A IRL project, based upon Metafilter postings. July 18, 2014 2:50 PM   Subscribe

Ok, so I work for a Public Access television station. I am finally getting to the point where I have time, and a possible team of people to help me produce my own show for our channels. While brainstorming for ideas, or whenever I am just out walking and thinking to myself, I often find myself mulling over the many myriad of things that I have learned over the years of reading Metafilter, and how much I can definitely credit the users of Metafilter for enlightening me on many subjects that are often either overlooked in the mainstream media, or are contentious current social issues that many times require them to be unpacked and explained through either individual personal experience, or through often very engaging discussions with participants from all walks of life, many times with input from actual experts in the subjects that are discussed. So my idea was to make each show based around some of the fantastic posts that I have found on Metafilter, and I would like to use some of the information that users have provided.

The tricky part is that I want to do this completely openly, with source attribution to the original posters comments, with full crediting, and even possible IRL interviews with some of the members, if they are willing to be involved. I reviewed the FAQ, and the copyright sections states:

Who owns the copyright on MetaFilter content?
On the footer of every MetaFilter page is: © 1999-2014 MetaFilter Network Inc. All posts are © their original authors. What this means is that people own their own content. So if you wanted to publish a book of your own MetaFilter comments, you could. However if you wanted to publish a book of other people's MetaFilter comments you'd need to speak with those individual users; MetaFilter is not the owner of the copyright of that content. People have, however, granted MetaFilter the right to display their comments. MetaFilter will generally go after websites that are making wholsale reproductions of MetaFilter content, but limited content quoting is considered fair use and will be treated as such.

So, while it's great that fair use is fine and dandy for the most part, I would much rather not have people find out that their words are being broadcast outside of metafilter without their permission, so I would like to ask what people feel would be the most comfortable way for me to approach people about using their content/comments, again, giving full attribution to the sources. I know many people would rather not have things they have said be reused by other people, and if I were to contact someone and they either do not respond to a MeMail (or other direct contact if they provide such on their profile page) or respond that they would not like to be included, I am fine with simply not using their content.

The purpose of the shows will mostly be to highlight some of the subjects and explanations of interesting things (to me, at least), such as the concept of "Ask versus Guess culture", as one prime example, or concepts revolving around the online debates of feminism, social justice issues, marginalized communities, the lived experiences of various marginalized cultures, etc., etc.

I do not want to be invasive of anyone's privacy, nor do I wish to distort anyone's words in an out of context manner, so that is why I am asking to contact individuals for permission to use their comments and possibly to set up interviews if the subjects warrant them.

This will not be something that will happen overnight, and I figure that as it is my first time doing anything of this nature, it may be a little amateur seeming for the first few subjects I will attempt to tackle, but my hope is to try and bring some of the great things I've learned here on Metafilter and through the community that it has created to a wider audience.
posted by daq to MetaFilter-Related at 2:50 PM (18 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Sounds like a cool project.

Yeah, contacting users via MeFi Mail and/or email will be the time-consuming tricky part, you might want to contact them via social sites if they have those in their profile as well (twitter, fb message, etc) if they don't respond.

I'd love to see a show around that whole notion of ask vs. guess culture, it's still a fascinating phenomena that every time I tell people new to it about it, they invariably fall into one of those two camps.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:52 PM on July 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

Oh, forgot to mention:
The videos will be broadcast in the Portland, OR Comcast cable system for their first runs, but in about 6 months to a year, we will be setting up full Youtube integration and video on demand, so they will be viewable worldwide after that roll out.
posted by daq at 3:10 PM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I do research with people who post to online forums (not Metafilter).

I think it is best to contact everyone that you plan on speaking about directly via Memail. The worst part about this is that some users don't have MeMail, some don't check the site, some are no longer here, etc.

Ethically speaking, I think it's best to err on the side of not using awesome content if you can't get explicit permission, even if that is practically frustrating.

Contact me if you'd like some pointers to academic resources about how to do research on online subjects in an ethical way. There's actually a fair amount of debate about this, and although I know you are not doing research, the discussions that have taken place in academia apply to your work, I think.
posted by sockermom at 4:24 PM on July 18, 2014 [5 favorites]

This seems like a pain in the butt. Just quote people, say "one Metafilter user says.." And then quote it. It's entirely fair use and this site is publically available.

Actually your best bet is just to quote me on every subject. I'm usually the smartest one anyway. I'm a smarty party.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:21 PM on July 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

But if you're just going to read comments from Ask or FFPs--maybe not very interesting TV--more like radio. Could you see if the askers/posters/commenters would be interested in discussing their posts/answers with you via Skype or FaceTime? Or will you have in studio guests?
posted by Ideefixe at 10:11 PM on July 18, 2014

I hereby give you permission to use any of my comments or answers as long as they are not being used for profit. I would consider its use in a for profit manner if I was paid some nominal amount. I accept bitcoins and chocolate ice cream cones as tender.
posted by 724A at 7:11 AM on July 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

The shows on PBS Digital do this a lot and I'm not sure the people they quote are always aware.

I give you blanket permission to quote me.
posted by divabat at 11:06 AM on July 19, 2014

I'd be happy to help try to pull things together in terms of organizing meta themes, and am fine with my words being used with attribution. My feedback strengths include complicated language skills and a decent ability to keep intersectionality of social justice areas in mind (weakest area: class).
posted by Deoridhe at 1:10 PM on July 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you want to quote one of my comments, that's fine. I only ask that if you do want to do so, you quote all of the comments I have ever made on metafilter, so nothing is taken out of context.
posted by snofoam at 7:13 PM on July 19, 2014

I would watch a show like this (and my tv has only been used for the World Cup since the presidential election night.)

I think just having an expert or two to discuss the ideas would be good. even non-mefites would work if they read the thread first.

Best would be those threads where the expert happens to show up and tell us all we're being idiots. Get that person!
posted by ctmf at 8:25 PM on July 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I hereby give you permission to use any of my comments or answers as long as they are not being used for profit. I would consider its use in a for profit manner if I was paid some nominal amount. I accept bitcoins and chocolate ice cream cones as tender.

Same here. If it's for profit it seems like you should at least shoot something minor to the original guy, but not-for-profit, well, at least in my case, feel free to use any MeFi stuff I've posted.
posted by JHarris at 8:02 PM on July 20, 2014


What a cool idea. I accept attribution for anything posted to my handle as compensation since this is a publicly published community on the internet.

Rock on.
posted by jbenben at 10:44 PM on July 20, 2014

An IRL project...

(Good luck with it, and echoing the granting of blanket permission to use any of my words!)
posted by Dysk at 4:01 AM on July 21, 2014

Thanks for the offer, I will most definitely attempt to contact you to get as much info on ethical ways to approach the this project. As much as possible, I want to avoid the horrible snafu's of many media projects I have seen in the past where they figure "it's easier to ask forgiveness than permissions", which always struck me as a dumb way to go about doing things. As a non-academic project, I would still like to be as "clean" in my approach so as to make sure any participants are not left feeling like their words are used in a manner in which they do not feel comfortable.
posted by daq at 11:30 AM on July 21, 2014

Actually, for the most part, I really just want to use some comments as starting points for examining social phenomena, with the possibility of using those comments in their entirety as many times they are the most succinct, or even possibly the clearest and most cogent explinations of things that I have been able to find.

It will definitely not be a case of just reading the comment out loud on video, but instead an attempt to dig into each subject and try to create a cogent explanation of things, especially ideas or subjects that are not a part of mainstream media conversations.

I also hope to avoid the typical "talking heads explaining things to you" trope, but that may take some time to work out creatively.
posted by daq at 11:34 AM on July 21, 2014

Awesome. I am definitely looking for input, especially from people who have more experience with many of the subjects I am attempting to cover. I have already talked to my neighbor, who is a sociologist, and she has given me a lot of pointers as well, but the more input I can get, the better I hope to be able to do this (though, I will still abide by Dunbar's number, as I am only one human, and this is something I am doing as a 'free time' project, on top of my normal work schedule).
posted by daq at 11:37 AM on July 21, 2014

Have you thought about working up the MeFi podcast into something that could be broadcast more widely?

I think that mathowie, cortex and jessamyn are a great team of presenters.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:54 AM on July 28, 2014

My immediate reaction (note: reaction, not response) to that is "Ugh, no." The podcast is great the way it is, and expanding it or changing format or trying to seek out a larger (non-MeFite) audience would be certain to change it.
posted by Lexica at 10:14 AM on July 28, 2014

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