If You Must Be On My Lawn, At Least Include Me In Your Party May 4, 2010 4:34 AM   Subscribe

Please feel free to stay out of a thread if all you have to say is that (a) you don't know who that is...

I would submit that if there are many comments from people having no idea who or what the post is referring to, the post itself needs to be fixed.

Culture, even just American culture, even just popular American culture, is getting less and less unified. Not everyone knows every singer, actor, TV show, book, movie, video game and artist. This is doubly so outside the US. A Wikipedia link or even just a hint ("Recent viral video star Erykah", "Breaking Bad now in it's third season on AMC", etc) would be very appreciated.

(And not just for identification. I couldn't even parse the Breaking Bad post until I googled that phrase.)
posted by DU to Etiquette/Policy at 4:34 AM (187 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

If You Must Be On My Lawn, At Least Include Me In Your Party

It's not your lawn.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:43 AM on May 4, 2010 [14 favorites]


Tags:
popular
lawn
culture

posted by gman at 4:44 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Google is your friend. Wikipedia is that guy who hangs out at your local bar and smells slightly bad but knows an awful lot of stuff, though a lot of what he says needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Yahoo Answers is the dog that brings you the newspaper, chewed up and saliva-speckled.
posted by Kattullus at 4:45 AM on May 4, 2010 [38 favorites]


I think a bit more context would help a lot of posts. But I also think that "Is this something I'd have to have a TV to understand?" type comments properly count as thread-shitting.

I've never heard of Breaking Bad and skipped that thread until seeing this callout - one of the reasons I read Mefi is to find new stuff, but I'm disinclined to click on every link just in case it happens to be a reference to an excellent new TV series.

[Although I submit that "Grammy award winning Erykah" might be more appropriate.]
posted by handee at 4:47 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seriously though, no. Not every post is for every reader. A post about airplanes and avionics or what-not doesn't need spam from people being all, "fucking airplanes! How do they work?"

Don't know much anything about Erykah Badu? Take a minute to read up or listen. She's actually a relatively popular artist and a lot of folks have at least heard of her, even if they're not that familiar with her works.

Metafilter posts would become interminably long, harder to create, and generally rarer if tons of background information was required. Post about Obama requires a biography of the man? Post about Eric Clapton's latest work requires mention of the past 30 years? No. Just, no.
posted by explosion at 4:51 AM on May 4, 2010 [13 favorites]


Seriously though, no. Not every post is for every reader.

Well, he's not asking that every post be tailored to the tastes of every reader. DU is merely asking that all posts be tailored to the tastes of DU.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:53 AM on May 4, 2010 [14 favorites]


How many Obama or Clapton threads have dozens of comments removed asking who that is? And I'm not suggesting "tons of background information". Context is all I ask.
posted by DU at 4:56 AM on May 4, 2010


Problem is, while the party is going on outside on your lawn, you're inside on MetaFilter worrying about everyone else's posts.
posted by netbros at 4:56 AM on May 4, 2010


Who the hell is this DU guy?
posted by neroli at 4:58 AM on May 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


DU: "How many Obama or Clapton threads have dozens of comments removed asking who that is?"

I don't know if you saw the comments before they were deleted.

The "who is she" comments (multiple) were all one guy. And someone else was saying she should be put to death for spelling her name funny. And a bunch of other people told them they were being dicks.
posted by idiopath at 5:02 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Often, when I see tech/mountain climbing madness!/how do I save this cooking fiasco?/is this legal?/ a ping-pong, finance and zither master meet at a hoe down....and something magical happens/what did writer X mean when character Y said "No" in book Z?/ These are the best veal-twix-waffles in Ontario, etc. conversations where I have nary a whit of a whiff of a clue near an idea of what the hell the 75 people who have already posted are talking about, I find this little phrase helps me:

"Well, every post isn't for every person........"

"...and this one's not for me."
posted by anitanita at 5:11 AM on May 4, 2010


The "Who? Who?" Ministry was a short-lived British Conservative Government which was in power for a matter of months in 1852... Many were complete political unknowns. This led the now octogenarian and largely deaf Duke of Wellington, then in his last year, to shout out "Who?", "Who?" as each new cabinet member was announced.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:14 AM on May 4, 2010 [11 favorites]


The phrase "What? What?" made popular by rapper Noreaga or NORE. it can be used as a greeting like what up. or in a fight when you win, then get up in that bitches face and be like, what what!


Just kidding - I never knew about the Who Who Ministry, TheophileEscargot. That's interesting!
posted by anitanita at 5:19 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Isn't the point less "if you don't understand the post it isn't for you" and more "if the poster spent a fraction more informative it might be accessible for more people"?
posted by MuffinMan at 5:21 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


DU is right. If you're going to make a post, put some effort into it and don't leave some half-assed thing flapping in the blue. A Wikipedia link isn't that hard.
posted by Daddy-O at 5:22 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who the hell is this DU guy?

That would be funnier if DU's username didn't actually link to information about himself.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:29 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


The "who is she" comments (multiple) were all one guy.

Ah. If that guy and I are the only two MeFi readers who didn't know who this person was, then I guess I exclude that post from this callout. Although I maintain that context is important on a site like MeFi, where posts are completely orthogonal and can come from any direction.
posted by DU at 5:33 AM on May 4, 2010


A Wikipedia link isn't that hard.

I wouldn't have thought a wikipedia link for Erykah Badu was needed. If her name was Alice Smith I would see how a search might be hard. But for those who didn't know who she is, googling Erykah Badu without even clicking on the links gives you a pretty good picture. All kind of pointless anyway, since the video and rolling stone link make it pretty clear she's not a construction worker who overturned a caterpillar.

Alice Smith is awesome, by the way.
posted by cashman at 5:37 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well after all this I now definitively know who Erykah Badu is: instantly forgettable.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:42 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't have thought a wikipedia link for Erykah Badu was needed. If her name was Alice Smith I would see how a search might be hard. But for those who didn't know who she is, googling Erykah Badu without even clicking on the links gives you a pretty good picture.

True, but if you can foresee that some people are going to need to do that, why not make things slightly more convenient and link her name to Wikipedia? I don't understand the objection to DU's point -- it seems pretty obvious, and something that's already practiced widely on the site anyway.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:42 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


So how are you proposing that people determine whether something or someone meets a test for sufficient notoriety to not need a backgrounder? I mean, we can't all MeMail you to check if you've heard of something before you post it.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:44 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


So how are you proposing that people determine whether something or someone meets a test for sufficient notoriety to not need a backgrounder?

I don't think anyone's suggesting a hard-and-fast rule, nor is DU saying that he personally is the ultimate arbiter of how famous someone is. It's just a suggestion about making FPPs a little more convenient for people.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:46 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


if you can foresee that some people are going to need to do that

The very first thing I said above was that I wouldn't forsee a need to do that. If the person needs to do that to know who it is, they can do that. I didn't know who lady gaga was when the initial posts were made about her. Also, this wasn't some introduction to her as an artist, it was a post about an ongoing controversy. If I said here is a million dollars if you can figure out who Erykah Badu is from those two links, I bet things would get real clear. It wasn't a slyt, and the rolling stone link explains she's a singer with an album coming out.
posted by cashman at 5:49 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


So how are you proposing that people determine whether something or someone meets a test for sufficient notoriety to not need a backgrounder

This is easy: you provide some background whatever. Unless you're talking about Barack Obama, Israel, kittens, iPods or Lady Ga-Ga* it's safe to assume some background will always be helpful to someone.

* or some fellow called Josh Millard, who is apparently well known in these parts. I keed
posted by MuffinMan at 5:50 AM on May 4, 2010


Google is your friend. Wikipedia is that guy who hangs out at your local bar and smells slightly bad but knows an awful lot of stuff, though a lot of what he says needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Yahoo Answers is the dog that brings you the newspaper, chewed up and saliva-speckled.

AskMe is your cool uncle who knows tons about computers, previously trained as a lawyer, doctor, and chef, has wide-ranging taste in music and literature, and is always telling you to dump your goddamn significant other already.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:51 AM on May 4, 2010 [12 favorites]


Hadn't seen this yet this morning before I went in and cleaned a bunch more crap out of that thread. More contaxt is usually a good idea. People not including more context do not deserve threadshitting especially after a mod has stepped in to tell the offenders to knock it off.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:00 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty surprised that most people don't know who Erykah Badu is, at least in a "I remember her! She always wore huge turbans to the Grammies!" sort of way. I guess for people under about 28, they were probably pretty young when she was first famous in the 90s, though.

Breaking Bad, much like The Wire was, is one of the most talked about shows on television. Bryan Cranston has won the best actor Emmy twice. It was nominated last year as the best show on television. If you read much of anything about TV, you have to have heard of this show.

But those are my prejudices and preconceptions. And that's really my point -- it's difficult for someone to put aside their own awareness and realize when someone else might not know what they are talking about. It's one thing if you're already talking about a niche interest -- I wouldn't make a post about Elizabeth Zimmerman or Amy Singer without background -- but when you're talking about a mainstream interest like pop music or television, the most likely assumption for any given poster is probably 'If I've heard of it, everyone has'. If there's not a way for people to actually check, some fame index, google results count target, something, they can use as an actual check, this helpful reminder isn't likely to help.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:00 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've got a poster on my wall that says (among other things) "Ignorance of your culture is not considered cool."
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:03 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm always surprised that people feel the need to announce they'd never heard of the film/ song/expression/theory/custom whatever. Either you are being gauche, interrupting people talking about something esoteric, or you are revealing ignorance of something well known. We all have such different experiences and knowledge sets that it just never pays to announce yours doesn't overlap in some way.

Breaking Bad, by the way, took home the best male lead Emmy two years in a row. It's not some obscure little cable access show.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:04 AM on May 4, 2010 [10 favorites]


See also 'your favorite band sucks' and 'is this something I would need a television to know about?'

People do this because they like to make passive-aggressive criticisms of other people's interests and tastes. Saying 'I have no idea who X is' is more about wanting to state your own position of cultural superiority than it is a genuine question.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 6:07 AM on May 4, 2010 [27 favorites]


People not including more context do not deserve threadshitting especially after a mod has stepped in to tell the offenders to knock it off.

Agreed. But couldn't the mods fix the post by adding a link and/or context? We can do that with spoilers and NSFW, which reveal too much, so why not posts that reveal too little?

it just never pays to announce yours doesn't overlap in some way.

I like your use of the prejudicing word "announce" rather than the actual activity that is going on here, which is "ask".
posted by DU at 6:08 AM on May 4, 2010


I don't think Breaking Bad has made it to network TV in Europe yet. I've seen suggestions that it's excellent, and that it's a box set that people should consider getting, but it's not global. So, I might be being gauche, or I might be expressing ignorance of something well known, or I might just not be in the US.

(I have heard of The Wire though.)
posted by handee at 6:09 AM on May 4, 2010


Yeah, I was really surprised that people don't know who Erykah Badu is. Geez, I think they'd better call Tyrone.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:10 AM on May 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


But couldn't the mods fix the post by adding a link and/or context?

We never edit posts except for typo fixes and the like. Having us decide there is missing context or whatever puts us in a position of vetting posts for context which don't want to do.

Can someone explain to me if Huron Bob's post is stunty, then?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:13 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Breaking Bad has been on in the UK. It definitely deserves to have got more airtime in Europe. Which is one reason why a context-free post on it would be a little counterproductive if the aim was to find fellow [potential] enthusiasts.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:17 AM on May 4, 2010


If HuronBob's post is stunty, then flapjaxatmidnite's entire posting history is stunty.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:18 AM on May 4, 2010


jessamyn: Can someone explain to me if Huron Bob's post is stunty, then?

This is a very typical HuronBob post.
posted by Kattullus at 6:19 AM on May 4, 2010


Jessamyn: I'd say yes. It's a single youtube link, and the link text gives no indication of what it is. I realise from the comments that it's about the Kent State Massacre (which I have heard of, thanks to the liner notes to a Fugazi album). But on first guess I thought it might be about Sgt Pepper (you know, "It was 20 years ago today... ").

The fact that when I try to watch it I get "Cette vidéo inclut du contenu de WMG, qui l'a bloqué dans votre pays pour des raisons de droits d'auteur" is an additional problem, but a problem for the Metatalk thread posted earlier today.
posted by handee at 6:19 AM on May 4, 2010


Let's link every word, that isn't otherwise linked, to a wikipedia definition of that word. Just in case.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:22 AM on May 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


Metafilter posts would become interminably long, harder to create, and generally rarer if tons of background information was required.

Why would "tons" be required?

I tend to put a lot of background information in my posts. Way too much, really. But it takes very little time to toss in a link to Wikipedia, or to say who a person is if they're famous. More probably isn't necessary. But, sometimes, that research is rewarding and makes for a better post

I made a post about Lynn Redgrave's passing last night. I could have posted a quick link to her obit and that would have been good enough. But when I did a search for her name, I found a link to photos her daughter took of her immediately following her breast cancer surgery and chemo. I didn't even look at all of the photos before I made them the initial focus of the FPP. It felt right to do so. Ms. Redgrave wanted to share her experience, as a way to tell other cancer patients that they aren't alone. Not to diminish her gifts as an actress, but those few photos seemed like a more profound and meaningful message than the fact that she was once nominated for two Oscars and a Tony award.

Even though they're archived forever, our posts are pretty ephemeral. Let's be realistic: it's not as if a post we make on the freakin' internet is going to change the course of history or anything. Ya gotta keep things in perspective. But in my opinion, sometimes a little extra effort can be a good thing.
posted by zarq at 6:23 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've got a poster on my wall that says (among other things) "Ignorance of your culture is not considered cool."

Though the passive-voice construction of that declaration gives it a weaselly feel to me. (I reflexively find myself asking "by whom?" after such sentences.)

Maybe you're being intentionally disingenuous but aren't the variations in what people consider "their culture" exactly at the heart of what's being contended here? The people who say (for example) "Is this something I'd have to have a TV to give a crap about" are making the point that television shows are *not* part of their chosen culture: different folks draw the boundary lines differently. Meanwhile the folks annoying DU by providing limited context for their links are making an implicit point about how the think everyone who reads MeFi ought to get it.

I get DU's oing but if every fpp read like a mini-Wikipedia article giving enough basic context and bg to fill in those who have never encountered a particular subject before, MeFi would be a lot more tedious to read.
posted by aught at 6:23 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


(c'mon fingers!) "oing" -> "point"
posted by aught at 6:25 AM on May 4, 2010


I get DU's oing but if every fpp read like a mini-Wikipedia article giving enough basic context and bg to fill in those who have never encountered a particular subject before, MeFi would be a lot more tedious to read.

Perhaps that's why DU suggested linking to Wikipedia.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:25 AM on May 4, 2010


Wow. Do we really need this much hand-holding?
posted by gaspode at 6:28 AM on May 4, 2010 [14 favorites]


Having us decide there is missing context or whatever puts us in a position of vetting posts for context which don't want to do.

I could swear you guys have added NSFW tags and moved spoilers below the fold and stuff. If not, I guess I'm wrong.

There are (very rare) times when I wish MeFi's comment system worked a little like Slashdot's, so "Informative", context-supplying replies could rise to the top.
posted by DU at 6:31 AM on May 4, 2010


Wow. Do we really need this much hand-holding?

And would you really want hold a Mefite's hand?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:36 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can someone explain to me if Huron Bob's post is stunty, then?

Who?
posted by xorry at 6:37 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are (very rare) times when I wish MeFi's comment system worked a little like Slashdot's, so "Informative", context-supplying replies could rise to the top.

Jesus Christ no.

I don't care about wiki links one way or another, really, but I do know there has been either MetaTalk posts devoted to it or just snark in threads about padding.

HuronBob should maybe not shit up a thread then go and post a more obtuse one.
posted by graventy at 6:42 AM on May 4, 2010


If it slows DU's frist post RSS crap down, it is bad post.

Moderate down.
posted by Wolof at 6:48 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is ridiculous. Not every thread requires everyone's participation. If you don't know or don't care, don't comment.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:48 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


it's hard to know if you care if you don't know.
posted by gman at 7:00 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm glad for this callout, DU. I thought HuronBob's comment in the Erykah Badu thread was pointlessly rude and especially inconsiderate given how often HuronBob posts boomer-centric music links (which I usually dig) which seem to be generally enjoyed, or at least not shit on, by MeFites of all ages. HuronBob, if you're reading this: I also have NO idea who many of today's pop culture idols are and I'm confident Dusty Springfield, Arthur Lee, and Captain Beefheart did the same thing better, but there's no future in being intentionally, humorlessly obtuse. Especially when, figuratively speaking, we're on their lawn.
posted by applemeat at 7:07 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


And would you really want hold a Mefite's hand?

There's a saying down south: never put your finger where you wouldn't put your face.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:07 AM on May 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Also, if you haven't heard of Erykah Badu, that's your damn problem. Not something to be proud of.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:10 AM on May 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


DU, are you posting about Frists again??? Haven't we talked to you about that?
posted by HuronBob at 7:13 AM on May 4, 2010


I say old chap, had I know that this would be that sort of get together, I would have taken the liberty of putting my penis into the potato mousseline.

*licks finger*

Tastes lovely by the way.
posted by chillmost at 7:13 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Have I expressed pride in being ignorant of Erykah Badu?
posted by DU at 7:14 AM on May 4, 2010


Whoops. I'm agreeing with cortex, not necessarily DU.
posted by applemeat at 7:15 AM on May 4, 2010


What kind of world is it where people don't want to see Erykah Badu naked? Is everyone rocking pointy goatess, because this is some serious alternate-universe shit here.
posted by Mister_A at 7:15 AM on May 4, 2010


goatees. goatess is a whole 'nother thing.
posted by Mister_A at 7:16 AM on May 4, 2010


Personally, yes, I am rocking pointy goatess. She is angry and tired and needs her sleepy sleep time.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:17 AM on May 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


Somewhere the humor (and possible point intended) in my "who"'s was obviously lost (to everyone but me) in translation. For that I apologize. In the future, if I need more info, I'll look it up or ask, if I want to make a point about the artist, I'll be less obtuse....

And, no "stunt" intended with the Kent State post... I didn't feel it needed more context, evidently it did. Making assumptions about the general knowledge base of historic events is probably a mistake on my part.
posted by HuronBob at 7:18 AM on May 4, 2010


There are (very rare) times when I wish MeFi's comment system worked a little like Slashdot's, so "Informative", context-supplying replies could rise to the top.

Go to slashdot, then, and overthink your beans there.

How hard is it to select a phrase of text, right click and select "search google for...", anyway? If you're reading MetaFilter you're automatically on the web. The answers you seek for nearly any topic are two to three clicks away at most.

For fuck's sake, it's like people don't even remember what it was like to have to physically go to a library - sometimes even in another city, state or country - then search countless books, magazines and newspapers or even resort to searching roll after roll of microfilm just to find something interesting but not even all that obscure.

And really? Stop being lazy and demanding that people provide you with even more information than they've offered voluntarily. You have the whole internet available at your fingertips to explore further. Not every poster has the time or energy to craft huge multi-link contextual posts and not every post needs it. Sure, not every reader has the time to search for supporting information, but if that's the case you shouldn't be idling on MetaFilter, therefore the responsibility for more detail than the poster is able or willing to provide is on the reader.

Otherwise we're then stuck with a "How long is England's coastline, really?" question and the next thing you know we're stuck in a fractal-fugue arguing over grains of wet sand on the fucking beach and people are losing their minds trying to measure the surface area of a discarded spiral snail shell and whether it was lying more or less horizontally or if it was half buried in a vertical position and where exactly the tide-line bisects it and at what angle and... no way, man, just no. I've been to that acid beach party and it sucked. It ends in tears and Einstein never shows up.

Also, you get a lot better results by posting "I've never heard of this. Can someone fill me in?" instead of "I've never heard of this, therefore it must suck."

Yes, posts with lots of context are great, but not every post needs it. And MetaFilter certainly doesn't need any more rules or guidelines. It's an open format for a reason.

I cherish a whole lot of simplicity and a little mystery in life and don't need to be lead to water. Simplicity is the best way to avoid editorializing, too. Less is more. There's a reason why MetaFilter still uses a very simple, flat-threaded, text-only interface and that's because it helps us focus on our community of users without a lot of cruft or rules. As it is we have so many spoken and unspoken rules it turns people off because we're a bunch of poindexters. As such we've lost out on some quality members over the years, people who were notable in their field who we should have rolled out the red carpet for, but instead we're arguing over a hill of beans and expecting them to be enthusiastic about it.

Did you know that Asia has had a way to make fire for thousands of years that doesn't involve a flint or rubbing sticks together? They used a fire piston. I've made fire with sticks and magnesium shavings with a striker and I've never heard of this until recently. It fucking blew my mind, and now I want one. Apparently the secret isn't always "Keep banging those rocks together, guys!"
posted by loquacious at 7:19 AM on May 4, 2010 [39 favorites]


Kent State

Who?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:19 AM on May 4, 2010



it's hard to know if you care if you don't know

Then click on the links to find out who she is. If you still can't figure it out, THEN it's a poorly constructed post.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 7:20 AM on May 4, 2010


Agreed. But couldn't the mods fix the post by adding a link and/or context? We can do that with spoilers and NSFW, which reveal too much, so why not posts that reveal too little?

Again, no. We'll throw the occasional tiny tag into a post, generally at the poster's request when we do, but we are not going to start inserting link content into posts by fiat. That's seriously counter to our very firm "we aren't going to edit other people's posts for content" position.

If the argument that a wikipedia article for topic is so utterly obviously and straightforwardly related to the topic that us injecting it by fiat wouldn't reaaaally be an edit or whatever, that's a pretty good argument for people skipping the "I don't know what/who this is" stuff and moving directly to googling up the incredibly findable article themselves if they need it.

We agree that context is good. But context is not mandatory, and different people will know about different things and both poster and reader will have to grapple with the mismatches that sometimes arise between context and presentation, between presumed knowledge and actual familiarity.

