This is the greatest meta ever January 25, 2002 3:23 PM   Subscribe

Case study: A post which declares something "the greatest ever," regardless of the intentions of the poster, is bound to wind up with a discussion not of the linked piece, but of the poster, his motivations, beliefs, and interests. In this way it can be understood as a MetaSelfPost, a post whose essential link is the poster's MeFi profile.
posted by chaz to Etiquette/Policy at 3:23 PM (15 comments total)

BTW I should add that this is just one (and not even a great) example of MetaSelfPosting, which almost all of us are guilty of in some way, shape or form. It's an interesting concept and not meant as an attack on any particular poster or group of posters.
posted by chaz at 3:29 PM on January 25, 2002

Sorry, writing skills getting in the way again. Not trying to frame it as a problem per se, but rather point out that when you use the ultra-superlative "this is the greatest thing ever" you tend to polarize the debate, eventually bringing the attention to the original person's opinion rather than a general discussion of the link itself.
posted by chaz at 4:00 PM on January 25, 2002

which almost all of us are guilty of in some way, shape or form.

posted by redfoxtail at 4:24 PM on January 25, 2002


Can't we all agree that ol' Steve was just goofing around with the hyperbolic FPP? I took it as tongue-in-cheek and as a tribute to the length of the blog post, which must have taken a certain amount of time.

Whether it was worth it or not is another thing entirely.
posted by Kafkaesque at 4:33 PM on January 25, 2002

You may find this surprising: I was completely serious in my description. I still believe it.

And I would have believed it and would have posted it even if I had not been mentioned in it.

But note that I didn't say "This is the best". I said "This is the best I've seen." I phrased it that way deliberately.

In the mean time, I have written about this at much greater length here.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:25 PM on January 25, 2002

I dunno; I look at the whole thing this way -

The point of putting something on Mefi is to arouse discussion - not to slap your favorite kid's drawing up on the collaboration's refridgerator. So, with that in mind, we end up with two possible avenues of discussion:

1) Pancakes. "What is your favorite, best of all time, stellar, wonderous blog entry?"

2) "I think this is wonderful; what do you think?"

Obviously, I didn't think much of it; I could re-write lyrics to Britney Spears songs to have a deep societal meaning but at the bottom, it's still "Oops, I did it again".

If I have a major malfunction on the whole thing, its that after folks came out and said it sucked eggs, we got a defensive dress-down about how awful it was that we spoke our minds instead of following in the footsteps of Bugs Bunny and Marvin the Martian and bashed our brains in trying to find something positive to say about it. But we weren't the support group we should have been.

Bad, BAD us.


Write your friend and tell him you thought it was inspired by God High Almighty, if you feel that way. No problem - it works for you, and that's tremendous. Go and do the Bugs Bunny thing with him - wonderful - fan that creative fire in his belly. But don't expect us not to come out and speak our minds about a post in a forum designed especially for that very purpose.

Remind me to FPP "The Twelve Days of Linux." Best. Twelve-Days.Parody.Ever.
posted by Perigee at 6:58 PM on January 25, 2002

People seem to enjoy cutting down other people's work. And people especially cut things down if they're introduced as something great (and they disagree, of course). It's too bad; I don't think as highly of the poem as SDB does, but it was funny, and I'm glad he posted it.

Would it have been better if he'd withheld his personal opinion until inside the thread?
posted by mattpfeff at 8:54 PM on January 25, 2002

Sure, it could've been intro'd better. "A weblog of poem-ized entries" or whatnot. But hey, nobody's FPP is perfect (perhaps), and it's a link that is kinda different and (according to personal taste) interesting, so it don't break no rules and would anyone like some peach tea.
posted by kv at 9:42 PM on January 25, 2002

The "extended commentary on my site" link comments are probably drawing some ill will, Steven. It's definitely not self-posting, surely legal, and it's always good and relevent content you're linking to; but you can see how someone [who doesn't know how popular your site already is] might suspect somewhat self-linking. I myself could barely hold back the snark when I noticed you'd done such a comment in that thread.
posted by skyline at 10:27 PM on January 25, 2002

Skyline, that's not what people are objecting to. They're objecting to the content. If my 'extended comments' toed the Berkeley line, I'd be getting nothing but praise.

And when I link to something on my own site in a comment (not an FPP) it is completely within the rules of the site. From the MeFi posting guidelines:

"it's ok to link to your own things as comments in threads, if it adds to the discussion and/or saves space because you're written a reply elsewhere"

So if seeing that makes you feel "snarky", then you have a problem. But don't make it my problem.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:28 AM on January 26, 2002

I'm glad you linked to the warblog Hiawatha, Steven, even though I can't imagine a more damning statement than the claim it represents the pinnacle of weblogging.

However, I don't see how you could post a link to a gag poem in praise of you, and other people like you, call it the best weblog entry ever, and not recognize you were chumming for shark with yourself as the bait.
posted by rcade at 8:03 AM on January 26, 2002

Steven, I said I understood it was allowed. I even said I liked your content. But is it not conceivable that readers would be less likely to cry self-link, if they didn't see links to you, from you, elsewhere? Not all readers know the guidelines as well as you and I. (The snark, by the way, was in ref to my having anticipated such a link.)
posted by skyline at 10:44 AM on January 26, 2002

My original point was actually that if you say something is the greatest ever, you're just setting youself up for a pro/con debate rather than a discussion. When I said in that way it's a self post, I meant nothing that's in the guidelines, but that when a member declares something to be the greatest ever, or their favorite ever, we're being asked to contemplate both the post, and the poster.
posted by chaz at 12:46 PM on January 26, 2002

Steven: I generally like your posts, but recent ones feel like elaborate pantomimes where the post itself has little to do with your goals in posting it. In this case, the point seemed to be the lecture on constructive criticism, not the FPP.

Speculation: you knew that people would object to a) the hyperbolic opinion and b) the fact that the link praised your site. However, you thought – rightly – that you could defend yourself adequately, and possibly make those who criticize you look bad.

Consequently, the whole thing feels like a staged event designed to promote discussion of SDB. I don't necessarily think that's the case; I think you may be more interested in pointing out weaknesses in MeFi's rules and especially in the day-to-day running of MeTa. But if that's the case, it's certainly a roundabout way of doing so, and one that runs the risk of using the site against the grain.

To return to the topic at hand: In This Reporter's Opinion, it's not so much the hyperbole in the FPP that's the problem (I thought it was funny), it's the praise of your site contained in the link. It's sort of a two degrees of self-link situation.
posted by D at 12:58 PM on January 26, 2002

If my 'extended comments' toed the Berkeley line, I'd be getting nothing but praise.

Pardon? I truly don't understand

(a) how the objections surrounding this post are founded primarily in political difference;
(b) why you think that the "Berkeley line" is a prevailing correctthink in these parts; or
(c) the merit in representing your perceived opposition in such cartoonish, imprecise terms.
posted by redfoxtail at 10:38 PM on January 26, 2002

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