Wider minus sign to remove from favorites - – − March 8, 2011 11:28 AM   Subscribe

OCD pony request: minus sign instead of hyphen to un-favorite a comment?

(I don't actually know what a pony request is, but a cursory MetaTalk search makes me think it's something really small?)

When you favorite comments by clicking the "+" sign, you are given the option to un-favorite with a "-" sign. However, a hyphen is not the same width as a plus, and it's a bit hard to click too. Is there a way this can be replaced by a minus sign "−" (& minus ; or U+002D) or even an en dash "–" (& ndash ; or U+2013)?

Obviously not a huge problem, but maybe a fun rainy day project? Thanks!
posted by Rickalicioso to Feature Requests at 11:28 AM (175 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

...wow
posted by odinsdream at 11:30 AM on March 8, 2011 [51 favorites]


Commenting so I can favourite my own comment so I can verify this.

Altruistic self-favourite opportunism.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:31 AM on March 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


And hey, you're right, that is a smaller horizontal character.

I support this change.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:31 AM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


When you unfavorite, you leave a joyhole that can never be refilled until the universe re-condenses and explodes again anew. Please think about what you are doing.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:35 AM on March 8, 2011 [17 favorites]


If anyone wants to retract a favorite they've given me, I want it to be as hard as possible for them.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:36 AM on March 8, 2011 [21 favorites]


This reminds me of the time I had a boss that yelled at me for writing a blog post where I put -- in the middle of sentence, because it was just quick and speedy, but I should have used a proper em or en dash. So I edited the post and I think I added the HTML character for a emdash and the next day a UPS guy arrived giving me a copy of Strunk and White, which my boss delivered to me overnight because it was supposed to be an endash.

Good times.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:37 AM on March 8, 2011 [98 favorites]


odinsdream, don't you mean "…wow"?
posted by yaymukund at 11:37 AM on March 8, 2011 [28 favorites]


I am incredibly in favour of this.
posted by alby at 11:38 AM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


OMG you spelled favor wrog.
posted by Mister_A at 11:41 AM on March 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


$('a[id^="plusminus"]').val('-').each(function(){$(this).css('font-size','20em');});
Okay, yeah, I'm probably being a jerk.
posted by ardgedee at 11:46 AM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


-



posted by clarknova at 11:48 AM on March 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


I love this thread SO MUCH.
posted by Eideteker at 11:49 AM on March 8, 2011 [13 favorites]


Is this performance art? Some kind of send up?
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:50 AM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nope -- this is for real!
posted by Night_owl at 11:51 AM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rickalicioso: "OCD pony request: minus sign instead of hyphen to un-favorite a comment? "

In light of a recent MeTa thread, I'm a little apprehensive to suggest this, but a therapist might be better suited to fix your issue.
posted by gman at 11:52 AM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Can we please not waste the mods' time with requests so petty they border on the actually deranged? At least not until my powerful desire to have the first letter - and only the first letter - of every fourth word in my comments automatically converted into Comic Sans is satisfied.
posted by Decani at 11:55 AM on March 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


[1 favorite █ ]
posted by blue_beetle at 11:56 AM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


How 'bout we change it to ψ because you know where that favorite's goin'.
posted by katillathehun at 11:58 AM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm torn between exactly what Decani said, and the fact that this would, in fact, probably be a pretty easy change to make to the code.
posted by odinsdream at 11:59 AM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


katillathehun: "How 'bout we change it to ψ because you know where that favorite's goin'"

NO! All favorites go to heaven.

My mommy told me so.
posted by Grither at 12:00 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Right now I can find the last comment that I favorited by searching for "favorites -". I often do this in long threads to find where I left off reading. Yeah, I favorite a lot, I know, I know.

But anyway, if we made this change could I still do this search?
posted by marsha56 at 12:03 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


About those ponies...
posted by epersonae at 12:04 PM on March 8, 2011


this is my favorite post since i've been on metafilter. not kidding. let's back gifs and go for 5,000 comments.
posted by facetious at 12:08 PM on March 8, 2011


I read this post and then heard a record scratch.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:11 PM on March 8, 2011 [13 favorites]


Rickalicioso: "(I don't actually know what a pony request is, but a cursory MetaTalk search makes me think it's something really small?)"

A pony is the kind of animal you think you can take care of easily. It's just a tiny horse, after all! All's I gotta do is give it a little water, a little grass, a place to shit, it'll be fine. Plus, everybody loves ponies! And, so, if you grant them, people will love you!

What you forget before you take the pony home is that it's a horse. It's fucking huge! You've got to build a fence, and take it to the vet, and brush it's hair, and before you know it, you've spent half of your week just keeping it alive and running on the rails. Soon enough, everybody smells all the pony crap on your lawn, and never wants to come by your farm again. "You're no fun," they say, "all you do is spend time with that pony!"

It is a rather elegant metaphor when you think about it.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:15 PM on March 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


blue_beetle: "[1 favorite █ ]"

John Varley, "Press Enter █ "
posted by Chrysostom at 12:18 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I really wanted to turn Decani's comment into Metafilter: so petty they border on the actually deranged, but the subject-verb agreement is off. Maybe that's perfect, though.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 12:20 PM on March 8, 2011


64K RAM SYSTEM 38911 BASIC BYTES FREE

[1 FAVORITE ]
posted by mintcake! at 12:26 PM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


[1 favorite -]
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:26 PM on March 8, 2011


I don't actually know what a pony request is, but a cursory MetaTalk search makes me think it's something really small?

You're thinking of a puny request.
posted by box at 12:29 PM on March 8, 2011 [13 favorites]


I don't know what's better: that this is a totally ridiculous request on its face, that it totally makes sense when you think about it for a moment, or that I wish I thought of it first.
posted by Plutor at 12:31 PM on March 8, 2011 [16 favorites]


I have also wondered why the "unfavorite" symbol was so much smaller than the "favorite" symbol.

Seconded.
posted by Aquaman at 12:33 PM on March 8, 2011


I love a world in which people have such diverse and heartfelt cares. Seriously.
posted by OmieWise at 12:41 PM on March 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


Dear god, please don't use an en-dash. Minus sign would be an acceptable and appropriate replacement for the hyphen. Thank you :)
posted by londonmark at 12:45 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think that this is the first time in my entire life that I have not been the one making comment of the difference between an em and en dash. And then you throw in the minus sign? I'm left (nearly) speechless. Someone has taken my punctuation nitpicking to an entirely new level and I'm not sure whether my heart is warmed or punctured. I leave to investigate.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:47 PM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow, I had no idea this would be so controversial!
[1 favorite ─────]

gman: "In light of a recent MeTa thread, I'm a little apprehensive to suggest this, but a therapist might be better suited to fix your issue."

Waaaay ahead of you.

marsha56: "Right now I can find the last comment that I favorited by searching for "favorites -". I often do this in long threads to find where I left off reading. Yeah, I favorite a lot, I know, I know.

But anyway, if we made this change could I still do this search?
"

If it ends up being an en dash, you can type it with option-hyphen on a Mac or alt+0150 on a PC. Alternatively, you could install this helpful script which allows you to quickly scroll down to your last read comment.
posted by Rickalicioso at 12:49 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nope -- this is for real!

Agh! Em dash! You people and your double hyphens and extra spaces everywhere and—hngh!—your misunderstanding of punctuation!

Anyway, this is a nice pony.

posted by limeonaire at 12:51 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


And me and my failure to close my tags. Agh!
posted by limeonaire at 12:51 PM on March 8, 2011


I thought you were doing it for emphasis.
posted by Mister_A at 12:53 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obviously not a huge problem, but maybe a fun rainy day project?

LET'S PARTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!
posted by dhammond at 1:05 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I stand in the − column. Seriously, this has to be fixed now that I know it's there, otherwise I'll have clean all the lightswitches and outlet faceplates in my apartment again, just to feel clean.
posted by steef at 1:06 PM on March 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


> otherwise I'll have clean all the lightswitches and outlet faceplates in my apartment again, just to feel clean.

But all the screwheads are dead straight north-south, right? Right?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:08 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thanks Rickalicioso!
posted by marsha56 at 1:14 PM on March 8, 2011


When pb gets back from banging his head against a wall let's see what he says about this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:23 PM on March 8, 2011 [44 favorites]


but maybe a fun rainy day project?

You know, that makes me wonder what it would be like to have weather on metafilter. Some days you go to ask a question and its snowing in there and the typing is slow-going for a good hour or two at a time until you finally reach the warmth of good answers. On a windy day in the blue the kerning fluctuates as the breeze ripples through the font. And fittingly there would probably always be a steady drizzle in here, just enough that you have to push keys a couple of times to get a letter out and the newest posts shelter the older ones.
posted by cashman at 1:23 PM on March 8, 2011 [17 favorites]


Nobody, is more pendantic about language than me.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:25 PM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Despite all the hijinx and pie recipes this is actually a good idea.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:34 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is possibly the epitome of Metafilter.

*clicks preview 3 times because you have to do that before you post because YOU JUST HAVE TO OKAY STOP ASKING*
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:40 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


When someone unfavorites a favorite, I don't care what size the mark is - but I would like them to get a little shock. Not a big one, just a tiny bzzzt. Please, pb, please?
posted by madamjujujive at 1:42 PM on March 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


shakespeherian:Nobody, is more pendantic about language than me.


Oh you....

posted by calcetina at 1:42 PM on March 8, 2011


Ow, my head! This would take several rainy days to put together and I don't think the payoff is worth the amount of work involved. A greasemonkey script might be a little more manageable. Maybe this is something that someone could implement there first and if it turns out to improve the MetaFilter experience by a wide margin we could make it rain.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:42 PM on March 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


Hey, it ain't the size of the boat, it's the motion of the ocean.
posted by Tin Man at 1:43 PM on March 8, 2011


So we're stuck with that stupid hyphen?!?!? I QUITE!!!!
posted by Mister_A at 1:44 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is request is completely OCD and yet still completely essential to fix as soon as possible.
posted by empath at 1:45 PM on March 8, 2011


Possibly too early to make this year but adding weather to MeFi like chashman describes above would make for a pretty rad AFD stunt.
posted by BeerFilter at 1:46 PM on March 8, 2011


Ow, my head! This would take several rainy days to put together and I don't think the payoff is worth the amount of work involved. A greasemonkey script might be a little more manageable. Maybe this is something that someone could implement there first and if it turns out to improve the MetaFilter experience by a wide margin we could make it rain.

Can you explain why it would take a long time to change? Normally something like that would just mean changing a few template files -- do you have the '-' hard coded all over the place or something?
posted by empath at 1:47 PM on March 8, 2011


do you have the '-' hard coded all over the place or something?

Yep, they are hard coded everywhere. MetaFilter is painstakingly hand crafted. Each subsite has its own set of code.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:55 PM on March 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


Obviously not a huge problem, but maybe a fun rainy day project?

People who live in the Pacific Northwest need lots of those.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:55 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I come for the recipes, but stay for the crazy. I love you MetaFilter.
posted by Kimberly at 1:56 PM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


The crazy loves you too Kimberly.

The crazy loves everyone. So, so much.

So much...
posted by quin at 2:00 PM on March 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


Next time I get a complaint about about someone in my work team being overly pedantic, I'm going to say 'obviously, you've never seen MetaFilter'.
posted by dg at 2:02 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Obviously, you're not a golfer.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:04 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


How about making this a preference. So that I could use whatever symbol I want for unfavorite (or is it defavorite?).
(Unipony: let me set ☃ as the symbol for add-favorite and ☂ as the symbol for remove-favorite. Pleeeeease.)
posted by yeoz at 2:06 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


yeoz: " (Unipony: let me set ☃ as the symbol for add-favorite and ☂ as the symbol for remove-favorite. Pleeeeease.)"

Just what we need. MetaLivejournalFilter
posted by zarq at 2:07 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


But, in all honesty, I totally support this idea, because it's hard as fuck to hit the unfavorite link on a mobile browser because it's so fucking small.
posted by yeoz at 2:07 PM on March 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


^-- mobile *touchscreen browser. bleh.
posted by yeoz at 2:08 PM on March 8, 2011


You know, that makes me wonder what it would be like to have weather on metafilter.

Fuck weather. I'd just like to have the gradual background color change option back.
posted by hippybear at 2:10 PM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Fuck weather.

Yes... yes it is. *removes clothing*
posted by shakespeherian at 2:14 PM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why would you need to unfavourite something? You fickle bastards.
posted by tigrefacile at 2:16 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


No.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:50 PM on March 8, 2011 [11 favorites]


> No.

Do you have a [+] on the other wrist?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:52 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure whether to post about it here or in the other MeTa thread but the courage wolf / insanity wolf upvote / downvote icons in r/adviceanimals are the shit.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:57 PM on March 8, 2011


Yes.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:57 PM on March 8, 2011 [36 favorites]


This is a thing I like. In fact, I withdraw any support that may have been read into my last comment on the subject. It must stay as is. Ink is forever.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:58 PM on March 8, 2011


I don't actually know what a pony request is...

A pony is another word for a one-sip serving of alcohol (i.e. smaller than a standard shot glass). It's what you request when the unfavoriting dash drives you to drink.
posted by amyms at 2:59 PM on March 8, 2011


If you hit F5 at the Recent Activity end of the bar, you can get your pony sips served up Fresh!
posted by iamkimiam at 3:01 PM on March 8, 2011


Can we shift everything one pixel to the left? Nothing's in the right place and it's been bothering me for years.
posted by backseatpilot at 3:03 PM on March 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


I love this place.
posted by Mngo at 3:13 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]



Yes.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:57 PM on March 8 [1 favorite -] [!]


That – is about the same width as the +.

Also: damn. Respect.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:13 PM on March 8, 2011


Maybe we could have the dash length as an option, like built-in site identity preferences! "I'm a minus!" "I'm a hyphen!" "I'm an en dash!" "Oh yeah, well you're an —"
posted by iamkimiam at 3:15 PM on March 8, 2011


My ideas for tattoos are never that awesome, iamkimiam.
posted by not that girl at 3:15 PM on March 8, 2011


I've been thinking of having a 'W' tattoed on either buttock so that when I bend over in the changing room it spells WoW.
posted by tigrefacile at 3:20 PM on March 8, 2011


What the jesus chocolatey heck kind of thing is this.

My god this is my prophecy come to life. I AM MISS CLEO.
posted by winna at 3:25 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks, Space Coyote! To be fair though, these are linguistic notational symbols for +/- feature (usually referring to phonetics). But I cannot lie in that it pleases me that they're also favorites/unfavorites (and that these linguistic symbols have always been the signifiers for favorites (unintentional or not, fiik) is just one more thing I've love about MetaFilter).

Additionally, I got these tattoos this last summer, to commemorate finishing my Masters in Linguistics. I was looking for something that summed up my experiences over the last two years. My thesis was about MetaFilter, phonetics and sociolinguistics. Also, I've done a fair amount of work on defining dogwhistles — coded messages that speak to one group, while having an overarching message that speaks to another.

btw, the thickness of the line on the right side bracket of my [–] is intentional...I asked him to go ahead and go over that side a few more times (he thought I was nuts)...zen philosophy of imperfection and the chipped cup and all.

posted by iamkimiam at 3:25 PM on March 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


One more thing and then I'll go away...in linguistics, you put the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) and/or the surface representation of the feature/variant/expression in square brackets, too!
posted by iamkimiam at 3:28 PM on March 8, 2011


You know, that makes me wonder what it would be like to have weather on metafilter.

We certainly get shitstorms. But it is the internet, it's inevitable. Just wait a little while and it'll pass.
posted by maryr at 3:28 PM on March 8, 2011


Burhanistan writes "But all the screwheads are dead straight north-south, right? Right?"

You joke but I spent the whole day affixing cover plates in a show home and you better believe the screws had to be perfectly vertical.
posted by Mitheral at 3:31 PM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


if it turns out to improve the MetaFilter experience by a wide margin

Well, at the default font size it wouldn't effect the margins my more than maybe a pt or so I don't think...
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:35 PM on March 8, 2011


Maybe this is something that someone could implement there first and if it turns out to improve the MetaFilter experience by a wide margin we could make it rain.

pb knows where the Lamborghini money went.

Also: Nothing but perfectly vertical screwheads here at Mintcake Towers. It's what we do.
posted by mintcake! at 3:39 PM on March 8, 2011


No. Yes.

PICK A REASON TO FLAG.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:41 PM on March 8, 2011


I have a friend who has an f hole one one wrist and an integral symbol on the other.
posted by Night_owl at 3:45 PM on March 8, 2011


Take your non-ASCII character and get the hell off my lawn.

Actually if pb had said this was trivial I'd have liked it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:47 PM on March 8, 2011


Hey, excuse me? Feature requests have nothing to do with mental illness. I have OCD, and I don't appreciate this kind of casual usage.
posted by agregoli at 3:49 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


[One favorite t(-_-t) ]


Note: Don't be an *.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:56 PM on March 8, 2011


Maybe we could have the dash length as an option, like built-in site identity preferences! "I'm a minus!" "I'm a hyphen!" "I'm an en dash!" "Oh yeah, well you're an —"

Could we get this field added to the Infodump? Then we could see if changing the de-favorite symbol has a measurable effect on favoriting behaviour. It would also be fascinating to see if the minuses actually favorite different things than the em dashes, and so on.
posted by FishBike at 4:04 PM on March 8, 2011


I could never get those tattoos, because I would go crazy trying to decide which symbol to put on which wrist.
posted by dg at 4:05 PM on March 8, 2011


agregoli: "Hey, excuse me? Feature requests have nothing to do with mental illness. I have OCD, and I don't appreciate this kind of casual usage"

Take it to MetaTa—oh wait
posted by kitarra at 4:10 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't give two hoots about the end result, but I am agog to find out what Dear Leader was thinking before deciding that the opposite of plus should be not minus, but hyphen.

Hyphen isn't even ASCII!
posted by flabdablet at 4:26 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


But I cannot lie in that it pleases me that they're also favorites/unfavorites

Okay but where is the [!] one, or is that an inappropriately personal question?
posted by elizardbits at 4:26 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am actually a little surprised that switching the [-] would be a nontrivial project. Of course, I know nothing at all about what goes on behind the scenes. Constant costume changes and a bunch of levers, is what I picture.
posted by everichon at 4:27 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I picture something with a 12 inch leg span.
posted by flabdablet at 4:29 PM on March 8, 2011


"Okay but where is the [!] one, or is that an inappropriately personal question?"

It's a metaphorical flag. For fantastic.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:37 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know this isn't AskMe, but a suggestion: if you have trouble hitting the "unfavorite" hyphen, and it's an important part of functionality for you, maybe you should set your browser so that text is zoomed (or whatever the equivalent is in your preferred browser).
posted by gingerest at 4:39 PM on March 8, 2011


You joke but I spent the whole day affixing cover plates in a show home and you better believe the screws had to be perfectly vertical.

Heh. No joke! I would do that to any rental unit I moved into, and was pleased to see that the builder of the new house I bought had someone do it prior to final inspection. Otherwise, it's not fit to keep livestock in.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:43 PM on March 8, 2011


One of the greatest innovations in domestic electrical fittings has been the snap-on cover plates on switches and power outlets that are pretty much universal these days and which hide the screws so I don't need to go around lining them up every time I move.
posted by dg at 4:51 PM on March 8, 2011


FishBike: 95Could we get this field added to the Infodump? Then we could see if changing the de-favorite symbol has a measurable effect on favoriting behaviour. It would also be fascinating to see if the minuses actually favorite different things than the em dashes, and so on"

Also, sitters vs. standers, house-shoe behavior, hard and soft-core tater preferencing, and the presently unfolding vertical vs. horizontal screw debate. It's a binary world, folks. There are only 10 sides; choose wisely.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:54 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Very rarely (in my experience) are horizontal screws as tightly in as vertical ones. There is a clear reason to prefer the North/South orientation here. Besides, horizontal screws might get mistaken for a hyphen.
posted by stoneweaver at 5:09 PM on March 8, 2011


You joke but I spent the whole day affixing cover plates in a show home and you better believe the screws had to be perfectly vertical.

Oh god, why did you mention this? I never noticed but now I have to fix them all.
posted by Mick at 5:10 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


...the presently unfolding vertical vs. horizontal screw debate.
Actually, there should be no debate about vertical vs horizontal. Any cabinet-maker will tell you that the screw heads must be aligned to the longest side of the item containing the screws. No alternative is acceptable.
posted by dg at 5:13 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


dg writes "One of the greatest innovations in domestic electrical fittings has been the snap-on cover plates on switches and power outlets that are pretty much universal these days and which hide the screws so I don't need to go around lining them up every time I move."

Even better is the multigang mounting plate for the cover has bosses that perfectly space the receptacles/switchs. Truely awesome invention. Too bad they are like three times the cost.
posted by Mitheral at 5:13 PM on March 8, 2011


I didn't know or care about this issue, but now that I am aware of the discrepancy between the minus sign and the dash its going to eat at my soul every single goddamn time I see it. And not just on Metafilter either. Now I'm going to spend the rest of my life wondering if every minus sign is actually a dash masquerading in an attempt to fool all of us.
posted by Glibpaxman at 5:33 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I would like to respectfully submit that the symbol not be changed, because that way we can watch people (apparently a large group of people) go slowly insane.

Sort of like the Tea Party, except for punctuation. And Metafilter.
posted by aramaic at 6:59 PM on March 8, 2011


No joke - I am trying very, very hard not to jump up and go find the flat-head screwdriver, because I will NEVER EVER be able to un-see the cover plate screw alignment.

I want to hate you all but this is why I love MetaTalk.
posted by catlet at 7:00 PM on March 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


Ow, my head!

Ah, you only bang your head against the wall because it feels so good to stop.
posted by jonmc at 7:05 PM on March 8, 2011


multigang mounting plate for the cover has bosses that perfectly space the receptacles/switchs

Damn, this thing sounds hot!
posted by Mister_A at 7:20 PM on March 8, 2011


Even better is the multigang mounting plate for the cover has bosses that perfectly space the receptacles/switchs. Truely awesome invention. Too bad they are like three times the cost.
Alignment of these isn't a problem here, as the switches/power outlets are manufactured as single, double or quad units as one item. The 'standard' line is pretty much like these.

I feel a slight disturbance in the force as thousands of people all over the world simultaneously rotate the screws in their wall plates to align them. Our plan is working already. Next step - [censored]
posted by dg at 7:25 PM on March 8, 2011


I don't know which is sadder: learning about the difference between ascii hyphen and unicode minus as part of my job today, or subsequently opening up MetaTalk and seeing this.

Hello, what's your name? Smidgen!
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:27 PM on March 8, 2011


This would take several rainy days to put together and I don't think the payoff is worth the amount of work involved.

I respect all the work that goes into making Metafilter run smoothly but it's hard not to cringe when I read that type of comment. The sentiment is all-too-common in the world of software development and it's a perfect example of why developers shouldn't have authority over design decisions—even if they're also skilled at design. It's way too easy for the needs of the code to trump the needs of the design if the person responsible for implementation gets to make the value judgement. Someone else has to fight for the obsessive level of detail that Rickalicioso advocates from the beginning because this type of change is only controversial if it's already baked into the site. I don't think anyone would have argued that the plus and minus signs should be different sizes. It sounds like the question never came up. But that's an organizational problem, not an interface problem.

It's tough to have a referendum on this level of design because few people are inclined to grant the significance of the question, much less agree on an answer. But while we're on the topic I would be eternally grateful if the powers that be would hire someone to take a look at the color of jessamyn's star and the behavior of the ajax widget for new comment notifications. Just a little tweak here and there.
posted by Jeff Howard at 7:34 PM on March 8, 2011


Favorite. Unfavorite. Favorite. Unfavorite. Favorite! Unfavorite! Favorite!!! God that's hot.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:41 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't actually know what a pony request is, but a cursory MetaTalk search makes me think it's something really small?

This should clear up everything.
posted by deborah at 8:00 PM on March 8, 2011


...t's a perfect example of why developers shouldn't have authority over design decisions...

Luckily that's not the case here. I can weigh in with my thoughts, but the ultimate decision doesn't rest with me. If the team discusses it and we feel the change is warranted it will happen. I was being flippant with my answer, but we do take this request and all requests seriously. As I've joked before, I wish the ease of implementing any particular thing was the sole criteria we use to determine if that thing should be done, but it's definitely not.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:17 PM on March 8, 2011


I would be eternally grateful if the powers that be would hire someone to take a look at the color of jessamyn's star

This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by gingerest at 8:21 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


The sentiment is all-too-common in the world of software development and it's a perfect example of why developers shouldn't have authority over design decisions

Jeff, I think you might be reading too much into the comment. Essentially I wrote MeFi as my very first web application, and it contains basically spaghetti code all over the place. Where a smarter programmer would have built a core set of functions to call from any page, I tended to just copy/paste everything everywhere, making maintenance a total pain in the ass. It's the legacy of my stupidity that means changing the minus sign to a proper dash would require hitting about 30-40 template files, manually having to scan for the minus sign, and replacing it.

It's a pain in the ass but it's not an organization problem, this isn't about pb asserting his department can't satisfy the UI division of MeFi Inc., it's just a pain and really a rainy day sort of code change when maybe we're between projects and neither of us feels like doing tough work one day, we could just mindlessly replace minus signs with dashes one day.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:28 PM on March 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


But while we're on the topic I would be eternally grateful if the powers that be would hire someone to take a look at the color of jessamyn's star and the behavior of the ajax widget for new comment notifications.

OMG WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE COLOR OF JESSAMYN'S STAR?
posted by misha at 8:35 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think that Metafilter is a fantastic achievement and I sympathize about the organic nature of its development. I'm the furthest thing from a professional programmer and it's pretty much impossible to unravel anything I code five minutes after launch. Much less ten years later.

My response was really about a series of comments that led to pb's comment. First yours about too-aggressive copy-editing, then jessamyn deferring to pb, then pb dismissing it. I don't have a ton of visibility into the organization but I don't see it as a bureaucracy. Just the opposite. My remark about an organizational problem referred to the question not being asked; about there being no advocate. In a sense it's about the spaghetti code. It's about interface design being organized like a pre-industrial craft.

This particular issue is obviously pretty far down the ladder of things to care about, but I still hope that someone will.
posted by Jeff Howard at 9:04 PM on March 8, 2011


One man's "organized like a pre-industrial craft" is another's "individually handmade to customer specifications".
posted by gingerest at 10:23 PM on March 8, 2011


I will NEVER EVER be able to un-see the cover plate screw alignment.

Embrace it. Read the angle of the screws as I Ching glyphs. Every house is a book, every room a chapter.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:33 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The I Ching hexagrams are sets of binary indicators. The cover plate screws need to be interpreted more like tea leaves or entrails.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:35 PM on March 8, 2011


If each screw's angle is read as being at one of eight distinct positions, a hexagram could be gotten easily out of the combination of a faceplate's pair of screws.

Is there a little interpretive wiggle room for screw angles on the cusp of two different positions? So be it, and all the better; a good diviner, like a good DM, needs a little creative license to really make things pop.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:42 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, so I just favorited a comment, copied the horizontal dash shaped unfavoriting thing, pasted it into a text editor, saved that file, opened it in a debugger and saw that it's already character 0x2D, an ASCII minus. I absolutely withdraw my remarks questioning Dear Leader's mental processes. I would have done it the same way. Unicode kids: off lawn-- now!
posted by flabdablet at 10:52 PM on March 8, 2011


look at the color of jessamyn's star

DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT JESSAMYN'S STAR!!!*

*well something just made me go blind... let's just assume for the sake of argument that it was looking directly at a star
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:59 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I laughed out loud seeing this, and then I realized that it's a niggling little thing that bugs me, too.
posted by crataegus at 11:16 PM on March 8, 2011


Embrace it. Read the angle of the screws as I Ching glyphs. Every house is a book, every room a chapter [...] If each screw's angle is read as being at one of eight distinct positions, a hexagram could be gotten easily out of the combination of a faceplate's pair of screws.


Ugh, too complicated. My feng shui consultant, Bob, took the guesswork out of it by aligning all of my switch plate screws toward my lucky bamboo.
posted by amyms at 1:36 AM on March 9, 2011


DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT JESSAMYN'S STAR!!!*

PLEASE HELP ME

Since my OS reinstall (WinXP) I am getting boxes instead of cool unicode characters. What font do I need to install / what settings do I need to tweak to make all the awesomeness come back?

And pb, maybe you could just put a star beside my username too for testing purposes OK?
posted by Meatbomb at 2:50 AM on March 9, 2011


To get rid of the block and again bask in the eternal transcendent glory of the star, install one of these fonts: http://dejavu-fonts.org It doesn't cover every unicode glyph but it's pretty broad.
posted by XMLicious at 4:13 AM on March 9, 2011


pb: " Yep, they are hard coded everywhere. MetaFilter is painstakingly hand crafted. Each subsite has its own set of code."

Come on, global search and replace. I'm like 98% certain that wouldn't break anything. You guys use twos complement instead of subtraction in your code like every self-respecting programmer, right?
posted by Plutor at 5:04 AM on March 9, 2011


This cover plate screw alignment discussion made me so happy last night. This is the sort of thing that would normally bother me, but I looked at the ones in my house, saw that none of them are aligned consistently, waited for it, and... realized I didn't care!

I'd like to think this represents some type of personal growth, however, I suspect it's really because (like most people, I assume) I use a tiny torque wrench when installing these things to make sure they're set at precisely the correct installation torque, which is far more satisfying than mere angular alignment.

Most of you do that, too, right? Right?
posted by FishBike at 5:37 AM on March 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't do much programming, but it does make me wonder how much less work it would be in the long run to write the core functions and gradually replace things as you go. It seems like among other things it would eventually make it a lot easier to read the code when you are looking for bugs.
posted by jefeweiss at 5:49 AM on March 9, 2011


I don't do much programming, but it does make me wonder how much less work it would be in the long run to write the core functions and gradually replace things as you go. It seems like among other things it would eventually make it a lot easier to read the code when you are looking for bugs.

This is how agile programming works. If you want to code a website like that, use Ruby on Rails.
posted by empath at 6:03 AM on March 9, 2011


I use a tiny torque wrench when installing these things to make sure they're set at precisely the correct installation torque

I always use a #7 Nesmith wrench.
posted by mintcake! at 6:49 AM on March 9, 2011


flabdablet: "I picture something with a 12 inch leg span."

In my nightmares, I keep coming back to this comment:
Studies have shown that you're never more than ten feet away from a spider

THERE IS NOWHERE TO RUN

posted by Ratio at 1:35 PM on January 12, 2010 [3 favorites -] [!]

posted by zarq at 6:58 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, now that I read the rest of the comments on that thread....

I'M GOING TO BE CREEPED OUT ALL DAY
posted by zarq at 7:02 AM on March 9, 2011


I use a tiny torque wrench when installing these things to make sure they're set at precisely the correct installation torque, which is far more satisfying than mere angular alignment.

Wasn't it Archimedes who said "Give me enough torque and plenty of screws and I can install the switch plates of the world"?
posted by amyms at 7:46 AM on March 9, 2011


we could just mindlessly replace minus signs with dashes one day.

Did you even read this thread?

*runs from room tearfully*
posted by Mister_A at 8:00 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I use a tiny torque wrench when installing these things to make sure they're set at precisely the correct installation torque, which is far more satisfying than mere angular alignment.

The thing is, the faceplates are mostly cosmetic and aren't actually keeping the switches anchored to the walls. The plastic has plenty of give before it flexes visibly anyway, so a few quarter turns here or there is not going to make any difference.

History will come down on the side of aesthetics being far, far more important in this case than precise torque.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:00 AM on March 9, 2011


flabdablet: "I picture something with a 12 inch leg span."

zarq: "In my nightmares, I keep coming back to this comment:
Studies have shown that you're never more than ten feet away from a spider

THERE IS NOWHERE TO RUN
"

NOWHERE IS SAFE
posted by Rhaomi at 8:16 AM on March 9, 2011


Well, it looks kind of like maybe it might possibly start to rain sometime today, so let's fix this shit right now in two easy steps:

FIRST!!!!!!!! Get your F&R on in the javascript incFav function wherever it might appear in the ColdFusion jungle of MeFi's backend.
    pmlink.innerHTML = "-"
is replaced with
    pmlink.innerHTML = "−"
NEXT!!!!!!!! Okay, great, new favorites show up nicely. Now let's make this pony ride on pageload for those of us layabouts in Javascriptville.
    $(document).ready( function() {
        $(".comments span.smallcopy span a[title='Remove this comment as a favorite']").html("−")
    }
Who needs templates when you have Javascript?

ROCK AND ROLL FOREVER
posted by soma lkzx at 12:23 PM on March 9, 2011


No wait I take that back and replace it with this even more cunning function, which actually seems to work on places like my favorites pages and blah blah blah.
    $(document).ready( function() {
        $("span.smallcopy span a[title='Remove this comment as a favorite']").html("−")
    })
Also, bug report!: when you favorite a project on the Projects homepage it doesn't show up as a minus sign when you refresh the page.
posted by soma lkzx at 12:28 PM on March 9, 2011



NO! All favorites go to heaven.

My mommy told me so.


3 favorites [⚘]

When you unfavorite a comment, it goes to live on a farm where it can chase rabbits
posted by Deathalicious at 12:42 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


My favorites are rabbits.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:56 PM on March 9, 2011


...when you favorite a project on the Projects homepage it doesn't show up as a minus sign when you refresh the page.

We don't show the minus sign on any front pages to keep them snappy. It saves a database lookup.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:02 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you're really going to be pedantic, I believe the character you want is U+2212, MINUS SIGN, −. I believe this is reliably encoded as − Anyone who proposes U+2013, EN DASH, – for this purpose is of course just trolling.
posted by Nelson at 5:56 PM on March 9, 2011


Hrm, does my keyboard doesn't have plus, minus, equals, open and close parenthesis, percent sign... it has plus, hyphen, equals, open and close parenthesis, percent sign and *no fucking minus sign*... holy crap! all these years my maths have been wrong.
posted by zengargoyle at 7:00 PM on March 9, 2011


But all the screwheads are dead straight north-south, right? Right?

All of mine are at a precise 45 degree slant, pointing up and to the right.

I call it my OCD honeypot.  I've caught 4 people so far.
posted by Aquaman at 10:18 PM on March 10, 2011


[1 Favourite X]
posted by blue_beetle at 9:01 AM on March 11, 2011


blue_beetle, I made this for you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:01 AM on March 11, 2011


Joe Beese: "If anyone wants to retract a favorite they've given me, I want it to be as hard as possible for them"

Yeah. There should be a form to fill out. And then months of therapy. An old granny type should show up at their door and say, "Unfavorite? Tisk tisk tisk!" And then slap their hand. Maybe a few months of community service as well. A forehead tattoo of a big red letter "U".

An offender registry?

Bread and water.

Stuff like that.
posted by Splunge at 10:13 AM on March 11, 2011


The thing is, the faceplates are mostly cosmetic and aren't actually keeping the switches anchored to the walls. The plastic has plenty of give before it flexes visibly anyway, so a few quarter turns here or there is not going to make any difference.

History will come down on the side of aesthetics being far, far more important in this case than precise torque.


See, this is the kind of thing that makes it impossible to even do fucking housework, because it'll never, ever, ever be right. I mean, fuck it. You know?
posted by toodleydoodley at 12:51 PM on March 16, 2011


Today was that rainy day. Before: - After: − Should be all set, let me know if I missed it somewhere.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:32 PM on March 16, 2011 [21 favorites]


This is a tiny pony that I never thought would run free. It's true what they say. You're the best ever, pb.
posted by stoneweaver at 4:46 PM on March 16, 2011


Spring flowers for the tiniest pony.
posted by maryr at 8:32 PM on March 16, 2011


Haha. I feel like such a nerd for noticing "Oh. Looks like pb caved and switched to the en-dash"
posted by schmod at 1:21 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


−I LIKE IT−
posted by cashman at 1:26 PM on March 17, 2011


That's some gorgeous alignment.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:45 PM on March 17, 2011


Oh. Looks like pb caved and switched to the en-dash

It's a minus sign, not an en dash. Turn in your nerd ID badge at security as you leave the building.
posted by flabdablet at 3:56 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Beautiful. Love it. Cheers!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:33 PM on March 17, 2011


You finally, really did it.

YOU MANIACS.

DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL.
posted by clarknova at 8:07 AM on March 18, 2011

pb: "Today was that rainy day. Before: - After: − Should be all set, let me know if I missed it somewhere."
I am speechless. My tiny little pony is here! Thanks so much pb for indulging that odd little request. You rock.
posted by Rickalicioso at 9:10 AM on March 18, 2011


Oh man, I hope it's not too late to reconsider this, but I've discovered this change is interfering with one of the ways I use the site.

Before, with the hyphen, it was easy to find comments you had favorited by searching the page for "favorites -]." Now, though, that search doesn't work, since you have to type in the longer "−" for it to register. And that symbol isn't on a standard keyboard, so finding favorited comments on a page (which I understand a lot of people use as a placeholder) is much more difficult. Also, I can easily see people unaware of this subtle change becoming stymied when they try searching like this, not knowing what they need to do to make it work.

So, with apologies to Rickalicioso, could we undo this? It breaks a pretty common behavior for a pretty trivial reason.

(On preview, I see this issue was raised by marsha56. Still, I can confirm that it's not just a hypothetical problem -- I just ran into it now and took a few minutes of scanning a thread with hundreds of comments to figure out what the deal was.)
posted by Rhaomi at 11:22 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rhaomi: "And that symbol isn't on a standard keyboard"

If you hold down the - key just a little bit longer than usual, it should work. Don't hold it down too long, or you'll get an emdash.
posted by Plutor at 11:53 AM on March 18, 2011


Worst case scenario: Favorite something, copy the resulting string, unfavorite, CTRL+F, pasta, proceed.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:05 PM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you hold down the - key just a little bit longer than usual, it should work. Don't hold it down too long, or you'll get an emdash.

What machine/OS does that work on? I'm a little disappointed that you can't even type minus on a windows PC with the ALT keycodes. You have to use the incredibly poorly designed character map application. Easier to just cut and paste.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:47 PM on March 18, 2011


> let me know if I missed it somewhere

It looks like the comments tab of my favorites page still uses a hyphen. *bemused to have noticed*
posted by Vibrissa at 3:08 PM on March 18, 2011


Thanks Vibrissa, should be using minus now.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:18 PM on March 18, 2011


Oh man, Reddit just tweaked their user interface and now my newly-found hyphen vs. plus sign obsession has come back to haunt me (self-comment post).
posted by Space Coyote at 2:32 AM on April 4, 2011


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