Strange things are afoot in the sidebar, dude. May 4, 2011 1:37 PM   Subscribe

Lately I've been noticing strange behavior in my contact activity on the sidebar. Older posts are showing up as "So and So had an answer with 12 favorites!" but the comments linked are old and have hundreds of favorites.

Here's an example, featuring Metafilter's Own Greg Nog. The word "answer" links to this post from 2009, which has over 200 favorites. Obviously they weren't all added today.

I've noticed this happen at least three times in the past month. Strangely, all the comments in question were from Greg Nog, though I suspect it has more to do with the fact that he has several posts with 200+ favorites. Unless, you know, he hacked Metafilter or something.

So, um, yeah. I suspect there is a very non-critical bug somewhere.

Sorry to use you as an example, Mr. Nog. This is not a call out. OR IS IT?
posted by bondcliff to Bugs at 1:37 PM (52 comments total)

A "favorited" message shows up on the sidebar if it receives 12 favorites within the last month. So that's what's happening with those older comments.

We can discuss whether or not that's good. I think it's interesting to see comments that are getting new activity, but I can also see that it might be annoying since those comments have been seen.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:41 PM on May 4, 2011


It's driven by them suddenly getting a bunch of favorites on a short stretch, even if the comment is old and already had some favorites on it already; functionally I believe the activity code is actually saying "with 12+ favorites (in recent memory)", which practically speaking almost always means "since it got posted" but might not in these odd cases.

So when someone linked Greg Nog's comment recently, bam, pile of new favorites cracks 12 and there you go.

Whenever I'm curious about why something is getting favorites again, I plug either the comment id or the thread id into the site search, set it to all sites, and see what comes up.

So, for example, here's a search for the comments that contain the thread id for that comment of Greg Nog's, and which are hence very likely to be comments linking to the thread or to a comment therein.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:44 PM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Greg Nog is a feature. Not a bug.
posted by special-k at 1:44 PM on May 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


Ahhhh. Makes sense. Now I notice the word "recent." Very clever.

I guess I have no opinion on whether or not it's good. It is what it is and now it makes perfect sense. I just thought the notice went up once after the first twelve favorites and thought it was weird that it was doing it again after a couple years.

It would be interesting to know the source of those favorites. Like, did some blog somewhere link to the comment, or did it get linked to from another thread. Every now and then I'll notice a burst of activity on an old post and I always wonder why that happens.
posted by bondcliff at 1:45 PM on May 4, 2011


You mean you don't just tune out the contacts sidebar? Weird.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:56 PM on May 4, 2011


It might be an interesting infodump project for someone to go looking for thirty day windows that don't start with the date the comment was made, in which comments get 12 or more favorites. I'd bet it's pretty damned uncommon.

It would be interesting to know the source of those favorites. Like, did some blog somewhere link to the comment, or did it get linked to from another thread. Every now and then I'll notice a burst of activity on an old post and I always wonder why that happens.

Well, see the search results I linked; the most recent hit (after my comment above, natch) is this comment from this morning; the same comment was linked as well from an Ask comment back in February; and so on back, with a couple more links from Greg Nog himself and one from another user.

Searching for the comment id or the thread id is a wonderful mystery buster for these odd moments. Most of the time, it's an internal link, not an external one, since non-member readers don't favorite.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:58 PM on May 4, 2011


Unless, you know, he hacked Metafilter or something.

*looks over shoulder, smirks, types green letters onto black screen*

Heh. Let's just say that this sidebar won't be bothering any more of my CyberRyders.

*scene dissolves into thousands of CGI ribbons weaving in and out while Prodigy's Firestarter plays*
posted by Greg Nog at 1:59 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I was typing up my comment while you posted yours. That's a pretty good solution.

You mean you don't just tune out the contacts sidebar? Weird.

Why would I do that? I love the contact sidebar. Then again I'm one of those rare MeFites who don't read every post and every comment on the entire site every day, so it's good to see an occasional highlight.
posted by bondcliff at 2:01 PM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I actually feel compelled to click everything that pops up on my contacts sidebar, until all the links are marked as having been followed. This is the case even when I know, before clicking, which comment/post is being linked to.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:04 PM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I live for those moments when the contact activity sidebar inappropriately abbreviates the title of something someone posted, and so instead of telling me that e.g.
cromulancehenricksen posted My dad needs advice on grease for sextant maintenance to Ask Metafilter.
it informs me that
cromulancehenricksen posted My dad needs advice on grease for sex... to Ask Metafilter.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:14 PM on May 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


There's a greasemonkey whatchamacallit that shows (or attempts to show) why something's popular again. Don't have a link right now, though.
posted by inigo2 at 2:30 PM on May 4, 2011


Thanks for explaining how to find where threads/comments are being linked to. I will occasionally get a little pile of new favorites on really old comments, which always leaves me a little baffled. Clearly, they're getting linked to from somewhere but where? Now I know.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:56 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's really just that 12 more favorites is nothing for a comment with 200, but a lot for a comment with 0. One is notable, the other is noise, albeit easily ignored noise.
posted by smackfu at 2:59 PM on May 4, 2011


Oh no, Greg Nog has hit critical mass.

Run, you fools!
posted by Pronoiac at 3:08 PM on May 4, 2011


Greg Nog can not be destroyed, only contained.

Bring me ....the Device.
posted by The Whelk at 3:17 PM on May 4, 2011


GREGS FOR THE GREG NOG
AND FAVORITES FOR HIS THRONE
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:27 PM on May 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


GREGS FOR THE GREG NOG

Aw, you guys, this is so many Gregs! Thanks! Wow, what a pile! Greg Proops, Judd Gregg, Gregor Samsa, Gregory Peck... oh, hey, wait, this is Craig Ferguson. That's a C. It's close, though, it's still really nice of you to bring me him. Thank you!

*picks up humanoid-shape mass of wrapping paper, shakes it, listening intently*

I wonder what Greg this is!
posted by Greg Nog at 3:37 PM on May 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh, man, I just realized you're the Fifth Greg. Quite possibly Confit Greg!
posted by ignignokt at 3:41 PM on May 4, 2011


Do you want this monster depleting our world of its Gregs?
posted by The Whelk at 3:46 PM on May 4, 2011


I prefer my Greg Nog with a splash of bourbon.

He does the most adorable little dance when you give him bourbon.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:53 PM on May 4, 2011


You should try giving him fancy scotch in an ungraded warehouse part where D list Japanese stars are being menaced bt huge rubber monsters.
posted by The Whelk at 4:00 PM on May 4, 2011


I felt kind of stupid once for starting this thread once the reason for the "bug" became so clear, but I'm happy that it turned into a big ol' Gregfest.
posted by bondcliff at 4:22 PM on May 4, 2011


Greg? Greg Greg greg. Greg gerg, Greg greg, Greg. Greg Greg! Greeeeeg. Gregitty.

Greg greg.
posted by The Whelk at 4:24 PM on May 4, 2011


Lately I've been noticing strange behavior in my contact activity on the sidebar.

Report them to the FBI.
posted by vidur at 4:29 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


It might be an interesting infodump project for someone to go looking for thirty day windows that don't start with the date the comment was made, in which comments get 12 or more favorites. I'd bet it's pretty damned uncommon.

I wonder if "next day" or even "24 hours" is enough of an interval between a comment being made and the start of the delayed favorites window for this type of analysis? The prompt favorites (those that people create while reading a thread that is still very much an active one) seem to go on for a few days, so a highly-favorited comment might easily get 12 of these more than a day after it was posted.

Hmm, what about something like, for each comment, find the first 24-hour period where it hasn't been favorited 12 or more times, and then look for a 30-day period after that when it has. I might try that just to see how that looks.
posted by FishBike at 4:31 PM on May 4, 2011


Lately I've been noticing strange behavior in my contact activity on the sidebar.

Report them to the FBI Cabal.
posted by arcticseal at 6:14 PM on May 4, 2011


Is it possible to have a similar list appear on the sidebar (perhaps with a higher favourite threshold) without adding every user as a contact?
posted by doublehappy at 8:33 PM on May 4, 2011


There was a tall, thin, shadowy character prowling around my sidebar the other night, but when I looked directly at him he was gone.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:36 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter's Own Greg Nog

Omigod Greg Nog is on Metafilter?!

/fainting couch*

*for the purposes of this comment, 'fainting couch' is a verb
posted by shakespeherian at 8:49 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


faint that couch
posted by The Whelk at 8:51 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


As I get older, I cannot faint the couch as often as I used to be able to.
posted by maxwelton at 9:17 PM on May 4, 2011




He saw my downstairs mix-up.
posted by Errant at 10:55 PM on May 4, 2011


I searched youtube for Greg and it showed Greg vomiting... D: Drink your Greg responsibly.
posted by nile_red at 12:45 AM on May 5, 2011


Greg! The Stop Sign!
posted by h00py at 4:31 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Graig Nog
posted by not_on_display at 4:32 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


GREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEG
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:26 AM on May 5, 2011


Whenever I'm curious about why something is getting favorites again, I plug either the comment id or the thread id into the site search, set it to all sites, and see what comes up.

OMG. I didn't know you could do that. Thanks cortex!

I've been needing a handy mystery solver like that for the longest time. And thanks to bondcliff for posing this question so that this super useful tip could be passed along.

I love MeTa!
posted by marsha56 at 6:06 AM on May 5, 2011


drinks courtesy of Greg Nog's Grog Blog
posted by mintcake! at 7:32 AM on May 5, 2011


What the Greg?
posted by The Whelk at 8:59 AM on May 5, 2011


I am vast; I contain multigregs.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:36 AM on May 5, 2011


This device outputs an average of 30 miligregs
posted by The Whelk at 11:59 AM on May 5, 2011


Does it vibrate?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:06 PM on May 5, 2011


and how
posted by The Whelk at 12:08 PM on May 5, 2011


This device outputs an average of 30 miligregs

This brings up something I have thought about previously1, which is that MetaFilter needs to invent an official SI Metric unit for something. The greg (Gr) seems like a good choice. Definition: amount of awesome equivalent to 1 Greg Nog.

The most favorited comment in site history would be about 20 mGr, so your 30 mGr device would be pretty good. Although shouldn't an output rate be something like milligregs per second?

1: yes, really.
posted by FishBike at 12:55 PM on May 5, 2011


Actually, shouldn't it be the Nog (Ng)?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:05 PM on May 5, 2011


Clearly more research is needed.

I'll get the restraints.
posted by The Whelk at 1:08 PM on May 5, 2011


Well, the abbreviation Ng is problematic because it can be confused with newton-grams. However if we decide to go with your suggestion, we should write it "nog" not "Nog" because SI Metric units are always written in lower case, even when named for a person. Only the abbreviations are capitalized, oddly enough.
posted by FishBike at 1:10 PM on May 5, 2011


What about Gogs? (Gg)?

I'll get the restraints.

Stop by the hardware store too.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:12 PM on May 5, 2011


Gog is slang for a native of North Wales (shortened from Gogledd, Welsh for North). It's typically not used in a flattering manner. Whereas a Nog sounds like a really good drink.
posted by arcticseal at 5:29 PM on May 5, 2011


Here's two Nogs of (slightly) different sizes.
posted by ignignokt at 10:30 AM on May 6, 2011


Here's one Ngog.
posted by inigo2 at 11:27 AM on May 6, 2011


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