Remind me to read this later February 22, 2011 3:48 PM   Subscribe

feature request: could there be a way to remind myself to read certain posts later?

If MetaFilter and AskMe were coming to me on paper instead of on a screen, I would skim down each new page and mark all the posts that I wanted to read in depth and possibly comment on, then go back and read the ones I had marked. If I dig right into the first one that tickles my brain, I might very well end up getting all involved and distracted, and forget to go back and check out all the other posts on the page.

So, could there be a way to mark posts that I want to read later? I don't want to use "favorite" for this, cause that's different. It should be an easy way to place and remove a mark that's visible only for the person who put it there. A checkmark in the left margin would be ideal; or a way to highlight the text and change the color? Maybe there's already a trick for this?
posted by Corvid to Feature Requests at 3:48 PM (72 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Bookmark it in your browser and save the bookmark to a folder titled "read later."
posted by COD at 3:52 PM on February 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I actually do use favorites for this purpose, but I also don't use them for other purposes enough to confuse the issue.
posted by Karmakaze at 3:54 PM on February 22, 2011


Why not open the posts you want to read in a new tab?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:59 PM on February 22, 2011


tabbed browsing.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:00 PM on February 22, 2011


You could, say, skim the front page and middle-click the comment link on all the stories you want to read. This would open each one of them up in a new tab while you continued to eye the main page.
posted by BeerFilter at 4:01 PM on February 22, 2011


I actually do use favorites for this purpose, but I also don't use them for other purposes enough to confuse the issue.

This is pretty much what I do as well. When this has come up in the past I think what we've said is that the site already has a feature that does something similar and we're not that interested in reinventing delicious, pinboard.in or Google Bookmarks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:01 PM on February 22, 2011


On Firefox, you can right-click a link and select Bookmark This Link. If the bookmarking dialog has too many steps to suit you, another option is copying links to the clipboard; you can then either paste them into a text file that you keep open temporarily for the purpose, or use one of the many extended clipboard managers that let you paste any of the last N copies.
posted by flabdablet at 4:01 PM on February 22, 2011


Or use tabbed browsing.
posted by flabdablet at 4:02 PM on February 22, 2011


On Firefox, Open Link In New Tab is click-link-with-wheel, unless some swine has installed a "clever" mouse driver.
posted by flabdablet at 4:03 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was hoping for something along the lines of a friendly phone call around 9PM when I tend to get down to my serious reading.
posted by philip-random at 4:58 PM on February 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


On Firefox, Open Link In New Tab is click-link-with-wheel

I learnt about this here in metatalk (yes, I know, I'm slow) and it has seriously changed my internet surfing habits for the better. Particularly know that I have firefox three so it saves all the tabs if I close it, so I can open lots of stuff to read later knowing that they will still be accessible later. There is also an option to bookmark all the tabs you have open all at once, which can be useful for saving pages for later if you don't get to them for some reason.
posted by shelleycat at 5:04 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I use favourites; this is what they are for. Sometimes I send things to Instapaper, but I never get around to looking at that.

COD's suggestion of bookmarking in your browser is a good one; you could also use a bookmarking site such as delicio.us or whatever. You can make a bookmarks folder called "MeFi read later" and put it on the toolbar of your Firefox or Safari; that makes it really easy to drag links in without having to click through to the page first.

I have been meaning to investigate this read it later thing, however. Maybe you could check that out and report back?
posted by nowonmai at 5:23 PM on February 22, 2011


OK, as I sorta suspected, there are already some pretty good ways to do this. Still, a way to make a mark on the page with a single click, without leaving the page, would be nicer. For some things, a pencil just can't be beat.
posted by Corvid at 5:39 PM on February 22, 2011


This would be an incredibly awesome feature. YouTube recently added a "Watch later" button on the bottom of videos ... one extra database field, it seems, could be a binary "Read later" for posts. And yeah, this would be great. Please consider.
posted by jbickers at 5:42 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Still, a way to make a mark on the page with a single click, without leaving the page, would be nicer.

Your answer is still favorites. It's the plus sign at the end of this comment, or on a post where you can click "add to favorites".
posted by LionIndex at 5:53 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your answer is still favorites. It's the plus sign at the end of this comment, or on a post where you can click "add to favorites".

True. How hard would it be, if when you click the little plus sign and it says "favorite added", if instead it said "bookmark?" and you click that to have it be a bookmark.

I like to use favorites in both ways. I really hope this is considered. It would seriously help with participation. Sometimes I want to revisit something specifically because I think I can aid the poster in some way. But time passes and other favorites are added. I think there's a clear need for this and it would make a positive impact on the site.
posted by cashman at 6:02 PM on February 22, 2011


I use instapaper with a read later button in chrome... works like a charm.
posted by tomswift at 6:17 PM on February 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Live in my magical world where "favorites" are "bookmarks" and not little bonus points to be handed out for pithy comments. In this way, Metafilter becomes a useful repository for things you find interesting and want to revisit, rather than a popularity contest.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:32 PM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I use read it later as linked above. Then I usually read it later on à mobile device, but there's nothing stopping me doing in à new tab on the desktop either.
posted by Iteki at 6:42 PM on February 22, 2011


I wonder how some people survive in the world.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:51 PM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


I wonder how some people survive in the world.

Is that directed toward me?
posted by cashman at 7:10 PM on February 22, 2011


your mom. Srsly.
posted by special-k at 7:11 PM on February 22, 2011


I just have my reminders tattooed backwards and upside down on my huge azz, then I read them with a mirror. There's plenty of vacant white space available there, believe me. Works in cases of power outages as well.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:17 PM on February 22, 2011


I wonder how some people survive in the world.
Is that directed toward me?


No, just special-k's mom.
posted by jmd82 at 7:18 PM on February 22, 2011


special-k's mom is so unfamiliar with web browser optimization that she doesn't use bookmarks efficiently!

I SUCK AT THE DOZENS
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:41 PM on February 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


Big talk from someone who doesn't even exist, Blatcher
posted by jtron at 7:58 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't this pretty much the same request as this one?
posted by dg at 8:01 PM on February 22, 2011


Live in my magical world where "favorites" are "bookmarks" and not little bonus points to be handed out for pithy comments.

Live in a better magical world where having one feature doesn't require co-opting the functionality of another feature. I suspect many more people (myself included) use favorites karmically rather than organizationally.

I do find myself wanting this kind of "temporary bookmark" more and more. To me, it's the same request as this "recently visited" threads request. I'd want these to be more transient than favorites- maybe age them away after a week unless I re-tick it.
posted by mkultra at 8:37 PM on February 22, 2011


I SUCK AT THE DOZENS

Your mom is so bad at the dozens that she has to call it the pairs.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:24 PM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I star them in Google Reader, then go back as I see fit. However, like Favorites, I mix "to-read-later" and "save-forever" in this category.
posted by knile at 10:00 PM on February 22, 2011


I always cut and paste the pages I'm interested in into a Notepad file and then print them out for easy reference, then later it's just a matter of running a search on a unique comment within the thread itself, and BAM, I'm back to the place I want to be, and can get rid of all that pesky paper.
posted by tumid dahlia at 11:50 PM on February 22, 2011


I have always had a folder in my bookmarks called Temporary that I put stuff I want to read/keep up with in.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:01 AM on February 23, 2011


Here's the easy way to track stuff you want to read later.

1. Note down the URL.
2. Telegraph the URL to special-k's mom.
3. The next time you are at special-k's mom's house, with intention to court, ask her to get out the manilla file folder with all of your telegraphs in it.
4. Browse the folder for the ones you want to read.
5. Have the ones you want to read in the current whoopie session tattooed onto her buttocks.
6. Request that you would like to have sexual relations "doggie style".
7. Rest laptop on special-k's mom's back as you "do it".
8. PROBLEM SOLVED IN EIGHT EASY STEPS

Happy browsing!!!
posted by Meatbomb at 1:59 AM on February 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


How hard would it be, if when you click the little plus sign and it says "favorite added", if instead it said "bookmark?" and you click that to have it be a bookmark.

Yeah, I don't see why you can't just do this with bookmarking software. Can't you get one that adds a link to add to your bookmark to the drop-down right-click menu from clicking on a link and just bookmark the datestamps to stuff you want to save for later?
posted by NoraReed at 3:48 AM on February 23, 2011


We have a new feature so people don't have to hit F5, a single button. But ask for this and people get testy.
posted by cashman at 3:59 AM on February 23, 2011


What's all this 'read it later' business? Can't you do what the rest of us do and read it now, watching deadlines and other commitments fall miserably by the wayside as our lives slide inexorably down the pan?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:23 AM on February 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


We have a new feature so people don't have to hit F5, a single button. But ask for this and people get testy.

Well, to be fair the feature has already been added; it's called "Favourites".

You already have favourites provided by your browser (it might be called "bookmarks" rather than "favourites" if you're not using Internet Explorer) and another system of favourites provided as part of Metafilter. It's easy to get more favourites functionality by using a service such as or any of the dozens of other bookmarking services out there. I think it's hard for most people to see a genuine need for Metafilter to build in a second, parallel favourites system, or why you are rejecting all the other solutions to your needs that are out there.
posted by nowonmai at 5:39 AM on February 23, 2011


That should be "…using a service such as Delicious or any of the…"
Sometimes I wonder how I survive in the world.
posted by nowonmai at 5:41 AM on February 23, 2011


Is that directed toward me?

No.

We have a new feature so people don't have to hit F5, a single button. But ask for this and people get testy.

Matt mentioned that about 1/3 of the feedback on the loading of new comments was hate, so testy was there too.

Testy is everywhere.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:00 AM on February 23, 2011


Testy is in your jeans.
It's in your cheesburgers
Testy is in Nutty Buddies!
Testy is in your mom!
posted by Wolfdog at 6:18 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey, it's the goddamn 21st century, ok?!

Testy is in your dad too.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:28 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just favorited Meatbomb's comment so that I could come back and read it later.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:34 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I realize this probably isn't getting done, but it isn't because it isn't useful.

You already have favourites provided by your browser

I'm sure I'm not the only one who uses multiple computers (work, home, library, etc) - it would be nice to click the thing and just have a bookmarks section on my profile. I'm not going to get into how many other things are on here that aren't nearly as useful because that fails to convince people. If it isn't going to be done, it isn't going to be done. But that is not because it wouldn't be really useful.

But I guess there are only a few of us who work across multiple machines and wish to use the site this way to help other users. If there are only several of us clamoring for it and nobody else cares, why bother. So that's that then.
posted by cashman at 6:49 AM on February 23, 2011


I'm pretty sure the 'read it later' gimmick works across multiple computers if you log in with the same password. There're also browser extensions that let you sync bookmarks between different installs and even different browsers. I bookmark a lot of stuff and at any given time can be on one of four or so different boxes, so.
posted by jtron at 6:55 AM on February 23, 2011


If you don't have a middle button on your mouse, CTRL+Click (On Linux and Windows) or CMD+Click (On Apple, I think?) will also open the link in a new tab.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:58 AM on February 23, 2011


How hard would it be, if when you click the little plus sign and it says "favorite added", if instead it said "bookmark?" and you click that to have it be a bookmark.

How hard would it be for you to consider "favorite" to be synonymous with "bookmark"? Probably not very hard. What would be much harder would be to change "bookmark" to "favorite" and then face a flood of complaints from users who insist that they've been using favorites as something other than "bookmarks."
posted by John Cohen at 7:00 AM on February 23, 2011


There're also browser extensions that let you sync bookmarks

Thank you but....at the library? No. Work and Home? No - those look completely different. This does not work.

How hard would it be for you to consider "favorite" to be synonymous with "bookmark"? Probably not very hard.

I've been doing this, obviously, as have the rest of us. How hard would it be for people to hit F5 instead of having the new comments ajax? Probably not very hard. Your finger broke?

This is something Mathowie said he was working on for a while, and considering implementing a while back. I'm not sure why all of a sudden it's just inconthevable.
posted by cashman at 7:16 AM on February 23, 2011


You don't even need an extension with Firefox. It natively backs up your bookmarks to the cloud and syncs them with any other computer where you use Firefox.
posted by COD at 7:21 AM on February 23, 2011


I've been doing this, obviously, as have the rest of us. How hard would it be for people to hit F5 instead of having the new comments ajax? Probably not very hard. Your finger broke?

cashman, I understand that you'd like the proposed feature and you're maybe frustrated that it's not getting implemented. I agree with jess that mostly the issue here is that there are enough solid tools for managing this (both on-site with temporary place-holder favorites as bookmarks and off-site via either client-side tools/scripts/apps or web-based bookmarking/caching services) that implementing a specific feature for this on the site is not really on our list of priorities. It's not a bad idea, it's just not really a needful one.

But it has nothing, zip, nada to do with the recent load new comments feature, which addresses a fundamentally different situation and has nothing to do with saving a keystroke and everything to do with (a) managing load on the site, (b) managing bandwidth use and load time on the client side, and (c) adjusting for significant fundamental UI challenges in some mobile browsing environments. Repeatedly coming back to it like some gotcha is weird and feels kind of petulant and you should cut it out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:32 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm sure I'm not the only one who uses multiple computers (work, home, library, etc) - it would be nice to click the thing and just have a bookmarks section on my profile.

I would agree with. Having something is distinctly a bookmark only and not to be shared with (or have the option to share with everyone) would be useful.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:32 AM on February 23, 2011


How hard would it be for people to hit F5 instead of having the new comments ajax? Probably not very hard. Your finger broke?

I get what you're saying, but the new comments feature solves a longtime sitewide problem which is that people were having to reload very long threads to make sure they had read the most recent comments before commenting themselves. This created server load problems as well as individual problems as people kept having to suck down the same 1-2MB file just to see if maybe 25K of it had changed.

Sometimes user concerns are addressed with building out new features. Sometimes we think that users may need to reconceptualize what they're having trouble with in the event that we're not planning to add or repurpose a feature. There are many many ways of maintaining a centralized list of bookmarks to thing you want to read later. I'm pleased that people really like it here and that they'd like as much of their experience to take place within the site as possible, but there's really a diminishing return adding a feature that is only a little bit new, widely available outside the site and not really something the bulk of the users seem to be clamoring for.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:41 AM on February 23, 2011


>: "Having something is distinctly a bookmark only and not to be shared with (or have the option to share with everyone) would be useful."

I imagine they're pretty gunshy about even touching the favorites system again, but an option-toggle to set one's favorites to private would be nice. Ultimately it's not a big deal to me, and of course there are external tools that one can use if it is a big deal to them, but I've never quite understood why everyone else needs to be able to see what everyone else favorites. But that's probably just a get-off-my-lawn thing, which I'm at peace with. Which really ruins the impact of a proper cane-shaking-at.
posted by Drastic at 7:45 AM on February 23, 2011


I've been doing this, obviously, as have the rest of us. How hard would it be for people to hit F5 instead of having the new comments ajax? Probably not very hard. Your finger broke?

I don't know what you're talking about.
posted by John Cohen at 7:49 AM on February 23, 2011


jessamyn: "but there's really a diminishing return adding a feature that is only a little bit new, widely available outside the site and not really something the bulk of the users seem to be clamoring for."

That thinking's so Middle East Dictator ca. 2010.

too soon?
posted by mkultra at 7:57 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is something Mathowie said he was working on for a while, and considering implementing a while back.

If by "a while back" you mean sometime in 2003, then this is a true statement. Previous to favorites ever coming aboard a user of the site built an entire offsite mefi-only bookmarks system in 2001 or 2002 and I was intrigued (this was before delicious even came out so the idea was new). I'd kept calling it "bookmarks" in my mind and said frequently that it was something I'd be willing to do if given the time since someone showed me a working proof-of-concept. But then delicious came out and was pretty useful and more importantly, showed the added benefit of public bookmark sharing as they developed cool metrics like everyone else who bookmarked something and what the most popular items were, tagging, etc.

We went with "favorites" because it was more flexible in that it could serve simultaneous purposes of bookmarks, things people thought were funny and worth saving, things people agreed with, etc.

Having private favorites doesn't really work since there is so much code meant to associate favorites with users and we use the public data counts in many ways (like the popular stuff page and feeds). Having a separate bookmark feature is pretty much off the table since we don't want to have more interface cruft to duplicate existing features that are also available in your local browser as well as remote cloud services.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:09 AM on February 23, 2011


I don't know what you're talking about.

Nevermind. I was making a point that saying "just do it the way I say you should" isn't really a valid way to dissuade someone from wanting a new feature.

Repeatedly coming back to it like some gotcha is weird

I love the new comments feature. I've been giddily waiting for it to appear on AskMe. I was just attempting to make the point that saying "Just make your mind think it doesn't want that feature" is kind of not a valid way of saying useful feature isn't useful. Wasn't trying to be mean to anybody.

I've said above that I'm among a minority of users that want this, so since there's no big clamor-ization, that's that. I did ask Matt to speak on it since I thought I read a comment from him where he was considering it. Otherwise, it's done. There are apparently like 6 and 1/2 of us that want this, so ultimately it aint happening.
posted by cashman at 8:09 AM on February 23, 2011


Thanks! That's that.
posted by cashman at 8:11 AM on February 23, 2011


I don't know what you're talking about.

Nevermind. I was making a point that saying "just do it the way I say you should" isn't really a valid way to dissuade someone from wanting a new feature.


Well, I was making a point too. I had never heard of that F5 thing in my 6 years of using Metafilter, till you just pointed it out. I still don't understand what it is or how it works. My knowing about it and understanding it would be a prerequisite to my using it. So, in answer to your question about how hard this would be for me, my answer is: pretty hard. You, on the other hand, can easily think of the word "bookmark" when you see the word "favorite."
posted by John Cohen at 8:45 AM on February 23, 2011


I'll remind you to read those threads. How I do so is my choice.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:48 AM on February 23, 2011


feature request: could there be a way to remind myself NOT to read certain posts at all?
posted by crunchland at 10:10 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: If I dig right into the first one that tickles my brain, I might very well end up getting all involved and distracted, and forget to go back and check out all the other posts on the page.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:21 PM on February 23, 2011


feature request: could there be a way to remind myself NOT to read certain posts at all?

I will refer you to this Frog and Toad story for your answer.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:34 PM on February 23, 2011


John Cohen, if you're not just giving a metaphoric example (and you may be), F5 refreshes your browser tab, on any website.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:05 PM on February 23, 2011


I use Post-It notes on my monitor. There are so many I can't read the monitor anymore.

I'm posting this from my iPhone.
posted by Splunge at 4:42 AM on February 24, 2011


I was inspired to check out this Chrome extension, which is a local version of Read It Later.
posted by mkultra at 9:38 AM on February 24, 2011


I use the my.metafilter.com subsite. Or Read It Later. I get confused.
posted by cairnish at 10:50 AM on February 24, 2011


Oh hey bro you could use favorites for that.
posted by Mister_A at 11:58 AM on February 24, 2011


John Cohen, if you're not just giving a metaphoric example (and you may be), F5 refreshes your browser tab, on any website.

I was serious. And no, pressing F5 doesn't refresh my browser. It decreases the light on my keys.
posted by John Cohen at 10:10 PM on February 24, 2011


Default keymapping on a lot of macs is to treat the function keys as if they are not function keys at all but magical apple keys. Which actually works out pretty well for most things because e.g. I need to mute the volume on my laptop more often than I need to depress F10 key for its own sake.

But then every time I want to honest to god hit F5 to reload a page, I get a little bloop of brightness adjustment feedback instead. And so Clover-R it is on the macbook, because I can't be arsed to do function-F5. But if you're curious, that's what folks are talking about.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:23 PM on February 24, 2011


Oh, I see, they're just saying you can reload a Metafilter page and that's just like the new "new comments" feature. (But not really.)
posted by John Cohen at 10:27 PM on February 24, 2011


Why not open the posts you want to read in a new tab?

I do this. A lot. And then I end up with about a hundred tabs (just from metafilter) in a window, and my browser starts to get pretty unstable. Eventually, I save them all to a folder of bookmarks, where they can hang out with all the other things I mean to get around to reading eventually. Lather, rinse, repeat.

My life is filled with things I mean to get around to Real Soon Now. Sigh...
posted by klausness at 4:04 PM on February 25, 2011


Eventually, I save them all to a folder of bookmarks, where they can hang out with all the other things I mean to get around to reading eventually. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I have some tab problems sometimes. So I found this firefox add-on where you can save the URLs for all your tags into a text file. And then if you put some HTML in it, you can have the list of links open up in a browser and they're all clickable. And then I realized I'd just basically re-invented MetaFilter....
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:01 PM on February 25, 2011


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