Has "news.metafilter.com" ever been considered? October 5, 2015 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Has MetaFilter ever considered or discussed the idea of having a News subsite? A MetaNews sub for posting things that might otherwise be considered Newsfilter, and therefore Detestable Front Page Clutter?

"Newsfilter" is a perfectly reasonable pejorative for posts that aren't really Best of the Web, or relevant to the majority of paying MeFites. Deleting newsfilter posts is a good idea; a front page filled with dog-bites-man posts is no fun.

However, more and more items of interest come from the news, and when important newsy things happen, I really enjoy reading everyone's comments on them - here, on MetaFilter. When I hear about something newsworthy, I swear, half the time I come here before going to major news sites, because of the usually thoughtful comments and especially for the extra information and links people provide.

I've wondered this before and I wondered it again today, because there's yet another news item that I think it pretty interesting[1], and relevant to everyone, and I think MeFites would be eager to discuss it, and the ensuing discussion would be enlightening, but I'm not making an FPP, because it's just one thing that happened, in the news, and that's newsfilter.

I'm not suggesting that MetaFilter turn into Reddit, with cats.metafilter.com, dogs.metafilter.com, guns.metafilter.com, cars.metafilter.com, coffee.metafilter.com, etc. News is a big thing here. I think it would be a busy and useful subdomain. People would bookmark it, RSS it. Ad impressions would occur in the former. People would participate.

So: has news.metafilter.com ever been put forth as a viable idea?

Is the concern that it would end up being 90% dog-bites-man despite the efforts of moderators? I don't think so, but I'm asking.

Would it be a big technological hurdle?

Thanks

---

[1] google Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva Airport
posted by sidereal to Feature Requests at 1:24 PM (51 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I feel like news posts tend to have a lot more aggression and unpleasantness than non-news posts, and take up a large portion of mod resources (including time and mod morale) while producing some spill-over effects that are not necessarily great for the community (e.g., MeTas and bannings).

Accordingly, I think there are two possibilities for such a subsite:
1. news.metafilter.com results in an increase in the number of news posts on metafilter over the current system of having a few noteworthy news posts in with the rest of the mix, necessitating the need for additional moderation.
2. news.metafilter.com does not result in an increase in the number of news posts over the current system, suggesting that such a subsite is not necessary and could be handled by, e.g., use of a tag such as "newsfilter" so people who want all their news in one place could just search by tag.
posted by gauche at 1:34 PM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


Short answer: it's not something I'm considering adding to the site, no, though you're not a crazy outlier for thinking it might be interesting.

Longer answer:

The idea has come up a few times in different forms (an election-season-specific politics.metafilter.com subsite among them, on a couple occasions). It's not as easy to search for this in the MetaTalk archives as I'd like, because "newsfilter" is the likely keyword but gets used far more in passing to reference newsy stuff than to invoke a discussion of a subsite. But maybe folks can track down some of the older discussions.

But as a basic gist, I recall the motivations for such a suggestion to have usually been one of a couple variations:

1. MeFi's general proscription on going overboard with news on the front page prevents folks from having as many interesting discussions about news-related items as we might. news.metafilter.com would fix that by creating a home for such stuff without creating strife by having more on the front page.

2. MeFi's general proscription on going overboard with news on the front page isn't nearly strongly enough enforced, and news stuff should be aggressively siloed away into it's own private hell to save the site from it.

Which: a degree of conflict in the thinking there. We've got a lot of folks here and they have deeply varied feelings about news and newsfilter at both a general and a detailed level.

In any case, we've also denied this pony every time, and I continue to feel like that's the correct way to go. Varyingly news-ish stuff is a part of the mix of what folks post as is, and that's okay-ish as a thing that happens but stays mostly in check because it represents in part how folks are using the web, what they're using it for, and what they're interested in discussing. But as a general thing, I'd estimate that news-centric posts are proportionally by far the biggest drain on moderator resources of anything that gets posted to the blue.

So setting aside a specific part of the site specifically to encourage more of that stuff—stuff that's hard to moderate, tends to require an outsized level of attention, tends to bring on deeply unreconcilable arguments, tends in general to generate more ill-will and bad feelings than any sense of joy or discovery or wonder at neat stuff—is a big non-starter.

Not because I don't understand the appeal of talking about stuff on MetaFilter and with mefites specifically. I do totally get that, as the spirit of the thing. But because the first-blush cost-benefit analysis of the likely actual thing in practice is dreary as all get out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:37 PM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


To answer the first question, this has been discussed many times throughout the site's history. Originally the idea was to take those posts (which some people find displeasing) off the front page, but the bar for a post like that seems to be high enough these days that I trust the mods will delete ones that don't belong.
posted by selfnoise at 1:38 PM on October 5, 2015


But as a general thing, I'd estimate that news-centric posts are proportionally by far the biggest drain on moderator resources of anything that gets posted to the blue.

Yup, this is what I was about to say. Things that would go on a news.metafilter subsite are pretty much all the things that cause the biggest fights on this site. I think it would be bad for our site culture.
posted by capricorn at 1:41 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would feel quite sorry for moderators if they had to deal with a full News subsection. It would mean the bar for quality, thoughtful posts would be far lower, the minutiae of stuff like U.S. election fodder would be unrelenting, and it would exponentially increase the amount of grar and concern posting that needs to be accounted for. Just reading through all of it daily would be exhausting and dispiriting. As a site user I could afford to ignore it completely, but consider the burnout of people running the site!
posted by naju at 1:53 PM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


It admittedly requires squinting a bit to see it, but I feel like the frequently expressed desire for a news subsite is kinda in the same vein as Geek Social Fallacy #4 ("Friendship is Transitive"). You like talking about stuff with MeFites, and you like talking about news stories, and so obviously these two great tastes will go great together, right?

Right?

In practice: probably not, for the reasons already mentioned. The news that does get discussed here is already a pretty big strain on the mods and the community, and there's not really a way to wall off a subsite such that bad feelings generated there don't spill over to the blue, green, etc.
posted by tocts at 1:59 PM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well, the owner of newsfilter.com (the overnamed "Idealab Hostmaster" of Pasadena, CA) isn't doing anything with it and the registration is due to expire on March 27, 2016. Just sayin'.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:01 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


detestablefrontpageclutter.com is available though.
posted by Kabanos at 2:10 PM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


I dunno, when Monumental Events happen, I usually wonder what MeFi has to say about them , God help me.
posted by jonmc at 2:23 PM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the thoughtful responses, I appreciate cortex et al taking the time to explain things.

So. cats.metafilter.com is right out then
posted by sidereal at 2:24 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


We've already got a site for that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:27 PM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


And there's always this.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:29 PM on October 5, 2015 [26 favorites]


I think my heart just turned to glitter, pb
posted by sidereal at 2:37 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


It would be tricky to decide exactly what constituted newsfilter and what was regularfilter, no? I mean, there's the obvious news stuff - politics, war, economics, but that's just one end of a news < - - - - -> not news continuum, that goes right through social justice, medical breakthroughs and newsy tech stories on its way to the non-newsy end of the scale (where the cats in scanners lie. Or squirm.). Would be hard to decide where to draw the line.
posted by penguin pie at 2:52 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm anti this if only because, then whats the bar for something to be a regular FPP? What's significant enough?

That seems like a black hole of tiresome boring rules lawyering and such.
posted by emptythought at 3:14 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not to say it has a chance of happening (of course) or even that it ought to, but just spitballing: I've sometimes thought the right way to do a non-mod-intensive, non-community-destroying NewsFilter would be as a pure link aggregator — post nothing but links about a given story, no discussion thread hosted here. So most NewsFilter stories wouldn't need moderator attention to anything but the fairly easy-to-judge question "is this link relevant to this story?" and at the very worst instead of inter-user fights you might get an occasional bout of dueling op-ed links, not something that could really hurt feelings within this community much. And in cases when a significant discussion eventually seemed desirable and worth the effort to moderate, you could crosspost a story into a MeFi FPP just like a Projects post.
posted by RogerB at 4:45 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


wassup time to talk about my plan for nudes.metafilter
posted by klangklangston at 4:50 PM on October 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


canieatit.metafilter.com, the food, cooking, and suspicious milk subsection
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 5:00 PM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


"suspicious milk subsection" is going into the rotation of small, delightful phrases that i occasionally repeat to myself
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:10 PM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


One of the many less-glamorous divisions of British intelligence.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:25 PM on October 5, 2015 [20 favorites]


No one suspects the Dairy Board. They're among the most effective counterterror tools DEFRA has.
posted by bonehead at 6:39 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Actually can we just have a cyberpunk filter? Because a lot of FPPs should have "cyberpunk" as a tag but they strangely don't. I think it must be an oversight of some sort.
posted by I-baLL at 6:57 PM on October 5, 2015


Another problem with news posts is that when news is just breaking, there's a lot that isn't known about the topic, so there's a lot of wild speculation, links to unverified information, and generally a bad noise to signal ratio. Sometimes, MeFites provide some really neat insight into a topic, translate foreign sources of substance, or link other active, reliable discussions, but those are the exception, not the norm.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:10 PM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Elaborating on the "breaking news" without substance: your example, and comment that "I'm not making an FPP, because it's just one thing that happened, in the news, and that's newsfilter" align in my mind with this idea. I just searched for that item, and it seems like while there's potentially a neat discussion to be had, the most recent, well-linked article I could find indicates there's still too much happening out of sight for the post to be anything more than a fig leaf for related topics.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:15 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


If this was MetaFilter and not MetaTalk, this post would be deleted for being a double post squared.
posted by y2karl at 9:09 PM on October 5, 2015


selfnoise, y2karl - do you have links? I searched before posting and didn't find a significant amount of discussion.
posted by sidereal at 4:11 AM on October 6, 2015




Also, general conversation about Subsites.
Short-StoryFilter.
FoodFilter
posted by zarq at 7:11 AM on October 6, 2015


i guess we'll just have to settle for best of the web.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 7:13 AM on October 6, 2015


If you look under the metatalk newsfilter tag you can find some old discussions especially going back towards 2006. (Cortex has been hunkered down for about ten years.)

You could also search for related phrases like, "I counted and there's not really that many," or, "What's so hard about scrolling past those posts, again?" or, "Wait what?! We can scroll with J and K!?!"

I don't know if there's too much reason to read those old posts, though. I don't think a lot of those arguments apply anymore. MetaFilter is different, policies have evolved. We're not at that place anymore. Today's MeFite graduates have never felt bad about disappointing mathowie, they've never read a hundred Metas about "axe grinding", they've never clicked on mystery meat, they've never weighed in on y2karl's use of the small tag, etc.
posted by nom de poop at 7:30 AM on October 6, 2015


Oh geez, that was pre-mod hunkering, even. I was hunkering recreationally.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:36 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


cortex! stop hunkering my leg!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:17 AM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one who thought this was a possible new Usenet interface to the site?
posted by miyabo at 9:00 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


alt.news.metafilter.activism
alt.news.metafilter.babbyaminals
alt.news.metafilter applevsandroid
alt.news.metafilter.aussie
alt.news.metafilter.carsvsbikes
alt.news.metafilter.feelgood
alt.news.metafilter.i-p
alt.news.metafilter obit
alt.news.metafilter.omg
alt.news.metafilter.politics.diediedie
alt.news.metafilter.politics.evilbastards
alt.news.metafilter.snowden
alt.news.metafilter.uk
alt.news.metafilter.uscentric

etc., etc
posted by zarq at 9:37 AM on October 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


WOW my search-fu sucks. Thanks zarq, and thanks for everyone's patience.
posted by sidereal at 10:32 AM on October 6, 2015


No worries! Over the years I've gotten reasonably good at searching for things on mefi, to try and prevent my posts from being deleted as doubles. Found those by searching Meta for "subsite" and scrolling through.
posted by zarq at 11:20 AM on October 6, 2015


Am I the only one who thought this was a possible new Usenet interface to the site?

An metafilter to nntp gateway shouldn't be too difficult to do. Simpler even, as there would be no need to worry about threading. The reverse might have some authentication issues, but might be possible on an authenticated basis via a bot (posted by newsbot for <username>, for example, with a crypto hash).

Not that it's ever likely to happen, but there's no need to use alt.news.metafilter...., we could just have

metafilter.arglebargle
metafilter.theatreclub
metafilter.theaterclub
metafilter.chat
metafilter.ask.cartalk
metafilter.ask.ijustneed.therapy
metafilter.ask.ijustneed.togetoutofmybathroom.help.help.help

and so on.
posted by bonehead at 12:26 PM on October 6, 2015


And, of course no need for metafilter.metatalk, just metafilter.d
posted by bonehead at 12:28 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


arglebargle.meepzorp.com is my desktop's name.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:33 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think my heart just turned to glitter, pb

Duplicate post.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:08 PM on October 6, 2015


Am I the only one who thought this was a possible new Usenet interface to the site?

This has also been suggested before!
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:44 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


"suspicious milk subsection" is going into the rotation of small, delightful phrases that i occasionally repeat to myself
"nebula windphone" is in mine.
posted by sockermom at 3:31 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Wait what?! We can scroll with J and K!?!"

What, what? We can scroll with J and K?

Seriously, how was I supposed to find that out? Also, are there any other keyboard shortcuts I should know about.

My life is now better.
posted by el io at 9:18 PM on October 6, 2015


Here's a list of a few keyboard shortcuts for Mefi.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:07 PM on October 6, 2015


The keyboard shortcuts is missing "Ctrl-u" for insert URL into a post or comment. (thanks team mefi for informing me about that one when I asked about it aeons ago.)
posted by marienbad at 3:44 AM on October 7, 2015


talk.metafilter
talk.metafilter.cats
talk.metafilter.cats.declawing
talk.metafilter.declawing.cats
rec.metafilter.declawing.cats

posted by ardgedee at 5:51 AM on October 7, 2015


Newsfilter!
What would NewsFilter look like ?
Let's define news- and politics filter
How to do NewsFilter

Sample results from the search window restricted to Metatalk, page 6 of 7
posted by y2karl at 7:58 AM on October 7, 2015


What, what? We can scroll with J and K?

Yes, we have been able to for years. I think the problem was the announcement text:

You can now scroll up and down using the keys j/k
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:06 PM on October 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


say someone who likes both the idea of a metafilter news site and also liked the way USENET presented information wanted to start up I guess an NNTP server that's not connected to the actual USENET, set up alt.news.mefi or whatever on it and then invite a bunch of mefites to talk on it, what would or should that person actually do? Especially if said person were continually casting about for projects to do while putting off finishing said person's dissertation ASKING FOR A FRIEND anyway what would or should that person do?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:14 PM on October 14, 2015


That person should finish writing that person's dissertation, because there will be enough time for puttering away on their side projects later when they're unemployed or adjuncting ANSWERING FOR A FRIEND
posted by RogerB at 9:36 PM on October 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


terrible life choice.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:52 PM on October 15, 2015


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