Frist Psot: A Tutorial for Posting an FPP on Metafilter

This is intended as a tutorial for people on MetaFilter who want to do their first FPP on the blue and are feeling a little intimidated. This isn't intended to be an explanation of a "right" way to do it. (You can get some tips on that kind of thing on the Wiki.) This is just how I did it (on one specific occasion) and the process I went through.

I am posting in hopes that demystifies it a bit for people having some trouble. I think it would be great if others shared their process because different strokes work for different folks. I think process is something that trips a lot of people up and that's what I hope to address here. One of the things I am including is screen shots of both the form you fill out and the final post showing which pieces of the form correlate to which pieces of the post because I found that especially hard to understand at first.

This is the post I did that I am going to use as my example (and here is the actual post on Metafilter):

This post started with my son mentioning Vera Rubin to me after he read a book about dark matter that mentioned her repeatedly because of her role in its discovery. He retold some snippets about her life and how she dealt with sexism and being a mom in relation to having a serious career. He had neat things to say about her and he really liked her. I had never heard of her even though she is very accomplished. A search of MeFi turned up very few references to her. So I had a subject of interest to me, an angle, and relatively fresh ground in terms of what has been on MetaFilter previously.

Then, I began searching and I found a reasonable number of links on the topic. I also asked my son about the book he had read and I found it on Google Books and used that as one of my links and took a quote from it. I started putting the links into a Gmail draft to keep track of them because I knew this would take more than one session of working on it and I do everything "online". If you look closely, one of those links is actually a quote but the quote site I got it from automatically added link coding to it, so it showed up in my draft like a link. But I kept the quote as a place to start framing the post. The rest are just links. I collected this over a couple of sessions, I think over the course of two days.

I actually wrote the title last. I really struggle with writing titles. It is something I am trying to get better at. I tried using about three different quotes from Vera Rubin as the title. They were all too long for the allotted character count and I could not figure out how to effectively shorten them and use just a piece of it. Those quotes (and the links where I got two of the three) ended up going in other parts of the post. Then I realized I really, really needed to include a link in the link area (shown one step below) because the part I had written above the fold had no link. So I looked for some brief overview piece that could kick things off.


The link area is an optional field. If you are including one or more links in the first paragraph, you can skip it. If you include it, it becomes the first few words of your first paragraph and is a live link (as shown in the screenshot, circled in red). For some reason, I initially only filled out the Link URL field and thought it would be clickable from the title of the post and that got me an error message. So, if you put in a URL, you also need to fill out the field below it called Link Text.


This is the part that will show on the front page. It needs to be fairly short and have some punch. It goes in the box labeled Description.

Above the Fold

If you want to write more than just one or two paragraphs, you can include more below the fold in the box labeled Extended Description.

Below The Fold:

Tags are the only thing you can edit after submission. I probably need to learn a whole lot more about tags but after I learned I can add tags after I submit it, I got a lot less nervous about doing the tags.


I like to get everything filled out before hitting the Preview button because that means I cannot accidentally post it without meaning to. You don't get a Post button until after you hit Preview. So I like to start my draft in Gmail (if it is going to be something more than a single link) and then get all the fields filled out before I hit Preview. Then tweak any typos or that kind of thing.

Happy Posting.


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