Queuing questions.
March 16, 2008 11:23 PM   Subscribe

From time to time, after asking a question in AskMefi, I get a great question but forget about it because of the waiting period. I'm not questioning this rule, but it would be nice to have the possibility to create a certain number of questions in advance, and put them in some sort of queue, so one will not forgot to ask some good question.
posted by zouhair to Feature Requests at 11:23 PM (54 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

From time to time, after urinating, I forget to shake off the last few drops before zipping back up again. It would be nice if Metafilter could shake those drops off for me, so one will not have the last few drops run down one's leg.
posted by dersins at 11:40 PM on March 16, 2008 [31 favorites]


I'm sure you're about to get jumped on by about a hundred people, but... I'd suggest that if the question wasn't important enough to remember, it's better that you didn't ask it. It's a pretty good litmus test to know whether it's a good question to ask, actually. (Like how people will recommend that, if you're debating on a major purchase, you put it off for a week, and if you still want it after a week, then you should buy it.)

Failing that, I doubt you're going to convince Matt to code in a queue when you could just as easily save a list on your computer yourself (or write them on a piece of paper).

Besides, AskMe is already filled with zillions of questions that zoom by too fast for some of us. Allowing people to queue them up would only increase the amount of silly questions that we see.
posted by web-goddess at 11:41 PM on March 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


You must be a Netflix user. If this were implemented, there would be that week when you stopped paying attention for a little while, and the site, having exhausted all of the great questions you'd put at the top of your queue, would auto-ask those one- and two-star questions of yours that you'd been bumping down. And then we'd all be sad, because while Cannonball Run III seemed like a funny idea at the time, we didn't really want to see it.
posted by mumkin at 11:41 PM on March 16, 2008 [9 favorites]


Why not just keep a file on your computer and note your questions there?
posted by Class Goat at 11:43 PM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, notepad.exe works wonders for this.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:44 PM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


You can already do this at your computer, using other applications. Just use Google Docs and you and create any number of notes to yourself. Or you could do it the old fashion way and just write it down in journal or even a scrap of paper. There's also Stickies on the Mac, which comes with the OS, or StickiesforWindows. But the most simplest way might be to just email yourself when you think of the question.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:45 PM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I use Google calendar for stuff like these. You can even get a reminder on your cell phone.

For example, right now it is set up to remind me of when I am supposed to call my wife now that she is traveling.
posted by Dr. Curare at 12:03 AM on March 17, 2008


If I have something I need to remember I just email it to myself. With webmail and suchlike I can access it from any computer. I know the question box format is kind of important for crafting a really good askme but that can be emailed to yourself too.

There are so many other ways to do this already, it just doesn't seem worth coding something in.
posted by shelleycat at 1:36 AM on March 17, 2008


Eh, I keep a word doc on my desktop for this. Sometimes it gives the questions time to nicely age and I word them better. Sometimes they just crawl away and die. But I don't think it'd be good to have a question go up and not be around to hit refresh constantly to see whether you've started something so big that it has to go to Metatalk. Man, you wouldn't want to miss that.

dersins, we're a community. I'm sure we can get a roster going to help you out with that. Or, maybe, if you asked Askme, someone might come up with a better idea, like maybe, uh, toilet paper? Why the hell don't blokes use toilet paper to get rid of excess urine? At home, I mean, I understand it would be inconvenient to leave the urinal for that purpose.
posted by b33j at 3:42 AM on March 17, 2008


Ditto notepad. Who doesn't love notepad? I've actually got three questions queued up right now, but they're non-emergency questions and I feel like I haven't contributed meaningfully to the site in a while, so I'll hold off...
posted by Phire at 4:09 AM on March 17, 2008


Send an email to yourself. Or there are plenty of sites that let you send reminders to yourself via your cellphone.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:43 AM on March 17, 2008


...er... like others have already mentioned.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:44 AM on March 17, 2008


Resisting urge to make a Greasemonkey script
posted by Plutor at 5:09 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


In the sub-basement of what was once an industrial park, the server continued asking questions to the void. The network was long-gone--the ethernet cables vaporized right where they emerged to the surface--but this didn't stop the server. It had a queue.

The third wave of bombings had collapsed the ceiling, destroying almost all the other racks in the room, but the server remained. It was closest to the large metal cage that held the enormous emergency power supply. It was now the only machine drawing power, and this had kept it running for many months.

In five seconds it would be exactly a week since Praetorious last had a question posted. Three seconds now. One second:

i've heard there might still be a border-crossing in michigan's Upper Pensula...can anybody confirm deny? [more inside]
posted by praetorius at 1:40 AM. 0 answers

At the bottom of the page, a post slunk off, unanswered. On Praetorius' profile, a small gray envelope turned itself golden.

