Best way to print threads May 28, 2009 11:23 AM   Subscribe

I want to print good askmefi threads as a book for my student. What's the best/fastest way to do it?

I am a private tutor and my student is graduating from high school tomorrow(Friday). She is like a sister to me - we are 10 years apart, her mom treats me like her own son and I think of them like family members too. What I want to give her as the graduation gift is popular askmefi threads printed as a book and an account here. What's the best way to edit all the threads so that it will look decent and easy to read as a book? I will have all night tonight and a couple hours tomorrow to do the editing.

The threads that are going to be in the book are selected by all-time favorites...if you have any thread you consider are good life experience advice please free feel to post. I realize this perhaps is more of an AskMefi question rather than talk...but I just used my question on something about importing DS games (what a tutor!)

Thank in advance for your help!
posted by jstarlee to MetaFilter-Related at 11:23 AM (34 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Dear Student,

Don't waste your life screwing around on the internet.

With love,
jstarlee
posted by ColdChef at 11:33 AM on May 28, 2009


if you have any thread you consider are good life experience advice please free feel to post. I realize this perhaps is more of an AskMefi question rather than talk...

And in fact it was a somewhat recent askme. That literally in the past day or two dropped off of Popular Favorites.
Found one. There are some more in the past, I'd recommend searching askme for this type of thread.
posted by inigo2 at 11:38 AM on May 28, 2009


You should note that individual threads are the property of their posters and all rights reserved.
posted by parmanparman at 11:40 AM on May 28, 2009


I'll posit that it's not an AskMe question.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:43 AM on May 28, 2009


You should note that individual threads are the property of their posters and all rights reserved.

What? No they're not. Unless you're confusing comment and thread?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:45 AM on May 28, 2009


You can have my threads when you take them from my cold, dead hands.
posted by Science! at 12:02 PM on May 28, 2009


You can have my threads, but hands off the fedora.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:06 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


If I were in your situation, looking to print out a bunch of AskMes, I'd work on breaking down the CSS formatting and rejiggering it with the Stylish FireFox add-on or your user styles widget of choice. With a little work on your end you should be able to make the pages look however you want, disappearing any page elements you don't want to see, etc., and then it's just a matter of loading each thread and printing it out. The easy, easy no-hassle no-options version of this is to set your MeFi preferences to the 'plain' theme.

As to the copyright issue, I personally don't think it would be a problem as long as you don't take your book to a publisher and/or hawk it online or anything. Giving it to a kid as a one-time gift is groovy.
posted by carsonb at 12:08 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's the best way to edit all the threads so that it will look decent and easy to read as a book? I will have all night tonight and a couple hours tomorrow to do the editing.

What tools are you going to use to put this book together? Indesign? Quark? Word?

You would probably need to do this manually (copy, paste into a print document and then format) because the web and print are different mediums. Depending on the size of the thread, this could take a considerable amount of time for each thread.

In short , you're going to need a lot more time than tonight if you expect to do a lot of threads. I'd suggest just doing one or two.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:10 PM on May 28, 2009


Batch-print a bunch of User Friendly strips?

Failing that, carsonb's idea seems pretty solid.
posted by DWRoelands at 12:12 PM on May 28, 2009


How about giving your student a cool looking or large thumb drive with a word document on it with links to all the great threads and a comment or two on why you think they are so great?

It will save a lot of trees, ink and time. They can just plug the thumb into their computer, open the doc and click away.
posted by NoraCharles at 12:16 PM on May 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


Not an answer to your question, but hey -- it's MeTa! In addition to this lovely gift, you should pay for her to sign up here! Small, but I can see how she might find this place helpful.
posted by Night_owl at 12:22 PM on May 28, 2009


*.Metafilter.com would fit nicely on a portable hard drive.

Books are so last century.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:24 PM on May 28, 2009


Are you going to keep the "posted by" lines the same? If you are going to reformat for a book, I could see modifying that to just include the username and the time.

Purely as an aesthetic choice for the printed page as opposed to an interactive medium.
posted by quin at 12:25 PM on May 28, 2009


Side question: on the "popular" page, there used to be an option to see not only the most popular threads/comments of the week, but also of the month, the year, and all time (iirc). Where did that go, or is there a tab I'm missing? (I'm looking around on the floor, but I don't see it. Did find a sharpie, though!)
posted by not_on_display at 12:34 PM on May 28, 2009


Aha, I found it. In the tabs on the upper right.

