'Big Bad Question' as a Metafilter Subsite? March 28, 2009 3:44 PM   Subscribe

This idea has been sticking around in my head for a while: assuming its creator cortex didn't vehemently object, could Big Big Question be integrated into Metafilter as a new subsite? I think it could be something amazing.

I think Big Big Question is an incredible great idea. I think its fatal flaw at the moment is only that it seems (to me, at least) that very few participate. I think we have such a wide and diverse platform of intelligence and beliefs amongst the Metafilter userbase that a subsite running off the Big Bad Question premise — one that by virtue of its status as a subsite would have an exponentially greater number of visitors — could lead to some absolutely amazing questions and some absolutely amazing comments. I think back to some "sanctioned" BBQs in Ask Metafilter and they stand out as some of the best moments of Ask Metafilter.

Looking at the idea with a critical eye, the downside I could see might be (i) an increased moderation burden, since larger-scale questions might involve greater passions, and (ii) an introduction of some uncertainty between what would belong in Ask Metafilter and what would belong in the new subsite. I think neither problem would be extraordinarily bad, though.
posted by WCityMike to Feature Requests at 3:44 PM (65 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I very much agree. MeFi needs a place to discuss stuff without the mandatory FPP or AskMeFi question.
posted by archagon at 3:48 PM on March 28, 2009


Eh, Projects & Music aren't exactly feverish hives of activity. Incorporating it wouldn't guarantee anything.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:51 PM on March 28, 2009


BBQ exists precisely because it's for things that don't belong here. We - the mods - don't want to watch over those questions and don't want to try to fit them into our existing idea of what belongs on the site and what doesn't. So file this under "not going to happen"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:53 PM on March 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


BBQ's design is more or less to post one question and then let everybody at it. The managed-topic approach works well in BBQ but it's kind of opposite the spirit of Mefi, where anybody can post a topic and there are many conversations going on at once.
posted by ardgedee at 4:21 PM on March 28, 2009


jessamyn: "BBQ exists precisely because it's for things that don't belong here. We - the mods - don't want to watch over those questions and don't want to try to fit them into our existing idea of what belongs on the site and what doesn't. So file this under "not going to happen""

It's a shame that it's an idea you instantly nixed, Jessamyn. Some of the best moments of the entire website have been questions that easily would fit under the umbrella of BBQ (I'm thinking of the 'childhood experiences' question) — I have a strong feeling that the community could produce some real gems.

Since you've nixed it, let me take an alternate take so the question doesn't just die on the vine. Could Mefi somehow drive more traffic to Big Big Question? The problem I see with BBQ as it stands is that it doesn't have the traffic it needs to make it a really vibrant repository of discussion. Perhaps it could be one of the links in the top righthand corner of the site, even were it not to be an official subsite? Or would anyone participating in this thread — admin or user — have an idea how BBQ could build a stronger community?
posted by WCityMike at 4:35 PM on March 28, 2009


It's a shame that it's an idea you instantly nixed, Jessamyn.

I'm just the only one who seems to be around right now. This is not me nixing it, this is me explaining that it's not going to happen because it's something none of us on Team Mod want and it's a total diversion from MeFi's general "thing." There have been other similar diversions, certainly, but they had strong support from either a great number of MeFites and/or and/or longtimers/mods and/or no other good place on the web for similar stuff.

If you want my personal opinion, BBQ is a great site but it's one of cortex's many many side projects. As such, it seems to lack some of the "hanging around in someone's living room" feel that other MeFi spin-offs tend to really have going for them where you can stop by any time of the day or night and there's someone there. The "one thread per day" setup sort of enforces that somewhat. I'm glad you like it, but I feel that some of the stuctural limitations of the site would make it hard to get a community to coalesce.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:45 PM on March 28, 2009


You could put it in the FAQ/Wiki, or on the page in AskMe where we'd point people to all the other websites that could answer questions better than AxMe.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:51 PM on March 28, 2009


Only one mod around? Time to raid the Favorites cabinet!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:52 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Could Mefi somehow drive more traffic to Big Big Question?

