Small italicized pony request March 26, 2017 7:39 AM   Subscribe

I can't believe I'm harassing y'all for this, it really is an itty bitty pony. That said I just realized in my Recent Activity when answering a question from an anonymous poster that the anonymous wasn't italicized like it is everywhere else -- ie on the askme home page, question page. (Also this is desktop only as the the username doesn't appear on mobile.) Anonymous was also capitalized, where it's not in the rest of the site. Any specific reason why it's different on the Recent Activity page? And if not... pretty please can I get it to look the same across the site? I don't even know why this bothered me enough to ask, but here it is. Thanks awesome metafilter team, as always you guys are amazing!
posted by cgg to Bugs at 7:39 AM (23 comments total)

Any specific reason why it's different on the Recent Activity page?

Ha, this is a good question! I think the answer, such as I have one, is to change the subject and say "actually it's the other way around". That is: the actual name of the account that collects all of the anonymous Ask MetaFilter questions is "Anonymous", with a capital A, and of course in general usernames are not italicized and that one is not an exception.

So the default treatment would be to render it as "Anonymous", title-capped, no italics.

And that holds true if you go to things like the account's post activity and look at the bylines, or add it as a contact, etc.

So why do we treat it as lowercase italic in the bylines on Ask MetaFilter itself (both the front page and in thread view)? To give it some small clear indication of being a special case—that this is actually an anonymous question rather than a question by a user who happens to have chosen a handle referring to anonymity.

From there, circling back to why it's different in Recent Activity: I dunno! No good reason I'm guessing so much as just an oversight.

Except! The Recent Activity query is probably the most convoluted and CPU-heavy query we run on the site, and we run it a lot; over the years, we've approached changes to it with caution because it's a big ol' hungry angry bear to work with and anything that could nudge it's computational complexity upward was viewed with some serious cost/benefit conservatism.

So, there's a couple possibilities here:

1. This just hasn't come up before and we never looked.
2. This came up before and e.g. pb looked and said "no, this isn't worth the additional load"
3. This came up before and e.g. pb said "good lord no I am not touching RA code again right now" and it was forgotten.

I'll toss "take a peek at coercing lc-with-italics in RA for Anonymous" onto our rainy day list because I see no harm in having frimble (re-?)examine it at some point and maybe they'll come back with "oh, that's actually no problem". No idea when, but it's on the table.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:51 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the extended explanation, cortex! I figured there was a significant chance it was little more complicated than throwing a couple <i>'s around the word!
posted by cgg at 8:10 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


This post sorely needs the tag: aponymous
posted by Kattullus at 10:58 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


Oh good grief do *not* Google the word "aponymous". I'm not entirely sure my brain will ever recover from what I saw excerpted on the first page of search results.
posted by Kattullus at 12:06 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


So why do we treat it as lowercase italic in the bylines on Ask MetaFilter itself (both the front page and in thread view)? To give it some small clear indication of being a special case—that this is actually an anonymous question rather than a question by a user who happens to have chosen a handle referring to anonymity.

This has always driven me completely bonkers and it's a measure of the high respect I have for everyone here that I have never mentioned that (I think?) until today.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:09 PM on March 26 [13 favorites]


I always assumed they were different people. anonymous and Anonymous, side-eying each other across the room, wondering when the other's going to wander off to some other part of the web and solve the problem.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:10 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


This has always driven me completely bonkers and it's a measure of the high respect I have for everyone here that I have never mentioned that (I think?) until today.

But you've just been completely bonkers this whole time?
posted by aubilenon at 6:44 PM on March 26


I thought all formatting was stripped from Recent Activity because the character limit means that the end tags are sometimes cut off.
posted by lazuli at 7:35 PM on March 26


I am irrationally pleased that I have a lower user number than Anonymous.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:38 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


anonymous and Anonymous, side-eying each other across the room, wondering when the other's going to wander off to some other part of the web and solve the problem.

I picture them battling on the premise that the other didn't pump the keg enough, so they alternate walking over to the keg and giving it a couple of pumps after the other one fills their cup, with an audible "tsk" as they each walk back to their corners.
posted by rhizome at 8:52 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Oh good grief do *not* Google the word "aponymous". I'm not entirely sure my brain will ever recover from what I saw excerpted on the first page of search results.

I'm not going to, but now I'm always going to wonder whether it's worse knowing what's out there or wondering about what it could be forever.
posted by zachlipton at 10:53 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


I have also wondered about this! (The caps and italicizations vs. non.)

And now I am very curious what aponymous means. I think we should throw ourselves on Kattullus' mercy and beg him to give us the bowdlerized version.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:22 PM on March 26


Well, when a pony and a mouse love each other very very much...

Okay, not really. That's not feasible at all. But I will definitively state that it would be incorrect to say that there is no explicit MLP fan porn at all among the first google results for this word. Aside from that thing, which would be quite wrong to assume, other indications are that it's used like "anonymous" but for Bronies, for uses not all of which are porny. Apparently? Like Kattullus, I chose not to plumb the depths, but this is my 30-second assessment.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:47 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Thank you, taz! My curiosity is satisfied. I shall wonder no more.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:24 AM on March 27


Ok, so has anyone ever come along and asked you about your breathing rhythm and then for the rest of the day you alternate between hyperventilation and holding your breath?

That is basically what this post just did to me. Never thought about it before, but now I can't get away from it.
posted by Literaryhero at 2:50 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


So, uh, on average, how often would you say you blink?
posted by Literaryhero at 2:51 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Never
posted by y2karl at 3:52 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]


If you blink more than 20,000 times a day you're at risk of dying.
posted by bongo_x at 10:43 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


The capitalized/non-capitalized anonymous bugged me for YEARS before I finally posted about it in 2010. It would make my heart so happy to have a uniformly non-capitalized anonymous.
posted by kate blank at 12:59 PM on March 27


I think it's tradition now and we should respect that.
posted by bongo_x at 2:20 PM on March 27


Consider css?
a[href$='/user/17564']{
    text-transform: lowercase;
    font-style: italic;
}
or without the suffix token

a[href='http://www.metafilter.com/user/17564']

posted by czytm at 11:17 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


teeny benefit is the above could be used globally and reduce the tiniest bit of server load adding the em tags and downcasing to Ask pages
posted by czytm at 11:23 AM on March 28


Isn't it time Anonymous stopped being such a freeloader and started contributing answers to the questions? I mean, they've asked 20,156 questions - which translates to 388 years worth of questions for your normal Mefi user... (20156/52=387.6)... and yet they aren't capped. And really, they don't favorite other people, they just take in the praise and don't give back to the community... 130,614 favorites? Thats over 6 favorites per question - I mean... are they just asking these questions to get favorites or what? It is quite a racket!

And truthfully - Why can't they get their shit together? How can they make themselves do work? Always sad and mopey and trying to slay the sadness demon? Upset about turning 30? I mean... come on... how much more of a narcissistic, self focused, lazy, first world problems kind of character is this Anonymous... or anonymous person anyway? And what is the deal with their hatred for Katy Perry? I mean... DTMFA, RTFM, seek legal council, don't eat it, and so on and so on... its like... they just repeatedly ask similar variations on a few questions and refuse to do the work... and then ask a new variant again...

Sorry... I shouldn't complain... Its clear that they're going through stuff... and Mefi may be one of their few support communities, and well - the community has always rallied around each other for support - and held us accountable when we aren't in the right... I just don't understand how we've never held anonymous to the same standards...
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:16 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


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