Category field November 1, 2001 9:43 PM   Subscribe

We already know that each thread has an (unused) category field.

Any chance that the following process can happen:

1. Categories are decided.

2. A team then allocates each thread to a category. (Happy to do it myself)

3. sports.metafilter, politics.metafilter etc. resolve to categories.

posted by Neale to Feature Requests at 9:43 PM (54 comments total)
posted by holgate at 10:02 PM on November 1, 2001

This is a great idea.

ooh ooh ohh. It would even facilitate suggested concepts such as

The next question would be: Is there anyone who would read politics.meta or news.meta rather than perusing the entirety of the site at the hub [www.meta] page?
posted by Marquis at 10:09 PM on November 1, 2001

posted by jpoulos at 10:43 PM on November 1, 2001

holgate, you're in a pissy mood lately-- what up?
posted by chaz at 10:51 PM on November 1, 2001

um...that's "no" to the whole concept, not "no" to marquis' question.

Why does everyone come up with these elaborate plans that invole huge changes to how MeFi is run. It's obvious that Matt's philosophy is a very simple one: community weblog, self-policing, very little influence from higher beings (ie, him).

The idea of moderators has been discussed ad nauseum, and Matt apparently doesn't want to go that route. The idea of categories has been discussed less, but hasn't even received that much support. There's simply no need for categories.

Everyone wants a this.metafilter or a that.metafilter, but if that's what Matt wanted, it would have happened--and it hasn't.

There are a few nagging issues that lessen that quality of content around here, but even those have seemed to lessen in recent weeks (at least from my perspective). Huge changes in the structure or maintenance of the site simply aren't in the cards.

If you want categories, go to usenet. If you want moderators join a mailing list. If you want MeFi, don't, fudge with it.
posted by jpoulos at 10:55 PM on November 1, 2001

..and then, to filter out the half-decent stuff and move it to the top level...

This begins to sound like infinite recursion - a Strange Loop, in the best Godel-Escher-Bach tradition.

*rubs hands together in glee*

I think the 'bad idea' side will win, but I'm keen to see the arguments on both sides.

Addendum on refresh : jpoulos, I *think* what Neale means is not moderators, but a retrofit into categories of existing threads, and then self-categorization in future, like happens now on MeTa...Neale?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:02 PM on November 1, 2001

Derek and I were talking about this the other week, and he mentioned a concept I hadn't noticed before in web communities.

Say a community chooses to categorize things, so people can skip a category, or better manage their information. You pick ten random categories and let things fall where they may. The result will be that whatever categories you choose, you'll start getting more topics on each, and more focused threads about those topics. So maybe there are a bit too many politics-related threads. If there was a politics category, top-level and as important as the rest, there'd be many, many more links regarding politics. The political minded members would flock to that channel to fluff up their chests about the threads of the day. Same with threads about entertainment, technology, or news. Instead of reducing the number of each of those, they would flourish.

I think sports was a good example. In my preliminary lists of categories, I had to put one in there for sports. It seems like there are maybe a couple to five sports related posts a week on metafilter. The topic "sports" is significantly different than technology or news or politics and would probably be at home in its own place. But I guarantee if there was a section devoted to sports, there'd be several sports posts a day.

A big sticking point is how to deal with categories. Should they be like metatalk is now, basically show all, but let people limit to all posts in a category? If so, things like sports threads and political threads will increase, not decrease in number. I would suspect all threads would increase in number, if people could hide categories from their view.

There's a weird paradox in that you create the problems you're trying to solve. Slashdot has loads of "first posts!" because they are automatically filtered from view. People that do that sort of thing can continue doing it, in their little "-1 troll" area, away from everyone else.

So if the problem is that people want to see less political or news threads on MetaFilter, and I create categories including politics and news, you will see more of them in each space.

We could move the site to a kuro5hin model, where new threads are automatically placed in their respective categories, and after being voted on, en mass, do they show up on the main index page. That type of thing is great for managing information and filtering good stuff to the top, but the timeliness of metafilter is lost.

There's a lot to be said about shared public spaces. I like that a metafilter thread isn't actually threaded. If someone goes wildly off-topic, it sits there right next to all the on-topic posts. This has the effect of "guilting" people into staying on topic and not annoying everyone else. Likewise, if there are too many threads on a subject, people let it be known, and the frequency usually goes down soon after.

A crappy analogy: When you pee in the pool here, we all know it. We can feel the orb of warm water around you, and you ruin the pool for the rest of us, so people don't pee too often in it. A category system would be like adding lots of little pools, with various levels of interactions with other pools. This allows a few pools to be really over run with pee. Most people don't notice it in their clean pools, so it goes on.

I don't know where I'm going with this, but you have to ask what problem does categorization solve, because it is likely you will worsen that problem after adding it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:28 PM on November 1, 2001

jpoulos, I *think* what Neale means is not moderators, but a retrofit into categories of existing threads, and then self-categorization in future

Exactly. The seed was there when Matt started MeFi, it just hasn't been implemented. Therefore I don't see this as completely outside of the realms of the "idea" of Metafilter.

It certainly would improve load on the server and for those who just wished to read metafilter for certain topics.

The database is structured that way, so it would only require and extra field on the form when posting a thread. This (as a person who doesn't know how the code is set up) doesn't seem like too much work. The real work will be in the sorting by category.

I thought resolving politics.meta or whatever would be a good way to do that.

Remember, it's just an idea, and not really a fuckwit one.
posted by Neale at 11:29 PM on November 1, 2001

Damnit, that wasn't there when I previewed.

What problem does categorization solve?

I would hope that, in the future (as I've advocated in the past) there will be some filtering capability on MeFi.

Categories would be a good way to do this (I've previously advocated being able to filter posts by words, eg. "doublepost" and "bush"). If I could come to MeFi and know that no sport, political or bunny threads will appear on the front page, I'd buy it.
posted by Neale at 11:34 PM on November 1, 2001

I see mathowie's point about thread explosion - look what happened here in MetaTalk (not point any fingers...) after it became flatter, UI-wise.

I personally never look at a single-category view here in MeTa anymore now that Matt's pushed it further under the surface of things, so for me at least, categories are now less meaningful unless initiating a thread...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:47 PM on November 1, 2001

If I could come to MeFi and know that no sport, political or bunny threads will appear on the front page, I'd buy it.

But wouldn't you agree that if there were three categories among the rest, called Sports, Politics, and All About Cute 'n Fluffy Bunnies, there would be more posts about each of those things instead of less?

I know you'd filter them, but they'd be there, and what would take their place? The categories you like might get more "categorical" as threads might focus more on the topics attributed to them.

With any categorization there's one big problem and that is how to deal with people seeing all categories? Should they see all threads in all categories on a single day? My guess is that more threads will be started when things are categorized, especially if people are only viewing a few categories they like (mentally, if you're only seeing 10 threads a day in the two categories you like, you might be more inclined to add a new one as it doesn't hinder your readability much).

There's also the bickering we all know will happen on anything remotely general enough to fit into multiple categories (if I did categories, I would do multiple categories, so a link about a new hijacked plane could be tagged as "news - politics - war" and napster relaunching their service as paid p2p could be tagged as "entertainment - technology - news").

Don't get me wrong, a part of me wants categories, and one reason why I redesigned metatalk was to test the waters, to see how hard it would be to do. If I did categories, I could offer more targetted TextAds. I'm sure the guy doing the PalmPilot software would have prefered if his ad was found in the "technology" category of metafilter over the main one.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:51 PM on November 1, 2001

You know starvos' point above is something I hadn't noticed in my activity here. As the person building this site, I should go directly to this page often, and keep up on things, but I haven't gone to a category page since I made the change.

I view it all from the flat front page now.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:02 AM on November 2, 2001

It certainly would improve load on the server and for those who just wished to read metafilter for certain topics.

You'd think sending less data to people would be less work, but actually the problem is sending custom feeds of less data to each and every person that is a big load. I can cache the general queries of all categories, and share the output with many people. But if you're filtering based on custom settings, I have to send you custom data.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:05 AM on November 2, 2001

if i might interject:

postings on mefi, it seem to me, follow one of two possible roads. 1) the post is controversial; the end is the commentary, and the link is the means to that end. 2) the post is informative; the link is the end, and the means to that end is the poster. the commentary, in 2), is supplemental. (some links i consider to be 'informative' do generate lots of comments -- for example, a link to a personality test. i don't think that's bad, because the poster obviously wasn't fishing for the reactions of those people; rather, people are simply contributing their experiences in the comments section.)

people don't post news links to yahoo, cnn, ananova, etc. because they want to make sure you know that anna kournikova lost at tennis again. they post those links to spark commentary. that, clearly, is something people want.

but it is also clear to me that some people really prefer those informative links.

in that view, i would say categories would not solve the problems mefi has. in fact, categories such as "sports" or "politics" don't even begin to address them. you could divvy up the threads among the lines i'd just drawn -- controversial versus informative -- though that would cause matt to babysit for all the people who want to mess with the system or for threads where the line is very blurred between the two.

you could also just say, hey, i have decided that i don't want links whose sole purposes are to spark commentary, and you can't do that anymore. maybe neither is the correct answer, but i do think something should be clarified or some action taken.
posted by moz at 12:12 AM on November 2, 2001

I might put a finer point, or at least a wonderchicken spin on what moz was saying above : I'd actually say that there are more 'typical' thread types on MeFi itself :

1) The type that Matt has stated before was the original idea, and many of them pesky a-list types (joke - please don't smite me!) have stated a preference for : the link that is so well-crafted, researched and gosh-darn engrossing, that little to no discussion is really called for.
2) Posts that may link to something great, or something crap, but spawn huge and well-battled discussions, arguments, or paroxysms of silliness.

The lines between these, as moz notes, are blurred.

There's also

3) The arbitrarily linked (linkless or might-as-well-be) thread, which have been more common lately, much to the chagrin of some, but which Matt implicitly blessed when he sidebarred the Liquor and Beer ones recently.

Unfortunately, it seems to be damn near impossible to predict in advance which of these 'categories' a thread might fall into. Sure, a good sex/religion/politics post will probably spark a big discussion, but that's still a maybe.

And all this above betrays my personal bias towards being interested more in the discussion and interplay between members here, which is again something that a lot of people, including of course Matt himself, who've been around here longer than me and most of the memebers here, tend to say is not the focus of what they value from the place.

So what? Well, I think maybe Neale's idea might not actually fix many things...but I think it's a good question to ask him (as Matt did above) what he perceives as the problem(s) that categories might fix.

Whew. Time for a beer.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:35 AM on November 2, 2001

Sorry I'm an idiot. There's also :

4) The audience participation thread, like Miguel's recent life expectancy one, or the What Robot Are You? or the What's your body worth? (which was insidious, but still), where the link is amusing, but a flash-in-the-pan, and the post encourages people to chime in, as a big kinda party-game.

5) Weird threads. You know what I'm talking about.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:38 AM on November 2, 2001

Categorisation would produce sub-communities IMO. That probably isn't a good thing. I like the "all in this together" feel of metafilter, and also it's no bad thing to be exposed to links and discussion which I wouldn't necessarily look for.

Categorisation won't solve the volume "problem" either. Looking at wax's stats, it doesn't appear to me that the election, the Kaycee Incident or 911 actually affected the long term growth pattern that the site is experiencing. They look very much like blips on a classic exponential growth curve.

I think traffic will keep increasing unless a curb of some kind remains on new membership, and possibly even then. I'd hate to see MeFi become a private members club though: it's probably the sweetest spot on the net right now, despite "the troubles", and I think it's an invaluable resource.

