Is this post really relevant or appropriate for MeFi? September 1, 2001 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Is this post really relevant or appropriate for MeFi? My comments are in the discussion, so I won't rehash them all here. This post just struck me as personal opinion spiced up with links to information that is pretty well-tread and commonplace. prozac.com? what is the point?
posted by hipstertrash to Etiquette/Policy at 12:18 PM (36 comments total)

So I'm not allowed to post to Metafilter unless I have some holy revelation now? I thought the link was interesting, while maybe not the best ever and my post seemed to create a generally civil and interesting discussion, what else can you ask for? Every post can't be a gem.
posted by bytecode at 12:23 PM on September 1, 2001


hipstertrash, are you simultaneously criticising the post for having an opinion and having nothing to add?
posted by NortonDC at 12:31 PM on September 1, 2001


If you had just posted the link with a bit of description or a short statement, I doubt that I would have said anything. I don't expect a holy revelation from every link here, but I also don't expect to see posts that use a commonplace link as an excuse go off on a tangent.

Picture this: A person finds a mildly interesting webpage dealing with abortion, they think that some people on MeFi might be interested. "Here is an interesting perspective on abortion. This disturbed me/ made me think/ raises some interesting questions." Perhaps the person gets involved in the discussion thread and shares their opinions/impressions at more length, in the course of debate. Great, that is what MetaFilter is all about . . . but what if the person dedided to post like this: "The Genocide Continues. How many innocents will die before society wakes up . . ." etc. Which approach seems more appropriate to MeFi?
posted by hipstertrash at 12:41 PM on September 1, 2001


Norton - Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one. I look to MeFi for informed discussion and debate based on thought provoking material from the WWW. I am criticizing him for (seemingly) using these weak links as a pretext for posting his views on the subject. Unless I missed something critical, I think its safe to say that MeFi isn't supposed to be used as a personal soabox with a few links thrown in.
posted by hipstertrash at 12:48 PM on September 1, 2001


I'm sure both would start a red hot thread, and either way it will likely be said at some point. I don't think that my post was overly inflammatory as your "The Genocide Continues. How many innocents will die before society wakes up . . ." example was.
posted by bytecode at 12:51 PM on September 1, 2001


i think the problem here is that hipstertrash has too narrow a view of what metafilter is all about. he seems to be just parroting arguments of others regarding posts, without actually thinking for himself. might i suggest reading the archives to see that most of the best posts on mefi fail to meet your description?

just a friendly tip ht, perhaps thee might want to wait until they have been a member for over two weeks before they start engaging in photocopy metatalk snobbery.
posted by will at 12:52 PM on September 1, 2001


I didn't think the link was that weak, I thought it was an interesting opinion piece and would be some food for though for other metafilter users.
posted by bytecode at 12:54 PM on September 1, 2001


Yeah, I didn't see any problem with the link, and I don't mind opinion in front page posts, if the opinion is something interesting. I absolutely hated the article, and I disagree with the opinion, but hey. Worth debating.
posted by D at 1:03 PM on September 1, 2001


Maybe MetaFilter can benefit from a k5 type discussion/story area? Perhaps MetaDiscuss? This would allow people to bring up views without feeling guilty for not having a link and not having to wait in k5's story submission bin. I for one enjoy the occasional discussion like this, however I do see how this can easily get out of hand if it becomes a regular staple of the MeFi front page.
posted by geoff. at 1:18 PM on September 1, 2001


will - I've been watching MeFi for months, and I haven't noticed a common theme of posts like this. Most of the links are current, unique, or off the beaten track. Most of the content in the link posts has more to do with the link itself or the topic in general, with opinion kept to the threads.

This isn't snobbery or an attempt to create a narrow definition of appropriate content. This is about one post that is heavier on opinion than relevant link content, and how that seems to be incongruous with the posting guidelines and the general tone of the site.

And will, I don't really appreciate being patronized. I can read and think, and even string together words into sentences. My opinions are my own, thanks, and if you are going to take issue with a criticism that I have or my concept of MetaFilter, then tackle my argument. If my opinion is flawed or ill-informed, then tackle my argument and prove that I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.

Nothing that I've posted regarding this thread has been disrespectful or malicious. Maybe you should do a bit of thinking, without falling back on tired online stereotypes about newbies. Its petty and spiteful.
posted by hipstertrash at 1:29 PM on September 1, 2001


I see your point hipster, but I think most people are willing to let a post slide if the link is lacking "beef" but the discussion it spawns is decent. I'm a process person, but every now and then its good to let go.
posted by machaus at 1:36 PM on September 1, 2001


Sometimes I think metafilter has way too many police and to few citizens (posters).
posted by bytecode at 2:00 PM on September 1, 2001


I'm with bytecode on this. It takes far more effort to do what he did than just supply a few labeled links. It adds to the content, diversity and originality of the site to make that sort of effort which is appreciated by many regardless of of their level of interest in the subject matter/opinion that the post displays. MeFi can be all things to all people. If anyone wants sterility removed of ideological/political/social slants and spins on links they can find it all over the place on the web and irl, they could employ metacrawling programmes to go out and plough through news sources, etc bringing back links suited to their tastes. They can download constantly updated rss directories and filter it to their needs..

One of the things that makes MeFi *so* special to me is the human element. Distancing opinions from the raw information isn't what i personally come to MeFi for. If you do, then you can find it, but not every front page post has to cater to your tastes. We might have to wait for a more dynamic development in MeFi's distribution technology before everyone can have a version of the site perfectly suited to their own needs. Until we have 'i want to see more of this/i want to see less of this' buttons on each page and parsing engines people will just have to pick the bits they enjoy themselves and realize that not everybody else here wants exactly the same thing.
posted by Kino at 2:24 PM on September 1, 2001


By the way - has anyone noticed that Hipstertrash has posted no links to MeFi at all?

Howsa bout showing us how it's done before telling us what's wrong, slick?
posted by Perigee at 2:38 PM on September 1, 2001


perigee, he's only been here for a week (not able to.)... i waited months until i posted the one link i have, and it's not even that groundbreaking or anything.. i just thought it was something funny that not many people had come across.
posted by lotsofno at 5:37 PM on September 1, 2001


I also think it's okay to not post links and only comments, as long as those comments are worthwhile.

If every link was just opinion we would have a problem, but then again we'd have a problem if every link was a news item about Bush. Of course, it's difficult to enforce variety.
posted by D at 6:34 PM on September 1, 2001


Metafilter is all opinions. Personally I like the style of presenting something on the front page in kind of a very casual jounralist style and then going off like hell inside the thread. I've used the (more inside) for this sometimes, but I think everyone here is guilty of doing what byte did. Its not against the guidelines and we do it all the time. Its just a matter of style.

Okay here comes the elitist. How much metafilter can you read in a week? Maybe the problem here isn't so much style as it is perception.
posted by skallas at 6:39 PM on September 1, 2001


I think the question is valid from a relatively new person, but things have been loose here for along time. The metatalk post could easily be posed to every yahoo daily news/onion/new york times article/ post. We don't need help finding those. But things have evolved here to the point where there is a definite strain of water cooler type current event discussions that have little to do with the net itself, which is fine as long as the level of discussion is worth it.
posted by chrismc at 6:43 PM on September 1, 2001


Kino -- Nice post.

There are few police here as the only cop is Matt. MeFi is about variety of links, which trigger solid conversation or interest. I have expanded my world greatly by checking MeFi regularly. I have broad interests, but they can always grow. Some folks want a more narrow focus on MeFi and this really does not bother me.
posted by vanderwal at 7:14 PM on September 1, 2001


Perhaps this is just a question of perception . . . opinion doesn't come in easily quantifiable increments. You're dead on about the human element, Kino. This is the concept of 'community' in action, different members taking the time to shed light on where they stand on the issues that define the group as a whole. I'm sure that I'm not the only person here who has spent time in discussion forums that do not operate with the same level of intelligence and complexity that we find in MetaFilter. I thought that this post was borderline, others don't. I wasn't trying to suggest complete sterility in posts, just that the opposite is equally undesireable. I don't think that anyone wants this to become a place where anyone who knows enough html to embed a link within their text can wander in and use the resources here as a platform for any diatribe that can be referenced to a url. the group as a whole will never have one unified opinion on where the line is drawn, but every time we bring these concerns to the public forum, we make progress towards consensus.

I wasn't trying to be a cop, just a good citizen. I don't think that any of my statements were phrased in a way that insinuated some absolute enlightenment on my part.
I've read the posting guidelines very carefully, both as a way to familiarize myself with the site and because the depth and intelligence of these guidelines is a rare exception to the rule in online forums. They are specific without being didactic, and leave room for individual interpretation. In my estimation, this post crossed the line implied by the guidelines. In a community, no one person should or could apply some litmus test to each and every post and make that call. Which is all the more reason for me or anyone else to avoid complacency, run the risk of making unpopular statements, and ask the question. Community standards are not uniform or static, they are perpetual forces that evolve along with the group. If everyone decides that it isn't his/her place to ask the question, then where does that leave us?
posted by hipstertrash at 7:45 PM on September 1, 2001


I also wondered about this post too, and I'm glad this discussion is going on. To me, it felt like something which belongs on a personal blog, not a front page MeFi post. This is hard to quantify, but it's my gut reaction.

To me, the best MeFi posts are timely links to things which most people probably haven't seen (ie, not on obscure store or yahoo news), with a good brief description explaining why the link is important/interesting/worth commenting on.
posted by bjennings at 8:00 PM on September 1, 2001


I think the best way to describe the feeling that this was a somehow inappropriate post is because the post was the point of it, not the link. In fact, the link was incidental to the opinion, which does seem to be an ill fit for the general style of MeFi. Maybe the way to clarify it is by pointing out that following the initial link would do almost nothing to add to the conversation.

Not a big transgression, mind you, but still one that it's understandable to comment on.
posted by anildash at 11:26 PM on September 1, 2001


"enough html to embed a link within their text can wander in and use the resources here as a platform for any diatribe that can be referenced to a url"
yes hipstertrash, I'm just some person that wondered in here and posted this link. I'm pure evil and I'm here to destroy metafilter. You're one to speak! You can't even post to the f***ing front page yet! Did you even read the whole link? I though it would at least inspire some interesting conversation. Which it did! And thats what metafilter is to me.
posted by bytecode at 12:09 AM on September 2, 2001


You're one to speak! You can't even post to the f***ing front page yet!

bytecode: Here's a quick tip -- usernumber pissing matches are not where anyone wants to go. You should know that by now since you've apparently been here quite a while.
posted by lia at 12:21 AM on September 2, 2001


I'm sorry lia, but he insinuated that I just "wondered in here" and posted that link to serve my own twisted political means and it struck me as funny that he's been here a week and he's accusing me of such things. Who just wondered in, the person thats been here for a week or the person thats been here since December 17, 2000. I didn't want to get into this, but he started it :)
posted by bytecode at 12:34 AM on September 2, 2001


Did you even read the whole link? I though it would at least inspire some interesting conversation. Which it did!

What came first -- the link or the topic you wanted to discuss? I think Hipstertrash's general point, and it's a valid one, is that people should post links that are interesting rather than finding links after they decide to post on an interesting topic. That is the general rule here -- this is a weblog, not a discussion board.

In my opinion, the first link in Bytecode's post is what you should judge, and it seems original, interesting, and uncommon. So to answer the original question, it does belong on MetaFilter.
posted by rcade at 5:16 AM on September 2, 2001


bytecode - I did NOT accuse you of just wandering in here to serve any twisted political means . . . I said that your post was "borderline," i.e., it flirted with the line between appropriate and inappropriate posting, IN MY OPINION . . . my comment was that MeFi should not become a place to be appropriated in such a manner, which is why talking about standards is a positive thing . . . suppose that some DADI member wandered in here and saw that you used their link in the context of an opinionated post? They join up, and in a few weeks we start seeing propagandist links and personal grudge screeds on the front page? I commented on my perceptions because, while I saw no malicious intent in your post, it sent off an alarm bell for me about the implications of the type of posting described so succinctly by anildash.

I don't have any personal problem with you, and I'm sorry if my mode of expression gave off that impression. And I'm not trying to pick on you or put you to the firing squad as an example. I see this conversation as more conceptual than anything else.
posted by hipstertrash at 8:15 AM on September 2, 2001


I just went back and read the guidelines again. There is a polite request to not troll among the suggestions offered.
posted by Sqwerty at 11:18 AM on September 2, 2001


*laughing* Become familiar with the site before you post. But don't troll. Perception again, another fuzzy line that is open to interpretation. Thankfully, the guidelines don't mention a probationary period during which a new member's opinions are automatically deemed invalid. Nor does it set forth a specific process of reading, commenting, and posting that needs to occur before a person is allowed to shape their own perceptions about the nature of MeFi and share those perceptions when appropriate. I'm guessing that these types of rules don't exist because honest intentions and thoughtful commentary are generally recognized within an intelligent community, and that people can tell the difference between trolling and respectful disagreement, even if such statements are made in a passionate or straightforward manner. In the end, these judgements are in the hands of the faceless strangers on the other end of the diologue. The person making the comment has to have a bit of faith that, on the whole, the community will be open minded and willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
posted by hipstertrash at 12:54 PM on September 2, 2001


I can't speak for others, but I respectfully give you credit for a well dressed troll. Excellent form and follow through.
posted by Sqwerty at 3:19 PM on September 2, 2001


You sure don't speak for me, Sqwerty. I don't have a dog in this fight, and I think hipstertrash has been articulate and polite about his reasons for this thread. Trolls don't say things like
I don't have any personal problem with you, and I'm sorry if my mode of expression gave off that impression. And I'm not trying to pick on you or put you to the firing squad as an example.
If anything, I'm trying to figure out what you are trying to accomplish with this "troll" accusation.
posted by rodii at 10:18 AM on September 3, 2001


I don't have a goat in this fight, I mean. Avogadro's the one without a dog, in that other fight.
posted by rodii at 10:36 AM on September 3, 2001


Rodii, so are you saying that you do have a dog in this fight?





I am very confused.
posted by Avogadro at 10:45 AM on September 3, 2001


bringin a dog to a people fight.
posted by clavdivs at 7:20 AM on September 6, 2001


'I don't have a goat in this fight, I mean. Avogadro's the one without a dog, in that other fight'

Yeah.. Call me Sherlock but did i find myself doing a bit of a doubletake in a 'he woulda got away with it to if it wasn't for them pesky kids' type way.
posted by Kino at 9:46 AM on September 6, 2001


Ug. That wasn't a question it was a statement. Do me a favour and reverse the words 'did' and 'i', otherwise i'm in danger of blowing my own cover (kinky..) and exposing myself (even kinkier..) as the living incarnate of ned flanders moustache trimmings..
posted by Kino at 10:43 AM on September 6, 2001


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