This post should be on the poster's blog, not mefi November 28, 2001 2:20 AM   Subscribe

A post like this seems like it should be on someone's personal 'blog and not Mefi...
posted by owillis to Etiquette/Policy at 2:20 AM (70 comments total)

I was pointing to the story of a courageous woman who's gone through a lot and is still fighting. Forgive me if I asked you to use a brain cell or two while I was at it.

It is an interesting link. I am not telling people what to think. I asked a valid question. I thought it was going to stir interesting debate, not be another opportunity for people to take potshots at me.

Most people in here haven't seen it before. In fact, Shea just posted her latest journal entry a day or two ago.

The content of the link in question is interesting. Even thought provoking. It deserves more respect than others are affording it.

It would warrant discussion from others, if not for everyone focusing on topic policing as opposed to just looking at the damn link.

It's not self-promotion. It's not a troll. The responses to it have been trolls, but what I put up there is not a troll.

I have abided by the laws of this place. I do my best to treat others' opinions with the same respect that I would like to be afforded. and tolerate the changing wind of the topic policing here to the best of my ability, and yet STILL I am treated like a whipping boy.

What more do you want? Blood? You can't have it.

May you live in interesting times.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:25 AM on November 28, 2001


Y'all wanna be petty. Fine. I'm above this. I'm better than this. This pettiness isn't worth fighting over. You "win." I've already proven there's nothing wrong with the thread, but I'm not arguing this further, or allowing myself to be lowered into the mudslinging of topic police bullshit any longer.

Matt? When you wake up, feel free to kill the thread. I'll just copy it over here and everybody's happy. No harm no foul.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:59 AM on November 28, 2001


I don't think the thread deserved this treatment.
posted by mcwetboy at 4:07 AM on November 28, 2001


You post a link to a band's website, then to the Fray (which I think is safe to say everyone here has seen before). Then you launch into a diatribe telling everyone to post what they're thankful for? Come on, gimme a break Zach.
posted by owillis at 4:18 AM on November 28, 2001


Prove to me how this breaks the rules, Owillis. I'm listening.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:52 AM on November 28, 2001


Oliver,

You don't have to like the post, but there are easily dozens of posts every week on MeFi that don't quite measure up either. Shall we go running to MeTa every time?

Zach's post didn't turn my crank, but I'm damn sure it didn't deserve to be hauled into MeTa; if it does, we're going to have to haul dozens of others here too.

Personally, I find the behaviour of the people criticizing the thread more objectionable than that of the person who posted it in the first place (aside from the fact that Zach's being awfully defensive about this).

What buttons are being pushed here?
posted by mcwetboy at 5:21 AM on November 28, 2001


Zach's post wasn't a diatribe.
posted by rory at 5:25 AM on November 28, 2001


I cite this and doesn't he already have a blog?
posted by worldsystema at 5:28 AM on November 28, 2001


I think Zach did "abide by the rules of this place" but it still could have been a better thread. Instead of saying "here's an inspiring story about a courageous bla bla" and linking to the story, it was a link to the front page of a band site, and the text just said "what are you thankful for?" It has every appearance of one of those generic, pointless Fray-style threads that get deleted every so often. Why not give us something to chew on, Zach? What was interesting to you about the tiffanyshea.com site that might make it interesting to someone else?

And then, in your inside comment, again instead of talking about the link, you did your little sermon about thankfulness, urging us to feel a certain way. We just had a little incident here recently that established pretty clearly that when a post says "feel like this," a substantial number of participants are going to decide they feel like that and be annoyed at your presumption. So your sermon was inviting the kind of reaction you got. And in general, your brand of heart-on-sleeve emotionality is like practically strapping on a "kick me" sign here.*

And why point to the Fray? It doesn't add much to the discussion, and Fray has been linked here many times before. It just reinforces the tired "thread where we're all supposed to put in our two cents" feeling.

So I think it wasn't a "rule-breaking" post, no, but it wasn't a good one or a very smart one either. We have a long-running conversation going here (in MeTa) about what makes a good post, and it's not unreasonable that this would be part of it. Owillis didn't denounce it or call for it to be deleted, he opened a discussion. I think "awfully defensive" is a good description of your reaction, Zach.

Sorry for the length.

*You may say that that's not right, that it's good to be honestly emotional, etc., but you know what MeFi is like. You can hardly complain you weren't expecting this, at some level.
posted by rodii at 5:56 AM on November 28, 2001


Stop being so goddamned defensive. The only thing worse that jumping all over a poster (which I don't think owillis did here) is spewing all sorts of pouty, defensive bullshit, like a 10 year old who's been sent to his room.

Blah blah blah self-policing community etc etc etc. If someone has a problem with a post, they should feel free to take it to MetaTalk. But shit like "Forgive me if I asked you to use a brain cell or two while I was at it" is out of line, and detrimental to the Mefi-related MetaTalk dialogue that keeps MeFi going.
posted by jpoulos at 6:11 AM on November 28, 2001


Amen, rodii. I was going to call it a "kick me" post also.

The Shea link was dull, short, and nearly impossible to read. The Fray link was two years old. Thanksgiving sentiments are getting stale a week after the holiday.

There are probably ways to spark a thankfulness discussion on MetaFilter without attracting a lynch mob, but this wasn't one of them.
posted by rcade at 6:17 AM on November 28, 2001


McWetboy: "Shall we go running to MeTa every time?"

In that I will acknowledge Owillis did the right thing and I was wrong to repost this over here. Or to continue to defend myself in the MeFi link under scrutiny. I was wrong to do that. bragadocchio actually tried to post something on topic after I flew off the handle, and I'm not helping the potential of the thread by responding to potshots inside the MeFi thread, but in my opinion the thread's integrity had already been compromised. Also, to be fair I don't know whether this, that, or both threads will disappear upon Matt's next appearance in here. I wanted it seen that I've already resolved the issue. Not to my satisfaction but hopefully to everyone else's.

It's when we blast other people's MeFi posts IN MeFi that trolling occurs. Trolling works both ways, and it's a two way street. It's better to question someone's MeFi post in MeTa, and then do a simple link to it to alert others that you're questioning it. In that point, I applaud Owillis. Such behavior questions the thread in the appropriate place, and doesn't adversely mess the thread up like direct trolling potshots do.

Others didn't. They just took potshots and questioned the validity of my post, and I've yet to see anyone actually explain how I broke the rules.

Yes I already have a blog. This didn't belong originally on my blog. I thought the thread would encourage legitimate discussion among the MeFi community; something I cannot do outside of MeFi. I didn't anticipate some people would respond the way they did, and am insulted that they have. Had I known this ahead of time I wouldn't have bothered posting it.

Yes I am being defensive. I'm on damage control mode. This isn't the first time my integrity as a two year poster to MeFi has been put into question. I am not saying there is a personal conspiracy against me, but this coincidental repeating motif is, to put it mildly, discouraging.

rodii: "Why not give us something to chew on, Zach? What was interesting to you about the tiffanyshea.com site that might make it interesting to someone else?"

I try to keep my front page post links as brief as possible, for reasons that should be clear from Steven Den Beste's recent troubles in here. I know exactly where he's coming from cuz it's happened to me to. It's happening to me now.

I figured people would read the link, see Tiffany's recent journal entries, and see where I was coming from. I should have known better. People often go into knee-jerk responses in here without first doing their homework. I'm guilty of having done it myself before.

I mean, have you read it? Tiffany Shea is a frontperson for a local band, but she's gone to California in the past year, and she's in Boston now. She's trying to make it. Despite a lot of personal trauma she's gone through in the past year including a miscarriage, a failed marriage, and other family issues. She's gone through more than enough to cause other people to give up their dreams, but she's not broken. She didn't curl up her toes and go into a fetal position. She's a fighter. She's an inspiration. She shakes her fist at the storm and keeps sailing. She makes Britney Spears look like a pet rock.

"It has every appearance of one of those generic, pointless Fray-style threads that get deleted every so often."

But it's not. People jumped to that conclusion. Boy who cried wolf, perhaps? Or maybe people just misjudged the book by reading its cover.

"And why point to the Fray? It doesn't add much to the discussion.."

Actually that was an afterthought, but I thought it ideal. Before posting, I did a search on the Web for other websites that ask the same question, happened upon Fray and thought wow. The direct link to the Thanksgiving thread at Fray dealt directly with what I was going for. I found it to be a complement. Just cuz others have linked to the Fray before, that doesn't cause future links to it to be illegitimate. People post to dynamic temporary links of Yahoo News all the time, and no one questions it.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:34 AM on November 28, 2001


I don't often post anything to MeFi, but am a regular reader and quite frankly this kind of debate is occuring too often.


Firstly, the rules are there (presumably) to protect the signal to noise ratio. This constant bitching about posts that seems to happen far too often is doing nothing to improve matters, and in my opinion only increases the noise level.


Additionally, I often feel the bitching occurs not so much because these people want to preserve the community, but rather out of a sense of superiority. Either way it's getting very annoying.


There was a time (goes misty eyed) when questionable posts like this were ignored, or maybe one comment was made. Now we face constant argument, reference to the rules and whining. Quite frankly it's like listening to bunch of school kids in a playground.


So, here's some advice so everyone can maintain their dignity.

Complainer: If you don't like a post, one complaint from one user is enough.

Poster: If you don't like the complaint just shut up and post another day



posted by dodgygeezer at 6:56 AM on November 28, 2001


This isn't the first time my integrity as a two year poster to MeFi has been put into question.

Oh, come on. Who cares about your "two-year history"? It's just irrelevant, and dwelling on it just contributes to the idea that there's some sort of old-timers cabal that think they deserve special privileges. Your postings have to stand on their own, even to newbies like Voyageman's cutie who hasn't even joined yet (maybe). And who has questioned your "integrity"? Owillis just suggested that it wasn't a great MeFi post and should have been in your blog. There is no reason to go into a hissy fit about that.

I mean, have you read it?

Well, yeah. And while I can sympathize with her, that doesn't make it inherently interesting--you have to provide some direction. Avoiding that because of "Steven's troubles" is counter-productive. "Steven's troubles" are (is?) a whole different topic.

I'll say it again: the front page part of a thread is probably the biggest single factor determining what the rest of the thread will do. If it's truculent, you'll likely get a quarrel out of it. If it's whimsical, you'll likely get whimsy. If it's...whatever this was...vague, you'll likely get people posting whatever random reaction comes into their mind, and that's what happened.

But it's not.

Agreed. At least, that's not what you intended. That's why I said "has every appearance of", not "is". But a writer's first rule has to be to think about the audience. If you didn't get the result you wanted, it means you misjudged your audience. If your audience's first reaction was, "oy, another pointless how-do-you-feel post" and you lost them right there, then that means you could have done a better job of setting their expectations.

As I say, I don't think it's a moral flaw or lack of integrity on your part, just a not-very-well-done post. And the response, I think, proves that. Stop trying to blame your audience.

Actually that [Fray link] was an afterthought, but I thought it ideal.

But this contibutes to the idea that your intent was not to offer an interesting link, but to try to get people to participate in your feel-good Thankfulness Moment. Is the post about Tiffany Shea? OK link, if not presented well. Is it about sharing thanks? Bad idea, pointless link.

IMHO.

(I hope you realize I'm posting all this not as an attack, but as part of this ongoing quest to figure out what makes a good thread. God knows I have a lot to learn about that. These are just my thoughts, not some sort of slam.)

(Dammit, Zach, now you've got me writing these ten-mile long posts too!)
posted by rodii at 6:56 AM on November 28, 2001


word up, rodii. x 2.
posted by kv at 7:02 AM on November 28, 2001


X 3.
posted by adampsyche at 7:17 AM on November 28, 2001


i generally enjoy Zach's posts, but agree this one was presented wrong (and may have had dubious value even with better presentation).

anyway, the reason i'm chiming in is:

post it to your own personal online journal or weblog and link it to here

i've read rebeccablood and others post a very useful rule of thumb about "what impression would this link||comment give to a first time MetaFilter visitor?" the above comment would certainly give the wrong idea of what MeFi is.
posted by danOstuporStar at 7:31 AM on November 28, 2001


Additionally, I often feel the bitching occurs not so much because these people want to preserve the community, but rather out of a sense of superiority.

This comes up time and time again, and I happen to think it's bullshit. IMO, it comes from the sense of anxiety that many of us feel about posting to the front page and running the risk of having our post criticized. I bitch a lot about bad posts, and I've been accused of taking some pleasure in it. I don't.

Everyone who posts here makes bad posts from time to time. I made one yesterday, in fact. I don't think anyone got off by pointing out that my post was ill-advised. I think they were right. You live and learn.
posted by jpoulos at 7:46 AM on November 28, 2001


dodgygeezer: "If you don't like the complaint just shut up and post another day"

I only get one front page post a day. When my one post each day is perpetually ruined by topic police or trolls (often the same thing), I have the right to bitch.

rodii: "(I hope you realize I'm posting all this not as an attack, but as part of this ongoing quest to figure out what makes a good thread. God knows I have a lot to learn about that. These are just my thoughts, not some sort of slam.)"

Yeah yeah but it doesn't change the fact I still feel like that cute little bunny in Bloom County's vision of the Mary Kay Cosmetics laboratory.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say my post that's under scrutiny IS a good post, but it's a bad thread, and it ain't my fault. I followed the guidelines. I did what I'm supposed to do. The fact there's people in MeFi ready to put a "kick me" sign on my back every chance they get, that's beyond my control.

"old-timers cabal"

ROTFLMAO! Ooh that's rich! I've NEVER been accused of being a part of the "old-timers cabal" IF in fact such a thing exists. *smirk* I'm not an A-Lister. Never have been. I'm a Z-Lister. My tenure in here IS relevant because I DO know what I'm doing.

"you have to provide some direction."

