Can we add more options for the Contacts' relationship categories? February 9, 2015 9:37 AM   Subscribe

I find the options in the Contacts form for relationships somewhat limiting. I know this is trivial but I can't help thinking it could be awesomer.

I'm referring to the little boxes you can tick indicating the nature of a relationship in the Contacts form when you add someone: contact, acquaintance, friend, partner, and all the rest of it.

I've always found it limited and not offering what I want:

- hero (yes! don't laugh)
- internet-friend (an important distinction from 'friend')

Those are the main two, I'm sure others might have some requests.

I've never felt comfortable with 'muse' being in the Romantic section, either - can we move that out of there? Muse does not necessarily carry romantic connotations and I don't think it belongs there. (Also, muse is heavily gendered as a category that women alone occupy - we need something similar for men but I think 'hero' may cover it?)

I know this is a silly request but it's been bugging me a long time now and apparently today is the day I request this Pony.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome to Feature Requests at 9:37 AM (62 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I've never felt comfortable with 'muse' being in the Romantic section, either - can we move that out of there?


Previously.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:41 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Folks have asked for this a few times over the years, and as a nitpickety taxonomizer myself I so feel the motivation here. But the answer has been no, and the reason is, we got those categories from another thing we're using, we know the taxonomy is imperfect, but it would be a headache to change, for not much benefit to the site. Mathowie or pb may want to weigh in here, but that's the quickie answer.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:42 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Or, how about a free-form field?

Then you could write in whatever that person actually is to you.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:42 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


The contacts feature is based on XFN, which is a loose standard built by bloggers and open source advocates in 2003. It's a little goofy ("muse" being one of the odder options) but we're probably one of the only sites that implemented the standards as they were laid out.

Instead of making it more complicated, I would say in the far-off, someday future if the feature were to change, it would likely be simplified to a Twitter/Tumblr/etc model where you just click a button once to follow someone's posts, without all the silly added details.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:46 AM on February 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


how about a free-form field?

When this was allowed in the past, people used it for funny stuff that sometimes got misinterpreted as well as straight up mean stuff, so we limited it to the XFN standard.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:47 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Drat. I was hoping for: Friend with Benefits, Friend from Buffet, Friend I Married for Health Insurance, Not Really a Friend but Someone I Talk to at the Bar, and Fiend with Benefits.

Oh well.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:54 AM on February 9, 2015 [20 favorites]


LobsterMitten - Oh I didn't realize it would be a headache to change, thought it would be fairly straight-forward and relatively easy to alter.

This poor pony, it never had a chance.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:00 AM on February 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


I find matt's explanation to be pretty persuasive: too much latitude for people to be snarky shits since the system doesn't require consent to add a contact.
posted by selfnoise at 10:05 AM on February 9, 2015


if the feature were to change, it would likely be simplified to a Twitter/Tumblr/etc model where you just click a button once to follow someone's posts, without all the silly added details.

You would sneer at the hallowed tradition of Enspousenation Day? YOU MONSTER!
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:10 AM on February 9, 2015 [12 favorites]


Drat. I was hoping for: Friend with Benefits, Friend from Buffet, Friend I Married for Health Insurance, Not Really a Friend but Someone I Talk to at the Bar, and Fiend with Benefits.

Ideological Ally, Fellow Cabalite, SJW Brigadier, Free Speech Warrior and Endless Source of Schadenfreude would also be welcome.

But I'm OK with the current set-up, too.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:17 AM on February 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


Endless Source of Schadenfreude

I found a sock-puppet name!
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:19 AM on February 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


Endless Source of Schadenfreude

Also an excellent Culture Ship name!
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:36 AM on February 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


As a devoted colourmetrician, I'd like to be able to assign custom colours to my contacts then sort by rgb value (and sometimes by hsv when I feel the need for a more professional presentation).
posted by bonehead at 10:48 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


so we can also rule out...
Frenemy
Childhood Acquaintance
Character Witness
Expert Witness
Third Cousin, Twice Removed
Someone Who Favorites My Coments Too Much
Someone Whose Comments I Favorite Too Much
I Know What You Did Last Summer
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:00 AM on February 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


What about "I'm keeping my Eyes on You"?
posted by oceanjesse at 11:06 AM on February 9, 2015


Homie
Bestie
Frenemy
Homemy
Hostie
Parasitey
I have met this user but I have since forgotten who they are
I have appeared on a daytime talk show with this user
I would say hello to this user in the grocery store but then pretend to be engrossed in comparing cereal prices
I would hold this user's hand if I saw them in heaven
I loaned this user a book and they never gave it back, which usually happens when you loan someone a book, it's cool
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:09 AM on February 9, 2015 [16 favorites]


Bae?
posted by Rock Steady at 11:13 AM on February 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


"I used to like you but now I don't but I'm not removing the contact in case you notice and get mad"

"I think you might be from my work, and that deeply worries me"

"I can't remember why I added you, but now it's been like 6 years, so I'll just leave it"

"You're just cover for that one person I really want to follow but whom I don't want to know I'm obsessively Mefi stalking"

"I am just looking for a used car...what is all this?"
posted by taz (staff) at 11:21 AM on February 9, 2015 [29 favorites]


- hero (yes! don't laugh)

So you're holding out for a hero?
posted by octobersurprise at 11:32 AM on February 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Alien Twin

Copy from Another Dimension (with Goatee/without Goatee)

Blood Brother

Blood Sibling

A Non-Genetic Sibling, but Not Joined by Blood because Gross

Liveliest Awfulness

Relative Who Left Me That Horrid Tome in Their Will

Sorry, I Hit "Contact" by Mistake. Three Times.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:35 AM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I mentioned to sciatrix a while ago how sacrifix is like a splicing of our usernames. Can we have "username splice creation" as an option?
posted by halifix at 11:56 AM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


"I think you might be from my work, and that deeply worries me"

but, like, you work at Metafilter, we're kinda all from your work
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:13 PM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Alternate Universe Duplicate (with or without goatee)

Waiter/Bartender/Barista/Counterperson (with subcategory whether you ever screwed up an order)

Friend of a Friend of a Friend

You Stole My First Choice of Username (even if you did sign up five years before me)

Jury Duty

Exchanged Insurance Cards After Accident

Somebody That I Used to Know

and, of course...
CyberStalker
and
IRLStalker
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:24 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Would settle for Fellow Vertebrate/Invertebrate/Hivemind.
posted by arcticseal at 12:28 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Or at the very least, Former Quonsee and Former Quonsar.
posted by TrishaLynn at 12:39 PM on February 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


--Really want to graze through this user's bookshelves
--Want to do science with this user
--I get mildly anxious and concerned about how this person is doing in real life, and wonder how they're doing sometimes, like when I'm at the grocery store
--Would be really fun to go backpacking with
--User does not like hugs or being touched so if you meet them IRL for god's sake DON'T HUG THEM
--User who does not like hugs but I forgot and hugged them, so now I wake up random nights at 3 AM, sorry and embarrassed
--100% confident contact witnessed a foolish comment I made in a thread because they responded to it; avoid IRL and in other threads if possible
--Gave me a best answer in Ask, must be an utterly fantastic person
--Canadian, should be trusted; also might help if I'm ever stranded in Canada
--Kind of want to create a group of superheroes with this contact, then go around living off the land, driving super groovy cars, and fighting misogyny
-Want to invite this user to join my kazoo playing Who cover band, The KaWho
--Would go through Jurassic Park with this person
posted by barchan at 12:50 PM on February 9, 2015 [23 favorites]


Change it to relationships expressed in emoji only and make people's heads explode. It's a win-win!
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:55 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am beginning to suspect that oneswellfoop may be an evil twin....
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:02 PM on February 9, 2015


...and I just shaved off my goatee this morning.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:14 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


...without all the silly added details

Wait, what, and everybody losing their spouses? You must be kidding!
posted by Namlit at 1:37 PM on February 9, 2015


emoji options plz
posted by MoonOrb at 1:41 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


thoughcrimeful
duckspeakful
oldthinkful
doublethinkful
prole
doupleplusungood
posted by double block and bleed at 2:41 PM on February 9, 2015


- Person I met at a MeFi meetup but I can't remember which one
- Person who made a really awesome MeFi mix
- Person who has the most amusing/puntastic username who deserves to be followed solely on that basis
- Person who regularly takes the bizarre level up a notch

And also:
- Fellow member of secret cabal
- Member of secret cabal I really really want to join please add me back
- I think I might have been you in a past life
- I think you might have been me in a past life
- Are we actually a single consciousness sharing two usernames?
- This is my sockpuppet account I set up so it can't be traced back to me
posted by Athanassiel at 2:51 PM on February 9, 2015


it would likely be simplified to a Twitter/Tumblr/etc model where you just click a button once to follow someone's posts, without all the silly added details.

That's basically what happens right now if you don't choose an option, correct?
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:55 PM on February 9, 2015


This question is a rather frequently asked one.

Isn't there a list of those?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:56 PM on February 9, 2015


Yeah, can we add Prole to the contacts relationship categories?
posted by oceanjesse at 2:59 PM on February 9, 2015


That's basically what happens right now if you don't choose an option, correct?

Yep, you don't have to add any of that XFN stuff when you add someone as a contact. You do have to see it but you can ignore it.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:02 PM on February 9, 2015


You do have to see it
Not necessarily. After years of crippling anxiety over which was the right choice (or, god forbid, choices) when adding a contact, I made a square of cardboard that fits over the screen and only shows the 'Add Contact' button on that page. I hover over the 'Add as a Contact' link and place the cardboard carefully before clicking.
posted by dg at 3:33 PM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


I was hoping to see classmate.
posted by brujita at 3:42 PM on February 9, 2015


[X] Adjunct nemesis w/ benefits
posted by aubilenon at 4:17 PM on February 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


This contact...

* should have been giving me this great advice 20 years and several men ago
* helped me understand something I've been wrestling with for a while
* is a Cultivator of My Idiosyncratic Personal Micro-culture
* makes me laugh and favorite with great glee
* has interesting posting style
* sends me to sites I end up adding to my daily reading
* is level-headed, smart, and empathetic, and their friends are lucky to have this person in their life
* would probably know what to do in an emergency situation
* made me cry, in a good way
* makes the most awful puns, and I laugh and laugh and laugh
* is a dinosaur, with arms too short to post on blog
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:26 PM on February 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Well-wishee, in that I mean them no specific harm.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:49 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


From the XFN: Background
met can be considered a description of your relationship with someone which is still presently true, in that you have physically met, and that you always will have physically met. The same could be said about other physical relationships, e.g. shook-hands, hugged, kissed etc. and thus the door is left slightly open to such possibilities for future versions of XFN.
Hugged! Everyone needs a hug.
posted by unliteral at 6:08 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


This contact is...
...a sport
...a lens
...shelf lining paper
...a book by Carl Sagan made into a movie starring Jodie Foster
...an electrical circuit component found in switches, relays and breakers
...what you yell at the guy who spins the propeller on a very old airplane
...a cold capsule with hundreds of tiny time pills. Oh, sorry, that's Contac without the T
...the opposite of 'protact'.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:52 PM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


...Christ, what an asshole.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:55 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hugged! Everyone needs a hug.

For me, a lot of my "met" contacts are also basically "hugged" contacts, yeah. Though I avoid forcing the issue.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:18 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not finding it now, but I think I saw a browser extension for MeFi that let users have private "tags" for other users (similar to Reddit Enhancement Suite). It would be handy for things like reminding me why I added someone as a contact, or could take the place of adding a contact. For example: scarabic [knows about disposal of bodies]
posted by exogenous at 7:22 AM on February 10, 2015


I don't think muse is necessarily gender biased. I mark all of my contacts as muse if I feel like they inspire me.
posted by h00py at 7:38 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


From unliteral's link: "Muse describes a person who inspires you in some way. This may not be a strictly romantic or erotic type of inspiration, but might also be used to describe a person who has provided you with professional inspiration. The value landed in the romantic section because inspiration is a romantic concept in the general sense (rather than a rational concept)."

I don't want to be fighty or anything but -- No. This is muddled. Go back to the drawing board. Muse has a long history of being used in a very particular way, and is very strongly gendered. (*harumph*)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:40 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Must history repeat itself?
posted by h00py at 7:42 AM on February 10, 2015


I would like a "frequently confused with" option.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:56 AM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


It would be useful to have a clearer description of the relationship between Metafilter users.
posted by NSA at 2:29 PM on February 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


" Muse has a long history of being used in a very particular way, and is very strongly gendered. "

Words have a history of changing over time, what was once gendered in the past doesn't need to be in the future. We can all be part of meaningful change.
posted by el io at 2:39 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Someone recently added me as a contact under the "muse" descriptor. I, too, always thought this was a female-gendered word, but I wasn't bothered by it. In fact, you could say I found it ...

∙_∙)>⌐□-□

(⌐□_□)

... amusing.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:16 PM on February 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


"might become interesting"

"interesting"

"vassal"

"liege"
posted by amtho at 7:37 AM on February 11, 2015


amuse...

bemuse...

misuse...

no use...
posted by y2karl at 2:48 PM on February 11, 2015


The little cartman putting on sunglasses will never grow old.

Yes I know it's not cartman I don't care it's always cartman for me.
posted by winna at 9:00 PM on February 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm still more interested in the option of decided which level of contact's information is displayed in my Contact Activity sidebar. I like to keep track of people I have met via MetaFilter, but I don't want to see every time they have a comment marked as a favourite, or an answer marked as best, etc, etc. In other words, I may have met you, but that doesn't mean I like you.*

* I do probably like you, but that's not the point.
posted by terrapin at 4:09 AM on February 12, 2015


You can filter what appears in your Contact Activity. Click "All Activity" and you'll see little check boxes on the side. It applies across the board to all contacts, though, you can't drill down to specific people.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:51 AM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


That is half the battle, thanks, Rock Steady. I had not noticed that. If I could, say, set it to only show contacts I have marked as "muse" that is my ultimate goal.
posted by terrapin at 11:24 AM on February 12, 2015


Sorry, terrapin. We're probably not going to add more complexity or filtering to the contacts system. You could always jump off of MetaFilter to some other text app to keep track of who you've met and then use contacts for people you want to follow. You could even use your MetaFilter profile blurb for that.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:27 AM on February 12, 2015


The contacts feature is based on XFN, which is a loose standard built by bloggers and open source advocates in 2003.

You all see this as a limitation.
met can be considered a description of your relationship with someone which is still presently true, in that you have physically met, and that you always will have physically met. The same could be said about other physical relationships, e.g. shook-hands, hugged, kissed etc. and thus the door is left slightly open to such possibilities for future versions of XFN.
I see it as a challenge. Standard that hasn't been updated in 12 years? Let's working group this bitch. Who else will?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 2:17 PM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


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