Another Buck For Sulzberger April 4, 2011 2:07 PM   Subscribe

The bottom link in this FPP leads to a New York Times article but is not identified as such. Clicking this link may possibly be counted as one of my 20 free articles per month. Should MetaFilter be identifying all NYT links?
posted by Xurando to Etiquette/Policy at 2:07 PM (61 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Should people who haven't figured out a way to circumvent the NYT's paywall, ah, you see where I'm going with this.
posted by box at 2:12 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


When I mouse over the link I clearly see the NYtimes URL in my status bar, so it's not like it's hidden or anything. Surely it's up to you to check before you click?
posted by shelleycat at 2:12 PM on April 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


Just FYI, you emailed us this twice at the contact form and we wrote back to you twice. Is this something that you think the whole community needs to give feedback/input on, or were you just wondering why you didn't hear back from us?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:12 PM on April 4, 2011 [16 favorites]


Well, I'd like to know the answer. If I link to nytimes.com on Metafilter, am I supposed to give some kind of explicit warning?
posted by John Cohen at 2:13 PM on April 4, 2011


Isn't this more of an end-of-the-month kind of thing to worry about?
posted by box at 2:13 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


If this becomes a problem, I could talk to people I know at the NYT, see if we could get MetaFilter.com on their list of approved sites that don't count. I seem to recall when the paywall was first announced they said links from social networks and blogs wouldn't count.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:14 PM on April 4, 2011 [16 favorites]


And to answer your larger question, no we won't be identifying NYT links but if they wind up vanishing behind a punitive paywall, we'll treat them like any other fee-based article.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:14 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I promise to put a warming in any NYT article I link to. It'll be in the URL right after the www. I'm thinking I'll use "nytimes."
posted by cjorgensen at 2:17 PM on April 4, 2011 [14 favorites]


Hey Matt, judging by the number of NYT links here, I'm guessing it would make a lot of people's lives easier. Can you try getting in a request early?
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:18 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


• Readers who come to Times articles through links from search engines, blogs and social media will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit.

WARNING. LINK TO NYT STORY.
posted by rtha at 2:20 PM on April 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


NYT PYK
posted by effluvia at 2:25 PM on April 4, 2011


SLNYT
posted by box at 2:27 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was expecting to see a URL shortener or something, but that link clearly goes to NYT. In this post-goatse world we cannot afford to be complacent.
posted by ODiV at 2:33 PM on April 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


I just opened that link 21 times to see what would happen. Either I'm stupid or a rebel. Maybe both.

PS Nothing happened.
posted by Jehan at 2:33 PM on April 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


So many journalists do great work in the US and elsewhere. So many journalists at the NYT do not. Sometimes names on NYT bylines scream nepotism.

Newspapers like the LA Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Houston Chronicle, if we're talking about US news, have great reporters doing great work. That's just a few and that's just the US.

It's just my opinion, but Metafilter and public discourse in general would be better without NYT myopia.
posted by vincele at 2:37 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


(hurriedly rushed to make 20 link NYT FPP... with url shorteners even)
posted by edgeways at 2:44 PM on April 4, 2011


if they wind up vanishing behind a punitive paywall, we'll treat them like any other fee-based article.

Am I confused? Hasn't that already happened?

I just opened that link 21 times to see what would happen. Either I'm stupid or a rebel. Maybe both.

It's 20 articles, not 20 visits.
posted by enn at 2:45 PM on April 4, 2011


I used up my 20 stories last month, but I found that links I clicked from MeFi let me straight in even after that time. But that might just be because I'm one of those nice Canadians.
posted by maudlin at 2:45 PM on April 4, 2011


"If I link to nytimes.com on Metafilter, am I supposed to give some kind of explicit warning?"

"OLD GRAY MARE NOT WHAT SHE USED TO BE"
posted by klangklangston at 2:47 PM on April 4, 2011 [15 favorites]


Am I confused? Hasn't that already happened?

