I want a new comment flag December 9, 2006 10:08 AM   Subscribe

AskMe should be a ‘the commenter didn’t read the question’ flag.
posted by Aidan Kehoe to Feature Requests at 10:08 AM (34 comments total)

Cf. this, other discussion on the issue in MetaTalk, and the examples referenced there. My perspective is that comments sufficiently so flagged should be deleted, because they normally help the poster exactly as much as snark.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 10:11 AM on December 9, 2006


(And, oops, my first line should read ‘AskMe should have a “the commenter didn’t read the question” flag.’ I do value the resource more than reducing it to a single flag would imply.)
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 10:12 AM on December 9, 2006


The questions are nearly identical, how is the AskMe I linked to not a relevant response?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:20 AM on December 9, 2006


Because it's the same poster each time, so she obviously doesn't think the previous answers answered the question?
posted by Tuwa at 10:24 AM on December 9, 2006




Or maybe "commenter didn't read the question or previous answers" instead. I swear sometimes half the answers in AskMe threads are taken up with comments that get repeated because they did not take the time to read 4 short previous posts. But this would just make a ton of more work for Matt and Jess. Though they could deputize a bunch of Mefi reference librarians to do that grunt work maybe.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 10:35 AM on December 9, 2006


AA, if you were trying to be funny, that's a little annoying. If you were trying to point out that the poster is maybe working out some virginity issues, that might be helpful but use your words to do that. If you honestly didn't notice it was the same poster, as mdn said, then it's just a noisy comment. In any case, it's been responded to, so I was going to leave it in there as long as it doesn't start a precipitous derail.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:36 AM on December 9, 2006


The questions are pretty similar as are the issues. The original poster really should have mentioned that previous question.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:42 AM on December 9, 2006


Actually, it was both.

In the previous AskMe, trampesque posted her query and was not heard from again, giving zero feedback as to whether or not the responses are helpful, which is odd for a non-anonymous relationship AskMe. It's possible, like Tuwa said, that the answers were unsatisfactory the first time around, but trampesque also had a year to address that.

However, it's just as possible that she forgot that she posted the AskMe; even if she's a frequent visitor to AskMe, her user stats don't indicate frequent participation. Hence, linking to her previous, nearly identical AskMe.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:48 AM on December 9, 2006


Urm, scratch out the "Actually, it was both", it was supposed to have a snarky :P at the end.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:51 AM on December 9, 2006


How about a "this thread is stupid" flag for MetaTalk?
posted by smackfu at 10:59 AM on December 9, 2006


Hey man, ever since the 4-H shut down stupid MetaTalk threads are one of the few things keeping us kids off the street.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:03 AM on December 9, 2006


How about a "this thread is stupid" flag for MetaTalk?

What’s stupid about this thread? AA is admitting to both trying to be funny and not reading the question (or, alternately, to not understanding why ‘both’ is inappropriate when there are three choices.) No-one’s touched the other examples. Is what I wrote incoherent? Is answers irrelevant to the question more relevant than snark?
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 11:20 AM on December 9, 2006


Oh, come on. AA's response is completely justified in that trampesque asked essentially the exact same question twice.

The duplicate question would be a lot more suitable had she bothered to say something like "I know I asked this before, but this is something else about it that's come up since then" etc... She doesn't even address this, even after it's brought up.
posted by dhammond at 11:55 AM on December 9, 2006


A flag is a flag, I think that jessamyn is smart enough to be able to tell when a commenter neglected to read. It's not like the absence of a specific named flag prevents you from nevertheless flagging the comment. Sheesh. Personally, I think flags should be binary, as in, "flag this, yes/no", and get rid of the reason alltogether. If you actually expect to have a specific flag category for every possible situation then you need a much longer list, probably dozens long.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:56 AM on December 9, 2006 [2 favorites]


Those who have been paying attention will have noticed that the labels on the negative flags don't really mean anything. The mods pay attention to the number of flags a post/comment receives and not so much whether it's been marked as noise or a derail. So we don't need another label. Indeed, we could probably get along fine with three:

1) this is fantastic
2) this is bad
3) flagging provides no immediate satisfaction - I'm taking this to MeTa
posted by shoesfullofdust at 12:00 PM on December 9, 2006 [2 favorites]


I support Aidan in his suggestion for a new flag. However I doubtn the suggestion will be adopted.
The utility of AskMe is decreasing all the time. Aidan is looking for a solution.
What's wrong with that?
posted by dash_slot- at 12:05 PM on December 9, 2006


Those who have been paying attention will have noticed that the labels on the negative flags don't really mean anything.