MeFi could provide traffic indirectly to various unsanctioned offshoot sites by becoming an OpenID provider. That would allow anyone to create sites where MeFi accounts work, reducing the barrier to entry for MeFites. I'd certainly check out more Projects if the descriptions ended with "... and you can login with your MeFi account." Unfortunately, Matt already nixed becoming a provider.
posted by scottreynen at 5:06 PM on March 28, 2009


WCityMike, can you post like the three best BBQ threads you've ever seen? I'd like to see the best examples to see how it compares. Browsing through old stuff, it kind of seems a bit hit and miss in terms of participation.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:10 PM on March 28, 2009


Unfortunately, Matt already nixed becoming a provider.

That was almost two years ago, when there were a few glaring security issues. I'd say I'm still considering it, though I need to incorporate being an OpenID consumer first.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:11 PM on March 28, 2009


I'd agree that the site is suffering from a lack of participation. The most active question of 2009 got only seven responses.

Also, anyone else think it's odd that even though BBQ isn't an official Mefi site, nearly half of the recent questions are about the blue? It certainly makes it seem more like a Metachat-style hangout for Mefites, rather than an independent project dedicated to discussing big questions.

mathowie: "WCityMike, can you post like the three best BBQ threads you've ever seen? I'd like to see the best examples to see how it compares. Browsing through old stuff, it kind of seems a bit hit and miss in terms of participation."

Maybe I'm missing what you're looking for here, but I thought WCityMike was saying that "the best BBQ threads" were really AskMe questions with a BBQ sensibility that were allowed by the mods to stay open -- and that the actual BBQ has the potential to be like that on a regular basis only if it has a larger audience.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:23 PM on March 28, 2009


MetaChat seems to be doing just fine on its own. I agree that BBQ is under-used (and I am as guilty as anyone), but if it were in the MeFi FAQ or somesuch as an alternative for our meatier chatfilter questions, I think a little extra awareness-raising along those lines wouldn't hurt.
posted by mykescipark at 6:13 PM on March 28, 2009


and that the actual BBQ has the potential to be like that on a regular basis only if it has a larger audience.

Right, but Mike was also talking it up, saying that it could be this great thing if only, and I was just wondering if there was a glimmer of that in the past that I missed, or if it's more just conjecture and wishful thinking.

Personally, I think MeFi works best in the places where there's a focus or an end goal or an overriding theme that makes it clear what is expected of people. Wide open chat leading to amazing threads doesn't seem like a guarantee if we point the firehose of the membership at it. The more people participating, it seems like the less likely something open ended would be great.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:14 PM on March 28, 2009


mathowieAdmin: "WCityMike, can you post like the three best BBQ threads you've ever seen? I'd like to see the best examples to see how it compares. Browsing through old stuff, it kind of seems a bit hit and miss in terms of participation."

Actually, Matt, that's sort of what I was going for with the post: there aren't really good examples of BBQ threads because of them being hit or miss in terms of participation. But I think those occasions where BBQ-style threads have been tolerated in Ask Mefi (i.e., the "childhood experiences" Ask Mefi thread) have produced some really amazing threads. I'd love to see the Mefi populace discovering in and participating on BBQ in a wider scale so that the sort of amazingness that was seen in those threads could be seen in a lot of BBQ threads on various subjects. But as it stands, because BBQ has very light participation, such amazingness doesn't exist there.

f/u typed on preview after looking at the 8:14 pm message: The "glimmer" I would speak of isn't really one extant in BBQ (yet) ... it's one extant in those kind of BBQ-style wider-semi-chatfilter threads that we sometimes see catch fire in Ask Mefi. But BBQ is talked up because it's a place where such widerscale stuff would be sanctioned, as compared to Ask Mefi where it's against the rules.
posted by WCityMike at 6:23 PM on March 28, 2009


Why do we think more participation would automatically lead to more "amazing" moments? I'm not convinced. It's more than just a numbers game that makes a community work. It seems to me that the "it factor" comes first and then people naturally want to participate. BBQ doesn't seem to have it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:31 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think back to some "sanctioned" BBQs in Ask Metafilter and they stand out as some of the best moments of Ask Metafilter.

Links, please!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:34 PM on March 28, 2009


WCityMike: Priceless.

You are all like, "thanks Jessamyn for nixing my" idea and then mathowie shows up and is like, "Well, I have thought about it, pitch it to me."

And you are like, "Um, well, I asked for this meeting, but um, didn't think I would actually get a chance to talk to you, and um, BBQ could be great but for the lack of participation."

wtf? Do your research, this was the perfect moment to bust out the best of BBQ.
posted by mlis at 6:39 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's a lot of shit to shovel to try to find a pony.

