Why do I not feel marketed at? December 8, 2004 7:53 PM   Subscribe

Save flogging, there's no bigger thrill:
Like watching starved wolves at a kill,
When users MeFi
Grab pitchforks and cry,
"How dare you fill blue with your shill!"

I found this post and the technology fascinating, and I don't consider it a shill for the product. But then I began wondering why it wasn't considered a shill post--if a product is cool enough, does it transcend the shill factor? What separates a shill post from a post about a nifty gadget? Or is it just a collective "We know shill when we see it"?
posted by fandango_matt to Etiquette/Policy at 7:53 PM (26 comments total)

Or, to be precise, "we know shill from Shinola."
posted by fandango_matt at 8:07 PM on December 8, 2004

I think the idea was that it is suspicious when a user's first post is shillfilter. In this case, Mwongozi is an established player who has a record of playing by the rules.
posted by Quartermass at 8:13 PM on December 8, 2004

Plus he didn't phrase the post in such a way that it seemed as if the man, the legend, the Ron Popeil had purchased an account:

do you have hands?


do you like using your hands?


would you like to not lose them in a terrifying accident that inhibits your auto-erotic sex life?


check out this product!
posted by The God Complex at 8:25 PM on December 8, 2004

(note my flagrant switch from italics to regular text. i have no idea why i did that.)
posted by The God Complex at 8:27 PM on December 8, 2004

As I said, I'm not at all questioning Mwongozi's post, credibility, or motives--I never thought or suggested it was a shill post. I'm asking what separates a shill post from a post about a nifty gadget. Is it posting history? Coolness of the gadget? Videos?
posted by fandango_matt at 8:34 PM on December 8, 2004

My ShillFilter Alarm never went off. Yours did? Maybe you didn't see the hot dog? It beat the table saw, man.

Hot Dog Beats Table Saw, now that is a headline you don't get to see every day.
posted by fenriq at 8:37 PM on December 8, 2004

Doh, posting history I think is the main thing. Noobs starting out with single link product posts = ShillFilter Alarm.
posted by fenriq at 8:39 PM on December 8, 2004

Naw, my ShillFilter Alarm never went off. (I was, however, alarmed by the weird and scary urge I had to test that thing on myself.)
posted by fandango_matt at 8:49 PM on December 8, 2004

posted by loquacious at 8:55 PM on December 8, 2004

What separates a shill post from a post about a nifty gadget

Well, for one thing, the safe saw is not for sale. Right now it's just a wiz-bang technology that does something indescribably cool. You have to see the video to believe it. By contrast, an iPod which is painted red and black and plays MP3s is not indescribably cool. Neither is an RSS reader. I do not need to see video footage to believe those products exist. Sorry.

But I'd say the not-for-sale aspect is a good differentiator.
posted by scarabic at 9:06 PM on December 8, 2004

I was worried that my first post a couple days ago might be taken as a shill because it was basically just links to a web site for a buyable product, but I managed to escape unscathed. It's all about how you present your intent. I wanted to share cool language puzzles, not get people to buy a board game (although I do think people should buy it!), so I tried to make that apparent.
posted by painquale at 9:28 PM on December 8, 2004

god, I want to test that saw on myself so bad, I can't stand it. It's just a little cut afterall, right? Everyone will think I'm cool if I do it, right?!??!!?!
posted by puke & cry at 10:26 PM on December 8, 2004

0) No self-links.
1) It better be frickin' cool.
2) It should be extremely unlikely that we would have been exposed to that product's advertising.

Boy Butter fails both (0) and (1). The iPod post fails (2). The SawStop passes with flying colors.
posted by Galvatron at 10:31 PM on December 8, 2004

To clarify, "...exposed to that product's advertising beforehand."
posted by Galvatron at 10:36 PM on December 8, 2004

Wait, is THIS a shill to find out what's not a shill to make better shill posts? fandango_matt, who are you working for?
posted by joelf at 3:46 AM on December 9, 2004

This saw has been around for a while and a post on it is more of a "whoa! They can do that?" statement than marketing.

I heard a story, I think on NPR, on this yesterday. It was a report from a trade show and focused on the inventor not being able to get the large saw-makers to license his product. He is now making and selling a version himself.

The radio report included audio of a demo at a trade show, using the famous hotdog. I'm guessing that may be how someone came to post on the Front Page about it.

I have noticed an interesting connection between MetaFilter posts and NPR stories lately. Usually, it is the case that I hear a radio report on NPR on something that I'd read about the day before on MetaFilter.

This is the first I've noticed that reversed the info-flow.
posted by mmahaffie at 5:23 AM on December 9, 2004

Funny. When I heard the NPR story about "Hot Dog vs. Saw" on Tuesday, I thought that this would make a horrible Metafilter post, because it would reek of shill. In fact, it seemed a little too shilly for NPR. But then when I saw it on the blue, it didn't phase me at all.
posted by grateful at 6:48 AM on December 9, 2004

scarabic: Well, for one thing, the safe saw is not for sale.
Actually these guys have been flogging this this for a few years now. They started with just the contractors and I see they've now added the cabinet saw.
posted by Mitheral at 7:29 AM on December 9, 2004

Listen here, Matt Dango_Fan,
Go ahead and complain all you can
About safety-switch saws
That break natural laws
But your limerick just didn't scan
posted by Kafkaesque at 8:16 AM on December 9, 2004

My fellow nerd-traveler Kaf,
did just best your limerick by half
now get out to the stores,
it seems we're all whores,
but at least it's good for a laugh
posted by norm at 8:27 AM on December 9, 2004

What Makes A Good Post?
Rules and Strictures Fall Away:
Did We Like It Here?
posted by freebird at 10:51 AM on December 9, 2004

I've had this NPR/metafilter experience before...
posted by Jeremy at 11:23 AM on December 9, 2004

Ah I didn't realize they're actually selling it now. Independently, it looks like. When I saw this on TV... oh, a year or so ago, it seemed to be just a new technology developed in a lab somewhere.

In this case, I'd say the coolness/unique factor is still enough to carry it. Unique things are always interesting. The iPod, while it may be considered "the best" is not the only device that does what it does.
posted by scarabic at 12:08 PM on December 9, 2004

Very cool tech, and posting it was fine in my book.
As a minor stylistic point, it might have been better if the main link for this particular post was to the video page, instead of the home page.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:13 PM on December 9, 2004

I agree scarabic this didn't set off my shill tingler at all. And the videos make this at least nominateable for "Best of" especially since it wasn't on fark last week or AP/Reuters three times in the the last year.
posted by Mitheral at 2:46 PM on December 9, 2004

(Dear puke & cry: That is my favorite Dinosaur Jr. song, too! xoxo, jennyb)
posted by jennyb at 6:04 PM on December 9, 2004

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