One link obit whingeing filter. September 14, 2009 6:14 PM   Subscribe

At this point, there are more complaints about the one-link obit to Patrick Swayze in the thread than there are about Swayze himself. If none of you who are whining want to make a better post, how's about whining over here, where such things belong.
posted by grapefruitmoon to Etiquette/Policy at 6:14 PM (113 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Ha, this was posted at the same nanosecond that the thread was deleted. NEVAR MIND.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:15 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry for posting it. By time I made a well thought out post about Swayze, someone would beat me to the punch and it'd get deleted anyways.

Ah well.
posted by champthom at 6:16 PM on September 14, 2009


By time I made a well thought out post about Swayze, someone would beat me to the punch and it'd get deleted anyways.

It's not a race.

Just, y'know, fyi.
posted by dersins at 6:24 PM on September 14, 2009 [18 favorites]


The post was fine, the longer it stayed up the more Swayze's career achievements seemed to grow in stature. Simple, two sentence obituaries have adequately served far greater than Patrick Swayze on Metafilter.
posted by fire&wings at 6:24 PM on September 14, 2009


By time I made a well thought out post about Swayze, someone would beat me to the punch and it'd get deleted anyways.

And what exactly would be the problem with that? If that happened then there would still be a good obit post up instead of a bad one. You know you don't get anything by being the person who posts something right? Go to the effort of making a good post. If you are the first one to post it yay if someone posts something equally good or better then you can add your differing links in the comments and add to the content so yay. Making a bad posts helps nobody.
posted by ND¢ at 6:27 PM on September 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Where's the damned replacement post then?
posted by FunkyHelix at 6:28 PM on September 14, 2009


Man, don't I know how this feels.
posted by the dief at 6:29 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nobody posts obits in a furor.
posted by mattdidthat at 6:30 PM on September 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Allow me, if you will, the indulgence of pointing out why I do not like the current policy towards Obit Posts here at MetaFilter. There is (it seems to me) a difference between "This person died, and here's why you should take note" and "This culture icon who we all know has died." While the first is more "MetaFiltery" because it involves research and time to put it out, the second is more emotional and it fulfills (I believe) a certain need in this type of community.

I think there should be room here for both types of post. The first, because it is informative, the second because it allows us to grieve as a community.

I know that I'm in the minority here, but when a person of a certain stature (political, celebrity, philanthropic, creative) dies, I enjoy both the immediacy of knowing (Yes, it's a bit childish, but in this information age, I like to be the first among my friends to know these kinds of things...in fact, I'm usually known as the person who texts immediately when there is a death of note) and the outpouring of "." and personal stories that follow.

When someone dies and the thread becomes a repository of stories about how our lives were touched by this person, well...that's what I like. I'm sure someone will build a post for Patrick Swayze linking all his most famous films and a link to the kind of cancer he had and other contributions he may have made in his lifetime...and that's fine and good. But the immediacy of the loss of him is gone.

I guess what I'm saying is: Instead of bitching about one link ObitFilters, turn them into something significant with your contributions. I don't know. Maybe I'm the only one who feels this way. I like the way we grieve together. It's the difference between giving a eulogy and sharing a drink with bereaved friends, if that makes sense.
posted by ColdChef at 6:30 PM on September 14, 2009 [46 favorites]


Simple, two sentence obituaries have adequately served far greater than Patrick Swayze on Metafilter.

Perhaps, but I think there's a higher standard we could hold ourselves to.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:30 PM on September 14, 2009


Man, if Roadhouse wasn't concentrated sleaze I don't know what is. Also, Ghost was some of the sappiest horse puckey to hit the screen. Red Dawn? Jingoism heavily salted with hugely improbable warfare. Swaze was a neat actor with unique presence, but most of his notable movies are kind of insulting to the intellect.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:34 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know, if you want to get an obit thread posted, why not do like the news orgs do and get started now. Here's the DeathList 2009. Just pick 2 or 3 that look like reasonable bets for death this year and get to work now. Then pull the trigger with your masterpiece when it's time.

Did you know Claude Levi-Strauss is still alive? 101! He might not be by the time I finish typing this sentence! Get to work! To Wikipedia with you!
posted by one_bean at 6:34 PM on September 14, 2009 [15 favorites]


I'm sure someone will build a post for Patrick Swayze linking all his most famous films and a link to the kind of cancer he had and other contributions he may have made in his lifetime...and that's fine and good. But the immediacy of the loss of him is gone.

