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Pony Request
March 28, 2012 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Would it be possible to view the "Related Posts" section (that shows up at the bottom of pages on the Blue and Green,) when we preview our posts? Is it a bandwidth-intensive operation?

I ask because I think it might help us catch additional doubles. But also because my post today contains a link to a previous MeFi post that I might have referenced, if I had known that it existed.
posted by zarq to Feature Requests at 1:38 PM (25 comments total)

i'm pretty sure i saw "related posts" during the preview section when i was posting about coffee beans yesterday. maybe it's just the blue that doesn't do it?
posted by nadawi at 1:52 PM on March 28, 2012


nadawi: "i'm pretty sure i saw "related posts" during the preview section when i was posting about coffee beans yesterday. maybe it's just the blue that doesn't do it?"

Heh. If it's actually already there and I haven't noticed, I'm going to feel very, very stupid.
posted by zarq at 1:54 PM on March 28, 2012


We show Related Posts on Ask MetaFilter during post preview, but not on MetaFilter. The thinking is that you might find an answer to your question if you see related posts as you preview.

MetaFilter is a different situation. We already have the double-post checker there, so I'm not sure the additional space required for similar posts would be worth it. There could be times when Related Posts might happen to catch a double that the link-checker doesn't, but I'm not sure that's enough for the trade-off either.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:55 PM on March 28, 2012


pb: "so I'm not sure the additional space required for similar posts would be worth it."

Hi pb. Thanks for the fast response, as always. Is it your feeling that the preview page on the Blue would be too cluttered with it?
posted by zarq at 1:58 PM on March 28, 2012


Yep, exactly. It'd push the preview (the thing you're there to do) even farther down the page. We already have one set of search results there—the double-link checker—so I don't think adding more there without a significant gain is worth pushing the page down.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:00 PM on March 28, 2012


And at some level we know that having a double post axed can feel weird/bad, but from our perspective it's not a huge deal and something that affects most MeFites not at all and only a really small set more than once. We have the tag search and the site search that are pretty okay for this sort of thing in general terms and we feel that the server and preview page hit are both concerns that we think outweigh being able to catch more double posts.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:10 PM on March 28, 2012


Ok. Thanks anyway.

And thanks for the thorough explanations, too.
posted by zarq at 2:21 PM on March 28, 2012


I do like this idea. Seems this might be a great way to find the previously links even if not doubles. I can also see why it might not be desirable, but from a consistency stand point I dig it a lot.

If I am pointing about a topic, chances are I like said topic, so getting a "Here's other posts you may have missed" would be cool. I understand the clutter idea, but I also think it would be neat.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:53 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel like it's totally okay for the poster, or any other commenter, to do that in a comment in the thread after it gets posted. As far as that goes, the collective memory of everyone who reads the thread is going to be a lot more robust than the Related Posts widget, as much as I like the widget in its own right.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:56 PM on March 28, 2012


But if someone could create functionality that was as robust as the collective memory here, that would be a feat.

It would also be a tool I wouldn't want to get into any nefarious (CIA, terrorists, Facebook) hands so please don't rise to the challenge, smarties.

This is where I confess the collective memory is, to me, easily Metafilter's most intimidating feature.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:59 PM on March 28, 2012


You know, I am fine with this explanation but as someone who checks the gray intermittently . . . and hasn't been with MetaFilter from the start . . .has a pony request ever resulted in a pony? Just wondering.
posted by bearwife at 4:03 PM on March 28, 2012


Sure, it's just not exactly a sure thing. Small non-disruptive tweaks stand a better chance than stuff that requires more implementation work, but ultimately it comes down to whether it feels to us like going forward with it will be worth the implementation and maintenance and user education costs involved. Little but unambiguously good nudges are often quick "done!" things; ambitious but workable and really promising ideas tend to take some serious conversation but get done as well if the balance comes out right.

Granted ponies are probably a bit thinner on the ground these days than they were when Matt started the site from scratch back in the day or again after we first got pb working full-ime on the site, because a lot of stuff that was requested and passed muster has been implemented already and stuff that didn't pass muster is still likely going to be a no when it comes up again.

We're fairly conservative about changes, in no small part because the site has a history of working pretty well as-is and because we have a large userbase and so any change is going to potentially affect a lot of people. So while there are things that are definitely Not Gonna Happen stuff that comes again now and then, there's also stuff that's more Let's Sleep On It stuff that might work at some point but we don't feel like it's time to try and make happen or we don't feel like is cooked enough or compelling enough to run with as-is.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:17 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


bearwife: "You know, I am fine with this explanation but as someone who checks the gray intermittently . . . and hasn't been with MetaFilter from the start . . .has a pony request ever resulted in a pony? Just wondering."

I am cultivating a stable of miniature Shetlands....

For which I'm quite grateful.
posted by zarq at 4:35 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


bearwife: has a pony request ever resulted in a pony? Just wondering.

I got mine: tags in Metatalk.
posted by Pronoiac at 5:11 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cackling and rubbing palms on the way to the glue factory.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:56 PM on March 28, 2012


cortex: "or we don't feel like is cooked enough"

Do not want salmonella pony.
posted by arcticseal at 7:37 PM on March 28, 2012


The random link is still my favourite pony!
posted by yellowbinder at 8:36 PM on March 28, 2012


It'd push the preview (the thing you're there to do) even farther down the page. We already have one set of search results there—the double-link checker—so I don't think adding more there without a significant gain is worth pushing the page down.

With all due respect, so what? It'd add an inch, inch-an-a-half. And a ton of usefulness.

Earlier this month, there was a double (which wasn't deleted), and the first of the Related Posts was the original post that it was a double of.

Same thing happened two weeks later with a triple of those same posts, which were now the top two Related Posts. (Also not deleted.)

Then, a couple days after that, there was a quadruple. (Deleted!)

All of that would have been prevented by putting the Related Posts in the New Post part. None of it was prevented by the (fatally flawed) double post checker since, while the content was identical, the URLs were different.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:37 AM on March 29, 2012


Pronoiac, it's interesting to see the arguments being posted against the tags Especially since no one seems to worry about them now.

Has there ever been a meta callout where the tags were used to escalate an argument?
posted by zarq at 5:59 AM on March 29, 2012


All of that would have been prevented by

I'm not sure which posts you're referring to but I'm wondering if those would have been prevented by tag searching since that's basically all the related posts widget is doing. Our point is more that we don't mind nixing occasional doubles and adding this hit on the server to solve what we mostly see as not-a-problem seems like overkill.

Has there ever been a meta callout where the tags were used to escalate an argument?

We try to stay on top of tags-as-editorializing in these sorts of situations. We've been pleasantly surprised that users' ability to add tags to their co-contacts posts has not turned into a problem after the first few bumpy/lulzy attempts at goofery.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:39 AM on March 29, 2012


...has a pony request ever resulted in a pony? Just wondering.

Sometimes within seconds if it's an easy coding thing or an addition to the social networks in the profiles, etc.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:48 AM on March 29, 2012


It'd add an inch, inch-an-a-half. And a ton of usefulness.

I think that's where the argument is. Some people would find it very useful, other people would be annoyed at having more information to filter out. The Related Posts is kind of a best guess based on tags, and they're not always extremely related. We have a bunch of people posting, and everyone has a different way of doing things. Some people probably do a tag search before they post—and that's going to be much more thorough than the Related Posts feature. They're going to see dozens of potentially related posts that way. People get annoyed with anything that adds noise. So not everyone will find Related Posts useful because that information is available in an arguably better form in other places.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:50 AM on March 29, 2012


Has there ever been a meta callout where the tags were used to escalate an argument?

There've definitely been a few times when someone added something shitty to the tags of their post, yeah. Not an endemic problem or anything, like jessamyn said, but not never either.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:02 AM on March 29, 2012


jessamyn: " We try to stay on top of tags-as-editorializing in these sorts of situations. We've been pleasantly surprised that users' ability to add tags to their co-contacts posts has not turned into a problem after the first few bumpy/lulzy attempts at goofery."

Ah. I always feel weird about editing someone else's tags. Seems a bit like defacement.

cortex: " There've definitely been a few times when someone added something shitty to the tags of their post, yeah. Not an endemic problem or anything, like jessamyn said, but not never either."

Ugh. Ok. I hadn't seen an uproar. Guess I missed them.
posted by zarq at 8:22 AM on March 29, 2012


bearwife: ". . .has a pony request ever resulted in a pony? Just wondering."

One happened this morning.
posted by zarq at 8:24 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


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