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MLP vs. Advertising

By farl in Meta
Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 03:47:51 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

MLP: "MLP stands for Mindless Link Propagation. If the whole writeup is "check out this link," it's definitely MLP. MLP isn't always bad, but it can be :-) We have an MLP section you should use for that kind of story. I also wouldn't recommend posting it as a story unless you have a paragraph or describing what's so interesting at the other end of the link, because a bare link is Just Wrong" (as defined in the FAQ section on kuro5hin).

Advertising: "1. The activity of attracting public attention to a product or business, as by paid announcements in print or on the air. 2. The business of designing and writing advertisements for publication or broadcast. 3. Advertisements considered as a group" (as defined by www.dictionary.com).

As you can see, the main difference between the two is the issue of payment/money/commerce. MLP is simply pointing to a product/service, while advertising has an end goal besides "oh look at this cool item/service". On kuro5hin it seems to often get confused. Now while I am not a great fan of MLP, even though I do indulge in submitting MLP occasionally, I find it disconcerting that a lot of interesting items and discussions are shot down merely because they are thought to be the Grand Specter of Advertising.

Kuro5hin's mission contains the following: "Kuro5hin.org is a site about technology and culture, both separately and in their interactions This is a site for people who want to discuss the world they live in. It's a site for people who are on the ground in the modern world, and who sometimes look around and wonder what they have wrought."

To me this is a rather obvious statement in its intent. Take a look at the world around you, pay attention, and point out the interesting things that you notice to your fellow people on kuro5hin (or Slashdot*). With as much as goes on in the world today, even if you read the news full time, it would be impossible to keep up with the information (an interesting article on that wasn't posted on kuro5hin [it got voted down apparently] here. The article it refers to can be found here).

In the spirit of this, when I find something that makes me go "cool!" or some such, I think it is worth pointing out to other people. While the news might not be even vaguely new, it was new to me at that point, or something new about it came up, or it is just plain interesting to me, and I thought it should be posted in order for it to promote discussion.

Admittedly some MLP articles, and articles in other sections, are advertising. I think that this is a VERY LOW percentage. The majority of the users on kuro5hin don't bring their work into kuro5hin in order to promote themselves, their jobs or their products. Users tend to bring their experiences and skills into the site (and their gripes, gossips and rants too, but that is all part of the fun). I cannot think of a single MLP article I have seen on here that I could easily say "this is associated with the poster as a purely advertising gimmick". I might be wrong on this, but in my recollection this is what I remember. Besides, Advertising is not the evil it is associated with. A good advert can bring your attention to a good product or service. I do not mind receiving an advert if the item is interesting. Even if it is not, it only takes a second to vote 0 and continue on.

Advertising is about bringing your attention to a product or service with the eventual hope of gaining some financial or other benefit from it. MLP, IMHO is about discussion. What's the point of pointing a link at something just to point? And yes, I can hear the echoes of your fingers and voices point out the fact that it is "MINDLESS link propagation", but I would hope that none of us are that mindless that we are not interested in the world around us.

MLP does not really differ from other sections. Any article that refers to an outside article is link propagation anyway. The defining factor between MLP and other sections is that MLP threads are not really written by the poster. They are written by another person on the other end of a link. Other sections tend to be written more by a user of kuro5hin (and even then I have seen articles that are merely cut and pastes from outside sources which IMHO is MLP even when the original author is quoted).

Another good point to consider is that kuro5hin is not Slashdot. While this might seem obvious, a lot of people make the mistake of confusing the two. Quite often I will see comments and responses saying "I saw this on Slashdot already X days ago." I have two problems with this attitude. Firstly, I don't read Slashdot. I think their format sucks and their submission strategy is not to my liking. Therefore, any articles posted there are unlikely to be read by me unless a user on kuro5hin points to that article and references it in such a way that it interests me enough to go over and read it. Secondly, just because it is posted on some other service, doesn't make it any less news on this server. A good discussion is a good discussion. Even if it does mirror on multiple sites. If you don't want to partake in posting to both/all threads off the multiple sites, don't. It is your personal choice.

If you don't like what the link points at, there is very little need to vote it down. Just vote it as a 0. If there is a good reason to vote it down, as maybe the thread/link/article is discriminatory in some way, or is VERY poorly presented, either on the side of the poster or on the end of the link, then maybe vote it down. But just because you do not find something interesting to you, is no reason to bring up that Advertising ghost and vote it down.

MLP is not Advertising (with some very few exceptions) and should not be associated as such.


* Slashdot - When referring to Slashdot I am talking about all sorts of commentary, news, topical and other information sites like Slashdot and kuro5hin.


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Is MLP Advertising?
o 100% YES! 2%
o Most of the time 6%
o Sometimes 63%
o Almost never 25%
o 100% NO! 1%

Votes: 77
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o Kuro5hin
o www.dictio nary.com
o mission
o here
o here [2]
o Also by farl

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MLP vs. Advertising | 13 comments (9 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Voting product links down... (4.16 / 6) (#5)
by pb on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 03:02:10 PM EST

An "MLP" post should be short and to the point, and the point should be the link, as in, "wow, check this out!". If the link is to a product you can buy, well, I guess that's advertising, but the *reason* for it should be "this is cool", not "go and buy this".

A good example of this would be the Fetish section in Wired, (well, when I used to read it....) where everything costs an arm and a leg, and isn't available in the US... but it's *cool*! Of course it's still advertising, but that's not the point.

I was saddened to see the submission about the huge, multi-monitor thingies voted down, and doubly so if it was voted down because it was terse, or considered advertising, or was already on slashdot... It was definitely MLP, it looked very cool, and I hadn't seen it before, despite reading slashdot way too much, so shame on all of you who voted -1.

Oh, and I can't remember where the link went to, so just *try* to accuse me of advertising! :)
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
I second that! (4.00 / 3) (#6)
by Phil the Canuck on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 03:31:17 PM EST

Frankly, I don't care if it was advertising or not. It was a link to information on a display. A display that, were I to find one on my desk, would bring tears of joy to my eyes.

I also read Slashdot, and didn't see this. If people don't like MLP, then they either shouldn't vote or should vote 0.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to find $9995 in our budget.


I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

One way to not advertise (4.33 / 3) (#7)
by loner on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 03:53:15 PM EST

A partial solution: if you're going to post an MLP to a product that may smell of advertising, include links to alternatives or competitors to the product.

E.g. instead of saying "this company just invented <a>computerised hiking boots</a>" say "here's a cool new <a>computerised hiking boot</a> that runs Linux, and btw this other company already makes <a>electronic boots</a>, and this other one makes <a>Linux computers</a> that can be attached to boots."

And I think that'll put the whole MLP more in the K5 spirit. Because not only you've propagated the link, but you've also put some research into it, telling us why it's such a cool thing.

Doesn't sound mindless (2.50 / 2) (#9)
by retinaburn on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 05:51:21 PM EST

Posting links to alternatives or competitors, if included in a paragraph or two would not be MLP in my opinion. In fact i think even including alternatives and/or competitors would keep it out of being MLP ...unless it was done very quickly, for example: Check this computerized hiking boot out. Heres another link to the same kinda booty idea. This guy hates boots.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho

[ Parent ]
Doesn't that defeat the purpose. (4.66 / 3) (#11)
by Phil the Canuck on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 01:24:48 PM EST

In my mind, warped as it may be, MLP exists for one reason. So that when you see something and say, "that's cool, bet the K5'ers would love that" you can let them know. Quickly. I don't want to have to research competing products just to post MLP.


I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

Well... (4.50 / 2) (#12)
by loner on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 02:01:31 PM EST

I'm not saying every MLP must include the competition. All I'm saying is that if you're going to post a link to a product and you're afraid it's going to be mistaken as an ad (or you're just sensitive about seeing it dumped), you can include links to similar products as a dumping-prevention mechanism. And you make yourself look more intelligent/helpful to boot.

But I don't think anybody should stop you from posting a link to a single product. Myself, when I smell an ad, I look at the author's history, how many stories they've posted so far, how many comments etc before I make a decision. If the author just registered, this may be an ad, although some long-time lurkers will just register to post a real story, and some old-timers will eventually post a real ad.

As far as posting a story quickly, well if the product is cool enough it can wait an extra day, no rush. If you don't have time to research it, like I said post away and takes your chances. Just don't complain too much if some people take it as an ad and dump it.

Finally, if you think a product is cool, I'd assume you have more than a passing interest in that type of product, otherwise how do you know that it is cool? If you have more than a passing interest, you can point us to alternatives easily enough.

[ Parent ]

Well Well.... (4.50 / 2) (#13)
by farl on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 02:49:54 PM EST

you're afraid it's going to be mistaken as an ad

I am not afraid my articles will get taken as an ad. What the point was that ad's are not necessarily bad, as the difference between an ad and MLP is dollars. But both point you in the direction of something (hopefully) interesting.

well if the product is cool enough it can wait an extra day, no rush.

It's MLP, not a thesis topic that needs days of research.

Finally, if you think a product is cool, I'd assume you have more than a passing interest in that type of product, otherwise how do you know that it is cool? If you have more than a passing interest, you can point us to alternatives easily enough.

Well when I am posting a link to an item, just becuase I think it is cool, doesn't mean I know anything about it.


[ Parent ]
Relevant to me, too (3.66 / 3) (#8)
by Denor on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 04:15:14 PM EST

A while back, I wrote an article for K5 about a bit of software I was, (and am still) working on. When it's done, I want to post something here as a bit of a follow-up. Problems:

  • The only thing the follow up would really say is "I've released it finally" and "here it is".
  • Given that, it'll mainly look like self-promotion

So this kind of discussion (i.e. what belongs in MLP) is relevant to me, since that's where I'd put a followup.

My current plan is to submit as an MLP, and let the crowd decide if they want it. If not, I'll announce in my diary :)


Sure submit away (3.00 / 2) (#10)
by retinaburn on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 05:53:46 PM EST

We are a community, and as such we should tolerate a certain amount of self-promotion. Just give a link and a comment.
You could even submit it to freshmeat if thats an option.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho

[ Parent ]
MLP vs. Advertising | 13 comments (9 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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