OMG N00BS. July 26, 2010 10:16 AM   Subscribe

There are a lot of new people on MetaFilter and I want to make a Welcome to MeFi page on the wiki. Can you help me out with some things you wished you'd known when you were new here?

I've been trying to update some pages on the MeFi Wiki and it seems like we don't have a "So you're new to MetaFilter...." page and I'd like to make one. Thinks like Recent Activity and My Ask and "What's the difference between best answer and the resolved tag?" may be old hat to a lot of us and totally brand new to others. I'd like to make a list of tips about how to use the site, things worth knowing, etc.

In my dream world we could put a link to this in a Welcome to MeFi email we send to new people so they can orient themselves as much as they see fit. The older MeFi gets, the less it resembles other sites on the web (in good and bad ways) and so I'd like to give people some idea of what they're getting into. Thanks!
posted by jessamyn to MetaFilter-Related at 10:16 AM (236 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

Recent activity and why it's awesome.
posted by Think_Long at 10:17 AM on July 26, 2010 [11 favorites]


The best way to structure a question to get people to read it and respond to it in a helpful manner. I have no idea what that method would be.
posted by Solomon at 10:18 AM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


The first thing I would tell a new person is to read the FAQ.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:18 AM on July 26, 2010


The existence of the wiki itself, for one thing. It's very hard to find (on the footer of the gray only, I believe). I assume that has something to do with it not being "official."

The FAQ, too, is kinda buried.
posted by jbickers at 10:21 AM on July 26, 2010 [11 favorites]


Anatomy of a Front Page Post. This should be a screenshot with arrows labeled "post" and "comment" and "flag" and "favorite" and "title" and "description" and all that.

COMMENTS ARE NOT "POSTS," PEOPLE
posted by Sys Rq at 10:22 AM on July 26, 2010 [10 favorites]


The Crunchland Method, or maybe a short four or five bulletpoint list summary.
posted by Plutor at 10:23 AM on July 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


I would make it really, really, really, really clear that a good post is not one that engenders discussion, but one with good links.
posted by Mister_A at 10:24 AM on July 26, 2010 [11 favorites]


Don't start a contentious MeTa thread if you don't have thick skin.
posted by gman at 10:25 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


How to quote so that people know what you are responding to.
posted by mkb at 10:25 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Spelling and grammar counts.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 10:27 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


How to quote so that people know what you are responding to.
Without using an @.
posted by Babblesort at 10:28 AM on July 26, 2010 [14 favorites]


> I would make it really, really, really, really clear that a good post is not one that engenders discussion, but one with good links.

And that more links does not equal a better post.
posted by languagehat at 10:28 AM on July 26, 2010 [12 favorites]


Before explaining what a good post looks like or pointing them to the FAQ or even before asking them what username they want and where to send their $5 we need this question in flashing bold big text:

DO YOU KNOW WHAT A 'HARDCORE TATER' MIGHT BE??
posted by DU at 10:29 AM on July 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


Never use the blink tag.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:29 AM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


The "personalities" of the different subsites (AskMe is strictly to give answers, while the Blue allows for more discussion of the topic(s) at hand, the Gray allows a little more grar but personal attacks and comment-history-digging aren't really looked upon with favor, etc.)
posted by runningwithscissors at 10:30 AM on July 26, 2010


COMMENTS ARE NOT "POSTS," PEOPLE

Hah, I've definitely been calling them posts without even thinking about it. I'll be sure to moderate my ways in future pos- er, comments.
posted by Think_Long at 10:30 AM on July 26, 2010


What it means to not moderate your own thread, and why it's a good idea to think at least twice before posting on a topic that's close to you.
posted by EvaDestruction at 10:31 AM on July 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Lemme see...

One of the distinguishing features of MetaFilter is that most thread participants generally try to stay civil and assume good faith and investment in the conversation from other participants. It's not universal and it doesn't always work out, but there are very few "scorched-earth" style commenters on MeFi.

The mods are more approachable and responsive than you might think.

Flagging works. Not everything you flag will be dealt with in the manner you'd like, but aggregate flags do attract mod attention, and prompt action.

Flagging a post you don't like is generally better than leaving a content-light complaint about the post in its thread. A substantiative comment about your issue with the post or its contents is always welcome.

If you can handle a minor bit of hackery, Firefox + Greasemonkey = about 90% of the things you kind of want out of MeFi that don't exist already.

If you can afford it (in terms of both time and money), sockpuppets are in many ways preferable to anonymous questions in AskMe. But shouldn't be used to sneak around the one-question-per-week rule.

Visit MetaTalk. Even if you're not interested in "how the sausage is made," it's a valuable look into why the site is the way it is.
posted by Shepherd at 10:31 AM on July 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Don't take it personal if:
1. Not many people respond to your FPP
2. People are snarky and dismissive in Metatalk
3. People don't read your entire AskMe question before answering
4. People don't favorite your witty comment
5. No one memails you
posted by desjardins at 10:31 AM on July 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Start by explaining the . so we don't have to have another MeTa about it.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:33 AM on July 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


As a tangent, if we don't already have a page on the wiki listing and linking the various greasemonkey and such scripts, that'd be nice to put together.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:35 AM on July 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Spelling and grammar counts.

LOL
posted by Mister_A at 10:38 AM on July 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


There is a very small Greasemonkey scripts page that someone could build out.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:38 AM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


An explanation of all the abbreviations (YANAL, etc.).
posted by Melismata at 10:39 AM on July 26, 2010 [11 favorites]


Start by explaining the . so we don't have to have another MeTa about it.

No! The . MeTas make life worth living.

It's like those comprehension tests in school where it says, "Read through all directions before you begin," and one of the directions is to stand up and say, "I have followed the directions to a T," and the last direction is to omit that one.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:40 AM on July 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


The hardest thing for me to learn and get used to had to do with the culture here.

I'm not sure the best way to address it, but I remember being really hurt or agro a few times in the beginning when people made snarky comments, until I got used to the style of commenting and interaction. So I think it's worth trying to draft something about the tone and style here.
posted by serazin at 10:40 AM on July 26, 2010


The Crunchland Method, or maybe a short four or five bulletpoint list summary.

I would strongly disagree as it makes a FPP seem like an exhausting homework assignment. If you're going to include it, it would be better to have several different styles of how to make a post.

Should also note who the mods are and that there's a contact link at the bottom of every page.
posted by new brand day at 10:40 AM on July 26, 2010


Come to meetups! It may seem strange to go meet a bunch of people from the internet, but I've never had a bad time at a meetup, and it's the fastest way to start to feel like you belong. We're a lot nicer in person than you might think.

What it means to not moderate your own thread, and why it's a good idea to think at least twice before posting on a topic that's close to you.

When you post on the blue, after hitting "post" go outside and walk around for an hour, then come back and read the comments to your post.

not like I obsessively hit "refresh" or anything, no, not me...
posted by ambrosia at 10:43 AM on July 26, 2010


Maybe find a nice way to express the ideas that:

A) there really is no noise here...meaning that each comment is usually relevant to something - if you don't know what something refers to, it is likely that you lack the background knowledge about the thread, the people involved, or the personalities that are discussing it. That's ok...it comes with time. Just be aware before you jump into the deep end. (And don't be afraid to ask what things are about either...I did that a lot in the beginning and people were really helpful)

B) A lot of us have come to know each other...either through site interaction or meetups. There's a lot of 'personality' and 'voice' that comes with each comment, and over time many of us are aware of others' sensitivities, interests, moods, etc. In other words, an objective literal read of a comment isn't always what's intended, and many of those who participate daily pick up on the finer nuances of what's being said (especially with regard to inside jokes and in-group knowledge, of which there are lots). This broader understanding of the community and participant behavior comes with time, too.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:45 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Something big that helps enforce the "guidelines not strict rules" thing that we have going here. Might cut down the number of pointless metatalk threads, anyhow.
posted by inigo2 at 10:46 AM on July 26, 2010


"Favourites" are for whatever the fuck you want to use them for.
posted by gman at 10:48 AM on July 26, 2010 [10 favorites]


Implementation would be interesting, but a quiz format has a certain appeal to me. Simply put, questions about various features, site customs, and the like could be answered on an individual basis. A user could rotate through questions you have yet to see or correctly answer. I wouldn't get crazy with the in-jokes but the knowing about HAMBURGER might help. Incorrect answers would have links to sections of the FAQ or relevant comments or posts of what have you. The probability that a question arises could be weighted in favor of the bits of knowledge the mods deem to be most important to know.

Users might optionally select to have on their profile how many questions they have correctly answered thus far.

As new features and subsites are launched, new questions could be inserted, just as they might arise when new customs develop.

This might be tedious to put into place, but it might also be rewarding.
posted by adipocere at 10:48 AM on July 26, 2010


Let new folks know it's okay to lurk.
posted by elmer benson at 10:49 AM on July 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


If you want to give people guidance with AskMe in particular, here are some suggestions:

Explain the basic difference between the heading, the intro, and the rest of the post. People need to know that the heading will be the first thing people see if they read AskMe in RSS (so don't make a junk heading that says, "I don't see the point of these stupid headings"), but anyone reading the homepage will see the intro portion first. That is, the intro text should stand alone without the heading, so don't make the heading "I'm looking for hotels in St. Louis" and then have the intro just say, "What are the best deals?"

If you have a question about a specific city, it's very useful to mention it in the intro. People who live there or know a lot about the city will be more likely to answer your question. (For instance, don't have the teaser just say, "I need advice about moving to a new city" and only reveal which city inside the post.)

Can you comment in your own question? If it's to respond to people's questions about your question, of course this is useful. And it's a very nice idea to let people know how you ended up solving your problem. But try to avoid getting into an extended back-and-forth or leaving a comment explaining why you disagree with the advice in each comment. Even if you strongly disagree with an answer to your question, never insult someone for trying to help you -- this will make a bad impression on everyone, not just the person you're disagreeing with.

Remember that if you post a question, you're asking for help from people who don't know anything about you. They don't know if you're a man or a woman, whether you live in the United States or Afghanistan, etc. Try to think if there's any useful background context about you or your situation that might be useful for someone to know in order to answer your question. If you're asking about a relationship, it's almost always relevant to mention how long you've been together.

You can ask about a tough personal situation you're in, but remember that simply describing your situation is probably not enough. It's worth looking over your post to see if there are any question marks -- if not, that's a sign that you haven't actually asked a question. However, if your only question at the end is along the lines of "Can anyone else relate to this?," you might want to think about whether you've asked a specific question.

Certain questions are frequently asked on AskMe. You're still allowed to ask such a question, and it probably won't be deleted, but it's worth checking first to see if an old thread gives you what you're looking for. At the very least, this could help you by letting you save a question, since you can ask only one every 7 days. It could also help you steer askers in the right direction if you say: "I have seen this very similar thread [link], but it's not quite what I'm looking for because ____."

AskMe has the highest standards for what counts as an acceptable comment. They should be honest attempts to help the OP, or else they're in danger of being deleted. In MeFi, random or jokey comments are allowed, though there are still standards and sometimes comments are deleted. The standards are lowest in MeTa, but you still shouldn't post comments that are offensive or violate people's privacy.

I also agree with jbickers: the existence of the FAQ and the Wiki are sufficiently obscure that our expectations for people to have actually read them have to be pretty low. (For instance, someone mentioned explaining the period -- well, it's in the FAQ, but people are clearly not reading that before they post to MeTa.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:51 AM on July 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Rather than trying to fit the entire Wiki on to one page (which won't be remembered), why not add some code to the site to avoid the problem. Examples:
  • Every comment consisting of a "." should get a link automatically added: (?)
  • Abbreviations should have the <abbr> tag added automatically. YMMV
  • There is no third bullet.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:52 AM on July 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Don't take it personal, especially if you're here under a fake name. You don't need to respond to everyone who disagrees with your comment.

On second thought, that one's more for me than for new members. Maybe I'll just write it on my keyboard.
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:52 AM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


People will misinterpret what you say and get mad. Don't try to solve this by being a dick back to them. Explain yourself.
posted by griphus at 10:53 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Etiquette/Policy on MeTa is a great place to get acquainted with the unwritten code of conduct everyone has grossly different ideas of and everyone else is constantly violating.
posted by griphus at 10:56 AM on July 26, 2010


1) Don't pollute the site with stupid or spammy or racist (or otherwise hateful) comments or posts. Come here intending to bring a bit more to the proceedings than in, say, YouTube comments or a chatty message board.

2) We don't need prompts to get discussion started. Please don't frame your posts as essay questions.

3) Make the content rich. Aim for a link (or batch of links) that people will get lost in for hours, or at least might. Similarly, aim for comments that will expand what people know or believe.

4) Nothing wrong with taking a breath, rereading, and editing before sending your comment or post.

5) This whole community is worth what people put into it. If you reach a little deeper you'll wind up adding something of value to your life. And no, it generally isn't as serious as I make it sound.
posted by argybarg at 10:59 AM on July 26, 2010


Oh, here's one more idea that's very often relevant to MeFi and AskMe:

This whole site is based on writing, and that has its pros and cons. Writing is great because it can help you organize your ideas better than when you're speaking, but it can also lead to misunderstandings that would be easier to avoid in a real conversation. Thus, if you're going to respond to someone else's comment, keep in mind that they might not have been perfectly clear in explaining what they mean. Oftentimes, a comment will be open to more than one interpretations. It can be tempting to interpret a comment to be saying something unreasonable so that you can criticize it. However, a more constructive approach is to go with the most reasonable interpretation of what someone is saying.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:00 AM on July 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Many moons ago, there was a slightly amusing MeFi comic with bears and whatnot...sort of in the style of elementary school tutorial comics.

Does that still live somewhere?
posted by kaseijin at 11:00 AM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Though, granted...references to quonsar are now mostly irrelevant.
posted by kaseijin at 11:00 AM on July 26, 2010


It's okay if you never make a post to the blue ever.

Don't post to MetaTalk without having lurked there for a while.
posted by grouse at 11:01 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I first stumbled onto Metafilter, it took me months to discover and then figure out the differences in purpose and usage between the blue, the green and the gray. Oh and also, to know what the heck people were talking about when they said "the blue", "the green", or "the grey".
posted by CrazyLemonade at 11:04 AM on July 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Before posting a non-anonymous question to Ask, remind yourself that some people will look through your posting history (or lack thereof). It's frowned upon to trawl through posting history for gotchas, but it can help answer some questions.

If you look through posting histories, it's not allowed to point out in Ask that someone doesn't contribute answers - no answers are required per question. This would be technically allowed in MeTa, but is frowned upon.
posted by Jorus at 11:05 AM on July 26, 2010


Er... gotchas never help, but reading posting history can possibly help.
posted by Jorus at 11:06 AM on July 26, 2010


Before you hit post, stop and consider what you have written.

Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Does it improve upon the silence?
posted by Elsa at 11:06 AM on July 26, 2010 [13 favorites]


If you want this choice position
Have a cheery disposition
Rosy cheeks, no warts!
Play games, all sort

You must be kind, you must be witty
Very sweet and fairly pretty
Take us on outings, give us treats
Sing songs, bring sweets

Never be cross or cruel
Never give us castor oil or gruel
Love us as a son and daughter
And never smell of barley water

If you won't scold and dominate us
We will never give you cause to hate us
We won't hide your spectacles
So you can't see
Put toads in your bed
Or pepper in your tea
Hurry, Nanny!
Many thanks
Sincerely,

Jane and Michael Banks:
Jane and Michael Banks.
posted by found missing at 11:07 AM on July 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


Oh and also, to know what the heck people were talking about when they said "the blue", "the green", or "the grey".

I also wonder if there are new users who immediately set their preferences to make the whole site black-on-white, giving them no reference point for what the blue/green/grey are.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:07 AM on July 26, 2010


The professional white theme includes coloured accents too. Grey, Green, and Blue still apply.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:09 AM on July 26, 2010


Er... gotchas never help, but reading posting history can possibly help.

Oh, I'm not so sure about that. I just wouldn't mention "gotchas" to the n00bs or anywhere on the site. They could be helpful, e.g. if someone asks a relationship question saying things are generally fine in their relationship except for some little problem, and then someone can point to earlier questions and say, "Wait a minute, if you're still in the same relationship, it sounds abusive -- things are not fine." But again, this is too much of a rarity to be worth mentioning.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:10 AM on July 26, 2010


The professional white theme includes coloured accents too. Grey, Green, and Blue still apply.

Well, it's easy to say the colors "still apply" when you're already familiar with them. But the only colored accents are in the "Meta" or "Ask" text in the logo at the top, and a single strip of color that people are likely to ignore. We can hardly assume that calling these sites "the blue," "the green" and "the grey" will be intuitive to everyone.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:12 AM on July 26, 2010


Your name automatically appears after your comments, so you don't have to sign your comments manually. If you do, people will make fun of you for it, quite possibly for years to come.

