New policy on election/iraq/political posts? August 27, 2004 2:22 PM   Subscribe

So, I notice there's a link in the sidebar to Devoter, and I was just wondering: is there a new policy about election/iraq/political posts? Should they be moved over to Devoter? Are you going to start deleting political threads here, Matt?
posted by monju_bosatsu to Etiquette/Policy at 2:22 PM (96 comments total)

"Should they be moved over to Devoter?"

Sure. Let's try it. Until after the election *all* political posts will be axed.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:31 PM on August 27, 2004


mathowie, why did you log in with y6y6y6's account?
posted by dhoyt at 2:52 PM on August 27, 2004


Yes! Yes! Yes!

Also: Yes!
posted by bonehead at 2:53 PM on August 27, 2004


Why do you liberals hate AmericaNewsfilter?
posted by Ryvar at 3:02 PM on August 27, 2004


Yes, please delete all future politcal threads and direct people there. That would be ace!
posted by dobbs at 3:23 PM on August 27, 2004


Sheesh monju, you're pissing all over yourself just like my parents' dog after they return from a vacation. Get hold of yourself.
posted by mischief at 3:46 PM on August 27, 2004


i do that too.

it's a gift.
posted by fishfucker at 4:01 PM on August 27, 2004


If this is any different from the attempted WarFilter, I'd love to hear how it'll have a different result.

And forgive me for sounding pretentious or assholish about this, but one of the main reasons I post to MetaFilter is because people read it, and a lot of people reading something enables a lot of people to discuss it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:25 PM on August 27, 2004


Out of interest whatever happened to warfilter? It was a good idea.

XQUZYPHYR: I think the point that people are trying to make above is that they're sick and tired of discussing political issues. Certainly for those of us like me who don't live in the States endlessly discussing Bush/Kerry is tedious beyond all imagining.
posted by dmt at 4:47 PM on August 27, 2004


so skip those threads if you don't want to discuss any of that stuff...it's not hard to do at all. And if you want to discuss other things, post about other things.
posted by amberglow at 4:52 PM on August 27, 2004


Yeah, and create the cliques I'm sure you would love, amberglow. This is a community, not a special interest forum for those trying to be heard. I'd rather see one or two great political threads a day or week than see the endless parade of pathetic one-link front page news stories followed by, "What do you think?"

The worst part is, because the initial front page posts set such a low bar, the ensuing discussion rarely becomes deep. It remains superficial and the "facts" strewn about are simply the talking points of the day, propagated by both sides of the political spectrum.

Another reason that we need more signups is that a rather vocal minority has made this site their personal blog for politics/news/discussion BECAUSE they have an audience. It's remarkably selfish. Unfortunately, because new ideas, personalities, and interests aren't being injected, we're likely to see more of the same soap box behavior.

You can argue all you want that I can simply ignore the site. Please expect me to disagree vehemently (and vocally) every time you make that argument.
posted by BlueTrain at 5:10 PM on August 27, 2004


I just posted it there if people wanted to try it out. I posted a similar message for iraqfilter and politicalfilter (I think both sites are dead now).

There will be no edict from on high today.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:29 PM on August 27, 2004


Yeah, and create the cliques I'm sure you would love, amberglow. This is a community, not a special interest forum for those trying to be heard.

Except for this specific topic, in which case you nerds all go over there.

And unless you have some set of specifics about 17,000 members of MetaFilter and their individual preferences on political issues and talking about them, you have no right to deign any issue, from politics to vibrating brooms, the act of a "vocal minority." Most MeFites don't even read the site frequently, let alone post. To even write something on this site is to be part of that vocal minority of yours.

You can argue all you want that a important issue to a lot of people is only of interest to a "minority." Please expect me to disagree vehemently (and vocally) every time you make that argument.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:30 PM on August 27, 2004


Wait. Before we spiral into the same old newfilter argument, let's take a step back and think. Yes, we know that some people like the news posts and some people don't, and we also know that some political posts are better than others. The problem before now was that there was no attractive alternative, and so the best solution--if it can be called that--was to simply ignore the political posts if you didn't like them. The audience was here, the community was here, why go anywhere else? Warfilter attempted to provide an alternative outlet, but with no established community, it pretty much stayed vacant from the beginning. Now, however, there is an opportunity to create a close relationship between Devoter and Metafilter, and effectively move the community, or at least the portion of it that is interested in the political posts, over to Devoter in toto. That didn't work with Warfilter, because Matt didn't enforce any policy requiring that to happen. Which is precisely why I asked this question.

The only way Devoter works as a real alternative outlet for political discussion, and honestly, the only way Devoter is really going to thrive, is if Matt gets involved by enforcing a policy of moving political posts over there. Seems like a good idea to me. Devoter is a Metafilter-style forum, so the discussion will likely be very similar. Sign-ups are open, so not only can the current MeFi members get in on it, but so too can all the lurkers. Plus, it has the explicit purpose of hosting the political discussions that cause so much ire over here. I think the question really is this: why not move the political posts over there?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:31 PM on August 27, 2004


BlueTrain, I have no trouble skipping right over the tech posts, the fark posts, the PepsiBluefilter/marketing posts, most of the science posts, most of the liquor posts, car posts, sports posts, videogame posts, olympicfilter posts, and posts i've already seen elsewhere (boingboing, atrios, dailykos...) etc.

Why don't you guys try it? You only have 2 kinds of posts to skip, not dozens.

monju: then move all the sports posts to sportsfilter, the queer posts to queerfilter, and so on and so on--you can empty the whole frontpage in no time, no? ...the variety of stuff here is the appeal, and restricting that variety would mean the end of what's great.
posted by amberglow at 5:35 PM on August 27, 2004


this has been discussed before--over and over. If people are uncomfortable with or don't like news or politics posts, the only answer is to skip them, not to shunt them off to another site.
posted by amberglow at 5:42 PM on August 27, 2004


Another reason that we need more signups is that a rather vocal minority has made this site their personal blog for politics/news/discussion BECAUSE they have an audience. It's remarkably selfish. Unfortunately, because new ideas, personalities, and interests aren't being injected, we're likely to see more of the same soap box behavior.

After 250+ years of yank politics, why do you think that newmembers will be apolitical?

There will be no edict from on high today. - #1.

Get it?
posted by dash_slot- at 5:44 PM on August 27, 2004


I think the question really is this: why not move the political posts over there?

It takes away from the spirit of the site. I think we'd all like to at least pretend that there's no censorship here. I think we'd all like to believe that we're capable of respectful political discussion. I don't believe that forced restriction is the answer. Quite frankly, it breeds hostility and additional calls of elitism. I just wish that people would show more restraint.

Like today's example of y2karl's post. That was awesome. Anything you may have been thinking about regarding Iraq was posted inside and that thread was setup perfectly. Blatantly biased (even though I agree) but extremely informative.

XQUZYPHYR, repeating what I write as a retort is really lame. Even quonsar manages to mention my bowel obstruction or something other original insult.

Most MeFites don't even read the site frequently, let alone post.

How can you make such an unsubstantiated claim and then say this: you have no right to deign any issue

Why don't you guys try it?

What makes you think I haven't? I get the impression that since none of us really know each other, mentioning your viewpoint, when relevant, is the only way to cause, at the very least, some self-reflection. (Hence the large # of pro-Kerry, anti-Bush threads here; pound it down to make sure the audience gets the clue...except that I don't post to MeFi or MeTa every day)
posted by BlueTrain at 5:47 PM on August 27, 2004


In one sense, Bluetrain's argument is nonsensical -- the reason metafilter is structured the way it is, with links that lead to discussion pages for specific topics, is so that people can pick which ones they want to read. There's no reason at all to click a discussion link for a political post you have no interest in. This is a website, not a continuous stream of political packet data.

Of course, he also has a point: it's nice to have a high interested/not interested ratio. But largely a matter of convenience.
posted by Tlogmer at 5:50 PM on August 27, 2004


Amber: Your suggestion that any category of posts could be moved wholesale to another 'filter is certainly correct, but only in the most hypertechnical sense. Not all categories are equal. How many sports posts or queer posts are made in a week? To the extent they are made at all, they are part of a healthy mix of topics. Political posts, and especially those on Iraq and the election, are not just more parts of that mix. Instead, those categories are distinguishable on three grounds: (1) the sheer number of those posts, (2) the tendancy to lean towards single-link op-ed style posts, and (3) the intensely partisan nature of the conversation. Further, these posts clearly generate a lot of frustration, as evidenced by the running debate in MeTa.

this has been discussed before--over and over. If people are uncomfortable with or don't like news or politics posts, the only answer is to skip them, not to shunt them off to another site.

But why? As I said earlier, I think that the reason we couldn't do that before is because there was not attractive alternative. Now, there is. Everybody was so excited by the proposition of an ElectionFilter, but don't you see? This is it. If Matt was going to make one himself, it would have been done already.

I posted a similar message for iraqfilter and politicalfilter (I think both sites are dead now).

Gee, I wonder why that is? People aren't going to magically populate those forums without some incentive to do so. Matt, you can make a huge difference in the success of Devoter, and I think it's an experiment worth trying. The ultimate solution in my mind would be simple categories with separate rss feeds. That doesn't appear to be happening. Instead, Devoter has been created for what seems to be the express purpose of hosting the political threads. Again, I ask: why not?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:56 PM on August 27, 2004


"the variety of stuff here is the appeal"

Look at the front page right now... I can't be bothered to count, but the variety seems pretty low. American politics are quite overwhelming.

And yes, I am skipping the posts I don't wish to read. I still think it makes for an unappealing front page.
posted by ODiV at 6:00 PM on August 27, 2004


BlueTrain, what did you mean by "deign" in your post? Because I couldn't parse it.

And there seem to be metric boatloads of pro-Bush, anti-Kerry threads on here, too. At least to me.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:00 PM on August 27, 2004


I'm completely with monju bosatsu. The number of Bush/Kerry/Swiftboats/other USA politics b.s. is overwhelming. Matt, if you aren't willing to shift the focus to Devoter, is there a reason electionfilter hasn't happened? I gotta admit that of all the ponies you've posted about in the past 6 mos, that one's been the one I've been wanting the most.... and I wouldn't even use it.

I cannot imagine how ridiculous the blue is going to be as we get closer to November. In fact, I'd argue that if you don't create electionfilter or politics.metafilter.com, then MeFi proper will just become it soon enough and that's pretty damn depressing.
posted by dobbs at 6:05 PM on August 27, 2004


Once again the vocal few try to assert themselves, and once again they are shut down. Whoda Thunkit?
posted by mischief at 6:15 PM on August 27, 2004


There was an overwhelming amount of Iraqwarfilter posts and now there's not. And 9/11 posts? Weren't there just a dozen or more Olympics posts? how about 2000Election/Florida posts? Every big thing causes lots of posts--it's no surprise.
posted by amberglow at 6:15 PM on August 27, 2004


Once again the vocal few try to assert themselves, and once again they are shut down. Whoda Thunkit?

What's funny is that I'm not sure which side you're talking about.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:19 PM on August 27, 2004


I'm just waiting for the whole lot of you to throw caution to the wind and hold each other in a mad, passionate, erotic, ball crushing embrace.
posted by Stynxno at 6:23 PM on August 27, 2004


Most MeFites don't even read the site frequently

You don't know this. You don't know who is simply reading.

You and amberglow are like the fucking street corner preachers here in Madison when the weather gets warm. You stand on the library mall on campus during lunch and hurl things out at the crowd that doesn't want it. Or on Saturdays, at the farmer's market, standing on the capital lawn, shouting about Jesus and how we're all going to hell.

But hey! If we don't want to be bothered by it, we can just ignore it, right? We can just stop walking through library mall, or stop shopping at the farmer's market, because you have a right to shout at us, you are entitled to do this.

But that doesn't mean we like it, in fact we all fucking hate you and wish you'd go away, but we're mostly too polite to usually say anything.
posted by rocketman at 6:31 PM on August 27, 2004


And I know posting to Metafilter makes you feel like you're making a difference, because - hey! - lots of people read it.

You want to make a difference? Go build a house with Habitat for Humanity. Go to Pennsylvania to register people to vote. Sign up to be Big Brothers.

Just "make a difference" somewhere else, where people might actually appreciate it.
posted by rocketman at 6:33 PM on August 27, 2004


Sound and fury.
posted by kjh at 6:39 PM on August 27, 2004


If this was at all like shouting on a streetcorner you would have a point, but text on a screen just isn't. Don't like it? Don't read it.
posted by amberglow at 6:39 PM on August 27, 2004


Exactly my point. You have no respect for a community. You seek to disrupt it for your own sense of self-righteousness.

Your point would make more sense except that one has to read the post in order to know if one should skip the post.
posted by rocketman at 6:45 PM on August 27, 2004


Your point would make more sense except that one has to read the post in order to know if one should skip the post.

no, actually-they just have to read the few sentences on the front page--it's not that tough. No one's forcing you to even do any more than skim by. You act like this is some assault on you (a la a screaming crazyman on the street)--it's not. This is a voluntary activity--posting and reading and commenting. I really find it amazing the hatred people have for posts on topics they don't like. I don't rant about sports posts, tech posts, etc--i skip them.
posted by amberglow at 6:54 PM on August 27, 2004


I really find it amazing the hatred people have for posts on topics they don't like.

Fred Phelps is amazed he's met with hatred too. Funny that.

posted by rocketman at 6:57 PM on August 27, 2004


Exactly my point. You have no respect for a community.

Says the one demanding to evict half the neighbors.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:02 PM on August 27, 2004


Again with the crazy screaming people? and Fred Phelps has to do with posts on MeFi how?
posted by amberglow at 7:02 PM on August 27, 2004


Hot topic posts, including the U.S. election, war in Iraq, Israel/Palestine, weight, abortion, etc., all get a disproportionate number of comments, and often a very poor signal:noise rating. Maybe it's just me, but the quality of comments has been lackluster lately. It's easy to ignore threads that don't interest me; harder to ignore sloppy, pointless, shrill posts in threads that are interesting.

Really, how do we improve the quality of discussion?
posted by theora55 at 7:08 PM on August 27, 2004


I'm not demanding to "evict" you, XQUZYPHYR, but I have evicted people I like a lot more than you.

I bring up Fred Phelps because he's appeared in my city and forced us to deal with the hassles he brings here. He stirs up shit in inappropriate places, at inappropriate times. It's his kind of mentality - the mentality that by filling a public area with his self-righteousness, he is doing the right thing - that bothers me.

How can someone be so convinced that they're right? How can someone be so self-involved that they won't stop to think that maybe they can do better?

We can do better than this.
posted by rocketman at 7:14 PM on August 27, 2004


But that doesn't mean we like it, in fact we all fucking hate you and wish you'd go away, but we're mostly too polite to usually say anything.

I read XQUZYPHYR and amberglow's posts. I like some of them.

And I detest Flash games, and so I skip Flash game posts. No big deal.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:16 PM on August 27, 2004


How can someone be so convinced that they're right?

Irony... thick... breathing... becoming... difficult...
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:17 PM on August 27, 2004


Hey, I didn't want to read about ball smashing. You don't hear me, uh, screaming.
I skip stuff all the time. I simply don't understand people who find it such a trial to do the same. And rocketman's hysterics - "we all fucking hate you and wish you'd go away" - is bizarre.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:20 PM on August 27, 2004


We can do better?
so do better, rocketman...post some stuff that's better than the stuff that makes you compare MeFi posters to Fred Phelps. Or just be an asshole here--your choice.

(and what eustace said.)
posted by amberglow at 7:20 PM on August 27, 2004


eustacescrubb, I'm not convinced I'm right. I don't want all political/news posts banned, but I want people to try harder.

I know what my opinions are, but I don't know that they're right. Prove me wrong, and I will admit so.

We always bring up "the best of the web" in these discussions, and politics/news has a place in that. But are we finding the best politics/news? I say no. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am.

Okay amberglow. I'll do better if you do. Deal?
posted by rocketman at 7:23 PM on August 27, 2004


I really find it amazing the hatred people have for posts on topics they don't like.

Apparently YOU don't like tech and sports posts, but I've never admitted a hatred for politics. In fact, I love reading and writing about the subject. But once again, the large number of poorly researched and "discussion-oriented" posts detracts from the site's primary goal of finding interesting links on the web.

There is usually no good reason for a front page news story to be posted here. MeFi is not a discussion site. That's precisely why you must provide a link or you can't post to the front page. All you've done (general you) is bypass that rule by linking to a general story in order to feed your desire to "discuss stuff".

Every single day things pop into my head that I'd love to hear opinions about. Every day I have an idea or two that I'd love to share here to receive feedback. But I know that this isn't my site. Again, I love discussing politics and enjoy reading comments here (which is why I'm still here), but today, on a fucking Friday, there are no less than 6 posts on the front page that mention the name Bush. If you don't find that mildly excessive, you're clearly not willing to question your own values, which explains why you keep repeating your stock phrase, "If you don't like it, skip it."

Perhaps, like Bush, you think that if you repeat a phrase long enough, people will eventually believe it. CHOO CHOO!
posted by BlueTrain at 7:25 PM on August 27, 2004


And in the spirit of being proven wrong: the Fred Phelps thing was out of line, and not accurate. I'm sorry about that.
posted by rocketman at 7:26 PM on August 27, 2004


best of the web
posted by quonsar at 7:28 PM on August 27, 2004


wow. this is nuts. i'm use to the bluetrain / seth / amberglow/monju_bosatsu love fest (and I must say, I enjoy every minute of it - keep it up) but rocketman's antics are a little insane.

on preview: okay, looks like he calmed down a bit.

and on second preview: MeFi is not a discussion site. then why does it have a comments? and again bluetrain, you claim that metafilter isn't your site but you are defining what metafilter is? and for someone who believes that this isn't his site, you obviously spend a lot of time, effort and energy trying to turn it into the site that you think it should be. that seems a tad hypocritical to me.

and on third preview: rocketman is better now.
posted by Stynxno at 7:28 PM on August 27, 2004


eustacescrubb, I'm not convinced I'm right. I don't want all political/news posts banned, but I want people to try harder.

If that's true, then can the over-the-top rhetoric. Your comments make you come off as someone who's convinced in their own rightness. Try replacing the angry screed stuff with some strong arguments for your case, and accept that not everyone will be persuaded by your arguments, no matter how sound they are.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:29 PM on August 27, 2004


DAMNIT! why the hell did i miss the fourth preview?!

/me shakes fist at quonsar who is correct, like always

on second preview: okay okay, i'll stop
posted by Stynxno at 7:29 PM on August 27, 2004


The Zen of Preview

Keep hitting "preview" to see what comments are coming next, so you can reply to them and avoid the Double Post, but:

the goal is actually to acheive the Zen of Preview, in which one previews so many times that one transcends the need or desire to comment at all.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:34 PM on August 27, 2004


rocketman, stop making things personal while you're at it. This was about posts, until you made it about the posters.

My deal is that i post stuff that i find interesting on the web, which is what i do--if that's politics, or a flash thing, or an art thing depends on what i find that i like/am amazed by/etc and want to share. Members here do that, and that's why there's a variety of stuff, not all of it to our liking. We don't live in bubbles--the outside world and what happens there will always end up here as well.

The only deal i'll make with you is that i won't bitch and moan about people posting stuff i don't like (unless it's hateful stuff/personal attacks, in which case you can be damn sure i'll say something), and you don't either.

on preview: good one q, and bluetrain, i repeat that so much because it is the only thing to do. Either that or don't come here. There's no other solution to your unhappiness. Sorry.
posted by amberglow at 7:34 PM on August 27, 2004


We don't live in bubbles

Except that we do. We absolutely do.
posted by rocketman at 7:37 PM on August 27, 2004


The Zen Of Reload

In which one reloads a MeFi/MeTa thread over and over, waiting for reactions to one's witty post, until one transcends the need or desire for such validation. See also The Zen of Preview

The Zen Of Bubbles

One comes to realize that we both absolutely do and absolutely do not live in bubbles. Whatever the hell that means.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:40 PM on August 27, 2004


then why does it have a comments?

I used to give this idea a lot of thought. I recently came to the conclusion that on screen here, we are all nothing but random text, with no personality, no accountability, no reliability, no humanity. Which is precisely why we link to help support our contentions.

If I came here, day after day, and said that our economy is in a state of panic and I only presented anecdotal evidence, you'd be a fool to believe me. Yet we see this every single day in political threads, because we believe what we want to. Every day in political threads we see unsubstantiated claims, misleading comments, and blatant lies, just to make your point. And every single day we see blind agreement and ass-patting because we hear what we want to.

This leads me to the front page posts. If you post a general news story or op-ed and you already know how the crowd will react (MeFi is rather politically predictable), the comments inside the thread are going to suck. Comments can be a wonderful addition to a thread. Anecdotal evidence can be informative, but only in the larger scheme when presented along with real, credible evidence.

Again, because we (posters) are just text on a screen, you'd be a damn fool to take anything we say at face value. But most, if not all, of what we say is posted somewhere on the 'net by a credible authority and it SHOULD BE our job to find it and add to the site.

That's what I mean by "We're not a discussion site". I know my comment is a little scatter-brained, but it's a lot more complicated that I make it and extremely difficult to communicate
posted by BlueTrain at 7:45 PM on August 27, 2004


This is Newsfilter I can live with. Way to go, Sidhedevil!
posted by rocketman at 7:49 PM on August 27, 2004


If I came here, day after day, and said that our economy is in a state of panic and I only presented anecdotal evidence, you'd be a fool to believe me.

Unless, of course, I already knew that, from reading other sources. I suppose there are people for whom MeFi is thier only source of information about current events. God help them, whoever they are.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:50 PM on August 27, 2004


Wait, it was XQUetc. who said the thing about "deigning", not BT.

Could someone please, please tell me what it means? I'm not being SpellingFlameGirl, it's really bugging the living crap out of me not to know what the intended meaning of that sentence was.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:51 PM on August 27, 2004


bluetrain: okay. i disagree with your point of view but I understand where you're coming from now.

eustacescrubb: you made stynxno laugh. you get cookie.
posted by Stynxno at 7:55 PM on August 27, 2004


define:deign
posted by quonsar at 7:57 PM on August 27, 2004


i would have used designate myself, but whatever : >
posted by amberglow at 7:59 PM on August 27, 2004


Mmmmm.... cooookie....
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:09 PM on August 27, 2004


So all you people who are for the Bush/Kerry takeover, are you against politics.metafilter.com or electionfilter or whatever the proper term is?
posted by dobbs at 8:17 PM on August 27, 2004


I think I forgot to put a verb in there. Me no good grammar thing. I forget. That comment was from a time when I was young and irresponsible.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:17 PM on August 27, 2004


The problem is that the politics devotees crave the largest audience by their nature. When they are the only posters in a forum, without neutral interlocuters to use as a screen, even they feel smothered by the folly and poverty of their chronic and compulsive eristics. So, they need FRESH BRAINS and will always return to post on Metafilter.
posted by crunchburger at 8:49 PM on August 27, 2004


dobbs, why should we request something that is basically useless? I want Matt working on ponies we all can enjoy. Like, say, replacing all of quonsar's pics with nude Natalie Portman shots. Stuff like that.

We need another Metatalk for these poli-bitchfests. How about itstoohardformetoscrollpaststoriesidontlike.metafilter.com?
posted by graventy at 8:59 PM on August 27, 2004


Hey, we're eristicrats. Zombie eristicrats.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:59 PM on August 27, 2004


quonsar, is it just me or is that pictue the perfect representation of infinite shit?
posted by Apoch at 9:43 PM on August 27, 2004


The problem may really be that MetaFilter, by charter, is something of a superset of IraqFilter and WarFilter. And that its main criteria -- whether or not something is interesting enough to be singled out as somethign noteworthy on the web -- is actually pretty subjective. I could lose FlashGameFilter without even caring at all, but I'm sure some people would be pretty dismayed at its absence.

To some people, political issues are very interesting. To some people they're not. Part of the problem might go away if political issues go away. But not all of it will: you will, no matter what, still see days where the front page is full of stuff that just doesn't interest you at all.

Today I see about 6 threads on Metafilter that I think are interesting. Half of those are, in fact, political, and so I'd be without three threads I found interesting today if the no-politcs rule was in effect. But then again, I like politics.
posted by weston at 10:08 PM on August 27, 2004


graventy, if I remember correctly, electionfilter was proposed by matt months ago. It was his idea back when there weren't nearly as many election FPPs as there are these days. I sort of can understand why people don't want to move their soapboxes to another site entirely, but if their real intent is to have discussion with other MeFites about politics, I fail to see how electionfilter doesn't fit that mold and satisfy people who are sick of their shit.

As to the "just scroll by" mentality--sure, I understand it... but it seems to me that the lack of quality posts on the front page seems to be declining in direct proportion to the increase of political posts. Is this because there are less good things to post? Perhaps, but I think it more likely that people are sick to death of coming here and seeing bush post after bush post and they're simply going elsewhere (MoFi or wherever). I feel that for every monju, me, anyone else who's sick of politics threads and griping about it here, there are many more who can't be bothered MeTa'ing it (I don't blame them. No one likes to be talked down to). Can I prove this? Of course not. But neither can you prove that these people are still here and just not posting because they've nothing to post. Anyway, seems like something to think about. (Or, no doubt, something for people to dismiss, because, well, all the whiners are just too lazy to scroll.)

on preview:

Half of those are, in fact, political, and so I'd be without three threads I found interesting today if the no-politcs rule was in effect.

Or, you know, you could go to a political/war discussion site designed specifically for those threads, something MeFi wasn't.
posted by dobbs at 10:15 PM on August 27, 2004


Half of those are, in fact, political, and so I'd be without three threads I found interesting today if the no-politcs rule was in effect.

Or, you know, you could go to a political/war discussion site designed specifically for those threads, something MeFi wasn't.


Or, split the difference, you could go to one of the existing, related threads where this new link could be posted, and discuss it there in the context of something very related that was just posted three or four hours ago. It's not that we need to abolish all the political threads, just show some judgement, people! Not every single bob and parry deserves a whole MetaFilter front-page thread. Then again, I know, your mileage and mine may vary on who's bob and who's parry.
posted by soyjoy at 10:45 PM on August 27, 2004


I could go somewhere else, and do for certain things, but isn't that true for any posted topic which I find interesting and you don't (or vice versa)? I have trouble seeing what's so special about politics that it needs to be removed.

I guess you could make an argument that it's like Chinese Elms in your yard. You've got to either get rid of them all or they spread everwhere and choke other stuff out. But I just don't see the topic choking everything else out here. Today's a pretty heavy political day, but my count is 11 political threads out of 26. Majority of stuff is something else.

A lot of this reminds me of bunches of discussions that my local artist's group has had over the creation of compilation CDs. Usually, out of the 20-40 submissions we get, there's only a limited number of submissions -- maybe 3-6 -- that everyone can agree are shining gems that are going to be broadly listenable and pleasant. Then you get into the territory where some of the songs are going to have niche appeal ... some people will like them, some won't. Do you limit the comp CD to the shining gems? After all, what are the next tier of 12 songs, but stuff that people are going to skip over 2/3rds of? But the perspective changes when you realize that which 2/3 of those songs changes from person to person. You increase what each person ends up sifting through, but you also increase what they find.

The mix is what makes metafilter good. And despite what some people may think, MeFi does politics much better than many other sites I've encountered, perhaps as well as anybody.
posted by weston at 10:50 PM on August 27, 2004


What, no electionfilter? Now I wish I didn't spend all that time designing a logo...


posted by Krrrlson at 10:58 PM on August 27, 2004 [1 favorite]


Idea: when somebody is making their FPP, why not have a drop-down menu where they have to select the TYPE of post it is. For example:-



Then each user can decide to filter out types of post they don't want to see (simple database match) - multiclick select:-



Anyone mis-posting (e.g. posting US Election FPP as Sport for example) gets banned. End of story. And when someone gets banned, it makes space for a much-needed new member.

I think this would at least stop a load of bickering Meta post callouts.....what you can't see, you can't get all unnecessarily het-up about. Even the callout FPPs in MeTa should have a drop-down where they select the type of post it is (connected to same filters on the Blue) - then the sensible people don't even get to see half the hotair callouts.

Of course this will never happen.....Metafilter seems to rely on recursive talk about talk amongst its closed membership.
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:32 AM on August 28, 2004


Metafilter seems to rely on recursive talk about talk amongst its closed membership.

Shh! Don't give it away!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:44 AM on August 28, 2004


There will be no edict from on high today.

Why? Is Seth sick or on vacation or something?
posted by terrapin at 6:20 AM on August 28, 2004


AnecdoteFilter: When I was married, during arguments I would tell my wife that she spent more energy making up excuses not to do things than she would have expended getting the damn thing done in the first place.

I look at MeTalk threads like this and think the same thing. Why spend so much time saying newsfilter is bad when you could use that time to find links you prefer to see.

Then again, applying lessons learned from my marriage may not be the best thing for an online community.

Nevermind...
posted by mischief at 8:30 AM on August 28, 2004


Nice work, Krrrlson. Oh yes.
posted by crunchburger at 10:11 AM on August 28, 2004


Metafilter seems to rely on recursive talk about talk amongst its closed membership.

Actually, what I imagine metafilter relies on, is page views from lurkers and people without accounts (and I doubt opening up signups would change this significantly). So if you are annoyed, don't think you're that important just because you post comments from time to time.
posted by advil at 12:00 PM on August 28, 2004


Actually, what I imagine metafilter relies on, is page views from lurkers and people without accounts (and I doubt opening up signups would change this significantly).

Really? Those poor people....having to listen in on inane chatter amongst such a (physically by numbers) limited bunch of people. The cabin fever must be getting to them. I can think of better things to waste my time on.

So if you are annoyed, don't think you're that important just because you post comments from time to time.

Huh? Non sequitur.....hey, you know, in Northampton today the weather was a mild 21 degrees and there was no rain. I saw 37 sheep today. I saw 279 humans.
posted by SpaceCadet at 4:15 PM on August 28, 2004


21 is 70-ish? and were any of the humans "with" the sheep?
posted by amberglow at 5:26 PM on August 28, 2004


21 is 70-ish? and were any of the humans "with" the sheep?

I saw some farmers who had.....ummm...accommodating wellington boots.....enough to trap a sheep's back legs into.
posted by SpaceCadet at 6:03 PM on August 28, 2004


Same ole, huh?

I still don't understand why the acid test isn't simply the link. If the link is ho-hum, the post shouldn't have been made.

The problem I have with newsfilter is that, to me, all links to major news stories are "ho-hum" because I've already seen them. Why do we discourage double-posts? After all, some people didn't see them the first time around, and they're still interesting, right? Well, no. The presumption is that even if the preceding is true, they're still stale. Well, folks, major news stories are stale. Except for those living in a bubble. And for the non-USAians, anything other than Earth-shattering US election news is stale.

Secondly, I think it's indisputable that the larger portion of links to major news stories are posted for one of two reasons (or both):
  • The poster wants to discuss the story.
  • The poster is being an activist.
This is why the links are usually not very good. The post doesn't exist because of the link, it exists because of the motivations above.

If you can't answer the question "Would most of MetaFilter want to see this, and is most of MetaFilter unlikely to have seen this?" with an affirmative, then you shouldn't make the post. That's true for newsfilter posts, flash posts, fark-esque posts, whatever.

But I guarantee that a majority of the posts of whatever type that people complain about are being posted with the poster's desires in mind, not the audience's.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:27 PM on August 28, 2004


Oh, one other thing: MetaFilter is, de facto, a discussion site. But if it were primarily a discussion site, then we wouldn't have as many lurkers as we do. I know a good number of non-members that read the posts but almost never the commentary. They come here for the posts. And, frankly, so do most of us. "Discussion" is not a viable justification for posts, making MeFi a discussion site in principle would kill it. And if people come here for the posts, then you have to ask: what kinds of posts are they coming here for? I strongly suggest that it's not (primarily) current news and events. They can get that anywhere and everywhere.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:37 PM on August 28, 2004


mmph. mph.
posted by quonsar at 7:34 PM on August 28, 2004


< moift> Jeebus, EB is why God created STFU
posted by angry modem at 7:42 PM on August 28, 2004


For the record, I am now going to repost any political posts on MeFi onto Devoter if they aren't there already, and link to there if nobody has already. I expect it to get a little tedious for me AND you.
posted by wendell at 8:08 PM on August 28, 2004


"all links to major news stories are "ho-hum" because I've already seen them"

Well, I haven't seen them, and if the couch potatoes can get their news from Comedy Central, I can my news from MeFi. ;-P
posted by mischief at 8:12 PM on August 28, 2004


If you can't answer the question "Would most of MetaFilter want to see this...?" with an affirmative, then just maybe you shouldn't make the comment.

But only if more than thirty or forty-five people have indicated you make too many comments that are too long in the last week, of course !
posted by y2karl at 8:18 PM on August 28, 2004


Am I the only one troubled that Space Cadet seems so... um, knowledgable about the methodology of sheep-raping?
posted by soyjoy at 8:36 PM on August 28, 2004




Children, don't make me come down there.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:31 PM on August 28, 2004


EB - thanks for that dose of common sense. Election filter is always stale, all the more so when it's not even your country.
posted by jb at 10:57 AM on August 29, 2004


EB is why God created STFU

Which is beside the point, because in this case, he's correct.
posted by weston at 2:42 PM on August 29, 2004


"what kinds of posts are they coming here for? I strongly suggest that it's not (primarily) current news and events. They can get that anywhere and everywhere." - That is merely an assertion, no more.

EB - I challenge your logic on that claim - first of all, on the basis that your claim to "objectivity" isn't supported. Your "survey" is anecdotal - you're just citing the preferences of people you know. In constrast, I could hold up my own group of readers who like political posts, but what would that prove? It would still be anecdotal.

As for the overall Metafilter readership, we can infer this :

If political posts were so bad, Metafilter readership would have dropped off since September 11, 2001 - assuming, of course, that political posts have actually increased since then [ and, indeed, one can make a strong case that the post 9-11 American political re-awakening seems to have been a major engine driving growth in Metafilter readership and membership ].

But I'm not sure the frequency of political posts has increased, and in any case this is what we can logically assume : Metafilter readers, either non-contributing members or non-member readers, are perfectly willing to either 1) read the political posts (and commentary perhaps) or 2) tolerate and merely ignore them.

Presumeably, both cases are true and so, for group #1, it seems likely to me that those people are interested in those stories that Metafilter members see fit to post and discuss. Presumeably, also, these folks have their more (and less!) favorite Metafilter member posters.

Further, the small and highly vocal group of those Metafilter members who have long inveighed against "NewsFilter" are not - obviously - deterred by the frequency of political posts and, additionally, we can also infer a strong political agenda on their part - which shines through their protestations to the contrary and their constant refrains [ "We declare that politics isn't included in the sphere of the 'interesting' : Don't discuss politics, and especially not the politics of the most poweful nation on Earth." ] - expressed in their ongoing attempts to curtail political debate.

The absence - or repression - of political discussion is, in itself, inherently political.
posted by troutfishing at 6:20 AM on August 30, 2004


"The absence - or repression - of political discussion is, in itself, inherently political."

Convenient, that.

Really, that defense is far too broad and, thus, not very good. Do you really think MeFi is intended to be, or should be, a member of the class of websites that include LGF, DU, FR, etc.? It's hard for me to believe that anyone would assert so. That class of websites are those which are political discussion websites, first and foremost. MeFi isn't.

There is no ban on political posts and discussion, of course. And there shouldn't be. I'm not asserting this, I don't think anyone is. That's a strawman. My claim is that politics should be secondary while the quality of the link should be primary. The quality of the link in terms of the nebulous "best of the web" is the key. That's the test. Pretty much any subject matter can pass that test, including political links.

You're right that I'm both making assumptions and extrapolating from limited anecdotal experience when I claim that the majority of people that come to MeFi don't come to get current political news and discussion. But denying this takes us back to the problem above: if MeFi is or should be a political news and discussion site then...well, that's a long way from where it started. And I don't think that's what many of us want MeFi to be.

And I don't understand this assumption that everyone that protests NewsFilter is doing so because they don't like the leftist tilt of MeFi's newsfilter-esque posts. Sure, many or most of the protesters do. But that's definitely not true with regard to myself or scarabic, for example. And it's certainly not true of the international MeFites who are tired of ElectionFilter. Finally, I want to make clear that I don't have a problem with political news and discussion sites—they make up the larger part of my web reading. But it's not why I come to MeFi.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:20 AM on August 30, 2004


EB - Metafilter can be whatever it wants to be! My preferences are irrelevant. It's a group construct ruled, ultimately, by Matt Haughey. That's fine.

"The absence - or repression - of political discussion is, in itself, inherently political." - Well, let me frame that a bit more explicitly. I wasn't merely refering to the Internet there, but to all of human communication. We're an inherently social, and thus an inherently political, species.

"My claim is that politics should be secondary while the quality of the link should be primary" - Sure, I completely agree. But how do we define quality? That's the question that drove Pirsig insane.

I doubt that most people come to Metafilter specifically for the news comment (though I've comments from some people who say they do) but I'd bet that quite a few see it as a source for alternative news and news commentary.

In other words, politics are part of the Metafilter mix and have been probably since day one. Pure politics is a grind, sure, but most everything has political edge of some sort or other. Like sex, politics (or power) is always either central or lurking close at hand.

Metafilter is potluck - and we both agree that some rancid bits get tossed in along with the fresher, higher quality ingredients.

I think that's unavoidable, no? I don't like moldy chunks of spam in my Metafare any more than anyone does, but I'm used to holding my nose and eating around the funky bits.
posted by troutfishing at 10:08 AM on August 30, 2004


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