roll truck roll said "I'd like to talk about how we're quoting each other." March 6, 2010 12:42 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to talk about how we're quoting each other.

I used to use Metafilthy, but it's been broken for some time now. As I recall, quote links were much more common before Metafilthy died, and I'd suggest that discussions were easier to follow. Some people still seem to be using some kind of quoting device; what is that? Is it a greasemonkey script?

I think that having some kind of easy way to link back to the user and comment is useful. Has anyone ever suggested adding such functionality to the site itself?

I'm not pushing for a threaded discussion format. That's been run into the ground before. Non-threaded discussions are essential to how Metafilter works. But from a purely practical level, it would be nice if there were a standardized way to click back to a quoted comment. As it is, I spend a lot of time using Firefox's Find button to trace discussions back.
posted by roll truck roll to Feature Requests at 12:42 PM (117 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

Another point: adding Metafilthy-type functionality to the site would also make quoting protocols a little more standardized, so easier to recognize.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:44 PM on March 6, 2010


Have you seen mefiquote?

Beyond that, I really have no interest in standardizing quoting techniques beyond using italics or quotation marks, which are easily recognized conventions. It takes only seconds to seek out quoted content when you use command+f.
posted by runningwithscissors at 12:54 PM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


It should be possible to select text in a comment, click a little quote link next to the [+] [!] (maybe [Q] or [q]), and have it jump down to the comment box with the quoted text already put in for you, with a nice link back. Other sites do this, and it's great!
posted by planet at 12:56 PM on March 6, 2010


roll truck roll: "Some people still seem to be using some kind of quoting device; what is that? Is it a greasemonkey script?"

I use Plutor's awesome Mefiquote script. It adds a quote link to the byline of every post and comment, supports selective quoting via highlighting, and allows customization of the quote format in your profile settings.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:56 PM on March 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


mefiquote does that, planet.
posted by runningwithscissors at 12:57 PM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like the once-standard

username: italicized quote

way of doing things. I tend to read comment threads from beginning to end, so the link back to comment function is just a bit of visual cruft for me, but I can see how it's useful for people who read MetaFilter differently. Like runningwithscissors I ctrl+f my way back up the page when I need to see a quote in context or can't remember who said what because the quote isn't attributed.
posted by Kattullus at 12:57 PM on March 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


The people that use the quoting thing that throws the (random?) number at the beginning of the quoted part look silly.
posted by inigo2 at 12:58 PM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just use a bookmarklet that quotes the highlighted text for you. I'm not sure who wrote it, but I have it on a page for preservation. You can find it here. Example format:

inigo2: The people that use the quoting thing that throws the (random?) number at the beginning of the quoted part look silly.
posted by cj_ at 1:02 PM on March 6, 2010


I don't do that. But I am silly-looking.
posted by tigrefacile at 1:03 PM on March 6, 2010


Is it really that hard to type <i> <ctrl-V> </i>? Really?
posted by Rhomboid at 1:07 PM on March 6, 2010 [15 favorites]


I just grab the bit I want to quote, italicize it, and put an empty line between that and my response. If I'm responding to multiple people, I separate the sections of my comment where I address different people with an extra line. I think this works pretty well.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:08 PM on March 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


Which is the quote script that sometimes includes the comment numbers from the other GreaseMoneky script? That's kind of lame.
posted by smackfu at 1:11 PM on March 6, 2010


<>
posted by ofthestrait at 1:15 PM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]




roll truck roll: "I'd like to talk about how we're quoting each other. "

We can talk about it all you like, but you do realize, don't you, that only a small fraction of posters to the blue bother reading the gray. In other words, those of us reading this Metatalk thread can sit here all afternoon and decide exactly how many beans we should each have on our plate and how to display them to their best advantage, but getting the rest of the the community to follow the standards we decide on is another matter.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:19 PM on March 6, 2010


runningwithscissors: "Have you seen mefiquote?"

I normally just put in italics, with a note if I'm quoting multiple people. The mefiquote script, however, is great. The only thing I dislike is how it shoots you to the bottom of the page.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:23 PM on March 6, 2010


That's kind of my point, Secret Life of Gravy. Part of my question was about trying to figure out how people were adding this functionality in the post-Metafilthy world.

But my larger point is that this functionality is exponentially more useful if it's a feature of the site. The majority of users can't be arsed to install extra plugins, but if the functionality's there, they'll use it.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:23 PM on March 6, 2010


runningwithscissors: "Have you seen mefiquote? "

Thanks. This is great.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:26 PM on March 6, 2010


runningwithscissors: "Have you seen mefiquote? "

Interestingly, links (like the "mefiquote" link above) only seem to work when you don't have anything highlighted.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:28 PM on March 6, 2010


runningwithscissors: "mefiquote does that, planet"

But I for one, am glad that roll truck roll asked the question, because I might not have found out about mefiquote to begin with.

There oughtta be a list on the wiki or something referencing scripts, etc. I found out about stylish by accident, as well, and can't live without the Metafilter enhanced contrast style.
posted by pjern at 1:40 PM on March 6, 2010


All you hip young people with your newfangled browsers that use scripts...you get the hell off my lawn, y'hear?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:42 PM on March 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


runningwithscissors: "Have you seen mefiquote?

Thanks!
posted by deborah at 1:45 PM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you can't or don't want to run Greasemonkey, I've got a bookmarklet that does something similar (see my profile for link.). Added bonus: On Safari, make it the first entry in your bookmark bar and you can quote selected text by typing cmd 1.
posted by ardgedee at 2:02 PM on March 6, 2010


cj_: I just use a bookmarklet that quotes the highlighted text for you. I'm not sure who wrote it, but I have it on a page for preservation. You can find it here.

Brilliant.
posted by emelenjr at 2:09 PM on March 6, 2010


I have long wished we had the quote function Metachat has, in which the quoted material is boxed. It makes it crystal clear that the material is a quote. Italics get used for too many other purposes to really distinctively mark the quoted material.
posted by orange swan at 2:09 PM on March 6, 2010


this functionality is exponentially more useful if it's a feature of the site.

To some people that's probably true. Other people either use Greasemonkey or they do the old CTRL-V and italics things. And some people don't even bother to do that. I feel that this is somethign that people from forum/ubb backgrounds are more used to having as a site functionality option and people from the blogoworld are not.

I guess my question back at folks is whether the absence of this is causing usability or functionality problems for the site right now, do you think? I know some people hate the @reply feature and there's a case to be made that having some standard reply function that was NOT this migh thelp edge it out, but most people seem to handle the reply thing pretty well already.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:36 PM on March 6, 2010


I guess my question back at folks is whether the absence of this is causing usability or functionality problems for the site right now, do you think?

I use copy & paste & italics. I agree this is easy enough. To me, the main advantage of a built-in function isn't that it would save me a couple seconds in quoting someone; it's that the site would appear more consistent and it would be easier for me to tell what someone is responding to. I don't use Firefox, and I'm not complaining about not being able to use the Greasemonkey scripts (that's what I get for not using Firefox). But I do think a built-in feature has the potential to be used almost universally, whereas a third-party plug-in that works on one browser doesn't.
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:44 PM on March 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


I use the simple copy, paste & italicize method, and it seems to work pretty well. But I always wonder whether I should un-italicize any words that are already italicized in the block of text I'm quoting, and it's no fun having to go back and put in any bolds, strikethroughs, etc. that may be in what's being quoted but get stripped out in the copy/paste. Do any of those fancy scripts take care of that?

I'd be in favor of a built-in, standard quoting function, but from an aesthetic standpoint I'd probably want it to look more like the simple italics method than anything conspicuously boxy or shaded.
posted by Balonious Assault at 2:44 PM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


runningwithscissors: "Have you seen mefiquote?

Holy crap, how have I been living without this for so long?! I've been doing it manually, LIKE A CHUMP. (thanks for pointing me to it, runningwithscissors!)
posted by barnacles at 2:49 PM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


planet writes "It should be possible to select text in a comment, click a little quote link next to the [+] [!] (maybe [Q] or [q]), and have it jump down to the comment box with the quoted text already put in for you, with a nice link back. Other sites do this, and it's great!"
runningwithscissors writes "mefiquote does that, planet."

Is there anyway to make mefiquote not jump to the comment box? I'm still using Metafilthy because it doesn't do this even though it no longer always adds the username.

orange swan writes "I have long wished we had the quote function Metachat has, in which the quoted material is boxed."

I dislike this method as it consumes a disproportionate amount of screen real estate and the formating is lost when you copy and paste it. You can get a similar layout here minus the box with blockquote. And strictly IMO; it looks ugly.
posted by Mitheral at 2:53 PM on March 6, 2010


inigo2: The people that use the quoting thing that throws the (random?) number at the beginning of the quoted part look silly

I think this is caused by Mefiquote & Mefi Navigator stepping on each others' toes.

I use Mefiquote. It shooting down to the bottom is okay - because it puts in the link to the replied comment, you can click on that to get back to where you were. It's really helpful if you're entering a thread & you want to reply to several comments within one comment. On preview, like Mitheral's comment.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:58 PM on March 6, 2010


I've done that too Pronoiac but jumping down to the box sets the MetaFilter Scroll Tag (the other thing that Metafilthy doesn't do anymore) pointer at the input box.
posted by Mitheral at 3:04 PM on March 6, 2010


One data point:

I'm a blog person but I think this is one of the few big usability flaws left at Metafilter.

I don't necessarily mean that a single quoting convention should be used and enforced, but that it should at least be easier to include quotes that link back to their sources. Since it's not, when I quote I just use italics, a practice which is consistent with some longstanding MeFi convention but can be confusing and could be remedied very easily.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:21 PM on March 6, 2010


I just installed Mefiquote, and I'm not seeing anything different. What does the byline look liike for those who have it working correctly?
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:22 PM on March 6, 2010


pjern: There oughtta be a list on the wiki or something referencing scripts, etc.

I'd started one, but there are dozens of scripts, & I wasn't sure whether to start -
  • listing them*,
  • providing screenshots**,
  • providing a helpful reminder to disable Greasemonkey & reload before posting on Metatalk about suddenly broken items,
  • documenting how to use them in Opera & Chrome. Which I don't have.
* Making a comprehensive list of scripts, with all the pertinent information, without having it be imposing or overwhelming to view or compile stopped me in my tracks.
** I don't think users can, at userscripts.org. Maybe using the wiki & Flickr? Meh.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:23 PM on March 6, 2010


I like to rewrite the supposed quote, twisting it in such a way as to remove context, sensationalise, cheapen and make it serve one of the various unpleasant agendas I'm pushing. Not to everyone's taste I realise, but when you've worked for Rupert Murdoch as long as I have, it becomes second nature.
posted by Abiezer at 3:25 PM on March 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


anotherpanacea: "I just installed Mefiquote, and I'm not seeing anything different. What does the byline look liike for those who have it working correctly?"

Did you refresh the page? The byline for your last comment was as follows:
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:22 PM on March 6 [+] [!] [quote]
posted by runningwithscissors at 3:25 PM on March 6, 2010


  • I don't particularly like "username:" because it suggests some kind of exclusivity of conversation, or hounding after one particular person. It's not as bad as @soandso, but I still think it's poopy. We don't have threading, we don't have exclusive subconversations, we want to discourge 1-1 showdowns, overliteral out-of-context nitpick style arguing, vapid 'this'-ing, etc. Someone said X and you'd like to comment; does it matter who said it?
  • Looking at this thread, I'm hating the shit out of the usernames-as-links, because:
    • It is creating a lot of visual garbage on the screen, especially with MeFi's css. Ick.
    • Ideally we shouldn't need to click on the link because you're just about to quote the part that matters, anyway. It's importance is way out of proportion to how 'loud' it is.
    • Pet peeve: the link is not to what actually to what's in the link text. If username is the link, I should click to go to their user page, not what they said in this thread.
All just my opinions. I'll take my mockery off the air.
posted by fleacircus at 3:52 PM on March 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


This should be standardized just so people will stop using that god damn @ crap.
posted by dead cousin ted at 3:53 PM on March 6, 2010


I don't use scripts in my browser (Safari), and if I want to quote, I do it with copy/paste + italics, and if I want a linkback, I copy and use the link-insert function in the editor. It's really not that difficult. I also don't have a hard time reading the other ways people might quote others. And I don't have a hard time finding things that people refer back to without a linkback using the "find" function of my browser. Part of MetaFilter's charm is the non-standardized way things are written. It lets people express personality and still is completely readable if the reader has half a brain.

except for the @username thing. that needs to be killed with fire
posted by hippybear at 3:55 PM on March 6, 2010


Sign me up for the death-to-the-@-sign brigade. Appalling. The twitterization of everything has really become ridiculous. I come here to pretend things like Twitter don't rule the internet.

I give Twitter 2 more years before it's MySpace. But this @ convention may outlive its host, like a virus.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:39 PM on March 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Regarding how comments get quoted brings to mind Manjuari's insightful comment here:

I was trying to avoid singling out specific people, but I am talking about this site and this thread specifically. I can go cut and paste examples if you really want, but I'm talking about people taking statements they disagree with, and interpreting them the worst possible way and posting those interpretations in order to argue with them.

I don't want to single out a couple specific people of recent note, but doing that is really getting a bit much. I'm even starting to sympathize with Jaltcoh about it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:43 PM on March 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Quoting verbatim can be a detriment; rephrasing can improve communications. Worth a moment's thought, IMO.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:43 PM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I cut and paste when I quote. It's easy, and I can do it with the mouse or keyboard, and it takes, what? three seconds? I like this place because it's *not* structured like every other forum in the world.
posted by patheral at 4:45 PM on March 6, 2010


Fleacircus' concerns of usernames as links and the concern of MefiQuote bouncing you to the comment box should be addressed to the scriptwriter - in this case, Plutor. He may or may not be willing to change how the script functions based on what the majority want.

Or, as he has done for me in the past, he may be able to show you how to tweak a small portion of the script to do what you want. He could leave the script at userscripts.org as-is and post here and say "to make it not jump to the comments box, change this bit of code to this bit of code." He's a really nice guy... couldn't hurt to ask.
posted by IndigoRain at 4:58 PM on March 6, 2010


We should all use @
posted by fixedgear at 5:01 PM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I use my @ in private.
posted by vapidave at 5:23 PM on March 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Did you refresh the page?

Yes, and I restarted the browser. No matter, I'll check with Plutor.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:25 PM on March 6, 2010


I guess my question back at folks is whether the absence of this is causing usability or functionality problems for the site right now, do you think?

It's not a capital-P Problem. But it's a nagging imperfection, definitely, to not have a convenient and simple built-in quote function. The current ctrl-v & italics convention is ok, but not better than ok.

A button next to the [+][!], maybe [Q] or something like that, that would pop up the comment's text and automatically add a link, and add some clean basic formatting (I like the inset block quote that some people use) would be nice. The link could be as simple as a " at the beginning of the quoted section -- something unobtrusive like that.

I have no idea how complex this is on the programming end, but certainly it's not a new idea on the internet. Done right, it would be one of those small improvements that makes life slightly nicer, rather than an amazing transformation of the site.
posted by Forktine at 5:53 PM on March 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


fleacircus: "I don't particularly like "username:" because it suggests some kind of exclusivity of conversation, or hounding after one particular person. It's not as bad as @soandso, but I still think it's poopy."

If that's too impersonal, Mefiquote lets you customize how the quotes are composed. So if I wanted to I could display the above as:
"I don't particularly like "username:" because it suggests some kind of exclusivity of conversation, or hounding after one particular person. It's not as bad as @soandso, but I still think it's poopy.," fleacircus said.
Or:
fleacircus writes, "I don't particularly like "username:" because it suggests some kind of exclusivity of conversation, or hounding after one particular person. It's not as bad as @soandso, but I still think it's poopy."
I'm pretty sure I've seen others use the second format before. And if you don't want any extra formatting at all, you could just configure it to quote the italicized text and nothing else. It would look the same as if you'd copy-pasted it, but it would be automatic and would preserve hyperlinks.

"We don't have threading, we don't have exclusive subconversations, we want to discourge 1-1 showdowns, overliteral out-of-context nitpick style arguing, vapid 'this'-ing, etc. Someone said X and you'd like to comment; does it matter who said it?"

I think so. It bugs me a little when people quote things unattributed. It makes it harder to follow the conversation and removes context. With usernames, it looks more like you're conversing with individuals than a faceless body of commentary.

Also, um, sorry for quoting your complaints about comment formatting using that comment formatting. :P
posted by Rhaomi at 6:38 PM on March 6, 2010


fleacircus: "I don't particularly like "username:" because it suggests some kind of exclusivity of conversation, or hounding after one particular person. It's not as bad as @soandso, but I still think it's poopy. "

(And no, I'm not doing this response to mock, this is how I really do respond all the time)

Personally, I prefer – and use – this sort of reply method when there are certain sentences or turns of phrase that I specifically want to address in someone's comment. Since I don't provide the full context of the quote, having a link in their username back to the comment I am quoting allows others to maneuver back through the thread to see the full comment (without having to search the page or scroll up) and then they can instantly hit the back-button in their browser to get right back to reading my comment. I honestly don't see what's poopy about it.
posted by barnacles at 6:48 PM on March 6, 2010


And compare that to this...
"username:" isn't a bad way to respond to someone! It allows someone to easily see who I'm referring to, and helps folks from getting their knickers all out of twist when they think I'm responding to them but I'm actually responding to someone else. Does that make any more sense, fleacircus?
I don't think that's at all more usable.
posted by barnacles at 6:50 PM on March 6, 2010


I would love a built in quote function. I skim a lot of threads so sometimes I'll see a quote and want to read the full reply and context so the linking thing would make the site much easier for me to use.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:02 PM on March 6, 2010


Let me know what we decide and how I am supposed to do it going forward, please.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:21 PM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


roll truck roll: “Some people still seem to be using some kind of quoting device; what is that? Is it a greasemonkey script?”

Heh. I do this, every single time:

1. Copy entire comment/post to be quoted.
2. Cut & paste commenter's username at top of quoted comment, and type in formatting it so it looks like this:

<small>username: </small><em>&ldquo;This is a comment.&rdquo;</em>

Yes, I type all that out every single time. I haven't gotten around to figuring out how to script text entry in gnome (I imagine it has to xsendkey, who knows.) So, well, there it is. I'm pretty quick at doing it this way now, actually.

Oddly, I don't think I would like some quoting mechanism in Metafilter. I like the fact that quotations are all done differently by different people. I think it's good that we don't have some standard; if there was a standard, people would still probably do it differently anyway, so why bother? Let a thousand flowers bloom, &c.
posted by koeselitz at 7:29 PM on March 6, 2010


roll truck roll: “But my larger point is that this functionality is exponentially more useful if it's a feature of the site. The majority of users can't be arsed to install extra plugins, but if the functionality's there, they'll use it.”

Well, actually, to my mind the way the majority of users use the site is a good reason not to institute a comment-quote functionality like this. My own observation is that the majority of users on Metafilter probably haven't figured the 'link' button out yet – so throwing a new function at them isn't going to help anything. Not that new functions are a community-wide evil, but I think one of the very best things about Metafilter is the incredibly simple and direct interface, with minimal formatting and such - it's easy, even for those who are new to the internet, to stare at it for a few moments and figure out how to post a comment. I like that accessibility. Frankly, I've posted comments some places where there are thirty or forty little buttons along the bottom of the comment field for me to control everything from font and color to the barometric pressure or whatever. I know what all those fields are, but do most people? I doubt it. Copy and paste are familiar enough to most users that I don't think they have a strong need for a new button there; and as long as there's not a strong need, I feel like erring on the side of simple, intuitive design might be the best option.
posted by koeselitz at 7:43 PM on March 6, 2010


Anything that encourages people to respond to a comment before reading the rest of the thread is a bug, not a feature.

I mean, I know that lots of people do it. Heck, I do it. But it's best to discourage it as much as possible.
posted by muddgirl at 7:45 PM on March 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


Is there a tool that can make it more efficient to misquote people?
posted by davejay at 10:06 PM on March 6, 2010


The only reason against making the mefiquote/filthly format canonical is simply that it makes it canonical.
I see nothing wrong with it, really, and those who want to go freeform can always go nuts, as they do currently.

The reasons for it I think are more compelling:
1. ease of use. saves at least two copy paste jobs and formatting
2. easier comprehension, possibly
3. and as stated above, a strong, compelling reason to do away with the scurrilous @s.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 10:17 PM on March 6, 2010


I think I'm on record as being a full-on curmudgeon about this: I like that we don't have an automated quote-reply system. Folks approach the problem in a variety of ways, serving their preferences and their apprehension of the context, and I think the overall mix of approaches is part of the character and charm of the way conversations unfold on the site.

That there are scripts and such available for folks who want this functionality enough to be proactive about attaining it makes me feel a bit more okay with that curmudgeonry. I don't object to the existence or use of those scripts at all, in part because going and getting them implies a certain minimum threshold of engagement on that user's part with the idea of attentively going about the business of quoting.

One or two people have mentioned one of the things I dislike about highly demarcated ubb-style quote markup, with boxes and such: it significantly increases the visual clutter for every single quote invoked. Mefi is slender as hell in its approach to thread layout, and I'd hate to see some sort of bloated quotation CSS be the sore thumbing suddenly sticking out therefrom.

But aside from just the bare markup issue, and coming back to the idea of a given user's engagement with the process of careful, attentive quoting: I also dislike the tendency, in a lot of places where quote-and-reply widgets are standard, for folks to quote too much without thinking about it. Quoting a whole comment where a paragraph would do, or a paragraph where a sentence or a clause would do. Again: it's clutter. It's bloat in what is generally a presentationally very lean place, where if a comment is long it is because the user had a lot to say, not because they had a little to say in response to someone who had previously said a lot.

I like that the lack of a built-in quote feature means that the people who aren't trying very hard default to less, not more, as far as the footprint of their quotation behavior.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:32 PM on March 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


How do I make mefiquote work in Chrome?
posted by Perplexity at 11:01 PM on March 6, 2010


Also, sadly I don't believe a quote mechanism would do anything to decrease the use of the @ quotation format.
posted by koeselitz at 11:49 PM on March 6, 2010


How do I make mefiquote work in Lynx?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:26 AM on March 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


CUT, PASTE, throw some tags around it. Nice and simple folks.
posted by Artw at 12:53 AM on March 7, 2010


koeselitz writes "Oddly, I don't think I would like some quoting mechanism in Metafilter. I like the fact that quotations are all done differently by different people."

I like this too. It's friendlier somehow.

cortex writes "I also dislike the tendency, in a lot of places where quote-and-reply widgets are standard, for folks to quote too much without thinking about it. Quoting a whole comment where a paragraph would do, or a paragraph where a sentence or a clause would do."

I hadn't noticed before but yes, we never see people quoting several hundred words to append three.
posted by Mitheral at 1:22 AM on March 7, 2010


Yeah, if we could not do anything to encourage that it would be awesome.
posted by Artw at 1:24 AM on March 7, 2010


i just use the method.
posted by empath at 2:08 AM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


err.. pretend i put an italics tag there.
posted by empath at 2:08 AM on March 7, 2010

@ cortex : I think I'm on record as being a full-on curmudgeon about this: I like that we don't have an automated quote-reply system. Folks approach the problem in a variety of ways, serving their preferences and their apprehension of the context, and I think the overall mix of approaches is part of the character and charm of the way conversations unfold on the site.

That there are scripts and such available for folks who want this functionality enough to be proactive about attaining it makes me feel a bit more okay with that curmudgeonry. I don't object to the existence or use of those scripts at all, in part because going and getting them implies a certain minimum threshold of engagement on that user's part with the idea of attentively going about the business of quoting.

One or two people have mentioned one of the things I dislike about highly demarcated ubb-style quote markup, with boxes and such: it significantly increases the visual clutter for every single quote invoked. Mefi is slender as hell in its approach to thread layout, and I'd hate to see some sort of bloated quotation CSS be the sore thumbing suddenly sticking out therefrom.

But aside from just the bare markup issue, and coming back to the idea of a given user's engagement with the process of careful, attentive quoting: I also dislike the tendency, in a lot of places where quote-and-reply widgets are standard, for folks to quote too much without thinking about it. Quoting a whole comment where a paragraph would do, or a paragraph where a sentence or a clause would do. Again: it's clutter. It's bloat in what is generally a presentationally very lean place, where if a comment is long it is because the user had a lot to say, not because they had a little to say in response to someone who had previously said a lot.

I like that the lack of a built-in quote feature means that the people who aren't trying very hard default to less, not more, as far as the footprint of their quotation behavior.
Makes sense.
posted by planet at 2:11 AM on March 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


1) like it or not, if you post something (esp. a question) on MetaTalk, at least one person will criticise you for posting it on-thread.
2) I am absolutely croggled by the hostility a lot of MeFites express about the @ notation. I saw it plenty of places prior Twitter and it seems potentially useful and especially compatible with our non-threaded ways. Would : (from MOO or MUD convention) be less offensive?
3) it would be cool to have some mod-approved quote-like mechanism available for when (as now) I am using my iPod iTouch with Safari to post comments but it ain't killing me to not have it. This opinion may chang if I get an iPad.
4) to answer jessamyn and cortex what I miss about threading or having some automatic or semiautomatic way of tracing who's responding to what something someone else said is that it can be difficult to come to the site after 12 hours away, come to a mature thread and figure out what the fuck is going on. This happens whether or not I intend to or just do participate. I feel it limits my contribution to the site, but I figure you'll just tell me that that kind of Johnny come lately contribution isn't that helpful for the site anyway. :)
posted by kalessin at 3:29 AM on March 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I completely agree with fleacircus above, and have just one point to add: In well-written hypertext, the text itself makes sense with out the links and, conversely, links blend seamlessly with the text. If what you are linking to is not clear enough from context, there's metadata like the title attribute to help you out.
posted by Dr Dracator at 3:52 AM on March 7, 2010


Pronoiac:

  • providing a helpful reminder to disable Greasemonkey & reload before posting on Metatalk about suddenly broken items,


  • This appeared to fix my problem with MeFiQuote after I installed it. I could not get the mysterious [quote] thingies to appear, but that did the trick.

    Thanks!
    posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 4:01 AM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I don't find the link backs to the quotes that useful. Ctrl-F works just as well for me.
    posted by caddis at 4:11 AM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Rhaomi:

    Mefiquote lets you customize how the quotes are composed.

    How does one do the customizing? I'm currently hacking things out and adding tags back in by hand.

    And if you don't want any extra formatting at all, you could just configure it to quote the italicized text and nothing else. It would look the same as if you'd copy-pasted it, but it would be automatic and would preserve hyperlinks.

