Spend 2 hrs watching the Matrix? I could read the script in 15 minutes! June 7, 2021 7:02 PM   Subscribe

I think this kind of complaint needs to be retired. This thread has a bunch of the same complaints made anytime someone posts a link to a long-form video essay. "I'm not watching this! Write me an essay instead!" But it turns out long-form video essays are a genre now, and some of them are good! I think it's time we stopped derailing discussions of them with complaints about how we don't like the genre. "It's too long! I like reading better! And did you know some video essays are bad?"
posted by straight to Etiquette/Policy at 7:02 PM (138 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Cosigned! The only really interesting comments in that vein are ones that talk about how the YT ad algorithm is incentivizing these, which I seem to remember seeing is the case.
posted by sagc at 7:07 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


tl;danythi
posted by lalochezia at 7:14 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Yep; even though I fall strongly into the "prefer text to video" bucket, yep. Flag grumbles about format as noise.

It would be really nice if YouTube made transcripts (a) easier to find and (b) linkable; their auto-generated captions aren't great but they're certainly better than nothing.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:59 PM on June 7 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not a fan of most video essays, but they exist. Grumbling against them is pointless and distracting.
posted by praemunire at 8:08 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


I think it's a bit trickier looking at these through the lens of interaction-on-Metafilter. Fanfare, there's a general idea that someone might've spent the x hours involved in watching a piece. But people are already going to run off the cuff based on the prompt alone (to say nothing of the accessibility issues of presenting something video-only), so it becomes a harder investment to make (or it just becomes a conversation by people who've already seen a piece, skimmed it, did whatever level of engagement lets them feel ready to comment).

They are a genre! But they're an exclusionary genre by form, and this site effectively exists as an atavism that resists modern trends in internet format.

That said, thread noise could still stand to be pruned more aggressively, we manage to do alright with semi-paywalls and trimming comments about those down (and "spend 2 hours" is a paywall of its own form).
posted by CrystalDave at 8:26 PM on June 7 [12 favorites]


I get the annoyance at the complaining and also get the annoyance at 2 hour long "splainer vids" and the like, but I also think the conversations are mostly fine as they are, asking people not to comment on the form of the content of the post would also potentially kill off engagement with what that content of the video is about. There's little chance for a much of a discussion to arise if people felt they needed to watch a 2 hour video before commenting, as that just ain't gonna happen.

While people could still comment without watching the video as they do now, making it more of demand that people not reference the form of the posted material may cause people to disengage with the topic rather than trying to talk around the post. Or not, but I don't see it as a huge problem for the site overall and think there can at times be some merit in expressing dislike of certain formats rather than just accepting that's the way things gotta be.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:33 PM on June 7 [7 favorites]


'Long form video essays' are not at all a new thing, in fact they're a variant of the lecture, probably the oldest pedagogic genre; it's just that the YouTube family of lecture rejects a lot of the stylistic things that make lectures recognisably lectures, especially formal intro-points-conclusion structure. Instead, they go on lengthy digressions, chat, tell odd anecdotes, and do all of the things that every university student has loathed about two-hour lectures, forever. Speaking as someone who's delivered many lectures, and attended many many more, it is very difficult, and takes a lot of observation and practice and editing, to entertainingly lecture even over the standard university ~50–55 minutes. There is no such thing as an entertaining two hour lecture.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:53 PM on June 7 [35 favorites]


At least YouTube allows for 2x playback, I had more than one instructor who could have used that feature.
posted by Mitheral at 9:03 PM on June 7 [17 favorites]


I look at it as an accessibility issue more than entitlement. There are plenty of people who need captions (ESL and Deaf people immediately come to mind, also neurodiverse folks, or even just anybody who struggles with understanding accents...) and transcripts and summaries are just more ways to make information accessible to those of us with different needs. I understand of course that a creator who puts their all into a video lecture isn’t going to always have time to also post a script or summary, or do captions. But vocalizing a desire for it is better than feeling locked out of a conversation, or told you’re entitled for having a preference that will let you engage with content and ideas you’re interested in.
posted by Mizu at 9:16 PM on June 7 [33 favorites]


If the poster could control whether there was a transcript or summaries or captions, this would be an entirely valid point (and one should always try to link to them, if they exist). But they can't. So what's the purpose of mentioning it repeatedly in that particular context? Why spend a dozen+ comments reiterating the same complaints and not talking about the substance of the video, or even anything that's actually distinctive about the video? If we think it's inappropriate to do a single-link video post because of a lack of accessibility, okay (though I'd note that no one complaining on that post is complaining about accessibility). But ritual bitching about how you'd rather read is a drag.
posted by praemunire at 9:46 PM on June 7 [9 favorites]


Want to second transcript/captions. Couldn't watch it because I couldn't follow the captions.

Approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing. - from HHS

Globally, 1.5 billion people live with some degrees of hearing loss. - from WHO

It's not bitching or a derail to advocate for accessibility.
posted by Toddles at 9:50 PM on June 7 [17 favorites]


...Hieronymo’s mad againe.
would seem cool if having watched the section (s) about duality, control, and the storyline embedded with multiple temporality then tied in Thomas Kyds', "The Spanish Tragedy, or Hieronimo is Mad Again".
posted by clavdivs at 9:50 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


The comment that calls it "not a good use of my time" is the sort that gets me. Ok, so you've got better things to do, but you'd rather comment about not watching a video?
posted by sagc at 9:56 PM on June 7 [18 favorites]


And, upon rereading the thread, that's a more general description than I thought - there are several comments that amount to "I don't want to spend the time on this".
posted by sagc at 10:00 PM on June 7 [4 favorites]


takes a lot of observation and practice and editing, to entertainingly lecture even over the standard university ~50–55 minutes. There is no such thing as an entertaining two hour lecture.

While there's no accounting for taste in such matters, in this instance the linked video is quite well constructed and edited so there's little sense of drag or wasted time in the commentary and the entirety of the video is matched to well chosen clips from the films to provide additional viewing interest fitting what is being said. The introduction is the only element that is really unnecessary in some sense, being an explanation of what the following content won't be about, but judging from the resulting conversation in the thread, that intro hits on a lot of the the expectations around a discussion about the merits of the Matrix sequels might entail, so not really as unnecessary as it might appear.

It goes to why I think the idea of curbing talk about the length of posted videos might be counterproductive. The discussion of the Matrix and its sequels drew enough interest that it was still getting a lot of attention hours after the post was made, by which time some of us actually had a chance to watch the video and express our appreciation of it, which might then encourage others to watch it and still be able to return to an ongoing conversation rather than an essentially dead post where few are engaged with the material.

That's something that's happened more than just in this instance, so for me it suggests some utility in allowing the conversations to develop even if there is some pushback against length or format. I know I was taken aback by the six hours of "Why Cats is Bad" vids posted a while back, but still watched one of the videos to get an idea of how they worked, because that kind of dedication to an odd concept was interesting in itself, even though the content itself wasn't my cup of tea.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:03 PM on June 7 [4 favorites]


I was literally watching this today: Commodification of Philosophy: Professors vs Influencers

Highly relevant explanation. It's not video length, the problem is commodified dissemination of information in social media.

I think it's fine to post good long-form videos (like, subscribe, and share, right?), as long as comments that complain about them are taken in stride. The professor explains it as a false choice: commodified education as an all-or-nothing proposition, when what really needs to change is public education.
posted by polymodus at 11:45 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


It's not bitching or a derail to advocate for accessibility.

Except nothing about that thread was advocacy. It was not contacting the show creators, or the hosting service, or even an making a post on a highly visible social media Hell, it wasn't even a letter to the editor.

It was just kvetching at a poster who had no ability to change anything. Except perhaps in the future to avoid posting things they find interesting too Metafilter.
posted by happyroach at 12:24 AM on June 8 [17 favorites]


As the original poster, I was somewhat taken aback by how much griping there was about the format. I thought that by stating clearly in the post that it was a two hour video essay (a format I rarely watch, by the by) people who weren’t interested would just skip over the post.

I’ve been posting to the Blue for going on two decades now, and I’m not about to stop now, but if I were new and one of my first posts got this kind of response, I’m not sure if I would bother to post again.
posted by Kattullus at 12:25 AM on June 8 [42 favorites]


That video had an autogenerated transcript and subtitles.

If it's an accessibility issue, what guidelines are we supposed to follow when posting? Should we post:

Videos with autogenerated subtitles?
Only videos with manually entered subtitles?
No videos at all?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:40 AM on June 8


I skipped the thread because of the length of the video. I really appreciated the information about its length in the OP, thank you! And it looks like the topic was lively. I also skipped a recent very multi-link post for similar reasons.

Although I think I’ve kvetched about one video (more that I thought the length was inappropriate for the particular topic), in general it’s easy to skip when the poster is so considerate about the framing.

I will say, 2 hrs is about 2/3 of reading an average non-fiction book that isn’t too dense, for me, according to my Libby app, and if we were suddenly writing posts on the blue about full-length books and not reviews/excerpts, I think there would be some pushback. Or more general discussion than engagement with the specifics.

Whether that pushback would be valid or not, I can’t say for everyone. For me, I dip in and out during coffee or while switching tasks or supervising virtual Ed/homework, so engaging with Really Long Stuff isn’t something I can commit to and isn’t consistent with my current habits with anything not Fanfare. Even if it’s a short video I often skip whatever.

If it were all 2 hr videos I would probably participate way less. Just a data point, not an edict.
posted by warriorqueen at 3:37 AM on June 8 [13 favorites]


Kattulus, I must confess I had the same reaction to the post due to length and wanting more of a description or an introduction to the presenters before investing the time.

So I gave it another go and yes, this link is for me. Thank you for posting.
posted by mochapickle at 5:06 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]


there are several comments that amount to "I don't want to spend the time on this".

Yeah, those kinds of comments are really off-putting for me. I want to look pointedly at my watch and raise my eyebrows. If you don't "have time" for something, it seems obvious that you should go ahead and hurry along to see all the people you need to see and do all the things you need to do. You've made it very clear that you're busy and the rest of us are thumb-twiddlers.

Seriously, I cannot imagine jumping into a conversation just to say the equivalent of "whatever you all are jabbering about is of no importance to me just FYI".
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 5:32 AM on June 8 [17 favorites]


I sometimes flag those kinds of "I didn't look at this cause I don't have time but here is an uninformed opinion anyway" as noise. I don't know if that is helpful to the mods or not though.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:39 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


The thread about hbomb's recent video about the antivax movement is by weight maybe 50% about the length.
All my posts about Tim Rogers are full of comments complaining. Hell, even the 30 minute one about spoilers has a comment about the length.

There's no need to post if you don't want to watch it. There's no pushback to make unless you simply don't want video essays to be posted on Metafilter.

If it were all 2 hr videos I would probably participate way less.

There have been two video essays posted since May 1. They are not exactly taking over.
posted by simmering octagon at 6:27 AM on June 8 [10 favorites]


I'm in the "99% of video should be audio, 95% of audio should be text, 90% of text shouldn't have been written" camp. But, complaining about it cannot possibly help. I'm undecided about the utility of complaining about complaining about it (outside of metatalk, where it's entirely appropriate and interesting to hear other people's opinions.)

There really does seem to be a cultural difference here between people who enjoy engaging with criticism and those who take it as an insult. As long as one is criticizing the thing - or, perhaps less usefully, the format in which it's represented - rather than the person presenting it, I'm always happy to see it. Even when I think the criticism is wrong, dumb, or useless. I don't have any idea how to fix that difference except encouraging kindness on both sides. (Which I often fail at.)
posted by eotvos at 6:43 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]


I think the predictability of Eww A Video performances is just one of those things that you have to be at peace with. Changing it would require moderators to be heavy-handed about it, and there's almost certainly better things to be heavy-handed about at any given moment of the day.

I'm certainly in the swath of camps that can get grumpy about the algorithmic incentivizing in youtube squeezing what seems like every video into either just slightly over ten minutes, or an hour+ production, anything other than that damages Engagement!(tm) and you don't want to damage Engagement!(tm) do you? No you don't! (Like and subscribe, smash that bell button.) Similarly I can (and have!) get grumpy over the modern internet landscape favoring chained threads of tweets instead of blog writings.

So I understand where the Eww A Video thing comes from; I just also wish people found a better outlet for it.
posted by Drastic at 6:57 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]


There's no need to post if you don't want to watch it.

I didn't post in the thread. Honestly, the tone in your response is really getting under my skin; are we discussing best practices here or just shitting on people for discussing IN METATALK what increases or decreases their enjoyment of the site?

There's no pushback to make unless you simply don't want video essays to be posted on Metafilter.

Well, I was actually thinking that media critical/longform video casts could go in Fanfare, similar to podcasts. The reason being that they require a deeper engagement. But I'm easy about it.

There have been two video essays posted since May 1. They are not exactly taking over.

Thanks for the tip, but you know, your tone is really unnecessary.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:15 AM on June 8 [7 favorites]


That post made me personally mad. Like why do you think I have time to watch a two hour video trying to prove some so so movies from nearly 20 years, which were ok the first time around, were actually really were enjoyable.

It struck me as astonishingly privileged and tone deaf that creators would make such a thing and then expect anyone to watch it. Who has time for that when I could rewatch something I enjoyed?

So I skipped the video and didn't comment on the post.

It might be a time put in thing. I loved Lindsay Ellis' two hour take on why the Game of Thrones series absolutely did not stick its landing. But that's because I put in some 70 hours of watching the show, agreed with the take, was willing to spend another hour disliking the show to solidify my thoughts

Same for that shit show of movie, Rogue One, where Jenny Nicholson spends half an hour discussing why that 2 hour film sucked so badly. It was beautiful and not too long.

Two more hours of the Matrix? Meh, it's not worth debating at this point. Either you liked it or you didn't.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:23 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Awrite, so let's look at this as an exchange of ideas.

Post: "Hello! Would you like to spend two hours of your life watching some people try to explain why a two-hour movie that you found immensely tedious when you saw it in the theatre, where it had every opportunity to overwhelm your senses but did not, is actually good?"

Replies: "What no why would anyone even begin to think this is a good idea."

Because that is what that post is trying to sell. And a lot of people are, quite rightly I think, saying "holy shit this is a tough sell".

Like, five minutes trying to convince me that this bloated mess of a two-hour movie whose disappointment is still a vivid memory after nearly twenty years is actually good? I might watch that. But two hours? Fuck no. I'd rather go outside and watch some paint dry. Or maybe find some acid and watch Speed Racer again, if I absolutely must spend a couple hours interacting with the work of the Wachowskis.
posted by egypturnash at 8:20 AM on June 8 [8 favorites]


I don't see the complaints about the post. First, there is no way I am watching a 2 hour video critiquing a two hour movie I did not like in the first place. But, that is my problem. When I see a post that I cannot read/watch/listen for whatever reason, I just move on. I do not see the need to jump into the comments to either complain or tell everyone that this is too long or this sucks too. Why all the negative vibes? Just ignore and move on. Not every post if for every person.
posted by AugustWest at 8:25 AM on June 8 [23 favorites]


I just also wish people found a better outlet for it

The finger on the monkey's paw curls.
posted by Drastic at 8:26 AM on June 8 [13 favorites]


I thought the post did a good job putting the length front and center, but it would’ve been considerate to highlight a few short time ranges to check out, so more readers could engage with the video.
posted by michaelh at 8:33 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]


I don’t do well watching things. So, sitting for two hours was just not going to happen.

Consequently I skipped the post, and I really appreciated being warned about the length. I might forward it to Mr. Nat who loves to watch things in general and likes film criticism and long form essays.

I do kinda get the pushback about videos though; at some point many products got the stupid idea that their only instructions findable on the web should be video form only. (Kinesis keyboards, looking at you). If you aren’t a video person, for accessibility reasons or otherwise, then it can easily feel like more of the world is closed off to you than it used to be. So railing against it makes some sense.

But I don’t think railing against it in a metafilter thread that kindly told me about the format is very useful. If I want to read a long essay, there’s still plenty around.
posted by nat at 8:40 AM on June 8 [11 favorites]


for what it's worth, because I've just rediscovered them and tend to like their shtick, I'd happily watch* the Half In The Bag crowd weigh in on the Matrix sequels for a couple of hours, positive or negative.

* [and when I say watch, I mostly mean listen as I find that's mostly what I do with Youtube stuff that isn't explicitly visual -- it's just something I have on in the background while I'm cooking, cleaning etc.]
posted by philip-random at 8:53 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I tend to skip the video posts because I have a hard time with the format, but the same is true of posts that link every word to a different thing, so it's not alone or anything. I think the main frustration is when there's a post like that about a topic I'm interested in. But that's just being a little bummed to skip over something I otherwise would be into. And at least with videos how they're presenting it is often part of what you engage with.
Also, automatically generating captions can absolutely be worse than none, especially if the captioning is built for a different accent than people are speaking in.
posted by blueberry monster at 9:08 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]


I would guess that that 90% of the people commenting on the thread didn't actually watch the video (myself included). Certainly the first 25 who posted in the first two hours probably didn't watch it.
posted by octothorpe at 9:13 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]


I have a crazy idea!

