Print Stylesheet for Mefi? April 29, 2008 10:52 AM   Subscribe

Would it be possible for someone -- admin, volunteer, or even I could take a whack -- to develop a print stylesheet for Metafilter?

I went back to an old question I had asked on Ask Mefi and printed it out, to have it handy for something I was doing. It came out to a healthy 32 pages. For the hell of it, I grabbed a thread I knew was extremely long -- it ran well over 200 pages. Looking at the screen, it occurred to me that, if pb and the admins were amenable, some enterprising CSS coder might whip up a print stylesheet for the site. If all 5,000 CSS coders on the site who are better than me aren't interested, hell, I could even give it a try myself.

There's a lot of material that isn't germane to a printout: navigation header, search box, comment box, footer, flags, 'add as favorite' links on comments, 'mark as best answer' links on comments, and "previous thread" and "next thread" navigation links, and perhaps even the tags box and/or logo.

Additionally, both the post's and especially the comments' margins are fairly big for a printout, which pushes the page count up rather high. A darker color might be used for the links (they come out as a very light, barely-readable gray on the printout), or, even better, I remember seeing a CSS print stylesheet somewhere that turned links into the text of the link, boldfaced, followed by the URL in brackets. It might be useful to put a horizontal line between comments (for a printout, obviously not for the screen).

Given that the redesign contest a few years ago showed that we have some very talented Mefite coders with good design sense, I imagine that, were the project to be a go, others might have some really useful ideas I hadn't thought of for a print stylesheet.

Is this an idea that could be considered for implementation?
posted by WCityMike to Feature Requests at 10:52 AM (140 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

If someone wants to take a crack at that, sure I'd be happy to add it to the site's code.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:54 AM on April 29, 2008


Very cool! :)

I know CSS, but in a hacky "splice and burn" kind of a way. I could probably do it, but I'm definitely not the ideal candidate.

Hopefully one of the Mefite CSS geniuses can take a whack; if no one shows interest, I'll then give it a try myself ...
posted by WCityMike at 10:59 AM on April 29, 2008


Also, I wanted to just note: this came to mind in conjunction with Ask Metafilter. I imagine that the print stylesheet would apply to the blue, green, gray, etc., but if I had to lay down a bet, I would say that more people print Ask Mefi threads than others, due to its "ask a question, get useful responsive advice" nature.
posted by WCityMike at 11:20 AM on April 29, 2008


I will try to throw something together, but I'm super-busy with other things, so it may be some time.
posted by dw at 11:23 AM on April 29, 2008


OH THANK GOD!

I thought you were agitating for us to all use a "print stylebook" (like the AP Guide) for MetaFilter posts and comments, and trying to get someone here to write it.

And I was all "HELLZ NO!" and gasping.
posted by klangklangston at 11:42 AM on April 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


I thought you were agitating for us to all use a "print stylebook" (K. Klangston, 2008)

That would be ridiculous.

Works Cited
Klangston, K. "Comment 539873" in MetaTalk: Feature Requests, Bugs, Etc.. MetaFilter Publishing Industries, Portland, OR. 2008.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:46 AM on April 29, 2008 [61 favorites]


Ridiculous is right. We should use Chicago, and I'm just the guy to enforce it.
posted by languagehat at 11:55 AM on April 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


And the first rule is: no two-letter zipcode abbreviations. That's Portland, Ore.: MetaFilter Publishing Industries, 2008.
posted by languagehat at 11:56 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Chicago doesn't allow two-letter state (not ZIP, obvs.) abbreviations? Man, that's something that annoys me about the AP—when even the POST OFFICE is moving faster than you are, there's something wrong.

(Shouldn't MLA be the assumed style here?)
posted by klangklangston at 11:59 AM on April 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ok, so we all agree. Someone is going to make a CSS stylesheet for printing that uses the Chicago font for all text.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:00 PM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think this is a good idea. Let's get it done, roll it out, and all that jazz.
posted by blacklite at 12:04 PM on April 29, 2008


Chicago doesn't allow two-letter state (not ZIP, obvs.) abbreviations?

