"Before You AskMe-- SearchMe!" November 1, 2007 12:36 PM   Subscribe

It's that time of year again... time for Santa's magical dance to dispel the swarm of would-be gift-givers descending on AskMe!

May seem a bit early, but I saw this today and my blood involuntarily ran cold with recognition. Suddenly I was batting at the air around my face, trying to squash hallucinatory sugarplum fairies before they lit onto my skin and began to burrow. SEARCH! I yelped, USE THE SEARCH! Rather than make any comments in the thread while in that state, I went and got a glass of water and then decided to inquire here.

Can we please have that note added to the submission page?
posted by hermitosis to Feature Requests at 12:36 PM (94 comments total)

Yes! Particularly because I love that dancing santa.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:37 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jesus. Every year with this.
posted by puke & cry at 12:44 PM on November 1, 2007


*pukes, cries*
posted by hermitosis at 12:46 PM on November 1, 2007


*applies for hermit license*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:49 PM on November 1, 2007


This year for Christmas I'd like for everyone to die. Thanks Santa.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:52 PM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Every gift question should be closed with the reason set to "This is why Wishlists were invented".
posted by Stynxno at 12:53 PM on November 1, 2007


Is this a good place to ask what to get my cat for christmas?
posted by selfmedicating at 12:53 PM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Every person is a special little snowflake with unique preferences and needs suggestions tailored for them.
posted by empyrean at 12:54 PM on November 1, 2007


selfmedicating, get your cat declawed for Christmas. Trust me, it makes a great gift.
posted by iconomy at 12:56 PM on November 1, 2007


This isn't just MY issue, empyrean. If it was a big enough issue that we needed to do it last year, then we most likely will have to this year as well, especially since we have tons of new users who won't know any better otherwise.
posted by hermitosis at 12:59 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yes! Particularly because I love that dancing santa.

I worked one Christmas at Ace Hardware where I ended up cashiering. We had a few of those dancing Santa. And by a few, I mean a whole row em'. I swear every single kid had an uncontrollable urge to make ever single santa sing and dance. Seeing those damn things still make me want to drown myself in a handle of Jim Bean and die.
posted by jmd82 at 1:04 PM on November 1, 2007


If that dang technology thing din't move so fast...

Disclaimer: I am guilty of a whohaseverything tag.
posted by cocoagirl at 1:04 PM on November 1, 2007


Erm, I think that Empyrean was saying "Hah! Those "What should I get my boyfriend, who is sooooooo special and unique that gift suggestions for other people can't possibly apply!" questions really are annoying, I agree!"
posted by thehmsbeagle at 1:05 PM on November 1, 2007


DTMFA.
posted by ND¢ at 1:06 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dude, you're bringing me down from my sugar high.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:06 PM on November 1, 2007


Gah! I'm with you, that post needs a post-Halloween candy corn fart to clear it the fuck out.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:07 PM on November 1, 2007


Ha! I assumed he was talking about my request. Did I mention I was a little high-strung today?
posted by hermitosis at 1:08 PM on November 1, 2007


The search page already says:

"Before you ask, please try searching for previous threads about your topic. Pick the most unique keyword you can and you're likely to find earlier questions that are identical or very similar."

So. What are we after here, exactly?
posted by Kwine at 1:08 PM on November 1, 2007


WE WANT THE DANCING SANTA, DABNABBIT
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:09 PM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Anyone want to go see "Fred Claus" with me?
posted by Brocktoon at 1:14 PM on November 1, 2007


Kwine, last year there was a special note guiding would-be gift-question-askers to the Search function, accompanied by an animated Santa to draw attention to it (or just to amuse TPS).
posted by hermitosis at 1:15 PM on November 1, 2007


We want people to read the words on the freaking page, and maybe make a half-assed attempt to follow a set of fairly simple instructions.

That'd be the best Christmas present ever.
posted by box at 1:15 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


So. What are we after here, exactly?

I think we're trying to encourage people to think for themselves on this one. AskMe is a great resource, but another deluge of posters seeking advist on their Christmas gifts is one step further down the slippery slope to "BeMe," the site where Metafilter thinks for you, amirite??!
posted by dead_ at 1:18 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


So, are we gonna see deletions of these questions this year?

*scrawls "I want a deleted AskMe feed for Festivus." in crayon and sends it to Oregon*
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:18 PM on November 1, 2007


Is this the Macy's thread?
posted by breezeway at 1:18 PM on November 1, 2007


Advice. Rats.
posted by dead_ at 1:18 PM on November 1, 2007


I think what we need is some more dancing santa gifs so we can mix it up a little.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:19 PM on November 1, 2007


So. What are we after here, exactly?

Fresh figs, gorgonzola and prosciutto
, although Camino thinks prosciutto should be prostitute, but I'm not that hungry, thanks.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:19 PM on November 1, 2007


It puts its keywords in the search box or else it gets the hose again.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:21 PM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is this the Macy's thread?

Try Gimbel's, across the street.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:24 PM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


There will be some dancing santa replacement, trust us.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:25 PM on November 1, 2007


thanks, hermitosis! you saved me from a second year of grinchiness!
posted by judith at 1:26 PM on November 1, 2007


AskMe is a great resource, but another deluge of posters seeking advist on their Christmas gifts is one step further down the slippery slope to "BeMe," the site where Metafilter thinks for you, amirite??!

I'm in the beta, so far it's pretty meh. All I got to show for it is a pissed off cat and a string of ex-girlfriends who got dumped with incredible rapidity.
posted by juv3nal at 1:28 PM on November 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


If only I could answer the question thusly:

Well, you can't have that, but if you're an American citizen you are entitled to:
a heated kidney shaped pool,
a microwave oven--don't watch the food cook,
a Dyna-Gym--I'll personally demonstrate it in the privacy of your own home,
a king-size Titanic unsinkable Molly Brown waterbed with polybendum,
a foolproof plan and an airtight alibi,
real simulated Indian jewelry,
a Gucci shoetree,
a year's supply of antibiotics,
a personally autographed picture of Randy Mantooth
and Bob Dylan's new unlisted phone number,
a beautifully restored 3rd Reich swizzle stick,
Rosemary's baby,
a dream date in kneepads with Paul Williams,
a new Matador, a new mastodon,
a Maverick, a Mustang, a Montego,
a Merc Montclair, a Mark IV, a meteor,
a Mercedes, an MG, or a Malibu,
a Mort Moriarty, a Maserati, a Mac truck,
a Mazda, a new Monza, or a moped,
a Winnebago--Hell, a herd of Winnebago's we're giving 'em away,
or how about a McCulloch chainsaw,
a Las Vegas wedding,
a Mexican divorce,
a solid gold Kama Sutra coffee pot,
or a baby's arm holding an apple?

posted by SteveInMaine at 1:34 PM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


I didn't get any candy corn yet this year. Halloween isn't over until I eat so many I get sick. Ergo, slow down, everyone; we're stuck in October for at least another day or two.
posted by inigo2 at 1:37 PM on November 1, 2007


...or an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!
posted by ericb at 1:39 PM on November 1, 2007


You'll shoot your dick off, kid.
posted by breezeway at 1:40 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm just glad the asker had the restrain to wait until November 1, when the Halloween Candy is on clearance--80% off--and the Thanksgiving decorations are being cleared out to make way for the Christmas bows.
posted by skynxnex at 1:42 PM on November 1, 2007


...or an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

You'll shoot your dick off, kid.


...with a compass codpiece in the stock.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:42 PM on November 1, 2007


Erm, I think that Empyrean was saying "Hah! Those "What should I get my boyfriend, who is sooooooo special and unique that gift suggestions for other people can't possibly apply!" questions really are annoying, I agree!"

This bears repeating, mostly because my username's in there.
posted by empyrean at 1:43 PM on November 1, 2007


I was actually going to ask about this as well.

Can plain-text viewers have a wire outline santa gif?
posted by drezdn at 1:44 PM on November 1, 2007


There will be some dancing santa replacement, trust us.

Dancing Dawkins?
posted by kosem at 1:44 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Please consult.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:47 PM on November 1, 2007


I'm giving everyone I know a circumcision this Christmas. It's a great gift, and I know they totally won't be expecting it.
posted by brain cloud at 2:26 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


More dancing Santa options.
posted by deborah at 2:28 PM on November 1, 2007


SEARCH! I yelped, USE THE SEARCH!

I'm all for people not asking the same question over and over, but what exact search result would have made asking this particular question unnecessary?
posted by 23skidoo at 2:30 PM on November 1, 2007


The search terms are "how a bunch of strangers come up with the perfect gift for someone we've never met, but whom you know intimately and yet can't come up with something they'd like."

I don't think the problem with this is so much that it's been asked before (although it has and if even 1 of every 10 users asked it, it would overwhelm the site) so much as the answers are only useful to the asker, so the next stumped gift-buyer gets to ask, too.

"What gift to give?" is my most hated ask.me, second only to "what song should I put in this theme?" But then, I'm just cranky
posted by crush-onastick at 2:39 PM on November 1, 2007


Well, I guess this answers my question. I was actually going to ask for ideas on y6's present - he is SO damn hard to buy for, and usually goes and buys anything he wants before I have a chance to get it for him. But yeah, forgot about the zillion and one questions that'd already be asked on askme.

"SEARCH! I yelped, USE THE SEARCH!"

Does me no good. What I need is a generic list of What the Male Readers of MeFi Who Happen To Be Programmers Who Like Warcraft Want For Christmas, Particularly Those Who Always Tell Their Family "Don't Buy Me Presents!" Meanwhile I suppose I can fall back on my Items He Doesn't Ask for But May Make Him Smile Once Before He Sighs and Puts It In A Drawer backup list...
posted by batgrlHG at 2:39 PM on November 1, 2007


juv3nal -- you ate a lot of interesting stuff too, and saw your doctor and lawyer more than you would have expected.
posted by garlic at 2:40 PM on November 1, 2007


Why not filter out any question that contains the words gift, give, get, present or unique?

State that this will happen on the posting page, and if the submitter still goes through with it, their post disappears into the ether and they have used up their question for the week.

At the very least it would be interesting to see what sort of workarounds people resorted to.
posted by davey_darling at 2:43 PM on November 1, 2007


I disagree that the gift answers are only useful to the poster. I've followed a ton of cool links in threads like that, and have discovered new places to shop, and new things to buy.
posted by ersatzkat at 2:49 PM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


presents are but things
the thought is the real gift so
mefi, think for me
posted by metric space at 2:58 PM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Here is going to be my standard answer for all these kinds of questions:
---

What should I get my SO for Christmas?

Oral sex.

It doesn't cost anything, it makes everyone happy, it works in every gender type (M-F, F-M, F-F, M-M), and it will surely be appreciated more than the sweater you are considering as an alternative.
--

Feel free to use this as you feel is appropriate.
posted by quin at 3:05 PM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


let's play


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the green
Not a mefite was stirring, not even tangerine.
The bridles were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that a poney friend soon would be there.

The mefites were nestled all snug at their desks,
While their bored, lazy cursors traced out arabesques;
And jess in her 'kerchief, and Matt in on his bike,
Had just taken off on a geocache hike.

When up from the gray there arose such a clatter,
cortex was lured out of #mefi to see what was the matter...
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:05 PM on November 1, 2007 [7 favorites]


When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a horny [insert fantasy partner of choice, here],
And a half-rack of beer.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:12 PM on November 1, 2007


IMPEACH SANTA
posted by Reggie Digest at 3:17 PM on November 1, 2007


I swear every single kid had an uncontrollable urge to make ever single santa sing and dance.

Sorry - but - bwuhahahahahaha - it ain't just the kids - anytime I come across any display of similar devices - I must turn every single one on...
posted by jkaczor at 3:25 PM on November 1, 2007


Fresh figs, gorgonzola and prosciutto, although Camino thinks prosciutto should be prostitute, but I'm not that hungry, thanks.

Maybe it's trying to recommend some puttanesca sauce?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:34 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Allow me to be the first MeFite of the season to say, "BAH HUMBUG".
posted by baphomet at 3:47 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


swig that damned dead cat
posted by edgeways at 4:09 PM on November 1, 2007


Why not filter out any question that contains the words gift, give, get, present or unique?

Wait a hold it there, sailor.

I think her question would be legitimate. Why filter it out before MeFites could respond?
"At the hipster party he said having sex with me would be a unique gift. I went home with him. He convinced me that he didn't need to wrap "his present to me" in a condom. What did he really give me? Herpes!!! What do I do now and how do I get over this?"
posted by ericb at 4:20 PM on November 1, 2007


Well, if anyone asks for me, I would like booze and JB vouchers.

Ta.
posted by pompomtom at 4:37 PM on November 1, 2007


To be fair, I think some people kind of like it when AskMe gets a bit chatfiltery (and yes, others loathe it). Technically, there are tons of, for example, recipe sites out there -- with special database systems far better suited to answering the "I have the following ingredients, what can I make" sort of questions. And yet food questions are always responded to with zeal and love. I suspect that is because, unlike the "what should I get?" or "what should I name my X?" questions, the food answers can be used by anyone.

So maybe we can ask people to try to make their gift questions a bit more useful to the community as a whole. For example, "My friend is a drawing enthusiast, and I was thinking of buying drawing supplies for her this Christmas. What are some good quality brands, and what specific items (i.e. types of pencils/erasers/paper) should I buy?"

All of the "My boyfriend is 6'1", has an extensive whiskey collection, like jellybeans, rides horses bareback, and is getting his PhD in molecular astrobiology this September. I have a budget of $5,000. What should I buy him?" .... not so much.

Oh by the way, feel free to cut and paste this answer to answer any questions like the one above:
You should give your loved one cash. Sure, it's somewhat impersonal, but clearly you don't know what to get them and why waste a bunch of money getting them something they won't like and, worse, must pretend to like. If this answer squicks you, this means that really there is something you know they would like. Get them that instead. Also, if they have more cash than you, just tell them that you love them and spend some special time with them. That's a better gift than some stupid Precious Moments figurine.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:38 PM on November 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


It's Randolph Mantooth, damn it.

Also, bah humbug.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:07 PM on November 1, 2007


> More dancing Santa options.

Re: "More" — oh sweet dear freakin' Christ.
posted by WCityMike at 5:26 PM on November 1, 2007


Why not filter out any question that contains the words gift, give, get, present or unique?

And ban the asker for a week. Or a year, what the hell.

I've followed a ton of cool links in threads like that, and have discovered new places to shop, and new things to buy.


Isn't that special! Unfortunately, that's not what AskMe is for. The ads on TV will tell you all sorts of places to shop and new things to buy. And if you want to know what that special someone in your life wants, ASK THEM. For fuck's sake. Don't ask us; we have no idea.
posted by languagehat at 5:28 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


> This year for Christmas I'd like for everyone to die. Thanks Santa.

"Everybody? All the people?"

"Yes. How much? I mean, for an order like that, you'd have to have some kind of a big discount. How much would it be? For everyone?"

"Nothing at all, Mr. Pinter."

"You mean you wouldn't do it?"

"I mean we'd do it for nothing, Mr. Pinter. We only have to be asked, you see. We always have to be asked."

Peter was puzzled. "But — when would you start?"

"Start? Right away. Now. We've been ready for a long time. But we had to be asked, Mr. Pinter. Good night. It has been a pleasure doing business with you."

— Neil Gaiman, "We Can Get Them For You Wholesale"
posted by WCityMike at 5:31 PM on November 1, 2007


and on a related note:

Nicholas Was...

older than sin, and his beard could grow no whiter. He wanted to die.

The dwarfish natives of the Arctic caverns did not speak his language, but conversed in their own, twittering tongue, conducted incomprehensible rituals, when they were not actually working in the factories.

Once every year they forced him, sobbing and protesting, into Endless Night. During the journey he would stand near every child in the world, leave one of the dwarves' invisible gifts by its bedside. The children slept, frozen into time.

He envied Prometheus and Loki, Sisyphus and Judas. His punishment was harsher.

Ho.

Ho.

Ho.

- Neil Gaiman, "Nicolas Was..."
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:40 PM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Just listen to your aunt Hedwig, and pick one of the following:

Whiskey and French cigarettes,
a motorbike with high-speed jets,
a Waterpik, a Cuisinart
and a hypo-allergenic dog.
I want all the luxuries of the modern age,
and every item on every page
in the Lillian Vernon catalogue.
posted by piratebowling at 5:52 PM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


IRFH's brackets are so tantalizing.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:00 PM on November 1, 2007


Unfortunately, that's not what AskMe is for.

It is if you're asking for what stuff to buy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:03 PM on November 1, 2007


I'm against Christmas. It should be easy to write a regular expression to replace it with something else.
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:37 PM on November 1, 2007


"What are the essential supplies for someone who entering architecture school? I need a gift for my cousin" is good.
"What are some great less-known kitchen gadgets for a cook who already has the basic pots, knives etc?" is good. There are useful answers to these question.

"What can I get for for someone who is 40 years old and breathes air?" is bad, because who the hell knows. Not enough information. Asking this kind of question is a mark of mental or personal deficiency. Too many gift questions are "what can I get for the person who I don't know enough about?", and really there should just be a stock page for that with a list of stuff like booze, chocolates, gift card, swift kick in the ass, etc.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:53 PM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Instead of a dancing Santa, maybe you should just put some tinsel and christmas lights on the chicken fucker pic? I think that is both timely and would certainly catch the eye.
posted by SassHat at 7:06 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


stuff like booze, chocolates, gift card, swift kick in the ass, etc.

What treasures that "etc." holds for the discerning giver: baseball memorabilia, hard hat crime flick, hot knife to the solar plexus, holiday spa treatment, extra long hose, greetdown beatdown, furry delight, novel novel, banana trapeze, etc.
posted by breezeway at 7:10 PM on November 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


There is one very simple answer that applies to all "What do get him/her" askme questions.

A gun and the current addresses of all the people who picked on him/her in high school.
posted by shmegegge at 8:12 PM on November 1, 2007


also, breezeway just made me lol, laugh, get stabbed in the eyeball, etc...
posted by shmegegge at 8:13 PM on November 1, 2007


What if the no jokes rule gets suspended on askme giftfilter just for November and December? That's a lovely simple script that makes both the giver and the giftee happy. Holiday spirit!
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:33 PM on November 1, 2007


Honestly, what's the harm?

Every year we get questions about Halloween costumes, Christmas gifts, New Year's parties, and wedding proposal ideas. I'd like to think that each time it's asked, there's some fresh ideas because we have new members with their own insights and the accumulated knowledge of another year. I mean I replied with the suggestion for bacon chocolate and the Eye-Fi wireless card because I didn't know about them/they didn't exist last year and they might well become the poster's favorited suggestion.

I could get annoyed every time someone asks the "What's there to do in San Francisco" question but every time it comes up, I see comments for new places and events that even I didn't know about.
posted by junesix at 1:05 AM on November 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


jkaczor: "I swear every single kid had an uncontrollable urge to make ever single santa sing and dance.

Sorry - but - bwuhahahahahaha - it ain't just the kids - anytime I come across any display of similar devices - I must turn every single one on...
"

Um, me too - I take it as a personal challenge to get the last one activated before the first one stops.
posted by dg at 4:35 AM on November 2, 2007


All questions with regard to Christmas presents should be directed here, simply skip to the last 3 lines.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 4:47 AM on November 2, 2007


I've been thinking about this for a bit since a panel presentation I sat in on at ASIS&T*. The 30 second pitch being why don't we create a wiki specifically for AskMe where common questions and their answers can be cataloged? This condenses the best of AskMe into a single reference tool. It also provides a handy shorthand for answering questions that are commonly asked. Instead of rehashing the problem and/or opening MeTa threads to point out problems, the question could be politely closed with a referent URL. I may be wrong, but I think there is enough community cohesiveness in AskMe that sufficient motivation for building and maintaining the wiki exists. I think having sanction of the triumvir for which questions/answers get added to the wiki would go a long way in policing. If not, perhaps one of the AskMe mavens could be appointed to the role of wiki tsar[ina].

There's a bit more to this idea but I think this enough to get the ball rolling.

*The person's presentation dealt with the case example of how css-discuss has used a wiki to reduce list traffic. Common questions didn't touch off a firestorm of "consult the archives" posts to the list. It also helped mitigate the frustration long-time users felt answering the same questions over and over. The wiki has also addressed questions of topicality--lending a venue for discussion without adding to list traffic. The benefit of creating a useful resource was emergent and not one of the preliminary goals. IMO it is now the primary draw for membership in the community.
posted by Fezboy! at 7:12 AM on November 2, 2007


I don't think the problem is that people don't use the search, I think it's that people do use the search, but decide that none of the previous questions apply to them.

"What do I get for my 30-something boyfriend who loves scuba diving, pottery, NASCAR, Iron Chef, dismembered toes, Hitler's petrified dick, and mushrooms? His favourite colour is sage green?"

"Oh, so close! Everything is right, except my boyfriend like moss green. I better ask a new question."
posted by arcticwoman at 8:10 AM on November 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can see where "What do I get for my 30-something boyfriend who loves scuba diving, pottery, NASCAR, Iron Chef, dismembered toes, Hitler's petrified dick, and mushrooms? His favourite colour is sage green?" annoys folks.

How about "My boyfriend likes his gadget, and I have determined that he has widgets X, Y, and Z for it. I've found several other widgets for his gadget type that he does not have (yet), but I'm not sure which is most likely likely to be of use/most likely to break/most likely to impress random strangers on the street, etc. What's a good widget to buy for him?" Would that be ok? (This is purely theoretical. I am 'between boyfriends' at the moment.)

Is it that the "think of a gift for someone I know" is too vague and open-ended, or is anything remotely gift-related anathema?
posted by Karmakaze at 8:34 AM on November 2, 2007


why don't we create a wiki specifically for AskMe where common questions and their answers can be cataloged?

We have a wiki. We're doing this right now in another thread with food-related AskMes.

The main issue with wikis is that maintaining them is difficult and if you're working with a long list of stuff, someone has to go through and decide how to group them and then each added item needs to be checked to make sure it's not already there. Now that EatMe has gotten big, it's actually harder to add thigns to it because just searching for the link you want to add takes time.

The next issue is the special snowflake issue where your exact question hasn't been answed before even if many "unique gift" threads that are almost the same are already there. This is actually two sub issues

- updated unique gifts since timeliness is part of making a gift decent, you don't want last year's unique gift
- specific unique gifts "that was for a 30 year old and my SO is 34!"

By which I mean the issue isn't creating an awesomely useful tool, the issue is getting people to use it or at least look at it first before they ask. We already have tag searching/clicking for gift/present/xmas/christmas and there's a fair amount of evidence that people aren't even checking that (not for these topics specifically but for any old topic).

So, while I think a wiki is a great idea for this (hey Fezboy! why don't you start making a wiki page... you know that the person who suggests the wiki has to build it, right?) and I'll continue to lobby for the other thing that I think would help this whole situation which is a smokin fast search where you could more easily browse what's becoming a huge repository of gift and present ideas (anog other things) which might encourage people to search first, then ask.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:35 AM on November 2, 2007


Is it that the "think of a gift for someone I know" is too vague and open-ended

Yeah, it's classic chatfilter ("What kind of stuff do you think makes a cool gift?") unless it's really specific: "What would be a good gift for a wine drinker allergic to sulfites?" Note that plain old "What would be a good gift for a wine drinker?" is chatfilter, because it amounts to "What wine do you like?"
posted by languagehat at 8:59 AM on November 2, 2007


...because it amounts to "What wine do you like?"
...which, of course is perfectly fine by precedent (right down to the title). (Note: it is not actually fine. But you can understand where people might get the idea.)
posted by Wolfdog at 9:08 AM on November 2, 2007


On the Frequently Asked of Metafilter page, under Shopping, there is this Q&A:

Q: I need help buying a gift for my mother/friend/etc.

A: There are over 200 posts tagged with "gift" on AskMe. Please try looking through them.

And it links to AskMe posts tagged with gift.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:22 AM on November 2, 2007


jessamyn writes "(hey Fezboy! why don't you start making a wiki page... you know that the person who suggests the wiki has to build it, right?)"

Of course I know there is some kind of MeFi wiki, although I admit the last time I looked at it the wiki was pretty fuzzy. Even now, though, it lacks some of the branding that I think it would require for the project to ultimately be successful. It still looks a lot any number of other 'unofficial' MeFi projects out there. With some more obvious sanction--like living on the metafilter.com domain and a designated AskMe goto for example--it would feel more integrated with the rest of MeFi. And, ultimately, I think that is what it would take for the project to succeed.

The scope of the current wiki is also broader than any AskMe knowledge base would be. Which is saying a lot given I think the eventual AskMe wiki could be pretty extensive.

Further, I was putting the idea out there for those who are sufficiently motivated about policing AskMe to the point where it spills over into MeTa on a consistent basis. I don't mind AskMe as it currently exists nor do I consistently participate in that part of the MeFi community. I do see this kind of thread (policing AskMe) come up often on MeTa and had been toying with the idea ever since I sat in on that talk a week and a half ago. I admit that it might have been better for me to have waited for a MeTa thread more focused on FAQ more in-line with AskMe's knowledge building goal because I don't see it doing a whole lot for the "what do I get [person] for [holiday]" problem.

I did mentioned that my suggestion was only tangentially related to the problem faced in this thread. The kind of questions leading to the construction of an awesome present repository aren't the kind of question that engender search or tag browsing before asking behaviors. Nor are they the kind that can be quietly closed with a link to a page on a wiki. The problem lies in there being two kinds of questions that comprise the bulk of acceptable AskMe topics. There are those that solve specific problems that have some broader applicability and there are those that solve a specific problem for a specific person/circumstance. I know that I didn't consult the AskMe archives with great detail when asking my burning relationshipFilter question a year ago. A wiki could help mitigate the frequency of repeated questions of the first sort; not so much for the second kind. For bringing this up in thread looking for solutions to a tangential problem, I apologize.

As for building the wiki, I'll give it a shot on the terms that I described above (official sanction, on metafilter.com domain, and more stipulations as I do more thinking about the requirements I think such a project would need to be successful). Like I said, this was to get the ball rolling, not to suggest a turnkey solution.

As for your cautionary tale w/r/t EatMe...Believe you me, I know from how difficult a wiki can be to manage. Many hours out of my week are spent riding herd on a bunch of academic librarians who run roughshod over our internal wiki. The kind of folks who one would assume would have some innate sense of information architecture and hyperlinking. That's why I think this involves tabbing a yet untasked AskMe maven who has some accumulated whuffie in that sub-community, which I definitely am not. I certainly did not broach this subject with the idea that you all would play Commander Riker to my Picard and just make it so. I was more interested in starting a conversation if there was sufficient interest in such a project.
posted by Fezboy! at 10:51 AM on November 2, 2007


Just listen to your aunt Hedwig, and pick one of the following

Nomination for replacement of dancing Santa.
posted by Tehanu at 2:27 PM on November 2, 2007


Having reread my question, I'd like to belatedly mention that I am not picking on dearest personally. Hers was just the first such post I've seen this fall.
posted by hermitosis at 2:31 PM on November 2, 2007



"Oh, so close! Everything is right, except my boyfriend like moss green. I better ask a new question."


I think this sort of thing goes far beyond just gift questions.
posted by drezdn at 3:52 PM on November 2, 2007


Oh look, Here's a start on that wiki!

This seems like the perfect place to put my actual reaction to that question, which was DEAR JESUS FUCK, just give the stupid bastards a card with cash and that list and tell them you don't give enough of a fuck to figure out what they want. Or skip the cash. And skip the card. They're not worth it.
posted by jacalata at 9:31 PM on November 3, 2007


...and now we've got What's your favorite drink? (I'll go first).
posted by Wolfdog at 4:11 PM on November 7, 2007


« Older Mefi's own   |   and then she.... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments