Time stamp for posterity. December 23, 2011 5:04 AM   Subscribe

Could we get a time stamp added to deletion reasons? They are the only type of comment that isn't time stamped, so all we know is that the deletion occurred sometime after the last comment (or sometime between posting and any comments).
posted by OmieWise to Feature Requests at 5:04 AM (43 comments total)

Is this some kind of OCD thing or is there a real reason you want this?
posted by gman at 5:15 AM on December 23, 2011


1) I'm not sure I understand your question as written. Could you send me a list of what counts as a "real reason" for you?

2) I'd like to be able to tell exactly when a post was deleted.
posted by OmieWise at 5:23 AM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


OmieWise: Could you send me a list of what counts as a "real reason" for you?

In the case of this request, I can't think of one. Hence my question.

I'd like to be able to tell exactly when a post was deleted.

Yeah, just wondering why on earth anyone would care about the precise time a post was deleted.
posted by gman at 5:27 AM on December 23, 2011


What a waste of a holiday meta, this has no chance of generating a flameout at all.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:30 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Never doubt the flameout potential of any given meta. Didn't we have a flameout in a freaking hugs thread a month or so ago?
posted by Ghidorah at 5:47 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's only 6 am on the West Coast, so pb will be along in a bit to discuss this.

Meanwhile, I'm listening to WFMU's Give The Drummer Some. (Stream)
posted by taz (staff) at 6:06 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a waste of a holiday meta, this has no chance of generating a flameout at all.

And the Lord said, do not expect to receive without giving. Those who can flame out, should.

Matthew 96:22.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 6:07 AM on December 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


2) I'd like to be able to tell exactly when a post was deleted.

Why?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:08 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why?

Fair question.

I've been looking at a lot of deleted threads recently, and I realized there was no way to tell when any given thread was deleted. Often there aren't even any comments with which to gauge how long a post was up before being pulled. The more I thought about it, the more this seemed like an oversight, since everything else about posts is time stamped. As the French say, "The eating creates the appetite," and now I want to be able to tell when a post was deleted.

I gave some thought to whether this would change the conversations and call-outs around deletions, and I don't think that it would be worse. People who complain about deletions mostly do so for reasons not related to the time when something was deleted, and the mods are pretty transparent with information when it's requested (so my guess is that if someone wants to know the exact time, the mods would supply it.)

So, since it's something that seems like it would add information without adding angst, I can't think of a real reason not to add the time stamp.

(Although there may well be reasons this is a bad idea, which is why it would be great for real users to weigh in with their thoughts.)
posted by OmieWise at 6:19 AM on December 23, 2011


What a waste of a holiday meta, this has no chance of generating a flameout at all.

DAMMIT

(ノ °益°)ノ ┻━┻
posted by cmonkey at 6:23 AM on December 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not sure if the deletion time is already stored or not, but this could be useful for general infodump datawankery.

Longest time a post has been up before deletion?

Shortest time?

Well, that's about all I can think of really.
posted by Think_Long at 6:31 AM on December 23, 2011


So, since it's something that seems like it would add information without adding angst, I can't think of a real reason not to add the time stamp.

There is no way in the world this will won't add angst. None. It's human nature to pick out flaws on things they don't agree with, whether it makes sense or not.

It'll just be another thing for a person to complain about and compare to other deletions i.e. "My post was deleted after 5:17 seconds, while this other post was allowed to stay up at least 15 minutes, WHAT THE HELL YOU FACIST POLICE?! My post could have been saved by more comments. Shouldn't there be a standard wait time before deleting a post, say 20 minutes?!"

Not seeing a whole lot of upside to making this change, but whatever fits the mod's workflow.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:35 AM on December 23, 2011


The more I thought about it, the more this seemed like an oversight, since everything else about posts is time stamped.

The data nerd in me shares your "it'd be nice to have it there" instinct, because data is nice; the mod-just-getting-stuff-done part of me is pretty okay with it not being there because I don't really see that it adds something to the deletion situation. I don't really have a firm opinion on this either way so far.

What I would say from the mod side is that I see post deletions as falling into two general categories:

1. Deletions that happen while the thread is still active/developing, and
2. Deletions that happen long after the fact.

Most of what we're talking about is (1), with thread being deleted within the first hour or first few hours of existence. In those you can at least guess that the post was deleted within a reasonably short span of time from when the last comment was made; for posts that have no comments, it was almost certainly deleted shortly after going up, because it's unlikely that a deletable post would sit quietly for an extended period of time not collecting even a peep of critical or sarcastic commentary. I'd guess cases where there was any active commenting and the post got deleted more than a half hour or hour after the last comment would be rare.

For (2), we're looking probably at poster's request situations on old askmes for the most part, or maybe an old projects post now and then, or the rare case of nixing an old self-link when a case of egregious spamming comes to light after the fact.

