People die. January 11, 2010 8:28 PM   Subscribe

Okay, enough with the obitfilter already.

It feels like it's been a long time since we've had a day without obitfilter. It's starting to become depressing. "Hey! Ever heard of Person X? They did A, B, and C awesome, amazing things! I bet you wish you could talk to them, see them perform, or show them your appreciation, right? Too bad, they're dead." It's starting to become depressing.

I think we just need to come to terms with the fact that people die every day, and all of them are special in one way or another.

Can we somehow raise our collective bar for obitfilter, or otherwise develop some mechanism for holding back? Otherwise, could we separate this from the rest of the site somehow? Although I know that MeFites are loathe to accept any significant change to the site, I think this idea has some merit, especially since obitfilter posts follow sort of a different set of rules than other FPPs.

I really don't want to seem like a callous jerk here. I don't want it to seem like I don't appreciate dead people -- especially after all they've done for us. I just don't think that it needs to be on the front page every day.

And for what it's worth, I held off on making this post all day, but the third obitfilter post just put me over the top.
posted by Afroblanco to Etiquette/Policy at 8:28 PM (183 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Or at the very least, try to find a new way to phrase your obitfilter posts. It's gotten to the point where I cringe any time the first a post starts out with something to the effect of "Person X did A, B, and C."
posted by Afroblanco at 8:32 PM on January 11, 2010


(any time a post)
posted by Afroblanco at 8:33 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by exlotuseater at 8:40 PM on January 11, 2010 [6 favorites]




If you're referring to this, I actually enjoyed the FPP and links, and he's a reasonably famous character. And Miep Gies is famous enough to anyone who read "The Diary of Anne Frank."

This was more of a stretch, and this was really a stretch, at least for me.

The real problem is that wintertime just seems to be a very popular time to die.
posted by availablelight at 8:44 PM on January 11, 2010


I can't say that I've noticed that obitfilter has grown at a faster rate than newsfilter or any other *filter for that matter. The typical response is "don't read 'em if you don't like 'em," but I wonder if a larger discussion isn't justified: Are there too many posts on the blue these days in general? It seems to me that there's more these days than there used to be, to the point that its difficult to keep up even with just the topics that interest me. As the site gets bigger, is a bolder deletion policy called for?

It seems to me that if the mods wanted to pull the trigger on more of the edge cases, it would probably benefit the site as a whole. But I'm curious how others feel about it.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:45 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, I actually find obitfilter to be a good way to learn more about a wide variety accomplished people of whom I otherwise would not have heard. Sucks that they seem to become post-worthy only when they die, though.
posted by emilyd22222 at 8:45 PM on January 11, 2010 [50 favorites]


No, nothing against Joe Rollino. It's the volume of obitfilter posts that got me.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:47 PM on January 11, 2010


I agree with emilyd, but I also agree with the fact that some obits are too much of a stretch to be able to stay on the blue.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:48 PM on January 11, 2010


Aw, I love the obitfilter. So many interesting lives! I am aware that everyone dies, so that's not all that sad to me. But it's cool to hear about interesting people.
posted by craichead at 8:49 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


i love the obits too! best excuse ever to share biographies.
posted by Glibpaxman at 8:51 PM on January 11, 2010


I tend to not care about or read the Obit posts that are about massively famous people whose deaths anyone with a television is aware of. Unless they were massively famous people who I happened to like. I assume that other massively famous people have their own fan clubs, and I don't begrudge them their obit posts if they don't begrudge me mine.

Obituary posts about the less famous but still interesting, however, I think belong in a completely different category and they're usually posts that I quite like. Much like "today is the anniversary of X semi-significant event you didn't know about, here's a bunch of cool information you didn't know about it" posts, they're interesting posts in their own right, that just happen to have been prompted by the sad passing of the interesting person that they're about.

So, no, I don't think we should limit either category. I don't think there are enough of type A that it's a real problem, and I think the type B posts are great posts. It's unfortunate that people didn't think to create one about that subject before the subject actually died, but we can't resolve that retroactively, and an awesome obit post is the next best thing.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:53 PM on January 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


I actually like the obituary posts, and have found some of the more obscure to be some of the most interesting. I like to read about how interesting people lived their lives, and the impact they have left on the world around them. Full disclosure: I used to work at the obituary desk of a newspaper.
posted by freejinn at 8:56 PM on January 11, 2010


I agree. Most obitfilter sucks because, more often than not, it's "chatfilter for the blue."
posted by dhammond at 9:04 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've made several obit posts over the years on musicians who were relatively obscure but whose music seemed worthy of presentation here at Metafilter, and I've been gratified by the kind of comments that some of those posts have engendered, many to the effect "I'd never heard of him before, thanks." And I've appreciated various obit posts on people I'd never heard of.

At any rate, I don't think there's any effective way to regulate what is post-worthy and what isn't. I still trust the mods to delete thin or crappy posts, and I expect some of those will be obits. But I'd hate to see some system put in place whereby obits on people that some may deem unworthy of interest (because they're not famous enough or whatever) are rejected out of hand. Who would decide these things?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:04 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think this is a type of FPP that you could just not read because you're not interested. I have a lot of those too! Many of them are on subjects popular with Mefites. This is fine. Nothing's broken.
posted by desuetude at 9:09 PM on January 11, 2010 [10 favorites]


Otherwise, could we separate this from the rest of the site somehow? Although I know that MeFites are loathe to accept any significant change to the site, I think this idea has some merit, especially since obitfilter posts follow sort of a different set of rules than other FPPs.

I have a hard time seeing us getting to a point where obit.metafilter.com would be a subsite we'd implement. It's a narrower genre even than the occasionally-proposed Newsfilter subsite, and in either case it'd be setting aside a lot of effort to create and moderate stuff that isn't really functionally discrete from the front page as it exists now.

It seems to me that there's more these days than there used to be, to the point that its difficult to keep up even with just the topics that interest me.

Testable hypothesis! For what it's worth, my impression is that there has not been any significant change in post volume over the last few years, but that's my gut.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:10 PM on January 11, 2010


I also love the obit posts. I've learned a tremendous amount from them.

IANAMod, but "I personally don't care about the subject being posted" seems like a shitty standard by which to start deleting or filtering FPPs.
posted by zarq at 9:11 PM on January 11, 2010 [10 favorites]


All we need to do is keep everyone from dying and we'll be all set. I'll go get the defib machine...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:12 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is a very odd thing, this Metafilter trend. Very odd.

For my part, I just move on. Yet another thread full of dots, frequently posted by people who don't even know why they're posting dots, is not good Metafilter content, by my lights, redeemed even if the threads sometimes are when it's someone I knew or knew of by personal stories. Hard call.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:13 PM on January 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's starting to become depressing.

