New AskMe category: property/housing? June 4, 2014 1:30 AM   Subscribe

I've noticed an increase in AskMe comments about housing, property, landlords, housemates etc in recent weeks and months. These are currently being posted in all sorts of different categories - Work and Money, Grab Bag, Human Relations and so on - making it difficult to find them in one place. Should we add a Housing category to Ask?

With an ever-inflating property bubble causing more of us to be moving on a regular basis (I've moved three times in two years!), living in less-than-ideal conditions and increasing numbers of situations with dodgy landlords, unstable shared living situations and so on, there are more and more property questions on the site.

I think it'd be helpful to put in place a new category along the lines of "property and housing" so that these questions are all in one, easier-to-find place. It seems to be a regular enough subject to justify its own category - what does the community think?

This is my first MeTa! Be gentle!
posted by winterhill to Feature Requests at 1:30 AM (76 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Yeah. How about we make a category called "Home & Garden".
posted by hal_c_on at 1:32 AM on June 4, 2014 [17 favorites]


Dear MetaMods: I just want to say "thank you" for adding a category called "Home & Garden" so quickly.

Very Efficient! Fast delivery! Would definitely pony again! A++++
posted by hal_c_on at 1:34 AM on June 4, 2014 [23 favorites]


I dunno. I think it's a reasonable request. Personally Home & Garden makes me think more of DIY, repairs, etc., not rental and ownership stuff. I think a property/housing category makes sense. It does seem like there is enough volume to consider establishing a separate category.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:25 AM on June 4, 2014 [16 favorites]


Previously.
posted by freya_lamb at 2:44 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Keeping in mind that we try to keep categories down to a relatively lean and manageable number, I'm just wondering about the specific utility of adding this category from a user point of view, in that so many questions that could reasonably be grouped under this heading for straight taxonomy purposes will not really have that much to do with each other in terms of relevance to the Asker. In other words, someone who is having communication trouble with a roommate is very different from someone who is looking for a house or flat in a certain geographical area, and different from someone who is wondering if fencing their yard is worth it in resell value, since they'll be moving in a couple of years, etc., etc.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:51 AM on June 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yeah I support this as a general idea, but then when you see how vastly state tenancy/tax/ownership laws vary I dunno if it would have a lot of utility?
posted by smoke at 2:52 AM on June 4, 2014


I like this request, athough I prefer the formulation in the previous MeTa: "Real Estate & Housing".
posted by lalex at 2:54 AM on June 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


But where shall I inquire on matters of Pretend Estate?
posted by Rhomboid at 4:05 AM on June 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


How about we just have a category called "rich people"?
You all can talk about your solid gold toilet seats, 50 foot yachts, and home ownership.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:10 AM on June 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


Aw hal_c_on, a third of the comments in the thread are you being snarky. You need a hug?

I could see the point of this. Home & Garden means something like decorating/DIY to me. Property & Housing sounds more like legal-type things. If I was having a problem with a landlord or co-tenant I'd imagine I'd put it in Human Relations at the minute rather than Home & Garden, so I agree that those kinds of questions might be "lost" to a searcher.
posted by billiebee at 4:29 AM on June 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


I'm considering renting the enormous, hollow torso of a giant man, but butterflies emerge from the nipples on the hour, every hour. Is that something I can reasonably get used to?

posted by Sal D. to Surreal Estate
posted by griphus at 4:59 AM on June 4, 2014 [38 favorites]


How about House and Home? Might include both buying/selling and decorating etc.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:08 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Home" is broad enough to cover "housing." If one category name has the word "housing" while another has the word "home," people are going to be confused about how to categorize their questions. No matter how neatly we draw the distinction in this thread, most people aren't going to read it.
posted by John Cohen at 6:13 AM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's too broad. Basically, most things fall into either "Home" or "Work." You might as well just create a "Life" category.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:14 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Actually, I would love to see the mods do some kind of cluster-based analysis on the text of AskMe questions in order to determine if new categories are emerging organically.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:14 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


This thread makes me curious about how people use these categories - do many people read AskMe on a category-by-category basis? I guess I will occasionally click on 'human relations' to see if I've missed anything juicy if I've been away from the site for a while, but in general I forget the categories even exist (until I go to post a question, at which point I spend far too long angsting over what category to put it in). Between that and the fact that we already have a Law category as well as a Home & Garden one, I'd imagine that most property-based questions already can be categorized reasonably well.

And as a bonus question: I'm not at ALL suggesting that this should be changed (I don't think it should), but now I'm wondering why AskMe has categories but the blue doesn't - is that just how it developed organically, or was there an active decision to not categorize posts on the blue?
posted by DingoMutt at 7:07 AM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't remember how the inclusion of categories came to be, but, yeah, Ask came along several years into the site's life and so it was more a deliberate decision to introduce categories into Ask than any particularly intentional omission from the blue. There's been a couple metatalk discussions about the general idea of categories for the blue over the years but I think the answer's always been that it'd be sort of artificially limiting for that part of the site and tags do most of the work, so, eh.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:18 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's too broad. Basically, most things fall into either "Home" or "Work."

No, if you look at the AskMe homepage, you'll see that most questions fall under other categories: fashion, computers, travel, law, etc. None of those are about your job or your house.
posted by John Cohen at 7:49 AM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


What about "Town and Country," you know, class the place up a bit.
posted by klangklangston at 7:50 AM on June 4, 2014 [16 favorites]


I think the "housing" tag is useful to look at.

Really, the only problem I see is that "where should I live" questions are often put under "Travel & Transportation." Maybe that category's name could use a tweak.
posted by smackfu at 8:18 AM on June 4, 2014


I'd be in favor of this. It seems like a small change that could prove helpful.

For that matter, I'd like to see "Parenting" be given its own category.
posted by zarq at 8:28 AM on June 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


I would like to see a sub-category for "pets and animals" that is "if you keep reading you will see there is a picture of my cat in here, promise." The proposed housing category could be "places where my cat will live, also there is a picture of my cat." "Human relations" could be "what happens when I have to talk to not-cats." And so on.
posted by phunniemee at 8:39 AM on June 4, 2014 [24 favorites]


NOT DOGIST
posted by zarq at 8:48 AM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


NOT DOGIST

This is a picture of my cat.
posted by phunniemee at 8:50 AM on June 4, 2014 [18 favorites]


That's a filigree Siberian Hamster, not a cat.
posted by zarq at 8:55 AM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


that is a fraudulent cat and i am forwarding this proof of your perfidy to the cat authorities
posted by elizardbits at 9:15 AM on June 4, 2014 [17 favorites]


It's fairly obvious to even the most unreasonable person that the terms "property" and/or "housing" are simply insufficient for cogent analysis, and the relevant categories should be: (a) corporeal hereditaments; and (b) incorporeal hereditaments, and category (a) aforementioned should be further subcategorised with respect to: (i) estates fee simple absolute; (ii) estates fee tail; and (iii) chattels, and (furtherto the above) category (b) should be subcategorised in relation to (i) advowsons; (ii) tithes; (iii) commons; (iv) ways; (v) offices; (vi) dignities; (vii) franchises; (viii) corodies and (viii-bis) pensions; (ix) annuities; and (x) rents.

Why you people have to make everything so complex is beyond me.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:16 AM on June 4, 2014 [28 favorites]


I was a back categorizer superstar!
posted by cjorgensen at 9:23 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wish the Law & Government questions had a pop-up that said WHERE THE FUCK DO YOU LIVE and you were required to answer it before you could submit the question. (Some people might word it differently.)
posted by desjardins at 9:28 AM on June 4, 2014 [33 favorites]


I recently asked a question looking for reading suggestions of a certain type, and was befuddled by what category to put it in. So I searched for previous "reading suggestion" questions, to see what other people did, and found that they were apparently befuddled as well (or at least not in agreement with each other).

Is it "Media and Arts"? Books certainly fall into that category, but I hesitated due to thinking the category title seemed more suited to the creation rather than consumption of such things.

Is it "Sports, Hobbies, and Recreation"? Well certainly reading can be a hobby and for recreation, but the pairing with "sports" made it seem like I would be kind of shoehorning it into the category - as if the "hobbies and recreation" mentioned therein were like "hiking".

Is it "Writing and Language"? Well... sort of.. maybe... but more "Writings" than "Writing", and "Language" brings to mind "linguistics" or "language learning" questions more than it does "books are generally written in some language".

Eventually I just stopped worrying and picked one more or less at random; I don't even remember which. But perhaps there are enough questions on books and reading to justify a more specific and obvious category for them?
posted by Flunkie at 9:36 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Surely a miscellaneous category would solve this AND ALL OTHER category requests? In fact, we could eliminate all other categories.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:53 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Surely a miscellaneous category

It's called grab bag, and even though there aren't any stats, I would guess that maybe 75% of my Ask history is "grab bag". If I have to think about the category for more than .02 seconds, it's grab bag.
posted by phunniemee at 10:19 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I like the idea, winterhill. You should be proud of your first pony!

I also second zarq'a suggestion of a Parenting category.
posted by bearwife at 10:20 AM on June 4, 2014


Would knowing your city, state, locality or country help people answer your question?  
If so, please fill in this optional field: [    ] 
posted by zarq at 10:36 AM on June 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


I'd like to see "Parenting" be given its own category.

Nice idea, but I see one problem: parenting generally involves humans relating to each other, so this would lead to lots of arbitrary line-drawing about whether a question is "parenting" or "human relations."
posted by John Cohen at 10:41 AM on June 4, 2014


It's fairly obvious to even the most unreasonable person that the terms "property" and/or "housing" are simply insufficient for cogent analysis, and the relevant categories should be: (a) corporeal hereditaments; and (b) incorporeal hereditaments, and category (a) aforementioned should be further subcategorised with respect to: (i) estates fee simple absolute; (ii) estates fee tail; and (iii) chattels, and (furtherto the above) category (b) should be subcategorised in relation to (i) advowsons; (ii) tithes; (iii) commons; (iv) ways; (v) offices; (vi) dignities; (vii) franchises; (viii) corodies and (viii-bis) pensions; (ix) annuities; and (x) rents.

I can't believe you left out easements.
posted by John Cohen at 10:45 AM on June 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Nice idea, but I see one problem: parenting generally involves humans relating to each other, so this would lead to lots of arbitrary line-drawing about whether a question is "parenting" or "human relations."

You can't ever really presume to know that your baby isn't a changeling, so a category separate from "human relations" would be appropriate.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:50 AM on June 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


I refer you to subcategory (iv) of category (b) abovelisted and Blackstone's commentary thereupon.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:51 AM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Err, in response to my learned friend Mr John Cohen QC.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:52 AM on June 4, 2014


John Cohen: " Nice idea, but I see one problem: parenting generally involves humans relating to each other, so this would lead to lots of arbitrary line-drawing about whether a question is "parenting" or "human relations.""

Parenting questions are not solely about human relations. They may involve any number of other categories, including travel, education, health, computers, diet/nutrition, psychology, etc., but be specific to issues that involve raising a child. Which would be the entire point of establishing a separate category -- it would aggregate questions that cover a wide range of topics by a common theme.

Also, the human relations category is already flooded with questions about adult dating, etiquette and relationships. Very few of which are related to parenting children.
posted by zarq at 10:52 AM on June 4, 2014


The only use I have for categories is to hide Human Relations in my MyAsk list, because I usually don't want to see that drama.
posted by smackfu at 11:09 AM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


This seems like a reasonable one to add.
posted by schmod at 11:09 AM on June 4, 2014


There should only be three choices:

- This
- That
- The other thing.
posted by k5.user at 11:18 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


DingoMutt: This thread makes me curious about how people use these categories - do many people read AskMe on a category-by-category basis?

The categories also serve purpose when setting up the MyAsk tab, which filters AskMe down to the subjects you're most likely to answer and/or want most to read.
posted by carsonb at 11:22 AM on June 4, 2014


There should only be three choices:

- This
- That
- The other thing.


Really, if you're going to get minimalist you can just go with

1. Known Unknowns
2. Unknown Unknowns

and then everything else goes on the Blue.
posted by carsonb at 11:23 AM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Cribs?
posted by Gringos Without Borders at 11:28 AM on June 4, 2014


1. Things included in one category of this list.

2. Things not included in one category of this list.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 11:48 AM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


How about we just have a category called "rich people"?

As my question history might indicate, I would love this.
posted by kate blank at 12:04 PM on June 4, 2014


Dear AskMe,

My trained suckling pig just broke my favourite flower vase...
posted by zamboni at 12:25 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


askme categories should be like jeopardy. potpourri. potent potables. actors and their roles. and....

daily doubles!
posted by bruce at 12:27 PM on June 4, 2014


I completely ignore categories entirely, except when I'm actually posting a question, and then I quickly pick whichever one best fits and don't worry if it's not a perfect match or there's more than one that could fit.

Which is kind of weird because I totally get grar about other kinds of taxonomy.
posted by aubilenon at 12:43 PM on June 4, 2014


Auto-categorized based on user-entered tags. All users can contribute tags to a question. Categories are dynamically generated.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:45 PM on June 4, 2014


klangklangston: "What about "Town and Country," you know, class the place up a bit."

Not with those shorts.
posted by boo_radley at 12:47 PM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Aw hal_c_on, a third of the comments in the thread are you being snarky. You need a hug?

You know if someone said that to me in public, I'd be all "Get off me, fool!". In a loud and commanding presence.

I wasn't being snarky, just funny. Because honestly, besides the behind-the-scenes tech people, this being implemented would bother NOBODY.

So if this makes the community feel even a little better...then lets figure out if its worth the tech demands, and lets not take any other thing into consideration. Because having this implemented does not bother the naysayers.

But you should also be warned, that nobody on here is trained on the taxonomy of posts. People have different definitions of home, housing, human relations, etc. Its just another category to be filed away accidentally because someone miscategorized their extremely useful-to-your-life question.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:04 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


You know if someone said that to me in public, I'd be all "Get off me, fool!". In a loud and commanding presence.

but then I would hug you anyway and you would know good hugs and you would plead for hugs all the time. true story
posted by billiebee at 1:10 PM on June 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


carsonb: The categories also serve purpose when setting up the MyAsk tab, which filters AskMe down to the subjects you're most likely to answer and/or want most to read.

Thanks, I didn't realize that! That actually does help explain why it might matter what tag a poster chooses for their question - I was half-thinking it was more just a harmless way of indulging our fussier sides.

(Also, parenting questions clearly go in 'Pets & Animals.')
posted by DingoMutt at 1:44 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Clearly changeling-related questions should get an in-between category that combines "Pets & Animals" and "Human Relations".

Also, if we get a "Life" category, I want one for "Death" too, and also "Undeath & Necromancy".
posted by NoraReed at 1:51 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Still holding out hope for the "Ballbearings / Round Objects / Metal" category.
posted by dobbs at 4:08 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


those belonging to the emperor
posted by Meatbomb at 4:37 PM on June 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


I asked for this very same pony in 2011!
posted by charmcityblues at 4:49 PM on June 4, 2014


DingoMutt: This thread makes me curious about how people use these categories - do many people read AskMe on a category-by-category basis?

I usually drill down into AskMe to read particular categories, such as Changelings or Towels & Linens.

Which brings me to my own pony request: Would it be possible to have the categories available on the mobile version?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:46 PM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


hal_c_on: "You know if someone said that to me in public, I'd be all "Get off me, fool!". In a loud and commanding presence."
billiebee: "but then I would hug you anyway and you would know good hugs and you would plead for hugs all the time. true story"

I favorited your comment billiebee but then I thought I should say NO HUGS TO THE UNCONSENTING EVER just to be clear that making jokes about unwanted touch is okay but unwanted touch itself is not okay.

Because sometimes MeTa is a very very literal-minded place. And not everyone needs a hug all the time.
posted by gingerest at 6:41 PM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


But you should also be warned, that nobody on here is trained on the taxonomy of posts.

Given the large number of Friends of Jessamyn in this place, I'm going to dispute that claim.
posted by Pink Frost at 7:15 PM on June 4, 2014


It's fairly obvious to even the most unreasonable person

I love that anywhere else on the internet this would just be the unremarkable start of an ordinary comment but here I know immediately that the quidnunc kid is speaking and I'm already smiling.

Cribs?

Human Relations, along with all the other questions about making the magic happen.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:51 PM on June 4, 2014


zarq:"Would knowing your city, state, locality or country help people answer your question?
If so, please fill in this optional field: [ ]
"

Too damn polite. Oh, hugs.... Sorry, I forgot that part.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 8:55 PM on June 4, 2014


phunniemee: "It's called grab bag, and even though there aren't any stats, I would guess that maybe 75% of my Ask history is "grab bag". If I have to think about the category for more than .02 seconds, it's grab bag."

I propose we rename "grab bag" to "grab ass", because Reasons.
posted by scrump at 9:22 PM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]



Dear AskMe,

My trained suckling pig just broke my favourite flower vase...


mason verger how are you even using the internet
posted by The Whelk at 10:50 PM on June 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I propose a new classification system, which is very simple. It's in the structure of a tree. The top level category is the first word of the question, the second level is the second word and so on. One can easily see that it would cover all possible questions perfectly, with no overlap or ambiguity.
posted by empath at 1:13 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


then I thought I should say NO HUGS TO THE UNCONSENTING EVER just to be clear that making jokes about unwanted touch is okay but unwanted touch itself is not okay.

Don't worry, I agree. I just figured you'd know I would never hug the unconsenting and anyway I'm thousands of miles away from most of y'all so you're safe from my hugs.
OR ARE YOU
posted by billiebee at 1:56 AM on June 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


What about using this pre-existing classification scheme?
posted by TedW at 5:44 AM on June 5, 2014


If I have to think about the category for more than .02 seconds, it's grab bag.

But laboriously thinking through the appropriate categorization is like 90% of the fun of anything!
posted by winna at 8:07 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Hear hear, TedW. That military science category is precisely what we've been missing!
posted by Andrhia at 9:10 AM on June 5, 2014


I vote for a parenting category and a housing category!
posted by Joh at 9:11 AM on June 5, 2014


What about using this pre-existing classification scheme?

I thought the categories were based on some standardized system? I don't see it mentioned in freya's "previously" link but I seem to remember it from another similar thread.
posted by mullacc at 12:32 PM on June 5, 2014


I think we should have a 'hug' category.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:04 PM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't even know what logic on the site is driven by the category system. My only interaction with it is picking the one that is sort of vaguely related to my AskMes.

Homestly, if AskMe categories were to disappear tomorrow, I probably wouldn't even notice.
posted by jcreigh at 9:40 PM on June 5, 2014


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