Yeah, they do; specifically, they say (15.29): "The two-letter, no-period state abbreviations preferred by the U.S. Postal Service should always be used where a zip code follows, and they may appear in any context where abbreviations are appropriate (see 17.100). Many writers and editors, however, prefer the older forms[...]." I am such an editor, and if I'm going to be Style Enforcer, we're not going to use USPS abbreviations except before zip codes. Also, serial commas will be mandatory. I will, of course, have to have the power to edit comments, but I will use my powers only for good.
posted by languagehat at 12:06 PM on April 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


"Ridiculous is right. We should use Chicago, and I'm just the guy to enforce it." (hat)

hat, language. "Evidence #1 in Trial as to Whether Ass Should Be Up Against Wall Now That the Revolution is Here" MetaTalk, MetaFilter Network LLC. 29 April 2008 <http://metatalk.metafilter.com/16190/Print-Stylesheet-for-Mefi#539882>.
posted by Kattullus at 12:07 PM on April 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


All posts that I disagree with should print in size-72 Comic Sans.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:10 PM on April 29, 2008


I'm working on one right now.
posted by sciurus at 12:14 PM on April 29, 2008


I am all for this. There is not enough Chicago-style pizza in Portland, Oregon.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:15 PM on April 29, 2008


> if I'm going to be Style Enforcer, we're not going to use USPS abbreviations except before zip codes.

Only good things can come from having an official Style Enforcer, and I want to see Year of Metafilter In Review in the manner of a Mr. Blackwell's Ten Worst Dressed List.
posted by ardgedee at 12:16 PM on April 29, 2008


Uh oh. I might have to get into a fight* with languagehat over two- versus three-letter state abbreviations.

However, serial commas are absolutely mandatory. I don't care if you come from some random country that doesn't use them. My cultural sensitivity does not extend that far. This is a U.S. site, and you can use serial commas or feel the WHACK of the banhammer.

However, I'm currently drowning in a long, long document that was authored and fussed with by many people before it came to me. Its current state is "Style? What style? We doan need no steenking style!" At least I get to impose my will. If they let me.

Hope me!

*rock, paper, scissors?
posted by rtha at 12:18 PM on April 29, 2008


But I've never even been to Illinois! *cries*
posted by boo_radley at 12:24 PM on April 29, 2008


They're not just serial commas, or american, or whatever, they're Oxford commas. I've always been more partial to Cambridge, but in this case, Oxford is right.

Anyway, derail aside, I'm glad to hear that Chicago is coming to Portland. I'm not a fan personally but I know that they still have a lot of fans.
posted by blacklite at 12:34 PM on April 29, 2008

serial commas are absolutely mandatory
STOP THEM BEFORE THEY STRIKE AGAIN
posted by scrump at 12:35 PM on April 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


*Flips the road sign*

I think the topic went thatta-way!
posted by cschneid at 12:37 PM on April 29, 2008


Uh oh. I might have to get into a fight* with languagehat over two- versus three-letter state abbreviations.

However, serial commas are absolutely mandatory.


Hmm. Well, you're sound on the basics, so I might deputize you and give you special two-letter-abbreviation limited powers. You are, after all, an official longboater.
posted by languagehat at 12:45 PM on April 29, 2008


Henry: Portrait of a Serial Comma
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:47 PM on April 29, 2008


and if I'm going to be Style Enforcer...

Please. Don't trouble yourself. We're doing fine without that.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:53 PM on April 29, 2008


This is a U.S. site

Du, din morsa är en amerikansk sajt.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 12:58 PM on April 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Please. Don't trouble yourself. We're doing fine without that." (Faris)

Faris, Dave. "When Joy Was Killed" MetaTalk, MetaFilter Network LLC. 29 April 2008 <http://metatalk.metafilter.com/16190/Print-Stylesheet-for-Mefi#539927>
posted by Kattullus at 1:01 PM on April 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


"Also, serial commas will be mandatory."

Bah. The AP is quite good on this, as one of their rare moments of clarity, eschewing an automatic rule and arguing for (what I believe) are the best practices for reducing ambiguity.
posted by klangklangston at 1:01 PM on April 29, 2008


Sorry, Kattullus. It never occurred to me that someone could find joy in discussing commas and whether or not to use two letter abbreviations or three. Do carry on with your pitiful banter.
posted by Dave Faris at 1:04 PM on April 29, 2008


Oh, the blanket! She is wet!
Oh, the stick! She is muddy!
posted by klangklangston at 1:08 PM on April 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


Man, I would have made a great Style Enforcer.

"Hey, mother fucker, am I seeing this correctly? Are you actually wearing that flannel shirt tucked in to your jeans? Are you kidding me? Haven't we talked about this before? Yeah. We did, I remember now. It was the same time we "talked" about your habit of wearing your sun-visor on backwards, and upside down. As I recall you walked with a bit of a limp that summer didn't you? Something about a bad knee? And how you couldn't really use your left had for all those broken fingers.

