I absolutely adore long front page posts December 3, 2001 11:39 AM   Subscribe

For the record, I absolutely adore long front page posts that are three paragraphs long with more links than I'm ever gonna get around to clicking on. I just wanted to say that before some MeFi cop came in here reading the riot act. =) I cite this as an example of when it's okay to do that. Who's with me?
posted by ZachsMind to Etiquette/Policy at 11:39 AM (22 comments total)

Perfectly acceptable front page post, in my opinion. And I admit I didn't read every link either.
posted by Hildago at 11:50 AM on December 3, 2001

I considered just posting the first paragraph, with a (more inside), but it would have left out too much. I also considered posting two front-page paragraphs, using the third paragraph as the (more inside) portion, but again I felt a crucial point may have been missed.

Finally, I considered just running it all into one paragraph, but that's not really my style.

So, am I being spanked or patted on the back? Or is that the same thing, just one a little lower than the other? :)
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:54 AM on December 3, 2001

ZachsMind adores long posts? Shocking. :) I think this particular FPP is fine. Quality over quantity.
posted by Vek at 11:57 AM on December 3, 2001

Well I'm patting you on the back. I'm just trying to slip in, hoping I'm undercutting people who would prefer to zap you with a cattle prod, but if cream pies start flying, I'm gonna duck so you're on your own. =)

Upon further contemplation though, you don't need to get the whole story out on the front page. Think of the FPP as the "teaser" of the thread. Actually you only needed the first sentence:

"In October 2000, in the mountains of Utah, three-year-old Gage Wayment wandered away from his father's truck and died of exposure." [more inside]

That's more than enough to get a person's attention. A child dying of exposure? Who's responsible? Who's at fault? What's the rest of the story? That would encourage someone to click inside and get more of the rundown. That way you've teased them into the thread, and they're already committed. Might encourage more responses, since they're already there to read the rest of the story.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:02 PM on December 3, 2001

It's a very good post. It captured my attention and I was curious enough about the subject that I clicked on all links, but one...
ZachsMind, I'm with ya.
posted by mayalucia at 12:04 PM on December 3, 2001

This one was handled well. Most long ones aren't.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:06 PM on December 3, 2001

I just wanted to say that before some MeFi cop came in here reading the riot act.

Whatever, Zach.

It's a great post. The extra links are necessary for background info. I read them all. But why you need to dwell on the MeFi Cop thing is beyond me.

I cite this as an example of when it's okay to do that.

So do I. The "meaning of Christmas" post, however, is an example where it that kind of thing doesn't work, IMO. I'm not "calling out" anyone: it follows the rules and has gained quite a few comments. But I skipped over it. I think the point is lost in all the links.
posted by jpoulos at 12:14 PM on December 3, 2001

This one was handled well. Most long ones aren't.

You can't say it any better than that, Matt. That's why, probably, there should be some kind of rule here on MeFi banning long frontpage posts. I hate to over-regulate stuff, I'm the most disorganized person, but I still can't forget the post where this guy actually copied an entire poem or something. And it wasn't even clear why he'd post that link. Stuff like that really bugs users I think
posted by matteo at 12:15 PM on December 3, 2001

I wasn't thinking 'long front page post' when I saw the FPP by mr_crash_davis; until I saw Zach'sMind's post. Crash_Davis put everything in chronological order in an easy to follow way.

Since I had some free time, I made this two sentence version of the same post with all the trivial details intact. This is in no way is an 'improvement' to Crash_Davis's post, but just exercise in wasting time.


Paul Wayment's parents' $2 million lawsuit against the rescue teams for negligence may have a chilling effect on future search and rescue operations, even though Utah Good Samaritan Act protects them. Wayment committed suicide in July 2001 before serving his 30-day jail sentence for the death of his three year old son, Gage, who died of exposure after wandering away from Paul's truck in the mountains of Utah in October 2000.

[end post]
posted by tamim at 12:31 PM on December 3, 2001

This one was handled well. Most long ones aren't.

