

Steven, what is it that you want, and why must you complain so very much? You have folks that read your weblog and your points of view are frequently discussed here and on others' personal weblogs. Yet you gripe that you are not appreciated and that weblogging ought to be a meritocracy (How dare someone less verbose/eloquent/intelligent than you have more daily hits! The nerve!).

You know, Steven, everyone is in a clique. It's called "their friends". You also appear to have friends to whom you link more often, and vice versa. Why can't you see that you have your own personal "A-List"? Why the hell does it matter in the first place? You are correct when you say that weblogging is not a meritocracy (I don't even know what your criteria for merit is anyways). Tough noogies.

On the other hand, I've gotten maybe 50 refers from Kottke for his joke entry, if that.

Huh? Ought I to assume that "(at last! I've arrived!)" was also a joke?

It appears to me that you enjoy what it is that you do, when you are not busy being envious of others. Perhaps you should just leave it at that and let go of having to get the most page-views, or the most adulation. After all, "The greatest love of all is easy to achieve. Learning to love yourself: It is the greatest love of all "

Dammit Steven, you made me quote Whitney.
posted by Avogadro at 9:45 AM on November 23, 2001

I'm not writing the same kind of blog that they are.

And yet you argue that you should have the same kind of traffic they do?
posted by cCranium at 9:47 AM on November 23, 2001

By the way, despite the way the conversation has turned, I find it extremely amusing that Miguel has realised that the cantankerous old farts who were asking him to hold back his posting levels weren't doing it out of spite towards him but because one user who dominates the site is a bad thing for the site.

How do those words taste, Miguel?

(Clarification: That last sentence was out of spite towards Miguel.)
posted by cCranium at 10:03 AM on November 23, 2001

Avogadro, of course that was a joke. (Wasn't it obvious? I guess my humor is a bit dry at times.)

I don't think I bitch about this constantly, either here or on my own site. The only reason I got involved in this was because I was being cited as a good example for Miguel to follow. I wouldn't have started writing about this were it not for that. My belief is that I succeeded in spite of the existing web log system, not because of it.

What I want is to not be used as an example for Miguel. If anything, my experience is a good example of why the course Miguel is being advised to follow is not a good one. Maybe he'll succeed, too; I couldn't say. I hope it's true. But there's no guarantee because success in this seems to depend mainly on luck.

At the moment I'm pretty pleased with my traffic levels. I expect it to fade down a bit, which is probably just as well; during peak times my uplink bandwidth is getting saturated. Road Runner is going to be offering upgrades on that (for a higher fee) and I'll probably get more when that happens, and then I'll be game for more growth.

I just wrote something relevant in a private letter to someone, but I'll repeat it here: long term traffic levels are the product of two things: the number of initial visits you get, and the percentage of those who stick and convert to regular readers. Quality of writing will generally affect the stickiness of a site, but has no effect on initial visits.

So there are two main ways to succeed. if you have a low stickiness rate but a huge number of initial visits, you'll still build up a big long-term regular readership. On the other hand, if you have a high stickness you need a lot fewer initial visits.

I think I've always had a high stickiness rate, but for a long time I despaired of figuring out any way to get initial visits. I did things like registering in the Web Log section of Yahoo, or that "what the first screen looks like" site in the Netherlands, but that was futile. Getting initial visits turned out to be sheer luck, because pretty much the only way to get it is by having some other high-traffic sites link to you, and I was not going to grovel for that. So it took a long time before it happened. In my case there were four such: Stardock (twice), Robot Wisdom (once), Instapundit (about twice) and Matt Welch (about five times). Of those, Matt is responsible for more of my current traffic than everyone else combined, so far as I can tell. (But Welch found me through Instapundit, who found me through Reductio Ad Absurdum, who found me through Robot Wisdom, who found me because Sean Meade was one of the few MeFiers who actually took an interest in my site and started to push it on his web log. (Thanks, Sean.)

On the other hand, a lot of the "A-listers" have big readerships because their stickiness is low but they get a huge number of initial visits -- mostly because the A-listers all link each other, and traffic begets traffic.

I could go into specifics, but I don't care to single people out because I know how it felt when it happened to me.

