Paging feature? October 12, 2017 3:19 PM   Subscribe

Came across an AskMe post that I feel like I know the perfect person for (on Metafilter, obviously). Could MeMail them, sure, but maybe it would be cool to be able to "page" other users directly from the thread? "Calling MeFite120349" sorta thing?

Or is this just terrible and annoying and a dumb and difficult idea?
posted by turbid dahlia to Feature Requests at 3:19 PM (50 comments total)

I think the reason people thought it might not be a good idea is because certain people with specific expertise would be paged all the damned time (and/or ironic-paged) and it seemed like making the potential page-r go through the infinitesimal hassle of MeMailing might be the right amount of friction?
posted by jessamyn (temp) at 3:34 PM on October 12 [24 favorites]


I always found the "paging physicsmatt to the thread"s to be annoying noise, so I would prefer pretty much any method to be transparent to somebody reading the thread... Which would make it functionally identical to memail.
posted by dbx at 3:40 PM on October 12 [8 favorites]


I vote YES if it means every user is issued a physical device like that thing they give you in restaurants that vibrates and blinks when your table is ready.
posted by roger ackroyd at 3:55 PM on October 12 [32 favorites]


Having @soandso show up with a highlight on your contact feed might be non-disruptive and serve other functions too. I'd agree that comments saying only @soandso could seem noisy if they were visible. But invisible contentless mentions that just light up a contact feed doesn't seem obviously problematic.

I'd mainly wonder about the priority of the feature.
posted by Wobbuffet at 4:02 PM on October 12


True enough jessamyn. It's only a couple of clicks to MeMail another user, I was just thinking long-term calorie retention what with global warming etc.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:06 PM on October 12 [2 favorites]


I like that people write their comments to be read and responded to by people, not as programs directing the server to take various actions.

That's one of the things that bugs me about addressing people with the @ prefix. (Another is that it's ambiguous for users with spaces and/or punctuation in their names.)
posted by aubilenon at 4:10 PM on October 12 [6 favorites]


I'm cranky right now, so forgive the less than sympathetic phrasing here, but: As a professional therapist, I do not want to be paged into threads (esp AskMe threads). I have really, really, really overwhelming days and there are times when I see an AskMe question that is exactly my professional expertise and I make a concerted effort to skip it, because I'm not in the right mindset to empathetically deal with someone else's trauma right then. Ignoring a page about a person in need would would add a layer of guilt to that that would significantly impair my self-care, which often consists of reminding myself that I cannot help everyone all the time. I would imagine that at least some other MeFites in the helping professions would have similar issues.

There are also issues with triggering people who don't want to be triggered at just that moment and dive into a thread about a difficult topic, etc.

This sounds great for lighthearted stuff, but not everything on the site is lighthearted.
posted by lazuli at 4:27 PM on October 12 [38 favorites]


In the unlikely event this were come to pass, lazuli, I'd assume users would be able to toggle the feature on and off via their user pages (like with email notifications and stuff).

(Me? If this happens, I'm linking mine to email, and with my Garmin watch connected to my phone, that means I'll get a gentle jolt to my wrist whenever I'm needed in MetaFilter!)
posted by notyou at 4:49 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


(Oh, whoa. The [temp] badge is cool, jessamyn!)
posted by notyou at 4:52 PM on October 12 [4 favorites]


I'd be interested in this not so much as a 'get in here and say something' mechanism, but as a 'one of your acquaintances thought this was good enough to tell you about' thing - a sort of beacon, I guess, but different to a fave.

And then the sidebar wouldn't be 'lollusc had a post with 15 favorites'; it'd be stuff people I think are interesting think is interesting.

(This might already be a thing I just don't know about; I readily admit to knowing very little about how the sidebar works.)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:55 PM on October 12 [2 favorites]


i am extremely NO THANK towards anything that could make people feel obligated to participate in a discussion/explanation of a thing that they may be extremely tired of discussing or explaining.

iirc at least one author of an extremely popular askme comment has expressed a generalized feeling of unhappiness about seeing their comment linked over and over again as though it is the only possible option in any discussion of that subject.

i don't want more people to feel that way about their participation here.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:55 PM on October 12 [24 favorites]


Don't we already have the Migs-signal?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:42 PM on October 12 [3 favorites]


