An infinite MeFi sidebar. October 12, 2011 9:32 AM   Subscribe

Ask Tell MetaFilter?

Some of the best content on Metafilter, the stuff that makes it to the sidebar, comes from when FPPs or AskMe questions prompt lengthy anecdotes and insights from users.

But because self-posting is a no-no, we have to wait for a topic to be broached in a FPP or question before these stories can be shared.

I would read a whole blog of MeFites telling their stories, talking about their areas of expertise, and sharing things they have learned about life. Is there any way for some aspect of this to happen?
posted by overeducated_alligator to Feature Requests at 9:32 AM (134 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

A MetaFilter AMA section? Hm. I dunno. Why not just read Reddit's?
posted by GuyZero at 9:36 AM on October 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


If there's one thing I've learned about life, it's that one should always wear long pants when sitting on vinyl.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:37 AM on October 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


I've found that the MeFi Mag has more of these sorts of things which is where I see them. Following the popular favorites is a good way to find more of this. I sort of feel that the serendipitous nature of this is one of the things that makes it so special.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:40 AM on October 12, 2011 [27 favorites]


An interesting idea; we talked about it a little at the beginning of the year, for what it's worth.

Personally, it seems a bit wankery to me, and could get much worse quickly. But then, I can't stand the whole Reddit AMA thing, as it seems to breed stuff like "I'm an unremarkable 32-year-old database programmer who lives with my girlfriend and three cats, ask me anything!*"

* No really, I am.
posted by koeselitz at 9:40 AM on October 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


TellMe? (Baby, all through the night that you'll never let me go? Coz I want the world to know?)
posted by jonmc at 9:47 AM on October 12, 2011


Whoops! It looks like I didn't search very well. Thanks for pointing those things out.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:50 AM on October 12, 2011


MeFi Mag link.

Some of the best content on Metafilter, the stuff that makes it to the sidebar, comes from when FPPs or AskMe questions prompt lengthy anecdotes and insights from users.

That great content comes from 3rd party situations (for lack of a better). People don't just sit around waiting for a chance to pontificate on a subject, the subject has to brought up and then that sparks a memory of their experiences.

Just throwing up a blog for people to comment on won't have the same effect. There needs to be conversation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:52 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


In Reddit's Ask Me Anything, so many of the posters seem fake to me. I agree that the comments overeducated_alligator refers to are some of the best on MetaFilter, but I think it would be best if we stuck to places where it incidentally comes up in response to some other question or topic of discussion.
posted by grouse at 9:52 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this works best serendipitously, not in a forced way like AMA on reddits are.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:54 AM on October 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


If there's one thing I've learned about life, it's that one should always wear long pants when sitting on vinyl.

Also, try to be naked when sitting on 8-tracks.
posted by mintcake! at 9:54 AM on October 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


If there's one thing I've learned about life, it's that one should always wear long pants when sitting on vinyl.

I wear vinyl when sitting on pants. Be sure to read my 2,000 word blog about it.
posted by The Deej at 9:55 AM on October 12, 2011


Thanks for reminding me to go look at your blog, again, The Deej. I love your photography.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:01 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think part of what makes those moments so great is the context of the question or the link. They aren't random stories, or even carefully selected stories, they're illustrative. I think a lot would be lost by excerpting the making of long comments from the prompts that give rise to them.
posted by OmieWise at 10:08 AM on October 12, 2011


The "let me tell you a long story that's barely related to your question but will get a lot of favorites because it's so long (and will thus be insulated from deletion even though it's a derail)" style of comments already get at least as much encourage as they should, thanks to favorites, the fantastic flag, and the sidebar.
posted by John Cohen at 10:08 AM on October 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


Thanks IRFH!
posted by The Deej at 10:16 AM on October 12, 2011


House rule has always been don't ask, don't tell. Or don't ask, do tell. Or was it don't ask, guess? Maybe there should be a showandtell.metafilter.com
posted by villanelles at dawn at 10:29 AM on October 12, 2011


I've found that the MeFi Mag has more of these sorts of things which is where I see them.

Totally agree- the mag is wonderful, and made for this!
posted by Miko at 10:32 AM on October 12, 2011


Actually the best personal stories don't come from Reddit's AMA. They're often in the askreddit subreddit...the recent one re: "what's your worst dating experience" was awesomely good.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 10:35 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


If there's one thing I've learned about life, it's that one should always wear long pants when sitting on vinyl.

Also, try to be naked when sitting on 8-tracks.
posted by mintcake! at 5:54 PM on October 12


And use plenty of lube when sitting on wax cylinders.
posted by Decani at 10:42 AM on October 12, 2011


You ask, we guess.

What were we talking about again?
posted by nangar at 10:43 AM on October 12, 2011


If there's one thing I've learned about life, it's that one should always wear long pants when sitting on vinyl.

I respectfully disagree. It is much easier to clean the dust from Cheetos* off of a vinyl bean bag chair than it is to clean Cheetos dust from a fabric bean bag chair. Seeing the only time I get in my bean bag chair is to eat Cheetos whilst naked, your argument must be invalid.

* - Puffs, not Crunchy
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:47 AM on October 12, 2011


Did the MeFiMag editor get himself unbanned yet?
posted by carsonb at 10:54 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm down at the station now, they're processing him as we speak.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:57 AM on October 12, 2011


The current reddit AMA front page has the following advice for improving self-esteem:

"Be polite, be curteous, show professionalism, and have a plan to kill everyone in the room."

oooh, sidebar!!!!!
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:57 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


What makes these anecdotes is that they're not things that people would go out of their way to identify about themselves. People aren't very good judges of what's interesting about themselves.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:06 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


What makes these anecdotes interesting, that is.

For example, one thing that's interesting about me is that I leave key words out of sentences.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:07 AM on October 12, 2011


carsonb: "Did the MeFiMag editor get himself unbanned yet?"

What happened?
posted by zarq at 11:07 AM on October 12, 2011


zarq: What happened?

I heard that klangklangston shot Pastabagel in the face at point-blank.
posted by gman at 11:15 AM on October 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Violence happened. It was the only way!
posted by carsonb at 11:17 AM on October 12, 2011


I am the author of this comment, AMA.
posted by doublehappy at 11:17 AM on October 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


gman: " I heard that klangklangston shot Pastabagel in the face at point-blank."

Food Porn!
posted by zarq at 11:23 AM on October 12, 2011


That's a hell of recipe for violence.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:26 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Adding a dash of nihilism makes it tastier.
posted by jonmc at 11:29 AM on October 12, 2011


man there was this one time i kicked the shit out of these three dudes in this bar in shanghai, man it was some fucked up shit lemme tell you
posted by facetious at 11:30 AM on October 12, 2011


Yet another reason reddit > Metafilter these days. Seriously.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:31 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's an arrow, right? You start at Reddit and end at MetaFilter?
posted by GuyZero at 11:33 AM on October 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


Yeah, r/AMA is really awful. It is a hotbed of trolls. Even when the posters are real, the questions are pretty weak. They're ass-kissing at best and pure lulz at worst. And it's not so much a "I remember the time I met Prince Charles and he made me a grilled cheese..." Which is what I like about MetaFilter. But it looks like the Popular Favorites is what I was looking for. I just never really understood what I was looking at before.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 11:49 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The high profile AMAs are kinda dumb. AMAs by interesting redditors are better, it isn't just bullshit fluff PR machine type stuff like Zach Braff, Gillian Jacobs or Bear Grylls was.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:56 AM on October 12, 2011


What happened?

Just a "this is getting out of hand and we need to go to bed" timeout from an unrelated metatalk thread, pretty much as far removed as you can get from the awesome work klang does on Mefi Mag and ideally not something to retread in this thread.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:03 PM on October 12, 2011


It's MeFi Mag. Capitalize that 'F'!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:05 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder what would happen if we had a chan-style image board as a MeFi sister site, that required you to identify yourself and could get you suspended and/or banned if you go against the guidelines.

Then again, I missed the IMG tag's heyday.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:10 PM on October 12, 2011


"Be polite, be curteous, show professionalism, and have a plan to kill everyone in the room."

Ok, I'll tell a Truth about me: I actually think this way. In life (my jokey comments here notwithstanding), I really try to be kind, and listen to people, and help whenever I can, but there is a cold dark part of my mind that is always, always ready to react to being attacked and respond in kind. Even when it's a completely stupid response to be having.

It's a mostly unconscious thing, but every once in a while it asserts itself in my periphery and a little part of my mind will say, "Alright, checking out at the grocery store, but the teenage girl at the register might pull a weapon, so if she does, keep the potatoes on hand so you've got something to disarm her with..."

I kind of hate it, since it's an irrational reaction to an imaginary stimulus, but it has been useful in developing my habits at preparedness. Because I'm already hard wired to be paranoid, I've found that taking the extra time to make sure I've got what I need on hand "just in case" has been useful more times than I can count.

Never in protecting me from a checkout girl, or the postman, or that toddler with the shifty eyes, but just in the general life-throws-you-a-curve-ball kind of way.

