Mod ahoy. February 21, 2009 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Repony Filter: Can we flag or otherwise make obvious posts by our benevolent mods?

Especially in MetaTalk, it'd be most helpful if mod comments were highlighted. But, really, even when Jessamyn lays down the smack in a thread where she's nuked comments, it's really nice to see what the mods say at a glance, much like it's great to see OP posts because of the helpful dark bar next to them.

Maybe a pink bar? Maybe a lighter bar? Maybe a glowing, blinking MOD: tag right in front of the mod's name?

I'm just saying this pony seems to have gained traction, even amongst the mods and would be most delicious. Because I'm bad at regex and individually searching for "mathowie", "cortex", "jessamyn", et al, is the slow-going toil of the proletariat, and metafilter is a decadent, capitalist luxury. Naturally, if I've missed further discussion on this matter, it was likely because I couldn't find the relevant mod comments.
posted by disillusioned to Feature Requests at 12:44 PM (63 comments total)

How easy to rule when men always look for rulers, how easy to be distinguished when men look to distinguish.
posted by klangklangston at 12:51 PM on February 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Avatars would solve this problem.
posted by desjardins at 12:51 PM on February 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure there's a greasemonkey script for it. I myself just scan for usernames and find it works pretty well. We don't make it more explicit because it's difficult to participate both as a moderator and a member. When I think a youtube clip is funny and/or awesome, I don't need a giant STAFF MODERATOR label next to it -- my opinion is on the level of everyone else's. But in MetaTalk at times (like now), this is an ADMIN LEVEL RESPONSE to your question and could be tagged as such.

I prefer to just scan for cortex, jessamyn, and/or mathowie in MetaTalk if you're looking for an answer, and in the case of stuff deleted, it's almost always a small tag with brackets around some minor editorial pruning described, and is pretty easy to spot from any one of us.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:52 PM on February 21, 2009


Or, like the Pope can decide when he's speaking infallibly, the mods have two post comment buttons:

Post Comment | Post Comment Infallibly OR Preview OR Msg Cabal

And only comments posted infallibly has a Mod is highlighted. Cause, you know, mods are people too.
posted by skynxnex at 12:53 PM on February 21, 2009


Just wrap every moderator comment in the blink tag. Completely unobtrusive.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:53 PM on February 21, 2009


We all love the blink tag as well as colored backgrounds
posted by Cranberry at 1:06 PM on February 21, 2009


We don't make it more explicit because it's difficult to participate both as a moderator and a member.

You can just get PB to make you a checkbox.
posted by smackfu at 1:09 PM on February 21, 2009


Yup, if Greasemonkey is an option for you, it opens up the ability to give admin messages a pink highlight bar; a lighter highlight bar; blinking text; a tag (my choice); a bigger, smaller, or differently-colored font; or any combination of a wide range of styles allowed by CSS. You could even do avatars, I reckon.
posted by mdevore at 1:16 PM on February 21, 2009


Well, if you really want to go for the visual effects, I've always been fond of the marching ants like you can implement in Microsoft Word. Can't you just visualize mathowie or jessamyn's comments, above, with little marching outlines around them? Man, that would be seriously great! annoying!
posted by Lynsey at 1:18 PM on February 21, 2009


"as well as colored backgrounds"

Psst, dude, I think you're supposed to call them African-American backgrounds.
posted by klangklangston at 1:20 PM on February 21, 2009


Pretty much what Matt said—the greasemonkey script for this or something similar seems like a decent solution for the folks who really want mod comments somehow emphasized.

We'll sometimes mark up a comment in non-Metatalk settings with [small-tagged brackets styling] if we want to really emphasize the Administrative Commentary thing ourselves, and in Metatalk I think it's kind of a given that if it's a policy question etc., one or more of us is likely to show up and comment in an administrative context. Building up an extra system—and trying to make a decision about every comment we make as to whether it's An Official Statement or just us jawing—sounds like a pain in the ass for very little gain.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:20 PM on February 21, 2009


MeFi Navigator greasemonkey script:
Mefi Navigator does a few things that make quickly navigating Metafilter threads a bit easier:

- Comment navigation. The « and » arrows allow you to quickly move through a user's comments, while the list icon ≡ shows you a clickable list of all his/her comments in the thread. At the top of the list, the ·<>· links allow you to skip to a user's first and last comments respectively.

- Admin highlighting. Matt, Jessamyn and Cortex's comments are highlighted with a small tag after their username, in Metatalk only.

- Original poster highlighting. Especially useful in AskMe threads, to quickly find questioners' responses.

- Highlights your responses, automatically. To find your username, the script reads the Metafilter 'user_name' cookie. (This happens locally; there are no security or privacy risks here)
posted by tiamat at 1:21 PM on February 21, 2009


*scatters boric acid crystals to poison the ants*
posted by Cranberry at 1:23 PM on February 21, 2009


An embedded MIDI of Bach's Tocatta and Fugue in B Minor on every page where a mod comments.

DAH duh DAH! DAH duh duh duh duh! DUH!
posted by koeselitz at 1:52 PM on February 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Avatars would solve this problem.

But at what cost?
posted by ODiV at 2:15 PM on February 21, 2009


What, no love for vacapinta?
posted by niles at 2:19 PM on February 21, 2009


Avatar Greasemonkey thingie.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:26 PM on February 21, 2009


Mefi Navigator is great, especially if you tinker with it a little. I've added pb and vacapinta to the admin list. I've also got a list of users that get a "Douchebag" tag after their names.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:48 PM on February 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


Psst, dude, I think you're supposed to call them African-American backgrounds.

No, that's only for black backgrounds. You wanted "backgrounds of color".
posted by Deathalicious at 4:46 PM on February 21, 2009


eyeballkid
posted by popechunk at 4:46 PM on February 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've also got a list of users that get a "Douchebag" tag after their names.

Wouldn't it be a helluva lot easier to do a whitelist for those who don't get the "Douchebag" tag?
posted by carsonb at 4:47 PM on February 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll just toy with the monkey then.
posted by disillusioned at 5:55 PM on February 21, 2009


Wait, the Pope can speak fallibly?
posted by cjorgensen at 6:18 PM on February 21, 2009


Yo dawg, we heard you like Greasemonkey so, yeah, you know how these jokes go.
posted by box at 6:34 PM on February 21, 2009


MetaFilter needs the douchebag list, eyeballkid.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:35 PM on February 21, 2009


Wait, the Pope can speak fallibly?

Are you kiddin'? I can barely speak american.
posted by popechunk at 7:12 PM on February 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ, another a-hole who can post on MeTa but can't read without blinking lights.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:48 PM on February 21, 2009


*adds a special mefi navigator label for cjorgensen*
posted by eyeballkid at 8:06 PM on February 21, 2009


Just click on their usernames and they'll change colors.
posted by Eideteker at 8:47 PM on February 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just wrap every moderator comment in the blink tag.

No, no. Just wrap every moderator in the Dream Wrap.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:53 PM on February 21, 2009


Just click on their usernames and they'll change colors.

Oddly effective.
posted by niles at 10:05 PM on February 21, 2009


So now we just need the greasemonkey script that automatically posts a comment saying "there's a greasemonkey script for that you know" for any feature request, and life will be complete.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:59 PM on February 21, 2009


eyeballkid

That's weird. I added to the script in exactly the same way, all the way down to using the word 'douchebag'. I didn't give myself a 'genius' tag, though. I need to do that.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:37 PM on February 21, 2009


So now we just need the greasemonkey script that automatically posts a comment saying "there's a greasemonkey script for that you know" for any feature request, and life will be complete.
The great thing about the web is that you can use any webbrowser, no configuration needed, and access whatever is being offered.
Delegating all kinds of useful functionality to greasemonkey scripts breaks that model and means that that functionality will only be available to very dedicated mefi users who are technically savvy enough and have full control over their browsers. That leaves out quite a bit of people.
Greasemonkey is not a real solution.
posted by jouke at 12:25 AM on February 22, 2009


Greasemonkey is not a real solution for you.

You don't have to be "technically savvy" to use a script. It's about as simple a process as signing up for MetaFilter, probably simpler. You don't have to write them, there are tons out there already. In fact there is at least one very popular site dedicated to Greasemonkey scripts: userscripts.org. The script count there runs well into the thousands.

There are even forums which take script requests, not that you need them for here. If you barely mention you want a feature for MetaFilter which a script can handle, not too long afterwards, somebody will probably post one. Scripts are usually a simple programming task. Heck, I'll whip up a quick script for you, if you want, and I'm just one of dozens here who would do it.

Many people may not have full control over their browser to use scripts, but millions more don't even have control over what sites their browser can access. Should we then listen if they tell us that the sites we can read and they can't aren't a "real solution" to browsing? Nonsense. Tools help people; they don't keep down people who can't use them.

I mean, what do you want? Do you want Matt & co. to stick fifty gazillion different features and widgets into MetaFilter to cover every time someone wants a feature that they think would be cool? Not a very efficient use of development time, besides the operational and security fragility.
posted by mdevore at 12:41 AM on February 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Greasemonkey scripts are usable in Firefox (and clones), Safari, Internet Explorer, Opera, Konquerer, etc. It is just plain javascript that is injected into the page, so any modern browser that supports JS can usually run greasemoney scripts with some prodding.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:45 AM on February 22, 2009


I didn't give myself a 'genius' tag, though.

Oops, they're onto we.
posted by popechunk at 4:45 AM on February 22, 2009


Greasemonkey is not a real solution.

Expecting that a feature request will be implemented after we say we don't plan to isn't a real solution either. Greasemonkey is a compromise for people who want a feature that we don't plan to build in. It's a solution, and a decent if imperfect one; presumably it's a bit better than a flat "no, it's impossible".
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:00 AM on February 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Greasemonkey is not a real solution.

Greasemonkey solves the "I want a feature that isn't going to be implemented" problem.

I appreciate that there are some MeFites who cannot for various reasons, use their choice of browser. At the same time, we have people sending in bug requests using all manner of mobile/hacksy/bleeding edge browsers. We want to define a core set of functionality that will work in ALL current browsers and at the same time let people know that they can use certain browsers to extend the functionality of the site if they want to,

I will personally talk to any MeFite on the telephone and explain to them how to install and run Firefox, run and install Greasemonkey and run and install the MeFi extending script of their choice, so confident am I that anyone who can register to use this site is savvy enough to use Greasemonkey.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:44 AM on February 22, 2009


Hope you have a good long distance plan!
posted by the latin mouse at 10:52 AM on February 22, 2009


I will personally talk to any MeFite on the telephone and explain to them how to....

My first thought was that nobody out there would have the ovaries to pull a stunt like this. Then I remembered walking my dad through a telephone installation of Windows Messenger, just so I could do remote assistance. Took 45 minutes.

I'm just saying, I wouldn't give anyone my phone number this month, if I were you: there's all levels of tech illiteracy out there.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:57 PM on February 22, 2009


I just want to say that I think the term "Greece monkey" is a horrible racial slur that has no place here at MetaFilter or anywhere else. Why, the Greeks not only invented democracy, but their diners, conveniently located throughout Manhattan, have provided New Yorkers with good, wholesome and inexpensive breakfasts for generations.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:51 PM on February 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ, another a-hole who can post on MeTa but can't read without blinking lights.

Despite your whining like a little girl when people snarked on you, hal_c_on, I see you've managed to pick up the habit yourself pretty damn quick.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:25 AM on February 23, 2009


I think the mods, in their graciousness, should say "We're not going to do that, but you could do it with GreaseMonkey" instead of "We're not going to do it BECAUSE you could just do it with GreaseMonkey, and you should be qualified to do it with GreaseMonkey, and I'd be willing to install GreaseMonkey for you if you are not qualified."

If its a good idea, and worth doing, then identify it as worth doing and come up with a general solution.

If it's not a good idea and worth doing, identify it as not a good idea, and not worth doing.
posted by Dunwitty at 12:36 AM on February 23, 2009


This is not a good idea and not worth doing.

Hey, you didn't restrict your request to mods of this site.
posted by dg at 2:55 AM on February 23, 2009


Cross your eyes until four comments appear, then allow the comments to converge to a set of three, focusing on the centre comment. This will always be the most enlightening mod comment in any given thread.
posted by gman at 4:30 AM on February 23, 2009


Just a thought, mods, would it be useful to you to be able to distinguish the posts you make in an officer capacity from the ones you make as peers within the community? If there was some sort of sanctioned border or background to visually distinguish "[Please don't do this here.]" from the normal chatter in a thread, it might be easier for you to remain incognito when you just want to discuss the FPP. Like smackfu says, it could just be a checkbox next to the comment box for mods. It might also have the benefit of bringing extra attention to things like "take it to MeTa" and prevent people from perpetuating the same mistakes.
posted by Riki tiki at 5:27 AM on February 23, 2009


...prevent people from perpetuating the same mistakes.

what's the use of having a memory,
when it only moves in one direction?
you think you'll learn from experience,
ah but that's just a misconception...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:35 AM on February 23, 2009


I think the mods, in their graciousness, should say "We're not going to do that, but you could do it with GreaseMonkey"

Our presentation on the "no, but maybe greasemonkey" tack probably varies from thread to thread and according to the weather; we've definitely said it like that at times, and we generally speaking don't want to hard-sell the greasemonkey thing because we're aware it's an imperfect solution.

One thing that has happened a few times is we'll say "no, we're not going to do that, but someone could probably make it happen in greasemonkey", with the "this idea has x amount of merit" not necessarily explicit because our position is rarely one of trying to declare that a feature request we're not going to run with is inherently good or bad outside that context, etc. We'll usually explain why we are or aren't for it as an official mefi pony, but that's about as far as our authority on the subject goes.

But then that proceeds sometimes to a discuss of (a) why Greasemonkey won't work or (b) why we're wrong not to implement it locally or (c) good god knows what, and I think that leads to us shortcircuiting the whole rebuttal sometimes by jumping farther into the "why greasemonkey is probably, in fact, the way to go with this if you're interested and here's why" part of the discussion.

Just a thought, mods, would it be useful to you to be able to distinguish the posts you make in an officer capacity from the ones you make as peers within the community?

I really don't like the idea, no. Most of the time the distinction is pretty clear—a flat assertion about site policy or in-thread behavior from me or Jess or Matt is usually what an admin-business comment looks like anyway, and we'll often [add some formatting ourselves if we want to be super clear about it], but those are relatively few and far between.

Whereas rambly commentary about the Aliens franchise would be hard to mistake for administrative commentary; so, too, an answer about good pancake places in Vermont, or a little geekout about current DVR hardware, etc.

Having to jump through extra hoops to formalize that distinction sounds like a way to kill a little bit of the joy we get from just being on the site and keeping our admin presence as minimal and as simple as possible, IMHO.

It might also have the benefit of bringing extra attention to things like "take it to MeTa" and prevent people from perpetuating the same mistakes.

In my experience, "cut it out" and "take it to metatalk" directives work 95% of the time, and the other 5% is a problem not because a lack of an exciting border but a lack of interest in putting the breaks on and respecting the request. I think this would be an attempt at a CSS fix to a wetware problem.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:07 AM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


And yes, cortex is the Aliens fanboy mod; Jessamyn is the Vermonster Pancake mod; and Matt is the Tivo Geek mod. This should be incorporated into any mythical depictions of us in, e.g., marble statues around the dias of the post-apocalyptic temple built by the Followers of Me'fi a couple hundred years from now.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:14 AM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm thinking Matt on a recumbent bike, Jess wearing snowshoes and cortex with a ukelele. Maybe I'll start a splinter sect.
posted by box at 8:23 AM on February 23, 2009


We should do a thing some time where we ask people to submit freeform graphic interpretations of the mods using like iconography and napkin sketches and whatnot and how did it not occur to me when I started this sentence that we'd probably receive some moderately disturbing stuff mixed in with the otherwise mostly entertaining submissions OKAY NEVER MIND
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:26 AM on February 23, 2009


how did it not occur to me when I started this sentence that we'd probably receive some moderately disturbing stuff mixed in with the otherwise mostly entertaining submissions

your inbox is not my inbox, clearly

posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:50 AM on February 23, 2009


this is me developing my ability to look at the world through other peoples' eyes, is what i'm saying
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:55 AM on February 23, 2009


all displaying personal growth and shit
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:55 AM on February 23, 2009


Wait, is Matt the Tivo geek mod, the Tivo mod geek mod, or the mod tivo geek mod?

Or perhaps the mod tivo mod geek mod.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:56 AM on February 23, 2009


all displaying personal growth and shit

it really IS like having a kid brother!

posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:57 AM on February 23, 2009


Matt is the Greek Mod of TiVo.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:05 AM on February 23, 2009


(known to the Romans as Mod of ReplayTV)
posted by Rhomboid at 10:32 AM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Mod Greek Geek Mod of Tivo. Got it. Gathering my matchsticks...
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:34 AM on February 23, 2009

I think the mods, in their graciousness, should say "We're not going to do that, but you could do it with GreaseMonkey" instead of "We're not going to do it BECAUSE you could just do it with GreaseMonkey, and you should be qualified to do it with GreaseMonkey, and I'd be willing to install GreaseMonkey for you if you are not qualified."
I also have an arbitrary set of rules I wish to impose on other people. Is this the thread for that?
posted by !Jim at 7:12 PM on February 23, 2009


I ran across this which claims to be able to highlight/alter posts from specific users: Mondo Meta
posted by wastelands at 11:10 PM on February 23, 2009


Name like that, it has to be malware.
posted by mdevore at 1:17 AM on February 24, 2009


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