Embrace this new feature, and take it to where it needs to go, where the world clamors for it to go -- OPTIONAL HYPOTHETICAL FILTER April 3, 2008 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Matthew: For a long time, I have been sad at the loss of HypotheticalFilter. When AskMe was young, such questions would arise. But those days are gone now, as the site matured. It's simply not done, you'd say. It floods the page with nonsense. It makes the real questions get lost. Still, I thought, I want to know how to dispose of a body, or how long we'd survive without the sun. Who would win in a fight? A squirrel, or a squirrel's weight in ants?


But it was your site, sir, and you merely allow me to use it. So I muddled through, saddened, but understanding.

But today, Matthew, today things have changed. We are being encouraged to ALTER ASKME TO OUR WHIMS. I don't CARE about sports! I LOVE Law and Government! RelationshipFilter sickens me, and I will not have it! RelationshipFilter is crack that I want, nay, NEED in my life.

Perhaps, just perhaps, now that we have the seeds of a customizable interface, and can play with categories to our ever-changing desires, perhaps now is the time to introduce a new category - one for hypotheticals!

John embraces them, wants to see more of them. Wishes to spend his workday debating Spider-Man versus She-Ra. You, Matthew, shun this, and see it as the ruin of civilization. Until today, I could never win that argument, for you ARE Metafilter Network, LLC, and if only one of us can be happy, it must be you. No one would debate this. But now, now Matthew, it is no longer a binary choice between our wishes.

Embrace this new feature, and take it to where it needs to go, where the world clamors for it to go -- OPTIONAL HYPOTHETICAL FILTER. Off by default, if you wish, waiting, lurking, for your legions of hypothetical-loving denizens to leap into gleefully.

I believe in HypotheticalFilter. I believe in Metafilter. but most of all, Matthew, I believe in YOU. Give me that checkbox, and I promise you, I will click it, oh I will click it with all of my heart.

What say you, sir, what say you?
posted by John Kenneth Fisher to Feature Requests at 8:46 AM (97 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Go to BBQ. It's made for this. AskMe is not. Matt's at the zoo.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:50 AM on April 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


I hate when people use this ridiculous style. Sir, matthew, blah, blah, blah. Just write out your issue like a normal person.
posted by necessitas at 8:50 AM on April 3, 2008 [14 favorites]


I hate it when raspberry seeds get stuck between my back teeth. It's really annoying. Fuck!
posted by psmealey at 8:52 AM on April 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


I'd like that too, but it probably won't happen.
posted by delmoi at 8:53 AM on April 3, 2008


Just because the MyAsk interface is there, doesn't mean most people will use it. What you get, then, is still the same problem of crap questions cluttering up the front page.

I understand that you don't see these questions as crap, but I'm interested in helping people out, not watching nerd fights about comic books fall victim to Godwin's Law.
posted by chrisamiller at 8:53 AM on April 3, 2008


What kind of ants are we talking about? Because fire ants would automatically win.
posted by Big_B at 8:55 AM on April 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Go to BBQ. It's made for this. AskMe is not. Matt's at the zoo.

True, but with this change, I see no reason it COULDN'T be brought back into the site. All of the objections to it seem to no longer be valid, if we're starting to implement customization (even if it's in basic stages at this point)

I hate when people use this ridiculous style. Sir, matthew, blah, blah, blah. Just write out your issue like a normal person.

Yeah, me too. I'm just bored, and felt like being melodramatic. I still believe in the point though.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:55 AM on April 3, 2008


Just because the MyAsk interface is there, doesn't mean most people will use it. What you get, then, is still the same problem of crap questions cluttering up the front page.

Hence off by default. Let people select them if they want them. I will, many people will. more probably won't.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:56 AM on April 3, 2008


We could also implement an opt-in "vicious pileons" line item and allow people who want that sort of thing to see it and thereby encourage folks to do that sort of thing in AskMe, but that doesn't seem like a very good idea either, for similar reasons. There's a long history behind discouraging chatfilter on AskMe, not because we hate what if questions but because explicitly condoning it on the site is a path to a great big messy useless future for AskMe. Adding a filtering option that probably only 10% of AskMe regulars will use a lot doesn't functionally change that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:59 AM on April 3, 2008


I think what you are asking for is another askme (perhaps a link at the top) but only for hypothetical stuff.

So hypofilter.

And the guidelines for that should be modified appropriately.
Please limit your answers to wisecracks. Real answers do not apply here.
posted by special-k at 9:01 AM on April 3, 2008


I think what you are asking for is another askme (perhaps a link at the top) but only for hypothetical stuff

MeCha does this kind of thing reall well. Check it out some time.
posted by psmealey at 9:03 AM on April 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


HypotheticalFilter: If you saw two guys named Hambone and Flippy, which one would you think liked dolphins the most?

I'd say Flippy, wouldn't you? You'd be wrong, though. It's Hambone.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:04 AM on April 3, 2008 [10 favorites]


There's a long history behind discouraging chatfilter on AskMe, not because we hate what if questions but because explicitly condoning it on the site is a path to a great big messy useless future for AskMe.

Is that still valid though if it's explicitly labeled and opt-in? I can see that when ask me was a monolithic entity, that chipping away at it with goofiness injures the whole, but a specific category seems to contain it quite well, in my opinion, especially if opt-in... Eh, I'm over commenting in my own thread. Sorry about that.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:04 AM on April 3, 2008


I wish I could use "Matt's at the zoo" as an all-purpose excuse in my line of work.

"Where's my tax returns?"

"Matt's at the zoo."
posted by yhbc at 9:07 AM on April 3, 2008 [9 favorites]


Could Jonathan make a MetaTalk post so egregiously melodramatic, that he himself cannot flag it?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:09 AM on April 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I see no reason it COULDN'T be brought back into the site.

- The main AskMe view is still "all the questions" and that's not likely to change. We're not adding an "off by default" option, it goes against the "everyone sees everything unless they decide not to" general policy here. "opt in" to unfilter something is not going to happen.
- Chatty questions dilute the usefulness of the subsite as a whole as a place to get answers
- We don't want to moderate chatfilter, it's really unmoderateable, we don't want to make the changes necessary to the site or guidelines to make this something we could moderate
- AskMe does a specific thing very very well. It does not need to do everything. The thing you want to do can be done many many other places on the internet, including many that are populated with a large number of MeFi members.

You're asking about changing a major site guideline for something that even by your own account isn't likely to be used much. This isn't about whether it could happen but about whether it will. It won't. I don't know any more friendly way to say this, but there are few things that mathowie, cortex and I absolutely agree on, but this is one of them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:09 AM on April 3, 2008


Hey Commish, where's Matt?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:09 AM on April 3, 2008


I'm with JKF on this one.
posted by caddis at 9:12 AM on April 3, 2008


Is that still valid though if it's explicitly labeled and opt-in?

I think it is, yeah. It's kind of the kill-file problem in reverse: stuff either is okay on the site or it isn't, and trying to have it both ways makes it close to impossible to actually enforce guidelines. I think that maintaining some official duality where such and such isn't allowed except that it is but only if you're looking at it in the spot where it's allowed sounds like a nightmare.

In a sense, we already have that problem with somewhat differing rubber-meets-road limits of permissability between the blue and the green and the grey. That's something that's grown up out of the traditional roles of the different sites, and while they're all Metafilter they're also all three somewhat distinct site cultures. Doubly so with the green, where the guidelines are more preventative and well-defined as compared to the more corrective guidelines of the blue and the grey where more or less anything (but self-linking) goes unless it's really out of line.

But handling the differing feel of the guidelines across the three major subsites is one thing; handling a split in how the guidelines of askme applies depending on whether or not you've clicked a specific box, and managing the inevitable drift of that newly-condoned behavior to realms outside of magic checkbox territory, sounds really really awful and kind of counterproductive to the work that's gone into making the green work over the last few years.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:13 AM on April 3, 2008


This is kind of a neat idea in the same way that Twinkies are kind of a neat food. I fucking love Twinkies. At the same time, if I walk into some high-class Eritrean restaurant, and say "Oh you guys should totally add Twinkies to your menu," there's probably not gonna be a lot of other customers shouting in agreement.

John, this is my way of saying come on over to my place, and we'll eat Twinkies and surf Big Big Question and listen to some records, it'll be great.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:16 AM on April 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


This is what BigBigQuestion is for. Perhaps you are unaware as you didn't mention it.
So uh check it out.

Right Here
posted by French Fry at 9:22 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Matt's at the zoo

Is this a metaphor for Metatalk?
posted by dersins at 9:27 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is this a metaphor for Metatalk?

Do you see him here? No he is at the IRL zoo looking at IRL chimps and such. Unlike me.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:33 AM on April 3, 2008


Hypothetical questions are entertaining, but not useful.
posted by plexi at 9:37 AM on April 3, 2008


PSYCHIATRIC HELP 5¢.

THE DOCTOR IS ( AT | NOT AT ) THE ZOO.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:38 AM on April 3, 2008


Fire ants, Big_B? Bullet ants beat the fuck out of fire ants.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:38 AM on April 3, 2008


Matt's at the zoo

I think this expression is a nice improvement on out of pocket.
posted by A Long and Troublesome Lameness at 9:39 AM on April 3, 2008


Squirrel, duh.
posted by sciurus at 9:44 AM on April 3, 2008


Ants, duh.
posted by dabitch at 9:46 AM on April 3, 2008


Here's a question for future hypofilter:

If two '87 Chevy trucks with gun racks and Calvin pissing on Fords stickers in their rear windows are headed in opposite directions at 68 mph on an unpaved county road, how long does it take to buy a case of Miller lite from a secular humanist named Ishmael in Kansas on a Tuesday?
posted by special-k at 9:48 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


How long would it take for a monkey with a wooden leg to kick all the seeds out of a dill pickle?
posted by breezeway at 9:52 AM on April 3, 2008 [11 favorites]


So to go with Big Big Question, who wants to help me start 'Fiddly, Fiddly Question'?

BBQ seems to be going for the big whoah questions, but Fiddly Fiddly Question could target little questions like:

- How far from the edge of a table should a glass of liquid be to be 'safe' from falling off?
- Is it better to have a poop that wipes clean on the first try or one that makes your pants fit better?
- If species of trees had distinct personalities, would a Maple be friendly? Would it get along with an Oak?
- If Ben Reilly was alive today, would he be an Avenger or a Defender?
- My toe itches.
- If I met my genetic duplicate, would I instantly like him or fear him? What if I was the duplicate?
- If you were a genie, how literal would you be when granting wishes?

˙ǝsɐǝld 'ɹǝʇlıɟ ʇɐɥɔ ou ˙ƃuıopun ɹnoʎ ʞǝǝs puɐ noʎ ɹɐǝɟ plnoʍ ǝɥ ʇnq 'ǝʇɐɔıldnp ǝɥʇ oʇ puıʞ ǝq plnoʍ noʎ ˙ʇı ɥɔʇɐɹɔs ˙ɹǝpuǝɟǝp ˙sʞɹǝɾ ǝɹɐ sʞɐo ʇnq 'sǝʎ ˙sʇuɐd ƃuıʇʇıɟ ɹǝʇʇǝq ˙ɥʇpıʍspuɐɥ ǝuo :sɹǝʍsuɐ
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:55 AM on April 3, 2008 [10 favorites]


So to go with Big Big Question, who wants to help me start 'Fiddly, Fiddly Question'?

I know it's a helplessly compromising species of brand drift, but I really wouldn't mind that sort of thing over at the BBQ either. I think the "Big Big" thing can work nicely both as an earnest appeal toward what-iffery and philsophical moon-shooting, and as an ironic nod to the essentially dispensible nature of many of the questions we nonetheless sometimes find ourselves yearning to ask.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:58 AM on April 3, 2008


^Three.

I look at MeCha for all my hoppytheticals.
posted by not_on_display at 9:59 AM on April 3, 2008


At The Zoo.
posted by ericb at 10:32 AM on April 3, 2008


I just went to a barbeque, and nobody could answer my question about squirrel vs. ants.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:35 AM on April 3, 2008


You'd have to go to a real zoo to see real chimps, but there's plenty of virtual chimps in this zoo.


Ants ftw. Some ants eat anything that moves. Squirrels eat nuts. Unless you've got ants that look and move and talk like nuts, the ants're going to win.
posted by WalterMitty at 10:54 AM on April 3, 2008


Yeah, I feel like it would be a Neat Thing to have, but I think it's a bad idea for the reasons that cortex goes over. If it's something that you have to opt-in to at MyAsk, again, that'd be neat, but if it's something that's that tucked away it probably wouldn't have the potential to grow as it's something newcomers probably wouldn't ever see.
posted by booticon at 10:55 AM on April 3, 2008


I vote to include hypothetical filter. I love it.

If we're voting.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:00 AM on April 3, 2008


I smell fedoras.
posted by loiseau at 11:02 AM on April 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Not only do I support this idea, I embrace it. Embrace it HARD. So HARD perhaps, that it begins to choke. And then I laugh.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:04 AM on April 3, 2008


I'd say answers.yahoo.com is a great example of why rules against posting any idle curiosity you might have is a good idea but more importantly ask mefi works because it is small enough to be manageable and if I had the desire to grow a huge database of these things and build ways to hide it from most, I would but I prefer small, useful, and manageable.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:15 AM on April 3, 2008


How was the zoo?
posted by ALongDecember at 11:16 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I enjoy typing things.
posted by Dizzy at 11:16 AM on April 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


You can ask whatever the hell you want as long as you start your question with: I'm writing a book about..."
posted by Mister_A at 11:23 AM on April 3, 2008


If we're voting.

We're not, thank god, but if we were, and if I set aside my anarchist principles, I'd vote against. And haul out my flamethrower.

Take your hypothetical nuts and go feed the squirrels at BBQ.
posted by languagehat at 11:27 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


What if someone could be happy with the ability to restart the color changes? Is that the MetaFilter equivalent of bread and circuses?
/easily pleased
posted by Cranberry at 11:27 AM on April 3, 2008


How was the zoo?
posted by ALongDecember at 2:16 PM on April 3


He's on his iphone, bitches!
posted by shmegegge at 11:28 AM on April 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


If two '87 Chevy trucks with gun racks and Calvin pissing on Fords stickers in their rear windows are headed in opposite directions at 68 mph on an unpaved county road, how long does it take to buy a case of Miller lite from a secular humanist named Ishmael in Kansas on a Tuesday?

Trick Question! Ishmael only works Sundays!
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:33 AM on April 3, 2008


You can ask whatever the hell you want as long as you start your question with: I'm writing a book about..."

Awesome!

I'm writing a book about superheroes... who would win in a fight? Batman or Superman?

I'm writing a book about a guy who thinks he's a nice guy and would like to continue thinking that... in view of this, should he cheat on his girlfriend with an ex if he knows that he won't get caught? And oh, he's also leading the ex on by suggesting that he's interesting in getting back together with her.
posted by psmealey at 11:34 AM on April 3, 2008


HE'S TEXTING US FROM INSIDE THE ZOO! GET OUT JILL JOHNSON AKA CAROL KANE!
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:35 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


loiseau
Thank you. I was just wondering if John Kenneth Fisher was the poster behind that fedora question. I was imagining this MeTa post in a faux European accent, in pinstripes.

robocop is bleeding
Two questions/comments:
1. If Ben Reilly was alive today, would he be an Avenger or a Defender?
It's funny you should ask that. The infamous Marvel_B0y, who still lives, has posted some more spoilers about the up-coming Secret Invasion event. It turns out that the Reilly who died at the end of the Spider-Clone saga was a Skrull (as was the Jackal, Judas Traveller, Scrier, and, oddly enough, the original Mysterio). The current Peter Parker is a human-Skrull hybrid clone created as part of the Invasion plan. There was, in fact, never a real Peter Parker. It was all false memories implanted via a move by Thanos (explained in an upcoming arc). Anyway, it turns out that all the Skrulls are really Spider-clones controlled by a returned Doom 2099. At the end, this Doom is defeated but accidentally sent back in time and deaged without his memories, where he is found as a baby and adopted by the Parkers, thus becoming Peter Parker. Finally, this Parker wakes up just prior to the point where J. Michael Straczynski took over, realizing it was all just a dream. And he's a Defender, as you rightly noted. Hope that clears it all up.

2. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but how did you do the upside-down text thing?
posted by Sangermaine at 11:40 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was just wondering if John Kenneth Fisher was the poster behind that fedora question.

Not me :-)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 11:48 AM on April 3, 2008


Not me :-)

Have you seen his user photo? Not him.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:52 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm writing a book about superheroes... who would win in a fight? Batman or Superman?

Close, but it would have to be phrased more like this:

I'm writing a book about the comparative strengths and weaknesses of many of the most popular costumed superheroes from mainstream comic books. Can anyone pinpoint for me exactly what statistics would be relevant in a battle between batman and superman, (such as relative strength/speed/intelligence/wealth, etc...) and what the values would be for those statistics? Bonus points for tips on individual hero combat strategies and likely environmental limitations given the resources of either combatant. (for example, batman could convince superman to meet him in a cave with a rigged explosive to seal off the entrance and the cave would have a stash of kryptonite for him to get at, etc...) Thanks in advance, askme!

Yes, people do this, yes it works. You have to ask for details and allow room for exploration without seeming like it's an open ended question.
posted by shmegegge at 11:52 AM on April 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Not me :-)

Actually, without context, that can seem coy. Seriously, no, that one was very much not mine.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 12:05 PM on April 3, 2008


I have a starter fiddly question for Big Big Question: When I blow my nose, why does it always feel like air leaks out my left eye socket? My right eye feels normal. I've looked at some anatomy diagrams but can't really sort out how the two are connected and brain guts kind of freak me out.
posted by loiseau at 12:12 PM on April 3, 2008


There was, in fact, never a real Peter Parker. It was all false memories implanted via a move by Thanos (explained in an upcoming arc).

WHAT. THE. FUCK. MARVEL.
posted by heeeraldo at 12:18 PM on April 3, 2008


Could there be a similar mechanism for rhetorical questions?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:22 PM on April 3, 2008


can't really sort out how the two are connected

Sinuses.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:22 PM on April 3, 2008


I have a starter fiddly question for Big Big Question: When I blow my nose, why does it always feel like air leaks out my left eye socket?

Yes, you have some minor defect/anomaly in your sinuses. I knew a girl that could blow air bubbles out of her eyes (underwater). She was hot.
posted by Mister_A at 12:30 PM on April 3, 2008


"Sooner or later, everyone goes to the zoo."

--Sloane Peterson
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:31 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


oh, also: Batman or Superman?

Batman with preparation rolls Superman, as seen in The Dark Knight Returns. Batman unprepared would certainly lose to Superman, but - as we find out in Hush - Batman has a kryptonite ring in his belt at all times and is able to take down Superman with only a short time to strategize and well outside his element (the fight occurs in Metropolis) and so we can safely assume that Batman is ready to kick all asses at all times.
posted by heeeraldo at 12:41 PM on April 3, 2008


I dunno. Ever since I ate a Camry's volume in Skittles, I've lost my taste for this sort of thing.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:46 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


heeeraldo
Uh, sorry, kidding. I thought I'd written something crazy enough to be obviously untrue, but I forgot how badly Marvel has dropped the ball of late.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:59 PM on April 3, 2008


Oh, I thought I should add, that even though I was kidding that blog I linked to, if you're not familiar with it, really does contain real spoilers about upcoming events. There's some debate about whether it's by a disgruntled Marvel employee as the author claims or whether it's a marketing ploy, but past spoilers revealed in posts or in the comments have turned out to be true, so be careful if you read it.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:03 PM on April 3, 2008


I haven't read superhero books in some time, but Joe Q getting shitcanned in the next 2 weeks would be just fine by me.
posted by shmegegge at 1:06 PM on April 3, 2008


WHAT COLOR IS THE COUGAR? GOLD? NO! BROWN? NO! RED? NO! THE ANSWER IS TAWNY.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 1:18 PM on April 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


I don't need HypotheticalFilter. I live it every day.

It's tough, being the multiverse's only counterfactual superhero.
posted by Eideteker at 1:20 PM on April 3, 2008


Batman carries a Kryptonite crucifix, so he is equally skilled at warding off Superman and vampires.

*With apologies to Steven Wright.
posted by Mister_A at 1:29 PM on April 3, 2008


If species of trees had distinct personalities, would a Maple be friendly? Would it get along with an Oak?

No. A Maple would be like a sorority girl, and an Oak would be like your grandpa. They would outwardly tolerate one another, but each would secretly disapprove of the other's lifestyle.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 1:38 PM on April 3, 2008


It's tough, being the multiverse's only counterfactual superhero.

"These yellow woods sure are creepy. I wonder—holy Heisenburg!"
"What is it, Schroedingirl?"
"There, up by that fork in the path! Gosh, Captain Quantum, I think it's a body, torn in half!"
"Zounds! Avert your eyes, young compatriot—there's no cause for you to be troubled by this ghastly sight."
"But what happened here, CQ?"
"Indecision got the better of my old nemesis, it appears."
"Wait, th-th-the Frostman?"
"The very same. May god have or have not mercy on your soul, Robert."
"But in school—he said he took the road less traveled!"
"Poetic license, faithful squire. Never trust rhymed meter."
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:40 PM on April 3, 2008 [8 favorites]


You totally posted this just to get the answer to the squirrel/ant question.

The answer is the ants are more deadly. . . .and

. . . the plane takes off, the conveyor belt doesn't change anything.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:21 PM on April 3, 2008


The zoo sucked. About half of the exhibits and paths are closed for construction which I could understand a few months ago being the dead of winter and all, but it's springtime yo, and the place was packed but it's still running half-closed and half-empty exhibits. Total ripoff for out-of-towners looking for a nice quiet place to see animals.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:44 PM on April 3, 2008


So now I have this vision of my grandfather and a sorority girl being kept equal, whatever that would mean, by hatchet, axe, and saw.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:47 PM on April 3, 2008


About half of the exhibits and paths are closed for construction

This is pretty much my experience every single time I go to the damn zoo. It's like being in Big Dig-era Boston.

Also, it's weird how much the place has changed. I worked there part-time for a summer back in 1992 or 1993, and got to know the layout of the place pretty well from both the exhibit side and the secret maintenance areas. And then I wasn't there for years, because, well, angsty girl-related memories and having red-lined my "being around pygmy goat shit" gauge.

And going backa few years ago, damn. They changed the whole flow of the place. It's more of a maze, a lot less of a plaza feel than it used to have (with pretty wide, see-for-a-good-ways thoroughfares). The overall structure is mostly the same, but so much of the detail has gotten closer (and more [faux-]naturalistic) that it doesn't seem like the same zoo so much as a new zoo that recycled most of the old exhibits. Which I guess may have been the point—it reminds me, now, more of my visit years ago to the San Diego Zoo than it did in the state it had been in when I actually went to the San Diego Zoo, and you don't really fuck with the SDZ so mission accomplished or whatever.

But still. I think we can all agree that zoo-based girl-angst is a powerful thing, is what I'm getting at.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:01 PM on April 3, 2008


Metafilter: Total ripoff for out-of-towners looking for a nice quiet place to see animals

that just never gets old
posted by found missing at 3:05 PM on April 3, 2008


"I'd say answers.yahoo.com is a great example of why rules against posting any idle curiosity you might have is a good idea but more importantly ask mefi works because it is small enough to be manageable and if I had the desire to grow a huge database of these things and build ways to hide it from most, I would but I prefer small, useful, and manageable."
posted by mathowie at 2:15 PM on April 3

The interesting thing about Yahoo! Answers for people wanting this kind of thing, is The Yahoo! User Interface Library (YUI), which let's people build filters and site views of their own choosing. So, a person wanting HypotheticalFilter can build it (within the limits of the APIs Yahoo is exposing, some of which are admittedly beta quality), without really getting lost in the much bigger stream of collective conciousness that is Yahoo! Answers, compared to AskMe. And for the committed HypoNaut, there's that vaunted treasure trove of 30 million answers already in the can over there, which is, hypothetically, gold, for the determined data miner HypoNaut.
posted by paulsc at 3:08 PM on April 3, 2008


I have a question:

If I was swallowed alive by a sufficiently large animal, and I was wearing an airtank so suffocation wouldn't be a problem, how difficult would it be to free myself by clawing my way out of the stomach? For the sake of argument, let's assume that I was armed with a 3" bladed pocket knife and had a flashlight.

As an unrelated question, how long could I expect an iPhone to continue working and providing internet access after having been swallowed by a very large carnivore?

Let's, just for the sake of argument, say that this was an urgent question, and I needed to know... now.
posted by quin at 3:14 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


quin, this might help answer your question.
posted by andythebean at 3:21 PM on April 3, 2008


By swallowed alive, do you mean still breathing, but with all your bones broken, or alive and whole?

In the case of being whole and able to move, with a 3" knife, it could take you less than a minute. Just look at a butcher gutting an animal.
posted by Dr. Curare at 4:11 PM on April 3, 2008


Seems like you would need goggles, too. Digestive belly juices, and such.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 4:18 PM on April 3, 2008


"As an unrelated question, how long could I expect an iPhone to continue working and providing internet access after having been swallowed by a very large carnivore?"

I would call that a very related question.

But that's just me. Here. Outside of a large carnivore.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:38 PM on April 3, 2008


We're not, thank god, but if we were, and if I set aside my anarchist principles, I'd vote against. And haul out my flamethrower.

I had an anarchist principal in high school. Gym class was awesome.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:45 PM on April 3, 2008


Frank.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 4:48 PM on April 3, 2008




Seems like you would need goggles, too.

Actually, they don't do a whole lot.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:54 PM on April 3, 2008


Indeed, I believe they do nothing.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:56 PM on April 3, 2008


Take your hypothetical nuts and go feed the squirrels at BBQ.

You think I don't already? I work in Berkeley. I talk to the people to hang out all day at Peets! But I want more. Anyway, they've had the same hypothetical questions every day for the 8 years I've worked here.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:08 PM on April 3, 2008


Zoos make me sad.
posted by trip and a half at 5:28 PM on April 3, 2008


Don't worry, they'll let you out someday.

(sorry, too easy)
posted by jonmc at 6:45 PM on April 3, 2008


Actually, cortex, I was thinking more like a superhero detective, whose job it is to explore failed alternative universes to find out what would have happened "if only..."

Less gee-whiz, more wistful loneliness. Like visiting Earth after the sun has died. The superpowers part is more to help him survive the travel.

Yours is funnier, though.
posted by Eideteker at 7:48 PM on April 3, 2008


If I was swallowed alive by a sufficiently large animal, and I was wearing an airtank so suffocation wouldn't be a problem, how difficult would it be to free myself by clawing my way out of the stomach? For the sake of argument, let's assume that I was armed with a 3" bladed pocket knife and had a flashlight.


Just run around and around until you're all pooped out.
posted by JujuB at 8:55 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know, there's kind of a cosmic irony about Matt being at the zoo when we get the question re-raised on MeTa about whether bears or monkeys would win in a fight for global domination. Which is really what this question about HypotheticalFilter is all about.

Its what any question about HypotheticalFilter is all about.
posted by allkindsoftime at 11:17 PM on April 3, 2008


Less gee-whiz, more wistful loneliness.

Ooh. "Neither Here Noir There"
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:22 PM on April 3, 2008


What? Someone needs to make an FPP about that Marvel stuff. That's insane.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:26 AM on April 4, 2008


Ooh. "Neither Here Noir There"

Now you got it.
posted by Eideteker at 7:31 AM on April 4, 2008


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