MeFi Posting Frequency April 27, 2001 11:30 AM   Subscribe

The posting debate has been thrown open. I've posted my response as a comment here, and would love to here other's comments about how frequently people should be posting and what constitutes quality.
posted by feelinglistless to Etiquette/Policy at 11:30 AM (22 comments total)

(and we end up having 20 links per day, geez!)

So if you'll indulge me, some thoughts . .

I wouldn't take offence at any advice to a newbee, because polite debate is always good. I've been lurking at a few community weblogs for a while, in the end choosing the one I thought would be the most fun - with users who seem to be the most interested in sometimes intelligent, sometimes funny, sometimes mad, discussion.

I understand that Mefi is something you love, and like anything you love, you don't like change. I remember the shock when my favourite pub was bought up by a chain more interested in profit than clientele.

But I love Metafilter too. I love the fact that there can be twenty links a day, because above all this breeds diversity. There aren't any actual guidelines as the kind of stories or sites which do appear here, and nothing which suggests you have to read every one. The only hard and fast rule seems to be that you want quality. But that isn't actually defined. Looking back into the archives, to check I was doing the right thing, and the types of links doesn't seem to have changed all that much. In fact there is even more of that diversity.

If you're a bit freaked by the number of members, it's because Mefi has been a 'victim' of success, the Yahoo article for example. More users will naturally breed more postings. Perhaps tighter membership restrictions might be imposed - a development of the current system. So after a week, you're allowed one post a fortnight. Then after a month, one post a week. Then a month later, full posting rights. Trouble is then, that new users might be put off, and a website like this should be organic and develop and new users are a easiest route to this.
posted by feelinglistless at 11:37 AM on April 27, 2001

Although I have to say, it's really flattering that someone has noticed my work . . .
posted by feelinglistless at 11:38 AM on April 27, 2001

I think that what kchristidis was trying to say is that your posting average so far is one post every other day (1:2), which, for a community of thousands, is pretty high; it isn't so much the quality of links and the discussions they generate, so much as it is quantity.

It's not that people dislike change, it's that they worry about the disintegration of signal versus noise (mathowie's talked about this plenty of times here on metatalk). There's already a residency requirement of sorts to post your first link, and that was added quite recently for a reason: to give newcomers time to adjust to the community and to figure out the sorts of things that work here, and the things that don't (which has pretty much discouraged trolls, so far). One of the things that people generally pick up given time is that since there are so many of us here, it would be insane if a small percent posted links every day, every other day, or even once a week, let alone if we all did.
posted by lia at 11:59 AM on April 27, 2001

A reasonably decent, and mildly arbitrary and rather vague guideline:

If you're posting a link every day, you're posting too many links. If you're posting a link every day, you're still probably posting too many.

Why? I don't know. I do know that I usually notice when someone posts every day for more than a week, and I when I notice that I think "Jeez, this person should get their own blog." If they put up a good link every day, I think "Jeez, this person should get their own blog so I can bookmark it."

I think the problem with someone posting every day is that MetaFilter starts to feel like that person's personal site. I haven't picked up on any patterns to your links FL (yes, I'm lazy. :-) but I wouldn't be terribly suprised if I were to see one emerge after a few more weeks of regular links.

While that's not necessarily a bad thing on a personal site, it will gradually change the randomness and the genericism of available links on MeFi.

If 20 people posted a link every day, then MeFi would be 20 people linking, and 6980 (or whatever) people commenting, rather than 7000 (or whateveR) people linking and commenting.
posted by cCranium at 12:15 PM on April 27, 2001

Um, that second "every day" should be "every other day" to, you know, have it make sense and stuff.
posted by cCranium at 12:16 PM on April 27, 2001

Thank you for your quick responses . . .

I think the problem with someone posting every day is that MetaFilter starts to feel like that person's personal site.

I do see your point. In a way I think our friend was right to call me on it. After all if 7000 people posted every day, that's a lot to wade through let alone the strain on a 56k in download time. So like some other pleasures, I'll have to cut back and let other people have a go. Point taken.

And this isn't supposed to be catty, but I suppose I bristled slightly because my e-mail address is just a click away, and I think I'm pretty approachable . . . (hope so anyway). Although I'm not being embarassed into anything . . .
posted by feelinglistless at 12:30 PM on April 27, 2001

cool. You fine folks are generally even-tempered rational thinking human beings. Makes it fun to hang out here.
FL-my initial comment was out of frustration at having wasted time on that realaudio. To paraphrase Beatrice Hall from Friends of Voltaire,

I disagree with what you're posting
but I will defend to the death
your right to post it.

Problem was simply that there wasn't any indication of how lllooonnnggg that audio piece was (thanks realplayer!). To own up to my responsibility here, FL did say it was "stunningly embarrassing", and I should have paid attention to that. But that raises the question, if it's that bad, why post it?

For me, any kind of web site hit rate on links that end up in interesting, funny or thought-provoking places above about 10% is a keeper. MeFi is way higher than that, thanks to what I think is pretty responsible self-policing. Keep up the good work!
posted by JParker at 12:47 PM on April 27, 2001

The issue of daily posting was also discussed in an earlier MeTa thread.

Following that discussion, the member created his own log, but still occasionally posts to MeFi. Everybody wins.
posted by luke at 1:13 PM on April 27, 2001

At first, I would like to thank you, feelinglistless, for not getting offended. Not that you should have felt offended, but most people have way too much ego, you know... Hapilly, you were not one of them.

So, I was about to say my thoughts here but lia (mostly) and cCranium said most of it. I felt like these guys were into my brain or something. And I'm still waiting for'em to tell me how they did it :-)

cCranium talked about the whole 7000 users posting a link a day and what a drama this would have been. I say that this impossible, as we all know. Let's drop the number to 1% = 70 users = 70 links a day. That's a big "geez" folks.

More users will naturally breed more postings. Perhaps tighter membership restrictions might be imposed - a development of the current system.
That's what all the fuss is about. It's about intelligent users who don't need a friggin' restriction system. We want to avoid these thing (I think).

The only hard and fast rule seems to be that you want quality. But that isn't actually defined.
Oh well we all know that quality is a pretty subjective thing in its very base, but c'mon I think that you can realise what I'm saying (lia & cCranium explain this thing, furthermore). That was not a real argument there, it was just a sentece that people use when referring to those kind of stuff (and values,etc.).

cCranium, there *seems* to be a pattern in feelinglistless' posts: Great Britain related stuff. Not that it matters - this was not the stuff that bothered me, honestly.

In what concerns the reason I didn't e-mail you to tell you these things at first, was this. And I mean this thread. The open place where other people too will have the chance to enlighten both of us a bit on what's "right" or "wrong", etc. If I e-mailed you, there was a 99% possibility of us exchanging e-mails daily saying "You're wrong!" & "No, you're wrong!" (you get my point, I hope - pardon my poor english).
posted by kchristidis at 2:27 PM on April 27, 2001

I'm probably the first English person you'll meet without an ego. Although I think some of it comes from the virtual nature of all this. I'm sure if we met in person things would be different - although I've a feeling people are a lot more outspoken on the internet than they are in real life.

One of the most obvious things you'll notice about many English people is we don't like choice. We love restrictions. You'd be shocked how many restaurants around here have set menus. Starbucks is a nightmare for us. You walk in, and there are a hundred different types of coffee and you stand there for half an hour trying to work out whether you actually like nutmeg or not, before tucking tail between your legs and ordering a large black coffee (is that raw in your country?). We love conformity and rules. The more freedom we have, the messier it gets. I think you can see what I'm getting at. So when I suggest restrictions, it's because it's what I'm used to.

I'm glad also you noticed my pattern. I realised there are quite a number of British visitors, and since we don't have anything this good in the UK, I thought I'd offer stuff for that audience, perhaps also to show that we are alike, despite the atlantic. Plus, don't forget the British Empire. We love to colonise (or invade).

My not too English trait, is my love of impressive anarchy. Perhaps six months after The Day Without Weblogs all of Metafilter's users could post a link on the same day - planned in advance of course. But we wouldn't want to give Matt any heartattacks . ..

posted by feelinglistless at 4:09 PM on April 27, 2001

"Everybody wins." Luke, I suppose you're entitled to your opinion, but I don't feel as if I won anything.

For me, the problem is that conversation has turned into monologue. I miss the interaction; soliloquy isn't my style. I am putting quite a lot of work into my web log, but it isn't getting read very much. If my counter is accurate I'm getting 30-50 hits per day and a lot of those are duplicates. I have perhaps 20 regular readers. (I didn't really expect otherwise, of course, but it's still a bit disappointing.)

All in all I find the experience rather dissatisfying. I'm putting a lot of work into creating what I hope is good material, which is largely going to waste.

No, I don't feel as if I won anything. Perhaps things will improve when my server arrives and I can implement a discussion system. But I don't have very high hopes for it.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:29 PM on April 27, 2001

Feelinglistless, I see what you mean. My borther studies in England and tells me about this stuff each time we have a conversation. Thank you once again for the nice dialogue we had. You were (unexpectedly) cool, I mean it.

Steven, I know exactly what you mean. I will refer to "your case" (excuse me for that phrase - I speak like I'm the doctor and you're the patient...) only. You were an exception to the rule, my friend. Each and every link of yours was great. I'm actually missing your frequent participation in Metafilter. But I guess that, what's good and likeable to a person isn't always likeable to the whole community.
posted by kchristidis at 4:10 AM on April 28, 2001

Steven, give it time. If the links at your weblog are as good as the links you posted to MeFi, your reputation -- and readership -- will grow, especially if you maintain a presence here with "Best of" links. MeFi wasn't built in a day. Your weblog may take a little longer, too.

What's more, doesn't quality vs. quantity apply to readership, too? You get "only" 20 readers, but those are 20 readers who are there for you and you only, who are there because they are fans of yours. A MeFi post may get several hundred or thousand readers, but many (most?) of these are just casual readers who surely don't read your posts as carefully as your weblog readers.

As for discussion, what about Blogvoices until you can cobble together something with more features?
posted by luke at 2:18 PM on April 29, 2001

Blogvoices requires that I use Blogger. I'm just constructing my page using FrontPage; I neither want nor need fancy tools and I'd rather control my own fate. I have nothing against Blogger as such; indeed I'm not even sure what it's like. I just don't ever use anything unnecessary to solve problems. 25 years of engineering experience have emphasized KISS. I wrote to the guy running Blogvoices to find out if I could use it absent Blogger, and his answer was an unequivocal "no".

Loquacious isn't sufficiently sophisticated. isn't accepting new subscribers now. I also looked at Boardhost, BBS OneCenter, Coolboard, MessageFriends and a couple of others and didn't find any of them to be satisfactory.

So I finally decided that in this, too, I'd rather control my own fate -- which is one of the big reasons I decided to get a server of my own. The Qube 3 may come with one preinstalled, and if not there are bound to be some out there which will run in PHP or Perl or somesuch facility which is on the Qube. (Rob Drimmie told me about a PHP system but I haven't looked into it yet.)
posted by Steven Den Beste at 2:38 PM on April 29, 2001

Luke, I think you should consider the possibility that you weren't right about this. If Steven's feeling that this, all in all, wasn't a win, we should respect that. In fact, I'm not sure how anyone "wins." Steven has a less interesting audience; MeFi has fewer good threads. The only "win" is a tiny drop in volume, which we seem to have filled with AYBABTU and Hyakugojyuuichi threads anyway. I understand not wanting MeFi to be anyone's personal weblog substitute, but shaming someone into silence isn't a good response (struggling to get my own response back on topic here).

(Please don't take this as a flame. I appreciate that you've always tried to frame this discussion positively.)
posted by rodii at 5:15 PM on April 29, 2001

All in all I find the experience rather dissatisfying. I'm putting a lot of work into creating what I hope is good material, which is largely going to waste.

After visiting your weblog a few times, Steven, I would not describe it as a waste of effort. I don't leave feedback as often as I should, but I visit around 10-15 personal weblogs daily, and with most of them it took me months to realize how good the content was. (For example, I must have read a dozen updates of Jason Levine's Queso before I realized it was worth a daily read.)
posted by rcade at 8:14 PM on April 29, 2001

Yes, I don't think it was a win either because it caused Steven to back off posting to a tiny fraction of his former output.

It's a balancing act this quality vs. quantity thing. I thought that most of Steven's posts were of a higher than average quality so I personally didn't mind seeing a higher number of them. Some of his scientific ones have been sensational.

I know that at its peak the quantity was rather high (avg 1 post a day), too high really, and that brought some fire from others. Still I think that most of the criticism has been over the top (including one snide remark I recall making while in defence of another poster).

I for one would like to encourage Steven to get back to contributing more posts directly to Mefi. His weblog's gain has been Mefi's loss.

posted by lagado at 8:18 PM on April 29, 2001

I'm probably the first English person you'll meet without an ego

Can I be second?
posted by normy at 9:21 PM on April 29, 2001

Wow! How lucky is it for Mefi to have as members two living buddhas?
posted by lagado at 6:29 AM on April 30, 2001

Any sisdahs out there so we can double date?

Sorry . . .
posted by feelinglistless at 12:51 PM on April 30, 2001

But is the *most* egoless?
posted by rodii at 4:24 PM on April 30, 2001

Um. . . *who* is the most egoless? Dammit.
posted by rodii at 4:25 PM on April 30, 2001

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