Bring together all of Mefi December 6, 2019 8:46 AM   Subscribe

I would like to discuss the benefits of having content from all subsites directly displayed on the front page. Great stuff created by fellow Mefites gets overlooked for now good reason other than the treachery of our lazy lizard brains.

Lots of content on Mefi subsites never gets noticed because many of us simply forget that the subsites exist. I understand wanting to keep the front page neat and such but as a result of spreading content across the subsites, amazing new projects, music and Askmes don't get the attention they deserve.

Having content from all subsites directly on the front page would be a relatively easy and inexpensive way of increasing community interactions, especially now with membership and revenue issues. It would also be a nice way to recognize the effort people put in creating cool projects, music and caring for one another in Askmes. The daily rate of content on Mefi is so low that the additional content probably wouldn't clutter up the front page.

An option to activate or deactivate this feature would give community members a choice in the matter.
posted by Foci for Analysis to Feature Requests at 8:46 AM (29 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Would it be possible to make My MeFi include other subsites?
posted by Etrigan at 8:50 AM on December 6, 2019


This is something we've been pretty seriously thinking about for the last couple years, yeah! I don't remember how much public discussion we've had about it outside of fairly busy catch-all brainstorming threads, but basically I agree with the idea of making the all-of-MeFi more discoverable as a good goal for helping folks find out about stuff that they might like if they just knew to look.

We've mostly been talking about the concept mod-side in terms of a "splash page": keeping all the front pages of subsites more or less as is, and making it very easy for logged-in members to keep their default view preferences however they are now, but having the default landing page of www.metafilter.com be more of a round-up of good stuff from various parts of the site, so that a visitor landing on or clicking through to the front page of the site the first time will get more of a "hey, here's a bunch of neat stuff" view vs. "parse whatever subsite index you happened to navigate to".

The main challenges in really getting going on it have been coming up with a good practical design that reads well on desktop and mobile, and sorting out how to filter up a good mix of content onto that page in a way that highlights good starting points.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:54 AM on December 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


Hmm. I kind of like the idea of keeping the sites themselves separate, but I also see the need to attract people to other subsites.

How about this: we already have one best-of sidebar on the front, and while it includes links to all sites, that's not always apparent. How about instead of one best-of sidebar, we have a series of smaller best-of sidebars, one for each subsite?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:03 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


I love this weird idea.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:12 AM on December 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


Lots of content on Mefi subsites never gets noticed because many of us simply forget that the subsites exist.

I'm sure that's true. But there are also parts of the site that I avoid because I'm just not interested.

Is there a middle ground - something like meta.metafilter.com that shows everything posted sitewide, while still leaving all the other parts as they are?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 9:16 AM on December 6, 2019 [9 favorites]


But the really, really important question is, if www.metafilter.com becomes a dashboard to the whole site, what subdomain will the current homepage sit on? blue.metafilter.com? thebestoftheweb.metafilter.com? metafilter.metafilter.com? communityweblog.metafilter.com?
posted by jacquilynne at 9:45 AM on December 6, 2019


We should just go all in on the filtering side of MetaFilter. Like a build your own MetaFilter experience via tagging and skinning. I want to select all the categories of FPPs, AskMe questions, Fanfare subjects, Music posts, etc., that I would typically want to follow, have them all display on the same page in a style and layout I choose, or even skin it for myself.

Also, it should bring me beverages and recipes should automatically come with small tasting samples.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:04 AM on December 6, 2019 [9 favorites]


^^^ Some of the suggestions above are in jest, but the others are completely serious. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine which are which.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:07 AM on December 6, 2019


No thank you. If Ask posts appeared in my RSS feed I'd never get any work done. Projects, the good ones at least, already hit the front page. FanFare I have actual negative interest in and I'd need a way to filter it out.

Then again, I almost never go to the front page, so knock yourselves out but don't pollute the RSS feeds.
posted by scruss at 10:08 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


I don't think (? correct me if I'm wrong) anyone is advocating for getting rid of the stratified sub-sites. Just offering a more comprehensive view as the front page of the site, instead of treating the Blue, which is really just one of many sub-sites at this point, as if it were the site and everything else as an afterthought. The Blue would continue to exist as a thing on its own, that thing just wouldn't be the place you landed if you clicked a link to www.metafilter.com.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:13 AM on December 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


> cortex: The main challenges in really getting going on it have been coming up with a good practical design that reads well on desktop and mobile, and sorting out how to filter up a good mix of content onto that page in a way that highlights good starting points.

Once upon a time someone (it might have been me, that's how long ago it was) did a quick and dirty mockup of a unified MeFeed where it looked basically the same as the Blue, but each post had the background color of its subsite. It was kind of an ungodly rainbow, but I think something along those lines, where the core MeFi design stays the same (text posts in chronological order) but there is some visual treatment of each post to differentiate it. I don't think I would like, for example, a splash page where posts for each subsite were arranged in a series of boxes or something.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:20 AM on December 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


I'd like something psychedelic and mind bending, like the old Kai's Power Tools mixed with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse collisions of mismatched styles. I'm looking for something that morphs with the new content, that bends and flows with a combination of preselects and the influences of Mefites tweaking the inputs.

I suppose I'm basically asking for MetaFilter as benevolent acid flashback.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:43 AM on December 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I think the more useful way to think about this is that right now, the way the blue is presented is as if that's what MeFi really is, and everything else is just ancillary. Of course, if you're coming from a Google search, that's particularly funny because chances are your idea of what MeFi is is AskMeFi (which is way more prominent in search results).

So:

Imagine there was an "all.metafilter.com" that aggregated everything across all sub-sites chronologically.

Now imagine "metafilter.com" and "www.metafilter.com" become aliases for that, meaning that people coming direct to MeFi see from the get-go that it's not just the blue, but actually a lot of things.

And then to finish it off, the blue gets moved to something like e.g. "weblog.metafilter.com".

So all the subsites still exist, all still have their own URL and their own RSS feeds, but for people discovering MeFi or who want to see more than just one subsite, there's visibility and there's no longer this built-in assumption that one subsite is more important than the others.

Personally I think it's worth trying, if only because yeah, people often don't know or understand that there's more to MeFi than just one subsite (usually the blue or the green, depending on how they came in the first time).
posted by tocts at 10:54 AM on December 6, 2019 [7 favorites]


I kind of like the ungodly rainbow idea. Probably not as the new-user-landing page, but as a view option, especially if (Well, really only if) logged in users can specify which sites (and which fanfare sub-areas) they want displayed on their ungodly rainbow page.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:17 PM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


I find browsing StackExchange hot questions addicting. I’d like to see what an All Metafilter or Metafilter Network page could do along these lines. Icon on the left for the appropriate section of MF, display tags/category/show to distinguish further, and keep the rest of the styling consistent so it’s easy to read. Prioritize by some measure of popularity if It turns out to be too busy a list.
posted by michaelh at 12:31 PM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


I absolutely love the idea of a MetaFilter magazine cover.
posted by Miko at 12:31 PM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Rock Steady: Once upon a time someone (it might have been me, that's how long ago it was) did a quick and dirty mockup of a unified MeFeed where it looked basically the same as the Blue, but each post had the background color of its subsite. It was kind of an ungodly rainbow, but I think something along those lines, where the core MeFi design stays the same (text posts in chronological order) but there is some visual treatment of each post to differentiate it.

It was me! All the way back in the ancient mists of 2014. That was before the spiffy Modern design launch, but same principle applies.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:47 PM on December 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Hmmm....now that I've seen it...not rainbow-y enough. More muddy. Want more raindow.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:59 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


I like this! my suggestion is for metafilter.com to be a feed of all subsites and the current metafilter.com to become mefi.metafilter.com or frontpage.metafilter.com.
posted by capricorn at 1:04 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Crisis on Infinite MeFis!
posted by XMLicious at 1:42 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: Endgame
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:16 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


MetaFeed.
posted by Riverine at 8:01 PM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


someone to curate my MetaFeed. Someone who will also bring me a coffee. please. 'm empty
posted by From Bklyn at 3:20 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


I absolutely love the idea of a MetaFilter magazine cover.

Only if we manage to get the editorial team that does The New Yorker to also do the MetaFilter covers.
posted by hippybear at 7:35 AM on December 7, 2019


If the front page is curated by hand, how do you handle the extra work? If the front page is curated automatically, how do you keep people from gaming it?
posted by fuzz at 11:40 AM on December 7, 2019


Oops, never mind, I was thinking about a page that had just some kind of favorites-determined "best of" from each subsite. If it's just going to be everything from everywhere, you don't have to worry about selecting anything.
posted by fuzz at 11:44 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


I have a layout suggestion.

There are 8 subsites. A web page is basically a big box. So, what you do, is you divide the main front page into 9 rectangles:
MeFi     Ask     FanFare
Proj   [empty]   Music
Jobs     IRL     MeTa
The empty space in the middle can be left empty, for beauty and whitespace purposes, or you can sell ads there, or whatever.

Then, you take each individual rectangle, and you divide it up into 9 rectangles, then put the most recent 8 posts, or most recent 8 posts with comments, or 4 and 4, or 3 and 3 and 2 for something else, or whatever. This leaves an additional center space for ads.

Then, you take each individual sub-rectangle, and you can put the title, first paragraph, and more inside, then favorites, then comments, then the top 3 comments down below, all around a center rectangle which you can sell for ads or leave blank at this point.

And so on.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:08 PM on December 7, 2019 [3 favorites]


I think a page that combines the most active threads and most favorited threads from all subsites could be a good way to draw in new users. I have been spending more time on reddit and one of the subreddits I spent some time on is kind of slow and sleepy lately, it makes me want to visit it less. Fanfare also has that feeling for me at times, with lots of threads that have only a few comments. I want to keep those threads there for the dedicated fans, but also have an option that highlights faster-moving conversations.

If we want to get really fancy, we could also include highly favorited or responded-to comments. But that would take another level of site coding.
posted by mai at 12:19 PM on December 7, 2019


Yeah, a test run of all.metafilter.com could be very cool. With options like everything in chronological order, or currently popular. And the ability to choose which subsites you see, and the ability to filter by tags or keywords. I wouldn't replace the Blue with the feed as default until we see how people like it and iterate a little.
posted by Tehhund at 4:14 AM on December 10, 2019


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