I did. I offered the question and then I answered it. I just asked people to answer the damn question. Because I offered direction, I have been accused of causing people to think or feel a certain way which wasn't my intention. I asked a question. Then I answered it. I participated. I didn't ask people to agree with me. I just asked them to answer the question for themselves.

The topic policing in here is perpetually unclear and vague. It attacks the post and not the topic. It attacks the poster and avoids the subject. It changes the game and there should be guidelines about topic policing, moreso than actual posting. As I've suggested before.

"Steven's troubles" are (is?) a whole different topic...

I disagree. What's been happening to him recently has been happening to me a lot for a long time. Just cuz I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me. *smirk*

"the front page part of a thread is probably the biggest single factor determining what the rest of the thread will do. If it's truculent, you'll likely get a quarrel out of it"

My front page post did not express opposition. One "dammit" is not bitter or fierce. I write too much and people bitch at me. This time I wrote too little in the postlink, and people still bitch at me. There's just no pleasing you people.

"If you didn't get the result you wanted, it means you misjudged your audience."

Tell that to Henry David Thoreau, or Mark Twain. More often it means the audience misjudged the author. There's two versions of every piece of art. What the artist intended, and what the audience interprets. It's not necessarily art to some people, but the same goes for MeFi posts.

"Is the post about Tiffany Shea?"

Nope, not entirely. It was supposed to be about YOU. Whoever you are. I wasn't telling people WHAT to think. I asked them to think. Answer the question. The fact my response was feelgoody is cuz that's how I felt after reading her page. I didn't assume it was how other people would feel. I didn't tell them what to think or feel. I just asked people to answer the question.

Most didn't respond after reading her page. They responded to the post and questioned its feelgoodyness and its validity. I doubt most even read the link before jumping the gun and dismissing the post.

I specifically minimized the LinkPost and then put my longer response inside the post to avoid people connecting the two. They did it anyway. Would any difference have been made if I combined my response with the link on the frontpage? No.

"(Dammit, Zach, now you've got me writing these ten-mile long posts too!)"

Good! Keep it up! It's FUN!
posted by ZachsMind at 8:10 AM on November 28, 2001


...

I can't tell if you're disingenuous or obtuse. Either way, I give up.
posted by rodii at 8:14 AM on November 28, 2001


How about disingenuous and obtuse? I'm thankful for the next 16 hours he's barred from posting a link.
posted by rcade at 8:20 AM on November 28, 2001


It was supposed to be about YOU. Whoever you are. I wasn't telling people WHAT to think. I asked them to think. Answer the question.

Um, Derek Powazek already cornered that market, and he does it well enough that any duplication seems unnecessary, especially on a site with a very different character to { fray } .
posted by holgate at 8:22 AM on November 28, 2001


I'm sorry to be mean, but get a life.

Owillis mentioned, in as non-threatening a way as possible, that he thought your post would be better in another format. You took that as a personal attack. Sometimes people use MeTa to take someone to the woodshed, but mostly people use it to discuss what works and doesn't work on MeFi. That's its purpose, if I'm not mistaken.

And now you're just digging yourself in deeper and deeper. You only get one front page post per 24 hours and those nasty MeFi police have ruined it for you. Oh, waaaaah!
posted by anapestic at 8:28 AM on November 28, 2001


i think someone hasn't got a lot of work to do today.
posted by moz at 8:28 AM on November 28, 2001


The topic policing in here is perpetually unclear and vague.

Yeah, sometimes it feels as if thousands of people read the site every day and 0.1% of them occasionally take exception to a post, and it's a different 0.1% every time. Man, where's the consistency in that?

Zach, earlier on I was considering chipping in a word of mcwetboy-like support for you in this thread, but rodii's points were good ones. We've all posted threads that fell flat and then felt miffed by it. If it's happening to you more than seems fair, perhaps that's because you're posting to the front page more than most - i.e, it's the law of averages, not some personal slight.

Rodii's comment that 'if you didn't get the result you wanted, it means you misjudged your audience' is exactly right. Think of it as being on stage, which in a very real sense it is. We're all in the same position as a comedian telling jokes; sometimes that means getting heckled. Doesn't mean that the rest of the audience agrees with the heckler, but it does mean that your jokes need work if you want to hear 100% laughs.

None of us is getting 100% laughs around here - and really, who cares? This ain't Carnegie Hall.
posted by rory at 8:32 AM on November 28, 2001


This is getting ridiculous.

Tell that to Henry David Thoreau, or Mark Twain.

Oh, shut up!
posted by jpoulos at 8:37 AM on November 28, 2001


Thoreau would have TOTALLY gotten taken to task for bad posts. I mean, he was all about self-linking, fer chrisakes!
posted by UncleFes at 8:51 AM on November 28, 2001


No man is an island, unlinked unto himself? Or something.

Zach: A pill. A massage. Yoga. SOMETHING. CALM. DOWN. Next you'll be telling people we can't besmirch the memory of that brave warrior Kaycee Nicole. It's not the end of the world that someone didn't like your post.

And I think any thread that prompts Halcyon to talk about playing with crayons has derailed beyond any hope of recovery.
posted by solistrato at 8:56 AM on November 28, 2001


It's all good. I'm better than all you. Dammit be happy, assholes. Just think about it. I thought about it and came to this conclusion cuz I'm always right, cuz you're too petty to be right. Bullshit. Cuz. Happy. =)

Seriously: This is like posting a "What do you want for Christmas?" or "What's your New Year's resolution?" thread every Christmas or new year. It's nice and cheesy, but it doesn't belong on MetaFilter.
posted by gleemax at 8:56 AM on November 28, 2001


(Yes, there was a link, but Zach made clear the purpose of the thread, i.e., "What are you thankful for?")
posted by gleemax at 9:01 AM on November 28, 2001


Bye bye post! Matt just hit the big delete button.
posted by skallas at 9:38 AM on November 28, 2001


... I am thankful for Matt.
posted by Sapphireblue at 9:46 AM on November 28, 2001


Sorry I gave everybody socks for Christmas.

It's something you all need, but obviously not anything you wanted.

Oh, and bite me.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:50 AM on November 28, 2001


Oh, and bite me.

Yeah, that helps your case.


posted by eyeballkid at 10:11 AM on November 28, 2001


*sharpens teeth*
posted by Karl at 10:15 AM on November 28, 2001


Zach, let's face some facts. The thread you started off with was confusing, and that makes it "bad." It was a bad thread. If you look in the responses above, people didn't find the band page interesting, and didn't know how it related to your "what are you thankful for?" question.

As for your two year history, we both know it hasn't been a smooth one, and this isn't the first time you've tangled with the opinions of others. You mentioned it a few times, about how you "know the rules!" but honestly, I think you have a history of being at the very edge of those rules and occasionally crossing over them.

Neither of these things are personal attacks on you Zach. What you posted would have been fine for your blog, since you obviously like the band being linked, and people reading your site could post what they are thankful for, knowing what you normally post on your site and that you have an interest in these singers and bands. When you post something on metafilter, you have to bear in mind there are thousands watching and wanting to participate. They're willfully here and want to engage in good discussions. Starting them off with obtuse or confusing threads isn't going to result in that, and instead you'll see nothing but reports of confusion. As for your history, use this as an opportunity to learn. Be clearer in the things you post to metafilter. Try to post things that are interesting to a good number of the audience (I've noticed in the past you've posted a few things that were quite regional, and they didn't garner much comments outside of other Dallas locals).

Zach, try to have a thick skin about this stuff, but don't blow everyone off as a bunch of unfeeling cynics, the criticism you've seen is mostly constructive, and only starts crossing lines when you close your ears and refuse to listen.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:03 AM on November 28, 2001


I'm impressed that Zach knows what I need, but surprised that it turned out to be some crappy local band webpage.
posted by Doug at 11:22 AM on November 28, 2001


the front page part of a thread is probably the biggest single factor determining what the rest of the thread will do. If it's truculent, you'll likely get a quarrel out of it. If it's whimsical, you'll likely get whimsy. If it's...whatever this was...vague, you'll likely get people posting whatever random reaction comes into their mind

I think this is brilliant. Maybe it could be phrased into some kind of quick note on the "how to post" page.
posted by dness2 at 11:45 AM on November 28, 2001


Actually, my MeFi posts are art, an online version of these stainless steel ones at Walter De Maria's Lightning Field in New Mexico. Unfortunately, mine haven't haven't attracted such a spectacular response yet.
posted by liam at 11:53 AM on November 28, 2001


I do like socks as gifts though.
posted by rodii at 12:00 PM on November 28, 2001


You do? Oh. I got you a Tiffany Shea CD. Sorry.
posted by luser at 12:13 PM on November 28, 2001


What is an appropiate MetaFilter topic?

Is it only news? Is it only the latest techy gaget? Is it 15 threads in a row of different war reports?

Really, the way that the Filter has been going lately, I was wary of posting the mp3 thread.

Wired, ananova, salon, and major newspapers (wash post, nytimes, sfgate, etc) dominate the topics lately. It makes me wish for the old days of the 'cabal' (now I'm going to get pummelled for saying 'the old days').

But really.. wasn't metalfilter more about filtering the best of the web? Maybe it's because the focus of the web has changed and we're focusing less on the creative parts of the web than on the commercial or informational parts.. but I remember debates about style and content, and more web-centric topics and philosophies than the more often than not Dubya arguments, religious crusades, shock over a black man who turned white because of the drugs he took, and more.

