It's a big snowball November 6, 2016 5:22 PM   Subscribe

I think we need a political sub-site, dudes, the election threads must be a nightmare to mod, at least if all this stuff was sequestered into one area you could have a new thread every day and break out discussions of specific topics. I was waiting for the current thread to load and thinking about hey, after tuesday all this will slow down, and then I thought....what if it doesn't?
posted by bq to MetaFilter-Related at 5:22 PM (98 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

That's a hard pass on a political subsite, and if this doesn't slow down after Tuesday, I think cortex is going to Thelma-and-Louise it with the server off the Oregon cliffs and into the Pacific!

I've probably enjoyed the politics threads as much as anyone and even I need a break. I'm EXHAUSTED.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:23 PM on November 6, 2016 [45 favorites]




I just think that we need a pagination option so that large threads won't be such a scrollfest.
posted by I-baLL at 5:37 PM on November 6, 2016 [10 favorites]


This too shall pass.
posted by fixedgear at 5:38 PM on November 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


In this scenario, cortex is Susan Sarandon.

But who is Brad Pitt?
posted by AFABulous at 5:54 PM on November 6, 2016




I just think that we need a pagination option

No. God, no.

Pagination is evil. There is never a situation in which pagination accomplishes more than it breaks.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 6:10 PM on November 6, 2016 [24 favorites]


and then I thought....what if it doesn't?

Darkest timeline.
posted by zarq at 6:16 PM on November 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


Everyone knows election commentary dies down after November 8th. What this thread presupposes is, what if it doesn't?
posted by michaelh at 6:19 PM on November 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


There is never a situation in which pagination accomplishes more than it breaks.

paper-printed books?
posted by isthmus at 6:39 PM on November 6, 2016 [27 favorites]


Can we decide now that we will (or not) have multiple threads on Tuesday if necessary? Stretching these threads out as more and more people can't use them is the thing that's been happening, but I think it'd be kind of crappy on Election Day.
posted by lalex at 6:40 PM on November 6, 2016


What if it doesn't? We go with a soft 280 character cap per comment, and a one cent per character luxury character tax for every character above. Basically, you break it, you buy it.
posted by notyou at 6:41 PM on November 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I feel like this MeTa thread would have been more usefully posted a week from now.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:46 PM on November 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Look, if i could jump into next week, believe me, I would have done so.
posted by bq at 6:49 PM on November 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


I haven't plumbed around in the code, but isn't the "n new comments" thing sort of a framework that pagination could be built on, already? It must be accepting a beginning/last-viewed comment as a parameter, so if it were to also accept a quantity of new comments to fetch, then I'd think a non-official browser plugin or user script or something could be developed that would do pagination, at least clumsily.
posted by XMLicious at 6:55 PM on November 6, 2016


Pagination previously, and even more previously, and even more previously
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:00 PM on November 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah, per EM's roundup there (and I'm sure there's more, if you really want to go looking): the difficult part of pagination is not the technical implementation of splitting-things-across-pages, it's the everything-else that comes with it. I have made what you could call personal progress over the years in moving it from a literally Over My Dead Body issue to merely something that I am profoundly unlikely to support, but there have been close to zero practical use cases on MetaFilter that have threatened to nudge that any further.

That's not because I don't understand the tensions driving the idea—I very much do, and I think about them every time we have a busy spate of longer threads, and I totally feel the folks broaching the idea because it is coming from something that can be a pain point for the site's UX—but because I never get to the point where I'm convinced that the solution, with all it brings with it, is actually better long-term for the site than the pain it's trying to alleviate.

In any case:

Look, if i could jump into next week, believe me, I would have done so.

I cannot endorse this feeling enough. We'll get through the next couple of days together, one way or another, and I love you all, but

*floors it toward the canyon*
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:14 PM on November 6, 2016 [36 favorites]


schmod's MobileFilter as mentioned in EM's first link seems to work: today's election thread. But, his comment there indicates it may break after the thread reaches a certain number of comments, because his web server is tiny like Trump's hands.
posted by XMLicious at 7:17 PM on November 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oops I broke it by trying to look at the preceding election thread.
posted by XMLicious at 7:21 PM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


there's an election? is this a USian thing?
posted by Greg Nog at 7:36 PM on November 6, 2016 [20 favorites]


What this thread presupposes is, what if it doesn't?

I'll consider this pony when we can get Owen Wilson to present it in a brief trailer.

Yeah, it does suck, but it's going to be over in a week-ish or so. Not that there isn't always a political topic to discuss, but this current volume is a complete anomaly.
posted by Miko at 8:52 PM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


XMLicious you bastard, you killed schmod's server!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:17 PM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Basically, you break it, you buy it.

Cash in advance.
posted by Bruce H. at 9:19 PM on November 6, 2016


Given the primates, we could take over MonkeyFilter.
I'd say PoliticalFilter, but.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:33 PM on November 6, 2016


isthmus: "paper-printed books?"

Scrolls Forever!!!!!
posted by Mitheral at 9:52 PM on November 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Just know this too shall pass. (Seriously.)
posted by Deoridhe at 10:30 PM on November 6, 2016


but this current volume is a complete anomaly

Once every four years the site goes election-heavy for an increasing period of time. I personally don't particularly enjoy what electionfilter turns the site into, and I suspect the mods might agree that a repeat of such things in four years time, give or take how early things kick off, is best avoided.

But then, I think a combination of high emotion and high volume has allowed for a lot of unhealthy participation to develop through the site, and while nothing else may be all-consuming as the US election, any topic taking over the site to the same degree should and would be discouraged, important or not.

Optimistically, it will all work out. But I do think if there were any form of PoliticsFilter during any and all future election seasons it would be a net gain for MetaFilter itself.
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:36 PM on November 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Once every four years...

This is in no way a typical election though.
posted by aubilenon at 10:48 PM on November 6, 2016


You seem mighty sure of this so-called "after tuesday". I'll believe it when I see it.
posted by naju at 12:14 AM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


if this doesn't slow down after Tuesday, I think cortex is going to Thelma-and-Louise it with the server off the Oregon cliffs and into the Pacific!

So - now it's all clear. The final step in a decade-long plan, a strategy of infinite subtlety, whose every twist and turn had been foreseen from the start. A plan that will inevitably lead ... to the destruction of our society.

More than 10 years ago, he joined MeFi. At first, just making a comment here and there, but never committing to an FPP. Just to lull us into a false sense of security, to make us think there was no problem, no threat.

And then a few years later, it started. All the "vote #1 quidnunc kid" nonsense. Now we see it for what it was - an attempt to "incept" the idea into our sleeping minds that a tedious, unqualified and narcissistic moron would run for a position of actual leadership authority. Oh, we laughed it off at the time - but that just meant that we would be unprepared when the "joke" threatened to become reality.

And later, someone actually appeared on the political scene who embodied all of those disgusting qualities, in the flesh. A false flag operation? Or had he just seen all along that the rise of such an anomaly in our politics was statistically inevitable?

Of course, this "Trump" character won't win the election. But the damage, in terms of political discourse, has already been done. And he knew what the result would be: even after the election is over, the will, the sanity of the mods will be broken. And with the mods defeated, he'll finally be in a position to get what he wanted.

And now we see how the final scene plays out. How on Wednesday morning, he'll walk out to the base of those Oregon cliffs, and wait. Wait for the sound of the car accelerating ... and then he'll draw out the final piece of the puzzle, the last step in the plan. A huge butterfly net, to catch them as they fall: cortex, the car - and the one thing he truly desired, all along ... the server. The MeFi server.

Everyone told us that the "dark quidnunc" theory was just crazy speculation. But now we know.

Now we know.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:08 AM on November 7, 2016 [26 favorites]


Having a subsite won't fix the fact that the US politics are fucking crazy and are going to get fucking crazier once Hillary wins.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:58 AM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


XMLicious you bastard, you killed schmod's server!

XMLicious, in the library, with the election thread!

But actually, it may just be that I accidentally included an "https://" in my link above when it needs to be "http://": current election thread, still working at the moment.
posted by XMLicious at 4:10 AM on November 7, 2016


Huh, it's not the in the code because the above comment is still editable... for some reason, once I've posted the comment, it's forcing the link to "https://", in Firefox for me at least. If you open the link and delete the "s" in your browser's address bar and reload, you can see schmod's MobileFilter tool.
posted by XMLicious at 4:15 AM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


at least if all this stuff was sequestered into one area you could have a new thread every day and break out discussions of specific topics

How would putting it on a different site make that any more workable for the mods in terms of workload than it is having it here? Unless you're planning on charging for access to PoliticsFilter and using said money to hire a new dedicated mod.
posted by Dysk at 4:16 AM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


You know, I've really appreciated the commentary in the election threads. People frequently bring in perspectives on the issues that I would never have thought about on my own, aggregate choice snippets of news and provide useful commentary and analysis, give advice on how one can best make one's voice be heard on issues that one feels strongly about, discuss local issues at a degree of depth that I do not find anywhere else, and do lots of other useful and informative things that make me a more informed and engaged citizen. I know it's infeasible, but I would love a Politicsfilter subsite that existed year round, so that I could continue to have this valuable civic resource during times when it's not US Presidential Election season.

Again, I know it's not going to happen—but I wish it could. Enough people like discussing media so much that we gave them a subsite where they could go off and really dig into that to an extent that wouldn't have worked on the main page. I wish there was something similar for politics, because I feel that while it's just as entertaining to a lot of folks, it's also very important. Perhaps in some other timeline where MetaFilter has lots more moderation resources.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:38 AM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Doubtful if multiple posts are needed on precisely Tuesday (no, that is not a challenge); the current one should hopefully go well into that day, and the next post, which is pretty much complete and waiting in the wings will then go up, at a mod-decided time. After Tuesday, who the hell knows, though. If Trump refuses to concede, or voting goes into Wednesday in some voter suppressed places, or Putin or X takes the opportunity to do Y or Z, then heck. Unchartered waters.

However, a lot of the comments at the moment are about people voting, or planning to vote, or what the latest polls show, what Nate Silver is doing at this exact moment, GOTV activities either happening or planned, election signs spotted, how relatives, friends and work colleagues are voting, the myriad of voter suppression activities and court actions, and a bunch of other topics that stop happening when voting ends. That makes up a big bulk of contemporary comments. Sure, they'll be replaced by some new sub-topics e.g. what does Trump do now, POTUS Clinton fights gridlock, especially if getting to an election result is messy. But probably not to the current degree of sub-topic commenting.

Gah; out of time. I have to go name some goats down the farm and my lift is waiting for me. This MetaTalk thread will be linked out of the aforementioned election day (which is TOMORROW!!!) FPP, anyway.
posted by Wordshore at 4:43 AM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is in no way a typical election though.

Ah. See, I don't believe subsequent elections are going to get any better.

If PoliticsFilter were to break off, it wouldn't be a sub-site, it would be a spinoff site. So no mod involvement. Everyone who wants to immerse themselves in politics with a MF twist can do so. It's a pipe dream, I know, but it would clear this site of the endless agita tied to this election, and to further elections.
posted by gadge emeritus at 5:01 AM on November 7, 2016


I think a politicsfilter spinoff site used to exist. The problem with spinoffs is that they only ever attract a small fraction of MeFi's membership, and since they lack visibility membership tends to decline just through attrition, once the initial surge of members from the spinoff's founding dies down. They don't really work, imo.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:35 AM on November 7, 2016


after tuesday all this will slow down, and then I thought....what if it doesn't?

It won't. In times like these it helps to remember that there have always been times like these. If not for you personally, then for other people.

I'd love to see there be a place where people who want to do political live-blogging can have a space that is separate from people who want to do political commenting-on-a-website, chat sort of does this but not really. Maybe Fanfare can be tasked for more of the debate type stuff the way they're now using it (to good outcomes) for big sporting events. And there can be some temp-mods brought in just for those epic threads and the people who are in them can micropay for the help. We'll have fully functional micropayment mechanisms by then, of that I am certain.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 5:59 AM on November 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


I think a politicsfilter spinoff site used to exist. The problem with spinoffs is that they only ever attract a small fraction of MeFi's membership, and since they lack visibility membership tends to decline just through attrition, once the initial surge of members from the spinoff's founding dies down. They don't really work, imo.

Well, it got into potentially nasty thing where people would say "Go do politics over THERE" and political junkies would say "But I like it HERE and THERE" and then mods would say "DON'T MAKE ME DO THAT THING". Then only real winner were the liquor distributors.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:16 AM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'd love to see there be a place where people who want to do political live-blogging can have a space that is separate from people who want to do political commenting-on-a-website, chat sort of does this but not really

Yes please. At least half of each election thread I have tried to read would've been more suited to something like IRC than a message board or discussion thread.
posted by Dysk at 6:27 AM on November 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


If PoliticsFilter were to break off, it wouldn't be a sub-site, it would be a spinoff site. So no mod involvement. Everyone who wants to immerse themselves in politics with a MF twist can do so.

The odds on a spinoff site with no mod involvement building up a steady userbase and self-sustaining level of activity aren't great, historically, is the primary challenge there. It's happened a few times—MetaChat was a bustling little side-community for a number of years, mefightclub continues to do well as a nice place to talk about video games and misc. other things—but they're more likely to either be very small and semi-private from the getgo or to set up, get a flurry of initial interest, and then fall over and go basically dark after a relatively short interval, after the novelty of the thing and/or the external circumstances driving a temporary need evaporate.

This isn't to discourage anyone from trying if they want, or in this case as noted trying again because this did literally happen once already with PoliticalFilter.com; I just want to address the practical reasons why "we'll just do this thing, and the mods won't have to do anything, and it'll solve the problem" is unlikely to solve a site problem.

Building something to fulfill an unmet need is one thing: you can say "here's a place to do that thing you really want to do but can't", and have a shot at folks adding that to their collection of sites and habits and so on.

Building something to rehome an existing habit or site participatory role has a different dynamic, because you are less likely to have people want to cease their existing habit of discussing x on the site in favor of going and restarting that habit elsewhere and hoping everyone else comes along as well.

Which is all circling around to that "no mod involvement" thing. Because probably the best way to up the chances of a political spinoff site building up steam is for us as a mod team and a site management team to heavily push it, endorse it, enforce participation on it by clamping down on that sort of participation here. To basically give it the MeFi stamp of approval and then some, and force folks' hands. Even if we aren't doing any work over on that notional spinoff, making it work would almost certainly have to involve us (a) doing extra work here to disrupt a subset of existing community expectations, and (b) putting a lot of trust in that spinoff site to be a worthy ambassador for the folks we're redirecting. That's all stuff that is pretty unlikely to happen, so by default it needs to be explicitly factored out, not just sort of handwaved away as details.

I think the best way to approach spinoff community stuff is to look for those unmet needs, those kinds-of community activity that don't have a good home now, and specifically the ones that are likely to have steady, positive enthusiasm behind them.

Not transient enthusiasm: if people are excited now about something they're not going to be excited about two months from now or a year from now, your project has a short half-life and is going to fizzle even if it gets a nice start in the short term.

And not frustration or negative/antagonistic feelings as a primary driver: communities and subcommunities tend to thrive off having a positive shared experience of place, and while frustration and negativity are valid things to feel and can be the basis for organizing something new and healthy, it's really easy for it to instead just create a self-perpetuating boiler room of sort of negative feedback, with nobody really happy to be in this new place they've made and so no reason to stick around.

So some of the questions it comes around to for me there, the stuff I'd want to have answers I felt pretty good about before proceeding:

- who specifically is the audience for a politics spinoff?
- why will that audience actually show up?
- if they do show up, what will compel them to stay?
- what unmet needs does the site meet, and how does it meet them?
- what motivates site participation three or six months from now, and how does that differ from right now?
- whose responsibility will it be to foster and educate the new site community?
- whose responsibility will it be to enforce community norms, moderate behavior, kick folks out, etc?
- how will fundamental disagreements between community members be resolved?

For something tackling a relatively charged subject like politics, some of those questions are more urgent than for e.g. a spinoff site about a pop culture thing that is lower-stakes and that people feel almost entirely positive about. You're baking a huge degree of conflict in, and you have to plan around that one way or another. That last bullet point about fundamental disagreements becomes a huge one. If you don't have an answer for how to e.g. make your site work for both Clinton and Trump supporters, you're not ready to start yet. There's not one right answer there—some possibilities take the basic shape of "well, you don't", practically speaking—but it's a question that absolutely has to have an answer, for that and every other polarizing intrinsic of the subject matter.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:52 AM on November 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


I wonder if it would have helped things this year to have a specific tag for the current election thread, like "CurrentElectionThread". Something that could be deleted by the OP or mods and applied to one thread only.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:10 AM on November 7, 2016


I wonder if it would have helped things this year to have a specific tag for the current election thread, like "CurrentElectionThread". Something that could be deleted by the OP or mods and applied to one thread only.

Surely you can just check the tag election2016, sort by date, and open the most recent thread.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:27 AM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


According to 538, there's about a 65% chance this will all settle down by the end of the week.

Of course, Nate also says there's a 35% chance that it will go the other way. And in that case, the subsite people will be clamoring for is expats.metafilter.com. Y'know... tips for immigrating to Canada, discussion of whether Americans should qualify for refugee status in other countries, real estate tips for quickly selling your house and buying property overseas...
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:30 AM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Even if we aren't doing any work over on that notional spinoff, making it work would almost certainly have to involve us (a) doing extra work here to disrupt a subset of existing community expectations, and (b) putting a lot of trust in that spinoff site to be a worthy ambassador for the folks we're redirecting. That's all stuff that is pretty unlikely to happen, so by default it needs to be explicitly factored out, not just sort of handwaved away as details.

Except that y'all are already doing a metric crap-ton of politics-related work now, so even if the (a) is a ton of work, at least it wouldn't be a metric crap-ton anymore — i.e. making less work overall.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:38 AM on November 7, 2016


If you don't have an answer for how to e.g. make your site work for both Clinton and Trump supporters, you're not ready to start yet.

Always with the practical waves, cortex, always with the practical waves.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:01 AM on November 7, 2016

You know, I've really appreciated the commentary in the election threads. People frequently bring in perspectives on the issues that I would never have thought about on my own, aggregate choice snippets of news and provide useful commentary and analysis, give advice on how one can best make one's voice be heard on issues that one feels strongly about, discuss local issues at a degree of depth that I do not find anywhere else, and do lots of other useful and informative things that make me a more informed and engaged citizen. I know it's infeasible, but I would love a Politicsfilter subsite that existed year round, so that I could continue to have this valuable civic resource during times when it's not US Presidential Election season.

Again, I know it's not going to happen—but I wish it could. Enough people like discussing media so much that we gave them a subsite where they could go off and really dig into that to an extent that wouldn't have worked on the main page. I wish there was something similar for politics, because I feel that while it's just as entertaining to a lot of folks, it's also very important. Perhaps in some other timeline where MetaFilter has lots more moderation resources.
Quoted for truth...I understand all the reasons it'll probably never happen, but as an election thread stalker, I've learned 1000x as much as I've learned from any other source this season. Mefites are SHARP and I've really learned a lot here, unlike almost anywhere else on the internet.

The question came up about how would a subsite be easier than an election thread - I know why election things have been kept to one thread at a time, but that fast-moving conversation has beget the most exclusionary parts of the thread (the "we already did that one" especially). If instead of the unspoken "c'mon, you should understand by now why Comey was acting inappropriately" we had "actually we're discussing Comey over at LINK", threads would be both more focused and more friendly to those who don't have six hours a day to follow the thread. I suspect people with different concerns/priorities would be able to self-select into different threads and stop talking past each other as much, as well.

I know that there are many known controversial issues that mefi Doesn't Do Well - Israel/Palestine, for instance - but there are also some known controversial issues that we do better-than-normal. Politics seems like it's been in the latter basket. What is it about a subsite that means we have to be more friendly for Trump supporters than we are in the election thread?

At any rate...I wouldn't expect the current number of mods to support anything like a subsite, and I REALLY appreciate all the work you've put into letting us have these threads these past months. They've been a lifesaver. I'll definitely be upping my monthly contribution as soon as it's feasible.
posted by R a c h e l at 9:15 AM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


can we use this thread to talk about the ending to Thelma and Louise

i always assume it ends like the similar scene in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, on which T&L is based
posted by beerperson at 9:37 AM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


The odds on a spinoff site with no mod involvement building up a steady userbase and self-sustaining level of activity aren't great, historically, is the primary challenge there. It's happened a few times—MetaChat was a bustling little side-community for a number of years, mefightclub continues to do well as a nice place to talk about video games and misc. other things

Just to be clear, Mefightclub has mods, they're just not the same mods as Mefi.

I suspect that a political subsite would have to have paid mods, like Mefi itself. Volunteers can do wonders, but the dynamics of having unpaid super-users mod a site normally leads to a lot of battling against the mods, which in turn leads to burnout and drama.
posted by zompist at 10:09 AM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


To find the massive cost of anticipated mod resources/booze, I propose a per-word fee of $.02/word or emoji in future politics threads.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:12 AM on November 7, 2016


A picture is worth a thousand words. $20 per emoji, same as in town.
posted by Dysk at 10:15 AM on November 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


Except that y'all are already doing a metric crap-ton of politics-related work now, so even if the (a) is a ton of work, at least it wouldn't be a metric crap-ton anymore

Yeah, but right now we're doing the work we know how to do and have planned to do, and with the community more or less on the same page about what that looks like even if there's plenty of disagreements about this detail or that. Shifting all political stuff on the site to a new spinoff would involve a bunch of new work including pulling the rug out from under the community about how they use this site, which is a whole other kettle of fish. (And shifting only some to a notional spinoff site would be doing both kinds of work at the same time, so no help there.)

Beyond the general framework I laid out above this morning, I'll acknowledge that I'm a little too in-the-present right now with this election to be able to really dig into a hypothetical set in a different context, in any case. This discussion a year ago or a year from now would make more sense as an actual brainstorming/planning thing, but right now it's obviously outside of the realm of possibility to even think about trying to shift political discussion gears on the site, so: shrug. Mostly I just need to make sure there's enough brown liquor in the cabinet for the next 36 hours.

Just to be clear, Mefightclub has mods, they're just not the same mods as Mefi.

Oh yeah, totally. Ambiguity in my phrasing; I was only talking about the question of the current mefi mod staff putting work into any notional spinoff, not about the question of moderation of some kind being part of that spinoff's conception.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:33 AM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well there goes cortex, calmly and rationally explaining the specifics and everything in a thoughtful way. *shakes fist*

I know the practicalities involved in actually getting PoliticsFilter reborn aren't at all likely, just my wishful thinking that a lot of that conversation here could be moved to a hand-wavey there and take with it some of the more negative interactions that I feel this election cycle has brought to the foreground. It's not that easy ... but if it were, it would have my vote. But then to me the mods could just say something like 'this made us want to drive the entire site off a cliff, so all future elections will have less presence here for our own sanity' and I'd think that was fine.

Of course, I can also say that because the threads aren't important to me the way they seem to have been for others - someone mentioned getting all the threads printed out like some kind of memento and I couldn't fathom wanting such a thing. And in that vein, I can't imagine anything like the same level of activity for the next election, a natural outgrowth of the previous US elections MF has been around for, is something the mods would want to deal with. Let alone a chunk of the userbase who might agree that the negative outweighs the positive in this way.
posted by gadge emeritus at 12:03 PM on November 7, 2016


I'd love to see there be a place where people who want to do political live-blogging can have a space that is separate from people who want to do political commenting-on-a-website, chat sort of does this but not really.

Yeah, we need that. These threads would be easier to follow and load without a lot of the context-free liveblogging, and I can't help but think they would also be proportionately easier to moderate with less clutter.

Maybe Fanfare can be tasked for more of the debate type stuff the way they're now using it (to good outcomes) for big sporting events.

Please not on Fanfare though. Fanfare is a lot lighter than the rest of this place, and I desperately wish to keep it that way.
posted by mordax at 1:52 PM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


put it in fanfaaaarrrre
posted by Greg Nog at 2:31 PM on November 7, 2016


Please don't fuck up FanFare
posted by MoonOrb at 2:39 PM on November 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


I suggest a site wide migration to a new domain. We'll start with the political posts to stress test it...
posted by ODiV at 3:27 PM on November 7, 2016


someone mentioned getting all the threads printed out like some kind of memento and I couldn't fathom wanting such a thing

I think that was more as a thing to gawk at in its entirety rather than reference/read. Kind of like a meta Meta sculpture.
posted by Mitheral at 3:33 PM on November 7, 2016


I'd take a print version of just all the Hamilton references.

(Insert wisecrack here about how there isn't enough toner in the world...)
posted by zachlipton at 3:41 PM on November 7, 2016


PLEASE don't put it in Fanfare.
posted by zarq at 5:17 PM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


please don't not put it outside of not-Fanfare
posted by beerperson at 6:21 PM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


What if quadrennial elections, but too much?
posted by rhizome at 6:30 PM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm on like a multitude of dentist drugs and some top shelf Charas. The paladin/elephant still thinks this is a bad idea unless we're talking a lot of money but not with the Mefi label...
Maybe a hand off or a go-to/off shoot
Home spun get a lot of members to go over to a new news site maybe MEFI could help but that is like endorsement.

Someone just frikkin make up a new site and get some friction tractors working, op-eds. Interviews....
Bow that box!
(I can't few my tounge!)
posted by clavdivs at 6:47 PM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Hey clav, you might want to lie down or something.
posted by zachlipton at 6:50 PM on November 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


Prescription for Clindamycin saz don't lie down after taking...it's been about 6 minutes...but I defer, not seeking to seek out attention grabbing behavior...seriously, a new site akin to mefi would be sweet but what cortex said. 😣😁😷😎😆😚😴
posted by clavdivs at 7:14 PM on November 7, 2016


clavdivs I can't tell if the drugs have kicked in yet
posted by beerperson at 8:52 PM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


While I agree that pagination is not a good idea for Metafilter, I do wish there was a preference I could set to display only the last n comments at the time of loading the page. New comments could be lazy loaded and expanded as they are currently. A reload would update which comments get displayed/truncated.

The amount of data in these threads as such doesn't appear to be what's breaking my mobile browser despite being on a reasonably current and powerful phone (chrome on Nexus 5S). It's mostly struggling with rendering these long pages. Inevitably once we get past a thousand or so comments two things start to happen:

a) alignment problems where finger presses don't register in the right place (i.e. I try to favorite or follow a link but end up activating the user profile link of a poster one or two posts up or down from where I'm clicking).

b) weird caching/reloading behavior where the page will reload for unknown reasons (no clicks/presses) but it'll reload an older state with a couple hundred comments missing that I had just seen and read, forcing me to reload manually and find the spot where I was before. At first I thought it had to do with clicking on comment time stamps and I tried to do that regularly to sort of "mark" my current position in the thread via the URL so it would jump there on reload. But on occasion it'll "reload" right back to a previous state regardless of the current URL. Even though it's clearly reloading from a cached state (new comments missing) it still takes forever.

Anyhow, it seems this problem could be solved by allowing for a truncated display of the thread even if the entire thread's data is loaded into memory.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:34 AM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


The amount of data in these threads as such doesn't appear to be what's breaking my mobile browser despite being on a reasonably current and powerful phone (chrome on Nexus 5S). It's mostly struggling with rendering these long pages. Inevitably once we get past a thousand or so comments two things start to happen:

Are you using modern theme by any chance? Because my way shitty Xperia SP handles several thousand comment threads perfectly fine - as long as I'm using classic theme.
posted by Dysk at 3:08 AM on November 8, 2016


Anyhow, it seems this problem could be solved by allowing for a truncated display of the thread even if the entire thread's data is loaded into memory.

This is something that could be handled on the user end, being just a question of how to render the given data. Not sure what scripting options exist for mobile browsers, though, never had cause to look into it.
posted by Dysk at 3:09 AM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


A subsite won't lessen the mods work; it will just move it.

From a reader's perspective, I don't feel like MetaFilter is being overwhelmed by political posts. The front page has plenty of posts that aren't related at all (cereal!) or are only tangentially related (puppies!). You can just skip over the political posts.

I can't load the super-long political threads because I'm in a developing country with slow internet. A solution that requires downloading the whole page, but not displaying it, wouldn't work for me.

I wish there was an option to view the last X comments only, or something. =/ My recent activity kind of functions that way, except it only loads 10 comments and has no reply option so I can't participate.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:45 AM on November 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


One of the ways in which I use MetaFilter, since I can't and don't want to read everything, is to look at the Popular Posts/Comments page once a week. The election broke this way of looking at MetaFilter for me - for about a whole year - since every single highly favorited comment was in an election thread. I recognize that a subsite wouldn't fix this though.

How about this pony: What if you could filter the posts shown on the Popular page by tag?
posted by bobobox at 6:09 AM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


bobobox - I agree!
posted by soelo at 7:44 AM on November 8, 2016


Dysk: I'm classic theme 4 lyfe! :)
posted by Hairy Lobster at 9:44 AM on November 8, 2016


And in that case, the subsite people will be clamoring for is expats.metafilter.com.

When it opens, you'll find it already populated by Mefites who've been overseas for years, and have to deal with the withering disdain the original members feel for all of you darkest-timeline-fleeing Noobs. All of our careful discussions about where to find good tacos in Beijing, on craft beer events in Tokyo, how to deal with FBARS, all lost signals amongst the noise of people finding out just how hard it is for an American to become a Canadian.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:19 PM on November 8, 2016


I think what's probably going to happen is that it will need a few weeks to taper off, but it ultimately will - unless Trump refuses to concede and in that case we'll just have to worry about the new civil war instead of about the moderation.
posted by corb at 1:47 PM on November 8, 2016


There will definitely be at least a couple of weeks of Trump shitting on our beds and peeing on our loudspeakers. The Scorpion and the Frog requires it.
posted by rhizome at 5:58 PM on November 8, 2016


Well, it looks like political discussion is definitely going to continue being fairly ....lively over the next couple years. At this point, yeah, I favor the idea of a separate page or subsite or whatever they are.
posted by Miko at 4:50 AM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I, for one, would be happy to never see a political post or comment on here again. Or anywhere else for that matter.
posted by TedW at 10:36 AM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think we will need some politics threads for the next few weeks as we all slowly come down off the ledge.
posted by corb at 10:49 AM on November 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I agree. We can't have a new thread for every single "what does this all mean?" article somebody writes, no matter how worthy, and there's going to be a ton of those articles.
posted by zachlipton at 12:52 PM on November 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have to think it'll be manageable as threads.
posted by rhizome at 9:51 PM on November 9, 2016


Considering how I do not know if the political talk will die down now, at least I fucking hope it won't or we're all sunk, I vote for a political subsite. We need to remain informed and engaged and we need a community in which to be informed and engaged.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:47 AM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


(And I say that as someone who was hoping to finally be done with election threads this week.)
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:47 AM on November 10, 2016


We need to remain informed and engaged and we need a community in which to be informed and engaged.

A lot of us are anticipating a rough few years ahead where we may need to rely on each other and coordinate with each other more than we've had to so far. Would a political subsite serve as a community for Mefites to come together and support each other and organize, as well as being informed and engaged with the latest events? Or would a not-specifically-political subsite be more appropriate to help with that? Or do we feel like a combination of Ask and MetaTalk would continue to serve those needs?
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:57 PM on November 11, 2016


The more I think about it, the more I want to lean on everyone's help in the coming years, and the more I want to have YOUR backs however I can. So if a subsite can explicitly be a source for defending and supporting people who will be beaten down in a Trump era, I am 100% for it.
posted by naju at 9:14 PM on November 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


We need to remain informed and engaged and we need a community in which to be informed and engaged.

For that, maybe it's not MetaFilter. I'm a member now of three Facebook Pantsuit Nation groups, and it's helping tremendously. Lots and lots of organizing, resources, ideas, plans being made. It's keeping me together, actually. And I know there are lots of other and similar groups getting down to organizing and mutual support now. That level of engagement may be beyond what MeFi can do, since organizing isn't our primary activity or purpose here. But those places do exist. In fact, politics threads (or sites...) can help people find their way to them.
posted by Miko at 9:57 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


So I came into this thread to say that a political subsite focused around action ("call THIS SENATOR right now and say THIS") would be ideal (call it popularfront.metafilter.com, cause in a world where corb and I agree on everything of substance, it's Popular Front times), but now I'm here to ask for an invite to whatever Pantsuit Nation group is giving orders on what to do and who to call and what to say. No more gadflying for me - I wanna be a reliable footsoldier in some kind of organization. If metafilter isn't hosting that sort of thing, I wanna join up with whatever group the mefites are in.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:03 AM on November 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


We need to remain informed and engaged and we need a community in which to be informed and engaged.

For that, maybe it's not MetaFilter. I'm a member now of three Facebook Pantsuit Nation groups, and it's helping tremendously. Lots and lots of organizing, resources, ideas, plans being made.


Seriously, Miko? This is not a place to be informed and engaged on politics? I mean it's great that you (according to your profile at least) live in a state where not a single county went red and have local PN groups to fulfill that need but I don't have anything like that in my area (red red red, not a blue county for hundreds of miles), and the national PN group doesn't seem to be doing anything like that, it's mostly still personal stories.

I just... I am disappoint. I do not have a local community option, MetaFilter IS my community.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:38 AM on November 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is not a place to be informed and engaged on politics?

Nothing against MeFi. It's just not set up, at an interface level, for the same rapid action, grouping, and multilevel structure that things like FB and Google are, is what I mean. I learn a lot at MetaFilter, I become informed a lot, but in terms of action and direct engagement I feel like it's not the right setup. This is a great place for discussion but for intense back-and-forth interaction, idea building, commenting, rallying campaigns, splitting off conversations - not so much. Look at the election threads...yowza, slow scrolling, no way to keep up or pin important topics, etc. PN Nation is already breaking Facebook, and that's Facebook. I don't think MeFi can handle that sort of activity on the site.

However, maybe there is a way to organize here to migrate a subgroup to a Google group or similar for focused action, as we saw people do around calling for Hillary.

So, if anyone wants to be in a local PN group, MeMail me and give me your Facebook ID or email. I can either friend you and invite you, or use your email to invite you. There's a place with a list of each and every chapter in the country, and now there are state chapters in most states and in bigger states they are breaking down by region, county, or Congressional district. I know PN will not end up being for everyone, but for now, it's a valuable clearinghouse of information and a place to make contacts and get ideas for following up individually and/or locally. So, MeMail me please and we can get you connected with info like that privately.
posted by Miko at 10:53 AM on November 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Mostly I think there is some space between "MetaFilter will launch a subsite initiative for this!" and "MetaFilter can't support the community on this", and fwiw I get what Miko was going for I think.

That middle space seems like something to aim for; a subset of the community organizing stuff in MetaTalk but executing the details off-site seems workable and if folks want to organize that I think that's laudable and worth doing. And if that produces some useful artifacts that can be shared back with the community—resources, plans, how-to stuff, etc.—that's great too.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:10 PM on November 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


*Hears faint schmod-batsignal though all the weeping*

Huh. I'll poke MobileFilter and figure out what went wrong, figure out if I can turn SSL on, and possibly come up with a more user-friendly way for folks to use it.

It's a *really* simple tool that doesn't actually save any data (no, really – it doesn't even keep logs), so it's mostly limited to posts that I can link to from any of MeFi's public feeds.

But... I'm glad folks have been able to use it.
posted by schmod at 12:51 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


On organizing: there's a new MeTa today about what things people are doing, and that might be a decent jumping off point for folks who want to try and organize and formalize some para-MetaFilter stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:58 PM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


My thoughts, for whatever they're worth (probably not much, as I have no idea how mods are managing now):

Political content won't die down on the site for a good while, possibly for years. And by on the site, I mean on the main MetaFilter page/site, Ask.MetaFilter and even here on MetaTalk. I was thinking this content could be shifted to a new sub-site, where there could be more free-formatting but with a queue. Posts could be made on topics, so instead of Current Politics MegaThread on the blue, there could be longer running threads on Transition Team Updates, Tax Policy Discussion, Immigration Reform Policies and so forth, plus How To Get Involved In [area/ topic] threads to pull questions from Ask MetaFilter, and the What Are You Doing? MeTa threads could move there, too.

At least, that's the way I'm envisioning the sub-site. I realize a sub-site needs to be created and integrated with the rest of the site as copying the MetaTalk section and renaming it, and there are also benefits with keeping the pieces where they are now, including more eyes on the topics, and nothing is broken so don't spend time to fix it. My final pitch is that this would allow for what could be more manageable political threads of smaller sizes, instead of huge, rambly monsters that eat phones and produce re-hashed discussions in each new thread.

[This is a bit of mental dumping, because the thoughts were rattling around in my head and I wanted to share them, for whatever they're worth.]
posted by filthy light thief at 1:30 PM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]




The whole insistence that the nature of political engagement has changed with this most super-liminal exceptional situation - a new president having been elected - is a bit much when literally unprecedented events like Brexit passed with little more than a shrug. Trump is fucking bad, aye, but it's not like politics stops at the US border, or ever has, and acting like this is the one thing that changes everything, whereas the wars, coups, revolutions, and other political events everywhere else don't matter, well it is a bit insulting.
posted by Dysk at 2:42 AM on November 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


I feel like what it says about us that the US election has prompted this much site activity is a different conversation. The effect on MetaFilter is immense and needs to be dealt with somehow.
posted by ODiV at 7:37 AM on November 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think basically it says that the site has a ton of US members and they want to talk about and process this shocking event.
posted by lalex at 9:50 AM on November 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


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