Let my people quote! July 25, 2011 4:37 PM   Subscribe

Still no quote feature?

I've been looking through the archives of past MetaTalk Feature Requests going back to at least '07, but I still can't find a definitive answer as to why there's still no "quote" button on the standard text form. People quote a lot! Why can't we have built-in quote formatting?
posted by overeducated_alligator to Feature Requests at 4:37 PM (98 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

You can add your own quote button if you want to. There are about four or five scripts that will do this. Here's one off the top of my head.

The 'definitive answer,' as far as I recall, is that adding another button would be crufty, especially since this would be the first non-html button. Also, people don't like the idea of standardization of commenting styles. Even if you added a quote button, there's no guarantee that people would use it, and in fact I have a feeling people wouldn't.
posted by koeselitz at 4:40 PM on July 25, 2011


I
posted by caddis at 4:40 PM on July 25, 2011


I also recall discussion of the fact that overmuch quotation would probably really clutter up discussions, and it wouldn't be good to encourage that. I tend to feel that way.
posted by koeselitz at 4:42 PM on July 25, 2011


Well, here's what I said last year:
I think I'm on record as being a full-on curmudgeon about this: I like that we don't have an automated quote-reply system. Folks approach the problem in a variety of ways, serving their preferences and their apprehension of the context, and I think the overall mix of approaches is part of the character and charm of the way conversations unfold on the site.

That there are scripts and such available for folks who want this functionality enough to be proactive about attaining it makes me feel a bit more okay with that curmudgeonry. I don't object to the existence or use of those scripts at all, in part because going and getting them implies a certain minimum threshold of engagement on that user's part with the idea of attentively going about the business of quoting.

One or two people have mentioned one of the things I dislike about highly demarcated ubb-style quote markup, with boxes and such: it significantly increases the visual clutter for every single quote invoked. Mefi is slender as hell in its approach to thread layout, and I'd hate to see some sort of bloated quotation CSS be the sore thumbing suddenly sticking out therefrom.

But aside from just the bare markup issue, and coming back to the idea of a given user's engagement with the process of careful, attentive quoting: I also dislike the tendency, in a lot of places where quote-and-reply widgets are standard, for folks to quote too much without thinking about it. Quoting a whole comment where a paragraph would do, or a paragraph where a sentence or a clause would do. Again: it's clutter. It's bloat in what is generally a presentationally very lean place, where if a comment is long it is because the user had a lot to say, not because they had a little to say in response to someone who had previously said a lot.

I like that the lack of a built-in quote feature means that the people who aren't trying very hard default to less, not more, as far as the footprint of their quotation behavior.
Still basically precisely how I feel, personally. I know the "but everybody has a quote feature" argument, but the quirky home-grown melange of quoting conventions we have here are an elegant solution from a more civilized age, if you'll forgive the paraphrase.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:43 PM on July 25, 2011 [16 favorites]


And yet you quote yourself for better readability? MY HEAD A SPLODE
posted by overeducated_alligator at 4:44 PM on July 25, 2011 [15 favorites]


why there's still no "quote" button on the standard text form.

You say "still" as if it's something we've been saying we're going to do or something that's inevitable. I don't really see it that way.

On preview: what my esteemed homeboy cortex has said.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:44 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


*Begins cleaning up alligator brainy bits*
posted by zarq at 4:46 PM on July 25, 2011


overeducated_alligator: “And yet you quote yourself for better readability? MY HEAD A SPLODE”

I enjoy making myself grilled cheese sandwiches; and I support others who choose to make themselves grilled cheese sandwiches as well. However, tender though my love of grilled cheese sandwiches may be, I am nonetheless fully aware that a button that automatically caused grilled cheese sandwiches to appear before me would not be very good for my health.
posted by koeselitz at 4:48 PM on July 25, 2011 [13 favorites]


Want a quote button? Want a sex tag? "gyob"
Haven't seen that abbreviation lately, but it used to appear regularly when people wanted to change a blog that does not belong to them
posted by Cranberry at 4:50 PM on July 25, 2011


No no, I never considered a quote format as something that was promised. I was going through some of the older feature requests, and I got the impression that the quote request got bound up within the threaded comments issue. I have a quote plugin I use, but I always figured that standardization was preferable to the laissez-faire approach. If DIY is really the best solution, then I accept that.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 4:50 PM on July 25, 2011


we have built-in quote formatting

We do?! Cool!

See, if there were a standardized quote feature, there would probably be many fewer quotes taken out of context. And where's the fun in that?
posted by phunniemee at 4:53 PM on July 25, 2011


we have built-in quote formatting

Yeah, I use italics for quoting and use it constantly.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:58 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Forget the quote feature. What I want is an edit widow.
posted by loquacious at 4:59 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


SEE!?
posted by loquacious at 4:59 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


phunniemee: “See, if there were a standardized quote feature, there would probably be many fewer quotes taken out of context. And where's the fun in that?”

That wouldn't help at all. Making people click away to get context is going to result, at least nine times out of ten, in removing the context altogether. The only way to add context is to include it in the quotation – and there will never be a script smart enough to do that.
posted by koeselitz at 4:59 PM on July 25, 2011


frankly, FAMOUS MONSTER, I find you irresistible and am going to give you a great deal of money and also bake a delicious cake for you

Oh, stop! I'm blushing here.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 5:00 PM on July 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


Control-C Context
posted by overeducated_alligator at 5:00 PM on July 25, 2011


a button that automatically caused grilled cheese sandwiches to appear

Opening soon a block from my office! This is gonna be trouble...
posted by grapesaresour at 5:03 PM on July 25, 2011


This determinedly retro/minimalist approach is eventually going to end up looking like arguing for Vi/Emacs as a desktop word processor. The utility function of the minimalist approach is a reciprocal of the network size. I for one am really sick of typing out markup for the last 20 years and think it's pointlessly unwelcoming to younger users or those who have no technical background.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:07 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I support a quote button, but finish the edit window fist.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:07 PM on July 25, 2011


Let's not bring religion into this
posted by overeducated_alligator at 5:08 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


@furiousxgeorge: I support a quote button, but finish the edit window fist.

*first.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:08 PM on July 25, 2011


There is a grilled cheese bus in Portland, where you can go and get a grilled cheese and sit on a school bus and eat it apparently. I have never been by it when I was hungry for grilled cheese, but the premise makes me happy.

I for one am really sick of typing out markup for the last 20 years and think it's pointlessly unwelcoming to younger users or those who have no technical background.

We do, notably, provide buttons for bold, italics, and link. One of the most common long-standing quoting conventions on mefi is to wrap italics around the quoted material, which one can do with the click of a button and no knowledge whatsoever of markup, and offset it with a couple of line breaks.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:10 PM on July 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


@furiousxgeorge: I support a quote button, but finish the edit window fist.

*first.


I think the "edit window fist" sounds like the logical extension of the banhammer. More selective, and much more painful.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:20 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I use a quote script now, but for years before I discovered the script, I was able to quote what I wanted to respond to with very little work in the accepted MetaFilter quote format:

1) right-click on the time-stamp link under the comment you want to quote, and choose "save link" in the drop-down menu.
2) go down to the text box and type the pseud of the person you're quoting.
3) highlight the pseud in the text box; click on the "link" button; paste the link you've copied into the link field.
4) click on the link in the text box (it's now live) to take you back to the comment.
5) copy the part of the comment you want to quote.
6) paste it into the text box.
7) highlight that text in the text box; click on the "italics" button.

Done.

It takes *maybe* 15 seconds once you're used to it--less if you know how to hand-code the <a href= stuff and the <em> bit.
posted by tzikeh at 5:38 PM on July 25, 2011


NO
EDIT
WINDOW.

EVER.

please
posted by Aizkolari at 5:46 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you can't be arsed to take 5 seconds to put the quoted bits in italics maybe Twitter is more your speed?
posted by Justinian at 5:51 PM on July 25, 2011


Justinian: "If you can't be arsed to take 5 seconds to put the quoted bits in italics maybe Twitter is more your speed?"

By that logic, if you can't be arsed to write out [em] and [strong] tags, why should those buttons be there?
posted by overeducated_alligator at 5:57 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Without adding any interface elements, it would be great if we could just have the <q> tag styled to be italic. Right now, using the correct HTML tag makes a quote look like it's not a quote because italics for quotes is the de facto standard.
posted by scottreynen at 6:11 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Forget the quote feature. What I want is an edit widow.

And I want a guaranteed minimum wage.
posted by philip-random at 6:11 PM on July 25, 2011


How long until we change "favorites" to "bookmarks"?
posted by flabdablet at 6:17 PM on July 25, 2011


How long until we change "favorites" to "bookmarks"?

You mean 'Likes', surely.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:18 PM on July 25, 2011


+1 insightful
posted by flabdablet at 6:19 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


It could be worse, we could be using markdown.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:00 PM on July 25, 2011


It could be worse, we could be using markdown.

Well said.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:00 PM on July 25, 2011


Or we can continue calling them favorites, but they should only be visible to the person who is giving the favorite.

Plus, we should have an img tag again, amirite? I swear I would not post pictures of my dangler. often.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:02 PM on July 25, 2011


What you're looking for are bookmarklets.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:08 PM on July 25, 2011


Want a quote button? Want a sex tag? "gyob"

Whoa whoa whoa... where did "sex tag" come in to this? Get my own what?!
posted by maryr at 7:11 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


...I just read the next MeTa topic.
posted by maryr at 7:12 PM on July 25, 2011


Again - is this all you people ever think about? Metafilter?

You disgust me.
posted by maryr at 7:12 PM on July 25, 2011


When I was a girl we never discussed the internet in public because we were ladies.
posted by maryr at 7:13 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


can we have a sexquote button
posted by overeducated_alligator at 7:18 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Like so?
posted by maryr at 7:27 PM on July 25, 2011


There's something neat and stylistic about each user getting to decide exactly how and what to quote. Having indents vs. italics vs. quote marks vs. usernames vs. some combination thereof lends itself nicely to a scalar ongoing and ever-changing co-creation of what constitutes as rude, direct, formal, discreet, standard, polite and on. Plus, it's all contextual.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:32 PM on July 25, 2011


God know please. People would be quoting shit like a mother fucker. Threads are already long and people are already pedantic and annoying enough without it being even easier to copy and paste what people said up thread.
posted by chunking express at 7:42 PM on July 25, 2011

>Well, here's what I said last year:

I think I'm on record as being a full-on curmudgeon about this: I like that we don't have an automated quote-reply system. Folks approach the problem in a variety of ways, serving their preferences and their apprehension of the context, and I think the overall mix of approaches is part of the character and charm of the way conversations unfold on the site.

That there are scripts and such available for folks who want this functionality enough to be proactive about attaining it makes me feel a bit more okay with that curmudgeonry. I don't object to the existence or use of those scripts at all, in part because going and getting them implies a certain minimum threshold of engagement on that user's part with the idea of attentively going about the business of quoting.

One or two people have mentioned one of the things I dislike about highly demarcated ubb-style quote markup, with boxes and such: it significantly increases the visual clutter for every single quote invoked. Mefi is slender as hell in its approach to thread layout, and I'd hate to see some sort of bloated quotation CSS be the sore thumbing suddenly sticking out therefrom.

But aside from just the bare markup issue, and coming back to the idea of a given user's engagement with the process of careful, attentive quoting: I also dislike the tendency, in a lot of places where quote-and-reply widgets are standard, for folks to quote too much without thinking about it. Quoting a whole comment where a paragraph would do, or a paragraph where a sentence or a clause would do. Again: it's clutter. It's bloat in what is generally a presentationally very lean place, where if a comment is long it is because the user had a lot to say, not because they had a little to say in response to someone who had previously said a lot.

I like that the lack of a built-in quote feature means that the people who aren't trying very hard default to less, not more, as far as the footprint of their quotation behavior.

Still basically precisely how I feel, personally. I know the "but everybody has a quote feature" argument, but the quirky home-grown melange of quoting conventions we have here are an elegant solution from a more civilized age, if you'll forgive the paraphrase.
I agree. It would make the site much more cluttered.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:50 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


You agree with what? I'm so confused by that wall of symbols. Is that even English? This is madness!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:54 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


By that logic, if you can't be arsed to write out [em] and [strong] tags, why should those buttons be there?

I'd be fine with removing all the buttons except preview and post.
posted by Justinian at 7:57 PM on July 25, 2011


Quirky conventions and a home-grown melange are no match for a good quote button at your side, kid
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:04 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


People quote a lot!

Yes, and we're trying to cut down on that here.

NO QUOTE IN '12!
posted by hal_c_on at 8:04 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


hal_c_on: " NO QUOTE IN '12!"

I think you meant "VOTE NO QUOTE!"
posted by iamkimiam at 8:33 PM on July 25, 2011


I have the Plutor's greasemonkey quote script running and I use it when I am quoting another Mefite (it italicizes in the accepted style and adds the username).

But to quote from links that have been posted, I'd like to do just what cortex did in the thread, thus:
The NYT has unearthed a startling new trend of something completely made up that we pulled out of our butts an hour ago. Here's some random quotes from drugged-up homeless people lying on the curb outside our office building to lend credibility to this actually being a Thing. We don't get paid enough to do any actual reporting, anyway.
Is adding a blockquote function really going to clutter up the formatting of the textbox in Metafilter? Because those three little functions down there don't take up a heck of a lot of room on my screen.
posted by misha at 8:34 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


... think it's pointlessly unwelcoming to younger users or those who have no technical background.
Yeah and that's just one of the reasons we don't want it to change ;-)
posted by dg at 8:53 PM on July 25, 2011


NEVARMOAR
posted by not_on_display at 9:06 PM on July 25, 2011


Forget the quote feature. What I want is an edit widow.

I support a quote button, but finish the edit window fist.



I see what you guys did their
posted by taz at 11:21 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


RE: Clutter. That's why you don't add a quote button that quotes the entire comment, you force them to select some text first, then the button can quote that.
posted by floam at 11:45 PM on July 25, 2011


... think it's pointlessly unwelcoming to younger users or those who have no technical background.

I keep noticing comments on MetaTalk about catering to young users, but they sound like arguments I'd normally make about old people. They don't know HTML, they just use Facebook and that's the whole Internet to them, etc. What's the deal?
posted by floam at 11:51 PM on July 25, 2011



I keep noticing comments on MetaTalk about catering to young users, but they sound like arguments I'd normally make about old people. They don't know HTML, they just use Facebook and that's the whole Internet to them, etc. What's the deal?


To people like myself and younger, the Internet isn't some mystical hermetic community. I've been working on a website for years with only the barest knowledge of HTML, and most of what I do online comes from or goes back to Facebook. Like it or not, I'm not in the minority.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:57 PM on July 25, 2011


I don't think it's a matter of catering to younger or older people at all. MetaFilter fits best for people of all ages who are invested enough in the community and in their contribution to want to keep the focus on the words themselves, rather than on the way they create them. Don't want to learn how to use HTML to format your text? No problem, but don't expect someone else to do the work for you and nobody is going to care anyway if the words can stand by themselves.

The lack of site-mandated formatting here is neither a bug nor a feature. It's a style.
posted by dg at 12:13 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: fyi, I'm younger than you. I guess I think you overgeneralize.
posted by floam at 12:18 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


anigbrowl writes "I for one am really sick of typing out markup for the last 20 years and think it's pointlessly unwelcoming to younger users or those who have no technical background."

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by Mitheral at 12:47 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's only the fact that the digital natives are actually illiterate that keeps an old fart like me in work :-)
posted by flabdablet at 3:24 AM on July 26, 2011


>Well, here's what I said last year:
I think I'm on record as being a full-on curmudgeon about this: I like that we don't have an automated quote-reply system. Folks approach the problem in a variety of ways, serving their preferences and their apprehension of the context, and I think the overall mix of approaches is part of the character and charm of the way conversations unfold on the site.

That there are scripts and such available for folks who want this functionality enough to be proactive about attaining it makes me feel a bit more okay with that curmudgeonry. I don't object to the existence or use of those scripts at all, in part because going and getting them implies a certain minimum threshold of engagement on that user's part with the idea of attentively going about the business of quoting.

One or two people have mentioned one of the things I dislike about highly demarcated ubb-style quote markup, with boxes and such: it significantly increases the visual clutter for every single quote invoked. Mefi is slender as hell in its approach to thread layout, and I'd hate to see some sort of bloated quotation CSS be the sore thumbing suddenly sticking out therefrom.

But aside from just the bare markup issue, and coming back to the idea of a given user's engagement with the process of careful, attentive quoting: I also dislike the tendency, in a lot of places where quote-and-reply widgets are standard, for folks to quote too much without thinking about it. Quoting a whole comment where a paragraph would do, or a paragraph where a sentence or a clause would do. Again: it's clutter. It's bloat in what is generally a presentationally very lean place, where if a comment is long it is because the user had a lot to say, not because they had a little to say in response to someone who had previously said a lot.

I like that the lack of a built-in quote feature means that the people who aren't trying very hard default to less, not more, as far as the footprint of their quotation behavior.

Still basically precisely how I feel, personally. I know the "but everybody has a quote feature" argument, but the quirky home-grown melange of quoting conventions we have here are an elegant solution from a more civilized age, if you'll forgive the paraphrase.
I agree. It would make the site much more cluttered.
Damnit, I was going to make that joke.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:53 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

By that logic, if you can't be arsed to write out [em] and [strong] tags, why should those buttons be there?
If I recall the history correctly, they were originally implemented for the mobile site because getting to the brackets can be a pain on a mobile keyboard. And then, eh, it was already implemented, so why not put them on the main site. Personally, I like them because my comma key (and thus also my open bracket) is broken on my home laptop, so I can select my quoted text, punch the italics button twice, and then replace the outer EM with BLOCKQUOTE, which I, er, only mistype a little...
posted by Karmakaze at 5:53 AM on July 26, 2011


so why not put them on the main site.

Because it's easier to amend a state constitution than change this website in any way, it seems.

If people could bold or italicize their text, or make a link so easily, just imagine the ChAos that would ensue!!!
posted by floam at 6:04 AM on July 26, 2011


DO NOT WANT
posted by tommasz at 6:09 AM on July 26, 2011


Because it's easier to amend a state constitution than change this website in any way, it seems.

Er, what? Bold, Italics and link buttons were added to the main site. Which was a change. That was done pretty easily. And... I'm confused.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:40 AM on July 26, 2011


If I recall the history correctly, they were originally implemented for the mobile site because getting to the brackets can be a pain on a mobile keyboard. And then, eh, it was already implemented, so why not put them on the main site.

Nah, they date back to at least 2005 and possibly earlier. I don't remember the details. The mobile site didn't have them for a while, possibly, because it was a minor pain to get them to work based on the existing solution for the main site? Again, the details, who knows. Metatalk archives presumably contain secrets.

If people could bold or italicize their text, or make a link so easily, just imagine the ChAos that would ensue!!!

A couple times a week I edit an askme for no other reason than to remove some dumb MY QUESTION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION, ERGO I HAVE USED EXTRA HTML FORMATTING TO EMPHASIZE SOME OR ALL OF IT formatting from above the fold. Times like that I seriously consider poking pb to remove the B and I buttons from that bit of the box, because I see them misused in that context as much as I see them used well.

Changing the site isn't hard; getting us to agree that a change needs to be made when we've got strong feelings that it does not, in fact, need to be made is the hard part.

It's totally fine to talk about this stuff, that's what Metatalk is for, and it's not like there's zero examples to be found of us saying no to something at one point and then at a later point saying "this makes sense now, let's try it", but as far as quotes go, the answer is exactly what it has been, which is the reason I quoted myself from a year ago verbatim. On this subject, we're still saying no.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:17 AM on July 26, 2011


anigbrowl: "think it's pointlessly unwelcoming to younger users or those who have no technical background"

dude there's like 3 buttons below the edit window and they do stuff like make shit bold and italian and linkify stuff. you don't need to type in no aich-tee-emm-ell code or nothin'.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:24 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


wow also there is apparently a PREVIEW thing too so you can see preview of upcoming comments? shit man i didn;t even notice that, when are these comments coming out in the theater because that one astro zombie comment looks like it will be a oscar winner for sure.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:26 AM on July 26, 2011


Unless this hypothetical quote button uses my style of

username : words that they said

I don't imagine that I'd switch over. I'm not sure what that extra space after the username gets me, but I'm certain that the monsters that live under my bed are placated by its presence, so it stays.

esteemed homeboy... Yeah, that'll be going on a business card as a title soon.
posted by quin at 7:36 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


What I want is an edit widow.

A little old lady, decked out in black lace carrying a photo of the thread and weeping and lamenting typos and bad grammar.
posted by griphus at 7:42 AM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


quin : I'm not sure what that extra space after the username gets me, but I'm certain that the monsters that live under my bed are placated by its presence, so it stays.

You can edit the Mefiquote Greasemonkey script to make it do that.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:44 AM on July 26, 2011

>Well, here's what I said last year:
I think I'm on record as being a full-on curmudgeon about this: I like that we don't have an automated quote-reply system. Folks approach the problem in a variety of ways, serving their preferences and their apprehension of the context, and I think the overall mix of approaches is part of the character and charm of the way conversations unfold on the site.

That there are scripts and such available for folks who want this functionality enough to be proactive about attaining it makes me feel a bit more okay with that curmudgeonry. I don't object to the existence or use of those scripts at all, in part because going and getting them implies a certain minimum threshold of engagement on that user's part with the idea of attentively going about the business of quoting.

One or two people have mentioned one of the things I dislike about highly demarcated ubb-style quote markup, with boxes and such: it significantly increases the visual clutter for every single quote invoked. Mefi is slender as hell in its approach to thread layout, and I'd hate to see some sort of bloated quotation CSS be the sore thumbing suddenly sticking out therefrom.

But aside from just the bare markup issue, and coming back to the idea of a given user's engagement with the process of careful, attentive quoting: I also dislike the tendency, in a lot of places where quote-and-reply widgets are standard, for folks to quote too much without thinking about it. Quoting a whole comment where a paragraph would do, or a paragraph where a sentence or a clause would do. Again: it's clutter. It's bloat in what is generally a presentationally very lean place, where if a comment is long it is because the user had a lot to say, not because they had a little to say in response to someone who had previously said a lot.

I like that the lack of a built-in quote feature means that the people who aren't trying very hard default to less, not more, as far as the footprint of their quotation behavior.
Still basically precisely how I feel, personally. I know the "but everybody has a quote feature" argument, but the quirky home-grown melange of quoting conventions we have here are an elegant solution from a more civilized age, if you'll forgive the paraphrase.
I agree. It would make the site much more cluttered.
Damnit, I was going to make that joke.
me too!
posted by banshee at 9:12 AM on July 26, 2011


cortex wrote in comment #909671">> There is a grilled cheese bus in Portland, where you can go and get a grilled cheese and sit on a school bus and eat it apparently. I have never been by it when I was hungry for grilled cheese, but the premise makes me happy.

I have eaten at that grilled cheese bus! Well, gingerbeer has. I had a pulled pork sandwich from a different truck. But I had a bite of gingerbeer's sandwich and it was delicious.

Data point: I have a quote script, as you can see, but I hardly ever remember to use it. I remembered this time, for some reason.
posted by rtha at 9:57 AM on July 26, 2011


I enjoy making myself grilled cheese sandwiches; and I support others who choose to make themselves grilled cheese sandwiches as well. However, tender though my love of grilled cheese sandwiches may be, I am nonetheless fully aware that a button that automatically caused grilled cheese sandwiches to appear before me would not be very good for my health.

brb, have to go buy an arduino and a sandwich press.
posted by 256 at 10:11 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I get that the answer is no, and I accept that's the way it is.

I'm wondering why cortex and jessamyn weighed in and not pb, though, since this is about a coding and formatting issue?
posted by misha at 12:28 PM on July 26, 2011


tzikeh: right-click on the time-stamp link

Evwybody! I know you can bewieve in yo'seh'wf.
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:01 PM on July 26, 2011


It's not primarily a coding issue, it's a convention/feature issue. There are many things we do not do on mefi that would not be particularly hard to implement, all else aside.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:16 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


caution live frogs: wow also there is apparently a PREVIEW thing...

Thing-doo.
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:16 PM on July 26, 2011


And... I'm confused.

One guy asked, basically, "Makes so sense, how did the current buttons make their way there so easy?", then someone replied that it was a no-brainer because the work had been done already for the mobile site, so why not? My point is that the "why not?" thing doesn't really seem to fly around here, it's not always about the work the mods need to do, changes sometimes don't occur simply because people want to keep the website in stasis.
posted by floam at 1:31 PM on July 26, 2011


Karmakaze: If I recall the history correctly, they were originally implemented for the mobile site because getting to the brackets can be a pain on a mobile keyboard. And then, eh, it was already implemented, so why not put them on the main site. ..."
They were there long before the mobile site existed. The angle bracket gadgets on the mobile site are great in theory, although they seem a little wonky in practice to me and only marginally easier to use than the process of switching keyboards twice to get them the old-fashioned way. Nice thought, though.

floam, it's not about 'keeping the website in stasis' as such, it's about only making changes when they are demonstrably an improvement. Just because other sites have certain features doesn't make them a good idea for MeFi.
posted by dg at 3:51 PM on July 26, 2011


I'm wondering why cortex and jessamyn weighed in and not pb...

I didn't see this as a coding and formatting issue when I read the question, misha. I watched the conversation to see if there were any technical questions I could clear up. But as cortex mentioned, this isn't a question of how to do something, but should we do something. My feelings are along the same lines as cortex so I didn't feel I had much to add.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:53 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


dj, fair enough, perhaps stasis was perhaps a bad term. Maybe I should have said some treat the place like a very small, finely-tuned terrarium that ought not be messed with. I don't buy it — I think the community is too strong and I can't believe everything about this website was really all that deliberate from the get-go or demonstrated as good before they were implemented.

How can you know what works best when it causes so much anxiety to even experiment?

I suspect there's a lot more room for "let's try this new thing here and spiffy up that old thing there for the hell of it, maybe it will be cool" than many users appreciate.
posted by floam at 4:51 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


doh, dg. I have been told that if you want to influence people you should probably not get their name wrong.
posted by floam at 4:52 PM on July 26, 2011




Thanks, cortex and pb!
posted by misha at 6:03 PM on July 26, 2011


There's no particular reason why the community shouldn't be strong enough to cope with all sorts of changes and, if the site was run in a different way, it probably wouldn't be a problem. However, the site is run in such a way that the community has a great deal of input into the technical design from a UI perspective and history shows us that the community doesn't generally respond well to changes that affect the way users interact with the site and with each other. The several attempts to introduce design changes over the years have largely been met with howls of outrage far beyond what the actual effect would be. There have been exceptions of course, such as the 'new comments' widget that was seen as mostly (although not universally) a positive change. The on-going debate over favourites means that users are able to switch off that feature if they don't like it and there are other similar examples.

To me, this is an indication of an engaged community, rather than the site being just a tool that allows people to access content. This high level of engagement is something that sets MetaFilter apart from many other sites where the technical implementation is totally divorced from the users and it is this engagement that makes seemingly small changes develop into the Internet equivalent of blood feuds. I agree that there is scope for tinkering with the site just to see how it works, but the cost (in moderator time if nothing else) of doing so can be high and I suspect this influences such decisions.

There's obviously a tension between 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' and 'but it could be so much better if we just changed x' that I don't think can be totally resolved. The current approach seems to balance this tension quite well. If you looked at the site in 1999 and compared it with how it works today from a technical standpoint, you'd see a lot of differences, but on a day-to-day basis, nothing much seems to change. Which is a good thing, IMHO.
posted by dg at 6:05 PM on July 26, 2011


"You'll get over it."

-Fark administrators, responding to redesign criticism.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:07 PM on July 26, 2011


Lore has, perhaps not coincidentally, made zero posts to MetaTalk, but his comments here are always delightfully worthwhile.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:11 PM on July 26, 2011


The several attempts to introduce design changes over the years have largely been met with howls of outrage far beyond what the actual effect would be.

Kinda like how Facebook is RUINED FOREVER with every new change. Eventually we got used to it.
I'd love a 'delete post' button.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:41 PM on July 26, 2011


Well, yeah, except that Facebook has been a smoking ruin from day 1 and getting used to it is a waste of time.
posted by flabdablet at 6:47 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kinda like how Facebook is RUINED FOREVER with every new change. Eventually we got used to it.
Yeah, the main difference being that changes to Facebook are made to suit Facebook, where changes to MetaFilter are generally made to provide a better experience for users and there is a real chance for members to have input here. In any case 'eventually we got used to it' hardly builds a case for a change management methodology.
posted by dg at 7:17 PM on July 26, 2011



Kinda like how Facebook is RUINED FOREVER with every new change. Eventually we got used to it.
Yeah, the main difference being that changes to Facebook are made to suit Facebook, where changes to MetaFilter are generally made to provide a better experience for users and there is a real chance for members to have input here. In any case 'eventually we got used to it' hardly builds a case for a change management methodology.


But half the features did make things better, and that experimentation gave us neat things like Newsfeeds and Likes. I don't see the harm and giving users an easier set of text formatting tools and the ability to undo mistakes.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:23 PM on July 26, 2011


A strategy that leads to only half of new features implemented being considered an improvement is a bad strategy, IMHO.

We already have the ability to undo mistakes. Right up until you click the 'Post Comment' button, you can undo all the mistakes you want. You an even preview your comment to see how it looks on the page before you commit. Kind of like how you can say things in your head as many times as you want but, once you say it out loud, you can't un-say it. It's all about MetaFilter imitating life ;-)
posted by dg at 7:34 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had hope for Facebook. I voted for it because I didn't want four more years of Myspace. But it's largely more of the same and worse. So I'm supporting the next shill and am looking forward to Google+.
posted by floam at 8:17 PM on July 26, 2011


I have been avoiding corporate social networking sites as a matter of policy since I got my first invitation to Orkut, and so far I have seen no compelling reason to change that policy. One of the things I really like about MeFi is the way the social-connections infrastructure takes a complete back seat to the content. That suits me just fine. I have absolutely no need to let any kind of automated agent tell me who my friends are, and if I wish to get in contact with friends of friends - why, I just ask people.

Many of my friends and customers do of course use Facebook. I have yet to see it improve any of their lives. I have seen it cause a great deal of unnecessary stress for several people I care about.

Facebook has long struck me as a very effective tool for the creation and monetization of misery and insecurity. If you're miserable and insecure, and you use Facebook a lot, I recommend you try getting off it for a couple months and see if things start looking up.
posted by flabdablet at 7:50 AM on July 27, 2011


Why don't we have an edit button that changes your comment in some uncontrollable fashion, and a quote window that shows you a random comment that you can choose to quote from (although you have to do the copy-pasting youself)?

I'm a people-pleaser
no, wait, the opposite of that
posted by davejay at 11:31 AM on July 27, 2011


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