2 Questions in the next week October 7, 2010 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Is there anything comparable to AskMeFi for general questions, career-related questions or apartment-hunting questions? Or is there any way around the 1 AskMeFi question per week?

I have 2 rather time-sensitive questions I want to ask on AskMeFi within the next week. I can't ask the next until tomorrow, and I need the answers to both before the following Friday.

One way around it would be to ask on different forums. One of my questions is a career/job search related question, and another is an apartment-hunting question. Any suggestions on forums which provide as high quality answers as AskMeFi which I can transfer one of these questions to?

I like city-data but some of my questions don't get many answers.
posted by catquas to MetaFilter-Related at 10:28 AM (166 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

There are spin-off sites that people sometimes use to ask smaller subsets of people who are mostly-MeFites. There's generally no way around the one question per week, we see that as an upper limit and not an allowance. In cases of emergency [which, no offense, this doesn't seem like] we suggest that people ask someone else, ask anonymously, or have a sock puppet account in reserve. That said, in all non-emergencies, the limit is really there so that the site maximizes utility for the most people and doesn't just get filled up with the usual suspects asking one question every seven-days-plus-one-minute. Not saying you're doing that, but other people definitely do.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:32 AM on October 7, 2010


I'll post it for you for $20.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:33 AM on October 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


i know it's probably frowned upon, but it wouldn't be the end of the world to tag on a second question to your first question, particularly if they're related.
posted by empath at 10:39 AM on October 7, 2010


I've seen that type of abuse deleted, let alone frowned upon.

If your mom's around, I bet she has some good advice on one or the other question.
posted by carsonb at 10:42 AM on October 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'll post it for you for $10, but I get to add one sentence of my own choosing.
posted by box at 10:45 AM on October 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


A lot of people seem to get some good out of AskReddit, but there's the whole "get what you pay for" doctrine in play, which is true of just about anywhere.
posted by Gator at 10:46 AM on October 7, 2010


Is there anything comparable to AskMeFi for general questions, career-related questions or apartment-hunting questions?

In concept? Yes.

In execution? No.
posted by misha at 10:54 AM on October 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'll post it for you for $10

Can we have a view on whether this is acceptable? It seems like an abuse of the site to take money for posting material, along the lines of why we delete promotional or self-linking posts.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:54 AM on October 7, 2010


I kind of wish the limit was 12 a year instead of one a week, but mostly because it would be fun to see all the whining from the people that asked 12 questions on Jan. 1 and don't get a reload for 12 months.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:55 AM on October 7, 2010 [22 favorites]


Can we have a view on whether this is acceptable?

It is completely not acceptable. In fact, even asking a MeTa about how to get another AskMe question is already sort of edge-case. Not that the OP is trying to use this MeTa to find someone to ask an extra question for them, but we'd really rather say "no, the rule is hard and fast, there are workarounds in emergencies. Most times you feel you need an extra question it is not, in fact an emergency" and explain why we have the guideline in the first place.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:57 AM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I still don't understand why you can't ask a second question with a second account - why the limit is per person and not per account, which seems more sensible. Even though I only ask a question every two months or so, I was yelled at last year for using a sock to ask two in one week. Seemed a little excessive to me.

I'll ask it for you for free, just to register my now-revived pique about it.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:57 AM on October 7, 2010


Can we have a view on whether this is acceptable? It seems like an abuse of the site to take money for posting material, along the lines of why we delete promotional or self-linking posts.

I'm not positive, but I think Burhanistan and box are both joking.
posted by jedicus at 10:58 AM on October 7, 2010 [15 favorites]


I still don't understand why you can't ask a second question with a second account - why the limit is per person and not per account...

Doesn't that sort of explain it right there? There can be only one YOU, but you can create lots of accounts and sort of the wreck the system. The AskMe front page is finite resource, we can't all be asking every thing that comes into our heads.
posted by nomadicink at 11:01 AM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll ask it for you for free, just to register my now-revived pique about it.

Even taking money out of the equation is unworkable. At any given time the vast majority of active Metafilter members have a question available. 'Borrowing' question slots like that could easily lead to overwhelming AskMeFi.
posted by jedicus at 11:01 AM on October 7, 2010


You guys, chicken little much?
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:02 AM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


> There can be only one YOU, but you can create lots of accounts and sort of the wreck the system.

Not trying to snark, but given the source, this comment is amusing.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:02 AM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can we have a view on whether this is acceptable?

Christ, it's like shooting fish in a barrel.
posted by jontyjago at 11:03 AM on October 7, 2010


given the source, this comment is amusing.

Use your words!
posted by Gator at 11:04 AM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Taking a question before you've accrued it requires HR approval. Fill out form MF-1785/C, sign and date, then submit to your Level 3 manager, who will accept or reject your approval based on past performance, tardiness, and historical use of questions.

As a reminder, plans to use questions must be submitted in writing to your direct supervisor at least two weeks before you plan to ask them. Submit form MF-1785/C at least two weeks before submitting your notice of asking a question, e.g. four weeks before planning to ask the question.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:06 AM on October 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Even though I only ask a question every two months or so, I was yelled at last year for using a sock to ask two in one week. Seemed a little excessive to me.

I can guarantee that no one yelled at you. We email people saying "hey it looks like you're using a sock puppet to get around the one question per week limit, as a once in a while thing in an emergency that is okay but if you do it regularly without seeming to have a good reason we may have to close the account"

I still don't understand why you can't ask a second question with a second account

We feel that we're responsible for keeping questions from rolling off the front page too quickly and keeping people from overusing a resource that takes human attention to stay awesome. The one question per person per week limit seems to work and it's easily explained and easily understood by most people. I know that it chafes some people, but it's where we've decided to draw the admittedly arbitrary line.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:10 AM on October 7, 2010 [13 favorites]


Facebook has questions now. I would ask the job search one here, and the apartment one on Facebook. Hell, you can even just post your status as your question. I'm sure with stuff like apartment hunting, unless it's roommate-related, your IRL/FB friends can help you out and there's no need for anonymity.
posted by elpea at 11:11 AM on October 7, 2010


Even though I only ask a question every two months or so, I was yelled at last year for using a sock to ask two in one week.

I was worried maybe that had happened on a bad day when I was being shirty, but a quick check of our mefimail exchange reads to me like I really politely inquired with you about it in the midst of a "hey can you fix this thing for me?" request, and thanked you for being a sport with the whole thing. I can dig it if you find the policy frustrating, but it wasn't remotely a getting-yelled-at thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:17 AM on October 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


If the question and answer can both be fairly short, I like to use Twitter. "What's a good neighborhood with cheap apts for a 20something foodie in Chicago?" is an example of this type of question - it at least gives you starting points for more research. Of course, this assumes you have a fair number of followers from Chicago, and/or people willing to retweet it to their Chicago followers.
posted by desjardins at 11:18 AM on October 7, 2010


Not trying to snark

You can do it without even trying! Amazing!
posted by dead cousin ted at 11:21 AM on October 7, 2010


> You can do it without even trying! Amazing!

And yet I wasn't. Amazing! It's called a disclaimer. I know we're all pretty much on default snark mode around here, but if I had meant to snark the verbiage would've been much more pointed than a simple "I am amused". Anyway.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:26 AM on October 7, 2010


Also: No wishing for more wishes allowed.
posted by .kobayashi. at 11:26 AM on October 7, 2010 [18 favorites]


And yet I wasn't. Amazing! It's called a disclaimer.

Whatever you say mister leading statement.
posted by dead cousin ted at 11:31 AM on October 7, 2010


it wasn't remotely a getting-yelled-at thing


Okay, sorry I overstated the case. But I do remember finding it very unsettling to get a message warning me I might be banhammered for clogging AskMe when I post relatively few questions to begin with - and with the creepy subtext that "by the way, we know it's you asking those gross personal hygiene questions." That last part is not your fault, of course. I only found out later you had an automated alert when two linked accounts ask a question.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:40 AM on October 7, 2010


It always surprises me that people think to ask this question in Metatalk before going to another user and asking them to post the question on their behalf. I think there are bundles of users on site who'd be willing to do it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:40 AM on October 7, 2010


For $20 SAIT, I will explicitly NOT ask the question for you.

EXPLICITLY.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:40 AM on October 7, 2010


2 questions, 1 cup.
posted by nomadicink at 11:44 AM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


AskReddit was linked to earlier, but this is really not what AskReddit is for. AskReddit is specifically for chatty questions ("AskReddit is for thought-provoking, inspired questions.").

Your questions are appropriate for the reddit community /r/answers, but be aware that /r/answers is orders of magnitude smaller than either AskReddit or AskMetafilter.
posted by Jpfed at 11:51 AM on October 7, 2010


In all seriousness, I've never quite understood the importance people attach to their questions on Ask Metafilter. I mean, if something is really that important, why are you putting so much stock in a group of complete strangers. I mean, I know we're awesome and all, and I got some fantastic advice on matzoh balls, but really...
posted by slogger at 12:08 PM on October 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'll post it for $5 but it will have a hidden message encoded for The Cabal in it.
posted by pointystick at 12:17 PM on October 7, 2010


Catquas, memail me. I'm not going to be home and able to post until after 8 or 9pm Eastern, but will happily ask one of your questions for you.
posted by zarq at 12:18 PM on October 7, 2010


Can we have a view on whether this is acceptable? Jessamyn has already said that "even asking a MeTa about how to get another AskMe question is already sort of edge-case."
posted by Gator at 12:21 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


elpea: "Facebook has questions now."

Can I just point out how fucking inane Facebook questions is? A sampling of some current ones:

- What is the capital of France?
- What is your least favorite food?
- What do you call a 30-something woman who dates a 20-something guy?
- Would it be possible to eat 69 hamburgers in a row without ketchup or water?

You guys should get down on your knees and thank the mods that there are basic filters in place ($5 signups, 1 question/week) that keep this place from turning into that pile of dung, rather than trying to figure out ways to game the system.
posted by mkultra at 12:25 PM on October 7, 2010 [33 favorites]


I find it annoying as hell personally, but we have to be realistic about what we can and can't actively police on the site. I'd like to not get to the point where we feel that we have to close MeTa threads about "how can I get another AskMe question" because they become default places to basically get someone to ask a question for you.

That said, if people feel they absolutely postively NEED to violate the rules we can basically say we're not that psyched about it and if they make a habit of it, we'll talk to them and/or ban them [in practice, this rarely happens].
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:30 PM on October 7, 2010


I kind of wish the limit was 12 a year instead of one a week, but mostly because it would be fun to see all the whining from the people that asked 12 questions on Jan. 1 and don't get a reload for 12 months.

It would be interesting to see if it makes a singificant difference. Say on a bar chart of questions posted on each day of the following year. Actually that would be interesting to see now. Anyone with 'leet data quering skills feel like taking a crack at it?

Even taking money out of the equation is unworkable. At any given time the vast majority of active Metafilter members have a question available. 'Borrowing' question slots like that could easily lead to overwhelming AskMeFi.

Getting someone else to ask a question for you is considered an acceptable alternative to AskMe. Doesn't seem to have led to a lemming like over run of the askme front page yet. Also it's legit for roommates or spouses (IRL or virtual) to ask questions in the same week as long as they are using their own accounts.
posted by Mitheral at 12:31 PM on October 7, 2010


Christ, it's like shooting fish in a barrel.

Why is this the standard saying for something that's easy?

First, I gotta head down to Home Depot and get a barrel. Have you seen the prices of barrels these days? They're not exactly cheap, unless you're like a winemaker or something, buying them by the dozens.

Now you have to get a live fish. Presumably, this is a fish you'd want to eat, post-shooting, so you gotta go down to the Uwajimaya or the 99 Ranch Market or something. Safeway has lobster and crab, but that's not fish, and besides, with a gun, you'll be getting the pulverized shell are mixed up with the meat. So, tilapia fillets (mmm, tilapia) are $14 a pound -- God knows what the lives ones cost. Plus you have to get butter and lemon, of course.

This is rapidly adding up.

Couldn't I just try to hit the broadside of a barn? I mean, there's a barn right there...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:31 PM on October 7, 2010 [24 favorites]


Can we have a view on whether this is acceptable? Jessamyn has already said that "even asking a MeTa about how to get another AskMe question is already sort of edge-case."

I've posted less than a dozen questions in six years. I'm not exactly a scofflaw, Gator
posted by zarq at 12:34 PM on October 7, 2010


Can we have a view on whether this is acceptable?

My feeling is I think the same as Jessamyn's: realistically we're not going to want to forbid anyone from ever helping someone else out with a question for a friend sort of thing if there's otherwise nothing fucked up about the situation and that's something they really, really feel like doing, but open brokering of question swapping or whatnot is not something I like to see happen at all.

Part of the problem is that, aside from being something we're not really happy with in its own right, the public discussion of it elevates the issue from a background-radiation sense of "this might happen occasionally but people at least keep quiet about it and it's not causing significant problems" to a much more policy-testing "either this is allowed or it isn't, which is it?" level, and we'd rather not have to get to the point where we do have to make some sort of black-and-white call about it. That call would almost certainly be "no, you can't do that" if it came down to that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:38 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Christ, it's like shooting fish in a barrel."

Why is this the standard saying for something that's easy?


The Mythbusters discovered that it's actually harder than you'd think to shoot fish in a standard, opaque wooden barrel.
posted by jedicus at 12:38 PM on October 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well if you compare it to shooting fish in the ocean I would imagine it's somewhat easier. Although why the metric of easiness is shooting fish I don't know. Maybe it started as "harpooning" or something.

"It's like harpooning a whale in a pond!"
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:44 PM on October 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


the public discussion of it elevates the issue

Yes, that was my exact concern. Thanks for clarifying.
posted by Gator at 12:44 PM on October 7, 2010


jedicus: "The Mythbusters discovered that it's actually harder than you'd think to shoot fish in a standard, opaque wooden barrel"

I find it very disturbing that our resident buster didn't post that. And that the the buster in question isn't Grant.
posted by theichibun at 1:03 PM on October 7, 2010


CunningLinguist:"by the way, we know it's you asking those gross personal hygiene questions."

Oh my god, that was YOU????

(so did it clear up on its own or...?)
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:14 PM on October 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Someone once asked me an interesting question; I suggested they ask AskMe. Their weekly limit was full, and since it was an interesting question, I asked it myself. It was pretty specific to this other person, though, and when people responded I didn't know what to do with the answers. I panicked, marked the wrong answer "best," and fled the scene. In my terror I forgot whose question it was in the first place, and I've been crouched out by the storm door gnawing at my knuckles ever since. Why did I ask? Who did I ask it for? When will they catch on to me? I am a fraud.

In any case, I can never return to polite society.

Seriously, people, think twice before you ask questions on behalf of others. Gator's concerns pale in comparison to the human cost. Read, and take heed!
posted by breezeway at 1:15 PM on October 7, 2010 [11 favorites]


- What is the capital of France?
- What is your least favorite food?
- What do you call a 30-something woman who dates a 20-something guy?
- Would it be possible to eat 69 hamburgers in a row without ketchup or water?


Jeez, those are easy!

- F
- cat food
- hot
- without water but not ketchup.
posted by carsonb at 1:21 PM on October 7, 2010 [17 favorites]


For $50/hr, I will post both questions simultaneously by interleaving the individual letters from each.

The rate is the same whether you'd prefer me to do it by hand or write a python script for it.
posted by Eideteker at 1:23 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shouldn't this post be on Mefi Jobs?
posted by crunchland at 1:29 PM on October 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


But I do remember finding it very unsettling to get a message warning me I might be banhammered for clogging AskMe when I post relatively few questions to begin with -

Multiply this by tens of thousands of people. That's the problem. You, as an individual, are a special snowflake. You, as a user of AskMe, are part of a system and community, and both of those become more noise and less signal if everyone goes "Oh, I only ask a few questions a year, so what if I just ask a few more with this sockpuppet, and that one, and that one?"
posted by rtha at 1:39 PM on October 7, 2010


You, as a user of AskMe, are part of a system and community, and both of those become more noise and less signal if everyone goes "Oh, I only ask a few questions a year, so what if I just ask a few more with this sockpuppet, and that one, and that one?"

Why would that happen? Is the weekly limit the only thing that keeps you from asking more than one question a week? A review of your profile says no. A review of my profile says no. It's such a rare situation that we all know after the 3rd or 4th week when a user is waiting anxiously to post their next question; we could all probably name the handful of people who do this, and there's thousands of users. I think this is an area where I think there's room for everyone to be a little less uptight.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:51 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Um, there would still be fewer questions than if I asked one a week with one account? I sincerely don't get your point.



(so did it clear up on its own or...?)

I think it fell off. I dunno, I can't see down there anymore.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:52 PM on October 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah guys, be nice, or they'll change the policy such that only one question gets posted to the site per hour, and everyone who wants to ask a question has to Thunderdome it. Last question standing wins*!

* A chance to spin the wheel, raggedy man!
posted by ErikaB at 1:58 PM on October 7, 2010


Getting someone else to ask a question for you is considered an acceptable alternative to Anonymous AskMe.

Cripes I hate it when a typo/misplaced word totally changes the intent of a sentence.
posted by Mitheral at 2:11 PM on October 7, 2010


At times like this, when the world seems chaotic and you have a ticking time-bomb situation where you need a resolution fast, remember these sage words of wisdom:

"Shoot the hostage".

There is never a situation where this won't dramatically alter the hell out of that moment.
posted by quin at 2:24 PM on October 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Why would that happen? Is the weekly limit the only thing that keeps you from asking more than one question a week?

Me personally? No. But I think there are a lot of people who use AskMe more than I do, so I am perhaps not a great example.

But it doesn't take a lot of people asking multiple questions per week to make AskMe less useable and useful. AskMe gets really heavy use - questions that were asked at 6 am (California time) today are already at the bottom of the second page. I know we can both think of users who use AskMe on a weekly - right down to the day and hour - basis. It's not that everyone would do this. It's that a few hundred people doing it consistently could really muck it up.

And upping the number of questions people are allowed to ask strikes me as something that's going to require much more moderation, both to delete questions that break the guidelines and clean up threads where people are getting fighty. It's going to end up with more meTas about "Why did you delete my question but not THIS question which is a lot like my question?" and "Why did you delete my fighty answer/off-topic comment but not THIS OTHER blah blah blah."

One a week seems to be working okay. If people have more questions than that and just can't wait, there's always yahoo.

-----

Is there some sort of infodump fun on average number of askmes posted per week/per user/per some other metric that might be interesting? Graphed against membership numbers, or signup spikes, or something?
posted by rtha at 2:39 PM on October 7, 2010


As though yahoo is a viable source for anything other than inquiring about baby making.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:42 PM on October 7, 2010


It's that a few hundred people doing it consistently could really muck it up.


Under that logic, you would probably have to curb new signups. What's that qualitative difference between me and my sock puppet posting a question each, and me and noob X posting a question each?
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:59 PM on October 7, 2010


Jesus knows you're cheating the system.
posted by crunchland at 3:01 PM on October 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


99% of answers you're going to get on AskMefi are going to come via somebody thoughtful using Google. One alternative to trying to ask a question here would be to spend a few hours googling and digging around for potential answers yourself. Yes, if they're life experience questions, you'll have to dig a little more, but there are a lot of blogs out there, and whatever question you have is probably answered on one of them. Seriously, give it a go.
posted by koeselitz at 3:03 PM on October 7, 2010


Here are the answers to your questions:

1) Yes, but check your 401k rules - you might have to pay taxes on that.
2) Just take the E-train, and it'll leave you close enough.
posted by qvantamon at 3:10 PM on October 7, 2010


Under that logic, you would probably have to curb new signups. What's that qualitative difference between me and my sock puppet posting a question each, and me and noob X posting a question each?

You and that noob aren't intentionally coordinating with each other to break the guidelines of the site?

This is about all we're talking about from the actual mod side: we've created and slowly fine-tuned the very small set of policies about question-asking in the way we have because we think it strikes a good balance and keeps the volume of questions at a relatively manageable level without significantly inconveniencing people trying to use the site in the intended fashion. There are different possible approaches to it, but this is the one we've taken, we feel it works, and that's good enough. We're not casting about for some bulletproof logical explanation of why it must be so or anything like it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:12 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's that qualitative difference between me and my sock puppet posting a question each, and me and noob X posting a question each?

Um, the site has served two people instead of just one?

99% of answers you're going to get on AskMefi are going to come via somebody thoughtful using Google.

This is not true. Not that we don't encourage people to use Google and other online and offline tools but my estimate of this number is significantly lower, in the 30-40% range.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:12 PM on October 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Um, the site has served two people instead of just one?

And hopefully noob x sticks around to contribute to the community going forward. IE: twice as much community compared to choice 1.
posted by Mitheral at 3:25 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Yeah, you're right, jessamyn – 99% is way too high.)
posted by koeselitz at 3:31 PM on October 7, 2010


What do you call a 30-something woman who dates a 20-something guy?

I don't know. What's her name?
posted by marxchivist at 4:06 PM on October 7, 2010


There are spin-off sites that people sometimes use to ask smaller subsets of people who are mostly-MeFites.

....There are? Huh. What sites?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:24 PM on October 7, 2010


I think there's a list in the FAQ but off the top of my head I can think of MetaChat, SportsFilter, PoliticalFilter, MonkeyFilter, MeFight Club, Whedonesque, a few that aren't really around much I don't think [Devoter? BookFilter?] and some smaller spinoff sites that grew out of cult threads.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:27 PM on October 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


there are no subset sites
posted by clavdivs at 4:34 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


What do you call a 30-something woman who dates a 20-something guy?

I don't know. What's her name?


And what's her phone number?
posted by dead cousin ted at 4:37 PM on October 7, 2010


and some smaller spinoff sites that grew out of cult threads.

*Lights pipe, leans back in rocking chair, strokes old-man beard*
posted by ColdChef at 4:54 PM on October 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


stoneweaver: "As though yahoo is a viable source for anything other than inquiring about baby making"

Fantasy football, the game not any information about it. I've decided that most places just plain suck monkey butt.

Anyway, back to the topic, I don't think that a 1 or 2 time a year/lifetime "emergency" question that gets to ignore the time limit would be a horrible idea. Maybe a bad one, but most likely somewhere between "I can see where that would be useful" and "Yeah, maybe, but you better be willing to throw pb free childcare for years."
posted by theichibun at 5:29 PM on October 7, 2010




It's astonishing how many of life's problems can be answered with a tiny, "[few comments removed.]"
posted by Gator at 5:53 PM on October 7, 2010


Is there some sort of infodump fun on average number of askmes posted per week/per user/per some other metric that might be interesting? Graphed against membership numbers, or signup spikes, or something?

I made a graph that shows the number of AskMe questions and number of unique AskMe participants for each week since AskMe opened, both normalized so that the peak occurs at 1.0 on the Y axis so that the trends can be compared directly. I thought participants (people who posted a question or an answer) might be a good measure of the size of the active AskMe community in a given week.

The two lines look nearly the same. I really should try to put actual dates on the X axis instead of week numbers, so that the sudden drop in question count around week 156 would be easy to compare against the MeFi timeline. But basically that's mid-December 2006, which the timeline page on the wiki says is when the AskMe posting limit was changed to 14 days, so that makes sense. And it jumps back up again when the limit was revered to 7 days in April 2007.

I'm sort of wondering if the reason these lines look so similar is that questions drive overall participation? Because the number of unique participants in a week also drops when the questions drop in that period when the posting limit was 14 days. So maybe there's a better metric to compare question counts against?
posted by FishBike at 6:01 PM on October 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Who has asked the most questions? In just the past year?
Who has answered the most questions?


Those were neat lists, thanks.
posted by Forktine at 6:06 PM on October 7, 2010


Just to elaborate, it is the 40th week of the year [I learned, thanks to this site] and while I do answer a lot of questions, I also tell people to cool it a lot, so reports of my answering are somewhat exaggerated.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:14 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I kind of wish the limit was 12 a year instead of one a week

Shouldn't it be 52 a year? I'd be in favor of that.
posted by John Cohen at 6:48 PM on October 7, 2010


Wow, thanks, data miners! Interesting.
posted by rtha at 6:50 PM on October 7, 2010


How about up to two a week and 26 a year?
posted by box at 6:52 PM on October 7, 2010


As to the OP's question: How about MeCha?
posted by John Cohen at 6:54 PM on October 7, 2010


How about up to two a week and 26 a year? --- You can twist against the ropes all you want, but the binds are pretty tight, and there's little chance of escaping them.
posted by crunchland at 6:59 PM on October 7, 2010


I still don't get why you don't just post 1 AskMe about the apartment hunting and post your job search to Jobs...?
posted by 1000monkeys at 7:06 PM on October 7, 2010


How about two questions per lunar cycle?
posted by box at 7:08 PM on October 7, 2010


Two questions per fortnight?
posted by box at 7:10 PM on October 7, 2010


Anonymous is cleary a sockpuppet that is bribing the mods. Sheesh, double standerds indeed
posted by wheelieman at 7:10 PM on October 7, 2010


box: "Two questions per fortnight"

I wouldn't be opposed to that. Essentially it's the same thing we have now, just lets someone get that second question in faster if they need it.
posted by theichibun at 7:16 PM on October 7, 2010


Shouldn't it be 52 a year? I'd be in favor of that.

MetaTalk would be filled with people in their seventh or eighth month whining about how they have no questions left and simply MUST have their burning query about ceiling lolcats in Minecraft answered IMMEDIATELY.

The current one-question-per-week system works fine, has worked fine, and will continue to work fine for the vast majority of cases. If someone has an urgent question that simply can't wait, they should either (a) consult a professional, because it's probably serious, or (b) MeMail someone who has generously (or not so generously) offered to post a question on their behalf.
posted by armage at 7:19 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


MetaTalk would be filled with people in their seventh or eighth month whining about how they have no questions left and simply MUST have their burning query about ceiling lolcats in Minecraft answered IMMEDIATELY.

Wouldn't we have a pretty good response to them?
posted by John Cohen at 7:26 PM on October 7, 2010


Like we already do now?
posted by Gator at 7:27 PM on October 7, 2010


I'm concerned the per-year standard would lead to some crazy public soap operas. "... So NOW what do I do??" When something new and major needs figured out in someone's life, they could easily post a whole slew on one topic.

I admit I'm curious about how it would change the community dynamic if we could better track who is dealing with what challenge. But my guess is that it would less to more cult-of-personality callouts, which are the last thing we need.
posted by salvia at 7:29 PM on October 7, 2010


It's seriously very cute how you guys think we've never discussed the length of time between ask metafilter posts before.
posted by crunchland at 7:37 PM on October 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Like we already do now?

Yeah.
posted by John Cohen at 7:43 PM on October 7, 2010


It's seriously very cute how you guys think we've never discussed the length of time between ask metafilter posts before.

Are we supposed to never discuss a given topic on more than one day?
posted by John Cohen at 7:44 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am really curious about what sort of askmefi "emergency" would justify a second question. Don't people have real life acquaintances to ask about urgent questions? And aren't the sort of non-personal factual questions that askmefi excels at generally non-urgent?

(Incidentally, I signed up a couple of weeks ago and I am currently and for the next few weeks going to be one of those people who asks a question every 7 days. But that is because I lurked for nearly a whole year before signing up, and gradually accrued a stock of five or six questions I really want to ask. Once I run out of those, I see myself asking questions much less frequently.)
posted by lollusc at 8:10 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am really curious about what sort of askmefi "emergency" would justify a second question. Don't people have real life acquaintances to ask about urgent questions? And aren't the sort of non-personal factual questions that askmefi excels at generally non-urgent?

Help! My door knob is stuck and I'm trapped in my room!

A Russian friend of mine may be in a dangerous situation in Washington, DC.
posted by John Cohen at 8:20 PM on October 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Shouldn't it be 52 a year? I'd be in favor of that.

I threw that number out because as has been stated the one a week is an upper limit, not a guideline. I am betting the majority of askme questioners don't ask more than 12 a year. I've been on metafilter for a bit over 3 years and I've asked 21 questions.

I did have one time where it would have been cool to ask a question before my time was up, but that was a singular event. I would have burned another of my year's quota to do a second in a week, but again, I don't post questions even monthly.

Maybe a Malthusian solution. You can ask a second in the same week, but you get a warning, "This second question must be an emergency. If you wish to proceed be advised you will not be able to post again for two months." Then if they try again, "Seems like you have a lot of emergencies. This is the last exception we'll make. Please note proceeding will mean you can never post a question again." Then if they still try, you pull a P. T. Barnum on them. "We were just kidding when we said you couldn't ask more questions. Click here to proceed." Then clicking that disables the account.

I'm pretty sure there are really good reason why I am not in charge.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:24 PM on October 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


5 bucks, same as in town. Remember to use protection.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:35 PM on October 7, 2010


Craigslist?
posted by bardic at 10:16 PM on October 7, 2010


You can ask a second in the same week, but you get a warning, "This second question must be an emergency. If you wish to proceed be advised you will not be able to post again for two months."

I kinda like this idea, although it seems like it would be a pain to program for very little benefit.
posted by grouse at 10:19 PM on October 7, 2010


Hey, so, I've got a question that I think is pretty interesting now but might not be in the light of day, and it's pretty chatfilter, so if someone could ask for me, like, what things would be like if roughly half the population had free will and the other half didn't, like, you know, if there have been any sci fi things about that, because that'd make a pretty good Star Trek TNG, you know?

Maybe with two Rikers?
posted by klangklangston at 10:28 PM on October 7, 2010


what things would be like if roughly half the population had free will and the other half didn't...?

Twice as many excuses.
posted by carsonb at 10:34 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Two Rikers, you say?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:35 PM on October 7, 2010


I was about to trot the determinism argument out as justification for being late, but then I realized that it could just as easily support firing me.
posted by klangklangston at 10:43 PM on October 7, 2010


To answer the OP's question: You might have local sites that would help with apartment-hunting questions. Albuquerque, NM has the Duke City Fix, for example. Your city might have a forum, livejournal community, Ning, or some other blog-type site that you could post on.

if you want to be really mean you could make it so that when people post too many questions their next one gets posted to /b/ so they really understand what they have here
posted by NoraReed at 1:29 AM on October 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


catquas: I have 2 rather time-sensitive questions I want to ask on AskMeFi within the next week. I can't ask the next until tomorrow, and I need the answers to both before the following Friday.

FWIW this question seems to have combined those two topics well. You could be more specific in the career department bit but since I assume you're looking to relocate as a career move, I don't see why you can't just use one Ask.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:16 AM on October 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


It could be shooting fish into a barrel, using some sort of small cannon or fishapault.
posted by Grangousier at 3:37 AM on October 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


Attention, townspeople! The speed limit in town in 50, but I'm in a hurry. Is there any way I can get away with driving 100 through town?
posted by pracowity at 4:03 AM on October 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I once knew a kid who ran over some old lady one night at the county fair. And he didn't get arrested, because his dad's the mayor.
posted by box at 6:50 AM on October 8, 2010


Who has answered the most questions?

Holy cow! I'm on a list! This is so exciting. I had no idea. I haven't even prepared a speech.
posted by amro at 6:50 AM on October 8, 2010


Or filling a barrel with fish and then shooting the barrel from a cannon.

I mean, admittedly, that's not really straightforward either. Unless the task at hand is "bespatter the countryside with smoldering wreckage and fish guts," in which case it might be the easiest approach.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:16 AM on October 8, 2010


I was just coming to make the same suggestion DarlingBri did; I have seen a number of AskMe's that combine two or more questions in one post, as long as they are related. For example: I am moving to Waynesboro, GA in the next couple of weeks. Any advice on what resources for finding employment and housing are available there? Or word the question so broadly it encompasses what you want to know: I am moving to Waynesboro, GA soon; any advice for a newcomer to this area?

Also, in case of an emergency, dial 911.
posted by TedW at 7:26 AM on October 8, 2010


I would like to be happy and fulfilled: any advice for a newcomer to this area?
posted by box at 7:31 AM on October 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fulfilled? If that's like getting stuffed, I think we can advise.
posted by pracowity at 7:34 AM on October 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think people are visualizing the "shooting fish in a barrel" thing the wrong way. It doesn't say fish in water in a barrel, just fish in a barrel. A barrel full of fish with maximum packing density. A bullet fired into such a barrel would be sure to hit multiple fish, wouldn't it?
posted by FishBike at 7:38 AM on October 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, I am actually moderately upset that while the posting limit is one per seven days, we're directly encouraged to post less. We have the option to post anonymously, but that's also discouraged. So why have these options? If you don't want us posting as often, then just increase the time between questions and set a fixed number of anon questions per year.

It's like if there were a good sale on your favorite food, with no per-customer restriction, so you buy out the remaining stock, and then are shamed for not leaving anything for others. If you don't want people using your service, then restrict it further, but I resent being shamed or discouraged when I'm actually operating within the guidelines (yes, I know I screwed up the one time). The mods have the right to set whatever restrictions you want - I know it's not my site - but don't turn around and make people feel guilty for abiding by them.

This isn't a personal attack against the moderators, but every time someone mentions "we all know who those people are" (1, 2), I feel a little sting because I know I'm in that group. I don't understand why you care how many questions I ask. I'm sure there is some script that will prevent you from seeing them. As for the mods, it feels like you're talking out of both sides of your mouth. "Yes, you can post every seven days... but we'd really rather you not. Yes, you can post anonymously, but please only use it in an emergency." We've had the debate about anon questions before, and I know it says "only use this if you really have to," but then there are questions like this one about finding a web browser. or this one about wireless routers.

Yes, I have had my coffee this morning. I've meant to mention this in other threads, but it seemed appropriate in this one.
posted by desjardins at 7:45 AM on October 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't understand why you care how many questions I ask.

Moderator attention time is a limited resource. The more questions there are in total, the less eyeball/moderation time each question gets. The less attention each question gets (well, specifically the less attention each question needing attention gets, as obviously plenty of questions never need mod attention), the less awesome AskMe is. AskMe is awesome because of the mods, and they are are not an unlimited resource.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:49 AM on October 8, 2010


I think people are visualizing the "shooting fish in a barrel" thing the wrong way. It doesn't say fish in water in a barrel, just fish in a barrel. A barrel full of fish with maximum packing density. A bullet fired into such a barrel would be sure to hit multiple fish, wouldn't it?

Like shooting dead fish in a barrel?

In which case the saying wouldn't mean, "...it's as easy as..." but rather "...it's as futile as..."?

Mind. Blown.
posted by zarq at 7:51 AM on October 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I always assumed the fish shooter had a shotgun with a wide spread, akin to the one in a FPS that's great at close range but pretty useless at a distance. (There MUST be an FPS mod/level somewhere that contains a barrel of fish with which this can be tested.)
posted by thoughtless at 7:56 AM on October 8, 2010


Can we stop flogging these dead fish in a barrel?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:56 AM on October 8, 2010


Just recast the idiom: "Like dynamiting fish in a pond." There. Done.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:59 AM on October 8, 2010


"It's like if there were a good sale on your favorite food, with no per-customer restriction, so you buy out the remaining stock, and then are shamed for not leaving anything for others. If you don't want people using your service, then restrict it further, but I resent being shamed or discouraged when I'm actually operating within the guidelines (yes, I know I screwed up the one time). The mods have the right to set whatever restrictions you want - I know it's not my site - but don't turn around and make people feel guilty for abiding by them."

You've been around enough to hear of the Tragedy of the Commons, right?

Look, the two-week limit sucked. You also remember that. The one-week limit is a compromise, but requires us to be good community members and use our judgment over whether or not we're negatively impacting other people. I'm sorry if you feel shamed or discouraged, but really, Metafilter works best because we recognize that we're in this together and that the hard rules are for edge cases and to remove the endless kvetching that would occur if there were no limits. So, sure, use it as you see fit, but realize that by taking part in a community, you're responsible to the community. If AskMe were simply a robot we could whack to get answers out of, then fine, whack it as many times as you like. But because it's not, and because you value that, you're under the obligation to keep it working well for both yourself and others.

I feel like you're kind of at that first political stage of seeing only self interest, and you should bump up to seeing mutual self interest.
posted by klangklangston at 8:00 AM on October 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The more questions there are in total, the less eyeball/moderation time each question gets.

So reduce the number of questions by lengthening the required time in between. They can essentially create their own workload here.
posted by desjardins at 8:02 AM on October 8, 2010



So reduce the number of questions by lengthening the required time in between.


That was tried, and it created extra hassle for everyone because of all the whining about it.
posted by Forktine at 8:11 AM on October 8, 2010


We have the option to post anonymously, but that's also discouraged. So why have these options? If you don't want us posting as often, then just increase the time between questions and set a fixed number of anon questions per year.

Because that requires further restricting what everybody can do just to prevent a small number of cases from occurring; and, with the anon thing, it requires engineering more into the system (and in the process likely undermining somewhat the current db-anonymity setup with anony questions).

The 7-day-limit is a limit, not a suggestion—this is something we've mentioned before as how we look at it. So, if you need to ask two or three questions 168 or so hours apart because life has gotten funny that way that month, fine, it's really not a problem. If you're asking twenty or thirty questions a year, that's way more than most people but, essentially, it's not a problem if nobody notices so if there's no abiding whiff of "I'm asking because, hey, I can and I'm bored" to the stuff or anything else odd about it we'll probably never mention it if we even notice it.

The anon thing is more of an issue of all the added overhead that comes with managing those questions, and with the growth in the use of the feature that we saw over the last few years to the point where it was getting to be a double-digit portion of all the questions on the site. We want to keep the usage of the feature relatively low in general. Partly that means asking people in general to consider whether their question needs to happen anonymously (or whether they need a privacy-minded alt account for some of their questions), partly it means letting individual folks know if we feel like they're over-using the function.

Which isn't a "you're bad and you should feel bad" thing, it's just a "hey, we feel like this might be a bit much" thing. We try to be kind and communicative about it when it comes up, we hope people will be copacetic, and that's about all there is to do about it.

We've had the debate about anon questions before, and I know it says "only use this if you really have to," but then there are questions like this one about finding a web browser. or this one about wireless routers.

We've been cracking down on some of what gets through the queue for the last few months, whenever it was we had that big discussion about the anony features overuse. It doesn't mean that no mild questions will ever get through, any more than any other "hey maybe keep x to a dull roar" site-use request from modland has ever meant "this is now forbidden".

I can appreciate that if you don't like the general policy on not using the stuff to the hilt that it may chafe to see things less, I dunno, legitimately privacy-driven get posted, but it's a small part of the mix, not the defining character of what gets posted. We sometimes get notes from people explaining specifically why some otherwise mild looking question is being submitted anonymously, and that's not always context available (for, of course, privacy reasons) to the general reader, so it's a bit odd sometimes. But rest assured that we have been looking harder at that sort of thing in general as part of our side of trying to keep the overall anony volume contained.

The mods have the right to set whatever restrictions you want - I know it's not my site - but don't turn around and make people feel guilty for abiding by them.

We've never set out to make someone feel guilty for using the site in good faith. Sometimes what someone's doing clashes a bit with how we think things should go—they're acting in good faith but bumping up some wrinkle of the guidelines or our expectations—and we'll talk to them about it, but the goal is to keep things operating pretty much normally in a way that's best for everyone, not to make a specific person feel bad.

I don't remember what specifically we ended up talking with you about, and I am sorry if it was something that left you feeling uncomfortable, but it's not a shame thing. If we discourage you from doing some specific thing on the site, that's all it is: we're trying to discourage some specific behavior (e.g. aggressively using askme), not trying to make anyone feel guilty or shameful.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:14 AM on October 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just like a speed limit is a limit not a target, 1 question per week is a limit, not a recommendation.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:14 AM on October 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The 7-day-limit is a limit, not a suggestion

jinx!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:14 AM on October 8, 2010


desjardins — The thing is, the mods also talk a lot about how nice it is when people post helpful answers. And I know you do an awful lot of that too. I think that leaves you about square, karmically speaking — you're in one group that makes their job easier and one that makes it harder. It would be shameful if you were asking a question a week but not giving back by contributing thoughtful answers.

(At least, that's how I rationalize my use of the site. Because I'm in the same boat as you — there are some kinds of questions where I feel sort of duty-bound to be helpful and give information, but then I'm also right in there asking one question every week like clockwork some months. I figure if the mods think I'm being a resource hog or a drain on the site, they can take me aside and tell me so. In the meantime, I look at the general pronouncements "HELPFUL ANSWERS GOOD" and "FREQUENT QUESTIONS BAD" and conclude that I'm coming out even.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:20 AM on October 8, 2010


Though on non-preview I see cortex has already responded, which makes my Talmudic reasoning about what the mods would say to people like us kind of weird. Oh well.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:21 AM on October 8, 2010


I don't remember what specifically we ended up talking with you about, and I am sorry if it was something that left you feeling uncomfortable

I freaked out before my wedding and had someone else post a question for me within my seven day window. I got a "don't do that again" email from jessamyn, and perhaps the other person did too. However, I'm still getting mixed messages about that, as I posted a question within the past few months for a friend and nothing was said. I suppose the key is to not mention the friend's name in the question so they don't get their wrist slapped.
posted by desjardins at 8:21 AM on October 8, 2010


Has anyone ever asked 52 questions in a year? If so, how many people? Is this really an issue, or just theoretically?
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:24 AM on October 8, 2010


In fact — hey cortex, now I'm curious. Would you say that being a Good AskMe Citizen compensates for asking a lot of questions? Or do you guys still wish that us frequent answerers kept our questions to ourselves more often?

(I hope this doesn't sound like a prelude to rules lawyering. I'm not asking the going rate for indulgences here — this isn't, like, "What answer-to-question ratio gives me an inalienable right to act like a greedy motherfucker?" I just realized I was making assumptions about how you'd ideally like to see people using the site, and I figured I'd check and see what your actual ideals were.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:37 AM on October 8, 2010


Just like a speed limit is a limit not a target, 1 question per week is a limit...

But unlike the speed limit, 1 question/week is an upper limit.
posted by TedW at 8:42 AM on October 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


> Would you say that being a Good AskMe Citizen compensates for asking a lot of questions?

It's a Q/A site supported by ad revenue an you're a content generator for it. You don't get grades or reviews. You either are banned or not banned. Any distinction other than that is pointless, really.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:44 AM on October 8, 2010


In fact — hey cortex, now I'm curious. Would you say that being a Good AskMe Citizen compensates for asking a lot of questions? Or do you guys still wish that us frequent answerers kept our questions to ourselves more often?

We don't really have any real metric like that. If you're using the site in good faith in accordance with your understanding of the guidelines, you're being as good of a community member as anybody needs to be. It's great that a lot of people throw energy into being extra helpful on askme, I think that's a wonderful thing, but it's not something we bank anymore than someone not answering much is something that gets them on a shitlist. I presume most people who answer a lot or a little or ask a lot or a little just do so because that's what they want to do with their time on the site, and that's pretty much okay across the board.

Which comes back to what I was saying above: we'll sometimes talk to folks if we feel like there's some specific thing that isn't going perfectly, if their understanding of the guidelines or site policy or community expectations mismatches our perception of that stuff in a way that seems like it's worth mention and maybe a request for some kind of change in how they're operating. But it's a situational thing; it comes up when it comes up, and if it hasn't come up you're basically fine.

And if it does come up, you're pretty much fine as well whatever "hey could you do less of x" request we're making aside. I know it's not hard to feel caught out by some sort of mod request if you're just doing what you think is just fine, which is why we try to be gentle about it and not give people a hard time if we feel like we have to bring something up.

From our end, we've got tens of thousands of people to look after, and a site and community that's bigger than the sum of those parts in a lot of ways, so on the one hand we're stuck potentially putting people out like that at times, but on the other hand I feel like we need to emphasize that it's basically never personal from our end, as much as it may feel personal on yours. We're doing a job, and if we've got to say something it's generally not about You, A Person Who Is Problematic. It's about This Place, Where Behavior X Is Problematic. It's not a personal judgment thing, it's us trying to communicate something tricky about how the rubber of personal habits/preferences/communication-styles meets the road of guidelines/community/context, with the general goal of finding a way to make things work for both the individual and the community.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:58 AM on October 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


> but don't turn around and make people feel guilty for abiding by them

I don't understand this. I haven't seen anyone - mods, random mefites - in this thread guilt-trip anyone for following the rules, so I must be misunderstanding what you said here. Can you explain?
posted by rtha at 9:01 AM on October 8, 2010


Got it. And FWIW y'all haven't done anything to make me feel put out — I'm just double-checking that I understand your point of view and I'm not accidentally sending any little festering wads of misery your way in the mistaken belief that they're no big deal.

It sounds like you're saying "Act in good faith, accept criticism if it comes up, and beyond that you probably aren't going to make or ruin our day," which is a fine answer in my book.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:12 AM on October 8, 2010


I always assumed the fish shooter had a shotgun with a wide spread

Exactly. A shotgun from the right distance should take care of any reasonable number of fish in a barrel. Sadly, Mythbusters took this in a different direction.

On the other hand, I imagine that shooting fish with a rifle in open water is quite difficult. The water refracts light, so you'd need to adjust your aim. You'd need a lot of practice to be able to intuit the angle correction for the distance from the surface to the fish. Throw some waves, some glare from the sun, and a moving boat to shoot from into the mix and you'd have a tough time. In comparison, fish in a barrel would be dead easy.
posted by ssg at 9:31 AM on October 8, 2010


If you already have them in the barrel, can't you just use a net?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:34 AM on October 8, 2010


Has anyone ever asked 52 questions in a year? If so, how many people? Is this really an issue, or just theoretically?

Well, aside from user "anonymous", who has asked 3001 questions in a year, the record for a real user is 96, and there are 11 users who have asked 52 or more questions in year.

But if we only look at the period of time starting a year after the 7-day posting limit was implemented, then no, no real user has done it. The post 7-day limit record is 45 questions in year, and there are more than 50 users who have asked 30 questions in a year.
posted by FishBike at 9:38 AM on October 8, 2010


If you already have them in the barrel, can't you just use a net?

Why do you have fish in a barrel, anyway?
posted by nomadicink at 9:47 AM on October 8, 2010


It was the olden times.
posted by Gator at 9:48 AM on October 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I freaked out before my wedding and had someone else post a question for me within my seven day window.

I don't remember the context specifically, but this is the jam that we get into. There is a limit that we try to enforce through specific tools but also a general "be cool" policy. We can't, actually, keep you from going through elaborate subterfuge to get another question. What we can do is speak up when we feel that people are flouting the guidelines and say "eh, that's not that cool." So the range is something like this, as far as what takes up our time [this is not a value judgment, this is just flat out math

- person asks a few questions a year
- person asks a few questions a month
- person asks a question a week, every week
- person asks a question a week and uses sock puppet in same time period
- person asks a question a week AND uses anon feature in the same time period
- person asks all their questions and gets someone else to ask a question for them privately
- person asks all their questions and gets someone else to ask a question for them via MeTa
- person asks all their questions and gets someone else to ask a question for them who then says "I am asking a question for this other user" in their question
- person asks all their questions and gets someone else to ask a question for them who then says "I am asking a question for this other user" in their question and the other user shows up in the thread answering commenter's questions

By the time we're at the end of the list, that person is pretty clearly visibly end-running the rules of the site which, personally, in an emergency [and yeah wedding anxiety can definitely be an emergency] I don't care much about. The issue is that everyone else on the site sees this going on and wants to know what the deal is and why this is okay. So, it's not such a big deal because "oh shit there's one more question" it's a big deal because every exception gets scrutinized and evaluated by other people besides us, sometimes winding up in a lot of emails or in MeTa.

And that's when our time really starts to get used. And when we get a little frustrated. And I apologize to desjardins or others if they feel our "hey you're using too much of a community resource and you'll need to ease back some" emails have seemed abrupt or anything other than conversational fyi discussions. We absolutely do not want people to feel that we think they're bad or greedy or whatever. We do, however, want to get across the idea that this is a community resource, we've put hard and soft guidelines in place to keep it valuable, and we need everyone's help in that. I'm pleased people find this so useful; one of the reasons it's useful is because we all work to keep it that way.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:37 AM on October 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


In my experience, a good source for answers to your questions can be found by searching out a good forum on the subject.
posted by drezdn at 11:32 AM on October 8, 2010


If you already have them in the barrel, can't you just use a net?

Why not just shoot a hole in the bottom of a barrel, wait for the water to drain and the fish to die, and then cook them into a delicious meal?
posted by djgh at 11:45 AM on October 8, 2010


> It was the olden times.

My grandmother grew up on the Missouri River, and related that they did indeed keep catfish caught in the river alive in big barrels and troughs for a few days before selling/eating them to allow all the mud and gunk they ingested from the river bottom to get excreted.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:36 PM on October 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I cannot answer this question. Sorry.
posted by desuetude at 1:42 PM on October 8, 2010


Chop-chop, catquas, you're already an hour late.
posted by Gator at 1:47 PM on October 8, 2010


If you already have them in the barrel, can't you just use a net?

You're making the assumption my barrel has a removable lid. You ever try to use a net through a bung hole? Shooting is easier.
posted by Mitheral at 2:39 PM on October 8, 2010


Mitheral said "bung hole."
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:40 PM on October 8, 2010


> You ever try to use a net through a bung hole?

If you post this to AskMe you'll get a lot of revealing answers.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:40 PM on October 8, 2010


I've had this issue before. Recently, a very close family member had a medical diagnosis that sent me reeling. I had several questions that I wanted to ask and the one question rule, although completely understandable to weed out the chaff, was so frustrating to someone who has come to depend on the brains/ friends/ opinions of the hivemind. Just throwing this out there, it may have been discussed upthread but is there any way that older/ more contributory members could earn less time between questions? If you've been a member in good standing for say a year, your limit goes down to four days. 3 years, two days....etc.


I haven't thought this through but I do know that I have wanted to lean on the hive mind for real 'emergencies' and I had asked some dumb question about camping or something just a day or two before. Maybe a "time in = more privileges" model would work, without giving the mods more work to do. Hopefully, long term members wouldn't need the babysitting that newbies do. No offense newbies...we love you!!


Thoughts?
posted by pearlybob at 4:06 PM on October 8, 2010


I don't like it because it's complicated. As it stands now there is one simple rule that applies to everyone. Havew a sliding scale for question time outs and you'll have a constant stream of metas questioning what the time out is. And the supposed gain is very minor.
posted by Mitheral at 4:21 PM on October 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had several questions that I wanted to ask and the one question rule, although completely understandable to weed out the chaff, was so frustrating to someone who has come to depend on the brains/ friends/ opinions of the hivemind. Just throwing this out there, it may have been discussed upthread but is there any way that older/ more contributory members could earn less time between questions?

Your situation was covered within the first few responses here by Jessamyn:

In cases of emergency ... we suggest that people ask someone else, ask anonymously, or have a sock puppet account in reserve.

and

we'd really rather say "no, the rule is hard and fast, there are workarounds in emergencies.

If you genuinely have an emergency, there are ways to get that extra question in there. It doesn't need some complicated, multi-tiered reworking of the AskMe time limits, and it doesn't need all this drama. All you would have needed to do, in a real emergency, is follow one of the paths that have been repeatedly set forth.
posted by Forktine at 4:29 PM on October 8, 2010


If you already have them in the barrel, can't you just use a net?

Or a hair dryer.
posted by Kafkaesque at 5:23 PM on October 8, 2010


Like I said, just an un-thought out suggestion. I'm glad to know that if I'm ever in that situation again (and I pray that I'm not), I can ask jess about options for further advise. I'm glad to be an always learning mefite.
posted by pearlybob at 7:10 PM on October 8, 2010


If you already have them in the barrel, can't you just use a net?

Or set the barrel on fire/over a fire and make fish soup.

(Incidentally, in case anyone cares, I ran some stats on the infodump yesterday to try and quantify "good askmefi citizen". Turns out that the average ratio of favourites-to-comments (over the past six weeks) is about 0.88, i.e. the average mefite got 0.88 favourites for every comment he/she posted in the past six weeks. So if you are getting more than that, you are awesome. The top ratio is a user who got four times as many favourites as comments.)

What? It was Friday night. I was bored.
posted by lollusc at 10:23 PM on October 8, 2010


- What is the capital of France?
Wherever the country they last surrendered to tells them it is
- What is your least favorite food?
Sea Cucumber
- What do you call a 30-something woman who dates a 20-something guy?
Lucky
- Would it be possible to eat 69 hamburgers in a row without ketchup or water?
Sure, but I'd probably need about 20 days to do it.

I guess it's time to have our regular conversation about the AskMe time limits, but remember this - no matter what the rules are, someone will bitch about them, so it doesn't really matter what the rules are anyway. Best to make them suit the mods, who are the ones that have to deal with them every day and be done with it.
posted by dg at 1:32 AM on October 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


desjardins has disabled her account.
posted by everichon at 8:58 AM on October 14, 2010


I am saddened by this. I hope she comes back.
posted by quin at 9:07 AM on October 14, 2010


Aww. I like her. I just disagree on this.
posted by klangklangston at 9:21 AM on October 14, 2010


Over this? I really don't get how she could have felt this was a camel-crippling straw, especially since Jessamyn apologized for inadvertently making her feel bad with an old email exchange. I don't even get how she felt she was included in the "we all know who they are" list.
posted by Gator at 9:21 AM on October 14, 2010


I don't think we should assume it had anything to do with this thread.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:14 AM on October 14, 2010


desjardins has disabled her account.

Well, rats.
posted by rtha at 11:05 AM on October 14, 2010


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