As far as I can tell, a whole lot of people are still successfully reading presumably-sort-of-walled-off NYT content successfully without paying for it and without any particular special effort. The issue from our perspective is a more significant one when and if that notably changes; if it gets to the point where a NYT link is functionally unreadable for most mefites, that's a very different situation, but that doesn't seem to be where we are.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:55 PM on April 4, 2011


XURANDO THINKS LINKS HIGH JINKS STINK
posted by chinston at 2:57 PM on April 4, 2011 [4 favorites]



Just FYI, you emailed us this twice at the contact form and we wrote back to you twice. Is this something that you think the whole community needs to give feedback/input on, or were you just wondering why you didn't hear back from us?


My outrage. Let me show everybody it.
posted by special-k at 2:57 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I still don't see that as metafilter's issue. If people are slamming up against the 20 links...subscribe or circumvent.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:59 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


As far as I can tell, a whole lot of people are still successfully reading presumably-sort-of-walled-off NYT content successfully without paying for it and without any particular special effort.

For what it's worth, I have hit the limit and can no longer read NYT articles in general (until, presumably, May). Links from Metafilter do seem to be exempted, though.
posted by enn at 3:03 PM on April 4, 2011


Links from Metafilter do seem to be exempted, though.

Thanks for letting us know, that's odd but not unexpected.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:03 PM on April 4, 2011


Should MetaFilter be identifying all NYT links?

This is not metafilter's problem. Before clicking, you should be looking at the address of the link when you mouse over it.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:05 PM on April 4, 2011


I kinda like the idea of eliminating shitty newspaper links. Paying for them...well that just makes my day.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:12 PM on April 4, 2011


I promise to put a warming in any NYT article I link to.

Oh, feel the burn.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:35 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't understand how the Times' new system can be viable if they let you read unlimited free articles if you're coming from a "search engine." So, you've used up your 20 monthly freebies; you see a headline on the NYT homepage for an article you want to read; and all you have to do is copy and paste the headline into Google to get a working link to the article?

(None of this directly affects me; I subscribe to the dead-tree edition, so I have full access to the site. I'm just curious how the Times thinks this is going to work.)
posted by John Cohen at 3:41 PM on April 4, 2011


So, you've used up your 20 monthly freebies; you see a headline on the NYT homepage for an article you want to read; and all you have to do is copy and paste the headline into Google to get a working link to the article?

Actually, it's simpler than that with NYTClean.
posted by lalex at 3:43 PM on April 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm just curious how the Times thinks this is going to work.

They are counting on dishonest people being lazy, and the rest having money to fork over.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:47 PM on April 4, 2011


Hey, you can't expect a perfect system for only $40 million.

(I've seen some articles defending the cost, comparing it to a telco billing system. I work on telco billing systems processing way more transactions a second than the NYT system is handling, and I would cry with joy if my entire department had even half a million to work with a year. 300 transactions/second is laughable.)
posted by kmz at 3:52 PM on April 4, 2011


Seriously though, hovering over links before clicking is just Good Internet Hygiene.
posted by muddgirl at 3:57 PM on April 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Honest question: If links to YouTube on Metafilter are visually identifiable by giving a casual glance, why couldn't this be done for NYT links? I'm not talking about hovering over the link, but by their form. Thanks.
posted by Daddy-O at 4:08 PM on April 4, 2011


I could talk to people I know at the NYT, see if we could get MetaFilter.com on their list of approved sites that don't count

To clarify, I think sites on that list of approved sites do count towards the 20 limit — but that you can still access pages through such links after you have reached your limit. So in principle, if you read 20 links via Metafilter (etc), you'd then be unable to access additional articles by going through the NYT homepage.
posted by oliverburkeman at 4:17 PM on April 4, 2011


So how can you tell how many stories you have left in a month? Is there a counter visible somewhere?
posted by octothorpe at 4:19 PM on April 4, 2011


They start a countdown some time after 12 or 15 articles, I think. The little nag shows up at the bottom of the screen for every article you access after that point.
posted by maudlin at 4:27 PM on April 4, 2011


If links to YouTube on Metafilter are visually identifiable by giving a casual glance, why couldn't this be done for NYT links? I'm not talking about hovering over the link, but by their form. Thanks.

YouTube is a special situation where YouTube is more like a general carrier of videos to all over the place, not a single destination with one editorial board. The little YouTube visual thing is a preference and one that is off by default. YouTube URLs are total mystery meat [i.e. they give no indication what's behind the link] and I think mathowie's reasoning was that this way you could opt to watch a post's worth of YouTube videos without having to click back and forth and open them in new tabs or whatever.

None of this stuff is true about New York Times links and adding anything special to links just because they go to one destination with its own peculiar requirements is just heading down a slippery slope to "HELLZ NO" as far as I'm concerned. You can hover over links. You can make your choices. This is an evolving situation and we'll stay on top of it but we're not now at a point where we see a need to do something on our side. A Greasemonkey script for people who care a lot about this might be a good idea.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:29 PM on April 4, 2011


I can't hover over links on an iphone. Or ipad. (Can I?)
posted by nevercalm at 4:46 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Send me an iPad and I'll let you know.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:52 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, you can: hold your finger down on the link for a second.
posted by ook at 4:57 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't hover over links on an iphone. Or ipad. (Can I?)

If you hold on the link it will pop up a little dialog with the URL and Open/Open in New Tab/Copy options.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:58 PM on April 4, 2011


If links to YouTube on Metafilter are visually identifiable by giving a casual glance, why couldn't this be done for NYT links?

I didn't even know if this is an option. Maybe there could be an option where the base domain is identified indiscriminately for every link. You know, for people who don't hover.
posted by muddgirl at 5:15 PM on April 4, 2011


Wow, I just deliberately opened 21 NYT articles to see how the paywall functioned. It's incredibly trivial to circumvent with a bookmarklet, and yes, googling the article titles and coming in from Google works just fine.

This is not a problem.
posted by knapah at 6:23 PM on April 4, 2011


If this becomes a problem, I could talk to people I know at the NYT

And hey, mathowie, if dat don't woik, lemme know and I'll tawk to my buddy Frankie Bones down on Mott Street. He'll take care-a dis ting for yuh.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:26 PM on April 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't think there needs to be a site-based solution, but I do think it would be nice if people could note if a link is to the New York Times. Some people already do this with PDFs because they slow you down a bit. Just as a courtesy and not a requirement. I know if I thought I was at risk for using up my quota I would click fewer Times links (there are more then people realize because they are in the posts as well as many comments). It's the individual's responsibility if they inadvertently click on a link without checking the url, but the reality is a lot of people are fast clickers and go based on the text/title, checking themselves too late. It would just be nice, that's all. Unless of course the quota doesn't apply to links on Metafilter.
posted by Danila at 6:31 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just went back and re-read the email that The Times send me a few weeks ago about my account and I'm a little confused but I seem to have free access:
Starting March 28, The New York Times will begin charging for unlimited access to NYTimes.com and our NYTimes apps — but, as a Times Reader subscriber, you will get unlimited access* to NYTimes.com and the NYTimes app for iPad® included in your subscription.

To continue to enjoy free, unlimited access, all you have to do is log in to NYTimes.com or the NYTimes app for iPad with your current Times Reader user name and password.
I don't subscribe to anything, I had the Sunday Times delivered for a while a few years ago when the Times Select thing was in place but haven't paid them anything since we dropped the home delivery. I'm not complaining but I don't quite understand.
posted by octothorpe at 6:31 PM on April 4, 2011


I know if I thought I was at risk for using up my quota I would click fewer Times links

People have reported that Metafilter links don't use up the quota, so it seems to be a non-issue.
posted by muddgirl at 6:34 PM on April 4, 2011


Actually, I think MeFi links may use up your quota, but any MeFi links you try after your quota is used up will be accepted.

I just checked: you get a warning/countdown started after 15 of your quota of 20 articles are accessed, another warning when two are left, and a final warning when you're done.

