Metafilter's Duplicate Finder and New Policies December 5, 2017 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Can the duplicate-link alert also alert if the link shows in a recent comment? I think this is actually needed, given megathreads.

This would be useful for circumstances where posts are then deleted because "we are already discussing this here" -- where the story was not in the post text (and thus not alerted) but was posted as a comment.
posted by WCityMike to MetaFilter-Related at 8:01 AM (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Hi, I take it this is about this -- a post about Dustin Hoffman's jerky interview about sexual harassment, deleted because the Hoffman thing is already being discussed in this other thread which is kind of serving as an informal catch-all for new "famous dude is a harasser/assaulter" revelations.

One way to find this kind of thing with any "recent news story" type of post is to use the regular site search - for example searching "Hoffman" would bring up that current conversation in the other thread, with more reliability than a link-checker which would only ping if the discussion were relying on the exact same article about the story, and for a hot recent news story that might be chancy.

But also, there's no presumption that a link mentioned in another thread can't be a post on its own. It's much more context-dependent than that. Depends what kind of story/link, depends what kind of discussion is happening of it in the preceding thread, depends what the recent history of discussion of that topic on the site overall is, etc. (For example, the Dollar General post was a link originally posted in another thread and someone suggested it should be a post of its own, and that was fine. But with the topic of Hoffman, we've had a ton of sexual harassment/assault posts in the last couple of months and so we're more likely to contain discussion of separate instances as links in a single thread.) Having a check of "was this linked in the comments somewhere" would falsely suggest to people that in general they can't post about something that's been posted in the comments, and that's incorrect; it's much more case-by-case.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:15 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]

Pro-tip #1: if you're making a post or posting a new comment, you can already do a dupe-check for links by entering the link in the MetaFilter site search (or a 3rd party search tool limited to, but be sure to delete any tracking add-ons. For example, if you search for
it will turn up nothing, but if you search for
You'll find one comment.

Pro-tip #2: if you're posting a YouTube clip, search for the video ID only (example: 2DYB_dPILzc), so you'd catch both
and any other variation.

Pro-tip #3: expand any shortened link, even official ones, because it 1) is more descriptive, 2) can help people be sure of what they're clicking on, 3) offers more longevity, and 4) it's easier to dupe-check links if they're all formatted the same way.

Caveat: These tips won't help you if a site has reformatted their URL structure, as news sites tend to do, or if material has been re-posted, as is quite common with videos. In those cases, you're back to good old-fashioned searching.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:56 AM on December 5 [13 favorites]

I'd suggest that the objection could be overcome by simple documentation -- i.e.:

This link was found in a recent comment. This doesn't necessarily mean you can't proceed with your post, but you may want to consider whether your post could serve as a comment to that thread.

Or different wording to the same effect.

Filthy Light Thief, appreciate the tips, but depending on the recentness of the comment, it may not have been indexed by other sites yet.
posted by WCityMike at 8:58 AM on December 5

Ah, good point on other search engines crawling MetaFilter at certain times.

In comparison, the MetaFilter site search is almost up to the instant, at least as of this morning when I entered the comment with the NY Times link.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:31 AM on December 5

Pro-tip #3: expand any shortened link, even official ones

These are great tips. I personally make one exception to this one, which is that I usually use twitter-shortened links for the Wall Street Journal, as it can help people get past the more-strict-than-normal paywall. It unfortunately breaks search (though I'll put the full headline to help make up for that), but helps avoid a "it's paywalled how do I see it?" derail.
posted by zachlipton at 10:27 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]

In comparison, the MetaFilter site search is almost up to the instant, at least as of this morning when I entered the comment with the NY Times link.

However, the comment in the other thread links to the same story, but from the Washington Post.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:29 AM on December 5

Caveat: These tips won't help you if a site has reformatted their URL structure, as news sites tend to do

I wish it were only news sites. .edu sites seem to do this every few years.....
posted by thelonius at 7:18 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]

This might take a fund drive to raise money for more powerful computing power for MF if you really want this. I suspect it is a non-trivial database thing to accomplish.
posted by hippybear at 8:27 PM on December 5

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