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tell.metafilter
January 12, 2011 4:12 PM   Subscribe

There's already an ask.metafilter but plenty of members here would probably know more about x than I/you/we could possibly imagine. So how about tell.metafilter ?

Example post:
I do/did x. I've been doing/done x for z years and I bet you're curious.
(x could be 'a police officer in New Hampshire' or 'a match box collector in Prague' or 'a plumber in Barbados' or ...)

Here's some background into me and x...

I'll try to answer every question, to the best of my ability, that's posted in the next y days/hours.
posted by selton to Feature Requests at 4:12 PM (117 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I don't get it. Couldn't just people get a blog?
posted by modernnomad at 4:15 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


This sounds like a GYOB type deal. And maybe that info could be in the user's "about me" section. with some me-mail to answer questions. I know tumblr does this to some effect, people can ask questions, and answers show up as posts.
posted by hellojed at 4:15 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


why.metafilter?
posted by Burhanistan at 4:15 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just like the AMA (Ask Me Anything) threads on reddit?

I think the feature would be kind of cool.
posted by jayder at 4:15 PM on January 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


Too many people overshare as it is.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:17 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


You pretty much just described IAMA at reddit. Reddit has the advantage (not sure if that's the word I should be using here) of using a member powered content ranking system that ensures only the more interesting or more contentious posts appear to casual readers. The problem is most people think their life is really interesting and would make a great post, unfortunately I could see a lot of bubbles bursting and snowflakes melted.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:18 PM on January 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


I have no expertise in anything but boy howdy do I sure love to talk! ASK ME ANYTHING!
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:19 PM on January 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


People already do this -- as in, I know I have memailed random users to ask questions which seem to fall in their expertise. And I've gotten memails from others as well, who've read my answers in certain threads and wanted to know more.

System already works, for those who care to use it.
posted by hermitosis at 4:21 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have no expertise in anything but boy howdy do I sure love to talk! ASK ME ANYTHING!

Have you ever been in a Turkish prison?
posted by loquacious at 4:23 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have no expertise in anything but boy howdy do I sure love to talk! ASK ME ANYTHING!
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:19 PM


ok, I'll bite. How you formed?
posted by special-k at 4:26 PM on January 12, 2011 [34 favorites]


I do/did x. I've been doing/done x for z years and I bet you're curious.

hot diggity. You've been diddling x too? I thought x and I have been exclusive for k months now. frak.
posted by special-k at 4:29 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


This sounds like work.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:32 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did anyone else here used to visit the Straight Dope's boards back in the day? Remember the zeitgeist of "Ask the. . . " threads after the popularity of "Ask the Gay Guy!" Those, and the general fightiness that followed 9/11/01, are why I stopped visiting there.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 4:32 PM on January 12, 2011


After doing x for so many years, I'm sure you have some great scarcely remembered stories to tell.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:33 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


wwic.metafilter.com
posted by DU at 4:33 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


hot diggity. You've been diddling x too? I thought x and I have been exclusive for k months now. frak.

and what special-k months those must have been.
posted by estlin at 4:34 PM on January 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Instead we should have an Ask Exchange. Somebody submits a question and it is memailed to a randomly chosen member. That member has to answer the question truthfully and informatively, even if the answer is "I don't know" or "I can't find anything about this." That member can then submit their own question to the Ask Exchange (or simply forward along the question they were asked).

There are huge advantages to this. I'll let you know what they are as soon as my question about them is responded to.
posted by ardgedee at 4:36 PM on January 12, 2011 [14 favorites]


truthordare.metafilter
posted by cjorgensen at 4:42 PM on January 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


Nope. Just sit in your rocking chair like an old person and wait. Wait until one of the little askme kids asks a question and you can say "jump up here on my lap, askme, and let me tell you the story of that".
posted by cashman at 4:43 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ask Amy Chu parenting advice!
posted by fixedgear at 4:44 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


modernnomad: "Couldn't just people get a blog?"

But what about the rest of us amoral freaks?
posted by iamkimiam at 4:45 PM on January 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'll admit it, I was the dummy who suggested this.

I made the suggestion because I've seen it work well on another forum (also with many intelligent and varied users) and the threads have often been interesting. (I'm trying flattery on metafilter as the last resort)

2bucksplus: I've never looked at reddit before (I live under a rock). I want to withdraw my request after seeing the top reddit "tell me" = "IAMA Guy Who, At 26, Had His Girlfriend of 6 Years (Also 26) Leave Him For A 65 Year Old Man".
posted by selton at 4:47 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd like a told.metafilter.com, where members could give out free unsolicited advice to other members who like so.obviously.need.it...

told.metafilter.com, your ass just got told.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:47 PM on January 12, 2011 [20 favorites]


But what about the rest of us amoral freaks?

There's always reddit.

I made the suggestion because I've seen it work well on another forum

Minor nitpick: this is not a forum. But thanks for trying to change us, what next you want us to put on a blonde wig and maid uniform for your sick little fantasy, huh? 'Cause that ain't happenin' unless you buy us a donut. WITH SPRINKLES.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:55 PM on January 12, 2011


bloviate.metafilter.com
posted by selton at 4:56 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't this pretty well be the poster child of self linking and chat filter?
posted by Mitheral at 4:56 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


"There's already an ask.metafilter but..."

Clearly, what we need is a guess.metafilter. I mean, if you wouldn't mind and if it's not a terrible imposition and you know what, forget I even asked i'll just go kill myself now for my social etiquette fail...

</haw></hem>
posted by Eideteker at 5:00 PM on January 12, 2011 [18 favorites]


(see, it's funny because you're supposed to close the tags in the opposite order you open them, and also because Guessers are terrible losers who never get anything done because they're too scared to ask, and I can say so with impunity because they wouldn't dream of making such a disturbance as to so much as harrumph at this. Suckers!)
posted by Eideteker at 5:02 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Meh - I do think it would be good to find some way to accommodate those ridiculously popular Ask threads that are probably chatfilter but occasionally enjoy a free pass because, let's face it, they're often packed with great "answers". I'm talking about the general "What's the best lesson you ever learnt?", "Tell me about experiences you've had with ham", "Tell me some egg puns!" kind of thread.
posted by doublehappy at 5:08 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The way I see it, posting your own lookatme chatfilter is at best undesirable and at worst a bannable offense... but if someone independently makes a thread about something you're reasonably experienced with, feel free to out yourself as a Bonafide Expert (in no fewer than 500 words) and bask in the favorites and inevitable sidebar for your vast but previously unknown interestingness.

Not meaning to be harsh; I legitimately enjoy these threads myself but still thought it was a fairly common irony worth mentioning.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 5:18 PM on January 12, 2011


Reddit does this pretty well already. There doesn't seem to be a huge call for this here. People often include pretty terrific "about me" sorts of comments all over the site when approriate. It doesn't fit into what we're doing well enough that we'd know how to do this. So, it's a neat idea, but we're at the stage where adding a whole new subsite would pretty much have to be something people were clamoring for, not just something that sounded like a neat idea. I'd suggest hanging out at the IAMA Reddit area though, it's sort of nifty.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:28 PM on January 12, 2011


In a sense, isn't this what the Blue is for? No self-linking, obviously, but every day I see people who know a ton about X make awesome and informative posts about said X. The fact that self-linking is prohibited actually makes this even cooler, because instead of just ranting about X for a bit, the person making the post has to come up with good sources that people can use to inform themselves.

Okay, maybe not every day, but certainly on a regular basis and far more frequently than anywhere else.
posted by valkyryn at 5:42 PM on January 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


There was the 'write about things you know' project that faltered a few times - I'm not sure if it ever got off the ground.
posted by cobaltnine at 6:01 PM on January 12, 2011


You read the sidebar, right? That's where a lot of the great "I'm an expert in X and the reason we're discussing this is Y" type of responses (the ones that The Winsome Parker Lewis mentions) end up.
posted by librarylis at 6:02 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did you just... post a link to dictionary.com, selton?
posted by katillathehun at 6:05 PM on January 12, 2011


TellMe Baby all throu the night that you'll never let me go
TellMe Baby cos I want the world to know
posted by jonmc at 6:06 PM on January 12, 2011


When I lived in Denmark, our local library had a feature where you could go in on a Saturday and "borrow" a member of a minority. You could take them to coffee and ask them about their life, and had to return them after an hour or you got a library fine. They had a Muslim, a black guy, a transsexual, a gay dude, a Jew and a sex worker.

So yeah, instead of your idea, I vote that any interesting metafilter members go over to Jessamyn's house, and we can loan them out for an afternoon.
posted by lollusc at 6:16 PM on January 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


I vote that any interesting metafilter members go over to Jessamyn's house, and we can loan them out for an afternoon.

I'm interesting. What're the rates?
posted by jonmc at 6:26 PM on January 12, 2011


drunk guys aren't a minority.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:28 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


They didn't say minority, dude, they said interesting. and I need the dough.
posted by jonmc at 6:34 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


half blog.metafilter, half wikipedia.metafilter. step 3 is profit.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:37 PM on January 12, 2011


I vote that any interesting metafilter members go over to Jessamyn's house, and we can loan them out for an afternoon.

In Planescpe, when you finally reach the well-heeled areas of Sigil, you can visit the Brothel For Slating Intellectual Lusts, where you pay to have Conversation with a diverse and interesting section of beings for a fee.

Which is how Metafilter has always felt to me.
posted by The Whelk at 6:40 PM on January 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


WWJD?
posted by ~Sushma~ at 6:42 PM on January 12, 2011


A specific case would be the Trip Reports on the (now defunct) TravelFilter, which I really enjoyed. Are they archived somewhere?
posted by yaymukund at 6:46 PM on January 12, 2011


valkyryn: "In a sense, isn't this what the Blue is for? No self-linking, obviously, but every day I see people who know a ton about X make awesome and informative posts about said X. "

Fuck that, isn't it what projects is for?

Hi. I'm theichibun. I know a lot about video games because I'm playing them. Here, it's online. Go look at it. Like right now, because it's fucking awesome.

Really, if you know a lot about something then grab a Blogger or WordPress or whatever the kids these days are using blog and make a blog about that thing you know well. Then link to it on projects.

But only when it's fucking awesome. Regular awesome is not ok.
posted by theichibun at 6:48 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does slating an intellectual lust mean taking an interesting topic and adopting a contrarian (but secretly not really that contrarian, actually kinda mainstream) position on it?
posted by smoke at 7:00 PM on January 12, 2011


what do you think about taking an interesting topic and adopting a contrarian (but secretly not really that contrarian, actually kinda mainstream) position on it?
posted by The Whelk at 7:01 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lately I've been reading books written by Apollo astronauts, ask me anything about that subject. Or Pagemaker.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:16 PM on January 12, 2011


So anyways, the 54mm Marx plastic soldiers made before the mid-1960's are really superior. They have a nice flat finish. People used to say that was because they had lead in them and then it got banned. That's not true, they just changed the formula for the plastic.
posted by marxchivist at 7:19 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Tell me about experiences you've had with ham"

I'm pretty sure that's part of the Voight-Kampff.

They had a Muslim, a black guy, a transsexual, a gay dude, a Jew and a sex worker.

Man, I hope they all walked into a bar together afterward.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:33 PM on January 12, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm interesting. What're the rates?

Depends on the locality - rates vary depending on levels of urbanisation.
posted by djgh at 7:38 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd like a told.metafilter.com, where members could give out free unsolicited advice to other members who like so.obviously.need.it...

I want to favorite this like ten times. And I also would like to install this feature to real life, and have it be legally binding.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:39 PM on January 12, 2011


1) Register imsosmart.blogspot.com
2) Empty your brain onto your new blog
3) Post your blog to projects.metafilter.com
4) Be told you blog sucks AMIRITE
posted by auto-correct at 7:42 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


selton, is there something you'd like to tell everyone?
posted by amtho at 8:01 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


IAMA threads on reddit are already annoying enough. How the hell do we know that people are what they say they are? And what exactly is the thrill of asking somebody stuff? Besides, there's a pretty heavy weight on the experiential in all that. It seems like a big waste of time, in my opinion.
posted by koeselitz at 8:06 PM on January 12, 2011


I'm with everyone who says Reddit does this kind of thing better than MeFi because of its user-ranking system which is something MeFi should avoid like the plague. There is also metachat.org for the chatfilter and blogspot/wordpress.com/tumblr for YOUR OWN BLOG. MetaFilter appears to have a place to do everything that it can do really really well, except maybe Improvisational Comedy. Splitting off an improv.metafilter or whoselineisit.metafilter for the threads that get extremely, wonderfully silly may be an option, but I'm not starting another MeTa thread about it. OR AM I?
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:06 PM on January 12, 2011


*takes out meerschaum pipe and bubble mix* Back when I were lad, we used to live in shoeboxes.
posted by arcticseal at 8:09 PM on January 12, 2011


Seriously though, do not want. Would result in grandstanding or people just standing on a soap box pontificating.
posted by arcticseal at 8:18 PM on January 12, 2011


Can I help with the part of the site that tells people what's wrong with their pony requests? Because I got opinions on that particular subject.
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:01 PM on January 12, 2011


I'm a dipstick online. Ask me anything. I dare you. Etc.

Do not want.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:03 PM on January 12, 2011


I can enthrall you with how many variations of chin-ups and leg lifts that I do, as well as how I stay as regular as a fascist subway line.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:05 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The F line is so totally not fascist it barely runs.
posted by The Whelk at 9:06 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


*takes out meerschaum pipe and bubble mix* Back when I were lad, we used to live in shoeboxes.
posted by arcticseal at 8:09 PM on January 12 [+] [!]

Back in my day shoes didn't come in boxes. They were handcrafted in front of your very eyes on your two feet from the hides of still-twitching deer.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:07 PM on January 12, 2011


> The F line is so totally not fascist it barely runs.

I will be happy if you tell everyone in the car that "This subway is constipated!".
posted by Burhanistan at 9:08 PM on January 12, 2011


If that's the case the subway may need serious surgery and a special diet.
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 PM on January 12, 2011


Our intestines are just train tunnels.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:12 PM on January 12, 2011


CHOO CHOO
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 PM on January 12, 2011


MetaFilter: grandstanding or people just standing on a soap box pontificating.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 9:21 PM on January 12, 2011


{BLATHERS}
posted by clavdivs at 9:21 PM on January 12, 2011


Chew Chew, you mean.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:22 PM on January 12, 2011


That's not the rails vibrating, that's peristalsis.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:31 PM on January 12, 2011


I have no expertise in anything but boy howdy do I sure love to talk! ASK ME ANYTHING!
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:19 PM

ok, I'll bite. How you formed?


They need to do way instain mother brain.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:55 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


overcharged...to many syllables. good cadence and image. we all win.
posted by clavdivs at 10:34 PM on January 12, 2011


"Tell me some egg puns!" kind of thread.

When I was younger, I had a job in the palace of a legendary Eastern prince. The grounds were lush and verdant, with many acres of fruit trees, wooded areas stocked with all kinds of game, and an aviary with exotic birds from the world over. The voluptuous undulations of the hills to the west were nearly as enticing as those of the prince's consorts, and there was a river, as well, whose water was cool and refreshing, and from which fish nearly lept into one's net.

It was in its entirety given over to the pleasures of the flesh—for, that is, the prince and those he favored. The workers, and I was one of them, endured long, backbreaking days, for however much the palace appeared to be a remnant of the Age of Gold, it, like all things, was yet a product of our present Age of Iron, and the maintenance of the appearance of unsought plenty required near-constant labor.

I must have done something to attract the ire of one of the foremen (who were really in no better a position than the rest of us)—some imagined shirking, or, it wouldn't surprise me to learn, jealousy regarding my abilities—because not long after I arrived I was transferred to the aviary, one of the worst jobs going. I had to muck out the floor while high overhead birds of prey gazed down at me with expressionless eyes, seemingly well aware that one workman more or less would never be missed. Perhaps I owe my life to the nearly nonexistent meals we were given, just enough to keep us able to work another day ("carrion and on a dry crust,
mouldy bread that his dogs had vomited", as the poet says); if I had presented a plumper image, I don't doubt that little would remain of me now but bird droppings or owl pellets.

I had other duties still less pleasant in the aviary, among which the worst was no doubt the following. Every day, I would have to climb high up a tree around which the aviary had been built in which a roc had built its nests. (Rocs build more than one nest among which eggs are shifted.) The roc itself however had died, but not before laying a single egg. Let me inform you now, in case you were unaware, that the egg of a roc is quite large and quite heavy, and it was my job, because there was no bird to sit on them, to cover the egg with blankets at sundown, remove them and rotate it at sunup, and periodically move them on the tree from one nesting location to another.

Now as my comment about the precedence of the aviary and the tree may have suggested, it was really for the roc's sake that the whole thing existed, and with it gone all the more importance attached to the egg—and all the less to the other birds. The significance of this was not lost on me: I would surely be released from my duties if the egg didn't hatch. The hard part, of course, would be doing so in a way that wouldn't result in my being tortured to death, which would surely happen if it looked anything like my fault and possibly even if it didn't. Eventually I concluded that there was nothing I could really do.

But I still passed many hours dreaming about throwing down that oppressive yolk.
posted by kenko at 10:36 PM on January 12, 2011 [20 favorites]


the soapbox is The Whelk uh zz and I super secret telepathic hero comic.
His is taller and has velvet compartments with ice maker(s) and recharging station, I'm still shaking off the shiney part of the skit.
posted by clavdivs at 10:38 PM on January 12, 2011


timing
posted by clavdivs at 10:40 PM on January 12, 2011


clavdisvs
posted by The Whelk at 10:41 PM on January 12, 2011


This is a fucking fantastic idea that would be a great fit for Metafilter.

reddit's IAMA is consistently one of the most engrossing forums on the web. It delights because of the extraordinary experiences on there -- "I knew Jeffrey Dahmer" -- as much as the ordinary ones ("I work at Disneyland", "I run security for a Vegas casino"). It's amazing to read the back issues, so to speak, but it's even more amazing to participate in IAMA live and be able to ask questions of astronauts or people with micropenis or whoever the fuck. If you're pissing on this idea automatically cos you think it's boring, seriously, go check out the first two or three hundred top-ranked IAMAs and then get back to us.

tell.metafilter would be its own special kind of fascinating I think. The $5 barrier to entry which would go a long way to countering the perennial issue of trolling on IAMA. It would also have quite a different tone because of the rich, diverse, quirky nature of the MeFi demographic. Because reddit skews to geeky college students, many of the IAMAs come from those with limited life experience. MeFi's IAMAs would be much broader (though admittedly the user base is smaller, so you would get fewer celebrity-type posts).

jessamyn's point is fair enough; it will mean too much work for overworked mods. Because there's no content ranking system, mods would have to moderate out GYOB posts. The idea needs a bit of finessing. But I'm pretty sure if mathowie did start tell.metafilter it would quickly become a much-loved feature of the site (certainly more popular than Music, Jobs, Projects). People might not be clamouring for it now, but if it was introduced as a fait accompli I'm pretty sure they'd clamour to keep it -- it would likely throw up some really, really amazing content.

Let me put in a vote for tell.metafilter being at the top of the options list if we do get a new something.metafilter. It would, in all seriousness, make the world a more interesting place.
posted by dontjumplarry at 11:53 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know, I've seen three or four comments re: the clavdivs thing, and I never understood what the hell they were going on about. I get it now. I am no longer illiterate, merely embarrassed.
posted by doublehappy at 1:14 AM on January 13, 2011


youcanstartbyfillingoutyourfuckingprofileifyoureallygiveashit.metafilter.com
posted by clearly at 2:34 AM on January 13, 2011


dontjumplarry: "certainly more popular than Music"

You shut your filthy mouth
posted by minifigs at 2:57 AM on January 13, 2011


Today I learned that in Denmark you can get sex-workers from the library.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:03 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


See, the major problem is laziness. Production crews are too lazy and jaded to bother to edit away from the guy gigging himself or to get the shot of the babyface suffering (because you want to increase audience identification with your babyfaces, right?), because "it's just wrestling." They don't bother to run a line from the house mic to a laptop or recording deck to get a clean feed because "it's just wrestling" and as a result you can't tell what anyone's talking about in promos. The workers all want to be on TV but don't work on their mic skills by taking improv classes and so everyone's promos and commentary are filled with the same damn cliches. Bookers can't decide if they want to promote a realistic, hard-hitting product or crazy wacky fantasy fun time - both of which have their place - so you end up with one with elements of the other which is not nearly as good enough as one or the other. And nobody wants to take a chance creatively so everything is a sad clone of WWE or ROH or old Crockett angles; even the entrance music repeats over and over again as you cross the country. I'm not even getting into the exploitative labor practices oh shit kayfabe
posted by jtron at 6:33 AM on January 13, 2011


When I lived in Denmark, our local library had a feature where you could go in on a Saturday and "borrow" a member of a minority. You could take them to coffee and ask them about their life, and had to return them after an hour or you got a library fine. They had a Muslim, a black guy, a transsexual, a gay dude, a Jew and a sex worker.

Can we get an FPP about this? (Also, it weirdly sounds like it could be an episode of South Park....)
posted by schmod at 7:16 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's the running theme already, and jess has covered the official response, but I want to join the "sounds like a blog" chorus but in a strictly positive sense: the idea is neat and if someone decided to curate or moderate a series of "Ask A Mefite!" type discussions on a blog of their own that could be a lot of fun. That it doesn't feel like something that there's a place for on mefi specifically doesn't mean it can't happen, it'd just take some elbow grease from someone willing to do the wrangling.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:18 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Something Awful has this too on their Ask/Tell forum. (It's backwards from here though, since its "Ask me about something" and "Tell me about something".)
posted by smackfu at 7:48 AM on January 13, 2011


They need to do way instain mother brain.

Thank you. I had trouble thinking of a witty response to frigth back.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:30 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


my pary is with the ridley
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:31 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can we get an FPP about this?

It's several years old and when I did a personal blog post about it I found that there wasn't a lot of English language content about it besides the fairly predictable lulzy nonsense.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:31 AM on January 13, 2011


Is this the possible construction of an Ask Me question:

"What is it like to be XXXXXX? First hand experience only please."

?

If so then we have a solution.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:40 AM on January 13, 2011


That's not quite the same, really.
posted by smackfu at 9:00 AM on January 13, 2011


This will probably be unpopular. But all this GYOB is disappointing attitude. True, many people can yammer on about something and those are the ones we least like to hear. But Metafilter is the best place I have personally been involved with that aggregates really good, thoughtful information. It is no coincidence that many of the side-barred postings (the posts that both the mods and community as a whole find most compelling) are just the kind of personal experience/anecdote that's being discussed here.

This "Oh you make me so weary with the things you say, please go talk to yourself in a corner" attitude isn't clever or reflect a finer, more advanced sensibility. Those that are so disgusted by the bad things on the internet and need to tell everybody how tiresome they believe everybody other than themselves to be aren't any better than those they mock. Suggesting the possibility that majority of the site are windbags and have nothing you would be interested in hearing makes you seem juvenile and old at the same time, even if in some cases it's true. One hundred similar comments in a thread that add nothing new but instead poke fun at the ideais neither clever, or even amusing snark. It is an excellent example of wanting to hear yourself talk. The best here can do better than that. (I do not consider myself one of the best, btw).

An idea that aims to consolidate and display the strengths of this site seems the wrong thing at which to aim tired sarcasm.

Let me suggest that a single MetaTalk thread that lets users list something they feel they have a strength of knowledge in might be a good way to "index" the strengths of Metafilter in an non-intrusive way. You could favorite the thread and return to it if you have a question or simply an interest in something that a member purports to have an expertise in. I have come to recognize certain users in certain fields whose opinion I value based upon their thoughtful comments. A search of a thread like this might be a better starting point for a question on a subject than a random Google search or even a Metafilter search.

OK...so I yamered on. Apologies.
posted by nickjadlowe at 9:08 AM on January 13, 2011


Well, I've lurked long enough and the consensus view appears to be no, so I'm now confident in jumping on the bandwagon and bashing this idea down cause pointing out how wrong people are on the internets is cool.
posted by dougrayrankin at 10:06 AM on January 13, 2011


nickjadlowe, in my mind it's about this idea just begging to b spambait. That and the fact that we already have a section set up to show off our own stuff.
posted by theichibun at 10:22 AM on January 13, 2011


Wait, I've got a better idea. You can get content from experts any old wheres... heck, you go into some stores these days and that's all they've got, books and magazines and newspapers and things written by experts. How about a site where people compete to say the most convincing things about subjects they know absolutely nothing about? You could regularly post links to novel and interesting but obscure subjects, but with the right sort of audience they'd have tons to say about it anyways and the bullshitting would just go on and on. I might even have a thing or two myself to say on that kind of site.
posted by XMLicious at 10:49 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fwiw, I'm always curious about the real lives of other members and I would have loved this subsite. Lots of people thought ask me was a terrible idea when it was first proposed and made fun of it until another mefi member started one on his own site, and THEN mefi implemented it. Wouldn't it be interesting to go someplace where you could learn about coldchef's undertaking business one hour and a sex worker the next, and then a NYC cabbie? I don't want to go to reddit, cause I don't known those folks and kind of don't really have time as it is.

Okay just me? Plus extra work for the site, so that's okay. Still I think it was a neat idea.
posted by onlyconnect at 11:17 AM on January 13, 2011


This feature already exists.
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:06 PM on January 13, 2011


Can we get an FPP about this?

It's several years old and when I did a personal blog post about it I found that there wasn't a lot of English language content about it besides the fairly predictable lulzy nonsense.


Oh no, the Human Library is pretty awesome! I'm biased because I was around when Santa Monica Public Library pulled off the first one of these in North America (or the US or whatever it was). Nonetheless, there's definitely some English language results that are pretty indicative of what's going on. Lulz, yeah, definitely to be expected with this, if not framed carefully.

Human Library's English website
The Library Journal's write up of SMPL's experiment with it
A blogpost of someone who was there and wrote about [disclosure: I know this person]
SMPL's release of their event
etc.

It could totally be a cool FPP and I'd love to set it up but that won't be happening this afternoon as I'm teaching.
posted by librarylis at 1:20 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Versions of this idea have been floated from time to time. In fact, I started a MeTa thread about creating a MeFi University -- some sort of collection of tutorials by MeFi users.

These MeFites-share-their-knowledge/experience projects seem to be beloved by, maybe 10% of MeFites, with the rest thinking meh, fuck no!, or nice idea in a perfect world, but...

I am still really committed to doing something like this, and I've already created a lot of assets (video tutorials, etc.) I am still trying to figure out where they should live. I'm guessing the place for them is never going to be here, though.

Personal blogs can work, of course, but there are downsides: it would be nice to aggregate these posts all in one place. Knowledge blogs are great for me when I'm looking for something specific. Like, if I want to learn math, I can find Khan Academy with a small amount go googling. But if I just want to browse a big grass-roots knowledge base, it's harder to know where to go.

There's wikipedia, of course, but that site isn't very interactive. You can't post questions for the article writers in some sort of forum (can you?).
posted by grumblebee at 1:33 PM on January 13, 2011


How about this?

What if there was a searchable database that aggregated info from MeFi profile pages? This would involve (amongst other things), adding more structure to the edit-my-profile-page form. It would be optional, of couse, but you could pick your occupation from a dropdown (adding a new one if you didn't find yours there.) You could also choose X number of interests/hobbies/obsessions from other dropdowns (again adding new ones if necessary). Maybe there'd also be a field for arbitrary tags.

Then, if I was interested in, say, beekeeping, I could either go to an index page, click B, and browse... or I could type "beekeeping" into a search field. Either way, I'd get a list of all the MeFite's who'd listed beekeeping as an occupation or interest. And each item on the list would link to that member's profile page. On their profiles pages, I might find links they'd posted to resources or ways to contact them with questions.

And that's ALL Metafilter would do to facilitate this. Grumblebee, you want to know about beekeeping? Okay, well, you might want to talk to members A, B and C...

At that point, the official metafilter structure would step away. But at least I could get a list of MeFite's with that interest and know how to contact them. (Don't want someone to contact you about your job as a bee keeper? Don't add that to your profile.)

I get that MeFi mods don't want to add a whole site for people to post their knowledge. I see how this is bloggish. What kind of sucks is that, if I want to know about beekeeping, there might be five MeFite's who are experts and willing to help me (or who have links to beekeeping resources on their profiles), but I'd have no way of knowing.
posted by grumblebee at 1:44 PM on January 13, 2011


> What kind of sucks is that, if I want to know about beekeeping, there might be five MeFite's who are experts and willing to help me

I have just the thing for that.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:49 PM on January 13, 2011


I have just the thing for that.

If I have a specific question about beekeeping, then -- sure -- AskMe is perfect for that. But it might not be if I just want general knowledge.

Also, AskMe only works when you know what you're interested in. If there was an index, I could browse it...

basketweaving
bear baiting
beekeeping
beer brewing...

"Oh, cool. There are mefit's who brew beer? I had no idea. I'm going to check them out."

There's no way to replicate that on AskMe. "Hey, here's my question: can everyone post their areas of expertise?" That wouldn't fly.
posted by grumblebee at 1:59 PM on January 13, 2011


(If you're not the kind of person who randomly browses Wikipeadia and who clicks on other-people's AskMe posts, just because you're curious, then you won't understand the appeal of what I'm suggesting. Which is really just that profile pages are, sometimes, great resources, but there's no way of finding them without arbitrarily clicking on member's names.)
posted by grumblebee at 2:01 PM on January 13, 2011


My area of expertise is asking questions, and therefore I get this feature and none of the rest of you do.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:50 PM on January 13, 2011


To be fair, experts in noticing shit online also get this feature. And experts in griping about how websites are moderated. But nobody else.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:26 PM on January 13, 2011


So can't someone who really wants this feature set up a "mefi university" or index or wiki or something (offsite) and then link it under projects? That would seem to me to be the obvious solution. If it works out really well and doesn't end up being a lot of work, maybe the mods would be more interested in incorporating it into the site properly later.
posted by lollusc at 4:34 PM on January 13, 2011


What would be nice is being able to know which MeFites were experts in what, agreed. What is less compelling to me is some sort of subsite where people talk about the things they know or people ask them questions. Only because it would be tough to moderate, totally different from anything else on the site already, and there may be people who have expertise who don't necessarily want to be open for constant questions from the general population. It just takes one person to hassle someone about fitness or weight loss or "X kinds of people are like Y" and it turns into sort of a mess.

So, it would be neat if there were a way to to the first thing "Hi I'm a self-proclaimed expert" without the accompanying other things "Paging the expert AGAIN to the whatever thread" and "Oh you think you're so smart well let's fight forever about this topic" and "languagehat, tell me whether ain't is a real word"

Maybe a way to build out some no-follow version of... what's that website where you can set up a sort of "ask me anything" question page and then people ask you a bunch of stuff you don't want to answer? I'm drawing a blank, I know I checked it out once and "jessamyn" was taken and ... oh here it is. I'm not sure, I like the idea but not in a "let's do this now" sort of way, though maybe as an experts list on the wiki to start, sure.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:49 PM on January 13, 2011


A simpler and to my mind preferable thing would be to have a way for people to specify tags that they are interested in, and have a very easy way to see all questions that match any of those specified interests.

Basically I don't want to tell people "I know about X, Y & Z, ask me anything you like about them". But I would like an easy way to check out if anything was asked with those tags so I can decide if I want to answer it.

Even better, but probably hard to implement, would be inferring what I like to answer questions about from the questions that I do answer, rather than me having to specify it.
posted by philipy at 8:30 PM on January 13, 2011


You know that MyAsk sort of does that, right? I mean it's not perfect, but that was created in answer to this sort of request.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:37 PM on January 13, 2011


I have no expertise in anything but boy howdy do I sure love to talk! ASK ME ANYTHING!

How could you ever die on me! Sob.
posted by ersatz at 4:38 AM on January 14, 2011


Now that I think of it, literally die on me.
posted by ersatz at 4:39 AM on January 14, 2011

Also, AskMe only works when you know what you're interested in. If there was an index, I could browse it...

basketweaving
bear baiting
beekeeping
beer brewing...

"Oh, cool. There are mefit's who brew beer? I had no idea. I'm going to check them out."
You forgot bee brewing.
posted by dougrayrankin at 5:18 AM on January 14, 2011


Drama I've seen with this "tell" idea when it was done on other sites:

1) Distrust of the most interesting ones, along with calls for proof. Very common on reddit.

2) Lack of perspective that "college student" is not something other people are that interested in asking you about, so you get hurt feelings.

3) Many of the most interesting ones being asked beyond an anonymous login.
posted by smackfu at 5:38 AM on January 14, 2011


You know that MyAsk sort of does that, right?

The truthful answer to that is I checked it out once when I was exploring and getting to know my way around, but then forgot about it.

I'll try refining my categories and tags more and see if I can use it home in on things I'm interested in.

Thanks for reminding me.
posted by philipy at 7:02 AM on January 14, 2011


Ok, I've gotten MyAsk to be a lot more useful and focused by unchecking a lot of categories, and adding a lot more tags. My thoughts on what I'm seeing...

- Yes, this is certainly a helpful tool, after putting in some thought on selecting tags

- Not sure why some things come up as they are neither in my checked categories, nor have any tags that I selected. Is it a lag in updating? A full-text match? Some other explanation?

- Would be handy, and likely easy to add, to have a list of tags to exclude. For example, I want to see most questions in the computers and internet category, but not ones about Macs or videogames.
posted by philipy at 7:38 AM on January 14, 2011


It's several years old and when I did a personal blog post about it I found that there wasn't a lot of English language content about it besides the fairly predictable lulzy nonsense.

Living books?
posted by Chuckles at 10:23 AM on January 14, 2011


"You forgot bee brewing."

Or beerkeeping.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:54 PM on January 14, 2011


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