This pony prances about in the meadow, with butterflies, ribbons, etc. November 2, 2015 8:02 PM   Subscribe

Can we have comments/fpps that have been sidebarred noted on the fpp page itself or, if it is a comment, in-thread? Also - can we have auto-notification to people when their comments or posts have been sidebarred?

I was combing through some previous MetaTalks when I saw this one from 2012 asking if this is possible; I'd like to revisit the possibility of these small improvements, if they can be automated and do not unduly burden the mods with more work.

I think there was concern that, too, that if a comment that has been side-barred was marked somehow in-thread, that it would change the conversation a bit; what do you all think of this?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome to Feature Requests at 8:02 PM (41 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

My feeling on this is roughly the same as the consensus that seemed to emerge in that previous MetaTalk, just quickly -

- Notifying somebody if their comment/post gets sidebarred, I'm on board. I don't know the ins-and-outs of how we would make that happen, so we need to wait for pb for an actual answer on this, but I think in principle this is doable.

- Labeling comments in-thread as "sidebarred", I'm not on board. I think it would be weird, draw attention to things in a way that ends up being awkward or disruptive or puts more emphasis on the sort of metacommentary aspect that isn't supposed to be the focus of a thread conversation.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:07 PM on November 2, 2015 [16 favorites]


I worry that it might encourage a more competitive/performative element to mefi - an element already present to a small degree, and not one that I like overmuch. Lots of great comments never get sidebarred; I wouldn't really like anything that sets one comment more apart from each other, in that respect.
posted by smoke at 11:22 PM on November 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


a more competitive/performative element to mefi - an element already present to a small degree, and not one that I like overmuch

Maybe you'd like it more if you were winning
posted by aubilenon at 1:26 AM on November 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think notifying people when their comments are sidebarred would be nice. (I also think it would be nice if people were auto-notified when their comments were flagged as fantastic, even if they didn't make the sidebar, but maybe that's another Meta?)

It wouldn't bother me if comments were highlighted in some way in the thread. Maybe my impression is wrong, but a lot of the comments that make the Best Of tend to be interesting, factual ones. So it's not like it would be a marker that "this person's opinion is more important than everyone else's", leading to eye-rolling about the usual suspects. I don't know why a small [sidebarred] tag would be any more distracting to the thread than a comment with tons of favourites. Unless it's to do with the fact that a mod has chosen it so it's giving it more weight or something?

I'm just saying I would brush this pony and plait her hair.
posted by billiebee at 2:39 AM on November 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm very much against this.

The way things are now, when a comment is sidebarred it feels like a message from the mods to the rest of the community --- "hey, here's a neat thing you may have missed."

Having sidebarred comments designated in some way in-thread makes it feel like sidebarring something is a reward for the poster, a mark of favor --- "who's the bestest little poster ever? You are! Gold star!"

I think the mods should ideally be indifferent to whether or not the writer of a post/comment ever finds out its been sidebarred. Because it's not about telling them they're wonderful, it's about helping all readers see interesting stuff.

This distinction may seem thin but I think it's important. Sidebarring a post or comment necessarily involves the personal taste of the mods to some degree. But making sidebarring into a mark of favour changes it from designating interestingness to designating idealness --- "this is the kind of post we like, you should all be more like this guy, who is beloved in our sight."
posted by Diablevert at 3:10 AM on November 3, 2015 [18 favorites]


well, gold stars are a thing.
for some
posted by andrewcooke at 3:58 AM on November 3, 2015


But making sidebarring into a mark of favour changes it from designating interestingness to designating idealness

That's only if people read it as a mark of favour, and not just a simple fact: "this has been added to the sidebar" rather than "we love you more than the other commenters". On MeFiMu when a song is chosen for the podcast a little Featured Track tag is added and cortex adds a message to the thread to say it's been included. That's obviously for the benefit of the poster, and not for users who might have missed it, so what would the difference be here? I mean I don't think it's going to happen so I'm just wondering aloud.
posted by billiebee at 4:21 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like the idea of notifying users. One of mine was sidebarred years ago and I didn't find out for days.

As LM mentions, highlighting sidebarred comments in-thread would likely steer and possibly even disrupt conversations.

Smoke, if competition spurs interesting content, wouldn't that be a good thing? I'm thinking "Best post contests," not "looking for favorites" behavior.
posted by zarq at 4:33 AM on November 3, 2015


I like the idea of notifying users when their posts or comments are sidebarred. I'm not totally opposed to posts that have been sidebarred having some kind of tag and visual differentiation (like the Music Featured Tracks or Projects that get posted to the Blue). I do not like the idea of marking comments that have been sidebarred.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:28 AM on November 3, 2015


Love the idea of notifying users, hate the idea of marking comments in the thread.

Also just want to say thank you to the mods (I think this is mostly taz's project?) for the current awesomeness of the Best Of posts.
posted by lalex at 5:29 AM on November 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Repeating this for emphasis:
I think the mods should ideally be indifferent to whether or not the writer of a post/comment ever finds out its been sidebarred. Because it's not about telling them they're wonderful, it's about helping all readers see interesting stuff.

This distinction may seem thin but I think it's important. Sidebarring a post or comment necessarily involves the personal taste of the mods to some degree. But making sidebarring into a mark of favour changes it from designating interestingness to designating idealness --- "this is the kind of post we like, you should all be more like this guy, who is beloved in our sight."
No to all of this, no I say. Kill it all with fire.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:36 AM on November 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Notify users, because they’re being given greater exposure to the public. (Maybe even check ahead of time?) Don’t highlight in thread, because that definitely smacks of moderator upvoting.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:07 AM on November 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm very much against this.

You hate ponies?
posted by sweetkid at 7:27 AM on November 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think it's helpful to prioritize conversation over validation. I really like the sidebar as a tool for pointing out cool stuff that can stand out of context, but I don't know that encouraging more people to make could-stand-out-context comments (especially on MeFi and MeTa; AskMe is slightly different) is great for the site.

And there just kind of comes a point where the award-giving about the award-giving gets a bit ridiculous. People can see what's on the sidebar by checking the sidebar.
posted by jaguar at 7:33 AM on November 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am also against the idea of marking it in-thread, as it would drive me batty that What The Hell THIS Comment Got Marked But This OTHER One Which Is MUCH BETTER Didn't?????

I feel completely in agreement with Lobstermitten's second bullet-point, above.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:54 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Because it's not about telling them they're wonderful ...

The mods think I'm cool. (No, not these mods; I'm not that cool.)
posted by octobersurprise at 7:58 AM on November 3, 2015


As LM mentions, highlighting sidebarred comments in-thread would likely steer and possibly even disrupt conversations.

Yes, this times one billion. Think of how many metas have been made where someone petulantly wails about their deleted terrible comment and points to another comment they think is just as bad as theirs was and says LOOK AT ALL THE FAVOURITES, or points to favourites on comments opposing their own viewpoints to show how oppressed they are by cruel echo chamber mefites, etc. In-thread mentions will end up being just another whiny bludgeon used by people who are mad that they're not getting enough attention, usually for hateful stuff that they want more people to be upset by.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:01 AM on November 3, 2015


Maybe if there was a designation after the thread had closed, for archival purposes/notification purposes?
posted by softlord at 8:06 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


In my mind, having a comment of yours sidebarred should be seen as punishment rather than achievement or award. That 19-paragraph thing you wrote about how to distinguish between 'new' and 'authentic/historical' brass buttons for Civil War reenactors is now going to be the only thing anyone knows about you, and forever after when you comment in a thread about balloon animals or the life of the guy who invented the high dive people are going to peer at your (not 19-paragraph) comment and think to themselves, 'Sure, this lady knows about Civil War reenactors' brass buttons, but why the fuck does she think she knows anything about the guy who invented the high dive? SHUT UP, BRASS BUTTON LADY' and so it's basically an albatross, is what
posted by shakespeherian at 8:25 AM on November 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


It sounds like notifications, yes please. Highlighting/marking in the thread itself, resounding NO.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:30 AM on November 3, 2015


What about if there were notification area on the front page of the site, maybe next to all the actual threads, that shows every time anything is sidebarred
posted by aubilenon at 9:28 AM on November 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: just another whiny bludgeon
posted by sweetkid at 9:30 AM on November 3, 2015


Sidebar: notified via memail
Best Of: a friend of your choosing gets a free membership, because your friends are probably a'ight
posted by aydeejones at 9:45 AM on November 3, 2015


Can I get a MeMail from cortex every week which just tells me how special I am
posted by shakespeherian at 9:48 AM on November 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


You mean you don't already? Oh ive said too much
posted by billiebee at 10:21 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Someone’s not getting their letter this week. Oh wait. Guess I’m not either.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:41 AM on November 3, 2015


The problem is that marking an FPP as "Sidebarred" would serve to bring attention to the sidebar and the fact that the FPP has been sidebarred in order to bring attention the the FPP.

The poor pony would get so dizzy.
posted by Kabanos at 10:44 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can I get a MeMail from cortex every week which just tells me how special I am

Date: Sun, 1 Nov 2015 00:01:12 -0700 (PDT)
From: mefimaildontreply@metafilter.com
To: aubilenon@example.com
Subject: [MeFi Mail] Weekly Specialness Update
X-Mailer: ColdFusion 9 Application Server

You have a new message from MetaFilter member cortex:

Hi,  aubilenon                     !

This is an automated message to let you know that for the week of  November 1, 2015  , you are  somewhat     special. Keep up the  ok        work!
--
cortex
http://www.metafilter.com/user/7418

This message was sent via MeFi Mail. Read all your messages:
http://www.metafilter.com/contribute/messages.mefi
posted by aubilenon at 10:50 AM on November 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Um, how do I look at sidebarred threads / FPPs? I never knew this existed!
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:24 AM on November 3, 2015


Nevermind. I am a doofus.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:29 AM on November 3, 2015


Is there an easy way to find sidebarred posts while on the phone?
posted by Omnomnom at 12:35 PM on November 3, 2015


If you use the Modern theme you can click the down arrow at the top of the front page and you'll jump to the sidebar. Just scroll down a bit past Contact Activity.

If you use one of the Classic themes you can temporarily switch to Standard view with the link at the bottom of the page or bookmark this page.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:02 PM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't like this idea at all. In thread notes are already disruptive to flow.

I guess I don't care about the notification thing, but even there I'd opt out if given the choice.

I interact with the sidebar exactly as much as I want the way it is (generally never). I like "best of," but the sidebar isn't something I spend any time looking at, and this would force me to (to some extent).
posted by cjorgensen at 1:03 PM on November 3, 2015


Oh, and of course the Best Of blog is linked in all themes. That's probably the best way to view sidebarred things no matter which theme you use.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:05 PM on November 3, 2015


If you use one of the Classic themes

Just so you know, you misspelled Correct there.

The blue is supposed to be blue.
posted by eriko at 4:23 PM on November 3, 2015


that's what Dark Mode on Modern is for
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:29 PM on November 3, 2015


So... is it doable? The notifications thing via memail?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:16 PM on November 3, 2015


It's possible if we parse the URLs used in the posts and work backwards from that. It's not trivial, but if we decide it's worth the time to put that together we should be able to.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:48 PM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's possible if we parse the URLs used in the posts and work backwards from that. It's not trivial, but if we decide it's worth the time to put that together we should be able to.

I don't understand this. Aren't the best of blogs handwritten by a moderator? Can't the mod just send a note to the poster / commenter before posting to wordpress saying "Hey, we're going to “Best of” this, is that cool by you?”
posted by Going To Maine at 9:04 PM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sorry Going To Maine, I don't think getting approval beforehand is going to work. The process of putting those notes together and waiting for approval would add too much friction to the process of posting to the sidebar. The request here is for automatic notification after the fact. Even hand-writing those after the fact would add considerable time to that process—that's why we need a way to automate it and why I mentioned working backwards from the URLs.

Posting to the sidebar is a nice extra that the mods do when they have time in addition to their regular modding. We don't have someone dedicated to the task.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:01 PM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, what pb said. Our approach to the sidebar has always been one of caution in selecting stuff up front—the sort of things that have big potential privacy/spotlight concerns are things we just don't sidebar in the first place—and that's one I see us sticking with, vs. an explicit approval process. In the off chance that some one at some point is uncomfortable with having something on the sidebar, they can totally contact us about it, but it's something that hasn't really ever come up.

Generating notifications manually would be adding some extra chore feel to the sidebar process, which is something I don't want to do. If pb can find a good, reliable solution to automatically parse user alert targets out of entries, we can look at tying that into the current system. It's likely to be a little bit of a headache, though, and so is a ways down my list of things to do compared to some current site dev projects we have going on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:36 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


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