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Sidebar Drought
February 5, 2013 10:44 AM   Subscribe

There hasn't been a sidebar post of a non-administrative nature in over a month. Are we flagging fewer posts? Are the moderators occupied with something more urgent? Is the sidebar deprecated in favor of the best-of blog? Has the content quality gone down? Something else? I look at the sidebar regularly and would appreciate seeing new content there.
posted by Nomyte to MetaFilter-Related at 10:44 AM (77 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

It's jessamyn's way of telling us we're doing a really shitty job. Okay! we get it! geez
posted by Think_Long at 10:47 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


We've been putting stuff on BestOf which is basically where non-admin, non-inside baseball stuff is going now. We should put some stuff on the sidebar on the regular like new podcasts and other stuff and just haven't.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:48 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just start putting all of my movie reference joke comments on there, everyone will love that.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:52 AM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


What about an optional (pref'd) BestOf sidebar feature? I look at the blue all the frickin' time, but don't manage to check out the BestOf blog that often. A sidebar that just syndicated BestOf would just make my day.

I'll take that pony in Applejack color please.
posted by zachlipton at 10:57 AM on February 5, 2013 [26 favorites]


Or you could just subscribe to the BestOf RSS.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:02 AM on February 5, 2013


Okay: can someone tell me, in plain, I'm-actually-only-seven-years-old English, exactly how one subscribes to an RSS? Do I need some kind of program to read RSS feeds? If so, what? When I click on the link to where one subscribes to an RSS feed, it just shows me a page of code - is there something I'm supposed to do?

I see so many people encouraging each other to subscribe to RSSs' but nothing about how you do that mommy the big kids are leaving me out!!!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:05 AM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I flagged ChuraChura's comment as fantastic 'cause I want everyone on the front page to read about weird fox dick
posted by Greg Nog at 11:08 AM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


RSS is such old tech it is more like "grand mom, the big kids are leaving me out!!!"

There are many ways to subscribe to an RSS feed. Some are built right into a browser, others are stand alone downloaded software. The most popular is probably still Google Reader. If you use The Googles, you already have an account. Most of the time you can simply click on the "Subscribe" button and then paste a website in (i.e., http://bestof.metafilter.com)
posted by terrapin at 11:09 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just start putting all of my movie reference joke comments on there, everyone will love that.

When's Napolean Dynamite going to come back in style? Because I have a sock drawer full of quotes to whip out on the fly.
posted by Think_Long at 11:11 AM on February 5, 2013


mommy the big kids are leaving me out!!!

The Googles are often helpful for this sort of thing, though terrapin has given you a decent backgrounder. This article is from 2004 and many of the links still work though Google Reader is what most people I know use. It's really not something the cool kids are doing, I assure you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:13 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Best Of posts also make their way to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. So if you don't use an RSS reader, but happen to use one of those services, you can follow along there.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:25 AM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Who goes to Facebook for MetaFilter content? I would prefer to get the best MeFi content directly from the MeFi main page. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
posted by Nomyte at 11:52 AM on February 5, 2013 [14 favorites]


Why not post stuff to both the sidebar and Best Of? Like others, I always forget to look at Best Of, plus the fact that the look and feel is completely different from the rest of the site makes it feel completely disconnected.
posted by asterix at 12:06 PM on February 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


The sidebar is definitely where I look for the "best" content. I perhaps peruse BestOf once every couple of months, but then I'm more of a lurker I guess.
posted by Talkie Toaster at 12:07 PM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's a metafilter Facebook page????
posted by desjardins at 12:32 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


How about running a BestOf RSS widget on the front page of the blue?
posted by slogger at 12:34 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a metafilter Facebook page????

There's a Facebook Facebook page.
posted by Nomyte at 12:36 PM on February 5, 2013


I nominate this thread for best thread
posted by The Whelk at 12:44 PM on February 5, 2013


The Whelk: "I nominate this thread for best thread"

Oh my gosh, I have some new materials for my valentine's day cards.
posted by boo_radley at 1:02 PM on February 5, 2013


I nominate this thread for best thread
If we're nominating, I think this askme is pretty great.
posted by juv3nal at 1:05 PM on February 5, 2013


I want to support Nomyte on this one - Bestof is no substitute to Sidebar for me (I want to read comment, not summary of comment), and seeing it sitting there, limply static, makes me a sad panda. I seem to recall there were rumblings late last year after a similar lull that you guys would try to be more aggressive about picking it up?

It's something I really enjoy and value about the site. When I'm not desperately procrastinating about work, there are many posts and comments and questions I miss, and the Sidebar is something I see every day when I jump on mefi - and also I hate when I've seen a really brilliant comment, flagged it for fantastic cause I just know a large number of people on the site would love it, and it doesn't really go anywhere. I guess I'm saying the "fantastic" flag seems to be becoming more redundant; it has a lot of utility I think.

Perhaps, if it's too onerous or boring or whatever, you guys could consider automating it, so once a comment/answer passes a threshold of "fantastics", it's displayed on the sidebar or something? Admittedly, this would result in missing some great comments, as paradoxically the ones with the most flags are the ones that need sharing the least, and it would raise questions about which part of the comment text gets displayed, but it would be better than nothing.

At the moment, it's updated so rarely and then only with admin stuff, I feel like it's becoming dead space on the homepage.
posted by smoke at 1:09 PM on February 5, 2013 [19 favorites]


I'm with smoke and Nomyte. I only ever remember to check Bestof when someone links to it in a MeTa. MeFi is pretty self-contained in my use of it, and the sidebar fits my interactions in ways that Bestof doesn't.
posted by .kobayashi. at 1:13 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's a metafilter Facebook page????

Except I can't like it, because then my "friends" will know that I read MetaFilter and flock over here, and all my trash-talking about them will be unveiled.

We'll always have Twitter.
posted by Phire at 1:14 PM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Can I ask what "the cool kids are doing" now that RSS is "old tech"?
posted by gubo at 1:38 PM on February 5, 2013


Every day we're tumblin'.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:43 PM on February 5, 2013


♬ Every day we're tumblin'. ♬
posted by Nomyte at 1:50 PM on February 5, 2013


Every day we're tumblin'.

Does this mean more updates?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:52 PM on February 5, 2013


Can I ask what "the cool kids are doing" now that RSS is "old tech"?

Discourse
launched today. Is that new enough for you?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:12 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sidebar. End of conversation.

You can offer me a cookie and I will remain unmoved on this point. I will still eat the cookie, but I will remain stolidly unmoved. Unmoved, I say.
posted by arcticseal at 2:40 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Discourse is one of those words...... like moist and jejune. Makes me uncomfortable for no real reason.....
posted by pearlybob at 3:03 PM on February 5, 2013


Discourse launched today. Is that new enough for you?
It is for me.
posted by unliteral at 3:14 PM on February 5, 2013


jessamyn: "Discourse launched today. Is that new enough for you?"

This looks like disqus, but is apparently not available? It looks neat, but I'm not sure how it maps to RSS.
posted by boo_radley at 3:34 PM on February 5, 2013


Discourse is not intuitive.
posted by unliteral at 3:48 PM on February 5, 2013


Discourse is not intuitive.

The philosophy jokes write themselves.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:00 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Google Reader: yay!

Tumblr: boo! (Except in Google Reader, where it belongs).

Incidentally, the really cool kids build their own ebooks, e.g. via readlists.com, and consume denser stuff than you typically see in RSS feeds. It's the anti-Tumblr.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 4:04 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


ooh give me sidebar login access so I can post Pootie Tang quotes YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO
posted by mintcake! at 4:29 PM on February 5, 2013


This sideblog keeps track of site news and noteworthy posts

He was juvenated before, lost it, and got juvenated again
posted by mintcake! at 4:33 PM on February 5, 2013


jessamyn: "...on the regular..."

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU I THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENDS
posted by scrump at 5:22 PM on February 5, 2013


Discourse launched today

Now I want to build a dating site for devoted readers and call it Jouissance.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:28 PM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


New entries are obviously being delayed while they figure out how to implement sidebar titles.
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:31 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU I THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENDS

Wow, I went back and could not believe I actually said that. So it must have been an accident. Of course we are friends. But you should visit more often.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:34 PM on February 5, 2013


Seriously. We say "on the reg-reg" now.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:38 PM on February 5, 2013


I should visit at all, you mean.

ALTHOUGH I WILL BE IN PENNSYLVANIA IN APRIL THAT'S CLOSE TO VERMONT RIGHT
posted by scrump at 6:12 PM on February 5, 2013


I propose we start a Metafilter thread on Discourse and title it Metadiscourse.
posted by dephlogisticated at 7:39 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I propose we start a Metafilter thread on Discourse and title it Metadiscourse.

I flagged this, but I'm not entirely sure why.
I may have been dead at the time.
From a Metasingularity.
posted by ApathyGirl at 8:11 PM on February 5, 2013


Yeah, I didn't realize how much I liked the sidebar until it went dormant. Maybe what I'm trying to say is, you don't know what you've got til it's gone.
posted by medusa at 10:10 PM on February 5, 2013


Seriously. We say "on the reg-reg" now.

*Honk!Honk!Honk!* Turing Test Breach! *Woop!Woop!Woop!* Turing Test Breach! *Won!Won!Won!* Discourse indeterminate!
posted by y2karl at 12:17 AM on February 6, 2013


Can't we just have BestOf posts piped into the sidebar? RSS (or Atom or whatever) is dead easy to parse.
posted by Magnakai at 4:12 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah I think we can. We've been talking about that as an option. The whole thing grew sort of organically and I think it's been easy for us to overlook the effect BestOf has had on the sidebar for people who look at the sidebar a lot. We should be able to make something like this work.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:48 AM on February 6, 2013


We've been putting stuff on BestOf

Will you never get the Internet whittled down to your satisfaction?
posted by Segundus at 7:23 AM on February 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


We want to make the internet small enough to drown it in a bathtub.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:28 AM on February 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wait, I heard there were cookies?

I'm so old school, I add RSS feeds to my LiveJournal friends list. (true story) And then I follow the BestOf on Twitter.
posted by jillithd at 7:31 AM on February 6, 2013


I never even knew about BestOf. Another vote for adding it to the sidebar.
posted by salmacis at 8:40 AM on February 6, 2013


My problem with BestOf is that my brain insists it's pronounced to rhyme something like "westhoff".

It makes MetaFilter seem more artisanal, though. Like a rrrrrich-Corinthian-leatherish varietal.

It's not just MetaFilter; it's Bestof MetaFilter.
posted by scrump at 8:51 AM on February 6, 2013


We're now showing Best Of MetaFilter posts in the sidebar.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:16 AM on February 6, 2013 [10 favorites]


He's right! And the fox genitalia comment is straight in at number 1!
posted by marienbad at 9:26 AM on February 6, 2013


METAFILTER: NOW WITH MORE FOX COCKS
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:27 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wear the fox hat
posted by Kabanos at 9:30 AM on February 6, 2013


We're now showing Best Of MetaFilter posts in the sidebar.

This is good, but now users need to click twice: once to get to Best Of and then a second time to get out of Best Of and see the relevant MeFi item.

Is it possible to show the Best Of post titles, but link them directly to the relevant posts? As far as I can tell, all Best Of posts just have one link, so there's no ambiguity.
posted by Nomyte at 9:43 AM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's not necessarily true; some posts have had more than one item linked. And more to the point, the Best Of posting structure is by design flexible in formatting, so there'd be no brick-stupid way to automatically cull the intended link, and in any case there's often some surrounding context provided in the BestOf link.

It's something we could think about on the authorship side, in terms of basically just having an additional "sidebar blurb" field we write a concise version of the bestof post in, but that's obviously a bit more work on our end.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:45 AM on February 6, 2013


We're now showing Best Of MetaFilter posts in the sidebar.

Thanks pb! I love my shiny new pony. Dreams really do come true, er, or something like that.
posted by zachlipton at 9:54 AM on February 6, 2013


It's something we could think about on the authorship side, in terms of basically just having an additional "sidebar blurb" field we write a concise version of the bestof post in, but that's obviously a bit more work on our end.

I understand, but this is exactly what MeFi has been doing for quite a few years now. Best Of is the additional burden here, not the sidebar (especially given the fact that you've given yourself the extra task of finding a relevant royalty-free image to accompany each BO post).

If the goal is to economize effort, I would put my vote on scrapping the sidebar entirely. You already have a page element that's perfect for announcements: that "MeFi yellow" ribbon that runs at the top of the main page that announces the MeFi Mall event and such. It has the benefit of being capable of being dismissed by users, unlike the sidebar.
posted by Nomyte at 9:55 AM on February 6, 2013


I am stoked about the Best Of entries coming back to the sidebar, since I habitually still look for them there. Hooray for a more populated sidebar!
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:04 AM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are worse penises to promote!
posted by ChuraChura at 10:29 AM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I understand, but this is exactly what MeFi has been doing for quite a few years now.

With respect, we have changed a thing. We are trying to accommodate users who did not want the thing changed and people who are working and interacting with the new thing now.

The goal isn't to economize effort, it's a way to highlight some neat stuff from MetaFilter to people who might not otherwise look at MetaFilter. The sidebar has always been to point out thing to users. More of the "hey there is this neat content" stuff has been migrating specifically to BestOf because there are a lot of other ways to get at neat stuff from MetaFilter (many of the popular pages, for example) if you're already a user. We've now tried to merge the two.

We'd appreciate some patience as we try to work out the best way to do this. The stated remedy in the post "Why don't the mods [aka me most of the time] do this differently like the way they used to?" is a non-starter so we're trying to find other ways to make this work.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:34 AM on February 6, 2013


We'd appreciate some patience as we try to work out the best way to do this. The stated remedy in the post "Why don't the mods [aka me most of the time] do this differently like the way they used to?" is a non-starter so we're trying to find other ways to make this work.

OK, now I'm confused. If the mods, aka you most of the time, want to do things differently, it's your blog, not mine, and you don't have to explain your decisions to me. I was not aware of the fact that the sidebar has been retired as the place where noteworthy items are highlighted. I would be perfectly happy to accept being told that the sidebar was being retired. If this was previously discussed when the BO blog was launched, I apologize and let the matter rest.

Myself, I rarely or never visit the BO blog, so it makes sense to me that it's intended for the non-user audience. I used the sidebar to catch up on interesting things I overlooked, but, as I wrote above, I would be OK if it was removed from the page entirely and the BO link was somehow made more prominent.
posted by Nomyte at 11:09 AM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the idea is, pb has made a way to fold those two things together -- making Best Of entries prominent for people who habitually check the sidebar (like me, so I'm glad you asked!), while allowing the mods to enter updates in one place rather than two.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:15 AM on February 6, 2013


We're now showing Best Of MetaFilter posts in the sidebar.

Thanks guys, appreciated.
posted by smoke at 12:45 PM on February 6, 2013


Yes, thank you. And I apologize for being intemperate. Is the blog being promoted off-site in any way? I'm normally barely aware of it.
posted by Nomyte at 2:26 PM on February 6, 2013


Nice! Looks great guys, and hopefully will drive more people to the hidden gems.
posted by Magnakai at 3:48 PM on February 6, 2013


I love the Best Of in the sidebar. Hooray for this!
posted by lazaruslong at 9:28 PM on February 6, 2013


Hey, new updates! A small quibble: Three of the four entries that appear capitalised in the Best Of are uncapitalised in the sidebar.
posted by ersatz at 3:38 AM on February 7, 2013


That would be the case that broke the camel's back.
posted by unliteral at 4:16 AM on February 7, 2013


Hm. The titles show on the sidebar exactly as they are typed into the submit form. The blog must be forcing start case in titles.
posted by taz (staff) at 5:48 AM on February 7, 2013


If we all work together, we can make the sidebar be about nothing other than genitalia!
posted by ChuraChura at 2:20 PM on February 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


We're now showing Best Of MetaFilter posts in the sidebar.

Thank you!
posted by stoneweaver at 7:33 AM on February 8, 2013


If we all work together, we can make the sidebar be about nothing other than genitalia!

Don't tempt me! Judging from the flags that's all MetaFilter was about yesterday anyhow.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:09 AM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


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