Maybe someone who really is opposed to the 2-hour dissection-of-a-thing videos being such a thing now, but is also unwilling to keep silent about the format when someone else posts about one such video, could make their own FPP about how these particular videos got to be a thing and how this fits into the general umbrella of media criticism.

It actually could be kinda fascinating.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:13 AM on June 8 [14 favorites]


*scraps plan to post 4-hour video explaining why The Phantom Menace is actually the best Star Wars movie*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:13 AM on June 8 [12 favorites]


I would guess that that 90% of the people commenting on the thread didn't actually watch the video (myself included). Certainly the first 25 who posted in the first two hours probably didn't watch it.

I mean, it's not like people not reading the links is surprising.
posted by simmering octagon at 9:25 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]


This comment summarizes my view on this succinctly: Yep; even though I fall strongly into the "prefer text to video" bucket, yep. Flag grumbles about format as noise.

I also thought the framing, listing the length, was very useful.

I do want to add though that working closely with a deaf colleague has made me much more aware that it would also be helpful to include information on the availability of transcripts or captions (or not) in such posts, particularly for long videos. I know from my colleague that the youtube auto-generated captions vary in quality, depending especially on the accent of the persons doing the talking. When I'm thinking of sending her online stuff, I pre-screen it to see how good the auto-generated captions are before I do that.
posted by gudrun at 9:27 AM on June 8 [10 favorites]


I don't even own a tv!
posted by diogenes at 10:14 AM on June 8 [9 favorites]


You can't post a two-hour video as a single-link FPP and not expect some pushback.

I thought there was a pretty strong ethos forming around not just coming in and not making a whole thing about how the topic\format is bad because you don't care\don't like it. I think most of the complaints about videos essentially fall into that. Not everyone can watch a two hour video, and that's not a personal failing. Interrupting people who really want to talk about the topic of the video to tell them that the video is too long for you to care about is pretty rude.

Which is separate from pointing out accessibility concerns. If we as a group of people want to get expectation to be a link to a transcript of a video that's great. People should do post transcripts if\when they're available and just spend a moment to try and be as inclusive as possible with their links. Heck a reminder of "hey is there a transcript for this?" in the discussion isn't out of line, is a key part to setting those expectations.
posted by Gygesringtone at 10:27 AM on June 8 [22 favorites]


I skipped the post based on the summary. The two things I look for in a post, preferably above the fold:
  • Where does this link go?
  • Why would I want to click on it?
Like other folks have said, I appreciate Kattullus accurately labelling the can of mystery meat, but I think it could have used a little more context as to who'd actually want to pop the top on that bad boy. 'Longform video sucks, amirite' isn't constructive participation, but 'sell me on investing two hours on this' seems more reasonable.
posted by zamboni at 10:42 AM on June 8 [7 favorites]


I would imagine a fair percentage of us still hang out on Metafilter because it represents a rare place of refuge from the Rich Media Content that has eaten so much of the web. From that perspective a video post can land as something like "why don't you leave this comforting text-based space that you have specifically sought out, and go be assaulted by moving pictures instead," which may explain some of the aggravation.

That said, expressing the aggravation doesn't really help anything. I'd much rather read 25 comments from people who haven't watched a video than 25 comments from people complaining about the fact that it's a video. (Those are the options, right?)
posted by Not A Thing at 11:12 AM on June 8 [9 favorites]


Brevity lost this war a long time ago.

We are living in a world where there are hour long videos and two-hour podcasts for TV episodes that are 22-minutes long.
We are living in a world where the top podcaster's typical show length is two-and-a-half hours long.
We are living in a world where the length of the Snydercut is actually celebrated!

I'm sure all of us ten years from now will be reading these comments with quaint interest, and then go back to watching Part XII of a 12-hour video of someone talking about how actually TENET is a great film.
posted by FJT at 11:21 AM on June 8


gotta say, I'm not seeing this stretched out talk/analysis/mucking around as being all bad, particularly given the short sharp blurts of content that have come to dominate most news reportage (and analysis and interviews etc) over the past decades. Sure, a lot of it could do with some editing and a lot of the subject matter is trivial at best ... but whatever? It's not as if it's 1968 and we're stuck with three or four channels of television and that's it. Or as my mom would've said in 1968, "Turn the damned thing off and go out and play."
posted by philip-random at 11:37 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]


I thought that by stating clearly in the post that it was a two hour video essay

Thanks for that. I don't much watch video exposition but I might have clicked through on this one and then been sitting there 20 minutes in thinking "is this ever going to wrap up?", glances at progress bar, "Whoa, it's two hours".
posted by Mitheral at 11:52 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Personally, I fall in the "appreciated the warning in the post that this was something I would not want to spend that much time on" and "so I skipped the post entirely" camp.

I do think there should be some room for criticism of the form that linked content takes -- not criticism of the poster for posting it, but the choices the content creator makes. Like making something a two hour long video essay when that is not necessary to actually get the point across. But it's hard to know if it is or isn't necessary is a pretty hard judgement call to make without watching at least some of it first.

I think there's much less room for criticism in the vein of 'there is no possible commentary on the Matrix films that could be worth making a two hour video essay' -- which smacks of 'those people have too much time on their hands' -- or 'there is no possible commentary on the Matrix films that could be worth me watching a two hour video essay' which is a purely personal preference thing that you can keep to yourself.

There were also a couple of comments in the vein of "I'd be interested to know what their arguments are, but I am not interested enough to spend 2 hours watching this video to find out." I think those can be okay -- especially if they elicit a summary of the key points in response. That gives everyone who didn't watch the video and is responding anyway something to think about.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:55 AM on June 8 [14 favorites]


It's not bitching or a derail to advocate for accessibility.

Saying "it wouldn't be a good use of my time" to watch a particular two-hour video is not "advocating for accessibility."

I saw the post, thought "I am not watching a [clearly-identified] two-hour video on movies I didn't even watch all the way through," and got on with my life. But I've noticed the format complaints on other posts...and yes...I hate the consequences of the "pivot to video" too. There's probably no need for all of us to notify the world about it, especially when we aren't talking to the creator or the platform.

(I think it would be a good step for people posting single-video links to start noting in the post whether there is a transcript or captions for videos not hosted on YouTube [where there is a rough auto-transcript], to make it easier for people who need or prefer one to know whether it's worth their time, but that's a separate issue.)
posted by praemunire at 12:09 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


What? That's such a bad-faith reading of this thread. People were saying that it was a waste of time; are you saying that we should ban anything that someone doesn't want to spend time on?
posted by sagc at 12:47 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


It might be worth noting that the pivot to video comes in part from people being able to better monetize their endeavors in no small part because its so easy to copy/paste or otherwise get around links to writing, something that sites like Metafilter do regularly. The videos surely aren't for everyone, but the good ones do involve a considerable amount of time and effort, which deserves some potential return, which Youtube and Patreon can help provide. In other words, there's more to it than just what "I" or "you" like or prefer for convenience.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:49 PM on June 8 [7 favorites]


Like, there are occasionally posts with content in other languages. Should I get mad because I can't read them, and don't want to spend the time to learn another language?

Transcripts: Unalloyed good, often pointed to by commenters, helps everyone, probably could do with more promotion and awareness.

Posting a comment that says "There's no way this video could by a worthwhile use of time either to make or watch": None of the above, probably?
posted by sagc at 12:49 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


I apologize for my speed reading snark in that thread. I should not have said it. A mod can feel free to delete it if they like.

I do remember getting similar complaints re: the last Lindsay Ellis thread and I did go through and watch the whole video and make notes as a summary for everyone on that one. I just didn't feel THAT into The Matrix enough to feel like doing same for this.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:05 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


+1 that accessibility concerns are definitely a factor that should be considered when posting things. If there is a transcript, or summary, or accompanying article, please do link it if you can.
+1 that griping that a piece of media requires a certain amount of time or engagement to appreciate is annoying. (and again, if you have better things to do, why are you writing the comment to gripe about it?)

Would appreciate a short summary on content like this so that I can better gauge whether I'd be interested in engaging it, but given that this is a site run on largely the efforts of volunteers, it feels like it might impact submissions if it were more strongly required. Maybe there's some middle ground where we expect this kind of short summary for longform content, but I don't really know what that would look like, and I don't know that this happens enough to warrant being more strict about it in any case.

FWIW, I skipped this one because it was longform and I don't have much invested in the Matrix movies, but I do think that in general it's a healthier mindset to move on and not worry about FOMO much rather than kvetch about it.
posted by Aleyn at 1:49 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


“Nobody was complaining about accessibility” is not exactly a counterargument. Some folks who have accessibility issues don’t necessarily have the wherewithal to say “I have accessibility issues — would be nice to have a textual version of this so I can interact with both it and everybody here in a discussion.” But like a lot of things, accommodations for a subset of folks can help just about everybody, even those who aren’t in need of accommodations.

Of course. I prefer a transcript myself. There should be transcripts/captions/interpretations for everything. But, again, the lack of transcript/captions is not something the poster can fix. Is there a point to having the thread for every video post significantly populated with complaints about a format issue that no one involved can address?

Also...you can believe both "video is rarely necessary and often pointless/when we must have it, let it be transcribed/captioned for the benefit of the hearing-impaired" and "the people complaining about video in that post are complaining about their lack of interest in the format, not raising a social justice issue" (which I think is a fair assessment of the comments made, which is unsurprising given that YouTube does an auto-transcript). What we have here is a hitching of a pet peeve to a social justice position, which changes the tenor of the conversation in a way that is not helpful if we are in fact talking about a pet peeve. If we think single-video links that don't have transcripts are unduly inaccessible and should be depreciated, that's a separate discussion from whether people who find video super-annoying should keep announcing that on every video link.
posted by praemunire at 2:43 PM on June 8 [10 favorites]


*scraps plan to post 4-hour video explaining why The Phantom Menace is actually the best Star Wars movie*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:13 AM on June 8 [6 favorites +] [!]


*scraps plan to post 5-hour video explaining why "Rogue One" is actually, really, a pretty good movie. No, really, watch it again and you'll see, it's not that bad.*

(I skipped through the video - I disagree with it, the movies were 50/50. The discussion in the post was better. Also, "Your favorite band sucks" - ism is lame.)
posted by From Bklyn at 2:47 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


If only there were a way for people who did have time to watch the video to discuss or perhaps just summarize the thrust of its argument for the benefit of other readers, "filtering" it down to key points in a "meta" sort of way.

Sadly, time constraints mean no one reads the posts down here.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:51 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


I really don't think that's the function of the comments here; should we expect kliuless to post a precis for every article in one of their mega-posts?
posted by sagc at 2:54 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Rogue One is the best Star Wars movie in four decades.
posted by biffa at 2:56 PM on June 8 [10 favorites]


People shouldn't complain for the sake of complaining. It's annoying.

I am curious what the etiquette is on commenting though. And the implications for good discussions. Is it more acceptable to comment on a video without watching it for two hours, than on a 6000 word essay? (I know people routinely do the latter, but I think criticism for doing so--especially if you show yourself ignorant of key points--is also routine.)

FWIW I thought the Matrix discussion was fine. People can argue about the quality of the movies and say interesting things without watching the video. I skimmed the thread when it was up without watching the video. (And mentioning your post as being done without watching the video? Fine too IMO.)

But I don't think that would work for every topic. I've listened to hour long podcast discussions with authors well outside my normal "comfort zone" getting some really (IMO) interesting pushback that I've thought briefly about posting, then realized the thread would simply be people who also don't like those authors bashing on them.

Overall I think on a lot of substantive topics videos are going to be worse discussions. And have done so. And as you're getting to two hours in length--I mean a single link to a documentary available on Amazon Prime goes on Fanfare, not the blue, right?

But some are good? I mean I wouldn't know about Contra Points if people never did this.
And I don't feel like they are overwhelming the FPPs it's OK.
posted by mark k at 3:07 PM on June 8 [7 favorites]


perhaps the video is as long as it needs to be. It's Metafilter not Metafilter cliff notes. Don't use time as an excuse. Spend 30 days in a post about a book ones never read and still contribute something, thats the good material Kattulus and others have posted for 20 years and each is a gem, thought provocative stuff. Metafilter has done ok at not attacking the OP or multiple reasons why the post is not good (for them). I have 80% hearing and found away, I hope others do as not enough time is not an access issue IMO.

Roughe One was 'The Guns of Navarone' and 'Battle of Britain threaded into prologue.
posted by clavdivs at 3:15 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


perhaps the video is as long as it needs to be.

I think the length of the video is a separate discussion from "does starting the discussion about a video off by whinging that it was too long for you to bother watching it suck, yes or no".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:28 PM on June 8


(And please do take it as read that I understand there are those who may prefer to read something instead and that is just dandy.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:29 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Roughe One was 'The Guns of Navarone' and 'Battle of Britain threaded into prologue.

Well I can see the logic of that approach given Star Wars (IV) was Dambusters.
posted by biffa at 4:16 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


Rogue One is the best Star Wars movie in four decades

Mods, what’s the etiquette on factually wrong statements that hurt the world so badly?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:25 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


One thing I forgot to point out: what is more accessible to some can be less accessible to others. I don't think anyone here intends to imply that text is automatically the more accessible option, but there are all sorts of reasons people might get more from videos than from essays. It's worth remembering the diversity of human experience in these discussions.

I get that this is a based website so there's some inherent self selection in play because of that. I just hope people will maybe think about how complaining about how text is OBVIOUSLY superior and the better method of communication sounds to someone struggling with the fact that they suddenly can't process the written word as quickly as they can the spoken.

So hey, if you prefer text to video, you do you! Just you know, let me do me without making me feel worse about the ways my brain is different.
posted by Gygesringtone at 5:22 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


Oh crap, I just realized I didn't transition well there:

The second and third paragraphs are specifically talking about people with strongly expressed preferences, and specifically not about people expressing accessibility issues.
posted by Gygesringtone at 5:30 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I was absolutely being tongue-in-cheek back there.

As far as I'm concerned, Rogue One is the third best Star Wars movie, after Empire and A New Hope.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:49 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


A lot of things sure do happen in Rogue One, so if you're into things happening I can see your point.
posted by tigrrrlily at 6:47 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


We are living in a world where there are hour long videos and two-hour podcasts for TV episodes that are 22-minutes long.

I can think of plenty of times I've spent an hour or two having a worthwhile discussion with someone about a 22-minute TV show. I've spent that long thinking or talking about a three-minute song.

I think it's kind of silly trying to gauge whether or not an essay or discussion is too long or worthwhile by how long the thing is being discussed.
posted by straight at 7:31 PM on June 8 [9 favorites]


A lot of things sure do happen in Rogue One, so if you're into things happening I can see your point.

Sure, and if you're into things not happening, I can recommend some Tarkovsky films to you. Solaris is good. Stalker is interesting, but don't expect it to be too much like the source material.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:51 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


Solaris is good
posted by clavdivs at 8:26 PM on June 8


Solaris is good
posted by clavdivs at 8:26 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


I think it's kind of silly trying to gauge whether or not an essay or discussion is too long or worthwhile by how long the thing is being discussed.

Coming from you, I'll take that as a sign that you may be interested in a two-hour video essay about such a topic.
posted by FJT at 9:14 PM on June 8


Contrast the situation to the "is a single link to you tube" post worthy. I remember chidding someone the video was in fact not very good, a pile-on so is basically a small pileion personally I learned not to dismiss the single link post, that SOB Languagehat. Having a seen the length, breadth, and depth of the link was humbling in that way that schools you for lack of a better term. But at that time, the commenters would most likely shouted the Time Bandit thing down. But, but these metas are great because I have noticed a trend over say 7 years maybe more of less attacks on the OP for their post. If accurate, moderation has alot to do with it.
posted by clavdivs at 10:12 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]



Sure, and if you're into things not happening, I can recommend some Tarkovsky films to you.


*jumps up then quickly sits back down, leans in to speak confidentially,*

would you like to, maybe, reconsider that opinion? Or should we go discuss it outside? Huh? Huh? Huh?

*resists jabbing an accusing finger...*
posted by From Bklyn at 1:22 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Rogue One wasn't terrible but it felt like it was assembled from spare parts due to the massive rewrites and reshoots after they took it away from the original director.
posted by octothorpe at 4:01 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Rogue One was better than 66.67% of the Matrix films.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:08 AM on June 9 [6 favorites]


Yeah, those kinds of comments are really off-putting for me. I want to look pointedly at my watch and raise my eyebrows. If you don't "have time" for something, it seems obvious that you should go ahead and hurry along to see all the people you need to see and do all the things you need to do. You've made it very clear that you're busy and the rest of us are thumb-twiddlers.

Come on. This isn't exactly good faith. Two hours is a lot of time. Complaining that one eighth of a person's waking hours is a significant ask is not the same as "I am too busy and important to care about the things you care about."

If someone posted a link to 15,000 word long ramble (slightly less than the word count you'd expect from a two hour speech) I wouldn't be surprised to see comments about excessive length on that either.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:35 AM on June 9


Karmakaze, I don't think that the note about "it's too much time" being a bad excuse was really "about" that, if it makes sense?

I think we can all agree that 2 hours is indeed a whole hell of a lot of time to invest in something, and it also makes perfect sense for someone to choose not to. And that's great! Hell, my own attitude is that if I'm going to spend 2 hours on something, I'd prefer to watch another movie, instead of watching a video ABOUT a movie.

But - that fact is PRECISELY the reason why I did not go into the thread and comment about how "wow, 2 hours on a video about a movie is a really long time". It is that that people are complaining about - the fact that a lot of the comments in the initial thread weren't actually about the video itself, or about THE MATRIX, but rather were complaints about how the video was too long. Which...y'know, weren't all that necessary.

I grant that there is certainly a discussion to be had about 2-hour critiques in general and how they have become popular overall, and how they are often a bit more of an investment than the casual moviegoer may want to expend. There is also further discussion about how some movie fans would prefer to read instead of watch a video, and how these mega-videos leave them in the cold. The thing is, that would all be a fascinating but separate discussion, and it's a bit unfair to try to bypass that discussion by simply quipping "eh, this is too long, who has time for this" in a thread someone else has made about one of those videos, to start a discussion with people who perhaps have had the time and do want to have such a discussion.

It's kind of like the whole "your favorite band sucks" thing - it's an opinion you're entitled to have, but if you come into a thread about that band and say it, you end up looking like a little bit of a jerk and annoying people. That's all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:50 AM on June 9 [6 favorites]


If you make a two-hour video about the two Matrix sequels, you probably have the same problem that the two Matrix sequels had.

You need an editor.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:01 AM on June 9 [5 favorites]


It's true; nothing longer than two hours could have a valid reason for being that long.

There are a lot of people who seem to be very pissed off about longform content being posted here?
posted by sagc at 9:03 AM on June 9


The trouble with kids today is that their attention spans are too long.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:06 AM on June 9 [19 favorites]


It's more that I object to the characterization that saying "a two hour time commitment is a barrier to entry" is not the same thing as "anyone who does choose to spend two hours on this is a worthless layabout" which is what the comment I quoted implied.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:09 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Eh, I'd say that's an accurate description of the attitude in some of the comments? There were people saying it couldn't possibly be a good use of time to watch, there are people right in this thread saying there isn't possibly 2 hours of comments to be made about the movies, etc.

Everyone already knows that a video being long is a barrier to entry. But it's a barrier to entry in the most anodyne possible way; it's not something that needs to be repeated every time a longer video is posted, and I'd be hard-pressed to say what the people complaining actually want, other than for the 2-hour video to be something other than a 2-hour video.
posted by sagc at 9:11 AM on June 9 [4 favorites]


Coming from you, I'll take that as a sign that you may be interested in a two-hour video essay about such a topic.

Do you recommend it? Do you think it's so good you'd make a FPP about it?
posted by straight at 10:35 AM on June 9


There are a lot of people who seem to be very pissed off about longform content being posted here?

I'm not at all pissed off. And I don't think dropping sort of "not worth my time" comments adds to the discussion and support a call not to do that.

But I do think the expectation of a 2+ hour commitment to engage with something before discussing it is a different site -- or maybe a different part of the site -- than what I think of as the Metafilter norm. I'm not presenting that as a good thing or a bad thing, and it may definitely relate in part to my reading speed and what I'm willing to engage with. (It's the same reason I don't engage with a lot of the really heavily-linked FPPs, same thing.)

But my personal expectation of Metafilter-the-blue is that in general, the links will go to digestible more article-length pieces of content that I will have the time to read and think about before commenting and before the discussion by and large drops off the front page. It wouldn't really occur to me as okay to post a link to a whole book, even one available online, and then expect there to be a thoughtful discussion of it on the blue. And for me the two hour video approaches the amount of time I would spend reading of, say, Call Me Indian or Broken or The Confidence Game, to pull three nonfiction books at random that might be interesting to discuss. (Broken is on Fanfare I know but not sure about the other two.)

In FanFare I have different expectations, so there I'm quite happy to see book and movie-length works, whole seasons of things, podcasts, etc. I still wonder if there is a place in FanFare for longform media critique because it seems like an in-depth look at the Matrix trilogy itself would be pretty awesome for, well, fans, or viewers of it.
posted by warriorqueen at 11:01 AM on June 9 [5 favorites]


I don't know if Rogue One is a good Star Wars film or not because I haven't seen very many, but I do know that Jyn/Cassian is the greatest love story of the 21st century and of whatever century the Star Wars take place.

Additionally, somehow I've managed to spend 20 years scrolling by posts about superheroes, so I think that maybe just maybe other people can manage to scroll by posts that don't interest them? If you don't want to watch a video that is as long as one of the mediocre films it is championing, then just don't click on that post.
posted by betweenthebars at 1:16 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


warriorqueen, I was responding to the comment directly above mine, more or less - it's just random snark saying that the video couldn't possibly be good, basically.

I guess I'm curious what you'd like to see happen? I'd strongly disagree with posts like the one in question being shunted off to Fanfare, for example; it would get much less discussion there, and I'm not sure that Fanfare is actually for works that are explicitly one-off pieces of criticism of another work?

But I totally get that you don't like long videos! I don't like long videos! I am in total agreement about not posting complaints about long videos. I just don't think there's anything more to it than that - we don't need to change policies because some people would prefer not to spend time on a post.
posted by sagc at 1:31 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


I don't think Fanfare is for that now. In my head, though, that's where the really invested "I will think through this entire imaginary universe and its realization" discussions take place and people might really like to talk about longform reviews/critique of films etc. in the environment that makes particular shows/properties easy to locate and follow.

But I don't have a specific goal. I came into the thread in response to this: But it turns out long-form video essays are a genre now, and some of them are good! I think it's time we stopped derailing discussions of them with complaints about how we don't like the genre.

I just deleted a bunch of rehashing that but it kind of comes down to - okay, I'm not really into complaining about a genre but I do feel slightly...disrespected in a sudden declaration that the length of something shouldn't matter and shame on anyone who wonders if this (the blue) is the place for that. I mean, it's not wrecking my day either way but I think I'm a reasonably typical middle-of-the-road user and I was like: oh. hmn.

As I said yesterday, I think the framing in this FPP was really solid and a great example of how to do it - let people know what they were committing to - and I will add that I think the post worked for a nice fruitful discussion because if you remembered the two Matrix sequels you could participate without really engaging with the whole video. But as a user, that particular post was indeed jarring for me because of the length and to some degree the format (but mostly the length of time I would have to take to participate "properly," that is, by engaging with that actual material.)
posted by warriorqueen at 2:21 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


I just deleted a bunch of rehashing that but it kind of comes down to - okay, I'm not really into complaining about a genre but I do feel slightly...disrespected in a sudden declaration that the length of something shouldn't matter and shame on anyone who wonders if this (the blue) is the place for that. I mean, it's not wrecking my day either way but I think I'm a reasonably typical middle-of-the-road user and I was like: oh. hmn.

I keep trying to wrap my head around this conversation and struggling with this point precisely. It is only disrespectful if there is some obligation that all MeFi members engage in full with all content posted to the Blue, and therefore something that requires a substantial time investment is actually an imposition upon you in your reasonably packed schedule. This is not the case.

I don't see why this kind of post is any different from any other post that is allowed to the Blue: if the format or content of the post don't prompt meaningful engagement, the threads will be thin, the poster will probably abandon posting that particular content in future, and voila, fewer 2-hour explainer vids. OR, the poster will think, yeah I guess one long video is a pretty thin basis for an FPP, and dig up a wider variety of related content into a meatier multi-genre post.

Either way, MeFi wins, for the low low price of the three seconds it takes to say, TO YOURSELF, "ugh, a 2-hour video? guess I'll keep scrolling."
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 2:37 PM on June 9 [6 favorites]


It's always worth remembering that you don't have to flag it to move on
posted by biffa at 2:37 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


strongly disagree with posts like the one in question being shunted off to Fanfare, for example; it would get much less discussion there, and I'm not sure that Fanfare is actually for works that are explicitly one-off pieces of criticism of another work?

Isn't... there being much less discussion the intended goal, here? If we strip out all the format-griping, and intend that people Read The Article/Watch The Video before commenting, wouldn't that leave comments at about the level of activity of FanFare?

Or, alternately, I don't think there's a way to get lots of conversation while simultaneously discouraging talk about the format & wanting people to engage with the content. One way or another, this is a call for less conversation & interaction (but hopefully a higher-grade of what remains).
posted by CrystalDave at 2:44 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Really? I think moderation and just straight up not being a dick would make the Blue conversations better. I don't know the audience of Fanfare vs. Mefi, but I would never have seen the post if it had been in Fanfare, and I imagine that's true of lots of people.

I've even been pretty careful in this thread not to say that people had to watch the video before commenting; there's lots to talk about re: the Matrix sequels, and once there's a good mass of comments in a thread, there's also a lot to respond to.

But why should we hide posts from people just because they might not be able to resist saying "I don't like long videos, and this thread is a long video; therefore, my entire contribution to this thread will be a comment about how I don't like long videos".
posted by sagc at 2:48 PM on June 9


I think Fanfare is a non-starter for this kind of thing because people don't really go there to discover content, they go to talk about stuff they've already seen. If I post something in the Blue it's because I want introduce people (amenable to that kind of content) to it.
posted by simmering octagon at 2:51 PM on June 9 [7 favorites]


I mentioned this in the thread, and I don't see much of it here. Long story short, I think it's kind of odd to be surprised by grumbling about a single link to a two hour video on a text only website that predates YouTube. Hell, a good number of users here pretty much formed their digital content consumption habits well before YouTube became the cultural touchstone and content portal it has become. I hate to say it, but yeah, I'm old, and a lot of other old people on this site just aren't big fans of watching people sitting in front of a camera chatting.

I struggle on a daily basis trying to connect to my junior high students for whom YouTube has just always been the thing they go to when they consume media. It is perfectly normal for them to sit and watch a two hour conversation between a couple friends that contains tons of digressions, in jokes, and banter that would have me closing the tab in a second.

I have to believe that's part of what we saw in the thread. There are a ton of olds (like me) on the site that had pretty fully formed media consumption routines that just don't include two hour videos. (There are also a large number of much more nimble older mefites that have no problem with video content, I'm sure) It's not that I can't engage with something that long, hell, I'm still going through the dissection of Helm's Deep that was posted here a couple days ago, after having gone through the five posts on the Battle of Minis Tirith. If someone can sit through a two hour video of people talking about two movies from 20 years ago, more power to them. But on Metafilter, again, an older-web skewing text-only website, to be surprised that people might grumble about it (when there's been grumbling about SLYT as long as YouTube has been around) is a little odd to me.

Yes, people should endeavor to be less shitty to each other, and less shitting on posts is better. Discussion about differences and preferences, understanding each other in the spaces we're given to do so, that's the good shit, I guess. And I would read the hell out of a meaty post about the rise of video and podcasting content, and how it's risen to become such a dominant part of the media landscape, especially if it looked at the impact the lack of any time constraints (or the algorithm pushing long videos) has had on the form itself.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:58 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


But on Metafilter, again, an older-web skewing text-only website, to be surprised that people might grumble about it (when there's been grumbling about SLYT as long as YouTube has been around) is a little odd to me.

I mean, here's the thing, we have a place for that kind of grumbling, Metatalk. As long as I've been involved on Metafilter, that's where you go to discuss issues like that. It exists pretty explicitly so that those conversations don't interrupt the ones on the blue. That's actually a thing that drew me to Metafilter as community in the first place.

I don't think anyone's surprised that a two hour long video isn't for everyone, they're just a little frustrated that people are ignoring a pretty well established bit of site etiquette.
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:08 PM on June 9 [5 favorites]


I hate to say it, but yeah, I'm old, and a lot of other old people on this site just aren't big fans of watching people sitting in front of a camera chatting.

I mean, I'm not a fan of megaposts but I think we all recognize that if someone were to pop into a thread under a megapost and say "this is three weeks worth of content, how disrespectful to make me sift through all of this before I engage the thread" that

1) that would be shitty and
2) everyone would rightly think "nobody said you had to read every last bit, you're the only one who assumed that."

I don't think anyone is surprised that there's grumbling; in fact, quite the opposite. People are saying the grumbling has gotten real dang old and contributes nothing, since the people responsible for the rise of longform video AREN'T HERE AND LISTENING.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 4:09 PM on June 9 [10 favorites]


Yep: Threadshitting comes as no surprise.
posted by sagc at 4:14 PM on June 9


lol at using "i'm old, change is hard" as an excuse for being rude
posted by simmering octagon at 5:39 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


I mean, I'm not a fan of megaposts but I think we all recognize that if someone were to pop into a thread under a megapost and say "this is three weeks worth of content, how disrespectful to make me sift through all of this before I engage the thread" that

1) that would be shitty and
2) everyone would rightly think "nobody said you had to read every last bit, you're the only one who assumed that."


Totally agree. But there's a big difference between a megapost, which takes a lot of effort and care and curation, and a single 2-hour youtube link. With no context in the post itself, I think it is completely, totally legitimate to talk about both the subject of the video and the medium used to present the subject as well. In fact, it invites such discussion.

It is rare that I see a metafilter post that contains a single sentence about a 200-page book, with a single link to amazon, or Project Gutenberg. I suspect said post would be removed. The video post stays up and that's fine. But sometimes the medium is the message, and sometimes the resulting conversation is about that medium.
posted by nushustu at 5:48 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


Nah. Make a metatalk if you don't want to see them, don't say that they're shitty just because you don't have time to watch.
posted by sagc at 6:13 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


lol at using "i'm old, change is hard" as an excuse for being rude

We clearly have pretty different ideas of rude. For me, it might be responding with lol and a willfully obtuse misreading of what I said, but hey, whatever floats your boat.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:17 PM on June 9


Complaining that one eighth of a person's waking hours is a significant ask

For most of my working life, that was my commute. When life was good, that was the short end of the commute and it was on transit so I could watch OR listen to something. So I burned through most of my podcasts quickly and would have loved to add something like this.

And just nthing everyone that I don't think it's for everyone for various reasons (duration, topic, etc), and asking for a transcript is reasonable, both for accessibility reasons and because it's a personal preference. But the snark about something being a waste of time was a bit off-putting. But maybe the last year has finally just caught up to me.
posted by ghost phoneme at 6:31 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


Long story short, I think it's kind of odd to be surprised by grumbling about a single link to a two hour video on a text only website that predates YouTube.

I don't think anyone is surprised by it - quite the contrary, they are complaining that it has gotten unsurprising and tedious, and they wish it would stop.

And by "It" I am referring to the comments that say nothing but "ugh, this isn't for me". It is unnecessary, and always strikes me as performative.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:43 PM on June 9 [7 favorites]


Just "nah?" That's it? Okey dokey. I'd say we'll just agree to disagree, except nobody said the post was shitty, and nobody said they don't have time to watch.

Way upthread polymodus linked to a yt video about the commodification of philosophy. It's pretty good. It does a pretty good job pointing out the danger of using youtube as a platform, because of the need to make the subject of the work the creator of the work, youtube videos being more about the person making them than the topic being discussed. And he mentions how this has always been the case, but social media forces creators to focus more on presentation than most other media. And he makes this argument fairly well, with low production values, and in under 14 minutes.

It is just nuts to me that a person here could post something and we have to stick to the subject of the post and not the form of the product that was posted.
posted by nushustu at 6:46 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


I mean, most movies have trailers, designed to convince you to spend two hours (and money obv) to watch the movie. Most books have blurbs on the back cover, designed to get you to read the book. If YT creators are going to make two-hour long videos, fine, but that is pretty long for a YT video, and it is not shitty to point that out, especially as there is zero effort to convince me to watch in the description below the video.
posted by nushustu at 6:51 PM on June 9


It is rare that I see a metafilter post that contains a single sentence about a 200-page book, with a single link to amazon, or Project Gutenberg.
If you can read a 200-page (50k-60k word count) book in two hours, that is quite the accomplishment.

Regardless. I don't mind long-form Youtube videos. I skip over SLYT posts anyway, because I normally read Metafilter at work during downtime; but if they look interesting enough I'll add them to my watchlist. Most of my Youtube viewing is done doing other things, too, like eating dinner, or playing puzzle games, or sketching. They're also broken into sessions; very rarely will I watch a long-form video essay in one sitting.

I'm speaking for myself, as a lurking site user: complaining solely about the length just strikes me as odd and a bit mean-spirited when FPPs regularly have articles that would take me 40+ minutes to read with my attention span, especially during the workday, and generally no one is complaining about the length of those.

(It would be nice if more sites and/or FPPs included the word count of particularly deep dives, but that's tangential.)
posted by lesser weasel at 6:55 PM on June 9 [5 favorites]


OK, here: have a few links as an example

(Purposefully avoiding your own comment in that thread, which, again, would be a better Metatalk post. I don't complain about extra-long posts, despite not engaging with them. You clearly just... don't like long videos? That's fine!)
posted by sagc at 6:59 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


I mean, there were comments saying they're not going to spend two hours listening to something. That's not really engaging with it: if you didn't listen to it, how can you really comment about much beyond the form factor?

And if the form factor isn't for you, that's fine! But comments that it's not a good use of their time seem aren't really adding anything to the discussion.

zero effort to convince me to watch in the description

I don't think anyone wants to convince someone to watch it if it's more of a chore than something that casually appeals. This is a low stakes "I found this interesting, others may too!" No one will be upset if a particular person doesn't watch it and comment, it's not an assignment.
posted by ghost phoneme at 7:03 PM on June 9 [5 favorites]


nushustu, I guess I'm confused about how much work you think people should put in to convincing you, specifically, that the video is worth your time. People clearly enjoyed it! One of your posts is about how you dislike Lindsay Ellis makes you do therapy for her, which seems like a pretty specific thing; nobody else here is a therapist for a famous Youtuber.

My "nah" was because your comment seems to ignore the actual thing that's being complained about in this thread. If you think that the format is bad and you shouldn't have to be subjected to posts about it, make a Metatalk. If you think that long videos are inherently a problem and want to make other people see that, put together a post on why videos are getting longer! Make a post about the form, if the form is what you want to talk about!

Don't drag a separate thread into a discussion of "Videos: Too long?" when that's not the subject.
posted by sagc at 7:05 PM on June 9 [5 favorites]


Sorry, I don't expect the poster to convince me to watch. I expect the content creator to do that. None of my criticism is about the poster, it's all about the people who make the content. And that should be fair game.
posted by nushustu at 7:10 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


Again, though, you just seem mad that the video and Lindsay Ellis exist? That's not really relevant to The Matrix. It does, however, seem like something that would make a good comment on an FPP about the structures that incentivize these videos.

If the content creator hasn't convinced you to watch, complain to them, not to the people who were, in fact, convinced.
posted by sagc at 7:14 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


I'd say we'll just agree to disagree, except nobody said the post was shitty, and nobody said they don't have time to watch.

Uh, yeah they did -

"Asking me to spend two hours listening to why a pair of terrible two-hour movies were actually a good use of my time does not sound like a good use of my time."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:26 PM on June 9 [7 favorites]


Oof. Okay. I hear you. I'm going to stop now because (I believe) I understand what you're saying: stick to the content of the subject of the post. I understand why you (and others) are advocating that. I'm just saying it's possible to also talk about the subject of the post outside of the content. The fact that the first comment in that original thread that pointed out the video length got 60 likes indicates to me that there is at least some subset of people on this site who are in fact interested in talking about the subject of the post, outside of the content they created.

But again: I hear you.
posted by nushustu at 7:28 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


I understand what you're saying: stick to the content of the subject of the post. I understand why you (and others) are advocating that. I'm just saying it's possible to also talk about the subject of the post outside of the content.

What you seem to NOT be understanding, though, is that no one is denying that "it's possible to talk about the subject of the post outside the content." We are asking that people please - as a favor to their fellow mefites - to please avoid making comments that ignore the subject of the post altogether, and simply complain solely about the content.

If spending two hours listening to this video doesn't sound like a good use of your time? Great! No one is forcing you to! But there are people for whom it DOES sound like a good use of their time, and maybe leave them alone to do it!

I am not understanding why that nuance is hard for others to understand.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:39 PM on June 9 [11 favorites]


Because we're talking at cross purposes maybe? Because we're using the words "subject" and "content" oppositely from each other?

I was arguing that the subject of the post is a 2-hour video made by Eric & Sophia. The content of that video is about the matrix. (I get how I was confusing, with what is the subject and what is the content. For that I am sorry, and I will switch them from here on out to clarify. But my point stands.) What I'm hearing is: the discussion under the post should only be about the Matrix. I'm saying the discussion about the post could be about the matrix and/or the video itself.

You are very much arguing that the only way to comment is if we include talking about the subject of the video: that maybe we can talk about the length of the video, or the production value, or whatever, but we def also have to talk about the Matrix in that comment, or else we're being mean or whatever.

I'm arguing the opposite. The post is not about the matrix. It's about a video, where two people spend 2 hours arguing for the matrix sequels. That's it. The poster put this single video into a post. They did not go find a bunch of writing about the sequels, or other videos with opposing viewpoints or whatever. Just this one video. And then you're saying "you cannot talk about this single video, only the subject of the video."

If this was some screed someone had chiseled onto stone and buried under a volcano, or laser etched onto a microchip and attached to a satellite, or just written on paper and nailed to the door of a church, you're saying we couldn't talk about how this content was presented, only the subject of the screed itself. Granted, those are way more interesting and unique ways of presenting content, but still: one the ways that the presentation of this content is "interesting" is that it's two hours long.

But seriously, I get it: if I can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

AND YET it's fucking tedious to expect that the only way we can talk about something that is tangential to (but inextricably intertwined with) the subject of the video is to make a whole new goddamn post.
posted by nushustu at 8:11 PM on June 9


Your comments were almost entirely about just... long videos. What damage is being done to you when you can't complain that you don't like long videos? You have three comments in the thread, two of which are just saying that you wish people would make shorter videos and - to my mind - kinda vicariously insulting Lindsay Ellis?

Again, I don't go into posts with long articles and say "You know, articles are too long these days, and this sounds like a waste of my time."

Can you explain why you think it's so valuable to say that you don't like the format of something someone has posted?

Like, there's a comment that says they only watched the first ten minutes and gave up, but at least they gave a reason, and went on to engage with the subject.
posted by sagc at 8:23 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


I'm saying that we should discourage posts that are exclusively about how long videos are a waste of time. As someone who had two of those posts in the thread in question, I'm surprised you don't recognize this.
posted by sagc at 8:24 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Hang on a second - I think there is some semantic confusion here.

I'm saying that we should discourage posts that are exclusively about how long videos are a waste of time.

Do you perhaps mean to object to comments about how "long videos are a waste of time"? Because if you are, I am inclined to agree, if such a comment is someone's only contribution to a post about a long video:
"Here is a fascinating lecture about the evolution of the light saber in the STAR WARS franchise, and how the different colors have taken on different meanings!"

"Ugh, it's a 2 hour video, who has time for that crap?"
However, a post about how the long-form critical-analysis video has become a whole Youtube genre could be fascinating:
"On [date] Youtube lifted the timestamp limits on the videos you could upload - and a lot of people with Fascinating Opinions decided it was their moment to shine! The people who've run with it the most are Joe Shlabotnik, offering his deep dives into baseball alternative histories; Colin Juniper with his botanical lectures; and "Knit With Kelly" Kelly Kamper, who uses her platform to prove, in real time, that it's possible to knit an entire sweater in only one hour. However, the format is not without its problems - naysayers object to the static nature of some videos (mostly the talking-head ones) and others simply prefer to read longform content instead of watch it. Some doctors also feel that reading longform content yields better memory retention; however, others feel that this is dependent on the individual."
That could yield a really fascinating discussion, on a whole lot of fronts:
"Oh man, now I know why I do better when I read things instead of watching them! I've always had an issue watching a video like this, I never remember anything after the fact."

"I think it depends on what the video is about. If it's just data, I do better with reading - but for some kind of physical activity, I always do better if someone shows me what they mean instead of them trying to describe it. I also knit, and I could not get the hang out of how to do a cable until I found one of 'Knit With Kelly's' videos and I could see what she was doing - and I finally got it!"

"Hmm, I've noticed some film critique videos use a lot of clips and animation, I wonder if that's like a best-of-both-worlds kind of thing and it helps the long form go down easier?"

"You may have a point, but that might shut out the less privileged movie fans who may avoid using clips because they don't want to get sued or something."
And on and on.

I was arguing that the subject of the post is a 2-hour video made by Eric & Sophia. The content of that video is about the matrix. (I get how I was confusing, with what is the subject and what is the content. For that I am sorry, and I will switch them from here on out to clarify. But my point stands.) What I'm hearing is: the discussion under the post should only be about the Matrix. I'm saying the discussion about the post could be about the matrix and/or the video itself.

Ah, thank you for clarifying.

What I was getting at was: the subject of the post is a 2-hour video. That is also the content of that post, was my understanding, and the position I was arguing from. The content of the 2-hour video in question was actually irrelevant to the point which we were trying to make: in fact, let's take THE MATRIX out of the mix entirely, and pretend it was a 2-hour "Knit With Kelly" video. My position is:

* A comment about Knit With Kelly's youtube channel would be fine.
* A comment about Kelly in general would be fine.
* A comment about the 2-hour Knit With Kelly video itself would be fine.
* A comment about knitting would be fine, more so if it's about knitting the same object in Kelly's video.
* But a comment that's nothing more than "A 2-hour video of someone knitting? BOOOOOOOOOOO-RING!" would be rude.

Et Voila!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:20 AM on June 10 [7 favorites]


Empress, my bad; I do indeed mean comments there. Like I've mentioned and linked to, there are absolutely articles out there that would make a good basis for a FPP on how video lengths are changing.
posted by sagc at 7:27 AM on June 10


AND YET it's fucking tedious to expect that the only way we can talk about something that is tangential to (but inextricably intertwined with) the subject of the video is to make a whole new goddamn post.

Literally nobody is saying that. A nuanced discussion of how the format makes the subject less appealing for [reasons] is FINE. A one sentence drive-by about how you categorically refuse to watch the thing being discussed, or anything like it, is less than useless. What, literally, at all, does it do? Does it make videos stop existing? Does it make people stop watching them? Does it make people think anything other than "man, Metafilter is hostile as hell these days"?

On another thread I saw a comment get deleted because the thread was about a particular bakery and its controversial Pride cookies and the comment was all about how gross cookies are, and how awful those cookies in particular looked. It was dismissive, fighty, and needless. Technically about the subject but not engaging it. Saying "long videos suck I won't waste my time on it" is the same thing.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:06 AM on June 10 [8 favorites]


One interesting point yet to be mentioned is I don't see people gripe when they see posts of longform documentary content like Defunctland or anything Jon Bois on Metafilter, so I suspect this is actually more about the nature of the format than the time commitment involved.

For me personally, I'll happily listen to a two hour long podcast but balk at a two hour long video of the exact same thing, because video includes the implication that I will pay attention to a screen the whole time. Likewise I'll happily listen to folks banter in audio form but want to claw my eyes out when the same people are streaming their banter on Twitch.

Lastly, If I were seriously considering making a FPP for a very long video like this, I'd probably take the time to link to and highlight some parts of the video I found particularly compelling, so folks can at least get a sample and be able to comment on portions of it. "Here's a two-hour long video essay, but also here's the good bits I've picked out" is a much softer sell than "Here's a two hour long video essay, watch it or don't." Yeah, it's more work, but I like to think the folks here deserve it.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:58 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


I have the same kinds of issues, Mr.Encyclopedia. Having to stare at a video sometimes is just not what I am up to.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:31 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


I mean, I never want to watch a video either, and yeah I’d be pleased if someone picked out highlights or linked a transcript; I just don’t know what it achieves to effectively scoff at them when they don’t. (But like, not bother to tell them what they could do to make it more accessible)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:41 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


I really like that idea, Mr.Encyclopedia! YouTube makes it dead simple to link to particular timestamps. I definitely wouldn't complain about people responding to a two-hour video post with something like "Is there a particular part of the video anyone would recommend to someone who doesn't want to watch the whole thing?"

But I also think it would be okay to have the opinion that a particular video is good but doesn't have any one part that's worth watching out of context.
posted by straight at 9:35 PM on June 10 [7 favorites]


One interesting point yet to be mentioned is I don't see people gripe when they see posts of longform documentary content like Defunctland or anything Jon Bois on Metafilter, so I suspect this is actually more about the nature of the format than the time commitment involved.

People in this thread at least also treat watching 2 hours videos as if that has to take the same effort and concentration as reading that Jon Bois hypertext or whatever. For something like the video in the original post we're talking about, I would just cast it to my tv and have it on in the background while doing other stuff.

Because there really won't be 2 hours of dense content you have to pay attention to to understand it.

A text version of such a video would in fact be worse, because then you do have to pay that concentrated attention and it ends up the equivalent of, you know, one of those recipes with hilarious anecdotes out of the poster's life for each ingredient.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:00 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


MartinWisse, can you accept that perhaps everything you've stated may not be a universal truth? I understand that you would have no problem absorbing the information if it were playing in the background, but others may not, for various reasons.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:14 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


Sure wish MartinWisse's method would work for me but instead it would be a sure fire way to absorb the first five minutes 24 times.
posted by Mitheral at 6:55 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


I really don't think that's the function of the comments here; should we expect kliuless to post a precis for every article in one of their mega-posts?

I dunno about a precis, but I'd appreciate replacing the long article quotes with a description of how the articles are all related - what's the common thread or organizing principle to kliuless' long posts? Usually they do seem to be on topics I'm quite interested in, but after enough times of getting quite excited about a post from what's above the fold then seeing a torrent of apparently unrelated stuff below the fold that will make a discussion thread uselessly unfocused, I've learned to check for kliuless' name as the poster and entirely skip over them. That does make me sad and frustrated. And while I don't comment this in the threads (agree that that serves no one's interests), I do personally judge these posts and other ones that don't give an explanation of the post's organizing principle as being somewhat lazy.
posted by eviemath at 7:12 AM on June 11 [8 favorites]


Adnd really, millions of people every day watch much longer videos of their favourite streamers on Twitch or Youtube, let alone the arguably billions who watch television in the background.

Sure, there are people who cannot do that but don't immediately act as if it's hugely offensive to suggest you don't watch that video as if absorbed in Playtime maybe?
posted by MartinWisse at 11:06 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


I could binge watch knitting.

" I do personally judge these posts and other ones that don't give an explanation of the post's organizing principle as being somewhat lazy."

I can see that. The " Two hour video" the OP mentioned caught my eye and I did the math. I could forgo watching the triology and speed watch the video but I didn't and I also did not comment as the criteria of the post is fairly explicit. It does not preclude narrowing a topic, extrapolate from the video and make a contribution to the post as many have. Commenting over the years on the OPs posts I've learned there is layer upon layer of nuisance and the occasional air horn. I find this one no different.
posted by clavdivs at 8:57 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


(^ Sorry, clavdivs, I was off on a tangent replying to something someone else said about other posts; I was not talking about the post that is the subject of this metatalk thread and that you reference.)
posted by eviemath at 2:39 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Tarkovsky (as someone was), I noticed recently that the lead writer on Andrei Rublev went on to direct Tango & Cash. It's true I tell you.
posted by biffa at 7:16 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


I was really excited about that revelation, biffa, until I realized that Tango & Cash isn’t Turner & Hooch.
posted by Kattullus at 12:14 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Heh. Konchalovsky helped write several movies for Tarkovsky, directed well regarded film versions of Turgenev and Chekov and was the writer and director of the absolutely monumental Soviet epic Siberiade, then comes to Hollywood and makes Homer and Eddie, Tango and Cash, and ends up doing mediocre versions of The Odyssey and Lion in Winter. Not exactly a great career progression in terms of art, but it probably paid okay.

(He also made Shy People and Maria's Lovers in the states, which were interesting but, of course, largely ignored hence the ever popular mismatched "buddy" films, and eventually went back to Russia and got to make some more idiosyncratic films.)
posted by gusottertrout at 1:00 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


holy smokes. Vladimir Basov and
Mstislav Korchagin directed The Boarder
from Turgenevs' Play.
posted by clavdivs at 1:46 PM on June 14


Konchalovsky also directed Runaway Train which was originally going to be a Kurosawa film.
posted by octothorpe at 5:12 PM on June 14


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