What's the big idea? June 19, 2011 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Are front page posts supposed to have a "point"?

Someone commented on my Diane Warren post that it was a nice post and all, but what was the point of it? I just posted it because I thought my fellow MeFites would find it interesting but that comment got me wondering, what is the point of ANY front page post, really? Or any comment on any front page post? Hell, what's the point of the internet in general?

Dammit, now I'm having an existential crisis.
posted by MattMangels to MetaFilter-Related at 12:04 PM (71 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I post and comment to share discoveries and ideas that are interesting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:07 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I believe the point of any post is or should be "Here's something interesting on the internet."
posted by marxchivist at 12:08 PM on June 19, 2011 [12 favorites]


If no one objects to your FPP, it is a boring FPP.
posted by griphus at 12:09 PM on June 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


Your post is fine. You're drawing attention to Diane Warren. That's the point. It hangs together.

Now, if you had a post with a link to a youtube video of adorable penguin antics and to a scholarly paper on the 30 Years' War, some of us might be scratching our head trying to figure out what your point was.
posted by adamrice at 12:14 PM on June 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think it was your framing. Your current framing focuses too much on the youtube clips. You should have put more emphasis on the songwriter Diane Warren as a person who has written songs that have become famous while she hasn't. A bio would have been nice.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:15 PM on June 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Think of yourself as a curator. You are framing and placing pieces in a room.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:18 PM on June 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think the problem that people had with your post is that it was a collection of links to song that they have certainly heard before, and in many cases, hold disdain for. But other than the note that they're penned by Diane Warren, there wasn't anything new or interesting about that collection of links. People who are interested in that style of music would already know how to find them since they were massively successful. People who are not interested in that style of music would find nothing in the post to tell them why should be.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:20 PM on June 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I dunno. Diane Warren is so bland and boring that I'm not surprised people snarked.

Looking forward to the Huey Lewis and the News follow up.
posted by empath at 12:22 PM on June 19, 2011


I'm not big on the FPPing, but from my vantage, what makes a good FPP is if it makes me go "Huh" or "Ooh," and then "Why, yes, I would like to know more."

"Cartoons of workplace accidents? Ooh. Why, yes, I would like to know more."

"The UN took a stand against violence against LGBTs? Huh. Why, yes, I would like to know more."

Of course, everyone's "Huh" and "Ooh" thresholds and topics are different.
posted by Etrigan at 12:24 PM on June 19, 2011


It passed the "Could I mention that at lunch to make conversation" test for me.
posted by The Whelk at 12:31 PM on June 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Are front page posts supposed to have a "point"?

No, but they are supposed to have an antipode.

Apropos of nothing, the answer to "What's the point?" should always be "The point is: Don't lose your dinosaur."
posted by amyms at 12:32 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obviously a lawyer being reincarnated as a dog is no big deal as reported by the BBC is no big deal
posted by adamvasco at 12:37 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, but they are supposed to have an antipode.

Let's not go dragging Australia into this again.
posted by TedW at 12:44 PM on June 19, 2011


Hell, what's the point of the internet in general?

Umm...
posted by desjardins at 12:49 PM on June 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Desjardins, thank you for reminding me that I really need to see Avenue Q.
posted by MattMangels at 12:54 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Steve Martin chips in. [SFW, 0:27]
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:54 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


So what's your point?
posted by Splunge at 12:59 PM on June 19, 2011


*enters stage-right.
posted by clavdivs at 1:11 PM on June 19, 2011


i flag those sorts of thread shits every time i see them. if you think it's dull, move on. i thought it was really interesting and something i didn't know. it had me lost in a wiki hole for a while. i also got to make one of my "no, really, gaga is an interesting performer and musician" comments. so, really, i loved your thread. thanks for sharing!
posted by nadawi at 1:35 PM on June 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


existential crisis...
is there an exstential lull?

I believe this is a job for temporal becoming.
posted by clavdivs at 1:56 PM on June 19, 2011


Someone commented on my Diane Warren post that it was a nice post and all, but what was the point of it?

Protip: People are just the worst.
posted by Jofus at 2:25 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was fine. I think as these posts go it could have been maybe better, but whatever. I think you had the videos which were like "Hey did you know they were all by this one person?" and then a link to this one person which I thought would be the meat of the post, but it was just a Wikipedia link. No big deal, I liked the post, but I think this is the beef some people had with it. It was fine.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:49 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Single-artist appreciation posts do best with a clear sales pitch. The first paragraph of their Wikipedia article will often have something suitable.

