Ask The Pony Anything December 19, 2014 4:04 PM   Subscribe

I've felt uncomfortable for some time with the "AMA (Ask Me Anything)" posts at Reddit becoming such a high-profile 'thing' that they make it too easy to ignore that place's general toxicity. Then this happened and I really wasn't surprised. But I wondered "why does Reddit have a seeming monopoly on the format? Couldn't some other site do something similar, but SMARTER and MORE CIVILIZED? Someplace like... here?" (Wait... don't reject out of hand until you hear details of my proposal)

First, obviously we can't use the word "Ask" for this, since our "AskMe" is a totally different animal. But I imagine our version being less of a pure "Q&A" and more of a "If you could say Just One Thing to a FamousMeFite/SubjectOfABigDealPost* what would it be?"
*because we do get post-subject people sometimes commenting here and this could be a place to channel the reaction to it.

Yes, MetaFilter does not do nested comments, and that is a feature, not a bug. A small alteration in the way threads work could be made that would allow ONLY the subject of a 'Just One Thing' to make a nested direct reply (and NO direct follow-ups; in fact, maybe enforce a one-comment/question/thing per person rule, and obviously we should never expect the subject to respond to everything). Other exclusive-to-this-feature elements may need to be (or just should be) programmed in, but we know PB is a wizard.

Yes, 'Just One Thing' (if you can come up with a better name, PLEASE do so) would require a lot of Moderator attention when it happens (although it would obviously be pre-scheduled), and it would also be a big viral draw to the site that would not require much 'Google Juice' to build traffic/pageviews/AND ADVIEWS. Considering that AMAs are apparently the Biggest Thing on Reddit, 'Just One Thing' could become the Biggest Thing Here.

There are other potential issues (for example, it would attract a lot of people to sign up purely to J.O.T., but do we want a lot of newbies crowding in?) but let's address them and see if we can design this feature to maximize the Good Things About MetaFilter potential.

Please tell me this isn't the worst idea I've ever come up with (I could show you several that I think are worse), but lets see what the assembled membership thinks (and if anybody can come up with a better name for it).
posted by oneswellfoop to Feature Requests at 4:04 PM (100 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Nah.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:22 PM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Please tell me this isn't the worst idea I've ever come up with

There are exactly four worse ideas.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:23 PM on December 19, 2014 [9 favorites]


It's not the worst idea you've ever come up with. But it's not a good idea for this site.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:24 PM on December 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


I thought about it in the early days of AMAs, but aside from whatever weird UI things we'd have to do, I didn't feel like having to police the editorial side. And by that I mean, the verification stuff is a huge issue and timesink, to verify it's really Bill Murray answering questions or it's really that famous kid from that Twitter meme that maybe no one has ever seen.

That part falling on my shoulders was enough of a burden that I never really explored hosting any sort of AMA feature on MeFi before.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:27 PM on December 19, 2014 [18 favorites]


I'm unfamiliar with your other ideas; this one is shitty.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:27 PM on December 19, 2014 [10 favorites]


Wow. Tough crowd.
posted by Roger Dodger at 4:28 PM on December 19, 2014 [23 favorites]


This is not the worst idea you've ever had. Show me another one so I can be sure...

:-)

But actually, nope.
posted by salishsea at 4:35 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's not a terrible idea, I seriously considered it many years ago when Adam Savage was around a lot and could make for a good guest. I figured I could also ask Hodgman to do one, but beyond that, having a dedicated subsite or (ab)using Ask MeFi for it seemed like a lot work for an occasional thing. Plus, I imagined we'd get tricked at some point by some imposter claiming to be someone famous and turning out to have gamed us all.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:45 PM on December 19, 2014 [17 favorites]


Why do people think this is a bad idea? I would ride this pony through the fields and take it to the horse dentist.
posted by billiebee at 4:45 PM on December 19, 2014 [13 favorites]


This bad idea has been taking up space in the back of my head for some time; so I was just glad to let it out. Also, I appreciate it, Matt, that you have previously given it some serious thought, but I'm surprised you let identity confirmation be the biggest deal-killer... I can think of some other issues myself, but was hoping that some of those who liked the idea might have some ways to fix them. Besides, how do we know ANY of the notable MeFi's Own are really who they claim to be? (I've been suspicious of jscalzi for a long time, he joked)

Maybe I'm just tired of Reddit's AMA being the Microsoft Windows of online Q&As... maybe one of the Total Genius members here could start work on a totally independent site where it can happen.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:55 PM on December 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'd be down with a MetaTalk along the lines of "I'm physicsmatt, ask me anything about physics". My question would be: is it true that Schroedinger's cat was a Siamese?
Seriously though, we could try asking well-established mefites to do AMA threads on a specific subject (AMAOASS...no, that looks wrong). "February by MeFi Know-It-Alls" or what have you.
posted by uosuaq at 4:57 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


One way to provide identity confirmation: demand that the alleged celebrity provide a photo of themselves holding today's newspaper and a banana. Then, start a separate Tumblr that is all photos of celebrities with newspapers and bananas and charge $5 to let the people see it. PROFIT!
posted by zeusianfog at 4:58 PM on December 19, 2014 [22 favorites]


It's both a great idea and an idea that probably would never work. So thank you for making me think about it. But AMAs if random people have limited utility and I've almost seen them in threads before. And MeFi is small enough that the pool of interesting celebrities/true unique domain experts are small enough it's not worth the setup and ongoing effort for metafilter.
posted by skynxnex at 5:03 PM on December 19, 2014


I like the idea although I can see where it would be a pain to execute. J.O.T. --- "JOT it down".
posted by pearlybob at 5:06 PM on December 19, 2014


I'm sure there are good ways to confirm identity (of celebrities outside of Metafilter), with or without bananas...I've never seen Reddit say "sorry, that wasn't President Obama, that was actually Michelle Malkin, our bad". But it's a good point that this kind of thing involves a lot more than some code changes. That by itself is kind of a deal-breaker.
posted by uosuaq at 5:10 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh look!- a pheasant.
posted by clavdivs at 5:13 PM on December 19, 2014


I don't particularly like the idea of the 'just one thing' format, but I had wondered myself if there wasn't room here for a 'here I am' kind of thing. Less AskMe...more MeetMe, maybe.

I imagined a more free-form discussion pertaining to what a (yes, singular) user wants to talk about that relaxes the soapboxing restriction and lets other people engage outside of the normal MeFi experience (but no thread format changes).

Not that it would be workable, sure. But I know a bunch of users I'd love to see set up posts about interesting topics in this vein.
posted by timfinnie at 6:22 PM on December 19, 2014


If it was restricted to Mefites, you'd eliminate the verification angle, and it would still be fun... we have some pretty interesting people here. "Ask Stavros anything about kimchi!"
posted by zompist at 6:41 PM on December 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


I am Scott Adams and I am a freaking genius. Ask me anything.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:44 PM on December 19, 2014 [15 favorites]


Wow. Tough crowd."

It's MeTa Classic. The hatred of change that makes it MeTa, with the snark you remember!
posted by klangklangston at 6:49 PM on December 19, 2014 [12 favorites]


"If you could say Just One Thing to a FamousMeFite/SubjectOfABigDealPost what would it be?"

"Pull my finger. Go ahead, just pull it."
posted by octobersurprise at 6:49 PM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


To be honest, I think one of the reasons Reddit can be so toxic is that they have a HUGE level of internet market share, and one of the reasons Metafilter tends to lean "smart" is that we're a more exclusive corner of the web for people who are looking for a specific thing. If we had the internet clout to get high profile people in for AMA events, we would probably start to evolve a site culture more like Reddit has.

I'm also very aware of the fact that most AMAs at this point (especially the high profile ones) are PR events, and I'm not sure I'm interested in a Metafilter where one of our main missions is ginning up publicity.
posted by Sara C. at 6:54 PM on December 19, 2014 [28 favorites]


Now explain how the users of metafilter are better looking than reddit users, because you know we are.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:04 PM on December 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm amused at the seemingly endless effort to turn Metafilter into a version of reddit/insert popular site here.

Just as one's wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend* can't fulfill all one's needs, neither can Metafilter.



*
Get one of each! It's great.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 7:07 PM on December 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Some AMA are very good but nearly all of the people that employ AMA use it as a marketing/political/agenda tool.

According to Alexa Reddit has a global rank of 33 with a US rank of 9 while Metafilter has a global rank of 2,923 and a US rank of 1,112. Last month Reddit had 174,088,361 unique visitors.

I think that the $5 barrier would keep out almost all of the crap questions that you see on Reddit but the relative obscurity of Metafilter would make it difficult to attract the popular people who allocate their time based on how many people their agents perceive to be reading/watching/listening.
posted by vapidave at 7:13 PM on December 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


It's MeTa Classic. The hatred of change that makes it MeTa, with the snark you remember!
That's because the last time I posted such a truly hate-worthy pony request was back when I was Wendell Classic.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:13 PM on December 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Does anyone else fucking HAAAAATE the number of AMA "questions" that are basically like "Oh hey I love your work and am your biggest fan ever, you changed my life in blah and blerg ways! Oh, BTW, I guess since this is AMA and I gotta ask a question, um, how did it feel to host the Oscars?" (or whatever completely throwaway question any press junket stringer would ask)

Like seriously if you just are hoping your hero sees how big a fan you are, just tweet them or write them a fan letter or something. AMA is for asking interesting questions.
posted by Sara C. at 7:23 PM on December 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Projects could pretty much be AMA. You post what you're doing and then people ask about it and you. Sometimes the conversation spills into the main site. Projects isn't heavily trafficked, though.
posted by michaelh at 7:25 PM on December 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


I love this idea. I'd like to ask Adam Savage which crackpot pseudo-scientific theory he has been secretly trying to prove true in his spare time; I'd like to ask Hodgman if he had to choose, would he rather be funny or smart; and I'd like to ask Bill Murray whether he's having more fun now than when he first became truly famous. Also, I'd like to ask oneswellfoop for his autograph, physicsmatt whether he could take Neil deGrasse Tyson in a dance-off, and klangklangston for a drink.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:03 PM on December 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


I think it's a good idea that would work well here. Hard part would be getting big enough names to make it a big deal like AMA.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:12 PM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Projects could pretty much be AMA. You post what you're doing and then people ask about it and you.

This is clever.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 8:33 PM on December 19, 2014 [8 favorites]


wait bill murray is a mefite?!?
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 8:33 PM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


AMA is a really annoying idea in principle to me. It seems to be based on sort of a naive notion of celebrity; "wouldn't it be cool to ask X a question?" Twitter is the optimal platform for such stuff, really. Otherwise, I think conversations are a lot better when everybody's on an even level.
posted by koeselitz at 8:44 PM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


let's stop beating around the bush and just give that two dicks dude a MeFi account
posted by threeants at 8:47 PM on December 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


Matt mentioned Bill Murray as a possible person for this, but he has never been conclusively spotted here.
But I never really thought of my dumb idea as attracting "big enough names to make it a big deal like AMA". More like a MetaFilter-sized version with MetaFilter-sized names. Still, some are pretty special... are you still out there, Woz?
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:48 PM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


You only need an AMA-like thing for big names, though. Otherwise you might as well just talk to the person in a regular ol' thread.
posted by Justinian at 9:11 PM on December 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


AMA is a really annoying idea in principle to me. It seems to be based on sort of a naive notion of celebrity; "wouldn't it be cool to ask X a question?" Twitter is the optimal platform for such stuff, really.

ask.fm and Quora would like to disagree. (Would they be right? Well....)

This isn't a crazy idea, and I'm glad someone brought it up. I, too, think it would be a little difficult to swing on the site.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:42 PM on December 19, 2014


I thought metafilter already had this: Mefi mail. Seriously, Mefi mail anyone anytime, and ask them anything (don't reprint their answers anywhere without their permission though; that'd be rude).
posted by el io at 9:48 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


me: “AMA is a really annoying idea in principle to me. It seems to be based on sort of a naive notion of celebrity; ‘wouldn't it be cool to ask X a question?’ Twitter is the optimal platform for such stuff, really.”

Going To Maine: “ask.fm and Quora would like to disagree. (Would they be right? Well....)”

Er – no, they wouldn't disagree, I don't think. Are ask.fm and Quora really forums for asking famous people random questions, as AMA is? I don't think so. They're places that bill themselves as allowing targeted questions aimed at getting correct and well-informed answers.

That is not what AMA is. AMA is for asking famous or unusual people random fun questions. It has nothing to do with getting helpful answers or solutions that are needed. They're just about the sheen of celebrity.

Which is why Twitter is a better place for it. If you want to have contact with cool celebrities or different people, well, get a few thousand followers on Twitter and you can probably make a go at it.

I don't think Metafilter should waste its time with a project like that, though.
posted by koeselitz at 10:17 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I would love it if we had an AMA for celebrities and subject matter experts here. Great idea.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:27 PM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


It also seems like, regardless of what anyone thinks of AMA-style things, it would be pretty damned hard to do without threaded comments. Threaded comments are pretty much the only way AMA threads on Reddit work; top-level comments are questions for the person running the AMA, the popular ones float to the top, and they can give their answers as responses. Non-threaded posts like we have on Metafilter are well-suited to situations where multiple people are all having a conversation, talking to each other and responding in kind. But AMA threads are not conversations. They're places where many people can ask one person questions.
posted by koeselitz at 10:42 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've often thought I'd love a mefi version of AMAs. The principle would be the same, but the output would be something different. I don't know I'd care about celebs (though there are some id love to hear from) but metafilter has such a diverse crowd with crazy talents.

I understand the criticism that metafilter doesn't need to be/do all the features other sites do, but I also tend to view Metafilter as the thinking man's Reddit, and that distinction would really help make some sort of AMA like feature more enjoyable.

The only two things I do think would help is if instead of its own subsite, it was on the blue or the green, but had some way of distinguishing from normal posts.

The other would be that in lieu of threaded comments, a nimble quoting tool would be a must for the answered. Quoting questions would really be the only way to keep track of what was being answered in the absense of threaded comments (and bleh to that). And that would be a big change. I don't mine manually quoting and I believe I've heard of greasemonkey scripts that do it BUT for the askee, they'd need a quick, easy to use tool.

I would love to see it.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:45 PM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


wait bill murray is a mefite?!?

No, but Howard Stern is.
posted by mlis at 10:54 PM on December 19, 2014


We just need to be able to ask one person everything.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 1:30 AM on December 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


The obvious choice sadly only answers rarely and is currently not around.
posted by frimble at 1:48 AM on December 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


IMO MeFi doesn't have the userbase to support something like /r/IAMA (it has 7M subscribers), and I don't think I'm alone in not wanting MeFi to have a userbase on the scale it would take to support something like /r/IAMA.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:38 AM on December 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


The obvious choice sadly only answers rarely and is currently not around.
That's a general issue, not a MetaFilter-specific one.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:40 AM on December 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


There is absolutely no way I could win against Neil deGrasse Tyson in a dance-off. Have you seen that guy's moves?
posted by physicsmatt at 5:11 AM on December 20, 2014 [11 favorites]


If the outcome of this is to end the FPPs that are just a link to a Reddit AMA, I'd support it for that alone. But the same thing that makes most of those uninteresting (that they are obviously part of a promotion campaign) would apply here and I'm not sure what would really be gained.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:36 AM on December 20, 2014


Going To Maine, those sites are more like the Casual AMA subreddit, I think. Though casualama is kind of dumb a lot of the time and sometimes it seems arbitrary how something gets placed there or in main AMA.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:04 AM on December 20, 2014


It's not a terrible idea, I seriously considered it many years ago when Adam Savage was around a lot and could make for a good guest. I figured I could also ask Hodgman to do one, but beyond that, having a dedicated subsite or (ab)using Ask MeFi for it seemed like a lot work for an occasional thing. Plus, I imagined we'd get tricked at some point by some imposter claiming to be someone famous and turning out to have gamed us all.

I think it would be cool to have a place on the site called "interviews" or something like that where we would interview people from the site who were noteworthy or doing noteworthy things, and we already knew who they were. Adam Savage, for example, would not take much verification, as he's a respected member. It could be a Q&A format, and it could be announced a little bit ahead of time (like they sometimes do for AMAs). Instead of being a live Q&A, at the announcement, perhaps people could be invited submit questions beforehand that would be vetted by the mod team and submitted to the person (if in print form), or asked by a member of the mod team (if on a podcast). This also wouldn't have to be a regularly scheduled thing. Maybe it could be something that happens every once in awhile on the site as we think of or meet noteworthy people who have a trusted history with the site, so it would be a low-pressure thing. It could be an archived area of the site that would just be fun to go and read or listen to a podcast. But maybe that's the kind of thing you already considered and decided not to do...
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:42 AM on December 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm also very aware of the fact that most AMAs at this point (especially the high profile ones) are PR events

But in the interests of seeing how we could make an AMA that we (as the userbase find amusing/entertaining/fun) want can we not do this by invitation only? We wouldn't have to ape the format directly (in fact I'd rather not as they are a mess) but a curated AMA would be kind of cool.

Possibilities:
Invite only
Questions emailed to a throwaway gmail account and cherry picked (avoids multiple stupid questions)
Initially not real time - a week build up to generate questions to the throwaway account with a 'general response' lead post with 20-30 picked and answered questions. Then open forum after that?
Nominations for interesting people/mefites/celebrities/knowledgable people at the end of the thread.
No PR/Promo related stuff.

Kind of a High Brow interpretation rather than a free for all clusterfuck like the Reddit one is. I don't know if it would work here or if the site format works, but it'd encourage people to pay $5 just to ask a celeb a question (which, WIN) and if it were done (say) monthly and by invite only with a staggered start like above, then maybe it'd not be that horrific an amount of work?

Mind you, what would work just as well would be something like the podcast. A Metatalk thread of just questions and then a brief skype/podcast type response session, but that'd be more work for the person being asked (perhaps) and certainly for the person doing the interviewing.

It's an interesting idea and I appreciate the "I'd like to see a non-moronic AMA option" sentiment. I wonder if throwing around some ideas may either trigger some interest from Matt or generate enough interest it becomes an officially sanctioned side-project by a member?
posted by Brockles at 8:00 AM on December 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am Scott Adams and I am a freaking genius. Ask me anything.

is it true you draw comics with your dick?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:15 AM on December 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


wait bill murray is a mefite?!?

No, but Howard Stern is.


Did anybody else read this and hear The Hanukkah Song? Is there a MetaFilter Hanukkah Song?
posted by Going To Maine at 8:15 AM on December 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


seriously, this is not a bad idea, but it would probably work best as an occasional thing - for one thing, getting someone to do it probably wouldn't happen that often - and i think it might be difficult to moderate

still, 3 or 4 times a year could be worthwhile - it could always be tried once and then forgot about if it didn't work
posted by pyramid termite at 8:18 AM on December 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


*Get one of each! It's great.

You misspelled 'tiring.'

I think it would be cool to have a place on the site called "interviews" or something like that where we would interview people from the site who were noteworthy or doing noteworthy things, and we already knew who they were.

That could be a very interesting prospect.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:23 AM on December 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


The podcast used to feature mefites, why did that stop?
posted by wheelieman at 8:27 AM on December 20, 2014


"Hi, I like spending my Sundays drinking coffee and playing video games. Ask me anything."
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:36 AM on December 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


What video games?
posted by Going To Maine at 8:45 AM on December 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


why did that stop?

It required some extra work. I like the MeFite-interview podcasts and would love to do more of them.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:18 AM on December 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


There is absolutely no way I could win against Neil deGrasse Tyson in a dance-off. Have you seen that guy's moves?

Yeah, I have. He defies the second law of thermodynamics. But I haven't seen your moves.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:43 AM on December 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


If we were to get a large enough selection of interviews, we could make them into a pdf book at the end of each year. It could be called The Interviews, 2015, and we could maybe sell them for fun or profit.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:45 AM on December 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


What's this "we" stuff?
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 10:00 AM on December 20, 2014


What's this "we" stuff?

In spirit, the metafilter collective, but with mathowie at the reins. Like selling t-shirts.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:12 AM on December 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


It required some extra work.

Yeah, it gets more logistically complicated basically. Not undoably so, but also not slick everything-is-familiar process me and Matt and Jess can hop into in skype each month without (usually) any complications; we have to figure out scheduling with the person, find out whether they (a) have a mic/headset and (b) have or know how to use skype and help them figure out either or both if not, find out on the fly what sort of conversational flow they're comfortable with, decide between either doing the interview as a separate one-on-one segment or having to get them set up with some of the extra plug-in software we use for recording 3+ voices, etc.

Which is all basically why its easy to not chase that down, but that's not to say it isn't nice to do it anyway when there's the time and the will to pull it off; I do think it's fun talking to mefites about their stuff and it's probably just something we should try and do more one way or the other.

One crowdsourced possibility here would be to just have a kind of side podcast project where mefites interview mefites without it necessarily needing to have one of us involved; people doing 20-30 minute conversations and working out the logistics themselves and then sending that along to go into the Let's Talk Mefites feed or whatnot.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:04 AM on December 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


MeFite interviews makes most sense as a podcast, official or unofficial, separate from the main one. People could submit questions for the MeFites and the hosts would select a few and make up their own. I'd subscribe to a podcast, whether official or unofficial, which had interviews with MeFites.
posted by Kattullus at 11:45 AM on December 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't get why everyone here seems to think AMA is all about celebrities. I know that is one of the things that happens, but that is not all it is for or about.

Still, given the size difference between Reddit and Metafilter and other things, I don't think this really flies. But I like some of the other stuff being tossed out in the conversation, like the comment about making Projects more like that. Except, Projects can be reposted to the front page if someone likes your thing. You shouldn't dominate the conversation there, but it can already get reposted to a more heavily trafficked part of the site. So maybe that is a moot point. Or maybe there is some really small (cultural) tweak we could do where, once it gets posted to the front page, it could become acceptable to redirect AMA-style conversation to the Projects page where the thing originated...or something.

(I like to think that folks were not so much being a tough crowd as they were just riffing on foop's "Please tell me this is not my worst idea" in a tongue-and-cheek fashion, out of respect for him being a punster and all around funny guy. I would riff on it myself, but I can't come up with anything actually original and I don't want it to sound like I am part of a "tough crowd." I would do it just to be funny, if I thought I could pull it off, with zero disrespect intended.)
posted by Michele in California at 1:29 PM on December 20, 2014


Mefi interviews would have been a great project for Dom, the paid intern (remember him?), before he "left".

I still wonder whether there is a nice, new bricked-in wall at the back of restlessnomad's closet now. But perhaps it is best not to ask too many questions.
posted by misha at 1:30 PM on December 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


oneswellfoop: "Please tell me this isn't the worst idea I've ever come up with..."

No, that time you stuck your tongue in the light socket was much worse than this.
posted by double block and bleed at 1:59 PM on December 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


"I just ate this. Ask me anything."
posted by Seiten Taisei at 2:14 PM on December 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


I vote for a call-in show like Loveline.
posted by desjardins at 3:25 PM on December 20, 2014


hi. i'm quonsar. ask me anything!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 7:09 PM on December 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Does that fish get lonely in your pants?
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 7:18 PM on December 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Don't we pretty much do this already in MeTa all the time for a few users but instead call it "Take on All Comers and Defend Your Unpopular Viewpoint?"
posted by MoonOrb at 7:24 PM on December 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


Ask me anything, isn't that what ask.metafilter is for?

"If you were Bill Murray, would you eat this?"
posted by oceanjesse at 8:13 PM on December 20, 2014


"If you were Bill Murray, would you eat this?"

No, no, no. That'll get deleted as chatfilter right away.

"I'm writing a book about Bill Murray eating things. If you were Bill Murray, would you eat this?"
posted by Going To Maine at 8:24 PM on December 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ask me anything about fish, just not pants fish.
posted by arcticseal at 9:20 PM on December 20, 2014


I think we could improve on this idea and increase its viablility by placing it in the FanFare subsite.

"I'm the Moxx of Balhoon. Ask me anything."
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 9:20 PM on December 20, 2014


Yes! Please keep me updated about the quidnunc kid's upcoming Town Hall MeTas.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:29 PM on December 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Don't we pretty much do this already in MeTa all the time for a few users but instead call it "Take on All Comers and Defend Your Unpopular Viewpoint?""

yeah yeah we all know you reject the second avignon papacy
posted by klangklangston at 10:04 AM on December 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


is it true you draw comics with your dick?

Look, when the Almighty gives you the gift of a prehensile penis you would be a fool to not utilize this ability. Of course I draw comics with my most noodily of appendages. To not do so would be an affront to the Creator. It would be like refusing to use my brain just because it literally has twice the number of neurons as yours.

Interesting side note: Originally Dogbert was named Dickbert, but my editor was too stupid to allow this, so the name was changed.

P.S. Want my autograph? I have my own pen.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:23 AM on December 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


yeah yeah we all know you reject the second avignon papacy

oh don't make me settle this with a papal battle rap
posted by MoonOrb at 11:48 AM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


you think you hard n'all
with you council of cardinals
posted by klangklangston at 12:15 PM on December 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


P.S. Want my autograph? I have my own pen.

Is it mightier?
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 12:29 PM on December 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


On a more serious note . . . . (sorry)

I appreciate the idea that having an IAMA-style event with the MetaFilter userbase and mod team would result in more interesting and intelligent questions and less fan-gushing/heckling/shit-stirring. I think the catch, though, is that the Reddit AMA's generate lots of interest by being a live one-time limited-time event, and lots of non-MeFites, especially celebrities (for a wide definition of "celebrity"), would only be willing to devote an hour or two to the thing. But that sort of instant-response real-time situation isn't really in MetaFilter's wheelhouse, either practically or culturally. Plus mathowie's point about the difficulties in vetting and confirming that you're having an AMA with the actual person you think you are. So I could see it working as a podcast, maybe, or as Brockles' idea above of a set of pre-selected questions. But then you have the questions of 1) how much interest and time would the mods have to devote to creating an "official" MetaFilter interview podcast, 2) if it's not the mod team creating the podcast, how "official" is it? (which is to say, if it's not "official MetaFilter", why would anyone participate?) and 3) how much interest would the prospective subjects actually have in doing a podcast interview or an interview by email for a website that's not really a Big Deal in the larger scheme of things? So I have to say I'm not sure that a MetaFilter IAMA thing with non-MeFites would really work.

OTOH, if there was interest in a "MeFites Ask MeFites Anything", I would think this could be done in standard MetaFilter style, and wouldn't be particularly out of place as a MetaTalk post. We already have an accepted style of "replying" to other commenter's statements & questions (quoting in italics.) It eliminates the need to vet the subject, as under the "assume good faith" guideline we'd figure that anyone willing to answer questions would actually have enough experience and knowledge to answer said questions. It gives the askers time to craft interesting and intelligent questions, and the interview subjects time to craft intelligent and interesting answers. It allows the subjects to maintain a level of anonymity if they choose - a MeFite could answer questions about being an EMT without having to provide details greater than "EMT in a medium-sized New England city", for example. The only commitment on the part of the interview subject would be to agree to answer questions over a 30-day period (and of course they don't have to answer all the questions.) The mods would probably have to keep a tighter rein on comments than is usual for MetaTalk posts, but that could be clearly spelled out in the post. (Of course, I've no idea how much additional work that would actually be for the mod team.)

One possibility for a Mefite AMA would be to structure it as more of a panel or roundtable, where a small group of MeFites (say 3 to 8) would be willing to talk about their knowledge of something they have in common. Like, say, "libraries" - I think we've got a fair number of librarians here, and not all of them spend their days behind a desk swiping the latest Stephen King under a barcode scanner (and I'm pretty sure that even those who do have other job duties, which I have no idea what they are but might like to find out.) Or "writing"; sure, we've got our MeFite "celebrity" fiction writers, but we've also got people (I think) who are mid-list, or freshly-published, or who've written non-fiction books/essays/articles, and people who work behind-the-scenes in publishing or marketing or editing or copy-editing. So we might get more participants if they know they're not alone under the potentially terrifying spotlight of MetaFilter attention, and there could be some really interesting conversations as people who have similar-but-not-exactly-the-same work or life experiences do some comparing and contrasting with the other panelists.
posted by soundguy99 at 12:59 PM on December 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


So so typical of Metafilter to dislike a good idea, or change in general.
posted by malapropist at 10:04 PM on December 21, 2014


We already have AMA, it's just more efficient. You can ask all mefites at once anything.
posted by ctmf at 12:28 AM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yes, but what we really want to ask would be deleted as ChatFilter.

ChatFilter, incidentally, would be a really good name for a MetaFilter-themed interview podcast.
posted by Kattullus at 2:01 AM on December 22, 2014 [8 favorites]


re: Reddit

Reddit is best thought of as a city. It has a large entertainment and red-light district, and a lot of the people there are drunk. But it also has many interesting subcultures and layers. You can like a city while still steering clear of the bad bits.
posted by memebake at 3:10 PM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Reddit is best thought of as a city.

"Gomorrah" comes to mind.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:18 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Gomorrah was probably a really interesting city. Imagine if modern religious zealots wrote a story about the flooding of New Orleans and it was all that survived of the city a thousand years later.

But I'm only criticizing the Gomorrah comparison. If Reddit is a city, the bad parts aren't drunkards' playgrounds, but places where it's not really safe for many races and genders of people to walk. I value many of the good parts of Reddit, but have to be honest that the bad parts are pretty freakin' horrible. (Horrible subreddit names available on request. I'd rather not link them publicly.)
posted by benito.strauss at 8:39 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I seem to be pretty good at interviewing people, and think it might be fun to work on a podcast where MeFites are interviewed about whatnot and stuff.

I'm not sure I have a good voice for listening to, but this could be fun. Maybe I'll let my back-burner brain bits mull on this a bit and think about whether I want to interview someone, and if I were to interview them, who would it be and about what?
posted by hippybear at 1:30 AM on December 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


The tut-tutting that Reddit gets around here is quite remarkable given the considerable overlap of the Reddit circlejerk and MeFi circlejerk.
posted by Tanizaki at 7:54 AM on December 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's right, so stop hogging the biscuit, dude.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 8:01 AM on December 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I miss pot and kettle.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:19 AM on December 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


I find it unusual that people link to Reddit threads here on MetaFilter. It's beyond meta. Also since so much of Reddit comments are unfiltered, unverifiable, unadulterated horse shit.
posted by Nevin at 8:28 AM on December 23, 2014


Reddit is best thought of as a city.
One of my best decisions (after joining MetaFilter) was to move out of the City of Los Angeles in 2005, in favor of an unincorporated part of San Luis Obispo County, near the coast midway between L.A. and S.F.
So that's where my mind is at.
I have no interest in the "big internet cities". I have abandoned Twitter and deleted Facebook with extreme prejudice.
It was my thinking that if it were possible anywhere, MetaFilter could take the "AMA" concept and bring it down to a more manageable, more human scale. I never wanted the President to do it here... or Queen Liz... or anybody BIG (okay, I thought Woz would be cool, just because he'd popped his head into here before).
But now I can see that it would most likely turn into a larger-than-human scaled headache for any human scaled web community and I just appreciate Matt's response that it was something he had already considered. (so it's not just MY bad idea, okay?)

One more thing: the considerable overlap of the Reddit circlejerk and MeFi circlejerk.
The correct term is SUBSET.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:51 AM on December 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Maybe someone pitched this up-thread, but here's a sort-of-cumbersome workaround:
  1. Bob wants to do a MeFi AMA
  2. He posts something to ask: "I'm Bob, an awesomesaucer who's going to put together an AMA. What sort of questions would you ask an awesomesaucer?"
  3. people post questions they'd ask an awesomesaucer
  4. Bob writes up a little AMA on his website, a tilde.club website, or wherever.
  5. He posts it to Mefi Projects, and links the project in a response to his own Ask post.
  6. Maybe people post more questions that they are now interested in asking. He revises his AMA site with more responses
  7. Maybe someone posts it to Metafilter. He answers questions inline, and maybe updates his site with the responses.
  8. Eventually the rest of the internet finds out.
  9. Membership numbers soar.
  10. Matthowie hires more moderators.
  11. A real AMA site, with heavy moderation is introduced.
  12. Membership numbers skyrocket further.
  13. Matthowie buys a boat and crews it with kittens

posted by Going To Maine at 10:07 AM on December 23, 2014


I like the crowdsourced idea of MeFites interviewing MeFites. Why necessarily celebs? Lots of people here have interesting jobs or interesting hobbies or have survived incredible challenges, yadda yadda and I'd love to hear or read thoughtful interviews with some of these individuals.
posted by Bella Donna at 10:14 PM on December 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


malapropist: "So so typical of Metafilter to dislike a good idea, or change in general."

So so typical of many people to assume an idea they think is good is necessarily a good idea.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:23 PM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


« Older MeFi in Randall Munroe's What If?   |   Protocol and Decorum Newer »

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