would you guys please make a little more sense? April 4, 2005 9:53 AM   Subscribe

"The post is what you bring to it."

What's the consensus? I find these 'random word links' very annoying. Can we at least have some etiquette rule that says if you have more then a hand full of links, the text of the link must reflect the content of the linked-to page? Or something?
posted by delmoi to Etiquette/Policy at 9:53 AM (53 comments total)

It's linking for the sake of it. The first link is to a photograph which is repeated (in context) in the second. Although this pales in comparison to posters who link individual letters and punctuation.
posted by fire&wings at 10:02 AM on April 4, 2005

Not another callout.
There's nothing wrong with that post. If you don't like it, move on.
posted by dfowler at 10:09 AM on April 4, 2005

Is making rules really the answer?

I tend to avoid the single letter/punctuation/every word links unless I can clearly tell what I'm clicking to. I just move along. Mostly it is a matter of time... in that I barely have enough time to read those items I want to read, I'm not going to use it up trying to decipher a s**tload of links!

But...it is probably a matter of personal preference, I would venture a guess that there are some that find that kind of post clever and interesting, and those (obviously) that love constructing them. If we start legislating aesthetics in posting we may be heading down a pretty slippery slope that deprives us of some of our more clever members.

If it doesn't appeal to you, ignore it...
posted by HuronBob at 10:09 AM on April 4, 2005

I find ortho's posts challenging and usually enjoy them. There are 70-odd more or less on-topic comments so far. So what's the harm?

I agree about the single-letter "plaid" links though. Hate 'em.
posted by 327.ca at 10:09 AM on April 4, 2005

I think it happens when there isn't enough "best of the web" around to justify an interesting post.

Ever notice how cool mount everest(link) is? Did you know that it was built(link) out of wood(link) in this guy's(link) basement before(linklinklinklinklink) anybody had even thought of carving it out of rock(liiiiiiiiiink)?

The info is not new, it's been on the web for a while, someone just got around to collecting it and puting it all together on metafilter.

Sort of like, "Ok, kids. What do you want to talk about today? I hate fish."

I'm not saying it's bad (I've been sitting on a pretty interesting historical expose for a while now) but it can be a bit provocative for provocation's sake.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:12 AM on April 4, 2005

Metafilter: Provocative for Provocation's Sake
posted by dfowler at 10:21 AM on April 4, 2005

I started reading the post referenced here, but gave up. I'm not going to fish through a dozen links having no idea what's on the other side to see which ones are quality.
posted by grouse at 10:23 AM on April 4, 2005

I'm pretty sure this has been discussed a few times before, mainly in the context of y2karl threads, and the upshot is always that there's no consensus. Some hate it, some like it.

I'm not generally a big fan of the mouseover caption, but in this particular case, it would have been nice to know which links went with which ideas. I had to read a lot of urls and guess incorrectly a few times before I got to the actual story about Fonda saying she'd been wrong. It would have been useful if ortho had more closely linked the meaning of the text with the substance of the link, but we'll all survive.
posted by anapestic at 10:29 AM on April 4, 2005

I think it's particularly vexing when the whole point is to rehash something that happened decades ago, it's trolling plus multi-link annoying. And as we all remember from our high school algebra:
Trolling + multi-link annoying = Teh shitty post
posted by Outlawyr at 10:31 AM on April 4, 2005

People who post like this just have to realize that most people won't even bother reading the link that inspired them to post it in the first place.
posted by smackfu at 10:40 AM on April 4, 2005

Yeah. Cloaked multi-link posts irritate me. Also, posters who try to guide the discussion (what's YOUR favourite X, and why?) really irritate me. So 0/2 on this one for me, but I don't necessarily think that there's anything we can do about it.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 10:41 AM on April 4, 2005

Why do you assume trolling here? Does he have a history of starting Vietnam-related threads and pursuing an agenda?

I will admit to not finding Jane Fonda the most exciting of topics, and I think that there are some formatting issues in there, but the discourse has mostly been civil. One can perhaps bemoan the way the thread turned into a discussion of the junior Senator from New York, but I think it's difficult to lay that at the author's feet.
posted by anapestic at 10:41 AM on April 4, 2005

There is no consensus, and there is no rule. Some people hate certain posting styles and love others, but each combination of love and hate is different. Certain members' posts are like progressive rock: indulgent, grandiose, pretentious. Some people love that shit.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:45 AM on April 4, 2005

I had no problem with the choice of topic. Fonda was on 60 minutes on Sunday night talking about the issue, of course she was plugging her book which also happens to be released in time for her first movie in 15 years. Still, I have no problem with discussing this and many comments in the thread were very good. Perhaps it would've been a better post with 2 or 3 focused links to a more specific topic at hand instead of padding with the Dietrich and Tokyo Rose stuff.
posted by Arch Stanton at 10:58 AM on April 4, 2005

Boring, shitty post, but a decent discussion and no need for a rule.
Wow, I've been here a week, and can make sweeping pronouncements!
posted by klangklangston at 11:16 AM on April 4, 2005

And you haven't even been spanked yet, klangklangston. Mmm, fresh, rosy newbie cheeks [warms up paddle].

I don't usually bother with FPPs that have more than two or three links, but I've no urge to keep all FPP formatting in line with my preferences.
posted by orange swan at 11:30 AM on April 4, 2005

While I agree that the "non-descriptive text, every word a link" posts are kinda silly, I don't think that the post which sparked this thread really qualifies. After all, you pretty much knew what the post was going to be about. The worst are the ones where you have to dedicate, like, an hour of link following just to figure out what the hell the poster's point was in the first place. If I had that kind of spare time, I'd be doing crosswords. Hell, I may even do something useful, like, umm... work!

(Still, I don't think that rule-making is the answer)
posted by afroblanca at 11:40 AM on April 4, 2005

I'd give delmoi the benefit of the doubt here and opine that when he says "etiquette rule," he probably means principle more than rule. Etiquette, by its nature, decrees rules that are mostly suggestions, or, at any rate, rules that carry no real penalties for their transgressors.
posted by anapestic at 11:50 AM on April 4, 2005

Actually there appears to be pretty clear consensus on this thread that these things suck (add me to the list).
posted by cillit bang at 12:07 PM on April 4, 2005

What's the consensus?

There is no consensus. That would imply general agreement.

Sometimes you can get all the folks on a thread to agree to something. Within that thread, you have consensus.

But a general MeFi consensus? Achieving a consensus regarding anything on MeFi is nearly impossible. You'd have to poll all members, discuss, compromise, and agree on the best compromise, if everyone wasn't already in agreement. Easy for "I don't like Nazis." Not so for "I don't like orthogonality's posting style."

If you look in the sub-subgroup of posters who read both the FPP and the MeTa callout and are moved to comment on the MeTa thread, and you find consensus, what you have is all the people who agree with you and care about your particular gripe.

Not a large group of people, and nowhere near a consensus. If you seek a MeFi consensus, I have some advice: stop trying. Move on to the next thread.

Move on to the next thread.

Did I repeat myself? Move on to the next thread.
posted by breezeway at 12:12 PM on April 4, 2005

I'd give delmoi the benefit of the doubt here and opine that when he says "etiquette rule," he probably means principle more than rule. Etiquette, by its nature, decrees rules that are mostly suggestions, or, at any rate, rules that carry no real penalties for their transgressors.

Yes, of course I don't think people should be banned or suspended or the posts deleted, just that if someone does it, we can complain about it, and hopefully stop doing it. For example, someone complained about me 'derailing' a thread, and so now I try not to do that.
posted by delmoi at 12:16 PM on April 4, 2005

Wow, I've been here a week, and can make sweeping pronouncements

*hands klangklangston the Seal of Orthogonalityishness*
posted by eyeballkid at 12:55 PM on April 4, 2005

I like this style of posting every once in a while. I also enjoy posts with individual letters containing links once in a while. If there were many posts like this, MetaFilter would be a pain to read, but used very sparingly, it can be very effective if some degree of fun or mystery is required.

Community weblogs have to be pluralistic. There are certain things that bug me, and when I think they are terible I post at MetaTalk -- but banning a particular posting style would be a very very bad precedent in my opinion.
posted by nthdegx at 2:29 PM on April 4, 2005

Well it could have been worse, O could have just had the single word Fonda with the link to the ABC article.

I think this posting style encourages more people to just scroll on by than it intrigues into reading the links. Personally I had no idea what the post was about for the text so I just passed it by.
posted by Mitheral at 2:37 PM on April 4, 2005

Sometimes these mega clever linky posts are good, sometimes they are not. This one was not, because it implied a puzzling arrogance that inticed the readership into an absolute pisspool of frustration. What the hell was that about? Having read too many of the links, I can only say that I still have no damned idea. (Hell, at least when Den Beste would post his screeds, he would explain in detail what he was on about; and agree or disagree, it actually had something resembling significance.) The only thing clear about that post was orthoganality telling the rest of us how clever he was for suckering us into a waste of time.

There doesn't need to be any rule about these kind of posts, even an etiquette one. But I now have a personal rule to avoid orthog. I don't like being laughed at by just another ego on a website; not when they fudge the game in favor of that very thing.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:57 PM on April 4, 2005

""Hanoi Jane" Fonda: the traitor" . . . reads like a Troll to me, notwithstanding the text that follows it. Feel free to disagree. Also, "The post is what you bring to it" could apply to even the most stinky awful post of all time. It's a weak defense of a weak post.
posted by Outlawyr at 3:01 PM on April 4, 2005

This isn't exactly one of those "random word links," as you put it. It's pretty straightforwardly political, no?

As for the "random word links" you're talking about: Metafilter has its power in the artful connection of information. Sure, information often comes in user-friendly "essay" format, and a lot of people here are really good at that. It'll always be the norm, anyhow, since people tend to like easy coherence.

But asking people to correlate in lockstep between description and link would be a little like banning poetry. To be honest, as it stands, your comment reads to me like the complaints of those who dislike certain music because they complain that "the words don't make sense to me. I want the words to make sense."

The suggestion: maybe the words do make sense, and you just don't get it. Or maybe they don't; who cares? A little playfulness in the presentation of good links is a good thing, no? I personally enjoy it when someone puts a lot of html-fu into a well-linked and well-thought post.
posted by koeselitz at 3:16 PM on April 4, 2005

Shock, horror! Someone did something in a different manner than I would have done it! How dare they! I simply must give this dead, rotting corpse of a horse one last final kick!

This issue has been discussed so many times that we have reached a kind of quasi-consensus - there is no approved format for posts, there is no disapproved format for posts. Choose your style and use it - it's all good.
posted by dg at 3:31 PM on April 4, 2005

it's all good.

Or bad. That's kinda the point. Sometimes its good, and sometimes its not. When its not, people will bitch on MeTa. Hello, and welcome to the party.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:37 PM on April 4, 2005

I would simply submit that a post is what the poster brings to it.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:11 PM on April 4, 2005

I agree that "the post is what you bring to it" is an extraordinarily weak and entirely meaningless justification. I have noticed a tendency around here to try to cover error with rhetoric, but I reckon that happens everywhere else, too.
posted by anapestic at 4:59 PM on April 4, 2005

You are not cooler than your links. There is no good reason to post without explaining on the front page what you're linking to. Puzzle-posts steal a little time from each of a whole lot of people; they are self-aggrandizing, solipsistic, and rude.
posted by nicwolff at 5:06 PM on April 4, 2005

Actually there appears to be pretty clear consensus on this thread that these things suck (add me to the list).

really? just a couple of posts above yours:

While I agree that the "non-descriptive text, every word a link" posts are kinda silly, I don't think that the post which sparked this thread really qualifies.
posted by juv3nal at 5:10 PM on April 4, 2005

I would just like to chime in as another voice on the side of "orthogonality's post was kind of lame, but not worthy of a new rule or anything."
posted by shmegegge at 7:17 PM on April 4, 2005

Remember mcgraw and his surrealist posts? The ones that used to come up in MeTa callouts like this? I miss them.
posted by goatdog at 7:58 PM on April 4, 2005

A bit late, but better dead than red.
  1. Fonda gives interview to plug memoir. Proclaims she was wrong to do the Hanoi thing
  2. P.R. onslaught continues, MeFi member sucked in over tenuous traitor talk
  3. Callout over post mechanics, not the free publicity for jaded has-been aerobics instructor who was quite good in Klute
I like link swamping, just to hide the *real* reason that post floated this way.
posted by gsb at 1:41 AM on April 5, 2005

koeselitzThe suggestion: maybe the words do make sense, and you just don't get it.

Well it wouldn't be the first time something went whoosh over my head but just like that recent AskMe in a foreign language I'll just scroll on by any posts that don't parse. The problem of course is too high of a ratio of these posts and people will just stop visiting.
posted by Mitheral at 7:36 AM on April 5, 2005

Fonda said she was wrong to do the Hanoi thing on 20-20 back in 1988 long before she wrote her memoirs. To say the apology is simply a marketing ploy is disingenuous. It's obvious that these major events in her public life would come up during the PR blitz for her new book, but they weren't created specifically to advance sales.

I knew cynicism was alive & well on MeFi, but I didn't know it was at the point where people accepted their cynical assumptions without bothering to look at facts.
posted by raedyn at 7:39 AM on April 5, 2005

The suggestion: maybe the words do make sense, and you just don't get it.

Right. Because "the" is an article, and the link on "the" was to an article.

Come on. This is not the same situation that we had with mcgraw, where you could tell that the links had a common theme, but you couldn't always tell exactly what the theme was. I would agree with you that the post in question was not worth calling out, but let's not pretend that there was some grand linking logic. It was just one word, one link until he ran out.
posted by anapestic at 7:41 AM on April 5, 2005

That mgcraw guy, that guy was a lunatic man lunatic.
posted by dfowler at 7:56 AM on April 5, 2005

Ah yes, raedyn, but the new interview pluggin' her book... you know, the one in the original post. What's that all about?
Mar 31, 2005 — NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jane Fonda regrets her visit to a North Vietnamese gun site in 1972, the actress and fitness guru said in an interview with CBS television show "60 Minutes" to be aired on Sunday.
So I guess the first lines in that article are filler, inconsequential, and not meant to stir up a little *debate*.

There, I'm a Hanoi Fonda P.R. shill, thanks alot, matey!
posted by gsb at 8:08 AM on April 5, 2005

Of course they're meant to stir up debate, gsb. "Jane Fonda releases memoirs" is not really a news story. But the news orginizations cover it, and as always, sensationalize it as much as possible because this is what makes people tune in, and that's what makes them money.

There were many links in the original post. One of them pointed to that interview. One of them mentioned her apology 17 years ago on 20/20. I'm sure this post came up now because of Fonda's book promo tour, but if your complaint is that it's PepsiBlue, just look at (for example) today's Coldplay CD post, or yesterday's Breast Cancer post, or any post ever about Google or Mac products. Orthogonality's post was considerably less shill-like than any of that stuff. So if your war is on product placement and promotion, than I'd suggest there are much bigger battles to be fought.
posted by raedyn at 9:03 AM on April 5, 2005

than then
posted by raedyn at 9:04 AM on April 5, 2005

anapestic: I agree. I wasn't talking about the post in question there.
posted by koeselitz at 9:49 AM on April 5, 2005

I like single link posts. My method:
1) lead my normal life, which includes browsing the web
2) find something interesting by accident
3) post it

The whole "let's see, how can I make a cool post. Hmm. I know, let's google for X, and make a humongous post about it"-approach is rarely reqrding, IMO.
posted by signal at 9:53 AM on April 5, 2005

"reqrding?" Honestly, I'm curious.

Required reading? Rewarding?

This is gonna kill me.
posted by breezeway at 10:03 AM on April 5, 2005

What flashboy said.

What anapestic said.
posted by theora55 at 10:07 AM on April 5, 2005

You've made some sense raedyn, and I already sent my pith about the Coldplay thing whilst we have been to and fro.

>So if your war is on product placement and promotion, than I'd suggest there are much bigger battles to be fought.

It's not my cause du jour, or much of War, anyway. I guess it's in my bone marrow, I can't help it.
posted by gsb at 11:45 AM on April 5, 2005

I think these sorts of posts are almost always self-indulgent and pointless and too annoying to bother with.
Occasionally they aren't. The post got 83 comments, so maybe it was fine. Didn't really appeal to me, though, considering it was created out of a stupid amount of links and no sensible context. But there's no way to impose a rule of any kind, so I guess we have to deal.

We have a bit of automatic democracy with posts; if I posted something that got, say, only three comments (two of which are my own) (not to mention any names or anything) I would feel inclined to think long and hard about what I did wrong.

But it looks like orthogonality did well, even if it wasn't my cup of tea.
posted by blacklite at 11:05 PM on April 5, 2005

News related and issues-oriented posts get the most comments because most people have opinions they want to air, and because they often want to dispute someone else's position. But this doesn't mean that the post itself is neccessarily better than a post with fewer comments.

I often use the "most comments" view of the front page specifically to go to the bottom and see the fewest comments, because these posts are usually going to be the more quirky, interesting items, which is something I really like. In fact, the post that I've made here that got the most (huge, in fact) web coverage afterwards was Radiography photography, and it only got six comments here (besides mine).
posted by taz at 12:49 AM on April 6, 2005

Or maybe it was this one (also with just a few comments) that got the most play... Anyway, I've also made quite a few low-comment smelly stinkers, but I really hate to see people discouraged from making posts that are unlikely to get very many responses, because these are so often the real "hidden gem" sites that established much of MeFi's reputation.

I know that it feels kind of bad not to get much feedback on a post, but if everybody posts for maximum comments, it's going make MeFi a pretty boring place for some of us.
posted by taz at 1:10 AM on April 6, 2005

Number of comments is in no way an indicator of a quality post - it is more likely to be an indicator of the divisive nature of the post than anything.
posted by dg at 3:35 AM on April 6, 2005

« Older I double post and get shit. A triple post gets a...   |   Cleveland Meetup Photos Newer »

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