How did AskMe teach you how to fish? February 4, 2014 1:18 PM   Subscribe

I'm curious about "the questions you didn't post" - that is to say, questions people considered posting to AskMe, but realised what answers they'd receive and *acted on that realisation*.

An example: Several months back, I considered posting about my relationship. Just thinking about how I'd construct the question led me to realise what responses I'd get, and further, drove my decision

I feel like there have to be tonnes more examples of that sort of thing, and would really like to confirm my theory, so please share your supporting or opposing experience.
posted by dotgirl to MetaFilter-Related at 1:18 PM (112 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

I decided not to eat the funny smelling chicken sausage.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:27 PM on February 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


I decided to eat the funny smelling chicken sausage.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:28 PM on February 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'll give you a hint: it was about my butt.
posted by R. Schlock at 1:28 PM on February 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


i left the fish. in my pants.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:29 PM on February 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


that reminds me of a question I have to post about R. Schlock's butt. brb.
posted by Think_Long at 1:29 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I considered asking how to trans-nationally buy meth with pipebombs instead of dollars, but I figured it out so nvm
posted by oceanjesse at 1:32 PM on February 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


I've also considered asking anonymous special snowflake questions about dropping out of grad school, but didn't because I already know what I need to do at this point, and because I already bring it up in chat ad-hoc.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:35 PM on February 4, 2014


I had the post all written out and decided to try Googling one last time. I found it. The name of the game was Flightmare.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:38 PM on February 4, 2014


What Not to Post on Askme.
posted by Melismata at 1:39 PM on February 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


I googled it.
I figured it out during a long elevator ride.
I decided not to go.
I just got the cast iron already.
I asked my tailor directly.
I searched the tags and found it had been answered.
I realized halfway through I was being exceptionally petty.
I remembered I own recipe books.
posted by The Whelk at 1:42 PM on February 4, 2014 [18 favorites]


I decided to declaw my cat after it circumcised me.
posted by crossoverman at 1:44 PM on February 4, 2014 [32 favorites]


Melismata: "What Not to Post on Askme."
Title: Help me shake my baby.

Post: It's laundry day, and my two-year-old just swallowed my last three quarters! I've already tried holding him upside-down by the ankles and shaking him like a beach towel, but so far nothing doing. MetaFilter: What's the best method for (safely) extracting coins from a toddler?

posted by zarq at 1:48 PM on February 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'll give you an actual answer:

I screwed up my courage and made the phone call instead of relying on email or texts. It was fine and less stressy than I thought.
posted by kimberussell at 1:50 PM on February 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


This may or may not be the place, but i'd also like to give a shoutout to the similar phenomenon of either:

1. "Hey, so how would i do this thing?" "That thing isn't a good idea for this reason/list of reasons you haven't even thought of" Which is sort of an advanced version of the "teached to fish" you're describing since they actually get answers they didn't expect, instead of just thinking about posting it causing them to realize something.

2. But, more irritatingly everything from 1 is a call-and-response in that same format of "What should i do about Foo?", but then the first response is an ideal platonic threadshit of "Well if Foo is an issue, then you obviously have to think about Bar*. And Bar is your real issue, and..." which results in the entire thread being derailed in to one or two responders assumptions.

The only thing that can save the poster and thread from this crocodile deathroll is either mods, or a reply from the OP going "Hey, this has nothing to do with Bar".

So yea, shoutout to the IMAX projectors in the audience.

*Which is of course, a huge ass-umption on the part of the poster and assumed based on imaginary information the poster doesn't have, since the threadstarter never mentioned or elaborated on it
posted by emptythought at 1:51 PM on February 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ok, poor dotgirl is serious. Lessee. Mine are all human relationship-type questions, like "why the hell does he do that?!?!" And the answer is always "you can't control other people, but you can control your reactions to them." And that answer to my dozens of unasked questions has saved my sanity many, many times.
posted by Melismata at 1:52 PM on February 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


I've had other people ask me to post questions on AskMe for them that I headed off by telling them "they're just going to tell you need a lawyer in your jurisdiction."
posted by Jacqueline at 1:54 PM on February 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ok, poor dotgirl is serious.

That's ok. It's just my heart. It will heal.
posted by dotgirl at 1:58 PM on February 4, 2014 [42 favorites]


Serious answer? I didn't go to urgent care when I got my first scintillating scotoma last Thursday. No pain with it either, so I made a note to bring it up with my doctor. Mefites are typically bright and honest, unlike most web commenters, so an AskMe search is usually my go to diagnostic tool.
posted by blnkfrnk at 2:05 PM on February 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I share this sentiment. At a certain point you may feel like you're the only one who can answer the questions you have left. Most of the stuff I have now would just involve lots of searching, and I should do that myself.

I never did find that stupid puzzle image, but I'm pretty sure this guy did the artwork.
How do you stop being constantly congested? Who knows - I tried all the stuff in the tags.
Did Radiohead ever give an explanation for what the guy said in the video for "Just"? Probably not.
What unique things can I make that taste good with horseradish?
Where can I find early video of Kim Coles doing standup that used to appear on Comedy Central? Probably nowhere.
What philosopher talked about how humans live for distraction? I should just google it for a while.
What video is there where there is an amazing live performance but no applause after it finishes?
What image search engines besides apimages are there that are only accessible from libraries?
What song precisely is that Willy Wonka sample from Jay Electronica's suckas from?
Is there a time capsule blog somewhere, that chronicles the opening of time capsules around the world?

And literally 50 more.

Other questions aren't going to get good answers on mefi unless painstakingly crafted, or the disappointment between what I hope for and what I get is too great to wait on.

My next question is probably going to be having people who operate heavy machinery of any kind take pictures and describe what the controls, buttons and levers do. I hope a huge snow plow driver chimes in, or maybe someone who operates mining equipment.

But yeah, after having asked 94 questions you know you should probably just set aside 30 minutes and search.
posted by cashman at 2:08 PM on February 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


If getting your heart rate up is the goal of doing aerobic exercise like running, why isn't snorting a bunk of cocaine or drinking gallons of coffee just as good for you?

See, I'm afraid the answer would spoil my weekends...
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:10 PM on February 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


"Where did I lose my sense of innocence?"

(Unasked because the responses certainly would be "Where did you see it last?")
posted by octobersurprise at 2:35 PM on February 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


I admit to drafting questions, reading them, and chucking them after realizing I'd probably say some strong words to the dingbat who wrote it.

I've also drafted questions, waited to post them, and then decided I didn't really care.

Once I asked my mom instead of Metafilter. I forget what the question was. I remember she was right.

I regularly thank the stars above that I didn't discover AskMe until my late twenties, because five years earlier my typical questions would have gotten responses like "I remember you from your previous questions" and "Your problems are beyond the scope of strangers on the internet" and "why aren't you in therapy yet?"
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:36 PM on February 4, 2014 [34 favorites]


Left the relationship, read the Gift of Fear, found the perfect weekend/vacation plans, and decided what to wear.
posted by RainyJay at 2:37 PM on February 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I've considered AskMe for vehicle related questions, but based on a lot of the AskMe answers I've seen posted in vehicle related threads I now always head to the specific vehicle forum to ask the real experts. This is mostly because the vehicle answers I've read on AskMe are not necessarily wrong answers, but they are stereotypical of a non-enthusiast, non-specific community.

I imagine there are a number of subject along these lines that are always better posted to specific forums, and as such do not see the light of AskMe.
posted by lstanley at 2:49 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I write questions that I end up never asking all the time. I was just typing up a long rambling question about how so much of the internet economy only appears to work with ad-support, have advertising spends really increase that much? Is traditional media losing? What are the implications of Facebook, Google, etc basically being platforms to deliver ads?

But I ended up googling around and then I saw a similar question on Quora but I didn't want to sign up so I read part of the first answer. Later, I made a sandwich.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:56 PM on February 4, 2014


I don't post a whole heap of work-related questions, because I'm pretty sure the Ask Me response would be a unanimous pile on that I should quit my job.

Lately, I've been starting to think my imaginary Ask Me chorus might be right.
posted by lollusc at 3:23 PM on February 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


I had the post all written out and decided to try Googling one last time. I found it. The name of the game was Flightmare.

I would have answered the heck out of that question.
posted by aubilenon at 3:27 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I totally signed up with Ting because of someone else's AskMe.
posted by Mizu at 3:40 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I totally organised an unplugged party because of someone else's AskMe.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:42 PM on February 4, 2014


Lately, I've been starting to think my imaginary Ask Me chorus might be right.

Dear AskMe, my imaginary AskMe chorus has attained self-awareness and is now a highly intelligent tulpa who won't leave me alone with all its goddamn unwanted advice. Like right now it's trying to reassure me that it's totally okay if I want to drop out of grad school. I'm not even in grad school. Also, somehow it gained access to my Amazon Prime account and ordered sixteen copies of The Gift of Fear. What should I do??
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:44 PM on February 4, 2014 [62 favorites]


"If getting your heart rate up is the goal of doing aerobic exercise like running, why isn't snorting a bunk of cocaine or drinking gallons of coffee just as good for you?"

I am sedentary but at my last fitness evaluation they said I had the heart rate of an athlete. I credit my years on Adderall, which is basically speed.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:47 PM on February 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I D'd TMFA, and I've mentioned it before. After I wrote the sentence trying to explain to AskMe why I thought he was maybe faking a serious-illness-scare to keep me from leaving him (he was), I left him.

AskMe is powerful, yo.
posted by juliplease at 3:57 PM on February 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


realised what answers they'd receive and *acted on that realisation*.

Oftentimes, particularly with regards to relationship advice, people ask questions they already, on some level, know the answer to. Sometimes people need to be told that the obvious solution is obvious. This may be the most important service askMefi provides.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:59 PM on February 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


At one point, I went back to therapy after starting to write out a "my life is a mess" and then realizing that it wasn't just what AskMe would have told me, it's what I would have told me on AskMe.
posted by Sequence at 4:36 PM on February 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


I regularly thank the stars above that I didn't discover AskMe until my late twenties, because five years earlier my typical questions would have gotten responses like "I remember you from your previous questions" and "Your problems are beyond the scope of strangers on the internet" and "why aren't you in therapy yet?"

Metroid Baby, I am shrieking with laughter in recognition of this. I thank Jeebus and all that is holy that AskMe didn't even exist till I was safely out of my mid-twenties.
posted by whistle pig at 4:51 PM on February 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I decided to eat the funny smelling chicken sausage.

honestly chicken and sausage just don't belong next to each other in any sentence, regardless of smell. Except maybe with a comma in between.

That's ok. It's just my heart. It will heal.

well, that's easy ...
posted by philip-random at 4:59 PM on February 4, 2014


A friend hurt my feelings and I just could not seem to let go of it, even after journaling about it endlessly and directing more than one sadness-and-grar filled rant to my long-suffering husband.

So I poured out my anger and misery into a long rambling AskMe, filled with all the tiny but oh-so-significant details of a friendship gone wrong, with much whining and heart-hurt and dramatic declarations about how "she done me wrong"... but in retrospect probably lacking much of either a point or a solvable problem.

I posted it anonymously, and was almost immediately overcome with embarrassment as I imagined other people reading it and realized I was in fact blowing things WAY out of proportion, being incredibly petty and basically sounded like a lunatic. I emailed the mods before it ever made it through the approval queue and asked them to delete it, which they obligingly did.

The process of writing it out and then seeing it through the eyes of others did give me some much-needed perspective, and I finally got over this goofy thing that had been bothering me for weeks surprisingly quickly after that.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:01 PM on February 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


"I considered asking how to trans-nationally buy meth with pipebombs instead of dollars, but I figured it out so nvm"

thanks pipecoin
posted by klangklangston at 5:08 PM on February 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Given my track record, usually when I don't post a question it's because I'm pretty sure that AskMe has about the same google skills as I do and will only give me back things I've already seen but don't answer my question.
posted by klangklangston at 5:09 PM on February 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


My AskMe Answer chorus is like those spirits in the magic book Bart Simpson opens, all spectral and moaning ..."beware, beware, madness, slow cookers, evil"
posted by The Whelk at 5:11 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I really wish I lived in a world where The Gift of Fear as published in our universe did not exist because it was not needed, and instead it was the title of a handbook on how to start a prank war.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:18 PM on February 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


Most of the stuff I have now would just involve lots of searching, and I should do that myself.

Yeah, and after striking out enough times looking for stuff that you can't find no matter how hard you search, it gets harder to convince yourself to go to the bother of asking. Like, if everyone else is just going to end up giving me the same unhelpful Google results I already have, not knowing something more about the topic than me, then why should I bother carefully wording a question about the specialized resource that I'm looking for? Maybe this is good, since it reduces the load on the site, but there's still some loss on the benefit side of that cost-benefit tradeoff.
posted by RogerB at 5:20 PM on February 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


A few times I've started to compose a question on importing a kit car (in kit form, not a complete automobile) from overseas for road use. But I'm pretty sure the response would be either crickets or assorted links to Canada Customs web pages (plus probably a link to how to import a car to the States) and so I keep digging for online resources elsewhere.
posted by Mitheral at 5:22 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ah an example of Rubber Duck Debugging.
posted by softlord at 5:34 PM on February 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm just glad to see I'm not the only one with an askme chorus.
posted by rtha at 5:46 PM on February 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


My SO was a mefite before we met, way before. And now that I've taken to the green myself, I've realized that a lot of issues we've had have been solved by excellent communication on their part because THEY LEARNED TO RELATIONSHIP THROUGH ASKME. So...um... Y'all did good! Though I do wish we had more room on the bookcase. Five hundred copies of The Gift of Fear takes up some space.
posted by theweasel at 5:48 PM on February 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


When I was uninsured and got Cat Scratch Fever, I thought about asking mefi what to do. But then I realized they'd just be like, "HOLY SHIT THAT'S A REAL PICTURE OF YOUR HAND? GET THE FUCK TO A DOCTOR AND GET SOME ANTIBIOTICS"

So I refrained from asking anything, and did not go to the doctor! I cleaned the wound daily and got lots of sleep and drank lots of fluids, and eventually my hand went back from looking like a horrid red mitt to its normal lovely self. The entire time, I thought, "ha ha if I live, that'll really show them fussy doctor-goers, all right!"
posted by Greg Nog at 6:22 PM on February 4, 2014 [23 favorites]


I have ... not really had this sort of thing happen? More commonly, I might start to think about asking something on AskMe and then think "I'm only going to post this so I can post a thing," not because I actually need help with it.
posted by kavasa at 6:23 PM on February 4, 2014


It's difficult to do to oneself, but I've avoided many AskMes using the "When you sum it all up, whatever you say last is what you really want/think" trick.
posted by Etrigan at 6:23 PM on February 4, 2014


Oh also I was gonna ask what to get my bright 4-year-old niece for xmas, but someone else had already asked that, and "Zingo" was highly recommended! So I bought it for her, and she loves it! Thanks, peeps!
posted by Greg Nog at 6:24 PM on February 4, 2014


I never asked where to get a cat declawed in Palestine.
posted by HuronBob at 6:43 PM on February 4, 2014


I asked Twitter instead. (They responded with a bunch of folk remedies and jokes, and then I consulted a doctor.)
posted by naju at 7:34 PM on February 4, 2014


I posted it anonymously, and was almost immediately overcome with embarrassment as I imagined other people reading it and realized I was in fact blowing things WAY out of proportion, being incredibly petty and basically sounded like a lunatic.

This is exactly why I only post innocuous shit under my own name and spank myself any time I consider asking a relationship question.

I have a suggestion in general for this topic: after reading a billion "DTMFA" questions... if you have to ask if you should break up with someone, 99% of the time the answer is going to be YES. If you are considering breaking up with someone...it's almost always bad enough that you should.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:48 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can't remember specific examples, but several times I nearly posted a religion question and then realized that if someone else posted it I would probably be one of the people best qualified to answer it, so I just figured it out myself.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:11 PM on February 4, 2014 [17 favorites]


Sometimes I keep drafting the question - trying to get in enough information upfront so that there's no "Well until you tell us about foo there's no way we can address your question" but also trying to limit the wall of text so that people will actually read it. And organizing it so that misunderstandings that lead to inappropriate advice are avoided. And explaining how much I already know or what steps I've already taken.

Sometimes after doing all of that I realize I already know the answer. Or at least I know what people are going to tell me.

Some questions come from a "I'm very frustrated/unhappy and I would like to be less frustrated/unhappy!" place, which is almost never a good question. Very very tempting, because if only there was An Answer then there would be a Solution and there would be An End To the Problem. Or so I've heard.
posted by bunderful at 8:11 PM on February 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


I wonder if AskMe has literally taught anyone how to fish. Surely over the years and thousands of questions...
posted by Rhomboid at 8:12 PM on February 4, 2014




The little black things around my cat's bed were catnip seeds.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:17 PM on February 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I regularly compose askme posts on the topic of relationships, mental health, physical health and anxiety.... Then realize I know what y'all will say and that you're right, I should start meditating.
posted by samthemander at 8:22 PM on February 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I haven't been in a relationship since I've been on MeFi, but any questions I contemplate asking about my most recent ex are quickly resolved by imagining what the likely responses would be, and how most of them would amount to: "We aren't psychic so we don't know what's going on in her head, why don't you ask her? Or better still go no-contact because she is an ex and you should never speak to an ex, that way madness lies." Any future questions I might think of asking are probably to be headed off by knowing the answer will be "if you have to ask strangers on the internet, the relationship is probably broken."

I recently found the book I supposedly would never be able to find with a quick Google and was glad I hadn't embarrassed myself by asking.

And I have an internalised AskMe chorus (possibly like lollusc's and rtha's) that trots out responses to most of my internal fretting. "Have you been to the doctor? Have you asked a qualified professional? Have you talked about it with your psychologist? Have you tried meditating? Have you tried eating? Can you be more specific about what you want to know? Have you tried thinking of other ways to describe your question? The question you are asking doesn't seem like the question you should really be asking, what is really going on here?" Mind you, I am also a reference librarian so a lot of that is the professional world mediating the inner thought-stream.
posted by Athanassiel at 9:09 PM on February 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


When I wanted to know what someone was thinking, I asked the person in question, rather than thousands of strangers on the internet.

This has worked for people, but not for fish.
posted by pompomtom at 9:20 PM on February 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Reading AskMe has made me pretty good at giving advice to confused people in their late teens with sex or relationship problems, which in some other communities I'm in is a bit of a coup. I just imagine the response of the Hivemind and use that.
posted by NoraReed at 9:25 PM on February 4, 2014 [3 favorites]




A couple relationship questions here and there. Eventually I realized "no one can tell you what your heart wants."
posted by Miko at 5:55 AM on February 5, 2014


"I didn't go to urgent care when I got my first scintillating scotoma last Thursday. No pain with it either, so I made a note to bring it up with my doctor. Mefites are typically bright and honest, unlike most web commenters, so an AskMe search is usually my go to diagnostic tool."

God this is terrifying, if you have insurance, have you checked with whether they run a phone in service staffed by nurses? If you live somewhere more civilized than America your country should either run a national service or index the contact information of doctors you can just call.
posted by Blasdelb at 6:06 AM on February 5, 2014


I have asked 18 questions. I have not asked about 180 of them. I would say about 175 of those not asked would have involved asking total strangers on the internet to answer questions about my life after a three paragraph summary by expressing their opinions. I truly do not see what the value of that would be. Of the other five, I would say that 3 were delayed and I found the answer elsewhere, 1 was actually answered by reading a member's profile and the other I simply forgot to ask until right now. So, when building a high rise building I almost always see a crane being used. The crane is usually positioned within the elevator shaft. How do they add sections to the crane as the building goes up and how do they get the crane down and out at the end? I keep envisioning Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel becoming part of the building.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:16 AM on February 5, 2014


I didn't ask what to do about the squeaking motor of my Thorens TD110 LP-player because people would have pointed me to the web and the millions unhelpful articles there about this (known) problem that I already read. So it squeaks.
posted by Namlit at 6:17 AM on February 5, 2014


How do cranes get back down?

Often by constructing the very gallows that will destroy them. To disassemble themselves, tower cranes construct derricks on the rooftop of the finished project. (Derricks are tower cranes’ simpler great-granddaddy.) These derricks then help dismantle the tower cranes, and—in the case of internal climbers—lower their parts one by one to the ground using extremely long cables. Once the parts reach the ground, they’re taken back to the rental service on flatbed trucks, then the workers take apart the derricks. Most of the derricks’ parts can just take the con
posted by HuronBob at 7:05 AM on February 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


I now ask a lot of questions on Twitter than I would have asked on Mefi. Stuff like "should I buy this product" and "where should I go for a romantic dinner in Chicago" fits nicely in 140 characters.
posted by desjardins at 7:25 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


The top section of the tower is a rig that can winch/elevate itself and allow the crane to lift up and slot in a new section and then grow higher.

