I want my askme back! February 14, 2007 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Revisiting the two-week Ask limit: I still see questions scrolling off the front page daily. Has volume decreased any, or is this arbitrary limit still there just to be frustrating?
posted by SpecialK to MetaFilter-Related at 8:10 AM (120 comments total)

Snow days are teh best, eh Jess?
posted by Mister_A at 8:21 AM on February 14, 2007


I really really don't understand why the hell everyone has such a fucking problem with this. Every two weeks seems fine to me. Askme is a privilege.

Maybe someone has quantitative data; the front page of askme seems more manageable lately.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:22 AM on February 14, 2007


I still see questions scrolling off the front page daily.

Do some people really have an aversion to clicking the "older questions" link to see what they've missed?... It reminds me of people who can't find their favorite undies in the dresser drawer if they're not right on top.
posted by amyms at 8:33 AM on February 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


This will not end in a way that is sufficiently different from the nightmares I have been having about it.

or, to put it more succinctly,

THIS WILL NOT END
posted by sleevener at 8:38 AM on February 14, 2007


Proposed: Matt changes the limit to one question per quarter. Questions will sit on the front page for WEEKS. It'll be AWESOME.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:39 AM on February 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


But questions will still scroll off the front page daily. The quarterly limit, whilst a good idea, will not help SpecialK.
We need an alternative AskMe view with all questions on one page. Then questions will not scroll off the front page daily.
posted by nowonmai at 8:42 AM on February 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


Proposed: Matt and Jess run the site how they damn well please and everyone else can stfu.
posted by Big_B at 8:44 AM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Proposed: people shut the hell up about this topic and go play some games, take a walk, look at naughty pictures, tell your kids you love them or just stare at drying paint.
posted by edgeways at 8:44 AM on February 14, 2007


tkolar ran some numbers that were posted in another MeTa thread on this same topic and the answers were, at the time, inconclusive. We were waiting until the end of February to do a several month summary.

If I follow you, your argument is, since questions are still flying off the front page (problem?) why don't we go back to the way things were (solution?)? The two week limit is in place at least until the end of February which I think we've mentioned before. Until now, people were mostly no longer complaining that questions were zooming off the front page but were now unhappy that the wait between questions seemed overlong.

I assure you, if there were something I could do so that no one here was ever frustrated again, I would do it. However, it's a big cexapanding ommunity and the things that solve problems for some people create problems for others and we're trying to balance all of this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:45 AM on February 14, 2007


Due to today being Valentine's Day in the U.S., I accept both proposals, Big_B and edgeways.
posted by cgc373 at 8:46 AM on February 14, 2007


The horse is not just tired and worn-out, it's back has been broken in at least three places and it's thrown three shoes. If we flog this motherfucker any more I'm calling the humane society. This is just getting cruel.
posted by purephase at 8:47 AM on February 14, 2007


Do some people really have an aversion to clicking the "older questions" link to see what they've missed?

Yes. Isn't that natural? Not everyone cares about reading every single question, especially when there are so many. The bottom of the front page is a natural place to stop reading.
posted by Khalad at 8:47 AM on February 14, 2007


A "big cexapanding ommunity" is awesome! Best typo EVAR!
posted by cgc373 at 8:47 AM on February 14, 2007


I'd suggest that anybody whose existence is so screwed up that being restricted to asking one question per fortnight is having a negative impact on their quality of life, should seek counselling. Really cheap counselling from a bunch of unqualified strangers.
posted by veedubya at 8:48 AM on February 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


I think the askme post limit takes away from the overall experience. For one, I comment less on other people's posts, and frankly, I'm bitter with the whole countdown thing ("You have 13 days, 2 hours, four minuters and 56 seconds...")
posted by phaedon at 8:51 AM on February 14, 2007


Proposed: Everybody post a question on the same day. Absolutely everybody. No exceptions. Long-dormant accounts, sockpuppet accounts, everybody. Tens of thousands of questions blasting the AskMe homepage. You won't be able to tap the reload button fast enough to keep up. It will be an endless, hellish chorus of all of humanity's problems in an unstoppable roil of confusion.

And then for two solid weeks, blissful peace.
posted by ardgedee at 8:52 AM on February 14, 2007 [15 favorites]


proposed: funny hat day.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 8:58 AM on February 14, 2007 [5 favorites]


Proposed: one AskMe question a year. Not per user, for the whole site. On New Year's Day Matt or Jess (they can alternate or arm-wrestle) draws one question out of a basket (yes, a real, physical basket, you have to actually mail in your question) and posts it, and we all contemplate it for a solid year. By god, that question will get answers the likes of which have not been seen since the occultation of the Twelfth Imam.

Or we can just keep asking questions like this until Matt goes insane and runs naked through the streets and gets locked up. Either way works for me.
posted by languagehat at 9:01 AM on February 14, 2007 [10 favorites]


I really really don't understand why the hell everyone has such a fucking problem with this. Every two weeks seems fine to me. Askme is a privilege.

I fail to see why the hell so many people seem to think it's so much fucking better this way. Much MeTa ink has been spilled over this, but I think this comment is well-nigh definitive. There, euphorb established (and was not seriously challenged) that:
  • The number of questions increased over the survey period
  • Corollary: assuming the front page stayed the same size, they scrolled off faster.
  • But, the number of answers increased as well.
So. As more users signed up and accordingly posted more questions, the answer rate also rose. AskMe was not overused before the shift to a 2 week waiting period, at least if your standard is whether or not questions get answered.

But of course, that is not the only standard. I submit that there's no good way to measure whether the question or answer "quality" changed over the last year or whatever, and so you can't definitively say either way; my feeling is that quality had not changed for the worse, but I can't prove it.

I can't imagine why anyone cares whether things scroll off the front page, if they're still being answered. Who feels the need to read every single question?? And why can't those people subscribe to the RSS feed or browse the archives to keep up? Scrolling off the front page seems a totally irrelevant measure unless it correlates to fewer answers (and it seems not to, since answers increase along with questions).

The only real concern seems to be this: Matt & Jessamyn feel the need to moderate all questions, remove sarcastic and off-topic answers, etc. And there's only two of them, so they have to cramp down on the volume. That's it. I think AskMe would be a much better tool if it had a higher volume but a bit more snark and off-topicness; it's a legitimate concern that it not become Yahoo Questions, but it seems nowhere near that state yet and it could get by with substantially less moderating.

Of course, if the admins disagree, it's their ultimate call, but the whole "shut up, askme is a privilege" reasoning is still maddening. The whole site is a privilege, and yet Matt has specifically created MeTa and invited commentary and critique about issues precisely like this. I supposed there's something to be said for not complaining about the free ice cream, but... damn. You can't use that justification to shut down legitimate critique & suggestions for improvement.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 9:06 AM on February 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


Also I should point out that the last answer I posted to AskMe was featured in popular productivity weblog "Lifehacker", which briefly gave me a mild glow of pleasure and I might not have seen that question and answered it if the posting limit was different and then I would not have had a warm glow of pleasure and would have been sad so suck it haters.
posted by nowonmai at 9:08 AM on February 14, 2007


The horse is not just tired and worn-out, it's back has been broken in at least three places and it's thrown three shoes. If we flog this motherfucker any more I'm calling the humane society. This is just getting cruel.

Well, since we can't send it to slaughter anymore ...

We were waiting until the end of February to do a several month summary.

Ok. That works, I'd missed that in the giant pileon that the last few threads on this topic became.

The reason it chafes is that I often have work-related questions to ask of the hive-mind -- I usualy have three or four questions stored in my stickypile, but I sometimes can't ask them before they 'expire'. I'm afraid that we're missing good, valuable, community-building questions because we can't figure out a way to display the main page of Ask Metafilter in a way that allows a lot of posts to happen, every post to get searched, and every question to get asked. There's a lot of information models that could be implemented on Ask, but we've just got that big ol' list -- and a big long wait to post questions.
posted by SpecialK at 9:09 AM on February 14, 2007




posted by Joey Buttafoucault

Juxtapo-tastic!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:11 AM on February 14, 2007


I think AskMe would be a much better tool if it had a higher volume but a bit more snark and off-topicness.
I think it would be a much less better tool; oh noes differing opinions from people whose say isn't really all that important. Proposed: what Big_B said.
posted by nowonmai at 9:13 AM on February 14, 2007




And while we're at it, What the hell happened to the image tag, and when am I WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH
posted by Dave Faris at 9:23 AM on February 14, 2007


Askme is just like
is just like
a minimall!
posted by Hands of Manos at 9:26 AM on February 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


Some calls it a rutabaga, but I calls it a yellow turnip.
posted by Mister_A at 9:29 AM on February 14, 2007


Would you like some cheese with that whine?

thank you, i'll be here all week. try the loin.
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 9:30 AM on February 14, 2007


hoo my gods. This is never gonna end.

Matt, would it be possible to add a filter at the top of Ask Metafilter (heck, let's get crazy, how about the whole site) where users can define how much they want to see on one page: 1 days' worth of posts, 2 days' worth of posts, the most recent 25 / 50 / whatever number of posts? Then this scrolling nonsense will cease to be an issue.

If this has been suggested before, my apologies. The 68 gajillion meta threads on this issue would take weeks to go through to find out.
posted by contessa at 9:35 AM on February 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


ULTIMATE HTML TAGGAGE MOTHERFUCKERS
posted by Mister_A at 9:36 AM on February 14, 2007


The only real concern seems to be this: Matt & Jessamyn feel the need to moderate all questions, remove sarcastic and off-topic answers, etc. And there's only two of them, so they have to cramp down on the volume.

Are you saying you have the secret answer that has never before been shared? Because I don't think that's case. I am almost positive that they are trying to make AskMe optimally good, not easier to run.
posted by mzurer at 9:38 AM on February 14, 2007


Having a two-week wait should improve the Meffy front page, right? I mean, you come up with six questions in two weeks, and since you know you can only post one, you do as much research and legwork as possible on all of them; the one that still has you stumped is your Askem question, and the rest you've answered yourself, or done enough preliminary work to post a competent or excellent FPP, on which the folks who would have answered were it a question on the green would certainly comment. You put those five on Meffy, any gaps in your new knowledge are filled in by other commentors, and you get the satisfaction of having done something for yourself (and the applause of others for your excellent posts). You might even win a prize. Job well done.

Thus you only ask the very best questions on the green, and you only post the very best FPPs to the blue. Sounds ideal.
posted by breezeway at 9:39 AM on February 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


Proposed: limit of
- 1 question per week
- 2 questions per month
- 4 question per quarter
- 12 questions per year

You can't post unless you're within all limits.

This would allow people to post a second question relatively quickly, but it would limit serial posters from swamping AskMe with dozens of questions a year.
posted by alms at 9:40 AM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


SpecialK writes "Ok. That works, I'd missed that in the giant pileon that the last few threads on this topic became."

So you started another one? Why don't you take a look at Matt's comments on the subject if you really want to know what he thinks about it. (Click on his username, click on his MeTa comments, read the applicable threads.)

This thread is annoying because while you claim to care about the community, you evidently don't care to: 1) do any research about how the community has discussed this issue in the past; 2) avoid topics that lead to unnecessary rancor even though they've been discussed ad nauseum in the past; 3) abide by pleas for time made by administrators in the past (see #1); or, 4) do your part in reducing the burden of shitwork that the admins have to do to keep your "community" running smoothly.
posted by OmieWise at 9:45 AM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


This thread is annoying because while you claim to care about the community, you evidently don't care to: 1) do any research about how the community has discussed this issue in the past; 2) avoid topics that lead to unnecessary rancor even though they've been discussed ad nauseum in the past; 3) abide by pleas for time made by administrators in the past (see #1); or, 4) do your part in reducing the burden of shitwork that the admins have to do to keep your "community" running smoothly.

And 5) You can't be bothered to take five minutes to even do a representative sample of the questions-per-day data yourself.

It's called AskMe Archives By Date and when you use it together with a skill we call "counting" you can answer these questions yourself.
posted by tkolar at 9:57 AM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Omiewise & tkolar, I find personal attacks to be annoying. So we're even.
posted by SpecialK at 9:59 AM on February 14, 2007


Snark aside, sometimes what can be construed as "ad hominem" really is a better response to someone's argument that meeting it on its own terms, provided it's done gently and with the intent to illustrate shortcomings in approach or logic.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:04 AM on February 14, 2007


I find personal attacks to be annoying. So we're even.

Perhaps you should take your personal annoyance with the issue and turn it into a community-annoying MetaTalk callout. It worked so well for you this time.
posted by tkolar at 10:06 AM on February 14, 2007


Proposal: You stand there naked, looking pretty but just a little frigid. I lick you like a popsicle until you melt.
posted by loquacious at 10:08 AM on February 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


SpecialK writes "Omiewise & tkolar, I find personal attacks to be annoying."

Oh, hey, that's cool, since I didn't make one.

But, just for the sake of argument, would accusing Matt and Jessamyn of maintaining a policy "just to be frustrating" count as one of those attacks you don't like?
posted by OmieWise at 10:12 AM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wonder what the soundtrack to this thread would sound like? Mebbe like this?

*tips hat to Burhanistan*
posted by Mister_A at 10:17 AM on February 14, 2007


Having a two-week wait should improve the Meffy front page, right?

Meffy? Do you all say it this way???
posted by carsonb at 10:25 AM on February 14, 2007


That is the way all right-thinking people say it. Perhaps you are not of the body?
posted by Mister_A at 10:28 AM on February 14, 2007


a big cexapanding ommunity

Proposed: less cexapanding and more ommunity.

Or less ommunity and more cexapanding. One of those will definitely solve this problem.

What was the problem again?
posted by scottreynen at 10:28 AM on February 14, 2007


What was the problem again?

I misspelled sexapanding, clearly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:32 AM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's the best kind of 'panding.
posted by Mister_A at 10:35 AM on February 14, 2007


I still see questions scrolling off the front page daily.

repeat after me:

SO

FUCKING

WHAT???????
posted by quonsar at 10:56 AM on February 14, 2007 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: sexapanding for thousands of people daily.
posted by alms at 10:56 AM on February 14, 2007


You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Better yet, eat the honey and ignore the flies.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:01 AM on February 14, 2007


Metafilter: sexapanding for thousands of people daily fortnightly.
posted by quonsar at 11:03 AM on February 14, 2007


I really really don't understand why the hell everyone has such a fucking problem with this. Every two weeks seems fine to me. Askme is a privilege.

because we do the answering as well? NO ANSWERS WITHOUT representation QUESTIONS.
posted by bonaldi at 11:10 AM on February 14, 2007


I'm happy I'm on vacation right now. I think I'll take a nap as soon as I finish this lunch here.

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. posted by Dave Faris

Yeah, I definitely need a nap. Cause I'm haullcinating.
posted by dame at 11:16 AM on February 14, 2007


do these pants make me look fat?
posted by killdevil at 11:20 AM on February 14, 2007


People seem to really, really have a hard on for asking questions, and particularly for the narcissistic satisfaction of having people respond to these tommy gun postings.
posted by four panels at 11:21 AM on February 14, 2007


Meffy? Do you all say it this way???

I've always enunciated it as "Meh-Fahy" (rhymes with "Delphi")
posted by The God Complex at 12:24 PM on February 14, 2007


You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

I prefer to roam the lands with an electric swatter, just attacking and swatting everything in my path, be it a human, and reptiloid overlord, or any manner of insect. It's similar to the dame method, only I smear honey all over myself and sing camp songs.
posted by The God Complex at 12:27 PM on February 14, 2007


Goddam there are so many places to piss in the wind today on MeTa.
posted by Mister_A at 12:35 PM on February 14, 2007


Writing "meffy" makes me think of cute Japanese animal cartoons on lunchboxes. Some kind of Sanrio bluebird or something.

---

Sometimes I really like what I read here:

"do these pants make me look [like I] really, really have a hard on?"
posted by breezeway at 12:39 PM on February 14, 2007


No, your BIG FAT ASS makes you look fat.
posted by yhbc at 1:00 PM on February 14, 2007


The whole "STFU about this and go away" attitude really doesn't help.

Just saying.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:19 PM on February 14, 2007


Proposed: Everybody post a question on the same day. Absolutely everybody. No exceptions. Long-dormant accounts, sockpuppet accounts, everybody. Tens of thousands of questions blasting the AskMe homepage. You won't be able to tap the reload button fast enough to keep up. It will be an endless, hellish chorus of all of humanity's problems in an unstoppable roil of confusion.

Heh. April 1 is the target. :)
posted by Listener at 1:20 PM on February 14, 2007


I'm so fucking sick of this question. Why the fuck anyone needs to ask so many questions is beyond me.
posted by frecklefaerie at 1:37 PM on February 14, 2007


I propose that we have two auto scripts on MeTa per day. One will complain that the two week limit makes it hard for them to answer questions and that the limit should be done away with. The other will complain that two weeks is not enough. The script will assign a username to the post at random, so people can rip on the posters in an even fashion.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:42 PM on February 14, 2007


Proposed:

Someone gets me an ice cold beer and I maybe don't pull the pin on this here fucking white phosphorous grenade.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:52 PM on February 14, 2007 [5 favorites]


Shit, man, you tryin' to cancel all our checks? Wait 'til the blues show up, roll it out the door, fizz, pop, no more cop!
posted by breezeway at 2:05 PM on February 14, 2007


Proposal: grant me diplomatic ommunity.
posted by cortex at 2:15 PM on February 14, 2007


I know everything, so I don't need to ask question on AskMe. Email me your question at steve.elvis@gmail.com, and I'll ask it for you.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:31 PM on February 14, 2007


The whole "STFU about this and go away" attitude really doesn't help.

I get that, and I'm not a big fan of the longer waiting period myself, but... asked and answered, your Honor. We've been told several times that this is a months-long experiment, and it's kind of pointless to bring it up again. So, STFU about this and go away... for now.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:39 PM on February 14, 2007


i'm still seeing the sun scroll off the bottom of the sky every day.
posted by quonsar at 2:54 PM on February 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


Might I suggest outsourcing your AskMe reading, possibly to a third-world nation?
posted by Eideteker at 3:00 PM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm sure this has been suggested before in one of the other 50 bazillion threads about this, but how about this.

Keep the two-week period, but every time you get a Best Answer, you get a freebie question.
posted by roll truck roll at 3:09 PM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


My pen scrolled off the table a couple of minutes ago.
posted by Alt F4 at 3:11 PM on February 14, 2007


I'm sure this has been suggested many times already: Keep the two-week limit. If you want to ask another before that time limit, it's $5. No need to set up sock-puppet accounts or anything. Just $5. Is it really that important that you add your question to the list? Is it 5-dollars-important?

Tweak: MetaFilter aligns with a charity (voted on by members, rotating monthly). The "$5 premium question fee" (or some portion of it) goes to said charity.
posted by Alt F4 at 3:16 PM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


i'm still seeing the sun scroll off the bottom of the sky every day.

INCREASE THE SIZE OF YOUR HORIZON YOU MORAN.
posted by languagehat at 3:17 PM on February 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


Alt F4's idea is better than mine.

Though I do kind of like the idea of Best Answers being worth something, as an incentive for people to give good answers.
posted by roll truck roll at 3:50 PM on February 14, 2007


I like that others are starting to question the highly important line between "I really need to ask more questions" and "I really need to be able to ask more questions for free."

Just set it to ten free questions a year and every one after that will cost X amount of money. You'll make some extra money for the site, and people will complain about the scrolling-off issue a lot less because all of a sudden questions about the color of this particular fungus they discovered on a beetle this morning won't feel so important to ask.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:53 PM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


The questions are here, they're just not well distributed.
posted by benign at 4:10 PM on February 14, 2007


Ha!
posted by cortex at 4:11 PM on February 14, 2007


Brandon Blatcher
The whole "STFU about this and go away" attitude really doesn't help.

Neither does patient, repeated explanation. So where does that leave us?
posted by tkolar at 4:22 PM on February 14, 2007


Someone gets me an ice cold beer and I maybe don't pull the pin on this here fucking white phosphorous grenade.

I'll see that and raise you some good bourbon and a thermal detonator.
posted by Cyrano at 5:09 PM on February 14, 2007


phaedon writes "frankly, I'm bitter with the whole countdown thing ('You have 13 days, 2 hours, four minuters and 56 seconds...')"

You bump up against the count down a mere 22 hours after posting your previous question? You can't even post to the front page that often.
posted by Mitheral at 5:19 PM on February 14, 2007


Neither does patient, repeated explanation. So where does that leave us?

With the ability to skip over the question.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:19 PM on February 14, 2007


I have the perfect solution, but I will only reveal it in the 100th MetaTalk thread on this topic because I like to watch you all squirm. Unless I get too drunk this St. Patrick's Day; then I might be too hung over.
posted by Kwine at 5:22 PM on February 14, 2007


roll truck roll writes "Keep the two-week period, but every time you get a Best Answer, you get a freebie question."

And writes "Though I do kind of like the idea of Best Answers being worth something, as an incentive for people to give good answers."

I think it would just encourage lots of answers. Besides a couple of users could get together and game the system to ask an unlimited number of questions.
posted by Mitheral at 5:24 PM on February 14, 2007


I'm torn. On the one hand, I have repeatedly and consistently stated my distaste for the entire AskMe section of the site, and for the inevitable and frequent bitchfests that erupt on MetaTalk about the whole damn thing.

On the other hand, at the moment I do have a question I'd like to see if AskMe can help me with. Dang.
posted by yhbc at 5:24 PM on February 14, 2007


I think there should be a plain text file that contains every question ever made. And it should be the only way of accessing AskMe. If you wanted to answer a question, you would have to guess the URL.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:32 PM on February 14, 2007


Besides a couple of users could get together and game the system to ask an unlimited number of questions.

Oh geez, I didn't think of that.

I think there should be a plain text file that contains every question ever made.

?
posted by roll truck roll at 5:55 PM on February 14, 2007


Blues and Blue Jackets are tied at 2.
posted by ersatzkat at 5:56 PM on February 14, 2007


yhbc, I don't think anybody will jump on you if you use Ask. After all, they're kinda not allowed, right? Also, I saw from your history that you commented in one of the first AskMe posts EVAR, which I think entitles you to at least a couple of freebies. Ask Them/Us!
posted by cgc373 at 6:07 PM on February 14, 2007


How about you get to ask a second question within the two week timeframe, but if you do, you get castrated by a monster truck?
posted by Eideteker at 6:15 PM on February 14, 2007


Moran, eh? Rediculous.
posted by Mister_A at 6:45 PM on February 14, 2007


Ok how about this. Everybody can have unlimited questions but for each question you ask, your name gets put into a lottery with a drawing each week. Then Matt or Jessamyn do a drawing and whoseever name is picked is immediately stoned to death in the town square. Repeat weekly until ask metafilter page stops scrolling.
posted by brain cloud at 6:50 PM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like the $5 for an extra question idea.
posted by Mid at 7:37 PM on February 14, 2007


The main problem I remember with the idea of buying extra questions was the sense of entitlement buyers would have. If and when their VERY IMPORTANT FIVE-DOLLAR QUESTION gets deleted for being outside the guidelines, they'd complain with a pathological fervor beyond any we've yet seen in MeTa. People complain now about their "free" questions; I wouldn't want to see the dudgeon on display if those questions cost a dime.
posted by cgc373 at 7:52 PM on February 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't mind the limit. The one time I thought I had a question, something similar had been asked already on AskMe and turned up in the courtesy search. Plus, I ask friends most of my questions. I'm impressed that people can come up with more than one baffling-to-friends, Google-proof, never-before-considered question in two weeks. Guess I'm just too average.
posted by ctmf at 7:53 PM on February 14, 2007


I like the idea of being allowed a finite number of questions in a finite time period. What if you got say, two questions every four weeks, and could ask them whenever you wanted within the four weeks provided that they were separated by at least one week. So if you asked one question on day 1, and one on day 8, you'd have to wait until day 29 to be able to ask again.

Instead of a month you could use any length of time, like a year or half a year or whatever. You could also adjust the minimum amount of time between questions if necessary. It works out to the same number of questions overall, but gives people some flexibility in how they use them.

To take it to the next level you could have the minimum time between questions calculated based on the rate at which questions are being asked and answered to automatically regulate the answer/question ratio and question rate.
posted by benign at 8:12 PM on February 14, 2007


What if you got say, two questions every four weeks, and could ask them whenever you wanted within the four weeks provided that they were separated by at least one week. So if you asked one question on day 1, and one on day 8, you'd have to wait until day 29 to be able to ask again.

Does AskMefi really need to become a fucking word problem?
posted by Cyrano at 8:28 PM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Keep the two week limit.

Keep a list of questions. Prioritize the questions. Ask the questions in order every two weeks. During the down time, try to work on the questions by yourself using Google or asking people you know in real life.

If anyone posts anything about the limit on MeFi, they cannot post a question to AskMe for.....ever?
posted by Diskeater at 8:30 PM on February 14, 2007


Cyrano writes...

Does AskMefi really need to become a fucking word problem?


That's a great idea, actually. AskMe should go back to one question per week, but in order to post your question you should have to answer a random word problem. If you get it wrong, you have to wait another week.

No wait, that's what we need for MeTa.
posted by tkolar at 8:36 PM on February 14, 2007


Sorry, I didn't articulate that very well.

I was imagining something like:

"You can next ask a question in 6 days. You have 7 questions left until June 1st."
posted by benign at 8:47 PM on February 14, 2007


Christ, this is so easy. Unlock the gates of AskMe, and anytime anyone thinks "it's moving too fast", shoot them in the head.

You get 7 bullets per month, but you have to use each bullet within 12 hours of another, but you can't shoot twice in the same vortex of the moon, and no more than 14 bullets in any three-month period.
posted by bonaldi at 8:58 PM on February 14, 2007


For what it's worth, I don't think it's moving too fast, and I didn't know that the limit had changed until I saw this thread. I think it was fine before, and is fine now, but figured I could do worse than propose a solution to what some people see as a problem.

Anyway, that's the last time I comment on MeTa while doing a programming assignment.
posted by benign at 9:19 PM on February 14, 2007


I'm here for the sex pandas. What did I miss?
posted by Methylviolet at 11:19 PM on February 14, 2007


You missed cortex's new song, Methylviolet.
posted by cgc373 at 11:26 PM on February 14, 2007


Sure you're not thinking of miffy? The color scheme is certainly appropriate, and she's closer to the way I pronounce mefi, anyway...
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:54 PM on February 14, 2007


Keep a list of questions. Prioritize the questions.

Ugh, no. Whose priorities? Based on what?
Just because it's not important to you/Mettamyn doesn't mean it may not be very important to the person asking, so suddenly it becomes incumbent on people to state how urgent the question is and we have a whole new category of imposter alongside the "novel writing" hypotheticals. No thanks.

On preview: I love Miffy.
posted by dreamsign at 12:55 AM on February 15, 2007


Oh, for fuck's sake.
posted by dg at 4:08 AM on February 15, 2007


Yes, I was riffing on Miffy, Jon Mitchell. But since the bunny's taken, I figured a knockoff bluebird might be appropriate. Or a grey owl here. Licensing Miffy would be a bitch, as would, for Askme, Kero-Kero-Keroppi.

I find if I think in terms of Japanese lunchbox characters, much of the aggro around here is softened. For example, I think of Dios as a big bouncy Doraemon. Why?

Everybody loves Doraemon.
posted by breezeway at 6:28 AM on February 15, 2007


Ugh, no. Whose priorities? Based on what?

My point was that if you really have so many questions and the 2 week limit is an issue, it might be wise to keep a text file of all your questions and you can post them based on how urgently you need the answers. "Why is the sky blue" might be a lower priority question while "My dog is on fire. There is" would be higher. Probably.

Or you could ask "hey, I'm having trouble prioritizing my AskMe questions, any advice?"
posted by Diskeater at 6:51 AM on February 15, 2007


dreamsign writes "Whose priorities? Based on what?"

Your priorities based on whatever strikes your fancy. Each MeFite keeps their own list (if they are so inclined, me I just wing it) and posts questions from it as limits allow.
posted by Mitheral at 6:53 AM on February 15, 2007


Diskeater writes "'hey, I'm having trouble prioritizing my AskMe questions, any advice?'"

Being related to metafilter that's a freebie you could post to metatalk.
posted by Mitheral at 6:54 AM on February 15, 2007


If and when their VERY IMPORTANT FIVE-DOLLAR QUESTION gets deleted for being outside the guidelines, they'd complain with a pathological fervor beyond any we've yet seen in MeTa.

Easily solved: if the question is deleted, the money is refunded. Shouldn't come up all that often anyway. But it wouldn't solve the problem, because a lot of people wouldn't pay $5 to ask a question. Me, for example.
posted by languagehat at 6:58 AM on February 15, 2007


think there should be a plain text file that contains every question ever made.

Not just every question ever made, but every possible question. And every question should be answered with every possible answer.

We could call it "AskBorges."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:49 AM on February 15, 2007


Each MeFite keeps their own list

Oh that's the suggestion? A poster upthread said he does just that, and I have to say, my initial reaction was "What a shame there aren't any other places on the internet to ask questions."
posted by dreamsign at 8:09 AM on February 15, 2007


But it wouldn't solve the problem, because a lot of people wouldn't pay $5 to ask a question. Me, for example.

I wouldn't pay $5 either. BUT: I see "the problem" as people complaining about the cap on questions they can ask. (That is, I don't see the cap on questions as "the problem.") I would think a $5 premium would end the complaints. If it's important enough that the user would complain about not being able to ask the question, then, hopefully, he'd pony up the $5.
posted by Alt F4 at 8:28 AM on February 15, 2007


I think we're trying to solve the wrong problem. No matter how limited each of us individually are, there are certainly enough people with possible questions to fill up the front page + n (and therefore cause scrolling) on any given day. Several brainstorm ideas:

Limit the total number of questions per day
Pretty self explanatory.
Pros: Simple. Clear. Affects all users equally.
Cons: Waiting is no fun, and everybody would have to jump to be the early bird that gets the worm. I don't think this is the best solution but mistakes tell you where you went right too.


Show just titles for all questions asked since last login. Perhaps pick questions at random on reload to expand to the way they're usually displayed? Maybe with ajax-y flippy folding triangles next to them to show the full question?
Pros: We'd get better titles, more questions in the same pixel space.
Cons: We'd lose some personallity on the page, line listings are boring, could still have so many that we'd scroll off the page.


Alternate display of Questions
Treemaps are really great for displaying this sort of data. You could set a dropdown box to the dates specified (within the past day, week, month). You could figure the area a question would get (and therefore the amount of text that it would show) by any algorithm you choose. Here's a sample, with > meaning a larger box.
Zero Responses (sort by time posted DECENDING) > Questions with no best answer (responses count DECENDING) > Questions with best answer
There could also be another dimension with color. Questions with large response counts could be a hotter color, so you could pick out the controvertial/interesting ones by seeing the red squares.

Pros: Really dynamic, creative & interesting way of looking at the site. Maybe add an element of fun.
Cons: Unreadable on text only browsers (probably, depends on how it's done)
Might end up looking like this, which would take away any potential element of fun.
Deciphering it might be too much work than reading a list. The code might be a problem (although I know I've seen treemaps for java, php & other languages)


Whew, this post is taking me forever and I've got work to do. Any other ideas?
posted by Brainy at 10:56 AM on February 15, 2007


Might end up looking like this, which would take away any potential element of fun.

Gah! What the hell is that? It's like the information-management equivalent of goatse.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:47 AM on February 15, 2007


I believe it's usenet.
posted by Brainy at 1:17 PM on February 15, 2007


As an infrequent poster and daily reader of the blue I have to say I'm quite bothered by the two week limit. This is because I haven't posted a question in who-knows-how-long and now I have two questions that I needed the type of collective mindset to answer with no right or wrong answer. To be honest, what I see happening is that people will be forced out of the green and over to things like GrupThink or What Should I Say?. The fact of the matter is I prefer the caliber of people answering in the green to anywhere else, but the current system sets up a "any port in a storm" situation.

Look, I know no one is probably even checking this thread anymore, but I was going to bring up the 2-week moratorium thing, but didn't want the thread to turn into... well, this one. For my purposes I'm OK with more people asking questions... if I don't know the answer I don't answer it. If I can help I do. But the solution, in my eyes, to all the issues is to maybe make the limit one question per day (alright week if you have to) and either let the user display the last [whatever] number questions posted (100?) OR the front page shows all the questions posted from Midnight to 11:59:59pm. A simple solution, hella easy to code and I think addresses all the concerns people have raised.

I can't imagine how some people would want less participation from the MeFi community; it seems antithetical to the purpose and significance of #1's vision. (and for the record, I write "MeFi" and it does rhyme, ish, with delphi)
posted by indiebass at 8:07 AM on February 22, 2007


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