Link changed; cool/not cool? March 19, 2003 9:56 PM   Subscribe

Deleting a thread is one thing, but is it right to change a link on an (obviously high-profile and emotional subject) FPP in someone else's name, even if you mention that in the thread? Personally, if it were my post: delete it, but don't change the link under my name.
posted by poopy to Etiquette/Policy at 9:56 PM (36 comments total)

i could be mistaken and you asked the person's permission first.
posted by poopy at 9:58 PM on March 19, 2003

In cases such as these, there's gonna be a thread about it, and said thread is gonna be about 1% about the link, and 99% about the resulting discussion inside the thread. As such, the link for stories like this seem relatively unimportant to me.

I don't see how Matt's change affected the meaning or intention of mhaw's post in any way. Now, if Matt started randomly pointing links in peoples posts to or whatever, then yeah, maybe so...
posted by Swifty at 10:39 PM on March 19, 2003

If I remember correctly, the link was a link to cnn - and only the cnn homepage. Mathowie did what he is want to do, chage a crappy link to one that is worth reading - I haven't seen Raed's blog yet, so that was a much better linke to just
posted by plemeljr at 10:39 PM on March 19, 2003

Lord, what a sticky no-win situation. Linking to CNN's frontpage is pointless and against everything that MeFi is supposed to be. That said, a thread was going to be made, likely to an unnecessary source, when everyone is taking in such a various amount of media. What do you do? I'm glad that Raed's blog was linked. FWIW, he hasn't updated in a while, but he did note that he expects internet access in Baghdad to be cut off. Once again, I'll just say:

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:05 PM on March 19, 2003

thanks Ufez. maybe now is not the time to bring up petty bickerings.
posted by poopy at 11:12 PM on March 19, 2003

Re: Raed's blog

It's Salam's blog, Raed is his friend, FYI. If he survives this deathstorm, he's going to be a an influential figure, considering how important he has become.
posted by planetkyoto at 1:04 AM on March 20, 2003

I'm glad Salam's blog was linked - it was an intelligent decision, that benefits all. Why put up with a stale CNN news item?

Poopy's objection, however, makes sense if "all posts are copyright their original author". In this exceptional case, though, I think of it as a positive act of editing.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:52 AM on March 20, 2003

On second thought, for big, obvious subjects, whenever no member comes up with a link that's interesting per se, perhaps we should have "house posts" the way restaurants have "house wines".

Salam's blog may be a repost but it's being updated and it definitely adds to our knowledge.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:00 AM on March 20, 2003

It's not adding much to my knowledge at the moment, as Blogspot is blocked at work. I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case for a number of MeFites. Ho hum, any way of getting round this?

Oh btw, I'm all in favour of replacing CNN links with more interesting ones.
posted by squealy at 3:05 AM on March 20, 2003

Squealy: here are his latest posts. Hope it helps:

:: Thursday, March 20, 2003 ::

Now that was really unexpected. When the sirens went on we thought we will get bombs by the tom load dropped on us but nothing happened, at least in the part of the city where I lived. Air-craft guns could be heard for a while but they stopped too after a while and then the all clear siren came.
Today in the morning I went with my father for a ride around Baghdad and there was nothing different from yesterday. There is no curfew and cars can be seen speeding to places here and there. Shops are closed. Only some bakeries are open and of course the Ba’ath Party Centers. There are more Ba’ath people in the streets and they have more weapons. No army in the streets. We obviously still have electricity, phones are still working and we got to phone calls from abroad so the international lines are still working. water is still runing.
the english speaking radio station on FM is now replaced by the arabic languge state radio program broadcasting on the same wave length. i just say thet because last night just as the BBC was broadcasting from baghdad (yes we have put up the sat dish again) their news ticker (or whatever you call that red band down there) said that the Iraqi state radio has been taken over by US broadcast. We watched saddam’s speech this morning, he’s got verse in it!!
:: salam 1:23 PM [+] ::
there is still nothing happening im baghdad we can only hear distant expolsions and there still is no all clear siren. someone in the BBC said that the state radio has been overtaken by US broadcast, that didn't happen the 3 state broadcasters still operate.
:: salam 6:40 AM [+] ::
air raid sirens in baghdad but the only sounds you can here are the anti-aircraft machine guns. will go now.
:: salam 5:46 AM [+] ::
It is even too late for last minute things to buy, there are too few shops open. We went again for a drive thru Baghdad’s main streets. Too depressing. I have never seen Baghdad like this. Today the Ba’ath party people started taking their places in the trenches and main squares and intersections, fully armed and freshly shaven. They looked too clean and well groomed to defend anything. And the most shocking thing was the number of kids. They couldn’t be older than 20, sitting in trenches sipping Miranda fizzy drinks and eating chocolate (that was at the end of our street) other places you would see them sitting bored in the sun. more cars with guns and loads of Kalashnikovs everywhere.
The worst is seeing and feeling the city come to a halt. Nothing. No buying, no selling, no people running after buses. We drove home quickly. At least inside it did not feel so sad.
The ultimatum ends at 4 in the morning her in Baghdad, and the big question is will the attack be at the same night or not. Stories about the first gulf war are being told for the 100th time.
The Syrian border is now closed to Iraqis. They are being turned back. What is worse is that people wanting to go to Deyala which is in Iraq are being told to drive back to baghdad, there was a runor going around that baghdad will be "closed" no one goes in or out [check the map go from Baghdad in a N/E direction until you reach Baqubah, this is the center of Deyala governerate] people are being turned back at the borders of Baghdad city. There is a checkpoint and they will not let you pass it. there are rumors that many people have taken the path thru Deyala to go to the Iranian border. Maybe, maybe not.
If you remember I told you a while ago that you can get 14 satellite channels sanctioned by the state, retransmitted and decoded by receivers you have to buy from a state company. This service has been suspended. Internet will follow I am sure.

posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:40 AM on March 20, 2003

Thank you Miguel. :-)
posted by squealy at 3:51 AM on March 20, 2003


CNN's frontpage = shit link

no matter how you spin it

don't be surprised if Matt replaces such links. the only reason the basically linkless link was posted is that the user wanted to be first! first! first! in the BreakingNewsFilter contest

people had already begun posting in the thread and a deletion would have been a mistake at that point -- the discussion had started already

delete it, but don't change the link under my name

poopy, we're all Matt's guests here. (and I guess most of us have never contributed a dime). I guess he's kinda free to administrate his site
posted by matteo at 4:39 AM on March 20, 2003

Had mhaw put a little more of himself into the post, then there might be reason to object. As it was, it was about as close to a "first post" as is tolerable on metafilter.
posted by crunchland at 5:54 AM on March 20, 2003

talk about giving a man a fish! if you want to get round blocked sites, use a proxy (often anonymous). try here for example.

and how on earth is changing a link from cnn's front page anything but a good move (they weren't even first - bbc beat them to it, for one)? send the poor poster a "first post" badge if they're upset about it (not that the poster even complained!)
posted by andrew cooke at 6:45 AM on March 20, 2003

sorry, didn't realize it was CNN's front page. Still, matt could've linked inside CNN or even to another more in-depth news source, but he linked instead to a personal blog. What if mhaw's political viewpoints are completely opposite to those of the blogger's? I would expect him to be pretty upset.
posted by poopy at 7:08 AM on March 20, 2003

So in my own defense, I think my post of CNN's front page was a rather middle of the road approach towards opening discussion of the war, rather then taking a slanted view that might be found else where (not to say that mainstream media isn't slanted in one way or the other... we won't get into that discussion here). Now to the allegations that I posted just to be the first... absurd... so what I was the first... someone has to be the first... I used the post to spark discussion, simple as that. Now, there is this thought that my post was “meritless” because it was merely a link to CNN... what should I have included? You all are smart people you know the facts... you don't need some college student's commentary on the subject... look as my post as the opening of a forum of discussion.

And finally on the decision of Matt to change the link: This is his site and that is his choice... granted I believe that move was a poor choice given the community nature of this site... but again that was his decision not mine.
posted by mhaw at 7:54 AM on March 20, 2003

Two opposing ideologies on the war:

I think that the coming war is not justified (and it is very near now, we hear the war drums loud and clear if you don’t then take those earplugs off!). The excuses for it have been stretched to their limits they will almost snap. A decision has been made sometime ago that “regime change” in Baghdad is needed and excuses for the forceful change have to be made. I do think war could have been avoided, not by running back and forth the last two months, that’s silly. But the whole issue of Iraq should have been dealt with differently since the first day after GW I.
- salam

And for all those that call the United States the bully, get a grip of reality... the United States is doing what it should have finished 12 years ago, not only that, it is also attempting to enforce international agreements (which might I add the Security Council unanimously agreed to).
- mhaw

posted by poopy at 7:54 AM on March 20, 2003

poopy, I changed the link at first to the CNN story that didn't exist at the time the person linked to Then I saw people in metatalk and metafilter suggesting that dear_raed was a more worthwhile link, and I agreed (MetaFilter is about finding interesting things on the web to talk about, like one of the only bloggers in baghdad).

Does anyone recall who posted the 9/11 #10034 link, or what they linked to? I sure don't, and I doubt anyone else does.

On a post of this magnitude, it really doesn't matter, especially so since the person linked to just with a few words saying war began and nothing else.

If I was doing this all the time, stuffing words into people's mouths and changing the links to alternate viewpoints, I could see some cause for alarm, but this is a special case, and one of the few times I've ever done it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:55 AM on March 20, 2003


This has been asked before, and maybe I'm just cynical, but is there any proof that this blog is, indeed, coming from Baghdad?
posted by jpburns at 8:04 AM on March 20, 2003

actually matt, i am confident that mefi will not turn into some kind of blue pencil authoritarian regime, but like you said, it was one of the few times you've ever done it and i was a little shocked, especially after reading the two different blogs of mhaw and salam.
posted by poopy at 8:06 AM on March 20, 2003

Matthowie, thanks for the explanation... I respect your decision. I just don't necessarily agree with it. But like I said earlier this is your site, you have a responsibility to keep it in line with your vision.
posted by mhaw at 8:10 AM on March 20, 2003

journalist paul boutin looked into the baghdad blogger and concluded that it probably is true.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:41 AM on March 20, 2003

granted I believe that move was a poor choice given the community nature of this site...

mhaw, you didn't consider the community's oft-expressed distaste for non-specific links to major media sites when you posted so i feel no empathy toward your belief that matt somehow violated the community nature of the site in changing it.
posted by quonsar at 9:41 AM on March 20, 2003

quonsar, you're pulling one particular line out of the entire gist of mhaw's statement(s): he doesn't agree with the decision, but he respects it.

he's handled this whole thing quite courteously and has been most understanding of matt's decision.

Matthowie, thanks for the explanation... I respect your decision. I just don't necessarily agree with it. But like I said earlier this is your site, you have a responsibility to keep it in line with your vision.
posted by poopy at 10:01 AM on March 20, 2003

a post with no link would have been the same as the CNN link.

matt saved your thread. In the annals of metafilter history your initial link will be forgotten.

as to matt's meddling with metafilter....matt is metafilter, metafilter is matt, the spice is the worm, the worm is the spice. [too much Dune this week.]
posted by th3ph17 at 10:19 AM on March 20, 2003

actually, we're metafilter. Matt is just 1/16000th who also happens to pay the bills and has the added ability to edit and delete what the rest of us say.
posted by crunchland at 10:54 AM on March 20, 2003

(granted, without him, metafilter would be nothing. Without you or me, metafilter would still be metafilter. But without all of us, Metafilter would also be nothing.)
posted by crunchland at 10:58 AM on March 20, 2003

Poopy, you're kidding, right? No? Well what quonsar and th3ph17 said, then. And to mhaw, again, what quonsar said. We don't like newsfilter posts and we all have an interest in keeping this a civil place. It is Matt's site, but we are all responsible to post worthwhile links. If he took the (I believe unprecedented) step to change your link, it was to save your post from becoming a shitfest.
posted by Lynsey at 12:04 PM on March 20, 2003

well actually Lynsey, i'm not kidding; the idea of a mefi member's name attributed to a blogger's site who holds different beliefs than the poster is getting damn close to 'identity theft' IMO. and for all this endless talk of 'newsfilter' and 'civil', have you looked at the thread in question? in your opinion, do you call that a more 'civilized' 'mefi-worthy' discussion? would the discussion have been any different if the CNN link remained intact?
posted by poopy at 12:47 PM on March 20, 2003

Poopy, you're kidding, right?

Be fair: poopy's point, as I said before, is a solid one. The chosen link does reflect the poster's point of view. Salam's blog, however interesting, fits into an anti-war perspective. In this case (notwithstanding all the NewsFilter objections) my guess is that mhaw wished to make a purely newsy post. In exceptional cases such as this, it's almost standard.

So although I agree with Matt's editorial decision - it was made clear in the thread and it's not as if we missed the original link - I still think it was definitely worth discussing. On a perhaps too pretentious plane, there is a sense in which a post - even this paltry one - is, in its integrity, the work of an individual.

If Matt had just deleted the post (as poopy says he'd have preferred), surely another "The war has started" post would have come along. That decision, too, would have been justifiable.

Finally, can I deplore the standard "it's Matt's site" line of defense? It makes it sound as if he's a half-crazed cockamany interventionist with a greedy finger in each of our posting pies!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:04 PM on March 20, 2003

i think the new link still worked with the link title...Because it was so vague it could have gone anywhere, that it was changed and still works proves that. The wording of the post certainly didn't outline any personal beliefs.

If the link was "Wow! i sure want one of these! It would really help me at work." linking to some cool new laptop and Matt made it link to the enlarge-your-penis-pump i'm always getting spammed about, then that would would compromise the integrity of the poster.

[yeah crunchland, i know, bad analogies are a hobby of mine.]

can I deplore the standard "it's Matt's site" line of defense?

on what occasions has a matt intervention or edit been damaging? [i posit this instance wasn't] i'm sure he thinks about it a lot more than any poster. Remove the whole owner/creator thing. His actions still stand on solid ground...if they didn't there wouldn't be a community.

it was a fix, not a hijack.
posted by th3ph17 at 2:38 PM on March 20, 2003

your final argument seems to be tilting at windmills. you can deplore "it's matt's site", applaud "matt knows what he's doing" and remain perfectly consistent. one is an appeal to authority, the other to competence.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:24 PM on March 20, 2003

I posted this in the last MeTa thread, so excuse me for plagiarising myself, but it's just as relevant here.

The reason I was agitating for the main link changed was not to influence the discussion in any way; people are going to say their piece on the war (again, for most posters) regardless of how thoughtful the initial post is. In my opinion, the thread was on track to be the "timeless" war thread, and I felt it deserved a link equal to the task of representing history-in-the-making. And it was nothing personal against mhaw, because I've been there. Although I had my reasons at the time, I've done bad, ephemeral posts before. I've since done my penance, said my novenas, and I'm off it.

One of MeFi's principal virtues to me is the archive; getting to go back and see what was on people's minds a year ago, or on September 11th, what have you. Whenever I get the urge to go back and look at the thread for war, I wouldn't want to see the CNN front page, clearly focused on something different and probably not all that interesting. I'd much rather see a link to something that will make me think, bring me back; something unique. My wish for the thread and my wish for the post were two different things.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 3:43 PM on March 20, 2003

grrarrgh00, actually you don't need to explain yourself: i most definitely overreacted in the previous MeTa thread and shouldn't have lashed out at you and i apologize for that.

while i have problems with a member's name being attached to a link that could possibly compromise their beliefs, i have no beef with what you have said.
posted by poopy at 4:07 PM on March 20, 2003

another reason why war sucks: emotions run high, and stupid people run their mouths off w/o thinking first
posted by poopy at 4:14 PM on March 20, 2003

This has been asked before, and maybe I'm just cynical, but is there any proof that this blog is, indeed, coming from Baghdad?

See this page for some analysis of that question.
posted by webmutant at 7:33 PM on March 20, 2003

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