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Proposed change to URL structure
April 24, 2007 6:25 PM   Subscribe

It would be neat if the UTC date and time of postings could be incorporated into their URLs. For example, http://metatalk.metafilter.com/14082/Metafilter-Shoutout could appear as http://metatalk.metafilter.com/20070525-2249/Metafilter-Shoutout There would likely need to be an additional digit after the datecode to disambiguate between threads posted nearly simultaneously. The benefit would be to let people see how old threads are when mousing over links to them.
posted by harmfulray to Feature Requests at 6:25 PM (27 comments total)

please pretend I got the date and formatting right kthx
posted by harmfulray at 6:32 PM on April 24, 2007


It would also be neat if we could post in different < blue> colors . Neato burrito.
posted by grateful at 6:41 PM on April 24, 2007


also if the image tag were back.
posted by boo_radley at 6:42 PM on April 24, 2007


also if there were pancakes.
posted by po at 6:52 PM on April 24, 2007


The problem with your idea is that it can't be implemented retroactively without breaking every link everywhere on the web to an existing Metafilter thread.

When Matt incorporated the "title" into the URL recently, he maintained backward compatibility by making it so that the final part of the URL wasn't necessary. The following two both work:

http://metatalk.metafilter.com/14083/Proposed-change-to-URL-structure
http://metatalk.metafilter.com/14083/

The latter was the old style link, which probably appears thousands of times elsewhere.

But you're suggesting changing the last field of that, which would be a discontinuity that would break every existing link.

Of course, you could make it a new field:

http://metatalk.metafilter.com/14083/20070424/Proposed-change-to-URL-structure

Of course, perhaps this could be changed, but not retroactively. But in that case it becomes mostly worthless. (And that would be more of a hassle to implement, since this is all algorithmic driven from a database.)

Bad idea. Very bad idea. Minor benefit, major hassle.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:55 PM on April 24, 2007


also if Hootie and the Blowfish would return my demo tape.
posted by Dizzy at 6:56 PM on April 24, 2007


I didn't edit that well. You could make it a new field, but then it starts getting very baroque. And you could change it but not retroactively, but then you've mostly made it worthless.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:56 PM on April 24, 2007


Eh, for anyone who really cares don't post numbers demonstrate relative age?
posted by jacquilynne at 7:03 PM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Minor benefit, major hassle.

Well, you could .htaccess the crap out of redirecting, I guess, but yeah, SDB's got it, I think. High cost, low return.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:05 PM on April 24, 2007


The chicken has it. But then again, when has the chicken ever not had it?
posted by grateful at 7:07 PM on April 24, 2007


Links with date/times already work. If you want to write links like that, go ahead. But I don't see any reason those should be the default links any more than URLs including authors names, tags, or any other metadata.
posted by scottreynen at 7:09 PM on April 24, 2007


Scott, the reason they work is because Matt has programmed the server to ignore that fourth field entirely.

http://metatalk.metafilter.com/14082/Metafilter-Shoutout/Chickenplucker also works.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:27 PM on April 24, 2007


http://metatalk.metafilter.com/14083/imapancake

It works. Ooooh and it ALL makes sense now.
posted by liquorice at 7:28 PM on April 24, 2007


I like it. Also, best answers in their entirety could go on the very end so we can find out what happened on mouseover, and the title attribute could have cool stuff too.
posted by 31d1 at 7:54 PM on April 24, 2007


Sometimes it's important to see a date when you're searching for something, but I don't see the need often enough that it'd be worth chunking up the URL with another 20 characters or so.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:49 PM on April 24, 2007


SCDB, it actually ignores the title too. That was kind of my point: you can put whatever you want in there, including dates.
posted by scottreynen at 8:50 PM on April 24, 2007


Technically, SCDB is not entirely correct. The old link format was not, as he describes,
http://metatalk.metafilter.com/14083/ ,
but rather it was
http://metatalk.metafilter.com/mefi/14083
The latter does, in fact get redirected to the new structure (as a 301, I think, but I'm not entirely sure). Note that you cannot simply add title text to the "old style" links, as you'll get an error.

(None of this pedantry should be taken as support for the change, which I see as nice, but largely unnecessary.)
posted by Partial Law at 8:55 PM on April 24, 2007


The problem with your idea is that it can't be implemented retroactively without breaking every link everywhere on the web to an existing Metafilter thread.

Sorry, wrong again steven. for example.
posted by delmoi at 8:58 PM on April 24, 2007


Anyway, I don't personally think that seeing the date of a post in the URL is all that exciting.
posted by delmoi at 9:01 PM on April 24, 2007


I agree, and then, to top that off, Metafilty would probably never get fixed.
posted by IronLizard at 9:05 PM on April 24, 2007


Separate issue: having really long "words" in posts makes the My Comments page behave very strangely rather than force word wrap.

Example from this thread
posted by Partial Law at 9:09 PM on April 24, 2007


Sorry, wrong again steven. for example.

Well, bless my holy weiner-roasting soul. I hadn't thought of that as a possible remix of Matt's URL-revamping from a few months back.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:24 PM on April 24, 2007


Sorry, wrong again steven.

By this, do you mean to imply that Steven C. Den Beste has in the past also given categorical and unqualified opinions that are completely and utterly wrong? Shocking.
posted by grouse at 2:07 AM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


We should have a uniform URL that correctly points to any thread or any comment in any thread based on session data constructed by pure mind-reading.

So, for example, http://www.metafilter.com/ would point to the homepage on the blue if you're idle and want to see a summary of what people are reading today. But http://www.metafilter.com/ would point to the AskMe thread about that one particular kind of disk problem when your Mom's just phoned you because her iMac's broken.

This would make all links into MeFi uniform and unerringly accurate. Also, since URLs would be shorter, they would eliminate the need to redirect through sites like Tinyurl, improving accessibility from mobile devices. This in turn will enhance the site's Alexa stats and make Matt more money, so that we can all have ponies some day.
posted by ardgedee at 3:00 AM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yay - then our URLs will look cool, like Slashdot's!!
posted by reklaw at 5:33 AM on April 25, 2007


Wait, why does it matter what time the link target was created? Why, I mean, is this useful at all?
posted by odinsdream at 1:47 PM on April 25, 2007


It would be nice if archived threads included the year in the signature line.
posted by Mitheral at 8:22 AM on April 26, 2007


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