Article too old March 8, 2001 9:46 PM   Subscribe

Criminy ... can we at least confine our periodical links to stories published this century?
posted by rcade to Etiquette/Policy at 9:46 PM (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I don't think this is so bad, as long as it's only occasional and the link is of exceptional interest.

Whether this link qualifies as exceptional is up to you, natch.
posted by aaron at 2:19 AM on March 9, 2001



I'm just complaining here to keep from complaining in the thread. I think the article is of negligible interest, personally, but obviously people are enjoying Sudama's biweekly sojourn into white guilt. So what do I know?
posted by rcade at 2:31 AM on March 9, 2001


But what about stuff that was written in 2000?

You know what? Sudama has his view point, and that's cool. Personally, I'd much rather he post articles which are obviously on the topic rather than pointing out an arguably racist statement which would end up taking a thread off-topic.

It's obviously an interesting conversation for people, and it really does at least make people consider inherent racism; it's a good dead horse to beat. Racism threads of late haven't been the bile-flinging rage fests they've been in the past, the past few that pop to mind have for the most part been about a bunch of people of different ethinicities (not just black and white, though they are admittedly the major focus) discussing and learning and exploring each other's view points.

They're passionate debates, certainly, but by my thermometer there's a helluva lot less flames.
posted by cCranium at 6:51 AM on March 9, 2001


I think that what I value in someone as a creator of threads is variety. It's nice when I see someone as source of a thread and have no idea what to expect -- sort of like opening a fortune cookie. I myself try to mix up my own thread-starts for that reason; if there's any theme among them I'm not aware of it, and except when it's deliberately a follow-on I try not to repeat any subject.

From "Information theory" I learned that information is about surprise. Compression algorithms remove all the unsurprising data (technically known as "redundancy"). If every bit in a bitstream is surprising, it can't be compressed. Things which compress the most are those which contain the most redundancy.

There's so much uniformity about Sudama's posts that there is no surprise there. Despite the fact that each such thread points to a new thing, in a sense every one of them is a repeat post because all the things they point to say the same thing.

Single-subject posters are boring. It doesn't matter to me whether what they're saying is important; I don't really read MeFi to be educated (or to be indoctrinated, or to be deprogrammed, or to be preached at), I read MeFi to be entertained. YMMV.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:20 AM on March 9, 2001


That varying mileage thing is what I'm talking about though Steven.

We've all got our quirks, we've all got our dead horses, and since we all excercise our beatin' arms in various ways, I'm content to see a thread devoted to it so it doesn't muck up other posts.

*cough*Macintosh*cough*.

Besides, people obviously find the conversations interesting, I don't see how they hurt anyone.
posted by cCranium at 9:06 AM on March 9, 2001


There's so much uniformity about Sudama's posts...

Nonsense.
posted by sudama at 9:15 AM on March 9, 2001


I enjoy reading Sudema's posts, often find the content compelling, and thus hope he keeps posting. Posts that I personally enjoy are sometimes thin on the ground, but I am learning to skim over content that I find dull, and I'm sure many people do the same.

I'm sorry I didn't deal with the original question. I don't really have an opinion on that.
posted by lucien at 9:27 AM on March 9, 2001


I notice that Sudama could only point out one deviation from the dead-horse norm.

*smirks*
posted by silusGROK at 9:41 AM on March 9, 2001


I deliberately don't start threads about the Mac, because I'm aware that my opinion on that subject is unpopular (and unnecessary). And I certainly don't post a "Mac Sucks" thread every couple of weeks -- though I certainly could if I wanted to. It's not like there's any shortage of pages which all say the same thing, and which technically wouldn't be double posts. But I don't live by the letter of the law, and the custom at MeFi is that a new link to an old subject is still a double-post, and liable to bring down the wrath of the Gods.

I'm also aware of the ludicrousness inherent in my fixation on Macs, but then I try not to take myself too seriously.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:42 AM on March 9, 2001


Of course, I could be accused of having my own horse (language)... but that horse rears its ugly head more often in my contribution to threads as opposed to my thread origination.
posted by silusGROK at 9:44 AM on March 9, 2001


Sudama's single link is to a summary of his thread starts. Of his 30, I count six (1 2 3 4 5 6) on the subject of white racism, and three or so others which are closely related (1 2 3 4) and yet others which are generally about social activism, with the overall theme of "Feel guilty, and start making sacrifices!" running around 50%. That is a very high proportion to be on a single subject or a single area.

I don't think there's anyone else active at MeFi with anything like that high a ratio of concentration.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:07 AM on March 9, 2001


But what about stuff that was written in 2000?

If the link is from a magazine or newspaper article, my opinion is that it should only be posted on MetaFilter if it's current. Dredging up old articles to make a rhetorical point seems like a poor use of this forum.
posted by rcade at 10:37 AM on March 9, 2001


Steven, I know, it was intended as a good-natured poke in the ribs.

My point - and I should stop detracting from it myself - is that it's really not a problem. One post every couple of weeks doesn't hurt things.

rcade: right, right you're using THAT definition of 'periodical'. Excuse me while my head and this nearby pile of sand become reacquanted.
posted by cCranium at 11:44 AM on March 9, 2001


Roger, the thing is... the article wasn't "timely" even at the time it was published. I can see asking that timely postings be... timely, but this is just an essay. It certainly meets the mefi posting guidelines. If some schmoe had published this to his or her website rather than in Z magazine, would you be less opposed to seeing it on metafilter?
posted by sudama at 12:17 PM on March 9, 2001


Er, Rogers... sorry.
posted by sudama at 12:18 PM on March 9, 2001


If the link isn't new in some sense, why post it on MetaFilter?
posted by rcade at 2:19 PM on March 9, 2001


If the link isn't new in some sense, why post it on MetaFilter?

See, I feel that way about links that even a few *days* old, particularly news stories. People post links as if they're Prometheus bringing the world fire, like we don't all read AP and Reuters stories on the 4000 web sites that post them.
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:11 AM on March 10, 2001


CRAP

Sure, if it's on AP and Reuters, it should be timely. That's because what they do is news.

As for other sources, I think that the only criterion is that they should be new to the majority of Mefiers, and that in my book means anything, anywhere and from anytime on the web is fair game as long as it's interesting.

Oh, and keep posting sudama, you've got a long way before you exceed Steven Den Beste's haul (and level of preaching).

posted by lagado at 4:27 AM on March 10, 2001


I agree with everything lagado said. If it's interesting, and new "in some sense," as Rogers says, anything should be postable. I agree that there's some vague concept of newsworthiness in play here, but I think it's up to the readers to judge. I personally could use a lot fewer threads about computer hardware or ClintonDubya's moral and intellectual failings, but you know what? (Here's a concept) I skip them.

And Mo, it's been said before, but apparently it needs to be said again: we don't all read those sites. We really don't. We don't all read Slashdot, CNN and Salon, we don't all know who Jason Kottke, Jakob Nielsen, Jeffrey Zeldman or Dave Winer are. We are diverse.

Also want to support Sudama's postings, and admire his persistence in the face of such personalized opposition. He doesn't (usually) get personal about it, and he doesn't get all pouty when people give him a hard time. we could do worse. Rock on, Sudama.
posted by rodii at 10:15 AM on March 10, 2001


I had plenty to say, but then rodii and lagado went and most of it, so this is a "yeah, what rodii and lagado said! alright!" post, with a bit more added.

Diverse opinions = diverse links = interesting conversation. If you don't like the sound of the link, or the poster, then don't click on the link. Don't contribute to the discussion. It's your choice; neither sudama nor mathowie are holding figurative guns to your heads to make you participate, so if you're sure (as many of you are, obviously) that you're not going to enjoy the content, then by all means skip it. Otherwise, stop whining about the topics that some of you say you're tired of, but yet apparently find yourselves drawn to comment on time and time again. If anything is getting tiring on MeFi, it's things like this thread. Please, people, grow up.
posted by lia at 10:42 PM on March 10, 2001


If anything is getting tiring on MeFi, it's things like this thread. Please, people, grow up.

"Wondering what should or shouldn't be posted on MetaFilter? Think someone went too far? Talk about it here."

posted by rcade at 8:30 AM on March 11, 2001


I agree. Figuring out what is and isn't postworthy is an ongoing discussion. Even though I don't agree with every detail of the position Rogers and Mo are taking here, it's good the discussion is happening.

Mo's made his point: too many "News of the Weird" links results in some dumb conversation. But are thought-provoking but non-timely links like Sudama's in that category? I'm a big fan of Cruel Site of the Day, Rogers. I'd like to see more of that sort of linkage in MeFi. I have no doubt other people think it's trivial stuff, a waste of time, and MeFi should *really* be used for discussing reports of office-supply theft by outgoing Clinton administration functionaries. Etc. We all push and shove against one another's idea of what's appropriate, and end up with some rough equilibrium, with spillover here in MeTa. By and large, the system seems to be working, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by rodii at 10:59 AM on March 11, 2001


Yes, this discussion is vitally important for the correct functioning of Metafilter.
posted by lagado at 7:00 PM on March 11, 2001


I don't think there's anyone else active at MeFi with anything like that high a ratio of concentration.

Oh yes there is. Or at least was, until the election mess ended. Twenty links posted; only one was about something other than globalization and/or third-party politics.

Things which compress the most are those which contain the most redundancy.

Plain text tends to compress better than almost any other kind of data. Make of that what you will. :)

Add my support to sudama. Yes, he gets on the race fixation a little too often, but every link he's posted on the subject has resulted in a discussion that veered into a somewhat different direction from all those preceding it. I've always learned at least a little something from each thread as a result, and that's the gold standard, isn't it?

Figuring out what is and isn't postworthy is an ongoing discussion.

But should it be? It's very rare that these discussions ever end up making any difference at all as to what MeFites consider postworthy; it almost invariably degenerates into some variation of "post what you want, and ignore the threads you're not interested in." We've already had yet another "I don't think this is postworthy" thread started before this one has even run its course. It's getting to the point where the one thing we really could use less of are the threads about which threads we should have less of.

Mo's made his point: too many "News of the Weird" links results in some dumb conversation.

Plenty of more "meaningful" links result in equally dumb conversations, and often result in no conversation at all. Likewise, plenty of "dumb" links result in quite meaningful conversations. You just never know. If we did know, nobody would ever complain about a front page link because we'd all have perfect pitch.
posted by aaron at 12:15 AM on March 12, 2001



You know, until Matt has made his magic my.metafilter scripts that will sort based on exactly what I'm interested in at a given moment and do my laundry for me, it's still possible to just skip threads that aren't interesting. Matt's "recent comments" feature eliminated the chief problem with large numbers of postings, which is that they displaced ongoing discussion, so what's not to love? I'm with Aaron -- interesting discussion can crop up in unexpected places.

While the links Sudama posts are usually not terribly interesting to me, I usually find the resultant conversation -- especially the high proportion of people who get really worked up -- at least moderately interesting. And I'd certainly rather read people arguing about race than yet another troll laden thread about Clinton or Dubya, but de gustibus non est disputandum.

Sudama's single link is to a summary of his thread starts. Of his 30, I count six on the subject of white racism, and three or so others which are closely related and yet others which are generally about social activism, with the overall theme of "Feel guilty, and start making sacrifices!" running around 50%. That is a very high proportion to be on a single subject or a single area.

Well, crimminy, Steven. I think Sudama's posts are much less uniform than you make out, but if you think he's monomaniacally posting white-liberal-guilt links, just skip 'em. Who's to say what a "very high proportion" is? I'm sure there are readers who'd be thrilled if, say, nobody every posted another schadenfreude/sports/Napster/Microsoft story, but at least some people are clearly interested.
posted by snarkout at 12:03 PM on March 12, 2001


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