    OK... I'm sorry if I'm being a pain here, but how, exactly, would one "configure" it? I'm missing something here, I believe, because I'm still doing a lot of editing by hand down here in the comment box. Also, I could never even do what I'm doing now without the Live Preview beneath it.

    Again, I'm sorry to all those who are pros at this, but I'd love to learn how to do it rather than simply rely on the script always (although mefiquote is doing the heavy lifting for me already!).

    Until I spot a question I can answer, learning how to do new things is pretty much the whole point to AskMeFi for me. (I hope that makes sense)
    posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 4:27 AM on March 7, 2010


    I strongly agree with cortex's comment about the fear of people using such a button to just mindlessly link to an entire comment instead of just a point or two. That would severly hamper readability.

    This is one of those times where it's better that the user manully construct what they want to happen, rather than trying to automate it. People should be putting a bit of thought into quoting people.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:28 AM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


    You know, anything that makes it *easier* to "skim" a thread and then post is, in my opinion, a bad thing. Yeah, I know a lot of people do that. I do it myself.

    And it lowers the quality of discourse that is MeFi's *primary* appeal to me, and to a lot of other people. Precisely what happens on so many forums -- people posting without reading the OP, or on MeFi, the linked article, or any of the subsequent discussion -- would only happen even more if quotation were made uniform and easy. As cortex said, people would quote way too much, way too often, making threads even denser and harder to read *as* a long, detailed conversation.

    Yes, you have to read the whole thread. And the linked article. If you don't like it, there are plenty of other forums where you can just respond to the OP or your friends without engaging the larger conversation, or where you can just drop in and thread shit based on the last few comments without consequences.

    All these problems are bad enough on MeFi as it is. Making MeFi a little *harder* to use is not a bug, but a feature.
    posted by fourcheesemac at 5:14 AM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


    If it ain't broke, don't post a MeTa about it, in other words. And for the love of all that is digital, don't "fix" it.

    @ ease, soldier.
    posted by fourcheesemac at 5:15 AM on March 7, 2010


    Yeah, I agree with fleacircus, too, about the unnecessary ugliness of the linked usernames in mefiquote. The more folks use it, the uglier the site will get. It's really not necessary to make the username a link. Mefiquote would be a much better tool if it just identified the user without making the name into a bold yellow blotch.
    posted by mediareport at 5:17 AM on March 7, 2010


    So I downloaded/installed it, it appears under chrome://extensions/ and does not appear to be disabled. But I don't have any "quote" links. Using 4.0.something. Is there something else I need to install? I thought with 4.x versions, Greasemonkey support was native or some such?
    posted by Perplexity at 6:41 AM on March 7, 2010


    I couldn't get it to work in Chrome 4.1.249.1025
    posted by fixedgear at 7:04 AM on March 7, 2010


    Is it really that hard to type ? Really?

    The only problem with that is long threads. If I'm 1/10 the way through a thread and want to quote something, it can be a pain to go down to the comment box and find my way back up to where I was. Not saying it's a great reason to add additional quoting functionality, but it does stop me from commenting sometimes because I'm lazy.
    posted by jmd82 at 8:08 AM on March 7, 2010


    If you've got the quoted text still in the clipboard it's really easy to just Ctrl-F-Ctrl-V followed by a few Ctrl-Gs to skip past the hit in the comment box/live preview and you're back to where you were originally. Some people first click on the timestamp of the comment to get its anchor in the URL and then hit F5 to return to it.

    But I personally try not to do that. As others have said it's really important to read the whole thread before commenting. Nothing grates more than seeing someone respond to an early comment in a thread only to point out something that has already been addressed if only they had a little patience to keep reading.
    posted by Rhomboid at 8:28 AM on March 7, 2010


    Surely something must grate more than that!
    posted by five fresh fish at 9:51 AM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


    As others have said it's really important to read the whole thread before commenting.

    No you don't. It's best, and in a short thread really should be done, but is someone comes across a mega-thread already filled with hundreds of comments they should not have to spend and hour or perhaps more, or eve less, poring over tedious personal battles of which most long threads comprise. They take the risk that their comment is irrelevant, but in a multi-hundred comment thread it won't be alone.
    posted by caddis at 10:45 AM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


    kalessin: "I am absolutely croggled by the hostility a lot of MeFites express about the @ notation. I saw it plenty of places prior Twitter and it seems potentially useful and especially compatible with our non-threaded ways."

    It's a combination of things. The "@" symbol gives the attribution a harsh, technical quality, and the impression that you're "talking at" someone instead of responding to them. Also, by virtue of being a convention, its use is a handy shibboleth for recognizing new users. There's also some Twitter hate mixed in there for good measure.

    Me, I don't care that much about it.

    InsertNiftyNameHere: "How does one do the customizing? I'm currently hacking things out and adding tags back in by hand.

    OK... I'm sorry if I'm being a pain here, but how, exactly, would one "configure" it? I'm missing something here, I believe, because I'm still doing a lot of editing by hand down here in the comment box.
    "

    Sorry; you can edit the quote format at the bottom of your profile settings page. Just substitute the various %X variables for the username, date, quoted material, etc., and sprinkle in quotation marks and italics tags to your liking. You can also choose where the username links to (their profile, their comment, etc.), if it appears at all.

    (Also: nth-ing the fact that Mefiquote doesn't work in Google Chrome)
    posted by Rhaomi at 10:57 AM on March 7, 2010


    Quoting verbatim can be a detriment; rephrasing can improve communications. Worth a moment's thought, IMO.

    ...except for the tendency for people to use their rephrasing to change the intent of the now-non-quote to back up their point of view, which then results in a whole back-and-forth of "well, that's not what I said, you twisted my words" and "yes, but all I did was substitute some synonyms and change a comma" followed by "yes, but the shades of meaning on the new words actually really change the intent", etc etc etc.

    Just quote the person if you want to quote. Otherwise, make your own comment be your own. Attributing your meaning to someone else is a bad conversational ploy that bogs down communication by making it about the language rather than the ideas.
    posted by hippybear at 12:41 PM on March 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


    I'm with cortex- metafilter is more like a conversation than anything else. We rarely cite each other in conversation, and when we do, it is either for a good reason, or it is to the detriment of the conversation. Too much quoting lets the topic wander.
    posted by gjc at 1:29 PM on March 7, 2010


    kalessin: “I am absolutely croggled by the hostility a lot of MeFites express about the @ notation. I saw it plenty of places prior Twitter and it seems potentially useful and especially compatible with our non-threaded ways. Would : (from MOO or MUD convention) be less offensive?”

    There are lots of reasons to be hostile to @, frankly – it's ugly, it's too technical, etc – but the biggest one for me is it's a convention. I'd like it if people didn't use conventions at all for this kind of thing; it's pretty unfriendly.

    It took me months to figure out what the hell people were doing every time they did @ before a name. Yes, I know, you've been all over the internet, you were seeing it here and there and on various message boards and wherever – I've never used Twitter, and I'd never seen it before in my life, so it confused the crap out of me. And I hate seeing it, because every time I see @ now, I'm quite sure that, even if I get it, at least half of the audience is lost when it comes to what that means. Given the high level of diversity on Metafilter compared to most sites on the internet, we are, I think, more likely than other places to have contributors who haven't learned all the special lingo and jargon one might learn elsewhere.

    It's not the worst thing in the world – it's just sort of crude and unaccommodating to presume that every single person you talk to on the internet understands these strange little memetic devices. It's distracting, like name-dropping famous people you've met or insisting on using a particular strange word for something rather than a common word everybody knows. The fact is that it's simple enough to address other people without using a form that's probably not familiar to them. For example, if I wanted to address you, I could start by saying "To kalessin: ..." Seriously, it's quite simple to do this – we do it in speech all the time – so there's no reason to be confusing people with strange symbols.
    posted by koeselitz at 3:45 PM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Rhomboid: “As others have said it's really important to read the whole thread before commenting. Nothing grates more than seeing someone respond to an early comment in a thread only to point out something that has already been addressed if only they had a little patience to keep reading.”

    Actually, interestingly enough I think the opposite is true for ask.metafilter threads. I really believe that, in ask.metafilter, it's almost always better to read the whole question and then skip all the comments, offering a good answer if you have one. Unless your answer is a very, very simple one-line answer, or the question is a simple technical one, your point of view is better expressed in direct response to what the asker has said; most of the really bad or off-topic answers I've seen there were instances where someone made the mistake of responding to the discussion rather than the question.
    posted by koeselitz at 3:50 PM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


    We rarely cite each other in conversation

    But we do often rephrase and repeat back, to ascertain meaning and understanding.
    posted by five fresh fish at 3:52 PM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Oh, & before I installed Mefiquote, I'd middle-click the timestamp of the comment I was replying to so I'd get the right permalink handy & open in a new tab, then assemble the reply by going back & forth & copy & pasting a couple of times.

    Mentioning the user you're replying to can be helpful in avoiding confusion, especially with later replies - in which something you rebutted gets attributed to you.
    posted by Pronoiac at 3:59 PM on March 7, 2010


    I'm really neutral going-on skeptical about whether it's going to be effective in the long run to expect users to read all the way through a post and comments before contributing their thoughts. I put that sort of expectation in the "in a perfect world" box and I've personally been nabbed by a similar dynamic wherein it wasn't that I hadn't read the whole thread but that I hadn't visited all the linked destinations.

    It seems like an elephants all the way down problem in that there's always one level deeper a more righteous or legendary user could go further than any other user is inclined to go. You end up in a dynamic that's more about one-upsmanship regarding one's respect for the crowd of commenters before you.

    Because I tend to be a middle-of-the-road sort of guy, this kind of comparison and moral judgement really bothers me. I know that no matter how hard I try to be polite, I'll get nabbed for not being, and not because I have been particularly wanting, but because I get caught out by the wrong circumstances - particularly stringent interpretations of communal rules against the rare time I let myself be lax - that sort of thing.

    Anyhow, I don't know how I can be more clear - even in this non-threaded world, I personally enjoy being able to figure out who's responding to who and whose ideas are being responded to without having to put together a full index of each thread I would like to respond to. If we could settle on a way to do that that doesn't (a) require me to make my full time job reading MetaFilter or (b) require me to summon a Balrog to do my indexing for me, that would be grand.

    It's odd, but other online communities with similar problems have settled for using other folks' conventions because their both proven and convenient. It would be awesome if we had one (or several) that were acceptable too, and that didn't get the users of same bitched out by folks who think those same conventions are vapid, specious or lazy.

    Because you know what? I'm not any one of those things, nor two of them together, nor all three. At least most of the time, and I'd appreciate it if those comparisons were used less often around me.

    :)
    posted by kalessin at 6:31 PM on March 7, 2010


    I don't think you're any of those things, kalessin. But I also think that this community is too diverse and too contentious to say "this is how we're going to quote each other from henceforth, and no one shall do it any differently." Also, as I said above, the only result of an increase in the number of conventions is an increase in both (a) the number of people who break the conventions and (b) the number of people who aren't even aware of the conventions.

    The time when we were small enough as a community to decide together what we're going to do in a case like this – and then stick to it – is long past, isn't it? I know it's a minor annoyance to know who's responding to whom, but honestly I think at this point we just have to settle for what we have since there's not much more we can do. Besides, it's not exactly as though you have to pull together an index or anything; click on "recent activity," press ctrl-f, and type k-a-l-e-s-s-i-n – you'll be able to cycle through all the people who have probably responded to you in the last few comments.
    posted by koeselitz at 7:03 PM on March 7, 2010


    skeptical about whether it's going to be effective in the long run to expect users to read all the way through a post and comments before contributing their thoughts

    Up to a point, it is reasonable to expect users to read the thread before posting. Beyond a certain point, it's generally acknowledged that the thread is "over" and things generally disintegrate from that point on. There's a grey area between the two.

    We very much want to discourage "frist post" behaviour. Reading the thread when it's of a "reasonable" length is a fair expectation, IMO.
    posted by five fresh fish at 9:47 PM on March 7, 2010


    caddis: "if someone comes across a mega-thread already filled with hundreds of comments they should not have to spend an hour or perhaps more, or even less, poring over tedious personal battles of which most long threads comprise."

    Okay, I'm on record as hating the fuck out of this practice, but (as was hashed out in that thread) not everybody uses the site the same way I do. So I've tried to get my fiery hatred down to a simmer and will instead just make a heartfelt plea for people who choose not to read the long threads to do three things.
    1. If there is a really obvious joke to be made about the post, please consider using Ctrl+F to see if it has already made. If you are coming late to a long thread, you may well find that by now your hilarious pun has not only been made, but has been made, riffed on, spoonerised, formed into a series of bawdy haiku and made into a parody of Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire and uploaded to MeMu.
    2. If a long thread is about a particularly emotive/touchy topic or if the comment you want to make is somewhat fighty or likely to offend people, please at least skim the thread to see where your comment will be falling in the discussion. This is actually more important when the thread is going well than when it is going badly. If a MeTa callout leads to handsome apology and hugs all around in the first twenty comments, then descends into a further two hundred comments of ASCII unicorns, recipe swapping and schmoopy, then absolutely nothing good will come of you dropping in all GRAR at comment 221 to say "My lord, yes. Called Out User? What a colossal dickbag they are!" Similarly when one of the longer threads on a contentious subject goes well, there's a lot of heated back and forth at the start of the thread, but when you get a ways in, things actually start to happen. The common misconceptions get put to bed. People start to reach a general agreement on what the problem is and the conversation progresses to a debate about what the solutions might be. Some mefites will start feeling confident enough to share moving and personal stories about times when they were affected by [topic]. It would be nice if you didn't drop in at this point with a comment of "[topic] is bullshit. The whole thing has been concocted by the media."
    3. If you notice yourself prefacing a comment with an apology for not having read the thread, please take a short moment to consider whether this is an indication that you should perhaps read the thread.
    jmd82: "If I'm 1/10 the way through a thread and want to quote something, it can be a pain to go down to the comment box and find my way back up to where I was."

    If we do implement built in quoting functionality, I would love it to drop the quote into the comment box like MefiQuote, but to leave you in the same place in the thread. You could read to the bottom, then all the comments you wanted to respond to would be down there waiting for you. If we go the built-in-quoting route, this would be my pony.
    posted by the latin mouse at 1:10 AM on March 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


    I guess what it comes down to for me is that I'd like to feel free to use a quoting style and not have not only my style questioned and criticized but also have my motives in quoting to begin with be questioned.

    We do rather a lot of questioning of each other regarding real social, political, emotional and personal issues and while I'm okay with that, I'm not really okay with having my motives for quoting folks also be questioned and criticized.

    To me, using Mefiquote, doing it by hand, or using shortcuts like ":" "@" or even just "username, " has a clear purpose and I don't find it offensive. Arguments by folks who do find it offensive seem to me to be like arguing against the tide. Even if all of us today get that we just shouldn't use any sort of quotation style and shouldn't quote anything at all, ever, the new day brings new users who won't be on that particular bus.

    I feel the same way about arguments that folks who respond to threads should be well-read and hyperlinked against all the prior responses. Even if all of us today get that that principle stands, tomorrow brings new users who won't be on that particular bus either.

    Metafilter has also always resisted writing, implementing and enforcing policies. Policy writing and enforcement is how you get around these problems. That's the bureaucratic craft and trade that arose to meet this social need.

    The other, less efficient and less bureaucratic way is community censure. Community censure is simpler to put into effect (it just happens), but tends to alienate folks who learn better by following strict policy. Even folks who don't learn better that way dislike censure because it ends up being personally insulting when used to correct folks who are out of line. But it is great for feeling self-righteous when you're already in the fold or on the bus. Maybe that's why it appeals more to the Metafilter community. We do seem to like to get up a good self-righteous head of steam around here.
    posted by kalessin at 5:01 AM on March 8, 2010


    I really believe that, in ask.metafilter, it's almost always better to read the whole question and then skip all the comments, offering a good answer if you have one.

    I strongly disagree.

    A: I think you should do X.
    B: X is a bad idea for the following reasons: ...
    C: Yeah, I agree, X is bad. Try Y or Z.
    [a dozen or so comments on things better than X]
    D (aka annoying person): OH HEY GUYS TRY X ITS GRATE
    posted by Rhomboid at 5:39 AM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Actually, interestingly enough I think the opposite is true for ask.metafilter threads. I really believe that, in ask.metafilter, it's almost always better to read the whole question and then skip all the comments

    Wait, koeselitz, aren't you the one who kept saying in the November favorites experiment thread that anyone who ever comments before reading all the other comments should be banned from the site or executed or something? OK, that's an overstatement, but you seemed to feel quite strongly about it.
    posted by Jaltcoh at 6:18 AM on March 8, 2010


    Refresh my memory as to why it's so hard to just type <i> and then paste some text? Hell, it's faster to type than the [quote] pseudo-tags used by many "forums," and it makes actual sense because it's actual markup.

    And if for some reason you're afraid of simple markup -- apparently there are a few folks like that around, and we might as well take steps to help them out -- isn't there some kind of JavaScript italics button down there?
    posted by majick at 6:36 AM on March 8, 2010


    majick, my typing fingers are totally cool with typing <i>, but what I feel is more primarily at issue here is whether folks like to know who said what and when. There seems to be a pretty vocal contingent here on Metafilter, who are very anti-attribution.
    posted by kalessin at 7:26 AM on March 8, 2010


    Refresh my memory as to why it's so hard to just type [bracketed i] and then paste some text?

    For the record, I don't think anyone has ever said that this is hard.
    posted by Jaltcoh at 7:44 AM on March 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


    I prefer the system of

    Username : italicized quote excerpt .

    I always put a space between the username and colon. I have no idea why, but it's something I started doing ages ago, and now I do it just because, well, it's something I do.

    Habits are weird like that.
    posted by quin at 7:54 AM on March 8, 2010


    There are two parallel discussions happening here. One is about quoting, the other is about indicating who you're talking to. I think that using a Mefiquote-type system is generally a good idea, though I get cortex's explanation of why it won't be incorporated into the site.

    I think that systems for directing conversation at people is a whole other ballgame, and this is where we get to the real problem with the @. The problem is that Metafilter is at its best when it's a big group conversation, not a bunch of insular back-and-forths. It has nothing to do with the @ itself and its relationship to Twitter.

    the latin mouse: "I would love it to drop the quote into the comment box like MefiQuote, but to leave you in the same place in the thread. You could read to the bottom, then all the comments you wanted to respond to would be down there waiting for you."

    I do like this idea a lot. I think it would be a subtle way to discourage hit-and-run threadshitting. If plutor were interested in making that change to Mefiquote, I'd be a fan. But as it doesn't look like any of this functionality is going to be adopted by Metafilter, it's kind of an academic discussion.
    posted by roll truck roll at 9:12 AM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I note that there is at least one Javascript solution to the question of returning to the last scroll position on a browser page.

    Seems like frankensteining that solution with plutor's Mefiquote Greasemonkey script may be a really good idea.
    posted by kalessin at 9:46 AM on March 8, 2010


    "...I don't think anyone has ever said that this is hard."

    Great point. So what more is needed, again? I'm still unclear as to why people want to push their personal favorite user agent tools into the site's functionality when the existing mechanism -- a few characters of markup -- already works well and is not hard.
    posted by majick at 10:07 AM on March 8, 2010


    majick, what I seek is shelter from the folks who think quoting is just wrong.

    Aside from that, I guess I'm having a technical discussion with folks interested in the Mefiquote Greasemonkey script about how it could be improved.
    posted by kalessin at 10:35 AM on March 8, 2010


    "...I don't think anyone has ever said that this is hard."

    Great point. So what more is needed, again? I'm still unclear as to why people want to push their personal favorite user agent tools into the site's functionality


    Because if quoting someone with a link back to the comment were at least as easy as copy & paste & italics, then this would be consistently used throughout the site (rather than used by a small portion of people who have Firefox and have bothered to install a third-party plug-in), which would make conversations easier to follow.

    Now, maybe you think there are cons that outweight those pros -- fine with me, I don't feel strongly about it. But saying that there are already easy ways to quote a comment is a red herring, since I don't think anyone's claiming otherwise.
    posted by Jaltcoh at 11:02 AM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Wanted to add something to the discussion about the @ loathing. I just finished reading an interesting journal article by Susan Herring and Courtenay Honeycutt, "Beyond Microblogging: Conversation & Collaboration via Twitter" (pdf), where they investigated the conversationality of Twitter, with particular attention to the use of the @ symbol. They main takeway I got from the article, in relation to this discussion here, is that the @ functions on Twitter as a way to build adjacency-pair (turn-taking) conversational cohesion in a noisy informational stream. I think that one thing that people might be rejecting to with use of @ here on MetaFilter, is that it undermines or dismisses the cohesion we already have built in (high signal-to-noise; less volume=fewer turn pair disruptions; separate threads for separate topics, etc.). Basically, using @ on MetaFilter presents a problem where A) if the Twitter function is transferred over, it suggests something pragmatically (the need for structure and cohesion) that isn't intended or welcome, or B) if the the Twitter function isn't transferred over, but the convention is used, it becomes an out-group marker (borrowed from Twitter) and then is analyzed as such...with conclusions (interpretations) ranging from technical to rude, trendy, etc.

    There's other things going on, for sure. I just thought it was interesting to look at the convention from a new perspective after reading the Honeycutt & Herring article.
    posted by iamkimiam at 12:24 PM on March 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


    kalessin: “There seems to be a pretty vocal contingent here on Metafilter, who are very anti-attribution... what I seek is shelter from the folks who think quoting is just wrong.”

    I would like to know exactly who these folks are. I think you may not realize it, but you've got a straw man on your hands; nobody here has said that quoting or attribution is wrong. The only point that's been made is that forcing or even just expecting thousands of people to adhere to a set standard about exactly how and when we quote each other, on a community weblog that already has a pretty nicely streamlined conversational interface, is a bit unrealistic. People are against the standardization of the interface and the addition of a site-wide feature; saying that that means they're against quoting or attribution is like saying that someone who doesn't like Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen simply doesn't like film at all.
    posted by koeselitz at 12:53 PM on March 8, 2010


    I'm anti-anyone EXPECTING me to do attribution, or changing the site to automate/standardise it, FWIW.
    posted by Artw at 1:01 PM on March 8, 2010


    Fuck attribution!, I say. Every single word in this sentence is stolen from other users and I'm not giving any of them credit!


    ("attribution" and "I'm", for instance, could be from the guy just above me, but I'm not gonna fully admit to that.)
    posted by quin at 1:30 PM on March 8, 2010


    koeselitz, you may be right. I've not had enough time to devote to this thread today so I'll just withdraw that and revisit it another time when I'm better prepared to deal with this conversation.
    posted by kalessin at 5:23 PM on March 8, 2010


    "well, that's not what I said, you twisted my words" and "yes, but all I did was substitute some synonyms and change a comma" followed by "yes, but the shades of meaning on the new words actually really change the intent"

    Man, you know that's gonna end in an ass-whoopin'.
    posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 5:24 PM on March 8, 2010


    Hi guys i'm back what did I miss?
    posted by The Whelk at 8:43 PM on March 8, 2010


    Metafilter : it's kind of an academic discussion.


    But, I am with the person who likes it when things flow from the sentence through the hypertext; rather than letting the hypertext situation dominate the style and formatting. (again, that's just what "I" "like" most{kind of}, see, I also really like seeing all the diverse ways people solve this issue of "figuring out what other peoples are thinking when they type these little characters and make strings out of them."

    About "@"
    I think some of my worries when I have accidentally used the "@" and the wider push-back against "@" is that it feels a little like even though it doesn't posses "case", if it did, in my mind, sometimes I imagine it might have ALLCAPS. (not that caps are ALWAYS bad, they can be used to infuse a rhythm, or personality, a cadence and indication of a conversational style, to denote a "way" one means for another to read something one has written, but also bold does this... Differently stressed thoughts can result in different readings, different meanings and different results from the same words.)


    I for one would support this format for all future posts, comments, communications and contact(I couldn't decide if the blink tag would help or hinder this proposition; so it's half there.)--->

    blink
    Dearest ___ (username, {in html, [preferably using the users #id. rather than 'handle']}, linking to desired timestamp) of Metafilterian descent, forsaken and robbed (abundant and multiplous) as your statement of mirth may be, dare I risk to add ________________ (insert personally preferred mode of snark delivery here [positive, negative, or neutral].)
    /blink

    I attribute this statement (as all others by me) to #overthinking semiotics, and would like to #stop, and #think, before I speak @with anyone else. Except one last thought;
    Ok, for context; I 'get' hypertext (generally, but only basically), and I read instructions where applicable, but it took me personally a long (for certain values of long which are closer to short, but not zero seconds) time to figure out that by right clicking the "time-stamp" on a comment, and then selecting "copy link location", and then selecting text in a comment I was making, and clicking the 'link' button, and then pressing "paste" (into the little box that pops up... that was how people would "link" to a comment someone else made.. This was a pretty big revelation to me... but I liked life more before I knew how to do that. Things were simpler.
    With the power to quote comes great inclination to not see this institution as it once was; to want to be a greedy squabbling delegate. And not a senator of this galactic(ok, mostly American. But who's counting.) 'Inpublic'.
    -(I think that quote is from this movie In fact; I am "NotSure" of it.
    (caution contains longboarding surfer dude ninja and "the bazooka ronnie? It's the only weapon I can hit a moving target with...")
    posted by infinite intimation at 9:13 PM on March 8, 2010


    Hey folks, I updated Plutor's Mefiquote script to work in Chrome. The problem is that Chrome doesn't support all the same functionality as the official GreaseMonkey add-on, so I had to hardwire some stuff.

    Anyway, my version is at http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/61222 if you want to try it out. Feel free to send me a MeMail if you find any bugs in it.

    I didn't get around to implementing the "don't automatically scroll to the comment box when you click 'quote'" feature several of you asked for, because I like the current behavior. It's on my to-do list.
    posted by Riki tiki at 12:35 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


    barnacles: "Holy crap, how have I been living without this for so long?! I've been doing it manually, LIKE A CHUMP. (thanks for pointing me to it, runningwithscissors!)"

    I say, I say, I like this script, son, I like it!
    posted by bwg at 1:49 AM on March 9, 2010


    Riki tiki: "Hey folks, I updated Plutor's Mefiquote script to work in Chrome. The problem is that Chrome doesn't support all the same functionality as the official GreaseMonkey add-on, so I had to hardwire some stuff.

    Anyway, my version is at http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/61222 if you want to try it out. Feel free to send me a MeMail if you find any bugs in it.

    I didn't get around to implementing the "don't automatically scroll to the comment box when you click 'quote'" feature several of you asked for, because I like the current behavior. It's on my to-do list
    "

    Works like a charm for me. Nice.
    posted by Perplexity at 10:44 AM on March 9, 2010


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