The immediacy is gone? What would that take, 20 minutes?
posted by ND¢ at 6:36 PM on September 14, 2009


Why don't we use misha's lovely post? misha, are you reading this? MISHA CAN YOU HEAR ME
posted by Greg Nog at 6:37 PM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Delete don't hurt.
posted by Drastic at 6:38 PM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


But the immediacy of the loss of him is gone.

ColdChef, I feel ridiculous disagreeing with you on the subject of grieving, but I find it hard to believe that waiting an extra fifteen minutes for a meaningful post is really going to weaken our remembrance of someone. If anything, SLObits are disrepectful to their memory. It would be like elbowing your way to the lectern at a memorial service.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:39 PM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Perhaps we don't need a Patrick Swayze obit post at all?
posted by LarryC at 6:39 PM on September 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'm with ColdChef. I'm obviously part of the minority as well, but I don't see obit posts as being about a person, I see them as being about a person's death. I don't want to be provided with six websites that tell me about Patrick Swayze's filmography and all the stuff he did or his interests or whatever. The obituary that the poster linked to will give me relevant facts about his life. I don't want a super-awesome fan eulogy. I want to know that someone died, and then I want to read other members' reactions to that death. I think it would be missing the point entirely to spend the whole time discussing what nice links were selected. The post only has one purpose: someone died. That, in my mind, only requires one link.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 6:40 PM on September 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Perhaps someone could just do it for Johnny.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:41 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Perhaps, but I think there's a higher standard we could hold ourselves to.

Waffling about Swayze's back catalogue and manner of death? He is an actor iconic for a few roles in the 80's, and almost everyone is aware of them. Links to them on imdb and videos of him talking about them on youtube don't add anything. He was frank about his battle but it's hardly noteworthy. If Hunter S. Thompson and Saddam Hussein can be seen off with a couple of lines, I think it's entirely appropriate for Patrick Swayze.
posted by fire&wings at 6:41 PM on September 14, 2009


And new obit post is up.
posted by Atreides at 6:43 PM on September 14, 2009


Now go post yer dot and be counted among the living. For now.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:44 PM on September 14, 2009


> It's not a race.

I think his point was his lovingly-crafted obit would be the one deleted because the thinner one was already established. I dunno if that's true or not, probably depends on how thin and how established. If it's just slightly better and the other one already has a ton of comments, how would this play out? I recall cortex nuking every MJ post until a respectable one was made, but that seemed like a special case just because it was such a big news item and had their full attention.

That's how I interpret the racy nature of these sorta big news stories. Not that the people doing it are like OMG I MUST BE THE ONE, but rather not wanting to get undercut and have their time wasted.

I really wish people wouldn't whine about the quality of threads though, period. Even destined-for-the-pit posts can have some interesting discussion before that, but a bunch of "this is a bad post and you are a bad person" shit ensures that can't happen.
posted by cj_ at 6:46 PM on September 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


And new obit post is up.

Same as the last, but padded with youtube and wikipedia flotsam - thank god someone has added some much needed linkage.
posted by fire&wings at 6:47 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The blue is where we share things that we're excited about in one way or another. Just the message "Hey, Swayze's dead" is not exciting.

If the person's life didn't mean enough to you to make you want to demonstrate to others why its ending is something they should notice and care about, you'll be doing everyone a favor if you leave the obituary post to someone else.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:49 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't want to be provided with six websites that tell me about Patrick Swayze's filmography and all the stuff he did or his interests or whatever. ... I don't want a super-awesome fan eulogy.

You might not want these things, but many people do.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:49 PM on September 14, 2009


(waiting for someone to come along and call LarryC a PBR drinking, fedora wearing hipster.)
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:54 PM on September 14, 2009


The blue is where we share things that we're excited about in one way or another. Just the message "Hey, Swayze's dead" is not exciting.

I'm sorry for you
posted by fire&wings at 6:58 PM on September 14, 2009


I don't like this one-link Metatalk thread and am here to complain.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:00 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


When people see an obit and they want more information, they can just link to other things on their own.

What is the big deal here. "Oh there's only ONE link." Ever hear of Google or Google News?

This isn't a college paper you're doing here. It's a blog.
posted by Zambrano at 7:09 PM on September 14, 2009


Now go post yer dot and be counted among the living. For now.

Big man.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:17 PM on September 14, 2009


But is Kurt Russel okay?
posted by mullacc at 7:24 PM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


While I agree that one-link obit posts exude a whiff of "first!!!", I think it's even more unseemly to whinge in-thread, as if making a song & dance about site standards somehow trumps the tragedy of death.