Sounds like someone just saw Avatar.
posted by Cyrano at 9:15 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've made several obit posts over the years on musicians who were relatively obscure but whose music seemed worthy of presentation here at Metafilter, and I've been gratified by the kind of comments that some of those posts have engendered, many to the effect "I'd never heard of him before, thanks." And I've appreciated various obit posts on people I'd never heard of.

I think these kinds of posts would be widely acceptable on MetaFilter if the death of the person in question wasn't the most important part of the post, but rather added exposition to an interesting topic that is suitable for MetaFilter. Your posts, I would argue, are probably fine in that regard.

In other words, don't make a post just because someone died. Make a post about someone interesting -- and mention that said someone died once you've gotten us interested in him/her. The fame of that person should be largely irrelevant -- I believe that, properly executed, a post about the death of someone incredibly famous could be just as interesting as one about someone with whom no one is familiar.
posted by armage at 9:36 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


It feels like it's been a long time since we've had a day without obitfilter.

Metafilter's favorite two-word phrase applies here...confirmation bias.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:39 PM on January 11, 2010


stavrosthewonderchicken: "Yet another thread full of dots, frequently posted by people who don't even know why they're posting dots..."

I don't post a dot unless I really mean it. That is, I am sad that the person died and truly can't think of anything to say that hasn't already been said.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:47 PM on January 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


And just think, given the age of the baby boom, they'll get more frequent.

I love obit filter and skip it if I don't care, read it if I'm interested or read intensely and sigh in the cases of the ones that really meant something. Half (or more) of the joy for me of Metafilter is the comments, not the story itself and I guarantee no other obit of Hunter S. Thompson, for example, was as thoughtful and personal as MetaFilter's comment stream.

So yeah, one more vote for "not broken, please skip it."
posted by Gucky at 9:48 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by bingo at 9:59 PM on January 11, 2010


Lots of times a polka-dot post could be fascinating and full of juicy information to absorb and maybe new books or music to discover, or even wonderful personal anecdotes from commenters, but I just don't ever bother to click on them. It's because no matter how much actual content is in there, it is just going to be an enraging pile of menorrhea studded with the inevitable four to six oh-so-helpful repetitions of the quote from the wiki as to what it is supposed to mean.

They've become like roadside shrines -- full of the lowest common denominator of appropriated grief. What's as cheap as a grocery store bouquet? The smallest thing you can type. Fuck that.
posted by Sallyfur at 10:00 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can we somehow raise our collective bar for obitfilter

Great. So if I die, I'd have to meet some kind of high standard to get my obit posted to the blue? Way to put more pressure on me to live an exciting life.
posted by pecknpah at 10:02 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


What bothers me is how long the toxicology reports take.
posted by Tube at 10:12 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Your favorite dead person sucks.
posted by ryanrs at 10:14 PM on January 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Can we wrap all the dead people in leather?
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:17 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can we wrap all the dead people in leather?

No, just bacon.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:20 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


(nice use of the overkill tag, btw)
posted by Chionophilia at 10:29 PM on January 11, 2010


Other than the punctuation-as-grief, I like many of the obit posts. As said above, I really don't care about the A-name celebrity obits that are over covered in the mainstream media. What I find fascinating are the obits about people off of the general radar. Sometime they're people I'm familiar with but hadn't thought about in a while, and other times they're interesting people I might never have heard of otherwise.

Of course, if it's just a link to brief news story - that's something I just skip over. I look for a post about someone's life that inspired a MeFite enough to put together a comprehensive tribute that appeals to both fellow fans and those unfamiliar with the person alike. Often those posts happen while the person is still living (or has been dead long enough to no longer be considered an obit), but sometimes it takes a death to spark a post in their honor.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:32 PM on January 11, 2010


This thread is dead to me.
posted by iamabot at 10:47 PM on January 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


I just wanted to note that as our population continues to exponentially increase, so will the volume of obitfilter. With the baby boomers coming to a bust, along with all of the famous folks in their folds, the front page will soon be lugging along a lot of dead weight. It's a good idea to nip this issue in the bud.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:51 PM on January 11, 2010


Strange that we're talking about this.

Didn't y'all see that Sarah Palin has joined Fox News?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:10 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have gotten a lot out of obit threads that include high quality links giving back story or context about the person's life. I've also appreciated the forum to discus with like-minded mefites the deaths of a few "bigger" celebreties - the Kurt Vonnegut thread comes to mind.

On the other hand, I hate, hate, hate the "." I know it's well-intended but it feels utterly trite. Even if one doesn't feel up to making a long comment, a simple, "what sad news" or "she will be missed" would carry so much more.
posted by serazin at 11:13 PM on January 11, 2010


If you don't like obit posts then don't read them. Simple.
posted by Neiltupper at 11:22 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


wait, you're asking people to stop dying? I don't know if you read enough comics but that rarely works out well.
posted by The Whelk at 11:23 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


On the other hand, I hate, hate, hate the "." I know it's well-intended but it feels utterly trite. Even if one doesn't feel up to making a long comment, a simple, "what sad news" or "she will be missed" would carry so much more.

Really? Would it? I propose that it would be just as trite, if not more so, to have a thread full of "what sad news"es, because I don't think many people would really mean it. I think the "." is a perfectly reasonable way to say "I don't have anything profound to say about this person's death, but I still think it's worth commemorating in some small way." In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's a noble thing to take the time to acknowledge a death that, let's face it, doesn't really mean anything to most of us, and not lie about that fact. And if a death is actually one that means something to one of us, I bet that person will have more to say about it than a dot.
posted by Caduceus at 11:44 PM on January 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


I just wanted to note that as our population continues to exponentially increase

Have you seen this? We're a-headed for good times.
posted by maxwelton at 11:46 PM on January 11, 2010


Okay then, how about this.

Before making an obitfilter post, ask yourself the question :
"If this person didn't just die, would this still be an interesting and sensible post?"
posted by Afroblanco at 11:51 PM on January 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


I must confess I've killed people merely to be able to make a post about them, so it does have some negative consequences.
posted by Abiezer at 11:58 PM on January 11, 2010 [11 favorites]


Obitfilter is a variety of Newsfilter, which always makes for a lame post.
posted by LarryC at 12:00 AM on January 12, 2010


I hate these posts too, but I also hate RelationshipFilter on AskMe. They are wildly popular and not going anywhere. Just skip 'em.

I think the "." is a perfectly reasonable way to say "I don't have anything profound to say about this person's death

Another perfectly reasonable response is to, you know, not say anything. I'm a little baffled by this. What compels one to comment if they have nothing to say? Is it that you'd feel guilty if no one said anything? Maybe if a loved one saw the post and was like, "wow no one cared :("? I honestly don't get it.
posted by cj_ at 12:02 AM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Before making an obitfilter post, ask yourself the question :
"If this person didn't just die, would this still be an interesting and sensible post?"


