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Standards for *Filter April 2, 2003 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Got Standards? With a least two "metafilter-like" open source projects currently in active development and potentially hundreds of foofilters on the horizon, isn't it time we began discussing at least the standard parameters for submitting to a foofilter site? (more inside)
posted by danOstuporStar to MetaFilter-Related at 10:00 AM (34 comments total)

Suppose you found a great site, turkeywidgets.com, that you wanted to share with the world. And suppose there were two different foofilter sites that would be perfect for your post, say turkeyfilter.com and widgetfilter.com. Now suppose there was a tool which would allow you to submit your site to both filters in one shot. (It would handle the previewing, searching for duplicate posts, etc, and submit the final post to each specified foofilter) Unfortunately, turkeyfilter.com is a MetaPhilter site and widgetfilter.com is a freefilter site and the expected parameters for both systems are completely different. The tool's job is now much harder, if not impossible, as the parameters for submission could change at the whim of the project developer.

A quick review of selected "post a link" forms, shows a wide variance in the inputs for what is essentially the same task (see below). Can we begin a discussion of name, size and type of expected foofilter post parameters (with other widgets such as comments to come later)? Is there a better forum than metatalk for such a discussion? (If think there probably is, I just don't know where.)

Quick review of current "Post a Links":

MetaPhilter Inputs
	name="type" value="link (string)" (input type="hidden")
	name="userID" value="1234 (integer)" (input type="hidden")
	name="password" value="md5Hash (string)" (input type="hidden")
	name="title" value="user input (string)" (input type="text")
	name="URL" value="user input (string)" (input type="text")
	name="URL_description" value="user input (string)" (input type="text")
	name="description" value="user input (string)" (textarea)
	name="extended" value="user input (string)" (textarea)

freefilter Inputs
	name="task" value="createpost (string)" (input type="hidden")
	name="username" value="danostuporstar (string)" (input type="hidden")
	name="password" value="password (string)" (input type="hidden")
	name="url" value="user input (string)" (input type="text")
	name="title" value="user input (string)" (input type="text")
	name="content" value="user input (string)" (textarea)

WarFilter Inputs
	name="i" value="addpost" (input type="hidden")
	name="f" value="1" (input type="hidden")
	name="url" value="user input (string)" (input type="text")
	name="linktext" value="user input (string)" (input type="text")
	name="content" value="user input (string)" (textarea)

MetaFilter Inputs
	name="user_name" value="danostuporstar (string)" (input type="hidden")
	name="user_pass" value="password (string)" (input type="hidden")
	name="user_ID" value="1234 (integer)" (input type="hidden")
	name="link_day" value="Wednesday (string)" (input type="hidden")
	name="ip" value="255.1.1.101 (string - IP)" (input type="hidden")
	name="link_title" value="user input (string)" (input type="text")
	name="link_url" value="user input (string)" (input type="text")
	name="link_urldescription" value="user input (string)" (input type="text")
	name="link_description" value="user input (string)" (textarea)
posted by danOstuporStar at 10:06 AM on April 2, 2003


Dano, just by chance, do you iron your bed sheets?
posted by machaus at 10:11 AM on April 2, 2003


actually i don't sleep in a bed. are you suggesting that it's too soon to attempt to agree on a specification, or just being a snark?
posted by danOstuporStar at 10:37 AM on April 2, 2003


dan:

Can we begin a discussion of name, size and type of expected foofilter post parameters (with other widgets such as comments to come later)?

i think a better question is, does the problem, at which this solution is directed, exist?

the promise of derivative metafilter sites, to me, seems to be that of insular community and narrow topic. Warfilter serves as an excellent example. those interested in yakking about the war would be well-served to do so on warfilter, where their contributions will be appreciated. will a post suited for warfilter achieve the same reception on sportsfilter? in all likelihood, no.

most 'filter sites will not resemble metafilter, either in size or scope. not only will the chances of your post being general enough to qualify for posting be smaller on these 'filters, you will quite probably alienate or anger members who see your cross-posting as spam.

this isn't a problem that needs solving.
posted by moz at 10:40 AM on April 2, 2003


a) This sounds like spamming, and I'd never do it.

b) The differing inputs isn't the problem. That can be coded for. Same as a multiple search engine aggregator. The preview is a problem. If the "preview" is just a regurgitation of the original form submission, then it's doable. But if the original form submission adds something to the database (or any other dynamic data bit) that then needs to be retrieved after the preview (some of my scripts do this) things get complicated. Unless you are going to do something twisted like open a socket to make the submission and then parse the response........

Another problem is that processing may get done on the server side during the initial form submission. Although I can't think of what that might be right now. If that's the case you're missing a piece you'd need to successfully complete the "previewed" submit. That is - A piece the app needs make never get into any response you'd be able to read.

And IMHO - If you want a spec so that people can automate posts and/or comments, I see that as a bad thing.

c) If you have two forums that are on the same topic, and you need to talk about the same thing on both of them, you need a new hobby.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:44 AM on April 2, 2003


Don't forget the fine PHPilfer.

Besides that, I'm with Moz. This is getting too meta (small m). Thanks for the mention though. I think submitting to multiple sites at the same time reduces the sites from being communities to being mere news-wires. And that's really not the goal.
posted by wackybrit at 10:59 AM on April 2, 2003


moz & y6:

cool, i can accept "not a problem" / "spam tool" as answers. my own reservation was along similar lines of "RSS takes care of this." but still ... why not? if a standard can be established now (and in my opinion it is - metafilter is the standard - i was surprised to find such variability) won't that help things along as the filters evolve into whatever they are evolving into?
posted by danOstuporStar at 11:02 AM on April 2, 2003


wait a minute. you don't sleep in a bed?
posted by crunchland at 11:16 AM on April 2, 2003


he doesn't sleep in a bed!
posted by Pretty_Generic at 11:17 AM on April 2, 2003


I don't think this is a pressing problem, but when I have used a couple of the demo mefi clones, I've been kind of surprised that some of the interaction design has changed on the clones. Like you submit a comment, and you get a page saying "comment submitted" instead of bouncing back to the comment page with your comment shown -- I like the way MetaFilter works better.

But expect many changes as people produce clones that go off in any number of directions, feature-wise and presentation-wise (just look at the slashcode world, which produced every *nuke clone, each of which spawned their own dozen clones). In six months, you may see a site powered by one of these packages that barely resembles anything metafilter-like.

Though, it's not a bug, it's a feature. It's how innovation happens. PHPifer gave me the idea to add reasons for deletions on pages and keep them around, which I incorporated into MetaFilter. I expect when someone does the submit form better, I'll probably copy that too.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:18 AM on April 2, 2003


he's a witch! burn him!
posted by gottabefunky at 11:33 AM on April 2, 2003


FooFilter Filter?!

Argh, argh!
posted by Shane at 11:37 AM on April 2, 2003


you don't sleep in a bed?

nope, i sleep on yo momma's chest.
posted by danOstuporStar at 11:53 AM on April 2, 2003


Oh, golly. Some of you all must be so excited! Whole new galaxies of nits to pick and things to be offended by!
posted by jonmc at 11:56 AM on April 2, 2003

PHPifer gave me the idea
I'LL SEE YOU IN COURT
posted by holloway at 12:01 PM on April 2, 2003


no, wait.
posted by holloway at 12:02 PM on April 2, 2003


I'LL SEE YOU IN BED
posted by holloway at 12:02 PM on April 2, 2003




*cues music, begins slow-motion run through field of poppies towards holloway's running embrace *
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:25 PM on April 2, 2003


Just say NO to Foo-filter X-posting!
posted by signal at 12:35 PM on April 2, 2003


y6x3: If you have two forums that are on the same topic, and you need to talk about the same thing on both of them, you need a new hobby.

Agreed. This reminds me of people who would massively cross-post on Usenet, way back when.

mmmm....poppies!
posted by Vidiot at 1:27 PM on April 2, 2003


Oh, golly. Some of you all must be so excited! Whole new galaxies of nits to pick and things to be offended by!

You know, jon, I love you, buddy, but your diligent and totally unproductive broken-record complaining about how disappointed you are and how much you've come to dislike Metafilter and every one in it is really becoming annoying. We all have our bad days or weeks here, but yours seems to have lasted for months.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:45 PM on April 2, 2003


Pot, kettle. Kettle, pot.
posted by yerfatma at 4:07 PM on April 2, 2003


We all have our bad days or weeks here, but yours seems to have lasted for months.

Well, fair enough, but that's why I said the above, too, yerfatma, expecting delightfully clever people like you to jump in with their observations of the delicious irony involved. I'd suggest there's a difference between declarations of 'you're all doodyheads and you disappoint me' and complaints married to suggestions for a better experience for everyone, which is what I attempt, at least, when I get a bug up my ass.

Nuff said.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:33 PM on April 2, 2003


stavros/yerfatma, topic. Topic, stavros/yerfatma.

Anyhoo, how about a trackback-like device that would alert readers on FooTwoFilter to a thread on FooOneFilter?

Suppose, for example, you really feel the urge to post to an xFilter about a basketball player saying something stupid about the war. It's more of a SportsFilter thing, slightly less of a WarFilter thing, and definitely not a MetaFilter thing. So you'd post it to Sportsfilter as a front page link, then add the link to the Sportsfilter thread to an "Also Of Note" sideblog on WarFilter.

Layout and implementation of this feature would be at the whim of the designers of each site. But it could be standardized, and could link each NicheFilter to each other.
posted by PrinceValium at 4:35 PM on April 2, 2003


Speaking as one of the SportsFilter founders, SportsFilter has no relation to MetaFilter other than the backend software and the similar name. Different owners, different users (with a lot of overlap, of course), different rules. So a sports-related posting on MetaFilter that gets posted on SportsFilter is not a double-post. I really do not want SportsFilter to be thought of as MetaFilter's sports page or anything like that. PrinceValium's idea is interesting (and I nicked his story example for a SportsFilter post).
posted by kirkaracha at 5:35 PM on April 2, 2003


And BookFilter was named as such because my first choice of a.wholelottanothing.org was already taken by some guy who wastes his time being all creative and, uh, stuff.

Our relationships to MetaFilter are half a name, the proven idea that communities can good things, and a mention here that forced me to jump in early. We'll find a different path than MetaFilter. Primarily, I hope we never get as busy as this site. Books should be savored and MetaFilter is Evelyn Wood. Besides, I don't have mathowie's stamina.

If any of the *filters break out it will be because it stands on the shoulders of a giant.
posted by ?! at 5:56 PM on April 2, 2003


Metafilter: It's Evelyn Wood.


As someone who started a couple of *filter sites, I think the goal is to get something like the MeFi concept to work in other virtual communities - to bring this kind of interaction to people who've never heard of MetaFilter.

And kudos to mathowie for being positive about all this instead of railing into all of us for making clone sites...

P.S. I do have mathowie's stamina. He can't have it back until he meets my demands.
posted by mmoncur at 8:30 PM on April 2, 2003


What PrinceValium says makes sense, an interconnected network of FooFilters might be interesting, as posts with relevance to more than one would diffuse through the medium, and you'd have some sort of sense of the whole network from whatever point of view you choose.
posted by signal at 5:57 AM on April 3, 2003


And what of the original MetaFilter? Can it not be (slightly) repositioned as the aggregator of a community of FooFilters? Instead of posting directly to MeFi, MeFi becomes the higher order view of the links and comments posted below it...
posted by JollyWanker at 7:12 AM on April 3, 2003


ever widening circles of wankdom.
posted by crunchland at 8:08 AM on April 3, 2003


thanks for the link, holloway. it helps me wrap my head around the idea anyway.

further comments here
posted by danOstuporStar at 8:23 AM on April 3, 2003


bring this kind of interaction to people who've never heard of MetaFilter

It's the users (and the admin) that make mefi any kind of special. This isn't all that different from a squillion other weblogs and discussion boards otherwise, except in its deceptive simplicity and rational layout. Nice colours too ...
posted by walrus at 9:31 AM on April 3, 2003


That isn't to say that the clones aren't all great, and above all free software which I wouldn't find any number of uses for. Some of the spinoff sites may flourish too, if they pick up the right userbase.
posted by walrus at 9:38 AM on April 3, 2003


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