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Announcing MeFi Labs
January 2, 2014 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Today I wanted to unveil a new subsite featuring some experiments with our data called MeFi Labs.

It's pretty small and simple, and we hope to grow it with more ideas and experiments (suggestions always welcome here!), but for now it includes:

2013: The year in MeFi stats
Much like our jokey infographic from 2010, we compiled a bunch of numbers on member activity on the site over the past year. A few notes: we didn't just track the most popular tags, but we tracked "new" tags, subjects that weren't in the top ten in previous years, but showed up in force this year (otherwise we'd just see art and music at the top like in past years). While compiling the stats, I learned two interesting other things: the site traffic for IRL peaked during Memorial Day weekend in the US (late May) which usually marks the beginning of summer, and MeFi member beryllium did over 90% of all the Podcast transcripts (thanks beryllium!!!).


2013 Most Popular Amazon items
Our other 2013 recap is a list of the top mentions of stuff at Amazon during 2013, along with every reference to the book/item. We obviously took inspiration from NPR's 2013 book round-up, and when we realized we could do something similar based on Ask MetaFilter comments, we went ahead and built the page.


Recent Amazon Links
If you liked the previous year-end wrap-up of popular Amazon mentions, you will be likely mesmerized like I am by the stream of recent Amazon mentions on the site (everything from books and movies to clothing and pharmaceuticals). The sheer utter randomness of the feed is really interesting and in the last few weeks of testing I've been amazed by daily check-ins, with items I never knew Amazon sold along with threads on subjects I like but missed otherwise. I'd suggest checking this page once every few days for the next week or two and just seeing what sorts of serendipity pop up.


Recent YouTube links in MeFi Posts
This is a nice little thumbnail view of every YouTube video that hits the front page of MeFi. This is especially useful for the megaposts about shows and movies, but it's also a fun way to browse the last week or so of MeFi in a more visual way.


Recent YouTube links in comments
Same as the previous one, but more random in that it combs YouTube mentions in recent comments regardless of the thread, showing a list of random music, movie scenes, and other sorts of things over the past couple days

--

I want to be clear we're throwing up little experiments with our data to see what interesting patterns bear out and these may or may not grow beyond what they are, or conversely they might continue to be developed and end up becoming a feature in some way elsewhere on the site. I also want to mention that it doesn't mean we love YouTube or Amazon more than their alternatives, but those are the most common items that popped up and were easy to create lists such as these. We're not sure this stuff is super useful on day one, so Labs isn't up on the navigation just yet, but we'll consider adding it in the near future if this area proves useful and worth sharing wider.
posted by mathowie to MetaFilter-Related at 10:12 AM (250 comments total) 89 users marked this as a favorite

2,685 members joined.

So that's another $13,425 for the staff. Awesome!
posted by Melismata at 10:17 AM on January 2


There is something strangely, abstractly, pleasing that the most recent Amazon link on MetaFilter turns out to be a cat feeder.
posted by Wordshore at 10:17 AM on January 2 [16 favorites]


Our other 2013 recap is a list of the top mentions of stuff at Amazon during 2013

Right now it is showing me The Ethical Slut and an automatic cat feeder, a magical combination.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:23 AM on January 2 [19 favorites]


This is brilliant, and (from the Popular Amazon link) it is very heartwarming that other people are as keen to recommend Bird by Bird as I am.
posted by psoas at 10:23 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Also, please disregard any rumors that The Cabal is using MeFi Labs to genetically engineer a new, more perfect generation of MeFites. There is no cabal.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:24 AM on January 2 [7 favorites]


members added 592,759 comments [...] Moderators removed 5,323 comments.

SILENCED 0.8% OF MY ENTIRE LIFE

(seriously, this is cool. Thanks, Matt & Co.!)
posted by scody at 10:32 AM on January 2 [17 favorites]


Ooooh. I love it! I memailed cortex this morning asking him to update the infodumpster so I could do 2013 datawankery recap post. Now I don't need to! Thank you so much for doing this! Fascinating stuff, and it saves me a lot of work. ;)
posted by zarq at 10:32 AM on January 2


I haven't seen the infographic from 2010 before, being a n00b (not yet two years) here. Have just scrolled down it and said "Whoa!" at least half a dozen times. That gives a pretty clear idea, perspective, of the scale of various content, post, comment aspects of MetaFilter.
posted by Wordshore at 10:33 AM on January 2


2013 Most Popular Amazon items

The only reason The Gift of Fear isn't #1 is that people so often mention it without linking to Amazon.
posted by grouse at 10:34 AM on January 2 [7 favorites]


Also, that fact that "DavidBowie" was the second most popular tag of the year (squeezed between "NSA" and "spying"!) is delightful.
posted by scody at 10:37 AM on January 2 [8 favorites]


Woo! Data!
posted by DiscourseMarker at 10:38 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Love the clean page design. Good stuff.
posted by Ardiril at 10:38 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]


The only reason The Gift of Fear isn't #1 is that people so often mention it without linking to Amazon

Yeah, I suspected that it'd be number one too, just based on seeing it mentioned so often on Ask MeFi, so I think you're exactly right, it shows up a lot without an explicit link.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:40 AM on January 2


We sure are fond of recommending self-help books.
posted by COD at 10:42 AM on January 2 [8 favorites]


Very cool! Btw, the current infodump data is broken (the usernames.txt file is empty).
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 10:43 AM on January 2


If somebody has to recommend it, can it really be considered "self-help"?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:43 AM on January 2 [5 favorites]


We sure are fond of recommending self-help books.

Help a man and he is helped for a day.

Help a man to self-help himself and he is self-help helped help help.
posted by grouse at 10:44 AM on January 2 [60 favorites]


Thanks for the infodump heads up, Combustible Edison Lighthouse. We'll take a look.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:48 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]


It's probably just infobears digging around for infoscraps. You know how they get.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:50 AM on January 2 [6 favorites]


The only reason The Gift of Fear isn't #1 is that people so often mention it without linking to Amazon

Yeah, I suspected that it'd be number one too, just based on seeing it mentioned so often on Ask MeFi, so I think you're exactly right, it shows up a lot without an explicit link.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:40 AM on January 2 [+] [!]


Same thing with Barkeeper's Friend.
posted by HotToddy at 10:51 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]


FUN!

(I'm sure I will have more to say about this later but felt my initial reaction needed to be captured.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:52 AM on January 2


Oh, man! This is very gratifying!

Very surprised Flickr beat Imgur in external links.
posted by ignignokt at 10:53 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Ooh, the recent YouTube links page and PlayAll (sorry, self-link) are going to power a lot of my dinner time viewing.
posted by ignignokt at 10:55 AM on January 2


Needs comments.

Also needs data for previous years.

Please have these on my desk by EOD friday.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:59 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Oooh, neat.
posted by rtha at 11:08 AM on January 2


Please have these on my desk by EOD friday

Yeaaaaaah, I'm gonna need you to come in on Saturday...
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:11 AM on January 2 [24 favorites]


The top new tags in 2013 were:

1.lunch (36)
2.massachusetts (33)
3.gender (33)
4.minneapolis (32)
5.tech (32)
6.beauty (32)
7.shortstory (31)
8.hospital (30)
9.feminism (30)
10.puppy (29)


Am I interpreting the above correctly by thinking that it means that e.g. in 2013, there were 33 AskMe posts tagged 'Massachusetts,' and before 2013, there were zero posts tagged 'Massachusetts?
posted by Asparagus at 11:12 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]


This is so awesome/meta! Next year, let's go further and create "Most Clicked MeFi Labs Statistics of 2014"! Also, I thought I was getting confirmation bias with seeing so many AskMe questions tagged with 'minneapolis' but it was the fourth-most popular tag this year! Anyway, looks really fun, thanks for creating it.
posted by antonymous at 11:12 AM on January 2


Asparagus, I think the "new" tags refers new questions labeled with tags.
posted by antonymous at 11:13 AM on January 2


Love that stats page, very useful.

