Friend can't find button September 8, 2010 8:11 AM   Subscribe

A friend of mine has a really embarrassing question. My friend goes into his Mefi mail account and can't find the Compose button to send mefi mail. He's poked around and can't seem to figure it out. What a silly friend. Anyhow if there is someone who can help out my friend that would be great. My friend would really appreciate it.
posted by storybored to Etiquette/Policy at 8:11 AM (87 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

You have to go to the user page of the person to whom you want to send mail; there is a Send MeFi Mail link there.
posted by enn at 8:13 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your friend will want to go to the profile page of the person they wish to write to. Up in the top left corner of that page will be a "send Mefi Mail" link your friend can click.

Note that in the rare case that the person your friend wants to write to doesn't want your friend to write to them, your friend will not see that link but rather a message about being blocked.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:13 AM on September 8, 2010


Your friend can test this on one of the mods if your friend is concerned about maybe not being sure how to operate the MeFiMail Machine once your friend gets there.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:15 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


DTMFA.
posted by nomadicink at 8:15 AM on September 8, 2010 [52 favorites]


Your friend didn't even need to reveal the existence of the embarassing question to ask this.
posted by DU at 8:19 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh wait, THIS IS the really embarassing question. I see. Please apologize to your friend for me. But dress it up a little.
posted by DU at 8:19 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


If your friend has any contacts at the site (and they want to MeFi Mail a contact) they can also click the "Your Contacts" tab within MeFi Mail and click the envelope icon. That will start a new message to that contact.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:22 AM on September 8, 2010


I refuse to clutter up my favorites list with random DTMFAs, but damn, nomadicink, you made me laugh.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:25 AM on September 8, 2010


A friend of mine has a really embarrassing question.

It happens to all men at one time or another, and it's nothing to be worried about. Now, if you find it happening repeatedly, you may want to consider talking to your physician.

Er, I mean your friend may want to consider it.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:33 AM on September 8, 2010


Can we stop all this nonsense? About the friend? I'm going to say what everyone is thinking — your friend is kind of an ass. OK?
posted by Mister_A at 8:35 AM on September 8, 2010


Ach that was supposed to say, "...kind, like an ass."
posted by Mister_A at 8:36 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


All of that poking that your friend did? That's what caused the soreness. Try lube next time. Lube, lube, lube, and more lube.
posted by iconomy at 8:45 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Huh, I guess we should put a compose button in the mail app, it's kind of dumb without it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:47 AM on September 8, 2010 [23 favorites]


That is a good point.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:50 AM on September 8, 2010


They should really fix this so we can type in the recipient.

And they should also make it possible to CC: everybody else.

What could possibly go \/\/r0ng?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:50 AM on September 8, 2010


Huh, I guess we should put a compose button in the mail app, it's kind of dumb without it.

Question becomes what happens when someone hits "compose" and the site's response is "okay...to, uh, who?" I think not having an answer we were thrilled with on that front may have been part of why this hasn't happened before.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:53 AM on September 8, 2010


Huh, I guess we should put a compose button in the mail app, it's kind of dumb without it.

I've always wondered why there wasn't a compose button.
posted by morganannie at 8:54 AM on September 8, 2010


What happens when you try to compose to a) an invalid address b) someone who has MeFiMail disabled? Will you do a validation before someone types out the whole message? Possible, but sounds awkward.

I don't think it's broken the way it is now.
posted by Eideteker at 8:55 AM on September 8, 2010


Yeah, it could have a drop down menu, listing all your contacts for easy access and the drop down could be that javascript thing, so when you choose a name, it glows a fiery red and then when you hit send, the button transforms into a paper airplane and flies off into the horizon, shooting laser beams at spammers and a Morgan Freeman like voice booms from the speaker saying "Message sent" and the screen dissolves into a pile of ash that floats down to the next screen!

You can do that so it works in IE 6 too, right?
posted by nomadicink at 8:55 AM on September 8, 2010 [18 favorites]



Question becomes what happens when someone hits "compose" and the site's response is "okay...to, uh, who?" I think not having an answer we were thrilled with on that front may have been part of why this hasn't happened before.


I won't pretend to know how it works but when you go to compose a message on say, Flickr, once you begin to type your contact's name, it narrows down your contacts to people who fit the bill.
posted by morganannie at 8:56 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


On non-preview, pretty much what cortex said. Curse you, you sexy Albrecht-Dürer looking motherfucker.

Meanwhile, who (non-mod) has the most MeFiMail? Someone check the infodump then cross-reference by number of favorites received vs. a regression based on # of best answers can't we make this a contest pleeeease???
posted by Eideteker at 9:01 AM on September 8, 2010


a Morgan Freeman like voice booms from the speaker

Morgan Freeman doesn't really have a booming voice, though. There's a bit of boom in it, but it's mostly kind of nasal or adenoidal or something.

Best to stick with the standard James Earl Jones, I think.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:01 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Flickr Messages does have a free form To field, but you can only enter one of your contacts there. Enter anything else and the system can't send anything from that form. That's what we're trying to avoid. Browsing through the Your Contacts tab and clicking an icon is pretty quick.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:03 AM on September 8, 2010


Question becomes what happens when someone hits "compose" and the site's response is "okay...to, uh, who?" I think not having an answer we were thrilled with on that front may have been part of why this hasn't happened before.

Perhaps it could just pick a random user who has MeFi mail enabled? MeFiMail Roulette, so to speak.

More seriously, one thing I've found with UI design is that if there's an element people are really, really expecting to see, but that can't actually be made to work for some reason, putting the element there anyway and having it call up a little explanation of what to do is a good thing.

So in this case I think people are very used to seeing some kind of "compose e-mail" button on anything that looks remotely like an e-mail client. Having one that displays the instructions (go to the profile page of the recipient and click send from there) would help a lot of people, such as... uh... my friend who keeps momentarily forgetting this is how it works here.
posted by FishBike at 9:04 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


We could add a "Compose a Message" link within MeFi Mail that takes links to a page with instructions explaining all of this.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:05 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or, what FishBike just said.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:06 AM on September 8, 2010


Perhaps it could just pick a random user who has MeFi mail enabled? MeFiMail Roulette, so to speak.

This could be fun.
posted by inigo2 at 9:06 AM on September 8, 2010


More seriously, one thing I've found with UI design is that if there's an element people are really, really expecting to see, but that can't actually be made to work for some reason, putting the element there anyway and having it call up a little explanation of what to do is a good thing.

Yeah, and barring any satisfactory solution to a freeform field (and I'm really scraping to think what one would be that would be any less work than the current methods for writing a random mefite) that might be what we should do. It certainly has come up as a question before, it'd be good to have a "here's what to do" explanation right in place.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:07 AM on September 8, 2010


Or, what pb just said about what FishBike just said.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:07 AM on September 8, 2010


Here's the compose button: type in http://metafilter.com/username/username goes here into your browser, then click on send MeFi mail on their profile.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:08 AM on September 8, 2010


Question becomes what happens when someone hits "compose" and the site's response is "okay...to, uh, who?" I think not having an answer we were thrilled with on that front may have been part of why this hasn't happened before.

Simple solution:
It looks like you're writing a MeMail. 

Would you like help?

(•) Get Help Writing the MeMail

( ) Just Type the MeMail Without Help
Also, a cute, interactive site mascot would go a long way towards making this place seem more inviting to newbies.





A joke, a joke... put the bricks and pitchforks down....
posted by zarq at 9:09 AM on September 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I want to agree with cortex, but I'm afraid doing so will create some kind of universe-destroying vortex.
posted by FishBike at 9:10 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


That doesn't work for all usernames though, Rhomboid. Some people have characters in their username that don't work in URLs. In those cases, you get nothing. We don't use that /username/ shortcut anywhere on the site today, though we probably did at one time.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:11 AM on September 8, 2010


The Cortex Vortex?
posted by zarq at 9:12 AM on September 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Here's the compose button: type in http://metafilter.com/username/username goes here into your browser, then click on send MeFi mail on their profile.

That doesn't work for all user names though, does it? Like those with spaces, or... like how would I get NC(cent sign)'s profile that way?
posted by FishBike at 9:13 AM on September 8, 2010


Or, what pb just said.
posted by FishBike at 9:13 AM on September 8, 2010


There is way too much agreeing in this thread.
posted by Mister_A at 9:20 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


If every thread about favorites ends up with everyone who comments there getting at least 1 favorite, is everyone in this thread going to get a MeFiMail?


...


"Please don't do this."
posted by cortex, five minutes from now

posted by Eideteker at 9:21 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Cortex Vortex?

The Oregon Cortex.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:23 AM on September 8, 2010


There is way too much agreeing in this thread.

No there isn't.

Now look at my silly walk, I'm trying to get a grant.
posted by m@f at 9:25 AM on September 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I like the picture, but what does "LOCATION OF THE OU MYSTERY" mean? Is it some kind of whodoneit written as an LDAP query?
posted by FishBike at 9:26 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


mathowie: "Huh, I guess we should put a compose button in the mail app, it's kind of dumb without it."

jessamyn: "That is a good point."

Man, it's too bad this wasn't storyboard's question! Then he could claim credit for inspiring the addition of a cool and much-needed feature to MeMail, instead of his friend.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:27 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


It wouldn't be much of an Ou Mystery if the meaning was clear, now would it?
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:31 AM on September 8, 2010


Pony request: Couldn't we just add a bit of boilerplate to the inbox page that says something to the extent of "New messages may be sent via your recipient's profile page"
posted by schmod at 9:32 AM on September 8, 2010


"LOCATION OF THE OU MYSTERY"

It means they've cracked the kosher code.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:33 AM on September 8, 2010


> Is it some kind of whodoneit written as an LDAP query?

"A Group Policy...for murder."
posted by Burhanistan at 9:33 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Spaces work. The ¢ sign doesn't, but that's kind of the exception.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:34 AM on September 8, 2010


This reminds me of my sister in law, who did a six month training stint in emergency medicine in Brighton.

Like any emergency medicine unit, they deal with a lot of drunks, druggies, bizarre injuries and even more bizarre explanations.

Cue a quiet evening and a youngish chap comes in, slightly sheepishly. He starts on a longwinded explanation to the senior house officer about how his "father" is in the car and has had "an accident" which is "ahem, slightly embarrassing."

At which point the doc interrupted him with "OK, I get it. What's he got stuck up his arse then?"
posted by MuffinMan at 9:34 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Man, it's too bad this wasn't storyboard's question!

Hmm.

Storyboard is not storyboard but is actually storybored. Lots of mefite names are plays on words/puns/whatever, and they may be very similar to other user names. There are a couple or three "special k"s, for instance, with different uses of hyphens or capital letters and whatnot.

So if there's a general "compose mail" button, and you type in special-k rather than SpecialK...well, not the greatest tragedy, I guess. But having to go to a user's profile page in order to send them mail seems to avoid this possibility.
posted by rtha at 10:00 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rhaomi: "Man, it's too bad this wasn't storyboard's question! "

rtha: "Hmmm. Storyboard is not storyboard but is actually storybored. "

I typed it as "storeybored" at first, then thought, "wait, something's not right." Went back to the top, checked, and then carefully corrected the first half while dumbly "mis"-typing the second half.

Administrator, please help hope me!
posted by Rhaomi at 10:19 AM on September 8, 2010


At what point will I be able to send memails to all of my contacts simultaneously to tell them about the Red Lobster coupon that will pop up if you forward the message to 30 other users?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:37 AM on September 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


- All that poking your friend did?

- That is a good point.


I see what you did there.
posted by ostranenie at 10:40 AM on September 8, 2010


At what point...

How's never? Is never okay with you?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:42 AM on September 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


You could add a listbox that appears when you hit compose that is pre-populated with your contacts. You wouldn't be able to type in names, but it would be a quick route to me-mail people who you are connected to at least.
posted by TheBones at 10:46 AM on September 8, 2010


Your friend should have asked the question himself. All he would need to do is tell everyone he was asking for a friend!
posted by jasper411 at 10:53 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Needs more Reply All.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:56 AM on September 8, 2010


How's never? Is never okay with you?

All right now I'm totally not telling you how to register to get your free iPad after just filling out an easy survey.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:04 AM on September 8, 2010


This seems like a job for autocomplete. e.g.
posted by artlung at 11:10 AM on September 8, 2010


Huh, I guess we should put a compose button in the mail app, it's kind of dumb without it.

I was just noting that in the inbox view it doesn't link the usernames. You have to open a message to get a linked username.

A very small UI consistency pony.
posted by loquacious at 11:56 AM on September 8, 2010


A very small UI consistency pony.

True, but it's a trade-off here. Some would expect to read the message if they click the username in that context.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:59 AM on September 8, 2010


What if the text box for send to just sort of worked like Google suggest. We could use it to find out who the best mefites are that start with a letter by starting to type in the field.
posted by Pants! at 12:50 PM on September 8, 2010


Thank you my friends! I expect my friend will be suitably chastened and will write this down somewhere where she won't forget because it turns out my friend had previously used MeFi Mail before a year ago (or so she tells me) and had figured it out all by himself. Then after she couldn't figure it out this time, she thought there was some kind of unfriendly buggy thing when all the time it was him.
posted by storybored at 12:57 PM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Warning, the follow post contains blatant self-promotion and self-aggrandizing

For those of you who want to save time, I recommend my GreaseMonkey script, EasyMeMail, which puts a wee e-mail icon next to each user's name. Click on the wee icon to go straight to a "compose message" form for that user. Saves me loads of time, that's why I wrote it.
posted by Deathalicious at 1:04 PM on September 8, 2010


Pants!: "What if the text box for send to just sort of worked like Google suggest. We could use it to find out who the best mefites are that start with a letter by starting to type in the field."

List of Mefites suggested by Google in a search for "metafilter+[letter]":

abbat
fake
nickyskye
sixcolors

Last time I did something like this the roster included cortex, mutant, and nicwolff, but they seem to have dropped off since then.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:07 PM on September 8, 2010


I don't have anything to say about the compose button, but everyone in this thread is in such a good mood that it's genuinely creeping me out. Knock it off, all of you.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 1:11 PM on September 8, 2010


True, but it's a trade-off here. Some would expect to read the message if they click the username in that context.

NOBODY EXPECTS A METAFILTER PROFILE PAGE yeah I got nothing.

It could be two links - one to the profile and one for the message from the subject. No big deal, obviously, but I think it's the only part of the site where usernames aren't linked to profile pages - so I don't know why people would expect that behavior to change.
posted by loquacious at 1:35 PM on September 8, 2010


Thank you my friends! I expect my friend will be suitably chastened and will write this down somewhere where she won't forget because it turns out my friend had previously used MeFi Mail before a year ago (or so she tells me) and had figured it out all by himself. Then after she couldn't figure it out this time, she thought there was some kind of unfriendly buggy thing when all the time it was him.

Your friend sounds like they are confused about more than just the operation of MeFiMail.
posted by Electric Dragon at 1:43 PM on September 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't know why people would expect that behavior to change.

Yeah, I hear you. But years of using web based email clients have taught people that a row of messages like this takes you to the message when you click. So we have to work with both MeFi conventions and web messaging conventions on that page. To avoid any ambiguity we made the choice to delink the username so it's obvious where a click is going to take you. There are different rules at play on that particular page and that's probably why people are expecting a compose message option.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:44 PM on September 8, 2010


cortex: "Question becomes what happens when someone hits "compose" and the site's response is "okay...to, uh, who?""

Your friend, duh.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:11 PM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Huh, I guess we should put a compose button in the mail app, it's kind of dumb without it.

:sniff: (wipes tear)
I've never seen a pony born before.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:39 PM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


What happens when you try to compose to a) an invalid address b) someone who has MeFiMail disabled?

It posts as a comment in a random thread from at least two years ago.
posted by davejay at 2:40 PM on September 8, 2010


and gets marked as having been favorited by a random user
posted by davejay at 2:41 PM on September 8, 2010


Click on the wee icon to go straight to a "compose message" form for that user. Saves me loads of time, that's why I wrote it.
posted by Deathalicious at 1:04 PM on September 8 [+] [!]


Hey, by the way, installed it months ago, doesn't work for me. FF 3.6.3 on a Mac.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:37 PM on September 8, 2010


Also, a cute, interactive site mascot would go a long way towards making this place seem more inviting to newbies.

MIFFY.
posted by mendel at 4:44 PM on September 8, 2010


MyFry, the harcore tater.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:49 PM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


A refinement of iamkim's idea: Harcourt the Tater.
posted by Mister_A at 4:56 PM on September 8, 2010


I have a crazy friend who says it's wrong to send MeMails. Is he crazy?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:16 PM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


At which point the doc interrupted him with "OK, I get it. What's he got stuck up his arse then?"

I used to hem and haw about this sort of stuff, but it's happened so much that now they know me, and they know what I'm there for. Sometimes they're real jerks about it too. It doesn't matter why I had the sauce bottle in the shower with me! That's not fixing it! Do you ask the guy who just got his leg chopped off "Oh, well, what were you doing drunk and with an axe and pretending your leg was a little tree?" It's not helping! I'm going out for a smoke! Yeah, yeah, laugh it up, Nurse Ratched! You're the one who's going to have to yank it out!
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:17 PM on September 8, 2010


My friend had to look up "DTMFA" in the MeFi Wiki. How embarrassing for my friend.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:56 PM on September 8, 2010


> My friend had to look up "DTMFA"

I was recently at an IT conference where this company had a booth in the expo hall. It was impossible for me to not think DTMFA every time I walked by.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:59 PM on September 8, 2010


My friend was in a meeting with some telecom types, and when they kept using the acronym for dual-tone multi-frequency, he had a hard time not laughing.
posted by Gorgik at 10:16 PM on September 8, 2010


I love the DTMF button that pops up on my car stereo whenever my phone is connected over Bluetooth. Too bad it's *next to* the hang-up button and isn't the hang up button itself.
posted by ellenaim at 1:33 AM on September 9, 2010


pb: We don't use that /username/ shortcut anywhere on the site today, though we probably did at one time.

As far as I know /username/ was only ever linked to by the site in preview mode. It did this for years. I can't for the life of me remember why, or why it was created in the first place. I suspect it had something to do with usernumbers. Most everything weird about the old days has to do with people getting het up about usernumbers. Or paphnuty.
posted by Kattullus at 7:30 AM on September 9, 2010


I think preview was the holdout, as preview always is; that link style was by dim, dim recollection in use more generally on the site in the very early years. But I could just be dreaming that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:32 AM on September 9, 2010


paphnuty was a real whiner about his usernumber.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:42 AM on September 9, 2010


I have to admit, even though I bitched about pony requests in the recent "bloated software" thread, this IS something that has utterly stumped me in the past.

Luckily I had a memail to the person in my mailbox, so I was able to basically resurrect an old email thread. But if that hadn't been the case, I'm not sure I would ever have figured out what to do.
posted by ErikaB at 8:54 AM on September 9, 2010


davejay writes "It posts as a comment in a random thread from at least two years ago."

*Removes Email/MeFiMail access*
*waits two years*
*Starts emailing until he gets last comment in here*
posted by Mitheral at 9:04 AM on September 9, 2010


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