Imagine if MeFi were ONLY links March 15, 2005 6:25 PM   Subscribe

Nothing but links... [+]
posted by cedar to MetaFilter-Related at 6:25 PM (13 comments total)

With all the talk of MeFi being about the links, I wondered what it would be like if it was nothing but links. I took Mark Pilgrim's ScobleFucker script for Greasemonkey and changed a few lines. If you use Greasemonkey in Firefox and want nothin' but links, you can get it here or just view a screenshot.
posted by cedar at 6:25 PM on March 15, 2005

That's hilarious, cedar! Good one.
posted by Lush at 6:33 PM on March 15, 2005


Hmm. This makes me want to do a purely link/link title parsed reverse mad lib/exquisite corpse type thingy.
posted by zerokey at 9:39 PM on March 15, 2005

excellent. thank you cedar.
posted by puke & cry at 9:46 PM on March 15, 2005

Value Add.

Or would that be Detriment Removal?

Please whip up a Greasemonkey script to edit out the marketing whores who live in my brain.
posted by scarabic at 11:15 PM on March 15, 2005

You have marketing whores living in your brain? Isn't that rather unhygienic?
posted by loquacious at 2:54 AM on March 16, 2005

Interesting, but value-add? Not really.

Many years ago, I noticed that when I highlighted things in books, I would read my highlights as a narrative when I skimmed the book later. That made me much more careful about highlighting: I found I was highlighting against the meaning of the text. E.g., I might do something like this:
I'm against treating terrorists like they are purse-snatchers.
Years and years later, when I first started reading and creating web pages, I noticed what a strong impact standard link highlighting (underlined, in a contrasting color) has on reading -- in particular, I noticed immediately that it had the same effect on perception of the message that highlighting does. I've created links with that in mind ever since.

So, like I said, this is interesting, and I can see an argument for "value add" as a means of making people see the subtext they don't perceive consciously. But as a tool for understanding a page, it's not valuable at all. It actually obscures the meaning of the page. (The idea that a page is of value purely for the links it contains is complete and utter nonsense. IMHO, of course.)
posted by lodurr at 7:31 AM on March 16, 2005 [1 favorite]

The idea that a page is of value purely for the links it contains is complete and utter nonsense. - lodurr

That depends on the page. There are some webpages nearly devoid of links that are all about their own content, and if boiled down to only their links would be pretty much non-existant. Other pages are purely links to other content, and those webpages also serve their purpose.

Matt has always said MeFi is about 'best of the web' links, and if they generate discussion then that's a nice bonus. Certainly there are many users who disagree with him, but that was his intention.
posted by raedyn at 10:38 AM on March 16, 2005

Of course it depends on the page. On such a page, the links are the content. But the intent of something like this seems to me to be to throw down the gauntlet and proclaim "content is worthless."

Matt has always said...

Oh, well, then, if that's what this is about, then nothing else matters, right? Heaven forbid a community should break out...
posted by lodurr at 10:53 AM on March 16, 2005

lodurr - you are taking this a little too seriously. This is an interesting way to tweak MetaFilter. How could it not be interesting to see the site with everything taken out but the links? Interesting - not better or a suitable replacement. Just interesting. This is one more way we can see MetaFilter. How does that not contribute something?

the intent of something like this seems to me to be to throw down the gauntlet and proclaim "content is worthless."

Put plainly, you're being defensive. Chill out.
posted by scarabic at 12:13 PM on March 16, 2005

Uh... you guys know it's a goof born of boredom and the desire to fiddle with a Firefox extension, right?

It certainly was never my intention to be taken seriously.
posted by cedar at 1:17 PM on March 16, 2005

lodurr -
By paraphrasing Matt, it was not my intention to claim that his is the only opinion that matters. But the closest thing to 'official position' on this hotly debated topic (is MeFi for the links or the discussion or the personalities or the community or ?) is what he has said on the topic and what is in the guidelines which state:
A good post to MetaFilter is something that meets the following criteria: most people haven't seen it before, there is something interesting about the content on the page, and it might warrant discussion from others.
I said there are users that disagree with Matt, and I'm on the fence about the topic myself. But various combinations of users have rehashed this topic over and over and over in MeTa and I'm frankly sick of hearing the arguement. Different people have different reasons to keep coming here and get different uses out of it. That's as it should be. Pretty much everyone that posts to MeTa wants MeFi to fit their vision. No one will completely get what they want. That's part of the beauty of something collaborative like this place.

I was just thinking that if the original intent of the site (and it's clear that's the original intent, if not the eventual result) was all about the links, it would be interesting to see what the place looks like distilled back down to the 'essence' of it. It might be kind of telling for all of us to look at the site with just links and see if it's still what we want out of MeFi.

(Also, there are people who visit MeFi that have never become members. They might be more inclined to say it's all about the links than those of us who participate in the discussion. The people who actually post their opinions on the topic are self-selected to be skewed towards the discussion/community side of things.)
posted by raedyn at 3:13 PM on March 16, 2005

I got the joke, guys. It wasn't funny. It was just sophomoric.
posted by lodurr at 9:38 AM on March 17, 2005

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