MeFi gets Wired News ink, provokes questions about media protocol October 26, 2002 7:58 PM   Subscribe

Figured this would be better in the gray than on the blue, party because it's about MeFi itself and partly because it might be construed as self-refrencing: MetaFilter was recently mentioned in a Wired News article about this thread on referral log spam. I was quoted; because she used names and not handles I was wondering if anyone else was, or if she contacted anyone else about this and they didn't respond. Furthermore, do MeFites get contacted by reporters a lot/ at all? Is there a standard protocol for these reporters' questions? (which, looking back, I'm now hoping I didn't violate)
posted by XQUZYPHYR to MetaFilter-Related at 7:58 PM (19 comments total)

Okay, just noticed someone mentioned the article in the main thread, but my other questions still stand.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:59 PM on October 26, 2002


Aren't all our post copywrited to the individual poster? (thanks to mathowie)?

Seems like it is a Bad Thing to quote one of us without permission, no?
posted by konolia at 8:48 PM on October 26, 2002


Actually, what I meant was more along the lines of, is no one upset by reporters coming in and e-mailing and talking to posters, something that some board owners might consider intrusive. It occured to me after-the-fact that Matt might not want Metafilter being used as a place for non-member (and non-donating) columnists to use as a constant quote source.

During the first season of Survivor, I posted at PlanetSucks, which started to get so many invasions of reporters trolling the boards for quotes and e-mailing posters for info and spoilers about the then-new-hit-phenomenon TV show that a lot of posters (and mods) were getting pissed off.

I don't mind being asked to quote or have my posts referenced at all; I just figured it's sort of the site owner's call, not mine, in the end.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:54 PM on October 26, 2002


This sort of thing has happened before... see here, I thought this sort of thing falls under fair use so it's not necessary to get permission.
posted by bobo123 at 9:13 PM on October 26, 2002


I was e-mailed privately by the reporter, and I was more than happy to answer her questions; she was very polite about it.

If my comments we just copied and used in an article without even asking me, I would feel a little annoyed, but I understand that I guess it falls under fair use. If the world wasn't meant to read Metafilter, Matt would make it so that only members can access it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:46 PM on October 26, 2002


So XQUZYPHYR, you're saying she quoted you from MetaFilter without asking permission? Just kidding.
posted by muta at 10:27 PM on October 26, 2002

Seems like it is a Bad Thing to quote one of us without permission, no?
Why?
posted by holloway at 10:35 PM on October 26, 2002


I was contacted by Ms. Delio as well. She didn't use anything I said on MetaFilter, but rather asked me for my thoughts on the whole issue and quoted those instead. That seems like a good way for a reporter to respect the site while using it to find original content, although I hadn't considered the issue at all until now.

Interestingly, it doesn't seem like she got my e-mail address from MeFi.
posted by kindall at 10:48 PM on October 26, 2002


I seem to remember that in previous news stories that have quoted comments on MeFi, the reporters have just swooped in, grabbed some pithy remarks, and shoved them in their articles next to a username, without contacting the poster involved. On one hand, when you make a comment here, you are making it publicly, but if nothing else, that style of reporting just looks unprofessional ('some poster said this, and then some other poster said that').

I think it's good to see someone setting a precedent of actually bothering to contact the poster and then attributing their opinions to an actual person.
posted by chrismear at 1:54 AM on October 27, 2002


Well, if someone quoted me from this forum without permission I would send them a bill. Not that I say anything quotable .
posted by konolia at 3:55 AM on October 27, 2002


I was quoted without being contacted in the MSNBC article about the infamous Kaycee debacle, and really didn't think much of it aside from the whole "whoa" aspect of it. Then again, it was by handle and not name, so I suppose there is a difference there.
posted by snarkywench at 4:24 AM on October 27, 2002


It's fair use under copyright law for a reporter to quote from comments here. If they don't contact the member, though, they end up using the cheesy tactic of quoting a screen name. "The president must take a hard line on terrorism," said NaughyVicki69.
posted by rcade at 5:19 AM on October 27, 2002


Sounds legit to me as long as permission is asked and credit is given where it is due.
I have a feeling that there are many journalists getting "inspiration" from MetaFilter, et. al.
posted by jaronson at 6:05 AM on October 27, 2002


Ms. Delio did this the right way, contacting everyone politely, and giving Metafilter a big fat link. [and she spelled my name right, hooray!]
posted by dabitch at 9:03 AM on October 27, 2002


Just to second rcade's point, although it's nice if reporters contact the people they quote, they aren't required to. Fair use applies to words written here as much as anywhere, and a sentence or two quoted in a news article would fall well within its bounds. No one has to ask for permission to do that.

Proper attribution is a different matter. Quoting a choice line from here in a news article and attributing it to 'MetaFilter' or even 'an internet bulletin board', as we've seen happen in the past, is a bit lame; tracking down the poster and crediting him or her seems only polite. On the other hand, how many of us have snaffled a link from here for our weblogs and noted only that it's 'via mefi'? And how many of us credit individual reporters when we quote news stories?
posted by rory at 10:44 AM on October 27, 2002


As a Mefi member I find that I am constantly hounded by the press for my thoughts on the latest Opera release, Stars Wars trailer or J.D. Salinger novel. I, however, have always maintained a dignified silence, which is why you won't find me quoted about these or any other subjects anywhere, and if they quoted me without my permission, I'd sue. I suggest you call your brief, and if you don't have one, I can suggest a good chap in Lincoln's Inn.
posted by johnny novak at 2:28 PM on October 27, 2002


konolia: Not that I say anything quotable.
posted by eddydamascene at 3:26 PM on October 27, 2002


I'm perfectly willing to be quoted in the media! Please someone quote me. In fact, here's a few freebies:
I like monkies
If we let the deer eat all our Big Macs then the terrorists have already won!
Why does my mother think I look like a duck?

Enjoy.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:21 PM on October 27, 2002


Well I remember the "Smiley Face" bomber for which I was interviewed about. The reporter read about it on MetaFilter and contacted me. Aside from the novelty-like quality of that whole incident, reporters haven't been beating down my door.

When the article finally appeared in the paper, Metafilter was called a "chat room".

Ughhh!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:04 AM on October 28, 2002


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