Todd Lokken
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:17 AM on July 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Evidently, MetaFilter is too complicated.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:22 AM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


A quick, one or two sentence explanation of the various parts of the site, something like this (feel free to edit this):


MetaFilter (started in 199, commonly called "Mefi"): Often considered the main page of the site, it's for making posts of about interesting links found on the web.

MetaTalk (launched in ???, known as "MeTa"): Metatalk is discussion about the site itself, including feature requests and post problems

AskMeFi (launched in ??, often called "AskMe"): This for asking questions that have concrete answers (sorry philosophy majors)


Mefi Projects (launched in ??, often called "???"):: Done something everything on the web? Make a post and let the community known!

Mefi Music (launched in ??, often called "???"):: For those who like to make and share their own music

MefiJobs (launched in ??, often called "???"):: Have a job for someone? Post the details and see what you get

MefiPodcast (launched in ??, often called "???"):: Where the mods highlight interesting stuff from the site every few weeks.

MeFiIRL (launched in ??, often called "???"):: Going somewhere and want to invite other Mefites* along?


* Put a something on the Wiki about the nickname for Metafilter members.
posted by new brand day at 11:23 AM on July 26, 2010


Anatomy of a Front Page Post.

This, with the helpful information that YOUR TITLE WILL NOT SHOW UP ON THE FRONT PAGE.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:26 AM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Evidently, MetaFilter is too complicated.

Nah it's just that some people are total assholes or play stupid games telling people how "the site" works when it's really how they'd like the site to work.

We'd like some objective-ish things we can tell people about so that if they're curious about how things function here, they've got a place to go. For better or worse, some people find this place a little daunting and/or intimidating. I've seen a lot of newer users in MeTa lately talking about how they don't quite understand things or older users talking about how they didn't know about features like Recent Activity or MyAsk until recently. So, I figured I'd have a place set up that would give users a primer on some of the getting started stuff.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:27 AM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


new brand day: "MetaFilter (started in 199, commonly called "Mefi")"

This place is older than I thought.
posted by Plutor at 11:28 AM on July 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Take that stuff under the edit boxes seriously:
Note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.
and
Note: Everyone needs a hug.
Both of which are more positive ways of saying don't be a dick. Talk about the post, argue points rather than people, and back off rather than attack. You don't need to be a dick, even when someone is a dick to you.
posted by pracowity at 11:28 AM on July 26, 2010


Plenty of MeFi comment threads are at least half noise in the form of usually lame attempts to be funny and people in MeTa are given a lot of rein to be assholes.
posted by ambient2 at 11:30 AM on July 26, 2010


It's okay if you never make a post to the blue ever.

Repeated for emphasis. Seriously, it's totally okay to just read, absorb and (hopefully) respond intelligently. I used to spend time--seriously--looking for excuses to make a front page post. As a result, most of them were complete fucking garbage piles that I regret ever bringing here, and is largely why I very rarely post to the front page any more.
posted by Skot at 11:32 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would say that it's important to note that we are really pretty n00b-friendly around here. I mean, we'll bit at someone for using that @username thing, or for otherwise violating site social norms, but those things aside everyone's comment is treated with equal weight whether they just signed up or have a <1000 userid.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:34 AM on July 26, 2010


A list of the names of the moderators would be helpful to a newcomer.
posted by ericb at 11:34 AM on July 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


Answers on AskMe need to answer the question. Comments on MetaFilter or MetaTalk... not so much.

I see that come up every now and then on MeTa when something gets deleted on AskMe - "Yeah but, someone said something that was a total derail over on The Blue and it wasn't deleted!" It kind of seems like the fact that there are different standards is intuitive, but not obvious.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:36 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also: There is no Caba... AUUUUUUUGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:36 AM on July 26, 2010


I've seen a lot of newer users in MeTa lately talking about how they don't quite understand things or older users talking about how they didn't know about features like Recent Activity or MyAsk until recently. So, I figured I'd have a place set up that would give users a primer on some of the getting started stuff.

The problem is that finding out about things like Recent Activity and MyAsk is usually a matter of haphazardly clicking around on various links in the header and footer of every page and then realizing that "Oh, hey, this thing exists." But how is the explanation for n00bs going to be presented, if not by having one more link in the header or footer of every page?
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:43 AM on July 26, 2010


This place is older than I thought.

Yeah, sorry that was the Before Cortex date.
posted by new brand day at 11:44 AM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Cabal is made up entirely of Candleja
posted by shakespeherian at 11:44 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe the list of "things that do not go well."
posted by cjorgensen at 11:44 AM on July 26, 2010


A list of the names of the moderators would be helpful to a newcomer.
-ericb

Repeated for emphasis. This seems like a pretty important thing for people to know.
posted by Mister_A at 11:49 AM on July 26, 2010


If you make a post revolving around how totally awesome something is, you're pretty much doing the "your favorite band sucks" rain dance.
posted by griphus at 11:51 AM on July 26, 2010


All newbies should learn the story of Paphnuty as a cautionary example of what not to do.
posted by grouse at 11:57 AM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


AskMe is more heavily moderated than Metafilter, which is more heavily moderated that MetaTalk, and why. I see "don't take it personally, Meta is more free-flowing than AskMe" often.
posted by mrmorgan at 11:58 AM on July 26, 2010


Nthing all suggestions concerning Meta Talk as a resource. I learned much about the site following a few long, contentious MeTas. It's like a crash course in Mefi culture.
posted by barrett caulk at 11:58 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kind of tangential, but is there a reason that the MeFi Wiki link is only at the bottom of MeTa, and not on MeFi proper or AskMe? I think it would be really helpful, especially since a lot of the newer members don't even visit the grey.
posted by specialagentwebb at 11:58 AM on July 26, 2010


jbickers: "The existence of the wiki itself, for one thing. It's very hard to find (on the footer of the gray only, I believe). I assume that has something to do with it not being "official."

The FAQ, too, is kinda buried.
"

Seconded.
posted by rhizome at 12:01 PM on July 26, 2010


new brand day: "MetaFilter (started in 199, commonly called "Mefi")"

This place is older than I thought.
posted by Plutor


Posting on stone tablets back then was a bitch.
posted by ShawnString at 12:01 PM on July 26, 2010


And of course, a mention of six colors.
posted by new brand day at 12:02 PM on July 26, 2010


Posting on stone tablets back then was a bitch.

BUT at least in those days we had the 300-year edit window. In some ways, we have regressed.
posted by Mister_A at 12:05 PM on July 26, 2010


So, I figured I'd have a place set up that would give users a primer on some of the getting started stuff.

I think that's an excellent idea. (No irony intended.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:08 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Recent Activity. I've been here for years and I JUST found that fucker.

Use Google (site:metafilter.com "keyword or domain of link you are posting") or Yahoo to double check it's not a double, because the MeFi double check is a suggestion.. not abolute. Damnit.

Links to the memes/declawed cats/palestine/etc.

Favorites are not bookmarks.

More direct link to the FAQ.

etc...
posted by cavalier at 12:08 PM on July 26, 2010


Things not to do (all of which I did or thought about doing):

1. Post something that is really just aimed at having people look, point and laugh.

2. Post with editorial comment. Posts with a neutral tone do best.

3. Link to anything before learning how to link.

4. Assume that the reflexively snarky comments at the start of a thread show which way it is headed.

5. Get into fights in the thread . . . instead flag it and move on (FIAMO), or ignore it, or put up a post in MetaTalk.

Things to do (which I have learned about over time):

1. Get familiar with some of the frequent MeFi comments and references -- plate of beans, hamburger, DTMFA, IANAL, YMMV, the . in obit threads, etc.

2. Look hard for prior questions on the topic on AskMeFi. Frame your question so that if you didn't know you, it would be answerable.

3. Check your spelling and grammar. The people on this site are quite literate.

4. Use the special form to contact moderators to fix typos or errors in your post -- use memail only for an emergency.

5. Use italics to show a quote, of someone else's comment or of content in a link. Use bold to emphasize. Don't do anything else, especially blink!

6. Add people you really appreciate or whose comments/posts you especially value as contacts.

7. Be aware you can talk about MeFi land on Twitter -- there are multiple MeFi lists there.

8. It's OK to chat. But do it on Meta Chat, which requires a separate registration, not so much here.

9. Be aware of the extra stuff like Projects, Music, and the podcast, too.
posted by bearwife at 12:09 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]




1) Try not to take it personally, where the value of "it" = anything ever. (Yeah, yeah, do what I say....)

2) What MetaTalk is, and why you might want to read it/post to it.

3) What AskMe is, and why you might want to use it, and that comments in an AskMe thread are for answering, not for discussing the question or judging the question/questioner. (Relatedly: "take it to MeTa" and what that means.)

4) What metachat.org is, and when you should use it. (I have been a member of MeFi for six years, and a lurker before that, and I only found out about Metachat this year.)

5) MetaFilter users generally expect a decent attempt at proper grammar and spelling. It's not Facebook, or online chat. You might get grief for errors, but see #1.

6) Maybe links to the most-often referred to threads? Or most well-known threads (which is not quite the same thing)

7) Explain Pepsi Blue, and then explain that a Pepsi Blue post will be deleted, though probably not before a lot of recipes are posted.

8) Rather than trying to explain all the in-jokes, link to that page that explains all (or most) of the in-jokes. Oh - hey - can we update the page that explains most of the in-jokes?
posted by tzikeh at 12:28 PM on July 26, 2010


Lurking on metatalk as a new user helped me immensely with community norms, what goes well and doesn't, what the mods are doing behind the scenes, etc. That said, directing an influx of new users to metatalk might cause somewhat of a ruckus.

List of the moderators names would be awesome.

Is there already stuff about the Great Boyzone Threads of 200whatever available on the wiki? (I was struck the other day by a commenter directing a new user to the Schroedinger's Rapist thread). Encouraging nonboyzonish participation is good, but so too is an example of how the community handles big long conversations across diversities of experience, and responds to requests for change from members and moderators. Maybe there's some other thread/topic that would work better, but it would be interesting for newbies to be able to see, "mefi news" of the last 6 months or so - what the big debates have been, changes to site policy, someone got spoused, etc.
posted by heyforfour at 12:30 PM on July 26, 2010


Oh, please explain the common method of linking to a previous comment in a thread.
posted by tzikeh at 12:30 PM on July 26, 2010


Related: I think somewhere on the wiki there's a timeline of major events (the opening/closing of memberships, I think the sexism threads are on there, loss of the img tag) - I think new members would find that handy for context.
posted by heyforfour at 12:31 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


All newbies should learn the story of Paphnuty as a cautionary example of what not to do.

OK, I've been here for a year and a half and I still have no fucking clue what this Paphnuty business is all about. Is it like some sort of proto-SixColors?
posted by Think_Long at 12:32 PM on July 26, 2010


Paphnuty's most egregious behavior was deleted, but you can rest assured that he wasn't here to make friends.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:34 PM on July 26, 2010


When (if) you make your FPP on the blue, leave the keyboard for at least an hour. Let the discussion start without you.
posted by never used baby shoes at 12:39 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Favorites are not bookmarks.

Huh?
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:40 PM on July 26, 2010


Twenty hour mando timed CBT; followed by a 125 question multiple choice quiz, 10 written answer questions, and a 2,000 word essay entitled "Why I Metafilter".

Award an hour of non-transferable college credit and a coupon for one free image post.
posted by buzzman at 12:46 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Related: I think somewhere on the wiki there's a timeline of major events (the opening/closing of memberships, I think the sexism threads are on there, loss of the img tag) - I think new members would find that handy for context.

Yeah, here's the timeline.

Many of them ("the toy broom... it vibrates?" "(NOT RACIST)" "supposed you killed somebody..." "HURF DURF BUTTER EATER") seem more likely to confuse than to inform new users.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:48 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


1. Get familiar with some of the frequent MeFi comments and references -- plate of beans, hamburger, DTMFA, IANAL, YMMV, the . in obit threads, etc.

This would be enormously helpful even to non-noobs. Problem is, once a usage gets explained and codified, it gets disdained and vanishes to be replaced by a new equally inscrutable usage. So, that's a catch-22.

The whole "explain to noobs the tone and style of mefi threads" is kind of pointless for reasons similar to the above. The only way to understand the feel of mefi is to experience it. Explaining it doesn't really tell you anything. "Snark happens here" could apply to hundreds if not thousands of internet communities.

A reminder of the "italics for quotes" thing could be helpful. I've noticed an increased number of comments with quotes that have neither quotation marks nor italics to distinguish them as quotes.
posted by blucevalo at 12:51 PM on July 26, 2010


I think several versions of "Intro to Metafilter" with different levels of detail could be nice. Sometimes when I try to explain this site to people, they just want to go and click and explore and interact. They kind of have trouble with how much of the site is text and they start to gloss over at first. They need the basic version, a short paragraph or bulleted list of the most important stuff. (For example, "Here is how to navigate the site. Don't self-link. Here is how to contact the mods. Here is where to find out more.")

Then, once they've poked around a bit they're ready to come back for "Intro to Metafilter 102".
posted by Secretariat at 12:57 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, I forgot this is for the wiki. I don't think my idea fits, because if you're overwhelmed with text a wiki isn't going to be any more appealing. I was thinking of something to include in the welcome email.
posted by Secretariat at 1:00 PM on July 26, 2010


> Paphnuty's most egregious behavior was deleted, but you can rest assured that he wasn't here to make friends.

That's easy to say about somebody locked in the cabal's deepest dungeon. We'll never know the true story of Paphnuty. And perhaps that's for the best.

> Favorites are not bookmarks.

Bosh, sir. I say bosh.
posted by languagehat at 1:01 PM on July 26, 2010


When (if) you make your FPP on the blue, leave the keyboard for at least an hour. Let the discussion start without you.

That seems kinda silly. I stay stick around for 15 minutes to see if there's something you missed or some link you can add, but otherwise yeah, don't self moderate.
posted by new brand day at 1:04 PM on July 26, 2010


Start by explaining the . so we don't have to have another MeTa about it.

This is in the FAQ.

A list of the names of the moderators would be helpful to a newcomer.

This is in the FAQ.

Explain Pepsi Blue, and then explain that a Pepsi Blue post will be deleted

This is in the FAQ.

Oh, please explain the common method of linking to a previous comment in a thread.

This is in the FAQ.

plate of beans, hamburger, DTMFA, IANAL, YMMV

This is in the FAQ (in the form of a link to the In Jokes wiki page.)

I'm all for helping out newbies but duplication of information is not the way to go. Pointing them to the FAQ (which could use more prominent linkage, yes) covers a lot of the things you all are suggesting.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:10 PM on July 26, 2010


1. Avoid subjects that provoke an emotional response. Avoid arguments and debates. Avoid contentious topics. They're the least interesting thing this site has to offer.
2. Go to meetups. It puts a human face to the site. You may also meet some really cool people.
3. Consider turning favorites off. You may not want to know how many favorites people get for things that you may not agree with.
4. Use the Professional White Background at work, because it makes it look like you're doing work.
5. People here have a real problem with pagination, and will complain about it even if the content is good. So link to a printer-friendly version of the article, and if none exists, consider not posting it (or at least giving a warning)
6. Metatalk is not always the best side of the community, and isn't really required reading.
7. Ask Metafilter is pretty much a completely different site than Metafilter, with different customs and rules, and a completely different mission. Don't expect what works on one site to work on the other site.
8. There's a really kinda awful pattern where one or two people will disagree with everyone in a thread and adopt a "take-on-all-comers" approach. When people do this, DO NOT GET INVOLVED. IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE.
9. Beware The Metafilter Effect.
10. Put a lot of thought into picking a username, because you will never be able to change it.
11. Don't name yourself after an unfortunate hairstyle that you will ultimately free yourself from. (see #10)
posted by Afroblanco at 1:11 PM on July 26, 2010


Something that I struggled to understand -- and that, for what I can tell, many other struggle to understand -- was how moderation works here. Specifically that it's a fuzzy mixture of "constitutional rules" and human interpretations of those rules. And the interpretations happen on a case-by-case basis. This means that, though the mods try to limit this, there WILL be cases where two very similar posts get different treatment. That's inevitable when you have new deliberations over each potential rule violation.

Metatalk has endless threads that take the form of "How come post A got deleted when similar post B is still live?" This is fine and healthy, but for a while I didn't understand that the moderators think of fuzziness as an asset.

By which I mean, I thought that the mods considered their jobs to be enforcing rules in a rigid way. I didn't realize that they think about things like mitigating circumstances. ("Yes, it's chatfilter, but by the time we caught it, it was 300-posts-long as people were really into it...")

My thick skull finally gets that if I think the mods let a rule-violation slip by, it might be because (a) they screwed up; (b) it's not actually a rule violation -- I'm just confused; or (c) they generally agree with the rule, but for various reasons they consciously decided to let it slide in this instance.

It's also useful to know that, in general, if it's a borderline-rule-breaking-case, the mods tend to side with letting the post live.

All of this is enacted by a small group of smart, well-intentioned people. But they are people. They make mistakes. And it's not a democracy. The mods are wonderful at listening to suggestions and taking them seriously, but in the end, they make the call.
posted by grumblebee at 1:13 PM on July 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's a really kinda awful pattern where one or two people will disagree with everyone in a thread and adopt a "take-on-all-comers" approach. When people do this, DO NOT GET INVOLVED. IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE.

Yes, we should strive for ideological uniformity at all costs.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:17 PM on July 26, 2010


Omnes relinquite spes, o vos intrantes.
posted by crunchland at 1:18 PM on July 26, 2010


When (if) you make your FPP on the blue, leave the keyboard for at least an hour. Let the discussion start without you.

I see nothing wrong with hanging around to clear up any misconceptions or what have you. Sticking around isn't the problem, excessive self moderation is the problem.
posted by new brand day at 1:27 PM on July 26, 2010


if I think the mods let a rule-violation slip by, it might be because (a) they screwed up; (b) it's not actually a rule violation -- I'm just confused; or (c) they generally agree with the rule, but for various reasons they consciously decided to let it slide in this instance.

(d) they're guidelines, not rules.
posted by inigo2 at 1:31 PM on July 26, 2010


Yes, we should strive for ideological uniformity at all costs.

That isn't what I'm talking about, and you know it.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:31 PM on July 26, 2010


Problem is, once a usage gets explained and codified, it gets disdained and vanishes to be replaced by a new equally inscrutable usage.

Well, MARNER my SILAS, GRANDFATHER JACKSON!

*snaps fingers behind back*
posted by Greg Nog at 1:32 PM on July 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Explaining to people how to make a nice link would be good. I keep seeing people write things like "Check out http://metatalk.metafilter.com/19620/OMG-N00BS" and that's just annoying.
posted by rtha at 1:34 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, we should strive for ideological uniformity at all costs.

That isn't what I'm talking about, and you know it.


The question isn't whether I know it. The question is whether n00bs (who are reading this in plain text, without having a background for the kinds of discussions you're talking about) know it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:38 PM on July 26, 2010


I wish I'd known more about threadshitting before I did it. I thought people presented a thing they thought was interesting then other people said what they thought about it, but some posts are more don't pee in my cornflakes stuff. Which is totally cool and I don't want to pee in people's cornflakes.

And I use favourites as bookmarks. Oops.
posted by shinybaum at 1:38 PM on July 26, 2010


Agreed rtha. Worse, I think those are people posting from their phones who just decide that it's too tough to make links [it is sort of a pain in the ass] but have to post anyhow. There are a few people who do that all the time, I should talk to them. And Rhomboid, I think it's a good idea to have a place to say "hey here are some things to do to get you started" and not just "hey read the faq" So while some of these suggestions are faq-like, others are more "hey you can find if MeFites live near you by adding location information to your profile" which is tips and things not in the FAQ.

I'd love it if someone could take a stab at making a "how to make a good AskMe post/comment" sections since I'd feel a bit too pedantic if I made them. This is what I have so far and I made the wiki front page a little clearer at the same time.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:41 PM on July 26, 2010


To be clear, I do think what you're talking about would promote ideological uniformity, which is a bad thing. In addition, we can't have guidelines on the site that say things like "don't get into debates" or "don't respond to people who disagree with most other people." Any kind of statement like that would be way, way too broad. Either people would ignore it or they'd be overly inhibited by it. You might have something more specific in mind, but you can't really pay every n00b a visit and explain things to them.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:41 PM on July 26, 2010


If you make a bad post on the blue, one or two people will snark, then it'll be deleted with a funny comment by cortex, no biggie. Repeat: a deletion is no biggie. Lots of great posters had lots of deleted posts.

On the other hand, if you make a bad post on MetaTalk, you'll be relentlessly mocked until you cry for mommy. Then you'll be tar and feathered. Then we'll come with torches and pitchforks. Then some mod will take pity on you and close the thread. But not before someone started a subthread of penis jokes.
posted by qvantamon at 1:43 PM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


In addition, we can't have guidelines on the site that say things like "don't get into debates" or "don't respond to people who disagree with most other people."

I think what he was going for was more "don't engage when people are going cuckoo nutso and being hyperresponsive in a thread", with the point-of-disagreement thing just framing for one common reason that seems to happen.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:45 PM on July 26, 2010


Repeat: a deletion is no biggie. Lots of great posters had lots of deleted posts.

Hm, I'd better clarify. Don't take deleted posts personally, everyone makes a substandard post once in a while. Nobody will think you're a bad person if one of your posts gets deleted. But it's no excuse to take a shotgun approach and make a bunch of shit posts to see what sticks. You should still only post if it seems like you have a quality post.
posted by qvantamon at 1:53 PM on July 26, 2010


Thank you cortex, that is exactly what I was trying to say. It's always painful to see somebody pick up the "defender of the faith" torch in a thread, and proceed to argue, point-for-point, with everyone else in the thread. That kind of thing almost always leads to flameouts or embarrassment.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:56 PM on July 26, 2010


Many moons ago, there was a slightly amusing MeFi comic with bears and whatnot...sort of in the style of elementary school tutorial comics.

Does that still live somewhere?


That would be fandango_matt's "Be Safe & Smart on Metafilter" - original post on the grey here.

A google search only turns up dead links for me. Here's the first panel, at least.

fandango_matt has been inactive since March 2008, so maybe there's a backstory there.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:06 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think what he was going for was more "don't engage when people are going cuckoo nutso and being hyperresponsive in a thread", with the point-of-disagreement thing just framing for one common reason that seems to happen.

Thank you cortex, that is exactly what I was trying to say. It's always painful to see somebody pick up the "defender of the faith" torch in a thread, and proceed to argue, point-for-point, with everyone else in the thread. That kind of thing almost always leads to flameouts or embarrassment.


Again, this is all way too vague and context-less to put in any kind of FAQ-like thing for n00bs. Debates are part of the site; we shouldn't tell people not to have debates.
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:06 PM on July 26, 2010


Here's an old mirror of the Metafilter Scout comic you're talking about.

Again, this is all way too vague and context-less to put in any kind of FAQ-like thing for n00bs. Debates are part of the site; we shouldn't tell people not to have debates.

A lot of what people are mentioning in this thread is too vague and context-less as stated. People are brainstorming. It's okay. Polishing all this up into a more organized document or set of documents on the wiki is kinda the whole idea.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:13 PM on July 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, MARNER my SILAS, GRANDFATHER JACKSON!

Streets ahead, dude, streets ahead.
posted by jbickers at 2:17 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


1) Observe the form of other member's comments to get a feel for general comment etiquette. Standards exist for a reason! For example: when responding to another comment, general etiquette is to quote the relevant section using italics, not to address other members using the @ symbol or the like.

2) SEE #1
posted by Justinian at 2:17 PM on July 26, 2010


Jaltcoh, there is a difference between a debate -- those are usually good -- and those weird fighty things that happen sometimes in threads. I think some people on MeFi can get pretty rough with noobies. Also, people who are newer sometimes feel an obligation to respond to comments better left alone or handled by others, and actually just FIAMO or ignoring or sending it to MeTa is often more effective. Also, I for one prefer threads on the blue that aren't utterly derailed by fightiness.
posted by bearwife at 2:21 PM on July 26, 2010


The Metafilter Scout comic is completely opposite of what you'd want to show a new user. It's just inside joke after inside joke.
posted by crunchland at 2:23 PM on July 26, 2010


those weird fighty things that happen sometimes in threads.

Just recently I dropped a note in-thread because a newer user was going off on that old "okay I disagree with you so I'm going to call you names and interrogate you and make you answer all my questions about why you believe this wrong thing" and got a little huffy when we said that's not really how we do things here. That may still be advanced MeFi stuff since I think most new users aren't showing up just to fight with people but they don't understand how to get twitter to show up on their profile or they may not even know what MeTa is. So a few pointers to parts of the site that you might not know are there are more important I think than This Is Our Culture stuff, though a certain amount of that may be okay.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:29 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it would be helpful to have both the FAQ and the link to the wiki page more prominently located.

As it stands, for me anyway, the FAQ link is easy to miss. And since it's positioned in the bar that changes depending on which part of the site I'm on, I'd assumed until now that it was 3 different sets of FAQs--one for each part of the site--and not a comprehensive long list that was relevant site-wide. I didn't even find the link until I'd already figured out the basics, and by then I figured it wouldn't be that helpful so I didn't bother to check the FAQ. That may just be the weird way my brain works though.

I also didn't find the link to the wiki page until I started reading this page and therefore started examining the site very carefully. The fact that MeFi has its own wikipedia page was not at all intuitive for me, because I don't usually think of websites as having their own wiki page. I kind of stumbled across it when I googled "plate of beans" to figure out what people meant, but it's not something I automatically went searching for.

(I also have trouble finding my way around the wiki page. How the heck do you get to the very useful page that jessamyn linked to from the main page?)
posted by colfax at 2:31 PM on July 26, 2010


We don't advertise it widely, but we are always on the lookout for ambitious & bright young graduates to join our team in Turkmenistan.

Preferences are for those with qualifications in rocket science, lasers, robotics or cephalopods. Experience with firearms & hands-on knowledge of heroin processing are a distinct advantage.
posted by the Cabal at 2:31 PM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have experience in training robotic cephalopods in laser-guided heroin processing. Do I qualify?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:34 PM on July 26, 2010


How the heck do you get to the very useful page that jessamyn linked to from the main page?

You don't, yet. While I'm putting it together I don't want a prominent main link. Wiki navigation is all built by the wiki-builders, so it can be a little all over the place. I'm trying to put like-with-like stuff together so hopefully more people can get some utility out of it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:36 PM on July 26, 2010


It's always painful to see somebody pick up the "defender of the faith" torch in a thread, and proceed to argue, point-for-point, with everyone else in the thread. That kind of thing almost always leads to flameouts or embarrassment.

A great indicator of this is when someone responds with four or five distinct answers directed to individual users. If you are trying to carry on multiple one-on-one debates in real time there's a good chance you are teetering on the brink of flipped out and lost it chasm.
posted by Babblesort at 2:37 PM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


On some areas of the site (like AskMe), [more inside] (and splitting the content accordingly) is your responsibility, and failure to do so will put the world's largest block of worthless text on the front page.

(technically you've already addressed this with instructions on the submission page, but I still wish I'd known it at the time.)
posted by davejay at 2:41 PM on July 26, 2010


The Metafilter Scout comic is exactly what you'd want to show a new user. It's funny, and the inside jokes imply that there's a learning curve -- and any venture worth joining has a learning curve.
posted by turducken at 2:44 PM on July 26, 2010


I would recommend to new users that they take their time getting to know the culture of this place before posting. There's no pressure to comment or post right away.

Spelling and grammar counts.

Seriously, this is something that does differentiate Mefi from many places on the web and it's something that, at least to me, is a really important element of Mefi culture.
posted by amro at 2:45 PM on July 26, 2010


I have experience in training robotic cephalopods in laser-guided heroin processing. Do I qualify?

We already have one of those, sorry.

However, we will keep your details on file in case a vacancy comes up. There is a high rate of churn, so to speak.
posted by the Cabal at 2:46 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


It does have a much fouler mouth than I remembered.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:46 PM on July 26, 2010


(Though I can't help but point out the improper grammar in the sentence I quoted.)
posted by amro at 2:46 PM on July 26, 2010


This, with the helpful information that YOUR TITLE WILL NOT SHOW UP ON THE FRONT PAGE.

And remind people to actually check the title before making that witty comment that's already in the title word for word yet will still get favorited ten times.
posted by Evilspork at 2:48 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


OMG N00BS.
posted by qvantamon at 2:51 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, a real one: In AskMe, please read the whole goddamn question, especially the [more inside] if it exists, especially especially if it's a recommendation thread. I literally burst into literal flames when someone recommends a movie or book to an OP who has specifically stated that they hate that movie or book.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:54 PM on July 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dude, that must be so ouchy!
posted by rtha at 2:56 PM on July 26, 2010


Two simple rules:

1.) This is a community, not unlike a family. People here honestly care about one another and that means something. Consider this in your interactions with site members; you will take away from this place what you put into it.

2.) Do not make eye contact with quin.
posted by quin at 2:57 PM on July 26, 2010


Self-favouriting is akin to masturbation.
posted by gman at 2:59 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


MetaTalk: teetering on the brink of flipped out and lost it chasm.

It's a disease. I'm seeking therapy AND taking vitamins.

posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:17 PM on July 26, 2010


Some subjects are like a hailstone sequence formula: no matter what specific input you give them and no matter how high they go, they eventually resolve to a certain endless cycle. A post about a tasering becomes a COPS BAD thread. A post about a specific incident in Israel/Palestine becomes an ISRAEL BAD thread. Etc. When a thread hits one of those loops, it's finished; don't waste more words in it.
posted by pracowity at 3:22 PM on July 26, 2010


Wait, we have to improve upon the silence now?
posted by everichon at 3:25 PM on July 26, 2010



Self-favouriting is akin to masturbation.
posted by gman


Don't we encourage people to masturbate?
posted by Night_owl at 3:54 PM on July 26, 2010


I don't expect this to show up on the FAQ, but this is as good a place to dump this as any: if you're contacting someone offsite (say, via Twitter or Gmail), include your mefi username so there's some context to the message.
posted by desjardins at 3:56 PM on July 26, 2010


Hi, new user! You may see some in-jokes on the site. After a while, you may think they're funny. Some of them still are!

You don't have to use them. It wasn't a test. Come on in.

Love,

old user
posted by Sallyfur at 4:28 PM on July 26, 2010


That may still be advanced MeFi stuff

Serious suggestion: Mefi 101. An online 20 minute class hosted by the mods (or advanced users) where new comers are taught a few basic things (recent activity, subsites etc) followed up by a short question and answer period.

No, I have no idea how any of this would be set up or if anyone has the time to do it.
posted by new brand day at 4:38 PM on July 26, 2010


A few more guidelines for AskMe:

- When writing a question, it's generally best to be very straightforward and descriptive. You don't need to spice up your post with jokes, allusions, or quirky language. Of course, there's no rule against humor, but the people trying to answer your question might have a hard time telling the difference between subtle humor and a serious part of the question. People can also be thrown off by odd word choice and might be distracted by trying to puzzle out your meaning. Instead of slyly hinting at your question with an if-you-know-what-I-mean wink, it's best to say what you mean. Other people are doing you a favor by giving you advice, so you want to make things as easy as possible for them by being clear.

- An AskMe thread is for the individual asking the question. You'll tend to get more useful answers by being clear about your specific needs rather than trying to phrase the question broadly enough to apply a wide audience. (Most questions are also useful to other people, but it's best to let this emerge naturally.)

- Don't "piggyback" on someone else's question by asking your own related question in the comments section. If someone else's question reminds you of a question of your own, post a new thread.
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:42 PM on July 26, 2010


After a while, you may think they're funny. Some of them still are!

Why lie to the poor bastards?
posted by Afroblanco at 4:47 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe they keep reading, hoping to find an example!
posted by Sallyfur at 4:48 PM on July 26, 2010



I think it's time that there was some formal recognition that, so far, I am winning Metafilter.
posted by Jofus at 4:51 PM on July 26, 2010


Winning Metafilter is like winning at the Special Olympics.

It means you're awesome & the very best in the world at what you've chosen to do.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:10 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, yes, there should be information about things like MyAsk! I've lurked for a year and been a member for almost 5 months. I've read through some of the wiki, and read both askmefi and metatalk A Lot - yet I had no idea about MyAsk until Jessamyn's comment above. I looked around for it earlier to find out what it was and didn't see it (because I was on the gray).

I just found it, and I finally understand why people were always talking about sidebars! I thought folks just meant the one on the metafilter front page!

Ah, already this Welcome page has helped one not-so-N00by n00b. Thank you!
posted by ldthomps at 5:58 PM on July 26, 2010


Maybe some reassurance that they are correct in their initial assumption that MeFi is pronounced MĒ-FĪ.

Otherwise someone might trick them into believing that Mə-FĒ is somehow acceptable.
posted by Babblesort at 6:21 PM on July 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


At this point, just give them a link to this post.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:35 PM on July 26, 2010


She did.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:38 PM on July 26, 2010


Why lie to the poor bastards?

Hey, I got a chuckle out of DU's Taters comment here.

Of course two minutes earlier I was making a Taters comment somewhere else, so it's probably pathological somehow.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:43 PM on July 26, 2010


You know, for all the scorn that I heap on MeFi in-jokes, Taters kinda grew on me.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:49 PM on July 26, 2010


I sent taters to my MeFi Mix Swap Group last year. Hardcore ones.
posted by Sallyfur at 6:53 PM on July 26, 2010


If taters are growing on you then you need to see a proctologist, or a urologist, or maybe a dominatrix. Or, maybe someone who is qualified in two or more of the aforementioned.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:57 PM on July 26, 2010


We should do away with the gendered "-trix" suffix, and just call them a tater dominator.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:00 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish I had known I would still be here nearly ten years later. (Ok, over 10. May 9, 2000, sez my old abandoned username.)

I might have been more careful not to say anything stupid.
posted by ctmf at 7:17 PM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd really like to know what happened to quansar.
posted by santaslittlehelper at 7:19 PM on July 26, 2010


I think we should stop keeping the senior member thing a secret. People just aren't catching on like they used to. Tell them that they are not allowed to make any suggestions regarding to the way the site guidelines work, how favorites work, or call the moderators censoring communists until they become a senior member.

Also you may as well go ahead and reveal that the only way to become a senior member is by vote of the 21 secret QC mods who grade on politeness and rationality.

Though, I guess if you still want to preserve the mystery so as not to ruin the AHA! moment for people, that would be cool, too.
posted by ctmf at 7:28 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just before the very first meetup I went to here in Toronto, I asked some dumb question about meetups, but I asked it in AskMe, I think even anonymously. I got to the meetup late and it turned out that mathowie was there. The evening progressed and at one point he described to the whole table how someone had asked this stupid question anonymously, laughing about it, and it was the dumb question I had asked. I was sitting right beside him as he looked at me, laughing, like "what an idiot, am I right?" and I was laughing right back at him agreeing, like "yes! that is indeed a loser!"
I really didn't know that it was any kind of wrong thing I did but that was my big wake-up call about SITE ETIQUETTE IS SERIOUS BUSINESS.
It was at the Black Bull on Queen St. but everyone at the table was drinking water while I was nervously chugging beer and after that exchange I went up to the bar and ordered my 4th or 5th pint. People may have even been knitting. And so I went home thinking, wow: angry nerds.
posted by chococat at 8:04 PM on July 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Everyone needs to understand that it isn't the total number of favorites you've accumulated that counts, but your favorite:comment ratio. A lot of beginners don't pick up on that for a while.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:11 PM on July 26, 2010


Taters!
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:18 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought Reagan taught us that favorite deficits don't matter?

I can't think of anything that hasn't already been mentioned. I checked the page out, it looks pretty good. Is the idea to point or redirect a new user to the page after they've completed the sign up?
posted by lysdexic at 8:20 PM on July 26, 2010


I think we should stop keeping the senior member thing a secret.

Rats. I meant to post that in the thread on the gold, not the grey.

posted by ctmf at 8:36 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


>Self-favouriting is akin to masturbation.

>>Don't we encourage people to masturbate?


Sure, but preferably not in public.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:50 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's why we self-favourite instead - eg when posting from work.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:53 PM on July 26, 2010


eyeballkid hates us all.
posted by yhbc at 9:06 PM on July 26, 2010


Read for a while - a long while - before you post anything, anywhere on the site. It was clear to me when I first encountered MeFi that this place had a very well-defined, long-term community which operated on a very well-established set of norms. Figuring out what those norms were took me quite some time. And many people might not even realize that there *are* norms to be figured out - which makes a lengthy "breaking-in" period all the more important.

Obviously, you can't force anyone to not just jump right in - even the one-week waiting period means you only have to wait a week, not read the site for a week. But it's a message still worth reinforcing.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:08 PM on July 26, 2010


The funny thing about MeFi is, a simple set of rules or guidelines don't really apply. I mean, don't we still have MetaTalk blowouts between experienced users over what's right and what isn't? I commented earlier, but thinking about it more, you might as well say "what are the things you wish you knew about high school before you started", because it's so fluid and organic and unquantifiable.

So really, beyond the basic hard rules, and an admonishment to be patience with others and with yourself until you get the swing of things, I wonder how effective this will all be. Be sure to track flameouts and deleted threads and general GRAR levels before and after posting the FAQ (I'm only being a wee bit facetious here.)
posted by davejay at 10:24 PM on July 26, 2010


...you can't force anyone to not just jump right in - even the one-week waiting period means you only have to wait a week, not read the site for a week. But it's a message still worth reinforcing.

Yeah, that was the sort of thing I was thinking about today. It often used to seem like some new guy would plunk down his $5 and just sort of jump into what they seemed to think was the fray with a bunch of lurker baggage, seemingly intent on making a splash and a name for themselves. I don't really know if that happens as much today as it's harder to keep track of new people but I think it's important to stress that it's better for everyone involved to just let the social/personality thing happen organically.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:58 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd have wanted to know who all the attractive or powerful people were so I could get right on sucking up.
posted by klangklangston at 11:22 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, it would be interesting to know who has the most contacts, just to get an idea of what passes for exemplary behavior around here.
posted by pracowity at 11:42 PM on July 26, 2010


contacts; pfft. that's no indicator of anything.

you really need to focus on spouses.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:52 PM on July 26, 2010


I love the graphic on the orientation page of the two backpackers running. I imagine that they've been out in the wild and they are racing back to their computers with grins of anticipation on their faces, eager to find out what they have missed.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:59 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I went ahead and rewrote the Greasemonkey Scripts wiki page to include a preview of the essential ones and rudimentary compatibility/installation information for the major browsers.

If anyone feels anything is missing or could be clearer, let me know or add it to the page.
posted by cgomez at 12:08 AM on July 27, 2010


I am newly signed up and I thank jessamyn for her thoughfulness. Thanks to all of you in this thread for your advice.

My only complaint is that I've been here for 4 whole days and nobody has enspoused me yet!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 12:24 AM on July 27, 2010


wow, humility in such a colourful & ostentatious species! you won't be left on the shelf for long!
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:59 AM on July 27, 2010


There's nothing humble about a nudibranch.
posted by pracowity at 2:00 AM on July 27, 2010


What about losing a contact? Is that personal?

*looks around with beady eyes under tear tipped lashes*
posted by infini at 2:57 AM on July 27, 2010


We don't do that "FRIST PSOT" thing here, or really anything that would be at home in YouTube comments. Offensive or grievous ad hominem attacks don't usually stand. A list of contentious topics that have been done to death and result in fights. That the site leans liberal and not-so-religious, and people are sometimes hostile to more conservative views. The existence of many Metafilter-centric userscripts. The importance of good tags.

Sorry if some of these have been said before; I'm on an iphone and can't easily search the thread.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 4:27 AM on July 27, 2010


That people with faulty arguments often blame metafilter for not being "welcome" or "friendly" when those faulty arguments are shot down.
posted by inigo2 at 5:50 AM on July 27, 2010


I would emphasize the things that are different on the Meef when compared to other message boards and online communities - things like "not referring to a user's old posts," not "outing" old users with new handles, and the infrequency of banning, were all (and still are) in stark contrast to the way I was used to things being done elsewhere.
posted by jtron at 6:07 AM on July 27, 2010


Where (not) to say hi.

I remember first signing up and wanting to be all like "Hey guys, I'm in the club now!" but there isn't really any good place to do that. Now I realize that that's probably by design. So I just put a little "Hi everyone" at the bottom of my first comment and dove in.

But it would have been nice to know that that was actually the right way to do it.
posted by 256 at 6:17 AM on July 27, 2010


I have a lovely set of lurker baggage, made of fine leatherette. This comment is to test my linking-to-other-comments-skills. Is there a "sandbox" in Metafilter somewhere, where newbies can practice things like quote-linking, or even practice creating a full post?

I am enjoying reading the FAQ and clicking through the links in this thread. I've been lurking for years, so I don't feel new, but I am very nervous about acutally posting stuff. And I'd like to attend a meet up, but I'm not sure of the protocol for that. Do y'all prefer to meet mostly older members at these things? Are newly minted members more out of place?
posted by santaslittlehelper at 6:22 AM on July 27, 2010


Sorry, I meant for the above to be a "these are things new people like me may want to know", not in a "please answer my question in this thread" kind of way.
posted by santaslittlehelper at 6:23 AM on July 27, 2010


We don't do that "FRIST PSOT" thing here, or really anything that would be at home in YouTube comments.

Except for "u r gay."
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:28 AM on July 27, 2010


> Do y'all prefer to meet mostly older members at these things? Are newly minted members more out of place?

No and no. It's natural to worry about that stuff, but trust me, there's absolutely no sense of rank at meetups. Everybody's glad to meet fellow MeFites.

Which is pronounced MEH-fites, because they are members of MEH-fee. Ah has spoken!
posted by languagehat at 6:57 AM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


People are even happy to meet lurkers and friends of MeFites!
posted by grouse at 7:00 AM on July 27, 2010


No and no. It's natural to worry about that stuff, but trust me, there's absolutely no sense of rank at meetups. Everybody's glad to meet fellow MeFites.

People are even happy to meet lurkers and friends of MeFites!


Yeah. Another thing is that if you've made even a single comment in the relevant MeTa or IRL thread, people will recognize your name from that. I think what generally happens is that people introduce themselves by their real name and their username ("I'm John -- Jaltcoh"), and there's probably going to be a brief recognition of "Oh, I've seen your username," and beyond that you're just normal people. And as others said, it's totally fine if your username isn't recognized or even if you don't have an account. (Hi, newbies and lurkers!)
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:06 AM on July 27, 2010


Do y'all prefer to meet mostly older members at these things? Are newly minted members more out of place?

Many of us are tired of each other's jokes and would love to meet someone else who has not heard our jokes yet. For the most part meetups are, like languagehat says, pretty rank-independent and a lot of times we barely talk about the site at all. However, please ignore languagehat's pronunciation advice, it is terrible.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:46 AM on July 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Don't drive like my brother!
posted by languagehat at 8:04 AM on July 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


I love the cartoon backpacking orientation people, so eager to explore MetaFilter.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:26 AM on July 27, 2010


For n00bs: languagehat is almost always right about anything related to language. Except for the pronunciation of "mefite." It is "mee-fite." In all other things he is a fine fellow.

And yes, we love to meet new mefites and friends and spouses of mefites who are not themselves mefites. The more the merrier.
posted by rtha at 8:51 AM on July 27, 2010



wow, humility in such a colourful & ostentatious species! you won't be left on the shelf for long!


O this fine morning I have three spouses (or spice)!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 8:53 AM on July 27, 2010


Actually, languagehat is almost always wrong about anything related to language. It's only the hats that he's decent at.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:53 AM on July 27, 2010


I love the cartoon backpacking orientation people, so eager to explore MetaFilter.

I like the GIF in the bottom corner where the MeFiHikers are desperately trying to saw their limbs off after being pinned beneath a boulder of asshattery.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:14 AM on July 27, 2010


> It's only the hats that he's decent at.

At last someone understands!
posted by languagehat at 9:24 AM on July 27, 2010


Now explain to me this fascination with the wide brim.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:32 AM on July 27, 2010


perhaps the "things to do on your first day" should including "get a feel for the place & its culture by reading, if you haven't already."
posted by epersonae at 9:37 AM on July 27, 2010


Now explain to me this fascination with the wide brim.

It's a corruption of the Early-Middle English phrase for 'oat receptacle', wylefærd brimley.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:11 AM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Three things to remember:

1. languagehat is spot on about the whole "meh-fite/mee-fite" thing.
2. Pants are optional at MetaFilter!
3. If you are writing about biochemistry, or aerospace engineering, be aware that there is probably at least one biochemist or aerospace engineer reading what you're writing. If they offer the benefit of their experience and insight, accept it graciously.
posted by Mister_A at 10:43 AM on July 27, 2010


The best introduction to MeFi is blurting out crap in a thread and getting cold stares in return.

Really. It teaches you something about shutting the hell up when you don't have anything useful to add.

(Not that it stops me. But it makes me feel like I ought to stop.)
posted by caution live frogs at 12:25 PM on July 27, 2010


*stares coldly at caution live frogs*
posted by mkb at 12:56 PM on July 27, 2010


*stares coldly at caution live frogs*

See, c'mon you can't say that with a straight face! I have a basic orientation page up now that is looking good to me. Anything majorly missing?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:10 PM on July 27, 2010


a humble nudibranch: "My only complaint is that I've been here for 4 whole days and nobody has enspoused me yet!"

Don't worry, ahn. Some of us are proud of our never-spoused status.

I have a tattoo of a nudibranch. Wonderful critters.
posted by QIbHom at 1:25 PM on July 27, 2010


Looks good.


Backpackers? Are they orienteering? Is that the point?


Coming in late to agree with suggesting kindly that noobs might want to lurk a bit before posting. There is a pretty distinct culture here and it takes a while to get a feel for it.

Todd Lokken
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:27 PM on July 27, 2010


Backpackers? Are they orienteering? Is that the point?

I always think of orientation as being a camp thing and they look like campers, plus I just liked the green and blue hats.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:41 PM on July 27, 2010


I disagree with the yellow background but otherwise right on.
posted by mkb at 1:43 PM on July 27, 2010


Anything majorly missing?

Perhaps link the mods' names to their profiles?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:51 PM on July 27, 2010


Done!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:01 PM on July 27, 2010


The page looks a bit confusing to me, with the various boxes scattered all over the place. Maybe list them (welcome, things to do, simple rules, quick links), with the hikers at the top? and put the yellow just behind the title of the section?

and make the logo bigger?
posted by new brand day at 2:06 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like the hikers.
posted by serazin at 2:08 PM on July 27, 2010


See if you can make the logo, you know, pop.
posted by Babblesort at 2:11 PM on July 27, 2010


needs more teal and orange.
posted by Justinian at 2:16 PM on July 27, 2010


There's only so much you can do with the wiki formatting; I'm not asking for opinions on graphic design and I don't understand jokes. So, if there is content that's missing, let me know, and feel free to twiddle the pixels yourself.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:21 PM on July 27, 2010


One of the things that kept me from linking to other users for so long was that the link button is tucked away in an individual user's profile screen. And it's called 'Add as a contact' rather than 'link'. So it might be worthwhile changing the phrasing of this line:

"Link to other users if you want to follow their contributions; ..."

to

"Add users as contacts if you want to follow their contributions; ..."

and hyperlink the first part to point to http://faq.metafilter.com/#60
posted by Hardcore Poser at 2:27 PM on July 27, 2010


In the MeFi lingo in-jokes section there is a link to an empty topic called 9622. Unless that's a joke that I just have no concept of it looks like a paste error?

I was just making a joke about the standard request made of graphic designers to make it pop.
posted by Babblesort at 2:29 PM on July 27, 2010


Is "Don't Be an Ass" just a rule for the N00BS? Because otherwise a lot of people are in trouble. It looks pretty good so far.

You should get The Whelk to draw you something mefi specific instead of the campers.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:40 PM on July 27, 2010


Setting your geographic location in your profile not only helps you find other MeFites and meetups near you, it also works in the Jobs section to find jobs near you.
posted by ambrosia at 2:50 PM on July 27, 2010


And those hikers totally look like something out of Schoolhouse Rock.

Not that that's a bad thing.
posted by ambrosia at 2:52 PM on July 27, 2010


Under Things to Do on Your First Day, it should mention listening to a Podcast, as it'll give another dimension to the vibe of the site (puts a human face on it) and points out some interesting links.

I'm not asking for opinions on graphic design

Just suggesting things to help organize content better, make it easier and more inviting to read. My bad.
posted by new brand day at 3:12 PM on July 27, 2010


9622
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:19 PM on July 27, 2010


Don't threadsit. Or threadshit.
posted by futureisunwritten at 3:45 PM on July 27, 2010


Anything majorly missing?

At the very bottom right, it says: "You can use MetaTalk to talk to the larger community about policy/etiquette topics." Maybe after the part about MetaTalk, there could also be a reference to the "flag it and move on" principle, and point out that the flag is the exclamation mark at the end of every post/comment? That exclamation mark is pretty inconspicuous, and it could help cut down on unnecessary MetaTalk callouts by new users.
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:55 PM on July 27, 2010


If you don't like a post, you don't have to say so.

If a post is about something you don't care for, you don't have to say so.
posted by Rinku at 8:37 PM on July 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


I wish I had known long ago that, if you comment at the very end of a very long thread, you are totally awesome.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:11 AM on July 28, 2010


Not if somebody else comments after you.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:22 AM on July 28, 2010


Or may have a habit of showing up at the tail ends of threads...
posted by infini at 4:59 AM on July 28, 2010


I came back to find the FAQ says "Favorites are bookmarks." Sorry, was not trying to be snarky, I genuinely don't grok that functionality, but I'll acquiesce to the site owners on that one.
posted by cavalier at 8:13 AM on July 28, 2010


When you view the 'About' page on an iPad you can't see the 'May 2010's GEL Conference' video.
posted by unliteral at 9:05 AM on July 28, 2010


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