What would NewsFilter look like? April 9, 2002 2:43 PM   Subscribe

What would NewsFilter look like? [More inside.]
posted by rory to MetaFilter-Related at 2:43 PM (35 comments total)

A lot of people have called for splitting MeFi into NewsFi and Old-Style MeFi, but would it really make a difference? Out of curiousity, I took the postings of a random and typical day - yesterday - and split them up into news posts and old-style posts (a subjective judgement, I know; please don't take it personally). The numbers of posts are surprisingly even, but the comments tend, less surprisingly, to be higher in NewsFi. What do you think? Would you visit one more than the other, or would it just mean two sites to check every day/hour/minute instead of one? I'm not sure if it's worth the hassle, or how to ensure consistency of posting to one or the other, but that old-style MeFi does give pleasant early-2000 flashbacks.
posted by rory at 2:43 PM on April 9, 2002

That's fascinating - great work, Rory.
Given that I read nine threads and commented on three in "OS MeFi" and read only five and commented on none in "NewsFi" I guess I know where I'd spend more time. However, while splitting the two out is a very interesting exercise, it also seems (to me at least) part of the whole "experience" to sometimes just see the two very different types of threads mixed together.
posted by yhbc at 2:57 PM on April 9, 2002

I'd be up for it, as I get my news elsewhere. Anything to reduce the number of posts would be welcome - I have trouble keeping up (and thus wind up hanging out back here too much). A nice side effect is posts staying on each site for twice as long. That's another problem I've been having lately: by the time I discover a link, everyone's moved on from that thread, even if it's just a day later.

Maybe this could be acheived more gracefully by some sort of category/filtering thing, without the messy breakup.
posted by D at 2:58 PM on April 9, 2002

My ideal would be the side bar with news-fi on it, and the body with normal-fi. Sometimes i miss the news (as I'm too damn lazy to check it out) and also it'd give a place for the inevitable news-fi posts to go.
posted by selton at 3:16 PM on April 9, 2002

I may be in the minority, but I don't mind the NewsFilter-type posts so much. The discussion that follows even the most widely reprted stories is usually better here than other places, online or off. I suppose it just comes down to links vs. discussion again.
I like both so what's splitting it up gonna do besides add another mouse click to my life?
posted by jonmc at 3:20 PM on April 9, 2002

I don't understand where people got the idea that news-oriented posts are somehow new to MetaFilter. News has been part of the mix from the beginning -- there is no such thing as an "old-style post".
posted by jjg at 3:39 PM on April 9, 2002

I like the news posts also, but there needs to be a limit on splitting hairs within major news stories (you all know what i'm referring to). Also take out the Fark-ish "crazy news" and I think we'd have a lot better site here. As far as separating them? I don't find it necessary. Look at the posts from a year ago, today. Not much difference in %'s b/w news and non-news. The major conflicts aren't on there, but there's a big difference b/w life today and life one year ago, newswise. It'll fade out, eventually.
posted by Ufez Jones at 3:39 PM on April 9, 2002

I like the news posts as well. I usually know which news bits to ignore (not because they're uninteresting, but because of the sheer volatility -- Palestine ones, for example) or not by the explanation of the post.

I still don't understand why the "too many posts" thing is such an issue. If you miss a great post, don't worry, another will show up soon enough, or you'll hear about it later and can read it then.

There are so many things to get bent out of shape by; why add this to the list?
posted by ashbury at 5:10 PM on April 9, 2002

Anything to reduce the number of posts would be welcome - I have trouble keeping up

There is no pop quiz, no one is keeping score, there is no such thing as "keeping up." Read what interests you, bypass the rest, be happy.
posted by rushmc at 5:12 PM on April 9, 2002

. . . must focus more on topic, most focus more on topic . . .
But to answer the question, I like it the way it is. To have it separated would just make more work for me, not to mention Matt.
posted by ashbury at 5:13 PM on April 9, 2002

How would you control which stories get posted to where? Are you just counting on the person posting to get it right? Sort of like counting on the person posting to make sure what they're posting isn't a doublepost?

Looks nice, though.
posted by crunchland at 5:18 PM on April 9, 2002

I don't mind the mix at all. Still, when I see a bizarre or interesting news story my first thought is... "I just have to see what they are saying about this on Mefi!?
posted by revbrian at 6:19 PM on April 9, 2002

Green is purty.
posted by adampsyche at 6:39 PM on April 9, 2002

There is no pop quiz, no one is keeping score, there is no such thing as "keeping up." Read what interests you, bypass the rest, be happy.

Thanks for that. Problem being, I don't have time to find the stuff that interests me on most days. Scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll.

Anyway, I appear to be the only crank here, so I'll suck it and find something else to grumble about.
posted by D at 8:18 PM on April 9, 2002

green? what manner of craziness.....

i presonally don't mind the newsfilter posts. i don't comment on them much, but i still read them like most others...
posted by lotsofno at 8:24 PM on April 9, 2002

I say it's all good as long as either the original post is interesting or it has the potential to spark an interesting discussion. Though sometimes I wonder how many posts people are willing to put up on a particular subject before it gets old, i.e. all the main positions on the issue have been articulated and discussed.

As far as the issue of too many posts, maybe someone can start a "best of MetaFilter" site? Hehe. Call it MetaMetaFilter.
posted by epimorph at 8:31 PM on April 9, 2002

No D, I agree, too.

I've been reading mefi a while and the discussions used to develop. Evolve, even. And now, posting to a thread that is older than 6 hours old means that your great comment (ok, fine, haiku) will be lost to the ages, except for people doing background checks on you.

I don't know what to do about this problem.

But Rory has inspired me.

I think I'll try to come up with a "meme-tracker" of a sidebar, so that all of the posts with one topic will be grouped. Terrorism, Palestine or Not to Palestine, American Foreign Policy -- these are all memes that many of us track on at least a weekly basis (for good or bad), and so, we're seeing a big uptick in front page posts about them.

I don't know exactly what this would look like or work like, but I think it would create a better (more balanced at least, but possibly better) discussion of the issues, make them clearly identifiable on the home page, and still preserve the positive elements that metafilter gains by having a lot of smart people posting on a lot of different topics.

Hrmmmmm... Now it's time to get to work.
posted by zpousman at 8:32 PM on April 9, 2002

MeFi newsletter, remember that? Would love it if Matt revived that. Maybe make it weekly, with a special page listing all the threads mentioned in the newsletter. That would pretty much work like the "best of MeFi"
As for NewFilter, no I don't see the need to split the site in two, MeFi always had a recent interesting news discussion.
posted by riffola at 8:55 PM on April 9, 2002

I'd love it, too, riff, but Matt's got enough to do I think. Maybe one of the mefite's could do it, like a "This Week in Baseball" for the MeFi set...nothing official just like TV Guide Cheeres & Jeers or something..
posted by jonmc at 9:06 PM on April 9, 2002

I vote for jonmc. I heard he loves to do that kind of stuff.
posted by iconomy at 9:12 PM on April 9, 2002

I second the vote for jonmc
posted by riffola at 9:15 PM on April 9, 2002

rory: I'm not sure you split 'em up correctly. My only problem with MeFi lately is the number of links that up and vanish in a week. Sometimes I check in here every day. Sometimes I skip a whole slew of FPPs, thinking I can come back to them next week.
However much I like being notified about a news item I might otherwise have missed, I have no use for "missing links."
posted by realjanetkagan at 9:25 PM on April 9, 2002

Umm, gee, I'm honored...but as iconomy can attest, my coding skilz suck ass(it took two months for me to figure out how to add links to the left side of my blog and I've somehow fucked up my tracker button, too...) and I'm also way too opinionated to be fair. Lisa's enough of a web widow as it is and I need to get some sunshine soon, I'm so pale I'm transparent...
posted by jonmc at 9:29 PM on April 9, 2002

Doesn't 'meta' mean everything?

Here's a compromise proposal, if the demand for separation is so strong:

Assign categories of meaning to MetaFilter posts just like in MetaTalk. Except it could just be two categories: news, and everything else. The category would be invisible on the page, but you could code a button on the page (much like the sidebar collapse button) which would easily toggle between news, meta, or both.

This probably wouldn't take too much effort, hell, Skippy might even be up to the challenge.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:37 PM on April 9, 2002

Hmm, I spoke too soon. There is a www.metametafilter.com (though it points to another address). Unfortunately, it does not seem to be very useful, and a bit out of date.

Doesn't 'meta' mean everything?

See www.m-w.com for a full definition. But, it means "beyond" or "transcending".
posted by epimorph at 10:10 PM on April 9, 2002

Who does that metametafilter site? Nice.

riffola, you have the best user page! Just a few hours ago I was thinking about asking if anyone had some of those links.
posted by iconomy at 11:29 PM on April 9, 2002

Who does that metametafilter site?

I registered it and set everything up; currently working on a possible bookmarklet system for users.
I've now set it up to point back here until I actually get anything to work.

It was not meant to be found yet. If you want to see the prototype go to metameta.pitas.com.
posted by j.edwards at 11:57 PM on April 9, 2002

j.edwards - I apologize for my untimely criticism of your site. I did not realize it was unfinished.
posted by epimorph at 12:09 AM on April 10, 2002

Thanks iconomy, I was bored one day, and I saw sawks' page, and that inspired me to mess around with my user page a bit.
posted by riffola at 12:10 AM on April 10, 2002

~Maybe jedwards ought to add a 'best users pages' category to MeMe too~

*notices MeMe is actually 'meme'. Goes 'heh'.*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:31 AM on April 10, 2002

Thanks for the good comments, all. As I said, I'm personally not sure if it's worth the hassle for Matt and for us, but thought it was worth having a proper discussion on the subject rather than constant references to a hypothetical NewsFi in the sidelines. And it is pretty interesting to actually visualize it. (And fun to paint it green. Hey, what other choices are there? Burgundy? Black? Orange?)

As for how to split up the posts: I can't see any way apart from subjective choice by the poster unless we go down some kind of moderation path, which is a whole separate issue. We could perhaps have a shared posting page with two buttons, 'Post to News' and 'Post to General', or something like that.

jjg's point - that news has always been part of the mix - is fair, but news wasn't fifty percent of the mix in the early days, and 'news' then was tech news as much as politics; that certainly doesn't hold today. Ufez Jones's comparison with a year ago today is after the point when the balance shifted: the 2000 presidential campaign.

I'm not particularly pining for the olden days, but if MeFi is to grow, as we've just been discussing, it's useful to think about the site side of the equation as well as the member side. There were 32 posts on April 8th, and it was a typical early-2002 day - are we heading for fifty posts a day minimum? If enough members do find themselves visiting one of NewsFi or (general) MeFi more than the other, that could mean a fair reduction in server-load, or at least a levelling-off.
posted by rory at 2:03 AM on April 10, 2002

speaking of riffola's user page. what's the "new look" link? When was that proposed? methinks it looks rather nice.
posted by jnthnjng at 6:55 AM on April 10, 2002

I think the "New Look" is from the first half of 2000. I am not sure, you could always ask Matt :)
posted by riffola at 9:29 AM on April 10, 2002

I think a weekly newsletter might be cool, with sites selected by a different member every week. Sort of like Heather is doing with her guest curator at Mirror Project. I could see a sign up list of willing 'curators' which would be compiled, then members from that list would be randomly selected to collect a list of interesting links posted during a seven day period. Then the list could either be emailed or exist as its own page.

This doesn't seem like a ton of work for Matt, but is definitely added responsibility. Someone might have a better idea as to how to do this with even less work.
posted by jonah at 11:43 AM on April 10, 2002

On further reflection, something like insomnyuk's suggestion sounds easiest to implement and most likely to satisfy both camps. Have a small checkbox for 'news' or 'general' when you post, and a 'news-free' category in the drop-down menu on the front page (the one for sorting by date, most comments, recent comments, my comments). Set a cookie to remember the settings between visits. Voila: news-free for those who want it, all-inclusive for everyone else, and people who go news-free for a few days can easily switch back to check what they've missed. It'd make a difference to server load even if only some people used the 'news' category, and it would avoid the problem of having to visit two sites for those who do want both.
posted by rory at 2:06 PM on April 10, 2002

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