What a fucking tragedy that was.

So, let's be clear here, you don't make style decisions anymore. You've lost that privilege, now you trust what others tell you. But hey, it's for the best.

This way, you'll live longer."

Yeah. I could do that. That would be so cool.
posted by quin at 1:38 PM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hmm. Well, you're sound on the basics, so I might deputize you and give you special two-letter-abbreviation limited powers. You are, after all, an official longboater.

Whew!

Because I suck at rock, paper, scissors.
posted by rtha at 1:44 PM on April 29, 2008


Someone should also make a really groovy obit post about Hoffman also.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:09 PM on April 29, 2008


I had to look up "serial commas" just for this pony, but I completely agree they should be mandatory now that I know what you were all talking about!
posted by misha at 2:22 PM on April 29, 2008


Certainly not complete, but maybe of use to someone who wants to finish:

#bottomline, #navglobal, #yellowbar, .footpad, .whitesmallcopy {
display: none;
}

h1.posttitle {
margin-left: 20px;
color: #333;
font-family: Georgia, serif;
}

.copy a, .smallcopy a {
color: #333;
}


The trick seems to be preserving the copyright .fineprint in the footer, but removing the other navigation links.
posted by theiconoclast31 at 2:34 PM on April 29, 2008


Hell, even I know to use the Oxford comma and I'm at Cambridge.
posted by grouse at 2:42 PM on April 29, 2008


"Sorry, Kattullus. It never occurred to me that someone could find joy in discussing commas and whether or not to use two letter abbreviations or three. Do carry on with your pitiful banter."


Ibid.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:52 PM on April 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Aren't any Harvard jerks going to muscle in and claim ownership of that comma?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:34 PM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hmm. Well, you're sound on the basics, so I might deputize you and give you special two-letter-abbreviation limited powers. You are, after all, an official longboater.
posted by languagehat at 12:45 PM

Ooh, Mr. hat! the longboat had a Viking funeral on July 9. 2006. rtha joined: September 25, 2006 and could not have been a longboater.
posted by Cranberry at 3:58 PM on April 29, 2008


cranberry- different longboat, in memory of the infamous 15931 (sans quoi) thread that hit over 3k comments.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:11 PM on April 29, 2008


languagehat: And the first rule is: no two-letter zipcode abbreviations.

OK, consider me spooked out. Just last night as I was tucking myself into bed, I was musing nostalgically and inexplicably over the old three- and four-letter state abbreviations: "Ou sont les Ill., Cal., Mich., Fla. d'antan?"
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:20 PM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've got a rough stylesheet put together. I'm surely willing to tweak it. Whom should I mail it to? Do you want me to post the markup in-thread? I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out if the sheet is working because the custom inline styles override some of what I'm trying to do.
posted by sciurus at 4:32 PM on April 29, 2008


Oh yeah, it seems to be working fine across all the subsites & with both the default and plain themes.
posted by sciurus at 4:34 PM on April 29, 2008


I am all for this. There is not enough Chicago-style pizza in Portland, Oregon.

That's a strong argument in favor of living in Portland, Oregon.
posted by goatdog at 4:53 PM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I really like the old-style province/state abbreviations. There is something elegant about them. I think it is the same sort of thing that I appreciate about seeing old books written by Th. C. Smith and Ch. James and Wm. Shakespeare, etc.

I always liked writing Alta. more than AB for Alberta.
posted by blacklite at 7:20 PM on April 29, 2008


feel the WHACK of the banhammer

Just don't let me catch you Strunkin' White again.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:23 PM on April 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


sclurus, I didn't see a reply in-thread, but I imagine you'd e-mail it to Mathowie; if you click on his name in his reply upthread, I think his e-mail's on his profile page.
posted by WCityMike at 8:05 PM on April 29, 2008


If, sir, you, sir, choose to chew, sir, with the Goo-Goose: Chew, sir! Do, sir!
posted by flabdablet at 9:41 PM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


yeah scurius, email it either to the contact form or to mathowie. and thanks!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:10 PM on April 29, 2008


I emailed it to mathowie and cortext last night. I would like to state, for the record, that it still needs some work. :)
posted by sciurus at 4:15 AM on April 30, 2008


MetaTalk: And I was all "HELLZ NO!" and gasping.
posted by ersatz at 5:38 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can we make this "feature" something we can turn off please? I hate it when the content of a web page changes when I print it. Especially the bit about expanding out URLs as it'll look like crap in PDFs.
posted by Mitheral at 5:40 AM on April 30, 2008


Anybody who says a serial comma is mandatory in all circumstances and not merely when it resolves ambiguity is stubborn, out-dated, almost certainly American and hence unqualified to comment, and wrong.
posted by criticalbill at 6:16 AM on April 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ah Bill, you're just being critical.
posted by netbros at 6:22 AM on April 30, 2008


stubborn, out-dated, almost certainly American and hence unqualified to comment, and wrong but right.
posted by languagehat at 6:38 AM on April 30, 2008


Can we make this "feature" something we can turn off please?

Or just add a print button like every other site, that changes the stylesheet.
posted by smackfu at 7:30 AM on April 30, 2008


The two-letter, no-period state abbreviations preferred by the U.S. Postal Service should always be used where a zip code follows, and they may appear in any context where abbreviations are appropriate (see 17.100). Many writers and editors, however, prefer the older forms[...]." I am such an editor,

Ooh, I'm tingling all over, because you are wrong. You are wrong and crusty with the dust of wrong ancients here. There are unimpeachable arguments for postal abbreviations that even you cannot refute. Postal codes save precious space in typeset. Naive people who have never dealt with 100-page indexes are scoffing at this but you are growing pale from dawning horror and because you are now bleeding freely from the razor of my practical logic. Postal codes are instantly familiar. They are clean. They have no bullshit extra punctuation. Body blow, body blow, body blow. You are pretty much the walking dead at this point but that won't stop me from delivering the coup de grace: all the major styles use postal abbreviations: uncrusty Chicago, AMA, APA, and even MLA, which cherishes periods so dearly you would think it was a feminist collective. You can't see me but I am currently waving your skull and spine above my head with a Xena-like ululation.

I do wholeheartedly agree with you about the Oxford comma, however. Also, did I mention the in-laws are in town for a whole week? Maybe I should have started off with that. Anyway, here are your internal organs back. No hard feelings. Hugs? Friends?
posted by melissa may at 7:36 AM on April 30, 2008 [51 favorites]


Postal codes are instantly familiar.

MA
ME
MI
MN
MO
MS

Yep. No ambiguity there.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:49 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi?

Hey, those all start with the same letter. Huh.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:52 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yep. No ambiguity there.

Just because you failed geography doesn't mean we all have to spell it Ore.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:53 AM on April 30, 2008 [9 favorites]


Quiz: True or false, AK=Arkansas?

People who fill in address information in our MIS get this wrong a LOT.
posted by yarrow at 8:13 AM on April 30, 2008


Hey, mod douches: Go look up the word ambiguity and get back to me.

If you honestly believe MI is "instantly familiar" to someone from, say, NOT THE UNITED STATES, think a-fucking-gain.

Abbreviations are for lazy people. Abbreviations of abbreviations are for postal workers.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:30 AM on April 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sys Rq = lazy
posted by emelenjr at 8:33 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's really neither here nor there.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:35 AM on April 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Is this what academics do all day? Argue over citation styles? It's hilarious.
posted by smackfu at 8:36 AM on April 30, 2008


MA
ME
MI
MN
MO
MS

Yep. No ambiguity there.


MU
posted by eriko at 8:37 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


...MLA, which cherishes periods so dearly you would think it was a feminist collective.
[230,000,000 favorites +]
posted by rtha at 8:38 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I believe that when WWIII really gets into full swing and civilization collapses, postal workers will be among the most dangerous groups with which your average post-apoc citizen will have to grapple, and so taking the effort to understand their ways is a sound investment.

I also believe that nobody outside of the United States spends much time thinking about Michigan, so the point is moot.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:38 AM on April 30, 2008


And you forgot MT, MD, and MH.
posted by eriko at 8:39 AM on April 30, 2008


I often have to stop and think which of these is which - I blame my slight dyslexia:

AR
AK
AL
AZ
posted by rtha at 8:39 AM on April 30, 2008


I also believe that nobody outside of the United States spends much time thinking about Michigan, so the point is moot.

It rather proves the point, actually.

If you want a moot point, you should try pointing out that on the unlikely occasion that, say, a South Asian finds a postal abbreviation in the location of publication in a bibliographical citation an impossible negotiation, he could probably just go and look it up.

and MH.

Mew Hampshire?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:57 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey, mod douches

oh
no
you
did
not.

