Search and Destroy September 18, 2008 10:30 PM   Subscribe

I've been contemplating an Ask post for a while now, that deals with certain issues that I don't really want to appear in a search index...

I'm wondering if it would be reasonable to suggest that in addition to the anonymous option, that there could also be an option for a nofollow on a particular thread.
Obviously the description/intro would be indexed, but any responses or "more inside" details wouldn't be.
posted by strawberryviagra to Feature Requests at 10:30 PM (86 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

There's an AskMe about killing people and disposing of the body (which keeps turning up all over the Internet). While I don't really see any reason (besides that it would make more work for mathowie) not to do this, I'm having a hard time imagining what you're asking about that would need to be both anonymous and non-searchable.
posted by Caduceus at 10:47 PM on September 18, 2008


Well, killing someone. Not necessarily multiple someones. And I mentioned that because I meant to say I can't imagine something worse than that.

Anyway. I clearly shouldn't comment on things this late.
posted by Caduceus at 10:49 PM on September 18, 2008


Not both but either.

I want to be able to engage in dialogue, anonymous doesn't allow that.
posted by strawberryviagra at 10:53 PM on September 18, 2008


I think if your question is so TOP SECRET it cannot be anonymously seen by the world it probably is not appropriate for this website.

Furthermore, by posting this non-anonymous Metatalk you have already compromised your future secrecy.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:53 PM on September 18, 2008


I want to be able to engage in dialogue, anonymous doesn't allow that.

Nofollow is not a method of security. You may engage in dialogue anonymously through the moderators though I wouldn't overburden them.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:56 PM on September 18, 2008


Ah, I see. Your use of "in addition" made me think you wanted both. My comments are even less relevant, now.
posted by Caduceus at 10:56 PM on September 18, 2008


Damn, if only I'd chosen a pseudonym as my username.
posted by strawberryviagra at 10:59 PM on September 18, 2008 [10 favorites]


I have this friend (not me of course) and she was wondering the same thing as strawberryviagra. What should I tell her?
posted by three blind mice at 10:59 PM on September 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


It's not so much about being able to engage in dialogue - that's a bonus - it's merely to restrict /reduce the likelihood of it being noticed by those outside our kindly community.

I think Caduceus' reference to the dead body disposal is a good example of the consequence of not having this option.
posted by strawberryviagra at 11:04 PM on September 18, 2008


Talk to your lawyer.
posted by turgid dahlia at 11:06 PM on September 18, 2008


I think the official position is that a sockpuppet created to retain anonymity and allow dialogue will be ok, so long as it's not use to get around question limits. That seems to solve both your problems, right?
posted by jacalata at 11:21 PM on September 18, 2008


No.

I want to ask for advice about something, to which I need to give sufficient detail, the nature of which is reasonably sensitive.

It implicates someone else, whose permission I have to get this information, and I believe the information I seek could be easily ascertained through metafilter.
posted by strawberryviagra at 11:26 PM on September 18, 2008


I suspect TOCT's point was that you actually haven't, given that strawberryviagra is directly linked to your real-world identity (eg: "whois strawberryviagra.com" returns, among other things, the contact information from your domain registration.)
posted by russm at 11:36 PM on September 18, 2008


This is not about my anonymity.

It's about not trumpeting details about a subject to the whole intarweb.

People may search for strawberryviagra - although I doubt it. They are more likely to search for a subject and find it. I want to avoid the latter.
posted by strawberryviagra at 11:42 PM on September 18, 2008


I wish for this as well SV. I'd like to ask an anon question or two and be able to 'interact' with the repliers w/o mailing the mods or setting up a blind email addy. Also, I sometimes (often) would reply to a question if i could do so anonymously*. I suppose this is the price I pay for transparency what with using my real info and all?
*(Neither of which you are requesting, but this saves me from posting my own pony.)
I read that as strawberryvagina, and was bemused for a bit of a spell.
posted by dawson at 11:42 PM on September 18, 2008


I'll quickly register that now, thanks.....

Damn, my wife beat me to it.
posted by strawberryviagra at 11:45 PM on September 18, 2008


In theory at least, I can see how this might be useful, without it covering ground that might be criminal or otherwise nasty.

There could be situations (say, relating to work or relationships) in which certain details *need* to be included for the situation to be properly explained, but those details simultaneously make the question easily searchable. Googlability of these flashpoint terms might endanger somebody's job or privacy or reputation or whatever.

Hiding them behind a nofollow would mean that the person searching for the info would have to know to come here first, then trawl through - what? - every AskMe ever? Just to find something they didn't know was here in the first place?

The best example I can think of right now would be whistleblowing within some very specific industry - um, say penguin taxidermy - whereby a future employer googling "penguin taxidermy" would come across the question & identify the person, but no way would they trawl this entire site just on the off chance of finding something.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:49 PM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


my secret question would be, not about penguin taxidermy, but rather consensual sex with dolphins, of either sex.
posted by dawson at 11:57 PM on September 18, 2008


I want to ask for advice about something, to which I need to give sufficient detail, the nature of which is reasonably sensitive.

If you're St*v* Schm*dt, I'll tell you straight up: don't quit your job. Keep dredging the muck. Your boss will continue sabotaging himself and your best efforts, but your failure here is the first step toward a national renewal. Like most relationship and work answers on AskMe, this one too boils down to: "it's not about you."

Oh, and then after your boss loses in November, you should seriously spend about a decade volunteering and working to redeem your sad and ugly life. And convince your pal K*rl to join you. If neither of you can bring yourselves to consort with the stinking proles for that long, then I'll advocate murder/suicide. But again...after November.

See, that wasn't so hard. Good advice & no sensitive information disclosed. Win/win.
posted by felix betachat at 12:07 AM on September 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


dawson, what more could you possibly need to know?
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:10 AM on September 19, 2008


needs more cowbell. my god ma'am. that's the page I was recalling with remorse. My memory was mercifully faint and the url long lost. now...where's that box of Kleenex?
posted by dawson at 12:13 AM on September 19, 2008


Anything that has to remain that secret has no place whatsoever on the Internet, in any form. This is not the Web site you're looking for.
posted by dg at 2:20 AM on September 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


If a subject is not indexed, it will take some finding.

I acknowledge that it's not 100% secure - it could still be found, stumbled upon, et cetera - but it's a lot less likely. I'd say it would be 98% less likely, that someone who is not part of metafilter, and in addition - never knew about it in the first place - finding the non-indexed information.

If it were that top secret, I would certainly not post it - anywhere. But it's not that top-secret, however it's something that wouldn't benefit from too wide an exposure.

Additionally, having the option would probably elicit more responses from people, if they felt reasonably comfortable that the information they gave (which may be borne of their own experience), was not going to be indexed.
posted by strawberryviagra at 3:04 AM on September 19, 2008


Gawd that was badly written - sorry, I've got the flu.
posted by strawberryviagra at 3:06 AM on September 19, 2008


You shouldn't have posted this to MetaTalk, because it's another potential link back to the post.

Also, it's the internet, there's always someone who will find it, especially if the subject is even mildly juicy. Someone will find it and link to it, so might as well plan for that, as opposed to clinging to the idea that you might be able to hide it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:25 AM on September 19, 2008


There's nothing juicy - and the post doesn't exist.

This is a feature request.

Lot's of imagination out there.
posted by strawberryviagra at 3:38 AM on September 19, 2008


lots (!!)
posted by strawberryviagra at 3:38 AM on September 19, 2008


Penguin Taxidermy
posted by Kiwi at 3:46 AM on September 19, 2008


Maybe you can just ask some people who love to comment on relationship/drama/job/should I eat this threads or whatever problems resemble yours, if you can send them the question via mefi mail and discuss it privately via email. Don't send it to me I got enough problems.
posted by chillmost at 4:04 AM on September 19, 2008


If all you need is for your username to be shielded, why not pay $5 for another account?
posted by DU at 4:07 AM on September 19, 2008


Oh, it's the subject. The rule on the internet is: If you don't want people to find it, don't put it on there.
posted by DU at 4:09 AM on September 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


http://www.rot13.com/
posted by Eideteker at 4:15 AM on September 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oh... the dolphin sex guide... the goatse of usenet... it's been years since I've seen that brought up. Almost brings a tear to my eye, though that may in fact be a speck of vomit and broken dreams.
posted by Kattullus at 4:36 AM on September 19, 2008


IxF YxOxU WxAxNxT TxO BxRxExAxK SxExAxRxCxH, WxHxY NxOxT TxAxLxK LxIxKxE TxHxIxS?
posted by burnmp3s at 4:45 AM on September 19, 2008


Spend some time analysing the question. You can write most questions so that they are not that specific. Maybe with the exception of medical issues. But Ask.Metafilter is not a substitute for a doctor, psychiatrist, financial advisor, etc.
posted by theora55 at 4:48 AM on September 19, 2008


Having it not indexed won't do much. All that needs to happen is someone quotes part or all of it in a blog, links to the question, and it's over. What DU said.
posted by starman at 5:00 AM on September 19, 2008


Very well.
posted by strawberryviagra at 5:08 AM on September 19, 2008


There's nothing juicy

..said strawberryviagra

and the post doesn't exist.

It's already been written in my head and frankly, I didn't think you'd go that route with the pineapple.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:15 AM on September 19, 2008


If only you had, Steve.

If I only had what?
posted by SteveInMaine at 5:21 AM on September 19, 2008


Ha.

You can hypothesise till your heart's content - there will be no post, there will be no need for the nofollow... there will be no broken hearts tonight.

My man UbuRoivas has given me the information that I sought to seek - discreetly on memail.

I still think this is an interesting idea for Ask, but I won't be needing it, and you'll never know about the blow, hookers, the 2 membered member of parliament and his best friend's gimp and how they met their sordid ends, in buckets under a bridge, next to the number 42 bus stop in Portland, Victoria.

The end.
posted by strawberryviagra at 5:23 AM on September 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


dawson, what more could you possibly need to know?

(1) A googlemaps thing that tells me where the nearest dolphins are. For me, probably Marineland in Niagara Falls... everyone loves Marineland.

(2) Links from there to descriptions of the security systems at the various places with dolphins, or indirect contact information for cooperative park workers.

(3) Ratings of particular dolphins. Which males have the best ding-dongs? Which females put out consistently in exchange for sardines?

(4) Do roofies work on dolphins? If not, what does? If so, how to I slip one to a wild dolphin?

(5) How do I dispose of the dolphin when I'm done? Oh, wait, I think scarabic covered that one.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:41 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think if your question is so TOP SECRET it cannot be anonymously seen by the world it probably is not appropriate for this website.

This is pretty much our angle. If anonymous isn't anonymous enough for you, you shouldn't be posting your question here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:01 AM on September 19, 2008


My man UbuRoivas has given me the information that I sought to seek - discreetly on memail.

That was indeed a very bizarre coincidence. I'm very grateful that somehow the planets aligned on this one.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:12 AM on September 19, 2008


Don't eat it.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:14 AM on September 19, 2008


"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yank at it"
posted by terrapin at 6:30 AM on September 19, 2008


Someday, an obscure search engine or directory with no integrity will be spidering sites completely ignoring noindex, nofollow, any meta tags, or robots.txt. Do you trust that all spiders obey all the rules?
posted by netbros at 6:31 AM on September 19, 2008


you'll never know about the blow, hookers, the 2 membered member of parliament and his best friend's gimp and how they met their sordid ends, in buckets under a bridge, next to the number 42 bus stop in Portland, Victoria.


Mom, come home, dad promises he'll help around the house.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:43 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


there will be no broken hearts tonight.

Too late.

*sniff*
posted by chillmost at 6:51 AM on September 19, 2008


This is stupid.

You're not that important.