This has turned out to be more vicious than I really intended it to become, and I'm not going to contribute any longer to this thread. If anyone wants to continue this discussion with me, send me email.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:45 AM on November 23, 2001

(Sorry, one last little bit: the viciousness I mentioned was my own, not anyone else's.)
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:04 AM on November 23, 2001

I still don't get any of this. Why you all talk in this crazy moon language? Huh?
posted by Succa at 12:06 PM on November 23, 2001

As a long time obscure Mefi member I linked up to Steve's page early on because I knew that he would probably invest more time in that than Mefi. While I don't always agree with his take on things (I was the one that clued the guy from Ethel about a certain post) I do respect the honest manner in which he conveys his opinions.

I try and link to folks I like or like to read. I've done my share of A-list bashing and I made stupid comments about blogger for no other reason but to annoy. But those were actions of a bored individual transferring hostility about personal things to online commentary.

I'm looking at things differently now. These days my priorities have shifted to keeping a line of communication open to those I care about. That is the single most important aspect of blogging anyway. I'll leave the reviewing for these guys.

Oh, and someday I will post on Mefi again. I just hope I remember how.
posted by john at 3:10 PM on November 23, 2001

I think SDB is quite correct on the stickiness-vs-exposure issue. I spent months upon months languishing in the 100-to-300 hits per day range. Sure, I kept a large number of the people who actually stumbled across my site, and developed a community of active discussion forums, and had all sorts of people say very nice things about me... but still drifted in the doldrums, unable to get many people to give the site an initial visit in the first place.

And it's frustrating. You're busy pouring your heart and soul into your work, and have 16 months of quality content underneath the bridge... and yet you're still looking at the same ol' hit range while vapid-but-long-standing sites are clucking about reader stats an order of magnitude higher. It really makes you question whether you're simply tilting at windmills in some sort of colossally futile quest.

Outside of having a couple of articles get randomly Farked, my "big break" has also been one of pure chance. I was one of the very first forum regulars at the popular animation site; when the webmaster there decided that he was closing up shop, he simply ceded the domain over to me as a semi-permanent loan. That netted me a whole slew of new eyeballs, many of whom have stayed; I'm now hovering around the 1300 hits/day mark myself. Without that hook up? I'd probably still be relegated to the doldrums, same as always.

Is content the key to having an immensely popular site? Sure - in the sense that it's a prerequisite for continuing success, not that it guarantees it. Dull sites may eventually fritter away all their visitors, no matter how long-lived said sites are, but simply having good content still means that success may entail a very, very long wait indeed. "Put up a good site and eventually people will flock to it in droves" sounds nice and is something I would love to believe... but I don't think it's any more true than suggesting that the starving artist or impoverished novelist or little-known actor will "be discovered" and have glorious success rain down upon them if they simply bide their time.
posted by youhas at 4:19 PM on November 23, 2001

One of the problems with new sites is to get them into people's consciousness. Search engines are good at finding and rating the popular hits, but they don't seize new content based on merit. Moaning about it won't help.

I'm hoping search engines will pick up on intelligent agent technology (or even agents on my own computer which utilise "spare" bandwidth) which will enable me to reward the agent for bringing me relevant stuff and disapprove otherwise, such that it learns to like the stuff I tell it to bring. I could initialise it with some essays or links that I liked, and keep different agents for different stuff.

And then those agents would be able to (anonymously) take recommendations from other agents whose owners have approved of similar stuff to me. They'll be able to exchange stuff based not on a linkocracy but a contentocracy (so that new stuff can get around as quick as it appears, irregardless of who wrote it).

Or maybe I'm just a dreamer.
posted by walrus at 4:40 PM on November 23, 2001

steven, I'm not sure what kind of traffic you imagine A-list sites drive, but I can tell you from my own experience that it amounts to from 1-4 hits a day. in other words, negligible.

a mention in a newspaper article equals less than 10 hits. it's true that part of it is getting in front of people, but it matters more to get in front of the right people. even when you get in front of lots of people, my experience is that most of them look and then never come back again.

what is reliable is slow, steady growth and that takes patience.

you're wasting energy on anger toward imaginary things here.
posted by rebeccablood at 6:41 PM on November 23, 2001

i don't know what all the fuss is about with "hits." i write to make my friends laugh, to turn them onto something interesting every now and then, and maybe whine about normal teen angsty crap when i have no one else to talk about it with. i guess i've got different goals/audience.

the closest thing to an a-list that i read is zannah's and i could really give a damn about the others because most of the time, they fail to interest me. not to put them down or anything though, 'cause i'm sure they're all great people and their own niche with their readers. blah.
posted by lotsofno at 8:57 PM on November 23, 2001

It was just as possible that I might still be languishing down in the 200-per-day level by now.

I think this statement is supposed to end with, "AND GODDAMMIT, I DESERVE MORE!"

Since my aged request for SDB to start his own site was linked above, I invite Steven, and everyone else to read it: I said that Steven posted so much, and at such length, that it belonged on his own blog instead of MeFi.

If MeFi has 12000+ readers, and SDB's site gets ~400 hits a day, I think that confirms my assertion.

For the record, I would guess (I'm too cool to actually check my traffic numbers) that I probably get the same amount of traffic, or less, than Steven does. This, despite the fact that my site is relatively old, and despite the fact that I have slept with both Jason Levine and Jason Kottke, and I regularly send rare orchids via airmail to RCB.

This means, of course, not that I suck, but that everyone who doesn't visit my site to read Mmmbop sucks.
posted by anildash at 9:25 PM on November 23, 2001

The more I learn about youse guys, the more I am convinced that blogging is well on its way to becoming a useful symptom...
posted by Opus Dark at 11:00 PM on November 23, 2001

symptom of what, exactly? :)

(says she with 3 weblogs.)
posted by epersonae at 11:32 PM on November 23, 2001

::: shuffling, hands-in-pockets, whistling, looking around aimlessly, ignoring the question :::
posted by Opus Dark at 12:05 AM on November 24, 2001

I'm sorry, Steven but you've just proved that Matt was right and that you are indeed a good example, like it or not. You're running a successful weblog and contributing generously to MetaFilter. Plus, you're still bitter after all these years: what else could you want?
Yeah, I know, being part of the A-list... Well it's sad. I am in a position to tell you this was going to happen next Tuesday, 18h30m at a secret meeting somewhere in SF. But not now, of course. Now, I'm afraid it's like that New Yorker cartoon: "How about never? Is never good for you?" :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:17 AM on November 24, 2001

A couple things I'd like to contribute to this fascinating thread.

Point the First : I love it when people say 'fucko'. As in : You got a problem, fucko? The nastiness is cut so nicely by the's perfect. Been using that one for years. Kudos to the Portuguese guy.

Point the Second : This whole hit count thing intrigues me, too. I've been blogging for over a year now, and never linked any of my blogs or other web-noodlings here until recently, as I haven't really cared about being popular with the cool kids. A friend talked me into it. Like lotsofno, I was more keen to keep a running monologue open for my pals and perhaps a few random others. I 'went public' a couple of weeks ago, and I have noted a distressing urge to check referral logs, but my primary purpose is pretty much really just noting things down so I won't forget them later. This is perhaps unique to me and my long history of synaptic misfires.

Point the Third : Both Miguel and Steven have annoyed the living crap out of me many times, but I like reading their tap-tappings, Steven there, Miguel here, and generally have respect for what they have to say and how they say it. I've known people who talk to goddamn much in real life too. If they're basically good-hearted, you just have to roll your eyes a bit and turn down the volume. It's all good.

Half-assed Point the Fourth : I've always assumed that the 'a-list' was at least 50% a joke...some of my favorite personalities 'round these parts (and including the Cloud Of Goodwill surrounding MeFi) are probably 'a-listers', but a lot of them aren't, I don't think. I like to think I'm capable of choosing my own a-list. And, like somebody said above, the top of that list will always be populated by my friends. One of the great benefits of that is that I don't have to indulge in some insecure lust to be part of the 'cool gang' - you're always automatically part of your friends' a-list too.

There was probably a Point the Fifth, but I've forgotten, and since I'm taking a break from the booze for a while, I can't really be bothered trying to remember. I still love you folks, though.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:40 AM on November 24, 2001

...uhh...'too goddamn much'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:42 AM on November 24, 2001

WARNING: Long Rant Coming; Please Move Along...

sylloge: I've been tossing and turning all night, thinking about what you said. Being bilingual, this culture/language is important to me. Besides, it works both ways. How can you Americans fully understand Southern European literature(Dante, Petrarch, Cervantes, Racine, Valèry, et caetera)if you don't allow for the fact that exaggeration is imbued in our culture?

On the other hand, American culture is ruthlessly efficient at detecting bullshit. I admit, shamefully, that I was being aggressive to holloway. I stupidly thought "my local MeFis" meant the Portuguese and also assumed - now it gets really embarrassing - it had something to do with smoking.

I apologized but I should have been courageous enough to recognize my touchiness and not tried to pass it off as a joke. But - here's the rub - I do appreciate Catch's posts. The problem is in the exaggeration: "everyone's favourite poster". What I meant, if I had to repress myself and speak Americanly, was "a poster I like and am sorry to have pissed off."

That's not false or patronizing. Hyperbole is built into my culture, but be sure of one thing: we may say we love when we like, and hate when we mildly disapprove, but we never say something nice or something bad without meaning it.

It's a question of degree, that's all. Here in Portugal we say "dar o desconto" - meaning that whatever is said should be discounted a notch or two. English, Canadian and U.S. WASP culture is understated, dry and playful. Southern European culture is not.
Sometimes it seems to me, guiltily, that I'm the one doing all the learning here at MetaFilter, while all my efforts to give you an idea of "where I'm coming from" are suspected to be insincere or not worth considering, much less decoding with a lighter touch.

And, yes, I am exaggerating again - but it's part and parcel of the way we express ourselves. Tamim: language and culture are often antagonists. Of course I know I'm proficient in English. But I can't write in English - not as a writer - because I know that the signals I send, no matter how hard I try to adapt to my audience(mattpfeff's point), will be understood in a way which is at least different from my intentions. Cross-purposes and all that. I don't know why. If I did know, then I could write.

I'll give you an example. When I read your ironic first paragraph I was gratified and accepted it was sincere. Yep, it's that wide a gulf. In our culture we do not say the opposite of what we mean. Hey I once wrote a harmless column where I mentioned I'd been woken up by my mother and felt like killing her and I received hundreds of letters - literally - telling me this was an evil thing to do.
Irony is something we don't do well. Why else do you think we're so crap at humour? For humour, the English, Americans, Canadians and Australians are unbeatable because they're the only ones who are actually funny.

So, tossing and turning, I found an example that might be useful. In the U.S. and Canada we Portuguese instantly warm to - and understand - African Americans and Jews. Why? Because they express themselves the same way as we do. They love and hate with nothing in between: they exaggerate wildly; they go overboard; they're either sentimental or hard, with no wishy-washy middleness or ambiguity to tone it down.

It's Manichean, black-and-white, unfunny and devoid of irony: but it's my culture. And I do think - and don't care whether it sounds patronizing, because that word, you'll be surprised to know, does not exist in Portuguese, Spanish, French or Italian(we only have "paternalistic" and "condescending", which mean different things) - that you Americans can never understand Latin European culture unless you learn to deal with our form of expression, which has produced so many beautiful things.

I'm but a little louse on the locks of that culture, but I am here on MetaFilter and trying to fit in. I don't lie and I'm not passive-aggressive(a little dig: that's a strictly American speciality). My praise is praise and my condemnations are condemnations. I remember a stavrosthewonderchicken post from way back, saying I alternatively grovelled or bellowed. That's about right. Though that's not what I meant. I can't help being Portuguese - or a foreigner here - any more than I can avoid being annoying. I can tell you, though, that Southern European cultures do "annoying" better than anyone else on earth, unfortunately. You think I'm annoying? You should live with my people every day!
Though, of course, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else and am proud to be part of what I'm part of; if only because I was born into it and am now old enough to value the things that are chosen for you, like your parents, your language, your country.

This is an ornate, excessively polite, verbose culture - granted. But one would have to be pretty smug - even stupid to dismiss it. (not you, sylloge!) That's why the language/culture issue is so interesting. I notice nuances even from different parts of the U.S. A Montana poster here, a Manhattan one here... You know what extra spin or "discount" to give when you read them. Not to mention the British contingent, frequently misunderstood as well.

So if MetaFilter is truly international, people should not concentrate merely on the English language - which we all speak - but also on what lies behind its use. I searched for something to back me up and thought this link was quite good.

Sorry, sylloge - I warned you I'd been tossing and turning all night. It just seemed so important. :)

did you just say "too damn much", stavrosthewonderchicken? Feel better now?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:34 AM on November 24, 2001 [2 favorites]

That's some interesting stuff, I reckon (although I hesitate to say so, after all that's been said on this thread). I'm *fascinated* by the way different languages guide and create different interpretations of the world in the minds of the people who use them and are instrumental in defining cultures from the very way that they're structured.

I've been watching you wrestle with the way you've expressed yourself here since you first joined, Miguel, seemingly trying to force your posts into a more North American mold. It's been interesting indeed.

(Never apologize for being a 'foreigner'. Wear it as a badge of honour. Oh, and my point about people that talk too damn much was that if they have something worth hearing to say, you just batten down the hatches and wait for the storm of verbiage to subside, then engage them. Keywords : It's all good.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:39 AM on November 24, 2001

Weblogs and A listers? I think most MeFis couldn't give a f*ck. Well I certainly couldn't.
posted by Summer at 5:11 AM on November 24, 2001

Thank you for that dismissive, patronizing post, Summer. I could give a fuck, and I believe my body mass qualifies me as at least 7,000 to 8,000 members. (Note: MetaFilter is a weblog.)

The best advice I can muster for Miguel: be succinct. For example, I bet you could cut this thread's initial comment in half, keeping 99% of the meaning.
posted by gleemax at 6:09 AM on November 24, 2001

This thread began: Remedies for over-posters urgently needed. Yet, it became MetaMiguelCardoso and MetaStevenDenBeste. Ah, MetaIrony!
posted by Carol Anne at 6:21 AM on November 24, 2001

Prime example of English culture(sorry Summer, I agree with what you say but this is too pertinent to resist): writing f*ck. Not **** and not fuck, but f*ck. Leaving only the 'u' out. So neither fully rude nor fully polite. But clear enough so we all get it. Yet another case of the language/culture divide. I submit no American, Canadian, Australian or Latin European, come to think of it, would ever write f*ck..
Another question: why is it - not only here on MeFi - that there seems to be much less of a communication problem between Europeans, be they Brits or dagos like me, in general and Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders; than there is between U.S. Americans and, well, the rest of the world?
Methinks 99% of the people U.S. Americans deal with - meet, read, hear - are also U.S. Americans. Whereas Canadians, British and Oceanic(couldn't be bothered to type out Aussies and Kiwis again) people are used to dealing with foreigners; in fact have foreignness built into their cultures.
E.g. the way U.S. Americans think of Italians(as Italian Americans), Poles(as Polish Americans), etc. Perhaps Americanness, in the U.S. sense, is all-inclusive and the melting pot really does exist.
They're doing something right, that's for sure. But it is, paradoxically, a bit claustrophobic and shuttered. At least to outsiders, which are, let us not forget, 99% of the world, if you include time; which you must.
Very interesting. Boring to you, perhaps. But very interesting to us. Cheers!

posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:22 AM on November 24, 2001

Dammit, too late again to profit from gleemax's advice. Story of my life...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:24 AM on November 24, 2001

It's Manichean, black-and-white, unfunny and devoid of irony[...]

Geez. I just left an un-flagged sar-caustic on your Kottke/Romenesko's thread, Miguel. American culture is so tuned to irony...we are like irony's first harmonic...gonna be way hard to turn down the volume on that one. Probably, you should just accept the fact that sometimes you are not gonna get it, just as I accept the fact that when I am in the company of certain of my culturally diverse friends, I am often the odd-man-out of the inside joke.
posted by Opus Dark at 7:09 AM on November 24, 2001

I would normally write fuck, Miguel, but I've just been reading the Mary Whitehouse thread about swearing and was maybe influenced by that. Gleemax: what I really meant was that this talk about cliques and A listers doesn't really concern most visitors, who surely come here for a bit of opinionated but civil chat, no matter who's doing the chatting.
posted by Summer at 7:23 AM on November 24, 2001

Summer: I don't agree. MetaTalk has many purposes, but I don't think "etiquette/policy" is the category people visit expecting light-hearted banter. This thread has a purpose, and it's in the pertinent category.

You "couldn't" give a fuck about this thread. Then why read it, and why comment on it? Your complaint doesn't add anything, except to announce your dissatisfaction.

To put it more simply, "Who gives a fuck if Summer doesn't give a fuck?"
posted by gleemax at 8:10 AM on November 24, 2001

if you include time; which you must.

Certainly when your name is involved, Miguel!

'Hey, bub, you type fast or what?'
posted by y2karl at 8:20 AM on November 24, 2001

Mefi was, early on, an a-list playground. Some of that is residual and still has a large effect on discussions here.
posted by Mick at 9:18 AM on November 24, 2001

Can this thead end now?
posted by Su at 12:55 PM on November 24, 2001

Er. "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

Also: "However there is also a widely-recognized codicil that any intentional triggering of Godwin's Law in order to invoke its thread-ending effects will be unsuccessful."

It's nice when people read things.
posted by gleemax at 1:03 PM on November 24, 2001

mmmmm, orchids.
posted by rebeccablood at 4:41 PM on November 24, 2001

Excellent post, Miguel - very interesting. I myself (being a dual citizen) am fascinated by the differences between Canucks and Americans. They are very subtle, but they are there. To generalize, Canadians have more exposure to different cultures: everyone learns French, and our immigrants are encouraged to hold onto their original culture (the ol' mosaic as opposed to the melting pot). This would immediately make the overall culture similar to that in Europe, with a variety of cultures living side by side. Not to say that American culture is homogenous, which it is not, but it's a matter of degree.

Yet it's odd – clearly Canadians have a stronger sense of irony, since we export so many comedians to the States. I always figured this was because we consumed so much media that was not intended for us (American TV & films). Yet how does this relate to what you are saying, that (southern) European culture has no sense of irony? Hell, I'm not sure. Typical.

*cough* to get on topic, some advice for overposters from a chronic underposter: only post when you feel you have something to add that no one else is going to. And don't be afraid to lurk sometimes. I know that's not an angel-chorus-accompanied giant revelation, but it works for me.
posted by D at 8:38 PM on November 24, 2001

I myself (being a dual citizen) am fascinated by the differences between Canucks and Americans.


And I suppose you eat take oot, too?
posted by y2karl at 9:30 PM on November 24, 2001

What're you talking aboot?
posted by D at 9:36 PM on November 24, 2001

Oh, a feeble attempt at humor: a Scot from Canada I used to hang out with always had the long 'oos' where I'd have 'ows' To be serious, Canada fascinates me with its Canadian content rules in broadcasting--It's certainly made the country the comedy equivalent to what the Domincan Republic is for baseball. And, too, I think of the segment on This American Life, where the Canadian guest, on the topic of show biz celebrities, would interrupt Ira Glass to say "He's a Canadian..." every ten seconds and made the point that when Lorne Greene was mentioned in his Toronto home it was a double whammy because his family, as Greene's, was Jewish. That was a great show. I want this thread to become immortal, by the way.
posted by y2karl at 10:10 PM on November 24, 2001

Damn us Canadians with our foul mouths and flip-top heads! We are the acme of all that's wrong aboot the world!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:50 PM on November 24, 2001

[I want this thread to become immortal, by the way.]

There can be only one.

Or is it time for The Gathering of immortal MeFi threads?

chicken: damn your hoser self-loathing! I'd like to pull your jersey oover your head and beat some pride into you!
posted by D at 11:01 PM on November 24, 2001

Take off, eh!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:20 PM on November 24, 2001

Not only with comedians but as callers to Coast to Coast with Art Bell are Canadians disproportionately represented. What's that aboot?
posted by y2karl at 11:21 PM on November 24, 2001

So, my little troll failed. Oh well.
You say ar-bu-tus, we say ma-dro-na...
posted by y2karl at 12:12 AM on November 25, 2001

Love the Miguel Blog Via babelfish.

Particularly taken with the headline " It saves the Chicks of Certain Death - It shoots Guarda-Chuvas to them!".

I think The Chicks of Certain Death ought to be a Russ Meyer-influenced all-girl psychobilly band.

Mmm. A Russ Meyer-influenced all-girl psychobilly band. Time for my cold bath, I think.
posted by Grangousier at 6:27 AM on November 25, 2001

Oil bottle in the Monkey seats One Given Good

I do not lose one. Force!

posted by y2karl at 8:32 AM on November 25, 2001

Oh, Miguel,

> Sorry, sylloge - I warned you I'd been tossing and turning all night. It just seemed so important.

Certainly, whatever things I talk about are ipso facto of the highest importance, but you needn't've stayed up all night worrying about it. I was annoyed that you tried to pass off your aggresiveness as a cultural difference; you acknowledged that. Fin.

On the larger question: perhaps it is because I live in a culturally heterogenous place where it is a very rare occurance to meet someone who was born where they now live (and even rarer to meet someone whose parents were also born there) but the differences between individuals have always seemed greater than the differences cultures to me (much as Lewontin, Rose, etc. claim that the genetic differences between members of a given "race" are greater than the average differences between "races").

Some Italians are shy and not very animated; some Danes are passionate and gregarious. Some people are jerks, some people are geniuses, some people have beautiful eyes, some people dislike mushrooms. And they can be Brazilian, British or Bangladeshi.

(Speaking as another dual US-Canadian citizen, the differences among Canadians (think Newfies vs Haitian Montrealers vs Gulf Island hippies) and among Americans (think Maine lobstermen vs Mississippi farmers vs LA film people) are far greater than the differences between "Canadians" and "Americans".)
posted by sylloge at 12:33 PM on November 25, 2001

Hey, I just and put my current show's notes into Babelfish and went English to French and then cut and pasted the text back into the text box. and went French to English. Wotta scream!

Bill and Charlie Moroe became the invoice and Charlie Monroe, for instance.

How many of you kids remember Philip K. Dick's The Galactic Pot Healer? At the beginning of it, all these bored office workers around the world have a game put famous book titles into the huge translating computers around the world (it was written in the 60s, what did he know about PCs) and translate them into four or five languages consecutively and then try to trick each other with the results.

The Male Homosexual Gets Out of Bed by Serious Constricting Path was one that comes to mind.

Wow! With Babelfish, you can do it at home... This is so cool.

There can be only one immortal thread and I'm calling it this one!

Let the Gathering begin..
posted by y2karl at 8:09 PM on November 25, 2001

If I can be Connery.

sylloge: that's true, but it doesn't help us make sweeping generalizations, does it?

I may be wrong, but I see some parallels between the US/canadian difference in the UK/Irish relationship. I hesitantly generalize that Australians/NZ may have a similar thing going on.
posted by D at 8:36 PM on November 25, 2001

To pick up on some of the site traffic/stats debate above: Alexa's site (linked elsewhere at MeFi) reveals traffic rankings for most of the domains discussed here. Yes, is highly-ranked, but is marginally higher. Anil does better than SDB, too, but not by orders of magnitude.
posted by rory at 3:41 AM on November 26, 2001

I greatly resent the fact that most of those who lent their voices to the chorus demanding that I start my own web log were doing so not because they wanted to read it, but as an indirect way of trying to kick me off of MetaFilter.

I know I'm coming late to this party, but as one of the MFers who told Steven to get his own weblog, I wanted to point out that I have visited his weblog and promoted it on one of my sites.

I have to say I enjoyed Steven's ranting about how a group of people hounded him until he produced his own weblog, promoted his weblog with frequent mentions on MetaFilter, and it is now hugely successful by weblogging standards. Poor guy.
posted by rcade at 6:54 AM on November 26, 2001

And all that despite "the system"* trying to fuck him ...

* "My belief is that I succeeded in spite of the existing web log system, not because of it."^ and "Matt Haughey tried to use my experience as a good example of how well the system works. I don't agree that it works; I think I succeeded through sheer luck."^
posted by sylloge at 7:19 PM on November 26, 2001

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