Pony request: Place to put unasked-for tips May 1, 2012 2:31 PM   Subscribe

Pony request: a place for random answers, or tips, that have no immediate questions, but might be useful to someone, sometime, somewhere.

A few days ago I was browsing through the shelves of a local Books-A-Million, and I made a discovery. They sell these cases that are intended for Bibles, and for some reason anything having to do with Jesus tends to get discounted at Books-A-Million. Additionally, a particular case had a severe discount because it was on clearance.

I'm not religious, but I noticed that the case was exactly the size of an iPad. In case you don't have one, there is a minimum $10 surcharge for anything made for an iPad, not because of an Apple licensing fee, not because of any particular manufacturing difficulty, just because. Because iPads are popular, and people who sell stuff for them figure owners must be well-to-do, so they increase the price because they can. Even styluses tend to cost upwards of $15. Cases tend to start at $30. (And if that case should happen to have an included Bluetooth keyboard, well, then don't expect to pay less than $100.)

So it was I was able to get a pretty nice iPad case, with little pockets for the power supply and cable and even a nice netted pocket just large enough to hold a Wiimote for jailbreak emulator action, for $8. The lesson: iPad owners should check out Bible accessories for cheap cases.

So pleased am I with my acquisition that I feel compelled to tell the world. I could blog about it I suppose, but then only a few people would come to know about it. I could wait for someone on Ask to ask about cheap iPad accessories, but that may never happen, and by the time they do I might forget all about it.

And it comes to mind that this isn't the first time this has happened to me. It's not a thing big enough to make a Metafilter post about, or to really spend that many words on, but I still think it'd be useful to people. So maybe this could be a useful subsite, just a collection of random things people have found personally useful, and want to pass on to others? Maybe with a length limitation, not really short like Twitter's, but to prevent long screeds or other abuses?

To be really useful it'd have to be searchable of course, and I can see this as something that search would be central enough to that it'd potentially be a more important interface than the traditional scrolling front page.

Well, is just an idea. It might not be a good fit for Metafilter, but I figured I'd offer it in case someone thought it was. Nothing ventured nothing gained, sort of thing.
posted by JHarris to Feature Requests at 2:31 PM (66 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Wha?
posted by dfriedman at 2:34 PM on May 1, 2012


lifehacker.metafilter.com?
posted by gauche at 2:34 PM on May 1, 2012


Yeah, not a bad idea, but I think we'd have to do some significant thinking on how to really define what a tip is and what it means as well as how to organize it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:34 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suppose you could create a web site about it and if the web site was nice enough post it to projects? No idea if Matt would approve it.
posted by ThisIsNotMe at 2:35 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, there's not any really immediate "this makes sense as a Metafilter thing" angle on this that I can think of. It's a pretty specific sort of information-organization thing that seems kind of like it's its own thing more than something that fits naturally into how the site currently works.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:37 PM on May 1, 2012


While I hate to use it as a reference, the way FML works seems perfect for something like this.
posted by griphus at 2:37 PM on May 1, 2012


Traditionally hasn't stuff like this been put into profiles? Then every once in a while someone comes into MetaTalk and says "Point me to awesome user profiles!" and everyone has a good time tipping each other and being weird or whatever.
posted by carsonb at 2:39 PM on May 1, 2012


You could always set up a page on the wiki for it.
posted by Gator at 2:42 PM on May 1, 2012


hm. on one hand, it doesn't seem MetaFilter-ish, specifically, but it does have that edge of access to tasty brainmeats that makes MeFi so compelling.

seems like it could be an unholy mishmash of Projects & Ask, with voting and categories keeping it organised and under control.
posted by batmonkey at 2:43 PM on May 1, 2012


RunTell.Metafilter.com
posted by Edogy at 2:44 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah there could be a wiki page. I'm not sure I see a way to wrap it into MeFi-already-in-progress, but I know I've linked to some of my own fave comments in my profile after seeing other people do the same thing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:45 PM on May 1, 2012


Here's a tip: Visit my website for great discounts on designer handbags!
posted by shakespeherian at 2:47 PM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


GYOFB
posted by terrapin at 2:49 PM on May 1, 2012


Submit it to Lifehack.
posted by k8t at 2:50 PM on May 1, 2012


Seriously, I think I would check out a Tell MetaFilter more frequently than Ask MetaFilter, but it would probably require some different kind of Quality Control to avoid turning into ChatFilter and/or IShouldGetMyOwnBlogFilter. Something like a pre-front page that only members can access and it would take so many upvotes to make the public page... which would make that part of MetaFilter into a whole different kind of website, which there are already SO many of... Still, I believe the community here would kick ass at it.

It really should be mentioned that there is already an unofficially associated site for MetaChatting...
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:52 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


TIL.metafilter.com
posted by inigo2 at 2:56 PM on May 1, 2012


I think justthetip.metafilter.com would really go over great with the 12-14 year-old boy demographic.
posted by GuyZero at 2:57 PM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Isn't tell.metafilter.com just a DNS CNAME for livejournal.com?
posted by GuyZero at 2:58 PM on May 1, 2012


Oh man, I can't wait to share the duel usage possibilities of certain power tools. Please enable picture posting this sub-site!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:02 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Saber saws at ten paces?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:06 PM on May 1, 2012


AskMefi: What are the random things people have found personally useful?
posted by travelwithcats at 3:16 PM on May 1, 2012


I know a quick and easy way to disable the safety guard on a nail gun so you can use it to play Call Of Duty: Work-site Battles.
posted by dg at 3:17 PM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


The other day I made a comment about what good furniture design looks like and it was silly popular. I mentioned this to a friend of mine who also makes things out of wood and told him how surprised I was that the most favorited thing I've ever written here was a furniture design critique. It blew me away when he told me that he always works from plans and wouldn't dream of trying to design his own pieces. Obviously there is more demand for a "How to stick bits of wood together!" blog then I would have imagined.

So, yeah, lots of people here probably have either deep or incidental knowledge that would answer questions that a lot of us didn't even know we had but the catch is that we are unlikely to go looking for said knowledge.

On the other hand, given how much of AskMe boils down to "I've put every term except the one that gets me the answer I need into Google. Please help!" I think you'd find that The Children's Little Golden Encyclopedia of the Collected Wisdom of the Mefites might not be all that handy since, after a while, you are unlikely to be able to find anything therein.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:18 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've often suggested a library of sorts for metafilter. But I always get pointed at and laughed at.
posted by cashman at 3:24 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would be totally down for a "lifehacker" site that wasn't criminally infested with ads and link bait and hurf durf whatever. Like, "things you should have Asked but didn't". Maybe. But, yeah. I love this shit, I have these "Big Secrets" books which are tons of fun, and the Straight Dope books and and and, so

I would feed this pony.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:27 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


What Bible has the same dimensions as an iPad?
posted by jpdoane at 3:29 PM on May 1, 2012


I'm guessing some sort of 2002-era single-purpose BibleTek electronic Bible reader and concordance...
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:33 PM on May 1, 2012


Tell.mefi would indeed be awesome, but would require an imperial fuckload of moderation, to keep the spirit and tone of the submitted tips in line with the site, and free of noise and spam and self-promotion. I'm not saying it shouldn't be done, but it would require some bizznessmatizing on Mathowie's part to see if it would be workable, or a neverending pit of annoyance.
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:34 PM on May 1, 2012


What Bible has the same dimensions as an iPad?

this one
posted by 6550 at 3:37 PM on May 1, 2012


S*H, this is one situation where crowd-mod might actually work.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:45 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Don't Ask Don't Tell.Metafilter was an embarrassing failure however.
posted by The Whelk at 3:47 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


One tip I always remind my kids of is to leave a plate of freshly baked cookies and a glass of milk for Santa on Christmas Eve or there will be no presents.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:49 PM on May 1, 2012


Chilled fresh lychees would be a great starter.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:01 PM on May 1, 2012


This is the answer-drive response to all those "help me hack [x]" questions, which are basically "tell me about awesome stuff related to [x]."

The beauty of those questions is that they gather all the gardening, home care, baby tending, wedding planning, etc. suggestions in defined areas, whereas tell.metafilter could well be a rambly, disorganized mess.

To be sortable, there would have to be more categories than ask.metafilter, and it would require a lot of moderation to keep things orderly, as others have mentioned.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:02 PM on May 1, 2012


Though AskMe's primary role is for us to answer your specific question, its secondary purpose is as a knowledge base. We should read old threads before we create new ones.

Thus, there are thousands of open AskMe's at any given time, and anyone who is looking for an iPad case should read this open thread before posting their own question.

Even if there is no open thread that would benefit from your answer, you could probably ask a mod to post your tip in an old but still frequently read thread. And if a question has literally never been asked on AskMe before, you should wonder how useful your tip will be.
posted by modernserf at 4:15 PM on May 1, 2012


Maybe then it could work as an addendum to certain AskMe tags? It wouldn't have a front page of it's own, but if you went searching AskMe for a certain topic, in addition to pulling up Asks, you'd get Tips as well?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:19 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Right, there could be a way to suggest/link a Tip as an answer to an AskMe question, without having to retype it. Tips could be thought of as answers recurrently useful enough to get their own pages and/or comments/extensions/revisions, things like Miko's breakup advice, lists of book recommendations on a given topic, etc.
posted by RogerB at 4:30 PM on May 1, 2012


robocop, I sort of really like that.
posted by deezil at 4:31 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Never pet a burning dog.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:45 PM on May 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have an idea for an Experience Wiki, which would aim to collect not the totality of human knowledge, like an encyclopedia, but of human experience: if you've experienced it, you can contribute to the relevant entry. The goal would be an index of what it's like: "Being Swiss", "Smoking tobacco", "Working for a non-profit organization".

It would be an ontological nightmare, of course: edit wars would break out over whether "Transitioning to a cycling commute" should be filed under Work, Health, Transport, Environment, Sport, or Politics. People will protest that "Living in pre-war Nazi Germany" could not possibly have been written by living contributors; come to think of it, should third-party research be allowed at all, or even encouraged?

Much of the early interest of users and media alike would focus on predictably spectacular entries like "Climbing Mount Everest" or "Amputating one's own limb". Trolls would write an entry for "Being a zombie" (or John Malkovich), and contributors will upload gigabytes of text showcasing their supposed financial freedom or sexual prowess.

But many of these things are in some way true of other wikis, and it would seem that for the successful ones at least they tend to balance themselves out once a critical mass of motivated contributors emerges.

The remaining bottleneck would be that of verifiability, of course. In contrast to an encyclopedia entry, an experience entry will be poorly sourced precisely because the only source is the veteran of the experience themselves. For the aforementioned spectacular or rare experiences, few contributors will be available, and those that are there will disagree on important aspects which may well be stranger than fiction and as such perhaps indistinguishable from trolling.

Still, I'm hopeful that with a large enough user base these effects can be filtered out.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:50 PM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


It would be an ontological nightmare, of course: edit wars would break out over whether "Transitioning to a cycling commute" should be filed under Work, Health, Transport, Environment, Sport, or Politics.

Filed, ha! That word is becoming an anachronism. It'd just be a folksonomy/tag field, like AskMe. Imperfect of course, but redundancy is a feature not a bug. You can still have your conflict, of course, it's just going to be over tag delimiters (commas, spaces, etc.) rather than where an experience should be 'filed'.
posted by carsonb at 5:18 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of course, of course. Of course.
posted by carsonb at 5:20 PM on May 1, 2012


The actual lifehacker site has a "tips" feature regularly. If you email it to them, they might include it.
posted by lollusc at 5:36 PM on May 1, 2012


This is an AskMe question. "What repurposed items can be accessories for an iPad, cheaper than OEM Apple stuff? Just for example, here are some links to Bible boxes...
posted by Meatbomb at 5:56 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Being Swiss", "Smoking tobacco", "Working for a non-profit organization".

So, you're broke, you've got a nagging cough and you speak neither French nor German.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:02 PM on May 1, 2012


(And if that case should happen to have an included Bluetooth keyboard, well, then don't expect to pay less than $100.)

Lies, filthy lies, damn filthy lies.

I also bought my iPad case for $10. If you're paying too much, then you don't know how to shop.
posted by hippybear at 6:03 PM on May 1, 2012


rules of thumb
posted by crunchland at 6:05 PM on May 1, 2012


Maybe it would make more sense to create theinternet.metafilter.com, a subsite containing everything on the Internet (aside from what's already on metafilter). I think this would handle a lot of these requests.
posted by snofoam at 6:22 PM on May 1, 2012


I realize this isn't what you're asking for, but there are pages on the MeFi Wiki that aggregate links to questions that have been Asked and Answered on specific topics. The most notable is EatMe. There are aspects of that in the There is Help page, too.

See also:
Books and ReadMe
FrenchMe
Frequently Asked Questions
Gift Ideas
Habits and Gamification
Mac OS X
Travel Guides
TV Guide
Personal Finance
WearMe

If I might suggest, it should also be possible to create 'Stuff We've Learned' pages -- a sort of carefully-edited, categorized repository of experience. I think it would need to be managed, though.
posted by zarq at 6:41 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have an idea for an Experience Wiki, which would aim to collect not the totality of human knowledge, like an encyclopedia, but of human experience:

goodnewsfortheinsane, what you are asking for already exists.

Node what you know.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:41 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know how get a pocket watch out of Vietnam. I could write it up.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:23 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Up the butt.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:24 PM on May 1, 2012


I've often suggested a library of sorts for metafilter.

I have always imagined that MetaFilter will be a kind of library.
posted by gauche at 7:55 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


ThisIsNotMe: "I suppose you could create a web site about it and if the web site was nice enough post it to projects? No idea if Matt would approve it."

At the risk of banning myself, if it's that cool you could always use Ask and be all like "I just found out that I could use a Bible case as an iPad case. What other things can I repurpose like that to get something for way cheaper?"

Of course, that would be evil. Evil genius that is.
posted by theichibun at 7:55 PM on May 1, 2012


I know how to clean a cat's teeth with minimal scarring (of the cleaner, the cat now just grumps a little).
posted by arcticseal at 8:17 PM on May 1, 2012


I know how to carve pumpkins to look like pokemon. It's not, like, a super secret skill or anything, I just like to talk about it.
posted by Think_Long at 6:00 AM on May 2, 2012


I know how to clean a cat's teeth with minimal scarring (of the cleaner, the cat now just grumps a little).

Declaw it?
posted by inigo2 at 6:37 AM on May 2, 2012


Yeah there could be a wiki page.

Dumb question.... Why is the wiki not on a subdomain of metafilter.com?

I am not normally aware of the existence of the wiki until reminded by someone mentioning it. And it just occurred to me that info on the wiki would be a lot more useful if it showed up in normal site searches, which it doesn't as it's not a subdomain.
posted by philipy at 7:23 AM on May 2, 2012


Stands for MetaFilter Secret Sandwich Validator. I've said enough already.
posted by Edogy at 7:39 AM on May 2, 2012


I like the idea. I have no idea how to manage the idea. That is all.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:47 AM on May 2, 2012


Dumb question.... Why is the wiki not on a subdomain of metafilter.com?

It has historically been an explicitly unofficial thing; adrianhon has maintained it as a volunteer thing for years and years, and it's been sort of an adjunct site as much as anything. Whether it'd make sense to bring it in as a subdomain is not a discussion I think we've had any time in the last few years, so I really don't even know what folks on the team would think about that as a general idea let alone what the specifics would be.

Right now it's not something that we as mods actually moderate in any sense comparable to the work we do on mefi itself; I don't recall anyone doing anything too terrible with the site any time recently but it's a wiki and anybody can sign up for an account and put whatever they want on it, so it's a slightly more loosey-goosey situation than we normally deal with.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:01 AM on May 2, 2012


I like this idea a lot too. I can imagine wasting so much time reading such a site, and rationalizing it as productive learning self improvement BS.
"No, no, I'm not wasting time! I'm learning to play the trombone, dispose of a dead body, set up a router, and transport a swarm of bees in the car!"
posted by zoinks at 9:02 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nope, train him while he's young. First week he acted like we were trying to kill him. These days he goes "humpf" and let's us get on with it.
posted by arcticseal at 5:40 PM on May 2, 2012


You've described ClueDB, one of MetaFilter's Own Joshua Schacter's sites (he of memepool and delicious).
posted by mendel at 6:04 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Schachter.
posted by mendel at 6:04 PM on May 2, 2012


Gesundheit.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:17 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


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