I like rainbows. They are nice. September 9, 2001 5:22 AM   Subscribe

Today it's raining outside, but I think it's just a shower. It was sunny yesterday, and I hope it'll be sunny tomorrow. Is summer your favourite season? What sort of weather do you recommend? I like rainbows. They are nice.
posted by holgate to Etiquette/Policy at 5:22 AM (31 comments total)

Are you having a sandwich?
posted by pracowity at 5:42 AM on September 9, 2001

I'll post something about how the DMCA is somehow threatening the works of Marcel Proust, and even out the balance for ya.
posted by dong_resin at 5:48 AM on September 9, 2001

I posted in the thread, so my opinion probably counts less than usual, but the food thread seems to be similar to kitten posts. Blowing off steam, just having fun. It may not feature the newest, coolest stuff on the web, but it seems harmless in moderation.
posted by Doug at 6:46 AM on September 9, 2001

I think this is a comment on the "What are you reading" post. The "What are you eating" post was a take on that.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 6:49 AM on September 9, 2001

I also thought crass was joking. I haven't decided yet if I think it's funny.

Okay, yeah, it's a little funny.
posted by frykitty at 8:07 AM on September 9, 2001

it seems harmless in moderation.

The problem is, it propagates. One kitten post begets the next. I chuckled at crass's post, but I think many took it at face value. All-you-can-eat pancakes, this weekend at MeFi!
posted by jpoulos at 8:23 AM on September 9, 2001

I liked the eating post better than the reading one. I read too much "highbrow" stuff as teenager. Now I am into mysteries. Just put your mind in neutral.
posted by bjgeiger at 8:39 AM on September 9, 2001

whats weird. its is raining now, rain for a bit yesterday, sunny other then that and i saw a rainbow yesterday. (hit an opossum last night though:( DOUBLE RAINBOWS ARE NEAT-anyone seen one lately?
posted by clavdivs at 8:40 AM on September 9, 2001

At first, I liked crasspastor's post. I thought it was funny in concept. But at the end of the day, it's a substanceless link that led to a pointless discussion. It's eerily similar to the "Who likes pancakes? I like pancakes" style of discussion that Metafilter has traditionally tried to avoid.

What do we want Metafilter to be? Call me a radical, but I vote for interesting links that lead to intelligent, respectful, and provocative discussions. I don't think we'll get that unless we keep our standards very high.
posted by gd779 at 8:59 AM on September 9, 2001

I read too much "highbrow" stuff as teenager.

It's not about being "highbrow". It's about avoiding small talk.
posted by jpoulos at 10:06 AM on September 9, 2001

It's the Fray meme. And it's an effect of the longtime non-clarification of values here: Do we value the great link (which might not prompt much discussion) or the great discussion (which might emerge from the meagerest of links)? I think the masses have clearly voted for discussion, and once you've made that choice, any link will do.
posted by rodii at 10:16 AM on September 9, 2001

y'know rodii, it's one thing to value "the discussion" over "the link". it's quite another to be too lazy to even provoke discussion and instead just start a list. what's next, "i like clothes. what are you wearing?"
posted by judith at 10:55 AM on September 9, 2001

I know. My point is that once you start down the slippery slope, it's easy to say "what the hell, I'm sure someone will come up with something interesting to say." Or even "I wonder what that wacky [your wacky person here] will do if I do *this*?" I'm not saying it's a good thing.
posted by rodii at 11:19 AM on September 9, 2001

Do you like pancakes? I love pancakes!
posted by aaron at 11:21 AM on September 9, 2001

Seems to me the occasional kitten post helps people relax when the atmosphere on MeFi has gotten a bit too stressed and combative. It'll only last a couple of days at most--it's certainly not going to lead to a dark new era of MetaShinyHappyFilter. I think it's just what the place needed.
posted by moss at 12:59 PM on September 9, 2001

As this discussion goes the way of countless others that circle and circle again the same timeless metatalk themes, I can't help but think that this is just another form of smalltalk...

posted by andrew cooke at 1:45 PM on September 9, 2001

I thought it was really neat, discovering what everyone's reading, what band they're listening to and finding out all about transit websites! It was neat.

All I did was have a neat burrito and thought everyone would like to hear about it.

In all honesty. . .I was being a smart-ass. I thought I wouldn't need to explain that though.
posted by crasspastor at 2:25 PM on September 9, 2001

I thought I wouldn't need to explain that though.

A reasonable assumption, I think. Also an interesting commentary on the current state of Metafilter, given that many took your post seriously.
posted by gd779 at 2:30 PM on September 9, 2001

In fact I thought I'd be asked first, "Why you gotz to be such a dick crass?"
posted by crasspastor at 2:30 PM on September 9, 2001

i think that may have been holgates intention mr.cooke. (and i find it interesting) rodii hit it. great discussions can come from a small point. Lazy to raise a specific point is unfair.
posted by clavdivs at 3:25 PM on September 9, 2001

I was just going to let this thread burn itself out, but what the hell, it's Metatalk.

The point of my thread was simple, and actually had the same motive as the Polish post: I wanted to pull us back, again, from the brink of fruitless discussions about hum-drum sites and news, back from the same-old same old, and at the same time provide examples of what I consider a "rich" entry.

A rich entry contains many links adhering to a theme, that educate, cover the spectrum from informative to oddball, and leave the reader with a sense of what I consider good boundaries for Metafilter. Sometimes known as a Memepool-style entry.

In addition, the reading list post was what I call a "self-creating" topic. There's no external resource required. You need but sit at your computer and write what's in your head or at hand. In that way, a self-creating topic is more inclusive. It does not require special knowledge, does not require that you invent an opinion, nor spout off pointless drollery or flapdoodle when you have nothing concrete to say, and it does not necessarily provoke the standard binary discussion rifts we see elsewhere. And it opens up connections between users that might otherwise remain hidden.

In other words, this was an intentional behavior modification post, more carrot than stick, more "do what I do" than "do what I say." Metafilter's boundaries are loose and are largely defined by the participating community; in order to nudge Metafilter toward the kind of community blog that *I* like, I therefore must post examples and hope others follow. That kind of posting behavior is allowed, fair, and well within standard operating procedure here.

Further, if you're one of those people that judges the quality of a post by the number of comments (and I'm not), then the reading list thread is currently the third longest thread of the last three days. That's something, although it's worth noting there's very little discussion, just posts. It's also worth noting that many of those posts are from Metafilter irregulars and lurkers who rarely comment.

And besides, there's a pretty good must-read list shaping up there.

I should add that though the food post was clever (and not the first time a post of mine has been mocked), it has also turned into an good thread. I am often interested in the mental detritus of others and will do what I can to make them display it.
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:28 PM on September 9, 2001

So, what color underwear is everyone wearing today?
posted by timothompson at 8:43 PM on September 9, 2001

Sorry for the easy joke. I really don't think those kinds of posts harm anything (and in fact, sometimes enhance the conversation). I think Mathowie commented on it when he was interviewed by Derek Powazek for his book.
I remember the day when the focus of the site changed, at least internally for me. I had looked at the {fray} for inspiration years before MetaFilter, and one day I wondered if I could transcend what was then mostly just pointing out wacky things on the web and having people talk about it. I noticed one thing at the fray that MetaFilter lacked, and it was a single character. A question mark.

So this one day, I decided to stop speaking at the community of readers, and start speaking to them, engaging them. I can't remember what the first thing I tried this on was, but it was something like "here's a story of something embarrassing that happened to someone. What's the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you?"

Suddenly, instead of 2 or 3 comments following the post, there were 15. And they were funny, enlightening, and entertaining. Suddenly I felt closer to the community.

After that day, I tried to do it as often as possible, and other people followed my lead, and that's when it really started feeling like a place, and not just a site.
posted by timothompson at 8:52 PM on September 9, 2001

Today I passed a stool that contained kernals of undigested corn. What kinds of food did you eat today? What do you normally eat? Where do you usually go to the bathroom? What kinds of food did you love as a kid but find undigestible now? What do you find yourself eating more of this summer that you can't pass?
posted by rcade at 11:07 PM on September 9, 2001

Very spooky.

Of course crasspastor's post was parody. Hence, my "samwiches" comment - an irony-busting, slapstick bit of signage which should have instantly clued anyone who'd been sleeping.

Still, the most doggedly linear among us never wavered. Are people so keen to inflict a paragraph or two of personal tidbittery that they choose to white-out sarcasm alerts?

Thanks, crasspastor, for illuminating the mezzanine. Thanks for the nanosecond of unpredictable edginess. Thanks dong_resin, for noticing.

I am often interested in the mental detritus of others and will do what I can to make them display it.

Lovely sentiment. So your latest invention is Mo's Brain Enema? Just post some unfocused, gimmicky, aimless questionnaire to Metafilter and wait for the random brain droppings?

"Grab your brain's ankles, Mo's here with the specimen bucket..."

Strange hobby, but carry on...
posted by Opus Dark at 12:11 AM on September 10, 2001

We got, what, nearly 11000 registered members of Metafilter now? Odds are that among them are people born on every day of the year, wouldn't you say? So every event in history must have happened on someone's birthday in this group. Talk about a wide-open subject -- is there anything which would not be appropriate in this particular thread?
posted by Steven Den Beste at 6:52 AM on September 10, 2001

The anal fixation in this thread suggests repressed sexuality and a closely held infantile association of the body's excreting functions with speech. This stage is normally passed by the thirteenth year of life, but in some adults the traits can continue and form a mental abnormality that manifests itself through anger, resentment and a refusal to participate in the daily human to human negotiations that bind one to a community.

Opus: You would have me post in order to provoke a non-random response? Ask a question to which I can with certainty predict the answers? Seek foregone conclusions and opinions? What's the bloody point in that?
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:33 AM on September 10, 2001

That post absolutely infuriates me, SDB. Let's try this next:

"Random Word and Vocal Utterances. This thread is devoted to just tossing out any old words you can think of. Just whatever comes to mind is great. In fact, they don't even have to be words. Any old sound is fine. GRRRRANK GRRANKANK. ffflleleeeeeeek. arf arf arf arf arf...."
posted by jpoulos at 10:40 AM on September 10, 2001

Someone's up on their Freudspeak.

There is something about people using the South Park derived word "hella" that makes me cringe. I have nothing against the show.
posted by john at 1:00 PM on September 10, 2001

Opus: You would have me post in order to provoke a non-random response?

Of course. What's the matter with you? When you asked your dad why the sky was blue, did he answer with "Well, cheesecake is good with cream soda."? If he did, I understand you. If he did not, then I assume you realize that every reasonable question circumscribes a subset of possible answers.

Ask a question to which I can with certainty predict the answers?

The "Whatcha readin'" question delimited a very finite answer set. Its Mister Rogers tone and its complete lack of any sort of point of view guaranteed the self-indulgent result.

Seek foregone conclusions and opinions? What's the bloody point in that?

A good front-pager, IMO, encourages unexpected comment. When you are not feeling defensive, I think you might agree that your book list post did not do that. Had it been a bit more focused, and worded more provocatively, it could have. Then again, you may feel that a circle of cyber-acquaintances trading tofu recipes is good stuff. Maybe it is.

Really, this is not a big deal. There are lots of front-pagers which are not great. It was your odd defense of the post which put me into temporary slag mode. Your Metatalk post reads like a memo from a manipulative Pavlovian activities director, intent upon using Metafilter as his own personal Petri dish. It made me cranky. Beyond the spooky declaration of your "behaviour modification" initiative, and the brittle post about Vicente Fox, you have no cache with me. It would behoove all of us to remember that with so many new members, each post may represent all the credential we are gonna get.

Opus's favorite front-pager is the "Rack 'Em Up"...then, the shooters converge around the table, and with varying styles and from new angles, the topic breaks and careens and snaps and dances until the shooters or the topic are exhausted.

(Oh, and thank you for the anal analysis. How much do I owe you?)

posted by Opus Dark at 7:12 PM on September 10, 2001

Not to be pedantic but "hella" has been around long before South Park.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:11 PM on September 10, 2001

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