What's one change to Metafilter that you'd like to see made, or tried? December 14, 2018 3:05 PM   Subscribe

What is something that you wish worked differently, and how would it work?
posted by Baeria to Feature Requests at 3:05 PM (343 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Hide favorites and make them truly only bookmarks.
posted by terrapin at 3:22 PM on December 14, 2018 [17 favorites]


Clear mod thumbs up/down on feature requests and a place to see updates toward implementation for those that are approved.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 3:22 PM on December 14, 2018 [9 favorites]


(did you see what I did there, terrapin?)
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 3:24 PM on December 14, 2018


I am probably the only one who would want this but I'd love to be able to hover my mouse over someone's user name and see a small, pop-up version of their profile. Particularly the person's location, gender/pronouns, and photo - - things that would make it easier to respond politely and appropriately. Yes, I know that I can click to open in a new tab but, uh, sometimes I have a LOT of tabs goin' on here.
posted by VioletU at 3:32 PM on December 14, 2018 [43 favorites]


Threaded messaging.
posted by twoplussix at 3:37 PM on December 14, 2018 [9 favorites]


I'd like the ability to right click on a username and select "hide all from..." I know this is available via userscripting, but I feel like it should be part of my preferences, like themes, and should carry through no matter what device I'm on or the browser I'm using.
posted by kimberussell at 3:41 PM on December 14, 2018 [14 favorites]


Threading. Primarily to make it clear who's replying to whom. No ability to collapse/hide threads, no filtering based on favorites or anything similar, no voting, no reordering of threads based on activity/votes/whatever, none of that fancy stuff. Just simple indentation.
posted by equalpants at 3:49 PM on December 14, 2018 [10 favorites]


An easy way to find out whether an AskMeFi question I responded to ever had best answers chosen. If I go to my profile and view my activity, if my own answer was picked as best I can see that with a little checkmark. But it's interesting to see which answers were seen as most helpful even if (or maybe especially if) mine wasn't one of them, and there's no way to know when the OP picks best answers. Is there some way to show on the Activity from Redstart page or My Recent Activity page whether or not each of the listed posts has had best answers selected? Also, maybe the Recent Favorites tab could be changed to Recent Favorites or Best Answers.
posted by Redstart at 4:10 PM on December 14, 2018 [15 favorites]


Sometimes people don't favorite my comments.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:14 PM on December 14, 2018 [117 favorites]


I really, really would like to be able to queue FPPs, so that I can make a whole bunch at once and then have posts on weird offbeat things scheduled like easter eggs over a period of weeks. I'm laughing a little at the timing of this post, right after I finally got around to actually asking!
posted by sciatrix at 4:16 PM on December 14, 2018 [9 favorites]


I’d really like to see that “down arrow moves page to last post instead of bottom navigation” change that we discussed earlier implemented.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:21 PM on December 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


Would love to get rid of the favorite count on my user page. The desire for validation from strangers is behind all the comments I'm least proud of. :P
posted by roger ackroyd at 4:23 PM on December 14, 2018 [13 favorites]


Better Twitter integration. Specifically I'd like to be able to tweet a link to a Metafilter *comment* and have it show up on Twitter with a card that gives an excerpt of the comment, rather than (as currently happens) an excerpt of the post.

This'd make it so much nicer to share "hey this comment is amazing" stuff.

Clear mod thumbs up/down on feature requests and a place to see updates toward implementation for those that are approved.

A bit of this too. There were a lot of good suggestions, both quality-of-life and driving-more-traffic, in the last funding post; it feels like they all dropped into a black hole.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:36 PM on December 14, 2018 [23 favorites]


The list of my favorited Asks tells me how many users favorited each question; I'd like a green checkmark to appear as well, so I can see at a glance whether questions (especially older ones) ever received best answers.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:37 PM on December 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


I want to be able to see what I've flagged as fantastic
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:43 PM on December 14, 2018 [69 favorites]


Also: I'd like to see a length and/or number-of-links limit on posts.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:43 PM on December 14, 2018 [11 favorites]


Within comments, the automatic conversion and replacement of distances into chains (22 yards, the length of a cricket pitch, or 4 rods), areas into acres, volumes into firkins (9 gallons) and currency into pounds, shilling and pence.
posted by Wordshore at 4:43 PM on December 14, 2018 [31 favorites]


i want limited img tag usability only in the mod notes section of the "flag with note" flag so i can put in the actual sure_jan.gif instead of having to write out sure_jan.gif each time
posted by poffin boffin at 4:51 PM on December 14, 2018 [21 favorites]


In Recent Activity it would be cool if there was an option for "Remove additional answers from recent activity, if there's an update let that come through".

There is not a whole lot else I'd change in terms of the way the website works. I think it is a very good website!
posted by bleep at 4:57 PM on December 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


- A toggle for the asker to hide answers from everyone except them until a time limit has passed.
- Remove (visible) favorites.
- No megathreads.
- More state of the site posts.
posted by Memo at 5:10 PM on December 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


Compromise: Each Favourite costs $5
Current fav functionality renamed 'bookmark'
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 5:18 PM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Threaded messaging.

Down votes.

(not really my ego can’t take it only sweet sweet favourites please)
posted by billiebee at 5:20 PM on December 14, 2018 [9 favorites]


More posts, more comments, more (cool) users. Change nothing else.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:21 PM on December 14, 2018 [8 favorites]


Wordshore: "Within comments, the automatic conversion and replacement of distances into chains (22 yards, the length of a cricket pitch, or 4 rods), areas into acres, volumes into firkins (9 gallons) and currency into pounds, shilling and pence."

Typical discriminatory attitude towards hogsheads and barleycorns.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:24 PM on December 14, 2018 [10 favorites]


More things like “post your first post” month (September?) to encourage new users.
posted by CMcG at 5:34 PM on December 14, 2018 [9 favorites]


"More things like “post your first post” month (September?) to encourage new users."

We will be having a best post contest in January. We decided December is so full and hectic and trying to close out the best post contest in the week of Christmas and New Year's and end-of-year accounting stuff is TOO MUCH, but doing it in January when the world's a bit slower will be less hectic and start the year off with a bang.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:42 PM on December 14, 2018 [15 favorites]


Move politics mega threads to their own subsite.

Or, have just a general "chatty" subsite they can go in.

Or, change the "us politics" box on the sidebar to include other topics, the current brexit thread for example.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 5:46 PM on December 14, 2018 [8 favorites]


A best post content is kind of the opposite of encouraging new users. How about "go ahead and post even if you think your idea probably isn't good enough" month?
posted by Redstart at 5:47 PM on December 14, 2018 [16 favorites]


(The best post contest includes recognition for first and second time posters)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:50 PM on December 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


My suggestion is to give Fanfare Talk a good sidebar--good enough to make it theoretically work as some users' one-stop shop for Fanfare.

I get that FFT has been been pretty quiet for the past couple of weeks, too quiet to check specifically very often, but it was used fairly well in previous months. IMO what makes its tab interesting to go to directly is it's the index page with general interest user-generated discussion prompts, rather than super specific media descriptions often copied from other sources. Yet I think you can only scan its discussion points--beyond the titles, e.g. did you know the Tournament of Books longlist is out?--by going to a tab where you lose other interesting navigation.

So changes there might include giving it a sidebar with (in order) a search box, a category list, a My Fanfare view, an upcoming Club Events view (compressed to something more like the Upcoming Meetups sidebar widget on MetaTalk), a compressed Recent Posts view (title links only), and a Watercooler view.

Assuming that all fits, I think for me it would be a stickier and more interesting view than most other Fanfare tabs. Like, I'm still a little overwhelmed by the list of media I'll never be able to consume on the Recent Posts page, I'd appreciate more visibility for club events, I think the Watercooler is a good idea but it's a bit sparse on its own tab, and I definitely don't need more than title links for My Fanfare. But I do enjoy reading post descriptions other MeFites have composed to speak to other MeFites about Fanfare and/or whole ranges of media, and I'd check there more often if it was a nice place to get a quick view of other stuff on Fanfare at the same time.
posted by Wobbuffet at 5:52 PM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


We will be having a best post contest in January. We decided December is so full and hectic and trying to close out the best post contest in the week of Christmas and New Year's and end-of-year accounting stuff is TOO MUCH, but doing it in January when the world's a bit slower will be less hectic and start the year off with a bang.


Oh! I like this idea very much indeed, and thank you for moving the month!
posted by sciatrix at 5:53 PM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


- Pagination for long threads
- Loves in addition to favorites
- img tag so there can be more photos of chickens being fucked. And other images too.
posted by bendy at 6:05 PM on December 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


Free beer.
posted by briank at 6:18 PM on December 14, 2018 [12 favorites]


Maybe I'm crazy, but the FanFare RSS seems to have only posts, not FanFare Talk? FFT should be included in the feed, if it isn't.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:24 PM on December 14, 2018


It would be amazing if the Last.fm widget were brought back. We used to have one, and I miss it. I liked ambiently discovering people's favorite music when I went to their profiles.
posted by limeonaire at 6:25 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


The political mega-threads seriously need to be broken into pages. I know that’s heretical, but an endlessly scrolling page is ungainly and can really tax the equipment.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:27 PM on December 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


ArgentCorvid: "Move politics mega threads to their own subsite.

Or, have just a general "chatty" subsite they can go in.
"

This comes up a lot, and I don't really understand. So: future state, mega-threads are on a separate subsite. How does this impact your user experience in any way? I guess you don't see the FPP roll by every two weeks or so?

I'm not saying don't do it, I'm saying I don't see the benefit. People complain about the mega-threads taking up mod resources, and that I understand (I don't necessarily agree, but I understand). But I don't see how moving to a different page changes things for you?
posted by Chrysostom at 6:28 PM on December 14, 2018 [14 favorites]


I don't want threaded comments, but I would love threaded MeMail. It is such a pain to click back and forth between Your Inbox and Your Sent Mail.
posted by HotToddy at 6:39 PM on December 14, 2018 [58 favorites]


i really truly love the lack of comment-threading. MetaFilter is one of the last non-threading holdouts, and this makes it so dear and precious to my heart.
posted by halation at 6:45 PM on December 14, 2018 [121 favorites]


Yeah, fuck threading. Literature or die.
posted by valkane at 6:49 PM on December 14, 2018 [34 favorites]


Every time I log in I would like a joint and a Mission superburrito to appear magically right in front of me.

Every. Time.
posted by loquacious at 6:50 PM on December 14, 2018 [34 favorites]


In Recent Activity, I'd like to see the last 10 comments of a thread regardless of where my last comment might be.
posted by jamjam at 6:59 PM on December 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


When you add someone as a contact, quonsee/quonsar or just "quons*" could be an option.
posted by bunderful at 7:16 PM on December 14, 2018 [16 favorites]


Maybe a "fuck off and do something else for a few hours you dopamine addict" kinda looking banner that appears if I click Recent Activity more than say ... once an hour. Or minute. [ deep sigh ]
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:24 PM on December 14, 2018 [8 favorites]


I want a wizard to banish megathreads and all memory of them to the spirit realm.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:25 PM on December 14, 2018 [12 favorites]


In Recent Activity, I'd like to see the last 10 comments of a thread regardless of where my last comment might be.

but? that's exactly what RA already shows? unless there's something you can change on preferences that i have never seen or heard of? it says "X total comments, Y since your last one (if applicable), last 10 shown below" and the only time that's different is if you've added the thread to RA without commenting, in which case the "Y since your last one" doesn't appear.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:26 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


I think they mean the last 10 comments, even if yours is the last one and appears last.

Also I kinda want a recipe subsite. I don’t know how that would work, but it would be fun to see long threads about mousse.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:27 PM on December 14, 2018 [10 favorites]


I wish that I could change my username without losing my history. The username I have now is a nickname given to me by someone that is no longer in my life (and it's a good thing). I wish I didn't have to use the nickname with that baggage attached to it. I mean, it was a perfectly fine username when I started using it in 2011 but it's gone really sour now.

I would just change my name but I don't want to lose the connection to all of my history (and whatever meager social capital I've accumulated here on Metafilter over the last eight years).
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:28 PM on December 14, 2018 [34 favorites]


do it be free make a stupid sockpuppet for the sole purpose of making a single joke in a single thread and then realize its idiocy truly represents the very core of your being
posted by poffin boffin at 7:33 PM on December 14, 2018 [38 favorites]


And how would it work? I don't know. The hands of the Gods reach down and do a Control-F "Elly Vortex" and replace with "Othername" and ~whoosh~ my name switches everywhere in one fell swoop AND - and this is the important part - everybody's MINDS are also Control-F "Elly Vortex" and replace with "Othername"ed and voila, everything is cool.
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:33 PM on December 14, 2018 [7 favorites]


Eh, I'm too lazy to do sockpuppet accounts. And I'd probably see a comment that my sockpuppet made and - forgetting it was me - be like "holy shit that person thinks just like me, either we'd really hate each other or be best friends".
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:35 PM on December 14, 2018 [15 favorites]


I asked for typo-edit functionality in the past and it is now a thing.

I am content and happy and fat and lazy.

I am also on pain meds from a recent procedure (that went well! No more little Elds for us, let me tell ya) so, yea, party on Wayne!
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:40 PM on December 14, 2018 [19 favorites]


But seriously, I'd like the "XX comments (YY new)" feature to actually have meaning since it's mostly nonsensical from my experience.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:41 PM on December 14, 2018 [6 favorites]


To clarify I meant threaded MeMail, not comments.
posted by twoplussix at 7:59 PM on December 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


Cool.
posted by valkane at 8:02 PM on December 14, 2018


I really, really would like to be able to queue FPPs

Email drafts (and Evernote, and notes saved in Dropbox, etc.) can work this way, but without the actual automation.


Elly Vortex, I've done that reading of comments and thinking "well put, uh ...me? Huh." a few times now.


My wishes: quoting built in, and native GraphFi. I have a bookmarklet for both, but only where I install them. Separately, they're good, but together, they link discussions like magic. Not threaded, but linked.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:03 PM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


i really truly love the lack of comment-threading. MetaFilter is one of the last non-threading holdouts, and this makes it so dear and precious to my heart.

One more Never Threader right here.
posted by escabeche at 8:07 PM on December 14, 2018 [28 favorites]


I don't want threaded comments, but I would love threaded MeMail. It is such a pain to click back and forth between Your Inbox and Your Sent Mail.

YES YES YES! No threading on the site, but yes please on MeMail.
posted by lazuli at 8:18 PM on December 14, 2018 [15 favorites]


do it be free make a stupid sockpuppet for the sole purpose of making a single joke in a single thread and then realize its idiocy truly represents the very core of your being

Poffin Boffin, were you that sock puppet?
Also, I went to memail you about how much your sure_jan comment made me laugh when I really needed it, but alas! Memail disabled. So I’m telling you now.

Also also I want threaded comments. Sorry. I only want them for the megathreads. I’m so tired of seeing the same article posted multiple times. If it were threaded, the pages would be easier to manage and duplicates wouldn’t be as frequent.

I want any and all improvements to mobile. I’m on mobile 100% of the time, and it’s just not a great experience, friends.
posted by greermahoney at 8:24 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Ohhhh man, the thing I want most is to be able to search for phrases in Ask. Every time I try to search for something, I get that "Looks like you're searching for a phrase" error. Damn right I am! It would make things soooo much easier.
posted by silverstatue at 8:25 PM on December 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


I don't really understand. So: future state, mega-threads are on a separate subsite. How does this impact your user experience in any way?

Mostly so they are easier to find. Maybe its misplaced originalism, but also I feel the megathreads make metafilter feel more like a regular web forum, rather than a cool place to post and find links.

I don't really wish to see them gone, as they are my primary means of keeping up with the ongoing whatever-the-fuck is going on, and the brexit deal is just another facet of it, but those threads don't get the same placement on the site.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 8:28 PM on December 14, 2018


Each day, give banhammer capability to a different random MeFite for that day only.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:42 PM on December 14, 2018 [20 favorites]


+1 vote for never threading (except for mail). NEVER. I can go anywhere else on the internet if I want that nonsense.
posted by witchen at 8:52 PM on December 14, 2018 [12 favorites]


Each day, give banhammer capability to a different random MeFite for that day only.

Without telling them. Every day would be fraught with excitement for countless users who would wonder "Is today the day I can finally get rid of $ASSHOLE_MEFITE?"
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:38 PM on December 14, 2018 [6 favorites]


We will be having a best post contest in January.

Yay yay yay!

doing it in January when the world's a bit slower will be less hectic and start the year off with a bang.

I understand the reasoning here and it makes sense. Just speaking for myself -- I've been able to sponsor Best Post categories in December because I usually get time off from work at the end of the year, and have time to review everything, etc, while January traditionally has involved long hours work-wise. You can bet I'll still try to participate in January, because the Best Post/MeFites Choice contest is one of my favorite MetaFilter events and I have not missed being a part of one in years! However, I might have to narrow the category down to make things more manageable.

Anyway, looking forward to it. Thank you!

As for features, cortex and jessamyn mentioned this in the last podcast episode -- I'd love a podcast archive page listing the episodes by year/month. Also would love a way to navigate between podcast-specific MetaTalk posts: Previous Episode | Next Episode.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 9:54 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


I know you asked for one, but:

-> I favorite things that I _disagree_ with if they teach me how other people think - and even the fact that someone disagrees is enlightening sometimes. So, I worry that calling something a "favorite" might lead, I don't know, history? to think my own beliefs are different than they are. Would love a way to address this. Just "bookmarks" wouldn't do it really; people make weird assumptions based on little evidence. Maybe pre-defined types of favorites?

-> Similarly, I make contact links to different people for different reasons; it would be nice to do that.

-> I've always thought it would be cool to handle questions that stump the community in some kind of special way. Maybe domain experts would be intrigued by stumper questions and choose to weigh in...
posted by amtho at 10:21 PM on December 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


I really really miss the Metatalk threads. It's a shell of what it used to be. All I see now are these "talk about how you're dealing" posts, site-related announcements, and lame queries about the site. What happened to talking about what's going on elsewhere on the site in real time? Addressing people who are full of shit directly? When a feller could lay out his raw thoughts about the site, the inconsistency of the mods, call out the community as a whole if need-be - and it could just unfold, naturally? Pieces fall where they may. It was glorious.

Like, in Ancient Rome, you could literally witness 100 men fight 100 lions, you could see nature like you could not see any zoo today. Crocodiles, bears, elephants. Fighting men. Fighting each other. And you just didn't know what was going to happen. You could watch a condemned man fight for his life with a blunt sword against fucking Centurions, and you know what happened sometimes? Sometimes the man could win the crowd's favor. They could turn on the organizers. He could walk out a rich, free man. You never know.

What I'm saying is I feel like the post queue is used not just to delay posts, but to prevent posts, to short circuit them, and it's a pity.
posted by floam at 10:24 PM on December 14, 2018 [22 favorites]


ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 10:49 PM on December 14, 2018 [18 favorites]


Like, in Ancient Rome, you could literally witness 100 men fight 100 lions, you could see nature like you could not see any zoo today. Crocodiles, bears, elephants. Fighting men. Fighting each other. And you just didn't know what was going to happen.

I don't think this is as compelling an argument as you think it is.
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:53 PM on December 14, 2018 [31 favorites]


It was glorious.

Counterpoint: no, it wasn't.

Seriously, I know I've only been here since 2005, so I missed the real Wild West days of MeFi, but even the era between 2005 and 2010 was capable of some pretty toxic and awful shit that would never fly today.

I really, sincerely do not get the nostalgia for the Good Old Days of MetaTalk that crops up here sometimes, because even a cursory review of early MetaTalk shows a really nasty streak.

Yes, sure, some good stuff came out of MetaTalk back in the day. But not much, and even the best threads from the early MetaTalk days are rife with awful shit.

The site has evolved over time into a place that is somewhat better than that, but I imagine that Mefites of color, transgender Mefites, and, frankly, Mefites who aren't white and cisgender could give you an earful about how far we still have to go.
posted by scrump at 11:35 PM on December 14, 2018 [32 favorites]


I wasn't here yet in 2005. I'm actually talking about just a couple years ago, when MetaTalk posts went up immediately.
posted by floam at 11:40 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Less outrage-filter.

Like, seriously. "HERE'S A THING TO GET PISSED OFF ABOUT" doesn't feel like a good reason to make a post, and some days it feels like that's all I'm seeing on the Blue. When I feel that way, I take the time to scroll through the entire front page and count how many posts are truly that and it's always fewer than I think it is.

Which still means that the number of those we have on the front page is too many because it's overwhelming the feel of the site. "Come here to be angry about things" is not something the internet needs more of, and it's not why I come to MetaFilter.

So even if it's just subjective insofar as how much of the front page is actually taken up by outrage-filter posts, it's still too many. Think thrice about making a post -- "Am I putting this here because I want to see others also be angry about this" isn't necessarily the right reason for posting to MetaFilter.

/soapbox
posted by hippybear at 11:58 PM on December 14, 2018 [38 favorites]


floam: I also miss direct MeTa posting instead of the queue, but given the staffing demands and costs, I'm okay with some editorial filtering and perhaps selective timing of MeTa posts. I don't want to anyone's life overburdened by moderating a post that is a shitshow, when some editorial latitude or some judicious post timing might keep that from happening.

I wish it felt a bit more transparent, as I don't know what doesn't make it through the editorial process and maybe that would be good to have a window into... although that is an oddly self-defeating request.
posted by hippybear at 12:02 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I also think a lot of us have mellowed out, realize we are family and don't really want to fight each other as much any more, especially considering the state of world politics.
posted by loquacious at 12:13 AM on December 15, 2018 [7 favorites]


Being able to link to a comment on a post and have it be explicit that it is that comment you are trying to show someone and not the whole damn thread.

There are a couple ways to do this but my preference would be to load the page with the comment in clear view and have a ‘show earlier’ and ‘show later’ buttons above and below it, with comment styling on the highlighted one (so it can be easily found again if the earlier/later are shown).
posted by iamkimiam at 12:22 AM on December 15, 2018 [5 favorites]


> I wish it felt a bit more transparent, as I don't know what doesn't make it through the editorial process

Me too. I can't even try to analyze the thread IDs to guess the rate because there are zero gaps with the way the queue works. But it seems obvious that issues folks have with other users, posts, policies, and site culture have mostly stopped generating spontaneous discussion in public ("Meta-talk" if you will).

Search MetaTalk for 'callout'. Sort by date. I think it's pretty clear that something put the brakes on in 2013 and 2014, and the last few years, well, it's not really a word that has been used.

I suppose it's possible folks have just quit being passionate about people being wrong on their favorite website on the Internet on their own.
posted by floam at 12:42 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Each day, give banhammer capability to a different random MeFite for that day only.

for YEARS i have been agitating for a king of the bean type mod assignment wherein mod powers are given to a randomly chosen mefite for a week or a month or whatever and at the end of that time they would go directly into the wicker man guaranteeing peace and prosperity for the year to come
posted by poffin boffin at 1:02 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


A thirty minute waiting period after a MeFi post is made before comments are enabled, the first five comments on any post cannot be favourited and strict modding of all comments above the fold, removing anything which is low-effort, snarky or does not engage meaningfully with the FPP.

Yes, I am an absolute riot at parties, why do you ask?
posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:07 AM on December 15, 2018 [19 favorites]


I'd like the "new comments" count to work a bit differently, particularly for the megathreads. If I go to the main page having previously visited a thread and see "1000 comments (500 new)" listed under the post I can click on new comments to go to where I left off reading. But if I click away from the main page without going into that thread, when I come back it'll be "2000 comments (100 new)" even though there are actually 1500 comments I haven't yet read. Unless I am doing something wrong, which is always possible.

(Elly Vortex - change your name! I think it's pretty easy to carry social capital with you if you want to. No reason why you can't link to your former identity in your new one, and I think a lot of regular users will notice writing style and be aware of name changes.)
posted by paduasoy at 2:02 AM on December 15, 2018 [5 favorites]


(I feel a bit foolish writing this because maybe it already exists? And I'm just too dim to find it?)

I'd like to see FanFare be organised by Reading clubs for book types as well as individual books. I don't mean book clubs. I mean I would like to say that for the next six months please talk about-- for instance-- science fiction by women. I love talking about books and I would really like to talk more about books on MeFi, but I find I do not because I am too lazy to go book by book. I realise that could result in a megapost, but if you had some rules about spawning a part x once it reached a certain length, it could work.
posted by frumiousb at 3:59 AM on December 15, 2018


Images, coloured and sized type, customisable profiles, java, spoofed posts and a sarcastic tag.
posted by unliteral at 4:19 AM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


I also think a lot of us have mellowed out, realize we are family and don't really want to fight each other as much any more, especially considering the state of world politics.

I haven't mellowed, the mods have just 86ed all of my attempts at MetaTalk threads since the so-called queue went in.
posted by enn at 4:28 AM on December 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


More cowbell.
posted by Fizz at 4:29 AM on December 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


And to answer the question: as always, my feature request is to be able to delete my account, including my posts and comments.
posted by enn at 4:29 AM on December 15, 2018 [5 favorites]


I would like to be able to choose my own font on the new theme, the same way you can do on the old one.
posted by rollick at 4:46 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Sometimes when I read a bigger thread my back gets tense and I could use a back rub. So, back rubs.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:53 AM on December 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


I would really like a better way to delete my favorites, like a checkbox thing on email.
posted by jgirl at 5:13 AM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


I’d like people to get a notification if something of theirs is flagged as fantastic. Not visible on the site because I know then people would complain about popularity contests and that. But just a little automated memail. When I’ve asked about it in the past the response is to let the person know myself via memail, but that can feel weird and sends my social anxiety into a little “does this look like I’m kissing their ass? will it freak them out? oh god what if they ignore me? oh good god what if they tell me to stop stalking them??” loop.
posted by billiebee at 5:15 AM on December 15, 2018 [21 favorites]


just announce in thread that you have flagged it as fantastic and if it gets awkward you can always fake your own death and start a new life as a cassava farmer in tonga
posted by poffin boffin at 5:48 AM on December 15, 2018 [7 favorites]


I would like to have increased staffing on the mod side of things, so that we could always have one mod paying attention to the politics megathread and one paying attention to the rest of the site. Alternatively, ban the megathread. I am aware that this won't happen.

Also in other not-gonna-happen news, I would like to see titles go back to being below-the-fold only.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:32 AM on December 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


Also, whenever I flag something and move on rather than responding in the thread, I would like someone to come scratch me behind the ears and tell me that I'm a Good Boy, maybe give me a cookie.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:33 AM on December 15, 2018 [11 favorites]


just announce in thread that you have flagged it as fantastic

But then you’ll all know how much I adore y’all!
posted by billiebee at 6:36 AM on December 15, 2018


Wouldn’t change a thing.
posted by cassava heart at 6:38 AM on December 15, 2018 [5 favorites]


But OK, more realistically I think that the biggest change I would actually hope to see around here is a stronger effort by both the mod team and the community at large to identify and stamp out transphobia here on MetaFilter. This is an area where I think there has been some improvement of late, but we need to keep our foot on the gas and continue to ramp up efforts to make MetaFilter a welcoming community for people of all genders.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:40 AM on December 15, 2018 [8 favorites]


A pony. An actual real pony that travels around to meetups to encourage the most reticent to show up, pet and nuzzle the mifi-pony, calm everyone down and just be the pony.
posted by sammyo at 6:59 AM on December 15, 2018 [13 favorites]


I would like the option to sort My Fanfare by either most recent post or most recent comment.

I also think it would be cool if, when you click on the "books" or "TV" or "movies" link on the fanfare home page and you go to that long chronological list, you had a way of searching tags. Like, you could sort for nonfiction books, or mysteries, or whatever.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:02 AM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


When you've submitted a post, after every ten comments on it MetaFilter automatically mails you a small piece of nice cheese. After every hundred comments on it, MetaFilter mails you a cheese wheel.

(Not applicable to the politics megathreads, to keep this a realistic request)
posted by Wordshore at 7:05 AM on December 15, 2018 [8 favorites]


A pony. An actual real pony that travels around to meetups to encourage the most reticent to show up, pet and nuzzle the mifi-pony, calm everyone down and just be the pony.

Hmm. We don't have a trailer yet, but we could probably arrange a meetup in western MA to meet the pony.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:07 AM on December 15, 2018 [15 favorites]


I mean I would like to say that for the next six months please talk about-- for instance-- science fiction by women.

I'd guess a thread like that would be welcome in Fanfare Talk. It's just that discovery/visibility of the thread is likely to be a bigger issue than not having a mandate for it (I mean, I think it'd fit the venue just fine because people could also use it as a place to point to existing book posts or announce new ones).
posted by Wobbuffet at 7:17 AM on December 15, 2018


I never want to see a list of who favorited a comment. I have never clicked on that deliberately. Who clicks on that? What are you doing, making an enemies list? Just disable that feature, or make it a hover only. I am either trying to + a favorite or I am trying to click the time so I can register my place on the page and see if new comments loaded. Having to back button my way out of that reloads my place on the page to the top, which, please, no! I guess what I'm saying is I'd like to bookmark a thread more easily and reliably.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:18 AM on December 15, 2018 [9 favorites]


Also, I would pay money to change my username but keep my comment history. It could cost X+$5 every time you have to change and list "Newname, formerly blnkfrnk" on the profile. (First change $5, second change $10, third change $15, etc.)

For continuity, just change comments going forward from the change. So I pay you, select new username, there is a brief-ish pause while whatever technical change happens during which commenting could be blocked, and my new comments are from my new username.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:31 AM on December 15, 2018 [9 favorites]


blnkfrnk, you can hide favorites. It's in the preferences under "Comment favorites style."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:45 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


So, I changed my user name and it says so on my profile. It does not seem to have affected my interactions in any way. But perhaps I burned a whole bunch of social capital without noticing!

I wasn't brand new daying--just changing my name. You see, I had just signed up with the name-appendage during the "accounts open for a brief window of time HURRY HURRY HURRY" phase in history and it never occurred to me that any regular dictionary words would still be available as usernames and I did not want to dither. And then fifteen whole years later (more or less) discovered that it had been and was. So there! Name change.

But I never think about the fact that someone looking up the old username won't know that I'm still around or that someone looking up the new username won't see the many years of activity. It did change how I interact with favorites, however! Which is the long way round to my actual "thing I would change"--I would like personal visible-only-to-me tags for favorites. Because sometimes the bookmark ones get lost in the other ones.
posted by crush at 7:50 AM on December 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


My minipony would be for more features around tags. The Tags page feels like a placeholder waiting for more functions to be rolled out. It'd be nice if there was better integration between search and tags, maybe with the ability to search for tags on either the Search page or the Tags page. Clicking on the "Tags" tab on the results of the search page is very slow, would be nice if this had some oomph. A search field for tags with the fancy pattern matching/autocomplete like Fanfare has would be spiffy.
posted by peeedro at 8:30 AM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


I would love to be able to see all the tags I've used!
posted by ChuraChura at 8:41 AM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


+1 for changing usernames but keeping comment history, favorites, contacts, etc. Put an icon by the new username (or just show the old one as well) for a few months, or for some number of comments and posts, leave previous usernames showing in the profiles, but allow changing. And definitely charge for it; I like blnkfrnk's idea of increasing charges.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 9:09 AM on December 15, 2018 [7 favorites]


peeedro, I think the slow response on tag searching has to do with the fuzzy logic that was implemented last April.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:18 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I would like for the site to ritually slap people who remove favourites from my old posts, thus decreasing my favourites count.

But that seems unlikely, so I'm just going to go with something I've already asked for: time of last post on Recent Activity.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:25 AM on December 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'd like more info in users' profiles. So often the answer to a question makes me wonder where (usually what country, occasionally what city or state) the user lives, or how old they are. Sometimes the answers, questions and comments would make a lot more sense with some context.

Maybe somehow encourage more use of profiles overall. There are some great ones - some informative, some entertaining, but it seems like profiles are a part of MetaFilter that doesn't get the attention it deserves.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 9:29 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Sometimes people don't favorite my comments.

not that I'm competitive or anything, or care at all about the status inherent in such concerns, but it would sure be nice to see favorites garnered in any of the ongoing POTUS political threads somehow devalued, because they just don't reflect the reality of the rest of the site. It's not fair. I'm Canadian and just don't comment much over there and How Will I Ever Win Metafilter If This Policy Continues!?!?!

but seriously -- it would be nice to see PROJECTS somehow get more love, to see more FPPs come from the stuff that gets posted there, or otherwise direct more user attention to the stuff of PROJECTS in terms of reminders etc. I can only see this strengthening the overall community.
posted by philip-random at 9:40 AM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Hmm. We don't have a trailer yet, but we could probably arrange a meetup in western MA to meet the pony.

I'm in Eastern, MA, have never actually gone to an IRL meetup, but I would totally go to a pony meet up in Western, MA.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:05 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Memail when one of my comments gets deleted. I don’t need an explainer, just a heads up with a stock reply so I don’t think I’m losing my mind “I thought I left a comment? Did I forget to click the Post Comment button? Oh right yeah that was kind of a jerky one.”
posted by notyou at 10:08 AM on December 15, 2018 [17 favorites]


Also, I'll third that it would be cool to be able to change usernames while keeping comments, favorites, etc. I'd totally be willing to pay $5 like you would for a new account. I also think it would be fair to have a limit (like, you can only change usernames once per account, or you can only change once every 5 years or whatever).
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:08 AM on December 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


it would sure be nice to see favorites garnered in any of the ongoing POTUS political threads somehow devalued

Ha, yeah. My all time highest favorite-getter is a seven-word smart-ass comment I made in one of those threads.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:09 AM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'll third that it would be cool to be able to change usernames while keeping comments, favorites, etc.

Fourthed.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:23 AM on December 15, 2018 [9 favorites]


Also, I'll third that it would be cool to be able to change usernames while keeping comments, favorites, etc. I'd totally be willing to pay $5 like you would for a new account. I also think it would be fair to have a limit (like, you can only change usernames once per account, or you can only change once every 5 years or whatever).

I agree, including setting a limit on name changes.
posted by betweenthebars at 10:36 AM on December 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


two per week maximum
posted by philip-random at 10:50 AM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


It would be nice if the site worked in mobile Safari’s Reader View or whatever it’s called. Right now that hides all the comments, making it totally useless, but it would be a really great usability thing if it did work.
posted by odinsdream at 12:24 PM on December 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


I'd like to be able to hide NSFW questions. Or hide specific questions generally.
Useful when I'm browsing at work or showing an interesting question to a younger cousin.
posted by M. at 12:32 PM on December 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


Safari mobile version is awful. I suggest switching your default to the web version.

I would also like to hide NSFW questions; I think an easy way to do that would be to make an Ask category for it.
posted by blnkfrnk at 1:28 PM on December 15, 2018


No i don't just mean on Safari mobile i mean the Reading Mode you get by pressing the button that looks like a paragraph line symbol to the left of the URL.
posted by odinsdream at 1:39 PM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


What's the goal of this thread? It had to be approved from the queue, so does that mean MeFi leaders are looking for things to try? Or are we shooting the breeze?

I hope we get an update to June's State of the Site post and the many visions and requests articulated by users there. I'm honestly curious what MeFi wants to be.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 2:07 PM on December 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


The only reason I still have this username is that I don't want to lose my comment history again.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:14 PM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


I would like to see this site evolve into one that was really international instead of mostly US-centric. Sometimes I feel like I walked into a party where I wasn't invited, not because people don't want me there but because they simply never realised that I might like to attend. And now that I'm here, of course that is fine, but it's still something that no one expected to happen.

Also I'd like more IRL meetings close enough that I can go there and meet other MeFites.

I'm not sure if and how anyone could make these things happen, but I was told I could wish for something, and this is it.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:28 PM on December 15, 2018 [21 favorites]


Some kind of notification of deleted comments. Not for the purposes of arguing about it, but for learning what makes a comment deleteworthy in the first place. If I don't know it's been flagged, I'll probably keep making the same mistake.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:32 PM on December 15, 2018 [5 favorites]


cortex is planning an update on the State of the Site stuff, yeah. It's gotten delayed longer than we intended.

Purpose of this thread is... just what the OP put in the post? Folks can talk about things they'd like to see. It can be pie in the sky or practical, and if some workable ideas come out of this, that's great, and if not then we've had an enjoyable time kind of talking it over.

On the name change suggestion specifically -- to me that's a non-starter. One of the core things that has set Mefi apart is real continuity of identity of individual community members, so you mostly know who you're talking to, and you know that your participation today will form your reputation in the community going forward, so you have an incentive to act like the person you want people to perceive you as. Along with this goes the integrity of the archive remaining what it was, what those conversations were at the time; in general we don't change history. Transitory and retroactively-changed account names would be very counter to both of those.

People can totally change over to a new account, with a clean slate of participation, if they feel they need a new name or need to change an old pattern etc. You can choose to reveal or not reveal the connection to your old account. If it's a financial hardship for any reason just drop us a line and we can comp you a new account.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:49 PM on December 15, 2018 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I get why it's a non-starter in general but can we make an exception just for me personally? I think that would be the fairest compromise.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:53 PM on December 15, 2018 [16 favorites]


(And there are a lot of good ideas here so thank you all for the brainstorming!)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:55 PM on December 15, 2018


Real suggestion, already mentioned upthread but worth mentioning again: could we either make the "new comments" counter mean something, or else take it away? It is ridiculously broken and has been forever.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:02 PM on December 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


> The political mega-threads seriously need to be broken into pages.

*coughs*, *slides link across table*
posted by lucidium at 3:36 PM on December 15, 2018


More hugs
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:36 PM on December 15, 2018 [9 favorites]


The Metatalk queue fucking sucks ass, and is indicative of a mod team that regards the userbase as irritating children to be approached with the condescending air of harried kindergarten teachers, so i would get rid of that.
posted by Greg Nog at 3:39 PM on December 15, 2018 [15 favorites]


I want a wizard to banish megathreads and all memory of them to the spirit realm.


Without megathreads and a big shitgibbon of an enemy for us all to hate, things will slide back to petty squabbles and pointless bickering.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:40 PM on December 15, 2018


I would hug you, Brandon Blatcher, if you asked.

And yeah, in general. More hugs. I don’t know how you’d do that though.
posted by blnkfrnk at 3:51 PM on December 15, 2018


I too have come around to being solidly anti-queue. In my own experience, it does not work as advertised. It also seems like yet another way in which the rest of the site has become warped around the indigestible stone that is the megathreads. "Bad times" for having MeTas seem to coincide with times when current events are making the megathreaders extra unhappy.

I would really like to know approximately what percentage of moderator attention is devoted to those threads. My understanding is that the mods have to squat on them pretty much constantly in order to prevent them from turning into giant shitfests. Given that there is generally only one mod on duty at any given time (and given that site resources seem unlikely to permit additional hiring anytime soon) that seems like a real problem to me.

But yes, the queue is also a problem in and of itself. I used to see it as a necessary evil, but now I see it as just an evil.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:54 PM on December 15, 2018 [7 favorites]


It's also weird to me that some of the mods participate in the megathreads as users while also moderating them. That really rubs me the wrong way.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:56 PM on December 15, 2018 [10 favorites]


I really like the queue. Ye olde Metatalk shit-shows weren't something good that we lost. Are you guys really saying you think you have the right to just stir up emotional screaming and yelling at people whenever you feel like it?
posted by bleep at 4:07 PM on December 15, 2018 [5 favorites]


My dislike about the queue is less about the callouts and is more about feeling like the members had control of the conversation. The callouts were sometimes useful and mostly not, but always educational.
posted by hippybear at 4:12 PM on December 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


We seem to get plenty of contentious MeTas even with the queue, but I had a totally harmless feature request basically slip through the cracks a while back which required weeks of intermittent pestering before it was finally posted. And I think that they have a chilling effect on site discourse, where people just don't post things because they effectively need to get permission first. Not everything is approved, and not everything that is approved is approved in its original form, and potentially contentious things that do get posted usually have a long preamble from the mods to the effect of, "This is how it is, feel free to discuss but our minds are made up." It makes the site more heirarchical and less democratic.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:13 PM on December 15, 2018 [8 favorites]


I dunno I think modding is a hard job & if that's what they need to be able to do it, then they should have what they need. I wouldn't want someone to tell me I can't have what I need to do my job.
posted by bleep at 4:17 PM on December 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


I think that the chilling effect I speak of above is particularly relevant in cases where a user wants to start a MeTa that is critical of the moderators. I think that that's a significant problem, because while I think the mods do a good job most of the time and try to do a good job all the time, and while I think they are all quality human beings who deserve respect for doing a difficult and often thankless job, users should not have to get permission before they say something critical.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:18 PM on December 15, 2018 [8 favorites]


I do think this is an area where reasonable people may choose to disagree with each other, though.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:26 PM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Sometimes the posts go up, but the mods have clearly had some time to prepare a long response, and the post goes up with a point-by-point refutation posted as a comment, within literally seconds. It feels like a public takedown of the original idea, QED, instead of a community discussion. I don't know why they feel the need to nip it in the bud like that. Why not just post the thread as soon as a mod is on duty, not so busy, and sees it, and start working on comments at the same time we all can?
posted by floam at 4:28 PM on December 15, 2018 [12 favorites]


Shutting down the big politics megathreads would be far and away the best change possible. It's been brought up multiple times and clearly is a non-starter, but that's the change I'd like to see.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:34 PM on December 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


I would miss the megathreads if they went away, but I missed cigarettes for a while too.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:38 PM on December 15, 2018 [12 favorites]


As an international user the megathreads and countless fpps spun off them are really dragging down the site in my mind. Don't know if it's true but it feels some days on the blue are just political topic after political topic that are just there for the megathread people to continue their discussion. I say this as a person who used to participate in them. I'd like to see a slow phasing out and a higher bar for political posts. But then I'd also like for there to be a higher bar for Americans posting in their opinions about anything to do with another country cause it's so frustrating reading hot takes about a completely different country from the US view point. Like American free speach isn't the way other places do it and we haven't become fascist places where no one can speak. So that's some changes I'd like to see. But know aren't popular.

I'd also like to see the cabal joke die as it comes off sometimes as if we weren't here when it was first made or not one who is part of the power users then we are just not real mefites but then I get the same whiff of arrogance about people who mainly use askme. Quite a few comments over the years seem to imply that it's all drama seeking people who know nothing and aren't welcome here.

Anyway those are my dream changes.
posted by kanata at 5:02 PM on December 15, 2018 [9 favorites]


Also the whole transphobia thing as this site really sucks at it sometimes.
posted by kanata at 5:04 PM on December 15, 2018 [5 favorites]


More hugs
posted by Brandon Blatcher


I think you’re great Brandon, have all the hugs you need.
posted by billiebee at 5:11 PM on December 15, 2018


Or like whatever.
posted by cassava heart at 5:13 PM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


The cabal joke predates MeFi by a lot. It dates to at least the 1980s, well before my time on the internet anyway. It's funny to me that it lives on here at MeFi.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:19 PM on December 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'd like to see a slow phasing out and a higher bar for political posts.

This is a brilliant idea.
posted by hoyland at 5:41 PM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Ah that may be on me as I didn't touch a computer til 1993 and never regularly until 2000 when I could afford my own.
posted by kanata at 5:46 PM on December 15, 2018


No fun feature ideas from me, just my constant desire for a harder line on megathreads, outragefilter, obitfilter, newsfilter, and editorializing in FPPs. MetaFilter is at its best when it's about discussing things on the internet. A really interesting news article, thorough and thoughtful online obituary, etc. makes a fine FPP, while "a thing happened: discuss" or "here are my thoughts on X: discuss" stray from what makes MetaFilter enjoyable for me. For me, this site is about the joy of discovery and learning. That's what made me start lurking 8 years ago and it's what has made me stay.
posted by capricorn at 6:03 PM on December 15, 2018 [11 favorites]


Well on the other hand though I don't know that I actually disagree with your original point about it. Just because it didn't start here doesn't mean it's not unwelcoming. I don't have a strong feeling about it either way though really, I just think it's neat how ancient it is.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:04 PM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I've always looked at MetaTalk with a mixture of affection and irritation. When the queue went in, I noticed a little bit of gentling, if that's what you want to call the precipitous drop in call-outs and fightiness.

The affection wasn't coming from the best place. MeTa occupied a place in my 'net perambulations similar to this one private list I had in my Twitter account called "popcorn," into which I'd drop people who were in the midst of a public flameout. The irritation was because after a few years of paging through MeTa posts, it sorta felt like, "here we go again" each time a new callout would come and go. All the carrying on about perceived hypocrisy and inequity, a culture that seemed to permit open combat but was sort of squeamish about things that draw blood, and the tedium of these people who just Aren't Reading the Room but are gonna go down swinging in the name of mulish refusal to Read the Room.

And the queue goes with a general sea change on MeFi. In the long ago, the MeFi consensus was sort of curdled and harsh. Then it was in contention. Now there's a new consensus and there's this list of users I didn't usually agree with who are now in my mental "has that one guy even posted here ... ahh ... 'account closed'" list because one by one they've flamed out or gotten bored and wandered away, or aren't doing the thing that made them sort of jagged silhouettes against a landscape that is increasingly pastoral compared to where we were ten years ago.

It's sort of strange to me to be down with the New Consensus, meaning I agree with its tenets in principle, but also feel like this isn't a place where I'd really care to examine an idea anymore. That's true of most places on the web that I know of or frequent. Thinking about an idea is something I do in person, with people who know and trust me, and whom I trust. MetaFilter is where I go to read What People I Mostly Agree With Are Saying About a Thing, at the expense of periodically biting back a comment about how I'm not sure something is so, because this has become a place about shared stories you either get on board with or learn to live with.

I think the queue has helped this dynamic along. The mods seem quicker to just nip shit in the bud, and the queue has quietly kept MeTa from being the court of final recourse for summary nippings.

I don't know that I'd change this, because I'm on the record "in favor of MetaFilter skewing in favor of kindness and empathy, even at the expense of unfettered self expression."

I guess this represents a comment in favor of the queue, or rather against the proposal it ought to go away.
posted by mph at 6:39 PM on December 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


I think it would be cool to be able to sort your favorited comments and posts into categories (rudimentary bookmarking), rather than having a big pile of favorites, most of which I'll never see again. I know there are ways to export and use a bookmarking system, etc., but built-in ability would be pretty neat. A simple way might be to allow personal tagging of your own favorites in a way that only you could see, or maybe it's public on your personal page. It would be available via a link to a list of all your tags. So, something like this:
Favorites: 1,387,268
Favorited by others: 1
Favorites Tags [hyperlink to a page with a list of personalized tags]
★ I help fund MetaFilter!
In my mind's eye, I envision it as looking something like when you click on the number of favorites after a comment, and it gives you a list of everyone who favorited it. But instead, it would say something like:
You have 1,387,268 favorites under the following personalized tags:

kitties
pac-man
cool comments
grilled cheese
bladerunner
obituaries
metafilter weddings
2020
Anyway, I know we've said no to this in the past, but I keep ruminating a bit!
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:07 PM on December 15, 2018 [7 favorites]


I honestly don’t get why you want to get rid of threads that you’re not interested in. I’m a big mst3k guy. You’re not complaining about that. I’m also a megathread guy. So, just ignore those like you do the mst3k threads. How hard is that?
posted by valkane at 8:48 PM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Mega-thread complaints seem to be based around two areas:

1) Principle - they aren't about linking to something interesting on the web, therefore aren't really Metafilter post material.

2) Site impact - they seem to take up a lot of moderator time and energy, and therefore have a negative impact on the rest of the site.

I don't particularly agree with the first item - lots of FPPs exist that maybe don't exactly fit the guidelines. Hippybear does those album posts, which aren't exactly "something neat on the web." (this is not a complaint about hippybear's album posts, which I think are great). This is where your mst3k analogy works fine - ignore it and move on.

The second item, I'm more agnostic on, and where the mst3k analogy falls apart, because it posits sitewide impacts. The question is whether the megaposts are a net positive or negative, and I think it's fair to say there's a real dichotomy of opinion on that.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:25 PM on December 15, 2018 [8 favorites]


To the poster whose feature request is a Mission superburrito- I'll raise one in your honor tonight. This is a grave matter.
posted by twoplussix at 9:41 PM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


I want to say I like hippybear's album threads (and they're not necessarily music I'm into normally), please do go on with those.
posted by twoplussix at 9:42 PM on December 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


I made a whole MeTa about this a week or two ago, but I'd really really really like a better way to discuss nonfiction books than either the disorganized 'clubs' feature or at Fanfare in general, where it gets lost in completely unrelated posts about superhero movies and other video entertainment media.

As I said in my recent MeTa, there's no way that anyone's going to think to look at FanFare to find and participate in something like, say, a long thread about books about civil rights history or voter suppression or economic inequality or whatever deep dive into nonfiction might otherwise be a good discussion on this site.

What I gathered from that MeTa is that a lot of things about Fanfare don't seem to work for a lot of people for books discussion specifically, and there are different ways to interpret those comments.

One is that people don't talk about books on Metafilter very well in general, while another is that something is wrong with Fanfare's current organization. I thought up a crude statistics/search project I'll try to do soon to see where exactly discussion of what kind of books is happening on Metafilter, and see if there's some way to draw further conclusions from that.
posted by twoplussix at 9:56 PM on December 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


Naked Thursdays.
posted by Wordshore at 10:33 PM on December 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


I also feel that the queue has a really negative effect on the site for basically all the reasons described above. Metatalk isn’t a chat/vent-about-the-world space. It’s a place for managing the community site as a community. Or, at least, it used to be.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 10:46 PM on December 15, 2018 [8 favorites]


I think people forget that the vast majority, if not all, of the positive changes to the site were driven by commenters, not at all by moderators. In fact, positive changes were often resisted or ignored by moderators and pushed by commenters in angry metatalks. That’s not to say that mods haven’t participated in improving the site. But they frequently did so because people raised hell. It’s not clear at all that the mods are legitimately open to criticism, and that is not the dynamic that (for example) led to pushback against the boyzone back in the day.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:03 PM on December 15, 2018 [10 favorites]


I think when you're talking about changes "resisted or ignored by moderators" it's worth considering who was on the moderation team at the time and who is on it now.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:23 PM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's fair to lay that blame on retired moderators. Unless you're suggesting MetaFilter has had moderators with gross political agendas and that's why things were what they were. In which case I wish you'd be less cryptic and just tell me what was going on exactly.
posted by floam at 1:08 AM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


I complain about the megaposts cause it's sucked the energy from the site. And it spreads. I look at a few threads completely unrelated to politics and it still is there in a one liner or just angry tension. Also mod attention to other areas of the site. I do ignore now and the countless posts about Marxism, socialism as well as sexual harassment & trans issues. The last two because I'm tired as fuck.

Just asking for people to think about what they are doing to the site and how people are going to handle it when trump is gone. Which will happen one day and then what do we do? Endless posts about the aftermath.

Honestly I'd be happier if the mods just said this is permanent now because some of people's problems with the queue is that those threads have been used as a reason why the mods were too busy to post it. So if i'm not supposed to care about them and find the energy draining the site it would be helpful to know if US politics are going to be permanent so I can understand the rule.

But again this is just what I dream for the site
posted by kanata at 2:12 AM on December 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


I'd like to see more interesting posts. You'd think there's so much cool stuff out there, but I literally cannot think of something I would make into a post; I would need time to think about it. I guess my web surfing habits must have become really lazy to not be aware of sources of cool stuff.
posted by polymodus at 2:45 AM on December 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


I hate the megathreads and I will never stop wishing they were gone.

Do you know how genuinely pissed off and upset I was when the thread about the synagogue shooting turned out to be just another fucking megathread? Do you know how often that has happened? What a bummer it is to find out that something is political enough to be lumped in with megathreads. Unlike things on the rest of the site, THIS subject will be in a thread full of unrelated shit that piles up for thousands of comments before everyone moves on. Sorry if you wanted to discuss the one thing, just read 800 comments and you might see something relevant alongside one-liners and snippets of news stories.

This isn’t something to just ignore, it’s the elephant in the room. The effects of these threads extend beyond the threads themselves. They’re an enormous drain on site resources, mod resources, and the user base as a whole. It’s hard to explain why I hate them so much to people who like them, but I don’t think I’m pulling this out of my ass.

Just get rid of the fucking megathreads and make some spinoff site or something. This site wasn’t built to accommodate that kind of activity, and everyone suffers as a result.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 3:10 AM on December 16, 2018 [30 favorites]


Like, this isn’t even something I want to argue about. I don’t expect to convince people that I’m right, and I’m not going to defend the validity of my perspective. I just want people to know how much I hate the megathreads. I really, really hate the megathreads and wish they were gone. That’s my pony.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 3:23 AM on December 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


I'm probably part of the problem. While I hardly ever comment in the megathreads, I do find myself reading them and having at least two of them open in fans. In principle I'm far more interested in "Here's an interesting book,", "A new scientific study suggests...," "hey, have you seen this fun website," "Check out this awesome speedrun," etc.

That said, I used to be more annoyed by American politics threads than I am now. Partly that's because they're mostly confined to a few long threads, and partly because at the federal level what America does is likely to have global consequences. (The endless updates about which candidate got elected, or is leading in various opinion polls in the district of whatever, in some local election are about as interesting to me as I would assume me posting updates about local elections in Norway would be to Americans. But I can easily skip those and focus on things that seem more internationally relevant.)

In brief: Megathreads are fine, but unfortunately they do often seem to draw attention away from the sorts of posts that I think Metafilter was always meant to be about.
posted by Dumsnill at 4:32 AM on December 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


For mega-post haters: I, an avid follower of the mega-posts concur and hope, fervently, that soon they will be gone and will never return.

Last night we were talking about Brexit and what was *really* going on there. One of our party has a bit more insight into economics and policy of the EU and the secret hope was he could provide some insight into what was what. And the tenor of that conversation was not dissimilar to how I feel vis-a-vis Trump - I still can't believe it happened and I'm still looking for any kind of way to make sense of it. It might be a trauma reaction, or simple disbelief attenuated.

But the mega-posts have provide (me, at least - living outside of the US and not having as many people to talk it over with) a tremendous amount of support in the form of interaction and insights. And I look forward to this all being over.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:50 AM on December 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


What would constitute "all this being over?" I see no end.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:00 AM on December 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


I wish there was a way to render certain users invisible through the site itself. I know you can download scripts to do that, but I read the site through mobile half the time. It would be lovely if there was a simple button inside View Profile for 'hide this user,' so that you would never see their comments or FPPs. (I love 99.99999999% of you.)
posted by heatvision at 5:47 AM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


That creates problems in chronological threads. You respond to a comment without seeing the context in which that comment was made?
posted by Dumsnill at 5:54 AM on December 16, 2018


Personally, I think muting users or using killfiles is absolutely antithetical to the spirit of this site. I think it poisons our community and fractures our discourse. It is just about the most unMetafilter thing I can imagine doing here and I am glad that an official killfile feature has never been on the table. I wish the mods would take a much harder line against the use of unofficial ones.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:00 AM on December 16, 2018 [11 favorites]


FPPs have to be inside a category...and there are only so many posts per category allowed to be posts a day. Would make sure the FP has a diversity of items each day.
posted by agregoli at 6:32 AM on December 16, 2018


Popups. We need a special popup that has an AI analysis of the new comment to appear at the high intensity posting moment that just says, "Calmness, it's just a site, chill and don't take everything so serious. Be kind and assume the best of other Mifians."
posted by sammyo at 6:45 AM on December 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


I personally love however I had figured out how to "mute" users, with a script, I guess. The comment is there, but greyed out, no confusion caused by missing comments. But it reminds me I don't enjoy that person's comments and can skip them. It's improved my user experience more than anything else lately. Everyone should have this ability.
posted by agregoli at 6:52 AM on December 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


Whereas I think of killfile use as being about on par with self-linking in terms of Things That Are Bad For MetaFilter. Worse, actually, since there are probably specific cases in which a self-link would be OK, and we have a limited workaround via Projects that I am also fine with, but I think that killfiles are pretty much always bad for the community. So I think that the current uneasy detente is the best compromise we're going to get.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:58 AM on December 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


What I'm saying is I feel like the post queue is used not just to delay posts, but to prevent posts, to short circuit them, and it's a pity.

Also, for the record, this is actually one of the things the queue is used for.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:26 AM on December 16, 2018


Calling it a killfile is pretty extreme. I haven't banned any users from my view. Simply marked which comments I won't like, based on my experience with that person. If I need to read them for context, I can. I don't know why this is so taboo. It's been amazingly helpful, kept my blood pressure down on the site, and helped me avoid petty squabbling. I think it would help calm a lot of the nastiness on the site, by giving users a tool to help them skip what they don't like.
posted by agregoli at 7:31 AM on December 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


With the killfiles I use, there is a gap in between comments so I know something's missing. Plus the comments I don't see (I can view source if I'm super curious) usually are more repetitive/performative than substantive. We can already hide posts tagged a certain way.

I do not think the megathreads will ever end. But the next time we get a US president in 2 years (god willing and the creek don't rise), the very next day there will be decisions to disagree about and nits to be picked and state governments that suck and a party people don't like and we'll still be evil capitalists. My second changepony would be to spin them off into a different subsite or stop the posts altogether.

My third change (was up a little last night) would be to have a place where we could see which mods were on duty, OR an [on duty] badge that shows up next to a mod who posts while on duty, even if they are participating and not [modding.] I like transparency.
posted by kimberussell at 7:35 AM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


I complain about the megaposts cause it's sucked the energy from the site.

Yeah, as probably the only person who used to work here, hangs out here, and sometimes fills in working here, my feeling has always been that if the mods didn't have to ride herd on the megapost threads, there might be more energy left over to do.... other things? I'm not sure what those other things would be (since some of the other things I'd have in mind depend on stuff like frimble building a feature)... more curation? Being able to be more chill about the MeTa queue (which I absolutely understand the rationale behind but would love to see somehow softened). Being able to do more social media engagement and post sharing? I have no idea. But yeah I feel the megaposts are an energy suck and have now become part of what MetaFilter is for. I really appreciate the mod actions to rein them in a little over the past year and I think it's made a huge positive change on the site. I wonder if that reining in can continue somehow. Happy this is not my problem to solve.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:55 AM on December 16, 2018 [26 favorites]


> sammyo:
"Popups. We need a special popup that has an AI analysis of the new comment to appear at the high intensity posting moment that just says, "Calmness, it's just a site, chill and don't take everything so serious. Be kind and assume the best of other Mifians.""

See (sorta) Calm Metafilter
posted by waninggibbon at 7:58 AM on December 16, 2018


The megathreads are often put together by a small cadre of people. What if those same people were sort of deputy moderators for the megathreads? This might take a little heat off the pro staff. And it could be so understood (perhaps by a label in the thread itself) that moderation is being handled in a different way than the rest of the site.

I like the megathreads for their news aggregating feature, but I also feel they're kind of a different animal than what I really come to Metafilter for, which is a cool and curated set of links.

I dunno a different subsite for co-moderated news threads is A Thing but it might make the different moderation rules (if adopted) even more obvious.

Just an idea that popped in
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:48 AM on December 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


One thing I've felt a lot of late is that we talk about things here, come to some sort of agreement or at least compromise, and then… nothing. Back to business as usual. I'm not sure what to do about that, but stagnation seems like it has the potential to be a real long-term issue. Maybe a little more willingness from the mods to make policy adjustments on the fly, and a little more of an effort to get the word out that We've Heard You, Now This Is What We're Going To Do would be helpful, I dunno.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:05 AM on December 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


We've Heard You, Now This Is What We're Going To Do

Also a good name for a GSV.
posted by Dumsnill at 10:11 AM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


What's a GSV? I searched, but it did not turn up anything that seemed to fit.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:21 AM on December 16, 2018


General Systems Vehicle
posted by Dumsnill at 10:25 AM on December 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


GCU, surely.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 11:48 AM on December 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


Seriously, I think the idea of a subsite isn’t enough. I’d rather just have megathreads be their own spinoff site altogether. Get them out of here. There is so much the mods and the rest of us could be doing to improve this site, if there weren’t these rolling political things needing constant attention. I’d like to think that the loss of politicsfilter traffic would be offset by measures to make this site overall more welcoming and accommodating for existing and new users.

I know this is a nonstarter, but these threads were never supposed to last for years, and it was bad enough that they were allowed during the 2016 primaries. It’s been like pulling teeth for the mods just to rein them in a little bit, and I’m frankly annoyed at the idea that further reigning in would require yet more time and energy, for some minor change.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 12:34 PM on December 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


I’d rather just have megathreads be their own spinoff site altogether.

We could call it /dev/null.
posted by hippybear at 12:40 PM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


My perspective on the megathreads is that they are essentially symptoms of the constitutional crisis that America is experiencing, and they will likely fade away on their own accord after the end of this unprecendented era, which seems scheduled for soonish after the holidays, at least according to Senator Durbin, and his history-doesn't-repeat-but-it-rhymes advice.

I personally don't participate in the megathreads, and the one I looked at recently made me feel like my eyes would roll back in my head. It's too much for me to navigate, and I've got other outlets for political events that work a lot better for me. However, I am sorry to see so much pushback against the megathreads, because I can see how hard the creators of these posts are working on them, and I support educational efforts for a wide range of learning styles and preferences.

The megaposts don't work for me, but they do seem to be working for a lot of people, so I would like to encourage some patience with their existence, because while I think it's going to get a little worse before it gets better, we will be able to look back and see them as a way to remember how jaw-droppingly unthinkable American politics got before democracy was saved.

/relentless optimism
posted by Little Dawn at 2:01 PM on December 16, 2018 [8 favorites]


People said the same thing two years ago. “Oh, just be patient, things will calm down after the primaries.” “Oh, just be patient, things will calm down after the election.” There’s always an end point in sight, but the goalposts keep getting moved back. There’s always something to discuss, some problem, or some exciting prospect, or some important election/bill/hearing, and there always will be. Once people started approaching politics like this, there was never going to be a point when they stopped. This is just how politics are discussed on this site now. Does anyone honestly expect that bad stuff will wrap up and these threads will simply become unnecessary?
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 2:54 PM on December 16, 2018 [10 favorites]


They've never been necessary.
posted by hippybear at 3:13 PM on December 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


i would like to see more asks like this very excellent "which knives should i give my toddler" because it is never too early to start arming babies for the revolution
posted by poffin boffin at 3:22 PM on December 16, 2018 [17 favorites]


They've never been necessary.

It is incredibly known that there are users who really dislike the megathreads, and I get why, but a blanket ban on US-politics-oriented FPPs seems pretty unworkable, and having individual FPPs for US political content would also displease people who dislike the megathreads, surely. It would compound the issue of non-US users who feel there are already too many US-oriented FPPs, and mods would still be stuck doing the work of deciding which FPPs were permissible and which were too megathread-y. So I'm honestly not sure what other option could be offered.

While mods would not have to monitor the megathreads if we didn't have the megathreads, they'd still have to keep on deleting posts and comments with megathread-style content. Banning the content is unlikely to result in users caring less about the content -- people would still want to talk about these topics.

In some ways it feels like the megathreads have become a synecdoche for the general shittiness that the current US state of affairs has brought about. But axing the threads won't get rid of that general shittiness people are living in; returning to pre-2016 policy won't undo the results of the 2016 election and everything that's happened in its wake. Sending users off-site for conversations about that general shittiness won't end the general shittiness the users want to talk about, and I'm not sure it could do much to mitigate symptoms of that shittiness observed on MetaFilter, like reduced creation of/participation in non-politics-oriented threads, or general fear/rage/stress/snappishness boiling over into anger/fightiness or snarky one-liners.

As someone who does dip into megathreads, I have seen a marked change since the Megathreads Expectations Reset. They do run considerably slower these days, and people do seem to heed the occasional suggestions to basically go play outside/in other threads. It's not a perfect solution, I understand, and I agree that we're unlikely to see an end to them any time soon, given how fucked things are in the US and how that spillover affects the rest of the world. And I admit that, not being a mod, I don't know how much work currently goes into the megathreads, or whether the reset has in fact reduced that workload. But it does seem, to me, that a blanket ban on megathread content wouldn't necessarily reduce that workload in a meaningful way, because posters will almost certainly still post political content -- and that it wouldn't necessarily redirect a majority of pro-megathread users to revert to All-Best-of-the-Web-All-The-Time style posting, because human attention doesn't really tend to work that way.
posted by halation at 3:45 PM on December 16, 2018 [14 favorites]


If people have been saying the same thing for two years, then maybe a politics subsite would be helpful - if political issues were broken into smaller pieces, it would be a lot easier for me to participate, but I also don't want Metafilter's front page overrun with political news and hottakes; it's not what I'm here for, and this is partly because the megathreads feel essentially inaccessible to me in their current format.

Another approach could be to think about the megathreads from a universal design standpoint, and whether there is an accessibility issue that could be addressed with a subsite for political posts. Perhaps the energy and dedication going into the megathreads could be managed in a more inclusive manner, and maybe a new subsite could also make moderation easier?
posted by Little Dawn at 3:53 PM on December 16, 2018


We used to pretty much just not allow political content around here. Then we started to allow it, but only for discrete, highly newsworthy events. Then there were megathreads, but they'd end after the relevant election. Now we have a permanent, rolling megathread.

It's a policy choice.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:29 PM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


It's a policy choice.

I'm aware, yes. But I'm not sure that axing the megathreads would actually be a fix for the problem the current policy is trying to solve (with admittedly imperfect results).
posted by halation at 4:40 PM on December 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


Let's have a second set of comments on megathreads that are in-line but sub comments a la MST3K.

We could heckle the megathreads! Commenting on comments!
posted by hippybear at 4:45 PM on December 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


That would be irresistable and also completely hideous.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:55 PM on December 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


It's a policy choice.

I'm aware, yes. But I'm not sure that axing the megathreads would actually be a fix for the problem the current policy is trying to solve


it feels to me like we eased into the reality of the megathreads. Perhaps the goal should be to ease out of them. I know I mostly gave up on them a few months back; not completely but by as much as 90-percent in terms of time spent reading and whatever. Because I wasn't enjoying Metafilter as much as I once had and at some point came to the obvious conclusion that it was the grind of the megathreads that was bringing me down more than any other factor -- not just my time in them but also all the other members here whose presence I once enjoyed but now it felt they were lost in some kind of Forever War. It has affected everything, I feel -- so much energy just sucked into that vortex.

Anyway, I finally just decided f*** it -- be the change you want to see and all that. And I've gotta say, no serious regrets beyond the already mentioned missing people.
posted by philip-random at 5:40 PM on December 16, 2018 [10 favorites]


Dumsnill: "The endless updates about which candidate got elected, or is leading in various opinion polls in the district of whatever, in some local election are about as interesting to me as I would assume me posting updates about local elections in Norway would be to Americans."

Sorry.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:29 PM on December 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


floam: "I don't think it's fair to lay that blame on retired moderators. Unless you're suggesting MetaFilter has had moderators with gross political agendas and that's why things were what they were. In which case I wish you'd be less cryptic and just tell me what was going on exactly."

Sorry, I wasn't trying to be cryptic. What I meant was, someone had said "hey, there was difficulty in getting the mod team to make changes in the past." And my point was - the mod team now is not the mod team of the boyzone era, so you can't necessarily just say "mods always do X" when the mod team changes over time.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:40 PM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter is a very conservative (small c) place and making changes is not a thing the community does well. Never has.
posted by hippybear at 6:50 PM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


You know, taking a step back from the debate for a moment, I think I kinda have the impression that the megathreads have in effect become their own sub-community within the greater community of MetaFilter, similar to, well, subsites like Ask and FanFare. I get the sense that when people criticize the megathreads and call for them to be stopped, megathreaders (like Chrysostom just above, an eminently admirable MeFite by any standard who I know puts a lot into the megathreads) feel as though their community is under attack. That's a pretty understandable feeling, really.

If I really think about it, I guess my feeling is that the ideal solution (and something which I've really kinda wanted since at least the late Bush administration) would be to rehome the megathread community on an actual, no-joke PoliticsFilter subsite that would have the same standing as (and degree of separation from) the other subsites. I think it would be popular, I think it would work better for MeFi's existing politics community, and I think it would help the rest of the site (especially the Blue) return to a healthier, more natural state.

However, I am aware that this would be a heavy lift. We already know that the mods devote significant resources to managing the megathread, and while it's not clear how much more attention a separate PoliticsFilter would require, I think it's safe to assume it would require some more. It would also require a whole period—probably several months long at least—of establishing new norms, conventions, and moderation policies. I bet this would be contentious. Also of course, frimble would have to build the damn thing.

So I find myself wishing the megathreads would go away, understanding why they exist, seeing a solution that feels like it would be better for everyone, and yet realizing that that solution is out of reach. Which explains, perhaps, why this issue has been so intractable for so long.

It would be interesting to know what it would actually take in terms of resources for MetaFilter to be able to support a PoliticsFilter subsite, just so as to be clear how far out of reach it actually is. It would be interesting too to know what range of solutions and ameliorations actually are on the table, at least hypothetically and assuming the userbase clearly wanted them. I don't think the status quo works very well—maybe it's time to think outside the box a bit in the interests of finding a more graceful compromise.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:03 PM on December 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


Forget all that, though. You know what the real problem around here is? Titles. The day post titles became visible was the day MetaFilter began an inexorable slide into perdition. Banish titles, and all our problems will be solved.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:13 PM on December 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


Per my scrollbar I was about 60% down this thread when I decided to have a slash and boil the kettle. In that time I forgot everything I'd read and somehow went from hobbyhorse1/hobbyhorse2/hobbyhorse3 to ... if wishes were horses I'd want a low-friction, non-payscheme mechanism to allow lurkers to become regular members. I don't know if that's technically possible and I guarantee it's #exploitable (because what isn't?) but 4CHAN style LURKMOAR is how I got my eventual start with MetaFilter and tbh the catchphrase is actually good advice.

I know (per the FAQ) that Mods are willing to nod through people who can't pay or who need to pay by some other means or whatever. This isn't about that. What if we had a free sign-ups fund to which any member could contribute (max 1 sign-up only) and every week/month/whatever a new applicant full member Mefite was quietly added?

I realise I'm certainly massively underestimating the amount of sign-up spam the site gets currently let alone with such a system in place, but surely all that has to get filtered out anyway? Everything is easy from my end!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:40 PM on December 16, 2018


The Blue Sky Thinking!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:43 PM on December 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


I've been a member since August 26, 2001, and I'd read the site almost since the beginning. In my view the site changed forever just a few weeks later. The 9/11 thread was a crap thread by MetaFilter standards, a single-link post to the CNN home page. It was also a cathartic place for our community to gather for news and solace. It was also one of the first megathreads.

Since then the megathreads have been a comfort through some difficult times. The 2004 and 2016 US presidential elections were the two most disappointing in my adult life. (And I loved first hearing about a kid called Barrack Obama in a megathread.) The megathreads helped me get through the Bush administration and are certainly helping me endure the current disaster. I believe they've become a vital part of the site.

And if you don't like them, just fucking skip them. There are plenty of posts I'm either uninterested in or irritated by, and I just skip them.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:12 PM on December 16, 2018 [12 favorites]


  • The megathreads have made it relatively easy for me to steer clear of politics on the site, so I am generally for them. That said, there also seem to be plenty of posts about downer things that tie back to politics these days, so perhaps they are becoming moot.
  • Given that there’s a block of the user base that has been and continues to be enraged about the queueing of MetaTalk posts, perhaps it would be helpful to get periodic updates about what is and isn’t making its way through the queue. (Say an end-of-the-month summary.) I’m generally pro-queue for decreasing site fightiness and making things easier on the mods, but if users believe that the queue is being used to stifle positive growth in the community that’s a potential problem.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:16 PM on December 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


The queue is one of those things where I'M not convinced that there's really an issue, but enough people are troubled by it that a change is probably warranted.

Maybe we just go back to the holiday queue - presumably no one wants to return to the days of ruining Thanksgiving for the mods.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:47 PM on December 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


I was fine with the holiday queue and would be again. I'm not a monster!
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:56 AM on December 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I would like to see FanFare untethered from the plain text aesthetic we use on the rest of MeFi and allowed to get all multimedia-like. Not entirely sure what specifically I'd like to see in that arena and I wouldn't expect it to change overnight. I'd just like to see it given permission to fork a bit.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:34 AM on December 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


I haven't been in a megathread for almost two years now, but back in the day they were an absolute lifeline and emotional comfort to me. There was nowhere else I could go for that kind of information and solidarity. If something traumatic on the order of 9/11 or the Trump campaign/election happens again, Metafilter is where I'm going to turn and I really hope that there will be a megathread or modern megathread-equivalent waiting for me.
posted by HotToddy at 6:32 AM on December 17, 2018 [9 favorites]


presumably no one wants to return to the days of ruining Thanksgiving for the mods.

For sure! I'm generally too buy ruining my own holidays to feel like I have room to create more guilt.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:01 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I favorite things that I _disagree_ with if they teach me how other people think - and even the fact that someone disagrees is enlightening sometimes. So, I worry that calling something a "favorite" might lead, I don't know, history? to think my own beliefs are different than they are.

The one thing I will give Reddit a lot of credit for is the semantics of "upvote". In practice, sure, people mostly upvote things they agree with. But the meaning of an "upvote" is simply "I think more people should see this".

(The fact that those little "I think people should see this" gestures are then fed into an opaque algorithm that actually affects the visibility of things, on the other hand, is not so great in practice.)
posted by tobascodagama at 8:26 AM on December 17, 2018


on the favorites tip, most of my favorites are things I generally love, like, agree with -- I'm cheering (or at least clapping) for them. But a few of my favorites are more respectful thank yous to folks who have endeavored to clarify a complex point that I may well not agree with, but can respect the trouble they've gone to. In other words, I'm in favor of committed, thoughtful conversation which means I don't always have to agree with the substance of what you're saying, just how you're saying it.
posted by philip-random at 8:45 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Favoriting on Twitter has similar dynamics as on here, and has led to some problems. People get shamed for what they favorite, but the meaning is sometimes but not always ambiguous.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:05 AM on December 17, 2018


favorite-shaming is a vile practice on Twitter and I hope Mefites continue to eschew it.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:14 AM on December 17, 2018 [7 favorites]


I have no particular system for favoriting things, and don't think too hard about it. Usually it means that I have positive feelings about a comment, but there are also tons of good comments that I don't think to favorite. On MeTa specifically, I sometimes make a point of favoriting arguments and proposals that I agree with, as a low-key way of letting the mods know that at least one other user supports them. I'm not very consistent about it though.

Of course, when people favorite me it always means that I'm an eloquent writer and a good person, and that I deserve a big raise at my next performance review.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:01 AM on December 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


One aspect of favorites that has never made sense to me:

People who aren't logged in can see who favorited a post or comment. Not just the count.

Why? I see some value in keeping favorites visible to users (though I would change the name to avoid the implication of approval, hide it from a user's profile, and add another category called 'bookmark' optionally visible on profiles). But non-users?
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 10:06 AM on December 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


Can we get back to feature requests? I'm pretty interested in what else people want.
posted by agregoli at 10:08 AM on December 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


Favorites on metafilter aren't just a book mark or a tip jar. They have also become emergent and non-verbal forms of communication that allow types of information exchange that we might consider synonymous with head-nods and affirmations, or implicit apologies, or saying "we're cool even though we disagree," without always having to say it out loud or writing it out in the thread. It's like having a conversation in a room packed with people at a party in which not everyone always says, "Good point, old chap!" and instead many people give affirmative head-nods while contemplating the taste of their drink in hand. (And many peple don't do anything but listen.) Or they can be used to give a understanding hand-wave ("we're cool, friend") to someone when they apologize for saying something too harsh. Or, giving a slight hug or hand on the shoulder when someone shares something difficult. Or, they can add to a favorites pile already there to affirm it might be one of the best things said on metafilter in awhile, and we need to acknowledge instances of positive metafilter culture.

Favorites are interesting here because what they can potentially communicate is multivariant. This might seem confusing, but I'm convinced it has become a nonverbal form of information interchange that is special to metafilter, and can often be recognized in form based on the immediate context.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:24 AM on December 17, 2018 [29 favorites]


This might seem confusing, but I'm convinced it has become a nonverbal form of information interchange that is special to metafilter

It's functionally the same as "liking" a comment on Facebook.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:30 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Facebook allows more signifiers than "like" which may be something to look at.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:33 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I award any suggestions to be more like Facebook one Large Yellow Sad Frowny Face
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:44 AM on December 17, 2018 [14 favorites]


Ok, I've been accumulating my requests.

1. Create an integrated front page that surfaces material from the various subsites.
2. Integrate Music into Projects.
2. Improve tagging through drop-down suggestions and mod curation.
3. Either get rid of MyMefi/MyAsk or allow them as defaults. It's currently a half-dead feature.
4. Boost activity with an /r/AMA-like interview subsite. There are plenty of interesting MeFites who may want to talk about their work/selves. Also plenty of other people might like being interviewed by MeFites.
5. Break out bookmarks from favorites, which are really just transient nods. Nods can appear on posts/comments, but you shouldn't be able to see everything a user acknowledged on their profile.
6. Increase the time between FPPs. One a day is too often and skews the front page.
7. Get rid of the (X new) notice until it means something.
8. Rethink the user link to/by feature and the not very informative front page sidebar.
9. Have a higher bar on NewsFilter and OutrageFilter.
10. Let users clear out their recent activity page.
11. Change the jump-to-bottom anchor to go where users actually think it should go.

I'm currently of the mind that much of what plagues MeFi is an ambivalence about what it wants to be. If it's to be a semi-moderated group weblog, it has too many features. Get rid of MeMail, user links, pony MeTas, MyMefi, MyAsk, tagging, recent activity, zombie subsites. Hell, maybe even use an off-the-shelf commenting system.

What it has communicates an aspiration to be something other and so there's frustration about what's broken and what it lacks.

Be bold, MetaFilter! You might find you get what you really want.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 10:58 AM on December 17, 2018 [11 favorites]


Anyone who types "To avoid abusing the edit window" gets a 24 hour time out.
posted by great_radio at 11:26 AM on December 17, 2018 [14 favorites]


Oh yes, I agree completely with SpacemanStix: there are an awful lot of us who use favorites as a means of communication, often a semi-private means of communication that doesn't take up a lot of space, and I think discussions about what to do with them must acknowledge that.

... if wishes were horses I'd want a low-friction, non-payscheme mechanism to allow lurkers to become regular members.

This is an interesting idea to me in part because of the current metadiscussion on my feeds about community moderation cultures of tumblr vs Dreamwidth and which one was hospitable to lurkers and allowed them to bring community value and which... didn't. But I have to ask:

What value are you envisioning for lurkers to bring to the site that they aren't currently doing, and secondarily, how and why should lurkers in particular be exempted from the payscheme?
posted by sciatrix at 12:01 PM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


4. Boost activity with an /r/AMA-like interview subsite. There are plenty of interesting MeFites who may want to talk about their work/selves. Also plenty of other people might like being interviewed by MeFites.

I love this idea. Me.MetaFilter.com
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:21 PM on December 17, 2018 [13 favorites]


how and why should lurkers in particular be exempted from the payscheme?

The how: some kind of try-Metafilter-membership-free-for-a-month model? Although I think that would bring with it a whole bunch of mod headaches as it'd also remove the paywall bar for throwaway spamming / harrassing / sockpuppeting accounts.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:28 PM on December 17, 2018


Right, except that if this is a program directed at lurkers, how do you... enforce... that?
posted by sciatrix at 12:35 PM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I award any suggestions to be more like Facebook one Large Yellow Sad Frowny Face

I’m essentially here these days for Johnny Wallflower’s animal posts so I bewail the lack of a heart button [💖] who can I speak to about this?
posted by billiebee at 12:39 PM on December 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


4. Boost activity with an /r/AMA-like interview subsite. There are plenty of interesting MeFites who may want to talk about their work/selves. Also plenty of other people might like being interviewed by MeFites.

I spent several hours in the car last winter planning out an elaborate multistep process using Metafilter's strengths to generate the best interviews ever and then I got distracted, but maybe we should revisit it!
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:23 PM on December 17, 2018 [9 favorites]


I apologize for not actually answering the question, but I'd like to take this opportunity to say how much I appreciate the two-AskMes-a-week policy, which takes care of my previously rejected pony request. I still don't post all that many AskMes, but it is really, really nice to know that I can post two a week if I really want to.

So hurray for something that I used to wish would work differently, and now does!

Thanks to cortex and frimble and the entire mod team!
posted by kristi at 1:27 PM on December 17, 2018 [8 favorites]


I don't think we'll all be able to fit in your car, restless_nomad.
posted by Etrigan at 1:42 PM on December 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


I don't think we'll all be able to fit in your car, restless_nomad.
posted by Etrigan at 9:42 PM on December 17
[1 🤣 ] Sideways Crying-Laughing Smiley added! [!]
posted by billiebee at 2:01 PM on December 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


Threaded comments but done MacSOUP style. (This will never happen. The change would kill us.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:07 PM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Just noticed while posting an acting/theater Ask that there isn't a good category for something like "arts". I put it under 'sports/hobbies/recreation' but I think there are a fair number of High Art asks that really don't fit under 'hobbies' , such as ones about selling/etiquette/business stuff related to the arts.
posted by twoplussix at 2:46 PM on December 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


I’m essentially here these days for Johnny Wallflower’s animal posts so I bewail the lack of a heart button

I would like for favorites to give an actual hug to the recipient. Let's see just how good frimble is.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:33 PM on December 17, 2018 [10 favorites]


I don't think we'll all be able to fit in your car, restless_nomad.

I call the trunk!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:17 PM on December 17, 2018


I sometimes think I'd like to have Reddit-style threading, but a typical Metafilter FPP has so few comments that it would probably be more annoying than useful.

Perhaps more practical would be the ability to drop an "I have read this thread up to this point and would like to return exactly here" marker and be able to jump to that from the top. This would make my on-again-off-again reading of the politics megathread so much easier (currently I just scroll and eyeball an approximate location that looks new and/or interesting to me and go from there which works, but only for small values of "works"). Bonus points if the marker gets intelligently set from my scrolling of the page, but this is super hard to get right.

Then again, this functionality would only be useful for a very small subset of threads so maybe just get the "x posts, y new" -functionality working properly and call it a day.
posted by Soi-hah at 9:03 PM on December 17 [4 favorites]


"I have read this thread up to this point and would like to return exactly here"

Now that I think about it I could jury-rig this by abusing favorites. I'd just have to remember to un-favorite the post I used as a marker. Somehow this solution seems simultaneously very bad and very Metafilter to me.
posted by Soi-hah at 9:10 PM on December 17 [2 favorites]


Can favorites even be abused? I thought they were a thing which everyone used in their own way and which has many applications.
posted by hippybear at 9:36 PM on December 17 [4 favorites]


Wasn't there talk of gift memberships here a while ago?

I would like it to be really easy for me to click a "Give the gift or beanplating to someone you love and/or hate" link in the footer, enter a name and email address and "select anonymous gift" or "enter well wishes and/or apologies here," add my credit card and they suddenly get the offer of joining this lovely group of people.

Maybe limited to a small number of gifts per month/year. And, somehow make sure that people cannot be beanbombed with multiple gifts.

I would really like to have this, and I would make use of it. If we need to make it a revenue generator then raise the price to 20 bucks or make it a give what you like but at least 5 bucks. Fees collected whether the person creates their account or not.

PS: Please keep music separate from projects.
posted by Gotanda at 10:19 PM on December 17 [1 favorite]


Gotanda: The Give a Gift Account page is sort of hidden but it exists - I used it years ago; not sure if it still works. I remember when I bought the gift account, I paid via Paypal (this was way before Stripe) and there was some issue with the giftee not getting the gift notification, so I emailed mathowie (that's how long ago it was) and he manually triggered the email to the giftee.

The only official link I've found to the gifting page is from the FAQ, so yeah it may be worth sprucing up the page and adding a link to the Signup page and the Funding page and, as you suggested, the footer.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 4:08 AM on December 18 [2 favorites]


Soi-hah, if you click the timestamp link in the byline of a comment, it will generate an anchor point (and visual marker) which will cause the page to load to that comment in future. Very useful for if you want to follow a link to a different website and then come back to the thread, or for crafting a reply to a specific comment that you want to reference.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:18 AM on December 18 [4 favorites]


I, too, would like to be able to click a "Mark my place here" button on a comment. That comment will then appear as the last comment in Recent Activity, with a small note saying "thread anchor"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:53 AM on December 18 [3 favorites]


I would love to get an email if one of my comments was flagged as fantastic. (Or flagged for any reason, actually.)

Here's a technical problem: if I'm in Recent Activity but I haven't refreshed the page in a while, and I click on a comment time-stamp to bring up the thread, if that particular comment was deleted since I last refreshed, the system brings me back to the top of the thread rather than the location of the deleted comment.

The problem here is if we're talking about a comment in a megathread, and I'm on my phone, it's almost impossible to find my way back to where I stopped reading.

So my pony request: if a comment is deleted, an attempt to click on the timestamp of that comment takes you to the comment above the deleted comment.
posted by suelac at 11:48 AM on December 18 [8 favorites]


I'd love to see a politics filter, where the megathreads can be split up into individual topics (Flynn sentencing, Trump Org, Manafort, etc). The megathreads are....cumbersome. I'd like to dive deeper into specific topics and skip the 2020 prognostications and relitigation conversations. I'd pay a premium for that to subsuduze the additional moderation needed.
posted by karst at 12:24 PM on December 18 [4 favorites]


Maybe this is just me, but it seems as though there's no way to make FPPs and AskMes using the mobile web page. I'd like to be able to do that without having to switch back to the full version.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:04 PM on December 18


Which style of MeFi are you using on mobile?
posted by agregoli at 2:22 PM on December 18


The modern theme.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:38 PM on December 18


Joe in Australia: Huh, that’s weird. I use the modern theme (Safari / iOS) and across all sites, the option for a new post is the third down in the righthand column when I click the little “user” icon in the top righthand corner.

I do almost all of my posts on mobile, partly because I almost exclusively browse and comment on mobile and so it’s easier to see how a post will look “to me”.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 3:05 PM on December 18


I think I’d also like publicly hidden favourites, although I’ve no objection to people seeing the favourite count on their own FPPs and comments (or to getting a heads-up that some anonymous fellow user has recognised your genius and has flagged you as fantastic). Favourites do let you “read the room” when other users appear to be nodding and murmuring agreement as per SpacemanStix. That’s valuable.

But they also make the community quite echoey, and I think they encourage performative outrage. Certainly I sense that I’m probably going to accrue plenty of favourites if I type out some snark when I’m righteously pissed off about something that the community is likely to agree with me on. (This is especially obvious on megathreads, but it’s everywhere.) Equally, if I feel strongly about something - or if I happen to know enough about a subject to say “actually it’s a bit more complicated than that” - but I can see the prevailing sentiment going in the other direction, I’m normally pretty disinclined to comment. It’s time and effort and if I’m just going to get dunked on by someone as a result, it rarely seems worth it.

That’s not exactly a very great reflection on me personally, but I accept that. Also, I suspect I’m representative of a lot of users. Everyone wants to be popular! And if you establish a metric, people will try to game it, blah blah Goodhart’s Law, etc etc. In the threads that I read, the user who most obviously says stuff that they believe, regardless of popularity, is prize bull octorok, and I really admire them for it. I’d love to read more comments of that sort and I think favourites discourage that dynamic. We also have at least one US police officer here and I’m really impressed that they comment, despite the overall site vibe towards US law enforcement (not saying that I don’t have broadly similar feelings in most cases - I’m saying that I want to hear voices from people who have chosen that career and remind myself that life is complicated, not be in a room of competing to see who can agree with the consensus the loudest).

I’m not advocating for “debate” about whether marginalised groups are deserving of rights, or whether some people are inherently superior to others, or all the tedious sophomoric rightwing shit that people like to promote under the cover of “listening to different views”. And I’m not looking for the site to become more fighty. I just want to be able to encourage people to disagree with the majority opinion every now and again, I think that’s healthy, and I think that favourites in their current incarnation discourage that.

Anyway, I used to be part of another large, successful online community which removed their version of favourites and it was much better. So maybe I’m biased!
posted by chappell, ambrose at 3:38 PM on December 18 [11 favorites]


Which one?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:49 PM on December 18


> So my pony request: if a comment is deleted, an attempt to click on the timestamp of that comment takes you to the comment above the deleted comment.

This would be pretty nice, if there were way to make it clear visually that it's pointing to a deleted comment. I started on a script to do it, but I couldn't think of a way to co-opt the existing arrow that didn't just look like the script broke.
posted by lucidium at 4:40 PM on December 18 [1 favorite]


I use the modern theme (Safari / iOS) and across all sites, the option for a new post is the third down in the righthand column when I click the little “user” icon in the top righthand corner.

Are you sure you're using the mobile site as opposed to the regular site (while using a mobile device)? Because I don't have a "user" icon; I have a link that says "[skip to menu]", which just takes you to the bottom of the page. That menu doesn't have options to post new content.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:53 PM on December 18


I think chappell, ambrose's take on the problem with favorites is extremely on point and it has inspired me to try hiding favorites on my end for a while.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:15 PM on December 18


What I came here to say though was that relocating the down arrow target to the comment box rather than the tags seems like the lowest of low-hanging fruit and I really hope it can happen.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:16 PM on December 18 [1 favorite]


I could do without the "all white people are ____" comments. Sure, it's punching up but such statements are lazy at best. When I see these comments I flag them as racist, but for the handful where I have gone back to check, they have not been deleted. Why, I wonder? Anyway, I think a big motivation for these comments is to collect favorites, so this is a another reason to make favorites hidden.

For the record, I have a mixed heritage and do not identify as white, although probably most people who see me just think of me as a white person. I recognize that I benefit from that.

If you judge a person by the color of their skin, whatever it might be, you are an asshole.
posted by exogenous at 7:29 PM on December 18 [8 favorites]


Do you know how genuinely pissed off and upset I was when the thread about the synagogue shooting turned out to be just another fucking megathread?

For that and other reasons, when I wanted to discuss what had happened, I went elsewhere.
posted by zarq at 10:33 PM on December 18 [6 favorites]


I would like to see this site evolve into one that was really international instead of mostly US-centric.

As you may know, we've had a few MetaTalk threads about this and, while there's been agreement in principle that being less US-centric would be a good thing, there's been little action and in fact some pushback when non-Americans have suggested ways to make the site more welcoming to a global audience.

There is a snarky comment from yesterday on the blue which selectively quotes another user's comment about their life outside the USA so that they appear to be saying something naive about the USA. The snark currently has about 130 favourites. So trying to broaden the discussion to be international is not only frequently futile, it can open you up to widely-approved sneering.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:00 AM on December 19 [4 favorites]


I saw your flag on that, Busy Old Fool, but I don't think anyone was trying to be sneering or cruel to someone because they don't live in the US. The original commenter just said "where I live [the situation is X]" (in which X is not generally true of people living in the US). I would have said (and often do say) "where I live (not in the US/NA) [the situation is X]," or "Here in Greece, blah blah," when speaking about conditions that are different, because not everyone knows where I live, so if I were making socioeconomic inferences that are quite different than what others are discussing, it could easily be confusing.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:00 AM on December 19 [1 favorite]


Taz, sorry that I wasn't clear. I agree that it wasn't an attack on a MeFite because they don't live in the USA, I didn't mean to suggest that was the reason. (And I flagged it far too late, mea culpa.)

But, assuming good faith, the most likely explanation to me is that the commenter assumed they must be replying to someone in the USA and - despite having a strong interest in X - wasn't interested enough to click through to the profile page to find out about the place the original commenter believed X was true because here was an opportunity to make a point about how things are in the USA.

This is what I was talking about re unwillingness to act like the site contains international members. Yes, maybe the USA will always be the default location and the rest of us will have remember to add 'here in...' whenever we're talking about our experiences.

But when international users see that forgetting one time to be 100% clear that 'where I live' is not America leads to being (inaccurately) called out to widespread approval, it's not welcoming. And this comment, based on misleading quoting, still stands.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 3:45 AM on December 19 [5 favorites]


I'm really thankful for the megathreads. It's the main way I follow politics and it is very meaningful to me. I want to say that as primarily a lurker there, I feel that those threads have real value that may not always be visible.

I don't mind the queue. I sometimes miss the old metatalk for the spectacle, but I don't think it's an actual loss.

I'm wary of the idea of splitting off politics. I don't think there's much that's truly apolitical. Maybe some cute animal memes, on the other hand maybe not.

I'm intrigued by the idea of invisible favorites. I'd love to be able to search my metafilter mail. I think it would be nice to be able to see a customizable feed of contact activity for things without 10 favorites also. Mostly I think things are great.
posted by Salamandrous at 4:29 AM on December 19 [3 favorites]


taz: I would have said (and often do say) "where I live (not in the US/NA) [the situation is X]," or "Here in Greece, blah blah," when speaking about conditions that are different, because not everyone knows where I live

That's just another example of the thing. People from outside of the USA have to do that. People inside of the USA very often don't bother and aren't expected to.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:23 AM on December 19 [7 favorites]


I'm also really thankful for the megathreads, although there's an awful lot of repeated sentiment/analysis these days (is that what "flag as noise" is for?).

It really does help me follow a lot of the general arg in one place that has a better signal ratio than e.g. Twitter.

Might be cleaner for it to have its own heading, as one of the GSVs suggested above. But it does seem like its current location strikes a balance that allows it to be easily avoided for those who hate it.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:33 PM on December 19


Yeah; I alternate between following the Trump megathreads and ignoring them, depending on how much time I have available and how much tolerance I have for filling my mind with ugly politics. They seem to work OK both ways to me: if I'm engaged then I know where to find them, if I'm disengaged then it's easy to ignore them. (And it helps here that they don't seem to be showing up much -- or at all? --in the Popular Favorites feeds at the moment.)

The main argument against the megathreads seems to be that they are an ongoing sap on moderator time + resources. But it seems to me that if there wasn't a rolling megathread containing the this-week-in-Trump discussion, there would instead be many smaller brushfires of political discussion breaking out all the time all over Metafilter for mods to contend with.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:09 PM on December 19


there would instead be many smaller brushfires of political discussion breaking out all the time all over Metafilter for mods to contend with.

This is not really the case. Which is to say that yes there are a few little brush fires that spring up, totally, but the megathreads often get multiple comments per minute, on the same topic, topics which make people upset, in the same "room" as the people they've been arguing with for years and years. So, while there's always modding to be done somewhere, modding the megathreads nowadays literally means watching the new comments come in and trying to make some determination whether they're against the megathread-specific rules before other people jump on them. And even if incendiary comments get deleted, many people will still see them loading, will not know they've been deleted and will reply as if they are still there. It's tiring. And very different time consuming compared to how modding ever used to be here.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:14 PM on December 19 [10 favorites]


Burhanistan, I was a regular on LFGSS (London Fixed Gear and Single Speed) forum a decade or so ago. They introduced a system called “rep” for a few months, which basically worked like favourites. It was a complete disaster, and the community decided to roll it back.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 2:15 PM on December 19 [1 favorite]


- I would like MeFites to be able to add a picture, of themselves or watever they like. It might result in elephants pissing*, but in a small picture, whatevs. It would help me keep people sorted. MeFites could keep a record of their pictures in their profiles and changes could be limited x pics per year to slightly limit abuse.

- I would like MeFites to populate/ update their profile pages.

- I used to think threading would be good, now, not so much.

- Make posts, all of y'all. Find good stuff. Share.

- Easier quoting - this also might help with the repetitive comments in long threads, so you could say As %name said %link above, I would add blah insightful comment.

- In theory it would be useful to know when someone responds to me in a thread. In reality .. Theora, you ignorant slut

*a popular use of the much-lamented img tag was an elephant having an elephant-size pee.
posted by theora55 at 2:33 PM on December 19 [1 favorite]


* I would like the US Politics/ POTUS 45 threads to not go over 1,000 comments - a new one should be generated. They are a treasure trove of information but they are so unwieldy.

If y'all mods need an idea for 4/1/2019, a megathread made of the best worst comments would be instructional at least.
posted by theora55 at 2:36 PM on December 19 [4 favorites]


Theora55: I don't know why, but this reminded me of a MeTa that I wanted to post but didn't because it might garner a net of 0 comments. The idea was: post up your best comments that you never posted, or that were deleted, but that you still have a personal record of (in a text document you used to draft it or whatever). I thought those might be fun, if they existed, to read... with or without context.. probably more fun without.

Anyways are you talking about having like a little avatar picture next to your name like they have on youtube comments or something? I think I would like that because I tend to get several pairs of people confused sometimes because they have such a similar hobby horses and writing styles. But that could just be an issue with my weird brain. I *want* to think of these people as individuals though, and I think avatars might help.
posted by some loser at 3:07 PM on December 19


This userscript will pull the pic from the profile page to use as a comment avatar.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:20 PM on December 19 [2 favorites]


As a feature request (maybe I should make my own MeTa), I’d like some more html buttons on mobile.

I use blockquote a lot, and I’d love a button for that. At 10 letters, it’s more time-consuming to type out than “em”, “strong”, or even “a href="”.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 4:37 PM on December 19 [2 favorites]


I made text shortcuts for the blockquote tags.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:50 PM on December 19 [1 favorite]


My dislike about mega threads is when one specific thing I’d actually care to engage on gets rolled in. I rarely have the energy to wade through all that grar to see what people are saying about X and chime in, so I just don’t get to have that discussion.
posted by advicepig at 7:50 PM on December 19 [3 favorites]


If I start reading a comment and find it particularly interesting for whatever reason, I just skip down to the byline real quick to see whose words they are. I wouldn't want avatars as an official feature (I love the fact that our threads are 100% text-based even here in 2018, it's how I know y'all are my people) but if people want to use a userscript that generates them, I see no harm in that.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:48 AM on December 20 [3 favorites]


I think the mods do operate conscientiously in the context of how they see their role, but I personally really dislike the current approach to moderation (by way of context, I had been active on the site for a number of years with a previous account). Moderators used to intervene when people were behaving abusively or when things got particularly contentious, and while I didn't always agree with the way mods navigated that, they're clearly good principles.

I feel like now, I'm constantly seeing mod comments among the lines of [I think we've sufficiently covered people's issues with pineapple pizza, let's please stop distracting from the article's main point about jalapeños] and it's just like, ??? It gives the Blue a very on-rails vibe. MeFi used to feel like a very community-generated space, whereas now it reads more like a dinner party hosted by the mods. I know that isn't objectively bad, so I'm just putting my own feeling about it out there.

(I should note that I am 100% in favor of swift and aggressive mod response to transphobia, racism, and other things that make community members unsafe. I don't at all believe that that needs to lead to an across-the-board heavyhandedness of mod approach.)
posted by dusty potato at 10:07 AM on December 20 [8 favorites]


I still wish there was some (easy) way to tag any of the websites that are for pay, have a limited number of reads per month, etc. before I clicked on them and wasted a click (since not all workarounds work any more). I'm tired of being unpleasantly surprised. I know it's not gonna happen, but it's what I'd ask.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:16 AM on December 20 [2 favorites]


To be a little more blunt: I think there's a broad perception that reduced activity/traffic on Metafilter is the natural result of Large-Scale Internet Trends, and I'm sure that's true to an extent, but I would suggest that it's also driven by the fact that despite many solid FPPs, discussions here are not as interesting anymore.
posted by dusty potato at 10:22 AM on December 20 [7 favorites]


An expanded popular tags/word cloud feature that is configurable in a number of different ways

- Time delimited, instead of all time. Specifify the beginning and end of a time period to look at
- Given the presence of a specific tag (say, "potus45"), what other tags are most often used
- Adjustable number of tags returned.

On the other hand I have no idea what the potential server load is for any of these.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:30 AM on December 20


Okay, I understand why name-changes are not going to happen (*watches pony run away, single tear runs down my cheek*) and that's ok. So I now have a new username.

For my second pony, I would like a way to search the site on mobile. Tags, especially.
posted by Gray Duck at 10:36 AM on December 20 [5 favorites]


I wish there were more young people around. When I joined, I felt like most people around were my age or older, and I still feel that way. I'm square as hell but I still like to know what the youths are up to, and one of the things they're up to is not being on Metafilter.
posted by Kwine at 10:38 AM on December 20 [8 favorites]


It's been brought up in the megathread but please, please, PLEASE, do not allow 2020 election talk until there's actually a debate or something and even then :::incoherent screaming:::
posted by agregoli at 10:39 AM on December 20 [2 favorites]


I would be up for paying for a name-change, if that option were available.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:41 AM on December 20 [2 favorites]


The megathreads are often put together by a small cadre of people.

There's a regularly updated draft for the USPolitics megathreads on the MeFi wiki for anyone and everyone to contribute and to collaborate on. It's a way of opening up the process before the current thread racks up too many comments and becomes too hard to read and to load on people's computers/smartphones/devices. It also helps spread the cognitive workload of composing them among the MeFi hive mind. Really, though, the only criteria for a USPolitics FPP are that it should be informative and promote good discussion, just like any other FPP on the site.

The megathreads have been the best resource I've encountered online for dealing with the daily deluge of news that the White House is an ongoing crime scene and that every single cabinet-level federal department is embroiled in scandals and headed by the corrupt and incompetent. More than just aggregating the headlines, à la What the Fuck Just Happened Today, they offer a useful, healthy place to discuss and analyze current events—which is thanks to the mod team and cannot be found elsewhere. (My IRL friends think that they stay on top of the news simply by listening to NPR, and the extent to which they've internally normalized Trump is appalling.) I regret that they've taken time away from my own participation on the rest of the site, although if they didn't exist, I'd probably be too overwhelmed to post regularly on my favorite topics anyway.

Oh, and if I could have a pony, it would be something like a javascript "makeAlert" function like the one A Softerworld uses to show alt text/abbr title comments so that people on smart phones/tablet could read them.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:51 AM on December 20 [2 favorites]


posted by Gray Duck

Outside of Minnesota, this username should read as "Goose."
posted by Chrysostom at 10:55 AM on December 20 [5 favorites]


Along with this goes the integrity of the archive remaining what it was, what those conversations were at the time; in general we don't change history.

You, the mods, change history every day. You delete comments and posts; you edit comments and posts; you edit your own comments and posts. What you really mean is, in general you don't let the rest of us change history; that privilege you reserve for yourselves.

When we want to have control over our own posting history (because, in my case, people in real life were using my posting history to harass and threaten me in real life), the archival integrity of Metafilter is sacrosanct; when a mod gets tired of reading about (to steal dusty potato's example) pineapple pizza, the integrity of the archive is literally not even an afterthought.
posted by enn at 11:02 AM on December 20 [5 favorites]


Gray Duck: For my second pony, I would like a way to search the site on mobile. Tags, especially.

You can ride that pony now! In the Modern theme, click on the hamburger and enter your term, then click the Search Results dropdown and select Tags.

On the Classic or Professional White theme, hit [skip to menu], tap Search and enter your term. When the results display, hit [skip to menu] again and tap Search: Tags.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:06 AM on December 20 [1 favorite]


when a mod gets tired of reading about (to steal dusty potato's example) pineapple pizza, the integrity of the archive is literally not even an afterthought.

Deletions don't change the database (and edit histories are absolutely recorded), and dusty potato was talking (at least in part) about preemptive mod notes, so I'm not sure I'm following you.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:14 AM on December 20


I can explain! Enn is stating that in response to user requests, mods seem to highly value the site's historical continuity (not the actual database, but the public-facing record) and treat that continuity as a sort of inviolable rule. But enn feels that the actual value that the mods seem to place on that continuity must not actually be that high, given enn's perception that mods break that "rule" frequently based solely on mods' own whims/preferences. This disjunction gives enn the impression that the "rule" about continuity is not actually a "rule" with much value, or that user requests, even in dire circumstances, are valued far below moderator whims/preferences. (Or maybe both.)

Also, enn seems upset that a safety-related request that felt very urgent and like it would not cost the mods much (if anything) was treated without appropriate care and consideration. I was not there, of course, but it seems like a reasonable thing to be unhappy about.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:33 AM on December 20 [3 favorites]


I'm with enn on finding that the combination of mod deletions and no right to be forgotten is really troubling. What led me to disable my account in 2015 or 2016 (I blessedly don't even remember exactly when anymore) was a contentious discussion where mod deletions were such that I felt what remained was a distorted version of the actual conversation we were having, and yet this was now a forever-persistent record that I had no ability to disassociate myself from.

However, in line with what restless_nomad notes-- aggressive deletions in the way I described were characteristic of the mod approach at the time, but I do perceive that that has now fallen by the wayside in favor of pre-emptive steering.
posted by dusty potato at 11:36 AM on December 20 [2 favorites]


Also, the pineapple thing was not about mod notes. Instead, in using that example, enn was implying that a moderator might well make a deletion based on a preference like "I think we've sufficiently covered people's issues with pineapple pizza, let's please stop distracting from the article's main point about jalapeños." Enn seems to think that such a preference might justify, to moderators, either a mod note or deletions, or both.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:37 AM on December 20


Personally, I would be thrilled and willing to pay Metafilter a reasonable amount of money to be able to change the authorship of all my old posts to an anonymous ID unique to that thread (so it would not affect the ability to follow the discussion at all). It really does upset me that contributing to the website for a number of years means I have an indelible record that could be easily tied to me by inference from someone who knows me. I know that's equally on me, but like...I was 18 when I first signed up, you know?
posted by dusty potato at 11:47 AM on December 20 [3 favorites]


you edit comments and posts; you edit your own comments and posts.

I can think of fewer than five times a mod has edited a comment or post of someone else's except to fix a typo or a formatting error. Likewise their own comments and posts. I appreciate that you've had what felt like bad dealings here, but acting as if these things happen with anywhere near the sorts of regularity that comment deletions happen is not supportable by the data. Comment deletions happen, if I am remembering correctly, at a rate of about 1%. Comment/post editing (other than typos/formatting) happens maybe once a year or less and it's always a big deal when it does.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:57 AM on December 20 [4 favorites]


wow, 1%?! as you can tell I'm very much not a fan of comment deletions, but I still would not have imagined the frequency of deletion to be that high and I am quite astounded by that number.
posted by dusty potato at 12:03 PM on December 20 [2 favorites]


I'd suggest that the mods randomly stop deleting comments for a week just to remind everyone why they're necessary, but I get the impression that the folks doing the complaining would largely benefit from such an experiment, so the point would be moot.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:06 PM on December 20 [1 favorite]


Hmmm, maybe it's .1%. Let me check the old numbers. Sorry to alarm!
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:07 PM on December 20


Oh no, that's right, it's here in the FAQ.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:09 PM on December 20 [2 favorites]


I'd suggest that the mods randomly stop deleting comments for a week just to remind everyone why they're necessary, but I get the impression that the folks doing the complaining would largely benefit from such an experiment, so the point would be moot.

You may be right! Since the only data I have is self-selecting, limited existence of times I have read a comment that I then noticed was deleted, I certainly don't have a full picture. And like I said, my perception is that deletion is used in a much more restrained way now than in its heyday.

I'd like to posit this, though...whatever proportion of that 1% are gross, unacceptable comments-- why are those users allowed to remain on the site? And whatever proportion of the 1% aren't that-- in what way, then, are they so disruptive that there aren't better alternatives to deletion?
posted by dusty potato at 12:24 PM on December 20


(Serious one) MetaBnB

Like AirBnB, but for MeFites to stay at places owned by other MeFites. Means that MeFites who have an extra room but bills to pay can get a few bucks / Euros / pounds from other MeFites. And those travelling MeFites are paying another MeFite, rather than a corporate hotel chain or an online accommodation provider of questionable ethics.

Does not need a fancy or complicated system to be built. Maybe even just a "I might have a room available sometimes" checkbox for potential hosts, who have their geo-location enabled, to tick (visible only to other MeFites).

Has the advantage that the accommodation provider, and the potential guest, can check out each others profile first before committing. No fancy booking systems; it's up to the host and guest to make their own arrangements. MetaFilter itself is not responsible for any shenanigans, so only book/host if you like the other person from their profile and history. If it works out pretty well for either the guest and/or host MeFite, then they can (honor, no obligation) donate a few of those bucks / Euros / pounds to MetaFilter.
posted by Wordshore at 12:25 PM on December 20 [5 favorites]


When we want to have control over our own posting history (because, in my case, people in real life were using my posting history to harass and threaten me in real life), the archival integrity of Metafilter is sacrosanct

I have said a bunch of times, and will continue to reiterate, that we are open to talking to folks about removing stuff they have privacy/history/etc. concerns about. We will, can, and do remove stuff like that on a regular basis; it doesn't happen a lot but it's also overwhelmingly the case when it does come up that we can figure out a good workable compromise with the concerned member even if their initial request is broader than what feels like reasonable site practice.

The shape that usually takes is: someone writes to us to say "hey, I want to get rid of [stuff x] because of [concern y]". We look at x, size up how big an impact it is gonna be on the site (is it two threads or a handful of comments, or is it a giant swathe of interactions on the site? Is it a hugely memorable event on the site or some low-visibility stuff that isn't gonna leave an obvious hole?), look at whether and how it's going to actually help with that concern y, and either say "sure, done" if it's not a problem as requested or say "hey, that would be a really big deal, is there a lower impact approach like [targeted deletions z] that would solve the problem better?" and work from there.

Sometimes folks are operating on vague concerns; sometimes on very specific ones. Sometimes it's something they're embarrassed about; sometimes it's something where they're actively concerned about e.g. stalking and doxxing from known hostile actors. We try and evaluate that as well in figuring out where to find a compromise if one is necessary, and are more flexible when it's clear that a stripped-down solution won't e.g. help sufficiently with a dire safety issue. We'll also offer advice where we can about additional safety and privacy steps, talk folks through stuff like account changes, etc.

I lay this all out because I do care about the archival integrity of MetaFilter an awful lot but I also reject the notion that we treat it as sacrosanct. I prioritize the archive but it is not in every situation the highest priority. An account wipe is a dire, nuclear-level approach to this kind of thing, which is why I consistently push for more measured approaches to things like privacy concerns. Those more measured approaches generally work fine.

I acknowledge and understand the frustration of not having total, casual control over site content on a per-user level, but I can think of a small handful of times in the last eleven years where that actually remained a sore spot in practice after working through a request, rather than a sore spot in principle; basically every time in recent memory that someone has come to us at the contact form with a concern about some of their past participation/info/identity on the site we have been able to work out a compromise that solved the problem they were dealing with to the extent that MeFi-side changes could do so.

I'll reiterate that folks who have specific concerns about their posting history vs. current privacy/identity/safety/etc concerns can contact us and we will take that seriously and try to work something out with you. "Just erase my entire account" is a deeply unlikely outcome, but there's a ton of space between that and doing nothing and that space is where this stuff tends to land and tends to work out okay for all involved.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:26 PM on December 20 [11 favorites]


Thank you, cortex. I appreciate hearing that!
posted by dusty potato at 12:31 PM on December 20


In the Modern theme, click on the hamburger and enter your term, then click the Search Results dropdown and select Tags.

Oh wild! I had never dug that far. Thanks, Johnny Wallflower! The Pony was in the corral the whole time!!!
posted by Gray Duck at 12:39 PM on December 20 [3 favorites]


wow, 1%?! as you can tell I'm very much not a fan of comment deletions, but I still would not have imagined the frequency of deletion to be that high and I am quite astounded by that number.

Keep in mind that represents all the reasons a comment may get deleted; a lot of that is stuff like typo/url corrections, doubled-up comments, responses to deleted comments, etc. The chances of any given well-intended, contentful comment not tied up in the systemic baggage of an ongoing moderation process getting deleted are lower.

I'd like to posit this, though...whatever proportion of that 1% are gross, unacceptable comments-- why are those users allowed to remain on the site?

Historically, the answer was the moderation practice was to try and give folks a lot of opportunity to improve or to come around or to mellow out, or barring any actual improvement to at least really give someone enough rope to make it super unambiguous that they deserved a banning. That's one of the things I regret in retrospect about how we handled such stuff; we were very, very grudging about banning basically as a point of principle and let people get away with some real dumb, gross, fuck-off-already stuff because of that bid for permissiveness and nth chances.

Currently, the answer is a lot more weighted toward "well, they aren't". Someone leaving a fucked up comment may get a deletion and a note on their profile and an eyeball to see if it recurs; someone doing it on the regularly we are a lot more inclined to just shitcan and declare it their problem to sort out on their own time elsewhere. A lot of the long-time bad behavior folks who we should have banned years ago have, in fact, been banned since; everyone once in a while one that's been quiet long enough to have fallen off the radar pipes back up with some fresh fuckery and they get banned too. (And sometimes one of 'em pops back up and...has actually sorted their shit out and learned to be a better community member, which is kinda reassuring about the capacity for people to change and grow.)

So I'd say the proportion of deleted stuff these days that is super gross is a lot lower in general, and a lot more representative of folks who are not long-time, long-active members, because we've been more willing to ban those folks these days which means they don't get to keep coming around. Instead it's more the newer or driveby or deep-delurker where we haven't had a recent pattern of behavior to work off of.

And whatever proportion of the 1% aren't that-- in what way, then, are they so disruptive that there aren't better alternatives to deletion?

MetaFilter's a moderated site, and has been forever; see above about some of the administrative stuff that deletions represent, but beyond that the question of what is and isn't disruptive comes down in significant part to local site culture and per-subsite and per-thread context. People having random side conversations in Ask aren't burning the site down but they're gonna get deleted because that's the expectation we have of Ask. People rehashing a given political side argument for the tenth or twentieth time in a politics discussion are likely to get told to cut it out, and stuff deleted sometimes to boot, not because that argument has zero content in principle but because it's sucking the oxygen out of the room in practice.

There are other ways to handle those issues than deletion, and different sites take different approaches, which is fine. But a certain amount of deletion to cut off repeated derails or shut down bad dynamics (even if no one is being super gross or awful in the specific comments) is a pretty fundamental part of how MetaFilter has always worked. 1% is high compared to a no-deletion process, and 1% is low compared to an actively curated, top-down editorial approach to conversation. It's a pretty normal historical ballpark for MetaFilter because this is how MetaFilter approaches moderation. It's not for everyone but we try hard to set the expectation that it's how this particular place on the web works.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:42 PM on December 20 [4 favorites]


dusty potato: "Personally, I would be thrilled and willing to pay Metafilter a reasonable amount of money to be able to change the authorship of all my old posts to an anonymous ID unique to that thread (so it would not affect the ability to follow the discussion at all)."

If anyone referred to you by name in that thread, it would be easy to figure out that you said something, though?
posted by Chrysostom at 12:44 PM on December 20


...whatever proportion of that 1% are gross, unacceptable comments-- why are those users allowed to remain on the site? And whatever proportion of the 1% aren't that-- in what way, then, are they so disruptive that there aren't better alternatives to deletion?

I have had three or so comments deleted. If you include this one, 2,130 others have been allowed to stand. I imagine I am allowed to remain on the site because mostly I am a good MeFite who usually makes a positive contribution. On occasion I have screwed up by posting something the mods decided was ill-considered (and usually I agreed, after the deletion) and that's a trade-off I am fine with. I am not perfect, and I don't expect the mods to be perfect, either. Maybe a comment gets deleted unfairly from time to time. Even so, many of the comments I see, mine included, are not as clever, wise, or necessary, as someone described the megathreads above, as those of us who wrote them may think they are.

Speaking of necessary, there are many things in this world that are not necessary but are a comfort nonetheless. I am planning a 30-vacation from the megathreads starting January 1. I don't think I have it in me to spend another year that includes primaries soaking in an environment that is often depressing.

That said, since the megathreads came into existence a number of MeFites have inspired each other to donate their time as well as their money to political causes they found deeply meaningful. For example, a bunch of people wrote postcards to voters, went out and protested (against a variety of things), ran for office, raised money, and met up in real life at political events. The megathreads have shared important information, attempted to stop disinformation, and functioned as a kind of home within a home for many of us.

I get the hate, I do, but a lot of the MeFites participating in the megathreads appear to embody in real life the best impulses among us. It has also offered a particular haven for MeFites in red states who do not have many IRL outlets for political discussion and organising.

I truly believe that MetaFilter is providing a valuable public service by accommodating the megathreads. To me, that makes MetaFilter a place that goes beyond promoting the best of the web, and in a good way. That is, of course, thanks to the mods and the MeFites who have worked so hard to make the megathreads manageable.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:15 PM on December 20 [16 favorites]


I've been a member since August 26, 2001, and I'd read the site almost since the beginning. In my view the site changed forever just a few weeks later. The 9/11 thread was a crap thread by MetaFilter standards, a single-link post to the CNN home page. It was also a cathartic place for our community to gather for news and solace. It was also one of the first megathreads.

Since then the megathreads have been a comfort through some difficult times. The 2004 and 2016 US presidential elections were the two most disappointing in my adult life. (And I loved first hearing about a kid called Barrack Obama in a megathread.) The megathreads helped me get through the Bush administration and are certainly helping me endure the current disaster. I believe they've become a vital part of the site.


Seconded. It only takes two Cabal members, so the motion carries.
posted by leotrotsky at 2:49 PM on December 20 [1 favorite]


The megathreads helped me get through the Bush administration and are certainly helping me endure the current disaster. I believe they've become a vital part of the site.

Just to be really clear, we've always had threads about political topics, but the current rolling politics catch-all is new as of 2016. We have no intention to get rid of the former, but the latter is not necessarily the best or most sustainable solution.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:51 PM on December 20 [2 favorites]


> I'd suggest that the mods randomly stop deleting comments for a week just to remind everyone why they're necessary

What's that strange roaring, screaming sound I can hear echoing as if simultaneously from a great distance but also from inside my head?

Actually a setting to opt-in to seeing deleted comments would be interesting, though I imagine not viable. Sometimes I like to remind the void I can look back too.
posted by lucidium at 3:11 PM on December 20


cortex: "Just erase my entire account" is a deeply unlikely outcome

Before denying account deletions for EU users you really want to talk to your GDPR lawyer. Right of erasure exists and it exists for a reason (in fact, one might argue it exists exactly because of cases like this).
posted by Soi-hah at 5:02 PM on December 20 [2 favorites]


leotrotsky, you know damn well your Cabal membership was suspended for non-payment of dues. Until that's straightened out, you have no voting rights.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:22 PM on December 20


Deeply unlikely and over my dead body are two different things; I'm aware of the GDPR requirements and it's among the soup of things that'd factor into a discussion about removing stuff. But in the context of MetaFilter as a community with continuity, it's absolutely the nuclear option and finding a compromise on a less disruptive, less destructive approach where possible is always gonna be a key goal for me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:36 PM on December 20 [2 favorites]


It would be cool if we didn't have to scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Save Preferences" before a change to our user preferences took effect. One of my favorite UI innovations in recent times has been auto-saving of stuff like that.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:50 PM on December 20 [1 favorite]


I'd suggest that the mods randomly stop deleting comments for a week just to remind everyone why they're necessary

Modless Mondays
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:13 PM on December 20 [3 favorites]


I'm aware of the GDPR requirements and it's among the soup of things that'd factor into a discussion about removing stuff.

So if I understand correctly, for a user that lives in the EU, that means the mods will try to convince them not to ask for the nuclear option of deleting all the of the data, but if they insist, they can have anything deleted as the law seems to require? Would a user who cannot (or does not) prove they live in the EU be treated in that same manner?
posted by floam at 11:28 PM on December 20


Modless Mondays

Can't trust that day.

I keep getting my cabal mixed up with my cable, and now I don't get Turner Classic Movies anymore.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:40 PM on December 20 [1 favorite]


So if I understand correctly, for a user that lives in the EU, that means the mods will try to convince them not to ask for the nuclear option of deleting all the of the data, but if they insist, they can have anything deleted as the law seems to require?

We were working with users to try and figure out good solutions to privacy/safety/etc concerns about their contributions long before the GDPR came along. What the GDPR changes is the specific legal context for some users, not my goals in finding a good-faith compromise where someone's worried about something they posted on the site.

I don't want a conversation to get to, let alone start from, the point of "I'm going to legally compel you to do x"—a possibility which also long pre-dates GDPR—when it can be managed at the way more community-centric level of "hey, can you help me solve this problem". The moment it actually moves from working together with someone to instead legal escalation is a really shitty one and it has happened literally only a handful of times in the course of nineteen years and never because the MeFi side of the discussion was trying to escalate things.

If someone's got concerns about the stuff they've put on the site, I want them to contact us and I want to talk about it with them to see what we can do to help. When that actually happens, it basically always works out amicably and gets them a solution to their specific concerns in the least destructive way we can sort out together, and basically never involves invoking the law or an implication of using that to compel action. I'm enough of a realist to know it's possible for it to go the other way and to be prepared for that, but I find hypotheticals about it stressful and depressing because it basically never needs to and represents an absolute breaking point with someone's relationship with the site and the community. I'd much rather meet people where they are, when they actually are there, and work together to figure something out, vs. borrowing trouble.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:50 AM on December 21 [9 favorites]


That was a much more graceful response than I would have been able to manage in your shoes, cortex.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:54 AM on December 21 [2 favorites]


Jessamyn agreed with me and deleted one of my Asks years ago, which I was grateful for.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:48 PM on December 21 [1 favorite]


More flexibility on self-linking.
I come across so much interesting stuff on my job and i think it is really sad i cannot do that. I do have a link in my profile but sometimes I really think it is sad. I remember there was this call for FPPs on older women, i think in the bigger context of obituaries.
I so would have loved to do one on Agnes Heller. I do not know her well but well enough I would feel like breaking the rules.

I totally understand not promoting ones on business, or employer, but there is a zone inbetween, were eg i meet this cool person irl, through my work, and think, omg this might totally interest mefites but cannot.
posted by 15L06 at 12:05 PM on December 22


Would it be feasible to expand the [x new comments] process to also remove or mark deleted comments?
posted by lucidium at 4:18 PM on December 22 [1 favorite]


I totally understand not promoting ones on business, or employer, but there is a zone inbetween, were eg i meet this cool person irl, through my work, and think, omg this might totally interest mefites but cannot.

For whatever it's worth, the one time I was concerned about an edge case regarding something I came across in my job, I asked the mods via the contact form and got a quick, helpful answer.

In fact, every single time I've privately asked "will this fly on mefi" questions about potential FPP's, the mod team has been great about giving constructive feedback.

It can't hurt to ask. It's also a lot less frustrating to hear "yeah, sorry, no" before you've crafted and posted an FPP with a dozen links.
posted by zarq at 8:14 AM on December 24 [2 favorites]


If someone's got concerns about the stuff they've put on the site, I want them to contact us and I want to talk about it with them to see what we can do to help. When that actually happens, it basically always works out amicably and gets them a solution to their specific concerns in the least destructive way we can sort out together, and basically never involves invoking the law or an implication of using that to compel action. I'm enough of a realist to know it's possible for it to go the other way and to be prepared for that, but I find hypotheticals about it stressful and depressing because it basically never needs to and represents an absolute breaking point with someone's relationship with the site and the community. I'd much rather meet people where they are, when they actually are there, and work together to figure something out, vs. borrowing trouble.

To claim that "it basically always works out amicably" is flatly a lie. I have contacted the site administration numerous times, over the course of years, about deleting posts. Each and every time the response has been that you are unwilling to take any action whatsoever, even when I was being harassed and threatened.

The reason that I have not attempted to resort to legal options to compel you to act like decent human beings is not that things have "worked out amicably." It's that I know that Metafilter has much deeper pockets than I do and that I am unlikely to be able to fund the necessary lawsuit for long enough to win my claim. (I suspect you know that as well, which is why you are willing to flout both copyright law and now GDPR so openly.)

Please stop representing yourselves as interested in "compromise" or "solutions." You are and remain unwilling to entertain any compromise or solution that would interfere with your ability to extract the maximum possible ad revenue from other people's writing.
posted by enn at 8:24 AM on December 24


Enn, you have been welcome to stop creating content here since your proposed solution wasn't accepted. That you have continued to do so for nine years despite apparently wanting your account deleted is a source of immense bafflement to us.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:42 AM on December 24


Not that I owe you an explanation, but—as I have explained in the past—I continue to post so that the corpus of my comments here is larger and more "diluted" and it is hopefully harder to find doxxing material within it—since these days I am more careful about including identifying information than I was in older comments.

Obviously, this is a much worse option for me than simply removing the older comments that contain doxxing material. But since you refuse not only that option (my "proposed solution") but any and all compromise whatsoever, it is the only option I have.
posted by enn at 8:54 AM on December 24


We would be absolutely delighted to remove doxxing-type information. Drop us an email! We're happy to do it! We do it routinely for folks who have inadvertently revealed personal information. We do just ask that you specify what you want deleted, rather than "everything".
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:58 AM on December 24 [2 favorites]


As tamim so convincingly demonstrated, doxxing does not rely on one or two key comments. It is the bulk of somebody's posting history over time that, cumulatively, yield enough personal detail that somebody may become personally identifiable. That is why I request a more comprehensive deletion of my comment history here.

I will add: I find your unwillingness to take the simple, easy action that I have requested—one which you do for spammers every day, and one which is in your interest (I do not get the sense that any of you enjoy our repeated discussions of this issue any more than I do) as well as mine—equally as baffling as you find my continued participation while waiting until the time that you delete my account (which I believe is inevitable, as regulation and enforcement catch up with the state of the modern web and the days of playing "wild west" with people's personal information come to an end).
posted by enn at 9:09 AM on December 24


We don't delete spammers - we ban them, and we example.com the links they try to spam us with.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:21 AM on December 24


OK. My point stands. The business model of selling ads against people's writing (or, as you tellingly put it, "content") without their consent is one that is so obviously sleazy that I don't imagine this site will be able to continue flouting copyright and privacy laws indefinitely.
posted by enn at 9:33 AM on December 24


Could y'all please take this to MeMail or anywhere else?
posted by Etrigan at 9:37 AM on December 24 [4 favorites]


I have contacted the site administration numerous times, over the course of years, about deleting posts.

enn, if you want to send me your end of these communications, I will look at them, but I have never seen them. I have just double-checked my email records again—again because I have done this before as well, because you have complained directly and indirectly in MetaTalk threads about not getting an arbitrary account wipe a few times in the last several years—and I have a small handful of contact form messages and a couple of mefimails from you total in the last decade, none of which are in any way about having something you posted deleted.

You did specifically hold forth at length in this metatalk thread from eight years ago, where the short of it was you wanted to have all your stuff deleted but had no specific content you were concerned about or any specific concerns.

I have tried repeatedly in response to your recurring complaints in MetaTalk about it to hold out, really plainly, this "drop us a line and talk about specifics if there are specifics you are worried about" offer, and you have not that I have seen in all this time taken it up once, while as far as I can tell deciding that the uncharitable conclusions you drew for yourself in that discussion eight years ago are the start and the end of the conversation and that your opinions on the subject accurately represent the whole of everyone else's experience. But while you've been grudging about this, a whole lot of other people have actually successfully contacted us and worked out solutions to their concerns.

So, one more time: if there's specific stuff you regret posting, get ahold of us about it. Reach me at the contact form, I'll talk about it with you and see what we can figure out. If you were sending email to the wrong address all these years and this is some huge misunderstanding about that, resend it and we'll reset to that point in the conversation. You mentioned up thread dealing with harassment regarding your posting history; you have never that I've been able to find actually reached out to us with details about that so we could help, when that's as I've said a bunch of times exactly what we want people to do so we can help them out. I'm fine resetting that conversation to if you want to write to us.

But if you're just standing by the "casually delete all my stuff just in case" position, I am tired of going in circles on it. You need to either stop coming back to this from now on or just outright stop participating here, because as much as I am going to work with people in general on this stuff this is really, really clearly a specifically-you thing and I'm tired of trying to extend good faith on it. If you have something you want to ask for other than "just wipe my account because I feel like it", hit up the contact form and we'll talk. Beyond that, drop it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:40 AM on December 24 [2 favorites]


It feels uncool to have people keep talking about someone who has been asked to drop the subject & can’t really respond.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 6:44 PM on December 24 [2 favorites]


[I deleted a comment just now, I'm not sure if it's what you were responding to Rock Em so I'm leaving yours. But about the delete: nobody should be doxxing anybody, period. Let's really not go down that road, in any way.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:04 PM on December 24 [5 favorites]


After posting in and reading the current Fucking Fuck thread, I would like to be able to add a hug, ♡ or {} or whatever, to some comments as well as a favorite.
posted by theora55 at 11:17 AM on December 27 [6 favorites]


One of the gaps I see sometimes in MeTa when discussing threads and user issues is the mods saying "well, if you would just contact us about this, we could xx". I want to suggest that the fact that users don't necessarily contact a mod as a early-on step is a UX issue, and that this behavior be brought to the fore and made more visible/accessible. I am not a UX person (just an old web nerd) so not precisely sure how that might manifest, but I am someone who is invested in minimizing recurring pain points to which the solution has to be manually provided each time.

I would be interested in the viability of moving Pony requests to a uservoice/"you have three votes, spend them on feature requests that other people post"/Git (but not Git)-type site, because I feel like often times if a pony doesn't get implemented then it will just come back around again, and not all ponies benefit from a new round of conversation when it would be easy to have the historical record visible.

Generally I think it might be valuable to separate discussions about Metafilter as a +platform+ and Metafilter as a +community+. Generally (IMHO) changes to the platform should always use benefit-to-the-community as a North Star, but it would be valuable to view conversations focused on one or the other separately. Possibly this could be done by adding a category to MeTa.

Also (again IMHO) the site documentation is a mess. The FAQ is long and outdated and doesn't necessarily reflect current policy. And again, there could be value around identifying which information is focused on platform vs community.

Looking forward to entering my 14th year as a member of this site.
posted by softlord at 11:46 PM on December 29 [4 favorites]


Proposed enhancement for search

Sometimes when searching for articles by URL, e.g.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/04/sports/philip-rivers-los-angeles-chargers-playoffs.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fsports

where the question mark represents the beginning of a query string, and everything after that represents a parameter, Metafilter by default searches for all of that. If the url was inserted a post, but without a query string, e.g.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/04/sports/philip-rivers-los-angeles-chargers-playoffs.html

it will never be found unless the search term is edited to remove the query string. Was wondering if removing query strings as part of the search process would make it easier to find articles.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:14 AM on January 4


I copied a pony request from way up to endorse it and then the thread just became grim and depressing. :(

Anyway, since I still have it saved:
suelac: my pony request: if a comment is deleted, an attempt to click on the timestamp of that comment takes you to the comment above the deleted comment.

Yes, please, this would be helpful - instead of dumping to the top of the thread, please drop me off nearby, at least. (I realize this probably only really affects megathreads.)

Also, pleeeease on Wordshore's MetaBnB? (Although surely it should be MefiBnB?) I'll even offer up an elevator pitch: "It's like AirBnB, but with a plate of beans on the side".

And finally: I really appreciate you guys - especially the Mods - and this site. Thank you.
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:57 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


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