While posts like dinosaur cutouts may not spark huge discussions (although discussion on how cool people found them and what they've used them for probably would have ensued in the past), I find them more valuable than links about the Taliban giving up Kundar.

Maybe it's because evryone is looking for debate more now than just discussion on a topic - experiences they've had and so forth without someone jumping down their throat on what level of moron they must be. And I believe this is because everyone is trying to show their wittiness or mental superiority over everyone else here.

And the argument that {fray} and other sites already get enough press doesn't hold water, since I can find the top news items on iwon.com and be entered into a million sweepstakes without having it appear here.


posted by rich at 12:18 PM on November 28, 2001


the criticism you've seen is mostly constructive, and only starts crossing lines when you close your ears and refuse to listen

apply generally, throughout humankind ...
posted by walrus at 12:20 PM on November 28, 2001


Lightly veiled sexual themes would probably engender more responses than lightning, beautiful as it is. I liken a good comment more to unforseen genius, a Gaudi of a comment.

rodii, for you.
posted by dness2 at 12:23 PM on November 28, 2001


Rich, in regards to this post being discussed, I don't think the band site was all that notable.

MetaFilter used to be more about filtering the web, and in trying to figure out why there's a preponderance of news threads, Derek actually came up with the answer.

It's hard to find those out of the way, amazing gems on the web. I might see 2 or 3 posted a week here. I was lucky to find the new 37signals site via an icq message. I thought the mexican gansta rap and native american music threads were gems among the web, I had no idea they existed or why they did. BoingBoing and Memepool have a lock on finding those gems these days.

But what is easy to find are new news links to break on MetaFilter. If you go to CNN and hit refresh all day, you're bound to find something that meets the loose guidelines, because it's new, it's nowhere else, and people might talk about it. It's a low effort way to find something that can go on the site.

Now, the discussion part is also big. News posts wouldn't have proliferated if people hadn't commented in news-related threads a great deal. There's not much to say when people find a particularly good gem of a link, besides "this is really good" but there is plenty to say when someone posts "The US is doing the wrong thing and here's why."

I'm not going to say which types of posts I enjoy, because there's something to like in all of them. Often, the news links can drown out the rest, and there is a bit too much on many days, but I still enjoy the occasoinal gem of a link, and the occasional news of the day discussion.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:43 PM on November 28, 2001


Matt,

I can't really argue with you, of course (not because I'd kick your putooey all over the place or anything, but.. *grin*. Kidding! Kidding!).

No, really, I do agree with you, but I think the main point here is that people can tend to be a bit mean just for the pleasure of trying to be superior. If the thread is uninteresting, or not 'notable', then don't post on it. Don't post "What is THIS supposed to be? You're a moron!"

Hey - I didn't think the the 'Come Mr. Taliban' link was all that notable, funny, or appropriate. Not in a 'PC way', but regardless. But even though it was a double post AND stupid, there wasn't this backlash about it.

Still, some percentage of users did find it interesting, apparently. What is the threshhold to make a link valid? Just because the noisy people find it stupid, is it automatically going to get canned in lieu of the silent dozen, two dozen or more that went there and appreciated it?

I mean, sure it's up to you, but is it right of the self-appointed MeFI police to scream, cry and whine about it, exacerbating the situation they are screaming about instead of quitely sending you an email?

Hmm.. many tangents above. Left and right brain thinking at same time.
posted by rich at 1:12 PM on November 28, 2001


I think you can break FPPs into three basic categories:

1) News, of all kinds
2) Sites that are good per se, often for technical, design, or interactive reasons.
3) Sites about a poster's interest

In the case of the third category it seems best to hold off until you find a high-quality site about the subject (I was doing research when I came across Nativehiphop.net). On the other hand, the great thing for me about MeFi is the way people contribute interesting links and information, including tangential stuff, inside threads, so the sum of information becomes greater than any one individual's. I learn a lot here.

Then sometimes the good stuff comes inside a weak front page link, as with the Christmas music thread, disproving what I just wrote. Can I have my two cents back?
posted by liam at 1:17 PM on November 28, 2001


the way that the Filter has been going lately, I was wary of posting the mp3 thread.

But even though it was a double post AND stupid, there wasn't this backlash about it.


These are good examples of threads that could easily have been spanked by the MeFi goon squad, but weren't. However you want to define MeFi, I don't think linking to minidisc.org and asking "what do you think?" makes for an appropriate (or at least a "good") post.