Most obit posts (that are not deleted for some other reason) are usually about interesting or culturally-relevant individuals. If anything, death often brings more of their history to the web for us to filter and curate.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:11 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know I'm going to regret this Modest Proposal (fire away, I'm a big target), but I have felt for a long time that the Blue should have categories in addition to tags, like MeTa and AskMe do, with maybe an added functionality to display only the categories you want (and if that function's not official, I'm sure somebody would greasemonkey it).

Categories could be (with the last 2 days' posts as examples - *items that fit in 2 categories):
Arts (Moomin Valley, Kricfalusi's Letter, Chicago House music, Vintage CG, DarwinTunes*)
Culture (Indian country, repatriating artifacts, 2044, Literature And Evil)
Economics (AOL-Time Warner, massive recalls, values of professions, China's Not a Superpower*, financial regulation)
Fun (What type are you, Light Writing Proposal, demon squirrel, Death Metal Rooster, Badder Romance, Ann Miller's "Womanizer", Sesame Street News, Randy Moller, no-pants subway, KISS)
Games (Kosmosis, VVVVVV, FlashPunk)
Media (Google Mags, Curious Pages, The Web Is Not..., Porn-for-Profit Dying, Avatar screenplay, Gore's Choice)
News (Mark McGwire, craigslist rape, Tiller murder trial, Grand Match, trial without a jury, Malaysian Herald, H&M discards, unruly passenger, Race Riots in Calabria)
Obit (Joe Rollino, Eric Rohmer, Miep Gies, Bingo Gazingo)
People (unauthorized biographies, Christopher Lee/Charlemaine, Dolly Freed, Beyond Little House,)
Science (Bioprospecting, DarwinTunes*, pterosaur.net, vintage moon survey)
Society (Pema Chodron, Church Under The Bridge, pilot's life, Gleaners, threat of punishment, China's Not a Superpower*, The New Age Cavemen)
Tech (Audiophoolery, unbreakable phone, Internet thinking)

and maybe a supplemental category for certain content formats..
Audio (Christopher Lee/Charlemaine, Randy Moller)
Blog (Curious Pages, Beyond Little House)
Interactive (What type are you)
Video (unauthorized biographies, Light Writing Proposal, Pema Chodron, Vintage CG, Death Metal Rooster, Badder Romance, Ann Miller's "Womanizer", Sesame Street News, KISS)

I'm not saying these are the perfect categories (I've been changing them around for over a half hour and just have to STOP before I make myself crazy(er)).

And consider adding an extra warning/notice to make posters stop and think if they've chosen certain categories (like News or Obit).
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:45 AM on January 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


At any rate, I don't think there's any effective way to regulate what is post-worthy and what isn't.

Other than it being good or not (ie: Best Of The Web). Death itself is no particular excuse either way.
posted by philip-random at 12:56 AM on January 12, 2010


I can't believe I'm reading yet another MetaTalk post with yet more back and forth about whether or not the "." is a good thing or not. Jeebus, that's what oughtta be banned. It just goes on and on!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:22 AM on January 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have no problem with the obit threads. They introduce to me interesting people I otherwise would be unlikely to have heard of.
posted by molecicco at 1:58 AM on January 12, 2010


It's just a small contribution from just one individual MeFite, but I've decided to help the cause by not dying.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:09 AM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Mefi Obitfilter is the best way of keeping up with what's hip and happening in the world of recently-deceased notables. I could having been walking around for days thinking that Eric Rohmer was still alive. Would you want that?
posted by eatyourcellphone at 3:26 AM on January 12, 2010


Before making an obitfilter post, ask yourself the question :
"If this person didn't just die, would this still be an interesting and sensible post?"


I was taking it a little bit personally because my obit post about Rowland S Howard was only my second post until this. And then I decided, yeah, if someone else had posted the death notice of this dude who was so influential on a particular sound that I really, really loved when I was so out of the loop that I had no idea who he was and yet I would have thrown my radio at a wall when I was 15 if it meant that I'd be given a record of his stuff, I would have read it and appreciated it.

There are lots of people out there who get great things from obituaries. I understand that three in (pretty much) a row seems excessive but it was just that kind of day, you know?

Obituaries are not bad. They shouldn't be discouraged. Bad posts should, I agree.
posted by h00py at 3:59 AM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Obit filters rarely bother me, but what bookhouse said really resonated with me. Living on the other side of the world from most mefites, I tend to wake up after most people's posting days have ended. This means I sit down to a screen full of asks, and before, about 10 or 12 fpps on average. It seems in the last few weeks/month or so that when I wake up and check the front page, there's usually over 20 posts now. AskMe isn't much different, usually between 50 and 70 (it feels like it used to be 40-60 a day).

I don't agree with bookhouse that this calls for more deletions, because the posts seem to be pretty good. On the other hand, maybe it is a sign that the volume of members has reached a tipping point. I know I've been less active in the blue recently, mostly because there's just too much to look at each day, to the point that I feel I can't give fpps the attention they deserve (and, as always, most conversations have either ended by the time I get there, or have turned into a mass of unpleasantness that I'm wary of entering.

This isn't a complaint, and I hope it's not taken that way. It's just something I've noticed recently. Anyone else notice it? What steps have you taken to deal with it?
posted by Ghidorah at 4:19 AM on January 12, 2010


I have to admit, I've started developing a kneejerk "oh shit, who died? reaction to a certain style of posts, but, really, that's life in a nutshell, isn't it? Like the 4am phone call; it's rarely good news. But that's no reason to yank them.

And honestly, the only obits that really hit me deep are the ones posted to the gray, and there's been too many of them recently.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:53 AM on January 12, 2010


I actually really, really like onefellswoop's idea, and honestly have never understood why there aren't categories for the blue already. It would also be awesome to have a "my.metafilter" page.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:59 AM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


We really need to automate this process somehow. Original poster says "I'd like to make MeTa, please reference clause 2(a)(i), Obitfilter."

Someone could say, yes, but "6(ii)a.4, calls attention to someone I've never heard of."

Another poster could say, "yes, but 8.(iv)B(2), you can always skip them."

It would save time, there really is no new ground to be plowed here.
posted by fixedgear at 5:12 AM on January 12, 2010


I'm guilty of the single-link obit post. I did it because I was so completely floored by the person's death that I wanted - needed - to find other people who might feel a little bit the way I did. My husband didn't care, my sister felt bad but it didn't really affect her that much, so that left MeFi.
posted by Lucinda at 5:25 AM on January 12, 2010


I actually really, really like onefellswoop's idea, and honestly have never understood why there aren't categories for the blue already

I think the blue is more community oriented by design, where as AskMe has more a single user focus with the confines of a community. Putting categories would just fracture the community ala Reddit, but on a worse scale I think, as the category pages would be seen as "turf" or little kingdoms for the particular personalities of said category. Do you really want those who "live" is furries.metafilter.com demanding new features/rules etc 'cause THEIR section is the largest/greateast/got profiled by CNN/etc?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:54 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


i love obit threads because the people who always post because they have to post on everything put easily skippable "." and the smart people write elegantly about their memories of the person or their work (except maybe when they get the name of the person's movie wrong DOH) and everyone learns and shares which at the end of the day is what it's all about folks.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:55 AM on January 12, 2010


"Hey! Ever heard of Person X? They did A, B, and C awesome, amazing things! I bet you wish you could talk to them, see them perform, or show them your appreciation, right? Too bad, they're dead."

If only that were every obit post, I'd find MeFi that much more fascinating. It's the single-link posts that can make obitfilter not worthwhile. The well-crafted memorials to lesser-known people, I find, are well worth reading and a big part of what makes the site great. So no, I don't think we should cut down on obitfilter. We should just make sure all obit posts are interesting and not a knee-jerk reaction to a famous death.
posted by moviehawk at 5:57 AM on January 12, 2010


Jan 11th: 1, 2, 3
Jan 10th: None
Jan 9th: 1, 2
Jan 8th: 1
Jan 7th: 1, 2
Jan 6th: 1, 2
Jan 5th: 1

(People sure aren't tagging obits in any way, BTW.)
posted by smackfu at 6:05 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


(People sure aren't tagging obits in any way, BTW.)

Nu-UH! I tagged my Willie Mitchell post from Jan 6th with obituary AND obit.



just now
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:11 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Has there ever been a successful "Can we not do X any more" post in MeTa? Is it even possible? Are people expected to check the Metatalk archives before posting to the blue just to see if anyone has bitched about the subject they're posting about?

Can we not make posts about insects anymore? I hate insects. All scurrying around like that. What do people think? Can we call it a rule so it doesn't happen anymore?
posted by bondcliff at 6:15 AM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am declaring a moratorium on anyone dying for the month of February.
posted by Eideteker at 6:23 AM on January 12, 2010


People die.

THANKS FOR THE SPOILER WARNING, YOU FUCKER.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:26 AM on January 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


I've no problem with obit threads but I share the distaste for the "." phenomenon, and would prefer to see them just get deleted as the noise that they are. If you can't take the time to say something about why this person is worth commemorating, just don't bother.
posted by modernnomad at 6:30 AM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:35 AM on January 12, 2010


Has there ever been a successful "Can we not do X any more" post in MeTa? Is it even possible?
Not successful as in, "Everyone unanimously agreed to stop doing X", but probably successful in the sense of "Caused at least a few people to think a little more carefully about what they were doing the next time they got an urge to do X".
posted by Wolfdog at 6:36 AM on January 12, 2010


Can we not do X any more died today.
posted by josher71 at 6:37 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've had great success in getting people to stop using 'hive mind.'
posted by fixedgear at 6:39 AM on January 12, 2010


What's wrong with "hive mind"?
posted by josher71 at 6:42 AM on January 12, 2010


Sounds itchy.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:47 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's almost like it's too easy to make an obit post: take the first paragraph of the NY Times obit, Google for a few links about the items mentioned, and five minutes later, done.

To be honest, the NY Times obit page has a high enough bar that any headline obit they post here would pass muster as a post.
posted by smackfu at 6:48 AM on January 12, 2010


ObitFilter would be fine if people were interested in discussing the subject, but the '.' phenomenon is just noise and attempts to create discussion or voice opinions are often chastised as disrespectful or 'not appropriate for an obituary.'
posted by mpbx at 6:51 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


modernnomad, i think a moment of silence is almost always more meaningful than groping for words to articulate grief. that's just me, though.
posted by msconduct at 7:00 AM on January 12, 2010


Shed this mortal coil.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:04 AM on January 12, 2010


I don't think I've ever weighed in on this before, but one reason I like the "." convention is that it allows me to express my sympathy, while removing myself and my social participation from the equation. A "." is about the most ego-less and least self-indulgent thing I can think of posting on MetaFilter. It is not focused on me, how sad *I* am about this, what *I* think about this person, or the weight and social meaning of the words I've chosen. It is an offering, on par with all the other offerings, simply given.

Lessening one's presence, or the focus on oneself, can be a really important thing to attune to when acknowledging someone's death, or participating in a discussion about death. It's a way to acknowledge, without drawing too much attention away from the deceased. If I have words, I'll use them. Otherwise, I unobtrusively let others know that I stand beside them in solemnity.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:11 AM on January 12, 2010 [13 favorites]


zarq: "IANAMod, but "I personally don't care about the subject being posted" seems like a shitty standard by which to start deleting or filtering FPPs"

This, a million times.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:13 AM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


You could always start your own website, with sparkly ponies and unicorns and no one ever dies...or maybe one with skeletons and coffins and no one bothers talking about dying, because you're so over the whole death and dying thing.
posted by anniecat at 7:14 AM on January 12, 2010


What about skeletal sparkly unicorns that crap out MX missile warheads? That would be a nice element to have on a website.

Also, be sure to use the blink tag.
posted by Mister_A at 7:35 AM on January 12, 2010


Yes, I think this is another case of some people not caring for a certain kind of post while others do, while the posts themselves are usually of high enough quality that they are warranted.

I don't post periods (okay, I did it once) because I try to contribute something more meaningful and/or interesting to the site with everything I post here, though I understand why other people do it and don't begrudge them their symbolic act of respect and grief.
posted by orange swan at 7:38 AM on January 12, 2010


: Aw, I love the obitfilter. So many interesting lives! I am aware that everyone dies, so that's not all that sad to me. But it's cool to hear about interesting people.

: I think this is a type of FPP that you could just not read because you're not interested. I have a lot of those too! Many of them are on subjects popular with Mefites. This is fine. Nothing's broken.

The trouble is that obitfilter tends to show up as a really sucky (and to me, entirely delete-worthy) FPP. I don't know who most of these people are, so how could I find the people interesting or be interested in the FPP? The LEAST the poster could do is tell people about the deceased in whatever context is relevant. "Famous musician/artist/activist _________ has died," doesn't do it. Making people do research just to vaguely understand your FPP is not cool.

OTOH, the narwhal button is totally making me feel better. :)
posted by zennie at 7:51 AM on January 12, 2010


Those with a distaste for the "." just don't quite understand the tradition. It's not a bunch of kiddies clamoring to get their name in the thread, or to up their post counts. It's similar to leaving a small stone on the headstone at a Jewish grave, or signing the guestbook at a funeral. Taken as a whole, it's people caring enough to make it known that they were there, to acknowledge and appreciate the person, even if they lacked the eloquence or knowledge to share an appropriate story.