This post was not all that mysterious. Erykah Badu is not hard to find info about. Refraining from repeatedly shitting in a thread because you don't know who she is is also not hard to do. It's fine to hope for more context, and even maybe to speak up politely in thread to express a desire for that context if a quick bit of first-blush googling didn't help you out at all because it's an actual obscure topic. (Or, share that bit of context you did find after your quick google if it turns out not to be so obscure.)

Shitting in threads is shitting in threads, regardless of whether you think you're justified in your lack of familiarity with the topic of the thread in which you choose to shit. People need to not do that. HuronBob was on a fucking tear with it last night and I don't know what the hell that was about and he needs to not do that again.

I'm sorry if my admin note in the thread didn't clearly communicate that monomania angle (most of the deleted comments were people responding to his and another guy's unrelated threadshitting, not responding would have been better but it wasn't a giant chorus of "who is Badu?" stuff), but my frustration at the crappy behavior got the better of me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:20 AM on May 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


I could have posted a quick link to her obit and that would have been good enough

FWIW, there's been talk before that a single link to an obit isn't good enough.
posted by inigo2 at 7:20 AM on May 4, 2010


Also, you get a lot better results by posting "I've never heard of this. Can someone fill me in?" instead of "I've never heard of this, therefore it must suck."

Strongly agree with this. Whenever someone posts (politely), asking for explanation - and sometimes this has been me - I've been surprised at how eager and helpful others are at filling you in.
posted by vacapinta at 7:26 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


More contaxt is usually a good idea.

It's dangerous to go alone! Take this!

*hands jessamyn a huge cup of coffee*

I think you might need it today.
posted by loquacious at 7:28 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know who any of you people are.
posted by orange swan at 7:29 AM on May 4, 2010


Jesus, people. This isn't hama7 we're talking about.
posted by chinston at 7:29 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who is this Erykah "Breaking" Badu?
posted by KokuRyu at 7:34 AM on May 4, 2010 [11 favorites]


Jesus, people. This isn't hama7 we're talking about.

Who?

*ducks return fire*
posted by loquacious at 7:34 AM on May 4, 2010


And you know, the fucking link was to her fucking youtube channel, which contains pretty much her entire creative output, so there's that.
posted by empath at 7:37 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


The neat thing about being on the internet is that if you don't know who someone is, you can find out in less time then it takes to say "who is this?".

On the other hand.
posted by The Whelk at 7:45 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I miss hama7. That guy found more cool weird shit on the internet than anyone, vronsky excepted. I wish both would come back.
posted by Kattullus at 7:46 AM on May 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


Recent viral video star Erykah

She's a bit more than a recent viral video star. Maybe people would remember her more if she was described as the lady with the giant head wraps from 10 years ago? I thought she was a household name. At any rate, it's not hard to parse from that post given that it's a link to her music video. But then, I'm pretty good at 20 questions.
posted by Kirk Grim at 7:49 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


People do this because they like to make passive-aggressive criticisms of other people's interests and tastes.

disagree, le morte. i think people do this because they expect metafilter to be the best of the web* & not the best of youtube or vimeo or band videos or news blurbs about famous people or whatever. and yes, i understand that youtube et al are part of the web, but i also understand that if a post has to rely on innate knowledge from these other media, then it either needs to be fleshed out a little more or it's just simply not the best of the web.

in the context of 'who is erykah badu?' what the hell difference does it make, despite the whelk's comment. isn't the issue that someone took off her clothes in a public place & is now contesting a pretty clear law against doing same, not that famous people should be given a pass?

*don't know where i got this silly notion
posted by msconduct at 8:14 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Saying 'I have no idea who X is' is more about wanting to state your own position of cultural superiority than it is a genuine question.

While this is most often the case, I find myself occasionally saying it in more a "Whoa, how the hell did I not know about this?!" kind of way. It's not about superiority so much as a declaration that I am woefully out of touch at times.

Kind of like loquacious' fire piston. I fucking love fire. How the hell is this something I've never heard of?
posted by quin at 8:18 AM on May 4, 2010


How hard is it to select a phrase of text, right click and select "search google for...", anyway? If you're reading MetaFilter you're automatically on the web. The answers you seek for nearly any topic are two to three clicks away at most.

It's very easy to say this dismissively, but you are ignoring a continuum. As it turns out, Erykah was a bad example because I'm the last remaining human on earth to have not heard of her and thus apparently falls on the "no need for context" end of the continuum.
posted by DU at 8:21 AM on May 4, 2010


And you know, the fucking link was to her fucking youtube channel

Which was labeled as being video evidence of indecency charges and therefore probably NSFW.
posted by DU at 8:21 AM on May 4, 2010


Wow. Do we really need this much hand-holding?

And would you really want hold a Mefite's hand?

Says the person with all the spouses.
posted by gaspode at 8:26 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've got a poster on my wall that says (among other things) "Ignorance of your culture is not considered cool."

...


See also 'your favorite band sucks' and 'is this something I would need a television to know about?'

People do this because they like to make passive-aggressive criticisms of other people's interests and tastes. Saying 'I have no idea who X is' is more about wanting to state your own position of cultural superiority than it is a genuine question.


I never saw the HuronBob comments, so I couldn't comment on them, but I would posit that DU in this case is really just asking for context. Not every little thing that everyone says has something to do with angling to look cooler.
posted by Jpfed at 8:27 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sometimes a little mystery is a good thing.
posted by edgeways at 8:28 AM on May 4, 2010


A Wikipedia link isn't that hard.

Funnily enough, then you'll get people making comments like 'Wow, a 'Pedia link. Thanks for putting so much effort into your FPP. Slow clap.'
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:33 AM on May 4, 2010 [9 favorites]


This is a very typical HuronBob post.

Would've been better if it read "40 Years Ago in O-Hi-O" ... and if the link had been accessible in the greatest country in the world (mostly north of the 49th parallel, that is, and ummm between Asia and Europe, and not including Iceland).
posted by philip-random at 8:33 AM on May 4, 2010


Breaking Bad, by the way, took home the best male lead Emmy two years in a row. It's not some obscure little cable access show.

It is where I live.
posted by biffa at 8:35 AM on May 4, 2010


I've never been a fan of Mystery Meat links, and I'm not really clear on why the hivemind loves them so much. If I had my way, the post would say something like "Grammy Award-winning singer Erykah Badu pleaded not guilty to indecency charges stemming from her video shoot in which she strips nude in Daley Plaza."

Of course, the way some people format their posts, I should be grateful it didn't just say "Badudity," with the one word linked to two different sites.

I guess I wonder where all the grumpy resistance to more information is coming from? Is it just a general feeling of "You format your posts your way, bunky, and I'll format my posts my way," or do people really hate the idea that those who haven't heard of Badu could get some context without having to pull up Wikipedia? The former I can get behind, grumpy as I may be, but the latter just seems like more of the creepy "If you don't know as much as me you should be punished" attitude that pervades the Web.
posted by lore at 8:38 AM on May 4, 2010 [10 favorites]


I like my mystery meat links on a bun with chili, cheese, and onions. Maybe some mustard.
posted by sanko at 8:41 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn, loquacious; couldn't agree with you more.

With all due respect to WCM who is a super great guy and MetaFilterian, when I see one of his epic posts, I pretty much go "Well what more can I add to that" and skip to the YouTube video post of a frat party nut-punching. WCM's posts do have their fans and who am I to shit on that?
posted by Kskomsvold at 8:42 AM on May 4, 2010


I like caterpillars.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:47 AM on May 4, 2010


Loquacious' Fire Piston

Loquacious' Fire Piston is an object of some renown and much fear. Forged by the Imps of Impertinence under orders of the dread Drow Queen Ix The Unrelenting, this enchanted firearm has the power to turn the words of the owner into deadly flaming bolts. Originally designed for the Orcish Bombastic Squad, it was made most famous by the wizard Loquacious who found that a steady stream of conversation was more effective then the Orc's shouts and screams. The Fire Piston can also respond to music, sometimes performing feats above and beyond it's original enchantment, as the Gang Of 8 discovered after finishing off an entire regiments of Mind flayers in the Underdark, marking the first and last time a group of Bards defeated anything.
posted by The Whelk at 8:48 AM on May 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


Badudity

You are a bad mad who makes me laugh.

I guess I wonder where all the grumpy resistance to more information is coming from?

My read is that it's not so much a grumpy resistance to more information as it is a grumpy resistance to things that can read, intended or not, as demands for or entitlement to more information. But everybody has a slightly different take on this, so I'm hesitant to speak for others definitively. Mefites can be grumpy about a fairly wide variety of things, nesting to a fairly deep level of reaction and counter-reaction and so forth. (I am one of them.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:54 AM on May 4, 2010


We have met the cortex, and he is us.
posted by Mister_A at 8:56 AM on May 4, 2010


I am every cortex.
posted by The Whelk at 8:59 AM on May 4, 2010


it's all in meeee
posted by The Whelk at 8:59 AM on May 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


THIS JUST IN!

The Walrus was... still Paul, just foolin'.
posted by Mister_A at 9:00 AM on May 4, 2010


Wikipedia links in FPPs are horrible and just distract from the main links.
posted by afu at 9:06 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Huh. I just noticed that my comment was deleted from the Erykah Badu thread. Apparently it's either not okay to a) actually explain who she is, or b) wonder aloud whether simply paying the $500 fine might be a thriftier option than hiring a lawyer.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:12 AM on May 4, 2010


posted by afu Wikipedia links in FPPs are horrible and just distract from the main links.

God damn, yes. Wikipedia links are the parsley on the Moons Over My Hammy breakfast of FPPs.
posted by mattdidthat at 9:15 AM on May 4, 2010


Sys Rq, it got cleaned up with the rest of the responding-to-the-repeated-Who stuff. If you want to go back and comment on the thread independent of that nixed bit, that's fine; there's no problem with either your (a) or your (b) in and of themselves, the comment was just collateral damage.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:18 AM on May 4, 2010


climb every cortex
posted by boo_radley at 9:19 AM on May 4, 2010


Sys Rq:

One of mine too, I was worried I'd done bad or something, but then it was explained to me later that it had to do with the fact that the offending posts being removed provided the context for my comment. I even directly quoted one of them. So that's that, it was probably nothing about your comment in particular, just that it would look out of place after the stuff got removed.
posted by Kirk Grim at 9:19 AM on May 4, 2010


oops, sorry. Not my job to explain these things.
posted by Kirk Grim at 9:20 AM on May 4, 2010


I guess I wonder where all the grumpy resistance to more information is coming from?

The poster knows which one their main link is before posting it, but the readers presented with the finished FPP do not: Wading through a paragraph of supporting links to discover that the main piece is crap makes for a sub-optimal MeFi experience.

A supporting link should do more than save you the trouble of a quick google: Maybe it gives an interesting secondary angle to the main topic, or highlights an important but easily-missed piece of information, or provides a good pointer to background information when the good stuff is drowned out by noise in Google.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:28 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Google is your friend. Wikipedia is that guy who hangs out at your local bar and smells slightly bad but knows an awful lot of stuff, though a lot of what he says needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Yahoo Answers is the dog that brings you the newspaper, chewed up and saliva-speckled.

Google is your talkative friend who often goes off on rambling, irrelevant tangents and derails unless you know how to make him focus on the topic at hand.

Wikipedia is the confident, backslapping, smiling salesguy that you think you have to trust because he seems so goshdarned knowledgeable about every possible topic related to the widget he's selling you -- he's a blizzard of dizzying factoids. You buy the widget from him and realize once you get it home that it has no warranty.

Yahoo Answers is not the dog that brings you the newspaper. Yahoo Answers is the dog's poop that he's stepped in, mingled with scratched-up grass and mud, and joyfully trampled into the house.
posted by blucevalo at 9:31 AM on May 4, 2010


the comment was just collateral damage.

cortex kills with impunity.
posted by gman at 9:31 AM on May 4, 2010


Yahoo Answers is the dog's poop that he's stepped in, mingled with scratched-up grass and mud, and joyfully trampled into the house.

Times a BILLION.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:35 AM on May 4, 2010


posted by Kattullus Google is your friend. Wikipedia is that guy who hangs out at your local bar and smells slightly bad but knows an awful lot of stuff, though a lot of what he says needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Yahoo Answers is the dog that brings you the newspaper, chewed up and saliva-speckled.

Bing is the nerdy guy who just bought the McMansion at the end of the block, but you never see him. Ask is the homeless dude sitting at the bus stop.
posted by mattdidthat at 9:37 AM on May 4, 2010


interestingly, my voice recognition software interprets "Erykah Badu" as "Breaking Bad", thus tying three of yesterday's threads together. Now see what you can do with Faisal Shazad, Zabbaleen, Kalamazoo and tazer... (Damn that's a lot of Z for one morning)
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:37 AM on May 4, 2010


I knew about the fire piston--via MetaFilter!
posted by TedW at 9:42 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess I wonder where all the grumpy resistance to more information is coming from?

While I'm generally in favor of posters doing more work so readers can do less (see my previous MetaTalk threads on linking print vs. non-print versions of pages), I have my doubts about whether people would do this well. I don't love posts with a bunch of links where it's not clear which link is the main link. I'm often irritated by pointless links to Wikipedia that were given unnecessary prominence in a post, and I don't imagine encouraging more people to link Wikipedia will make the number of people linking it poorly to go down.

So, that's where the resistance comes from. The grumpiness is just my natural tone of voice.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:42 AM on May 4, 2010


Putting a little effort into crafting a post:

- prevents needless derails in a thread
- demonstrates that you understand that MetaFilter is populated by folks from different countries, cultures, age groups, interests, etc. who may not share common cultural touchstones.

Adding some context to a post is polite, encourages and facilitates dialog, and builds community.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:43 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ask is the homeless dude sitting at the bus stop who makes his pocket change littering your doorknob with fliers to the all you can eat buffet you'll never eat at because it looks and smells like a morgue, and then steals the flowers from your porch to sell in bouquets down at the bars. Fuckin' Ask, no I don't want to install your fucking toolbar.
posted by loquacious at 9:46 AM on May 4, 2010


There are plenty of ways to provide context besides pointless padding with Wikipedia links. Writing "Singer Erykah Badu" in the post itself would have taken almost no extra effort and made things much clearer.
posted by enn at 9:46 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess I wonder where all the grumpy resistance to more information is coming from?

Yeah, I'm not grumpy. I'm ok with most any style or format of posting from 50-link essays to one word with each letter linked to something. What I am grumpy about is the insistence that we draw more lines in the sand to dance around to cater to any particular taste.
posted by loquacious at 10:01 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I couldn't even parse the Breaking Bad post until I googled that phrase

Oh come on, it parsed perfectly. There were bad locations in Albuquerque, and someone broke them. I was confused as hell, but I knew what the post was about.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:05 AM on May 4, 2010


Old mefites: "Lady WHO??"

Young mefites: "Erykah Bad-WHO??"
posted by hermitosis at 10:05 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thankfully we all know Dr. Who.
posted by The Whelk at 10:10 AM on May 4, 2010


Padded posts are bad, natch, but I agree it's always a good idea to throw in a few identifiers when crafting your posts. "Critically lauded cable show Breaking Bad", "R&B singer Erykah Badu", "virile raconteur Bookhouse," ... these things cost nothing.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:13 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are threads about things we know about and like
There are threads about things we know about and dislike
There are threads about things we don't know about and would like
There are threads about things we don't know about and wouldn't like

You don't critique the post you wish was posted, you critique the post that was posted.

something, something, donald-rumsfield-joke
posted by nomisxid at 10:21 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thankfully we all know Dr. Who.

Although I gotta say I thought his Hamlet was a bit of a letdown.
posted by zarq at 10:21 AM on May 4, 2010


I know who she is, and I'm pretty young. The CD was a hand-me-down from my older sister, though, which is also how I got Dookie and Celine Dion.

All of these links are to youtube but it's not doing that little video thing. Just so's you know.

Next Lifetime (youtube) got me through about a million star-crossed relationships (ok they were pretty much imaginary because I was 12ish but still, STAR-CROSSED)

Tyrone is one of the best breakup songs out there.

Appletree is super fun to sing to.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:35 AM on May 4, 2010


all this bluster and the beat goes on, just as before :

Mos who? I kid, I kid
posted by edgeways at 10:36 AM on May 4, 2010


DU :“I couldn't even parse the Breaking Bad post until I googled that phrase.”

Bulgaroktonos: “Oh come on, it parsed perfectly. There were bad locations in Albuquerque, and someone broke them.”

That's what's so confusing. I mean, I've been to Albuquerque; every location there is bad, and all of them are broken. I didn't really see what the post was finding so noteworthy about this fact.
posted by koeselitz at 10:41 AM on May 4, 2010


I'm not young* and I hadn't heard of Eryka Badu, and I would have liked more context in that post. I usually think more context leads to a better post in general, and gives less of a FIRST! feeling to it.

But I am perfectly capable of looking her up if I want more context, too. I really don't understand the inclination some have to go into a thread and be all, "Who's that? Is this something I have to have a TV/iPod/computer to know about?" jerkish about it.

Honestly, when I don't know what you all are talking about, my first reaction is to feel ignorant, not boastful.

*44, damnit.
posted by misha at 10:50 AM on May 4, 2010


We have an 'above the fold' and 'below the fold' area on FPPs; using the 'below the fold' section for additional supporting information seems like a pretty good place for it to go.

But enn's suggestion, of at least making it clear that Badu is a musician by adding only a single word, doesn't seem like it would have exactly ruined the lede. (And hell, I'd probably do the same thing even if it was Lady Gaga; it doesn't hurt anything and if it helps one person who just woke up from a coma or crawled out of a cave understand the post, so much the better.)

Obviously it's a very subjective thing and the Metafilter audience is a bit different than you'd get if you were writing for USA Today, but I don't see how there's any harm in erring on the side of more information for the reader. The alternative seems needlessly reader-hostile. Sure, readers can google things, but if you can prevent people from having to do that just by tossing in an extra clarifying word or below-the-fold link, why wouldn't you?

Although I don't want to call out any particular posts I have felt at times that some pop-culture posts get a little 'inside baseball' — there's what I perceive to be a bit of passive-aggressiveness in name-dropping some artist or celebrity without any clarification, because in doing so you're saying to the reader you should know who this is. It carries with it the implication that they're just not with it if they don't know. And this attitude, conscious or not, only worsens the inevitable "is this something I'd need a TV to understand" snarking.

Lots of people who may not be plugged in to popular culture, especially U.S. popular culture, may still have interesting things to contribute to a discussion. It makes sense to write posts in a maximally inclusive way, up to the point where it starts to become distracting or there's a compelling reason not to.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:54 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


We can come up with better examples than "Breaking Bad" and "Erykah Badu" for things that should be poster-children for "Stuff Everyone Might Not Know About".
posted by 23skidoo at 11:01 AM on May 4, 2010


I guess I wonder where all the grumpy resistance to more information is coming from?

Deleted Comment Toll At 300; Mods Tighten Control Of MeFi But Grumpy Resistance Goes On.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:03 AM on May 4, 2010


Yeah, there are some vague posts about pop culture that I don't pick up on, but then I'll check the links and know a shade more. In this case, the tags for this post include amc and television, and if you missed that, the second paragraph in the AV Club link mentions "Seasons One and Two of this show..." (the first paragraph was meaningless if you don't know the show), and now you know it's a TV show, probably in it's third season.

Also, there was no call-out for the previous Breaking Bad FPP, which was even more vague for lack of context. Again, the tags add some clarity, as do the early comments on the post.

But this is all chatter: if you don't know the show, a flickr gallery of sites from the show would probably be pretty boring, because there is no known history. Skip the post, move on with life.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:07 AM on May 4, 2010


It makes sense to write posts in a maximally inclusive way, up to the point where it starts to become distracting or there's a compelling reason not to.

It makes sense to do that if the goal of metafilter is to have as many people as possible understand what a post is about with minimum effort.

But having anything close to a style-guide for how people can and can't make posts is a DRAG, and it makes people not want to hang around internet communities.

If the goal of metafilter is to have a place on the internet where lots of people go "Hey, this is a cool place where people post links to stuff", then the best way to do that is to have as few hurdles as possible be put in the way of them posting links to cool stuff on the internet.

Yes, this is going to mean that sometimes not everyone is going to understand every single post. I feel that's a cheap price to pay to not have some sort of mandate about the proper way to construct a post.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:09 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I guess I wonder where all the grumpy resistance to more information is coming from? Is it just a general feeling of "You format your posts your way, bunky, and I'll format my posts my way," or do people really hate the idea that those who haven't heard of Badu could get some context without having to pull up Wikipedia? The former I can get behind, grumpy as I may be, but the latter just seems like more of the creepy "If you don't know as much as me you should be punished" attitude that pervades the Web."

One of those things that I always struggled with in meetings with editors was "You've got to explain this reference." And I always thought, "Dammit, that'll kill the joke. I'm not going to dissect the frog." I like dense writing, I liked saturating phrases like sponges, leaving readers to do a little work on their own.

Now, in reading a lot of that stuff again, I realize that I wasn't as clever as I thought I was and a lot of it should have simply been cut. But I still resist explaining what I think should be self-evident; it feels like a waste of words and time and the best writing has no overt exposition.

I do try to cut everything extraneous from my posts. I disagree with the idea that here, these Metafilter posts, that they're the "best of the web." I feel more like we're reporting on the best, and that links should go there. Wikipedia's rarely the best, and most often, it's a weak link that should be excised, because every link should be essential to the post. If most people should already know about something, the Wikipedia is superfluous, a waste, and should be cut. If a post can't survive without it, the post shouldn't be made—unless the Wikipedia is some of the best of the web, as it sometimes is.

I have mixed feelings on mystery meat posts, as pretty often, the one-line description is all I need to know that I'm interested. On the other hand, I routinely find stuff that I'm about to post has been done before but obscurely linked, and I tend to think of those as shitty posts. But I also realize that not all of my posts are great, and that not all the members here are equally good at posting, and that not all of the mystery meat posts are bad simply because they're mysterious.

I also recognize the difference between someone who, well, this is how I conceptualized it, someone who has the time to waste chasing after web curiosities and someone who doesn't, who just wants to browse. For the browser, not having that context can be annoying or make you skip it, and for the digger, it's a trivial barrier—you just fuckin' google it. I think that nearly everyone here has been at both ends of that binary, and should be able to recognize the attitudes. I know that right now I have more time than I did a couple months ago, and a couple months ago I was definitely more annoyed at people posting stuff that would have taken a lot more time to investigate.

Finally, for me, video posts are the worst for the mystery meat, simply because video takes more time for me to investigate than anything else—I can read an article really quickly, and waiting for a video to reveal its quality is often really frustrating, so I appreciate more context with video stuff so that I can decide whether I want to watch a nine-minute MIA video or a six minute ICP video or a half an hour TED talk. With an article, there's a lot less investment unless it's, like, 20 print pages.
posted by klangklangston at 11:10 AM on May 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


""virile raconteur Bookhouse," ... these things cost nothing."

Talk that over with your wife?
posted by klangklangston at 11:15 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Breaking Bad post probably would have been clear (well, at least parsable) even to people unfamiliar with the show if box had used the common convention of italicizing the title of a television show.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:33 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


...some half-assed thing flapping in the blue.

Dammit, Mabel...Grandpa's in the neighbor's pool again!
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:38 AM on May 4, 2010


You're absolutely right--I should've italicized it. Should've also spelled 'Albuquerque' right, too.

Not that you asked, but I agree both with folks who have said that a little clarification is nice and with folks who have said that I-don't-know-what-this-thing-is posts don't contribute much to the discussion.
posted by box at 11:43 AM on May 4, 2010


I-don't-know-what-this-thing-is posts comments don't contribute much
posted by box at 11:44 AM on May 4, 2010


Clarification or links to clarification may not and definitely have not stopped the "Badu who? Do I need to live in the 21st century to know who this person is?" comments. Clarification is nice, but like cortex said threadshitting is threadshitting.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:03 PM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


MetaTalk: It ends in tears and Einstein never shows up.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:15 PM on May 4, 2010


MetaFilter not knowing who Erykah Badu is makes a lot of sense; listen to less Shakira and more Badu, sheeple!
posted by paisley henosis at 12:46 PM on May 4, 2010


I miss hama7.

I do too. I'm fine with a what the what? that isn't a link to some goatse-esqu horror. The appeal of the internet for me has always been the variety, and though it's nice to get a little background here and there, that often comes up in the comments. Like this post which made not a lick of sense to me until I read the comments.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:47 PM on May 4, 2010


We can come up with better examples than "Breaking Bad" and "Erykah Badu" for things that should be poster-children for "Stuff Everyone Might Not Know About".

Really? I had never heard of either of them until the respective posts. And had no idea what either post was about, so I skipped both. And if that's what you're going for, then fine. But rejecting the idea that people haven't heard of your-favourite-pop-culture-icon is dumb.
posted by jacalata at 1:15 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sense comes in licks? So maybe that's why dogs are always licking you - to steal your brain! This would also explain cats always licking themselves.
posted by cashman at 1:18 PM on May 4, 2010


How many licks does it take to get to the center of a MetaTalk thread?


the world may never know
posted by The Whelk at 1:19 PM on May 4, 2010


I thought it was going to link to some obscure artist, but there are people who don't know who Erykah Badu is? Really?

[For the record I'm just teasing ya'll... I didn't know who Lady GaGa was until the transgender scandal. :P]
posted by biochemist at 1:20 PM on May 4, 2010


KEEP LICKING
posted by klangklangston at 1:20 PM on May 4, 2010


that's what he said
posted by koeselitz at 1:22 PM on May 4, 2010


And had no idea what either post was about, so I skipped both.

Really? Did the nsfw possibilities stop you from clicking, or are you just generally not looking for new and interesting things that you have no idea about until you click the link?

Maybe that's part of the issue - some are discoverers and like to see new and interesting things. Perhaps others want to open it like a local newspaper and just look at the updated news on familiar items. For the first group some detail but not a ton is actually more enticing, leading you off to a new artist, a new hobby, a new thing you never knew about. And the second group is more looking for a new development in an ongoing conversation about a finite number of consistently recurring topics (Iraq War/US Economy/Apple/Congress/Sports/Police).
posted by cashman at 1:23 PM on May 4, 2010


I like my mystery meat links on a bun with chili, cheese, and onions. Maybe some mustard. If you met the same mystery meat sandwich which I had the misfortune to find today; you would chuck it over the side like I did. Even the fucking seagulls ignored it.
posted by adamvasco at 1:29 PM on May 4, 2010


I, like many of you all, hate to learn of new things which I was previously unaware. If I haven't heard of something, I would like to keep it that way and not trouble my life finding out about things I didn't know about. It makes me feel like I don't know everything, and I hate feeling like that. So, please, stop posting things I'm unfamiliar with on the main page. Ok, thanks!
posted by fuq at 1:37 PM on May 4, 2010


I'm not sure it breaks down into a dichotomy like that, cashman; not everybody who likes to discover new things is in discovery mode 24/7. There are days when I go to the front page looking for something unfamiliar, and other days I go looking for something I think I can slide right into comfortably, and days in between where I wouldn't mind a post about some specific think I don't know about that's nonetheless a kind of thing that I know I'm interested in, etc.

Definitely different people have different areas of interest and ways of wanting to read the site, but folks are generally kind of complex and varied in how they go looking at the world. There's nothing wrong with sometimes just feeling like skipping over a post about something unfamiliar if you're not in the mood to go digging into something new like that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:52 PM on May 4, 2010


Continuing derail:
Did you know that Asia has had a way to make fire for thousands of years that doesn't involve a flint or rubbing sticks together? They used a fire piston. I've made fire with sticks and magnesium shavings with a striker and I've never heard of this until recently. It fucking blew my mind, and now I want one. Apparently the secret isn't always "Keep banging those rocks together, guys!"

I always wanted one too, but I hate 'unitaskers' so I was wondering if there was a way to build on into a blowgun or flashlight or thermos as an accessory.

posted by BrotherCaine at 1:56 PM on May 4, 2010


Well, all I know is I googled for John Galt and I still don't know who he is or why I should give a damn.
posted by Ritchie at 1:57 PM on May 4, 2010


Metafilter

Who?
posted by Bonzai at 2:01 PM on May 4, 2010


Here's an example of a interesting subject and a potentially great 32-link FPP, diluted with 11 Wikipedia links.
posted by mattdidthat at 2:51 PM on May 4, 2010


cashman, it went something like this:

Despite irrefutable video evidence of the incident, Erykah Badu pleads not guilty to indecency charges.
someone I've never heard of says they didn't do something I hadn't heard they were accused of? It's probably another fucking Republican, whatever.

Breaking Bad Locations in Albuquerque (Flickr photoset, via the AV Club.)
photos of places in albuquerque. I was wrong, I did actually click on this - I thought 'Breaking Bad' was some mangled attempt at saying 'related to some breaking news of a bad thing'. Saw a pretty average looking set of photos of someone's town, closed it.

And as I said, I don't actually mind if people want to make mystery posts. I tend to avoid them. So if it's something you're trying to share with people not already familiar with the subject, that might be a style you should avoid.
posted by jacalata at 4:31 PM on May 4, 2010


Dude, I am the most Out-Of-It-And-Proud-Of-It member of this fucking site and even I've heard of Erykah Badu.
posted by jonmc at 5:03 PM on May 4, 2010


Yeah, I'm not grumpy. I'm ok with most any style or format of posting from 50-link essays to one word with each letter linked to something. What I am grumpy about is the insistence that we draw more lines in the sand to dance around to cater to any particular taste.

Yeah, agreed that lines in the sand are a bad thing on Metafilter. And while I am, personally, a big grump about most mystery meat posts, if the people posting really feel like they add to the front page, well I'm not the boss of Metafilter.

Conversely, though, Metafilter's alternative to a line in the sand is a bonfire by the beach. Someone starts it and people come in and sit down and talk about stuff. I don't expect anyone to cater to my preferences just because they're my preferences. However, if someone reads this thread and says "You know, maybe contextless links and mysterious allusions aren't as totes awesome as I first thought," then I'm happy to be one of the voices suggesting they move in that direction.
posted by lore at 5:04 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, my wife just told me that Clyde Frazier visited the school she teaches at to give a motivational speech. She didn't get me an autograph.

Dang.
posted by jonmc at 5:16 PM on May 4, 2010


Conversely, though, Metafilter's alternative to a line in the sand is a bonfire by the beach.

Sweet metaphor, but now I just want a camping meetup with a bonfire.
posted by loquacious at 5:35 PM on May 4, 2010


Or we could set this thread on fire. Did you bring your piston?
posted by The Whelk at 5:39 PM on May 4, 2010


wouldja settle for a Flaming Moe?
posted by jonmc at 5:39 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Somebody was talking about a camping meetup a while back. Did anything ever happen with that?
posted by box at 5:42 PM on May 4, 2010


Yes. We ran into some rustic gentlemen who said that we had 'right purty mouths.' Beyond that we're sworn to secrecy.
posted by jonmc at 5:46 PM on May 4, 2010


Dude, that was me. And if you didn't want to play in my jaw-harp orchestra, you could've just said so.
posted by box at 5:54 PM on May 4, 2010


You wanted me to play second washboard. I play second washboard to no man!
posted by jonmc at 5:55 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


My internet comes with Google. It's pretty useful to have.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:00 PM on May 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


interesting that my two "who"'s have resulted in over 12,000 words on this page....

I'm really hoping this makes it to 20,000... 10,000 words on the net for every word I write.. life as I anticipated it years ago...

let's go people! you have work to do...
posted by HuronBob at 6:13 PM on May 4, 2010


Somebody was talking about a camping meetup a while back. Did anything ever happen with that?

That was probably me because I'm probably the only one insane enough to suggest such a thing and be serious about it.

My latest crazy idea is doing a two day PNW pub crawl between Seattle and Portland via Amtrak. It's only like 30-40 bucks round trip. If we get enough people in on it we could take over the observation car or the lounge car and have a pretty awesome time in between two back-to-back meetups.

I'm not really in any position to be planning a joyous clusterfuck like this at the moment, so it's just a pipe dream for now.
posted by loquacious at 7:20 PM on May 4, 2010


Joyous Clusterfuck is my new holiday greeting.
posted by mattdidthat at 7:38 PM on May 4, 2010


Joyous Clusterfuck is my new holiday greeting.

I'm going to hold you to that and I expect tastefully snarky, well designed cards.
posted by loquacious at 7:49 PM on May 4, 2010


I'll send you a nice goatse wreath for your front door.
posted by mattdidthat at 7:54 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll send you a nice goatse wreath for your front door.

Wow, there's a mental image I'll do well to forget. *shudder*
posted by loquacious at 8:02 PM on May 4, 2010


Joyous Clusterfuck


I oh..okay someone has to REMIND me.
posted by The Whelk at 8:03 PM on May 4, 2010


Her?
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:57 PM on May 4, 2010


DU,
Are you that guy who wants all his friends to only use words you are familiar with?

Seriously...use a freaking google.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:01 PM on May 4, 2010


From now on, every noun I post will link to a wikipedia page.
posted by robotot at 12:58 AM on May 5, 2010


I just realized that "Popular Lawn Culture" would be a totally kick ass name for a band. Except that we just chased all of the potential auditionees off of the lawn. Damn kids.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:29 AM on May 5, 2010


(I have heard of The Wire though.)

Of course. hasn't everyone?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:23 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was unaware that this caused such a stir on Metatalk, infact Xezlec just told me a couple of hours ago.

I don't see why this is an issue. Yes the multiple "Who" comments were annoying, and I was glad to see cortex clean it up. That said there have been plenty of things on the blue that i have had to google for myself, things that other people have thought were mainstream knowledge that I had apparently been left out of, and It wasn't hard to get the info I needed. I didn't mind.

On my next post I make about a famous person should I include a link to google search results using their name as a string. The wikipedia entry should be in the top 5. I just always feel like linking to wikipedia is a cop-out, and only do it when absolutely necessary (like the Garriot post of mine, there was no other place for that info).
posted by djduckie at 12:59 PM on May 9, 2010


No, I don't think linking to a Google search is a good idea, that would just come off as antagonistic, I think. I don't think there's a surefire way to stop snarkers, but adding a short, one sentence description is probably the best bet if no good link presents itself. I also think Wikipedia links are generally unnecessary.
posted by Kattullus at 6:35 PM on May 9, 2010


should I include a link to google search results using their name as a string.

Please don't. We often deleted Google-searches-as-links in posts. If it concerns you, you could always say something like "American musician Erykah Badu..." which is pretty bland and doesn't detract from having a concise post. I usually find Wikipedia links unnecessary as well but some people like them okay. That said, there's a difference between not linking to a biography of a notable person versus talking about a TV show that has a verb-adjective sort of title and not indicating that it's a TV show, to me, along the mystery meat continuum that is. I found the Breaking Bad post verbiage hard to parse, but it was easy enough to skip.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:15 AM on May 10, 2010


Since it was taken seriously, and despite the fact that it feels like shooting myself in the foot. I was being sarcastic, and if i even had done the whole google thing in a post, it would have been done with so much palpable snark that it would sting the sensitive and give albinos sun burns.

But I know for the future, my post are usually (since I had 3 in one week there) far between.

Actually, why wasn't this question brought up on 4/26 when I posted: Eric Belanger, of the Washington Capitals defines "never give up" attitude by getting hit in the face, losing several teeth (including pulling one out with his bare hands), and returning to the ice to finish out the game.

I have no indication of who or what the washington capitals are, which could have been confusing for people not in the U.S.

I guess I'm just bad at posting and should feel bad.
posted by djduckie at 6:26 AM on May 10, 2010


djduckie I have no idea who the washington capitals are, but the use of the word "ice", "game", and "hit in the face" suggests to me that they might be an ice hockey team. I'd say that's enough context.
posted by handee at 6:32 AM on May 10, 2010


Yes, but if it had been a curling match gone horribly wrong, we would all have looked foolish.
posted by djduckie at 6:35 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


djduckie: "I guess I'm just bad at posting and should feel bad."

Next time skip google and jump straight to lmgtfy.
posted by idiopath at 6:48 AM on May 10, 2010


Actually, why wasn't this question brought up on 4/26 when I posted

Not everything that could conceivably be complained about will in fact get complained about, basically. Which is a good thing, because this place would be ten or a hundred times as busy with mild complaints otherwise.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:04 AM on May 10, 2010


« Older Been seeing it for too long.   |   DFW Anime Nerds Unite! Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments