Metafilter and Twitter December 22, 2017 10:03 AM   Subscribe

It appears the official Ask Metafilter Twitter feed is everything posted, but it looks like the official Metafilter Twitter feed is most-popular. Unofficial ones set up by someone are deprecated from November 1, 2016. Are there any official or unofficial Twitter feeds that post everything posted to various Mefi subsites, including Projects, FanFare etc.? Would such channels pose a strain on the servers? Possibly could these be a pony request if no such thing currently exists?
posted by WCityMike to MetaFilter-Related at 10:03 AM (12 comments total)

Yeah, the twitter stuff is kind of a hodgepodge mess, basically. The official Ask one is totally automated; the one for the blue mostly I likewise just let run off the sidebar/popular feeds though every once in a while I toss out an actual human-powered tweet with it usually for the sake of a Kibo-style "did someone mention MetaFilter" joke.

Diversifying the feeds wouldn't be a server strain; it might be a bit of a chore, though, between subsite-specific idiosyncrasies, twitter API annoyances and the joylessness of maintaining a fleet of distinct but thematically-related twitter accounts, so it's not something I'm jumping at. I'd peg it as a rainy day possibility.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:08 AM on December 22, 2017


Thanks for the response, Cortex. I don't know for sure I'd do this, but let me throw an idea at you: using rssmix.com (or something similar) to combine the subsites' RSS feeds, then using something like IFTTT (or one of these services) to pipe the RSS to a Twitter feed. Would that create any problems on Mefi's end, and/or would there be offense/impropriety at it being something unofficial?
posted by WCityMike at 10:16 AM on December 22, 2017


More philosophically (I have a cold, addled philosophical musing is what we're getting today), it's hard to get excited about a revamp/re-up of automated feeds on twitter because years on it just doesn't feel like a great tool for it. I have this sense of the world having stumbled toward twitter feeds, years ago, as a kind of modern concession to the falloff of RSS as the web's organizational tool for recurring content. And ten, even five years ago that maybe looked like it might work as A Thing, but in practice it doesn't seem to work well.

Like, we're literally feeding RSS into twitter, where it...fails to operate as an RSS feed reader because twitter wasn't designed as a feed reader and certainly hasn't moved more towards becoming one over time.

And this could be something I'm off the mark on—maybe a ton of people quietly get a lot of utility out of the twitter feeds and would get more use out of further dedicated ones—but I haven't really seen much feedback that say so.

I have similar "yeah, but...why?" feelings about e.g. Facebook duplication of content. MeFi has a page there, but we have a page there because everybody was having-a-page-there because of course you have to have a page there. Just about nothing actually happens with that page and it's not clear to me that we're getting much out of it other than keeping up the appearance of having-a-facebook-page.

The bloom is so far off the rose on corporate social media at this point that whatever excitement, and then later practical obligation, seemed to be a driver for past pushes to integrate/duplicate/redirect to these platforms feels long long gone. Again, being philosophical here mostly, but it becomes a "what exactly is MetaFilter-y about doing this third party social media dance" question when I look close.

Would that create any problems on Mefi's end, and/or would there be offense/impropriety at it being something unofficial?

If someone wanted to make and maintain an e.g. unfiltered, explicitly non-official feed using RSS I don't have a problem with that, though the danger of third party stuff like that just quietly going poof when someone gets distracted or something breaks or it's just not worth the maintenance effort anymore means I'm also not gonna push it hard either. Building it and mentioning it on MetaTalk would be fine as far as that goes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:25 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


Like, we're literally feeding RSS into twitter, where it...fails to operate as an RSS feed reader

I'd like to take a moment to plug this super awesome I Want to Believe in RSS Enamel Pin I found via some Mefites on Twitter.

posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:42 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I get that. I suppose the reason I recently migrated to Twitter from RSS – just speaking as for myself – is (i) to internally dissuade myself from the Must! Read! Every! Item! behavior I tend towards with RSS feed readers, and (ii) because people seem to be creating much, much more Twitter- or Facebook-specific content as opposed to content accessible via RSS. Even people's own websites often don't contain that content in an RSS-accessible manner, instead merely encompassing a Facebook or Twitter embed.

In a perfect world, Facebook would come out with a power user interface that mimics Google Reader, that would allow me to browse through, star and revisit every update from every friend and every followed page, as opposed to their actual behavior of a very poor newsfeed algorithm and discontinuing the Interest List functionality.

That idea is so much of a pipe dream as to suggest hallucinogen use on my part, though.
posted by WCityMike at 12:38 PM on December 22, 2017


This year, I did the opposite — retreating from Twitter back to an RSS reader, which has the obvious benefit of not being full of Russian trolls and neo-Nazis.

The reader I wound up using does both RSS feeds and individual Twitter feeds, and various filters/settings to help with that Read All The Things urge.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:03 PM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


Wow, I didn't even know that was happening. I have to agree I don't really see the point, but more than that it seems like possibly a bad thing. I know this isn't a private space, but I also didn't know "hey this is also going to be automatically posted to various other social media platforms"
posted by bongo_x at 2:33 PM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


If people aren't on the other end to engage with as human beings in non-duplicative ways, it doesn't really make a lot of sense to bother.
posted by Miko at 5:25 PM on December 22, 2017


Metafilter: addled philosophical musing is what we're getting today
posted by rakaidan at 10:26 AM on December 23, 2017


What bongo_x said. I am now rethinking about a zillion of my responses to AskMe questions. I know that MetaFilter is public but there is public and then there’s really public and the idea of stuff going out over Twitter makes me queasy. At least now I know!
posted by Bella Donna at 2:33 PM on December 24, 2017


To be clear, the content of the twitter stuff is basically title and link for questions. It's pulling from the RSS feed, which also publishes the same stuff and has been around since the start of the site and aggregated all over the web.

That's not to say don't reassess according to your comfort level: folks should definitely work out for themselves how they feel about participating on a public-facing site. But the twitter portion of the "stuff I posted on MetaFilter might get read by someone who is not on MetaFilter" issue is a pretty fractional one; that's more just a fundamental aspect of the site and the web, even with RSS well out of fashion compared to years ago.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:06 PM on December 24, 2017


Oh look, another use of titles that reaffirms my severe dislike of them.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 3:27 AM on December 28


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