Editorializing on the front page April 28, 2002 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Shouldn't you post rants on your own blog if you have one?
posted by dchase to Etiquette/Policy at 4:47 PM (17 comments total)

Sorry, I meant that I thought that if you have a rant that you want on the front page, it should be on your own front page. Otherwise post your link and description and add your editorial in the thread.
posted by dchase at 4:59 PM on April 28, 2002

Are you saying posters shouldn't editorialize on the MeFi front page?
posted by mischief at 5:28 PM on April 28, 2002

Or be cranky? Boy, that'd free up a lot of space.
posted by y2karl at 5:43 PM on April 28, 2002

Are you saying posters shouldn't editorialize on the MeFi front page?

Historically, editorializing on the front page has been frowned upon. IMO, though I've seen others complain, short form editorializing as in "here's a link, I think it's good/bad" is ok. But a 175 word exposition about your link seems a bit over the top. That type of thing seems more appropriate to a personal blog, news group or mailing list (or, as skallas pointed out, as a, well, editorial comment withing the thread).
posted by dchase at 5:44 PM on April 28, 2002

I meant "175 word exposition explaining your personal opinion." I'm not arguing against lengthy posts per se.
posted by dchase at 5:58 PM on April 28, 2002

In general I think the inclusion of several other links (as in this case) makes it a better thread, but I can still see where dchase is coming from.
posted by chaz at 6:42 PM on April 28, 2002

Personally, I am just miffed at this thread along the lines of discussions past, [here] [here] et al. Really, I have developed a filter so I can't see it. Shame, I guess there could be good discussions going on in there, no?
posted by plemeljr at 8:14 PM on April 28, 2002

This question has been pretty well slogged out before.
posted by Mack Twain at 1:42 AM on April 29, 2002

Mack Twain, I think this issue's probably important enough to slog it out at least every six months.

I agree with dchase. And one other point I would make: I think these types of posts set the entire thread up for failure because it forces everybody to "take sides" immediately. Why not just put the subject out there and let the discussion go where it will? Nobody's denying you your editorial voice, just restrain yourself on the front page.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:21 AM on April 29, 2002

pardonyou? I agree with you and dchase, thus the link which for some reason got a lot more comments than this post, most of which also agree that editoralizing, ranting, and steering the comments is wrong if not provacative. I also agree with plemeljr in that I'm not delving into threads like that anymore than I'm going to stand around and listen to anyone ranting and raving while upon their soapbox. Besides being against the posting guidelines, such methodology is boring.
posted by Mack Twain at 10:41 AM on April 29, 2002

Thank you for that link, Mack Twain - I've been trying to find that thread. Let me add my hat to the "no editorializing on the front page" ring. Admittedly, sometimes it's hard to make a post interesing without putting a little of your own personality in there, but some take it a little too far, and can set the tone of the thread by their very opinionated comments. It's a very fine line.
posted by iconomy at 10:48 AM on April 29, 2002

I do post rants on my own blog, but I also post some here. When I post a rant here it's because this is where I was at the time the rant formed in my head, and it was instigated by the Front Page Post (FPP) link as well as the ensuing thread that followed the FPP before I came across it. I have been known to write something in here, realize it's better suited for my blog and I copypaste it to my blog instead. However one of the many things that makes MeFi better (in many cases) from any runofthemill weblog is because MeFi is a maelstrom of opinions from a wide assortment of people. It's like reading several websites all at once with input from scores of different minds. So long as the prose is captivating, the length of it shouldn't matter. However it should also only be as long as is necessary for the writer to get their point across. Too long and no one's gonna read it. I fight the battle of balance between brevity and intensity all the time.

When a person finds a link out there that they find engaging enough in some way to want it on MeFi's front page, they are going to inevitably have an emotional opinion about it. Otherwise, why bother posting it? So there will be some editoralizing in any given FPP. The issue is not whether or not to insert one's opinion in the prose. Instead it's that, in so doing, an opinionated FPP poster oftentimes disregards or insults any opposing viewpoint before someone even has a chance to respond. The way a poster words their FPP can frame the scope of the discussion and have great impact on how a given thread is going to go. It's a combination of factors. Many FPP participants seem to not know their audience. The unwritten rules that many espouse in MeFi when they are displeased by a post are precisely that - examples of the FPP poster not knowing what their audience (the Mefi community) is expecting and desiring.

Based on my observations, MeFi readers want a number of things from the FPPs. This is not a complete list but perhaps it can help people better compose their FPPs in the future. This is not a request to make these laws. They're just suggestions intended to be helpful and should be taken in the positive light with which they are given:

1. Keep it brief. More than four lines of text better have a good reason to be on the front page or people may call you on the carpet. If you're composing a FPP and it gets longer than four lines in the preview, strongly consider copypasting the excess, adding [MORE] after the first four lines and put the rest inside the thread. This often encourages people to click on the FPP and that better entices people to participate in the thread, since they're already there when they finish reading your spiel.

2. Make it informative. The FPP should describe what the link is, so a person has an idea what they're clicking on. If it's unsafe for work computers (like it's got naked boobies. ooh. ahh.) then a little warning should be included. The FPP should describe the basic topic without purposefully narrowing the scope of the discussion, because if you try to get too restrictive in what the thread's gonna be about, people will just talk about pancakes anyway.

3. Relevance. Engage the reader. Give them a reason to click on it. Why does it apply to the average MeFi participant? If a link is about an event that happened in Seattle, explain briefly why this event should matter to someone in Miami. Or if the scope isn't too narrow, describe for whom the link is. If it's about football, naturally only football fans are going to be interested, unless you can introduce with relevance why non football fans should click the link.

4. Don't insult the audience. Don't accidently or purposefully say something that a reader may inadvertently take in an insulting way. This is often the case with FPPs that take sides on the Israel/Palestine debate. Also saying that PCs are better than Macs or vice versa is just trolling for animosity.

Do as I say. Not as I do. I'm terrible at FPP construction which is one reason why I don't do it much anymore. The really important thing is to know your audience. You may personally come to different conclusions than the four I illustrated above, but so long as you've paid attention to what works in MeFi and what doesn't, you should be able to come to your own conclusions of what makes a good FPP and how to improve your participation in MeFi in your future. OR you can just make bad FPPs so people can talk about you behind your back in Meta, cuz that can be fun too. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 8:58 AM on April 30, 2002

Too long and no one's gonna read it
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:09 AM on April 30, 2002

Keep it brief.
posted by Karl at 9:34 AM on April 30, 2002

Dammit, he's done it again!
posted by Ufez Jones at 3:14 PM on April 30, 2002

Ne'er mind. Tis gone now.
posted by Ufez Jones at 3:41 PM on April 30, 2002

Great guidelines, Zach. They seem like they should be obvious, and yet somehow...they're not.
posted by rodii at 4:02 PM on April 30, 2002

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