Not to abuse MetaTalk... December 6, 2017 2:44 PM   Subscribe

You don't need to tell us that you're not abusing the edit window. Just make the additional comment and say what you wanted to say.

A gentle plea to avoid beginning comments with "Not to abuse the edit window" and the like. It's great that you recognize that the edit window is for spelling/grammar fixes, and not for adding content which wasn't in your previous comment, but starting your comment with that distracts from what you're actually trying to say. Just make the additional comment.

I'm not asking for mod-level enforcement here; it doesn't rise to making a comment deletion-worthy. Just hoping to see use of it voluntarily phased out or at least reduced.
posted by DevilsAdvocate to Etiquette/Policy at 2:44 PM (79 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

As an inveterate second-thought-have, I support this!
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:45 PM on December 6 [5 favorites]


it's one of those things like "snowflakes within" or "flurries inside" on askme: an unbearable tedium from which we will never be freed.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:46 PM on December 6 [54 favorites]


I understand the impulse, as it can feel gauche to post two comments in a row. To obviate this pain, I will sometimes use the 'small' tag on my follow-up comment. That way, at the very least, it takes up less real estate on the page.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:54 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]



"Not to abuse the edit window" is like when school children get mad at you for not calling on them. "BUT MISS! I RAISED MY HAND!" Yes. That is what you're supposed to do. I am not going to praise you for it.

I am a person who will send 18 one-sentence text messages in a row so I don't really understand the reluctance to comment more than once.
posted by coppermoss at 2:59 PM on December 6 [9 favorites]


While I appreciate your point, it is also clear to me that lots of people are in fact abusing the edit window, so I kind of welcome this tedious "look, I'm being good!" preface as a reminder to others to stop doing that.
posted by languagehat at 3:12 PM on December 6 [13 favorites]


This molehill has been low-key driving me up the wall for a hot minute, so thank you.
posted by duffell at 3:13 PM on December 6 [12 favorites]


as a reminder to others to stop doing that.

I've given up that this is ever going to change or really be enforced so I'm going to try and make peace with it.* If it's not causing a problem for the community and no one really seems to care, it's probably incumbent on me to get over myself.

*only occasionally snark about it in MeTa
posted by ODiV at 3:26 PM on December 6


poffin boffin: "it's one of those things like "snowflakes within" or "flurries inside" on askme: an unbearable tedium from which we will never be freed."

At least we seem to be past "Of course, there's" [more inside].
posted by Chrysostom at 3:32 PM on December 6 [5 favorites]


Even the tedium is predictable.
posted by infini at 4:20 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


Maybe that's a good thing?

consistency? reliability? dependable?
posted by infini at 4:21 PM on December 6


Not to abuse MetaTalk... but
posted by infini at 4:21 PM on December 6


At least we seem to be past "Of course, there's" [more inside].

Last time I was around, people flagged those as HTML errors and mods fixed them.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 4:23 PM on December 6 [10 favorites]


askme: an unbearable tedium from which we will never be freed.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:23 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


It's weird to be reading a day-old thread and come across someone saying "not to abuse the edit window," because that's a statement that only means something for 5 (6?) minutes, tops.

EDIT: I mean, it's weird to see it after the fact, right?

And on preview, I should be clear that I don't even care that much, I just think it's weird to see. It's like internet amber that preserves unimportant time-specific stuff for all eternity, or until the servers die.

Which, on reflection, can be kind of neat in its own way. But still weird, too.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 4:41 PM on December 6 [3 favorites]


it's one of those things like "snowflakes within" or "flurries inside"
YES.
I have hope that it will die though, because when I first started lurking here it seems like "Just sayin'" was a huge thing and it was like needles in my eyes. A totally dumb thing to drive me nuts but it did. People would make a snarky joke or be try to be clever and then they'd go Just sayin'.
I haven't seen it in forever so that's good.
posted by chococat at 4:44 PM on December 6 [3 favorites]


it's one of those things like "snowflakes within" or "flurries inside" on askme: an unbearable tedium from which we will never be freed.

I am okay with phrases like that. I don’t think being on the bleeding edge of site norms should be a prerequisite for engaging with the site. As long as it’s not perjorative speech, I think it’s okay to use long-standing tropes, etc.
posted by delight at 4:56 PM on December 6 [5 favorites]


Annoying tropes are way worse than pejoratives.
posted by floam at 4:58 PM on December 6


Annoying tropes are way worse than pejoratives.

Into the Wicker Man! you mewling beef-witted hedge-pig.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 5:57 PM on December 6 [4 favorites]


I think it's a perfectly fine thing to say. It isn't empty; I take it to mean "this comment is intended to be integrated with my previous" which is different from just making a distinct comment.

(This has an analog in software development; say you've committed some changes. BUT you didn't include everything you intended to in the commit. You often have the *technical* ability to go back and edit history to make the initial commit correct, but there are circumstances when that is either very difficult or frowned upon, and you just make another commit to complete your work. But when you do this, you do want people who view your VCS logs to know that those two commits are related.)
posted by Jpfed at 6:06 PM on December 6 [9 favorites]


I think my next MeTa is going to ask people to stop posting MeTas about completely harmless turns of phrase that they happen to not enjoy. There aren't that many of them really, but they kind of make me want to start saying the thing.

Also, I still like "Does what it says on the tin."
posted by jacquilynne at 6:31 PM on December 6 [9 favorites]


Perhaps my history as a SCM (TFS to be specific) team lead is what makes me agree with Jpfed. I think it provides useful contextual information that is otherwise lost as a matter of course due to the precision (or lack thereof I should say) of Mefi's timestamping of comments.

It's no more aggravating than if someone started a comment with "Yesterday I was thinking..." or "The other day this thought crossed my mind..." insofar as I view those as a feature of the english language's method of communicating. Some might see those as bug-not-feature, sure, but I don't think either is demonstrably wrong or invalid.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:55 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


NOT EDITED TO ADD: Apropos nothing. Just wanted to say. Not to toot my own horn. But anyway...

I've been a supporter of the Edit function since before it was cool. I love how it's worked out since it's implementation. I hope it's been good on the mod side as well. I also hope there hasn't been much "puppies to Hitler" to deal with, outside of that one burner sockpuppet account that is.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:59 PM on December 6


An alternate way to go is to pretend you're doing improv comedy with your clone and just open the followup comment with "Yes, and..."

At least we seem to be past "Of course, there's" [more inside].

Endangered but not extinct; I clean one up still maybe every month or two, though it's fallen far enough out of fashion that I think we no longer get the critical mass people-copying-others effect that kept it alive for a while back in the day.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:08 PM on December 6


I keep trying to ignore it, but I came here to post this very thing because it's making me nuts.

I find it bizarre phrasing. It's like having a conversation with someone and every time they speak they say something like "And now it is my time to respond to you".

If you feel like you need to qualify your shameless posting 2 thoughts so close together for some reason, why not just "And another thing" "I had another thought" "Which reminds me" "To expand on my earlier comment" or any other of dozens of things that real people might say.

No one is reading your comments and saying "Wait a minute. didn't that person just write something shortly before this? I need an explanation!"
posted by bongo_x at 9:47 PM on December 6 [6 favorites]


Actually, a serious question, my brain is completely scattershot, and I frequently think of stuff after I've already posted one comment. If I ever do abuse the edit window (and I probably do more often than I think), it's because I worry about shitting up the thread with a million comments by this fuckin' guy. Is it sort of an "I know it when I see it" sort of thing when it comes to someone leaving too many comments in a row? I mean, I've always operated under the assumption that you wouldn't want to see 4 comments from me.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:30 PM on December 6


if you multicomment once in a while it's not really a big deal but if you do it a lot the mods will send you an email like dude please we talked about this

i mean so i hear
posted by poffin boffin at 11:28 PM on December 6 [21 favorites]


MetaFilter: Even the tedium is predictable.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:32 AM on December 7 [2 favorites]


Hold my pun
posted by infini at 1:01 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


bongo_x: I keep trying to ignore it, but I came here to post this very thing because it's making me nuts.

Same here. I think this pet peeve is big enough for us to share. We can take turns brushing it and taking it out for walks.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:13 AM on December 7 [2 favorites]


And I'm going to post another comment right after my previous one to show that it can be done and is in fact fine. Here it is!
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:15 AM on December 7 [6 favorites]


How about wrangling two annoying tropes into one (economy!) by writing "with due respect to my former self, I'd like to add..."
posted by Namlit at 3:13 AM on December 7 [2 favorites]


wow this was daring, Too-T...
posted by Namlit at 3:13 AM on December 7


I assumed it was people feeling a manners hangover from when it was bad forum etiquette to double post.
posted by lucidium at 4:23 AM on December 7 [3 favorites]


Sometimes I can't sleep because the world is such a flaming shitshow and then I come here are people are complaining because other people are being overly polite or something and I weep gentle tears of gratitude slash bemusement.
posted by billiebee at 4:30 AM on December 7 [33 favorites]


I have hope that it will die though, because when I first started lurking here it seems like "Just sayin'" was a huge thing and it was like needles in my eyes. A totally dumb thing to drive me nuts but it did. People would make a snarky joke or be try to be clever and then they'd go Just sayin'.

My brother in law called me a few years back in a cranky mood. "The kid learned a new word," he explained through gritted teeth. My niece was 9 years old at the time.
"Hang on. Did you finish your homework?"
"Ugh. Whatever, Dad. Whatever."
You could practically hear her eyes rolling through the phone.

She grew out of it eventually. He survived.

It's probably a phase. The site's still a teenager, after all.
posted by zarq at 5:22 AM on December 7 [3 favorites]


I assumed it was people feeling a manners hangover from when it was bad forum etiquette to double post.

Yeah, this is what it is when I do it, and I totally do, because I writhe in shame for committing the sin of double posting and want to reassure people that I am not just repeatedly badgering people, I just fucked up and forgot something.
posted by corb at 5:22 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


I didn't even know it was considered "abuse of the edit window" to quickly add something. I think more than half of the times I've had to edit something, it was to add another sentence at the bottom. :/
posted by easternblot at 5:23 AM on December 7


I had no idea 'double posting' was ever considered bad form anywhere or anytime.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:28 AM on December 7 [4 favorites]


Yep. A mod even once told me in meta (like 10 years ago) that it was bad form. :)
posted by zarq at 5:43 AM on December 7


Ok, but you can pry my Ask “Last one, I promise:” preface from my cold dead hands
posted by supercres at 6:37 AM on December 7


1) Do you think people are deliberately using this to troll?

2) Could there be an edited indicator, like a bar or flashing vermilion background css?

3) oh crap did it again, sorry
posted by sammyo at 6:43 AM on December 7


4) yes just being a yerk
posted by sammyo at 6:45 AM on December 7


4) yest just being a jerk
posted by sammyo at 6:45 AM on December 7


it can feel gauche to post two comments in a row.

I only rarely do this, though.
posted by gauche at 6:51 AM on December 7 [24 favorites]


Atom Eyes: "I understand the impulse, as it can feel gauche to post two comments in a row."

Ah, that's why people do this. I couldn't figure it out. This phrasing has been driving me crazy for weeks but maybe knowing the rational will take the edge off. Though I'd really prefer if we just didn't do it. Also you are all no fun spoilsports for not liking the more inside jokes.

easternblot: "I didn't even know it was considered "abuse of the edit window" to quickly add something. I think more than half of the times I've had to edit something, it was to add another sentence at the bottom. "

It is though I've done it my self on comments in slow moving (like no other comments in the past 24 hours slow) threads where it seems pretty harmless and the additional text works better in the edited comment.
posted by Mitheral at 7:15 AM on December 7


I assumed it was people feeling a manners hangover from when it was bad forum etiquette to double post.

I think that's part of it, yeah. It has manifested regularly on MeFi since long before the edit window ever came along, as instead of a "not to abuse the edit window..." interjection a "Sorry to double-post but..." interjection.

It's always been weird to me because MetaFilter itself has never had a general guideline against that; I was confused at first when i started doing mod work that people would say (or sometimes flag!) "double" on things that weren't actually a double (i.e. literally accidentally duplicated) post/comment in site terms. I'd never spent enough time on a forum where the posting-twice-is-a-sin thing was actually a prominent etiquette issue to have even absorbed that this was a thing people elsewhere were worried or dickish about.

As noted anecdotally above, there are times when as either a general habit or a local spike of behavior the whole posting-several-times-in-a-row thing can reach the point of being conspicuous or distracting and we'll toss someone a line or leave a note saying hey maybe not so much, but on MeFi it's an exception case. I think by and large the crowd here tends to want to err on the side of fewer, larger comments rather than littering out a stream-of-consciousness series.

Which comes back to that instinct of adherence to an ideal of having thought of in the first place everything one meant to say, and the resulting unnecessary signposting of the method by which one is correcting for failing to reach that ideal. Nobody's doing anything wrong or anything, we just don't really need to know the how and why of you doing the right thing since there's zero local prohibition about doing it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:24 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


My brother in law called me a few years back in a cranky mood. "The kid learned a new word," he explained through gritted teeth.

My 5 year old daughter, when asked to put her boots away, yelled, "You don't know my life!" and stomped off.
posted by ODiV at 7:26 AM on December 7 [25 favorites]




Wow, I had no idea that there wasn't a norm against double posting. I personally think it should be considered fine, but thought other people disliked it. This is like that time my brother and my cousin drove more than a thousand miles listening to country music because each thought (incorrectly) that the other liked it.
posted by Jpfed at 8:12 AM on December 7 [10 favorites]


> This is like that time my brother and my cousin drove more than a thousand miles listening to country music because each thought (incorrectly) that the other liked it.

That would make a great country song.
posted by languagehat at 8:32 AM on December 7 [33 favorites]


That would make a great country song.

Just remember that it also needs to mention the following:
Mama
Trains
Trucks
Prison
and Getting' Drunk.
posted by zarq at 8:48 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


As a lifelong country music fan, I'm going to post my own MeTa about stereotypes of country music.

There's only one, maybe two thousand songs about those themes, tops.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 9:11 AM on December 7 [8 favorites]


To obviate this pain, I will sometimes use the 'small' tag on my follow-up comment. That way, at the very least, it takes up less real estate on the page.

I wish people would not do this, at least in Ask. There's absolutely nothing wrong with adding an additional comment, as others have covered above, and I've come to expect that the small tag in Ask is almost always a redirection or warning from a mod, so it's kinda jarring when regular commenters use it as part of the ongoing conversation.
posted by anderjen at 9:38 AM on December 7 [4 favorites]


I used to use the "small" tag, but then I went through a period where reading was difficult and I realized how annoying small text could be. I try not to use it any more, out of consideration for Mefites who need larger text.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:16 AM on December 7 [8 favorites]


I wish small tags would just stop, myself. I have mild visual problems, and some days they are worse than others, and reading comments on a phone is hard enough already, so....

Really, if it's not worth saying at full scale, you could just not say it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:11 PM on December 7 [7 favorites]


There's only one, maybe two thousand songs about those themes, tops.

I was thinking about one in particular.

In case anyone hasn't heard it before, there's a lengthy spoken word section towards the end with the following lyrics:
"Well, a friend of mine named Steve Goodman wrote that song
And he told me it was the perfect country & western song
I wrote him back a letter and I told him it was not the perfect country & western song
Because he hadn't said anything at all about mama
Or trains, or trucks, or prison, or getting' drunk

Well, he sat down and wrote another verse to the song and he sent it to me
And after reading it I realized that my friend had written the perfect country & western song
And I felt obliged to include it on this album
The last verse goes like this here:

♬ Well, I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison
And I went to pick her up in the rain
But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck
She got run over by a damned old train ♫

posted by zarq at 4:32 PM on December 7 [1 favorite]


Ha! Yeah, that's a great song. The one that came to my mind was this one (in fact it was stuck in my head all day).
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 4:55 PM on December 7 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I can't sleep because the world is such a flaming shitshow and then I come here are people are complaining because other people are being overly polite or something and I weep gentle tears of gratitude slash bemusement.
posted by billiebee


It's always nice to see you, billiebee.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:59 PM on December 7 [7 favorites]


Sometimes I can't sleep because the world is such a flaming shitshow

That means it is time for delicious, delicious chocolate.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:00 AM on December 8 [2 favorites]


Okay, this doesn't quite rise to the level of pet peeve, but I do find it baffling when people say, "Mods, please delete this if a double (or derail." I mean, yeah, that's their job, they don't actually need your okay to delete your comment.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:58 AM on December 8 [3 favorites]


That would make a great country song.

Just remember that it also needs to mention the following:
Mama
Trains
Trucks
Prison
and Getting' Drunk.


Don't forget the dog.
posted by Splunge at 9:25 AM on December 8 [1 favorite]


If we're kvetching about MetaFilter cliches, I must voice my dislike for the Metafilter: Repeat some line.
posted by daybeforetheday at 12:43 PM on December 8 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: I must voice my dislike for the Metafilter: Repeat some line.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:52 PM on December 8 [8 favorites]


I think it is the partner of “not to threadsit, but...”
posted by Vaike at 2:38 PM on December 8 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: I must voice my dislike
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:41 PM on December 8 [2 favorites]


Okay, this doesn't quite rise to the level of pet peeve, but I do find it baffling when people say, "Mods, please delete this if a double (or derail." I mean, yeah, that's their job, they don't actually need your okay to delete your comment.

I always thought that was a way to get the their attention. I assume the word triggers the giant klaxons which all the mods have installed in their workspaces.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:13 PM on December 8 [1 favorite]


It doesn't! If you want the mods to delete a comment of yours, flag it or drop a note to the contact form.

If we're already reading a thread we'll probably see a note in the comments, but if we're not already in the thread, just mentioning "mods" doesn't summon us. Oftentimes, we only find those because another member will come along later and flag it.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:22 AM on December 9 [2 favorites]


Ugh, my summoning skills are awful. But good to know, because it's the only reason I was doing it. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get rid of a Demogorgon.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:27 AM on December 9


So I've been thinking about the interesting level of disdain for consecutive commenting I've seen in this thread. Since I've read yours, I believe that you're all entitled to my opinion and response and I wanted to share it with you.

Suck it. (Body part, egg, rock, lemon - the choice is yours.)

Since the window and policy for editing is 5 minutes and typos only, I'm afraid that the Utopian fantasy of perfect thought collection is hilarious and ridiculous. Maybe you have elegant and effortless word/thought flow synthesis, but some of us don't. Some of us have a brain full of broken half-thoughts that can be hard to wrangle on bad days.

No matter how long I spend writing a comment, 5 minutes or 5 hours, there's almost always something substantive I won't remember until after I hit the Post Comment button. So I follow the instructions written on the edit page, and what the mods have said on the subject, and I write another comment.

Though I don't think that I've ever prefaced a secondary comment with the phrase "Not to abuse the edit window." Other things yes, but not that. It is implied by the governing framework so I don't have to say it.
posted by monopas at 12:38 PM on December 9 [1 favorite]


(I don't really want you to go suck anything. Unless you want to. I just felt flippant in the moment and felt it was an appropriate way to act on it in the context.)
posted by monopas at 12:58 PM on December 9


... I don't think anyone has expressed any disdain for consecutive commenting in this thread. If they have, I must have missed it. I guess I'll go and find something to suck now.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:01 PM on December 9 [2 favorites]


I'd like to speak for the throngs of MeFites silent in this thread that abuse the edit window and insert more than typo corrections: Sorry kinda.
posted by floam at 2:14 PM on December 9


Too-Ticky, it read a bit like that to me, even with obvious humor. But it also touches on my personal insecurities, so I may have gone too far. I'll try to do better next time.

(Maybe I should have said Please. And R.S.V.P., to imply the invitational nature of my statement instead of a command. Though I wasn't expecting a response. Sigh. Interacting with people is hard.)

If you are looking for mouth-adjacent object proposals, dark chocolate hagelslag on a warm corn tortilla with salted butter is fantastic.
posted by monopas at 2:34 PM on December 9


Way up there, someone voiced their dislike for "snowflakes inside"/"flurries within" and while I agree that those phrases denote a neurotic type that many people find annoying, these askme's are usually in Human Relations or Work & Money, where the fact that the asker thinks their problems are uniquely complex and special, but is embarrassed about how special they think they are and so feels the need to poke fun at the specialness of their special problems, is pragmatically relevant information. Some people respond to that information by busting out their microscope so that they can point out interesting features of each snowflake, some respond by stomping the nearest drift into black ice with the force of their tough love advice. Not to abuse the edit window metaphor.

More to the point, I'm of the "double posting is poor form" school, and when people say "not to abuse the edit window" I understand it's not for me, because I already believe that they are good and reasonable humans who would never abuse the edit window, but people on the internet are strangers and most of them wouldn't know that. I can't send short emails either, and if someone sends me three or more one-line texts in a row I assume it's a Verifiable Emergency involving health or the law.
posted by All hands bury the dead at 2:44 PM on December 9 [3 favorites]


monopas, anyone who knows how to appreciate hagelslag can't be a bad person.
We're good.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:47 PM on December 9 [1 favorite]


Interacting with people is hard. But interacting with hagelslag is both easy and pleasant.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:48 PM on December 9


I haven't looked back at my posting history to confirm this, but I believe I've done "oh, and:", "also:" and similar phrases on the second post just like I do in real life if I have clearly finished sharing a thought, but then realized i'd left a part out before someone else started speaking. Dunno if that's bad form.
posted by davejay at 1:05 PM on December 10 [4 favorites]


i can probably be called one of those who abuse it. fix typos, yes. but i also frequently rearrange words, add punctuation etc when i realize, sometimes in horror that what i typed does not convey my thought properly - or even conveys the opposite. or no thought at all. because i'm an idiot. mostly.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 11:41 AM on December 11


I haven't looked back at my posting history to confirm this, but I believe I've done "oh, and:", "also:" and similar phrases on the second post just like I do in real life if I have clearly finished sharing a thought,

That seems like the correct way to do it to me.
posted by bongo_x at 12:48 PM on December 11 [1 favorite]


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