Delay of allowing comments pony? February 1, 2002 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Stop me if you've heard this one before...

A lot of angst/anxiety/breast-beating/whining/etc. has been made over the apparent knee-jerk quality of the responses to FPPs. People rush to get that first (usually obvious, especially if obvious) witty/snarky comment in, often resulting in thread hijack. This can happen within seconds of the original post, making the likelyhood that the commentor has actually looked at/read the FPP's link(s) highly questionable. Perhaps this could be remedied by instituting a "No Comment Period"? A delay of say an hour or so before anyone was allowed to post a comment, during which time people who were interested could read the links and assemble their responses/comments. (More inside)
posted by edlark to Feature Requests at 12:32 PM (33 comments total)

So here is how it would work:

1) A FPP goes up. The post is viewable on the FP, but no comments can be added for the first hour.

2) People interested in the link follow it, read the articles/check out the site/etc.

3) People who feel like commenting or want to respond/refute/whatever have some time to assemble their own links, compose their responses, come up with supporting links for their comments.

4) People who really aren’t interested in the topic, move on to some other link or get tired of waiting around just to be snarky.

5) At the end of the “no comment period” the FPP becomes available for comments and those people from step 3 start tossing their 2 cents into the works.

While this wouldn’t end hijacks and snarky comments (and who really wants to see those go completely away – they can be entertaining), I think this has the potential to at least raise the thoughtfulness of the initial comments to the thread. The first few comments often set the tone for the rest of the thread, and so anything that elevates their level of discourse at least has the potential to elevate the level for the entire thread. Comments?

posted by edlark at 12:33 PM on February 1, 2002


For one you wouldn't be able to add a [More inside] comment to your thread.
posted by riffola at 12:37 PM on February 1, 2002


And you don't think this would make threads less interesting? In fact, dry as dust?

I consider the snarks and hijacks the price of admission.
posted by luser at 12:41 PM on February 1, 2002


It would automatically exclude a lot of people from the discussion. I.E. people reading MeFi at work who might only have time to comment when the FPP is put up, but not an hour later. I'm sure more examples can be thought up.

I think just a friendly reminder to reactionary posters (I have been guilty of this once or twice) to actually read the links can go a really long way. It worked for me.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:41 PM on February 1, 2002


If you don't mind my sayin' Ed, this doesn't really buy anything but a 30 minute freezone. If I come onsite at 31 minutes after or more after the post, I don't have to wait and read or anything - I can just slam away torpedoes at will. The only people who will be properly decellerated will be those who are lucky/unlucky enough to catch the post when it first comes up.


posted by Perigee at 12:43 PM on February 1, 2002


60 minute freezone. Sorry.
posted by Perigee at 12:44 PM on February 1, 2002


Good example of a thread where the one hour wait would've not made sense: Seattle earthquake on Feb 28th, 2001.
posted by riffola at 12:45 PM on February 1, 2002


6) And then, on minute 61, we would be treated to the 37 snarky posts that folks had an hour to think up.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 12:50 PM on February 1, 2002


For one you wouldn't be able to add a [More inside] comment to your thread.

Yeah, I understand there is more than a little irony in using the (More Inside) method to initiate a thread on instituting a No Comment Period.

Again, I think any benefit that may lie in this idea would manifest in the initial comments, which often set the tone for the rest of the thread.

It would also provide a window for Matt to delete double-posts. I've seen people asking for a way to incorporate comments made on duplicated posts into the original post. Having a comment delay at least potentially eliminates the problem of duplicate-post comments getting deleted with the duplicate post. (Because there would be no comments. If the post was deleted within the designated delay, of course.)

Excellent point about the earthquake thread, though.
posted by edlark at 12:55 PM on February 1, 2002


it's not a bad idea ed, but I would prefer to leave the delay at around five minutes, with an allowance that the first comment could be made by the person making the post.

but for reasons above, it could hinder some special cases.

I could add a disclaimer above the comment box, for the first 3 or so comments, gently reminding people that early thread joking or snarkiness tends to derail a discussion.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:05 PM on February 1, 2002


There should be a moratorium on dumb jokes in threads, though. You should only post in the top 10 if you have either a link (off-site or to a related thread) or a good perspective to add.
posted by mattpfeff at 1:06 PM on February 1, 2002


A better solution is for those who care, not to respond to any snarky comments in the opening of the thread. Ignore yonder snark, and thou shalt be rewarded.
posted by cell divide at 1:16 PM on February 1, 2002


How about licensing only the funniest Mefites and making them the only ones that can post wisecracks early on? That way, at least if a thread is going to be hijacked, the jokes will be good...?
posted by UncleFes at 1:17 PM on February 1, 2002


You could make the reply freezone optional, and leave it up to the person posting the message. Posting about an earthquake? Uncheck the box.
posted by crunchland at 1:21 PM on February 1, 2002


How about licensing only the funniest Mefites and making them the only ones that can post wisecracks early on? That way, at least if a thread is going to be hijacked, the jokes will be good...?

Or, open up an application process for wisecrackers to get said licenses, and then restrict anyone who applies therein from ever posting in the first 10 comments of a thread....

;)
posted by mattpfeff at 1:23 PM on February 1, 2002


It seems to me that some posts are more prone to snarks and hijacks than others, due to, for example, the subject matter, tone, grammar or double-postificaciousness. Taking extra care when constructing a post might help a little bit.
posted by mcwetboy at 1:35 PM on February 1, 2002


do you people have any idea just how ridiculous you sound?

(..I am a man of constant sorrow....)
posted by bunnyfire at 1:47 PM on February 1, 2002


I'm of the mind that you shouldn't try to code good behaviour. It's not up to Matt to remove our ability to be snarky. Programming solutions to problems of bad manners are destined to fail.

Incidentally, I spent about an hour today going through random threads from the first 8 months of Metafilter, and I honestly didn't see a qualitative difference in the posts between then and now. I suppose this supports the theory that people are, will be, and always have been jerks, as well as the theory that we tend to block out the aforementioned when we get nostalgic.

posted by Hildago at 1:51 PM on February 1, 2002


I could add a disclaimer above the comment box, for the first 3 or so comments, gently reminding people that early thread joking or snarkiness tends to derail a discussion.

Or put a message in the comment if someone posts too early. Oh that would be great.

[this user probably didn't read the article]
She sooo crazy!
posted by Dummy at 1:20 PM PST on February 1

Oh course that doesn't make too much sense, especially for someone who has a lot of background on the subject an can comment intellgently just by skimming the article or theres a good chance that article/news item has made the rounds and most of us have already read it.
posted by skallas at 2:38 PM on February 1, 2002


6) And then, on minute 61, we would be treated to the 37 snarky posts that folks had an hour to think up.

Indeed. Like jpoulos will be denied calling out a doublepost.
posted by KLAX at 2:49 PM on February 1, 2002


I'm certainly guilty of what's being described here.
I don't post links to the front page with any particular expectation of what people are going to say in my thread, I guess it didn't occur to me that others might.
Strikes me as a tad thin-skinned, honestly.
posted by dong_resin at 3:28 PM on February 1, 2002


"You should only post in the top 10 if you have either a link (off-site or to a related thread) or a good perspective to add."

I agree that jokes and flippant remarks should be kept to a minimum early on in discussions...however some threads don't even make it to ten. Also whether or not one's perspective is "good" is a matter of, well, perspective.

"Posting about an earthquake? Uncheck the box."


Oh great, another fiddly detail to add to my earthquake emergency list. Right before "post this to Metafilter" and "hide under desk screaming."

Oh, hey, you didn't mention, do you want me to spell check that also?
posted by lucien at 3:28 PM on February 1, 2002


FPP? first post playa?

hey! hate the game, not the player?

or is the use of acronyms just another way to push your elitist agenda?

;)

(no really. what is it?)
posted by jcterminal at 4:44 PM on February 1, 2002


Front Page Post.

I think its a Microsoft product.
posted by skallas at 4:46 PM on February 1, 2002


This whole idea sounds incredibly anal retentive to me.
posted by MrBaliHai at 5:02 PM on February 1, 2002


oh! so why couldn't we just call the FPP a 'submitted link'?

as for snarkiness and hijacking, it's all a part of the process. no one is forcing you to read them. you can just keep that mousewheel a' rolling, and ignore what you don't like.

warning: [this user probably didn't read the thread.]
posted by jcterminal at 5:10 PM on February 1, 2002


jct, I already mentioned a couple days back how much I disliked the term FPP. It's a pointless abbreviation that only confuses people.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:24 PM on February 1, 2002


It's a pointless abbreviation that only confuses people.

Ah, PATOCPs.

On the idea -- it's a good idea, but it could never work. People would just move on, and if you had something useful and/or instructive to say, you might get frustrated and just not post it. And that would be sad.
posted by j.edwards at 5:51 PM on February 1, 2002


i was going to post something earlier, but i decided to try a self-imposed time constraint. I've forgotten what i was going to say, but let me tell you...it was brillant. A huge step beyond my usual pointlessness.
posted by th3ph17 at 5:57 PM on February 1, 2002


FPP is too much like something that would come out of the mouth of Bill the Cat-along with a fair amount of sputum.
posted by bunnyfire at 6:20 PM on February 1, 2002


I think just a friendly reminder to reactionary posters (I have been guilty of this once or twice) to actually read the links can go a really long way.

Reminder? Is this a requirement? I seem to remember seeing a lot of folks recently confessing that they sometimes did not read the links...are they in violation of some MeFi rule?

I think the idea has merit, however, and I like crunchland's suggestion of making the lag period optional, at the discretion of the poster. I also vote for 10 minutes.
posted by rushmc at 9:27 PM on February 1, 2002


hmmm.... what if this pisses off more people then it satisfies? we could post all kinds of crazy links on mefi then! right on the front page!
posted by Kafei at 11:36 PM on February 1, 2002


links on the front page of mefi?!?!

right. that'll kill it pretty quickly.
posted by jcterminal at 11:52 PM on February 1, 2002


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