RTFT, tl;dr McLazypants October 4, 2009 9:59 AM   Subscribe

Why do people do this? How can I persuade them to stop?

"I just got to this thread, and I haven't read through all the comments, so I apologize if my comments have been voiced already."

"Sorry if someone posted this already; I haven't read this whole thing."

"I haven't read this whole thread, but I wanted to stop by to say that this is dumb."
posted by the latin mouse to Etiquette/Policy at 9:59 AM (197 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

You mean they actually read part of it? Amateurs.
posted by stresstwig at 10:00 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nuke them from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.
posted by Kattullus at 10:03 AM on October 4, 2009


I haven't read the first comment, so sorry if this has been said:

You mean they actually read part of it? Amateurs.
posted by ALongDecember at 10:03 AM on October 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


tl;dr
posted by limeonaire at 10:05 AM on October 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Alright... now that I've gotten the silliness out of my system...

There's nothing really you can do except bring it up in MetaTalk so that people are aware of it. I certainly know the feeling of having something to say and the urge to say it right now but it's a good thing to read the entire thread over before adding to it.
posted by Kattullus at 10:06 AM on October 4, 2009


The only way to win is not to post.
posted by Eideteker at 10:06 AM on October 4, 2009 [16 favorites]


The only way to win is not to post.

I win this thread!

oh shit...
posted by marxchivist at 10:08 AM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


"How can I persuade them ..."

You might as well stop there, 'cause you can't.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 10:10 AM on October 4, 2009


I try to shame them out of it. I go to their houses and pants 'em.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:17 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


How can I persuade them to stop?

Have a beard off!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:17 AM on October 4, 2009


How can I persuade them to stop?

$20, same as in town.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:18 AM on October 4, 2009


I haven't read this whole thread, but I wanted to stop by to say that the last example was me, and I stand by it. If the thread is two hundred comments long, not only do I not have the time or the will to read the whole thing, but chances are if what I was going to post was way upthread, no one else would have read it either. So I might as well post it again, no?

But by all means, try to persuade me to stop.
posted by Dr. Send at 10:20 AM on October 4, 2009 [13 favorites]


What are we talking about?
posted by matty at 10:21 AM on October 4, 2009


The weird thing about that, to me, is not the not-reading; it's the compulsive urge to tell everyone that you didn't read it. Almost 100% of the comments that are prefaced by "I didn't read anything, but..." would go fit in unnoticed if that preface were simply left off.

In other words, I don't think that you will have any luck getting people to read before typing, but you may have luck getting them to stop announcing their lack of reading.
posted by Forktine at 10:21 AM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


On TWoP, it's a bannable offense to say you didn't read the whole thread.

Now no one says they didn't read the whole thread.

Success?
posted by smackfu at 10:21 AM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


How can I persuade them to stop?

It's as easy as getting someone to realize their opinion isn't particularly important or even needed.

Which is to say, Good Luck, Suckah!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:22 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


News flash: Metafilter is a Web site people peruse for fun. Sometimes it isn't fun to read an entire 300-comment thread. As such, people sometimes elect to comment without doing the pre-reading, and you're not going to have much luck changing that.
posted by killdevil at 10:22 AM on October 4, 2009 [11 favorites]


That's what you get for five bucks these days.
posted by anniecat at 10:26 AM on October 4, 2009


Also, almost 100% of my comments with egregious typos would indeed "go fit in unnoticed" if there was an edit function. Ahem.
posted by Forktine at 10:28 AM on October 4, 2009


You cant change other people. That said there are a few tools at our disposal to at least try to influence them.

1. early tl;dr nonsense will be culled from a thread usually. Flag it if you see it.
2. people aren't really required to read all the responses in AskMe, though it's okay to follow-up with a polite "gee if you'd read the responses you might know that...." sort of follow-up
3. dorks who aren't answering the question have their comments removed no matter what

Some people just aren't good readers, whether that means being able to do it quickly or being able to enjoy doing it or even being able to understand that much English. Generally speaking, yeah it's a little boorish to announce that "hey, I can't be bothered to read all this" because it's on the one hand saying you didn't do the work [in some cases] and at the same time want people to understand this so that if what you're saying misses the point it's okay because you've got an excuse. However, many of us would say "well hey that's why you do the work, right?"

So yeah, you can't change other people. Everyone on MeFi is either irritable or irritating and many of us are both.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:30 AM on October 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


I remember one of the resaons given for not having threaded posts was that it encouraged people to read all posts in the thread, which was seen as a good thing. Unfortunately Metafilter seems to have grown to a size were threads often grow to unwieldy sizes.
posted by Catfry at 10:33 AM on October 4, 2009


Metafilter is not about READING. Metafilter is about.... $20 SAIT.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:40 AM on October 4, 2009


"Everyone on MeFi is either irritable or irritating and many of us are both."

That should definitely go into the wiki.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 10:45 AM on October 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


If you take me to dinner, we can talk about it. But I don't favorite on the first date.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:48 AM on October 4, 2009


you are lucky if i even finish reading through what i type, much less whatever it is that you wrote.
posted by the aloha at 10:50 AM on October 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


You can't change other people, DTMFA.
posted by Loto at 10:53 AM on October 4, 2009


Everyone on MeFi is either irritable or irritating and many of us are both.

Truer words have seldom been said on Metafilter. This is a good thing to keep in mind.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:57 AM on October 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


I agree that this is annoying, but mostly it just makes the people who write it -- and who unknowingly repeat a joke that was made upthread -- look silly. You don't HAVE to comment in a thread, you know, so why not save your comment for when you have the time to read the entire thread first?
posted by chowflap at 11:04 AM on October 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


Alright... now that I've gotten the silliness out of my system...

Tragic! I wish you a speedy recovery.
posted by Chuckles at 11:11 AM on October 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


I thought this was acceptable only back during the insanely-long threads about Obama and Palin, where there would be like 300-500 comments or so, most of which were Palin jokes. No one should be expected to wade through alll of that.
posted by mannequito at 11:19 AM on October 4, 2009


The correct answer for this kind of thing is always go outside, hug your spouse, clean your bathroom, attack that stack of paperwork, take a nap, have sex, make a fufu dessert, donate to charity, call your mother, take up a martial art, lubricate that creaky hinge, go say hi to that neighbor you haven't met yet, change your underwear, and stock up on emergency supplies.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:29 AM on October 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


And therapy. Don't forget therapy.
posted by rtha at 11:34 AM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


No one should be expected to wade through alll of that

While I don't disagree that those threads were tough to slog through, then the logical solution should be simply don't post in that thread. Now, it's like people are saying "I'm unoriginal AND lazy, but bla bla bla."
posted by inigo2 at 11:36 AM on October 4, 2009


It drives me bats. That and "not that anyone reads the comments down here."

It smacks of self-importance to me. Feeling that you are so important that you are obliged to comment even though you can't be arsed to read what everybody else has already said. If you can't bother to read what's already there, chances are unless you have some radically specific and revolutionary viewpoint (such as being the author of whatever it is people are talking about or other first-hand knowledge), just DON'T COMMENT.

I do this a lot. I'll have a comment in mind, or maybe even half-typed up in a Stickie. Or maybe even fully typed. But if I get bored with the thread half-way through reading the responses, I just don't post the damn thing because my 2c aren't any more valuable than anybody else's 2c and really, posting just to fill my own text box is kinda wankish.

So yeah, this is one of those issues that also sticks in my craw.

Not that anyone is going to read the comments down here.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:54 AM on October 4, 2009 [25 favorites]


I don't mind unless it's an unfunny joke the second time
posted by kathrineg at 12:08 PM on October 4, 2009


Yeah, this annoys me too. However, its only in certain types of threads. Specifically, threads in MeTa or MeFi that have settled into a discoursive groove with folks making good points on both sides. There's little more frustrating in a debate than spending lots of time typing out responses and back and forth only to have some lazy turd drop in that makes a point addressed 10 times already upthread.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:12 PM on October 4, 2009


I think critical mass in an AskMe thread can be important, and if it's just one more voice saying "Sorry, didn't have time to read the rest of the answers, but I think you should definitely take the cat to the vet," that's still an important piece of data even if every answer is the same.
posted by desjardins at 12:17 PM on October 4, 2009


I actually typed up an answer here and then deleted it because chowflap, forktine and grapefruitmoon had said it first. AND I DIDN'T DIE.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:23 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


What annoys me is when people don't read all of the links in the post before making comments -- especially when there are only two or three. People read the premise of the post and rush to comment with whatever comes to mind.
posted by flatluigi at 12:25 PM on October 4, 2009


Not sure I get the problem.

I did this in the Polanski thread. I had what i thought was an important thing to add- the victim's statement in the LA Times that she had agreed to the plea bargain with both lawyers, only to have the judge go back on the agreement.

I skimmed and it did a cursory CTRL+F and it didn't seem like anyone said it yet. But there were over 200 comments- to read carefully enough to be *sure* no one had mentioned that yet would literally have taken a few hours, which I didn't have.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:37 PM on October 4, 2009


What annoys me is when people don't read all of the links in the post before making comments -- especially when there are only two or three. People read the premise of the post and rush to comment with whatever comes to mind.

Your mistake lies in thinking that reading a post and posting comments are related activities. Which they are not. Hell, I don't even know what this thread is about.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:57 PM on October 4, 2009


What annoys me is people thinking any of us care what annoys them...

but, I'm a bit irritable today....
posted by HuronBob at 1:03 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't mind unless it's an unfunny joke the second time

Or a funny joke the tenth time! There have been a few of those.

But what are we talking about, a 10 comment thread? 100? 1000?

Why do people continue to call out behaviour without links to specific threads so that we can address the issue in context? How can I persuade them to stop?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:09 PM on October 4, 2009


I win this thread!

But lost The Game.
posted by Jon-o at 1:31 PM on October 4, 2009


I haven't read the comments, so I don't know if someone already made this unfunny joke upthread.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:40 PM on October 4, 2009


Does anyone read the posts down here?
posted by octothorpe at 1:43 PM on October 4, 2009


Are people seriously advocating the idea that unless something NEW is being added to the conversation, a comment shouldn't be made? That's ridiculous. Not everyone reads MetaFilter like it is a job. In fact, there should be only a few of us here who do. The comment box is there so you can add your point of view to the conversation, regardless of whether anybody else shares the same point of view. I'm sorry if that offends you, but just because somebody posts FIRST! doesn't preclude others from posting as well. MetaFilter isn't a contest.
posted by Roger Dodger at 1:51 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter isn't a contest.

So sayeth the user with only triple digit favorites.

I kid
posted by Burhanistan at 1:52 PM on October 4, 2009


I do
posted by killdevil at 1:53 PM on October 4, 2009


Oh Sweet! I have triple digit favorites!
posted by Roger Dodger at 1:54 PM on October 4, 2009


MetaFilter: I can't be bothered to read all this
posted by deborah at 2:14 PM on October 4, 2009


Sometimes I feel that I might have something useful to add to a thread that is too long for me to read the whole thing carefully first. I then have a choice to make: post, with the risk that I am just repeating what somebody else has said (a little embarrassing); or not post, with no risk of embarrassment, but a small risk that my comment might have been useful and somebody who could have been helped wasn't, all because my fear of making a slightly embarrassing faux pas. The third way which you wish to deny me is to post with an explanation that I haven't read the comments; that way I don't need to fear looking like a fool if a previous comment makes mine redundant or irrelevant, but I do make my potentially useful attempt to contribute to the thread. I don't think this is a bad thing.
posted by nowonmai at 2:17 PM on October 4, 2009


"Sorry if someone posted this already; I haven't read this whole thing."

What's wrong with saying this?
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:26 PM on October 4, 2009


If I see a duplicate comment, I generally assume that the commenter overlooked the earlier iterations. No problem, eyes are imperfect, happens to everyone.

If I see "I didn't read the thread but here's my duplicate comment," I generally assume (totally unfairly, I know) that the commenter is a self-involved, preening, condescending windbag who really, really needs us all to know that (s)he's way too important and busy to listen to anyone else before deigning to favor us with her/his earthshattering insight.

It's like someone bounding loudly into a room where a thoughtful conversation has been taking place for an hour and saying, "HI, HERE'S MY CONTRIBUTION." Only, yeah, I know it's not really like that.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:29 PM on October 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


i've solved this problem by outsourcing my reading to someone in bangalore
posted by pyramid termite at 2:39 PM on October 4, 2009


Everyone on MeFi is either irritable or irritating and many of us are both.

I am my own aloe.
posted by carsonb at 2:41 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


This kind of thing bugs me also. Part of what I like about long threads is that I'll think of something I'd like to add, and then as I read I come across someone else making my point in a much more eloquent way than I could have. So I just favorite it and do a little "hell yeah!" in my head and don't post.

I know this sort of thing is maybe a bit more understandable in threads that are hundreds or thousands of comments long, but people will do this in really short threads too, which is kind of a dick move.
posted by marble at 3:24 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Only, yeah, I know it's not really like that.

Only, dig it, it pretty much is really like that.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:25 PM on October 4, 2009


Are people seriously advocating the idea that unless something NEW is being added to the conversation, a comment shouldn't be made? That's ridiculous.

Me too!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:35 PM on October 4, 2009


In AskMe it is often helpful to have duplicate answers. It adds weight to the opinion and gives the asker reassurance the she is not accepting an answer from way out in left field.

Likewise, on Meta, I sometimes see a comment that I think is just wacky-to the point that I think its poster is being deliberately stupid and trying to derail things-until people pop in afterward to say similar things with their own perspectives and viewpoints on it. It may be duplication, but its helpful. Sometimes the weight of multiple similar comments is enlightening.

But not in political and vegan threads.
posted by SLC Mom at 3:40 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


How can I persuade them to stop?

I think you'll find that many of us are open to bribes.
posted by generichuman at 3:53 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


I share the perspective of FelliniBlank and grapefruitmoon. Because of that, in an ordinary thread, this comment wouldn't exist. This thread is something of a special case, however.
posted by Kwine at 3:55 PM on October 4, 2009


killdevil: "News flash: Metafilter is a Web site people peruse for fun. "

Hum, I don't think peruse means what you think it means. Also, if that was the case we wouldn't have this conversation right now.
posted by McSly at 3:59 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


BAN 'EM ALL, LET GOD SORT 'EM OUT

Apologies if someone's already said this, I haven't read all the comments yet
posted by Dr-Baa at 4:07 PM on October 4, 2009


I object to people commenting without reading some or all of the links in MeFi post, and without reading the More Inside of an AskMe post, but the entire thread? Eh, I don't so much think people need to do that -- especially in AskMe.

If someone has useful information to share, would you rather they didn't share it because they don't have time to read everyone else's comments first? If I've asked a question in AskMe, I'd really rather have the extra answer, even if it turns out to be redundant, than potentially miss out on good info.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:24 PM on October 4, 2009


I think a redundant answer in AskMe is a different, say, from the various people who popped into the Letterman thread to crack that he should have given his blackmailer a goofy giant check - a joke Letterman himself made in the link and which several people felt moved to repeat without having watched the video or read the previous comments.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:32 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everyone on MeFi is either irritable or irritating

Hey, I'm actually quite amiable and...oh. Sorry :(
posted by little e at 4:34 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


'm sorry if that offends you, but just because somebody posts FIRST! doesn't preclude others from posting as well. MetaFilter isn't a contest.

Oh no, I'm not offended by repeat comments. Just the ones that START with "TL;DR." If you read the thread and then feel like, hey, I want to say this thing even though someone else already said it - rock on. Just, y'know, read the thread. That's what it's there for. It's not there for you to have a text box to blast your opinion onto the world. Because that text box exists. And it's called YR BLOG.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:37 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait, you're talking about Ask Metafilter? No. AskMe is not a conversation (though there may be legitimate reasons to comment on someone else's post). The 10th person saying X is important because, effectively, this is the 10th vote for X. The only problem in not reading the thread is that the op may have provided additional details. With the current highlighting system, however, these are easy to spot with a quick skim.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:37 PM on October 4, 2009


Hum, I don't think peruse means what you think it means. Also, if that was the case we wouldn't have this conversation right now.

You dare accuse me of malapropism, sir? Actually, it does mean what I think it means. But thanks for playing!

In common usage peruse can and often does mean "to browse or read over in a leisurely manner" without close attention to detail. See here. It can ALSO (and sort of antagonistically) carry the connotation you mention. I'll give you this, though... there IS some lexical contention as to whether the first meaning is formally correct, which was news to me.
posted by killdevil at 5:06 PM on October 4, 2009


the latin mouse: "Why do people do this? How can I persuade them to stop? "

I'm being totally serious here...what behavior are you wanting to change in others? What do you want people to stop doing? Do you wish they would read all content before they comment? Do you wish they would not draw attention to themselves in their comment? Do you wish they'd not use tl;dr, and other memes/conventions? Do you wish they'd not comment altogether? Some combination of any/all of the above? Are you trying to get a "Yeah, that's annoying!" consensus? Are you looking for strategies to prevent these types of comments/conventions? Are you requesting people pay more attention or read posts/comments more thoroughly? Or are you just randomly venting and seeing what spawns from it?
posted by iamkimiam at 5:38 PM on October 4, 2009


I haven't read the whole thread, but...

I made lamingtons tonight, for my managers' meeting tomorrow. No one I work with has tasted a lamington before, because I work with English people and they're an Australian standard. But they are delicious - by which I mean really yum. I'll post the recipe once I've had their yumminess confirmed by someone other than myself, but so far... yum.
posted by goo at 5:57 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I read the whole thread, what do I get?
posted by cj_ at 6:11 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I haven't read this whole thread, but I wanted to stop by to say that this is dumb.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:35 PM on October 4, 2009


I blame the unfortunate default aesthetics.
posted by oaf at 6:40 PM on October 4, 2009


tl;dr would be great on a t-shirt.
posted by tellurian at 6:42 PM on October 4, 2009


tl;dr would be great on a t-shirt.

It's like they've read your mind or something.
posted by FishBike at 6:45 PM on October 4, 2009

a: Right.

b: So at that point, I figure that genocide is probably justified when...

c: Oh, hi, guys! Fancy meeting you here in this coffee shop.

a: Hello, c.

c: So what were you guys talking about?

a: Whether flat, round, sweet baked goods should be called 'biscuits' or 'cookies.'

c: Huh. 'Cookies' is a pretty...

a: Um.

b: Why are you doing that?

c: What?

b: That. That completely annoying and presumptuous thing where you walk into a conversation that's already happening and presume that it's okay for you to start talking without having heard everything that's been said already.

c: I... what?

a: It's very rude, you know. We've already made all sorts of points between us, so how do you know that one of us hasn't already made whatever point it is you're about to make?

c: I was just going to say that 'cookies' always sounded like a pretty silly word to me.

b: That's a perfect example. a was saying that precise thing only twenty minutes ago.

a: (rolls eyes)

b: You see? You've done nothing but disrupt the entire exchange of ideas. Now we'll never find the answer.

c: Answer?

a: Yes. The answer to the question. Should baked sweets that are flat and round be referred to as 'biscuits' or 'cookies?' Or were you here yet when I mentioned that?

b: I think you've actually mentioned that three times now; last time you were letting him know just when he came up to us.

a: Do you see? You've now set the question back even more.

c: Wait a minute - what do you suggest I do?

b: You should do what any civilized person would do: don't speak unless you've carefully determined everything that's been said so far in the conversation so that you can make sure that nothing is repeated.

a: We're not alone here, you know; we happen to be in a coffee shop. That man at the table next to us reading his newspaper has probably heard every word of this conversation; you should ask him what's been said so far.

c: This all seems a little silly, doesn't it?

b: Of course it's not silly. You don't think we have conversations just for the sake of conversing, do you? Efficiency is key. We're never going to get any answers to any of these questions unless we're sure that we're not wasting any time on points that have already been made.

a: Yeah. And after all, if we don't answer all the questions we ask, what good would we be then? Good god. We may as well go join Metafilter or something.
posted by koeselitz at 6:52 PM on October 4, 2009 [12 favorites]


People... you can never change the way they feel... better let them do just what they will....
posted by orange swan at 6:55 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


How could the tl;dr thing not happen? The threads really are too long, and that's because the site got big. Here are the sorted comment totals for the threads on October 2 (last Friday):

259, 245, 127, 114, 94, 77, 57, 53, 47, 44, 25, 23, 21, 20, 19, 13, 11.

For comparison, comment totals for threads on the day I joined:

51, 32, 23, 21, 20, 19, 19, 18, 17, 12, 11, 11, 10, 10, 9, 9, 8, 8, 7, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 1, 1, 1.

Solutions? Sub-optimally, go ahead and comment without reading--just don't say so. Brazen, that's the ticket. (of course, you would have to have read all the way down to here to get this advice.) Optimally, four fifths of you get off my lawn.
posted by jfuller at 6:59 PM on October 4, 2009


Here are the sorted comment totals for the threads on October 2

There are other ways to say "I have too much free time."
posted by oaf at 7:11 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Less evasively:

When people have conversations, sometimes there is a lag in bringing new participants up to speed. This is natural, because unfortunately we do not all have identical experiences of anything, even something we've read or heard. There are ways to eliminate this lag - for example, requiring by law that no one may take part in a discussion unless they take part from the very beginning until the very end, or decreeing that making a remark in a discussion shall require filling out several forms to test the person making the remark and determine that they have in fact been paying attention the whole time. However, any such method designed to eliminate needless conversational redundancy will have a rather undesirable drawback: it will take away the freedom necessary for true conversation in the first place.

This is just something that happens when people are talking to each other about something. We're all commenting on links here, and it's not out of the question or in all cases rude or uncivilized for someone to look at a link, pop into the four-hundred-comment thread, say 'hey, I liked that link because of x and because of y. Sorry if someone's said that, but anyway, thanks!' and then leave. This is something which is and should be allowed.

Even if this were only a conversation site (and not a collection of links which actually pretty much invite comment from people, who may or may not be reading the whole threads) trying to eliminate the lag would, as I've said, render conversation impossible.

