When every word of a FPP is a different link August 27, 2003 4:45 PM   Subscribe

When every word of a FPP is a different link. Foosnark doesn't like it, and I have some criticism of it myself. It ruins the semantics of a hyperlink -- suddenly, every link is part of a vague topic field that you have to clickthrough in order to begin to even understand what it's about.

I can see some art to it -- sometimes you want things to unfold slowly, only by looking at the same thing from many different views. But most of the time, it may just be annoying and inconvenient. Thoughts?
posted by weston to Etiquette/Policy at 4:45 PM (26 comments total)

I did it once, caught some flak for it, haven't done it again.

I don't have any opinion about it one way or the other, though. Some like it, some don't.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:52 PM on August 27, 2003

If you don't like it, then ignore it.

People have different posting styles, and although in a lot of ways it's not an optimal use of hypertext, it seems to have been accepted, or at least tolerated by most Mefites.

At least it's not the dreaded single-word-post. <shudder>
posted by bshort at 5:00 PM on August 27, 2003

I don't have a problem with it.
posted by y2karl at 5:43 PM on August 27, 2003

The comment must have been deleted...
While I don't have a problem with a-link-a-word (or even a-link-a-letter) type of posts, I hardly follow every link. I will go to the main link of the post and do my own searching.
posted by rhapsodie at 5:49 PM on August 27, 2003

The topic of that FPP was not too vague for me to know I had no interest in it, the links or the discussion.
posted by mischief at 7:05 PM on August 27, 2003

What bshort said. Except that I like single-word posts - Element of surprise and all that. Whether the subject matter is appropriate for the style of post is more important.
posted by dg at 9:50 PM on August 27, 2003

I like single sentence posts, like what crunchland notoriously does - single word posts are often too difficult to predict whether it would be worth my time to visit.
posted by jonson at 10:41 PM on August 27, 2003

It's a gimmick, and as such I think the technique should be used sparingly. Apart from the fact that these multiple-word links are hard to put together well, they bring on my RSI something rotten... and you wouldn't want a lawsuit, would you?...
posted by skylar at 12:10 AM on August 28, 2003

Good posting. No problems here.
posted by i_cola at 1:56 AM on August 28, 2003

Although I'm not bothered by this, I agree with Weston that it upsets the basic format of using the visual emphasis of a hyperlink to provide focus and identify the "main link." I think the thread in question is a good example of where and how this can go wrong. I think it can work better in light-entertainment FPPs where there are a lot of fun things to go see arranged around a common theme or medium.

P.S. I'd post this as a separate MeTa thread, but I'm sure it's been discussed before - the deleted comments - apparently there are at least two of them on this thread (Foosnark and joeforking) that were deleted but references to them remain. This makes for confusing and frustrating reading. Any way to remedy this? Other than asking those who were there "what did those folks say?" Obviously if a comment is delete-worthy, it should be deleted, but how to address its residue elsewhere?
posted by soyjoy at 7:58 AM on August 28, 2003

If you don't like it, then ignore it.

Just like Iraq ...
posted by walrus at 8:00 AM on August 28, 2003

Oops. I didn't realize the next MeTa thread up was more specifically devoted to the deleted comments in this same thread. So I guess I should've waited and posted my "P.S." question in that one. But since that thread has gone off in the direction of joeforking going "come on! who wants to fight me?" and people laughing at him, I'll continue the thought here instead.

mathowie: After reading the MeTa thread above, I now believe your inital sentence referred to comments that are now deleted. But since I didn't get to it till today, the way I read your comment - with no other cues that comments had been deleted - was as a swipe at foldy. Then languagehat's first question seemed directed at you. Further down, given bshort's reply to a user who is no longer on the thread, I started piecing it together, but you can see how the current system turned your comment, apparently, into the opposite of what it actually meant.

Would there be a way to automatically insert a tiny icon meaning "comment deleted" (no reason, just a little icon) at the point in the thread that a deleted comment previously occupied? Again, I assume this has been discussed already, so if mathowie's already addressed this, and someone could just point me there, thanks.
posted by soyjoy at 8:21 AM on August 28, 2003

I'm cool with the all-links post, provided there's some title tags to tell me what I'll find in each link. Going into so many links blind, with little hint as to their connection to each other, is more work than necessary to make a point.
posted by me3dia at 8:47 AM on August 28, 2003

The way I see it, this is really a lovely example of the basic human urge toward creativity. Who would ever have imagined, when the context of hypertext was introduced, that its format would be manipulated for aesthetic purposes? There is a level on which MetaFilter can be read as an ongoing collaborative artwork; it fascinates me no end. Certainly, it can frustrate as well, since not everyone comes to MeFi craving an aesthetic encounter. I'm not saying that f&m's post is an artistic breakthrough, but finding novel means through which to present information is a big part of what art's all about. Even if they're sometimes aggravating or challenging means.

That said, since my primary use of MeFi is as a source of information, I would generally prefer that posters include some information in a post to tell me what I'm about to click on. Otherwise, I'm much less likely to click on it.
posted by vraxoin at 9:43 AM on August 28, 2003

Here's a classic: oissubke's vote vote vote vote vote post. Some great information, some not so great information, all horribly tagged and you have no cues with which to differentiate one link from another.

I love the phrase "vague topic field" because that's exactly what things degenerate into.... the links don't lose semantics as weston writes above, but rather, they bump up a two on the ladder of generality.
posted by namespan at 7:11 PM on August 28, 2003

I second soyjoy's motion for a "comment deleted" indication of some sort. It would make threads like that one much more comprehensible.
posted by languagehat at 8:37 PM on August 28, 2003

How about strikeout?
posted by timeistight at 9:58 PM on August 28, 2003

If you don't like it, then ignore it.

It's not so much that I don't like it as what I don't like about it: the loss of easily observable meaning for the content of the hyperlink.

I do understand there's an artistic effect to it, but my point was to have people reconsider some of the results of the "vague topic field" practice... which it looks like they've done nicely. I think there's some consensus: yep, sometimes it's art, and yep, sometimes it discourages investigation of the links.
posted by weston at 10:22 PM on August 28, 2003

Using strikeout would make it pointless to delete the comment in the first place, as you could still read it. Having a "comment deleted" notation would at least mean that readers would know that what is being referred to has vanished into the ether, bringing some level of comprehension. You would still not understand what is going on, but at least you would know why you don't understand.
posted by dg at 2:22 AM on August 29, 2003

Yes, soyjoy: agree. Yes, dg: agree.

Regarding the link-per-word, I don't really care. It doesn't bother me to see "differently-abled" links. Sometimes they lead me forward, sometimes not... just like all the normal front page posts. I do, though, usually like to see the possibility of diversity supported. I would hate to see a rule or a fix that wouldn't allow something like this to happen.
posted by taz at 5:01 AM on August 29, 2003

Using strikeout would make it pointless to delete the comment in the first place, as you could still read it.

But you'd know it had been officially deprecated.
posted by timeistight at 9:38 AM on August 29, 2003

MetaFilter: officially deprecated.
posted by languagehat at 10:09 AM on August 29, 2003

timeistight, I agree with those against strikeout. For a lot of people who get their comments deleted, I have a feeling being "officially deprecated" would just be another feather in their cap. Wanting to know exactly what the comment was is just idle curiosity and doesn't need to be satisfited; but knowing that there was a comment from a specific person at a specific spot in the thread seems to me a valid need worth addressing.
posted by soyjoy at 10:49 AM on August 29, 2003

So come on, seriously, hasn't something like this been addressed already? Or do I have to post it as a Feature Request thread in order to flush out the double-post police?
posted by soyjoy at 10:51 AM on August 29, 2003

It's entirely possible that because the issue of deleted comments is only tangentially related to this thread, it's really been more or less passed over by the powers that be...
posted by namespan at 4:48 PM on August 29, 2003

OK, then I'm gonna post it as a feature request. Who knows?...
posted by soyjoy at 9:24 AM on September 2, 2003

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