May 2, 2000 4:23 PM   Subscribe

Autobloggatio I had a good laugh not once but twice at the bitch-slapping I underwent for the putative sin of blogging myself on Metafilter. I had a laugh even though I thought the intent was to ridicule, slag, and deride. En tout cas, I blogged myself two different ways. On a couple of occasions, I pointed to pages I'd developed as a service to netters and bloggers Xenoblogs (list of un-American blogs) and the Buyer's Guide to Alternadomains. One makes no apologies for providing pages as a public service and making them known to the public. The other case involved ruminations on love at first sight. Lacking a discussion mechanism at my blog and knowing that people would have knowledge on the topic I had no access to (breeders, for example), I posted on Metafilter. IMHO this reveals an unserved need: Blogger et al. may make it possible to update your Weblog from any browser, but what we need is a way to automate discussion on topics blogged on individual pages. As it stands, bloggers are like home-office workers who have to meet clients at caf├ęs: They have to go out of house. Is it possible that, for blogging to work at a level beyond howling at the moon or a tree falling in the wilderness, we need automated tools for dialogue at our own sites? Should Metafilter and (to a lesser degree) Webqueeries be the only collaborative Weblogs? Clearly this would blur the distinction between blogs and mailing lists, but so what? Among mailing lists, blogs, Yahoo clubs, and instant messaging, we already have a fractured set of media of two-way and multi-way communication. A bit more fracturing ain't gonna hurt; the horse has long since bolted from the stable. (Aside: Guestbooks work poorly in my experience. Even Zeldman's. Mine is a joke. In the immortal words of Bad Religion, there's no substance. A blog gives visitors something to talk about beyond "How do you like my page?")
posted by joeclark (33 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Distributed commentary system, wherein you can comment on any given site and then access those comments from all sites or as one big soup?
posted by faisal at 4:33 PM on May 2, 2000

Phew... that was long.
posted by hobbes at 4:34 PM on May 2, 2000

If you want comments, follow robot wisdom's lead and use greenspun's free message board system, whose sole purpose is to let anyone comment on any page you have.

And Joe, I hate to slap you again, but your mega post is making me think seriously about cutting down post views on the main page to 500 characters or so, and making people follow a link to detail view to read the entire thing. Don't you see how huge your post was, and if someone didn't want to read it, or had already read it, how hard it is to ignore?

I noticed that in the past, you've used MetaFilter as your personal discussion board (since the links went right to single posts on your site), and I forgot to add a question to last night's reply to your post: what if every MetaFilter member that felt they needed a discussion board did this? What would happen to the quality of the forum if even 10 people thought this was a good idea?

Think about that.
posted by mathowie at 5:04 PM on May 2, 2000

>A blog gives visitors something to talk about
>beyond "How do you like my page?"

That's funny, since that seems to be the only goddamn thing you care about.
posted by EngineBeak at 5:10 PM on May 2, 2000

you know, somebody once told me about this wild and crazy thing called "usenet" for discussion - and ummm, what was that about "lists" - discussion lists? i don't know, it used this weird thing called "email" which i just didn't grok.

really though, guestbooks work poorly because most people just don't care enough to post. and there are weblogs that have a little click to comment... matt's hit-or-miss is the first to come to mind, but there are many, many others. just because blogger doesn't hold everyone's little hand and do it for them doesn't mean it's not happening right now.

honestly, asshole sarcasm aside, isn't this the kind of thing for metatalk?

the signal to noise ratio is really dropping around here.
posted by adam at 5:10 PM on May 2, 2000

Wow. Someone beside me is getting yelled at for a change. :-)
posted by baylink at 5:17 PM on May 2, 2000

damn good point adam!

(moving this thread to metatalk and all comments)
posted by mathowie at 5:20 PM on May 2, 2000


1. Matt: the 500 character limit / detail view thing sounds pretty cool. It's one of the few things I like about how Slashdot works. It would also encourage people to write in "triangle" style - main points up front, w/ detail as it goes on.

