Single-link idiocy March 31, 2010 12:29 PM   Subscribe

When someone posts something you think is stupid, do you think they're endorsing it, or just putting it out there for discussion? Do you think they're stupid?

I posted this FPP yesterday. The project is deeply problematic poverty tourism, which I thought was worth discussion in a larger way, though I didn't say so at first. I also regret that I didn't frame it more thoroughly in the context of this kind of documentary embeddedness and related issues. (I went to documentary school so I care about this stuff a lot.)

Then I got to worrying that folks assume that I was, like, endorsing it through "SLI" (single-link idiocy, which made me laugh). This could just be a reaction engendered by the fact that I am quitting smoking and am het up, but I also think it's worth considering whether that's a distinction worth making on the part of commentors--"I think this is stupid, but I am not assuming that you agree with it and are stupid." I don't know. Just a question and a thought. Do I need to disavow stupidity or contextualize what, exactly, I think it means vis-a-vis the ever-slippery "best of the web" designation?
posted by liketitanic to Etiquette/Policy at 12:29 PM (66 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Well, it sounds like you've already concluded that it would have been better to include more links for context. I'm not sure what your question is.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:32 PM on March 31, 2010


I think you're stupid.

What? It's MetaTalk!
posted by Eideteker at 12:35 PM on March 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


I guess I mean, in the breach--if someone DOESN'T, as I say, "disavow stupidity or contextualize what, exactly, they think it means vis-a-vis the ever-slippery "best of the web" designation"--how do folks react? It's mostly just curiosity.
posted by liketitanic at 12:36 PM on March 31, 2010


Eideteker, that made me laugh.
posted by liketitanic at 12:36 PM on March 31, 2010


I'd prefer if people didn't link to stupid stuff without saying that they thought it was stupid in some way. I'd prefer if people were making a single link post they'd somehow say or imply why they thought it was going to interest the MeFi community.

We get too many posts that are like "well the link/quote speaks for itself!" and I think that's so context-dependent in almost every case as to pretty much be an untrue statement. As MeFi gets bigger it's even less true. People underestimate the extent to which people: have shared life experiences, can read their minds, know about them personally ["but I would NEVER say that skunk abuse is okay!!"], understand sarcasm or read the links that people include in the first place.

I also think it's worth considering whether that's a distinction worth making on the part of commentors

Consideration is always a good idea, but rarely something you can enforce especially when you're coming from a starting point of "check out this annoying thing, if in fact, you think it's annoying" If you want people to have a discussion about a topic that is important to you, the best way is usually by explaining or showing why it is important. Things can be important for negative reasons, but if it's unclear what your opinion is on why it's important, that's a muddled place to start a conversation.

Congrats on quitting smoking, that's quite cool.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:37 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you think the link is interesting enough to be posting it and yet you disagree with the substance of it, you probably have a general idea of what sort of conversation would be interesting about it beyond just lulz, so I think attempting to frame the link in a way that will engender said interesting discussion is a good idea. On the other hand, blatant editorializing makes for a pretty bad post, so if your framing consists of 'These guys are stupid, don't you think?', it's not going to go well and may be deleted. I guess that I'd say striving for objectivity while simultaneously including supporting links or quotes or whathaveyou in order to highlight what you find interesting about the main link is probably the best approach said the guy who was called out for not explaining Tony Clifton on the front page.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:38 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks, that's sort of what I wondered, Jessamyn. Especially because sometimes there seems to be a line that's crossed the other way in terms of overdetermining the conversation's directon, or trying to, by saying too strongly what one thinks.
posted by liketitanic at 12:38 PM on March 31, 2010


I find the post interesting. I don't always assume people endorse the topics of their posts. There occasionally have been warnings about posting stuff just because it could make for a good discussion - there seems to be a feeling that stuff should be posted because it's interesting, in itself, to read, view, or look at. I haven't read the thread yet to see whether it didn't go well, but it looks like an interesting post to me.
posted by Miko at 12:39 PM on March 31, 2010


Congrats on quitting smoking, that's quite cool.

Also this.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:40 PM on March 31, 2010


Ugh, guys, nicotene patches itch like hell. Thanks for the nice words, though. I am actually excited about it this time, so maybe it'll stick.
posted by liketitanic at 12:43 PM on March 31, 2010


I've lobbed some underhanded posts towards the front page before, with hit-or-miss results hardeeharrrr. It can be hard to frame a link you've found worth discussing yet not worth any praise, but you seem to be on the right track what with the consideration and all. However much effort you put into framing, though, it's still seems like a craps shoot whether the community will cotton onto what you're going for or just dismiss you as a SLI-poster. Sorry I don't have any real advice other than chin up and try again.
posted by carsonb at 12:44 PM on March 31, 2010


Also, congrats. I'd been quit but moving into this hood (really just the moving part) got me going again and I hate it. Patches rock, don't forget to change up the location every day. That might help the itching.
posted by carsonb at 12:46 PM on March 31, 2010


Nthing what Jessamyn said: Congrats on quitting smoking! Good luck!
posted by zarq at 12:56 PM on March 31, 2010


I hope people don't think I actually endose the things that I say in my comments
posted by jpdoane at 12:56 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sure, everyone applauds the quitters. But what about us people that are dedicated to our practice of smoking? Sure, sometimes after a heavy night when my mouth tastes like mothballs and my fingers are yellow I think about quitting, but I push through dammit. Where's my kudos for refusing to give up?
posted by cyphill at 12:58 PM on March 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


Where's my kudos for refusing to give up?

They're huddled over there, beneath the air purifier.
posted by zarq at 12:59 PM on March 31, 2010


Now that I've read the thread - I think there are legitimately varying points of view on the topic, and it seems to me like a good idea not to editorialize. Not that the varying points of view are really turning up in the discussion too much, but I don't see your framing as either axe-grindy or Lulz-y, which I guess are the extremes of the spectrum to avoid for things to go best, just something interesting.
posted by Miko at 12:59 PM on March 31, 2010


I think you were fine in that post. It was fairly obvious what was going on with the people involved - and just because it was a general lol-immigrants/stupid over privileged white kids link, it doesn't mean to say it wasn't worth sharing. Like favorites, people can't assume a link posted is a link endorsed as something awesome.
posted by saturnine at 1:01 PM on March 31, 2010


people can't assume a link posted is a link endorsed as something awesome

I agree with you, but the whole "best of the web" mantra may lead to some confusion
posted by Think_Long at 1:03 PM on March 31, 2010


Do you think they're stupid?

I think everybody's stupid. So they're in good company.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:04 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your stupid minds!
posted by mattdidthat at 1:06 PM on March 31, 2010


It all depends on the link and post. I once posted a link to...something I thought was hilarious only to have to it flagged like crazy and people asking "WTF is wrong with you?!"

Hey, it was before coffee and we're all only human, weird stuff happens at times.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:18 PM on March 31, 2010


we're all only human

Speak for yourself, human!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:19 PM on March 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


I mean, "Yes! I, too, am human! Only!"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:20 PM on March 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


Peopel are bad and should feel bad.
posted by Artw at 1:25 PM on March 31, 2010


Get your dirty, pizza stained fingers off me, you damn dirty nerd!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:25 PM on March 31, 2010


In the case of your link, I read it, and I assumed that the poster was endorsing it and they thought it was a cool thing that they wanted to share. However, I didn't check to see who posted it, and if I had noticed I wouldn't have committed your username to the Idiotlist that I keep in my mind.
posted by molecicco at 1:27 PM on March 31, 2010


Peopel are bad and should feel bad.

