FAQ launched April 20, 2006 10:49 AM   Subscribe

I just launched the FAQ engine I wrote a few weeks ago. It's got just a few questions in it and it hasn't been organized yet, but if you're logged in, feel free to suggest new questions at the bottom of the page, which me and jessamyn will review, organize, and post later on. For now, it's just starting out, but I'm sure we can fill this out and organize it into something useful for everyone in just a few weeks.
posted by mathowie (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 10:49 AM (58 comments total)

Nice. (that the 2nd question is about the "." made me laugh.)
posted by R. Mutt at 11:07 AM on April 20, 2006

I notice it doesn't mention LOFI on the "deleted threads" question. On purpose?
posted by jonson at 11:12 AM on April 20, 2006

I would have contacted you at the suggested contact site, but this is what I got:
Not Found

The requested URL /contact/ was not found on this server.
Apache/2.0.55 (Win32) JRun/4.0 Server at www.metafilter.com Port 80

I am using Windows XP/Firefox
posted by Cranberry at 11:18 AM on April 20, 2006

I need to get ahold of a site admin in a hurry. How do I do this?

MetaTalk, IM and email are all good ways to get through to the site admins in a hurry. Jessamyn has a phone number listed on her web site which works in a pinch but often finding one of them on chat is the quickest way.

Given that the question says "in a hurry", it seems a bit odd to talk about IM and email without actually providing the IM and email addresses, or at least a link to them.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:35 AM on April 20, 2006

"Now [Matt and Jess] both watch the flagged posts pile..."

You're missing the word "up."
posted by Zozo at 11:37 AM on April 20, 2006

The site seems down or really slow...
typo in the answer "...statues of the MetsaFilter server..." Unless I need a FAQ as to what MetsaFilter is.
posted by pithy comment at 11:38 AM on April 20, 2006

I didn't even know that there were going to be statues. I want mine to be me, naked, eating pancakes, but just so happening to 'accidentally' spill gallons of sweet maple syrup over my glistening oiled up body.
posted by ND¢ at 11:48 AM on April 20, 2006

I think I fixed all the things mentioned so far [adding IM, metsafilter, piling up].
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:51 AM on April 20, 2006

Looks great. Here's one suggested change for your consideration:

Is there a statute of limitations on doubleposting?

. . . With few exceptions, there is no such thing as a doublepost in AskMe
, although users should generally search prior questions before posting to determine whether their question has already been answered.
posted by brain_drain at 11:56 AM on April 20, 2006

ND¢, sorry to burst your bubble, but the server is what's being idolized in stone (or metal, or whatever statues happen to be made from).

...the statues of the MetaFilter server.
posted by Godbert at 11:59 AM on April 20, 2006

Also, under "The site seems down or really slow, is there a status blog?", this bit:
The wiki Current Status page and status.metafilter.com which is update far less often and mostly discusses major site changes.
should have a "d" on the end of "update".
posted by Godbert at 12:00 PM on April 20, 2006

"I need to get ahold of..." should be "I need to get hold of..."
posted by patricio at 12:15 PM on April 20, 2006

fixed, fixed and fixed. Anything else?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:19 PM on April 20, 2006

This is a good idea. Thanks.

What does . in a comment by itself mean? would be better if worded as What does . by itself in a comment mean?, or even better, What does a "." (a period) by itself in a comment mean?

Also consider
Is it possible to delete my account?
Why no self-linking?
posted by iconomy at 12:22 PM on April 20, 2006

All username, thread, and offsite references should be hyperlinked, eg: Spinoff sites, references to Matt or Jess, RSS feed list.

Also, it would be nice to see the Crunchland Method highlighted in the FAQ.

A good addition would be a question about the Amazon referral ID from this thread today.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:25 PM on April 20, 2006

A site history maybe? Something about thread 19, 9622, etc? Pictures of the Admin, Adminette, the daughter of Admin, and so on? Some details about the MeFi hardware?
posted by blue_beetle at 12:26 PM on April 20, 2006

How soon can I post again after posting in AskMe/MeFi/MeTa?

Someone reading the FAQ may need these short forms defined first (especially "MeTa"). It might be better to always use the long form in answers and have a single question defining the short forms.

The site had a period of bad uptime and seems to be up most of the time now.

When is now? I think the question is better answered without this sentence.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:34 PM on April 20, 2006

Okay, joking around didn't work, so here it is for serious:

The answer to the question "The site seems down or really slow, is there a status blog?" states: "There are two places to check on the statues of the MetaFilter server." The word 'statues' should be changed to the word 'status'.
posted by ND¢ at 12:41 PM on April 20, 2006

When I click on "post a thread (to FAQ)" firefox
File not found: /contribute/post.cfm coldfusion error
posted by |n$eCur3 at 12:45 PM on April 20, 2006

i realize that you guys want to post them by hand, but just saying
posted by |n$eCur3 at 12:46 PM on April 20, 2006

Here is the NSFW question and answer, as it is currently written:

What does NSFW Mean? Do I have to indicate if my link is Not Safe For Work?
Generally if what is behind a link is not safe for work (porn, shock sites, sound) a NSFW indicator is appreciated. Admins will sometimes add NSFW to links, especially front page posts, if they don't include them.

I would append the following caveat: Do not assume that all content that isn't safe for work browsing will be labeled as such. There are always instances where the NSFW indicator is missing, and the admins cannot be expected to catch every single one of them and fix it. When browsing, it is safest to consider the NSFW tag a favor performed by the admins and posters, rather than an expectation or obligation.

that's just me, though. I always like to err on the side of forewarning.
posted by shmegegge at 1:10 PM on April 20, 2006

oh, and this is good. thanks.
posted by shmegegge at 1:13 PM on April 20, 2006

I'd move "Who is in charge here? Are there admins and moderators like other sites?" to the top. Anyone just reading down the page would then know exactly who are mathowie and jessamyn.

I'd bet jessamyn is already working on some sort of categorization. I'd suggest:

Metafilter Site Descriptions
Posting and Commenting
Metafilter Catch Phrases, Traditions and Etiquette

I think that's pretty much the order a new member would learn the site. I know the tags are there to help, but old-fashioned classifications work well.

I do wonder how long before someone asks about the "." and is told "#4."
posted by ?! at 1:16 PM on April 20, 2006

It's missing the classic:
posted by kirkaracha at 1:25 PM on April 20, 2006

Anything else?

This is pretty minor: "Can I post to the front page, immediately after registering?" shouldn't have a comma.

Also, "Someone called my comment/post Pepsi Blue, what does that mean?" and other questions of that form have comma splices.
posted by painquale at 1:32 PM on April 20, 2006

I'd move "Who is in charge here? Are there admins and moderators like other sites?" to the top

"Who's in charge?" and "I need to get in touch with an admin" could be combined into one question, ideally at the top.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:46 PM on April 20, 2006

I think two useful questions that could be added to the FAQ are;

"How long does it usually take for an anonymous question to be posted to Ask Metafilter?"

I know that's a good one because I asked it once myself and I've seen it pop up in MeTa a couple of times.

The second one is "What is the purpose of the 'contacts' button on my user profile page mean; and what does it mean when it says that (x) number of users link to me?"

I know that's a good one because I have been wondering about this one myself and have yet to actually ask about it.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:01 PM on April 20, 2006

I think the order is still just more or less random at this point. We'll have to get the tagging and the nicknames more consistent [AskMetafilter instead of AskMe, etc] and categorized. I fixed all the typo stuff and I'll try to copy over a few pages from the wiki that already have pretty good answers to questions like "What makes a good front page post?" Things like in-jokes seem to work pretty well on the wiki for now (assuming we can keep it spam-free) and keep the FAQ more readable.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:02 PM on April 20, 2006

I might just go suggest those questions on the bottom of the page. Heh. *slaps forehead*
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:04 PM on April 20, 2006

Question 40: Why are some MetaTalk threads closed?

I think the answer to this question will be disagreed upon by many users. Over the last few months, a lot of people here seem to think that the answer isn't what the FAQ says it is. Rather, it should probably read "Because mathowie is a monster/heavy handed administrator." (use as applicable)

I kid, I kid! But seriously, I wish people would stop with that accusation against Matt.

Also seriously, perhaps this question could be amended to read as follows.

"There are a few reasons why MetaTalk threads are frequently closed. The main reason is for threads with very specific requests such as requests to fix a typo that doesn't require additional discussion. Such questions would be better solved via an e-mail to mathowie or jessamyn, which is they are quickly closed when they are resolved. Sometimes a thread duplicates an existing open MetaTalk thread, devolves into noise and/or a trainwreck, or was a joke thread to begin with. Very rarely a MetaTalk thread will be deleted rather than closed.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:13 PM on April 20, 2006

Oh yeah, and this is great. Once it's all done, I predict it'll be awesome.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:16 PM on April 20, 2006

How about "Why is the word 'fustian' used so damn often in posts?"
posted by graventy at 2:26 PM on April 20, 2006

Effigy2000, I took some of your advice.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:03 PM on April 20, 2006

Some of the info in the anonymous askMe questions might be a bit repetitive?

Also, I just read the original PepsiBlue thread for the first time--no flames. I suppose that isn't really "on topic", but it was a bit disappointing.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 5:14 PM on April 20, 2006

I can't check this right now, but does the Post a Thread link for Metatalk (in particular) contain a prominent link to the new FAQ? If it doesn't yet, it should.

And the reason I can't check is because I've posted to MeTa in the last 4 days. Wait, I mean in the last week. Wait...I don't know! Consider:

You've posted something here in the past week. There is a limit of one new MetaTalk post per week, which you've used up. Make them count, because you'll only get one every 4 days.

I believe (and hope, for mefi comp album administrative reasons) that it is in fact every 4 days, and that's what the FAQ (!) says, but the warning above is a nightmare of ambiguity. A nightmare!
posted by cortex at 5:19 PM on April 20, 2006

Hey, cool.
posted by Gator at 5:21 PM on April 20, 2006

And a (superficially, at least) unrelated bug: time-since-comment text and links are AWOL for some relatively recent comments in some threads in My Comments. Not brand new comments, but over the period of fifteen minutes and several comments in a couple cases.
posted by cortex at 5:25 PM on April 20, 2006

"Effigy2000, I took some of your advice.":
posted by jessamyn at 11:03 AM AEST on April 21

Genuine glee!
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:27 PM on April 20, 2006

How will users find the FAQ? Will there be a link on the MeFi home page?
posted by DakotaPaul at 5:38 PM on April 20, 2006

Follow up on previous bug: mefi is showing PST timestamps two hours later than they actually are. DakotaPaul's last comment is thus:

posted by DakotaPaul at 5:38 PM PST on April 20 [!]
posted by cortex at 6:02 PM on April 20, 2006

(Which might help explain the problem with My Comments timestamps for recent comments over here.)
posted by cortex at 6:02 PM on April 20, 2006

These aren't important, but ...

Admins will sometimes add NSFW to links, especially front page posts, if they don't include them.
You might want to change "they" to "the poster".

My anonymous posting never showed up in AskMe, how come?
How about "why" or "why not" instead of "how come"?
posted by deborah at 4:17 PM on April 20, 2006

Lovely. I second the idea of a very prominent link to the FAQ before folk can post to MetaTalk.

I'm also completely stunned by the suggestion that people 'phone jessamyn if they have a MetaFilter problem, and faintly surprised that 'Jessamyn' appears to be jessamyn's real first name (not meaning to be rude, just never encountered it before, and it looks very, er, username-ish).
posted by jack_mo at 4:24 PM on April 20, 2006

Wow, I must be from the fu-ture.

/Brian Regan
posted by DakotaPaul at 4:25 PM on April 20, 2006

Wow, this is funky. I posted this one before this one, but it scooted up above the first one.
posted by DakotaPaul at 4:28 PM on April 20, 2006

OK, so it's fixed now and none of you will believe me that it happened. yes, I say 'wow' lots
posted by DakotaPaul at 4:46 PM on April 20, 2006

DakotaPaul, there was a server time error that is now resolved that was causing the weird comment orderings. I made the changes suggested by deborah and put all the AnonyMe stuff into one question instead of two.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:58 PM on April 20, 2006

All the cool recent threads: closed
This thread: open
posted by yerfatma at 6:18 PM on April 20, 2006

All the cool recent threads: closed

Two of them about a database issue that was resolved, one about a member where multiple people requested it be closed.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:21 PM on April 20, 2006

I'd love to see more encouragement toward putting e-mail and basic info in one's profile (gender, geographical location.) It's particularly useful for AskMe. I like to check before assuming gender or country, but it seems like fewer people are putting any info at all in their profile.
posted by desuetude at 6:30 PM on April 20, 2006

Having just seen a new member hassled for her OMG LOL!! :) style; is there any nice way of explaining the style of writing expected here?

And shouldn't there be something about the self-link policy? Including the fact that you can self-link in a comment if it is relevant.
posted by meech at 6:53 PM on April 20, 2006

you know, I was just at the wiki, and while there's much more work to do and I haven't had the time to do as much of that work as I'd like, it's really starting to come along nicely. That, combined with this awesome faq thingy, fills my heart with love and joy.

I'm sure that none of this is my doing, but I still can't help but feel just a teensy weensy bit responsible. Maybe just because something subconscious clicked in someone's head or something and they didn't even realize why. At least, that's what I'm telling myself to boost my ego. see? for all that's wrong with me, I can sometimes have a positive impact.
posted by shmegegge at 11:02 PM on April 20, 2006

The question "How soon can I post again..." makes sense if you are already familiar with the distinction between posting a thread and posting IN a thread (aka posting a comment) but to a newbie, that question might seem to imply that you get one comment per 24 hours/week, which is misleading. I suggest that you either add some clarifying bit about that only applying to "making a post" and not "making a comment in a post".
posted by Rhomboid at 1:13 AM on April 21, 2006

oops.. that last sentence was meant to read "either add some clarifying bit or add another FAQ that addresses the difference between the two."
posted by Rhomboid at 1:16 AM on April 21, 2006

Is it valid to put frequently requested, Matt is working on them or has flat out refused to do them, ponies up in the FAQ? Ponies that immediate come to mind include:

Tracking threads/favourite threads
Seeing deleted comments

But I'm sure there are others as well.
posted by antifuse at 4:41 AM on April 21, 2006

Rhomboid, thanks for catching that. I tried to make it clearer.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:06 AM on April 21, 2006

DakotaPaul - I believe you. I posted my suggestion but it didn't show up. At least, it didn't show up where it was supposed to. I debated about reposting, but as I said, my suggestions weren't important and I let it go. And now it's there.

Just a hiccup in the time-space continuum.
posted by deborah at 11:55 AM on April 21, 2006

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