The Missing (single) Links March 2, 2012 2:04 PM   Subscribe

This "SL[blank]" convention is officially starting to annoy me, and I think MeFi may need some sort of system like FARK has. If the post is a single link the host website will automatically be displayed when the user hovers over the post, or it will be appended in a small font size. The whole "SL" thing I believe jumped the shark with this post. The link text is "The Guardian reinterprets the three little pigs", but for some reason the OP added "SLGuardian". Well yeah, obviously we can see that. I'm craving some standardization here.
posted by MattMangels to Feature Requests at 2:04 PM (66 comments total)

MattMangels: I think MeFi may need some sort of system like FARK has...

This part isn't going to win you any friends.
posted by gman at 2:05 PM on March 2, 2012 [20 favorites]


Isn't it enough say here that "the SL[blank] convention is annoying, and that if you do this in your post please note that you are an annoying person?"
posted by KokuRyu at 2:08 PM on March 2, 2012


I think maybe folks could just use the convention somewhat less. We do not need a system like FARK.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:08 PM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I agree that it is annoying. I disagree that we need to formalize it.
posted by empath at 2:10 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


MattMangels: “I'm craving some standardization here.”

It's really hard to get people in a community to standardize. Yeah, I can't stand the "SL" thingie either, but there's not much anybody can do to stop it. We've talked about it here and there in Metatalk, I think, but there's really no way to force a standard on a community without causing pointless hassle.

So I guess you can do what I do: every time something like this starts to really annoy you, just sigh and mutter to yourself, "well, that's the price of a open community where people can generally do what they want."

Or you can iron and fold your t-shirts. That usually helps cure my craving for standardization, too.
posted by koeselitz at 2:11 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's the Single part that's annoying. A warning that your link is going to auto start playing audio is simple politeness.
posted by Mitheral at 2:12 PM on March 2, 2012


It's the Single part that's annoying. A warning that your link is going to auto start playing audio is simple politeness.

But they already do that with the vimeo/youtube widget.
posted by empath at 2:13 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Does anyone else miss the days where every word in a post linked to something different?

I miss those days.
posted by Phredward at 2:13 PM on March 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


What I meant is that the user wouldn't have to do anything more; a simple script could be used on single-link posts to display the host website somewhere in an unobtrusive manner.

I get that a lot of people here hate FARK, and yeah their community might be obnoxious but their front page, in my opinion, works pretty well and maybe we could learn a thing or two from them.

That squirrel with the giant balls, however, we could certainly do without.
posted by MattMangels at 2:15 PM on March 2, 2012


It is, yeah, a loose convention that is not universally employed and doesn't have any sort of official site sanction. I would not mind if people used it less since I don't think it accomplishes much of anything.

But if it jumped the shark at some point it did so years ago when it was still relatively new. At this point it has landed on the far side of the shark, waterskied to shore, gotten an office job, worked for forty years, and retired to Florida.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:15 PM on March 2, 2012 [16 favorites]


Unrelated pony: Can we add the video icon to the mobile stylesheet? It's far more annoying to not know when a link is going to open up my YouTube app on the phone. Plus on the computer, there's a status bar that shows where the link heads. (And yes, I KNOW I can hold down on the link to see the destination, but do you really want to do that every time?)
posted by supercres at 2:16 PM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Fark's front page works well for Fark because they have a specific enforced homogeneity to the presentation of their posts. Which is fine for Fark, but doesn't really fit the Metafilter model at all, and a system that implemented some sort of additional rollover reveal only for the subset of posts that matched that single-link criteria would be needlessly confusing in its inconsistency.

Folks can mouseover/hover on links to figure out where they go if it's not clear from context. The presence or absence of the SLx thing is a red herring.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:18 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm craving some standardization here.

This may not be the place for you.
posted by .kobayashi. at 2:21 PM on March 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


I understand the SL convention to be an apology for a somewhat lame post.

SO THE REAL PROBLEM IS ALL THE POSTS DON'T HAVE IT HAHA.
posted by michaelh at 2:22 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


This will be my only comment in the thread [SCITT].
posted by mazola at 2:24 PM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Does anyone else miss the days where every word in a post linked to something different?


Or when every letter in a sentence linked to something.

What I meant is that the user wouldn't have to do anything more; a simple script could be used on single-link posts to display the host website somewhere in an unobtrusive manner.

Every browser I've used since NCSA Mosaic has had the ability to see where a link goes without actually having to commit to following it. One needs to only hover over the link in desktop OSes like Windows/OS X/Linux/OS2/etc or hold the link in iOS or Android. I would think that Windows Mobile, WebOS and BB have a similar method. There's no need to build a script that would actually break that functionality.

I have an extension that will show me the poster frame of YouTube links when I hover over it and in many cases I can tell if I've seen it before.

The whole calling out it is a single link part of the equation seems silly since if there's just one link, of course it is a single link.
posted by birdherder at 2:25 PM on March 2, 2012


I think cortex has adequately explained why this pony of mine will never gallop off into the sunset, so I guess this case is closed.

Unless you guys want to have a American/USian debate right here, right now? I love those. Seriously. Anyone wanna get the ball rolling?
posted by MattMangels at 2:28 PM on March 2, 2012


in my post yesterday (i've made 4 whole posts in 10 years! watch out!) i used the tag SLYT. i think that's useful because it's a fun tag to waste time to.
posted by nadawi at 2:39 PM on March 2, 2012


First, they came for my SL[...] tag, and I didn't speak out....
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 2:42 PM on March 2, 2012


That comment was definitely USian in nature.
posted by gman at 2:45 PM on March 2, 2012


and if you do this in your post please note that you are an annoying person

... to MattMangels, but not to me. I thought Single-Link anything wasn't considered beefy enough to warrant a posting to the blue, but this convention doesn't annoy me like the @-prefix some of you add to user names. (Yeah, I know, that's a convention from one of those other sites so popular these days, which I've never visited.)
posted by Rash at 2:47 PM on March 2, 2012


Wait, are we talking about using the "SL$_THING" tag on the tag sidebar or in the body of the post?
posted by elizardbits at 2:48 PM on March 2, 2012


We are talking about using it in the post itself. I think the convention itself is annoying, but I have nothing personally against people who use it. Love the sinner, hate the sin.
posted by MattMangels at 2:49 PM on March 2, 2012


I agree. The only real use for any SLwhatever tag is to put it in an fpp with TWO links... just to gleefully watch the smoke rise on the horizon when the anal retentives and OCD types (slwikipedia) try to deal with the cognitive disconnect it creates for them.
posted by HuronBob at 2:50 PM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


We've jumped the shark, so lets start being more like Fark. Yeah. Great idea.
posted by crunchland at 2:55 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like fuckin' Shakespeare, you are, crunchland.
posted by gman at 3:07 PM on March 2, 2012


Does anyone else miss the days where every word in a post linked to something different?

The first link that ever brought me TO Mefi was this post about the Mafia, and it confused the fuck out of me. What was it about? The Mafia, obviously. Was this whole site about the Mafia? Except if it was wouldn't like each family have a page or something, why just this one long page? So this site is probably not about the Mafia...right? But why are all these people SO JAZZED about this page about the Mafia? Is the Mafia of like particular interest to this site for some reason? Like, that one dude wants maps, so maybe it's some kind of Mafia project? That they're all working on together? Like a Mafia wiki? And that's why they're so excited about this, because there's so many links and it's like, "Woo-hoo, lookit all this Mafia knowledge in one place!"? And that's why there are all these additional links below the thing to like Mafia books and stuff? I don't know, people like all sorts of strange shit, I guess. But I don't like the Mafia. I'm kind of scared of them actually. I won't like this site. In fact, this site kind of scares me.

Obviously I could have figured stuff out if I clicked around, but I was SO CONFUSED I remember just closing the tab and running away, like, STOP TAUNTING THE MAFIA, GUYS!!! I DON'T WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS!
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:11 PM on March 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Does anyone else miss the days where every word in a post linked to something different?

No. Most of the time it was either bullshit showboating or 95% filler. Single link posts are better on average than multilink posts, and I will glass any motherfucker who says otherwise.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:12 PM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is going to be the hangout thread tonight, isn't it? There's always one meta thread going on a Friday that's moving for all us indoor kids.
posted by Think_Long at 3:15 PM on March 2, 2012


But they already do that with the vimeo/youtube widget.

What widget thing?
posted by Mitheral at 3:24 PM on March 2, 2012


You know how people preface questions by asking "Can I ask you a question?" Which is redundant and information-free but they do it anyway.

Or how they say "This isn't about money" when it's about money?

Or how they say "No offense, but you look like you got beat with an ugly stick," which is, you know, pretty offensive.

The issue is social anxiety. People feel that it's not acceptable to make single-links posts. So to deflect criticism they preemptively make the criticism themselves.

The real issue is that people will almost universally make a single-link complaint if this isn't done.
So please don't count the links in your posts, we're not blind. And please, don't make comments on the number of links in a post. It's not a quantity contest.
posted by GuyZero at 3:36 PM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think cortex has adequately explained why this pony of mine will never gallop off into the sunset, so I guess this case is closed.

Oh, no. You don't get off that easy.
posted by Trurl at 3:44 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mitheral: “What widget thing?”

The widget which allows you to play videos inside Metafilter, and which can be enabled by going to "Preferences" and checking the "YouTube & Vimeo video inline?" option. That way, there's a little "play" button next to Youtube and Vimeo links, so you already know what those links go to.
posted by koeselitz at 3:45 PM on March 2, 2012


I'm sorry, but The Slits were a terrible band.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:53 PM on March 2, 2012


Hey guys, Just stopped by to say whats up. Can't stay too long cuz I got another party to go to. My friend Drew is leaving for americorp in like a few days so we are having this going away party at this bar in Williamsburg. They have like all these great beers on tap and the bartender totally hooks us up because we are there like all the time. I think I spent like 20 bucks the last time I was there.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:57 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can we get a comprehensive list of pet peeves that posters need to keep up with? It's getting exhausting.
posted by absalom at 4:00 PM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


If it's a single link, I CAN FUCKING SEE IT'S A SINGLE LINK, OKAY?

You know what, fuck this. Just for consistancy's sake, I think every link should have an obligatory line of text underneath it, "The preceding is a link". But you know what? Too verbose. We should append TPIAL to every link.

Makes about as much sense.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:12 PM on March 2, 2012


TPIAR (The preceding is a rant)
posted by koeselitz at 4:15 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rash: I thought Single-Link anything wasn't considered beefy enough to warrant a posting to the blue

I have no idea how these people got their cats wedged into their scanners, or why.
posted by tzikeh at 4:58 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought Single-Link anything wasn't considered beefy enough to warrant a posting to the blue

I never understood this. I pretty much only read single-link posts. I rarely have the time for multi-link posts, and if there's no obvious contender for "main link", I'll typically skip it altogether.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:06 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Speaking of beefy I have this great beef stew reci... OUCH OW Hey, that hurts!
posted by Splunge at 5:15 PM on March 2, 2012


Can I ask a question? Yes, social anxiety ... I hope this is an ok place to ask. OK. I'm just gonna ask: What is this?: [...]

What is that? I see it a lot, and I Admit It. I can't figure it out!
posted by thinkpiece at 5:20 PM on March 2, 2012


That is an ellipsis in square brackets. You are probably seeing it on Recent Activity when someone's comment is longer than the character limit for displaying a comment in that view. The comment is abbreviated and [...] is tacked on at the point of abbreviation to indicate that there is more in the original thread.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:24 PM on March 2, 2012


Ellipsis.
posted by Splunge at 5:25 PM on March 2, 2012


Though I see that it was used in a comment in this very thread as a variable placeholder in the construction "SL[...]", which is a reasonably novel construct on mefi as far as I've seen and is maybe part of why you're asking.

Not that brackets aren't used to indicate placeholders sometimes; and ellipses get used for that sort of thing too. But that specific combination I don't think I've seen around much.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:27 PM on March 2, 2012


"If it's a single link, I CAN FUCKING SEE IT'S A SINGLE LINK, OKAY?"

Oh, RLY?
posted by HuronBob at 5:47 PM on March 2, 2012


That's right, yep, I thought I understood it, and then there it was, in this other odd way.
posted by thinkpiece at 5:57 PM on March 2, 2012


I'm sorry, but The Slits were a terrible band.

OH NO SHE DIDN'T
posted by mykescipark at 6:44 PM on March 2, 2012


I think MeFi may need some sort of system like FARK has

NOPE
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:46 PM on March 2, 2012


The thing that FARK does that I like is being able to assign a 'color' to certain posters. That way I know when I see a comment enshrined in that color, I don't even have to look at the username and remember who it is.

The more I can offload from my memory to the 'net, the better.

The single link thing? MeeFye doesn't need to adopt their practice of formatting links.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:31 PM on March 2, 2012

What is this?: [...]
Ooh! Ooh! I know this one! It's a dead one of these! [''']
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:21 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought Single-Link anything wasn't considered beefy enough to warrant a posting to the blue

I hope that idea never catches on. MeFi should be about good links, whether single or multiple. I've seen some posts where I think the OP tried to "beef up" the one really worthwhile link, and wound up diluting it with three more so-so to completely-pointless additional links. One excellent link is an excellent point, five mediocre links is a bad post. I have declared it. This is now the law of the Medes and the Persians.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:50 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Someone did "SLT" today, and since I was viewing it on my phone, I was so confused. Apparently it means Single Link Tumblr?

While it can be somewhat helpful for YouTube posts, it's otherwise pretty silly. A lot of posts on Metafilter are links to single articles, or to a "single" blog with many posts. I don't need to be warned that I only have only one link to click.
posted by mokin at 9:40 PM on March 2, 2012


This "SL[blank]" convention is officially starting to annoy me.
posted by MattMangels


Oh no, how can we officially prevent annoyance?
posted by Decani at 2:26 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I hope this is an ok place to ask. OK. I'm just gonna ask: What is this?"

That's also a convention for signaling a large elision in quoted material.

"Oh no, how can we officially prevent annoyance?"

I can think of a few methods.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:42 AM on March 3, 2012


The worst is when a post has like three links, and the last one is labeled [SLYT]. What? No. NO.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:26 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can we get a comprehensive list of pet peeves that posters need to keep up with?

Hi, guys. Hope this holiday season finds you well.

My pet peeve Steve has finally learned the 'roll over' command. He'll only do it if he sees the Beggin' Strip in my hand, though, so maybe it's more like he trained me, huh? My pet peeve Aleve always curls up with me in bed when I'm not feeling well and jumps up to lick my face when the alarm clock goes off. He's so sweet. My pet peeve Weave actually sleeps on top of my head! Unfortunately, my pet peeve Summer's Eve is still kind of a douche, but I love him.

Anyway, have a great new year and the peeves and I will see you at Easter.

xoxo,
-m.
posted by mintcake! at 8:53 AM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love when someone obviously has no idea what the SL is for. Like it says, SLyoutube, but it's a series of videos.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:22 PM on March 3, 2012


SSMC: Single-sentence Metafilter comment.
posted by rhizome at 1:27 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I used to sort of know how to write greasemonkey scripts, but maybe someone can write one that searches all the posts on the blue and uses some regex magic to look for "SLwhatever" and nix that bit of silliness. That would prevent my official annoyance.
posted by MattMangels at 2:09 PM on March 3, 2012


+100 fuck second life
posted by fleacircus at 2:15 PM on March 3, 2012


this map suxs
posted by rhizome at 5:42 PM on March 3, 2012


Boy. Is there nothing greasemonkey can't fix?
posted by crunchland at 5:53 PM on March 3, 2012


So instead of having just one puny link that everyone can skip reading and use as a jumping-off point for smartass comments, stale political invective, and narcissistic verbal showboating, we need to have several links that everyone can, etc. etc.

Got it.
posted by jason's_planet at 8:30 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


You guys are fighting the wrong fight right now. Cant you see burhanistan called the Slits a terrible band?! Prioritize, for chrissake!
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:21 PM on March 4, 2012


but for some reason the OP added "SLGuardian". Well yeah, obviously we can see that.

Nope. It's an ad. The link could have just as easily gone to BrandRepublic, Copyranter, Ad Age or any other site that comments on TV advertising.
posted by mippy at 2:49 AM on March 5, 2012


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