Not everyone speaks at a funeral, and not everyone needs to post more than "." If you have something to post, go for it. Aside from utterly tasteless jokes, the MeFi consensus seems to be that you're not "breaking the silence" by posting more than "."
posted by explosion at 7:56 AM on January 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


Of course, in some cases, there is some context, but I am still perplexed as to who this person was.
posted by zennie at 7:58 AM on January 12, 2010


It's similar to leaving a small stone on the headstone at a Jewish grave, or signing the guestbook at a funeral. Not everyone speaks at a funeral, and not everyone needs to post more than "."

This isn't a funeral or a graveyard, it's a discussion thread. I think it's this idea that the single period is some kind of solemn gesture that really irks me. I understand the tradition, but the need to inflate its importance and meaning seems ghoulish. Leaving a period in a Metafilter thread about someone you don't know and never met is in no way similar to signing the guestbook at the funeral of a friend or leaving a stone on your Jewish grandmother's grave.
posted by mpbx at 8:04 AM on January 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


"A "." is about the most ego-less and least self-indulgent thing I can think of posting on MetaFilter. It is not focused on me, how sad *I* am about this, what *I* think about this person, or the weight and social meaning of the words I've chosen."

Then why post it? Why not just have an actual moment of silence, rather than publicly registering it? The most ego-less and least self-indulgent action would be to post nothing at all. There are two sides to everything, and it's also possible to see the dot as a chance to say "I was here! Look how much I care about this famous person, just like you!" Or it becomes a vote; whoever gets the most dots was the best person, so vote for your favorite!

There's no right answer; different people experience grief differently. I think any conversation about death must be respectful of that. And that's a problem inherent in ObitFilter; some people will find it offensive in one way or another, and others will find a lack of obits offensive.
posted by Eideteker at 8:06 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


.
posted by RussHy at 8:10 AM on January 12, 2010


"Leaving a period in a Metafilter thread about someone you don't know and never met is in no way similar to signing the guestbook at the funeral of a friend or leaving a stone on your Jewish grandmother's grave."

The don't know and never met is a big thing for me. I tend to post comments in obit threads only when the person had some profound effect on me, and I try to put that into words. I try to make it a contribution, and about the person rather than about me. This probably comes off as self-centered to some. Likewise, the dot comes off as self-centered to others.

I usually try to find a middle ground on issues. People feel very strongly about this in either direction, and I'm not sure reconciliation is possible.
posted by Eideteker at 8:11 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Posting a dot on the internet is nothing like signing a guestbook at a funeral. Going to a funeral requires effort - it's meaningful that you dressed up, took time off work, and were there for the service. Posting a dot can be done from anywhere in a matter of seconds.
posted by L. Ron McKenzie at 8:30 AM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't mind. Hearing about the young woman who passed away from leukemia (IIRC) inspired me to join the bone marrow registry and I'm going to ask my friends to join as well. It's a force for good, and while it's not exactly fun to hear about fellow MeFites passing away, I'm glad they can be remembered.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:51 AM on January 12, 2010


I also understand the intent of the dot, and also don't feel that posting a dot is equivalent to a stone on a grave or a moment of silence. I don't think there is an internet equivalent to a moment of silence.

There's a real need the dot is trying to fill: it would be kind of sad to have an obit post with zero comments. It would leave an impression that no one cares, even if that isn't the case. Unfortunately, for some of us the dot does not adequately fill that real need, and instead comes off feeling - icky.
posted by serazin at 8:54 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I don't get is all these "stop posting obit posts" metatalk posts. The same things get rehashed over and over, and many people still appreciate and participate in obit posts so they're not going away any time soon. Do people who come to metatalk to complain about obit posts think that one day people are going to suddenly agree or that the mods will suddenly agree and obit posts will be banished forever?

I think what's more (but hardly) likely if/when the community gets tired of them in general people will stop participating in them and people will stop posting them.
posted by Kimberly at 8:57 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


.
posted by ChuqD at 8:58 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't say that I've noticed that obitfilter has grown at a faster rate than newsfilter or any other *filter for that matter. The typical response is "don't read 'em if you don't like 'em," but I wonder if a larger discussion isn't justified: Are there too many posts on the blue these days in general? It seems to me that there's more these days than there used to be, to the point that its difficult to keep up even with just the topics that interest me. As the site gets bigger, is a bolder deletion policy called for?

Yes. Yes. And Yes.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:05 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do people who come to metatalk to complain about obit posts think that one day people are going to suddenly agree or that the mods will suddenly agree and obit posts will be banished forever?

We're hoping that one day they will ban obit posts for a month as an experiment.
posted by smackfu at 9:06 AM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't agree with bookhouse that this calls for more deletions, because the posts seem to be pretty good.

We have a lot of single-link posts that originated on Reddit a day or two earlier. These are not usually what one might call a "good" post.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:10 AM on January 12, 2010


Somebody is just raising a concern about something they dislike about the site. Whoever is about to post an obituary thread may just stop and think a minute before doing so. It may even inspire them to make a higher quality post. This could never be a bad thing.

What I don't understand is people coming in here saying "Why are we even talking about this? We've already discussed this a million times!"

Not everyone has been here as long as you. And so what if we had discussed it a million times. It's MetaTALK. It's why this subsite is here.
posted by Roger Dodger at 9:12 AM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not everyone has been here as long as you. .

Fortunately, for situations such as [not being here as long as x user], there's search.

And so what if we had discussed it a million times. It's MetaTALK. It's why this subsite is here.

That statement seems highly debatable especially in the current context.
posted by Kimberly at 9:25 AM on January 12, 2010


leguminous crop appreciation society.
posted by The Whelk at 9:28 AM on January 12, 2010


It's starting to become depressing.

I think we just need to come to terms with the fact that people die every day


Why would the notification that someone you don't know has died become depressing, except perhaps as a reminder of your own mortality? And if the reminder of your own mortality is so bothersome, perhaps some self-examination is in order.

I think you need to come to terms with the fact that people die every day, and if you truly came to terms with this, you wouldn't find it so depressing.

----

Most obitfilter sucks because, more often than not, it's "chatfilter for the blue."

And yet, the guideline against chatfilter applies only to the Green.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:30 AM on January 12, 2010


I wonder if a larger discussion isn't justified: Are there too many posts on the blue these days in general? It seems to me that there's more these days than there used to be, to the point that its difficult to keep up even with just the topics that interest me. As the site gets bigger, is a bolder deletion policy called for?

Yes. Yes. And Yes.


People comment too much, too.
posted by norm at 9:35 AM on January 12, 2010


I also understand the intent of the dot, and also don't feel that posting a dot is equivalent to a stone on a grave or a moment of silence. I don't think there is an internet equivalent to a moment of silence.

How about just a space?
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:37 AM on January 12, 2010


You could always start your own website, with sparkly ponies and unicorns and no one ever dies

Even unicorns die, sir. Even unicorns die.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:37 AM on January 12, 2010


Even unicorns die, sir. Even unicorns die.

I don't understand why there isn't a rule against saying stuff like this. So mean!
posted by anniecat at 9:41 AM on January 12, 2010


Even unicorns die.


We're down to our last unicorn people! Someone take a cutting and grow another in an old coke bottle, quick!
posted by The Whelk at 9:43 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Narwhals, however, are immortal.
posted by The Whelk at 9:43 AM on January 12, 2010


Suck my dot.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:44 AM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Apologies all, I meant to say that unicorns dye, which explains their colorful, devil-may-care flamboyance.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:47 AM on January 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


How to grow a unicorn!

(Remember, unicorns are not consumable.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:47 AM on January 12, 2010


You should be so lucky to die on a meteorite tipped narwhal tusk spear.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:54 AM on January 12, 2010


Only in Greenland...
posted by Mister_A at 10:08 AM on January 12, 2010


Then why post it? Why not just have an actual moment of silence, rather than publicly registering it? The most ego-less and least self-indulgent action would be to post nothing at all. There are two sides to everything, and it's also possible to see the dot as a chance to say "I was here! Look how much I care about this famous person, just like you!" Or it becomes a vote; whoever gets the most dots was the best person, so vote for your favorite!

Why must it be either/or? I can have a moment of silence and still register it within this community. Though I think that comparing it to signing the book at a funeral is a little bit of an exaggeration; I think of it more as a nod or a wave. i'm not posting a dot with a mental flourish, thinking "THERE! I HATH POSTED MY DOT IN THY MEMORY."

I don't interpret this registration of a tiny acknowledgment in the absolute most negative possible light, and have no idea what sort of askew projection or whatever causes people to be so pissy about this custom. Voting? Showing off? Does anyone really post a dot with this intention?

I like seeing who else posted dots. I like the kinship of "oh look, so-and-so also felt moved to stop by for a moment to check out the FPP on [person.] I also think of it as a small acknowledgment of thanks to the person who posted the FPP.
posted by desuetude at 10:12 AM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


So it's decided:

Dots for some, sexually ambiguous unicorns for others!
posted by Mister_A at 10:15 AM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Enough with the "enough already" statements, already.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:27 AM on January 12, 2010


desuetude: "I don't interpret this registration of a tiny acknowledgment in the absolute most negative possible light, and have no idea what sort of askew projection or whatever causes people to be so pissy about this custom."

To quote myself:

a vague floating contempt for All Those Stupid People and The Stupid Things They Care About
posted by Joe Beese at 10:36 AM on January 12, 2010


Voting? Showing off? Does anyone really post a dot with this intention?

Sure, I do it all the time. I'm all in that Latvian-poet-who-has-been-read-by-six-people obit post dotting away.

Hamburger
posted by fixedgear at 10:43 AM on January 12, 2010


fixedgear is way more hardcore than all y'all at posting dots.
posted by Mister_A at 10:43 AM on January 12, 2010


The narwhal and the unicorn are forever embraced in an eternal battle for horned supremacy.
posted by Babblesort at 10:50 AM on January 12, 2010


Save your dots for whenever someone posts a Mike Green obit.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:50 AM on January 12, 2010


You're going to die.
posted by marxchivist at 10:57 AM on January 12, 2010


I sort of skipped this thread yesterday. Sometimes it seems having a little less mod chatter early in a Meta thread can be helpful. For what it's worth, I think I have four things to say

- it's helpful if people add the tags obit/obituary to obits so we can find them and other people posting obits find them
- now that a lot of people read the site via recent activity, I think the dot serves a dual purpose. "moment of silence" and also keeping a hand in for people who might want to see if people share remembrances or whatever later in the thread.
- obit posts are often a good "first post" for a lot of people since the form is fairly standard and reception is really pretty decent most of the time
- I like the obits that result in either a lot of personal stories or people saying "thanks I didn't know about him/her before" Sometimes an obit for someone is a good excuse to make a post about what was valuable about their life.

We delete stunty-looking obit posts but other than that, it's a little tough to tell what may or may not be MeFi-worthy and we're unlikely to make a new guideline. If you think an obit post is pretty thin, flag it like usual and we can make our usual judgment call which is assisted by people's flagging judgements.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:10 AM on January 12, 2010


I'm looking forward to the obit thread when the inventor of the dot dies.
posted by found missing at 11:15 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Proof Mefi is populated by 6 year olds: A conversation about how to deal with death devolves into a debate on unicorns.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:18 AM on January 12, 2010


The New York Mets.

.
posted by Mister_A at 11:18 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ. Here is why I'd make a horrible admin for Metafilter....


[deleted] [deleted] [deleted] [deleted]

no one is forcing you to read an obit post, skip the [deleted] if you don't like it. You are not contractually obligated to read every scrap of text posted to the site. Indeed your life will probably be marginally better if you skip a few threads here and there.

As to complaining about dots because they are ego driven. The whole [deleted] complaint is a [deleted] mobius strip, hey I'm making an ego based complaint about an ego based remark people engage in. Yearg... and now I'm doing it as well.

[deleted]
[deleted]
[deleted]


{hug}
posted by edgeways at 11:28 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


- now that a lot of people read the site via recent activity, I think the dot serves a dual purpose. "moment of silence" and also keeping a hand in for people who might want to see if people share remembrances or whatever later in the thread.

I don't understand. If you're reading the site via recent activity, the dots only ensure that obit posts stay at the top for a long time (assuming it's a minimally interesting enough post to cause the usual stream of dots). Shared remembrances or other specific comments will bump the thread to the top of recent activity whether or not there are dots.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:30 AM on January 12, 2010


Yeah you would just delete the fuck out of things.
posted by Mister_A at 11:30 AM on January 12, 2010


Jaltcoh, I mean people's personal RA stream, the one you get by clicking "recent activity" in the upper left. This way you've commented in an appropriate way in the thread and if someone posts something longer, you'll see it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:34 AM on January 12, 2010


Oh, sorry, I see what you mean -- your dot allows you to follow it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:50 AM on January 12, 2010


Anopther pro obitfilter filter vote here, especially for informative post on interesting people I've not heard of before.
posted by Artw at 11:51 AM on January 12, 2010


A conversation about how to deal with death devolves into a debate on unicorns.

