How do I search for links on Metafilter? December 27, 2005 10:31 AM   Subscribe

This might be a pony request, I'm not sure, though...

While doing a bit of research for a possible FPP in the blue, (to avoid posting something that already had been) I was wondering if there was a way to search MeFi for given links.

In other words, say I found some new, interesting information about a widget that had already been discussed on MeFi - sort of a follow-up, hey, lookit what they're doing now-kind-of-thing.

Is there any way to quickly check if the sites I found had already been linked without reading through pages and pages of comments and multiple threads to make sure it hadn't already happened on MeFi? A straight URL checker or something? Or is there a search-engine technique I'm ignorant of that would prove useful. Finally, should I have taken this to AskMeFi?
posted by TeamBilly to Etiquette/Policy at 10:31 AM (12 comments total)

crunchland wrote a good guide to how this is done:
Don't double post. After you've found a site you want to feature on the front page, first go to the POST A LINK page on Metafilter, and enter in the url of the site. Leave off everything but the domain name -- no "http," no "www" and no directory or html file information. Press "Preview." If it's been posted before, even as a secondary link on someone else's post, it should pop up as a double. (Short of this, you could try going to an outside search engine, and searching for keywords similar to your topic on the domain and seeing if your site comes up. People have been saying that Yahoo! is better at searching metafilter than Google.) Go back and look for something else. If you do decide to post the site anew -- and this should only be because it's been radically updated, and the new content is worth noting -- be sure to link back to the old conversation either on the front page, or in the first comment. These days, people are more accepting of double-posts than they once were, so don't sweat it too much. What people seem to really hate is if you post some hot new site and someone beat you to it earlier, and there are two posts for the same thing on the front page.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:34 AM on December 27, 2005

You could use the Google search feature (click search above), but I'm not sure if google will search for a URL embedded within HTML or not.

There has to be some functional Google tweek to do that...
posted by SweetJesus at 10:34 AM on December 27, 2005

Also, you were correct in your initial (acted on) assumption that this belongs in MetaTalk, not AskMe. It is a question, but it's a question about Metafilter, so it belongs here in the grey.
posted by Bugbread at 10:39 AM on December 27, 2005

Mathowie - following that guideline, would I enter the URL in the main text field, or in the URL field of the posting form?
posted by TeamBilly at 10:48 AM on December 27, 2005

Google can take a URL and return all the sites it knows of which link to it. Run this through Google:


you'll get all the sites that link to the metafilter homepage.

Try this with a site you're interested in and scan the results for "metafilter." If you show the maximum results per page and use your find-in-page feature, this can be reasonably fast.

This will help you find links in Metafilter comments as well as posts, which is not true of the process crunchland laid out (see above).
posted by scarabic at 11:00 AM on December 27, 2005

Use the URL field, and it'll search for that string.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:00 AM on December 27, 2005

One of hte problems with searching for URLs is that the URL for the "same" page might not be consistent. E.g., many content management systems can have their URLs arranged differently and still produce the same page. And the "www." can generally be omitted.

So: It's good to look for repeated URLs, but that's not really sufficient to pre-flag a double. (Assuming that what you want to do is avoid posting one.)
posted by lodurr at 11:29 AM on December 27, 2005

My advice would be to just make a good faith attempt at searching for it through the search box at the top of the screen.

For instance, my recent post about Israeli response to the terrorism at the 1972 Munich Olympics: I did a search for "Munich Olympics" and got all the posts in the past about it. I also searched for the url, and nothing was there. There wasn't anything that covered the article that I wanted to share, so I posted away. The post thing has an automatic checker that will check to see if a specific url has been posted before, but things change hosts and domain structures, so I wouldn't rely on that.

In the end, though, we can only ask that people make a good faith effort to check for it. If you do make the effort, and it doesn't show up, we can't hold you at fault. Yes, your post might be deleted, but that isn't tragic or punishment and shouldn't be percieved that way.

The only real problem is when people don't even make good faith efforts to check.
posted by dios at 11:37 AM on December 27, 2005

scarabic: It would be faster and easier to do
"link:http://url" However I tried that earlier, but I couldn't think of any links posted long enough ago to show up on google.
posted by delmoi at 12:19 PM on December 27, 2005

And I was to lazy to look for any.
posted by delmoi at 12:19 PM on December 27, 2005


oo cool - didn't know you could combine them like that

maybe matt should add that to the "post a link" page :)
posted by scarabic at 12:40 PM on December 27, 2005

Yeah. That would be cool. Wish I seen that before I hit the post button on the FPP I just made. This was after more than an hour of carefully checking the links, mind you, but now I'm wondering if I missed something. (sigh)
posted by TeamBilly at 1:11 PM on December 27, 2005

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