[hint: one of those is a postal code]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:59 AM on April 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Nottingham, or Youtube?
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:02 AM on April 30, 2008


The state of Penna. laughs at your 2, 3, and 4-letter abbreviations.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:03 AM on April 30, 2008


So anyway: More like PRINTERNET, amirite?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:06 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


oh really, jessamyn?
posted by grouse at 9:07 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


more like ZIP YOUR LIP CODE
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:08 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I find that getting my point across is best facilitated by addressing my subject with one of the following titles:

mod douche
hitlerfag
corn-fed mulefucker
ham eater
President Bush
mom
posted by middleclasstool at 9:12 AM on April 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


[Prints thread, mails it to Michigan.]
posted by Sys Rq at 9:12 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've done some print style sheets for my own websites and a few clients. They're not difficult really, all you're doing is putting a display:none in the elements that surround the navigation elements in the print section of the CSS.

I tried skimming the thread, it looks like someone has done it already? If not, I'm happy to give it a go.
posted by inthe80s at 9:17 AM on April 30, 2008


corn-fed mulefucker

Now, do you mean that the mule is corn fed, or that the fucker of said mule is the corn eater?

See how important punctuation is?
posted by quin at 9:25 AM on April 30, 2008


FWIW, when I rock the Mich., I rock the Mich. Righ.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:27 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Okay, so, trying to filter the wheat from the chaff, the following people expressed interest and/or volunteered code: dw, sciurus, theiconoclast31 (code posted to thread), and inthe80s.

Sciurus sent his code in. If any of the rest would like to send theirs in, here's links to Matt's, Jessamyn's, and Cortex's profiles and the admin contact form, for your convenience.

Cortex, that donut is freakin' huge. And what makes me chuckle is the gray background -- was that a studio session?

Thanks, you guys. It's kind of cool when an idea pops into your head and people think it's a cool idea, too. That doesn't happen to me too often. ;-)
posted by WCityMike at 9:44 AM on April 30, 2008


That was a morale-boosting donut session in the studio called Corporate America.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:47 AM on April 30, 2008


cranberry- different longboat, in memory of the infamous 15931 (sans quoi) thread that hit over 3k comments.

Is this where we argue about longboat ontology? Because I believe the Sans Quoi branch should be considered a discrete sect. I mean, the schism changed everything. Sure, there are commonalities, but for the most part the traditional Longboatists are as different from the Sans Quoi Reformationists as they are from the Cabal (which does not exist, but the differences are detailed here). In short, you guys need a new name. May I suggest "Knarr"?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:50 AM on April 30, 2008


May I propose the obvious informal title of "Spartans"?

Also, we really need to spur the Inter-Conclave Informational Committee to hurry up and get out a draft of the Venn Diagram Initiative; it's hard to keep track of who falls in which camps when I'm in a hurry and have been drinking.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:57 AM on April 30, 2008


There are 8 US states that start with M. Why no love for MD and MT?
posted by Cranberry at 10:02 AM on April 30, 2008


And what Melissa May said except my in-laws are not in town.
posted by Cranberry at 10:05 AM on April 30, 2008


So anyway: More like PRINTERNET, amirite?

Is it just me, or does anyone else think the idea of a PRINTERNET is awesome? We could all setup dot matrix printers to get MetaFilter automagically printed out whenever anything new is added. It would be like RSS, but way better, because it involves printing stuff out. One of the things I miss about old school computing nowadays is that I don't get to hear horrible mechanical screetching noises all the time.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:37 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


There are 8 US states that start with M.

And yet, only one of them has a name which derives from Spanish. (Apropos of nothing, except I've always enjoyed that article.)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:38 AM on April 30, 2008


you are now bleeding freely from the razor of my practical logic.

'Tis but a scratch.

And yet, only one of them has a name which derives from Spanish.

Ah, but it may equally well be from Latin. See Montana: A History of Two Centuries, by Michael P. Malone et al., pp. 95-96:
The House and Senate also debated [in 1864] the name that Congressman Ashley had placed on his creation. "Montana," from the Latin or Spanish adjective meaning "mountainous," first appeared as a place name in 1858, when Josiah Hinman gave the name to a small mining town near Pike's Peak. ... Although Ashley won his battle in the House, two weeks later the Senate again challenged the name "Montana." Again, several members believed the classical name was inappropriate and argued that an Indian word would be better. But no one could suggest a name with any relevance to the place, so they too settled on Ashley's title, but only after this illuminating exchange:
MR. HOWARD: I was equally puzzled when I saw the name in the bill. I was obliged to turn to my old Latin dictionary. ... It is a very classical word, pure Latin. It means a mountainous region, a mountainous country.
MR. WADE: Then the name is well adapted to the Territory.
MR. HOWARD: You will find that it is used by Livy and some of the other Latin historians, which is no small praise.
MR. WADE: I do not care anything about the name. I suppose we have a right to make a name; certainly just as good a right to make it as anybody else. It is a good enough name.
Montana it became, and Montana it has remained.
(My bold throughout.)
posted by languagehat at 11:07 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had assumed they just named it after Hannah.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:13 AM on April 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


We need a stylesheet that transforms MeFi into 132CPL line data, so we can read it off of huge reams of greenbar.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:19 AM on April 30, 2008


If any of the rest would like to send theirs in, here's links to Matt's, Jessamyn's, and Cortex's profiles and the admin contact form, for your convenience.

wtf, if you send it to me or cortex we'll just make spitwads out of it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:34 AM on April 30, 2008


My bold throughout my italic.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:37 AM on April 30, 2008


In order to contribute to both themes in this thread I would like to contribute the following:

I like MT, Ind., Mass., Hawai'i, and monkeys.
posted by sciurus at 11:40 AM on April 30, 2008


Also:

See how important punctuation is?

Well, the hyphenation being contained to just "corn-fed" with a space before mulefucker suggests pretty strongly that it is the mulefucker being modified by "corn-fed", and not the "mule" constituent of same.

Had he written "corn-fed-mule fucker", I think the cornfedness of the mule would be unambiguous (setting aside the other possible parsing that the referent was not being delcared one who fucks corn-fed mules but rather a fucko of the "corn-fed mule" variety, but I think we're assuming a sexual intent here); with "corn-fed-mule-fucker", you have real ambiguity in deciding how to parse the hyphenation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:55 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


goodnewsfortheinsane: Sure, there are commonalities, but for the most part the traditional Longboatists are as different from the Sans Quoi Reformationists as they are from the Cabal (which does not exist, but the differences are detailed here). In short, you guys need a new name. May I suggest "Knarr"?

Sorry, dude, the knörr has it's own religion. Oh, and everyone knows that the Cabal is Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley and Lauderdale.
posted by Kattullus at 12:01 PM on April 30, 2008


I did like seeing "Wash" on our old license plates.
posted by maxwelton at 12:04 PM on April 30, 2008


Go See Cal
Go See Cal
Go See Cal

Once Mr. Worthington became famous for his cars and his dog spot, it became necessary for all other Californians to redefine themselves. Therefore we embrace the two-letter "CA". It also helped prevent the division of the state into North California and South California some years ago, because those Carolingists had already taken NC and SC.

VO: This IS the San Fernando Valley. (an extreme in-joke for people who grew up when one suburban L.A. radio station ran hourly features on local history to bond with the listeners in its prime service area. Also Nels Van Benthuysen is the best bad radio name ever.)
posted by wendell at 12:30 PM on April 30, 2008


wendell seems to be confused about Canada again.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:00 PM on April 30, 2008


Canada = ca in internet addresses. California = CA in all other applications.
posted by Cranberry at 1:20 PM on April 30, 2008


Usually I have a geeky interest in such things, but the academic style course I did was kind of boring.

What I remember though, and I'm not sure what kind of guide/manual this was from, was that there were a handful of American cities (definitely less than ten) to which one needn't append the state name/abbreviation (in publisher info in citations, I guess). NYC was in there of course, LA, SF, Boston, Chicago, and a few others.

Was this idiosyncratic or has anyone here heard of it too?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:38 PM on April 30, 2008


Surely the 2/3 abbreviation states question could be solved by regular expression? I, for one, had no idea that ME was Maine (assuming Cortex spoke truth) and would have been forced to google a two letter word in order to fail to guess its origins.

In other related events, your (MA)ssachusetts(MA)ssachusetts so large, you have to divide her in Harvard to see where she coming from.
posted by Sparx at 4:18 PM on April 30, 2008


Here's my (tortured but heirarchical) way of organizing and hence remembering the wacky M* stuff, actually:

MA: Arbitrary roteness: NOT MAINE. Hence, gotta be MAssachusetts.
MS: MISSissippi. Sure, so MiSsissippi.
MN: Well, MINNesota. Okay, MiNnesota.
MI: Mississippi and Minnesota are spoken for. Must be MIchigan!
ME: Can't be Missouri or Michigan, and MassachusEtts and MinnEsota are spoken for and not really super plausible besides, so, hurray: MainE.
MO: couldn't have been Mass. or Miss. or Michigan or Maine anyway, and MinnesOta is taken and silly anyway, so, yowie wowie, it's time for MissOuri.

