Random Pony Request June 20, 2013 11:40 PM   Subscribe

I was just browsing AskMe via Random (great sport!) My finger was already clicking on Random again when I realized I still wanted to read it, so of course I got a new Random. I hit the back button and found out Random wasn't appending to my browser history! Please make Random leave footprints in my history like all the other links I click? posted by evariste to Bugs at 11:40 PM (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

On Firefox 21.0 (OS X 10.6.8) I can't reproduce this. When I hit random a few times the back button takes me back through the pages I just saw. Interesting. Maybe different browsers do this differently?
posted by no regrets, coyote at 11:51 PM on June 20, 2013

Hmm! I'm using Chrome 27 on 10.8.4. On testing, Firefox preserves history for me too. I guess it could be a bug in Chrome.
posted by evariste at 12:14 AM on June 21, 2013

I see it in Safari 6.0.5 on Mac OS 10.8.4 as well.
posted by JiBB at 12:18 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

On Chrome 27.0.1453.116 (Official Build 206485), Windows 7 64-bit. Same issue -- doesn't save history. On Opera and Firefox, it does. Looks like Chrome is optimizing its own cache based on the URL. Would assigning a random number to the link help, e.g. instead of: http://www.metafilter.com/random, do http://www.metafilter.com/random?foo=12934524
posted by spiderskull at 12:39 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Okay, so I just did a test. If I append "?" then a random number to the URL, Chrome saves the history for multiple attempts. If I do not (even if it's just a single "?" and a 1-digit number), it does not save the history.

(Incidentally, I ran across this old post during these tests -- that post just wouldn't fly today)
posted by spiderskull at 12:42 AM on June 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

I think maybe it's this issue. MeFi's Random link seems, like Wikipedia's, to use a 302 redirect, and according to a StackOverflow article linked at the bottom of that bug report, Chrome is 'strict' about wanting a 303. I haven't tested whether a 303 would fix this, and apparently there've been bugs related to that too (although that one in particular seems to do with POSTs that get a 303--probably not relevant in this case).

But in short, I'd suggest trying a 303.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 12:42 AM on June 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Hunh, reading further, it looks like a 303 is recommended, but that still doesn't fix Chrome. But that does seem to be a long-open bug report about this for Chrome.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 12:46 AM on June 21, 2013

It wasn't you MeFi, it was Chrome. Pony request returned to sender with status: 418 Chrome is a teapot.
posted by evariste at 12:59 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Per the Chrome bug report Monsieur Caution posted, it's really a webkit RFC pedantry UX bug. Webkit is the teapot.
posted by evariste at 1:03 AM on June 21, 2013

Should have made my one and only pony request for the week about questions being closed instead. Lots of good eternal questions, but Metafilter freezes them as if there can never be new information about them. Not every question we get is personal or transient. I like how Stack Overflow is a bit of a wiki. I ran across this one again and really wished it could stay open forever for new answers. Problematic threads could just be closed by admin fiat. Is it so bad if great old questions keep getting great new answers? Is kind of person who hits a great old question from Google and has something to contribute and is willing to join up just to do it should be encouraged? Haven't many of us gotten MeFi mail from people who joined just to somehow reach out about a closed question? I almost feel like apologizing to them for having to go to such lengths to tell me something that even if it's great, can never go on the question's page.

On the other hand, I have some ancient answers on a trainwreck thread that I wish I could stop people from reading or faving any more. These old crimes haunt me when I visit Favorites, cuz even if I'm absent for like a year, I come back and somebody I've heard of or respect just favorited the fucking thing last week. Fuck the past let's set it on fire.
posted by evariste at 1:27 AM on June 21, 2013

You could interpret this bug as a boring philosophical difference between browsers that practically has to be dealt with, and hook up a cheap hacky workaround for Webkit victims as if we're IE users. It's pretty minor in the scheme of things and will be fixed eventually because browsers will tend to cater to users rather than confounding their expectations in order to axegrind one side of a pedantic argument.
posted by evariste at 1:40 AM on June 21, 2013

Lots of good eternal questions, but Metafilter freezes them as if there can never be new information about them

For answers to the types of questions that basically have a single "right" answer we have recently added a way to update those, but for continuing "list" type threads, we figure that after a year if someone wants to revive such a question the best way to do that is with a new post (and linking to the old one helps with continuity). One thing that's not obvious is that we regularly patrol old / inactive threads with new comments because this is a favored strategy of spammers: find an old post that nobody's paying that much attention to and poop in it. Keeping up with the last year of posts is not so bad (with a little help from pb re spam tools), but an entire site of always-open threads would be a lot bigger problem.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:45 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

taz, I dunno, it seems like undergoing devolution in response to the evolutionary pressure of spammers. Of course a lot of decisions like this happen early and aren't revisited, so maybe I'm imagining that there's more ways to combat it than creating an admin todo list where you have pay special attention to these and it becomes a chore.

I guess StackOverflow solves it with an intricate permissions system where you have to earn points by doing things in order to do more kinds of things, and that would really change the subjective experience of using Metafilter a lot. It's a tricky question.
posted by evariste at 1:54 AM on June 21, 2013

The only form of grinding/currency I've run across here is that you can only post one thread on each of the colors of metafilter per week. By contrast SO is so instrumented with points and feels so gamified that it's off-putting. At least on MeFi I got full citizenship as soon as I joined.
posted by evariste at 2:00 AM on June 21, 2013

If Metafilter had arrows I would upvote it. Thankfully it's not one of those either.
posted by evariste at 2:23 AM on June 21, 2013

There isn't a once a week limit for posting on the Mefi front page (the "blue"), fwiw; it's once a day there. I'm not sure what you mean by devolution, but we didn't start out always-open in Ask Metafilter and "devolve" to only open for a year. In fact, threads originally stayed open for only a month, and this was later increased to a year. We have to moderate all open threads on Metafilter and all the subsites 24 hours a day 365 days a year, whether for spammers or whatever else, and having thousands of always-open threads just isn't a manageable situation for us.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:23 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ah, I don't post much to the blue so I never ran into the one a day meter. I discovered it when it was just the blue, but I joined for the green. My mis-perception on the devolution issue-I interpreted it as a response. Man you guys must have a hell of a spam problem, I always thought the paying to join was a pretty good deterrent and didn't realize.

(Now that I've finally read that)-final updates from the original asker are great! Thanks. You guys are thoughtful community designers.
posted by evariste at 2:43 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Man you guys must have a hell of a spam problem, I always thought the paying to join was a pretty good deterrent and didn't realize.

We don't, really, but we also try to make spamming here a pretty fruitless exercise. But more to the point questions are supposed to have utility directly and for a lot of them, the utility drops way off after the first few days. We keep them open a year for updates and then have the new feature to add admin updates (this is really not that much work, it's not a frequently used feature and our active community is quite small compared to SO). But at some level we don't just want all the threads to become random "Let's talk about my relationship" discussion threads and so they close.

I like the SO model a lot for what SO is doing, but it's a really different place and was created with a different purpose and utility. We're happy about adding final updates because, yeah, that was a real problem that sprung up not infrequently but for the blog format which is the underpinning of this site, having threads close makes a certain amount of sense.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:00 AM on June 21, 2013

Yeah, the spam thing is not overwhelming by any means, though the ratio of actual answers to spam increases steadily over the life of the question and at the one year mark I'd say we're already at a break-even point there. Our best tool against what does come in is an admin view we call Ask Stragglers that just lists the newest comments in order that are from threads on the green that are more than a month old; between us we check that at least daily so we can jump on the sketchy stuff pretty efficiently. But it's sort of an ongoing, doesn't-stop issue, if (primarily because of the $5 signup, yeah) a relatively low-volume one.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:45 AM on June 21, 2013

Today I learned there's a "Random" browsing option on MeFi.
posted by futureisunwritten at 1:53 PM on June 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Today I learned there's a "Random" browsing option on MeFi.

Me too, and the first MeTa random I got involved Cortex and Taz trying to convince Mathowie to ban someone, in the days before they were mods.

I'd link to it, but I closed the tab by accident and now I can't get it back.....
posted by scrute at 8:23 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Was it Paphnuty?
posted by taz (staff) at 2:05 AM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

It was mrhappybanjo - who seemed to disappear anyway once MeTa foiled his plans.
posted by scrute at 7:59 AM on June 22, 2013

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