One is feets, the other is boots? June 19, 2008 5:02 AM   Subscribe

How local is too local for the Metafilter front page?

I'm not sure where the line is between the squalid little car boot story and the squalid little feet washing up on shore story, but I think there definitely is one, and on an international blog like Metafilter, when is a story too local to be featured on the front page?
posted by Dave Faris to Etiquette/Policy at 5:02 AM (82 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

The APS car boot story had enough international appeal to have someone who doesn't even live in the US post it.
posted by caddis at 5:16 AM on June 19, 2008


Well, in the case of the feet, I've seen that story on a few places on the web, so it seems to be getting some cross-national attention. For the boots story, I thought it was a bit parochial, but I still clicked through most of the links. I do remember thinking though "Wait, how can all these people live in a desert?" There was a great FPP a few weeks ago about some South African guys riding motorbikes across Angola, and that was a great find IMO.

I think I much prefer posts about washed up feet and car boot shenanigans to posts about "funny" US political videos and other assorted US presidential election freakouts.
posted by awfurby at 5:19 AM on June 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


There is no line, you fucking bootist.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:23 AM on June 19, 2008


Has to be in Brooklyn.
posted by nowonmai at 5:26 AM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


The future of Metafilter is an Arizona Parking Solutions Offices stomping on a severed foot, forever.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:30 AM on June 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


In my opinion, if a story is genuinely interesting the location doesn't really matter.
posted by kate blank at 5:36 AM on June 19, 2008 [10 favorites]


In the civilised English-speaking world, "car boot" refers to what you poor benighted Americans call the "trunk", only further highlighting the appalling parochiality of that post!!1!
Silliness aside (confess I didn't read the Arizona one) I don't mind at all how local a story is if it's inherently interesting, but poor framing assuming a familiarity that isn't there for folk from other parts can obscure that. I'd like to see posters bear that in mind.
posted by Abiezer at 5:41 AM on June 19, 2008


The BBC world news website features the foot one as a "top story". I don't think they covered this, though.
posted by fish tick at 6:01 AM on June 19, 2008


the foot post isn't really about the posters thoughts on the unique things [he] f[ou]nd on the web. that one seems more of a rehash of stories he saw/read/heard about in traditional media outlets without anything substantial having been added to the story. what bothered me about the arizona parking story was how poorly it was presented - posts were cluttered across pages in some discussion and required effort to find. a better summary might have served the post well.

so, in conclusion: two weak posts. but hey, it's the webbernet. it's not like trees died.
posted by krautland at 6:05 AM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


You keep saying you've got a post for me
Something you call global, but confess
You've been messin' where you shouldn't have been a messin'
And now Local News 4 First! is gettin' all your best

These boots are made for Metatalkin'
And that's just what they'll do
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you

You keep Obama'in, when you oughta be Burma shavin'
and you keep Arizon'in when you oughta Tibet
You keep whin'in when you oughta trash McCa'in
Now what's right is right, but you ain't been right yet (echo chamber)

These boots are made for Metatalkin'
And that's just what they'll do
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you

You keep postin' what you shouldn't be postin'
and you keep thinkin' that you'll never get burnt
Ha! I just found me a brand new SEO yeah
and what he know you ain't HAD time to learn

Are you ready boots? Start Metatalkin'!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:05 AM on June 19, 2008 [10 favorites]


Hey, every story's gotta happen somewhere, right? I mean, except for things that don't happen at all. And those will be posted by the Zen bootists.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:08 AM on June 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


Now i've got blazecock running around his room dressed as Nancy Sinatra in my mind - thanks for that.
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:10 AM on June 19, 2008


when is a story too local to be featured on the front page?

Here's cortex on when LocalNewsFilter gets deleted. His point was that although being local is a factor, the biggest factor is whether it's a good post or not.
posted by burnmp3s at 6:15 AM on June 19, 2008


In my opinion, if a story is genuinely interesting the location doesn't really matter.

Exactly. And what is a "local story"? If Bush invades Iran, that's a local Iran story, right? The only things of interest to a global community, I guess, are global stories like global warming?
posted by languagehat at 6:15 AM on June 19, 2008


Now i've got blazecock running around his room dressed as Nancy Sinatra in my mind...

Well, then sarge, maybe you need to see this.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:17 AM on June 19, 2008


This subject reminds me of my bewilderment with the dubbing of English-speaking films into American accents, and putting subtitles at the bottom of Scottish films etc or the changing of titles of books and films for foreign but English speaking markets.

Does it have to be something that we are all totally familiar with in order for it to resonate? Context is everything. So what if it doesn't have global repercussions?

I don't live near the sea so the likelihood of a shoe containing a foot floating up into my face is remote, but it's really interesting and kind of weird and people came up with all kinds of shoe and foot puns in the comments which ignored the plight of the footless corpses but made me smirk nonetheless and well yeah the boot fpp was pretty dull but it was kind of a dull day, metafilter-wise anyway, and I'm all the way over here on the other side of the world so I think I'm qualified to comment.

I don't think the local thing is that big of a deal as long as there's some kind of common thread that links all of us non-USAians together with you guys. We have feet in other parts of the world too, and gangsters, and serial killers and over-enthusiastic bureaucrats too.

You should be bitching about the newsfilter aspect of it if you're going to bitch about it at all. Personally, I enjoyed the comments in both so the fact that it didn't happen in my neighborhood doesn't bother me even slightly.
posted by h00py at 6:25 AM on June 19, 2008


That boot story is at least a new story with some content (though I share some folks' frustration with the scattered-across-a-forum nature of it and feel like without some of the hinted at media coverage it does feel a little oversold). The foot thing is just plain lazy: HEY ANOTHER FOOT [CNN LINK].

So, yeah, not really a local thing so much as criminally lazy this-weird-news-is-like-that-other-weird-news post.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:26 AM on June 19, 2008


dubbing of English-speaking films into American accents,

Really?
posted by inigo2 at 6:43 AM on June 19, 2008


Yeah, the original Mad Max! How odd!
posted by h00py at 6:52 AM on June 19, 2008


Local vs. International is a red herring. The boot post:

a) Editorializes in the FPP to the point of just making shit up
b) Is extremely poorly constructed from a link standpoint
c) Covers an issue that would be fairly marginal even if a) & b) were corrected.

Really, the only reason to leave the turd up is so that we have a new reference for how not to make an FPP.
posted by tkolar at 7:02 AM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I remember, way back in the day, when someone was busting Miguel's balls after he had the audacity to suggest that posts on Metafilter be a little less US-centric and deal with the world at large. Who was the one doing that? Hmm...can't...quite....remember....
posted by LionIndex at 7:07 AM on June 19, 2008


dubbing of English-speaking films into American accents

that coin has two sides. Ice Road Truckers has a scottish-sounding voiceover in the UK that's almost comically un-manly. MTV's Cribs, which runs on a station called TMF, gets local voiceovers and The Fabulous Life of... Series has someone entirely forgettable replacing the awesome american voiceover artist (anyone know the name?).
posted by krautland at 7:13 AM on June 19, 2008


The car-booting post would be a great post if the description were accurate. But it's not.

As far as I can tell, they didn't "go off the deep end, booting nearly everyone's car in the community," the media did not "[become] involved" and we did not "become witness to a business owner suiciding his own business."
posted by grouse at 7:16 AM on June 19, 2008


Yes, krautland, the tv documentary "Meerkat Manor" was dubbed in Australia by the annoying man who does the voiceovers for the local version of Big Brother, which seems very odd and annoying to me too. I really don't understand why that happens.

Anyway, this is a derail so I won't get too het up because I'd hate to see good bile get deleted.

The point is, it doesn't matter where a story comes from because the fact that we're all human gives us a pretty good base from which to start. If it's a crap story someone Welsh is going to be able to flag it as well as a Delawarian might.
posted by h00py at 7:24 AM on June 19, 2008


For the record, I've spared you all from posting links to about 12 local blogs which cover mass transit in the San Francisco Bay Area, on thinking that while they may be pretty interesting blogs for locals, their appeal doesn't likely carry far beyond the Bay Area (you're welcome). I did post a bunch of photoblogs from the area because hey, cool photos.

I actually do enjoy a bit of local flavor in my MeFi, though, as long as it doesn't assume Brooklyn (or SF, or wherever) is the center of the universe, and as long as the post is interesting in and of itself. And I sort of wish there was a more localized version of MeFi where my 12 mass transit blogs would fit in. Maybe when TravelFilter sees the light of day.
posted by whir at 7:36 AM on June 19, 2008


All politics is local, right? All news is local, too if you think about it. I mean a gigantic earthquake in China is local if you live there.

The boot-jacking story was interesting but poorly described in the text. Interesting little story, poorly constructed post. The severed feet is absolutely fascinating, and I am all for having that here.

Put me down for, "if it's interesting, I don't care where it happened." I know what you're getting at Dave, and I don't want to see a bunch of posts about the crazy cat lady in Peoria, and the way she's crazy in a subtly different way than the Oswego CCL, and so forth. It's a subjective thing; there will never be a hard and fast rule on when a story is too "local" or "small" for the MeFi. I think it's more like "we will know it when we see it." Seems like the boot story was petty/local enough to trip some alarms, but not enough to send everyone into ASCII art mode, you know?
posted by Mister_A at 7:36 AM on June 19, 2008


Oh, and "suiciding your own business?" For each of us, there is only one entity that we can "suicide."
posted by Mister_A at 7:39 AM on June 19, 2008


The severed feet is absolutely fascinating, and I am all for having that here.

Yeah, to be clear, part of the problem with today's foot post is that we've had it here already.

And while I'm not absolutely certain, I'm pretty sure this isn't even the first "hey another foot" post we've deleted.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:43 AM on June 19, 2008


"when is a story too local to be featured on the front page? "

When a post on a single NYC restaurant closing remains up and generates 222 posts I don't think too local is possible.
posted by Mitheral at 8:11 AM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


In the civilised English-speaking world, "car boot" refers to what you poor benighted Americans call the "trunk", only further highlighting the appalling parochiality of that post!!1!

Well, someone has a bee in his hood.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:54 AM on June 19, 2008 [9 favorites]


So basically this thread is “I flagged some stuff and it didn’t work”?

I dunno about the other one but I’m all for updates on the mysterious body parts story. Nothing “too local” about it.
posted by Artw at 9:46 AM on June 19, 2008


The London Mayor Thread is one of my favorite threads. It was great because I learned a shitload ablout local London politics by eavesdropping on a conversation that I never would have heard otherwise. Local posts can be great if they're, you know, great posts.
posted by stet at 9:48 AM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wait, people are complaining that the story about specific body parts showing up with no known corpses repeatedly in a small area over a short period of time isn't interesting because it's a local story?

Seriously?

You guys must have a crazy high threshold for having your attention grabbed or something;

"Did you hear that some monkeys have escaped from the zoo and are firing crossbows at people in a park?"

*yawn* "Whatever, that's in Cleveland..."
posted by quin at 9:58 AM on June 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


It was a much better story when only right feet were showing up. That was cool.

Also, the police have ruled out foul play. Where's the fun in THAT?
posted by tkolar at 10:04 AM on June 19, 2008


Seriously?

Not very, as far as I can tell. Almost no one in this thread seems to have even taken a general local-stories-are-bad stance, let alone a more niche severed-body-part-stories-are-bad-because-they're-local stance. And setting aside the sort of auto-critical lens through which metatalk posts tend to get viewed, I'm not sure how much Dave Faris is even complaining here so much as, you know, asking.

That said, the monkeys are welcome to Cleveland if they want it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:07 AM on June 19, 2008


Wasn't that a Simpsons episode, quin?
posted by Mister_A at 10:09 AM on June 19, 2008


Monkeys can't aim their crossbows very well without laser sights. Just so you konw.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:13 AM on June 19, 2008


"I remember, way back in the day, when someone was busting Miguel's balls after he had the audacity to suggest that posts on Metafilter be a little less US-centric and deal with the world at large. Who was the one doing that?"

Everyone, from the looks of it. But especially that assclown y6y6y6. Good riddance to that bucket of cocks.
posted by Ragma at 10:18 AM on June 19, 2008


Americans should wise up: the U.S.A. is not that important in the world. Most of the world lives happily without it. Also, Americans should understand how isolated they are from the world and try to make contact with fellow human beings, lest they fester in their own delusions.

Man, sometimes I forget what a dickhead Migs could be.
posted by languagehat at 10:55 AM on June 19, 2008


Metafilter *should* be a little less US-centric and deal with the world at large. I suspect the solution has to be an additive one though - we need to encourage people to post more stories from around the world rather than randomly deleting stuff as "too local".
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on June 19, 2008


when someone was busting Miguel's balls... Who was the one doing that?

You're not implying that it was me, are you? I actually came the closest to being an apologist for him in that thread as I probably ever got.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:05 AM on June 19, 2008


Wow, that sure is Metafilter at its worst, for all kinds of reasons.
posted by Artw at 11:12 AM on June 19, 2008


*randomly deletes stuff as "too local"*
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:17 AM on June 19, 2008


You're not implying that it was me, are you?

After that thread, for a week or two, in a whole bunch of posts that were pretty US-centric, you'd come in early with a comment wondering how the subject matter of the post affected the poor people of Portugal. I actually thought it was hilarious at the time.

I'd like to posts be more universally interesting too, but I don't think that means things dealing with local stuff have to be deleted.
posted by LionIndex at 11:22 AM on June 19, 2008


"A whole bunch" may be overstating it, but I do remember seeing more than one such comment. And yeah, I'm too lazy to back in your old comments from a different account from years ago to check how absolutely accurate it is.
posted by LionIndex at 11:24 AM on June 19, 2008


Well, just so long as you thought it was hilarious. That's all that really matters.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:40 AM on June 19, 2008


What happened Metafilter? You've gone local man, LOCAL!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:45 AM on June 19, 2008


Just so we all agree that all politics is local.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:51 AM on June 19, 2008


I am in Portland, cortex is in Portland. *randomly deletes stuff cortex as "too local"*
posted by Cranberry at 12:04 PM on June 19, 2008


Does local mean the same thing as sharing the same continent? Because last time I checked, Canada isn't in the U.S. *checks again* Yep, still separate.
posted by deborah at 12:17 PM on June 19, 2008


Alaska is actually slowly but surely slipping around to the north in preparation for a crushing international annex-hug. Give it time.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:21 PM on June 19, 2008


The line is somewhere in Yonkers. It looks like a dot.
posted by [@I][:+:][@I] at 12:58 PM on June 19, 2008


Localfilter: has anyone seen my keys?
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 1:05 PM on June 19, 2008


as long as it doesn't assume Brooklyn (or SF, or wherever) is the center of the universe,

Look, I know you're just trying to be fair and contrite, but near as I can figure SF is the center of the universe.

That's the only working explanation I can come up with that accounts for all the damn UFOs and space aliens.
posted by loquacious at 1:15 PM on June 19, 2008


Localfilter: has anyone seen my keys?

Try behind the couch.
posted by tkolar at 1:19 PM on June 19, 2008


My mind is the center of the universe.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:33 PM on June 19, 2008


So, I guess my "Germany just beat Portugal" FPP is out?
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 1:39 PM on June 19, 2008


This post focuses too much on posts made by British Columbians.
posted by oaf at 3:09 PM on June 19, 2008


Is this too local for the front page?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:15 PM on June 19, 2008


mmmm cotton candy oops!
posted by Cranberry at 3:32 PM on June 19, 2008


Criteria is interest, not location. The only caveat to that may be post in English. Otherwise, if there is something interesting happening in some small mud village in the middle of the Amazon and there is a link documenting it, post that baby.
posted by edgeways at 5:09 PM on June 19, 2008


I'm not sure where the line is between the squalid little car boot story and the squalid little feet washing up on shore story, but I think there definitely is one, and on an international blog like Metafilter, when is a story too local to be featured on the front page?

Are you retarded, Faris? Almost every freakin' day we get a post about some asinine US-only political scandal that is of utterly no concern to 99.99% of the world's population, and you're going to bitch about an Internet Justice story and a Freaky Body Parts story?

Guh.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:10 PM on June 19, 2008


I was hoping you'd make a post about some dude locking his keys in his car next.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:29 PM on June 19, 2008


...if there is something interesting happening in some small mud village in the middle of the Amazon and there is a link documenting it, post that baby.

Definitely. And I reckon the jungle village goings-on have got to be more interesting than some guy's Audi on cinderblocks. MORE AMAZON VILLAGE POSTS! MORE AMAZON VILLAGE POSTS!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:10 PM on June 19, 2008


Y'all are right. MetaFilter is too America-centric.

To remedy this sad state of affairs, I propose a day on the blue with no American content at all.

We can call this little experiment Furren Friday.
posted by jason's_planet at 7:21 PM on June 19, 2008


Hot damn, Dave! That's totally where my keys were! Thanks!
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 7:29 PM on June 19, 2008


That's a good idea, jason's_planet! But, you misspelled Furen.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:29 PM on June 19, 2008


edgeways writes "if there is something interesting happening in some small mud village in the middle of the Amazon and there is a link documenting it, post that baby."

Matt already did (the village).
posted by Mitheral at 7:41 PM on June 19, 2008


Are you retarded, Faris? Almost every freakin' day we get a post about some asinine US-only political scandal that is of utterly no concern to 99.99% of the world's population, and you're going to bitch about an Internet Justice story and a Freaky Body Parts story?

Always do your math. The United States is 4-5% of the world population, and even making assumptions for the general ignorance of the population, it is quite unlikely only 0.01% care for various political scandals.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:40 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, then sarge, maybe you need to see this.

Man, that blazecock is HOT! Who knew?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:03 PM on June 19, 2008


Mind you, I'm not gonna be messing around with him any time soon. I hear Mr Pileon Sr. has a nasty habit of calling the boys in Chicago to have them administer a serious beating on anyone who displeases him.

And that Mia Farrow was young enough to be Blazecock's sister.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:09 PM on June 19, 2008


Once in a blue moon someone posts something about the Ozarks and a bunch of people who lived or live here come out of the woodwork. I like that.
posted by LarryC at 12:18 AM on June 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


FWIW, the BBC featured the disembodied feet story on its NewsPod(cast).
posted by unmake at 2:39 AM on June 20, 2008


Maybe the reason why the feet washing up on shore makes it as an interesting local human interest story is that virtually everyone has one. On the other hand, the car parking story is full of assholes -- and everyone's got one of those, too.

I can say that it's telling that the foot story has been posted and reposted and rereposted. I think it's safe to say that it's pretty unlikely anyone is going to repost the Arizona car boot story.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:15 AM on June 20, 2008


Dave, the reason it keeps being reposted is that we keep finding new feet.

Remember that local story about the Beltway sniper? Same thing.
posted by timeistight at 8:19 AM on June 20, 2008


So we're going to keep having the car boot story reposted until we're out of assholes?
posted by tkolar at 8:33 AM on June 20, 2008


The only immutable law of the internet is that we will never run out of assholes.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:28 AM on June 20, 2008


the Goatse Cornucopia Law.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:37 AM on June 20, 2008


Well, I'm certainly not complaining; there's nothing I like more than Internet Justice and Creepy Body Parts.

If we could get both at once, all the better.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:38 PM on June 20, 2008


Holy shit, do you ever have a bee in your bonnet about car boots, tkolar!

You don't happen to have family that operate a car boot business, do you? I'm terribly, terribly sorry that I've brought such aggravation and upset to your life. I really did not mean to turn your life upside down.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:28 PM on June 20, 2008


What can I say? At least APS isn't a duke frat boy.
posted by tkolar at 4:42 PM on June 20, 2008


How loco is too loco to be featured on the front page?
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:40 PM on June 20, 2008


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