Ladies and gentlemen, UnSane has left the building.

August 26, 2013 9:14 PM

Yes, friends, sorry to have to report that, due to his exasperation with certain perceived trends at Metafilter, one of Metafilter Music's most dedicated contributors and a former Supreme Overlord of the MeFiMu Challenge has disabled his account. I just found out about it via his Facebook page. Those interested in following his musical activities are directed to his Soundcloud.
posted by flapjax at midnite (54 comments total)

Oh fudge. Sorry to see him go.
posted by grog at 6:53 AM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Interesting reading his reasons for quitting. I've felt similarly about a different issue on the Blue.

Hope he comes back, he was Metafilter Music for the longest time.
posted by dobie at 7:43 AM on August 27, 2013

mother of pearl! Hopefully this is a temporary break...
posted by dubold at 11:54 AM on August 27, 2013

posted by COBRA! at 11:58 AM on August 27, 2013

that's a shame - but i do kind of understand his vaguely described unease with this place - people ignoring my music - oh, wtf, i'm used to it, believe me, after playing for hours on fisherman's wharf on a cold-assed day and earning 36 cents, my skin is THICK

but elsewhere, elements of this community are swirling around the drain of ennui, self-parody, social posturing and bean-plating puritanism - i'd cause a shitstorm if i said that somewhere else, but they're ignoring us, so i'll say it here

it's not as fun as it was, is it?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:50 PM on August 27, 2013 [4 favorites]

I marked the thread as a favourite so that it would turn up in my recent activity and then thought that might suggest approval, so I'm leaving a comment instead. Terrible shame - the energy that Mr B put into MeFiMu was huge and prolific, and it's sad to lose him. As for his reasons... I don't think I'd put it like he did, but I kind of see his point. I just feel alienated from the Blue, though, rather than offended. The discourse (in certain parts of the Blue, anyway) does seem a bit Stalinist, though I'm not sure I'd say anything about it anywhere that anyone is likely to read it (I don't mean that as a snub to Music, but it's definitely sub-Radar), largely because I don't have the time, or the credibility or the intellectual capacity to defend my position. I'm a terrible coward, too. Certainly there are subjects where deviation from the party line is ruthlessly belittled and shut down, but I just read them with a kind of abstracted amusement and wouldn't close my account because of them. As I'm precisely the kind of person who's The Problem (and I've not contributed a fraction of what UnSane has), I don't suppose it would be interesting or relevant even if I did.

This is a shame, though.
posted by Grangousier at 3:11 PM on August 27, 2013

I can't find unSane's reasons for jacking it in, but given the many conversations I've had with him on the subject of MeFiMu and its myriad shortcomings I can guess the reasons.

The basic issue here is actually highlighted by some of the comments upthread. The energy expended by the likes of unSane and Flapjax is actually what keeps this site going. The overseers - the "admins" as they're referred to - seem content to take a back seat and let others do the running. Only the back seat they take is the back seat of the bus about 6 buses behind the one we're travelling on. On past form, they will likely argue that their approach is giving power to the users, all very inclusive and caring and sharing yadda yadda. I say - that's a bag of bollocks. The reason is rather more prosaic than that. They don't give a toss. The only time they expend any energy is in finding reasons not to make changes when they are periodically requested by exasperated contributors.

One of the main reasons that the songs you all upload are so infrequently commented upon by non-regulars is, in my view, because of how the portal to this part of MeFi is structured. Probably the first thing a newbie will do is listen to the "most favourited" charts. And that's where it all goes horribly wrong. Those charts are full of self-referential novelty songs and other shlock of advanced age. It's no wonder people to don't delve any deeper into MeFiMu if that's the first taster they get. It would certainly put me off. I've raised this in the past and the admins......yup, you guessed...

Personally, I've semi-quit MeFi because it's simply so dispiriting to visit the site and see so many 0 comments. I've not completely cut the cord because of an interest in how the likes of unSane and flapjax are getting along - but now that unSane's gone....hmmm. Anyway - a simple change that could be made and which would improve things immediately - and which obviously won't be for the reasons cited - is to drop the "number of comments" field and simply log how many people have listened to a track. Now.....that would be revealing wouldn't it?
posted by Hoops McCann at 12:11 PM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Because of the complicated intersections of mefi being my job, Music being something I personally care about, Music being a place overwhelmingly for people other-than-me, and my general desire for people to be able to vent and kibitz and so on when they need to, I have extremely complicated feelings about getting involved with discussions on Music about how people feel about Mefi.

