Metafilter: now with user-generated taglines September 26, 2011 8:35 AM   Subscribe

I've created a new user script. It puts the long-standing tradition of suggesting ridiculous taglines for Metafilter to work. Introducing mefitaglines (or here, if userscripts.org is slow) and celebrating Metafilter user scripts in general. A special thanks to plutor for his indispensable scripts and for inspiring me to make my own.
posted by gilrain to MetaFilter-Related at 8:35 AM (61 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Doesn't work on the professional white background setting.

Sorry your first comment is a bug report, it's a cool script.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:40 AM on September 26, 2011


Happy Dave: Doesn't work on the professional white background setting.

Ah, thanks. I didn't even think about the alternate theme. I'll check that out now and post when it's fixed.
posted by gilrain at 8:46 AM on September 26, 2011


I thought it was cute until I got "Metafilter: Buttfucked by a bull".
posted by cashman at 9:02 AM on September 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


And then you decided it was awesome, right?
posted by crunchland at 9:17 AM on September 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Happy Dave: Doesn't work on the professional white background setting.

This has been fixed, now. Reinstall from either my page or userscripts.org.

(No need to reinstall if you're using the blue background.)
posted by gilrain at 9:23 AM on September 26, 2011


Metafilter: doesn't work on the professional white background setting.
posted by michaelh at 10:00 AM on September 26, 2011


Metafilter: I thought it was cute until I got "Metafilter: Buttfucked by a bull".
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:44 AM on September 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Initially, the scraper only looked at the blue. Y'all have inspired me to modify it. It now scrapes both the blue and the gray. The script has been updated to reflect this. (Unupdated scripts will continue to work fine, but [via] links for MetaTalk taglines won't work.)
posted by gilrain at 10:54 AM on September 26, 2011


MetaFilter: Warning: Your computer is broadcasting its IP address!!!
posted by grouse at 10:56 AM on September 26, 2011


Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter: Metafilter:
posted by crunchland at 11:08 AM on September 26, 2011


MetaFilter: In the name of the most holy and individual Trinity: Be it known to all, and every one whom it may concern, or to whom in any manner it may belong, That for many Years past, Discords and Civil Divisions being stir'd up in the Roman Empire, which increas'd to such a degree, that not only all Germany, but also the neighbouring Kingdoms, and France particularly, have been involv'd in the Disorders of a long and cruel War: And in the first place, between the most Serene and most Puissant Prince and Lord, Ferdinand the Second, of famous Memory, elected Roman Emperor, always August, King of Germany, Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Arch-Duke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Brabant, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Marquiss of Moravia, Duke of Luxemburgh, the Higher and Lower Silesia, of Wirtemburg and Teck, Prince of Suabia, Count of Hapsburg, Tirol, Kyburg and Goritia, Marquiss of the Sacred Roman Empire, Lord of Burgovia, of the Higher and Lower Lusace, of the Marquisate of Slavonia, of Port Naon and Salines, with his Allies and Adherents on one side; and the most Serene, and the most Puissant Prince, Lewis the Thirteenth, most Christian King of France and Navarre, with his Allies and Adherents on the other side. And after their Decease, between the most Serene and Puissant Prince and Lord, Ferdinand the Third, elected Roman Emperor, always August, King of Germany, Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Arch-Duke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Brabant, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Marquiss of Moravia, Duke of Luxemburg, of the Higher and Lower Silesia, of Wirtemburg and Teck, Prince of Suabia, Count of Hapsburg, Tirol, Kyburg and Goritia, Marquiss of the Sacred Roman Empire, Burgovia, the Higher and Lower Lusace, Lord of the Marquisate of Slavonia, of Port Naon and Salines, with his Allies and Adherents on the one side; and the most Serene and most Puissant Prince and Lord, Lewis the Fourteenth, most Christian King of France and Navarre, with his Allies and Adherents on the other side: from whence ensu'd great Effusion of Christian Blood, and the Desolation of several Provinces. It has at last happen'd, by the effect of Divine Goodness, seconded by the Endeavours of the most Serene Republick of Venice, who in this sad time, when all Christendom is imbroil'd, has not ceas'd to contribute its Counsels for the publick Welfare and Tranquillity; so that on the side, and the other, they have form'd Thoughts of an universal Peace. And for this purpose, by a mutual Agreement and Covenant of both Partys, in the year of our Lord 1641. the 25th of December, N.S. or the 15th O.S. it was resolv'd at Hamburgh, to hold an Assembly of Plenipotentiary Ambassadors, who should render themselves at Munster and Osnabrug in Westphalia the 11th of July, N.S. or the 1st of the said month O.S. in the year 1643. The Plenipotentiary Ambassadors on the one side, and the other, duly establish'd, appearing at the prefixt time, and on the behalf of his Imperial Majesty, the most illustrious and most excellent Lord, Maximilian Count of Trautmansdorf and Weinsberg, Baron of Gleichenberg, Neustadt, Negan, Burgau, and Torzenbach, Lord of Teinitz, Knight of the Golden Fleece, Privy Counsellor and Chamberlain to his Imperial Sacred Majesty, and Steward of his Houshold; the Lord John Lewis, Count of Nassau, Catzenellebogen, Vianden, and Dietz, Lord of Bilstein, Privy Counsellor to the Emperor, and Knight of the Golden Fleece; Monsieur Isaac Volmamarus, Doctor of Law, Counsellor, and President in the Chamber of the most Serene Lord Arch-Duke Ferdinand Charles. And on the behalf of the most Christian King, the most eminent Prince and Lord, Henry of Orleans, Duke of Longueville, and Estouteville, Prince and Sovereign Count of Neuschaftel, Count of Dunois and Tancerville, Hereditary Constable of Normandy, Governor and Lieutenant-General of the same Province, Captain of the Cent Hommes d'Arms, and Knight of the King's Orders, &c. as also the most illustrious and most excellent Lords, Claude de Mesmes, Count d'Avaux, Commander of the said King's Orders, one of the Superintendents of the Finances, and Minister of the Kingdom of France &c. and Abel Servien, Count la Roche of Aubiers, also one of the Ministers of the Kingdom of France. And by the Mediation and Interposition of the most illustrious and most excellent Ambassador and Senator of Venice, Aloysius Contarini Knight, who for the space of five Years, or thereabouts, with great Diligence, and a Spirit intirely impartial, has been inclin'd to be a Mediator in these Affairs. After having implor'd the Divine Assistance, and receiv'd a reciprocal Communication of Letters, Commissions, and full Powers, the Copys of which are inserted at the end of this Treaty, in the presence and with the consent of the Electors of the Sacred Roman Empire, the other Princes and States, to the Glory of God, and the Benefit of the Christian World, the following Articles have been agreed on and consented to, and the same run thus.
posted by grouse at 11:15 AM on September 26, 2011


The scraper only accepts up to 140 characters after the Metafilter:, just FYI. ;)
posted by gilrain at 11:28 AM on September 26, 2011


Cool, thanks gilrain! One of my favorites taglines.

Also, Plutor is awesome and I want to take this opportunity to recommend his Metafilter Mark Librarian Contributions script.
posted by mlis at 11:52 AM on September 26, 2011


BTW, Greasemonkey provides GM_addStyle(), so you don't have to write your own. If you're worried about other browsers, Safari/GreaseKit supports it, as well as Chome/NinjaKit. I guess Opera is the odd man out, so if you're trying to support Opera then you have to include it.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:54 AM on September 26, 2011


Soon enough I'll have so many userscripts that when I try to check MeFi on another computer I won't even recognize it.
posted by Deflagro at 12:06 PM on September 26, 2011


Metafilter: indispensable scripts.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:00 PM on September 26, 2011


Metafilter: Indescriptable Spenses.
posted by kaibutsu at 1:14 PM on September 26, 2011


Great script, gilrain. It gives me something fresh to read as I obsessively cycle through pages while I wait for updates. How far back does the scraper scrape? I noticed that a lot of the taglines are from recent comments, though that could be a coincidence.

Also, is there a way to implement this without throwing the header links out of whack? It's really messing with my flow.
posted by troll at 1:26 PM on September 26, 2011


Nifty! Thanks, gilrain.
posted by deborah at 1:30 PM on September 26, 2011


Love the script, gilrain! This at the top of my screen made me laugh out loud:

Metafilter: everywhere you look it's dick, dick, dick, dick, dick.

So, I go through and check my extensions, disable some, uninstall others, periodically.

I have 12 extensions going on Chrome now.

How does this compare to the rest of ya'll?
posted by misha at 1:31 PM on September 26, 2011


This is awesome.

Is the scraping only looking for "Metafilter:"? Because sometimes "Metatalk:" is used here.
posted by Mitheral at 1:37 PM on September 26, 2011


I have nine: HowlsOfOutrage, JK, Mefi Deleted Posts, MeFi Navigator, Mefiquote, mefitaglines, MetaFilter Why Favorited (which I have yet to utilize), metafilter_goodlistnr, and Mondo Image.

What am I missing?
posted by troll at 1:37 PM on September 26, 2011


troll: Great script, gilrain. It gives me something fresh to read as I obsessively cycle through pages while I wait for updates. How far back does the scraper scrape? I noticed that a lot of the taglines are from recent comments, though that could be a coincidence.

Also, is there a way to implement this without throwing the header links out of whack? It's really messing with my flow.


The script only looks at the current month. I can go back as far as there are archives (7/1999) but decided to limit it to the current month for a couple reasons. Mostly, that way there will always be fresh taglines cycling in, whereas it'd be statistically rather unlikely for fresh taglines to be displayed when randomly selecting from a decade's worth. I'm considering making it two month's worth... mostly because, presumably when the month ticks over, there'll be a few days of very limited selection while the taglines build back up. Haven't decided.

And yes, it's possible. I initially had the tagline inserted into the "welcome back [user]" line, but decided it looked a little out of place down there. To me, it looked best right at the top, and, conveniently, the navigation links fit perfectly into the yellow bar. I'll probably leave it up there unless there's a general outcry. It didn't take me long to adjust my muscle memory.
posted by gilrain at 1:38 PM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mitheral: This is awesome.

Is the scraping only looking for "Metafilter:"? Because sometimes "Metatalk:" is used here.


Yeah, it's looking for "Metafilter:" and allows any variation of capitals. I didn't know "Metatalk:" is used. I can easily add it to the scraping rules, but it might look out of place on the other subsites. Hm!
posted by gilrain at 1:40 PM on September 26, 2011


gilrain, if you decide you want to backfill from the archives, here's a great big pile of 'em.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:47 PM on September 26, 2011


I sort of dread thinking about how many taglines I've been responsible for over the years. Because it's embarrassing how easily I've been amused by making them.
posted by quin at 2:50 PM on September 26, 2011


Six for me, misha.
posted by mlis at 3:19 PM on September 26, 2011


MetaFilter: I sort of dread thinking about how many taglines I've been responsible for over the years.
posted by grouse at 4:15 PM on September 26, 2011


I decided I was seeing too many repeats, so I've opted to scrape the current and previous months (of the blue and gray), rather than just the current. This will also prevent a lull in tagline variety at the beginning of a new month.

The change is effective immediately on the backend; there's no need to update the script. Enjoy!
posted by gilrain at 4:53 PM on September 26, 2011


Also, cortex: I imagine my scraping is just a tiny blip in overall traffic, but I can easily throttle it down if necessary. I've been running it a lot in the past few days, testing, but going forward it will run once nightly at 4 AM CST. Its user-agent string is self-explanatory.
posted by gilrain at 4:59 PM on September 26, 2011


It's not working for me, and I don't know why. :-( I use the professional white background, and all it's doing is making the little bar of color at the top a bit longer.

It's like I'm missing out on all the Fun Timez.
posted by meese at 5:50 PM on September 26, 2011


The professional white background is not compatible with Fun Timez.
posted by grouse at 5:53 PM on September 26, 2011


Metafilter: the professional white background is not compatible with Fun Timez.
posted by liketitanic at 5:58 PM on September 26, 2011


meese: It's not working for me, and I don't know why. :-( I use the professional white background, and all it's doing is making the little bar of color at the top a bit longer.

Hm! My fix for the pro. white background appears to have only fixed it in Chrome. It's not immediately apparent to me why it's not working in Firefox, so I'll look into that tomorrow. In the meantime, may I recommend the funtimez blue background?

(Aside: Firefox support has been a thorn in my side for this whole project. I have new respect for Chrome's strict adherence to standards... at least, the standards I'm relying on here.)
posted by gilrain at 6:05 PM on September 26, 2011


Metafilter:retlifateM

So, how many taglines are posted per month on average? How much of an uptick will this cause?
posted by cmoj at 6:16 PM on September 26, 2011


Gilrain, thanks for looking into it! Of course, no hurry. I'll wait, in great anticipation, for when the funtimez can be had professionally.
posted by meese at 6:19 PM on September 26, 2011


cmoj: So, how many taglines are posted per month on average? How much of an uptick will this cause?

I haven't scraped enough months to know for sure, but from the two I've scraped, it looks like around 80-100 per month. I hope the script won't cause a huge uptick, personally. I doubt enough people will install it to cause a change in behavior on a noticeable scale.
posted by gilrain at 6:24 PM on September 26, 2011


From a completely different perspective: the metafilter tagline joke remover.
posted by logicpunk at 6:38 PM on September 26, 2011


logicpunk: From a completely different perspective: the metafilter tagline joke remover.

I had no idea! That's great.

To get your Metafilter Userscripts badge, you must use both. At the same time.
posted by gilrain at 7:03 PM on September 26, 2011


Also, cortex: I imagine my scraping is just a tiny blip in overall traffic, but I can easily throttle it down if necessary. I've been running it a lot in the past few days, testing, but going forward it will run once nightly at 4 AM CST. Its user-agent string is self-explanatory.

If it's seriously just a nightly scrape of the threads posted the previous day, yeah, that's a blip and no big deal. You might consider hitting the comments rss feeds for those threads as a slightly more lightweight, possibly more conveniently-structured way to grab the same content.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:43 PM on September 26, 2011


Fun timez is now compatible with the professional white background, in Firefox. If you had an issue with this, please update the script.
posted by gilrain at 7:46 PM on September 26, 2011


gilrain writes "I didn't know 'Metatalk:' is used. I can easily add it to the scraping rules, but it might look out of place on the other subsites. Hm!"

I wouldn't sweat it; they are a lot rarer now then they used to be.
posted by Mitheral at 8:11 PM on September 26, 2011


Metatalk: Taglines; a lot rarer now than they used to be...
posted by quin at 8:26 PM on September 26, 2011


Troll, you've gotta try the narwhal.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:26 PM on September 26, 2011


MetaFilter: you've gotta try the narwhal.
posted by grouse at 10:39 PM on September 26, 2011


This comment is brought to you by Narwhal.
posted by troll at 10:42 PM on September 26, 2011


This is great and prompted me to look on the Wiki for a summary of MeFi related scripts...my unicorn was instantaneously fulfilled.
posted by arcticseal at 11:32 PM on September 26, 2011


I'm just excited because this post inspired me to see if any updates had been made to Unicorn/Narwhal. And oh my, the lazor kitty. This really ups the ante on trying to see the elusive red box.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:44 AM on September 27, 2011


So... I've been using Opera lately (Firefox became a nasty poopy mess for me somewhere around version 5-something -- anyone else?). Has anyone come up with a way to employ user scripts on Opera?

I still have to open FF every now and then to check out stuff with my scripts. (I've loved FF for years, but when they started the accelerated versioning things went to hell; if I try to use it, I'm having complete stalls/crashes/hangs every 10 or 15 minutes... disabled all my add-ons to no avail. Mr. taz is also complaining bitterly about the slowdown on his machine, and wants to go back to version 3. heh. )
posted by taz at 6:49 AM on September 27, 2011


I had the thrill of seeing one of my lines appear on the top of the page. I cannot tell you how much that brightened my day.
posted by arcticseal at 10:41 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought I was happy to see my own tagline at the top of the page, but I was unjustified.
posted by cmoj at 6:18 PM on September 28, 2011


glirain am I right in thinking the tagline collection resides on your server? It doesn't matter to me but in the past this has been a problem for some users in two ways: 1) people didn't like the possibility for their metafilter browsing habits being monitored (see for example the freak out over metafilthy) and 2) some people didn't like their comments being used for other purposes on remote sites (though the latter can be mitigated some what by only storing the comment ID and performing the formatting on the fly).
posted by Mitheral at 7:00 PM on September 28, 2011


Hm. I'm only scraping things that are publicly available. The google bot sees a lot more of Metafilter than my bot does, for instance. In terms of what gets stored: only the actual line of the tagline, the URL to the comment that contained the tagline, and the username that made the comment. I've wound up not actually using the username (decided the via link was attribution enough), so I can (and will, right after hitting submit) change it to not store the username.

The scraper doesn't do or store anything that isn't easily available. The userscript itself is the part that could easily be made malicious. I could collect browsing habits using it, if I wanted. However, it only inserts the tagline. This is easily verified by looking at its source. (You can see it on userscripts.org, or just open the .user.js file in a text editor.)

I guess I'm not sure what the concern is, maybe. If I wanted to know people's browsing habits on Metafilter, I'd just do this:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3Ametafilter.com+"posted+by+Mitheral"
posted by gilrain at 3:19 PM on September 29, 2011


All right, usernames are no longer stored. This will go into effect when the scraper runs early tomorrow morning.
posted by gilrain at 3:22 PM on September 29, 2011


I think what Mitheral is talking about in the first point is the potential for usage-tracking that comes with the script "phoning home" in the sense that it (if I'm understanding right) hits your server each time someone using it hits the site. Which is not to say you'd have any reason to want to do that, but that some folks may be unhappy with it as a matter of principle.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:26 PM on September 29, 2011


cortex: I think what Mitheral is talking about in the first point is the potential for usage-tracking that comes with the script "phoning home" in the sense that it (if I'm understanding right) hits your server each time someone using it hits the site. Which is not to say you'd have any reason to want to do that, but that some folks may be unhappy with it as a matter of principle.

Ahhh, okay, that's more clear. I'd have to be able to associate users with their IP addresses to do that, I think, unless there's a clever way I'm not thinking of. Otherwise, I don't know which requests in my server logs are which users...

Anyway, I'd advise anyone who is concerned about this to not use my script. No hard feelings! I very much approve of being careful with your privacy.
posted by gilrain at 4:16 PM on September 29, 2011


The clever way is that you could simply add a bit of JS to the script that looks up the username in the cookies of the page and adds that to the data sent out as part of the JSON request, along with the current page url. Heck, you could steal their login auth token from their cookies while you're at it, which would even let you log in as them and post/comment (although you couldn't fully steal their account by changing their password as that requires entering the current password, I believe.) If you have a greasemonkey script running on a page it's pretty much open season as far as privacy and security are concerned, should the author decide to become evil. Of course in order to pull this off you'd have to change the script at some future point without users noticing, which is generally why as a user it's important to never use the remotely hosted version of a script unless you really trust the person hosting it. A lot of the more complex scripts on userscripts.org do have auto-update functionality, which would be another way to pull off the heist.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:34 PM on September 29, 2011


Yep, that's what I was thinking Rhomboid. If a third party familiar with JS wants to check over the script's source, they will see it's very simple and includes no way to associate usernames with IP addresses, and also no way to inject more code into the script or auto-update the script without the user downloading the update themselves.

I stand by my assetion that, as written and installed (and it's not likely to see any updates unless it breaks in a future browser update, or something), it'd be very difficult for the script to do anything malicious. I couldn't even replace my JSON file with malicious JS code, since my script uses JSON.parse rather than eval.

The bottom line, though, is: if you're installing a userscript and you don't know JS like the back of your hand, you're ultimately trusting the author of the script. I blame nobody if they don't want to trust me.
posted by gilrain at 4:38 PM on September 29, 2011


cortex has enumerated the concern. I agree that anyone concerned should just not use the script (heck I'm still using the phone home version of the metafilthy script). I'll point out though that it would be pretty easy to associate an IP with a user, without any maliciousness in the script, because of the way the commenting system works. Specifically pretty well every comment (which has a username associated with it) is followed by a page load (which queries your database). It would be trivial to pair up the posting information with database queries. There would be some fuzziness depending on the popularity of your script but I bet a dozen comments by any particular IP would be more than enough to figure out which username is associated with that IP.
posted by Mitheral at 8:12 PM on September 29, 2011


Ha, that's pretty clever!
posted by gilrain at 9:43 PM on September 29, 2011




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