Two hundred tiny tweets? July 21, 2015 10:35 AM   Subscribe

The formatting of the story in the How I Quit Spin post drives me up the wall, and I propose that we should avoid linking to stories formatted that way on Metafilter.

The story itself is a not-altogether-uninteresting tale of a person trying to quit a job he doesn't like, but it is presented as a series of more than two hundred individual tweets.

Some of the tweets are duplicates. Some of the tweets are missing entirely. The page showing the tweets uses one of those "scroll down to load more" mechanisms, which doesn't seem to work reliably.

These formatting decisions make the story rather difficult to read, and I do not see that they add anything to the story over publishing it in a more conventional and easy-to-read format (e.g. a blog post).

My preference would be to discourage posting things formatted like this to Metafilter. But perhaps I am just a curmudgeon, so I would also like to hear what others think.
posted by Juffo-Wup to Etiquette/Policy at 10:35 AM (86 comments total)

is this a regular thing? or is it something experimental?

if the latter, well, it was experimental. maybe it failed. i'd wait to see if the idea catches on, before working up enough steam to ban it.
posted by andrewcooke at 10:39 AM on July 21, 2015


I also think it is annoying so I skipped it.
posted by lalex at 10:42 AM on July 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


I feel like it's becoming more common - that items of interest will be sequences of tweets, and the way to present these is a storify or similar. We've been seeing more of them on the blue, and as a personal preference, I also find that it gets to be unwieldy or even unreadable.

I'm hoping that there will be a new standard, of pulling the tweet texts together into a more readable format that doesn't insist on presenting each in the same visual style as a tweet with all the whitespace around it etc.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:43 AM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Eh, my approach is that, if I don't enjoy the linked content, I opt out of the thread and read something else. I do this for 99.9% of videos people use in FPPs -- I don't have 15 minute to sit through something I could read in 5. Unless it has some awesome cat antics.

I doubt that we need a rule, basically.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:43 AM on July 21, 2015 [27 favorites]


Banning this kind of thing seems like a major overreaction to me. Why not just give it a miss if you find it irritating? I don't understand why we'd ban an entire category of link wholesale because it's annoying for some people to scroll through. (FWIW, I had no trouble whatsoever with the scrolling. I happen to think the "Twitter slash essay" thing is kind of twee and I don't really care for it, so, yeah, I read a few of the Tweets and then skipped the rest. Kinda easy.)
posted by holborne at 10:44 AM on July 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


The existence of an ineptly formatted Storify page (and yeah, this one is bad, speaking as someone who usually doesn't have a problem with them) does not mean the site should be blanket-discouraged. I wouldn't be opposed to a "SLStorify" tag, though, as I can understand why some people would rather not try and parse them.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:45 AM on July 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


That formatting is profoundly annoying, I agree. No opinion on the policy question, but wow is that annoying.

Storify is great for "here's what happened on Twitter, formatted so you can read it," but this isn't that, this is just... the worst.
posted by 4th number at 10:45 AM on July 21, 2015


If you just go to his Twitter profile and scroll down, the tweets are all there in number order, you just read up the page. No verdict on the essay itself, but the format doesn't particularly bother me one way or the other. I don't think there needs to be a ban on something so rare. #justskipit
posted by billiebee at 10:49 AM on July 21, 2015


I didn't take this as a request for a ban, fwiw.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:50 AM on July 21, 2015


Sorry Juffo-Wup I read "avoid" it as asking people not to do it but yeah that's not really the same thing as calling for a ban. As you were.
posted by billiebee at 10:56 AM on July 21, 2015


I didn't take this as a request for a ban, fwiw.

I don't know what else you would call it. "I propose that we should avoid linking to stories formatted that way on Metafilter." is pretty much a ban. Now the proposal doesn't ask for sanctions, so it's kind of a tooothless ban, but....
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:00 AM on July 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think there's anything wrong with posting links to storify.

Also, though: I think discussion of the format is a perfectly cromulent thing to have in-thread.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:03 AM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I never learn.
posted by gwint at 11:05 AM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think there's anything wrong with posting links to storify.

For full effect, each of these words should have been a separate comment.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:07 AM on July 21, 2015 [12 favorites]


billiebee: Sorry Juffo-Wup I read "avoid" it as asking people not to do it but yeah that's not really the same thing as calling for a ban.

Yeah, I'm not calling for a ban; I think that would be both unpopular and something of an overreaction. I was thinking more along the lines of asking people to sort of stop and think when considering posting these types of things.

Greg Nog: Also, though: I think discussion of the format is a perfectly cromulent thing to have in-thread.

I figured that would be a derail which is why I brought it up here instead. Perhaps I was wrong on that.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 11:08 AM on July 21, 2015


I don't know what else you would call it. "I propose that we should avoid linking to stories formatted that way on Metafilter." is pretty much a ban.

'The mods should delete stories formatted this way; they should not be allowed on Metafilter' -- a request made to the moderators; a request for a ban.

'Posters should consider carefully whether to post a story formatted in this manner, and err on not posting it, because it is annoying to me and perhaps to others' -- a request made to other users; a request for thoughtfulness.
posted by cjelli at 11:08 AM on July 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


If someone came into a MeFi thread and complained about how stupid it was to tell a story in graphic or game format, they would likely be shouted down as some kind of tree-killing relic.

That said, having met Clover a couple times at poetry readings over the years, I suspect the consternation from certain quarters at unconventional medium or message is probably something he would not be surprised or particularly upset by, and might well provide source material for some future cultural critique piece.
posted by aught at 11:11 AM on July 21, 2015


For full effect, each of these words should have been a separate comment.

#howIreadTheLink 34. so i click on the link. not with a mouse, with my trackpad. you know how it is

#howIreadTheLink 35. trackpad gone now. broke. had to buy a new computer. anyway i digress

#howIreadTheLink 35. trackpad gone now. broke. had to buy a new computer. anyway i digress

#howIreadTheLink 36. so i walk into the office. i wave to the people i saw. nice guys, a lot of them, big brown hair, some blondes. don't see dave

#howIreadTheLink 37. i go into the thread, there's a bunch of people arguing. i'm thinking about the Coup, and whether the arguing counts as a proper revolutionary tactic

#howIreadTheLink 38. almost there!

#howIreadTheLink 39. CHAPTER TWELVE

#howIreadTheLink 40. so at this point i'm wondering if i should go to metatalk. the grey part of the site, lots of arguments, garbage filling the streets

#howIreadTheLink 41. CHAPTER THIRTEEN

#howIreadTheLink 41. CHAPTER THIRTEEN
posted by Greg Nog at 11:12 AM on July 21, 2015 [18 favorites]


William Carlos Williams
@tharealwcw


I have eaten the plums
12:03 AM - 21 Jul 1934

William Carlos Williams
@tharealwcw


that were in the icebox
12:04 AM - 21 Jul 1934

William Carlos Williams
@tharealwcw


and which you were probably saving for besties
12:04 AM - 21 Jul 1934

William Carlos Williams
@tharealwcw


*breakfast
12:04 AM - 21 Jul 1934

William Carlos Williams
@tharealwcw


forgive me they were delicious
12:05 AM - 21 Jul 1934

William Carlos Williams
@tharealwcw


so sweet
12:05 AM - 21 Jul 1934

William Carlos Williams
@tharealwcw


and so cold ❄️❄️❄️
12:06 AM - 21 Jul 1934
posted by phunniemee at 11:12 AM on July 21, 2015 [103 favorites]


Curse you, phunniemee!
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:15 AM on July 21, 2015


Some of the tweets are duplicates. Some of the tweets are missing entirely.

Yeah, that's pretty annoying, and 100% the fault of whoever put the Storify together -- which appears to not be the same author as the tweets?

Agree it's easier to read by scrolling up @bookofriot's Twitter timeline; but then the problem is how do you make a persistent Metafilter-able link to that?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:15 AM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


...and so cold ❄️❄️❄️
12:06 AM - 21 Jul 1934


What's kinda amusing is that to people/critics who resisted free verse poetry, Williams' now-celebrated short and heavily-enjambed imagist poem was considered by many with the same sort of "omg totes unreadable and so booooooring content" reactions that Clover's twitter poem is getting by some here. (The more things change....)
posted by aught at 11:16 AM on July 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


So you're saying we have Williams to blame for this link
posted by Greg Nog at 11:17 AM on July 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


"I propose that we should avoid linking to stories formatted that way on Metafilter." is pretty much a ban.

"avoid" isn't a ban, it's something more like what I once described as "a Sarah-McClachlan-holding-a-kitten request."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:17 AM on July 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


yes that was my point
posted by phunniemee at 11:18 AM on July 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


FWIW, I don't think you're a curmudgeon for bringing this up.

Even in the best of cases, Storify and similar approaches to tweet aggregation are mildly unpleasant to read. In the worst of cases (and hoo boy is this example treading in that direction), it's downright unreadable.

I think there's definitely a reason to use Storify in some cases -- particularly to capture a conversation in its entirety, since excerpting that kind of integrated view into a multi-part discussion can be a challenge on Twitter. But, for anything approaching long form writing, I think it's a pretty bad fit, and I'd definitely prefer people consider that when thinking about linking to such things.
posted by tocts at 11:20 AM on July 21, 2015


The Twitter essay: Merely millenial enjambment.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:22 AM on July 21, 2015


Get
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:26 AM on July 21, 2015


off
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:26 AM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


my
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:26 AM on July 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


lawn.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:26 AM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Twitter essay: Merely millenial enjambment.

Well, kinda-sorta, though Clover is hardly a millenial.
posted by aught at 11:27 AM on July 21, 2015


I had no problem reading the piece in question. It presented as a bunch of discrete bits of info and as such, I just kept moving down the page, pretty much as I'd read any text piece. Browser: Chrome. Device: laptop running Windows 8.
posted by philip-random at 11:31 AM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


"a Sarah-McClachlan-holding-a-kitten request."

Is she threatening the kitten if I don't comply?
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:32 AM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think the interesting part is that this story, and the Google salary story posted yesterday, and most of the more lengthy Storify posts were obviously written in a conventional format and then posted to twitter. What is stopping the author from posting the original essay somewhere else and linking to it in the final tweet? It wouldn't hurt the tweet stream at all and make it easier to share the whole story on diff mediums (like metafilter, reddit, etc.)

IDK I get why you want to post the story to twitter but its not like there aren't other places to post short essays on the internet for free.
posted by kittensofthenight at 11:33 AM on July 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I also find that kind of formatting annoying to read and thus end up skipping the post. But I don't really see any reason to avoid or discourage that type of link. It doesn't cause any problems at all - it doesn't use more mod resources, it doesn't (as far as I know) make anyone uncomfortable, it doesn't prevent anyone from posting other links in non-annoying-format. I just don't see any reason to discourage posts that lots of people aren't interested in reading but that don't cause any actual harm.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:34 AM on July 21, 2015


I think I mostly dislike the have-it-both-ways nature of this format... someone gathered up an audience around an intentionally abbreviated mode of communication but then wanted to write long form think pieces so they force it. I understand an argument CAN be made for this being some kind of intentional affectation, but I'd be grossed out if my cheeseburger contained $600 worth of caviar and I'd prefer people didn't abuse my attention buffer the same way.
posted by SharkParty at 11:37 AM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, there's a lot of things I don't like about the future too. Maybe I'll just go back to books. I've just about reached the end of "The Stars My Destination," so I'll just flip ahead a few pages to WHAT THE FUCK ALFRED BESTER
posted by maxsparber at 11:38 AM on July 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


So you're saying we have Williams to blame for this link

Shit rolls downhill.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:40 AM on July 21, 2015


I think I mostly dislike the have-it-both-ways nature of this format... someone gathered up an audience around an intentionally abbreviated mode of communication but then wanted to write long form think pieces so they force it.

For the record, it looks like it was "Brad Shoup" who put this together; Joshua Clover just seemed to want to tweet about quitting his job, and it was then compiled ineptly by someone else.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:44 AM on July 21, 2015


WHAT THE FUCK ALFRED BESTER

To be fair, this is the most succinct review of Golem100 ever formulated.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:46 AM on July 21, 2015 [11 favorites]


Juffo-Wup-

What do you think about the formatting in this article about google salaries? Same thing just done competently. I barely noticed in the Wired article but the Quitting Spin article was frustrating.
posted by kittensofthenight at 11:47 AM on July 21, 2015


insectosaurus: " It doesn't cause any problems at all - it doesn't use more mod resources"

Well, we here are in MeTa, so it has now.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:51 AM on July 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


It presented as a bunch of discrete bits of info and as such

the most important thing in this thread right now is that someone has used the word discrete correctly and i can't even begin to explain how happy this makes me

it's like a 1,000 year comet passing overhead and i got to see it happen
posted by poffin boffin at 12:02 PM on July 21, 2015 [23 favorites]


For the record, it looks like it was "Brad Shoup" who put this together; Joshua Clover just seemed to want to tweet about quitting his job, and it was then compiled ineptly by someone else.

I get that part, but Joshua Clover still chose to write a lengthy idea out in tiny bites. ALL ARE COMPLICIT. ALL WILL BE JUDGED.
posted by SharkParty at 12:04 PM on July 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ah, I was just thinking that what we need is to make metafilter even more restrictive.
posted by shmegegge at 12:09 PM on July 21, 2015


Under current site guidelines you are not permitted to think that.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:11 PM on July 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


Even though I'm a good 15 years younger than Clover, this format still feels like one of those things that I'm just too old to get. And I'm saying this as someone who has a bit of admiration for Clover's writing in general.

What Storify and services like it are for* is to present an interesting exchange or debate that happened on Twitter. A thing that you had to be there in the moment to experience, and then someone goes back through and curates it so that other people can enjoy it.

Did he write this all out ahead of time? If so, why did he post it on Twitter? So that any of his followers who happened to be on Twitter would see a sentence or two from it? It's just so clumsy, and its clumsiness isn't targeted toward any purpose. It's the same with yesterday's post about Google salaries.

* But actually, I'm not even sure what the "real" purpose for Storify is anymore, now that tweets have embed codes.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:18 PM on July 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


<kittensofthenight> What do you think about the formatting in this article about google salaries? Same thing just done competently. I barely noticed in the Wired article but the Quitting Spin article was frustrating.

That's a very interesting comparison (to me, anyway). I had read the Google salary "article" (or whatever it should be called) this morning via its MeFi post and the thought of complaining about its formatting never crossed my mind.

Having thought about it in some (probably excessive) detail, I still think that is a strange way to publish a >>140 character story, and I guess I would still prefer to read it in a more conventional format, but it did not actively irritate me for, I think, a few reasons:

1. The Google salary tweet-series consists of approximately 30 tweets, which is much shorter than the ~200 tweets in the Spin story.

2. The Google tweets were, in my opinion, better* written than the Spin tweets in several ways:

-2a. The Google tweet article in general appears to me to have been "written for comprehension." The Spin tweets do not.

-2b. The Google tweets use fewer and (to me) clearer abbreviations.

-2c. The Google tweets use punctuation in a way that helps me easily and quickly understand what each sentence or fragment means. The Spin tweets, not so much.

-2d. For the most part, each Google tweet contains a complete thought. This is less the case with the Spin tweets.

Now, what does *better* mean in the context of writing? Many different things in many different contexts, clearly. Given Mr. Clover's background, I think it is safe to assume that he could have written his tweet series "for readability" had he wanted to. But he didn't, and his choice of writing style contributed to my frustration with the piece.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 12:26 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


#Ihaveapeaundermymattress
posted by y2karl at 12:52 PM on July 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not in love with the Storify'd version, but I didn't find it that hard to read.

Disclaimer: I am a millennial poet.
posted by easter queen at 12:53 PM on July 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


If there was a way to indicate "I didn't actually read the linked thingie because format/javascript/etc." without just dropping a turd in the middle of the comments, I would use it. But I'm feeling pretty crabby these days in general so you can take that into account.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:04 PM on July 21, 2015


I have no problem with the formatting, either on the OP or the Google salary article. It doesn't take much effort to read. The problem for me is how both FPPs break when I have noscript enabled, and how no amount of temporarily allow fuzz.y.beans.thefriendlyadplatformcontentdeliveryservice.net will get them to work.

So many sites, the routine goes:

oh the page isn't loading, let's check the scripts

well look at that, the list of blocked scripts runs off the bottom of the screen

okay, allow all the local scripts and anything that ends in cdn

page reloads...

oh hey, five new scripts appeared in the block list and I still can't see the content!

ah, two of the new ones say cdn, I'll allow those

page reloads...

still nothing... okay, allow everything but the big ones (google analytics, facebook, disqus, etc.)

page reloads...

nope, no content, I give up / yay, content, I read it

restart firefox to restore preferred noscript config


The Spin FPP isn't even that bad: there are only ten (!) scripts to allow. But I've allowed all of them except google analytics and facebook and I still can't read past the "END OF CHAPTER 2" tweet. Before I whitelisted the scripts I got an unresponsive "continue" button; now I get an eternal loading animation.

(ghostery is probably to blame at this point, and yeah I could just open the page in chrome or IE, but enh)

I realize that this is a problem very specifically for me: the sites in question can do whatever they want to manage and monetize their own pages, and missing out on my eyeballs is hardly a loss for them. If anything, it's a feature, given that I'm running noscript and adblock. If I really want to view their pages I know what to uninstall.

But hey, as long as we're sharing peeves about the presentation of text...
posted by postcommunism at 1:06 PM on July 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


the most important thing in this thread right now is that someone has used the word discrete correctly and i can't even begin to explain how happy this makes me

Time for me to duck into a corner of the library for some discreet mathematics homework ...
posted by tocts at 1:57 PM on July 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think this should be talked about in the article linking to the post. This isn't about Metafilter, this is directly about the post in question. It fundamentally weakens the content because of the way the author chose to post it on twitter in 215 little snippets. Erica Joy's story about Google was a much less egregious use of twitter (although it should have been a blog post), this is truly awful.
posted by demiurge at 2:27 PM on July 21, 2015


If someone came into a MeFi thread and complained about how stupid it was to tell a story in graphic or game format, they would likely be shouted down as some kind of tree-killing relic.

That said, having met Clover a couple times at poetry readings over the years, I suspect the consternation from certain quarters at unconventional medium or message is probably something he would not be surprised or particularly upset by, and might well provide source material for some future cultural critique piece.
posted by aught at 2:11 PM on July 21 [+] [!]


...and so cold ❄️❄️❄️
12:06 AM - 21 Jul 1934

What's kinda amusing is that to people/critics who resisted free verse poetry, Williams' now-celebrated short and heavily-enjambed imagist poem was considered by many with the same sort of "omg totes unreadable and so booooooring content" reactions that Clover's twitter poem is getting by some here. (The more things change....)
posted by aught at 2:16 PM on July 21 [+] [!]


These tweets were aggregated on storify by a third party. Half of them are duplicates and there are tweets from the original series missing.

I think a reasonable request would be to–if you'd like to link to a long-form multi-tweet piece/thought/poem/whatever–redo the storify yourself instead of posting whatever half-assed aggregation an unknown person put together.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 2:39 PM on July 21, 2015


That's actually a no-no, though. Our prohibition on self-linking prevents a person linking to a Storify they've made themselves.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:42 PM on July 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Now you guys know how I feel when you link to video! I can handle the existence of those, those who don't like Storify can handle the existence of this.
posted by escabeche at 3:13 PM on July 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


The story itself is a not-altogether-uninteresting tale of a person trying to quit a job he doesn't like, but it is presented as a series of more than two hundred individual tweets.

It's not presented as a series of tweets. It IS a series of tweets.

I personally don't find these formats difficult to read, but I agree that this particular instance was poorly put together.

I can't see a good reason why they should be banned or discouraged. There is some great stuff on twitter, and storify makes those things easy to collate. Not every post has to be for everyone. If you don't like this format, don't read it.

At most, perhaps people could consider putting a "Single Link Storify" tag on the post.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:09 PM on July 21, 2015


#Ihaveapeaundermymattress

#KeepItOutOfMyGuacamole
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:14 PM on July 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


34: I found the repeated tweets especially annoying
posted by double block and bleed at 7:24 PM on July 21, 2015


34: I found the repeated tweets especially annoying  
posted by double block and bleed at 7:24 PM on July 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's not presented as a series of tweets. It IS a series of tweets.

I don't think I agree with you on this. To me, "it" is a story. The story could have been presented in any number of ways. It could have been (and was) presented as a series of tweets. It could have been presented as an audio or a video recording of the author reciting the story. It could have been presented as a "standard" written essay in paragraph form, etc...
posted by Juffo-Wup at 7:41 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think I agree with you on this. To me, "it" is a story.

We are talking past each other. The author wrote the story as a series of tweets - that is its original format.

Another party collated those tweets for ease of reasing using storify, which preserves and archives the original format in a static, easily linkable way. It is presented as the author intended (discounting the obvious errors like repeated tweets).

There do not appear to be alternative formats of the story (or at least, I can't find them right now). If a mefite wanted to make a post about this story, they have to either link to the conversation on twitter, or to the storify. Or create something new, which they can't do because of the self-link rule.

tl;dr, if you don't like the format, your beef is with the author, not the poster.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:04 PM on July 21, 2015


I like the format and the content.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:30 PM on July 21, 2015


We are talking past each other. The author wrote the story as a series of tweets - that is its original format.

Ahh, ok, I see what you mean. And yes you are right: I don't like the format, and my "beef" is definitely with the author, not the poster.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 8:36 PM on July 21, 2015


I suppose I should elaborate on that a bit:

The reason I don't like the post is because of the way the author (not the poster) wrote/presented it.

My (personal) urging to future Metafilter posters is to consider the (potential) annoyance/difficulty/etc of "this kind" of work when considering posting such works in the future.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 8:41 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


What is stopping the author from posting the original essay somewhere else and linking to it in the final tweet? It wouldn't hurt the tweet stream at all and make it easier to share the whole story on diff mediums (like metafilter, reddit, etc.)

That presumes that the author wants to make it easier to share the whole story on different mediums. Some people like Twitter and use it a particular way, and while they don't necessarily mind if their tweets get Storify-ed they're not particularly motivated to do it themselves.
posted by asterix at 9:40 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think this is one of those things where the consideration of the difficulties of the format is largely built into the act of posting. If I read an interesting thing that happens to be formatted terribly and I come away from it thinking 'too bad about that formatting, but that was amazing', there's a good chance I will post it on Metafilter. If I come away from it thinking 'that might have been interesting but GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA the formatting makes me want to stab people in the eyeballs, possibly me and/or the person who designed this disaster' then I will almost certainly not post it on Metafilter. I think you can pretty much take it as a given that the people who post these things either aren't bothered by the formatting or aren't bothered enough by the formatting to feel it overwhelms the content itself.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:35 AM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


People using storify and similar approaches to jam longer-form writing into twitter is one of the things on the internet that made me finally understand what people meant by unironic I'm-old-now comments. I stand by my deburnify analogy I've made elsewhere:

Storify is a fine tool that does a good job of assembling coherence out of longform writings after the fact.

But it's sort of like...oh, imagine you have a magic burn ointment, that's a legitimate wonder drug. Heals even bad burns quickly and well, almost immediately on contact. There are otherwise very bright people who keep big bottles of Deburnify in their kitchens, because they like their skin care rituals to include a step where they press their faces to the stovetop burners. After they sear their faces, they slather on Deburnify and all is well again. It is legitimately a solution...but some of what people mean by the "don't get" shibboleth shorthands is that it's a solution to a wholly unnecessary problem. You could cleanse and exfoliate and moisturize and whatnot without that second-to-third-degree searing, and not need Deburnify at all.
posted by Drastic at 7:03 AM on July 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


Now I want Deburnify....
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:09 AM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wish I had a level of javascript-fu good enough to make a bookmarklet to de-tweet the storify link, but instead I spent the better part of the morning re-ordering, removing hashtags and numbering, and reformatting the original tweets. It's a damn shame, because I think it's actually a pretty worthwhile read.
posted by specialagentwebb at 8:30 AM on July 22, 2015


make a bookmarklet to de-tweet the storify link,

Pony Request. Can pb invent DeStorify?

99% kidding. Only because I'd honestly love to see how quickly he could do it.

He could integrate it with the site and call it PB-Me-DeStorify
posted by zarq at 10:51 AM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pony request - can pb de-invent Storify?
posted by oceanjesse at 2:10 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


man, I detect something really gross in people presenting these long stories in a series of tweets. I can't put my finger on it, but most of the people whose long stories are dribbled out in tweet form strike me as really douchey. it is fundamentally a douche's way of telling a story. it kinda seems like the the same kind of really slick, thinks-he's-cute kind of guy you'd see very loudly and obnoxiously regaling a group of people in a bar with a story, that is guilty of using this death by Twitter form of storytelling.the format suggests an unseemly confidence that the story is so great that people are hanging on for every little dribbled out bit, and an unseemly investment in such a cumbersome and choppy technology that is unsuited to your narrative. I find it absolutely revolting and I only waded into this dude's stinky excretion of a story because I was certain there would be plenty of material for derision ... ha ha. In sum, I unfailingly hate the format, hate the stories, hate the people.

:-)
posted by jayder at 2:38 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I get what people are saying and that particular Storify was really bad, but I don't mind longer stories in Twitter.

I conceptualize them, I guess, like a story at the campfire, drawn out a bit and with marshmallow-eating pauses. I personally would rather people linked to great stories than eliminate by format solely.
posted by warriorqueen at 3:36 PM on July 22, 2015


Just read it finally. I think the format is fantastic.
posted by wemayfreeze at 5:37 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I couldn't get very far into it without giving up. It was a couple things for me: the doubles/missing tweets was one, but also that I'm just not used to Twitter and so I can't quickly make my eyes jump from one "content" section to the next.

I imagine someone who is familiar with twitter is used to discarding all the UI chrome and doesn't get distracted by the hashtags / usernames / timestamps / etc. I mean, on MeFi I jump over the "byline" of each comment without even thinking about it. But I can't do it on Twitter, at least not on this post.

But it just means I skipped that post. If this started being, like, a signficiant percentage of MeFi posts thatr would be pretty bad for me, but I think thats unlikely. I feel about Twitter the way many people here do about video (if its a Twitter thing, I just skip it), but there are many such biases.
posted by thefoxgod at 8:10 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Storify is not "best of the web" on a deep, deep level.
posted by holgate at 10:45 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd rank this as about as annoying as film critic hulks CONSTANT CAPITALS and INCONSISTENT HULK GRAMMAR. If I post another fch link I'll probably do a paste bin backup link.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:33 AM on July 23, 2015


In February fffm posted a storify I made of tweets I made (not linking b/c not trying to promote it). There were a couple turds in the post about the formatting, and to be honest even that hit me really hard - the tweets/storify were pretty emotionally draining, and someone popping in to be like "oh the formatting is garbage" didn't help. at all.

But the fact of the matter is by doing it on twitter meant that I got emotional support from my various twitter friends (which is the only reason I got through it), got an email from a former prof thanking me from doing it, got some of the tweets featured on a national news network, and put me in touch with a couple legal-side people working on sex work decriminalization. How well do you think putting it up on my newly-created blog would have reached anyone?

Twitter is where people are. Short snippets can be easier to blast out when you can't find the time or emotional energy to write a longer-form blog post.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:25 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


man, I detect something really gross in people presenting these long stories in a series of tweets.

I guess I could understand this objection if there had been 144 tweets comprising the piece.
posted by aught at 11:41 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Storify is not "best of the web" on a deep, deep level.

Also, I am starting to suspect the New York Times doesn't actually include all the news that's fit to print!!
posted by aught at 11:44 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


for whatever it's worth, i've seen many people - mostly women of color - objecting to their tweets being storifyed by others. they feel like if they haven't chosen to storify it, there might be a reason for that, and the sort of difficulty baked in to sharing a huge group of tweets is one of the reasons they picked the medium in the first place to share these things. i've personally tried to be mindful of passing around storifys that haven't been created or shared by the person involved.
posted by nadawi at 8:48 PM on July 23, 2015


Oh my god. Fuck storify.

I'm so tired of it being seen as "just a medium" or whatever, and that it's basically the way of distributing Powerful Social Justice Messages getting disseminated this way. Like someone links me to something that omg i need to read and i know i'll come off as an ass if i go "eww storify" but it's like, wow, someone finally found a worse format than a 6 minute video to cover a couple screenshots and a half minute read of info.

Add in the fact that storifys often aren't made by the person who originally tweeted the stuff and it adds an extra weird and gross layer of like, packing up someone elses content to distribute yourself in addition to being annoying as hell.


I'm fine with it being a supporting link, where it's like "so and so also commented on this on twitter at length", but as the primary link? Ugh, no.
posted by emptythought at 4:29 AM on July 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


If I had wanted to tweet I would have gotten a twitter. So I just don't click on it. I'm sure I miss a lot of socially relevant information by being this way, but there it is.

As for Storifying, if you can't work kittens or puppies, or horses, into your metaphor, don't bother. On second thought, I'm willing to give any images of babyish animals at least few seconds before I X the stuff out. Um, also high mountain scenery. (And good acoustic guitar work.)

Don't ban it, though, because some people seem to like it. Let the hit counter be the governing metric.
posted by mule98J at 10:49 AM on July 24, 2015


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