Pony request: clearly marked political megathreads July 5, 2018 10:54 AM   Subscribe

I love the unique titles MeFites comes up with for posts. I live for a well-constructed description full of links and clever word play. But, that makes it hard, sometimes, to differentiate a thread about some current event and the latest political catch-all. Can we have an above-the-fold notice that this, for whatever the value of 'this' is, is the current political megathread?

I'm trying to avoid the political megathreads for my own sanity, although I still want to participate in more-tightly-focused threads like the recent Kennedy retirement post. I just saw this post pop up, and hoped it would be about yesterday's Twitter brouhaha around NPR's retweeting of the Declaration of Independence. But, the "Recent #potus threads" sidebar is calling that the current catch-all. Nothing about that in the above-the-fold description.

I know there's standard etiquette for the megathreads (like, chill out on the riffing, keep comments focused, etc). Can we add "Hey, warn us that this is the megathread" to that list?
posted by hanov3r to Etiquette/Policy at 10:54 AM (44 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

I know that there's a sidebar list of these threads, but I agree that It Would Be Nice to have something specific & definite in the title of the current megathread.

Wait -- does the current codebase allow for that, though? I am not sure that it's worth too much extra work.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:45 AM on July 5, 2018


Yes, please.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:46 AM on July 5, 2018


So are we thinking about something similar to how mods have that tag next to them? I wouldn't be opposed to discussing that as an option.
posted by Fizz at 12:07 PM on July 5, 2018


I find that I can cope with the megathreads to varying degrees, and I'd love some kind of title-flagging, even if it's something as simple as "His direct object is the establishment of an absolute Tyranny [megathread]."
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 12:12 PM on July 5, 2018 [10 favorites]


I would appreciate this, too. I rely on titles when scanning a page; could there be an indicator in the post title as well? Maybe an icon?

On preview: what MYBFS said
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:24 PM on July 5, 2018


Maybe we should call them kilothreads since they have thousands of comments. *ducks*
posted by cgc373 at 12:32 PM on July 5, 2018 [12 favorites]


wenestvedt, in some cases (like the current), the sidebar just lists "current catch-all" - it was purely by hovering over and seeing where the link went that I realized the thread was the catch-all.
posted by hanov3r at 12:39 PM on July 5, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm one of those people who has MeFi open in one window and the current megathread open in the other more or less all the time, but yeah, this would be a friendly thing to do for people who are smarter than I am.

Any chance that the mods could get a special code to expand the title character limit by 13 so they could put [megathread] at the end of each one?
posted by Etrigan at 12:42 PM on July 5, 2018 [2 favorites]


I've also been confused by this. Even something in the above-the-fold text would be useful, like ending the description with "this is a politics megathread" or something.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:01 PM on July 5, 2018 [1 favorite]


Back when I was posting megathreads, I started putting [this is your U.S. politics thread] above the fold, although perhaps [this is the U.S. politics megathread] would be clearer.

I actually started doing it so interested parties could easily see that the post was a megathread, but hopefully it would work just as well for people who want to avoid them!
posted by lalex at 1:08 PM on July 5, 2018 [12 favorites]


Also just a quick and friendly reminder to please appropriately tag your politics posts (and posts in general) to make it easier on people filtering them out using my mefi!
posted by dismas at 1:13 PM on July 5, 2018 [2 favorites]


... and for people seeking them out!

god help us.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:20 PM on July 5, 2018 [8 favorites]


Yes, I would also like this pony.
posted by lazuli at 2:01 PM on July 5, 2018


Maybe we should call them kilothreads since they have thousands of comments. *ducks*

That’s a lot of ducks! 🦆

Speaking of ducks, or rather 🦆, what about an appropriate emoji as shorthand on the end of the title? 💩 seems too appropriate, but there are many others to choose from.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:16 PM on July 5, 2018 [1 favorite]


This is a good idea.
posted by languagehat at 2:51 PM on July 5, 2018


Heya, interesting notion. I'll think a little about how we could best accomplish it; it might be something that there's a quick manual fix for (since we end up touching the new catch-alls anyway to edit in some politics-thread info), or might be something we want to do a wee bit of backend work to support more gracefully.

Mod side the issue hasn't been as obvious to me because the things are effectively never not open in a tab, so it's helpful to get various user-side perspectives on it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:28 PM on July 5, 2018 [2 favorites]


Back when I was posting megathreads, I started putting [this is your U.S. politics thread] above the fold, although perhaps [this is the U.S. politics megathread] would be clearer.

It was really helpful when you and others were doing this.
posted by edeezy at 4:57 PM on July 5, 2018 [7 favorites]


New politics megathreads only get posted once every several days, and it's only a handful of users who make them. Maybe it would be sufficient to just institute a convention of putting [US Politics Megathread] or similar at the beginning of the above-the-fold text? Putting it in the titles would seem ideal except that there's a pretty small character limit and some people have titles turned off. The beginning of the above-the-fold is nice and visible to everyone though. It seems like it would be the work of a moment for a mod to add the notice if the poster forgot. Maybe we don't need any new technical infrastructure?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:02 PM on July 5, 2018 [4 favorites]


Should probably have said re-institute there. We used to do it, let's do it again!
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:03 PM on July 5, 2018


This is a good idea. I'd love just a manual tag at the end of the title. Thanks for bringing it up, OP.
posted by mordax at 5:44 PM on July 5, 2018


I think that new threads should be called Threadfall (hat tip to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern).
posted by dhruva at 6:28 PM on July 5, 2018 [7 favorites]


I ever tell you the story about how I came within a chromosome of being named Menolly

that's actually the whole story, there's not a lot to it
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:18 PM on July 5, 2018 [7 favorites]


good story but god damn does it make me feel old
posted by cgc373 at 7:36 PM on July 5, 2018 [1 favorite]


Speaking of ducks, or rather 🦆, what about an appropriate emoji as shorthand on the end of the title? 💩 seems too appropriate, but there are many others to choose from.

Yeah, this is what I was going to suggest, except at the beginning of the title so it's easier to scan the front page. You wouldn't need to add more characters or do any coding, just add it to the title after posting, if the OP forgets.

Many of the large reddit subs do something like this so when you're scanning your home page you can easily differentiate posts (e.g. putting [LPT] at the beginning of the title for r/lifeprotips posts).
posted by AFABulous at 8:01 PM on July 5, 2018


Speaking of ducks, or rather 🦆, what about an appropriate emoji as shorthand on the end of the title? 💩 seems too appropriate, but there are many others to choose from.

The only thing I would mention about emoji tags is that the first one in this sentence didn't render for me.
posted by lalex at 8:34 PM on July 5, 2018 [2 favorites]


If it doesn't work in MetaFilter Reader, then it's no good!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 8:59 PM on July 5, 2018


the issue hasn't been as obvious to me because the things are effectively never not open in a tab,

...I resemble this remark.
posted by corb at 6:05 AM on July 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


How about a clear visual difference that's immediate as soon as you enter the thread? Something like black text on black background?

I kid. Sort of.
posted by like_neon at 6:32 AM on July 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


We get it, dude.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:54 AM on July 6, 2018


(That was said with love, but in case it’s unclear: (some) people’s distaste for the megathread has been noted time and again. It gets tiresome to see the thing that brings some of us to this site take ritual beatings in here.)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:57 AM on July 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


No offense taken. My comment was somewhat self-flagellating as a subscriber to the mega-threads myself.
posted by like_neon at 7:06 AM on July 6, 2018


(Cool. I did the same thing, above, too! It’s like we have to couch our appreciation for a big site draw in self-loathing or something. This MeTa, for example — which I think is a good idea! — is all about saving folks who accidentally click into the thread a single click back to the front page. And everyone has said it’s a good idea! We don’t have to shit on the megathread out of rote is all I’m saying. We get it: some people don’t like it.)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:09 AM on July 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


When the megathread gets big, accidentally clicking on it pretty much always crashes the browser on my phone and sometimes crashes my phone entirely, so it's not just a click back that I'm trying to avoid.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:19 AM on July 6, 2018 [4 favorites]


Fair point. Which is why I suspect the pony requested here has met with near-universal approval.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:23 AM on July 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


TiL of the existence of Metafilter Reader and it is quite possibly the happiest day of my life.

That said - all of the emoji in this thread worked fine in Metafilter Reader, for whatever that might be worth.
posted by hanov3r at 7:44 AM on July 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


I do think that any notice should go at the beginning of the above-the-fold text rather than in the title. Not everybody sees titles. Probably a pretty small percentage of the userbase at this point, but they're out there.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:53 AM on July 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


I just look at the number of comments.

Can you really predict what's going to become a megathread before the ton of comments starts to pile up?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:01 AM on July 6, 2018


Can you really predict what's going to become a megathread before the ton of comments starts to pile up?

For the US politics threads? Yes, they're megathreads almost by definition; a new one is only started after the existing one fills up to I would say minimum 2K comments.

but they're out there.

I'm right here! ;)
posted by lalex at 8:06 AM on July 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


Yeah, there's a huge difference between an ordinary thread that happens to blow up and The Designated US Politics Megathread.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:38 AM on July 6, 2018


I think the issue is recognizing them when they're brand new, before they get a bazillion comments. There have been a few recent ones that didn't seem super obvious—the post read like it was more narrowly focused on a specific political Thing, but they were treated like a new megathread. Not a huge deal to me personally, but I think that's the kind of thing folks are talking about.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:05 AM on July 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


I think you're talking about a completely different problem. We already have Designated US Politics Megathreads. They just aren't always clearly labeled as such. The original request is simply to make sure they're always clearly labeled in the title, or at the very least above the fold.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:34 AM on July 6, 2018 [6 favorites]


Speaking of ducks, or rather 🦆, what about an appropriate emoji as shorthand on the end of the title? 💩 seems too appropriate, but there are many others to choose from.

🧵x106
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:05 PM on July 6, 2018


Very much would like this, particularly since I often view the megathreads on my phone (yes, ouch), and it can be difficult to find them once they've scrolled off the first page of results. (Or perhaps I'm missing the one! cool! trick! for finding them?)
posted by skye.dancer at 4:49 PM on July 7, 2018


skye.dancer, one method I've used is the Recent Comments tab, visible if you're on a main page (MetaFilter proper, AskMeFi, FanFare, MetaTalk). MetaFilter -> Recent Comments often shows activity in the U.S. politics thread of the moment.
posted by cgc373 at 9:00 AM on July 8, 2018


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