About the Trump threads January 26, 2017 2:00 PM   Subscribe

Would it be possible to have a new Trump thread created once the previous one hits X posts? The current one, though only three days old, is well over 2000 posts and it's starting to make my desktop computer whimper. I'm not even going to try reading it on my iPad. Thanks!
posted by Thorzdad to MetaFilter-Related at 2:00 PM (94 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

We're not intending to do any sort of formal mod-driven process along those lines, but folks making the organic collective decision to kick off a new one is okay and not something I have an objection to.

It's been a very busy few days on account of the inauguration, the marches last weekend, and the firehose of shit that has been the new Admin's first few days, so we're feeling it more conspicuously on all front right now I think.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:02 PM on January 26, 2017 [5 favorites]


We have Projects, FanFare, AskMe, MeFi Music... why not create "TrumpMe"?
posted by My Dad at 2:22 PM on January 26, 2017 [5 favorites]


Usually the way to go about this is make pleading noises in thread, and then usually someone puts it together, for which I am always very grateful.
posted by corb at 2:43 PM on January 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


so we're feeling it more conspicuously on all front right now I think.

You're not kidding.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:52 PM on January 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


It seems like there's a lot of resistance to making it a separate part of the site, which I understand, but I want to register that I REALLY wish it could be spun off this way. It's clunky to find the relevant posts, and I don't think they work the way regular MeFi posts do. If there were just a Trump Tab (or whatever) where all of the election and Trump administration posts lived and where new posts could be created - even using the same approach, that is, one every X days/posts rather than many on different subjects - it would be better, at least from my perspective. Regular MeFi would be free of the Trump taint. It would be a little silo for the insanity. Easier to navigate and easier to breathe on the rest of the site, somehow. Anyway. My two cents.
posted by prefpara at 2:57 PM on January 26, 2017 [22 favorites]


That said, in my perfect world that subsite would have different posts for different issues as well - for example, one for each cabinet nominee, one for immigration-related awfulness, one for whatever new bill Congress tried to introduce.
posted by prefpara at 2:59 PM on January 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


What I'd really love is a link on the sidebar that says something along the lines of "current Trump thread". I have trouble finding the most recent one sometimes.
posted by orange swan at 3:01 PM on January 26, 2017 [23 favorites]


orange swan: Use the election2016 tag. The most recent post didn't have it originally, since it wasn't really about the election, but it was added on since that's been a nice way to track everything. I imagine further posts will continue to use it.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:04 PM on January 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


the Trump taint

I will never forgive you for this mental image
posted by billiebee at 3:30 PM on January 26, 2017 [29 favorites]


Another vote for the roundly-rejected PoliticsFilter or MeTrump or whatever. I agree in that I feel the threads are substantively different from regular threads, and it feels like the current, regular Mefi modus operandi isn't a great fit with how they work/are working?

I feel it could be done better, and I don't see the interest level falling any time soon, so I think it could be a worthwhile investment of time/effort.
posted by smoke at 3:33 PM on January 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


Usually the way to go about this is make pleading noises in thread

Unfortunately, this only works if you can load the page.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:57 PM on January 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


why not create "TrumpMe"?

I've wondered this myself, tho I think it should be called "MiniMe."
posted by octobersurprise at 3:59 PM on January 26, 2017 [5 favorites]


The subsite colour would be, not blue, not green, but... burnt orange.
posted by My Dad at 4:09 PM on January 26, 2017 [9 favorites]


There's clearly a threshold where the thread is just too big for anyone to be able to load it, but if you're having a lot of trouble before we get to that point, I highly recommend trying the classic theme. Performance is much better.
posted by zachlipton at 4:14 PM on January 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


We simply must have more Trump related content. The threads so far have been chock full of scintillating insights that we simply couldn't ever do without.

No, wait, that's not right.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:20 PM on January 26, 2017 [14 favorites]


I am mostly a MeFi lurker so I don't expect my opinion to count for a hell of a lot, but I feel like continuing to treat these Trump threads as standard is not going to work for much longer. I guess we libs are always emotional but this time is REALLY DIFFERENT. This is all so far beyond politics as usual and I would really love a special tab or sub-site where I could go to stay informed. I know that's not MeFi's job but I personally enjoy the new and commentary I get here far more than what's available elsewhere.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 4:21 PM on January 26, 2017 [24 favorites]


> No, wait, that's not right.

Your favorite MetaFilter FPP topic sucks.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:34 PM on January 26, 2017 [8 favorites]


I'd rather see the rules go the other way. Treat Trump like I/P posts. Set the bar really high, and no more than one every couple of months.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:39 PM on January 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


The subsite colour would be, not blue, not green, but... burnt orange.

But we already have that weird diarrhea colour in IRL...
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:41 PM on January 26, 2017


It all depends on whether metafilter should report on the end of the world or distract from the end of the world. Both are worthy endeavors.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:45 PM on January 26, 2017 [10 favorites]


Treat Trump like I/P posts. Set the bar really high, and no more than one every couple of months.

I think I might explode. Or be disappeared by the next post. Either one!
posted by corb at 4:50 PM on January 26, 2017 [5 favorites]


"Your favorite MetaFilter FPP topic sucks."

It's funny because my favorite topic is vacuums.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:50 PM on January 26, 2017 [38 favorites]


why not create "TrumpMe"?

Because we're living it every day now.
posted by Sangermaine at 5:06 PM on January 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


but... burnt orange

I felt a great disturbance in Austin, as if thousands of voices suddenly cried out in anger and were suddenly silenced.
posted by Sangermaine at 5:08 PM on January 26, 2017 [13 favorites]


Another vote for the roundly-rejected PoliticsFilter or MeTrump or whatever. I agree in that I feel the threads are substantively different from regular threads, and it feels like the current, regular Mefi modus operandi isn't a great fit with how they work/are working?

If someone is so inclined, ya know, they could go and make a new TrumpFilter site. Or a TrumpFilter slack. I mean, you’re gambling on not needing to do much moderation, but I suspect that sentiments are relatively uniform-ish here? Be the anti-Trump community forum you want in the world.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:15 PM on January 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Dear everyone. Please look into utilizing the functionality of MYMEFI available from the front page. You can exclude stuff by tags! It's super good stuff.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:41 PM on January 26, 2017 [10 favorites]


right?! every time someone is like "a bit less of this thing if u please" im like hello yes you have this power, it has been given unto you already, You Can Do The Thing. pls do the thing.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:49 PM on January 26, 2017 [11 favorites]


You can exclude stuff by tags!

One can include stuff by tags as well, so one could conceivably add "election2016" or "orangehellscape" or "ididnazithatcoming" or whatever, in order to find the latest posts on the end of our democracy.
posted by Celsius1414 at 5:51 PM on January 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


Dear everyone. Please look into utilizing the functionality of MYMEFI available from the front page. You can exclude stuff by tags! It's super good stuff.

Yeah, this. It's interesting to look at what the suggestions are when you go to set them, though...

Mine:

Suggestions: election election2016 trump hillaryclinton donaldtrump politics clinton Republican 2016 music mikepence republicans stephenharper gop vote rnc cleveland USA RNC2016 Hillary history harper russia convention polls

Infinite scream.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:38 PM on January 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


Though I'd be curious to know what I'd get if I just set them as "music" and "mikepence" for six months and consumed Metafilter only through that tag filter...
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:39 PM on January 26, 2017


There's a reason that I've been mostly posting video game posts the last month and a half. I dislike this reality and I'd rather play in another.
posted by Fizz at 7:18 PM on January 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


Though I'd be curious to know what I'd get if I just set them as "music" and "mikepence" for six months and consumed Metafilter only through that tag filter...

I initially read that second tag as "milkpence" and had a deeply disturbing mental image before I read it properly.

You're all welcome.
posted by sciatrix at 9:15 PM on January 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


I would like to ask that there be a new default tag. The election2016 is over, and has so many posts that someone searching back for actual election stuff doesn't need the extra chaff of -years- of post-inauguration Regime horror.
posted by janell at 9:28 PM on January 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


trumpocalypse

declineandfalloftheUSA

rapture2017
posted by poffin boffin at 9:42 PM on January 26, 2017


I kind of like the "election" threads not being special except for way too political and long. They really do break browsers though, and it seems to break MetaFilter if people are refreshing a lot (e.g. election day).

Here's my idea for fixing it: auto-split the comments into chunks of 500 or 1000 or whatever. Each block of comments would be essentially a new post, the older chunks acting like archived posts. There would be links up near the message or even in the summary for the chunks, plus a "more comments" to the next chunk at the bottom. You could keep the lightweight (non-AJAX) style without everybody loading everything every time.
posted by netowl at 10:37 PM on January 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's funny because my favorite topic is vacuums.

Natural or man-made?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:02 PM on January 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


Although I'm unhealthily addicted to reading about Tr*mp (I've made it a goal of mine not to actually watch any video involving him), I long for the days when newsfilter was something to be avoided. Maybe segregating it into a new section might help but I doubt it. Soon even kitten videos won't be safe unless one has the self-discipline necessary to avoid reading the comments. I'm not strong enough.
posted by h00py at 4:25 AM on January 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


I love most everyone here. I'm pretty sure we're not getting a new subsite, though. Too much work for already overworked (beloved) mods, yo!

I appreciate that people aren't fans of polifi or obitfi. I do get that. However, 2017 being what it is - I'm not seeing those two topics going away or lessening in the short term. Harness the powers of mymefi.

Thorzdad, I totally feel your pain on threads with a kazillion comments. My laptop died a couples weeks ago. I haven't replaced it yet. I've been using my phone and tablet in the meantime. I've started using my recent activity page more. Both my devices laugh when I click into a thread to comment.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:45 AM on January 27, 2017 [3 favorites]




Also, I think setting aside a space simply for discussing him is giving him the attention he so desperately craves (I know he doesn't read here but it's the principle of the matter).
posted by h00py at 5:43 AM on January 27, 2017


Haven't there been suggestions in the past for a sub site devoted to politics in general?
posted by TedW at 5:49 AM on January 27, 2017


I would like to ask that there be a new default tag.

#americancarnage.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:55 AM on January 27, 2017 [6 favorites]


Yes, but unless we can all find the recurring money to pay for at least one new dedicated full time mod I would not expect it to happen. They are worn down and doing their best in a time when we're all scared to keep community cohesive. Without support, I think any theoretical PolitiFilter is too much strain on their resources.

Folks who want to see this, I think that if the site is going to push for that need to put money where their mouth is to support mods and site costs if you want to make it happen. As it is, I think the massive size of political threads serves as a kind of unspoken moderator by forcing many of us to slow the fuck down as we type out (incredibly slowly) our thoughts and have to consider whether we want to really say that thing out there in public, which has the effect of making people more careful. If we take that away and make a dedicated politics/activism subspace, mod challenges are going to ramp up exponentially as people respond to the increased ease of communication to, well, say more! Not all of which will be non fighty contributions.

If you want to switch to more human modding to make it easier for these conversations to happen rather that relying on the existing barriers to throttle them a bit so our paid mods can handle them at current capacity, there's a cost to that. And any plan to give these threads their own subsite does need to acknowledge that cost. It's not surprising to me at all that cortex would be so consistently "oh fuck no but thanks for playing" given the magnitude of work he'd be expected to shoulder at such a site.
posted by sciatrix at 6:01 AM on January 27, 2017 [7 favorites]


Haven't there been suggestions in the past for a sub site devoted to politics in general?

There even was an unofficial off-site one for a while!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:59 AM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


If it makes it easier, I'm perfectly happy for continuation threads to simply say "New post, same old Trump shit."
posted by Room 641-A at 7:25 AM on January 27, 2017 [7 favorites]


I don't ever comment on metatalk things but I do agree that the Trump threads are irresistibly compelling and also that the increased focus on politics is changing metafilter in general for the worse. So I would support moving them somewhere else. Or not having them at all, actually. Even though I spend a lot of time keeping up with them, I suspect my psyche might benefit from them not existing.
posted by something something at 7:43 AM on January 27, 2017 [7 favorites]


What I'd really love is a link on the sidebar that says something along the lines of "current Trump thread". I have trouble finding the most recent one sometimes.

I'm starting to use the tag potus45 on these posts and I've retrospectively added it to my most recent seventeen posts about contemporary US politics. I'd like to propose that this tag is the one used for posts about, well, potus45. I'd rather not use his name as that's good for my own state of mind, and slightly reduces the instances of his name appearing on the site, which is good for all of us. Also potus45 is short, unambiguous and, well, is what it is.

Using election2016 further seems like increasingly bad practice (and am extremely aware that there are many librarians, archivists, and metadata and cataloger professionals who read MetaFilter) as the election fades into the past. Especially when people in the future (I'm being optimistic) search for content about the 2016 election and not the aftermath. And, there's already 183 posts with that tag. Maybe, unless the post contains material specifically about that election, it's time to let go.

We're also going to start coming up to posts more significantly about the midterms and the next election, especially as the voter suppression issue and tactics is not going away (ever), so guessing that election2018 and election2020 (assuming ... maybe won't go there) will appear more frequently.
posted by Wordshore at 1:10 PM on January 27, 2017 [14 favorites]


With all the respect in the world to Wordshore, can we please try and have Trump's name in the post and/or tags? Folks in here are noting that it's hard to find the current election threads and removing the name entirely makes it harder.
posted by lalex at 1:22 PM on January 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


Yes, sorry, wasn't clear. I usually include ... the name you mentioned ... as a tag in its own right in such posts for the very reason you mentioned. Just not that greatly keen on said name being the primary or sole tag for finding US politics content.
posted by Wordshore at 1:42 PM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


Also, not all threads about Trump (at least in the past) were in the context of his election. I'd say 'potus45' would be a good addition to the mix.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:46 PM on January 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


How about #orangenarcissus
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:47 PM on January 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


In general, do long threads become more user-friendly if favorites are turned off or set to "has favorites"?
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:58 PM on January 27, 2017


I tried to read the most recent Trump thread, hoping that the tenor would be different from the previous ones, and no, it hasn't changed. I find those threads unreadable unless you get off on extreme snark and spleen venting with a dash of neo-McCarthyism. But set within that toxic swamp there are seeds of good discussions about specific issues. But those seeds never really grow because there is So. Much. Noise. Yes, the inauguration is only 1 week old, but the election was almost 3 months ago. Is the plan to allow these Trump mega threads to continue unabated for 4 years? Look at the MF Deleted Blog. There have been many attempts to build FPP's about very specific issues with the new administration, but they are deleted with a message that banishes them to the noise of the mega thread. There are people here who would welcome the chance to participate or just read a rational discussion about specific issues, but that is impossible right now. So what is the plan? When will the Blue return to normal which would allow people to craft FPP's about specific interesting or important issues regarding this moment in history?
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 4:24 PM on January 27, 2017 [15 favorites]


My best friend and I were relaxing in the hotel lobby Saturday night, so as not to disturb our sleeping roommates, and we talked about how happy and safe we had felt all day, being surrounded by so many people who felt the way we do. It was a luxury neither of us have in real life, despite living in a blue state. The Trump threads give me that same feeling. It's both refuge and resource. It's going to be a long four years, and these aren't normal times, so I would heartily support a subsite.
posted by Ruki at 9:14 PM on January 27, 2017 [9 favorites]


I like the idea of a sub-site, but the huge threads are a good way to gather all the information in one place.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:16 AM on January 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'd prefer a sub-site, specifically to cut down on the huge threads. The huge threads have many parallel lines of commentary going on, and it's hard to keep up with what's going on. A sub-site with lighter restriction on what constitutes a valid "new post topic" would possibly keep some of this under control. Protests about X over here, Protests about Y over here, Nazi punching over there, etc.

It might also address the concerns of people that feel that all the PoliticsFilter is changing MeFi for the worse.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 9:31 AM on January 29, 2017


(although, it might be far harder to effectively moderate 30 threads than one big one. so there's that.)
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 9:32 AM on January 29, 2017


I like the big threads. There's a freedom to dump in anything Trump related which means it's a good way to get information quickly on a lot of different topics. Plus, the whole "I'm not alone" feeling which is incredibly helpful for a lot of us. I hope they'll continue for the next four years.

However, I'd also like to see more dedicated posts on specific issues. For example, it's been great having the Science March stuff in its own place, where people can discuss and plan without being drowned out (understandably so) by the immigration order. I could understand an immigration post being deleted today since the big thread is almost entirely focused on that right now. But in two days, when Trump declares we all will be forced to learn Swedish, it would be nice to allow an immigration thread so discussion of that could continue while the main thread goes nuts over the terrors of Swedish irregular verbs.

I don't think a subsite is really needed so long as tags are used correctly.
posted by honestcoyote at 9:40 AM on January 29, 2017 [4 favorites]


Yes, that's exactly right re: the 30 threads moderation strain. I'm firmly against any new subsite unless we the community are willing to pay for another mod who can take up some slack to keep moderation quality high without overstraining our existing moderation staff. Hell, one of the reasons I took about nine months off from MeFi with very minimal check ins was because I didn't like the tenor of the rest of the site after I felt chased out of/pushed out of the election threads.... because the election threads had worn the moderation so damn thin that they had limited energy and ability to pay close attention to other discussions. I think a new subsite will push the speed and quantity of discussion up here dramatically, and I do not think the site as a whole has the capacity to handle that discussion as things are now.

If folks really want to push for a politics subsite, I vote that we ask for a funding ballpark number from cortex about how much it would cost to sustainably pay for the resources to support such a subsite, and then possibly set up some kind of target/indiegogo-like funding meter so that people can see how close they are to meeting that goal. I don't have strong opinions as to whether mods should keep donated funding if they don't meet it within the timepoint listed; frankly, I am in favor of supporting our excellent mod staff whatever they do, but I also hear people who might feel cranky about paying in for a specific PolitiFilter and not getting one if goal isn't met. I also think such a donation should differentiate between one-time and recurring donations and set goalpoints for each one, because this shit needs to be sustainable; the amount of political discussion is not going to go away any time soon.

At least, that's what I would do if I was cortex right now. *philosophical* I'm much too skint to donate reliably right now--at least, until I find a new roommate that will be the case, and much of the time I would ordinarily be putting into that is going to activism. So much of my commentary is fairly theoretical here. But if there's a strong push for a PolitiFilter--and it keeps coming up!--I think there needs to be a clear-eyed look at just how much that would cost in terms of cold, hard, cash, and then the question of how much folks here are willing to pay for it.
posted by sciatrix at 9:47 AM on January 29, 2017 [5 favorites]


I think the series of running threads on USA-centric current political events is genuinely important. I can see that they are problematic in some ways as well. I am sympathetic to Seymour Zamboni's (and others') desire for more focus-group types of discussions. I don't know what to add to that, other than that maybe there's a better solution to the problems consolidation into a single thread attempts to mitigate without raising money and starting a subsite, but I don't know what it would be. I am very interested in these matters, but I'm not really informed enough for my thoughts on this particular subject to mean much. And it's not really what I came here to focus on at the moment.

What I wanted to dig into a bit is that, on the whole, I think the minimalist approach to managing the tumultuous threads is sensible. But I do feel like a wee bit more structure in terms of FPP post content and process might produce good effects.

Before the election many of the posts began including boilerplate info helping tie together related information. I think that some of that was helpful in an ongoing way. Maybe that can be incorporated again. It could include linking to other active threads for those who want to dig deeper into a particular issue.

The #nextpost shouts as the threads get longer are kind of helpful. But it seems like the lack of thread succession planning is part (though certainly not all) of what allows them to linger and become unwieldy, especially on mobile devices. Although it may not be the MeFi way, it seems like a little preplanning to deal with what we have every reason to expect is going to happen anyway could be really helpful. Maybe always plan for a new thread to happen on a certain day of the week, and add additional ones during that week as needed. Maybe set 2K comments as the "needed" threshold and start motivating for a relief thread around 1500. The boilerplate proposed above could include a link to a MeTa thread, among whose purposes could be a place for people to throw their hat in the ring to be the next FPPer for that regularly scheduled thread, while also dealing with dynamic issues with the current thread as per usual. Maybe the #nextpost FPPer, if new to such things, could use the MeTa as a whiteboard (ehhh, greyboard) for composing the FPP. This approach might actually draw in some people to contribute in this way and become stronger participants generally.

Whatever their titles, for easy searchability I think the posts might oughta start including a week/episode-like prefix or suffix. Or at least a tag. For example, W02E01. The associated MeTa thread could include the same info for quick cross-reference. Or maybe only have one MeTa per week. (Or is even that too many?)

Foreseeable sub-issues that might occur in doing things this way, and therefore might be worth at least a few moments of consideration up front, include:

- what to do if the current post goes over 2K comments AND it's the last day of the week
- how/where to store and update the boilerplate info for easy access

These seem pretty trivial and eminently manageable, however.

I don't know how much of this has been batted around or trampled into the hardened earth in the past. Hope I'm not beanplating, n00bsplaining, or generally being a nuisance. I really never know; I just wet my finger, raise it to the wind, and plunge forward.

Metafilter: Plunging forward?
posted by perspicio at 10:30 AM on January 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


I increasingly dislike the big political threads, don't read them anymore, and don't think they are positively contributing to the site. I don't know what the better alternative is, but I would love to see something proactive instead of just more of the same.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:09 AM on January 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Wait! I has opining too!

I would have checked out ages ago if not for this site and these politics threads. I would have been someone saying "It won't get that bad". The longform threads happen to be perfect for me, because my job is pretty much all in front of a computer anyway, so I just mash refresh every hour or so for the next 50 comments. I've found out that it IS that bad, and news here is vetted through people I trust, you guys.

Also, I'm abroad, behind VPN's and incognito browsers in the middle of a community of Americans and other expats who are pathologically disengaged, and a government that is desperately trying to cover up any news of the turmoil in the US, and Beijing will likely remain that way until the drums of war start sounding. I would hate to lose this resource, because I need it now to keep up, and I'll need it eventually to show people close to me here what I've been freaking out about, and to show them that no, not all Americans are out of their minds. The Trump threads have served that purpose for me already. They are very powerful testimony not only to what American liberals are thinking, but to what healthy, peaceful political engagement looks like for a population that normally doesn't get to see it.

I understand other people's need to live in a world where they can shut it off from time to time, and I understand that the length gets tiring.

What would serve my needs best is an on/off switch for all the US current events/politics stuff on this site. Not just posts, individual comments. I'd like them categorized by topic, with a sidebar/highlights section, and action guides, and results posts, places where mefite "victories" in these political fights can be filtered at once.

I don't know if that's possible, but what I would like to know is how much it would cost. I don't have the time to do it, not even on a volunteer basis, nor do I trust myself to be as even-keeled as the mods here, but I have some funding, and I offer it on any terms the community needs to keep metafilter's political side engaged.

Let's put a price tag on this thing. How much?
posted by saysthis at 11:27 AM on January 29, 2017 [4 favorites]


I want to pop in and say that this is (no surprise I suppose) something we're continuing to discuss actively on the mod team. We're discussing strategies for finding a better balance for both megathread issues and topic-specific threads with the goal of abetting good, accessible, discoverable conversation about all this stuff without flooding the front page with it.

Whatever the specific details, though, I'm approaching this as a question of incremental rebalancing, of tweaking things and resetting expectations, not something more major or structurally disruptive. Building out a subsite or spinoff site is not something I see as remotely in the offing. I appreciate the arguments for it but I don't feel it would be good for the site any question of staffing or funding resources entirely aside.

When it feels like the stuff we've been chewing on mod-side coheres a little, I'll talk about it more. Nothing on the table that hasn't come up in discussion in MetaTalk here or there already in the last year, I just want to nail down or brainstorming a bit.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:14 PM on January 29, 2017 [7 favorites]


Is the current Trump thread suppressing creation of newer, topical threads about the administration's activities? Irregular visitors to Metafilter might have the impression that the latest EO, for example, is not being discussed on the site because that discussion is occurring on an older megathread that has fallen below the fold.
posted by Svejk at 12:49 PM on January 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think the new thread about Bannon on the NSC (for which I very much thank Sleeper for posting!) is an interesting case-study for those who want more threads. Because thus far, it seems to have just expanded the surface of the general outrage area rather than provided a space for a more narrowly-focused discussion on that particular topic.

We've had other spinoff threads on US politics related discussions that I think have gone better, especially those anchored around links to more in-depth essays rather than just a specific outrageous piece of news.

The model that I think has worked best is when we've had the general election/politics thread with all the grar and breaking news that entails and then separate threads for broader analysis-type pieces that transcend particular news stories or events and comment more generally on themes and political theory. I'm talking about threads like the Cambridge Analytica thread or The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas. These threads cover a more distinct topic and have stayed much more focused on that topic, while the new Bannon thread is quickly becoming a general purpose politics thread, with immigration ban links being posted that also belong in the other thread.
posted by zachlipton at 3:08 PM on January 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I was watching the sprawl as well. Wondered whether any thread participants would be inclined to post periodic reminders that this was not the general US politics thread. Seems like that may be required to keep things reined in in cases like this. Thankfully, people tend to respond to those kinds of requests from the general usership, so mod intervention ought not be necessary for mundane derails of this nature.
posted by perspicio at 3:50 PM on January 29, 2017


I've pushed back on the topic sprawl in the Bannon post. (I think it's maybe not a great test case for a "focused" political discussion as the links in the post are a bit thin so there's not a whole lot of analysis to be done beyond "OMG WTF BBQ.")
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:11 PM on January 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


Yeah, was just chatting with EM about this.

That Bannon thread came long today at a point where I was kind of out of evens and so didn't get as much decisive mod attention as it could have. Clearing my view a bit, I basically agree with what zachlipton is saying and think that to the extent that there's value in easing up on the single-megathread-only focus it's in service of additional threads being pretty solidly focused on the thing they're about, vs. the prospect of general sprawl. So I'm thumbs up on EM drawing that line a little clearer in that thread.

I'm fine with and have honestly been sort of expecting all day for a new thread to come along catching up on the overall Muslim Ban situation and the airport protests and DHS/CBP stuff given the storm all that generated that blew up the previous thread's comment count over the weekend. The Bannon thread coming along in the absence of that creates a little bit of pressure to make it more general just as a pressure relief valve but probably better not to go in that direction, and let someone go ahead and make a new post proper.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:15 PM on January 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'd like a new sub site called Current Events with the following features:
* pagination
* entering a link triggers a check to warn you if that link has already been posted in the thread
* posting a link to a tweet runs a script that automatically adds the link to whatever the tweet linked to, as well as the link to the tweet
posted by um at 5:28 PM on January 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Cortex - could we maybe get a banner at the top of the front page reminding people about being able to use mymefi?
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 6:02 PM on January 29, 2017


fluffy battle kitten, I'll add that to our running brainstorming list as we hash stuff out mod-side.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:11 PM on January 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Thanks, Eyebrows! I know it doesn't actually solve the problem but it might help in the short term.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 6:12 PM on January 29, 2017


(FWIW, the new Bannon thread would seem to be another collection of rants about the present, but has no Election2016 tag.)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:04 PM on January 29, 2017


Speaking just for myself, but I think that many others would also agree: MeFi has been a beacon of sanity and an oasis of hope, and the political threads, unwieldy as they are, have really been amazing. If you all are thinking of something that would make them better, but feel like maybe you don't have enough resources to do it, please first ask the membership before ruling it out? I would be happy to offer spare cash to MeFi as an essential part of my current survival toolkit.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:15 PM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


In the interests of securing the blessings of MetaFilter to ourselves and our posterity, and in light of the recent thread that's been choking the server, but still has people responding to it after cortex and others have sent in lifeboats, I would like to suggest that the idea of manually closing threads before 30 days have elapsed be extended to the blue. If the last comment in the thread were a mod note linking to the new thread, and if the thread were closed, I think just about everyone would move over to the new thread. As-is, folks might be reading a cached copy of the thread and post a new comment, accidentally burying the link.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:15 PM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


One thing I'd like to see for these awesome, long-ass threads is a "Skip to bottom" link at the top of the page. This would be immensely helpful to folks who are trying to read on phone/tablet screens.
posted by christopherious at 2:19 PM on January 30, 2017


there already is a mobile bottom-skip link at the top of the page, isn't there?

and yes seconding the final comment in a thread being a mod note to head to the new thread, followed by closing it down.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:21 PM on January 30, 2017


Yeah, on mobile, "skip to menu" (at the top of the page) will jump you down to the end of the thread.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:35 PM on January 30, 2017


On Classic theme, that is. If you're on Modern, look for a small down-arrow icon in the top right corner at the top of the thread.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:57 PM on January 30, 2017


Sure, if you're on mooooodern.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:07 PM on January 30, 2017


Yeah, on mobile, "skip to menu" (at the top of the page) will jump you down to the end of the thread.

You can also add a thread to your activity without commenting. Clicking the "Recent Activity" button shows the last 10 comments in the threads you have either commented in or followed.

posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:18 PM on January 30, 2017


> Yeah, on mobile, "skip to menu" (at the top of the page) will jump you down to the end of the thread.

Ah, I had switched to "Standard Site" on my phone at some point in order to get the election2016 tag (tags don't seem to appear on the Mobile version), and in process lost the Skip link. (Android Chrome.)
posted by christopherious at 3:32 PM on January 30, 2017


Sort of related: how well mirrored/dr'd is MeFi and beyond donating to the site, what else can be done to support continual uptime in the crazy times ahead?
posted by christopherious at 6:20 PM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


I agree with tonycpsu, on closing the old threads up.
posted by corb at 6:58 PM on January 30, 2017


Closing threads is something we can only do in Metatalk. On the rest of the site, there's only "delete" or "wait until the thread closes in its normal time."

I agree it's a little annoying when the megathreads linger on, and so far it hasn't been a big enough problem to be worth changing this basic aspect of site functionality; they tend to peter out soonish anyway.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:02 PM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


The half life of these threads seems to be getting rather short. I have no suggestions, other than can we please make "use the damn search box" a regular feature in the main body, or aggressively delete repost comments?
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:41 PM on February 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


I find the Trump threads (and previously, the later election threads) informative but frustrating and disappointing. I feel there is no good way to actually participate unless you can follow both the news and the threads in real or near-real time.

It's (naturally) difficult to make informed comment based solely on the thread, but if you take time to read the news from other sources and make a good-faith attempt to at least skim the previous comments it's likely that, when you have time to return to the thread, the conversation has moved on. I was slammed Monday and Tuesday and away from all media. I returned to the "current" thread Tuesday night to find more than 700 comments waiting plus a brand new thread that I was already behind on. The new thread currently has 2211 comments waiting for me.

This may just be the nature of these threads, but as a result this also means that the conversation tends to be steered by a small set of users that have time and ability to essentially live blog politics. There is no doubt this is a service to many, including myself, but it surely isn't how MetaFilter usually works.

Again, I want to stress that it's extremely helpful to have this "reporting" but these threads feel more like live blogging than a true discussion. I had a bit of time the last week or two but now that I'm this far behind I doubt I can participate until the next lull (2020 or extinction event, probably.) I don't think there's anything we can change, but luckily we are all mostly in agreement so nodding along will do.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:21 AM on February 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think it's fine to circle back to earlier topics, especially with detailed response or commentary, and people should be encouraged to do so outside of those of us with desk jobs or just tied to our phone. I'm more talking about the driveby posts of a single link that's been posted 3 times in the last 30 minutes.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:54 AM on February 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


I agree T.D. Strange. I really like it when someone says "hey, there's this thing from 700 comments ago, but you all missed this bit, which is important because X. Let me go into depth on that." There's a lot going on, and with the exception of a handful of topics that we've collectively agreed to be done with, most topics are far from exhausted.
posted by zachlipton at 10:02 AM on February 2, 2017 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I like that. I just don't like them reposting the link when they do.
posted by corb at 10:50 AM on February 2, 2017


Finding a new angle or detail on an older conversation or comment is great! I'm talking about dropping in 500 comments later to add your voice to something that was discussed in real time. "We had that conversation last thread" is a common complaint about these threads along with the dupe links. And I agree that it's pretty much noise at that point. There is nothing that can be changed, really, and there's nothing "wrong" with the way the threads have evolved. But as someone who has been a pretty active participant in political threads I'm just saying it's disappointing, especially since this is kind of a runaway train that isn't likely to slow down.

Yeah, I like that. I just don't like them reposting the link when they do.

I'm not sure I understand. You're okay if someone brings up something from up-thread or the last thread but they shouldn't link to the thing? That seems like a different situation than people just reposting links because they didn't see that someone else did five comments ago. It kind of renforces my personal anxiety about posting anything that isn't in real time lest I annoy a bunch of people.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:48 PM on February 2, 2017


Yeah, kiiiiind of? I realize as I'm typing that it's kind of a high bar, because I think "no double links" for me /does/ include "oh man that was linked last thread" but it's also really hard for people who aren't having obsessive anxiety episodes about this administration to keep on top of Exactly What Has Been Posted, especially if they're skimming. So I don't really know what the right answer is. I definitely don't want to up anyone else's anxieties.
posted by corb at 3:03 PM on February 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm personally fine with a double link if it's framed as "this was linked earlier here, but I want to say this substantive thing or pull out an overlooked detail." To me, that's different from a straight up news posting comment where you're posting the link as if it's a brand new thing we haven't seen before. In such situations, you could also link to the upthread comment instead of linking to the article again.

And like, seeing the same link posted a bunch of times is irritating and I try my best to remember to use the site search on the URL first, but I really don't want to see "fear of duplicating something already mentioned elsewhere" serve as a barrier to keep people from participating. We've got enough such barriers as it is. I just flag the duplicates when I come across them.
posted by zachlipton at 3:34 PM on February 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


Wanted to mention here: we're testing out a new widget to help ease things a little bit on a couple of fronts related to all this. Here's the post.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:25 PM on February 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


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