I'm not sure what the solution to the traffic problem might be. A limit on overall threads per day with some kind of queue? Loses the timeliness. Greater minds than mine ...

Having said all that, I do think categories a-la MeTa would be valuable for categorisation purposes and wouldn't necessarily increase the number of front page posts, if handled carefully. As Matt obliquely pointed out, most people are just going to keep coming to the front page anyway, even if they have the option.

And yeah stavros, gotta keep some (5) stashed away in the quiet corners ;)
posted by walrus at 2:10 AM on November 2, 2001

What about the possibility of someone continually retro-actively categorising threads (ie not chosen on post), if only for the XML feed and sifting through the archives?
posted by Neale at 2:13 AM on November 2, 2001

categories ... would be valuable for categorisation purposes

doh! meant reference purposes ...

retro-actively categorising threads ... if only for the XML feed and sifting through the archives

I think it would be good for that Neale ... who's gonna do the categorizing though?
posted by walrus at 2:25 AM on November 2, 2001

There's such an funkalicious goldmine of good stuff in the archives, that I'd love to see an easier way to find some old thread that talked about great books/sites/bands/sexual positions/war crimes/etc. So I'm all in favor of something that will open up the archives and shed light on them. But to also punch something forward that mirrors that kind of structure as the site/community evolves - that's where my eyes go a bit wobbly...

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:25 AM on November 2, 2001

walrus : I think he's volunteering!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:26 AM on November 2, 2001

Gets my vote then ... as long as no-one sneaks in a "most comments on one thread" category ;)
posted by walrus at 2:36 AM on November 2, 2001

No-one has mentioned, as far as I can see, combining categories with user-controlled selection (a la /.)

If people could select which categories they wanted to see (or, more importantly, which they didn't) then, even if a politics category produced more politics, it wouldn't affect people who deselected the politics category.

In other words, the objections seem to based on the assumption that categories imply viewing either one or all. It needn't be like that.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:38 AM on November 2, 2001's categorisation scheme is more by necessity than design, given its set of "content partners", but if you don't rely on that arrangement, I think it's unnecessary. It's certainly not a good way to encourage broad-based debates, and people enter, say, the "politics" discussions with their faces set and their opinions pre-established, while preserving all the useful playfulness and erudition for the "games" category.
posted by holgate at 3:58 AM on November 2, 2001

If we had these categories and you could filter some of them out, I'd still opt to look at everything. I suspect most people would do this. And Matt's right, once you create any open space here people will rush to fill it.

So you end up hurting the site for the majority of users with a feature that will be used by the minority.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:10 AM on November 2, 2001

I would set my home page to
posted by sudama at 6:48 AM on November 2, 2001

holgate - isn't that what people want? (and can you have opinions that aren't pre-established?). You seem to be saying "people don't put pancake jokes in politics threads". Is that so bad?

y6y6y6 - I'm thinking of the people who go to politics threads and moan that people are too serious. Wouldn't life be better for eveyone if that didn't happen?
On the "open space" thing. While it's a nice picture, where's the evidence? MetaTalk got swamped, for sure, but isn't that because it became flatter (less structured)? Run the changes on MetaTalk backwards (if you see what I mean) and it seems more distinct catagories reduces posts...
posted by andrew cooke at 7:31 AM on November 2, 2001

A crappy analogy: When you pee in the pool here, we all know it. We can feel the orb of warm water around you

Eww! Matt, ewww!
posted by rodii at 7:35 AM on November 2, 2001

Metafilter : The orb of warm water around you
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:02 AM on November 2, 2001

The "community abhors a vacuum" argument is compelling. I can think of 2 ways a categorization system might not fall victim to it, however:

1. Keep the categories broad and use ones that are already saturated. It might be useful just to have "news" and "non-news" categories. (Those are the two that come to mind for me; there might be others (and no doubt some people here are already thinking about the obvious miguelcardoso category).)

2. Define categories in such a way that they cannot be filled artificially. A "follow-up post" category could be useful, and wouldn't be easy to fill just because it was looking empty. (It might be relatively useless for that reason too, though.) Alas, that's the only one I can think of right now; maybe there are others....
posted by mattpfeff at 8:18 AM on November 2, 2001

andrew: I'm just recalling my early impressions as a beta tester of, thinking that everything was segregated and polarised by the site's structure, rather than by practices established from within the community itself. It felt as if that polarisation shored up the polarisation of opinion. (Odd to think that it's not particularly "emergent", given Steven Johnson's involvement... in fact, FEED's "Loop" was much better at that.)
posted by holgate at 8:35 AM on November 2, 2001

it seems to me that when people ask for categories, what they are asking for is a way to not see posts on a certain topic.

this would increase server load, but what if those who wished to do so could opt for having a check box next to every post; you could uncheck the box and then never see that post on the front page again (I know, I'm adding lots of things to the front page posts today).

anyway, it would increase server load, but it would ensure that the front page contained only threads the reader was interested in following.
posted by rebeccablood at 9:03 AM on November 2, 2001

Yin And Yang : The flower pot man.
I know that has no relevance, but filepile has made me feel young again, and the number 1 is, well, prime.
Ok, it's past my bedtime..
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:09 AM on November 2, 2001

i am coming to the conclusion that the only way metafilter will improve is if we all, as a community, decide what road we'd like to take. do you want commentary links or don't you? i'm concerned that if we don't make that distinction, and consequentially compensate for it, mefi will continue to churn at critical mass. in other words, i think that at some point in the near future, we need to be able (if we decide to take this road) to say "your post about bush pushing for teaching patriotism? it doesn't belong here" or "your post about the canadian lumber industry? that isn't what metafilter is about." (i don't mean to single people out; i'm simply trying to find some examples of newsy/topics links.)
posted by moz at 9:21 AM on November 2, 2001

andrew cooke said:
No-one has mentioned, as far as I can see, combining categories with user-controlled selection (a la /.)

If people could select which categories they wanted to see (or, more importantly, which they didn't) then, even if a politics category produced more politics, it wouldn't affect people who deselected the politics category.

In other words, the objections seem to based on the assumption that categories imply viewing either one or all. It needn't be like that.

I specifically mentioned that in my first response here.

Let's look at just politics, because people seem to hate that one the most. So, say there are 10 or so categories, including one called politics. Don't you think the things holgate said would come true. Why would someone looking for wacky links go into the politics area ever again? I think the only reason politics-related things work here is because non-politically minded people often participate and read it.

Who is interested in talking politics with political science majors? Anyone? No one? If there was a politics category, you know who would be there. The handful of usual suspects with an ax to grind (oh look, it's libertarian-man in every thread! oh joy!) would flood the space, and people mildly interested or those not politically inclined would avoid it. Gone would be the chances of ever changing someone's opinion on anything, and instead the same tired arguments would be beat to death every day.

I don't want subcommunities because I don't think they offer any benefits to the site.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:53 AM on November 2, 2001

I wanted to add: the nature of the site being unstructured has always been something that made it different. The shared space has a big influence on everyone's activity and I don't think people are acknowledging that.

I'll say that more than 40 threads a day are far too many for a person to read them all. Most people share this, and reduce their posting after really big days (unless there is a giant news event). Adding categories and filtering wouldn't have the same impact, because people could filter their heavy days down to 10-20 threads, and it's possible things could go in the other direction as they post just as much as before (because 10-20 for them doesn't seem like a lot).

Does anyone see what I'm getting at here? We all have an impact here, especially on the front page. Categories and filtering offer a way to reduce the feedback that your impact is negatively affecting the rest of the userbase. Another example: say I'm a green party crank who never drives a car, only uses solar power and is a militant vegetarian. I join MetaFilter and start posting up a storm. Now, in the old days of MetaFilter, I'd stick out like a sore thumb. People would say "jeez, TreeHugger43, another post about alternative energy sources?" With categories, people would be less inclined to say anything, as they could block all threads in that category, and the category could be a place where people like my ficticious TreeHugger43 could flourish.

