"Silent" comments on Projects January 7, 2008 5:39 PM   Subscribe

The lack of comments makes Projects really boring. posted by delmoi (from earlier) There must be a good reason for "silent" comments for Projects, but what is it?

If I posted a short film or something it would be very useful to have the same kind of commentary that exists on the other pages.
posted by snsranch to Etiquette/Policy at 5:39 PM (59 comments total)

The lack of comments makes Projects really boring

It's not the lack of comments.
posted by dersins at 5:41 PM on January 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


People post some really good projects, but I think that it's underused at least in part because of the lack of comments. There's good content but no interaction.
posted by snsranch at 5:47 PM on January 7, 2008


This post sucks. You suck. The way you wrote this posts sucks. You suck at writing posts. I saw this post written better somewhere else last week.

How long did it take you to compose this post? Five minutes? Imagine that you spent months or even years on it, and that you got comments like that. How would you react? Every project post would be a potential clusterfuck of monumental proportions that the admins would have to clean up. Better this way I think.
posted by ND¢ at 5:54 PM on January 7, 2008 [8 favorites]


I can envision how a public pile-on, perhaps instigated by someone with a vendetta, could really work to decimate a person's self-esteem. Private comments take away any chance of someone showboating for snark prestige. Besides, Projects was made so that people could have an outlet to crow about themselves without cluttering up Metatalk, or risking self-linking and posting on the blue. It's the closet where you throw all your junk when you clean up the house. No one is really supposed to go in there anyway.
posted by Dave Faris at 5:59 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


How long did it take you to compose this post? Five minutes? Imagine that you spent months or even years on it, and that you got comments like that.

Eh, the same could be said about music, but we allow comments there and I don't think people tend to be obnoxious.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:59 PM on January 7, 2008 [7 favorites]


That's a good point. I have never seen anyone go into music and tell someone that they suck. Maybe I am too cynical about Mefite's ability to behave themselves.
posted by ND¢ at 6:01 PM on January 7, 2008


Yea, Music is a good example. I've posted some real crap in there and the worst that happens is having no comments at all.
posted by snsranch at 6:05 PM on January 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


I've long held the belief that Projects would get more traffic if you could go there and read other peoples comments. Most people who visit the Blue read the comments before they read the links.

Music is a good case in point. I rarely, if ever visit Projects but I'll visit Music on a semi-regular basis and, like MeFi, I'll often read comments first before (or while) I play the song. I'd imagine (but obviously can't prove) that Music, a newer site than Projects, gets more traffic that Projects does.

For all the talk that this place is about the community and that our words are what we're judged by here, silent Projects really does stick out like a sore thumb.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:13 PM on January 7, 2008


I can envision how a public pile-on, perhaps instigated by someone with a vendetta, could really work to decimate a person's self-esteem.

Well, that can happen anyway with private comments. And my suggestion was actually to allow OPs to moderate their own projects, as away to avoid that. Or we could require ask-levels of politeness.

I think part of it is that the moderators just didn't want the extra burden of moderating another part of the site.
posted by delmoi at 6:15 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, I'm ok with that.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:20 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe I am too cynical about Mefite's ability to behave themselves.

Recent monumentally-long threads have convinced me that it is impossible to be too cynical about this.

I think I disagreed with Matt about the private feedback aspects of Projects at the time, but I have come to agree that it was a wise decision, though it would be nice for the projician and any people who commented on the Project to be able to discuss comments made on-site. Given that we now have MeFiMail, well, it's all good, I think.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:23 PM on January 7, 2008


I don't mind the comments being invisible in Projects so much, although I would prefer they weren't, but one thing that I find lacking with the current system is, when someone has commented on your project, you can't reply to them unless you email or message them. Its not a very good system for collaboration and meaningful feedback, really
posted by ZippityBuddha at 6:27 PM on January 7, 2008


I'm in favour of them having open comments, but I suppose it could be up to project poster? Options solve everything, ha.
posted by bonaldi at 6:35 PM on January 7, 2008


I'd love to see comments in Projects. I'd probably check it out more often than, like, practically never.
posted by fermezporte at 6:35 PM on January 7, 2008


Yeah, comments seem useful there. Hopefully a thread like this might be averted if they were.

And, as a poster to projects, I'd always really love to have mefi's perspective on why my work sucks.
posted by localhuman at 6:41 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've never posted a project (I will soon!), but I guess I think that the anonymous comments could be very useful. It may or may not make for good internet, but I think it's probably more useful to the original poster.

Also, can someone explain to me how comments in projects would have prevented today's disaster? As far as I can tell, it would be a catalyst for similar pranks.
posted by roll truck roll at 6:47 PM on January 7, 2008


I rarely go there because I'm afraid of that particular shade of green.

SCARY!!
posted by dobbs at 6:53 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


i would also like to see comments in projects.
posted by empath at 7:19 PM on January 7, 2008


decimate a person's self-esteem.


what is this 'self-esteem' you speak of, earth creature?
posted by jonmc at 7:21 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am quite tempted to throw together some really awful music and toss it up just to be the first to be shouted out of Music.

But, y'know, not tempted enough to actually do it.
posted by waraw at 7:22 PM on January 7, 2008


/me comes back from Projects

Hey, wasn't there a thing where Projects were supposed to be web-based stuff only? When did that stop? It's much better now. I also think comments should be opened up to the public, with favoriting and a "Great Feedback" feature (like "Best Answer"), which could be added to Music as well. Also, Projects should make it easier for me to get off my ass and accomplish something kthxbi.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:26 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe I am too cynical about Mefite's ability to behave themselves.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haha ha ha ha ha ha.
posted by Avenger50 at 7:31 PM on January 7, 2008


Mefites really do behave themselves fairly well, I would say enough so that we could allow comments to be public.

It would be useful however, if there was some way for comments and posters (OPs) to hide comments. One thing I've done on other sites when getting feedback is hidden comments for a while, because sometimes when one person points out one problem, everyone after that just points out the same thing, having noticed it from the original person who pointed it out. Sort of like a derail in MeFi. That's one serious problem, is we love our derails here.
posted by !Jim at 7:39 PM on January 7, 2008


Would anyone object to some rules to posting in Projects like we have in Ask.Me, were comments to be made public? I'd hope we could all agree that posts like, "Ha, you suck," aren't helpful and may as well just be deleted..

..And then we can all meet up here in MeTa to yell at each other about whether or not "this sucks, and you suck for making it" counts as helpful.
posted by Ms. Saint at 7:58 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey, wasn't there a thing where Projects were supposed to be web-based stuff only? When did that stop?

I don't know if this was the first instance, but around this time last year I asked if I could link to articles I've written where they appear online. At that point some of the web based projects were looking pretty hastily prepared and not particularly labor intensive ("check out the funny t-shirt slogan I made at Cafe Press"), not that there's anything gravely wrong with that. I figured that I put a lot of time into the articles I write, so it fits that aspect of the guidelines. Also, I write freelance on top of a full time job and don't publish very regularly so it's kind of special to me when I do. The mods seemed a bit ambivalent at first but told me to go ahead, as long as the entire article was available online. The reaction was pretty positive, and none of the private comments I've received since have been particularly scathing. I get a modicum of scathing hate mail mixed in with the letters forwarded from the editor every time I publish something. Negative public Project comments wouldn't be terribly out of the ordinary. It comes with the territory and I've gotten used to it, though I could understand how it could really fuck with someone on their first time out.
posted by The Straightener at 8:12 PM on January 7, 2008


I posted my first project recently. I received no comments and it basically went off without a hitch. The best part was that it gave me a chance to kind of condense everything about my project into a paragraph. I think projects is just fine the way it is.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:40 PM on January 7, 2008


I would also love to see open comments in Projects. As a compromise, what someone suggested about the posted having the ability to turn on or off open comments for their posts would be awesome.
posted by andoatnp at 8:41 PM on January 7, 2008


I think posters to Projects should (at their option) be able to solicit public comments on their work, and I don't think the likelihood of trainwrecks would be any higher than elsewhere on the site.
posted by killdevil at 8:42 PM on January 7, 2008


As I suggested in the other thread, now that we have a private on-site messaging system, we really don't need the comments in projects to be private anymore.
posted by hermitosis at 9:13 PM on January 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I am quite tempted to throw together some really awful music and toss it up just to be the first to be shouted out of Music.

It doesn't work like that. They egg you on.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:19 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


in agreement. who's afraid of the discussion? stavros' seemingly dim view of this place where he spends many hours notwithstanding, does anyone really think that someone's project (read: "baby") would attract the same vitriol that someone's mefi post about, say, bug fights or rape haiku?

the site protocol essentially says, among other things, you shouldn't be too invested in posts to the front page (thus the prohibition against self-posts and the more' against modding your own posts), and therefore, a commenter being flippant or snide is not the same kind of transgression as it would be were someone to do it in projects. a scenario where comments in projects would invite toxic assholery seems unlikely to me, but in instances where that was the case, why not have the same editorial standard of helpfulness there as in askmefi? would it really be that much extra work to maintain it?
posted by Hat Maui at 10:51 PM on January 7, 2008


Dumb question: Do comments made to Projects show up in the creator's Recent Activity, and if not, would there be some way to make it so?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:56 PM on January 7, 2008


who's afraid of the discussion? stavros' seemingly dim view of this place where he spends many hours notwithstanding

Nice sidelong slap, friend. My view is less one that is 'dim' than realistic, and is one that matches up with that of the owner of the site, as stated when Projects was launched. Matt may have since changed his mind, I don't know.

I have nothing invested in this; I have simply come to agree with what Matt has said, that the downsides of public feedback outweigh the benefits. But to be honest, I'm not bothered either way if it stays the same or changes.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:11 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


post about, say, bug fights or rape haiku?

tim's shell was quite hard
but he'd never forgive doug
two beetles enter
posted by blacklite at 11:49 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


stavros, there was nothing sidelong about it -- i was making a general observation about your tendency to look at many of this site's participants and their comments in a less-than-charitable light. to me, you seem to be the proverbial diner who complains about how the food is terrible and also, comes in such small portions.

this is of course offset by your many worthwhile contributions, well-earned high status, and your clear love for metafilter, which leaves me wondering: are you a masochist?
posted by Hat Maui at 12:48 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


For every time that I bitch about something, there are three where I declare in no uncertain terms how much I love this place. You're not paying attention. This is not my problem, but yours.

You've taken it upon yourself stepped on my weiner before about this, as I recall. I don't know why you care so much; it'd be flattering if it weren't off-putting and creepy. But my advice to you would be: stop paying what little attention you apparently do already to what I say.

Tight, yes, I am a masochist. You got me there. Or maybe the truth is, as I've explained before (and why I bother, I don't really know), is that I live and have lived for the past 7 years or so in a place where there are precisely.... let me think.... no people around who speak my native language fluently, and sad as it may be, Metafilter has become one of my main social outlets, because it is a community, and I feel I know many people here, as they know me. I'm a word-drunk bastard, and much as I may like and enjoy time with my Korean friends, there's nobody I can have a good old freeform jaw with, other than my long-suffering spouse.

Further, look at it this way: if I left every single real-world community I moved to, or club I joined, or tribe whose scarifications I adopted, merely because there were some assholes around who annoyed me (and in this community of tens of thousands, there are bound to be people with whom I don't get along), I'd be moving continuously. There's no place where everybody is swell. Metafilter's one of those lucky places where most are, though.

Tell me -- do you like everybody in your neighbourhood? Your town? Your city? Your company? Your family? Not bloody likely. But whether or not you actually say anything out loud to or about the people in any of those groupings who bother you, you maintain your membership in the groups, because the benefits outweigh the liabilities.

Or maybe you live alone in a cabin in the fucking woods. I don't know. But save your trenchant analyses of my character, mmkay? Go pick the nits off someone else.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:36 AM on January 8, 2008


This post sucks. You suck. The way you wrote this posts sucks. You suck at writing posts. I saw this post written better somewhere else last week.

Um, yeah. Somehow if it was private a comment like this would hurt more. If it was public, I would just think, "Oh this guy is trying to be an asshole in public".

And odds are, if other people could see that comment, they might respond with, "Actually, I thought this was ok. You could have improved X and Y, but other than that it was good."

People come to defend posts all the time; I sure projects would get similar treatment.

How does it hurt less to have mean comments be for my eyes only? It's not like these comments actually matter, it's not like I'm at my wedding and the bride is telling everyone I have a tiny penis. It's some random stranger telling me he doesn't like something I clearly felt was good enough to share with the MeTa community.

I've mentioned this before, but I also think it would be nice to have some kind of venue for more freeform announcements to the MeFi community, i.e. "Me and my band will be performing at ....". These would need to be limited (maybe once per week or month like AskMe) but they would allow comments. I know, I know, there's metachat but of course it's not integrated into MetaFilter so a) I don't find out about anything there unless I go there and, perhaps most importantly, b) I have applied for a username there, and nothing happened. I don't know if other people have had more luck, but the fact that members the metachat must be vetted or something makes it a pain in the ass.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:49 AM on January 8, 2008


Oh, nevermind. Looks like someone set me up but didn't let me know. Sorry for the snark, metachat.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:50 AM on January 8, 2008


it's not like I'm at my wedding and the bride is telling everyone I have a tiny penis

I hate it when that happens!
posted by Meatbomb at 5:37 AM on January 8, 2008


The way I see it (and to the extent that I understand Matt's take), there's sort of a choice here between Projects seeming a bit dissonant compared to most of mefi vs. Projects "fitting" better but not really being what Matt intended it to be.

The low-traffic nature of that part of the site isn't really a problem, as intended; the lack of open discussion threads, no problem either. It's not just another conversation hub on the site, it's a specifically an attempt to make a place where it's okay for people to put their work out there in a constrained context.

The expectation is that some of the good stuff will make for a decent FPP, and that's where you'll get a mefi conversation.

Short of that, the feedback mechanism is a nice bonus, if a little weird. If I were going to argue right now for a change to Projects, I'd say dump the feedback box and point people toward email or mefimail and leave it at that -- it'd remove the dissonance while keeping the area pretty much functionally in line with how Matt intended it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:08 AM on January 8, 2008


I think the idea of no public comments on Projects is very silly. There's no real difference between Projects and Music; both are showcases for self-links. One is written, and one is musical. There's no reason to treat them differently. I'm not a consistency hobgoblin, but in this case, it simply makes no sense to have different rules, and I think it badly impairs the utility of Projects. Just like AskMe, the comments that other people are making are important; they help refine the thinking of later posters, and cut down on repetition.

It also would encourage more participation, because right now, if you see that X could use improvement, there's no way to know if other people have already mentioned it. If it's "very obvious," you may just not say anything, even though it wasn't obvious to everyone else. And even if it WAS obvious, everyone may assume everyone else will say something.

If you want Projects to be actually useful for anything, as opposed to the MeFi ghetto, treat it like Music. It's nearly a total waste of time at the moment.
posted by Malor at 8:38 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd rather have public comments in Projects. Mostly it's because I want to know if I'm missing something, see if somebody else can describe the project better than the OP can, and see the OP respond to questions. While some projects (blogs) have their own feedback mechanisms, many (software, Flash sites, and so on) can't.

The last is a biggie. Projects posters can announce things, but they can't even follow up themselves.

There have been a couple sites announced on Projects that I've ignored until they became the topics of posts on MeFi or MeTa some time later, largely because the Projects OP failed to make it sound interesting. Some public feedback goes a long way to fixing that. I'm inclined to believe that most Projects posts will lead to neither lovefests nor trainwrecks -- the content's too innocuous.
posted by ardgedee at 8:40 AM on January 8, 2008


The expectation is that some of the good stuff will make for a decent FPP, and that's where you'll get a mefi conversation.

I've been going back and forth on whether I think Projects comments should be public, but this has convinced me that they should remain private -- it ensures that only the really interesting stuff gets discussed in the open, and we can all just quietly look at our feet and move along when someone posts, say, a Flickr photoset of their dog in a birthday hat.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:16 AM on January 8, 2008


Projects seem to be about projects, not the conversation. The conversation could take place if the project is worthy enough to be promoted to the front of MeFi.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:17 AM on January 8, 2008


So, does dersins just keep refreshing the blue and gray constantly in order to be the first person to comment in every thread?
posted by shmegegge at 9:19 AM on January 8, 2008


He's got a supercharged rss reader hooked up to a box that delivers electric shocks.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:39 AM on January 8, 2008


I don't even know what RSS is.

Also, are you mistaking me for someone else?
posted by dersins at 9:42 AM on January 8, 2008


*delivers electric shock*

We want...innnnnformation.

Innnformation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:50 AM on January 8, 2008


Also, are you mistaking me for someone else?

no. but I'm also just fucking around.
posted by shmegegge at 9:57 AM on January 8, 2008


But save your trenchant analyses of my character, mmkay? Go pick the nits off someone else.

i guess this means i'll have to get offa your lawn, too.
posted by Hat Maui at 11:33 AM on January 8, 2008


Here's another vote for comments in Projects. If I put something up I would definitely like comments from the opinionated and knowledgeable MeFi crowd.
posted by Termite at 11:46 AM on January 8, 2008


Here's another yes vote for open comments on Projects. Maybe there could be a box where the poster could choose whether or not to have the comments visible.
posted by MythMaker at 1:27 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or maybe you live alone in a cabin in the fucking woods.

No, that would be me.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:33 PM on January 8, 2008


Good ol Fucking Woods, how I miss thee, with your sap-dripping trees... at least, I hope that's sap...
posted by waraw at 1:35 PM on January 8, 2008


I know, I know, there's metachat but of course it's not integrated into MetaFilter ...

and it's blocked at my work.
posted by inigo2 at 1:38 PM on January 8, 2008


>Or maybe you live alone in a cabin in the fucking woods.

>>No, that would be me.


I formally declare my envy. I live in a concrete box in a human beehive, and I hate it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:55 PM on January 8, 2008


I don't want to see comments in Projects.

I see Projects purely as a proving ground for the real MeFi. If a project is worth having public comments about, somebody will inevitably post it in the blue, where we can talk about it. If it sucks, then private feedback helps the project owner out, and there's no opportunity for a public pile-on. Best of both worlds.
posted by ook at 10:05 PM on January 8, 2008


And I, too, live in the fucking woods.

It gets noisy at night, sometimes.
posted by ook at 10:06 PM on January 8, 2008


i fuck in the living woods.
posted by Hat Maui at 11:40 PM on January 8, 2008


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