Is Metafilter totally database driven? November 10, 2000 8:22 PM   Subscribe

Is Metafilter totally data driven, partially data driven, or are new posts sort of tacked onto the end of text files? It seems like every feature request that I see involving views (language, filtering, etc.) could be easily solved with a fully data driven site and a couple of competent software engineers.
posted by internook to MetaFilter-Related at 8:22 PM (8 comments total)

Everything is totally database driven.

"a couple of competent software engineers"

uh, hahahaha. Right.

It's just me and my insomnia powering the site. After a 10-12 hour day at work, I come home, relax, and sometime after midnight, if I'm in the mood, start coding new features.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:47 AM on November 11, 2000

Oh, and although a couple people have offered to help out a bit, nothing has really come of it. I've been coding this site off and on for over a year and a half, for the fun of it, never making a single dollar off it. So it's hard to drum up volunteers when you can offer basically nothing to them.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:49 AM on November 11, 2000

No it's not, Matt! You just have to give people access to the code. Trust me. There will be people who will end up wading through it, figuring out exactly how you can implement a change, and doing most of the bit-fiddlin' and testing themselves, then sending you either updated files or updated blocks of code.

Of course, you're also using a nice, proprietary system I know absolutely nothing about (ColdFusion :-) but it has to work, to some degree, like PHP, ASP and CGI. The logic of websites is fundamentally the same, figuring out the silly little details like the syntax is just a matter of time for many of us.

I get all eager and excited about a site that I contribute to, both in terms of content AND in backend. Especially MeFi, which is just stupidly packed with a bunch of geeks who all get far too excited over this wacky stuff. You've got a pool of talent, you just need to give us access to it.

Of course, I (and I'm sure the others I've heard chime in our potential support) understand what a tremendously busy life you've been leading for the past few months, what with the wedding and sorting all that stuff out, and we're happy to wait. And don't ever forget that spending time with your wife is far more important than a little website, regardless of how much we all pester you.

But if I see an opening to urge you to open this place up, I'm gonna squeeze in and pester, darnit! Publish the code somewhere and let people beat their heads against it. At the very least when someone comes up with a request you'll have other people who can bounce logic around and figure out the functionality of it for ya. :-)

(which is, of course, the fun part of implementing a new feature. which is, of course, why I want to look at the code and be able to do such a thing. :-)
posted by cCranium at 6:35 AM on November 11, 2000

Don't you think releasing the code and saying "ok, I need some help. Everyone start coding!" would create even more work for Matt? Sifting through the emails, file attachments and URLs alone would take up most of his day, and that's not even including sorting out which submissions are good and which ones aren't.
posted by tomorama at 10:02 PM on November 13, 2000

I'm actually suddenly thinking that open sourcing this kind of thing might be a real laugh. But then that's very much a decision for Matt to make. IF he's comfortable with it or not. IF he would feel under pressure to add functionality that he doesn't think is necessary or good. WHETHER or not open-sourcing it would affect Metafilter's readership. I mean - he's put in all the work so far, he's said elsewhere that he's happy with people reverse engineering it, but whether or not he'd be happy with doing all the work for other people is another matter, I think...
posted by barbelith at 6:40 AM on November 14, 2000

Yes tomorama, that's exactly what I think. I sat here and thought "Hey, how can I irritate Matt some more. How can I piss off the guy that's done and continues to do a shitload of work to enhance my life? Oh, I know, I'll come up with some crazy-assed scheme to make MORE work for him!"

I don't want to burden Matt, that's the last thing I want to do and I've already apologised for it. I assumed this thread would die because of other Metatalk conversations.

I want to HELP Matt, for pete's sake. I want to help take some of that burden off him, because I know what it's like to work insane hours for months at a time for a project, and all you want to do is come home and maybe actually talk to the person you love, or get some sleep, or let your eyes get a break from the incessant glow of the monitor.

When I think to myself "How can I help Matt?" The answer that comes to mind is "I can program for him". That's ALL that I can do, and even that is only on the basis that he accepts my help. I can't send him money, I don't have any. I can't buy him lunch, he lives thousands of miles away from me. I can do what I know, though, and what I know is programming. My instinct is to offer up my abilities.

I want to help with this place that I enjoy. To make a piss-poor analogy, I want to do some of the housework so Matt can sit back and enjoy the clubhouse he's built, and when I see an opportunity to express to Matt how much I want to help, you're damn right I'm going to take that opportunity and do so.

Did I do it properly? Obviously not, and for that I've apologised.

To (finally) answer your question, yes, I believe it would ultimately lessen Matt's work load. There are many talented people that read Metafilter, and many who would like to contribute in any way they can.

I realize that until a working system and process is in place it would be a lot of work for him, which is why I said that his life was more important than anything we request here. This isn't something I expect to happen tomorrow, or next week, or next year, and I didn't mean to intimate it was. Like I said, I take every opportunity I can to plant the seed of opening up Metafilter.

Obviously I fucked up, I didn't properly express the levity with which I was making the comments I made and I had miserable timing, but believe-you-me, no harm nor foul was intended.
posted by cCranium at 7:24 AM on November 14, 2000

Well, that had been obvious to *me*, cCranium; perhaps someone needs to lighten up a touch.

Yes, those are valid concerns, but as for testing things, there's a ColdFusion port out for Linux these days...
posted by baylink at 8:40 AM on November 16, 2000

I can help. I am a (ahem) "competent software engineer". Don't know Cold Fusion, but how hard can it be? I think I have a copy of it laying around here somewhere (or get me a version). Of course, I'd have to have an official sounding title if no money is involved.
posted by internook at 4:17 PM on November 19, 2000

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