(And I've had more than a couple with unSane in the past, and it's stuff that's, yeah, a lot more complicated than just Music-specific stuff and while I don't agree with him about some of the stuff that bugs him I do think it's a huge bummer that it's dealbreaker stuff that he feels the need to leave for. But that's totally his right, and I respect that.)

But this:

They don't give a toss.

Fuck that. I wish we had more active resources to throw at Music, but it's a small part of a large site and we have to proportionally put most of those resources toward the site where most of the moderation and maintenance and development attention is actively needed. Music doesn't get as much attention as I'd like in my ideal world, and you can blame me personally for that if you want to put it on a mod for not sufficiently championing the subsite since I'm the one whose overwhelmingly pushed for the stuff that has gotten done and I could in theory have pushed for more or sooner.

But if you say it's because I don't give a shit or because the mod team in general disregards or holds in contempt the subsite then you are talking out of your ass in a really shitty, really personally offensive way.

I've raised this in the past and the admins......yup, you guessed...

I'd still like to revisit the chart thing. I didn't and don't really disagree with you on that idea, as I recall. It hasn't happened yet, and I appreciate frustration with that, but suggesting and implementing are wildly different things and it's crap to pretend otherwise.

drop the "number of comments" field and simply log how many people have listened to a track. Now.....that would be revealing wouldn't it?

Of what, and for whom? We tracked plays for a while on the site. It accomplished basically nothing except for letting folks whose tracks didn't get played much know unambiguously that their tracks didn't get played much. It's one of those things that sound okay on paper but then ends up being nothing but a "welp, still not famous" reminder or something to pretty much ignore. When an architecture change made those counts a technical pain the ass to capture, we let them go, and nothing in the character of the subsite was lost.

We include comment counts because the entire site has that same structure. It'd be great if there were more consistently comments on songs. It'd be great to get more eyeballs over here. Again, I still like the idea of finding a way to accomplish that in practice and am hopeful that we can help that to happen. But you have this very specific vision of how you think Music would be transformed from niche subsite on a non-reddit-scale community site into some bustling music service that I do not think lines up all that well in realistic terms with this being Metafilter Music rather than Some Notional Music Site That Has Nothing To Do With Metafilter.

I understand your frustration but take huge exception to your concept of the solution to that frustration, basically.
posted by cortex at 1:49 PM on August 28, 2013 [13 favorites]

I can't read the facebook thing but it's a shame that unSane bailed.
Music has become a bit of a graveyard lately.
posted by chococat at 2:12 PM on August 28, 2013

Hoops McCann, how have the mods ever negatively impacted MefiMu? The lack of song comments isn't due to the mods or the 'most favorited' charts (if people even see those), it is simply because this website receives almost no traffic and is like an open mic where most anyone commenting is also posting their own songs (or just posting their own songs and not commenting, as the case often is). There used to be a tool that tracked how many listens a song had, and even the most popular songs rarely got over 50 listens if I remember correctly. I've honestly no idea how to get people involved or to listen to the great music here without the social cache of a Pitchfork style website telling people "listen to this!"

Sorry to see UnSane leave, it always seemed like he did a great job of listening to as broad a swath of postings as possible and sincerely enjoyed doing it.
posted by Corduroy at 2:17 PM on August 28, 2013

Yeah, I find it hard to believe that a "# of plays" counter would boost morale. I get very few plays on soundcloud, and while it's not like that is crushing my will to live or anything, it is a very tangible reminder that I'm primarily making music for myself.

I'd rather encourage more comments and further interaction among the posters here; unfortunately that's something that can only happen with the cooperation of a critical mass of users.
posted by dubold at 12:54 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

Personally, I've semi-quit MeFi because it's simply so dispiriting to visit the site and see so many 0 comments.

You've only made 25 comments in music on music posts. Be the change you wanna be and all that. And as cortex said, they used to have a play counter and it did nothing to drive more traffic here or to get more people to listen. It mostly revealed... nothing.

unSane leaving isn't that great and he seemed really enthused about Music. Sorry to see him go, but I'm guessing someone else will come along and pick it up (this always happens).
posted by sleepy pete at 4:09 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

Maybe there needs to be a "popular new songs" playlist on the front page of MeFi that includes songs that are actually new

Yeah, I think that something time-limited would make the most sense, and I think that may have been suggested in the previous discussions about it; it'd be the simplest way to get away from the Same Old Songs issue with the traditional chart. A "recently featured on the podcast" chart could work well too, since that'd get updated monthly-ish as well.

