Too many questions? July 6, 2010 9:52 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to talk a little bit about using AskMeFi but not MetaFilter.

This is my first MeTa post, please forgive me if this is not an appropriate use.

I'm interested in learning more about how many people use and read AskMe vs. the blue, and how the mods feel about it.

I joined MeFi a little over three years ago in order to ask a question about my ailing Mac. I don't remember how I made it to AskMe originally, but at the time I never really bothered exploring the site or its history and I barely knew the blue existed. Since then I have been an avid reader and user of AskMe, but I don't really care to follow the blue. (I do read MeTa every once in a while.)

I've been wondering lately if there are many people here like me who don't use the blue but only follow AskMe. Do you read it daily? Do you only use it when you have a question yourself? Are you a glutton for punishment like me who subscribes to the RSS feed?

I'd also like to hear about how the mods feel about AskMe-only users. Are we somehow betraying or abusing the site by not using the blue? Do you guys even care at all? Is there a certain type of AskMe-only user that you really don't care for (besides people who create trouble)?
posted by joshrholloway to Etiquette/Policy at 9:52 AM (89 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I don't comment on AskMe much, mainly because I don't know anything.
posted by jonmc at 9:54 AM on July 6, 2010 [9 favorites]


I like both, but I am more likely to comment on Ask.
posted by amro at 9:56 AM on July 6, 2010


I think the mods have said previously that they don't mind users who only frequent one site or the other. It's annoying when people ask, ask, ask and never answer, but I think that's the only real gripe. AskMe has actually brought a lot of traffic to the Blue that might not have otherwise discovered it... so, a net positive.

Personally: I originally joined for AskMe but find myself using MetaFilter heavily also (and the other subsites to a certain extent as well). The Green and Blue receive about equal attention from me.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:58 AM on July 6, 2010


Are we somehow betraying or abusing the site by not using the blue?

Yes, and they keep meticulous notes. Prepare for your ritual humiliation.
posted by Think_Long at 9:59 AM on July 6, 2010


I'd also like to hear about how the mods feel about AskMe-only users. Are we somehow betraying or abusing the site by not using the blue?

Nope. If you want to use the green and that's all, more power to you.

Do you guys even care at all?

I care personally in the very narrow sense that I think folks who use all parts of the site are likely to develop a more holistic sense of how the place works and how the community behaves in different contexts and will likely react better to odd situations should they arise and otherwise in general have a better picture of what mefi as a whole is all about. But that's, you know, not really an administrative thing, that just me liking it when people have a good top-level view of this place because I think it produces a stronger community sensibility in the long run and is part of what keeps this place cohesive.

Is there a certain type of AskMe-only user that you really don't care for (besides people who create trouble)?

If you're not causing trouble, I don't care. My ideal askme-only contributor tries to answer questions that they feel they have good concrete answers to when they have the chance to, and don't answer anything else. Sometimes that means a lot of answering, sometimes it means not very much answering at all, and either case is fine and largely dependent on things like breadth of applicable knowledge and volume of free time and the inclination to spend that time on the green.

If you're using the site in good faith and being mindful of the guidelines, that's about all there is to it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:59 AM on July 6, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'd also like to hear about how the mods feel about AskMe-only users. Are we somehow betraying or abusing the site by not using the blue? Do you guys even care at all? Is there a certain type of AskMe-only user that you really don't care for (besides people who create trouble)?

Speaking only for myself, I'm fine with AskMe-only MeFites and in fact I rarely notice if someone is only using part of the site unless someone draws attention to it. The only sort of user that is at all problematic from my perspective is the very high-drama AnonyMe overuser or people who mostly show up in specific topic threads to give the OP a hard time [guns, pets, drugs, relationships usually]. There are also people who seem to want the site to be something it isn't and instead of moving on, they just dig in and fight about it constantly. We don't see it too much but when we do it's sort of odd. I'm all in favor of people trying to make the site more like they would want it, but there's a limit.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:02 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are we somehow betraying or abusing the site by not using the blue?

You gives me a sad.
posted by new brand day at 10:08 AM on July 6, 2010


I am 99% AskMe. I read MeFi, but it usually doesn't interest me.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:08 AM on July 6, 2010


I consider AskMe-only members parasites and AskMe itself the bastard stepchild of the One True MetaFilter Which is Blue (and the Grey Area for Arguing), but I'm not a moderator.
posted by yhbc at 10:09 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I only read MeTa. I figure anything that's interesting on the other colors will eventually get a hamburger here.
posted by Mngo at 10:10 AM on July 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I mainly use AskMe, not MeFi. My stats:
MeFi: 3 posts , 759 comments
Ask MeFi: 21 questions , 2347 answers
Of course, "759 comments" still sounds like a lot, but those are more likely to be throways (in addition to being much less than my number of AskMe answers). Also, they're more concentrated in a smaller number of MeFi FPPs that had a lot of back-and-forth debate, whereas I'm less likely to multi-comment in AskMe.

Are we somehow betraying or abusing the site by not using the blue?

I don't understand how this is even an issue.

First of all, why do people raise this concern with respect to AskMe users (and I have seen the concern expressed before), but no one ever complains about people who use MeFi more than AskMe? Is there some sort of hierarchy I'm not aware of, in which MeFi is supposed to be above AskMe?

On the contrary, I feel much better on the whole about posting in AskMe, since I feel I might actually help someone. Comments in MeFi strike me as more of an attempt to enforce a prevailing worldview. "These views are good; those views are bad. These people are good; those people are bad." Many comments appear on their face to be about a specific issue, but they have a broader subtext: "Look at me, I'm saying the right things, I belong here." All of that strikes me as highly arbitrary (the same viewpoint enforcement happens on right-wing websites), and I don't feel it really helps anyone, so I avoid participating in it.

Now, should I comment more in MeFi than I actually want to? Or should I sometimes refrain from commenting in AskMe even when I think I have useful advice to offer people who have problems? Wouldn't I need to do one of those things in order to have a higher ratio of MeFi to AskMe comments?
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:11 AM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ask was what got me to join, but these days I read it much more sporadically than the other subsites. I also have a ridiculously skewed contribution total, but I blame Alphabet Threads:

MeFi: 2 posts, 372 comments
MetaTalk: 3 posts, 818 comments
Ask MeFi: 8 questions, 178 answers
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:14 AM on July 6, 2010


throways --> throw-aways
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:17 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I came for the Green but stayed for the Blue.
posted by Brittanie at 10:18 AM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


I swore off of AskMe a while ago. I found that the methods of expressing dissent that folks had/have in AskMe were really hard for me to take as a potential answerer, and given that I tend to get fascinated by certain forms of dissent, it just wasn't good for me to be there and tended towards making me want to engage in a mode that wasn't productive for anyone.

I.e. when some answerers violently disagreed with my answers it made me feel like I was being attacked and made me get my hackles up (prelude to potential flamewar).
posted by kalessin at 10:20 AM on July 6, 2010


It's annoying when people ask, ask, ask and never answer, but I think that's the only real gripe.

I don't even agree with that.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:21 AM on July 6, 2010


I read the blue every day but rarely comment and have only posted once, so you'd never know I read it every day. I do participate more on AskMe than anywhere else, so from my stats you'd think I was all AskMe all the time, but that's not the case. I bet I'm not the only one.

I've seen these questions before and I don't really think it's an issue. I like it when I recognize names across the three sites, it adds another dimension to the personality behind the name, almost the same way I like meeting people at meetups. But it's not a requirement or anything.
posted by ambrosia at 10:22 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there some sort of hierarchy I'm not aware of, in which MeFi is supposed to be above AskMe?

Whether you agree with it or not, I think the perception is certainly there that the Blue is Metafilter and everything else is just a minor service for users. It came first. It's on the primary domain while everything else gets a subdomain. MetaFilter is thought of as a 'community blog' which none of the rest of the site really is.

Add to that the vague feeling of 'am I using too much of a community resource by asking too many questions on AskMe?' and you get this kind of thread.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:26 AM on July 6, 2010


I only read MetaTalk. The rest of the site is superfluous.
posted by slogger at 10:37 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


The blue is the opposite of AskMe--it's TellYou.
posted by Mister_A at 10:38 AM on July 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


People who have asked questions but never answered: 640
People who have answered questions but never asked: 6442
posted by Meta Filter at 10:38 AM on July 6, 2010 [10 favorites]


If I think I can add a useful answer to an AskMe question, I will first check their profile to see if they are a mooch who only asks but never answers. A good answer to ask ratio is 10:1. If they are too moochie, I won't answer.
posted by Daddy-O at 10:39 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there some sort of hierarchy I'm not aware of

There is no cabal.

Also, what're the numbers like on those triple-crowner users these days? Y'all need to start asking more questions I can answer, cuz I'm almost there cuz.
posted by carsonb at 10:42 AM on July 6, 2010


First of all, why do people raise this concern with respect to AskMe users (and I have seen the concern expressed before), but no one ever complains about people who use MeFi more than AskMe? Is there some sort of hierarchy I'm not aware of, in which MeFi is supposed to be above AskMe?

It's overly simplistic to say "Mefi was here first!", but to a degree that's on target. The social culture of metafilter—what mefi was for its first few years of existence—was defined by the blue, by what went on there and who spent time there and so on. Askme, fixture that is is now on the site, was a New Thing back in 2004; it took a while for the cultural norms of the blue to be properly supplanted by a distinct set of expectations and guidelines on the green. The two places operate differently, and only one of the two is a generally free-for-all place for chat and arguments.

And a lot of people come to the internet, and came to mefi specifically and stayed here, to chat and argue and bullshit about random stuff on the internet. So it's for them a sort of home, and in one sense it still is mefi; from that perspective, askme is a neat resource and subsite but it's secondary to this just being a place to be, to hang out and kick back.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:43 AM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


jonmc: "I don't comment on AskMe much, mainly because I don't know anything"

Pfft, that doesn't stop anyone else from answering questions.
posted by octothorpe at 10:46 AM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's annoying when people ask, ask, ask and never answer, but I think that's the only real gripe.

I don't even agree with that.


Yeah me neither. I'm not sure why people think this is like a Commodore BBS, where you have to upload so many games and get "points" before you can download something. The questions are the content of the site- for those who want to answer, those who have a similar problem, or those who just want something to read. Therefore, people who ask good questions are contributing. I have no idea what the alleged problem is.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:47 AM on July 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


"I'd also like to hear about how the mods feel about AskMe-only users. Are we somehow betraying or abusing the site by not using the blue? Do you guys even care at all?"

I'm going through the users one by one, starting from 1 and going up, writing down the username and personal information of every single user who has only contributed to AskMe, and never to MeFi or MeTa. Y'know, just making a list for when the revolution comes.
posted by Kattullus at 10:53 AM on July 6, 2010


If I think I can add a useful answer to an AskMe question, I will first check their profile to see if they are a mooch who only asks but never answers. A good answer to ask ratio is 10:1. If they are too moochie, I won't answer.

Is my sarcasm detector broken? The last bloody thing we need is people answering questions they don't actually know the answer to just to game their "moochiness" rating.
posted by juv3nal at 10:58 AM on July 6, 2010 [8 favorites]


Add to that the vague feeling of 'am I using too much of a community resource by asking too many questions on AskMe?' and you get this kind of thread.

The post raises the issue of people who "use" AskMe too much. It's not specifically about asking too many questions -- we already addressed that recently.

I know that MeFi predates AskMe by several years. I don't understand why this would have any influence on how much a given user comments on each site. By the same (equally silly) token, you could argue that newer things are generally more relevant; AskMe is newer than MeFi; therefore, people should comment on AskMe more than MeFi.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:01 AM on July 6, 2010


If I think I can add a useful answer to an AskMe question, I will first check their profile to see if they are a mooch who only asks but never answers. A good answer to ask ratio is 10:1. If they are too moochie, I won't answer.

As someone whose ratio of answers to questions is about 100:1 (2,000+ answers to 20-odd questions), I fervently hope that your view isn't shared by many AskMe users. If that were generally understood to be the norm (which I'm confident it's not), there would be a terrible effect on the quality of answers.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:04 AM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


I started out as an avid user of the blue. Really loved that site. Then I got a bit sick of the conversations there. For me, I feel like the signal to noise ratio in the comments there is pretty bad. Though, clearly, lots and lots of people really enjoy it. I do occasionally read links and maybe a few comments but I never participate there anymore.

I totally love ask.mefi though and am a bit of an addict. I learn so much and I think that the bulk of the replies are earnest and positive.

I've pondered the question you're posing as well. Wondering if it's at all unacceptable that I've abandoned the primary reason behind Metafilter but, you know, you can't force community. I like the atmosphere on the green better and I think that's okay.
posted by amanda at 11:05 AM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


me: Is there some sort of hierarchy I'm not aware of, in which MeFi is supposed to be above AskMe? ...

cortex: a lot of people come to the internet, and came to mefi specifically and stayed here, to chat and argue and bullshit about random stuff on the internet. So it's for them a sort of home, and in one sense it still is mefi; from that perspective, askme is a neat resource and subsite but it's secondary to this just being a place to be, to hang out and kick back.

Fair enough, but my comment that you were responding to was in the context of this MeTa post, which is about whether there's a problem with some users mainly using AskMe. I don't see the relevance of the fact that many people prefer (or are more comfortable in, etc.) MeFi over AskMe. I'm sure you're right that there was initially a learning curve when AskMe was introduced because of the different norms of the two subsites, but do you really think this is still an issue in 2010? In fact, even if it is a problem, I don't see how the solution is to create an understanding that you're not supposed to participate in AskMe out of proportion with your participation in MeFi. Quite the contrary, really: if people are being overly MeFi-ish in AskMe, they should spend more time in AskMe.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:13 AM on July 6, 2010


I came for the Green but stayed for the Blue.

I came for the Blue but stayed for the Green.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:16 AM on July 6, 2010


I joined two years before AskMe was launched. Now, I read/comment on the Green much more than on the Blue. I read AskMe nearly every day, sometimes several times a day. MeFi is much more an if-I-have-time thing.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:17 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know at least one person who has been a regular reader of the Blue, both the posts and the comments, for quite a long time, but never felt the need to post or comment herself. Thus, an actual MeFi account had no value added. It was the desire to post a question to AskMe that eventually got her to cough up the $5. I wouldn't be surprised if her posting remains entirely restricted to the Green, but I know that it's the Blue that really holds her attention. So don't read too much into how someone thinks about the site based on their post/comment statistics.
posted by 256 at 11:18 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know that MeFi predates AskMe by several years. I don't understand why this would have any influence on how much a given user comments on each site.

I doubt it does, except insofar as people who have been around longer are more likely to have been around primarily or solely for the blue, to have developed their sense of this whole place in terms of what they like about that part of that site, and are likely to retain that preference today. It's a pretty straightforward idea. It's not meant to be taken as a physical law that applies equally and inherently to brand new users, some of whom came here specifically for askme in the first place and obviously would have no such affiliation.

Fair enough, but my comment that you were responding to was in the context of this MeTa post, which is about whether there's a problem with some users mainly using AskMe. I don't see the relevance of the fact that many people prefer (or are more comfortable in, etc.) MeFi over AskMe.

People who identify with the blue as being the primary place and purpose of the site and the community's existence are likely to feel that lack of involvement with the blue is in some way a failure to engage with the fundamental metafilter experience. I'd reckon that it's mostly longer-time users who feel this way.

The degree to which anyone in that position—of feeling like the blue is the main event, the cultural center of the site with askme as secondary—has "a problem" with askme-only users is another question entirely; I think there are probably a few folks who feel very strongly about it and a lot more who don't feel all that strongly about it at all but will be willing to quip about it when the subject comes up.

if people are being overly MeFi-ish in AskMe, they should spend more time in AskMe.

If people are being overly Mefi-ish in askme because they are genuinely trying to contribute good answers to askme, then, yes, they should maybe spend more time in askme, particularly reading it and learning by example.

If people are being overly Mefi-ish in askme because they are bored and ran out of threads on the blue, they should put askme away and take a walk.

Neither of this is really here nor there on the question of whether there's any actual site policy about this stuff: there isn't, there's just some folks who have personal preferences about which parts of the site they value and are willing to jaw about it when prompted.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:26 AM on July 6, 2010


I came for AskMe and over time started reading more MeFi and MeTa. So you'll see my stats are weighted more on AskMe simply due to seniority.
posted by arcticseal at 11:26 AM on July 6, 2010


I post in the blue, but never read anything written there. That's how I maintain my purity.

Instead of posting in the green, I keep a notebook of my answers. I call it my "I told you so" book.

Also, I would enjoy a cookie right now.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:28 AM on July 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


FYI:

MeFi: 33 posts 1086 comments
MetaTalk: 2 posts 88 comments
Ask MeFi: 47 questions 685 answers
Music: 7 posts 10 comments, 0 playlists
Projects: 0 posts, 0 comments, 1 vote
Jobs: 0 posts

I tend to be streaky in both the blue and green, meaning that I'll post and comment for lengths of time, exclusively on one or the other.
posted by Danf at 11:31 AM on July 6, 2010


I doubt it does, except insofar as people who have been around longer are more likely to have been around primarily or solely for the blue

That might be true, but it doesn't describe me. I've been reading the site for long enough that I remember following the September 11, 2001 attacks by reading MeFi. I view MeFi as decidedly secondary to AskMe.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:41 AM on July 6, 2010


I'm not trying to describe you, nor claiming that it consistently and without variation describes everyone other than you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:44 AM on July 6, 2010


I'm not sure what the correct answer is here, if any.

I joined for the Blue because... well that's all there was. Blue.

So... I read (or at least skim) the Blue fairly regularly but rarely, if ever, comment. It's been like this for years. Why? Because I generally have nothing to input that is of use.

I read the Green a lot. I comment often. Why? Because I know some stuff and have some opinions about your asshole cat.
posted by jerseygirl at 11:47 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mefites who use AskMe but do not contribute to the blue are known informally as leeches, or less charitably, whiners.
Those who hang out in MeTa are known simply as weirdos.
Any more questions?
posted by Cranberry at 12:29 PM on July 6, 2010


I'm not really looking for a "correct answer," per se, just wondering about people's habits. So far it seems like almost everyone uses both the blue and the green, just a little bit more of one than the other.

I literally never go to MetaFilter on my own accord. I only make it there when something interesting on MeTa takes me there, and even then I just skim.
posted by joshrholloway at 12:37 PM on July 6, 2010


When I started reading the site, the Blue was the only game in town and it definitely shaped my habits as to how I behave here. Which is why, to be honest, I don't comment much on the green.

I know my commenting style and I recognize that random snark and the occasional threat against the planet probably aren't the best things to pepper answers with, and for me, it can be hard to stop.
posted by quin at 12:55 PM on July 6, 2010


I read The Blue, The Green and The Gray a lot. Too much, really. But I basically only ever comment/post in AskMe. It's too stressful trying to keep up as part of the conversation in the Blue (and I don't have much to say there, often).
posted by leahwrenn at 1:03 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


jessamyn: "People who mostly show up in specific topic threads to give the OP a hard time [guns, pets, drugs, relationships usually]."

I intend to declaw my cat with a shotgun, while high. Should I do this before or after dumping my boyfriend? No lectures, please. Just answer the question.
posted by the latin mouse at 1:04 PM on July 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I often find the threads on the Blue difficult to follow and that commenters can get a little too argumentative for my taste. Having said that, I continue to learn a lot from the threads and have seen good debate modelled.

I prefer the format of AskMe where everyone gets a turn to submit their answer and (in my imagination) everyone is happy to let the OP choose among the responses without too much ado.
posted by cranberrymonger at 1:10 PM on July 6, 2010


leahwrenn: "It's too stressful trying to keep up as part of the conversation in the Blue"

I agree. By the time I've poked through all the links and the other comments, I feel that everything's been said.
posted by cranberrymonger at 1:14 PM on July 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


I spend much more time reading the threads on AskMe than I do on the front page. I post an answer if I happen to know it, but usually someone else says it better before I get around to reading the question. The threads on the front page often don't interest me, but I always have the option to compose a post about a topic that does, so I consider it my problem—a feature, not a bug. I have more comments in that section only because it's conversation-oriented and a single thread may warrant a few posts, whereas I rarely need to answer a question more than once. Occasionally I feel like the environment on the blue is too hostile because I forget that it's customary on the Internet to have an opinion about everything and to express said opinion derisively with the hope that everyone will recognize and extol one's sarcastic brilliance. Usually I don't feel like I know enough about the topics on the front page to speak with any authority. However, I do enjoy whenever a topic comes up that I do know something about. Like the gay porn thread a few days ago! That was fun.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 1:16 PM on July 6, 2010


Any more questions?
posted by Cranberry


Yes, did you know someone here wants to mong you?
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:17 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Any more questions?
posted by Cranberry at 3:29 PM on July 6 [+] [!]

Yes, did you know someone here wants to mong you?
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:17 PM on July 6 [+] [!]


Oh, I've monged him already. And I'll mong you too!
posted by cranberrymonger at 1:31 PM on July 6, 2010


I've been wondering lately if there are many people here like me who don't use the blue but only follow AskMe.

Just to put some numbers to this, in a fairly recent copy of the Infodump, there are 386 users with 100+ answers in AskMe and 0 comments on MeFi. That's a pretty strict filter and already there are a lot of people who are like that.

You actually have some comments in the blue, so if we said your ratio of blue:green was about the mid-point of the range of people "like you", we'd instead want to look at something like users with 100+ answers in AskMe, and a comment count on MeFi that's 5% or less of their AskMe answer count. There are 940 such users.

That's quite a lot. A count of users with 100 comments in either MeFi or AskMe only comes up with 6481. So you could say about 15% of reasonably active users are primarily active only in AskMe.

As for myself, I've made more comments in MetaTalk than any other part of the site. Actually, I've commented more in the grey than the green and blue combined. I can't help feeling like this means I am doing it wrong.
posted by FishBike at 1:33 PM on July 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I intend to declaw my cat with a shotgun, while high. Should I do this before or after dumping my boyfriend? No lectures, please. Just answer the question.

It depends on whether or not your boyfriend is circumcised.
posted by elizardbits at 2:12 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had my boyfriend circumcised and my cat declawed on the same day.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 3:07 PM on July 6, 2010


I read MeTa but only really comment on AskMeFi. Mostly because in the blue I'd like to be able to make an intelligent post and often I don't know enough about the issue at hand to do so.
posted by biochemist at 3:22 PM on July 6, 2010


I took a quick stab at visualizing data on AskMe usage vs. MeFi usage. Using the July 3 Infodump I made a Google spreadsheet, a scatterplot of MeFi vs. AskMe usage. Each user is a dot: Y axis is how many MeFi posts+comments they made, X axis is how many AskMe posts+comments they made.

Not a lot of pattern there, really, but Google Docs was so slow I got frustrated trying to do something better. The raw data is in the data tab: maybe someone else can do a better visualization. (And tell me how! The only ways I know are to write Javascript code or install R. No thanks to either.)
posted by Nelson at 3:25 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


"If they are too moochie, I won't answer."

What a wretched, pinched and damaging way to approach participation in AskMe. Count me among those praying you're an outlier.
posted by mediareport at 3:32 PM on July 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


I only read MetaTalk. The rest of the site is superfluous.
Not quite true. The rest of the site exists to provide topics for argument on MeTa.
posted by dg at 3:46 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's quite a lot. A count of users with 100 comments in either MeFi or AskMe only comes up with 6481. So you could say about 15% of reasonably active users are primarily active only in AskMe.

Out of curiosity, how many users are there with over 500 comments across the site?
posted by kylej at 4:24 PM on July 6, 2010


I'm one of those weirdos who came to Metafilter via the old Lifehacker AskMe roundups. For a long time, I didn't realize the blue existed (really--to the point where I'd be in a hurry and google Metafilter trying to get to the green and when this wall o' text in blue came up, I'd get frustrated and link back in through Lifehacker. I did this more than once, a fact which boggles my mind these days).

I started to go through the sign up process at one point, but then I noticed that you needed paypal and decided it wasn't worth it. Eventually, I branched out from AskMe to Metafilter proper. Oddly enough, what made me decide to go through the whole sign up process, paypal and all, was a post on the blue about Cal Worthington (of 'Go see Cal!' fame).

So, to make a short story long, the green is sometimes a little safer and more fun than the blue for some folks but as my example shows, it's totally possible to get sucked into the vortex that is the blue if someone talks about the right thing. And that's perfectly fine and ok. If you never really get into Metafilter proper, well, just enjoy AskMe and realize that there's plenty of other folks like you who are part of Metafilter just as much as a prolific poster on the blue.
posted by librarylis at 4:25 PM on July 6, 2010


Houyhnhnm: “I had my boyfriend circumcised and my cat declawed on the same day.”

Isn't the premise of a David Allan Coe song?
posted by koeselitz at 5:14 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I think I can add a useful answer to an AskMe question, I will first check their profile to see if they are a mooch who only asks but never answers. A good answer to ask ratio is 10:1. If they are too moochie, I won't answer.

It never occured to me that this person might be serious with this answer. I still don't think so.

Also, for the first while when I started hanging around here, I thought The Welk was a female.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:24 PM on July 6, 2010


I came for the Blue and stayed for the Grey. I check out the Grey at least twice a day. Most days I check out the Green, usually the Anon and Pet questions. I might look at the Blue once every two weeks or so.
posted by deborah at 5:35 PM on July 6, 2010


I lurked on the green for years before joining a couple weeks ago. I read the blue occasionally, too, but rarely. I can't remember which I came across first.

I like AskMe mainly because I find other people's lives interesting. I generally find reading about other people's issues fascinating. I also like the range of answers from people with all sorts of life experience here. I like anecdotal evidence.

So, before I joined, sometimes I read AskMe for entertainment, and sometimes I Googled AskMe + whatever it was I wanted to read about that day, sometimes looking for questions I had myself at the time.

Often I'd read a question or topic, go to post something, and then realize that I didn't have a membership yet, because I was always broke and therefore never joined. Finally I realized that I was probably always going to be broke, and I was already really attached to the site, so I waited for a good time and then joined.

I still read most of AskMe but I read MeFi a lot more than I did before. I have often wondered how many people were drawn to the site through AskMe rather than MeFi.
posted by Put the kettle on at 5:45 PM on July 6, 2010


Therefore, people who ask good questions are contributing. I have no idea what the alleged problem is.

I think it depends on whether you see Metafilter as a resource or as a community. To me, it looks like a lot of the people who do nothing but ask questions on the Green see Metafilter as the equivalent of a gas station. You drive up, get what you need as quickly and cheaply as possible, and drive away without giving anything else much thought. The people who work there and the other customers barely even register on your consciousness.

It's an interesting thought that even people who do nothing but ask questions are contributing to the community through those questions, but it doesn't strike me that way in practice. I submit that people who do nothing but ask questions tend to ask really shitty questions about crazy drama or weird, inane chatfilter.

As usual, I think cortex nailed it in this comment. It's one thing to believe that Metafilter is the primary raison d'etre here with AskMe being a subsite and another thing to "have a problem" with people who, for example, only ask questions. I don't have a problem with that in any sense more real than I "have a problem' with people who put ketchup on steak or orders an expensive cut of meat cooked well-done. I think it's weird and sub-optimal but that's about it. It's not like someone who makes sub-optimal food choices is a bad person. Unless they don't like In-n-Out burger. Then they're a bad person.
posted by Justinian at 5:54 PM on July 6, 2010


I am just the opposite -- I almost never visit AskMe any more, and visit Metatalk and Metafilter proper a few times a day, generally, even if I don't participate as actively as I once did.

When I do visit AskMe, I see an awful lot of usernames I don't recognize. It almost feels to me sometimes like a splinter- or sub-community of the site as a whole, with its own tribal signs and rituals.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:01 PM on July 6, 2010


Opposite of the thread poster, I mean.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:02 PM on July 6, 2010


I read the shit out of AskMe, answer fairly regularly, ask questions much more rarely (always afraid of blowing one and then neeeeeding one less than a week later), and almost never go on Metafilter. Metafilter is much less mindless, as far as the amount of clicking, reading, watching, consuming, and thinking required.
posted by ishotjr at 6:16 PM on July 6, 2010


I have often wondered how many people were drawn to the site through AskMe rather than MeFi.

I've wondered that too, and I'm with you: I find it fascinating to be given a glimpse into other people's lives, relationships and ways of thinking. I'm one of those "came here for the Green" folks - I originally signed up here because I was seeking insight on various relationship issues and would search on very targeted phrases (e.g., "David Schnarch" plus "divorce" plus "feminism"), and was led in this way to the Green again and again. I consistently found that AskMe was the only place on the Internet where I respected such a high percentage of the advice given on relationship matters, as well as the thought-provoking manner and respectful context within which that advice was presented. (I also loved not having to deal with forums full of image-heavy .sig files and avatars. I think the text-only format rules!)

I still feel that way about the Green - absolutely love it - but because of various time constraints, I no longer read everything posted there. I follow the Blue and the Grey regularly too, plus occasional visits to the Projects, Jobs and now IRL categories, and I have been finding that I can't keep up with everything I'd like to and still have an offline life. So I've been forced to cut back, and now I usually stick to just the human relationships and work/money categories on AskMe. Anything else I might wonder about or want to read via AskMe can generally be found through a targeted keyword search.
posted by velvet winter at 6:20 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Personally, I'm more into AskMe than MeFi, too.
As a data point, I read all the post summaries on MeFi, maybe 20% of the actual posts and links, and maybe skim 10% of the threads. Mostly I only read a whole thread if I'm really interested in the topic or the ensuing discourse.
On AskMe, I read all the post summaries, maybe 50% of the [more inside]s, and then, for those 50% I'll usually skim the whole comment thread.
On MeTa, I read the summaries and then I only read the threads that have a ton of human interest- either community warm fuzzies or total argumentative shitstorms.
I also check in on the Popular Favourites every few days in case I missed something interesting.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 6:58 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


It never occured to me that this person might be serious with this answer. I still don't think so.

I hope you're right. But this conversation has come up before, and that response has been presented seriously before, too.
posted by mediareport at 7:25 PM on July 6, 2010


I am not sure I really understand the question. From my frame of reference everyone uses all of the sites completely, perfectly, always.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:41 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


The blue is blocked at work (but none of the rest of the subsites), so I have that issue. Also, I'm never as sure how to contribute on the blue, so I tend not to do it as much.

On the green, I think I tend to have spurts of answering, where I'll comment on multiple posts in a day, and then won't comment again for a week or so. I tend to skim the questions, and I always manage to miss some interesting ones the first time around, and for a while I was paranoid that the mods were inserting questions in between the ones I had already read.

I like the gray because it is warm and fluffy or cold and GRARy. I am happy to read but not get involved with drama most of the time. Meetups don't interest me because they are never close enough to go to.
posted by that girl at 7:53 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have often wondered how many people were drawn to the site through AskMe rather than MeFi.

With the infodump you could analyze users based on where their first ever comment was placed -- the theory being that if someone signed up to respond to a question in AskMe, that's probably the first thing they're going to do. I wouldn't be surprised if in recent years AskMe is a greater draw for new users than the blue or any of the other sub-sites.

As to my own history, I read the blue back in 01 or 02 and liked it a lot but I got turned off by the fact that I couldn't participate and I lost interest. When I saw an AskMe thread show up in a google result in 05 I was shocked by two things: that there was an AskMe now, and that you could actually get an account.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:07 PM on July 6, 2010


MeFi: 19 posts, 381 comments
MetaTalk: 3 posts, 79 comments
Ask MeFi: 1 question, 380 answers

I seem to alternate comments evenly between the blue and the green, without consciously doing so. Time for an AskMe about schizophrenia. Or maybe not.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:37 PM on July 6, 2010


I started reading the blue early enough that I was able to browse back through the entire archives, but wandered off because the tone didn't really suit me. AskMe brought me back, and that's where I pretty much hang out - that and MeTa, for mostly professional reasons.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:31 PM on July 6, 2010


I don't have one of those jobs where I can read Metafilter all day long. So I tend to read MeFi posts, with their millions of comments, and respond to AskMes (which are usually much shorter). By the time I've read through a multi-hundred comment FPP, I'm not usually itching to comment -- generally my point has already been made, sometimes several times over.

So my comment activity is heavily biased towards the green, but I don't think that that actually reflects where my time here is spent.
posted by Forktine at 9:46 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


AskMe attracts a lot of poopy-faced SJ joiner types. MeFi attracts mostly NTs and NFs (SPs can't be bothered with text).

You'd better hope the two communities stay mostly separated, because if they don't, there will be war...
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:33 PM on July 6, 2010


If I think I can add a useful answer to an AskMe question, I will first check their profile to see if they are a mooch who only asks but never answers. A good answer to ask ratio is 10:1. If they are too moochie, I won't answer.

It's probably my own confirmation bias, but I feel like there's been a slight uptick in new users ruminating in Ask threads where they clearly don't have any good information about the subject at hand. This is far more annoying than a low answer to ask ratio.

I do think answer:ask should be nearly equal though- because I think showing up to thank people or even acknowledge that they read the thread is a responsibility of the OP. I always appreciate anyone who takes the time to post a followup in their own thread. I've only once passed up answering a question due to the ratio of answers or responses to questions, and it was because I recognized a user who had asked many questions and received many good and thoughtful answers in all of them, but never once came back to say 'thanks' or mark a best answer.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:38 AM on July 7, 2010


I also discovered AskMe through Lifehacker last year, and am slowly starting to use MeFi more, but still feel comfier in AskMe!
posted by ellieBOA at 3:08 AM on July 7, 2010


I do think answer:ask should be nearly equal though

Then you had better quickly ask 1,900 questions before giving another answer!
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:52 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Y'all should all get yer collective ass over to MeFi Music a lot more often. what I mean is, not just when someone posts something to MetaTalk about how there's some groovy track over there that you should check out. There's almost always something groovy over there, and it's often from people that you know already, from the blue. And/or the green. So give some of the tunes over there a spin, and try to make it part of your overall Metafilter experience, more often. You won't regret it.

That is all.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:31 AM on July 7, 2010


MeFi: 1 post , 132 comments
MetaTalk: 2 posts , 113 comments
Ask MeFi: 13 questions , 509 answers

Me, I read the grey pretty obsessively. For instance, I've favorited 365 comments in MeTa, compared to 363 on the blue and 103 on the green. I've favorited fewer MeTa posts: only 16, compared to 88 Ask posts and 59 blue posts. This is because I like to read arguments that are frequently interrupted with discussions of cilantro and bacon.

But yeah, I am far more likely to answer questions than I am to chime in during a debate, because I can answer a question once and then walk away from it. With Metafilter proper, I generally feel like I need to continue to follow the discussion carefully after I comment.
posted by brina at 9:19 AM on July 7, 2010


I read a lot but rarely comment. I've got ~115 comments on the grey/green/blue, but that's definitely not indicative of how much time I spend on here...I spend a lot of time browsing Ask and the blue, and I usually check MeTa once every few days. I almost feel uncomfortable commenting on MeFi sometimes. I don't feel that I have anything worthwhile to contribute to most of the discussions there, and the discussions that I can contribute to have some political undercurrent that I don't really want to get in to.

FWIW, I joined for Ask and didn't even look at MeFi/MeTa until about 6 months after I joined.
posted by kro at 9:49 PM on July 7, 2010


I mostly use AskMe for a couple of reasons. I find the personal questions fascinating, there is always so much great advice in the answers, and I've learned a ton of useful stuff about a number of other topics as well. Plus, I enjoy adding my two cents and, because answering most AskMe questions relies on life experience/incidental knowledge rather than being very knowledgeable about politics, sociology, pop culture and current events, I can often come up with an answer I'm not embarrassed to post (unlike commenting on MeFi where I often feel out of my element.)

I like the blue but I don't look at it as much as I'd like because my stupid work firewall blocks most of the links in the posts, so it's pretty useless to me during the day. By Saturday when I have time to look at it at home, there is so much there that I wind up just skimming for the most part and only opening the topics that really jump out at me as something I'd enjoy.

I don't use MeTa as much mainly because there are only a few posts per day and often about stuff I'm not especially interested in. I usually remember to click into it every couple of days or so, which means I'm generally a day late and a dollar short when adding my brilliant insight and wit to the fray (like now, for instance.)
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:06 AM on July 8, 2010


Then you had better quickly ask 1,900 questions before giving another answer!

Heh, you're right Jaltcoh, I totally suck at AskMe give and take.

I guess I'll be here asking questions for the next 36 years before I answer anymore.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:30 AM on July 8, 2010


I like AskMe because I miss the organizedhome.com and AOL GOAL/Systems & Planners boards terribly.

AskMe's a much safer way for me. If I got really involved in MeFi's politics and public policy threads, I'd flame out and melt down faster than you can say "banhammer."
posted by jgirl at 10:44 AM on July 8, 2010


Just chiming in that I basically never read the blue (I didn't even understand what it was about when I originally signed up), I just like to read and sometimes answer (and for the first time, today, to ask) questions on the green and read all the bitching on the grey :)
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:23 PM on July 12, 2010


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