It's like slow traffic lights and uncomfortable family holidays: one of those things that you just have to learn to live with. And why not? It's not really so bad when you think about it.
posted by koeselitz at 7:19 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I haven't read any of this (I'm functionally illiterate) but just thought I'd come in and offer my opinion.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 7:19 PM on October 4, 2009


One of the problems with not reading is that you think your jokes are original, when in fact they are usually the first comment.
posted by smackfu at 7:21 PM on October 4, 2009


Why do people do this? How can I persuade them to stop?

Speaking of "whys": want to know why someone would use "this" in their post, and then explain what they are referring to in the "more inside". Seems backwards to me.
posted by smackfu at 7:23 PM on October 4, 2009


rodgerdodger and nowamai: If you have a ticking-time-bomb, exploding-jack-bauer answer to impart that prevents you from reading the thread, then contact the poster directly via email or mefimail. If the OP is anonymous, then get in touch with the mods.

Otherwise, don't post if you haven't even bothered to read what other members of this community have already said. Perhaps your unique insight has been covered already. Not every special-snowflakey thought (yours or anyone's) needs to be expressed.
posted by dogrose at 7:56 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Don't eat it -- you'll be sorry.
posted by trip and a half at 8:03 PM on October 4, 2009


is this the place for finding a used car?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:03 PM on October 4, 2009


dognose: don't be such a condescending dick.
posted by nowonmai at 8:03 PM on October 4, 2009


tl;dr
posted by Saydur at 8:42 PM on October 4, 2009


I feel everything.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:28 PM on October 4, 2009


Oh yeah.
posted by koeselitz at 9:36 PM on October 4, 2009


Just for fun I skipped a lot f the conversation in this thread to add that:

A lot of threads devolve into dereail, while the original, interesting point of discussion goes unnoticed. Some people might mention this because they hated the dereail and weren;t going to slog through it to find a gem that might have said something similar in the middle, and don't want to get shit on for making a point that was made elsewhere.

That's all.

I don't give two shits if someone else has said this already.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:39 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


dogrose: rodgerdodger and nowamai: If you have a ticking-time-bomb, exploding-jack-bauer answer to impart that prevents you from reading the thread, then contact the poster directly via email or mefimail. If the OP is anonymous, then get in touch with the mods.

Otherwise, don't post if you haven't even bothered to read what other members of this community have already said. Perhaps your unique insight has been covered already. Not every special-snowflakey thought (yours or anyone's) needs to be expressed.



'Answer'? Anonymous? It sounds like you're talking about AskMe. And just concerning that part of the site, well, maybe you're right: ask.metafilter is much more focused and should be geared toward giving a good answer, and a dozen people saying the same thing without realizing they're all saying it doesn't help.

But this is about all of metafilter, and especially the main page, where conversation comes and goes; so why do you think people shouldn't comment without reading whole 300-comment threads first? What if their comment is just a little thank-you for the post? What if the poster just wanted to agree with something the poster said?

I know that it's a little simplistic to say that metafilter is about the links, not the conversation, but a lot of the time it really holds true; the purpose of threads is not to engender focused discussion and careful conversation, it's to provide a place for people to comment on links. Commenting on links patently does not require reading every other comment beforehand; it requires looking at the link to a greater or lesser degree. Now, threads aren't obviously going to be limited to comments on links, but that's ostensibly the main purpose. The freedom is what gives us space to converse there, interestingly enough.

Why are you so insistent that people must read the comments first? I mean, you've asked that people do so, but you didn't really give your reasons for thinking so; why?
posted by koeselitz at 9:43 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


me: What if the poster just wanted to agree with something the poster said?

Of course, this sort of thing should probably be handled through the SchizophrenicMailTM.

posted by koeselitz at 9:47 PM on October 4, 2009


koeslitz is manifesting FightClubia symptoms again.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:07 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know that it's a little simplistic to say that metafilter is about the links, not the conversation, but a lot of the time it really holds true; the purpose of threads is not to engender focused discussion and careful conversation, it's to provide a place for people to comment on links.

I'm just here for the flameouts.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:09 PM on October 4, 2009


I will intertubes any goddamn way I want, thank you very much.
posted by iamabot at 10:13 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


dognose: don't be such a condescending dick.

nownomai: I won't, if you'll refrain from being such a self-absorbed bint.

What's "condescending" about expecting a member of an online community to read and acknowledge other members' comments? If you don't have the time or inclination to do that, then why comment at all?

Your tripartite reasoning leaves out the most likely possibility: your contribution is neither unique nor essential, and you'd realize that if you'd bother to read the thread.

(Thanks for "dognose"! I quite like it.)
posted by dogrose at 10:19 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well now we all have to read your pissing match if we want to follow your rules. Thanks!
posted by iamabot at 10:24 PM on October 4, 2009


I didn't read this thread, and I'm just dumb enough to assume that jumping after a hundred comments have been made will be humourous.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:32 PM on October 4, 2009


What's "condescending" about expecting a member of an online community to read and acknowledge other members' comments? If you don't have the time or inclination to do that, then why comment at all?

Your tripartite reasoning leaves out the most likely possibility: your contribution is neither unique nor essential, and you'd realize that if you'd bother to read the thread.


RTFM and quit copying me.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:39 PM on October 4, 2009


This sort of callout is the precise reason why people feel compelled to post without reading the whole thread. Sometimes you can tell that a thread is going to make you dumber if you read it, and the desire to just go ahead and get your own potentially stupid reaction out of your system before compels you to say "this is absolutely stupid and I refuse to get dumber by reading it." Is that directly productive for the community on the whole? Probably not. However, sometimes preventing yourself from getting dumber is in and of itself a benefit to the community.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 10:51 PM on October 4, 2009


nowonmai: don't be such a condescending dick.

dogrose: I won't, if you'll refrain from being such a self-absorbed bint.


You must mean bintni, although I suspect you might not realize that nowonmai is a guy and therefore is referred to as bin.

dogrose: What's "condescending" about expecting a member of an online community to read and acknowledge other members' comments? If you don't have the time or inclination to do that, then why comment at all?

(There's nothing condescending about expecting a certain thing. There is something condescending about trying to summarily finish off a thread that's included a lot of interesting debate by declaring, in bold: 'Don't do it.')

Your tripartite reasoning leaves out the most likely possibility: your contribution is neither unique nor essential, and you'd realize that if you'd bother to read the thread.

But that was the first possibility that nowonmai mentioned! – that is, that he might be repeating someone and therefore is risking slight embarrassment in commenting without reading. And frankly I think this reasoning makes very good sense. The calculus of it is pretty simple, no? A repeated comment costs very little; with due respect, my sense is that most threads just aren't currently clogged to the brim with repeated comments. It's not a problem that causes a significant hassle for users of the site beyond a mild annoyance that goes away if you do the standard sigh-'ah well, that's life' combination. Whereas, as nowonmai notes, there's no reason to discourage people from commenting in threads if their comments might very well be worthwhile. As I said above, the function of threads isn't necessarily to conduct focused conversations, but even if it were, setting up strict guidelines for commenting would be bad for the conversation and probably wouldn't have much direct effect on how much people read threads anyhow.

Can you tell me what serious harm it does when people pop in to comment before reading through the thread beyond causing a small embarrassment to themselves and a slight annoyance to yourself and a few other people?
posted by koeselitz at 11:07 PM on October 4, 2009


If you don't have the time or inclination to do that, then why comment at all?

It would be much less of a fun place if everyone who came to this website was operating with the prime directive "This site exists to foster discussion about links, and good discussion requires commenters to be aware of what each other is saying, and anyone who is here for any other reason than that is wasting their (and everyone else's) time."

