Beta MetaFilthy 2.3 for Firefox 1.5. December 1, 2005 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Beta MetaFilthy 2.3 for Firefox 1.5.
posted by orthogonality to MetaFilter-Related at 2:34 PM (192 comments total)

is there like a readme somewhere you could point too, rather then just an .xpi file?
posted by delmoi at 2:38 PM on December 1, 2005


I haven't upgraded to Firefox 1.5 yet, but the MetaFilthy author (who surely isn't me), emailed me that he thinks this'll work for Firefox 1.5. The author (who is not me) says it also contains some minor bugfixes, credited to bugbread and peacay.

If you've upgraded to Firefox 1.5, you can test this version; it will also work with pre-1.5 Firefox builds. If you do beta test, please comment this thread or via email to the author (who is somebody other than me).

(Note that users who beta test may be prompted to "upgrade" to the current release version, and should not do so, as it will re-install the pre-Firefox 1.5 version.)
posted by orthogonality at 2:40 PM on December 1, 2005


delmoi writes "like a readme somewhere"

The readme is the same as for the previous version; there are a few minor and as yet-undocumented bug fixes, according to MetaFilthy's author (who is not me).

In general, if you haven't yet used MetaFilthy before, the beta test probably isn't for you, as any bugs/incompatibilities won't be obvious to you.
posted by orthogonality at 2:44 PM on December 1, 2005


Wouldn't "BetaFilthy" be catchier?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:53 PM on December 1, 2005


mr_crash_davis writes "Wouldn't 'BetaFilthy' be catchier?"

Don't create more work for the author who isn't me. ;)
posted by orthogonality at 2:55 PM on December 1, 2005


??



.
posted by Gyan at 3:07 PM on December 1, 2005


Read Me
posted by Mr T at 3:22 PM on December 1, 2005


Does this one still log me out of every site when I try to use the quote feature?
posted by Eideteker at 3:22 PM on December 1, 2005


Eideteker writes "Does this one still log me out of every site when I try to use the quote feature?"

Yes, that's a privacy-ensuring feature.

Real answer: unlikely. That was apparently a Firefox problem, related to the way it saves preferences, and not specific to MetaFilthy; MetaFilthy neither reads nor writes nor has anything at all to do with cookies.

But try it and see; that's what beta testing is all about.

Or so the MetaFilthy author would probably say, were he me, which he emphatically is not.
posted by orthogonality at 3:28 PM on December 1, 2005


Were I bugbread, which I most assuredly am not, I'd thank the author, who sure as hot damn griddle cakes isn't orthogonality, and point out that the few bug fix suggestions I made were so minor and so long ago that there's no need to keep crediting me. But I'm not bugbread, remember, so you'll just have to assume that's what he would say.
posted by Bugbread at 3:37 PM on December 1, 2005


Dammit!! Who hacked my account?!
posted by Bugbread at 3:37 PM on December 1, 2005


I can't remember if this problem came up with the older version of MetaFilthy, but on my work PC (Win2K, Japanese), the formatting of the text in Metafilthy seems rather...large:



Specifically, the left pane (as you can see) doesn't fit, and, less obviously, the titles of each right window (like "Using MetaFilthy") stick out of the tops of their panes.

Speaking of which (trivia time), in the old days, a lot of people wrote programs that didn't display right in Japanese Windows. They've all gotten a lot better, which made it all the more surprising/nonsurprising-if-you-are-a-Slashdot-style-cynic that Microsoft's Flight Simulator is one of the few that still formats windows like this incorrectly.
posted by Bugbread at 3:43 PM on December 1, 2005


Another (very related) bug: because of the big size of the options window, I can't display the whole thing on my screen at 1024x768, meaning that the "OK / Cancel" buttons I assume are at the bottom of the window aren't displayed.

Of course, I can't tell if there are really OK/Cancel buttons at the bottom to be cut off.

Because they can't be displayed.
posted by Bugbread at 3:46 PM on December 1, 2005


I am not Spartacus.
posted by cortex at 3:52 PM on December 1, 2005


bugbread writes "the few bug fix suggestions I made"

I emailed the author (who isn't me), and he wrote back that the fix was actually a special build, just for bugbread (who isn't you), that automatically translated high Unicode characters, like "?", into their HTML entity equivalent, like "&amp#x2580;".

But it appears that since that time, Matt has fixed form submission so that MetaFilter correctly processes Unicoode characters without having to escape them.

So that feature is no longer needed. (On the other hand, Matt's processing now seems to unescape even when that's not desired.)
posted by orthogonality at 3:56 PM on December 1, 2005


Oh, damn it. That was supposed to be a "ਊ" not a question mark.
posted by orthogonality at 3:57 PM on December 1, 2005


If I were bugbread, I'd say "D'oh!! I remember that!! It was a 'special beta version custom tailored for bugbread', and yet I'm such an ingrate that I totally forgot".

Man, bug's gonna be pissed when he finds out how I hacked his account to type this.

Ok, I'm done now. Back to non-schizophrenic posting style.
posted by Bugbread at 3:57 PM on December 1, 2005


orthogonality : "That was supposed to be a 'ਊ' not a question mark."

Maybe it's my fontset, but that looks remarkably like one of the skeletons from Grim Fandango wearing a bowler hat.

I'm guessing Grim Fandango sold really well in whatever country uses that character.
posted by Bugbread at 4:00 PM on December 1, 2005


bugbread writes "Another (very related) bug:"

Yeah, the author (some other guy than me) should fix this. The left pane is supposed to enlarge if you click-drag the separator. Apparently for you, the separator gets bigger, not the left pane.

The "tabs" and font are supposed to look like that. I assume, anyway, because I am not the author, that the author hates those blogs with little tiny text.
posted by orthogonality at 4:04 PM on December 1, 2005


bugbread writes "Back to non-schizophrenic posting style."


Oh, thanks for that characterization. ;)
posted by orthogonality at 4:11 PM on December 1, 2005


Whoa. I tried the click-drag separator. That's some funky UI (I'm assuming it's not how diffenbach meant it to work): the mouse does not change into a drag-icon thing, so I didn't know until now. As is, if I click and drag, it doesn't move, but if I click and drag right, the left window gets smaller, and if I click and drag left, it gets bigger. It works, but it's really, really counterintuitive.

And, even at maximum window pane size, the "OK / Cancel" buttons at the bottom don't show up.

Still, I'm guessing this is all due to the escape character issue, because I vaguely remember this problem long long ago, but not long ago.

Also, just noticed: When I click and drag, the whole window (not just the text inside, but the whole Options window) does this Pokemon Epilepsy Stutter, jiggling around like a stripper on speed. When I stop moving the mouse, it stops jiggling.
posted by Bugbread at 4:16 PM on December 1, 2005


What the hell is going on here?
posted by gleuschk at 4:18 PM on December 1, 2005


gleuschk : "What the hell is going on here?"

Nonono, "what the hell would be going on here if something were going on here". Which it isn't.
posted by Bugbread at 4:19 PM on December 1, 2005


bugbread writes "(I'm assuming it's not how xxxx meant it to work):"

First rule of Metafilthy club: we don't use the author's name, preferring circumlocutions like "the author". (Who isn't me.)
posted by orthogonality at 4:26 PM on December 1, 2005


Aaah. Splendid stuff. Was wondering about this only yesterday. My thanks to our anonymous benefactor.

(Haven't made the jump to 1.5 yet but this was the only thing holding me back. Will report once I've tried it.)
posted by blag at 4:27 PM on December 1, 2005


Am I mistaken, or do these extensions not work with Mac?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:54 PM on December 1, 2005


Quite possibly both!
ZING!

posted by cortex at 5:02 PM on December 1, 2005


ParisParamus writes "Am I mistaken, or do these extensions not work with Mac?"

It's a beta test. I know of no reason they wouldn't work on Firefox under Mac, and previous versions did. Try it and report back.
posted by orthogonality at 5:04 PM on December 1, 2005


It's the .xpi thing. I think you're supposed to rename .xpi to .zip, but thereafter, not sure what to do...
posted by ParisParamus at 5:06 PM on December 1, 2005


ParisParamus writes "It's the .xpi thing."

Save the xpi to your disk. Then drag it into Firefox. Follow the prompts, then close Firefox and restart it. Log back into Metafilter.
posted by orthogonality at 5:11 PM on December 1, 2005


Shouldn't there be like a readnotme file for this?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:12 PM on December 1, 2005


Oh, for fuck's sake.

Nobody cares about the whole "who wrote metafilthy" escapade anymore. Cut the crap and get to the point before you make a couple of 22+k'ers heads' explode.

Unless that was actually the point, in which case, march on!
posted by mystyk at 5:12 PM on December 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


*head explodes*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:13 PM on December 1, 2005


That's 22+k, not 2.2+k, stavros. Pick those bits of brain up off the floor and get back to work.
posted by mystyk at 5:19 PM on December 1, 2005


Wow. Thanks. That's mind-blowing!
posted by ParisParamus at 5:22 PM on December 1, 2005


So let me get this straight: Miguel did not NOT write metafilthy. And am I, or am I not currently posting this? Dang it, get out of my head!
posted by blue_beetle at 5:41 PM on December 1, 2005


orthogonality writes "Note that users who beta test may be prompted to 'upgrade' to the current release version, and should do so, as it will re-install the pre-Firefox 1.5 version."

Any way to disable the update notice/check? It pops up on each visit to different sections of MeFi.

mystyk writes "Nobody cares about the whole 'who wrote metafilthy' escapade anymore. Cut the crap and get to the point...

Oh, I think the words you're looking for are "thank you, kind developers".
posted by purephase at 6:06 PM on December 1, 2005


I also didn't write it. (I didn't want to be left out.)
posted by tiamat at 6:07 PM on December 1, 2005


I think I posted something here asking why the real author just doesn't post himself, but it might have been deleted. Or maybe I just accidentally didn't post it.

Or maybe I wrote MetaFilthy?
posted by grouse at 6:19 PM on December 1, 2005


purephase writes "Any way to disable the update notice/check?"

Go to the url about:config (popup blocker may block it).

Find the option metafilthy.uses_until_new_version_prompt (type all or part of that string into the search box on the top of about:config).

Change the value to 77.
posted by orthogonality at 6:20 PM on December 1, 2005


Orthogonality, do those commands also disable the transmission of "debugging information consisting of your metafilter.com user name, user id, and the url of the page you're commenting on"?
posted by about_time at 6:42 PM on December 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


about_time writes "Orthogonality, do those commands also disable the transmission of 'debugging information'"?

No.
posted by orthogonality at 6:44 PM on December 1, 2005


orthogonality writes "Go to the url about:config (popup blocker may block it).

"Find the option metafilthy.uses_until_new_version_prompt (type all or part of that string into the search box on the top of about:config).

"Change the value to 77."


Worked like a charm. Also, thank the developer for updating the extension.
posted by purephase at 6:52 PM on December 1, 2005


nm. I'm still getting the dialog with each visit to MeFi. It's not a big deal and I would imagine that once the final version is released the dialog will disappear.
posted by purephase at 6:57 PM on December 1, 2005


The dialog ignores the metafilthy.uses_until_new_version_prompt value on your first visit to Mefi after starting the browser.

Unfortunately, this is per browser window (but not per tab). Changing that is (I am told, by the author, who is not me) is, well, complicated by Firefox's structure. (Each window has its own copy of extension code; creating one shared copy requires extra coding work, especially after the fact. So that likely won't be changed anytime soon.)

Of course, you only see it when your version is out-of-date, and usually that's when nagging is good, because out-of-date versions cause headaches for the developer.
posted by orthogonality at 7:06 PM on December 1, 2005


Understandable, but the beta version has a higher version number. I'm unsure of how the extension checks for updates, but if it's querying the extension update site, could it not just ask for a >= on the version number? Rather than just checking to see if the beta version matches the current stable release?

I'm not trying to be presumptuous, just curious.
posted by purephase at 7:19 PM on December 1, 2005


purephase writes "I'm not trying to be presumptuous, just curious."

As I'm not the author, I don't know. But I'd guess that to allow for non-numeric versions (e.g. 2.2a, 2.2.5bugbread, even 2.2.5 (which is numeric but not a number) etc.), the comparison just looks for non-equal strings.
posted by orthogonality at 7:33 PM on December 1, 2005


Makes sense. Could the developer just parse a version string for a delimiter and then determine the higher version based on one array value? So, instead of 2.2.5bugbread, you could try 2.2.5-bugbread.

Again, tell the developer that I'm just being presumptuous.
posted by purephase at 7:48 PM on December 1, 2005


*glances around suspiciously*

Uh...yeah....thanks....mysterious benefactor.

*runs out door*
posted by graventy at 8:26 PM on December 1, 2005


So I just installed it and restarted Firefox, and when I navigated to this page, I saw a message that said "Would you like to install MetaFilthy 2.2.5? It removes some functionality you shouldn't have."

Apparently I am too rash and inexperienced to be trusted with the awesome power of 2.5. The question is: how did it know?
posted by ottereroticist at 10:54 PM on December 1, 2005


Whoops, I means awesome power of 2.3.
posted by ottereroticist at 10:56 PM on December 1, 2005


So...Who did create MetaFilthy?

Thank you mysterious benefactor.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 12:00 AM on December 2, 2005


Colloquial Collision writes "So...Who did create MetaFilthy?"

MetaFilthy is fragile, like Eurydice leaving the underworld or Hawthorne's Georgiana in "The Birthmark"; don't look too closely at it lest it disappear.
posted by orthogonality at 12:20 AM on December 2, 2005


orthogonality elucidates "MetaFilthy is fragile, like Eurydice leaving the underworld or Hawthorne's Georgiana in 'The Birthmark'; don't look too closely at it lest it disappear."

I'll keep that in mind!

An exetremely cool extension. Though I'm experiencing the "left-pane squish" problem which bugbread previously mentioned.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 12:57 AM on December 2, 2005


orthogonality and bugbread, Abbot and Costello. Never see them in the same room, do you?

I don't even use FireFox and I appreciate the effort. So thanks, nameless developers. Whoever you are.
*swoons*
posted by NinjaPirate at 1:42 AM on December 2, 2005


This man has fainted!
posted by tiamat at 2:46 AM on December 2, 2005


about_time writes "Orthogonality, do those commands also disable the transmission of 'debugging information'"?

No.


Then I have a request to the author: please include an option to turn off these features. It would be difficult to post anonymously to metatalk when the author learns our IP address and account name. It would be nice to trust the metafiilthy author, but he or she doesn't even want to tell us his or her name.
posted by about_time at 4:29 AM on December 2, 2005


about_time : "It would be difficult to post anonymously to metatalk when the author learns our IP address and account name."

I suspect you mean AskMeta, not MetaTalk, but that's a good point, and one I hadn't considered. If the author is resistant to allowing users to completely disable the IP address/account name info sendback, how about at least disabling the callback feature in AskMeta?
posted by Bugbread at 5:51 AM on December 2, 2005


I did not have sexual relations with that non-author, Mr. Orthogonality.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 6:07 AM on December 2, 2005


Orthogonality, do those commands also disable the transmission of "debugging information consisting of your metafilter.com user name, user id, and the url of the page you're commenting on"?

Woh!? Seriously?

Goodbye Metafilthy, it's been fun, but that's just ludicrous. There's no reason for it, no requirement for it and no warning that it does it. It's Spyware plain and simple and that is unacceptable. Whoever is (or is not) the author, you Sir, are a heel and I'm suddenly understand why remain anonymous is so important to you.
posted by benzo8 at 7:28 AM on December 2, 2005


OK - now I read the Privacy Information, and it is there. Fine. Still gone. Piece of shit.
posted by benzo8 at 7:29 AM on December 2, 2005


Yeah. That blows a lot. I stripped out its "shoutout" function and all references to it so it never contacts the author's site. If you want to use it, uninstall MetaFilthy first via the Tools->Extension menu, restart Firefox, then install the safe edition. It should identify itself as "MetaFilthy Safe Edition" with version "2.3-zsazsa". I've sniffed the traffic and it definitely doesn't phone home any more.
posted by zsazsa at 8:21 AM on December 2, 2005


Wait. Can someone explain to me how username, id, and thread url is privledged information? All that information ends up, pretty clearly, on the page you're posting commenting on, doesn't it?

Note: I don't use Metafilthy -- I may have the wrong impression of what activities it is used for, and I'm asking because I'm curious.
posted by cortex at 8:44 AM on December 2, 2005


It's Spyware plain and simple and that is unacceptable...you Sir, are a heel and I'm suddenly understand why remain anonymous is so important to you.

I ask because this sort of reaction seems rather strong to me.
posted by cortex at 8:46 AM on December 2, 2005


Because it links that information to an IP address, which is not public information, in terms of posting to Metafilter. It's true that Matt has that information, but some random extension author who's unprepared to admit to us who he is himself? I can see no reason for him to have it, and am unprepared to give it to him in return for the benefits Metafilthy offers.
posted by benzo8 at 8:52 AM on December 2, 2005


Well, I can understand that concern. You've got every right to protect your IP address if that presents a security issue (technologically or emotionally) to you.

But that makes the author a heel and a coward? That seems way over the top.

Object to that function of the debugging of the software; refuse to use the software; state the reasons for your refusal clearly and rationally. That's as far as it needs to go, as far as I'm concerned, and anything more is ridiculous without provocation.
posted by cortex at 9:03 AM on December 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


Your opinion on my opinion of someone else's behaviour is duly noted.
posted by benzo8 at 9:31 AM on December 2, 2005


Your dismissal of my attempt to understand your overt incivility, likewise.
posted by cortex at 9:37 AM on December 2, 2005


Well, to be honest, I'm not sure I understand why you need to understand my "overt incivility". What's your dog in this race?
posted by benzo8 at 9:40 AM on December 2, 2005


benzo8 : "...some random extension author who's unprepared to admit to us who he is himself?"

Again with this meme? It says quite prominently, both on the Metafilthy download page, and within Metafilthy itself, who the author is. It gives his first initial, middle initial, and last name. It gives his domain, which is also his last name. From there, you can find out what his first name is. What do you want, a blood sample?
posted by Bugbread at 9:41 AM on December 2, 2005


.... before you make a couple of 22+k'ers heads' explode.

Because, of course, only 22+k'ers don't read each and every Metatalk post each and every day.

Arrogant puffery is so attractive....
posted by lodurr at 9:44 AM on December 2, 2005


Speaking of which, where did this "IP address" bit come from? The extension, and the download page, both say that "your metafilter.com user name, user id, and the url of the page you're commenting on" are sent back. Did someone put a sniffer on and find out that the IP address was also being sent, or was this created from whole cloth?
posted by Bugbread at 9:46 AM on December 2, 2005


If I've got a dog in this race at all, it's my growing distaste for overblown personal attacks on metafilter. You calling someone a heel for making a design decision in debugging their software, without any sign of ill intent on that person's part, seems uncalled for. Having strong feelings about privacy and software does not require you to be rude.

My comment history is hardly pristine, but I've been making an effort over time to be less of a jerk because I've realized that being a jerk is one of the worst trends around here. I acknowledge that calling others out on being a jerk is potentially invasive, and I'm probably coming across as a goddam nanny, but I can live with that.
posted by cortex at 9:48 AM on December 2, 2005 [2 favorites]


bugbread, I'm premusing the issue with IP is that the bug report has to arrive from the sender, and hence the address of the sender is known.
posted by cortex at 9:49 AM on December 2, 2005


bugbread: It's trivial to log the IP addresses of machines that connect to yours in order to deliver a packet, whether that packet contains the IP address in a text-readable/database-ready format or not. Whether Metafilthy neatly packages the IP address along with the rest of the information it sends or not is pretty much irrelevant. (Admittedly, if the IP can only be gleaned from the packet, and isn't packaged by the Metafilthy code then it would be possible to use a proxy or anonymiser to obfuscate that information from the author of the extension, but in reality, one shouldn't be obliged to do that in order to remain uncollated in a random database somewhere...)
posted by benzo8 at 9:53 AM on December 2, 2005


It's Spyware plain and simple

No.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 9:54 AM on December 2, 2005


cortex: I think we understand each other well enough at this juncture to leave this as this. I apologise if my use of the word "heel" offended you, and if it happens to be the straw which breaks the camel's back, tipping MeFi into an inescapable abyss of condemnation, name-calling and unprovoked insults then, well yup, I'll feel kinda guilty. It's quite unlikely to be as such, though...
posted by benzo8 at 9:56 AM on December 2, 2005


overblown personal attacks on metafilter.

The "author" doesn't read MetaFilter "apparently" so it's not really a personal attack.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 9:56 AM on December 2, 2005


watuc: I admit that I wrote that before I'd noticed that the software did in fact notify you that it sent information back to its author each and every time you use it.
posted by benzo8 at 9:57 AM on December 2, 2005


benzo8, do you really think I'm suggesting your heel comment would be the camel-breaker? My reaction is to your comment as one instance of an ugly general phenomenon. That you aren't personally going to topple MeFi with one rude remark does not make the remark any less rude, and if I had any expectation of an apology, it would not have been for one directed at me.
posted by cortex at 10:08 AM on December 2, 2005


benzo8 : "bugbread: It's trivial to log the IP addresses of machines that connect to yours in order to deliver a packet, whether that packet contains the IP address in a text-readable/database-ready format or not. Whether Metafilthy neatly packages the IP address along with the rest of the information it sends or not is pretty much irrelevant."

Well, if that's what we're talking about, how does it differ from all the other extensions, which also check back to their parent sites to check for updated versions? Heck, even the searchbar engines have automatic update verification, which leaves an IP trail.

(Actually, wait, I may be able to answer my own question: Is it that it provides the IP, like other extensions, but it also provides the user ID, which it is very open about, but which is unlike other extensions, and the two can, if need be, paired together to determine the IP address of a specific username, unlike other extensions? In which case, I kind of understand the concern, but considering that the first part is common, and the second part is super upfront, and the third part is conjecture about the kind of thing the author would do, that the anger is directed at the author for being a jerk, based on an initial assumption that the author would do the third thing, which is being a jerk? In which case, it seems like you're saying that your conclusion is that the author is a jerk, based on your assumption that the author is a jerk.)
posted by Bugbread at 10:12 AM on December 2, 2005


cortex : "if I had any expectation of an apology, it would not have been for one directed at me."

If the author were orthogonality, which it isn't, then the apology would be directed at him, were there to be an apology.

I nominate this thread as the King of Subjunctives.
posted by Bugbread at 10:15 AM on December 2, 2005


But cortex, the remark was intended to be rude. I was (still am) annoyed to learn that a piece of software I have been using for some time has notified it's author each and every time I used it. I admit I could have found out sooner - that was my mistake - but I didn't, I found out now, and reacted.

My apology to you was because you appear to have been offended by my reaction, even though it was aimed at you. I understand now though that you're just in an argumentative mood and I'm the shill for the evening. Knock yourself out.
posted by benzo8 at 10:16 AM on December 2, 2005


s/it was aimed/it was NOT aimed ...
posted by benzo8 at 10:16 AM on December 2, 2005


bugbread: Yup, you've pretty much got it. My anger (as has long disapated, and would be long forgotten about now if cortex hadn't decided "heel" was the worst thing he'd read today) was aimed at the author for being such a jerk that they decided that in order to debug their extension, they needed to receive an IP tagged packet containing the username, id and thread id each and every time someone used their extension. Anyone who trusts their code that little and desire so much constant reassurance that it's working is, in my book, a jerk.
posted by benzo8 at 10:20 AM on December 2, 2005


Unmindfully re-engaging a target regardless of the development of the conversation is one of the things I'm actually trying to get away from. If I've made you feel like that's what I'm doing, I really apologize. I don't like how much that happens here.

And I am in sort of an argumentative mood, but I'm not going about it unmindfully. I understand that you were trying to be rude, and we might just be talking past each other because my whole point is that maybe you shouldn't be rude even when you feel like it. This place doesn't benefit from it at all. I've certainly never done myself or a community a favor by going for the hot-headed dig.
posted by cortex at 10:24 AM on December 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


cortex: As I said a while ago, I understand where you're coming from. That should be it for us for this thread now, no?
posted by benzo8 at 10:28 AM on December 2, 2005


Sure.
posted by cortex at 10:29 AM on December 2, 2005


i guess that must be how adults settle arguments. strangely impressive.
posted by lodurr at 10:32 AM on December 2, 2005


i was hoping for at least some hair pulling, but i guess we'll just have to settle for that. ;)
posted by purephase at 10:44 AM on December 2, 2005

cortex: As I said a while ago, I understand where you're coming from. That should be it for us for this thread now, no?
posted by benzo8 at 10:28 AM PST on December 2 [!]

Sure.
posted by cortex at 10:29 AM PST on December 2 [!]
I now nominate this thread as the King of Good Argument Resolutions.
posted by Bugbread at 10:46 AM on December 2, 2005


*pulls purephase's hair*
posted by cortex at 11:00 AM on December 2, 2005


Addressing the Phone Home and Privacy Issues

The MetaFilthy privacy notification is prominently noted on the MetsFilthy home page, in an extra-large font, on the fourth line of that page. This links to the full privacy notice, which is itself in a boldface extra-large font
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Why MetaFilthy "Phones home"

1. The primary reason MetaFilthy "phones home is" to check for updated versions of the software.

When MetaFilthy was originally written, the official Mozilla Extensions site was not accepting new extensions. So MetaFilthy couldn't check the official extension site for updates. So the only place to check was the author's own site.

2. The secondary reason for phoning home is that MetaFilthy's commenting functionality cannot be tested without actually commenting to MetaFilter. But Matt and MetaFilter's users (understandably) frown on test comments. The best way to "test", then, was to actually post to MetaFilter. By transmitting the url of the thread posted in, and the commenting user's name, the author can later look at the comment and try to see if MetaFilthy is in fact functioning correctly. It's not the best way to debug, but it's what's available.

3. The tertiary reason for phoning home is to let author know how many people are actually using MetaFilthy. Writing MetaFilthy took much of the author's time and his only recompense is to see that it's used (in particular, not one dollar has been donated by users for the software). like any creative endeavour, the author enjoys seeing evidence that his labor of live is being used.

IP addresses and data sent

1. Any connection, of any sort, requires the sending of the originating IP address; otherwise, the destination computer has no idea where to send the requested information to.

2. Everything that is explicitly transmitted is also publicly posted on MetaFilter: the user name and user id are posted to a MetaFilter page; the transmitted url is just the url of that page. Nothing is transmitted that isn't publicly posted, except the IP address. As noted above, it's impossible not to transmit the IP address.

3. It is true that MetaFilthy would allow the author, if he cared to, to match your address to your user name. This is however of limited utility. Most home users get a new IP address every couple of weeks. It's possible, with some inaccuracy, to get a general idea of physical location (a state, possibly a city) from an IP address, but it's nowhere close to exact. And as any website you visit also gets your IP address, any visited site could do the same.

In truth the author uses this information in the aggregate, to find out how many people are using MetaFilthy. MetaFilthy comprises over 1000 lines of javascript, as well as additional xul, css, image and configuration files. It represents weeks of the author's effort. Like anyone who puts that much effort into a project, the author likes to see how many people are using his creation. That number, in turn, determines the effort the author outs into maintaining and upgrading MetaFilthy.

For various reasons, mostly personal insults over MetaFilthy, it had been the author's intention to not update MetaFilthy for Firefox 1.5, and to let it die on the vine. Emails from several users asking for an updated versions convinced the author to provide an updated version.

If you're worried about MetaFilthy's author knowing your IP address, don't use the author's extension. MetaFilthy is a labor of love, the culmination of much work, and a gift freely given by the author to MetaFilter's users. You don't have to accept the gift, but if you do, you must accept it as.

You can, of course, block MetaFilthy from phoning home via a firewall or a hosts file. The author would prefer you didn't do so, as doing so takes away from the author's joy in seeing his work is being used, and because the number of users determines the effort the author puts into maintaining and upgrading MetaFilthy.


But you should understand that MetaFilthy is copyrighted by the author. Under the MetaFilthy license, you can use it as is. You're not licensed to reverse engineer it, or to use or redistribute alternative versions. In particular, you're not allowed to remove the phone home code, or distribute versions with that code removed. Any such action is a violation if the author's copyright.
posted by orthogonality at 12:54 PM on December 2, 2005


You've got to be kidding me. Someone who writes an extension for the community but who makes a choice about debugging that you would not have made is a jerk? What's interesting to me is not simply that the fault in use was your own, but that you're unable to respond in a way which might make this less than shitty for the developer to read. What's your dog in this fight, and why be such a jerk?
posted by OmieWise at 12:54 PM on December 2, 2005


orthogonality : "not one dollar has been donated by users for the software"

(Sorry about that. Don't trust PayPal, and don't know you well enough to give you my credit card info. If there's some other way to donate, I would. For example, cash through mail is always a fun adventure.)

(Actually, I may have a chequebook floating around...I'll check over the weekend)
posted by Bugbread at 1:07 PM on December 2, 2005


Omiewise: It is possible for someone to think that the way someone else does something makes that person "a jerk."

For example, "phoning home" of this type is widely considered "jerky."

People who find that kind of "phoning home" to be "jerky" are much, much less likely to go along when a software developer says "trust me, I don't pay attention to your phoned-home details."

It's really pretty easy to understand, IMHO.
posted by lodurr at 1:32 PM on December 2, 2005


Lodurr,

I get it, but I'm not used to people thinking phoning home is inherently jerky. Covertly phoning home, yeah, I'm used to considering jerky. Or "admitting it, but deep in the fine print". That's pretty jerky to me. I'm just not used to people considering open, large print, prominently linked declarations of phoning home being jerky. So I intellectually understand it, but I don't really "feel" it.

Feeling suspicious? Oh, hell yeah, I get that. It took a long time, and several emails between the author and myself about what exactly was sent back, before I got over the suspicion enough to install. So finding that kind of behaviour shady, or potentially shady, I totally get. But jerky just doesn't click with me.
posted by Bugbread at 1:40 PM on December 2, 2005


OmieWise, benzo8 has admitted his initial comment was rash and has apologized. What else do you want? It's not like you to pile on.

orthogonality, I actually don't think you need to provide justification for your callback mechanism, but it was nice of you to provide some. That said, the justifications seem like bullshit, frankly:

1) Are update checks really that critical? You post here -where 99% of the users will see it- whenever a new release comes out. It's kind of captive audience you have here. If somebody does miss an announcement and emails you about a problem, is responding with a query about what version they are using really that large a burden?

2) It would seem that this testing method would be a part of some existing dialog, presumably by email or a MeTa thread about MetaFilthy, with somebody reporting a bug. Can't the comments in question be communicated the same way? Perhaps your own comments could serve the purpose?

3) C'mon. It's very easy to tell who is using MetaFilthy just by looking at format of their quotes. There is also download stats you could check out.

I just don't see how it is required that every user call back on every use. If the call back was optional, you'd still have the same benefit without the privacy issues.

You're not licensed to ... to use or redistribute alternative versions.

That pretty much sucks. Is the MetaFilthy license available anywhere online? Is any way to view it, other than actually installing it? Does Mozilla know you are distirbuting an extension which doesn't conform to an open source license?
posted by If I Had An Anus at 1:56 PM on December 2, 2005


IIHAA, I think your [2] could also be addressed by having a "debug mode" or 'beta mode" wherein the detailed phoning-home happened, and outside of which it didn't. That would make sense to me.

Also, I'm damn near certain that Moz wouldn't give a crap if they knew, and might even trumpet the fact. Their license doesn't have any implications for the licensing of plugins to their software. They'd probably love to see commercial plugins to Firefox.
posted by lodurr at 2:04 PM on December 2, 2005


cash through mail is always a fun adventure.

For what it's worth, I've sent cash through the mail many times and never had a problem. But then, I lived in NYC for 23 years and never got mugged. YMMV.
posted by languagehat at 2:08 PM on December 2, 2005


You're probably right about Mozilla, lodurr. That was kind of an afterthought.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 2:08 PM on December 2, 2005


languagehat : "For what it's worth, I've sent cash through the mail many times and never had a problem...YMMV."

That's what makes it an adventure. If you were guaranteed to lose it, there'd be no thrill. It's the difference between playing the lottery and just flushing your money down the toilet.
posted by Bugbread at 2:23 PM on December 2, 2005


If I Had An Anus writes "You post here -where 99% of the users will see it- whenever a new release comes out."

Numerous minor releases and bugfixes were never posted here; this is why the update check is useful.


"It's very easy to tell who is using MetaFilthy just by looking at format of their quotes"

No, it's not. Even non-members oe members who don't post use MetsFilthy, to track their last resd comment. There is no way to account for those lurkers except with a phone home.


"It would seem that this testing method would be a part of some existing dialog, presumably by email or a MeTa thread about MetaFilthy,"

You might think so. In fact pestering people with email: "Did you use MetaFilthy fir that, or just similar formatting? Did it work?" din't yeild much feedback. Go figure.



If I Had An Anus writes "Is the MetaFilthy license available anywhere online? "

Good point, thanks. I'll The author'll make it more prominent.
posted by orthogonality at 2:33 PM on December 2, 2005


bugbread writes "For example, cash through mail is always a fun adventure."

I suspect the author doesn't want cash. I mean, sure, he'd like it, but only as an indication the users appreciated MetaFilthy -- which appreciation the phone home provides. I'm guessing that's why there's no paypal donation link on his page.

The money is an issue in that the time the author spends on MetaFilthy can't be billed (at much higher rates to paying clients. Every bugfix, every time he helps a user, costs him money in that sense. By adding debug information that's automatically sent, he saves time on the debugging, and can spend that time on paying clients.

(The author had a previously offered another free app, called GetCollection, that (because it took a password) didn't call home. The author got numerous emails asking for help, and spent lots of time trying to get users to figure out what commandline arguments they'd given the software, and what version of the software they had (even though the first output of the software, on every use, was a version string). Eventually some users asked why it didn't just phone home, and asked that he add that capability. With a GUI app, all that becomes even harder. I guess he wanted to avoid that this time.)
posted by orthogonality at 2:47 PM on December 2, 2005


Er, well, if the author isn't desirous of the sweet, sweet smell of sweat, ketchup, and trace amounts of cocaine on money, that part about emailing the author regarding donations could probably be deleted from the homepage and from the left window of MetaFilthy.

(Does that count as sweet, sweet beta testing and/or suggestion offering?)
posted by Bugbread at 2:56 PM on December 2, 2005


Donations also include code donatoins.
posted by orthogonality at 2:58 PM on December 2, 2005


Is there a reason the author can't set up a message board on the site that hosts the plugin for user comments, feedback, etc? Might satisfy many of the needs outlined by the non-author above.
posted by terrapin at 3:05 PM on December 2, 2005


Well, I just got a DMCA takedown notice to remove my "reverse-engineered" version of MetaFilthy. I would have appreciated a nice request to remove it first, but instead I got scary DMCA boilerplate. The notice combined with orthogonality's coyness about the authorship of the program leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.
posted by zsazsa at 3:16 PM on December 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


zsazsa writes "I would have appreciated a nice request to remove it first, but instead I got scary DMCA boilerplate. "

I'm sure the author would have appreciated a nice request from you asking if he minded your distributing a modified version of his software, named to imply his version wasn't "safe".

Did you send such an email to the author?
posted by orthogonality at 3:22 PM on December 2, 2005


> In particular, you're not allowed to remove the phone home code, or distribute versions with that code removed. Any such action is a violation if the author's copyright.

This pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the spirit in which this software is offered. Just because it's tidy and Legal doesn't make it Right. The goal should be to do the right thing, not whatever you can get away with.

In that context, "Thank you, kind developers" hardly seems appropriate.
posted by SteelyDuran at 3:23 PM on December 2, 2005


orthogonality, no, I did not, and for that I apologize.
posted by zsazsa at 3:29 PM on December 2, 2005


> Did you send such an email to the author?

I can't believe you actually went through with this -- that is, sending what zsazsa is calling "scary DMCA boilerplate".

I'm absolutely stunned. You should be ashamed of your heavy-handed behavior.
posted by SteelyDuran at 3:30 PM on December 2, 2005


Ok, the DMCA thing is now putting me sharply into jerky territory. Threatening someone with insanely immoral yet somehow legal punishment for not asking something politely, or naming software insultingly, is very much a case of overkill. Not as much as carrying out the DMCA threat, of course, but threats that big are pretty bad even if there's no intent to follow through with them...
posted by Bugbread at 3:32 PM on December 2, 2005


bugbread writes "Not as much as carrying out the DMCA threat, of course, but threats that big are pretty bad even if there's no intent to follow through with them..."

DMCA's actually the friendly response. Really. The alternative is a suit.

And if the letter's not sent, that could provide evidence at any future suit that the copyright holder had permitted the use if the copyrighted material.

So the copyright holder's in a bit of a bind: either allow his material to be used in violation of the copyright, or send the DMCA Takedown notice, or have a weaker case if it ever came to trial.


Now was the notice to the infringer or his ISP? If it was just sent to the infringer, that's also nice, because it means the infringer has a chance to clean up, without involving anyone else.
posted by orthogonality at 3:45 PM on December 2, 2005


Ick. Ick ick ick.
posted by cortex at 3:48 PM on December 2, 2005


This third-person narrative is like eavesdropping on a conversation with Caesar.
posted by Rothko at 4:04 PM on December 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


So should I be reporting bugs here? MetaFilthy logged me out of every site I was logged into, as eideteker noted upthread. Something is going on with cookies, whether it's supposed to or not.
posted by stopgap at 4:04 PM on December 2, 2005


orthogonality : "DMCA's actually the friendly response. Really. The alternative is a suit."

No, the friendly response is a request (not demand) by email. The followup is a demand, perhaps bringing the law into it. No, you didn't set zsazsa's car on fire, but not being superevil does not thereby mean that you're being friendly.

And I don't know a whole lot about copyright law, but the "protect it or lose your rights" thing is (I believe) an aspect of trademark protection, not copyright protection. IANAL.
posted by Bugbread at 4:10 PM on December 2, 2005


bugbread, within the US, you are correct.
posted by Rothko at 4:26 PM on December 2, 2005


> Now was the notice to the infringer or his ISP? If it was just sent to the infringer, that's also nice, because it means the infringer has a chance to clean up, without involving anyone else.

How is this not blatant thuggery?
posted by SteelyDuran at 4:45 PM on December 2, 2005


DMCA's actually the friendly response.

Uh, right. I recently got such a letter and it didn't feel friendly at all. I think "blatant thuggery" is about right. Fortunately, I gave up on that stupid extension months ago when it logged me out of every site I was logged in on.
posted by languagehat at 4:51 PM on December 2, 2005


For those who appreciate the added functions of metafilthy but are turned off by the issues arising in this thread, you can use a number of available MetaFilter-specific greasemonkey scripts, including a script for easy quoting, finding deleted posts, blacklisting, and marking your contacts' contributions.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:01 PM on December 2, 2005


This is starting to get a little overwrought. I don't believe that the developer has any real negative implications in the phone home part. Ortho's explanation seems reasonable although, like most things with software development, there are plenty of alternatives that other people would be more happy with.

As for the DMCA stuff, well... not that I'm necessarily supporting the action, but based on a lot of the past activity with this particular extension and what the developer has gone through in other threads etc. I'm not surprised that this is what it has come to. I personally like the extension. Like all of them, there are bugs to fix, features to implement etc. However, given the specificity of scope and the distance between the site developer and extension developer, none of this is really all that surprising.

I liked zsazsa's port simply because it killed the nag dialog about updates.
posted by purephase at 5:14 PM on December 2, 2005


orthogonality writes "For various reasons, mostly personal insults over MetaFilthy, it had been the author's intention to not update MetaFilthy for Firefox 1.5, and to let it die on the vine. Emails from several users asking for an updated versions convinced the author to provide an updated version."

Let the whiners pound sand orthogonality, I love the extension and am glad the totally unexpected update was distributed. Now I can go to 1.5.

SteelyDuran writes "The goal should be to do the right thing, not whatever you can get away with."

WTF. When did the GPL become the only proper way to distribute things?
posted by Mitheral at 5:45 PM on December 2, 2005


> WTF. When did the GPL become the only proper way to distribute things?

What are you even talking about? I said NOTHING about the terms of his distribution, only his enforcement of those terms -- specifically, using the maximum amount of force rather than the minimum to accomplish his objectives. Orthogonality's misunderstanding of copyright law and astonishing misuse of the DMCA is a reprehensible and indefensible abomination. If that's the world you want to live in, well, good luck. Otherwise, please take your bitchy little straw man and shove it.
posted by SteelyDuran at 5:58 PM on December 2, 2005


SteelyDuran writes "Orthogonality's misunderstanding of copyright law and astonishing misuse of the DMCA is a reprehensible and indefensible abomination."

You know what? Fuck you kid.

Somebody took it upon himself to violate my copyright, and I used the DMCA exactly as it was intended.

An "abomination"? Shit kid, there are plenty of terrible things in the world that deserve that label. What I did wasn't one of them. Grow the fuck up.
posted by orthogonality at 6:04 PM on December 2, 2005


benzo8 elucidates "cortex: As I said a while ago, I understand where you're coming from. That should be it for us for this thread now, no?"

cortex elucidates "Sure."

And the thread was going so well.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 6:23 PM on December 2, 2005


> I used the DMCA exactly as it was intended.

Oh, I agree completely. I never said you didn't use the god-awful thing just as it was intended to be used. That's the problem.
posted by SteelyDuran at 6:36 PM on December 2, 2005


the DMCA, dude?

for a fucking metafilter script?

what are you, sony?
posted by Hat Maui at 6:55 PM on December 2, 2005


Orthagonality, if you are not going to provide people the ability to turn off your call home feature, you should post an explicit warning in your privacy statement that your software tells you the author's IP address of overt and anonymous posts. It's clear that many people did not understand this implication.

You guard your own privacy as author of this software but at the same time do not recognize the privacy that others desire.
posted by about_time at 6:55 PM on December 2, 2005


Man, this thread sure went in a direction I did not anticipate.

I love MetaTalk. It's like a rollercoaster in my pants.
posted by graventy at 7:26 PM on December 2, 2005


about_time writes "you should post an explicit warning in your privacy statement that your software tells you the author's IP address of overt and anonymous posts."


It doesn't phone home about anonymous posts. It can't. Anonymous posts are made by Matt. The existing privacy statement has always indicated that it phones home. The link to the privacy notification is posted prominently. The notification is all in bold face, and says exactly what it does.

What else should I do? Should I come to each user's home, and knock on the door, and say, "Hey, genius, did you read the instructions before you installed the extension"?

You should understand that a Firefox extension can do, on your computer, anything Firefox can do. It can read anything on the disk, or write anything to disk. It can establish HTTP connections.

(In fact, MetaFilthy also reads and writes to the disk. Before anyone pisses his pants over that, consider that it remembers your last read comments in each thread. How'd you think it did that?)

Pardon me if I'm acerbic, but I went to considerable trouble to make available a useful piece of software. I don't ask anything for it, and I even went so far as to automate update checking for it.

My hosting site deletes logs after seven days, so in most cases I don't even see the phone home data. I use it to get aggregate usage numbers (200 users, etc.) and to debug problems users have. It contains the IP address because there's no way to make an HTTP connection without sending the IP address. The rest of the information sent is only what's also publicly posted here.

Ad don't give me any shit about the DMCA notice. Zsasza never contacted me to ask if he could distribute a revised version of my software. Didn't give me even the consideration of an email telling me he had done so.

So I followed the legal avenue open to me. Had Zsasza asked nicely, I'd have politely told him, "please don't do that". He didn't, so he got a formal notice. It wasn't mean, it didn't threaten legal action (like the notice languagehat got). It just said, "stop using my copyrighted stuff without my permission".

Zsasza's getting a master's degree in Computer science, for Christ sake. He's an adult and he ought to have known better. Now he's apologized (though not by email directly to me), but he surely knows that had he done this with -- oh for instance, a game program that phones home -- he'd be in a sea of legal trouble now.

Maybe he figured, oh well, and extension writer won't have the ability to protect his copyrighted property. Hell, I don't know what he was thinking. But he did something that was stupid and illegal, and he got called on it. Cry me a fucking river.

I try to do a nice thing, and all I get is a bunch of ninnies bitching that it's not nice enough. Yes, I could find your (twice monthly changed) IP address. So what? So can Matt. Grow the fuck up.

I've never used anyone's IP address for anything. What the fuck would I use it for?

This is why you don't get nice things.

I wasn't even going to update the extension until I got several emails asking me to please update it. So I did, and all I get is a raft of shit. (Ok, I also got some thanks, and I appreciate that.) why should anyone trouble himself to give the community anything if this is how you react?

This last week, I've been working on an add-on for the fluffy kittens lunar calendar. It already works for me, most of the work has been to make it flexible enough for others to also use. should I release it? Fuck no, all I'll get is whining about it.

This is why you don't get nice things.

On top of all this, my magic Touchstream keyboard has died on me. So yes, I'm damned well angry.

Jesus Christ, what a bunch of ingrates.
posted by orthogonality at 7:31 PM on December 2, 2005


Don't go away mad!
posted by SteelyDuran at 7:37 PM on December 2, 2005


graventy, after reading this whole thread, your comment was the "end on a high" that I needed.
posted by puke & cry at 8:22 PM on December 2, 2005


well the comment was at the end before the site urped.
posted by puke & cry at 8:24 PM on December 2, 2005


orthogonality, you're really being a jerk about the software. The easiest way to stop these complaints about the privacy problem, without wandering into "look at all the WORK I did for you, ingrate!" is to offer a version for a price, without the phone-home pieces.

That would be the civil thing to do, of course. You're welcome to continue distributing this "free" version and police its usage with a heavy hand, but why waste the time? Stop the arguments where they lie: "Hey, if you don't want it to phone home, buy the $10 version."
posted by odinsdream at 8:32 PM on December 2, 2005


odinsdream writes "orthogonality, you're really being a jerk about the software."

Yeah, ok, I should just smile when it's called spyware. The privacy notification is prominently displayed.

And I should just smile when an unauthorized version contains my name, and any inadvertent bugs in it are attributed to me.

And when I'm called a jerk and a thug, I should just smile and say, "I hope you like the free software, suh".


"Stop the arguments where they lie: 'Hey, if you don't want it to phone home, buy the $10 version.'"

Ok, sure, anyone who wants a version that doesn't phone home, it's ten bucks. Email me for it.
posted by orthogonality at 8:38 PM on December 2, 2005


It doesn't phone home about anonymous posts. It can't. Anonymous posts are made by Matt. The existing privacy statement has always indicated that it phones home. The link to the privacy notification is posted prominently. The notification is all in bold face, and says exactly what it does.

Thank you for the clarification. This isn't clear from the privacy notice, which says it phones home "when you use it," which could have meant when ever you read a thread, write to a thread, or start a new one. Apparently, it means when you start your browser. Is that correct?

I appreciate your time spent answering these questions and writing the software. Metafilter is a nasty place.
posted by about_time at 8:51 PM on December 2, 2005


How come the AskMe about alternatives to MetaFilthy was deleted? It seemed harmless enough.
posted by evariste at 8:54 PM on December 2, 2005


A software developer myself, I can fully relate to the troubles ortho is dealing with.

If you think he's being a jerk, why don't you think not only about how much work that he put into it but also about how much shit he's had to take in this thread alone. You guys are fucking piling on him, and it's pathetic!

I work on a lot of projects where I can guarantee that if I got the response ortho did that I sure as hell woulldn't be working on them any more. I like to help out. I like to write code just to make other peoples' lives easier. Shit, I volunteer my free time to tutor CS students at the local university, for free.

Ortho is taking this a shitload better than any of you give him credit for. No matter how you cut it, he gave a tool to the community out of the goodness of his heart. You're not required to use it. If you don't like what it does, DON'T USE IT THEN. He fully disclosed what it does and does not do, and even posted a detailed reason for why it does it. And he uses that info to make an even better free product for even the most ungrateful and hateful of you.

Lastly, it's his code. He designed it. He wrote it. He tested it. He has the right to proudly attach his name to it. Further, he DAMN WELL has the right to protect it and his image from others who would seek to sully it.

Metafilter, grow the fuck up. You can do better than this.

     This is why you don't get nice things.

Well put.
posted by mystyk at 8:58 PM on December 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


Metafilter is a nasty place.

No it's a good place, with some few who just have to fuck long after the happy ending.

*does it DMCA stylee*
posted by If I Had An Anus at 9:00 PM on December 2, 2005


How come the AskMe about alternatives to MetaFilthy was deleted? It seemed harmless enough.

Because it linked to this thread four times, and because it's pretty clearly about Metafilter. This thread hasn't been closed, so that means there's no explicit objection from up top about continued discussion of the topic, but at the same time this new little twist is deeply buried in this thread where nobody is likely to see it, and is really a seperate issue from this announcement.

The answer is fairly obvious: the question should have been posted to MetaTalk.

Also, I have a question about ortho being a jerk: ortho, you say that zsazsa didn't bother to email you and ask you first about whether or not he could use your code. Did you take the high road and ask him - without threatening him - first as well? I'm not really involved here but it seems like the reason others think you are being a jerk is the same reason you think zsazsa was being a jerk.
posted by Ryvar at 9:02 PM on December 2, 2005


How come the AskMe about alternatives to MetaFilthy was deleted? It seemed harmless enough.

jessamyn sent me a polite email saying that she felt it was really a metatalk subject. Since ortho cleared up that it doesn't prevent anonymous posting and offered a $10 version that doesn't call home, I didn't feel the need to repost asking for a replacement.
posted by about_time at 9:03 PM on December 2, 2005


I dunno. If I had made it and someone posted a link to an altered copy of it in a thread that I created to announce a new version... well.

Doing it so blatantly and in his face was like a huge "fuck you ortho" and ortho bit back. I hate the fucking DMCA but I don't know that I would not have done similar.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 9:05 PM on December 2, 2005


Is the license up yet?
posted by If I Had An Anus at 9:07 PM on December 2, 2005


about_time writes "Apparently, it means when you start your browser. Is that correct?"

It phones home on the first visit to Metafilter by each browser window. This is to accommodate update checks for non-members. If you're not logged in at that point, your user name isn't sent.

(Wait! Does that mean it looks at cookies? No, it screen-scrapes your user name.)

It also phones home when you use it to quote and reply to a comment. That's for debugging purposes as well as update -- among other things, it tells me which options (single quotes or double quotes), etc., are most popular, and allows me to see if the quoting actually worked. In truth, I rarely look up the quotes these days; that was more important with the first few versions. For other things, if sopmebody emails me, i can look at the debug info to see what version and settings he's got -- in a number of instances, this has allowed me to reply simply, "update to the latest version, your problem is already fixed."


posted by about_time at 8:51 PM PST on December 2 [!]

Wait, aren't you the guy who just posted an AskMefi (since removed, but not at my request) complaining that the unauthorized version was taken down "because the server is in the US and the DMCA applies" and asking for a metafilthy alternative that would be "safe" for you to use?

Why am I being nice enough to waste my time answering your question?

Look, one more time kids: I don't care what your IP is. I care about writing software that works, and so it sends debug information so I can be sure it works. I don't want alternative versions floating around, because any bugs in them will be attributed to me. I especially don't want unauthorized version, like Zsazsa's, that still name me as the author, because if something goes wrong with them, that gets laid at my feet.

It's too bad Zsasza found the takedown notice "scary", but what the hell did he expect? "Thanks Zsasza, I couldn't figure out how to remove the debug code myself?" I didn't sic my lawyer on him, I didn't ask for damages, I just told him to take the unauthorized version down. I did it in a formal manner so there'd be no question that i was entitled to make that request.

I'm happy to have you use (or nor use) this software. I don't want your money for it. All that I ask of you is that you not make it a giant goddam fucking headache for me. Not having the debug code makes it a giant fucking headache, because, frankly, some people email good bug reports and some people don't, and for those who don't, having the debug information makes figuring out their problem a whole lot easier. Which is why I include little bit of debug phone home code, all of which is prominently disclosed to anyone who bothers to Read The Fucking Manual.
posted by orthogonality at 9:12 PM on December 2, 2005


Ryvar writes "Did you take the high road and ask him - without threatening him - first as well? I'm not really involved here but it seems like the reason others think you are being a jerk is the same reason you think Zsazsa was being a jerk."

No, I didn't

I did look at his version first, however, I saw that it still named me as author, and still gave my home page.

I know "DMCA" is to some like "boogeyman", but I didn't want to discuss pros and cons with Zsazsa. He fucked up, and he got called on it.

I did not (as I could have under the law) send the takedown to his host. I gave him a chance to clean things up himself.

And I didn't threaten him. No mention was made of suing for damages or of even contacting a lawyer.

Now sure, I could have asked him pretty please. But if Zsazsa thought he was being above-board, why didn't he contact me asking to post a modified version, or even at least telling me he had?

Sorry, maybe I'm hard ass, but if you slap me in the face, I'm not going to ask you pretty please to stop.


If I Had An Anus writes "Is the license up yet?"

No, but the copyright statement is. What's your point? Are you going to assert some right to alter it in the absence of a license? How about, Anus, if I just remove the extension entirely? Will that make you happy?
posted by orthogonality at 9:27 PM on December 2, 2005


I released the altered version of MetaFilthy because I simply just wanted for myself a version that didn't phone home. When it looked like others might want it, I uploaded and posted it to this thread. I must admit that calling it a "safe" version was probably was some fear-mongering on my part. MetaFilthy is a great extension, and I've used it for a long time. I didn't release my version out of spite or to get back, I did it to make what was in my mind an improvement to the original program. I simply should have just kept it to myself, especially given the hack-job nature of my version (I did it on my lunch break) and the license-less, yet copyrighted nature of the original program.

On another subject, it's hard to be a freeware author. With freeware, complaints can viewed as being inconsiderate. After all, the only reason why the program is available is due to the goodness of the author's heart, and users should be happy to have anything at all. In the case of commercial software, the author is beholden to listen to paying users who are voting with their dollars. With open source, the author can just say "fix it your own damn self." Freeware is certainly the toughest to be the author of from all of the above.

I'm glad we can talk about this directly now. Orthogonality, I was put off by your referring to yourself in the third person and saying you weren't the author. Not really taking ownership of the program and the complaints that went along with it, combined with the quite impersonal takedown notice, put me over the edge. That's why I posted about the notice, rather than taking things down quietly and letting this thread die naturally.
posted by zsazsa at 9:31 PM on December 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


Orthogonality creepily distancing from his own work and the issue with the meetup is why I stopped using metafilthy many months ago.
posted by puke & cry at 9:36 PM on December 2, 2005


One more thing: I'm reminded of another software author who writes license-less yet copyrighted code, Dan J. Bernstein. He's proof that it's certainly possible to successfully distribute software in such a way. People aren't allowed to modify his qmail suite, and then distribute it, much like how I'm not allowed to modify and distribute MetaFilthy. I certainly see the error in my ways.
posted by zsazsa at 9:36 PM on December 2, 2005


Thanks for the explanations, Ryvar and about_time.
posted by evariste at 9:39 PM on December 2, 2005


Good comparison to djb, zsazsa! I eventually gave up on qmail and switched to postfix because it was hard to reconcile his licensing terms with the Debian way, but he writes great code.
posted by evariste at 9:43 PM on December 2, 2005


Sorry, maybe I'm hard ass, but if you slap me in the face, I'm not going to ask you pretty please to stop.

I guess all I'm saying is that when you pull out shit like the DMCA that you, as you admit, already knew ahead of time would freak people the fuck out, it can be useful to unquestionably have the high ground. It can save you the aggravation of threads like these and the associated drama, accusations, and general ill-will. To be honest I don't really care about any of this - I've never used Metafilthy - but I've always kind of liked you as a poster and just wanted to point it out.

Oh, and yeah, not that it matters anymore but the 'weaker court case because I didn't say anything' applies to trademarks, not copyright or patents (eg Eolas bilking Microsoft out of major bucks via a submarine patent sprung long after the fact). Examples of what you're thinking about would be Microsoft not having a choice about going after 'Lindows' - whether or not they really gave a shit about some 2-bit Linux distro was inconsequential.

Actually I was just about to see the DJB comparison was kind of mean - like so many other people in the security community (Theo de Raadt comes to mind) he's brilliant, paranoid, and an unmitigated asshole.
posted by Ryvar at 9:45 PM on December 2, 2005


see say
posted by Ryvar at 9:45 PM on December 2, 2005


Ryvar, I certainly didn't mean to draw any parallels with DJB's personality. I was referring to him and his software purely on a technical level.
posted by zsazsa at 9:55 PM on December 2, 2005


Sorry, my bad.
posted by Ryvar at 9:58 PM on December 2, 2005


Orthogonality, I was put off by your referring to yourself in the third person and saying you weren't the author.

I have to admit that I found that behavior weird, myself, for someone so vocal about protecting one's property.

Ortho, the reality is that free source code can't be protected in the way in which you expect it to be, regardless of the license you pick.

If you release source code, it will get coerced and massaged in ways you can't control. If you try to do so, people who demand their software be free at all costs will get angry at your "impropriety".

The source is out, so my advice is to charge a license fee and be done with it. There's no room here for being nice, unfortunately.
posted by Rothko at 9:59 PM on December 2, 2005


Zsazsa writes "I'm glad we can talk about this directly now"

We could have talked directly at any point. MetaFilthy contains my email address. Instead, feeling "put off" you decided, in my opinion, to grandstand in public.

Had you emailed me, I have been as polite to you as I have been to others who wanted to modify my extensions, and have been happy to tell you anything you wanted to know about how they worked. But, you chose not to do that.


puke & cry writes "Orthogonality creepily distancing from his own work and the issue with the meetup is why I stopped using metafilthy many months ago."

Look, I wanted to give you (collective you, not Puke personally) the software while still being able to be "just orthogonality" when commenting to Mefi. I wanted pseudonymity. A separation of concerns.

Anyone who finds that creepy, can prove me wrong by posting his or her real name and real email in response. (And some of you do use your real names here, more power to you. My choice was to not do so, and more power to me.)


Ryvar writes "Oh, and yeah, not that it matters anymore but the 'weaker court case because I didn't say anything' applies to trademarks, not copyright or patents "

Yeah, you're probably right about this. I wasn't going to take the chance that a "nicer" approach might have weakened my case. Zsazsa hadn't done anything to deserve a nicer approach, so why risk it? Again, had he emailed me, I'd have been nice, like I've been nice to the several others who have emailed wanting to distribute their own versions.

But Zsazsa surely knew that what he was doing was a slap in the face, and yet he did it because he's a good enough coder that he could do it. I responded in kind, by doing did what legally I could do.

That's what happens when you slap faces.

But if Zsazsa wants to email me directly in the future, I'll be happy to be friendly to the guy.
posted by orthogonality at 10:03 PM on December 2, 2005


the author who isn't me.
I don't want alternative versions floating around, because any bugs in them will be attributed to me.

You know what? Fuck you kid ...
Zsasza's ... an adult and he ought to have known better. ...
Look, one more time kids:
Grow the fuck up.

not one dollar has been donated by users for the software ...
I don't want your money for it.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 10:11 PM on December 2, 2005


Ortho, I genuinely feel for you, but you lost this discussion a long time ago. As one who knows, perhaps all too well, I suggest you let it be.
posted by Rothko at 10:15 PM on December 2, 2005


Been there done that.
posted by brownpau at 10:15 PM on December 2, 2005


(Is the license up?) No, but the copyright statement is. What's your point?

Under the MetaFilthy license, you can use it as is. You're not licensed to reverse engineer it, or to use or redistribute alternative versions.

I am interested in seeing this document you quote from and threaten people with is all.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 10:17 PM on December 2, 2005


Anyone who finds that creepy, can prove me wrong by posting his or her real name and real email in response.

From the last time this happened:

There's a pretty big difference between not posting your real name on your userpage and bold-faced lying about it to someones face, I hope you can see that. And if really wanted to know my real name, you just just look at my posting history where I reference it more than once I believe. It's bob sarabia.

So once again, my name is bob sarabia, you can email me at pukeandcry@gmail.com

And if you go to metachat you'll see that a lot of the members talk about "personal" things all the time, including what they look like, what their voice sounds like, where they live and what their hometown is like. Surely all things you would describe as personal information no one should know.
posted by puke & cry at 10:41 PM on December 2, 2005


yo fuck metafilthy
posted by moift at 10:50 PM on December 2, 2005


Rothko writes "Ortho, the reality is that free source code can't be protected in the way in which you expect it to be, regardless of the license you pick. "

Surely we can agree that MF strives to be more than just a mindless hoard ala /.; indeed many consider this to be a community. Just as you wouldn't borrow your neighbour's lawnmower if he didn't want you to we shouldn't be infringeing the Metafilthy code if the author doesn't wish us to.

And really it's not as if the phone home code was snuck in after we were all addicted. It's been there at least as long as I've been using it and it was prominently displayed at some point during install.
posted by Mitheral at 12:57 AM on December 3, 2005


Gee I wouldn't want to come to MeTa after having done something intentionally not nice for to the community, at no charge and with a great investment of personal time.

While a little bit of strangeness may attach to the mode of announcement, the vitriol level here is by many orders of magnitude, off base.

Use it. Don't use it. But don't be acting like someone has just groped your wife.
posted by peacay at 1:33 AM on December 3, 2005


Ryvar : "I guess all I'm saying is that when you pull out shit like the DMCA that you, as you admit, already knew ahead of time would freak people the fuck out, it can be useful to unquestionably have the high ground. It can save you the aggravation of threads like these and the associated drama, accusations, and general ill-will. To be honest I don't really care about any of this - I've never used Metafilthy - but I've always kind of liked you as a poster and just wanted to point it out."

I'm with Ryvar here. Orthogonality, you know I love the MetaFilthy action, and appreciate your work on it immensely. That said, you should have known that a zero-to-DMCA approach would cause a lot of bile and anger if it came out on MeFi. If you want to avoid the drama, or at least minimize it, it would be a tactically better idea to first send a "Please take it down" email, and wait until told "No" to send the "By the power vested in me by the DMCA and a million evil Disney lobbyists, I command thee: TAKE IT DOWN" email. Like Ryvar, I like you as a poster, so I just wanted to point it out.
posted by Bugbread at 2:04 AM on December 3, 2005


yo fuck metafilthy

i'm with moift on this -- i must have missed the thread where the great unwashed mefi masses clamored for the metafilthy extension.

look, you saw a little need, you wrote something to address it, a small group of posters adopted it. what more do you need? why are you so defensive of an application that has such site-specific and necessarily limited utility?

if the infringement you suffered at the hands of zsazsa matters this fucking much to you, then it's apparent your motives for writing it are something other than altruistic.

out of curiosity, how many people are actually using it?
posted by Hat Maui at 2:51 AM on December 3, 2005


bugbread writes "If you want to avoid the drama, or at least minimize it, it would be a tactically better idea to first send a 'Please take it down' email"

Oh, come on. Zsazsa had to know that posting an alternative version that removed something the author hadn't wanted to remove, in the very thread announcing the author's new version, was confrontational as all hell.

It was tantamount an "I made the changes, so there, I dare you to do something about it. Bring it on!"

So I responded strongly and formally and unequivocally (but not as strongly as I could have: I didn't send the notice to his hosting company, I didn't ask my lawyer to send the letter), because I thought that a nicer approach might have been answered with bluster. (Or it might not have; in the face of what was basically an "I dare you!" I wasn't going to take chances.)

You recall when you were thinking of writing an alternative, and I (pleasantly, I think) discouraged you. But you asked. You didn't present me with a fait accompli already distributed to several people.

When somebody puts a chip on his shoulder and says "I dare you to knock it off" you can't equivocate.


Tactically, it might have looked "nicer" to ask Zsazsa, "please Suh, please don't violate my copyright", and I guess I'll live with people thinking I'm not nice. But in the face of an big pile-on I've -- at length and in detail -- answered everyone's questions, and tried to address any fears about the software. And all because my software, given away free, does something -- phones home -- that is explicitly and prominently announced in the manual.

And now If I Had An Anus has anointed himself as dome sort of moral cop of metafilter and is bitching and whining about the license -- did I make the license prominent enough to "threaten" people with it.

I think I've shown a great deal of patience and "niceness" here, in the face of a great deal of baseless personal attacks, when many would have far sooner just said, ok, go write your own 1000 lines of meatfilthy code, trying to do you all a favor is just too much trouble.
posted by orthogonality at 3:02 AM on December 3, 2005


trying to do you all a favor is just too much trouble

since my understanding of favors is that they stem from the needs (or direct requests) of others and not your sui generis determination of what such needs are, i'll repeat my question -- who asked you to write metafilthy?
posted by Hat Maui at 3:20 AM on December 3, 2005


Hat Maui, whether or not we are dancing around semantics here doesn't mask the fact that you are without provocation simply harassing someone who came here to make an announcement. What's your investment in this debate?

If you're going to write something like: "it's apparent your motives for writing it are something other than altruistic" and then come in all pseudo-objectively, standing by your demand for an answer to your question, don't be surprised if it's a big 'fuck you, you offensive little twat' that's slung back.

My advice would be for orthogonality not to return fire anymore and for anyone wanting to take this further on the technicalities of the script to email him.
posted by peacay at 3:45 AM on December 3, 2005


Hat Maui writes "look, you saw a little need, you wrote something to address it, a small group of posters adopted it. what more do you need? why are you so defensive of an application that has such site-specific and necessarily limited utility?


I'm "defensive" because the program has my name on it. If anybody can distribute copies, anything those copies do, any bugs in them, are laid at my feet.

If Zsasza's version had inadvertently introduced a bug, people wouldn't have posted that "ZsaszaFilthy has a bug". People would have posted about "MetaFilthy" and even if they were careful enough to specify Zsasza's versions, readers would have attributed the bugs to Metafilthy in general.

People wouldn't email Zsazsa about it. It would be my time taken up with bug reeports, and my reputation sullied, for any bug. Zsasza's version, among other things, still credited me as author and listed my site as the home page.

And what if I released the code, and someone distributed a version that searched user's harddrives for data, and phoned that home? Would people distinguish the rogue copy from the real thing?

In this very thread, we saw one idiot (remember, it's been established I'm not nice, so I won't sugar coat it) decide that MetaFilthy was "Spyware!" based on another user asking a question. A rogue version that really did spy would have resulted in somebody posting a review on the Mozilla site claiming that all versions shouldn't be trusted.

Had I not insisted Zsazsa take down his version, in a week we'd have seen two more forks, with real or dubious "improvements." and all would have the same GUID as the real version. and all would have generated complaints to me.

I ask you Hat Maui, would it be ok with you if several of us logged in to Metafilter as you, and posted "improved" versions of your comments? What, you don't like that idea? Why are you so defensive of your username?


"if the infringement you suffered at the hands of Zsazsa matters this fucking much to you, then it's apparent your motives for writing it are something other than altruistic."

Ok, I admit it. Satan promised me that if I got 300 users for MetaFilthy, he'd return to earth and make me ruler of his Infernal Domains.

What the fuck do you think I get for MetaFilthy? Tell, what could my motives possibly be?

I don't charge for it. I don't give it only to my friends and supporters. It's not an exclusive club. Nobody's hired me based on it. I haven't gotten laid by any chick who thinks MetaFilthy is "so hawt". Nobody has bought me a beer for it, or sent me a Christmas card or a box of cookies. There's no Nobel Prize for Firefox extensions. Tell me what you possibly think my motives could be.

The only thing I get is seeing the number of users when it phones home.


out of curiosity, how many people are actually using it?

I last checked several months ago, and it was approximately 200.

Ok, I checked again. In the four days prior to the new release, 211 unique IPs. I don't have logs prior to that until some months ago. My other extension in the same period, 5680 unique IPs. Metafilthy is small potatoes.

Hat Maui writes "i'll repeat my question -- who asked you to write metafilthy?"

Satan. The debil hisself. Lucifer. Diabolus. Who asked you to pretend to be Mike Wallace?

You don't like Metafilthy? It doesn't meet your definition of a favor? Great. Don't use it.
posted by orthogonality at 3:46 AM on December 3, 2005 [1 favorite]


orthogonality writes "In this very thread, we saw one idiot (remember, it's been established I'm not nice, so I won't sugar coat it) decide that MetaFilthy was 'Spyware!' based on another user asking a question"

See, before we reached this point in the thread, you had answered all the questions I had about Metafilthy and I had recanted my comment that it was Spyware and admitted that I hadn't read the documentation carefully enough. I had also settled (or at least agreed upon) my differences with cortex and so I felt comfortable taking my dog out of this fight. Sadly for my Saturday afternoon you've, for some reason, decided to drag me back in on false pretences. So, I shall say here that I still don't believe that you need all the debugging information you collect merely to debug the product. Now, if that still makes me "an idiot" in your book then so-be-it, because your behaviour in their entire thread (and elsewhere) still leaves me labelling you "a jerk". At least you've given up the whole "non-authorship" charade - for that alone, this thread has been worthwhile.
posted by benzo8 at 5:17 AM on December 3, 2005


You don't like Metafilthy? It doesn't meet your definition of a favor? Great. Don't use it.

I like the look of it, it meets my definition of a favour, and I would very much like to use it. How do I get a copy now that the link in the post points to a copyright notice about the extension, not the extension itself?

(Apologies if I missed an announcement that it's no longer available due to the above controversies...)
posted by jack_mo at 7:33 AM on December 3, 2005


ortho: When somebody puts a chip on his shoulder and says "I dare you to knock it off" you can't equivocate.

Equivocate? No. But that's not your only option.

In my experience, the "strongest" thing you can do in a situation like that is refuse to play by their rules. When someone says "I dare you to knock this off", they hardly ever want you to back down. They almost always want you to knock it off. It's called "picking a fight."
posted by lodurr at 8:00 AM on December 3, 2005


ortho, some people here are antagonizing you and some people are trying very hard not to do so, and I really wish you'd listen to what that latter group is saying.

Your position on the protection of your software is not unreasonable, but your execution (particularly the DMCA thing) has been heavy-handed. Yes, you could have been rebuffed had you sent zsazsa a polite, informal request, but I doubt it; and even had you been, you would then have some acceptable grounds, in the eyes of the generally DMCA-loathing community, to bust out that boilerplate. Doing so as a first move is not the most aggressive thing you could have done, but that doesn't mean much; if I punch someone instead of shooting them over a percieved slight, I've still done something nasty and aggressive, for example.

Obviously you're upset. I don't blame you; I can appreciate your position even if I've never been in it -- I'm a coder, but I rarely code anything useful to others. So I don't think you're off your rocker. But I do think you've allowed yourself to get very defensive in the face of the unpleasantness, and have been vetting your own actions and statements through the lens of your own context rather than through the eyes of a larger, multi-faced group of people likely to have very different priorities and preferences about security and identity and the invocation of contentious federal authorship legislation, neh?
posted by cortex at 8:01 AM on December 3, 2005


when i finish it, quonsa-bot v7.34.29a is going to absolutely destroy this place.
posted by quonsar at 8:23 AM on December 3, 2005 [1 favorite]


Well, this took a turn. I'm only here to say I think you should listen to Rothko, ortho. Oh oh.

The DMCA? For a thousand lines of JavaScript? Seems a bit heavy-handed. Somebody get Civil_Disobedient in here to show how to handle doing favors.
posted by yerfatma at 8:23 AM on December 3, 2005


You better pick a good license for the quonsa-bot lest the discussion of said license destroy you. It seems to be the point of writing free software nowadays, generating a good license argument.
posted by yerfatma at 8:24 AM on December 3, 2005


I've seen a lot of maundering here and elsewhere about freeware/donationware developers doing things out of the goodness of their heart, and about the idea that we ought to just suck it up and be grateful. My initial comments are directed at that sentiment.

Here are some phrases that spring to mind when I read thos characterizations: Manipulative; passive aggressive; emotional blackmail.

Much like the "large print" disclaimer about phoning home, ingratitude is something that any adult ought bloody well to know they'll get. Especially when that person does things like hard-code a phone-home action into his software that he damn well knows will make a very significant number of net.geeks uptight.

It's also naive or disingenuous (take your pick) to expect people to actually read the license disclaimers. And it's definitely disingenuous to get hot under the collar when people get upset about them.

If you can't stand the criticism, don't play the game.

BTW, w/ specific reference to Metafilthy: you should stop so zealously defending the mandatory phone-home idea. It was a bad idea and you shoudl admit that. You should have either made it possible to disable it (which would have made your argument that you're a Good Guy so they ought to Just Trust sound more credible to security-conscious geeks), or you shoudl have posted a $5 no-phone-home version. Show some flexibility on those points and you'll get a lot more sympathy.

It's a bit of a red herring to defend the part of phoning home that pertains to checking for updates. Every FF extension does that; it's nothing new. And it's not what people object to.

Also, I'm unconvinced of the value of phoning home. What does it get you, really? You know when a specific post was made and by whom; what do you get for that, that you couldn't get by offline simulation? What, specifically? I can't see it. At least, I can't see how the potential benefits outweigh the grief you should have expected to catch in return.

Here's my disclaimer: I wouldn't have used Metafilthy even if I hadn't known about the phoning home, because I have too much experience with mainstream Firefox extensions hosing my profile so badly that it can't be made to work without losing a half hour scouring the system for traces and removing them before a complete reinstall. These days I only keep it around because it has a few characteristics that make it useful when doing web-app vivisection.
posted by lodurr at 8:27 AM on December 3, 2005


quonsar : "when i finish it, quonsa-bot v7.34.29a is going to absolutely destroy this place."


If by destroy this place, you mean post snarky comments about pantsfish, then yes.
posted by graventy at 9:39 AM on December 3, 2005


Hat Maui : "since my understanding of favors is that they stem from the needs (or direct requests) of others and not your sui generis determination of what such needs are, i'll repeat my question -- who asked you to write metafilthy?"

Well, in a certain sense, me, among others. Rather, you twist your own question: as you say, yourself, a favor stems from direct requests or needs. Therefore, nobody needs to ask for metafilthy to be written for it to qualify. They need to ask, or they need to need it. I remember asking Matt if there could be a quote function of some sort that would put the author's name before the quote. I don't think I was the only one. So the need was there for some of us. Therefore, writing it to fill the need counts clearly as a favor, whether anyone asked or not.

benzo8 : "At least you've given up the whole 'non-authorship' charade - for that alone, this thread has been worthwhile."

That was a "charade"? I thought that was a "joke". So when I said I wasn't really bugbread up above, that was a "charade" too?

Actually, that's not such a bad deal. Charades is a fun game, so I got a new version of MetaFilthy, and I got to play Charades, all in the same thread.
posted by Bugbread at 1:47 PM on December 3, 2005


Yeah, the non-authorship bit was a joke that some folks didn't have the background to get. See brownpau's link earlier in the thread for context.

And I've got to second bugbread's argument regarding Hat Maui's "favor" jab: the fact that people download and continue to use Metafilthy -- a couple hundred or so by the sound of things -- suggests a need being met.
posted by cortex at 2:35 PM on December 3, 2005


If you're going to write something like: "it's apparent your motives for writing it are something other than altruistic" and then come in all pseudo-objectively, standing by your demand for an answer to your question, don't be surprised if it's a big 'fuck you, you offensive little twat' that's slung back.

you left off the first clause of my statement, peacay: if the infringement you suffered at the hands of zsazsa matters this fucking much to you that you'll send DMCA letters as a first recourse, then this is about something else, is what i was saying. maybe it's a need for appreciation by e-peers, a need to engender a little drama, a need to flex a little IP muscle, i don't know. but it's heavy-handed and overly dramatic for some coding that's specific to one site. ortho's reasoning behind his use of the DMCA bludgeon is unpersuasive.

oh, and if you want to call me names, peacay, i'll thank you to have the stones to do so directly, friend.

And I've got to second bugbread's argument regarding Hat Maui's "favor" jab: the fact that people download and continue to use Metafilthy -- a couple hundred or so by the sound of things -- suggests a need being met.


undoubtedly, some people use and like the metafilthy extension. what i object to is ortho's embitterment at being challenged on certain aspects of his coding, sufficient for him to say "well, fuck you all for not respecting my favor." for those that don't use metafilthy, it's no favor at all. that doesn't take away our standing to say that it's lame that it phones home and it's lame that he sent a fucking DMCA letter to another user.

that is all.
posted by Hat Maui at 4:18 PM on December 3, 2005


IIHAA-You're right, things had been resolved and I weighed in again with a shitty comment. I did it because when I read through the thread I felt like orthogonality was getting dragged over the coals, again, and I thought it was a shame. It was reaction which I would rather have not made.

That said, this thread, like the previous MetaFilthy/meetup thread, has, I think, highlighted why it's so hard to avoid misunderstandings on the internet. There is no way to read tone, it's easy to assume the worst, and people talk past each other an awful lot. I like the extension, I was an early adopter, and I continue to use it. It was asked for in a long past thread (it might have been in the blue, maybe in the grey), and orthogonality wrote it after a very clear discussion among users about how helpful such an extension would be. For that, I'm quite thankful. I understand why, given how he understood things, orthogonality sent his notice to zz, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. A simple email would have been much better in my opinion, but then I don't have the skills of either party.

I'm uncomfortable with how people reacted to what they didn't like in MetaFilthy (even though I understand it), and I'm incomfortable with how personally orthogonality took it, and I wish we could all just get along. Seriously, I wish that we, and here I obviously mean me as well, could assume the best about the other people we deal with here. I know it ain't gonna happen, though, for me anymore than for anyone else.
posted by OmieWise at 5:06 PM on December 3, 2005


And now If I Had An Anus has anointed himself as dome sort of moral cop of metafilter and is bitching and whining about the license -- did I make the license prominent enough to "threaten" people with it.

orthogonality, I see that you have posted the license on the MetaFilthy home page. Thank you. Now it is clear that zsazsa's modification of the code is not permitted.

I hope you will entertain the notion that zsazsa honestly believed MetaFilthy was released under a different sort of license and did not mean the deliberate affront to your rights --or your efforts-- that you took it to be.

I would ask, also, that you not attribute properties to my comments which were neither intended or indicated. There is nothing in what I've said about the license that could be construed as passing a moral judgement on you. True, I suspected the license to which you referred was another "circumlocution" of basic fact, but I simply asked to read it. Call that whiny if you will, but please don't call me a cop.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 7:54 PM on December 3, 2005


And, yes, I called your 3 justifications for the call back "bullshit" ... which could be viewed as the sort of thing I am asking you avoid. I promise to make a better effort in this regard as well.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 8:16 PM on December 3, 2005


Seriously, I wish that we, and here I obviously mean me as well, could assume the best about the other people we deal with here.

Amen. A thousand times amen.
posted by cortex at 10:28 PM on December 3, 2005


Well damn. I actually like Metafilthy. And I really could care less that it sends my IP out. Honestly. How many times a day do you think your IP is logged, anyway?

I do wish that the 1.5 version was still on the website. I wasn't able to catch it while it was up, and now it's gone. Guess I'll finally have to give up and install Greasemonkey.

For what it's worth, thanks for the effort, orthagonality. Sorry it went to hell on you.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:01 AM on December 5, 2005


now it's gone.

Apparently as of 02-Dec-2005 21:40.
Guess he was serious about the box of cookies.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 9:57 AM on December 5, 2005


D'oh. Should have installed when I had the chance.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:50 AM on December 7, 2005


"And I really could care less that it sends my IP out."

So you care?
posted by brownpau at 9:16 AM on December 10, 2005


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