Bad deletion debate April 10, 2016 12:44 PM   Subscribe

First deletion of topic. Second deletion (mysteriously described as "triple", presumably another person besides me and AlonzoMoselyFBI attempted to post the Globe future front page. One assumes others will as well). On attempting to load the directed suggested repost location, my browser (Safari iPad) crashed due to excessive thread length.

I understand Eyebrows McGee's administrative determination, I just disagree with it and found the recourse not simply insufficient but also non-functional and figured it was appropriate to share that here. I wanted community input here rather than a back-and-forth with mods given that I see the primary interest and value of the link as "here is this weird event that touches on things MetaFilter is interested in such as pranks and culture jamming and time travel and science fiction" and not so much that it's about the election.

Eyebrows McGee is an active and interested participant in her state's politics and has often discussed that in threads on the site, so it's not unreasonable of her to see the links the the way that she did. But it's not reflective of my viewpoint, and I feel that the oddity and interest of the Globe's fake front page qualifies the link for undeletion.

I suppose it's also possible this reflects the general intent on the site to corral election topics in order to minimize fits of ill-temper among the user base and thereby reduce mod workload, which is entirely understandable. But redirecting content into a thread so long it literally breaks my browser isn't coralling that interaction, it's preventing participation on the site.

That is all, thanks for letting me say my piece.

(By the way, out of curiosity, where's the third submission?)
posted by mwhybark to MetaFilter-Related at 12:44 PM (161 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I suppose it's also possible this reflects the general intent on the site to corral election topics in order to minimize fits of ill-temper among the user base and thereby reduce mod workload

It's that, though it's as much a matter of reducing the footprint of election-related stuff on the front page in general as anything, since a lot of folks aren't interested in it and get worn out when it's got an elevated presence for months at a time. But having fewer simultaneous election-related threads running is helpful as well on the mod side since the grar tends to expand to fill available space.

We've discussed some of that a lot recently in MetaTalk; here's a couple of threads where it's been talked about. The short of it is that there's posts that if they were going up in a null context would be basically fine that, nonetheless, fall inescapably in the stew of the US election zeitgeist we actually have and would be difficult to prevent from turning into Yet Another Election Thread.

But redirecting content into a thread so long it literally breaks my browser isn't coralling that interaction, it's preventing participation on the site.

Breaking your browser is definitely not the intent, and I'm sympathetic about larger threads causing folks problems. That said, that is the current and still very active omnibus election thread, so it's the thing to point folks toward in this context.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:53 PM on April 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think at most times you could get people to understand the interesting thing is the unique use of the newspaper format, but right now the election has made things so bonkers I think it would be impossible to keep the thread on that topic.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:55 PM on April 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I guess this one is the third.
posted by Namlit at 12:56 PM on April 10, 2016


By the way, out of curiosity, where's the third submission?

Chatting with EM about it, I think that was based on her misreading at a glance a couple of parallel deletions or something like that. There were just the two linked posts about the Globe thing on the front page as far as I know.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:57 PM on April 10, 2016


Sorry but as someone who is sick to the back teeth of the election stuff I would have clicked through, saw Butt-Trumpet's face and ohforfucksaked right out again. I get that the election wasn't your focus but it's just too close to it for other people not to view it as such.
posted by billiebee at 1:01 PM on April 10, 2016 [28 favorites]


Yeah I think I was scanning quickly for the prior delete and saw the movie dialogue "double" before I saw the prior Trump/Globe one but didn't register it was the movie dialogue one because the last delete I remembered doing was Trump/Globe. Just a brain fart.

Since the entire spoof front page was ABOUT Trump and his policies, it seemed very election-oriented to me, and less like a prank than an editorial.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 1:02 PM on April 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


(I did think about going back and changing "triple" to "double" or just removing it, but by the time I realized it, it had been a while and it seemed like that'd be weird and it was better to let my mistake stand.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 1:04 PM on April 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I support this deletion, or two deletion, or three deletions. The mods have been very upfront about siloing the election grar into minimal threads, and I, for one, and just fine with it. As an odd and unique experiment for a national newspaper there is probably some FPP value there, but given where we are in the election the thread was going to be political, no way around it.
posted by COD at 1:53 PM on April 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


It surprises me that a deletion reason of "Double" or "Triple" would be given if the other threads were deleted too - isn't that usually reserved for situations when the other threads were not deleted?
posted by peacheater at 1:55 PM on April 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


My first reaction was "Aww, what a fun thing, it deserves its own post," but then I realized the discussion would have been totally Trump and there's a thread for that. Too bad, but the right call, mods.
posted by languagehat at 1:58 PM on April 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


"Yeah I think I was scanning quickly for the prior delete and saw the movie dialogue "double" before I saw the prior Trump/Globe one but didn't register it was the movie dialogue one because the last delete I remembered doing was Trump/Globe. Just a brain fart."

META EXPOSES MOD LIES

McGee, Cortex Unrepentant on Triple-Double; Refuse to Undelete

(On the one hand, I'm actually cool with having this post deleted; on the other hand, that election thread is choking my mid-2012 macbook, so maybe one-per-month isn't enough? I can only imagine the poor bastards on mobile who want to talk about election shit — unless this is all a passive-aggressive strategy to punish the PoliFilter folks. God help us, but paged browsing might an answer.)
posted by klangklangston at 2:01 PM on April 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


"My first reaction was "Aww, what a fun thing, it deserves its own post," but then I realized the discussion would have been totally Trump and there's a thread for that. Too bad, but the right call, mods."

Just validates Trump's claim that the MeFi mods have treated him very unfairly.
posted by klangklangston at 2:02 PM on April 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


It surprises me that a deletion reason of "Double" or "Triple" would be given if the other threads were deleted too - isn't that usually reserved for situations when the other threads were not deleted?

Yeah, it's an odd wrinkle in deletion taxonomy that I don't think EM has had to wrangle with previously, we chatted a little bit about it after this came along. I generally avoid "double" and so on in this sort of context specifically for that strange Well, It Is But It Isn't twist.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:02 PM on April 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Support this deletion using whatever words EM wants to use for it.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:18 PM on April 10, 2016 [33 favorites]


I love the word "unrepentant". One of my favorite words.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:22 PM on April 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


A shehecheyanu for this, Eyebrows' first deletion meta.
posted by jeather at 2:24 PM on April 10, 2016 [33 favorites]


Honestly, it's not even good science fiction.
posted by smoke at 2:27 PM on April 10, 2016


Thank you on behalf of those of us pretending Donald Trump doesn't exist.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:50 PM on April 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


> Just validates Trump's claim that the MeFi mods have treated him very unfairly.

When he takes over this site, it's going to have the greatest posts and comments!
posted by languagehat at 3:08 PM on April 10, 2016 [17 favorites]


Since you asked, I think this was 100% the right call by Eyebrows. The mods need to keep a tight rein on election-related posting. That's what the community asked them to do, that's what they said they'd do this time around, and that's what they've been doing. It's not perfect, but it's a damn sign better than the alternative.