But people showed restraint and didn't jump on them. Why? Shit luck, I think. The wrong person doesn't see the wrong thread at the wrong time. I think some of us only jump on a thread after they've let a few go by without mention. They get fed up with bad posts, and some poor soul bears the brunt.
posted by jpoulos at 1:32 PM on November 28, 2001


rich:

I mean, sure it's up to you, but is it right of the self-appointed MeFI police to scream, cry and whine about it, exacerbating the situation they are screaming about instead of quitely sending you an email?

individuals react strongly, sometimes; this is both true of the "self-appointed" mefi police, whom you seem to resent in a broad sense, and of those who resent that some hold or take an authoritative stance on their actions (e.g. zachsmind). i think the issue has always been one of extremism -- no doubt i've been guilty in the past if not present-- and i feel that it really requires introspection on the part of the readers. it's understandable that some people want to voice their opinions in real-time, but often it's better to sleep on things i think: your mind clears, your stance softens, and in my experience, problems are resolved much more smoothly.

breathe.
posted by moz at 1:32 PM on November 28, 2001


I mean, sure it's up to you, but is it right of the self-appointed MeFI police to scream, cry and whine about it, exacerbating the situation they are screaming about instead of quitely sending you an email?

A phrase I never get tired of hearing, every time someone doesn't like a MetaTalk thread: "self-appointed MetaFilter police." We should issue badges.
posted by rcade at 2:18 PM on November 28, 2001


"self-appointed Metafilter police." We should issue badges.

So are the badges self-issued, or issued by the SAMP? ;)
posted by liam at 2:31 PM on November 28, 2001


I mean, sure it's up to you, but is it right of the self-appointed MeFI police to scream, cry and whine about it, exacerbating the situation they are screaming about instead of quitely sending you an email?

Unlike rcade, I do get tired of hearing that sort of thing. Not only is there an astounding amount of hypocrisy naturally inherent in making such a claim, but it's a poorly thought out complaint to begin with!

How are online communities supposed to establish norms or standards of behavior without a "complaining" post? A quiet email doesn't work, because nobody but the offending poster will ever hear about it! In a community of over 12,000 registered members, that just won't cut it.

And sometimes, perish the thought, the "offending" poster gets offended himself and refuses to correct his behavior. At that point, the only remedy we have (short of Matt banning the user, of course) is social pressure. Sometime's that's impolite. That very impoliteness is necessary, because it's what motivates the extreme offenders to either shape up or go somewhere else.

Can it get out of hand? Sure. But in my experience, it doesn't seem to matter to these anti-Metacop protestors how considerate the "police" are. The real issue is the perceived sense of superiority that naturally must be inherent in any attempt to hold this place to a high standard of quality. "Elitism", they cry.

There's just one problem. The quality of MetaFilter will be the quality we demand from ourselves. The average MeFite may not read MetaTalk regularly; He or she may not even visit MetaFilter every day. With a community this size, every bad post garners a few participants; some really bad posts garner many. If we don't comment on the "badness" of the post, the average MeFite will assume that the post and it's participants are representative of the level of quality we expect around here. The shared sense of quality begins to degrade, and that cycle feeds on itself. Pretty soon, this place has lost it's filter.
posted by gd779 at 2:56 PM on November 28, 2001


For self-policing to consistently work well, the police must adopt not the vigilante's credo (their doing wrong makes it OK for me to do wrong too (to protect what I care about)), but the good samaritan's (they're wrong, let me help them make it right; then this whole place will be the better for it).

There are exceptions, when the delete key is needed, but those cannot be handled by self-policing -- they require an authority to set standards from above.
posted by mattpfeff at 3:07 PM on November 28, 2001


word up, rodii. x 2.

X 3.



x 4.
posted by TractorInc at 3:16 PM on November 28, 2001


Following up on what mattpfeff said...

My last post argued that, by allowing bad posts to stand without policing, we risk letting the average MeFite get used to (and emulate) a low standard of quality.

But the same goes for civility. If we constantly fight, and insult each other, and treat each other poorly, other MeFites will see that too. And civility is just slightly behind quality in terms of the values that, I think, make for MetaFilter at it's best. Self-policing is necessary, but mattpfeff (and, in fairness, some others, including some of the anti-Metacop crowd) are right to point out that there's a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it.
posted by gd779 at 3:17 PM on November 28, 2001


And civility is just slightly behind quality in terms of the values that, I think, make for MetaFilter at it's best.

Very, very well said. *sets aside his pet issue for another day*
posted by Marquis at 4:30 PM on November 28, 2001

What more do you want?
Blood!
Blood?
Yes?
You can't have it.
Aww...
posted by holloway at 5:31 PM on November 28, 2001


We should issue badges.

Good idea. Here, everybody -- just print one of these up on a color printer, laminate, clip and save.

Freeze! Self-Appointed MeFi Police!
posted by webmutant at 5:40 PM on November 28, 2001


My reference to Metafilter police applies to people who fly off the handle, are intentionally insulting, condescending, or just plain mean in an attempt to show up the person who made a mistake, or just posted something that doesn't jive with the person's personal preferences.

Quite a few people run around here like they own the place because they're buddies with Matt, or they've just been around a long time, and they feel they're entitled to belittle other people.

If you can't do it civily, then don't do it. And I don't know why e-mail is used more often. You know, you CAN send e-mails to other members. It's a much more appropriate forum for smacking hands, anyway, in my opinion.

Not that my opinion means anything.
posted by rich at 7:19 PM on November 28, 2001


webmutant... neat!
posted by kv at 7:50 PM on November 28, 2001


*hugs rich*

Your opinion means as much as anybody else's here. Except for Matt, of course. I can't speak for anybody else, but I think your last post was pretty much right on the money. Incivility is as fatal to effective discussion as shallowness or banality. Belittling people is never appropriate.

Unless they really deserve it, of course.
posted by gd779 at 7:59 PM on November 28, 2001


webmutant... YOU'RE OFF THE CASE
posted by holloway at 8:08 PM on November 28, 2001


am i the only user for whom the 'metafilter police' are a primary appeal of the place?

i really think one of the reasons* i've come around daily for the last two months is precisely because many of my first posts got the MeFi book thrown at them ... on counts that -- when i was honest with myself -- made a lot of sense. as i typed my first comments, i knew i was being somewhat intellectually lazy, but felt i was still getting my viewpoint across. although i expect some readers did get where i was going, some called me out for my laziness -- that kinda challenge is something i haven't found many places on the web. it's really kinda cool.

"quality" is a word used here a lot by experienced Mefites that us newbies don't even really notice until we've been smacked around a bit. so now i try to make my posts better, and i think i'm improving, but i still slip up from time to time (now i know i'm echoing things i've read from other users).

so really, Zach, what i'm thankful for is that other players in this game** take a certain glee in reminding me of the rules.


* there are other reasons, of course--the humor, the links, the fact that i'm subject to obsessions and mefi just happens to be my current one.

** and this is a game, a game with the goal of becoming a valued member of the community -- when it becomes more than playtime is when people begin to lose their civility.
posted by danOstuporStar at 8:53 PM on November 28, 2001


Good idea. Here, everybody -- just print one of these up on a color printer, laminate, clip and save.

Excellent... it's going straight into my .sig file.

Move along, move along, nothing more to see here, folks.
posted by daveadams at 9:34 AM on November 29, 2001


My reference to Metafilter police applies to people who fly off the handle, are intentionally insulting, condescending, or just plain mean in an attempt to show up the person who made a mistake, or just posted something that doesn't jive with the person's personal preferences.

I've never seen anything like this. Do you have any references (surely!)? Earlier in the thread (%which I could not get completely through%, so sorry if I've missed something obvious), you mention that some users are being mean just to feel superior, and that it's not nice to call a poster a "moron", which is true, but I don't see that going on, so what is it you are talking about.

RE email vs. posting here

Metatalk is a better forum than email for discussing what belongs on Mefi or what was appropriate or not because it's public. It's bad form, generally, to specifically call out a particular user (other than pointing to the bad post/comment in question, of course, which is necessary to make a point), but it's instructive to everyone to see what kinds of things upset people, or what should or shouldn't be posted to the front page. Sure, not everyone reads MeTalk, but more do than read a private email one user might send to another.

Metatalk is a place to discuss what we think should be or shouldn't be on Mefi (among other things), so why do you get so upset when people have strong opinions about the topic? You obviously have a strong opinion about what should or shouldn't be on Metatalk.
posted by daveadams at 9:43 AM on November 29, 2001


I think I've missed the party, anyway. Sigh.
posted by daveadams at 9:44 AM on November 29, 2001


webmutant r0x0r5
posted by jpoulos at 11:08 AM on November 29, 2001


Ick! Ack! Ptui! Oprah Winfrey did the same thing I was trying to do, only with even more mushy icky feelgoodiness than I could ever muster. She asked the same question. What are you thankful for? Ewww!

Screw it. I'm just gonna go back to being pessimistic and spiteful and sarcastic. It's what I'm good at. I'll keep my brief moments of clarity and sanity to myself. You guys win. Game over. Yes, Dave. You missed the party.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:34 PM on November 29, 2001


this surprises you, zach? of course oprah is posing that question! she's built her career on such tripe.
posted by palegirl at 11:44 PM on November 29, 2001


Tripe? Trying to be uplifting and positive in a world full of despair and misery is tripe? No. She's icky, mushy, syrupy feelgoody, but she ain't tripe.

Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and Carrot Top are tripe. Oprah's just Oprah. And as we all know, It ain't Oprah, till it's Oprah.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:59 AM on November 30, 2001


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