Kind of like TellMetaFilter but with a question mark at the end January 17, 2012 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Are there examples of someone using AskMeFi a question that they already know the answer to?

I don't mean in the sense of "oh you know you should DTMFA, you just want us to say it" but something more tangible, where there is clearly a correct answer or answers, and eventually it comes out that the original poster knew the answer all along. Why would someone do this? I don't know. Perhaps confirmation on a bet with their friends, perhaps they're using their question as a puzzle because they feel they're smart and they want to know who else can figure it out. I'm just curious if there are any that end with something like, "Wait, did you know the answer to this all along?" "Well, yeah, actually I did."

(And no, I myself do not know of an example of this. If I did, I would have put this under AskMeFi and made it some sort of doubly self-fulfilling prophecyquestion.)
posted by komara to MetaFilter-Related at 11:34 AM (47 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Every once in a while someone posts more to rant or hold forth than to actually ask their nominal question. Those tend to get flagged hard and deleted fast.

I fuzzily recall a couple cases of someone copping later in their question to the fact that they weren't asking so much as trying to bait a conversation. That's a quick ticket to a really stern email from us and a thin-ice sort of warning for any future use of askme. But it's been pretty rare.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:38 AM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure I've seen the "bet" type question, even as far as someone not saying they were trying to settle a bet til afterwards..
posted by Grither at 11:44 AM on January 17, 2012


I guess I was hoping for some sort of Hollywood story like 'Guy posts insane math question, one woman responds correctly and impresses him with her brain-smarts, and so he hires her (did we mention he works for the CIA?) and she goes on to smuggle jewels into Latvia' or something and then at the end he says, "I knew the answer all along."

but what cortex said is probably far far more common.
posted by komara at 11:47 AM on January 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


There are "I know that x is true, please give me links to good documentation of that fact" questions.
posted by XMLicious at 11:54 AM on January 17, 2012


That's a quick ticket to a really stern email from us

That's hot!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:56 AM on January 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


was hoping for some sort of Hollywood story

Would the famous askme regarding the sex-trade saviors fit your definition? It's definetly a 'Hollywood' type story in some regards, and IIRC the OP knew the answer was GTFO! to begin with, he just didn't know what to do...
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:57 AM on January 17, 2012


There was this thing that happened recently.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 11:59 AM on January 17, 2012


There was this thing that happened recently.

I think it was hard to tell WHAT was going on there, though.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:08 PM on January 17, 2012


I think it was hard to tell WHAT was going on there, though.

I am pretty sure at this point we know what that was. I see a lot of examples of "please verify my suspicions" type questions but very little flat out "I am playing this community for sport/lulz" situations. As cortex says, we'll axe them if we see them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:12 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


oh, no that motherfucker knew he was fucking with us the entire time.

right here
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:13 PM on January 17, 2012


If Hollywood is going to make a movie out of an askme, it better be that crazy guy who was mailing banjos to his crush. Wes Anderson can direct.
posted by mannequito at 12:21 PM on January 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought someone was doing that, but it turns out to have been a misunderstanding.
posted by juv3nal at 12:22 PM on January 17, 2012


Wes Anderson David Cronenberg can direct.
posted by griphus at 12:28 PM on January 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I only ever post to AskMe for validation. Or posterity.
posted by carsonb at 12:37 PM on January 17, 2012


If Hollywood is going to make a movie out of an askme,

"In a world where DTMFA is against the law..."

Wes Anderson David Cronenberg can direct.


I can't tell if this is specific to Askme: the Movie or just a general statement.
posted by Gygesringtone at 12:39 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The idea of using AskMe to solve Hollywood style problems reminds me of that awesome post where Mathematica was used to read the number plate. And then I started thinking about writing a police procedural (CSI:AskMe) where the detectives, rather than having technology that helps solve crime in totally unrealistic, semi-magic ways just uses ask Metafilter to find the problem for them.

Unlike early Law and Order, when you learned little about the detective's personal lives and focused on the case, this would be the opposite and chockful that stuff because otherwise there'd be no other drama because the most important scene would be typing in whatever needed solved and waiting for the response. (Obviously, David Fincher would have to direct the pilot.)

I suppose the drama could come from them being only able to answer one question a week, but I'd have to believe that even the smallest jurisdictions could pay for a sock puppet account. It definitely be cheaper than multiple holographic 3D displays and computers that can do a DNA comparison on anybody has ever touched a penny in 15 seconds.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:55 PM on January 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


On a couple of occasions, I've asked questions, not knowing the answer, getting some responses, and in the end, I figure it out, and I'll update the thread if it's still open.
posted by crunchland at 1:18 PM on January 17, 2012


I've certainly asked questions where I was 99% sure of the answer, but they were of the form "Does XYZ exist?" and the expected answer was "No".
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:19 PM on January 17, 2012


I fuzzily recall a couple cases of someone copping later in their question to the fact that they weren't asking so much as trying to bait a conversation.

Example. The OP eventually said: "Sorry guys, I'm collecting internet conversations for a uni graphics project which is . . . why I tried to riled you up. . . . I was honestly just trying to rile ppl up"
posted by John Cohen at 1:31 PM on January 17, 2012


Are there examples of someone using AskMeFi a question that they already know the answer to?

Every iteration of Should I dump 'em?
posted by carsonb at 1:52 PM on January 17, 2012


You wouldn't like me when I'm riled.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:58 PM on January 17, 2012


Example. The OP eventually said: "Sorry guys, I'm collecting internet conversations for a uni graphics project which is . . . why I tried to riled you up. . . . I was honestly just trying to rile ppl up"

My favorite part of that is the fact that he describes deliberately riling people up as "probably a dick move," because there's so much uncertainty about whether or not that's a dick move.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:00 PM on January 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't mean in the sense of "oh you know you should DTMFA, you just want us to say it"

I'm glad you clarified that, because for not a few of the advice-type questions the OP's attitude seems to be, "Stop giving me good advice and instead tell me what I want to hear!"
posted by mreleganza at 2:25 PM on January 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


My favorite part of that is the fact that he describes deliberately riling people up as "probably a dick move," because there's so much uncertainty about whether or not that's a dick move.

I hadn't seen that before. My favourite part of it was, on a hunch that it would be worth the effort, internet-sleuthing down his multiple other online identities and deleted profiles. I know we don't bring that sort of thing into Metatalk, so all I will say is that if you enjoy turning over virtual rocks to see the slithery things underneath you'll have some fun with this one.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 3:05 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are there examples of someone using AskMeFi a question that they already know the answer to?

Every iteration of Should I dump 'em?


Once in a while the answer is no. ("Should I divorce my wife because I'm crushing on my barista?")

As far as I've seen, people who ask a should I DTMFA question pretty much always have very good reasons for doing so. In an intense situation it can be hard to listen to what your rational mind is telling you and asking someone who isn't involved might help, hence their questions. Has anyone ever seen a trollish DTMFA question?

A really bad dating advice question would be bumping up against the law of identity ("If I'm dating someone who's wrong for me, am I dating someone who's wrong for me?").
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:29 PM on January 17, 2012


You know, I usually read the 'more inside' portion of a thread before saying something stupid, but this time I hadn't. I wasn't condemning everyone who's ever asked MeFi about their relationship as unthinking or devious or whatever, I was just being stupid. Didn't that come across? (I totally know the answer to that question already.)
posted by carsonb at 3:55 PM on January 17, 2012


That sounds like a snark hangover. I've been there.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:57 PM on January 17, 2012


There's "I know the answer to this" and then there's "I know the answer to this with such confidence that I'm willing to do something involving a load bearing wall, wires that handle more than enough current to kill me, the brakes on my car or some other thing that might precipitate really bad shit if I'm wrong." I've seen a number of these.

Come to think of it, I asked a question like this not too long ago.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:11 PM on January 17, 2012


Never ask a witness on the stand a question that you don't know the answer to. I don't see why this shouldn't apply to community Q&A sites too.
posted by planet at 7:16 PM on January 17, 2012


I think sometimes people ask just to confirm their suspicions/moral support. It's a valid use of advice, IMO.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:54 PM on January 17, 2012


Never ask a witness on the stand a question that you don't know the answer to. I don't see why this shouldn't apply to community Q&A sites too.

In that scenario, AskMe is on trial and the OP is the prosecutor. Come to think of it, AskMe is often like this.
posted by Diablevert at 7:56 PM on January 17, 2012


I can't find it on a cursory search of the archives, but I know that this came up in the early days of AskMe...someone posted a question and then copped to knowing the answer. In the resulting MetaTalk, he explained that--though he knew the answer when he asked the question--he wanted to see how the rest of the community looked at the question from their own personal angles.

I want to say that he also pointed out that he couldn't find the answer on Google, so he was providing a service to future Googlers who would find his question. (I may be making that part up...it HAS been over six years.)

Like I said, though, this was back in the early days, and it wasn't really the OP gaming the system so much as it was the system not being rigidly defined as yet.
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:17 PM on January 17, 2012


I think that was this question and this Meta thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:31 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, I miss WolfDaddy.

And the original edition of quonsar.
posted by loquacious at 8:46 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, I miss WolfDaddy.

Why?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:52 PM on January 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't know WolfDaddy personally, but I have him to thank for my discover of the meef. He mentioned it in the Everything2 ChatterBox, or IRC channel...one of the two, back in 2001 IIRC. So thanks WolfDaddy. And RIM and HTC for keeping MeFi at my fingertips for many many years. There was a time when the prospect of a smartphone was beyond my means where I would scrape MeFi comments, convert the HTML to plain text, and read the text files on the go using my iRiver MP3 player. Or there was the time I was in a remote town in South Dakota with limited internet access, so I went to the library and scraped a bunch of comments AND TFAs and read them later using a flash drive. I guess I'm saying I have a problem. Or perhaps it's society that has the problem.
posted by aydeejones at 9:46 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


And then I started thinking about writing a police procedural (CSI:AskMe) where the detectives, rather than having technology that helps solve crime in totally unrealistic, semi-magic ways just uses ask Metafilter to find the problem for them.

Well, there's Global Frequency, which is pretty much what you describe. (Aleph is clearly jessamyn.)
posted by Zarkonnen at 11:49 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


This relates well to the question I just put about part-time fundraising. I don't really think part-time fundraisers actually exist in practice but I am keen to understand the habits and means around such a job because it presents such an interesting possibility. Going to recruiters about it is difficult because they don't want a candidate to interface with anyone but them.
posted by parmanparman at 4:06 AM on January 18, 2012


Unhandled exception in parser: line 1
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 4:48 AM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dear AskMe,

So I got on this motherfucking plane, and it was full of motherfucking snakes. Whom should I call?
posted by spitbull at 5:19 AM on January 18, 2012


FINALLY A THREAD ABOUT ME ME ME.
posted by PapaLobo at 5:20 AM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would just like to thank people for no longer referring to Ask MetaFilter as AxMe.
posted by Splunge at 9:28 AM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


> If Hollywood is going to make a movie out of an askme, it better be that crazy guy who was mailing banjos to his crush.

wat
posted by xbonesgt at 10:18 AM on January 18, 2012


Xbones: behold the Banjo.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:40 AM on January 18, 2012


o god 'shushing bee' *dying*
posted by carsonb at 11:06 AM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I often find myself quoting spinn's "What makes it different is BANJO." Fortunately only a friend who also reads Metafilter, so I don't sound completely insane.
posted by MsMolly at 12:06 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't really think part-time fundraisers actually exist in practice

In the US, they sure do. Otherwise I have a lot of explaining to do about 2000-2004.

Seriously, this is a very common thing in the US. Ask around on some of the US-based fundraisers' forums about how people structure their time. Taking a look at the help wanted listings in the Chronicle of Philanthropy might be another useful resource.

I've been out of the business myself for years, so can't really give you super-up-to-date information, but I can ask some friends.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:23 PM on January 18, 2012


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