Could we see more "Best Of" in the "Best Of" section on the front page? April 2, 2019 5:01 AM   Subscribe

Over the last several years, the "Best Of" section seems to have become more of a "news" section, promoting podcast episodes as well as community and limited time events. There used to be much more of a focus on highlighting fantastic comments and interesting under-the-radar threads, across all the subsites, and I miss that.

I definitely think the shift has been gradual, but at a cursory glance it seems like the last time the "Best Of" section highlighted interesting and unique posts and comments was this past October. Since then, every post on the Best Of blog falls into one of three categories:

- Podcast releases and general site news.
- Community events, such as Secret Quonsar, the holiday cookie/card exchanges, and telephone dictionary.
- Posts covering time-sensitive events, including the Super Bowl, March Madness, U.S. Election day, and the Oscars.

These kinds of posts don't interest me as much as others, but I don't want this to come across like I'm dissing them or don't appreciate them - I think using the Best Of section to highlight these posts is awesome. I just miss the days when I would discover some truly great stuff via the Best Of. A few examples of the kind of things I miss:

- Well written and insightful comments, especially those which shine a light on a worldview that isn't mine. Often the comments highlighted in "Best Of" were from threads I may not have ever clicked into on my own.
- Cool links and front page posts that aren't generating as much discussion as they might warrant.
-Exceptional Ask posts, since I don't normally visit that section of the site.

I think this is a very gradual shift that started when Matt and then jessmyn retired from the site, and has only really come to a head during the last six months or so. Totally understand if this is just a time and attention issue on part of the mods, and I know I for one could be making more of an effort to flag stuff that I personally think should be highlighted as fantastic to make it easier for you guys. Would just be interested in a discussion of what kinds of things make it to "Best Of" and how we can champion more unique content that isn't necessarily community oriented or time sensitive.
posted by JimBennett to MetaFilter-Related at 5:01 AM (23 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

First of all, thanks to JimBennett for his patience, since we delayed this a bit while we were working on the April 1 thingy, but also I wanted to say that we welcomed the nudge, and I've been back to adding more on the sidebar. The ongoing "crisis every single day" threads have been my personal de-motivator, because keeping up is time-consuming (and sort of soul-sucking), but I've decided to make this a higher priority. Please do share your ideas about what you like to see on the Best Of Blog / sidebar, and any other thoughts. (Best Of blog is here, archives are here, btw)
posted by taz (staff) at 5:05 AM on April 2 [11 favorites]


How about a counter for "Flagged as fantastic" messages about FPPs, and auto-post things that appear there? Obviously that can be gamed, soooooo....maybe dump such FPPs int a queue for simple human release to that section?
posted by wenestvedt at 6:10 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


Oooh. Yes. Thanks, JimBennett. I flagged this post as fantastic in the hopes that it shows up on the new-and-improved-by-going-back-to-the-old sidebar.
posted by AgentRocket at 6:48 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


The ongoing "crisis every single day" threads have been my personal de-motivator, because keeping up is time-consuming (and sort of soul-sucking)

Maybe the "crisis every single day" threads are something we need to have a conversation about as a community.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 6:57 AM on April 2 [13 favorites]


The ongoing "crisis every single day" threads have been my personal de-motivator, because keeping up is time-consuming (and sort of soul-sucking)

Maybe the "crisis every single day" threads are something we need to have a conversation about as a community.


There have been some conversations about this.

My own take on this is that the best way to fight against this is to post more about things you like, about things that bring you joy and that you'd like to share with others in the community.

I do agree that it'd be nice to have more nice stuff pop up on the sidebar, but the best way to get more happy on the blue is to post more happy on the blue. Cheers.
posted by Fizz at 7:14 AM on April 2 [10 favorites]


Thanks for the work that goes into Best Of, mods.

I think of Best Of as showcasing comments from the community--funny, insightful, topic-specific writing that doesn't require a reader to understand anything about MetaFilter and its inner workings. If I could wave a wand, I'd put inside baseball stuff like Crouton Zoo (which I love!), basketball madness, card exchanges, etc. in its own Community Projects container on the page, visibly separate from the main links to comments; ditto podcasts. Or maybe use labels/text color to differentiate terrific comments from the rest of the content? Or--eesh--maybe not post insider stuff to Best Of at all? I'd like Best Of to be outward-facing and welcoming to passersby*: just the Best Of.**

* I wanted to send an acquaintance to Best Of the other day, as an introduction to the site, but then looked at what was posted just then--podcast, basketball discussion, telephone pictionary--and realized that she'd lose interest in the awesome stuff while trying to navigate the community traditions, so didn't send her the link. But she's thinking about becoming a member thanks to an Ask about emotional labor, so.

** Small pony, please: When we do contests (Best Post, etc.), can winning posts get individual entries, labeled as MeFites' Choice? The community thinks these are the best, and it would add content to Best Of.

Anyway, please write more Best Of-worthy stuff, folks.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:25 AM on April 2 [9 favorites]


There have been some conversations about this.

Many, in fact. I'd request we don't try to inject conversations about those threads into every MeTa discussion.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:34 AM on April 2 [13 favorites]


FWIW stuff like this list from Zamboni (which made the sidebar) is exactly the kind of stuff I love to see on there. I already ordered some pens and am now getting very interested in the mechanical keyboard scene, with additional motivational props to this episode of Griffin and Rachel McElroy's podcast Wonderful.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:23 AM on April 2 [5 favorites]


(I mean the Best Of blog, above.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:09 AM on April 2


the best way to get more happy on the blue is to post more happy on the blue.

My problem is that the stuff that brings me joy makes for very weak posts.

On the other hand, there was that video of the Romanian leaf-singing a few years ago! That was fun!

I’ll try to post more stuff.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 11:38 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Have you seen the crap* I post? Go for it, dude.


*literally (formerly)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:51 PM on April 2 [8 favorites]


Today I learned, after over 10 years of admittedly sporadic but still somewhat regular visits to Metafilter, that there is a "Best Of" blog. May I suggest that it be removed from the "More" section with the drop-down arrow and added as a standalone line in the menu bar up by "Jobs" and "IRL" and "MetaTalk," and/or emphasized somehow in the sidebar (which I did know about because there isn't any extra effort needed to discover it)?
posted by cheapskatebay at 12:52 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


The "crisis every single day" threads just demonstrate that we at MetaFilter are solidly in the "Reality-Based" Community.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:55 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


I feel like this comes up literally every year, for like a decade. You guys always promise to do better, and it gets better for like maybe a month before slipping into afterthought/ mediocrity once again.

You seem unable or unwilling to give this front page real estate the attention it deserves and that a lot of people would like. This is no pejorative, it's not a priority, I totally get it. But it is something a lot of us value and its kinda withered on the vine. Be honest with yourselves about the likelihood of this changing, why will this meta have a different outcome to all the others that have been posted about this?

If you guys can't manage the sidebar, you should deputise it, automate it, or get rid of it. Any of those options are good, it's just wasted space now, linking to meta posts anyone can see half the time. I want to see comments from my mefi friends and peers that I might missed, informative and unusual, not so much another link to the podcast. comments like this for example.

I am happy to volunteer some time assisting with this if you need it.
posted by smoke at 1:39 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


mebe a most fave'd comment of the last 24hrs?
posted by sammyo at 2:01 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


I would personally love to see some kind of way to see the results of the flagged-as-fantastic. As it is, it seems to function as a sort of private enthusiastic "yes I love this so much that I want the mods to know" signal, which only you mods and I can see. I want to see some way for that metric to filter out to the rest of us, so we can see what other people are loving like that.
posted by sciatrix at 2:32 PM on April 2 [18 favorites]


I would personally love to see some kind of way to see the results of the flagged-as-fantastic. As it is, it seems to function as a sort of private enthusiastic "yes I love this so much that I want the mods to know" signal, which only you mods and I can see. I want to see some way for that metric to filter out to the rest of us, so we can see what other people are loving like that.

I agree with this. People favourite things for a bunch of different reasons ("I'm bookmarking it for later," "I want people to know I agree with this," "This is very good," etc.) - using "flagged as fantastic" seems like a more unambiguous "This is a very good comment/post" metric.

Fantastic flags are put to use in "Best Post" contests - why not for "Best of?"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:23 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


I always assumed Fantastic flags were the primary engine for the sidebar.
posted by rhizome at 4:17 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


I want to get a little notification that someone has flagged me as fantastic.

On the site, too, ha ha.

Witty jokes like that are a perfect example of what should be getting flagged as fantastic.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 5:41 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


Oh yes, I didn't realize until I saw this thread but I did really enjoy the Best Of sidebar posts for a long time. I kind of fell off of reading them after a while and I think that's on me rather than the feature itself, but I do agree that it was a very useful and neat way to read stuff I probably wouldn't have found otherwise.

I also appreciated the small dollop of editorial voice found in the posts, and I think that's the ingredient that would be missing in a straight "here's some posts that were flagged as fantastic most often" list. Maybe the flags could be a jumping off point for someone to do small writeups for the things that rise to the top of the flagged-as-fantastic list. But also I totally get if that's not really something the site can afford to put energy into right now.
posted by chrominance at 8:07 PM on April 2


Could something be automated so that like the "Popular Favourites" page there was a link to a page which was all comments flagged as "fantastic"? I don't know how many comments get flagged that way, or how many get more than one flag, but wouldn't this be a very low effort change? I realize there might be some jerks flagging tasteless jokes as fantastic but that would die down, or could be dealt with by usual mod means. I usually only flag the coolest comments as fantastic, but even that seems sort of ungratifying and pointless really.

I also second the idea there be some volunteer, trusted Meef who could be given the power to post directly to the sidebar. Like for example, I would read anything Kattallus flagged as fantastic, even kinky 1970s Icelandic CB radio transcripts. Other users could send interesting link to this posse.
posted by Rumple at 8:47 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Also, the logical place for the "best of" blog link is probably on the second header line beside "random"?

This would increase the visibility and its not really a subsite so it fits better with that line of links.
posted by Rumple at 8:53 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


the sidebar (which I did know about because there isn't any extra effort needed to discover it)

I actually never see the "sidebar" because on mobile it's at the very bottom of the page. And I only scroll down until I hit a post that I recognize. If I remembered it was there, I could jump down with the arrow, but I usually don't remember.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:35 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


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