This is an especially bad week/weekend to try and get anything done with the site, but in the spirit of trying to make this place feel a little more loved I'll see if I can't try and get us looking at that next week as something to try and take an active stab at testing and with luck rolling out.
posted by cortex at 5:15 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

I think a big problem is that the songs are hard to browse. If I start listening to a song, and then scroll through the page to see what else is there and find something else to I want to hear, I have to go back and find the track that’s playing (not that easy to see), stop it, and go back and find the one I wanted to hear next again. If there was just some way to have only one track play at a time and you could click through them it would encourage more exploration.
posted by bongo_x at 11:17 PM on August 29, 2013

I can’t see the Facebook page either.
posted by bongo_x at 11:18 PM on August 29, 2013

I really like The World Famous's suggestion too - it would be great to see a little bit of MeFiMusic on the front page.

Also, the new challenge will be launching shortly, and it's one which will reach out to the wider site, so I'm hoping it will help to bring a few more friends round the MeFiMu campfire.

I'm sad UnSane has gone. I hope he comes back sometime, it won't be the same without him.
posted by greenish at 5:01 AM on August 30, 2013

the new challenge will be launching shortly, and it's one which will reach out to the wider site, so I'm hoping it will help to bring a few more friends round the MeFiMu campfire.

Hope springs eternal.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:14 AM on August 30, 2013

The hell? Man, that stinks.

(And nobody but us will ever care about Meffymoo. I've made peace with that.)
posted by uncleozzy at 6:28 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's the first time I've payed real attention to Unsane's contributions, and I find that they're pretty great. Too bad.
posted by nicolin at 3:05 PM on August 30, 2013

Very sorry to see him go. Jeez.

Looking forward to the new challenge. Didn't really want to do the last one. But I'm doing a bunch of music again and so I want to do some more of it here, too.
posted by litlnemo at 6:54 PM on August 31, 2013

posted by drezdn at 4:03 PM on September 1, 2013

Maybe there needs to be a "popular new songs" playlist on the front page of MeFi that includes songs that are actually new to MeFiMu and not what has recently been favorited that might be old (and is usually the same popular thing with one new favorite).

I like this idea. I'm someone who hasn't traditionally visited Music much, despite the fact that I am a ridonkulously huge music fan and that I genuinely like the musical output of a number of Mefites (cortex, The World Famous, flapjax, etc.). For some reason, Music just hasn't gotten integrated into my daily MeFi routine, and I'm not quite sure why that is. Maybe I feel as a non-musician that it's not really my "place" over here -- and I absolutely don't mean that to evoke any pity or concern that I've ever been made to feel not part of the club by anyone; I think it's just something that's in my own head.

Anyway, the Bowie challenge has made me sit up and take notice more consciously of all the great stuff going on over here, and fwiw I definitely intend to support this part of the site more from here on out. I think having a "popular new songs" playlist on the front page would definitely help, as would posting music challenges/updates. And this new challenge that solicits ideas from the membership at large is a great idea and I think has the potential to be great fun and to get Music on more people's radar.
posted by scody at 7:56 PM on September 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Also -- and I'm just brainstorming, honestly not trying to be That Tedious Newcomer Who Tells You How To Fix Your Site After Participating for Five Minutes -- I wonder if Music might be a place to have a regular (monthly?) music discussion thread, announced on the front page sidebar, on a particular topic/artist/genre/etc.? Obviously, Metafilter winds up having lots of music discussions on the Blue and Green by virtue of specific posts, but it could be cool to have a regular place to for such conversations to happen, plus if it drives additional traffic over here, that would presumably raise awareness of the music being posted.
posted by scody at 10:47 PM on September 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

scody, that's a cool idea. It's a bit of a departure from how posting at the site is usually conceptualized, but... so what, right? Mefi Music is already something very different, so why not something else different?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:40 AM on September 2, 2013

scody, i love the idea of posting music discussions - however, I think we are gonna need a completely united front to shut down the "your favorite band sucks" kind of comment that tends to appear in music-related threads on the Blue.
posted by dubold at 10:29 AM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


unSane will be missed.
posted by motty at 5:39 PM on September 2, 2013

He lives on in spirit.

I read this thread and thought, "Wow unSane would hate this one."
posted by dobie at 10:14 AM on September 3, 2013

I just wanted to mention that Hoops is also gone, his last comment being the one upthread.

(I have significant issues with both his perception of problems and his proposed solutions, but I don't disagree with everything he says.)
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 5:06 PM on September 4, 2013

Aw, man, now Hoops? Sigh...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:45 PM on September 4, 2013

(I have significant issues with both his perception of problems and his proposed solutions, but I don't disagree with everything he says.)

It's not just his perceptions and proposed solutions, but the way he expresses them. I wouldn't be surprised if his attitude has actively deterred growth of the music community from within mefi, frankly.

You've only made 25 comments in music on music posts. Be the change you wanna be and all that.

IIRC he used to post under another name (can't remember what), so I'm not sure that just those 25 are the full story.
posted by advil at 9:07 AM on September 5, 2013

Major Dundee.
posted by dubold at 9:33 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't be surprised if his attitude has actively deterred growth of the music community from within mefi, frankly.

Eh, I don't know if that's the case. Music is kind of a vestigial organ of Metafilter, or a side alley or something; I'm glad that it exists, but I don't think that it has the distinct site culture of the front page, or Ask, or even The Thunderdome MetaTalk. As such, this place can seem kinda dead/inactive. Even the most commented-on songs are only getting up into double digits.

I like the general thrust of what the Major/Hoops was trying to accomplish, in establishing something approaching "cultural norms" for the subsite. I think their desire was to see more serious music and less jokey stuff. Though honestly I don't think that there's all that much jokey stuff posted. Where I sort of take umbrage with that idea is the implication that non-serious MUSICIANS aren't welcome, or should be taking a back seat to the more skilled stuff. And that might not have been their intent; I can't say for sure. But it occasionally read that way to me.
posted by dubold at 9:47 AM on September 5, 2013

My suggestion: let's get hateful.

The amount of positivity present on Music shows that we just aren't legit. Where are the regulars who hate everything like on the front page? I want to see some brutal bullying and unhinged flameouts.

"Oh you think you can post a heartfelt banjo cover of a David Bowie track? Why not celebrate the white male patriarchy some more you racist."

Posting a new track on here should produce anxiety and relentless writer's block.

So many monthly challenge opportunities.
posted by dobie at 1:13 PM on September 5, 2013 [6 favorites]

This bums me out, as unsane really is one of my favorite people here. I second bringing back the "times played" feature. And I do appreciate the featured songs section.

I must admit, I don't frequent this site often enough at all. But I love it, yes I do.
posted by es_de_bah at 1:36 PM on September 5, 2013

Nooooo! I wish I could spend more time here, it's seriously one of my favorite things about MeFi. Someday I'll be done with school and house remodeling...

Participating in Music as a creator is a huge time investment compared to, say, reading and commenting in FPPs. That's always going to be a challenge. That said I am committed to the 'music request raffle' challenge and am working on my request in between brutal study sessions.
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:38 PM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Well, shucks, guys, this was a bit like attending your own funeral. Thank you. I've decided to resurrect this sock-puppet just for posting to Music, because you guys and gals rock. Also because now when I finish a song and don't post it here it feels really weird. So I did.

For those curious about unSane's reasons for leaving, the last few comments to MeTa pretty much tell the whole story. I killed him off because MeFi had become a hostile environment for unSane and net negative in my (as opposed to the unSane persona) life and I am very VERY dedicated to a low-stress existence. I hope that restricting this ID to MeMu circumvents that... we'll see. But please friend me on FB or Soundcloud, that's where I really hang out these days.
posted by sweet mister at 5:11 PM on September 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

well, i'm glad you came back

it's a good idea to stay away from the current controversies if you don't want to be stressed - currently, we have people discussing feminism in a thread that was about boys and how they're not being served well by the educational system

if it was the other way around, there'd be hell to pay
posted by pyramid termite at 6:16 PM on September 15, 2013

This account is all about music and nothing but. Glad to be back.
posted by sweet mister at 6:21 PM on September 15, 2013

remember me? i used to live for music
remember me? i brought your groceries in...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:53 PM on September 15, 2013

Welcome back, dude.
posted by cortex at 8:00 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Interesting, I almost got off the site for pretty much the same reasons. I realized though it’s just not what I thought it was. Like pretty much any site, some issues just can’t be discussed because there are some people who are too heavily invested in an opinion and consider themselves gatekeepers. I’m just staying away from that stuff. I’ll have those discussions with people in person.
posted by bongo_x at 8:11 PM on September 15, 2013

Um, I'm one of those women who's a part of those discussions that certain people seem to have been so put off by, and I'd also like to feel more comfortable in Music, so how 'bout we stop blaming The Feminists for the state of things 'round these parts?

a/k/a I'd like to feel welcome here as well as there. Is that possible?
posted by scody at 9:23 PM on September 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

scody, you are more than welcome here, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:39 PM on September 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

The problem I was having was with people reframing others comments to fit their own agenda and then assigning bad intentions to those people based on their own flawed assumptions.
posted by bongo_x at 10:27 PM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

MeFiMu is starting to sound like MeTa all sudden!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:43 PM on September 15, 2013

As long as cortex weighs in to talk about giant donuts, it's all good.
posted by scody at 10:51 PM on September 15, 2013

He keeps eating those giant donuts he'll *weigh in*, alright.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:22 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

guys sometimes i think maybe it's the donuts that are eating me
posted by cortex at 7:03 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Far from it.
posted by dubold at 1:33 PM on September 16, 2013

As an interloper, just an embarrassingly obvious observation or two. I've been mostly oblivious to this sub site, I'm pretty oblivious in general, but perhaps a bit of promotion would be worthwhile.

Comment volume may have a somewhat structural problem. On many front page or green posts it's about three seconds of scan and maybe a quick click and one can be posting the profound snark. But any reasonable post about a track needs at least a few dozen bars and not finishing or at least getting to a chorus or repeat before adding a bit of commentary, just seems, well just intrinsically time consuming. In a good way but just that time interval.

Well and talking about music is almost as hard as dancing about poetry. Hey, where's the dance subsite?

Oh and bummer dittos, unsane was a voice of... you know.
posted by sammyo at 7:39 PM on September 17, 2013

I would probably post more on Music if listening to the music wasn't such a chore. That is, putting a song on while scrolling down the page to find more stuff and then having to scroll back up to stop the first song and on and on... also, having to find the Music tab/window after a song ends and then browsing to find another one that looks good...

My suggestion is a music player that pops out in a separate window or tab with functionality that lets me create a playlist of songs to listen to, or some sort of way to play the most recent songs one after the other.
posted by Quilford at 4:04 AM on September 18, 2013

Oh lord I'm silly. Did not see the "Stream the RSS feed... You can also get a random sampling of tracks." things on the Music page WHEE Gonna do this so hard.
posted by Quilford at 4:16 AM on September 18, 2013

Good God, sweet mister! a) ...I kind of like the cut of that sentence's jib, so keep this screen name alive and kicking, PLEASE! and b) after reading some of the shit arguments that it looked like you were sort of dragged into kicking and screaming, yeah...I can see how you'd have come sick of it.

I'm sure I'm in the vast minority here, but I pretty much joined MeFi exclusively for Music, so I really don't spend more than and most surface-scratchy amount of time on the blue, green, grey, purple, hyper-orange, what have you...

The more I see of the things that really happen when you get deeeeeeeeeeep into it (though I've seen this be true of, well...The Blogoblag as a whole), the happier I am to stay in the kiddie pool there.

Viva el negro!
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 10:28 PM on September 24, 2013

Welcome back, SM! I can see how seeing packs beat people down too often can be disheartening, even if you agree in principle with the pack. Do whatever makes your life better, man!

Aside from playback on Music being incredibly 2002, I think a lot of of its problems are problems with music in general. Like, SoundCloud has these problems. Tons of people post songs there that are never heard, and it breaks their hearts. Here, at least, there's no transparent gladhanding going on.

And while it does suck to see so many "0 comments" strings on the page, it is way better than some music community sites I participated in before this one, in which people would go out of their way to shit on each other.

So, yeah, even with development resources for Music, which I don't think they have, a lot of what we don't like would still be there.
posted by ignignokt at 1:06 PM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older What can I do to shake up my editing?   |   The Great Request Raffle Newer »

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