This, I decree.
posted by kbanas at 6:53 AM on September 19, 2008


UbiRoivas - I coincidentally have the exact same question as strawberryviagra. Would you please forward me that mefi-mail as well? kthxbai.
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:06 AM on September 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


"DTMFA"
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:10 AM on September 19, 2008


There are already engines, and of course individuals, spidering the web *specifically looking for* content behind noindex and nofollow. I sympathize with the OP's desire, but I'm pointing out that those tags can have an effect that's the opposite of what one wants.
posted by kalapierson at 7:22 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


In my experience the mods are incredibly cool about posting your followups to anonymous questions.

No, I won't provide any more details.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:39 AM on September 19, 2008


I have a secret question that I secretly want to ask. Can someone just email me the secret answer? I'll be secretly grateful.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:48 AM on September 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


ROU_Xenophobe : (5) How do I dispose of the dolphin when I'm done?

Well, you know how when you murder a person, one way of getting rid of the body is to dump it in the ocean? When you kill a dolphin, the secret to disposing of the corpse is to hide it on land. It totally throws off the Killer Whale Police Department.

I usually use the dumpster behind the Burger King down the road.
posted by quin at 8:03 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


SLoG, check yr sekritmail.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:09 AM on September 19, 2008


I usually use the dumpster behind the Burger King down the road.

Suddenly this Big Fish sandwich doesn't seem so appetizing.
posted by electroboy at 8:11 AM on September 19, 2008


QGZSN
posted by Eideteker at 8:17 AM on September 19, 2008


Phew. For a second there I thought I was the only person who wanted to try out Cock and Ball Torture.
posted by bardic at 8:18 AM on September 19, 2008


>>everyone loves Marineland

God, I hate that song. For, what, twenty years now it's been around, and each year you turn on the tv one day and bang, there it is, shattering your summer again. Each year you think, maybe this year will be the last. And instead it comes back, twisted and mutated, like a monster that just won't die. Each year they come out with the new ad, with rewritten lyrics, or at half-speed, or with the melody tortured nearly beyond recognition, but still without just making a new song. You'd even forgotten to be happy, that's how happy you were without that song. But no. It always has to come back and remind you, just at the very moment it takes that happiness away.

So if someone does break in to commit unspeakable acts with dolphins, don't tell us about it (because, as this thread proves, it just wouldn't be truly anonymous, and therefore woudn't be safe. Yeah, that's why). But please, for all our sakes, free the musicians who are trapped in a cage at Marineland and have been forced to reinvent the same song for two decades. We're counting on you. And so are they.
posted by roombythelake at 8:21 AM on September 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


IxF YxOxU WxAxNxT TxO BxRxExAxK SxExAxRxCxH, WxHxY NxOxT TxAxLxK LxIxKxE TxHxIxS?
Well it is Talk Like a Pirate Day, so that's another angle.
posted by pointystick at 8:24 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I bet I know how Ubu can be bribed.
posted by desjardins at 8:37 AM on September 19, 2008


I want to ask for advice about something, to which I need to give sufficient detail, the nature of which is reasonably sensitive.

It implicates someone else, whose permission I have to get this information, and I believe the information I seek could be easily ascertained through metafilter.


Yeah, I think this is pretty much SOL territory; it's such a niche set of circumstances, and impossible enough to foolproof anyway (we nofollow the thread and get a written-in-blood contract from everyone who subscribes to the RSS feed not to syndicate or otherwise republish it and and and. I get the idea behind it, but like jessamyn said, probably just not a good fit for AskMe.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:46 AM on September 19, 2008


roombythelake, don't click this. There are new levels of horror to the song after seeing that yellow page.

At Friendship Cove, it's plain to see
You can make a new friend so easily
It's something new, let a whale touch you
Friendship Cove, MarineLand

You can watch them swim in the summer sun
They love to be touched by everyone
Now you know what to do when they swim up to you
Friendship Cove, MarineLand
posted by maudlin at 9:18 AM on September 19, 2008


Fb, jbhyq vg or pbby gb cbfg na NfxZr va ebg13?
posted by Kattullus at 9:26 AM on September 19, 2008


Perhaps a way around the dilemma is to post a question like "Does anyone know some people with experience in and knowledge of [whatever] that I could contact about a rather sensitive matter that I don't want to talk about on the Internet? You can MeMail or email me if you like." It's kind of a borderline question in my mind, as it is a more "selfish" use of AskMe than the average question. Perhaps Jessamyn or Cortex could weigh in on this type of thing?
posted by Rock Steady at 9:38 AM on September 19, 2008


For heaven's sake, anyone with this kind of question should just ask UbuRoivas. I thought everyone knew that.
posted by languagehat at 9:53 AM on September 19, 2008


Using AskMe as a platform for starting an off-site conversation, with no intention to do the main business of the Q&A in the thread itself, is not something we like to see, honestly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:54 AM on September 19, 2008


Is there any way I can ask anonymous question but have all the favorites of the post credited to my account? TIA!
posted by yeti at 9:56 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Lbh zrna nfx.zrgnsvygre.pbz? Jr pbhyq unir n jubyr fhofvgr!
posted by generichuman at 10:01 AM on September 19, 2008


Metafilter in ROT13 looks a lot like Icelandic.
posted by generichuman at 10:02 AM on September 19, 2008


burnmp3s writes "IxF YxOxU WxAxNxT TxO BxRxExAxK SxExAxRxCxH, WxHxY NxOxT TxAxLxK LxIxKxE TxHxIxS?"

The problem with this approach is repliers could de-obfuscate the text in their replies, either accidentally or on purpose.
posted by Mitheral at 10:10 AM on September 19, 2008


My man UbuRoivas has given me the information that I sought to seek - discreetly on memail.

Hey, UbuRovias, can I have the name of your dealer, too? The weekend is coming up, and I'm a little light.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:35 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe the pony request could be for questions and answers to be written in captchas?
posted by jasper411 at 12:26 PM on September 19, 2008


"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yank at it"

I misread this as "the only way to get rid of a tampon" and thought "WELL, DUH."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:03 PM on September 19, 2008


ROU, there's a dolphin in Weymouth a-waiting for you.

So a friend of mine (really, a friend. It wasn't me) who went on one of those swim-with-the-dolphins tourist excursions and only a thin layer of Spandex and a hasty retreat up a boat ladder prevented him from getting schtupped by a VeryExcitedBottlenose. True story.
posted by jamaro at 2:14 PM on September 19, 2008


That was really clever Strawberry.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:19 PM on September 19, 2008


I still think this is an interesting idea for Ask, but I won't be needing it, and you'll never know about the blow, hookers, the 2 membered member of parliament and his best friend's gimp and how they met their sordid ends, in buckets under a bridge, next to the number 42 bus stop in Portland, Victoria.

their feet were cut off by leather jacketed dolphins and left on b c beaches to amaze and befuddle the world, especially metafilter
posted by pyramid termite at 2:21 PM on September 19, 2008


Hey, UbuRovias, can I have the name of your dealer, too? The weekend is coming up, and I'm a little light.

Don't worry, I've got it sorted.

I've already despatched your jenkem to you, via fedex. It should arrive within 12 hours.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:40 PM on September 19, 2008


Using AskMe as a platform for starting an off-site conversation, with no intention to do the main business of the Q&A in the thread itself, is not something we like to see, honestly.

Ehn, that's kinda what I figured. Thanks for the official ruling.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:48 PM on September 19, 2008


Of course, the reason I proposed this feature was of course to be selfish, illegal, negate the community, subvert the dominant paradigm and to make Ask my own blog.
posted by strawberryviagra at 4:56 PM on September 19, 2008


Of course.
posted by strawberryviagra at 4:59 PM on September 19, 2008


and kill the Malaysian Prime Minister.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:02 PM on September 20, 2008


that recalcitrant bastard?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:34 AM on September 21, 2008


Too late.
posted by strawberryviagra at 4:26 AM on September 21, 2008


Fuck.....

He pulled through.
posted by strawberryviagra at 4:29 AM on September 21, 2008


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