When it comes to unicorns on Metafilter, there is no debate.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:01 PM on January 12, 2010


I consider obits on metafilter to be very, very useful and one of the reasons I refer to metafilter on a near daily basis.
posted by bz at 12:37 PM on January 12, 2010


I am pro-obitfilter, except for Michael Jackson. That is all.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:14 PM on January 12, 2010


I unobtrusively let others know that I stand beside them in solemnity.

Exactly. I like the obits a lot in part, as others have said, because I always learn something new, even about people I knew about.

And -- I can't go to, for example, Miep Gies' funeral or memorial service. Or that of most anyone else who shows up in an obit on the blue. If it is someone significant to me for some reason, then I look through the post and the comments. To me, the line of little electronic expressions of silent remembrance is powerful and touching.

Also, though I was attracted to oneswellfoop's categorization suggestion above, I have to say that I end up liking the current MeFi blue structure. I am always learning things I never would have learned on my own. If we had categories or My MeFi, I think I'd either wear out jumping through all the categories, or stunt my own exposure to all the fascinating information that is filtered into the blue.
posted by bearwife at 1:27 PM on January 12, 2010


I am pro-obitfilter, except for Michael Jackson. That is all.

I am 100% for anything that pisses off Metafilters resident band of indy snobs. Suck it haters!
posted by Artw at 1:51 PM on January 12, 2010


> Leaving a period in a Metafilter thread about someone you don't know and never met is in no way similar to signing the guestbook at the funeral of a friend or leaving a stone on your Jewish grandmother's grave.

That's your opinion. Others do not share it. Since we're not about to stop posting dots, you might want to work on getting over it.
posted by languagehat at 1:58 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Since we're not about to stop posting dots, you might want to work on getting over it.

Now, YOU better get used to it, because I'm going to keep on complaining about self-important noise in obit posts! WHAT NOW!?
posted by floam at 2:27 PM on January 12, 2010


Hey, once we get infodumps with comment length in them, it should be pretty trival to figure out who the worst dotters are.
posted by floam at 2:28 PM on January 12, 2010


Comment lengths are already there, yo. That said, "here's some interesting stats about apparent dot usage" is a much better idea than "hey check out the dotters" in terms of how you'd want to go about presenting any such analysis.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:30 PM on January 12, 2010


Slash dots!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:35 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


.. / .- -- / ..- ... .. -. --. / -.. --- - ... / .- -. -.. / -.. .- ... .... . ... / .. -. / - .... .. ... / -.-. --- -- -- . -. - / - --- / ... .. -- .--. .-.. -.-- / ... .- -.-- / - .... .- - / -.-- --- ..- / ..-. --- .-.. -.- ... / .- .-.. .-.. / ... - . .- -- . -.. / ..- .--. / .- -... --- ..- - / - .... . / -.. --- - ... / .. -. / --- -... .. - / - .... .-. . .- -.. ... / -- .. --. .... - / -. . . -.. / - --- / - ..- .-. -. / --- ..-. ..-. / -.-- --- ..- .-. / -.-. --- -- .--. ..- - . .-. ... / -. --- .-- / .- -. -.. / - .- -.- . / .- / .-- .- .-.. -.- .-.-.- / .-- .... .- - --..-- / .. - .----. ... / - .-- . -. - -.-- / -... . .-.. --- .-- / .-- .... . .-. . / -.-- --- ..- / .- .-. . ..--.. / - .- -.- . / .- / .-- .- .-.. -.- / .- -. -.-- .-- .- -.-- .-.-.-
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:51 PM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


^ an aunt of mine would warn about "freezing your cotoolies off". I guess that was her word for "cojones".
posted by Burhanistan at 2:59 PM on January 12, 2010


Re: the dots. quonsar said it best, back in 2006.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 3:20 PM on January 12, 2010


I guess that was before he became a Secret quonsar.
posted by bearwife at 3:28 PM on January 12, 2010


Who died?
posted by jonmc at 4:28 PM on January 12, 2010


How about a new *.metafilter page? There would be ask., metatalk. and now obit.

Just use black for the page color.
posted by jasper411 at 4:30 PM on January 12, 2010


Nobody reads the whole thread, do they?
posted by fixedgear at 4:34 PM on January 12, 2010


Just use black for the page color.

I see dot obit and I want it painted black
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:00 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


That said, "here's some interesting stats about apparent dot usage" is a much better idea

Top 10:
1) Ted Kennedy: 270
2) Kurt Vonnegut: 221
3) Hunter Thompson: 148
4) Arthur C Clark: 133
5) James Brown: 128
6) Rosa Parks: 124
7) Walter Cronkite: 108
8) Paul Newman: 103
9) Syd Barrett: 101
10) Michael Jackson: 99

And heck, how about 1 character comments per year:
2000: 3
2001: 45
2002: 99
2003: 114
2004: 253
2005: 1839
2006: 2129
2007: 1919
2008: 2624
2009: 2847
posted by smackfu at 5:28 PM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


That jump between 04 and 05 is really interesting; there's a fundamental change in the volume of what I think we can fairly assume are almost entirely dots, and the variation and growth since then isn't nearly as striking to me.

Does that sudden leap fall directly in the lap of the opening of the doors wide at the end of 2004? All of a sudden we have a flood of new members after having low-to-nil userbase growth for much of the preceding few years, and with them comes the reinforcement of a convention that had otherwise not had that strong of a foothold?

That's just speculation. Obviously something changed, but I don't know what.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:47 PM on January 12, 2010


Also, another fun dot analysis thing re: your first list would be to calculate not only most dots but highest percentage of dots.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:48 PM on January 12, 2010


That jump between 04 and 05 is really interesting

Yeah, the dividing line is actually in October 2004, for some reason. The number of obit threads per month basically doubled.

Something else interesting is that while the wiki says that the first use of the dot was in May 2001 (which is presumably true), it took a long time to catch on. This thread from Sept. 12, 2001 has people using a dash. Then the next dot obit thread was Rick Gleason on Oct. 23, 2002. No other thread in 2002 had more than 2 dot comments, and you can see that some people were still posting ellipsis instead of a dot. 2003 had a few with about 10 dots, like Mr. Rodgers, Nina Simone, and Elliott Smith. 2004 hit 36 dots for Jerry Orbach, and after that it pretty much was normal.

highest percentage of dots

For posts with more than 30 comments:
1) Dith Pran: 67%
2) Simon Wiesenthal: 65%
3) Randy Pausch: 64%
4) Rosa Parks: 64%
5) Robin Cook: 61%

I thought maybe lowest percentage of dots would be interesting but it's not particularly. It's mainly people posting them as jokes (Kerry concedes, Oink is taken offline) or developing tragedies where the dots are at the end of the discussion (Columbia, Virginia Tech).

