Pig needs lipstick November 27, 2008 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Time to clean up your act?

Something that's been on my mind recently, not to mention bringing tears to the eyes of Baby Jeebus, is the rather patchy state of MetaFilter's site design. The logos in particular with their screwy kerning offend my web-developer's eye most severely.

Are there any plans to do a design revamp, or at least improve consistency across subsites, in the near future?
posted by le morte de bea arthur to Feature Requests at 7:25 AM (142 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Perhaps a professional white background?
posted by porn in the woods at 7:33 AM on November 27, 2008 [25 favorites]


Blasphemy!
posted by phunniemee at 7:33 AM on November 27, 2008


What consistency are you talking about specifically? I'm not saying the site is a paragon of beauty but it is mostly consistent, considering that many of the subsites have completely differing functions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:37 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I insist that the different subsites be redesigned to reflect the many glorious sections of The Gobbler; I know there's html to generate shag so no use denying it. I insist further that all pages should play a semi-competent midi version of "Sweet Child of Mine" in the background.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:38 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


This sort of idea should be treated with the same contempt as a self-link.
posted by gman at 7:39 AM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Are there any plans to do a design revamp, or at least improve consistency across subsites, in the near future?

What problem will doing a design revamp solve? What is broken in the current site design besides your web-developer eyes (whatever that means)?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:43 AM on November 27, 2008


We like it the way it is.

Next question...
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:43 AM on November 27, 2008 [6 favorites]


What consistency are you talking about specifically?

Here's a few:
1. Date size is much bigger in MetaTalk and Projects than in AskMeFi.
2. Tabs in MeTa rounded, square elsewhere
3. Search box and date placement in header move about slightly between sections.
4. Lots of variety between sidebars.

They're just minor things, and I can understand them seeming irrelevant if you're not design-minded. The section logos are the biggest issue - they just look so.... oh, I don't know, hastily put together?

I'm not advocating slicing anyone's gandmother up for jerky, so please call off the lynch mob.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:49 AM on November 27, 2008


They're just minor things, and I can understand them seeming irrelevant

bing bing bing
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:52 AM on November 27, 2008 [10 favorites]


Can you imagine? Can you imagine what's going to happen when even a single blue pixel of this site changes? It's going to make Irish Home Rule look like a tea-party. There will be blood, tears, fist-waving and snakes, many of which will be hundreds of miles long, will roam the earth, devouring everything.
posted by Jofus at 7:57 AM on November 27, 2008 [28 favorites]


Do'nt be rude kittens.
posted by Catfry at 7:57 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Time to reconsider your strategy for change?

Tossing up a flip, vague opening line and then backing it up with fake baby Jesus tears, something about corn, and a poorly rehearsed plaint about consistency might not be the best way to get your point across. MeFi has tried the redesign thing before, and though there was a winner—a professional-looking full-on redesign proposal—the resulting change didn't include that design. All we got was a tidied-up logo and some pinstripes. (No complaints here.) I can't imagine what change would result from a limp volley like this.
posted by carsonb at 7:58 AM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Site redesigns cost money. Would there be any real advantage to doing any of these things? Aesthetics are always nice, but are those problems really worth spending money to fix?
posted by Malor at 7:59 AM on November 27, 2008


please call off the lynch mob.

I did not invite them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:59 AM on November 27, 2008 [7 favorites]


On failed-to-preview: Jofus, the site's had minor redesigns many many times. There has indeed been some occasional wailing and gnashing of teeth, but it's unlikely the changes suggested here would cause much of a stir.
posted by Malor at 8:02 AM on November 27, 2008


From our very own miss lynnster, presenting the Patron Saints of Graphic Design.
posted by netbros at 8:12 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


malor - Everything causes a stir. Everything. Even me calling attention to the fact that everything causes a stir causes a stir.

This is Metafilter. And the snark is recursive.
posted by Jofus at 8:13 AM on November 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


I agree with le morte de bea arthur's points. And I hate the MeTa way of snarking instead of trying to have a discussion like adults.

What problem will doing a design revamp solve?

Consistency is always good for usability. Also, you know, sometimes aesthetically pleasing things are just... nice.

I remember when I first stumbled upon MetaFilter (as in came here, not via StumbleUpon or anything). I had a hard time figuring out what the hell it was all about because I didn't get that the different FPPs weren't related because there were no headings for each post. It was all just a wall of text to me. Of course that's probably just because I am an idiot and I learned to love this place despite the design. But you can't be seriously saying that there is nothing to improve when it comes to the design of this place.
posted by sveskemus at 8:14 AM on November 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


Sorry if my post seems pointless and picky, or offends for other reasons. When you spend 12 hours a day building websites you tend to become hypersensitive to the kinds of things I briefly listed; I could probably list another 20 or so but I fear I'd enrage kfb even more.

Site redesigns cost money

Well, yes they do. But just because there's no profit in fixing something doesn't mean you shouldn't fix it.

I did not invite them.

The implication was unintentional. I was just taken aback a little by the level of hostility that suddenly arose here, as if someone has started handing out pitchforks...
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:20 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh,Christ. This is going to be like the arrow in the FedEx logo. Now it's gonna bug the hell out of me. I came here ready to snark, but I must reluctantly admit that le morte de bea arthur has a point.
posted by Floydd at 8:25 AM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well it's not like you have to kiss everyone's ass here or anything. There are, however, different ways to ask about fixing design problems. Claiming offense at the way the site's looked for nine years on US Thanksgiving morning while invoking the Baby Jeebus isn't really one of the more results-producing ones. Your points about consistency are well-taken and probably a good idea to fix -- tab corners, date size, search box, etc] -- maybe this can be a place to toss some of the other consistency issues and see if we can address them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:26 AM on November 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


Maybe if we made a redesign request page on the wiki we could collect the information there?

Happy Thanksgiving, by the way! (Not being in the U.S. I don't really get the point of the holiday but it means a lot of football on tv for me so I'm good.)
posted by sveskemus at 8:30 AM on November 27, 2008


When you spend 12 hours a day building websites you tend to become hypersensitive to the kinds of things I briefly listed;

Not everyone spends 12 hours a day building websites, so I'll ask you again, what problem are trying to solve or, and I'm asking in all seriousness, is the site simply not pretty enough for you?

I'm not saying Metafilter is an example of perfect usability, but based on what you've written you're being anal retentive and haven't really communicated why the site needs a redesign. Until you do, you're just building a lynch mob.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:40 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Holy shit a random person is offended by something inconsequential! Quick, to the Danish Embassy!

(p.s. Who is bringing the molotovs?)
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:41 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think the standard response should be: "feel free to mock something up, or send in some images"

Complaints without solutions are valid, but complaints WITH solutions make things happen.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:45 AM on November 27, 2008


please call off the lynch mob

Isn't the fact that lynch mobs lack official sanction or governance sort of the point?
I suggest we go after Jofus now. I misread his first comment and now I'm craving Irish stew.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:45 AM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Alvy is one of them! Seize him and make him use Yahoo Answers!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:51 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


the rather patchy state of MetaFilter's site design

Hm... patchy... patchy...

No, think I prefer "lived-in"... or "unpretentious"... or maybe even "seasoned."
posted by zennie at 8:55 AM on November 27, 2008


You know what would be neat? If not all websites followed the form-over-function model. Sometimes, when it works, it works.
posted by inigo2 at 8:56 AM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


I noticed differences between the sites, having been in similar work myself, but my reaction was, "In some respects, it could serve as a subtle visual cue if people weren't paying much attention to the colors." I think the mods could spend time on it, but they could also spend time on other, more important things, like moderating discussions, coming up with new ideas, or having fun and going out to dinner, or perhaps alphabetizing their CD collections.

If there's big 404'd images, busted links, wildly different typography, I can understand, but this is so completely trivial that you'd first have to be in the small set of people who notice, then intersect that with the people who might care, and then finally skewer that intersection with a third set: people who might think it's something like a priority.

It's okay if the mods themselves want to spend time with big rulers plastered against the screen, or making little fakey ruler .gifs to count pixels, but suggesting it is a bit like going up to your waitress and suggesting that you thought she might want a diuretic, because she probably has some kind of water bloat, as it appears she's gained four ounces since you last saw her.
posted by adipocere at 9:01 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd like something pretty... even seasonal! Maybe with a frilly border to boot.
posted by matty at 9:05 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


The kerning's screwy but the gallowglassery is spot on.
posted by Abiezer at 9:06 AM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Not everyone spends 12 hours a day building websites, so I'll ask you again, what problem are trying to solve or, and I'm asking in all seriousness, is the site simply not pretty enough for you?

I know exactly what the original poster is talking about here and I'm slightly embarrassed each time I notice the awful kerning on the Ask MetaFilter upper left logo in particular (which I made one night four years ago, stuffing too much large text in too tight of a space). This came up on MetaTalk before with much less snark and someone with Trade Gothic actually produced a bunch of replacement png graphics for me with consistent sizing and kerning on the logo. I never ended up using them because the shorter titles like MetaTalk looked too small in the space and I kind of preferred the way some of them looked now (the Ask MeFi one is the ugliest).

I'm gonna go try and dig up those graphics someone sent and take another look at them. And yeah, the CSS isn't exactly consistent between sites. I've actually been working on a redesign in the background for the past year or so, off and on. I hired two different designers to come up with new designs. The first one didn't produce anything good and we ended up parting ways, the second one completely finished the job a couple months ago (and the CSS and logos are completely consistent), so you're probably wondering why I've never mentioned it or announced it with screenshots.

Before we ever do any major redesign on this site, we need to build a template system that allows for different designs. So imagine basically a blog template system with user customizable CSS that you can save on the server side (with appropriate controls to remove nefarious XSS code of course), and a way to use templates made by other users. With a system like this, I could debut a new design for all, and anyone that doesn't like it can select the old blue design, or the existing plain theme, or make their own theme (and eventually, pick someone else's theme they like). This aspect is a huge undertaking we haven't started to build yet.

I've also got to do something lame and totally corporate publisher-like and test the ad performance of any new design. Since the oddball way the bills get paid around here (mostly from non-members searching Ask MeFi), it's important that the click through rates don't go down on a major redesign. I've actually been working on a simple A/B test pattern for the past few weeks, where if you've never been to any mefi site ever before, 50% would get the existing design and 50% would get a new design, then I could compare ad performance numbers. This may happen in the next few weeks and if you just got a new computer you might catch a glimpse during a brief 24 hour window here and there and I'm sure when I start the test someone will notice and upload a screenshot to metatalk.

But in summary, yeah, these things bug me too and I've got some testing and lots of feature building still left to do to make them happen in a way that doesn't result in total and complete user revolt.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:20 AM on November 27, 2008 [21 favorites]


please call off the lynch mob

You should know we have a standing lynch mob here in MetaTalk, just waiting to go into action. It's not like the hastily assembled ad hoc lynch mobs you find in the other sections.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:22 AM on November 27, 2008 [14 favorites]


Thanks a lot, le morte de bea arthur, for ruining my family's otherwise happy Thanksgiving. I can't wait until you poop in my lap on Christmas day.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:24 AM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've actually been working on a redesign in the background for the past year or so, off and on

Well slap my arse and call me Susan.
posted by Jofus at 9:28 AM on November 27, 2008


My mind is reaching into the mists .....


foolish....consistency...

hobgoblins....minds.....

Oh yeah. Don't sweat the small stuff.
posted by pjern at 9:34 AM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh yes, happy Thanksgiving USAians.

And thank you Matt for accepting my pedantic comments in the (admittedly not tactfully phrased) spirit in which they were intended.

I'll head off to my cell now for some self-flagellation and we'll call it settled, shall we? Shake hands? Except for you, WinnipegDragon. Random person... hmmph.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 9:34 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


RAAGE
posted by sciurus at 9:39 AM on November 27, 2008


I'm not advocating slicing anyone's gandmother up for jerky, so please call off the lynch mob.

On the other hand, what's good for the gander is good for the gandmother.
Perhaps you should at least taste gandmother jerky before casting ageist gastronomic aspersions.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:40 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Baby Jeebus doesn't give a damn about design consistency.

Just look at the multitude of church styles, from soaring Gothic cathedrals to bare-bones rural protestant churches, to strip-mall churches. And then there's the mind-numbing variety of cruciform jewelry: simple crosses, crucifixes, simple orthodox crosses, orthodox crucifixes, celtic crosses, crosses with short descending arms, crosses with longer descending arms, etc.

If he did give a damn about design, he would have squashed out every aberration from the Preferred Style with a big Pythonesque foot.
posted by CKmtl at 9:42 AM on November 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


How DARE you criticize the logo on this, the holiest of American bank holidays occurring in November and not mention that horrid ellipse.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:45 AM on November 27, 2008


So imagine basically a blog template system with user customizable CSS that you can save on the server side (with appropriate controls to remove nefarious XSS code of course), and a way to use templates made by other users.

neat, that sounds too cool for words.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:46 AM on November 27, 2008


(Or, wait, is Veterans Day holier than Thanksgiving?)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:48 AM on November 27, 2008


I love the site as it is, but for the sake of Science will you be ad-testing ask mefi with a professional white design? Because you know that's gonna do the best :)
posted by By The Grace of God at 9:52 AM on November 27, 2008


(Or, wait, is Veterans Day holier than Thanksgiving?)

40 seconds in.
posted by gman at 9:52 AM on November 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


The only inconsistency I care about is the fact that those who use the default theme get a nifty little subsite-specific search box in the header, but us plain theme-users do not. This is not fair.

I can only conclude that mathowie, cortex, jessamyn, pb and vacapinta all hate people who can't read light text on a dark background without getting a blinding headache, and when they meet up, they say stuff like, 'I don't have a problem with people who can't read light text on a dark background without getting a blinding headache, but I wouldn't want one marrying my daughter!' and complain about people who can't read light text on a dark background without getting a blinding headache coming over here and stealing our jobs.
posted by jack_mo at 9:55 AM on November 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


You know... I am extremely, obsessively design-conscious. Which is good, being a designer. Although I notice the tweaks that could be done, they fade in to the background, like the yellowed, worn pages of a good book.

Well it's not like you have to kiss everyone's ass here or anything. There are, however, different ways to ask about fixing design problems.

Exactly. I was visiting the site while logged out (blasphemy!!!!) and noticed some sloppiness with the way ads were displayed. I sent a quick email to Matt with a couple suggestions. He replied graciously, and within a day or two had implemented my suggestions. I'm sure it's evolved into something better than my meager ideas, but the point is that any of our fine admins are great about reading and responding to emails, thereby avoiding public pitchforkings.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:59 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


While we're suggesting design changes, can we FINALLY get all of those damn words off the blue and replace them rebus puzzles?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:02 AM on November 27, 2008


We like it the way it is.

Next question...
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies


Well, everyone except the freakin' creator of the site.

And 'we'? Exactly how many people are typing at your keyboard?
posted by Dennis Murphy at 10:03 AM on November 27, 2008


Ooh, a Lynch mob? Can I be the woman with blue hair who says 'Silencio'?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:06 AM on November 27, 2008 [6 favorites]


1. Date size is much bigger in MetaTalk and Projects than in AskMeFi.
2. Tabs in MeTa rounded, square elsewhere
3. Search box and date placement in header move about slightly between sections.
4. Lots of variety between sidebars.



Who even notices this or cares. It's a website. They're not making Swiss watches here.
posted by Zambrano at 10:15 AM on November 27, 2008


... and what is "kerbing"? Isn't that what the Birts call "curbs"?
posted by Zambrano at 10:16 AM on November 27, 2008


brits
posted by Zambrano at 10:17 AM on November 27, 2008


Kerning. N, not B.
posted by CKmtl at 10:23 AM on November 27, 2008


Metafilter: This is Metafilter. And the snark is recursive.
posted by trondant at 10:24 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I know exactly what the original poster is talking about here and I'm slightly embarrassed

She just really wants a little animated gif of a turkey, squatting on the MetaFilter logo. Same as any of us.

Can't we all just get along?

a cooked turkey, with little wavy lines indicating a delicious aroma
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:37 AM on November 27, 2008


Do you go to people's houses and tell them they should redecorate, too?
posted by amro at 10:48 AM on November 27, 2008


Thanks for that CKmtl, you have increased the knowing of Mathowie's shame.
posted by biffa at 10:57 AM on November 27, 2008


Do you go to people's houses and tell them they should redecorate, too?

If I have to pay $5 to get in, I might consider it.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 11:00 AM on November 27, 2008 [9 favorites]


Do you go to people's houses and tell them they should redecorate, too?

* avoids eye contact *
posted by blue_beetle at 11:12 AM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


"It's nice to get out and to promote a local business, and to just participate in something that isn't so heavy handed politics that invites criticism. Certainly we'll probably invite criticism for even doing this too, but at least this was fun."
posted by SteveInMaine at 11:14 AM on November 27, 2008


Thanks for this post.

I am weird about little obsessive details too, albeit with an eye much less developed by the context of creating pages for a living.

One year and eight days ago I posted a few little quirks I thought could be improved upon too, so for the sake of organization I'll repost them here.

Hmm. You know what? I just realized that 2 out of the 3 suggestions I put forth have been done. So, um, nevermind. And thanks. And what that smart web dev guy said about graphics and stuff.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:30 AM on November 27, 2008


I'm not advocating slicing anyone's gandmother up for jerky, so please call off the lynch mob.

But if you do, call the lunch mob also, plz.
posted by Rumple at 11:33 AM on November 27, 2008


Shouldn't everyone be fretting about stuffing and in-laws and football instead of this?
posted by tula at 11:33 AM on November 27, 2008


One other thing to add: As far as usability goes, at least to me, this site is awesome.

A lot of time with navigation links, especially when moving around inside nested sets of data being cross-referenced and stuff, I will click on links assuming they should move me to where I want without actually knowing it. On MeFi, that almost always works. I guess that's the definition of "intuitive" interfacing, and I really appreciate it.

I imagine there may be a bit of a learning curve for new users, but as carsonb pointed out previously, that may not be a bad thing.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:35 AM on November 27, 2008


If you're looking at the kerning in the logos, you're looking in the wrong place. May 10,000 "X Ate My Balls" Geocities sites from 1997 haunt your dreams.
posted by chlorus at 11:37 AM on November 27, 2008


I was thinking about stuffing, in-laws, and football but not in that order and fretting was not the verb.
posted by mss at 11:42 AM on November 27, 2008


I am the keeper of the key to the pitchfork cupboard. So if anyone is waving around pitchforks they're in big trouble. BIG trouble, I tell you.
posted by deborah at 11:51 AM on November 27, 2008


Would it be alright if we all waved tridents?

yar!
posted by blue_beetle at 12:03 PM on November 27, 2008


Tridents? You want us to wave packages of chewing gum?
posted by Cranberry at 12:29 PM on November 27, 2008


My turkey came out sofa king good.
posted by fixedgear at 12:31 PM on November 27, 2008


I felt like a quick break from work, so here's a tweaked set of logos (left: original, right: tweaked), along with relevant comments. You'll have to view the full-size image to see much difference between the two versions.

And if anyone wants to do any further tweaking, here's the PSD.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:34 PM on November 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


Yeah, sure, okay, but what about the plain theme kerning?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:49 PM on November 27, 2008


I don’t think the original poster was asking for a design revamp, merely a bit of fine-tuning of typography and borders. The pictures-of-text logotypes are somewhat finicky to do well, but that’s a free step. Fixing the borders is also free via CSS.

I am defining “free” as “within the capabilities of the admins and Mathowie.” I am not suggesting they need to rush out and do it, though. But it would be nice.
posted by joeclark at 1:01 PM on November 27, 2008


Little Johnny and his family lived in the country, and as a result seldom had guests. He was eager to help his mother after his father appeared with two dinner guests for Thanksgiving.

When the dinner was nearly over, Little Johnny went to the kitchen and proudly carried in the first piece of pumpkin pie, giving it to his father who passed it to a guest. Little Johnny came in with a second piece of pie and gave it to his father, who again gave it to a guest.

This was too much for Little Johnny, who said, "It's no use, Dad. The pieces are all the same size."
posted by netbros at 1:14 PM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sure, okay, but what about the plain theme kerning?
Its kerbing, just ask the Birts.
posted by Sailormom at 1:26 PM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Who even notices this or cares. It's a website. They're not making Swiss watches here.

Yeay - why doesn't Coke just pay eight year olds to write the word Coca Cola in marker pen on plastic bottles instead of all that fancy dynamic ribbon crap.
posted by meech at 2:30 PM on November 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


Coke blue?
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:38 PM on November 27, 2008


You'll have to view the full-size image to see much difference between the two versions.

Aha, very nice. About the only nitpick I have for myself is why the projects byline ended in a period and nothing else did. And I get a little weird when the byline is wider than the logotype above it, but these are much cleaner. I just might implement them this weekend, thanks for making them.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:41 PM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


We don't like the flippant mention of Bea Arthur (may Allah have mercy on her) in the poster's username. Could that be fixed, please?
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 2:48 PM on November 27, 2008


"Do you go to people's houses and tell them they should redecorate, too?

If I have to pay $5 to get in, I might consider it."


We'll pay you five dollars to go away. Jesus. What an attitude.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 2:52 PM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


We don't like the flippant mention of Bea Arthur

I'll have you know that the poster's name is an hommage to dearest Bea. Think if you will of the great lady supine in armour upon a funeral barge as Bedivere casts Excalibur into the lake. Heathen.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:58 PM on November 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


Pass the kern, ma. And them black eyed peas, too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:07 PM on November 27, 2008


I felt like a quick break from work, so here's a tweaked set of logos

Hey, good on you for offering solutions, the logs do look better. Apologies if I came off harsh..
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:08 PM on November 27, 2008


I felt like a quick break from work, so here's a tweaked set of logos (left: original, right: tweaked), along with relevant comments. You'll have to view the full-size image to see much difference between the two versions.

Wow, that's a world of better. I'm afflicted with designer brain (but not web designer brain) too and the logos give me a twinge of distractey pain any time I look at them.

That said, I'm a total fan of the simplicity, fast loading and colour schemes of the various subsites, so it's a matter of making things more awesome, and it's exciting to know that there's change in this in the pipeline.

(The first thing I thought about, seeing the snark, was the contrast between this and the AskMe about noticing particular little things, which is one of my favourites for the broad range of niggly little observations that are overlaid on the world by people.

I work for someone whose design often leaves them fretting that it's so clean and unjarring that nobody will notice it was designed at all, and, you know, there's a part of even basic function that involves aesthetics, with form never fully out of the equation.

I don't mean any of that as a swipe at the admins, but at the pile-on.)
posted by carbide at 3:10 PM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


We'll pay you five dollars to go away. Jesus. What an attitude.

Don't be a dick. Whether or not the site needs a visual refresh is a perfectly valid topic of conversation. If you don't think it does, just say so and why. There's no need to take any discussion of change of the "MeFi Experience" as an attack on you or your core beliefs.
posted by modernnomad at 3:20 PM on November 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


Pass the kern, ma. And them black eyed peas, too.

Corny jokes? I'm all ears.
posted by carsonb at 3:23 PM on November 27, 2008


Whether or not the site needs a visual refresh is a perfectly valid topic of conversation.

I agree wholeheartedly with you, and I also tend to agree with the points le morte de bea arthur raises about certain design/usability choices*. What chapped my hide inspired my comment in this instance (and in so many other MeTa threads) is how the instigator chose to go about initiating the dialog. You want to go from cool to kick-ass? Well, don't start out slagging on cool with a vague MeTa thread... or if you insist, at least be specific with your criticisms. And as mentioned above, coming correct with suggestions and ideas rather than complaints and jabs is generally considered to be a more effective and direct route to improvement. Also mentioned above, MeTa is not the ideal forum for many topics; some ends are better served contacting mathowie et al. directly, or in another fashion. As long as you're picking your battles, might as well choose the proper arena and weaponry, right? And if you don't, or can't, please to be prepared for pitchforks and torches. And lunch.
*One not mentioned so far that's nagged me for a while now is that focus is not given to the username field on the log-in screen. No big deal.
posted by carsonb at 3:36 PM on November 27, 2008


so many dead links on the redesign contest page.
posted by Kwantsar at 3:51 PM on November 27, 2008


or perhaps alphabetizing their CD collections.

iTunes has really taken the joy out of that one.

The only inconsistency I care about is the fact that those who use the default theme get a nifty little subsite-specific search box in the header, but us plain theme-users do not. This is not fair.

Hey, buddy. Some of my best friends can't read light text on a dark background without getting a blinding headache.

Honestly, I don't know why we don't have the search field on the plain theme either. It always confused me when I went to look for it.

*kerbstomps Big Birt*
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:08 PM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Is this a good time to point out how much it bothers me that the "E" is capitalized in front of "note: Everyone needs a hug."?
posted by lunit at 4:14 PM on November 27, 2008


I know there's html to generate shag so no use denying it

The shag tag has been deprecated (presentational markup). You'll want to use CSS.

kitch-style: shag-carpet;
posted by brundlefly at 4:14 PM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


carsonb (and others), yes I could certainly have raised the issue in a more thoughtful way. My intention was to open the dialog by asking whether any changes were in the pipeline, and to solicit comment on whether others felt there were areas where things weren't quite right. I intentionally didn't launch into my list of issues at that stage because I didn't think there'd be a lot of point if the general response was going to be 'huh? nothing wrong here'.

Unfortunately something in my tone (which was intended to be tongue-in-cheek) rubbed a few people up the wrong way - this AskMe came to mind when I considered that people were criticising my lack of positive suggestions.

Having said that, I was (and still am) quite alarmed at the way a few people decided to get the carving knives out and eat me for Thanksgiving dinner.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 4:26 PM on November 27, 2008


The "E" is fine, but the "n" should be capitalized.
posted by timeistight at 4:28 PM on November 27, 2008


Is this a good time to point out how much it bothers me that the "E" is capitalized in front of "note: Everyone needs a hug."?

It's perfectly legitimate (I dare say preferred) to capitalize after a colon. It's the lowercase n that should bother you.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:36 PM on November 27, 2008


Just use the plain theme. It is a lot more consistent.
posted by purephase at 4:38 PM on November 27, 2008


le morte, I'm not telling you not to be annoyed at the brusque metatalk reception because I figure you have every right to be bothered by it, but it's worth noting a couple things:

- that brusque reception to sub-par presentation is a long-standing fixture in Metatalk. I'm not exactly in love with that, but it's kind of the default mode around here. Come armed and armored to the grey is good advice.

- that was a tickling match, a pillow fight, a thanksgiving day massage, relatively speaking. When someone gets et for dinner here, it looks a lot different.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:49 PM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


le morte, thanks for sending me the png images, I replaced all the header images just now and thanks again for going the extra mile and offering up the solution ready to go.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:46 PM on November 27, 2008


The new header imgs look tight. le morte de bea arthur, you can rub me up the wrong way anytime.
posted by carsonb at 5:56 PM on November 27, 2008


Hooray!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:58 PM on November 27, 2008


Metafilter: total and complete user revolt.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:05 PM on November 27, 2008


OK, here's where I make an embarrassing personal revelation. I read Metafilter for a long time before realizing that Ask Metafilter existed. I must have seen the little AskMeFi on top of the front page and thought it was the frequently asked questions section of the site. I learned about Ask MeFi from reading Lifehacker.

Now if there had been banner ads all over the Internet listing the Seven Wonders of the Metafilter Imperium, things might have been different.

Do I need to pay an extra 39 cents for the massive site redesign?
posted by lukemeister at 8:19 PM on November 27, 2008


The "E" is fine, but the "n" should be capitalized.

It's perfectly legitimate (I dare say preferred) to capitalize after a colon. It's the lowercase n that should bother you.


Yes! This!
posted by amyms at 8:31 PM on November 27, 2008


uh...
posted by timeistight at 8:46 PM on November 27, 2008


I should have said "Yes! These!"
posted by amyms at 8:54 PM on November 27, 2008


I was (and still am) quite alarmed at the way a few people decided to get the carving knives out and eat me for Thanksgiving dinner.

le morte,

Sorry, but it's a feeding frenzy in America on Thanksgiving. Once we start in on the turkey and stuffing, it's just a thrashing mass of bloody limbs. And those are the dinner guests.
posted by lukemeister at 8:57 PM on November 27, 2008


I was (and still am) quite alarmed at the way a few people decided to get the carving knives out and eat me for Thanksgiving dinner.

Uh, you kind of approached this subject in a way wildly out of proportion to the pretty petty subject of your callout, which either means you made a joke that didn't work or you take minor things wayyyyyyy too seriously. Providing you don't actually think you were savaged in this thread, I'm going to presume it was the former.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:48 PM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I MISS TAGLINES
posted by Faux Real at 10:48 PM on November 27, 2008


Was gonna snark on this but the stupid rounded tabs being only in Meta has been bugging me ever since I crammed 'em down Matt's throat.
posted by nicwolff at 1:11 AM on November 28, 2008


I don't want to start my own thread and be met with the same hostility, but I'd like to see plaid replace the blue.
posted by gman at 4:28 AM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


This site with not be designtastically complete until everything is in comic sans.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:28 AM on November 28, 2008


blue_beetle: You can do that in Preferences. May the Lord have mercy on your wretched soul.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:34 AM on November 28, 2008


Don't mess with my professional white background, dammit.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:15 AM on November 28, 2008


I don't want to start my own thread and be met with the same hostility, but I'd like to see plaid replace the blue.

gman,
I'd like to see "take it to the plaid' become the new term for 'get your lame-ass opinion out of here'.
posted by lukemeister at 7:27 AM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


In 09, plaid could be the new gray.
posted by gman at 7:33 AM on November 28, 2008


Better here, or here? Here or here?

Only thing wrong with those images is they're not animated.

And maybe rather than a solid color we could get textured backgrounds. Plaid would work for me.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:45 AM on November 28, 2008


Metatalk: Metafilter: This is Metafilter. And the snark is recursive.
posted by quin at 9:46 AM on November 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


How about changing the background color of a MetaTalk thread dynamically so that it tends to pure white as the number of comments increases? Win-win.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 11:02 AM on November 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Without changing the font color, by the way.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 11:04 AM on November 28, 2008


For the record, in terms of usability and sheer elegance of design, Metafilter truly is BEST OF THE WEB.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:37 PM on November 28, 2008


I just love the name morte de la bea arthur, btw. Although i hope it's not too overly positive and shallow of me to mention it.
posted by DenOfSizer at 3:40 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


the stupid rounded tabs being only in Meta has been bugging me

They're rounded everywhere now if you shift-refresh to clear the old CSS out of your cache (turns out I updated Music ages ago but not the others, which I just fixed)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:08 PM on November 28, 2008


shift-refresh to clear the old CSS out of your cache

Thank God, I'm so tired of laxatives.
posted by lukemeister at 4:15 PM on November 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


amro said: Do you go to people's houses and tell them they should redecorate, too?

Is that a service I can sign up to get? If I could just get a tasteful drive-by decorating...I think my life might be complete.
posted by dejah420 at 12:43 PM on November 29, 2008


Thank you for your enquiry. One of our representatives will contact you shortly.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:12 PM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Personally, I hate the weird stripes behind the header text. It looks bad.
posted by sonic meat machine at 2:29 PM on November 29, 2008


a tasteful drive-by decorating...

As teenagers, we used to refer to that as "egging".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:45 PM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hate the weird stripes behind the header text

I like the stripes. Reminds me of that certain type of plastic sheeting, with the really fine ridges: when you run your fingernails over it rhythmically, it sounds a bit like a DJ scratching a record.

So, the stripes STAY.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:48 PM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


RIP keming.
posted by 31d1 at 5:35 PM on November 29, 2008


You will change the layout and appearance of this site when you pry it from our dead, cold hands.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:46 PM on November 29, 2008


Ironmouth's dead, cold hands were last seen at the Starbucks down the road, understood?
posted by the Cabal at 1:58 AM on November 30, 2008


Branding: Not what MetaFilter needs.
posted by odinsdream at 2:23 PM on November 30, 2008


It was all just a wall of text to me.

This is a feature, not a bug. Seriously.
posted by odinsdream at 4:47 PM on November 30, 2008


Let me write on the wall of text one more time
Let me write on the wall of text one more time
You can waste your time on the other sites
This is the nearest to being alive
Oh let me take my chances on the wall of text...
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:52 PM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah, one of my favorite Richard Thompson songs. Well played!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:27 PM on November 30, 2008


I like the site the way it is. Better usability would just attract more people and that's the last thing we I want.
posted by dg at 12:09 AM on December 1, 2008


There should be some sort of special star for people who bring up issues and then offer actual fixes that go into production on MetaFilter. Because that's awesome.
posted by scrump at 9:36 AM on December 1, 2008


Dennis Murphy: And 'we'? Exactly how many people are typing at your keyboard?

Sixty-five - one for each key. It's much easier to focus on the letters this way; I think everybody should try it. We can manage five hundred words per minute when we're really in the zone.

It's just sad that the economy took a downturn - there used to be a hundred and four of us, but we had to lay off thirty-nine people and buy one of these when it got difficult making payroll. It's actually quite unfortunate - I was very close to some of those function-key guys. Ah well.
posted by koeselitz at 9:53 AM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


But Fn and the Shift twins say they like the chance to work with the rest of us more often.
posted by koeselitz at 9:55 AM on December 1, 2008


Huh. The kerning in the titles is fixed, but the kerning in the subtitles (or by-lines, or whatever the kids are calling them these days) is now shot.

Is there some kind of Lomonosov-Lavoisier closed system of MetaFilter kerning quality?

Also, seriously guys, the ellipse is just gross.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:00 AM on December 2, 2008


Sys Rq, I suspect the issue with the small text is not so much kerning as rounding. In other words, because I used a pixel font, spacing has to be to the nearest pixel. And since the spacing is only a couple of pixels, any attempt at kerning done by Photoshop will tend to be rounded to an increase or decrease in spacing of 50%, which is not exactly subtle.

If you can point out which text in particular needs fixing, I can update the images and pass them on to Matt.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:13 PM on December 2, 2008


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