Polling the membership... is not a good post March 18, 2005 8:04 PM   Subscribe

Polling the membership to see what they think about a big-media story is not a good post, especially when there are no good links offered in the post, and the subject matter is hot-button, right-to-life kind of stuff. Besides: double-post.
posted by scarabic to Etiquette/Policy at 8:04 PM (74 comments total)

agreed. Death to newsfilter.
posted by puke & cry at 8:22 PM on March 18, 2005


Besides: double-post.

Well, over a year since the original post and there have been some major new developments recently. That said, I'd go alone with puke & cry's call for death to newsfilter, but it's pretty clear that ship has sailed at this point. Newsfilter is part of the site, like it or lump it.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:33 PM on March 18, 2005


*fetches torch and pitchfork*
posted by euphorb at 8:33 PM on March 18, 2005


it's an update, not a double.
and if we ever got updatefilter, it'd be perfect for that.
posted by amberglow at 8:34 PM on March 18, 2005


Is this a poll or a push poll, scarabic?

But frankly, I like newsfilter post, because I like to read the reactions, that is the comments from Mefites.

Indeed, I mostly come here for the opinions of the members, not the links.
posted by orthogonality at 8:35 PM on March 18, 2005


I can't believe the complaint for this link is that it's NewsFilter, when spoiling a highly spoilable movie on the front page without so much as a word's warning is by far the worse offense.

That part of the post should be edited out. The rest of the post, NewsFilter or no, I'm fine with.
posted by BackwardsCity at 8:40 PM on March 18, 2005


Besides: double-post.

Yeah, that was just a joke, alluding to the Arctic oil drilling thread that was deleted as a double. Although I think by that standard (which I didn't agree with) this qualifies.

Similarly, if a decisive ruling had come down in this case, something that would mean something, legally, for years to come, I wouldn't pohh-pooh it necessarily if it came along with a few good links. But it isn't actually an update, amberglow. It offers no news, no recent development, no update.

It comes at the height of the time period when no one knows what will happen, and it contributes nothing to the front page except a (likely flammable) poll.

While I appreciate your opinion on the subject, orthogonality (even though I have a pet peeve about people just saying they like something without making a real case for its value) that opinion is deprecated around here. This is not a discuss-the-news website. Pretty well established by consensus and from on high.
posted by scarabic at 8:41 PM on March 18, 2005


I just thought the wording was awful. Having "But I need to know what Mefites think about..." in your post is questionable in the green and a definate no-no in the blue.
posted by Arch Stanton at 8:43 PM on March 18, 2005


Okay, kids. Read my recent comment posted 30 seconds ago. I just really needed to know.
posted by snsranch at 8:47 PM on March 18, 2005


Hey guys I know, possible news filter am i right? But I need to know what Mefites think about this. Is she really capable of perjury? Some degree of perjury? Or is this like "Martha Stewart Baby", in which case her publicist is just making a brave choice? Also, are the Queen Bee's tits fake or what? I REALLY NEED TO KNOW THIS THANKS
posted by naxosaxur at 11:42 PM EST (10 comments total) [!]
posted by naxosaxur at 8:48 PM on March 18, 2005


the person knew what they were doing was wrong, but they did it anyway. A damn shame.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:51 PM on March 18, 2005


It offers no news, no recent development, no update.
Wanting to wheel a brain-dead woman into Congress to score political points certainly is news. Asking the Supreme Court to step in is news too.

sns--i know it's no consolation at all, but at least you had closure. That's what's being denied here.
posted by amberglow at 8:54 PM on March 18, 2005


.
posted by amberglow at 8:57 PM on March 18, 2005


Yea, well, thanks amberglow. Holy shit.
posted by snsranch at 8:59 PM on March 18, 2005


scarabic writes "While I appreciate your opinion on the subject, orthogonality (even though I have a pet peeve about people just saying they like something without making a real case for its value) that opinion is deprecated around here"

Politely put, and I hope I'm as polite when I say that if my opinion is deprecated and in the minority, all the more reason to state it.

As for making a case for the value of what I like, its value is simply that it's valuable to me. Newsfilter, more than anything else, is what draws me here, because unlike many blogs, there no uniform consensus of opinion here.

As to whether the post was new news, I'd say that Congress subpoenaing a dead woman to make politcal hay is something worth being noted.


mathowie writes "the person knew what they were doing was wrong, but they did it anyway. A damn shame."

With all due respect to mathowie, having one's blog adapt to its users is a testament to its success, even if that success is not quite in line with its creator's vision.
posted by orthogonality at 9:03 PM on March 18, 2005


Okay, kids. Read my recent comment posted 30 seconds ago. I just really needed to know.

That is a shitty situation sns, but still not what metafilter is for. I hope that's understood now.
posted by puke & cry at 9:09 PM on March 18, 2005


If my opinion is deprecated and in the minority, all the more reason to state it.

It's deprecated because it's been stated and discussed and did not win a consensus. If you want to state it again, okay, but I don't think it accomplishes much.

I happen to like you, so whatever draws you here is a good thing at least for that. I'm just saying that we frequently have to talk about things in depth and decide them on principle, argue them on merit. Everyone popping in to just lodge their "vote" by saying "but I liked it!" contributes conflict, but no content to the discussion. That's why it's a pet peeve of mine.

I can tell you why newsfilter polls are a bad idea. I haven't here because I consider the issue exhaustively discussed. I would never dare call something out on the grounds that "I don't like it" or "It's not what I come here for." And with all due respect, I seriously hope you don't take this as an opportunity to tell me, mathowie, and everyone else why NewsFilter is great and needs to stay. You need to hit the MeTa archives. Or just trust me on this one.

To your and AmberG's point about Congress: bear in mind I didn't say that nothing of note was happening in relation to the story: I said that the post contained no information about anything interesting that's happening. And it didn't. odinsdream did better inside of a few comments.

The post sucked. Come on.
posted by scarabic at 9:13 PM on March 18, 2005


Yeah I want to be really careful in saying this, snsranch, because it sounds like you went through something really awful, but it sounds like what you need is to talk about it and get support and guidance from other people. You don't "need" to know what to do because, from the sound of it, your situation is all in the past, over and done. You want validation or relief from guilt or or some other post-processing of feelings that have been nagging at you, and that, indeed, is not at all what MetaFilter is for (or good at).
posted by scarabic at 9:17 PM on March 18, 2005


It was all worth it for amberglow's Rudepundit link. That piece was everything Taibbi's piece wanted to be: blunt, indignant, and dead-on.


Heh. "Dead-on".
posted by everichon at 9:20 PM on March 18, 2005


I know I'm a "n00b" and all, but I don't think this post was so bad as to deserve deletion. Yes, it could have been worded better and used a bit more content (maybe links to arguments for both sides to help foster some intelligent discussion) and yeah, sns probably shouldn't have openly stated his personal reasons for posting, but I don't think the discussion was all that bad. As for the spoiler issue... well, there've already been posts about that movie on Mefi, and if you haven't by now heard what the "twist" is, then you've probably been living under a rock. Too freakin bad.
posted by papakwanz at 9:25 PM on March 18, 2005


Without the "bad" post,, we wouldn't have had Jimbob's link, which I think almost qualifies as an FPP by itself.

scarabic writes "It's deprecated because it's been stated and discussed and did not win a consensus. If you want to state it again, okay, but I don't think it accomplishes much. "

It hastens the day my people, and quonsar, will be free!

Ok, not that. But it doesn't hurt to periodically revisit this and see if consensus has changed, especially given that there was an FPP that apparently violated this consensus, and numerous comments of that FPP, suggesting that either the consensus is not as solid as one might think, or that what does or does not violate that consensus is not clear to many.

"I happen to like you, so whatever draws you here is a good thing at least for that."

Clearly I have not been sufficiently obnoxious, and I apologize for slacking off. ;)
posted by orthogonality at 9:30 PM on March 18, 2005


I don't think the discussion was all that bad

It's about the links, not the disscusion.
posted by puke & cry at 9:32 PM on March 18, 2005


i thought this was worth repeating:

having one's blog adapt to its users is a testament to its success, even if that success is not quite in line with its creator's vision.

and repeating:

having one's blog adapt to its users is a testament to its success, even if that success is not quite in line with its creator's vision.
posted by quonsar at 10:06 PM on March 18, 2005


Without the "bad" post,, we wouldn't have had Jimbob's link, which I think almost qualifies as an FPP by itself.

That was a good link. And comments linking to better content than the post itself, especially when they come in numbers early in the life of the post, argue that the post itself was weak. Good discussions come from bad posts. But great discussions mainly come from good posts. I've learned that lesson the hard way.

I don't think the discussion was all that bad

Considering all the flaws you were willing to admit, and that your ultimate endorsement was "not that bad," I think you've only made the point that the post was limp. People were talking about it, true. I'm sure people would talk about Michael Jackson's every legalistic fart and tremble, possibly posting informative links to child-molestation law in the process. Please no Jacko posts, though.

I apologize for slacking off

Get with it, biznitch ;)
posted by scarabic at 10:07 PM on March 18, 2005


scarabic writes ""Considering all the flaws you were willing to admit.... "

You, you who???

In your comment, you respond to me ("Without the "bad" post,...."), then to papakwanz ("I don't think the discussion was all that bad"), then to me again ("I apologize for slacking off").

Recognizing my own quoted text, I spent a minute or two trying to figure out if somewhere I'd also said what papakwanz said, finally highlighted that phrase to see where it came from (with a Firefox extension, "Context Highlight, and I highly recommend it), and was left wondering if you thought I, not papakwanz, had written the second sentence you quoted. May I recommend another Firefox extension, MetaFilthy, which automates quoting and provides attribution, so everyone knows who is being quoted (it also indicates which comments are new, making following a MetaFilter thread much easier)?
posted by orthogonality at 10:17 PM on March 18, 2005


Yeah, that was just a joke, alluding to the Arctic oil drilling thread that was deleted as a double. Although I think by that standard (which I didn't agree with) this qualifies.

One has more than a year between the original post and the new one, while the drilling for oil posts were posted on consecutive days, and you see one as an example for the other?

Surely you can see the difference.
posted by justgary at 10:42 PM on March 18, 2005


I'll check it out. Thanks orthogonal one.

Surely you can see the difference.

Don't call me "Shirley."

See, that was a joke too. You do know what that is, right?
posted by scarabic at 10:44 PM on March 18, 2005


Sorry, sorry, fair question. Yeah, I do see *a* difference. A temporal one. But the way the two news stories have played out, I think the qualitative difference is not so marked. In the oil drilling case, one day made all the difference. And, IMHO, it was a more significant story. In the feeding tube case, I haven't seen much progress in the story since it surfaced, except now it's out of Jeb's lap and in Congress. More time has passed, but that doesn't validate the post.

Plus, the post sucked, as I keep saying.
posted by scarabic at 11:03 PM on March 18, 2005


I'll get scarabic's back on this one: The post was a poor one.

But that doesn't necessarily mean someone couldn't find good links (on the law, the medical issues, living wills, etc.) and post about the situation (in fact I believe someone did such a thing within the past few months when a self-link--I think--was posted).
posted by MikeKD at 12:20 AM on March 19, 2005


Just mind he doesn't get your back, MikeKD--he's got his push poll out.
Metafilter: every legalistic fart and tremble
posted by squirrel at 12:34 AM on March 19, 2005


Why does MeTa have to be about scarabic?
posted by greasy_skillet at 1:19 AM on March 19, 2005


papakwanz : "As for the spoiler issue... well, there've already been posts about that movie on Mefi, and if you haven't by now heard what the 'twist' is, then you've probably been living under a rock. Too freakin bad."

Or, you know, a country where the movie hasn't been released yet!

orthogonality : " Clearly I have not been sufficiently obnoxious, and I apologize for slacking off. ;)"

Yeah, you've got to work on that. I often disagree with you, but I really like you too. You've gotta try a lot harder if you want to make enemies. Less logic, more snark!

orthogonality & quonsar : "having one's blog adapt to its users is a testament to its success, even if that success is not quite in line with its creator's vision."

How is it a testament to its success?
posted by Bugbread at 4:20 AM on March 19, 2005


Clearly I have not been sufficiently obnoxious, and I apologize for slacking off.

That's okay, papakwanz is covering for you.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:30 AM on March 19, 2005


As for the spoiler issue... well, there've already been posts about that movie on Mefi, and if you haven't by now heard what the "twist" is, then you've probably been living under a rock. Too freakin bad.

I'd just like to say that the arrogant selfishness of this remark, and the sheer lack of consideration for the very different situations of moviegoers across the globe, makes me almost swoon with admiration.

I also second (third? Fourth?) orthogonality's point. Successful, active, living blogs evolve, just like living things do. A little direction in this evolution seems reasonable, but attempts to rigidly enforce what really ought to be guidelines rather than rules seems... not only a bit stiff but also, I suspect, counter-productive. In my short time here I've noticed that it is by no means unusual for threads which break or bend the guidelines to be the most stimulating, entertaining and often dowright funny ones.
posted by Decani at 5:54 AM on March 19, 2005


Decani : "A little direction in this evolution seems reasonable, but attempts to rigidly enforce what really ought to be guidelines rather than rules seems... not only a bit stiff but also, I suspect, counter-productive."

Agreed. Which is why I like Mefi: it doesn't attempt to rigidly enforce, and it doesn't really have "rules". Instead, it has guidelines which are flexibly enforced on a case-by-case basis.
posted by Bugbread at 6:34 AM on March 19, 2005


delete if you like, matt-- it's worth reposting.
posted by amberglow at 7:23 AM on March 19, 2005


Successful, active, living blogs evolve, just like living things do. A little direction in this evolution seems reasonable, but attempts to rigidly enforce what really ought to be guidelines rather than rules seems...

How have the pro-newsfilter folks in this thread managed to claim the moral high ground on this? My impression is that lots and lots of members don't like newsfilter, and that the general ban on it (supported and administered by Matt) *is* the site reflecting its users. Again, this is not a case of an arbitrary rule that's been shat down upon us from a great height against all our protests, but the end product of a bunch of discussions, deletions, non-deletions, etc.
posted by scarabic at 9:50 AM on March 19, 2005


That's my impression as well, by the way.
posted by Bugbread at 9:53 AM on March 19, 2005


greasy_skillet : "Why does MeTa have to be about scarabic?"

All this time I thought it was about jonmc.
posted by graventy at 9:56 AM on March 19, 2005


Isn't this exactly what the flag feature was for? Seriously, every time I see another meta thread on a bad post I just wonder what the hell that feature is for if we're still going to do this every time a bad post comes up.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 10:30 AM on March 19, 2005


"How is it a testament to its success?"

Yeah, what bugbread said. That's just a bland assertion, not an argument. I think you'd first need to define "success". And only Matt gets to define what "success" is in the context of his decision to start metafilter, since he's the only one who set a goal at its creation.

I continue to be incredibly astonished at people's proprietarism of anything that exists in any way in the public realm. I also wonder if the folks above that think that "evolving according to the tastes of your audience" means "success" would endorse that concept with regard to, say, pop culture.

As for the post, snsranch's reasons for posting it are heartbreaking, but that doesn't in any way deliver the post from its crapitude. Scarabic's right: getting links to current news can't possibly be why most people come to metafilter (because, although it occasionally does it, it does it much more poorly than about a million alternatives do). And it's explicitly not what Matt designed metafilter for. So he let amberglow's link stand. I wouldn't have. The media is saturated with Schiavo stories. So we get recent posts about Arctic drilling, Jessica Lunsferd, and Eugene Volokh's defense of torture. What a fucking waste of time.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:28 AM on March 19, 2005


To Bugbread, Decani, CunningLinguist, whomever else objects to my statement re: M$B spoilers in this post:

Admitted, I could have phrased it better. And, Admitted, I sometimes forget that there are numerous non-US visitors here who may not have had the opportunity to see the movie yet. So, I apologize for any offense on that ground.

However...
1) Even for those who live outside the US, and I know there are many, there has been discusson on Mefi about the movie and the plot "twist" within.
2) The movie has received a lot of internet press, on both US-Centric and International websites, and a lot of that press focused on the controversy surrounding said plot "twist", and that press only increased around the time of the Oscars, a subject that was also addressed on Mefi
3) Given that, I assumed, perhaps incorrectly but not, I don't think, unreasonably, that many readers of the site, whether or not they had seen the movie, had some inkling at least of what the hubbub was about.
4) And since the post wasn't phrased in such a way that it gave away the whole plot, I wanted to say that I don't think it was a valid complaint re: the post. The other complaints that have been made and led to the posts deletion, those are valid. That's it

So, again, sorry if I pissed anybody off with the phrasing, but I don't think I was being completely irrational with the basic sentiment.
posted by papakwanz at 11:30 AM on March 19, 2005


Your argument isn't valid. I'm about as net-connected as anyone, read everything and anything on the net, and until three days ago when I deliberately gave in an spoiled myself about TMDB, I didn't know what the "twist" was. How'd that happen, given what you wrote above? Easy. I didn't want to know.

The reason I gave in was because I still hadn't seen the movie but had skipped reading so many things that different critics and others have written about the film that I got tired of it. There's been a bunch of stuff on Ebert's site about the movie that I skipped over: answer man q&a's. I was getting tired of skipping over all this stuff.

So you see, it is possible to remain unspoiled and sometimes people work hard at doing so. That makes your attitude about the matter all the more obnoxious.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:35 AM on March 19, 2005


Papakwanz,

I hear what you're saying, and I realize there is kind of a statute of limitations on spoilers (the Crying Game, for example, is quite fair game now). I also realize the topic may be discussed extensively on the internet. However, keep in mind that the big difference is that those spoilers are pretty easily avoidable: don't read movie forums whose topic is a film you're planning on watching, don't read reviews of the movie by sites you aren't familiar with, etc. The problem here is that the spoiler appears in a general "safe zone", the front page of the blue. Think "Fight Club": it wouldn't be surprising for there to be a spoiler on the day the movie was released somewhere on a Chuck Palahniuk site, and it would be silly to get on someone's case there for posting a spoiler. However, it would be incredibly surprising if, for example, there was a spoiler on the front of CNN.com.

I generally think of the front page of the blue as being spoiler-free, and any posts about a movie as having potential spoilers inside, so I avoid reading them. The way it came out here, the spoiler was in a place where I didn't realize it would be until I'd already read it and it was too damn late.

Luckily, I'm not that interested in the movie (will probably rent it when it comes out on DVD, so maybe next year?), but the tone of your voice raised my hackles, because, hell, if that type of attitude were to hold, and the whole internet was a spoiler zone, I'd have to choose: watch movies, or read the internet, but not both (especially as I am fond of movies with twists). I'd rather not have to choose one or the other.
posted by Bugbread at 11:51 AM on March 19, 2005


Hey there EB,

Thanks for taking my apology and shitting on it. I appreciate that!

I wasn't trying to prove to you that haha! yes, in fact, you already did know about the movie, don't try to claim you didn't!
I was merely trying to explain my reasoning, which I admit was based on conjecture rather than on some sort of statistical evidence correlating hours on the internet and movie spoiler knowledge.
I was also apologizing for my tone, which I realize now was rude. But, if you don't want to accept my apology, fine, withdrawn.

Bugbread-
Understood. I hate spoilers as much as anyone. To take this whole discussion out to the larger issue of the post to which the spoiler was attached, my original point was that I don't think the potential spoiler was much of a reason to complain about the sns' Schiavo post. Like I said before, I wasn't really thinking that hard about the matter when I wrote my original message, so things came out in a more coarse way than they should have.
posted by papakwanz at 12:23 PM on March 19, 2005


I'm not real fond of NewsFilter, but I can accept amberglow's FPP on this subject. I'll just skip over it.

However, a second FPP on the exact same subject in the same day is just ridiculous, despite the tepid justifications. I thought we had already figured out a reasonable compromise for this type of situation, but apparently the hardcore NewsFilter advocates won't be satisfied until they've made an FPP out of every single news article on the news du jour. Goddammit.
posted by casu marzu at 12:25 PM on March 19, 2005


papakwanz - you're well within your rights to not care if the film was spoiled for people. That's fine. But the post did spoil the ending for some people, including me. I'd heard of the movie but it was sorta on the edge of my radar and I hadn't seen it. I don't think I'll bother now.

You are also correct that the post had bigger problems than the movie spoiler. Considering its fallacious conception, piling a film spoiler on can be considered an insignificant added detail, or an egregious, galling crown jewel of retardation. Matter of perspective.
posted by scarabic at 12:47 PM on March 19, 2005


Fuck newsfilter, but also, what dfleming said: just flag the damn post as "breaks the guidelines" and move on.

Hey, was there discussion that I missed about having a "newsfilter" flag? Let's you and him fight about that!
posted by nicwolff at 1:20 PM on March 19, 2005


D'oh, the next thread answers that question...
posted by nicwolff at 1:22 PM on March 19, 2005


I have a simple solution for Newsfilter that can leave everybody, pro-Newsfilter and against, happy. Read on.

It's often said that technologic fixes for social problems don't work. I disagree, at least concerning those social problems caused by scarcity: if technology can make more of whatever is scarce, technology can solve or at least significantly ameliorate the problem.

The problem with "Newsfilter" posts is a scarcity problem: a Newsfilter post takes up space on the front page, and the takes up the attention of users. From Matthowie's standpoint, Newsfilter also gives visitors to the site the wrong impression of Metafilter -- again a scarcity problem, as this can be restated as "taking up space" in the visitors' mental models of Metafilter.

Matthowie's current approach to Newsfilter is to remove them from the front page (and close them to further comments).

Let's do the same thing, more or less, but proactively -=- let's never show Newsfilter on the front page at all. Unless someone, like me, wants to see it.

This can be easily achieved with some simple CSS: surround all Newsfilter posts in an HTML tag with a class of "mefi-sekrit". Then add a style directive:
.mefi-sekrit { display: none ;}

Newsfilter will then be on the front page, but invisible to casual visitors and to users -- unless those users explicitly change their own usercss to show things tagged "mefi-sekrit".

(We use "sekrit" as in "boyz klubhows -- sekrit no gurls aloud" to show that we don't actually expect to hide anything that's truly secret with CSS.)

Fans of Newsfilter, on the other hand, can make a simple change to their own usercss:
.mefi-sekrit { display: block ; }

and then will see Newsfilter items.

Now, instead of Matt deleting a Newsfilter post and closing it, he could just mark it (in the database) as "is_sekrit" and, on display of that item, have the server wrap it in the mefi-sekrit tag.

Or he could even add a check-box to posts, allowing the poster to mark his own contribution as "Newsfilter", which would set the "is_sekrit" flag in the database.

The end result: Newsfilter haters never again see Newsfilter, and Newsfilter lovers get to see it without seeing any complaints about it. Matthowie gets to keep the look he desires for his site, while retaining that minority of his users attracted to Metafilter, unaccountably enough, for the Newsfilter.

A win-win for everybody.

It's a loss only for those who so hate Newsfilter they think no one else should enjoy it either, or who feel that time spent making comments to Newsfilter posts would be better spent making comments to their own non-Newsfilter posts -- in other words, it's a loss only for those who think so highly of themselves they want to dictate how others use their own time.

It's a cost for Matthowie, of course, putting in place another "pony", but it's pretty simple: another attribute column in the database, and another bit of conditional text processing based on that flag, and optionally a bit of processing on the database insert. In fact, I suspect it's so simple I'll gladly offer to make the code modifications necessary, if Matthowie finds the prospect too tedious.
posted by orthogonality at 3:21 PM on March 19, 2005


Ortho: does that pony work for the IE users out there?
posted by Bugbread at 3:56 PM on March 19, 2005


bugbread writes "Ortho: does that pony work for the IE users out there?"

Yean, IE does display:none. What IE doesn't do has more to do with widths and, e.g. before and after pseudo-classes on Q tags.

I wouldn't have suggested anything that didn't work in the most popular browser.

And it's "orthogonality" not "Ortho", please.
posted by orthogonality at 4:01 PM on March 19, 2005


Sorry, I meant, can some sort of user css file be edited to override the display none for folks who want to see the news?

orthogonality : "And it's 'orthogonality' not 'Ortho', please."

Okay. But you'll have to allow me to capitalize it. You drive a hard bargain, sir.
posted by Bugbread at 4:09 PM on March 19, 2005


ortho: how do you get the tag around NewFilter posts in the first place?
posted by mischief at 4:18 PM on March 19, 2005


mischief writes "ortho: how do you get the tag around NewFilter posts in the first place?"

That's where Matthowie comes in. When the page is prepared, the posts are taken from database (for users, in various order as specified by the drop-down) . At that point, for each post that had the "is_sekrit" attribute, he'd have to append to the text of the post:
<div class="mefi-sekrit">
and append to it
</div>

Depending on one's predilections, you'd either do that in the front-end code or in the database itself. In the database is a bit simpler, although it violates some separation of concerns:

Assuming there's a table called posts, with attributes html and is_sekrit, one might simply replace the table with a view:

create view post_sekrit
as
select
*,
isnull( ( select '<div class="mefi_sekrit">' where is_sekrit = 1 ), "" )
+ html
+ isnull( ( select '</div>' where is_sekrit = 1 ), "" )
as html_sekrit
from
posts

then, any where clause previously used on table post could be applied unchanged to table post_sekrit, with any select clause changed to reference "html_sekrit" rather than "html".

(Had I designed the database, I'd have originally made all selects operate on views, not tables, precisely to make changes like this easier -- in that case, no changes to front-end code would be required at all; only database objects dependent on the view "post" would have to be recompiled. Note the SQL given is Sybase Transact SQL -- minor changes would be required for Oracle (catentaion operator is "|" not "+") or other database engines (use of isnull and correlated where clauses).)
posted by orthogonality at 4:56 PM on March 19, 2005


s/append/prepend/1
posted by orthogonality at 4:57 PM on March 19, 2005


This idea should be in its own MeTa FPP, orthogonality, so people can see it and hash it out. But please dispense with "sekrit" as it is profoundly irritating. Use "hide" or "hidden" and you're likely to get more joiners/defenders.
posted by squirrel at 6:06 PM on March 19, 2005


I don't like it--there's room for all filters on the front page--from AppleFilter, to ArtFilter, to StrangeForeignFilter, to InsaneTimeCubeFilter to PoliticsFilter to SexFilter to NewsFilter to TragedyFilter to ...
posted by amberglow at 6:32 PM on March 19, 2005


squirrel writes "This idea should be in its own MeTa FPP, orthogonality, so people can see it and hash it out. But please dispense with 'sekrit' as it is profoundly irritating. Use 'hide' or 'hidden' and you're likely to get more joiners/defenders."

I've posted in the last week, and so can't post to MetaTalk. Anyone who thinks it's a good idea can post it himself, with whatever modifications please him.
posted by orthogonality at 6:34 PM on March 19, 2005


if you haven't by now heard what the 'twist' is, then you've probably been living under a rock. Too freakin bad.

papakwanz, think about how enfuriating it is to read this after just having the movie spoiled for you. Thanks for pouring salt in the wound. But you've already apologized for your snotty tone, so I guess I have to accept it, though I reserve the right to do it with bad grace.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:50 PM on March 19, 2005


So, ortho, what you're saying is Matt has to sit and monitor posts as they occur so he can tag them? Um, I don't think so.
posted by mischief at 7:02 PM on March 19, 2005


mischief writes "So, ortho, what you're saying is Matt has to sit and monitor posts as they occur so he can tag them? Um, I don't think so."

Um, that's exactly what's happening now. Matt either monitors or is tipped off by people flagging, then deletes them or not, according to his judgment.

But on a post that's borderline, Matt only has two choices: let the post stay, in which case the anti-newsfilter crows will complain, or delete the post, in which case the pro-Newsfilter crows will complain. with my suggestion, he can make it so the post isn't seen by those who don't like Newsfilter, but us seen by those who do. The practical effect is to remove any justifications for complaint, so that we can all spend our prodigious talents responding to posts and making new posts, rather than commenting on meta issues in metatalk.

Although I did suggest that the posters tag their own posts, which has the additional benefit of freeing Matt up, at least when posters are self-critically honest enough to flag their own posts as Newsfilter.

And, um, try to avoid constructions like "Um, I don't think so." Um, it like makes you sound um, like a petulant fourteen year old girl, like ya know, mmmmkay?
posted by orthogonality at 7:32 PM on March 19, 2005


Um, ortho, sweetie, your newbieness is showing in your ignorance of the human factor involved.

First, you are assuming that every NewsFilter post is brought to Matt's attention and that he looks at every one.
Second, you are assuming that Matt can drag himself away from his normal weekday activities to hand tag FPPs.

Your suggestions are nothing new and have already been completely debated. Read the MeTalk archives starting around the year 2000 and catch up with the rest of us.
posted by mischief at 8:11 PM on March 19, 2005


Why can't news and opinion posts be in their own site section, available to premium users? Matt suggested this (I think as a joke) but I would actually pay for this. There are a lot of member who are here more for the discussion than the links, who would like to talk about what's going on in the world, you know, news.
posted by xammerboy at 11:17 PM on March 19, 2005


I have a simple solution for Newsfilter that can leave everybody, pro-Newsfilter and against, happy.

Really? Both pro- *and* against? How marvelous. But what about those of us in the middle?

Ye gods, orthogonality, you sure do like technical solutions, don't you? Before doing too much more work on this one, though, I think you'd better first answer one important question: What's a "Newsfilter" post? You don't seem real clear on that. I've read through your solution and don't see anywhere it allows for a user who likes *good,* *rich* news-related posts but hates *lazy,* *simple* news-related posts (like those, say, that are nothing more than a link to a TV station's three-paragraph write-up of a story). Completely lost in your overly simplistic "haters/lovers" formulation is this: The "newsfilter" accusation describes a specific subset of news-related posts that are TOTALLY LAME.

It's obvious that Matt doesn't "remove...from the front page" all posts pegged to daily news stories. He only removes the ones that are TOTALLY LAME. Your bizarre technical solution doesn't address that essential distinction at all.
posted by mediareport at 11:20 PM on March 19, 2005


Oh, and amberglow, that post was nicely done - a perfect counterexample to the bad post that preceded it. But I can't understand why johnnydark's post (2 hours, 2 minutes and 2 inches later) wasn't deleted as a double-post.
posted by mediareport at 11:28 PM on March 19, 2005


mediareport writes "Completely lost in your overly simplistic 'haters/lovers' formulation is this: The 'newsfilter' accusation describes a specific subset of news-related posts that are TOTALLY LAME."

When you can quantify 'totally lame' get back to me.

"Your bizarre technical solution doesn't address that essential distinction at all."

And until then, lay off the inflammatory and disrespectful rhetoric. I don't deserve it and you can do better than acting like a jackass.
posted by orthogonality at 11:50 PM on March 19, 2005


I guess I have to accept it, though I reserve the right to do it with bad grace.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:50 PM PST on March 19


Then that's not really accepting it, is it?
posted by papakwanz at 11:54 PM on March 19, 2005


Your technical solution *is* bizarre, orthogonality. Not least because it doesn't address the problem of "newsfilter," which was defined relatively clearly by Matt's most recent deletion. "I bet the web offers tons of background you could have linked to, to make this interesting" is hardly a call to split the site into two camps of "lovers" and "haters" of news-related posts.

When you can quantify 'totally lame' get back to me.

What, a deleted single link to a brief TV news story about a local murder isn't clear enough? Come on, stop being deliberately obtuse. And maybe pay a bit more attention to years' worth of relevant MeTa threads before offering technical fixes.

lay off the inflammatory and disrespectful rhetoric.

That's pretty rich coming from the guy who, in announcing in huge letters a wrongheaded solution to a misunderstood problem, simultaneously ridiculed folks who might see his splitting of the communal front page as something of a "loss":

It's a loss only for those who so hate Newsfilter they think no one else should enjoy it either, or who feel that time spent making comments to Newsfilter posts would be better spent making comments to their own non-Newsfilter posts -- in other words, it's a loss only for those who think so highly of themselves they want to dictate how others use their own time.

Heal yourself first, doctor; I'm fine with the tone I used in response to that last sentence.
posted by mediareport at 12:19 AM on March 20, 2005


"And, um, try to avoid constructions like 'Um, I don't think so.'"

Ah. I know just the place for you.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:53 AM on March 20, 2005


I have seen people admit up front that their posts were newsfilter, so some people would self-flag, though admittedly many wouldn't. But if you allow self-flagging and add a newsfilter flag, then Matt would find out about them sooner.

I'm not sure about the practicality/difficulty of hiding them all, but it's a feature I'd be happy to see.
posted by anapestic at 6:22 AM on March 20, 2005


What's your take on what constitutes "newsfilter," anapestic? Do you consider it a catch-all term for posts pegged to mainstream daily news, or is it a more specific, and more negative, term that describes a poorly done post that's pegged to mainstream daily news?

Not trying to be snarky, just trying to understand where the "newsfilter flag = good idea" folks are coming from.
posted by mediareport at 10:21 AM on March 20, 2005


I personally interpret "newsfilter" as meaning either
A) "headline news of a non-ginormous scale" (i.e. anything about the election, anything about Iraq, anything about a kidnapped kid, anything about a hurricane, but NOT anything about a country actually firing nuclear missiles at another, or a Bush eating a living child's heart on live television, or an earthquake killing millions, or the like (examples exagerrated for clarity. More practical examples of "news, but not newsfilter" would be the tsunami and 9/11))
B) "non-headline news about something not interesting to many" (i.e. "Local school board decides to shorten homeroom classes by 5 minutes", "Politician makes speech to union, mispronounces a word", "Bank changes credit limit by 2%")

If it's done "well", that generally indicates that there's some interesting aspect that folks aren't aware of, which means, pretty much by default, that it isn't A (or we'd be aware of it), and it isn't B (because it's interesting). So my definition of a well-done news related post is, by definition, for me, not newsfilter. However, your definition of "well done" may be very different than mine. For example, I think the amount of discussion generated is pretty much irrelevant to the quality of a post. There are lots of interesting sites about which there is little to discuss, and all it takes to make a long discussion is a political post or a random unpopular viewpoint about gender, age, sexual proclivities, or the like.

So, in conclusion, "newsfilter" refers to a subset of news related posts. A huge subset (easily more than 90%, in my experience), but a subset nonetheless, and it is, according to my interpretation, bad. That which is not bad, is not newsfilter.
posted by Bugbread at 10:44 AM on March 20, 2005


Damn. That was one of the more interesting threads I've seen here in a while, newsfilter or not. My wife has been ranting about it for the past several days (citing constitutional issues, etc.) and I've been kind of tired of hearing about it. The deleted thread raised several new perspectives for me.
posted by Doohickie at 6:06 AM on March 21, 2005


« Older hate site link warning   |   Newsfilter Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments