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Filters [Feb. 7th, 2007|07:35 am]
In which Wade discusses his reservations about filters.

This entry is about filters. You might think that a filter post would be a simple affair, but if so, you've forgotten whose journal you are reading :-) This isn't an opt-in entry, this is an entry discussing why I have reservations about filters.

So, onward ho. I'm quite torn on the issue of LJ filters. As far as I can tell, there are two reasons why people instigate them:

  • A desire to keep some things semi-private, or control who has access to specific information about oneself.
  • A desire to avoid cluttering the friends page of friends with topics they aren't interested in.

It will probably come as no surprise that the first of these reasons just doesn't apply to me. In fact, I have almost diametrically opposed thoughts on the matter. I lean very strongly towards complete transparency and radical openness in my interactions with others, because I believe very strongly that being open encourages others to be open, which in turn allows us to actually get to know the *real* each-other, to establish a *real* sense of trust and connection, to make *real* connections, to be *truly honest* with one another about our feelings and thoughts. And this doesn't just apply to full-on emotionally-and-physically-involved relationships; it also applies to less intimate but no less significant friendships. I'm just not really one for casual friendships; I much prefer having a small number of close friends to having a large group of acquaintance-friends.

I am on LJ because I think it is a wonderful way to meet like-minded people, both in cyberspace and in reality, for both friendships and possibly more intimate relationships. Web personals sites like Lavalife, although designed to allow people to meet, honestly seem much less effective to me than LJ, now that I've discovered it. The web personals tend to concentrate on some physical stats, a profile pic, and 5-10 lines of description. I'm always puzzled at how brief many people's descriptions are on such sites. How do they expect people to know if they are interested if they don't convey any details about themselves? My descriptions on such sites are always X bytes, where X is the largest amount they will give me. But maybe that's why I haven't found such sites particularily useful; maybe web-personals users *want* small profiles with little detail. I most definitely prefer long, detailed, personality-portraying profiles, which seem in short supply on such sites. For the most part, my web-personals experience has been one of "too much time spent, and most of it wasted". But then again, I did find my most significant relationship to date (Sue) on such a site, so I really shouldn't be complaining. I just like LJ much better; it fits with the way I like to get to know people.

I mention all this as a convoluted way of explaining why I am somewhat reticent to lock posts away behind filters. I am on LJ to meet real people, and develop real connections. I honestly believe that the topics that most people have a tendency to hide away are the topics that tell the most about the person, and provide the best means of truly understanding and connecting with the person. I can understand people being trepiditous about revealing their private thoughts, out of concern that if others knew what they really thought, they wouldn't be liked. But although I can understand it, I am just not wired to have that concern. I'd rather someone decide they don't like the real me and stop interacting than to have to put on masks and facades that the individual will find more appealing. I prefer keeping things simple.

So, back to the topic of filters. On the one hand, I prefer having almost everything in my journal open. Every single person on my friends list was added either because I stumbled across their profile, read their entries, and liked what I saw, or because they did the same, after which I read their profile and liked what I saw. I rarely add people who are predominantly friends-only (there are exceptions), mostly because the publicly available posts in such journals tend to be relatively content-free and do not allow me to connect with the personality behind the journal. There is a certain kind of journal entry that I find most interesting and rewarding and connection-forming, one that demonstrates self-awareness, introspection, self-confidence, and perception. If such entries are hidden away in friends-only land, it would seem to lead to missed opportunities in developing real connections. And that is a tragedy, because real connections are very valuable things!

There is, however, the other side of the filter coin. Different people find different things interesting, and I certainly don't want to be cluttering up my friend's friends page with drivel they aren't interested in. In the past (and, for the most part, the future), my compromise between desire-for-openness, and the desire to avoid inflicting unwanted postings on my friends, has been to leave as small a footprint in Friends Pages as possible; hence the reason I always provide a brief synopsis and hide the content of my posts behind a cut.

I was contemplating making a polyamory filter, and a transhumanism filter, and a job filter, and various other filters, since I plan on posting more articles on these topics than I have been. However, I really want such postings to be visible to people even if they aren't on my friends list. If there was a way in LJ to hide posts away from those that request not to see them, but *still* allow non-flist people to read them, it sure would be nice! Have I missed a feature of LJ that would allow this?

In conclusion, I am reticent to create filters. There is, however, one partial exception. You can read about it, and opt-in if so inclined, here.

  • I'm curious as to whether there are counter-arguments to my philosophy of filters - am I out to lunch here?

  • Would you prefer if I made more filters?

  • Have you ever wondered how geckos can walk on walls?

index interests guestbook random

From: deeevamp
2007-02-07 01:04 pm (UTC)
I often have a different view with this. If you're on my friends list I want your entire post to be on my list. No matter if you post 600 novels per day. If I don't want to read it, I'll scroll on by. Most seem to have a problem with that though. The "geeze, you posted a lot today ..." and "could you put this behind a cut, I had to SCROLL" and lest we forget "PLEASE CUT THAT! I'M AT WORK ON LJ WHEN I SHOULDN'T BE AND IF MY BOSS WALKED PASSED AND SAW THAT PORNOGRAPHIC PIC OF DICK CHENEY & GEORGE BUSH I'D HAVE MY ASS CANNED."

Tangent aside and on to the topic at hand, filters are my friend on LJ. LJ is big psychological problem with me. And you might find this interesting. I feel that people hide things from certain people not because they're afraid of what they think, but the more personal info you provide equals the more ownership you give a person over you.

Which is ridiculous.

But still true.

Now the reason this is interesting in relation to me is that I have a Myspace blog, a VOX blog and some other random places where my life is quite an open book. I post very candid things on VOX. Anyone can read them.

I post similar things here. In fact I might post less personal things here! Yet this LJ is high on filters. Because I've had "people from my past" find it and add me and I don't want them seeing what I write.

Yet they can hop over to VOX and read it all.

Like I said in a post I made just a week or so ago, LJ has been with me (almost) since the beginning. So it's kinda like an old dish rag. It's got lots of memories and lots of experiences. It was here when I was a teenager, fucking up online. Getting in trouble. Telling everyone TOO MUCH. So now, even though it makes little sense, I keep my LJ posts very filtered and very private. Because I don't want those old people to know me. To own that information. Not in a controlling way but simply knowing it. Maybe I feel they don't deserve to know me?

Even though I'm basically an online personality/celebrity and everyone thinks they know me. And everyone CAN get to know me. With or without my permission (via VOX). So LJ is a moot point? But it's something I struggle with all the time. Because it is a good friend maker and if my longer entries were public I would make some new and very good friends.
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[User Picture]From: metawade
2007-02-08 04:13 am (UTC)

Hey D! Thanks for the comment! I sooo need to catch up on your journal. Things have been crazy busy on LJ lately though.

You have a much deeper history with LJ than I do, and I suspect that people always start out very open, then become more and more cautious as they experience negative repercussions from that openness. Nor do I think things will be any different for me - but for now I'm enjoying my ability to live in a glass house.

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From: deeevamp
2007-02-08 04:27 am (UTC)
Ah yes, I enjoyed my glass house while it lasted. Damn kids with rocks though ...
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[User Picture]From: aneyah
2007-02-07 01:49 pm (UTC)

My thoughts

I use filters. I also am friends only. I think you already know the reason why THAT is (and I'm an exception! yippee!) I don't care either way. I understand though the desire to be as open and honest and up-front as possible. I only wish I *could* be with regards to all aspects of my life. I admire you for it, and I'm a bit envious. :)
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[User Picture]From: metawade
2007-02-08 04:10 am (UTC)

Re: My thoughts

We'll see if my glass house philosophy changes if my family discovers my LJ. It may, or it may not.

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[User Picture]From: a_treitell
2007-02-07 02:29 pm (UTC)
I am personally a fan of filters, and I have a shit load of them.. *BUT* I prefer to see as much of my friends as I can.

I'm pretty liberal about who gets on which filters, but because of what this journal is, I don't want anyone to see something that they don't want.

My kid sister (okay she's 26 now, but she's still my kid sister) doesn't need to know about the fact that sitting is a bit of a challenge for me today... Or more explicit rambles about missing the woman who is something of an on again off again always loved always friends something in my life (heh, complicated enough? ;)).... Because I *do* get pretty fairly explicit with someone my posts, and my Dad, sister-in-law, kid sister, cousin, friends from grad school, really wonderfully vanilla people that I adore are all on this journal, they don't want to see those kinds of posts, and I don't really blame them (I sure as hell don't want them to see them either... But then I have a more philosophical filter that my 20 year old cousin (who is sort of dabbling/starting a journey into bdsm) is on, for stuff that isn't explicit but rambling about feminism and how it relates to submission and things like that..

The filters are *sort of* to protect me, but also to protect people from stuff that might scar them.. The poly I'm not so worried about (and we're pretty conservatively poly honestly), but.. The kink particularly needs to be put somewhere that it can't scar those who wouldn't understand it..
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[User Picture]From: a_treitell
2007-02-07 02:31 pm (UTC)
wow is it obvious I haven't had my coffee yet this morning..

- (I sure as hell don't want to see them either... But

should read

- (I sure as hell don't want to read equally explicit posts from them either)... But


- get fairly explicit with someone my posts,

should read

- get fairly explicit with some of my posts,


I am clearly in need of caffeine and to stop trying to talk today. :D
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[User Picture]From: metawade
2007-02-08 04:08 am (UTC)

A few typos never hurt anyone - no worries!

It is much easier for me to live in a glass house on LJ than for most people, because there are very very few people who I know IRL that are on LJ (and those that I do know, I met *from* LJ). If my family discovers my journal, it will be an interesting decision on my part. I have not told my parents or brother/sister-in-law that I'm poly, although I have no real stress about doing so. It is just that they will be completely incapable of understanding it - rural southern alberta mindset.

Hope you managed to find some caffeine. How's the tushy?

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[User Picture]From: diachrony
2007-02-07 05:56 pm (UTC)
I was contemplating making a polyamory filter, and a transhumanism filter, and a job filter, and various other filters, since I plan on posting more articles on these topics than I have been. However, I really want such postings to be visible to people even if they aren't on my friends list. If there was a way in LJ to hide posts away from those that request not to see them, but *still* allow non-flist people to read them, it sure would be nice! Have I missed a feature of LJ that would allow this?
My goodness, so many filters would be a pain in the tuchis. Besides, you *already* know and utilize the handy-dandy LJ tool that does exactly what you want: "hide posts away from those that request not to see them, but *still* allow non-flist people to read them" ~ the LJ-cut!

There is really no better tool for your purpose, because it keeps your entries public, easily accessed by a click for any who are interested, yet with the headers you provide, offers enough information for those who are *not* interested in any particular topic to pass right on by without searing their eyeballs ... everyone's satisfied (always keeping in mind that you can't make 100% of the people happy 100% of the time).
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[User Picture]From: metawade
2007-02-08 04:05 am (UTC)

Hi Dio! Yup, I think you are correct - the LJ-cut does wonders. However, I suspect you'll agree that the Tier 3 filter was a good idea - even some of the people who have opted in have expessed some ... surprise. Hah. I *told* people it was no-holds-barred :-)

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[User Picture]From: radven
2007-02-14 06:30 am (UTC)
Though I do have to say that I find lj-cuts horribly annoying 95% of the time. I like to scroll/skim my flist, often while offline (since I am frequently nomadic and not always able to be connected). Every time there is an lj-cut, I have to manually open it. Skimming over is SO much easier.

I've been really enjoying your LJ, btw. Stumbled across it this evening...

- chris
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[User Picture]From: metawade
2007-02-14 10:52 pm (UTC)

Hey Chris - thanks for stopping by! And your point about lj-cuts is entirely valid, but I suspect that, given the absurd length of most of my entries, even skimmers such as yourself would prefer them hidden away?

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From: winterlion
2007-02-08 02:10 am (UTC)
I use filters a little. Mostly when I'm ranting about someone (pretty rare - people are pretty wonderful for the most part or at least fascinating *grin*) or trying to protect someone from being hurt. (or offended - I've got "polyamoury" filters and "sex" filters. They're pretty much never used but *shrug*)

I think it's got something to do with light weight and sharp claws but wouldn't be surprised if it was Nature's variation of suction cups *silly grin*.
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[User Picture]From: metawade
2007-02-08 04:02 am (UTC)

Ah, I can see how filters would be useful for rants. And it is much easier for me to live in a glass house on LJ when very few people IRL know about it. Things will (maybe) change if they do.

WRT geckos, there was this totally fascinating article in American Scientist last year that talks about the physical of gecko toes. Nanoscale structures that allow for adhesion when applied at one angle, but which can be broken immediately when tilted to a different angle. There are plans to use the understanding to create artifical materials/devices that do similar things.

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From: winterlion
2007-02-08 11:40 pm (UTC)
WRT geckos - See! It IS "Nature's suction cups".
Now all of a sudden Gecko-man makes more sense than Spider-man :)
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