The most frequently linked youtube videos in Ask MetaFilter comments were:
7. a-ha - Take On Me (Official Video) (5)


Curious as to how this happened, even though it feels right somehow.
posted by 0 answers at 11:13 AM on January 2


Am I interpreting the above correctly...

No, that's not it. We took a look a the top 500 tags from the last five years. The tags listed did not appear in the top 500 until this year. So people have been using that tag all along, it just jumped in popularity this year for whatever reason.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:15 AM on January 2 [3 favorites]


Ah, gotcha. That makes a lot more sense.
posted by Asparagus at 11:16 AM on January 2


The most frequently linked youtube videos in Ask MetaFilter comments were:
7. a-ha - Take On Me (Official Video) (5)


I would guess it came from the iconic music videos of the 80s and 90s question.
posted by box at 11:16 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Asparagus, the youtube video ID (in the URL) for that one is djV11Xbc914. You can plug that into our local search and find where the video was mentioned.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:19 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]


OMG the amazon list! I can't decide if it's really nice or really depressing or a parody of Metafilter or all three. It's like looking into the soul of Metafilter through products.

In any case, this is great. Especially love the youtube links from comments.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:19 AM on January 2 [4 favorites]


Vert cool. and a nice little time waster. Thank you Matt & co.
posted by scottymac at 11:22 AM on January 2


Very cool!
posted by Wretch729 at 11:24 AM on January 2


Thank God for pb's "new" tag explanation.

I'd believe that nobody had ever tagged anything on the Green 'massachusetts' as unlikely as that seemed, but the idea that nobody had ever tagged anything on the Blue 'davidbowie' was completely unbelievable.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:26 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Very cool. I'd be interested to see GoodReads and IMDB links as well - I know I generally prefer to link there when recommending books or movies so that I'm not shilling for Amazon over other sales sites (especially local bookshops). I'm guessing I'm not alone in that.
posted by Mchelly at 11:27 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Really great, thanks guys. A lot of potential for this kind of thing.
posted by Kwine at 11:27 AM on January 2


I'd be interested to see GoodReads and IMDB links as well - I know I generally prefer to link there when recommending books or movies so that I'm not shilling for Amazon

Yeah, we looked at alternatives, but the number of links to them falls off by orders of magnitude really quickly so it's hard to find more than a mention or two here and there, making it tough to compile lists.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:29 AM on January 2


Janelle Monáe - Q.U.E.E.N. feat. Erykah Badu [Official Video] (9)
How To Tell Someone They Sound Racist (7)
Goats Yelling Like Humans - Super Cut Compilation (7)
Dont Talk to Police (7)
Janelle Monáe - Tightrope [feat. Big Boi] (Video) (7)
Monty Python Royal Society for Putting Things on top of other things legendas (6)
Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up (6)
Key & Peele: East/West College Bowl (6)
Bill Hicks on Marketing (6)
"The Day the Clown Cried" Making Of Footage (With Subtitles!) (6)


This is the worst mixtape I have ever received, MetaFilter. Looks I'm going to the prom with Buzzfeed.
posted by griphus at 11:31 AM on January 2 [21 favorites]


Only six rickrolls all year? You people are falling down on the job.
posted by languagehat at 11:31 AM on January 2 [5 favorites]


Very surprised Flickr beat Imgur in external links.

MeFites probably link to their own images on their own accounts, versus other sites where re-hosting images and random image sharing is more the norm.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:31 AM on January 2


Mchelly: "Very cool. I'd be interested to see GoodReads and IMDB links as well - I know I generally prefer to link there when recommending books or movies so that I'm not shilling for Amazon over other sales sites (especially local bookshops). I'm guessing I'm not alone in that."

I bet you're not. But I prefer to link to Amazon because it helps support this site. Each time we link to Amazon, Mefi automatically adds Metafilter's referral code to the link. Matt gets a miniscule percentage of any sales that arise from the click-through. For me, it's a way of giving back -- even though it's an incredibly tiny gesture.
posted by zarq at 11:32 AM on January 2 [9 favorites]


griphus: This is the worst mixtape I have ever received, MetaFilter.

I think there's a theme in the song selection.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:32 AM on January 2


This is very cool. Thanks for putting it together.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:33 AM on January 2


Yeah I always try to click a link in MeFi for Amazon stuff mentioned on MeFi because of the referral kickback.
posted by griphus at 11:33 AM on January 2


Only six rickrolls all year? You people are falling down on the job growing up.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:37 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Super cool. Also, another way of falling into the dark playground...
posted by Sophie1 at 11:49 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Is a 1% deletion rate pretty standard? It seems a lot higher than I would have guessed.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:50 AM on January 2


Only six rickrolls all year? You people are falling down on the job growing up.

You know the rules, and so do I.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:51 AM on January 2 [5 favorites]


Is a 1% deletion rate pretty standard?

If you look at the 2010 stats, it's pretty close to 1% there as well. It felt low to me, considering how contentious deletions are (I would have guessed 2-3%).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:57 AM on January 2


"There is no situation that necessitates anger. None. The four most powerful words in this area are: anger is a choice."

I missed this comment the first time around. Glad you linked to it here. Thank you.
posted by zarq at 12:07 PM on January 2


This is so nifty!

I was surprised by the deletion rate - the grousing made it seem like there would be loads more.

Lots of little rabbitholes to get lost down. Thank you for sharing it with us!
posted by batmonkey at 12:14 PM on January 2


The Mefi labs feature you have come to love will now be sunset. - future mathowie
posted by special-k at 12:15 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Is MeFi Labs linked in the header or footer or elsewhere?

Or is this one of those things folks Will Just Have to Know?
posted by notyou at 12:21 PM on January 2


Wow, if you flag, you really flag.
posted by Miko at 12:22 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


This is neat!

OK, I hereby promise to head up the highway this year to fill in the Wyoming meetup block for 2014.
posted by mochapickle at 12:22 PM on January 2


notyou, matt mentioned in the post that we're taking a wait and see approach to that. This is the first day and you just have to discover it where we've announced it. If it turns out to be useful we'll consider putting it in the header.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:23 PM on January 2


Got it. Thanks for the clarification and apologies for not reading the post very well. Or at all, really.

That's pretty low, even for me.
posted by notyou at 12:26 PM on January 2


Wow, if you flag, you really flag.

I was surprised to see so few flags, considering how often they're discussed. Less surprised that the number of favorites was large, but the magnitude of that largeness impressed me.
posted by EvaDestruction at 12:26 PM on January 2


Miko: Wow, if you flag, you really flag.

Flagged.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:27 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


MeFi Labs is just like Muppet Labs, with Matt as Dr. Bunsen Honeydew.
posted by ColdChef at 12:28 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Speaking of flagging... Is there a way to view flagged comments and/or whether the comments were removed?
posted by mochapickle at 12:30 PM on January 2


Is there a way to view flagged comments and/or whether the comments were removed?

Nope, we determine it all on mod-side on a case-by-case basis and keep that hidden from view.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:31 PM on January 2


Cool. Thanks #1!
posted by mochapickle at 12:32 PM on January 2


I added Labs to the Shadowy Back Alleys page of the wiki. There are probably other places on the wiki it should be referenced, but I am at work. I only added it to Shadowy Back Alleys because I knew Jessamyn would sing at me if I just said "Someone should add it to the wiki."
posted by Rock Steady at 12:36 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


I'd say we're likely to add it to the main nav in the next week or two, barring any sort of giant glaring errors or fuckups our stats might have uncovered.

I'm also open to building more things for labs based on anyone's ideas. Anyone got anything they've ever wondered about the mefi userbase as a whole?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:41 PM on January 2


What has it got in its pocketses?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:44 PM on January 2 [10 favorites]


Do we get white lab coats?

I'm really only in it for the white lab coats.
posted by The Whelk at 12:47 PM on January 2


mathowie: Anyone got anything they've ever wondered about the mefi userbase as a whole?

I decline to answer that question on the grounds that I may tend to incriminate myself.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:49 PM on January 2


Would it be possible to add links that list where the popular tags/links show up? E.g. on the "popular Youtube video links in comments" list, if I clicked on the (5) after "Little Talks" it would show a list of the five comments that linked to the video.
posted by psoas at 12:50 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Anyone got anything they've ever wondered about the mefi userbase as a whole?

What about a widget that, given a user number X, would spit out the 10 other users most likely to comment in the same thread as X (based on past co-commenting history)?
posted by axiom at 12:53 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


axiom: " What about a widget that, given a user number X, would spit out the 10 other users most likely to comment in the same thread as X (based on past co-commenting history)?"

I sincerely hope you're joking, but if not and this becomes a thing, I'd like an opt-out option.
posted by zarq at 12:56 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


axiom: What about a widget that, given a user number X, would spit out the 10 other users most likely to comment in the same thread as X (based on past co-commenting history)?

We could call it MeHarmony.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:56 PM on January 2 [8 favorites]


given a user number X, would spit out the 10 other users most likely to comment in the same thread as X

huh, that kind of clustering is probably possible, I bet it would tease out the same groups of people that flock to similar subject matter. I bet everyone here could name five users they think would show up in threads about politics, etc, and yeah, I bet something like this could show that.

Another aspect to these ideas are that they be interesting without negatively affecting the site. I can think of a few downsides to such a tool, hopefully we could figure out a way to make it work without being a blunt instrument used by others.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:57 PM on January 2


mathowie: Anyone got anything they've ever wondered about the mefi userbase as a whole?

It's Raining Florence Henderson: What has it got in its pocketses?

Previously asked and displayed elsewhere, but not with the staff of MeFi Labs.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:59 PM on January 2


81,681,269 unique visitors

80,000,000 of those people were bookmarking scarabic's infamous comment.
posted by arcticseal at 12:59 PM on January 2


Now all you have to do is monetize it. ;-P
posted by Ardiril at 1:00 PM on January 2


Hey wait, why don't you filter the blue based on kinds of threads I've already commented in!! I'm so overwhelmed by content, someone please only show me what you're guessing I might want to see. HAMBURGER
posted by bleep at 1:02 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


axiom: What about a widget that, given a user number X, would spit out the 10 other users most likely to comment in the same thread as X (based on past co-commenting history)?

Previously (though the project is now a dead link): "Says Who," the Metafilter identification game
posted by filthy light thief at 1:02 PM on January 2


bleep: Hey wait, why don't you filter the blue based on kinds of threads I've already commented in!! I'm so overwhelmed by content, someone please only show me what you're guessing I might want to see. HAMBURGER

OK, here you go.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:04 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


mathowie: "Anyone got anything they've ever wondered about the mefi userbase as a whole?"

I've always been curious about the site's demographic and geographic breakdowns. Do you have any neat stats on who we are?

Also, in 2013:

* How many people used the contact form, compared to how many people posted to MeTa?
* What were the mods' all-time favorite MeFi and AskMe posts from last year? Of all time? (I'm actually not sure if this is something you've ever covered in a podcast)
* How many Questions had no Answers?
* How many Questions went Unresolved?
posted by zarq at 1:07 PM on January 2


notyou: Is MeFi Labs linked in the header or footer or elsewhere?

It's on the Best Of blog and on the side blog on the front page, referenced as such:
January 2
We've just launched MeFi Labs, more here.
Folks who don't generally wander back to MetaTalk have a decent chance of coming across this.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:11 PM on January 2


Did anybody else notice that it seemed that all the meet-ups only happened in the political "blue" states?

I would have guessed, and maybe wrongly, that states that vote Republican Red tend to have the least members in the meta community.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 1:12 PM on January 2


How many people used the contact form, compared to how many people posted to MeTa?

It's tough to get a relationship here just from the data. There's no way to know who used the contact form instead of starting a MetaTalk post. And the uses are very different, people use the contact form for all kinds of things that would never be appropriate for MetaTalk. Non-members can use the contact form as well.

How many Questions had no Answers?

There were 84 questions with no answers at all.

How many Questions went Unresolved?

I'm not sure this would tell you whether or not people are getting answers to questions. It might tell you more about the uptake of the 'mark resolved' feature. And I think it's a similar situation with the 'stumped' tag. It's there, but not everyone knows to use it.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:16 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


I've always been curious about the site's demographic and geographic breakdowns. Do you have any neat stats on who we are?

Real data on that requires a real survey of some sort. There are guesses made at various traffic sites, I suppose that get developed from people matching visitors with other sites they do know demographics of. Surveys are dicey though, it's tough to get people to do them without being annoying to them, people that answer might not be true representatives of the site, etc.

How many people used the contact form, compared to how many people posted to MeTa?

We could figure out how many times the contact form was used, but we made the change to urge people to contact us first just a few months ago, so I suspect it wouldn't be a clean statistic.

What were the mods' all-time favorite MeFi and AskMe posts from last year? Of all time? (I'm actually not sure if this is something you've ever covered in a podcast)

It's tough to think of them beyond a year or so, but I suspect we'll talk about Labs and our year's favorites on the next Podcast (online early next week).

How many Questions had no Answers?

Yeah, we had a stat for fully stumped questions in 2010, and I meant to ask pb to look that up for 2013. If you go by the tag, only 6 posts got tagged stumped in 2013 and two of them have a best answer, so it's likely they got answered.

How many Questions went Unresolved?

It's hard to get a real honest data point about this, since I suspect a small number of questions get the resolved tag, so we can't assume anything without it is unresolved.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:17 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


QueerAngel28: "Did anybody else notice that it seemed that all the meet-ups only happened in the political "blue" states? "

As much as I'd like to see Texas turn blue, it's still a red state. Looks like other there were meetups in other red states
posted by zarq at 1:19 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


though the project is now a dead link

Says Who is now working again.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:21 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Oh wow, the Recent Amazon Links are pretty cool. The Clocky Alarm Clock On Wheels in particular looks quite useful. Would've been nice to have one of those this morning...
posted by Kevin Street at 1:22 PM on January 2


pb and mathowie, very cool. Thanks for your explanations! Yeah, I can only imagine how a survey would go over.
posted by zarq at 1:23 PM on January 2


Anyone got anything they've ever wondered about the mefi userbase as a whole?

What are the busy and quiet times each day / week / month / year by average? When are we lining up around the corner vs when are the mods grudgingly cleaning behind the Gaggia because it's so quiet?
Does it vary for traffic vs user interaction too? Are there times of the day / week / month / year where the ratio of a Mefite's interaction per visit is more than others, on average?
I mostly mean sort of visualising a typical day. An average 24 hours of traffic / interaction / location stats for the site would be interesting.
posted by 0 answers at 1:25 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


What are the busy and quiet times each day / week / month / year by average?

Typically the site is busiest Monday through Friday (US times), with Saturday the slowest, and Monday or Tuesday the highest traffic. On a daily basis, generally work hours in the US (about 8am-6pm Pacific time) are the highest traffic periods, with lower activity at night. Over the course of a year, typically traffic is mostly steady but skews slightly higher from Thanksgiving (late November) to xmas as a few more people likely are searching for gifts or doing research for them.

There have been more interesting recent trends to watch lately, where if you look at just say smartphone usage of the site, it peaks at nights and on weekends as people get away from their desks. There are times I've seen over 50% of all site traffic coming from an iPhone on say, a random Saturday night.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:29 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


Awesome! Yay statistics!

As a linguistic-y person, I would love to see some more word frequency stuff - not just tags but most commonly used words in posts, in comments, words that show up more on the front page vs. Ask vs. MeTa, words that were only used once this whole year on Metafilter, etc. I don't know how feasible it is to run analysis on the corpus of Everything On Metafilter though because there is a lot of Metafilter.
posted by capricorn at 1:31 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Kevin Street: The Clocky Alarm Clock On Wheels in particular looks quite useful. Would've been nice to have one of those this morning...

Would not Clocky again.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:32 PM on January 2


And in addition to 0 answers' queries about traffic peaks and troughs -- can labs reveal traffic data in real time? Like, "Where's Everybody At?"

Comments and favorites tell us about member interaction with a post, but some that are super informative but noncontroversial (all light and no heat) may generate views, but not much interaction. Can the data show us what folks are looking at?

Can the data tell us which TFAs we're actually clicking?
posted by notyou at 1:34 PM on January 2


Naw notyou, we don't track clicks, so it's tough to say where "hot" threads are at any one time. We've built some one-off tools like stuff that checks "swarms" of comments in a short period of time, that might point out "hot" threads but they're not super useful in testing.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:37 PM on January 2


Sorry to hear that, Rock Steady. But thanks for linking to the thread Clocky came from! There are flying alarm clocks?
posted by Kevin Street at 1:39 PM on January 2


One stat in the 2010 infographic not mentioned in the 2013 roundup was banned members (and of those, spammers). How many people got the boot in 2013?
posted by Chrysostom at 1:41 PM on January 2


The links to the daylight simulation alarm clocks is pushing me to spend money, I've been thinking about getting one of those clocks for a while now.
posted by arcticseal at 1:53 PM on January 2


There are times I've seen over 50% of all site traffic coming from an iPhone on say, a random Saturday night.

wow, whoever owns that iPhone must have a serious data plan.
posted by russm at 1:58 PM on January 2 [10 favorites]


Thanks for the explanation mathowie. Is there any rough location data for the userbase?
posted by 0 answers at 2:02 PM on January 2


bleep: Hey wait, why don't you filter the blue based on kinds of threads I've already commented in!! I'm so overwhelmed by content, someone please only show me what you're guessing I might want to see. HAMBURGER

Did you know about My Mefi? It does what you mentioned. Except for HAMBURGER.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:22 PM on January 2


Yeah it would be great to see something that does a really rough real-time map like I've seen .... hmm can't remember where. Basically a map that, with loose IP data would pop up FPP, ASKME, COMMENT or some graphical representation over a map of the world. Not like the actual content but like where it's coming from.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:23 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


pb: "There were 84 questions with no answers at all."

It's a very select group.
posted by Mitheral at 2:28 PM on January 2


I know about MyMefi but I was hoping it would be completely automated and out of my control.
posted by bleep at 2:28 PM on January 2


Also, capricorn, there are word frequency tables: Metafilter Corpus, with more info on the wiki. Those are around a year old, and they don't split up posts from comments, but you might like this.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:28 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


How many people got the boot in 2013?

We don't keep track of who is banned for spamming vs. other types of bad behavior. We must have combed through the ban reasons for the 2010 stats. It looks like 106 accounts were disabled by moderators in 2013 and 195 accounts were self-closed.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:31 PM on January 2


I sort of like the way you explained it on the mailing list: "243 different users buttoned this year, but 48 came back."
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:37 PM on January 2


I got better.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:39 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


QueerAngel28: "I would have guessed, and maybe wrongly, that states that vote Republican Red tend to have the least members in the meta community."

I'm going to guess it's because red states tend to be more rural, on average, and less-dense areas make it more difficult to put meet-ups together.

I have no answer for Florida.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:56 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Miko: "Wow, if you flag, you really flag."

It only works out to a mean of about 13 flags for every user who flagged at least once in the past year. That's just slightly more than one flag a month, which doesn't seem like all that much to me. Plus you've got the December Posts Contest, which probably accounts for a fair number of flags all on its own.
posted by Scientist at 2:59 PM on January 2


Plus you've got the December Posts Contest, which probably accounts for a fair number of flags all on its own.

We didn't include positive flagging in the stats. If we did, yeah, December would throw the whole thing off. That's when most positive flags come in.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:01 PM on January 2


I think I've used the Fantastic Comment flag more than all the others combined.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:02 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


And Fantastic Post! Forgot they were separate.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:05 PM on January 2


I would be interested in an attempt to classify Mefites by sel-description in comments and answers. For instance what words come after "I am a(n)" or "As a(n)" or similar statements of identity.
posted by graymouser at 3:05 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


I am a Sith.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:07 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


It only works out to a mean of about 13 flags for every user who flagged at least once in the past year. That's just slightly more than one flag a month, which doesn't seem like all that much to me.

It does seem like a lot to me. I almost never flag, even though I know I should, and it's interesting to see that statistically it's a behavior a minority of users do but those who use it use it regularly. The post contest, if anything, is probably diluting the count for a group of heavy flag users.
posted by Miko at 3:13 PM on January 2


Can you make RSS feeds for the "Recent" pages?
posted by sillygwailo at 3:18 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


I'm curious as to why there seems to be a default policy of linking to Amazon when referencing books, etc.? Does Metafilter have a formal relationship with Amazon?
posted by jammy at 3:18 PM on January 2


I love how the decontextualized Amazon items from this comment make it look like I'm putting together a shopping list to trap and barbecue local pets.
posted by contraption at 3:19 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


I really appreciate how you guys are so transparent with data like this - this is very cool - thank you!
posted by NoraCharles at 3:19 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


"...and it's interesting to see that statistically it's a behavior a minority of users do but those who use it use it regularly."

This is probably the case for a whole lot of Mefi, and any other large web site. A minority of users regularly write FPPs or use Ask more a few times, and a somewhat larger minority regularly posts comments or answers questions. Meanwhile, the silent majority reads everything and only the cat hears what they have to say.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:19 PM on January 2


Well I think it is morally reprehensible and totally unconstitutional for MeFi to be collecting all this metadata on us, and I'm glad Matt blew the whistle on them and put all the files on-line. I guess he'll have to hide out in Russia now, but luckily I'm available to step in as Acting Director of the Metafilter Security Agency. So vote #1, because I am watching you.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:21 PM on January 2 [11 favorites]


Wait... Out of all the YouTube links there's only one cat video? How is that possible?

(While looking through them I came across this which is brilliant and also appropriate)
posted by billiebee at 3:24 PM on January 2


Does Metafilter have a formal relationship with Amazon?

jammy, there is no formal relationship with Amazon. People are free to link wherever they want. Amazon is very popular and people link it a lot. As zarq mentioned upthread, MetaFilter does get a small payment if people make purchases after clicking the links here. Some people are aware of that and link to Amazon for that reason, but my guess is that most people aren't aware of that.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:30 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Can you make RSS feeds for the "Recent" pages?

We'll think about it!
posted by pb (staff) at 3:31 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


The most frequently linked wikipedia articles in MetaFilter comments were:

1) Betteridge's law of headlines (21)
2) Basic income (7)
3) Information Awareness Office (7)
4) Dunning–Kruger effect (7)
5) Just-world hypothesis (6)
6) List of countries by suicide rate (6)
7) Room 641A (6)


Thanks, Snowden!
posted by Room 641-A at 3:40 PM on January 2 [6 favorites]


jammy, there is no formal relationship with Amazon. People are free to link wherever they want. Amazon is very popular and people link it a lot. As zarq mentioned upthread, MetaFilter does get a small payment if people make purchases after clicking the links here.

Thank you, pb. And thank you for noting zarq's answer above, which I previously missed.

I would think being an Amazon affiliate constitutes a formal relationship - i.e., Metafilter has a formalized business agreement with them concerning people who make purchases after clicking the links here. Some kind of contract must have bee agreed upon, no? How is this not formal?
posted by jammy at 4:40 PM on January 2


No, there is no contract. No one from MetaFilter had a meeting with Amazon. Anyone with a website can sign up at Amazon Associates.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:44 PM on January 2


I think I might build a similar most-Amazon'd thing for MefightClub -- nice idea. But I wonder if it might be The Right Thing To Do to explicitly state that Amazon affiliate codes are included automatically for the products shown, at least on those aggregation pages.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:46 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


I also auto-append an affiliate code to links to Amazon in comments at MFC, an idea I borrowed from MeFi, so that's what made me think of it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:48 PM on January 2


No, there is no contract. No one from MetaFilter had a meeting with Amazon. Anyone with a website can sign up at Amazon Associates.

So, Metafilter did not agree to the following Operating Agreement? Or, Matt H., as owner of the site?
https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/agreement/
posted by jammy at 5:01 PM on January 2


jammy, you're being a bit of a rules-lawyer about this. pb explicitly spelled out the nature of the relationship between MeFi and Amazon. If you want to call that a formal relationship then fine, I personally think it's sort of a gray area. Either way it doesn't matter, since we have the details right there. Quibbling about the exact definition of "formal relationship" and whether or not being an Amazon Affiliate does or does not satisfy that definition (with the implication that if the mods disagree with you then they are wrong and/or disingenuous) is sort of obnoxious.
posted by Scientist at 5:12 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


jammy, the way that Amazon Affiliates works is far from a mystery, nor has it ever been -- in the decade or so since Metafilter has been automatically appending its affiliate code to Amazon links in comments here -- hidden or obscured in any way.

Admittedly it's a somewhat fraught issue, for me at least, implicitly supporting Amazon by belonging to the affiliate program, given their record with employee treatment if nothing else, but it kind of sounds like you're arguing for the sake of arguing about minutiae, a bit.

If MeFi's Amazon affiliate income is something you really think needs discussing, maybe it would make sense to take that discussion to a new MeTa thread about it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:14 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


Yeah, jammy, the thing we're tripping up on is you saying "formal agreement" and mentioning contracts. I clicked a few buttons, like millions of other bloggers have so they could get 1-2% kickbacks from purchases made on linked items, and signed up to their associates program. It wasn't really formal and pretty much everyone I know that blogs has their own account.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:20 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


jammy, there's at least one MeTa specifically about Amazon; you might be able to find something helpful in there.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:23 PM on January 2


As an ex-owner of an independent bookstore, I've given a little thought to what constitutes a community. I think the use of an associates account to support this site is an excellent idea. Books have long been at center of communities in the form of libraries and bookstores. Those lists in the lab are simply extensions of those community book centers, but for this place. This is what we're reading and talking about.

If inclined to support this site beyond the original $5 you ponied up, and if you're a user of Amazon, consider making all of your purchases from a link to Amazon found here on Metafilter. The site gets a cut of the total sale, not just the linked book. In fact, you don't have to buy what's linked at all, just enter Amazon through that link and Metafilter gets a cut of everything. Next time you're buying a flatscreen or laptop, consider entering Amazon for that purchase from Metafilter.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:35 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


It would be cool to have a little widget somewhere on metafilter that appends the referral code. Like, enter the ASIN, click a button and you're taken to the gold box on Amazon.
posted by slogger at 5:45 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


5,430 members sent 52,678 MeFi Mail messages.

I assume this count filtered out the auto messages you get when you post?

I've always wondered about the usage of mefi mail. Don't suppose you've got some numbers on the distribution of those messages (eg. top 50 members sending 50% of them?, etc)?

Numbers are fun.
posted by inigo2 at 6:22 PM on January 2


So, Metafilter did not agree to the following Operating Agreement? Or, Matt H., as owner of the site?

Well, Matt did, but none of us posting links are required to only link to things via Amazon. Links to Powells or Good Reads or wherever else that people use to reference books or ice cookers are not scrubbed or forbidden.
posted by rtha at 6:29 PM on January 2


There is a (brief) explanation about the Amazon referral codes in the FAQ.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:36 PM on January 2


I assume this count filtered out the auto messages you get when you post?

Yep, system messages are filtered out of those numbers.

No, sorry, I don't have any numbers handy on MeFi Mail distribution per user. I'll give that some thought.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:44 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


About the affiliate links, is there any potential to work it so that non-U.S. members might get directed to their local Amazon site? Nearly everything on the main Amazon site is available on (for personal example) Amazon.jp, but ordering from the main site (or following any of the links here) equals long wait times and high shipping costs. Personally, I'd love if some of my purchases at amazon ended up helping out metafilter, but I don't know if that's feasible.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:47 PM on January 2


The last time I looked at it, Ghidorah, that wasn't really feasible. Every Amazon locality has its own associates program. We don't really have enough links from the other domains to make it worthwhile to get those set up and working. We appreciate the thought, but there isn't a great way to do it.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:50 PM on January 2


Do we get white lab coats?

I'm really only in it for the white lab coats.


You will be disappointed by the white lab coats, Whelk. The fit is generally TERRIBLE and they almost never get washed.

FUN FACT: I only learned this year that the slits in the sides of lab coats are so that you can get things out of your pants' pockets.

FUNNER FACT: I only learned after I spilled chemicals on my pants and had to take them off that lab coats have giant slits in the sides.

FUNNEST FACT: That was also when I learned that lab coats aren't really thick enough to hide brightly colored underwear, what with being cheap white fabric and all.
posted by maryr at 8:13 PM on January 2 [18 favorites]


I hope we've all learned a valuable lesson here.
posted by maryr at 8:13 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


If I follow a link from MeFi to Amazon, then search for and purchase something unrelated, does MeFi get any benefit from it? If not, is there any way that MeFi could benefit from non-linked items I might buy?
posted by Lexica at 8:24 PM on January 2


we're throwing up little experiments

ew!
posted by carsonb at 8:35 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


If I follow a link from MeFi to Amazon, then search for and purchase something unrelated, does MeFi get any benefit from it? If not, is there any way that MeFi could benefit from non-linked items I might buy?

I haven't tested it yet myself, but it looks like there's browser extensions that append affiliate tracking IDs. Amazon Affiliate Link Chrome Extension
posted by CrystalDave at 8:41 PM on January 2


At least one place that I know of (a podcasting group) got in trouble for encouraging people to shop via an affiliate extension, and talk at the time was that it had to do with the fact that Amazon does not want people just randomly shopping for stuff through the affiliates, they want it to be about explicitly recommended products. I don't know how much income Metafilter gets from this arrangement, but I wouldn't want to jeopardize it by pushing people towards solutions that might violate the terms of the affiliate program.
posted by Sequence at 9:04 PM on January 2


we're throwing up little experiments

ew!


There's a reason we like cats so much around here...
posted by maryr at 9:09 PM on January 2


Yeah, no need for an amazon extension, as far as I know, I'm pretty sure if you follow a link from one of our links, then buy something else, we get some smaller kickback. I know this because if I look at the orders report of tracked items, there are many, many things listed that were never linked on MeFi, but someone bought after looking at something linked here. So it's working ok as it is.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:09 PM on January 2


I know it's been requested already, but DEAR GOD: RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS RSS !!!!!!!!!
posted by artof.mulata at 9:56 PM on January 2


What does that mean.
posted by rtha at 9:59 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


meep
posted by schmod at 10:04 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Yeah, no need for an amazon extension, as far as I know, I'm pretty sure if you follow a link from one of our links, then buy something else, we get some smaller kickback. I know this because if I look at the orders report of tracked items, there are many, many things listed that were never linked on MeFi, but someone bought after looking at something linked here. So it's working ok as it is.

It's all a bit murky, but from what I've been able to gather, getting cookied by following an Amazon affiliate link will get the affiliate a kickback for 3 or 4 days, or until that cookie is trumped by another more recently-followed affiliate link.

So yeah, if you follow an Amazon link from here, say, everything you buy for the next few days from Amazon, unless you follow another Amazon affiliate link from elsewhere, will kick in a couple percentage points from your purchase towards the MeFi kitty. The pretty, pretty kitty.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:17 PM on January 2


Very cool. I'd be interested to see GoodReads and IMDB links as well - I know I generally prefer to link there when recommending books or movies so that I'm not shilling for Amazon over other sales sites (especially local bookshops). I'm guessing I'm not alone in that.

Both GoodReads and IMDB are owned by Amazon. There's no escaping them.
posted by dumbland at 10:17 PM on January 2


meep
posted by schmod at 1:04 AM on January 3


zorp.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 11:17 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


I'm curious as to why there seems to be a default policy of linking to Amazon when referencing books, etc.?

I usually link to Amazon because I know it will probably load on most devices. Many times a more obvious alternate has flash or JavaScript or doesn't work well on mobile devices. Same reason I link to YouTube.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:48 AM on January 3


Basically a map that, with loose IP data would pop up FPP, ASKME, COMMENT or some graphical representation over a map of the world.

As someone who lives in an area with few mefites I don't like this idea. Making it both logged out and logged in would certainly help, and would probably hide me specifically, but there will still be people living in sparsely-enough populated areas that they are exposed by this kind of data visualisation. Really, I don't like anything public facing that uses IP addresses or other person-specific data, particularly in real time.
posted by shelleycat at 1:07 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Heh. The slim Korea-graph would rise and fall, rise and fall, as Korea-based Mefites joined, got all enthused, then faded away, as people inevitably do with web community, but underneath, deep in the dirty digital guts of the stats, the eternal wonderchickensian drumbeat of archaic loyalty would carry on, thumping, thumping, commenting, commenting: eternally commenting.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:32 AM on January 3 [5 favorites]


Sometimes I'll link to a Google Books entry on a book on the basis that this is somehow better than linking to Amazon. Even better is a Wikipedia entry for a book, but that's not always available.

I'm totally happy with MeFi getting some revenue for Amazon links and I like the idea that people's Amazon links are a way to support the site. And, unlike many, I don't have a particularly strong dislike of Amazon. I've sure given them a hell of a lot of money over the last fifteen years.

Even so, it doesn't entirely sit right with me when I want to just link to a book neutrally, not "here's a cool book you can buy at Amazon" and so I do choose to link a book elsewhere when possible and I remember to do so. Very occasionally, I'll just link to a well-crafted Google search for this sort of thing, which is arguably much more useful, anyway.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:58 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


"...but there will still be people living in sparsely-enough populated areas that they are exposed by this kind of data visualisation. Really, I don't like anything public facing that uses IP addresses or other person-specific data, particularly in real time."

I think these problems are surmountable. I'd really like to see a heatmap of realtime and specified-duration IP and user-submitted locations but the privacy concerns are not trivial.

One thought off the top of my head for the low-density privacy concerns is that for very low density regions, the data points are more smeared as the density decreases. For example, I'm thinking that you could calculate for each user the nearest-neighbor distance and use that as the radius of the area which that individual "populates". But they'd populate each unit of that area by 1/area. The unit might be the square mile, say. Individual people isolated in an entire state, for example, would end up contributing such a small amount of "population" for that huge area that it wouldn't even be enough to be visible on the map, anyway.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:24 AM on January 3


Very nice, but one UI request... Make the "close" button on the Amazon product lightboxes more visible. I'm using an iPad, and I didn't even notice there was a discreet X in the upper left until I had looked at a couple items on the popular Amazon items page, and been awkwardly trying to close the popups by tapping the grey background.
posted by ardgedee at 4:21 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Make the "close" button on the Amazon product lightboxes more visible.

Yes. The pointer probably needs to change to the hand, not the I-beam, when you point at the X. Right now it looks like a text insertion point.
posted by pracowity at 4:43 AM on January 3


You get a list of what we shop on the affiliate ref? That must be hysterical and terrifying. Are the "asks without answers" including ones where the only "answer" is from the OP? Or just with zero comments? I imagine Op tries to add a little extra info if no one is biting.
posted by Iteki at 5:56 AM on January 3


There is a 'Close' link at the bottom of the lightbox in addition to the X. That might be easier to click on an iPad. You can also click the darkened page to close it.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:02 AM on January 3


True, Iteki. No, I just totaled up questions with no answers at all.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:07 AM on January 3


I just tried to see if the affiliate code would be appended by just using Preview or Live Preview. But it does not. It appears a comment must be posted for the affiliate link to appear.
posted by slogger at 6:27 AM on January 3


The way associate accounts work is pretty convoluted. The more people use a particular referrer like MetaFilter, the higher the cut that referrer receives. And different product types garner different commission schemes, so cell phones, for example have a different referral compensation system, as does digital media, but books, and household items, and the like all combine for higher and higher commission rates.

If there's a cause you support—or site—it's worth considering bookmarking one of their affiliate links, like this one for MetaFilter. Then, whenever you do your shopping at Amazon, enter Amazon via that link. That will credit Metafilter for the sale and help keep the site sustainable, and keep our mods well paid and properly benefited. Like I said before, you don't have to buy that book. Amazon is crediting the "session" which will vary, depending on your particular account and browser settings, but at worst it's the for any purchase made during that particular visit, and at most it's any purchase made until the cookie/session expires, which would be at max a week, I believe.

The More You Know ☆彡
posted by Toekneesan at 6:34 AM on January 3


heh, the link you provided doesn't have a MetaFilter affiliate code in it Toekneesan. And the code that modifies Amazon links to include the MetaFilter affiliate code didn't catch that particular URL format.

All of the strategizing about affiliate codes is very thoughtful but not necessary. Just use the site as you normally do and it all works out ok.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:41 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


> There is a 'Close' link at the bottom of the lightbox in addition to the X.

Harder to reach on longer-scrolling content and when the iPad is in landscape.

There's usually a persistent close interface available in the modal's framing context rather than the content's (eg, a styled "X" in the upper right or upper left corner partially extending beyond the modal frame). Your approach isn't bad, but it wasn't what I expected, and so I had to hunt and guess.

I haven't tried this on a desktop yet but my first assumption would be to try the esc key to close the modal.
posted by ardgedee at 7:02 AM on January 3


The pointer probably needs to change to the hand...

Which browser are you using, pracowity? The pointer is a hand in the browsers I've tested.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:02 AM on January 3


Whew! One of my tracks made it onto the MeFi Music Top Ten for 2013. A huge relief, cause if that hadn't happened, I'd've had to have given up music and gone back to my old life as a door-to-door mud salesman, and man, mud just wasn't selling. Thank you, Metafilter, and god bless.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:06 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Thank you for the nifty data, and thanks for the shout-out! For anyone who doesn't know, it's actually quite easy and enjoyable to chip in to the crowdsourced podcast transcription project, though, and it would be really nice to have more people participating!

Pronoiac posts a link to the transcription page he hosts in the MeTa thread for each new podcast, generally within about a day of the podcast coming out, and the linked thread on Projects is also usually updated with the episodes that are currently being worked on. As of now, episode 48 from the archives is open, and it sounds like episode 88 will be out next week, too.
posted by beryllium at 7:23 AM on January 3


The initial justification for amazon links were that it would help Matt and also provide some sort of scholarship - which still hasn't happened, what - 8 years later ? That may sound mean, but there was a lot of goodwill and support for that idea.

can we see demographics blah blah

"YOLO" - 5 posts, 93 comments and 1 tag......etc etc
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:42 AM on January 3


You might be misremembering, sgt.serenity. Here's the thread I think you're referring to. cortex (who was not an employee at the time) suggested the scholarship thing. Matt didn't ever use philanthropy as a justification. It was an idea that was brought up in the thread. So I don't think anyone was expecting that to happen. Maybe I missed a thread somewhere else, though.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:12 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Also, capricorn, there are word frequency tables: Metafilter Corpus, with more info on the wiki. Those are around a year old, and they don't split up posts from comments, but you might like this.

Yeah, what Pronoiac said! More specifically, the Corpus stuff is specifically based on comment text only, no posts/questions, since the post stuff is a lot more fiddly to deal with for various reasons. May make its way into the Corpus at some point.

And, new year, time to generate the 2013 numbers!
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:34 AM on January 3


There are times I've seen over 50% of all site traffic coming from an iPhone on say, a random Saturday night.

wow, whoever owns that iPhone must have a serious data plan.


Well, since I'm home, I'll be on WiFi.

The tough part is coming up with a truly random Saturday night. Not enough entropy most weekends lately.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:08 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Is it possible to tell whether comments from mobile devices are different in length from comments on desk devices (I) by user (ii) across the site? Does the number of links in posts on the same bases? Basically I'm interested in whether the shift to mobile is changing the site experience/quality. (Of course it's questionable whether this would be a worthwhile proxy.)
posted by biffa at 9:44 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


That would be interesting biffa, but no, we don't currently have a way to tell which device was used to add a post or comment. It's not something we track. We can look at overall numbers and know that mobile usage is up, but there's no way to separate comments posted via a mobile browser vs. desktop browser.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:51 AM on January 3


If it will help, I can start adding "posted from my iPhone, plaese ecxuse teh tpyos ;)" under all my mobile-posted comments.
posted by griphus at 9:52 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Could we get a flag total for use of the fantastic flag? And could we see (roughly) what gets the fantastic flag? I know the use spiked in December with the contest, but it would be fun to see what folks think is fantastic.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:06 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


The December post contest is our annual time to let people know what has been flagged most fantastic during that time. Otherwise we view flags as private notes to the moderators. We aren't likely to make numbers for specific posts or comments public. If something is flagged fantastic by several people at other times of the year, that thing often shows up on the Best Of blog.

But I don't think we'll do much more with flagging beyond sharing the general flagging numbers like we did on the stats page.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:17 PM on January 3


When I first joined, I thought the fantastic flag meant not even wrong fantastic. Subsequently, I flagged several comments that I found over-the-top sexist or racist as fantastic.

Needless to say I was a little more than slightly embarrassed when I realized the flag is actually for someone deserves a case of beer fantastic.

Talk about over-thinking...
posted by Pudhoho at 12:30 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


The Whelk: "Do we get white lab coats?

I'm really only in it for the white lab coats.
"

In my neck of the woods (biology lab, with no hazardous organisms and only very rarely hazardous chemicals) the only time anyone wears a lab coat is if it's cold in the lab and they forgot to bring a hoodie. Or if they're working with liquid nitrogen, because nobody wants to get LN on them.

YMMV depending on where you work and what you work with, but in my experience a lot of scientists basically never wear lab coats. If you turn up in a white coat in my lab, people will probably look at you a little funny. :-)
posted by Scientist at 3:41 PM on January 3


Speaking of affiliate links, is there a way to manually add them to purchases? Or is there a Chrome extension that can add them automatically? It would be cool if there were a way to make sure that I was giving MeFi a cut from all of my (many, many) Amazon purchases, without having to go to MeFi and find a link to Amazon. Even better would be if I could find some worthy charity with an affiliate account and give them a cut.

There actually is a Chrome extension that purports to do this, but I could never figure out how to find the affiliate ID for whatever organization I felt like supporting.
posted by Scientist at 3:45 PM on January 3


In the veterinary teaching hospital in which I work, students are required to wear lab coats, but they are option for residents, interns and faculty, very few of whom choose to wear a coat. This sets up a weird dynamic, as some clients will trust what a student in a lab coat says over what a faculty member without one says.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:48 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Oh and back on the lab coats thing, I always found This PhD comic to give a rather apt summary of the reasons why people wear them.
posted by Scientist at 3:52 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


We bought a used car once from a couple in Seattle. The wife was wearing a white lab coat--this was at their house, mind, in the summertime, even while we were inside having a glass of wine--and kept finding ways to say "my lab" again and again.
posted by HotToddy at 5:07 PM on January 3


We're proud of our meth labs here.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:08 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


We had that comic on the fridge in lab until they made us take it down one day when sponsers were visiting. Then they gave us fleeces for Christmas instead of turning the heat up.
posted by maryr at 5:14 PM on January 3


HotToddy: That woman was clearly a prick.
posted by maryr at 5:15 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


(...Lab coats also make excellent last minute lame-ass Halloween costumes.)
posted by maryr at 5:16 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Yup, I've been a Mad Scientist for Halloween before. Not the only researcher I know who's gone that route. :-)
posted by Scientist at 5:51 PM on January 3


HotToddy: That woman was clearly a prick.
posted by maryr at 5:15 PM on January 3 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


Yeah, no kidding. That car turned out to have a serious problem with gas fumes leaking into the cabin that was not detectable on a normal test-drive length drive. And there was absolutely no way they didn't know about it. Those people took our money and invited us in for a glass of fucking wine knowing they were ripping us off. While wearing a lab coat.
posted by HotToddy at 7:30 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


New most favorited AskMe comment: quickly sell your used car by wearing a lab coat!
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:34 AM on January 4


I did not spent six years at Mad Science School to wear a hoodie, thank you very much.
posted by The Whelk at 6:25 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


I've been an indentured mad scientist for five years and I don't even have a lab coat :( Damn you ecology!
posted by pemberkins at 6:58 AM on January 4


Pam why the saplings, test tube?

Kreiger: I've been taking night classes in mad ecology.

Pam: Mad ecol-

Kreiger: Trees with dicks. And ...other things.
posted by The Whelk at 7:20 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]


Of course, the dark secret at the heart of all Mad Science is that it's really all just mad engineering.
posted by Kattullus at 7:29 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


Look, those engineers would be able to build anything without the basic mad research that mad scientists do.
posted by maryr at 12:11 PM on January 4 [3 favorites]


A page of recent wikipedia links from comments would be fun, along the lines of the youtube one.

Also, this is a nice pony.

Also, Kattallus!
posted by Rumple at 5:32 PM on January 4


> a really rough real-time map like I've seen .... hmm can't remember where.

Moonzoo has a "Live" map like this, though it seems to be missing the Lunar imagery which used to appear on the right.
posted by lucidium at 7:46 PM on January 4


On a tangent: any chance of a MeFi API? I'm thinking something with a nice RESTful JSON interface to posts/comments/messages, ideally with some kind of OAuth-style login system, would be good, and like the idea of MeFi client/helper apps.
posted by acb at 11:38 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


any chance of a MeFi API?

We discuss this from time to time and we're generally in favor of the idea. Right now we don't have any plans for it but I also don't think the chances are zero. It's something we'd like to do but it hasn't risen to the level of, "let's make that happen for these reasons." It's not a small amount of development and continuing support so we need to put some thought into it and have a clear picture of the benefits and drawbacks. We'll count this as a vote for it.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:16 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Another option for those who want to build client/helper apps is using the existing RSS feeds. All posts and comments are already available programmatically via RSS.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:19 PM on January 5


Are they? I wanted to get a feed of comments by individual people and I wasn't able to. You can get a feed of people's posts, but not comments, I think.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:43 PM on January 5


Every thread has an RSS feed. So you can get the comments associated with every thread. No, you can't currently get a feed of comments from a specific user. We're definitely worried about the potential for hassling members outside of the community with a feature like that.
posted by pb (staff) at 5:48 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Oh, I see. That's too bad because that's something I'd really like.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:06 PM on January 5


Yay, the Infodump is updating again! Yay!

Except for postlength_askme.txt. Boo.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:11 PM on January 5


We'll check it out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:12 AM on January 6


are you sure it didn't update because it has the right datestamp
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:18 AM on January 6


wait hrm you're right, the data drops off (auspiciously?) the post before askme #250,000, which was early October, maybe something in the generation process is hiccuping on 250K or something, hrm
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:23 AM on January 6


oh god dammit, i figured it out, it's the stupidest bug, will fix
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:34 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


It's pronounced Me-Fapi.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:49 AM on January 6


> it's the stupidest bug

You now have to start a new site, The Stupidest Bug.
posted by languagehat at 8:33 AM on January 6


I imagine you already know Ivan, but you at least get alerted to the "notable" (i.e. posts, best answers, comments with 12+ favorites) comments made by all of your contacts on the sidebar. That's not everything, but it gets you partway there. And if you have people in your contacts, it is at least easier to follow their activity manually should you desire to do so. I can totally see why the mods wouldn't want to make it super easy for people to follow every little thing that a given user does, though.
posted by Scientist at 10:46 AM on January 6


A page of recent wikipedia links from comments would be fun...

Sure, let's see if it is: Recent Wikipedia Links.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:10 PM on January 7 [6 favorites]


It is!
posted by billiebee at 1:06 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Thanks pb!
posted by Rumple at 10:09 AM on January 8


Guessing what the question is based on the Recent Wikipedia Link used to answer should not be so much fun.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:31 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


https://ask.metafilter.com/255177/What-do-you-order-with-Amazon-Prime#3707999

If all the Amazon links pointed to smile.amazon.com, would metafilter still get a referral kickback, too?
posted by aniola at 6:45 PM on January 12


No, MeFi wouldn't get a kickback with their smile program.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:05 PM on January 12


I think you might be wrong, there, pb. I was actually going to mention the program here -- I've had a link to it since inception over at MFC -- but I figured it was a known thing, and ya'll had your reasons.

The 'smile' program lets the shopper choose a charity to receive a percentage of their spending, but continues to give a referral to the linking site, actually. MeFi, like MFC, is automatically enrolled to use it as an existing affiliate.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:06 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Interesting, stavros. I haven't seen that in writing anywhere. If you spot something like that can you send it my way?
posted by pb (staff) at 1:45 PM on January 13


Oh, found something here which makes it sound like you do still get affiliate fees. It doesn't say if the amounts are the same. We'll see if we can find that out and discuss it.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:57 PM on January 13


All the information that I recall reading has disappeared into the bowels of the Affiliate Program site, somehow: I have no idea how to find it again, sorry. I'm pretty darned sure for what it's worth that the affiliate rates were the same as the regular program, but yeah, finding it in actual writing (a challenge I do not seem to be up to this morning) would probably be wise.

The pisspoor information architecture of things like this, and dear god, the options and settings and stuff for Google+, for another example -- well, I veer between worrying that I'm getting old and cognitively impaired and just wanting grab the people responsible by the throats and shake 'em.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:07 PM on January 13


Hah. I'm voting for cognitive impairment -- that link you found is the page I remember seeing.

Looking at the various reports, I don't see anything that differentiates smile.amazon affiliate links from regular ones (assuming MFC folks have been using the smile program), so: yeah. No idea what the details are. I'd be interested too to learn any more info you or anyone else can dig up.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:17 PM on January 13


If there's a future discussion about which charity to give the Smile money to, I would also be interested in that.
posted by box at 7:12 PM on January 13


It's user directed, as far as I understand. You choose the charity -- you can start using it right now by going to smile.amazon.com, and it'll ask you what charity you want to support.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:32 PM on January 13


stavrosthewonderchicken: "It's user directed, as far as I understand. You choose the charity -- you can start using it right now by going to smile.amazon.com, and it'll ask you what charity you want to support."

OK, just to confirm, we would not have to follow the person-who-linked's charity preferences, correct?

I'd like to make sure that by clicking on amazon links to buy stuff on Metafilter I wouldn't inadvertently donate a portion of my purchase to say, Project Ultrasound.
posted by zarq at 10:18 AM on January 14


As of now, we already rewrite links to include the MeFi affiliate code and there is absolutely zero chance that this would happen from our vantage point. That is to say, someone could maybe getting away with edit-munging a link in that sort of fashion once, and then they would be banned and we would be done with it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:28 AM on January 14


Okie doke.
posted by zarq at 1:40 PM on January 14


Wait, are you telling me people could technically abuse the edit feature to change a link with the metafilter-20 affiliate code to, say quonsar-20? Crazy.
posted by grouse at 1:47 PM on January 14


No, it looks like you can't do that. pb remains the master, undefeated.
posted by grouse at 1:49 PM on January 14


I can, but apparently you can't. I keep forgetting to use my non-mod account to test these things out.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:03 PM on January 14


OK, just to confirm, we would not have to follow the person-who-linked's charity preferences, correct?

Correct, as I understand it. There is absolutely no provision that I can see for that -- if you use smile.amazon.com, whether or not you are following an affiliate link from a site like MeFi or MFC or any number of a billion blogs that scrabble for affiliate bucks, you are 100% in charge of deciding to which charity the small percentage of your spending goes.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:20 PM on January 14


Cool. :)
posted by zarq at 3:21 PM on January 14


Further, the smile thing is opt-in, as far as I can tell, even if you follow a smile.amazon link.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:21 PM on January 14


I think it's time to add "Labs" to the MeFi nav. Anyone have an objections to putting it in between IRL and Chat?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:23 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


WHAT, ARE YOU MAD?!?!?

Yeah, that works.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:24 AM on January 17


GO FOR IT! :)
posted by zarq at 11:35 AM on January 17


Do it!
posted by iamkimiam at 2:42 AM on January 25


Thy will be done.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:21 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


OEAIIIH
posted by MoonOrb at 7:49 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Are you OK? Do you need a glass of water?
posted by maryr at 8:54 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Still in code mode.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:16 AM on January 25


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