First Post September Successes and Needs Works October 2, 2015 8:31 AM   Subscribe

How did "First Post September" go for people? I know how it went *for me* (and am happy to share below), but I am interested in hearing how it went for other (potential or actual) first posters.

- how did you feel before and after posting?
- what roadblocks (mental and technical) did you overcome?
- what would have made it awesomer?
- what would help make posting into a habit?
- what easier than you thought? harder?
posted by gregglind to MetaFilter-Related at 8:31 AM (39 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Yay for First Post month! I'm glad this happened and would love to see it happen again in the future. For quick reference for anyone coming late, here's the kickoff post from September 1st, put together by the awesome julen (who also got stuff pre-rolling with this planning post from August).

People ended up using a variety of tags, but a couple common ones for easy browsing include FirstTimeLongTime and firstpost.

I'm super curious to hear how folks felt about the stuff gregglind is asking here, too. I love seeing folks get their post on for the first time or for the first time in a while, and it'd be great to hear what helps there, what went well, what could use more help, etc.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:35 AM on October 2, 2015

I was surprised to see the banner about it, because the MetaTalk announcement didn't really seem like an announcement.
posted by smackfu at 9:04 AM on October 2, 2015

I firstposted. It was fun. I definitely think having an Official First Post Month spurred me to actually do it instead of just thinking "this is neat, I should share this" when I saw a Cool Thing on twitter.

What I'm saying is we should make this an annual event.
posted by quaking fajita at 9:16 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]

I made a post. It is perhaps not a stellar post (though I think the thing I linked is certainly worth attention), but nobody told me I was an asshole for posting it, so all in all I guess it went pretty ok. I will probably try to do it more, at least until some part of the process damages my unbelievably fragile, child-like ego.
posted by brennen at 10:24 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]

I posted about something that I found interesting and it got some really great comments once it had been up for a little while. I still think my skin is too thin to post here, but I am glad I got to see the interesting discussion on the interesting thing. #FirstTimeLastTime
posted by mama casserole at 10:35 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

I lurked on this site for years before joining. Then I was a member for over a year before posting.

I am guessing had there been any push I might have done it earlier, so I support the theme months. I was opposed to them at first, since it didn't seem to me like people should need encouraged. Post or not as you see fit, but I've changed my mind. It's nice to see more voices.

So thank you to those who have been posting, and especially if one of the themes got you to do it.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:45 AM on October 2, 2015

I wasn't a firstposter, but I want to thank the people who did firstpost. It was cool seeing new names on the font page.

I also think this is a good place to ask people if they think the form for creating a new post is confusing. I've made a dozen posts over four years, but I don't post regularly and I still find the New Post page confusing every time I go to make one. I think it comes down to figuring out what the heck the 'Link URL' and 'Link Text' fields are for and then re-assuring myself that I don't need them for my post. I've got some ideas on what would make it clearer for me, but it's not worth wrangling over them if others are having the same confusion as I am.

I know that form has been that way for a long time, and there's often a lot of community push-back on changing long-standing core elements of the web site, so much that the mods don't expect it to be worth the energy to consider changing them. But I think people who have recently made their first post are the ideal group to listen to on this.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:45 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

To answer a couple of the specific questions:

- how did you feel before and after posting?

Trepidatious, then like oh, ok, not such a big deal.

- what roadblocks (mental and technical) did you overcome?

The posting form is a little bit mysterious, with the [ put a link in this field and a title in this one | ...or you can just use links in your HTML ] divide. Obvious enough after a second, but I think this could be more of a barrier to people with less technical experience.

Mentally, it's sort of like "ok, let's try and simulate every possible thing that someone on MetaFilter is going to decide I am an asshole about".

I mean, it took me years to even start commenting here for much the same reason. I'm comfortable doing that now (maybe too comfortable), but if I take a step back from that, it is profoundly intimidating to put words in front of this group of people. You can get pretty handily brutalized here for the slightest transgression against a highly ramified protocol and complex set of overlapping and constantly-evolving ideological systems.

- what would have made it awesomer?

I will probably build up future posts in a text editor, because I almost lost mine to hamfisted tab-closing while in the midst of unrelated nonsense.

