I like updates. October 14, 2012 11:08 AM   Subscribe

I like post updates.

While I agree with the new policy that MetaTalk is not the right place for updates, I kinda wish there was a right place. Threads close, or I forget to follow them, etc. It would be nice if there was a page that I could add to my daily browse where people (maybe only the original poster?) could post a short update that would point to the original thread.

In addition my backyard is not large enough for a pony, so I would prefer a Galapagos tortoise instead.
posted by Tell Me No Lies to Feature Requests at 11:08 AM (70 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Maybe you should start such a web page?
posted by grouse at 11:15 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's a new policy, it's pretty much always been in the existing thread as long as I've been around. MeTa is for MetaFilter related topics, not any thread that's been on the blue.
posted by arcticseal at 11:17 AM on October 14, 2012


I like PostĀ® Alpha-BitsĀ®.
posted by birdherder at 11:18 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's certainly new as of two or three years ago, I was caught out out by it the first time I heard it.
posted by Artw at 11:19 AM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, when I say "new" I mean circa 2010.

It occurs to me that I've been around this place waaaaay too long.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:23 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it's that new, I need fresh RAM, another sign of the decline.
posted by arcticseal at 11:24 AM on October 14, 2012


FWIW it absolutely makes sense that MetaTalk is not the place for updates, but it does mean that some things fall into a bit of a gap.
posted by Artw at 11:26 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree with you Tell Me No Lies. The Guardian tells me this morning that the creepshots/r/ subreddit has been deleted and banned, and that Violentacrez has been identified, or perhaps all but identified, and that reddit is going to war with Gawker.

Metafilter is the only source I would trust to tell me what's really going on.
posted by jamjam at 11:29 AM on October 14, 2012


Metafilter is the only source I would trust to tell me what's really going on.

Considering that Forbes' contribution is concerned primarily with syphilis I'm going to have to say I agree with you.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:37 AM on October 14, 2012


/tags/updated is your friend.
posted by alms at 11:40 AM on October 14, 2012


I like post updates too, and since MeFi threads only stay open one month I wish there was a good place for them. I remember that they used to be common in MeTa until a couple years ago, but I don't remember why they were deemed Not Okay?
posted by lalex at 11:43 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


/tags/updated is your friend

For a maximum of thirty days, and not even that if someone doesn't update the tags.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:43 AM on October 14, 2012


Putting updates on MeTa seems like a system that works really well, if the user base is small enough and the number of updates provided is also small. That's obviously not the case, though: it makes sense not to allow updates on MeTa, given the free-for-all spirit on MeTa, the amount of work MeTa threads require for mods, etc. I agree that updates are awesome, but I also think updates are a difficult thing to do well on a site as large as this.

The Best Of Metafilter blog almost seems like it could be used for this.. But not quite.
posted by meese at 11:48 AM on October 14, 2012


I fully understand your motivation here. It's occasionally nice to be clued-in to something big like the delayed space jump today, and in a perfect world, it would be nice if we had a good place for those things.

As I recall, the change in policy a few years ago was basically to avoid MetaTalk becoming overrun with more and more updates on things that were not Mefi-related.

The guideline now seems to be: if there's an existing thread, updates go there; if there's no existing thread and the update is truly a big deal, it may warrant its own post. But if it's not recent enough to have an open thread, and not big enough to be worth a post in its own right, there's no current place for it here.

mathowie or one of the other mods may be along shortly to weigh in on whether building a separate venue for updates is on the table -- my guess would be that this is one of those things where we have to get by with our current system.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:48 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


i do wish updates could be handled better but i'm glad they're not in metatalk. i think the going theory is if there's an open thread updates should go in there - if there's not an open thread, a new thread should be made if there's enough to support a new thread - if there's not enough to support it then there are a million other places to get that sort of thing (news, blogs, twitter, etc).

the open thread on the predditors debacle has been pretty much interesting (and as measured as one could expect for the subject matter) all the way through.
posted by nadawi at 11:52 AM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jessamyn's insights and the comments she's responding to near the bottom are particularly worth reading. I don't think that post did too badly at all from coming just before the shit hit the fan.
posted by Artw at 11:56 AM on October 14, 2012


I remember that they used to be common in MeTa until a couple years ago, but I don't remember why they were deemed Not Okay?

They were common but also often a point of contention since an update that seemed kind of not-very-metafilter-related or pretty thing would likely end up containing in significant part an argument about whether or not it should be there, etc. Circa 2010 is right on target; here's a metatalk thread from May, 2010 discussing the issue in general. As I recall, we had been moving to clamp down a little bit on this stuff prior to that and sort of carried through from there based on the criteria we were laying out in that thread.

The short of it is that Metatalk update posts are generally okay for (a) closed threads where (b) there was some really unusually mefi-relevant or community-significant news that (c) would not itself make for a workable new post on the blue. That stuff was always fine and will always be fine but represents a pretty small portion of what we saw update posts being used for; often people would update threads that were still open, forking the discussion for no good reason, or would be like "here's a small update to a story you may not have been following" which is kind of poor targeting, or there'd be something new that was actually just balls-out cool and post-worthy and should go over on the blue.

So the move was more to refine and enforce a bit the notion of being selective about what actually goes in Metatalk so that the update threads that do make sense can stand unambiguously on their own instead of sort of being bogged down by stuff that people are likely to be all "why is this even here?" about, and in the mean time cut down a little bit on the clutter on Metatalk.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:06 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


(In other words, what my coworker LobsterMitten said. Hi, coworker!)
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:07 PM on October 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


Honestly, it is working great for me to have an update post on MeTa that is promptly closed. I know that it is not encouraged to post them, and that's why they are closed, but they are still here and I still get the info and head over to the updated thread. So if we really want them Not Here, they may need to be deleted rather than closed. Because closed is Still Here and serving the purpose of the poster. Which is a rules violation that suits me, so I don't mind it, because we all have our preferences after all.
posted by SLC Mom at 12:15 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


If a post is worth updating, it is worth a new post.

I was contacted by a few people, concerning the Maple Syrup heist last month. Almost exactly one month later, those nefarious syrup-stealing fiends have been found. People wanted to update me, I guess, because I posted the first time, and they couldn't update in the thread, it having just closed.

But I encouraged each one to make a FPP about the slow, sticky progress of justice. And it worked! It's a good FPP, a good story.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:25 PM on October 14, 2012


I like.. turtles.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:54 PM on October 14, 2012


(In other words, what my coworker LobsterMitten said. Hi, coworker!)

Do you guys get achievement badges or anything?

SIMULTANEOUS POST WITH OTHER MOD: UNLOCKED
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:57 PM on October 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


aw I just moved out of a place that came with a turtle living in the backyard. The rental agreement even had a Turtle Clause (seriously).
posted by mannequito at 12:59 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


With a little fuzzy red shell-cozy and everything?
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:07 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Honestly, it is working great for me to have an update post on MeTa that is promptly closed.

Yeah, that's fine on the very small scale but if we get the impression that people are abusing the close-not-delete MeTa standard, that standard will probably change.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:08 PM on October 14, 2012


you mods are adorable.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:27 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is there where I admit that I find the practice of comments left after the discussion ends but before the thread closes containing nothing but a link to some news story (no commentary) rather annoying? A post drops out of Recent Activity for two weeks, then suddenly reappears. I think "Oh, maybe someone has something further to say on this topic" and then it turns out, no, it's a link to some tangentially related news story. I'm impressed at the ability of the people who do this to read new stories and relate them to weeks old FPPs, but I'd rather they either didn't or left some commentary rather than just te link.
posted by hoyland at 2:48 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


aww, shucks. I love it when that happens.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:53 PM on October 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


I love those updates, and wouldn't want to discourage them.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:54 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


hoyland, could that be spam, at least in some cases? I reported one like that because it looked to me like it was spam. It did get deleted, so presumably the mods agreed that it was some form of backdoor self-promoting or the like.
posted by Michele in California at 2:55 PM on October 14, 2012


or homunculus, which is like discovering hidden treasure.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:58 PM on October 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


I used to live next door to folks who owned a real Galapagos tortoise. His name was Sydney. He was a pretty inteligent creature. Big too. They kept him in the house in cold weather.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:59 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like the updates that come on threads why they are still open. Please don't deter those.
posted by arcticseal at 3:00 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "I used to live next door to folks who owned a real Galapagos tortoise. His name was Sydney. He was a pretty inteligent creature. Big too. They kept him in the house in cold weather."

I know I'm having an emotional day when reading that comment fills me with an intense desire to meet the Galapagos tortoise named Sydney, and intense sadness at the fact that I will not.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:15 PM on October 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Seems like a good place to mention that Mitik (the rescued baby walrus I posted about this summer) is moving to a permanent home at the New York Aquarium, where he'll have some buddies. (That second link has adorable photo and video stuff.)

Which is funny because I was present when he was rescued in Alaska. And now he's followed me here.
posted by spitbull at 3:50 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also worth mentioning that at least today, having a Galapagos Tortoise as a pet in the United States would get you 10 years in federal prison.
posted by spitbull at 3:53 PM on October 14, 2012


Spitbull, according to the neighbors Sydney was grandfathered in. That's their story and I assume they are sticking to it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:51 PM on October 14, 2012


(In other words, what my coworker LobsterMitten said. Hi, coworker!)

Before too long, everyone here will be an employee except for me and finally I'll be special.
posted by item at 4:55 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It turns out the British Columbian feet were a viral promotion for a Vancouver shoe store. I would have mentioned it sooner but you know how the mods are all uptight about updates.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:58 PM on October 14, 2012


Also worth mentioning that at least today, having a Galapagos Tortoise as a pet in the United States would get you 10 years in federal prison.

Huh. I wonder what the reason is.

It's not like they're going to multiply and trash the ecosystem or something. Hell, it just took goats to wipe out all of Lonesome George's kin.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:08 PM on October 14, 2012




There are several asks that I would LOVE to know the outcomes of. I've been tempted to post a query here but perhaps it's better that I didn't ....
posted by bunderful at 5:14 PM on October 14, 2012


I've never understood why the treaties for endangered species don't allow official breeding programs to release a certain number of animals to private owners. Spreading living samples out around the planet seems like a good strategy for avoiding extinction.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:28 PM on October 14, 2012


Could that be spam, at least in some cases?

We actually have a little mod tool that looks for those sorts of dangling comments long after a thread has died down and collates them in a place and cortex takes a look at them. If it's not from one of the 3-4 usual suspects that do that sort of "Here's a relavant link on this topic!" stuff, then let us know if it looks like spam. We hate spam.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:56 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Spreading living samples out around the planet seems like a good strategy for avoiding extinction.

Not really. Instead it creates an underground market in endangered animals that is usually satisfied by plundering what is left of wild populations. We have a relatively publicly accountable system in place to do what you are mentioning: zoos.
posted by spitbull at 5:59 PM on October 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Spitbull, according to the neighbors Sydney was grandfathered in. That's their story and I assume they are sticking to it.

How long ago was this? What they are doing is despicable even if it's legal.
posted by spitbull at 6:00 PM on October 14, 2012


That turtle is happy, has a LARGE outdoor enclosure and a room of his own inside, and from what I could tell loved his family.

I ain't ratting him out. The owners are animal people and take very good care of all their pets.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:27 PM on October 14, 2012


Oh, and when I first talked to them they already knew that people couldn't get more pets like him. They must have had him for years and years.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:28 PM on October 14, 2012


"I know I'm having an emotional day when reading that comment fills me with an intense desire to meet the Galapagos tortoise named Sydney, and intense sadness at the fact that I will not."

Every year my small-town zoo has the Aldabran tortoise mosey from his summer quarters to his winter quarters, because it's an old zoo and his display summer enclosure isn't near his nice heated winter quarters. So they have a big party and people line up like five deep to watch this tortoise take a couple of hours moseying along a bunch of zoo paths that are closed so he can make his twice-yearly mosey, following a trail of lettuce treats, while people cheer for him like crazy. Then they do it again in the spring. The tortoise is like pretty much as old as the zoo and it's this big local deal, which gives me faith in both small-town awesome weirdness and in tortoises.

Anyway you couldn't pet the tortoise but you could come watch him make his mosey!

I also wish there was a right place. Something like the sidebar, where still-open threads with new information or a new or suddenly pertinent event, could be highlighted. I usually find my way to them from MeTas or deleted threads, too.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:37 PM on October 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


It may not be a perfect match for what's being requested, but I use the Recent Comments tab for updates like this. There's not one for Ask, I don't think, but there's that one for MeFi and one for MeTa. A quick scan down that page often reveals updates to posts I forgot I enjoyed in the first place. You'll find the balloon jump post and updates there, for example.
posted by donnagirl at 6:46 PM on October 14, 2012


How about a regular-ish unscheduled but specific 'update open thread' on Metatalk, say once a month? Kottke for example does an update 'grab-bag' post on his blog every once in a while.

On the other hand, this could seem like another rule/custom thingy that the mods would have to keep track of, on top of everything else.
posted by carter at 6:58 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just checked and while it's not definitive, the estimate seems to be about 15,000 Galapagos giant tortoises (of several subspecies) are left in the wild. And they are still being poached.

I'm not picking on you or your neighbors, Alia, in particular. Since those guys can live 150 years it's entirely possible this animal's arrival in your neighborhood predates the endangered listing. But it is still a legacy of a barbaric trade in wild animals as pets, a trade that goes on to the great detriment of threatened and endangered species and *despite* the few laws and agencies that now stand in the way. I would not doubt that there is a private trade in giant tortoises even today, actually.
posted by spitbull at 7:10 PM on October 14, 2012


How about a regular-ish unscheduled but specific 'update open thread' on Metatalk, say once a month?

The problem with this, and update threads in MeTa generally, is that MeTa is moderated differently than the blue and that moderation isn't designed to handle the same kinds of threads. MeTa threads don't always or even usually go sideways, but when they do, they go hard, and it's a much bigger mod timesuck and impact on everyone's sense of well-being.

The only way to really avoid that would be to have two sets of mod rules in MeTa, and that is a nonstarter for reasons I hope are obvious, or change the way MeTa is modded in general. (And there's an argument for that to be made, but there are reasons it is the way it is, too.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:13 PM on October 14, 2012


I kind of figured it might be something like that, thanks for the info restless-nomad.
posted by carter at 7:25 PM on October 14, 2012


We actually have a little mod tool that looks for those sorts of dangling comments long after a thread has died down and collates them in a place and cortex takes a look at them

The homunculus tool, basically.

Now that I think about it, following homunculus around would capture a bunch of significant percentage of thread updates.
posted by empath at 7:44 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Perhaps the "activity" sidebar could also track the last 5 posts with significant updates somehow? Maybe a heuristic based on idle -> suddenly active time would work?
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:52 PM on October 14, 2012


Every year my small-town zoo has the Aldabran tortoise mosey from his summer quarters to his winter quarters, because it's an old zoo and his display summer enclosure isn't near his nice heated winter quarters. So they have a big party and people line up like five deep to watch this tortoise take a couple of hours moseying along a bunch of zoo paths that are closed so he can make his twice-yearly mosey, following a trail of lettuce treats, while people cheer for him like crazy. Then they do it again in the spring. The tortoise is like pretty much as old as the zoo and it's this big local deal, which gives me faith in both small-town awesome weirdness and in tortoises.

Eyebrows McGee, is that the Peoria Zoo? When I woke up this morning I was definitely not considering a road trip/pilgrimage to Peoria.

Now I just have to make a "Aldabran is peaceful, we have no weapons" sign to wave while cheering him on.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:41 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, Peoria! It's a pretty decent zoo for its size these days, with two fully modernized exhibits that are top notch, and only on depressing 60s zoo enclosure left. We have a family membership and go all the time because -- pro parenting tip -- even if they close the county for snow, someone is out shoveling the paths at the zoo so the animals get fed. They open no matter what because they gotta feed the animals no matter what. It's a great place to take toddlers to run in the dead of winter when everything else is closed!

We are getting to know the keepers by name and gossip with them about the animals and I can tell the rhinos apart by the shapes of their ears. We go to the zoo a LOT.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:13 PM on October 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


If a post is worth updating, it is worth a new post.

I dunno, I think that's problematic because in a lot of cases, to give the new post sufficient context, you'd be making something in danger of being considered a double.

i.e. the bar for what is worth making a post about seems like it would (should?) be different from what is worth making a post about when there has already been a post about the same topic only a month ago.
posted by juv3nal at 2:00 AM on October 15, 2012


I dunno, I think that's problematic because in a lot of cases, to give the new post sufficient context, you'd be making something in danger of being considered a double.

Well and this is where things get sort of tricky in terms of being absolute about the guidelines. Usually "doubles" are stuff that has literally been posted before, the same link or the same video in the past several years. If someone's posting a significant update about a topic that attracted a lot of attention here a few months ago, that's not really a double. However, I'll admit, figuring out "Is this update worthy of a new post?" is probably not super simple. But, as r_n said, having MetaTalk have a few dual purposes where one is idle "hey here's a neat thing" talking and one is srs bzns talking with mods, it makes it a little complicated to want to have here be a place for that sort of thing. I guess ideally someone would set up a wildly popular Yesterday's News blog and do this as a solo project (I've always wanted to do that as a personal project, not with MeFi but the news world at large, some sort of "What ever happened to...?" situation) but this just isn't the right place for it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:28 AM on October 15, 2012


hoyland, could that be spam, at least in some cases?

Like jess said, we've got a couple of pretty good tools for sifting for spammy stuff and I personally enjoy a good sift, but I don't think that's the stuff that hoyland is talking about. The spammy stuff mostly shows up late in Ask threads that are months old rather than on the blue, and it's mostly from brand new accounts with little to no site history. (I just spent a few hours this week going over the short version of How To Spot A Spammer with goodnewsfortheinsane and LobsterMitten, and it sort of put into relief for me how many little details of this spam hunting process I've internalized at this point.)

The linky updates in question here are a different and way less problematic thing: folks like homunculus or ericb adding links to newer news/commentary/analysis pieces on a developing situation a couple days or a week or three weeks after the original thread went a bit quiet. Not everybody likes that, and that's okay, but behaviorally speaking it's not against the guidelines or anything we see as a violation of reasonable site usage expectations in the way it generally happens; my advice for folks who don't want to see those late updates rolling in is to go ahead and remove said thread from Recent Activity the first time they see one of those update comments.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:55 AM on October 15, 2012


It seems that MeTa works because it is a low volume channel that is frequented by most active site members. This makes it very effective. Making it a place for updates on open threads will raise the volume and maybe lower its effectiveness.
posted by deo rei at 7:40 AM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


We actually have a little mod tool that looks for those sorts of dangling comments long after a thread has died down and collates them in a place and cortex takes a look at them.

I just accidentally posted in the Walking Dead '11 thread instead of the nearly identical Walking Dead '12 thread. Blame the zombies.
posted by roger ackroyd at 2:20 PM on October 15, 2012


Heh, and the comment before yours in that old thread (you can't see it, but I can, because I see dead deleted people) was some spam from may telling people that they could totally watch tv at shittytvstreamingsite.ru.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:52 PM on October 15, 2012


I think I need to update my reading glasses, because I totally read jessamyn's comment as "we ate spam," and thought, "Delicious if fried in a nice mirin sauce, I wonder if that's how they served it?"

Then I read Eyebrows' comment about an Aldabran tortoise making "his money" and thought that wasn't a bad job, especially since it was twice a year and people cheered you on.

Finally I thought cortex enjoyed "a good sh*t" after some spammy stuff, and hoped it wasn't the mirin.
posted by CancerMan at 3:11 PM on October 15, 2012


Thanks to portable computing technology, it doesn't really need to be after.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:18 PM on October 15, 2012


Thank you for that image.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:18 PM on October 15, 2012


Would the update necessarily need to be from the OP? (probably in the case of the Green).

If so, perhaps the minor functionality addition of an "This is an update" checkmark/post box only for the OP after comments have been closed (and perhaps nudged by mathowie's automated 'how did this question do?' MeMail) would be useful, if it also subsequently added the 'followup' tag.

Not sure how portable that would be to the blue, though.
posted by softlord at 4:32 PM on October 16, 2012


I, too, enjoy a relaxing evening on the toilet with shittytvstreamingsite.ru
posted by mannequito at 5:30 PM on October 16, 2012


When I came to this thread, before logging in, the ad at the top was for a website where you could order live tortoises - it's called The Turtle Shack. Crazy.
posted by thrasher at 9:36 AM on October 17, 2012


« Older Baumgartner is finally up up and away ...   |   Grammar InSpecter Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments