Personally, I like news links. February 4, 2002 8:41 AM   Subscribe

It has been discussed. But can we do anything about it?
Personally, I like news links. And I'm guilty of linking CNN. But this is too much. I prefer slightly more obscure news sources when visiting MeFi.
posted by jacobw to Etiquette/Policy at 8:41 AM (34 comments total)

what can i say? some people just like to yak and they don't need much of an excuse to do it. enough people like to, in fact, that it's probably not going to stop.
posted by moz at 8:48 AM on February 4, 2002

I don't want to agree with you. But I do.
Don't you think the Dodd article would have been a better choice, or a welcomed addition to panopticon's post?
I think the guidelines should be enforced a little more...
posted by jacobw at 8:56 AM on February 4, 2002

Yakking is part of community, it seems to me, and ought to be tolerated within limits.

Plus, it's obvious that there's a lot of strong feelings still about the outcome of the 2000 election, as would there be if it had turned out that Gore won the recount battle in the courts.

But your point is valid, jacobw.And by all means, lead by example--post from the more obscure insider sources.

(I don't like Lieberman's chances in 2002 for a variety--he seems permanently anointed in the oil of extreme unction, for one--of reasons, by the way, so Dodd 's dilemma there seems unlikely to me.)
posted by y2karl at 9:02 AM on February 4, 2002

Just because something is obscure doesn't make it good.

I don't think the Dodd link would've gotten much of a reaction here, because he's just one low-recognition national Democratic politician considering a presidential run among many. Election junkie Peter Orvetti has listed 28 Democrats who are thinking about it.

The Gore link, on the other hand, is the first link about him in 45 days and covers a big news event -- his overt re-entry into presidential politics. The subject gets too much attention here, but I don't see how we can expect people to skip the big stuff.
posted by rcade at 9:13 AM on February 4, 2002

I posted it in full knowledge that it was news, and I'm actually surprised that it took so long for a "response" to appear on MeTa. It was going to be posted anyway, you knew it would, we all knew it would, so I made the the FPP 4 words long instead of editorializing it and a couple of paragraphs appearing on the front page. That way, you knew it was there, but it wasn't in your way so you could just move along if it wasn't your thing. I tried to do this for the benefit of Metafilter, if you can believe that.
posted by panopticon at 9:29 AM on February 4, 2002

I wish someone would start NewsFilter so you could all stop bitching about news links and us new/politico-junkies could go about our day unmolested.
posted by revbrian at 9:30 AM on February 4, 2002

us new/politico-junkies could go about our day unmolested on a website where news discussion is actually on topic. Oops ... just thinking out loud. I deserve the response I'm going to get for this.
posted by walrus at 9:36 AM on February 4, 2002

Mayhaps that's why I suggested NewsFilter, eh?
posted by revbrian at 9:45 AM on February 4, 2002

I'm not knocking it. I've been known to suggest it myself. But it's not MeFi. The guidelines are quite clear about uniqueness and most people not having seen it before. Any mainstream news story is going to fall foul of that.
posted by walrus at 9:51 AM on February 4, 2002

Thank you walrus. It's not MeFi.
You all can see I'm being slightly hypocritical. I read the thread...most of it anyways. (rcade) It is news. It was interesting. But it's just not MeFi the way Matt intended it to be...and if we don't make some attempt to stay true to those roots, he can pull the plug...which he has considered.
Maybe the Dodd link wouldn't have gotten much response...but in addition to one of the major news sources as a FPP, I wouldn't have started this thread.

I can receive the Post, the Times, and CNN news in my email inbox each morning. I come over to MeFi and I expect to see news from places I wouldn't have found because I don't have time to look through all the online news sources.

y2karl, I think my latest post leads by example. :-) Thanks for the encouragement.
revbrian, I'm not bitching. But I agree with walrus. MeFi is not Major-news-source-Fi.
posted by jacobw at 10:22 AM on February 4, 2002


But, but, that's NewFi!
posted by iceberg273 at 10:24 AM on February 4, 2002

i bet, brian, that if you fronted some cash for matt and perhaps server space, newsfilter would be a reality. that's how sportsfilter came about. (not that newsfilter would necessarily prevent news articles from being posted on mefi, just as sportsfilter could not stop a superbowl thread being posted here.)
posted by moz at 10:27 AM on February 4, 2002

Why *shouldn't* you editorialize in your FPP, panopticon? Why strain to subtract as much as possible of yourself from the post? If there's any argument for links to widely seen sources, it's that the linker might have something interesting to add to the issue.

*scowls* And I don't like that "discuss!" stuff, either.

posted by luser at 10:32 AM on February 4, 2002

[...if you fronted some cash for matt and perhaps server space, newsfilter would be a reality. ]

Is anyone interested in putting this together? Not sure if there are enough politco-news junkies but there should be considering how many damn posts there are about those topics.
posted by revbrian at 10:48 AM on February 4, 2002

I wasn't straining to remove myself from the post, but straining to minimize the impact that this post would make on the front page.

But is it the Gore/political news that is illiciting such a reaction? Nearly half of today's FPPs are straight from nyt, wash post, yahoo/ap news, bbc, or the
posted by panopticon at 10:55 AM on February 4, 2002

It seems like MeFi is already more than half way to becoming NewFi (judging by FPP stats), it would probably be easier to start a Content Filter, ConFi, than it would be to derail this news train.
posted by jonah at 11:01 AM on February 4, 2002

Is anyone interested

I'd pay into this just to get the news posts off the front page. I'm guilty of joining in sometimes too, so I'd probably also enjoy using it.
posted by walrus at 11:12 AM on February 4, 2002

What a twisted image of reality Metafilter would reflect if limited to "obscure" sources!

I understand the incentive behind this recent (mostly hypothetical, but gathering steam) fracturing of Metafilter into a plethora of baby filters, but I think it is a huge mistake, and one that will in the end be the death of the motherfilter herself. FWIW, put me on record as saying so now, so that I have documented ITYS rights when it happens.
posted by rushmc at 12:26 PM on February 4, 2002

I'm just wondering when someone's going to post this. I'm too busy: fire away.
posted by y2karl at 12:41 PM on February 4, 2002

I had no idea that news links weren't suppossed to be posted. I don't believe it. The guidelines say it should be new, interesting, something others haven't seen before, or that merits discussion. If the post had posed a question about Gore's return to the public forum (he's been gone a while), what's wrong with that? I come here to get people's takes on things that are going on out there. I don't see anything in the guidelines about not posting news links - like Enron, any of the Bush links, etc. I'm suprised this runs against most peoples understanding of what MetaFilter is all about.

posted by xammerboy at 1:05 PM on February 4, 2002

Well you've been a member longer than I have, but that's how I always interpreted the guidelines: if it's in the mainstream news it will be on hundreds of sites, and everyone will more than likely have seen it on the TV. I did some digging and found these two comments by mathowie, saying that it's not wrong to post news, but there's too much of it and we need more interesting "nuggets". I didn't mean all news links.
posted by walrus at 1:56 PM on February 4, 2002

I meant obscure nugget.
posted by walrus at 2:04 PM on February 4, 2002

Yes, Huey's Unique & Unduplicated Catalogue of Nosepicking Achievement (now with photos!) is far more interesting, salient and rewarding than anything that's actually relevant to our world and lives....

I thought Fark was the site of choice for shallow, pointless chuckleshit?
posted by rushmc at 2:10 PM on February 4, 2002

<my understanding>There's nothing in the guidelines against news posts because there's nothing wrong with them in principle, and because the guidelines are intended as just that -- guidelines. They're there to set a tone for the site, not to specify what belongs and what doesn't.

So, while there is a stated preference for links to things people won't likely have seen before or elsewhere, that preference does not rule out news links; it is more intended to be weighed as a factor in deciding if a link is worth posting. A given news link could easily be worth posting for other reasons.

That said, enough of any one type of link can change the tone of the site. The number of news posts has made MeFi feel (to me) like a news discussion site more than anything, at least on certain days. And that does go against the spirit of the guidelines, as I understand them -- reading them by themselves, I wouldn't expect the site they are applied to to focus on news and discussion as much as MeFi often does.</my understanding>
posted by mattpfeff at 2:31 PM on February 4, 2002

rushmc, who asked for obscure secretions?
posted by walrus at 2:37 PM on February 4, 2002

You all realize that two people posted the Superbowl results, right?

MetaFilter is not for “new, interesting” links — it's for any link anyone wants to post. Some people praise the site owners’s soft touch, but I’d prefer he delete most of the links posted.
posted by raaka at 3:03 PM on February 4, 2002

I think MeFi would greatly suffer if the news content was segregated out.
posted by palegirl at 4:01 PM on February 4, 2002

Basically the problem is that this is a community weblog and the community literally isn't what it used to be. The changing and expanding membership of the community has gradually pushed the overriding concerns of the frontpage away from tech-related novelty and stuff that's innovatively interesting towards the mainstream concerns of politics, sports and 'things we all like'.

Whether this is a good or bad thing will obviously depend on the kind of person that you are but may well bear some relation to when you joined. Personally, I'm not very interested in the American politics debates or the major news stories that I generally look to digest from my newspaper. Looking back at the archives to the month that I joined you can see that there really weren't as many of those kind of posts back then. Hence I don't really expect them and become mildly irritated at their increasing proliferation.

Obivously you can't ban news posts, as some of them are really interesting and provoke interesting discussions, but I would personally like to see fewer of them. On the other hand, if MeFi does morph fully into NeFi then I believe that I still have the option of going somewhere else. Unless that contract I signed with my own blood was fully binding? Matt?
posted by MUD at 4:58 PM on February 4, 2002

The solution is quite simple. Post the kinds of links you like. Encourage others to do the same. Bypass posted links that you do not enjoy.

Repeat daily.
posted by rushmc at 5:48 PM on February 4, 2002

Bypass, get it, as to ignore that which does not interest you. Go away and harass the people who wish to hear your opinion. Thank you.
posted by bittennails at 6:17 PM on February 4, 2002

I agree with MUD. Things used to be much more net-centric back in the day, with occasional news posts that were important or discussion worthy. Now, it seems as though it's mostly politics, and 'discussion' is replaced with a lot of left vs right arguing.

I'm all for ignoring the posts that don't interest you, but it becomes annoyingly tiresome when the front page is so over-saturated. It's like trying to find a chocolate in a pile of manure... it's just not worth it.
posted by mkn at 7:34 PM on February 4, 2002

I think that the reason why we've seen a shift is really a result not in some oh-my-god sea change to MeFi or metafilterians. It's that we're in a period of hightened news -- I don't have statistics (shame on me) to back it up, but my own news reading / viewing / watching / around the water cooler has gone way up.

I for one think that this is blip on the radar screen.

I think that the increase of news related posts, even those that aren't war-on-terrorism related, is a direct result of people watching more news, more often and checking news sites for a sense of 'what's going on?' even if, as in the Gore thread cited, it has only a tangential relationship to the war-on-terrorism.

As the international scene cools down, things at MeFi will return to normal as well.

I pray.
posted by zpousman at 9:31 PM on February 4, 2002

Well here's a little bit of evidence.

Plus a link page about metajournalism related to 9-11.

posted by zpousman at 9:36 PM on February 4, 2002

If we're attempting to create a filter that "adds value by linking elsewhere on the web," here's a few tips on annotated webliography. However, people sharing e-mails, and searching comments by username also has a filtering effect. No question that human filter chat gets annoying when it's off your topic.

My link wish list: innovations in art and technology, pointers to more new, literate online communities like "Chowk," pointers to other filters that help you find what you want. Also, posts linking together material which can only be located with subject-area knowledge, not through simple keyword searching.

Walrus pointed to Matt's comment, "I've had people email me and say something I found a while ago was amazing and how did I find it, but there were zero comments on the thread." Example: the Cowboy Poets link, which raised hardly a ripple. (Might mean MeFi demographics aren't Intermountain West.) By contrast, the CNN Gore link looks like a pretext to sound out this user base in preparation for the next election.
posted by sheauga at 12:47 PM on February 6, 2002

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