Random Posts December 3, 2006 12:47 PM   Subscribe

I think "random post" buttons for both AskMe and MeFi would be awesome. You would click on them and they would take you to a completely random post in their respective sections. They would function a lot like the "random article" link on Wikipedia. Not to mention - they'd be perfect for our ADD society.

Anyone with me?
posted by matkline to Feature Requests at 12:47 PM (37 comments total)

This sounds like a great HEY LET'S GO RIDE BIKES.
posted by boo_radley at 12:49 PM on December 3, 2006 [2 favorites]

Excellent idea! Something like this:
I'm Feeling Snarky
posted by meehawl at 12:58 PM on December 3, 2006

Awww, preview-> post strips the button tag - not fair!
posted by meehawl at 12:59 PM on December 3, 2006

I love it. In fact, I'd like a button that would show you a page with one random post from each section. Oooooooh, juxtaposilicious!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:06 PM on December 3, 2006

Rats. I thought you were going to propose a button that would post in random threads. That would be cool.
posted by bonehead at 1:07 PM on December 3, 2006

[I'm feeling stoned]
posted by bonehead at 1:08 PM on December 3, 2006

I like this.
posted by dhammond at 1:09 PM on December 3, 2006

isn't the site random enough already?
posted by matteo at 1:12 PM on December 3, 2006

No, you stink!
posted by Plutor at 1:19 PM on December 3, 2006

Great idea!

I was also going to suggest that, along with the posts each day, Matt include a random post from the past, posted right there on the front page along with the others perhaps with a special font/color - "Originally posted on [date]:"
posted by vacapinta at 1:43 PM on December 3, 2006

I love it for MeFi, not so sure for AskMe, as I have a feeling it might generate more random answers from people who have no business contributing. But I'm currently in a cranky mood, so I may be overestimating the risk of such a thing.
posted by occhiblu at 1:56 PM on December 3, 2006

Contributing to that particular AskMe thread, I meant; didn't mean to imply that I thought there were people who shouldn't be contributing at all.
posted by occhiblu at 1:57 PM on December 3, 2006

What about our OCD society?
posted by hal9k at 2:02 PM on December 3, 2006

Sorry, I was a way for a minute. Again: What about our OCD society?
posted by hal9k at 2:03 PM on December 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

Random MeFi post

Random AskMeFi post

Warning: Finds deleted posts too.
posted by Mwongozi at 2:16 PM on December 3, 2006 [16 favorites]

I'd like a button that would show you a page with one random post from each section.

Please don't give crack to innocent hamsters.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:30 PM on December 3, 2006

Oh, neat Mwongozi! I would love to see something like this integrated into the site.
posted by LeeJay at 2:46 PM on December 3, 2006

so i chuckled and murmured feliz navidad to the duckbilled platypus on my way past the stovepipe and futon.
posted by quonsar at 2:54 PM on December 3, 2006

No, you stink!

Well I used a toilet the other day, nothing unusual in that, I did a big poo in it, still not so unusual. Before I could flush, this tiny tiny man wearing a fedora popped up and told me that I'd just had a foul tasting shit. Weird, I had always assumed they all tasted like that. Most irregular.
posted by econous at 3:15 PM on December 3, 2006

When the entrance is defined that way, of course it does.
posted by cgc373 at 4:16 PM on December 3, 2006

"I love it. In fact, I'd like a button that would show you a page with one random post from each section. Oooooooh, juxtaposilicious!"

How about a button that will show you a random FPP, and then the same number of comments as that FPP had, only those comments will be pulled at random from other threads.
"Kitten Savers.com: A site dedicated to saving kittens from being put to sleep, and then documenting the process with tons of cute pictures." (16 comments total)

"Fuck you you fucking Nazi asshole, and fuck your agenda of hate."

"Flagged as NewsFilter."

"Has anyone seen my pants? It's time to feed my fish."

"But what your FPP neglects is the effects that the Crimean war had on Post-Industrial England. The economic climate at that time was fairly stagnant, causing a great deal of the strife behind what your FPP deals with. You're doing a disservice to history by neglecting to mention it."


"is it caturday already?"

"self-lubricating cheeseburger"

"Slash's dick wouldn't fit into those pants."

"There's going to be a lot of bloodlust over this, lots of "Boy am I glad that fucker's dead", and raucous applause and cheerleading about the whole thing. But just because the guy's a total bastard who probably does deserve the death penalty more than just about anyone else in the history of evil doesn't make the death penalty right. If you believe that executions by the state are wrong, you must believe they are wrong even in the most apparently justified circumstances."

"is it caturday already?"

