Poor Memory And Querying the Hive Mind April 25, 2010 8:00 PM   Subscribe

Feature inquiry for askme - the ability to write questions and have them automatically post after the waiting period.

So I'll often think of something I want to ask metafilter but already have a question out there. Then I'll forget it when I can post again.

I recognize it's a personal problem and I've started a google document to store my questions. Now I just need to remember to come back and post them.

What I'd like to see is the option for you to save questions. Maybe include basic management resources such as ranking them in posting order preference or deleting them before they're posted.

I'd wager there's a behind the scenes logistics nightmare reason his couldn't implemented. My searching of the metatalk archives didn't bring this request up however. I'll take no offense at being properly schooled on this subject.
posted by beardlace to Feature Requests at 8:00 PM (53 comments total)

This was just asked.
posted by BlooPen at 8:05 PM on April 25, 2010


You must ask a lot more questions than I do. I would say you should just set up your email client's calendar to shoot you a reminder email on the date you're waiting period is over, with the content of the question that you've already written.

This website would explode if everyone always had questions in the queue that automatically posted.
posted by Think_Long at 8:07 PM on April 25, 2010


Someone asked for this on April 15th, 2010. And on April 1st, 2010.

It boils down to no, because if your question was important enough, you'd remember to ask it when you can post it again.

There are links to some greasemonkey scripts that will help you with this in the thread from April 15.
posted by k8lin at 8:07 PM on April 25, 2010


Now I just need to remember to come back and post them.

Is a question you can't remember to ask all that important to begin with?
posted by inigo2 at 8:11 PM on April 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


It's less the logistics nightmare and more the fact that we just plain don't want to encourage people to do this. If you do it of your own accord, that's cool, but any sort of mechanism on the site that said "sure go ahead and ask a question exactly every seven days" is something we don't want.

I know people have a lot of questions and that AskMe is great for them. We also have a few people that seem to say "hmmm what will I make my question about this week?" [not pointing the finger at anyone in particular] and that's less great. It's a wonderful resource, but it's fairly well-utilized. We don't want to build something that helps people maximize usage of it, though I know that can sound a little weird and counterintuitive.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:13 PM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah; the most practical solution is probably just to jot something down in a .txt. file whenever you have a question.

(That said, Ian A.T.'s take on this remains probably my favorite MetaTalk comment ever.)
posted by Chionophilia at 8:30 PM on April 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


You know, the Save As Draft feature I suggest every so often could make a good holding place for questions too.
posted by Artw at 8:33 PM on April 25, 2010


Given how many times this question comes up, how about pre-empting this question somewhere in the AskMe template? Maybe on the page that says that you've asked a question recently, and have to wait, some language to the effect of "and we're not going to create some automatic posting feature for you to queue up your questions either."

Just a thought, so we don't have these threads every two weeks.
posted by ambrosia at 8:41 PM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Auto-Meta creation wizard!
posted by Artw at 8:45 PM on April 25, 2010


If in the intervening period you learn the answer in some other way, or something else transpires to cause you to lose interest in the question, you'd have to remember to cancel it. And since part of your problem statement is that you sometimes forget to ask the question when the waiting period expires, it seems quite likely that you'd forget to cancel a question you no longer had an interest in.

In which case you'd have people wasting their time giving good faith answers to a question you probably wouldn't have posted by the time the opportunity came around.

Plus, as jessamyn implies, there would always be some who'd preload a pile of questions on their first day and wander off. Using the site would, from an answerer's point of view, be an exercise in "guess which questions are even worth answering now".
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:08 PM on April 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


ambrosia: For every one person who'd be dissuaded from doing a MeTa post, there'd be 100 people who had never thought of the feature and would be suddenly annoyed that it doesn't exist.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:08 PM on April 25, 2010


I'm clearly doing this wrong. I need a feature to come up with questions for me to ask because I only seem to come up with about a question every few years.
posted by birdherder at 9:17 PM on April 25, 2010


More to the point, the MetaTalk post page could show a little box when you selected the "feature requests" combo box item:

The following features are often requested, but have been discussed extensively and most likely will never be added:
  • AskMe question queues
  • Favorites "scoreboards" of any sort
  • Killfiles
  • Threaded comments
  • etc

posted by 0xFCAF at 9:18 PM on April 25, 2010


It really peeves me off when people being their question with "I can't believe I'm wasting a question on this, but..." As a potential answerer it really makes me want to skip your question out of spite and move on to the next one because if you really think it's that bad a question then why are you wasting everyone's time asking it? And to be clear, I don't think questions about small or seemingly trivial things are a waste of anyone's time by any stretch, it's the fact that you preface your question with a diatribe about how it's a waste of some precious resource that irks me. I guess maybe it's the whiff of that "I've got so much to ask that I need to get one out every week or else I'll never finish" stench that I'm picking up that is distasteful to me.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:29 PM on April 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


(I knew someone would link to that supposedly brilliant comment fable, and indeed someone predictably has, so without starting yet another MeTa flamewar about it all I'll say is that I've published my criticism of the piece before, and let it stand at that.)
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:31 PM on April 25, 2010


hey wait guys ive got this idea for a way to plan your meta posts months in advance
posted by klangklangston at 9:45 PM on April 25, 2010


How do I access the feature that enables the ability to automatically make a MetaTalk post asking for the ability to automatically make AskMe posts after the waiting period.
posted by clearly at 9:51 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the links to the other threads where this ground has already been covered. I tried to do a google and yahoo search with every keyword variant I can think of to find them. I am a casual user of metafilter so I did not mean to offend.

I get the reasoning for not implementing it. And my problem isn't that the question isn't important; it's that I suffer from a combination of ADD and CRS (can't remember shit). Going to keep the questions in a textfile.
posted by beardlace at 11:06 PM on April 25, 2010


Can we close this one yet?
posted by dubitable at 11:36 PM on April 25, 2010


beardlace: “So I'll often think of something I want to ask metafilter but already have a question out there. Then I'll forget it when I can post again.”

Then they're not important questions. This is a valuable filtering mechanism, not a bug.
posted by koeselitz at 11:41 PM on April 25, 2010


k8lin: "Someone asked for this on April 15th, 2010. And on April 1st, 2010."
I was the April Fool (unfortunately for me, it was a serious question). In my question's thread it was pointed out to me that even mine was a repeat. I like to think it gives me a bit of insight into how Buzz Aldrin feels. "I'm number two!"
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 11:52 PM on April 25, 2010


Could we have a pony to remind people when they can start the thread again about a pony to remind people when they can ask a new question?
posted by Some1 at 12:14 AM on April 26, 2010


Agggghhh. AGAIN.

Anyone asking so many questions on Ask Metafilter that the waiting period is a continual headache should re-evaluate their life.
posted by Justinian at 12:52 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dear AskMetafilter: It has been suggested that I re-evaluate my life, and I was wondering what methods or experiences you have had...
posted by hippybear at 1:20 AM on April 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


I need a feature to come up with questions for me to ask because I only seem to come up with about a question every few years.

I have a script for that, but I never use it* because it asks vague, pointless questions. For example:

Why hands and thumbs? Why not claws? Or tentacles?

Is there any way to make the sky appear more blue? Maybe a bit more purple?

I found what appears to be meatloaf. Should I eat it?

I often worry about lost gloves and mittens when I see one on the street. Why?

I'm trying to remember a movie I liked. It was based on a book.

Why does that guy make videos of himself climbing into balloons? Is he friends with that dude with the pipes?

Is it possible to breed a miniature elephant? I want to mail it to someone as a surprise.

Where can I find water ice cast into heptagonal prisms 17 inches long and 3 inches in diameter?

Describe to me how you feel about the color yellow. It's for a book.


* Well, I almost never use it, unless I want to annoy reference and research librarians on the phone.
posted by loquacious at 1:21 AM on April 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's okay, I got this:

Why hands and thumbs? Why not claws? Or tentacles?

Because otherwise hentai wouldn't be as edgy.

Is there any way to make the sky appear more blue? Maybe a bit more purple?

A polarizing filter and drugs, respectively.

I found what appears to be meatloaf. Should I eat it?

Have it hum a few bars of Bat Out of Hell first.

I often worry about lost gloves and mittens when I see one on the street. Why?

It reminds you of the hell dimension where everything is lost mittens (and no shrimp.)

I'm trying to remember a movie I liked. It was based on a book.

Was it Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire?

Why does that guy make videos of himself climbing into balloons? Is he friends with that dude with the pipes?

They remind him of a mother's womb.

Is it possible to breed a miniature elephant? I want to mail it to someone as a surprise.

Make sure the combined length plus width around the largest part point is 130 inches or less to qualify for parcel post.

Where can I find water ice cast into heptagonal prisms 17 inches long and 3 inches in diameter?

Keep going from bar to bar asking people if they are hung like a 17 inch heptagonal prism. When you find someone that is, ask them if you can take a casting for posterity.

Describe to me how you feel about the color yellow. It's for a book.

Thinking about yellow makes me icteritious.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:15 AM on April 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Dude, here's what you do: Put upcoming questions in your profile, in the "Blurb about you" section. That way, you've also got the odd chance that someone looking at your profile will pre-emptively answer them for you.
posted by jbickers at 4:56 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a rare pleasure to flag a MeTa post as 'double post.'

Thanks, beardlace.
posted by box at 6:09 AM on April 26, 2010


Worse would be a MeTa queue where you planned a callout per week as if lining the wall for the proverbial revolution.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:28 AM on April 26, 2010


Buzz Aldrin: 2nd on the moon, 10th on Dancing with the Stars.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:29 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Agggghhh. AGAIN.

Anyone asking so many questions on Ask Metafilter that the waiting period is a continual headache should re-evaluate their life.


The poster didn't say a thing about the waiting period being a continual headache, they just said they forget the questions they want to ask. No need for you to jump in here and insult them right after they say they understand why an automatic queue won't work.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:22 AM on April 26, 2010


Anyone asking so many questions on Ask Metafilter that the waiting period is a continual headache should re-evaluate their life.

Anyone giving general "life" advice to a random stranger on the internet based on making a common feature request in MeTa...
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:55 AM on April 26, 2010


I am a casual user of metafilter so I did not mean to offend.

No worries, beardlace. Sometimes searching doesn't pay off, but it's no biggie and nobody is offended. People just tend to goof around in Metatalk, particularly when it's a sort of asked-and-answered situation like this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:00 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Item writes "Hold on hold on holdtheFUCKon:

"There's an ASK Metafilter?"


Item have you, um, got a roommate that has asked you not to talk about him? 'Cause I hate to point this out but your account has a couple dozen AskMes registered to it.
posted by Mitheral at 9:00 AM on April 26, 2010


Item is, I believe, making a joke.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:01 AM on April 26, 2010


I know, so was I. Though my Fight Club reference must have been too subtle.
posted by Mitheral at 9:46 AM on April 26, 2010


What's the first rule of making Fight Club references?
posted by box at 9:54 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Timing!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:07 AM on April 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


Please don't take what follows as a request for the OP's feature. I agree that it wouldn't be a good idea.

As someone with a sucky memory, I've had to hear this commonplace all my life, every time I've said, "Oh, shit! I forgot what I was going to say":

"Well, it couldn't have been very important, then."

And now I'm reading variants of it in this thread. If you're not a scatterbrained person, my guess it that sounds totally logical. Well, you can believe this or not, but some of us don't have brains that remember what's important and forget what's not.

Please don't tell people that what they've forgotten is "probably not very important." We already feel stupid for forgetting. You are rubbing salt into the wound.

As an adult, I take responsibility for my crummy memory. I write things down, etc. And the OP should do the same. But what happens to flit in or out of my mind has little to do with what's important. It has to do with what distracts me at the moment.
posted by grumblebee at 11:06 AM on April 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


grumblebee: “Please don't tell people that what they've forgotten is "probably not very important." We already feel stupid for forgetting. You are rubbing salt into the wound.”

That's a great point, and I'm embarrassed I didn't realize it before, being one of the people who tends to forget things more than most.

Sorry, beardlace. And honestly, I hope it doesn't seem like we were ragging on you too hard. It's just metatalk, really, though that's of course not exactly an excuse.
posted by koeselitz at 11:11 AM on April 26, 2010


Forget it, beardlace, it's MetaTalk.
posted by deborah at 11:23 AM on April 26, 2010


What's the first rule of making Fight Club references?

Is it Ghostbusters II?
posted by never used baby shoes at 12:17 PM on April 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


a) we need a MetaTalk intro that says "expect weirdness to occur oh innocent n00b" or some such in better language

b) i hate waiting periods out, oh when will it end already? bah humbug
posted by infini at 12:19 PM on April 26, 2010


I log my ideas for MetaFilter posts and other links of interest in a Gmail draft message, which is handy. This way, I create fewer scraps of paper with notes to myself, and while I could accidentally click "Discard," this hasn't happened yet.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:10 PM on April 26, 2010


That's the same approach I use with records I want to someday listen to, books I want to someday read, games I want to someday play (GiftTrap! Ingenious! XBLA Ticket to Ride!), etc. Works like a charm.
posted by box at 1:22 PM on April 26, 2010


grumblebee: As an adult, I take responsibility for my crummy memory. I write things down, etc. And the OP should do the same. But what happens to flit in or out of my mind has little to do with what's important. It has to do with what distracts me at the moment.

I've said it before and I'll probably say it again. There's a one word solution to this problem...actually it's one brand made up of two words:

Evernote

Seriously, I never knew how much I forgot until I stopped needing to remember.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:27 PM on April 26, 2010


There is this amazing free thing called a Google calendar. So you think of this awesome question, but you can't ask it because your waiting period is not up yet. You make an entry is this amazing free tool, and it can use another amazing free tool called Gmail to send you a reminder. Viola. I'm old and my memory is shot. I write it all down.
posted by fixedgear at 1:53 PM on April 26, 2010


I've said it before and I'll probably say it again. There's a one word solution to this problem...actually it's one brand made up of two words:

Evernote


Yes. It's great. I use it all the time. I have it on my home computer, on my work computer, on my iPhone and on my iPad. I wish I could have it implanted in my brain.

There's one problem Evernote doesn't solve, though: you tell me something and then walk out of the room; I start up the Evernote app on my phone, so that I can record what you said. By the time it's started, I have forgotten what you said. Frustrated and feeling like an idiot, I stare at the Evernote screen.

I think most people with "bad memories" have bad TEMPORARY memories. Ask me about something that happened when I was five: no problem. I can give you incredibly granular details. Tell me a phone number and I will forget the first three digits as I'm listening to the last three. I don't get how people can hold onto directions like, "turn left, then go two miles down the road, then turn left again when you reach main street, then turn right at the second traffic light." What I will remember of that, immediately after you've said it, is "do a bunch of stuff that I can't remember and then turn some direction at the second traffic light."

Technology is a mixed blessing. If it wasn't for apps like Evernote (and, a few years ago, paper and notepads), I'd never remember anything. But relying on this stuff makes my crappy temp memory even worse, because it rarely gets a workout. I've gotten to the point where I don't even try to remember anything. As soon as anyone tells me anything, I say, "One sec, okay?" and then I grab a piece of paper or my iPhone.
posted by grumblebee at 2:08 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually, grumblebee, I totally agree with you on this as well. I'm seriously concerned that my overuse of Evernote now will make my memory even worse as I get older. Here's praying that there's some sort of neurotechnology that makes the input and output to/from the 'second brain' a lot more seamless by then.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:39 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


grumblebee, I absolutely see what you're saying, and am the same in a lot of ways (esp the examples about remembering directions, and forgetting the first 3 digits of a phone number by the time the last 3 are read). So my apologies for my comment earlier. I guess what I meant was more of what you said -- if it was important, you'd write it down.

So, question -- how do you folks use Evernote? I've been using a combo of just a simple notepad app on Android, plus Google Notebook. Would Evernote be a good replacement for those (to have everything in one place)?
posted by inigo2 at 8:49 PM on April 26, 2010


By the way, if you like the idea of Evernote, but are an inveterate geek who clings to geekiness like a raft on the open sea, you may wish to try Org-Mode, an organizer in the form of a mode for Emacs.
posted by koeselitz at 8:52 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


how do you folks use Evernote?

What I like about Evernote is that (a) it's available for nearly every platform (and you can sync all your installed versions) and (b) it can store almost any kind of data -- not just plain text. Most of my data is text, but it's really awesome to be able to store a screenshot or a google map now and then.

I like that it allows you to tag data. My own wish is that it allowed folder hierarchies. My notebooks are getting a bit too crammed. I wish I could have sub-notebooks.
posted by grumblebee at 6:22 AM on April 27, 2010


grumblebee: "As an adult, I take responsibility for my crummy memory. I write things down, etc. And the OP should do the same. But what happens to flit in or out of my mind has little to do with what's important. It has to do with what distracts me at the moment"

Many thanks for that post. I'm in the same boat, and I don't mind that comment about my thoughts so much, but, when I hear someone say it about another person's forgotten comment (even if it's their own thought), I launch into a tirade on the offender because it's not considerate of others in the least (and that stuff really pisses me off!).
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:33 PM on April 29, 2010


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