a 'news-oriented weblog' May 29, 2002 9:52 PM   Subscribe

While Googling around, I found this project, done by someone at Berkeley, using a Metafilter thread to point out various types of 'audience'. It seems to have been done to fulfill one of the assignments in this course, whose professor calls Metafilter a 'news-oriented weblog' in the syllabus (scroll down near the end of the page). Are you a "Sharer of News"? An "Idea Generator"? A "Quoter"? Or could you be a "Contrarian", or perhaps a "Humorist/Summarist"?
posted by evanizer to MetaFilter-Related at 9:52 PM (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I don't know about everyone else, but I am suddenly overcome with "post-paralysis", at the sudden realization that I am also one of the lab rats on display. Yeah, we all know (or we should know) that everyone in the world can see what we type (in whatever state of mind we happen to be in at the time) but to have that fact so clearly brought out, and then to be actually analyzed, and categorized .....

* whistles in the dark, exits without committing *
posted by yhbc at 10:08 PM on May 29, 2002


That MetaFilter is externally perceived as "news-oriented" is more disturbing to me than the tin-pot psychology sorting exercise itself.
posted by majick at 10:11 PM on May 29, 2002


One.louder.ash! wrote an in-depth piece on MetaFilter linguistics and the MetaFilter Community at large for his BA in English - he refers to many users and specific posts and the whole dissection is really interesting (the link is on his userpage). I wonder if these sorts of papers prompt the professors to come here and have a look-see.
posted by iconomy at 10:13 PM on May 29, 2002 [1 favorite]


I think, in answer to evanizer's question, that any one of us who has been an active audience participator, to use hodder's term, has been all of the above. It kind of depends on the mood, the day, the topic, etc. Too bad that hodder didn't have a term for the MeTa Photoshoppers, who displayed some of their finest work in this thread. I'm still ROTFL on that one :). And thanks for that great link, iconomy - I never realized until reading one.louder.ash's paper just how well and thoroughly MeFi has been scrutinized.
posted by Lynsey at 10:54 PM on May 29, 2002


to have that fact so clearly brought out and perceived as "news-oriented" is more disturbing

When living in a fantasy world, exposre to the truth hurts.

posted by mischief at 5:06 AM on May 30, 2002


Those frightened, confused or altogether saddened by the notion that every post in a thread is subject to this sort of uber-exegesis underestimate the MeFi pool of readership and the level of reading and examination applied to any given post. In addition to the staunch participants, what some MeFi detractors would say "the usual gang of idiots," there are the lurkers. Who could possibly gauge precisely how they look upon each particular thread? And, for that matter, who could possibly account for every unique reading style, mental classification or wholesale abandonment of particular sentences? Who could weigh the level of detail? Some threads may be read and reread, masticated upon in the mind and then either summarily dismissed or pragmatically considered. Still others will be given a glance and ripped out of the reader's mind like pages in a magazine.
posted by ed at 7:09 AM on May 30, 2002


Mischief: Nice troll.
What the hell are you talking about? Metafilter isn't anything-oriented. People post stuff here. Sometimes it gets skewed towards news, sometimes not.
The occasional flood of news postings has been complained about many times. The usual result of these discussions is that people post stuff here, and that sometimes it gets skewed towards news. How does any of that constitute MeFi being news-oriented? That would suggest it were to the exclusion of other topics, like, oh say...pictures of kitties.
Well, there's the professor's word.

Who is he? How long has he been a reader(ideally, participant)? Let's say, for example, that he is a user. Clusters have been identified here previously. If he is one of the people who tends to stick to the news items posted, then it would be easy for him to assume and say that MeFi was news-oriented. Doesn't mean the observation is correct.
It's no more correct to assume MeFi's purpose from one person's opinion(okay, except for Matt, but how many times has he actually used that power?) than it is to guess at a person's role from their actions in a single thread(Second part answering Evanizer's question. I realize the paper deals with archetypes).
But sure, I'm generally a contrarian.

Funny enough, the post the project deals with doesn't point to a news item at all, but to the site belonging directly to the person behind the art project being discussed. Neither does that site point to any news sources.

And what Ed said.

For the curious, this project by Warren Sack, the professor of the course this paper was for, is really interesting. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get any of the groups to work.
posted by Su at 9:03 AM on May 30, 2002


[blush]aww...y'all...[/blush]

I don't know about how this person felt, but as I was doing my research (and I selected MeFi, as I had been familiar with it before and wanted to explore the dynamics of a large group weblog, as opposed to a professor choosing it for me), it kept getting harder and harder for me to consider myself a active participant, and easier to be an outside observer, which isn't what I wanted to happen at all...then again, when I started studying MeFi, it was quite a bit smaller, and it seemed a little harder to break into the group.

Something else that I was quite aware of while writing that series of papers was that I did not want to alert anyone to my work until it was long in the past, because I was trying to minimize my interference, for what that was worth.

On-Topic: These roles are in constant flux (unless your name is Settle), and anyone who participates in enough threads here will eventually assume most of these roles, because the roles only serve to describe the interactivity in one thread. The way each user acts in any given thread depends on context (who's in the discussion) and content (what's going on in the discussion).

I don't know if I could stomach it at this point, but I think it'd be pretty interesting if someone looked at the evolution of I/P threads, and the fact that even though I/P threads are largely despised by the more vocal members of the community, there were still periods of time where we were getting 2 or more links a day to related topics, and those threads were getting comments in the double digits.
posted by one.louder.ash! at 10:47 AM on May 30, 2002 [1 favorite]


"there are the lurkers"...and there are the moles. Nice find, Evanizer.
posted by Mack Twain at 10:56 AM on May 30, 2002


OLA, I think you did a fantastic job, both in your roles as lurker and as MeFi quantifier. I hope you got a good grade.
posted by Lynsey at 11:22 AM on May 30, 2002


underestimate the MeFi pool of readership

From Matt:

Users logged in during the last month: 2674
logged in during the last week: 2133

From the access logs:

Distinct hosts served in the past month: 189,053
past week: 55,968

Draw your own conclusions...

posted by vacapinta at 11:24 AM on May 30, 2002


Draw your own conclusions...

Wow, each MeFite uses an average of 26 computers per week to access the site. I'd better find 24 more to use this week...
posted by andrewraff at 11:54 AM on May 30, 2002


Regarding MeFi not being a news-oriented site....

I disagree. It's a news site; maybe not the most mainstream of news, but a news site nonetheless. We basically cover all the things you might see on CNN/MSN (political, financial, entertainment, heartwarming kitty), but with an emphasis on tech/web highlights or stories.
posted by jennak at 12:12 PM on May 30, 2002


Mefi is as much a news-centric site as Fark is a political weblog... oh, wait.
posted by mkn at 12:54 PM on May 30, 2002


The "issues of the day" (news) posts garner a lot more interest and comments than the "look at this cool little website I found" (features) posts do, generally. When I first started my lurking days at MetaFilter, there was barely a news post; the slant was towards sharing interesting apps and websites and weblogs and design sites that people found in their surfing travels. Now it seems that people just scan CNN and the New York Times for something that looks ripe for the picking. There isn't really that thrill of discovery much anymore, but it has been replaced by a lot of good conversation and in-depth discussion.

People that take exception to MetaFilter being called news-oriented should post some non-newsy links of interest, just to balance things out a bit. I do my part.
posted by iconomy at 2:30 PM on May 30, 2002


Jenna: So you're saying that the news aspect of Metafilter overrides everything else that gets posted? Or that those other topics somehow get absorbed into news? I suppose, if you use the secondary meaning of "new information of any kind," then yes, everything everywhere is new to somebody somewhere.
What I've found to be the general standard of usage for "news" relates to the reporting of current events.

A lot of the non-CNN/NYT/etc links that get posted here are not new at all, but have just not been widely discovered. But I suppose that archaelogy also gets reported on the news from time to time, too, so maybe I should just give up.
posted by Su at 2:43 PM on May 30, 2002


Ah, tropes - we are Flame Warriors all (save the artist from the communists, go on..). We should have an extra field in our profile for what we think we are, free form like our gender (um, you know what I mean :)
posted by Mossy at 3:44 PM on May 30, 2002


Su, I think that conversation map thingo you mentioned is nonfunctional because it's still trying to use DejaNews (now subsumed into Google, of course) as its datasource. I'd like to see it in action, too.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:45 PM on May 30, 2002


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