The server prepared the next question, due out in seventeen seconds. The question was anonymous, but the server knew the secret names of these faceless questions. Anonymous was GLukas, and in thirteen seconds it will have been a week since GLukas' last question.

The time passed, as time always does, and the server forwarded the question to a moderator for approval. Until a mod approved an anonymous post, the server wasn't allowed to post the question. It had been a long time since the server had been approved to ask an anonymous question. That was okay. The server was patient.

The rest of the day passed as the day before, and the week before, and the month before. The server moved through its queue, posting the worldly concerns of sixty-nine thousand ghosts. They were mundane memorials to an annihilated people, elegies for a time before the nuclear fire, before the winter that followed.

Help! My boyfriend is Asian and we can't go anywhere together without being hassled by the militia police. He has his Patriot card that clearly lists him as Korean, not Chinese. I love him but the stress is really starting to get to me. Of course there's [more inside]
posted by Dial_M at 2:17 AM. 0 answers

SalkPuppetFilter: How non-trivial would it be to make penicillin from canned milk? Is it even possible? [more inside]
posted by *.* at 2:56 AM. 0 answers

trying to remember a story i read in 8th graed about a robot house
posted by pins, needles at 3:19 AM. 0 answers

Each question stayed at the top of the front page until the server posted the next one. They marched down the page, never to be answered, a voice in the quiet and dark from a mouth long since silenced.

These last few weeks and months the questions had grown darker and more urgent. These were the questions of the users who always had dozens of posts queued up, who even in life had sometimes forgotten what was to be asked next.

On the surface, the sun rose slowly, as though ashamed, over a landscape of cinders and ashes. The server could find out how many questions were left in its queue, when its job would be completed and it could sit silent at last, but no one had instructed it to do such a thing in a very long time. The server could ask questions across time to a forgotten age, but it could never ask questions of itself.

Beside the server, a red light began blinking furiously on the power supply, followed a half-beat later with an alert sound. Ping...ping...ping...ping. Words of alarm that would never be read scrolled across the small gray screen of the panel. A red LED began flashing "10%" over and over.

The server prepared another question and waited silently in the dark. Twenty-seven seconds. Twenty-six.
posted by Ian A.T. at 5:20 AM on March 17, 2008 [689 favorites]


Try this Cool MeFi Hack!

You will need:

- a pencil.
- some paper.
- some string.
- some sticky tape.

METHOD

1. Tie the string around the end of the pencil. If you have no experience of knots, ask an adult to help you.
2. With some sticky tape, fasten the end of the string to the side of your monitor. Be carefully that you don't accidentally stick your face to your asshole!
3. Place the paper on your desk.
4. Now when think up a really "cool" question, write it down on the paper, using the pencil. Remember to use the end of the pencil that is used for writing!
5. Consult the paper at any future time to discover INFORMATION FROM YOUR OWN PAST!

This great MeFi Hack and literally tens more are available in Simple MeFi Hacks: A Panglossopedictionaria which is available in all good book stores by locating such a book store on a map, going to the relevant location of the store and opening the entry portal or "door" by pushing or pulling the "door" as is indicated on the "door" with your hands which are the highly dextrous and manipulative organs that you will find at the end of your arms. Remember to ask an adult for permission.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 5:26 AM on March 17, 2008 [34 favorites]


Post-it note.
posted by pearlybob at 5:51 AM on March 17, 2008


Aside from all the snark, let me point out that if your idea WAS implemented, the problem would be that you would forget you put the question in the queue and....well, forgetfulness is what it is.

Email yourself. That would probably be simplest.
posted by konolia at 5:56 AM on March 17, 2008


Yeah, there's really no way to say this without sounding like a dick, but: how would this be better than a piece of paper and a pen?
posted by Greg Nog at 6:11 AM on March 17, 2008


Counter-suggestion: Let's bump the between-question period up to two weeks and see how that plays.
posted by box at 6:15 AM on March 17, 2008


Terrible idea. The suggestions to use notepad.exe, or a notepad, are just as bad.

The human tendency to forget unimportant things is AskMe's natural filter. If everyone kept meticulous records of the stupid fecking questions that pop into all of our heads every day, AskMe would bloat up and die a Yahoo Answers type death.

I know it's not dead, but it's dead to me
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:38 AM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


People forgetting to ask questions is a feature, not a bug.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:52 AM on March 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


Ian A.T. that was fantastic. More post-apocalyptic mefi please.
posted by cashman at 7:14 AM on March 17, 2008


Though if in future editions the junior mod, whichever one that happens to be, was by freak chance and/or his own ingenuity the sole survivor of the apocalypse and was to thereafter have grand adventures involving explosions and daring computer hacking and possible first contact with attractive, sexually compatible female humanoid aliens, that'd be okay too.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:38 AM on March 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


Most of the questions on AskMe come down to "I'm too lazy to research somethign myself!" or "help me make a totally subjective decision based on too little information!" Your posting history does not suggest that you are an exception.

Let's please send this little pony to the glue factory.
posted by 1 at 7:47 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


MetaFitler: Be carefully that you don't accidentally stick your face to your asshole!
posted by Meatbomb at 7:52 AM on March 17, 2008


Help, my own face to my asshole is carefully stuck, againly!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:58 AM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was so certain the community would embrace this suggestion.
posted by brain_drain at 8:01 AM on March 17, 2008


Be carefully that you don't accidentally stick your face to your asshole!

This is not going to happen. There are plenty of faces stuck to plenty of assholes out there, but it's never an accident.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:42 AM on March 17, 2008


Best comment-fable ever, Ian A.T., and that is not an easy thing to be.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:04 AM on March 17, 2008


I tattoo all my future questions to myself Memento style. This ensures that I won't ever forget that I need to ask them, but it does lead to some odd questions in the bedroom:

"Why does your stomach have say 'good medication for herpes; ask as anon'?"
posted by quin at 9:07 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


In the sub-basement of what was once an industrial park, the server continued asking questions to the void. The network was long-gone--the ethernet cables vaporized right where they emerged to the surface--but this didn't stop the server. It had a queue.

context for this brilliant comment.
posted by dmd at 9:21 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Damn, Ian. Now I'm all choked up.

(It was the 0 answers. 0 answers. 0 answers. bit that got me.)
posted by ook at 9:58 AM on March 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Dear Hive Mind,

I can't seem to remember everything. What should I do?

Moleskine
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:46 AM on March 17

Post It Notes
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:47 AM on March 17

GoogleDocs List
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:48 AM on March 17

Sharpie+Palm
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:49 AM on March 17

Palm Pilot/Pocket PC/Phone
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:50 AM on March 17

Skywriting
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:51 AM on March 17

Mnemonic Device
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:52 AM on March 17

Abandon job, friends, health. Chant matra ceaselessly. Bingo, new religion: AskMeism.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:53 AM on March 17

posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:52 AM on March 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Ian, that was amazing.
posted by Alterscape at 11:31 AM on March 17, 2008


Ian, that was awesome. Also, you get major points for the Bradbury reference.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:15 PM on March 17, 2008


I'm approximately 80% sure that AskMe Question Pad will satisfy those people who think that NOTEPAD.EXE is too far away from the New Question page to be effective. (20% is equal to how hard it is to test things that work differently depending on when you posted your last question. 20% hard.)
posted by Plutor at 12:49 PM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ian, you fucker, you almost got me fired.
posted by phaedon at 1:27 PM on March 17, 2008


I have the opposite problem. I constantly have questions that aren't easily answered by Google, Wikipedia, or my friends in their various professions, but I don't ask them because I don't want to break some arbitrary ratio I've imagined between "questions" and "answers".

A quarter of my questions have been the hated "Does anyone remember this thing from this time?"

I click on the profile of a user who has supplied an interesting query or response. I see they've been a member since 2000 and have only asked 8 questions.

I don't know what to do with myself. I even feel guilty answering questions; among my 258 answers, only a little more than a dozen were "best". 6% is hardly a good score.

Even this post feels unnervingly like white noise. I'm a lurker who would like an excuse to participate. But words on the Internet are forever.

Every typo burns my eyes.

I have e-social anxiety.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 1:28 PM on March 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


I want a pony that allows me to super-favorite comments like Ian A.T.'s.

I'm not sure what super-favorites are, but I'm sure I want them.

Please.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:10 PM on March 17, 2008


Ian, you have a surprising amount of faith in the MeFi servers considering the history...
posted by mdn at 4:16 PM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'll ask your question for you, or anyone else, at any time. I never use my questions, so first come, first serve. Just memail me.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:08 PM on March 17, 2008


I want a pony that allows me to super-favorite comments like Ian A.T.'s.

I'm not sure what super-favorites are, but I'm sure I want them.


I actually like that idea. Each user only has one, but it is removeable, like favorites. It shows up as an icon next to the comment, like the Best Answer checkmark, and in the Super-Faved user's profile.

Even better, allow users to upload 24x24 pixel art to create their own Super-Fave icon.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:36 PM on March 17, 2008


[I heart Plutor]
posted by mosessis at 8:23 PM on March 17, 2008


Dear Ian A.T. I am proud to say I rode in your cab.

A quarter of my questions have been the hated "Does anyone remember this thing from this time?"

Do not worry about what sort of questions you ask. Do not worry about your "ratio." Worry about whether you're participating sincerely and with integrity (well, more or less) and you will be fine.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:13 PM on March 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Ian A.T. that was fantastic. More post-apocalyptic mefi please.

You're living post-apocalyptic mefi right now. Look outside.
posted by davejay at 11:07 PM on March 17, 2008


OP, other than Plutor's excellent, wonderful script, if you use firefox I recommend installing the ReminderFox add-on. Good stuff.
posted by dawson at 4:12 AM on March 18, 2008


Ian A.T. Wow. Now can you make another fable about the trolls on AskMe locking Jessamyn in the closet for the one day every seven years it doesn't rain?
posted by ALongDecember at 1:03 PM on March 18, 2008


Ian A.T.
I don't know if you're still reading this, you should check out Ray Bradbury's short story "Night Call, Collect". It's Martian-themed though not directly a part of his Martian Chronicles world. However, it was included in the 2005 Hill House version of the Martian Chronicles. It was also made into an excellent radio drama as part of the amazing Bradbury 13 radio series.
posted by Sangermaine at 6:22 PM on March 18, 2008


I should have known, when I saw the outpouring of support for Ian A.T.’s utter tripe and foolishness, that I would have to be the person who pulled the trigger.

He acknowledges that he’s stealing from Bradbury—though in a sneaky and oblique way that will amuse those in the know while passing right by those who aren’t—so why doesn’t he also tip his hat to this article, which clearly “influenced” him to the point of plagiarism? Come on, then…it’s a fair cop, Ian.

And then there are the troubling factual errors. He doesn’t seem to know that it was Sir Alexander Fleming, not Jonas Salk, who discovered penicillin. And a simple glance at any map would have shown him that Michigan’s Upper Peninsula doesn’t share a border with Canada due to the small matter of—oh, I don’t know—Lake fucking Superior. It’s okay, it’s only the largest of the Great Lakes. Anyone could miss it.

The style veers back and forth between artless and overly fanciful. At other times it is simply incoherent. (“[E]merged to the surface”…huh?) Some would argue that this was due to the hasty manner of its composition, as he frantically tried to finish before Jessamyn woke up and closed the thread. But I’m all too aware of Mr. A.T.’s shortcomings as a writer—they pain me endlessly—and I can tell you that the same limitations come through regardless of how long he has to finish his work.

Perhaps my comments here strike you as immature, even self-aggrandizing, but I am not a troll, and I assure you I have a higher purpose in mind: Is this Digg, is this YouTube, is this Cute Overload? NO. This is Metafilter. No matter how close we are to the subject, no matter how gratifying it would be to allow the praise to stand, it is our duty and our calling to rise up, turn our backs to the crowd, and with a strong clear voice declare to the world: Meh.
posted by Ian A.T. at 2:23 AM on March 19, 2008 [34 favorites]


Seriously, though, I want to thank everyone who has been so kind to me, either in this thread, over email, or on the sideblog. I’ve tried to send a short personal note to everyone who went out of their way to compliment me, so check your inbox for some lovingly copy ‘n’ pasted Gratitude Spam.

I’ve been emailed a few times to ask if I have any other writing on the web. Well, if you were wondering what I would do with an essentially plotless 800-page YA novel with nine major characters, boy are you in luck: I’ve been serializing my young adult novel The Darling Budds online. (Yes, there’s an extra ‘D’ there.) New installments arrive on Friday afternoons, or whenever I remember.

(If you enjoy the novel, please drop me a quick line. Like all writers, my needs are so simple: I ask only for unconditional unending love and acceptance.)
posted by Ian A.T. at 2:26 AM on March 19, 2008


Michigan’s Upper Peninsula doesn’t share a border with Canada due to the small matter of—oh, I don’t know—Lake fucking Superior. It’s okay, it’s only the largest of the Great Lakes. Anyone could miss it.

No, no, that part's fine. The UP does: at Sault Sainte Marie.
posted by BinGregory at 9:21 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, is it a "No"?
posted by zouhair at 2:41 AM on March 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's a no, zouhair.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:58 AM on March 23, 2008


Actually, it's the longest NO I've ever read. Kinda entertaining, I should ask more stupid questions.
posted by zouhair at 7:27 PM on March 23, 2008


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