Keep it here, kids, part 2 September 28, 2003 9:38 PM   Subscribe

Bad form, stonerose. You may not have agreed with the FPP, but it certainly wasn't made in bad faith. So there's no excuse for linking to the poster's blog just to get in a personal dig.
posted by PrinceValium to Etiquette/Policy at 9:38 PM (73 comments total)

I think it's an interesting issue. Is it wrong to link to something said in a personal blog (which is linked in the user's profile, no less) to qualify someone's statements? I don't think I would have posted it in the thread, but it certainly helps clarify the poster's position in regard to the issue being discussed.

I wouldn't call it a grievous transgression--if indeed it is a transgression--because it's different than reading someone's blog and making fun of their mom or something inane like that. Unless, you know, their mom is Karl Rove, in which case all systems go.
posted by The God Complex at 9:49 PM on September 28, 2003


If you haven't got an argument to counter the material, attack the presenter.

Nothing to see here, move along.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:58 PM on September 28, 2003


I agree that it's bad form to link to the blog. It makes the whole thing a lot more personal than it need be, plus it's just a little rude.
posted by ashbury at 10:01 PM on September 28, 2003


If, for every anti-war post, someone dug into the poster's personal website and found "proof" that indeed the poster was "oh-so-unbalanced" in their biased anti-war stance, then the threads would all still, like, suck. And they'd be derailed daily. And the muckraker in question would understandably be horsewhipped in the aisles of MeTa. So stonerose, were you really that threatened by Marcus's opinion?
posted by dhoyt at 10:06 PM on September 28, 2003


If you haven't got an argument to counter the material, attack the presenter.

Nothing to see here, move along.


There's a difference between attacking the presenter and attacking the presenter's opinions which correlate to the issue being discussed.

I don't think personal attacks are (or should) be the issue here. The issue is whether linking to someone's blog to cast a light on further opinions they have is fair game or not. If it's not, is it fair to link to old metafilter threads (a common practice) to show contradictory statements by members? Is it only permissable within the confines of this community, or does linking to your blog in your profile bring it into the community? Those are the issues I see, and I don't think they should be dismissed as easily as you seem to think so.
posted by The God Complex at 10:08 PM on September 28, 2003


for the record, I wouldn't have done it, as I stated above, and I agree with dhoyt that it could present itself as a disheartening trend, but I also think that people should have some form of accountability for the things they say.
posted by The God Complex at 10:10 PM on September 28, 2003


It is disingenuous way to debate, especially since no comment was made on the content of the blog - it was just "presented" to us to make some kind of point. It's boring debating, and it's bad manners, but what can you do? People link to their blogs on their user pages. People post things on their blogs. It's all in the public view, so how can you prevent people drawing links across the public space like that?

I think people should just remember;
1 - People change, and people have bad days - this applies as much to old blog entries as it does to old Metafilter comments. Restraint, therefore, is the obvious direction to take.
2 - I'm certain a lot of people out there use their blogs as soap-boxes to a greater extent than their posts on Metafilter. They may be more extreme, in order to grab more attention and get more hits. Don't believe everything you read.
posted by Jimbob at 10:21 PM on September 28, 2003


"There's a difference between attacking the presenter and attacking the presenter's opinions which correlate to the issue being discussed"

TGC, I agree, if you present something to counter the poster's arguments. Instead, stonerose is basically saying "All your links suck ass 'cause you like W", instead of saying "Your links suck ass 'cause [X], and you like W".
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:23 PM on September 28, 2003


Fair enough.
posted by The God Complex at 10:25 PM on September 28, 2003


everybody just link to my journal.
posted by quonsar at 10:29 PM on September 28, 2003


Maybe I'm forgetting something here, but aren't we on the Internet? Don't blogs exist so people go to them to get more info on the blogger's opinions? And isn't that sort of background-searching what MeFi threads all about? Why put something on the web if you don't want people reading it?

The only way linking to a poster's blog would be wrong is if it was for an ad hominem attack. Stonerose stayed perfectly on topic. PrinceValium, take your name to heart.
posted by jbrjake at 10:40 PM on September 28, 2003


I wouldn't do it myself, but I would think it was perfectly fine for someone to do it to me.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:14 AM on September 29, 2003


If, for every anti-war post, someone dug into the poster's personal website and found "proof" that indeed the poster was "oh-so-unbalanced"

but it's also true that if you link to your blog in your userpage, that makes it fair game for other users to read, and possibly link. we discussed already on MeTa the case when somebody made fun of another user's wife looks by reading that user's blog -- that of course was terrible form, very very very rude, to condemn outright. but if looks are irrelevant, ideas are very relevant to this site. so if you link to it, somebody will read it. me, I don't link to my blog because you guys would jump all over my ass for my "Free Mumia" banner *

so dhoyt I think your argument makes sense but I don't think that in this case the problem is about being "unbalanced" -- those users who have very heartfelt opinions will end up being unbalanced anyway. for me, it's the silliness of the argument (Bush doesn't need to justify anything because the liberal media -- that always-scary bogeyman of the Right -- and the Democrats won't approve it anyway), and its intellectual laziness that make it relevant to the discussion -- they help to point out that the poster makes very weak arguments in his website. there's good and bad arguments to be made both pro and against the current administration -- the problem is some arguments (both pro and against) are very silly and simply don't hold water, as in this case


* just kidding, I'm no Mumia fan -- most liberals aren't, contrary to what one might have heard on Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity
posted by matteo at 12:21 AM on September 29, 2003


I'm not sure I have an opinion on this particular incident, but I do have a question of sorts: what if stonerose, instead of linking to the blog entry, had said "I see from your blog that you believe xyz; if this is the case, then blah blah...."

I have a feeling that this probably wouldn't have raised many eyebrows. And it seems clear that when a commenter positively references or links to content in another user's blog, nobody feels that this is overstepping any bounds.

If this is true, then the questions that are raised are these:
  • Does it seem that linking to a member-blog in any kind of negative context (even when the material may be relevant to comments made by that user in Metafilter) is automatically a Bad Thing because that slope is so very, very slippery in terms of abuse?
  • Is referencing statements made on a personal blog (without linking) as valid as referencing comments made by that user in earlier Mefi threads? Or should the Metafilter "personality" always be divorced from the blog/site personality?
  • In terms of posts versus comments, should it be an unwritten rule that the post stands on it own merits in terms of content, and that the motivation of the poster (based on what one can glean from their personal site) should never enter into the debate?
  • If so, does this stand just as true for a non-political post? If, for example, a user posts a number of links along the line of "10 Dirty Secrets about X Popular Retail Outlet", and someone sees from the poster's personal site that they have been fired by X, are suing X, etc.?
I think that the questions raised by PrinceValium's post here are more complex and difficult than the immediate evaluation of this single incident, and are likely to become even more troubling as time goes on. We've seen a few conflagrations involving MeFi/user/blog bleed-over recently, and I'm curious what direction our approach to the problem should take.
posted by taz at 2:25 AM on September 29, 2003


Not bad form at all. In this case, linking to the blog post is no different to linking to a page giving more background to a subject. Always nice to have a bit of context.

I read a lot of tedious arse about MeFi's alleged biases but I feel there will be more balance if we keep on digging around the subjects we discuss. From whatever angle.
posted by i_cola at 3:15 AM on September 29, 2003


Many members link to their own blogs which support their positions, other members shouldn't be prohibited from linking to members 'blogs to show further info on a poster and his prior comments as they pertain to the subject at hand.
posted by DBAPaul at 3:32 AM on September 29, 2003


taz raises some good points, and I would argue that perhaps a good analogy could be made to self-linking. Metafilter explicitly forbids self-linking because the objectivity of the site (i.e. "look at this cool link I found") would be diluted by those pimping their wares, so to speak.

As we would not condone marcusb linking to his own blog in the FPP, I'm not sure why we should condone someone else linking to his blog in the comments. In either case it drags the conversation away from the topic and into the realm of the credibility of the poster.

Well, guess what? Every post here is just as credible as any other. The text of the FPP is not meant to be fact. It may be fact, or opinion, or wild conjecture. The resulting discussion defends and impeaches the links. And given that the back-to-basics movement here on MeFi supports links over personalities, it makes sense that we should endeavor to distance the poster from the substance of his post.

A while back the discussion on this infamous post ("shackle those mexican immigrants to the floor of the INS plane") turned its attention to the website and resume of the poster. In retrospect, did the obnoxiousness of the original post justify the personalization of the debate? Or could we have successfully discussed the issue without it? That post was more of a gray area. The one discussed here was simply a bunch of links to conservative articles and websites. Surely we liberals can find enough ways to discount the information in the links without making it personal.
posted by PrinceValium at 3:38 AM on September 29, 2003


bunch of links to conservative articles and websites

That should read "links to articles that support the poster's conservative views." No need for anyone to come to the defense of the good people at USA Today. :)
posted by PrinceValium at 3:54 AM on September 29, 2003


I have to admit that I cringed when stonerose linked to my blog, not because I thought he scored any argumentative points for doing so. Rather, I thought it simply inappropriate. The point of the FPP was to respond to JollyWanker's assertion in this thread that the media's portrayal of Iraq was accurate. By presenting evidence to the contrary, I don't think I was making any pro-war or pro-Bush argument. The logical path that stonerose traveled when he linked to my personal blog went something like this, "Because this guy posted pro-Bush stuff on his personal blog, then whatever he posts must be biased." While I appreciate the promotion, it was, indeed, bad form.
posted by marcusb at 3:56 AM on September 29, 2003


Eh. I've had my site linked to twice here. The first time someone was looking for a quote to make me look bad and they were outed two comments later as taking something I said on the site out of context; the second time someone was just trying to be a prick and failed miserably because all they really did was get a lot of Mefites to go read my site... which, umm... I don't really find a bad thing at all.

The only other event I remember was a case of an extreme situation, in which a user linked to another's weblog to point out the post they made in which they claimed credit for inventing the weblog- in order to verfiy that the user in question was, in fact, nuts.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:58 AM on September 29, 2003


I write a lot of shit in my blogs, and the phrase "fuck george bush" has, I'm sure, occurred at least a couple of times. Hyperbole being the order of the day.

However, sometimes it might be called for, if say someone really does have a creepy agenda and are presenting the public face of it to MeFi.. Say for example Miguel posts a link to a personality test in MetaTalk and after a bit of digging someone finds out he's a Scientologist and is doing recruiting. But pointing to a blog that contains the same vapid "go USA" viewpoints as every other warblog we all can't tell from each other just to show that , yes, in fact the poster probably supports the war is a bit unnecessary.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:02 AM on September 29, 2003


If you're going to make a post related to Iraq and the impending war, please reconsider, as the topic has been discussed previously many times.

I'm imagining a MetaFilter where people actually pay attention to this sentence; it's a happy place, where bunnies and ponies frolic happily in forest of pancake trees and it rains Log Cabin Maple Syrup and real butter all day long.

Sigh.
posted by MrBaliHai at 4:18 AM on September 29, 2003


The point of the FPP was to respond to JollyWanker's assertion in this thread that the media's portrayal of Iraq was accurate.

There's the problem. You should respond in the original thread rather than start a new FPP.

Goes off to try & wash off the sticky, fatty mess that is MrBH's MeFi ;-)
posted by i_cola at 4:35 AM on September 29, 2003


sorry, MrBaliHai, for riffing off your comment in this off-topic way, but that very persistent "impending war" in the guideline statement always makes me smile at the 1984-ish of it all. There is an impending war. There has always been an impending war...
posted by taz at 4:40 AM on September 29, 2003


or... maybe not the 1984-ishness, but the terrible truth of it. Maybe it should just be changed to "Iraq and the impending war", and it could stand for all time, just replacing "Iraq" with the flavor of the moment every few years/months...

/cynical
posted by taz at 4:45 AM on September 29, 2003


You should respond in the original thread rather than start a new FPP.

Of course I should add '...despite being goaded to post an FPP.'
posted by i_cola at 4:58 AM on September 29, 2003


Goes off to try & wash off the sticky, fatty mess that is MrBH's MeFi

In my MetaFilter, everyone will get free tongue baths from fold_and_mutilate.
posted by MrBaliHai at 5:05 AM on September 29, 2003


free tongue baths from fold_and_mutilate? Shouldn't we first see about those free "deep massages" from pierce_and_deform?
posted by taz at 5:10 AM on September 29, 2003


So there's no excuse for linking to the poster's blog just to get in a personal dig.

Does this mean I'm a bad guy if I link to the poster's blog in order to make fun of his goatee? 'Cuz I'm really into making fun of goatees lately. (Nothing personal.)

...it's a happy place, where bunnies and ponies frolic happily in forest of pancake trees and it rains Log Cabin Maple Syrup and real butter all day long.

I know that place. But the person who gave me one of her horse-tranquilizer-strength barbiturates that got me there has moved far away, and now I'm afraid I'll never see the land of bunnies and ponies again.
posted by Shane at 5:13 AM on September 29, 2003


why dont we all just hold hands and hum the second half of 'i am the resurrection' ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:17 AM on September 29, 2003


you mean the part that goes:

Your tongue is far too long
I don't like the way it sucks and
Slurs upon my every word
?
posted by taz at 5:29 AM on September 29, 2003


There are far better ways of using someone's blog for your own nefarious uses...tell 'em mr_crash_davis!


posted by i_cola at 5:55 AM on September 29, 2003


the thing that struck me about the whole fiasco was that his alleged lack of balance was the most damning thing that could be found. I mean, check out his taste in music.

praise and worship... *shudder*
posted by mcsweetie at 6:05 AM on September 29, 2003


Good morning - sorry to be late to the party. I'll take my lashes for intellectual laziness - linking to that blog entry wasn't a good substitute for point-on-point debate - I can only explain that I was headed out the door and wanted to get a word in, for reasons I'll get into below. I'll try to curb that.

marcusb: "Because this guy posted pro-Bush stuff on his personal blog, then whatever he posts must be biased."

I highlighted the statement in question not because it was pro-Bush (I would indeed be a busy boy if I made a hobby of discrediting people on that basis) but because it was indicative of what I saw as appallingly sloppy, bad-faith argumentation (yeah, the irony isn't lost on me).

PrinceValium: Every post here is just as credible as any other.

I don't think so. When I see a political FPP, I consider what I know about the political posture and history of the poster. This helps me to determine whether the degree of selection bias in his/her post is likely to be acceptable, or so profound as to make the post useless. marcusb doesn't have much of a posting history, so I went to his blog, eager to hear a new voice on MeFi, and I found grossly biased slop. So, I performed the Helpful Public Service (ha ha) of alerting others.

I also didn't read the FPP to which marcusb's post was a rejoinder - this explains part of the bias that irritated me in the first place.

Anyway - I will avoid doing this in future.
posted by stonerose at 6:05 AM on September 29, 2003


Matteo said:"we discussed already on MeTa the case when somebody made fun of another user's wife looks by reading that user's blog -- that of course was terrible form, very very very rude, to condemn outright."

Perhaps you are speaking of another incident, but if this is what you are referring to, than I'm afraid you have a crazy distorted memory of what happened.
posted by dgaicun at 8:08 AM on September 29, 2003


I thought the point of MeFi was to provide links.
posted by mischief at 9:48 AM on September 29, 2003


Why is it a personal insult to post a link to marcusb's rah-rah Bush weblog at the same time he's using MetaFilter to pimp the latest Republican talking point about Iraq?

If you put something political on the front page of MetaFilter, your motives should be fair game.
posted by rcade at 12:03 PM on September 29, 2003


I don't think anyone who posts anything on the internet—on Metafilter or on a personal blog—should have any expectation of privacy for whatever information they choose to post.

However, I think it's bad practice to quote blog material here, because no original context is provided and it may be used in an entirely out-of-context manner. Linking to blog material provides a route to discovering the context, but how many will actually follow through? There's a lotta room for abuse, it seems to me. I don't feel that researching someone's backgroud is really necessary for/conducive to a good conversation, which is what Metafilter purports to be.
posted by rushmc at 1:00 PM on September 29, 2003


I guess what I don't understand after having read all of this material is why my personal blog is relevant to the discussion? Just because I may be a Bush supporter (are we allowed here?), doesn't mean that the links that I posted don't have some inherent value themselves. I've found the discussion that centered on the content of what I posted much more worthwhile than the smarmy dismissal of my FPP because I happen to be pro-Bush. Should we dismiss FPP's just because the person posting them might have an opinion that's reflected in the contents of the post?
posted by marcusb at 2:59 PM on September 29, 2003


Your personal weblog is relevant because you have a political axe to grind. There's nothing wrong with that -- plenty of partisans here -- but if someone wants to point out that you're a Bush supporter by looking at your weblog, I fail to see how that falls outside the boundaries of etiquette.

If you want to take advantage of MetaFilter's sizeable audience for news that serves your political viewpoint, you should accept the scrutiny.

To put it another way, if I posted a front-page link about Rush Limbaugh on MetaFilter, would it really be "bad form" to point out that I might be a tad biased on the subject?
posted by rcade at 3:10 PM on September 29, 2003


I don't think it's out of the realm of reason.

Let's remember that this FPP was a call for balance and truth in reporting. I think that by uncovering an obvious bias on the part of the poster, stonerose made a valid response to the FPP.

If I ever commit gross hypocrisy by posting something here that contradicts what I post elsewhere, I expect to be called on it. This expectation applies a certain... bullshit filter to what I do here. I think this is a good thing.

Besides, it wasn't a personal attack, in the sense of making gratuitous, arbitrary, vulgar statements about the person involved. Seems as if stonerose was on topic.

Confrontationial. But legal.

[gavel rap]
posted by scarabic at 4:03 PM on September 29, 2003



you mean the part that goes:

Your tongue is far too long
I don't like the way it sucks and
Slurs upon my every word


i mean the funky bass bit actually.......
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:05 PM on September 29, 2003


as i was clicking on this link i wondered if the thread would descend into a "just how cool were the stone roses!" discussion. haha. i was right (well semi).

i don't have to sell my soul, he's already in me
posted by carfilhiot at 7:45 PM on September 29, 2003


Not that I minded in the first place, but I guess I don't see how the link to my blog really serves any purpose. The nature of my FPP would seem to indicate that I support the war efforts in Iraq. Does that make the post any less credible or true? Doesn't the FPP inherently reveal my political leanings? What further purpose does it serve to point out that I have a "political axe to grind"? Did anyone expect that I was a Howard Dean fan?
posted by marcusb at 3:53 AM on September 30, 2003


To me, it seemed like you were trying to offer objective links that show the media is underreporting good news in Iraq. I don't think that necessarily means you support the war -- the best political links here occur when someone offers a link contrary to their own biases, which doesn't happen often enough.

While I could have judged your selection of stories without seeing your weblog, I thought stonerose's link was worth throwing into the mix. Whenever someone alleges media bias, I think it's worthwhile to determine whether that source is genuinely fair and balanced.

(As an aside, I think it would be interesting if the rule for political links on MetaFilter was that you could only link to opinion pieces that don't represent your views.)
posted by rcade at 5:32 AM on September 30, 2003


the stone roses were very cool ... i remember the nme giving their first album six out of ten !

i wish ian brown and john squires would get back together ! also there's a rumour that the pixies are reforming ...
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:36 AM on September 30, 2003


Frank Black and Kim Deal don't get on. Would be good though ...
posted by walrus at 5:41 AM on September 30, 2003


7
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:45 AM on September 30, 2003


I think it would be interesting if the rule for political links on MetaFilter was that you could only link to opinion pieces that don't represent your views.

Brilliant!
posted by timeistight at 8:57 AM on September 30, 2003


I think it would be interesting if the rule for political links on MetaFilter was that you could only link to opinion pieces that don't represent your views.

Brilliant!


Brilliant perhaps, but not necessarily tough to have your cake and eat it too. After all, the intelligent non-Bushite can always link to Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter, whose circus ringleader blatherings inadvertently do as much to discredit the right as Al Franken does purposely (and wonderfully!) I have yet to meet a conservative with half a brain who actually listens to Rush, although endless fields of mindless human cattle turn to him daily for direction, reassurance, and instruction on exactly what they should be thinking.
posted by Shane at 10:28 AM on September 30, 2003


I think it's worthwhile to determine whether that source is genuinely fair and balanced.

At one time or another I've glanced at many many many MeFi user blogs linked from their userpage, and I've yet to see one that is "genuinely fair and balanced". Not that there's anything wrong with that.

It's not even as if stonerose had caught marcus in some wild contradiction. Instead it was, "Check out his blog, he supports the war there, and on Metafilter! His views are oh-so-balanced!" Uh, who cares? Let's say jpoulos* posted a list of Bush's failures to the frontpage. Wouldn't it look silly if I ran to his blog, found a Bush-bashing blog entry and said, "GOTCHA! See, I knew you didn't like Bush!"

It either dereails the thread or makes it weirdly personal.

*I thought of jpoulos because he does the peaceblogs thing which could be understood as "anti-Bush" or somesuch

At any rate, I guess it's a moot point since stonerose has already acknowledged that it's not good practice.
posted by dhoyt at 11:07 AM on September 30, 2003


Yes, dhoyt, I have acknowledged that it isn't generally good practice. But:

Instead it was, "Check out his blog, he supports the war there, and on Metafilter! His views are oh-so-balanced!"

No. As I said earlier, it was more like "look at the kind of vapid, prejudicial slop he says on his blog... is this really the sort of person we can to trust to dig up worthwhile links?" That - whether or not it is a good argument on my part (and I've acknowledged it was a bit lazy) - is far different from rejecting someone simply because they show mere bias in their blogging.
posted by stonerose at 11:56 AM on September 30, 2003


"look at the kind of vapid, prejudicial slop he says on his blog... is this really the sort of person we can to trust to dig up worthwhile links?"

So if you got hold of his diary, would you post vapid passages from that to make the same point? Yes, I know, a blog is public, but that's not the point—a blog is a place to blow off steam, bore even your nearest and dearest, and be as vapid as you want. If nobody is taken seriously on MeFi unless their blogs read like Foreign Affairs or, at the loosest, a PBS transcript, we're all in big trouble. Do you really want it to become common practice to go into each other's blogs looking for ammunition to discredit MeFi posts? (It would fit in nicely with the current political climate, of course.) I know you said it "isn't generally good practice," but I don't think you realize how damaging and ill-considered it is. Please, fellow MeFites, let's not go there!
posted by languagehat at 12:12 PM on September 30, 2003


languagehat, I agree with you on a lot of what you said, but not about the nature of blogging. I firmly believe that a public blog - especially one linked clearly and voluntarily by the blogger from a prominent, high-traffic site like MeFi - is the blogger's public face, offered up explicitly for assessment, comment, and judgement.

On occasion, I undoubtedly have some horrible, awful, politically incorrect opinions, but I only mutter them to myself and a few close friends and allies. Why? Because I know that the whole f'ing world isn't composed of my circle of intimates! People who don't know us intimately necessarily judge us by what we say in public. Not only is there no expectation of privacy among bloggers; there's also no expectation that "everyone will see me as a good and reasonable person despite the fact that I just slurred a whole group of people out loud in a crowded room."

I don't expect blogs to read like Foreign Affairs (god forbid, actually) or a PBS transcript. I enjoy lots of off-colour, off-the-wall stuff. But I take seriously what people say when they write in a serious tone about politics and social issues, as marcusb did. If I am not to take someone's words as a starting point for an assessment of their character, am I really treating that person with respect?

If people want their opinions only to bore their nearest and dearest, they can password protect their blog (or parts of it) or not link it to a prominent site. They can even put disclaimers around what they write stating that it was written in a frustrated state. But to ask us to pretend that someone's words don't matter? That's a tall order.

I agreed that I overstepped the line when I did what I did, but I think this is a matter for reflection and debate - not a matter that lends itself to a flat-out "DON'T DO THIS."
posted by stonerose at 12:54 PM on September 30, 2003


Yes, I know, a blog is public, but that's not the point ...

It's entirely the point. Anyone who posts something at a public URL is inviting other people to link to it.

"I figure bloggers always appreciate links!" -- languagehat
posted by rcade at 1:04 PM on September 30, 2003


stonerose: What you say applies to a certain breed of blogs, but not to the vast majority. If you don't believe me, go to a list of recently updated blogs and start clicking at random. You'll find that "the blogger's public face" is frequently the kind of face displayed at a frathouse or a slumber party, clearly intended to be seen only by intimates. It's like people carrying on intimate conversations in public places, for instance the subway; sure, you can say it's therefore in the public domain, but would you record such conversations and broadcast them on the radio (even aside from legal considerations)? Perhaps this point is clearer to someone who, like me, lives in NYC and is constantly confronted with borderline public/private situations. Nobody should have to be confronted with their offhand remarks (or photos of themselves putting on makeup at 8:47 on the Manhattan-bound 7 train) just because they dared to make a point on MetaFilter. Discussions here should be about what's said here, and remarks elsewhere should be considered out of bounds except in extreme circumstances.

rcade: Touche! But (if I must spell it out) I was talking about links like "look at the cool stuff I found at Blog X!" (in this case an 8-year-old poet-blogger), not "look at the vapid crap written at Blog X by this maroon who's pretending to have valid political views here on MeFi."
So how did you find that, anyway? I don't at all mind your citing it here, in fact I'm tickled (and I hope others will enjoy the Ogden Nash poem and Julia's blog), but I can't believe you remembered that remark from last April.
posted by languagehat at 2:51 PM on September 30, 2003


I spotted that through the all-seeing eye of Google.

I deal with the public-not-public issue all the time as a result of this crime against decency. As a result, I'm a firm believer that if you leave your bathroom window open, you don't get to complain when the neighbors watch you take a shower.
posted by rcade at 3:12 PM on September 30, 2003


a 7? Ha! Shows how much those twats know eh? I think that album was rated no 2 on the best albums of the C20 in the UK. Personally though I think the Charlatans album was better. The one with Then on.
posted by carfilhiot at 5:15 PM on September 30, 2003


SELF LINKING SLUT!
posted by clavdivs at 6:53 PM on September 30, 2003


If you don't believe me, go to a list of recently updated blogs and start clicking at random. You'll find that "the blogger's public face" is frequently the kind of face displayed at a frathouse or a slumber party, clearly intended to be seen only by intimates.

I've often marveled at this myself - I call them "teenager blogs," where some kid (or sometimes, a teenager-at-heart) has heard of blogging and decided to start one, then fills it with the kind of painful, self-loathing revelations that belong in locked diaries - as if they're really not clear that this is out there on the friggin' Internet.

BUT the point is: It IS on the Internet. Whether or not some people understand what a public face is doesn't make blogs analogous to diaries. The public/private distinction is everything.

But yes, there are levels of appropriateness for dragging that stuff from one kind of public forum, namely, one's personal blog, to another, namely, Metafilter.
posted by soyjoy at 9:03 PM on September 30, 2003


The public/private distinction is everything
Exactly - if you write something and then publish it in the Internet, it is fair game to be linked to and/or quoted by anyone who knows it exists. If linking to the writings of someone you are arguing about discussing something with helps in that discussion, why should you not link to it? Obviously, you should only do so when it is relevant and not when you are attacking someone personally, but anything on the 'net is fair game to be quoted. If you don't want people to read it, don't put it on the Internet. The distinction between public and private is that, once it is on the Internet, it is public.
posted by dg at 9:53 PM on September 30, 2003


What do blogs have to do with it? This is an issue about being self consistent. If someone says on Monday that they're vegetarian and on Wednesday that they had a nice meat pie then it's perfectly normal to say "hey, you said you were vegetarian a while back - what's up?".

That seems perfectly reasonable to me. So how come it's different when instead of being said it's written on the 'net?

I remember years back I linked to someone's site to illustrate what a juvenile jerk they were (I honestly can't remember who it was and would rather not be reminded - it might have been one of the more famous members). People came down on me like a ton of bricks and I still don't understand why. Is the defense that they're schizophrenic? That they're only a jerk in one place and completely normal otherwise?

You judge someone by the information available. The more information the better. The idea that people should restrict information to particular personas on certain sites is akin to political spin-doctoring.

Sure, the context is important - but people can make that call themselves, if they have the information. In the case of links the context is right there. Go look at the weblog. It's no different to knowing someone gets drunk to the point of throwing up every Friday night - how does that reflect on what they're like at work? Each person can make their own judgement. We make these kinds of decisions all the time - blogs are no different.
posted by andrew cooke at 5:13 AM on October 1, 2003


I never fail to be amazed by the number of people who see no distinction between "what some legalistic standard allows me to get away with" and "what is right." If you feel perfectly OK going into somebody's blog and broadcasting stuff that was never meant to be seen by more than a few people because hey, it's public!—well, I can't stop you. Personally, I wouldn't be able to look at myself in the mirror. But then, I jaywalk without remorse, so I guess we all have our standards.

andrew, you must be the most perfect, consistent, logical human being who ever walked the earth, confident that your life can be an open book because you have nothing to hide. I stand in awe. Alas, most of us are lesser beings.
posted by languagehat at 11:00 AM on October 1, 2003


I never fail to be amazed by the number of people who see no distinction between "what some legalistic standard allows me to get away with" and "what is right." If you feel perfectly OK going into somebody's blog and broadcasting stuff that was never meant to be seen by more than a few people because hey, it's public!—well, I can't stop you. Personally, I wouldn't be able to look at myself in the mirror. But then, I jaywalk without remorse, so I guess we all have our standards.


Why would you ever write something that private and then put a link to it in your profile on a website visited by this many people every day?
posted by The God Complex at 11:19 AM on October 1, 2003


broadcasting stuff that was never meant to be seen by more than a few people

I still can't get my head around this, languagehat - first of all, that's exactly what started the current unpleasantness - tipping some people off to something that should have stayed private and then being surprised that it becomes widely spread.

But come on. Even though e-mail is on the Internet and therefore public, we're not even talking about someone publishing the contents of e-mails - blogs are on the Web. If you're on blogspot, a link to your blog shows up for hundreds if not thousands of users (on blogger.com's front page) every time you update it. And once you make something public, it stays public.

One more time - that doesn't mean that everything public is fair game in a given argument. It only means that there's no valid distinction (in terms of "public" information or "not quite public" information) between any of the things that've been willingly posted to the Web.
posted by soyjoy at 12:30 PM on October 1, 2003


broadcasting stuff that was never meant to be seen by more than a few people
If you only want the contents of your personal site to be seen by a select few people, then a web site is not the place to post the information and you should distribute it via e-mail or some other form of communication. Putting something on the Internet and then not expecting people to read it is just plain dumb. This does not mean that it is OK to dredge up any old content to score points against someone that you are pissed off at, but it does mean that anything on the Internet that is relevant to the topic and provides clarification or explanation is fair game. Whether it is the site of a member here or not is irrelevant - if it is on the Internet it is public and, providing you only link to it in its original context and do not breach whatever copyright conditions have been placed on it, there is no reason you should not link to it.
posted by dg at 3:04 PM on October 1, 2003


XQUZYPHYR: the second time someone was just trying to be a prick and failed miserably.

I was most certainly not trying to be a prick.
posted by trharlan at 9:13 PM on October 1, 2003


Anyone who reads this comment is violating my privacy.
posted by rcade at 9:57 PM on October 1, 2003


If you're on blogspot, a link to your blog shows up for hundreds if not thousands of users (on blogger.com's front page) every time you update it. And once you make something public, it stays public.

Blogspot specifically gives the option to make a blog private. It seems fairly obvious that people are public-blogging because they want their thoughts made public.
posted by Shane at 5:14 AM on October 2, 2003


Or they just don't know any better. Which is sort of the same thing.
posted by PrinceValium at 6:53 PM on October 2, 2003


Well, except that it's not. If they don't know any better, it's sort of like taking candy from a baby. But screw the baby, if you don't know enough to be paranoid you don't deserve any sympathy, eh?
posted by languagehat at 7:29 PM on October 2, 2003


I dunno, I can't help but think there is an element of exhibitionism in almost all blogs... kind of a cry of, "This is the inner me, come and appreciate me." It frankly invites voyeurism (and I am a happily entertained voyeur of late.)

Otherwise, a Word doc is the best place for a journal, not the Intarweb. But I see what you're saying about people assuming that no one but their immediate family/friends will be in the loop. Not so!

Back to the original specific question (if anyone cares), I think you can argue the relevence of marcus's blog to the MeFi thread, but I personally don't have a problem with stonerose linking to it. It's right there in marcus's profile, after all, and it doesn't have to be there if marcus doesn't want it public.

Man, these discussions are quiet and peaceful once they fall off the front MeTa page...

*listens to crickets chirping*
*wishes Rush Limbaugh would further embarrass himself with a blog he thinks no one is reading*
posted by Shane at 5:50 AM on October 3, 2003


Hey... where's my beer? Damn, turn your back for one minute...
*turns out light, exits*
posted by languagehat at 2:57 PM on October 3, 2003


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