I'm saying that peer review starts to go out the window when the peers leave.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:03 AM on November 2, 2001

One more thing about subcommunities. For the past year, I've heard a lot of praise for metafilter is due to the wide range of topics discussed. You never know what you're going to get. You come here, and on the same page you might hear about something happening in northern ireland, a new arcade game released, speculation about legal battles involving software companies, and someone that likes to dress up as a gorilla and jump on strangers. I don't want to segregate or funnel anyone into places they like, I want everyone exposed to everything.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:08 AM on November 2, 2001

I think that categories would definetly fragment the population here. I remember towards the end of Dreamless' life, the discussion was split up into 10 or 12 different categories, and while there were the dreamless "personalities" who had input everywhere, there were definetly different subcommunities that formed inside certain categories. They didn't really spill over into other parts of the site, and you never even knew some people existed until you happened to wander into another thread in another category one day.

I think it would make the site that much harder to keep up with, and that much harder for you to regulate, unless it was displayed in the way the MetaTalk categories are currently displayed. If everything were still mushed together like MeTa, you wouldn't have to click click click around to moderate the place, but people would still limit their view to the categories they're interested in, causing said fragmentation.
posted by tomorama at 10:08 AM on November 2, 2001

One of the things I like about MeFi is that I sometimes end up clicking on links that I would never have thought I'd be interested in. If there were a technology catergory, I'd probably ignore it; but the way it is now on the front page there are times when before I know it, I'm clicking on a technology link and BAM! I learn a little something. Categories are too limiting, IMO.
posted by witchstone at 10:26 AM on November 2, 2001

I thought categories were a good idea because they seemed to be the best technical solution to a problem people seemed to be worried about. I don't have a grand version of MeFi and I'm kind of surprised my opinion seemed to provoke such a large response - if they don't happen that's fine by me, and I apologise for pushing too far.

There's this "social engineering" (intended as a neutral phrase) side to the project that I have consistently failed to "get" - I find the whole peer pressure (or community spirit or whatever) thing a bit unpleasant, which might help explain my focussing on a technical solution. But that's my problem, not yours ;-)

posted by andrew cooke at 10:31 AM on November 2, 2001

Andrew, you weren't pushing things too far, I just wanted to correct you for saying no one mentioned filtering, and explain further my reasons.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:46 AM on November 2, 2001

"i am coming to the conclusion that the only way metafilter will improve..."

Improve it why??? You don't like it?

It's great the way it is. Let's not wreck the place with our typical American insistance that things be New! and Improved!
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:58 AM on November 2, 2001

i'm glad you love the flame wars, the vendettas, and the news spam y6. oddly, my opinion differs from yours.
damn my Ugly American genes.
posted by moz at 11:07 AM on November 2, 2001

Wow. Matt is wise.
posted by Marquis at 11:16 AM on November 2, 2001

"i'm glad you love the flame wars, the vendettas, and the news spam y6."

Ha! That was very clever.

Clearly I don't love those things - I love Metafilter. What I hear you saying is, "Boy, wouldn't Metafilter be better without the flame wars, the vendettas, and the news spam?"

Well, I don't think it would be. It's not the content of Metafilter that keeps us coming back, it's the community. The character, the personality, the rough edges, the people. If we just wanted news and links, there are other less annoying ways to find those.

The struggle and aggravation is part of the charm. It's part of the reason we buy into the thing and keep coming back. Metafilter is real. Not computer generated, not moderated, not diluted. Just people from all over the world stuffed in a room together, shown the house rules and asked to make themselves at home.

Given that format I think we're surprisingly well behaved. And productive. And entertaining. And informative.

For me, Metafilter is more than just good links and polite discussion. I think that once you try and fit it into that box you lose what's best. I don't buy the "We need to save Metafilter" arguments. The warnings that Metafilter is going to hell have been going on since I got here. Very little has changed in that year and a half, and the place just keeps getting better.

"I really like Metafilter, but we need to make it better." - A perfect way to ruin something good.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:54 AM on November 2, 2001

ok, y6. the next time my neighbor blasts his music awfully loud, i'll simply nod my head and accept his colorful contribution to my humble community.
posted by moz at 12:20 PM on November 2, 2001

Ha! That was very clever.

But when did we start talking about your neighbors? They're your problem. You can do whatever you want about that. We were talking about adding category based posting so people could only read the stuff they liked.

I understand you're trying to make some "community" analogy, I just don't get it. My point was that a community weblog can benefit from some rough edges. I certainly don't think rude neighbors are a good thing. Is that what you thought I meant? Do you not see the difference between people who must physically live next to each other every day, and a text based dialog between people who will never meet?
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:54 PM on November 2, 2001


what i do not see the difference between is being subjected to behavior which i find rude and inappropriate. on the one hand, i have a neighbor who plays his music much too loud; on the other, i have a neighbor on metafilter who insists on posting what i consider to be the text equivalent of noise. the issue is that in both cases, the only way to stop the noise which i am subjected to is to say something. clearly, you don't consider rude neighbors in real life to compare much with rude neighbors on metafilter; that being the case, perhaps we should simply agree to disagree.
posted by moz at 1:29 PM on November 2, 2001

Well, yes we certainly disagree, nothing wrong with that. And if I keep pressing my point it's because I feel so many people are avoiding the obvious in the "how do we make it better" crusade. That being:

"being subjected to behavior which i find rude and inappropriate."

No one is subjecting you to this. In fact you continue to make conscious choices and actions to be part of it. Perhaps you even bought an ad to support it. You keep clicking on the bookmark, reloading the page, contributing to the conversation, etc. You keep doing it. Day after day. You need your Metafilter fix. You invest too much time in it. You choose to do it.

(I'm saying "you", but I don't mean to single out moz, who I respect, I'm really referring to the general MeFi user. You knew that. Nevermind.)

I would lobby you that if all (or even most) discussions were polite Miss Manners approved affairs, without the passionate personality conflicts and occasional stupid topic, we wouldn't like it as much.

I would lobby you that if Matt started deleting every thread that someone thought was noise, and started banning people who repeatedly got angry and rude, we'd beg him to return things to normal.

If your Metafilter neighbors are so noisy and rude, why do you keep coming back? Just admit it - You love the place. We change it and we risk peril.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:29 PM on November 2, 2001

Matt: from what you say, choose-on-post categories are a Bad Thing (TM) because of the potential for sub-communities. I agree.

How about Neale's suggestion of retro-categorization for XML/archive purposes? If you personally didn't have to do the work and someone/group of someones who you trusted could, would you think that valuable (eg I could offer more targetted TextAds)?
posted by walrus at 4:21 PM on November 2, 2001

You know starvos' point above is something I hadn't noticed in my activity here.

Hey! My post about that here precedes his by 6 1/2 hours!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and reasoning on categories, Matt. I was very pro-categories before, and now I don't think I am, at least in the direct implementation usually discussed.

Hey! I changed my mind!
posted by rushmc at 7:29 PM on November 2, 2001

Ideally, I would like for MetaFilter to be arranged into two categories: "things webmutant is interested in" and "things that suck." Can you take care of that for me, Neale?
posted by webmutant at 8:47 PM on November 2, 2001

Can you take care of that for me, Neale?

<bfl>It's already been done</bfl>
posted by Neale at 11:29 PM on November 2, 2001

Okay, as categorisation on MeFi is not going to happen, and one know enough about XML to categorise feeds OFF metafilter.

IE. have a DB outside of MeFi that lists post ID & category fields, and then filters the XML feed by that?
posted by Neale at 11:34 PM on November 2, 2001

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