I remember the days before Team Mod had a coherent strategy for dealing with the absolute flood of posting and commentary surrounding U.S. presidential elections, and lots of people found the site borderline unusable back then. Given that this election seems insane even when compared to other recent ones (seriously, does anybody remember there ever being anywhere close to this much coverage of the primaries?) I can only imagine that if they let things get out of hand, total chaos would rule and people would be leaving the site (or at least taking sabbaticals) in droves.

For the record, I'm totally fine with the idea that in borderline cases, the mods will err on the side of taking down election-related posts rather than letting them stand. I don't even think this was a borderline case, though—I can't see that Boston Globe thing turning into anything other than a straight-up proxy thread for general election-related discussion, and we already have an ongoing and active thread for that. It's also not nearly meaty enough to stand on its own as a new general-purpose election-related discussion thread—if we're going to switch threads, it better be for a good one that's well thought out and provides a nice precis of the story so far plus some solid background material. Recent election threads have seemed to enjoy a sort of semi-official status, which facilitates smooth transitioning away from the old thread and into the new one, without the discussion temporarily bifurcating because people haven't decided whether or not to jump ship. It's weird, but it works.

I hear people on the problem that actually interacting with a multi-thousand-comment longboat thread on MetaFilter is a pain in the ass and we should switch more often, which is an idea I could support as long as the mods felt that it wouldn't add unduly to their already-increased workload. I hear people on the idea of creating a pagination feature to be used for mega-threads on a case-by-case basis as well, but I'm not in favor of it.

I like the lack of pagination for reasons that I suppose mostly boil down to wanting MetaFilter to stick to its guns on its quirky one-big-conversation design philosophy that is to me such a big part of its character, and I don't think that taking a step away from that tradition/perspective/expectation would be worth it just so that we can make it easier to have giant mega-threads on MeFi. I feel like it's a good thing for the site that such threads are generally few and far between, and having big threads get progressively more awkward to deal with the bigger they get provides a nice sort of self-limiting quality that to me is actually a rather elegant bit of unintentional design.

In short, MetaFilter is a land of contrasts.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:32 PM on April 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


I kinda sorta had a similar thing happen to me. I followed the instructions to drop my links into an existing thread (not politics) and did so, noting that I was following mod instructions. (cuz I felt like my urban planning focused links did not fit into the abortion discussion I was directed to. I didn't want to deal with a whole lot of what the fuck? reactions from folks. So I made sure they understood it wasn't some intentional derail.)

I don't get why people protest their own deletions so much. I think I had a stronger case -- it was Zika related with an urban planning focus, completely different from the abortion discussion going on -- and I didn't bother to post a MeTa.

Is this really so important in the grand scheme of things that it merits a MeTa? Why? Why do you think that? Why would it be critical that the community have some separate jokey post?

(No need to answer. You can assume those are rhetorical questions.)

Shakes head. Wanders off.
posted by Michele in California at 3:36 PM on April 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


But redirecting content into a thread so long it literally breaks my browser isn't coralling that interaction, it's preventing participation on the site.

I agree with you — it's a bad deletion, and one of many bad deletions.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 3:52 PM on April 10, 2016


i would've flagged those threads had i seen them. good deletion, imo.
posted by nadawi at 3:54 PM on April 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


Man, it must really suck to be one of those people who actually does want to discuss the election, and constantly sees the one ginormous thread where they're allowed to do so being cluttered up, by orders of the mods, with innumerable derails about every little thing that happens to mention a candidate in passing.

But fuck those people, amirite?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:58 PM on April 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


"There's already an open thread about X, go ahead and post this in it if you want" has long been a deletion reason, no? The mods have allowed new threads to be opened on a regular basis to allow election discussion in a way I haven't seen happen for anything else. Those threads are routinely filled with thousands of comments. The idea that people aren't getting a fair chance at talking about the election is hilarious.
posted by billiebee at 4:23 PM on April 10, 2016 [26 favorites]


Yeah, I had a post deleted for being "point and laugh," when it is an actual thing happening in the UK, someone is paying for billboards all over the country, and I wanted to discuss it with mefites. This topic came up in the recent Malheur threads and was discussed there but apparently in the UK it doesn't count.
posted by marienbad at 4:32 PM on April 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Agreed that it was a good deletion, and the Globe's headline/article wasn't even good journalism.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:39 PM on April 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Has the computing/memory load of current pages significantly heavier than say 2008? Because while some people had trouble with their phones loading the Sarah Palin mega thread I don't remember people with real computers desktops/laptops having their browser crash loading it. It was slow but not crashy. Or is that just selective memory? Are people having crashes using the modern or classic theme?
posted by Mitheral at 4:39 PM on April 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


"This topic came up in the recent Malheur threads and was discussed there but apparently in the UK it doesn't count."

That was picking up a lot of flags and a lot of concerns from members that it was "point and laugh at the mentally ill." I personally thought it was super-interesting and read most of the manifesto, but I think the way it was framed was leading people to read into it the implication that the purpose of the post was to mock the mentally ill, and the comments were already turning into "this is gross because she's obviously sick" "no she's not" "yes she is" with no discussion of the content. With a different framing, ideally one including an article that contextualized the UK movement from a mainstream perspective, I think it could work and get an interesting conversation.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:48 PM on April 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


Man, it must really suck to be one of those people who actually does want to discuss the election, and constantly sees the one ginormous thread where they're allowed to do so being cluttered up, by orders of the mods, with innumerable derails about every little thing that happens to mention a candidate in passing.

But fuck those people, amirite?

Meh, the megathreads can usually benefit from a left turn here or there. Otherwise it's often just going in circles. Besides, the people with the thirst to post in those megathreads...we are often the source of this problem. We are the reason topics touching on the election go weird because we are so obsessed with all the surrounding minutia. If anybody has to pay the price for the collateral damage from that obsession, may as well be us.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:51 PM on April 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


Can we not have this thread be a referendum on every recent deleted thread whose poster thought it should have been allowed to stand? Make your own MeTas, if you must.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:58 PM on April 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


Seems like a legit deletion to me. The Boston Globe mockup, while amusing, is IMO a bit thin to stand on its own as an FPP.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:00 PM on April 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Man, it must really suck to be one of those people who actually does want to discuss the election, and constantly sees the one ginormous thread where they're allowed to do so being cluttered up, by orders of the mods, with innumerable derails about every little thing that happens to mention a candidate in passing.

But fuck those people, amirite?


Nobody here is saying "fuck those people," and you're doing a huge disservice to the people here by suggesting that's the case. Please, before you post a comment like this, step away from the screen for a minute and ask yourself what you're hoping to accomplish.
posted by duffell at 5:08 PM on April 10, 2016 [26 favorites]


But fuck those people, amirite?

Nobody here is saying "fuck those people," and you're doing a huge disservice to the people here by suggesting that's the case.


No, but what can be frustrating is structural influences that make interactions difficult for users, as the OP described.

Anyways, what needs to be done for now is a new thread to continue the ongoing election discussion [because of technical limitations]. I think that can be fair. The technical problem of site performance needs a longer term solution. Meanwhile, maybe this space could be used to help frame an appropriate "US Election thread cont." thread—one that can stand alone, etc.
posted by polymodus at 5:25 PM on April 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


When he takes over this site, it's going to have the greatest posts and comments!

Guess what, the front page just got ten feet higher.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:34 PM on April 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


The existing thread also crashes my iPad, and I'll be damned if I'm going to go sit at a PC to read a fucking election thread, although I would like to read it.

Why can't the existing thread be closed with a link to a new thread? Why is this such a problem for the site and the mods?
posted by disclaimer at 5:38 PM on April 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


Wouldn't call this a Bad Deletion, but I do this is worthy of a post.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:40 PM on April 10, 2016


I agree that this belongs in the election thread. It is an interesting editorial tactic, but I don't think it's substantial enough to be an FPP, especially given the reality that discussion would be about the election.
posted by EvaDestruction at 5:43 PM on April 10, 2016


I don't remember people with real computers desktops/laptops having their browser crash loading it.

It's apparently crashing iPads, so real computers and tablets handle it just fine.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:52 PM on April 10, 2016


polymodus: " The technical problem of site performance needs a longer term solution."

The site performance "problem" is a side effect feature not a bug. Seriously. There is no yearn to "fix" it because it acts as a drag on content that is both hard to mod and something that would just take over the site if it was streamlined. The minutia of the dance of the US election cycle just isn't that interesting to the broad audience.
posted by Mitheral at 6:00 PM on April 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


I would award style points for the John Titor reference, FWIW.
posted by asperity at 6:00 PM on April 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm in favor of having only one active US thread but it needs to be reasonably functional; the current one is starting to break on my 3-month-old phone.
posted by lalex at 6:04 PM on April 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


I'm super psyched there's no FPP about that Globe cover.
posted by escabeche at 6:13 PM on April 10, 2016


The current 1500-ish comment thread loads fine on my geriatric Macbook Air and on my iphone, though other long threads have caused laggy typing and weird behavior on my phone.

While I'm fully on board with keeping the election discussions limited to one main thread at a time, it would be a good thing to perhaps roll it to a new thread at the point where the length starts to impact usability for a significant number of people.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:15 PM on April 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


This is ringing a faint bell in the back of my mind so maybe it's already been talked about or even implemented, but would turning off the X New Comments indicator at the bottom of the megathreads make any difference? What about Live Preview? Is selectively disabling those features even on the table? Could the megathreads render as totally static webpages with just the comment box at the bottom?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:35 PM on April 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would delete this. Good job.
posted by valkane at 6:37 PM on April 10, 2016


This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:12 PM on April 10, 2016


The site performance "problem" is a side effect feature not a bug. …the dance of the US election cycle just isn't that interesting to the broad audience.

Let's be evidenced-based here. It is a problem to the extent that users are here talking about how the behavior of the site is choking up their devices' computational resources. If this is not a problem to you, then I'm going to ask you to put yourself in these users' shoes.

However, I do take your point. The deeper problem is the conflation of performance (in the general sense, not only speed of scrolling, etc.) and policy. When the evidence is users complaining about page viewability, and there's no articulation that such page behaviour is supposed to be a Good Thing--no open communication that this is intended behavior--I could equally view that as a manipulative method as opposed to a transparent one. How do you justify that consequence? Isn't that what structure is all about, as I had already mentioned?

Of course, any alteration to the behavior of an infrastructure has ramifications. If you are for the case that thread length shouldn't be unbounded, that's a reasonable stance. But graceful handling of that through a variety of means is part of good performance too.
posted by polymodus at 7:14 PM on April 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


I thought this is why we can have nice things.

(..as someone who has had stuff deleted; I do sometimes wish for Metafilter to be all the things I want it to be, but I guess that's my own fault for not creating the thing I want on my own...)
posted by amtho at 7:26 PM on April 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Come on, the first link was garbage, and the second was mostly garbage. We are supposed to be best of the web. Not best of the garbage. I don't know why we are even arguing about this, it was a good call.

Is this some sort of "new mod" hazing thing? Or a putting down a new mod who is a woman thing? Because, if so, then stop it. Just stop it now. This MetaTalk is a bad thing, and not worthy of further discussion.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:27 PM on April 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


The site performance "problem" is a side effect feature not a bug. Seriously.

I think many of us would disagree with you but I can understand why you feel that way. Unless political posts are verboten this will continue to be an issue for those who want to participate. You don't have to participate if you don't want to. That solves the problem for you.
posted by futz at 7:58 PM on April 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


This doesn't feel like hazing or misogyny, MMD; the question was asked in good faith and the conversation has been productive so far, don't you think?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:24 PM on April 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


The site performance "problem" is a side effect feature not a bug. Seriously.

Those statements were made 8 years ago, when staffing levels and moderation policy were decidedly different. Is this still the feeling on the mod side? I mean, I guess I sort of get it but it seems pretty hostile.
posted by lalex at 9:55 PM on April 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Breaking your browser is definitely not the intent, and I'm sympathetic about larger threads causing folks problems

The current 1500-ish comment thread loads fine on my geriatric Macbook Air and on my iphone, though other long threads have caused laggy typing and weird behavior on my phone.

However, I do take your point. The deeper problem is the conflation of performance (in the general sense, not only speed of scrolling, etc.) and policy. When the evidence is users complaining about page viewability, and there's no articulation that such page behaviour is supposed to be a Good Thing--no open communication that this is intended behavior--I could equally view that as a manipulative method as opposed to a transparent one. How do you justify that consequence? Isn't that what structure is all about, as I had already mentioned?

Perhaps we could agree that certain threads that are less about a specific topic than the zeitgeist (e.g. the election) can get replaced with a new zeitgeist thread when they go over a certain size / number of comments?
posted by Going To Maine at 11:00 PM on April 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I know this may not go over well, but it seems like in election cycles there could be some sort of temporary sub site where election threads could be posted according to their own worth. Or even a permanent Special Events/News sub sites where all such troublemaker subjects could be lumped.
posted by bongo_x at 11:17 PM on April 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Lord I would love a Politicsfilter where the people that really want to shout about things can go do that in peace.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:24 AM on April 11, 2016 [15 favorites]


Maybe add temporary front-page filter buttons for big current events so we could focus on or filter out topics like "US Election" or "Invasion from Mars" with a click or two (and make the selection persistent)? Posters (and mods) would have to make sure posts were tagged properly, and mods would have to make sure the current front-page filters were set to appropriate tags. The code, I suspect, would not be too difficult.
posted by pracowity at 1:09 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


I know this may not go over well, but it seems like in election cycles there could be some sort of temporary sub site where election threads could be posted according to their own worth. Or even a permanent Special Events/News sub sites where all such troublemaker subjects could be lumped.

I imagine dealing with the multiple simultaneous flame wars that would create would be a drain on mood resources, and thus impact the rest of the site (as well as the mods' stress levels).
posted by Dysk at 1:48 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Just going to pop in and add these thoughts:
* the first link had no context and would just be more T*$%&'
* the second had a bit more context and any other time might have led to a media discussion
* but I am really happy the election stuff is all getting lumped into one thread
* the idea of a PoliFilter crossed my mind too, Ghostride The Whip, but the mods would have to get triple hazard pay and probably rotated out to a beach in Hawaii or their preferred equivalent for weeks at a time to recover after some threads.
posted by Gotanda at 4:26 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


multiple simultaneous flame wars ... would be a drain on mood resources

I want this to be a thing.

MOOD RESOURCES: HOW CAN THEY BE INCREASED?

MOOD RESOURCE DEPLETION: A GROWING PROBLEM

THESE FIVE SIMPLE TRICKS WILL IMPROVE MOOD RESOURCES
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:29 AM on April 11, 2016 [12 favorites]


I say we replace the current moods with quidnunc's! Feel #1 quidnunc kid!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 4:36 AM on April 11, 2016 [22 favorites]


Stupid phone. I think it pretty much makes sense as it stands anyway.
posted by Dysk at 5:18 AM on April 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


WILL TRADE SHEEP FOR MOOD
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:42 AM on April 11, 2016 [9 favorites]


Those were interesting posts. I think this is more about the desperation of newspapers and the possibly unprecedented desperation of the editors at the current state of the election than they are about Trump. It's a meta-Trump situation that would be worth discussing.

Like, if there was a seemingly perpetual vortex that opened up in the mid-Atlantic, and there was a megathread on that, it would be worth discussing both A) the seemingly perpetual vortex and B) how the media deals with responding to the vortex in light of both it being unfamiliar and of traditional news's struggle to survive.

I guess I could see how that might tough for the mods to keep people talking about strange turns in news coverage about the vortex's effects society rather than on the vortex itself, but yeah, a month after the first vortex thread, MetaFilter would be missing out on valuable discussions if it shut down a thread on the strange reactions to the vortex.
posted by ignignokt at 6:19 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sadly this "vortex" has been going on for 16 years now.
posted by Mitheral at 6:31 AM on April 11, 2016


META EXPOSES MOD LIES

McGee, Cortex Unrepentant on Triple-Double; Refuse to Undelete


Eh, just another outlandish headline from that sorry rag, The Daily Klangistian.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:45 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


WILL TRADE SHEEP FOR MOOD

Send picture of sheep.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:01 AM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


McGee, Cortex Unrepentant on Triple-Double

Now I want In-N-Out.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:10 AM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Lord I would love a Politicsfilter where the people that really want to shout about things can go do that in peace.

Shout in peace and sleep furiously in green fire ?
posted by y2karl at 8:01 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


> The existing thread also crashes my iPad, and I'll be damned if I'm going to go sit at a PC to read a fucking election thread, although I would like to read it.

Why can't the existing thread be closed with a link to a new thread? Why is this such a problem for the site and the mods?


Why can't you sit at a PC to read an election thread? Why is your peculiar reluctance a problem for the site and the mods?
posted by languagehat at 8:28 AM on April 11, 2016 [9 favorites]


Lord I would love a Politicsfilter where the people that really want to shout about things can go do that in peace.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Trust me, you don't.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:30 AM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

> Just validates Trump's claim that the MeFi mods have treated him very unfairly.

When he takes over this site, it's going to have the greatest posts and comments!
Trump's gonna make this site great again. Just like it was back in 2001, before all the $5 newbs came along, when every single thread was a three-way fight between y2karl, Amberglow, and Steven Den Beste, with occasional free-form trolling from Postroad. Man, I miss those days.

I don't really miss those days.
posted by Sonny Jim at 8:44 AM on April 11, 2016 [7 favorites]


Why can't you sit at a PC to read an election thread?

Who wants to carry their PC into the bathroom!?
posted by Drinky Die at 8:46 AM on April 11, 2016 [13 favorites]


Not everybody has access to a "real" computer. It's probably not a great idea to make those people feel like second class MeFites or imply that they are lazy whiners just because certain (huge) parts of MetaFilter are completely broken for them.
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:54 AM on April 11, 2016 [26 favorites]


iiuc the current politics / election thread is so long it's crashing some people's browsers. at the same time, this fake future trump newspaper post is not that great outside of the politics / election thread.

so why not start a new politics / election thread with a future trump newspaper post?
posted by andrewcooke at 9:00 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]




Why can't you sit at a PC to read an election thread? Why is your peculiar reluctance a problem for the site and the mods?

Can we stop with this? There are plenty of people who use a mobile device or a not-so-great computer as their primary device for financial or accessibility reasons.

Or just because that's what works best for them! It feels hostile and short-sighted to imply that a significant portion of users shouldn't be considered when making site decisions.
posted by lalex at 9:43 AM on April 11, 2016 [28 favorites]


Hey! My comment was deleted in a thread on comment deletion! 'Tis appealingly recursive.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:46 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Technically it's a thread on post deletion, but, yeah, taking potshots at users' names is pretty meh stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:58 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Why can't you sit at a PC to read an election thread? Why is your peculiar reluctance a problem for the site and the mods?

About 40% of my traffic comes from mobile these days. That's a lot of page views your attitude leaves on the table.

Mobile is only going to increase.

I spend about 80% of my time behind mobile these days. I only use a PC when I want to do long form writing.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:07 AM on April 11, 2016


Why can't you sit at a PC to read an election thread? Why is your peculiar reluctance a problem for the site and the mods?

Why can't a webpage consisting of only text load properly on modern devices? A clue for you: it isn't really the amount of text or the web browser that's the problem. Since MeFi can't reliably display lots of text in modern web browsers either due to the underlying programming/infrastructure, or due to site design decisions -- specifically no pagination and no more than one election thread per month -- it is by default the site's problem to solve.

I detest the eternal US election and any threads about it, and I still think this situation is untenable for users and only likely to worsen given how many cell phones and tablets are on the web now.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:10 AM on April 11, 2016 [14 favorites]


Another voice for 'we should probably keep this to one thread, but that thread should be replaced when it hits the crash-mobile-devices threshold.' I'm good with this deletion on the grounds that it would be fine in an existing thread, and I'm much happier with the quarantine model of election discussion than either a bajillion threads or the old Politicsfilter suggestion, (having ever modded a forum myself, I could never suggest anything so cruel to *our* mods).

However, replacing threads faster seems a reasonable accommodation for members with less robust devices. I want to hear what they have to say as much as anybody at a full size computer, and it doesn't have to involve any new coding. I hope we start doing that.
posted by mordax at 10:10 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


taking potshots at users' names is pretty meh stuff.

I don't blame you, man. My joke was the worste.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:14 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, when I joined mefi, I only had a tablet back when tablets were new and lots of stuff was just not optimized for them and there were lots of limits to what I could do. I still post a lot from a tablet (that is increasingly neurotic -- ugh). I am both medically handicapped and dirt poor.

A) Telling someone who apparently does, in fact, own a PC but doesn't want to sit at it to read a thing he wants to read that he does not require special accommodation in no way makes me feel treated like a second class citizen.
B) I strongly suspect that the people who are complaining that this long thread is breaking on some device could stand to clean out their files. Deleting apps, videos, old data of some kind etc is the first thing I do when my tablet starts choking on some thing or other. If you are the type person that downloads a bajillion apps, vids, etc, and never deletes a thing, the mods here cannot solve your problem.
C) Yeah, mobile is the wave of the future. If there is some reasonable means to make election discussion more accessible to mobile, we should do it.
posted by Michele in California at 10:20 AM on April 11, 2016


B) I strongly suspect that the people who are complaining that this long thread is breaking on some device could stand to clean out their files. Deleting apps, videos, old data of some kind etc is the first thing I do when my tablet starts choking on some thing or other. If you are the type person that downloads a bajillion apps, vids, etc, and never deletes a thing, the mods here cannot solve your problem.

This is not Minecraft Pocket Edition or Candy Crushers Extreme we're talking about here. This is text. On a webpage. A problem which was solved, even for lots of text, 20+ years ago.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:29 AM on April 11, 2016 [14 favorites]


Can we stop with this? There are plenty of people who use a mobile device or a not-so-great computer as their primary device for financial or accessibility reasons.

Yep. Still: I'll go ahead and answer the question, though: I don't use a PC at home. I have a laptop but it mostly sits in the closet and it's a pain for me to set up. Not very dramatic, or anything, I grant you, but i don't see why I shouldn't be able to read threads because I choose to use a mobile.
posted by holborne at 10:32 AM on April 11, 2016


Why can't you sit at a PC to read an election thread? Why is your peculiar reluctance a problem for the site and the mods?
posted by languagehat at 11:28 AM on April 11 [4 favorites +] [!]


Why I choose to use an ipad to consume online content is none of your business, LH.
posted by disclaimer at 10:37 AM on April 11, 2016 [9 favorites]


I read MetaFilter on various shitgarbage devices and frequently read the election threads to see where adding my invaluable potshots might be vitally necessary and I never experience the slightest of loading issues, and I just realized maybe it's because I use Classic theme? Per my ten seconds of Ctrl+Fing this did not seem to come up as a workaround solution in the election thread MeTa
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:46 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


For the record, my iPad is a gen 3, running IOS 9.3.1, has at least 5 GB free, and works fine on many, many other websites The device is not "crapped up" with stuff, I'm an IT guy and I practice safe browsing and device hygiene. Its older, and that causes speed issues - that's fine, it gives me time to think.

Thread length, specifically in threads longer than about 1500 comments, causes browser crashes. It's a known issue by both Metafilter's userbase and with its mods. Why it's not been addressed is a mystery to me, especially when the solution is really low-tech: close the long thread, continue the discussion in a new thread.
posted by disclaimer at 10:46 AM on April 11, 2016 [13 favorites]


I never experience the slightest of loading issues, and I just realized maybe it's because I use Classic theme?

I also use a variety of devices/browsers and haven't experienced any loading/link jumping issues in the election threads. I'm also using Classic theme.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:02 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


In all this back-and-forth, let us not forget the wise and oft-repeated words of Tim Gunn: "Thank you Mood!"
posted by Kabanos at 11:04 AM on April 11, 2016


Classic theme for me and also no crashes.Maybe it should be called "mobile theme" (no I am not seriously suggesting it, just noticing a maybe-correlation)
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:07 AM on April 11, 2016


My Android devices don't crash on long threads, but they do get pretty barfy and slow. It's very not fun. Now some of them are a few models past current, but the server upstairs that I can read long threads on was built in 2012 and is now twice as old as the most elderly Android tablet.

Anyway, I think another manifestation with the on-going issue that Mefi has with poor discoverablility, it's major flaw, IMO. It's quite difficult from the front page to find active conversations, especially of those beyond a few days old. The front page has always been strictly chronological, but I'd prefer some inclusion of latest activity as well. It's also difficult to link discussions/update threads in a structured way to allow for continuity. That happens ad hoc right now, but it makes following the breadcrumbs hard too.

But that's the problem cluster: how many threads should there be on a topic/related issues, how do you find those discussions if you want to participate, how do you link those related discussions together? Right now the answers seem to be 1/month; you only have a the window of their occupancy on the front page to find them (I know, but who does dig through the next pages?); and linking only happens if someone things to add (and can find) a previously. Finally, this is all off the cuff. There's no site support for structured discovery or linking discussions.
posted by bonehead at 11:07 AM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm reading this thread on my Casio calculator watch and you don't hear me complaining
posted by beerperson at 11:09 AM on April 11, 2016 [14 favorites]


Maybe political threads could close quicker than a month if people want new threads.
posted by octothorpe at 11:12 AM on April 11, 2016


Classic theme for me and also no crashes.Maybe it should be called "mobile theme" (no I am not seriously suggesting it, just noticing a maybe-correlation)

I fantasize about the 2016 WWW's content displayed with old school css and sans new javascript crap. And in B&W with Helvetica, as God intended.

I'm reading this thread on my Casio calculator watch and you don't hear me complaining

That's because sound can't travel from the 1980s without amplification.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:14 AM on April 11, 2016


I never experience the slightest of loading issues, and I just realized maybe it's because I use Classic theme?

Could be, yeah. Classic serves up a lighter weight page which can make a difference depending on the device.

Why it's not been addressed is a mystery to me, especially when the solution is really low-tech: close the long thread, continue the discussion in a new thread.

That basically is what we've acknowledged as the practical solution, other than the bit about "close the thread" which is something we never do for any threads on the blue (or, really, anywhere other than MetaTalk). While I can appreciate disagreement with the when and the how of it, it's weird to me to characterize this as something that we haven't addressed; I linked in my first comment in this thread to a couple recent discussions where we've talked a whole bunch about, among other things, striking the balance on this and being basically okay with folks starting a new thread to take some strain off the previous one once things got creaky.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:14 AM on April 11, 2016


I never experience the slightest of loading issues, and I just realized maybe it's because I use Classic theme?

I don't use Classic and that thread opens just fine on an iPhone 5s over wifi (about 5 seconds). Over cellular it takes about 3 times as long.

Load speed probably determined by device, local connection, general internet and the whims of Cthulhu.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:19 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


That basically is what we've acknowledged as the practical solution, other than the bit about "close the thread" which is something we never do for any threads on the blue (or, really, anywhere other than MetaTalk).

the "close the thread" bit is kind of a big bit when potential new threads are being deleted and users told to post new links to the old, creaky thread.
posted by lalex at 11:25 AM on April 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


Load speed probably determined by device, local connection, general internet and the whims of Cthulhu.

well tbh that last election thread is looking pretty rugose
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:26 AM on April 11, 2016


the "close the thread" bit is kind of a big bit when potential new threads are being deleted and users told to post new links to the old, creaky thread.

When someone starts a new thread that's actually got traction, mentioning that with a link in the old one has worked well so far. That's a workflow we have right now that doesn't involve changing how the site functions just for the sake of the election seasons, and it only differs from literally closing a thread in the sense that folks who really want to straggle along in the old one are welcome to.

Someone putting together a thread that's intended to be the next catch-all election thread is a better way to get the new thread off to a decent start than just waiting for something somewhat election-related to get derailed into a general election thread. A few folks have expressed a willingness to do that, Wordshore in particular recently has been making a practical effort there, and that seems like an okay way to go.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:51 AM on April 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


Someone putting together a thread that's intended to be the next catch-all election thread is a better way to get the new thread off to a decent start than just waiting for something somewhat election-related to get derailed into a general election thread.

In that case, it would be a bit more polite if mods expressed this when deleting new, minor election threads. For instance: “As a stand-alone item, this should really go in the old election thread. HOWEVER, that thread is getting really creaky, so if you bundle this link up with some other good ones, it could stand as a new post.”
posted by Going To Maine at 12:15 PM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Load speed probably determined by device, local connection, general internet and the whims of Cthulhu.

well tbh that last election thread is looking pretty rugose


The Bandwidth Horror
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:21 PM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Not to derail from the mobile-devices theme, but the problems I'm getting with the megathreads show up on a laptop PC using Classic. Limited anecdata seems to point to a correlation with the latest Firefox.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:23 PM on April 11, 2016


Sys Rq: “Man, it must really suck to be one of those people who actually does want to discuss the election, and constantly sees the one ginormous thread where they're allowed to do so being cluttered up, by orders of the mods, with innumerable derails about every little thing that happens to mention a candidate in passing.”

What exactly is the difference between "the election" and "every little thing that happens to mention a candidate in passing"? I know that might sound daft, but it honestly is difficult to draw a hard line around elections on the one hand and mentions of the candidates in that election on the other.

Metafilter didn't start out as a site that was about discussion; it started (ostensibly at least) as a site where there were discussions that centered on links that happened to be good, useful, or interesting. That's sort of changed, but there's no avoiding the fact that you can't really have a focused, worthwhile discussion without having something to focus on. "This link right here" is relatively easy to focus on, and it's relatively easy for mods to keep track of those kinds of conversations and say whether threads of conversation are or are not derails. "The impending US election," however, is so incredibly broad as a subject that it's difficult to nail down that kind of conversation at all. But that doesn't change the fact that people want to talk about the impending US election – and that they will discuss the election, no matter what you try to tell them to do, and will bring up all aspects of the election in their discussion.

So, being aware of the importance of the will of the users, the mods here take a sort of middle tack where they allow some threads where the links at the top are really just an excuse to set up a free-ranging conversation about the election. Because these conversations are so open-ended, and because people are excited about the election, these threads tend to go on forever. So naturally when other threads start to veer into that topic, the mods have a choice: (a) allow the thread to stand, which is basically the same thing as instantiating a new election thread, because people in that thread will talk about anything even vaguely related to the election, not just the link at the top; or (b) redirect the link, and attendant conversation, into an existing election thread.

From the post above, mwhybark doesn't actually seem to disagree with EyebrowsMcGee on the substantial point: the link is about the election, and a relatively thin one at that, by the standards other threads are judged by. In other words, mwhybark wasn't really asking for the link to stay; he was asking for a new, more manageable election thread that would load on his machine. Which is understandable, but it's hardly concerning the issue of people who like election threads being disallowed from having election threads.
posted by koeselitz at 12:33 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Cortex: That basically is what we've acknowledged as the practical solution, other than the bit about "close the thread" which is something we never do for any threads on the blue (or, really, anywhere other than MetaTalk).

Why not? Why not put a note at the top of the old thread - like a deletion reason - that says "This thread is closed to new comments. The discussion of the 2016 election (and all that it entails) is continued here" - with a link to a new, "blessed" discussion thread?

Why can't "We never close threads" have an exception for long threads that crash browsers?

If starting new threads is in fact the way the site is going and has been discussed (I admit to a certain amount of "metatalk blah" lately - it's likely I missed the discussion. I wasn't trying to be snarky, there.
posted by disclaimer at 12:47 PM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


> Thread length, specifically in threads longer than about 1500 comments, causes browser crashes.

As a data point, I have an iphone 5 running the latest OS version, and use the modern theme, and the most recent election thread loads a little slower than other threads but is otherwise fine.
posted by rtha at 12:57 PM on April 11, 2016


Why can't "We never close threads" have an exception for long threads that crash browsers?

I guess I look at it from the other side, not "why not" as my starting point but rather "why"? Could vs. should, basically.

So, why would it need one? Why implement that specific, new mechanic? Why not just let the creaky old thread fall by the wayside the way it normally does? What does closing accomplish that is new, other than declaring that no one can comment in it any more even if they're inclined to and its not giving their particular device insurmountable trouble?

I'm not trying to be a pain here, and I worry that we're talking past each other. From where I sit, implementing thread closure seems to me to be a technical solution to something other than the core problem, that core problem being that once a thread hits a certain length it'd benefit folks interested in the discussion but on devices that can't hack huge threads for discussion to move on to a new post. The solution there is someone making a new post; the old thread doesn't need to close as part of that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:58 PM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


once a thread hits a certain length it'd benefit folks interested in the discussion but on devices that can't hack huge threads for discussion to move on to a new post. The solution there is someone making a new post; the old thread doesn't need to close as part of that.

But the point of this MeTa is that such posts get deleted and told that they belong back in the megathreads. Do they need to specifically say "This is the new election megathread"?
posted by Etrigan at 1:04 PM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


I feel like there should be a palpable sense in the framing of a new catch-all election post that it is such a thing, yeah. Doesn't literally need to say THIS IS THE NEW THREAD—probably indeed better that it doesn't, that hasn't been necessary so far—but I don't feel like there's a lot of doubt about the qualitative difference between a post framed as "here's a round-up of the current state of the US presidential election race" and a post that's just about some specific thing tangent to election stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:15 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


If not a technical solution, then perhaps an indication for the Classic version (as Jessamyn mentioned), saying that it can help mobile and other users?

As much as I enjoy the Modern theme, I'm switching back to Classic for mobile and everything else -- it just loads insanely faster.

So the US Election actually did do something good.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:18 PM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Like, neither of the deleted posts here looked like they were trying to be that at all, yeah? I'm sympathetic to folks who wish they hadn't been deleted on the basis that, in fact, they were about something that is at least on paper only tangential to the actual election, rather than being attempts at making The Next Election Post.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:19 PM on April 11, 2016


I think "close the old thread" is being interpreted in a couple different ways here. I've never pictured it as "close the old thread, have someone come up with text for a new post and tell everyone to go there", but rather "stop the thread at (say) 1500 comments, start a new thread explicitly labelled as part two of the same post so people can continue the discussion without technical issues". Basically, a sort of stone-age pagination.
posted by uosuaq at 1:35 PM on April 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


There is a new core US election FPP just up on the Blue. The post has been mod-checked.
posted by Wordshore at 2:23 PM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Loads super fast! ;D
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:25 PM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Breaking your browser is definitely not the intent, and I'm sympathetic about larger threads causing folks problems. That said, that is the current and still very active omnibus election thread, so it's the thing to point folks toward in this context.

