Is there anyway MeFi can hope to keep up? September 22, 2004 5:04 AM   Subscribe

"the point of MetaFilter is to find the best and most interesting of the web" - with the growing popularity of such services as del.icio.us (and the super-useful aggregated popular view), and the rise in popularity of the 'link blog' (waxy, anil and kottke for example) is there anyway MeFi can hope to keep up or is the gradual evolution into current-events lead discussion inevitable?
posted by gi_wrighty to MetaFilter-Related at 5:04 AM (49 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Nope. It's all over.
posted by adampsyche at 5:10 AM on September 22, 2004


Hmm. del.icio.us.

:click:

:scroll:scroll:scroll:scroll: Boring. Listy. No character.

:back:

Ah. Much better.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:42 AM on September 22, 2004


and what if there was a link sidebar on mefi that everyone could contribute to?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:49 AM on September 22, 2004


the gradual evolution into current-events lead discussion inevitable

I call BULLSHIT. (And not for the first time.)

I'd like to go back to the classics... 4 years ago today. 16 posts. 12 to current events stories. 3 years ago today. 23 posts, 19 current events.

MetaFilter has always had a lot of current events links & discussion but for some reason a lot of folks seem to have the fixation that either current events can't be included as 'best of the web' or that there was some sort of MeFi golden age where we all discussed stunningly gratifying non-news content that enriched our lives beyond all measure. Both, of course, are wrong but it doesn't seem to stop people banging on about it.
posted by i_cola at 5:58 AM on September 22, 2004


As many before me have pointed out, it's about having an audience and not necessarily about the discussion itself. Active moderation/deletion of newsfilter is the only cure, if only to set the tone of the site. Because of your (Matt's) light touch, people have felt the freedom to post whatever they want, including one link op-eds on a regular basis.

Either take a more decisive position or watch it become politics/news/current affairs filter.
posted by BlueTrain at 5:59 AM on September 22, 2004


Oh jeez, is the sky falling again?
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:13 AM on September 22, 2004


Oh jeez, is the sky falling again?

Yeah, but this time it's delicious!
posted by dflemingdotorg at 6:19 AM on September 22, 2004


pok

I don't get the popularity of the current events stuff, but, hey, I'm just one person -- my vote don't count.

"4 years ago today"

...was another fucking election cycle. It was ElectionFilter, and it sucked.

"3 years ago today"

...had everyone in a post-September 11th tizzy. Oh, the web at its finest!

The point being, yes, there's always been some current events blather, and yes, by and large it's as crappy as it ever was.
posted by majick at 6:22 AM on September 22, 2004


I like the link sidebar idea.
posted by kamylyon at 6:42 AM on September 22, 2004


No. The point is that current affairs are as much a part of the web and MeFi as anything else. The fact that they change so often means that they are likely to be posted more often.

The idea that current affairs are strangling everything else on MeFi these days is wrong. Look back to the early days at any time of year. People have wanted to discuss & link to news.

Personally I enjoy a lot of the news links & discussions but some not so much and the same for other subject areas. Stuff I'm not so keen on I'll leave as there'll be a lot of others who feel different. I really don't feel the need to complain ad nauseum cuz I don't like the kind of stuff that gets posted regularly by others who do enjoy it.

But, hey, why not re-animate the already bludgeoned, dead, liquefied, burned, buried, rocks-put-on-top-of, whaaaah-I-me-me-me-me-me-I-don't-like-news horse for another round with blunt instruments?
posted by i_cola at 6:43 AM on September 22, 2004


Thanks for your permission to discuss, i_cola.
posted by gi_wrighty at 6:45 AM on September 22, 2004


Somehow I find it strangely reassuring that misplaced nostalgia for the Good Old Days affects MetaFilter just like it does every other corner of humanity. Irritating, but reassuring.
posted by penguin pie at 6:52 AM on September 22, 2004


What's worse: constant news posts in the blue, or constant complaining about them in the grey? At least there's some variety in the news; the complaints never change.

Maybe someone could complain about Newsfilter in Edwardian verse? Or not using the letter "e"? Now that might be interesting.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:59 AM on September 22, 2004


I don't think that's a bad idea at all.
posted by adampsyche at 7:03 AM on September 22, 2004


"Thanks for your permission to discuss"

Label this particular MeTalk meme: AntinewsFilter.
posted by mischief at 7:03 AM on September 22, 2004


I thought one of the big selling points of the web was its immediacy and ability to get fresh information around the world quickly.

Which is one of the main things MeFi (or more correctly, the people who fuel MeFi) does better than pretty much anywhere else at, well, filtering.

I try never to speak for anyone else, but for me, when I hear about a big happening in the world someplace, or a famous death, or some dumb-yet-significant news item (what, no "Britney's maybe-faked-wedding" thread? WTF? ... Hey, it was just an example, stop looking at me like that), and while checking all the usual news outlets both online and off, I will faithfully swing by here and see if anyone's checking the story for cavities.

Like it or not (and obviously, a lot of people don't), it is something this format does well. In fact, I don't know of any site (or TV or radio show, or any other conduit of information) that analyzes current events, be they serious or trivial, quicker and with more insight than Metafilter.

Yeah, NewsFilter can be a drag, but in comparison, do you read every single column of the newspaper every day? I know someone who does, and she's a speed-reading freak with time on her hands, and not all that much better informed for being such a completist. Just saying.
posted by chicobangs at 7:05 AM on September 22, 2004


grabbingsand got it in one, in my opinion. A good post is more than just the link. A good post is also more than just the post---sometimes the comments are better then the link pointed to.

A del.cio.us-type sidebar could be interesting, but I don't think we want an upcoming-links deal á la Plastic's sidebar.
posted by bonehead at 7:06 AM on September 22, 2004


"is there anyway MeFi can hope to keep up or is the gradual evolution into current-events lead discussion inevitable?"

I think I just disagree with your entire premise.

It hasn't been gradual for about three years now. And in those three years the percentage of current events lead discussions has stayed pretty much the same. I would lobby you that it's even less now than it was three years ago. Especially if you factor in the current election climate.

MetaFilter has been, for the vast majority of it's existence, a site that aspires to "the best of the web", but is really more about discussing current events. Denying that is silly.

And why would MeFi "hope" to be something other than what it's been for the last four years? You are asking if one of the best sites on the Internet can hope to keep up, when in reality it just keeps getting better. Slowly to be sure, but still better.

And why, for the love of God, would MetaFilter want to emulate that 90's retro waxy, anil and kottke stuff you link to? You really want to turn MetaFilter into something that takes up no more than 45 seconds of your day? What a waste of a good resource.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:06 AM on September 22, 2004


*high-fives y6*
posted by chicobangs at 7:16 AM on September 22, 2004


I had a fear that the NF word would be used sooner or later. What I was trying to point out was that previously (yes, in the good old days) MeFi was one of *the* places to find new and interesting things. However now with the ability to use other services / aggregators is that strength weakened, and if so what are the effects of removing part of what made MeFi unique?

I'm not complaining about news posts (as has been made abundantly clear, there's little / no point), I'm just curious about future directions.

The one underlying feature that keeps me coming back is see peoples' comments on a post, not only do they tend to be more insightful / snarkful than other sites, but they also tend to pull in ancillary information that really adds depth to a post.

The creation of AskMe is interesting as I think it plays into that strength, at the time of writing there are only 4 external links on the frontpage yet the posts themselves are enough to get members to practically spill their guts.

We now return you to your usual newsfilter / antinewsfilter slugfest...
posted by gi_wrighty at 7:16 AM on September 22, 2004


"is the gradual evolution into current-events lead discussion inevitable?"
=
invitation "to your usual newsfilter / antinewsfilter slugfest"
posted by mischief at 7:36 AM on September 22, 2004


"I'm just curious about future directions."

No. You're not. The waxy, anil and kottke stuff you link to is typical of the early web logs. You are interested in old stuff. When waxy, anil and kottke started doing this sort of thing (5+ years ago) Matt came along with MetaFilter. Which was better.

A daily list of links is a web log. It's not a future direction. Did you sleep through 2000?

I think you are very confused.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:50 AM on September 22, 2004


while checking all the usual news outlets both online and off, I will faithfully swing by here and see if anyone's checking the story for cavities.

Amen. When I saw the Cat Stevens thing mentioned elsewhere, and someone said he had recanted on his endorsement of the Rusdie fatwa, I knew that at some point today, there would either be a Cat Stevens thread or someone would discuss it in the context of something else - and there would be links. And I was right. And I was glad.

Not everybody wants to use MetaFilter this way. Not everybody needs to.

MetaFilter in 1963: "Christ, not another FPP about Martin Luther King!!! I thought this was supposed to be Best of the Web!?"
posted by soyjoy at 8:01 AM on September 22, 2004


Did you sleep through 2000?

Mostly. First year of university had its benefits.
posted by gi_wrighty at 8:02 AM on September 22, 2004


Maybe this is why a sidelink bar thingy could be ok for MeFi. You can have the debate club and the link likers under one big tent!

Maybe the description of MeFi should be changed to reflect the shift that y6 talked about?
posted by adampsyche at 8:09 AM on September 22, 2004


I have noticed what seems to be an increase of double posts. Does this mean the best of the web is shrinking or static? No. Does this mean we will be condemned for eternity to read Newsfilter posts? No. There is always something new out there, and sometimes even a new outlook on an old subject.

Sometimes people won't have read a prior post or the comments with it and may add something which was missed the first time around. I like MeFi for the variation in subjects and the amusing and occasionally intelligent commentary.
Can we move onto the horse-fucking part now?
posted by longbaugh at 8:28 AM on September 22, 2004


"the point of MetaFilter is to find the best and most interesting of the web"

No, the point of MetaFilter is to find alien soil samples, but then it collided with an alien space probe and changed its mission to...

Whoops, no, that was Nomad

Never mind.
posted by Stoatfarm at 8:31 AM on September 22, 2004


This was an interesting news story that I had seen previously; grabbingsand did a great job of turning it into a post in the blue.

I'm with chicobangs, soyjoy and y6y6y6 among others in that I often hear/read/see something and wonder what the MeFi braintrust take is on it.
posted by geekyguy at 8:33 AM on September 22, 2004


I do exactly the same thing, but I don't use the word braintrust.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:39 AM on September 22, 2004


Whether newsfilter really detracts from the best-of-the-web-thing THAT MUCH is kinda moot. There are other, better places to find the best-of-the-web stuff now, where you're not required to slog through Iraq headlines. Whether there is still SOME best-of-the-web here, enough for you, or me, or Matt is irrelevant. This is, by comparison to other sites, a crappy best-of-the-web repository now. If you want to see why, just click on any deleted double-post and count the people who say "thanks! I didn't see it the first time." This just isn't a link-hound crowd.

I still like jawing it with the people here, though, and the discussion of yesterday's hot links is uncommonly good. Other sites have comments too, obviously, but they're either overrun with volume or weirded out all to hell with slang-talkin' 12-year olds.

I swear, I come to MetaFilter for the closed user registration.
posted by scarabic at 8:40 AM on September 22, 2004


scarabic - exactly. That's one of Metafilter's chief strengths now, I feel.

"And why, for the love of God, would MetaFilter want to emulate that 90's retro waxy, anil and kottke stuff you link to? You really want to turn MetaFilter into something that takes up no more than 45 seconds of your day? What a waste of a good resource." - I'm baying with this pack too.

There are running dialogues on Metafilter which - though not always down to the most precise level of academic authenticity (but sometimes they are) - which keep alive, and go into depth on, issues that are often submerged by the prattle and ceaseless syrupy ooze which flows 24/7 from big mass media.

Questions of the veracity of mass media itself. There aren't many forums where these issues are tracked with such zeal.

Strikingly, too, big mass media has become aware of these new voices which challenge it facts and it's presentation, and it's framing : as a little, determined dog such as a Jack Russell Terrier clinging onto and chewing holes through the pantlegs of power.

I find, in Metafilter, an evolving awareness, in a controlled population group, of a whole host of issues about which larger society is either oblivious or in denial.

But, I also notice an odd balance - though political talk waxes and wanes, it never quite seems to overwhelm the site, as if there's an underlying group awareness, expressed chaotically but with strange overall precision, to maintain post topic ratios to retain palatability.

I think, also, that I more and more often find smoke coming out of my ears - for the inanities of mass media talking head platitudes, bromides, and stinking eructations that smack of ignorance, denial, and lies - due to an awareness that has been honed to a far keener edge from to Metafilter.

Thanks Matt - a blessing albeit a mixed one for sure.

What isn't that's real ?
posted by troutfishing at 9:04 AM on September 22, 2004


Metafilter : a small army of co-evolving, sharp tongued but thoughtful pundits incestuously sparring and grooming themselves to a sleek muscularity of considered, in depth opinion on almost anything and everything under the sun.
posted by troutfishing at 9:11 AM on September 22, 2004


WE MARCH AT DAWN















......around an Escheresque Moebius strip, like ants.
posted by troutfishing at 9:59 AM on September 22, 2004


Metafilter : Snarky elitist bastards.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:02 AM on September 22, 2004


And there you go.

Join us next week on MetaTalk for 'MetaFilter is about the best of the web but it's been taken over by NewsFilter' part MMCXVII

Permission to discuss repealed as I have a couple of small universes to create before dinner...
posted by i_cola at 10:32 AM on September 22, 2004


universii?
universa?
helvetica?
posted by i_cola at 10:33 AM on September 22, 2004


Man, I never see some current event like the Cat Stevens thing and go, "ooh, I wonder what the MeFi crowd is saying about it". Never. The discussion about current events and news is, to me, pretty stale. It's mostly the same old people saying the same old things. That's not what I come to MeFi for at all. Not in any way. I realize that other people do, but I'm just adding my data point to the sample.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:51 AM on September 22, 2004


Replace 'MetaFilter crowd' with 'Etherial Bligh' and 'some current event like the Cat Stevens thing' with 'absolutely anything, ever' and I'm with ya bubba...
posted by i_cola at 11:48 AM on September 22, 2004


"It's mostly the same old people"

Who you calling old?
posted by mischief at 11:51 AM on September 22, 2004


Man, I never see some current event like the Cat Stevens thing and go, "ooh, I wonder what the MeFi crowd is saying about it". Never.

Not everybody wants to use MetaFilter this way. Not everybody needs to.

And since you seem to be attempting to quote me there, EB, let's keep it straight: I didn't say I wondered what the MeFi crowd was saying about it - I wondered what the truth of the matter was, and felt confident that since there would be discussion about it, someone would have links that help straighten out the matter - in my mind anyway.
posted by soyjoy at 12:00 PM on September 22, 2004


I depend on MF in the ways that chicobangs, y6x3, and soyjoy describe above. It is why I became a member and why I continue to be one. "Best of the web" is not an apt description for MF, IMO. When I think "best of the web," I visit a site like K10k.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:10 PM on September 22, 2004


I have a couple of small universes to create before dinner...

I've tossed universes in my underpants, while napping! BOOM! A Milky Way shoots into my jockey shorts. OOOOOHH! What's for fucking breakfast?
posted by scarabic at 1:25 PM on September 22, 2004


Yes!

I, too, have wiped up entire civilizations with a grey gym sock!
posted by chicobangs at 2:15 PM on September 22, 2004


Hey!

If Metafilter threads were hot dogs, would you eat 'em?

I know I would!

They'd be delicious!
posted by chicobangs at 3:33 PM on September 22, 2004


MetaFilter: we're talkin' one load
posted by scarabic at 4:25 PM on September 22, 2004


chicobangs, you've been hanging out with andy46477 again, right? Right! A+++
posted by soyjoy at 7:23 PM on September 22, 2004


This topic has officially degenerated into randomness. Entropy is victorious. The 2nd law of thermodynamics is once again proven accurate.
posted by Meridian at 9:27 PM on September 22, 2004


there's a fish in my pants.
posted by quonsar at 10:09 PM on September 22, 2004 [1 favorite]



posted by troutfishing at 7:28 AM on September 23, 2004


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