I don't actually think through this in common usage, for the record. But I that's roughly how it lives in my brain when I really want to reference it or I'm second-guessing myself.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:30 PM on April 30, 2008


Where's the love for MD, cortex? :(
posted by frecklefaerie at 5:11 PM on April 30, 2008


MarylanD and MonTana both somehow don't even seem to need the extra help, they just are. Do not ask me why.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:40 PM on April 30, 2008


Mt is already the abbrev for Mount => Montana.
posted by smackfu at 6:09 PM on April 30, 2008


What I remember though, and I'm not sure what kind of guide/manual this was from, was that there were a handful of American cities (definitely less than ten) to which one needn't append the state name/abbreviation (in publisher info in citations, I guess). NYC was in there of course, LA, SF, Boston, Chicago, and a few others.

Chicago says "If the city of publication may be unknown to readers or may be confused with another city of the same name, the abbreviation of the state, province, or (sometimes) country is added. Washington is traditionally followed by DC, but other major cities such as Los Angeles and Baltimore, need no abbreviation."

I, for one, am particularly annoyed when I see Indianapolis, IN, but that might just be me. And Indianapolis, IA? Well, I have no idea what they were even thinking.

The italics are Chicago's.
posted by prosthezis at 8:01 PM on April 30, 2008


For what it's worth, if you use two letters to abbreviate US state names in your writing, none of your international readers have any idea which state you mean. I blame this practise, at least partially, for not having the foggiest idea which state many major US cities are in.
posted by markr at 9:26 PM on April 30, 2008


The rule I posted only applies to notes, by the way. State names are supposed to spelled out in the text.
posted by prosthezis at 10:03 PM on April 30, 2008


To be honest, markr, I imagine the same is true for some of the traditional abbreviations.
posted by grouse at 10:07 PM on April 30, 2008


I've put something quick together that you can see here. Threads look somewhat similar, with the comments inlined. There's still some info I'll strip out of there, and I'll close that cap between the header and the date.

Quick questions:

* Is there anything the mods would insist appear on the page (eg. copyright stuff)?

* Is there anyway of enforcing what is printed in the header/footer, or is this defaulted by the browser?

* Is it possible to get master list of styles?

* scurius, could I get a peak at yours? you can e-mail me using wrongwaygoback at a place called yahoo.com
posted by Neale at 11:41 PM on April 30, 2008


Neale, that looks pretty good. Especially the professional white background.
posted by grouse at 11:42 PM on April 30, 2008


Oy, the html could really use some re-working and semantification for this to be an easy task. In particular, the usage of the "comments" class for the "older/newer" links and the non-id'd footer divs are rough.
posted by beerbajay at 3:33 AM on May 1, 2008


Yeah, I sent the Matt and email offering to help with with standardizing the markup awhile ago, but it probably got lost in the shuffle.
posted by sciurus at 3:55 AM on May 1, 2008


I did one, found here.

If you have the web developer extension you can test it out by saving it locally, then doing CSS > Display CSS By Media Type > Print, then CSS > Add User Style Sheet.

I've only tested in Firefox, and some bits rely on CSS that's not supported by IE at least (in particular, the :after pseudo-class).
posted by beerbajay at 6:28 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Once Mr. Worthington became famous for his cars and his dog spot...

Is that like a liver spot?
posted by Pax at 7:42 AM on May 1, 2008


beerbajay; that's really nice! I especially like the href expansion for links in the comments.
posted by odinsdream at 8:19 AM on May 1, 2008


I made a PRINTERNET stylesheet (contains control characters, view in a real programmer's text editor) for my NEC Spinwriter 2050 letter-quality printer!

Features include:
  • 132 characters per line
  • Character pitch of 12 per inch monospaced
  • Double-Strike for bold
  • Shadow (offset double-strike) for links
  • Backtracking Underscores for underscore
  • Roman oblique ALL CAPS for italics
Preliminary video and images — in this printing there's some problems with the shadowing in the 'posted by' links, currently fixed (along with an unseen unclosed start-underline). Right now the printer is sitting unplugged draining it's capacitors till it loses memory, as it tends to go into freak-out-mode when I cancel jobs.

I'll try another printing after I get some breakfast in me!
posted by blasdelf at 8:47 AM on May 1, 2008 [16 favorites]


Urgent pony request:

I would like to be able to read MeFi by watching live streaming video of blasdelf's printer printing off threads in real time. Thanks in advance.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:16 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, get a webcam on that sucker and hook it up to RSS.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:36 AM on May 1, 2008


RSS is a bit nasty (Winer disease) — If I automated the process I'd probably use Beautiful Soup on the HTML version of it (replacing my bag of vim tricks and sed regexes).
posted by blasdelf at 9:49 AM on May 1, 2008


Well, good. Looks like I won't have to write a stylesheet after all. Good thing, since the slightly unsemantic nature of that footer was driving me nuts trying to get the copyright to display without having to individually turn off every tag in the footer.
posted by dw at 10:09 AM on May 1, 2008


beerbajay came through! We now have a super clean print stylesheet on every section of the site.

Here is a PDF of what the front page of MetaTalk looks like when you hit print.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:26 AM on May 1, 2008


Man, that looks fantastic.
posted by WCityMike at 10:50 AM on May 1, 2008


Awesome work, beerbajay.

RSS is a bit nasty (Winer disease)

Honestly, it's not. It suffers from some stupidity (e.g. not using ISO 8601 for dates), but for the it's held up because it's simple and well-formed. Atom is a better choice, though annoying verbose in spots.

And Winer disease -- what does that have to do with it? RSS has some perverse sense of self-importance built in? Where?
posted by dw at 11:01 AM on May 1, 2008


*puts keyboard down, takes a nap*

yay!
posted by Neale at 11:24 AM on May 1, 2008


mathowie: Actually it looks a bit odd; I think you'll need to add media="screen" to the rest of the default101907.css and tabs-meta.css

There shouldn't be any colors left over in the print version (all black/white). Of course, if you want the standard sans-serif and colored links, etc, then go ahead and mix 'em.
posted by beerbajay at 11:51 AM on May 1, 2008


blasdelf, that totally made my day. Rock on.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:53 AM on May 1, 2008


It should be more like this.
posted by beerbajay at 11:58 AM on May 1, 2008


Awesome. Great job beerbajay!
posted by sciurus at 5:58 PM on May 1, 2008


Great start beerbajay. I used your stylesheet, and have a few thoughts (with sample code).

Keep the date from the top yellow bar. Can't rely on the printer to print the header with date, time, etc.
#logo { /*in conjunction with visit date (yellowbar below), uses less space */
float: left;
}
#yellowbar { /* floats to the right of page, small text size */
padding: 30px 0 0 0;
color:#333;
float: right;
font-size:10px;
}
#yellowbar:before { /* approximate print date. Does not work in IE6 & IE7 (sorta works in IE8)*/
content:"Visited on:";
}


beerbajay, here's how you can get rid of the stuff surrounding the Tags list to the right - works in most modern browsers. Could probably apply similar methods to a lot of other code.
div[style^="float"] div[align="right"] {
display:none;
}


If anyone were to print the main page (just because they can), this would hide the 'n new' links.
b[style^="color: white"] a.new {
display:none;
}

posted by neetij at 11:02 AM on May 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Woah nice; I've not had occasion to use the attribute selectors since I'm usually jamming tons of ids/classes on things. Maybe mathowie can integrate some of your suggestions, if he likes 'em.
posted by beerbajay at 1:19 PM on May 3, 2008


neetij, I added your adjustments to the stylesheet, thanks for the extra work.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:24 AM on May 6, 2008


Print stylesheets should never use colour for text, to avoid depleting people’s inkjets.
posted by joeclark at 12:31 PM on May 6, 2008


Agreed, joeclark. *pokes mathowie in the direction of his previous comments*
posted by beerbajay at 5:04 AM on May 7, 2008


ok, I made the links all black instead of blue.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:38 PM on May 7, 2008


mathowie, you'll have to remove #yellowbar from line 35 (/* kills navigation */) for the date to be visible.

An additional suggestion for Matt. If this is used by the AskMeFi readers more than anyone else...it'd be nice to have the best answers highlighted (a light border with a bit of padding, perhaps). For example: .best {border:1px solid #ccc; padding:5px;}
posted by neetij at 10:49 PM on May 7, 2008


neetij, I made those changes, good call.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:06 PM on May 8, 2008


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