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Politics supporter subsites idea
April 23, 2004 9:42 AM   Subscribe

I just had an idea, it's just an idea, let me know if I'm nuts or this has any merit. Let's say around June 1, when the US presidental campaign gets into its full stride, I setup two sub-metafilter sites, one at BushIn2004.metafilter.com, the other at KerryIn2004.metafilter.com for fans of either to blow off their steam and keep MeFi proper largely free of the campaign-squabble-of-the-day posts we're likely to see? (yeah, and I'm curious how a bush supporter blog would go over too)
posted by mathowie to Feature Requests at 9:42 AM (141 comments total)

YES!!! DO IT!!! PLEASE!!!1!!
posted by me3dia at 9:47 AM on April 23, 2004


I'd buy that for a dollar.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:49 AM on April 23, 2004


If nothing else, we'd see some weird, weird shit as the two sides tried to cross-post on each other's sites. It's sort of worth it just to see what happens.
posted by COBRA! at 9:50 AM on April 23, 2004


Do it! Do it! Do it!
posted by Quartermass at 9:56 AM on April 23, 2004


It's a good idea, but would any post having anything to do with the election or national politics then be banned from the blue? Oooooh, and what colors would these new ages be? Don't answer too quickly, now...
posted by soyjoy at 9:59 AM on April 23, 2004


p
posted by soyjoy at 10:01 AM on April 23, 2004


Should one also be set up for" ThirdPartyin2004.metafilter.com"? Cause last time around, I think there were more Nader posts than anything else.
posted by macadamiaranch at 10:06 AM on April 23, 2004


If nothing else, we'd see some weird, weird shit as the two sides tried to cross-post on each other's sites. It's sort of worth it just to see what happens.

why not just cut to the chase and only make: BushVsKerry2004.metafilter.com?
posted by badstone at 10:07 AM on April 23, 2004


But what about those of us who will be sitting out this election (at least, the presidential part of it)? Don't we deserve an EverybodySucksIn2004.metafilter.com?

(If it weren't for his FMA support, I'd be one of the whopping ten MeFites on the Bush blog.)
posted by Asparagirl at 10:08 AM on April 23, 2004


hmmm, I dunno. I predict that members of both blogs would seep into the other and make messes. maybe just have one extra blog just for campaign stuff?

on preview: what badstone said.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:08 AM on April 23, 2004


Posts wouldn't be banned from the main site, it's just my hope that the subsites could have posts like "Kerry's war record under scrutiny" "Kerry camps says nuh-uh, blasts Bush record" "Bush team says 'no touchbacks, no blackmagic, you're it' to bewildered onlookers"

The big campaign news could still make it to MeFi, my hope is to lessen the small tidbits that tend to happen day by day, making MetaFilter boring for all non-US residents and slightly boring for even the Americans.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:09 AM on April 23, 2004


Ok, so scratch the original idea, how about 2004election.metafilter.com instead of the two subsites?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:10 AM on April 23, 2004


Yes!
posted by Asparagirl at 10:11 AM on April 23, 2004


I think it's a great idea. It might be an administrative headache to keep them sorted, though.

What about just one site: Campaign2004.metafilter.com or USpolitics.metafilter.com?
posted by timeistight at 10:11 AM on April 23, 2004


But make it Election2004.metafilter.com. :-)
posted by Asparagirl at 10:12 AM on April 23, 2004


Um, and pony.metafilter.com while you're at it. Thanks.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:13 AM on April 23, 2004


I second that, macadamiaranch. I'm not voting for either of those bozos.
posted by scarabic at 10:13 AM on April 23, 2004


Oh yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Oh dear lord, yes. :) I'd go with one...politics.metafilter or elections04.meta or whatever, I wouldn't try to do two, that would just be a nightmare for you.
posted by dejah420 at 10:15 AM on April 23, 2004


sitting out this election

I'm sorry to hear that. I was looking forward to compiling information on how to register for the site, as it's my hope that all Americans take part in the democratic process.

(I'm kinda pissed that American Idol logs half as many votes as the entire last presidental election every wednesday night. Get out there and vote, people!)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:18 AM on April 23, 2004


it's my hope that all Americans take part in the democratic process.

I think the site is a good idea, and if you're gung-ho into getting people to vote, you could include sidelinks like votesmart, how to register to vote [if it's not too late], polling places listed and all sorts of other helpful tools.
posted by jessamyn at 10:21 AM on April 23, 2004


I didn't get the point of two separate sites...what is required is MORE discussion between opposing sides, not more segregation and distance between them. But I fully support your adjusted idea, fwiw.
posted by rushmc at 10:22 AM on April 23, 2004


Great idea, Matt.
posted by rocketman at 10:29 AM on April 23, 2004


I'm sorry to hear that.

Well, I'll still be voting in the other elections--senate, house, local, referendums, propositions, or whatever else is going to be on the ballot in Los Angeles this fall--and will try to post about that. But yeah, it sucks. Even though CA is not usually a swing state and will probably go for Kerry anyway, I'd really like to be voting for Bush. But I can't bring myself to vote for a guy who's actually putting the weight of the presidency behind the FMA. That would be like voting myself institutionalized second-class citizen status--an ironic use of the right to vote!

FYI, info on how to register and/or declare a political party is here.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:31 AM on April 23, 2004


You may also wish to create Election2000.metafilter.com for those of us who still haven't gotten over the unconstitutional coup d'etat staged by the PNAC and their secret enclave of industrialist puppet-masters!

Oh, and Election2004.metatalk.com
posted by Hildago at 10:34 AM on April 23, 2004


I think if you want to offload some of the political discussion to another site that's not MeFi, you'd do best to create ONE other site. Creating different sites for each opinion faction isn't really going to create a strong magnet for any of them to leave MeFi. I mean, if the sites are segregated into Bush supporters over here, and Kerry supporters over there, what's the appeal of just going there to preach to the choir? Because that's all you'd be able to do (that, or go play devils advocate somewhere you'll be outnumbered 100-to-1).

People who make political posts do so out of outrage, the desire to make key political decision factors known to more people. I think if all the various factions have access to each others' eyeballs, there will be some incentive to post.

If they're segregated, it's bound to be just a bunch of people who think alike patting each other on the ass, and burning the occasional heretic. It won't present the same posting opportunity that MeFi does: the opportunity to encourage your own troops and see your opponents quail, all in one magnificent swoop. And if it's designed to attract the arguments away, it needs to offer an even better opportunity than doing it on MeFi.
posted by scarabic at 10:34 AM on April 23, 2004


Well, I'm a rookie poster here, so bear with my arrogance for a couple of minutes.

Setting up subdomains would give implicit permission to indulge in {Politics|Bush|Neocon}Filter. Now, I realize that as the elections draw nearer, the genie will remain out of the bottle and the subdomains will simply help direct the energy onto venues ignorable by non-interested parties. However, I sincerely think it will also divert contributions from the main site. There's only so much browsing time in a day and people interested will simply spend it there, and the creation will encourage and accelerate diversion of attention and contribution.

Given that there still needs to be a way to filter and demarcate certain topics, one solution is to introduce metadata into posts, like keywords and categories. Let users then customize their whitelists and blacklists.
posted by Gyan at 10:37 AM on April 23, 2004


Yeah, the single blog idea sounds like a very good idea. I might even look at it once in a while even though I'm not american.

2004Election.metafilter.com is a bad idea though, there's an RFC that says hostnames can't begin with a number (to make checking whether something's an IP address or a hostname easier I assume).
posted by fvw at 10:37 AM on April 23, 2004


rushmc, my initial worry was that it would just turn into a MetaFilterForKerry site, when I genuinely want to know what's going on with the Bush side. If it does start to go that way, I'll make the effort to post the good Bush news as I can find.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:39 AM on April 23, 2004


Good idea.
posted by adampsyche at 10:42 AM on April 23, 2004


Posts wouldn't be banned from the main site, it's just my hope that the subsites could have posts like "Kerry's war record under scrutiny" "Kerry camps says nuh-uh, blasts Bush record" "Bush team says 'no touchbacks, no blackmagic, you're it' to bewildered onlookers"

If Electionfilter-type posts aren't banned from the main page, I wonder if the subdomains will end up getting much use (particularly by posters who are trying "bring the light of truth" to the community). The idea is good, though.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:48 AM on April 23, 2004


Why not just permanently make politics.metafilter.com or news.metafilter.com or currentevents.metafilter.com and then permanently send all of the newsy-politics stuff there?

If you don't want to make it permanent, please do it for the next 6 months.
posted by Seth at 10:50 AM on April 23, 2004


YES! Please oh please oh please.
posted by scody at 10:52 AM on April 23, 2004


it's bound to be just a bunch of people who think alike patting each other on the ass, and burning the occasional heretic.

How would that be different than now?

People who make political posts do so out of outrage...
It won't present the same posting opportunity that MeFi does: the opportunity to encourage your own troops and see your opponents quail, all in one magnificent swoop.
posted by scarabic at 10:34 AM PST on April 23


Just so its clear, are you confirming that the motivation in posting the news/politics garbage is to grind an axe? That the goal is to ass-pat and demonize those that disagree? That the goal is to abuse MeFi's large readership so that the poster can make his/her *point*?

Or in other words, are you confirming that the motivation has nothing to do with filtering the best of the web?

It is what I have said all along, so its nice to see someone finally admit it.

Please, Matt, make a subdomain to send all the garbage there, so people will quit co-opting your creation in order to make their point.
posted by Seth at 10:57 AM on April 23, 2004


I think banning Kerry/Bush posts in the blue would be a mighty fine idea.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:03 AM on April 23, 2004


FANTASTIC idea, Matt. Thank you thank you thank you!
posted by widdershins at 11:04 AM on April 23, 2004


Even two sites would have balance issues, Matt, as the devils-advocates on the pro-Bush site might very well equal the number of pro-Bush participants.

I'd say that inviting some intelligent pro-Bush participants would help balance out a single site. I don't know if you're willing to subject anyone worth inviting to the likes of us, but it would be interesting to have some cpable voices from the other side around. I for one would be willing to be extra hospitable and polite to anyone you personally introduce as an invited guest.
posted by scarabic at 11:04 AM on April 23, 2004


It's a wonderful idea. It would be nice to get a commitment from political posters of all stripes to use the new site.

And Seth, please don't jinx this.
posted by timeistight at 11:05 AM on April 23, 2004


Speaking of grinding an axe, Seth, we've all heard your gripes a million times. I don't appreciate having my words co-opted to support your personal quest to ban all political posts. I'm perfectly capable opf saying what I think and being understood by others. I don't need you swooping in to translate what I *really* mean, or what I'm *finally admitting.* Piss off.

Any credibility you had with me just took a big hit.
posted by scarabic at 11:10 AM on April 23, 2004


This new subdomain is going to kick so much ass. The flamewars will go nuclear around convention time, and by November the subdomain will be ruled by whichever mutant arthropods survive the radioactive winter. My bet's on the crab people. I can't wait =)
posted by jbrjake at 11:17 AM on April 23, 2004


I think one alternate site would be an even better idea than two. But it makes the color-of-the-page decision that much more poignant.
posted by soyjoy at 11:25 AM on April 23, 2004


Funniest siteowner comment to date:
"Bush team says 'no touchbacks, no blackmagic, you're it' to bewildered onlookers" [partly 'cos it's difficult to satirise the bushites]

Comment i agree the most with:
Why not just permanently make politics.metafilter.com or news.metafilter.com or currentevents.metafilter.com and then permanently send all of the newsy-politics stuff there?

If you don't want to make it permanent, please do it for the next 6 months.
posted by Seth at 10:50 AM PST on April 23

most self-serving comment so far:

It is what I have said all along, so its nice to see someone finally admit it.

Please, Matt, make a subdomain to send all the garbage there, so people will quit co-opting your creation in order to make their point.
posted by Seth at 10:57 AM PST on April 23
posted by dash_slot- at 11:25 AM on April 23, 2004


electionfilter.metafilter.com?
metavote.metafilter.com?


One other point -- how about only making this last until, say, two weeks after the election? That way, continued posts about the Presidency or politics in general can find an audience...outside the context of the parties and their adherents sniping at each other.
posted by Vidiot at 11:35 AM on April 23, 2004


Single site is an excellent idea. Plus the background colour should vary with the slant of the latest post, so that you can tell whether your comment should be whining criticism or praise and worship without even having to read the post.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 11:39 AM on April 23, 2004


Matt, could you put two blogs on one site? Split screen-kinda like having a sideblog only bigger? Have one side be proBush the other proKerry.
posted by konolia at 11:47 AM on April 23, 2004


Is a single page with two columns feasible? I think it might help facilitate indirect communication between the two camps and present spin from both sides simultaneously.

Regardless, I'm interested to see the results.
posted by clockwork at 11:49 AM on April 23, 2004


Matt, could you put two blogs on one site? Split screen-kinda like having a sideblog only bigger?

Is a single page with two columns feasible? I think it might help facilitate indirect communication between the two camps and present spin from both sides simultaneously.

Kinda like the rants at the bottom of MegaTokyo?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:56 AM on April 23, 2004


I like the idea very much, but think that the die-hard zealots will still want their posts in the blue, where they will get the most eyeballs.

If there were a few general posting categories on MeFi (like in MetaTalk), maybe you could shunt all political threads to this new site.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 11:59 AM on April 23, 2004


Why not just add a boolean field posters can check off if it's campaign politics and let the ax-handle grinders go check that off on the preferences page? It would put the burden of segregating the post on the poster instead of you.

If you think you're herding kittens now, just wait until the metatalk bitchfests over whether a post belonged in the subdomain or not erupt. On top of that, there will be the debate over whether or not to make it permanent once the campaign is over. And it would do absolutely nothing to prevent a thread from going political - it only takes one comment.

If the Flash Friday detractors bray loudly enough, do they get a flash.metafilter.com they can ignore? A NSFW.metafilter.com might help people with prudish bosses, and a dot.metafilter.com would be good for announcing the passing of the well-known or otherwise notable. previouslydiscussedat.metafilter.com would be good for revisiting, well, stuff previously discussed. Expect requests for each of those and more once you start.

I like tacos, and I especially like taco bars where everything is laid out before me and I can pick and choose what I like and leave the rest alone. Hiding the jalapeños does not make a better taco bar, even if some people get a case of the shits when they eat them, but insist that they must eat them because they're on the bar. If it were my taco bar, I'd tell them to go shit somewhere else.
posted by trondant at 12:08 PM on April 23, 2004


making MetaFilter boring for all non-US residents

Call it USelection2004 then please. ;-)
posted by squealy at 12:09 PM on April 23, 2004


In terms of engineering time, is it really less work to create a whole second site than it would be to create a category system, and allow users to filter out posts by flag? The applications of the latter would extend far beyond election 2004. If the costs are at all compable, I'd recommend a flag/filter system.
posted by scarabic at 12:10 PM on April 23, 2004


what about vote.metafilter.com? I would love to see Kerry/Bush posts off the blue, but I am also curious about international elections and what other MeFites have to say about them. Since there's always an election coming up somewhere, it could just be a permanent subdomain.
posted by whatnot at 12:11 PM on April 23, 2004


As much as I love the green, be careful about "diluting the brand" Matt. Segregating the community by special interest might not work out that well.
posted by maniactown at 12:20 PM on April 23, 2004


electionfilter.metafilter.com - Absolutely brilliant idea no matter what you call it.

As long as it's pony.metafilter.com, would it be possible to add either an icon or a color so that a poster could identify Bush, Kerry, Other, Not Voting, Non-Usaian, etc?
posted by theora55 at 12:22 PM on April 23, 2004


Great idea, therefore totally doomed to failure. But I applaud the attempt.

Not that I'm pessimistic or anything...

Now how about a Martinin2004.mefi, Harperin2004.mefi, Laytonin2004.mefi, uh... Duceppein2004.mefi... you know, for us Canadians itchin' for a reasoned, bland, respectful debate?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:32 PM on April 23, 2004


Go ahead.
posted by 111 at 12:33 PM on April 23, 2004


I love the idea. election.metafilter.com, for all election related issues.

I'd love to see news.metafilter.com for all those newsfilter posts that everyone who likes newsfilter likes, but is more or less newsfilter.

Then, the blue can return to it's intended purpose of highlighting the best of web, instead of the news of the day.
posted by benjh at 12:34 PM on April 23, 2004


Why wait. Do it now.
posted by anathema at 12:38 PM on April 23, 2004


I completely disagree with Seth (what else is new).

If we have politics.metafilter.com then we might as well segregate EVERY possible subject. Seth's suggested news.metafilter.com, as well as art.metafilter.com, music.metafilter.com, etc, etc, ad nauseam.

For now, the USElection2004.metafilter.com (or whatever Matt wants) is fine.

However, when Matt has time to give out ponies perhaps the ultimate solution is to somehow allow users to select category topics for their post as well as the ability for users to filter out those topics they don't want to read. Then if someone like Seth gets all pissy about being forced to read threads he doesn't want to (rather than just not reading them) they will have the option.
posted by terrapin at 12:39 PM on April 23, 2004


One other point -- how about only making this last until, say, two weeks after the election? That way, continued posts about the Presidency or politics in general can find an audience...outside the context of the parties and their adherents sniping at each other.

Immediately following the election we'll need election2008.metafilter.com.
posted by timeistight at 12:45 PM on April 23, 2004


Yes! Make two (or three) seperate blogs, and show them split-screen in frames, so that posters can one-up one another and view both at the same time.
posted by gd779 at 12:46 PM on April 23, 2004


If the Flash Friday detractors bray loudly enough, do they get a flash.metafilter.com they can ignore? A NSFW.metafilter.com might help people with prudish bosses, and a dot.metafilter.com would be good for announcing the passing of the well-known or otherwise notable. previouslydiscussedat.metafilter.com would be good for revisiting, well, stuff previously discussed. Expect requests for each of those and more once you start.

I agree with tron and terrapin...and i demand a productfilter.metafilter.com immediately. Actually, an update.metafilter.com would be immensely helpful for followups and resolution on some posts.
posted by amberglow at 12:51 PM on April 23, 2004


I think this is a great idea, as a community experiment if nothing else, but these sorts of things can have unexpected consequences. Case in point:

We now have AskMe (which I love) as a separate section. Part of the culture there is to be polite and helpful and to the point. Which is good. But I think it's also given way too many people here the idea that MetaFilter should be polite and helpful and to the point. Which I think has hurt the site as a whole. MetaFilter used to have more balls. Now it's way too nanny-fied. Sure, you still have a good amount of snarky elitist trolling, but it's not like the good old days.

What if the politics.metafilter.com section does the same thing? What if we develop a culture where snarky elitists are pushed out and metafilter.com turns into the Captain Kangaroo show?

The intermittent flood of *filter posts surrounding national events is part of what MetaFilter is. And it's what brought a lot of us here.

But still, I think it's a great idea. And for me, I don't like the unified politics.metafilter.com. Having two sites makes it more lively. Screw Nader-lovers and non-voters. They aren't part of the process anyway. Why cater to them?
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:58 PM on April 23, 2004


Another vote of total support for however this idea turns out. I'm all about a separate Newsfilter.
posted by furiousthought at 1:06 PM on April 23, 2004


I'd like to see the two side-by-side, in the same window. And I think the general idea is a good one.
posted by adamrice at 1:11 PM on April 23, 2004


Excuse me, ...hate to be drag. Has anyone considered server load? (If anyone has and I missed it in 60+ comments, my apologies.) I don't think how this will be provided is as significant as where. If this idea is not implimented, then server load on the Blue pages rises, but in a commonly managable fashion. The issue at that point is administrative workload, not server hits. Add Kick-the-opponents-in-the-teethFilter, and you would be inviting a significant increase in page loads, and server processes.

Not that I think that this is a bad idea, quite the contrary. But are the resources avaliable to handle such a beast?
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:29 PM on April 23, 2004


I mean, if the sites are segregated into Bush supporters over here, and Kerry supporters over there, what's the appeal of just going there to preach to the choir?

"Preaching to the choir" is generally what we have now.

If Electionfilter-type posts aren't banned from the main page, I wonder if the subdomains will end up getting much use (particularly by posters who are trying "bring the light of truth" to the community). The idea is good, though.


I agree. WarFilter never really took off (even though it was a good idea) because not enough eyeballs were available for those who post such things.
posted by justgary at 1:30 PM on April 23, 2004


This is a slippery slope people. First they come for the politics, the they come for the news.
Before you know it we have quonsarfilter.metafilter.com and ...

Hang on ...
posted by Blue Stone at 1:36 PM on April 23, 2004


I agree. WarFilter never really took off (even though it was a good idea) because not enough eyeballs were available for those who post such things.

This is also what I've noticed... I doubt that creating a special area would take the load off MeFi, as long as it was a "judgement call" kind of thing because most people posting about these issues are not interested in posting only for other people who are really interested in the same issues. The only way something like this works is when it relates to something that cannot take place on the blue (or the brown), like AskMe. I suspect that if there's a choice involved, most people would be more than happy to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous MeTa in order to post to the blue instead of the "special" place.
posted by taz at 2:11 PM on April 23, 2004


Konolia's idea (a blog for Kerry and a blog for Bush side-by-side) is great, in my opinion, although perhaps you'd need a third column for third parties (could just use a smaller font on that part of the site).

Also, it'll probably be even more upsetting to people to see their favourite candidate being slagged off but have no way to respond, so it'd be nice to re-open registrations just for election.metafilter -- perhaps it could be on a different server from the main mefi site?
posted by reklaw at 2:42 PM on April 23, 2004


Can we make it into the Terrordome? Two sides enter . . . and then stay, I guess.
posted by yerfatma at 2:57 PM on April 23, 2004


I'll vote for a subsite, but a single one, vis a vis your mid-thread alternate proposal - USElection2004.metafilter.com. I recall all too well the last American Presidential election and while I am interested and participating in the process, I welcome the segregation of our notoriously poor political debating skills off to someplace we don't need to have them forced in our faces every time we skim the front page.

It does beg the question of the ongoing information glut with regard to the 9/11 commission and how the (alleged) June 30th transfer of power in Iraq proceeds - are those "campaign" issues? Why not make the plunge and declare politics.metafilter.com and get it over with? Sports arguably benefited from the segregation, why not just do it?
posted by JollyWanker at 3:01 PM on April 23, 2004


I KISS YOU!!!!1!!!1

Seriously, please do this, Matt.
posted by keswick at 3:07 PM on April 23, 2004


Konolia's idea (a blog for Kerry and a blog for Bush side-by-side) is great, in my opinion, although perhaps you'd need a third column for third parties (could just use a smaller font on that part of the site).

Hasn't someone already done this? I can't think of the URL, but I saw this exact thing a few months back...GOP on the right, DEM on the left, Green/Libertarian/Tax Twinkies Now! in the middle column.

I, for one, won't be sad to see daily ranting about a foreign election relegated to the back pages, however.
posted by Jimbob at 3:50 PM on April 23, 2004


[pony]maybe also an innocuous sounding subdomain that mirrors the election subdomain for those of us who have evil websense at work filtering out all political sites?[/pony]
posted by contessa at 4:04 PM on April 23, 2004


Any reduction in BushFilter and AnybodyElseForPresidentButBushFilter would be much appreciated.
posted by falconred at 4:09 PM on April 23, 2004


Great idea! Definitely would like to see this happen. Its usually such a pain trying to keep up with the election in an accurate manner, what with having to get the news and polls from like a billion different sites to ensure accuracy. Having MeFi do it is like a dream come true.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:12 PM on April 23, 2004


Watchblog already did the multi-column thing.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:13 PM on April 23, 2004


Is that where we can make our crazy Presidential election results predictions?
posted by brent at 4:28 PM on April 23, 2004


I think I prefer the idea of being able to further customize the Blue. Have a handful of categories (but not too many) that each person can select from in their profile page... fill in some radio buttons and save. The Blue would then display posts accordingly.

But I certainly appreciate the thought and idea of trying to focus the politics and election threads though. I'm just not sure that a subdomain is the best way to do it (although it might be the easiest, which carries a lot of weight).
posted by Witty at 4:47 PM on April 23, 2004


I'm with scarabic. One election site preserves the debate and keeps it from becoming two ass-patting societies while still keeping big blue ax-grind free.
posted by jonmc at 4:56 PM on April 23, 2004


I liked the idea of a separate KerryFilter and BushFilter, competing with each other. Put a running tally atop each site tallying the links per day, comments per day, and total members. Rabid partisans on both sides would have an incentive to make it an active community, because we're nuts.
posted by rcade at 5:27 PM on April 23, 2004


how about a JohnKerryisadouchebagbutimvotingforhimanyway.metafilter.com? ; >
posted by amberglow at 5:41 PM on April 23, 2004


Rabid partisans on both sides would have an incentive to make it an active community fill it full of crappy links in order to "win".
posted by 4easypayments at 5:59 PM on April 23, 2004


I would really appreciate fewer political posts on the blue. This is a vote for that new resource.
posted by gen at 6:26 PM on April 23, 2004


I'd support a seperate politicsfilter page or even a seperate newsfilter page; how about posters being required to enter their Political Compass position, with their post auto-categorized and highlighted appropriately (vote on the color to use for your 'wedge of the opinion pie').

As for the color of the overall page, I'd be perfectly willing to yield my "Metalifter Brown"...

Which does raise the question: could it be that MetaFilter has ended up leaning left because the main page was already Blue?

I'll go back in my corner now.
posted by wendell at 7:03 PM on April 23, 2004


I think it's a really, really bad idea. Metafilter is metafilter. While we're at it, how about homofilter, sportsfilter, musicfilter, warfilter, bookfilter and gamefilter too? Oh wait, they already exist (with varying levels of success)...

[/cranky]

I'd much rather see you finish the Ask Metafilter enhancements you promised in January (like separating out the post counts on our user pages, for example) instead.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:58 PM on April 23, 2004


I think a general newsfilter is a great idea - why get too narrow with electionfilter or bushfilter? Especially as some of the campaign news is going to be stuff like "problems discovered with voting machines" that wouldn't have a natural home outside newsfilter.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:01 PM on April 23, 2004


"...could it be that MetaFilter has ended up leaning left because the main page was already Blue?"

I think wendell (as much as I adore him) needs to put down the crack pipe once in a while.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:17 PM on April 23, 2004




Why is this Matt fellow urging innocent citizens to vote? Can he not be apprehended and cautioned?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:19 PM on April 23, 2004


the comedic divide.
posted by clavdivs at 8:51 PM on April 23, 2004


Crack pipe? I thought that was a crash pipe!!!
no, I have no idea what I meant by that, and I am currently under the influence of nothing more than caffeine and corn sweetener...
posted by wendell at 8:59 PM on April 23, 2004


Well, the corn sweetener will get you every time. Damn you agribusiness...damn you to hell! (Oh drats...apparently, Wendell is contagious...) ;)
posted by dejah420 at 9:25 PM on April 23, 2004


Your favorite politician sucks.
posted by mr.marx at 9:51 PM on April 23, 2004


i'd be far more interested in a reliable.metafilter.com that is actually capable of staying functional for 24 straight hours and frequently does so.
posted by quonsar at 11:01 PM on April 23, 2004


The more I think about this idea, the more I hate it.

Can't you just imagine the chorus from the Dark Lords of the Seth when a post is made on the blue that is even tangentially related to the current imagination? "Take it to electionfilter!" the peanut gallery will shout. What about a post that touches on the Permanent War? Where should something like that go? What if I despise George Bush and can't stand John Kerry either? How about a fuckamerica.metafilter.com for us anti-US types?

Did I mention I hate this idea?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:08 PM on April 23, 2004


Gosh. Resistance to change. I must be a conservative.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:09 PM on April 23, 2004


i must third stavros. avoid the hook.
never underestimate the ________ capacity for________. i mean, _____ ____ ______ of number one?
posted by quonsar at 11:49 PM on April 23, 2004


'imagination'='administration'. Oops.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:50 PM on April 23, 2004


I'm starting to think that "Seth" is becoming an adjective or verb. "Don't Seth this thread!" and "He pulled a Seth" and the like.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:57 PM on April 23, 2004


seth off, mothersether.
posted by quonsar at 12:15 AM on April 24, 2004


let me know if I'm nuts

you're not nuts now but if implemented this idea has the potential to drive you there in a hurry. it's a shitty sethy idea for all the aformentioned reasons, especially what trondant and stavros said.
posted by t r a c y at 1:01 AM on April 24, 2004


If Matt isn't nuts by now it's safe to say his sanity is secure.
posted by konolia at 5:10 AM on April 24, 2004


I think it's a great idea. I'd like to see it called the_bar.metafilter.com. Or just bar.metafilter.com ;)
posted by carter at 8:07 AM on April 24, 2004


Great idea, and I really like the idea of using color to somehow designate the "leaning" of the post (blue or red being the current designations). Maybe you could code a checkbox, Matt?

Nader posts? Babyshit brown, I would think...

International elections. Hmmm... While that's an enlightened thought, most people here can barely make educated comments on the American electoral process without expecting them to somehow be up on Swiss canton squabbles (I'm being cynical here, of course...).

Besides, I think the importance of this (admittedly) "local" election has ramifications for the whole world, since it deals with how the US throws its weight around (or doesn't, as the case may be...).

IMHO, of course.
posted by jpburns at 8:14 AM on April 24, 2004


good idea.
is the new idea going to cost money?
if yes, I think we should raise what we can to help the project.
posted by matteo at 10:09 AM on April 24, 2004


Excellent idea. I think there'd be enough traffic on the election subdomain to keep it viable, and MeFi proper can return to truly being "the best of the web."
posted by armage at 10:19 AM on April 24, 2004


You could add a drop-down box with a topic selector to the new posts page. If you default the new post topic to ‘general’ and add other topic categories that are both popular and irksome to certain members ('politics' in this case, or 'iraq war' perhaps) people could then be offered the ability to filter out those topics using a collection of check boxes on their customize page. You could then put in a new 'sort by' alternative: 'with my filters' (or something) to give them a quick and easy way to view (and ignore) their chosen posts, as well as a quick and easy way to fall back to an unfiltered MeFi (through the sort by 'date' option).

I'm not sure how that would work out: you might simply create more processor load for no good reason, or you might cut out a lot of extra traffic and please a lot of people. You could then reassign posts to topics as an alternative to deletion or moving between subdomains.

On the other hand the fact that you've chosen to split up AskMefi, MetaTalk and Mefi probably means you're not interested in that format. Also, speaking for myself, I doubt I'd filter out anything and I usually just scroll past a post I'm not interested in.
posted by snarfodox at 10:47 AM on April 24, 2004


I was just reading this today, and it seemed relevant, so I'll paste it here, if not to address the issue of [election].metafilter.com, then regarding cries and wails at news and politics appearing in the Blue.
But democracy has never just been about elections. Democracy
means rule by the people, but rule means something more than mere
elections. In our tradition, it also means control through reasoned discourse.
This was the idea that captured the imagination of Alexis de
Tocqueville, the nineteenth-century French lawyer who wrote the
most important account of early “Democracy in America.” It wasn’t
popular elections that fascinated him—it was the jury, an institution
that gave ordinary people the right to choose life or death for other citizens.
And most fascinating for him was that the jury didn’t just vote
about the outcome they would impose.They deliberated. Members argued
about the “right” result; they tried to persuade each other of the
“right” result, and in criminal cases at least, they had to agree upon a
unanimous result for the process to come to an end.
Yet even this institution flags in American life today. And in its
place, there is no systematic effort to enable citizen deliberation. Some
are pushing to create just such an institution. And in some towns in
New England, something close to deliberation remains. But for most
of us for most of the time, there is no time or place for “democratic deliberation”
to occur.
More bizarrely, there is generally not even permission for it to occur.
We, the most powerful democracy in the world, have developed a
strong norm against talking about politics. It’s fine to talk about politics
with people you agree with. But it is rude to argue about politics
with people you disagree with. Political discourse becomes isolated,
and isolated discourse becomes more extreme
. We say what our
friends want to hear, and hear very little beyond what our friends say.
Enter the blog. The blog’s very architecture solves one part of this
problem. People post when they want to post, and people read when
they want to read. The most difficult time is synchronous time. Technologies
that enable asynchronous communication, such as e-mail,
increase the opportunity for communication. Blogs allow for public
discourse without the public ever needing to gather in a single public
place.
But beyond architecture, blogs also have solved the problem of
norms. There’s no norm (yet) in blog space not to talk about politics.
Indeed, the space is filled with political speech, on both the right and
the left. Some of the most popular sites are conservative or libertarian,
but there are many of all political stripes. And even blogs that are not
political cover political issues when the occasion merits.
[emphasis mine]

from Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig.
posted by Blue Stone at 12:26 PM on April 24, 2004


International elections. Hmmm... While that's an enlightened thought, most people here can barely make educated comments on the American electoral process without expecting them to somehow be up on Swiss canton squabbles

Um, I think the point was that there are people here besides Americans, and they might want to talk about their elections.

You did realize there are people here besides Americans, right?
posted by languagehat at 2:51 PM on April 24, 2004


It's a nice idea, but a pointless endeavor, since the bulk of "controversial politics" isn't Bush/Kerry election posts, but newsfilter stuff about Iraq, Israel, terrorism, homelessness, etc.

People are going to have their leanings one way or the other, and will bring them into threads whether or not they have anything to do with the upcoming election. Is this an Election2004.metafilter post, for example? Looking at the frontpage, I can't find a single post in recent days that would fall into such a category.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:11 PM on April 24, 2004


Well, I think it's an experiment worth trying - I've seen more bile spewed over this coming election than many others and I wouldn't mind having all the bile (or at least a big pool of it) in one spot, where I can get around to reading it when I'm in the mood. Give it a try - just for this election - and then open up the floor afterwards for decisions. There will be enough crossover posts to keep everyone busy chewing up the furniture here in the grey - and by the time the election's over I'm sure it'll be very clear whether it was a good idea or not.

I think the background color should be deep red.
That way the bloodstains won't show.
Less cleaning up to do that way.
posted by batgrlHG at 10:56 PM on April 24, 2004


Great idea, Matt.
posted by fuzz at 4:41 AM on April 25, 2004


Stavros: Aside from saying over and over that it's a bad idea, can you articulate a reason, aside from a fear that it will inspire more "take it to xFilter" comments?

SportsFilter splintered off from here and has 1,000 members, but it hasn't impacted MetaFilter in the least.
posted by rcade at 6:34 AM on April 25, 2004


You did realize there are people here besides Americans, right?

You did realize that I do realize that this is an international community, right? Or were you just being patronizing?

The point that I was making is that (unfortunately) the US and our policies affect the entire world, and as a result, our politics are more easily grasped by an international community, whereas the politics of countries that aren't as actively involved in the world stage can't be grasped by our group in any cogent way. I know that this sounds a little Americentric, but I think it's a valid view, given what's going on in the world.

I also added IMHO to indicate that, indeed, it was my opinion, and I might be barking up the wrong tree, as they say...
posted by jpburns at 7:10 AM on April 25, 2004


SportsFilter splintered off from here and has 1,000 members, but it hasn't impacted MetaFilter in the least.

Perhaps MeFi members don't do sports all that well, in which case my argument is flawed, but how often do you see sports-related posts to MeFi? Once a month, if that? I think the inherent culture of MeFi has forced sports-related posts to other sites, mainly SportsFilter. If I had to guess, those MeFi members who are most likely to post about sports know the rules here and choose to either silence themselves or go elsewhere.

It would be a damn shame if that self-censorship were to happen with news, politics, religion, or any other "hot" topic. As people her have mentioned before, MeFi has always had news and politics posts, even since day one.

I admit that I really like Matt's idea. Especially for the next six months, hell, I'd even suggest an Iraq.metafiter.com as well. Unfortunately, without active moderation, many members here feel like MeFi is their soap box, more so than usual I would say. This separate site would keep these "axe-grinders" from diluting the site further.

But to make this permanent would, I think, require complete categorization of this site. Don't just siphon off politics because people can't behave civilly, but instead siphon off the entire site into a more organized, personalized, and accessible place to be.
posted by BlueTrain at 7:18 AM on April 25, 2004


rcade : I am remarkably inarticulate lately, more so than usual. So, like, whatever, dude.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:35 AM on April 25, 2004


you know, I think sportsfilter has had an impact on MeFi. Not a huge one, and not one I find tragic, exactly, but I feel as if there used to be sports posts a little more often, and although I don't really follow sports, it was kinda fun to pick up on what was happening by accident, so to speak. I don't care enough to actually go to sportsfilter, though.

But these days, anyone who cares enough about sports that they would make a front page sports post probably belongs to sportsfilter, so it seems increasingly unlikely that those posts will turn up here. It becomes a kind of learning curve thing, the few sports fans who don't know about sportsfilter... but each time that happens, someone comments in the thread "great discussion about this over on SpoFi" and there's one less person likely to make the post here.

Like I said, I don't think it's the end of the world, but I still think stavros' fears are grounded. On the other hand this would be on the same site, an easy click to check it out, so perhaps it wouldn't divide us that much. And I vote red if we do it. We need a warm color around here!
posted by mdn at 9:17 AM on April 25, 2004


Or were you just being patronizing?

Not so much patronizing as sarcastic.

I know that this sounds a little Americentric

Au contraire; it sounds very, very, very Americentric. This is an international website, and I for one would be extremely interested in seeing what matteo has to say about Italian elections, Miguel about Portuguese ones, sgt. serenity about Celtic v Rangers Scottish Parliament elections, &c.
posted by languagehat at 9:28 AM on April 25, 2004


This is an international Web site, but the American presidential election affects the entire world more than any other election, thanks to our bellicose foreign policy and status as the last remaining super power.

How many Americans could name the leader of Portugal, even among the relatively well-read crowd on MetaFilter? How many Portuguese can't name the leader of the U.S.?
posted by rcade at 10:15 AM on April 25, 2004


How many Americans could name the leader of Portugal, even among the relatively well-read crowd on MetaFilter?

That's easy--it's Miguel Cardoso, right?
posted by amberglow at 10:27 AM on April 25, 2004


Thank you, rcade. That was precisely my point...
posted by jpburns at 12:20 PM on April 25, 2004


it's Miguel Cardoso, right?

almost. Barroso, Cardoso, what's the difference after all.
;)


I for one would be extremely interested in seeing what matteo has to say about Italian elections

wow, thanks. problem is, the sergeant can just link to a fuckload of English-language links re the devolution and the Scottish Parliament and all 17k users will be able to read those.
non-English-language links, on MeFi, are useless. most of my source material, if I'm posting about Italian politics/whatever, will be 100% Italian language. I can think of only 4 members here, known to me, that can read Italian besides me. that'd be a post for 5 users total. and babelfish sucks.
so there's no solution, really.
I often find myself almost linking to a German-language or French-language source (there are wonderful papers there -- Switzerland, France, Germany). but most MeFi people wouldn't understand what's in there. it's a Catch-22.
there's so much good Italian stories I'd like to link. one of the best terrorism analysts in Europe is Italian, is called Guido Olimpio, and he publishes fantastic stuff in Italy's leading daily newspaper. but it'd be useless to link his stuff. but all those sources, they're Italian language. hence useless. until we create, say, Italian-language MetaFilter.it, Portuguese-language MetaFilter.pt ...
posted by matteo at 12:23 PM on April 25, 2004


just think about the Madrid bombing and the elections -- all those Spanish-language links. luckily we had a Spanish member explaining the situation to us, but still.
(and Spanish is, I suppose, the foreign language most popular among US Anglos anyway). I'm sure there's plenty of great stuff in the Arab language and in Hebrew to link here -- but nobody'll be able to read it.

and, for example, Haaretz English-language online version is not the complete paper. anybody wants to learn Hebrew and translate stuff for the community? TranslateMeFi after AskMeFi?

posted by matteo at 12:29 PM on April 25, 2004


They don't ever translate his stuff? The Corriere has a small english section.

Google's translations are even worse than babelfish, i find. Maybe we do need a intl.metatfilter.com.
posted by amberglow at 12:36 PM on April 25, 2004


make that intl.metafilter.com, or how about global.metafilter.com?
posted by amberglow at 12:37 PM on April 25, 2004


amber,

global.metafilter.com sounds really good. we'll hatch the Mathowie Plan For Global Domination


most of the newspaper's English-language section is made of Italy-related Reuters stuff , there are very few stories from the actual newspaper that get translated. translating the whole paper in a few hours from Italian to English would certainly be too much trouble (and expense, probably)

posted by matteo at 1:23 PM on April 25, 2004


and amber, read what Olimpio wrote in 1998:

"New Threats Of Terrorism"
This commentary by Guido Olimpio ran in centrist, influential Corriere della Sera (8/20): "Mohammed Saddiq Howaida, the Palestinian arrested in Pakistan and transferred to Kenya on August 7, cracked, revealing that he could have prepared the 800-kilogram bomb which caused the massacre in Nairobi. After a harsh interrogation, he gave investigators the names of his accomplices, as well as the address of the headquarters and the identity of the author: obviuosly Osama Bin Laden--Jihad's banker.... American intelligence agents are in a hurry because they fear new surprises. Yesterday, the newspaper Al Hayat received in Cairo a new message from Osama's Islamic front and the Liberation Army of the Holy Sites announcing further attacks everywhere.... Leads indicate possible targets of new attacks in South America and Albania."

he's been so consistently right for so long (literally years before 9-11) re terrorism that I read him religiously. and he has the power to scare me shitless -- much more than random Orange Alerts could ever do.
posted by matteo at 1:28 PM on April 25, 2004


I want to read all his pieces now.

Is Systran any good? maybe we can make a collection for their translation software? (or someone can sell them on the idea of providing it free in return for a banner ad on each page that uses it, or something?) or maybe there's a brilliant programmer here who needs a thesis project? : >
posted by amberglow at 1:32 PM on April 25, 2004


look, I'll cut you a deal -- you promise not to do anything funny with your fist again, and I'll e-mail you an English-language synopsis of Olimpio's more important future stories
posted by matteo at 1:40 PM on April 25, 2004


you got it, matteo (but why not make posts out of them, if they're really great?) : >
posted by amberglow at 1:43 PM on April 25, 2004


I AskMe'd this...maybe other people have ideas about it.
posted by amberglow at 1:55 PM on April 25, 2004


but why not make posts out of them, if they're really great

because I'd have to link to an Italian-language story, amber. languagehat, romakimmy and a few others would dig that, but what about all the other users?

anyway (I'm a huge fan, so now you'll have to endure this) Olimpio spoke in the summer of 1996 in front of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism in Washington, and wrote a story about it. I clipped it, and I still have it. August 1996, remember. he told the Congressmen, and I'm quoting the clipping, about "a network of ex-jihadis, the so-called 'Afghans', who fought -- with American arms -- against the Soviets and in the after-war are now employed by a vast international network of terror working undercover in the Middle East, Pakistan, the Philippines, Europe and America, too (...) funded by private donations, by rich extremists, (...)and headed by Yemeni-born Saudi citizen, the millionaire Osama Bin Laden (...) training camps in Afghanistan (...) 'sleeper cells' in Europe... waiting to attack the West (...)"

this, 5 years before 9-11. how does that sound?

oh, during the Washington trip he also wrote a story about how weak Congressional security was, how easy was to introduce, say a gun. a few years before the actual shootout on Capitol Hill that forced changes in the procedures.
posted by matteo at 2:05 PM on April 25, 2004


well, you could translate for us, if it's worth it. (and buy us all ponies, since Matt won't?) : >
posted by amberglow at 2:11 PM on April 25, 2004


This is an international Web site, but the American presidential election affects the entire world more than any other election, thanks to our bellicose foreign policy and status as the last remaining super power.
How many Americans could name the leader of Portugal, even among the relatively well-read crowd on MetaFilter? How many Portuguese can't name the leader of the U.S.?
posted by rcade at 10:15 AM PST on April 25

Thank you, rcade. That was precisely my point...
posted by jpburns at 12:20 PM PST on April 25


I don't get it.
1) Yes, "the American presidential election affects the entire world more than any other election"; it also affects the world more than the latest Google update or Flash site, but that doesn't mean we don't post them, does it? Do we only have to talk about what maximally affects the entire world?
2) Yes, Portuguese and other rest-of-the-world denizens know more about America than Americans know about the rest of the world. For me, that's a reason to have posts about the rest of the world; I want to learn. For you, ignorance is bliss?

because I'd have to link to an Italian-language story

So link; those of us who can read it will do so, those who can't will depend on the English-language synopsis you'll provide. If you can e-mail it to amberglow, you can post it, right? (But if you choose not to, add me to the mailing list!)
posted by languagehat at 2:48 PM on April 25, 2004


see what a little fisting can accomplish, languagehat? ; >
posted by amberglow at 3:59 PM on April 25, 2004


For you, ignorance is bliss?

Yeah, that's exactly what I mean. It has nothing to do with the fact that the leader of Portugal and the Scottish parliamentary elections are so unimportant to the readers here that they've come up exactly zero times in the entire history of the site, while American presidential elections have been the subject of -- pausing for a moment to act as if I'm making an accurate count -- 972 front-page posts. My post was a celebration of American know-nothingism. I love the fact that the entire world has to care about whether we'll be re-electing Dick Cheney for a second term, while their own puny elections make news here in A-fucking-Merica only when people start punching each other and throwing shit around in their legislative buildings. Woo hoo! My country right or wrong. I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free.

You pegged me perfectly, languagehat, and you couldn't be any less of a condescending asshole.
posted by rcade at 7:18 PM on April 25, 2004


...languagehat, and you couldn't be any less of a condescending asshole.

oh, i think he could be, he just chooses to go all out for such as your majestic self.
posted by quonsar at 7:47 PM on April 25, 2004


Well, either way, I don't think there has EVER been anything in place stopping people from countries other than the U.S., from making front page posts about whatever they want. If someone stops short of making a post because it's in German, rather than English, how is that the fault of MetaFilter? Will setting up a subdomain for the election (or whatever) make it any more difficult to post non-English and/or non-American topics?
posted by Witty at 8:52 PM on April 25, 2004


What good is a post in a language only 5 or 10 people can read?
posted by amberglow at 10:01 AM on April 26, 2004


*starts Googling up Sanskrit links like crazy for future, incomprehensible front page post*
posted by matteo at 10:05 AM on April 26, 2004


I'm late to the party, as usual, but I'd like to raise a point which a few people here have come close to, but hasn't yet been raised directly:

Will the choice of whether a post goes on the blue or (let's say) the maroon be purely left up to the poster? Or, Matt, will you move posts on the blue to the maroon if that's where they belonged?

The big campaign news could still make it to MeFi, my hope is to lessen the small tidbits that tend to happen day by day,

The problem I forsee is that every "small tidbit" constitutes "big campaign news" to someone.

If you're going to aggressively move posts from the blue to the maroon, I think it's a worthwhile project. If everyone is going to decide for themselves, I don't think it'll help much.

(And if you do it that way anyway, I'd like to take "29 hours" in the pool on how long it takes until the first MeFi post in which the poster says, "this was already posted on EleFi, but I thought it was important enough to post here.")
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:25 PM on April 26, 2004


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