Same in reverse for getting shorter.
posted by kalessin at 7:37 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


YOU WON'T BELIEVE THE QUESTION I DIDN'T ASK! (BUT WHEN YOU FIND OUT YOU"LL BE CONFUSED AND ASHAMED!)
posted by blue_beetle at 7:40 AM on February 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


I wanted to know which titles in trilogies or series of films to avoid. The real stinkers in an otherwise great collection. It was related to watching Alien(s) and then coming up against the third film which is hard work. It sort of impacted on my enjoyment of the first two films and I wanted to avoid that in the future. As I constructed the question I struggled with framing it so as not to derail things into "was Alien3 any good?". So I guessed that if enough people would defend Alien3 then perhaps there was no realistic answer to my question.

I really want to watch the third Godfather film though, so I might still post the question to AskMe before I do.
posted by 0 answers at 7:51 AM on February 5, 2014


Don't watch it.

You're welcome.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:55 AM on February 5, 2014


That's kind of why I want to.
posted by 0 answers at 8:20 AM on February 5, 2014


questions people considered posting to AskMe, but realised what answers they'd receive and *acted on that realisation*

I don't use Ask much but after my last question there, I'm probably not asking any more questions to AskMe. AskMe people are weird. I asked a question, under whatever the "technology" category is, seeking a technical explanation of a weird thing that happened to me. On top of some helpful stuff I got a bunch of "WHY WOULD YOU EVEN DO THAT WEIRDO" that was totally off topic and not part of the question at all and just made me angry. Thankfully after contacting the mods a particularly annoying "answer" that was eating at me was removed and I could just let it lie. But in the future? I think I'll just try to avoid the added stress, thanks.
posted by Hoopo at 8:25 AM on February 5, 2014


That's interesting, Hoopo. I don't see that thread in the same way at all, but perhaps the pruned comments were the weird ones.
posted by Miko at 8:40 AM on February 5, 2014


I emailed the mods before it ever made it through the approval queue and asked them to delete it, which they obligingly did.

I do not remember this specific question but the amusing thing about these sorts of questions is that they're often already deleted from the anon queue (as trainwrecks in the making or any number of other reasons) and we're only too happy when you email us to say you've reconsidered.

If you live somewhere more civilized than America

Don't start this shit here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:42 AM on February 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Most of the ones I haven't asked are either relationship-y (to which the answer is usually "talk to the other person already" or "you cannot change someone else's behavior, you can only change your reaction to that behavior") or travel-y (where should I go eat in Sedona? San Diego? Istanbul? Paris? Where's a nice coffeeshop in Hawaii, or a place to get work done in Phoenix?). For the travel-y ones I don't ask because someone else already has. I google for site:ask.metafilter.com $PLACE all the time.

Some of the ones I haven't asked, though, are because I've already looked through other askmes on similar subjects and not seen useful info (e.g. I am looking for tax advice on moving to Denmark. I am not rich; several other askers of similar questions have gotten responses that would only be useful if my personal income was 100x its actual value). Also I ask Facebook sometimes because I know how to gauge the response of a friend/acquaintance better than an askme user.
posted by nat at 8:55 AM on February 5, 2014


Sometimes I write an AskMe as the equivalent of writing a letter and not sending it. I get to really explain the problem so that I get the answer to the right question and having written and rewritten the question, I realize the answer was there all along.

But sometimes I still ask questions if I really can't figure the shit out.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:57 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's interesting, Hoopo. I don't see that thread in the same way at all, but perhaps the pruned comments were the weird ones.

yeah, the one that got pruned was by far the worst in that regard, and is why I have this bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing. Suffice it to say I was already pretty steamed at the time because of the incident itself, and things to the effect of "well maybe you shouldn't do that" were really not what I was looking for or an answer to the question in any way. I mean, "my voicemail has been disabled for years and my carrier claims they can't re-activate it without changing my plan to a much more expensive one" is not relevant info for the question I asked, and as such I didn't include it.

There were definitely good answers too, I favorited a fair number, and my question was definitely answered.
posted by Hoopo at 9:04 AM on February 5, 2014


I got turned off on AskMe once when I was compared to Cesar Millan when I answered a dog question (I'm definitely not and don't even own a dog any more). It really sucked to end up feeling like the bad guy when I was just trying to help.

Sometimes when answers seem obvious to answerers there's a certain kind of brusqueness ("Well, OBVIOUSLY X Y and Z!") that can really rub the wrong way.

Fortunately I came back to Ask in the spirit of paying it forward and paying it back for when I had better times (by asking specific questions with very specific and articulated parameters) and AskMe helped me when I was navigating a simply awful breakup.

Mostly it's a good time, mostly I feel like I'm heard if not valued to the point of being given credit for an answer.

You do need a thick skin though and I also need to keep in mind that most answerers are not responding to other answerers but to the original question.
posted by kalessin at 9:19 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Still trying to think of an appropriate question.

Meaning of lif.... never mind

What is the torque for head bolts on a Yanmar 2QM20 diesel, possible candidate

Never gunna get around to the procrastination questions

Ooo Ooo: What's a good question to ask on .... oh....
posted by sammyo at 9:24 AM on February 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


I had a question in the make the other day about my recent first signup ever on ebay (specifically ebay.de):
They turned down my perfectly legit, traceable, normal e-mail, but not by waving some red sign during the process, but by just crashing the form and re-setting it to blank - so I didn't even get information about what was wrong.
But I figured I'd just as well try using another email address, and voila, no problems. No idea what they think I'm doing with my usual account (Also, wow such ebay conundrum. Count yourselves blessed not to have had to explain this to me...).
posted by Namlit at 9:38 AM on February 5, 2014


There are several questions I'd consider asking but I fear even anonymously the details would tie back to me for people who know me personally on this site already.
posted by odinsdream at 9:43 AM on February 5, 2014


I think of totally random, usually human relations questions, right before I fall asleep or just as I wake up in the morning. It's probably best that I quickly forget them and never post them.
posted by chainsofreedom at 9:49 AM on February 5, 2014


I considered joining the Coast Guard but figured AskMe would probably be against it.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:02 AM on February 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


I didn't post about a painful breakup with a friend of 20 years because I knew what I would advise if I read such a post. So, I skipped the posting and took my own advice. I gave myself "best answer", too.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:25 AM on February 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Is Popeye a superhero?" I figured it would get deleted as chatfilter. I asked it on Facebook instead and got lots of "hmm, good question" type responses.
posted by soelo at 11:32 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I considered joining the Coast Guard but figured AskMe would probably be against it.

I wouldv'e been totally for it, if I'd seen it, and I don't think I'd have been alone. That one, I think, would have been worth a good try.
posted by Miko at 11:44 AM on February 5, 2014


""Is Popeye a superhero?""

No.
posted by klangklangston at 11:46 AM on February 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yes!
posted by The Whelk at 11:49 AM on February 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Pish tosh. The power of spinach is available to everyone.
posted by klangklangston at 11:54 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


And in any case his whole milieu is fundamentally unsuperheroic, and not in a deconstructionist what-is-a-superhero-in-an-unsuperheroic-setting sort of way. Guy predates Superman by almost a decade.

Of course, the current Matt Fraction run of Hawkeye is pleasantly unsuperheroic as well, so. It's a little complicated.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:59 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


A superhero proactively combats evil. Popeye is a reactive combatter of evil.
posted by Etrigan at 12:35 PM on February 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I know he's a sailor man but do we see him engaged in actual sailoring or is he just mooching off Olive Oyl like "hey baby can I stay here for a while until my ship comes in if I could have some money for a pint or ten with the guys"h kinda way?
posted by The Whelk at 12:41 PM on February 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Sorry, Miko, I was referencing this.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:00 PM on February 5, 2014


There are several questions I'd consider asking but I fear even anonymously the details would tie back to me for people who know me personally on this site already.
posted by odinsdream at 12:43 PM on February 5 [+] [!]

Last night I fell into a deep sleep and had a nightmare. Now I am wondering if maybe my subconscious mind was trying to tell me something. Special Frost Giant Snowflakes inside.

Long story short, I dreamt I plucked out my eye (I know, right?) for a chance to see the future, and it wasn't pretty. My youngest son started hanging around with the wrong crowd, namely Frost Giants and wolves. I heard a horn blowing, roosters were crowing somewhere and a big snake started flailing around making waves. Meanwhile, I am having this deep discussion with a disembodied head and while my back was turned some complete bastard chopped down my favorite tree. It was like a bad acid trip.

Then there was an epic battle with the Frost Giants and a couple wolves my son brought 'round the house. I suppose it was bound to happen. One of the giants swallowed me while I was fighting off a wolf so I couldn't see what happened, but I'm pretty sure all my brothers and sisters died. Oh, and the world as we know it came to an end.

What do you think, hivemind? Should I be worried about these dreams? Or did I maybe just have too much spinach before going to bed last night?
posted by misha at 1:28 PM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sorry, Miko, I was referencing this.

Oops, missed that one. But in general, yeah, go Coast Guard.
posted by Miko at 1:32 PM on February 5, 2014


I use Favorites to keep track of Metafilter questions I might want to ask in the future so I can go back and rummage through threads when I think about, say, maybe looking into nursing or radiography or learning about cars.

So it's not so much teaching me how to fish as saving it like those guides to tides and stuff they used to sell at the bait shop. Maybe they still do, it's been DECADES since I went to a bait shop, I dunno.

Maybe I should ask if they still sell those guides in bait shops.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:19 PM on February 5, 2014


Funny, I've repeatedly thought about starting a blog that was essentially "Things I was going to AskMe but got an answer for by myself."
posted by whatzit at 3:03 PM on February 5, 2014


Hey, dotgirl! Just this morning I decided not to ask a question (about my neighbor with a temper) because your answer in the question about a coworker with a temper was so obviously the correct askme answer. So, yes, I imagine this happens all the time.

However, now I am going to waste a LOT of time pondering whether Popeye is a superhero. So I'm not sure I am really coming out ahead here.
posted by selfmedicating at 8:14 PM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I know he's a sailor man

no, he's The sailor man (tooot)
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:24 PM on February 5, 2014


"Unsuperheroic" is a pretty good word.
posted by this is a thing at 10:10 PM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was out of my mind with fatigue at 4am this morning as my baby woke up to feed for the umpteenth time but instead of posting to Ask about sleep training searched what had already been advised. Those earlier Ask posts will be used tonight.
posted by biggreenplant at 7:05 AM on February 6, 2014



"Unsuperheroic" is a pretty good word.


synonym for normal
posted by philip-random at 11:38 AM on February 6, 2014


One of the best things AskMeFi ever taught me was "I'm sorry, that won't be possible." I used it in a situation today where I didn't feel like explaining myself again on an issue I couldn't budge on.
posted by urbanlenny at 2:19 PM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Having lurked MetaFilter for half a year or so, I originally signed up partly as a "good boy present" (read: self-treat), partly because I had one or more questions involving major work and life changes that I wanted to Ask as soon as I'd hammered out their scope, wording and nature in my head. It took me about a year of chewing over, backing up to broader themes and approaching from other angles before time, the Gods and I resolved matters to my own reasonable satisfaction. Funnily enough, I did briefly consider asking for advice on how to ask for advice rather than relying on one's own "good enough" conclusions. In any regard, let's consider that another vote for "the act of composing an AskMe usefully concentrates the mind".

I do feel a bit of a plonker for having let concerns about keeping open an Urgent Slot for my Real Question supersede rediscovering the names of potentially dozens of half-remembered pop-culture thing Xs though. D'oh!
posted by comealongpole at 4:58 PM on February 6, 2014


Sadly, I can't post an AskMe saying blah blah blah happened, I feel sad/ angry/ hurt/ confused/ bitter/ all of the above, please provide solace and a hug.

Also, I'm afraid I'll use my question, then have a really important question and not be able to ask it for a whole week.
posted by theora55 at 8:59 PM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


>synonym for normal

Nah, it includes all subnormal things.
posted by pompomtom at 12:54 AM on February 7, 2014


I didn't ask Metafilter what the weird black and white movie I watched was, that I happened on at some point after the title sequence, that wasn't in the TV Guide when I checked the schedule for it. I started to write the question and got a few more keywords out of myself and then searched through wide swaths of films on wikipedia.

It was Kings Row and it is still a really weird movie.
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:12 PM on February 8, 2014


Usually relationship-filter type stuff I'd resolve on my own because I'd picture my answers to my anonymous post.

For the rest, I google <thing> site:ask.metafilter.com

Most recently that's how I decided on a small laptop as opposed to a Chromebook or netbook.
posted by lysdexic at 10:21 AM on February 10, 2014


I have made a vow never to ask a relationship AskMe that is not "help me do x awesome thing for my boyfriend". I figure, if I seriously have to ask my invisible friends on the internet, I probably already know the answer.
posted by chatongriffes at 4:48 PM on February 10, 2014


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