Did they eat that? March 9, 2015 7:47 AM   Subscribe

AskMe often receives questions of the "Can I Eat This?" variety. It would be nice if, when these were marked resolved, the OP was able to indicate whether they had, after all, eaten it, and if so, record what happened (presumably they didn't die, or they wouldn't be around to mark it resolved). My preference would be a little button and a field, with some way of tabulating the results, but it could be just a suggestion included in the "resolve" letter.

Perhaps a little more extreme would be a tabulation of such posts that were never marked resolved, and whose OPs were never heard from again. Of course, I hope there are no such cases...
posted by ubiquity to Feature Requests at 7:47 AM (48 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Or at least a link to their obituary.
posted by maxsparber at 7:52 AM on March 9, 2015 [38 favorites]


Thanks for taking the time to mark this as resolved!

Now please mark this as:
[ ] It was delicious and I was perfectly fine
[ ] I got wind but it passed
[ ] There were strange rumblings and some cold sweats but no explusions
[ ] I threw up and my stools were somewhat burny
[ ] There was projecticle vomit and my ass was on fire for 1-3 days
[ ] Deceased
posted by billiebee at 7:57 AM on March 9, 2015 [109 favorites]


My preference would be a little button and a field, with some way of tabulating the results, but it could be just a suggestion included in the "resolve" letter.

The boring, serious answer is that I think this pony's staying in the stable, but I'm all for an independent review of such questions to date if someone wants to tackle the idea for extra credit. Automatically and accurately identifying questions about is-it-safe food dilemmas would be an interesting little challenge.

Perhaps a little more extreme would be a tabulation of such posts that were never marked resolved, and whose OPs were never heard from again.

This is actually (not so much on the food side, but...) kind of a weird and hard thing about Ask Metafilter; now and then someone will ask a health-related question, about some current or ongoing acute concern, and then doesn't follow up, and that's really difficult because the likely answer is Just Didn't Follow Up (because they got distracted, because once it was resolved it's out-of-sight-out-of-mind, because they feel embarrassed about the public concern, etc.) but it's frustrating/worrying for folks who answered the question and then are hoping for some sort of all-clear from the asker.

Of which, I think it'd be better to not link any of those in here even thought the impulse is understandable; if it's unresolved, it's unresolved, and throwing a spotlight on it after the fact when the user hasn't chosen to follow up on their own feels a little unkind in practice. Sometimes bad situations are just bad, and collectively rehashing them doesn't really do anyone any good.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:58 AM on March 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Well, now I have to ask: did you eat the trout? Are you OK or are you posting from the spirit plane or *cough* elsewhere? You seem sprightly enough.
posted by maudlin at 8:28 AM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm generaly all for the idea that we can't police the validity of answers from a mod perspective and we can trust the asker and those answering to sift towards good advice. I don't think we can shut down a question, for example, because we worry if it's medically correct. Good answers will ultimately self-correct in conversation and direct people towards another authority, say a doctor, to make sure.

For some reason, though, this seems to be like it might be some sort of tacit approval in cases for something that might not be healthy in all circumstances. For example, if someone says I ate the pizza that was out for a week and had no ill effects, it's probably not a good idea to have some sort of a tag that indicates "no ill effects." I guess my thought is that such a small sample size of one should not be deemed appropriate for a more official sort of answer, versus a method of answering in a community that is self-corrective and redirects as appropriate in the course of a conversation.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:03 AM on March 9, 2015


What about all the items I didn't ask about, but after I ate them I shit the bed? Where do we tabulate them? We could actually post the question knowing the answer and then after everyone weighs in, do a big reveal.
posted by 724A at 9:24 AM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Although the soul of my enemy sat in a shoebox for three weeks in the back of my Subaru during a very hot Boston July, and despite being advised not to by most of AskMe, I decided to consume it anyway.

I had some gas the next day but for the most part I seem to be ok.
posted by bondcliff at 9:32 AM on March 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


I did not eat the trout. I explained my reasoning in my post when I marked it resolved.

And some of the answers above have convinced me my suggestion here was not really a good idea (even though it's something I personally would have found interesting), because it would tend to confer a specious air of science to what is, after all, just anecdotal evidence. After all, as they say when speaking of ruminant eating habits, your silage may vary.
posted by ubiquity at 9:36 AM on March 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


If they don't post again, you know they ate it and made a big mistake.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:11 AM on March 9, 2015


kind of a weird and hard thing about Ask Metafilter;

Resolving this would probably require some kind of incentive for the asker. Maybe some sort of "follow up tick mark" that could be measured on their profile page...

