MeFi Projects getting public comments May 27, 2008 10:05 AM   Subscribe

A big tweak to Projects: new comments going public

The original (and still to this day) plan for the Projects section was to let members here show off their amazing works. There's a great deal of creative people here and it was tough to figure out a good way to share new projects with other members, so we built Projects along the lines of the previous mailing list setup by kindall.

Originally, I saw Projects as being a great launching board for new MetaFilter posts. I envisioned maybe half the posts to Projects ending on MetaFilter, and with that in mind, I didn't want to discourage people from "promoting" posts up to MetaFilter proper by having lengthy discussions already on Projects. I thought it'd act as a nice incentive to not have comments at all, to save those comments for when the best stuff ends up at MeFi.

After a few years of doing Projects, I've realized almost all the projects posted are quite new, and mostly not yet ready for MeFi (half the time I think "this would make a great post in six months when there is more content here") but they're still cool works. After Projects launched with no comments at all, we eventually added private comments to the creator, and though that was weird, I felt it enabled people to share their feedback, bugs, etc with the creator.

People have long asked why the comments were private, and I stuck to the original notion that I didn't want to have two discussions about the same thing in two places on mefi -- that it'd be better to leave the incentive to push stuff to MeFi and discuss it there. I'll concede that the original plans for how I thought Projects would grow and be used here are different than what happens on the site day to day. Most projects are new, and only 1 or 2 get promoted up to MeFi each month.

With that in mind, we're going to flip the switch today on new comments, making every new comment public, while keeping the old system in place as-is. All previous comments on the Projects site are still private and open to the creators to read, but you can no longer leave a private comment for a Projects post. Every Projects thread will get a standard comment thread like the ones everywhere else on the site, with full functionality like favorites, flagging, preview, and HTML shortcuts.

This will go live later today, and we've kept the new projects posting page closed for a week while we retooled the system and allowed the last few projects to get their share of private feedback before flipping the switch on new public feedback.

This is a long time coming and I admit the no comments then private comments thing was a weird design choice, especially considering the way comments are handled everywhere else on the site, so the new way of doing things should work out much better since it'll be in line with what members expect. I suppose this will create the two-discussions problem I tried to avoid in the first place, but I suspect it only affects a small handful of posts and people on MeFi could link to the existing discussion to say "hey, don't forget the 10 comments over there about this as well" (or we could automate that when you make a mefi post about a projects post in the future)
posted by mathowie to Feature Requests at 10:05 AM (46 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Yay!
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:16 AM on May 27, 2008


Cool!
posted by self at 10:16 AM on May 27, 2008


Great decision! *thumbs up*
posted by amyms at 10:18 AM on May 27, 2008


Awesome!
posted by burnmp3s at 10:19 AM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've always wanted to see what others think about the projects posted there, and was frustrated that a discussion couldn't exist. I see your initial reasoning, but am sure to frequent Projects more often now that you've opened the doors, so to speak.
posted by self at 10:23 AM on May 27, 2008


Here's a test project where you can see the new public comments in action.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:23 AM on May 27, 2008


Thanks, dad.
posted by ddaavviidd at 10:25 AM on May 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


I saw the note about this at the 'announce project' link a few days ago and have been looking forward to it.
posted by enn at 10:25 AM on May 27, 2008


I tried posting a comment in the test post twice and each time the page reloaded when I hit "Post comment", but alas, no comment was actually posted...
posted by Burhanistan at 10:28 AM on May 27, 2008


There they went.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:30 AM on May 27, 2008


I approve, but fear the inevitable pissing-all-over-a-member's-project-turned-flamewar-turned-MetaTalk-callout that now looms. Hopefully, not for my project.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:38 AM on May 27, 2008


I'll green-bomb anyone who flames any project, no matter how ill-conceived or misguided it is.
posted by Mister_A at 10:56 AM on May 27, 2008


I was gonna ask where the Projects-specific discussion note was, but then I realized that it's hidden when Live Preview is turned off (as I had done). Is there a reason that the hug/etc. notes are tied to the live preview? I suspect that it'll be particularly useful to be able to point to that note in the near future, as a Projects-specific comment culture evolves. Stop the asshattery before it starts.
posted by mumkin at 11:02 AM on May 27, 2008


good point, mumkin. I added notes for non-Live Previewers.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:14 AM on May 27, 2008


My god! Mister_A has finally unlocked the power of the color green, and then weaponized it!

This will surely and inevitably lead to yet another unchecked arms escalation, as everyone clamors to ensure that their nation possesses the ability for mutual assured en-greenenating. In this respect, we are just continuing the process of funneling vast quantities of money into the coffers of the military-industrial-entertainment-complex.

But as always, no one ever thinks of the innocent victims.

Visible comments in Projects is Teh Hotness, thanks.
posted by quin at 11:16 AM on May 27, 2008


I have long argued that public comments on Projects would see a lot more people make it part of their visit to Metafilter, so I think that this is a good thing. It happily coincides with the first ever project I'm contributing to the site, so once it goes up (assuming it gets approved etc), I'll see whether or not I'll be eating my own words.

Thanks Matt and pb!
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:51 AM on May 27, 2008


I predict a "When did this happen?" MeTa thread within three weeks.

I also predict a "When did thi-- oh." comment in this thread within eighty minutes.
posted by Plutor at 11:58 AM on May 27, 2008


I predict a self-referential remark in this comment right now.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:04 PM on May 27, 2008


Public comments are also good in that seeing criticism/praise of other people's work can help to improve one's own work.

So, yeah: Yay!
posted by Sys Rq at 12:05 PM on May 27, 2008


Holy shit, this is great! It's going to be great for folks to get this kind of feed back.
posted by snsranch at 12:14 PM on May 27, 2008


Possible bug? My Project just got approved (see here) but the link to it from the Metafilter contact activity sidebar takes you here.

Apologies if this corrects itself after a given time; this is my first Project, after all.
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:18 PM on May 27, 2008


Effigy2000, you didn't put in a URL/title for the project when you posted it (I added it), so we'll have to make that mandatory for posting to get around those errors in the future.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:30 PM on May 27, 2008


Does it matter that the project page doesn't list the number of comments like other threads do?
posted by sambosambo at 12:32 PM on May 27, 2008


This is great- there's definitely more incentive to post projects for me now!
posted by niccolo at 12:42 PM on May 27, 2008


On my recent activity page, the links point to:

http://.metafilter.com/1511/Projects-has-public-comments#32

Which is missing the "projects" before the ".metafilter"
posted by Gary at 12:45 PM on May 27, 2008


Thanks sambosambo and Gary, those are fixed.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:58 PM on May 27, 2008


Yay!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:04 PM on May 27, 2008


Reviewing and editing stuff is almost as cool as giving advice to fellow mefites. sweet!
posted by By The Grace of God at 1:59 PM on May 27, 2008


good news, thanks!
posted by owhydididoit at 2:07 PM on May 27, 2008


Speaking of projects - are there any plans to add a listing of which projects you've voted for to the activity info on member profiles? It seems like this has been brought up a few times and every time the idea is well received... I don't recall there ever being an objection to the idea.

Not to detract from public comments, which are great.
posted by nanojath at 2:30 PM on May 27, 2008


*Begins work on Hitler's Fat Gay Cat project*
posted by Mister_A at 2:49 PM on May 27, 2008


Thanks for fixing that for me Matt. And thanks again for implementing public comments on Projects.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:56 PM on May 27, 2008


I predict a self-referential remark in this comment right now.

Your prediction didn't pan out. We have yet to hear any remarks about self in this thread.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:56 PM on May 27, 2008


I'm glad that you made this change. I actually had no idea that the comments were private. Hmmm. That actually explains a few things.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:47 PM on May 27, 2008


What if someone's favorite project sucks?
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:04 PM on May 27, 2008


Cool. I think I militated for public comments back in the day, but I neglect Projects horribly, and I hope this will raise my (and everyone's) level of participation and interest.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:16 PM on May 27, 2008


Good call.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:19 PM on May 27, 2008


This can only lead to trouble.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:00 PM on May 27, 2008


This is a good idea.

We get dual discussions all the time with Metas anyway. Nothing much seems to break, and everyone seems to figure out what's going on okay.

If we do end up with two disparate threads about the same Project... is any real harm done? I don't see it as being much of a problem. I suspect that anything important in one will be quickly mentioned in the other.
posted by Malor at 12:24 AM on May 28, 2008


I don't seem to be logged in on Projects, though I'm clearly logged in everywhere else on site. Am I doing something wrong?
posted by GeckoDundee at 4:37 AM on May 28, 2008


I notice also that my RSS feed for the Blue doesn't work, but the one for AskMe does.

Oh, and thanks for yet another innovation, I hope Projects benefits from it.
posted by GeckoDundee at 4:53 AM on May 28, 2008


Hooray! I always felt like projects was the forgotten stepchild of the Metafilter family to a lot of Mefites. Public comments is a GREAT idea!
posted by misha at 7:56 AM on May 28, 2008


This is fabulous!
posted by astruc at 9:27 AM on May 28, 2008


Mods: I have some questions.

1) Can we repost old projects to get public comments? Public discussion may lead to more comments.

2) I've often wondered if it is kosher to post the same project again after some period of time if significant new functionality is added. I think the answer is either: "no" or "use your best judgement but be prepared for deletification."

Thanks.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:43 AM on May 28, 2008


1) Can we repost old projects to get public comments? Public discussion may lead to more comments.

Just and specifically to get public comments? My inclination is to say no, and just stick with the existing standard for reposts: if it's been a good long while since the initial post and the project has significantly/fundamentally changed, a repost is probably okay, but otherwise nope. If that means your old projects doesn't end up getting public comments, that's a bummer but so it goes.

2) I've often wondered if it is kosher to post the same project again after some period of time if significant new functionality is added. I think the answer is either: "no" or "use your best judgement but be prepared for deletification."

Heh. See above.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:15 AM on May 28, 2008


Thanks.
posted by jeffamaphone at 12:35 PM on May 28, 2008


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