I won't see this on the mobile view. July 13, 2013 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Just a reminder: Not everyone can see your post titles.

This law question and this magazine question are two recent examples where I missed part of the post because some of it was in the title and I was browsing on my phone.

Titles are not the initial question. The question is not more inside.

My first example I could pick up what they wanted. The second, had no idea.

Please people, don't put things only in the title if they're important to your post. Mobile doesn't show the titles and there's a setting in preferences to not show titles. So some desktop users don't see them either.

Thank you. Have a nice day.
posted by theichibun to MetaFilter-Related at 8:58 AM (131 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

I am in Chrome on an iPod and I see the titles.
posted by maryr at 9:08 AM on July 13, 2013


Just a note to clarify: titles are shown in the mobile version by default just as they are in the standard version. You can turn them off in your Preferences.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:09 AM on July 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Honestly, I think that is your choice if you have opted not to see the whole thing. Initially, titles were mandatory until enough people said they didn't like them, now they default to on with the possibility to turn them off.

If you choose not to see the whole thing, fair enough...but that shouldn't dictate how people write their posts.
posted by inturnaround at 9:11 AM on July 13, 2013 [21 favorites]


In general, people turn off titles at their own risk. But if a question is really incomprehensible without the title, we will sometimes copy the title into the question text. (I mean cases where it is really opaque -- for example if the question text was "Anybody have recommendations?", and title was "Hotel in Phoenix?") People can flag or use the contact form to let us know they think a post could use this treatment and we'll check it out.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:14 AM on July 13, 2013


While we're at it, labeling your PDF and YouTube links would also help those of us who browse on mobile, where mouseover is not so great.
posted by notyou at 9:36 AM on July 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm not really going to be doing anything to accomodate people who turn off titles, I'm afraid. TBH I think allowing people to do that was a poor decision in the first place.
posted by Artw at 10:08 AM on July 13, 2013 [16 favorites]


You will turn my titles back on when you un-pry them from my cold, dead, hands or something.
posted by Curious Artificer at 10:10 AM on July 13, 2013 [12 favorites]


(in other words, there are still strong feelings both ways)
posted by Curious Artificer at 10:10 AM on July 13, 2013


And I want to be the first to point out this time that these discussions are always greatly improved by reading "titles" as "titties".
posted by Curious Artificer at 10:12 AM on July 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Meh. They were allowed to be turned off because people were complaining they were redundant - if you do that you kind of abdicate the right to complain about them being not redundant.

Also I would strongly object to them being Frankensteined into the body text where the poster has not done so.
posted by Artw at 10:13 AM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Initially, titles were mandatory until enough people said they didn't like them, now they default to on with the possibility to turn them off.

Initially, titles were only visible in the title bar of your browser, and were jokes.

Then, for some reason, rather being eliminated for being a useless wad of data, they were shoved onto the front page where they used up a huge chunk of real estate. Why that happened is anyone's guess.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:14 AM on July 13, 2013 [32 favorites]


And, on the other hand, I typically read "titties" as "kitties"... but it probably works both ways... I don't know... I've said too much already...
posted by HuronBob at 10:14 AM on July 13, 2013


I also have entitlement issues.
posted by flabdablet at 10:20 AM on July 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


I see titles on my phone, but I have the title font size set to 0 for standard view. I just silently judge when people don't do the title/question thing to my satisfaction, because I'm a snotty old judgypants.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:27 AM on July 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


What's a 'phone?
posted by marienbad at 10:30 AM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you choose not to see the whole thing, fair enough...but that shouldn't dictate how people write their posts.

That's reasonable. I don't use titles, and I'll be damned if I'll be dictated that I ought to, so turnabout's fair play.

For my part, I don't read this as a request to dictate how people write their posts. Rather it's a reminder that might incentivize people to write posts that are comprehensible to those with hidden titles -- a gentle suggestion that those who don't know what the question is are quite unlikely to answer it. One will fail to connect to some subset of the AskMe population if one buries the question in the title exclusively. That's probably worth keeping in mind.
posted by .kobayashi. at 10:35 AM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


And, on the other hand, I typically read "titties" as "kitties"... but it probably works both ways...

That adds a whole new layer to this XKCD comic.
posted by gauche at 10:36 AM on July 13, 2013


Would it be unreasonable to add a note to the text field explanations on the "new post" pages? Something like, "Note: Some users have titles disabled -- try to include your main question in the Description box, too."
posted by Rhaomi at 10:40 AM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just turned titles off to check this out. If you click into the FPP, then the title shows up at the top of the page.
posted by arcticseal at 10:43 AM on July 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


people who turn titles off are going to miss some context by their own choice. you can hover/mouse over get the title as part of the url in the bar at the bottom (if you have that turned on in your browser preferences). with phones it's trickier, but still a choice you made. this post can just as easily read "remember, if you turn off titles you're going to miss things from time to time!"
posted by nadawi at 11:05 AM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


also, if you haven't tried it yet - might i suggest titles as smaller than the regular text? it's lovely! i have the posted by bar as one size, titles slightly bigger, and regular text slightly better. i found that this helps me default to scanning metafilter like i always have with the option to pop my eyes up to see the titles. also - sometimes when i'm really tired i just read the titles. it's pretty awesome and i find it way less distracting than titles larger than the body text.
posted by nadawi at 11:08 AM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not really going to be doing anything to accomodate people who turn off titles, I'm afraid. TBH I think allowing people to do that was a poor decision in the first place.

On the form, the title does allow for asking the question, but then the question box asks for the entire question to be filled out there, as well. This doesn't seem to be about titles as much as it is putting your entire question in the box that asks you to put in the entire question.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:41 AM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you for posting this. I don't have titles disabled, and yet I am still greatly annoyed by posters that make the title an essential part of understanding their post. The titles are irrelevant for the vast majority of posts, which means I pretty much ignore them or read them last, having formed that habit over the last 8 or so years of using the site. And by and large, that continues to be the case, except for those few rare special snowflakes.

But I suppose I'll just have to accept that as one of the things that happens here now, like the @username bs or the rampant abuse of [more inside].
posted by Rhomboid at 11:59 AM on July 13, 2013


hmmm. I may need to reconsider turning on the titties.

teehee
posted by mannequito at 12:07 PM on July 13, 2013


enough people said they didn't like them

If you choose not to see the whole thing, fair enough...but that shouldn't dictate how people write their posts.

Yes, it should, at the very least stylistically and accessibility-ly, as demonstrated by your own evidence.
posted by DU at 12:21 PM on July 13, 2013


Then, for some reason, rather being eliminated for being a useless wad of data, they were shoved onto the front page where they used up a huge chunk of real estate. Why that happened is anyone's guess.

This SO HARD
posted by DU at 12:22 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Your titles should not be hard, please go to the doctor.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:27 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'll just have to accept that as one of the things that happens here now, like the @username bs

This does not seem to happen very often, except when a n00b well-intentionedly uses the notation in order to clarify their replies, only to be screamed at by half the people in the thread. It is certainly not my perception that the site in general is drifting toward greater acceptance of @-notation for reply-direction.
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:29 PM on July 13, 2013


It is certainly not my perception that the site in general is drifting toward greater acceptance of @-notation for reply-direction.

The hatred of the @ symbol is one of those weird and unexplainable quirks about this site I just have to ignore. People choose to make militant stands about odd things here sometimes.
posted by bongo_x at 12:44 PM on July 13, 2013 [15 favorites]


I see titles on my phone, but I have the title font size set to 0 for standard view. I just silently judge when people don't do the title/question thing to my satisfaction, because I'm a snotty old judgypants.

That's what I do, too. Except for the judgypants thing.

Shame on you for that.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:46 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I glance at titles with the hope of getting some quick context for an FPP, but normally, they're not all that helpful as people seem to use that field for a quote in the linked article or some relevant joke from someplace other than the linked article. Now, I'm supposed to really pay attention to them? Ugh. This place, man, this place. It's kinda like Chinatown, so I should just forget it.
posted by NoMich at 12:47 PM on July 13, 2013


I don't see why there's an option to turn off titles. That's not the kind of thing that should be the user's option — when it is, you get the kind of confusion you see here.
posted by John Cohen at 1:04 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


There shouldn't be an option - everyone would have gotten used to it or we would have restored no titles for everyone if it hadn't been an option. But the middle path was chosen and we end up with this stupid conversation every so often.
posted by Artw at 1:25 PM on July 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't see why there's an option to turn off titles.

You're welcome to go back and read the MetaTalk threads about this issue. I only offer the option in case your blatant lack of understanding is as embarrassing to you as it is to me.
posted by carsonb at 1:25 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


This calls for Enhance Metafilter Titles.
posted by Flunkie at 1:26 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


The option to turn off titles, rather than set font size to 0, was done because lots of people wanted that option. It was not included when titles were first introduced site-wide. You are as free to not use that option as others are to use it. It's a nice reminder that members sometimes don't have the same opinion.
posted by tommasz at 1:27 PM on July 13, 2013


I turned up the font size of titles to 16 point so that I can just scan the titles down the page and ignore the text of the posts unless the title looks interesting.
posted by octothorpe at 1:35 PM on July 13, 2013


I'm fine with the titles (though be ensmallened them some on my laptop).

What really drives me crazy lately are the people I see calling mefites Metafilterans or some such. They probably say mefi wrong, too.
posted by rtha at 1:42 PM on July 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Having the titles off makes commenting easier. If I don't understand a post because it's a punchline to a cute title, I skip it.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:50 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh god, what's wrong with @notation? Dare I ask.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:59 PM on July 13, 2013


> Oh god, what's wrong with @notation? Dare I ask.

It's a Twitter thing.

Here, we talk to people, not @ them.

The usual way here of indicating that you're directly addressing something someone said is to quote a snippet (with or without the assistance of a quote script), and sometimes but not always people will include the name, especially in long or fast-moving threads.

Online spaces all have their individual styles and conventions; not using @ to address someone is one of metafilter's. Sort of. Mostly.
posted by rtha at 2:05 PM on July 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


OK, I get that - and I do the quote thing, though I think I may have @'d in the past.

"@whoever" does have the advantage of standing out and (if it's your name) catching the eye in the wall of text.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:09 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's horrible and bad and reminds me of twitter and I hate twitter so seeing it on mefi makes me hiss disapprovingly. I would feel similarly if the [+] was replaced by that execrable thumbs-up "like!" facebook mishegoss.

I am grumpy in general and hate most things that have to do with people ever anywhere so this may be a factor.
posted by elizardbits at 2:09 PM on July 13, 2013 [12 favorites]


Probably a bad time to evangelize for hashtags? #justkidding ;D
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:10 PM on July 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


The titles ruined the visual experience for me, so I have them set to zero. I don't miss the titles, and not having them is not that big a deal for me, as I can click on the link if I like. That said, I do have titles on my phone app, and I can say I really don't feel I am missing much.

To those who say suck it up, we all should be inflicted with titles, well, I seriously would have probably stopped coming here at all if they'd stayed. Graphically they were PAINFUL to me.


Don't worry, one day you will get older and grumpier and little things will mean a lot to you, too. I save my flexibility for things that matter in real life. ;-)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:20 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


#elizardbits is Queen of the Fucking Hashtag Universe #so I bet she's good with hashtags #though maybe not here on metafilter
posted by rtha at 2:25 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


the @ convention pre-dates twitter by a very long time - but people seem to have some pretty short memories these days and have decided that it's something twitter invented (and get really mad when it's used off twitter). c'est la vie.
posted by nadawi at 2:26 PM on July 13, 2013 [10 favorites]


man if it were up to me those stupid #'s would not exist on tumblr tags, they are the devil's work
posted by elizardbits at 2:30 PM on July 13, 2013


To be clear, I know twitter didn't invent it, but it didn't start showing up here noticeably until twitter became A Thing.
posted by rtha at 3:25 PM on July 13, 2013


Alright, let me at it.

I don't know why I remembered that turning off titles is an option, yet thought mobile didn't show titles. It's been a long few days Anyone have a job for me?, I'll leave it at that.

I feel really bad since I sent 1 user mail telling them I couldn't see the title because I was on the mobile site. I'm sorry, and I'm saying it here so I don't throw more crap in your mailbox.

I'll take the reminder that titles aren't universal and people should remember that. Probably the best route to go with this. Also, I miss jokes on titles and will (mostly) continue to use them.

I hate @username because it means I have to go upthread to read what that person said in the first place. I don't read usernames as I scroll down. If something is really good I'll see who said it. And there's a small list of people who I, for some reason, keep noticing good posts from. It's like we'd be friends IRL or something...

Quoting is so much better because I don't have to scroll. Scrolling is evil. But every kind of online discussion like this has its quirks. We have "What I'm replying to isn't right here so I have to hope people will check or remember" problems. Reddit has "reply reply reply reply OH SHIT LET'S REPLY TO SOMETHING UPTHREAD ALL OF A SUDDEN" problems. They're both weird.
posted by theichibun at 3:49 PM on July 13, 2013


Also I would strongly object to them being Frankensteined into the body text where the poster has not done so.

Now, I kind of want a Halloween prank where the mods stitch together new FPPs from pieces of old ones....
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:54 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


If this is becoming a generic "things that bother us" thread, I'll just voice my opinion of "TBH". It's an acronym that never entered my general frame of knowledge, so almost every time I see it I have to look it up because I can't remember what it stands for and I think it might be some kind of Islamic thing, PBUH, TBH.
posted by Curious Artificer at 4:06 PM on July 13, 2013


@username means that username has ops and kick me from the channel if I don't settle down.

...what do you mean, the internet isn't just IRC?
posted by RainyJay at 4:07 PM on July 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


YMMV.
posted by Artw at 4:08 PM on July 13, 2013


Yeah! That one, too! I always want to work a "yummy" in there some where.
posted by Curious Artificer at 4:10 PM on July 13, 2013


So that guy who was going to go a month without a fork...anyone know if he made it?
posted by cjorgensen at 4:12 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Any time someone writes IANAL I snicker a really horrible ugly juvenile snicker.
posted by elizardbits at 4:15 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


FTW
posted by Artw at 4:16 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


U gize r dum. I hav titlist at 16 poont an turnd of FPP tecst. It rulz!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:36 PM on July 13, 2013


poont
posted by davejay at 4:57 PM on July 13, 2013


Acronyms are problematic because when you’re writing them, or it’s something you use frequently, they seem incredibly obvious and it’s really hard to judge how useful they’re going to be to other people.
posted by bongo_x at 5:01 PM on July 13, 2013


FTW

I still don't understand why people say Fuck The World when referencing something they really like.
posted by NoMich at 5:06 PM on July 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


FTL is on sale for, like, nothing over on Steam right now, BTW. PC and Mac, IMHO a better way to spend your time than this thread.
posted by Artw at 5:14 PM on July 13, 2013


I hate @username because it's stupid. It's not as if it's saving time or space — you went to the trouble to type out the damned name so just put a comma after it already and write like a grownup.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:29 PM on July 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


The defence for @ is not Twitter or Because It's Been Around. It'd because people have user names that are things like uncapitalized nouns, verbs, adjectives, whatever. So we need some kind of notation to tell the difference between.

"A agree with everything she said."

and

"I agree with everything @she said."

The commonplace MeFi way to do that is to link to the user profile (which is a pain, but appricated.) or to bold it (which is less of a pain, but still more of a pain than just typing @).

The only other convention I've seen for this around the 'net is [square brackets].
(That's what [she] said.)
posted by Ookseer at 5:32 PM on July 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


So far, there's not a single comment posted in this thread with a username for which that would be a problem.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:40 PM on July 13, 2013


So we need some kind of notation to tell the difference between.

generally people do the thing i am doing right now
posted by elizardbits at 5:42 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


That is called "Twinking".
posted by Artw at 5:44 PM on July 13, 2013


I wonder if avid Nethack players experience unpleasant flashbacks when seeing specific twitter names.
posted by tservo at 6:16 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Meh. They were allowed to be turned off because people were complaining they were redundant - if you do that you kind of abdicate the right to complain about them being not redundant.

Eh, people complained that they would either be redundant or useless. Either way they wouldn't add much worthwhile to the experience of reading the front page. I'm still not a fan of the middle way either though, they just should not be on the front page.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:31 PM on July 13, 2013


So, I don't use the "@" notation, but: Some of the attitudes about it in this thread strike me as... odd.

It's "stupid" because it doesn't save space? And you "hate" it because it's "stupid" because it doesn't save space? That's just bizarre. "Not saving space" doesn't make it "stupid". It's just different. What is -- well, not stupid, but odd -- is getting upset about it and announcing that it's stupid because it doesn't save space. It's just different, and no amount of invested hatred towards it is really going to turn "different" into "stupid". Maybe consider trying to get over it?

"Write like a grownup"? That seems pretty condescending to me, frankly, and not particularly "grownup". It's not childish; again, it's just different. Getting (self-described) "hateful" about it, and condescending to those who use it as if they are children for doing so, while simultaneously calling it "stupid" because it doesn't save space or time? Ah. OK then, I guess.
posted by Flunkie at 6:54 PM on July 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yes, I admit it. I'm a terrible, terrible person.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:09 PM on July 13, 2013


but it's not odd to write two huffy paragraphs about a two-sentence throwaway comment on a thing that a user finds vaguely irritating?
posted by elizardbits at 7:11 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hate the @ symbol because it has no name, but I love post titles because they are names (sort of, ok not really)!

In conclusion, when a title is a pun and the post is the "pun-ch" line, I am filled with glee. Please do this more, mefites (which I have been pronouncing "me, fights" and now I'm a little worried that I've been doing it wrong)!
posted by windykites at 7:15 PM on July 13, 2013


Maybe consider trying to get over it?

This is not the right answer to all social differences (although I'm not saying that you are necessarily asserting this). Not all differences, even small ones, simply are, and some difference move us further away or closer towards good things in community.

I think it's a legitimate discussion to have whether certain emergent features in community (like reference symbols and nomenclature) fall into that category, or can be something that you can just try to get over. But I'm actually okay with people being spirited about things that are directly related to community value, and whether certain things add to or take away from that value (or are neutral). Many small things eventually add up to big things.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:19 PM on July 13, 2013


@ Ivan Fyodorovich

Hug it out man!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:33 PM on July 13, 2013


windykites: "Please do this more, mefites (which I have been pronouncing "me, fights" and now I'm a little worried that I've been doing it wrong)!"

You are 100% correct and anybody who says differently is woefully misguided. Because arguing about something trivial rather than something that really matters sounds like a fine idea at this point.
posted by Lexica at 7:38 PM on July 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


The @ symbol is apparently called, among other things, an apetail, which completely redeems it in my eyes. Also, while I don't care for the tone of the "We don't talk at each other" argument, I am 100% on board with an admonishing "NO APE TAILS".
posted by Lorin at 7:43 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


If this is becoming a generic "things that bother us" thread, how about comments by people who deliberately choose to not use their keyboard's Shift key, to avoid using their keyboard to communicate like grownups who have gotten past an elementary school education? MetaFilter shouldn't strive to be like YouTube's community, and non-ironic comments shouldn't seek out the path of least resistance. Be The Change and please make an effort to use your keyboard like a grownup. Sheesh.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:46 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't listen to people who talk at me. To? Fine. With? Even better.

But "@"? Not happening, champ.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:47 PM on July 13, 2013


What if they type at you?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:58 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Eh, people complained that they would either be redundant or useless. Either way they wouldn't add much worthwhile to the experience of reading the front page. I'm still not a fan of the middle way either though, they just should not be on the front page.

Some of us did give different reasons for disliking the titles appearing on the front page.

I don't have titles turned off any more. They're 2pts smaller than body and byline text on the front page.

But I do often consciously skip questions and posts (especially on AskMe) that put relevant information into the title, but not the body of their post.
posted by zarq at 8:02 PM on July 13, 2013


Eh, I never said anyone was horrible; I think you're defensively sarcastically overreacting to being called out upon having strangely called people childish and implied that they're stupid. And if you think my previous comment or this one were typed out in a huffy mood, I assure you you're incorrect. And I'll try to limit myself to less than two paragraphs this time, as that's apparently an exhaustive effort. Good night.
posted by Flunkie at 8:03 PM on July 13, 2013


I believe that it was resolved at a previous MetaTalk meeting that the capitalization convention was exempted for a few select members, never to exceed five persons in the same calendar year, and subject to a zaniness requirement.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:11 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Discussion here is typically about the message, the language used, not so much about the person writing it. I find referencing other posters by name jarring. I have to stop and recollect what was said previously, or scroll back up to find what the other person said if I've forgotten. This takes me out of the flow.

Better, I think, to quote what you want to respond to, to remind the readers of what you want to refer back to. It doesn't drag the reader out of context and force them to remember who said what. It's a service, a context breadcrumb, especially in a longer thread.

The @ sign is a fencepost, a shout for attention: Hey So-and-So! This post is for you! It breaks flow by its emphasis, then again by the reference by name, so a double-whammy. It's hardly the worst stylistic tick ever, but still, for me, a lexical speed bump.
posted by bonehead at 8:35 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh god, what's wrong with @notation? Dare I ask.

In my mind, you shouldn't be responding to a poster, but to their ideas and their words.

The @ notation says that you are calling them out specifically, and you have issue with them as a person. That's great if it is twitter, which is not really a discussion medium, but not so great for Metafilter, which is.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:08 PM on July 13, 2013


"The @ sign is a fencepost, a shout for attention: Hey So-and-So! This post is for you!"

Yeah, theichibun made the same point and it's persuasive even though I don't completely agree.

That is to say, I don't agree with the argument that the author doesn't or shouldn't matter. I do really like Matt's rationale (which, IIRC, he mentioned long ago) with placing authorship at the end of comments to de-emphasize its importance. But that doesn't mean that it's non-important. I think the content first and the authorship second is just the right approach, not disregarding authorship entirely. To me, it's also partly a matter of respect, in a way.

And, with that in mind, I think there are occasions when it's natural and appropriate to refer to or address someone directly. But those occasions will make themselves known because, well, it's a natural discursive usage.

In contrast, the @username convention exists precisely for the reasons you and theichibun describe it functions — it calls attention to itself. And that's because it presumes a less communal, less engaged discursive space where people skim or otherwise only selectively read comments. It's an attempt to create threading where threading doesn't exist. And threading doesn't exist here for a reason.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:19 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: "The @ notation says that you are calling them out specifically, and you have issue with them as a person."

No, it doesn't. It says, "There are a lot of people talking here, so it might be hard to tell which comment I'm following up on; just so you know the one I'm replying to was the one by [username]."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:21 PM on July 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've used the @username thing a few times, but these days, I prefer the Greasemonkey quote script, as I can specify to whom I am replying and include the relevant quote with a click.

That said, I still find the assertion that @username implies a problem with the person to be a bit weird and paranoid and not at all in line with its clear pattern of usage.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:25 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think there's probably room enough on a site this big for people to use various techniques to achieve the same effect without us having to call a conclave and wring hands about it.

After all, we tolerate the no caps people. (Yeah, that bugs me, too. But whatever. No biggie.)

I will say that although he took it in a more aggressive direction than I would have, I still largely agree with Artw on this. That is, I am disinclined to spend a lot of time fretting that an optional modification people to the site that people have elected to use causes them issues. Because, you know, it's optional and you can elect not to use it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:27 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is there a preference to not display metatalk posts about titles LOL
posted by ericost at 9:41 PM on July 13, 2013


So, to summarize:

# = ~[1]

@ = %!@#?!!![2]

TBH = YMMV[3]

nocaps = grar[4]

‽ = FTW![5]


[1] ~ = meh
[2] the very first email included the @ sign; the technical term for punctuation swears is grawlix
[3] But it's the Internet - aren't acronyms part of its DNA‽
[4] If ALL CAPS is shouting, isn't no caps mumbling?
[5] Interrobang not mentioned, but it is awesome. Full stop.

And for the record, I prefer the titles because it is difficult to see where the stories stop and start on the front page without them.

posted by Celsius1414 at 9:59 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


On sites where @username does something -- notifies the user they've been mentioned, automatically links to their profile, whatever -- it is fine and sensible and useful. Otherwise, not so much.

Also, ontopicishly, people who make posts that are difficult or impossible to figure out with titles hidden immediately go on my List Of People About Whom I Have Suspicions. There is no real-world effect to being a member of this list, but its existence comforts me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:27 PM on July 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


People should be forced to see the titles.

The whole "I don't want titles, they're painful" thing is just nonsense. I love you SAoTB, but second guessing this kind of choice is bikeshedding. You don't know yet if you prefer titles. You don't know yet if you'll get used to them. I'm sorry, but you don't know if they're better.

If you believed what us oldies had to say, then sites like Twitter and FaceBook would actually be hideously and utterly broken after the years of design choices that we were SURE would make the sites worse. In actuality, and if you're anything like me, then you'll find the most recent change a bit jarring still, but everything else pretty essential. You'd find that going back to a previous UI is a nightmare.

Metafilter Mods: Giving in to users and allowing a situation where posts are understood by some and not by others was just naive. I know you overly respect the views and opinions of your content providers (and that's cute), but in this situation we are wrong and you were right.

Enforce the titles. Ride the backlash out. It won't be as bad as you think.

Children throw paddies and get angry when their parents make changes to how things are done. Your friends may grumble, but they'll come along with you. As users, we need to decide if we're the children or the friends of this site. Seriously.
posted by zoo at 5:03 AM on July 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seriously, what's it to you that I have a site-supported choice to view it as I like, as opposed to needing to do that by fartarsing about with GreaseMonkey? I very much appreciate the lack of my way or the highway thinking around here, and honestly cannot see how you think going in that direction could possibly make the site better.

The whole 'the whole "I don't want titles, they're painful" thing is just nonsense' thing is just nonsense.
posted by flabdablet at 6:40 AM on July 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and for what it's worth: disdain for the completely superfluous @ is one of those weird and unexplainable quirks about this site that sets it apart from those slavishly devoted to the dedicated following of fashion. Metafilter pre-dates Twatter and Facepalm and will outlast both of them.
posted by flabdablet at 6:57 AM on July 14, 2013


After, we tolerate the no caps people. (Yeah, that bugs me, too. But whatever. No biggie.)

We do? That drives me crazy, how hard is it to use capitalization?
posted by octothorpe at 7:17 AM on July 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


People should be forced to see the titles.

I still miss the img tag.
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:18 AM on July 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


it's not difficult, it's a choice. we know it annoys you. we don't do it to annoy you. it's probably best to just ignore it because it's not changing.
posted by nadawi at 7:34 AM on July 14, 2013


Seriously, what's it to you that I have a site-supported choice to view it as I like

1 - Because that site supported choice can make posts less understandable, and in some cases causes work for the moderators.
2 - Because choices are headaches.
3 - Because on a site with thousands of users, there will always be someone who doesn't like a specific change. If you allow any change to be toggled via a system flag, this will make your code base larger, and harder to maintain.
4 - Because study after study shows that users don't know what they need or want from a UI.

flabdablet: You're a coder. You should know this stuff.
posted by zoo at 8:23 AM on July 14, 2013


Because study after study shows that users don't know what they need or want from a UI.

That seems like something that was written by one of those geniuses that keeps "improving" iTunes.

When a lot of people say, "I don't like this, and here's why," it behooves a designer to listen.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:33 AM on July 14, 2013


2 - Because choices are headaches.

You cited a seven year-old opinion piece for your authority? And one which pretty much made the argument that Microsoft should do away with the START button? That didn't work out so well for them, you know.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:42 AM on July 14, 2013


Zoo, I once studied grsphic design. I can't unsee bad graphics and bad proportions. Normally I roll with change but for me the site was unreadable with titles. I don't complain about the missing info.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:50 AM on July 14, 2013


Choices are headaches. That wasn't the best article choice, but it's a pretty well known thing. The more choices you give people, the harder it is for them.

As for Windows 8. We could probably get into a discussion about how dropping the Start button doesn't constrain options, it just hides those options. This is one of the problems with later versions of iTunes IMHO. It still does everything it used to do, but the options are hidden away and cannot be discovered.

It's a simpler looking design. It is not a simpler design.

People don't know what they want from a UI. I'll accept that UI designers get it wrong more often than they get it right, but it takes about ten minutes of listening to people tell you how they want software to work to realise that a bit of training / experience in UI design counts for a lot.
posted by zoo at 8:56 AM on July 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


or we would have restored no titles for everyone

This would never have been gone back on, "we'll wait and see how this settles down" mod-posts to the contrary. They tested it out amongst themselves for a month, discussed it amongst themselves, and then imposed it.

The middle way option was a mid-course hack designed to shift the blame on to those who disliked the change and ended up having to read incomprehensible posts. As is happening in this thread.

People don't know what they want from a UI. I'll accept that UI designers get it wrong more often than they get it right, but it takes about ten minutes of listening to people tell you how they want software to work to realise that a bit of training / experience in UI design counts for a lot.

Which lots of us have. There's few here with enough authority to pull off the appeal to authority you're attempting. The titles battle isn't ignorant hordes vs experts, you know.
posted by bonaldi at 9:02 AM on July 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


bonaldi: I never said that there weren't other people here who didn't know what they're talking about. Plus you can't define any argument where someone says "This is what experts think" or "this is my opinion" as an appeal to authority.

That's not what appeal to authority is.
posted by zoo at 9:31 AM on July 14, 2013


Zoo: "in this situation we are wrong and you were right", "enforce the titles", "Children throw paddies and get angry when their parents make changes to how things are done", and "a bit of training / experience in UI design counts for a lot" stink of an appeal to authority to me.

Otherwise I can't see any justification at all for you speaking for all of us and saying we were wrong about titles. That's not you presenting it either as "what experts think" or "this is my opinion".

That's you saying "the titles should stay, and I say so because I know better than those others who throw fits like children and who don't appreciate experts".
posted by bonaldi at 9:37 AM on July 14, 2013


Again - That's not what "appeal to authority" means.

The "Children throw paddies" line may have been hyperbole, but you're taking half a sentence and misrepresenting it. And you've now made this about me and how I express myself over the actual topic of conversation. Which is stupid.

Titles should come back. There should be no option to switch them off. People will eventually stop complaining.
posted by zoo at 9:48 AM on July 14, 2013


Titles should come back. There should be no option to switch them off

If you want discussion to be about the topic, justify this view with something more than insulting hyperbole and handwavy allusions to experts, then, please. Otherwise there's nothing to talk about with you except "yes they should", "no they shouldn't".
posted by bonaldi at 9:53 AM on July 14, 2013


Sorry Bonaldi. I'll do that right here. Should maybe have said this earlier.

Reasons why Titles Should Come Back:
1 - Because that site supported choice can make posts less understandable, and in some cases causes work for the moderators.
2 - Because choices are headaches.
3 - Because on a site with thousands of users, there will always be someone who doesn't like a specific change. If you allow any change to be toggled via a system flag, this will make your code base larger, and harder to maintain.
4 - Because study after study shows that users don't know what they need or want from a UI.
posted by zoo at 9:55 AM on July 14, 2013


I should mention before someone talks about iTunes or the Windows 8 Start button here that UI designers also get it wrong, and both these "simpler" choices are not actually simpler for the reason that they hide the complexity rather than removing it.
posted by zoo at 9:58 AM on July 14, 2013


3 - Because on a site with thousands of users, there will always be someone who doesn't like a specific change. If you allow any change to be toggled via a system flag, this will make your code base larger, and harder to maintain.

Should there be no user preferences of any kind available, then? After all, that would simplify the code base.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:59 AM on July 14, 2013


Argument ad absurdum.
posted by carsonb at 10:00 AM on July 14, 2013


study after study shows that users don't know what they need or want from a UI

Please cite these studies so I can write them off more effectively.

choices are headaches

But what if I choose not to have headaches? FOILED!!!
posted by Sys Rq at 10:01 AM on July 14, 2013


(Also, what Soviet poster / Christian billboard did you get that "choices are headaches" slogan from?)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:03 AM on July 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does anyone read the posts down here?
posted by Curious Artificer at 10:07 AM on July 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Please cite these studies so I can write them off more effectively.
I refer you to Powell Motors and The Homer.
posted by zoo at 10:17 AM on July 14, 2013


Zoo, if titles are forced down my throat, I will leave the site. No hyperbole, no "I'll get used to it", none of that. I WILL LEAVE. That is how uncomfortable and unreadable the site was to me with the titles. It could be argued that with better design the titles would have been unobtrusive. But that was not the case. In fact I submit the site would be way better off with no titles whatsoever. But I am happy NOW and there is no reason to argue the point either way except you seem to think that your way is The Only Way and I am here to tell you that No It Is Not.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:30 AM on July 14, 2013


I now think that titles should be mandatory.
posted by grouse at 12:05 PM on July 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


The whole thing about choice is a red herring. If the site did not offer the option to disable titles then people would just use userscripts, userstyles, or bookmarklets to hide them.

As I said, I don't hide titles and I still find it maddening when somebody makes a post that doesn't make a lick of sense without the title. Why? Because years of history and tradition dictates that they are the place for a joke or pun, or at best a short summary of the post. The vast majority of posters don't construct posts in such a way as to make the text of the post completely meaningless without the title, and consequently, regardless of whether they are physically present, they are ignored by a not insignificant portion of the userbase. That's why it sticks in my craw when someone does that, because it reflects such a momentous failure to read the room. In virtually every case of it that I've ever seen, it would have been completely trivial to make the same post without putting vital information in the title, so I'm left to attribute it to either a pathological inattention to detail or malice.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:10 PM on July 14, 2013


Gah!

I don't want to fight with you SAotB. And I don't want to see you putting yourself (with my help) in this kind of situation where if titles were introduced, you'd feel duty bound to leave.

I think it's really easy to get really heavily invested in these sorts of issues, and TBH if there were no titles, I'd not lose any sleep in it. It wouldn't drive me away.

On a personal front, I've found pushing the titles font size up to 24pt Franklin Gothic is pretty good aesthetically. This is metafilter though. There's only so much you can do.

I'm gonna walk away from this now.
posted by zoo at 12:18 PM on July 14, 2013


Zoo, my foot was halfway out the door the first time titles were made mandatory, for stated reasons. No personal offense taken.

Grouse, on the other hand.... I see what you did there. :P
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:26 PM on July 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Giving in to users and allowing a situation where posts are understood by some and not by others was just naive.

We just like spreading the angst around evenly and this seemed to be the best way!

Without rehashing the whole thing that happened at the time this is just one of those situations where a change we made had staunch supporters and detractors on both sides, both reasonable and unreasonable. At that point there is not a way to put the genie back in the bottle. The alternative is to never change anything which is often the way things work here and I'm not sure that is for the better.

We have varying leadership/change management styles on the mod team and there was definitely some back and forth on how to best manage this. I'm aware that not everyone was happy with how it went. The middle path, I agree, is sort of a muddled suboptimal solution but it's how this is going to work going forward. There is no optimal solution given this userbase. Allowing people some customizing options was, we felt, our best option. We'd like it if people could make their peace with this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:21 AM on July 15, 2013


Curious Artificer: "Does anyone read the posts down here?"

Of course not. That's just silly.

Out of curiosity, I'm willing to turn the titles back on. What's the default size so I can work from there?
posted by theichibun at 7:27 AM on July 15, 2013


I agree with zoo, and appreciate her reasoning. The more things users get to turn on and off (I'm looking at you favorites and titles) the more confusing it becomes to the community.

Ultimately it is up to the members of the community to learn to communicate well and get along with others; whether it is using the shift key, using title attributes for links, writing useful titles, explaining their positions well without resorting to name calling or bullying, or simply taking the time to write a clear FPP.
posted by terrapin at 7:47 AM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


What's the default size so I can work from there?

I have them the same size as the text of the FPP, I find it minimally intrusive then.
posted by arcticseal at 7:56 AM on July 15, 2013


The default title font size is 14. For future reference, the defaults are listed in the FAQ: How do MetaFilter display preferences work?
posted by pb (staff) at 8:37 AM on July 15, 2013


I recommend MeFi Title Tamer Two.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:23 AM on July 15, 2013


@whoever" does have the advantage of standing out

That's why I hate it -- bug, not feature.
posted by Rash at 2:14 PM on July 15, 2013


I agree with zoo, and appreciate her reasoning. The more things users get to turn on and off (I'm looking at you favorites and titles) the more confusing it becomes to the community.

Yes, zoo, I actually agree too! The option is a bad middle ground, and leads to threads like this. I just don't think titles should be forced on; rather they should be off. The real problem was always the UX of the posting form, not the front page.
posted by bonaldi at 2:42 PM on July 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


ONE OF US! ONE OF US!
posted by blue_beetle at 9:36 AM on July 16, 2013


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