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Ask Metafilter is Born
December 8, 2003 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Ask MetaFilter is born. Feel free to pose a question to other members here. Obviously those of a technical nature are going to meet with the most success, but questions outside of that realm are also good too.

I'll delete dumb questions or those that prove to be nothing but flamewars and/or goof-off fests, and if this section takes off I'll be adding more features to it (like rating what the best answer was) and move it into its own area.
posted by mathowie to MetaFilter-Related at 1:17 PM (98 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Great work Matt, Thank you!
posted by riffola at 1:23 PM on December 8, 2003


Will the threads be listed on MeTa? If so would it be better to limit the number of questions a day because of the limit on the number of threads displayed on the frontpage of MeTa.
posted by riffola at 1:27 PM on December 8, 2003


Judging from the first two threads posted in this category, this is going to have the effect of saying, "Hey! Wouldn't it be neat if we listened to the noise instead of the signal?"
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:34 PM on December 8, 2003


I'll leave things as-is for now and adjust if the demand is really there. I think today we'll see a lot of questions and then they'll eventually peter out.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:35 PM on December 8, 2003 [11 favorites]


"Free": this may be a good way rewarding a member posting a great FPP or comment "of the day". Metafilter: the Answering Genie. The question answered is a self post in a way so why not it be a reward. Yet, there may be some great unanswered questions out there: JFFT.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:37 PM on December 8, 2003


Thanks, Matt! Now I just gotta think of a neat question ... 'sfunny, i have them all the time, but when i want one, it isn't there ...
posted by carter at 1:48 PM on December 8, 2003


"I think today we'll see a lot of questions and then they'll eventually peter out."

Get ready to be incorrect. The brain trust here, in terms of board knowledge base, peer review, and established rules of order is pretty impressive.

Time will tell, but one thing I worry about is getting questions which are too narrow in scope, while narrow scope is usually the goal of a "help desk".

For example, the first question I wanted to ask involved a pesky problem I'm running into in terms of design decisions related to PHP file-upload handlers where the end user/installer will be a non-savvy user and the hosting solution is left to that end user. I'm sure I could get great ideas here, but this sort of question could quickly drown out MetaFilter's front page in terms of volume.

We'll see. And thanks.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:49 PM on December 8, 2003 [1 favorite]


Monkeyfilter comes along, and voila!, we have a new member process.

Ask Metafilter comes along on a second-party site, and voila!, we get "Ask MetaFilter" as part of metatalk.

If I start Sendtrharlanmoneyfilter, do you think we could get it incorporated here?
posted by trharlan at 1:52 PM on December 8, 2003


trharlan, your first and second examples are stuff I've been meaning to do for ages, and when the demand was so great that others did it, it made it clear to me that people really really wanted these things and that I should put a bit more effort into making them a reality.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:55 PM on December 8, 2003


I'd like to start by asking Matt if he will have my babies...

Seriously, though... Thanks, Matt! I've been hoping for this feature/section for a while.
posted by keswick at 2:13 PM on December 8, 2003


I'll second y6y6y6's concerns that the volume of questions could quickly render MetaTalk unreadable. No doubt this section will be useful, and I look forward to reading and asking questions of my own, but hopefully it will move to its own space soon.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:21 PM on December 8, 2003


Hey! Because my legal name is Pete, using the word "peter out" is derogatory and I must ask you to not use that term on Metafilter.
posted by Keyser Soze at 2:31 PM on December 8, 2003


Can we move it to a new area now? It's freaking me out (especially when I started reading the new MetaTalk threads from the top-down... with this post being about 4th or 5th on the list). Plus, it's going to drown out all of the normal Meta posts before most people even see them on the Meta front page.
posted by Witty at 2:40 PM on December 8, 2003


Matt, are the Ask MeFi threads going to stay in MeTa, or can we put them somewhere else? MeTa looks awfully crowded today...

on preview, what Witty said (!).

No problem, Keyser - I, for one, respect your wishes and will of course refrain from using your name in vain. *sticks tongue out at inconsiderate MeFites, resumes polishing halo*
posted by widdershins at 2:48 PM on December 8, 2003


there should be a flag, maybe, that could toggle Ask Metafilter posts for display/hide?
posted by Hackworth at 2:48 PM on December 8, 2003


Plus, it's going to drown out all of the normal Meta posts before most people even see them on the Meta front page.

AHA!
posted by quonsar at 2:50 PM on December 8, 2003


Ok, fine I'll move it to ask.metafilter.com and far, far, away from here.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:17 PM on December 8, 2003 [2 favorites]


No, keep it here!

I swear to god I'm not just dissenting to be a pain. I actually do think it should stay incorporated with the rest of Metatalk for the time being.
posted by cortex at 3:45 PM on December 8, 2003


Matt: The links for new posts, (7 new), on the ask.metafilter.com page be broken.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:52 PM on December 8, 2003


Whoa! Crazy color.
posted by anathema at 5:08 PM on December 8, 2003


Yikes that colour is very unappetising.
posted by riffola at 5:16 PM on December 8, 2003


yeah, it's kinda ewwww. Let me keep tweaking it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:17 PM on December 8, 2003


[ this is so good ] and thanks for moving it. i think it deserves it's own special place.
posted by poopy at 5:21 PM on December 8, 2003


i LIKE the color.

as an alternative, might i suggest #006363?
posted by quonsar at 5:23 PM on December 8, 2003


Ok, it's less green now, but still different than MetaTalk's dark gray.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:24 PM on December 8, 2003 [1 favorite]


Yep, looks better now. Thanks.
posted by riffola at 5:30 PM on December 8, 2003


Here. Looks great now.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:35 PM on December 8, 2003


Looks more sophisticated. I, for one, ....fuck it.
posted by Keyser Soze at 5:40 PM on December 8, 2003


looks great. thanks matt.
posted by joedan at 6:09 PM on December 8, 2003


Ek-sellent. This has also been a long-hoped-for new thing for me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:41 PM on December 8, 2003


when the demand was so great that others did it, it made it clear to me that people really really wanted these things and that I should put a bit more effort into making them a reality

All this time you thought we were just kidding?? ;)

Nice work.

I notice there are no guidelines as to what kind of question you consider appropriate. I realize this might be difficult to define, but you might want to give some very broad outlines, to avoid 17,000 people making the call for themselves and jumping all over anyone who asks a question they deem doesn't belong (the equivalent of "newsfilter" callouts).
posted by rushmc at 7:17 PM on December 8, 2003


Wow, you coded that really fast! And here I thought the CF backend was going to doom MeFi in the long run.
posted by PrinceValium at 7:23 PM on December 8, 2003


I reckon all questions should be fair game, other than the 'what's yer favorite color/band/sexual position' type survey questions.

On the other hand, I do always learn some new stuff from threads like those. And we should definitely allow sexual positions questions.

Never mind.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:27 PM on December 8, 2003


(Also, the 'Ask Metafilter' link in the footer of this page goes to Metatalk, Matt. FWIW.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:28 PM on December 8, 2003


Fantastic, this is more than I could have hoped for, thanks Matt.

Oh yeah, and the link to Ask MeFi in the footer goes to MeTa, btw.
posted by Hackworth at 7:29 PM on December 8, 2003


*hands in resignation at work, as this will take up the small window of time left in the work day*

Thank you mathowie for creating this and Hackworth for providing the push that sent this over the edge into the "do now" basket.

Did anyone notice that the footer link to Ask MetaFilter goes to MetaTalk?
posted by dg at 8:04 PM on December 8, 2003


This is wonderful, Matt, thank you so much for creating it. More than once, I've had a question I *knew* somebody on MeFi could answer, but had no way to ask. Of course... now that I can Ask Metafilter, I can't think of a single thing to ask. Oh, the agony!
posted by headspace at 8:12 PM on December 8, 2003


Yes, fantastic idea. It will not be long before it will need to be broken down by category.
posted by anathema at 8:21 PM on December 8, 2003


This is totally rad, but how come that link at the bottom goes to metatalk?
posted by The God Complex at 8:25 PM on December 8, 2003


Neat. I'm glad someone had the same idea and then actually did it.
posted by rudyfink at 9:22 PM on December 8, 2003


I love this. And, you know, the ask metafilter link at the footer is fixed. But for folks that are logged in, would it be a good idea to change the "about" link at the header to an easy link to ask mefi? Just a thought.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:23 PM on December 8, 2003


And wow, Ask Mefi has already exceeded the 10 post volume on the front page. Not that I'm surprised, but that was quick. And, for the most part, they've all been legit questions.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:25 PM on December 8, 2003


And, uh, in my first comment, I meant in the blue pages, as Ask Mefi is already a header link in the grey-brown. I just figure that for the most part, those that are logged in don't need the "About" page as much. Okay, I'll shut up now.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:28 PM on December 8, 2003


For me, this beats AskSlashdot any day. Perfect place for all the TechSupportFilter posts that would be otherwise misplaced in the blue. Thanks for it, Matt.

Now, if we call Metafilter MeFi, and Metatalk MeTa, what do we call AskMetafilter? AskMe? MetAsk? AkMe?
posted by brownpau at 11:13 PM on December 8, 2003


Thanks, Matt.
posted by Vidiot at 11:42 PM on December 8, 2003


what do we call AskMetafilter?

AxMe? "I'm gonna AxMe a question about what to wear in the arctic circle"
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:52 PM on December 8, 2003


offensive to blacks.
posted by quonsar at 1:00 AM on December 9, 2003


a condom
posted by Witty at 1:10 AM on December 9, 2003


... and by the way, I'm totally diggin' the ask.meta, in case you care. Thanks!
posted by Witty at 1:11 AM on December 9, 2003


It is indeed rocking. Most excellent Xmas present for us all, and a good idea to separate it out into its own space, I think.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:45 AM on December 9, 2003


Green!
posted by adampsyche at 3:53 AM on December 9, 2003


Mefi Green is people!!!!.....asking questions
posted by backOfYourMind at 4:08 AM on December 9, 2003


I love how the logo incorporates the colors of all three sites. Thanks Matt. And a big kiss for Hackworth for getting the ball rolling.
posted by iconomy at 5:10 AM on December 9, 2003


I reckon all questions should be fair game

I agree, but others, including mathowie, have already indicated disagreement. I think clarification would spare us all a lot of headaches.
posted by rushmc at 6:18 AM on December 9, 2003


Colour = eww
posted by Orange Goblin at 6:45 AM on December 9, 2003


[this is really good]

One thought I had about this is that it might generate more AdSense revenue than MetaFilter. People at MeFi just want to chat, but the discussions at AxMe (offensive to somebody surely) will be more easily tied to products and services.

And once we all definitively answer questions about the best accessories for a Nikon Coolpix 4500, Google will be hard pressed to not come up with well targeted ads. Having categories and keywords displayed on the page would help the process.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:53 AM on December 9, 2003


Categories would be great, and maybe you could configure your view a la Slashdot to only view certain categories?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:49 AM on December 9, 2003


I reckon all questions should be fair game, other than the 'what's yer favorite color/band/sexual position' type survey questions.

Definitely. I get a kick out of stuff like How To:By You and the book reports on Kuro5hin that are all about how to make to perfect cup of coffee and so on - basically anything replete with the kind of knowledge about daily life I'll never remember to use. It's kind of an extension of my advice column jones I suppose. Also: woo hoo!
posted by furiousthought at 7:51 AM on December 9, 2003


I can't be the only one who looked at the green and yellow design and thought "PackerFilter!", can I? Or is it just living in Wisconsin that has done this to me?

This looks like it'll be lots of fun. Thanks, Matt.
posted by UKnowForKids at 8:33 AM on December 9, 2003


:*
posted by sudama at 8:36 AM on December 9, 2003


oooh! for us!? A pony!? Now all we need is a saddle and jodphurs. Slinky.
posted by bonaldi at 9:01 AM on December 9, 2003


i love it. alas, it won't resolve my eternal "does this make me look fat" dilemma.

thanks matt.
posted by heather at 9:40 AM on December 9, 2003


AxMe:

sure, it's a reference to black patterns of speech. How does that make it racist?
posted by dash_slot- at 10:05 AM on December 9, 2003


Thanks Matt. [This is good]
posted by ginz at 10:15 AM on December 9, 2003


I particularly approve of the tagline.
posted by nickmark at 10:20 AM on December 9, 2003


AxMe

Ax a Linguist!
posted by taz at 10:45 AM on December 9, 2003


sure, it's a reference to black patterns of speech. How does that make it racist?

i dunno. i bleeve you are the first to use the word, so tell us?
posted by quonsar at 12:05 PM on December 9, 2003


Hahaha, excellent, I love the colors! I know it's not, but I can pretend it's a homage to the late (and more garish) FreeFilter color scheme.
posted by wackybrit at 12:36 PM on December 9, 2003


what do we call AskMetafilter?

AxMe? "I'm gonna AxMe a question about what to wear in the arctic circle"
posted by mathowie at 11:52 PM PST on December 8

offensive to blacks.
posted by quonsar at 1:00 AM PST on December 9

... that's what I was referring to.
posted by dash_slot- at 1:27 PM on December 9, 2003


One thought I had about this is that it might generate more AdSense revenue than MetaFilter.
Heh. I actually mentioned this to Matt yesterday. I didn't bring it up here for fear of the wrath of the anti-adders. I think it's a good idea and could be a very good revenue stream for Matt (with pro-rata royalties going to contributors to each particular thread, of course).
posted by anathema at 2:16 PM on December 9, 2003


What to call it? AskMeFi.

*bows* You're welcome.

And thank you Matt, I take back all those nasty things I said about you.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:23 PM on December 9, 2003


The Green there makes the Grey here look Pink to me...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:22 PM on December 9, 2003


I was thinking more of a muted violet, but now you have me seeing pink too.
posted by cortex at 4:43 PM on December 9, 2003


I ? Metafilter
posted by Hildago at 5:20 PM on December 9, 2003


"(like rating what the best answer was)"

My opinion's worth absolutely nothing, but count me among those vaguely-though-not-quite-stridently opposed to such a feature. I think that when it moves from being a collaborative space to a competitive one, it loses something.
posted by majick at 5:53 PM on December 9, 2003


While AskMefi is accurate and easy to say, I think Mefi Green has stuck for me. It's fun to say! It sounds fresh and delightful!
posted by headspace at 7:05 PM on December 9, 2003


I thought the most appropriate name for the new feature would be MetaPony, but then, with the green background, it'd be a horse of a different color... (but you could always change it to a palomino blonde, with links in a horseshit brown)
posted by wendell at 7:17 PM on December 9, 2003


What are "Current Archives"?
posted by ph00dz at 8:03 PM on December 9, 2003


I believe that was a misspelling of "currant archives" where Matt has his collection of dried fruit images.

This is indeed a good thing - in the fulness of time, I even expect to be able to get there from lofomefi.
posted by skyscraper at 9:48 PM on December 9, 2003


For some reason I pronounce "Mefi" as "My-Fi" (in my head of course, not out loud). Sort of another example of how I read Hidalgo instead of Hildago. No idea what my point is... buttuh.

I like AxMe personally.
posted by Witty at 5:08 AM on December 10, 2003


I like "AxMe". And I'm loving it; the sight (or site?) of so many mefites being so helpful and unsnarky has cheered me up more than I can say.
posted by taz at 5:50 AM on December 10, 2003


I have to say that so far I am completely blown away by all the thoughtful responses, particularly in Keyser's post. I really hope this continues to be succesful, as it's making MeFi fun for me again.
posted by anathema at 6:23 AM on December 10, 2003


Old and Busted: MetaFilter

The New Hotness: Ask MetaFilter
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:21 AM on December 10, 2003


I freakin' love Ask MetaFilter.
posted by Prospero at 10:09 AM on December 10, 2003


This is excellent.

My opinion's worth absolutely nothing, but count me among those vaguely-though-not-quite-stridently opposed to such a feature. I think that when it moves from being a collaborative space to a competitive one, it loses something.

I agree there, though...
posted by nthdegx at 10:46 AM on December 10, 2003


What I like best about ask mefi is that there are so many "oldtimers" (read: lower numbers) coming out and posting threads and comments. It's so nice to see all of you active again!
posted by Lynsey at 2:29 PM on December 10, 2003


For those of you who, like me, find that the AskMetaFilter threads are scrolling away too fast (it isn't just me, right?) and the MeTa code that kills the (x new) once threads are off the main page means that you cannot easily see which threads have been updated, there is an answer:

From the MetaTalk main page, choose the Category List, then choose AskMetaFilter from the bottom of the list. This gives you the current archives with the (x new) notations. I assume that this will only give you the current month, but it works for now. My guess is that the volume of new threads (if it is sustained) will force some form of categorisation, but time will tell.
posted by dg at 5:01 PM on December 10, 2003


[this is good] for now
posted by anathema at 5:22 PM on December 10, 2003


Yeah, but it leaves you with the MeTa header and color. Just sayin'.
posted by anathema at 5:34 PM on December 10, 2003


Speaking of Keyser's post, and others: will these die after a month, or always be active? I want followups--for him and a bunch of others.
posted by amberglow at 5:36 PM on December 10, 2003


Sounds like a feature request to me, amber. ;>
posted by anathema at 5:39 PM on December 10, 2003


more of a demand, really : >
posted by amberglow at 5:44 PM on December 10, 2003


... it leaves you with the MeTa header and color ...
Yeah, I know. With AskMe being in the "just testing" phase, this is not so much of a problem as long as you can remember where you are at a given time.
posted by dg at 6:57 PM on December 10, 2003


GoogleAnswers is similar, but there is money involved. Kevin Kelly wrote about it recently how he has a paid full-time personal researcher who does just this. Answers any question he asks.
posted by stbalbach at 7:52 PM on December 10, 2003


What I like best about ask mefi is that there are so many "oldtimers" (read: lower numbers) coming out and posting threads and comments. It's so nice to see all of you active again!

I noticed this too, and came here to say much the same thing. How neat to mouse-over an unfamiliar username, and see that the person has a sub-1000 number and has been around for yonks.

All hail Ask Metafilter! It's now my first stop in the morning.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:12 PM on December 10, 2003


All hail Ask Metafilter! It's now my first stop in the morning.
Mine also.

Just a thought for managing the volume (assuming that it stays at the same insane level it is currently) - is it worth considering an option for the original asker to close the question once it has been answered? Is it even possible? The down-side would be that sometimes the original question leads on to other questions from other members and this may shut things down prematurely. As I said, just a thought.
posted by dg at 8:29 PM on December 10, 2003


Another little AskMeFi bug that occurs when you use the dg method explained above is that the (x new) link is completely disabled.
posted by anathema at 8:55 PM on December 10, 2003


What y6y6y6y6 said about ads ... matt, you might think about throwing MeFiTeAds up there too.
posted by SpecialK at 7:52 PM on December 12, 2003


« Older It's been mentioned a few time...  |  For a moment, I thought it was... Newer »

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