My little wiki draft/collaboration pony
February 1, 2011 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Pre-MetaFilter-Filter: a Drafts and Collaborations section is now open on the (unofficial) Mefi Wiki, as a place to share your ideas for MeFi posts, and work with other MeFites on new posts.

I talked with the Official Mods and the chappie behind the Wiki, and this was supported by all. I've posted a few rough ideas to get it started.

If you're not already a member there, you'll have to sign up for new account on the Wiki, as it's not directly linked to MetaFilter. The formatting is fairly standard wiki formatting, which means you'll need to re-format text to make a post, so it's not a complete "save as draft" option that some folks have asked about, but it's something.
posted by filthy light thief to MetaFilter-Related at 10:49 AM (54 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

That is very sexy.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:51 AM on February 1, 2011


This looks really nice.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:52 AM on February 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is brilliant. Thank you so much for doing this.

I've ghost-written and/or collaborated on a small number of FPP's over the years. It's a fun exercise.

Also have a lot of links for posts that I've never gotten around to doing, including some for a Sargent Shriver obit post that I thought were interesting.

Will start adding to the page when I have time over the next few days. :)
posted by zarq at 10:58 AM on February 1, 2011


Neat!
posted by brundlefly at 11:07 AM on February 1, 2011


Hey, I got mentioned!
posted by cjorgensen at 11:31 AM on February 1, 2011


Your idea was not forgotten, but information was not as forthcoming as I had hoped. Maybe someone else can find more.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:35 AM on February 1, 2011


On the off chance that someone nicks these ideas, will there be tarring and feathering?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:38 AM on February 1, 2011


I added the content I had to the Shriver section.
posted by zarq at 11:49 AM on February 1, 2011


Ya'll make sure you spell my name right, thanks.
posted by marxchivist at 11:49 AM on February 1, 2011


Burhanistan: On the off chance that someone nicks these ideas, will there be tarring and feathering?

I was thinking of making a key for these, where you can mark your content as "use as you see fit" or "this is a draft that I'd like to post, but I'm looking for input." Then I figured people can add whatever conditions and criteria they want on their own content. Ideally, the notion would be that MetaFilter is a place for sharing, not claiming ownership over content. And if you really wanted to keep it for yourself, I'd suggest you don't post it on the wiki in the first place.

But if someone makes a habit of nicking the material without adding their own work, I'll get the feathers.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:57 AM on February 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


How about a policy that ideas "die" after being untouched for 30 days (or at least go onto a separate "backburner" section?
posted by schmod at 11:57 AM on February 1, 2011


schmod: "How about a policy that ideas "die" after being untouched for 30 days (or at least go onto a separate "backburner" section?"

Why?
posted by zarq at 12:05 PM on February 1, 2011


> How about a policy that ideas "die" after being untouched for 30 days (or at least go onto a separate "backburner" section?

That kind of measure would only seem necessary if there was a huge list of FPP ideas crowding up the wiki page.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:06 PM on February 1, 2011


How about a policy that ideas "die" after being untouched for 30 days (or at least go onto a separate "backburner" section?

Something to keep in mind, but hardly necessary after the page launches. If there gets to be a problem, revisit this, but otherwise let it be free, like wild bird, soaring through the brilliant blue, occasionally pooping.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:33 PM on February 1, 2011


schmod: How about a policy that ideas "die" after being untouched for 30 days (or at least go onto a separate "backburner" section?

I agree with others that there shouldn't be a time limit on ideas, because only one of the 3 current ideas is at all time sensitive, and even that one isn't newsfilter or something that is likely to become passé.

Interesting find on the wiki: pre-written celebrity obituaries index. There are only 6 obits linked, and 3 of them have been used (to some degree).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:49 PM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: free, like a wild bird, soaring through the brilliant blue, occasionally pooping.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:02 PM on February 1, 2011


On the off chance that someone nicks these ideas, will there be tarring and feathering?

What will happen is that someone will post independently, and then will get bitched at for no good reason for "stealing" an idea.

Please no one do that.
posted by smackfu at 1:04 PM on February 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Testing out the feature on a link I don't have the nerve to post myself. This could get interesting. Or not.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:05 PM on February 1, 2011


What will happen is that someone will post independently, and then will get bitched at for no good reason for "stealing" an idea.

Please no one do that


Don't do that or don't bitch at them for doing that?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:17 PM on February 1, 2011


filthy light thief: " Interesting find on the wiki: pre-written celebrity obituaries index. There are only 6 obits linked, and 3 of them have been used (to some degree)."

I cleaned up that page recently and made a couple of links to the related obits that had appeared on the Blue, which I'd discovered while working on the Obits wiki page. None of the three that were eventually posted used any content from the wiki.
posted by zarq at 1:24 PM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It had never occurred to me to collaborate on a FPP.
posted by empath at 1:25 PM on February 1, 2011


empath: "It had never occurred to me to collaborate on a FPP."

It can be quite rewarding, actually. Two or more people will often discover a deeper range of content than just one working alone. It's also nice to have the opportunity to offer suggestions quietly (say, about tweaking wording to eliminate editorializing) when asked. :)
posted by zarq at 1:33 PM on February 1, 2011


Some people are really anxious about posting, so I guess it reduces that too.
posted by smackfu at 1:33 PM on February 1, 2011


It had never occurred to me to collaborate on a FPP.

You've never watched Voltron?!

Can the site display that every time a user makes a post?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:47 PM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Awesome! There are a couple ideas I've had for posts but haven't been able to find good enough links. I've already added one to the wiki. If I can remember the other one, I'll add it, too.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:50 PM on February 1, 2011


The Voltron Lions were tools of royal despots. Give me the vehicle force, which were servants of the republic, any day.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:52 PM on February 1, 2011


This is cool. Arcane, historical and with a nice start. Nice work FLT.
posted by clavdivs at 2:04 PM on February 1, 2011


Thanks for the support so far, I'm looking forward to see this grow.

I added a note on the discussion of merits of a topic. I think that debates about how good a post topic is should be done between members.

I also added Completed and Outdated sections, so we can keep some visible history of this section.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:24 PM on February 1, 2011


Tremendous idea.
A small thing, but under the 'Outdated or Unsupported Ideas' portion, I'd like to point out that - "A team of editors and lexicographers at Collins dictionary publishing house claims that supersede is the most misspelt English word."
posted by unliteral at 3:53 PM on February 1, 2011


Hmmm:

Not to pee in anyone's guacamole or anything, however;

In the years I've been here I havent done that many FPP's, but those I did I always considered my own idea and work, and if you will, my gift to the community, from where I am coming from that particular day. Some were well received, others, well, I know what hot asphalt and dead chickens smell like.

While I suppose in the end, this might make for better edited and sourced FPP's, there is also a feeling, the same one I get when I see a movie with 6 different screenwriters credited. How would these crowdsourced posts be posted? Will there be credits at the end? Is there a chance the lively debate and varied viewpoints we have all come to enjoy will get a bit homogenized?

I think one of the greatest, unquantified assets MeFi has is unpredictability. There are single link posts that might seem unfinished, but still highlight that weirdly awesome how the hell did you find THAT thing. There are incredibly well sourced and presented posts that, even if you never did and never will care about the subject, respect for the work it took to put together. And, there are always the Hindenbergs, posted without much thought to the community, possibly in a lot of rage about something important, that get shut down very quickly and serve as quiet reminders to the rest of us to mind our manners and be nice to this group of a 125K of our best friends.

These are all individual contributions to our community, and I would hate to see that vibrant spirit get washed away in a committee. I'm not saying this is an entirely bad idea, but something just feels kind of wrong about it.

My posts tend to be about whatever weird thing is up my ass that day, and I do my best to make it presentable and thoughtful. What I don't do, in all respect, is the sort of encyclopaedic thing, say, on Sargent Shriver, which obviously deserves way more than and RIP linked to a news story and 500 teardrops. maybe those sort of things is where this feature would best be useful to us all.

Anyway, just spitballin.
posted by timsteil at 3:57 PM on February 1, 2011


I have an idea for an FPP where this guy's all like I'm not going to take this bull but like the guy's boss is like that's too bad you have to because of the system and I'm in charge of that around here and so there's nothing you can do about that and then the guy says oh yeah? and does a supersonic round house ninja kick on the other guy and his head comes off only there's all wires and like instead of blood there's oil and he's like oh no I am a robot after all! and the guy's like yeah well that's what you get for messing with me and then he goes off and has a sundae with his ladyfriend.

If someone could make that an FPP then that'd be cool.
posted by Jofus at 4:20 PM on February 1, 2011


timsteil, I hope this doesn't become something where everybody feels like they should take part to have their metafilter posts filtered (contrary to the lead-in to my original post on this). I think of this wiki page as a place to put incomplete thoughts, when you can't dig up more, or when something strikes you as a neat thing, but you can't find enough about it to share as-is. If you don't ever feel that, then the wiki's not your thing, and that's fine.

Jofus - you're thinking about Enthiran, and it's been covered previously.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:35 PM on February 1, 2011


I hate wiki style coding but love this idea. Bravo!

It can be quite rewarding, actually. Two or more people will often discover a deeper range of content than just one working alone.
Wired: This research helps explain why the era of the lone genius is coming to an end. If our current lists of global thinkers seem paltry, it’s because the best thinkers no longer exist by themselves, toiling away in a vacuum. Instead, they require the constant feedback and knowledge of others. We live in a world of such complexity that our problems increasingly exceed the possibilities of the individual mind.
posted by cashman at 4:57 PM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


filthy light thief writes "Interesting find on the wiki: pre-written celebrity obituaries index. There are only 6 obits linked, and 3 of them have been used (to some degree)."

That was the pilot of one of my brainstorms. Maybe if this gains traction pre written obits could be incorporated.
posted by Mitheral at 5:18 PM on February 1, 2011


I think this new page is awesome. I am also very pleased that the until-now-unknown-by-me prewritten obit page exists. Which is why I'm not writing a pre-obit for Tracy Morgan as a joke right now.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:56 PM on February 1, 2011


I think of this wiki page as a place to put incomplete thoughts, when you can't dig up more, or when something strikes you as a neat thing, but you can't find enough about it to share as-is. If you don't ever feel that, then the wiki's not your thing, and that's fine.


Filthy, no I totally get that, and I think as has been said, as far as like pre written obits, or posts about folks that deserve way better than what I can pull out of my butt right away, it might be right on, but still, no offense, it just has a tinge about it that doesn't seem right to me. I would hope that all of us, when making a FPP, can come up with a complete thought of their own.

In the same respect, if I make a FPP, I'm sorta putting my junk out there and signing my name to it and saying this is this and this is me. In my entire life online, I have always used my own true name. never had a handle or a sock puppet. I feel that encourages some good behavior on my part, and I have either stood behind or apologized for everything I have ever posted. That's just me.

I don't know what it is, and maybe, if any mods want to chime in, would this be some kind of paradigm shift? Things are pre written and crowdsourced and ready to roll at the drop of an obit. It would make for great content, by way of having a thoroughly sourced tribute etc, but is there a tipping point where we start becoming wikipedia with more forethought?

I like the idea of a post being better than it could be, but I also like the notion that there is some veritas in hearing people speak from their guts, about what is on their mind right now, and damned the typos etc. We'll all take it in stride as best we can.

I guess, maybe it comes down to Matt figuring out what he envisioned for this space to begin with, where it is now, and where he would like to see it go from here. That's all.

Again, I'm not saying it is a bad idea, I just feel like it might be a slippery slope sort of thing. I honestly think, this is one of those things that will seek it's own level, and I have no worries, but I felt compelled to beef a little just in case.
posted by timsteil at 8:01 PM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know what it is, and maybe, if any mods want to chime in, would this be some kind of paradigm shift?

My feeling, speaking only for me, is that I don't think this is going to lead to a ton of crowdsourced posts. It's still fairly unofficial. If people find it useful they can use it. If people think it's a helpful platform for collaborating, then this can help them with that. I guess at this point I'm not concerned that it's going to become the new standard for "how to write a post" and we're not, now or ever, going to create a mechanism by which a post is credited to multiple authors. So, this seems to be a way for people who enjoy this sort of collaboration to have a way to be able to do it, but I don't see it as any sort of a sea change, personally.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:26 PM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


This collaboration add-on, will it be compatible with my pitchfork?

Like it, nice idea.
posted by arcticseal at 9:10 PM on February 1, 2011


What will happen is that someone will post independently, and then will get bitched at for no good reason for "stealing" an idea.
Please no one do that


>> Don't do that or don't bitch at them for doing that?

Don't bitch at them for doing that, presumably. I shouldn't have to check some "reserved MeFi post subject list" before I post something for fear that I will be pilloried for "stealing a post that other people were working on".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:16 AM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


smackfu: "Some people are really anxious about posting, so I guess it reduces that too."

Hope so. A small number of people have approached me privately over the years to ask if I would post something for them. I always try to encourage them to jump in and do it themselves.
posted by zarq at 5:21 AM on February 2, 2011


I like this. Thanks, filthy light thief.

I also like the pre-written obituary idea; I've been thinking along those lines for a while too.
posted by catlet at 6:43 AM on February 2, 2011


I can see this as useful. for instance, if the recent (great) post about Martello Towers had been run by the eggheads here, someone would most likely immediately added the bit about the opening scene of Ulysses, which came up in the first couple comments.

Likewise, my old post about the San Antonio Missions contained a blunder in which I misspelled "Acequia" in my google search, resulting in zero results, and a missed opportunity to include an interesting aspect of the subject. I would have loved to have had that fleshed out before hand, instead of in the comments. And the typo makes me look like a stupid-head.

I've also got several bookmark folders full of links to half-built, semi-imagined, or otherwise abandoned possible posts that just haven't happened yet, due to either general malaise or a lack of depth of knowledge or resources. I might scrape some of those up and see what comes of it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:49 AM on February 2, 2011


timsteil: Again, I'm not saying it is a bad idea, I just feel like it might be a slippery slope sort of thing.

MetaFilter has been "sliding" towards more complex posts for a long time. Not knocking your concern (which I understand - I don't want to see the short + simple "here's an awesome thing" posts go away), but it's been a long time since the single link post was the norm. Furthermore, people have been posting enough to warrant [more inside] with the first comment continuing the content of post back in 2001, and up through 2006 (I'm not sure when it became an actual feature of MetaFilter).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:30 AM on February 2, 2011


but it's been a long time since the single link post was the norm.
I can speak for timsteil, but I don't see any place in is post where he said single link posts were the norm. It seems to me he is concerned more about the unique voice of non-crowdsourced posts, rather than the number of links.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:45 AM on February 2, 2011


*can't*. D'oh.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:46 AM on February 2, 2011


I kind of looked on the comments that accumulate in an FPP thread as the collaboration, where people could chime in with further links, alternative perspectives etc.

Admittedly one thing I've never been sure about is whether the community expects an FPP to be a highly polished comprehensive mini-article, or it's sufficient that a post is stimulating and interesting. Personally I'm happy with either, and I'd rather be shown interesting links than be shown nothing at all because the person didn't have time to prepare something with greater depth.

Even so, I do come across plenty of material that I don't have time to delve into enough to make a post, so one use I can see for the Wiki is putting them out there in case someone else wants to run with them.
posted by philipy at 10:02 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


oneirodynia: I can speak for timsteil, but I don't see any place in is post where he said single link posts were the norm. It seems to me he is concerned more about the unique voice of non-crowdsourced posts, rather than the number of links.

Ah, I understand. I don't think this will turn into an exercise in creating Wikipedia-like posts. I imagine one person will put together the pieces, and it will still have the tone of an individual writer. There have been some collaborative posts in the past, and I expect there'll be more in the future, and I thought this could be a tool to facilitate those odd experiments in collaboration.

philipy - I agree that posts grow with the comments that follow, and my goal for this wasn't to refine MetaFilter over-all, but more your end comment. There is already one post in the works that is spinning out from this idea: a single link becoming something more.

I'll step back and stop jumping to defend my little creation, as I didn't intend for it to be a project for or about me. But I'll keep adding ideas to the list, if anyone wants to take them further, emptying out my collection of odd notes saved in draft emails to myself.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:26 PM on February 2, 2011


Do not like.

The collaboration should happen in the comments. The more stuff in a post, the more it stifles discussion and this leads to discontent. See plastic.com.
posted by gjc at 4:12 PM on February 2, 2011


The more stuff in a post, the more it stifles discussion

That's the first time I've heard this claim made. How so?
posted by Lexica at 4:30 PM on February 2, 2011


Love the idea, and once the relevant computers are back up and running I'll endeavor to drop some ideas and rough drafts that I'm unable to finish.

One question, the "ideas" that are currently there are numbered. Do we just add stuff to the end of the list, and +1 for its number?

On a different topic - The more stuff in a post, the more it stifles discussion

That's the first time I've heard this claim made. How so?


I also sometimes get the sense that a large multi link post on a matter that's relatively obscure, or not well covered on the internet, can leave people with the sense that there isn't much left to say, or that there are no links left to share.

But I don't think that should or will be a hindrance to this project. This is never going to provide the majority of our posts. But it is likely to end up giving us some of those posts that one bookmarks rather than reads immediately. And they're often the best from the point of view of enriching my life, even if they get a low comment count.
posted by Ahab at 6:58 PM on February 2, 2011


gjc writes "The more stuff in a post, the more it stifles discussion and this leads to discontent. "

Get enough people together and we could have a Palin post with less than a dozen comments.
posted by Mitheral at 8:19 PM on February 2, 2011


Ahab: One question, the "ideas" that are currently there are numbered. Do we just add stuff to the end of the list, and +1 for its number?

That's the current strategy, but anyone can re-arrange the layout if they want. I realize the numbering strategy may be a mess when things get posted and the list needs to be re-numbered, but I'm not sure if alphabetically would be a better strategy, or by topic (my preferred idea of the moment, as alphabetizing topics is weird when the topic could be re-worded and the order changed).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:07 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mitheral: Get enough people together and we could have a Palin post with less than a dozen comments.

That sounds like a challenge. But I think long discussions come from topics of heated interest, rather in relation to the length and how link-heavy the original post is. Find an obscure enough topic, and one link will be enough to cover its internet presence, but if it's interesting enough, people will still talk about it.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:11 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Get enough people together and we could have a Palin post with less than a dozen comments.

When I read this my first thought was: So what's the fuss about a Michael Palin post?

Maybe that's what people mean by: "Always look in the bright side of life".
posted by philipy at 10:08 AM on February 4, 2011


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