I'm pondering what it was about this long post that made it a good 'un, and I think it comes down to narrative flow. Each paragraph leads in to the next, and each link provides background for the one before it in a nice sequence. Some of the other long posts or multi-link posts don't seem to be in any particular order (especially the memepool-ey ones), so they come off as muddled and incoherent. Is narrative/sequence/organization the key?
posted by feckless at 12:33 PM on December 3, 2001

ha! i thought this thread was going to be about linking to freerepublic!
posted by palegirl at 12:35 PM on December 3, 2001

I'm pondering what it was about this long post that made it a good 'un

I have a chronic habit of removing people's p tags around their posts (there's a reason why the return key doesn't create line breaks in new threads on MetaFilter), usually due to them being pointless breaks. Vertical space on the front page of metafilter is at a very high premium, and unless you can demonstrate a reason why each sentence needs a new paragraph, they're pointless.

The post referenced above was well-written, though as tamin showed, could have been edited down to something free of any line breaks. Most posts aren't written this way and look something like this:


Here's an amazing story of some sort, from a source online that I just found. Here's a tiny summary of it.

Here's what I think about it, or what I think are the most important aspects of it.

Here's another thought about it, or a joke, or a call out to where I found the link


The breaks in the above example are pointless and waste space, but this is how 99% of posters what employ the br or p tag do it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:48 PM on December 3, 2001

I propose a sort of "best practices" page; giving examples of what a good long, or short FPP looks like, and why it is considered good. Perhaps picking some of the better posts from the past months.

This would encourage people to think out what they want to communicate with their FPP before they click "Post". Also, this would give a place for people to link to other than the "Guidelines" page that is so popular (yet somewhat vague). People tend to learn by various means, some are visual - I think examples would help clarify things.

I am sure that some MetaTalkers would be glad to nominate their favorite 'more eloquent' front page posts.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 2:06 PM on December 3, 2001

Good idea Hotdoug. However the suggestions shouldn't be requirements. Unlike the guidelines, it could detail, based on experience, how to improve one's posts. But if a poster didn't take the advice to heart, that's their own lookout.

jpoulos: "But why you need to dwell on the MeFi Cop thing is beyond me."

Whatever, Jay.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:00 PM on December 3, 2001

Ooooh, the retaliatory "Whatever". You smoked him, Zach!
posted by Karl at 7:03 PM on December 3, 2001

It's interesting that you managed to bash the self-appointed MeFi cops without them actually doing anything. Very sneaky.

I think the FPP is fine (though it could've been compacted a bit, who cares?), but I don't think the MeTa thread was necessary.
posted by gleemax at 8:15 PM on December 3, 2001

Karl, I give as good as I get. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 7:49 AM on December 5, 2001

What was that whistling sound over Zach's head?
posted by rodii at 8:08 AM on December 5, 2001

There's a new three-paragraph post today. I find it much too long, in addition to its being partly speculation about as yet unwritten film reviews. What do others think?
posted by Carol Anne at 2:43 PM on December 5, 2001

Certainly too long. Thread about it just went up here, and a good point is brought up regarding counting characters (maybe lines, in my opinion) during the submissions process. Good idea.
posted by j.edwards at 3:03 PM on December 5, 2001

Wow, I'm getting dizzy from all the thread-hopping. My 2 cents is that it's too long. My thought is the FPP could have ended at The reason is simple: Tolkien was a devout Christian with a [more inside] at that point.
posted by Vek at 3:09 PM on December 5, 2001

One of the issues as I see it is that there are quite a few people who apparently never venture into MeTa. There is heaps of great information being discussed here regarding guidelines, how to do things, what not to do, etc. But, we continue to see things like "what's your favourite...?" bits at the ends or 1,000 word posts.

Why not use the sideblog to highlight some posting tips that are constantly suggested here? It doesn't need to replace the official guidelines, but it will allow people to quickly see what are the best and worst posting practices.

Another suggestion is to use the text ad format, creating a "tip of the day" cycle of comments. Again, it doesn't replace reading the guidelines, but it could be a good way to get the word out there on the front page, which is where a lot of people seem to focus all of their time.
posted by cyniczny at 3:18 PM on December 5, 2001

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