What do people think about "linkless posts." May 20, 2001 5:59 AM   Subscribe

What do people think about "linkless posts." Are they not really what MetaFilter is about, or do they encourage discussion and subsequently build and enhance the community?
posted by chaz to Etiquette/Policy at 5:59 AM (19 comments total)

I left my opinion in the post I think you're referring to:

No link here, sorry.

Listen, folks, this post just doesn't belong here. MeFi guidelines state specifically:

Make sure you're linking to something on the web. If you're posting a generalized question to the audience, or posting a comment as a main thread, either find an appropriate mailing list, or use MetaTalk.

posted by jpoulos at 9:12 AM on May 20, 2001

I'm going to spend the 10 minutes today to write code that makes it impossible to start a thread like that ever again. (simple search for any links in the description and any links in the URL field, if both come up empty, send an error to the user).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:23 AM on May 20, 2001

I think people would get around that simply by linking back to MeFi itself or something. I'm all about encouraging discussion, but threads like that have always seemed somewhat lame to me.
posted by zempf at 9:29 AM on May 20, 2001

Somewhat? Gold lamé lame.
posted by dhartung at 11:39 AM on May 20, 2001

Another one here. This one seems to have an agenda, but I can't figure out what it is.
posted by rodii at 12:55 PM on May 20, 2001

No no no. COMPLETELY forget I wrote that. My eye got mixed up for some reason and I interpreted one thread as two. My mistake.
posted by rodii at 12:56 PM on May 20, 2001

In case anyone thinks I'm overreacting, the deal is that metafilter is not a mailing list where people just chat for no reason. The site has very few limitations, but one of them is that things have to be about something on the web.

It's a pretty small thing really, but something I hope we can stick to.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:59 PM on May 20, 2001

Pardon me for popping in, but I think there is an interesting question in this.

Absolutely true - the rules are the rules, and that post had no place in the main stream of Metafilter. But at the moment, there really is no proper place for a post like that to exist on site. Not really ettiquite, not really metafilter specific, not a bug report... If Matt gets the Metafocus thing going, then maybe it will find some home there - but I suspect not.

Now, one of the things I really value about the Metafilter experience is that there are folks here who have some serious synapse power. To be horribly predjudiced, "My Kind" of people. Fark is fun sometimes, but immature and surface. I'd party with some of those folks, but it would be a wearing saturday evening; on the other hand, Meta often comes off as a great night of intellectual discussion, but not the sort of folks who could really enjoy a night with a loud band and one-too-many beers.

ttrendel took a bad route, but I think I understand where he was trying to go - he was trying to get a more 'human' perspective on some of the very good folks we have here. I'm not sure that a tangential reference to Cumulative Trauma Disorders or a personal blog reference would have added much to his intent, other than to stay in proper form. ttrendel wanted to get to us as people, rather than as opinions. I can't say I see that as a bad thing.

So, let's turn the question just a bit; are we here in Metafilter purely to respond to an initial hyperlinked stimulus, or could there be or should there be more? What provision is there to highlight interactive over reactive, and, again, should there be, or is Metafilter not the place for it?
posted by Perigee at 1:20 PM on May 20, 2001

But at the moment, there really is no proper place for a post like that to exist on site.

Exactly, which is why it is probably more at home on a small mailing list, and not here.

MetaFilter can't do everything, for everyone, all the time. I never wanted it to, despite all the people that have asked me to stretch it in new directions.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:26 PM on May 20, 2001

Stand firm, Matt.
posted by lagado at 5:06 PM on May 20, 2001

Perigee, there are many fora on the web and elsewhere. Most survive by restricting content in various ways, and if your material doesn't fit then you should seek out some other forum where it makes more sense.

Yes, it didn't fit in MeFi. No, the rules of MeFi should not be changed.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:37 PM on May 20, 2001

(Reminder to self; never raise an academic question...)
posted by Perigee at 5:46 PM on May 20, 2001

Well a possible solution, to anyone who wants to talk about something specific to the resident MeFi Irregulars, would be to go out on the 'Net and find an interesting, thought-provoking link about whatever stirs their imagination. If you found such a link, then your MeFi post would be on target, and no one would complain.

Unfortunately chills is such a vague topic. I just did a few searches looking for an interesting, thought-provoking link about chills. Perhaps some scientific explanation. Some essay that would describe them. Categorize different types of chills. What causes the penetrating yet almost unnatural coldness. A shivering of the nerves and a paleness of the skin. What causes goosepimples on the arms. The hairs on the back of one's neck to stand up. I couldn't find anything worth linking.

The purpose of MeFi, as I understand it and please feel free to correct me where I'm wrong, is to filter the information of the Internet. Examine the information that's out there -- particularly the latest stuff. Dissect it. Give opinions. Matt's of course right. This isn't a place for us to add information to the 'Net, other than in response to stuff that's already out there.

You could write about your own thoughts on chills, and then link to it here. Oh wait, no you can't do that either. We're not allowed to link to our own stuff, no matter how well-intentioned. Matt's absolutely right, as are all the people who disrupted the aforementioned thread by saying it didn't belong. In fact, that thread should have been deleted outright. Even though up until the point where people started complaining that it didn't belong here, the thread was actually quite interesting. It was contributing some enlightening and fun stuff to the whole MeFi experience, but it's still wrong. It was good, but it wasn't right.

There's something wrong about that, but I just can't put my finger on it.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:30 PM on May 20, 2001

It wouldn't have fitted very well with the linkless post in it's original form, but your comment made me want to find something, and I think I did:

"Finding phantoms in the brain" looks like the sort of link you had in mind, and it even gave me cold shivers...
posted by southisup at 1:10 AM on May 21, 2001

It was good, but it wasn't right

Absolutely. And since this area of the site is populated by those that value right over good, it's pretty clear what the conclusion is.

(And I can understand that conclusion. Metafilter is a big place. The practicalities of keeping it as good as possible on average exclude experimentation. The trouble is that success breeds stagnation while smaller, newer sites are, by definition, hard to find)
posted by andrew cooke at 7:31 AM on May 21, 2001

Well it has a link
posted by holloway at 2:51 AM on May 22, 2001

Andrew, I've been putting consideration into the idea of non-links on MeFi, given the topic and all. I think that it's neither right nor good, personally.

I don't think it's right because, simply, that's not representative of what MeFi means (at least in my interpretation, and you're welcome to debate.) The site's about things on the web that are interesting and worthy of discussion. I think that's a pretty simple concept, and it's one that the overwhelming majority of MeFiFolk have embraced.

But, I can hear you saying, "But what about that Kaycee thread with no real link! That's good! And the discussion in those threads is good too!" That might be so. The chills topic could generate an introspective post from Joe User about his experience with chills, or whathaveyou. My problem is that once Joe User sees that linkless post, someone else will do a linkless. Then someone else. And, while the topics could be discussion-worthy (SUVs, Nader, Bush, gun control, abortion... kidding on those, folks), what do they have to do with the web? If you want to discuss it, find a link. Find a link that is the direct opposite of your opinion. Find one that is the same.

If you want to simply discuss something abstract, I think there are far more options on the web for that. MeFi is a unique place, and I feel it only gets cluttered and diluted with linkless posts.

Now, that said, The Eight Hundredth Kaycee Thread? I'm just opposed because there are already just a few others. The original dupes (er, bad choice of words) were done for the sake of the server, methinks. That's why dhartung set up the Yahoo! Group. Go there and discuss it. You won't even have to post a link or anything.

Anyway, that's all I have to say. Ultimately this is Matt's baby of course, but I think adding linkless discussion does MeFi a huge disservice.
posted by hijinx at 4:57 AM on May 22, 2001

There are a million (give or take) discussion forums on the web - people who just want to talk can surely head over to 3WA and have a conversation. This is a link driven site.
posted by kristin at 3:12 PM on May 26, 2001

I've been here a few months but I'd never realized until now how many cheesedicks there are. That's what drew me here, the substance. It's still here for sure, but something, as we all know, must be done. Here Here!

Would there be any way to implement a sort of thread filter where only the "meat and potatoes" posts get through, by way of aligning your interests of those who's posts you normally find provoking? That way, conserving of bandwidth might be possible as only (maybe via simple rating system) the posts and links of interest to you refresh on the homepage.

Anyway, my simpleton suggestion. I'm probably way off and don't know what the hell I'm writing about.
posted by crasspastor at 1:52 PM on May 27, 2001

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