"This reminds me of a time at work when a coworker was TRYING to cite Murphy's Law, but ended up naming Occam's Razor instead. Which led me to invent (of course) Murphy's Razor. 'All things being equal, the simplest explanation is that whatever could go wrong, did.' It really does explain everything."

"This is so terrible, I pulled out my credit card and bought a membership to MeFi, just so I could say how terrible it is. That's right: five dollars of terrible."

"I guess it's no longer caturday."

"I've read this whole thread, and I wish I hadn't."

"Well, I read all the posts present. It was unpleasant to read because I find her to be a very unsympathetic narrator. I'm very ambivalent about that.

One of the things that I had a lot of trouble processing when I worked in rape crisis many years ago was that while it was the case that I think the majority of women in our society have been the victims of some sort of sexual violence, there's a minority of women who have been assaulted many, many times under different circumstances. And, of course, there's the minority of women who've never been assaulted at all (by which I mean those who probably truly haven't been assaulted and not including those who are in denial or just failed to recognize it). The latter category tend to have a very rosy view of things. The minority who've been attacked many times have a very, very dark view of things.

But what explains the differences? It's not only socioeconomic, though that plays a large role. Frequent victims from and in much more privileged subcultures exist, too. And we should include in this battered women.

One should not and rationally cannot blame the victim for their assault. The reason should be clear to anyone who takes seriously the problems of moral philosophy and right action, whether or not they recognize their interest as such. What's clear is that an assailant is a person possessing choice and moral capacity who is just as responsible for his actions when he assaults a convenient victims as when he assaults an inconvenient victim. So, to be clear, I'm not blaming the victim for their assault.

But once you've known a frequent victim, and known more than one frequent victim, you begin to sense a pathology. They are convenient victims. More than that, it almost seems like they choose to be convenient victims. Almost, though, is a key word because "choice" is not so black-and-white.

And of course the obvious answer that will surprise no one reading this is that many of these frequent victims, at least, are conditioned to it. Just like so many of us, including myself, find that we have deeply-ingrained habits in our personal choices and in relationships that continue to cause us grief, yet we keep making those bad decisions. We do this because, at some deep level in our subconscious, we prefer the devil we know to the devil we don't.

I think the reason that I find personal narratives of a victim's view of the universe so deeply unsympathetic is because I think they are entrenching rather than empowering. The victim's view is in some sense comforting. It's just barely possible that this writer has been a meek and cheery person who has never in her life complained to anyone about how the deck has been so badly stacked against her and was unwilling to even recognize it herself. If so, then this narrative is empowering. But if this is just a more public version of mantra of complaints that she's been repeating in her head for most of her life, then it's just another step along that path and no real change.

It's also the case that in addition to the habitual victim frequently finding themselves in situations where they are assaulted, they also (understandably, though falsely) begin to view everyone through a very cynical lens. This undermines them in two ways. First, it overstates their weak position and encourages their sense of helplessness. Second, it discourages potential (or indeed, former) allies as they are mistaken for enemies. I think there are at least two possible examples in her narrative of this. First, while the psychology is obvious behind why her vaginal injury takes on a great symbolic importance representing the misogyny she's experienced—so much so, she frames her narrative around it—the truth is that it was an accident with no one at fault and her lover not the least an assailant, symbolic or otherwise. Occasionally maladroit, yes. An assailant, no. She also sees her doctor as an assaulting male—a conclusion possibly correct but based upon her presentation I have my doubts. For that matter, there's also the example of the writer she dubs "Willy Wonka". Supposedly her friend and ally, he too spurns her.

Of course her narrative wouldn't have the force it has if it had more shades of grey. But that brings forth the question of what the narrative is for. If it exists to have dramatic impetus in its own right, then what's included and ignored only has to obey the dictates of its aesthetics. On the other hand, if this narrative is intended to be useful to herself, then shades of grey for a person who's long lived in a world of black-and-white might be more effective. And lest you claim that her live has been shades of grey, I think the proof otherwise is that it has been a life coccooned within the comic book universe of heroes and villains. Just the universe she understands best.

At any rate, the thing is, you can't really change other people. This blog may well have some positive influence on what is undoubtedly a very sexist comic industry. But she's left the industry. Whatever change she initiates won't affect her own life very much. Somehow, she has to overcome the conditioning of her childhood and the years of habituation to learn to see the world a different way and to live a different life. That won't make misogyny go away, sadly, but it will equip her better to deal with it and protect herself.

I've found that I can't deal very well with this type of personality. Well, actually, I can deal very well with them in limited, clinical situations. In that context I can keep my intellectual comprehension of the matter at the fore, be the most helpful person to the other person as possible, and then disengage. Longer term contact, or personal contact in my private life, however, my own emotions come to the forefront. And those emotions are mostly frustration and sadness that, sadly, easily mutate into contempt. Because you can't say "please, just try changing these few things and see what happens" over and over and over without result before becoming angry. Well, I can't.

I had a partner who, for a short time, really looked to be plunging into an addiction problem. I'd dated recovering addicts before—I found their self-control reassuring. This was the only time I've experienced someone starting to spin out-of-control. And it terrified me. Worse, I realized instantly that I simply did not have the mindset that would allow me to stick around to help. I realized immediately that I had zero-tolerance, which shocked the hell out of me. I think of myself as loving and generous—other people think of me as loving and generous. But, no. And this was deeply appalling and shameful to me because to be brutally honest, I'm a fucked-up person myself and I'm grateful beyond measure for those people who've stayed by my side even though my ability to change habits has been incremental and very, very slow. I have no right to be impatient. Yet I am.

In the end, it makes me terribly sad to think of all the people out there for whom their lives are long strings of misery. And there's so many of them. While the proximate causes may in many cases be first causes and at the very least aggravating, I don't have a lot of confidence that eliminating most of them will eliminate all such unhappiness. My observation has been that happiness is only loosely coupled to environment. It may be telling that while I have a number of objections to stoicism, when my father was going through a particularly bad period I sent him a copy of Epictetus's Discourses. Ultimately, I think the only true power we have is over ourselves.

At any rate, I hope y'all will excuse such a long comment, even for me. Her blog raised a lot of issues and I know I'm not the only person who will read it and be unsympathetic even though we recognize that validity of her complaints."

"Eideteker, for the second day in a row I woke up to look at the flag queue only to find that you've been fucking with the site again. Take some time off, this is not your personal playground."
posted by Eideteker at 4:44 PM on December 3, 2006 [5 favorites]

(And I guess that SuperComment makes a fun guessing game for those of you who weighed in in this thread. You can check your guesses with the Google/Yahoo! site search.)
posted by Eideteker at 4:49 PM on December 3, 2006

Elaborating on Mwongozi's contribution: Pick a random page lets you choose which section you want a page from: The blue, the green, the grey, or any of them. You can also go straight to a randomly-chosen page by hand-rolling your own pseudo-Get field. Link to http://www.cloudiness.com/surplus/mefirandom.php?s= and append one of the following: mefi, ask, talk, or any. For example, a link to ask mefi.

Warnings: Site is slightly broken in MSIE. And it has a DNS problem so you might not reach it. And the page search is braindead, so it won't see any more pages than what's been added this evening, and it can't even tell a valid page from a deleted or nonexistent one. If there's any interest I will try to fix one or more of these problems tonight.
posted by ardgedee at 5:01 PM on December 3, 2006

Eideteker, that was too awesome to not comment on. Truly caused me to laugh to tears. Brilliant.
posted by Iamtherealme at 5:07 PM on December 3, 2006

Metafilter: Perfect for our ADD society.
posted by Miko at 7:12 PM on December 3, 2006

That's ACES. I've been known to spend hours with Everything2's random node link.
posted by duffell at 7:40 PM on December 3, 2006

This is really easy to do. Take the latest current post in the blue: http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/56696
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:56 PM on December 3, 2006

(Hit post too soon) So now just delete numbers from the end, or change numbers at random. Unless you've memorized all the FPPs by number, you have, essentially a random FPP generator. You can do the same with comments.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:57 PM on December 3, 2006

I like this idea a lot. Super.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:12 PM on December 3, 2006

Beetle's Law: Any sufficiently random comments inserted into any random thread are indistinguishable from reality.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:36 PM on December 3, 2006

I would like a button that inserted the Treaty of Westphalia into a random currently open thread.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:50 PM on December 3, 2006

I suggested this ages ago. MY PONY. MINE@! HANDS OFF!@
posted by loquacious at 12:41 AM on December 4, 2006

This is a marginally1 better idea than tags on metatalk. Well done. I shall stand you a pint.

posted by econous at 3:32 AM on December 4, 2006

I don't really have much to say about this, but I spent like 10 minutes writing a program to randomly format a post, and damned if I'm not going to use it.
posted by delmoi at 8:33 AM on December 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

Okay, I added the sub and sup tags. It's especially intresting when you get sub and sup
posted by delmoi at 8:41 AM on December 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

Look delmoi, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.
posted by econous at 11:52 AM on December 4, 2006

I'm sorry econous, but I can't allow you to quote that.

Daisy, daisy...
posted by oxford blue at 6:53 PM on December 4, 2006

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