2. I really like Take It Offline, excepting the lack of archiving.
posted by faisal at 5:31 PM on May 2, 2000

Here's the test file for the new feature I'm working on.

I'll try to finish it up and clean the bugs this weekend.
posted by mathowie at 5:32 PM on May 2, 2000

There's always Third Voice.
posted by endquote at 5:36 PM on May 2, 2000

I wish Mathowie would stop whining. If Metafilter understood <P> tags, which I try valiantly to put in, readability would increase. 500-word limit? Please. "As long as necessary and as short as possible" seems to have stood journalists in good stead for decades.

And besides, I post something that doesn't commit the unpardonable sin of referring to my own site, with specific content about portable discussion boards, and what do I get? (Though thanks to faisal.) I was actually making a suggestion for future versions of Pyra, Blogger, et al. I presumed readers could infer that I had taken the criticism-- however mean-spirited-- to heart and had used my experience as a form of blogger beta-testing.

This pretty much ruins my day. After reading Mathowie's threatening, overwrought caterwauling today (against me and someone else-- and Mathowie, either pull the trigger or put the gun away), I wonder if anyone whose posts don't take the form of 10 words including an uncontextualized link is really welcome here.
posted by joeclark at 5:40 PM on May 2, 2000

Are you always such a rude, imposing guest?

All hail Mathowie!
posted by luke at 5:48 PM on May 2, 2000

Joe - go back and read my post again - 500 character limits on the display of posts on the front page only. The entire post would be contained in the detail view still.

And p tags should work, if CSS were fully implemented in browsers, but actually, p tags would make long posts, longer, taking more vertical screen space.

Me stop whining? Why do you feel the need to post 340 words on how you've used metafilter in the past, and how appropriate is it to post that on the main page of the site? You just took something that probably should have been email between you and I and subjected it to everyone.

that's what metatalk was for, to talk about weblogs or metafilter in general, and not clog up the main area with things that don't concern most people.

And if you think that my threatening someone else for bad behavior was out of line, please build a site open to everyone and invite him specifically to post as often as possible. Please, I'm begging you to do this.

I'm not going to post about this anymore and am going to avoid this site that I built myself for others to enjoy for the next 24 hrs or so (talk about your ruined days)

A more appropriate place to talk about this would be in this MetaTalk thread.
posted by mathowie at 5:51 PM on May 2, 2000

joeclark said: "Aside: Guestbooks work poorly in my experience. "

I dunno...
Mine work okay. They're even themed, depending on what mood you're in.

I don't censor them either, so you get all the crackpots, all the flamers... flaming them back is half the fun! Not to mention, it's a great way for folks with smaller home pages to get noticed and spidered into search engines.
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 5:51 PM on May 2, 2000


I find that I can insert lines between paragraphs on metafilter by hitting my return key twice.

it wasn't clear to me that you were trying to start a discussion about portable discussion boards, in fact, re-reading your post, it still isn't.

you begin by pointing to two metafilter links that revolve around your posting practices here, then move smoothly to two links pointing to your site (asserting that you make no apologies for having posted them in the first place), and then make the case for being able to point to your site here in lieu of having a discussion forum of your own.

if your post was intended to promote discussion of portable discussion boards, your point completely passed me by. it looks more to me like a troll.

I would like to further note out that since this is mathowie's website, *anything* he chooses to post is acceptable, and that accusing the person providing this forum of whining is unpardonably rude.

it's unfortunate if your day is ruined; you haven't contributed much to mine.

posted by rebeccablood at 5:54 PM on May 2, 2000

*laughing* jeez...first GD and now MeFi...everyones getting bitchy and uptight.
posted by dangerman at 6:10 PM on May 2, 2000

aw crap...I forgot the damn http://
posted by dangerman at 6:12 PM on May 2, 2000

It's okay danger, it's okay.
posted by corpse at 6:36 PM on May 2, 2000

*sigh* On the off-chance that anyone still wants to talk about discussion mechanisms for weblogs, you might want to check out the developments over at Civilution, where that's supposedly exactly what they're building.
posted by bradlands at 6:37 PM on May 2, 2000

One's life must be pretty fixated on the trivial for this to ruin a day. Some folks have much more bad things happen on a daily basis and they don't let any of it get them down. Gotta thicken up that skin.

I have a buddy doing time and he's a lot more cheerful.
posted by john at 6:40 PM on May 2, 2000

I was only gone two and a half hours, you people post 78 comments. Wow!

I use, and really like, Conversant. It's a full-fledged content management system, designing your site with templates and by filling in forms and posting the changes.

No, I don't work for them. But it includes a weblog feature and some other features (like a newgroup variant and an e-mail variant, if such are your thing). It is not, however, portable--you'd have to bring Conversant along with you if you moved your site.

Ahem. And as for a front page post size limit, put in my vote.
posted by mrmorgan at 6:55 PM on May 2, 2000

I vote for the minimized post size too....

And uh, Matt? While you're at it, is there any way to change the script so we can "preview" our posts before posting? I'm catching myself reading a ton of my spell-o's, later on, and driving myself insane....

Uh... nevermind. I'll just proofread before I hit the button, ok?
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 7:06 PM on May 2, 2000

Does anybody get the feeling that Joe just has an incessant need to talk, and that nobody around him is listening anymore?

You've got a lot of energy saved up for typing, there, Joe, with a snappy set of HTML skills to boot. Put that into your site and people will come to it. It looks pretty good so far.
posted by lizardboy at 7:22 PM on May 2, 2000

Responses and original posts work differently. When you post a response, you can put in blank lines with the return key.

To put blank lines in an original post you use [br][br] except you use angle brackets instead of square brackets.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:44 PM on May 2, 2000

Um... this is all very interesting... ZZZZZZ
posted by Dean_Paxton at 8:41 PM on May 2, 2000

i think the silent majority likes MF exactly how it is. I know I do.
posted by chaz at 12:32 AM on May 3, 2000

I agree with chaz, if you polled all the regular readers I bet most would vote to keep MF the way it is.
But following these long posts about what some link slut thinks would get him or her a few more hits help the working day go soooo much more quickly.....
posted by Markb at 5:58 AM on May 3, 2000

Hey, are you using linkslut in a derogatory fashion? I'm telling Neale...
posted by delfuego at 8:41 AM on May 3, 2000

You've also got the editthispage and from that other self-meta-blogging dude, Dave Winer. They've got discussion and a few nifty tools to make it easier to keep track of what people are discussing. And while we're at it, I might as well mention zope for those that don't mind rolling their own for more control. You can get a little discussion component for zope that gives you all kinds of control over your blogging weblogging discussing community.
posted by mutagen at 10:01 AM on May 3, 2000

People sure dissed this thread, but I got four new bookmarks out of it (and I'm a stingy bookmarker).

I find it worthy of note, in a larger and more general sense, that the threads that seem most hated are the ones that are always the most posted to. Everyone jumps on and says "I hate this thread, too"-- but somewhere in the thick of it all an interesting dialogue still manages to emerge.

posted by jbushnell at 2:11 PM on May 3, 2000

yeah, me too.

i mean what jbushnell just said.

me too to that. good information emerged - as it always does here - when people wearied of beating up the original poster.

i'm disheartened by some of the bandwagon-jumping i've noticed recently in the independent content scene and on various lists and bulletin boards.

metafilter is much better about this than a lot of places, don't get me wrong. but it's disheartening when it shows up anyplace, because it means people aren't thinking - they're attempting to curry favor, or they're racing like lions to devour a felled gazelle.

maybe that is a type of thinking, but it's not forebrain stuff.
posted by Zeldman at 2:28 PM on May 3, 2000

What kind of bandwagon jumping have you noticed lately? I'm wondering what the trends are these days?
posted by chaz at 5:13 PM on May 3, 2000

listing other other blogs on your own blog?
posted by dangerman at 10:31 PM on May 3, 2000

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