Do you also skip the posts? November 26, 2001 9:53 AM   Subscribe

I'm traveling far from home for first time since 9-11, and when I visit Metafilter, I find myself every time going straight to read member's comments, without first (in some cases ever) visiting the posted link. Is this shallow of me, or a simple craving for community spirit? Have others experienced this?
posted by Voyageman to MetaFilter-Related at 9:53 AM (21 comments total)

Actually, I do that quite a bit. I find it very difficult to read long articles online, or sometimes the post in question is just not something I would be interested in. It's the discussion and the community that really draws me to Metafilter - if the discussion is intriguing enough, or there's a point I don't quite understand, I'll follow the link.

Note: I do this mostly with poorly described links or stuff that's been beaten to death over the last few days. I do try and honor the original poster by reading the link as much as possible, but I just can't read everything that gets put up on the front page. I feel for you, mathowie!
posted by starvingartist at 10:03 AM on November 26, 2001


I try to ensure that I do the absolute minimum of research into any topic of discussion, so I can more successfully post an uninformed and irrelevant comment which is bound to offend people and insult their intelligence.

Thank you for your support.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:09 AM on November 26, 2001


I hope that's a joke, Kafka. If I do enter into the discussion, which I rarely do anymore, I do of course read the link. It would be patently offensive not to.
posted by starvingartist at 10:22 AM on November 26, 2001


They're a benchmark, right?
Someone with an easy to translate perspective on the world...
And if they've made you laugh, of course.
And sometimes I want to bookmark Carole Anne's user profile just so I can check out the latest cool links.
Well, enough--must scramble onto job hunt treadmill. Wolf is at the door!
posted by y2karl at 10:26 AM on November 26, 2001


ps. administrator!!! please hope me!
posted by y2karl at 10:30 AM on November 26, 2001


Yes. It was a joke.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:41 AM on November 26, 2001


I stopped clicking on most news-links (eg: cnn, nyt, yahoo news, wired) a while ago. Like starving said, I only read them if I feel like participating in the discussion.
posted by signal at 10:43 AM on November 26, 2001


I often skim the discussion first to find out if the link is worth visiting.
posted by rcade at 10:49 AM on November 26, 2001


The links to the articles still work? I didn't know that.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:52 AM on November 26, 2001


I often skim the discussion first to find out if the link is worth visiting.

Me too, or I'll skim the article if the description sounds interesting. Then I'll skim the comments and then go back and read the whole article. I'm funny that way and I ain't changing.
posted by skallas at 11:10 AM on November 26, 2001


Oh, you people are SO wrong! You're abusing the stated intent of the site, seeking to evolve it into something it isn't, there are hundreds of other places on the web for simple chat, yadda yadda yadda....

I rest my case that what happens on a site is de facto what it IS. Resistance is useless. And if that really bothers Matt as much as he makes out, then his only viable solution is to shut the site down.
posted by rushmc at 11:11 AM on November 26, 2001


Hey! Maybe Voyageman could give his girlfriend his password.

...Just a thought.
posted by gleemax at 11:15 AM on November 26, 2001


Oh, you people are SO wrong!

community spirit?

Not simple chat. People here smarter than the average bear. Helps to get a perspective on the worth of the link.
Some can take so long to load...

And, uh,, isn't that , and correct me if I'm wrong

Resistance is futile?

OK I'm really outta here.
posted by y2karl at 11:17 AM on November 26, 2001


Oh, you people are SO wrong! You're abusing the stated intent of the site, seeking to evolve it into something it isn't, there are hundreds of other places on the web for simple chat, yadda yadda yadda....

I do what skallas and rcade do above, frequently skimming the comments to see if the article is worth reading. There's nothing wrong with that. I don't have time to read everything and I don't expect anyone else to.

However, I would hope that people leaving comments have read the thing being linked. Far too often people have just assumed what a link contained and posted their thoughts on an issue, instead of referencing the thing being discussed.

If you're just posting what you think about something, without reading anything other than comments, the discussion will tend to be not an informed or good one, and that's what I don't like to see on the site.

Thanks for imagining what I'd say and putting words in my mouth rushmc. Real nice.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:31 AM on November 26, 2001


In my experience, if I post to something without having first read the posted link, in hindsight when I go back and read my own words, I appear grossly misinformed. It's in one's best interests to read the posted link, and educate oneself to the subject matter before hitting the send button. Matt's right. It improves the site overall when people post from a more educated vantage point.

But sometimes it's just flat fun to appear stupid. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 12:23 PM on November 26, 2001


Does anyone here subscribe to the New York Review of Book Reviews?
posted by ParisParamus at 12:31 PM on November 26, 2001


I rest my case that what happens on a site is de facto what it IS.

Here's hoping your case gets plenty of rest.
posted by rcade at 12:32 PM on November 26, 2001


Thanks for imagining what I'd say and putting words in my mouth rushmc.

Have you misunderstood me or have I misunderstood you?

Is it not a fair characterization of your views, often stated, that your focus for the site is on the links, not the discussion? And that you have, in fact, enacted a number of policies designed to curb and control discussion, in order that the purpose and the structure of the site not be overwhelmed?

I was not addressing the value of reading the posted link before commenting upon it--which to me seems self-evident. Rather, I was going a step further and looking at what all the posters in this thread were really saying: that the discussion/community aspect of MeFi is more important to THEM than the links themselves. Is that so contentious a point?
posted by rushmc at 2:16 PM on November 26, 2001


Is it not a fair characterization of your views, often stated, that your focus for the site is on the links, not the discussion?

In general, the quality of links being posted were going down, and I expressed that opinion in order that people put more effort into posting things. It was a direct reaction to a certain types of generally lackluster posts. The "here's this thing I found, what do you think?" was getting too popular and overdone. It doesn't always lend itself to good discussion, especially when the thing being linked isn't all that interesting, or isn't presented in an interesting way. I was getting tired of seeing posts that focused purely on the discussion, and the low quality stuff that followed. It was a lot of community type posts for the sake of talking to ourselves.

And no, it is not a fair characterization of my views for you to post something meant to look like my reaction, when it comes off as patronizing crap littered with all caps. I don't talk to people here that way (ok, maybe once, when I was really tired and angry), and you were using a mocking tone I don't appreciate.

And that you have, in fact, enacted a number of policies designed to curb and control discussion, in order that the purpose and the structure of the site not be overwhelmed?

What policies where those? I have experimented in the past couple of weeks, by deleting some obnoxious or off-topic comments to see how threads would evolve afterwards. I've also been deleting a lot more links that seem stupid. Is that what you are referring to?

Rather, I was going a step further and looking at what all the posters in this thread were really saying: that the discussion/community aspect of MeFi is more important to THEM than the links themselves. Is that so contentious a point?

I think you've misunderstood my thoughts on the site. The links aren't all important and neither are the comments. It's a mix somewhere in between, and I generally enjoy the site, especially when it is "good." While the site has evolved into something completely different than I first expected, in general I am pleased with the outcome. If I have a problem here, it's that I don't care for communities that are too inwardly focused. I was seeing that happen more and more in the past few months, and expressed my displeasure about it.

I'm not going to tell everyone exactly what I think about the entire site and how everyone should behave exactly as I expect, because those exact rules don't exist.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:37 PM on November 26, 2001


I skip all news links, unless something really, really big happens, in which case there's so much noise in the associated discussion, I don't bother reading through or participating.

Second in line on my crap list are the "cool flash" movies/games. I follow the links out of curiosity, but rarely sit through the whole animation. I never "comment" on this stuff. (There isn't that much to comment.)

I think many people try to get a post in before the topic is abandoned and everyone moves on to a newer thread. This is especially true in cases where the links require a lot of time. (Putin RA interview, Marketplace series on the underground economy, etc) One reason for this may be because many people here browse metafiter during work hours and can't just take an hour or two to read through/listen to the link posted.

posted by Witold at 2:52 PM on November 26, 2001


And no, it is not a fair characterization of my views for you to post something meant to look like my reaction, when it comes off as patronizing crap littered with all caps.

Ah, I think I see the problem. That paragraph of my post was not meant to parrot YOUR views or comments, but those of other posters (aka the self-appointed MeFi police) in previous threads.

What policies where those? I have experimented in the past couple of weeks, by deleting some obnoxious or off-topic comments to see how threads would evolve afterwards. I've also been deleting a lot more links that seem stupid. Is that what you are referring to?

Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of the changes implemented to limit access (which I realize may be based largely in more pragmatic than philosophical concerns, although you have also made statements to the effect that they are also in line with your philosophy). I guess what I really was referring to was not so much specific policies as statements which seemed to denigrate the secondary participatory aspects of Metafilter (in-thread commentary, debate & discussion, and follow-up linking) in favor of the primary (posting front page links) (which seemed somewhat confusing, given the limits also placed there).

I think you've misunderstood my thoughts on the site.

Given your comments which follow this statement, I think you are right. I apologize if I have mischaracterized your opinions, but I assure you that where I did it was based on my understanding of them at the time, not out of any sinister desire to mock, manipulate or mislead.

Often people presume to speak on your behalf and represent your views on and desires for the site, and it can be confusing when you don't deny that such representations accurate reflect your views--letting them stand unchallenged can seem a confirmation by default, leading to a false appreciation of where you actually stand. Ironically, it seems you took my comments as just such an attempt, whereas I was simply trying to allude to what I felt had been established as your views in order to make an entirely different point. And you challenged my representation, so it's all good.

posted by rushmc at 5:56 PM on November 26, 2001


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