Remember single-link posts? October 28, 2002 11:09 PM   Subscribe

Remember single-link posts?

A glance at the front page soon reveals they are now the exception rather than the rule. This is perhaps due to MeTa influence. You know: "Add a link or two for context/to show you care/as proof you can google". And yet great single-link posts, like this one, are probably the most appealing and difficult to get right. Not least because I suspect most users will only click on what they assume is the main link. Have multi-link posts become the norm or are they just a passing trend?
posted by MiguelCardoso to MetaFilter-Related at 11:09 PM (24 comments total)

If the link is good, one is enough.
posted by hama7 at 11:19 PM on October 28, 2002

And here are a few extra questions for serial multi-linkers and readers like myself who have trouble sequencing their links: how does one decide which is the main one? Is it necessarily the first? Or can you build up to it? Any ordering advice? Is it intuitive that links are provided in a descending order of importance or is it OK if anything goes? How does one bend syntax to accommodate such a hierarchy?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:20 PM on October 28, 2002

Sometimes additional links don't improve the post. When I posted the Realistic Internet Simulator this morning, I thought about adding these two links (from a random Google search), and making a bad joke or something. But it didn't read well, so I didn't.

Posting extraneous links seems to me like saying "lookit me! I did reseach! I can use Google! Don't flame me for reposting!"

Preview: I look at writing an FPP like writing a lead for a news article. Whatever gives the who/what/when/why/where in the quickest, most efficient way is what goes first. Detail comes afterward.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 11:27 PM on October 28, 2002

I am guilty of this. It's from reading memepool regularly. For instance, I posted the frankenstein thing earlier today. The first link wasn't even something i intended to put there until the last minute. Most of the meat was in the other stuff. No one item was the focus of the post. Rather, I wanted to sort of riff on the theme, and look at what spooky frankenstein-like claims are being made today, and along the way show off some bizarre stuff. I think it's a different kind of post, and if people don't want to see this sort of thing, I understand, and will stop. But in its defense, I think sometimes this sort of "stream of google consciousness" thing can be interesting.
posted by condour75 at 11:36 PM on October 28, 2002

"Don't flame me for reposting!"

Heh. I'd never thought of multi-linking as insurance against double-posting! I mean, you post seven links and, whatever happens, you can always argue that most of it is new, right? What a dastardly mind you have, Sir!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:38 PM on October 28, 2002

It's because of this: we're running out of individual sites that are worth an entire post. What we're doing now is picking out interesting subjects and teaching each other about them.

In some ways its good, in other ways bad, but anyway it's not a question of choice.. the internet is pretty well filtered as it is.
posted by Hildago at 11:40 PM on October 28, 2002

"I'm not going to comment on political threads anymore, even though it feels like getting a root canal." (from Hildago's profile)

I think I have just seen the light. (sorry to derail)

I will join you, sir, in that endeavor, as I have driven myself to quivering fingers and tears this evening. No more political threads it is for me too! How invigorating.

Let the link rule, and the best of the net be remembered through the link.
posted by hama7 at 4:15 AM on October 29, 2002

the nit picking about posts that goes on here is truly amazing.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 5:15 AM on October 29, 2002

If we're gonna start rapping the knuckles of of multi-link posters with a ruler now, I suggest we start with this user first.
posted by crunchland at 6:03 AM on October 29, 2002

Note: this thread has now been MeFi'ed. I feel dizzy.
posted by walrus at 6:19 AM on October 29, 2002

Damnit ... wrong thread. Administrator!
posted by walrus at 6:22 AM on October 29, 2002

The necessity of multiple links really depends on the topic. The Piet Hein post yesterday was a perfect example of a post that really benefited by the extra links--there just was not that much information about him in one linkable place. Which brings up the idea of posts on topics rather than posts on sites, which I think it the underlying trend. I prefer links to specific sites when they are possible. If there existed an Internet Piet Hein database, I would have rather been pointed there, for example.

There is something impressive and praiseworthy about taking the time to compile a resource just for mefi, but a bunch of googled links do not a resource make. The overall quality of multilink posts has one down as they have become expected, which is inevitable, but most of them are still good posts.

And now a confession: When I'm linking a site with a lot of information, I tend to give a main link and a few example links of things to be found if you look around. That's useful, to a point, but not necessary, and I know the only reason I started doing it was to have posts that looked as nice a link-y as the rest.

posted by Nothing at 7:27 AM on October 29, 2002

8 times out of 10, I prefer single-link posts, fwiw (oddly, the exception to this is news-related posts, where a smattering of perspectives usually seems more helpful).
posted by rushmc at 7:54 AM on October 29, 2002

Can single-link and multi-link posts peacefully co-exist? Must there be war between them? They share so much in common.
posted by Shane at 8:00 AM on October 29, 2002

And the Lord spake, saying, 'First shalt thou take out the Holy Link. Then, shalt thou add three. No more. No less. Three shalt be the number of links thou shalt add, and the number of the linking shall be three. Four shalt thou not link, nor either link thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then, lobbest thou thy Holy Post of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall read it.'
posted by walrus at 8:32 AM on October 29, 2002

I haven't been perfect, hama7, and my trials have been legion, but I haven't given up. Also, I stole it from someone else, I don't remember who.
posted by Hildago at 9:37 AM on October 29, 2002

Mig do you want labels? Or the posters to spend more time looking at their post to see if it can be better? I do feel some posts deserve some grandfather critique by the members.

Not enough of the cleaver posts are being copied modeled after, the problem I see.

Some of the post lately need more work. Maybe as a community we could help a bad post with critique that is dignified, not policing or being rude. I think like anything in life it takes a few tries to get it right.

But, ignoring a poor post is like ignoring the child that needs just a little extra attention to point him in the right direction. So lets correct it there, isn't that part of the workings of a thread. Were adults and can take criticism on the chin.

Done right, we could learn what makes a good post together as a community. Not this labeling business of one link is bad, more is good, too many not right.

What makes Meta great when you login? The unknowns. How can you pick or know the future.

I'm going to say it here because I'm sick of this cycle of lets label a good post.
Lets learn together not vote privately.

PS, is there a post race going on the FPP with ?!? for a theme.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:14 AM on October 29, 2002

Annoying: Multiple links to the same site in one post.
posted by richardm at 11:15 AM on October 29, 2002

And the Lord spake...

I'll speak for Myself, thank you very much.

I say let the post determine the number of links. If one is sufficient, then one is all that's needed. If the primary link requires support, by all means give it support. Use your brain -- that's why I gave it to you.

And quit making My son cry.
posted by Voice of God at 11:15 AM on October 29, 2002

My apologies. My post was not about Piet Hein. It was about this cool SOMA cube applet I found! Please ignore the rest of the links! I apologize for not clearly marking the main link.

In the future, I will try to follow the example in iconomy's post and clearly mark out the MAIN link (in the title tags) so as to avoid confusion and incidental discovery.

Less snarky:

I knew about Piet Hein from off-line sources. I thought I'd use this knowledge to dig up what I could on the man and present some of his creations. No, there isnt much information on him available but his works are there. I trust the general intelligence of Mefites to choose what they would like as the main link - The Grooks, The SOMA cube applet, the strange story about John Lennon and Uri Geller and provide enough additional links to give them a rounded view of the subject matter and of the man.

So, rather than seeing this as no main link, I'd prefer to think of it as several main links tied together by a common thread. A whole which is greater than the sum of its parts.

I had hoped that I could present to Mefites something new and different, something they had not seen before and leave them enriched so that next time they play HEX or ponder the contours of the ellipse they are aware of what has come before. It was my intent to educate as I have been, many times, educated by this site.

posted by Winterfell at 11:19 AM on October 29, 2002

Annoying: Multiple links to the same site in one post.

Ouch! As a practicing member of the Guided Tour School of Posting, I accept the charges, richardm, m'lud.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:39 PM on October 29, 2002

With some posts, it's the sheer amount and the fabulous quality of information that fascinates and captivates me. It's like an orgy for my mind when someone gathers 10 tangentially related websites together and weaves a little story, using them as the threads that bind it. Those are my absolute favorite kinds of posts, especially the ones that deal with something I've never heard of before, or something that induces nostalgia.

Then there are the single link posts that point to a website itself, as in the "hey, look at this cool thing that I found" school of classic MetaFilter.

I like both. I think I am not alone in that.
posted by iconomy at 1:40 PM on October 29, 2002

I think that both single and multi-link posts are fine, as long as the quality is there. Second rule of MetaFilter (1st being the link is king, of course) is that the link must be a good one to aspire to be king. Crap link = crap post, multiple crap links still = crap post.

Personally, I don't usually get involved in posts with lots of links, because I have a deathly slow connection and it takes so long to go through a lot of links that I forget why I am doing it before I get to them all. As I do not believe in commenting on a link without reading it first, that makes things complicated.
posted by dg at 3:57 PM on October 29, 2002

"I'm not going to comment on political threads anymore, even though it feels like getting a root canal."

Well I almost made it twenty-four hours.

Damn it....
posted by hama7 at 3:31 AM on October 30, 2002

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