Ravelry does this. They have a generic username linking function that alerts the user who was linked. Some people use it to page people to provide input or to alert people to a thread they will like or because they've replied to one post but also directed comments at another user. I almost always find it annoying to receive those notifications, especially since 90% of people use it wrong and I end up getting message notifications on posts I already got a reply notification on, because they both replied to me and tagged my username.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:58 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


Constant vigilance means your thread about Aliens or Dune will already have come to my attention and I am probably crafting a reply RIGHT NOW.
posted by Artw at 7:57 PM on October 12 [6 favorites]


This will not @Wendell.
posted by radwolf76 at 8:06 PM on October 12 [7 favorites]


Hey I just got paged. Nice to know my expertise is appreciated here.
posted by bondcliff at 8:59 PM on October 12 [23 favorites]


I think it’s a bad idea for AskMe, but a GREAT idea for MetaTalk. I’ve only ever had two MetaTalks that were directly about my behavior/comments in a thread in the 13 years I’ve been here, and *both times* I had quit the thread in question before the MetaTalk post went up and was linked from the thread, so I had no idea people were talking about me on the gray. By the time I found out about the MetaTalk threads, they were both well over 100 comments deep, and any chance I would have had at taking part in an on-site discussion *that was about me* was gone. That SUCKED, and I was really pissed off both times that no one—not even the people who were defending me or were completely on my side—bothered to alert me to the discussion.

I think if a MetaTalk post is about you or comments you made (even if the OP doesn’t name you, but anyone who was aware of the thread could tell it was regarding you), there should be a MeMail sent to you to let you know.
posted by tzikeh at 11:59 PM on October 12 [10 favorites]


I think if a MetaTalk post is about you or comments you made (even if the OP doesn’t name you, but anyone who was aware of the thread could tell it was regarding you), there should be a MeMail sent to you to let you know.

This isn't a thing? It really should be. Having a metatalk thread about you that you haven't been alerted to is really not good at all.
posted by gusottertrout at 3:19 AM on October 13 [7 favorites]


ooo ooo, but why not a wall alert? I mean when one of us notices a serious injustice or a really exceptional baby panda video shouldn't we alert all interested parties, and by that ALL of mifi? (sorry, you can ban me now)
posted by sammyo at 4:16 AM on October 13


Pretty soon every problem starts to look either language-related or hat-related and we've only got so many tools for those sorts of things.
posted by yhbc at 5:25 AM on October 13 [11 favorites]


I vote YES if it means every user is issued a physical device like that thing they give you in restaurants that vibrates and blinks when your table is ready.

We put these under our shirts and pretend to be Iron Man.
posted by h00py at 6:32 AM on October 13 [5 favorites]


I'm down with this kind of page and this kind of page and this kind of page. I am strongly, strongly opposed to this kind of paging.

But in the event this page does get turned—Bob Seger to thread!—I want you to hire Elwood Edwards to tell me I've been paged. That or a joy buzzer.

Now if you'll pardon me, I have to hum "Calling MeFite120349" to the tune of "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft."
posted by octobersurprise at 6:32 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


We seem to be converging on a solution where languagehat is fitted with some sort of electric shock device, which pings him every time a button in a thread is clicked, perhaps with the intensity growing the more he is needed? Would that be easier to code than the personalised message for everyone thing?
posted by biffa at 6:44 AM on October 13 [4 favorites]


I dunno, I get directed to discussions on the historic sociopolitics of transnational pedagogy in the field of didactical phenomenology of substrata mathematics enough as it is, you know?
posted by beerperson at 7:40 AM on October 13 [5 favorites]


nobody ever wants me in the economics posts :(
posted by dismas at 7:59 AM on October 13 [3 favorites]


Better idea: link to the user's profile page, where they have handily provided stock answers for every kind of question.

Juso's answers:
Anything computer related: just buy a thinkpad already.
Everything else: this never would have happened if you'd bought a thinkpad instead of that macbook.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 8:04 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


> We seem to be converging on a solution where languagehat is fitted with some sort of electric shock device, which pings him every time a button in a thread is clicked, perhaps with the intensity growing the more he is needed? Would that be easier to code than the personalised message for everyone thing?

ow ow ow ow ow ow...
posted by languagehat at 9:06 AM on October 13 [14 favorites]


Or is this just terrible and annoying and a dumb and difficult idea?

I wouldn't use those words, but it is definitely a no. Mefimail is a good solution with the appropriate amount of friction for the case of "should I make my having thought of user x in this situation something that user x has to deal with now?". Sometimes the answer may be yes! Often the answer will be no. Having to take that thirty seconds to think about it and compose a mefimail makes the time to think it over a part of the process. I think that's a good balance.

ooo ooo, but why not a wall alert?

One of my favorite things about tilde.club was how wall was the fundamental method of intraserver communication for a while even though everybody agreed it was a terrible idea and we should stop using it and then we just kept using it anyway.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:26 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


As a lawyer, I make sure to never answer questions asking for legal advice, and I'd find it annoying to be "paged" whenever someone asks the very type of question that would be professionally inappropriate for me to answer.
posted by John Cohen at 9:47 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


it is definitely a no

Well, then, will you hire Elwood Edwards to tell us we've been flagged? Come on, man, last fall he was driving for Uber; I'll bet he could use the work.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:51 AM on October 13


Ravelry does this. They have a generic username linking function that alerts the user who was linked. Some people use it to page people to provide input or to alert people to a thread they will like or because they've replied to one post but also directed comments at another user.

I like this feature a lot on Ravelry, but that's because I often encounter it used for things like "hey here's the thread for the sock yarn swap you mentioned you'd be interested in" or "someone posted a funny gif of a butt and I know you like funny butts." I could see people getting annoyed at a paging system specifically for summoning people to answer things. But if MeFi starts yarn swaps and butt gif threads I'm all for it.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:12 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: yarn swaps and butt gif threads
posted by billiebee at 10:21 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


I think this is a really bad idea for a number of reasons, including all of the above especially "people are not obligated to comment", "how do we know who to page?", and "people saying they're experts doesn't make them experts" reasons BUT I would like more positive attention and I would also like to know whenever someone references me in a thread so perhaps we could implement this just for me personally and no one else?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:22 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


We do need more questions related to Scary Rubber Stingrays in the Bathtub

Named "Rachel Ray."
posted by zarq at 10:31 AM on October 13


Next time a terrifying many-limbed sea monster is stressed out and in need of adorable crocheted companions, I will be sure to ping you.
posted by ChuraChura at 12:11 PM on October 13 [3 favorites]


I only want to be able to page quidnunc, because he's ignoring my MeMails, and I don't think paging is covered in his restraining order against me.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:46 PM on October 13


As someone who has a work Slack team on his phone with some people who just think it's really important to use @channel to let everyone know what they're doing, thank you for shooting this idea down, cortex. The potential for well-meaning abuse ("this is a legal question, so I bet it would be really helpful to OP if I paged everyone with the word lawyer in their username!") is just way too high. Also, I imagine getting a hundred notifications every time something relevant to their expertise popped up would be a really good way to drive the acknowledged experts on various topics off of the site.
posted by firechicago at 1:32 PM on October 13


I'm fully behind the butt gifs threads.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:00 PM on October 13


I'd rather not be behind a butt, even if it's a gif.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:36 PM on October 13


nobody ever wants me in the economics posts :(
posted by dismas


The dismas science?
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:33 PM on October 13 [1 favorite]


Okay, I guess I'll kick this off. Here you go.
posted by nickmark at 4:57 PM on October 13


I would like to be paged whenever I am within two hours walk of a village or county show or fete containing amusing rudely shaped vegetables.

But apart from that; never.
posted by Wordshore at 5:01 PM on October 13 [2 favorites]


I’m pretty sure this is close to why ikkuy2 left. :(
posted by bendy at 12:12 AM on October 14


Yes? What is it? I came as quickly as I could.
posted by MeFite120349 at 3:09 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


As a lawyer, I advise you to run, very fast.
posted by crush at 7:36 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


I’m pretty sure this is close to why ikkuy2 left

One of metafilter's all-time great flameouts. A klassik.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:07 AM on October 14


Would that be easier to code than the personalised message for everyone thing?

General Greivious circa, 1913.

Emphatical proof of time-travel.
posted by clavdivs at 4:13 PM on October 14


Emphatical it may be, but not empirical.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:42 PM on October 14


Cortex has already struck this down. But I suppose I am cautiously in favor of this idea, mostly because of my longstanding concerns about Metafilter's decline, which I hope we all know is very much a thing. Many other social network type websites have such a feature (Facebook, Reddit, etc.), and I imagine it does work to increase participation and engagement -- which Metafilter sorely needs. Though really it sounds kinda irritating in practice.
posted by crazy with stars at 12:40 AM on October 17


Sounds like MetaFilter will decline from implementing this feature
posted by aubilenon at 12:48 AM on October 17 [1 favorite]


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