Tags, You're It! February 4, 2008 1:31 AM   Subscribe

One-link, one-or-two-word MeFi posts bugging you? We've had a few lately. Maybe it would help to display the tags on the front page.

Now this is progress.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:26 PM - n comments (n new) +
tags: onion tearlessonion
Even when there's [more inside], a lot of us want more info before we click to the comment thread.

Coil [more inside]
posted by juv3nal at 12:24 AM - n comments +
tags: flags game exploration coil


The Sound of Music War [more inside]
posted by hadjiboy at 9:28 PM - n comments +
tags: Propaganda Radio Broadcasting News War


Yes, sometimes, it still won't be enough...

Today is the Day.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:12 PM - n comments (n new) +
tags: blog istheday foam art


...but then, could ANYTHING have explained that one?

Sometimes, it would even provide useful additional info to longer posts...

It's hard to believe that, back before the Internet but after the first edition of Dungeons of Dragons, there was a time when we had no easy way to pool the world's knowledge of evolutionary biology, lizard genetics, Pern, and martians to answer that most pressing question: should male RPG fans draw female humanoids descended from dragons with ginormous racks, or without?
posted by ntk at 8:46 PM - n comments (n new) +
tags: forum flamewar dragon dungeonsanddragons


Yes, for a majority of posts, it would be redundant, and it's dependent on the Original Poster's quality of tagging. To minimize clutter, I'd say limit it to the first 3 - 5 tags, and I don't think there is a need for the tags to be links to anything...

Still, I think the idea has more pluses than minuses (otherwise I wouldn't have gone to the trouble of posting this, duh.) and may have the added benefit of prompting some posters to make more useful tags, or put into tags info that otherwise might make a wordier post. I await your judgement.
posted by wendell to Feature Requests at 1:31 AM (151 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Or, a little checkbox "[x] This is a short link" on the post creation page, and then a profile option "[x] Show short links".
Or make a minimum # of characters mandatory.

Either way, it will wendell.
(sorry)
posted by slater at 1:38 AM on February 4, 2008


Sorry, wendell, but the tags are way too ugly to be allowed to take up precious front-page screen real estate. You have to click to the whole post from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by cgc373 at 1:46 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I disagree, as it doesn't bug me if the link is worthwhile (subjective, I know). Lots bothers me on the site, I just figure it's par for the course. My proclamation of admiration for Geo W Bush was about the ugliest mess I've encountered in ten rough and tumble years on the nets, the Godwin sidebar seriously hurt me soul and humiliated me (Hitler=neo cons in 08? come on.)
But as I am a pretty liberal, possibly bi-sexual, Buddhist-Xtian with a beautiful g/f, an melancholic alcoholic pill=popping cosmopolitan redneck who;s lived in a dozen countries on 5 continents, with a (mostly) loving large family and a clear view of the forest, I see these things as incidental to the good I find here.

Not preaching, just responding to yr question.

Of course mayhaps I've missed the point you make, but, for the most part, 97% of the FPP I enjoy, 12% enthrall me, a few I adore, and the ones I find weak I flag, or don't, and move on.


all that said, tags on front page sound like a nifty concept, howbeit one that the powers that be won't go for in my opinion. grease script anyone?
posted by dawson at 1:52 AM on February 4, 2008


No.
tags: badidea uglydesign cluttered readthecommentsfirst
posted by Plutor at 1:54 AM on February 4, 2008 [9 favorites]


I adore the idea of somehow emphasizing tags. The first 3-5 tags limit sounds good, too; however, many "netizens" use obscure and not-so-useful key words/phrases. Folks researching or double-checking threads or queries face redundancy issues or, at the very least, miss opportunities for further research.
posted by bonobo at 1:57 AM on February 4, 2008


One-link, one-or-two-word MeFi posts bugging you?

Nope. Next "problem"?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:14 AM on February 4, 2008




Sorry, wendell, but the tags are way too ugly to be allowed to take up precious front-page screen real estate. What about some sort of Mouse Over acrion on the tags
posted by mattoxic at 2:23 AM on February 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


While I know you mean "action" and it's a typo, mattoxic, acrion is the word for the emoticon I wish to employ in order to emphasize how strongly my sadness would escape and pervade the blue and gray backgrounds of the styled sites, and how impossible and ineffable my wordless, mute, unrendered dismay might spill itself, unseen in the whiteness of the plain theme. Please allow tags to remain unseen unless sought by seekers; please read Plutor's comment; please, wendell, never speak of this monstrous invasion again, or acrion will result, and elegance fall.
posted by cgc373 at 2:28 AM on February 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


Jeez, I need an editor and a real job.
posted by cgc373 at 2:30 AM on February 4, 2008


One-link, one-or-two-word MeFi posts bugging you?

Not really, no.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:32 AM on February 4, 2008


You and me both, cgc373...
posted by wendell at 2:33 AM on February 4, 2008


You know what bugs me? Ants. Little fuckers just have too much energy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:58 AM on February 4, 2008


too much energy

And persistence. We have those little tiny black ants in my Portland basement apartment, and they're like the original Terminator. They will not stop, ever, until, what, we're dead? I don't even know what the li'l fuckers want. Food? Isn't there more food, better food, somewhere else? Somewhere not near my mattress or my newly-washed socks?
posted by cgc373 at 3:17 AM on February 4, 2008


no
posted by parmanparman at 3:29 AM on February 4, 2008


cgc373: This is a job for
peanutbutter cat ant exterminate extermination exterminator veterinarian bath groomer groom bath blood bleed littertoes infect infection die death
posted by bonobo at 3:42 AM on February 4, 2008


ants
posted by wendell at 3:52 AM on February 4, 2008


> Metadazzle overfizzle.

Each post on the homepage already features:
  • Brief
  • Credit
  • Datestamp
  • Timestamp
  • Comment count
  • New comment count (for members)
  • Continuity link
  • Favorites button (for members)
The only things missing are post title, tags, the member comments and their metadata.

Kottke's got a good, concise argument against creeping featurism, but I don't think it applies here. There's already a ton of generated data attached to each post that's not rousing anybody's ire. That said, if I have an objection to showing tags on the homepage it's that when the OP can't be bothered to write a decent post, they usually can't be bothered to add useful tags either. The well-written posts don't need the metadata displayed. It's a wash.
posted by ardgedee at 4:01 AM on February 4, 2008


We have those little tiny black ants

Our fire ants eat your blacks for breakfast and then use the dead carcasses to build their massive mounds on the front lawns.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:02 AM on February 4, 2008


One-link, one-or-two-word MeFi posts bugging you?

Nope.
posted by signal at 4:14 AM on February 4, 2008


One-link, one-or-two-word MeFi posts bugging you?

Not one bit.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:14 AM on February 4, 2008


You know what really bugs me? Control freaks who must have everything their own way.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:16 AM on February 4, 2008


Kottke's got a good, concise argument against creeping featurism, but I don't think it applies here.

The last time this kind of thing came up, and I linked to that Kottke thing (or Matt did, I can't remember), we had considerably less cruft on each post than we do now. I would say that it precisely applies here, and that much as Matt has made an effort to keep things simple, we're still accumulating gewgaws and gadgets, and if it's not really absolutely totally necessary, maybe it's better to keep a lid on it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:18 AM on February 4, 2008


Surely...
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:26 AM on February 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


⇒ardgedee: "There's already a ton of generated data attached to each post that's not rousing anybody's ire."

No one's complaining about 8 pieces of data in a post, make it 10! No complaints about 10? Make it 12! 18! 30! The insidiousness of creeping featurism is because each feature seems like a good idea and worth adding and no big deal if we just add this one thing.
posted by Plutor at 4:31 AM on February 4, 2008


Smart Dalek, did you find that guy by searching YouTube for "wendell," or do you know him, or what? That guy is a) a total fucking sex machine, I don't mind saying; and b) hot hot HAWT; and c) solidly harmonically delicious. If that were posted in Music, I would favorite it one million times and add it to a playlist posthaste, but as is, I'm favoring YOU, SD. For you have shown me the way.
posted by cgc373 at 4:35 AM on February 4, 2008


Creping featurist control freak ants are eating my posts!!!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:35 AM on February 4, 2008


Uh, that's creeping... though they might be creping, too. Wouldn't put it past them.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:36 AM on February 4, 2008


flapjax at midnite, you must click that YouTube link, and please critique.
posted by cgc373 at 4:39 AM on February 4, 2008


Tata nano thread:

Tata
TataMotors
TataNano
Nano
Chery
CheryQQ
QQ
automobile
car
cars
auto
autos
automotive
automobiles
transportation
transit
cheap
inexpensive
India
Indian
China
Chinese
globalization
industry
??
gas
petrol
gasoline
oil
prices
bhopal
corporatecrime
microcar
microcars
vehicle
vehicles
tiny
small
minis
micros
gasprices
driving
fuel

I have a feeling that we shouldn't put all of them in the front page. Actually I'm fine with none of them in the front page.
posted by ersatz at 4:51 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I often ignore mystery-meat posts, unless they're from a poster I know. It's a posting style that I don't care for; I think it's generally selfish, putting the poster's desire to be 'cool' ahead of the reader's need to sort out what's interesting in minimal time. It is, I believe, slightly rude.

That said, however, it strikes me that code changes to Metafilter to prevent a particular stylistic choice would be entirely inappropriate.

Besides, it won't work. If someone wants to be mysterious, they'll still be able to, simply by not tagging or mis-tagging their posts. It doesn't prevent mystery, and the rest of the time we have to suffer with extra clutter.

It's not a good goal to begin with, and your solution doesn't accomplish it anyway, so.... well, no. It's a bad idea.
posted by Malor at 4:52 AM on February 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


I've suggested this before in previous discussions of opaque posts, but I've since accepted the fact that I'm sometimes going to miss good stuff because I don't click into posts that don't look interesting from the front page. If it was really good, there's always a chance I'll pick it up on one of my occasional visits to the popular tab, or it might make the podcast.
posted by teleskiving at 4:58 AM on February 4, 2008


...and please critique.

I'm flattered that you've asked for my critique, cgc373, so here goes: as far as your points a) and b), well, that kinda stuff is in the eye of the beholder, but point c)... my man's got about one flashy trick on that harp (those speedy little runs) and boy does he overuse it. And it ain't even that good a trick in the first place. IMHO, that fellow's got a long way to go til he's making some music. Now, I'm not dissing your taste, and if that guy's playing moved you, OK, all well and good, cause being moved is good, but I'd also say when it comes to blues harp, check out some of the greats. Say, Sonny Boy Williamson, for starters.

It's also worth mentioning here that Sonny Boy was staunchly opposed to creeping featurism. His "You're a Creeping Featurist Baby" (Chess Records 22935, released 1959) is one of the classics of the genre.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:00 AM on February 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


Also, it's perhaps insufferable of me to say this but you could make a point of seeing every annoyingly mysterious post as a reminder that you don't need to know everything. That's certainly something I could stand to be reminded of more often.
posted by teleskiving at 5:03 AM on February 4, 2008


I respect and accept the judgment of the vast majority of commenters here, that I should leave the tags alone and learn to play the harmonica, but I am still proud to call myself a "creeping featurist". And an ant killer.
posted by wendell at 5:07 AM on February 4, 2008


It's a posting style that I don't care for; I think it's generally selfish, putting the poster's desire to be 'cool' ahead of the reader's need to sort out what's interesting in minimal time. It is, I believe, slightly rude.