Peopel, eh? Alright, Artw. Added to my Idiotlist.
posted by molecicco at 1:32 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dear molecicco; I would like to suscribe to the Idiotlist that you keep in you're mind. To help my case, I have misused "you're" in the sentence above. Also, there is a missspelling somewhere in this text. Thanks for your consideration.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:33 PM on March 31, 2010


This sentence has exactly threee erors.
posted by carsonb at 1:34 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


So noted. It's a long list, but there's always room for more.
posted by molecicco at 1:35 PM on March 31, 2010


I am actually excited about it this time, so maybe it'll stick.

I found that to be a huge part of it for me. I wasn't "giving something up", I was freeing myself from it, and that mindset made a big difference. As did suddenly developing the superpowers that were being able to 'run up six flights of stairs without needing to lay down gasping', and a slightly more subtle ability called 'smell'.

I thought I had it when I smoked. I was wrong, and after a couple of months being quit, you are going to realize you can smell stuff from miles away.

It's nothing short of amazing.

Enjoy it.
posted by quin at 1:41 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd prefer if people were making a single link post they'd somehow say or imply why they thought it was going to interest the MeFi community.

nth.
posted by shmegegge at 1:48 PM on March 31, 2010


liketitanic: When someone posts something you think is stupid, do you think they're endorsing it, or just putting it out there for discussion? Do you think they're stupid?

It depends on the poster and what they posted, for me personally. Some people on this site *do* endorse, support, or believe things that I think are stupid; some people post FPPs that I think are stupid; some people who post FPPs I think are stupid people.

So, yeah, framing matters. Your post was so much lacking in framework that I couldn't tell what it was, so I skipped it. Didn't think anything about you, but I also didn't read TFA.

I think the general compromise between putting it out there and hoping people understand where you stand and an editorial is making a reply to your own thread: "Now that I've posted this interesting thing, I can tell you that as an XXXXX I feel YYYYYY about it for ZZZZZZ reason.
posted by paisley henosis at 1:48 PM on March 31, 2010


I'd prefer if people were making a single link post they'd somehow say or imply why they thought it was going to interest the MeFi community.

I use to prefer this, but now feel as though it's just useless words from the poster at times. Put the link out there, let it stand or fail its own merits.

Of course, this on an individualistic basis. For some posts it works, others it doesn't.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:53 PM on March 31, 2010


I heartily [endorse/denounce] this product and/or service.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:56 PM on March 31, 2010


molecicco is clearly a bit of a cnut.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on March 31, 2010


a Viking King?
posted by gman at 2:11 PM on March 31, 2010


This sentence has exactly threee erors.

*sigh* I spent a solid 20 seconds looking for the third one until I got the joke.
posted by zarq at 2:22 PM on March 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


A sea nut? Why yes I am Artw. I love anglerfish, and octopuses, giant squid and whales. Even dolphins (though they really are vicious bastards).

Anyway, I'm just kidding. There is no Idiotlist and I agree with snark of your "people are bad" comment. That is all.
posted by molecicco at 2:31 PM on March 31, 2010


Uhh actually there is an Idiotlist, I just haven't told you people who's on it yet. The general rule of thumb is: If you have to ask, you're on the list.
posted by Think_Long at 2:36 PM on March 31, 2010


I'd prefer if people didn't link to stupid stuff without saying that they thought it was stupid in some way.

Wouldn't that be editorializing and thus slipping into GYOFB?
posted by Brent Parker at 2:52 PM on March 31, 2010


Let's not even talk about the list of people who aren't on the list.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:05 PM on March 31, 2010


God I hate those people too.
posted by Think_Long at 3:06 PM on March 31, 2010


I don't endorse anything I do or say. I recommend this.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:11 PM on March 31, 2010


I'd endorse myself, but unfortunately, I can't afford me.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:15 PM on March 31, 2010


I'd endorse myself, but unfortunately, it's illegal in this state.
posted by Think_Long at 3:36 PM on March 31, 2010


I don't assume a poster endorses the content that they link to, though sometimes an FPP is framed in a way that does, at minimum, strongly suggest they have a viewpoint they'd like to beat you over the head with.
Also don't mind fairly unadorned single links if they lead to strong content, though I'm far more likely to pass them by without spotting the good ones.
posted by Abiezer at 4:26 PM on March 31, 2010


Wouldn't that be editorializing and thus slipping into GYOFB?

I think indicating "I agree with this" or "I don't agree with this" is pretty straightforward without getting into "look at these assholes" territory which is what we'd like to avoid.

And really, at some level, and this is probably me being pollyannaish, I sort of like the "Hey I found something great" approach to posts on MeFi a lot better than "Wow these people sure are fucked up" It's pretty easy to find something that will upset, annoy or frustrate people. It's a lot harder to find something that people both think is neat and starts some sort of conversation. This is not to say that many topics can't do both in their complexity, but I think we know when we're seeing a post that addresses a topic because the poster thinks the thing or the treatment of the thing Is Wrong.

I had a frustrating email from someone who was mad about the recent cop thread deletion and I realized that I'm just tired of people using the MeFi front page to talk about people who are (in their opinion) assholes, jerks, wrong-thinkers, whatever. This is my personal opinion, not my mod opinion, but I think it often brings out the worst in the community when you link to something, on a site that only links to a few dozen things a day, and it's something shitty. And then people are just jerks in the thread. Even if your point is "oh hey here's something stupid that's popular" or "here's something dumb that got on the news" or "here's something that makes me mad, does it make you mad?"

I guess I'm feeling that there's a whole world of Bad Things out there, we know where to find them, we know where we can go to talk about them. MeFi isn't really distinguished by its "oh hey here's another thread about asshole cops being assholes" posts. Not that we need to aim for distinguished, and I know there are a lot of people who come here because they truly 1) like to talk about these things 2) with people here, not on TPM or Daily Kos or HuffPo. I think we see people doing really interesting posts, even about newsy or GRAR-seeming topics, because they care about that topic and they bring that care to the post and people tend to, though not always, treat it with respect.

Posting a link to something you don't like and then not explaining why you posted it leaves people in a weird position. I'd assume you posted something to MeFi because you thought there was something worthwhile about it. So I'd try to read it, pay attention to it, see if I could find something useful in it, whatever. If I later found out that you didn't like it, I'd be confused and annoyed. Why post something if you don't like it as a mystery meat post if it's not clear from context? The more I think abot it the more the whole thing just bums me out. I have a friend who IMs me all the time with links to websites of people she despises "look how stupid these people are" and I just don't IM back anymore. Life's too short.

I hope people know me well enough by now to realize I'm not saying "happy posts only please" but it's been a messy few weeks in MeTa lately full of GRAR that often comes out of these GRAR posts [two MeTa posts out of one of them, ffs] and I see things as getting worse not better so I thought it might be worth saying something.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:38 PM on March 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


And stop it with the sixcolors stuff.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:38 PM on March 31, 2010


God I hate those people too.

Nerds!
posted by anniecat at 5:00 PM on March 31, 2010


Metafilter exists so that we can share stupid posts with each other rather than forwarding them to people via email.
posted by water bear at 6:00 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't that be editorializing and thus slipping into GYOFB?

I think Metafilter's general stance against poverty tourism is well established. Just about any documentary presented here gets a few "is this poverty tourism?" and "author is pretentious"
comments regardless if the quality. I think a single link to something that will probably generate nothing but "rawr poverty tourism" comments is a dead end. I think a better post would be "what is poverty tourism, where do you draw the line, is it always a bad idea, what about Gonzo journalism?" Generate a debate about what is good journalism with some examples and stuff.

For example, have you seen the vice guide to Liberia

It generated some controversy among the people who originally backed it. Is it just lol messed up people tourism, too one sided and detrimental to the people of Liberia. OR Is there some relevant stuff that no sane journalist would show? does it bring the issue to an audience that normally wouldn't know anything about Liberia? etc.
posted by Procloeon at 6:39 PM on March 31, 2010


When you share something terrible, also share something awesome.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 7:55 PM on March 31, 2010


I think we see people doing really interesting posts, even about newsy or GRAR-seeming topics, because they care about that topic and they bring that care to the post and people tend to, though not always, treat it with respect.

Posting a link to something you don't like and then not explaining why you posted it leaves people in a weird position. I'd assume you posted something to MeFi because you thought there was something worthwhile about it. So I'd try to read it, pay attention to it, see if I could find something useful in it, whatever. If I later found out that you didn't like it, I'd be confused and annoyed. Why post something if you don't like it as a mystery meat post if it's not clear from context?


Just to be clear, you mean it might be desirable to flesh out a post with additional links for context, yes? Because like Brent Parker, I thought it was better to try not to editorialize or state one's personal biases when creating a post?
posted by zarq at 8:38 PM on March 31, 2010


No. Over the top editorializing is not okay. Having an opinion is okay as long as you're leaving it mostly out of the post. However if you're posting something that's so on the fence that we can't tell if you're posting it to make fun of the thing or to say "this is something I think you'll be interested in" then in my personal opinion, you're doing it wrong.

Obviously people post things to MeFi because at some level they care about them and I know we can't tell people to not post about things they care strongly about because that's counterintuitive. However I think we wind up with posts where people are so concerned about appearing to be editorializing that there's no trace of why they think the link should be on MeFi in the first place, and that I think is a mistake. There's a huge difference between "Look at these assholes" and "I think these pictures are stunning"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:46 PM on March 31, 2010


I embarrass myself less if I assume I'm stupid.
posted by vapidave at 4:13 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


jessamyn, that's good to know, thanks. It might make my life easier, even. Every once in a while I'll post an FPP and someone will read something into what I've written that I didn't intend, just because I'm trying to present links or a story in an unbiased way. (It's an infrequent thing, but kinda annoying when it happens.)
posted by zarq at 5:11 AM on April 1, 2010


I get honestly confused when I see someone post something that they disagree with. Like "If this is so stupid, why'd you post it?!" I don't think less of them, I'm just baffled.

It's pretty much along the lines of "This tastes awful - you've got to try a bite!" WHY?! Why do I have to try it? I already know it's awful, you just told me!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:58 AM on April 1, 2010


I endorse the quitting smoking part. I want liketitanic to stay healthy and post SLIs for a long, long time.
posted by tizzie at 6:08 AM on April 1, 2010


you people are missing the most important issue here - since when did skunk abuse stop being ok?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:53 AM on April 1, 2010


*sigh* I spent a solid 20 seconds looking for the third one until I got the joke.

...I spent 20 seconds and only got the joke after reading your post.

*disgusted with self*
posted by Omnomnom at 7:00 AM on April 1, 2010


Question: Would it be OK to create a "Look At The Stunning Pictures Of These Assholes" post?

I'll hang up and listen to your answer.
posted by Mister_A at 7:14 AM on April 1, 2010


"Eideteker, that made me laugh."

My work here is done.
posted by Eideteker at 12:00 PM on April 1, 2010


Okay, who disabled the disable my account button for April Fools Day?
posted by Eideteker at 12:22 PM on April 1, 2010


When someone posts something you think is stupid, do you think they're endorsing it, or just putting it out there for discussion? Do you think they're stupid?

I don't think anyone is endorsing what they're posting unless they somehow say so with their other text, so I don't think they're stupid. When something is posted that seems like most people would consider it "stupid," it seems equally likely to me that the poster thought it was stupid too, or they're sincere about it, or that they're undecided and just felt it worth mentioning. Since I can't know without their explicitly saying so, I just don't care what their motivation is and consider the link on its own.

And to be honest, I almost never notice who actually posts the FPPs anyway. I glance at the links but I don't take in what user posted it. I couldn't tell you, for example, who I think makes good FPPs, or who tends to make FPPs I'm interested in. The only time I'm ever even aware of who posted the FPP is when it becomes a big deal in the thread because they're, say, being fighty to everyone who doesn't like it, and even then I forget who it was minutes later.
posted by Nattie at 1:51 AM on April 2, 2010


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