For example, in this case, the fact that she is "the first songwriter in the history of Billboard to have seven hits, all by different artists, on the singles chart at the same time" gives a clearer sense of why she's so noteworthy than the fact that she belongs to the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

That kind of things helps suppress the "So what?" brigade.
posted by Trurl at 3:41 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


"So What"
posted by Horselover Phattie at 3:44 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tears over a plethoria of Bouffants from the 1960's. Internet, so.
posted by clavdivs at 3:51 PM on June 19, 2011


It's all about framing and sequencing.
posted by Ardiril at 4:08 PM on June 19, 2011


You framed your post as if we were supposed to be surprised by Diane Warren, one of the worlds foremost songwriters. I think most people by now know who she is and what songs she wrote, and a lot of people don't want to hear them again. Your post was a bunch of songs. That had a writer. Like most songs.
posted by fire&wings at 4:21 PM on June 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Most of my posts have the theme, "Wow! Here's something really cool." Occasionally I post something that says, "Wow! Here's something amusingly stupid."

Posts that say "Here's something all you people should join me in hating" are nearly always bad. (Case in point, which I hope will soon be deleted.) Pretty much any post which has an agenda is a bad thing, especially if it's presented in such a fashion that you can tell exactly how the poster wants you to feel about it.

Even without an agenda, posts which have the theme, "This is really important and no one is paying attention to it" are usually bad.

Mystery Meat posts really reek. A post where the only way I can figure out what the post is about is to click a cryptic link. I hate those. I flag and move on; I don't click, and I don't read the comments.

A post whose theme is "My google-fu is powerful" are usually a waste of time. (A hypothetical example of that would be someone who looked for some obscure thing e.g. "pigs with wings" and then constructed a post out of the first ten links that turned up.)

Frankly, that's how your post came across, at least to me. I didn't flag your post, but I also didn't bother with it.

It looks like you went to YouTube and searched for Diane Warren covers and then posted a lot of links you found. But why? There are thousands of justly-neglected song writers. Why are we being asked to pay attention to this particular one? That's the "big idea" that was missing. If your only answer is, "Well, no one has ever posted about her before, and I was looking for something I could post about" then you shouldn't have posted it. That isn't enough.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:55 PM on June 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Meaning" is meaningless. Embrace that. I mean it.
posted by Decani at 5:21 PM on June 19, 2011


desjardins, I'm pretty sure you meant to link this.
posted by maryr at 5:28 PM on June 19, 2011


I posted that comment, because I thought it invited a pile-on of snark which it pretty much did. So the cool kids don't dig Diane Warren. So what?
And Mattmangels returned the favor by posting the same comment on my most recent post on the blue, which I could have flagged but didn't because that would have been a dick move--just like his.
Inviting people to post how much a female songwriter sucks is misogeny in my book, but YMMV.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:50 PM on June 19, 2011


It wasn't the songs that I had a problem with. It was the fact that the post seemed to say 'Diane Warren exists, and she wrote these songs', without adding anything new to it.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:59 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Inviting people to post how much a female songwriter sucks is misogeny in my book, but YMMV.

Oh please. This is something that bugs me about this community I otherwise love, seeing hatred for women/homosexuals/racial minorities where none exists. If anything about my post had been deliberately inviting people to say "yeah she sucks" the mods would have deleted it as editorializing. I'll have you know the reason I put up that FPP is because I truly admire her (I am a songwriter myself though light years away from being as successful as Diane), and if you had read my comments in the thread you'd see that I called her a modern-day Irving Berlin and said that it still takes talent to produce what some (most, actually) would consider "dreck". I'll grant you that me posting the same comment on your FPP was kind of a passive-aggressive dick move, and I apologize, but think about your comment here--if I had posted the same post and the songwriter was a male would that be misandry in your book?
posted by MattMangels at 7:05 PM on June 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Many of us are just messing with you, MM. Really, your only mistake was putting the Milli Vanilli link first. The first few words of an FPP are critical, and when they also form a link, they become supercritical. The Milli Vanilli thing does not make for a good first impression. Plus, you missed an opportunity to give us two perspectives of Warren: her songs that inarguably received a proper production, and those that received lesser treatment. I heard a demo of "If I Could Turn Back Time" with choruses that drip with emotion, totally unlike the vocoder treatment Cher's handlers gave it.

Your subject is interesting despite the brayings of us elitists, and you have more than adequate web content, but presentation is everything. Click on my link to "Eli's Coming" and turn up your volume a bit. THAT, sir, is how you start an FPP. ;-)
posted by Ardiril at 7:36 PM on June 19, 2011


You know I actually thought to myself today "Hmm maybe I shouldn't have put 'Blame It On The Rain' as the first video". I will remember your advice in the future.

I apologize in advance for this but I cannot help it...

Metafilter: your only mistake was putting the Milli Vanilli link first.
posted by MattMangels at 7:47 PM on June 19, 2011


There's a way to frame a selection of links to show Oh Wow Lookie at This Cool Stuff without editorializing ( which is a fairly stupid worry, as we're all editorializing) but this wasn't it. Were you really that worried that a random commentor missed your point?
posted by Ideefixe at 7:53 PM on June 19, 2011


i was just surprised that there could be ANY list of songs compiled where "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" is clearly the best jam of the bunch
posted by nathancaswell at 8:06 PM on June 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


although "unbreak my heart" gives it a run for its money
posted by nathancaswell at 8:09 PM on June 19, 2011


He was just being a dick.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:25 PM on June 19, 2011


The Milli Vanilli thing actually raised my opinion of her- seriously. I didn't know she wrote that, and it's a cut above her usual glurge-ballads. Milli Vanilli's music was always fine. The only problem was that it wasn't them singing.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:30 PM on June 19, 2011


Think of yourself as a curator. You are framing and placing pieces in a room.

Sometimes they are Albrecht Durer prints. Sometimes they are black velvet paintings of Charles Nelson Reilly.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:35 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Milli Vanilli's music was always fine. - I came to it late, but when I did hear it, I thought it was kinda Bubblegummy. Tasty Bubblegum at that.
posted by Ardiril at 9:38 PM on June 19, 2011


Here's a freebie: The Turtles - Elenore ('68 TV)
posted by Ardiril at 9:52 PM on June 19, 2011


This is about as good a place as any to remind people about the Air Supply thread.
posted by dhammond at 9:57 PM on June 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here's a freebie: The Turtles - Elenore ('68 TV) yt

Is this supposed to be bad? I love 60s bubblegum. Like their most famous song, Happy Together, Elenore sounds like a love song but is actually about someone rehearsing and rehearsing what to say to an idealized object of desire who barely knows he exists. It's that gap that's at the heart of great pop, power-pop, and twee.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:11 PM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


could have used more twerkin
posted by klangklangston at 10:13 PM on June 19, 2011


Bad? No, such is the wit of Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan AKA Flo and Eddie. "Elenore" was their way of takinig the piss out of a record company that demanded an immediate single. The record was a hit. A couple years later they were writing with Zappa.
posted by Ardiril at 10:21 PM on June 19, 2011



Bad? No, such is the wit of Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan AKA Flo and Eddie. "Elenore" was their way of takinig the piss out of a record company that demanded an immediate single. The record was a hit. A couple years later they were writing with Zappa.


It's a piss-take? Aw, I love it.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:25 PM on June 19, 2011


Bunker Hill - "Hide and Go Seek" - this one's from left field
posted by Ardiril at 12:10 AM on June 20, 2011


Elenore sounds like a love song but is actually about someone rehearsing and rehearsing what to say to an idealized object of desire who barely knows he exists.

Technically it's not, asd Ardiril has pointed out, but I've always loved 'you are my pride and joy etc.'

Similar to how people claim Interpol's 'her stories are boring and stuff' is a bad lyric. Now, Interpol are an incredibly naff band that somehow retain a guilty pleasure status with me, but that lyric fits in if the song's about someone inducing ennui.
posted by mippy at 2:37 AM on June 20, 2011


I think most people by now know who she is and what songs she wrote...

I seriously doubt that. Other than Barry Manilow, the writers of songs are pretty obscure.
posted by DU at 2:45 AM on June 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


I flagged that thread as popular. Can't let the front page get full of stuff people like.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:43 AM on June 20, 2011


The "Happy Together" track on Mothers Live at the Fillmore East (the mudshark opera album) is one of the best things, ever. Turns out it is their "bullet", their big hit single in the charts that the whole album builds up to. Wonderful!

Come on, sing along, just like a big rock show!
posted by Meatbomb at 3:58 AM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I seriously doubt that. Other than Barry Manilow, the writers of songs are pretty obscure.

Seconded. I didn't know that Dianne Warren was a songwriter, so the post was news to me.
posted by Jpfed at 5:52 AM on June 20, 2011


I knew who Warren was, but then (a) I'm directly interested in songwriting itself and (b) her work was the poisoned head on the spear of suck that was every episode of Enterprise, so as much as anything that comes down to my issues.

Barry Manilow is a good comparison; she's prolific, consistent, very very good at what she does, and I don't really like most of her work because it's schmaltz on patrol.

I posted that comment, because I thought it invited a pile-on of snark which it pretty much did. So the cool kids don't dig Diane Warren. So what?
And Mattmangels returned the favor by posting the same comment on my most recent post on the blue, which I could have flagged but didn't because that would have been a dick move--just like his.


For the record, Ideefixe, I thought your comment in that post was pretty much totally unnecessary and should have been skipped. If you wanted to say something substantial about your perception of how people react to Diane Warren, you could have said something substantial and that would have been fine; as it, it was lazy snark.

MattMangels shouldn't have returned the favor in your thread, and you shouldn't have beefed back at him, and I removed both of those because one not-needed blip of a comment is annoying but an ongoing cross-thread headbutting match is getting into outright disruptive and you two need to cut it out going forward.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:24 AM on June 20, 2011




DU : " I seriously doubt that. Other than Barry Manilow, the writers of songs are pretty obscure."

Agreed. One of my long-term projects is an FPP on a well-known singer who has written songs for a number of others. I'd venture a guess that most people are completely unaware of that aspect of his career.
posted by zarq at 7:47 AM on June 20, 2011


Correction: Now that i've read the FPP this MeTa was based on, I really *hope* people aren't familiar with it.
posted by zarq at 7:57 AM on June 20, 2011


It would have made more sense as a post if the Wikipedia link to Diane Warren was a link to a new New Yorker article or something. As it is, it seems a little thin. Pretty much anyone could make a "my favorite band is awesome" post following that template of a bunch of YouTube vids + wikipedia pages. They tend to get decent discussion, because people just like chatting about music, but they aren't great posts.
posted by smackfu at 8:47 AM on June 20, 2011


And to the question here, does a post need a point? No, but it should have a focus, a particular link that made you think "I should post this to MetaFilter". Does this post have that?
posted by smackfu at 8:49 AM on June 20, 2011


Cortex: you two need to cut it out going forward

Well...she started it!

(Kidding of course. Your point is duly noted)
posted by MattMangels at 9:02 AM on June 20, 2011


In MattMangels defense, though -- there have been very well-received posts that were pretty much nothing but collections of YouTube links on some pop culture point, without any "new information" being the catalyst. The one that's springing to mind now was the one on Whose Line Is It Anyway, which seemed to be nothing more than "here is a big collection of links".

Mind you, I'm not complaining about the WLIIA post. Quite the opposite. But...in terms of structure and "does-it-have-a-point"-ness, it's a lot like the Diane Warren post in question, so I can see why some MeFites do get confused on this point. And when it comes to sussing out why one post gets the "this is awesome, thanks" treatment and another gets the "what's the point" treatment, it can feel pretty arbitrary, I'm sure.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:29 AM on June 20, 2011


Inviting people to post how much a female songwriter sucks is misogeny in my book, but YMMV.

This is such a foolish, silly accusation. The post didn't invite anyone to post how much she sucks, let alone post how much she sucks because she's a woman.
posted by spaltavian at 9:46 AM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The recent, much heralded, Arrested Development post didn't have much of a point either. Unless the Onion AV Club reviewing it is a point.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:56 AM on June 20, 2011


EmpressCallipygos: "The one that's springing to mind now was the one on Whose Line Is It Anyway, which seemed to be nothing more than "here is a big collection of links"."

Was it this one? If so then I gotta disagree. Rhaomi consistently makes well-detailed and meticulously researched posts on both fascinating and mundane topics and that post was a great example. It points out that pretty much the show's entire run is available for free from multiple online sources. The TV Tropes page linked on the show could practically be an FPP alone. So could the links to the celeb appearances. And there are links to several compilation videos which explain what the essence of the show was to someone who had never seen it before.
posted by zarq at 9:58 AM on June 20, 2011


Zarq -- no, I'm thinking of this one.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:02 AM on June 20, 2011


EmpressCallipygos: "Zarq -- no, I'm thinking of this one."

Oh. I forgot about that one. *cough* Nevermind.


Ye gods, that's an awesome post.
.
.
.
I'll be in my bunk.

posted by zarq at 10:11 AM on June 20, 2011


But, see, yeah, that's my point -- both that post and the Diane Warren post are really on the face of them just "here's a bunch of links about something I think is cool," but one got lauded to the skies and the other got sneered at. I don't fault people for getting confused as a result.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:18 AM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought the point was that god is dead.

Did I read too much into the post?
posted by GuyZero at 12:13 PM on June 20, 2011


Cat-Scan.com is one of the strangest sites I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these people got their cats wedged into their scanners, or why.
posted by Frasermoo at 5:45 PM on June 20, 2011


EmpressCallipygos: "But, see, yeah, that's my point -- both that post and the Diane Warren post are really on the face of them just "here's a bunch of links about something I think is cool," but one got lauded to the skies and the other got sneered at. I don't fault people for getting confused as a result."

Yeah, I think it has a lot to do with the subject matter, and knowing your audience.
posted by zarq at 10:01 AM on June 21, 2011


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