See, I use to think this also, but have come to think that for some posts, it can work well. I'll click on these types of posts more often now, with the neat result being more neat things to see, so it's a win.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:17 AM on February 4, 2008


This would be a neat option to have.

This will Greasemonkey?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:27 AM on February 4, 2008


please stop posting you tube links too.
posted by monkeyJuice at 5:27 AM on February 4, 2008


Smart Dalek, did you find that guy by searching YouTube for "wendell," or do you know him, or what?

Don't know him, but I do have a lot of music in my collection. :)
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:29 AM on February 4, 2008


Yeah, okay, thanks, Smart Dalek and flapjax at midnite. I guess when I see a bunch of unrecognizable people standing around with musical instruments in a YouTube video, my expectations drop to near-zero, and when those expectations are exceeded, I lose my sense of proportion. This guy Wendell Ray probably isn't even as good as that Blues Traveler guy, who I don't much like in the first place, but goddam I had fun on the viewin'. (Plus, HAWT.)
posted by cgc373 at 5:40 AM on February 4, 2008


Hasn't this same exact topic been discussed before? Too bad we don't have MetaTalk tags.
posted by smackfu at 6:24 AM on February 4, 2008


Do people actually read MeFi from the front page, and not an RSS reader?
posted by Eideteker at 6:26 AM on February 4, 2008


One-link, one-or-two-word MeFi posts bugging you?

Not really.

One of the things that I think works well about the tags is that people can sort of use them to do whatever they want, and eyt still there more or less functional for avoiding double posts and finding like posts on similar topics. This would not be true if they were on the front page. If they were on the front page, I think more people would critique them (there's too many! they're too stupid! you forgot an important one!) or there would have to be a mess of editorial decisions about how they appeared on the front page (most popular tags only? first three or five only? shortest only? longest only) which, to me, would change the vibe of the front page into something that was more picked-by-moderators and less picked-by-users. Right now we have some people who add 20-30 tags and some people who add just a few.

If they appeared on the front page, the tags themselves would become part of what people thought of as part of "the post" and less of what people thought of as "the metadata" and I think that would not be a positive direction. Right now people can do pretty much what they want with the tags and that seems like a good thing. The occasional mystery post is teh sacrifice we make for that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:07 AM on February 4, 2008


What, you still use an RSS reader?

Oh man. That's some funny Luddite shit. I'm literally pissing my pants here. Literally. Wait I'll post this to my MSN Livespace brb
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:08 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, for a majority of posts, it would be redundant

Yes. It would be.

Even when there's [more inside], a lot of us want more info before we click to the comment thread.

Clicking anyway: really, really easy.

I'm not totally unsympathetic to the idea, I'm just almost totally unsympathetic. If someone tags badly, we have not solved anything and we have added a new variable-length thing to the front page, which isn't the end of the world or anything but doesn't seem desirable let alone necessary.

And, you know what? I miss hama7. Short, brief posts have been part of the mix of posts around here for years. The variety is nice. I'm inclined to just worry about the crappy posts and not dither too much over style choices where it doesn't somehow break the page.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:13 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Monkey Beans.
posted by tr33hggr at 7:36 AM on February 4, 2008


I just ignore mystery posts, unless they get a lot of comments, and then I figure it must be something gross/offensive, so I check it out.

I don't think you're losing much by just ignoring the cryptic little two-word posts.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:56 AM on February 4, 2008


How about we don't make crappy cryptic posts?
posted by Artw at 8:07 AM on February 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


Artw has it. There is no technical way to prevent people from making crappy cryptic posts; if a poster has decided to make a mystery meat post, there's no reason to think they're likely to include useful tags. The proposed move would be more likely to discourage tagging than provide useful information.
The bottom line is the admins don't delete these crappy cryptic posts, so either we're not complaining enough or we should just ignore them.
posted by nowonmai at 8:14 AM on February 4, 2008


Part of the problem—and I won't assume that this is what Artw meant, since his comment is pretty semantically ambiguous now that I look at it, but it's what I thought he meant and certainly what I think—is that cryptic posts aren't by definition crappy; it is those cryptic posts that are also, on the merits, crappy with which we're mostly concerned. Which is why we do generally delete the crappy cryptic posts, and the cryptic non-crappy posts generally stay. See also: non-cryptic posts, crappy and otherwise.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:23 AM on February 4, 2008


"What, you still use an RSS reader?"

Sorry, what I meant to say is that the tags would also need to be passed to RSS.
posted by Eideteker at 8:24 AM on February 4, 2008


If you fail to describe what you link is about then you post is crappy, I don't care how awesome the link is.
posted by Artw at 8:27 AM on February 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ants. Little fuckers just have too much energy.

Them! was on Turner this weekend. Best monster movie with Leonard Nimoy ever.
posted by mediareport at 8:28 AM on February 4, 2008


If you fail to describe what you link is about then you post is crappy, I don't care how awesome the link is.

See? Every once in a while that not-assuming thing works out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:37 AM on February 4, 2008


Damn kids, lawn, etc... They'll be thinking it's okay to write posts in TXT next.
posted by Artw at 8:43 AM on February 4, 2008


WEVS GR&PA
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:49 AM on February 4, 2008


I miss hama7.

Me too.

On topic: No.
posted by languagehat at 8:54 AM on February 4, 2008


I made a suggestion similar to this a while back. I liked this implementation the best.
posted by quin at 8:56 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


In a not-so-startling display of high-order hypocrisy, I skip over anything cryptic, off-topic, or jokey, and hold those who dare try to confuse my little brain in the kind of contempt I usually reserve for myself.
posted by breezeway at 9:13 AM on February 4, 2008


Hasn't this same exact topic been discussed before?

Yes, since about the year one.
posted by beagle at 9:16 AM on February 4, 2008


There is no technical way to prevent people from making crappy cryptic posts;

Yes, because as we know ...

In what may be the silliest poll ever taken, British women say Men Named Dave are Most Likely to be "Well Endowed". There's a whole "Top 10" and "Bottom 10" list of names... see how you stack up. The people who did the survey do this kind of thing for companies to get publicity. It works pretty well.


is infinitely better than ...

Coil

... because it has, you know, more words. Nevermind that the first one currently has no favorites, and the second one currently has 6.

More words = more better!
posted by Dave Faris at 9:37 AM on February 4, 2008


wendell posted "One-link, one-or-two-word MeFi posts bugging you? "

Drives we crazy when there is a big block of them on the front page, otherwise I've managed to suppress the annoyance of them like I have the people paying for a $1 item with a cheque. Mystery meaters have faith they are doing the right thing so they can't be reasoned out of that point of view anymore than a religious nutjob.

"Yes, for a majority of posts, it would be redundant, and it's dependent on the Original Poster's quality of tagging"

Mystery meat posts aren't accidental, they are the result of people thinking they are being oh so clever. If tags appeared on the front page mystery meaters would either skip tags all together (making their post even harder to search for) or the oh so cleverness would spill over to the tags.
posted by Mitheral at 9:57 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ants are so cool. (Click previous sentence for more information)
posted by grateful at 11:11 AM on February 4, 2008


"Coil - No clicking. Figure-out-how-to-interact minigame sequence." would have been a much better post than "Coil [more inside]".
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on February 4, 2008


Mystery meaters have faith they are doing the right thing so they can't be reasoned out of that point of view anymore than a religious nutjob.


"Coil - No clicking. Figure-out-how-to-interact minigame sequence." would have been a much better post than "Coil [more inside]".

Hey, if I'd known it would be upsetting enough to end up metatalked, I wouldn't have done that. If anyone with mod abilities wants to push the mi stuff to the front page, that's fine with me.
posted by juv3nal at 12:01 PM on February 4, 2008


Are dragons mammals? 'Cause otherwise, I don't get it.
posted by eamondaly at 12:12 PM on February 4, 2008


If the tags were put into the title="" attribute of the "XX comments" links from the front page to the FPPs themselves, they would be visible on mouse-over for most browsers (suck it, Opera), would not clutter up the front page, and would add some semantic information for Google and the like to pick up on.
posted by whir at 12:46 PM on February 4, 2008


I think the one-link mystery meat posters aren't necessarily saying that they're "oh-so-clever." I think they may just be counting on you to be more clever than you actually are.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:53 PM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sure, could be in which case they've/I've failed. I admit I'm not nearly clever enough to figure out whether a ny times link entitled "Now this is progress." or a blogspot link entitled "Today is the Day." is worth following.

I suppose I'm not clever enough to parse a Wall street journal + wikipedia link marking up 'So, do you do it? Is your significant other "one of them"? Is it catching? [more inside]' though honestly I didn't try. Though it sounds like the sort of breathless teaser I expect from local market American news shows.

I still don't know what any of those things are about because I just scroll on past. And maybe that's the idea. I've stopped trying to keep up with the cool kids a long time ago. Mystery meat selects against a portion of the readership seeing your post. Maybe it is offset by those who would not click if they knew what the link was about, no real way of telling I suppose.

Let's look at a post like empath's. He could have used the mystery meat link "Yes, We Can!"; however he added "Obama's words, set to music." and therefor people interested in the US election cycle and Obama specifically knew there might be something past the link that would interest them. His post as written is much better than the mystery meat version IMO.
posted by Mitheral at 1:41 PM on February 4, 2008


Are dragons mammals? 'Cause otherwise, I don't get it.

No, but RPG players (and various SFF participants) often consider mammary glands to be a symplesiomorphic character inherited from the last universal ancestor rather than a mammalian synapomorphy.

Translation: Anything could have cleavage. Anything.
posted by Tehanu at 1:47 PM on February 4, 2008


(FWIW I did click through to the more inside on the Coil one, but only because I thought it was about the band)
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on February 4, 2008


In days of yore, I made one-link "mystery meat' posts all the time. I didn't do it because I thought I was being clever. I did it as a reaction to the multi-link clusterfucks that people like y2karl were making. And the chatty, pandering, always-ending-in-a-question-mark style of Miguel. I also did it as a way to preclude any editorializing in the post. I wasn't doing it to be clever. It never occurred to me that people would actually avoid clicking on a link just based on the style in which the link was posted. But, whatever. You don't want to click em? Don't click em.

Some people need steak sauce on their steaks. It doesn't matter how good the quality of the beef is. They just need it.
posted by Dave Faris at 2:26 PM on February 4, 2008


Some people just want the word "steak" in their link to some steak. It's not really all that much to ask.
posted by Artw at 2:31 PM on February 4, 2008


For what it's worth, a look at my posting history will show I usually put some explanation into the posts. "Today is the Day" was the exception because, really, any explanation would sort of be futile and detract from the initial wtf-ness reaction.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:34 PM on February 4, 2008


I must admit, I'd have trouble knowing what else to do for that one as well.
posted by Artw at 2:46 PM on February 4, 2008


This reminds me that I'd sort of forgotten about the retrotagging project.
*Loads 10 Random Untagged Posts*
posted by tellurian at 2:57 PM on February 4, 2008


This reminds me that I'd sort of forgotten about the retrotagging project.

Yeah I was going to make an update post about that real soon now, we're nearly 75% there.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:02 PM on February 4, 2008


You should do what google does, and turn the task into a game.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:11 PM on February 4, 2008


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America writes: I don't think you're losing much by just ignoring the cryptic little two-word posts.

Hmmm, maybe. At any rate, I've found that just ignoring the little comments by the little six-word usernamers is generally a good idea. ;-)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:11 PM on February 4, 2008


Hasn't this same exact topic been discussed before?
Yes, since about the year one.

beagle - Yes, since about the year zero.
posted by tellurian at 3:14 PM on February 4, 2008


Tags should be on the front page. Not ALL the tags of every post -- that would get really ugly really fast -- but certainly some. One line of extra small text per post. It would be soooooooo useful.

Ideally, the most relevant tags would go out front, but since there's already some code-a-majigger that makes the "most used" tags bigger on the tags pages, maybe those ones could be front-paged. Or perhaps it would be easiest to just skim out the first few tags of the post until so many characters are used up.

Maybe it should be a GreaseMonkey script that some frustrated user does up, since the mods don't seem to care enough.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:42 PM on February 4, 2008


If they want my tags on the front page, they're gonna have to pry 'em from my cold, dead hands.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:49 PM on February 4, 2008


Maybe it should be a GreaseMonkey script that some frustrated user does up, since the mods don't seem to care enough.

Well, I think we look at it this way. Things that some users want a lot and other users do NOT want a lot, that don't gain tremendous utility by having everyone use them, are better off as Greasemonkey scripts. This, to me, is one of those things. For an opposing example another feature we talked about recently, the "follow up from the orignal asker" highlighting feature option is something that really only becomes useful to the site if it's a site feature, not if some people use it as a GM script.

If you have something built into the site that shows the "most used" tags on the front page it's an editorial decision even though it might not be a bad one. It also subtly preferences those tags, making other people more likely to use them and allowing people to think "this what the site is about" just by looking at the tags on the front page. This is just my personal opinion, but I think that's a bad move.

I think this thread has shown that a lot of people think tags on the front page isn't such a great idea. Therefore, it might be a good idea for a Greasemonkey script. This has very little to do with caring about the idea of tags on the front page, and more to do with a considered decision that it seems to not be a great idea as a new site feature.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:50 PM on February 4, 2008


Sys Rq, you are completely neglecting acrion. Does the idea of acrion mean nothing to you? Would you provoke the baby jesus like this? I mean, really, tags on the front page? If I had a <BIG> tag right now, oooh, would there be some trouble.
posted by cgc373 at 4:57 PM on February 4, 2008


Oooh, isn't baby jesus a sockpuppet? Is it yours, jessamyn? Can you include acrion in its vocabulary from now on?
posted by cgc373 at 4:59 PM on February 4, 2008


(Didn't mean to imply, jessamyn, that you all are apathetic, just that you aren't all OHNOES!!!!1! about the mystery-click issue.)

Anyway, I guess tags on the front page could also very probably compound the problem of cryptic posts.

Still, if someone GreaseMonkeyed a little front page tag script, I'd like that.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:22 PM on February 4, 2008


Acrion sounds like the latest synthetic fabric, the one that gives you Morgellon's disease and looks like a combination of naugahyde and spandex.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:34 PM on February 4, 2008


If there's a nonintrusive yet easily accessible way of getting the tags on the front page, I'm all for it, as it seems to me that the main argument against them is that it'd be ugly or cluttered.
posted by flatluigi at 6:21 PM on February 4, 2008


Are single link, non-descriptive FPP's bugging me? Not if they're good'uns. For the most part, I trust (a) the good judgement of the FPP'er, and (2) that stunt posts will get flagged/deleted (as a really shitty-pretty one of mine once was kthx) and so on. They don't take up so much space on the page, so they won't crowd out the more contexty FPP's.

I think MeFi does it good both ways, no extra tags needed. If tags, then have them as a mouse-over, non-intrusive.

I think "Tags" is a great name for a pony, wendell. Ah, a pony. pretty. sigh where would I keep a pony anyway, in the basement? I'd have to mouse-over all the shit down there to find it.
posted by not_on_display at 6:50 PM on February 4, 2008


I'm totally OK with features that aren't universally loved or wanted being provided by greasemonkey scripts, but I don't think that that's practical for this particular pony request. The tags themselves aren't visible anywhere on the front page, so in order to make them available to display there, such a script would need to fetch every linked page from the front page, parse them for tags, and then add the tag text to the front page HTML. That's super-inefficient, and likely too slow to be usable. (If someone's more familiar than I am with greasemonkey, please check my math here.)

So I think in order for such a script to work, the code that builds the front page would need to be modified in order to include the tags of posts somewhere in the HTML of the front page, even if they aren't displayed at all by default (like in a comment or something). It would then be up to the user to find a greasemonkey script that found the tag data in the page and made it visible.

I suppose the site could also expose some sort of "here's all the tags and other metadata from the front page" XML document, and then the script could match that up to the front page HTML, in sort of a web service / mashup model; that would only be two requests on the user side, and it would keep the tags table out of the query that builds the front page on the server side. I'm not sure that would be worth the effort, though.
posted by whir at 7:02 PM on February 4, 2008


Also, bonus points to Pinback.
posted by whir at 7:10 PM on February 4, 2008


Actually, wouldn't embedding the tags in metadata/comment form inside the front page html be a benefit to search engines, too?
posted by Dave Faris at 7:16 PM on February 4, 2008


If I had a nickle for every FFP I skip over because of lack of info I'd have a sock of nickles. I don't bother complaining because reading the front page is free, don't see anything interesting look at something else for 30 minutes.
posted by nola at 7:30 PM on February 4, 2008


The split-second it takes to click on "more inside" is taking up TOO MUCH TIME. I seriously have better things to do with my time, like sit here in MetaTalk for 5 minutes to think of a snarky comment. I'm going to go back to drooling and flipping through this picture book I have here in my lap. If it isn't instantly gratifying, DO NOT WANT.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:43 PM on February 4, 2008


Well, aside from Pinback's brilliant little poke, most mystery meat posts are mysteries out of laziness more than cleverness. And those that are trying to be clever usually aren't - the poster's seen the site already, you know, and so the joke's funnier to them than everyone else. It's not really that much to ask that folks offer a bit of description on the front page.
posted by mediareport at 8:49 PM on February 4, 2008


Metafilter : those that are trying to be clever usually aren't.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:03 PM on February 4, 2008


In the same way that powerpoint presentations suck when the guy just reads you the fucking bullet points on every slide, and comic books would suck if the captions just said what was in the picture, a FPP can suck if the text just tells you literally what the posts are.

Sometimes a little mystery, subtlety and intrique take a C post and make it an A.

Sometimes being too cute takes an A link and turns it into a D- FPP, though.

either way, i want tags on the front page, though.
posted by empath at 1:05 AM on February 5, 2008


It's not really that much to ask that folks offer a bit of description on the front page.

It's also not really that much effort to scroll past posts that don't interest you. And if the sense of unrealized possibilities torments you, you can always click the link!
posted by languagehat at 6:48 AM on February 5, 2008


It's also not really that much effort to scroll past posts that don't interest you.

I do, I promise. But I also don't think unnecessarily cryptic posts need to be defended all that much.
posted by mediareport at 7:57 AM on February 5, 2008


One-link, one-or-two-word MeFi posts bugging you?

I actually always thought of it as a good way to bring some balance to the forum. We have a lot of posters who post really great, descriptive threads here, that it would seem a bit repetitive to have to read them over and over again. It's nice to scroll over something that's short and sweet, and just might give you an idea of what's in store, although I agree that you're on a tight leash if it doesn't live upto expectations (like my War FM thread, which only got 5 or 6 comments). I think a little more info would've helped, but I honestly thought people wouldn't mind clicking through it.
posted by hadjiboy at 8:25 AM on February 5, 2008


It's also not really that much effort to scroll past posts that don't interest you.

But that's just it: No information = no interest. A few adventurous folks might click through, but the rest of us are a-scrollin' on past.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:51 AM on February 5, 2008


Can someone please put the food in my mouth for me? Wait...no, that means I still have to chew it. Can someone please regurgitate my food into my mouth so I don't have to pre-digest and chew? Wait...no, that means I still have to swallow it. Can someone cut my stomach open and funnel their regurgitated slurry into the opening so I don't have to swallow and grind it up? But then, I still have to pass it through my intestines. Tell you what, how about you just go have a bowel movement then tell me about it in a catchy way then we can be done with this whole eating and digesting thing?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:08 AM on February 5, 2008


They could at least gut the fish before serving it.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:14 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


When I was in rural Saudia Arabia, these roadside cafes would serve probably the worst fish dish I've seen. They just scored the sides of a whole fish, stuck a garlic clove in each side, then fried the whole thing (guts and all) whole and slapped it on a bed of ultra-greasy rice.

Anyways, don't be dissin' my metaphor!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:18 AM on February 5, 2008


But that's just it: No information = no interest. A few adventurous folks might click through, but the rest of us are a-scrollin' on past.

So? Why is that a problem? If the original poster finds the response lacking, they might decide to provide more info next time, or they might not. Who cares? Why is it any skin off anyone else's ass?

When I was in rural Saudia Arabia

Whereabouts? When I think of rural Saudi Arabia I think of the interior, but I doubt they serve a lot of fish there.
posted by languagehat at 10:27 AM on February 5, 2008


llh: Hijaz area on the road to Medina...rural meaning desert with only the occasional truck stop.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:29 AM on February 5, 2008


But also, these places were frequented by local Bedouin descendants who would come to suck down the fried fish (and roasted chicken--also ultra-greasy) and sit outside to watch TV and smoke the hubbly bubbly.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:32 AM on February 5, 2008


So? Why is that a problem?

1. Isn't one of the objectives of this site to discuss stuff? If even the poster can't come up with a complete sentence on the topic at hand, what does that portend for the rest of the thread? Me, I tend to avoid mystery meat posts because more often than not, a good deal of the thread is taken up debating whether mystery meat posts are ruining MeFi.

2. "Oh, shit, I don't remember a post on this subject. I even searched!"
"Although this post is very insightful and gives us much more to talk about..." [Delete]
posted by Sys Rq at 11:21 AM on February 5, 2008


Me, I tend to avoid mystery meat posts

There you go: problem solved.
posted by languagehat at 11:57 AM on February 5, 2008


Since we're talking about fish, it's actually widely available in the Kingdom of Saud. People farm raise them in the desert. Pretty simple operation, really. Covered concrete tanks filled with water piped in from the desalinization plant near Jeddah. Every meta thread is an opportunity to learn things!
posted by Burhanistan at 12:31 PM on February 5, 2008


Tags in mouseover would be nice.
posted by tehloki at 12:34 PM on February 5, 2008


So? Why is that a problem?

Let me try to explain.

You see, Metafilter is something of a guilty pleasure for me. There's almost always something I should be doing that's clearly more important than reading Metafilter. And yet, I love to pop those nuggets of information (FPPs), wolf them down, and get a nice little squirt of dopamine in my brain as a reward.

Sadly, though, there is a cost. My computer is slow and my net connection is not the fastest (although I'll admit it's faster than a dial-up). So it takes a little time for the comments page to load. Then, with a mystery meat post, it takes more time to check the tags and possibly skim the comments, trying to determine whether I'll really get my dopamine fix or not. (Meanwhile, the pleasure centers of my brain are primed, anticipating the hit, millions of dendrites extended, quivering, in paroxysms of raw, pulsating need.)

Now imagine what happens when the realization hits that the post was actually about some stupid crap that I don't give a shit about and have a hard time imagining that anyone would give a shit about. First, there's no dopamine hit coming: all the little dendrites wilt and shrivel up. Many die. Guilt wields its lash: why are you wasting your time with this crap when you have real work to do? No answer. Self-recriminations begin. Why did you even bother clicking on mystery meat, you know it's almost never anything worth reading? A pure bright flash of resentment for the time wasted, the derailment of my rapid skimming of the FPPs, all neatly lined up in a row. It feels like hitting one of the killer potholes typically encountered on Boston streets. I briefly note the poster's sobriquet, affixing the "dumbfuck" tag, using the surge of negative emotion to cement the association.

And there you have it, another burst of negative feeling courtesy of Metafilter. Of course, it's not nearly as bad as the sustained loathing elicited by the jackboot-licking toadies in the PoliceStateFilter thread, but it adds up.

Or maybe it's just me.

If the mystery meat posters gave a damn about their readers, they wouldn't bury the lede. But then I think we know what they care about. Enjoy your fifteen seconds of infamy, guys.

I doubt any of this will cut much ice with someone who believes that the solecisms of illiterates should be enshrined as acceptable usage, but what the hell, I tried.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:20 PM on February 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Your dendrites don't need boosted levels of dopamine to function properly. In fact, it's best to form associations when the brain isn't terribly excited so the association is more accessible during various stages of excitation. Learning is about building a strong, integrated network that scans all available neural nodes, not just the clusters formed during spikes and surges. Sheesh.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:28 PM on February 5, 2008


Your dendrites don't need boosted levels of dopamine to function properly.

Ever since my employers damaged my nervous system with a wartime Russian mycotoxin, they have.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:28 PM on February 5, 2008


Ever since my employers damaged my nervous system with a wartime Russian mycotoxin, they have.

No worries, I hear they got a cure for that in Chiba. And if that doesn't pan out, I know an ex-colonel who could hook you up in exchange for a small job.
posted by juv3nal at 2:37 PM on February 5, 2008


Metafilter: millions of dendrites extended, quivering, in paroxysms of raw, pulsating need
posted by Mitheral at 3:03 PM on February 5, 2008


If the original poster finds the response lacking, they might decide to provide more info next time, or they might not. Who cares? Why is it any skin off anyone else's ass?

Oh come on, languagehat. Letting folks know that a significant subset of the site prefers a bit of description - through threads like this, mainly, which are better than complaining in the blue - is perfectly appropriate. If you don't like the periodic minor eruptions of "Hey, come on, stop being so damn lazy with your mystery meat, please", then no one's forcing you to read these threads, either.
posted by mediareport at 4:34 PM on February 5, 2008


nope
posted by MythMaker at 5:17 PM on February 5, 2008


a significant subset

You exaggerate. I think more people were complaining about the nazi reference in the sidebar than have voiced negativity about the less verbose postings, and they didn't convince anyone, either.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:14 PM on February 5, 2008


What Dave Faris said. There's always a few people who just can't stand some style or other of posting, and every once in a while they feel compelled to Take It to MetaTalk, and a few people agree with them and others don't and nothing ever comes of it. But by all means have your fun, if this is what you call fun.
posted by languagehat at 6:29 PM on February 5, 2008


But by all means have your fun, if this is what you call fun.

I've had my fun
If I don't get well no more
I said I've had my fun
If I never get well no more
Said, my head is feeling kind of funny
Lord, and I'm going down slow...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:47 PM on February 5, 2008


How's about some cake?

One 18.25 ounce package chocolate cake mix.
One can prepared coconut pecan frosting.
Three slash four cup vegetable oil.
Four large eggs.
One cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Three slash four cups butter or margarine.
One and two third cups granulated sugar.
Two cups all purpose flour.

Don't forget garnishes such as:
Fish shaped crackers.
Fish shaped candies.
Fish shaped solid waste.
Fish shaped dirt.
Fish shaped ethyl benzene.
Pull and peel licorice.
Fish shaped volatile organic compounds and sediment shaped sediment.
Candy coated peanut butter pieces.
Shaped like fish.
One cup lemon juice.
Alpha resins.
Unsaturated polyester resins.
Fiberglass surface resins.
And volatile malted milk impoundments.
Nine large egg yolks.
Twelve medium geosynthetic membranes.
One cup granulated sugar.
An entry called 'how to kill someone with your bare hands.'
Two cups rhubarb, sliced.
Two slash three cups granulated rhubarb.
One tablespoon all-purpose rhubarb.
One teaspoon grated orange rhubarb.
Three tablespoons rhubarb, on fire.
One large rhubarb.
One cross borehole electro-magnetic imaging rhubarb.
Two tablespoons rhubarb juice.
Adjustable aluminum head positioner.
Slaughter electric needle injector.
Cordless electric needle injector.
Injector needle driver.
Injector needle gun.
Cranial caps.
And it contains proven preservatives, deep penetration agents, and gas and odor control chemicals.
That will deodorize and preserve putrid tissue."
posted by oxford blue at 7:35 PM on February 5, 2008


if this is what you call fun.

Hey, I didn't post the thread - like I said, I've come to my own accommodation with lazy mystery meat posts. I'm just pointing out that occasional complaints about them are a normal part of the site working itself out, and you might want to avoid these threads if that bothers you.
posted by mediareport at 7:40 PM on February 5, 2008


I think I understand why quonsar went slowly insane reading this site.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:43 PM on February 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm just pointing out that occasional complaints about them are a normal part of the site working itself out, and you might want to avoid these threads if that bothers you.

No, because snarky responses to said complaints are also a normal part of the site, and I'm happy to do my part in providing them.
posted by languagehat at 5:52 AM on February 6, 2008


You know, languagehat, I was having a hell of a time trying to figure out what constructive intentions might have motivated your comments. Thanks for letting us know that there weren't any.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:47 AM on February 7, 2008


Maybe I'll become quonsar 2.0. Only this time, the fish goes in your pants while I laugh at your suffering.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:04 AM on February 7, 2008


I'm sure Quonsar would be very gratified to know that there was someone who wanted to pretend to be him.
posted by Dave Faris at 10:15 AM on February 7, 2008


You know, languagehat, I was having a hell of a time trying to figure out what constructive intentions might have motivated your comments. Thanks for letting us know that there weren't any.

I'm not sure what you mean by "constructive"—perhaps "agreeing enthusiastically with the original poster"?—but my disagreement with the suggestion is just as valid as someone else's agreement.
posted by languagehat at 12:30 PM on February 7, 2008


I disagree.
posted by smackfu at 12:37 PM on February 7, 2008


Sorry, languagehat, but smackfu's right. We don't do "valid" at 130 comments. Only "attack and defend." It's a technique to run up the comment count, and a perfectly respectable way to waste time and energy both. (Is time a form of energy? Is time a verifiable scientific phenomenon at all?)
posted by cgc373 at 12:52 PM on February 7, 2008


languagehat, your last comment appears to be addressed to me, but because you didn't comment on anything I said (or even implied), I don't have a response. I will say that if you think snark for snark's sake is constructive, we'll just have to agree to disagree.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:55 PM on February 7, 2008


Oh sorry, that wasn't a real comment up there. I just wanted to see if the universe exploded if I disagreed with the idea that disagreement was valid.

It didn't.
posted by smackfu at 1:03 PM on February 7, 2008


I disagree.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:21 PM on February 7, 2008


But do you agree to disagree?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:02 PM on February 7, 2008


But do you agree to disagree?

Yes, I agree to disagree. But only with cortex. Bring on the dancing pigs!

Is time a verifiable scientific phenomenon at all?

Yes. Measurable by comment counts.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:18 PM on February 7, 2008


But how do we know that the comments were not all already there, and only revealed in a supposedly temporally monotonic fashion by chance?

And as an ethical sidebar, would it be transgressive of me to delete several random comments upthread just to support my argument?
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:21 PM on February 7, 2008



And as an ethical sidebar, would it be transgressive of me to delete several random comments upthread just to support my argument?

Not so long as you don't empower the natives with your talk of germ theory and radiation.
posted by juv3nal at 2:41 PM on February 7, 2008


J.G. Bennett's concept of hyparxis/hyparchic future is not without merit.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:45 PM on February 7, 2008


J. G. Ballard's apocalyptic imagination is a wasteland of merit.
posted by cgc373 at 2:55 PM on February 7, 2008


G. E. Smith's christmas song transvestism is the apex of the nadir of Hall & Oates' career.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:14 PM on February 7, 2008


And as an ethical sidebar, would it be transgressive of me to delete several random comments upthread just to support my argument?

I have to keep my eye on you every minute, don't I?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:18 PM on February 7, 2008


I'm, uh, I—

It's for a novel.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:25 PM on February 7, 2008


I hope it's an apocalyptic novel, mister.
posted by cgc373 at 3:30 PM on February 7, 2008


Jessamyn, I think cortex needs a spanking. (Everyone who agrees, favorite this.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:31 PM on February 7, 2008


this
posted by cgc373 at 3:33 PM on February 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


And as an ethical sidebar, would it be transgressive of me to delete several random comments upthread just to support my argument?

I'm fine with your having deleted my several remarks in Macedonian; hilarious as they were, they were irrelevant even by the loose standards of MetaTalk. But your deletion of my proof of Fermat's theorem was a clear case of abuse.
posted by languagehat at 3:34 PM on February 7, 2008


Dude, it was totally reflowing the margins.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:52 PM on February 7, 2008


One time, in band camp, I drank a bunch of alcohol that came in an opaque case. It was an opaque case of abuse.
posted by cgc373 at 4:12 PM on February 7, 2008


I thought he was talking about deleting future comments from where he was presently. I guess that would be down-thread. Work on that.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:39 PM on February 7, 2008


"One-link, one-or-two-word MeFi posts bugging you?"
Yes! Fuck yeah. I'd like to know a description before i waste the next minutes after I click...wouldn't you?
You wouldn't, you say? You have yet to learn every second counts, or more appropriately, be annoyed by that.

posted by uni verse at 11:27 PM on February 9, 2008


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