As a new user I find myself over-stimulated by MeFi... September 6, 2001 3:37 PM   Subscribe

As a new user I find myself over-stimulated by MeFi and so tend to bore the pants off everyone with too many comments. This may sound ridiculous but I am a great believer in good manners and would like to know what the acceptable limit is for comments per day?
On the other hand, I think interactivity within each thread is much more interesting than mere lists of separate comments. Engaging personally with other members of the community and directly addressing their thoughts seems more fruitful and respectful than just adding to the sum of opinions.
If there is some sort of "ethos" about it being uncool to answer someone else's post I think it it's misplaced. I know of three other newbies, more intimidated than myself, who are shying away from full participation because they feel they would be mocked.
Can a debate be started about what constitutes reasonable person-to-person debate, within the accepted and laudable public framework that MeFi has established?
I'd sincerely like to read comments from older members - preferably with good memories of their greenhorn days - on this question and feel sure we would all benefit from the resulting discussion.

posted by MiguelCardoso to Etiquette/Policy at 3:37 PM (12 comments total)

Fear of being mocked is probably a good thing-- going back to your first question, I think the basic point here is if you are contributing something worthwhile, it's welcome. No theoretical limits will matter if you're contributing something valuable.

I would say based on my experience (and having been on the wrong side on occaision), personal interaction is great when it's a matter of ideas-- when it becomes just you arguing with someone else, it's tiresome for everyone else. It's better to make an authoritative comment then spend 5 comments haggling over details.

But again, I think the beauty of the site is the simplicity, and the same should apply to 'the rules' or the 'framework.' If it's useful/interesting, post it. Otherwise, save it for your own blog or your own life.
posted by cell divide at 4:05 PM on September 6, 2001

Thanks, Terrence.
One additional feature which springs to mind and is illustrated by this very post would be a non-intrusive sidebar thingamajiggy whereby members could be simply thanked or applauded for their comments, without disturbing the flow of the thread.
I profoundly hate chatlines all that goes with them but I do feel that it is good manners to let people, who have taken the trouble to contribute, know that their comments were read and appreciated.
A simple tick plus nickname would suffice.
Also the fact that you do post a reaction, when you only mean to say "Bravo!" or "Let's agree to continue disagreeing", leads one to pad out the comment with irrelevant guff. It becomes faintly ridiculous.
With long commentaries - such as yours on the insights brought about by your experience working in Israel - it somehow feels ungrateful just to let it go, just because you can find no "authoritative comment" to dignify it with.
This would have the great virtue of reducing "white noise" yeahs and nays, which so often ruin the rhythm and the impetus of a sequential discussion.
See what I mean?
It all comes down to "thanks", really, and would be better off on the margins!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:29 PM on September 6, 2001

I don't think that's a real great idea, Miguel. Occasional "Bravo!" posts in the comments are just fine I think, and you know when you're doing it too much, or someone will tell you. That's what is meant by "self-policing".

But what do I know? I'm 4000+

And anyone who mocks you for not knowing how to comment is, well, not really worth listening to, right?

posted by Kafkaesque at 4:36 PM on September 6, 2001

So, bravo then, Kafkaesque!
You'll love being an uncle, by the way. But, before donating your money, please take into consideration that a limitless wallet is an avuncular prerequisite.
And if that ain't enough, do like me and become a serial godfather. I have four godchildren, all girls,who charm(and extort)the socks off me.
All children need as many adult accomplices - specially those with influence over their mothers - as they can get. As the father of two girls I also pass them on to uncles and godfathers every time things get too tough.
Congrats and Cohibas all round.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:48 PM on September 6, 2001

Good on you Miguel for bringing this up yourself. I noticed last night my time that you had 45 posts since you joined September 3rd and was kind of... bemused. You must have a lot of free time lately!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:52 PM on September 6, 2001

Three cheers for MiguelCardoso! IMO, when it comes to posting/commenting on MeFi, it's best to err on the side of caution. If you're not familiar enough with the ways of this world, it's probably best to observe.

As cell divide pointed out, interaction is a good thing, with a few guidelines. Stick to the topic of the discussion.

Generally, no one is going to "mock" you. They may criticize the manner in which you post something, question the appropriateness of something you link to, or point out a faux pas, but it's usually done with an eye toward informing you, and the community as a whole, on the rules of ettiquette MeFi follows. Don't take it personally.
posted by jpoulos at 9:04 PM on September 6, 2001

Miguel - my first post was a pointer to a DHTML widget (here). I thought it was pretty cool, but found out almost immediately that it was a sort of faux pas - as Metafilter had such a widget built in already - so it could have been seen as an offhand disrespectful comment about MeFi (and matt's coding). It was far from what I intended, and made me a bit gunshy, but I soon got over that.

My big concern these days is people clicking into the discussions and basically attacking the post/poster - I mean really, if you have something constructive to add, add it, just throwing stones isn't even interesting (usually). As far as complaining about the quality of posts - the best defense against that is a good offense - police yourself, be sure what you post is A) the sort of thing you'd want to read here, B) the sort of thing that would make a good conversation topic, and C) you feel right posting it. Better to post 3 great things in a month than 10 "kitty.jpg" posts in a week.

When I read the paper, if I see an article that doesn't interest me, I just skip it and move on to the next one, I wish more people would do the same here. And if they must make derogatory comments, at least be A) constructive, or B) hilarious. Pedestrian "this post is dumb" comments are so much graffitti to be waded through.
posted by kokogiak at 9:42 PM on September 6, 2001

Miguel, sometimes it is what you don't say that is more important.

I've been here for a little over 4 months ( well, a member for that long, it took about 4 months for me to realize you could post comments, and then 2 months after that to see that you could register, I'm stupid, leave me alone ), and have only posted 22 comments. I'm not sure if that's a lot, very little, or just right. In each comment I tried to add to the conversation or introduce a new perspective.

Many times I failed.

Self restraint is a valuable social skill both on and off the internet.

I hope my 23rd post wasn't to frivolous.

posted by remlapm at 7:24 AM on September 7, 2001

I hope my 23rd post wasn't to frivolous.

Doesn't matter anyway. Posts on Metatalk aren't counted towards your total. :)
posted by daveadams at 8:22 AM on September 7, 2001

But seriously remlapm, I found your comment quite insightful and true. Self-restraint is a very important part of participating in a community.
posted by daveadams at 8:23 AM on September 7, 2001

About a month after I joined I was making a comment in pretty much every thread, which undoubtedly led to some serious cCranium overload for the other users.

Being prolific is somewhat important, because recognition is very important to how you're treated, but if I could make a suggestion to people to avoid my overeager behaviour, be prolific, but only be prolific in threads you know a lot about.

You will save yourself much embarrasment, and the other users many exasperated sighs. Trust me, sucking in your pride and apologising isn't easy, so avoid situations that are likely to lead to you having to do so.
posted by cCranium at 8:50 AM on September 7, 2001

i started to blather at 24.2 hr. after initial wait period for new mefis and im still spewing....ah. yea. i think to much constraint is second guessing yourself. (i now have jupiter, my editor, double check my syntax and he files a good bunyun.(i should have said corn)
posted by clavdivs at 8:34 AM on September 8, 2001

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