Pony request: IRL Regional Meetup tools October 16, 2015 9:22 AM   Subscribe

At a recent MeFi regional campout, there was some discussion about the need for the ability to post campouts that can somehow be regional. As in, it would have been helpful for this campout to be announced to IRL-interested folks who live in Portland, Seattle, and areas of eastern WA and OR, people who might not have their IRL radius set very wide because they mostly want to do local meets, but a big annual thing like this might be of interest even if it involves travel.

The immediate work-around suggestion is, of course, to post the meet at its actual location and then get people in the individual areas to post IRL pages that all point to the actual meet page, sort of dummy pages to get people's attention.

But it would be nice to have some ability to designate certain meets as "regional" and then somehow be able to select IRL "locations" in which to announce the meet.

I could also see a need for sometimes maybe national meet announcements, such as if MeFites wanted to arrange to find each other at one of the major music festivals. Or, as a historical example, we've talked about doing a major MetaFilter camping trip or something. I'd preemptively suggest that there be a moderated queue for such things.

I wouldn't necessarily see the need for moderation of the regional meets unless it becomes obvious it's getting abused.

Does this seem like something that is a peculiar interest for this one corner of the US because we have this annual campout thing we're trying to do? Or would this be a more generally useful feature for IRL to have in general?
posted by hippybear to Feature Requests at 9:22 AM (53 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I think some form of this would really make sense, yeah (which isn't much of a shocker given that hippybear and I were chattering about it over beers on said camping trip), though I definitely want to get (a) pb's thoughts about practical implementation details of any notion and (b) hear from more meetup-going (and, uh, meetup-not-hearing-about) folks here about the specific kinds of scenarios and use cases that they've run into or wished for.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:24 AM on October 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, we have the nearby setting in Preferences so people can set their range for meetup alerts. I think we're talking about overriding that preference for alerts in some cases. So it'd be good to hear from folks about whether they're willing to let that preference slide if the OP chooses to do that.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:31 AM on October 16, 2015

As a data point, I (and I think some of the other recent campout attendees) got a MeMail from one Seattle MeFite who didn't stumble across the IRL post for it until too late.

I didn't realize that because I initially set the "proposed" location in Portland, even after I confirmed the event using the actual camping location, nobody potentially within the new radius got a notification.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:36 AM on October 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, that's as designed Greg_Ace. We send an alert when a meetup is Proposed. If details like location change, we send another alert to people who have indicated they're interested. I think for most uses that works really well. However, if a location changes hundreds of miles it might not.

Also keep in mind that the events are all live on IRL at all times. The posts are live, there's a list of upcoming meetups in the MetaTalk sidebar, and there are iCal and RSS feeds for locations. So we're not trying to keep anything a secret. Alerts are important, but they're not the only way to discover things.

It's a bummer someone missed out but I think that's going to happen from time to time anyway whether we have some sort of mileage-boosted alerts or not.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:41 AM on October 16, 2015

I was even passing through the region at the time of the meetup and would definitely have at least stopped by if I'd known. So consider me a Tacoma-adjacent mefite who didn't stumble across the IRL post until it was too late.
posted by stet at 9:47 AM on October 16, 2015

This would be helpful for those of us with sort of wide ranges of travel like New England Meetup or something. Obviously this would be for a once in a while thing and not set every radius to "everywhere" but I'd love to know if there was a meetup within.... 250 miles if it was a big one.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 10:03 AM on October 16, 2015 [7 favorites]

I wouldn't mind an extended range alert for multiday events.

Are these regional multiday meetups a common occurrence? Because if not a post to Meta might be appropriate.
posted by Mitheral at 10:04 AM on October 16, 2015

I think this is an issue for IRL for arguably a majority of mefites because most of us live where there aren't many of us and a successful meetup is most likely going to have to draw regionally, not just locally. Obviously, people aren't going to be able to go to many regional meetups, they'd have to be less frequent events with a fairly long lead-up. In other words, I think that the IRL tools work well for the few cities that have a sufficiently high concentration of mefites, but don't work well at all for everywhere else.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:22 AM on October 16, 2015 [8 favorites]

Maybe there could be two settings in Preferences, one for your own personal "Nearby Radius" and one for "Allow Regional/Worldwide Meetups to Override Nearby Radius?" When you propose a meetup, you can choose to designate it as Regional (and also indicate a Regional Radius for that meetup) or Worldwide (goes into a moderation queue). If you have set your Preferences to allow override, you get notified of any Regional meetups that you are within the radius of, and all Worldwide meetups.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:35 AM on October 16, 2015 [5 favorites]

pb is awesome, and he likes camping, too!
posted by Melismata at 11:27 AM on October 16, 2015

I'd posted a regional-interest IRL in August for a large music festival (20,000 attendees). No responses because the location was rural. Just an example.
posted by wallabear at 1:25 PM on October 16, 2015

Yeah, camping-type stuff seems like a great example of this - I'd love to know if people were going to, say, Death Valley, but as I understand it, I wouldn't get a notice about it because it's technically several hours away.
posted by teponaztli at 6:21 PM on October 16, 2015

I would love to go to a campout and would travel far-ish to do so, and it wouldn't be a bad thing to hear about other kinds of meetups in areas within a day's drive or so that might be more event-based and special than your regular get-together at the pub kind of thing. What about being able to announce an IRL event as "local" or "regional" with a radio button, and then also in preferences people could indicate willingness to receive "local" or "regional" or both.

I'm sure there's a complicated infrastructure reason it can't be that simple but maybe it's a starting point.
posted by Miko at 7:41 PM on October 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh wait Rock Steady kind of said it but had a better idea.
posted by Miko at 7:41 PM on October 16, 2015

A MeFi campout sounds like a blast, I would love to see this, especially living in a part of the Midwest that is in reach of many IRL locations just outside of the 100 or 150 mile notification loop.
posted by mostly vowels at 8:40 PM on October 16, 2015

This was posted on Facebook, but I'm stealing it to use here.

My friends asked me to go camping, so I started making a list of what I will need.

1. New friends.
posted by yhbc at 8:53 PM on October 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

I guess one question is, how would the regional announcements work? Would there be some kind of cascade of radius calculated away from the announced location, or would the person creating the IRL page have to name specific locations to which it would be announced?

Based on a few of the comments in this thread, it seems like maybe the expanded radius idea would be good.

I have my IRL settings set to 350 miles radius, so I get a lot of notifications for a lot of meets I will never attend.

But if you have a radius set to 10 or 25 or 50 miles, would you want to know about a regional meet that was, say, 300 miles away? That's basically 5 hours by car. Maybe that is not too far for a weekend long meet? And those kinds of meets won't happen often?

I suggest 300 miles because a few have mentioned 150 miles in this thread, so it seems like maybe doubling that 150 mile radius is a logical way to catch people who might not hear about something they want to know about.

Now, is 300 miles a reasonable radius for such an event? Or should there ALSO be an option to name certain locations? Or should the special cases where certain locations more than 300 miles away might need to have, as mentioned in the FPP, just a pointer page posted to the actual meetup post?
posted by hippybear at 12:33 AM on October 17, 2015

Would also be positive to an override setting for rare occasions, maybe even with a pop-up? There's so few of us where I am that it's really hard to get together a critical mass, I doubt people even look at IRL.
posted by Iteki at 1:39 AM on October 17, 2015

I think we're talking about overriding that preference for alerts in some cases.

Don't override settings the users have specifically chosen. That's disrespectful at best (like you somehow know better than us) and spam and gross boundary-pushing at worst. I can maybe see it if a person just has the default settings, maaaybe, and even then it's pushing it. If someone wants to know about further out events they can change their IRL radius themselves or even just look at the list in the sidebar right just over there to the right.

Having two lists just seems silly to me, who gets to choose what is special enough to go on the further out list? And what makes that person or event so special anyway? Personally I'd always post everything to the list that's going to get the most eyeballs on it, thus making the two-tier system fairly useless straight away.

If lots of users are somehow missing things they want to be subscribed to then maybe something needs to be done to make the IRL radius more obvious or usable. Or maybe event descriptions need to somehow be better so it will catch the right eyes when listed in the sidebar over there. But ignoring user settings is a non-starter in my opinion.
posted by shelleycat at 1:47 AM on October 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

The immediate work-around suggestion is, of course, to post the meet at its actual location and then get people in the individual areas to post IRL pages that all point to the actual meet page, sort of dummy pages to get people's attention.

How is this not spam? If I'd never seen this meta post my first reaction to a fake event page would be to flag it and email the mods for deletion, it would never occur to me that they would be condoning such postings because it just seems to open to abuse and being annoying.
posted by shelleycat at 1:55 AM on October 17, 2015

who gets to choose what is special enough to go on the further out list?

Well, in my system, the poster would choose, based on an intent to have a larger-scale, region-wide event, and the other user would opt in or out to the alerts.
posted by Miko at 5:23 AM on October 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

I suggest 300 miles because a few have mentioned 150 miles in this thread, so it seems like maybe doubling that 150 mile radius is a logical way to catch people who might not hear about something they want to know about.

The problem with this is, if I set my radius to 300 miles, I'd be hearing about every weekly meetup in Washington, DC. I don't want to hear about those, but I certainly would want to hear if there was a large special event meetup planned in DC. It would be even worse in the Northeast US or other densely packed places.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:30 AM on October 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

How is this not spam?

My take is: because people wouldn't be using it to spam, and if anyone did they'd be first told to cut it out and then told to hit the road. In practice we have seen basically zero abuse of those meetup/IRL features that have existed on the site and based on the MetaFilter crowd's general history of behavior that's what I'd expect to continue to be the case if we expand features a little bit.

I am profoundly, grumpily anti-spam and we have as a site been extremely conservative about sending out any kind of email or alert over the years other than the bare minimum. Which as a guiding habit I think is better than going nuts and sending email out willy-nilly, but I also look at that sometimes and wonder if we've decided that it's better to just not communicate sufficiently in order to avoid having anybody ever get an email they don't want—even a non-sales, not-pitch "here is a thing going on in the community you belong to" sort of thing.

So I'm coming at this from that perspective: I want IRL to work well, and for folks to have more opportunities to find out that there's meetups they can go to, while avoiding getting into that Go Nuts territory. And I don't think a regional event option is a very big part of that or a very big change, and certainly there's other stuff we can and should look at for trying to improve that stuff on the whole. But I also worry about the idea that something intended specifically for occasional, thoughtful use by mefites will be perceived a priori as spammy because what if mefites were terrible assholes instead of just the actual mefites we've got, y'know?

To be clear where my thinking is as I chew on this: My current preference for a simple implementation of this is to allow a poster to click an optional "is this a region-wide event?" checkbox when posting, that'll include a little bit of explanatory text about when and if it should even be used, and that box if checked will boost the effective notification radius of users within geographic range to some number—200 miles, 300 miles, something in there—for the purpose of that and only that event. Most meetups will not be regional events; the occasional thing like a camping trip outside of a major city or two, or a festival, or a tri-city get-together, or so on, will be what the checkbox is for.

People using it for other stuff will be told to stop, by mods and if history is any indicator by users too if it's being done in some conspicuous way. On the mod side we'd set up a tool to monitor every regional-was-selected event for a while at least to make sure we're seeing what we expect in terms of usage and to intervene when we don't.

The idea, under the current system we have, of setting up a couple of satellite meetups to organize a regional meetup is not something we want people doing a bunch of (just as we wouldn't want anybody declaring every meetup they set up as "regional" just because), but it's something that on sparing occasion can make sense as a workaround for certain situations and is okay to do with care in that sense. It is the main workaround we have for this current wrinkle, and it happens every once in a while, and that's about as often as it should. Less, if we get a good system in place to sidestep that by making notification range more flexible for special cases.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:57 AM on October 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

How about letting people set two radius's in their profile. One for regular events and one for multi-day events. I can't imagine a regional in the way we are talking that isn't multi day1 and regular events aren't more than one day (I think, correct me if I'm wrong).

That way dense metafite areas where there are meetups every day within 400km aren't flooded while still getting notices for more substantial events in there willing to travel radius.

So Some one like me who has his horizon set at 400km to pickup the major population centre near me could set the multiday radius at say 800km which would let me get the events happening around the next major population centre but only for events that justify the travel.

This would mean a little more coding in IRL to allow for date spanning.

[1] Exception: Metafilter milestone meetups. Which are well communicated in metatalk already.
posted by Mitheral at 9:23 AM on October 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

This doesn't seem like it's well-suited for IRL. Why not just make a Metatalk post? If people are traveling for it, if people might pass through, any distance you give won't reach everyone who might be interested.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:48 AM on October 17, 2015

There's two similar, overlapping problems that we're trying to solve here.

One of them is just wider coverage for regular meetups for a number of different reasons. That problem is solved in the current UI by increasing your inclusion radius in preferences. I'm not sure how many people are aware of this, but basically for wider inclusion for casual meetups, the current system already has a solution.

The other problem is notification and generating interest for special-event and/or rare regional meetups. For example, I don't really want to increase my radius to 300 miles so that it includes St. Louis and some other regional cities because I'd end up getting regular notifications for St. Louis meetups that I am not going to attend. But a rare, well-planned regional meetup that is intended to appeal to mefites across this part of the midwest would be something I'd want to know about.

So I agree that a separate category of regional, special occasion meetups is the best solution to this problem. Both on the IRL side and on the user preferences about notifications side. And I'd also suggest that these proposed regional or special occasion meetups should be relatively rare and, when they graduate from "proposed" to "upcoming" they get some special billing here on the sidebar (maybe even the front page) in addition to the email notifications.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:49 AM on October 17, 2015

This is another topic on which I have no fixed opinion. Maybe a separate camping and convention tag for events of long distance and duration ? On other occasions, I wish there was a listing for quiet meetings. Of which, camping would be one, I suppose. But then the it's a long way to an exit part is more bug than feature. But, you know, the present system is something with which I can live quite comfortably, so carry on. Another add on would not be that onerous.
posted by y2karl at 1:27 PM on October 17, 2015

Why not just make a Metatalk post?

Relatively few Mefites read MetaTalk, and no one (except the mods, I imagine) get email/memail alerts telling them about new MetaTalk posts in their general-but-not-immediate geographic area, which is the desired behaviour here.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:55 PM on October 17, 2015

This would be super keen for things that draw from larger areas but are set in one specific region too - the various cons (SDCC, Dragon, Win, Gen, Blizz, etc), events like Burning Man or Coachella...

Not sure how that could be implemented, but being able to say "Hey, Mefites going to Blizzcon, lets meet up and talk about MeFightCLub" would be AWESOME.
posted by FritoKAL at 2:22 PM on October 17, 2015

I'd say that major events like the ones you've mentioned would go into a queue for the moderators to approve to be announced nationwide.

Which, as cortex said, might feel a bit spammy... but IRL... that's opt-in already isn't it? And a few national events in your inbox, does that really cross the boundary of "this is annoying"?
posted by hippybear at 2:38 PM on October 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

I guess the basic concept is... you've opted in to IRL meetup notifications, and you've set your notification radius to what you'd be comfortable going to on a casual basis... but then regional or national notifications appear in your inbox...

And does that feel spammy?

That seems to be the root of the issue, if I'm not mistaken.
posted by hippybear at 3:07 PM on October 17, 2015

yhbc: "This was posted on Facebook, but I'm stealing it to use here.

My friends asked me to go camping, so I started making a list of what I will need.

1. New friends.

Note there is nothing preventing people from arranging a regional at, say, some hotel in Vegas or a resort or a craft beer festival.
posted by Mitheral at 3:34 PM on October 17, 2015

What if someone proposed a craft beer-themed campout?
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:38 PM on October 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Really aren't all campouts craft beer themed.
posted by Mitheral at 4:14 PM on October 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Fair point.

Hmmm.... *begins to plan a port/sherry-themed MeFi campout*
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:52 PM on October 17, 2015

If you all could just mail me some Smores, that'd be great.

I'm in favour of Rock Steady's solution.
posted by arcticseal at 7:30 PM on October 17, 2015

If you all could just mail me some Smores, that'd be great.
posted by arcticseal

That seems an odd request...where I come from, the 'S' in S'mores doesn't stand for 'Seafood'.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:10 PM on October 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

So, I used to handle this with a nonprofit. Though it used already existing tools, the coding of alerts to happen specifically for larger events was not a difficult one and people seemed to be okay with it.

I would actually suggest though that if we do it, it be an internal only setting, so you'd have to contact a mod and make your case for why a meetup is going to be regional. This shouldn't be hard if it's, say, a multi day camping event, but would mean that mods could filter out well meaning excited folk who don't understand why other mefites might not be interested in autographs with the world's pre-eminent snail psychologist.
posted by corb at 9:40 PM on October 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

I guess the basic concept is... you've opted in to IRL meetup notifications, and you've set your notification radius to what you'd be comfortable going to on a casual basis... but then regional or national notifications appear in your inbox...

And does that feel spammy?

Well for me at least, the answer is that if I specifically told metafilter what area I want to hear alerts from and metafilter ignores my preference because they somehow don't believe me it feels more than spammy. It feels like I set a very clear boundary and you just trampled all over it. I hate websites that do that, for example linkedin does it all the time and it's so invalidating. At least they have the argument that they're doing it to make money (via paid ads), here the only argument is that metafilter somehow thinks this thing is so so cool and important that it's worth ignoring my clearly set preference to tell me about. And I will willfully ignore anything marketed to me in that way, so it doesn't work anyway.

So either add an opt in thing for these larger area meetups so that people can actively choose to receive them or somehow advertise or adjust the current settings so people can use them to find out about larger meetups. Because I don't care how cool you think your meetup is, it's not special enough to ignore user preferences over.
posted by shelleycat at 12:03 AM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

My take is: because people wouldn't be using it to spam, and if anyone did they'd be first told to cut it out and then told to hit the road.

Except that the example given here that I highlighted is already clearly spam. Any kind of fake IRL events are spam. That's my point. So saying "oh no one will use this spam to post spam" doesn't make sense to me.

Respect the preferences you let us set by not sending things outside those preferences and not setting up pretend locations for fake events to get around those preferences, and if that's not enough then change the preference settings system in the first place so that you can continue respecting it.
posted by shelleycat at 12:11 AM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Except that the example given here that I highlighted is already clearly spam. Any kind of fake IRL events are spam.

I can't get myself across a bridge to where what was described there—using a couple of additional "we don't need to do the actual discussion/planning in here but I wanted people in the areas to be able to get a meetup alert, here's a pointer to the main planning thread" posts to make it possible for regional people to take an interest—is spam of any sort. They're not fake meetup alerts; it's not someone posting a "get ready...for savings!" brochure to a bunch of arbitrary cities. It's, e.g., a Portland area person knowing that Seattle area people have expressed interest in regional campouts before and making a thread for both so folks in both towns will have a chance to see that that thing is going to happen.

Again, that's something that has happened occasionally before, and is explicitly okay. The distinction between that sort of good-faith organizational workaround and someone literally trying to jam dumb shit in people's eyeballs by exploiting the system is a really significant one. And my view of what something like an optional, special-occasion regional range boost function would do is to just unclunkify that already legit workaround into something that doesn't require managing multiple IRL posts to accomplish the same basic organizational goal.

I hear you that you don't like the idea of having meetup alerts outside your specified range show up. And that may be something that a lot of people feel similarly about, and I'm going to keep an eye out for that. Adding some sort of additional preference option is a possible approach there, depending on what sort of functionality we go with. But I also feel like it's creating a weirdly high-stakes situation to pin on the possibility of a couple times a year hearing about a further-away-than-usual meetup someone is planning the idea that suddenly IRL is a spam vector rather than literally a place for mefites to plan get-togethers like it always has been.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:58 AM on October 18, 2015 [4 favorites]

I think I'm seeing slightly different perspectives on the usefulness and appropriateness of these potential "regional" events between members who live in denser, already IRL-busy urban locales like the US northeastern corridor, and those who live in the comparatively spread-out areas of the midwestern/western US who seem more interested in the opportunity for such events. I can't tell how many non-US people have piped up in this thread so my own viewpoint is pretty solidly USian, for what that's worth.

With that in mind, as a compromise I like the combination of an opt-in preference for getting regional notifications along with a setting to make an IRL event regional (and a 300 mile radius seems like a reasonable distance for such events). I'm not even opposed to that setting being subject to mod approval, although I recognize that would have at least a little impact on their workload. It seems like this combination would provide reasonable benefit, for all the reasons mentioned by others in this thread, while preventing the feeling of overriding/ignoring people's stated preferences or the annoyance of getting too many unwanted event notifications.

I don't have a clear sense of what percentage of members tend to pay regular visits to Metatalk, and whether using that venue to broadcast regional events is a plausible solution for this issue.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:12 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

By the way "The World's Pre-Eminent Snail Psychologist" is the name of my new sockpuppet.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:37 PM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

S' in S'mores doesn't stand for 'Seafood'.

Correct. It's Sardines.
posted by arcticseal at 4:38 PM on October 18, 2015

I like the regional meetup idea, with Rock Steady's implementation (1 'local' radius, 1 'regional' radius.) I probably wouldn't consider driving 150 miles for an evening get-together, but I would definitely consider driving 150 miles for a larger-scale weekend campout kind of deal.

RE: the ability for the poster and/or mods to override the event radius in certain circumstances, I wouldn't mind that personally, but I think that's mostly because I generally trust people here not to abuse a feature like that. I get really annoyed when any other site has preferences that seem to be useless or ignored though (Hello every web site that has ever offered a "remember me" checkbox on the login screen, only to demand my password 30 minutes later,) so if something is implemented I hope it errs on the side of not annoying MetaFilter members.
posted by usonian at 9:12 AM on October 19, 2015

Not to add to what is already a complex idea (but I'm not the one doing the programming, so why not), but you might also have some feature that would let a user designate remote regions they might be interested in. For example: I live in North Carolina, but because I grew up in New England and have a lot of family there, I would be more likely to go to a big regional Meetup there as opposed to Atlanta or New York City, even though it is further away. I can combine it with a trip to visit family, and have somewhere to stay, etc, etc. Other users might be able to arrange work trips to a corporate home office location, or live near an airport with easy access to a distant hub, or have always wanted to go to New Orleans and are just looking for an excuse. No idea how you'd implement that, but just throwing it out there.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:29 PM on October 19, 2015

A MeFi campout sounds like a blast

It really is! Check out the pix from Lake Wenatchee. (The best is the German Shepherd puppy stealing a huge steak.) Links in the MetaTalk sidebar.

Agree that Rock Steady has the right idea, in the earlier comment. Don't opt in to regional notifications if you don't want them, do if you do. Choose a distance radius. Also what Ivan Fyodorovich said, and cortex.

I don't pay attention to Portland or Seattle meetups, unless I'm planning a trip to those cities, and I know where to look for them. My radius is set to exclude those cities. But, I'd have missed the campout if I didn't have another MeFite say hey, this is a thing -- only then, once I'd poked a radio button in-thread, did I receive the update for the campout location, within my IRL radius, as Greg_Ace noted early on.

Out here in the boonies, the alerts are rare, and I DO rely on them to get my attention. I'll mention that I'd also like an option to select my own regional area, by distance. We all have our own tolerance levels regarding distance and being notified about them. While I keep my IRL distance set to not include the cities, I'd set quite a large regional distance, so's to not miss out on anything happening in WA, ID, MT, BC, AB, NV or OR, that really piqued my interest. Worldwide is a bit of a stretch, but you never know. For myself, I'm not exactly inundated with memails so I'd find those entertaining and I'd get to learn about stuff happening that I otherwise wouldn't, and that's not a bad thing. To me.

(If Worldwide was ever actually used, and I really can't imagine the instance beyond something that would straight up be a MeTa of it's own, well hey, radio button, and you can bet the mods would see that.)

I appreciate shelleycat speaking up, sincerely, and hope whatever solution happens will be opaque to them. This isn't about bothering folks who don't want this sort of thing, and we're not suggesting such a thing. So, it's important.

And, honestly? I just wanted to make pancakes for MeFites I'd likely never get to meet otherwise. A huge event happening literally a few feet from my home. That's what hippybear and I were talking about, a better method of outreach in IRL for the odd one-off or long-distance event. "No-one's gonna notice this, it's frustrating."
posted by wallabear at 8:12 PM on October 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Thanks, I was hoping we'd see this come up!

Nthing Rock Steady's proposal with two amendments:
1) Being able to set my own regional limit in my profile rather than having the event creator do it, or having it be a fixed multiplier on my regular radius. Regional notices should be opt-in (or at the very least, permanently opt-out), and users should be able to specify the distance that they consider regional. All events inside your standard radius always trigger a notification; regional events outside your standard radius but inside your regional radius trigger notification only if you have opted in. Everybody has their own definition of what is a reasonable drive for a multi-day event; for last year's PNW MeFi camping trip, it was >550 miles and 9.5+ hours of driving for me. IIRC, I too wouldn't have found out about that event without a poke from hippybear.

2) Nix the "Worldwide" option for now. A world-wide event seems like it should get a MetaTalk post or a sidebar, and that it might be easier to start doing that more often rather than to try and implement a technical solution. A fancy notification tool where I could set up an arbitrarily long list of points by geographic coordinates and a distance from each that I'd like to get notifications for would be really keen, but developing and managing that seems like it would be a lot of hassle relative to the potential benefits.
posted by hackwolf at 11:10 PM on October 20, 2015

If this is going be implemented as opt-in, I'd really hope that a lot of announcements about it are made, so that the most people who engage with IRL would take the time to opt-in. Because I'm willing to guess that people who like IRL events as local pub nights and such would actually be really happy to hear about occasional regional events but might not be bothered to take the 30 seconds to click a radio button. Or might think "oh I'll change that later" and then not remember. And casting a wider net of interest, to meet more MeFites, that's a big part of this idea.

I do see how one person's 20 miles is another person's 200 miles, as far as wanting to know about normal IRL things happening and such. I personally have my "Nearby" radius set for 350 miles, which takes in Seattle and Portland and maybe Boise, definitely Missoula... Even with Seattle and Portland included, I've only received 3 IRL announcement emails this month, one in September, and 7 in August. So that's 14 emails across 12 weeks. If I were to get one more per quarter for a regional events (not sure how much further out I'd go than that radius, really, but maybe?) I don't think I'd find that burdensome. (And really, how many big regional events are going to happen in a year in any given area?)
posted by hippybear at 12:32 AM on October 21, 2015


Math is hard, let's go shopping!
posted by hippybear at 12:53 AM on October 21, 2015

IRL is hard, let's go camping!
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:32 PM on October 23, 2015

But how will I know where, or what to bring?

Camping is hard, let's never hear about it!

(Unless, you know, there's a way to hear about it...)
posted by wallabear at 1:37 PM on October 25, 2015

I would be happy to have my IRL settings overriden for multi-day/out-of-the-way/unusual meets of all types, personally.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:43 PM on October 26, 2015

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