This has been pointed out before, and Matt has indicated he plans to revamp the system, perhaps cutting the negatives down to "double post" and "bad" (or some other general negative) if I remember correctly. But that was at least a year ago, so I guess it's not high on his list of priorities.
posted by languagehat at 12:13 PM on December 9, 2006


the labels on the negative flags don't really mean anything.

This isn't quite true, at least for me. I tend to appreciate the "double post" flag because then I know what to look for. Something that is marked that or "breaks the guidelines" will get attention from me a bit faster than noise or derail, althought a derail flag in AskMe will get looked at faster than one in MeFi. People tend to use the "other" flag to point out bad HTML or glaring typos, though this may have just evolved over time.

In short, the differences in the flags are a little useful in the event that mathowie or I are in a hurry and just need to see if something is metaphorically on fire. Most of the time the reason doesn't matter terribly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:23 PM on December 9, 2006


Oh, come on. AA's response is completely justified in that trampesque asked essentially the exact same question twice.

AA’s response would have been completely justified (and snarky, but to a more tolerable level) had he linked the ‘you’ to the poster. As it is, MDN’s summary gives the reasonable interpretations of what he writes.

I don’t believe that ‘noise’ covers sufficiently the ‘the commenter didn’t read the question’ case. This, for example, is not remotely noise; it’s well-articulated, clear, and I’m sure that lots of people who read it went away the wiser from it. It also clearly demonstrates the commenter didn’t read the question, since none of the reasons mentioned are dealbreakers.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 12:43 PM on December 9, 2006


Just out of curiosity, what does the flagging system look like for an admin? Is there a queue that you have to manually check, or is there a thing on the screen that says ( 3 new flags since your last visit), or is it just an email account or what?

I know I've flagged myself when I've done something stupid, like accidentally double comment, or link to a dead site. But if no one else is flagging it, and it isn't immediately obvious it is a self flag, it won't get any attention. It's not important enough to bother someone with an email, but without an edit feature, it seems like a self flag should be a pretty quick delete. If the system assigns priority by number of flags though, it's unlikely to ever get noticed.
posted by team lowkey at 12:46 PM on December 9, 2006


"Incisors inside incinerators insinuate insidiously," insisted Inskeep.
posted by cog_nate at 1:05 PM on December 9, 2006


I've been both the perpetrator and victim of not-reading-the-question answers. (I was one click away from posting that Nixon and Elvis photo myself.) I agree that it's a problem, but I don't agree with Aiden that they're as bad as snark, or that a flag is the answer. If the request is for a list of recommendations, duplicates are a little annoying but don't get the thread heading down the wrong track. I'd rather see them left in then to read the inevitable call-outs by people who won't think that flagging is enough.

In more complicated questions, sometimes the thread gets headed in the wrong direction by early comments by people who didn't read or understand the question. It's good if the original poster comes back in to clarify. People can and should moderate their own askme threads. Just flagging won't help--the damage will continue before an admin can get to it. Worse, there will be flags by people who don't agree with an answer or who didn't understand the post either--leaving Matt or Jess with a huge mess to figure out.
posted by hydrophonic at 1:51 PM on December 9, 2006


I'm sorry, but I don't want ketchup on my sarcasm.
posted by davy at 3:21 PM on December 9, 2006


AA is admitting to both trying to be funny and not reading the question

There's someone who's not reading in this thread, but it ain't me, Aiden Kehoe.
The initials* rhyme though.

Although I did read the thread and trampesque's previous one to confirm they were pretty much the same, "not reading the question" doesn't even apply to this situation, unless the asker acknowledged her previous question and requested that it not be mentioned or referred to.

But she didn't, and still hasn't as far as I know, and a lot of the responses she's getting today may as well have been copied and pasted from the first one.

AA’s response would have been completely justified (and snarky, but to a more tolerable level) had he linked the ‘you’ to the poster.

So the issue isn't really that I neglected to read the question (Which I did, I'm just paraphrasing your first BS argument for rhetorical effect), it's that you can't connect the dots and realize that when someone responds to a question using the pronoun "you", odds are they are addressing the Asker?

Do you even have a point?

Also, who the hell declared you the Arbiter of Acceptable Levels of AskMe Snark?

As it is, MDN’s summary gives the reasonable interpretations of what he writes.

Wait, what I write, or what MDN writes? Boy, these pronouns are tough!

Ah... upon checking the profile, mdn is a she - congrats on hitting 999 answers, btw! - so it must be my writing that needed interpretation.
Believe it or not, sometimes a single sentence comment - albeit an admittedly terse and poorly constructed one - linking to an identical question posted by the same member is just what it looks like.
No need to pull out the Derrida For Dummies and deconstruct the text, kids.

I don’t believe that ‘noise’ covers sufficiently the ‘the commenter didn’t read the question’ case.

I'm pretty sure Matt and Jess are capable of figuring it out, they didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

But hey, good luck finding a new windmill to turn at, and thanks for giving me an afternoon filled with cheers, jeers, and sneers.

*AA makes me feel like a church basement filled with a bunch of twelve-stepping chainsmokers perched on rickety folding chairs. Alvy will do just fine, or even &, if you want to get glyphically brief.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:25 PM on December 9, 2006


Tilt at. Windmill to tilt at.
My comments on the blue are never going to catch up with my grays at this rate.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:28 PM on December 9, 2006


A flag is a flag, I think that jessamyn is smart enough to be able to tell when a commenter neglected to read.

Yeah, but there'd be a tiny bit of emotional satisfaction found in the use of a "commenter can't read" flag. I've often thought of coming to MeTa to request a flag like that. Venom isn't allowed on AskMe, so it's got to go somewhere, and I fear one day there'll be a snark explosion in my house set off by someone answering a question they didn't read. Maybe the flag would be a little safety valve.
posted by dilettante at 4:41 PM on December 9, 2006


You have to read the question to search and find the exact same question asked. Whether it was the same question asker twice or two different askers is completely irrelevant. The link to the previous identical question shows that the nature of both questions was understood. In order to do that, you have to read the question.

The only answer that I can possibly concieve of that would be a "didn't read the question" answer would be like "Well, if you've already decided to sleep with him, go ahead already. It shouldn't be as stressful as you think, after all he's a virgin, too."
posted by 23skidoo at 5:38 PM on December 9, 2006


I didn't read the header to this thread, but felt compelled to post in it anyways. So what are we talking about? Hilter? You know, Hitler liked to paint. So did Churchill. Why don't you people wake up? Can't you see what this means?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:41 PM on December 9, 2006


dilettante writes...
Venom isn't allowed on AskMe, so it's got to go somewhere, and I fear one day there'll be a snark explosion in my house

Speaking of which, my response to trampesque:


Get over your fucking oh-so-precious virginity and start living your goddamn life, you whining tedious overgrown teenager. Sex is not some precious once-in-a-lifetime activity that will be spoiled forever if you don't have rainbows and unicorns attending your first time out. You have Slot A, he has Tab B. Mix and match them appropriately and for god sake stop writing long agony filled letters about the simplest fucking act in the entire goddamn universe.


Okay, I feel better now. Thank you for listening.
posted by tkolar at 9:24 PM on December 9, 2006


Alvy Ampersand wrote:
In the previous AskMe, trampesque posted her query and was not heard from again, giving zero feedback as to whether or not the responses are helpful, which is odd for a non-anonymous relationship AskMe.

is this odd? because I never saw much feedback on the AskMe threads (or the ones that I've responded to). But maybe my answers just sucked.
posted by kolophon at 4:15 AM on December 10, 2006


There's someone who's not reading in this thread, but it ain't me, Aiden Kehoe.

No further questions, your honour.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 7:45 AM on December 10, 2006


Sincere apologies for misspelling your name, but it doesn't invalidate anything I've said, nor does it make you right.

Again, the only way I would have been able to point out the similarities between the two question would be if I had read them both.

And again, I thought it made sense to link to the orphaned AskMe, since trampesque didn't acknowledge or request that it be disregarded.

"No further questions."?
I think you give yourself too much credit - unless your goal was to make a completely bullshit MeTa call-out that accomplished nothing besides taking up space.

Heckuva job, AK.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:05 AM on December 10, 2006


In the previous AskMe, trampesque posted her query and was not heard from again, giving zero feedback as to whether or not the responses are helpful, which is odd for a non-anonymous relationship AskMe.

Yea, and I'm STILL wondering if she's pregnant.

Ok, not really.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:17 PM on December 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


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