Leave your issues at the door... September 11, 2010 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Can we have an AgonyFilter for certain categories of questions on AskMe?

An awful lot of questions posted here, by virtue of the fact that they are personal in nature, tend to be those without a particular "correct" answer or any one viable solution. For example the questions that go along the lines of "I feel so depressed since X happened, what can I do?" and "I'm still in love with my ex", "How do I improve my confidence?" and so on. It is of course my own personal opinion, but I'd far rather have questions like that separate from "How do I repair my car's radiator?", "What is a reasonable price to pay for X?" or "My computer won't boot." Questions that have a clear correct answer that the OP is just unable to find out for themselves.
posted by Biru to MetaFilter-Related at 11:05 AM (162 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Can't you just ignore them? A lot of us enjoy reading and sometimes answering personal or relationship themed questions.

I never read "how do I fix my car/PC/mac?" questions....and yet, I've never complained or even thought they made my AskMe-reading experience annoying.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 11:12 AM on September 11, 2010 [24 favorites]


You're saying that they should be removed from the main AskMe page?
posted by grouse at 11:12 AM on September 11, 2010


Can we have an AgonyFilter for certain categories of questions on AskMe?

The answer to your as-stated request is no. You can use the My Ask feature to eliminate the human relations category from the My Ask view of Ask MetaFilter which may solve your problem however.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:17 AM on September 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


CrazyLemonade - I'm asking for them to be moved as they essentially are "ChatFilter".

Grouse - Yes issues.metafilter.com or some such?
posted by Biru at 11:18 AM on September 11, 2010


jessamyn - Wasn't aware of that. Consider my mouth shut.
posted by Biru at 11:19 AM on September 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Many people like a cheap holiday in other people's misery.
posted by meehawl at 11:20 AM on September 11, 2010 [9 favorites]


You should log off the internet and go do some push ups and chin ups.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:24 AM on September 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Many people like a cheap holiday in other people's misery.

Many people like helping other people solve seemingly insurmountable problems with a swift and charitable application of "You know I was once in your shoes and here's something that worked for me."
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:25 AM on September 11, 2010 [89 favorites]


Believe it or not, there are often clear and correct answers for those personal questions, and the asker is not in a state to see those answers on their own. For example, the answer to "How do I improve my confidence?" is almost always "Restart in safe mode."
posted by katillathehun at 11:26 AM on September 11, 2010 [15 favorites]


I'm asking for them to be moved as they essentially are "ChatFilter".

I think you are misunderstanding what "chatfilter" is generally used to mean. It does not denote a question that may have multiple viable answers; it denotes a conversation topic masquerading as a question with no actual possible answer.

Or, to put it another way: The litmus test is not whether there is only one answer to the question; it's whether the question poses a problem that can be solved. Relationship problems do often have solutions, even if the solution is not as simple as "you need to change your oil" (though there are possibly relationship questions where that might indeed be the answer).
posted by scody at 11:27 AM on September 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


"I feel so depressed since X happened, what can I do?"
those are the questions that really matter, IMO.
posted by clavdivs at 11:34 AM on September 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


Consider my mouth shut.

But how will you breathe?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:34 AM on September 11, 2010 [58 favorites]


Too soon.
posted by nomadicink at 11:36 AM on September 11, 2010 [29 favorites]


You should log off the internet and go do some push ups and chin ups.

Grar. How'd you know I was neglecting exercise today? Fine.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:58 AM on September 11, 2010


You're not required to read every question. I avoid one that look like I wouldn't want to answer or read them.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:10 PM on September 11, 2010


> You're not required to read every question. I avoid one that look like I wouldn't want to answer or read them.

This bears repeating every time one of these AskMe callouts gets posted to MeTa. People might be confusing posting standards of MeFi with AskMe.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:12 PM on September 11, 2010


I'm asking for them to be moved as they essentially are "ChatFilter".

No, they are not. Chatfilter is "what's your favorite color."

There are a lot of suggestions for getting undepressed, over and ex, etc. These answers have real value.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:14 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some people just don't like reading other people's intensely personal problems in AskMe, hence the derisive term "AgonyFilter." And they'll keep making the oft-repeated complaint that relationship/personal questions are all "chatfilter" (for some unexplained reason). This indicates an overly narrow view of what AskMe is about. Scody is exactly right.
posted by John Cohen at 12:23 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Many people like helping other people solve seemingly insurmountable problems with a swift and charitable application of "You know I was once in your shoes and here's something that worked for me."

Yeah, exactly. It's not about the enjoyment of other people's misery, it's about some of us being able to listen to other people's problems without rolling our eyes or thinking "oh poor bastard".

I'm asking for them to be moved as they essentially are "ChatFilter".


That human relations questions generate a lot of long or "wordy" answers does not make them chatfilter.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 12:27 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Questions that have a clear correct answer that the OP is just unable to find out for themselves.

This is where this idea breaks down.

Who would put it in the AgonyFilter if not the OP? And if she can't see it belongs there how would this ever apply?
posted by cjorgensen at 12:36 PM on September 11, 2010


Could we not pile on quite so hard, here? It's not crazy to perceive a quality in some — certainly not all — human relations threads, particularly the overlong couldn't-you-find-a-church-door-to-nail-that-to kind, that on the blue would be called recreational outrage and sometimes deleted. Why this doesn't happen when it's "come hate on my SO/parent/friend/coworker" in AskMe rather than "come hate on this subject of a news story who did some terrible thing" on MeFi isn't really clear to me, and while of course it is the prerogative of the mods to have different standards for different parts of the site, I don't think it makes you a terrible person lacking in empathy for the questioners' pain to ask whether these questions are really productive.
posted by enn at 12:37 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had no idea my ask even existed. That makes the internet suddenly a lot less annoying, thanks.
posted by shinybaum at 12:46 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why this doesn't happen when it's "come hate on my SO/parent/friend/coworker" in AskMe rather than "come hate on this subject of a news story who did some terrible thing" on MeFi isn't really clear to me

I don't think that's a very worthy characterization of the vast majority of the human relations question people ask on the green. There will always be the problem of one-sidedness in question presentation and not all askers do a fantastic job of treating that difficulty with self-awareness and transparency, but people by and large do a decent job of it.

Beyond which, questions that are literally just rants or hate-ons get deleted; we don't have to remove a whole lot of this from the green, thankfully, but it does happen and it's pretty clear-cut not-okay stuff.

Stuff on the problematic border—legitimate-seeming request for help or understanding of a situation that also include what seems like over-the-top characterizations of some third party who's side we're not getting—are not great stuff and tend to present a challenge both in terms of moderation and in terms of individual mefites' reaction to the question's framing and to other respondents' reactions to same. But that's what flags and metatalk are for. We can usually talk productively about specific exceptional questions, whereas talking about subjective generalizations of whole swaths of questions is often not nearly so productive.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:46 PM on September 11, 2010


Moreover... "How do I get over my ex?" is asked 4.12 times per week.
posted by Biru at 12:47 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've seen pile-ons you people wouldn't believe. Ad hominem attacks off the shoulder of Obitfilter.
posted by katillathehun at 12:50 PM on September 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


enn, do you really think a MeTa thread (or even many MeTa threads) broadly complaining about relationship-filter or personal-problem-filter is going to change anything? I don't. "Broadly" is the operative word here. A complaint about a specific AskMe question might be productive. But starting a thread that's not about any question in particular just to say, "What's the deal with all these people whining about their personal life in AskMe?!" isn't going to change anything.
posted by John Cohen at 12:50 PM on September 11, 2010


Moreover... "How do I get over my ex?" is asked 4.12 times per week.

So does, "what App is best for....?"

Both are still questions with a real problem that can have solutions. Both not chatfilter.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 12:53 PM on September 11, 2010


Dear MeTa: Can you please make the site be only exactly what I want it to be and not have any questions or fpps or pony requests that aren't exactly what I like to read? Thanks!
posted by rtha at 12:54 PM on September 11, 2010 [11 favorites]


cortex, I didn't mean to imply that most human relations questions are like that. It is a minority that's maybe a little more visible than its numbers would merit because these questions tend to get many more comments and also to result in many more MeTa threads.

It's also not only cases where the poster is asking people to pile on a third party but also cases where the thread ends up being basically recreational outrage directed at the poster. Obviously it is not the poster's intention that this happen, but the end result is the same.

I'm sorry that this is so broad but I think that's really the only way it makes sense to talk about these questions. Many of the threads that come to mind have had their own MeTa threads so I'm reluctant to dredge them up again here. I also don't really mean to call out specifically the posters of these questions; it's the aggregate effect, on MetaTalk especially and also on the general tone of AskMe, that is frustrating to me, more than any individual problematic question.
posted by enn at 12:54 PM on September 11, 2010


Moreover... "How do I get over my ex?" is asked 4.12 times per week.

I agree with cortex. It would be nice if people who asked questions that were frequently posed in AskMe explained what did or did not work for them from the other dozens of similar questions which I would have hoped that they had glanced at. That said, if AskMe irritates you and bunches of people are saying that by and large it is working as it is supposed to, then your irritability with other people is really at the root of the problem.

And I don't mean this in a nyah nyah way, honestly. I, too, am irritable. However, I'm in a position here where if I bitch about all the things that irritate me, it makes me bad at my job so I don't. I counsciouly either let it go, or I grouch somewhere that is not my workplace. Obviously people who don't work here don't have the same sort of reasonging that I do, to not vent and complain here, but it might be something to keep in mind.

I said this in another thread, there are many things on this site, the internet generally and the world generally that make us feel strongly in various directions. I think it's good to have strong emotions, it's one of the ways that we know we are alive. That said, there can be a gap between having those strong emotions and immediately acting on them and with them. I think this is one of the ways we can tell that we are not bonobos or whatever. So, you can be irritated at an AskMe question and not jump right in with an irritable response. You can be angered at a puppy abuse discussion without jumping in and yelling at everyone in a way that 1) doesn't solve the problem and 2) is inexact and overbroad and winds up with people you agree with also getting yelled at which makes this place a worse place to be.

So I get that not everyone enjoys having this Meta "how do I present myself for the optimal effect?" conversation with themselves before they post here, but my feeling generally is that if you notice that someone ELSE is not doing this right [i.e. someone posts some long rant-y AskMe question about something going wrong in their life] it's a much more useful-to-the-site response to try to set aside whatever your own visceral reaction is and muster the composure to either answer in a way that is useful to the asker, or move on and do something else.

It's a general site policy that just because you do not like the way another user said something, that doesn't give you any sort of right to be terrible to them in return. Anyone who thinks so is welcome to think that in their own secret heart, but it doesn't reflect site policy or mod actions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:58 PM on September 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


A complaint about a specific AskMe question might be productive. But starting a thread that's not about any question in particular just to say, "What's the deal with all these people whining about their personal life in AskMe?!" isn't going to change anything.

I specifically didn't highlight anyone so as this isn't seen as a personal attack, or a reflection of my opinion of any one particular user.
posted by Biru at 12:58 PM on September 11, 2010


I completely understand how frustrating it can be to be confronted with the ugly, messy, clumsy attempts of strangers to understand, frame, and deal with their particular struggles. Asking for help can sound like complaining, and it takes more time for people to internalize advice relating to their social or psychological reality than we have internet-patience for. Why can't they just do the obviously better thing that nine people have told them to do? Why does it take them ten paragraphs to state their problem? Why do they make their problem sound so dramatic and terrible when it seems to simple to us? Are they just looking for an audience, or for approval, or to unburden themselves at our expense? Clutter! Clutter! Give me the questions that have an answer! It is so satisfying to have certainty, simplicity, clarity, to see immediate results, to be able to help directly, visibly, calmly.

I totally get that.

This is my heartfelt plea to everyone who feels this way: please reconsider. Please try to see these questions in a different light. The people who are asking these questions need help. For many of them, there are no good alternatives. There is no google search you can do when you are confused, ashamed, and sad that will help you the way that a community like this one can. There's no app for self-doubt and despair.

These questions are often phrased in such irritating ways because it's incredibly hard to have clear insight into your own problems in the same way that you can help others understand and see their issues. This community helps with that by isolating the "real question" from the mess and showing it to the asker. That helps.

People in distress are often unsure of what the best approach to take is, and feel frozen by the fear of taking the wrong step or doing the wrong thing. It often helps to, in effect, give them permission to do something they may already know they should do. It gives them the extra nudge that they need to be able to help themselves. We see fifty "see a therapist" answers and roll our eyes, but to the asker it's new and important and some of these people end up taking that advice. That helps.

Some people in difficult situations feel great shame despite being blameless. When members of the community share their similar experiences, they give the asker a kind of absolution. That helps.

I feel really strongly about this. I am incredibly frustrated by the resistance to questions you can choose to ignore, when many of these questions can result in real change for the better in the lives of many other people - not just the original asker, but others in like circumstances.

I do my share of anonymous asking of dramatic questions. I'm biased. I've asked anonymous questions when I felt intolerable sadness and fear. My questions were poorly written, fairly "dramatic," and all over the place. I can't begin to express my gratitude to the people who looked past that, had compassion for me, understood that I was groping in darkness, and reached out to give me help, hope, and friendship. Because of those people, in the last two years I have been able, after suffering for years, to deal with a debilitating physical condition. This community gave me the strength I needed to finally get serious help for my anxiety disorder. I realize this probably sounds cheesy. I just can't find the words I need when I feel this strongly. I used to spend the weekends crying in my rocking chair and feeling completely lost. I'm not a stupid person and I knew about the tools I am now using to help myself, but back then I just wasn't capable of formulating a plan or following through to take the necessary actions. I asked my long, whiny, confusing, messy questions and actually got the help I needed, and lately I have been happier than I can ever remember being.

Asking for help is so hard. It's hard to do well, and it's hard to do at all. So I guess I'm saying three things.

First, I hope that AskMe will never stop being a resource for people who need help, even when their problems are personal and messy.

Second, I hope that the people who are frustrated by these questions change their minds and express less anger toward the askers, because I worry that people will be discouraged from coming to us for help if this continues or escalates.

Third, from the bottom of my heart, to those of you who take the time to answer these questions - thank you. I don't have an emoticon for how I feel about you.
posted by prefpara at 1:00 PM on September 11, 2010 [86 favorites]


You can use the My Ask feature to eliminate the human relations category from the My Ask view of Ask MetaFilter which may solve your problem however.

Whoa...how do you do this? Can someone help me out, please?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:02 PM on September 11, 2010


Ckick all the other categories except human relations. I just tried it, it's joyful. Wow.
posted by shinybaum at 1:07 PM on September 11, 2010


shinybaum has it. Go here. Click all categories except the ones you don't like. Win. We should put this in the FAQ.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:08 PM on September 11, 2010


Whoa...how do you do this? Can someone help me out, please?

Maybe someone could make a video demo, for when this comes up again? It might be helpful to some folks.
posted by nomadicink at 1:08 PM on September 11, 2010


I specifically didn't highlight anyone so as this isn't seen as a personal attack, or a reflection of my opinion of any one particular user.

I understand your motivation to frame it that way, but this has the side effect of making your complaint so diffuse that it's not going to affect anything.
posted by John Cohen at 1:15 PM on September 11, 2010


this has the side effect of making your complaint so diffuse that it's not going to affect anything.

It wouldn't affect anything if his complaint were more specific either, so it's no big loss.
posted by grouse at 1:20 PM on September 11, 2010


It wouldn't affect anything if his complaint were more specific either, so it's no big loss.

Another side effect of making an extremely broad complaint is that there's no way to know if this is true.
posted by John Cohen at 1:34 PM on September 11, 2010


I have filtered out human relations from my MetaFilter.
I felt an electric shock when I clicked the checkbox.
I cannot explain what it was or remember what it was like to feel it.
But it is all very clear now.

Thank you for this service that you have provided.

posted by fleacircus at 2:35 PM on September 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


Amen.
posted by Biru at 2:38 PM on September 11, 2010


QED
posted by Biru at 3:12 PM on September 11, 2010


I thought you were filtering those out? Guess you'll have to add society & culture. People, they are so messy!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:14 PM on September 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Just avoid AskMe altogether, if it causes irritation. Or maybe see a doctor about that!
posted by rtha at 3:34 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, AskMe is a lot less whiny if you remove the Human Relations category. I suggest you change your bookmark to point to the My Ask page too.
posted by smackfu at 3:49 PM on September 11, 2010


Oh damn, I made a similar request in another meta for and opt-out mechanism because I stupidly thought myask operated via tags rather than categories and so wouldn't work without someone ensuring that all posts were accurately tagged.
I am simultaneously chagrined and happy.
posted by vapidave at 3:59 PM on September 11, 2010


BTW, sometimes I wish there was also a checkbox for anonymous posts. Those tend to cross over into this category no matter what they are actually categorized as.
posted by smackfu at 4:01 PM on September 11, 2010


posted by scody at 2:27 PM on September 11

HUZZAH!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:10 PM on September 11, 2010 [6 favorites]



Just avoid AskMe altogether, if it causes irritation. Or maybe see a doctor about that!

I stay out of AskMe cause I don't like being confronted with my profound and total ignorance at least once a day.
posted by The Whelk at 4:34 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Completely agree. Relationship questions are almost always chatfilter.


But apparently they are exempt from the rule.

Because people like to chat. And gawk. And commiserate.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:43 PM on September 11, 2010


As mentioned by someone above, there are certain types of questions I never read (and could never answer). For example, questions about cars. However, not having any use for these questions (or answers) takes nothing away from my experience, here. I simply gloss past such questions. I don't even register them enough to become annoyed. And I'd never complain about them because I know those questions must interest someone. My point is, I don't get how something you don't want to bother with at all (universal "you" = many people complain about relationship questions, here), that you can simply ignore, is also something you get to complain about and attempt to change?
posted by marimeko at 4:48 PM on September 11, 2010


Relationship questions are like car wrecks - it's hard to not rubberneck. I'm weak.
posted by vapidave at 5:16 PM on September 11, 2010


Can we have an AgonyFilter for certain categories of questions on AskMe?

Not to mention threads on Metatlk.
posted by jonmc at 5:25 PM on September 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Marimeko, by that logic we should have no rules whatsoever. You can also scroll past self-links, spam, offensive posts, chatfilter, help-me-kill-myself questions, etc.

More specifically, the prevalence of high-drama questions on AskMe means more angry MetaTalk threads and — it seems to me — a more judgmental and emotionally-fraught tone throughout the site.
posted by enn at 5:26 PM on September 11, 2010


I don't know what's going on with MeFi today, so I'll just blame the terrorists.
posted by 1000monkeys at 5:31 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Marimeko, by that logic we should have no rules whatsoever. You can also scroll past self-links, spam, offensive posts, chatfilter, help-me-kill-myself questions, etc.

More specifically, the prevalence of high-drama questions on AskMe means more angry MetaTalk threads and — it seems to me — a more judgmental and emotionally-fraught tone throughout the site.


If a high drama question meets the approval of the mods /standards of the site (enough to be allowed to stand as a question on the green), then, even though it doesn't please everyone, it has a right to be there. That is what I was talking about. My point was, if such you described really bothers you, then I have to assume (bad to assume, I know) that you also don't read it.

So, my question is (was): what's the problem?
posted by marimeko at 5:47 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't understand this question. If it meets the standards of the site, it will be allowed to stand, and if, not, it will be deleted. Obviously I'm arguing for a change in the standards of the site. I'm not trying to break into the server room and perform a guerilla deletion or something.
posted by enn at 5:57 PM on September 11, 2010


I don't understand this question. If it meets the standards of the site, it will be allowed to stand, and if, not, it will be deleted. Obviously I'm arguing for a change in the standards of the site. I'm not trying to break into the server room and perform a guerilla deletion or something.

Which is fine. My question was:

I don't get how something you don't want to bother with at all (universal "you" = many people complain about relationship questions, here), that you can simply ignore, is also something you get to complain about and attempt to change?


We simply have different questions.
posted by marimeko at 6:03 PM on September 11, 2010


I get to complain about it and attempt to change it because that is one of the things MetaTalk is for. The same reason you get to complain about my complaining about it instead of skipping past my comments.
posted by enn at 6:06 PM on September 11, 2010


We simply have different questions.
posted by marimeko at 6:14 PM on September 11, 2010


I'm offended by everything in this thread.
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:17 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find the "I'm still in love with my ex" questions more germane than the many, many questions wherein the correct answer is "just fucking google it" or "what, you've never heard of yelp/consumer reports/travel guidebooks?"
posted by Sara C. at 6:51 PM on September 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh for fuck's sake just skim the questions and don't click on the ones that annoy you. Good grief.
posted by desuetude at 7:01 PM on September 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


the many, many questions wherein the correct answer is "just fucking google it"

I asked the stupidest thing that was a total JFGI question, but I'd sincerely made an effort to google and just hadn't come up with the right combination of words. Also I had no idea there even was a Jewish film institute to go and look at so it didn't occur to me to find one.

Total unfamiliarity with the subject + confusing first google attempts = really good time to ask mefi, IMO. Even if the first answer I'd got turned out to be 'idiot, there's whole film archives out there, google them', that would have helped a lot.
posted by shinybaum at 7:05 PM on September 11, 2010 [2 favorites]



Can we have an AgonyFilter for certain categories of questions on AskMe?

Not to mention threads on Metatlk.

If there were to be granted an AgonyFilter for AskMe, then I would like to request an OutrageFilter for MeTalk.
posted by 1000monkeys at 7:12 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty much cool with it, because what is obvious to me is not obvious to everyone. And I'm sure there will be a time when I will have to post one of those sorts of questions. I probably already have. Not to mention that if I hate it so much, I can just not read AskMe.

I'm just less into the questions which are so cut and dry that the answer is "yelp" than I am into the complicated personal advice ones with lots of nuance and grey areas. Even if other people think they are unanswerable and therefore chatfilter.
posted by Sara C. at 7:12 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


The answer to a lot of human relations problems genuinely is hearing that other people have been there too and lived to tell the tale. When you've had your heart broken, it seems unique and special and it's hard to know what to do with your life. All these extraneous factors seem so important. So asking a bunch of disinterested people is really helpful. If the answer is "It's time to move on," they'll say it. Unlike your friends who don't want to hurt your feelings and will listen to you mope endlessly. Alternately, if the answer is "It's been three days! It's ok to be broken up about this," they'll say that instead of those jackasses who are your friends that won't listen to another word.

Some of you only want to hear about problems with a concrete simple answer. Turns out that most relationships between people are messy and hard. There are people here who like to help each other. Stop whining about it. Seriously. No one is making you answer or even read those questions. Have just a little bit more compassion about how genuinely difficult life is.
posted by stoneweaver at 7:18 PM on September 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


The thing is that AskMe is a question board, not a discussion board. If it's providing support and commiseration, that's pretty far afield of the original goals.
posted by smackfu at 8:10 PM on September 11, 2010


Jeez, have a heart. Who reads an agonized question posted by a person in obvious pain and looking for relief and thinks, "Gosh, I wish this person had not been allowed to post here."
posted by applemeat at 8:16 PM on September 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


If AskyMe answers were offering nothing but support and commiseration, without any good suggestions on how to make things better, that could be an issue. But I haven't seen this happen (and if it has, the mods seem to have taken care of it pretty quickly).
posted by maudlin at 8:18 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who reads an agonized question posted by a person in obvious pain and looking for relief and thinks, "Gosh, I wish this person had not been allowed to post here."

I hear you, but isn't that pretty much the point of this MetaTalk thread? With the suggested answer being, oh, well you can just hide them so you don't have to see them.
posted by smackfu at 8:22 PM on September 11, 2010


BTW, was AgonyFilter supposed to be actual agony, or was it like "agony aunt" aka Dear Abby?
posted by smackfu at 8:33 PM on September 11, 2010


I use MyAsk. I would love it if I didn't have to first go to Ask and then click on MyAsk. Can there either be a link up top to MyAsk from the other sites or can I set a default to go to MyAsk whenever I am logged in and click on the AskMe button up top?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:18 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's ask.metafilter.com, not answer.metafilter.com.

That means we favor questions over answers.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:41 PM on September 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


A modern day Ann Landers/Dear Abby (yes, I KNOW Abby's daughter is still running Dear Abby) is how I describe AskMe to non mefites.
posted by brujita at 10:32 PM on September 11, 2010


Metafilter: People whining about their personal life
posted by Duke999R at 10:46 PM on September 11, 2010


MetaTalk: People whining about people whining about their personal life :)
posted by anitanita at 12:09 AM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whinefilter. Better winefilter
posted by adamvasco at 12:41 AM on September 12, 2010


Jeez, have a heart. Who reads an agonized question posted by a person in obvious pain and looking for relief and thinks, "Gosh, I wish this person had not been allowed to post here."

It's not about having a heart. "How can I get over my ex?" is a question that seemingly gets asked here every few days, is invariably answered in the same wishy-washy (yet obvious) advice, then the needle returns to the start of the song and we all sing along like before. "How do I get over my ex?" should actually be in the FAQ.
posted by Biru at 3:11 AM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, a lot of the Pets & Animals questions have to do with crate-training a dog, or cat litterbox problems. To people who don't have/like/care about pets, these questions will seem repetitive queries invariably answered with the same advice, but people who are interested will care about reading the specifics of this particular crate/litterbox-training problem, and might have helpful tips if they've experienced something quite similar and successfully solved the problem. Anyone who doesn't want to see those questions can use MyAsk to eliminate the Pets & Animals category, but I would find it strange if they insisted that having a simple way to avoid those questions was not enough, and that they didn't want anyone else to see those questions either.

(And trust me, pet question answers can be just as judge-y, chatty, preachy, and issue-laden as relationship questions.)
posted by taz at 4:50 AM on September 12, 2010


Wait, there are non relationship drama AskMe questions? You'd never know it, judging by MetaTalk.
posted by Eideteker at 5:35 AM on September 12, 2010


Also, I love that you describe those sorts of questions as "agony" because that's how they make me feel, too. "Oh GOD, here we go again."
posted by Eideteker at 5:36 AM on September 12, 2010


(And trust me, pet question answers can be just as judge-y, chatty, preachy, and issue-laden as relationship questions.)

It's okay to love your pets, just don't looooove your pets.
posted by maudlin at 6:14 AM on September 12, 2010


Don't judge me!!!!
posted by taz at 7:25 AM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, I'm a bit gobsmacked that relationship questions are being considered chatfilter.

I was helped out immensely by askme when my relationship suddenly ended, both by looking at past questions and answers that were similar to mine, and by asking a more specific question.

Just the act of considering and typing up the question helped to clarify things in my mind, and yes, while askme maybe isn't meant to be a counselor, it can also be useful in that way.

Just knowing that there was someplace that I could get objective answers from people not biased for or against me counted for quite a bit, as did knowing what worked for other people who had gone through the same thing.

I sincerely don't understand why questions about relationships would be considered less valid than other non-pat-answer questions.
posted by newpotato at 9:41 AM on September 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


If the issue of shock/depression or other emotions after a breakup isn't that big, then the correct response to the question is "Man up!". If it is serious, they shouldn't be on AskMe and should be talking to a professional. There's no room for wishy-washy emotional blubbering and "Poor me" threads on AskMe. IMHO of course.
posted by Biru at 9:45 AM on September 12, 2010


If the issue of shock/depression or other emotions after a breakup isn't that big, then the correct response to the question is "Man up!".

The correct response to this assertion is "Have some fucking empathy!"
posted by grouse at 9:49 AM on September 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


If the issue of shock/depression or other emotions after a breakup isn't that big, then the correct response to the question is "Man up!".

You seem to not understand how AskMe works. You are more than welcome to not answer questions, of course, but your assertions are at odds with how the site actually does work and has worked for the past five years or so.

So, given that we've said "this is the site more or less working as intended" and given that there are multiple ways for you to solve this problem for yourself [MyAsk, some sort of Greasemonkey script, Big Blue Room, etc] it would be nice if you'd either have a conversation about how to make/keep the site useful to people who actually use it, or show some sort of awareness that while you'd like the site to be different that it is, it currently is not that way nor really moving in that direction. Continuous assertions about how the site "should" be don't really help anyone. I'm not sure why you keep making them.

"Man up!" responses will be deleted unless the question is some variant of "Should I man up?" So while those responses may be the correct response in your own mind, they're not okay for AskMe.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:56 AM on September 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


There's no room for wishy-washy emotional blubbering and "Poor me" threads on AskMe.

You appear to have confused AskMe with baseball.
posted by maudlin at 10:01 AM on September 12, 2010 [23 favorites]


If the issue of shock/depression or other emotions after a breakup isn't that big, then the correct response to the question is "Man up!". If it is serious, they shouldn't be on AskMe and should be talking to a professional. There's no room for wishy-washy emotional blubbering and "Poor me" threads on AskMe. IMHO of course.

Oh my god it's the secret of the universe! It IS totally black-and-white! It's like a math problem! SOLVED!

No, seriously, please ignore all relationshipfilter and don't answer any of them.
posted by desuetude at 10:01 AM on September 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


I judge you if you don't "looooove" your pets.

Also, if BigPharma ever finally wakes up and responds to such an obvious, literally crying need and markets a pill designed specifically to get you through a breakup, what would they call it, given that Exlax (interestingly, often one of the underlying metaphors [DTMFA]) is already taken?
posted by jamjam at 10:03 AM on September 12, 2010


Biru, you've already received a definitive answer to your "problem" of not wanting to exercise your own judgement over which questions to read on AskMe: MyAsk.

Why are you continuing with your wishy-washy emotional blubbering?

Man up!
posted by idiomatika at 10:14 AM on September 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


heh.
posted by taz at 10:19 AM on September 12, 2010


IMHO of course.

Yeah, I think we've had sufficient evidence on which to judge the humility of your opinion by this point. Of course.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 10:30 AM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the issue of shock/depression or other emotions after a breakup isn't that big, then the correct response to the question is "Man up!". If it is serious, they shouldn't be on AskMe and should be talking to a professional. There's no room for wishy-washy emotional blubbering and "Poor me" threads on AskMe. IMHO of course.

I think you should "man up" and admit you don't know what the hell you're talking about.
posted by nomadicink at 10:44 AM on September 12, 2010


"How do I get over my ex?" should actually be in the FAQ.

Okay, Biru's earned some perhaps well-earned suspicion and abuse in this thread, but this is a darned funny line. I almost snorted my coffee.
posted by philip-random at 10:49 AM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


> "How do I get over my ex?" should actually be in the FAQ.

Clearly that would be a one box flow chart: --> [MAN UP]
posted by Burhanistan at 10:52 AM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


If the issue of shock/depression or other emotions after a breakup isn't that big, then the correct response to the question is "Man up!". If it is serious, they shouldn't be on AskMe and should be talking to a professional. There's no room for wishy-washy emotional blubbering and "Poor me" threads on AskMe.

If the issue is that you don't know jack about mental health issues, and/or you lack the judgement to know when something isn't a big deal to someone else, the correct response is to stay the fuck out of the thread.

Now, seriously: If, in fact, the asker is facing a serious mental health crisis, a major part of that is that they don't always know how serious their mental health crisis is. Obviously (though, apparently, not to you) this is why people ask metafilter instead of going directly to their doctor: because they don't know.

Jesus but you're pissing me off. I'm gonna go make ready for the cookout we're having instead of risking a timeout.
posted by rtha at 11:22 AM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The correct response to this assertion is "Have some fucking empathy!"

Are You an Empath? How to Stop Being an Emotional Sponge (video).
posted by ericb at 11:46 AM on September 12, 2010


I went to that site and it just said 'yes'.
posted by empath at 11:51 AM on September 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Can we have a My Meta now, so I don't have to read any more of these irritating call outs and pony requests?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:52 AM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


My Meta sounds like a prize you win at an award show. Like "Oh that, yes I put my Metas on the shelf when someone visits but mostly I use them to hold open the door."
posted by The Whelk at 11:59 AM on September 12, 2010


I'm not getting angry at this MeTa because I know in my heart of hearts that the people posturing on here and acting as though they are in complete emotional control of their lives are anything but. They ignore the courage that it takes to write down your issue and post it on the internet in front of total strangers. And I have a not-small amount of secret glee because I know there will come a day when they create a sockpuppet account and come in here because their heart was just smashed to bits, nothing on AskMe seems to be about their special situation, and they honestly can't see one step in front of them. In that moment, they will be glad, and happy that relationship questions weren't banned from AskMe, despite their haughty, self-important distaste about them.
posted by micawber at 12:11 PM on September 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


I never read relationship questions, but i did once post one anonymously. Got a bunch of DTMFA answers, D'ed TMF the next day, and got on with my life. Believe it or not, it really is useful. Sometimes you don't want to ask your friends about stuff because it's embarrassing or you need to ask someone who doesn't know any of the people involved.

And it also really is the case that sometimes the answer is obvious to any impartial observer, and yet the person in the middle of the problem is completely unable to see it or doesn't want to believe it until they are told this by multiple third parties.
posted by empath at 12:18 PM on September 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


QED
posted by Biru at 3:12 PM on September 11 [+] [!]


I'd like to add my two cents here since Biru is actually targeting my post specifically, despite his claims as to respect for the anonymity of the target of his callous shit.

I cherish and utilize AskMe because it provides me with a service that I can't get anywhere else. Sometimes it really is as simple as when I asked for specific titles of stories about post-corporeality. Sometimes, however, it's because I need perspective or advice. If you've ever tried Googling "How do I know how I am?" then you already know that what you get is a lot of head-in-the-clouds self-help nonsense that really doesn't provide you with any workable material from which you can form a solution or plan of action. Therapy is expensive and limited, and most often only affords you sterile advice based more in theory than real-life experience. A friend of mine once said that "collaboration and communication are invaluable." This is how I view AskMe. And I know from experience that the other visitors abound in wisdom and experience and that their input is priceless. In 12 hours I received 40 genuinely helpful responses to a question that would have cost me weeks and hundreds upon hundreds of dollars trying to answer through therapy. The site exists to provide a self-less, constructive service and people should be free to use it to that end. The people of MeFi refer to themselves as a community. This implies empathy and service. Perhaps Biru and his ilk would be better off frequenting 4chan or Reddit.
posted by mediocritease at 12:39 PM on September 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think Man Up would have been a great name for an 80's boy band. Or a male escort service.
posted by not_on_display at 12:42 PM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Erectile enhancers.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:42 PM on September 12, 2010


It's a power-up in an alternate universe Super Mario Brothers man.

Very alternate.
posted by The Whelk at 12:44 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, the fact that 40+ people favorited my post even in spite of the fact that similar posts existed (although they were specific to the individual OP, hence my post), shows me that the other people in this community value the opportunity to help and seek help in personal matters via this site. So far it appears only one person has favorited this thread. I think that's telling of the general population of MeFi.
posted by mediocritease at 12:47 PM on September 12, 2010


Yeah, I was thinking it would pop out of my door frame if I jump up and head butt it.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:48 PM on September 12, 2010


And I know from experience that the other visitors abound in wisdom and experience and that their input is priceless.
You wrote a ramble of a question as one big block of text, babysat the hell out of your thread being fighty with people who didn't take your egocentric woe-is-me where-is-my-face i-am-not-egocentric assumptions at no-face value and rejected more than you took on board. That's hardly treating responses as "priceless", it's picking and choosing the things you like.

At first I thought you were just confused about the focus of your question, but as the thread wore on and you got arsier and arsier with respondents I realised that wasn't the case. When Biru posted this thread I immediately thought it was about yours.

As for those posting "don't click the ones that annoy you", that calls for the ability to see the future, doesn't it?

The front page question is "How do you come to know who you are?", which could have gone in all sorts of interesting ways, and seems well worth a click. But then once you're there and see well-meaning MeFites getting shot down and snarked at for being snobby or not taking the most delicate of gentle tones with a navel-gazing faceless t-shirt wearer who can't find the return key, it's hard not to get pissed off.
posted by bonaldi at 1:01 PM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I got snarky with ONE poster, and I admit it was a defense mechanism. I take issue with people being snotty with someone that genuinely wants advice. As for babysitting the thread, some users wanted a little more detail, some asked pointed questions. And ultimately, the one user I got snarky with ended up goading me into an insight that I may not have had amidst all of my "navel-gazing." Kindly get fucked.
posted by mediocritease at 1:12 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


If it pleases the court, part of my motivation for starting this thread is mirrored in this recent MetaTalk thread. Endless repetition of the same droll questions is eroding my soul. Can anyone seriously tell me that advice for dealing with a breakup differs materially from one thread to another? That there really is that magical snowflake factor in each and every question? Or, should these questions be judged by the same standards as every other? If it had already been answered, you shouldn't be asking again.
posted by Biru at 1:24 PM on September 12, 2010


> . Endless repetition of the same droll questions is eroding my soul. Can anyone seriously tell me that advice for dealing with a breakup differs materially from one thread to another? That there really is that magical snowflake factor in each and every question? Or, should these questions be judged by the same standards as every other? If it had already been answered, you shouldn't be asking again.

That's the part of your soul that needs to be worn away before you can wriggle through the portal into the next dimension anyway.

In case you didn't know, AskMe is not here for your entertainment, that's MeFi, one door down. The easiest remedy is DO NOT CLICK. Problem solved! Edit your own experience, etc.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:27 PM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


But I like AskMe. It's good to help folks. I just have little sympathy for those who want their own thread and the attention that goes with it when every single one of could find ten epic "My ex was my dad and an alien, what do I do?" threads.
posted by Biru at 1:30 PM on September 12, 2010


P.S. The missing word is "us".
posted by Biru at 1:31 PM on September 12, 2010


Clearly that would be a one box flow chart: --> [MAN UP]

boyzone.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:32 PM on September 12, 2010


Endless repetition of the same droll questions is eroding my soul.

And one of my pet hates is endless misuse of 'droll'.

The word means 'funny', although it's more often used ironically, as in "Oh, how very droll, now pass me another cucumber sandwich."
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:36 PM on September 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


If it had already been answered, you shouldn't be asking again.

Your own question has already been answered, definitively, by two moderators in this thread, so I'm not clear why you keep chiming in to re-ask it. A more dismissive person might even tell you to "man up" and get over it, but I think that would be rude.
posted by scody at 1:41 PM on September 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


I just have little sympathy for those who want their own thread and the attention that goes with it

What. That is exactly what ask metafilter is for.
posted by empath at 1:42 PM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, the irony of that is pretty thick since there have been about 500 metatalk posts about this very subject before, and the OP could have easily just read that, but he had to have his own metatalk thread about it.
posted by empath at 1:43 PM on September 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


Seriously, Biru. What happened to this?
posted by Roger Dodger at 1:50 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm browsing in that manner now, but it would be impolite of me to start a thread and not participate in it. Especially one as divisive as this. Can mods lock threads? I consider the matter closed.
posted by Biru at 2:16 PM on September 12, 2010


Endless repetition of the same droll questions is eroding my soul.

Then do something else with your spare time. We've tried to be constructive about this and given you some tools for avoiding the things that apparently most annoy you; if your position is that that is not enough, that in fact the site should change so that you don't have to, you are headed for disappointment.

Can anyone seriously tell me that advice for dealing with a breakup differs materially from one thread to another?

Different people asking different questions about different situations. Again: you do not have to read these. You do not have to like them. You do not have to imagine that you would yourself ever use askme for that kind of question. But they are part of how the site works, they are totally fine, and if that's a deal-breaker for you that's basically tough shit for you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:56 PM on September 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


it would be impolite of me to start a thread and not participate in it.

When your attitude drives the mods to finally start using profanity Biru, you're doing it wrong. I'm not a huge participant in this place, but I've been skimming daily for a decade and I have never seen that before here.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:08 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can anyone seriously tell me that advice for dealing with a breakup differs materially from one thread to another? That there really is that magical snowflake factor in each and every question?

Yes.
posted by John Cohen at 3:11 PM on September 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


Can anyone seriously tell me that advice for dealing with a breakup differs materially from one thread to another?

You can't seriously tell me that you think all break-ups, and the situations and emotions they cause, are exactly alike.

it would be impolite of me to start a thread and not participate in it.

I disagree. Feel free to stop commenting at any time.
posted by iconomy at 3:13 PM on September 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


When your attitude drives the mods to finally start using profanity Biru, you're doing it wrong. I'm not a huge participant in this place, but I've been skimming daily for a decade and I have never seen that before here.

Well, I have...
posted by John Cohen at 3:17 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, when I made that comment I was fairly sure ( and was sorta hopin' ) that someone would find and post something like that, John Cohen. Thanks for the laugh.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:30 PM on September 12, 2010


Yawn. Thread reached its conclusion a while ago. You're all outraged little snowflakes. I get it.
posted by Biru at 3:58 PM on September 12, 2010


I'm just waiting for True Blood to start myself.
posted by The Whelk at 4:04 PM on September 12, 2010


Even Mr. Spock grasped the concept of human emotions after Kirk explained it to him like 12 times.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:09 PM on September 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Cortex what is kiss?
posted by The Whelk at 4:13 PM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I get it.

Demonstrably, you don't.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:16 PM on September 12, 2010


Psst! WRT that snarky comment, some historical context.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:16 PM on September 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can see only one outraged little snowflake here.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:21 PM on September 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


I was thinking about posting something very similar to this. Not by way of an Agonyfilter, but just thinking these sort of questions are just something we can never be good at on Ask, and in a cold calculating, best practices thing for Matt, wondering a civil way out. From a creator/mod's POV, how do you keep a subsection of a great thing getting sucked into a hole from which there is no escape.

There are so many Ask successes it's awesome.

Tell me the name of this book/movie/story/song/how can I convert this to a Mac format etc. It warms my heart how fast the hive can solve a complete stranger's problem. In three minutes.

The "human relations" questions just seem unanswerable, beyond sort of holding someone's hand a bit, and reassuring them. I have done it, and will continue to. I will read a few, and realize there's not much I can add. If there is anything specific as far as local resources, Im all in.

I consider it like taxes, or karma. It's the price we pay for being a part of this incredible community. You either pay em or you dont. But in the end, it will all come back to visit you.
posted by timsteil at 4:26 PM on September 12, 2010


Kindly get fucked.

As much as many of us could use some kind fucking from time to time, please try to deal with the fact that some people didn't like your question without this sort of thing.

Our general feeling about AskMe is that you get what you pay for and if you're not happy with what you got, it's much nicer for everyone involved if you just say "huh" and move on [or flag it if it's breaking the guidelines] rather than getting shirty with other commenters. It's a mod headache when the people asking questions start getting snarky with the people answering them and while we didn't want to say anything in the original thread, it was a bit of a pain.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:29 PM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


it was a bit of a pain

I've been scolded! Honestly, though, this hasn't been lost on me. My behavior will be accordingly modified.
posted by mediocritease at 4:36 PM on September 12, 2010


Yawn. Thread reached its conclusion a while ago. You're all outraged little snowflakes. I get it.

How droll!
posted by desuetude at 4:38 PM on September 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


There are so many Ask successes it's awesome.

Tell me the name of this book/movie/story/song/how can I convert this to a Mac format etc. It warms my heart how fast the hive can solve a complete stranger's problem. In three minutes.

The "human relations" questions just seem unanswerable,


There are "AgonyFilter" success stories.
posted by John Cohen at 4:42 PM on September 12, 2010


And a lot of the success stories are in the answers themselves, mind you. Thirty people offering various stories about how they were once in the asker's shoes but are now better/happier/married/divorced/got treatment, and here's how they did it. Affirmation and encouragement are sometimes the only "right" answers.
posted by rtha at 5:09 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yawn. Thread reached its conclusion a while ago. You're all outraged little snowflakes. I get it.
posted by Biru

Seems probable that finishing first and losing interest while the person you're dealing with isn't quite done characterizes any number of your relationships, Biru.

The amazing thing about this thread is how seriously people here took you in the first place.

That, by contrast, is not a problem you're likely to have in the future.
posted by jamjam at 5:28 PM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, snap.
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:43 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Special snowflake?

WE GOT THAT D-ROLL
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:51 PM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Haha, I was just poking around on old human relations posts and accidentally found this.
posted by innocuous_sockpuppet at 7:05 PM on September 12, 2010


...finishing first and losing interest while the person you're dealing with isn't quite done...

Turn your key, MetaFilter. TURN YOUR KEY!
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 7:19 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love MetaFilter, and I think AskMe is awesome. I have participated in some relationship questions, and I always get a lot out of it myself. I am so pleased to see these comments:
newpotato: I sincerely don't understand why questions about relationships would be considered less valid than other non-pat-answer questions.

empath: And it also really is the case that sometimes the answer is obvious to any impartial observer, and yet the person in the middle of the problem is completely unable to see it or doesn't want to believe it until they are told this by multiple third parties.

Rtha: Affirmation and encouragement are sometimes the only "right" answers.
Whether the critics can see any of the positive aspects of questions they see as "whining" or "agonyfilter" is an open question. I think it's possible they really don't see the value, any value, in relationship questions, because they see relationship stuff as not an appropriate use of the internet. "Drama queens" or "people who want attention" only do that. Why on earth would I share my "feelings" on the internet, there's no good that can come of that, these people are idiots to entrust themselves to the hive for that. And you would have a good point if this were some other less hospitable place. But it speaks to the humanity of MetaFilter that it can support these questions, however imperfectly, and support them pretty well. There's a fair number of very smart, literate, empathetic people here, and it's to the good. There's no need to understand everything on the MefiSites to enjoy it. One of the true joys of this site is that not everyone is like me. We're not maximally heterogeneous, but we're certainly not as homogenous as most websites.

Also, if we could force anyone posting a MetaTalk thread with the tag "AskMe" to re-read My Ask Metafilter question was removed as chatfilter. What does that mean? (which contains a nice terse explanation of what AskMe is not for), that would be a pony I'd like to see. If not, it's cool. I'll feel free to say again in some future thread how cool AskMe is, and how much I appreciate it. 'Cause even if some questions annoy me, I see that the management has a clear idea of what AskMe's about, and the damn thing works better than nearly anywhere else on the internet where I can ask a question and get a real answer.
posted by artlung at 8:50 PM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Endless repetition of the same droll questions is eroding my soul.

DTMFAskme!
posted by CrazyLemonade at 8:55 PM on September 12, 2010


Can we revert to the French spelling of drôle, please? I mean, if you're going to use a word like that, you might as well go full-on Frasier Crane, y'know?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:20 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


d'accord.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:28 PM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


jessamyn: It would be nice if people who asked questions that were frequently posed in AskMe explained what did or did not work for them from the other dozens of similar questions which I would have hoped that they had glanced at.

I second this request. I think AskMe are more interesting and that the responses are more useful when people can say "I realize that the conventional answer to this problem is ____, but my difficulty with that is _____. How do I take the next step?"

That said, if I had not read Ask for years, I wouldn't know the conventional answers or even good search terms. I have asked stunningly generic computer questions. It was like my Special Snowflake hard drive moment; "Why search the archives? This is such a rare and unique situation (in my own life at least)." So if the people who answered my novice hard drive question (or anyone else) asks a question that seems repetitive to me, that's fair. But it's true: just like with hard drives, many similar situations have been addressed here before. The more people can move the question beyond the basics by looking through the archives ("yes, i rebooted; yes, i tried clearly stating what I really wanted"), the better the advice will likely be.
posted by salvia at 7:52 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, the fact that 40+ people favorited my post even in spite of the fact that similar posts existed (although they were specific to the individual OP, hence my post), shows me that the other people in this community value the opportunity to help and seek help in personal matters via this site. So far it appears only one person has favorited this thread. I think that's telling of the general population of MeFi.

This is neither here nor there, but people use favorites for lots of different things and I find it annoying when people remark on them in this type of scorekeeping way.

I favorited this post because I wanted to follow the thread in Recent Activity, not because I agree with its sentiments. Actually, I happen to enjoy many relationship questions. And now I am off to unfavorite this post because, having commented, it will show up in Recent Activity anyway.
posted by lalex at 11:57 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I never get requests like this or just the general viewpoint on life that brings them about.

I mean I really have no interest in most things. I don't have much interest in most people. I only want three kinds of drinks that Starbucks sells (four at Christmas), but I don't go around saying, "why does starbucks have drip coffee? drip coffee is disgusting, why would you ever want to drink non espresso beverages without lots of milk and sugar in them. They don't taste good without the milk and sugar and anything but espresso is really gross tasting. Why would anyone pay money for that crap? I mean I guess if it's free and that's all that's available at some hotel continental breakfast ok, but not at Starbucks. Can we put all the drip coffee in another adjacent store called Sucksbucks so I don't have to see it cluttering up the menu and distracting me from my three or four beverages of choice?"

It's also funny because I think I like human relations questions precisely because there is often no one clear answer. Questions with clear, simple answers are painfully boring (not that they aren't useful, but I have no interest in reading them like I do a magazine article). Human relations questions are complex and nuanced. There are always multiple unknowns and things to consider. And then everyone brings a different viewpoint and consideration to their answer. Not to mention their own personal baggage that colors their view. It's very interesting. And while there are certainly commonalities, no one is the same. I find people so much more interesting than a question about syncing your ipod with your computer.

That is the conclusion of my dual statement in support of the Human Relations section of Askme and in opposition to drip coffee in general.
posted by whoaali at 3:03 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


To follow your analogy, I would say "I'd hate to be a Starbucks employee who was asked by every customer "Do you do decaf?" when we had no less than sixteen large and prominent "We do decaf lol!" posters around the rather small store, and I wad wearing a badge that read "Yes! We can do decaf!"
posted by Biru at 4:45 PM on September 14, 2010


*was. Srsly. Must the iPhone autoincorrect everything?
posted by Biru at 4:46 PM on September 14, 2010


AgonyFilter? You mean the site moderated by Cortex's evil twin, who is actually cleanshaven? And how does this fit in to MegaFiller?

That said, I do think we need an evil, obnoxious site to send bad users to when it is necessary to suspend them. Preferably with blood red text on a garish yellow background, with tons of seizuriffic flashing gifs. Oooh, and 3500hz square wave "music."
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:34 AM on September 15, 2010


BIZZAROFILTER WANTS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS.
posted by The Whelk at 11:48 AM on September 15, 2010


I rather have "I'm having a shit day, month, life and I need a sincere hug" filter.

But that's just me and my 2,000 posts.
posted by stormpooper at 6:32 PM on September 15, 2010


Hi Biru. I don't know if you feel the same way at this juncture of the thread--however, I will point out as criticism that your original premises take a) answerable questions, and b) personal questions, to be mutually exclusive sets. In fact, they are not, and it should be fairly easy through some introspection to realize some examples.

Moreover, I will suggest that perhaps it is the important questions--the ones that matter--tend to be the ones that have no unique correct answer. Hypothetically, there really were to be a choice about what kinds of questions deserve first-class citizenship, then surely it is the trivial, easy, practical ones that must go--not the other way around, as you proposed. Of course, I am glad this is merely hypothetical.
posted by polymodus at 10:34 PM on September 15, 2010


I am trying to figure out why Biru keeps participating in human relations questions giving his feelings on them as expressed in this thread.
posted by grouse at 2:33 AM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


given, rather
posted by grouse at 2:33 AM on September 19, 2010


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