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September 17, 2008 7:10 PM   Subscribe

Can we just get a "relationship FAQ" type thing so before people post relationship questions to AskMe they can go through a troubleshooting if/then structure when asking about relationships?

And, no, I'm not a computer programmer, but that kind of flow chart would be handy.
posted by Eekacat to Feature Requests at 7:10 PM (106 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

The wiki is ready and waiting for your input.

Oh, did you mean you wanted us to built it?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:11 PM on September 17, 2008 [10 favorites]


Oh, did you mean you wanted us to built it?

Yes. With a bit of god on the side, for garnish.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:21 PM on September 17, 2008


Can we have a disclaimer on MeTa that posting passive-aggressive pony requests is heretofore lame?
posted by spiderwire at 7:22 PM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


But my relationship question is unique. No FAQ could ever understand our love.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 7:22 PM on September 17, 2008 [68 favorites]


But my relationship question is unique.

I surely think that 95% of the people who are of a mind to post relationshipfilter also feel this way.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:27 PM on September 17, 2008


I think this would be more useful for people who want to riff on relationship questions than it would be for people with actual relationship questions.
posted by CKmtl at 7:30 PM on September 17, 2008


No.

"lol" and all, but AskMe is to help people. If you want a site that slaps people in the face when they come looking for help with deeply personal problems, you should probably hang out at a dickier site.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:30 PM on September 17, 2008 [12 favorites]


Q: Have you tried winning over the object of your affection with DELICIOUS BACON?

If "NO," please try DELICIOUS BACON first before posting your question to AskMe.

If "YES," then he/she is obviously immune to DELICIOUS BACON'S charms. You should feel free to DTMFA.
posted by scody at 7:31 PM on September 17, 2008 [86 favorites]


scody, you have saved me a lot of pain. Thank you.
posted by popechunk at 7:35 PM on September 17, 2008


IF you have a relationship question for Metafilter that hasn't been asked yet, THEN you post it. No flowchart necessary!
posted by iamkimiam at 7:35 PM on September 17, 2008


they can go through a troubleshooting if/then structure when asking about relationships

If the complexity of relationships could be broken down so easily, don't you think someone would have already done it?
posted by Dave Faris at 7:44 PM on September 17, 2008


http://metatalk.metafilter.com/16750/
posted by nadawi at 7:56 PM on September 17, 2008


Metatalk already has such a chart.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:01 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do you seem happy in this relationship?

Yes DUMP HIM
No DUMP HIM
posted by smackfu at 8:04 PM on September 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


drjimmy11 you're cute and all, but sheesh this wasn't an LOL MeTa in all seriousness. Shame on you for not taking my own feelings seriously. I think there's a special place in hell for you with your false sympathy.

jessamyn, heh, touche. If I knew anything about building wikis, I'd give it a shot, but I'd hope someone smarter than me, which would be about 99% of you, could do it better.

Dave Faris, have you actually read any of the relationshipfilter on AskMe? Yes relationships are complex, but I think 96.378% of the questions are obviously answered. And that's being generous.

I think smackfu has the right spirit!
posted by Eekacat at 8:33 PM on September 17, 2008


Relationships are complex. I think what you're saying is that the people who post questions about them to AskMe are simple.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:37 PM on September 17, 2008


It looks like you're asking a relationship question.

Would you like help?
  • Get help disposing of the body
  • Just let me ask the question

  • posted by blue_beetle at 8:40 PM on September 17, 2008 [14 favorites]


    It's very simple. It all involves fear-based beliefs and assumptions that undermine love and lead to suffering and drama in relationships.

    These are the choices:

    a) Get over it
    b) Remain paralyzed; lather, rinse, repeat
    c) Quit work, take a trip, maybe some shrooms
    d) DTMFA
    posted by netbros at 8:49 PM on September 17, 2008


    RelationshipFilter: I'm absolutely in love with my SO, or at least I thought I was. He's very doting on me when he's around, but he has to be away "on business" at least once a week, and he never tells me anything about the trips, and get irritated when I try to ask him.

    Additionally, while he has always treated me with respect and equality and all that (we live in San Fran, after all ;) ) he comes from a culture where women are expected to be subservient to the men. When I visited his family, the men remained seated while the women served them! He assured me that he wasn't in favor of this arrangement, but it still made me uncomfortable.

    My SO's mother sensed my discomfort, and seemed to resent me for it, like I was being uppoty or "above my station," but I managed to hit it off with his sister-in-law, who had been playing the part to preserve peace around the family, but agreed with me. To prove her point, when my SO interrupted our conversation, she surreptitiously killed him with the hoe we were using for our regimented gardening work. I promised I wouldn't tattle on her, and we told everybody that he had to go on one of his "business trips."

    Long-story-slightly-shorter, we ended up serving him to the rest of the family that night, and his mother seemed to warm up to me now that I had "gotten" the family dynamic. She even sent me home with the leftovers! We had a power outage due to the hurricane, however, and because I had evacuated, I don't know how long my refrigerator wasn't working. SO...

    Should I eat it?
    posted by Navelgazer at 8:50 PM on September 17, 2008 [31 favorites]


    Any such relationship flow chart would probably turn out to have impossibly high standards that the asker could never hope to live up to. Plus a needy parent with a gambling problem.
    posted by longsleeves at 8:57 PM on September 17, 2008


    Dear AskMe: This is actually two questions but I don't want to have to wait the extra week. The gist of it is, I'm not getting along well with my S.O., and also I have some duck l'orange that's been sitting there for a while. Should I feed it to them?
    posted by turgid dahlia at 9:05 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Eekacat writes "If I knew anything about building wikis, I'd give it a shot, but I'd hope someone smarter than me, which would be about 99% of you, could do it better. "

    The wiki interface is very easy to use and essentially impossible to screwup such that it can't be fixed with ordinary measures. Give it a whirl.
    posted by Mitheral at 9:13 PM on September 17, 2008


    No Dave Faris, and I think you're finally being insulting, and a bit thick. What I'm saying is that AskMe is a crappy place to be posting about what you should do with your relationship when in fact most people know the answer going in, but don't want to admit it. It's kind of like the medical questions when 98% or more of them should be asking their doctor the question.

    But, perhaps it's perfect for AskMe since everyone has been in a relationship and is more than willing to tell people what to do with theirs.

    Awesome, longsleeves!

    Navelgazer, you should definitely eat it, and let us know the consequences so we can apply it to our own relationships, err food, errr medical problem....
    posted by Eekacat at 9:21 PM on September 17, 2008


    Related help menu.
    posted by salvia at 9:29 PM on September 17, 2008


    The answer to all relationship questions is, "Declaw it."
    posted by Class Goat at 9:32 PM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


    What I'm saying is that AskMe is a crappy place to be posting about what you should do with your relationship when in fact most people know the answer going in, but don't want to admit it.

    So you don't actually want a RelationshipFilter flowchart, and this post was basically just a rant against a type of question that you don't like? What a shock.
    posted by burnmp3s at 9:40 PM on September 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


    It won't matter. The point of most relationship filter questions is not to get to the question but to explain. every. detail. in order to sort it out in the asking of the question. Heck, I subjected my poor, longsuffering friends to plenty of downloading sessions before and during and after my divorce, and they usually started with "Let me ask you something...." [30 minutes later] "...so what do you think?"

    "Uh. What was the question?"

    At least AskMe does require an answerable question in there somewhere.
    posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:43 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Am I sick for thinking that writing the flowchart would be kinda fun?

    Are you in a relationship now?
    No ->
    Are you asking about a potential future relationship?
    No ->
    Are you trying to get a relationship back together?
    Yes ->
    DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME
    No, really, I want to ->
    Have they told you point-blank that they wouldn't?
    No ->
    Are you under age 23?
    No ->
    Were they trying to break up with you for months before the actual break-up?
    No ->
    Alright, it's still a longshot, but ask away.

    There could always be a "fine, enjoy the pile-on" option as well.
    posted by salvia at 9:52 PM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


    The idea kinda reminds me of this (which is geared toward women who date women.)
    posted by needs more cowbell at 10:15 PM on September 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


    more than willing to tell people what to do with theirs.

    Great. Now, let me tell you what to do with yours. It involves some sand.
    posted by Dave Faris at 10:37 PM on September 17, 2008


    But every answer would be DTMFA.
    posted by LarryC at 10:39 PM on September 17, 2008


    I think that this kind of thing, more than most things, would really benefit from a Choose Your Own Adventure treatment.
    posted by Dipsomaniac at 12:27 AM on September 18, 2008


    If you ask your grandparents what kept them together all these years, I'm sure they would say "flow charts."
    posted by KokuRyu at 12:43 AM on September 18, 2008 [9 favorites]


    Q: Have you tried winning over the object of your affection with DELICIOUS BACON...

    But, but that could lead to the dreaded Less Delicious Bacon For Me scenario!

    You may know a lot about love, scody, but you have a hell of a lot more to learn about the important things in life.

    every answer would be DTMFA

    I'm partial to "Fine then, die alone."
    posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:48 AM on September 18, 2008


    What I'm saying is that AskMe is a crappy place to be posting about what you should do with your relationship when in fact most people know the answer going in, but don't want to admit it. It's kind of like the medical questions when 98% or more of them should be asking their doctor the question.

    I agree with you that most relationship questions are crap, but the solution is to delete the 95% of relationship questions which would be chat filter if they were asked about any other subject.
    posted by afu at 2:40 AM on September 18, 2008


    I think that this kind of thing, more than most things, would really benefit from a Choose Your Own Adventure treatment.
    Funnny how Have Other People Choose Your Adventure For You! books probably wouldn't sell too well, you'd think, and yet...
    posted by Wolfdog at 3:42 AM on September 18, 2008


    RelationshipFilter needs to be spun off as such (or as something like "Rash Decisions and Seven-Year Itches"). Jess could run it all on her lonesome and give it her favorite color. Charge a separate five bucks to get in.
    posted by pracowity at 4:10 AM on September 18, 2008


    RelationshipFilter is easy:

    Are you trying to get together with someone who has made it clear they just want to be friends?
    - It won't work, it's disrespectful to them, don't do it.

    Are you trying to get back together with your [insert $drama] ex?
    - It's a bad idea, don't do it.

    Are you suffering from problems in your relationship?
    - Talk to your partner(s).

    Are you trying to figure out if someone will go out with you?
    - Ask them out.

    Are you asking what to do when someone is treating you like crap?
    - DTMFA

    I think that covers everything.

    FoodFilter is easier:
    Is the item moving?
    - Don't eat it. Alternatively, kill it, then eat it.

    Is the item substantially changed in colour or texture from what it should be?
    - Don't eat it.

    Does it smell bad in a way it shouldn't?
    - Don't eat it.

    Are you in doubt about whether it's a good idea to eat it?
    - Don't eat it.

    All done.
    posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:42 AM on September 18, 2008 [14 favorites]


    dirtynumbangelboy's suggestions are better if you swap the answers between the RelationshipFilter and FoodFilter:

    Are you trying to get together with someone who has made it clear they just want to be friends?
    - Don't eat it. Alternatively, kill it, then eat it.

    Are you in doubt about whether it's a good idea to eat it?
    - DTMFA

    And so on.
    posted by slimepuppy at 5:53 AM on September 18, 2008


    Jess could run it all on her lonesome and give it her favorite color. Charge a separate five bucks to get in.

    Hey what? Don't stick me out in that relationship cornfield. I like it here with you guys!

    What I'm saying is that AskMe is a crappy place to be posting about what you should do with your relationship when in fact most people know the answer going in, but don't want to admit it.

    I see AskMe relationship questions as a very elaborate version of the psychic coin flip. You ask your question, you flip your coin to see what to do and then you step back and see how you feel about the answer you got. If what you're feeling is "gee, I wish I'd gotten the other result" then there's your answer. I think people who answer those questions like doing it and people who ask them (usually) like getting feedback, then I think the system works. Don't want to help people with their yet-another-what-should-I-do question? Don't.
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:12 AM on September 18, 2008 [8 favorites]


    "Have you tried turning him off, then turning him back on again?"
    posted by WPW at 6:16 AM on September 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


    Maybe that should be the tagline, "AskMetafilter: A very elaborate coin flip" if that's how you'd like people to regard it.
    posted by Wolfdog at 6:17 AM on September 18, 2008


    I see AskMe relationship questions as a very elaborate version of the psychic coin flip. You ask your question, you flip your coin to see what to do and then you step back and see how you feel about the answer you got. If what you're feeling is "gee, I wish I'd gotten the other result" then there's your answer. I think people who answer those questions like doing it and people who ask them (usually) like getting feedback, then I think the system works. Don't want to help people with their yet-another-what-should-I-do question? Don't.


    Someone needs to change the FAQ

    If you want to avoid having your question flagged and possibly removed, here are some things to avoid...

    - Questions with no problem to be solved or where the problem is some variant of "I'm curious if other people feel like I do"

    posted by afu at 6:24 AM on September 18, 2008


    "what should I do?" is a problem to be solved.
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:26 AM on September 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


    1. People who answer those questions like doing it.

    2. People who ask them (usually) like getting feedback.

    3. Profit!
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:32 AM on September 18, 2008


    I think people who answer those questions like doing it and people who ask them (usually) like getting feedback, then I think the system works. Don't want to help people with their yet-another-what-should-I-do question? Don't.

    This exactly! I don't think there's a problem and I think having some sort of flow chart would be demeaning to people. If you don't want to answer relationship questions, don't. Everyone else who wants to, will.
    posted by Nattie at 6:51 AM on September 18, 2008


    "If you don't want to answer questions about _____ , then don't!" is an argument that can be applied to any kind of question (or ruminative essay punctuated with a question mark at the end like a cheap moustache-and-glasses disguise) whatsoever. So I can't say I regard it as a particularly thoughtful or convincing argument when it's advanced to explain why these kinds of questions are OK, but these aren't.
    posted by Wolfdog at 6:58 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


    "lol" and all, but AskMe is to help people. If you want a site that slaps people in the face when they come looking for help with deeply personal problems, you should probably hang out at a dickier site.

    What, like metatalk? we'll fuck you up here. metaphorically at least. The main point of metatalk is yelling at people with the audacity to post on metatalk.

    posted by garlic at 7:20 AM on September 18, 2008


    I can't say I regard it as a particularly thoughtful or convincing argument when it's advanced to explain why these kinds of questions are OK, but these aren't.

    It's not supposed to be. It's more of a "Given that the guidelines allow these sorts of questions, if they still bother you, perhaps you shouldn't answer them."
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:20 AM on September 18, 2008


    damn it. I closed the italics, I swear.
    posted by garlic at 7:20 AM on September 18, 2008


    I'm kinda over the internets love affair with bacon.
    posted by Stynxno at 7:25 AM on September 18, 2008


    Well, bacon told me it was going to stop replying to your emails, so you two are even.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 7:35 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


    What I have gathered from reading the adjoining PMSbuddy thread is that flow charts are bad.
    posted by adipocere at 7:40 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


    What I'm saying is that AskMe is a crappy place to be posting about what you should do with your relationship when in fact most people know the answer going in, but don't want to admit it. It's kind of like the medical questions when 98% or more of them should be asking their doctor the question.

    I think you are wrong that people in the middle of a tough relationship know the answer going in. When this has been me, I can't see the forest for the trees.

    Applying your theory, though, didn't you really know the answer to this question coming in? An unfriendly, almost robotic sort of chart to address relationship questions that involve human emotions and feelings? Really? You thought that was going to fly here?

    So maybe people don't always know the answers to their own questions, even when they're obvious to others.
    posted by onlyconnect at 7:43 AM on September 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


    "what should I do?" is a problem to be solved.

    The flip side to that is that the question should be solvable, and you compared answers in a relationship question to a coin toss, which says to me that the question does not have a solvable answer.
    posted by afu at 7:46 AM on September 18, 2008


    Of course, even if this weren't a terrible idea for other reasons, it wouldn't actually work to reduce the number of similar RelationshipFilter questions, since nobody would ever believe that their relationship was generic and predictable enough to be helped by a flowchart, even if it was. People have a question, they come to AskMe, and in the best case, the process of asking the question and having people respond to it leads to an answer. As I take Jessamyn to be saying above, this process can take other forms than "What is the factual answer?" "Here is the factual answer!" yet still fall within the guidelines, and certainly still be useful.
    posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:48 AM on September 18, 2008


    you compared answers in a relationship question to a coin toss

    The 'psychic coin flip' isn't about making your decision randomly on the basis of a coin flip. It's about using the coin flip to draw out the preference you already had subconsciously, thus solving the problem.
    posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:51 AM on September 18, 2008


    Yeah, to be clear, this is what the psychic coin flip thing is:

    You have an issue. You're ambivalent. Option one or option two? You come to an impasse, because it's undecidable—neither option is better than the other. But you've got to choose! Woe!

    So you grab a coin. Or a friend (whose ear, perhaps, you have been talking off about this dilemma) who has a coin.

    Heads = option one.
    Tails = option two.

    You flip it. The flip decides what you're going to do, right? Decision made for you, what a relief, life is a fatalistic wonderland and—

    Wait, shit, heads? No, it can't be heads! I—oh.

    Apparently you wanted it to be tails. Apparently it is decidable, when you put it in the hands of something out of your control and observe your own emotional response to having the decision taken from you.

    It's not a perfect method, but it's not a bad fallback if you've managed to work yourself into an impasse. And there are some relationship questions that do function as a much more nuanced and human-driven version of this phenomenon, and while I'm no fan of relationshipfilter personally I don't think there's much fundamentally wrong with that.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 7:57 AM on September 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


    The 'psychic coin flip' isn't about making your decision randomly on the basis of a coin flip. It's about using the coin flip to draw out the preference you already had subconsciously, thus solving the problem.

    I understand, I just don't understand how acting as the coin toss is part of Askme's mission and how questions like these differ from other kinds of chat filter.

    I don't really have anything against relationship questions. Though I think the shitty advice usually outweighs the good, and the main reason people like them is their soap opera quality. I usually enjoy the schadenfreude too.

    What I really want is to be able to post questions about if X can beat Y in a fight.
    posted by afu at 8:12 AM on September 18, 2008


    Relationship questions are not easy for those who ask because they are so emotionally involved that they physically cannot think about it clearly. Other people can, because they are not emotionally involved, so throw the question to them and let their answers prop you towards the difficult, but unavoidable decision. FAQ:s don't do that well, you kind of need real people to convince you that this common advice is suitable for your special case too.

    This made-up question has the same elements as the typical relationship questions and it is a good, askworthy question:

    "We found this beautiful house and I really want to live there, but there are some serious problems with plumbing: (Long technical description of many, many expensive problems.) Can we manage this, if my salary is about this (not much) and we're having our first child soon? I'm mostly planning to fix it by myself and learn how to do it in process. I really want this house."

    It is obvious what the asker wants, but he also knows that it could be better in the long term if he gets convinced otherwise. Because he wants to buy the house so much, he cannot trust his own good judgement about it, so he asks for neutral opinions or experiences of similar decisions. The answers probably hang to certain details that the asker brought up and try to make a case that these are deal-breakers in this situation. Certainly he could make the same decision without asking, but going through hypotheticals with other people helps him to close certain what-could-have-beens and in long term it is easier to live with his decision.
    posted by Free word order! at 8:23 AM on September 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


    What I really want is to be able to post questions about if X can beat Y in a fight.

    Bring beer.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 8:26 AM on September 18, 2008


    What I really want is to be able to post questions about if X can beat Y in a fight.
    Just argue that it's a problem to be solved because you really want to know, which is certainly a problem from your point of view (possibly it's even medical, because it's keeping you up at night), and you'll be on good footing. If anybody complains, you can argue "Don't like questions about whether X can beat Y? Just skip them!" - it's airtight and mod-approved (but you can, for maximum effect, act as if it's a stunning insight that no-one has ever thought of before).
    posted by Wolfdog at 8:54 AM on September 18, 2008


    1.

    You are in a relationship, and you have a question about said relationship. You are about to submit your question to AskMetafilter.

    If you choose to consider whether or not strangers are really the best place to turn for advice on a relationship they can't possibly fully understand, go to page 2.

    If you choose not to, click Submit.

    2.

    You consider carefully whether strangers on the internet could possibly have some deeper insight into your relationship than you have. It occurs to you that the only information they'll have to go on is what you provide, so it can provably be demonstrated that they'll have no insight into the relationship that you don't already have.

    If you choose to think about whether or not you need a "fresh perspective" on things, go to page 3.

    If you choose to abandon askme in favor of dealing with your problems in a useful way, stand up and go talk to your partner.

    If you choose to ignore both options in favor of begging for validation, click Submit.

    3.

    It occurs to you that you could possibly use a fresh perspective on things. Maybe some thoughtful mefite out there has been in your partner's position before and can tell you where he's coming from. Of course, with this thought comes the one that reminds you that if you want to know where your partner is coming from, you could probably just ask him.

    If you choose to abandon askme in favor of dealing with your problem in a useful way, stand up and go talk to your partner.

    If you feel like you're not sure enough of yourself and your thoughts to talk to your partner in any useful way, go to page 4.

    If you just want to complain about your partner without worrying about his side of things, click Submit.

    4.

    You don't really feel sure enough of your own position on things. You feel like you'd be okay with everything if you could just talk it out with someone, but you're not ready to have that hard a conversation with your partner. You really feel like you'd feel better if you just went to askme about this.

    If you choose to wonder why you don't just go to your friends if you really just need to talk, go to page 5.

    If you don't have any friends because all you do is complain about your partner and no one wants to listen to it any more, click Submit.

    5.

    You ask yourself, "christ! why don't I just go to my friends about this?!" The wisdom of this seems obvious to you. I mean, jesus, at least they know the guy. Plus, they'll probably be honest with you since they're your friends, right? Man, going to your friends is totally the right idea.

    To finally make use of the support systems people have successfully used since the dawn of time, stand up and call your friends to meet up for a drink.

    To be a whiny pain in the ass, go to page 6.

    6. You're just going to click submit, aren't you. This whole thing was an exercise in futility. You don't give a shit about solving your problem, you're just happiest when you get to complain and act wronged because then people pay attention to you and pity you. Fine. Click Submit. That's just what you're going to do anyway. We can't stop you. Just remember to post as anonymous so you can then come in under your regular account and be your own cheerleader.
    posted by shmegegge at 8:58 AM on September 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


    "But my relationship question is unique. No FAQ could ever understand our love."

    Please. Everyone knows the rote answer is "Yes, you should see other Patrick Swayze movies."
    posted by klangklangston at 9:09 AM on September 18, 2008


    IF: BITCHS GOT TITTYS
    THEN: THROW THEY TITTYS ON THE GLASS
    PROBLEM SOLVED
    posted by Damn That Television at 9:15 AM on September 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


    What I really want is to be able to post questions about if X can beat Y in a fight.

    I've got 5 on jessamyn beating cortex, queensbury rules.
    posted by electroboy at 9:16 AM on September 18, 2008


    For questions that don't involve facts or specialized knowledge, most people going in have an "idea" of the answer. They're asking because basically they want to get others' insights on their situation. In those circumstances, it's hard to abstract someone else's situation and apply it to their own. If I have a problem with my computer, I can read another thread and think, "Oh, I should add more ram". But if I'm concerned about whether doing x will affect my ongoing relationship with my fiance, I'm going to post an AskMe.

    I mean, realistically all RelationshipFilter questions are
    "Sex/love/my heart/my head/romance/other people = complicated amirite?" [more inside]
    But people do love to come in and discuss these things. I think RelationshipFilter works in AskMe, and I think it's kinda pointless to have discussions about what should and shouldn't be on AskMe. So a few extra KB gets add to the MetaFilter database, older AskMe posts move a few cms lower on the page, and a bunch of people waste their time answering questions that look like questions answered before. BFD.
    posted by Deathalicious at 9:17 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Dear AskMe: My girlfriend is a week past her due date. Is she safe to eat?
    posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:26 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


    "But my relationship question is unique. No FAQ could ever understand our love."

    My relationship is pedestrian and average. I think an FAQ would help us immensely, and perhaps even save us some money if we ever need counseling.
    posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:31 AM on September 18, 2008


    Eekacat: No Dave Faris, and I think you're finally being insulting...

    AT LONG LAST
    posted by koeselitz at 9:42 AM on September 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


    Yeah, forest for the trees. I think the point of RelationshipFilter is to sift through someone's jumbled details for them ("but he didn't call me back" "when I asked to get my CD back, he said I was being selfish"). Then we scratch our chins and look really thoughtful, go in the backroom, consult the impressive-looking handbook we all got a copy of (you didn't?), then give our expert diagnosis: those occurrences do technically indicate a case of "being treated like crap."

    The prescription follows immediately ("Are you asking what to do when someone is treating you like crap? - DTMFA"), but it's not the prescription that's hard, it's the diagnosis. Because she reeeeallly reaaallly likes him, and he had to work late that whole week so maybe he just didn't remember, and maybe he was right that she was being selfish, and ...

    So what we need is more like a tree identification book. If the relationship has one unreturned phone call, go to pages 2-14. If the relationship has more than three unreturned phone calls, go to pages 21-23.
    posted by salvia at 9:46 AM on September 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


    Your ponyrequest is important to us. Please hold, and your pony will be snarkified in the order it was received.
    posted by not_on_display at 9:53 AM on September 18, 2008


    "If you don't want to answer questions about _____ , then don't!" is an argument that can be applied to any kind of question (or ruminative essay punctuated with a question mark at the end like a cheap moustache-and-glasses disguise) whatsoever. So I can't say I regard it as a particularly thoughtful or convincing argument when it's advanced to explain why these kinds of questions are OK, but these aren't.

    You're right that it's not a good answer to "why are questions of type X allowed and not questions of type Y?"

    However, it's a very good answer to "I don't like questions of type X," which is what Eekacat put forth here.
    posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:02 AM on September 18, 2008


    The flip side to that is that the question should be solvable, and you compared answers in a relationship question to a coin toss, which says to me that the question does not have a solvable answer.

    "No one knows in advance, with absolute certainy, whether the proposed solution will actually solve the problem" is not synonymous with "the problem cannot be solved."
    posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:06 AM on September 18, 2008


    They need to do this for cat questions.
    posted by Zambrano at 10:07 AM on September 18, 2008



    So, you're dating a girl who shares her residence with a cat. If your relationship is going to get anywhere, I encourage you to follow each of these suggestions:


    1. Never, ever mention that you can (or can't) smell the litter box.

    2. If the kitten wants to spend an hour untying your shoelace, let him. When he gets it untied, retie it so he can continue playing.

    3. Never make a big show of brushing the cat fur from your slacks.

    4. Get in the habit of putting a couple of sardines in your pocket. Slip them to the cat when she isn't watching. (Note: you may have to do this through the entire dating period, because the cat will likely go for your pocket each time you visit.)

    5. Don't push the cat off the sofa if he's inserted himself between the two of you. If he's still sitting between the two of you when you get amorous, reassure him (mental telepathy is fine) that you have no harmful intentions against his companion, and move him gently to your lap. Try to keep one hand stroking the cat at all times in this situation.

    6. If you're spending the night, do yourself a favor and don't even TRY to sleep in the cat's favorite spot on the bed.

    7. When you phone her, ask about her cat.

    8. When she leaves the room to fix cocktails or check on dinner, ask her if she's got a cat toy handy so you can keep the cat entertained.

    9. If you're taking her out to dinner, ask her if it's okay to bring home a "cat bag" of leftovers for the cat.
    posted by netbros at 10:16 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Actually, it wouldn't be bad to have a flowchart for the "OMG the stock market is collapsing should I sell all my stocks?!!??!" questions. (cf. 1 2 3 4)

    How soon will you need the money from those stocks?
    less than two years --> sell, and you really shouldn't have had the money in stocks in the first place.
    two to ten years --> sell some, if you're not already balanced with some of your money in less risky investments.
    more than ten years --> leave it in.
    posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:32 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


    AskMe is a crappy place to be posting about what you should do with your relationship

    Word.
    posted by tommasz at 10:35 AM on September 18, 2008


    Q: Have you tried winning over the object of your affection with DELICIOUS BACON...

    It's all become clear to me now - never, ever, ever marry a vegetarian! Or, if you must, make sure they will still offer you bacon. (glares in ex-husband's general geographic location).
    posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:40 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Now I want delicious bacon.
    posted by everichon at 10:56 AM on September 18, 2008


    jessamyn: Hey what? Don't stick me out in that relationship cornfield. I like it here with you guys!

    I didn't mean that's all you'd do. I was just under the impression that it was something you liked doing, and you running it as a standalone thing might be a clean way of separating the bleeding hearts from the seeping penises, the nebulous from the knobulous. I bet you could turn it into a big moneymaker.

    (By the way, the Ask* name is capitalized inconsistently, with big "Ask MetaFilter" intercaps above the date, "Ask Metafilter" with no intercaps in the title bar, and "Ask MeFi" at the bottom of the page.)
    posted by pracowity at 11:16 AM on September 18, 2008


    So, you're dating a girl who shares her residence with a cat. If your relationship is going to get anywhere...

    Don't forget Step 0, which is "never date a girl that shares her residence with a cat."

    Dogs have masters. Cats have staff.
    posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:20 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


    So, you're dating a girl who shares her residence with a cat. If your relationship is going to get anywhere...

    You cannot let the feline beast win. Every time someone does this, it makes it that much harder for the rest of us who date a cocathabiting individual. You can feed the cat, pet the cat, and play with the cat, but never succumb to its will.
    posted by solipsophistocracy at 11:29 AM on September 18, 2008


    Dear AskMe,

    Apparently, due to my recent comments on MetaTalk, my relationship is seriously on the rocks. Is there any way to salvage it? Bonus points for 'declaw her cat' based suggestions.
    posted by solipsophistocracy at 11:31 AM on September 18, 2008


    AskMe is a crappy place to be posting about what you should do with your relationship

    I disagree. People don't always have a place to turn for disinterested advice, and I think most of the relationship AskMes contain a lot of really helpful and wise comments. Does the original poster make much use of them? We don't know, but I believe there are people benefitting from it. I know I have. I benefit from giving advice, because the act of learning about some one else's situation, reading other people's reactions, processing everything I've read, and arriving at a conclusion of my own clarifies my thinking on relationship issues.
    posted by orange swan at 11:48 AM on September 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


    Seriously, any time I have been questioning something in my relationship I compose a little askme question in my head. At this point I know exactly how tps et al would respond to my question and I can compose their answers for them. Then I look at how I framed the question (because everyone frames the question towards the answer they want) and look at my own motivations. So far my relationship has survived. I probably should spend more time outside or something though.
    posted by saucysault at 11:53 AM on September 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


    What if you're dating a pony?
    posted by not_on_display at 11:55 AM on September 18, 2008


    You can feed the cat, pet the cat, and play with the cat, but never succumb to its will.

    Alternately: It is possible for a human to succumb to a cat's will. The reverse will NEVER happen.
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:57 AM on September 18, 2008


    I just don't understand how acting as the coin toss is part of Askme's mission and how questions like these differ from other kinds of chat filter.

    Because the mods said so. Don't like it? Stay away from those questions.

    Also, this post is disingenuous and should result in more mockery than has been give it. So:

    Can we just get a "MeTa FAQ" type thing so before people post whiny useless wankfests to MetaTalk they can go through a troubleshooting if/then structure when trying to figure out whether to post their complaints where the public can see them?
    posted by languagehat at 12:03 PM on September 18, 2008


    Also, do exactly as the cat says. Both of your lives will be easier that way.
    posted by languagehat at 12:04 PM on September 18, 2008


    "Come with me if you want to live" - random cat.
    posted by blue_beetle at 12:34 PM on September 18, 2008


    ^not_on_display: “What if you're dating a pony?

    ETMFA
    posted by bonobo at 1:56 PM on September 18, 2008


    Anyone here know AI? This seems like a good application for an expert system. Hell, I might write one myself as a learning experience.
    posted by hellojed at 2:10 PM on September 18, 2008


    You can use MyAsk to filter out most of the stuff you don't want to deal with.
    posted by slimepuppy at 2:11 PM on September 18, 2008


    Is he a cheater?

    This may just be the worst relationship question ever.
    posted by smackfu at 2:39 PM on September 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


    Seriously, any time I have been questioning something in my relationship I compose a little askme question in my head.

    I have written more relationship filter questions than anyone. I just have never clicked the "post" button.
    posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 3:24 PM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


    This may just be the worst relationship question ever.

    It's probably the worst non-deleted one, I'll give you that.
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:47 PM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


    This may just be the worst relationship question ever.

    hoo-boy! that one's a doozy!

    i'm only 3/4 of the way through, and eagerly awaiting the next plot twist.

    IF THE GUY SHOWS UP IN THE THREAD, DON'T SPOIL IT FOR ME.
    posted by UbuRoivas at 7:54 PM on September 18, 2008


    must...not...register...sockpuppet...*argh*
    posted by UbuRoivas at 7:58 PM on September 18, 2008


    one-hundred.
    posted by dawson at 8:16 PM on September 18, 2008


    I much prefer reading questions about human relations than prosaic questions about which Apple product to buy, how to ship product X safely, where the nearest farmers market is, etc.

    But I don't think the reader is factored into the Ask Metafilter rules - the section is really for the poster.

    BTW that someone would suggest relationships could be worked out by computer program is pretty sad all round.
    posted by dydecker at 9:02 PM on September 18, 2008


    I much prefer reading questions about human relations than prosaic questions about which Apple product to buy

    Amen.
    posted by salvia at 11:25 PM on September 18, 2008


    I much prefer reading questions about human relations than prosaic questions about which Apple product to buy

    Oh, me too. It's like Dear Abby gone interactive.

    It's probably the worst non-deleted one, I'll give you that.

    Not even close. And I'm kind of enjoying that thread. It's like a bad mystery novel.

    It reminds me of the time a friend of mine had a college-era boyfriend who used to wear an onyx on a chain around his neck. He returned to his hometown for the funeral of an ex one weekend and came back to school without it. He told my friend, let's call her "Shelley", "My ex and I bought matching pendants together and I couldn't stand to wear mine anymore so I put it in her coffin."

    Shelley thought this a bit weird but didn't care really, hadn't even noticed that the guy wasn't wearing the onyx anyway. Then a few weeks later she was at his place and saw the onyx lying on the guy's bedroom floor. She picked it up and put it in her pocket and waited for him to mention it. He didn't, so a few days later when he was over at her place, she produced it and asked him what the story really was. The guy got all flustered and defensive and said, "Well, I bet you think I let some other girl wear it, but I didn't!"

    Shelley gave him the onyx and ordered him out of the house. To this day I wonder what the story really was, though probably it's nothing more interesting than the guy letting some other girl wearing the onyx for a time.
    posted by orange swan at 9:07 AM on September 19, 2008


    I actually love the relationship questions. When I first hit in AskMe in the mornings I go directly for them. Bonus points for them being anonymous because there's a chance that its about heartache and liking/not liking putting things in various orifices and/or getting dressed up as a viking. It's my ghetto version of reality TV. I fucking hate the cat questions though.
    posted by ob at 10:15 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


    I have an idea, why don't the mods start a separate "filter" for relationships, and call it "ReFi". That way the voyeurs can get their fix and rehash the essentially same questions, and they could even allow MeFi FPP type posts about relationships. It's full of win I say!
    posted by Eekacat at 5:12 PM on September 21, 2008


    For all of those who prefer ReFi'ed beans...
    posted by iamkimiam at 5:22 PM on September 21, 2008


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