Could the time left before I can another question be displayed? November 21, 2005 11:01 AM   Subscribe

Any chance there could be a bulleted add-on to the "Doh!" page that states you've posted an AskMeFi question within a week by telling me how much time left I have to wait until I can ask again? I could swear I only have seconds left, but there's no way to tell.
posted by vanoakenfold to Feature Requests at 11:01 AM (22 comments total)

You posted your last question on November 14, 2005 at 10:59 AM PST.

So you do, in fact, have only minutes to go.
posted by anastasiav at 11:08 AM on November 21, 2005

In fact, you had -2 minutes to go when you posted this.
posted by Plutor at 11:22 AM on November 21, 2005

To show anastasiav's work:

Your user page (accessible through the link on your username on every post and comment you submit) will lead you then to your previous questions page. Clicking on the link to your most recent question will get you the full date/timestamp.
posted by cortex at 11:23 AM on November 21, 2005

If a test is already being done to determine if enough time has passed, it seems reasonable to return the result.
posted by eddydamascene at 11:30 AM on November 21, 2005

Since the page already has to query the database to see if you're allowed to post, I agree with having the page show how long you have to wait until you can post (to the front page or to AskMetaFilter).

The only downside would be if people obsessively refreshed the page to see when they could post, but the query could be cached. If the page specified the date and time you could post again (You can post a new question on November 22 at 5:30 p.m. PST), there wouldn't be much as much incentive to reload the page as there would be if there was a countdown.

The error message is annoyingly vague. In most cases the reason a person can't post because of the time limit, so if that's the reason the error page should say so and say when you will be able to post.

Going to the user page and then to the previous question page is unintuitive, and is two extra database queries, one for each page.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:37 AM on November 21, 2005

(not advocating against the pony, by the way -- just showing that "there's no way to tell" is not strictly true)
posted by cortex at 12:00 PM on November 21, 2005

I guess the reason it's been left off is a social one. We have a lot of members and they want to ask a lot of questions. Keeping it foggy means people won't ask exactly 52 questions per year, but a lower number (maybe 48 if they stuck with it, but more like half that).

I myself never bother to look for the exact time, when I hit the page saying I have to wait, I usually end up thinking "damn! oh, well, I'll try again next week) and I sometimes don't ask the question at all, or I ask it 10-15 days later when I remember to ask it. Putting "6 days, 3 hours, 14 minutes, 32 seconds until your next post" would tend to encourage more questions.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:30 PM on November 21, 2005

Putting "6 days, 3 hours, 14 minutes, 32 seconds until your next post" would tend to encourage more questions.

Which asks the question, "Maybe it's time for AskMeFi to change it's formatting to something more efficient?"

I understand the logic of a flat page and actually like it better than threaded discussion, but the speed of AskMeFi questions isn't slowing down. I think something should be done (either formatting or a two-week threshold or something else).
posted by SeizeTheDay at 12:37 PM on November 21, 2005

I'm all ears for ideas on formatting changes that would solve the problem, SeizeTheDay. Got any ideas?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:42 PM on November 21, 2005

1. Make questions shorter, forcing people to be more concise on the front page, thereby making it more likely that the "more inside" is used.

2. Allow two to three columns to be seen (like TypePad blogs) and have questions scrolling down each column. Make the text a point or two smaller as well.

3. Allow these columns to be customizable to users by category. Default would be the flat screen we have now. The first and second columns could be of the user's choosing; the third could just be the front page.

It's just an idea, one that I'm sure is disagreeable to most. But hopefully in the spirit of helpfulness others will chime in with ideas (better ones) of their own. I think that there are plenty of options to choose from, but I may not be the most experienced at answering the question. I just felt like the question had to be asked.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 12:49 PM on November 21, 2005

I've suggested it before, but what if users were limited to 3 questions a month which they could ask at any time in that month? It would reduce the total number of questions asked, but allow for people who are working on large projects that have several questions to pull it off.
posted by dial-tone at 12:51 PM on November 21, 2005

The front page has 40 or 50 recent questions on it, I think going to shorter, smaller fonts in columns would push to to 80-100.

Maybe a design goal should be less, better questions instead of more per page. That could be attained with filtering, voting, etc. to make sure the good bubbles to the top.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:00 PM on November 21, 2005

I like the two-week threshold idea.

Is there a way to quickly tell what percentage of AskMe posters are posting more than one question in a two-week period? If it's trivial, ok, that's useful info itself. But if it's significant, changing to a two-week wait between questions might have a decent slowdown effect.
posted by mediareport at 1:10 PM on November 21, 2005

I don't like the smaller font idea. Some of us have aging eyes.

Do we have a few people asking a lot of questions each or a lot of peopleeach asking a few questions? Or rather, which way is the mix slanted. Knowing will halp come up with a solution.
posted by bonehead at 1:20 PM on November 21, 2005

Graphs. What we need here are graphs.
posted by cortex at 1:32 PM on November 21, 2005

collapsable DHTML category titles with questions listed underneath? Tree style question navigation?

posted by blue_beetle at 2:36 PM on November 21, 2005

I think simpler should be the focus. either by topic or by shorter questions on the front page.
posted by bigmusic at 4:52 PM on November 21, 2005

At least in MSIE, you can adjust the font despite what is default according to the programming, anyway. "View" menu, Text size, and choose from Largest to smallest (five increments), though it doesn't seem to work so well on this site for some reason. I think there is a shortcut by holding control and mouse-scroll-button turning to change it..
posted by vanoakenfold at 9:17 PM on November 21, 2005

I personally am thrilled by the site, particularly that (a) good answers are often given and can be reasonably expected, (b) the donation requirement filters out blatant flamers and generates a better community instead and a sense of responsibility to return, and (c) the diversity of questions asked from theology to 'where are my socks?'. I fully intend to ask 52 ?'s per year, but would not be dismayed at another system -- the joy is that I can ask questions in such a qualified venue, not on the degree of questions I may ask.

To clarify to cortex, there's no way to tell from the Doh! page, I meant :-) I could still always go back to the last question I asked and look at the timestamp, but it just seemed easier to have one right there (eddydamascene's post flagged as awesome).

I think whether or not there is an available countdown available won't prevent someone from posting as frequently as possible, they'll just find out the same information with an extra errand and still post as many as possible. I've got a notepad text file loaded with questions in queue ;-D

I want to highly commend the current design -- the large font and practically image-less format (header excepted) is incredibly clear-cut and practical.
posted by vanoakenfold at 9:30 PM on November 21, 2005

I fully intend to ask 52 ?'s per year

Er, why? Just because you can?

I've got a notepad text file loaded with questions in queue

Do you actually *care* about those questions? Please say yes. Because someone with a "loaded queue" of questions just waiting to burst upon AskMe seems to me a bit over the top. Considering the fact that you ended up answering one of your own questions yourself, please at least consider whether each of your questions are really best suited to AskMe, and also consider keeping in mind this unofficial Mefi guideline: "What would happen if everyone at the site did what I'm doing?" AskMe would quickly fall apart if everyone decided to make full use of a possible 52 questions per year.
posted by mediareport at 5:30 AM on November 22, 2005

I've got a notepad text file loaded with questions in queue

This is a very bad sign. Please take a cold shower and read carefully what mediareport wrote.
posted by languagehat at 5:51 AM on November 22, 2005

I third what mediareport just said. It makes me shudder to think that others have the same ideas as you. That could be potentially disastrous to a great resource.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:22 AM on November 22, 2005

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