Is something up with the AskMe database? December 23, 2008 9:24 PM   Subscribe

It seems like half the time I try to post an answer on the green, it will show up saying it was successfully posted, then disappear. This isn't just in preview, it POSTs the comment and I get a full HTML page back with the new comment included. But if I look later, anytime between minutes and hours later, the comment's gone. It disappears from my posting history too, and I've gotten no mail from admins or anything like that. This doesn't seem to happen on the blue.
posted by vsync to Bugs at 9:24 PM (29 comments total)

You've had a couple noisy comments removed from Askme recently, actually—I'd been specifically meaning to drop you a line after I saw your "this is a test" comment in askme, but life intervened and that fell by the wayside. Didn't mean to gaslight you there, but no, nothing with the db.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:27 PM on December 23, 2008

I've noticed you've had a few comments removed from AskMe. We'll usually drop a note to people about removed comments if they seem like they're brand new or unclear on the rules otherwise there's not necessarily an admin response. AskMe has slightly stricter rules than the rest of the site, comments pretty much have to be on topic and answering the question. So, someone can get a comment removed that wasn't a "bad" comment but didn't answer the question. The most recent example of yours was just a comment that made a big deal about a typo in someone else's comment. I fixed the typo and removed your comment. Let me know if you have any other questions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:28 PM on December 23, 2008

It would be nice to at least be able to know what happened. I look in my comments and see nothing. It's very disconcerting to start questioning my own memory of whether I was in a discussion or not.

I accept that the site's moderated but the rules seem pretty hazy. More so for AskMe. And the memory hole thing is pretty depressing as far as enthusiasm to contribute goes. Then again, it's hard to try to adapt to the rules or culture if I don't see that it was deleted, and I can't have the source of the comment to try to revise it.

Is there a way to get it so if I look in my history, they show up with a note saying "this comment was deleted"? I don't think I posted any >64KiB ASCII art or anything that would take up a lot of space.
posted by vsync at 9:55 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

With regard to content, one of the ones I noticed not showing up, and it seemed to be in seconds, was an answer of "Ron Paul?" to a question of roughly "who predicted the current economic crisis" (don't have the link handy, it's not in my history ... thus my point). I only really noticed it because it was short and easy to try retyping a few times.

I don't want to argue the point overmuch since I know libertarians aren't too popular here and Ron Paul is the least popular. But I don't think that anyone can argue that he's been screaming about the Federal Reserve and the intertwining of banks with the government, and the predictable results.

If you check my comment history you'll see that I mentioned him once before, in context (I thought), and tried to be civil. I've also said on this site and others that given the voting results in the Republican primary and the general election, it's clear that the people want greater government involvement, and I'll try to help make that system work as a citizen. I've also said I hope Obama does well and respect a lot of his decisions although I disagree wholeheartedly with his policies.

I posted this part separately in case it gets deleted too.
posted by vsync at 10:01 PM on December 23, 2008

Thanks for the prompt responses.
posted by vsync at 10:02 PM on December 23, 2008

an answer of "Ron Paul?" to a question of roughly "who predicted the current economic crisis"

One word and two word answers without any explanation (and especially about a unique subject that has lots of fans and enemies of the subject) are regularly deleted because they don't answer the question.

If you think Ron Paul is a good answer, tell us why. Post some links to times he said in interviews or on his site two years ago that this was all going to happen. Point out something he's written that predicted it. As it was, if you were joking, it looked like an ironic "haha Ron Paul!" jokey thing and if you were serious, it looked like some sort of knee-jerk libertarian response that we're all supposed to know about without any sources to back it up.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:08 PM on December 23, 2008 [3 favorites]

I posted this part separately in case it gets deleted too

Almost nothing gets deleted from MetaTalk ever. AskMe is moderated the most heavily, then MeFi and MeTa is as close to an open forum as we get here. During election times we had a lot of people making RON PAUL 08 jokes and without some context it was pretty near impossible to tell if that was a jokey answer making fun of the Ron Paul boosters or something serious. Feel free to add a bit more context and that should solve problems like this. If you want, I can email you your deleted comments. There's an FAQ entry about AskMe guidelines as well.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:13 PM on December 23, 2008

How embarrassing.
posted by blasdelf at 10:38 PM on December 23, 2008

Well, we all learn somehow, blasdelf.

Feel free to crack jokes in AskMe, just make sure you get the damn question answered in the process.
posted by baphomet at 10:54 PM on December 23, 2008

I've written some very informative and witty comments that don't seem to show up on the site. If anyone remembers something witty and informative that they read here, feel free to repost them and give me the credit.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:04 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I do think it would be a nice thing if deleted comments got a marker, maybe like the way deleted posts do now, or even just a little [one of your comments was deleted] box at the point where it would have appeared. Can I register a pony request?
the memory hole thing is pretty depressing as far as enthusiasm to contribute goes
I agree wholeheartedly. I think MeFi is much more transparent than most sites, both in acknowledging deletions and pretty much always being willing to talk about deletion reasons and policy/whatnot here in MeTa. It's one of the reasons I like the site so much; I trust the mods not to be fucking with us.
posted by hattifattener at 11:16 PM on December 23, 2008

hattifattener, we've gone over this numerous times. With posts, there is a reason to be completely transparent and to show people reasons why things go away in hopes they learn from it, but with comments, there are diminishing returns and highlighting deleted stuff would basically elevate it to the point people would obsess over it (much more than they do now). There would be no time for moderating of any kind if we were spending our days constantly arguing over and defending each and every last comment deletion.

Usually people get it when something gets removed (especially in Ask MetaFilter where it says help answer the question, no wise cracks right on the comment form). Sometimes they don't, and sometimes we email people about it, but we don't have time to send a personal email to everyone that ever wrote a deletion worthy comment. I suspect in this case, the low user number would indicate that someone has been here for many years and probably understands the social norms present and doesn't need it explained.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:45 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

Surely we aren't going to have this argument discussion yet again, are we?
posted by dg at 12:29 AM on December 24, 2008

There is something a bit wonky with the Post button recently.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:50 AM on December 24, 2008

It wouldn't be Christmas without it, dg.
posted by Kattullus at 2:04 AM on December 24, 2008

Almost nothing gets deleted from MetaTalk ever.

I had a comment deleted from MetaTalk and I apologize(d) for its crassness. I also had one removed from AskMe very recently (which I saw differently than the mod(s)) because it was a "two word answer without any explanation", but that's cool... it's not my house, it's not my rules.
posted by gman at 2:49 AM on December 24, 2008

How about a way of changing the 'Category' of a MetaTalk post once a poster realizes the one they've chosen has nothing to do with their beef?
posted by gman at 3:03 AM on December 24, 2008

...the rules seem pretty hazy...

Not bug, feature.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:03 AM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]

You can get jokey comments into AskMe if you bake a nice answery cake around them. Jessamyn's just like mmmm, cake!
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:26 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Jessamyn's just like mmmm, cake!

More like "mmmm, answer!"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:34 AM on December 24, 2008

You saw right through my metaphor! :O
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:38 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

take over for Matt, Jessamyn and Josh on holidays.

I appreciate your concern, but Christmas is actually not my holiday, so this is okay with me. I took a full day+ off for the Solstice weekend and that was what I really wanted.

As much as I mostly love my real-life family, there's a reason geek types like us are drawn to the world of online interactions and sometimes choose it when there are actual in-person human options. I have an anthropologist on Mars approach to many American traditions, Christmas most of all, and it's good for me to have the "not really that different even on a holiday" MetaFilter space to balance off the "Okay I'm supposed to show up where, and wear what, and bring gifts for who, why?" mysterytime that other people's un-understandable expectations turn the end of every year into.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:16 AM on December 24, 2008 [6 favorites]

We're snowed in and it's snowing some more. I kind of think I'll be around today.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:18 AM on December 24, 2008

this is a test
posted by cjorgensen at 9:39 AM on December 24, 2008

How come everything awesome I write shows up as "posted by Pastabagel"?
posted by desjardins at 9:42 AM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]

If you think Ron Paul is a good answer, tell us why.

Ron and I grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, we were close friends and I share many fond memories with him. My parents never had to tell me to get a job, because Ron was money-hungry teenager, always coming up with our next scheme for how we would make money. It started early on with the lemonade stands. While I'd be spilling cups of sugary water and counting our quarters, Ron would be dreaming up the next generation of product for our stand to sell - first grape juice then multiple flavors of juices, then a cooler full of ice cream sandwiches and next thing you know Ron and I were pretty much running a street-side ice-cream parlor. Most people don't know that Ron birthed the concept of the neighborhood ice cream man one Saturday when he realized we could be more efficient by simply selling the ice cream from the back of his dad's truck instead of unloading it to our stand first (it was, however, my idea to add the music by turning on the truck's radio). But still, every evening, as we packed up our ice cream and were sorting our day's earnings on Ron's garage floor, at some point he'd sigh heavily and say, "Doesn't matter much anyway, we're going to lose it all in the crisis." I'd sometimes look at him with a confused "What?" but he'd never get into many more details than that.

There was the one year in high school where our parents took us on vacation to Mexico. Ron and I found one of those shady alley-stall markets where people were asking us what we wanted and assuring us that they could find anything at all. Ron and I decided on a nice assortment of fireworks, switch-blades, and butter-fly knives - the kind of things that were hard to come by in western Pennsylvania. We sunk at least half of the springs' earnings from shoveling walks and mowing lawns and walking dogs and whatnot into oodles of Mexican contraband, which we somehow successfully managed to hide in our luggage without our parents getting wind of. We were instant heroes during the first week back in school. We were selling each item for 5 times the price we paid for it, and if you had looked at me you would have seen the dollar signs ringing through my eyes like a slot machine. Not Ron though. He was still his somber, predicting self. "Doesn't matter much anyway," he'd bemoan. "Gonna lose every damn dollar to the crisis." I was getting older now and with more of a grasp on world events, Ron began to scare me more, but I mostly dismissed it.

Ron and I lost touch after college when we left for different med-schools, but whenever we caught each other on the phone to catch up, he'd be pontificating on the economy. I'd often question him on why he was studying medicine, like me, when he was clearly more concerned with economics. "Doesn't matter much anyway," Ron would bark back. He would bitterly point out that it didn't matter if he was a doctor or a lawyer or a soldier or a politician (little did I know he'd be many of those) - we were going to lose it all in the crisis, he'd ever remind me.

Ron and I were reunited in Vietnam, outside the war zone, where we both served in the Air Force. It was of little surprise to me that I ran into Ron in the midst of one of his schemes - he was unloading nondescript boxes from the back of a mail plane that didn't look to be much like mail. Ever true to his name, Ron was using his contacts to ship in the things that our fellow service-men found hard-to-find in the local markets. Pretty soon he and I were back to our old ways, he'd mostly focus on running an efficient albeit shadowy stream of supply, and I served as the front-man for the goods, overseeing the selling end and stashing our cash. Whiskey, cigarettes, a gentlemen's magazine, rolling papers, or anything else a soldier might have wanted, Ron and I could usually have it there within a week and a half. Ron was depressing, during the war, though. We had piles of dough, but Ron would always insist on taking me out each night to the bar, where we'd get drunk on their most expensive liquor, Ron often buying rounds for the whole bar. "Look at this!" he drunkenly slurred at me one night, holding up handfuls of bills. "This doesn't matter much, I don't know how many times I have to tell you." Yeah, I would respond, shrugging him off. "I know, Ron. We're going to lose it all in the crisis..." Apparently being at war wasn't enough of a crisis for Ron. It was at this point that I began to think Ron probably had a marble out of place. I began to think that he thought of this "crisis" as some global apocalypse - some future disaster that would lead to the end of life as we know it. He never told me that much, he was very vague on the details, but I think that's what he was thinking.

Ron got into politics after the war and we once again drifted apart. But a couple of months ago, at about 2am, I was out of bed and shuffling back from the bathroom in the dark when the phone rang. I picked it up and heard the jingle of ice in a glass as someone took a sip of something strong and wet and swallowed it down. I knew who it was before he even spoke, by the long-drawn breath Ron always took before saying something important.

"I told you so."
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:50 AM on December 24, 2008 [9 favorites]

You can get jokey comments into AskMe if you bake a nice answery cake around them. Jessamyn's just like mmmm, cake!

Here's a great tip. If you see an AskMe post that's just a hilarious joke, shamelessly steal the joke and include it in an actual answer. The previous post will be deleted, and everyone will think the joke is yours!
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:20 PM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

How about a "email notification when a comment of mine is deleted" pony? Wouldn't that solve everything? I've had a couple of AskMe answers (deservedly) deleted and it would have been nice to know that happened instead of just wondering if I really posted at all...
posted by mmoncur at 5:07 PM on December 30, 2008

How about a "email notification when a comment of mine is deleted" pony?

We've thought about that idea and discarded it a few times. It would ne nice to find a way to let people know they've had a comment deleted in case they're curious, but sending an email every time sort of opens up the door to "please contest each and every deletion with us" which we want to avoid. Usually deletions in AskMe are one of a few kinds.

- clueless n00bs - I'll often email these folks
- serial jokesters/snarkers - they know what they did
- people getting into a fight in a thread
- other/misc

I'd say that 75% of what we remove falls into the first two categories, the people in the third category are likely grouchy [so we'll delete and leave a note, they can email us if they want to] and so we've tended towards the direction we've taken so far. You're more than welcome to ask us about a deletion you think you might be misremembering.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:01 PM on December 30, 2008

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