I think these xtranormal videos are kind of played out. March 1, 2012 2:35 PM   Subscribe


The rare exception where it seems to be going over really well instead of really poorly. I hadn't even seen that post today what with the lack of flagging and maybe the overshadowing power of Breitbart's death and the latest Birther news.

Generally speaking, xtranormal posts suck. This one seems to be getting a good reception, and that's fine.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:40 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is this for an update of the famous crunchland method?
posted by Hoopo at 2:56 PM on March 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think it's because Cook's Illustrated readership mostly consider it their secret snobby shame or something; plus the parody is somewhat affectionate.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:57 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Achievement Unlocked: No-Prize.
posted by griphus at 3:03 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are you trying to get a post banjaxed after its been up for like the entire day? Just ignore it dude, I did.


guess who learned the word "banjax" yesterday! That's the fifth time I've used it already.
posted by Think_Long at 3:04 PM on March 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


This means all previous rules are null and void, everything is permitted, bring on the cat Gifs!
posted by The Whelk at 3:12 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nah. We were told the other day that instead of posting "inside baseball" kinds of stuff in thread, which would be deleted, to take it here. I was just following the advice.
posted by crunchland at 3:15 PM on March 1, 2012


I was just following the advice.

Appreciate it. The hardline "no xtranormal" stance has been relaxed.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:31 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The rare exception where it seems to be going over really well instead of really poorly."

Just for extra clarification, this is where going well and a good reception means a general lack of flags, emails to you guys, and things we don't see rather than threadshitting right? I really appreciated the relative lack of threadshitting in that thread.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:38 PM on March 1, 2012


Just for extra clarification, this is where going well and a good reception means a general lack of flags, emails to you guys, and things we don't see rather than threadshitting right?

Bingo, yes. The lack of threadshitting is an unrelated bonus; even with the post apparently being fine by the measures we actually care about, some obnoxious commenting behavior would probably have brought it to our attention in a "yeah, the post is fine, people need to cut it out" sort of way rather than a "this is the first I've even heard about this post today" sort of way.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:41 PM on March 1, 2012


You guys are going to love my "Hitler reacts to the relaxation of the no-Xtranormal policy" video.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:41 PM on March 1, 2012 [30 favorites]


this is where going well and a good reception means a general lack of flags, emails to you guys, and things we don't see rather than threadshitting right?

Also: no threadshitting, yeah. If you're trying to make the argument that hey if only people had shit in that thread we would have deleted it like the others I'm not sure if that will fly. All the other ones that crunchland linked to had multiple flags that showed up almost immediately. This one has been around for 90+ comments and hasn't gotten a single flag. If people are threadshitting in an otherwise well-received post, we'll axe the threadshitting. If people are threadshitting in a poorly-received post we will probably axe the post and maybe also remove the threadshitting.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:43 PM on March 1, 2012


Awesome! It just helps to hear it.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:49 PM on March 1, 2012


BrotherCaine: "secret snobby shame"

What? I thought Christopher Kimball is quite a nice guy and not snobby at all. I find Martha Stewart far more snobbish.
posted by IndigoRain at 3:53 PM on March 1, 2012


Metafilter: no longer xtranormist.
posted by arcticseal at 3:55 PM on March 1, 2012


One of us. One of us.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:02 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I didn't know what xtranormal was so I assumed this was about the Arpaio/birther thread.
posted by rtha at 4:07 PM on March 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was following the CI thread off and on all day. I think the FPP could have just said, "Cook's Illustrated: discuss" with no link and it would have gone about the same.
posted by kovacs at 4:09 PM on March 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I dunno--some folks get pretty het up about that 'discuss.'
posted by box at 4:38 PM on March 1, 2012


I really am not a fan of xtranormal but this just hit on a sweet spot of conversation that Mefites wanted to have. I rolled my eyes and hit the back button right after I clicked it but enjoyed reading the thread.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:42 PM on March 1, 2012


I have no fucking idea what you all are talking about. Should I be embarassed, proud or both, or neither?
posted by jonmc at 4:45 PM on March 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yes, could someone explain why there was once a "no xtranormal" policy and why xtranormal links are now potentially OK?

I confess to not having the slightest inkling what xtranormal is, but can remedy that on my own; the history of its favor/disfavor with our dauntless moderating team not so much.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:56 PM on March 1, 2012


jonmcbot9000 is working as intended!
posted by lazaruslong at 4:56 PM on March 1, 2012


You should neither be embarrassed nor proud, not only about this, but about all things. Free yourself from attachment to this world. Only then will you be able to make truly asskicking stew.
posted by kenko at 4:57 PM on March 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh! It's that thing, the thing with the synthesized voices and the weird little cartoons that you type text into. Now I am wondering why the "no xtranormal" policy was relaxed, because I personally find that shit as annoying as fuck.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:58 PM on March 1, 2012


jonmcbot9000 is working as intended!

Fuel is needed. Pour bourbon and beer in convenient facial slot.
posted by jonmc at 5:01 PM on March 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Had no idea about the "no xtranormal" policy. Whoops.

It looks like the mods'll let it slide because it didn't get flagged too much, but I'll remember next time. It can be hard to keep up with what is and isn't ok (not trying to criticize backhandedly there, just admitting I feel like I never know for sure because I don't read every single MeTa and wiki page). Sorry guys.
posted by ifjuly at 5:05 PM on March 1, 2012


Yes, could someone explain why there was once a "no xtranormal" policy and why xtranormal links are now potentially OK?

We hadn't seen one in months and honestly without a single person flagging it, we had no idea that this post was an xtranormal post. Generally speaking if we have a "no posts about X" rule it's either because those posts tend to go terribly or make bad posts to begin with [see: Hitler Downfall parodies or "please fund this it's cool!" Kickstarter posts]. If a thread gets 90 comments in and no one has flagged it, then we just sort of shrug and figure maybe either we were being too strict or it was one of those "annoying because it's a meme" things and now that it's not around everyplace, people are less inclined to flag stuff.

Realistically I was overstating in the first place. Policies go in the faq, not in one-off deletion reasons. We deleted pretty much every xtranormal post we saw because they tended to be lame single link one-off joke posts and people flag them accordingly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:09 PM on March 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


The "no xtranormal" policy honestly wasn't ever so much a firm brightline policy (something we don't do much of) as a running mod commentary on the tendency of those posts to be stinkers. Best not to read too much literalness into deletion reasons.

The problem as far as it does exist with xtranormal stuff is that at a glance it looks cute ("oh, ha, it's animated and there's speech synthesis") but after the first five minutes of exposure to it it becomes clear that the xtranormal treatment pretty consistently makes for a worse content-consumption experience than just reading the transcript that somebody dumped into the xtranormal toolset. It strips all the affect and dynamism out of the source text, and makes it take a lot longer to get through.

So: amateur animators using xtranormal as a toolset are generally shooting themselves in the foot. Idealogues trying to disguise a rant by putting it in the mouths of computerized cartoon characters aren't fooling anyone and are, again, shooting themselves in the foot. It's a clever concept but hard to do anything useful with in practice, and we've had a number of posts where people were for I think understandable reasons just not digging "here is a slowly-paced static affectless animation of a piece of text", and we ended up deleting several and it got to feeling like a pretty solid trend.

The fact that at lot of folks on Metafilter have opinions about or enjoy an opportunity to chatter about Cooks Illustrated may have as much to do with how it played out in this case than whether or not this specifically was a better-than-average use of the toolset. I don't know; I'm tired of xtranormal and nobody was flagging it, so I had no reason to watch it and find out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:14 PM on March 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


guess who learned the word "banjax" yesterday!

and

You guys are going to love my "Hitler reacts to the relaxation of the no-Xtranormal policy" video.

Are combining into "You know who else learned the word 'banjax' yesterday?"

I must get more sleep.....
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:26 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are combining into "You know who else learned the word 'banjax' yesterday?"

Everyone who says "MehFee", leave the room now.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:31 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks, jessamyn and cortex. I do like Laura Zigman's use of xtranormal for her little playlets (especially the "Underminer" series), but one of the reasons I can stand it is that she keeps them very short.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:39 PM on March 1, 2012


Everyone who says "MehFee", leave the room now.
posted by Horace Rumpole


Gathering my possessions into the small, drab and wholly unremarkable gray sack which has waited, forlorn yet somehow purposed, in the lower left drawer of my desk, a small sigh escapes.

I'm unable to resist the temptation to wonder, to dream of what might have been.

Donning the burnished and well-worn armor littering the floor, streaks of copper and mottled crimson remind me of my duty. I missed last week's polish. Typical. It's easy to forget things, the little in-between things, in-between the day-to-day when the mind wanders to the Day.

Today is my Day. The horizon beckons and ridges dotted with pines steel my courage. It is time.

Today is my Day. I die on this hill.


MehFee is a perfectly cromulent pro-nounce-iation.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:59 PM on March 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think the FPP could have just said, "Cook's Illustrated: discuss" with no link and it would have gone about the same.

It's not enough to just consider that plate of beans, it has to be the best plate of beans.

Tomato or mollases? Pancetta or salt pork? Navy or turtle? So many questions!
posted by bonehead at 6:23 PM on March 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


it becomes clear that the xtranormal treatment pretty consistently makes for a worse content-consumption experience than just reading the transcript that somebody dumped into the xtranormal toolset. It strips all the affect and dynamism out of the source text, and makes it take a lot longer to get through.
...
Idealogues trying to disguise a rant by putting it in the mouths of computerized cartoon characters aren't fooling anyone and are, again, shooting themselves in the foot. It's a clever concept but hard to do anything useful with in practice, and we've had a number of posts where people were for I think understandable reasons just not digging "here is a slowly-paced static affectless animation of a piece of text"


I cannot agree with this hard enough. If someone has a dialogue they really want to share in audiovisual format, I really wish they'd record their voice and sync it to even the most shittily-drawn static images, a la Brad Neely.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:24 PM on March 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


lazaruslong, I'd love to favorite that awesome build-up, but really? That's the hill you choose to gird your loins to die on? Even when it's so obviously wrong?

Mee Fie for life.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:24 PM on March 1, 2012


What is xtranormal?
I thought that was just a really cute video about the complexity of CI recipes.

Which I forwarded to my father, who may or may not appreciate it, given that fact that when I helped him make brownies after his knee replacement surgeries last November he made me divvy up the butter and brown half of it (only!), and mix that in seperately and blend the batter for 30 seconds, rest for 60, blend 30, rest 60, blend 30 or some godawful nonsense like that because yes, "They tested it!"
posted by SLC Mom at 6:26 PM on March 1, 2012


Yeah, I didn't even know this was a thing either until this MeTa. The more I know!

And last I checked, languagehat says Meh Fee. What's good enough for LH is good enough for me! The other way sounds ugly to me, but you know, provincial narrow-minded prescriptivism or something...
posted by ifjuly at 6:28 PM on March 1, 2012


I'm a little behind: I saw the post, saw that it was some played-out xtranormal bullshit (not quite saved by the Cooks Illustrated aspect IMHO), flagged it, and THEN saw this MeTa.
posted by exogenous at 6:43 PM on March 1, 2012


it becomes clear that the xtranormal treatment pretty consistently makes for a worse content-consumption experience than just reading the transcript that somebody dumped into the xtranormal toolset. It strips all the affect and dynamism out of the source text, and makes it take a lot longer to get through.

The short bits of Krapp's Last Tape and Waiting for Godot (with a very cheerful "let's hang ourselves immediately!") that I and a friend made way back in the early days of xtranormal beg to differ.

(Sadly, they are no longer available.)
posted by kenko at 6:46 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


You guys are wimps! When I worked at the Very Big Pharmaceutical Company of America I had to take annual Blood Borne Pathogens training to remind me that I should not take sharp objects that might potentially be contaminated with any number of horrible pathogens and stab myself repeatedly in the thigh. It was loooong and it didn't change from year to year but what really makes it stand out in my mind is that their text to speech engine (which they probably payed a giant pile of money for) made Xtranormal sound like some sort of Voltronesque assembly of James Earl Jones, Richard Burton, Laurence Ollivier, Sidney Poitier and Orson Wells.

I usually put it off until the very end of the day because I knew I was going to have trouble parsing speech for about two hours afterwards.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:47 PM on March 1, 2012


Also those jazz robots videos were pretty funny.
posted by kenko at 6:50 PM on March 1, 2012


My god, that video was as unfunny as User Friendly.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:16 PM on March 1, 2012


I saw one before about teacher education stuff/policies and I thought the voices, monotony and ridiculousness of it was made especially for education workers. Apparently I was wrong.
posted by bquarters at 7:18 PM on March 1, 2012


lazaruslong: "Everyone who says "MehFee", leave the room now.
posted by Horace Rumpole


Today is my Day. I die on this hill.

MehFee is a perfectly cromulent pro-nounce-iation.
"

*Stands shoulder-to-shoulder with lazaruslong*
posted by dg at 7:44 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


We shall not quaver, nor falter, nor fail at the cusp. Strength through unity.

though we may break for a cupper
posted by lazaruslong at 8:03 PM on March 1, 2012


Ze Frank raised raised 100k in a day on Kickstarter and is bringing back The Show. I find this about as cool as a kitten that knows the Mandarin alphabet, but since there's nothing but the Kickstarter project yet there really isn't anything other to link to.

Everything else aside that fact that if the man came up with another 9 projects as successful as this one he'd be a millionaire. He also has over a week to go.

In short, I think if the point of the post is, "Throw money at these people," then it's shitty, but if it's "Holy shit, look at this thing" or "Holy shit, people are piling the cash in one place to see if we can put a monolith on the fucking moon!" then it's a different post.

In short, I think the No Kickstarter rule sucks. Seriously, after metafilter it's where I find the best stuff on the internet to look at.

In other news, this didn't get funded.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:14 PM on March 1, 2012


lazaruslong: "though we may break for a cupper"

I think that should be 'cuppa'
posted by dg at 8:22 PM on March 1, 2012


The problem as far as it does exist with xtranormal stuff is that at a glance it looks cute ("oh, ha, it's animated and there's speech synthesis") but after the first five minutes of exposure to it it becomes clear that the xtranormal treatment pretty consistently makes for a worse content-consumption experience than just reading the transcript that somebody dumped into the xtranormal toolset.

So essentially it's like a TED talk, except the speakers have slightly more charisma.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:36 PM on March 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have no idea what you people are talking about. What is an 'xtranormal post'?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:39 PM on March 1, 2012


Everything else aside that fact that if the man came up with another 9 projects as successful as this one he'd be a millionaire. He also has over a week to go.

Over and above all the other problems with using the MeFi as a funraising tool by proxy, "Let's promote people who already vastly successful and ignore those who really need the help" continues to be not my favorite bit of human nature.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:39 PM on March 1, 2012


Yeah, a cupper would be someone who's job it is to cup things.

The fact that my train of thought goes straight from there to a nutsack joke probably says something about my personal character.

posted by nebulawindphone at 8:41 PM on March 1, 2012


I mean, I can never remember who "Ze Frank" is, but if his work does something for you, that's cool. But if we're going to talk about him simply on the basis of how much money he convinced people to give over the internet, we might as well link to that girl who was begging for money to pay off her credit card bills like 10 years ago. At least she was doing it way before anyone else.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:43 PM on March 1, 2012


The fact that my train of thought goes straight from there to a nutsack joke probably says something about my personal character.

I was on that train.
posted by sweetkid at 8:52 PM on March 1, 2012


Hooray! Party on the nutsack train!
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:09 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


For the obtuse and google-inhibited... this is xtranormal.
posted by crunchland at 9:10 PM on March 1, 2012


Oh, I meant we may break to interact with one who's profession is to cradle various and sundry scrotum. I see you all were thinking tea or coffee? Weird. Must be a cultural thing.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:20 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


lazaruslong: "one who's profession is to cradle various and sundry scrotum"

I think you meant to say 'scrota' or 'scrotums' ;-). I did mean to add earlier that the pronunciation of both 'cupper' and 'cuppa' are the same, so at least we don't have to argue about that.
posted by dg at 9:27 PM on March 1, 2012


stavrosthewonderchicken: "I have no idea what you people are talking about. What is an 'xtranormal post'?"

I don't know anything about xtranormal. The people that matter are talking about scrotums. Please try and keep up.
posted by dg at 9:29 PM on March 1, 2012


I think you mean 'scrotopodes'.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:51 PM on March 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


For the obtuse and google-inhibited

I have been called many things over the years, but those... those are the sweetest. I love you too, crunchy, you grumpy old bastard, you.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:09 AM on March 2, 2012


Best not to read too much literalness into deletion reasons

I process text literally as a matter of course, and treat nonliteral text as a filter on top of it. That means literalness isn't actually something I can read into anything. I was under the impression that it was the default.

If you just mean: deletion reasons are written off the cuff and can't be assumed to reflect policy even if they look like it, OK.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:40 AM on March 2, 2012


Despite its fearsome reputation and alarming appearance, the giant scrotopus is a shy and gentle creature.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:12 AM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


So would this be a good FPP?
posted by TedW at 6:31 AM on March 2, 2012


I'm totally gonna start pronouncing "FWIW" as "fweewoo."
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:08 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you just mean: deletion reasons are written off the cuff and can't be assumed to reflect policy even if they look like it, OK.

Basically yeah. If you need to know what the policy is, check the FAQ. If you need to know the way the pendulum is swinging on particular issues you can get a sense of that by reading deletion reasons which are mostly intended to be "This is why we deleted this particular post" and not "Here is a new policy we are setting and we expect you to be able to read these to get an idea of what is and is not okay." So we get a bunch of post on a similar topic or meme and at some point MeFi reaches its saturation point and we'll say "Deleted as being single-link tumblrblog" for another example. Doesn't mean Tumblr blogs are against the rules forever as much as we've seen too many of them for the moment.

And honestly I would not have used the word "policy" if I knew it was going to come up in MeTa six months later and I'll be more careful about that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:42 AM on March 2, 2012


I'm totally gonna start pronouncing "FWIW" as "fweewoo."

fweewuh.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:41 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


> If you need to know the way the pendulum is swinging on particular issues you can get a sense of that by reading deletion reasons

I have a question about this, born more out of idle curiosity and hypotheticals than anything serious. Say I had wanted to see what Mefi thought of Xtranormal and that might've saved me from doing the OP (it wouldn't have in this case because I didn't even know Xtranormal was a thing, let alone that it'd been dismissed here, but let's just say), and I tried to do searches for it to see if Xtranormal gets deleted a lot, or mentioned in deletion reasons. Is that really possible? I know about the Greasemonkey script to let you see deleted posts on the front page, and I know there was a blog for a while (maybe still is?), but those posts don't come up in on-site or Google searches, do they? So how could a person try to get a sense of whether X gets deleted a lot for being X via deletion reasons? Is there a way to search for that?
posted by ifjuly at 11:22 AM on March 2, 2012


Oh my gosh I'm dumb. As soon as I hit post I remembered this MeTa was posted indicating the problem via InfoDumpster search. Whoops. Oh-kay, now I see.
posted by ifjuly at 11:24 AM on March 2, 2012


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