AskMe commenting should always be open October 8, 2005 11:00 AM   Subscribe

Why do Ask Me threads bother to close after 30 days? Wouldn't it be useful to go back and be able to add answers anytime?
posted by dobbs to Feature Requests at 11:00 AM (41 comments total)

For instance if someone's looking for X and no one answers and then 31 days later someone sees X? I suppose there's a worry that some people would use "dead' threads as a talking place but how serious a worry is that?

I was a bit annoyed today when I found out I couldn't add to this thread after taking the advice of this post. I bought those fucking shoes and 3 weeks later they tore in half. They were replaced with another pair and now those fuckers are torn in half, 5 weeks later. I'd like to be able to post in the thread so no one else thinking of posting a 'recommend shoes' thread simply searches, sees the old question, and shops. Worst $130 I've ever spent in my life.
posted by dobbs at 11:00 AM on October 8, 2005

I think they're closed so that they don't get turned into chatty cathy cult threads. But I agree with you - the original poster should be able to post to a thread even after it's been closed.
posted by iconomy at 11:08 AM on October 8, 2005

Oh you weren't the original poster, were you. I would like that feature tho.
posted by iconomy at 11:10 AM on October 8, 2005

dobbs - Would not "recommend shoes" posted on 10-8 also turn up in that search? Your disappointment could be recorded as well as any others.
posted by Cranberry at 11:17 AM on October 8, 2005

it seems to me that this would substantially increase server load and make moderation of askme more difficult than it already is. am I mistaken about this?
posted by shmegegge at 12:27 PM on October 8, 2005

posted by matteo at 12:27 PM on October 8, 2005

My guess is that once they're closed, they live on as static files, which are easy to serve, easy to move, easy to just stop worrying about. Perhaps they can even be deleted from the database entirely.
posted by scarabic at 12:32 PM on October 8, 2005

It makes a profound and important statement about the transitory nature of all "answers" and the inability to change the choices we make once we make them. It is a piece of philosophical performance art, you philistines, and you do The Captain a disservice by treating it as some mere arcane technical detail of "server load" and "database performance".
posted by freebird at 12:50 PM on October 8, 2005

Also it makes comment spam easier to deal with when you don't have to worry about anything more than a month old.
posted by Mitheral at 1:23 PM on October 8, 2005

Are you talking about Nike Frees? Because if I remember correctly, there was at least one other thread were someone recommended the Nike Frees. A thread that I pointed out that mine started falling apart within a few weeks.

Here it is, I'm not even sure where my pair is anymore. I've got this sexy pair of pumas that are far more comfortable for walking.
posted by drezdn at 1:23 PM on October 8, 2005

Partially it's to discourage cult threads.
posted by drezdn at 1:24 PM on October 8, 2005

Yeah, I figured it was the server and/or 9622 issue. Still sucks, though.

And yeah, drezdn, talking about the Nike Frees. I bought 5.0s and they last 3 weeks. Brought 'em back and got 4.0s as 5s were all sold out. Dead after 5 weeks. I'm not even a runner. I just walk in them. The second pair ripped while I was sitting on a bench, tapping my foot to music. Utter shit.
posted by dobbs at 1:30 PM on October 8, 2005

dobbs, it's a tough balance between utility and convenience. In my experiences on MetaFilter and MetaTalk and even PVRblog, the longer stuff sticks around, the less useful the threads as a whole. Sometimes it's comment spam, sometimes it's culty threads, sometimes it's just stragglers coming to a thread after two years and they don't read the previous comments that already answered their question.

Ask MetaFilter is definitely different than the others and people do a pretty good job keeping the place on topic and useful. I don't think it would be too bad to keep them open indefinitely, or a longer period like a year.

For me, my biggest worry would be all those old threads being prone to spammers and people goofing off, but we have a lot of eyes here looking around and maybe someone would catch anything fishy going on.

I'll seriously consider lifting the 30 days. How about we start by making it 180 days (six months)?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:45 PM on October 8, 2005

That would be excellent, mathowie!
posted by dobbs at 2:13 PM on October 8, 2005

I think that, at the very least, allowing the original poster to respond after the 30-day mark would be hepful.

On a side note, it would also be nice if the original poster could mark his/her own comments as "Best Answer," or if all the OP's comments in that thread appeared highlighted somehow It would be easier to catch the eye in some of these threads that get lengthy - especially if we're increasing the amount of time a thread remains active.
posted by MrZero at 2:20 PM on October 8, 2005

err, helpful.
posted by MrZero at 2:21 PM on October 8, 2005

mathowie : "How about we start by making it 180 days (six months)?"

posted by Gyan at 2:46 PM on October 8, 2005


Yes. Questions posted on January 1, 2003, which could previously only be answered through January 30, 2003, can now be answered any time through the end of June, 2003.
posted by bingo at 2:59 PM on October 8, 2005

Now that would be amazing considering that AskMe was started in Dec 2003.
posted by Gyan at 3:09 PM on October 8, 2005

Retroactively in full effect now and you can mark your own answers as best.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:13 PM on October 8, 2005

And I made the ability to comment go back a year.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:14 PM on October 8, 2005

Yeah for Mr. Flexibilty pants!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:16 PM on October 8, 2005

The message for closed threads still indicates the '30 days' thing.
posted by Gyan at 3:20 PM on October 8, 2005

(lord of all he surveys)
posted by NinjaPirate at 4:01 PM on October 8, 2005

thanks, Numero Uno
posted by matteo at 4:11 PM on October 8, 2005

Might be hard to implement, but theoretically... You could allow only people who have already participated in a thread the ability to make additional comments - or only the asker. 1 year for everyone is probably a better solution for utility, but if too much noise turns out to be a problem restricted privileges would clean it up quite a bit.
posted by Chuckles at 4:27 PM on October 8, 2005


A page that showed "Most Recent Comments for Threads Not On the Front Page" would help find and stop spammers.
posted by rajbot at 5:43 PM on October 8, 2005

A page that showed "Most Recent Comments for Threads Not On the Front Page" would help find and stop spammers.

People can also post flag late-spammy comments in AskMe "it breaks the guidelines" and we'll see them fairly quickly. [comment edited, thanks IIHAA]
posted by jessamyn at 7:44 PM on October 8, 2005

Cool ideas. Neat.
posted by Skygazer at 7:46 PM on October 8, 2005

Nice brisk decision, Matt.

People can also post late-spammy comments in AskMe


*fixes late spammy snack*
posted by If I Had An Anus at 7:59 PM on October 8, 2005

I want to cast another vote for listing old questions with new comments. A couple of days on the front page doesn't seem like long enough for many of the questions. How about a page that lists all the questions with no answers, or <5 answers with none marked as best?
posted by blue_beetle at 10:09 PM on October 8, 2005

This is great, thanks Matt.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:53 AM on October 9, 2005

The FPP issue never seems to go away. Is there any reason why FPPs can't be shorter? MUCH shorter? What about a limit of 300 or 400 characters? People would be encouraged to write something like "I'm having a financial problem" or "Which college should I go to?" and the rest would be in the "more inside." That pithy info would generally be enough for me to know if it's a thread I'd be interested in. And more stuff would be able stay on the front page for longer periods.
posted by grumblebee at 8:26 AM on October 9, 2005

grumblebee, the Ask a Question posting page encourages really short front page questions.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:31 AM on October 9, 2005

I know. My suggestion is to enforce it via a character count.
posted by grumblebee at 10:35 AM on October 9, 2005

how does shorter front-page text per post translate to posts staying on the front-page longer? The front page doesn't show X characters, it shows X posts, however long they are, right?
posted by scarabic at 10:51 AM on October 9, 2005

I guess the point would be more questions would be immediately visible.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:34 PM on October 9, 2005

Concision helps in scanning the page, but so does easy identification of what the question really is. People often use the [more inside] as something akin to [actually, everything is inside]. This helps concision but hurts scannability, since you get some short attempt at wit on the front page but can't actually tell what the question is about without clicking through.

I'm all for encouraging concision, but there is a balance there.
posted by scarabic at 10:57 AM on October 10, 2005

What scarabic said. I'm happy for grumblebee that he is able to divine whether a question is of interest to him with as little information as "I'm having a financial problem" or "Which college should I go to," but that's not enough for me to know whether I might be able to help.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:51 PM on October 10, 2005

What scarabic said, indeed. However, I tend to favor concision if there must be error -- "I'm having a financial problem" may not be enough to convince me that there lurks within a question I'll take a genuine interest in, but that would be enough in many cases to tell me it's a question in which I will not take an interest.

I suppose that doesn't help the modemites avoid unnecessary pageloads, though.
posted by cortex at 3:45 PM on October 10, 2005

A concise verbal aesthetic would also have made that middle sentence more readable.
posted by cortex at 3:47 PM on October 10, 2005

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