So the thing I look at here is, where does the deletion time stamp become useful? I don't think it serves any real community purpose for case (2); for case (1) it feels like it's going to mostly be providing a pretty narrow bit of clarification on what's already a reasonable rule-of-thumb estimation based on the existing commenting pace in the thread before deletion.

The use case I'm trying to get my sights on for why we would do this is, basically, what does it add of positive value to the community to have that specific datum in the mix? What's been a problem in previous discussions about deletions that this would solve?

Not sure if the deletion time is already stored or not, but this could be useful for general infodump datawankery.

The infodump doesn't have deletion time, but as noted you could estimate it based on comment datestamps in each thread, and I think someone actually did this a bit in the last year or so.

The core deletion-time data is I think at least partially available in our admin log, so if we decided we did want to make this a visible field on the deletion reason box it'd be possible to do some retroactive dating, though those logs haven't been around forever so I don't know exactly how far back that would go.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:38 AM on December 23, 2011


Finally, a "real user" weighs in.
posted by gman at 6:38 AM on December 23, 2011


If this MeTa can't be posted without drawing snark, then I'm not sure what hope the more contentious ones are supposed to have.
posted by cribcage at 6:51 AM on December 23, 2011


gman: "Finally, a "real user" weighs in"

Yeah, he sure did, and man, he seemed pretty upset about it!

cmonkey: "(ノ °益°)ノ ┻━┻"
posted by Grither at 6:59 AM on December 23, 2011


The core deletion-time data is I think at least partially available...

Just curious, what do you mean by "partially available"?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:03 AM on December 23, 2011


You FOOLS. The moderators are ETERNAL BEINGS who do not even exist in time!

As the Dante himself said:

"Through them, the way into this doleful city -
Through them, the way into eternal pain
Through them, the prison of the shitty.

For MeFi-justice do the mods sustain,
And great Mathowie made them so
With wisdom and with love to reign.

Around them, only timeless things do grow,
And they too shall endure without end.
Abandon hope, ye that to MeTa go

And on such things as "timestamps" spend
your words - into that enigma, do not delve!
(ps - vote quidnunc kid in twenty-twelve).
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:11 AM on December 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't have any specific purpose, but I would like to see a time stamp on deletions. If this is either 'for', 'against' or 'don't care', surprisingly, I am in the 'for' not the 'don't care'. It adds just a little bit more transparency to the process.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:13 AM on December 23, 2011


I think this would be an invaluable tool for assessing each mod's typical 'call of nature' duration, and would therefore provide a sound means of calculating corresponding remunerative adjustments.

Times are hard, ladies and gentlemen, and there's no excuse for excessive lingering in the smallest room in this age of ubiquitous digestive-transit supplements.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:14 AM on December 23, 2011


Just curious, what do you mean by "partially available"?

Sorry, muddled pre-caffeine phrasing. "Partially available" as in we have it but not since day one. At some point a while back pb implemented an admin activity log that tracks things like deletions and edits.

It's back-end information, not something that generally speaking has been publicly-viewable or was ever really intended to be; it's mostly just there for inter-mod catchup on what's happened in the last few hours (so e.g. I can get up in the morning and see what taz did overnight and vice versa) and for reference if we're trying to figure out who did what when on something confusing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:15 AM on December 23, 2011


I've been looking at a lot of deleted threads recently.

Seems dirty and smelly.
posted by bru at 7:20 AM on December 23, 2011


I don't really have a strong opinion on this one, so I think I'm going to make something out of eggs and leftovers, then catch up on some end-of-the-year lists.
posted by box at 8:00 AM on December 23, 2011


Also there should be an offset value that indicates the elapsed time between when the mods thought about deleting the post and when it was actually deleted.
posted by Aquaman at 8:07 AM on December 23, 2011


It would be kind of nice to get deletion/thread closure timestamps added to the infodump. There's already been at least one discussion where it would have been handy to know when a thread was actually closed, and I can imagine something coming up in the future where a deletion timestamp might be similarly useful.

But if it's just for datawankery and similar types of discussions, it's probably not worth it unless the effort level to do it is pretty minimal. I don't get the feeling that's the case (e.g. it's not just adding one more field to a select statement to get included in the export file).
posted by FishBike at 8:07 AM on December 23, 2011


end-of-the-year lists

AKA The Internet
posted by misterbrandt at 8:14 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


During this holiday season, the one thing I know we can all come together in harmony and love and agree upon is the need to Give The Drummer Some. Taz is, indeed, an inspiration to all. Or should be.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:34 AM on December 23, 2011


précis ... puny pony, probably possible, predominately pathetic.
posted by Hey, Zeus! at 11:59 AM on December 23, 2011


What the fuck is wrong with people?
posted by OmieWise at 12:09 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Too much talkin', not enough fuckin'.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:12 PM on December 23, 2011


I'm a drummer
posted by mannequito at 2:25 PM on December 23, 2011


Here you go, mannequito.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:57 AM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


By which I mean: Thanks to the people who took this entirely reasonable and non-controversial request seriously enough to offer a reasoned opinion on it. It certainly doesn't seem like a feature that most people care about, which is totally cool.

I'm unpleasantly surprised that even a plebian and banal request like this brings out snark. I came closer than I ever have to closing my account yesterday. It's hard to think it's worth being part of a community with unrepentant, reflexive, and casually pointless jerks like gman and Hey, Zeus!. I understand that jerkiness is the default mode for anything remotely controversial in MetaTalk, and I've certainly participated in that. But how are we supposed to (potentially) improve the site if we can't even talk about basic site changes without being reflexively assholish.
posted by OmieWise at 5:50 AM on December 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Dude, you're right, there was nothing controversial about your request. It just seemed so fuckin' pointless to me, and you gave no reason in your post as to why you wanted this implemented, that it sounded like some of my own obsessive compulsive tendencies. Just as you have the right to request a change to this website, I too have the right to challenge you. If what I wrote brought you that close to closing your account, I have no idea how you've lasted here this long, nor how you go about interacting with people on a daily basis in real life.
posted by gman at 6:59 AM on December 24, 2011


Well, ruminating on all kinds of data is one of the things we do here. There have been tons of Metatalk posts that ask if X-info is available or discussing what various stats might indicate, or asking if some other stats might be tracked. It's a perfectly cromulent inquiry, and wasn't put forward in any kind of hostile or aggressive way.

I think that the timing is a bit of a problem, because people aren't necessarily as available as usual to discuss and consider, but there's nothing wrong with the idea/suggestion. "OCD" is pretty much how we roll.
posted by taz (staff) at 8:16 AM on December 24, 2011


Oh, cool, the venerable "It's not me, it's you," defense.

Yeah, you are free to "challenge" me. You seem to be confusing being a jerkwad with doing that. I've got no problem with people not liking the idea. I made the post, in part, to have people weigh in.

If what I wrote brought you that close to closing your account, I have no idea how you've lasted here this long, nor how you go about interacting with people on a daily basis in real life.

Your right, I encounter bigger assholes all the time, in life and on this site (I've had more interaction from this account than you have from yours, so I must be able to hold it together alright). What demoralized me about your shitty comment was how pointless and unnecessary it was. It wasn't just an inquiry into my motives, it was, essentially, an indictment of my character. It had no purpose other than petty jerkwad fuckery.
posted by OmieWise at 8:24 AM on December 24, 2011


taz: Well, ruminating on all kinds of data is one of the things we do here.

Yeah, as is challenging people as to why they want something implemented. You know what else we do here? Give a reason for one's request in the post itself.

It's a perfectly cromulent inquiry, and wasn't put forward in any kind of hostile or aggressive way.

No, the hostility (and name calling) arrived in the form of a comment much later. Is that also "one of the things we do here"? I've now been called a jerk and an asshole; so as a mod, I assume you'll be taking issue with the name calling. I could give two shits if some random user here calls me names, but I'm pretty sure that's not 'how we roll' around here.

OmieWise: (I've had more interaction from this account than you have from yours, so I must be able to hold it together alright).

And yet you talked of closing your account over something as trivial as this.

It wasn't just an inquiry into my motives, it was, essentially, an indictment of my character.

Get some fuckin' perspective, dude.
posted by gman at 8:51 AM on December 24, 2011


gman, you have a history of doing the reflexive snark thing and even if your intent is not for it to come off jerkish it kind of does sometimes. It'd be easier to give it a pass as a misunderstanding if you hadn't gotten in folks' faces a lot before. It's worth working on.

Omie, I hear you but at the same time I think it's a better idea to not get too caught up on a bit of snark in Metatalk when it's generally not personal and some of the time at least is probably more likely people trying to joke around than actually be dicks. Calling each other assholes generally doesn't improve anything either.

Maybe both of you can give this a breather. The core feature request was worth talking about and I think we're in sort of modly-ruminating space as far as it goes at this point; since it's not time-sensitive, maybe something to just not worry about for a bit and we can talk about it some more in the future if it needs chewing on some more.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:04 AM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, do you even realise how condescending you sound sometimes?
posted by gman at 9:17 AM on December 24, 2011


Calling each other assholes generally doesn't improve anything either.

Maybe both of you can give this a breather.


Fair enough. I should have backed off before.

I'm not sure the feature needs to be revisited. I thought it might be worthwhile, but I think the responses here suggest that it's a low enough priority that it's probably not worth pursuing. Even for me it isn't something I feel very strongly about.
posted by OmieWise at 10:09 AM on December 24, 2011


And now, THE FEATS OF STRENGTH.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:46 AM on December 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


And now, THE FEATS OF STRENGTH.

Coincidentally an anagram of HE TEST STAFFER THONG

for the record, I skimmed the thread and took the piss. T'wernt personal.
posted by Hey, Zeus! at 7:55 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see this too.

It's too bad that even feature requests in metatalk aren't moderated (or more precisely, cleaned up). There is so much useless jokey bullshit in this thread.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:10 AM on December 29, 2011


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