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SocialStuffs
February 27, 2012 9:57 AM   Subscribe

Perhaps it's time to consider changing the guideline about requesting additions to the "Also On" feature?

There is a page on the MetaFilter wiki called SocialStuffs which is where you can suggest a new social site. That page has additional information on the information that pb will need in order to add the site. We try to add a group of new sites every few months.

This may be confirmation bias, but it feels like this guideline is more honoured in the breach than the observance.
If you actually followed the guideline, you'd likely be waiting a while for the service to be added, and you may not notice it when it does get added.
If you make a metatalk post asking for it to be added: e.g. (1), (2), there's a non-zero chance that pb will add it immediately, and everyone gets to have a nice chat about the service, its merits, and what our account names are.

Given the incentives to ignore the rule, is it still a sensible one?
posted by zamboni to Etiquette/Policy at 9:57 AM (28 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

The nice part about the current process is that folks need to visit the page, take a look at the rules for inclusion, and see current and past suggestions. If the service they're thinking about still makes the cut they can add it there.

I know it doesn't seem fair that people who go around this process get their service added right away, but we're not completely formal here all the time.

I guess the alternative is that folks just post MetaTalk threads asking for whichever service they want? The problem is that will often end with, "Doesn't meet the criteria", "Has been suggested", or some variation on that. The current wiki page helps with those obvious cases.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:05 AM on February 27, 2012


I just wanna know when someone will create some AntiSocialMedia sites. Those I'd join. or not.
posted by jonmc at 10:06 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


They don't want you, jon.
posted by crunchland at 10:15 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This may be confirmation bias, but it feels like this guideline is more honoured in the breach than the observance.

It's definitely been more the case recently, where "recently" means the last two or so times this is come up. We set up the wiki page originally because people were asking often for things to be added that didn't fit the criteria for whatever reason [and we had the long back and forth about Tumblr] and we wanted there to be a bit of a speed bump to make sure that people were checking the criteria. When there's something that's a slam dunk and it shows up in MeTa it does seem to be a little picky to make people add it to the wiki and then wait. That said, pb does make a pass through the wiki every now and again to see if there are new things that should be added or if he needs more information on something that someone asked about.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:20 AM on February 27, 2012


I didn't know about the Wiki page and took the third path: I sent a note via the contact form and received near-immediate satisfaction with a service addition about a month ago. Had I known that there was a process I would have followed it.
posted by cgk at 10:27 AM on February 27, 2012


In your case cgk, it just timed out right. The service you requested was already on the suggested list. It was the same with This Is My Jam the other day.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:29 AM on February 27, 2012


Is there generally any kind of metatalk announcement when things which are on the suggested list get added?

If not, I think it might be a good thing. I joined This Is My Jam because of the metatalk thread which I would not have done if it was just silently added from the suggested list.
posted by juv3nal at 10:46 AM on February 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


but we're not completely formal here all the time.

Carson has noticed and he would like a word.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:54 AM on February 27, 2012


take a look at the rules

GRR! "Rules" - !!! What is this, "MetaRules" - ???

Rules have been the downfall of every civilization since Adam and Eve first set up their fruit and vegetable stand. People who formulate and promote rules - "Rulers", if you will - are hard and inflexible, and are made out of wood, plastic or occasionally metal. They are clearly marked in centimetre or inch divisions and are responsible for countless spank-crimes in every primary school across our great land. I despise them, and you should too.

Let's ERASE all "rules" and the "rulers" who enforce them. The great pencil-case of life is a rich and vibrant cornucopia of treasures, whose inhabitants just want to live and work together in harmony without the terror of rules. Yet every day, someone on this site suggests that we add another damn rule to stationery set.

Well maybe we could have a day off from the pedantic, rule-worshipping tyranny that modern MetaFilter has become. Maybe we can learn to talk to one another again, to value what is fragile and creative about one another in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

And, YEAH - maybe a simple crayon from the wrong side of the colour spectrum and a high-class pencil-sharpener CAN fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after. I mean, we all know they're already "doing it" - my backpack is full of blue shavings, for chrissakes. I'M NOT BLIND.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:55 AM on February 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


I didn't know about the Wiki page...

I do get the feeling sometimes that Mefi is primarily designed for people that a) have already been here for years, and b) more or less live here continuously.

Not quite being one of those people it sometimes feels like the general idea is: "Before using Metafilter, first get a PhD in Metafilter".
posted by philipy at 11:06 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hopefully the FAQ is a good first stop for people who have questions about the site. And we have a FAQ entry about this: How do I suggest a new social page for the "also on" section of the profile page? We're not deliberately trying to be opaque on this topic.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:44 AM on February 27, 2012


I just wanna know when someone will create some AntiSocialMedia sites. Those I'd join. or not.

You mean you'd be a part of a club that would have you as a member?
posted by cmoj at 11:53 AM on February 27, 2012


I didn't know about the Wiki page...

I do get the feeling sometimes that Mefi is primarily designed for people that a) have already been here for years, and b) more or less live here continuously.

Not quite being one of those people it sometimes feels like the general idea is: "Before using Metafilter, first get a PhD in Metafilter".


It's not a secret that there's a FAQ or a Wiki- there's a link to the FAQ at the top of the page and a link to the Wiki at the bottom (and at the top on MeTa).
posted by oneirodynia at 1:58 PM on February 27, 2012


"Rules have been the downfall of every civilization since Adam and Eve first set up their fruit and vegetable stand. People who formulate and promote rules - 'Rulers', if you will - are hard and inflexible, and are made out of wood, plastic or occasionally metal."

I occasionally get a bit fatigued of your whole thing...and then you post a true gem like that and it's all new, like a virgin, touched for the very first time.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:01 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


> I occasionally get a bit fatigued of your whole thing...

I read all of the quidnunc kid's comments since there's no hyper-contextualization or navel gazing.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:07 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not a secret that there's a FAQ or a Wiki- there's a link to the FAQ at the top of the page and a link to the Wiki at the bottom (and at the top on MeTa).

Well, I see philipy's first point. I read the FAQ about seven years ago and while I regularly read MeTa I have never crossed over to spending time on one of the derivative web sites like the Wiki unless someone links directly there from, say, here. It would never occur to me that the wiki would help solve the "how do I add X" problem, and I have been conditioned to avoid posting something that would earn "you should have used the contact form" as a response, so the contact form it was.
posted by cgk at 2:34 PM on February 27, 2012


I read all of the quidnunc kid's comments since there's no hyper-contextualization or navel gazing.

Make a cursory attempt to be nice. It'll brighten your day and those of others around you.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:37 PM on February 27, 2012


Yes, that's very nice of you.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:41 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


And I guess we should be clear, all of these options are fine. The situation we're trying to avoid is one where someone tries to find an answer, fails and then comes to MeTa complaining that they can't answer this question and the thread turns into an epic nerd rage fest. We try to make the faq accessible to people who like to get information that way. The referrer links on some of the email we get strongly suggest that there are a lot of people who refer to it. The contact form is always fine and we are happy to answer any and all questions. MeTa has upsides and downsides to its use. We're usually happy to answer questions here, but sometimes the way they're phrased and/or the assumptions people bring to the table can make the threads go less than awesome.

One of those assumptions, in a pretty major way is "The way I use MetaFilter is the way others should use MetaFilter" We try to make the site usable to a wide range of people with a wide range of sensibilities [see the other MeTa thread for "How hostile is the site to new users?" discussion in terms of people afraid to make a front page post] and also stress our sort of normative views on how we hope things should go.

So, how we hope Social Stuff things go is that people use the wiki and that they know about it either through the FAQ or through reading another MeTa thread on the topic. And this is mainly just so we know people know what the guidelines are and they don't open a MeTa thread that turns into snarky RTFM comments. Sometimes pb will whisk through and do things somewhat differently. In any case, there have been a few MeTa threads about sharing links to profiles on other sites [OKCupid being a recent example] so even if a site is already added an after the fact MeTa thread to share profiles or highlight that there is a new social thing added to profiles is fine.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:41 PM on February 27, 2012


I do try, Burhanistan, I do try.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:21 PM on February 27, 2012


I do get the feeling sometimes that Mefi is primarily designed for people that a) have already been here for years, and b) more or less live here continuously.

Not quite being one of those people it sometimes feels like the general idea is: "Before using Metafilter, first get a PhD in Metafilter".
posted by philipy


I've been reading here since the day I went online in 1999, and a member since 2004, philipy, and I totally get what you are saying. As with the majority of such sites, there is a core group of heavy users, some of whom might give the more casual user a skewed sense of how things work. That these loud voices aren't necessarily reflective of the over-riding philosophy of the site is sometimes easy to overlook.

However assuaging this, as mentioned above, there are resources available which provide guidelines for new users, such as the FAQ and Wiki, as well as the moderators. Use of the contact form is a good practice if you are unsure of something, and is an incredible resource. I have never waited more than a few minutes to receive a reply to a query. Beyond this, the vast majority of users here are empathetic and helpful, and a polite memail to a user whose sensibility you respect is also a resource not to be overlooked.

I finally got up the nerve to make my first front page post after a decade here, and sure enough, (being the dipstick that I am) I borked the link; and the initial reception was remarkably hostile for such an innocuous subject. Taz helpfully fixed the link, and trimmed the snark to allow the post to stand on its own legs within minutes. I also received some encouragement from users who were upset at the way things had gone, and things settled down immediately.

As an inherently sarcastic curmudgeon without much patience, one rule I have is that if I think that what I want to say is going to be really annoying, or cause undue work for the mods, I try to restrain myself, or reshape the comment. More than once I have asked the mods' or another users' opinion about something before posting, and have received helpful advice. There are literally thousands of things I might have said over the years here that have remained unposted because of this.

Sure, sometimes you'll put your foot in your mouth, ( I do this constantly) but I find it useful to remember that, in the end, it really is just glowing pixels on a screen. A mistake or two here or there is really no big deal, most users will cut you some slack, and if you really screw up, unlike most places I've visited online, an apology works wonders. So, try to relax, and don't take the place too seriously.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:40 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


crunchland: "They don't want you, jon."

That's why he wants to join ;-)
posted by dg at 2:28 PM on February 28, 2012


The under-the-radar nature of the wiki suggestion process is a real Achilles heel, especially for more obscure sites. For instance, I put in a request for useful/addictive movie-ranking site Flickchart to get added last year after I did a post on it, and yet it now only has three people linked to it here apart from me -- even though ten times as many people favorited it, and there were more than 200 comments. The official Xbox LIVE site, which I suggested at the same time, has only 55 linked users, and that's for a major gaming service.

This Is My Jam, on the other hand, garnered nearly 100 users in just a few days, all thanks to the discussion of it here.

It would be nice if we could go back to proposing new sites here on MetaTalk, so there would be a critical mass of people linking to their profiles if/when the service in question gets added (with the bonus of discovering cool niche communities you wouldn't have otherwise heard of).
posted by Rhaomi at 12:26 AM on February 29, 2012


Can't we do both? We don't remove MetaTalk posts about MeFites at Social Networks. We recently had one about okcupid. The This Is My Jam conversation would have happened whether we added it officially or not. I know we had a few Tumblr exchange threads at a time when we weren't adding Tumblr as a service. (We changed the criteria at some point and Tumblr was added.)

Xbox Live is an odd situation. For years they had private profiles—you had to be a member to see any information. So we used a site called MyGamerCard instead that had public Xbox profiles. Over time that went under and Xbox Live made their profiles public.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:44 AM on February 29, 2012


Can't we do both?

You can surely do both if you want to. But from a user POV, one of those paths achieves much better results with much less effort, so the other path is likely to become disused.
posted by philipy at 7:06 AM on February 29, 2012


A lot of people, for various reasons, like to stay away from MetaTalk, so having a non-MeTa option for them is pretty important. I know people like bright line "This is how you do this" rules, but there are two ways to do this sort of thing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:13 AM on February 29, 2012


Yeah, I think people's ideas of much better results vary. For some the best possible outcome is that as many MeFites as possible sign up with the service through the official profile links. For others, the best outcome is avoiding a discussion that includes a bunch of "your favorite social media sucks". And for others, the best outcome is finding a few other MeFites somewhere whether they add it to their profile or not.

People are going to use/not use the official profile links for a wide variety of reasons. Some services lend themselves to connecting with random people more than others. Some services have more crossover with the general MetaFilter population than others. I don't think the MetaTalk thread or lack of thread is the sole determining factor in whether or not a particular service has traction in the profile links feature.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:56 AM on February 29, 2012


like to stay away from MetaTalk

"your favorite social media sucks"

Ah yes. I can see how that could go.

My selective Mefi reading habits already tune out things that are likely to become grar-fests. Which does include a fair proportion of MeTa threads.
posted by philipy at 9:14 AM on February 29, 2012


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