Also: I don't wear shorts. But if I did, they'd totally be vinyl. Just because.
posted by quin at 12:12 PM on October 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


Then again, I missed the IMG tag's heyday.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:10 PM on October 12


Oh, too bad. It was full of stars
posted by Cranberry at 12:13 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was full of stars

Some times. Others, it was full of kittens.
posted by quin at 12:14 PM on October 12, 2011


due to the lack of img tag, i've taken to just posting tangentially related images from mlkshk.
posted by nadawi at 12:16 PM on October 12, 2011


many times the images were full of chickens and unhappiness.
posted by GuyZero at 12:23 PM on October 12, 2011


many times the images were full of chickens and unhappiness

Unhappiness for the chicken, maybe.
posted by OmieWise at 12:32 PM on October 12, 2011


Bear Grylls? Man, fuck that dude. If you can forage for wild food and build a shelter out of downed tree limbs, why do you have to be such a shill?
posted by box at 12:41 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


cortex: " Just a "this is getting out of hand and we need to go to bed" timeout from an unrelated metatalk thread,

Thanks for the explanation.

ideally not something to retread in this thread."

Not a problem.
posted by zarq at 12:57 PM on October 12, 2011


Yet another reason reddit > Metafilter these days. Seriously.

How so? Honest question.
posted by tzikeh at 1:15 PM on October 12, 2011


Bear Grylls? Man, fuck that dude. If you can forage for wild food and build a shelter out of downed tree limbs, why do you have to be such a shill?

Probably got a wife and kids that like living in houses. Some people are like that.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:38 PM on October 12, 2011

There needs to be conversation.Brandon Blatcher
Amen.

Conversation is the very best thing about MetaFilter. The lack of threaded comments and a number of other interface decisions were deliberately driven—Matt has discussed this in the past—by his goal of privileging discourse in a communal environment over almost every other consideration.
Ok, I'll tell a Truth about me: I actually think this way. In life (my jokey comments here notwithstanding), I really try to be kind, and listen to people, and help whenever I can, but there is a cold dark part of my mind that is always, always ready to react to being attacked and respond in kind. Even when it's a completely stupid response to be having.quin
You're not alone in this. I feel for you.

I think I'm a kind, loving, and notably empathic person. But I grew up with an abusive father, someone who could seemingly do anything, for no particular reason, at any moment. We lived in fear. And the single most unfortunate and dark lesson I learned was that being willing to hurt someone, to violate conventional norms of behavior, to be willing to demonstrate that you're capable of doing anything, it's a very tangible and terrifying kind of power—and that to empower myself in response to it, I could embrace this within myself. And so that dark and secret self is always there inside me, waiting, ready to come forward if there's a monster threatening me which needs to be slain.

In the end, many years later, my father foolishly became that monster to me one last time, and I became that monster's monster, terrifying him. Which is what I had set out to do all those years ago. I'll never forget the look on his face.

It was no victory. Later, I understood it as a defeat. I'm not frightened the way I was for most of my childhood. But that came at the cost of an important part of my soul.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:55 PM on October 12, 2011 [18 favorites]


I don't think you can compare Reddit or Metafilter at all; they've become entirely different types of communities.

You know what Metafilter is like.

Reddit has become massive, and at this point in time there are over 87,000 subreddits.

I'm subscribed to over 100 subreddits myself (curse you, net addiction), and I will vouch that each of them has their own particular culture, vocabulary, and set of standards. Like the redditors on the /r/dogtraining reddit are a COMPLETELY different group of people than those on /r/webcomics, for example (2 on my list). Much of it has to do with how actively the mods (who are redditors themselves) establish policies in their own subreddits; whether they give their members free reign or have more stringent guidelines. Some subreddits are basically there for 14-year-old LOLs, and others have discussions on how to bleed an airlocked boiler (just one latest thread on one of my subreddits.)

The thing I like about it is that if you don't see a particular interest represented in a subreddit, it's incredibly easy to make your own. Or take over an old subreddit that was abandoned by a mod.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:59 PM on October 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was no victory. Later, I understood it as a defeat.

No, if you only did it to get the fucker to leave you alone, it was a victory. In that case, you harnessed power to protect yourself, not to abuse others.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:00 PM on October 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yet another reason reddit > Metafilter these days. Seriously.

To all of you who willingly log on to MetaFilter and proclaim how you don't really like it all that much: you people blow me away with how extraordinarily cool you are. I mean it. You're so fascinating! Do you also walk into people's homes and spit on their floors? Cuz that would be even cooler.
posted by heyho at 2:08 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whoops...87,000 subreddits seems like a lot and I misread this number. I don't know if anybody knows for sure, but there are over several thousand by now. 87,000 is pushing it (got the number for the metareddit page and I think they were referring to threads...)
posted by The ____ of Justice at 2:09 PM on October 12, 2011


More jokes need to get sidebarred. Especially this one...seriously how is that not sidebar material--it made the whole thread immediately great.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:13 PM on October 12, 2011


seriously how is that not sidebar material

meh.
posted by goethean at 2:36 PM on October 12, 2011


Looking back at that comment and sweetkid's afterwards (and I adore sweetkid so no offense intended) it always weirds me out when people bold usernames -- reminds me of when my mom used to call me by my full name so I knew I was in trouble.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 2:50 PM on October 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


it always weirds me out when people bold usernames -- reminds me of when my mom used to call me by my full name so I knew I was in trouble.

Me too.
posted by grouse at 2:53 PM on October 12, 2011


Thank you, grouse.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 2:54 PM on October 12, 2011


And while I'm on the subject, whenever someone drops a bare MeTa link into a thread it's like the wife giving the husband a look at the dinner table that says come into the kitchen so we're not having this argument in front of the guests.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 2:59 PM on October 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


You sure do have a lot of opinions, VILLANELLES AT DAWN.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:03 PM on October 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


*washes up and comes in to dinner*
posted by villanelles at dawn at 3:04 PM on October 12, 2011


Way to forget the two most important html attributes BRANDON BLATCHER.
posted by elizardbits at 3:04 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remind THE CLASS what those are, elizardbits.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:13 PM on October 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


elizardbits: "Way to forget the two most important html attributes BRANDON BLATCHER."

Ugh. The horror. The horror.
posted by zarq at 3:13 PM on October 12, 2011


Blink?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:17 PM on October 12, 2011


I'd tell you guys to stop this ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ terrible ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ right ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ now, but I don't think the mods will let my comment stand.
posted by vidur at 3:22 PM on October 12, 2011


You should be careful about the can of worms you're opening, B̳̥̻͚̀́r̛͕ͣ̿ͭͬa̔ͦ̾̇͘ṉ̬̪̜̓͠d̳̕o̯n͇͍̻̭̘̗͚ͮ͛̿ͧ̓ͦ ̧̝̖̥̱̺ͩ̄̄͋B̳͈̹̦͒̊ͬͣ̃͛̒l͇͇͖à̘̗̥͕̺͍ͣ͛͛́͆t͖͂̔͞c̘̠̱͕͖̼͕͜h̘͚̝ͧ̆ͮ̄͌e̓̐̎ͮ͂̾r̝̔̾ͧ͌̆̆
posted by grouse at 3:24 PM on October 12, 2011


vidur, "smurfing" isn't as bad a word as you might think it is. I doubt the mods would have deleted that.
posted by quin at 3:29 PM on October 12, 2011


vidur, "smurfing" isn't as bad a word as you might think it is.

Maybe not in the US, but in the dialect of e.g. the le Pays Maudit region of France it carries a pretty heavy socio-semantic charge. It's an easy thing to not know, but worth keeping in mind when we're on a site with a geographically varied userbase.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:43 PM on October 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


So you're saying it violates their blue laws?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:46 PM on October 12, 2011 [15 favorites]


So, no one is going to ask me anything?



*kicks rock with shoe*
posted by The Whelk at 3:52 PM on October 12, 2011


Smurfin' good line, IRFH.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 3:53 PM on October 12, 2011


You know what Metafilter is like.
Yes. For the most part, we understand orders of magnitude.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:53 PM on October 12, 2011


The Whelk: "So, no one is going to ask me anything?"

The Whelk, why are there Zebras?
posted by dg at 3:55 PM on October 12, 2011


Anyway, how about a subsite called Shut up, you're not as interesting as you think... filter, where there's a comment box, but the "Post Comment" button just erases everything you typed.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:55 PM on October 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


Mom?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:56 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


whelk whelk

why is the rum gone
posted by elizardbits at 4:03 PM on October 12, 2011


A mean black horse and a mean white horse hate loved each other very much.

As for the rum, I was sad.
posted by The Whelk at 4:04 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


O Oracle of Whelk! Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do good things happen to bad people? Is Satan real? If not, why does Mick Hucknall exist?
posted by koeselitz at 5:03 PM on October 12, 2011


vidur, "smurfing" isn't as bad a word as you might think it is.

Maybe not in the US, but in the dialect of e.g. the le Pays Maudit region of France it carries a pretty heavy socio-semantic charge.


It's actually more like "schtroumpfing," as in Ne pas schtroumpfer Monsieur Bœrf-la-tête (Do not smurf Mister Beefhead).
posted by infinitewindow at 5:14 PM on October 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like this idea
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:25 PM on October 12, 2011


The idea of smurfing Mister Beefhead?
posted by vidur at 5:39 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


This idea is going to make me smurf.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:40 PM on October 12, 2011


OmieWise writes "Unhappiness for the chicken, maybe."

How sad can you possibly be once you are dead?
posted by Mitheral at 5:45 PM on October 12, 2011


Aziz Ansari is doing an AMA, first question is about his cousin Harris.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:46 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Les Schtroumpfs sont belges.
posted by Wolof at 5:48 PM on October 12, 2011


Everyone turns out to be Belgian, like in that Tom McCarthy line about Jean-Philippe Toussaint "bearing that quintessentially French distinction of being Belgian."
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:55 PM on October 12, 2011


Tom Haveford is so 1% ( that is my new term for straight up baller).
posted by Ad hominem at 5:57 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


When people share impromptu, it can be pretty good. When you give people the opportunity to have their own soapbox, the qualities that make impromptu sharing so good start to disappear.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:45 PM on October 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's so funny, villanelles at dawn, because I only bolded the comment because of the article in the quidnunc kid's name. It just seemed odd somehow to write "I'm not sure exactly why but I love that comment, the quidnunc kid." It was like I was naming the comment the quidnunc kid or something. I can't explain it. So I added the bold, and that didn't make it better and so I left it.

No usernames were bolded in the production of this comment.

(I adore you too villanelles at dawn).
posted by sweetkid at 6:58 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


OKOKOKOKOKOKwaitwaitwait I gotta story...







...no, sorry, I don't. Was gas. Carry on.
posted by not_on_display at 8:01 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bear Grylls sleeps in motels.

And appreciates a carefully aged glass of his own piss.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:09 PM on October 12, 2011


This is why even though they're technically just a whisper away from chatfilter, the most popular threads are often open-ended questions that boil down to "share with me your wisdom on your area of expertise" or "what is something that you wish you had learned when you were younger". Stuff like that.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:24 PM on October 12, 2011


Hey The Whelk, why do the heathen rage? (I saw this question in the newspaper in a box marked "Advertisement")
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:27 PM on October 12, 2011


it always weirds me out when people bold usernames -- reminds me of when my mom used to call me by my full name so I knew I was in trouble.

I would get called, "You son of a Gunn." Knew that if I wasn't being called Shooter, and Mom was blaming Dad, I was in deep shit.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:30 PM on October 12, 2011


Do you also walk into people's homes and spit on their floors? Cuz that would be even cooler.

Nope, I pee all over their rug. Duh!
posted by P.o.B. at 10:38 PM on October 12, 2011


Dude! That pulled the whole room together. *sad face*
posted by arcticseal at 12:02 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think this would have worked well on Cortex's site Big Big Question. A shame it never got more traffic.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:28 AM on October 13, 2011


With metafilter's interesting community this could work out very well. It would be an interesting resource, rather than random pearls lost in the noise and time. It should be possible to make it anonymous.

Reddit does have it's good things. Less trolling and a more friendly vibe.

It's sad that the mefi moderators already answered "not invented here".
posted by CautionToTheWind at 2:22 AM on October 13, 2011


Just for you hybrid metafilter/reddit users...this is the list of active subreddits with >10 members that were active in the past week. Approximately 7500. If you change that to >10 members, posted at any point in time, I believe it changes to approximately 16800 subreddits.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 3:10 AM on October 13, 2011


Reddit does have it's good things. Less trolling...

I agree that Reddit has it's good things, and as a significantly larger site than Mefi one of the things it has going for it is that it has a lot of things, which is great if you're looking for that kind of variety.

But for that second bit you're gonna need to define terms here. What I've seen of the Reddit community's general approach to pseudonymity, account-impermanence, joke-account culture, and throwaway conversational branches gets pretty seriously in the way of a "there's less trolling" assertion at first blush; it seems more that reddit is less concerned about trolling or intentional bullshitting of their community (or subcommunities), which is again totally great if that's what you're looking for but is a fundamentally different thing.

This is readily acknowledging that due to the differing cultural/moderation standards of different subreddits, that may well not hold across the board. But what I've seen from even e.g. AMA enthusiasts is that it's taken as a given that a lot of what gets posted is out-and-out bullshit.

It's sad that the mefi moderators already answered "not invented here".

"Not invented here" is a dismissal of an idea or proposal on the grounds that someone won't get the satisfaction of taking credit for firsties, or is unwilling to work on an idea that they weren't sufficiently responsible for not just implementing well but originating. It's not what we're answering; we're saying "not a great fit here". It's a pretty important distinction, and declining to make it is honestly kind of insulting.

There are lots and lots of things that are viable ideas with merit that aren't necessarily going to be a good fit for Metafilter or a net win for the Metafilter community specifically. IndigoRain mentioned Big Big Question, which was my explicit attempt to provide an alternate venue for the chatfilter stuff that doesn't fly on Ask Metafilter, for example; that was one person actually taking two simultaneous approaches to a single question of utility and function in two places.

This is a great big internet and it's fantastic that people don't have to pick just one place to get everything they want out of it. For the folks who do want that one-stop-shopping experience, there's always going to be a site that fits them best or things that they wish were on their personal stomping grounds but which are only available somewhere else, and that's a bit of a bummer but so it goes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:57 AM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Something Awful has this too, combined into Ask/Tell. It's OK and isn't overrun by fakes, but it's not like it reliably produces sidebar material. People say "I do this job", and people ask them the dumb questions people always ask someone with that job at cocktail parties. Or they ask boring questions they could just ask a real person who does that job if they left their computer.
posted by smackfu at 6:24 AM on October 13, 2011


Instead of "I am a X, ask me anything", the MetaFilter twist should be "I am not your X, but ask me anything anyways." For example:

I am not a doctor. Ask me any medical questions!
posted by cimbrog at 10:24 AM on October 13 [+] [!]

Cimbrog, my left nut is swollen to the size of a grapefruit? Is it cancer?
posted by toddlokken at 10:26 AM on October 13 [+] [!]

I had sex with a dead raccoon. Should I get tested for anything?
posted by sgt.firefly at 10:27 AM on October 13 [+] [!]

toddlokken, no. It is never cancer. Poke it with a needle and let it drain.

sgt.firefly, was the raccoon promiscuous?
posted by cimbrog at 10:31 AM on October 13 [+] [!]

I'm sure there would be no legal repercussions.
posted by charred husk at 7:33 AM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, and
"Please go back and remove the ">small
Really?

I couldn't even copy and paste the message without getting the message.

posted by charred husk at 7:34 AM on October 13, 2011


I couldn't even copy and paste the message without getting the message.

If I understand what you're saying, then yes, there is code in the comment posting process that limits you from imitating comments from other people.
posted by inigo2 at 7:42 AM on October 13, 2011


cortex, It is true that reddit has all sorts of low-effort low-effect trolls, like novelty accounts, regular offtopic posters and other shit that only gets voted up when it's funny. I'm not saying that upvoting and downvoting are a solution for Metafilter, it might be or not, it is a complicated matter.

But what you don't end up seeing in Reddit is the typical Metafilter troll that will hang on to some contrarian opinion with infinite resolve, even after every single point they have presented is factually disproved, that carefully does selective quoting, that simply does now acklowledge factual challenges...

I understand that it might not be easy to curtail that and still allow truthful contrarian opinions. I'm just saying it is something you don't see in the reddit threads I have read, a tiny part of the total.

I also said reddit is more friendly. I have only recently started browsing reddit again, and it feels much more friendly, tolerant and welcoming than Metafilter. I had the opposite expectation going in, but I was surprised.

"not a great fit here"

Askme has restrictive rules, which serve a purpose but does not allow free-form discussion. This would fit in perfectly with an interesting and interested Metafilter community. Allow annonymous so that we can do the sensitive topics. It would be glorious.

This wasn't my idea, and I have never though about it, but now I think it is the best pony ever requested here.

Matt's fast and dismissive answer is a text-book case of "not invented here". "Not a great fit here" is simply counter-factual. The notion that it is good, and happening randomly (where? metatalk?) and that therefore it should not be pursued deliberately is an argument for stagnation, which has not been a defining characteristic of Metafilter.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 8:47 AM on October 13, 2011


If you think that troll is limited to Metafilter, I have the internet to show you.
posted by smackfu at 8:54 AM on October 13, 2011


(Reddit probably just downvotes them to invisibility.)
posted by smackfu at 8:56 AM on October 13, 2011


Well smackfu, try reading.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 9:01 AM on October 13, 2011


Matt's fast and dismissive answer is a text-book case of "not invented here".

That reading presumes, incorrectly, that we haven't talked substantially about related ideas in the past.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:15 AM on October 13, 2011


CautionToTheWind: “But what you don't end up seeing in Reddit is the typical Metafilter troll that will hang on to some contrarian opinion with infinite resolve, even after every single point they have presented is factually disproved, that carefully does selective quoting, that simply does now acklowledge factual challenges...”

I think you're using the term "troll" in a nonstandard way here. Trolling has typically been a term for riling people up and annoying them for its own sake, simply for the pleasure of causing discord.

I don't think you're saying that Reddit has a better grasp of the facts than Metafilter – although that's your direct implication, I get the feeling that's not a hill you want to die on here. What I guess you're saying is that Metafilter allows people to disagree, even when they're wrong. That's not trolling, in my book.

And it is absolutely imperative that people be allowed to disagree, even if they're wrong. My meager experience on Reddit is that the majority there is easily pleased in any given conversation, because the majority always wins. And nothing is deleted, so nobody can blame a mod when they're cut out of the conversation. However, anybody who is "wrong" (or disagreed with by the majority) is downvoted to oblivion, naturally and swiftly, in every single thread. So the only conversations that really occur are between viewpoints backed by large factions. In other words: in cases where the majority is wrong – in my experience this is most cases – Reddit has the privilege of ignoring the right opinion entirely.

It's funny, because lots of people love to complain about mods deleting things left and right on Metafilter, and even we are accustomed to thinking of our community standards as "very conservative." But in the grand scheme, Reddit's culture is vastly more conservative than anybody could ever picture Metafilter being. Picture what would happen if the mods deleted three out of every five comments here; pandemonium would ensue. Yet that's precisely what happens in every single Reddit thread; sometimes it's more like two out of every five, sometimes (in the more popular threads) it's more like four out of five, but the fact remains that common, everyday commenters are not heard unless they say witty, lively, exciting stuff that everybody is happy to agree with.

The difference is the brilliant stroke of crowdsourcing moderation. It's easy to say "argh, cortex or jessamyn or maybe taz or mathowie or pb! Why did you delete my comment? That's ridiculous!" It's very difficult to say: "Redditors at large, why did you downvote my comment?" In fact, I suspect that most Redditors have grown accustomed to believing that their comments aren't really worthy of upvoting anyway, so it's not a big deal when they're routinely ignored. Still, when you look at it objectively, a hell of a lot more comment deletion happens on Reddit than on Metafilter. It's just deletion by proxy. If something gets pushed off the page or disappeared, it's the same as deleting it.
posted by koeselitz at 9:16 AM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


The notion that it is good, and happening randomly (where? metatalk?) and that therefore it should not be pursued deliberately is an argument for stagnation, which has not been a defining characteristic of Metafilter.

I think it's more complex that that. We have a few sort of burden of proof levels here on MeFi that go in different directions. So, examples

- a comment in AskMe needs to answer the question or it's removed
- a post to MeFi will stay unless it hits the reasons for deletion
- we don't roll out new by-request features unless people are clamoring for them [or it's something small and not that difficult to implement]
- once people are called out as continuous troll-seeming commenters, the burden is on them to prove they are NOT trolling. We don't really have much of a problem with trolls here, seriously.

Part of the problem is that this community, unlike reddit, is a lot more all-one-thing. So you might hang out on a specific set of subreddits and not interact on the rest of the site, here at MeFi people mostly cross-pollinate. Sure we have some people who are more or less Ask-only and some blue-only and a few who are Music only, but the people who tend to be here the most are the people who are sort of generalists. As such any new thing, unlike Reddit, needs to sort of be a general interest thing. The last big thing we rolled out was IRL which was heavily pushed for and took a long time to launch and troubleshoot and we're still working parts of it out.

So, specifically, there's a lot of work involved into adding something to a place where everyone has input and few decisions are made form on high. In order to even start this process we'd need what seems like a huge groundswell of support. We'd need to consider the costs in terms of staffing time [all our mods are well-paid and have benefits and all the rest, so to add new mods is a non-trivial thing] and programmer time and whether it serves what we see as the core purpose of the site. And, honestly, to me and maybe to mathowie and cortex, it really doesn't. MeFi Mag has been collecting that sort of stuff really well and everyone seems sort of stoked about it. It's a successful spin-off, to my way of thinking, and it runs well and people like it. There's no real impetus for recreating what is an already working system just so we could stick it under the MeFi header.

And at some level sometimes we just make the decisions and take our chances. We think this is a neat idea, but one that has an outlet for this community that is working quite well and with people who are happily putting in the work to do it. No need to do something different.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:19 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Obligatory MeFi Mag link, with a note that submission deadline for October's issue is on Saturday. Send us what you got at this link.

Next month, the theme is SEX and we know you want to submit something for that. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry essay, interviews, artwork, photographs and photographs of artwork hotly desired.

Don't have something that fits the theme? Not a problem, send it along, we will definitely consider it.

Also, if you're a web designer looking to have some fun and redesign our site, contact me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:45 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I did not mean to defend reddit at length. I'm not even that big a fan, and from others said about the true size of reddit, I have barely scratched the surface of it.

I will say, in reply to koeselitz, that reddit does sometimes (!) have a better, or a clearer grasp of the facts than Metafilter.

It is true that upvote/downvote can enforce majority opinions. But the Metafilter way incurs in the Fox News sin of giving equal "airtime" to the reasonable and the crazy.

Metafilter features the most advanced trolling I have ever seen, with elaborate diversions, semantic attacks that drown discussion and overfocusing on details. Reddit's lower standards for the cut (downvote rather than a mod action) mean that a lot of crap gets the axe much earlier. For some subjects, that is the more productive approach. For general use I think it is problematic. There are no ideal solutions I think.

This was really about that pony, and I have said my opinion, so that is that.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 9:52 AM on October 13, 2011


I got your pony right here!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:01 AM on October 13, 2011


A lot of the deleted comments on reddit are deleted by the poster when they start to get downvotes.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:02 AM on October 13, 2011


cortex, It is true that reddit has all sorts of low-effort low-effect trolls, like novelty accounts, regular offtopic posters and other shit that only gets voted up when it's funny. I'm not saying that upvoting and downvoting are a solution for Metafilter, it might be or not, it is a complicated matter.

But what you don't end up seeing in Reddit is the typical Metafilter troll that will hang on to some contrarian opinion with infinite resolve, even after every single point they have presented is factually disproved, that carefully does selective quoting, that simply does now acklowledge factual challenges...


So what you're saying is that ruthless predation of drive-by trolls by the MeFi mods have caused Metafilter's trolls to evolve towards a more perfect trollery, less distinguishable from genuine cussedness?
posted by rodgerd at 11:34 AM on October 13, 2011


Exactly, like superbugs. Soon our antibiotic mods will no longer be effective.

Metafilter as we know it will collapse soon after, and we will regress to the dark and dangerous time known as Usenet.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:13 PM on October 13, 2011


Hardened warrior-poet trolls will fracture society into clannish pockets, forever clashing with brutal but refined rhetoric to the beat of dead horses; discursive life as we previously knew it will become faded memory and then myth, remembered only in the ViewMaster retellings of scrappy, undernourished youths...
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:24 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


You thought you had found a good girl
One to love you and give you the world
Now you find that you've been misused
Talk to me(ta), we'll do what you choose, we want you to

Tell Meta all about it
Tell Meta what you need
Tell Meta what you want
And we'll make everything alright
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:27 PM on October 13, 2011


Aaaand now I have "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)" playing on the internal jukebox. Gee, thanks, cortex.
posted by likeso at 12:34 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why don't you guys just invite a member on your podcasts and pepper them with questions.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:55 PM on October 13, 2011


You know, it's about time we had another guest on the podcast.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:08 PM on October 13, 2011


Time counts, and kept counting, but I come for the salvage. So do the tell about this fracturing pockyclypse and we'll see if your clannish pocket is worth my sticking around to catch the wind...

Because if you want to get out of here? You talk to me.
posted by quin at 1:20 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Embrace our beautiful industrial design, embrace it!
Then brace are beautiful and dust. Real Design, and Brains it!
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:43 PM on October 13, 2011


Well indeed, one of the best things about mefi is the serendipitous cross pollination of synergetic user energy, rather than you know, memailing handpicked mefites about proposed site changes, meetups and suchlike.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:59 PM on October 13, 2011


jessamyn's mum: "There's no real impetus for recreating what is an already working system just so we could stick it under the MeFi header."

Actually, this is one of the Great Things about MetaFilter - there have been any number of spin-offs that mathowie could have pulled back into MeFi simply by reproducing them within the site - MetaChat, SportsFilter, Mefight Club etc etc. He could have built a massive site with lots of corners to suit everyone and then sat back and raked in the advertising dollars, but he hasn't. People have built sites that leverage off the membership here, which represents a loss of potential income for MeFi and that's not only tolerated, but encouraged.

This is not the way to become a mega-rich, but it's a (I assume) conscious decision to make a good living and call that enough. I'm glad for this.
posted by dg at 4:02 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Shit, caught out by the 'IfIDoThisWillYouPleaeShutUp' greasemonkey script again :-(
posted by dg at 4:04 PM on October 13, 2011


:D
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:05 PM on October 13, 2011


Yes, cortex, but will you survive to wield the last of the V8 banhammers?
posted by rodgerd at 12:50 AM on October 14, 2011


*conflates pop culture references, stands at pronounced angle*
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:29 AM on October 14, 2011


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