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People will move mountains to earn a gold star by their name.
July 18, 2013 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Reflecting upon 14 years of blogging and observing internet communities, Anil Dash proposes 10 Rules of the Internet, based upon the lessons that he learned during that time. (via ★interesting; anildash previously on Metafilter)
posted by schmod (96 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Quick, no one favorite the FPP! Subvert the system! Also, lists will get you everywhere, apparently ...
posted by tilde at 1:46 PM on July 18, 2013


Judging by their response, the meanest thing you can do to people on the Internet is to give them really good software for free.

Ha! All of these are nicely observed, actually, but that one really hit a nerve for me.
posted by yoink at 1:46 PM on July 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


The only way to get useful feedback from people on the Internet is to ask questions that are actually answerable, instead of open-ended.

Corollary. Ask a question and you will never get an answer, Assert something incorrect and they will rush to correct you.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:50 PM on July 18, 2013 [22 favorites]


Once a web community has decided to dislike a person, topic, or idea, the conversation will shift from criticizing the idea to become a competition about who can be most scathing in their condemnation.

This one, too, is sadly recognizable.
posted by yoink at 1:51 PM on July 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't like Anil Dash. He is not good.
posted by kjh at 1:54 PM on July 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Once a web community has decided to dislike a person, topic, or idea, the conversation will shift from criticizing the idea to become a competition about who can be most scathing in their condemnation. (See The Law of Fail.)

Perhaps. But I think it depends on the community.
posted by zarq at 1:55 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


kjh: QED.
posted by Carillon at 1:56 PM on July 18, 2013


Ha! These are all really good.

People will move mountains to earn a gold star by their name on the Internet.

Unless you have built games or web sites before, you cannot appreciate how true this is. You can offer people the stupidest, most worthless rewards, and ask them to perform astonishing feats in order to obtain them, and people will do them. It's uncanny. And it gives me hope for the human race.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:56 PM on July 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


What? I'm supposed to earn my gold star now? Sod that. You fuckers owe me one.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:57 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


You can offer people the stupidest, most worthless rewards, and ask them to perform astonishing feats in order to obtain them, and people will do them. It's uncanny. And it gives me hope for the human race.

It has the opposite effect on me.
posted by entropone at 1:57 PM on July 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: I like it. This is good.
posted by ogooglebar at 1:58 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


What if there were free software that just gave people gold stars?

What then?!
posted by entropone at 1:58 PM on July 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


What if there were free software that just gave people gold stars?

As long as it had a professional white background, it would be perfect.
posted by Jimbob at 1:59 PM on July 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


Most websites treat "I like it" and "This is good" as the same thing, leading to most people on the Internet refusing to distinguish between "I don't like it" and "It's not good".

This is pretty insightful.

There's one lesson missing from this list: For any content that is driven by community votes, as community size increases, community content tends to the least common denominator (and suffers as a result). It's a pretty obvious statement, but one that a lot of websites miss when they implement vote-based filtering. To counter against this requires heavy content moderation or a barrier of entry (e.g. this site).
posted by spiderskull at 2:02 PM on July 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


It has the opposite effect on me.

Me, too. I very much view stuff like that as bullshit and transparent manipulation.

Unfortunately, this means that I'm much less goal-oriented than I should be, because I don't give a fuck about goals like going to the gym, and I can't even manipulate myself into developing habits that I want to develop (like going to the gym).

It's actually a minor point of contention in my marriage, since my wife is highly motivated by praise and gold star sorts of things, and I basically have said that I see that as hanging a sign on her own back that says "manipulate me". But she's in much better shape than I am and much more accomplished, so who knows.
posted by gauche at 2:03 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Unless you have built games or web sites before, you cannot appreciate how true this is. You can offer people the stupidest, most worthless rewards, and ask them to perform astonishing feats in order to obtain them, and people will do them. It's uncanny. And it gives me hope for the human race.

On the plus side nobody gives a shit about Klout.
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on July 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


Rule 11: FIAMO.
posted by Aizkolari at 2:05 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The "if you're site is full of assholes, then it's your fault rule" is so true. I get so frustrated with the "never read the comments" idea because it's just so obviously fixable. If a site's comments suck, fix the community or don't allow comments. There was a study that came out a while back that suggested people become actively more polarized and misinformed from reading internet comments (depending on tone). Every major news / content site of course had a post up about the study, most gleefully noting that you shouldn't read comments. Of course all those sites have comments below every article and most do little to no moderation or other community maintenance.
posted by R343L at 2:07 PM on July 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


On the plus side nobody gives a shit about Klout.

Oh, there are people who care about Klout.

Terrible, terrible people.
posted by Aizkolari at 2:07 PM on July 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


Most websites treat "I like it" and "This is good" as the same thing, leading to most people on the Internet refusing to distinguish between "I don't like it" and "It's not good".

That conflation is definitely a thing that happens, but I don't think it's the internet's fault; the internet just provides a lot more opportunities for it to happen.

I went to art school, where I was conditioned to be way too critical of absolutely everything—a habit that's proving incredibly hard to shake. But I was also conditioned to know the difference between criticism and, like, hate speech. The internet regularly makes it very apparent that not everyone has undergone such conditioning.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:07 PM on July 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


These so-called 10 Rules of Internet are suspiciously lacking in cats.
posted by oulipian at 2:09 PM on July 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


I know The Oatmeal already has the canonical text on it, but holy shit, fucking printers, man. That is some bullshit.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:11 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's actually a minor point of contention in my marriage, since my wife is highly motivated by praise and gold star sorts of things, and I basically have said that I see that as hanging a sign on her own back that says "manipulate me". But she's in much better shape than I am and much more accomplished, so who knows.

Have you tried hanging a sign on your back that says "manipulate me"? That could be really helpful.

About the post: I like it. This is good.
posted by medusa at 2:12 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Scanners are worse.
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Judging by their response, the meanest thing you can do to people on the Internet is to give them really good software for free.

As google has demonstrated, the meanest thing you can do to people on the Internet is to give them really good tools for free then take them away.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:12 PM on July 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


Scanners are worse.

Nothing is worse than combination printer/scanners. Today I was unable to scan a document because my yellow ink cartridge had gone empty and I didn't have a spare on hand.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:14 PM on July 18, 2013 [45 favorites]


That... That can't be true can it? Can it?

Oh god.
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nothing is worse than combination printer/scanners.

I think you're forgetting about the software they ship with.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:16 PM on July 18, 2013 [18 favorites]


I was feeling all super smug the other day because I had my computer upstairs and I printed something over the wifi to the printer downstairs. But my husband forgot that was possible, freaked out when the printer started making noises for no apparent reason, and turned it off before it was able to print my page. So even when they work they don't work.
posted by shelleycat at 2:17 PM on July 18, 2013 [37 favorites]


I did note the professional white background. *ahem*
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:17 PM on July 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Unless you have built games or web sites before, you cannot appreciate how true this is. You can offer people the stupidest, most worthless rewards, and ask them to perform astonishing feats in order to obtain them, and people will do them. It's uncanny. And it gives me hope for the human race.

Yeah, I ran a web forum once with some friends and we decided to screw with people, so we added a "Posting quality score" that would hang out under people's avatar. The number it spit out was randomly generated and would change occasionally and sometimes violently, with no rhyme or reason to it. It was a joke initially. Reams of posts were written theorycrafting the best way to increase your posting quality score and people had book-length theses about the way to increase or decrease it.

And, of course, every time we tried to end it and say "Guys it's just a randomly generated number we put in for a laugh", the conspiracy theories started because THAT'S JUST WHAT THEY WANT US TO THINK and YOU'LL TAKE MY POSTING QUALITY FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:17 PM on July 18, 2013 [60 favorites]


Has everybody forgotten that once upon a time Jessamyn had a gold star next to her name?
posted by bukvich at 2:19 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I ran a web forum once with some friends and we decided to screw with people, so we added a "Posting quality score" that would hang out under people's avatar. The number it spit out was randomly generated and would change occasionally and sometimes violently, with no rhyme or reason to it. It was a joke initially. Reams of posts were written theorycrafting the best way to increase your posting quality score and people had book-length theses about the way to increase or decrease it.

BF Skinner had nothing on the internet.
posted by gauche at 2:20 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


bukvich: Has everybody forgotten that once upon a time Jessamyn had a gold star next to her name?

Stan Chin has a posse.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:25 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Have you tried hanging a sign on your back that says "manipulate me"?

Semi-pro tip: For better results, don't hang it on your back.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:27 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: I did note the professional white background. *ahem*

11. The internet never stops making fun of you for a well-intentioned but unpopular suggestion you made some years back.
posted by Kattullus at 2:29 PM on July 18, 2013 [13 favorites]


As google has demonstrated, the meanest thing you can do to people on the Internet is to give them really good tools for free then take them away.

I think they learned that from Apple.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 2:31 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


leading to most people on the Internet refusing to distinguish between "I don't like it" and "It's not good

I read today that Earl Sweatshirt is having a bit of an issue with this because he tweeted that he didn't like Jay-Z's new album and now he is apparently getting all kinds of threats over it. I'm guessing by Jay-Z's internet Knights Templar or something.
posted by Hoopo at 2:32 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Has everybody forgotten that once upon a time Jessamyn had a gold star next to her name?

And what happened? It was taken away!
posted by octobersurprise at 2:32 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of the easiest ways to ensure valuable contributions on your site is to make people responsible by having dedicated, engaged, involved community moderators who have the power to delete comments and ban users (in the worst case) but also to answer questions and guide conversations for people who are unsure of appropriate behavior (in the best cases). Sites that do this, like MetaFilter and Stack Exchange sites (disclosure, I'm a proud board member of Stack Exchange) get good results. Those that don't, don't.

I wish he would have said he's a proud member of Metafilter, as well. Boo.
posted by Lynsey at 2:32 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


kjh: "I don't like Anil Dash. He is not good."

I can top that. ANIL DASH IS A FESTERING BOIL ON THE ASS OF HITLER!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by invitapriore at 2:33 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seriously though as a programmer I can agree that Rule #2 is profoundly and painfully on the mark.
posted by invitapriore at 2:33 PM on July 18, 2013


octobersurprise: And what happened? It was taken away!

She could hardly keep it after what she did to poor Paphnuty.
posted by Kattullus at 2:33 PM on July 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


He was taken away, too!
posted by octobersurprise at 2:35 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


11. The internet never stops making fun of you for a well-intentioned but unpopular suggestion you made some years back.

That thread's a pretty good example of
Once a web community has decided to dislike a person, topic, or idea, the conversation will shift from criticizing the idea to become a competition about who can be most scathing in their condemnation.
posted by yoink at 2:36 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


It should actually be "the conversation will shift from criticizing the idea to condemning each other for not condemning the idea hard enough."
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:44 PM on July 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also "Posting quality score" is literally the best idea I've ever heard.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:45 PM on July 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


7. Most websites treat "I like it" and "This is good" as the same thing, leading to most people on the Internet refusing to distinguish between "I don't like it" and "It's not good".

This is an interesting point, though I disagree with it. Back when I was a comparative literature student one thing I noticed that was different between French and Anglophone literary critics was that the French attitude was "if I like something, it is great" while the English-speakers were a lot more prone to categorizing things as "guilty pleasures" or something like that. Now, this is all conjecture based on a very small sample size, but it seemed to me that the Anglophone literary critics engaged in a lot more boundary policing than their French counterparts. So I wonder if having the attitude "if I like something, it is great" doesn't allow for a certain amount freedom to really dig into the wherefores and therefores of the thing you like, instead of having to first establish whether what you like meets some kind of external standard.*

The thing that really took me out of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was the endless harping on about "quality." My sixteen-year old self couldn't see how anything could have "quality" inherent in it, and I still largely agree. That said, I will happily debate the merits of a work of art, whether I come from the pro and anti positions. I enjoy, because some of that French attitude seeped in, that debate and never take it very personally. Everyone has their own personal universe of greatness and it seems healthy to me to consider "I like it" and "This is good" to be roughly the same thing. If we've learned anything from Facebook and MetaFilter, once you've liked or favorited something, you can always unlike or remove the favorite. Similarly, once you like something, you can always come to dislike it (through debate or inner thought), but that doesn't make your initial enthusiasm any less valid. I think that trying to make that distinction, that people like bad things, tends to lead very quickly to "people are bad for liking bad things."


* On the other hand, Jerry Lewis movies.
posted by Kattullus at 2:52 PM on July 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


People will move mountains to earn a gold star by their name on the Internet.

This is not a rule of the Internet, unless Louis IV invented the Internet. Versailles ran on gold stars.

Actually, Augustus beat Louis to the idea by a millennium and a half.

I guess people just really like gold stars.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:58 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


On an unrelated tangent, my BROTHER all in one printer/scanner has never given me a day of trouble.
posted by The Whelk at 3:00 PM on July 18, 2013


What if there were free software that just gave people gold stars?

What then?!


Indeed. Although not free
posted by davejay at 3:32 PM on July 18, 2013


whelk you are a vile propaganda tool of Big Printer/Scanner Combo
posted by elizardbits at 3:41 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Most websites treat "I like it" and "This is good" as the same thing, leading to most people on the Internet refusing to distinguish between "I don't like it" and "It's not good".

This is insightful, but I'm not sure that it's come about by conditioning on the internet. In the absence of moral absolutes, a common place to move for ethical evaluation is how you feel about something (i.e., emotivism). I think giving everyone a platform to speak their mind on the internet, although a benefit to open discourage, also conflates the categories a bit, as it can give the perception that all ideas have value, not because they help us navigate closer to what "good" isas we hold those ideas accountable, but simply by virtue of an individual having said it. Of course, this isn't always true, but I bet it's often true of the "people on the Internet" he's referring to that conflate these categories at times.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:41 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I shared calamari with Anil, then saw him buy slush. I haven't seen him with any foodstuffs since. I'm off to go see Alice Cooper.
posted by jonmc at 3:43 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love my BROTHER all in one printer/scanner, too; I obtained it FROM ANOTHER MOTHER.
posted by davejay at 3:51 PM on July 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


( Hi Jon I can see you from my house then, try the Candle on Amsterdam behind the Beacon, it's technically a gay bar but has an old man music jukebox)
posted by The Whelk at 3:51 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Folks, please stop with the HURF DURF ANIL IS LIKE ANAL. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 3:53 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


it's technically a gay bar but has an old man music jukebox

I am now imagining some kind of music device built into an old man, perhaps one who had to sell internal space to a music company for rent money.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:53 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Scanners are worse.

They live in vain.
posted by straight at 4:18 PM on July 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


it's technically a gay bar but has an old man music jukebox

Huh. I used to go to a bar that was technically an old man bar but which had this very camp vibe.

(There's something about an Aqua Velva man.)
posted by octobersurprise at 4:23 PM on July 18, 2013


I was curious...
posted by The Whelk at 4:25 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reading that old thread about the, uh, professional white background-- is odd now that I have chosen that background.
posted by nat at 4:26 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing I like best about my Brother combi scanner/printer is that it ain't heavy.
posted by Devonian at 4:44 PM on July 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


When posts to a web forum are quality ranked based on voting you will find that the highest quality posts will be live cams of puppies.

ahem
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 4:46 PM on July 18, 2013


People will move mountains to earn a gold star by their name

And yet there is no poopy in this goddamn potty.
posted by bq at 4:47 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whelk, I went to that bar when I saw ZZ Top here. Even the gay guys were old farts.
*posted fromaudience show starting wooooohooo*
posted by jonmc at 4:59 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


When posts to a web forum are quality ranked based on voting you will find that the highest quality posts will be live cams of puppies.

With links to monetized highlight videos because who is going use the banhammer on a puppy spammer!
posted by srboisvert at 5:35 PM on July 18, 2013


Poor Anil Dash. I don't read Metafilter with the professional white background, but is there anything that anyone has ever said here that has brought down more derision and callbacks year after year than that? I'm not sure that there is. Fedoras and banjos don't even come close. And before anyone tries to disagree, I actually know far more about this subject than I think you can imagine. (NOT ANIL-IST) Todd Lokken.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:38 PM on July 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


So, about #2, there’s a thing called implied warranty that I recently learned about:
Giving stuff away without a license can be hazardous to your livelihood. This is due to the concept of "Implied Warranty", which says that anything you sell must be suitable for its intended purpose. This means that the fruit that you buy at the store cannot be spoiled, and the software that you sell should be free of serious bugs.

"Wait," you're thinking, "I didn't say sell. I said give away!"

Ah, yes, but were you planning on accepting pull requests? Because exchange of money is not the only way to sell something. There is also the concept of "In Kind" payment.
Giving someone something for free still takes up their time (at least), and the law recognizes an exchange of value beyond just money. Certain Bad Open Source projects are especially frustrating, because you feel bad complaining about them, but they’re complex enough that no one else wants to step in and fill the same need. You GIS people will know what I’m talking about.
posted by migurski at 5:54 PM on July 18, 2013


We hate most in others that which we fail to see in ourselves. (That's pretty much where this blog started, 14 years ago.)

plagiarizing Robert Pirsig?
posted by any major dude at 6:19 PM on July 18, 2013


I particularly love this linked article within that article, titled "IF YOUR WEBSITE'S FULL OF ASSHOLES, IT'S YOUR FAULT"

My favorite excerpt:
How many times have you seen a website say "We're not responsible for the content of our comments."? I know that when you webmasters put that up on your sites, you're trying to address your legal obligation. Well, let me tell you about your moral obligation: Hell yes, you are responsible. You absolutely are. When people are saying ruinously cruel things about each other, and you're the person who made it possible, it's 100% your fault. If you aren't willing to be a grown-up about that, then that's okay, but you're not ready to have a web business. Businesses that run cruise ships have to buy life preservers. Companies that sell alcohol have to keep it away from kids. And people who make communities on the web have to moderate them.

I really wish the people who own reddit would acknowledge this. It's like the last giant bastion of that bullshit on the internet. Even 4chan has real moderators.
posted by emptythought at 6:58 PM on July 18, 2013 [4 favorites]



Once a web community has decided to dislike a person, topic, or idea, the conversation will shift from criticizing the idea to become a competition about who can be most scathing in their condemnation. (See The Law of Fail.)

Perhaps. But I think it depends on the community.


Yes, but don't imply that MeFi is exempt from this.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:59 PM on July 18, 2013


I really wish the people who own reddit would acknowledge this. It's like the last giant bastion of that bullshit on the internet. Even 4chan has real moderators.

Haha mods on 4chan only delete or ban people as jokes or if leaving it up will get them all tossed in jail.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:04 PM on July 18, 2013


Yes, but don't imply that MeFi is exempt from this.

We have proactive moderation that keeps the "burn the witch" stuff down significantly from most other places on the web that I know of who have paid moderators. Not exempt at all but it's definitely one of the community culture things that we actively give a shit about and have been doing stuff to curtail. I don't think there's anything you can do ultimately to keep some people from being more and less popular in online communities but you can definitely keep the pile-ons down if you make an affirmative decisions that that sort of behavior isn't okay.
posted by jessamyn at 7:08 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


The craziest part is 4chan spills into the real world. Yesterday some dude went to a pizza place pretending to be a Health inspector and live streamed it. Last month a dude posted he was going to go shoot some people and then shot up a strip mall. Some of these people aren't even asshoes, they are psychotic.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:12 PM on July 18, 2013


..."we added a "Posting quality score" that would hang out under people's avatar. The number it spit out was randomly generated and would change occasionally and sometimes violently..."

You mean like favorites on this site?

I poured my heart and soul into an historical analysis of the topic of this post and all eight thousand of you decided to 'favorite' a guy who compared George Bush to a broken stapler!? That's it, nothing but cat videos. Filmed vertically.
posted by Turkey Glue at 7:25 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Last month a dude posted he was going to go shoot some people and then shot up a strip mall.

Shit's become so common that I didn't even hear about that one.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:34 PM on July 18, 2013


elizardbits: "whelk you are a vile propaganda tool of Big Printer/Scanner Combo"

Not so much. My little cheapie HP wifi all in one is quite the little trouper.

If you accuse me of anything, I will just say two things.

If I am a shill why am I not getting paid?

And...

COME AT ME BRO!
posted by Samizdata at 7:51 PM on July 18, 2013


Oh hey, what's going on?
posted by Stan Chin at 8:15 PM on July 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


Reads like a summary of XKCD punchlines or alt-texts. I'm not sure yet...
posted by KMB at 10:39 PM on July 18, 2013


Giving stuff away without a license can be hazardous to your livelihood.

That's why everyone attaches an open-source license to their free software which explicitly denies the warranty.
posted by empath at 4:58 AM on July 19, 2013


Oh hey, what's going on?
posted by Stan Chin


We're all reading Achewood, man. You should check it out.
posted by COBRA! at 5:11 AM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know who else handed out gold stars?
posted by Mick at 6:31 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh, a dozen comments until "plain white background"? I woulda lost a $10 bet on that.

Kinda bummed I missed the "anal" jokes.
posted by anildash at 6:34 AM on July 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


These aren't actually internet-specific. Like, at all.
posted by desuetude at 7:13 AM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Huh, a dozen comments until "plain white background"? I woulda lost a $10 bet on that.

We're explosively surprising, like bad sushi.

Kinda bummed I missed the "anal" jokes.

Your welcome.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:05 AM on July 19, 2013


To those noting these apply outside the Internet, I agree wholeheartedly; the list just reflects that I learned the lessons on the Internet. To those noting none of these ideas are particularly novel, I agree wholeheartedly, but just wanted to document what I'd learned. I didn't know who Robert Pirsig was until I Googled him, but it seems like he'd be a great guy to inadvertently plagiarize.
posted by anildash at 8:35 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Once a web community has decided to dislike a person, topic, or idea, the conversation will shift from criticizing the idea to become a competition about who can be most scathing in their condemnation.

I'd like to think that's not true here. Piling on happens everywhere, but I think we do a good job of keeping things balanced. Contrarians are generally respectful, and difficult subjects are explored with care ... some times.

These aren't actually internet-specific. Like, at all.

People don't use the term IRL anymore. There is no difference.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:09 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This thought recently congealed for me in the last few days, but to the existing list I would like to add another rule:
As an online discussion of pressing social issues grows longer, the probability of a commenter exhorting others to stop complaining about those issues on the internet and go do something about them, without them grasping the inherently self-undermining nature of the argument they're making, approaches 1.
posted by invitapriore at 9:20 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kinda bummed I missed the "anal" jokes.

I see what you did there.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:51 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, I'm really not a fan of the professional white background jabs. Not only has the joke been beaten to death, but it sets a really unsavory precedent. I don't like the idea that a member here can make one well-intentioned, albeit silly, suggestion that is then permanently attached to their identity. It's extremely cliquey, very middle-school like, and contributes nothing positive to this community. I also wonder if it has discouraged people from making positive contributions & suggestions, simply because they don't want to be branded. I realize users should have a relatively thick skin, but at the same time, this is absurd. It's been more than 5 years, and it's high time we collectively got over it.
posted by spiderskull at 11:17 AM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't touch that live wire, spiderskull, it could all end so badly...
I think we're getting a little bit to over-awed by this alien technology. It's not magic, after all.
posted by spiderskull at 9:22 on May 18th, 2018 [+] [&] [!]

I suppose it's high time we collectively got over it, right?
posted by lunitarian-looniversalist at 9:27 on May 18th, 2018 [829 favorites +] [&] [!]
posted by Kattullus at 11:35 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's only as of just yesterday that I realized that anildash isn't the inventor of the plain white background, because in my first cursory reading of that thread I figured the option to change your color scheme was implemented as a compromise solution.
posted by invitapriore at 11:56 AM on July 19, 2013


So now I guess he's like the Al Gore of keeping me employed.
posted by invitapriore at 11:56 AM on July 19, 2013


What about rules 11-33?
posted by radwolf76 at 3:31 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's only as of just yesterday that I realized that anildash isn't the inventor of the plain white background, because in my first cursory reading of that thread I figured the option to change your color scheme was implemented as a compromise solution.

Wait - what? Oh. Huh.
posted by stoneweaver at 3:52 PM on July 22, 2013


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