The website is working perfectly. It just needs new users.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 2:26 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just in time. uosuaq said the P word.
posted by Roger Dodger at 2:29 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Loads super fast! ;D

Let's fix that.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:35 PM on April 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


Ah, now I miss the old thread 😞
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:40 PM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


implementing thread closure seems to me to be a technical solution to something other than the core problem
Maybe we could brainstorm some other technical solutions to this technical problem? Because in my mind, having two threads open on the same topic seems like it would be a much bigger issue than closing the old thread would, but I understand the mods desire not to close/lock threads due to length -- that doesn't seem like the solution. I don't disagree that in this specific case, deletion was the right call, but I'm a little puzzled why other technical solutions for the larger underlying problem aren't possible/being offered or suggested by people who understand the technical issues at play here much better than I do (either other users or maybe mods; I really understand very little about why large text-based threads don't load on my phone/iPad when I can stream movies with no problem on the same devices).
posted by sockermom at 4:09 PM on April 11, 2016


I think "close the old thread" is being interpreted in a couple different ways here. I've never pictured it as "close the old thread, have someone come up with text for a new post and tell everyone to go there", but rather "stop the thread at (say) 1500 comments, start a new thread explicitly labelled as part two of the same post so people can continue the discussion without technical issues". Basically, a sort of stone-age pagination.

I’m a little puzzled why other technical solutions for the larger underlying problem aren't possible/being offered or suggested by people who understand the technical issues at play here much better than I do (either other users or maybe mods; I really understand very little about why large text-based threads don't load on my phone/iPad when I can stream movies with no problem on the same devices).

I would add that I’m not sure why closing threads once they go over a certain size is seen as a “technical” fix. Rather, that seems like the sort of ad-hoc, one-size-fits-one fix at which MetaFilter excels.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:30 PM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


> Not everybody has access to a "real" computer. It's probably not a great idea to make those people feel like second class MeFites or imply that they are lazy whiners just because certain (huge) parts of MetaFilter are completely broken for them.

Sorry, wasn't trying to do that at all; I was just pissed at the unpleasant attitude displayed in "I'll be damned if I'm going to go sit at a PC to read a fucking election thread... Why is this such a problem for the site and the mods?" Make your point in a less contentious way, why can't you? So I was being contentious right back.
posted by languagehat at 5:02 PM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


If the optimal situation is for someone to write a new general post once the previous one starts to get unwieldy, would it make sense to drop a mod note suggesting that at x-thousand comments? It would reach the people most invested in continuing the thread / starting a new one, and give everyone still participating a heads up that the thread might be splitting soon.
posted by lucidium at 5:10 PM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


It’s also worth remembering in the middle of all of this was that (at least, I thought) one of the big arguments for the modern theme was that it improved user experience on mobile. So if there's a sense that it's actually causing the site to perform worse on mobile in particular edge cases, that seems not good at all.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:22 PM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


disclaimer: "For the record, my iPad is a gen 3, running IOS 9.3.1, has at least 5 GB free, and works fine on many, many other websites "

The current bloated election thread is only 2.5MB uncompressed (less than .5MB compressed for download). If a device with 5 GB of memory free can't handle that I'm blaming the device. My laptop has less RAM and it handles it fine even using Firefox laden with a dozen extension and with a 100 tabs open. The poor performance of many websites in mobile browsers (for whatever reason) is one of the reasons dedicated apps for things like Facebook, Tumblr and The Chive are so popular.

bonehead: "The front page has always been strictly chronological, but I'd prefer some inclusion of latest activity as well. "

Oh god no. The strict chronological nature of Metafilter is an essential feature of its interface. Threads age on purpose and Metafilter is better for it.

Going To Maine: "big arguments for the modern theme was that it improved user experience on mobile"

It made it look like other mobile sites to draw new users (titles on the front page are in a similar vein) and improve the user interface experience; raw performance wasn't a design goal. The introduction thread is here and performance doesn't come up. The classic theme is so stripped down it's hard to imagine a significant performance gain even being possible.
posted by Mitheral at 5:45 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


bonehead: "The front page has always been strictly chronological, but I'd prefer some inclusion of latest activity as well. "

Can that ordering be had by subscribing to the RSS feed of a thread?
posted by sammyo at 5:55 PM on April 11, 2016


Going To Maine: "Rather, that seems like the sort of ad-hoc, one-size-fits-one fix at which MetaFilter excels."

Data point: thread closing pisses me off. I'm not always at my machine; I don't browse to any significant degree on my phone; and sometimes I'm away from internet access for days at a time. Reading through a several hundred Metatalk thread and being unable to comment at the end is frustrating. I realize this is often a symptom of "someone was wrong on the internet" for me and I'm working on controlling that but still, annoying as hell.

Even if you consider closing the old thread like pagination closing threads early would break on topic comment streams. Unless people want to see comments in the new thread referencing the old thread.
posted by Mitheral at 5:56 PM on April 11, 2016


some inclusion of latest activity

Have you looked at the Recent Comments tab on the front page? It may be what you're looking for, not sure - it lists threads in order of how recently they were commented in.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:57 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


bonehead and LM, you have made my night. First you propose a new feature that I'd never even considered but instantly knew I wanted, and then you tell me it already exists! My world is noticeably improved.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:50 PM on April 11, 2016


that feeling when you're like "hey, wouldn't it be great if--" and you just see a flickering ghostly figure of pb nodding an indulgent smile.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:54 PM on April 11, 2016 [22 favorites]


I'm reading this thread on my Casio calculator watch and you don't hear me complaining.

You have a watch? I'm reading this on a granite sundial.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:05 PM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's how I know I belong here.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:07 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sorry, wasn't trying to do that at all; I was just pissed at the unpleasant attitude displayed in "I'll be damned if I'm going to go sit at a PC to read a fucking election thread... Why is this such a problem for the site and the mods?" Make your point in a less contentious way, why can't you? So I was being contentious right back.

And if that isn't a perfect goddamn analogy of US politics (and why I stay away from those threads), I don't know what is.
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:11 PM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: a flickering ghostly figure of pb
posted by MoonOrb at 7:25 PM on April 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: Being Contentious Right Back®
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:32 PM on April 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


Late to the thread - maybe it's been mentioned already and I missed it: Are people with performance problems using any client-side javascript tools? Showing text on a screen is a solved problem, but maybe the fine folks who put metafilter extensions together could use some more longboat stress testing.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:33 AM on April 12, 2016


Here's one thing I didn't understand about that Boston Globe headline: how can deportations "begin" if we've been doing deportations all along?
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:12 AM on April 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


The long threads work ok for me on my iphone, but they break for me on my desktop/Firefox setup. Linked text, favorites, flagging all get dopplegangers - so I see two of everything clickable - the real link and a ghosted version. If I want to click something I have to try a few times. It is annoying but because it never happened on long mefi threads before, I thought it might have to do with the fact that my FF is tricked out with several extensions. It wasn't until I heard other people talk about it that I realized it wasn't just me. Haven't done so yet, but I may try another theme or viewing election threads on chrome to see if that helps. So based on what people have been saying, seems to be a problem on FF even on desktops. I can muddle along but, FWIW, it is a long thread weirdity that I never saw on mefi before.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:04 AM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Who wants to carry their PC into the bathroom!?
posted by Drinky Die


good point. it's perhaps advisable that all election threads be read behind locked doors, and that we wash our hands afterward.
posted by philip-random at 12:49 PM on April 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


Sonny Jim: "Just like it was back in 2001, before all the $5 newbs came along, when every single thread was a three-way fight between y2karl, Amberglow, and Steven Den Beste, with occasional free-form trolling from Postroad."

Some of them are still around, you know.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:56 AM on April 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


So, why would it need one? Why implement that specific, new mechanic? Why not just let the creaky old thread fall by the wayside the way it normally does? What does closing accomplish that is new, other than declaring that no one can comment in it any more even if they're inclined to and its not giving their particular device insurmountable trouble?

People are saying that they want to participate, but the current situation is precluding them from doing so. The current situation is not working.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:45 PM on April 13, 2016


Sure, but participate in what, exactly? An actual, specific thread that has a concrete "this is a quality MetaFilter discussion" value for them, or the abstract notion of An Election Discussion for its own sake?

Because the latter we keep having, and it keeps filling up very rapidly because there's a lot of energy (not distributed evenly across the active userbase) available to be directed toward open election threads: we've had 500+ comments dumped over the last <50ish hours into the latest brand new election thread, mostly because it's just there and not as laggy as the previous thread. And the same patterns keep appearing: a rush of goofy randomness up top, followed by an accretion of contemporary horse-race links, followed by a descent into the same brand of often-kinda-shitty You, No You Clinton-vs-Sanders sniping or proxy sniping. Even with pretty active mod attempts to discourage that stuff, it seems to be the dominant and basically indefatigable mode of discourse in these collective threads.

So, as much as I would like to be able to foster good, interesting electoral discussion on the site, I have to say that if people are feeling like they are being precluded from having that it is not primarily because of technical issues with the site. At a certain point the dominant discursive mode of election discussions just needs to not be crappy inter-candidate infighting, or there's just not that much we can hope to help with. Telling people to cut it out ten times a day has its limits.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:16 PM on April 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


Can you tease out what percentage of the user base to log in the the last month have commented in the last two election threads? I couldn't seem to figure out a way to tease that out of the infodumptster.
posted by Mitheral at 11:34 PM on April 13, 2016


People in this thread are saying they want to participate in those threads and can't, regardless of how you feel about the quality of those threads. If you thought better of those threads' quality, would you be more inclined to do something to help them?
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:56 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Some of them are still around, you know.

Indeed. Two of them, for sure. And this one found it a lame jibe that amounted to malicious slander, not true, not accurate, not funny. Given the moderate sensitivities of late, I was surprised it stayed.
posted by y2karl at 5:17 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


People in this thread are saying they want to participate in those threads and can't

And we've said, okay, a new thread more often than we'd otherwise want is basically the available solution, and we've run with that. What we don't have is a magic wand that trivially makes outlier very large threads not have a performance impact on some devices, which is a bummer because if we did I'd wave it. So instead: more very busy threads more often, resetting the accumulated weight of rendering of the current one to zero for the brief moment before folks start filling it up again with, in frustratingly significant part, the same tedious circular stuff.

We didn't sit down and decide to punish people for being interested in the election, by taking something away or breaking something or whatever. The shape that interest in the election has taken on the site has, instead, created unusually demanding conditions for the site and mod resources as they already exist, conditions that there's no easy or win-win fix for.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:27 AM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Sure, but participate in what, exactly? An actual, specific thread that has a concrete "this is a quality MetaFilter discussion" value for them, or the abstract notion of An Election Discussion for its own sake?

If you don't want the pain and heartbreak of trying to referee the election bunfights—and I can't say I'd blame you if you don't—then just prohibit election threads, for Christ's sake. Don't weasel it up in talk about some abstract level of "quality discussions." Because the fact is that this is mostly a place to swap spit, horse around, and rage against the dying of the light. Truly quality discussions happen pretty rarely around here. (That discussion of "rage yoga" is basically people furiously typing "You're offensive! No, you're offensive!" at each other.)

There are three avenues here, as I see it: A) Prohibit discussions of the US elections and/or split them into a separate sub-forum and, if "quality discussions" are genuinely a site-wide goal, then state much more clearly than "everyone needs a hug" the forum's expectations on how to rise to that level; B) Make it possible for commenters to have the discussions they want, more or less; or C) leave things as they are.

(On the principle of "living well is the best revenge" I've avoided the election discussions this season. I've done yeoman's work in the past and I'm tired of telling people they should write themselves in.)
posted by octobersurprise at 7:43 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


(point of order: I didn't - and don't - have any particular *desire* to participate in the electoral threads. I was *directed to,* and bounced off the armor. That is all.)
posted by mwhybark at 10:11 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Because the fact is that this is mostly a place to swap spit, horse around, and rage against the dying of the light.

I disagree that this is a fact. This is the case for a small subset of very active users. Most account holders do not use MetaFilter this way.

Truly quality discussions happen pretty rarely around here.

I disagree with this too. Rarely compared to what?
posted by Roger Dodger at 2:41 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I often wonder why people who express so much dislike of this place spend so much time here.
posted by Etrigan at 3:55 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's like democracy: It's the worst except for all other options.
posted by Mitheral at 4:29 PM on April 14, 2016


I often wonder why people who express so much dislike of this place spend so much time here.

All this has happened before and all this will happen again.

(Anyway, if you were referring to me, I don't think I suggested that I didn't like metafilter. I spend less time commenting here than I once did, but the place still entertains me.)
posted by octobersurprise at 6:40 AM on April 15, 2016


Same here. Plus I once got reamed out online on a related topic by someone I once watched drop more money on drinks in one night than I spent on food in a month at the time. That gave, in retrospect, a piquant flavor, right or wrong, on a lecture about privilege.
posted by y2karl at 12:38 PM on April 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Indeed. Two of them, for sure. And this one found it a lame jibe that amounted to malicious slander, not true, not accurate, not funny.
Well, that certainly wasn't my intention. At all. Sorry if it came across that way.
posted by Sonny Jim at 9:58 AM on April 18, 2016


I often wonder why people who express so much dislike of this place spend so much time here.

me too.
posted by andrewcooke at 10:06 AM on April 18, 2016


Announcing from the hills a new, mod-approved, US election post.
posted by Wordshore at 9:03 AM on April 19, 2016


Thanks for all of the great thread work, Wordshore.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:51 AM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seconded. Wordshore: Seeing what needs to be done and doing it.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:04 AM on April 19, 2016


Sorry it came across.that way.

Nah, no biggie. Sorry I was in a grouchy mood when I wrote that.
posted by y2karl at 12:36 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]




One for Metafilter moderators.
posted by Wordshore at 10:55 AM on April 27, 2016


« Older MetaFilter's increased public profile   |   Ad-blocker-blocker links Newer »

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