(No offense, cortex. I like BBQ.)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:06 PM on March 28, 2009


BBQ is still active?

I guess I had just assumed that cortex had let it die after it passed the peak of excitement into the trough of meh, AS IS CUSTOM IN THE LAND OF THE DONUT.
posted by blasdelf at 7:32 PM on March 28, 2009


MLIS: "And you are like, "Um, well, I asked for this meeting, but um, didn't think I would actually get a chance to talk to you, and um, BBQ could be great but for the lack of participation."

Am I really being that unclear? I don't say that sarcastically -- I mean I'm literally asking, am I coming across foggily? It seemed fairly clear what I was initially proposing, and what I was backing up.

There isn't, at least in my opinion, a "best of Big Big Question." Why? Because there's not enough people participating on the board.

The thing that makes me believe that Big Big Question would be good, if populated by a larger sample of the Metafilter community, isn't anything from past posts on Big Big Question.

It's the fact that there have been several questions asked on Ask Metafilter — questions which fall squarely inside Big Big Question's "mission" but fall squarely outside the mission of the forum they were posted in (Ask Metafilter's "mission") — which have had stellar community responses.

As it stands, encouraging said questions on Ask Metafilter would break its guidelines. However, having a forum which was either (as initially suggested) a Metafilter subsite or (as suggested secondarily after Jessamyn's response) had Metafilter directing more people over to it by virtue of hook or crook would be, I think, a Really Good Thing.
posted by WCityMike at 7:47 PM on March 28, 2009


It's the fact that there have been several questions asked on Ask Metafilter — questions which fall squarely inside Big Big Question's "mission" but fall squarely outside the mission of the forum they were posted in (Ask Metafilter's "mission") — which have had stellar community responses.

You keep repeating this, but you're not posting links to back it up. So how 'bout it?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:17 PM on March 28, 2009


it kind of seems a bit hit and miss in terms of participation.

That's putting it kindly.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:27 PM on March 28, 2009


I feel like I've seen deleted AskMe questions whose deletion reasons include phrases like 'maybe this would be better for bbq' and whatnot.
posted by box at 9:29 PM on March 28, 2009


He's a witch! Burn him!
posted by graventy at 9:32 PM on March 28, 2009


The lack of participation in BBQ suggests that there's something about it that doesn't work quite right- I hardly think a site that has yet to prove its self should be integrated into Metafilter. It's been essentially dead there lately (I posted the stupid question "Do you have cute pets"- I thought for sure that if there were any users left out there some would bite- or at least take the example that all BBQs don't have to be super heavy topics and pose some more questions.)
posted by Secretariat at 9:39 PM on March 28, 2009


Every witch needs a hug.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:39 PM on March 28, 2009


I know what you're talking about, WCityMike, but I don't think there's a need for this. I'll try to explain why.

I remember some of those old threads - the seemingly free-form threads where hundreds of people are sharing interesting, inspiring or just funny anecdotes about a particular topic, threads which disappeared as the site became more rule-managed and as the number of mods increased. Personally, I'm a little conflicted about them; on the one hand, they were inspiring, but on the other, well, I have a horror of sentimentalism, and that's what those things seem to be driven by. (The urge everybody has to "share of themselves," et cetera.) But I understand why some people love them.

And I know why we had to eliminate them; that kind of free-form talking thread really isn't very easy to moderate or regulate, and it's hard to see how it fills a 'purpose.'

The thing is, even if we wanted to have a site for threads like that, I don't think it would be filling a need that isn't already filled. When ask.metafilter.com was initiated, the site was sizeably smaller; fewer users meant fewer questions, and those fewer questions were easier to moderate and keep in line. Even aside from the moderation problem, though, there was a limited number of subjects and topics that could possibly be covered by the range of questions. So in that newer community, threads could be big and epic, and that way everyone got a chance to share things that they had to say on nearly any topic.

Today, it's not even just ask.metafilter that's different, it's the whole of metafilter. It's larger, with more users, and more coming in every day. My sense is that this has significantly changed the way ask.metafilter works; where once questions might have been starting points for broader discussions, now questions are more terse, to the point, addressing perhaps a single aspect of a single topic.

Now, I know that that can make it seem, microcosmically, as though the site has become more limited, less diverse, less exciting and less broad. But that's emphatically not the case. There are questions daily that I would never have thought of in a million years; and in response to those questions are answers from people who seem to know about little things that I never noticed, but which I'm glad to have discovered. In short, while the old metafilter was small but capable of epic grandeur (to be a bit dramatic) - sweeping discussions that went to awesome places - the new metafilter, and especially ask.metafilter, can be brief, focused, terse, and direct.

I guess all I would do is encourage you to see the benefit that's introduced. Yes, there are questions now that only have three comments, since nobody else could technically answer the question while following the rules and not just speaking off the cuff or making a joke. Yes, there's a sea of questions every day, such that the whole community can't possibly participate in a single thread. But this method, though it makes any given thread quieter and maybe more 'boring,' has surprising and incredibly rewarding results: you discover a person who's an expert in a particular field, or someone makes that singlularly insightful comment about a subject that they know very well. It may make it harder, but personally I don't mind having just one of those (ideally) per thread. It makes the site much more useful; browsing through the ask.metafilter past questions reveals a gold mine of great stuff.

I think that's because now, if you know a great deal about a particular but very select and specific subject, you don't have to have a huge thread to dump it in. You can just wait; within a week or two, somebody will probably post a question asking about it. That way, the people you're talking to actually hear what you have to say. And that way, it's much easier to find insightful comments about what you want to know about. I would even argue that it tends to bring out that insightfulness more when there's some practical urgency about it.
posted by koeselitz at 9:47 PM on March 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, I had meant to mention this: the old-school, free-form metafilter discussions, the ones that produced so many great little perspectives, just wouldn't work on a site with as many members as we have now. There would be too much noise, too much randomness, too much silliness breaking in around the corners. The mods know this instinctively, I think; they spend enough time culling the crap to know what it would be like if they didn't have guidelines to follow in doing so, if they had to cull around some notion of 'the spirit of the thread' rather than a real and practical goal. And even aside from the difficulty of the moderation, when metafilter had a few thousand members, the community could self-regulate and join in a particular thread together in a much more natural way without the cross-currents we have running through it now.

Metafilter is more modular now - it's running in so many different directions. But I think that's a good thing, because it means that more of value is said in the end.
posted by koeselitz at 9:53 PM on March 28, 2009


Quit trying to hump the 'Filter.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:43 PM on March 28, 2009


I've thought about this a lot, about Metafilter as a community and how it both expands and constricts at once, and I guess I have a bit of a mini-rant about that. To me, the history is a bit like this: there's a little community somewhere, not a lot of people, but the people are smart, creative, sharing, amusing, often eccentric, so it's a nice and interesting place to live. Things often happen off the cuff, new things are created, everybody is throwing ideas out, some get incorporated by the group, it's fluid. It's the kind of place where someone is barbecuing in their front yard, and somebody else comes along and offers their super-duper special BBQ sauce with the secret ingredient, and the original guy, says, "cool! why not bring over something to throw on the grill and we'll do this together?" And pretty soon a whole pile of people are bringing their own stuff over, the grill get moved out to the sidewalk to make more room, and then a few people start bringing their instruments out, and they're jamming. Some people are dancing in the street, some others are juggling and doing magic tricks and fooling around, a few are sitting back with a whiskey or two telling great stories, a few people are cleaning up a bit and keeping things tidy, somebody else is making s'mores for everyone over the remaining embers. Spontaneous street party, and it goes on 'til the wee hours, and everyone's happy. One or two people get too drunk and or rambunctious, but the group can handle that.

Who wouldn't want to hang out? So more and more people move to the community. Soon enough, someone is playing the their bad music at top volume at 4 in the morning in the middle of the street and their drunk friends are puking and pissing in people rosebushes. So people get upset. Something has to be done about this! "You can't do that," they tell the guy. "Oh, REALLY? Well you guys were playing your music and partying in the street and drinking and wandering around the neighborhood last week, so why can't I? Fuck you!" So rules have to be made. No noise louder than X decibels after 11 p.m.; no using public (street or sidewalk) space for gatherings; no trespassing on anyone's property; no public drunkeness.

