Do we need all the news updates on 9/11? September 18, 2001 2:59 PM   Subscribe

I see a lot of front page posting with a slightly different angle on the same thing...with a link to story in the Independent or CNN or MSNBC...Shouldn't people be reading those sites if they want up-to-the-minute reports on the WTC and all its ramifications?
posted by Kafkaesque to Etiquette/Policy at 2:59 PM (22 comments total)

This is about this post. It's just an example...the one that made me comment. I am not trying to single anyone out here.

While we're on the subject, how come I couldn't put a link in the MeTa post. [I mean apart from the obvious reason of me being kind of a goon]
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:01 PM on September 18, 2001

I suspect that a "reference library" thread of useful sources, linked from the sideblog, might be helpful here. Want to compile one, Kafkaesque?
posted by holgate at 3:24 PM on September 18, 2001


Must I repeat that I am kind of a goon?

That would be very cool, holgate, but how do I do that? Do you mean just like a normal thread?
posted by Kafkaesque at 4:04 PM on September 18, 2001

The no-military-action-whatsoever crowd is the one posting articles about basically the same thing over and over. Chomsky, Said, Fisk, the what Bush said-or-didn't-say or whether-he- smirked articles, the peace petition site, an isolated poll taken from among almost a dozen that have been conducted thus far to highlight opposition of "pacifists." Which brings up a point. A . . . OK, a certain conservative posted a poll story here last week to back up his pro-Bush agenda, and now we have this. A moratorium on poll posts for now? Would that be acceptable?

Meantime, can you imagine the outrage if there were articles from Reason, the Cato Institute and some other Randian site posted on the front page in one day? That would make me want to take a loooong nap, and buy enough beer to further erase the memory. Still, almost any other worldview could become tiresome over time. WE don't need the same viewpoints posted over and over. They start to sound like dogma.

Oh - and the Hitchens column was in the independent, but I missed it. But it was only mentioned in a thread, which is where it belonged.
posted by raysmj at 4:18 PM on September 18, 2001

There are a lot of new members. Everyone wants to take the new toy out for a spin.
posted by jpoulos at 4:28 PM on September 18, 2001

Is it heresy to point out that the whole purpose of the links is not the link itself but the comments?
Even if a link is well-trodden I still like to know how all you guys reacted to it.
Links are just an excuse for a good discussion.
So I agree with - deep breath - everyone here. We shouldn't look to MeFi for information(although we also should)neither should we limit ourselves to mere commentary(although I think we ought to).

Glad that's clear - oh Lord come and smite me soon, etcaetera.

posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:44 PM on September 18, 2001

raysmj: in a way, we're dealing with the big failure of translating print media to the web. Fisk is filing his 500 words a day, and he has to presume that he's writing to some new readers every single day; so you get a couple of illuminating anecdotes from 30-odd years of field experience and three paragraphs of diatribe. If he'd grown up with the web, he'd likely have a encyclopaedic site, full of cross-references and supporting material that would normally never make it past the subeditor; instead, as web readers. trained to want footnotes and background and tangential explanation, we're getting the least satisfying presentation of his work.

Same applies to Hitchens, and other grizzled hacks. While good polemicists in the Orwellian tradition, their best stuff is to be found in dead tree format, where it's not written to a deadline with the aid of 40 Marlboro and a bottle of scotch.

Which leads me to suggest that it might be worth assembling a list of non-web material... since it's William Dalrymple's From the Holy Mountain which makes me respect Fisk in the first place.

Links are just an excuse for a good discussion.

Discussion? That's the kind of crazy idealism that we love here ;)
posted by holgate at 6:55 PM on September 18, 2001

I was really in a piss poor mood today. My sister was in a hard labor and I wished I could be there to support her. Soon after I got done bitching at everyone at work, though, I got a phone call to say all worries were for naught. Mother and son both fine and beautiful.

Sorry to boast, but little Max is just about the finest thing I can think of right now.

raising a glass of champers

Uncle K
posted by Kafkaesque at 7:55 PM on September 18, 2001

oh by the way, that was basically an apology for being a crank today with this thread.
posted by Kafkaesque at 7:56 PM on September 18, 2001

Uncle K:
It's Taittinger(though NV)all round here at home. I'd warned you about this.
Max has been suitably celebrated.
We await developments.

Being Portuguese I missed his birthweight and - crucial, this, considering we all do it - have you registered him in all the important orgs, such as football clubs, amnesty international and - may we all live to dread these words - in MetaTalk? Do not tarry!

Max's generation will soon find out that MeFi is for wimps and that, as willis says, the truly bad-ass forum for newborn revolutionary charmers is here.

Love to your sister and new nephew.

posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:12 PM on September 18, 2001

A . . . OK, a certain conservative posted a poll story here last week to back up his pro-Bush agenda, and now we have this. A moratorium on poll posts for now?

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that perhaps that poll story was posted precisely because of the overwhelming dogma you mentioned. I have always been mindboggled as to how MeFi manages to be so wildly out-of-step with the actual national Zeitgeist (even taking into account the non-US contingent of active posters), but the last few days have been ... I don't even know how to describe it. What's the next step on the bafflement scale after "mindboggled?"

Meantime, can you imagine the outrage if there were articles from Reason, the Cato Institute and some other Randian site posted on the front page in one day?

Well, I'd certainly like to try it and see!
posted by aaron at 11:29 PM on September 18, 2001

MeFi is out of step with the National Zeitgeist largely because it's an international forum. Further, I would suggest that "National Zeitgeist" is something that is more often presumed to be there by a specific interest or ideological group than actual.

But there are a number of representatives from Britain here (who might offer an insight into living under the threat of terrorist action) as well as the rest of Europe, the Antipodes, South America and a number of other places.

For various reasons, left wing reasons travel better than right wing ones, and critical strategies have more shelf life than those that are designed to buoy up some status quo.

Thus, Chomsky's critiques of the way in which The Media is used to construct our ideas is compelling up to a certain point, even if one does not agree with him at the end of the day (and consequently one might be interested in his opinion of current events, even if one does not intend to memorise it and declare it to be The Onlie True Way). The ideas of Barthes, Baudrillard and the rest may be difficult and infuriating but are addressing issues that are increasingly important as we live in a world where meaning is suggested in metaphor and image, where we face each other through the mediation of "places" like this. It might be understandable to yearn for a lost world of Certainty, but it's an extreme case of denial to suggest that the world in which we live can be anything other than uncertain, partial, negotiated.

In any case, we are not in Kansas any more.

As far as I can tell, hardly anyone reads Ayn Rand outside of the U.S. There was a Kiwi who mentioned a NZ Rand grouping a few weeks ago, but otherwise nothing. Not even the otherwise on-message British Tories have demonstrated an interest. Partially this might be because they appear to be very thick books with small print and difficult-to-follow monolgues, the average Tory preferring the detective fiction of Dorothy L Sayers or the spy fiction of John le Carre. I've also heard it said that she's a bit flaky for them, but that suggests flakiness (to quote DNA) beyond the dreams of analysts. I've visited a few of the sites, whenever they are linked, but I must say that there's very little there there. A lot of writing, but very little of it seems to mean anything interesting.

Obviously, I get to define what I find interesting.

The notion of Objectivity has gone the way of the theories of the Aether and Phlogiston, and quite right too.


If you set up a binary opposition that any points of view that are not your own are lumped together as Left Wing Propaganda, then obviously they will outnumber you, because there are so many more versions to fit in that one box.

So actually, this is an interesting place to be at the moment (if perhaps a little upsetting on occasion), because previously at times like this, the U.S. was able to address itself. Here at MeFi, quite possibly against the intentions of The Great Architect of MeFi Himself, there is an international community. If you think that the interests and assumptions of the United States and her citizens are by definition congruent with those of other countries with whom you share an economic system and (ostensibly) a language, you may be in for a shock. And this will not be because we are all Evil Lefties, although I am sure some of us are Evil and some of us are Left-handed, but because from where we are, the world looks completely different, and the assumptions and interests of the well-upholstered wing of the American Republican Party have very few resonances.

Of course if I wasn't already late for work, I would have made an effort to make this post coherent.

And, obviously, I accept the possibility that I may be wrong regarding any and all of the above.

It's a funny old world.
posted by Grangousier at 1:47 AM on September 19, 2001

Hrm, as the token leftist posting on this thread and as a newbie poster, I agree. Quite a few of the links consist of material that I'm getting spammed through multiple email lists. If it appears on the front page of a major news source, is it really "something most people haven't seen before?"

Also, I suspect a lot of it is borderline trolling, an excuse to start off an extended flamewar between conservatives and liberals, theists and atheists, etc., etc.. Isn't that what usenet is for?

Certainly I've posted a few links to the Independent myself recently but I've tried to dig deep into the unwashed and unread back sections for the weird science news. I've also tried bundling multiple weird science links in one post, is this good practice?

posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:57 AM on September 19, 2001

As long as you distinguish between them. And if it weren't for those pesky (grammatical term) articles and prepositions, we could make all-link posts. Oh well.
posted by j.edwards at 5:01 AM on September 19, 2001

Links are just an excuse for a good discussion.

This isn't a discussion board. If the link itself isn't new and noteworthy in some way, it shouldn't be posted.

It's not a tough rule. Discussion posts are deleted all the time here. Don't fish for a flimsy link to justify a discussion you want to have, as the poster of the radio remix thread does.
posted by rcade at 5:20 AM on September 19, 2001

This isn't a discussion board. If the link itself isn't new and noteworthy in some way, it shouldn't be posted.

That's exactly right. Metafilter is a community blog, a place to link to interesting, new and noteworthy content. That is something unique, or nearly unique, on the web. Recently, it has been trying to evolve (I would claim "devolve") into something else, more of a discussion forum where we left-wingers bitch about the right. That is not unique. It is something very common on the web and something, IMO, infinitely less appealing.

Maybe we need something new, something different and separate from MeFi and MeTa, a place where people can congregate and talk about whatever they feel. It would be as easy as setting up a MeFi Members Yahoo! group, or something. Or maybe we need "MetaChat", i'm not sure. Then MeFi could go back to being what it was intended to be.

Obviously, Matt works his ass off running this place, and I'm not suggesting he needs to do any more, but I really think we're approaching a point of no return. If things don't change soon, MeFi as we know it will cease to be. If people are content with what it's becoming (and I don't mean this in a snarky way--I'm being genuine), then fine. MeFi may carry on for years in its new form. It may continue to grow exponentially, and it may even remain one of the best of its kind around. But it will be one of its kind. It will be one of many. It will be no longer unique.

Neither I nor any of the other "veterans" own Metafilter, and our voices don't count more than any of the 12,000 or so other members, so please feel free to ignore me. But we've invested many hours and days reading and contributing and helping to shape the site. I can't speak for everyone, but for me, losing it would affect me in a very personal way.
posted by jpoulos at 8:54 AM on September 19, 2001

MetaChat seems a great idea, jpoulos.
Like those geegaws on old pressure cookers that let off excessive steam.
Saying that there are other places for ranting and raving doesn't really help because MeFi members want to talk to other MeFi members in the style and within the culture you guys created.
But MetaChat would have to have the same sort of ethical and grammatical constraints that make Metafilter unique.
Something for you veterans to figure out, because there is a difference. Matt and you know which spirit it is that must be kept alive.
It's what made us newbies join in the first place. If the spirit goes we all go. (Not a few veterans may be on their knees praying that we do, but that's part of the appealing merriment of the place!)

Your voices do count more - and a good thing it is.

Bless you!

posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:22 AM on September 19, 2001

Miguel, are you running for office or something?
posted by rodii at 10:52 AM on September 19, 2001

I think Metachat would also be really cool, because, even though there are hundreds or thousands of discussion-style boards, they don't have Metafilter people and that Metafilter chemistry (intellect, sarcasm, internationalism, etc).

By the way, it looks like we have two new winners (posted within 40 minutes), which so closely resemble this thread and about three or four others over the past four days...
posted by fooljay at 11:16 AM on September 19, 2001

It'd be interesting if Matt disabled the ability to post new front-page links for, say, a day or so, just so that people had to find a thread that was appropriate for their URLs... of course, we might end up with something closer to 1142, but we might not....
posted by holgate at 11:30 AM on September 19, 2001

MeFi has many functions, I think. One of them, selon moi, is as a synthesized source of important news and perceptive editorial content. For this purpose I use it in conjunction with sites such as CNN or the Globe & Mail, but comments and links elicited by major news stories often provide me with much better coverage of a story than I can get from any other single source.

I am not advocating that MeFi be a news site, or that we encourage all at-all-significant stories (across the globe) to be posted, but I don't see any problem whatsoever with posts that say "Two airplanes have just hit the WTC," or "Blair won the election".
posted by Marquis at 3:06 PM on September 19, 2001

New MeFi tagline : "Wildly out-of-step with the national Zeitgeist"
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:06 PM on September 19, 2001

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