We, have, like...commas April 30, 2008 1:57 PM   Subscribe

Gasp! Commas!

Suddenly, there are commas where there none before -- in our profiles! Numbers four digits and above that not, long, ago appeared as (for example) "1165 comments" now read as "1,165 comments." I, for one, am appalled by this arbitrary and unexpected change! Was someone having a hard time parsing these numbers sans commas? I demand an explanation
posted by kittens for breakfast to MetaFilter-Related at 1:57 PM (180 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Clearly a bonus feature for the truly dedicated posters.

It's too bad it kind of looks junky underlined.
posted by smackfu at 2:00 PM on April 30, 2008


I am shocked. Commas are grammar's sperms and I feel like my profile has been jizzed upon mightily.

That is to say, awesome.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:00 PM on April 30, 2008 [8 favorites]


Next up: Semicolon revival!
posted by Artw at 2:01 PM on April 30, 2008


THE EXPLANATION IS THAT I THINK PB THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA WHILE HE WAS FIXING SOME BUGGY CODE ANYWAY
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:01 PM on April 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


That was me. I was working on the profile page today fixing some queries and figured I'd add commas to large numbers. I've been slowly doing this across the site, but didn't realize it would cause problems. If there are good reasons not to include commas for readability, I'll be happy to change it back.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:01 PM on April 30, 2008


Simple. As we've always known, mathowie is afraid of languagehat.
posted by Viomeda at 2:01 PM on April 30, 2008


Y'all talk too much.
posted by ewagoner at 2:02 PM on April 30, 2008


So all the numbers have been divided by one thousand?
posted by nomad at 2:02 PM on April 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


MAYBE HE TALKED TO MATT ABOUT IT OR MAYBE NOT I DON'T KNOW I WASN'T EVEN THERE MAN

I DID RECEIVE EMAIL ABOUT THIS ALREADY THOUGH WHICH I THINK JUST GOES TO SHOW THAT MEFI HAS A DILIGENT TROUPE OF COMMA-SENSITIVE ORTHONERDS AND THAT'S ONE OF THE NICE THINGS ABOUT THIS PLACE

posted by cortex (staff) at 2:03 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I disaprove in the mildest way, because I like to tie four digit numbers to years in my head. For instance, 1608 is the year Milton was born, but 1,608 is just a number.

But I am weird.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:03 PM on April 30, 2008 [6 favorites]


pb: If there are good reasons not to include commas for readability, I'll be happy to change it back.

As far as the number formatting goes, commas are fine, but hexadecimal, please? It's easier on the eyes.
posted by Viomeda at 2:03 PM on April 30, 2008


ALSO I JUST GOT MYSELF A WEBTV AND MAN IS THIS THING PRETTY GREAT NOW I JUST NEED TO GET ON SOME OF THOSE MAILING LISTS SO I CAN KEEP UP WITH MY MODEL AIRPLANE NEWS
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:03 PM on April 30, 2008 [11 favorites]


So all the numbers have been divided by one thousand?

i18n strikes again.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:05 PM on April 30, 2008


What, commas? In my, metafilter, profile?
posted by Dr-Baa at 2:06 PM on April 30, 2008


I'd leave it out because it's one of those things that looks just a wee bit more US-ian. Don't believe me, ask Wikipedia.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:10 PM on April 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


The tyranny of commas is over. My apologies.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:15 PM on April 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


So the weight of all the commas is holding down cortex's shift key?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:22 PM on April 30, 2008


NO THAT'S JUST ONE OF THE AWESOME FEATURES OF WEBTV MAN

IT ALSO GETS SPORTS

posted by cortex (staff) at 2:23 PM on April 30, 2008 [10 favorites]


How is a Momayyez not a comma?
posted by Artw at 2:23 PM on April 30, 2008


pb: The tyranny of commas is over. My apologies.

No, no, no, pb. What you're supposed to do is create a database of every country and/or region in the world and their standard practices regarding commas in numerals and implement it via specialized stylesheets that operate based on IP address locality.

And make it customizable for user preference.
posted by Viomeda at 2:27 PM on April 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Clearly, you need to provide an opt-out for even the most trivial of displays, pb.
posted by Dave Faris at 2:27 PM on April 30, 2008


,
posted by flashboy at 2:29 PM on April 30, 2008 [14 favorites]


When do we get localization for Turkey? Lives are at stake, literally.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:29 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Communard revolutions are always shortlived.
posted by Kattullus at 2:30 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


No comma. Space.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:36 PM on April 30, 2008


Man, you people will complain about anything.
posted by octothorpe at 2:47 PM on April 30, 2008 [6 favorites]


Wait, so the commas are gone now?

*comes out from under desk*

*decocks pistol*

Because that was some scary shit there for a couple of minutes.
posted by quin at 2:48 PM on April 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


As long as the code isn't inserting serial / Oxford commas.

AS THOSE ARE THE WORK OF THE DEVIL.
posted by GuyZero at 2:52 PM on April 30, 2008


Comma comma comma comma comma chameleon
You come and go
You come and go
Browsing would be easy if your colors were like my dream
Grey blue and green
Grey blue and green
posted by googly at 2:53 PM on April 30, 2008 [30 favorites]


Aw man, you pre-empted what would have be a hilarious comma strike. I'm all about the elipses myself…
posted by cashman at 2:54 PM on April 30, 2008


I miss the commas. Bring them back.

Also, Grandad, I don't know how you got in to cortex's account, but tell Grandma I said hello. Do you think you can figure out how to delete some random threads on the blue while you're in there?
posted by Tehanu at 2:55 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can we have a moratorium on "get off my lawn" jokes also? The "___, much?" (insert logical fallacy or other witty rejoinder) thing should be on probation as well.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:57 PM on April 30, 2008


GREETINGS STOP
AM WRITING FROM THE RAIL DEPOT STOP
THAT'S PRONOUNCED DEH POE STOP
AT ANY RATE THESE TELEGRAMS ARE EXPENSIVE STOP
SO ILL BE BRIEF STOP
THEY CHARGE BY THE LETTER DON'T YOU KNOW STOP
MUCH LIKE HER MAJESTYS MAIL CARRIER EH WOT STOP
TO RETURN TO MY POINT STOP
IN ANSWER TO YOUR QUERY STOP
AM AT METAFILTER STOP
HAVE BEEN SACKED STOP
SHALL BE HOME SOON MUCH CHASTENED STOP
SINCERELY YOURS AND WITH ALL DUE HASTE STOP
COMMA STOP
posted by shmegegge at 3:00 PM on April 30, 2008 [17 favorites]


I disaprove in the mildest way, because I like to tie four digit numbers to years in my head. For instance, 1608 is the year Milton was born, but 1,608 is just a number.

But I am weird.


Hey! I do the same thing!

Oh, wait....I'm weird too.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:01 PM on April 30, 2008


Clearly, you need to provide an opt-out for even the most trivial of displays, pb.

No kidding. Only on MetaFilter would the addition of commas cause such a ruckus. You all make it far too easy to hate you.

Oh and GET THE FUCK OFF MY LAWN. (geez Burhanistan, wet blanket much?)
posted by eyeballkid at 3:02 PM on April 30, 2008


NO THAT'S MY NAME STOP
YES I KNOW THAT YOU CANT PUT PUNCTUATION IN A TELEGRAM STOP
STOP
TYPING WHAT IM SAYING STOP
I'M DONE WITH THE TELEGRAM NOW STOP
YOU CAN GO AHEAD AND SEND IT STOP
JUST MAKE SURE TO PUT MY NAME AT THE END STOP
ITS COMMA STOP
posted by shmegegge at 3:03 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


AM WRITING FROM THE RAIL DEPOT STOP
THAT'S PRONOUNCED DEH POE STOP


Tune in next week for another episode of: When Mefites Travel Through Time!
posted by Tehanu at 3:09 PM on April 30, 2008


Speaking of numbers, this inconsistency is terribly bothersome:
MeFi: 0 posts, 0 comments
MetaTalk: 0 posts, 0 comments
Ask MeFi: 0 questions, 0 answers
Music: 0 songs, no comments, no playlists
Projects: 0 posts
Jobs: 0 posts
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:19 PM on April 30, 2008


Damn, I need to get going. 442 more comments on the blue before I get a comma. Gotta go find some obit threads to put dots in....
posted by marxchivist at 3:19 PM on April 30, 2008


Obnoxiously long noise comments that create horizontal scrollbars make baby jesus cry.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:21 PM on April 30, 2008


I don't have a thousand comments yet either. THIS IS IRRELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS.
posted by disclaimer at 3:22 PM on April 30, 2008


Unrelated: I had this idea a while back to make a mefite baseball-card generator that would take various numbers from a user profile and create a little table of stats just like on the back of a Topps card. That'd be kind of cute.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:22 PM on April 30, 2008 [7 favorites]


I miss the yelling cortex.

Also the commas.
posted by misha at 3:28 PM on April 30, 2008


THIS IS, YOUR LUCKY DAY.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:36 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had this idea a while back to make a mefite baseball-card generator that would take various numbers from a user profile and create a little table of stats just like on the back of a Topps card. That'd be kind of cute.

That's really USian of you. Why baseball? Why not football? This site is such a US-centric, comma-loving fucking boys club. I'm so sick of it. Wah.

WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:41 PM on April 30, 2008


This severely upset my parents, Ayn Rand and God.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:42 PM on April 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm just happy that the database stopped saying "loquacious's profile".

That hurt. Long and hard.
posted by loquacious at 3:44 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Tune in next week for another episode of: When Mefites Travel Through Time!

How do you spell "I think we went back too far" in hieroglyphics?
posted by quin at 3:45 PM on April 30, 2008


I guess this is what it's like to like under a Commanist regime. Reagan was right after all.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:50 PM on April 30, 2008


I am not telling any of you what the future is like.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:53 PM on April 30, 2008




In the future, Jessamyn has a new name. Far, far in the future.
posted by Tehanu at 3:58 PM on April 30, 2008


I used a marker to add them back.
posted by Eideteker at 4:09 PM on April 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


In the future, Jessamyn has a new name

Now I want someone to complain of heavy-handed moderation, so I can make up an Idi Amyn joke.
posted by jack_mo at 4:12 PM on April 30, 2008


As long as the code isn't inserting serial / Oxford commas.

Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?

posted by eyeballkid at 4:17 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Unrelated: I had this idea a while back to make a mefite baseball-card generator that would take various numbers from a user profile and create a little table of stats just like on the back of a Topps card. That'd be kind of cute.

Only if it listed comments and posts per year, and noted when a user was traded from LOLXIANS to the Cat Declawers or something.
posted by LionIndex at 4:26 PM on April 30, 2008


Oh, the by year thing definitely. Arguably the whole point, even. I'd have to come up with some crazy stat calculations, too, because if at least some things are calculated as a .xxx figure then it's not a damn baseball card.

Teams could be calculated automatically based on major subsite activity. Post a lost of questions on the green? You're playing for the Querents. Comment on the blue a lot? Bluesville Chatters it is. Etc.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:36 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey pb -

I think its fine to leave the comments as is, I'm with robocop is bleeding on this one.

I think you made one small mistake though whilst you were making your updates - the relationship status box is still a drop-down, not free-form. Would you mind fixing that?

Thanks, and as always, go nuts.
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:48 PM on April 30, 2008


commentscommas
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:48 PM on April 30, 2008


SHMEGEGGE PLEASE STOP
posted by djgh at 4:58 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


As long as the code isn't inserting serial / Oxford commas.
AS THOSE ARE THE WORK OF THE DEVIL.


*sends GuyZero down to minors*
posted by languagehat at 5:17 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


my ice cubes taste like plastic. when is pb gonna fix that?
posted by misanthropicsarah at 5:17 PM on April 30, 2008


I was a Flower of the mountain, yes, when I put the rose in my hair, like the Andalusian girls used, or shall I wear a red, yes, and how he kissed me, under the Moorish wall, and I thought, well, as well him as another, and then, I asked him, with my eyes, to ask again, yes, and then, he asked me would I, yes, to say yes, my mountain flower, and first I put my arms around him, yes, and drew him down to me, so he could feel my breasts, all perfume, yes, and his heart was going like mad, and, yes, I said, yes, I will, Yes.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:25 PM on April 30, 2008 [11 favorites]


WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH.

Someone get eyeballkid a Big Muff or a Fuzz Face or something. He needs some new effects in his arsenal.
posted by dersins at 5:40 PM on April 30, 2008


Wow, I don't think we ever had WebTV in the Europes. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) Doesn't look like I missed much. On a completely related and pressing note, can anyone who's in NYC inform me whether the Empire State Building is illuminated orange tonight? They used to do that, for Queen's Day, and if somehow they've given up on that I will sever all ties with the United States, both historical and bow.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:41 PM on April 30, 2008


Hey, pb, while you're changing things: could you make it so that the phrase "That is all" is automatically deleted from FPP's? That would increase my Metafilter satisfaction index score by at least 6.7%.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:43 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


What of twist? Family? Railroad? Pad?
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:49 PM on April 30, 2008


Those should be non-breaking spaces, not commas. Commas are used as decimal points in several European languages. Better for everyone involved if spaces are used to seperate digit triplets, so that the comma/decimal is only used for the, er, decimal.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:26 PM on April 30, 2008


You know, there's this thing called the International Systems of Units ... and it uses SPACES, DAMNIT!
posted by bettafish at 6:33 PM on April 30, 2008


As long as the code isn't inserting serial / Oxford commas.

At the end of days, all of the serial commas which you people have so cruelly omitted over the years will rise up to take their rightful places, restoring order and balance to the cosmos. It is believed that during this glorious event they will exact terrible pointy retribution on their erstwhile oppressors.
posted by enn at 6:43 PM on April 30, 2008


Yeah, like all the glass I've omitted from my cupcakes will come back to haunt me.

GLASS.

IN MY CUPCAKES.

I'm liberating them, man. Liberating them to separate sub-clauses as is their purpose.

Let me shout it from the rooftops:

WE HAVE, LIKE... COMMAS, SEMICOLONS [elided - ed.] AND COLONS.

Though it's hard to properly enunciate editorial comments while shouting.
posted by GuyZero at 7:03 PM on April 30, 2008


"I'm just happy that the database stopped saying 'loquacious's profile'."

Which was correct. Unless your name is something like Jesus or Socrates, that second, possessive s is correct. Or unless you're a plurality, of course. I've always assumed you're not.
posted by Dances with Werewolves at 7:19 PM on April 30, 2008


jessamyn writes "I'd leave it out because it's one of those things that looks just a wee bit more US-ian."

I didn't realise there was a third wide spread choice for decimal and thousands separator.
posted by Mitheral at 7:22 PM on April 30, 2008


Dances with Werewolves writes "Unless your name is something like Jesus or Socrates, that second, possessive s is correct."

Can you explain this? Why does loquacious rate an 's and Jesus only an '?
posted by Mitheral at 7:25 PM on April 30, 2008


Bettafish, you mean a SPACE, THIN SPACE, FIGURE SPACE, PUNCTUATION SPACE, or HAIR SPACE? What cracks me up is trying to tell them apart from the example pictures. How fat is that polar bear depicted in the blizzard again?
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:25 PM on April 30, 2008


I really liked that I was able to see how my profile looked with commas earlier this afternoon, and then when I came back later this evening, there were no commas at all, like they had slowly changed into nothingness over the space of a few hours.

Because I'm a -

(wait for it)

comma, comma, comma, comma, comma Chameleon
posted by yhbc at 7:40 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]




Dear everyone,

You're trying too hard. It's not worth debasing yourself by making stupid, forced puns for a few favorites. Especially about a punctuation mark. Really. You're better than that.

Stop. Now.

Signed,
A friend.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:49 PM on April 30, 2008


That's a rather fantastic non sequitor, yarrow, but a handy site to know.
posted by jedicus at 7:51 PM on April 30, 2008


It actually answers gnfti's question from a few hours ago, who I guess we'll never hear from again.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:55 PM on April 30, 2008


Those should be non-breaking spaces, not commas. Commas are used as decimal points in several European languages.

Hell no, that's just another benefit. Remind those holier-than-thou Europeans that this is still an American Website, dammit.
posted by nanojath at 7:55 PM on April 30, 2008


Aw. I came late to the party. I would've liked to see the commas. *sigh*
posted by limeonaire at 8:04 PM on April 30, 2008


"Can you explain this? Why does loquacious rate an 's and Jesus only an '?"

Convention. I don't think there's any good reason to ever elide the second s on possessive singulars, but many usage authorities argue for at least a limited elision of that second s variously on the grounds of supposed pronunciation difficulties (which I do not agree exist for any native English speakers). And most accept the convention, for whatever historic reason, of always eliding that possessive s on a number of famous historic proper names that end in s. But few style guides require the elision of a possessive s in the case of all singulars, as I am inferring loquacious prefers.
posted by Dances with Werewolves at 8:30 PM on April 30, 2008


Finally, a home for a Garrison Keillor lyric that's been floating around in my head for years:

Come along boys and have a glass of cider
And I'll tell you what it's like to be a freelance writer
Comma tie-eye yippie yippie-yay yippie-yay
Comma tie-eye yippie, semi-colon


Well, the writing is easy and the money is great
But it's hard to know how to punctuate
Comma tie-eye comma yippie quote yippie quote
Comma tie-eye parenthesis...yippie...parenthesis


Well, I've written great stuff editors reject
Brilliant work but it was incorrect
Comma tie-eye comma dash yippie yippie dash
Yippie tie-eye comma yippie period


(From one of the Prairie Home Companion albums. Lyrics are as best I can remember.)
posted by zhwj at 8:31 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't like dates either. Time doesn't exist.
posted by mattbucher at 8:45 PM on April 30, 2008


I just finished writing a novel that doesn't have a single punctuation mark. If you want I can send you all the extras. They're sitting in a heap on the floor, all dejected.
posted by Kattullus at 9:16 PM on April 30, 2008


I disaprove in the mildest way, because I like to tie four digit numbers to years in my head. For instance, 1608 is the year Milton was born, but 1,608 is just a number.

But I am weird.


I tie three digit numbers to years in my head.

But I am old.
posted by nightwood at 9:28 PM on April 30, 2008


comma, comma
comma, comma
comma it's such a joy
comma it's such a joy
comma n' take it easy
comma n' take it easy
take it easy
take it easy
everybody's got somethin' to hide
'cept for me and my SHIFT KEY
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:31 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


gnfti, that was a one time affair.
But Mariah Carey was recently saluted with a color scheme.
posted by jouke at 9:51 PM on April 30, 2008


This was removed because it was too USian? More like too English-speaking. The comma is used as a thousands separator in most of the predominantly English-speaking countries. It's silly to remove this for that reason since this is an English-speaking web site. You might as well remove the FAQ because it's only available in one language. Or all the comments.

That said, I eschew commas for four-digit numbers, which is most of what we would run into at this point in MeFi history.
posted by grouse at 9:59 PM on April 30, 2008


I wrote:

"But few style guides require the elision of a possessive s in the case of all singulars, as I am inferring loquacious prefers."

However, I meant to have written: the elision of a possessive s in the case of all singulars which end in the letter s, as I think...
posted by Dances with Werewolves at 10:01 PM on April 30, 2008


Unrelated: I had this idea a while back to make a mefite baseball-card generator that would take various numbers from a user profile and create a little table of stats just like on the back of a Topps card. That'd be kind of cute.

That would be utterly adorable. If someone else does the coding I'll provide the pretty graphics. Or not so pretty. But graphics nonetheless. Yay graphics.
posted by Phire at 10:49 PM on April 30, 2008


I am horrified that my comma-space snipe may have resulted in the commas being removed. I apologize profusely.

Though spaces are infinitely better than commas, regardless.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:51 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but they have to be thin spaces like this:

123  456  789

not regular spaces like this:

123 456 789
posted by grouse at 11:05 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Back to formatting large numbers:
I'm more for U+205F (medium mathematical spaces: &amp#8287;) rather than commas as a default formatting for any large strings of numbers:

217=88287;5898287;9348287;592 (U+205F, could be a little more subtle, but it's fine)
vs
217=8589934592 (No breakage, eyes glaze over unless I really care)
vs
217=8 589 934 592 (Normal space: way too big, reads like I should be multiplying the strings together)

Mathematica 6 made a similar formatting decision in default notebook rendering to my surprise and (eventual) approval.
posted by johnjoe at 11:18 PM on April 30, 2008


wow, and post-comment completely killed me on that, tho it formatted fine in the live-preview. My html-to-metafilter foo is, evidently, completely for sucks. Like my ability to preview too. Go w/ thin spaces I guess.

If anyone can reverse engineer and tell me what I failed to take into account when commenting (feel free to send me a mefi-mail) I'd be incredibly appreciative.
posted by johnjoe at 11:24 PM on April 30, 2008


I don't think you can use numeric entity references here.
posted by grouse at 11:27 PM on April 30, 2008


Used to be you could hit preview, fix the ripped-out markup, and post it intact.

88287;5898287;9348287;592

...if that looks like the same mess you got, that particular bug was quashed. :-(
posted by five fresh fish at 11:49 PM on April 30, 2008


But few style guides require the elision of a possessive s in the case of all singulars, as I am inferring loquacious prefers.

Hold on a second, here. Try pronouncing "loquacious's". Come on, say it.

Damn your grammatical fairie-stories. I was taught by reading the words of many fine, even great writers to write like you'd talk.

And this is how we bend language to suit us, not the other way around.

Also, "loquacious" in the context of my handle, or any handle, should be treated like a proper name.
posted by loquacious at 12:11 AM on May 1, 2008


*blink* No kidding. Some past abuses? I guess entering the unicode directly isn't such a hassle.

8 589 934 592 vs.
8589934592 vs
8 589 934 592

Ok, updating the metafilter wiki on formatting to mention this. Just to verify the not-so-freeness of the text-box:

ξ can be represented as 958; in decimal or x03be; in hex.
posted by johnjoe at 12:22 AM on May 1, 2008


Did someone say blink ?
posted by Cranberry at 12:28 AM on May 1, 2008


Aloud, I say Loh-KWAY-shuss for the word (or handle) and Loh-KWAY-shuh-siz for the possessive handle. "If loquacious's comments got any shorter, he'd have to change his handle."
posted by cgc373 at 12:29 AM on May 1, 2008


*blink* No kidding. Some past abuses? I guess entering the unicode directly (and by entering I mean copying-and-pasting) isn't such a hassle.

233= 217×216 (*cough*)=
8 589 934 592 (mathematical space) vs
8 589  934  592 (thin space) vs
8 589 934 592 (regular space)
8589934592 (no space)

phew.

Ok, updating the metafilter wiki on formatting to mention this. Just to verify the not-so-freeness of the text-box:

ξ can be represented as 958; in decimal or x03be; in hex.
posted by johnjoe at 12:29 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


*blinks*
posted by cgc373 at 12:31 AM on May 1, 2008


*buries head in the confusion of post-comment sand*

g'night
posted by johnjoe at 12:32 AM on May 1, 2008


Commer with a delivery for MeFi; where d'you want 'em, squire?
posted by Abiezer at 12:38 AM on May 1, 2008


8 589 934 592 (mathematical space) vs
8 589  934  592 (thin space) vs
8 589 934 592 (regular space) vs
8589934592 (no space)


LOL you forgot HAMMERSPACE.

Look ma! No commas.
posted by WalterMitty at 1:53 AM on May 1, 2008


I'm pro-commas.
posted by hjo3 at 1:53 AM on May 1, 2008


Pro-Commas174;. Ask your doctor if it's right for you.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:08 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hmmm... html, she's a-no work for me. Worked in preview, though...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:09 AM on May 1, 2008


I think its quite clear from the debate that commas is something for any no0b to aspire to. The question is will this incentivise better quality or will it tempt the comma hungry into debasing discussion through gibberish just to get their numbers up. For myself, I'VE DONE MY TIME, I'VE GOT MY 1,000 UP AND EVEN THOUGH IT MEANT NOTHING TO ME YESTERDAY NOW I WANT MY COMMA.
posted by biffa at 2:21 AM on May 1, 2008


Eh, I quoted this elsewhere recently, but it's appropriate, so here it is again:
The commas are the most useful and usable of all the stops. It is highly important to put them in place as you go along. If you try to come back after doing a paragraph and stick them in the various spots that tempt you you will discover that they tend to swarm like minnows in all sorts of crevices whose existence you hadn't realized and before you know it the whole long sentence becomes immobilized and lashed up squirming in commas. Better to use them sparingly, and with affection, precisely when the need for each one arises, nicely, by itself.
Lewis Thomas, "Notes on Punctuation"
posted by cgc373 at 2:40 AM on May 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Dances with Werewolves writes 'many usage authorities argue for at least a limited elision of that second s variously on the grounds of supposed pronunciation difficulties (which I do not agree exist for any native English speakers).'

Waters and Hedges are the usual examples of common surnames where pronunciation becomes an issue with an s followed by an apostrophe and a second s. It is pretty hard to spit out Waters's or Hedges's - try it! - and most people wouldn't add the second s when speaking (in the same way that few people actually say Jesus's in a phrase like in Jesus' name). Then there's the soft s at the end of names like Rabelais: how do you suggest we pronounce Rabelais's? Impossible. Greek names of more than one syllable ending in s, like the Socrates example given above, also seem to be as much a matter of pronunciation as convention: no one says Achilles's heel or Archimedes's principle; they're hard to say and sound peculiar.

Unless you're talking Greeks or Jesus, it's definitely a matter of playing it by ear, unless you want people to mentally stumble over your writing.
posted by jack_mo at 2:54 AM on May 1, 2008


The same sort of mental stumble caused by using the same word twice in a sentence, come to think of it!
posted by jack_mo at 3:00 AM on May 1, 2008


All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.
posted by cgc373 at 3:11 AM on May 1, 2008


Try pronouncing "loquacious's". Come on, say it.

This is why you can't have nice things. Or any things, for that matter.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:49 AM on May 1, 2008


something about commas
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 5:35 AM on May 1, 2008


^something about commas

comma chameleon, how's-about-that?
posted by not_on_display at 5:44 AM on May 1, 2008


on preview: dammit I knew it was too good to be the first culture club reference. OK... Try this one.

NO COMMAS WERE HARMED IN THE TYPING OF THIS COMMENT.

or

I guess pb didn't use "smart commas."
posted by not_on_display at 5:47 AM on May 1, 2008


A tragedy of the commons, of epic proportions. Oops, used a comma there. And there! Dammint. [not commaiss!]
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:11 AM on May 1, 2008


If you want a picture of the future...

Wait... facebook?
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:13 AM on May 1, 2008


Christ, Devils Rancher. You wrote "tragedy of the commons" instead of "tragedy of the commas"? Standards are slippin' in MeTa these days, I tell you what.
posted by cgc373 at 6:30 AM on May 1, 2008


comma comma comma comma comma baby now,
comma and work it on out
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:39 AM on May 1, 2008


Try pronouncing "loquacious's". Come on, say it.

Sounds like a fun idea for the podcast. We all call in trying to pronounce whacked out names 's.
posted by jmd82 at 7:11 AM on May 1, 2008


"Aloud, I say Loh-KWAY-shuss for the word (or handle) and Loh-KWAY-shuh-siz for the possessive handle."

I say low-kway-shus for the noun and low-kway-shuss for the possessive (loquacious'). I don't render the extra s in print because the most efficient method that clearly conveys my meaning wins.
posted by Eideteker at 7:18 AM on May 1, 2008


At the end of days, all of the serial commas which you people have so cruelly omitted over the years will rise up to take their rightful places, restoring order and balance to the cosmos.
Being desirous of reputation as an author, he published a book entitled "A Pickle for the Knowing Ones," and, having been annoyed by the printers about punctuation, he retaliated by writing a pamphlet without a point of any kind, and at the end filled half a page with points in a mass, inviting the readers to "pepper the dish to suit themselves."
(The actual quote is "Nowing ones complane of my book the fust edition had no stops I put in a Nuf here and thay may peper and solt it as they plese.")

Then there's the soft s at the end of names like Rabelais: how do you suggest we pronounce Rabelais's? Impossible.

Huh? There's no "soft s" there; it's completely silent, and "Rabelais's" is pronounced /rab(ə)leyz/. Nothing could be easier. Aside from that, you're right: add the 's if you hear it when you say the name. If you say /low'kweyʃəsəz/, write "loquacious's." If you say /low'kweyʃəs/ (i.e., exactly the same as the plain form, which seems weird to me but if loquacious says it that way, who am I to object?), write "loquacious'." Same goes for Jesus.
posted by languagehat at 7:37 AM on May 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hey, man, you can't tell Jesus how to pronounce "loquacious's".
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:40 AM on May 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Whaddya mean, who are you to object? You're the fuckin' 'hat, buddy. Take it serious!
posted by cgc373 at 7:43 AM on May 1, 2008


Really, you can't tell Jesus how to pronounce anything these days. He's become really Insufferable.
posted by pineapple at 7:43 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you weren't the 'hat, I'd complain about all that IPA illegible mucka-mucka-rackety-tat crapola you posted above.
posted by cgc373 at 7:44 AM on May 1, 2008


I'd say go with the Homer Simpson model. Remember? "The Flanders's's's's. Simple!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:45 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


He gets all, "I'm sorry? What? Did someone just say something to Me? Was it a fig tree that spoke? You know how I feel about fig trees. No, no, please, say it again. Tell Me what you said again. No? Okay. I thought so."
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:47 AM on May 1, 2008


Huh? Homer Simpson says that?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:50 AM on May 1, 2008


A sphincter says what?
posted by cgc373 at 7:59 AM on May 1, 2008


And then he pulls out his Nalgene and does the whole magic fingers shit and, bam, a nice Shiraz, and you're all okay man hey could I get a little help here too? and you hold out your thermos but he's just, sorry dude, I JUST RAN OUT and it's like, bullshit, Jesus.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:07 AM on May 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'd say go with the Homer Simpson model.

Nemesises... ses?
posted by Tehanu at 8:11 AM on May 1, 2008


This is why I don't invite Him to my parties anymore. He's all over in the corner turning my pigs-in-a-blanket into loaves and fishes, just for fun, and also, there is NO telling Him it might be time to, you know, switch to black coffee.
posted by pineapple at 8:15 AM on May 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


", ".join(text.split())
posted by signal at 9:03 AM on May 1, 2008


comma comma comma comma comma com-mee-lee-yun...



*insert ASCII art chameleon made of commas*
posted by Mister_A at 9:04 AM on May 1, 2008


I wonder how many people can make that same joke in this thread. I count 4 oh-so-clever boys making it so far.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:06 AM on May 1, 2008


SAVE FARIS
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:09 AM on May 1, 2008


It comes and goes, Dave.
posted by grouse at 9:13 AM on May 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


I want a MeFi baseball card so fricking hard right now. I don't have any skills or talents that could help in the implementation of them, other than perhaps a good backrub for the programmers and designers. Honestly, I will contact the best pizza delivery place in your town or city and arrange for them to send you a large pizza (with toppings) if you can make this happen, people.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:22 AM on May 1, 2008


If you say /low'kweyʃəs/ (i.e., exactly the same as the plain form, which seems weird to me but if loquacious says it that way, who am I to object?), write "loquacious'." Same goes for Jesus. -languagehat

You don't tell the Jesus how to do punctuation!




However, in some quarters (make sure you read more than just the top comment), Jesus' and Moses' are accepted liturgical archaisms per Hart's rules. If that has changed in the latest version, well then kindly step away from my grass, shrubs, and koi pond, for Moses's sake.

dame was awesome
posted by Mister_A at 9:28 AM on May 1, 2008


I think I misunderstood whether LH was fer s's or agin it...

*shoots self*
posted by Mister_A at 9:30 AM on May 1, 2008


Honestly, I will contact the best pizza delivery place in your town or city and arrange for them to send you a large pizza (with toppings) if you can make this happen, people.

Hmm. Incentive.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:39 AM on May 1, 2008


languagehat writes 'Huh? There's no "soft s" there; it's completely silent, and "Rabelais's" is pronounced /rab(ə)leyz/. Nothing could be easier.'

Yeah, I thought 'soft' looked wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's what the Times's Guide calls it, and I'm not up on pronunciation terminology or that funny upside down letter business. I know from experience that Guardian Style doesn't even mention names with a silent s in their otherwise ace section on the apostrophe. (Sad how much of this stuff I have committed to memory, and not for professional reasons but from arguing with friends!)

And you're right: Rabelais's looks completely unpronounceable, but isn't, except that I can't help but stumble over a weird gap between the silent and the sounded s, where I would normally mouth a tiny little on-the-way-to-sibilant noise. I'll blame this on my French accent being tinged with the (quite sibilant) Wirral accent I had when I learnt French, but it's probably more to do with being a big old ponce. Either way, I'll stick with Rabelais' on the grounds that it looks nicer.
posted by jack_mo at 10:01 AM on May 1, 2008


A quick back-of-envelope selection of possible statistics:

FPPs roughly correlate to ABs, with FPPs/FPPs+Deleted FPPs=OBP. That OBP+FPP favorites=OBS. That can be normalized against the average number of FPPs for active roster members (above 100 comments per year?) and average number of favorites per post for an EQA.

There's gotta be some way to get WARP and VORP out of this too.
posted by klangklangston at 10:02 AM on May 1, 2008


Comments to deleted comments should be on there too, probably as .AVG, as (like .AVG) it's a stat that's easy to compute (for admins) but has little predictive power.

Clearly, folks who have one name and come back with another should be listed as trades. Or just list by year with the different name shown for each season, like basketball cards did with the bunch of dudes who became Muslim during their careers.
posted by klangklangston at 10:05 AM on May 1, 2008


While I agree that deletion calcs would make for a tasty metric, I don't think I'd be including anything in hypothetical baseball stats that wasn't already open info -- so comment deletions are definitely out, flags are out. Post deletions are probably okay given that deleted posts are publicly viewable.

Posting frequency vs. baseline in different contexts, though, sure. And post-to-comment ratio, work in faves and best answers if we want. I could do some crazy comment-length calcs for that matter, but I'm not sure how valuable that is.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:15 AM on May 1, 2008


I'd rather just see straight MeFi statistics -- FPP (obvs), QA (questions asked), C (comments) A (answers), FAV (favorites), and some kind of favorites-to-comments ratio.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:19 AM on May 1, 2008


I just would like to know why our corporate firewall is blocking joshmillard.com. Cortex, what do you have on your site that is keeping web(non)sense from allowing me to see your domain here?
posted by Lynsey at 10:28 AM on May 1, 2008


average character count per post?
average word count per post?

I think the value would be to admire the most succinct and the verbose among us. But then it would probably devolve pretty quickly into a situation where people calculate the quotient to determine who likes to use big words the most. Then we could argue over whether the heavy big-word users were throwing the SAT words into the mix for evil or for awesome. That's at least 2-3 MeTas plus ammo for future callouts right there.
posted by Tehanu at 10:34 AM on May 1, 2008


Let's move on to the fun stuff. What major league player do you think your MetaFilter persona resembles?

Me: Tony Gwynn. Spray hitter, lots of singles (comments), a little bit fat.
posted by Mister_A at 10:57 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


No, we need average Flesch-Kincaid Readability for comments. That would separate the monosyllabic boys from the real men. And ladies.
posted by GuyZero at 11:00 AM on May 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


me: mark fidrych. too tightly wound for this sport.
posted by stubby phillips at 11:06 AM on May 1, 2008


Flesch-Kincaid would be awesome, but the (total syllables ÷ total words) might be hell to automate.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:13 AM on May 1, 2008


plus, many posts in your typical obit-filter would crash the program.
posted by stubby phillips at 11:17 AM on May 1, 2008


STOP STOP
COLLABORATE AND LISTEN STOP
ICE IS BACK WITH MY BRAND NEW INVENTION STOP
posted by norm at 11:28 AM on May 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


dame was awesome

She still is awesome. I'm surprised she's not in this thread, speaking truth to comma-abusers.
posted by languagehat at 11:33 AM on May 1, 2008


and you hold out your thermos but he's just, sorry dude, I JUST RAN OUT and it's like, bullshit, Jesus.

I have a friend in Jesus. The Nazz wouldn't do me like that.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:43 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just would like to know why our corporate firewall is blocking joshmillard.com. Cortex, what do you have on your site that is keeping web(non)sense from allowing me to see your domain here?

Apparently my site is porny? People just started mentioning this to me fairly recently. It's bizarre.

Best I can figure, it's because of my last (failed) NaNoWriMo attempt—one of the protagonists was in a shitty, abusive relationship, and there was a short chapter built around her having (and emotionally detaching herself from) sex with her sleazebucket boy. It's utterly, purposely unsexy stuff, but I guess it's still sex.

What confuses me is whether this has been an issue (Websense blocking it as "Sex") for a long time and I just recently got word, or if they just recently put it on the blacklist. The novel chapters were getting posted in real time back in '05, so the content is hardly new. I did a site redesign in the last couple months, and I suppose that could have spawned a respidering from Websense or something, but, yeah, I don't know. I presume that Websense's classification is largely or entirely automated, not human-driven, but I'm in the dark, really.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:10 PM on May 1, 2008


Well, the point of the stats on baseball cards is to a) give a picture of what the player was like over their career, b) predict their future stats, and c) settle arguments about who was a better player.

I guess we have to come up with a set of metrics that predicts a good Metafilter member.

As a side note, meetups planned and meetups attended might be a nice stat.

But the further we go into coming up with things that I feel reflect on what kind of member people are, the further it moves away from things easily discerned from data dumps, requiring actual work to implement.

Plus, we should definitely differentiate eras based on signups and on pre- and post-favorites (deadball era versus modern).
posted by klangklangston at 12:34 PM on May 1, 2008


I'm definitely against actual work, so yeah.

And the era thing, yeah—might be a fun way to multiply the teams a bit.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:40 PM on May 1, 2008


Don't forget, the 14k'ers won three Series back in the deadball era.
posted by languagehat at 12:55 PM on May 1, 2008


Plus, we have jerseys.
posted by languagehat at 12:58 PM on May 1, 2008


Do you have a log of side-barring?
posted by klangklangston at 2:31 PM on May 1, 2008


I think commas are pretty, and y'all are wanting punch-cards back.
posted by wafaa at 3:52 PM on May 1, 2008


It actually answers gnfti's question from a few hours ago, who I guess we'll never hear from again.

I'm here. It was only a patriotism-induced stupor, I swear. Thanks, yarrow! And jouke, that saddens me.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:11 PM on May 1, 2008


What major league player do you think your MetaFilter persona resembles?

Mario Mendoza.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:15 PM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


What major league player do you think your MetaFilter persona resembles?

Mark Fidrych.
posted by jonmc at 6:17 PM on May 1, 2008


Whoever the hell this guy is.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:54 PM on May 1, 2008


That's Prince Fielder, son of Cecil Fielder. Both are known as prodigiously fat men.
posted by klangklangston at 7:45 PM on May 1, 2008


'Roid rage = the new flame out.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:14 PM on May 1, 2008


What major league player do you think your MetaFilter persona resembles?

Albert Pooholes.

Whaddayamean that's not how he spells it?! That's how he'd spell it if he had any guts!
posted by Kattullus at 1:33 AM on May 2, 2008


Who will be our Sidd Finch?
posted by Mister_A at 8:23 AM on May 2, 2008


I can't believe you maniacs aren't fighting over who gets to be Bill Lee.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:21 AM on May 2, 2008


William S. Burroughs played baseball?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:29 AM on May 2, 2008


Can I be Dock Ellis?
posted by not_on_display at 11:07 PM on May 2, 2008


Ha!

"Ellis, D."
posted by Sys Rq at 3:17 PM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


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