Here's to Previously Asked Questions December 2, 2011 8:52 AM   Subscribe

Looking at the old questions really does help so much.

I spun out twice while driving my Toyota Tacoma PreRunner with rear-wheel drive in Denver today. I was panicking about how to solve this problem.

Then I said to myself, "Oh. I'll just ask metafilter how to make life better. Snow tires? Bags of sand? New car?"

Well, I got to the office (finally), and decided to search previous questions. Lo and behold, there were numerous questions that addresses precisely my concerns. Such as: Getting your car unstuck in winter, Need Snow Tire Advice, and (how awesome is this?) How should I drive a Tacoma in the Snow?

It occurs to me that when you ask a question and someone answers it, the whole community gets access to a little individual WIN! But when this awesomeness happens--when I get to look up past wins! and learn from them continually, the victory could be known by me alone. (Though I, too, have experienced a "favorite" being added on some answer I had forgotten I gave...).

So here's a shout-out to previous answer givers from all of us who looked up your four-year-old responses and still found them helpful.

Thanks!
posted by jefficator to MetaFilter-Related at 8:52 AM (53 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

Especially handy when one doesn't have to ask embarrassing questions as it has already been covered. Whew!
posted by readery at 8:57 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not just the peole answering new questions, it's the huge collective archive of answered questions that makes AskMe such an amazing resource.

Although I worry if, after the space ants come, future peoples try to reconstruct the early 21st century, look through the AskMe archive and decide we were all sitting around with bad relationships, busted cars, spoiled food and unnamed cats.
posted by The Whelk at 8:58 AM on December 2, 2011 [20 favorites]


...and yet six out of my last ten questions had less than ten answers apiece.

WE CAN DO BETTER PEOPLE.
posted by griphus at 9:04 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rather: "WE CAN DO BETTER, PEOPLE"

Although the sans-punctuation version can apply to nearly everyone asking an anonymous Human Relations question.
posted by griphus at 9:05 AM on December 2, 2011 [31 favorites]


I agree, we should do better people.
posted by The Whelk at 9:08 AM on December 2, 2011 [10 favorites]


My last question had zero answers. It made me sad.
posted by Grither at 9:08 AM on December 2, 2011


Even the wider world wins. The Tacoma question is on the second page of results for both "How to drive a truck in the snow" and "How to drive a two wheel drive truck in the snow."
posted by OmieWise at 9:14 AM on December 2, 2011


WE CAN DO BETTER PEOPLE.

In an alternate universe, "YOU CAN DO BETTER PEOPLE" is what we say instead of DTMFA in this one.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:14 AM on December 2, 2011 [16 favorites]


YCDBP is the new DTMFA
posted by Grither at 9:15 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


UP WITH BETTER PEOPLE
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:17 AM on December 2, 2011


I Can't Believe It's Not Better People!TM
posted by Kabanos at 9:20 AM on December 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


To Serve BETTER Man (Second Edition.)
posted by griphus at 9:21 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]



Although I worry if, after the space ants come, future peoples try to reconstruct the early 21st century, look through the AskMe archive and decide we were all sitting around with bad relationships, busted cars, spoiled food and unnamed cats.


STOP BRAGGING
posted by liketitanic at 9:26 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hurrah! Just this morning I did a search for a topic and found about five previous AskMe's that were somewhat relevant, and one that was spot-on. There's a lot hiding in the archives! It's great for shy people who don't want to bother the readership with their silly questions...or embarrassing ones.
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:33 AM on December 2, 2011


I feel bad sometimes that I don't ask more questions, but when I think of a question I almost always find that someone else has asked something very like it and it has been answered to my satisfaction. Perhaps I'll work on coming up with really unusual questions that haven't been asked and answered!
posted by rtha at 9:42 AM on December 2, 2011


How is better people formed?
posted by The Whelk at 9:47 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Come On People
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:53 AM on December 2, 2011


Yeah, just yesterday I was going to ask a question about my suddenly bad back and then lo, I found all the information I needed from Hermitosis' more or less identical question in 2008. So that was awesome except for one problem: dinger just put in a link for a miracle medication in his/her answer and that link no longer works. dinger, if you're reading this, what was it? And for those of us who answer, think of future generations of space ants and please put in a name/descriptor as well as a link.

Also, hope you're feeling better, hermitosis! This is really no fun.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:54 AM on December 2, 2011


I'm happy for you, I am always amazed by how this community can provide answers to even the most arcane questions...SO WHY DON'T I HAVE A SINGLE ANSWER TO THIS "WHERE SHOULD I STAY" IN FLORIDA QUESTION????
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 9:55 AM on December 2, 2011


I like to come on people. Look out!
posted by Fister Roboto at 10:00 AM on December 2, 2011


I tried to stick it into Matlab and it just spat out error messages.
posted by griphus at 10:00 AM on December 2, 2011


oh wow timing
posted by griphus at 10:00 AM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


griphus: "I tried to stick it into Matlab and it just spat out error messages"

Sounds painful!
posted by Grither at 10:04 AM on December 2, 2011


But more importantly, can I eat this?
posted by infini at 10:13 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Recognizing AskMe as this kind of resourse is a huge portion of the reasoning behind the signal-to-noise ratio enforcement that happens over there. Hopefully your discoveries will help you remember to answer effectively and keep noise to a minimum.
posted by carsonb at 10:23 AM on December 2, 2011


My last question had zero answers. It made me sad.

I immediately dashed off to see if I could answer the question. Yay!

But then I realized that I did not have an answer, either. Sorry, Grither.
posted by winna at 10:30 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


infini: "But more importantly, can I eat this?"

The answer lies within.
posted by zarq at 10:42 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I make a sad face any time some comment reminds me that griphus has a girlfriend. Little did I know who my competition actually was. Boning up on my algorithms as we speak.
posted by Polyhymnia at 11:13 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


SOYLENT GREEN IS MADE OF BETTER PEOPLE
posted by argonauta at 11:20 AM on December 2, 2011


TUBBY CUSTARD IS MADE OF TELETUBBIES

That said, old questions are the entire reason I paid my $5.
posted by rhizome at 11:25 AM on December 2, 2011


(metaFriday is made of GRARing hour, in case we forgot. Why is everyone still jolly?)
posted by Namlit at 11:29 AM on December 2, 2011


Do a featured old question on the sidebar of askme? Seasonally or something? Fucking halloween, I tell you.
posted by frecklefaerie at 2:07 PM on December 2, 2011


Cortex's next tumblr will be the embarrassing searches people make in AskMe.
posted by arcticseal at 4:00 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I recently got a Nikon D40. And I figured I'd be asking questions about it or about digital photography in general. So far though, AskMe has my questions covered. It's extremely cool.

I kind of wonder what people who don't read AskMe do out there in the real world. Scary.
posted by pointystick at 8:45 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Florida is not for staying in.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:58 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Old questions definitely come in handy. I can't tell you how many times I've gone back to the "how to dispose of a dead body" thing.
posted by Justinian at 12:36 AM on December 3, 2011


No, realy, I can't tell you.
posted by Justinian at 12:36 AM on December 3, 2011


mygothlaundry, if you do a google search for just the /B000QFT442 part of the URL, it shows that the link went to Momentum Backache Caplets. No longer sold under that name, it is rebranded as Percogesic Backache Relief.

I agree with what you were saying, that it would be nice to have more information than just "this" with a hyperlink, to preserve the information when web pages go away.
posted by Houstonian at 6:43 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


My last question had zero answers and it made me sad.

I also immediately looked up that question, and then I felt sad, too.

Polyhymnia, you're not the only competitor. It's on.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 6:57 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


The worlds greatest archive of the same five or six relationship questions, endlessly repeated.

Also, ten answers is too few? Nonchatfilter questions generally only need 2 or 3.

Then ten more people come along and repeat those answers, likely without reading the other answers.

So instead of one or two clear explanations of how to make great scrambled eggs, about half the answers repeat the exact same advice you could look up in 5 seconds on google anyway.

I say that's chatfilter in disguise and acting like it's some enormous public service ain't really warranted in all cases.
posted by spitbull at 2:35 PM on December 3, 2011


Also can you tell I don't like "ain't we great!" (variant 2: "thanks metafilter!") as a reason for a MeTa?
posted by spitbull at 2:36 PM on December 3, 2011


Counter data point: My last question got 40-some odd answers and every single one was helpful. In fact, every question I've posted about parenting has had many, very helpful responses. (Have posted at least 2 (I think) anonymously.)

YMMV.
posted by zarq at 2:42 PM on December 3, 2011


You know, spitbull, you can always find something you think is more fun to do than reading MetaTalk. Or AskMe, for that matter. It's not rocket science.
posted by mediareport at 4:09 PM on December 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, ten answers is too few? Nonchatfilter questions generally only need 2 or 3.

What? Very much depends on the question. "What was that song I heard at the store?" only needs one answer if it's the right one. "How do I get my baby to sleep in his crib instead of my bed?" might need 20, because you may have to try a lot of things to find what works for a particular kid, so the more suggestions you have, the better.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 5:55 PM on December 3, 2011


New and Improved AskMeFi Green! Now made with better people!
posted by SillyShepherd at 10:13 PM on December 3, 2011


I go back and do searches all the time. It's a wonderful resource.
posted by SillyShepherd at 10:16 PM on December 3, 2011


You know, spitbull, you can always find something you think is more fun to do than reading MetaTalk. Or AskMe, for that matter. It's not rocket science.

Oooh, snap. You really put me down there mediareport. How gauche of me to give a shit.

I despise this all too typical response to someone saying something critical in MeTa. The point of MeTa is to discuss the site and its community and functionality. If a member doesn't think everything is grand and says so, it's "you can always go somewhere else" time. No, I am here. I am a member of the community. And I think the crowing about how great AskMe is deserves a counterpoint, because the subsite is muddled and that leads to endless arguments in MeTa.

Either AskMe is only for factually answerable questions and not chatfilter, or it isn't. Seems to depend on who's doing the asking.

Now you can go back to the mutual admiration society.
posted by spitbull at 6:46 AM on December 4, 2011


And rabbitrabbit, that's true. But there are plenty of AskMe questions that only need one right answer where 20 people chime in with some version of it even after the right answer has been marked a best answer.

I favor closing up AskMe questions after a best answer has been marked. I realize mediareport thinks that means I don't have a right to participate in a kumbayah thread like this. So sorry for having an opinion.

And this very thread is chatfilter if there's no policy issue under discussion. We've had a lot of these on MeTa lately, many of them framed as "thanks Metafilter!" posts.
posted by spitbull at 6:49 AM on December 4, 2011


If a member doesn't think everything is grand and says so, it's "you can always go somewhere else" time.

I suggest things aren't always grand here, too, spitbull; I have no problem with that. You just seemed unusually pained; I was simply offering a suggestion for ameliorating the discomfort.
posted by mediareport at 7:34 AM on December 4, 2011


Either AskMe is only for factually answerable questions and not chatfilter, or it isn't.

What kind of question is "I like books/music like [this] - what else would I like?" It's an answerable question, though I guess there's no One True Answer - but there's no one true answer for "I have this symptom/my car is making this noise/why is my cat doing whatever, please diagnose." Lost of helpful and potentially correct answers can be lobbed, but can still be awfully chatty. I don't think there's as clear a divide between factually answerable questions and chatfilter as you say.
posted by rtha at 8:03 AM on December 4, 2011


There is no ban on or rule against chatfilter in MeTa. There never has been. This is by definition the area of the site where we get to discuss things about mefi and hammer out site issues.

The only area of the site where chatfilter is discouraged and may be deleted is AskMe.

I would object to having AskMe questions closed after a Best Answer has been marked. This would prevent latecomers from contributing potentially valuable insights and also prevent the OP from posting updates. It would make AskMe less useful.
posted by zarq at 9:29 AM on December 4, 2011


Closing AskMes after a Best Answer has been marked would, in many cases, break AskMe. Most common example: "Please recommend a recipe for [whatever dish]." In most threads like that, multiple responses get marked as Best Answer — there isn't one best recipe, there are many excellent ones. And then it's pretty common to have people continue to add responses even after that, and common to have some of those later responses also get marked as Best Answers.
posted by Lexica at 2:29 PM on December 4, 2011


We've had a lot of these on MeTa lately, many of them framed as "thanks Metafilter!" posts.

Yeah, it's totally fine if you don't like these personally, but it's okay to say "Thanks MeFi" in MetaTalk. You seem to have a different internal sense of what AskMe should be for than a lot of the people here. No problem with that, and we're always open for constructive criticism, but I'm not sure where we can go from here.

Either AskMe is only for factually answerable questions and not chatfilter, or it isn't.

It isn't. It's for "problems to be solved" which is sort of different. If your problem is "I am looking for a good book to read that takes place in the Northwest Territories and has a strong female lead..." you'd be surprised how far you could get, or not get, with Google. So, having real live people with varied interests is sometimes [often, for me, a good Googler] preferable. Additionally, the iterative aspect of the way AskMe works is an improvement on a lot of other Q&A situations [public library, I am looking at you] where you can't really go back and forth on a question and answer much at all, much less get [and give] feedback on the interaction.

And I think the crowing about how great AskMe is deserves a counterpoint, because the subsite is muddled and that leads to endless arguments in MeTa.

I think there's a misunderstanding that we see here a lot where people think that someone saying "thanks, this was cool" always needs some sort of "hey it sometimes sucks!" as a counterpoint, lest we get too carried away with congratulating ourselves. As far as I'm concerned, most MeTa threads are about people saying that something sucks or is suboptimal or whatever, so the occasional "hey this worked out okay" thread provides a decent balance. We've had a few people in this thread say yeah, it sucks that their questions got no answers. And we're always okay with people offering suggestions for ways to make things work more smoothly. But fundamentally changing the way AskMe works because for some reason the way it works irritates you personally isn't really constructive. You're welcome to be here and talk it out, but it may be that the things you want are things that aren't really realistic and so as part of setting expectations around here we may say "Ain't going to happen" and that's pretty much where we're at with the "threads should close after a best answer" idea.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:46 PM on December 4, 2011


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