Enough death... I have to go watch American Idol.
posted by smackfu at 6:28 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Enough death... I have to go watch American Idol.

A fate worse than death.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:31 PM on January 12, 2010


I know it kind of blows the point (ha!), but do those dot stats include obit threads on MetaTalk, either related to FPPs on the blue, or apart from them (bradlands, Bageena, Soulbee, etc.)? Just curious.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:35 PM on January 12, 2010


When was the convention added to the FAQ and/or Wiki? What about the first time somebody asked about it or acknowledged what it meant?
posted by iamkimiam at 6:36 PM on January 12, 2010


No, really, I talk constantly around the clock except for the times I post a period in an obit thread.
posted by XMLicious at 6:41 PM on January 12, 2010


What if we could block posts based on their tags? Might pretty much take of a ton of people's likes and dislikes.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:05 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


What if we could block posts based on their tags? Might pretty much take of a ton of people's likes and dislikes.

Who are you talking to over there?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:09 PM on January 12, 2010


I only do FPP's on people who I wish would die.
posted by bardic at 7:15 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


If we could block tags, everyone who dislikes the obit posts would block "obit" and "obituary". And ne'er again would we have a MeTa post like this.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:11 PM on January 12, 2010


When was the convention added to the FAQ and/or Wiki? What about the first time somebody asked about it or acknowledged what it meant?

I don't know when it went into the FAQ. There may be specific mention of it somewhere in the Metatalk archives, from Matt or Jess.

A tag search on dot brings up a bunch of threads that have discussion about the feature—most of these are things I tracked down and tagged a while back after yet another question about what dots meant.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:20 PM on January 12, 2010


Here is the earliest reference I've found to the dot being in the FAQ, from the middle of 2006. I'm only skimming the metatalk threads tagged dot, so it'd probably be smart to take a look at metatalk threads about the FAQ itself to antedate that some.

Previous threads, where they've mentioned an FAQ, mentioned specifically the mefi wiki, which probably means the FAQ onsite didn't yet exist at that point.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:30 PM on January 12, 2010


Ah, and a definitive answer: the FAQ was launched April 20, 2006, and according to the first comment in that thread prominently featured a dot-related entry at that time.

(More FAQ trivia: here's a thread from earlier that year talking about FAQ stuff; here's a report of the wiki getting porned up.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:36 PM on January 12, 2010


And one more: how the FAQ looked the week it was launched, via archive.org.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:37 PM on January 12, 2010


The only answer to these kinds of questions: If you don't like obit threads, don't read obit threads. Why is that so hard to grasp? Why do you want to take away something that other people participate in, that has absolutely no effect on your day?

In response to several comments upthread re: "If you're trying to make it not about you, why post a "." at all?" or "the '.' seems pretentious, so why do we bother?" or yada yada yada--

The dot does not represent *just* a moment of silence; it's a *communal* moment of silence. People tend to mourn in groups, and on the blue, this is the tradition of how we share in a moment of silence. If you think people who use "." are pretentious or just trying to up their post count, consider that you might not know how much the commenter cared about/was influenced by the subject of the post.

Oh, and a word of warning: Never, ever, EVER badmouth Mister Rogers on the blue. You will regret it.
posted by tzikeh at 9:54 PM on January 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Why would anyone badmouth Mr. Rogers?
posted by zarq at 10:30 PM on January 12, 2010


I like obit posts, "." is about the only thing I can write in English without using a spellcheck.
posted by kudzu at 6:27 AM on January 13, 2010


L. Ron McKenzie writes "Posting a dot on the internet is nothing like signing a guestbook at a funeral. Going to a funeral requires effort - it's meaningful that you dressed up, took time off work, and were there for the service. Posting a dot can be done from anywhere in a matter of seconds."

Says you, I had to crank for 15 minutes to power this comment. Sweat was involved.

smackfu writes "We're hoping that one day they will ban obit posts for a month as an experiment."

Can you imagine the head asploding that would ensue if Oprah, RMS and Obama were all to die during No Obits May.
posted by Mitheral at 9:14 AM on January 13, 2010


We're hoping that one day they will ban obit posts for a month as an experiment.

Just curious, but how would that experiment work? I'm not a scientist and I don't want to quibble about the strict meaning of the word experiment. But let's say no obit posts for a month. Then what? See if the number of FPPs goes up or down? Average number of comments per FPP changes? My guess is the only outcome would be a month without a MetaTalk about obit posts.
posted by fixedgear at 2:07 PM on January 13, 2010


Well obviously we didn't mean a science experiment! Duh!
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on January 13, 2010


Just curious, but how would that experiment work?
At the beginning of the month there would an enormous bitch-and-moan thread; on the second day of the month, obituary posts would be allowed again; and at the end of the month there would be another enormous thread where everybody claims that whatever happened, it supports whatever they thought all along.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:26 PM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Artw, there was considerable discussion about scientific method in the favorites thread, remember?
posted by fixedgear at 2:56 PM on January 13, 2010


Look, It's just an experiment experiment, not a sciencey experiment, okay? Like when you experiment with drugs or post modernism, okay?
posted by Artw at 2:59 PM on January 13, 2010


Post modernism is far more toxic than drugs are. Ad Council should be running PSAs on that shit instead.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:01 PM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


We took a fairly large dose of shit from some folks last November based on their narrow, unilateral reading of the word experiment as having meant "rigorous scientific experiment" despite our clarifications to the contrary and the much broader general usage of the word outside of scientific contexts. I'm trying to be a good sport about it, but it's honestly kind of a sore spot.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:06 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Indeed.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:10 PM on January 13, 2010


Just curious, but how would that experiment work?

Cryogenic freezers and about a month's worth of ice cubes. If you've read AKIRA you know what I'm talking about.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:24 PM on January 13, 2010


Wait, you're going to reconstruct obitfilter using mind-powers and then dump a bunch of incomprehensible pseudo-philosophy on us?

NeoMetafilter is about to E.X.P.L.O.D.E.
posted by Artw at 3:33 PM on January 13, 2010


We'll have our chief scientists keep the world's dying people on cryogenic storage until the month is up.

After animated (ha) discussion, a month's backlog of obit posts then rise from the depths of the Metalympic Stadium and vaporize NeoMetaTalk in a ball of flame.

I'll go start filling some ice trays...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:50 PM on January 13, 2010


Who is going to swell up and go all weird and biomerge with an aircraft carrier though?
posted by Artw at 4:06 PM on January 13, 2010


Post modernism is far more toxic than drugs are. Ad Council should be running PSAs on that shit instead.

This is your brain. This is your brain when you remove the signifier from the signal. Any questions?
posted by The Whelk at 10:35 PM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


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