What, besides the content of the link, do you consider when posting? July 25, 2017 1:15 PM   Subscribe

It feels like the internet has changed from a time when some friend might IM you a link to cat-scan.com and you'd think 'I have no idea how these people got their cats wedged in their scanners or why' and post a link to that site to Metafilter. With social media and content aggregators and embeds, the same basic content can appear in a whole lot of different contexts -- you might see it on Facebook's sidebar, or BuzzFeed or Bored Panda or all of the above. So which one do you link to? How much does context matter when the post is supposed to be about the content?

Some examples -- these are things I try, not always successfully, to keep in mind as I post:

ease of use issues:
-- single page vs. heavily paginated vs. one-image-per-page slideshows
-- masses of embeds (Instagram, twitter, etc) that cause pages to load slowly annoy me
-- alternatively, screenshots of tweets / Instas that don't link to original source aren't really fair

-- is it annoying (autoplaying audio, etc)?
-- is it hateful, misogynist or just gross?

-- regional content blocking has been an issue on MeTa for a long time.
-- registration required like Facebook and Pinterest. I try to test links in a non-logged in browser before I link to places where this might be an issue.
-- I also know it is a good idea to be aware of accessibility for the disabled but I sadly admit I don't usually remember this at the time that I am actually posting things.

-- can I find the original source of something that's gone viral?
-- can I also link back to the artist's own website rather than just an aggregator or blog entry about them? (I'd just link the artist instead of the blog post, but artist websites are so often very, very, very bad and a nice blog post that pulls out a dozen good examples of their work is so much more inviting.)

To be clear, I'm not advocating for rules changes or mods to do anything or even for anyone to change their own posting considerations. I'm just interested to know what else you keep in mind when you're linking on MetaFilter.
posted by jacquilynne to Etiquette/Policy at 1:15 PM (43 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

I prefer to dig to see if I can find the "origin" of a thing, because stories can get watered down or altered in re-posting/writing, and I like to credit the source, if it's discernible. Although, sometimes aggregators are good to include as they can condense something, or chain a number of individual posts/ tweets together for ease of quick reading/ viewing.

Also, I avoid posting (and following) mystery meat links, and try to avoid linking to multiple sources when one more detailed one would cover it all, unless one particular link highlights some element that I find interesting/ important to the story.

All that said, sometimes finding a weird single-serving thing is just as good as a lengthy description or detailed post on a topic. For a classic example, cat scans don't need a lot of context.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:59 PM on July 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

I do my best to try to find the original source if I'm linking to something on social media. I also make an effort to include supporting links that supply any context the main link might need, even if it's just a link to Wikipedia. I have a very high bar for "worthy to post to Metafilter" so if I find something that immediately makes me think "This is something Metafilter should see" then it's probably already something that doesn't need a lot of extra work to make into a post.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:42 PM on July 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

I slap a (c) Joseph Gurl watermark on it and post it everywhere on the internet at once.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:15 PM on July 25, 2017 [10 favorites]

I think a lot harder about posts than I used to. I have to ask myself not only "is this worth seeing?" but "is this worth Metafilter's talking about?" and "are we going to be able to have a productive and dignified conversation about this?"

For example, a few days ago, I found a very funny Twitter thread in which it became clear that, through a poorly labeled pirated epub, some guy had mistaken an R-rated Harry Potter fanfic for one of the actual books. I was so delighted that I wanted to post it, but then I realized that -- although it was brief, wretched, and obviously presented entirely for laughs -- the link did contain an excerpt describing young characters' sexual activity, and that was maybe not something that Metafilter members wanted to see with their face eyes. Another time, I wanted to make a post about an amazing viper handler on YouTube -- but two clicks away, I found his twitter handle, and he turned out to be the Trumpiest alt-righter you'd ever care to see.

In short, I'm trying to read the room. We're jumpy, tense, and miserable, but we're also one of the smartest and most rewarding communities on the internet, so it's worth taking the time to think about a post.
posted by Countess Elena at 3:39 PM on July 25, 2017 [10 favorites]

Nothing is only on Facebook accept the comments. Everything else comes from somewhere. Link to the source whenever possible, please.
posted by terrapin at 3:59 PM on July 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

watermark on it and post it everywhere on the internet at once

This a violation of the quantum trademark agreement of 2525.

I try to post a source and back it up with citation, for example, a John Adam's quote with a link to say the orginal letter.

Facebook links are generally worthless, IMO.
posted by clavdivs at 4:05 PM on July 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

desli.de is a great tool.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:12 PM on July 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

I usually think, oh man, Metafilter is going to love this- did someone else post it first? If not, then I post it. And half the time, I'm wrong and they don't love it. Bunch of ingrates.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:16 PM on July 25, 2017 [18 favorites]

Facebook links are generally worthless, IMO. Oh my yes.
posted by crush at 4:36 PM on July 25, 2017

I try to use as few links as possible. Usually, this means I don't post at all, which is a win for everybody.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:00 PM on July 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

I try not to consider things, it only makes my head hurt.
posted by jonmc at 6:10 PM on July 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

For me I try to grab as many sources as I can. I try to pull quotes that I think are interesting and themed with the subject of my post. I will sometimes pull a quote that says something contrary because I want to provoke a discussion. And I always make a habit of placing the source in brackets so that people know what type of site they might be clicking on: [New York Times] [Polygon] [The Guardian], etc.
posted by Fizz at 6:44 PM on July 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

try to avoid linking to multiple sources when one more detailed one would cover it all, unless one particular link highlights some element that I find interesting/ important to the story.

I agree. But I also like to keep in mind link rot - if there are a few versions of the same thing available, I'll try to work them in where it's not too awkward to do so, and favour the original sources over an aggregator (those are sometimes worth including too).

But there are tons of single-link posts that are awesome. Sometimes a one-off good thing is just that!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:18 PM on July 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

If I'm posting about a cool Thing I've become aware of, I personally like to google and dig around for other examples of the Thing, so those who are interested have a ready-made rabbit hole to fall down. I also like to include MeFi previouslies, even if the older posts are only tangentially related or touch upon one small aspect of the Thing. But if I'm being honest, I mainly do that to preempt the "Someone posted something kind of like this but not really 5 years ago, DOUBLE" shitposting.
posted by duffell at 9:46 PM on July 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

That said, I also like to keep this Greg Nog MeTa in mind when posting. Sometimes the single-link posts are just the thing.
posted by duffell at 9:48 PM on July 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

I try to find the original source, generally. I don't create posts about list posts that are paginated and are just a reason to load advertising over and over. Mostly I want a post to be interesting, but whether that's interesting to the majority of MF or 5 people on MF doesn't matter so much to me.
posted by hippybear at 11:06 PM on July 25, 2017

Basically, all of my posts are something that appears on the facebook feed of a number of sites, mostly FACT and FastCompany, if it's something more newsfiltery, I try to build a post with links to the Guardian, BBC, etc. If it can be summed up to a SLYT or a link to an "official" page, I add a (via) at the end.

As to "what to post", I usually ask myself "is this amusing, educative, or really big stuff but out mefis usual areas of interest?". It's why many of my posts are webtoys, music production wankery, sports news or timewasters/timesinks.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:06 AM on July 26, 2017

I get really cranky at FPPs that depend on sites reblogging other sites' content, especially when those reblogs are themselves 85% reposts of source content. The only beneficiary is the content vampire's bank account.

I mean, there are exceptions to this -- it's an ethos, not a law. But when the primary source is easily findable (usually within the reblogger's post), not giving the originator their props furthers the crepitation of the Web.

Beyond that, I dunno. I get cranky at links to Facebook and Pinterest because they're actively hostile to people who are not logged in. But sometimes Facebook is the primary source so while it can't be avoided, it can sometimes be reinforced with links to non-Facebook sites (even if those sites are the same content vampires I just complained about).

The correct number of links for a post is the number necessary to present the subject to the extent it deserves. A funny YouTube video doesn't need anything more than a single link. An obit post on a well-loved artist might deserve a lot of links.

Now that I think about it, a well-loved artist's obit post had damned well better be more than a single F1RST P0ST style link to whichever news agency report appeared at the top of Google News. That well-loved artist deserved more care than your whuffie does.
posted by ardgedee at 5:59 AM on July 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

As jacquilynne found out and very kindly pointed out to me, my method is clearly lacking, or at least it was for my most recent FPP. Thanks to the mods (LobsterMitten in particular, woot woot!), my mistake was corrected. I haven't done many FPPs, but (aside from the most recent one) I have been pretty diligent about making sure the source links are the original source and they aren't, like, puppy stranglers or something.
posted by cooker girl at 6:13 AM on July 26, 2017

I don't trust my ability to curate a post with multiple links. Maybe I can do it, I just don't really feel like I have the breadth of knowledge needed for a wide-ranging post with plentiful links that are, uh, linked together through creative or interesting framing.

So I tend to go for single link items - links that I feel are strong enough to stand on their own without too much auxiliary linkage. I wish I could build more interesting, multiple-link posts, but that ability I am sure will come in time.

As to what I decide to post about, it's not that considered. Mostly along the lines of "I found this interesting and hopefully so will other people"?
posted by Ziggy500 at 6:35 AM on July 26, 2017

duffell: That said, I also like to keep this Greg Nog MeTa in mind when posting. Sometimes the single-link posts are just the thing.

Quoting Greg Nog: "Show us the shitty bauble, my friend." Indeed, more small, weird gems are great.

That said, multi-link posts shouldn't be daunting, and shouldn't be complex (unless you want to try a MEGAPOST, which we are all better for when they appear once in a great while). When making a multi-link post, remember the sage advice of editor Kelley Dixon: pay attention in English class, and later, reflect on what you learned there.

In other words, pay attention to the flow of your narrative. If it's going below the break, don't bury the lede or make the post so mysterious that you force people to read more just to figure out if it's something they are actually interested in reading more. And when you think you're done, re-read the post to make sure it still makes sense.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:07 AM on July 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Especially at this time in history, I think about giving preference to sites that are run by a legitimate and reliable organization that pays their content creators. Not every type of content lends itself to that, though.

I'm a fan of spitbull's reecent efforts to ensure that journalists are credited by name for their work, and I think that's a great norm to introduce. I try to link to writers' own websites when I name them, when I can find one and it makes sense to do so.

I tend to like "term paper" multiply sourced posts, though I know not everyone does, which is fine. Diversity is one of the things that makes the site cool.

The notion of Metafilter-worthiness is often cited by posting newbies as an intimating concern. I certainly felt it as a newbie. I wouldn't want to put anyone through a lengthy set of considerations - over time, people develop a sense for what's appreciated and what's not, and even then, sometimes great posts just don't get traction. I think it's fine to post shallow and silly posts as well as in-depth and serious ones. Keeping the site lively is an important goal of allowing such wide and un-pre-approved FPP ability in the first place; f that means there will be some fluff and clunkers in the mix. But I think that's part of our special seasoning blend.
posted by Miko at 7:22 AM on July 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

I consider whether the site is primarily a commercial enterprise or if the content is promoting one. I tend to prefer public, non-profit, or hobbyist sites.

If the subject of the post is an academic work, I much prefer when I can LinkToTheDamnPaper.
posted by jedicus at 10:18 AM on July 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Nothing is only on Facebook accept the comments. Everything else comes from somewhere.

Almost always, but not universal. Perhaps the most prominent example is that Berkeley Breathed is publishing his new Bloom County strips on Facebook. (MeFi post).
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:39 AM on July 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

These days, I mostly go through this process--

-I should post this on Metafilter! I would love to hear some smart takes on it!
-Find a link that doesn't have too many pop-ups or autoplaying videos
-Try to figure out what the first derail will be
-Remember other threads where someone derailed by not RTFA and coming in to make weird criticisms of situations that were not present in TFA
-Feel stressed out
-Decide not to post
-Go lie down

Makes things easier on the mods, I guess?
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:10 PM on July 26, 2017 [9 favorites]

I made an FPP once (an obituary on a relatively obscure figure) and padded it out with a bunch of random observations on the subject's influence on the field of medicine, and none of the related links were all that important or well written. The FPP stood and was well received but a MeTa was called over the weird supporting links. In retrospect, I think a single link to the obituary and maybe a first comment on my thoughts about the relevance of this person's life would have gone over better.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:32 PM on July 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

I used to have a bunch of constraints for myself when posting, but I've pared it down to just two:

1) Can I fit everything above the fold? If I can't, I try to cut things out that aren't the core of the post.
2) Is the content accessible for people with disabilities or slow computers? If it isn't, I try to replace it with something that is.
posted by Kattullus at 7:28 AM on July 27, 2017

I'm part of an experimental Rand program exploring the possibilities of causing a human head to overheat and explode when exposed to a single YouTube video.
posted by loquacious at 8:18 AM on July 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

It's impossible to do a perfect post that all will like, and it's good to relax into this inner truth. And also (a) let it go as soon as it's submitted, and (b) ignore any drive-by comments by pilkunnussija who will find an incredibly tiny and obscure detail in your post that is slightly wrong. Those are also the kind of people to avoid or ignore at parties.

What do I consider? Does it interest me, primarily. That may seem self-centred, but if the subject and content don't interest you, then you are less likely to do a engaged, enthusiastic and informed post and more likely to do something mechanical.

I usually avoid linking to Facebook content because of the login thing, and often link to Tweets (which is ironic as in social media life I'm gradually moving off Twitter and onto Facebook for privacy control reasons). A quick and dirty search on Google News often throws up some related links which can add more detail or context (though I avoid using news sources which add no new content, or try and ram a billion ads onto your screen, or are a bit sleazy).

Also, having a hunt around MetaFilter for related posts and including as previously. Alway nice to do this so to acknowledge the work of previous posters, provide an easy route to their post and associated comments, and add more context to the subject matter you're posting about.
posted by Wordshore at 8:41 AM on July 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

nth-ing track down the original source as best you can. It's your FPP so it's your responsibility. It is hard enough to make it as a [whatever] nowadays, so we should do what we can do help creators of [whatever] get the credit/clicks/pagerank they deserve.
posted by gwint at 9:25 AM on July 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

I try to find the original source, but also try to credit the site where I saw it. The exception is when there's a good write-up which includes examples, or if I end up using more an a phrase or two when I write up the post. Then I also try to include a labeled direct link at the end.

I tend to like "term paper" multiply sourced posts, though I know not everyone does, which is fine. Diversity is one of the things that makes the site cool.

I have personally moved away from this style because it did end up feeling like writing a book report. I've even gone so far as to make a post that was simply "This is a link to A Cool Thing. Of course some things lend themselves to a "mini-mega post" like the post I made about dub music.

I've also made a few posts (mostly musical) where I've basically framed it as Here's a thing I don't really understand enough to write about but I think MeFi will like it.

Oh, and if I find a single video I like I'll usually go to the YouTube channel to see if there's more interesting content there and if there is, I'll expand the post to include more examples.

I'm part of an experimental Rand program exploring the possibilities of causing a human head to overheat and explode when exposed to a single YouTube video.

So that's why I get a throbbing headache every time I walk by the Rand building!
posted by Room 641-A at 11:36 AM on July 27, 2017

So that's why I get a throbbing headache every time I walk by the Rand building!

No, my program would feel like your brain suddenly turned into one of those heavy duty steel scouring pads, except very warm and vibrating.

The headaches you experienced sound like the infrasonic chitinoid repellers they've been using ever since the incident where the entire weaponized surplus dairy research institution was turned into an oversized termite mound through some very aggressive mastication.

I don't mean to alarm you but if this is so you may want to question your parental lineage. Were either of them involved at NASA or any US aerospace concerns? Thiokol, perhaps?
posted by loquacious at 1:28 PM on July 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think about whether or not someone will dislike or disagree with whatever I want to post, because I'm a wimp and I can't handle anyone saying "this is total garbage" about something I posted.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 2:28 PM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Depends whether I'm putting up a FPP because I found a cool piece or site... or because I found a cool thing I wanted to share with the site and gleefully share knowledge about. The second one often doesn't have a ton of great-quality links, so I usually pick the best I can and frame the FPP as a quick introduction to whatever the cool thing is. If I'm doing the first one and there's a piece which I yanked off social media, I always try to find the original source where possible in order to credit the original author or authors. Otherwise, meh, I don't bother much about specific hosting.
posted by sciatrix at 8:06 AM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

I like turtles.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:28 AM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I prefer tortoises.
posted by jonmc at 10:01 AM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've made a handful of long-ish narrative posts which got a fair number of favourites but provoked very little discussion. I always feel a little weird about that, since a post which launches a great discussion is a great thing. I usually compose those posts in my head over a period of weeks or months, when I've learned something really interesting that doesn't already have a great article about it. I try to put together a well-sourced essay with good flow - the kind of thing I'd enjoy reading, with a hook to pull me in and the same isn't-that-interesting payoff that made me excited about the topic in the first place.

Why they don't provoke discussion, though, I don't know.

I've also made quick one-off single link posts. If I find something interesting, it's a good bet that at least a handful of other people on Metafilter will, too. (Unless it's about Canadian politics or Hick Hop. Those things are not popular on Metafilter. But you can't know if you don't try.)
posted by clawsoon at 7:03 PM on July 28, 2017

(Greg Nog is gone? Hopefully for good reasons and not bad...)
posted by Vaike at 8:13 PM on July 28, 2017

I'm part of an experimental Rand program exploring the possibilities of causing a human head to overheat and explode when exposed to a single YouTube video.

offered for your consideration

posted by philip-random at 11:31 AM on July 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:03 PM on July 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Not 15 minutes ago, I was about to post this single link Wall-E-2-type short animation, which I thought would make a fine FPP, but then decided not to. So this Metatalk post is a good excuse to post it anyway, by way of illustrating what I usually post.
posted by growabrain at 11:19 PM on July 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

These last couple of videos would both make for fine posts on their own, philip-random and growabrain.
posted by Kattullus at 4:52 AM on July 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

mine unfortunately would cross over into self-post territory.

I would have no problem were growabrain's posted pretty much as-is.
posted by philip-random at 9:47 AM on July 30, 2017

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