Now we are six December 9, 2009 7:47 AM   Subscribe

Ask MetaFilter is six years old today-ish. The subsite that began without its own URL has grown into its own fully tagged, categorized (mostly) searchable archive of our little hive's collected wisdom. Just last month over 1900 users wrote questions and 5300 users gave answers.

Here are a few questions from that first week or so...

What is AskMetaFilter?
Why is Kennedy looking down in his Official White House portrait?
How to be the best at The Dreaded 20 Questions Gift.

and the perennial favorite

Is the coefficient of restitution of two particles a measure of the percentage of kinetic energy retained after a collision?

Thanks to everyone who has participated over the years for helping AskMe be truly the best of the web.

hat tip to tellurian for the heads up.
posted by jessamyn to MetaFilter-Related at 7:47 AM (91 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

I still think of AskMe as new.

It's probably time to buy some clothing.

Thanks for all your hard work!
posted by ODiV at 7:52 AM on December 9, 2009


*confetti, horns, cake*
posted by The Whelk at 7:56 AM on December 9, 2009


I want to thank all you all for answering my questions first!
posted by qwip at 7:56 AM on December 9, 2009


and the perennial favorite

Is the coefficient of restitution of two particles a measure of the percentage of kinetic energy retained after a collision?


I answered that question. Looking back now, what I said makes no sense to me but fortunately seemed to make sense to the poster so...hurrah!
posted by vacapinta at 7:57 AM on December 9, 2009


Thanks to everyone who has participated over the years for helping AskMe be truly the best of the web.

Turning that back to say thank you, mods for making AskMetafilter a helpful, generally kind and judgment-free resource. A lot of people have been helped in some pretty fantastic ways. Couldn't do it without you!
posted by bunnycup at 7:58 AM on December 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


And jessamyn, you are a large part of what makes it what it is... even when you delete my answers. Thank you.
posted by milarepa at 8:01 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I always think I should contribute more answers to AskMe but I scroll down the page and Go "Wow, I have no ability to answer any of these" and then just set my My Ask to throw a beanbag at my head when someone says "Uh what Movie should I watch that has bunnies in it?" or somesuch.

Which is, I think, a sign of how well AskMe really works. I feel like I *should* be contributing more, but I'm not cause I know I can't contribute in a way that would be helpful. Best of both worlds!
posted by The Whelk at 8:03 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Happy Birthday AskMeta!!
posted by garnetgirl at 8:04 AM on December 9, 2009


The first extant AskMe question.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:05 AM on December 9, 2009


Woo! AskMe is (somewhat obviously) my favorite part of the site, and one of my favorite things on the web.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:06 AM on December 9, 2009


You know, this one time I answered a question with an awesome poem about living in a coconut. Apparently it didn't "ANSWER THE QUESTION," hmph. So all I'm saying is,

LOCKED IN
Ingemar Gustafson, trans. from Swedish
All my life I lived in a coconut,
It was cramped and dark.
Especially in the morning when I had to shave.
But what pained me most was that I had no way
to get in touch with the outside world.
If no one out there happened to find the cocoanut,
if no one cracked it, then I was doomed
to live all my life in the nut, and maybe even die there.
I died in the cocoanut.
A couple of years later they found the cocoanut,
cracked it, and found me shrunk and crumpled inside.
"What an accident!"
"If only we had found it earlier...."
"Then maybe we could have saved him."
"Maybe there are more of them locked in like that...."
"Whom we might be able to save,"
they said, and started knocking to pieces every cocoanut
within reach.
No use! Meaningless! A waste of time!
A person who chooses to live in a cocoanut!
Such a nut is one in a million!
But I have a brother-in-law who
lives in an
acorn.
posted by liketitanic at 8:06 AM on December 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the reminder that I have a burning question to ask!
posted by DU at 8:09 AM on December 9, 2009


living in a coconut

I somehow totally missed that thread. It may make you feel better to know that cortex deleted sixteen other comments from that thread besides yours, liketitanic.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:10 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


What was the first deleted question?
posted by availablelight at 8:19 AM on December 9, 2009


What was the first deleted question?

How did those people get their cats in the scanners, and why?
posted by marxchivist at 8:20 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


It won't be a victory until we've finally saved Anonymous from any further hardships or heartache.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:29 AM on December 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


My life and my relationships have been measurably improved by many of the questions that I haven't asked. There were questions I was too afraid or too embarrassed to ask. There were questions about things I hadn't considered or had taken for granted that my way was naturally the only way. You brought these issues to light and showed me that I was dead wrong on several issues. Some of my anonymous questions have been a hard slap in the face and forced me to come to terms with my own reality. I've learned about jealousy and forgiveness and compassion and community.

I've memailed some of you over the years to thank you personally for your questions or your answers, but consider this a sitewide thank you.
posted by desjardins at 8:32 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't think of many other activities where I get the same sense of a community working to make people's lives better for no other reason than it feels good to do so.

It's like pure altruism in web page form. When I consider how weird that is, I'm amazed and gratified to be a part of it.
posted by quin at 8:32 AM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the reminder that I have a burning question to ask!
posted by DU at 11:09 AM on December 9 [+] [!]


No, you shouldn't wait until Monday, call the fire department NOW.

IANAFF, IANYFF.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:35 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


What was the first deleted question?

At the time, deleted questions were completely deleted, rather than the current practice of being delisted from the front page but still available if you have/can get the URL, and also closed with stated deletion reason. (I know because I had at least one deleted question from those days.) So the first one is probably lost in the mists of time. It might still be interesting to see what the first delisted-and-closed-but-still-visible deleted question was, and when that was implemented.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:35 AM on December 9, 2009


Thank you for giving us a place to ask anonymous questions about pooping!

Oops, I think I just blew my cover...
posted by JoanArkham at 8:37 AM on December 9, 2009


I'd also like to say that I think y'all should lift the 7-day waiting period just for today, in celebration of AskMe's birthday.

Dammit, still have 5 hours to wait until I can ask a question again.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:39 AM on December 9, 2009


Unlike the other parts of the site, AskMe has evolved somehwat. I'm not great with dates but there are some on the wiki.

- posting limit of one per week implemented 14dec04
- first anonymous question 12oct04
- titles and tags come in 17feb05
- questions staying open for a year instead of a month started 08oct05
- posting limit raised to two weeks 18dec06, undone 16apr07
- backtagging completed 21mar08
- all AskMe questions backtitled by 20oct08
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:42 AM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


What was the first deleted question?

We may never know! A little bit about why:

Askme started as a hack of the metatalk codebase, and shared a posts table with it in the database for a span of a few thousand askme and metatalk posts—I want to say from the high 3000s to the low 8000s in postid—before askme was formally split off into its own entity with its own posts table and all.

Metatalk, for a very long time, was a deletion-is-nuking zone: if a post got deleted, it literally got deleted from the db, as opposed to the hidden-but-still-accessible model that's standard across the site these days. So when askme started, any deletions of posts were permanent.

This was definitely true for the whole of the time that askme and metatalk shared a table. I think, glancing through the infodump now, that it must have remained true for some time after that as well. Eventually that changed, but I'm not sure offhand when.

So the first deleted question, and in fact the first n deleted questions for some value of n that I'm not sure of, are lost to time. Oh for a time machine, to go back and warn them, cries the little archivist in my brain.

Trying to find out where those questions were based on postid gaps is, itself, a challenge, again because of the shared table in the early days. A gap in the early askme postids might be a deleted post, or it might be a metatalk post. One way to be sure would be to combine both the metatalk and askme postid data from the infodump and find out what's missing at that point: there you have a deleted post of some sort, though whether it's an askme or a metatalk would be an open question unless something else came into it as well.

On a related note, while posts themselves were nuked, comments on those posts were not, which means that after identifying that any given post or set of posts has been nuked, someone could look at the comment data in the infodump and figure out some info about the volume and timing of comments/answers to those posts. Which might, itself, be a route to trying to profile a deleted post as being either meta or askme, based on the differing answering profiles of the two sites at the time.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:46 AM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I always think I should contribute more answers to AskMe but I scroll down the page and Go "Wow, I have no ability to answer any of these"

They also serve who only stand and wait.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:50 AM on December 9, 2009


This idea was way better than setting a wooden stand up outside Mat Howie's house and charging 5 cents to answer a question or give advice a la Lucy in the Peanuts cartoon. Way more efficient, I think.
posted by anniecat at 8:50 AM on December 9, 2009


It might still be interesting to see what the first delisted-and-closed-but-still-visible deleted question was, and when that was implemented.

True. Again, hie thee to the Infodump, the posts data of which contains deletedness and reason info.

Note on that front that the "first" delisted question is not going to be the first one that shows up in the file: occasionally, we get requests from folks to delete old embarrassing/TMI/whatever questions, and so there are removals in there that happened well after the fact (and which, for obvious reasons, it'd probably be impolite to highlight in this thread in any case).

The thing to look for, then, is when the rate of deletions kicks up significantly, going from the once-in-a-great-while after-the-fact potholes of the pre-delisting nuke period to the more steady pace of delisting itself.

Deletion reasons themselves may have come along some time after the delisting process began, so there's likely two things to look for there: when did delisting start (and what was the first delisted question) and when did deletions start (and what was the first deletion reason).
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:52 AM on December 9, 2009


Cool! I really liked reading the "What Is AskMetaFilter?" thread. It's interesting to see that some of the things people have suggested over the years were considered right at first, too.

Also, it's kind of cute how worried you guys were that we would ask about digital cameras all the time. Then again, that was probably true for awhile.

Happy 6th!
posted by juliplease at 9:03 AM on December 9, 2009


I've really grown to dislike the whole "answer whoring" vibe I get from AskMe. Could we try an experiment, maybe for a month or so, where we can only post questions but no answers? Sometimes you can figure a lot out just from, you know, talking it out. TIA.

kidding. Hooray for AskMe! Hooray for experiments!
posted by chinston at 9:04 AM on December 9, 2009


Cool! I really liked reading the "What Is AskMetaFilter?" thread. It's interesting to see that some of the things people have suggested over the years were considered right at first, too.

Heh, yeah, mathowie thought relationshipfilter would get tedious . . .
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:07 AM on December 9, 2009


?
posted by bonehead at 9:10 AM on December 9, 2009


Ask MetaFilter is six years old today-ish.

Is it still safe to eat?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:12 AM on December 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


Oh, who am I kidding. I've gone looking:

11/17/05 - Matt declares he'll add deletion reasons. Behold the power of ColdChef's needling.

The first askme deletion reason. Now you know why Stan Chin lost his gold star.

Beyond that, I couldn't find any reason-less deleted askmes (in a very brief, very incomplete search) that were nonetheless viewable in the traditional delisted sense. Which is interesting, because those posts are indeed in the database still, but trying to visit them brings up the "nothing to see here..." page instead of the deleted thread view. This may just be an artifact of code-changes over time that never got noticed before on account of nobody (except twisted weirdos like me) going back to look at invisible deleted posts for no apparent reason.

And in fact, the not-nuked-but-not-viewable thing continues on after the commencement of deletion reasons; spot checking in the months afterward, I can find a number of questions that are deleted, are in the db, but produce that same "nothing to see" message. I am not sure what the story is there, other than that some questions may have been deleted without a reason early in the days of that practice, where as we provide reasons by default at this point.

So a search for the commencement of delisting using the infodump would need to search for deletedness by looking at the post-metatalk postids and finding where there are gaps (nuking still in action) vs. the commencement of deleted = true data in gapless postids. But, at the moment at least, you won't be able to see those questions anyway once you find them.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:12 AM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Another AskMe milestone: best answers were added February 10, 2005.
posted by zsazsa at 9:18 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm almost 100% sure the first deleted question was on day one, maybe the third question ever, and it was from quonsar. He posted "Where do baby storks come from?" and I deleted it because I thought it could be a seriously useful place and I didn't want to launch it with stupid jokes right off the bat.

Big giant thanks to jessamyn for helping so much from the early days to mold it into a real resource and for drafting pretty much every good rule ever applied there. Also thanks to jjg again, for coming up with the great simple categories that cover any question on earth.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:20 AM on December 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Maybe in another 6 years, someone will tell me what the fuck this song is
posted by Jofus at 9:21 AM on December 9, 2009


Ask is truly a great thing for the advice I got in this thread (Yeah I'm the anon for that question). There was some tough but true advice that helped me get through a really hard time in my life. Thanks AskMetaFilter, and the great folks who are MeFites!
posted by white_devil at 9:25 AM on December 9, 2009


Yay AskMe! It's been a very useful resource for me through the years and also just knowing it's there is comforting, because I know that if I'm ever completely at a loss I can always post there.

jessamyn: Unlike the other parts of the site, AskMe has evolved somehwat.

o_O

mathowie: the great simple categories that cover any question on earth.

Except for history questions *cries*
posted by Kattullus at 9:48 AM on December 9, 2009


A little more on the deletion stuff above: the specific profile of a not-nuked-but-not-visible question is being flagged as deleted in the db but having a NULL value for deletion reason, which suggests that we may be displaying the "nothing to see here" page for any thread with those qualities. That's something we might want to change, I guess.

Those psuedo-nuked questions remain fairly common in the db up through 4/18/07 (without doing a formal count, I'd say they're at a volume of several per 1000 questions up to that point), but after that there are a couple of big gaps, several thousand questions between occurances, though they still sometimes crop up in bunches when they do show up. The last one I can find is from 5/20/08; apparently no more, ever, after that.

And, okay! Something staring me in the face but I didn't notice it until now: all of them are from Anonymous. So this is probably an artifact of how the anonymous submission/approval process worked at that point. Let's take a look at the metatalk archives for those dates mentioned above...

Nothing obviously related on the metatalk front page for late April 2007. Or late May 2008. No idea on the former, but checking email for the latter shows that that's the day we went live with a revamped anony queue in order to get rid of the old postids-out-of-order weirdness from the original queue architecture.

But! In light of the notion that these pseudo-nukes are related to bumps in the anony submission process, it seems like no, there's nothing broken after all. Those threads are probably all either (a) unapproved questions still lurking in the database as cruft or (b) accidental double-approvals.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:54 AM on December 9, 2009


Kattullus, add me to your number.
posted by liketitanic at 9:55 AM on December 9, 2009


The last week my Dad was alive, we were doing the hospice deal, and my brother and me were working out 24/7 shifts to be with him and our Mom, I remember thinking at least once "I can probably use this experience to help someone on AskMe."

I think that says something pretty cool about what you all have created here.
posted by marxchivist at 10:05 AM on December 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


AskMe was my introduction to Metafilter, and I lurked there for a long time before venturing to anywhere else on the site.

Happy birthday, AskMe! Thanks for all the entertaining and educational questions and answers!
posted by rtha at 10:07 AM on December 9, 2009


Happy Birthday, cuz!
posted by Meta Filter at 11:07 AM on December 9, 2009


Just last month over 1900 users wrote questions and 5300 users gave answers.

I was one of them!
posted by owtytrof at 11:14 AM on December 9, 2009


mathowie: I'm almost 100% sure the first deleted question was on day one, maybe the third question ever, and it was from quonsar.

As the poster of the abovementioned first extant AskMe question, I remember there being a joke question posted before mine that was immediately deleted. As I remember it, my question was not the first, but the first one that stood.
posted by Prospero at 11:27 AM on December 9, 2009


What's the opposite of posting a . in a thread? Because I want to do that, here, about this.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:33 AM on December 9, 2009


Mathowie and the Flag Queue STILL sounds like an adventure novel...
posted by matty at 11:36 AM on December 9, 2009


Sadly, the first AskMe @ archive.org is no viewable currently. But they do have:

AskMe on January 22, 2004 @ Archive.org
posted by blue_beetle at 11:37 AM on December 9, 2009


P.S. This Metatalk post (its griping aside) seems to confirms that. Note that of the links to the first two questions Johnny Assay is complaining about (mine, and one other), the first one is dead.
posted by Prospero at 11:38 AM on December 9, 2009


This is so exciting. AskMe always seemed more accessible to the general public than the Blue or the Grey; I wonder what percentage of currently active users lurked on the Green before ponying up the five bucks?
posted by Phire at 11:40 AM on December 9, 2009


iamkimiam: What's the opposite of posting a . in a thread? Because I want to do that, here, about this.

Well, the full stop of solemnity is an ending mark, so surely it's , which indicates that more is yet to come.
posted by Kattullus at 11:49 AM on December 9, 2009


Has AskMe been circumsized or declawed? Will it have a Bar Mitzvah in seven years?
posted by fixedgear at 11:53 AM on December 9, 2009


What's the opposite of posting a . in a thread? Because I want to do that, here, about this.

Start yelling. Don't stop.
posted by invitapriore at 11:57 AM on December 9, 2009


...and I think I've just written the spiritual successor to 4'33". I'll be sure to draft an AskMe question about how to handle all my money bags once they start rolling in.
posted by invitapriore at 11:59 AM on December 9, 2009


What's the opposite of posting a . in a thread? Because I want to do that, here, about this.

!
posted by matty at 12:04 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's the opposite of posting a . in a thread?

"I'm orgasmically happy that that bastard kicked the bucket and I hope his family all suffers greatly."
posted by Burhanistan at 12:07 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm inclined to agree with matty, but Burhanistan is funnier.
posted by owtytrof at 12:08 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


iamkimiam: What's the opposite of posting a . in a thread? Because I want to do that, here, about this.

I vote for % which looks a little like someone hitting a candy-filled pinata.

My cat's contribution amidst a bunch of other clutter from leaping onto my keyboad is: \*/ which looks a little like confetti being tossed in the air. Or fireworks.
posted by julen at 12:12 PM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Even though I never did find what I was looking for, I still tell the story of my second post to non-Mefites when trying to illustrate how awesome AskMe is. There I was trying to find a poem that mentioned Auschwitz, and one of the people who showed up worked at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.
posted by orange swan at 12:31 PM on December 9, 2009


Yay! I love askme! Thanks mods esp Jessamyn for making it awesome.


I also have a questions that seem germane here: what strategies do you guys use for searching for old askmes? I still haven't found a great one - especially when there's not an obvious key word to seach google for.
posted by serazin at 12:35 PM on December 9, 2009


(I mean to site search using google)
posted by serazin at 12:35 PM on December 9, 2009


Happy Birthday ask.mefi! You don't look a day over 5.
posted by amanda at 12:35 PM on December 9, 2009


Just last month over 1900 users wrote questions and 5300 users gave answers.

Do you know off the top of your head (don't go digging on my account!) if this is more or less a normal average? Somehow I would have thought that each question on average would have more than < 3 answers. Huh.
posted by Brak at 12:41 PM on December 9, 2009


I try to search for relevant tags, try to remember a poster who commented in the thread by using the "posted by $USERNAME" option, try to remember about when it was posted datewise and use a lot of keywords in varying combinations via a google site search. If those fail, I ask cortex and mathowie.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:42 PM on December 9, 2009


That's not total questions and answers, that's just unique users for each activity, Brak.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:43 PM on December 9, 2009


Somehow I would have thought that each question on average would have more than 3 answers

cortex can dig more, but many [most?] people answer more than one question and those 1900 users could have asked up to four questions in that time period, maybe even five.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:43 PM on December 9, 2009


There I was trying to find a poem that mentioned Auschwitz, and one of the people who showed up worked at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.

Speaking of arco, I'm sure that this question is still the greatest single moment in the history of Ask.
posted by anastasiav at 12:55 PM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh! That makes more sense. Thanks!
posted by Brak at 12:56 PM on December 9, 2009


If you want to do a quick eyeball of total post and comment stats, you can just check the archives for the last month and do subtraction of the first post and comment ids you see on Nov 1 from the last ones you see on Nov 30.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:06 PM on December 9, 2009


Six years of group therapy and poor Anonymous is still a wreck.
posted by JeffK at 1:10 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


And yet we may never, in fact, know how babby was formed.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:14 PM on December 9, 2009


Speaking of arco, I'm sure that this question is still the greatest single moment in the history of Ask.

So great, but so noisy! How do you mods decide what stays and goes in terms of guideline breaking comments in AskMe? I guess things have gotten a bit stricter over the years?
posted by ODiV at 1:19 PM on December 9, 2009


Looking forward to the next year of AskMe. We found out we're expecting this weekend, so we'll be using up our questions pretty quickly.

First Question: On a scale of 1-10, 1 being kept to an early bedtime, 10 being lied to for the first 14 years of your life that it is actually 1956 and must live in a bunker due to the Russkies, how psychologically damaging is it to name your first born son "Hammertime"? What if it's your first born daughter?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:51 PM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Adopt me please.

I'll bring my rabbit.
posted by ODiV at 1:56 PM on December 9, 2009


Oh AskMe, soon you'll be old enough to date!

There's a lovely boy down the street, from the Reddits; you know, the big house with the roses in the back yard and the three cars, always contribute to the neighborhood bake sale, their eldest just married the Digg daughter and works in Washington. Anyway, he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. Such a nice boy. Why don't you go see a movie with him?
posted by subbes at 2:01 PM on December 9, 2009


while posts themselves were nuked, comments on those posts were not,

So we could while away the long winter evenings trying to guess from the comments exactly what the original question was? That sounds like *fun*.

anastasiav, thanks for reminding me about that thread, rereading it sends shivers down my spine all over again, and it's such a great advert for the wonder that is AskMe.
posted by penguin pie at 3:34 PM on December 9, 2009


And what was the original colour that made everyone go "Ewwww"?
If I ever saw a different shade of green, I don't remember it. Or did we all just get used to it?
posted by penguin pie at 3:40 PM on December 9, 2009


So we could while away the long winter evenings trying to guess from the comments exactly what the original question was? That sounds like *fun*.

It's an even more rarified sort of fun: while those comments are in the database, they aren't viewable at all since you can't see the threads they would have been in. But you can ponder the datestamps of those comments via the infodump, and commune with the fallen threads thus.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:48 PM on December 9, 2009


They also serve who only stand and wait.

Prince and T-Rex.

That's the goddamn answer I've been waiting patiently to offer. But dammit all, nobody's asked the question. What is it with YOU people?
posted by philip-random at 4:33 PM on December 9, 2009


I <3 AskMe.
posted by limeonaire at 5:22 PM on December 9, 2009


I have dreamed of something like Askme since I was a kid. I frequently fantasized that you could just call a number, ask any question, and be connected with as many knowledgeable people as it took to find the answer. The real AskMe is even better than my fantasy.
posted by Danila at 5:50 PM on December 9, 2009


Thanks for the hat tip jessamyn (what sort of hat?).
Cute Pooh title too!
"But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever."
posted by tellurian at 6:07 PM on December 9, 2009


I frequently fantasized that you could just call a number, ask any question, and be connected with as many knowledgeable people as it took to find the answer.

When I first moved to Seattle, before the point-and-click web, Seattle Public Library offered something like this. A phone number to the Quick Information Center, where you could basically call and ask any question, more or less. I got good answers for a lot of my random stuff. They'd refer more complex problems to the actual librarians. It wasn't until I went to library school that I learned that those people were often $8/hour [in 1993 dollars] paraprofessionals. Once the web went *pow* it was clear that would be where the next awesome question answering service would be, but a lot of libraries haven't really shifted to public question answering for a number of reasons.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:28 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


- posting limit of one per week implemented 14dec04
- first anonymous question 12oct04
- titles and tags come in 17feb05
- questions staying open for a year instead of a month started 08oct05
- posting limit raised to two weeks 18dec06, undone 16apr07
- backtagging completed 21mar08
- all AskMe questions backtitled by 20oct08


- the return of the image tag 20dec12
posted by Chuckles at 6:38 PM on December 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have dreamed of something like Askme since I was a kid. I frequently fantasized that you could just call a number, ask any question, and be connected with as many knowledgeable people as it took to find the answer.

Yeah, the library. I was one of the "tel ref" folks. 2-5 of us in a room (with a window), we all had desks situated around a three shelf spinning carousel of basic reference books. We did a little better than the $8 an hour mentioned up thread. We were damn good and had a blast. It was a great boot camp for up and coming librarians. I went to archives school instead.
posted by marxchivist at 6:53 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a shot of our spinning shelf.
posted by marxchivist at 6:55 PM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


jessamyn: "I frequently fantasized that you could just call a number, ask any question, and be connected with as many knowledgeable people as it took to find the answer.

When I first moved to Seattle, before the point-and-click web, Seattle Public Library offered something like this. A phone number to the Quick Information Center, where you could basically call and ask any question, more or less. I got good answers for a lot of my random stuff. They'd refer more complex problems to the actual librarians. It wasn't until I went to library school that I learned that those people were often $8/hour [in 1993 dollars] paraprofessionals. Once the web went *pow* it was clear that would be where the next awesome question answering service would be, but a lot of libraries haven't really shifted to public question answering for a number of reasons
"

My friends and I would be pretty well along on our path to oblivion when we would come up with some sort of what we thought was a really deep question. We would call the Chicago Library. If they were paid $8/hr, they were underpaid and very patient. To hear a bunch of stoners ask why we park in a driveway and drive on a parkway and still answer us is pretty neat.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:55 PM on December 9, 2009


What would I do without Ask Metafilter? I would certainly have to remember to make my bed.
posted by snowjoe at 10:57 PM on December 9, 2009


- the return of the image tag 20dec12

Man, I was just reading old MeTas from around the time images were yanked; as angered up and bitter as people got last month with the favourites business, it seemed like EVERYONE was SO FUCKING ANGRY and goddamn sweary and just ready to throw down if ever they met in the flesh. And not even over the bigger stuff specifically; people were just totally miserable to each other back then as a matter of course.

So yeah, when someone gets all 'The discourse here has just totally gone downhill, blahblah respect, bloopbleep back in th' day, etc., just point them in the direction of MeTa c. 2005.
SO FUCKING ANGRY.

- posting limit raised to two weeks 18dec06, undone 16apr07

That was an AWESOME time. But again, SO FUCKING ANGRY.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:14 PM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


An embarrassing number of my questions involve poop. My life in general involves an embarrassing amount of poop, not all of it my own. Thanks AskMe for helping me with all of this crap!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:37 AM on December 10, 2009


cortex: If you want to do a quick eyeball of total post and comment stats, you can just check the archives for the last month and do subtraction of the first post and comment ids you see on Nov 1 from the last ones you see on Nov 30.

First, I searched for "2009-11" then did a line count, but then I realized that this didn't account for deletions.

There were 2514 posts & 36180 comments in AskMe for November; there were no deleted posts (yay!) & 640 deleted comments.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:50 PM on December 10, 2009


« Older Help make me cry with a recent mefi thread!   |   Appear on Oprah, Sell A Book Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments