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How long do you wait before posting to askmefi? October 7, 2009 12:03 AM   Subscribe

How long do you wait before posting to askmefi? I know in my case I tend to think it over for a few days, try and think if I can figure out what people would say in response ... then post it and be surprised with the results. But I'm curious if other people are more spontaneous.
posted by Admira to Etiquette/Policy at 12:03 AM (65 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Is this an AskMeFi question?
posted by awfurby at 12:11 AM on October 7, 2009


Indefinitely.
posted by Eideteker at 12:11 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I haven't askedMefi in over a year, for fear I'll really need to ask a question and be in the "refresh period".
posted by orthogonality at 12:17 AM on October 7, 2009 [15 favorites]


For time-sensitive ones (like the time I walked into flypaper), it's RIGHT AWAY. Otherwise, I'll google and mull and ask smart friends, then summon the awesome power of the hive mind.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 12:21 AM on October 7, 2009


I often figure out the answer to my question while trying to write it as the act of framing my question in a way that is clear to others suddenly makes what I'm trying to solve clear to me too. It's like Virtual AskMe.
posted by jamaro at 12:21 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Occasionally, I think "Yeah, I'll post an AskMe about XYZ". Then I sit down and do five minutes of searching to make sure that I won't look like a moron. 95% of the time, I find my answer and don't need to ask.

I wish more people did this.
posted by chrisamiller at 12:24 AM on October 7, 2009 [9 favorites]


Officially, my record is 1 year, 5 months, 3 days, and 2 hours (margin of error is +- 4.5 hours). My unofficial record is nearly twice that, but it was discounted because I forgot to send in the mass spectrometer readings.
posted by clorox at 12:48 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I often think "I should post an AskMe", and then I think to myself, "how would I answer that if it were a question?", and then I realise I can figure it out on my own.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:57 AM on October 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


As soon as I have a question, after Googling.
posted by Danila at 1:00 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Normally I've eaten it, gone to the doctor, or DTMFA before I get round to posting. Sometimes all three.
posted by Phanx at 1:55 AM on October 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


Sometimes I write out a series of questions and edit them over a period of time and um and ar over them (particularly anonymous ones). But mostly I fear, like orthogonality, that if I ask a question, then the one time I really really need to ask a question will come up.

And with that, I suggest the question preserving club. Users will continue to ask questions as they occur, but if one member of the club has already used their question when a sudden need arises, they can turn to the next highest ranking member of the club and ask them to ask the question for them.

What do you think? Who's for the QBC? (I have a question to ask and need to wait at least another 4 hours).
posted by b33j at 2:57 AM on October 7, 2009


Through the magic of time travel, I need never wait to post an AskMe. However, one unfortunate side effect is that I accidentally caused my parents to break up in high school with the result that I'm now slowly evaporating.
posted by DU at 4:02 AM on October 7, 2009


Since there's never any follow-up, I often think Anonymous posts in haste and then regrets it.
posted by gman at 4:03 AM on October 7, 2009


Sometimes I post a question the moment it pops into my head (after some quick googling) but sometimes it's something I've been wondering about on and off for years.
posted by Kattullus at 4:07 AM on October 7, 2009


Honestly, everytime I post one the time I wait decreases (not that I post a question every week, but I'm more likely to just go ahead and ask if I have a question now).

It stops getting to be a big thing and just starts to be, hey, some additional input could be hella informative here.

Though a lot of times with certain interests I'm always obsessing over them anyway so I spent a lot of time thinking about them. I don't know how to say I like looking at clothing and shopping before I sound like the dumbest bimbo ever, but I will generally spend a long time looking for an item of clothing before I request fashion advice. As far as requests for music, films, et cetera: my whole adult life has been a search for new music I like, so I only ask if I want first hand reviews; this movie is hilarious, the beat in this particular song is fucking sick.
posted by Juliet Banana at 4:10 AM on October 7, 2009


I can't think of any questions I've asked that weren't things that I needed help with in a near-future kind of way. Perhaps some day I'll ask a more philosophical question after much mulling it over, but it tends to be more "AAUUUGGGHHH! I can not fix this! MUST ASK THE NERDS!"
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:08 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I *really* needed to know the answer to this - and I never got it.

It still really bothers me, if I'm honest.
posted by Jofus at 5:14 AM on October 7, 2009


I registered to post a question, but I still haven't found the courage to do it.
posted by daniel_charms at 5:18 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I haven't had anything I really wanted or needed to ask until I posted my maiden question last week. It was a narrowly focused, regional thing, so AskMe was ideal. I think the answerer was at the same SF event, too (not the service).
posted by jgirl at 5:51 AM on October 7, 2009


I'm in the "indefinitely" crowd. I've posted a few, but only after much searching yielded no results. These days, I don't even think "I should Ask Metafilter;" I just google it. Today I learned about Australian magpies and their incredible memories, after having been swooped for the first time the other day (and then, a couple days later, swooped THREE times and hit each time by one particularly angry bird). Still can't substantiate Mr. po's claim that they swoop at you with their beaks to peck you, though. That doesn't make sense to me. I assume they swoop down and bat at you with their wings and rake you with their claws.

Anyway. Ask Google may not be quite as entertaining as Ask Metafilter, but it saves me looking like a fool. Also, I have this idea that a Good Mefite should always have more posts and comments in the Blue than the Green. No, I don't actually adhere to it. But I feel like I should try.
posted by po at 6:10 AM on October 7, 2009


It's been said before, but I find just the exercise in formulating a question helpful to coming up with an answer on my own. Mentally tabulating all the factors that would be important to giving a well-reasoned answer often opens whatever mental blockage I've been suffering from. That and riding a bike or walking while thinking.

Thanks, Metafilter!
posted by readery at 6:24 AM on October 7, 2009


Couldn't this have been handled better via MeFiMail?
posted by heyho at 6:28 AM on October 7, 2009


I have a series of scattered text files. Each one I start working into a question. Many times I'll discover that, in phrasing the question, I've given myself some new avenues of exploration, and I'll go track those down until I either resolve the issue or don't come up with anything.

Sometimes something may be pressing, or will just have driven me mad with curiosity, so I'll ask. If it is something that involves people's direct experience, I'll ask sooner, because attempting to reason my singular viewpoint into mass experience is usually a bad idea.

I have about eight AskMe's in the hopper right now, some of which I have been mulling over for nearly a year.
posted by adipocere at 6:42 AM on October 7, 2009


I have found that if I wait long enough, someone else will have asked the question. In fact, the reason I joined was to ask a specific question which I have not yet asked because I know one day, someone more confused than I will ask it and take the ridicule on my behalf. And to clear it up for all those who say ask it no matter how insane it may seem, I will just say that my question has to do with the plot from an episode of the Flintstones.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:43 AM on October 7, 2009


I'll echo a few people from above. I tend to mull things over, holding back in case I ask then something more urgent comes up. Then when I actually come to write a properly structured question, a route to the solution presents itself: better search terms for google or, frequently, the AskMe archive; or a new approach to think about the problem. So the questions I actually ask tend to be when I'm entirely outside my frame of reference (e.g. cantonese pop music) or need specialised knowledge urgently (e.g. some molecular biology pointers when I was finishing my PhD thesis).

po - Also, I have this idea that a Good Mefite should always have more posts and comments in the Blue than the Green. No, I don't actually adhere to it. But I feel like I should try.

Really? I've tended to think the exact opposite. Maybe it's to do with different posting styles? Answers to posts on AskMe are intended to solve someone's problem or provide some interesting knowledge. While there is occasionally some very insightful and informative stuff on the blue, most of it seems to be just pontification or (in-)jokes. I love both of them but I feel like the green adds much more value to the site and the internet as a whole, almost like a public service. Mind you, I tend toward a weird "utility == beauty" view of the world so my love for AskMe might be unusual. Wouldn't the world be terrifying crazy if we were all me the same?

posted by metaBugs at 6:48 AM on October 7, 2009


I usually save my questions for when I'm using the computer.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:49 AM on October 7, 2009


I have a file of potential questions that's years old. Also, I think I tend to wait too long, maybe - I ask a lot of questions _after_ having done a lot of research on my own, but by that point, it seems that there's nobody with information I haven't uncovered already. Which may mean that the question I posed wasn't a good candidate for AskMe, but I'm usually at my rope's end, and at least the lack of a fulfilling answer tells me it's time to give up.
posted by amtho at 6:56 AM on October 7, 2009


I make a list of all the earth-shatteringly important questions in my life.

Then I go ask something banal. (Example 1, Example 2, My absolute stupidest question)
posted by desjardins at 7:05 AM on October 7, 2009


I wait forever. I have a decent model of the AskMe community in my mind and I can pretty much run my questions through my AskMe simulator and get pretty good advice out of it. It's shockingly effective. Other than that my questions are too googleable, or ungoogleable and I don't want to watch people try my same googles, or too embarassing to even ask anonymously because hey, my boss would know!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:07 AM on October 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


I sat on this question for a long long long time, 'cause I figured I'd stumble across prickly pears eventually; I love walking around strange new grocery stores and exotic ethnic markets and charming fruit & vegetable shops.

I asked this question right away, because I didn't suspect a huge uptick in man-on-man porn consumption was on the immediate horizon.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:56 AM on October 7, 2009


I usually think about it for three or four days before I actually post. A lot of the time I change my mind during that period, and figure it out, or decide I don't care.

Last week I had a spontaneous question though -- I suddenly felt inadequate that I didn't know how to make pie dough.

And then this week I had to sit on my question until the exact seven days had passed! It was horrible! I nearly died.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 8:02 AM on October 7, 2009


Juliet Banana: Honestly, everytime I post one the time I wait decreases (not that I post a question every week, but I'm more likely to just go ahead and ask if I have a question now).

Perhaps in the future before posting something you might stop to ask yourself whether YOU ARE RUINING METAFILTER.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:05 AM on October 7, 2009


Why on earth would you wait to ask a question? It's only a website. Just ask the damn question already.
Are people really afraid of MetaFilter?
posted by rocket88 at 8:15 AM on October 7, 2009


I have a question that I shelved about a month ago. It's looking a little rough around the edges and it smells funny. Should I eat it?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:21 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are people really afraid of MetaFilter?

It's the artificial scarcity. I think 'that would be a good question for Metafilter' oh, I don't know -- three or four times a week? But you can only ask one a week. So what if the next question is BETTER? So I wait, and in the interim, figure it out or decide I don't care that much or I get bored with the idea, whatever it was.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 8:25 AM on October 7, 2009


A quick look at my history tells me I have a need to ask a question about once every six months or so, and those tend to be in the "It's too obscure for google" or "There are way too many hits on google and I need someone with firsthand experience."

It's weird, actually, because I use the site pretty regularly, but I almost never think of ask.me as a resource that I use in that way.
posted by quin at 8:33 AM on October 7, 2009


I haven't askedMefi in over a year, for fear I'll really need to ask a question and be in the "refresh period".

This is truth.
posted by alligatorman at 8:37 AM on October 7, 2009


Are people really afraid of MetaFilter?

I had to knock back my custom blend of Diazepam, Hendrick's and tonic just to post this. Do you know what it' like to live in fear?
posted by everichon at 8:37 AM on October 7, 2009


I haven't askedMefi in over a year, for fear I'll really need to ask a question and be in the "refresh period".

I asked a question recently that I would normally have just gone and asked a human about [and I still will] just so that I would be in the "refresh period" long enough to NOT ask about my neighbour's belching or his pig or his horrible disease or whatever it is that is happening over there.
posted by Acari at 8:42 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I often figure out the answer to my question while trying to write it as the act of framing my question in a way that is clear to others suddenly makes what I'm trying to solve clear to me too. It's like Virtual AskMe.

I believe the rule is one AskMe question and then don't even think about posting another for a week.
So turn that brain off, mister.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:44 AM on October 7, 2009


Yesterday I came across a picture I wanted to identify and felt my Google-fu inadequate to the task. So I posted the question right away and had my answer in 12 minutes.

The hive mind is awesome.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:52 AM on October 7, 2009


Also: much love to the Ask MeFi Question Pad.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:57 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've asked 4 questions:
Reflux with infants? My wife went through her baby sites, had used the speed-dial with the pediatrician, and I searched AskMefi for prior questions. All in all, it was an uncessary question (in retrospect), but for two sleep deprived parents, sometimes asking the question is the best therapy.
Traveling on the Train with an infant? Once again, it was something we'd never done. My wife and I were nervous and wanted a bit of reassurance and tips so it went as smoothly as possible. We asked a few days in advance, with probably an hour or so discussion beforehand where we identified a few complications which we didn't know how to work around.
Excel help? I needed help that day. I read FAQs, boards, tricks and tips daily on excel. I recieved a solution which I have never seen before on any of those sources. It has helped me every day since.
Toilet help? It leaked for a few days beforehand. Since the leak was in an odd place (on the center of a surface), other sites I had looked at didn't really have a good guide on how to fix it. I patched it with advice given, and we have a request in for a replacement from the landlord.
For all the questions that I haven't asked on AskMefi?
I've googled, talked to experts, and otherwise waited all my life for answers... some of which I've gotten.

In all:
I've posted when: All other datasources were exhausted, I was exhausted, and my brain knew there was a way to do this properly but didn't know the mechanics.
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:58 AM on October 7, 2009


Oddly enough, I tend to find that my potential questions have already been asked and thoroughly answered.

Two days ago I went to Ask looking for gifts I might be able to bring a hospitalized friend who's been fighting cancer. There are four wonderful threads brimming with good ideas. Had a computer issue over the weekend, and turned up a thread with precisely the solution I needed. The Hive Mind's parenting advice is incredible, too.

I hardly ever ask questions myself, but AskMe is still invaluable.
posted by zarq at 9:42 AM on October 7, 2009


Also, I have this idea that a Good Mefite should always have more posts and comments in the Blue than the Green.

Really? Why? Spending more time on AskMe than FPPs would be too helpful, insufficiently snarky?
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:44 AM on October 7, 2009


Also, I have this idea that a Good Mefite should always have more posts and comments in the Blue than the Green.

I have more comments on metatalk than blue and green combined. WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THAT
posted by little e at 9:58 AM on October 7, 2009


you don't like to be out in public?
posted by gman at 10:02 AM on October 7, 2009


I search AskMe and Google the heck out of it. Nine times out of ten, there's already a lot to read, and no need for me to make an additional post. Or I just wait a few days and the thing I was going to ask about resolves itself anyway.

I asked a "Just graduated, why can't I find a job?" type question a while back when I was just starting to use AskMe. Although I got a lot of great responses, there were a hundred other threads that would have told me the same thing.
posted by futureisunwritten at 10:03 AM on October 7, 2009


upon reflection, it is a little weird and creepy, isn't it.
posted by little e at 10:12 AM on October 7, 2009


Yeah? Well my cat is biting my foot right now and my rabbit is watching me in a state somewhere between awake and asleep, all the while my parrot is yelling at the workmen in my living room.

WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THAT?

I think it's all connected somehow.

Possibly involving leprechauns... or bees.
posted by quin at 10:13 AM on October 7, 2009


little e: I have more comments on metatalk than blue and green combined.

How many of them are lobster and lederhosen related?
posted by Kattullus at 10:28 AM on October 7, 2009


Heh, probably half.
posted by little e at 10:45 AM on October 7, 2009


I have more comments on metatalk than blue and green combined. WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THAT

You are one of the chosen.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:56 AM on October 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


cortex: You are one of the chosen.

Holy Shatner! More than 15000 MetaTalk comments. It doesn't seem so long ago that I was joking with you about hitting 10000. When are you scheduled to hit 20000? The way things are going you'll have more MetaTalk comments than Delmoi has comments on the Blue.
posted by Kattullus at 11:00 AM on October 7, 2009


I tend to agonize for weeks over whether to make and how to word posts that I never actually make to AskMe, and then all of a sudden have some random thing that I'll just up and post a few minutes after I think about it. So, the answer to this question lies somewhere between five minutes and infinity.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:03 AM on October 7, 2009


Also, I have this idea that a Good Mefite should always have more posts and comments in the Blue than the Green.

As someone who has 15x more contributions in the Green, I sure hope that's not true. I get tired of the arguments that don't go anywhere quickly, but helping people never seems to get old.
posted by chrisamiller at 1:17 PM on October 7, 2009


If you have to think about whether you should make an AskMe, you shouldn't make the AskMe. Therefore, the correct amount of time to wait is either "indefinitely" or "not at all".

For example: Can't figure out how to configure your whatever in your linux distro? Don't need to think about whether its okay to post! Post it without waiting! Your wife won't have sex with you after you told her she was getting way too fat because she gained 7 pounds while taking anti-depressants which you believe are a bunch of snake oil given to weak minded people? Seems like you might have to think about whether posting this one is a good idea! Don't post it!

Easy peasy.
posted by Justinian at 3:02 PM on October 7, 2009


too embarassing to even ask anonymously because hey, my boss would know!

This is sort of why I'm a bit nervous about ever meeting jessamyn in person. She'll be all like, "Oh right, you were the one with that problem."
posted by Deathalicious at 5:12 PM on October 7, 2009


I don't wait. If I ask a question, it's because I want input from other people, not from google. But I don't ask a lot of questions either, and they have all been answered pretty damn fast. Granted, some of those answers COULD have been found with more diligent searching on my part. However, it would have taken longer. AND I know I feel good when I can answer somebody's question, so why not spread the love?
posted by Roger Dodger at 7:23 PM on October 7, 2009


metaBugs - That's because I joined Metafilter for the fame and glory, not to, y'know, help people. Seriously, I just post to get favorites. Isn't that what I'm supposed to be doing? ;)

rocket88 - Mr. po summarizes the Doctrine of the Green as follows:

Eat it, treat it, sue it, fuck it, or walk away.

If that doesn't solve it, really, you're screwed anyway.

And little e, I commend you. Third parties truly are the solution to all life's ills.
posted by po at 11:08 PM on October 7, 2009


I have many more questions I'd like to ask, but I'm afraid of mefites looking at my history and realizing how little I know about electronic thingys.
posted by spinturtle at 1:46 PM on October 8, 2009


She'll be all like, "Oh right, you were the one with that problem."

You will forever be known as That Interactive Fiction Guy to me.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:31 PM on October 8, 2009


Still can't substantiate Mr. po's claim that they swoop at you with their beaks to peck you, though. That doesn't make sense to me. I assume they swoop down and bat at you with their wings and rake you with their claws.

Oh yes they do use their beaks. Or at least, that one that pecked my cousin round the head and made him bleed did. And the one that knocked my sunglasses off my face last year did. And the one that pecked a guys eye so he turned up in the emergency ward my boyfriend was running did. The rest I don't know, I was hiding. Because they terrify me. Evil, terrifying, bastards.
posted by jacalata at 9:38 PM on October 8, 2009


You will forever be known as That Interactive Fiction Guy to me.

Oh thank heavens.

You did forget the "annoying" between The and Interactive.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:24 PM on October 8, 2009


I prefer to file it in my mind as "enthusiastic"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:38 AM on October 9, 2009


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