As ponies go, some sort of a "save draft" feature there would be pretty sweet, I suppose.
posted by brennen at 10:47 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

Who wants to be the one to tell brennen?
posted by benito.strauss at 10:50 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

I can't resist!

Testing Saved Post Drafts
posted by benito.strauss at 10:51 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Testing Saved Post Drafts

God dammit.
posted by brennen at 10:52 AM on October 2, 2015 [13 favorites]

A few folks also used secondpost and thirdpost, and I heard from several people who took the opportunity to make a post after a long long time (years!) and see if it'd work for them now.

There were also a bunch of great first posts that were not tagged last month; I suspect a good portion of those folks had no idea the initiative was even happening, and took the plunge anyway.
posted by julen at 12:42 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

What I'm saying is we should make this an annual event.

posted by 4ster at 12:48 PM on October 2, 2015

An annual event? Maybe even bi-annual (not biennial - had to doublecheck for clarity)... March is a good time for fresh blood.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:55 PM on October 2, 2015

I did my first post!

- how did you feel before and after posting?
I was pretty convinced that someone else was going to post the article between the time I found it and when I was able to post it after work, but I got to claim it for mine! I felt really excited when I came across something that I wanted to post, but don't know that I would have overcome my inertia and posted it without the September push. After posting, I stepped away and didn't really check back until the next day, which felt a little gross, like throwing a Valentine at crush and then running away, but was probably best for my sanity.

- what roadblocks (mental and technical) did you overcome?
I was a bit nervous about having my first post be about gender, then got irritated at the nervousness and posted anyway. The fields didn't seem particularly confusing to navigate, but I did preview and change my post, like, three times, which is hilarious because my post was all of five words. I can imagine it's more frustrating/confusing if you have more to say.

- what would help make posting into a habit?
In the thread, someone wished the post had been meatier. I had originally envisioned a more detailed post, but got a bit overwhelmed in putting it together and just decided to go with the first piece that had inspired me (in other words: fuck it, let’s get this done). It did make me feel like I was on the right track though; that what I posted was something MetaFilter is interested in, and would like to engage with. What I'm saying is that MetaFilter continuing to be generally awesome is likely to help me become a (more) regular poster.

- what easier than you thought? harder?
It was easier once I got out of my own way and just decided to Post an Interesting Thing, rather than Make an Awesome Post.
posted by Tentacle of Trust at 4:10 PM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]

I'm a firm believer in the One Great Link school of posting, so I want to give a big thumbs-up to that kind of post. Keep doing that, yes yes.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:35 PM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]

(I am also interested in failed first posters, fwiw. I am in that group :) )
posted by gregglind at 5:17 PM on October 2, 2015

Failed first poster here, I guess. Wanted to put together a v. brief post about a free online album from yonks ago, but lost momentum finding vital supporting links (which had rotted away). Contemplated a quick Sept 30th post on procrastination, but let the moment pass. This is funny because it is true. [sorry for the lack of carriage returns btw, I have no idea why suddenly now enter doesn't work for me in a text box]
posted by comealongpole at 5:45 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Additionally, I am someone who quite happily sends links round to friends, so in the same vein I would merrily post to the front page if only most of my interesting links weren't from MetaFilter these days.
posted by comealongpole at 5:48 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Failed first poster here, I guess. Wanted to put together a v. brief post about a free online album from yonks ago, but lost momentum finding vital supporting links (which had rotted away).

That's not a failed post, that's a successful post which is just awaiting the links it deserves!

I waited years to make a post about the folksinger, phranc. She simply didn't have a real web presence and as much as I wanted to go Look!! Click!! I thought she deserved better. Every once in a while I would check, and the one day I checked and she had launched an exhaustive new web site that very morning. It was so worth the wait, so just keep it on the back burner for now.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:57 PM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

I've made more posts in the last month than I have in the previous 7 years combined. Reading the First-Post Meta threads gave me the nerve to do it, because I decided I could just post an interesting link to something I'd come across, and I decided I didn't have to write a huge post/essay about something, which some people do and which I find a bit intimidating. I was nervous before putting up the first one, and relieved when it went okay. After that I felt less nervous about the whole thing, even though I'd posted something before, oh, about 2 years ago I think.

For the most part, my posts went pretty well, and I was glad I did it. There was one comment on one of them that sort of stuck in my craw for 24 hours, because it felt a little mean and needlessly aggressive, but I wrote to julen about it, and they very nicely gave me some advice for how to shake it off.

I'd be interested in hearing other people's strategies for dealing with posts that don't go well or that just attract some unpleasant comments, because I imagine that is one of the things you have to learn to deal with if you post stuff regularly.
posted by colfax at 7:41 AM on October 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

Maybe decide that you're okay with not pleasing everybody. Yeah, some doofuses may use that as an excuse for generally being a jerk, but that's not what I'm talking about. Let's say you make a post, 5 people favorite it, it gets 25 positive comments, and one person objects strongly to it. That's just fine, and that one displeased person shouldn't get veto power over everyone else.

Another thing is that some people are just generally a little mean and needlessly aggressive, and that's the style they're going to bring to any situation. If that's the case, tell yourself "That's them, not me." (I figured this out driving around Boston. "Why is that guy honking his horn? I didn't do anything. Oh, that guy is just a horn honker! Got it.")
posted by benito.strauss at 8:30 AM on October 3, 2015 [8 favorites]

I don't think I failed so much, as just kind of missed the deadline. Fortunately people can do their first post whenever, so mine is coming eventually. Don't hold your breath though, I am lazy as hell.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:58 PM on October 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

- how did you feel before and after posting?
Great! Really pleased! Except that I kept feeling like the post was a little off, so I tweaked wording and link order a bunch of times. Preview after preview after preview. I didn't obsess too much about the post after I made it, but only because I was consciously trying to be hands-off for a little while.

- what roadblocks (mental and technical) did you overcome?
My biggest problem for most of the month was that I would have a vague idea that didn't connect with anything worth posting. For example, I would love to make a post about the little avatars that mangaka draw to represent themselves (Dragonball creator Akira Toriyama draws himself as a robot named Tori-bot; Fullmetal Alchemist creator Hiromu Arakawa draws herself as a cow with glasses), but I just can't find a good article that talks about this. Maybe this idea will end up as a Hiromu Arakawa post because her life and work are really interesting.

I wanted to make a LEGO post because I used to visit LUGNET all the time years ago (remember Cool LEGO Site of the Week?) and was wondering where online LEGO fandom had gone from there. But because I started from LUGNET links, I got distracted by a bunch of neat blogs. One featured incredible castle designs, but framed in a snarky inside-baseball way that didn't seem like a friendly introduction. So I looked for a different collection or some other way to say "hey look at these cool castle things" in a way that would explain what sets them apart. And then, eureka, there was this huge guide that offered insight into that building process and style, which was exactly what this post needed. The best thing was that it stood on its own, so I could share additional links under the umbrella of "more things to look at if you like this thing." Not required reading, which was the impression I had worried about giving.

- what would have made it awesomer?
Lots of Mefites offered help drafting posts in the MetaTalk thread, and I probably should've taken advantage of that. Not just with the post I ended up making, but with the ideas I stalled out on but had gathered a few potential links for.

- what would help make posting into a habit?
If I find a more practical way of starting a post - my process now is dreaming of a perfect framing link that may or may not exist, and that's iffy to say the least.

- what was easier than you thought? harder?
Everything after posting was easier than I thought. People made really supportive comments, as well as on-topic contributions. I couldn't have asked for a nicer response. (Thanks everybody!)
posted by knuckle tattoos at 11:52 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I haven't posted in eons. I was gonna post, but September was stupid busy. So I didn't. In some hypothetical future first-post-in-a-long-time month, when I am hypothetically futurely less busy, I would like to post. I am unsure if such a month will occur.

Anyhow it was fun to see new names and topics on the front page, I hope it continues.
posted by nat at 2:37 AM on October 4, 2015

For me, the hard part is finding something worth posting. Many of the links I would consider have already made it here in the past 15+ years, and I'm not on top of things enough to find something brand new. I keep starting posts only to realize they are just a loose collection of scholarly articles and blog posts, and it all doesn't seem like quite the right kind of thing for MeFi. I want to contribute more, but I don't know how!
posted by thetortoise at 2:59 AM on October 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'd like to contribute, but I'm actually completely unsure how to format posts. I got a post rejected once for "only being news" but that seemed nonsensical to me because most of the Blue posts have been only news, in my opinion. Not sure what to do.
posted by yueliang at 12:04 PM on October 4, 2015

I second posted after *years*...mainly because of the initiative.

I don't have anything interesting to add most of the time, so I stay quiet and read posts made by others.... I am a truly boring person who usually has nothing new to add.

When posting, I found the form to be a bit confusing, as mentioned above, (see- I always am agreeing with what 'they' said).

What made me glad I posted is that it was something I care about and other folks found it worth their while. I also had a break in my hectic life, coupled with access to an internet connected computer, which is almost a necessity, (98% of my metafiltering is via my mobile.)

I may try it again before the next five years.
posted by mightshould at 3:22 PM on October 4, 2015

I've been a member of MeFi for a long time (15-year anniversary in 2 months!) and have never posted. I was hoping to do one for this September, but I got too busy.

I'll try again, and I'd rather not wait a year!
posted by mmoncur at 2:29 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I made my biennial post this month. And then I made another one. I was actually spurned on by the first July for Women because I'm a procrastinator like that...

The other motivation was that there's been several occasions in the last couple of years where something cool that's been going round my circle of the internet turns up on Mefi a few weeks later. I realised that I'm probably closer to the origin than most people here, so why shouldn't I be the one to post them?

Then one evening there was a fantastic blog post doing the rounds on twitter, and I thought Mefites would love this. So I posted it. And people did love it. Languagehat called it terrific. Seriously, I'm going to dining out on that for a while (well I would if any of my IRL friends knew about Mefi). So then I decided to post another cool thing that's been doing the rounds. And people loved that too. But it only really sunk in that it was first post month after I made the posts, I think I had maybe been inspired subliminally...

I'm hoping to increase my post frequency a bit from now on... Maybe perhaps annually...? And I would like to nth that the form is a little confusing, but the preview is very helpful.
posted by Helga-woo at 5:09 AM on October 5, 2015

I was actually spurned on by the first July for Women

Sorry, it wasn't supposed to be like that.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:38 AM on October 5, 2015

I made my 60th-64th posts in September, thanks to 'First Post September'. Does that count? I had basically stopped posting links altogether some time ago but was inspired to start again.

- how did you feel before and after posting?
Before, not that confident that I was capable of both finding something interesting enough to generate discussion *and* writing an effective post. Almost everything interesting that I see online usually comes *from* MetaFilter.
After- I felt like I was definitely overthinking it. Worst case you have a so-so link that doesn't get a lot of activity, best case you start a really interesting discussion!

- what roadblocks (mental and technical) did you overcome?
In general on MeFi I tend to keep quiet- Sometimes I'll write an entire comment out, and then close the window without hitting post. Honestly I don't see the point of adding a comment to the discussion unless I'm sure that it will resonate with a lot of people, or unless I feel strongly about it. It's disappointing to participate and then feel ignored- for example this happened with my post about getting old- I was hoping for tons of comments from seniors here but that thread mostly went ignored.

- what would have made it awesomer?
For me, nothing- I have gotten over my anxiety about sharing. The rest of you: whatever happened to Flash Friday? There always used to be a game to play linked somewhere on MeFi, now, rarely!

- what would help make posting into a habit?
I disagree that this is something to encourage necessarily. I only want to post things here if, when I find the original link, I immediately think "Oh Man I have to show this to MetaFilter."

- what easier than you thought? harder?
I hate tagging things. I get why people use tags but they aren't how my mind works so I usually end up barfing out a couple relevant-sounding words and get on with it.

tl;dr: More Flash Friday, guys? I get so bored, haha.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 5:56 AM on October 5, 2015

(Y'all have been so fantastic and generous with all your feedback!)

I failed at First Post month (on Blue. I get Green and Grey). My reasons:

- I also tend to find most stuff ON Metafilter.
- Most of the things I want to talk about I am either *too close to* (the Mpls BLM Marathon thing, which I have 100 links for, lots of inside baseball in Tech), or it's original research. MetaFilter is not my blog!
- I don't use my desktop computer as much. Posting from Mobile... is fragile. Everything around links on mobile is really painful.
- I kind of want Markdown. I am so used to it everywhere. (notice, this is all Markdown, and looks like garbage)
- I still don't get tags. I never use them, I never search for them, I never see them (on mobile).

Solutions for me: I should probably start using Gists to save my partials.

I wish i had a more emergent "hey this would be rad for metafilter" sort of thing in my browser.

I wonder if a magical 'this would be a rad FPP' flag for comments (which would email the commenter, or push it to a big 'well' somewhere) might have effects here.
posted by gregglind at 10:15 AM on October 5, 2015

I was actually spurned on by the first July for Women

Sorry, it wasn't supposed to be like that.

Ah, sorry, that was an autocorrect fail. I was spurred on by July for Women. I've between planning to make more posts since then, it made me more confident that I could make posts. Even if I didn't take part at the time. And then, by coincidence, a great post landed in my lap last month.
posted by Helga-woo at 4:36 PM on October 5, 2015

A bit late to this party too, but my two cents (speaking as someone who lurked for years before signing up for an account, and who still mostly lurks):

- how did you feel before and after posting?
Before: I felt really encouraged by both MeTa threads regarding FirstPosts, and had great plans to build a post about one of my niche interests. Laziness got in the way, but I still really really wanted to make a post by the end of September and scrapped my plans for a mega-post and posted a gorgeously-illustrated, short little Twine game instead.

After: Happy I'd done it! Really a lot easier than I thought.

- what roadblocks (mental and technical) did you overcome?
Really, finding something I thought worthy of a post - like so many others I feel like most of the neat stuff I see these days comes via MeFi already.

But! It was also really really important that various members of the community said that they enjoyed single-link posts, because that removed some of the pressure I'd put on myself to make a megapost. I also remember reading a comment saying that it wasn't necessary to make a post about something that would generate 100+ comments, and not to feel bad if ours didn't; this also let me know that I could make a low-stakes FirstPost.

- what would have made it awesomer?
It's all been pretty awesome, actually. If I did get around to making that mega-post I probably would have asked for help drafting it; as it stands my little mini-post didn't seem to warrant it.

- what would help make posting into a habit?
Vide supra re: material to link to. Realistically, though, more of these monthly posting initiatives. Eventually I'll just get used to posting once a year, right?

- what easier than you thought? harder?
The posting form is a bit confusing, but I figured it out. Frankly my own anxiety was my own worst enemy, here.
posted by invokeuse at 7:06 PM on October 6, 2015

I put up a post (third, but I am still new at this) that didn't get any comments. I would be interested in getting feedback, if anyone is still out there. I think I probably framed it poorly.
posted by thetortoise at 6:04 AM on October 22, 2015

thetortoise, I noticed your post when it went up, and I thought, "Oh, that looks interesting!" but was too busy to go back to it when I had more time (which is fairly par-for-the-course for me on front page posts, so I also may not be the best person to be giving feedback here, so take it with a grain of salt). I clicked on it again when I saw your comment here, and saw the main link was audio-only, and that just wasn't going to happen. Then I saw a bunch of the links were videos, and that just wasn't going to happen. My suspicion is that heavily non-text links probably just draw slightly less attention?

I also was not at all familiar with "the chant," and while I am interested in learning about it, it felt like it was going to be a lot of time spent listening to things in order to get enough background to figure it out. I'm not sure that's your fault as much as it is my dislike of sitting through audio and video (well, plus an educational system that minimizes the Civil Rights movement...)
posted by jaguar at 7:15 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

thetortoise, I also saw the post, thought it was interesting, but didn't want to do audio/video links.

But I think you would have had a few comments if you posted at a different time. Posts in the early hours of the morning tend to get less attention.

(This is one reason I haven't posted, I work the night shift and tend to have my free time at 3:00AM. I see AskMe's go by all of the time at that time that don't get any responses.)
posted by mmoncur at 3:45 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

fwiw, that's exactly what happened for me too with your post - I thought "oh cool!" and then "oh, videos" and bookmarked it for later. (Though I have to admit, sometimes I get back to my bookmarks and sometimes I don't.)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:48 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

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