Therefore, pony request: please remove the misleading "popular" link on the upper left of the blue page.
posted by not_on_display at 12:36 PM on May 28, 2009


Seconding NoraCharles, and if you have Firefox, you can use the Scrapbook extension to easily save the thread with its links intact.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 12:39 PM on May 28, 2009


... but I guess that non-users wouldn't see the tabs on the upper right, so I now rescind my ponyrequest. (sigh...)
posted by not_on_display at 12:40 PM on May 28, 2009


How about giving your student a cool looking or large thumb drive with a word document on it with links to all the great threads and a comment or two on why you think they are so great?

It will save a lot of trees, ink and time. They can just plug the thumb into their computer, open the doc and click away.


Hypertext fail.

Just make an HTML page with the list. Please.
posted by odinsdream at 12:42 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


DTMFA and Other Timeless Truths: The Very Best of Ask Metafilter
posted by empath at 1:13 PM on May 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


...and if your student asks if she can eat the book, you can say with confidence, "Absolutely!"
posted by not_on_display at 1:15 PM on May 28, 2009


As to the copyright issue, I personally don't think it would be a problem as long as you don't take your book to a publisher

Please keep the credit where credit is due - if you reformat, keep the attribution in a byline or other username mention.
posted by Miko at 1:23 PM on May 28, 2009


You should note that individual threads are the property of their posters and all rights reserved.

Wait that means that all the wrong people got upset about having their comments plagiarized in that shitty webcomic.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:42 PM on May 28, 2009


With a little work on your end you should be able to make the pages look however you want, disappearing any page elements you don't want to see, etc., and then it's just a matter of loading each thread and printing it out. The easy, easy no-hassle no-options version of this is to set your MeFi preferences to the 'plain' theme.

There is already a print stylesheet here. A collaborative effort about a year ago. It looks nice.

So just printing the pages in a modern browser should give nice results.
posted by smackfu at 1:46 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nice.
posted by carsonb at 1:56 PM on May 28, 2009


I like saying nice.
posted by smackfu at 2:07 PM on May 28, 2009


One thing, maybe mathowie could update the print stylesheet to exclude the 'MetaFilter is turning ten!' bar at the top of the page. Aside from that, it looks excellent as is. Disregard previous advice, jstarlee!
posted by carsonb at 2:08 PM on May 28, 2009


You should totally use the classic acronyms as chapter headings.

DTMFA - all the relationship questions
TL;DR - all the relationship questions longer than three paragraphs.
IANAD - all the medical questions
IANAL - all the legal questions
YMMV - all the weird awkward social situation questions
and so on ...

Then, for the back cover, throw a barcode w/ some random ISBN on there and and 'price' the book at $20 SAIT.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:08 PM on May 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


FWIW, AskMeFi threads print fairly decently without any editing. I've done it for a few of the tech threads for future reference (yes, I like killing trees and much prefer reading off cold, dead paper). You can do something simple like use Word to create a Table of Content with the thread question and page numbers. Would require minimal editing on your part.
posted by jmd82 at 2:34 PM on May 28, 2009


The biggest issue would probably be combining the pages into a PDF, if you want to get fancier than just printing them out on your printer.
posted by smackfu at 2:51 PM on May 28, 2009


Do you have a letter-quality impact printer? EXPERIENCE THE SPLENDOR OF PRINTERNET
posted by blasdelf at 2:56 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Life of Anonymous

5523 Lessons I Learned the Hard Way
posted by R. Mutt at 5:59 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


What I want to give her as the graduation gift is ... an account here.

Have you performed the Gift Account Reality Check? Are you comfortable with the possibility of reading about your pseudo-sister's:

- repressed family drama, or anecdotal answers to related anonymous questions?
- rocky friendships and/or sexual relationships, or anecdotal answers to related questions?
- health and/or anatomical questions, or anecdotal answers to related anonymous questions?
- habits/behaviours of dubious legal or ethical natures, or anecdotal answers to related anonymous questions?
posted by CKmtl at 6:24 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


if you have any thread you consider are good life experience advice please free feel to post.

I can't count the number of times I've relied upon this thread.
posted by Mike1024 at 11:52 AM on May 30, 2009


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