Salon's feature on Perverted Justices quotes Metafilter comments September 15, 2003 6:36 AM   Subscribe

Salon's feature on the porn chat-room vigilante site Perverted Justice includes the lazy journalist's best friend: non-attributed man on the street quotes from MetaFilter.
posted by rcade to MetaFilter-Related at 6:36 AM (43 comments total)

The quotes (with links added): "Educational or vengeful or both, after it was featured on the Web site Metafilter, the site inspired strong reactions from the posters. One person speculated that the site could be abused to seek revenge on a boss or a former lover. Another called it 'Pedophiles for Dummies,' a very useful instruction manual for guys who might actually want to meet children online without getting caught. A third said the whole endeavor made him want to pose as a 40-year-old pedophile online, and then when he got 'busted' say he was just playing make-believe, too."
posted by rcade at 6:43 AM on September 15, 2003


Well, they do link the the metafilter thread in question, for really inquisitive readers, so you can give them a little credit for that.
posted by crunchland at 6:51 AM on September 15, 2003


I'm not exactly sure what's wrong with quoting people who post here. Metafilter gets most of its content from sources like Salon. And how is what this reporter did any different from finding a relevant article online and quoting that? If the difference is non-attribution, keep in mind that when Salon's own posting area was mined for quotes by a reporter who used the posters' first and last names, there was quite a bit of concern about privacy.
posted by transona5 at 7:14 AM on September 15, 2003


It's lazy for the professional media to run a few quotes from an online discussion as a substitute for real interviews, especially when the reporter doesn't even contact those people so they can be identified for the piece. It's only one step above quoting "some guy ahead of me in the line at 7-11 who said he strongly opposes the Bush tax cuts."
posted by rcade at 7:38 AM on September 15, 2003


Hey, someone said it on the internet, so it must be important.
posted by angry modem at 8:21 AM on September 15, 2003


Damn, I knew I should have called it "Pedophilia for Dummies"! ;-P
posted by mischief at 8:40 AM on September 15, 2003


Now, the next time Laurie Garrett tries to be all like, 'you guys are pathetic, no one cares what you say', we can be all like, 'wellll, award-winning, professional, big media outlet, Salon.com seems to think otherwise.


. . . Bitch!!'.
posted by dgaicun at 8:56 AM on September 15, 2003


Actually, there's some truth in that, dgaicun - what makes this more than asking the guy at the checkout at the 7-11 (where, after all, famous people sometimes hang out) is that we're gathering on a specific thread for the express purpose of discussing that issue, so it's reasonable to expect a little more investment and accountability in what we say. Plus, it's MetaFilter, which rules!

That said, yeah, it is kinda lazy.
posted by soyjoy at 9:40 AM on September 15, 2003


Metafilter is a pretty influential site. The comments posted here often set the tone for how an issue will be discussed in mainstream media in the future. If there's a comment that's well-written and representative of a certain point of view, there's absolutely no reason that a reporter should have to contact the writer, any more than with an article that the reporter is quoting.
posted by transona5 at 10:10 AM on September 15, 2003


"The biggest reason that these guys do this online is that they feel that they're anonymous; and this just puts a spotlight on them," says "Frank Fencepost," a 29-year-old Vancouver, Wash., tattoo artist who is the other co-founder of the site. "This is no more anonymous than being at work or school or just walking down the street. You will be held accountable for what you do here."

I hope he's not talking about Metafilter;-)
posted by orange swan at 10:29 AM on September 15, 2003


Metafilter is a pretty influential site. The comments posted here often set the tone for how an issue will be discussed in mainstream media in the future.

Are you on crack? It is just a website.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:44 AM on September 15, 2003


The "quoting an article" analogy doesn't fit this situation.

Quoting an article in a publication leaves you with two entities who are accountable for their words: the author and publication.

Quoting a member of an unmoderated Web site that allows anonymous members often means that no one is accountable for the words.

There's also a professional reason not to lazily use online quotes: Liability. If some anonymous member of MetaFilter posts a libelous statement and a newspaper reporter quotes it in a story, what's the reporter going to tell editors when that member can't be found?
posted by rcade at 10:50 AM on September 15, 2003


Not major news, but it is a good meme-spreader. Note also that individual blogs have started the discussion that led to a major news event. If Josh Marshall hadn't been watching C-SPAN's coverage of Strom Thurmond's birthday party, the whole Trent Lott fiasco would have been completely ignored by the media. He wasn't the first one to report on it, but he was the first one to say "hey, this is a really big deal, let's keep talking about it."
posted by PrinceValium at 10:52 AM on September 15, 2003


Reporters who quote a libelous statement from anyone, accountable or not, have a big problem. I assume that anyone who quotes from a site like this sticks to statements of pure opinion, or checks out anything else thoroughly.

There was something in Media News recently about how blogs may be replacing alternative weeklies, and it's true - a lot of memes get started at sites like Metafilter. The other way that it happens is when reporters just happen to have the same take on a story as posters here, which seems like something we'd probably rather not encourage.
posted by transona5 at 11:02 AM on September 15, 2003


If I wasn't so lazy I would have got some links together a while back, but its pretty clear that stuff that turns up on Metafilter frequently turns up in the UK quality press in the week following, often as fillers, sometimes as full news stories. The most glaring I've seen was a filler column in the Independent on Sunday a couple of weeks ago which had three stories in a row that had obviously come straight from MeFi, and a couple more on the same page. The Guardian is also recouping its investment on all its editorial pieces and feature articles that crop up here. I suppose quoting members is just the obvious next step.
posted by biffa at 11:14 AM on September 15, 2003


I am on crack. But I can still tell it's just a website.
posted by squealy at 11:40 AM on September 15, 2003


Maybe we can just do like the movie studio people did and make up an imaginary member who can spew out cheery little quotes to stick into whatever article some lazy-ass journo is working on.

I vote for quonsar. (He is imaginary, right?)
posted by briank at 11:41 AM on September 15, 2003


Are you on crack? It is just a website.

Yeah, yeah, and The Bible's just a book.

I kid because I love, etc.

*ducks and runs*
posted by jokeefe at 12:29 PM on September 15, 2003


There was something in Media News recently about how blogs may be replacing alternative weeklies

Here's a good jumping-off point for that discussion - links to the two main pieces are there, and you can scroll up & down for the various letters - which I found fascinating.

But remember, transona5, it's "Romenesko" now, since Media News complained.
posted by soyjoy at 12:58 PM on September 15, 2003


If I wasn't so lazy I would have got some links together a while back, but its pretty clear that stuff that turns up on Metafilter frequently turns up in the UK quality press in the week following, often as fillers, sometimes as full news stories.

Ditto NPR--I posted about Harry Smith and the Anthology Of American Folk Music and it appeared on Weekend Edition the very next Saturday, with no anniversary, radio or TV program, major media article or new release promo angle involved. The story hit the same notes as the links, too. We're just a petri dish of memes here.
posted by y2karl at 1:03 PM on September 15, 2003


but its pretty clear that stuff that turns up on Metafilter frequently turns up in the UK quality press in the week following

Well, a lot that ends up on mefi aren't mefi exclusives. I can predict the front page just by looking at blogdex or daypop's top40 or by visiting FVBs (frequently viewed blogs). Sure, mefi is part of that blogosphere soup, but I wouldn't give it all the credit.

Arguably, mefi is a filter for those indexes and FVBs too.

I do agree with the lazy journalist idea. I sometimes get emails from even lazier journalists, but I don't think its exclusive to mefi. Last night it was from some girl from Glamour magazine who wanted some funny battle of the sexes quotes. I think I'm going to email her some long winded darwinian explanations just to show her that the internet isn't where you go when your deadline for an article is in 8 hours.

Heck, slashdot is listed as a news source on google news. It always fun to spot "MS_PlayerHater23 reports, "Today Bill Gates announced Windows is made out of people..." on the news.google.com page now and again.
posted by skallas at 1:15 PM on September 15, 2003


I'm confused, why did some girl from Glamour magazine write you wanting quotes? Is there a strain of "journalist" spam going around that I'm not aware of?
posted by dgaicun at 1:36 PM on September 15, 2003


Wait, so it's even lazier if the journalist does e-mail people?

As for links that show up here being seen elsewhere, again, I don't see what the problem is (that's in contrast to arguments or complete thoughts being lifted and paraphrased.) There's a reason that you can't copyright facts. When you post a link here, you're essentially broadcasting facts you've come across to a wide audience. If you're among the first to discover something really cool and you have an angle on it other than "this thing exists," you're probably better off writing an article about it yourself than posting it here. The style of Metafilter (real names only on user pages, short FPPs, no self-linking) simply doesn't encourage being able to take credit for your ideas in the way that a journalist can. That has both good and bad points.
posted by transona5 at 1:41 PM on September 15, 2003


Oh, thanks for the link I was in fact too lazy to look up, soyjoy. Yeah, I forgot that Romenesko is actually Romenesko now.
posted by transona5 at 1:52 PM on September 15, 2003


there's absolutely no reason that a reporter should have to contact the writer

Are far as I'm aware all comments on mefi are copyright their authors. So this is incorrect.
posted by carfilhiot at 2:40 PM on September 15, 2003


Not putting words or opinions in your mouth specifically, carfilhiot, since I have no idea where you stand, but I thought in general, mefites were awfully fond of the concept of fair use. I don't see how that can apply when we want to screw the RIAA, but not when we don't want to be quoted.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:52 PM on September 15, 2003


Fair use is when I use your stuff; copyright infringement is when you use my stuff.
posted by timeistight at 2:59 PM on September 15, 2003


"Are far as I'm aware all comments on mefi are copyright their authors," Faude Carfilhiot wrote on MetaFilter, demonstrating a misguided belief that copyright prevents someone from being quoted by others without permission.
posted by rcade at 3:26 PM on September 15, 2003


That's why people should choose scatalogical or perverse nicknames. What legitimate news source would attribute a quote to fishfucker or ( . )( . )
posted by jonson at 3:43 PM on September 15, 2003


There's a reason that you can't copyright facts.

Just wait...

"...and this court finds that the entire damn world owes the estate of Sir Isaac Newton damages for infringing on his intellectual property."
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:56 PM on September 15, 2003


I don't see how that can apply when we want to screw the RIAA, but not when we don't want to be quoted.
demonstrating a misguided belief that copyright prevents someone from being quoted by others without permission

ok ok, so i'm a hypocrite and a dumbass. shoot me now.
posted by carfilhiot at 3:58 PM on September 15, 2003


Bang!
posted by ashbury at 5:05 PM on September 15, 2003


... The comments posted here often set the tone for how an issue will be discussed in mainstream media in the future.
I have seen this here in Australia, where minor news stories turn up about 2-3 days after they are linked on MeFi and the reporting, without quoting any sources, sounds exactly like a precis of the discussion here. I am not sure whether it is just that, as a broad representation of society, we tend to express the same views as those reporting, but I suspect that there are reporters here (and I have noticed this in print, TV and particularly radio) who use MeFi as a handy source for background information on topical events.

Maybe it would be interesting to test the theory by secretly spoofing a news story that could only have come from MeFi and then observe where it turns up?
posted by dg at 5:23 PM on September 15, 2003


I second the whole NPR thing. There's a remarkable concordance to topics covered, whether the flow is one way or the other, I don't know. But I seem to hear it here first.
posted by namespan at 6:06 PM on September 15, 2003


i've actually seen this as well. every once in awhile, these stories will even show up on major news/corporations sites. i've seen this happen at least twice on cnn.com.
posted by Stynxno at 6:38 PM on September 15, 2003


OK, if we see a spate of stories about the electrocuted elephant and the Bruce Lee statue in Mostar, we'll know what's going on.
posted by languagehat at 6:57 PM on September 15, 2003


You mean those were just made up?

(Note to self: Cancel trip to Mostar)

posted by soyjoy at 7:17 PM on September 15, 2003


That's why people should choose scatalogical or perverse nicknames. What legitimate news source would attribute a quote to fishfucker or ( . )( . )

Didn't stop 'em from lauding dong resin by name, even if they felt the need to apologize for printing it.
posted by soyjoy at 7:21 PM on September 15, 2003


Speaking of MeFi as a media source to the oldies, where's MoJo (or whatever it's going to be called), mathowie? or rusty? Still under the broiler?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:23 PM on September 15, 2003


1. Write XSLT that uses the MeFi RSS feed as source data
2. Advertise on Gawker, The Age
3. ???
4. Profit$$$
posted by billsaysthis at 8:42 PM on September 15, 2003


the site itself now has a response to the original mefi thread.
posted by dobbs at 9:30 PM on September 15, 2003


So basically, "Journalist quotes man on the web, instead of man on the street."

Um.... "woohoo!"

No... I mean... "whatever."

No.... "pfffft; OK."

posted by Blue Stone at 9:59 AM on September 16, 2003


dobbs, tanks, I found the guy's responses refreshingly non-defensive and unemotional. But he forgot the pancakes!
posted by billsaysthis at 3:03 PM on September 16, 2003


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