MyPony request May 27, 2018 2:09 PM   Subscribe

Would it be possible to let users set My Mefi and My Ask sites as their default views when signed in? Partly to save clicks and partly (mostly on Ask) because there are some topics I'd rather not read about here.

From Googling, I found a 2016 MetaTalk thread on the overwhelming number of obit posts on the blue. Some users there suggested a similar setting (plus making the sidebar visible, so they are functional front pages). It sounds like there was a mod discussion that followed.
posted by cichlid ceilidh to Feature Requests at 2:09 PM (28 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Man, it's weird to look back at 2016 as this now far-away seeming Year Of Famous People We Like Dying, where that was like the worst thing going on to the point of feeling like a doomy theme for the year. Time, man.

Anyway: this is something we could take up as a point of discussion again, yeah. I've always been kinda hesitant to alter The Front Page, but one thing that's softened in my view over time there is the distinction between the public default front page and the individual view of the site. I do still have some reservations about setting people up for distinctly different, no-shared-context experiences of MetaFilter, so this is more "we can talk about it territory" for me than a slam-dunk, but I acknowledge that there's (a) some reasonable flexibility there that we can consider and (b) probably diminishing returns in trying to too strongly enforce that concept in any case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:13 PM on May 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


The My Mefi filter is pretty leaky, seeing as people have differing tagging habits. Using the 'excluded' tags, you're only going to be able to hide pretty intuitive categories.

The Ask filter is more blunt, since it's limited to tags/categories you opt in to. Then again, it seems easier to justify setting My Ask as a default; it could make it more likely people will see a question about which they're knowledgeable. I'd personally appreciate seeing fewer mental health questions when I click over to AskMeFi, even if I'm happy people can submit them.

I can't say what effect such a change would have on MeFi as a community. I imagine most people already effectively filter posts in their head when they decide what to visit and comment on. And, for all I know (please correct me if I'm wrong), more people visit MetaFilter when logged out/without an account than logged in.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 2:36 PM on May 27, 2018


I'm actually curious if there's much rationale for keeping My Mefi/My Ask without allowing them as defaults. The only thing I can think of is "user who occasionally visits wants to see if in the time they've been away someone's shared something they know will pique their interest."

If you're using their RSS feeds, the personalized view already is your main view of the sites.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 3:05 PM on May 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


I am definitely of the opinion that keeping the main frontpage as the default homepage is better for the community. Couldn't you just bookmark your preferred version of the sites? If you're not always on your own computer so bookmarks won't work, the URL is pretty memorable: http://www.metafilter.com/home/mymefi

(note: I am an old and used to live in a world where we all memorized the urls of our favorite sites)
posted by hydropsyche at 3:46 PM on May 27, 2018 [9 favorites]


I don't particularly care either way for the main site, but I would use it for ask.
posted by juv3nal at 4:55 PM on May 27, 2018


Couldn't you just bookmark your preferred version of the sites?

Sure. I could even write an extension to redirect me to the personalized home pages and insert the announcement sidebar. But this just reads to me like we should have the infrastructure for personalized pages, but they're bad for the community and so we should make them mildly inconvenient to use. As above, I'm not sure it makes that much sense to have them at all in that case.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 5:06 PM on May 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


To point out an interesting idea, I would far rather see a weekly sidebar summarizing obituary posts than see them in the everyday listing. I expressly do not like encountering them and they often send me off to do something else to rinse the bad taste from my mouth of seeing endless waves of dots. I respect them, but it’s clearly not the kind of things that goes well for me.

I’m not so much at all into offering built-in ways to default to a filter bubble page of any kind; Greasemonkey or whatever it is these days is an appropriate level of barrier of entry to exclusion, to me.
posted by crysflame at 7:17 PM on May 27, 2018


If I go to https://www.metafilter.com/home/mymefi while not logged in, click on "Log In", and enter my name and password, I'm returned to the My MeFi page after login. Or if I start from my own user profile, it returns me there.

Assuming it works the same for me as it does for other people, is it really that one single click on "Log In" we're talking about avoiding, as opposed to bookmarking https://login.metafilter.com/ and having a setting in the database control where you're forwarded to? If so, that seems like a reaaaally mild inconvenience.
posted by XMLicious at 11:04 PM on May 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


Wait, people log OUT of metafilter??
posted by bendy at 11:54 PM on May 27, 2018 [7 favorites]


> XMLicious:
"is it really that one single click on "Log In" we're talking about avoiding"

No. It's about the additional click every time you click MetaFilter or AskMeFi in the menu bar before visiting My Mefi and My Ask. It's also about avoiding seeing certain posts that some may find distressing or depressing (see that whole thread I linked on obits). It's about there already being the infrastructure explicitly set up for semi-personalized home pages for logged in users. And it's about including the side bar in the personalized page, so it functions as a home page still with ties to the site's administration.

> crysflame:
"I’m not so much at all into offering built-in ways to default to a filter bubble page of any kind; Greasemonkey or whatever it is these days is an appropriate level of barrier of entry to exclusion, to me."

MetaFilter (as a community with norms) is already a bubble. And we don't force users to read every single post (I avoid Israel-Palestine threads, for instance), so that's another bubble. Besides, there is a whole wide world we're all exposed to outside of MetaFilter. It's not like filtering out certain tags from your My Mefi makes you ignorant of those topics, which you're already avoiding on this site through your browsing choices.

Again, the questions in my mind are:

1. Why do we have filters that personalize user experience?
2. If we think the ability to filter should remain, why impose any barrier (especially an arbitrary technical one) to their use?

If the conclusion is the use of filters should be discouraged, I say just get rid of them entirely. Anything else is strangely ambivalent.

Note that what I'm proposing would be an option, which would be opt-in.

I think it ought to stated how hard it is to filter out any significant portion of Metafilter using exclusion tags. Which is fine by me. Just something to keep in mind if you think such an option would radically change most peoples' views of Metafilter.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 12:39 AM on May 28, 2018


Having links to My MeFi and My Ask further up the menu tree, so that you can go directly to them with a single click, seems reasonable, but I think it's kind of handwavy to say that the infrastructure is already set up for the rest. It sounds like you're either asking them to convert MeFi into web portal software (in Cold Fusion! Where are my 90s mirror shades?) or start down a road that will lead to people asking for more and more features until it's equivalent to a web portal.

On the other hand, as you point out perhaps filters were the first step down that road, like Prometheus giving fire to humankind. In which case whatever Cold Fusion programming task is equivalent to chaining someone to a rock and letting an eagle tear their liver out would be an appropriate follow-up.
posted by XMLicious at 3:35 AM on May 28, 2018


I remember when the filter pages were added, but I have no idea if that was 5 or 10 or 15 years ago, and I can't find the ancient MetaTalk discussion using site search or Google. I remember the thread being a lot of folks not seeing the point of them at the time. In the however many years since then, I've clicked on all them in total perhaps a handful of times. I just clicked through all of them again and yep, still don't really see the point. The front page shows me what's recent, I don't care what's popular, and I don't really have an interest in curating a bunch of keywords rather than just browsing randomly.

To me, they are now a legacy feature--it's there, but most folks don't use it (or even notice it). The addition to the front page of the "Hide US Politics posts" button certainly supports that conclusion. If lots of folks were already filtering other ways, they would have likely been less excited when that button was added.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:11 AM on May 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


crysflame: I would far rather see a weekly sidebar summarizing obituary posts than see them in the everyday listing. I expressly do not like encountering them and they often send me off to do something else to rinse the bad taste from my mouth of seeing endless waves of dots.

Not to be obvious, and I could be missing something--you've said you don't like seeing endless waves of dots, but you could avoid that by not viewing the obit posts. You have to actively choose to click on them to see any dots. If you hate seeing endless waves of dots, why are you clicking on obit posts?
posted by tzikeh at 8:55 AM on May 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


I find the filters useful enough. Obviously ymmv. Taking for granted technical feasibility, I don't think the argument about an opt in feature is between useful vs not. Clearly people can go years without remembering the My pages exist; I rarely visit Fanfare, Chat, or Music. It's between useful vs this will destroy Metafilter.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 9:03 AM on May 28, 2018


I would far rather see a weekly sidebar summarizing obituary posts than see them in the everyday listing. I expressly do not like encountering them and they often send me off to do something else to rinse the bad taste from my mouth of seeing endless waves of dots.

So, you knew who Dovey Johnson Roundtree was all along ?

And those annoying periods, which signify respect, give you a bad taste in your mouth ? To the point we need a HypoallergenicNerfworldGurneyFilter to suit your sensitivity to articles of punctuation ? Really ?

Or is it merely about Death, which is written over all ? Which gives Life such uncertainty, and, therefore, makes it so precious, as Yoshido Kenko once wrote ?

Well, I have news for you: We are all going to die.

And I know this for certain, that the longer you, and I mean You, live, the more you will appreciate hearing about people who matter and the more you will appreciate the fact that you will most likely only hear about them when they have just died. Because that is the way the world works, I am sad to say.
posted by y2karl at 8:12 AM on May 29, 2018


I think this is a good idea. I'd love to come to FanFare or IRL straight into the "My" versions of those pages also.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:14 AM on May 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Just to be very clear, this comment was composed, and is meant, entirely WITHOUT any snark:

If we're speaking about starting pages, why not just bookmark your preferred place to start, and use that?

If it's that you just want to type 'metafilter' and be taken to that page, isn't a keyword (Firefox, Chrome) the way to accomplish that without changing the site?
posted by WCityMike at 9:53 AM on May 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


why not just bookmark your preferred place to start, and use that?

I don't know about other people, but here is my feeling about that: Because it's literally a feature I'd like the website to have. I'd like www.metafilter.com to, when I am logged in, go to My MeFi. I'd also like to be able to turn this off and go right to www.metafilter.com sometimes. I'd like this to be a user-customizeable setting. I check MeFi from up to five different devices in any given week. I don't want to set a bookmark on five different devices, I want the site to have a consistent behavior across all my devices (it doesn't currently for a number of things and I respect that but would not be my preference if I ran the world). If I check MeFi from a public access computer, I want to log in and go to My Mefi. This feature could still mean that users who do NOT want this feature do not have to change a single thing. I don't want to set up keywords for the three different browser I use.

I am fine if it turns out there is just too much overhead to make this a genuine implementable option, but there are a ton of reasons why "Just bookmark My MeFi" is not a replacement solution.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:28 AM on May 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Thanks, jessamyn. That describes my situation well. I'd like the My sites to be where I land by default, as opposed to Recent Posts. And I'd like the unfiltered Recent Posts view to remain accessible. I could come up with all sorts of workarounds:

* bookmark start page
* userscript to modify menu bar links
* userscript to get, extract, and insert the announcements sidebar into My Mefi

Figuring out creative client-side solutions isn't my issue. I plain old think it would make sense as a feature any user could enable with a checkbox.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 12:58 PM on May 29, 2018


I see the dots because prior to this thread I hadn’t consciously realized a toll was taken.
posted by crysflame at 2:04 PM on May 29, 2018


Add me to the list of people who'd like this; I don't use bookmarks for... anything, really? At this point, I type 'a' into my address bar and it autocompletes to ask.metafilter.com - it would be great if there was a server-side setting that let me have that display My Ask/My Mefi - and especially My Fanfare. And I use the links in the top menu to get between Fanfare/Ask/Mefi relatively often - another use case where bookmarks don't do me too much good.
posted by sagc at 2:34 PM on May 29, 2018


I have never used My MeFi or My AskMe at all, and basically only learned what they do today, but I get why "if you want to go there, just navigate there" is a crummy solution for people who want to treat it as their primary view of MetaFilter.

I'm one of those folks who uses autocomplete instead of bookmarks. How well that works with URLs with path elements varies with browser. You could probably teach from to make "m" autocomplete to https://www.metafilter.com/home/mymefi, but Safari is pretty stubborn about only autocompleting to the domain level. And of course once on the site, it's pretty sensible to use site nav to switch between the blue, green, grey, etc.

My take on My MeFi is that it might make more sense as a "filtered/raw" toggle on the regular main page instead of as an entirely separate page. Sort of like the "Dark Mode Off" switch. For users with no filters, you could either hide the switch or replace it with a link to "how to set up filters". Discoverability-wise I think it's hard to a whole lot worse than the current position as the last item on the fourth navbar.
posted by aubilenon at 3:11 PM on May 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


you could probably teach from to ...

... could probably teach Chrome, that should say.
posted by aubilenon at 3:48 PM on May 29, 2018


Totally agree that we should all see My MetaFilter when logged in! Please therefore vote #1 quidnunc kid, and I will immediately replace all of "your" metafilters with MY metafilter, and that's all you'll see. MyMeFi! It's all mine!

Of course, you may be wondering exactly what MyMeFi would look like. But rest assured that the explanation is right there in the name: instead of a MetaFilter composed of so-called "words", every post and comment will be replaced by a short video of quidnunc kid doing a classic mime routine. MimeMeFi! It's all mime! And all mine. All the time.

So vote #1 quidnunc kid, and I will immediately don a black, flared jumpsuit, lather my face with thick white make-up and place myself in a mysterious cage with invisible walls. And you'll never hear a single word from me ever again!!!

Don't tell me that's not an attractive campaign promise :-(
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:49 AM on May 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


It's all mime!

...
posted by aubilenon at 9:41 AM on May 30, 2018


hydropsyche: "If you're not always on your own computer so bookmarks won't work, the URL is pretty memorable: http://www.metafilter.com/home/mymefi "

Maybe add mymefi.metafilter.com as an even easier redirect? Just type in "my" and let browser autofill do the rest.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:34 PM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


btw in my mefi preferences, the suggestions toggle what's in the text box. So if there's something already in the text box that's also in the suggestion list, but you don't notice that it's already in the text box, and you click it from the suggestion list, it will disappear from your list of preferred key words.
posted by aniola at 4:55 PM on June 4, 2018


I just noticed that the US Politics front page-filtering FAQ essentially asserts that this functionality is already possible (or at least suggests it's intended):
If you want a more carefully-tuned filter of what you see and don't see on the front page, you can instead use the My MeFi tool to create a custom list of filtering tags.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 5:39 PM on June 16, 2018


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