mefi2book December 8, 2014 10:30 AM   Subscribe

I've created a script that converts a Metafilter thread into a PDF designed for printing in book form, including title page and contributor index. I used lulu.com to print a few and they look pretty good. posted by gwint to MetaFilter-Related at 10:30 AM (121 comments total) 113 users marked this as a favorite

Oh, for those interested, PDF samples:

Edward Snowden thread
AskMeFi thread on How to Spot an Amateur
Metatalk Hurricane Irene thread
posted by gwint at 10:35 AM on December 8, 2014


This is one of the coolest things I can possibly imagine.
posted by Miko at 10:37 AM on December 8, 2014 [15 favorites]


Pretty keen! The formatting is pretty great, and I'm interested in mucking around with the source code to tweak the layout options.

{hamburger} I look forward to seeing MetaFilter get into the book publishing racket game, much like Wikipedia. {/hamburger}
posted by filthy light thief at 10:44 AM on December 8, 2014


This is awesome.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:52 AM on December 8, 2014


This looks great. But doesn't this run afoul of the copyright part of the FAQ?

However if you wanted to publish a book of other people's MetaFilter comments you'd need to speak with those individual users; MetaFilter is not the owner of the copyright of that content.
posted by FreezBoy at 10:54 AM on December 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


Would be appropriate for historical documents.
posted by Kabanos at 10:54 AM on December 8, 2014


You missed NaNoGenMo by a week! This is awesome.
posted by jdherg at 10:56 AM on December 8, 2014


Wow, very neat! I agree with FreezBoy, but it still looks really neat.
posted by cashman at 10:56 AM on December 8, 2014


A selection of Metafilter comments, complete with updates from people over the years about their lives, would make an amazing book.
posted by Melismata at 10:57 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


now to pick the goofiest post around to print and give as a gift.
posted by boo_radley at 10:57 AM on December 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


doesn't this run afoul of the copyright part of the FAQ?

To be clear: I'm not selling the books or making the ones I've created available. The script just creates a PDF, then if you desire to make a personal object out of it, it's up to you.
posted by gwint at 10:59 AM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


However if you wanted to publish a book of other people's MetaFilter comments you'd need to speak with those individual users; MetaFilter is not the owner of the copyright of that content.

My feeling there is that we're talking about publish as in "with intent to sell/distribute", not merely in the sense of "cause to take physical form". It's okay to print a thread out on your printer at home; it's okay to print yourself a copy in fancy PDF-ified form from an on-demand press; it's not okay to start a bookstore called Unauthorized Mefi Threads Inc. where you sell bound copies of threads to third parties without explicit permission/license from the folks who commented therein.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:59 AM on December 8, 2014 [13 favorites]


Or what cortex said.
posted by gwint at 11:00 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


now to pick the goofiest post around to print and give as a gift.

Alphabet thread.
posted by Kabanos at 11:03 AM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


boo_radley: now to pick the goofiest post around to print and give as a gift.

My two suggestions from this year: JokeFilter and The Most "Dad" Things Ever
posted by filthy light thief at 11:04 AM on December 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


Was instantly reminded of this FPP about the ethics of printing stuff off of Flickr.

Wow... What does it say about me that a five year old FPP and ensuing conversation is that close at hand, mentally speaking?
posted by ODiV at 11:05 AM on December 8, 2014


Kabanos: "Alphabet thread."

"I promise you can play alphabet, every answer is a question or recipe game in here if you promise not to actually need the mods for anything."
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:54 PM on May 15, 2013

This is the most mom post ever.
posted by boo_radley at 11:08 AM on December 8, 2014 [17 favorites]


oh my god, it uses tags for publication topics :3:
posted by boo_radley at 11:09 AM on December 8, 2014


Wonderful. I assume everyone else also immediately turned to the index to look for their name. Everyone? Hello?

How much did it cost to print them?
posted by benito.strauss at 11:09 AM on December 8, 2014


I have two complaints:

1. You didn't ask me permission to print my comments.
2. You didn't print any of my comments.
posted by ODiV at 11:20 AM on December 8, 2014 [29 favorites]


Am I the only one here that immediately went off to see if unauthorizedmefithreads.com was taken?
posted by el io at 11:29 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


My layout question/comment is that the PDfs are showing a lot of unfortunate page breaks where the user name is on the next page. Is there a way to address that?
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:29 AM on December 8, 2014


That is way cool. It's a little disconcerting that they look so nice.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:29 AM on December 8, 2014 [7 favorites]


Just found out the hyperlinks are clickable in the PDF... nice...
posted by one4themoment at 11:31 AM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am thinking of printing out some of the more contentious MeTas, so I can seal the booklets in lead boxes with mystical wards and let them stew for seven years. After that time, I can judiciously add them to curses to provide extra potency. Not that this plan would turn on me and destroy everything I hold dear....
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:31 AM on December 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


Would someone be willing to make a .pdf of the thread that won BESTEST POSTEST EVER DECEMBER 2014 (or another category) and offer it as a prize for the December best post contest?

If someone's willing to do that part, I'd be willing to put up $ to have it printed for the winner.

Not trying to put anyone on the spot (especially you, gwint), particularly as I have no idea how much effort it would take - just sliding it out there as an idea.
posted by barchan at 11:35 AM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


How much did it cost to print them?

About $15-20 a pop, plus shipping. Lulu usually has active coupon codes available as well.
posted by gwint at 11:35 AM on December 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


My layout question/comment is that the PDfs are showing a lot of unfortunate page breaks where the user name is on the next page. Is there a way to address that?

Yeah, that's a tough one. With automation, it would be a trade off between comments/usernames getting cut off and weird extra space at the bottom of pages. I asked a friend who does book design for a living about it and he said "That's why I get paid to do book design for a living."
posted by gwint at 11:37 AM on December 8, 2014 [27 favorites]


This is great.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:38 AM on December 8, 2014


Widows and orphans.

Just create a rule for them.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:40 AM on December 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


Like "send 'em to the dogs" or "let the church take care of them"? You know, winter is coming, and we have so many mouths to feed as it is ...

OH! You meant regarding formatting. Right. Heh, I sound like a right curmudgeon, don't I. Hrm. Well.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:44 AM on December 8, 2014 [15 favorites]


Is there a way that pre-2006 inline images can appear as engravings?
posted by Kabanos at 11:47 AM on December 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


How do I actually use this script? I have Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc, at my disposal. I have Greasemonkey installed. Is this something I can install and then click a "button" or a hyperlink to run? or is this a something else? I am obviously not a programmer or much more than a daring user willing to follow directions, even multi-step ones.

Or is it self explanatory and I missed something?
posted by 724A at 12:00 PM on December 8, 2014


it's okay to print yourself a copy in fancy PDF-ified form from an on-demand press

Serious question: What about giving them as gifts? I can think of some super-useful posts on the green that would make great gifts for specific people. But it doesn't feel right, at a gut level.
posted by jbickers at 12:15 PM on December 8, 2014


Okay, I'll bite. What's wrong with post 9622?
posted by benito.strauss at 12:21 PM on December 8, 2014


filthy light thief: "Like "send 'em to the dogs" or "let the church take care of them"?"

You dropped what was the PERFECT chance to quote A Christmas Carol.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:21 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wow, this is so awesome.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 12:23 PM on December 8, 2014


Chrysostom: You dropped what was the PERFECT chance to quote A Christmas Carol.

I would normally take offense at such tasteless banter and laughter at my expense. However, in view of the general gaiety of the occasion, I am inclined to overlook it. The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigor, then?
posted by filthy light thief at 12:39 PM on December 8, 2014


Serious question: What about giving them as gifts?

Do you have a reasonable expectation that the recipient of that gift would turn around and try to capitalize on it as a resale opportunity or otherwise misuse the gift in a way that violates the spirit of the copyright notice? If so, do not give it as a gift. Otherwise, it seems like a non-issue, at least in terms of the copyright/publishing ethics. Whatever other concerns are tied up in such an idea are their own discussion, I figure.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:44 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is a neat thing you made.
posted by odinsdream at 1:10 PM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Widows and orphans.

Just create a rule for them.


Well, it's not like there's just a simple css rule I can apply... wait, what? O_o

I'll see if I can incorporate those as an optional switch. <geek>The script relies on the wkhtmltopdf library, which uses WebKit for the heavy lifting html->pdf conversion, so if that lib supports those css rules, it should be possible.</geek>


How do I actually use this script?

Well, unfortunately for now, it can only be used on the command line (i.e. Terminal) and requires you install some additional software, so if you're not comfortable with a little bit of unix, it might be tricky. I might set it up as a webservice if there's really a demand for it, but probably not.


offer it as a prize for the December best post contest

I'd be happy to do this, but realize that most threads are not actually long enough for a hardcover book. Several hundred comments are needed at least generally. The Wiki has a list of longest threads, if you're interested.
posted by gwint at 1:14 PM on December 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


Alphabet thread.

Oh, grief. Every time I see that, end up with flashbacks to the night of a bottle of gin, keyboard thumping and muttering "Just for once, in this life packed with disappointments and near-misses, I WILL have the last word, Goddamit".

Haven't drunk gin since.
posted by Wordshore at 1:15 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Excellent! This completely eliminates the need for my manservant, who prints a weekly digest of prominent Metafilter threads for me to peruse during those times the ComSat is down on my GS-V. This will save me well over $100,000 per annum, not including all the benefits, bonuses and per diems that my manservant requires. Splendid!
posted by slogger at 1:15 PM on December 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


Want to totally geek out make one that exports to flowable ePub.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:17 PM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Whoa gwint, that is so cool! Enjoyed your video too.

I am contemplating hiding the mefi books at my local library! Those books will still be there long after the internet has ceased to exist. :-)
posted by travelwithcats at 1:19 PM on December 8, 2014


I'd be happy to do this, but realize that most threads are not actually long enough for a hardcover book.

hmmm oh I didn't think of that, good point. But wouldn't a truly excellent post spur a healthy thread long enough? *grin* So probably not. Thank you for offering, though.

(Although - not to take advantage of your offer - do I read you right in that we could offer a winner their choice of one of those longer threads? I'd be up for that if you're willing. This is just so cool.)
posted by barchan at 1:25 PM on December 8, 2014


Is there a way that pre-2006 inline images can appear as engravings?

They tried. The first engraver ran out into a storm and was never seen again. The second crushed themselves to death in a press. The third was institutionalized, where they rock and mutter something about elephants and chickens to this day.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:52 PM on December 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


I would love for the output of this to be epub rather than pdf.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:53 PM on December 8, 2014


I have absolutely no use for this, but I love it!
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:04 PM on December 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've solved the whole copyright "problem" by simply creating extra MetaFilter accounts and endlessly arguing with myself in MetaTalk threads. Then I print that thread up as a book, and as I own the copyright to all the comments anyway there's no legal issue. Wait, that doesn't make sense. Yes it does, you idiot - if you had any brains at all you'd realise that. No you stupid fool, and also you have to log into the OTHER ACCOUNTS to have an argument. Yeah, dickhead - you can't just argue with yourself. Oh yeah? Who fucking died and made you guys President and Vice-President of my life? Fuck off, the both of you. Sorry to interject everyone, but you can't use language like "fuck off" about another user here. Umm, hello? I'm using it about MYSELF? Oh please if this shitty troll isn't banned immediately I'll close my account in protest. Fuck that - I'm closing my account now. Have fun with your mindless circle jerk, everyone. Yeah, actually - I'm closing my account too. I hope you all feel proud of yourself. Well THAT went well. I guess that's why I can't have nice things. Wait, can't I? Shit.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 2:06 PM on December 8, 2014 [7 favorites]


MY PUBLISHED WORKS CAN NOW NUMBER INTO THE THOUSANDS.
posted by The Whelk at 2:07 PM on December 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


I love this but when I tried running it on OSX 10.10.1, I got the following error:

steven@WorkMac ~/temp/mefi2book (master %=)$ node mefi2book.js -p 23524 -s metatalk

events.js:72
throw er; // Unhandled 'error' event
^
Error: spawn ENOENT
at errnoException (child_process.js:1001:11)
at Process.ChildProcess._handle.onexit (child_process.js:792:34)


I installed node.js, set my NODE_PATH, installed wkhtmltopdf, xpdf and npm. I ran npm update I don't know a lot about node.js. Am I missing a dependency?
posted by double block and bleed at 2:07 PM on December 8, 2014


Wait, which quidnunc kid is #1, now...?
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:11 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wait, which quidnunc kid is #1, now...?

He is! No, I am. Don't listen to them Genji, I'm over here. No you aren't!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 2:16 PM on December 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


double block and bleed: Add the "--verbose" switch and run again to see how far in the script you get. MeFi Mail me the results and I'll try to figure out what your issues is.
posted by gwint at 2:18 PM on December 8, 2014


gwint: "How do I actually use this script?

Well, unfortunately for now, it can only be used on the command line (i.e. Terminal) and requires you install some additional software, so if you're not comfortable with a little bit of unix, it might be tricky. I might set it up as a webservice if there's really a demand for it, but probably not.
"

Thank you for the answer. I am not a command line user, but would give it a shot, however, as neat as this is, I think the effort and risk outweigh the benefit to me.

Liked the video.
posted by 724A at 2:19 PM on December 8, 2014


This is awesome. And now I am on a quest to figure out how to hack it so that it uses the long s.
posted by scrump at 2:44 PM on December 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


If hyperlinks in "The Post" and "The Comments" could be turned into footnotes, that would be incredible.

For example:

This sentence contains an example link.

could be rendered as:

This sentence contains an example link.1

1 http://www.example.com
posted by jedicus at 2:51 PM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Gosh, it's just so pretty looking.
posted by liquorice at 2:53 PM on December 8, 2014


Ooohhh...and if internal links to the same thread2 could be turned into supra references, that would be mindbogglingly cool.

2 See comment by jedicus, page 123, supra.

That would probably required a 2nd pass to set the page numbers after the initial typesetting, similar to building the index.
posted by jedicus at 2:54 PM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


I would love for the output of this to be epub rather than pdf.

Agreed. Not this isn't cool, but PDFs seem so outdated in terms of creating web content.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:00 PM on December 8, 2014


MetaFilter: I have absolutely no use for this, but I love it!
posted by ocherdraco at 3:02 PM on December 8, 2014 [10 favorites]


My best friend had a kid yesterday and love the "Most Dad" thread, and now I want to give him a book. But I can't figure out the programming magic that needs to make it happen. Can somebody help a brother out and send me a .pdf?

<3
posted by craven_morhead at 3:04 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


How about we say for the next few days (from now until Friday) if anyone Mefi Mails me the thread they want, I'll provide the PDF?
posted by gwint at 3:11 PM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yay! Thanks very much.
posted by craven_morhead at 3:20 PM on December 8, 2014


double block and bleed, I was getting the same thing until I installed wkhtmltopdf and pdftotext manually. After that, smooth PDFing. Thanks gwint, nice work.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:34 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


FYI, for other OSX people, here's what I did to get it working. I'm on Yosemite, 10.10.1, and use brew.

First, installed various thingummies and bobs:
  1. Downloaded the source code in zip format.
  2. Unzipped the source code in /tmp.
  3. Did some basic brew maintenance:
    • brew update to get the latest brew, and
    • brew doctor to clean up any brew messiness.
  4. Updated XCode to 6.1.1 via the App Store.
  5. Installed node.js with brew install node.
  6. Downloaded and manually installed wkhtmltopdf; I used the 32-bit OSX 10.6+ installer.
  7. Downloaded and manually installed XQuartz, which is needed for xpdf, because brew doesn't install XQuartz.
  8. Installed xpdf (which includes pdftotext) using brew install xpdf.
Next, MADE MAGIC.

After completing the installation, I executed the script:
  1. From /tmp, [shell:/tmp] cd mefi2book-master
  2. [shell:/tmp/mefi2book-master] node mefi2book.js -p 128901 --verbose
    Reading post from CACHE
    Title: I do not expect to see home again.
     with 1039 comments
    Building first pass PDF
    Done with first pass
    Converting PDF to json
    Found 349 pages
    Building final PDF
    Done with final PDF!
  3. In /tmp/mefi2book-master, looked for the resulting PDF with [shell:/tmp/mefi2book-master] ls *.pdf:
    www_metafilter_128901.pdf
  4. Memailed gwint to tell him he's awesome.

posted by scrump at 3:35 PM on December 8, 2014 [10 favorites]


I was going to make ocherdraco's joke, but I was on my iPad. I'm glad I did a search when I got on my laptop.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:41 PM on December 8, 2014


This is so cool! The only drawback is that it caused me to think about the number of bookcases I'd need to contain a book for every MeFi thread I've ever read over the years, which became a little overwhelming to think about when I realized that just one of the longboat threads would run 356 pages long.

This means I could live in a library castle with nothing but MeFi threads on the shelves! I can't decide if this would be a dream or a nightmare. The MetaTalk wing would almost certainly be a nightmare.
posted by dialetheia at 3:56 PM on December 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


I can't decide if this would be a dream or a nightmare.

As the wise man said...
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:25 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is the most mom post ever.

At a job where you're exected to "keep an eye on" MeTa threads, it seemed fair. Those indexes are so darned lovely looking.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:44 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Alright, I would like to read a short story a la Library of Babel about the library that contains every thread in the form of a bound book, and the people who live there. I assume these people are scholars, some specializing in particular topics, both broad (politics) and obscure (honey badger videos), others specialize in particular members, and others work on eras or time periods (again, sometimes spanning several years, and sometimes as little as a day).

They hold conferences, where they present papers like "PB: The man, his code, his soul." and "The Great Espousing of 2009: Understanding the Marriage Patterns of Brandon Blatcher" or "Hoaxes and Detectives and Metafilter." and of course "Rethinking the Beanplate: A reconsideration, focusing more on the plate and less on the beans."

Every second Tuesday there are workshops of various sorts. These include cooking classes like "advanced bean-plating" and "soft-core tater-tot casserole." On the non-cooking class Tuesdays, food specialists give seminars like "Can I still eat these beans I plated last week?" or "how long is soft-core tater-tot casserole good for if you kept under your cat?".

Who will write this story?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:48 PM on December 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


Not to seem ungrateful, but can you now do a post as an illustrated manuscript with gold leaf?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:49 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Torn between:

a) So cool!!

b) Mefi threads are that long?! (While scrolling I get to pretend that they're short and hence take no time to read, but this sorta messes with my denial about how much time I spend here.)

But on balance a) definitely wins!
posted by ferret branca at 7:18 PM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Those are some hefty books: this really gives a new perspective on the sheer number of words I apparently read on MeFi.
posted by snap, crackle and pop at 7:33 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wow, I miss a lot of the wit and the New Yorkers that used to hang around here (and were lost to twitter I think? maybe Connecticut?)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:36 PM on December 8, 2014


I am thinking of printing out some of the more contentious MeTas, so I can seal the booklets in lead boxes with mystical wards and let them stew for seven years.

After failing to pay the monthly fee for the storage shed partway into the third year, GenjiandProust would inadvertently become the instrumental cause of most of the religious wars of the 28th century, as well as most of the religions.
posted by XMLicious at 7:39 PM on December 8, 2014 [7 favorites]


You have no idea what you've done.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:11 PM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Missed Secret Quonsmas by thaaat much. This is very cool!
posted by Room 641-A at 9:56 PM on December 8, 2014


Unauthorizedmefithreads.com is where I will sell grey-market "Special Snowflake" reprint tees.

Seriously, neat idea, Gwint.
posted by Alterscape at 9:59 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Of the threads I have posted, I think this one most deserves this treatment.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:24 PM on December 8, 2014


This is super cool. I wonder how hard it would be to have link URLs appear as footnotes...
posted by junco at 10:37 PM on December 8, 2014


Really very nice.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:05 AM on December 9, 2014


The "things you didn't know you were doing wrong" three would be awesome for this. Especially if the last page said "Reading Metafilter in book form instead of joining the community."

Thread
posted by IndigoRain at 2:25 AM on December 9, 2014


CAPS LOCK DAY: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:15 AM on December 9, 2014 [7 favorites]


Seriously, this is awesome. Great job!
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:15 AM on December 9, 2014


So cool!

realize that most threads are not actually long enough for a hardcover book.

So next project: chapter book compendium of shorter threads? Say, all posts by user number xxxxxx, or if xxxxxx is prolific, all posts of the past month or year and/or from one subsite? Best present ever for everyone on your Quonsar list.
posted by daisyace at 5:05 AM on December 9, 2014


realize that most threads are not actually long enough for a hardcover book.
Here are some to keep you busy.
Seriously this is very cool in a very nerdy sort of way; especially that links in the pdf are clickable.
posted by adamvasco at 5:30 AM on December 9, 2014


This is really well done :)
posted by carter at 5:48 AM on December 9, 2014


This is awesome. And now I am on a quest to figure out how to hack it so that it uses the long s.

MS Word macro for this is in this zip file along with some traditional fonts, hack away!
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:22 AM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


now to pick the goofiest post around to print and give as a gift.

Wasn't there a post on the blue where someone waited til it was off the front page and then just started posting over and over again til it go archived, and no one noticed? Also makes copyright issues easy because you only have to talk to one person.
posted by DynamiteToast at 6:30 AM on December 9, 2014


I'm voting the quidnunc kid #1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:57 AM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


Nothing even remotely clever to say except for how neat I think this is. The index is gorgeous and fascinating. (And surprising -- I'm shocked I didn't comment in the Snowden thread.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:07 AM on December 9, 2014


Re anthologies: It might be interesting to poke around the infodump looking for sets of threads that share tags and whose combined length hits a particular target.
posted by Jpfed at 7:09 AM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought lulu was for women to rate guys on FB. But there's another lulu! Twist!
posted by discopolo at 7:15 AM on December 9, 2014


I got it working. I love this. This is my new way of reading the site offline.

Here's this post so far (pdf link, obvs.)

One thing that I noticed is that this program caches mefi posts. If you print an open post and later want to post the updates to that post, you'll need to delete the contents of the mefi2book/mefi2book_cached_files_here folder.
posted by double block and bleed at 7:39 AM on December 9, 2014


Wasn't there a post on the blue where someone waited til it was off the front page and then just started posting over and over again til it go archived, and no one noticed?

I think that was our dearly missed bradlands.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:40 AM on December 9, 2014 [6 favorites]


I think that was our dearly missed bradlands.

Thanks, that's what I was thinking about though I misremembered it a little.
posted by DynamiteToast at 8:15 AM on December 9, 2014


Was there also a metatalk thread that was similar? It went off the front page with no comment, and then one person kept posting until it was archived? I was trying to find it the other day, but no luck.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:20 AM on December 9, 2014


This one, SpacemanStix. We're a bunch of wankers.
posted by Melismata at 8:38 AM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I remember that too, SpacemanStix, but I thought it was an AskMe thread. Someone asked a question about something quite introspective and then kept a sort of journal in the thread until (I think) jessamyn asked him to give it a rest.

That bradlands thread is terrific!
posted by daisyk at 8:38 AM on December 9, 2014


TRY PRINTING THIS THREAD
posted by psoas at 8:41 AM on December 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


Can a MetaTalk post win the Best Post Contest? Because this gets my vote.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:49 AM on December 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yes, that's it, thanks. That might be one of my favorites of all time.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:50 AM on December 9, 2014


This is so fun!
posted by Wretch729 at 10:01 AM on December 9, 2014


Holy shit, ascii art in threads comes out looking amazing too. I really like the typesetting of the whole thing, very well done gwint!
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:24 AM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Agreed. Not this isn't cool, but PDFs seem so outdated in terms of creating web content."

What I had in mind was, obviously, ebook readers. There's been lots of times I would have liked to have a MeFi thread as an ebook to read on my Kindle at my leisure, but the out-of-the-box tools available for doing this result in something that's not very readable.

For those like myself who use it, Calibre includes an automated "fetch news" function, which can periodically pull web content and convert it into any of the myriad formats that Calibre understands, including epub, azw3, and pdf. And it has a kind of scripting in the form of what it calls "recipes" for parsing and formatting the html and rss feeds of its "news" sources ... but I've not bothered to put any effort into becoming familiar with this. It could, with a lot of effort, produce ebooks of MeFi threads. I keep hoping someone else will do all the work. :)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:57 AM on December 9, 2014


This faux- vintage Penguin book cover is available, for anyone planning on printing a paperback version of that post mathowie made a while back.
posted by Kabanos at 12:06 PM on December 9, 2014 [5 favorites]


psoas: "TRY PRINTING THIS THREAD"

Here it is

(It took a very long time, but didn't crash.)
posted by double block and bleed at 1:03 PM on December 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Thanks as I was wondering how I'd get around to reading my backlog of Mefi/AskMefi threads I'd starred but never fully paid attention to. Although, mixed feelings on PDFs since they are somewhat large files and unwieldy vs epub.

Not to mention I have way too many threads to ask someone to convert all of them to PDFs out of curiosity.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 2:24 PM on December 9, 2014


This is awesome, and you should feel awesome for making it.
posted by schmod at 3:03 PM on December 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think when my next MeFiversary rolls around I'm going to treat myself to a hardbound version of the Sleep is where Ralph Wiggum is a Viking thread, which was my introduction to MetaFilter.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:20 PM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


Just ran it on a favorite AskMe and was sold by the index. What nice formatting! I like how the OP comments are indented (though, I think I'll futz around with the template, for fun). Also, my first time using node.js besides a horrendous work project, and pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to install everything when you don't have IT dictators thwarting your every download. Merry Christmas gwint!
posted by bluefly at 3:43 PM on December 9, 2014


Thanks a lot gwint this is amazing. Didn't know about wkhtmltopodf but it looks like it could help me in a few other projects.
posted by motdiem2 at 11:10 PM on December 9, 2014


This is great. I'm busy printing out all the joke threads to prepare for holiday parties.
posted by maurice at 7:09 AM on December 10, 2014


Wow, this is utterly amazing. The Dad jokes and One go-to joke threads might make quality Christmas gifts for the right person!
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:42 PM on December 11, 2014


I got one (thanks gwint). It's so lovely.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 4:43 PM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Has anyone checked how long the 9/11 thread ends up being in this format?
posted by odinsdream at 6:45 PM on December 12, 2014


9/11 thread is 121 pages. Weird, I never noticed the typo in the title.
posted by gwint at 7:01 AM on December 13, 2014


I got one too. Looks great!
posted by pb (staff) at 12:20 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Holy shit that is myst-level awesomeness.
posted by odinsdream at 1:12 PM on December 22, 2014


« Older Mefites' Choice 2014 winners, Week One   |   in celebration of Anitanola Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments