Is a month too short a time to leave posts open for comment? August 28, 2017 6:30 AM   Subscribe

This post was made July 27. It's now August 28. It's already closed for comments. I missed responding to someone and now I cannot respond in thread but only by MeMail.

I feel like it's not really enough time. I realize that leaving posts open too long is a moderator headache. But I'd like to petition for something a bit longer. Perhaps six weeks or 90 days? It suits my irregular visiting habits. There was a time in the early days when I would visit dozens of times a day but no longer.
posted by Mo Nickels to Feature Requests at 6:30 AM (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

We haven't discussed this at all, and cortex is away for a day or two here, so I'll just note my top-of-the-head reaction, which is that for a whole lot of posts, this would be no problem at all (without actually having really spent much time examining this notion), and for some few it would be a lot more misery and *significant* work increase for us.

(As well as the fact of just keeping up with older posts where spammers like to try to sneak in their crap -- but that's not topmost in my mind). But anyway, feel free to discuss!
posted by taz (staff) at 6:38 AM on August 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

There's a big gap between visiting dozens of times a day and not visiting for over a month. I suspect that the set of people who care enough about MeFi to want to comment but don't visit often enough to make the deadline is small enough that it wouldn't be worth the added wear and tear on the mods.
posted by languagehat at 7:05 AM on August 28, 2017 [15 favorites]

(A year or two ago I might have had a different reaction, but I am now hyper-aware of wear and tear on the mods.)
posted by languagehat at 7:06 AM on August 28, 2017 [24 favorites]

I agree with languagehat. If it's important that your voice be heard around here then it's incumbent on the user to show up a least once a month. Honestly, I'd be fine with compressing the open window further if that would make life easier for the mods. Most threads run their course in a week anyway, and MeMail is always an option if you show up late to the party.

If you've moved on in life that's fine, but I don't think site policy should be based on the once in a while visitor than might have something to add to an old thread.
posted by COD at 7:11 AM on August 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

It's not that I don't show up once a month. I definitely visit more often than that. Probably daily. It's that someone addressed me in a comment and I don't go back and re-read threads as often as I used to.
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:35 AM on August 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

my $0.02:

- If someone engages you in conversation in a thread and you don't get to see it until the comment period is over, that can be a pain, especially if it's a contentious thread or if someone misinterpreted what you were saying. I'm not sure a site-wide tech solution is the right way to go with this, though.

- If there is a question that lends itself to discussion over a greater length of time, should it be expanded for that question on a case-by-case basis? Maybe, but I'd almost rather there be a new question created that references the old?

- If there's a piece of information or a possible solution to a problem to which an AskMe post refers, you should MeMail the original poster, and maybe mods would be open to adding that answer through their accounts if the OP requests?

- I do wholeheartedly support reworking the "Sorry, This thread is closed to comments" message in order to include more information and next steps if people want to connect with the OP or add an answer after-the-fact.
posted by softlord at 8:35 AM on August 28, 2017

There are some threads that remain topical and referenced over time with new information about the resolution or major bit of information. Does the "dup clock" get reset at the month mark? I'd suggest not opening an old thread for discussion but an "addendum submission" form could be well used on not a trivial few older posts.
posted by sammyo at 8:53 AM on August 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

softlord, regarding Ask Me threads, those actually already stay open for a year. The stricter guidelines for Ask Me mean that the majority of moderation there is housekeeping rather than intense concentrated and sustained mod effort.
posted by taz (staff) at 9:36 AM on August 28, 2017

Do you check "Recent Activity" every few days? I don't tend to follow old threads as much either, but I see what's said in threads I commented in (and this would have a chance of being addressed in thread).

This also seems like a case where you could ask mods to add one comment to that thread, even though we can't generally add comments now.
posted by Margalo Epps at 11:32 AM on August 28, 2017 [4 favorites]

To be honest, I feel like in most cases the person you want to respond to will have moved on from the thread after a month has gone by, and that they will be more likely to see your reply if you just memail it to them. I'm not convinced that extending the active window would even solve the problem.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:13 PM on August 28, 2017 [14 favorites]

In my opinion- no, a month is not too short a time.
It looks to me that in that month, over 600 posts have been made to the Blue.
That just seems like too much traffic to try to continue to have comments/conversation on those older posts.
posted by calgirl at 12:21 PM on August 28, 2017

I check mefi daily, but sometimes I miss a thread. Or something on the same topic comes up and it's not big enough to make a whole new FPP but gives a really interesting insight. Or it just takes longer than a few weeks for me to fully process something I want to say. It doesn't happen every day, but there have been several times I would have really liked to be able to add a comment past the closing date.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:51 PM on August 28, 2017

I think it's probably better, on the whole, to close comments after a month. A month is an arbitrary unit of time, but it's one that's reasonably simple to keep in one's mind because it's already part of people's general life rhythm. It's like that old problem with the two-week gap between posting AskMe questions. A fortnight mostly wasn't a part of people's rhythm and it was therefore kinda hard to keep it in mind.
posted by Kattullus at 2:00 PM on August 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

There have only been a handful of times where I've wanted to go back to a post and add something more. And then there are a few others where I've discovered something late and somehow missed the thread/post entirely. And while that's unfortunate, I just move on.

It's like a river. It keeps moving and while it kind of sucks that you saw something in the corner of your eye and you want to comment and examine that in closer detail, it's already down stream. Just look ahead, there will be something else interesting coming along soon enough.

That's kind of how I view it. I say leave it as it is.
posted by Fizz at 4:35 PM on August 28, 2017 [4 favorites]

I know this has been brought up before but I wish we could have notifications when we're mentioned in a comment, because that would have eliminated this particular issue. I check recent activity almost every day but in fast-moving threads I won't even see that someone has addressed a question to me.
posted by AFABulous at 6:00 PM on August 28, 2017 [9 favorites]

We'd first have to have a system in place to track when people are mentioned, since even quoting a comment to respond to it is (still, intentionally) something people have to do manually.
posted by flatluigi at 7:13 PM on August 28, 2017

The obvious solution is to just hang out in FanFare, where every thread is open forever.
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:52 PM on August 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

I know this has been brought up before but I wish we could have notifications when we're mentioned in a comment, because that would have eliminated this particular issue. I check recent activity almost every day but in fast-moving threads I won't even see that someone has addressed a question to me.

Ravelry has a neat system in place for this--members can notify other members if they mention them in a forum comment. It's called magic linking (though users tend to call it earburning) and you do it by linking to their profile in the comment. A notification pops up in your Ravelry message box saying "Are your ears burning? You have been magic linked in a thread" and there's a link to the comment that mentions you.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:04 PM on August 28, 2017

A month deadline also forces me to move on. I become slightly emotionally attached to the threads I comment in.

I keep all the threads I'm following open in tabs in a window (one window of many, sorted in various ways, workflow etc), and when a thread hasn't had a comment in 4 days, I close the tab. Sometimes it gets a comment every 3 or 4 days for a long time, but eventually the line is crossed and I close the tab.

That seems reasonable to me.
posted by hippybear at 10:15 PM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

[crabby old lady voice] why I remember when we didn't HAVE MeMail, and when threads closed you had to walk MILES to contact people. THROUGH THE SNOW. UPHILL, BOTH WAYS.
posted by JanetLand at 4:11 AM on August 29, 2017 [7 favorites]

I dunno. If I make a comment, say, before I go to sleep and get back to the thread the next morning, it's got to be a pretty slow moving thread for me to reply to a response in thread as opposed to by MeMail, because whether or not I've moved on, the thread sure has. If I feel strongly enough, I can sometimes work out a way to reraise the issue in a new aspect, but it rarely matters.

If you have a bunch of new links to share, starting a new thread (referencing the old one) is a possibility, although I'd check with the mods first as a courtesy.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:27 AM on August 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

I tend to leave discussions I'm interested in open right until the thread closes too, and I can only remember two or three occasions in the past year where comments have continued trickling in until the deadline, but a reply was left hanging. Obviously that's not at all a representative sample, but my hunch is that the potential audience missing out on last minute comments is small, even including the long tail of future visitors. If I was desperately curious, I could leave a comment asking to be included in the MeMail.
posted by lucidium at 4:59 AM on August 29, 2017

I feel like there are some MeTas I wish were open longer - mostly planning ones - but the work involved to keep threads open seems too much. Oh Yeah
posted by corb at 7:27 PM on August 29, 2017

I wish we could have notifications when we're mentioned in a comment

I'm glad we can't. There are too many same-five-people-fighting-forever situations around here as it is.

MeFi is for group discussion first and foremost. If I miss someone addressing me in a way that merits a response, hopefully someone else will take up the subject in my stead. If not, well, not everything gets fully resolved. In MeFi as in life.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:13 AM on August 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

If not, well, not everything gets fully resolved. In MeFi as in life.

From your lips to God's ears.
posted by corb at 6:29 AM on August 30, 2017

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