Why comment at all? Maybe for the lulz. Maybe because you're very insightful. Maybe just because you want to comment. There doesn't have to be any particularly good reason for people to comment at all. Enough people exist that want to discuss the links that it really doesn't matter if some people are doing things that do not directly foster communication.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:09 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lots of the best comments are one-time deals by people who might not have read anything else in the thread and might not comment again in it. So what? That doesn't preclude the possibility that they're great comments.

.... and on preview 23skidoo says it better than I could have.
posted by koeselitz at 11:21 PM on October 4, 2009


The correct answer for this kind of thing is always go outside, hug your spouse, clean your bathroom, attack that stack of paperwork, take a nap, have sex, make a fufu dessert, donate to charity, call your mother, take up a martial art, lubricate that creaky hinge, go say hi to that neighbor you haven't met yet, change your underwear, and stock up on emergency supplies.

Also, I believe that if one is Australian, one then has the option of "throwing a wobbly."

God, I learn so, so much from this site.
posted by heyho at 11:24 PM on October 4, 2009


If the thread is "too long to read" and you just post something that 10 other people have already said, how does that make the thread any better? Now it's even longer, with even more noise. Sure, it saves you time but the next person who comes along has to wade through even more. If the next person who comes along is like you and just posts without reading the comments, then what is the point of leaving a comment at all? This behavior may work for you, but it doesn't work if everybody acts like this.

It's the tragedy of the comments.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:51 PM on October 4, 2009 [16 favorites]


Lots of the best comments are one-time deals by people who might not have read anything else in the thread and might not comment again in it.

How do you know they haven't read anything else? I can't say that I've ever been particularly struck by the insightfulness of the posters who pop in and say, 'I can't be bothered to read what anyone else has written in this thread, but...' On the contrary, the comments tend to be banal and repeating points that have already been made.

For me, the value of Metafilter has always been about the quality of the conversation. Something you don't find many places on the net these days. And to take part in a conversation, you have to actually pay attention to what the people you're talking to are saying. Sure, people will pop in occasionally with no time and a burning need to ejaculate in the thread, but if you make a habit of it, then you're going to be degrading the quality of that conversation and so are part of the problem rather than being part of the solution.

At that point, if I had any sense, I'd killfile you. But I won't, because I read all the posts in the threads I contribute to.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:04 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Durn Bronzefist "Why do people continue to call out behaviour without links to specific threads so that we can address the issue in context? "

The three examples in my post were all from the Polanski thread on the blue. The Polanski thread was contentious and fast moving, conditions which make derails more likely when people comment without reading the thread.

(But I'll admit to being a little annoyed by this behaviour even when it's just a repeat of an obvious joke.)


iamkimiam "I'm being totally serious here... what behavior are you wanting to change in others?"

Pretty much what I said up top. I wanted to find out why people were prepared to comment in long threads without reading them. I've had some answers now, some of which make sense to me, (like wanting to correct misinformation and not having time to do more than Ctrl F) and some that seem pretty weak (lighten up, it's just a website!)

I was also hoping that by pointing out how annoying this behaviour can be I might persuade people to cut it out, but generichuman suggested bribes would be a more effective strategy.


cj_ "I read the whole thread, what do I get?"

A favourite.
posted by the latin mouse at 12:58 AM on October 5, 2009


me: Lots of the best comments are one-time deals by people who might not have read anything else in the thread and might not comment again in it.

PeterMcDermott: How do you know they haven't read anything else? I can't say that I've ever been particularly struck by the insightfulness of the posters who pop in and say, 'I can't be bothered to read what anyone else has written in this thread, but...' On the contrary, the comments tend to be banal and repeating points that have already been made.

Well, actually, the very first example in this thread of someone who started off with 'I haven't read all the comments' was this (I thought) relatively insightful and well-thought by Saxon Kane. I don't know if I agree with every jot, but it's a good comment, and a damn sight better than many out there.

the latin mouse: The three examples in my post were all from the Polanski thread on the blue.

Yes, I know; frankly, I was surprised at first that you didn't pick on me, too; it was only on going back that I realized that I didn't actually come out and say "I haven't read the whole thread" but cloaked it nicely as

Look, this thread is long, and things have been hashed and rehashed a bunch of times here, but some salient points...

Heh. What I really meant was "I've skimmed this thing, and that's probably all I'm going to do since it's so long, but here's a response to the latest comment in the thread since it interested me."

the latin mouse: The Polanski thread was contentious and fast moving, conditions which make derails more likely when people comment without reading the thread.

But that's the opposite of true! If all you read is the main link, and you comment about the main link without reading any of the comments, you aren't derailing the conversation – you're putting it back on track if you're changing its direction at all!
posted by koeselitz at 1:53 AM on October 5, 2009


I am obliged to avoid reading what anyone else has written as this allows me to channel the Muse unsullied by the blather of all you sundry hoi-polloi and so distil her cryptic murmurings into the quintessential unfunny pun, irrelevancy or half-baked argument.
posted by Abiezer at 2:03 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


It annoys me that anybody would dare to comment at all. It's like everybody has to have an opinion about everything all the time, and not only that, but they need to let people know. Like in an AskMe about how your new puppy likes to chew stuff, inevitably some douchebag comes along and, oh, quelle fucking surprise, they had a puppy once and it did some similar things and here's some of the things we tried and this is the thing that worked. Or in a FPP about, like, Hank Williams III, somebody chimes in with some tedious anecdote about how they were once a roadie for Hank Williams III and how he had a thing for bourbon and weed and vomited on the drummer in the middle of a gig one night and kept playing and I'm just like "Pfff". And other blowhards just belching out these really interesting and well-told stories about the subject under discussion and you sit there thinking "Hey, this is really interesting and well-told" but then after a while you're thinking "Fuck am I listening to this guy for?" I've even seen posts about Science and proper Scientists - experts in that specific field - come along and answer questions in-thread an they're all "blah blah blah" like they're the bee's knees. Sometimes it'll be a post about a movie or book and you'll get the actual director or author actually creating a MeFi account specifically to comment in the thread and provide some fascinating background info or little tales about funny things that have happened in their lives that serve as inspiration. Whatever, director guy!
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:07 AM on October 5, 2009 [8 favorites]


What if their comment is just a little thank-you for the post?

That's an awesome comment to make, and I don't think anyone would start such a thing with "TL;DR, but I wanted to thank you for the post!"

Also: no one is complaining about people being awesome.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:58 AM on October 5, 2009


This sort of callout is the precise reason why people feel compelled to post without reading the whole thread.

I like to quote someone else to give the impression that I've been reading the thread.

Calling people out for not reading it makes them feel guilty and so they need to start off with a disclaimer. To make them stop, you need to remove the guilt by encouraging the practice of not reading.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:21 AM on October 5, 2009


To make them stop, you need to remove the guilt by encouraging the practice of not reading.

Well, yeah, that stops the disclaimers. But really, what you need is to just read the thread. Acting the Goat makes a really good point that when you contribute comments without reading, chances are that someone else is doing the same thing. And that just compounds the problem. You've got oodles (whole oodles!) of comments written by people who didn't bother to read the other comments. The thread is becoming bulkier by the minute, and yet, people aren't bothering to read it because it's "too bulky."

Thinking about this brings me to an important question: Who, exactly, are you commenting FOR? Yourself? The three of us who have read the whole thread and aren't any more impressed with your comment than we were with the five people who said it first? The OP?

I get a sense that a lot of people (and I've been guilty of this, though having become aware of it, I try not to) are commenting solely for the purpose of commenting. Just so they can scrawl on the wall and say "I WUZ HERE." That's cool, but if all you're doing is filling a text box for the sake of "hearing" your own "voice," there are way better platforms for that than MetaFilter. If you want to write about something without reading anybody else's comment, there are whole sites called Blogspot and Wordpress that will help you do that without the $5 membership fee!

If you want to comment under the auspices of continuing a discussion, even if it's something that's been said before, that's awesome - just do the rest of us the courtesy of at least skimming over our scrawlings while you're at it. Isn't that what you yourself are expecting? Because if you're not expecting anybody to read it, why are you writing it?

This whole thing is moot if MetaFilter is, as I've often suspected, performance art.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:44 AM on October 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


I didn't read the whole thread so I'm sorry if this was said already.


Nuke them from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

:)
posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:45 AM on October 5, 2009


> Otherwise, don't post if you haven't even bothered to read what other members of this community have already said. Perhaps your unique insight has been covered already. Not every special-snowflakey thought (yours or anyone's) needs to be expressed.

You didn't even read what koeselitz wrote, did you?

Ironic.
posted by languagehat at 6:46 AM on October 5, 2009


Has anyone seen my pants?
posted by Burhanistan at 6:49 AM on October 5, 2009


I haven't read this whole thread but I am surprised there is not more of this in this thread.
posted by caddis at 6:55 AM on October 5, 2009


This thread made me think that it would be a very odd and potentially interested experience to read some MeFi threads backwards, not looking at the link or even post until the end.

Also for single link posts that get complaints, should they be referred to as TS;DR?
posted by haveanicesummer at 6:58 AM on October 5, 2009


Are people seriously advocating the idea that unless something NEW is being added to the conversation, a comment shouldn't be made? That's ridiculous. Not everyone reads MetaFilter like it is a job. In fact, there should be only a few of us here who do. The comment box is there so you can add your point of view to the conversation,

But if no one is reading the comments - even the comments about how the commenter didn't read the previous comments - it can't be described as a conversation. That would be more of a comment wall in which the elements have no relation to one another. I understand the issue of entering a conversation late and not wanting to invest the time to track the points made and parameters established already, but if that extends to commenting without continuing to read the subsequent comments, the energy invested in commenting hardly makes sense. If you don't read comments, surely you don't expect anyone to read yours, in which case, why comment? If no one reads comments, there is no conversation, so a point of view is not a contribution at all - it's just characters on a screen, might as well be gibberish.

If it's just that you want others to read your comment but aren't interested in bothering to read the comments of others, that's not participating, it's attention-seeking.
posted by Miko at 7:10 AM on October 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is just to say
I have read this whole thread.
And this WCW parody kinda peters out halfway through.
posted by box at 7:12 AM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I would much prefer it if people read the entire thread before they commented. Given that people don't always do that, I actually find it less irritating if people preface their comment with "I didn't read the whole thread, but..." than if they just make the comment alone.

I'm not too annoyed with seeing the same comment the fifth time in a thread, in and of itself. What does annoy me is seeing the same comment which has been refuted/debunked the first four times repeated for a fifth time. But for whatever reason, "I was too lazy to read the whole thread" annoys me slightly less than "I am completely devoid of reading comprehension," which is what I tend to assume when people just repeat the previously-debunked comment without the "I didn't read the thread..." preface.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:13 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Duplicate comments don't generall bother me. I'd probably rather see a few of those than a bunch of "I haven't read this or bothered to ctrl-f, but ...." comments.

The only duplicate comments that ever bother me are those where someone posts a link with no information other than "Shocking new information! (link)," but the link has, of course, already been posted. If the link description were, well, descriptive (e.g. Here's a link to the NYT article detailing the husband's reaction) I probably wouldn't even be bothered by those.

on preview: ok DevilsAdvocate points out another type of duplicate that I do find annoying
posted by chndrcks at 7:44 AM on October 5, 2009


Roger Dodger: Are people seriously advocating the idea that unless something NEW is being added to the conversation, a comment shouldn't be made?

Miko: But if no one is reading the comments - even the comments about how the commenter didn't read the previous comments - it can't be described as a conversation.

Whoa. Stop right there.

Look at what's going on here: you're just arguing an exaggerated version of our point. Nobody said that everybody should or does comment without reading the thread; and to be honest that's a moot point, since some people are always (one hopes) going to be drawn in enough to read every comment, and since the number (and percentage) of people who read through every comment really doesn't seem to be dropping. None of us is advocating that everyone should stop reading the comments.

On the contrary, this thread was a callout, and we're only arguing against the repeated assertion that everyone must always read every comment. We grant fully that to actually take part in the conversation you would (by definition) have to read through the comments. We're only saying that it's not a sin or a violation of some set of rules if somebody pops into a thread and says 'hey ho, not going to read this, but anyway: thanks for the cool links, I like them very much, goodbye.' And to argue against that, you have to demonstrate not that it would be bad if everyone did it (which is obvious, we all know that, it's not likely to happen so it doesn't really enter into the issue) but that it causes real harm every single time someone comments without reading the thread. And honestly I don't know if I've seen a good argument to that effect yet.
posted by koeselitz at 8:31 AM on October 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


People are more likely to comment without reading the links if you editorialize in the post.

Also, mystery meat posts encourage people to click first. Example:

This is the coolest site on the internet ever!
posted by blue_beetle [add as a favorite]
posted by blue_beetle at 8:34 AM on October 5, 2009


How can I persuade them to stop?

You can't. So just do what I do; add them to The List.

I'm not saying what The List is for exactly, but I will offer this; if you've made The List, I hope you aren't allergic to bees, fudge, gamma rays, Microsoft Access, or fire. Because if so, you're in for a bad day at some point in the not-too-distant future.
posted by quin at 8:47 AM on October 5, 2009


we're only arguing against the repeated assertion that everyone must always read every comment.

I'm not sure who you're including in your "we," koeselitz, but I don't think the point you're making is the same one being advanced by others who are speaking up in support of 'drive-by' comments. A comment such as the one made in your example is pretty unexceptional and unobjectionable. But not everyone defending the no-read comment is taking your position.
posted by Miko at 8:55 AM on October 5, 2009


Not every special-snowflakey thought (yours or anyone's) needs to be expressed.

I HAVE A SPECIAL-SNOWFLAKEY THOUGHT WHICH NEEDS TO BE EXPRESSED!!!
posted by JeffK at 9:15 AM on October 5, 2009


We're only saying that it's not a sin or a violation of some set of rules if somebody pops into a thread and says 'hey ho, not going to read this, but anyway: thanks for the cool links, I like them very much, goodbye.'

I think that's a rather generous interpretation of your own position. No one is complaining about people saying "TL;DR, this is awesome!"

Rather, the complaint is that people tend to not read the comments and then inject their point of view into a thread in the guise of "conversation." Which is exactly like walking into a room where ten people are talking and starting to speak mid-sentence and then, when called on it, saying "What? I was adding to the conversation!"

No one would care if your sentence was "You all are beautiful butterflies!"

But... "Health care? I think we should start by shooting the blue elephants!" When somebody just spent five minutes discussing the blue elephant protocols under the new adminstration's plan? Yeah. THAT is annoying.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:17 AM on October 5, 2009


[comment trawling from four year old metatalk threads considered creepy, don't do that here, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:26 AM on October 5, 2009


You know, I haven't read most of the comments here, but I don't think it can be stopped.
posted by GuyZero at 10:27 AM on October 5, 2009


Some of us don't have time to/don't care to read everyone's posts. I think most people can figure that out.

Somebody recently said that to me after I sarcastically expressed my disdain for the continued repeated jokes. And the thread was about 15 comments long at that time, at most.

I'm really really really not a fan of this group of people, especially the ones who "don't care to read everyone's posts". That's not really okay in my book. I don't actually have a book, though.
posted by kingbenny at 10:49 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


This whole thread is yet another argument for threaded discussions, which I've argued for before, and know, this being Metafilter, just ain't gonna happen here. So, I'm not gonna open that can of warm worms, anew. I'm just offering a personal datapoint or two, and reiterating some previously expressed personal views.

As I've said before, the concept that every thread here is one big conversation just doesn't work, much of the time. A lot of the big threads are really, from near the outset, 3 or 5 or 10 concurrent but sometimes asymmetric sub-conversations, and, often, I couldn't care less about 8 of them. The only thing that saves those for me are my browser Find features, and some Greasemonkey tricks, which let me skip some of the dross, and more clearly follow the sub-conversations in which I have some interest.

And yet, much of the time, I find there is a real tendency for even those sub-conversations to drift, pulled in other directions by new derails, or the increasingly stringent voices of people trying to make a point to another individual in some sub-conversation, who is also swimming in what amounts to a personal crap flood, of a 400 comment thread. More and more, when I get the sense that a thread has a lot of interest, and I see the comment count start jumping, I lose interest, just because it's rarely worth the investment of time to plow through all the snark, and "me too!" for what few bon mots, or original viewpoints, or factual interjections, that make the better MeFi discussions worth reading, that I find in the bowels of those monsters.

Sub-conversations are a natural characteristic of groups of large enough size. I think, with increasing membership, and a growing active poster base, eventually, sub-conversations are what makes any discussion site scale. But, The Management here disagrees, and until more and more of the front page is 100+ comment threads filled with "tl;dr Oh, hai, just wanted to drop this wad......" I accept that this is not going to change, and that, in fact, even should that come to pass a lot more frequently than it does now, the "single threaded model" is likely to remain sancrosanct, here. In the meantime, I'm spending more and more time doing what I can to filter Metafilter, including largely ignoring threads with fast climbing comment counts.

And I'm down to reading maybe 5% of the front page posts in any detail, which is a far different pattern of personal use of the site, than I made nearly 5 years ago.
posted by paulsc at 11:14 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Threaded comments is the absolute worst thing about reddit. Please no.

paulsc, I find it baffling -- the idea of someone who has enough interest in a topic to post to it, but is defeated by 100-or-so mostly short comments. Look, The Palin Thread™ was an outlier. The front page right now has an average comment-length of 36, the longest being 142. Occasionally some OutrageFilter post will garner 200 or so. The horror!

If you're losing interest in a thread before getting to the end, I humbly suggest you aren't invested in the topic in the first place and don't need to comment. Not that I care if you do, but just sayin'.
posted by cj_ at 12:18 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Threaded comments is the absolute worst thing about reddit. Please no.

Oh, I don't know, the constant barrage of frat-boy sexist comments might top that. But yeah, threaded comments suck.
posted by desjardins at 12:30 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah I was just talking about site design. Don't even get me started on the patrons.
posted by cj_ at 12:33 PM on October 5, 2009


Yeah, threads are bad for the same reason that "@username" is bad. If I wanted fractured, inchoate masses of comments I'd be on the rest of the Internet.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:41 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


This might be the kind of thing that really upsets you if you have absolutely nothing else going on in your life.

Seriously, let's do everything we can to restrict Metafilter to the few people who are willing to devote an hour and a half to reading and digesting 200+ comments. Let's not let those other lazy jerks participate, even if they give us a preemptive apology just in case they've repeated someone else's sentiment, and a helpful indication that what we're about to read may already have been said.
posted by hifiparasol at 1:02 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, I haven't read all the comments, but did people stop doing it yet?
posted by Artw at 1:04 PM on October 5, 2009


Stop doing what?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:05 PM on October 5, 2009


I dunno, it was under the fold.
posted by Artw at 1:06 PM on October 5, 2009


The watusi.

And the answer is no, people will never stop doing the watusi.
posted by Kattullus at 1:06 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


This might be the kind of thing that really upsets you if you have absolutely nothing else going on in your life.

Oh, the sweet, sweet irony. I hardly have time for MetaFilter at all in my life. There are days when I have bend the space-time continuum to have time to floss. And yet, this bugs me incredibly.

(Yes, I do have the luxury of being able to browse at work while the kiddos nap or watch Blue's Clues, but I still work 50 hrs./wk and have a really, really busy meat-space life.)

Maybe it's because, hey look, if *I* can find the time to read a whole thread before commenting, I don't see what excuse anyone else has (unless they're commenting from space after mastering annular fusion).
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:08 PM on October 5, 2009


The watusi?
posted by Artw at 1:14 PM on October 5, 2009


The watusi say what now?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:19 PM on October 5, 2009


...."It's not there for you to have a text box to blast your opinion onto the world. Because that text box exists. And it's called YR BLOG."...

But nobody reads my blog!
posted by DMelanogaster at 1:24 PM on October 5, 2009


Nobody reads my blog either. Except for my mom. I think that might just be worse.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:26 PM on October 5, 2009


And the answer is no, people will never stop doing the watusi.

Go Rimbaud!

You know, there's a little place, a place called space...
posted by quin at 1:48 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Seriously, let's do everything we can to restrict Metafilter to the few people who are willing to devote an hour and a half to reading and digesting 200+ comments.

Something doesn't add up here.
posted by cj_ at 2:04 PM on October 5, 2009


This might be the kind of thing that really upsets you if you have absolutely nothing else going on in your life.

Or if you have so much going on your life that telling other people how to live theirs starts looking like an easier and more satisfying use of your time.*

*Possibly only applies to me.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:09 PM on October 5, 2009


I like pie.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:16 PM on October 5, 2009


The merits and weaknesses of cream pies: discuss.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:22 PM on October 5, 2009


Merits: cream
Weaknesses: cream
posted by GuyZero at 2:24 PM on October 5, 2009


Coconut cream: yes
Banana cream: no

Vinegar pie: have you eaten one?
posted by small_ruminant at 2:25 PM on October 5, 2009


Cream:

Weakness: Poor penetration
Merit: High splash value. Collateral damage tends to be excessive.
posted by quin at 2:28 PM on October 5, 2009


What really chaps my ass, far more than someone who feels a need to add their "good share!" without reading the thread, is when someone asks a *question* that had already been asked earlier in the thread. And answered. You want someone to spend their time enlightening you, and you can't be bothered to see if the answer might be right in front of your eyes already? Seriously?
posted by webmutant at 2:37 PM on October 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think it's a silly thing to want people to stop doing, but I also think that doing a search of keywords in the comment you're about to make is a great preventative measure too (that will work a lot of the time).

Can't we just get along?


Also, I like pie too.
posted by Kimberly at 2:43 PM on October 5, 2009


Cream pie? Too insubstantial. Gimme a nice apple pie or rhubard pie any day.

Or an apple and rhubarb pie. Om nom nom.
posted by the latin mouse at 3:09 PM on October 5, 2009


Cream pies --

Merit: gooeyness
Merit: goo soaks into bottom crust, making it chewy
Weakness: often includes that awful polyvinylchloride topping

If you think cream pie is insubstantial, you haven't eaten a well-made banana cream pie.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:37 PM on October 5, 2009


A pie needs to be for me to be happy. Somewhere, somehow, there is a pie. I enjoy that.
posted by kathrineg at 3:47 PM on October 5, 2009


Pie is good. I especially like schmoopy pie.
posted by rtha at 3:50 PM on October 5, 2009


Marie Callendar's has their semi-annual pie sale on right now! Really good pies. Apologies to everyone east of the west in the continental US and non-USAians.
posted by GuyZero at 3:56 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know what I don't like? Cheesecake. That is some vile stuff right there.
posted by cj_ at 4:52 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


What? It's, like, 90% cream cheese.
posted by box at 4:53 PM on October 5, 2009


I didn't used to like cheesecake. It's slimy. But then, oh, the deliciousness. Sweet, slimy deliciousness.

I'll eat your cheesecake quota, cj_.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:57 PM on October 5, 2009


I haven't read the whole thread, but I'd just like to point out:
This ain't TWOP.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:50 PM on October 5, 2009


Thank you for your information.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:17 PM on October 5, 2009


I have read the whole thread (except for those comments posted while I was reading) and I just have to say...Rhubarb rules!

I have to confess I look for the 100-plus comments threads. I like to read, and I enjoy a good tussle/outrage/snark attack. Not only do I read all the links and all the comments, I usually read all the links in the comments. And then I read the links within the links in the comments.

Unfortunately I don't have huge blocks of time that I can devote to MetaFilter so sometimes it takes me all day to read a thread. Unfortunately by that time, I don't feel like a special snowflake, but more like a pile of dirty ole slush. Still, if I have something I don't feel was said before, and if I have time, I comment. It's lonely down here at the bottom because you don't often get too many reactions or rack up too many favorites, but there ya go--hoisted by my own petard.

Gravy-- on the bottom since 2002.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:30 PM on October 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm with you, Gravy! Nothing beats the entertainment value of a Metafilter discussion fraught with outrage, and those do tend to go on. Why bother if not for the reading of the comments?
posted by Go Banana at 9:08 PM on October 5, 2009


I thought I'd solved this for all time with sarcasm so bitter that the universe had shifted on its axis and no one would ever do that shit again.

But, as it turns out, not.
posted by fleacircus at 10:23 PM on October 5, 2009


Yeah, Gravy pretty much nailed my Metafilter experience. That Palin thread lasted me a week.
posted by hifiparasol at 10:51 PM on October 5, 2009


> What? It's, like, 90% cream cheese.

Yeah that's my problem with it. Spread thin on a bagel is OK with me, but I don't want to eat a solid chunk of the stuff.
posted by cj_ at 12:16 AM on October 6, 2009


"Yeah that's my problem with it. Spread thin on a bagel is OK with me, but I don't want to eat a solid chunk of the stuff."
posted by cj_ at 3:16 AM on October 6

Aw, ya haven't lived unless you've had a fluffy, salty omelet, with a filling of sauteed mushrooms and onions over melty cream cheese, with a butter croissant on the side. It's what they serve in Heaven, for breakfast.
posted by paulsc at 4:59 AM on October 6, 2009


Aw, ya haven't lived unless you've had a fluffy, salty omelet, with a filling of sauteed mushrooms and onions over melty cream cheese, with a butter croissant on the side. It's what they serve in Heaven, for breakfast.

If that's so, please send me to Hell, thnx. I hate eggs. Hate. I want them all to die. Or rather, I want all eggs to hatch into chickens so that I may then eat them.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:53 AM on October 6, 2009


Yeah I'll be in hell right there with you. Eggs are revolting. The smell, the fact that they are LITTLE EMBRYOS...actually they should reserve my spot for whoever came up with mayo. Shudder.
posted by cj_ at 9:03 AM on October 6, 2009


If you're going to hell, can I have your eggs?
posted by iamkimiam at 9:36 AM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


*gets in line behind iamkimiam for free eggs*
posted by rtha at 9:40 AM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just had scrambled eggs with some dried basil, oregano, and thyme with some freshly grated cheddar, served on toasted olive ciabatta. It's like I was sitting on a big couch in heaven watching the egg haters roast in hell on my big heavenly plasma TV.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:44 AM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Eggs are revolting. The smell, the fact that they are LITTLE EMBRYOS

No, they aren't.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:17 AM on October 6, 2009


Little embryos is this thread.
posted by Artw at 11:21 AM on October 6, 2009


Those of you with lives and jobs who don't have time to read hundreds of thousands of words a day before trying to contribute to an online community should just curl up and die, or at least close your accounts.
posted by terrapin at 11:51 AM on October 6, 2009


But what are your feelings about eggs? Or pie?
posted by small_ruminant at 1:18 PM on October 6, 2009


I didn't read all the thread, but I just have to comment about this bicyclist who was totally all over the road this morning. And he wasn't wearing a helmet!
posted by anthill at 4:38 PM on October 6, 2009


Are people still not reading the comments on this thread?
posted by caddis at 8:24 PM on October 6, 2009


I have never posted a comment or answered an ask me without reading the post, all the links, and every single post. Unfortunately, my reading comprehension sucks and my memory is worse....

(This is sort of like "Elbows" O'Donoghue's comment, but it seems that was meant as a sarcasm and I am being all humble about my limitations.)
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:35 PM on October 6, 2009


> No, they aren't.

Don't get all technical on me.
posted by cj_ at 8:47 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


This morning I cooked omelets with chicken, swiss cheese, and spinach.

Cortex said they were awesome.

So there.
posted by koeselitz at 11:22 PM on October 6, 2009


I have more than once posted a comment or answered an ask me without reading the post, any of the links, and or even a single post. ;) I will do it again.
posted by caddis at 1:15 AM on October 7, 2009


This morning I cooked an omelet with crabmeat, scallions, garlic and feta.

I wonder if cortex would've liked it.
posted by box at 10:08 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


box: This morning I cooked an omelet with crabmeat, scallions, garlic and feta.

Oh Heebus Jeebus, that sounds amazing!

So... uh... what are you doing for brunch this Sunday?
posted by Kattullus at 10:30 AM on October 7, 2009


This morning I cooked pancakes topped with cilantro, beans, and the nail-shavings of declawed cats with a Bacon Bill Hicks on the side. It was delicious.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:06 AM on October 7, 2009


Sunday? I don't have any plans. Come to Little Rock, and we'll have an omelet party!
posted by box at 7:07 PM on October 7, 2009


Oh man... If I start out now I might just make it! Oh drats... that would mean missing out on my interview with Immigration Services and they tend not to be too happy with that sort of thing. Next time in Arkansas, though, we'll definitely have to work something out :)
posted by Kattullus at 8:43 PM on October 7, 2009


The only way to stop this kind of behavior is to simply cut threads off when they exceed a certain comment count. Otherwise, it is absolutely ridiculous to expect people to read through a 300+ post thread (like this one). How original can the 300th comment be? If you are posting to a thread that long without reading every comment, your chances of not repeating something that someone else said are vanishingly slim. I don't post on threads that long because I do like it when people read and respond to my comments, and talk about getting lost in the crowd.

Should this be done? Nah. I have no problem with people posting repetitive or irrelevant things on the end of a giant thread because...(drumroll)...I'm never going to read them, anyway. And if I was able to block off a couple hours of my day to do such a thing, it's not like I could accuse anyone else of wasting my time.
posted by Edgewise at 9:44 PM on October 7, 2009


Oh, that's eponysomethin' there, alright.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:47 PM on October 7, 2009


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