Writing for the blue. August 15, 2013 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Once upon a time I read a guide to writing for the blue by a fellow MeFite who is known for excellent posts and describes researching a topic after stumbling upon an idea for a blue post and making sure it's not already posted. It's very thoughtful, well written and detailed. Further, it describes how to achieve those three things in a blue post. It's not in the wiki and I haven't been able to find it in Google. Can someone help me find this?
posted by brokeaspoke to MetaFilter-Related at 1:25 PM (22 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

This was the crunchland method (some traces here) and I seem to recall that crunchland removed it from his profile page at some point and has since closed his account. There are some other good tips on writing a good post on this page on the wiki. I'm not sure if there's an archival version of it anyplace since the profile pages aren't indexed.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:29 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Are you referring to filthy light thief's guide to making detailed posts?
posted by Turkey Glue at 1:31 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm pretty sure it wasn't crunchland's method. I read the wiki page you linked to and that's not what I'm remembering (nor any of the links within that page.)
posted by brokeaspoke at 1:36 PM on August 15, 2013

Hmm if it's not that or flt's comment I think I recall that zarq has made some similar comments, maybe someone can remember a specific one?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:45 PM on August 15, 2013

flt's method is much more in the direction I am (vaguely) recalling (and just might be the one). In my (often faulty) memory the description of the method was longer and held up to be quite an example even though there's no sure fire way to make a great (or even good) blue post. I made sure to favorite flt's method. I'll search through zarq's voluminous output.
posted by brokeaspoke at 1:59 PM on August 15, 2013

Just memail him.
posted by bearwife at 2:15 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I could have sworn there was a MetaTalk thread about making posts where folks tried to outline their "methods," and I'm pretty sure zarq posted there. I thought I elaborated on my semi-cheeky guide that was linked above, but I can't find it at the moment.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:35 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

flt, your method is great and succinctly written. Impressive even.

Like you, I seem to remember a MetaTalk post on this topic. Thanks. I feel a little less crazy.
posted by brokeaspoke at 2:44 PM on August 15, 2013

Thanks! And I'm glad to settle your mind a bit!

Now if someone would only verify my memory of shorts I wore as a kid in the '90s, which had an extra tuxedo-like "tail" on the bottom of each leg, making them longer in the back.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:01 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Eh, it's a website not a review board. Find a interesting link, post it. Don't over think it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:33 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Not the same thing, but asked on here when a newbie for advice on writing FPPs, and got some useful advice and tips back. Especially thought-provoking replies from restless_nomad, hippybear, griphus, miko and jessamyn. Also asked about why people posted to the blue, motivations and the like, which may be of use.
posted by Wordshore at 4:14 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Eh, it's a website not a review board. Find a interesting link, post it. Don't over think it.

Maybe, but I am listing every one of my comments that has more than 50 favorites as a peer-reviewed publication when it comes time to put together my tenure portfolio.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:16 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

I think you are looking for the Meatbomb Codex. It is... inscrutable.
posted by Mister_A at 8:09 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Meatbomb Codex is my favorite dadaist airport novel.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 9:38 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Here's why Crunchland took the method off his profile:
"Yup, there used to be more on crunchland's profile, it's gone now. -- Yeah, sorry about that. While I'm flattered that people still are inclined to refer to what was there, I decided that my method for making front page posts was really out-of-date and invalid, since it relied so heavily on link blogs, which have become rare. I also came to the conclusion that it was probably not a good idea to endorse the practice of serial posting, which may have been ok five years ago, it's not necessarily great to post every single day any more. I managed to do it for a stretch of time -- nearly a year, I think -- but looking back, not every single post I made was completely stellar, and I was posting for the sake of posting, and not posting really good stuff."
posted by crunchland at 5:20 PM on March 28, 2011 [+] [!]
filthy light thief: "I could have sworn there was a MetaTalk thread about making posts where folks tried to outline their "methods," and I'm pretty sure zarq posted there."

I vaguely remember something like that. But for the life of me I can't find it.

Over time what I personally consider post-worthy has changed, and my posting style has too. I do try to learn and adapt to comment feedback (and the occasional meta callout) and have also been (mostly, lately) trying not to link to inflammatory content that could turn a thread into a flamewar. Not always successful at the latter, but am trying.

brokeaspoke, I am happy to talk about how I find content and create FPPs if you're interested, but I suspect it would bore you and everyone else to tears. Also, a decent number of my posts have received negative feedback so it would probably be a good idea to keep that in mind and take anything I might offer with a grain of salt. ;)
posted by zarq at 11:13 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I know this is wrong, very wrong, filthy light thief, but here is what happens when you google "shorts with mud flaps."
posted by maggieb at 11:47 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have ideas for some posts and I want to be a bit less of a lurker while not posting for the sake of posting. I don't want to over think it (though over thinking IS a strong suit of mine). I know what I like to read when I see it. I'm not looking for *rules* but guidelines from which I'll pick and choose and craft my own posts in my own style. Frankly, I'm interested in processes in general. It's part of what I do for a living (this is where over thinking as a strong suit comes into usefulness for me).

zarq, I'd love to hear/read more (if and when you have the time). filthy light thief has a great set of guidelines and I'll read more from the links others have provided. I'll read anything others want to contribute to the discussion.

Also, thanks to all of you who have already weighed in.
posted by brokeaspoke at 7:01 AM on August 16, 2013

There have been a number of MeTa posts about posting. A neat one was the joy of FPPing, in which Wordshore asked why people made posts. People talked about their first posts, and more prolific posters generally agree that there's less second-guessing as you post more. Make enough posts, and some are bound to get deleted as doubles, or because they're not a good fit for MetaFilter.

The cardinal rule, for me, is don't bury the lede. If you do make post(s) that go below the fold, make sure there's enough above to tell the story, or at least provide a good overview. Many times, people don't really read what's below the fold, either by skipping the links, or not really paying attention to the extra text.

From my time reading MetaTalk posts about making posts (and my time making posts, seeing how they're discussed, and generally thinking about posts), most people don't like "linkdumps" that are overly dense, though there is general appreciation for thorough posts. I'll keep making extensive posts, as my time allows, but I'm trying to prune back the number of links, and keep the general length of the posts manageable.

If you find a topic that you think is suitable for multiple links, make sure each link is worth-while. Don't add more links to make it look like a better researched piece. Folks generally don't read through a ton of links. Also, make sure the link text is accurate and descriptive enough that there's no surprise when someone does read the linked material.

I mention stupidsexyFlanders post on The Harry and Bess Truman Ex-Presidential Road Trip in my profile as my personal pinnacle of a good multi-link post. There are only 8 links, and they're all good, relating to the topic at hand. But if you're going to make a really exhaustive, long post, make sure the formatting makes it easy to read. I really like hippybear's Art of Noise bio post, for how he used blockquotes, section headers, and other formatting to break up what would otherwise be more than 50 paragraphs of text.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:44 AM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

Wow! That Art of Noise post by hippybear (thanks, filthy light thief) is quite extraordinary (and comprehensive). Less than two years old so most of the links will still work, and that's an entire evenings web browsing in the near future taken care of. And as the product of the craft of post construction, a finished sculpture to aspire to.

Personally, I often find the process of doing an FPP fascinating in itself (possibly as am from an Information Science, and subject-based resource cataloguing, background). There's an oddly Taoist feel to carving out a satisfying post from the raw, often imperfect, materials which appear online. But am still feeling quite new to, and amateur in, constructing good MetaFilter posts (not a problem, as learning and improving is in itself a deeply satisfying activity). Wrote a bit about the process of the difficult Sandy Hook post previously.

In wishful mode, I'd immediately sign up for a MetaFilter Post Construction Summer School (online or IRL, formal or informal), if such a thing came to be. Even better, a MOOC on post construction and online resource description, run by e.g. Cortex and Jessamyn and others who consistently produce well-crafted FPPs, would be a most fabulous thing.
posted by Wordshore at 8:36 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Filthy Light Thief, you have made my day.

First, I rather appreciate your further input. A quick glance shows these to be very well executed posts. I'll go headlong into that rabbit hole.

Secondly, I hadn't yet seen hippybear's Art of Noise bio post. How the hell did I miss that? AON is one of my all time favorite bands. I've been listening to them since just about day one. I'm also a fan and follower of all the former AON players. This is an EXCELLENT post.

The object is to make well crafted and researched FPPs. All of this will certainly help. Thanks.
posted by brokeaspoke at 8:41 AM on August 16, 2013

Wordshore, you're getting into longform post territory, and that's something that is generally rare on MetaFilter. There have been MetaTalk threads where the majority who comment are against these sort of posts. I would love to have a sub-site for long-form posts, but that's wishful thinking.

brokeaspoke, my pleasure (and FYI, my nick is all lower case - capitalization makes me feel too formal =) Also, don't stress over the craft and research of posts. As I mentioned, "long-form" posts are few and far between, and I think that's better for MetaFilter. I've had a bit of heartache in the past when one of my lengthy posts gets few comments, but I realize that's because I'm basically asking people to devote as much time to my post as I did, which is unfair and selfish on a community weblog site.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:53 AM on August 16, 2013

filthy light thief, I meant to use all lower case. Sorry about that. I tend to compose in a text editor and some how bungled it in the transition. I prefer my name in lower case as well. I tend to even put my real-life first name in lowercase on the web.

I speak of research and craft because I have a few ideas that:
1: I want to research anyway. MetaFilter aside, I'd like to hone my research and writing skills with topics that truly interest me on a day-to-day basis. Some of which I'm already researching in books as well as online resources.

2: I think could make nice FPPs even if I must distill them a bit for the blue. In my mind's eye I see a handful of long(ish) form posts and maybe many short form posts over time. What better long(ish) front page posts than something that truly interests me?

I don't want to post all the time for the sake of posting - we all know that when we see it.
posted by brokeaspoke at 9:50 AM on August 16, 2013

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