If you don't like one-link obitfilter, just flag it and move on.

(yes, i realise there's some irony in me writing any of this)
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:27 PM on September 14, 2009


ColdChef, I feel ridiculous disagreeing with you on the subject of grieving, but I find it hard to believe that waiting an extra fifteen minutes for a meaningful post is really going to weaken our remembrance of someone. If anything, SLObits are disrepectful to their memory. It would be like elbowing your way to the lectern at a memorial service.

No, I was just expressing my opinion, which...I absolutely admit is counter-intuitive to a site that's all about the linkage. I just think that rather than padding out an obit with wikipedia and youtube links, there's something nice and organic about the garment-rending sadness expressed in a "now cracks a noble heart" post.
posted by ColdChef at 7:33 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


so, this word - whinge - is the g silent? is it pronounced the same as whine or does it rhyme with hinge?
posted by nadawi at 7:33 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Even if it's about the star of "Roadhouse."
posted by ColdChef at 7:33 PM on September 14, 2009


When people see an obit and they want more information, they can just link to other things on their own.

What is the big deal here. "Oh there's only ONE link." Ever hear of Google or Google News?

This isn't a college paper you're doing here. It's a blog.


So basically, it's the everyone else's job to pick up the slack when someone makes a shitty post. That's a great policy there. Make a fucking effort, please.
posted by dead cousin ted at 7:34 PM on September 14, 2009


the
posted by dead cousin ted at 7:34 PM on September 14, 2009


If you believe in the hereafter, then you know what I'm here after.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:34 PM on September 14, 2009


Now I'll have to type my . all over again.
posted by jouke at 7:35 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not to belabor my point, but if you look at the current thread for Patrick Swayze, NONE of the discussion is about the links posted. I doubt that most of the readers of the thread click more than one or two of them. Everyone (well, nearly everyone) is posting their own favorite links and remembrances. Again, I know that I'm in the minority on this.
posted by ColdChef at 7:43 PM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


What is the big deal here. "Oh there's only ONE link." Ever hear of Google or Google News?

Yeah, I've heard that Google News is a great place to find breaking stories about famous people who just dropped dead. In that case, why would it need to be reposted here?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 7:45 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


there's something nice and organic about the garment-rending sadness expressed in a "now cracks a noble heart" post.

Which part exactly are you referring to?

"He had the time of his life"? (during the last two years of cancer?)

or

"WOLVERINE"? (I don't even know what on earth this relates to - was he in X-Men?)
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:48 PM on September 14, 2009


Red Dawn party at UbuRoivas's house!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:52 PM on September 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


> This isn't a college paper you're doing here. It's a blog.

Standards? Doesn't metafilter have an obligation to have good posts on the front page for the readers who don't give a flip about comments? The whole "it's about the discussion, not the post" sentiment is pretty exclusionary. And it misses the bigger picture: if the front page were full of junk -- like most link aggregators -- I question whether the site would attract the users providing all this thoughtful commentary in the first place. Fark sure doesn't attract it.

This seems especially true with obit posts where the "." custom is.. how to put this diplomatically? .. probably not very interesting to the more casual reader. I personally whack my spacebar in mild annoyance hoping for something to read. Lots of these obit posts don't end up with "touching personal stories," (not saying that's the case with this one, but in general) so all they really got going for them are pages of .'s, people complaining, and a link to something I saw on RSS/twitter/faceboook/IRC an hour ago. I don't see how that stands on its own as a quality post worthy of a site that has a reputation of not sucking, and mostly lives up to it.

I sorta agree that padding an already thin post with a bunch of links scraped from a google doesn't drastically improve it, but come on -- bare minimum of effort or why bother? Someone will fill the void with a meatier post 10 minutes later. I suspect many people don't try because they don't want to be undercut by the me-firsters. For that reason alone, I support nuking these. Just not whining about it in the thread.
posted by cj_ at 7:54 PM on September 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


After reading what Coldchef wrote, I'm going to have to agree. With someone as famous as Patrick Swayze, he's going to mean many different things to many different people. I personally like hearing anecdotes from others about how his movies or certain roles he played impacted their life in some positive way. I dunno, I guess I posted a crappy obit post. His career is just so comprehensive that it would be overkill to post everything he's ever done so I just highlighted some of his most famous.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 7:56 PM on September 14, 2009


Whinge rhymes with hinge. And binge. And minge. And singe. Also tinge. And syringe.

Not meringue, though. That doesn't even end in -inge.

posted by motty at 7:58 PM on September 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


ColdChef is wrong on this one. A bare minimum of respect for what's been built at MeFi over the years means bothering to take at least a little time to make a worthwhile post. Or, as Matt so succinctly put it: TRY HARDER.
posted by mediareport at 7:58 PM on September 14, 2009


one_bean: You know, if you want to get an obit thread posted, why not do like the news orgs do and get started now. Here's the DeathList 2009. Just pick 2 or 3 that look like reasonable bets for death this year and get to work now. Then pull the trigger with your masterpiece when it's time.

Sure. It worked so well this time.

Out of six - SIX! - people on the list of people with prepared obits, this is the second death, & also the second that didn't use the pre-made obit.
posted by Pronoiac at 7:58 PM on September 14, 2009


Red Dawn, huh?

I only know it from the Dead Kennedys' song, Rambozo the Clown:

War is sexy
War is fun
Iron Ego
Red Dawn
Be a wolverine. You'll rule the hills
Just get some guns and Cheerios
Any kid can conquer Libya
Just steal a fighter plane

Look who came home in a wheelchair
V.A. Hospital, they don't care
"We're the machine
You're just a tool."
Who fell for the myth of Rambozo the Clown


So, it's one of those infantile "Rah rah rah, we're going to smash the towelheads!" warmongering flicks that are partially responsible for the current mess y'all (hm, w'all) are in?

I think I might pass on that one.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:06 PM on September 14, 2009


ColdChef is wrong on this one. A bare minimum of respect for what's been built at MeFi over the years means bothering to take at least a little time to make a worthwhile post. Or, as Matt so succinctly put it: TRY HARDER.

While I agree with you in principle (and in a perfect world, the first post announcing a death SHOULD provide more information than "O HE DED!"), I guess I feel that nothing is really added by adding unnecessary links. I mean no disrespect to the site at all.
posted by ColdChef at 8:06 PM on September 14, 2009


I think the notion that it's about the links and not about the conversation is a good way to understand what is so good about Metafilter and yet the threads, the conversations and the community are what is so great about Metafilter for me. We contain multitudes and that is why I've been signed up (for free, although I believe I donated some multiples of the current five buck sign up fee at some point out of general appreciation) since 2002 and a daily, perhaps hourly, visitor since then. I'm, personally, more interested in how 95% of threads shake out than how the actual thread is constituted, but I also dig the fact that it's not my weblog and I'm not the boss of anyone.

Here's to the success of our hopeless task, comrades!
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:10 PM on September 14, 2009


Maybe 85% percent of threads, upon audit, I'd also like to say I don't dig on the ".", I think you should say something about the dead or say nothing at all, but that's just me, I'm just one silly fucking man and not in charge of any of you. Do what you gotta.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:17 PM on September 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


I had no idea Claude Levi-Strauss was still alive, even if he won't be 101 for a couple of months. Love the picture. Want to do an FPP on bricolage.
posted by lukemeister at 8:27 PM on September 14, 2009


So, it's one of those infantile "Rah rah rah, we're going to smash the towelheads!" warmongering flicks that are partially responsible for the current mess y'all (hm, w'all) are in?

Not at all. It's one of those TOTALLY AWESOME "Rah rah rah, we're going to smash the commies!" warmongering flicks that are partially responsible for the fact that you're not speaking Russian right now, you ungrateful bastard.
posted by dersins at 8:27 PM on September 14, 2009 [15 favorites]


Wolverines!
posted by dersins at 8:28 PM on September 14, 2009


Normal Borlaug died. He saved a billion people from starving. I plan to do a post on him, but, man, how to you do him justice?

Don't get me wrong: I loves me some Patrick Swayze. But it is, in good part, because the man made some entertainingly wretched movies. There's only so much time you can put into a Patrick Swayze post before you get does to Steel Dawn, and then you have gone too far.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:29 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I totally come for the comments too, so I'm playing devil's advocate to a degree. Or maybe I'm a hypocrite. But I really do feel enforcing a minimum level of quality on the front page is an integral part of all that. And once you decide on that minimum level of quality, making exceptions doesn't make much sense. Clearly single-link news items fall squarely on the DELETE side of that line, and have for a long time. I just don't buy that the immediacy of obits is all-fired important. I'm not even convinced they're good posts at all, personally, but I get the appeal and usually just pass on them. Unless, of course, it's about someone contentious, then I read them for the .. contention. I always find that more interesting than all the dots and insincere sentimental fluff. I'm probably a bad person.
posted by cj_ at 8:29 PM on September 14, 2009


For the record, as a resident of San Luis Obispo, California, commonly abbreviated as SLO, jokingly referred to by its own residents as SLOtown, promoted for tourism with the slogan "Experience the SLO Life", and home of a pub named the SLOdown, a scuba club named SLO Ocean Currents, the SLO Aging Institute (don't we wish) and a bus service seriously named SLOtransit, I object vehemently to the new MetaAbbreviation "SLObits". We may be SLO here, but we are not dead.
posted by wendell at 8:31 PM on September 14, 2009


Metafilter: O HE DED!
posted by idiopath at 8:33 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie: "Normal Borlaug died. He saved a billion people from starving. I plan to do a post on him"

Feel free to join us in the train wreck of the existing thread.
posted by idiopath at 8:35 PM on September 14, 2009


(said thread I discovered while working on my own Borlaug obit)
posted by idiopath at 8:38 PM on September 14, 2009


What the fuck does this ColdChef guy know about dead people?

My take on his death.

Sadly, I've seen more of Patrick Swayze's films than I would ever like to admit. Many of them in the theater. I won't even apologize for liking many.

I am sad he's gone.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:39 PM on September 14, 2009


Feel free to join us in the train wreck of the existing thread.

Thank you; you saved me some work.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:40 PM on September 14, 2009


And if it wasn't clear, my ColdChef callout was sarcasm, since I agree with him.

It was three days before I got this news.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:45 PM on September 14, 2009


It's the difference between giving a eulogy and sharing a drink with bereaved friends, if that makes sense.

It makes so much sense that I don't think I could have put it into words until you did. But it's true. Give a link, let us do the rest. Amidst the personal stories and grievances, mefites will also throw in a pile of links to more interesting sites than any one person could contribute.
posted by mannequito at 8:47 PM on September 14, 2009


So, it's one of those infantile "Rah rah rah, we're going to smash the towelheads!" warmongering flicks that are partially responsible for the current mess y'all (hm, w'all) are in?

Not exactly. It's written by John Milius, well-known gun nut but also well-known indisputably excellent writer (co-wrote Apocalypse Now with Coppola, wrote that unforgettable USS Indianapolis speech in Jaws).

So it's basically a 2nd-Amendment "we better have guns in case the Ruskies invade and we have to form militias" kind of thing. To 12 year olds it is pretty awesome. There's a scene where Russian paratroopers land in a field behind a school and the teacher walks out and says "what's going on here, my friend?" and they just machine-gun him to death.

The phrase "what's going on here, my friend?" amuses me to this day.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:53 PM on September 14, 2009


Obit posts can be done poorly and still survive. I regret posting this obit post: Paul Harvey.

I admit, I rushed to be first. It would have been better if someone who cared more than me had a chance to construct a decent post. He deserved better.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:59 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm with ColdChef on this. "I guess I feel that nothing is really added by adding unnecessary links." I saw three of his movies and hated them all but he was always compelling. He also seemed like a great guy making his way in a tough business. "It's the difference between giving a eulogy and sharing a drink with bereaved friends, if that makes sense." sums it up for me.
posted by arse_hat at 9:02 PM on September 14, 2009


For the vast majority of people who get insta-obits here, the whole reason they got an insta-obit is because everyone already knows who they are. I mean, really, did anyone need to be told that Patrick Swayze was in Dirty Dancing? Anyone?

Someone like Norman Borlaug needs a link-heavy obit for people to understand why he's getting one at all, because he's not a household name.

What that state of affairs says about the world is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:06 PM on September 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Who's gonna click the third link in a Patrick Swayze obit post? 12-year-olds?
posted by erikgrande at 9:11 PM on September 14, 2009


The rule is that if it doesn't have the Patrick Swayze-Chris Farley Chippendales video then it is a bad FPP.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:14 PM on September 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Who's gonna click the third link in a Patrick Swayze obit post? 12-year-olds?
posted by erikgrande at 11:11 PM on September 14 [+] [!]


That was too strong, let me just say that I'm on the side of those that think He was famous enough to warrant a brief obit post.
posted by erikgrande at 9:18 PM on September 14, 2009


Here's the DeathList 2009. Just pick 2 or 3 that look like reasonable bets for death this year and get to work now. Then pull the trigger with your masterpiece when it's time.


Dibs on James Brown.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:22 PM on September 14, 2009


I wouldn't be speaking Russian right now; I'd be too busy reading Gogol & Dostoevsky & Bulgagov & Kharms & some of Nabokov in the original.

&$*#$ Red %@#&$ Dawn...
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:29 PM on September 14, 2009


I hate dipping multiple times in a thread, for fear I seem unhinged on the matter, but thankfully I have beer to quiet this nagging feeling. I was having trouble putting my finger on why these thin obits bug me and don't feel I really got it across, so let me try again from a different angle:

You wouldn't do a post on a living person without fleshing out why they are interesting and notable. So when someone posts an obituary without making the same effort, the topic is the death itself rather than the person and why anyone is sad they passed. People die every day! Unless the death itself is tragic or remarkable, it feels like a disservice to say "he's dead, jim" and leave it at that. It makes all the "."s seem insincere to me. Like, are you really actually sad that this guy died beyond the general existential unease everyone feels when the they're reminded we're mortal? If so, that person is surely deserving of talking about why this is a loss of special note. Without that, it feels ghoulish to me. The death itself is not notable, it's what this person did in life. If you honestly can't find anything interesting to say about them when making the post.. crazy thought here, but maybe it doesn't even need a post? Or you're not the right one to make it? Misha's post was way better and could've been the one up there instead if people who didn't want to be bothered had just let it go.

> mefites will also throw in a pile of links to more interesting sites than any one person could contribute

This is just fucking lazy, I dunno what to say. They can still post interesting stuff in the comments, why does that absolve the poster of the responsibility for making a decent post to kick it off?

Maybe the problem here is that I don't much care for obit posts to begin with, so the idea they should get a free pass to be shitty when that isn't otherwise tolerated is really bizarre to me. It seems disrespectful, but obviously people are seeing these in very different ways.
posted by cj_ at 9:33 PM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Put me in the camp that wants well done obit posts.

That doesn't necessarily mean lots of links. What I really like to see is a concise explanation of who the person was that gives you a sense of the arc of their life. Obit posts come up frequently for persons I've either never heard of (Sam Maloof is a recent example) or only know for a part of their life story, and by taking the time to link to a few quality sources, I find out things that I couldn't get from an AP obit. Linking to just one obituary (particularly if it's from a, shall we say, less than quality source) takes away from what can be learned from a post, because it gives you one person's (often very incomplete) summary of the person. Also, news outlet obituaries rarely show you video or audio of a person, both of which can substantially fill out one's conception of a personality, whereas well done obit posts frequently do.

Often, when I find out about someone interesting who happens to have died in the past ten years, I'll search Mefi for their obit post (along with other posts that mention them, of course, if there are any) because, when they're done well, obit posts can be an excellent resource (and usually far more interesting than Wikipedia) for learning about these folks and the impact they've had. I've also used the obituary and obitfilter tags to look for people that I would have never heard of otherwise.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:38 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Damn, shoulda previewed..

> I mean, really, did anyone need to be told that Patrick Swayze was in Dirty Dancing? Anyone?

Kind of a red herring. No, I don't need to be told that, being a child of the 80s. Maybe a younger reader would though! And I had no idea he was doing a TV show, that was interesting to learn he was still working while fighting pancreatic cancer (which I actually didn't know about either). It's great that came out in the comments, but it coulda been in the post itself, which would've made it better, is all I'm really saying.

Carry on.
posted by cj_ at 9:44 PM on September 14, 2009


Nabokov wrote in English.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:45 PM on September 14, 2009


I'm sad to hear that Swayze has passed away and am glad that his suffering is at an end.

I'm also loving that we managed not to have a MeTa Obit Policy Debate regarding Ted Kennedy's death, apparently saving it all up for this thread here.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:50 PM on September 14, 2009


Nabokov's first nine novels were in Russian.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:51 PM on September 14, 2009


This thread needs more Yakity Sax.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:55 PM on September 14, 2009


Nabokov wrote on index cards, at a lectern, in his socks.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:11 PM on September 14, 2009


So, it's one of those infantile "Rah rah rah, we're going to smash the towelheads!" warmongering flicks that are partially responsible for the current mess y'all (hm, w'all) are in?

I prefer to think of it as High School Mujaheddin.

Man, I watched the shit out of that movie, great cast.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:25 PM on September 14, 2009


Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov!
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:25 PM on September 14, 2009


I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive
posted by edgeways at 10:42 PM on September 14, 2009


Man, that DeathList is lame. If you want to prep a great obit that is likely of broad interest to the MetaFilter spectrum, I have two easy suggestions: Jack Vance is 93 and Pete Seegar is 90. Neither can have that much time left. And there's always Abe Vigoda (88).

Now tell me I jinxed them.
posted by mdevore at 11:05 PM on September 14, 2009


Yes, I meant Pete Seeger.
posted by mdevore at 11:06 PM on September 14, 2009


You know, if you want to get an obit thread posted, why not do like the news orgs do and get started now. Here's the DeathList 2009. Just pick 2 or 3 that look like reasonable bets for death this year and get to work now. Then pull the trigger with your masterpiece when it's time.

I actually did this for Ariel Sharon, linking the Hebrew letters of the Burial Kaddish to articles about various aspects of Sharon's life. I did it in 2006, after Sharon became comatose. He's still comatose, and I long ago lost my potential FPP.
posted by orthogonality at 11:18 PM on September 14, 2009


So it's basically a 2nd-Amendment "we better have guns in case the Ruskies invade and we have to form militias" kind of thing.

Huh. Guess you missed the scene where the camera pans past the truck with the rah-rah 2nd Amendment bumper sticker, with that old line, "you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hand," and it keeps panning up until you see a Soviet soldier prying said gun from said truck owner's cold, dead hand.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:25 PM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


And don't fuck with Pete Seeger. Yeah, he was a Red, yeah, he was against fighting Hitler until Stalin was for it, but damn it, Pete Seeger signing "We Shall Overcome" can still bring on my tears.
posted by orthogonality at 11:25 PM on September 14, 2009


Once when I was very drunk and riffing on that whole 2nd Amendment/Charlton Heston thing, I shouted 'You can take my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead wife.' That's all I have to say about that.
posted by Jofus at 4:03 AM on September 15, 2009


> It's one of those TOTALLY AWESOME "Rah rah rah, we're going to smash the commies!" warmongering flicks that are partially responsible for the fact that you're not speaking Russian right now, you ungrateful bastard.

I AM SPEAKING RUSSIAN RIGHT NOW.
posted by languagehat at 6:35 AM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


What's going on here, my friends?
posted by Rumple at 6:51 AM on September 15, 2009


When the news reported that Bettie Page was in critical condition, I thought about preparing an obit post for when it was needed. But the idea made me feel like a ghoul - so I didn't. The person who eventually posted did a better job than I would have anyway.

I don't know if there's a moral to that story.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:53 AM on September 15, 2009


I'm working on my Dennis Quaid obit post right now. I'm a gonna be all set.

When I die
Won't you bury me
In the parking lot
Of the A&P....

posted by fixedgear at 8:41 AM on September 15, 2009


I'm torn on the issue. I agree with Cold Chef that we don't need a novel written for one of the most famous actors of his generation having passed from terminal cancer that we all knew was going to kill him sooner rather than later. A respectful one liner would probably have been fine.

but let's be clear: the operative word here is "respectful."

yesterday I bought this iphone app that's a talking robot alarm clock that says, in a convingly british robot voice, the day's news read from the latest rss feed of your choice. the default is nytimes.com, so I left it at that. this morning was the first morning it woke me up.

it said (and you'll be able to tell where I was able to customize its message): "Good morning, Captain Outstanding! Here is today's news from nytimes.com. Patrick Swayze, the actor in Dirty Dancing, has passed away at age 57. [other news headlines follow]."

at which point my girlfriend and I went "holy shit. Patrick Swayze's dead."

now, imagine if the alarm had instead been of mefi's rss feed (which I had strongly considered) and I'd woken up this morning to "WOLVERINES! He had the time of life, Patrick Swayze dead at 57."

I would have been perfectly annoyed, and my morning would have been pretty shitty. I don't want to speak for mathowie, but I like to think this is what he meant when he said Try Harder.
posted by shmegegge at 8:51 AM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


one_bean writes "You know, if you want to get an obit thread posted, why not do like the news orgs do and get started now. Here's the DeathList 2009. Just pick 2 or 3 that look like reasonable bets for death this year and get to work now. Then pull the trigger with your masterpiece when it's time. "

Pronoiac i writes "Out of six - SIX! - people on the list of people with prepared obits, this is the second death, & also the second that didn't use the pre-made obit."

Well Patrick's was written by me so it basically sucked so I can see why it wasn't posted. Of course the wiki hasn't got traction for this kind of thing so no one probably even thought to look. But when Hawking or RMS dies I hope some one at least glances at the page. I'd still think it would be great if pre-written obits took off I'm just not very good at writing them.
posted by Mitheral at 8:58 AM on September 15, 2009


Metafilter is for obit posts what Facebook is for baby pictures. Alpha and Omega, all that shit...
posted by qvantamon at 9:05 AM on September 15, 2009


I once started writing a prefab obit for William Shatner, but it made me too sad to contemplate, so I stopped. So, the new plan is that Shatner never dies.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:08 AM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


If only there was a committee to judge the worthiness of those obit posts... like... a panel. About deaths.
posted by qvantamon at 9:08 AM on September 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


but let's be clear: the operative word here is "respectful."

I absolutely agree with this.
posted by ColdChef at 9:13 AM on September 15, 2009


No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
posted by Skot at 9:29 AM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Try Hard 2: Try Harder
posted by dirigibleman at 9:55 AM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


no link to the infamous swimsuit picture, the one with the "string"?
posted by nomisxid at 10:09 AM on September 15, 2009


I can't tell what you're trying to link to.
posted by shmegegge at 10:11 AM on September 15, 2009


Maybe this?
posted by ocherdraco at 10:40 AM on September 15, 2009


At work, so didn't want to drill into one of the naked celeb sites, but there's a picture of Patrick jumping into a swimming pool. One can make out 'something' in his pants. As I recall, he claimed it was merely the draw-string. I'd swear I learned about it on the blue, in a post about photos celebs wish weren't out in the public....but it could have been a fark link.
posted by nomisxid at 10:42 AM on September 15, 2009


I think there should be room here for both types of post. The first, because it is informative, the second because it allows us to grieve as a community.

I sympathize with the sentiment. I think the tough thing, from a moderation point-of-view, is where does this end?

If you allow one-liner posts about celebrity deaths, why should you ban one-liner notes about other major events. To me, "two soldier's kidnapped in Iraq" is more important than "celebrity X just died," but if we allow that, too, MeFi tips over into a news feed really quickly.

Someone important (to some group of people) dies almost every day. So even if we just allowed this sort of celebrity-death post, there would be a lot of them -- unless we had some sort of filter that only defined someone as a celebrity if X number of people cared about him.
posted by grumblebee at 10:54 AM on September 15, 2009


I just wanted to thank everyone who said good things about the post I was working on for Swayze. I'm sorry I didn't post mine in the end, but I had real life stuff come up (in the form of a husband I hadn't seen all day) and I'm glad Mary Dellamorte put a nice tribute up instead.
posted by misha at 1:43 PM on September 15, 2009


I don't want to speak for mathowie, but I like to think this is what he meant when he said Try Harder.

Pretty sure I was with mathowie when he was poking this out on his iphone and pretty sure also that is exactly what he meant.

When someone dies, this news will generally upset some people and possibly make some people happy. I think there are more people in the first camp than the second with many many people somewhere in the middle. I don't think you can go wrong erring on the side of trying to write a post for the people who might be sad about this. I'm sure there are edge case obits on MeFi that are not following this general idea but most of the time a decent obit for someone you care enough to write a post about is a grand idea. To recap

- it's not a race; if you think it is you're doing it wrong
- snark + obits rarely go well together, maybe check with someone else if what you're doing is such a great idea?
- we're now more affirmatively deleting crappy obit posts than we were before, so there's some incentive
- when there's a lot of obit-eyeballs and people start posting one-liner obits about strangers to prove a point, we make that stop

That said, I think a good obit for someone well-known but maybe not well-known to this audience would explain a little what was so great about them. I've done a few obit posts for people I truly missed who others may not have heard of. I liked doing them and if you read them you wouldn't be thinking I was being a smartass, and you wouldn't be asking "Who?" or "Why should I care."
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:02 PM on September 15, 2009


Nobody posts obits in a furor.

They due when they're under psychosis from being crazy for Swayze.
posted by champthom at 2:08 AM on September 16, 2009


I'm OK with having quick-n-dirty obit posts on mefi, but they don't really fall under the umbrella of "best of the web", just "latest on the web". So...if we're going to have them, I'd rather have a longer well-linked post sending me to interesting places on the internet telling me interesting things about the dead person that I probably didn't know, perhaps in a format that is remarkable in itself.

Metafilter doesn't need to replace my WWW.ONLINECORPORATENEWS.COM RSS feed etc; mefi is so much better than that. I'm not saying SLobits should just be deleted, just that they're kind of unimportant to what mefi is.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:40 PM on September 16, 2009


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