I think this Pony would be loved by many: previewing before 24 hours July 28, 2014 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Would it be possible to be able to preview your FPP, prior to your 24 hour time limit?

I discovered that I couldn't preview my FPP drafts until my 24 hours from my earlier FPP had expired. (I appreciate the countdown clock and it is nifty, btw.)

I would like to be able to check my HTML, and do a visual check of the composition of my FPP, prior to my 24 hours being up.

Currently I switch over to AskMe to do this, but I don't like doing this because I'm always slightly afraid I'll accidentally post my FPP somehow, then I'd have to email mods to delete it, and it's a whole kerfuffle. I'd also like to see it on the blue, not green - it's a small detail but I'd like to see as close an approximation prior to publishing as possible.

So - could we have a "preview" ability that isn't linked to posting? Something like a button that says - "preview only" and maybe the reminder countdown clock next to it?

I would find this immensely helpful - what do folks think?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome to Feature Requests at 1:00 PM (47 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Do it in Metatalk. But if you post it by accident, you are banned permanently.
posted by y2karl at 1:07 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hmmm....

Could it be done as a sandbox preview page linked from the help page or something?
posted by Jahaza at 1:08 PM on July 28, 2014


Seconding this pony request.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:08 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Asked and answered previously. The answer was no. I believe the feeling was that you could use whatever you like to compose and save and then paste in when you were ready, that there was no reason to use the site this way, since the 24 hour limit is more of a guideline and less of a starting pistol. It's not a matter of seeing how close to your last post you could go.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:15 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I hear what you're saying, but I think maintaining a separate post preview feature is going to end up confusing people more than it helps people. We'd end up with a lot of, "Where is the post button?" or "Why can I preview but not post?"

I'm wondering how often this really comes up. Once you make a post you can use the form again in 24 hours. Unless you're writing posts every day (which isn't the norm), it shouldn't come up too often.

If you do write posts that often you're in a pretty niche group. In that case you can use anything that shows HTML to get a sense of your post. You can create a local HTML file on your desktop, give it a blue or white background, and set the same fonts. Open it in a browser and you should get a pretty good sense of how it will look.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:19 PM on July 28, 2014


I'm wondering how often this really comes up.

ALL THE TIME!!!!!!
posted by zarq at 1:31 PM on July 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


     
posted by y2karl at 1:49 PM on July 28, 2014


Asked and answered previously.

Gah. I took a look at some of the previous MeTas on "previews" but didn't locate anything. Link?

If this indeed has been asked for "all the time", then I would argue that it is something the community would appreciate (or at least, some members of the community). People are asking for it, and getting 'noped' repeatedly.

If you do write posts that often you're in a pretty niche group.

Not sure about this. There are a few users who post every 24 hours, and they might find this helpful, too. Even if it were a niche group, if it would help frequent posters who are contributing to the MetaFilter community, it would be a good idea.

I never posted every day until this Julybywomen project, and decided it would be fun to see if I could overcome my fear of posting FPPs and "do my bit" for the project by posting every day. (It's been a blast, I really enjoy it.)

As someone who is posting every day, I can tell you that this would be immensely useful to me. My window for posting has moved steadily later and later in the day, as I check links and make sure everything is ticketyboo. I'm quite tired now at the 10:30 slot and more prone to making mistakes...

Which would mean more work for you, the mods, as I use the contact form to ask you to fix a link that I didn't catch because I was so tired.

In that case you can use anything that shows HTML to get a sense of your post. You can create a local HTML file on your desktop, give it a blue or white background, and set the same fonts. Open it in a browser and you should get a pretty good sense of how it will look.

Um, no. I don't know how to do this. I guess I could learn, but wouldn't it be easier to just let people have the ability - the choice, if they want it - to preview prior to their 24 hour clock expiring?

(Sorry, I know I've been posting alot of Metas lately, but I'm going to argue hard for this because it's a feature I really want! :)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:54 PM on July 28, 2014


Making it easier for people to obsessively post to the front page every day isn't necessarily something that is of great benefit to the community. The community thrives on having a multitude of voices, and on people making posts only when they have something really amazing to post about.

A small group of people pushing to find new things to post about every day isn't necessarily going to lead to the same quality of posts or diversity of voices that make the site amazing.

I know you're doing a thing for this month and that this is making it harder for you, but on the whole, the site isn't looking to have people post every single day, so a pony that encourages that would be counterproductive.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:00 PM on July 28, 2014 [16 favorites]


(Also: "might confuse people". We're stacking up user experiences and requests against a hypothetical "might". We don't know if it would, a simple time clock would remind people, and the count-down clock has already be added to the site, so adding it would be easy, I expect.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:01 PM on July 28, 2014


ALL THE TIME!!!!!!

Indeed.

But what I've been doing for planned posts is to do it outside of MeFi altogether, writing down a post in Notepad or something equally low tech, thus making it easy to punt into the posting form once you can post again. Because you can check links and speling without needing to preview, previewing itself is only a matter of a minute or two -- and how often does that matter when you post?
posted by MartinWisse at 2:12 PM on July 28, 2014


This would have been a very useful tool to have back when the Golden Girls were dropping like flies.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:16 PM on July 28, 2014


Thirded. I'm not streaking but have been posting more frequently than I used to. I hit the "nope, can't post yet" yesterday and was frustrated that I couldn't even draft a post using the New Post form.

In that case you can use anything that shows HTML to get a sense of your post.

Not really; MeFi has a different handling of blank lines to vanilla HTML. Saving as draft.html and opening into a browser collapses all the paragraphs together; posting the same to MeFi preserves the paragraph breaks. For all but the simplest single-para post, they're actually very different renderings. Drafting in "New Post" is useful here because "Preview" gives an accurate view of how MeFi will render the post.

(So maybe a related question: is there any way to persuade a browser to behave more like MeFi? Maybe the MeFi "live preview" javascript could be reused for some sort of local "check how your post might look on MeFi" page -- although (a) live preview isn't necessarily always the same as the full Preview, and (b) I'm not javascriptey enough to make such a thing myself.)

Another benefit of drafting in the "New Post" form: you get the automatic URL duplicate and recently-used-tags checking.

We'd end up with a lot of, "Where is the post button?" or "Why can I preview but not post?"

Not really; as you argue immediately after that, relatively few people post frequently enough to hit the 24-hour limit. (And probably most that do are pretty savvy about how the site works?)

The way I could see it working is: if the user is under the 24-hour limit, serve up the New Post page but with the "Post" button disabled in some visible (and accessible) way and with a "you cannot post yet because you posted a link within the last 24 hours; you can post again in XX hours YY minutes ZZ seconds; until then, you can use only the Preview feature".

(Although maybe would need that wordage at the top to avoid "WHAT I just wrote a whole post and NOW you tell me I can't post yet" frustration? Ho hum.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:17 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


writing down a post in Notepad or something equally low tech

GMail draft messages, here -- that way they sync between computers automatically.

But I'm not good enough with HTML to guarantee that my hand-crafted stuff won't have misformed links / unclosed tags etc. I always need to spend some time in the New Post form checking that everything is rendering and linking right.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:20 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


on the whole, the site isn't looking to have people post every single day,

Wait, since when? What's wrong with people posting every single day? I've done it for days/weeks at a stretch. Lots of other regular posters probably have, too. In all seriousness, is there something wrong with that?

so a pony that encourages that would be counterproductive.

How exactly would it be counterproductive?
posted by zarq at 2:33 PM on July 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


You could just set up a sockpuppet account -- not to post early from, but to use as your sandbox before switching to your regular account to post after the 24 hour limit.
posted by katemonster at 2:33 PM on July 28, 2014 [10 favorites]


*jaw drops*

That's a brilliant suggestion. Thanks, katemonster.
posted by zarq at 2:37 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


FWIW, when I was posting I often put them together in MarsEdit...
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:38 PM on July 28, 2014


You can also put post drafts in the 'About' portion of your profile. They'll render pretty much exactly as you'd see them on the post's page, minus some of the bells and whistles (tagline, more inside, etc).
posted by carsonb at 2:49 PM on July 28, 2014


Currently I switch over to AskMe to do this, but I don't like doing this because I'm always slightly afraid I'll accidentally post my FPP somehow, then I'd have to email mods to delete it

Don't put anything in the title field and that way you won't accidentally post something.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:52 PM on July 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Unless you're writing posts every day (which isn't the norm), it shouldn't come up too often.

There's an additional reason that membership in the post-a-day club is so exclusive: each day you have a later and later starting point for when you can post. In my case, I'm much more likely to do my posts in the evening. I start at 9:30 and if it takes me 20 minutes to organize the post before hitting submit, the following evening I can't post until 9:50, and if the same thing happens then the next night it's 10:10, and so on.

I've wondered sometime if we'd consider allowing FPPs every 20 hours or so--people who have a discrete block of time every day could then post once a day.

On the other hand, it's no big deal, I get that.
posted by MoonOrb at 3:13 PM on July 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Or a person could just skip one day and reset their clock by hours back to the beginning of their preferred time. Enabling people to more easily successively bang up against the hard limit of the daily posting limit seems like a useless feature easily outweighed by any single one of the potential support issues pb described. Users only managing 29 posts in 30 days seems like a trivial price to pay. Heck if anything we should up the limit to 25 hours to discourage this quasi stunt posting.

See also the many pony requests for assorted queueing features for AskMe both manual and automatic.
posted by Mitheral at 4:46 PM on July 28, 2014


When I woke up this morning I read this and was totally going to just build a fancy little Metafilter Post Preview tool for you, but now I'm in the office and have remembered I have a day job and a handful of small design gigs on my plate and about a million little bug fixes I want to work on on MFC sites and also a redesign of my main blog to get to and also converting one of my single-serving sites to static HTML and I just don't have enough coffee. Ah well. I guess I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:53 PM on July 28, 2014 [4 favorites]

Seconding this pony request.
posted by Jacqueline
Followed a "Page Down" later by
I know you're doing a thing for this month and that this is making it harder for you, but on the whole, the site isn't looking to have people post every single day, so a pony that encourages that would be counterproductive.
posted by jacquilynne
Wow, that confused me for a moment there.
posted by Flunkie at 5:13 PM on July 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


The nice thing about the MeFi preview page as opposed to any other HTML text field is that it shows you previous posts that use the same links along with posts that have used similar tags in the last few days. Super useful for avoiding doubles. It's also good for getting a rough idea how the post will look on the front page.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:22 PM on July 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wow, that confused me for a moment there.

Jacqueline and I agree on a great many things, but not everything.

I mean, so far, I think that might be just this, and how one best spells Jacquilynne, but there might be other things out there.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:26 PM on July 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Isn't this something that you can just use jsFiddle or Plunker for?

Bonus: Plunker MeFi Post Template
posted by schmod at 8:43 PM on July 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


No, because -- to re-iterate what I said above -- MeFi posting treats linebreaks differently than HTML.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:17 PM on July 28, 2014


I can rip the MeFi live preview code out and put it in the Plunkr, but it would unfortunately violate all sorts of copyrights. If I get the blessing of one of the higher-ups, I'd be happy to do that though...
posted by schmod at 10:36 PM on July 28, 2014


Users only managing 29 posts in 30 days seems like a trivial price to pay.

Even the most frequent MeFi posters usually don't create FPPs every single day for months on end. However, it's possible to find multiple things we would like to post at once (or during the same day,) and then need to space them out over one or more days. Happens to me a lot.

The idea that posting quickly after the 24-hour limit is "stunt posting" is bizarre to me. I've been doing that for years. A decent percentage of my posts were made within minutes or hours after the 24-hour limit expired from my previous one. None of those have been "stunts."
posted by zarq at 6:49 AM on July 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't think posting when your 24 hours is up because you found something else cool in the meantime is stunt posting, but if you're worried about the 10-15 minute time drift because you pressingly need to keep up your posting streak for a long time and the drift is causing you problems, that probably is stunt posting -- posting for the sake of posting, not posting for the sake of sharing something with the community. Which is cool occasionally, in the vein of JulyByWomen, but still not something I see as the sort of thing the site should be explicitly supporting.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:58 AM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


schmod, feel free to use the Live Preview code if you want.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:00 AM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Gah. I took a look at some of the previous MeTas on "previews" but didn't locate anything. Link?

I looked. I couldn't find it. I know it's been asked before, but I don't think it was asked a lot or anything.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:46 AM on July 29, 2014


I don't think posting when your 24 hours is up because you found something else cool in the meantime is stunt posting, but if you're worried about the 10-15 minute time drift because you pressingly need to keep up your posting streak for a long time and the drift is causing you problems, that probably is stunt posting -- posting for the sake of posting, not posting for the sake of sharing something with the community. Which is cool occasionally, in the vein of JulyByWomen, but still not something I see as the sort of thing the site should be explicitly supporting.

I know this has happened in AskMe once or twice. Usually because someone seems to get stuck in an obsessive rut over a specific problem.

But has it ever happened on the Blue? Does it happen frequently or even infrequently? I ask because if it has never (well, hardly ever) happened before then it doesn't seem likely that adding a 'preview posts early' feature will make much of a difference.

If the concern is that we'd see an increase in crummy dumb posts, I'm not really convinced that's going to be much of an issue
posted by zarq at 11:17 AM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


My concern is not really 'if we do this, it'll ruin the site, oh noes!' It's really more 'why spend precious PB cycles on this pony?'

But I've probably put more effort into posting on this thread than my actual opposition to this feature warrants and possibly as much as it would take PB to actually code this, so it's likely time for me to bow out. Because really, I'm not opposed to this feature being added. I don't think it will create any problems we don't already have. I just think it's a waste of time.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:34 AM on July 29, 2014


What's wrong with people posting every single day?

In theory, nothing. In practice, it doesn't scale. If you're a person who is good at posting, comfortable at posting and has things you want to post about, that's terrific. At the same time, there's a sort of attention economy on MetaFilter and I often think that sometimes it's the mannerly thing to do to NOT post all of the time. This is not, in any way, directed at you zarq. I like your posts and your participation here. There are some posters who I can think of who have slightly more narrowband interests (nothing wrong with that) or more issue-oriented posting styles (likewise) and I feel that posting frequently to MeFi can be a subtle way of perhaps unintentionally elevating your issues or topics above other people's. So like JulyByWomen for example was awesome not just because it increased the number of MeFites who posted, and female MeFites specifically, but also because it just increased the general diversity-of-ideas on the front page. And that's a net positive for the community.

Don't get me wrong, I love posting here and I think all of my ideas are terrific and wonderful. But to me, posting frequently is still using a community resource to talk about the ideas that I want to talk about or share or whatever. And in an attention economy this has small effects on the amount of community/mod/world attention for other topics. So obviously drawn to its logical conclusion this is ridiculous because no one would post and that's stupid. But for me, I try to make sure that I'm shutting up as much as I'm posting because I like having a MetaFilter that isn't just about my topics and sometimes the way to make it that way is something that I can't actually do myself but through creating room (and being supportive and mentoring and all that other stuff) and letting that happen without me.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:32 PM on July 29, 2014 [13 favorites]


My concern is not really 'if we do this, it'll ruin the site, oh noes!' It's really more 'why spend precious PB cycles on this pony?'

*nod* That makes a ton of sense to me.
posted by zarq at 12:49 PM on July 29, 2014


I never imagined anyone would be following a daily quota-filling routine for the blue. Isn't the quality threshold supposed to be a lot higher? Metafilter isn't tumblr. If anything, maybe the limit for new posts could be increased to two or three days to allow for more time to reflect on what is worth an FPP?
posted by dodecapus at 4:38 PM on July 29, 2014


I never imagined anyone would be following a daily quota-filling routine for the blue. Isn't the quality threshold supposed to be a lot higher? Metafilter isn't tumblr. If anything, maybe the limit for new posts could be increased to two or three days to allow for more time to reflect on what is worth an FPP?

Posts that aren't high quality enough for MetaFilter can still be deleted. This isn't exactly a call to arms for thin, meaningless posts just to meet some notional goal. There are thousands of female MeFites--if just a few of them make a post about something they think is interesting enough to share with other people than the goal can be met. Suggesting people need to reflect on what makes for a proper FPP is sort of obnoxious in the absence of evidence of really thin, shitty FPPs. You may not agree, but I'd argue the consensus is that this month there's been a wealth of terrific FPPs. Why wouldn't the expectation be that this would continue until the end of the month?
posted by MoonOrb at 4:58 PM on July 29, 2014


I'd argue the consensus is that this month there's been a wealth of terrific FPPs.

I've been kinda fatigued by the increased levels of front page activity this month, actually. Not by the topics, just the frequency.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:22 PM on July 29, 2014


I never imagined anyone would be following a daily quota-filling routine for the blue. Isn't the quality threshold supposed to be a lot higher?

Isn't the quality threshold already upheld by deleting weak posts?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:27 PM on July 29, 2014


The post every day to get a Foo posts in Foo days streak isn't some new phenomenon. There are at least a couple 4 digit user number contributors who were known for that kind of thing at a time where it was even more obvious because post volumes were smaller.
posted by Mitheral at 6:38 PM on July 29, 2014


FWIW: the "preview during the lockout" suggestion was raised tangentially by Rhaomi and answered by cortex in this thread:
The thing about building a preview-but-then-you-can't-post function is it's taking a step down the road to "okay but then can I save my post" and an internal draft-management system, which we really don't particularly want to do.
so "draft" might be a good search term for finding previous MeTa discussion of similar questions/issues.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:43 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


If it's just about seeing how things look after going through the specific formatting/filtering that MeFi does, couldn't the post just be previewed in a comment or (as already mentioned) in AskMe or MeTa? I'm with those that aren't particularly opposed to the idea, despite being convinced that it would ultimately lead to 'we desperately need to be able to queue posts up so they publish immediately after the deadline', but feel that limited resources need to be used where there is greater need.

Not that it would help with the formatting thing, but people are welcome to pre-post their stuff on MetaChat, which is currently woefully short of people posting cool stuff. Think of it as a beta test for your post.
posted by dg at 12:58 PM on July 30, 2014


For what it's worth, there are two benefits to previewing a post through the MetaFilter post form: first, the link checker is great for picking up previous posts that might duplicate or be tangential to the post you're working on, and second, it's a lot easier to check tags through the post preview, again to double-check for duplicates or good related posts.

Drafting a post as a sockpuppet is the easy fix to this "problem." Personally, I preview posts as comments in threads, which allows me to use the handy-dandy bold, italics and link builder shortcuts, but it misses the two benefits I mentioned above.

But I wholly agree that this is not really a significant problem, and dissuading users from posting with such frequency isn't a bad idea (says the guy who is guilty of sequential posting), as detailed by jessamyn.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:41 PM on July 30, 2014


I discovered that I couldn't preview my FPP drafts until my 24 hours from my earlier FPP had expired.

yes, yesssssss, come over to the dark side....
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:07 AM on July 31, 2014 [2 favorites]


We have cookies!

Fun fact: you used to be able to push the "post this to mefi" button on a Project and draft up a post (but not actually post) before your 24 hours were up, until pb closed that loophole.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:19 PM on August 1, 2014


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