MetaTalk isn't as good as it was in the old days (7/19/01) July 19, 2001 5:46 AM   Subscribe

MetaTalk isn't as good as it was in the old days.
posted by lagado to Etiquette/Policy at 5:46 AM (29 comments total)

What in the ZippityBOP! world can you mean?

posted by briank at 6:19 AM on July 19, 2001

Proposal: MeTa isn't a well-defined space and thus, there's a lot of Wacky Zany Goodness going on. I'm not opposed to Wacky Zany Goodness, but if it becomes steady... and it seems to be making a start... MeTa could become just another Slashdot-type of thing, where one-line posts are the norm and the occasional serious post is followed up with such enlightened thought as, "First post!" and "Lighten up!"

MetaTalk needs a place for that Wacky Zany Goodness type of stuff. It might not even be MetaTalk; it might be something on another site, or a mailing list, or - heck - even a USENET group.

MeTa has dropped off the cliff, to my eyes. MeFi was on the shoulder, and driving along the grass for a while, but occasionally gets back on the proverbial road.

Disclaimer: I respect all of the people I linked to in this post, and actually like some of 'em. I'm just overly concerned, perhaps.
posted by hijinx at 6:39 AM on July 19, 2001

First post!
posted by daveadams at 6:49 AM on July 19, 2001

Can't help but agree with Paul (and whoever said a couple of days ago that all the %$*@*% zippity-bop people needed to be rounded up and transported via cattle cars to a place far away from the internet). But wonder if we really want to be saying, in MetaTalk, "Hey, that's not appropriate for here, take it to OtherMetaTalk."

I dunno. I really am of two minds, but one thing is for sure: the noise over here just about drowns out the signal sometimes.
posted by Sapphireblue at 6:59 AM on July 19, 2001

I've debated deleting stuff here, but I've left it as is so hopefully people would think about it.

The point of MetaTalk was to help improve the site by catching bugs, mentioning new features, and discussing when someone crossed the line on the site.

You want to know what I think of the past few days of MetaTalk?

I think it's a big pile of pointless shit.

"pancakes" were funny once, in a comment aaron made. "ponies" were funny a long time ago, and the baby jesus was funny once when someone first used it. Zippity-anything was *never* funny and frankly I don't understand why the hell it's even here, but it reminds me of pointless first posts and natalie portman comments on slashdot.

MetaTalk is what users make it, and currently it's crap. If that's what you want it to be, keep it up.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:04 AM on July 19, 2001 [2 favorites]

Well, as someone who is guilty of one of the Wacky Threads (and lemme tell you, that sherbet was goooooooood...), I will just say that recent stuff posted to MetaTalk has made me laugh so hard I was afraid I would be asked to leave work.

I think there's a need for wackiness, and since it usually doesn't find its way onto the front page or the threads, then having MetaTalk as a free-range zone for stuff to just spew is probably good. I mean, all the weirdness usually falls into the "Metafilter-specific" thread anyway - no one's being goofy in the etiquette or bugs section, I don't think.

That being said, I do wish a touch of restraint were applied with the Wackiness, but mostly for aesthetic reasons. I don't want to see certain gags become stale (like the Baby Jesus, for instance). Zippity Bop has reached saturation point, I do believe.

My point being, is that after spending all day ripping on each other in the threads, it's nice to go to MetaTalk and just detach your brain for a while. So that's my opinion.
posted by solistrato at 7:07 AM on July 19, 2001

Moderation is the key here (not in the rating/karma sense, but in the "hey, let's only do this a little bit").

Wackiness does have its place, and I see what you're saying scott, but what's been happening over the past few days has become too much here.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:11 AM on July 19, 2001

I miss the old policy of blowing off steam by taking everything too seriously in MetaTalk. This new policy of contrived wackiness is AOL chatroom without the A/S/L checks.
posted by rcade at 7:25 AM on July 19, 2001

*apologizes & offers his account up for deletion*
posted by TheAverageMefite at 7:41 AM on July 19, 2001

Some people don't have a sense of humor, other people have a really bad sense of humor. Everyone else stays away from MetaTalk.
posted by chaz at 8:04 AM on July 19, 2001

Matt, our big posts went up there at the same time, so I didn't see yours while I was responding. I didn't realize that you felt that way. Hmmm.

It has been pretty recent, hasn't it? Suddenly everyone and their mother is going Zippity Bop! and whatnot. Hmmmm...I blame this thread. Up until that point, I had no idea what Zippity Bop was, or any other super hidden jokes or whatnot. Heck, I didn't even know what 1142 was. But I think that now that they've been codified and put in one place for easy consumption, people see that, assume "Oh, hey, everyone must know about that, so why don't I!," and then explode the whole thing out of proportion.

And there's always a difference between forced wackiness and spontaneous crazed genius. Take 2411...which, for some reason, isn't coming up at the moment...I thought the fact that someone would take all that time to create that stupid Galaga alien metamorphosizing was sheer madness.

But I totally see what you're saying. I guess it all falls back on the old axiom: "If you don't have a sense of humor, don't try to be funny."
posted by solistrato at 8:11 AM on July 19, 2001

Moderation is the key here

I agree with Matt about this point. Moderation is key, but I think what's happening is a LOT of people all doing just a little bit. It becomes too much quickly, but everyone wants to throw their own little variation on the theme into the mix.

If you don't have a sense of humor, don't try to be funny.

This "axiom" is pointless. Not all senses of humor are the same.

Zippity-anything was *never* funny and frankly I don't understand why the hell it's even here

Well, you can blame me for starting it, but I don't agree with the "never funny" part. :) Remember back when it was just me doing it? That's when it was really really funny.
posted by daveadams at 8:21 AM on July 19, 2001

My take is that some of the wackiness -- even if it fell flat -- was in response to the increasing nastiness in MeFi proper. There's a thread today which includes the comments "Personally I would have fucking tied you to one of the bombs and you could have screamed your pathetic apologies on the way down." and "Does the military create rabid, violent nationalists, or do rabid, violent nationalists join the military?"

The ZIPping and the BOPping got to be too much, but I think a lot of it was an do a kitty post, even if it didn't work. The kitty magic may be gone.

And if Matt wants everyone to knock it off, everyone will knock it off. Matt is the boss. All hail Matt.
posted by snarkout at 8:39 AM on July 19, 2001

As someone who has participated in the wackiness (proof: You are logged in as: Zippity Bop™ ), I apologize. As I have said before in MetaTalk, this is a damn good place, and I hope that I have been able contribute more positively to this place than I have in the recent past.

*opens self up to feces-flinging*

That said, the reason that I, and presumably others, have been a part of this dadaesque experience is because of the general bile that has accumulated on MeFi proper, and hoped that the general silliness would counteract the anger and closemindedness (see the mental retardation thread and the various Bush threads for examples) that has seemed to prevail. This, however, is no excuse for my actions. I offer myself up for blame.
posted by Avogadro at 8:44 AM on July 19, 2001

snarkout: There were plenty of opportunities for goofiness in Me-Fi proper yesterday, or so I thought. The VH-1 Def Leppard movie thread, for one. Also, the summer movie thread. The Amelia Earhart thing. If you really wanted to show off re humor, too, there was the attempted Margaret Mead birthday thread. It was awfully tempting, but I didn't dare, especially when only one person had posted.
posted by raysmj at 8:44 AM on July 19, 2001

snarkout: There were plenty of opportunities for goofiness in Me-Fi proper yesterday, or so I thought. The VH-1 Def Leppard movie thread, for one.

<denial class="Alger Hiss">
I haven't been any of the Zippities or their kin, so I can't speak from experience. I just wanted to give an explanation of where I think some of it was coming from. I'd further guess that some of the people thought they were being more restrained by keeping it largely confined to MetaTalk.

Also, I am not and never have been a member of the Communist Party.
posted by snarkout at 8:50 AM on July 19, 2001

snarkout: It's OK. And you can make people laugh pretty much anywhere, even - sometimes especially - at funerals, if you have good timing. There's a difference been solemnity and seriousness.
posted by raysmj at 8:59 AM on July 19, 2001

Sorry for being extra goofy the last couple days. Pretty new here and I guess that makes me want be Class Clown.

And you can make people laugh pretty much anywhere, even - sometimes especially - at funerals, if you have good timing.

God knows, it took me a few funerals to learn that one. Nothing like a few widows chasing you out of the graveyard to instill a life-lesson.


*slaps self*!
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:05 AM on July 19, 2001

I'm with Snark on this one. It's pretty clear to me that people have been getting increasingly frustrated with MetaFilter. Responsible MeFites, however, don't want to act out on MF proper, so they bring it here, where it's explicitly permitted.

MT really is self-policing, and as such, I'd like to suggest that if someone's doing something that bugs you, the best way to deal with it is to tell the person directly and politely. Usually, the offender has no idea that he's causing offense or that anyone finds his quirks unfunny. I think a few of us have tried to do that with Zippity Bop without directly confronting anyone in here.

I'd further like to suggest that some threads lend themselves to sophomoric humor. It should be obvious which threads those are, and if the Bopniks or whoever can restrict their Bops or whatever to a small number of threads, we'll all be happier.

I will have to admit that however sophomoric it might have been, the whole series of posts about x action gives the baby Jesus y malady busted me up pretty good.

And I also worry that the self-examination/flagellation about MetaTalk means that some people have pretty much given up worrying about MetaFilter proper. The general level of front-page postings and comments just makes me shake my head lately sometimes.

I do not, however, cry. With or without asterisks.
posted by anapestic at 11:45 AM on July 19, 2001

I'm not jesus, nor any of the Zippities™, but I've been an abetter, I guess. Snark, Avogadro and anapestic have covered more or less what I would have said, so I'll just add my voice. I would note that many of the people that have been "confessing" here are long-time, valuable contributors to MeFi, so when they agonize over the state that it's in, I think they should be taken seriously. (I'd add myself to the list, except I don't know if anyone takes me seriously.)

There have days lately when MeFi is painful to read. Threads are started that make me (and others who I talk to) go "uh oh." It just shouldn't be that way. Communities, real ones, have ways of dealing with problems other than just vomiting anger at each other. (See the Bomb thread Snark cites above.) One of those ways is having in-jokes, running gags, a group language, a backstory. I have laughed until I spewed at solistrato's "Get him" line, and in some weird way I feel like he's "one of us", whoever us is, or I'm one of them, whoever they are. Maybe the fact that so many people seemed to get it--MeFi just *filled* with allusions, sometimes silly, sometimes wry--to these things--indicates some sort of instinctive reaction to the pervasive badness going around.

So, while I agree with Matt that it's gotten out of hand, I don't think we should discount the value of "kitties" and other "phatic communion"-type posts. I think the perps will cool down now, but I worry that some good feelings will go with it.

I dunno. I do understand why Matt's feeling the way he is, and I respect it. But once we return to sober/grim debates about the interpretation of the guidelines, then what?
posted by rodii at 12:55 PM on July 19, 2001

(I realized as I was finishing that wobbly ramble that I had shaded from discussing MeTa to discussing MeFi. And I think that's because, for me, this discussion is really about MeFi. That may be inappropriate, I don't know. But I would urge everyone to make a short list of threads they have really enjoyed, that represent for them the ideal MeFi threads, and try to figure out what makes those threads good. Then see if the current state of things feels anything like that ideal MeFi. If not, what constructive responses can we offer?)
posted by rodii at 1:01 PM on July 19, 2001

I pray you've all gotten it out of your system. This is the first time Metatalk had made me cringe.
posted by john at 1:15 PM on July 19, 2001

rodii: I think a new MeTa thread on that would be great. Everyone picks out 3-5 threads representative of MeFi's best, and everyone is happy. Maybe no self-linking, and try to avoid duplicates?

A MetaFilter Renaissance, perhaps - MeFiRen. If the worst occurs, and no one gets motivated from said thread, then we can all look back and say, "Wow, remember when..." about fifty or sixty times.
posted by hijinx at 1:18 PM on July 19, 2001

snarkout, You realize the rabid-nationalist quote was in response to the tied-to-the-bomb quote right?

I was pointing out the hate. My father is in the military, I’m not about to disparage him.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 1:22 PM on July 19, 2001

wackiness: take it to monkeyfilter
posted by Hackworth at 6:35 PM on July 19, 2001

I don't know if this has anything to do with this, but I posted my thoughts here earlier, and they seem to have disappeared. In a nutshell:

When I started the "I hate Zippity Bop" thread I felt it was a kind of community-building exercise. I'm sick of the bad blood that's flowing around parts of MeFi, although I admit I've played a part in it too (see tied-to-the-bomb thread).

Maybe I need to take a break from MeFi, or something. I don't know. I think MeFi is starting to groan under the weight of 10,000 users, and it's starting to suffer. We're a self-regulating community, and if people think that a few silly posts to Metatalk are harming the site, I completely respect that. Personally, I disagree that ZippityBop or pancakes are the problem, especially when they're confined to MeTa, but what do I know?

In the meantime, I'm gonna go back to that thread about booze.
posted by jpoulos at 6:38 PM on July 19, 2001

It used to be that the noise was so isolated it rarely got off the ground, but first MetaFilter, and now MetaTalk, reached a critical mass. Instead of being ignored, or universally corrected, the lowest common denominator has now arrived in sufficient numbers to create the feedback required, and threads frequently deteriorate.

I never got a Slashdot account because I never had anything to say. I still go there, but have to adjust the threshold so there's less than about 20 comments before I can face reading them. It took me over a year to get a MetaFilter account because I had so little to say - I never considered my thoughts to be a positive contribution. Now, unfortunately, I do. I really hope heavy moderation doesn't become essential, but unless people can be better judges of themselves it will.

The graffiti thread has parallels with this. A good piece or a good post / comment is beyond a lot of people for a lot [not all] of the time, but they still want to be an active part of the scene. It's not never right, but should be well thought out.

MetaFilter and MetaTalk are being tagged.
posted by southisup at 2:21 AM on July 20, 2001

mathowie: MetaTalk is what users make it, and currently it's crap. If that's what you want it to be, keep it up.

Matt: That "keep it up" scares me...much like a parent would say, "If you want me to take (insert name of favorite toy) away, then just keep it up!"

I agree that *some* threads & posts get very tired very quickly, but I see no true damage or harm to the overall community as a result. As referenced several times in other threads, trolls & lame posts will meet the fate that they deserve.

$0.02 worth. Keep the faith!

posted by davidmsc at 10:56 PM on July 20, 2001

"I think MeFi is starting to groan under the weight of 10,000 users, and it's starting to suffer."

I love how people here keep using this line, as if it's really 10,000 people posting regularly. Seems to me it's a core group of regulars that isn't more than 100 people that do most of the posting, and seem to perpetrate all the cheesy humour that fills up MetaTalk. Zippity whatever was lame from the get go.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 2:20 PM on July 29, 2001

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