Slight problems with spammy selflinks in comments. April 4, 2004 8:51 PM   Subscribe

I don't want this to be construed as bullying the new folk, but... [as usual, more of my astute observations and keen insight are contained within]
posted by The God Complex to Etiquette/Policy at 8:51 PM (42 comments total)

Now, I know it's generally accepted that you can post self links within comments if they're noted as such, but this is generally used as a means to reduce typing (no need to reproduce something pertinent you've already written) or to give people another site to check out if it deals with the same subject matter. However, in this case it seems to me it's something more than that, given the tenuous relation to the material of Hildago's post. Clearly there is some relation (video games), but making the sales pitch about the game you're promoting, however noble or innocent the intent, strikes me as something we should probably avoid as best we can.

I'm trying to be as delicate with this as possible, since I don't know how long this person has been reading Metafilter before becoming a member or what the depth of their understanding is of matters pertaining to self-linking. As such, I decided to avoid any possible derailment of Hildago's very cool post and bring the matter here for the consideration of the great foaming-at-the-mouth collective.

Since the user in question asked in the thread whether or not this was an issue, it seemed the prudent thing to do, and I can only hope that the newbies don't ally against me en masse for this blatant, albeit delicately phrased, attack on one of their fellows.
posted by The God Complex at 8:51 PM on April 4, 2004

I also e-mailed the user in question to make her aware of this thread and to make sure she understands it's clearly an issue of etiquette and in no way an attack on her character! (I must have woken up on the right side of the bed this morning).

I apologize profusely for using the word "generally" twice in the space of a single sentence. I generally (!!) don't engage in these sort of verbal hackjobs; the only explanation I can offer you--oh great Metafilterians--is that I was somehow reflecting upon my Sarge/Major Major comment from another Metatalk thread and the proliferation of Military ranks somehow caused me to make such an unmitigated blunder. Forgive me.
posted by The God Complex at 9:01 PM on April 4, 2004

I think it is more related than you give her credit for. The topic is promotion and preservation of underrated games, the game was presumably so underrated that the company closed down. By purchasing the company, she is, in effect, doing what the people at the Underdogs site are doing, albeit at a smaller scale. Although the "if you buy my game and email me" offer and the puffery inherent in "alive, well, and kicking!" is a bit over the top, I think the post is completely on topic, as a local example of the phenomenon of game preservation.
posted by calwatch at 9:09 PM on April 4, 2004

I have to agree with calwatch. While andrea was self-promoting, she is right in the middle of exactly what Underdogs is doing- keeping older "abandon ware" games alive. I personally think its cool.
posted by jmd82 at 9:34 PM on April 4, 2004

I agree with everybody. Straddling a line with the blatant commercial self-promotion (as opposed to the more common [and generally implicit] Look At Me self-promotion of a blog link or whatnot) -- but then, hey, it's definitely in the spirit of the thread, what with the (allegedly) quality game hitting the shitcan. If someone did this for, say, X-Com Genesis, I'd have a hard time holding a grudge about the self-promotion.
posted by cortex at 9:37 PM on April 4, 2004

Yeah, I understand the relation and I didn't necessarily have a problem with the first part of the comment (a link to the game, a quick recounting of the user's experience with forgotten "classics"). It just seems to me that progressing from that to asking people to buy the game from you and offering them a deal as fellow MeFites seemed like a step further than I personally feel is allowable.

But if everyone disagrees with me I'll maintain my dissent silently in the background ;)
posted by The God Complex at 9:49 PM on April 4, 2004

The user could try using a TextAd to avoid commercial interruptions.
posted by attackthetaxi at 10:18 PM on April 4, 2004

posted by timeistight at 10:21 PM on April 4, 2004

The user could try using a TextAd to avoid commercial interruptions.

Which is exactly the right way to insert discussion about a product or service into an unrelated discussion. But I'm with calwatch and jmd82. This really was relevant to the discussion, and was a cool action on the part of andreazure, actually

The point where it becomes a problem is if the threshold of relevancy becomes ridiculous, like your MLM "friends" who want to turn every point of contact into a mention of this great opportunity they've got. This isn't a problem yet, though.
posted by weston at 10:54 PM on April 4, 2004

(if you are posting a link to something you have created or were involved with the creation of, please use the TextAd service or the mefi-projects list to announce your work instead of posting a self-linking MetaFilter thread.)
What part of this is so hard to understand? Yes, the warning is specifically related to threads, rather than comments, but the same principle applies. If the comment had mentioned the name of the game and included the story of how the member ended up acquiring it, it would be within the bounds. Linking to the site and marketing the game by offering members an unspecified free gift is over the line. A link in the member's user page would not be out of bounds, however, and anyone interested in finding out more about the game would most likely look there.
posted by dg at 11:07 PM on April 4, 2004

Yes, the warning is specifically related to threads, rather than comments, but the same principle applies.

Wouldn't this logic also suggest that we should be only posting one comment per day?

Comments are different from posts. As long as you're not constant ly spamming threads with non-sequitor adverts (or even attempting to imitate google's adword's), the occasional comment mentioning something that a poster was connected to commercially seems harmless.
posted by wildblueyonder at 11:24 PM on April 4, 2004

Here's a question: if there were a discussion on weblogs, and the Trotts showed up to make a comment about how they'd developed either their software or their business, would that be a problem?

Or mathowie or rustycommenting on group weblogs?

Or an art dealer commenting on a post where an artist they represent is mentioned?
posted by weston at 11:30 PM on April 4, 2004

I disagree with dg in that a link to the game would not be "out of bounds". Indeed, if she mentions the game and doesn't link to it, then that is a loss of information. You're not forced to click the link.

Offering special deals is more likely over the line, but still not overly so as to warrant a spanking in Metatalk (as is here).
posted by calwatch at 11:35 PM on April 4, 2004

Offering special deals is more likely over the line, but still not overly so as to warrant a spanking in Metatalk (as is here).

Clearly not a spanking so much as a discussion of the merits of allowing such posting. I thought it was worthy of identifying and examining given the influx of new members and what they might assume is passable behaviour (which it may or may not be, depending).
posted by The God Complex at 11:59 PM on April 4, 2004

I'll backtrack a little and say that maybe offering special deals is a little too much like actually pitching the community versus mentioning your commercial activity.

I don't have any problem with the latter. The former does seem just a tad more troublesome.
posted by weston at 12:09 AM on April 5, 2004

So, if it is OK to promote a commercial product via MetaFilter, how far can we take this? Is it OK to accept money to promote products by mentioning them in comments? Or is it only OK if it is your product that you are promoting? What if it is a friend's product?

There is a clear difference between linking to your own personal site as a way of providing further information relevant to the thread and promoting a commercial product.
posted by dg at 12:12 AM on April 5, 2004

I think it was a bit.. uhh.. gauche.., since fairly well-accepted guidelines require us not to self-promote on the site. Strictly speaking, I don't think she should have done it.

But, I doubt she would have just walked into a random thread and made a sales pitch. It was in keeping with the spirit of the thread, to be sure. I hope it doesn't become standard practice, but in my opinion, in this case, the tie goes to the runner.
posted by Hildago at 1:05 AM on April 5, 2004

It was in poor taste. MetaFilter should be a tout-free zone as far as I'm concerned.
posted by cbrody at 2:52 AM on April 5, 2004

Meh, it was ontopic, so why not. I'm not aware of the no-selflinking rule being for anything other than front page posts.
posted by fvw at 4:21 AM on April 5, 2004

The link itself was fine, the invitation to spend money - with a "special offer" - was not. Just my humble opinion of course.
posted by cbrody at 4:29 AM on April 5, 2004

Part of the problem here, I think, is andreaazure's bad luck in that this topic was posted just immediately after she signed up. With more history behind her, it would be easier for people to get a better idea of her intentions.

That said, I know that a lot of members here remain mum, even just in comments, about ventures that they are involved in, even when it really does relate to the thread. And I think this can sometimes be a bad thing. If the comment provides some insight about the inner workings of a process, or adds some information that the rest of us wouldn't learn about otherwise, it would be a shame for a knowledgeable member not to contribute to the conversation just because it might be perceived as a plug. After all, we have a lot of "inside-track" members who know a great deal about a lot of the subjects we are interested in. So my suggested rule-of-thumb for comments would be: don't hesitate to bring up something you are involved in if it actually adds new and valuable insight to the discussion.
posted by taz at 4:30 AM on April 5, 2004

I really think we need to adopt the mefi-projects list and bring it in-house to a forum similar to AskMe. Since the community is so great at solving random problems and answering questions, I wouldn't doubt that it would be supportive of new ventures.
posted by PrinceValium at 4:55 AM on April 5, 2004

Her comment would come across a lot better if she had just eliminated the first and the last paragraphs. Don't apologize for it, just post it. I think it's fine.

Plus, it reminded me of that "I liked the product so much, I bought the company!" razor guy from the old tv commercials.
posted by iconomy at 5:00 AM on April 5, 2004

First, let me apologize. I let my inner salesperson out a bit too much on the thread. For that, I'm sorry.

I didn't find any guidelines about posts anywhere on the site. This may be stupidity (or a need for glasses) but even when I registered, there was nothing special. One comment per day? Where is that?

I used what I felt was common sense. I didn't post a comment about my game on the front page; I commented in something that I think was very on-topic.

Anyways, I'll try to be "carefuller" in the future. I'll also buy a TextAd.

Quick thanks to Patrick for emailing me directly to let me know about this thread, and to the posters in general for their tone. It is so nice to be talking with other adults. =)
posted by andreaazure at 6:17 AM on April 5, 2004

I don't know whether to comment on the game here or in the underdogs thread.

I was checking out her site and was very surprised to find that you have to pay for the cards. I figured some sort of monthly card allowance would be set up. Or maybe something involving extra cards to tournament winners.

There's something very odd about charging individually for non-existant, electronic cards.

I guess I expected a fan controlled collectable card game to be more about the game and less about the money. Though I realize that artificial scarcity is a big part of CCG, so I don't know how I'd get around that problem. Probably with something involving a merit based card distribution scheme? Or just a random shake up every month so new players are on the same ground as old ones.

I don't have the answers. Interesting issues are raised though.
posted by ODiV at 6:23 AM on April 5, 2004

We have a "pay as you want" model. We don't charge monthly fees. If you want to spend $15 and that is it ever you can keep playing in our game for a long, long time. Some of our highest-rated players spent about $20. Try doing that in Everquest.

Collectibility is a way for indies to compete, I believe. We aren't fleecing anyone; people spend what they want to spend. I just need to make sure that the rares aren't automatically better than their common counterparts. More powerful AND more specialized is the object here.

As far as a monthly-fee strategy card game, without any collectibility, that is something we've discussed at length. It is out of the question for Chron X, but maybe another game in the future.

PS: Is my reply ok, because it is in metatalk? Because it is about the game? Or should I have folded long ago? =/
posted by andreaazure at 8:41 AM on April 5, 2004

In the same vein, there's some book pimping going on as the entire content of the post.
posted by headspace at 9:02 AM on April 5, 2004

I apologize for the implication that you are fleecing people andreaazure. That's not at all what I meant. There's no misrepresentation or anything going on and your site is being very up front about what is for sale. I just found the issue interesting and was trying to figure out how I would go about charging for something like this.

After some consideration, your method of purchasing does seem fairly relevant. There are direct parallels to physical CCGs. The objects themselves aren't worth anything (be it cardboard or bytes); it's what they represent within the game that's important.

Are your cards transferable at all? Do you have limited runs of cards (only 100 and that's it)?

And I think your reply is appropriate in here as I was asking the quesiton in here. I could've gone looking for the forums of your game, I suppose. But then Mefi would miss out on the fun and some of your players may see this as an attack (which hopefully you did not).
posted by ODiV at 9:08 AM on April 5, 2004

I agree with TGC and dg: the self-link wasn't a problem, the sales pitch was. But since andreaazure has recognized it and apologized, I'll omit the frothing rage and simply welcome her to MetaFilter. The ability to learn from one's mistakes is a valuable byproduct of membership! But I do think you've said all you need to say about your product by this point.

For those of you defending the comment as a whole, I urge you to think about what MeFi threads would be like if everybody felt free to post that kind of thing. "And while we're on the subject of X, try my delicious, sexy ProductBlue! I think you'll find it the best thing since grits, &c &c..."
posted by languagehat at 9:09 AM on April 5, 2004

(odiv takes his questions to her site)
posted by ODiV at 9:17 AM on April 5, 2004

No frothy rage? Awwww.

OK, enough said. Taking this to email.
posted by andreaazure at 9:18 AM on April 5, 2004

I think it is crazy to discourage mefi members from mentioning and linking to projects they work on. It is easy to tell when someone is using mefi exclusively as a marketing tool, and that of course is not allowed. But I want to know what people here are doing, and if it's relevant to a thread, it creates no problems.

(Can I also please take this opportunity to say I think the first comment in this thread on Flickr is ridiculous. I am a Flickr developer, but vacapinta (the poster) is not. So wtf?)
posted by ericost at 10:05 AM on April 5, 2004

what languagehat et al said
posted by matteo at 10:53 AM on April 5, 2004

I don't know about you guys, but I could sure go for a cool, refreshing Pepsi Blue.
posted by graventy at 11:09 AM on April 5, 2004

echo what ericost said. One of the best things about MeFi is the collective experience and knowledge of the members. if there's someone, RjReynolds and the art dealer thread comes to mind, that has a personal connection to the subject matter, then they should absolutely be allowed to comment on said relationship with no fear of reprisal. It's easy to tell when someone is just trying to sell ya something, and that's why we have MeTa and sgt. serenity. with his stabby sword.

posted by lazaruslong at 11:53 AM on April 5, 2004

So could I graventy. Too bad no one seems to be selling it anymore.
posted by ODiV at 1:27 PM on April 5, 2004

As one of the main guys who whines about people being mean here, I'd like to compliment everyone here on dealing with this issue in a polite, adult way. I wish MeFi, AxMe and MeTa were always like this.

Bravo GodComplex for emailing first!
posted by grumblebee at 2:15 PM on April 5, 2004

I didn't find any guidelines about posts anywhere on the site. This may be stupidity (or a need for glasses) but even when I registered, there was nothing special. One comment per day? Where is that?

every newbie should be sure to read this.
posted by joedan at 2:18 PM on April 5, 2004

I would like to thank those that voiced their opinions for doing so in a considerate and well-reasoned manner, especially andreaazure's cordial response (past history suggests being the topic of a metatalk thread doesn't always result in such a top-notch response). I couldn't have envisioned a better result!
posted by The God Complex at 2:19 PM on April 5, 2004


(totally books it towards the exit)
posted by Hildago at 6:00 PM on April 5, 2004

Damn. First I miss the noobs then I miss the first noob lynching.

Just wait 'til I get into a majority time zone.
*shakes fist at nothing in particular*
posted by i_cola at 6:56 PM on April 5, 2004

A textbook civil resolution of a potentially contentious issue.

I'm so proud of you all, n00bs and 0ldbs alike. Even you, Hildago.

And that's not just the acid talking.
posted by chicobangs at 8:03 AM on April 6, 2004

« Older A pancakes T-shirt   |   Someone starts to answer a question only to... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments