is self promotion always wrong? May 11, 2001 9:06 AM   Subscribe

Don't hate me cause I'm a liberal on self-post. but is self promotion always wrong? If the community is made up of intellegent and creative people, won't they have serve the community just as well by posting a self-created link. i admit to my short time in the community, but i sometimes the sacred laws have to be questioned from time to time, and newcomers are probably best in a position to do it.

'allowing self-posts will lead to a community of links to banner ad-driven websites' you say?
OK, no self-posting to a site with banner ads.

what about allowing self-posting only where the author discloses it in the post?

posted by brucec to Etiquette/Policy at 9:06 AM (23 comments total)

There are 7,800 members, Bruce. If you're allowed to promote your own work on MetaFilter, why can't the other 7,999?
posted by rcade at 9:24 AM on May 11, 2001

I don't hate you, brucec. I don't even know you.

But, if the self-linking policy changes, think about all the ramifications. While MeFi has built up an arguably smart and respectful community, what about Joe Blow who signs up for an account, waits a few days, and then puts a link to his site on the front page, and leaves? And as rcade says, why not everyone else?

Yes, Matt will delete that thread, but that's more work for him. MeFi could easily turn into something really pointless for a good segment of its visitors - a bunch of self-promo links.

If you've posted something on your own site that elaborates a point you've mentioned at MeFi, I know that's cool and perfectly fine.

I like the policy, and don't see a need to change it.
posted by hijinx at 9:28 AM on May 11, 2001

self post baaaaaaaad.
posted by palegirl at 9:33 AM on May 11, 2001

brucec, there is also a new mailing list if you have made some kickass thing you want to share.
posted by snowmelter at 9:41 AM on May 11, 2001

Me too--I mean, I agree that the status quo (no self-links on the front page) is the way to go.
posted by rodii at 9:58 AM on May 11, 2001

so, yes. self-promotion is always wrong, even when we appreciate the link.

the mailing list grew out of several discussions about how to share cool projects, so sign up.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:19 AM on May 11, 2001

what about self-post if the author discloses it as one. those who go in,
would know they are going into a self post.

posted by brucec at 10:50 AM on May 11, 2001

-signed up for mailing list. good idea.
posted by brucec at 10:51 AM on May 11, 2001

The best way to drive traffic to your site (without making poeple mad) is to post a really thoughtful and intelligent comment. Then people will read your comment and say (to themselves) "what a thoughtful and intelligent comment . . . I wonder who this person is". Next thing you know, you'll have readers galore (well, five or six anyway). Here is an example of a thoughtful and intelligent comment:

{This is a thoughtful and intelligent comment.}
posted by iceberg273 at 11:31 AM on May 11, 2001

what about self-post if the author discloses it as one. those who go in, would know they are going into a self post.

Bruce, it's not just that people are worried about self-promotion leading to crappy sites; it's a signal to noise thing. There are thousands of users (the count you see is inflated by's users, but well into the thousands). Many of us do things on the web, and many of those things are worth seeing, but if a tenth of us promoted what we were working on, the hundreds of posts would drown out everything else. (And the mind boggles at what would happen if people started abusing this; "I've just written my tribute to Slain Celebrity X/critique of Microsoft product Y/lengthy rant about penguins over at FooBarBlog. What do you think?" Daily.)

Plus, Matt doesn't want to see MeFi turned into a personal advertising tool, and we should respect his wishes on that. I can think of a single occasion in which I've seen him be cool with a self-blog to the front page, and that was under unique circumstances (it was the home page for a small village in Africa; the page's author was departing for Africa and wanted feedback on before he left).
posted by snarkout at 11:31 AM on May 11, 2001

Huh. The macro's not working.
posted by iceberg273 at 11:31 AM on May 11, 2001

I love FooBarBlog! (OK, I just looked it up on Google.)
posted by iceberg273 at 11:33 AM on May 11, 2001

***HOWTO get your link posted in metafilter***

submit it to memepool. If they post it, it will show up here soon enuf.

Thats just my joke... but it could work. I really think iceberg273 has the right idea though... post great comments and I'll look you up through your profile.

posted by darkpony at 12:05 PM on May 11, 2001


understood on the possible signal to noise ratio. but i don't see the danger. If indeed there are 7,800 and one-tenth of us have our own websites (I don't even know if its that high) that would be 780. Now that would be a lot on any given day, but one doubt's its going to all show up on the same day.

Now if we limit people to no reptitive postings (something I think is already covered in the guidelines outside of the self-posting issue) you've not seriously contributed to signal to noise.

Its the type of decision that any service needs to make. If you have an 'All You Can Eat' Buffet, sure, you sweat about that 300 pound guy who's going to come in and eat all your stuff. But in most cases, its more than equaled out by the 98 pound grandmas who barely touch her plate. If you have a gym, you don't have 200 treadmills because you have 200 members. I'm not saying the signal to noise isn't a concern; i just don't think its a deal-breaker
posted by brucec at 12:25 PM on May 11, 2001

let's just err on the side of calmness and stick with the non-self-promoting thing. just in case.

posted by jcterminal at 1:03 PM on May 11, 2001

If you have an 'All You Can Eat' Buffet, sure, you sweat about that 300 pound guy who's going to come in and eat all your stuff.

Oh, man, bruce. I was neutral towards ya at the start of the thread. Now I'm not.

Anyway, that's another issue.

780 posts in one day? I find MeFi difficult to navigate with 30-50. And more importantly, would all 780 posts provoke discussion? I doubt it; you might get "This is cool, how'd you make it?" which is fine and all, but I fear you won't get the depth of discussion that occurs here.
posted by hijinx at 1:49 PM on May 11, 2001

understood on the possible signal to noise ratio. but i don't see the danger

Bruce, I came up with the rule after not having it. It was developed for a reason, a very good reason.

If you crawl the 1999 archives, there's a lot of self-promotion. It became a rule the day I got 8000 new visitors via a daily web award link.

So 8,000 new people show up, about 1,500 sign up for accounts, and there were 15-20 links on the front page by fresh, new members saying "Come look at my kewl site :)"

So the waiting period was put into effect, and the self-promote rule made. There are ok self-promtional links, but to say they are few and far between is an understatement. They almost never happen. Instead I had to make a somewhat hard rule against it for all those reasons and more. People have gone to great lengths to get a link and the associated traffic posted here. There have been several cases of people posing as someone else, getting a coworker to post a link to the site, etc.

If you are a member of metafilter, and you're creating good/funny/useful/amazing things, other people will find them. And when they do, they may show up here, posted by someone else.

Or you can just ask some random member to post it for you if you want to be a dork about it.

If you don't believe me, go to right now. He left a free form posting area while he went away for a week. Look at the posts in the link. Most all are posts to a person's own site. It's a natural thing to use the web for self-promotion I guess.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:24 PM on May 11, 2001

There's a mailing list, and there's the simple fact that if people enjoy your notes they will choose to visit your site because your views interest them. That seems like a pretty good, and fair, deal. What makes MeFi a success imho is the fact that these rules are respected by the community. There's the catch 22. The success is the reason why people wish to self-promote at MeFi, and yet to allow this would inevitably undermine its success.

New members should keep in mind that people do, quite regularly, visit sites listed in your profile. But MeFi isn't here to discuss those sites unless another member sees fit to link to them. That’s the rule for the same reason that Doctors don't (as a rule) treat members of their own family. That which you are very close to has the potential to effect your judgment.
posted by lucien at 12:06 AM on May 12, 2001

alright., I know better than to keep going i'm outgunned and outnumbered. there does not seem to be any dissenters on the self-post rule.
posted by brucec at 5:59 AM on May 13, 2001

I dissent. I self-posted a while back with a link to

I'm still here and I've posted half a dozen other high-quality links, each of which has generated a number of comments. I'm here to stay and if something appears on that I judge to be of sufficient quality to share with the rest of Metafilter (remember Oliver Bloated_Guts post was to an article that *back-linked* to MeFi), then I'll go ahead and do so.
posted by hmgovt at 3:36 AM on May 14, 2001

hmgovt: Will you also intentionally deceive people in your self-posts with comments like this, "Hey, I was scouting around for a short, sharp letter of resignation and I found this gem!" Classy stuff.
posted by rcade at 6:19 AM on May 14, 2001

hmgovt: There aren't many rules here, but the rules that exist are here for a reason, which Matt explained quite well above. And the rules, especially the self-posting one, aren't especially restrictive.

I don't understand why you feel you have the right to disregard them as you see fit.
posted by cCranium at 7:03 AM on May 14, 2001

rcade: I was young and impetuous back then. I'm more than happy to post solid, entertaining and informative links to make up for past sins though.
posted by hmgovt at 11:05 AM on May 14, 2001

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