So, no more spontaneous street parties. No more inviting everyone over. Things become a little more rigid, but it's still a pretty cool place. But soon enough more people move in, more unexpected activity occurs, more rules are demanded. Pretty soon that guy who starts his barbeque up on his front lawn? Now there are people telling him that he should probably take that to the back yard, and by the way, he ought to get that back yard fenced, because what if some kid wanders into his yard and gets burned by a flying spark? Someone else complains about smoke from the barbecue and demands that any open fires be banned. Pretty soon people are asking questions like, "just barbecue? is there any reason that cooking smells of any kind should be tolerated here? I think everyone should be required to cook only on the stove with all doors and windows closed, and only between the hours of 7-8 am, 11 am-1 pm, and 6-8 pm." And someone else is "what about microwaves? Can we use them? Anytime, or just during the legal hours" and another person opines, "well, I for one, am still not convinced that microwaves are safe, and I don't really want to be exposed to your radiation." Somebody else complains that no matter how any of the neighbors cook their meat, they can still smell it and it makes them sick, and that meat should be outlawed. Another person doesn't like vegetable gardens because they attract animals and pests, and thinks that those should also be outlawed. Of course, by this time, people are out measuring your grass with a ruler to see if you are breaking ordinance #1,653,7599C, and the only active gatherings are when people get together to think up new rules and regulations.

And that's my rant. The admins here try to do the best for the most without being too restrictive or authoritarian, and people are constantly asking for new and more rules and more tightly restraining rule language, and demanding that rules be formulated so specifically and absolutely that they cover every possible permutation of possible non-optimum participation, that every nuance of every rule be so binding that there can never be any deviation and that conformity be absolute. I think this is insane.

And that's why it would never be possible to have a vibrant Big Question kind of thing here under current (membership, not admin) conditions. It would be ruled and regulated to death, and require a whole second mod squad to deal with the complaints and the lawmaking and bureaucracy that would be demanded.
posted by taz at 11:46 PM on March 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


mmm...barbecue.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:16 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


There isn't, at least in my opinion, a "best of Big Big Question." Why? Because there's not enough people participating on the board.

So, you have a hunch that something could be really great, but no evidence to prove it and you didn't even take the time to link to a question on Metafilter that is one of those "best moments of Ask Metafilter" that bends the guidelines, I'm sorry, you've done an absolutely bad and lazy job of selling your idea.
posted by David Fleming at 6:38 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Y'know, after migrating from Bloglines to Google Reader there was something always nagging me, that there was some blog I'd forgotten to add to Reader... now I remember, it's BBQ. Thanks for that, WCityMike. And here's are three good BBQ threads:

What were you never gonna do?
What advancement has spoiled you?
What's your most embarrassing eggcorn
posted by Kattullus at 6:48 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I enjoy BBQ and participate in it from time to time, but the idea that it's some kind of magic site that could be incredibly awesome if it were somehow "part of MetaFilter" or driven by MetaFilter or whatever is ridiculous. It's one of cortex's side projects, it is what it is, which is fun, and it's not going to be anything different than what it is, so enjoy it for what it is.

And get off my lawn.
posted by languagehat at 7:23 AM on March 29, 2009


David Fleming: "So, you have a hunch that something could be really great, but no evidence to prove it and you didn't even take the time to link to a question on Metafilter that is one of those "best moments of Ask Metafilter" that bends the guidelines, I'm sorry, you've done an absolutely bad and lazy job of selling your idea."

You're just not a good person, are you, David? Go away now. Shoo. I think there's a homeless person halfway down your block who you can go kick a few times, and there are some fundraising Girl Scouts down at the gas station on the corner who you can shove to the ground and then steal their cookies.

Taz, koeselitz, thanks for being class acts.
posted by WCityMike at 8:10 AM on March 29, 2009


Hi!

Jessamyn's take on where we are administratively on this waaay upthread is on the nose. Big Big Question exists as an unofficial spinoff project specifically because that's what we decided would be the sanest way for me to experiment with the idea. It's not integrated with mefi, it's not precisely mefi-like, the format is intentionally weirded up a bit, etc.

I like speculative/chatfilter stuff in abstract, but finding a way to not just occasionally give quiet sanction to it but officially encourage it on mefi itself is something that I've come to see as an unworkable idea.

There are opportunities for relatively freewheeling goofy chat on this site if you really go looking; there's metachat as a very visible and mefite-friendly place for that sort of thing in general; there's even the occasional borderline-chatty askme that sneaks past us for a bit and gets really good before we see it, and we sometimes give this a quiet shrug as a sort of attempt at compromise on the issue.

BBQ is just another off-site experiment to see where the demand is. It was never busy by any stretch, but it was more active for the first few months of its existence and then sort of began the slow process of petering out. I ran out of question fodder a while ago, and with neither me nor anyone else posting new questions frequently, there was less to read, and with less to read there was less reason to come back and look at the site, and with less reason to come back there were fewer questions, etc. Classic spinoff feedback loop, which, frankly, is okay.

I'll keep it around for a while regardless, maybe try something new with it at some point, but unofficial spinoffs dying of inactivity is really more the rule than the exception.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:11 AM on March 29, 2009


Jessamyn's take on where we are administratively on this waaay upthread is on the nose.

I thought on the nose meant bad - like 'that stinks'.
posted by jacalata at 9:27 AM on March 29, 2009


I've never heard that use before, jacalata, but the OED has it as Australian slang:

P3 h. (c)
Austral. slang. Offensive, distasteful; smelly.
1941 S. J. BAKER Pop. Dict. Austral. Slang 49 Nose, on the: (said of things) disliked, offensive. 1946 K. TENNANT Lost Haven (1947) vi. 86 ‘Christ! Alec,’ he complained. ‘This bait's a bit on the nose, ain't it?’ He spat over the side as the reek of fish-heads a week old..caught his stomach. 1953 D. CUSACK Southern Steel 138 The beer's on the nose and the plonk 'd make a willy-wagtail fight an emu. 1974 Australian 12 Dec. 13 She renounced her Australian citizenship and swore everlasting loyalty to the Stars and Stripes. A bit on the nose, we think. 1999 G. BEAR Darwin's Radio xxi. 103 ‘It's the same as Herod's flu. Herod's causes mutations and miscarriages. By the way, that name..’ ‘Maybe a bit on the nose,’ Shawbeck said. ‘Who made it up?’
The more general (and judging by citations, likely older) meaning is just "precisely" or "exactly" or "right on target".
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:49 AM on March 29, 2009


I have to say that I would always use 'on the nose' or more precisely 'right on the nose' in the same way as cortex. FWIW, I'm a Brit so this is one (special?) case of British and US expressions working in harmony. I always thought that it came from horse racing, but that's pure, unadulterated conjecture.
posted by ob at 10:01 AM on March 29, 2009


Oh, wait a minute, heh, I can't resist this:

Metafilter: pure, unadulterated conjecture.
posted by ob at 10:03 AM on March 29, 2009


"On the nose" as in "you hit it on the nose" comes from boxing. Because back in the day of bare-knuckled pugilism, when you hit someone on the nose, you usually broke it and ended the fight.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:06 AM on March 29, 2009


I've also seen "on the nose" used pejoratively in the sense of "obvious" or "facile," which maybe moves it a bit towards jacalata's reading.

Also, I kind of agree with WCityMike on this. In fact, I would like to see maybe 6 or 8 new subsites added to MeFi -- TravelFilter, ChatFilter, NewsFilter, BookFilter, maybe PoliticsFilter, ShopFilter and DateFilter. I think there is clear demand for them; they would redirect several types of "problem" posts/questions; and they would broaden the field for our increasing userbase to play on, thereby reducing some of the activity on the blue and the green. I know this is not really going to happen, and I'm fine with that, but it's a dream of mine. I also realize that there is a risk inherent in growing the site -- it means more moderators, and I think we would be very hard-pressed to find ones as good as cortex and Jessamyn. I also think that, as much as I think about MetaFilter (and it's, frankly, an unhealthy amount), Matt and his crew think about it more, and I am convinced they always do what they think is best for the site, which is rarely the case on the Internet these days.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:07 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


"On the nose" as in "you hit it on the nose" comes from boxing.

Well, that certainly makes more sense than my conjecture. I don't know why I always thought horse racing...
posted by ob at 3:28 PM on March 29, 2009


the OED has it as Australian slang

Yes. For a while, Victorian licence plates carried the slogan "Victoria - on the move" but the rest of the country chose to read it as "Victoria - on the nose".

It means bad, in the sense of food going rotten. Distasteful.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:47 PM on March 29, 2009


You're just not a good person, are you, David? Go away now. Shoo
And he's gone.
posted by tellurian at 4:55 PM on March 29, 2009


And he's gone.

Good lord. I hope David Fleming didn't disable his account because of WCityMike's really geeky rejoinder. WCityMike: don't think about Metafilter so much. It's creepy. Shoo.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:59 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


"On the nose" as in "you hit it on the nose" comes from boxing.

I can't tell you for sure that that's not so, but none of the cites in the OED for the "exactly, precisely" meaning mention boxing, and the first two, both from around the turn of the 20th century, mention baseball, and not in any context that involves actual noses.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:05 PM on March 29, 2009


tellurian: "And he's gone."

That was unexpected.
posted by WCityMike at 5:30 PM on March 29, 2009


don't baseballers have noses?

how do they smell?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:33 PM on March 29, 2009


If you're going to have bbq.metafilter.com, then you've also gotta have bbw.metafilter.com.
posted by jbickers at 5:34 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Burhanistan: "WCityMike: don't think about Metafilter so much. It's creepy. Shoo."

MeTa comments (WCityMike): 507. Joined: 02/06/05. Average MeTa comment participation: 0.33 comments per day.

MeTa comments (Burhanistan): 2,104 comments. Joined: 11/26/06. Average MeTa comment participation: 2.47 comments per day.

2.47 / 0.33 = 742%.

If thinking about Metafilter is creepy ...
posted by WCityMike at 5:44 PM on March 29, 2009


...overthinking is perfectly fine; almost mandated.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:53 PM on March 29, 2009


Metafilter had a restraining order on me for a while.
posted by gman at 5:55 PM on March 29, 2009


That was unexpected.
Yeah, I guess his nose is out of joint.
posted by tellurian at 6:05 PM on March 29, 2009


David, on the off-chance that you keep your eye on this thread, to generalize my hostility from your individual statement to your entire identity was a rather declasse move, and for that lack of class, I will apologize. I won't apologize for responding in a hostile fashion, 'cause you laid into me with a few really good ad hominems, but I could've been a little classier in how I manifested that hostility. If indeed this motivated you, one conflict shouldn't be cause for a departure. There are plenty of people who routinely bite each others' heads off on Metafilter yet still participate on the site. The admins can re-activate your account if you choose to come back.
posted by WCityMike at 6:06 PM on March 29, 2009


Closing his account does seem a bit like cutting off his nose to spite his face though.
posted by tellurian at 6:08 PM on March 29, 2009


I won't apologize for responding in a hostile fashion

Pretty sure he closed his account before your response but as a general sort of rule to live by, responding in a hostile fashion is almost always the less-classy thing to do, no matter how much you or anyone think it may be "warranted" by the situation. It's not against the rules, but I think it shows a lack of "I care about the community more than my own hurt feelings" approach to community discourse.

Not directed at you personally WCM, but any time someone says their jerkish response was "deserved" or any other approximation, I feel the need to chime in with this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:19 PM on March 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


it should be no skin off anybody's nose, to avoid causing a stink like that.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:26 PM on March 29, 2009


i mean, it's as plain as the nose on your face.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:26 PM on March 29, 2009


jessamyn: "as a general sort of rule to live by, responding in a hostile fashion is almost always the less-classy thing to do, no matter how much you or anyone think it may be "warranted" by the situation"

By "hostile," I mean angry — not necessarily raging and/or profane. Defining "hostile" in the way I meant the word in the phrase you quoted, I've even seen you make hostile responses.
posted by WCityMike at 6:29 PM on March 29, 2009


I've even seen you make hostile responses.

Almost never. I'm just saying, like a broken record, that anyone saying "well I might have been a dick but you deserved it because..." is generally on the list of things we try not to do here. Sure people get angry, but no one inherently deserves bad treatment. Sometimes people can't help but give fighty responses but from a modly perspective (which this isn't) that's our general perspective.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:11 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


listen to jessamyn; she knows best.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:47 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like BBQ, and I even had the first user-posted question on the site, which makes me proud--and I still forget it's there sometimes.

I'd like to see BBQ in the wiki, as blue_beetle proposed above, as another site that could answer questions (like the should I eat it? alternatives), and I freely admit that one of the reasons I support it is as a means of triggering my own poor memory, which might not be the best justification.

I also want to know what happened to Lookatthiscat, 'cause I sent in cute cat pics and they never went up, so how will I ever know if my cats are awesome or not?
posted by misha at 7:49 AM on March 30, 2009


I was busy trying to get up a new episode of Mulder's Big Adventure and rebuilding my home office. LATC will get updated eventually.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:05 AM on March 30, 2009


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