Imminent demise of Metafilter predicted, 7/3/03 July 3, 2003 1:01 PM   Subscribe

As a long-time MetaFilter reader (but mostly a lurker), it saddens me to see that the quality of FPPs has fallen dramatically in the last few months. This is less in reference to repeated posts, and more just really lame, boring, very poorly written (or not written) and poorly styled FPPs. And what's worse, the problem also seems to be rapidly accelerating in recent weeks, IMHO. I have friends that have basically stopped reading Mefi due to quality drop. While I do realize that recent MetaTalk posts have suggested features to help fix FPP-quality issues, meanwhile the problem goes unchecked. Is there anything we can do to help save Mefi from a death of total lameness? Or should those of us who are concerned just start looking for a good Mefi alternative? (Any suggestions?) Do other people out there agree that quality has declined and poses a serious threat to the relevance of Mefi, or it is just my friends and I?
posted by chl to MetaFilter-Related at 1:01 PM (115 comments total)

Hmmm... anyway to recende my prior MeTa post?
posted by KnitWit at 1:09 PM on July 3, 2003


Additionally... Chl, you do know you can post FPP yourself don't you?

From what I can see the three times prior to this you've come out from lurking was to nitpick or post something mildly snarky. I'm all for people screaming about change, but not if they're unwilling to do anything themselves.
posted by KnitWit at 1:16 PM on July 3, 2003


I don't get it. Complaints abound when it comes to substandard posts (and rightly so)yet when the mighty Miguel brings in yet another thoughtful, educational, entertaining, and just plain flat quality post, people complain about THAT too.
posted by konolia at 1:18 PM on July 3, 2003


chl, may I say: be a solution. You say you are a lurker; ever thought about putting together the FPP in the style you so to resolve. Life may be a cycle; life may be a theme; life may be simplicity: monkey see monkey do.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:19 PM on July 3, 2003


PS you pancaked your self with this link. As in what did you do, when Meta-filter was down this week or how much did you appreciate it when it was down.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:23 PM on July 3, 2003


longtime 'Filter member laments decrease in quality... news at 10.
posted by clever sheep at 1:26 PM on July 3, 2003


PS you pancaked your self with this link.

??? How so? I don' geddit.
posted by soyjoy at 1:28 PM on July 3, 2003


chl, I'm so sorry we're not providing you what you're demanding.

Lead, follow, or STFU.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:35 PM on July 3, 2003


The only thing I'd really like to see is maybe a once per week cap on front page posts instead of once per day. (Sorry Miguel)

And (on preview), why does chl have to make a front page post to make the question valid? Does it really matter? It's not mandatory to post to enjoy and appreciate the site. Maybe if more people exercised restraint instead of posting mediocre links so they can feel they've properly "contributed to the community" (which is apparently a requirement to be taken seriously when one asks a question), we wouldn't be inundated with, well.. with mediocre posts.

And one more thing... I don't get the "pancaked" remark, either.
posted by stefanie at 1:36 PM on July 3, 2003


chl-- don't let the door hit you on the ass and enjoy the parting gifts.
posted by xmutex at 1:37 PM on July 3, 2003


Concerning the pancaked remark, does anyone get anything thomcatspike ever says? Perhaps we should start a new MeTa thread concerning that?
posted by xmutex at 1:40 PM on July 3, 2003


or it is just my friends and I

no, it is just my friends and me.
posted by clever sheep at 1:40 PM on July 3, 2003


PS you pancaked your self with this link.

What's "pancaked?"

Also, one great way to ensure better FPPs is for people to just post much much less. The most someone should post is at a rate that would be acceptable if all active mefi members posted at that same rate. Maybe once every two months.
posted by djacobs at 1:42 PM on July 3, 2003


why does chl have to make a front page post to make the question valid?

chl's a self-admitted lurker who's complaining that he/she/it is no longer getting something they've come to expect to get from here.

That makes him/her/it nothing more notable than a self-important critic.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:44 PM on July 3, 2003


...or it is just my friends and I?

Not to be petty, but that ought to be "or is it just my friends and me?"

There's an easy way to know the correct usage. Just drop the "my friends and" and use the correct personal pronoun in that case, (which would be "or is it just me?") and then when you add the "my friends and" back in, you'll have the correct usage.

Just wanted to make sure you got something out of this shitty metatalk thread.
posted by crunchland at 1:44 PM on July 3, 2003


It is possible that the web could stagnate just enough affect MeFi, right? I mean isn't it possible that this place might just suffer from lulls from time to time that aren't specifically "our fault"?

And I don't know what else one is supposed to say other than "creepy marionettes", when making a post about.... creepy marionettes. I enjoy the occasional "check out this weird thing I found" threads. They're a welcomed breather from the "look what Dubya said" posts.

Oh and, if you think that looking for an alternative to MeFi might be a good idea for you, then fucking do it. But don't threaten us with it.
posted by Witty at 1:52 PM on July 3, 2003


chl - I, for one, welcome your critique.

And for as much thought as you have put into this post, with its analysis and characterization of what is, and isn't, within good FPP boundaries, I also welcome what I assume to be the influx of ardent postings and offerings on your behalf.

I am not sure what the immediate step following that will be, but I rest assured knowing that the final outcome will be that we will all profit.
posted by jazzkat11 at 1:52 PM on July 3, 2003


I'm going to go ahead and admit that I don't even read/post to Metafilter anymore, I just head straight to Metatalk. Interpret that as you will.
posted by Stan Chin at 1:54 PM on July 3, 2003


Concerning the pancaked remark, does anyone get anything thomcatspike ever says? Perhaps we should start a new MeTa thread concerning that?

Done and done.
posted by PrinceValium at 1:55 PM on July 3, 2003


sorry guys, but isn't "I" correct?

Do other people out there agree? Or is it just my friends (my friends agree) and I (I agree).

Other than that, I don't agree with all the linked examples, but I agree with the main point.
posted by taz at 2:04 PM on July 3, 2003


My link:Scripting News is taking a break. "I'm shutting down Scripting News now, to give me some time to think, and to give you all a demo of what it would be like if it weren't here

I might have poor grammer yet I do read.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:05 PM on July 3, 2003


PS you pancaked your self with this link.

Perhaps you disagree, thomcatspike, and that's fine with me, but I see two style issues with that post. It's true they're both nitpicky details (extra carriage returns, URL in text), but attention to detail is the difference between treasure and trash when it comes to readability and presentation. That said, this probably wasn't the best example of bad style.

WolfDaddy, are you just upset that I picked on one of your posts? Seriously though, that Sauna pants post at least deserved a warning that it had nasty Javascript. And it's true, you're right that I'm acting a bit entitled in expecting quality without serious contribution, but perhaps this is my attempt to start to be more involved... so you could at least consider giving me a bit of break there.

Witty and others, I didn't mean this thread to be a threat to you, Mefi or anyone. If you don't think that quality has dropped recently then by all means I suggest you skip this thread.

Finally, it doesn't seem right to me that I can't offer criticism without being a front-page poster. Several people seem to be seriously offended by this. Maybe you don't agree but I guess I belive that there are different ways to contribute, and perhaps even criticism is one of them.

Regardless. Frankly, IMHO the issue is less about there being no good posts, and more about having to wade through lots of lame or poorly styled posts.
posted by chl at 2:06 PM on July 3, 2003


Also, chl, let me be the first to invite you to take a look at metafilter 3 years ago. Maybe you'll find something more to your liking there.

As for my own defensiveness, since you singled out one of my posts as being "unwritten," I admit, I made a conscious decision not to crowd the front page with wordy, opininated posts. I figure, I spent enough time finding the links. I don't need to digest them for you, too. But I have made an effort lately to find fresh, interesting content for the front page, instead of rehashed bush/iraq/miguel drivel.

But, whatever. If your friends and you have decided to move on, have a nice life. I hope you find happiness someday.
posted by crunchland at 2:06 PM on July 3, 2003


It's all about the links baby. Good writing is up to those who comment.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:07 PM on July 3, 2003


taz, as far as I can tell, it's me...
posted by clever sheep at 2:08 PM on July 3, 2003


Please don't try to shoot the messenger. Whether you agree or disagree with chl, don't insult or accuse a fellow MeFi because s/he's voicing a critical opinion about what s/he perceives as a content-related problem on the site.

ps: I agree there are too many FPPs, way beyond the critical mass needed to get some good posts daily. I still think we should be allowed to vote for the best FPPs. What happened to that idea?
posted by 111 at 2:12 PM on July 3, 2003


but.... the verb is "agree".

am I swimming in the deep end of the pool again?
posted by taz at 2:12 PM on July 3, 2003


chl, I'm not upset in the slightest that you singled out one of my posts. I stand behind my entire posting history here, and wouldn't bothered to have contribute any of them if they weren't something I felt other members and visitors would enjoy and appreciate. I don't expect all members and visitors to enjoy and appreciate them, though. We're far too diverse for that.

Rather, I reviewed your posting history, found that each of your posts had all been of a critical nature, noted that you provided no examples of what you consider 'good'--neither in this thread here, nor by posting yourself--and reacted accordingly based on what you've chosen to contribute to the blue and the gray. Glass houses, you know.

And, as crunchland points out, perception is relative, and memories are very short-term.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:15 PM on July 3, 2003


It is I.

Predicate nominative.
posted by soyjoy at 2:16 PM on July 3, 2003


PS I still don't understand "pancaked."
posted by soyjoy at 2:17 PM on July 3, 2003


actually taz, isn't the verb "is?" "...Is it just my friends and me?"
posted by crunchland at 2:18 PM on July 3, 2003


taz, it's a compound sentence (note the "or), and so the verb in this case is "is", despite its leading role; when diagrammed, "it" and "is" would switch places.

therefore, it...is...me vs. it...is...I.
posted by clever sheep at 2:18 PM on July 3, 2003


I for one like the one or two word FPPs that are just links.
posted by xmutex at 2:20 PM on July 3, 2003


Learn something new every day.... taz, there are proponents on both sides in the specific case of "it is I" versus "it is me." Some moderates consider them to be simply formal and informal sides of the same usage coin.

Way to stick to your guns, girl!
posted by clever sheep at 2:22 PM on July 3, 2003


me agree!
posted by taz at 2:26 PM on July 3, 2003


As the whole I/me thing indicates, we're not all writers/english majors/copyeditors/anal retentives. ; >

Isn't the whole reason for making a FPP to share a link or links? It's the link that counts and not the style in which it's written, at least for me.
posted by amberglow at 2:27 PM on July 3, 2003


clever sheep, with all due respect, this isn't a style issue.

I guess I should've linked the phrase predicate nominative. "It is I" is correct, "It is me" is incorrect. People usually say "it is me," because they're speaking colloquially. But you were wrong to correct chl, because the original phrasing was right.
posted by soyjoy at 2:30 PM on July 3, 2003


Soyjoy, you're one step ahead of me because I just finished googling for a brush-up on nominative usage. That said, colloquial usage is making serious inroads; the first link I read concentrated solely on subject/object positioning and literally states, "no exceptions."

Doesn't change the fact that the usage you champion is the more correct of the two, of course. And that doesn't bother me a bit--I love grammar mavens, regardless of whether I'm the corrector or the correctee.
posted by clever sheep at 2:35 PM on July 3, 2003


Okay, you've all made some good points and made me reconsider about "underwritten" posts, and being nitpicky about grammar(!). But I still think there's a lot of crap on the front page, amongst links and style (which I think are both important... although, you may not think so)... and I'm really surprised more people don't agree. However, it does seem to confirm that disagreement generates more posts than agreement.

Anyway, WolfDaddy, I'll try to think about what I consider a good FPP, since I think your criticism on that point is really valid.
posted by chl at 2:35 PM on July 3, 2003


amberglow, this is the part of chl's point that I agree with. It is all about the links. I'm less bothered by some about the styling, length and etc. of a post (though spelling errors that could easily have been caught by spellcheck do make me wince), but I've come to actually make it a game to check out Google News everyday, then see how many of the featured headlines will be posted to the front page.
posted by taz at 2:39 PM on July 3, 2003


Please don't try to shoot the messenger. Whether you agree or disagree with chl, don't insult or accuse a fellow MeFi because s/he's voicing a critical opinion about what s/he perceives as a content-related problem on the site.


No, I think it's fair in this case to respond to chl's remarks by questioning his authority to make them. He is almost entirely a consumer of metafilter content, rather than a producer, and he is essentially saying that the rest of us are not living up to our end of the bargain. The only response to that sort of parasitism is contempt.

At least tape worms don't bitch about the quality of your intestines. Remind me to see a doctor about that, by the way.

Chl: you can offer constructive suggestions, but you cannot, with your lack of contribution here, criticize others. There's no rule that says that, mind you, but jesus, it stands to fucking reason. Decorum, decorum.

"As a loyal viewer, I feel they owe me."
"What? They've given you thousands of hours of entertainment for free. What could they possibly owe you? If anything, you owe them."
"Worst. Episode. Ever."
posted by Hildago at 2:44 PM on July 3, 2003


chl: I feel your pain. My advice is to reconcile yourself to the fact that you and the common MeFi poster value different things, and want different things from this site. I "gave up" on MetaFilter a long time ago. Now I just scan the headlines for anything interesting and drop in on MetaTalk from time to time.

Really, there's nothing else to be done. Not if, like me, you see weblogs as a conversation. When was the last time you had an intellectual discussion during a bar fight? Or made jokes during a eulogy? The environment matters, as does the makeup of the crowd.
posted by gd779 at 2:45 PM on July 3, 2003


Perhaps you disagree, thomcatspike
How do I spell it out, complain you may But we just went a day w/o Metafilter. So how bad is a bad post compared to nothing? Plus school is out, the cycle around here during the summer months; not the full reason but a clue to the FPPs being posted.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:48 PM on July 3, 2003


chl, I was also trying to be polite in all my comments, I do feel your concern too.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:49 PM on July 3, 2003


15,330.

Just a shot in the dark number, predicated on 12 posts every day for the past three-and-a-half years. That would be how many web-pages have been featured (theoretically) in FPPs.

I can't remember a "Golden Age" of posting here, and I've been here for a while. Usually, the score runs something like:

10% self (or friend) linking or self (or friend)-aggrandizing
30% news stories
5% Interesting, but undiscussable page (Great link, X! Thanx!)
5% Political rabblerousing (in non-news format)
5% Doubleposts
15% Lame links that exist to spark discussion
20% Lame-ish link made just to get a link on the front
9% Passable, interesting, decent, "cool," "acceptable" FPPs
1% Solid Gold Post Heaven Nirvana

Good stuff is hard to find, and we've been finding it here for 4 years. We don't double-post (ideally), so a whole bunch of the A-material has been chewed through. We're just sitting here waiting for The Next Meme. I don't really see a decline in quality; some weeks (maybe even months) are just worse than others.

Speaking as a guy who gets his knickers twisted violently pretty easily... this doesn't.
posted by Perigee at 2:51 PM on July 3, 2003


PS I still don't understand "pancaked."

I thought the same link appeared twice under two different categories, which would have been a brilliant inside joke, but it doesn't appear to be the case. It's something like that.

I'm not sure I agree the quality of posts has declined, but I don't get why people can't complain because they don't increase the noise level before doing so.

He is almost entirely a consumer of metafilter content, rather than a producer . . .

Absolutely no offense intended, but that remark makes me want to hire a key grip for my crotch. Can I Executive Produce someone's next post? Will there be awards shows? Does this make Miguel the Best Boy?

posted by yerfatma at 2:56 PM on July 3, 2003


It is I!
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:58 PM on July 3, 2003


[puts stick-em gold star on Pretty_Generic's test sheet]
posted by clever sheep at 3:00 PM on July 3, 2003


jsyk, not being snarky. I used to *love* those little foil stars back in grade school.

....and boy, that's kinda scary, now that I think about it.
posted by clever sheep at 3:01 PM on July 3, 2003


Metafilter: Can I Executive Produce someone's key-gripped crotch?
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:15 PM on July 3, 2003


All right, since no one else is game, I'll take a stab at the "pancaked" comment. I offer the following definition for your review.

pan·cake
v. tr.
To render irrelevant: We pancaked the front page post by making a lot of off-topic comments.
posted by Galvatron at 3:24 PM on July 3, 2003


I've posted 67 links, which I hope gives me standing to echo chl's criticism: the examples being criticized are lazy, sloppy, boring, or a sad combination of the three.

If you can't find the energy to capitalize, punctuate, or form a sentence, consider waiting until a free minute opens up in your schedule.

I post here around once a month, because I figure there's already too much of that going around. When I do, I want to make it count. I save the "interesting word I typed into a search engine" and the no-time-to-describe-this items for my weblog, where I've earned my readership one relative at a time.
posted by rcade at 3:27 PM on July 3, 2003


I disagree chl. If anything, posts have been getting better over the last year. That of course is my personal opinion.

However, something should be said to the number of people who have taken a comment it saddens me to see that the quality of FPPs has fallen dramatically in the last few months, and decided that the "Well you know where the door is, don't you" line is the best one to take. The whole point of MeTa must surely be to provide an arena where people can voice dissatisfaction before having to leave.

Plus - With the possible exception of the linked posts, there was nothing personal in chl's post. So why the hell be so personal back at him/her.

And before anybody starts ... Yes, I know my posts are generally dodgy, and my comments can be a bit personal and snarky, and etc, etc. Like chl, I'm not being hypocritical here, I'm just trying to make MeFi a better place.

As they say in the fillums, "For God Sake, Think of the Children."
posted by seanyboy at 3:34 PM on July 3, 2003


Hidalgo, your argument is fallacious, since the fact that chl is not an active poster could just as well add weight to his pov: it could be construed as "he's not directly involved, so he has critical distance" or "he spends more time reading than posting, so he knows better"etc; at any rate, it's bad logic to throw aside the main issue because it comes from what you perceive as someone that's unauthorized so to speak, and it goes back to the unfortunate trend of implying that some people apart from Matt are more entitled than others to speak up because they post everyday, or were one of the first to get a login an so on. If we focus on the issue, I think chl does have a point inasmuch as quality-quantity goes and also regarding the level of poorly researched, poorly written FPPs .
posted by 111 at 3:35 PM on July 3, 2003


So, to paraphrase, besides calling people's posts lame, boring, and poorly written, and threatening to leave, this was essentially an impersonal and constructive critique written by a lurker.
posted by Hildago at 3:38 PM on July 3, 2003


it's bad logic to throw asi de the main issue because it comes from what you perceive as someone that's unauthorized so to speak

Wasn't throwing away the main issue, was responding to someone who said that chl should not personally factor into the equation. Haven't addressed the main issue at all, up to this point. In fact, I agree with chl inasmuch as I think posts could be better -- who doesn't?

As far as distance goes, objectivity is fine, except he's not claiming objectivity in the first place. Additionally, I think there's relevance in the Physician, Heal Thyself idea. Someone who has never posted a link and scarcely posted a comment and then asks the community to improve itself is tipping their hand -- they clearly haven't thought much about the problem, or else they would have arrived at the obvious conclusion a long time ago, the suggestion that was made two comments into the thread.

In other words, the question can be raised, but not, I think by someone who clearly has never tried to improve the community in the first place.
posted by Hildago at 3:46 PM on July 3, 2003


I disagree with some examples chi cited, but quality should always merit discussion. I had been thinking of a MetaTalk post to talk about some different but similar issues.

Communities are dynamic & MeFi continues to morph. Lately, it seems to me that "discussion" outweighs "the link that most people haven't seen" now. We've had a lot of discussion in the past about what we don't want MeFi to be, but do our behaviors as a community speak louder than words?

Over the last week, here are things that our actions would indicate we value, based on 50 or more comments:
Reuters - homosexual marriage amendment; Yahoo - Supreme Court sodomy ruling; The Memory Hole - 9/11 footage; Washington Post - Kraft foods in the schools; BBC - Katherine Hepburn dies; The Star - US cutting military aid to ICC backers; Yahoo - Dennis Miller's switch; Do Not Call Registry; Japan Today - gang rape comment; CNN - Strom Thurmond dies.

Here are some of the things that our actions would indicate that we don't value, based on a dozen or fewer comments:
Meteorological art; robot sculptures; Nepal travel journal; physicists discover sub-atomic particle; medieval architecture; creepy marionettes; Turkish wrestling festival; George Orwell anniversary; Wussy Boy - Big Poppa & poetry slams; ethics cost money; unknown movie data base; key art awards; shrunken heads; blogger's libel protection; fireworks; etc etc.

Are these not *different*? Are they not worthy of discussion? Are they at least not worthy of people stopping in to say "thanks - enjoyed this." That's how it would seem.

Now one could say that comments aren't an indicator of the real value of a post, and I would agree to a point. But I would also wonder why people would want to put effort into a *different* post that goes unremarked and is quickly drowned out by a sea of more popular threads. It would stand to reason that the lack of positive reinforcement for one and the huge positive reinforcement for the other is shaping the direction future posts take. It would appear to me that the real value we hold is morphing from one of "unique links" to one of "discussion." I would like others thoughts on this.

(btw - crunchland, you have been posting some marvelous stuff, and I appreciate it!)
posted by madamjujujive at 3:47 PM on July 3, 2003


Galvatron for thinking your award.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:53 PM on July 3, 2003


Hildago. I think something can contain non-constructive single-word definitions of posts and still be a constructive critique of MeFi. Phrases like "Very Poorly Written" are emotive, and maybe chl shouldn't have used them, but I think chl only used them to try and prove the point. So yes, I agree, besides calling people's posts lame, boring, and poorly written, and threatening to leave, this was essentially an impersonal and constructive critique written by a lurker
posted by seanyboy at 4:17 PM on July 3, 2003


MeFi Theorem No. 37:

Every six months, a MetaTalk thread will be posted involving the quality of MetaFilter. The lower the number of the user, the more likely she will be snarky, given that these threads have been seen so many times before.

Corrollary:

Within every "Why does MeFi blow the goat?" MeTa thread, there is a 45% chance that the word "pancake" will make an appearance.
posted by ed at 4:28 PM on July 3, 2003


As a long-time carrot squeezer (but mostly a diddler), it saddens me to see that the quality of wanking has fallen dramatically in the last few months. This is less in reference to repeated pumpings, and more just really lame, boring, very poorly stimulated (or roughly handled) and weakly gripped tools. And what's worse, the problem also seems to be rapidly accelerating in recent weeks, IMHO. I have friends that have basically stopped jerking due to friction burns. While I do realize that recent WankTalk posts have suggested features to help fix chubby-rubbing-quality issues, meanwhile the problem goes stiff and unrelieved. Is there anything we can do to help save WankMe from a death of total limpness? Or should those of us who are concerned just start looking for a good wanking alternative? (Any suggestions?) Do other people out there agree that quality has declined and poses a serious threat to the encrustation of bedsheets, or it is just my mini-me and I?
posted by quonsar at 4:35 PM on July 3, 2003


quonsar, that should be "my mini-I and I".
posted by taz at 4:39 PM on July 3, 2003


Great post madam. To me, there are three kinds of posts:
1. News post.
2. "Check out this thing" post.
3. A crafted post that, for example, exposes, investigates, or suggests a commonality between several subjects that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. [Hopefully that makes a little sense.]

The first choice is the easiest post one can make. The second is a bit harder simply because one has to do a little bit of work (or get lucky) to find that one cool thing. The third choice is the most difficult... so much so that I don't think the majority of this community can pull it off. I don't mean that to be insulting. It's just difficult to do. There are a select few posters (few = couple dozen perhaps) that I think do it very well.

The problem is, the third choice takes the most work, not only for the crafter, but also for the reader... to scour all the various links and read everything, etc... takes time. So we don't see as many of those as we might like. The second choice doesn't usually have much comment-able material, other than, "Thanks, that was cool". But the first choice, the News Posts, usually get most attention and comments. And from that, I think some people judge that POST to be more successful. We all SAY we know that that isn't the case, yet the NewsFilter posts continue to happen all the time.

Of course there are exceptions and we'll debate them forever (and should). But for the most part, c'mon.

Rule(s) of thumb: If it's news news, leave it alone. It encourages MORE news. Being first with the "news" is no real prize. Just because your NewsFilter post received a huge response, doesn't mean that MetaFilter needed it.
posted by Witty at 4:47 PM on July 3, 2003


Are these not *different*? Are they not worthy of discussion? Are they at least not worthy of people stopping in to say "thanks - enjoyed this." That's how it would seem.

This is something I'd do more if I didn't feel like such a big dork doing it. Wasn't the implementation of some sort of positive voting system (as in, you vote "good", but you can't vote "bad") discussed here a while back? I know there's some Metafilterfilter site out there that does it but I thought it might be implemented as part of the blue. Maybe that gold star graphic could be used, and that way it could serve humanity instead of confuse and annoy it.

Now one could say that comments aren't an indicator of the real value of a post

Pretty much whenever I see a post with over 40 comments all I think is, "Ooh, fight!"

Superego: "It is surely a fight you have seen dozens of times before. No good can come of it."
Id: "Daa... click!"
Ego: "Once again I am right!"

posted by furiousthought at 4:51 PM on July 3, 2003


Actually, i's turned out that on some occasions I've missed some very good posts because I looked at the number of comments and assumed it wasn't a post I would be interested in. In my case, the situation was that there were a lot of comments, yet later I found out the post didn't suck.

MJJ's point is valid; we reward what we say we don't want, and it doesn't matter how many times there is a metafilter thread about it, the majority of users seeing a newslink or whatdoyouthink thread being pounded with comments while a "neat thing" thread is neglected will be indoctrinated into the former school and not the latter.
posted by taz at 5:07 PM on July 3, 2003


Is there anything we can do to help save Mefi from a death of total lameness?

Yeah, how about posting some good FPP's instead of whining on MetaTalk?

chl has posted no links 3 comments to MetaFilter

And 1 big hairy kvetch on MetaTalk.
posted by scarabic at 5:11 PM on July 3, 2003


mjjj:Are they at least not worthy of people stopping in to say "thanks - enjoyed this."

I dunno, too many of those and it feels weird.

I mean, I read a lot of links from lesser commented posts, and I'd feel weird just posting one line 'amazing -> ok -> sucks' comments on each.

Whereas with the greater commented posts, quite often I won't read the link, because I've already read it. MeFi is almost the last site on my daily list, and I hit google news regularly, and yes, the newsfilter posts do seem to attract the most comments (or have been blogged elsewhere). However, I am more likely to comment in them, because I enjoy a good fight, err, am more likely to have an opinion on the matter other than 'this is cool'.

Maybe there should be another metric attached to the post on the front page. People have talked about voting, but I dunno, feels like a bad idea, at gut level anyway. Maybe count clicks on links in the post? Or is that too Farkish?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:20 PM on July 3, 2003


I would like to ask people like Chi (in this instance) who link to multiple past posts (or threads) to use the freaking ALT clause of the anchor tag and include the thread title so we don't have to click a half dozen times or more to see what's linked. Please?

EtiquetteFilter?
posted by billsaysthis at 5:44 PM on July 3, 2003


This is something I'd do more if I didn't feel like such a big dork doing it.

Others have said this, and I've never understood it. Why is it dorky to praise a post? Seems like a win-win situation to me: you say thank you for something you liked, and (by increasing the number of comments) you encourage good posts. Just do it!

To all you people who are being nasty to chl because lack of posting supposedly disqualifies you from complaining, you're way off base. (Especially you, hildago, since you're being especially nasty and persistent.) Every member is equal here except 1. You don't get more rights because you were here first, or because you make a lot of posts, or for any other reason. Chl has every bit as much right to post to MeTa as anyone else. It's true there have been repeated "MeFi's going downhill" posts, but that's because it's a commonly perceived problem and people want to discuss it. Agree or disagree, but don't tell the poster to shut up because of some imagined lack of qualification. Just think about this for a second: suppose your bright idea caught on, and people decided only people with a sufficient number of posts had rights. Suddenly everybody starts posting with the frequency of a Cardoso. You want to see hundreds and hundreds of new posts every day? I didn't think so.
posted by languagehat at 5:48 PM on July 3, 2003


languagehat - I don't think it's an issue of qty of posts == right to comment/complain, as much as it is "history of doing something == right to encourage others to do so". I mean, if chl had a history of intelligent, well thought out posts, I would attribute more to his/her request for better & more well thought out posts. User number has nothing to do with it, verbosity has nothing to do with it. People are essentially saying "lead by example".
posted by jonson at 6:22 PM on July 3, 2003


But I still think there's a lot of crap on the front page, amongst links and style (which I think are both important... although, you may not think so)... and I'm really surprised more people don't agree.

While I'm not sure that mefi has sunk into the stylistic abyss where you seem to put it, I strongly agree that a significant percentage of mefi's appeal lies in its aesthetic simplicity. I don't read other blogs and pretty much uniformly dislike the ones I do venture out to briefly examine. There's something intrinsically appealing about one solid color background, comments ordered by time, and nothing else. None of the karma crap, no signatures at the end of every freaking comment, no name and picture cluttering the left, just words. When this simplicity is violated, the site as a whole starts to feel cluttered, unkempt, and frankly kind of ignorant, vs the reserved, clean, intellectual, snarky atmosphere that I find so enjoyable.

Miguel is the perfect example of someone whose posts are redeemed by his ability to craft an aesthetically pleasing post that also "makes the connections" that are paramount to a good post, as Witty notes above (which I agree with totally). Personally I think there is a slight tendency for some of Miguel's posts to be of the Pepsi Blue variety, but when you can write as well as he can, and when you have a mind that can present a Pepsi Blue post as his can, you get away with it. Indeed, he's one of my favorite posters on mefi.

Finally, what is this ALT clause of the anchor tag? I feel a bit sheepish asking, but it sounds like something I'd be using if I knew how.
posted by cohappy at 6:42 PM on July 3, 2003


The "alt" attribute makes the little mouseover text happen.
put whatever you want to appear in between the quotes. Same as "title".
ALT is primarly used to give a title to images, as preferred by all those prissy standards people who get ignored a lot.
posted by dong_resin at 6:55 PM on July 3, 2003


quality is subjective.

yer on mah hit list, cheech.
posted by angry modem at 6:56 PM on July 3, 2003


so ah, where not here to bury Caeser?
posted by clavdivs at 7:07 PM on July 3, 2003


Others have said this, and I've never understood it. Why is it dorky to praise a post? Seems like a win-win situation to me: you say thank you for something you liked, and (by increasing the number of comments) you encourage good posts. Just do it!

It just feels like, "Hey, neat! P.S. I have nothing to contribute." You know? I know at Metafilter it's supposed to be About The Links but there's a premium placed on discussion here too. At least I think so.

But tell ya what. I'll try it. Two weeks. Unadulterated praise for good posts. Possibly followed by boring but mercifully brief personal anecdotes if I'm feeling inspired. I'll try to summon the effusive Cardoso within and see what happens.
posted by furiousthought at 7:15 PM on July 3, 2003


This is nonsense. Bollocks. Read the damn archives - Matt didn't put them there for the sake of his health. There have always been good and bad posts. Lately there have been many, many great posts.

I have chunks of threads like this in my stool.
posted by crunchburger at 7:25 PM on July 3, 2003


As someone who just recently posted his first FPP, I can appreciate the "nice post" type of comments that madam is encouraging. Sure, reading "great link" 20 times over in every good post that ends up on mf would become tiresome, not to mention meaningless, but for the first, second, third time poster it's invaluable feedback.
posted by btwillig at 7:33 PM on July 3, 2003


Any Alternatives?

» Code for running community weblog: Free.
» Monthly Hosting Costs: $5-$50/month
» Being your very own vibrating-pancake deleting overlord: priceless.


The solution isn't always to just leave... nobody builds up a Metafilter overnight (except maybe those responsible for 9622.net). But it's the only way to dictate what you want. The only other way to change things is to use the influence you have: in this case, making the most persuasive case you can to metatalk, and posting your own FPPs.
posted by weston at 7:45 PM on July 3, 2003


10% self (or friend) linking or self (or friend)-aggrandizing
30% news stories
5% Interesting, but undiscussable page (Great link, X! ...
1% Pure Solid Posting Gold
Good stuff is hard to find,


And Perigree, I think you've discovered the root of the problem:

Most of the Web sucks.
posted by weston at 7:51 PM on July 3, 2003


Er, I had to give my advice above a little too quick , rushed as I was at work.
The ALT tag is used specifically with the "img src" tag, to offer a textual description of the image information. TITLE is used with the A tag, to create tool tip mouse over text.

The STOPWHINYMETATALKBLEATINGS tag still, sadly, does nothing.
posted by dong_resin at 7:52 PM on July 3, 2003


As does the GOGGLES tag.
posted by dong_resin at 7:53 PM on July 3, 2003


My bad, dong_resin, had just posted an image to my own blog and was still in the mindset. Yes, title would be the thing requested.

Memo to everybody: Get on it!
posted by billsaysthis at 9:32 PM on July 3, 2003


I wholeheartedly agree with juju. Like that verse from the Jam's "Going Underground": the public gets what the public wants.

MetaFilter is essentially a conflicted creature of a community - not so much of two minds as separated from the neck up. The head believes and the mouth keeps on muttering the sacred mantra - "It's all about the links; it's all about the links" - but the lower body votes with its feet, scurrying everywhere to stomp all over the news.

It's not even a good Newsfilter - most news turns up here unfiltered, uncontextualized and unproblematized. This is, from my point of view, the part that's getting worse. Not that I have a problem with that - there's more than enough for me outside them. Plep's advise should be engraved in Carrara marble: live and let live.

There are quite a few excellent links, linky links, never-heard-of, never-thought-of-that links almost every day - but, well, you actually have to look for them. And click on them. Clicking helps. Commenting in them too. In the last year, thanks to posters from new members like madamjujujive, plep and at least a dozen others, MeFi has become much richer in this regard - though less rewarded.

Perhaps there could be a button we'd click just to say "Thanks. I enjoyed that."

Still, all things considered, MetaFilter passes the "something for everyone" test and, imo, that's what matters.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:10 PM on July 3, 2003


MetaTalk: I have chunks of threads like this in my stool.
posted by quonsar at 10:10 PM on July 3, 2003


"ALT clause"? "Javascript"? Wassat?

Metafilter: Ooh, fight!

It is you. ;-P
posted by mischief at 10:47 PM on July 3, 2003


Superego: "It is surely a fight you have seen dozens of times before. No good can come of it."
Id: "Daa... click!"
Ego: "Once again I am right!"


ROTFLMAO
posted by soyjoy at 11:31 PM on July 3, 2003


Chl: you can offer constructive suggestions, but you cannot, with your lack of contribution here, criticize others. There's no rule that says that, mind you, but jesus, it stands to fucking reason.

since posting this statement, Hildago has further explained/defended his POV, but i'd still like to state that i do not think this unwritten rule stands to reason. if chl was a recognized well-respected FPP-poster, people would have been calling him for "picking on the little guy," "give the lame newbie posters a chance and mebbe someday they achieve the sweet spot," etc.

some of us just don't do the front page very well. i'd like to think that our contributions (when we do contribute) will still be considered on contribution's merits , not on the contributor's. after all, this whole site is built on the idea of criticizing the web -- even if you're not Tim Berners-Lee.

(i guess the same logic can be extended to people who don't even comment.)

all that said. this thread is bullshit =) ... i like a lot of "crappy" posts cited and see no dropoff in the overall quality.
posted by danOstuporStar at 4:53 AM on July 4, 2003


I agree that reducing the frequency at which members are allowed to post is a good, workable idea. I'd look at decreasing it to once per month rather than the suggest once per week, though.
posted by nthdegx at 5:02 AM on July 4, 2003


And still we keep coming back, like rats on cocaine.
posted by The Michael The at 5:58 AM on July 4, 2003


Crap... now that I've posted my throwaway, I've gone and had a serious thought. I've thought before about posting quality and what-have-you, and as far as I can tell, the only way to achieve a much higher general post quality is through some serious autocratic iron-fist-on-the-blue editing, whether by Matt or some other ruler with despotic leanings. The community itself has repeatedly shown its complete inability to fully comply with posting guidelines. Some people have different interpretations of the rules, some don't know better, some post because of "exceptions to the rules," and others just blatantly ignore the rules, but it all adds up to lots of bullshit that makes it harder to find the good stuff (props to madamjjj, plep, crunchland, and miguel [when he's on A material], among others). C'est la vie; the true fans will work harder and those that are annoyed will leave, but no system is perfect.
posted by The Michael The at 6:07 AM on July 4, 2003


psst. the holy grail, it ain't real.
posted by quonsar at 7:49 AM on July 4, 2003


psst. the holy grail, it ain't real.

Ah, but it is, q, it is.

Still, Indiana Jones. Distracting, ain't it?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:54 AM on July 4, 2003


Like that verse from the Jam's "Going Underground": the public gets what the public wants.

Nice, except it's "the public wants what the public gets."
posted by kirkaracha at 8:28 AM on July 4, 2003


it's both actually
posted by danOstuporStar at 8:37 AM on July 4, 2003


popup hell with that last link. beware.
posted by crunchland at 9:00 AM on July 4, 2003


indeed, crunchland. i guess that's a case where content should have trumped style. i put the pop-up warning in the title attribute (in all caps even, but IE seems to ignore that) ... i kinda felt it should have been in plain text, but decided it was aesthetically displeasing. stupid decision.
posted by danOstuporStar at 9:13 AM on July 4, 2003


the extra text was aesthetically displeasing. heh.
i love it when people are unintentionally ridiculous.
posted by quonsar at 9:41 AM on July 4, 2003


People are essentially saying "lead by example".

Yes, and that's a good message, but there are good and bad ways to deliver it. Good: "That's an interesting point; I'm not sure I agree, but if you think the quality could be improved, why not try posting some good links?" Bad: "You've never even posted, you worthless sack of shit, so sit down and shut up."

Also, what btwillig said. I well remember the trepidation of making my first post, and the tremendous relief and gratitude I felt on getting my first supportive comment("Thanks for the link!" from evanizer, and I've been fond of him ever since).
posted by languagehat at 10:06 AM on July 4, 2003


if chl was a recognized well-respected FPP-poster, people would have been calling him for "picking on the little guy," "give the lame newbie posters a chance and mebbe someday they achieve the sweet spot," etc.

Well, then apparently nothing stands to reason. I've suspected this for some time, actually..

I'm not trying to be a hardass, I just think it's a bit insulting to be criticized by someone who has never, ever tried to improve what he is wringing his hands over. I would probably be defending chl if he had first made an attempt to solve this problem in a more sensical way.
posted by Hildago at 10:28 AM on July 4, 2003


Bad: "You've never even posted, you worthless sack of shit, so sit down and shut up."

Yeah, but I used words like parasitism and decorum that make me sound smart, and I think that counts for something.

My concession is that comparing chl to a tapeworm might have been a little harsh, especially since it wasn't even a favorable comparison. Still, where does one get off, really?
posted by Hildago at 10:34 AM on July 4, 2003


aesthetically displeasing. stupid decision.

::intentions of pure ridiculousness. quonsar::intentions of pure ridicule.


(on preview) ... i understand, Hildago. you did preface your first comment by saying constructive criticism is welcomed.
posted by danOstuporStar at 10:35 AM on July 4, 2003


Telling ChI to start posting intelligent FPPs if wants to read intelligent FPPs is a little silly. The average user's experience with MeFi is 1% posting, 99% reading. When a person has something interesting to share, they should share it... otherwise they should keep to themselves and absorb what others have to say.

I think that's part of the problem, really. It's not that there is less MeFi goodness-- the noise to signal ratio has just creeped up to a starting-to-be grating level.
posted by 4easypayments at 11:02 AM on July 4, 2003


Hildago: Chl admitted up front to being "mostly a lurker." How much of an ass-kicking does this person have to endure for having the temerity to offer criticism from the perspective of a reader rather than a contributor?

On at least some level, this site functions to deliver interesting content to an audience -- there are thousands of members who lurk. I think we might occasionally welcome feedback from this crowd, who might offer a perspective different from the freaks who spend so much time here they should pay Matt rent.
posted by rcade at 11:52 AM on July 4, 2003


Hildago: Chl admitted up front to being "mostly a lurker." How much of an ass-kicking does this person have to endure for having the temerity to offer criticism from the perspective of a reader rather than a contributor?

Well, we're in the process of finding that out. Next we're going to settle the old Tootsie Pop debate once and for all. I for one have always questioned that damned owl's methodology.

On at least some level, this site functions to deliver interesting content to an audience -- there are thousands of members who lurk.

I would quibble with this statement inasmuch as I think "audience" should be replaced with "community", and that community entails a different relationship than audience does.

... Especially when there are so many people who would just love the opportunity to have a registered account here and be able to post and comment, as opposed to... wait, can of worms, can of worms.

I think we might occasionally welcome feedback from this crowd, who might offer a perspective different from the freaks who spend so much time here they should pay Matt rent.

I would quibble with this statement inasmuch as I would replace "feedback" with "complaints". That's the problem, really, as I see it.

I think some of us spend so much time here that we should skip the rent and just sacrifice a bull.
posted by Hildago at 12:14 PM on July 4, 2003


One man's community is another man's audience.

] Remember: you read that here first. ;-P [
posted by mischief at 12:26 PM on July 4, 2003


Isn't this Matt Haughey's site?


Sorry. I know it has nothing to do with this post. But it had to be done, because, heck, when does it ever have anything to do with the post?


posted by eustacescrubb at 12:41 PM on July 4, 2003


Some people might say my life is in a rut,
But I'm quite happy with what I got
People might say that I should strive for more,
But I'm so happy I can't see the point.


I'm counting my blessings
All things must pass
you're gonna miss me baby...
When I'm dead and gone.

posted by dash_slot- at 1:19 PM on July 4, 2003


Is there anything we can do to help save Mefi from a death of total lameness?

And yet, wouldn't a death of total lameness be something of a novelty in and of itself? Thereby cancelling out the total lameness itself! Thus we see that a death of total lameness is impossible, and we can only go out in a blaze of utterly mediocre lameness.

And yet, wouldn't a death of utterly mediocre lameness be something of a novelty in and of itself? Thereby cancelling out...

(Well, it is called Metafilter after all...)
posted by namespan at 1:29 PM on July 4, 2003


new software rules should be the last resort to deter abuse, IMHO....let Metafilter be Metafilter. Community policing brought us a long way, don't be too quick to give up on it.

Code fixes have been done, e.g. thread closings after 30 days(9622 cult thread), posting only once a day to stop fpp spamming (ahem!), and probably some others I don't remember.

Those examples had a well defined negative target behavior they were designed to supress. 'Improving the quality of posts' is a nebulous and comtentious goal - not a good candidate for a weekend software fix.
posted by crunchburger at 2:09 PM on July 4, 2003


Telling ChI to start posting intelligent FPPs

4easypayments, billsaysthis, madamjujujive, just so ya know...

It is not I.
posted by soyjoy at 9:10 PM on July 4, 2003


I before L except after Soyjoy.
posted by billsaysthis at 9:51 PM on July 4, 2003


so ah, where not here to bury Caeser?

Not in the Spellcheck columbarium.

And still we keep coming back, like rats on cocaine.

So, we are immobilized, strapped down in a tiny cage with but one forepaw free to choose between a button for a pellet of food or one for cocaine? This is indeed an instructive metaphor.
*pushes TheMichaelThe ejection seat button*
posted by y2karl at 11:57 AM on July 5, 2003


You said "forepaw".
posted by squirrel at 10:22 PM on July 5, 2003


(Boy, step away for a long weekend and all hell breaks loose.) Getting all the way back to the point KnitWit and thomcatspike were trying to make...

There's real quick way to "help save Mefi from a death of total lameness," chl, and that's creating good FPPs. Not because you have no right to complain but because it's a sure-fire way to lower the signal-to-noise ratio a little bit. Every time you post something you think is worthy, you up the chance that someone else will follow suit. Yeah, newfilter posts are easy, but if more people were posting MeFi manna there'd be more pressure to overcome the laziness -- or at least to be a bit more creative with the newsfilter.
posted by me3dia at 1:51 PM on July 7, 2003


chl, what? Is school out for the summer and there aren't any more papers to mark?

That's what your moan seemed like to me.

Do you walk up to a store counter and tell the salesdroid "I don't like any of the scarves on display." "I've walked past your counter many times and although I haven't bought any scarves ever, they used to be much nicer." "Will this store please do something about that, because my friends and I all agree how much your scarves suck." "My friends and I just aren't walking by anymore." "Can you direct me to a nicer scarve store?" "Will you be going out of business any time soon?"

Seriously. If you don't like it, step away from the counter, lady.

I found some of your examples of "poorly written posts" interesting. Not everyone is white with the same interests. If you don't find anything interesting, move along or post something interesting instead of "I've noticed this place is going down scale".

May I suggest something good on tv for you and your friends to watch possibly?

Talk about NIMBY [not in my back yard]. eeek.

Enlighten us, contribute something interesting. I'll hold my breath.
posted by alicesshoe at 8:06 PM on July 8, 2003


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