Good Advice! May 23, 2010 10:11 AM   Subscribe

Summon Pony of Wisdom: The references to Miko's awesome comment in this post got me thinking. How would one go about retrieving every comment under a certain category with a certain number of favorites or higher? Like if I wanted every "Human Relations" AskMe comment with 200+ favorites?
posted by griphus to Feature Requests at 10:11 AM (39 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

Also, may I say that whoever spurned Miko, no matter how gently, is obviously insane.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:22 AM on May 23, 2010 [17 favorites]


I've found myself wishing for something similar. Sometimes life takes me away from MetaFilter for weeks at a time (the horror!) and I've wondered if I've missed some super-favorited gem of a comment, or even something that will be referred to again and again (like scarabic's infamous comment about you-know-what.)

Some way to find the most-favorited comments of all time would be nifty.
posted by ambrosia at 10:24 AM on May 23, 2010


You could do this with the Infodump and a little bit of scripty elbow grease—the favorites file would let you sort out favorites on askme comments by total of number of favorites, and you could check that pool of high-fave askme comments against the category information in the ask postdata file.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:26 AM on May 23, 2010


...is obviously insane.

Did you picture him clicking to "End of Slide Show" and turning the conference room lights back for the "Do you have any questions for me?" part like I did?
posted by griphus at 10:37 AM on May 23, 2010 [26 favorites]


I love this idea. There are some great comments out there and no really easy way to find them.
posted by jayder at 10:37 AM on May 23, 2010


I have no idea if this would be do-able, programming- or database-wise, but it would be cool to have an option of what threshold of favorites one would like to see --- i.e., you could pick favorited comments in "Human Relations" and be able to choose comments with 50+ favorites, 100+ favorites, 300+ favorites, etc. In my experience, comments with 50+ favorites are almost always really good (or really funny), so 50 would be a good threshold; but it would be good to have the option of raising the threshold.
posted by jayder at 10:41 AM on May 23, 2010


Ah, yeah, the infodump and a script are exactly what you want there, jayder.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:03 AM on May 23, 2010


I'd say infodump + SQL database + some accessory tables to make it easy to generate HTML with clickable links using an SQL query. But then I would say that, because that's how I do it.

Some sort of interactive tool with a nice UI for finding highly-favorited comments given certain other criteria would sure be nice. In the mean time, I'm willing to run these manually and post the output here if the resulting list is not too long. Might be a nice quick proof-of-concept to see if this is even worth considering further.

I'll try the example griphus gave in the post and see how it turns out.
posted by FishBike at 11:52 AM on May 23, 2010


Awesome, FishBike!
posted by griphus at 11:56 AM on May 23, 2010


Ok, from my slightly out of date copy of the infodump (currently downloading the latest), here are the answers in the human relations category with 200 or more favorites. These are in reverse-chronological order (newest at the top). I threw the thread title in there, because comments don't have titles and I thought it would be good to have some idea what you're about to click on.
"Where have all the porches gone?", comment #2058883 (223 favorites)
"Are we too old to trick or treat?", comment #1919877 (818 favorites)
"Tell me about a time when you were on the receiving end of a truly romantic act.", comment #1901053 (237 favorites)
"Standing In Line", comment #1516290 (761 favorites)
"How do I let someone down easy?", comment #1305651 (326 favorites)
"No spark, now what?", comment #973786 (202 favorites)
"Dirty Words During Sex.", comment #902036 (402 favorites)
"If you killed somebody, how would you dispose of the body without getting caught?", comment #155715 (611 favorites)
posted by FishBike at 12:13 PM on May 23, 2010 [16 favorites]


"Standing In Line", comment #1516290 (761 favorites)

Ah god, I remember reading that way back. Still makes me laugh. Brilliant.
posted by knapah at 1:45 PM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


1919877 is awesome. Thanks. I missed it the first time it came around. The rest of that thread makes me want to kill myself, though. Is there some other race I can join? I'm tired of the human one.
posted by grumblebee at 2:07 PM on May 23, 2010


Are there other variations on this theme people would like to see? Because they're pretty easy to run based on just about any criteria for inclusion. Although it is going to repeat at least some of that top-25 list that stupidsexyFlanders did previously.
posted by FishBike at 2:15 PM on May 23, 2010


Hey thanks for that list FishBike and the link to the earlier thread, which I had missed, duh.

That infodumpster tool is great.
posted by ambrosia at 2:21 PM on May 23, 2010 [13 favorites]


Wow, how did I miss seeing the infodumpster before now? SO COOL!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:28 PM on May 23, 2010


That Trick or Treat thread depressed me too. :(
posted by cj_ at 2:29 PM on May 23, 2010


That Trick or Treat thread depressed me too. :(

I'm totally serious when I say that thread illustrates everything that's wrong with this world. If people's attitudes were different, most of the other problems we deal with would vanish. And I'm not even necessarily disagreeing with the advice there -- from a practical point of view. But the fact that it IS good advice just makes things worse.
posted by grumblebee at 2:38 PM on May 23, 2010


Thanks Fishbike!
posted by gomichild at 3:21 PM on May 23, 2010


Are there other variations on this theme people would like to see?

Hey, what about doing the same thing for other categories? If that's too much, maybe just writing and language and science and nature?

Thank you!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:21 PM on May 23, 2010


Hey, what about doing the same thing for other categories?

There are surprisingly few comments with 200+ favorites outside of the human relations category. So here's a list of the other categories with 100 favorites as the threshold instead. Even with that there are still some categories that don't show up, as no comments have yet reached 100 favorites.

This must be a pretty similar list to the one from that earlier thread, just a somewhat different presentation of it. This maybe has less of a "scoreboard" feel to it, since the newest comment is at the top of each category rather than the most favorited.
computers and internet

"Woz? More like Was, am I rite?!", comment #728258 (359 favorites)

technology

"How Does a Google Query Work?", comment #980783 (120 favorites)

home and garden

"The decline of architecture?", comment #1936430 (167 favorites)
"Paint my thumb green!", comment #1363902 (108 favorites)

work and money

"Gemstone scam?", comment #1804163 (141 favorites)
"What do you do, aside from your regular day job, to bring in extra streams of revenue?", comment #1716148 (200 favorites)
"How did you find your passion?", comment #1465994 (579 favorites)
"You need concentwation.", comment #1336886 (114 favorites)

sports, hobbies, and recreation

"Strategizing a Lego offering", comment #1847279 (113 favorites)
"I love my neighbors", comment #1219128 (130 favorites)

society and culture

"Hi, how are you?", comment #2028442 (153 favorites)
"lunching with interns", comment #1848495 (104 favorites)
"I took MDMA for the first time and have some questions", comment #1835735 (175 favorites)
"What's the middle ground between "F.U!" and "Welcome!"?", comment #830421 (850 favorites)

travel and transportation

"Help me help my friend in DC.", comment #2214664 (348 favorites)
"Help me help my friend in DC.", comment #2214550 (125 favorites)
"Help me help my friend in DC.", comment #2214495 (377 favorites)
"Help me help my friend in DC.", comment #2213612 (143 favorites)
"What is a reasonable offer for a new car?", comment #573706 (381 favorites)

science and nature

"Help me teach myself Physics via the Feynman Lectures", comment #2054485 (124 favorites)
"Does math have big scary teeth or something?", comment #1939302 (425 favorites)
"How long in the freezer to chill a Coke from 89F to 35F?", comment #786647 (186 favorites)

health and fitness

"Science of alcohol addiction", comment #2154212 (179 favorites)
"THC and screening", comment #1330380 (104 favorites)
"I have a drinking problem. Now what?", comment #1155376 (150 favorites)
"Where to buy emergency kit items and water rations in Canada?", comment #1144184 (180 favorites)

food and drink

"Design By Committee Always Works", comment #2146244 (296 favorites)
"Life gave me bitter lemonade...now what?", comment #1022700 (366 favorites)

media and arts

"I want to shoot for Real Simple.", comment #2116302 (116 favorites)
"Help me unlock the power of the four chords.", comment #1762956 (254 favorites)
"It's Meep Meep, dammit!", comment #1623148 (221 favorites)

pets and animals

"Decent Pet Food", comment #1514369 (118 favorites)
"Good Dog! Silly Woman!", comment #877418 (101 favorites)

religion and philosophy

"Respecfully agree to disagree", comment #2128070 (636 favorites)
"Why the dearth of female philosophers?", comment #678408 (101 favorites)

law and government

"You must either give netzapper $100, or give mathowie $200.", comment #2144559 (161 favorites)
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think ", comment #2137137 (151 favorites)
"Craigslist flagging", comment #1260154 (255 favorites)
"How likely is it that someone would be falsely arrested for soliciting sex in a public restroom?", comment #1052031 (102 favorites)

grab bag

"Survival Tips for Uncommon Situations", comment #2087100 (207 favorites)
"Aid agencies sending people to Haiti", comment #2048807 (165 favorites)
"Aid agencies sending people to Haiti", comment #2048566 (154 favorites)
"Stolen meter, why?", comment #1623152 (198 favorites)

posted by FishBike at 3:58 PM on May 23, 2010 [24 favorites]


Did you picture him clicking to "End of Slide Show" and turning the conference room lights back for the "Do you have any questions for me?" part like I did?

Oh yeah.
posted by ODiV at 4:02 PM on May 23, 2010 [16 favorites]


That's sidebar material if I've ever seen any!

Also: ODiV you owe me the Red Bull I just laughed out my nose.
posted by griphus at 4:14 PM on May 23, 2010


Thank you Fishbike! The only thing I know about scripts are the ones my producers send me.
posted by NoraCharles at 4:35 PM on May 23, 2010


I would love for this to be a new feature of the site.
posted by misozaki at 4:43 PM on May 23, 2010


Honestly, we're not all that hot on making any kind of new official Top X lists on the site; I've got zero problem with folks doing DIY stuff with it and if FishBike or anyone else wants to build a tool to look at this stuff via the Infodump that's totally cool, but that's probably about as far as it's likely to go.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:49 PM on May 23, 2010


And I'm not even necessarily disagreeing with the advice there -- from a practical point of view. But the fact that it IS good advice just makes things worse.

Oh, no doubt. People talking about opening the door only while armed, calling 911 first, assuming they are pedophiles? Just.. wow. No wonder almost no one Trick or Treats anymore (even actual children). This has to be new, the whole thing with everyone living in absolute terror of everything around them. So yeah, it's great advice. If I ever get drunk enough on a Halloween and think it'll be a fun idea, I'll hopefully recollect that thread before I go get my ass kicked or put in jail.

And the more extreme reactions aside, all the stuff about "YOU CAN GET YOUR OWN CANDY, WTF" just misses the point so hard. Hey, I can buy my own kids a sack of candy and tell them to stay home, but they would be pretty upset. It's not about the candy, sheesh.

That said, I haven't tried ToT'ing without a bunch of kids in tow for a long time, I just can't believe the option isn't even open to me. Even against the law in some places... ack.
posted by cj_ at 6:52 PM on May 23, 2010


"Standing In Line", comment #1516290 (761 favorites)

Ah god, I remember reading that way back. Still makes me laugh. Brilliant.


garius certainly can tell an awesome story awfully well. I wish we could see more of these.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:52 AM on May 24, 2010


I haven't tried ToT'ing without a bunch of kids in tow for a long time, I just can't believe the option isn't even open to me. Even against the law in some places.

My problem is that the base message is "They are children. You're an adult. There are things they get to do that you don't. There are things you get to do that they don't. Deal with it."

This is not necessarily the message all the people in the thread were sending the OP (although some of them were definitely saying some form of "you need to grow the fuck up"). Some of them were just being practical. ("You don't want to get shot because someone thinks you're a creep, do you?") That implies (the truth that) society says to adults, "You need to grow the fuck up." So either way, that's the message.

And here, "You need to grow the fuck up" has nothing to do with holding down a job or contributing to society or anything. Because the OP probably does those things. Growing up means "you're too old to make mud pies."

The Victorians expected children to act like little adults. Thank God most of us have moved beyond that now. We now understand that we need to let them be kids -- to let them play. I hope that one day we understand that the need to play is not a phase. It's not something children need to get out of their system. It's a lifelong need. And without it, ones health -- and the health of society -- is in peril.

And the ways we allow adults to play are not really play -- not the kind I'm talking about here. Sports don't count; most videos games don't count; improv comedy doesn't count (though it gets a little bit closer). All those activities are awesome, but they are also all bound by rules. In fact, the rules are the point. Football isn't football without rules.

True play is freedom. It's playing in the mud. It's doing a crazy chicken dance. It's shouting out a "poem" comprised of nothing but nonsense words. I am really sorry for people who have nothing like that in their lives. I am even more sorry for people who don't want that in their lives. Because even those people said "Goo goo gah gah" as babies. What happened? What made them feel like they didn't want to do that any more? What made them think, "That's childish, and I'm not a child"?

So many people have no idea what an amazing release it is to just let go of all rules and expectations -- to just ... play. And, sadly, it's NOT a release for some, because if they tried to do it, they'd be self-conscious. They'd feel like, "I am not acting like an adult." So it's not just that they don't do it. It's that they can't do it. The mental wires have been cut.

There's a "This American Life" episode about the staff of "The Onion." It turns out there's a schism between the more playful people and the less playful people -- which is amazing at a business like that, one you'd think would be all about play! There are some staff members who submit stories that are just silly and fun. Others insist that they don't publish those stories, because "they don't have a point." The former members think that a story should be published just because it's funny. The latter thinks that a story must go beyond being funny. It must also make some sort of sociological or political point. Or maybe they think it's not funny UNLESS it makes a point.

I don't know all the forces in life that wring the play out of people, but I think the main one, for most folks, is school. School is society's way of turning kids into adults. And, largely, that means limiting play -- and the play you still do get to do in school is play with rules.
posted by grumblebee at 7:07 AM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am really sorry for people who have nothing like that in their lives. I am even more sorry for people who don't want that in their lives.

That's more than a little condescending.
posted by enn at 7:11 AM on May 24, 2010


No. It's not condescending. It's not condescending to say you're sorry for people with AIDS, unless you're not really sorry. Unless you're trying to make some kind of point that such people are at fault.

Sometimes people are genuinely sorry for other people.

I am genuinely sorry for the people I said I'm genuinely sorry for. Even more than I'm sorry for people with AIDS. I don't think they are bad or inferior to me or at fault. But I AM sorry for them.
posted by grumblebee at 7:33 AM on May 24, 2010


Also, may I say that whoever spurned Miko, no matter how gently, is obviously insane.

Consider my day made, fine sir!

That comment has had an interesting role in my online life. It has lasted far longer than that relationship did. In some ways, it is a bit of a curse, because people keep finding it on a semi-regular basis and so it pops back to the top of my favorites all the time, allowing me to relive the moment over and over and over...and over...

On the other hand, it does seem to have helped a lot of people figure out how to handle a sad situation with senstivity, so I'm glad I posted it. And as far as that presentation goes: it's great! And not far off the mark.The guy in question was hyper-thorough and thoughtful about every single thing he did, and I have no doubt that he did sit down and plan the conversation in his mind, it was so neatly done.

The PowerPoint breakup has legs, ODiv.
posted by Miko at 7:52 AM on May 24, 2010


It's condescending to express pity for someone who doesn't believe that their situation is pitiable. I could say that I am sorry for people who have found adult life so disappointing that they cling to a romanticized idea of childhood — a time characterized, in reality, by powerlessness and ignorance — as some sort of model for living. But that would be rude.
posted by enn at 7:56 AM on May 24, 2010


I could say that I am sorry for people who have found adult life so disappointing that they cling to a romanticized idea of childhood

By which, I assume you mean me (although that's not how I'd characterize my self or my views on childhood, since my childhood was a scary time and I would NOT want to return to it).

If you genuinely feel sorry for me, then that's how you feel. I see no reason why you should lie and say you don't. I may not think there's any reason you should feel sorry for me, but I'm not offended if you do.
posted by grumblebee at 8:16 AM on May 24, 2010


If you genuinely feel sorry for me, then that's how you feel. I see no reason why you should lie and say you don't. I may not think there's any reason you should feel sorry for me, but I'm not offended if you do.

And that's fine for you, grumblebee, but it may be a bit of disconnect there on your part if you take "I'm personally not offended when other people tell me how I'm broken and pitiable" and use that as a justification for "when I tell other people how they're broken and pitiable, I am not being offensive."
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:18 AM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I take your point to an extent, cortex, and I'm sorry if I offended anyone. My world view is that we're all broken and pitiable. Perhaps I should keep that to myself, though.

It's hard for me to be completely silent about my feelings re: play, because I feel as passionately about them as most people feel about racism and homophobia. But I'll try not to express my views in a way that sounds like some people are broken. Even thought I think that's true.

Note, though, that I NEVER said -- nor would I have said -- "Cortex, you are broken." I don't make personal comments like that about specific people. To me, that is totally, unambiguously rude. To me, what I said was more along the lines of "people with Alzheimers are broken" or "people who think homosexuality is a sin are broken." I realize that someone might say, "Well, I was born that way" or "Well, I think that... so you're implying that I'M broken."
posted by grumblebee at 8:26 AM on May 24, 2010


More of a general comment, grumblebee, I'm not trying to fisk your specific statements in here down to the metal. Just, you know, when you say something and someone else says "that seems really condescending" you need to keep in mind they're talking as much about how what you said reads to them as they are about how you meant it.

If someone thought you were being knowingly condescending they might in fact tell you to go shove it and leave it at that; telling you that something you said comes off condescending is more of a "hey, maybe you don't realize this but..." thing in a lot of cases.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:33 AM on May 24, 2010


I'm sorry if it sounded like was saying, "You think it was condescending? That's too bad. Deal with it, motherfucker!"

For the record, let me state that in the end, I believe intentions only count for so much. I wrote something for WHATEVER reason, and what I wrote made enn (and maybe some other people) feel upset or uncomfortable. What I said caused those feelings, so I am responsible.

I apologize to anyone I hurt, angered or offended. I will try to avoid phrasing things that way in the future. I could have said that I think play is important without implying that people who don't play are sub-par humans. That's really not what I meant, but looking back over what I wrote, I can see how a reasonable person might interpret it that way. Sorry.
posted by grumblebee at 8:45 AM on May 24, 2010


Play is nature's way of tickling the reward centres of children (& many baby animals) as their brains lay down neural pathways.

While I agree with your sentiment, grumblebee, I think that the reason that adults generally don't play isn't so much that we are socialised out of playing; it's more because we have literally outgrown it. Our brains have ceased physiologically developing in a way that a child's brain does.

*goes back to bed*
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:46 AM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


UbuRoivas, there's a lot of recent neuroscience that disagrees with what you're saying, though I definitely agree that adults can't benefit as much from exploratory play as children do.

I also don't think that the only benefit of play is building those pathways.
posted by grumblebee at 11:14 AM on May 24, 2010


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