AskMe post limit two weeks; or, survivor style December 14, 2006 5:39 PM   Subscribe

Feature request: Setup AskMeFi to have a one question per two weeks limit. Then, create a separate page that allows people who have already asked their question to have their extra question displayed and voted on. (more inside)
posted by SeizeTheDay to Feature Requests at 5:39 PM (52 comments total)

Given a certain number of votes (15-20) from the community, this question is allowed to hit the front page and receive replies. That way, the overflow problem is solved (to an extent) and only those with “deserving question” will be allowed to ask more than 2 per month (setup a max of 3). Finally, allow that queue of questions to eventually hit the frontpage of AskMeFi once the poster’s time restriction has lifted. And with this, allow a poster to remove his/her question from the queue should they desire.

My logic behind the voting is that those who vote are more likely to answer questions, and therefore contribute to the site. And I think that contributors should be rewarded in a sense and be able to control (to an extremely limited degree) the kinds of questions that are allowed to break the rules (in this case, a time restriction).

I also think that some people have good questions for the community that are unable to be asked because of such a limiting policy (1 question per two weeks). So this allows the poster to at least get their idea out there. And hey, maybe some people will even e-mail this person and answer the question even if it never hits the front page, which is another plus for the individual poster and builds community camaraderie.

What do ya’ll think?
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:39 PM on December 14, 2006


Something else I didn't think of. The type of people who would vote for the question will likely want to at least read the answers, if not contribute their own, which again, benefits people who lurk and are looking for certain answers.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:44 PM on December 14, 2006


How about one question every two weeks plus 2-4 "floating" questions per year? Seems much simpler, and would probably lower volume by around the same amount (although I think your idea sounds more fun).
posted by brain_drain at 5:45 PM on December 14, 2006


What do ya’ll think?

I think it sounds complicated and another thing for people to fight about. I'm more in favor of the floating question idea. Actually I'm most in favor of giving everyone 15 questions a year and if you blow them in February, well so be it.

I also think that some people have good questions for the community that are unable to be asked because of such a limiting policy

I have a hard time getting my head around the idea of "good questions for the community" either you have a problem you need help with, or you don't.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:49 PM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


If you think there are two many questions being posted, learn to read faster.
posted by smackfu at 5:52 PM on December 14, 2006 [2 favorites]


Actually I'm most in favor of giving everyone 15 questions a year and if you blow them in February, well so be it.

Don't you think that that would be even more prone to abuse than the current system? Ask 15 questions over a few months, then just buy another account. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. My thing is that I was trying to avoid giving people a reason to create sock puppet accounts. Make it more of a community event; get people involved and have a slight bit of control over the types of questions asked. I think, though, that the floater idea is indeed something to think about.

I have a hard time getting my head around the idea of "good questions for the community"

I've never looked at AskMeFi as a place where the primary beneficiary of a question is the asker. I've always felt that the contributions made by others (and subsequent readings by lurkers, etc) is the main reason why AskMeFi is such a great site. It's the fact that everyone can appreciate good answers that gets people to come back; that one person gets their answer is ancillary, IMHO.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:01 PM on December 14, 2006


One question a month. =)
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 6:06 PM on December 14, 2006


I thought we'd established that the admins know all, with respect to sockpuppets — that you can fool the membership and hide your identity when answering embarrassing questions, but trying to game Matt and Jessamyn is a fool's errand.

Unless these hypothetical rulebreakers are going to set up dummy PayPal accounts and post from a different IP address for each set of 15 questions — in which case, if they're willing to invest the effort, then what the heck.
posted by cribcage at 6:18 PM on December 14, 2006


giving everyone 15 questions a year and if you blow them in February, well so be it

I could see this working if there were a way to automatically assign people 12 month periods that weren't all starting in January, so that things weren't overloaded in January.

Frankly, I'd be fine with increasing the time limit between posts- there is a significant knowledge base that has been developed already, and making questions more precious wouldn't be a bad thing.
posted by ambrosia at 6:23 PM on December 14, 2006


I say raise it to 1 question every two weeks. If someone needs a second question asked really bad, they can ask someone ask to post via metatalk.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:26 PM on December 14, 2006


I gave up trying to "keep up" with askme, it is just too busy. And that means you people are missing out on my great wisdom! Fewer questions = more weretable wisdom.

Actually maybe there should be less of a time limit.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 6:28 PM on December 14, 2006


I'd like to see the time limit increased, not so much the other stuff.
posted by Manjusri at 6:36 PM on December 14, 2006


I'm more in favor of the floating question idea. Actually I'm most in favor of giving everyone 15 questions a year and if you blow them in February,

i would be behind this too.

the large majority of mediocre questions seem to come from people who *just have to* ask a question every goddamned week ("oh, didn't want to waste a question."). These questions often do not present any sort of formal problem, because well, the asker doesn't really have one, just an overwhelming curiousity. Sure, askme is a great place to learn about stuff, but so's google, or your local library.

of course, I'm just annoyed because i *just have to* read every single question and my rss feed is like, backlogged up into the 400s.
posted by fishfucker at 6:38 PM on December 14, 2006


I think it sounds complicated and another thing for people to fight about. I'm more in favor of the floating question idea. Actually I'm most in favor of giving everyone 15 questions a year and if you blow them in February, well so be it.

I'd go for this, but I do agree that it would spike sockpuppet signups, so gotta say no.

My suggestion: once every two weeks, and a buck a pop to ask more, with the extra bucks going to either Metafilter Inc, or some worthy charity.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:46 PM on December 14, 2006


I admire the thinking behind the idea, but I think it would just be easier to go with one question every two weeks. Or every ten days. And then, yeah, a few floating freebies for the whole year.
posted by veggieboy at 6:51 PM on December 14, 2006


Unless it was possible to stagger Jessamyn's idea of 15 per year roll out so that those addicted to asking didn't go crazy at the same time then we could end up with a big spike of questions at the start of the year from these users making January and February even worse.

It might mean that the other 10 months were 'better' depending upon what one looks for in AskMe.

The voting idea would surely encourage prolific Askers to band together and vote for each other on a quid pro quo basis and would quickly be abused IMO.

The system at present seems to work OK and if there are too many questions to read then maybe it's time to become more discerning (or quit job/college/relationship/toilet breaks etc).
posted by Gratishades at 7:15 PM on December 14, 2006


Actually I'm most in favor of giving everyone 15 questions a year and if you blow them in February, well so be it.

It's great, but along the lines of what others have said, it can only apply to long standing members. Maybe 1 per month for the first year, then 15 per year, with the reset date being your sign-up date. Still a little complicated, but not too bad..
There might still be a spike in questions around that fateful day in November, but it can't be too important.
posted by Chuckles at 7:19 PM on December 14, 2006


I think that newbs should have to wait 30 days before their first question. I think that this could get rid of some impulsive questioners.

The only other real option is to delete a lot more questions, maybe even before they hit the main page. I think if people knew that their question had to be approved, they'd be a lot better at googling, or going through the archives.

Maybe even just the threat of a wait for your question to show up would be enough to sway some of the more impulsive folks (and the "OMG I have a head wound!!" ones) to use other resources.
posted by popechunk at 7:23 PM on December 14, 2006


I think 15 questions ever would be better, if you want to really cut things down to the important questions. Unfortunately, unless you require 100 points of ID and cross-match every use application, user accounts wil become disposable and meaningless.

I honestly think people don't put enough thought into whether they really need to ask these questions. Reducing the quota to one every two weeks would not affect the vast majority who only turn to the hive mind when other sources fail, but would both reduce the potential total questions and make the questions more "expensive" to ask and, therefore increase the "do I really need to ask this" process before posting yet another stupid question that a carelessly-crafted search engine query would return hundreds of perfectly acceptable solutions to.

Every two weeks and two bucks to ask any more in between, not that anyone is asking for my opinion.
posted by dg at 7:25 PM on December 14, 2006


Everybody agrees on a hard limit, but everybody wants to code an exception: "Only 15 questions, unless the community votes," or, "Every two weeks, unless you pay two bucks." Please explain why the hard limit needs an exception. Under what circumstances do you absolutely need to poll a bunch of strangers on the Internet?
posted by cribcage at 7:33 PM on December 14, 2006


I think that the system is OK as it is.

If there are too many questions, maybe it might be a good idea to make people wait a little, or post a little more, before the first question.

But I don't see a need for change otherwise.
posted by jason's_planet at 7:40 PM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


See, that's the point, cribcage. Some people do feel the need, for their own personal, possibly fucked-up reasons. Why not get some more revenue from the bastards if they insist, or dissuade them from doing so (thus, hopefully, unbeshitting the site) by making them pay a buck or two for the privilege? Seems win/win to me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:40 PM on December 14, 2006


I like Stavros' idea. If your question's that urgent, a dollar is cheap, and goes towards the moderators' aspirin funds. And it avoids the 'your jacket hangs on the lower hook except for alternate odd-numbered Thursdays...' type rule stacking.
posted by ardgedee at 7:41 PM on December 14, 2006


I think it's fine, and fair, the way it is. Some people read the site obsessively all day, some pop in every once in awhile, some ignore all questions that they can't answer, some answer anything and everything. Whatever...it all comes out in the wash. I like the concept of AskMe for its simplicity -- complicated systems to permit posts will detract from community spirit, not encourage it.
posted by desuetude at 7:48 PM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Why not get some more revenue from the bastards...

For one thing, because it defeats the purpose. Take a look at how people spend their money on this website. How many times have you seen somebody blow five bucks to create a throwaway username for some one-time gag? Heck, even putting money aside, the people who want to post extra questions are mostly the same ones blowing their present allotment on, "Help me plan a Smurf-themed mix tape." So much for AskMe being a limited resource. If they're not dissuaded from pissing away a resource while it's priceless, what makes you think they'd be dissuaded by the ability to buy more?

If you're going to raise the bar, then raise the bar. I thought the goal was to reduce the chaff, not to tax it.
posted by cribcage at 8:04 PM on December 14, 2006


How about making the limit one question per ten days. It's a little more time between questions, yet not too much, and should help slow the flood.
posted by deborah at 8:08 PM on December 14, 2006


what makes you think they'd be dissuaded by the ability to buy more?

Reasonable point, though I'm not sure why you're getting screechy about it.

There's also the problem (militating against my suggestion) that people will demand that questions they've paid to ask (above their allotment) never ever ever be deleted, which would suck.

So, OK, never mind.

There's no way to win this way against creeping mediocrity, anyway. Way of the world.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:18 PM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


...win this war. war.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:34 PM on December 14, 2006


one every two weeks would help a lot, imho. it is a place to start anyway.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 8:36 PM on December 14, 2006


I think it would just be easier to go with one question every two weeks. Or every ten days. And then, yeah, a few floating freebies for the whole year.

I like this idea. It'd be cool if maybe the freebies were earned, possibly every x number of best answers?
posted by saraswati at 8:42 PM on December 14, 2006


I'm not sure why you're getting screechy about it.

Oh, for Christ's sake. What, did I hit a sore spot with that Smurf crack?

There's always some delicate soul around here, misunderstanding the subtle nuances and just begging to be kicked in the shins.
posted by cribcage at 8:45 PM on December 14, 2006


Or Matt could roll a 3d12 against your Worthiness rating.
posted by smackfu at 8:47 PM on December 14, 2006


It'd be cool if maybe the freebies were earned, possibly every x number of best answers?

We'd need really good icons for this. Possibly blinking icons, and definitely email reminders. And what about favorited answers? Those should count for one half best answer. Or maybe an eighth.
posted by carsonb at 8:55 PM on December 14, 2006


Better still, we could take one question away every time your comment got favourited. You know, just to piss jonson off, because he'd get so conflicted.
posted by dg at 9:02 PM on December 14, 2006


Oh, for Christ's sake. What, did I hit a sore spot with that Smurf crack? There's always some delicate soul around here, misunderstanding the subtle nuances and just begging to be kicked in the shins.

*scratches head, shrugs, walks away*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:13 PM on December 14, 2006


How about this: Matt decides on a desired target number of questions per week. Set it to approximately the current number of questions posted now in a week, maybe slightly less. Then code up something that runs once a week and automatically sets the waiting time. If the number of questions that week was over the set limit, it lengthens the wait time, if it was less it lowers the wait time. This has the one and only goal of setting a managable number of questions in a way that is fair to everyone and already everyone is familiar with the wait period. The only thing this does is set some automatic regulation into the system so that the rate of questions stays approximately constant as the site grows. If people see that there is more and more pressure to post questions (i.e. the wait time keeps increasing) then they will be more and more motivated to make them good questions that are well thought out and not vague stupid garbage.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:28 PM on December 14, 2006


I like some of the "stupid garbage." The only questions I have felt compelled to ask were rather redunculous, but I felt, necessary at the time.

Also:
1. The voting proposal is rather confusing.
2. I can get into the one question per two weeks thing.
3. The design of AskMe works as is, the problem most people seem to have is the celerity with which questions move off the front page.

I see two different kinds of questions, which express themselves as-
1. being the fast-track: I need to know this now before I get evicted or my computer asplodes; or
2. the back-burner type questions where: I am going to Europe in 3 months or I am just curious about the title of this book but it's been killing me, answer at your leisure.

So perhaps there could be some kind of division between the urgent, front burner questions and the slow boil, but I-really-do-want-to-know-type questions that could free up the front page.
posted by bobobox at 10:27 PM on December 14, 2006


If it ain't broke, don't fix it. (Except maybe a 15 day chill period for n00bs.)
When you've got a burning need and a question to be answered, you use it. Sometimes it's something random and interesting, like software that you didn't know how to search for, but other people use.
Other times, it's mundane like, 'Fuck, I'm failing out. A) Tell me it's ok. B) Tell me how to fix it. Snark+1.'
In an ideal world, there would be less of the mundane job/relationship/failure questions, but when you've got a question, it's your question and your turn on the wheel. of snark.
posted by lilithim at 1:17 AM on December 15, 2006


I'm not seeing a problem with the number of questions at the moment, most are very specific and I can tell in a fraction of a second that I'm not going to be able to contribute.

If the number of questions must be cut I would prefer two questions per calendar month over a fixed two week minimum between questions which I think would really reduce the usefulness of the site. Probably an additional limit of not posting more than once in 24 hours would be needed as well.
posted by teleskiving at 6:49 AM on December 15, 2006


Bad idea. AskMe's fine as it is. If you can't be bothered to scroll past the first page, that's your problem.

I've never looked at AskMeFi as a place where the primary beneficiary of a question is the asker.

You're wrong.
posted by languagehat at 6:57 AM on December 15, 2006 [2 favorites]


Also, if you use the category links (human relations, food & drink, etc.) off to the right edge of the screen, AskMe becomes a lot more manageable.

If I'm not able to provide answers in a particular field, I just don't read those questions.
posted by jason's_planet at 9:15 AM on December 15, 2006


Thanks 'hat. Always useful having you around.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 2:47 PM on December 15, 2006


Another vote for I like it the way it is, especially with the category links (which jason's_planet pointed out.)
posted by IndigoRain at 10:59 PM on December 15, 2006


And yet another vote: leave it alone. Fewer questions will make AskMe lesser, not greater.
posted by litlnemo at 3:45 AM on December 16, 2006


A vote in favor of two questions / month (or two weeks between questions, whatever is easier) PLUS a 30-day waiting period for new accounts.
posted by aberrant at 4:06 AM on December 16, 2006


I like it the way it is, although I can understand how some people are beginning to feel that we get too many questions now, leading them to have to check AskMe daily to read them all (obsessive!) or have questions fall off the page too quickly..

So, if this is a problem (and only Matt can determine that), I quite like the idea of having one question every two weeks and then the chance to earn extra "bonus"/"floater" questions for good answers (say a floater for every 5 best answers). This gives you a longer limit on questions (and hopefully therefore more thoughtful questions) but also gives the people that contribute answers a chance to ask those immediate questions ("OMG! My such-and-such just blew up!") if they need to.
posted by ranglin at 4:54 AM on December 17, 2006


Personally, I just waited until tonight for the first chance I had to post my next ( and important to me ) question I had; and they changed the time period from 1 week to 2 weeks less than 1 hour before I was able to post again... So, seeing as how I post less than once a month on average, I think the 1 week period works fine. Any more will make askme boring. I like being able to check every hour and see something new, or to come back a couple days later and spend some quality time on the site.

Oh, and I echo Languagehat.
posted by tdreyer1 at 11:13 PM on December 17, 2006


Sorry, Explanation:

I agree with Languagehat's opinion that the statement "I've never looked at AskMeFi as a place where the primary beneficiary of a question is the asker" is wrong because I feel that the entire point of askMe is for the asker. It is a place where one can find pointed information fast. The community benefits as a result. The point is not the community benefit, it is the community knowledge for the individual benefit. (ok I'm off my soap-box now)
posted by tdreyer1 at 11:16 PM on December 17, 2006


Thanks for being understanding tdreyer1. We've moved the time limit from one week to two and we'll see if that changes anything, what the problems are and whether it's totaly unworkable and/or needs tweaking.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:15 AM on December 18, 2006


Well, crap. The terrorists have won.

Please go back to the one week limit. (Note that I am not someone who has been abusing it.)
posted by litlnemo at 4:20 PM on December 18, 2006


Two weeks is definitely too long. I rarely ask a question every week, but it was nice to know that I could. Now, I'm almost afraid to ask questions, just in case something more urgent comes up that month.
posted by fvox13 at 9:52 PM on December 23, 2006


Oh dear! I just noticed this when I was told I have to wait another 8 days to ask a question. Couldn't we have voted on this? There cannot have been more than thirty people in this thread. Booo.
posted by iurodivii at 6:29 AM on December 30, 2006


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