please shorten the new post window by a few hours April 13, 2017 9:06 AM   Subscribe

I frequently find myself with time to browse, compose, and share content at about the same time of day. Multiple times it's happened that I type my stuff in, hit 'post' and get an error message that I have to wait, say, 18 more minutes, or 6 more minutes. This is mildly annoying. I suggest the post wait time be shortened from 24 hours to say, 21 hours or 23 hours.
posted by bq to Feature Requests at 9:06 AM (44 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Heya, maybe I'm misunderstanding, but you shouldn't be able to get to the New Post form to start typing stuff in until you've gotten past the 24 hour mark. Can you give me a little more detail on what the flow of events is?

But to the larger question, the 24 hour limit is something I'm hesitant to tweak because it's a lot easier to communicate in simple terms the "it's a day" idea than the "it's most but not quite all of a day" idea and it's not clear to me that there's a need to carve out that little chunk of the posting cycle; posts can always wait the extra hour or three.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:09 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


This is mildly annoying. I suggest the post wait time be shortened from 24 hours to say, 21 hours or 23 hours.

How does this improve the situation? People will just be mildly annoyed 1-3 hours earlier.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:39 AM on April 13 [17 favorites]


Welcome to the minor addiction of making posts ;)

flt's pro-tips for those who hate to wait:
  • You can draft up a post in the comment box in a quiet thread, which means you can use MeFi's fancy bold, italics and link shortcuts.
  • But if you do this, you can also pre-screen links by entering the full link into the site search, which will catch not only references in posts, but also comments, which has the double benefit of finding related threads where a link has been dropped in a comment.
  • And if you want a quick way to check how long your title is without manually counting characters, I like Character Count Tool.
  • Or if you have a sock puppet account, draft your post there, but DO NOT use this account to bypass the 24 hour window, because that's not the purpose of a sock puppet.
In short, there are ways to "optimize" your time between posts, if you find yourself wanting to make a new post less than 24 hours after your last post, without changing the posting prohibition window.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:01 AM on April 13 [11 favorites]


How does this improve the situation? People will just be mildly annoyed 1-3 hours earlier.

bq spells out that he has time free at a similar time each day, the subtext is that other people may be in the same situation since many people work to a schedule. So for example, say you have some dead time 5-6pm every day, you put a post together on day 1, post it at 5.45. Next day you do another FPP, can't post till after 5.45, so maybe it goes 5.48 or maybe even 6pm. Next day you can't post before your dead time is over. Basically you can't take advantage of the dead time on following days to actually get the FPP posted.

The proposed change facilitates more posts from people in this situation.
posted by biffa at 10:47 AM on April 13 [20 favorites]


I must have been misremembering about the sequence of events, but biffa outlined the problem clearly. I know there have been times when I have my tabs open and I'm ready to post but I get the message that I have to wait, say, 37 minutes, and I get distracted and I just don't post the article at all.
posted by bq at 11:26 AM on April 13 [3 favorites]


Yes I totally agree with this! I don't post on Metafilter very often but I 100% get this annoyance! Like if weekday mornings before you really start work is your posting time because it works well with your day and you have something interesting and it's all set up but like some days you get in at 8:35 and other days you get in at 8:10 then you have to wait before you can really start your day! How frustrating! I think it should be 23 hours.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:27 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Well, there is already a feature that allows for automatic saving of an in-progress post as a "draft," so what about just allowing people to start editing a new post immediately after posting one, but disabling the "Post" button with a little note about the 24 hour window? If you really wanted to go hog wild you could add an option to have the draft enqueued for automatic posting after the window elapses.
posted by contraption at 11:43 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


Nothing any Metafilter member has to post is so interesting that they couldn't wait another 24 hours if they miss the daily deadline. If the posting limit is changed to allow 23 hours between posts, people will eventually complain about that and so on as Dr Dracator states above.

We don't need members posting more frequently, we should encourage more members to post with the current time limit.
posted by Rob Rockets at 11:46 AM on April 13 [21 favorites]


We don't need members posting more frequently, we should encourage more members to post with the current time limit.

My feeling is that this small change would make it more convenient to post and avoid 'misfires'.
posted by bq at 11:58 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


Next day you can't post before your dead time is over.

This is the part I was missing.

One way to solve this problem would be to switch to once-every-calendar-day from once-every-24-hours. Since only logged in people post and we already have a preferred time zone in the profile, it wouldn't be that horrible to implement - though it would be a pretty big cultural shift.

Also we'd get some (minor?) side effects like people double posting around local midnight but at first glance it doesn't look too hard to handle.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:59 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


bq: I'm ready to post but I get the message that I have to wait, say, 37 minutes, and I get distracted and I just don't post the article at all.

One more suggestion: save your drafts in any online email or text-storing platform (Evernote, for example), or even your MeFi profile. I store links for future use and review in an ever-growing email draft, and I save questions to ask in the future in my profile.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:47 PM on April 13


This is, and has been, my number one problem or gripe as a poster on MetaFilter. Currently, when I'm in the creative flow - most often just after submitting a post and you're often in the mood to start constructing another - there's nothing more of a downer to disrupt the FPP writing mood than a message saying you can't, and no facility offered for constructing one. As bq says:

I must have been misremembering about the sequence of events, but biffa outlined the problem clearly. I know there have been times when I have my tabs open and I'm ready to post but I get the message that I have to wait, say, 37 minutes, and I get distracted and I just don't post the article at all.

That happens to me So. Many. Times. So instead, and feeling deflated at this weird lack of functionality I sometimes stick my thoughts and links for the next post into a notepad file in a draft folder (and in most cases, never finish them off because life), or more often I just abandon it altogether.

I would, seriously, have posted a lot more to the front page if there was a solution such as how contraption perfectly described it:

Well, there is already a feature that allows for automatic saving of an in-progress post as a "draft," so what about just allowing people to start editing a new post immediately after posting one, but disabling the "Post" button with a little note about the 24 hour window?

Regularly there are MetaTalks talking about the death of MetaFilter - usually blaming the US election megaposts - and coming up with ideas and solutions for increasing (or slowing the decrease of) the rate of non-political FPPs. This, probably more than anything else, would bring about an increase in the number of posts. I've done, what, 255 FPPs so far; I'd have done another 100 easily, probably a lot more, if MetaFilter offered the facility to start drafting the next one immediately after submission of the previous.
posted by Wordshore at 12:58 PM on April 13 [6 favorites]


I vividly remember the moment of my first post, clicked to send it into what I assumed was some kind of moderation queue and expecting (polite) rejection or some few days wait.... got no automated response, no email, looked around to see what I did wrong, OMG it's on teh front page ALREADY!?!

Yes I never read the instructions.

But why not have a queue that posts when the 24 hours are up?
posted by sammyo at 1:18 PM on April 13 [4 favorites]


Hey, how about people who want to post exactly 24 hours apart set up a timer or stop watch on their phones or a calendar alarm so they can post again as soon as needed and not pester the mods about it?

Sorry to be cranky, but this feels very PEBKAC.
posted by maryr at 1:37 PM on April 13 [6 favorites]


Nothing any Metafilter member has to post is so interesting that they couldn't wait another 24 hours if they miss the daily deadline.

This represents my version of Perfect MetaFilter. I realize it's different for others, but less-news-more-deep-weirdness would be my preference and not enhanced by this pony.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:06 PM on April 13 [29 favorites]


Chewing on it today and chatting a bit with the team, I'm less reluctant than I was in my initial comment, though I still have reservations. I'll lay out my thinking a little:

1. The "I have a fixed period of free time" thing is...a legit thing that I don't personally have to deal with and so don't think about much. And that's worth thinking about accommodating; if a little logistical detail is creating repeated frustration for folks who want to be able to fit more MeFi participation into their daily schedule, tweaking that detail's worth talking about.

And part of this is perception of what that's about; I think in retrospect that it's easy to conflate "I'd like to be able to post promptly two or three days in a row", which is totally fine, with "I want to post every single day forever just for the sake of posting", which is not so great in general and has been a sticking point on rare occasions. It's a conflation I'm guilty of sometimes as one of the people who has to deal with those weird situations.

But in practice I think it's a lot more likely for someone to have a run of a few days where they've got neat stuff to post than it is to have someone go on a long and ill-advised spree. So I don't want to put too much weight on the worst case stuff. And writing off the worst case stuff as rare and handleable, short bursts of posts aren't a bad thing.

2. I wouldn't want this to be in service of more news/grar/outrage stuff. Which isn't what it's being asked for for, I know; but that's something I think about a lot as I think over various site functionality/policy tweaks, where I am strongly in favor of helping people feel like they can engage with and have fun on the site (and that includes encouraging "ooh this is neat" impulsive posting) but not so much interested in abetting sort of doomy let's-be-mad-about-this newsy posts and such.

So I think if trouble were to appear out of this change, it'd probably be mostly in that form—the idea that something Just Can't Wait tends to correlate pretty strongly to that kind of bummer/angry posting territory. So one thing changing this would mean would be us keeping a little bit of an eye out for new/intensified posting habits from folks.

3. I still think "you can post once every 23 hours" is a bit fiddly but I'm trying to not weigh my "it's a bit fiddly" worries to strongly because moving from "once a day" to "once a day or so" isn't the end of the world. I do also worry about the idea of creeping deadline requests, if we go from 24 to 23 and then folks want 21, 18, yadda; at a certain point it goes from a proposal to ease a ratcheting daily deadline to a proposal to revisit the fundamental question of post throttling. So I could see having to talk about that stuff in the future as a result of budging on this, and there's a small fly of annoyance buzzing my ear right now when I think about it.

4. The idea of unlocking the New Post form all the time to let people use the current save-a-draft process even prior to when they can post is worth considering. We've rolled slow on that to make sure it was working well enough, and making it a higher-visibility and higher-use tool might mean having to revisit it to see that it's behaving robustly enough, which is dev effort when we're already short on it, but if folks are willing to risk heartbreak (and back up your bigger posts in a text editor, yo), we could try and limp along through any bumpiness there. Folks more likely to use this feature are more established anyway, so more likely to be with it on the idea that the site is a living thing run by a small team stretched thin.

Keeping draft always available wouldn't solve the ratcheting problem by itself, though it'd at least mitigate it.

So! Thoughts. I'll keep considering it, though we have a big dev backlog so it's unlikely to happen too soon even if we decide to move on it. But I appreciate the conversation in here regardless.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:40 PM on April 13 [6 favorites]


Realising my somewhat hyper comment was sloppily written and misleading, on read back*.

To clarify: I'm not advocating for any shortening of the 24 hour bar on being able to submit a post again. That's always seemed a sensible thing, and also prevents over-enthusiastic or over-caffeinated rapid repeat posting, or stunt cluster-posting (a problem we had on an IRL community forum with a few locals back in the day).

What I was advocating for is the ability to start drafting the next post as soon as you've submitted one, which would be useful especially when still in the FPP construction mood. But keeping the 24 posting hour bar, and only allowing people to draft at most one at a time.

* (was distracted while typing it by a bat flying around in circles above me** which is really stressful when you're typing, I discovered)

** (waiting in church for the reverend to finish up and appear with cake, as wanted a chat about the recurring problem of badgers digging up bones in the graveyard and other animals then carrying them into people's gardens. Not the reverends fault, though it's a bit of a shock finding a human tibula in your primroses judging from the screams of my neighbor this morning)
posted by Wordshore at 3:21 PM on April 13 [7 favorites]


Badger trouble.
posted by Wordshore at 3:32 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


cortex: "I still think "you can post once every 23 hours" is a bit fiddly but I'm trying to not weigh my "it's a bit fiddly" worries to strongly because moving from "once a day" to "once a day or so" isn't the end of the world."

I say ease the limit to 23 hours 45 minutes but still officially leave all references to the limit being 24 hours/one day. That will ease the ratchet (even let people move it back) and it'll be a little easter egg for people.

Of course maybe it'll generate a bunch of bug reports in the form of "Posting limit supposed to be 24 hours appears to actually be 23 hours 45 minutes".
posted by Mitheral at 9:03 PM on April 13


What about just changing it to 23 hours and not telling anyone? Then, when you happen to be at 23 hours and 22 minutes and hit post, it works and you may or may not even notice, but if you do, you think you got over on the system somehow and keep your mouth shut so you can try it again.

But, I am with the folks who prefer less timely stuff and more best of the web unusual stuff.
posted by AugustWest at 9:31 PM on April 13 [3 favorites]


Oh yeah I definitely want this and I'm assuming people are planning to use it to make daily posts about like elephants doing watercolors or historical re├źnactors using period-appropriate dye for their costumes so I guess I'm on the "timely news" side.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:43 AM on April 14


sammyo has got the solution here - have a 'post when permitted' button that allows you to submit the post, but actually posts it to the front page at the 24 hr point. keeps the current time rule for posting but allows people to work on posts in advance and doesn't require them to remember to come back and post at whatever specific but arbitrary time.
posted by aiglet at 7:11 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


** (waiting in church for the reverend to finish up and appear with cake, as wanted a chat about the recurring problem of badgers digging up bones in the graveyard and other animals then carrying them into people's gardens. Not the reverends fault, though it's a bit of a shock finding a human tibula in your primroses judging from the screams of my neighbor this morning)

So basically, cake or death. This conforms with everything I have previously learned about the Church of England.
posted by maryr at 7:13 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


have a 'post when permitted' button that allows you to submit the post, but actually posts it to the front page at the 24 hr point.

Better: have a "post when permitted" button that actually posts to the front page at the 25 hour mark so that he next day you can post like "normal"
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:37 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


aiglet: have a 'post when permitted' button that allows you to submit the post, but actually posts it to the front page at the 24 hr point

Cue the queue.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:25 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


I'm more into the idea of allowing early post drafting with a countdown timer in place of the Post button than I am with the idea of baking post queueing into the official site workflow.

Basically, there's some value in having the poster actually be around when their post goes up because sometimes stuff goes wrong and we want to have as good a chance as possible to get ahold of them and sort it out to fix/rescue the post. If you just hit the button and five minutes later a mod emails asking about a broken link or a framing tweak, you're probably around; if you queue it up hours prior, who knows if you'll be anywhere near your computer.

This is something we already deal with in practice for parts of the site where there is a queue mechanism: anonymous questions, Projects posts, MetaTalk posts. And it's a bit of a pain, though in all those cases there's less urgency because the queue is something we manage directly vs. something that delays but then autoposts.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:33 AM on April 14 [8 favorites]


With FPP queuing, you would have to have some way to check that the queued post isn't a duplicate. Example: I queue a post with a link to x today, to be posted tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow morning, you post the same link. Does my post get removed from the queue then? Seems like a headache. Not that my opinion matters much, and I post so infrequently that it will probably never affect me (although I posted today!), but I vote for early drafting rather than queuing.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:00 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that's another angle. So having essentially a required preview on a drafted post at post time to force a final sanity check against having been beaten to the punch on a post while it was hibernating would be useful, and is another reason autoposting would be a problem.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:14 AM on April 14


Could make it so the queued post with the duplicate link gets posted as a comment in the FPP that beat them to the punch.
posted by rhizome at 10:39 PM on April 14


And then when the original post gets deleted the queued post disappears as well. Happy fun asynchronous time for all involved!
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:02 AM on April 15


Cue the queue.

Knew what it was before I clicked :)

As someone currently on "a long and ill-advised spree," I frame my posts in a text file on my iMac and store them in Notes so I can easily transfer them to the New Post form on my creaky iPad. I like the idea of an always-available New Post editor with countdown timer and manual Post button. Thank you for your consideration.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:41 PM on April 15 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why anyone would routinely want to make a new post twice in two days. It seems an exceptional enough situation that waiting an extra 26 minutes or whatever is a small burden.
posted by spitbull at 3:58 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


Some of us have issues, man.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:33 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


When I do it, it's either because I happen to find good links a few days in a row or because I finally have time to post some links I've saved. Good links are good links; why wait to post them?
posted by Room 641-A at 9:25 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


I'm tickled by the idea of quietly lowering the enforced limit to 23 hours without actually changing the rule. If anyone outside Metatalk notices, there's something so Metafilter about saying, "yeah, you're allowed to post every 24 hours, but we use a slightly shorter definition of '24 hours' than most of the world because it seems to make people happy." It has a good flex-in-the-joints feel.
posted by john hadron collider at 1:03 PM on April 16 [7 favorites]


I was thinking we could just add "(...ish)" to the existing documentation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:01 PM on April 16 [7 favorites]


When my kids were younger, I tried renting a video for them on my Apple TV.

It seemed like a good idea; rent the movie and start watching after dinner, pause the video when they got sleepy, and resume the movie after dinner the next day.

Trouble was, Apple TV rentals were only good for 24 hours. So I got the kids in front of the TV after dinner, went to play the movie, and found out it had JUST expired. Had to pay to rent it again.

Which is why I stopped renting movies from them. If the rentals were good for 26 hours, the issue likely wouldn't have come up.

So yes, kicking the delay to 23 hours makes perfect sense to me. I don't get a say, but if I had a say, I'd say yay.
posted by davejay at 4:52 PM on April 16


Immediate editable drafts seems like a slam dunk. It has no observable effects outside of the poster and allows posters to compose at any time. Yay!

The 24-hour-minus-epsilon thing is slightly weird but I actually don't see a slippery slope under it. Owing to the rotation of the earth and circadian rhythms and all that there's a qualitative difference between 24 hour intervals and 22 hour intervals, and if ever we need to justify why people can post every 23.5 hours or whatever instead of every 22 hours we can point to that qualitative difference. "Do you sleep for 7.333 hours and then have a 14.666 hour waking period, so your daily schedule is 22 hours long? No? Great." But if there's any sort of hesitation around the 24-hours-minus-epsilon I would hate for that to negatively affect the consideration of immediately-editable-drafts.

Auto- or queued- posts sounds like a big can of worms that are bad, to-be-avoided worms.
posted by Jpfed at 8:47 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]


I don't post much, but this seems a solid pony to me.
posted by pompomtom at 12:25 AM on April 17


I don't post much but I have run into the feeling that the pony requester describes, magically coming up with a second post less than 24 hours from the first one, and then getting that "no". Even still, I feel the 24-hour limit is a bit like a cooling-down period for gun sales. Very often by the time the 24 hours are up my second post idea doesn't seem so urgent or interesting anymore and I've moved on to some other shiny thing, and MetaFilter doesn't come to a crashing halt for lack of whatever it was I didn't end up posting.
posted by chavenet at 5:52 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


For me it's not that I magically come up with a new post, it's that it's feast or famine. I've got nothing or I'm sitting on a stack of links.
posted by bq at 11:57 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


I'm tickled by the idea of quietly lowering the enforced limit to 23 hours without actually changing the rule.

That was my thought before I even finished reading cortex's first comment. The reality of software development is often that capability or even stated functionality sometimes bends to user expectations in order to make a better result. I remember a paper about an ATM design that deliberately added some response delays to option selection because when the machine responded and redrew the screen as fast as it was capable people found it more difficult to use than if everything lagged a tenth of a second. The idea of a "day" being 23 hours and therefore actually fitting more what a human thinks of as a day later sound like a smart design change to me.

The fact that it probably also only means the tech needing to make one change in one place is just a lazy programmer bonus :)
posted by phearlez at 1:03 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


So what if you're sitting on a stack of links? Wait 24 hours to post each one. No one will mind. Or someone else will post it first. Or is that the problem?

I like the rule. It's just a post to metafilter, not a chance at a million dollar prize. Its good for your character to exercise patience.
posted by spitbull at 7:04 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


In an interesting (to me...) parallel, this pony pretty much happened in World of Warcraft, along with every major discussion point not related to the writing aspect.

Basicaly, there were crafting materials you could make which were required to craft powerful equipment, and to avert a glut of powerful equipment the base crafting material had a flat 24 hour cooldown. Because as an online game Blizzard is catering to a player base where large segments of players have limited and set time to play (i.e. after work/before sleep) people were ratcheting the cooldown during their daily playtime and eventually running into the I-must-log-off-now-until-tomorrow part with no goodie, and so would lag behind in crafting these bits through no fault of their own. Some were players crafting for themselves, many for large and influential (read: loud) guilds.

This was later changed to a 23 hour timer - leeway time for people on play schedules, no real change in output. Because this is WoW, there *were* some people obsessively logging in every 23 hours to get their widgets faster than everyone else, but overall wasn't a problem.

Now, these cooldown materials are on a once a day timer as suggested above - make it any time during a 24 hour period, which resets at a set time. If you time it right and are online around the reset time (read: insomnia) you can get your crafting done for 'today', wait a short amount of time and then get your work done for 'tomorrow' too, then not need to worry about it for ~47 hours.

Obviously this solution doesn't need to account for public content or mod work, but it was interesting coming here after the discussion was over to see the same thought processes replicated in a different context.
posted by Evilspork at 7:00 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


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