Let’s Encourage and Help Folks Make Their First Posts August 17, 2015 5:38 AM   Subscribe

Over the past few months, we’ve talked about ways to encourage first (or second or third) time posters and help you/them become more comfortable with posting to Metafilter. I propose we spend September helping new posters successfully make the leap into the wonderful world of FPPs.

More voices on the front page means greater diversity of links, information, topics, and cool stuff, and that means more awesomeness. Those of us who have experience making FPPs know that posting an FPP is easier than it seems, but for first-timers, it can seem intimidating.

The idea is that those of us who are comfortable posting offer ourselves up as sounding boards and advisers to people with 0-3 posts under their belt, in addition to keeping an eye out for first/second/third posts and help make sure those posts go well. This MeTa should be a place where we can work out the whys and wherefores.
posted by julen to MetaFilter-Related at 5:38 AM (134 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

I'm pretty much the last person who should be giving advice on how to artfully FPP (is it a video? does it have a tiny sloth or a tiny pig in it? SOUNDS GOOD MAN) but I am super into this idea. Just yesterday I realized that I see interesting, high quality posts from sciatrix all the time these days, but I'm not sure if I ever saw a post from her prior to one of these big MeTa FPP encouragement threads. How many more secret sciatrices to we have hiding out there in the lurker base?
posted by phunniemee at 5:50 AM on August 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yeah, this is a great idea. In one of the other threads that touched on this topic, I suggested the tag #FirstTimeLongTime - a reference to the sports talk radio catch phrase about first time callers who are long time listeners - in order to encourage both first-time posters as well as posters who have not posted in a long time.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:09 AM on August 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'm in. Anyone (especially anyone who's kind of right of the MetaFilter zeitgeist) is free to MeMail me for advice or assistance.
posted by Etrigan at 6:10 AM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


That would be awesome. I'm a new enough poster myself that I don't think I have any particularly sage framing advice to offer. But I am happy to chat with anyone who would like to bounce ideas off me. And to encourage you with my experience that making my first few FPPs has been a really good experience, I did not wither and die the first time one turned fighty, and I'm glad I have started posting every so often. I hope you have the same experience, and I'll do what I can to help that happen.
posted by Stacey at 6:24 AM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yes, and I would encourage people to say nice things if they notice it's somebody's first post; I don't mean making a big deal of the fact ("Nice FIRST PSOT!!"), just say "Great post!" or point out something good about it. I still remember the posters who did that for my first attempt. Save the vitriol for the hardened old-timers!
posted by languagehat at 6:26 AM on August 17, 2015 [15 favorites]


Damn, I guess I jumped the gun for my first post. Sorry guys. : )
posted by midmarch snowman at 7:06 AM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm happy to help anyone make a post about any subject. Though basically my advice boils down to: If you think it's interesting, there will be others who find it interesting too.
posted by Kattullus at 7:13 AM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure it's necessarily comfort that holds people back from making FPPs.

Perhaps many people are like myself and are quite boring, and somehow only read or hear about things long after everyone else seems to have done so.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:26 AM on August 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm always happy to help people with their posts, feel free to MeMail me!
posted by Room 641-A at 7:32 AM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am always available to give people feedback on their posts, first or otherwise. No MeMail but email is in my profile.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:50 AM on August 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


Save the vitriol for the hardened old-timers!

Or better yet, leave the vitriol off the site altogether. Seeing that sort of thing in any thread is enough to discourage a lot of people from posting.
posted by bondcliff at 7:52 AM on August 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


I would definitely be happy to help; feel free to send me a MeMail or hit me up on Twitter or wherever.

If I have any advice, it's that there's no such thing as not enough content and to not try to go out of your way to make your first post a finely-crafted comprehensive mega-post. Not that those aren't appreciated, but if the first thing you post to the blue is something you consider a Masterwork and people either ignore it or fixate on one small part or do whatever else it is we do around here instead of engaging in a way that you think would be appropriate, it may sting enough to turn you off the idea of posting FPPs. Which would suck for everyone! If the first thing you post is a minute long video of a dog running around and people don't take to it, it's probably going to feel a lot less like a reflection on your ability to do or say something interesting. And the second and third and tenth and hundredth FPP is a lot easier than the first.

I've posted reams of inconsequential crap to the front page and it's plenty fun. Give it a shot!
posted by griphus at 7:54 AM on August 17, 2015 [11 favorites]


I like the FirstTimeLongTime tag!

I would encourage people to say nice things if they notice it's somebody's first post

Absolutely agree with this. A kind comment carries far beyond its weight.

My MeMail is open; please send a message if you'd like a second set of eyes on a potential post.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:00 AM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Would it make sense to make a pony suggestion for a "first post (be nice)" tag/icon/blinky flashy?
posted by sammyo at 8:02 AM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Love this idea, julen. Thank you!

Some notes from the MeFi Wiki about creating a first post.
posted by zarq at 8:05 AM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oooh, zarq, that's awesome.

My amorphous plan was to post this MeTa to make sure it'd be a good idea, figure out how to make it awesome (love the tag idea!) and work as well as possible, and then post a new MeTa on September 1 to kick off the actual month with links to encouraging/useful things for posters (including that awesome MeTa from earlier this summer in which people reeled off the things they love that aren't mainstream, and which is but a small corner of the wonderland of things that would make awesome FPP topics), and where people could find mentors, encouragement, and advice.
posted by julen at 8:23 AM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can give a word. People can also drop draft stuff into Chat. & don't forget that you can take it to the mods with the Contact Form.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:38 AM on August 17, 2015


Yay, I'm glad to see folks into this. Thanks for making this getting-things-rolling post, julen.

I'm totally available for general post advice as well, and it's always fine to bounce an idea off the contact form if you want a modly opinion, but mostly I'm just stoked at the idea of folks (a) helping each other out in here with encouragement and advice and (b) getting their post on.

I like the FirstTimeLongTime tag!

Me too!
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:09 AM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is an awesome idea, though a small part of me wishes it were October, what with the Canadian election and our First Past the Post system...
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:14 AM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would be very happy if this became Metafilter's Eternal September
posted by rebent at 9:28 AM on August 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


I would be happy to help if anyone wants any; I'm not the most prolific FPP person, but I've done a few.

My biggest piece of advice - make your post and then leave the site for a while. I've found it makes life a lot easier for me to press post and then go have something else to do, because otherwise I sit about refreshing the page, waiting for comments. If I come back a half-hour later, then the comments have likely started and the discussion is underway and I feel a little less invested in what that discussion is and the direction it has taken.

Because once the post is up, it isn't yours any longer - Metafilter will discuss, discard, re-direct, and exalt what it wants from it.
posted by nubs at 9:56 AM on August 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


porn in the woods offers some very succinct posting advice:


PORN IN THE WOODS' FRONT PAGE POST (FPP) GUIDE

Don't be shy about posting! It can make you anxious at first for sure - but put your fears at ease with these lessons from porn in the woods, the FPP maniac!

1. Find something dope on the web
2. Add quality framing
3. POST THAT SHIT UP

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:01 AM on August 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


Porn in the woods's posting advice sounds a lot like Ray Smuckle's decision making flow chart . Turn that mother out!
posted by barchan at 10:12 AM on August 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


Joined: August 14, 2000
MeFi: 0 posts
posted by eamondaly at 10:15 AM on August 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'd say you're due, man.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:18 AM on August 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


My biggest piece of advice - make your post and then leave the site for a while. I've found it makes life a lot easier for me to press post and then go have something else to do, because otherwise I sit about refreshing the page, waiting for comments. If I come back a half-hour later, then the comments have likely started and the discussion is underway and I feel a little less invested in what that discussion is and the direction it has taken.

This. My advice is to let it marinate on the blue for at least 24 hours before looking at it again. The Ron Popeil method for FPPs, as it were.

eamondaly:

Joined: August 14, 2000
MeFi: 0 posts


But also from your profile:

Strange Things I have Won:

- Lake Villa Township: First Place, Youth Breakdancing
[...]
- Mustaches For Kids: The Abe Frohman Award for Top Fundraising
- Polar Plunge Chicago: First Place, Best Costume


I mean, how could you NOT come up with some interesting topics and framing?!?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:21 AM on August 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


It just occurred to me that this initiative will end up killing a lot of people: We see all the first posts come into our email box and obits are often what a lot of people choose for their first posts.
posted by Etrigan at 10:23 AM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


2. Add quality framing

Y'all make it sound so easy! Hmph.
posted by imnotasquirrel at 10:24 AM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


All the things I like are weird and totally niche, and I don't know if this site wants or needs a FPP with a bunch of youtube links to obscure movies about witches. That's basically all I know.
posted by teponaztli at 10:37 AM on August 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


...I don't know if this site wants or needs a FPP with a bunch of youtube links to obscure movies about witches ...

Yes, yes it does, teponaztli.
posted by jamjam at 10:43 AM on August 17, 2015 [21 favorites]


All the things I like are weird and totally niche, and I don't know if this site wants or needs a FPP with a bunch of youtube links to obscure movies about witches.

The Gotta-Should-Must Rule:
"Oh, man, you gotta see this!" -- probably a good MeFi post
"People should see this!" -- possibly a good start to a MeFi post
"Everyone must know about this!" -- probably not a good MeFi post

Obscure movies about witches is so, so Gotta.
posted by Etrigan at 10:48 AM on August 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


All the things I like are weird and totally niche

Perfect!
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:49 AM on August 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


All the things I like are weird and totally niche, and I don't know if this site wants or needs a FPP with a bunch of youtube links to obscure movies about witches. That's basically all I know.

Posts like that are some of the best.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:49 AM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


All the things I like are weird and totally niche, and I don't know if this site wants or needs a FPP with a bunch of youtube links to obscure movies about witches.

The site wants and needs a diversity of posts about things that are weird and niche.

Put simply, a big part of the site (to me) is about wanting to see/find interesting stuff that I otherwise wouldn't know about. Obscure movies about witches? Sounds cool. Definitely something I wouldn't find on my own. Fits right in, as far as I can see. And if it turns out it's subject matter I don't particularly find interesting or engaging, so what? The next post is likely about something weird and niche that I do find interesting and engaging. That's why I want the diversity.

I'm just as guilty as the next user for jumping in with both feet on the posts that are going to get a lot of engagement, but I also like the ones where I get exposed to something I had no idea existed. And I likely need to comment more in those because they either aren't getting a lot of attention (and that sucks, to post and not hear anything) or because they are getting a bit of the ol' Metafilter Snark Special, which sometimes needs to be countered.
posted by nubs at 10:51 AM on August 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


2. Add quality framing

Y'all make it sound so easy! Hmph.


