Cleanup requested in Social Apps aisle March 25, 2018 4:57 PM   Subscribe

The Social Apps section of our profiles is getting badly dated. There are over 120 sites listed, but some of them are dead (AIM, Gawker), some are ambiguous (is Glitch referring to the old shared universe site or the new programming site?), and the absence of Mastodon is becoming an obstacle: We have to advertise our usernames on active threads because we can't put them in our profiles.

Is there any way the membership can help with this, like crowdsourcing sites to remove, add or change?
posted by ardgedee to Feature Requests at 4:57 PM (20 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

That would be great! This page on the wiki is where suggestions live - there's not a dead-please-remove category, but that seems like a totally reasonable thing to add (with the caveat that we are not in charge of the wiki, of course.) I can't swear we'll get to it immediately, but the crowdsourcing part would be a good way to get a handle on it.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:59 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Yeah, cleaning out the cruft is a real good idea. Getting the details of what needs removing sorted out on the wiki or in here would useful so we can just go do it at a whack, yeah. (And I think we left Glitch-as-in-the-defunct-game in place previously as much as anything as a symbolic gesture because RIP poor Glitch, but that's not a real good long-term plan.)

Mastodon has remained a small bugbear of a problem because of the way it breaks the assumptions built the guts of the system back in the day for treating domain/path as a constant per service rather than its own variable, and the last couple times we looked at it we basically got mired in Hrmmmmville about how to handle that elegantly and pushed it off for other tasks. But at this point I think we might be better off just looking for a workable hack and we can revisit it later; I'll check in with frimble and see if they think that's doable.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:31 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


> This page on the wiki is where suggestions live - there's not a dead-please-remove category, but that seems like a totally reasonable thing to add...

Right on. At a quick glance, it looks like the wiki's list of current sites is at odds with mefi's list, so that merits cleanup too.

> treating [Mastodon] domain/path as a constant per service rather than its own variable

That sounds to me like overengineering the problem, since users can spin up their own instances (cobaltVelvet even provides a turnkey Mastodon hosting service) and you'll never be able to keep up. Why not allow users to freeform @username@example.tld, and like email if they get it wrong it's on them?
posted by ardgedee at 8:17 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


> treating [Mastodon] domain/path as a constant per service rather than its own variable

I think that's not actually what cortex said. My understanding is that the current Mefi code for the Social Explorer hardcodes the domain/path for a given service, which is incompatible with the Fediverse model of different instance domains for a single service, so adding Mastodon is non-trivial.

Getting the details of what needs removing sorted out on the wiki or in here would useful so we can just go do it at a whack, yeah.

I've added headings and instructions to the wiki page for the 2018 Social Explorer Cruft Cleanout.
posted by zamboni at 8:25 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


At a quick glance, it looks like the wiki's list of current sites is at odds with mefi's list, so that merits cleanup too.

They should now match.
posted by zamboni at 8:43 AM on March 26


Thanks for the cleanup, zamboni!
posted by ardgedee at 9:15 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


ardgedee and I have finished a first pass on checking whether sites still exist.
posted by zamboni at 9:52 AM on March 26


Nice work, thanks!
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:58 AM on March 26


So happy this is getting the attention it deserves, thanks all.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 10:40 AM on March 26


A significant percentage of the dead sites aren't really gone, per se, but are archived/read only. What are folks thoughts on how should these be handled? It seems to me that a site you can't edit or join is no longer social, and should be removed.
posted by zamboni at 11:12 AM on March 26


My *personal* opinion is that if I have content archived somewhere that I want to share, the sharing tool should work for it. So I lean towards keeping read-only sites. But that's not policy or anything.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:24 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


Yeah I'm okay with read-only stuff still being an option.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:34 AM on March 26


That's my inclination too. I'd say it's something where we could split the difference and keep those categories around in the lists for users who have them, but remove the ability to add new ones in that category...but then one's internet history doesn't start with the day they sign up for a MeFi account, so that doesn't really scan. Someone joining today might want to point to the now-read-only blog they were writing at five or ten years ago.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:36 AM on March 26


While we're here: is it still necessary to have a separate "IM" entry, since everyone just texts on their phones? The options are AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, Skype, and Yahoo Messenger. Yes I suppose that some people do use Skype, but do we really need a separate line item for these? (Maybe we do, I don't know, but it definitely seems like a dated part of the profile too.)
posted by Melismata at 11:59 AM on March 26


I'm not sure if this is a bug or intended behaviour (albeit somewhat opaque) but I have three of my bands' bandcamp artist pages linked from my profile, and trying to add any more (I am or have been in a lot of bands) just doesn't work. Doesn't return an error or anything, claims profile updates successfully, but just doesn't add another item.
posted by Dysk at 6:06 AM on March 28


that I want to share

Yeah, that makes sense. I was thinking of it In the context of the Social Explorer, which is focused on what Mefites you can connect with on a given network, but the vast majority of people interact with this subsystem on profile pages, where it's about sharing the other accounts that belong to that Mefite.
posted by zamboni at 9:05 AM on March 28


everyone just texts on their phones?

This has very much not been my experience. While removing AIM is probably a good idea, I think people still use IM, Skype and IRC regularly.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:21 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Could the "one URL per service" problem for federated services like Mastodon be solved by that one URL just being a redirect, e.g. example.com/mastodon/go?@user@example.social)?
posted by fedward at 9:49 AM on March 28



everyone just texts on their phones?

I am an outlier to be sure, but I don't have a phone.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 7:27 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


To be fair, phones don’t work well underwater, so that makes sense for a nudibranch
posted by caution live frogs at 6:47 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


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