I don't know.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:13 AM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's my perception that many responding to "Should I eat this?" questions aren't interested in positive responses, yeah so what if you didn't get sick, since I'm allergic/hyper-clean/more-delicate-than-you I wouldn't eat it no matter what evidence you provide that it's okay, which I think negates the utility of this kind of question.
posted by Rash at 11:28 AM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now please mark this as:

[ ] Would not eat it in a box
[ ] Would not eat it with a fox
[ ] Would not eat it in a house
[ ] Would not eat it with a mouse
[ ] Would not eat it here or there
[ ] Would not eat it anywhere
posted by octobersurprise at 12:11 PM on March 9, 2015 [45 favorites]


Just checking "would not eat it anywhere" needs to automatically check all the other boxes.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 12:17 PM on March 9, 2015 [17 favorites]


I would be in favor of adding small behavioral nudges that encourage loop-closing on the green for questions that have loop-closeability. Not sure if this is the right one. There's probably a social psychologist or group dynamics person on the site who would have a better idea of how to encourage this behavior.

Cortex is there any data about the percentage of folks that follow-up/mark resolved as a result of the reminder email?
posted by softlord at 12:26 PM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Even if an asker survived, it would be meaningless to know about it, unless a because box would be attached to the resolved box:
'I survived because my stomach is made of steel;'
'I survived because against all odds the bugs abandoned my green-hue-chicken and attacked the liver for the cat instead; cat now has eight lives left;' that kind of thing.

And anyway, if we want to get some real info out of this exercise, just attach a counter to these questions:
10873 resolved 'can I eat it' questions
467 marked as deceased (205 poultry; 189 hamburgers; 57 fish and shellfish; 9 tofu; 7 Nutella *BING* another one...)
3005 marked as 'burped n' stuff, I lived after a week of rolling over the floor'
7300 marked as 'ate it anyway, and here I am.'
101 marked as 'passed a wind, neighbours still out cold.'

That said, someplace there also must be a box:
"I threw it out because of YOU, and now it's killing me not to know whether it would have killed me."
posted by Namlit at 12:52 PM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think this is a terrible idea, and would provide false and dangerous reinforcement for people who know nothing about food safety.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:52 PM on March 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


I was waiting... :)
posted by Namlit at 12:53 PM on March 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


I see the logical next step as a great database people can refer on whether eating that thing is a bad idea or not. I mean it'd be great for the pubic sector to get a jump on this since the gov doesn't seem at all interested in dedicating any resources to food safety guidelines.

We're reinventing the wheel and to echo SpacemanStix, encouraging people to eat what they shouldn't based on anecdotal evidence. Evidence that is impossible to vet for veracity, BTW.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 1:00 PM on March 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Would not eat it with a mouse

Well, maybe not a whole mouse, in one sitting. But mouse parts are in everything, according to the FDA. I mean - how would you even know?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:05 PM on March 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Just set a 'dead man's handle' on these questions. If the asker doesn't return in, say a week, mark the question as resolved and add a 'don't eat this' tag.
posted by dg at 1:12 PM on March 9, 2015 [12 favorites]


I think this is a terrible idea, and would provide false and dangerous reinforcement for people who know nothing about food safety.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:52 PM on March 9 [1 favorite +] [!]


eponysterical
posted by Jacqueline at 1:19 PM on March 9, 2015 [16 favorites]


I think this is a terrible idea, and would provide false and dangerous reinforcement for people who know nothing about food safety.

Oh, I don't know. I'd generally been a "day four and out the door" and "when in doubt, throw it out" sort of guy, but I've also been known to think, "That smells fine, looks fine, tastes fine, so I'll be fine," on some occasions, and the few times I've ventured forth to express an option I was told I was full of shit and heating it up won't destroy the toxins that are shutting down my liver and kidneys right now! so I had exactly the opposite experience. It may reinforce the idea that life is too short for questionable food.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:40 PM on March 9, 2015


I actually would like to encourage more Askers to follow up with updates on how things turned out no matter what the question was about.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:26 PM on March 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is just to say

I have eaten
the chicken salad sandwich
that was in
the back seat of my car for a week

which
people on the internet
said
would make me sick.

Forgive me
for not following up;
you were so right and I am
so dead
posted by neroli at 2:43 PM on March 9, 2015 [40 favorites]


I actually would like to encourage more Askers to follow up with updates on how things turned out no matter what the question was about.


You reminded me that I needed to tattle on the USPS. I followed the regulations!
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:31 PM on March 9, 2015


I actually would like to encourage more Askers to follow up with updates on how things turned out no matter what the question was about.


We've sometimes had wrap-up MeTa posts encouraging people to do that. Explaining how the resolved (and stumped) tags work and encouraging people to add updates there or here. It's a post someone could make.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 4:17 PM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of my first boyfriend, who was cleaning puke out of the backseat of his car one hot summer Sunday after a wild Saturday night of clubbing. He found a filet-o-fish from McDonalds in the rear and felt it must have been leftover from the night's revelries. He sniffed it and called me to ask what he should do. I said "NOOOOO" but he said "it smells fine, free food". But fish always smells fishy so how do you know when it's so fishy it's suspicious? He ate it anyways. Hilarious barfing ensued (maybe THAT was why his friends covered the backseat in puke). Any ways, my point of this all is, can you imagine what would have resulted if he asked the question on Metafilter? It smells fine, eat it. There would be no firm consensus and because he survived who knows what madness this would inspire in the world.
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose at 4:56 PM on March 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


I just always assume they died.
posted by lollusc at 7:02 PM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


This whole idea of "Food Poisoning" that askme has is, frankly, ridiculous. Food is the OPPOSITE of Poison. It's like saying "cotton rocks" or "goyische rabbi". It's just plain nonsensical. A lot of these people need a little book called a dictionary (word book), if you ask me.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:31 PM on March 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Jessamyn's response reminded me that I posted such an update thread once, and it was a good time. I don't have any late breaking resolutions now or I'd post another one. Do it, somebody!
posted by yellowbinder at 7:45 PM on March 9, 2015


I posted an update to a health thread ask I had, and it got deleted, so I thought I broke some rule or something about keeping the asks about the question and the community's response, maybe? I think the post was pretty innocuous so I was surprised at the deletion, but I didn't care enough to follow up with the mods.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 7:50 PM on March 9, 2015


I just checked your deletion history, and I'm not seeing that, potsmokinghippieoverlord. Possibly there was some problem with preview and it never got posted? Anyway, if you'd like to send me the update and the thread it's for, I can add it now as "final update from the OP".
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:55 PM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, there are a couple of follow-up-less "should I go to the ER" questions I still worry about.
posted by leahwrenn at 8:10 PM on March 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


Hey I didn’t even eat the mousse…
posted by arcticseal at 8:27 PM on March 9, 2015


LobsterMitten: "I just checked your deletion history, and I'm not seeing that, potsmokinghippieoverlord. Possibly there was some problem with preview and it never got posted? Anyway, if you'd like to send me the update and the thread it's for, I can add it now as "final update from the OP"."

Perhaps there was some pot smoking involved and he thought he posted it when he really just thought about posting it.
posted by 724A at 8:30 PM on March 9, 2015


But fish always smells fishy so how do you know when it's so fishy it's suspicious?

Fresh fish doesn't smell stereotypically fishy. Ocean fish should smell, well, oceany, and freshwater fish should smell--I'm really sorry, honestly--fresh. It's only after they've been sitting around a while that they smell stereotypically fishy.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:53 PM on March 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


SHOULD I DRIVE THE WRONG WAY DOWN THE STREET

no

no

hell no

lol ok

hell no ignore that last guy seriously i'm a traffic expert and like 72.4% of wrong way drivers get seriously life-changingly injured

nooooooooooooo

please don't it's not just your life you see

OK I DID IT, IT WAS SCARY BUT FUN TX FOR THE ADVICE

[marked "worked out fine lol"]
posted by Sebmojo at 10:51 PM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


-------WCW FULFILLMENT SCRIPT-------
-------SUBMIT COMPLETED FORMS TO PB AT END OF SHIFT------
-------ONE 5-MINUTE CIGARETTE BREAK ALLOWED PER HOUR------

Hello, ___[USERNAME]____, my name is ___[CORTEX, LOBSTERMITTEN, ETC]___ calling on behalf of MetaFilter, how are you doing this evening? [PAUSE AND WAIT FOR ANSWER] That's great to hear! I'm calling today/tonight just following up on an AskMe post you made on __[DATE]__ regarding whether you should eat ___[FOOD ITEM]___ -- we usually have to fill out a "WCW" form in order to track customer fulfillment and satisfaction, and if it wouldn't be too much trouble, ___[USERNAME]___, we'd like to ask you a couple of questions; it should take up less than two minutes of your time. Would that be okay?

[IF ANSWER IS YES, PROCEED]
[IF ANSWER IS NO, SKIP QUESTIONS AND GO TO END OF SCRIPT]

That's great, ___[USERNAME]___, thanks. OK, question one, this is just to ask: Did you eat the ___[FOOD ITEM]___?
[IF ANSWER IS YES, proceed to QUESTION TWO]
[IF ANSWER IS NO, SKIP QUESTIONS AND GO TO END OF SCRIPT]

Question two: was it in the icebox? __________
[IF ANSWER IS YES, proceed to QUESTION THREE]
[IF ANSWER IS NO, SKIP QUESTIONS AND GO TO END OF SCRIPT]

Question three: Was anyone saving them? _________
[IF ANSWER IS NO, SKIP QUESTIONS AND GO TO END OF SCRIPT]
[IF PROBABLY, then ASK] Which meal were they saving it for? _________
[IF BREAKFAST, proceed to QUESTION FOUR]

Question four: Did you apologize? __________
[IF ANSWER IS YES, proceed to QUESTION FIVE]
[IF ANSWER IS NO, SKIP QUESTIONS AND GO TO END OF SCRIPT]

Thanks for your patience, this is our last question: what was your excuse for wanting to eat this food item(s)? For example, were they delicious? sweet? cold? ____________

Great, thank you so much, ___[USERNAME]____, this helps our metadata collection efforts immeasurably, and will help our userbase more effectively tell you whether or not you should consume questionable food items. For your time, we'll send you a picture of a cat wedged in a scanner to hang on your wall in your home or cubicle. Have a great day/evening!

___________

[IF ANSWER TO ANY ABOVE QUESTIONS WAS "NO", END THE CALL THIS WAY]
Oh, I'm sorry, ___[USERNAME]____, your account has been deleted and you can go eat a bucket of rancid spider abdomens for all we give a fuck. Have a great day/evening!
posted by not_on_display at 11:14 PM on March 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


Yeah, there are a couple of follow-up-less "should I go to the ER" questions I still worry about.
Me too, including one where the OP, who was an active poster up to that point, has never posted or commented again. I suspect that I crossed a line, and I'm not proud of it, but my curiosity and concern got the better of me, and I memailed the OP several months later to ask if they were OK, but I never heard back. In my mind I have constructed a story where they were fine and then felt angry at the pile-on telling them to go to the hospital? Or maybe they were embarassed? Or maybe they had to sell their laptop to pay their medical bills??? And that's why they've never returned. I really hope it is one of those.
posted by Cheese Monster at 3:38 AM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Better yet, stop people asking questions we can't answer.
posted by Segundus at 4:37 AM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


technically, we can answer any question
posted by Greg Nog at 6:57 AM on March 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


This thread is very amusing in light of the fact that the most recent thing on my Twitter is a tweet from three days ago about eating biodegradable packing pellets. Spoiler alert: survived
posted by capricorn at 7:11 AM on March 10, 2015


I'm all for encouraging more resolution from the OPs in AskMe generally (something I haven't always been diligent about in my own questions), but I don't think "should I eat this" questions have any special reason to be treated differently than the general case.

In 2012 I sent a MeMail to the OP of this 2009 question (food-related but not a "should I eat this" question) because I had nearly the exact same question and wanted to know what he had tried and whether it had worked, but never got a response. Looks like he hasn't been active on the site since early 2011.

Also, whenever discussions of "should I eat this" AskMes come up on MeTa, I can't help but think of this comment.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:25 AM on March 10, 2015


it'd be great for the pubic sector

I think making this typo is basically obligatory whenever the word comes up.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 10:18 AM on March 10, 2015


For reasons that make no sense at all, this thread has inspired me to try and make a salmon lasagne. I'll be careful not to take it upstairs to eat.
posted by emilyw at 3:35 PM on March 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I met the salmon lasagna lady (or the roommate who asked the question) and we had a grand time talking about that whole thread again.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 5:59 AM on March 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh yes I ate the purple cow,
I'm sorry now I ate it.
I give the data anyhow,
So AskMe can debate it!
posted by ubiquity at 6:11 AM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have eaten
the salmon lasagna
that was under
the floordrobe

and which
you were probably
using
for fragrance

Forgive me
it was disgusting
so gleet
and so mold
posted by flabdablet at 8:47 AM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


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