My two points on this aspect of post-making:
A. Keep it short and sweet
B. No editorializing

Additional thoughts, in addition to those listed above:
  • Don't bury the lede - above the fold should be to the point, keep the "and more" below the fold
  • No mystery meat - UpWorthy is not a style to emulate on MetaFilter
  • Don't feel like you need to include everything in the post - let others add to a topic in comments, and feel free to drop back in with other interesting tidbits
  • Once posted, the post is not yours - it is part of this community site, so if the conversation veers some weird direction, let it go (or if it's really off-topic, you can flag comments and maybe contact the mod squad if you're really concerned about something)
But really, have fun and don't take this all too seriously. If you feel like you flub a post, pull yourself together, maybe ask some questions in here or MeMail folks, and try again. I can say that everyone who has made more than a few posts feels that they made some duds, or were disappointed about how the conversation went (or didn't go at all).

I'll add myself to the list of folks who would be happy to review ideas and posts and such.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:17 AM on August 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


Topics that may cause contentious debates and might have a higher deletion rate:

Ageism
Abortion
Adoption / Infertility
Apple / Google / Amazon / Microsoft / Android (And on rare occasions linux)
Ayn Rand
Anti-Zionism / Anti-Semitism
Child abuse / Pedophilia
Circumcision
Conservatives (American Politics)
Equality (depends on the post and topic)
GMO foods
Grooming habits
Israel / Palestine
Nazis
Obesity
Police Brutality
Poverty / Class Strata
Pseudoscience
Racism
Rape / Sexual Harassment
Religion: Theists or Atheists behaving badly
Sexism (as it applies to the workplace or in the home. Also, Men's Rights Activism and Pick Up Artists)
Trans* topics
Vaccinations

Topics that typically garner fewer comments:
Art
posted by zarq at 11:38 AM on August 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


I like this idea and think we should totally do it! I think filthy light thief's comment above is spot on. I would just add this: Don't sweat it if your post gets deleted. Probably nearly everyone who's posted on the Blue has had a post deleted. It is not a mark of shame.

I also vote for #FirstTimeLongTime!
posted by daisyk at 11:40 AM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really like this idea. Both as a month of encouraging new posters, and as a month of trying to give positive feedback to posts in general! I'm not much of a poster or commenter, more of a passive reader of the site. I just checked my profile, and it looks like I could probably participate as a third-time poster, hooray! I talk myself out of making posts because I don't usually feel like dealing with the possibility of throw-away snark* without any other redeeming comments or discussion.

*I have an imaginary metafilter peanut gallery in my head that informs this decision
posted by Secretariat at 12:12 PM on August 17, 2015


We're here for a First Time
In a Long Time
So have a good time
Even if the discussion goes astray
posted by Kabanos at 12:15 PM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


/me gives eamondaly the finger
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:15 PM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


nubs and filthy have pretty good advice. If anyone wants to memail me a draft of an fpp I'd be happy to help out. (I'll keep more of an eye on my memail than I normally do for September!)

The mods are very nice - you can always use the contact form with "rough draft of fpp - please look over" or something similar if you'd like help from them.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 12:17 PM on August 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


(This is exciting - thanks for making this post, julen!)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 12:18 PM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh gods, jcifa is going to spawn new superposters like a hydra.
posted by Etrigan at 12:21 PM on August 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


you say that like it's a bad thing
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:21 PM on August 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


Etrigan: Oh gods, jcifa is going to spawn new superposters like a hydra.

Hydra is the wrong imagery (no heads have to be removed to duplicate). You're thinking of alien parasites, a la Rick and Morty. (Minus the whole world-destroying capabilities, as far as I know.)

More resources: the dormant Drafts and collaborations MeFi wiki page (note: if you draft something here, it uses wiki formatting, not proper HTML), and previously on MetaTalk, What do you write your draft posts in? (personal update: Evernote is great as a networked drafting and link-saving tool)
posted by filthy light thief at 12:26 PM on August 17, 2015


Hydra is the wrong imagery (no heads have to be removed to duplicate).

You're not in on the Cabal plot, I gather.
posted by Etrigan at 12:29 PM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering if a lot of interested potential first-time posters read the grey. If this is a thing, will a pointer to this thread or an invitation to post be put somewhere on the front page?
posted by QuakerMel at 12:34 PM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh gods, jcifa is going to spawn new superposters like a hydra.

We could use more superposters. :)
posted by zarq at 12:35 PM on August 17, 2015


I'm wondering if a lot of interested potential first-time posters read the grey. If this is a thing, will a pointer to this thread or an invitation to post be put somewhere on the front page?

Absolutely, yeah. I figure we can let people talk about specific details in here for a bit and then when stuff feels as gelled as it's gonna get, we'll make it more visible on the front page.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:36 PM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ageism
Abortion
Adoption / Infertility
Apple / Google / Amazon / Microsoft / Android (And on rare occasions linux)
Ayn Rand
Anti-Zionism / Anti-Semitism
Child abuse / Pedophilia
Circumcision
Conservatives (American Politics)
Equality (depends on the post and topic)
GMO foods
Grooming habits
Israel / Palestine
Nazis
Obesity
Police Brutality
Poverty / Class Strata
Pseudoscience
Racism
Rape / Sexual Harassment
Religion: Theists or Atheists behaving badly
Sexism (as it applies to the workplace or in the home. Also, Men's Rights Activism and Pick Up Artists)
Trans* topics

Vaccinations

This is very helpful, I've crafted my first FPP:

Objectivist circumcised pro-life Monsanto CEO decries Apple's elderly fat Israeli white Nazi cops' sexual assault of poor black Republican Palestinian Linux developer transwomen, demands that Google not pass them over for promotion for opposing vaccines and supporting crystal healing, denies allegations of child abuse and Christianity.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:48 PM on August 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


Topics that typically garner fewer comments:
Art


I just chalk this up to people being dazed by the sight of awesome art that they are incapable of metafilterin' it up. Therefore, the lack of visible feedback is the best kind of feedback, and the post was therefore awesome. Clearly, the next step is to have some cheese to celebrate.
posted by julen at 1:01 PM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Objectivist circumcised pro-life Monsanto CEO decries Apple's elderly fat Israeli white Nazi cops' sexual assault of poor black Republican Palestinian Linux developer transwomen, demands that Google not pass them over for promotion for opposing vaccines and supporting crystal healing, denies allegations of child abuse and Christianity.

Favorited! :D

In all seriousness, I hope that list doesn't put anyone off. Better to have a first post avoid some of Mefi's cultural landmines.
posted by zarq at 1:06 PM on August 17, 2015


This would be neat! I made one post over a year and a half ago and I posted it because I thought it was this neat weird thing but I don't think the videos really captured the magic of the experience (it was about an annual animatronic Christmas display on top of department stores in Madrid) and I sort of felt badly because it seemed kind of dumb after I'd put it up so I've been a bit resistant to posting since then (I am scared of things a lot).

There are also topics I think are neat about which I'd like to post but I worry it would just end up being a bunch of random wikipedia/about.com links regarding something that is genuinely cool and I'm not quite sure how to make a good post that actually has good links and isn't just me sharing cool facts about, say, a(n) historical event. Are there resources to help people who have (what we believe to be) interesting topics to share but mostly have just sort of generic information about them? I don't want to post about a topic I think is really cool and interesting just to have people come in and be like "pfffft multi-link wikipedia NICE GOING LOSER."
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:21 PM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


You go for it, new people! Just do what feels right and fun for you, no pressure!

14 DAYS UNTIL DON'T SUCKTEMBER BEGINS
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:29 PM on August 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


Mrs. Pterodactyl, here is a quick and dirty way of finding recent coverage of a topic:

1. Google search term related to post you want to make
2. select "News"
3. Sort by Date (most recent)

This will show you recent articles, add to your list of search terms to find MORE articles, and sometimes show you how widely a story has spread (to a certain extent).

Here is an example that is relevant to our mutual interests. :)

Even for topics that seem niche or ancient, there are often people who still want to talk about them (other than all the people here, of course), and are doing so in spots I wouldn't normally look. This search method has helped me find sources I wouldn't normally stumble across on my own, covering certain topics. (More professionally than for FPPs, but the principle is the same!)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 1:30 PM on August 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


Are there resources to help people who have (what we believe to be) interesting topics to share but mostly have just sort of generic information about them?

Two things I think are relevant:
-If the Wikipedia entry is somehow notable of its own accord, it's fine to post it. I've done that before and it went over fine.
-There's usually at least one or two good reads in the works cited section that are often more engaging/less dry than the Wikipedia entry itself and would work as an FPP (with or without the Wikipedia entry itself.)
posted by griphus at 1:32 PM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ditto griphus' two relevant things. If it's an odd or unusual topic, a thorough or well-written Wiki article can be great to cover the background or give context for something (or be a more reliable long-term link). And beyond cited works, you can find good phrases or terminology in Wiki articles and search for that, refining your searches for your original idea.

Otherwise, keep digging - go a few pages deep into search results and you might find something more. Also, add or exclude terms if you keep getting the same regurgitated information but from different places. More search tips from Lifehacker.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:41 PM on August 17, 2015


Also, consider doing a search for "[search term] wiki". Sometimes topics have wikis created about them by people who are passionate about the subject in question. For example, there's a wikia fossil wiki with nearly 6800 articles. But always read your links carefully before including them. The Abortion Wiki has over 1000 articles, but is entirely, vehemently, militantly pro-life. Include it in a post about pro-choice rights and you might get some interesting feedback.
posted by zarq at 1:51 PM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was pretty happy with the only cool thing I've shared on here before anyone else had gotten to it (the Manual of Psychedelic Support), but I imagine there are some other cool things I could post, if I thought about it. I'll be on tour September - November, but I'll be on the look out for neat things and try to cobble together another interesting FPP during September.
posted by Gymnopedist at 3:06 PM on August 17, 2015


I just want to say thanks and high five the mods too; I totally typoed a post I just made, sent them a note, and they fixed it immediately. If you want to make a post that could be controversial/fighty/whatever, send it by them and they can give you advice on framing or ways to make it more postable. They helped me with an obit post I made, which was appreciated.
posted by Existential Dread at 3:25 PM on August 17, 2015


Protip: big lists are a pain, but turning this listicle into this post was made much easier by this website.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:36 PM on August 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


zarq: "Topics that typically garner fewer comments:
Art
"

I first read this as "Topics that typically garner fewer comments: Artw", and was curious.
posted by barnacles at 4:12 PM on August 17, 2015


(is it a video? does it have a tiny sloth or a tiny pig in it? SOUNDS GOOD MAN)

Baby sloth thing, baby sloth thing,
Riding on a pig, baby sloth thing.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:34 PM on August 17, 2015


It's odd to me that criticism of the links in an OP is so often seen as "mean" or personal. I have to say it seems very rare to me that a commenter is actually vitriolic towards someone for having posted. Disagreeing with, or finding problematic, links that are posted is not the same thing as saying "you are a bad person and you should feel bad". We're all adults here, right?
posted by threeants at 4:48 PM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I first read this as "Topics that typically garner fewer comments: Artw", and was curious.

Speak Not The Name!
posted by zarq at 5:05 PM on August 17, 2015


Disagreeing with, or finding problematic, links that are posted is not the same thing as saying “you are a bad person and you should feel bad”. We’re all adults here, right?

If the “We’re all adults here, right?” argument is being deployed to explain why someone’s feelings shouldn’t have been hurt, you may want to re-evaluate if you’re acting like an adult.

The fact is, people put a lot of stake in their posts. If I write a general interest post about topic X, and someone comments about how topic X is the worst, then yeah it’ll get to me. Indeed, I feel like the whole point of framing something well is to try and make it clear to everyone how you, the poster, want the thread to go. If someone comes in and misconstrues my signals, I either feel angry at them for being a jerk, or angry at myself for having done a bad job providing context clues. I've seen it go both ways. This is a thread where I gave bad context clues. This is a thread where people showed up, ignored context clues, and ruined other folks’ good times.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:07 PM on August 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


I am so 100% behind this! Thanks to the previous gotta-get-more-women-posting initiatives I've dipped my toes in, and in the Grand Scheme of Things my posts have been about Totally Dumb Shit. But the comments were fun and they were things I genuinely loved, so what the heck.

It'd be great to have all those new members who signed up to comment in the EL thread become permanent faces!
posted by erratic meatsack at 5:16 PM on August 17, 2015


I guess I just totally, diametrically disagree with the idea that the poster is the MC of the thread and is responsible for "making it clear how you want the thread to go". I really couldn't disagree any more strenuously with the feeling that if someone doesn't see the subject material the way you hoped they would, you've failed at "providing context clues".
posted by threeants at 5:21 PM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I feel like if people are posting about things that feel so personal that it's upsetting if commenters don't end up seeing them the same way, that's really no different than the hypothetical "the world must know about this!!!!!" political posts people are constantly railing against in MeTa.
posted by threeants at 5:27 PM on August 17, 2015


I'll confess, I've made posts where I was upset by someone early in the thread picking upon Some Small Thing, then everyone replies to that tangent instead of the bulk of the post. I felt they focused on one silly thing and overlooked the rest that I felt was noteworthy/ enjoyable/ interesting, and I've tried to push the conversation back to the topic, but it was about as effective as you would imagine. Short of a mod saying "please lay off that tangent now," threads get a life of their own.

I now have plenty of practice at walking away and only coming back to look on my the thread at a distance.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:50 PM on August 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Topics that typically garner fewer comments:
Art


I've probably had more posts with < 10 comments than pretty much anyone and almost all the shit I post is arts-related.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:29 PM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Topics that typically garner fewer comments:
Art


Baseball (sigh)
posted by escabeche at 8:07 PM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Baseball gets lots of comments! But they're all complaints about sports existing.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:45 PM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess I just totally, diametrically disagree with the idea that the poster is the MC of the thread and is responsible for "making it clear how you want the thread to go". I really couldn't disagree any more strenuously with the feeling that if someone doesn't see the subject material the way you hoped they would, you've failed at "providing context clues".

I'll confess, I've made posts where I was upset by someone early in the thread picking upon Some Small Thing, then everyone replies to that tangent instead of the bulk of the post. I felt they focused on one silly thing and overlooked the rest that I felt was noteworthy/ enjoyable/ interesting, and I've tried to push the conversation back to the topic, but it was about as effective as you would imagine. Short of a mod saying "please lay off that tangent now," threads get a life of their own.

The poster isn’t necessarily the MC of the thread, but they’re certainly responsible for setting the the tone at the outset. I’m 100% convinced that the Joe Frank thread I linked above would have gone differently if I’d chosen a different pull quote, and that’s completely on me. Given that perceived negative response to contribution is the sort of thing that can keep people from making new contributions in the future, it’s a good argument for giving folks help when they went to compose a thread so that, if it goes awry, they’ll feel like it’s on the commenters and not on them for having made a poor layout decision.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:56 PM on August 17, 2015


We're all adults here, right?

Acting like an adult means letting your resentment of bad anchor text silently build up until you quit the site over it, never explaining why.
posted by michaelh at 9:09 PM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I felt they focused on one silly thing and overlooked the rest that I felt was noteworthy/ enjoyable/ interesting, and I've tried to push the conversation back to the topic, but it was about as effective as you would imagine.

I think a good rule of thumb is don't be a helicopter parent when you send your first post off to college. Call after awhile to see how it's doing, add a few comments of support if needed. But there's no way that post isn't going to do its own thing, as much as you tried to raise it to be a doctor. The best you can do is hope there are responsible adults nearby to keep it from killing itself right out the gate, but at some point, you have to give up on the idea that giving birth to something carries significant weight once it's out the door.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:43 PM on August 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hm, maybe I will do that fpp on Hobarts afterall.

Here are some recent MetaTalks that have tips on writing fpps - I'm sure there are many more:

What works and doesn't work when creating FPPs?
#WomensMarch
#JulyByWomen project

(I mean some of them are timesucks, too, but if you skim along you'll hit a comment every so often that gives some helpful advice on how to approach writing an fpp. Lots of comments are of the "bottom line: have fun!" ilk which is really what it's about.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:28 PM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think I've gone through this one posted by Wordshore: Getting good at writing FPPs

And here's one on time of day to post in order to get maximum responses: When should I post?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:34 PM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Objectivist circumcised pro-life Monsanto CEO

Whew, I'm glad she wasn't declawed.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 1:43 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd be happy to work with people on their posts. My work schedule is such that such exchanges would be very asynchronous, which may not work for everyone. But I seem to do decent posts, and am happy to talk with anyone about theirs (or about mine -- some of mine flop and I never know why!).
posted by hippybear at 1:57 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Indeed, I feel like the whole point of framing something well is to try and make it clear to everyone how you, the poster, want the thread to go.

That's pretty ridiculous and only works because I never click the links.
posted by ryanrs at 4:22 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


What a fantastic idea. As someone who is a #long time never posted this may be what gets me posting. Well, probably not as I'm still too oddly nervous about it, but I so appreciate this
posted by biggreenplant at 5:23 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Encouragement Month

All users are encouraged to make a Front Page Post during Encouragement Month.
The accounts of users who do not are deleted at the end of Encouragement Month.
Users who complain receive additional encouragement.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 5:42 AM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


If you're worried about grumps and cranks: a recent post of mine was slammed in a totally unrelated MetaTalk and like a dozen Mefites immediately popped out to defend it - it was awesome, any bad feelings I had about the whole thing completely evaporated. Even if there is some nastiness, it is heavily (and consistently!) outweighed on this site by kindness and respect.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 7:06 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Going To Maine: The poster isn’t necessarily the MC of the thread, but they’re certainly responsible for setting the the tone at the outset. I’m 100% convinced that the Joe Frank thread I linked above would have gone differently if I’d chosen a different pull quote, and that’s completely on me.

This is a very good point - what you put above the fold greatly shapes how people respond to the post, because that's all people read at first. People will react to this, even if you have more text below the fold or the linked material elaborates in a way that could push them another direction. Gut reactions and initial responses plotted out before reading below the fold, and all that.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:58 AM on August 18, 2015


> This is a very good point - what you put above the fold greatly shapes how people respond to the post, because that's all people read at first.

Indeed, and I would urge everyone to reread their post (especially the pull quote and/or above-the-fold part) from the point of view of someone who has zero knowledge of the topic and is not automatically disposed to think well of it. Is there an obvious way the quote/post could be misinterpreted or objected to? You might want to rewrite with that in mind. (This goes especially, of course, for contentious topics.) Avoid the clickbait temptation to choose a particularly outrageous pull quote—it will go badly.

Also, if you're linking to a piece of writing, name the author. Don't add to the general fog of "it's all just random content floating around out there"; somebody took the time and effort to put those words together in a way that impressed you, and they deserve credit for it.
posted by languagehat at 8:09 AM on August 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


The Gotta-Should-Must Rule:

Eh. I actually make FPPs because I'm irritated by a discussion somewhere else on the Blue or because I think there's a concept that more people really should know about on a relatively frequent basis--maybe 10% of my FPPs happen that way. They've all gone well so far. I also editorialize all the damn time.

I think the secret to the former threads--if there is one--is that I try to pull all of the pissiness I'm feeling out of the actual text before I post it, even if my draft has cranky notes next to the links I want to include, so it doesn't raise hackles when people see the post. That way, even if I'm not-so-secretly going "shut the fuck up about vocal fry you fuckwit" to myself as I'm composing the post, it's not evident in the text to anyone who didn't see me liking eight comments pushing back on someone whining about the vocal fry on a completely unrelated youtube thread. And that means that the people who comment on the ensuing FPP aren't necessarily coming into the discussion feeling judged, which helps prevent the thread derailing around defensiveness too badly.

A lot of the time, my impetus for posting is that I want to introduce and then emphasize a topic which is really a derail for the thread. I try to channel that into posting an entirely new discussion because I think it makes for less grar sitewide and still lets me feel like I brought up the thing I wanted to derail around. That said, you really have to have a derail in mind for that to work; you don't want to pick something that is a minor tangent because your FPP will just wind up covering the same ground as the previous thread.

I also don't touch newsfilter, but I suspect newsfilter is much more likely to come across as "quit editorializing" than something which is framed more as "look at this interesting topic! :D" because of the context surrounding the discussion. People who have been putting up with a lot of discussion of the Thing in their social spaces off-MeFi are going to be sensitized to it and, if it's a difficult topic in any way, are already going to have their hackles up before they ever see the FPP about it. For that reason, any FPP about really heavy newsfiltery topics is going to have a lot of baggage that takes extremely good framing and discussion links to defuse, and even then you're going to need a certain amount of moderation to get a good discussion out of it.
posted by sciatrix at 9:13 AM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also:

It's odd to me that criticism of the links in an OP is so often seen as "mean" or personal. I have to say it seems very rare to me that a commenter is actually vitriolic towards someone for having posted. Disagreeing with, or finding problematic, links that are posted is not the same thing as saying "you are a bad person and you should feel bad". We're all adults here, right?

Threeants, I still remember a comment you made on one of my FPPs ages ago which boiled down to "nyaw you're wrong" and made me feel like you'd just crapped all over the thread I had spent an hour carefully setting up to display how cool I thought the topic was. I'm still resentful about it! And that's true even given that a) no I was not wrong and I said so, b) it was a minor little thing that I'm pretty sure you've totally forgotten in an otherwise well received thread, and c) I had accumulated enough confidence by then that it didn't send me into a tailspin of questioning whether I was qualified to post.

I mean, you can think I'm a huge baby for caring, but by the same token I get to think that making comments like that is a dick move. Putting together FPPs takes quite a bit of effort and thought, especially if you're not just selecting an excerpt. I usually spend quite a bit of time gathering links if I'm posting a FPP with more than one link and debating which sources are going to be engaging and which are just retreading old ground. And I was not a particularly new poster at the time, like I said--someone who is new? I guarantee something offhand and dismissive like that would put someone off quite badly if they didn't have a lot of support setting up a thread. The first few are always the most intimidating, and I think you are underestimating just how anxious a lot of people are about posting to the front page.
posted by sciatrix at 9:20 AM on August 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


Topics that typically garner fewer comments:
Art

I've probably had more posts with < 10 comments than pretty much anyone and almost all the shit I post is arts-related.


Almost all the shit I post is music-related (specifically metal), which is by nature appealing to only a few mefites. But those few definitely appreciate the inclusion, so it's worth it even if the threads are fairly short.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:33 AM on August 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think the idea of not editorializing is that Metafilter isn't your personal soapbox, from a posting position. I could be wrong. I personally do not like editorializing - it feels like either the writer doesn't trust me to form my own opinions, and I must be guided by their input, or that someone is preaching to me.

I do not like preaching *at* me. Discussions with people - yes. Preaching, no.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:19 AM on August 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Okay, I do feel encouraged and supported -- I will make my post about the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:33 AM on August 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


I've pretty much mastered the 'single link post to something interesting I saw on Ravelry or Facebook that I thought MetaFilter would be into' post. Even my multi-link posts are really single link posts.

If anyone needs help with that, I can address such topics as "Witty Pun or Pull Text: Structuring your Post Title", "This colon that: whether to include extra description after your link text", "Look at this one: Suggested pieces for art posts", "Stuff you saw on Facebook: has everyone already seen it or only most people?", and "Favorites are better anyway: Why it's not really a problem that your art post only got one comment".
posted by jacquilynne at 10:33 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Banner text: the beatings will continue until FPPs improve
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:48 AM on August 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I personally do not like editorializing - it feels like either the writer doesn't trust me to form my own opinions, and I must be guided by their input, or that someone is preaching to me.

Totally agree with this. There is no "I" in FPP. Leave that for the comments! I really like it when the poster pops into the comments with some extra thoughts and/or personalization.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:48 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


There is no I, but doesn't FPP stand for First Person Plural, i.e. the Royal We?
posted by michaelh at 11:19 AM on August 18, 2015


it's always fine to bounce an idea off the contact form if you want a modly opinion

I did this for a possible double, got some sage advice on undoubling it, and the whole thing went well. 5 stars, would use again.
posted by Deoridhe at 11:23 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know if this site wants or needs a FPP with a bunch of youtube links to obscure movies about witches.

Couldn't be worse than another link to a Guardian opinion piece. I say put on your robe and wizard's hat.

I often come across connections while I'm reading that I think would still satisfy the original metafilter goal of "interesting things on the internet." For example: the Kupjacks. Eugene Kupjack was the primary builder of the tiny rooms designed by Narcissa Thorne and presently at the Art Institute of Chicago (among other museums). Kupjack's son, Henry, is still building tiny rooms. Or the story of Stella Gentry Sharpe's and Charles Farrell's 1939 book Tobe, one of the first books for children to present an ordinary African-American family. Or the connection between Baron Daemon, a 1960's horror host with a one-hit wonder, and the Haudenosaunee Great Law of Peace Center. (Hint: it's Sandra Bigtree.) I'm too lazy to actually turn any of those into front page posts and frankly, I like the way those shapely 0's look on my profile page (I've come to regret ever spoiling AskMe.) But all these ideas—and more!—can be yours for mere pennies. Stop scratching your head and call now!

Users who complain receive additional encouragement.

But I don't want additional encouragement!
posted by octobersurprise at 11:54 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Out of curiosity, what are the average number of eyeballs that see a post with a particular set of tags on the front page, as measured by
  • clickthroughs to links in the post
  • clickthroughs to the comment section?
posted by Going To Maine at 12:23 PM on August 18, 2015


This thread motivated me to post a FPP, so there's that.
posted by immlass at 12:26 PM on August 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


/resisting making the first comment in that thread about Judge Dredd.
posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on August 18, 2015


Third!
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on August 18, 2015


I would like to return to this thread and state that the comment I was thinking of that irked me so was not left by threeants but instead by someone with a similar username. I apologize for the confusion. That is all.
posted by sciatrix at 2:22 PM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Threeants, I still remember a comment you made on one of my FPPs ages ago which boiled down to "nyaw you're wrong" and made me feel like you'd just crapped all over the thread I had spent an hour carefully setting up to display how cool I thought the topic was. I'm still resentful about it!

Sorry to be that guy, but...can I get a cite for this? This news was upsetting to me, but I just control-F'ed my name in all your OPs to the blue and as far as I can tell I haven't actually ever commented on a thread you've posted before.
posted by threeants at 6:33 PM on August 18, 2015


aaaaaaaaand I could have saved myself a lot of time by reading the previous comment. Woops.
posted by threeants at 6:34 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I went back to look like half an hour later and belatedly realized I'd made a pretty big error. Sorry to have given you a nasty shock!
posted by sciatrix at 6:37 PM on August 18, 2015


let the record plz show that I am not a meanie who causes months-long emotional pain :(
posted by threeants at 6:38 PM on August 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


*hastily amends record and adds to the list of Names To Not Be Confused Next Time* Seriously though, DEFINITELY my bad.
posted by sciatrix at 6:41 PM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


So reading this thread and the other linked ones along with the mega EL thread led to my posting my first fpp today (with that tag no one else has used yet?).

And I have a second one queued up. Thanks MeFi.
posted by ladyriffraff at 7:55 PM on August 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm happy to be memailed by anyone who's thinking of doing a post.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:03 PM on August 18, 2015


Same. If any new posters want advice, my inbox is always open.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:29 AM on August 19, 2015


I hope fourants has suitably apologized via MeMail by this time.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:11 PM on August 19, 2015


I'm so excited this is already inspiring folks who have never or rarely posted to make posts, which - by the way - have been awesome.

Whee!
posted by julen at 12:19 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well this inspired me to hit post today. I'm not saying it was awesome, but that's the thing. It was a link I thought was cool and other people might also think was cool, so I posted it.

A lot of the discussion in this MeTa is actually what keeps me from posting because it feels like I should be much more concerned about framing and tone and how a post is received and how 'the thread goes' and how many comments or favorites it gets and on and on. I just don't care. The few times I've posted it was because a thing was interesting and so I shared it. But then I read a lot of the stuff in this MeTa and I feel like I'm doing it wrong because I'm not agonizing over every word I post and every comment.

I'm done caring or trying to understand. I'll hit post again next time I see something interesting without manufacturing a fear of doing so because I think I should have that fear for some reason. I do understand that a controversial topic or a longer post means framing and tone and such matter more but I don't think I'll ever really understand why people's comments would bother me unless they're actually speaking to me.

It was the people in here saying basically "stop worrying and share" who made me think "why not?" so thanks for that.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 1:22 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


ladyriffraff: So reading this thread and the other linked ones along with the mega EL thread led to my posting my first fpp today (with that tag no one else has used yet?).

And I have a second one queued up. Thanks MeFi.


The list of topics in your profile look good, too! Welcome to the obsession club!


Clinging to the Wreckage, if it makes you feel any better, I spent years agonizing over my past posts, so you're doing better than I did. Seriously, I re-read old posts of mine and others that did well and those that didn't and tried to suss out some key tips to making posts people like and discuss. I think I pinned down some things* but then I realized what you did - share interesting things, enjoy yourself, and don't over-think it.

*These are probably pretty obvious, but people like to talk about things they already know, or can grasp quickly, and hasn't been beaten to death in the post itself. People like things they already know, and certain niches like unusual history, good recipes, lots of good, free stuff, and decent round-ups of sprawling/ complex current events.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:05 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


> I hope fourants has suitably apologized via MeMail by this time.

Who is fourants and why should they apologize?
posted by languagehat at 3:33 PM on August 19, 2015


For what they did to Paphnuty.
posted by Kattullus at 3:49 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was making a threeants joke.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:38 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the welcome! Normally I would have waited to post a second time to the front page but it's timely (the Hugos) and I want something positive out there. Julie Dillon is amazing and I was so surprised to see that she'd only been mentioned once on the blue.
posted by ladyriffraff at 4:56 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am considering, the month of September, setting as a task for myself to make one post a day all month long. It's a good way to get things out of the post idea box, avoid obsessing too much over any one post, and get in the mood of producing things, which is for me a big stumbling block to getting stuff done.

Don't know if anyone else wants to try it too, just saying it's worked for me in the past.
posted by JHarris at 4:58 PM on August 19, 2015


> I was making a threeants joke.

Sorry, my brain is melting from the heat!

posted by languagehat at 5:24 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


If anyone does want to try and crank out a post a day for any period of time, be sure to check links in advance. This is generally done by entering each link into the site search, which can be tedious but more informative than the post-based duplication checker as you can find comments that reference the material and possibly find a post that was made with a slightly different link, or just a related post (or question) from the past.

An additional note on searching for prior posts: if you're including a YouTube video as a key part of your post, search for the video ID (the eleven characters that refer to the video), because of the myriad of ways you can link to a YouTube video.

Otherwise, if you have a sock puppet for semi-anonymous questions or occasional jokes, you can preview a post from that account, but leave out the title to keep from being able to accidentally post with that secondary account.

I know, it can be annoying to have what you think is a great, novel post and draft it all up as a comment (to check formatting), only to preview the post and have the dupe-checker turn up a prior post that covers the same topic.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:58 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


If anyone is looking to create a series of mediocre posts with a couple of surprise hits, just let me know!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:42 AM on August 20, 2015


wot.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:58 PM on August 20, 2015


While researching cheese for a future post*, I discovered that the emperor of MetaFilter has a lucrative sideline in operation.

*also my dinner
posted by Wordshore at 2:21 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


eamondaly's got me beat by a month.

Don't give in, eamondaly. It's a trap!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:55 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


It feels like I'm seeing some more new names posting already. It's nice.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:24 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


If I can be of help to anyone I would be glad to. I encourage everyone to do this - FPPs are what makes MeFi so interesting and varied. We want to know what you know and see what you see! And overthink it!

PM me if you would like a post review or suggestions. I will be supportive and constructive. Over the next week I would be slow to respond as I'm on vacation, but after that I'll check in daily as usual.
posted by Miko at 6:51 PM on August 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


And just remember a lot of us listen to NPR on the old school Radio. Amazing amount of posts of late first encountered on Morning Edition.
posted by y2karl at 6:32 AM on August 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Amazing amount of posts of late first encountered on Morning Edition.

Truth! One of the better ways to find something neat that people may not have seen before is to get inspiration from non-web media such as radio, books or just stuff going on geographically local to you. A lot of my FPP ideas have come from books.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:20 AM on August 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


One of the better ways to find something neat that people may not have seen before is to get inspiration from non-web media such as radio, books or just stuff going on geographically local to you.

Absolutely. My husband called me a nerd for reading Tom Vanderbilt's "Traffic," but there is SO MUCH TRANSPORTATION TRIVIA. It is giving me FPP ideas.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:28 AM on August 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would post neat and interesting finds if I had a MeFi mentor, totally. I'm reluctant though, due to fear of doing it wrong. It's like Wikipedia. You need to be shown the ropes. Thanks for this post! I'll plan on posting in September.
posted by JLovebomb at 8:39 PM on August 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


HAPPENING SOON. ✨
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:15 PM on August 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Voila! The Announcement Post.
posted by julen at 6:05 AM on September 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


Zixyer got started early.
posted by Artw at 6:42 AM on September 1, 2015


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