But the workarounds still work after that point.
posted by maudlin at 6:51 PM on April 4, 2011


I can understand why the mods wouldn't want to make this into site law, but I'd like to see it done as general etiquette. I don't think this is that much to ask, and I see the value in it, particularly as someone who does most of my Metafilter reading on my iPhone (while waiting in lines, while trying to fall asleep at night). iPhones have no mouse-over. Yes, you can see the URL without going to the link if you press and hold the link. It takes two to three seconds. It also takes about two to three seconds to write [NYT]. Mousing over takes a bit of time, though less, maybe one second. So, if we think that NYT links are something people do want to conserve, it makes more sense that one person would take two seconds to write [NYT] for only the NYT links, instead of everyone else -- hundreds or thousands of people -- each spending two additional seconds ensuring that every Metafilter link that they want to click on is not NYT. Again, I'm not saying this should be some site rule, but I do think it'd be nice if people did it.
posted by salvia at 8:32 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


octothrope: that seems to imply you are paying them for Times Reader or at least have a Times Reader subscription for some other reason. Before the paywall, they sold those subscriptions as a separate option. Perhaps you have one of those and forgot? Or maybe their system just screwed up and never realized you cancelled home delivery. It's also possible that you set up your Times account to be linked to a university address, which used to get you free access to Times Select iirc, and that their system is confused about this. I'd double check your CC statements to make sure you aren't paying for something, just to be sure.

Oh, it looks like you can see your access information through their my account page. Does that give you any more specific idea what you're signed up for?
posted by zachlipton at 8:58 PM on April 4, 2011


You get five free accesses from google a day. Links from social networking sites/blogs DO count towards your limit, but will never trigger the paywall. So if you read 20 articles through MeFi and then go to NYTimes.com, you won't be able to just click through and read an article (in theory).

Yes, the paywall is trivial to circumvent. The idea is to make it porous, but still recoup *some* revenue. (Though I'm still reeling at the final prices they set; looks like I got out of the org. just in time.)
posted by Eideteker at 9:01 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


So how can you tell how many stories you have left in a month? Is there a counter visible somewhere?

Yes. If you're a registered user (not a subscriber, just registered at some point), you can go to http://www.nytimes.com/recommendations and there's a big "What You've Read" column on the right that tells you how many articles you read in the last month (and breaks it down by section).
posted by mediareport at 10:36 PM on April 4, 2011


Metafilter: In this post-goatse world we cannot afford to be complacent.
posted by batmonkey at 11:35 PM on April 4, 2011


If we start flagging the NYT, then we'll have to start flagging a lot of other sites that put up pay walls (hello Newscorp). Mouse over / hovering works for me on PC, iPad etc.
posted by arcticseal at 11:55 PM on April 4, 2011


I know it's the only newspaper in the entire world and everything, but if the paywall discourages people from just posting up links to the day's NYT all the time, Metafilter will only get better.
posted by joannemullen at 4:21 AM on April 5, 2011


octothrope: that seems to imply you are paying them for Times Reader or at least have a Times Reader subscription for some other reason. Before the paywall, they sold those subscriptions as a separate option.

Nope, I looked through the MyAccount page and we haven't made a payment to the Times in years and I looked up Reader and it seems to be some kind of App for PCs that we've never used and definitely never paid for.
posted by octothorpe at 4:34 AM on April 5, 2011


I just went to the times site and clicked on like 30 different headlines and never got stopped. I'm going with "most elaborate April Fools prank from the most unlikely source"
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:58 AM on April 5, 2011


I have made them in the far past but now find SLNYT posts irritating. Why post something far too many people here already read in the paper ?

On the other hand, one NYT article with substantial supporting linkage can be quite awesome, as with the Gene Sharp post by storybored.
posted by y2karl at 10:16 AM on April 5, 2011


Xurando: Clicking this link may possibly be counted as one of my 20 free articles per month. Should MetaFilter be identifying all NYT links?

No, you should learn to mouse over and see where you are going.
posted by paisley henosis at 2:32 PM on April 5, 2011


I wonder if one consideration behind the paywall is a belief that it will increase paper subscriptions. Paper ads are more expensive than online ads, right?
posted by Xalf at 5:13 PM on April 5, 2011


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