Sidebar box with links to open political threads? September 5, 2012 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Election season idea: could a small box get added to the sidebar highlighting the open politics threads, below The Deck ad and above the sidebar? An opt-out (or opt-in option) could also be available.

I was thinking a wiki page of political current threads would be handy, but because so few people check the wiki, it wouldn't get much use. Also, I'm not sure if it's crucial to keep a log of all the political threads from the past.
posted by filthy light thief to Feature Requests at 7:59 AM (26 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Hmm, I can't really see this being anything other than a way to encourage political discussions by giving them a special highlight. Like most users here, I think I would personally prefer as few election posts as possible and every four years it is kind of a bear to deal with moderating new MeFi posts for the two months leading up to elections, but I don't think a special place highlighting the continuing political threads is a good idea to lessen the blow.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:03 AM on September 5, 2012


This is something that My MeFi might work well for. With the right tags you could probably catch most of the political posts on one page for easy browsing.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:08 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the move towards maintaining 'active event' threads (working really well for US politics, less well for drones, and didn't really take for the Olympics) is a good idea and should be promoted.

I like a thread that has updates and developments.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:10 AM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's why you're not the man of stasis and predictability.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:30 AM on September 5, 2012 [15 favorites]


mathowie: " Like most users here, I think I would personally prefer as few election posts as possible...."

Keeping the currently active threads on the front page would likely reduce the number of election posts. Especially if users were encouraged to leave their links in comments of an already active discussion, rather than starting new threads. Might reduce the need for deletions and arguments in meta, too.
posted by zarq at 8:35 AM on September 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


The need for deletions, I mean. Obviously. the arguments aren't needed.
posted by zarq at 8:36 AM on September 5, 2012


I like the idea of periodic ElectionFilter longboat threads. It's very rare that something posted to such a thread would be FPP material unto itself.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:37 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


People are going to discuss the elections one way or another. (Which is not a bad thing) I'd prefer seeing the discussions in a topic-specific area than have them splashed over into all the other fpp threads.

... and, yes, I so wanted to come here last night to share feelings about FLOTUS speech ...
posted by Surfurrus at 8:42 AM on September 5, 2012


I'm in agreement with maintaining a few well gardened threads that have updates (and twists and turns!) rather than a lot of single link daily news FPPs.
posted by arcticseal at 8:42 AM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]



I like the idea of periodic ElectionFilter longboat threads. It's very rare that something posted to such a thread would be FPP material unto itself.

Yes! You are doing my family and friends a service by allowing this wallow. I am sure others here feel the same. We won't take up too much space. Really.
posted by readery at 8:50 AM on September 5, 2012


My feeling is that this sort of thing works better organically when there is a big thread on a topic [the Paul Ryan veep nod, for example] and we can gently direct people there. I am not at all interested in highlighting political posts any more than we already do. This is not a political blog. My MeFi can do this for people who need it. In other cases, highlighting things like this would make the site look like it was more purposefully oriented in this direction than we feel that it should be.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:20 AM on September 5, 2012


Keeping the currently active threads on the front page would likely reduce the number of election posts. Especially if users were encouraged to leave their links in comments of an already active discussion, rather than starting new threads. Might reduce the need for deletions and arguments in meta, too.

This is an excellent point.

I would personally prefer as few election posts as possible and every four years it is kind of a bear to deal with moderating new MeFi posts for the two months leading up to elections, but I don't think a special place highlighting the continuing political threads is a good idea to lessen the blow.

I agree, it could end up looking like my facebook feed, which I avoid because it's all gummed up with electioneering, screeds, and soundbites.

I realize that the official line on deletion reasons is that they're basically there for the poster as a brief explanation. But in many political threads, there are quite a few engaged comments before the post is deleted, so the deletion reason is read by those members who commented as well.

Often, these reasons convey some sense of "there is already a big politics thread open, and this isn't a big enough story for its own post." Could there be an effort to include a link to the open politics thread in the deletion reason?

I realize that putting this idea into practice might be a bit tedious for the moderators, and while I've seen such links in double-post threads, I really don't know if it's already something they do. If this is already something that mods try, please forgive my ignorance. It just seems like commenters who are stung by seeing their work undone might be soothed by being redirected to the open thread.

That might make community members feel like the things that matter to them are welcome, or at least tolerated. Plus I can imagine fewer hurt commenters taking their deletion gripes to Metatalk, or leaving the community altogether.

Metafilter is a community weblog: it's what we make of it. The occasional long political thread can't turn it into a political blog. Leaving political threads open and directing misfires to the ones that stay probably wouldn't hurt.

It might be an improvement.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:29 AM on September 5, 2012


I should have previewed. "Gently direct[ing] people there" is what I was talking about, and it sounds like the mods have it covered. Thanks, jessamyn.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:30 AM on September 5, 2012


My thought was to direct people to open political threads, instead of having a proliferation of little posts that get deleted. If this was an opt-in feature, then it would only appear to members who wanted to keep a handy link to the few political threads.

But with the comments from the mods, I understand the opposition to this.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:49 AM on September 5, 2012


Yeah, I mean, like the others said I totally get the inspiration behind it. It's more just the compromises that come with the highlighting that make it a little self-defeating; as is the more organic happenings we have right now seem to work okay, redirects in deletion reasons likewise, and folks can use site search or tags to go fishing if they really want to see where stuff is getting discussed right now.

Could there be an effort to include a link to the open politics thread in the deletion reason?

I have done less of that lately than I did in the past, but I'll think about picking the habit back up since it may be a little useful. My only real concern there is that it has in the past sometimes led to folks being more vocally complainy about how "that's not the exact same topic" when the link is explicit, but then it's easy to go a little crazy around here trying to guess everything that someone might complain about.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:57 AM on September 5, 2012


zarq: "The need for deletions, I mean. Obviously. the arguments aren't needed."

If only that were obvious to everyone. (I'm including myself in this unfortunately.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:23 AM on September 5, 2012


I wish I could greasemonkey the entire English language internet for the rest of the world who are ineligible to vote.
posted by infini at 10:27 AM on September 5, 2012


I actually like this idea. I feel like it would be useful in keeping metafilter sane during election season. Just a small little guidepost that tells folks looking for political discussions where to go instead of starting a new thread, a little corral to keep the politics filter contained yet accessible. I understand the mods views though, just my two cents.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:09 AM on September 5, 2012


Baring the interesting suggestion by Filthy Light Thief, could we institute a tag for all political / election news, that the mods would add to a thread if the users don't? Such as, USE12 or Election12 or US12 or something?
posted by rebent at 1:58 PM on September 5, 2012


I think a special tag enforced by the mods would be its own kind of highlighting. If you watch the 'politics', 'obama', and 'romney' tags you'll catch 99.9% of them.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:03 PM on September 5, 2012


That'd actually be an interesting page: Most recent topic on Tag X [...] Tag Y [...] Tag Z [...]

It'd be similar to the current My Mefi page (which is sorted chronologically so the {most recent posts} within set {Tags X, Y, & Z} show up), but limited down to 1 (or more, possibly) posts per tag.

Most recent post tagged Politics:
Former CNN journalist Amber Lyon is speaking out against the network after it decided for "editorial reasons" not to air its documentary iRevolution on CNN International. Lyon worked on a 13-minute segment interviewing democratic activists in Bahrain, who risked their own safety to be heard. Glenn Greenwald reveals that at the same time, CNN was being paid by the Bahrain Economic Development Board to produce pro-state coverage as part of its "Eye On" series. A senior producer complained to Lyon about the nature of her coverage: "We are dealing with blowback from Bahrain govt on how we violated our mission, etc."
posted by mek on Sep 5, 2012 - 4 comments


Most recent post tagged Technology:
Trade-offs between inequality, productivity, and employment - "The poor do not employ one another, because the necessities they require are produced and sold so cheaply by the rich. The rich are glad to sell to the poor, as long as the poor can come up with property or debt claims or other forms of insurance to offer as payment..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 4, 2012 - 43 comments


Most recent post tagged Obscure:
The Godfathers of German Gothic and the Ghostriders of German Gothic gave voice to lesser known acts of the punk-punk era. Collated initially by Schwarze szene notable band musician Jay Kay it was an attempt to collect the mainland European 'gothic' experience. [more inside]
posted by Mezentian on Aug 24, 2012 - 5 comments

posted by CrystalDave at 3:20 PM on September 5, 2012

My feeling is that this sort of thing works better organically when there is a big thread on a topic [the Paul Ryan veep nod, for example] and we can gently direct people there
Perhaps put a link in the deletion reason, then? Rather than just saying things like "there's a ton of political stuff"? I mean, the post you're talking about is almost a month old, and buried under who knows how many "Older Posts" links from the front page.
posted by Flunkie at 3:58 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sounds like it's not going to be a goer, but I too think this could be quite useful for funnelling political stuff into threads. I have to say more broadly, I really appreciate the efforts that mods and mefites alike have made to keep that stuff to open threads - it's useful in both keeping the front page from clogging up, and having a "one stop shop" for particular topics.
posted by smoke at 5:21 PM on September 5, 2012


Perhaps put a link in the deletion reason, then?

Yep, nine times out of ten we'll do that and we'll endeavor to do better on that tenth one.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:56 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Parting note: I posted the idea following a comment in a deleted political thread. While the post itself was thin, the comment was made that it could serve as a new/recent thread to discuss politics. I thought there might be fewer deleted threads if a few political threads were noted on the sidebar, for those who cared to discuss politics.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:13 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was a very thin post, even though it was a good speech. Maybe if it had been filled out with supporting links it would have been worth keeping. Some possibilities off the top of my head:

Michelle Obama’s Speech Brings In 28K Tweets Per Minute, Destroys Mitt Romney

YouTube blocks clip of Michelle Obama's DNC speech on copyright grounds

The Lonely Power of Michelle and the Idea of Barack

If someone wants to try to make a better post, go for it.
posted by homunculus at 9:49 PM on September 5, 2012


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