Final Update added to old Ask MeFi questions June 4, 2013 3:27 PM   Subscribe

Today we're launching a small feature that will allow us to update long-closed Ask MetaFilter questions. If you found the definitive answer to your question long after the one-year mark closed, there is now a mechanism to send us a final update.

About once a month we get an email from a member asking us to update a question they asked 2 or 3 years after they asked it. Some questions just take that long to get your answer. In the past, we've told members to post a new MetaTalk thread about it, but that always seemed a bit awkward, because we weren't keeping information in one place, and if someone found the old question thread chances were low they'd ever find an old MetaTalk thread to go with it. I hate that anyone stumbling on an old question on Ask MeFi might not be able to get the answer that exists, but we had no way of posting it.

So we're going to let everyone contact us about old questions and give one final update we'll add to threads. The end result looks like this, and here is a feed of questions that have recently had final updates added to them. If you load up your old questions, you will see a link at the end of closed threads asking if you'd like to add a final update. If you click that, you'll get to the contact form.

Keep in mind:
  • Please send us updates via the contact form only, not MeFi mail.
  • We're looking for questions that got definite, absolutely final answers years later and not 'here's the latest update on an ongoing story' types of things.
  • Updates will be at the discretion of the mods, so if you're trying to use this to get the final word in an old argumentative Ask MeFi thread, chances are it won't get posted.
I'll be combing through old contact form email looking for updates already sent to us, but if you'd like to update an old question of yours, please hit up the contact form with the URL to your question, and your final update you'd like to see posted.

We're still testing this out and will continue to make tweaks as appropriate, and based on feedback, so thanks in advance for testing this out with us.
posted by mathowie to Feature Requests at 3:27 PM (45 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

I was smart from the very beginning.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:28 PM on June 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


About once a month we get an email from a member asking us to update a question they asked 2 or 3 years after they asked it.

Wow, that person sounds really annoying.
posted by neroli at 3:34 PM on June 4, 2013 [33 favorites]


Well, I, for one, approve, despite the fact you haven't really asked my opinion or anything.
posted by SMPA at 3:44 PM on June 4, 2013


This prompted me to go do a final final update to a question I asked last June. Under the wire!
posted by ambrosia at 3:44 PM on June 4, 2013


This is just rubbing my face in the fact that I still don't know what that damn song was from.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:04 PM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is it possible for the OP to then mark the update as best answer so it will stand out?
posted by Night_owl at 4:04 PM on June 4, 2013


I believe so, just like with any other answer in their thread.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:07 PM on June 4, 2013


Only because I'm curious--I would have assumed that was something you as mods could do anytime you wanted. How come it took a special update?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:08 PM on June 4, 2013


I briefly considered auto-marking as best, I think it's good and useful to highlight the final update, but we're kind of making a judgment when we mark it as the best answer so I'm unsure if we should automatically do that.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:10 PM on June 4, 2013


Feedly won't recognize that feed. Could you add a tag or something? or can someone who knows what they are doing tell me how to make it work?
posted by mimo at 4:11 PM on June 4, 2013


In the sense that We Control The Database it's certainly a thing we could accomplish with some hackery, but it was not an existing case built into a special mod view of the commenting process, no, and we had never been inclined to take that hacky "slip it in there just this one time the hard way" approach; ultimately this is us doing that hackery but in a feature-minded way, so now we can and it's clearly supported on the user side.

Basically it just finally got to being at the top of the stack and we decided it was a good idea to do it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:12 PM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Feedly won't recognize that feed.

We don't have an RSS feed for that page. Matt just used the word feed in a general sense.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:13 PM on June 4, 2013


I am still locked in this room.
posted by spitbull at 4:19 PM on June 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


Should you perhaps also add the "resolved" tag to these questions? For example, the final update just added to Elusive food allergies seems like a resolution to the question.
posted by RichardP at 4:20 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


but we're kind of making a judgment when we mark it as the best answer so I'm unsure if we should automatically do that.

A different indicator for "bestest answer."
posted by GuyZero at 4:30 PM on June 4, 2013


OK, I see that someone has subsequently added the "resolved" tag to the food allergies thread.
posted by RichardP at 4:38 PM on June 4, 2013


Yeah, the asker can always add resolved themself and will presumably be aware of the update since they're writing it, so, hey! Though I don't remember if we have any text on the final update form to poke people about the resolved tag, so that's something we could think about adding.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:42 PM on June 4, 2013


This is awesome, thank you!
posted by donnagirl at 4:44 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am still locked in this room.

I am the real Kaycee. I am sorry for all the fuss years ago.
posted by lampshade at 4:48 PM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is a really great even if it's only epsilon sized. Interesting mathowie is one of the beta testers!

I still have askmetafilter questions without best answers and if I ever find them I will definitely use this.
posted by bukvich at 4:50 PM on June 4, 2013


Can there be/Will there be a new metatalk policy that says updates should go to the thread and not here? Or if they go her they have to go to the thread or something?

I like the updates here, the "It took 4 years but I found the song!" or whatever, but I'm not sure this will be a good use of meta going forward.

Opinions?
posted by cjorgensen at 5:19 PM on June 4, 2013


About time. You have gone from awesome tool to canonical resource in a single policy decision.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:19 PM on June 4, 2013


I think updates were always a weird fit for MetaTalk unless they were about Some Major Thing that happened on the site. I have a feeling this tool makes old questions more useful for anyone that stumbles onto them looking for an answer, but also gives a place for those not-so-major updates to old questions. I think the big stuff will still show up here and that seems fine to me.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:21 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is a great initiative. Love that the answer goes with the question.
posted by arcticseal at 5:48 PM on June 4, 2013


Will you accept updates from Answerers, in addition to Askers?

I have located, after some time looking, a definitive, verified, not-screwing-around answer for two related questions, from 2005 and 2008, one of which was the top search result on Google for a fairly general form of the question.
posted by adipocere at 5:49 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Will you accept updates from Answerers, in addition to Askers?

You should probably email those to the original asker. We hadn't really considered that aspect yet, we'd probably look at it on a case by case basis but try to contact the OP first.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:01 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Update: should have bought the iPhone and ditched the motherfucker.
posted by spitbull at 6:07 PM on June 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hey, this is groovy. Thanks.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:30 PM on June 4, 2013


Oh hey, I was wondering about that update to that Ask, so soon after I'd contacted the mods to ask if I could somehow post the answer I just found and was (kindly) told no. This is great, thanks! (And, yes, I was able to mark the final update as Best Answer.)
posted by rhiannonstone at 6:31 PM on June 4, 2013


So, are you going to consider using this feature as a means to link the old AskMes and related MeTa updates to get some kind of site continuity?
posted by Michele in California at 6:42 PM on June 4, 2013


Defending my MPH thesis day after tomorrow, you'll have your update in just under two years.
posted by The White Hat at 7:01 PM on June 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


So, are you going to consider using this feature as a means to link the old AskMes and related MeTa updates to get some kind of site continuity?

Wasn't planning to, no. There's a larger project we've batted around that is along those lines but this is not that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:18 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ok. Thanks.
posted by Michele in California at 7:30 PM on June 4, 2013


This is simply wonderful. Thanks!
posted by michaelh at 8:02 PM on June 4, 2013


I forgot to add that these updates will also show up in Recent Activity if you participated in the threads. This was no small feat of engineering to make it happen and it works totally seamlessly.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:03 PM on June 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


This is really nice, folks. Thanks!
posted by deborah at 10:42 PM on June 4, 2013


I love the fact that it will show up in Recent Activity. Thanks for that!
posted by h00py at 5:30 AM on June 5, 2013


This is great!
posted by radioamy at 10:52 AM on June 5, 2013


This is great. Are you going to add a link somewhere to the list of recent final answers? I could see browsing that on a regular basis. It would be interesting even if I hadn't participated in the thread.

It could be another AskMe tab, alongside Recent Posts, Answered, Unanswered, etc.
posted by alms at 11:17 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are you going to add a link somewhere to the list of recent final answers?

We don't have any plans to right now, no. We'll watch and see how often final answers are added. My best guess right now is maybe once each month, maybe twice. I'm not sure that's enough updates to make it interesting as a top level tab like the others are. But if this does end up being used quite a bit more it could make a good front page tab.

You can currently watch the 'Answered' tab sidebar for questions marked resolved. In some cases there will be overlap between final updates and resolved questions.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:23 AM on June 5, 2013


My compliments: I hate seeing old questions that I am certain must have been resolved! This will add a lot to the archived questions.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:18 PM on June 5, 2013


The cat came back, the very next day.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:54 AM on June 6, 2013


As a completionist, this is very satisfying. Thank you for doing this.
posted by Brody's chum at 8:49 AM on June 6, 2013


Update: she's still gone, I'm still here (thanks in part to y'all).
posted by mrbill at 3:23 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is really a thoughtful feature. Thanks!
posted by werkzeuger at 4:49 PM on June 9, 2013


« Older Finding Link on Women/Fear of Rape   |   chatfilter? Newer »

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