What happened to the MeFi Deleted sites? June 25, 2020 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Seems they haven’t been updated in a year or so. Searched the archives but couldn’t find any announcement.
posted by stillmoving to MetaFilter-Related at 1:04 PM (31 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Heya, I'm assuming we're talking about mefideleted (and related askmedeleted) blogspot blogs. Not sure why they're not updating; they're not maintained by MetaFilter directly, and when they've gone down in the past it's usually been because of some service issue or RSS showstopper causing the blog to stop updating correctly.

I found this post from March 2019, and going off comments in there I've emailed cj_ to check in about it, see if they're still the maintainer or if I should poke someone else. Hopefully they'll be able to get it resolved.

Independent of the blog, which just as I understand it filters the MeFi RSS feed, you can also look for deleted posts directly on the site using one of the various deleted posts scripts that exist. There's a list of browser scripts on the wiki; I know Plutor's "Mefi Deleted Posts" script has gotten a lot of use in the past, though I don't know whether and which scripts currently work well on what browsers. Folks using one of those currently may have specific suggestions.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:10 PM on June 25, 2020 [5 favorites]

I knew we should have paid up for the enterprise monitoring.
posted by zamboni at 1:16 PM on June 25, 2020 [3 favorites]

I memailed cj_ about the outage on 14 October, 2019, the day after the last comment he posted anywhere here, and never got a response.
posted by hanov3r at 1:22 PM on June 25, 2020

I miss them, too. 😢
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:51 PM on June 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

And me as well. 😢
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:24 PM on June 25, 2020

Aw, I hope cj_ is okay? Anyone have contact information for cj_?

Also, glad I’m not the only one who enjoyed reading those. I found them so interesting!
posted by stillmoving at 2:38 PM on June 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was just searching for these earlier in the week and wondered what had happened. I hope cj_ is ok!
posted by blurker at 2:44 PM on June 25, 2020

As cortex alludes, if you use an RSS reader to read the site, you'll see pretty much all of the deleted posts!
posted by Chrysostom at 2:48 PM on June 25, 2020 [3 favorites]

So, I know cj_ off-site and can confirm he's ok, just not active on MeFi anymore.
posted by Alterscape at 4:41 PM on June 25, 2020 [35 favorites]

Huh. Spooky! I not-10-minutes ago checked mefideleted for the first time in probably over a year, and noticed the last post date. Then unrelatedly decided to do my ~once monthly Metatalk check. And here we are.
posted by quinndexter at 1:18 AM on June 26, 2020

Would it be possible for someone else to take over the scripts?
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 8:34 AM on June 26, 2020

Would it be possible for someone else to take over the scripts?

I'm curious about that too; totally understandable if cj_ isn't up for maintaining it anymore, and if it'd be workable to hand it off to someone else that might be a good solution. I'll follow up if I hear back from them. Alterscape, if you feel like it'd be appropriate to check in about that that'd be totally welcome too.

The other angle there is: someone can spin up a new version from scratch if it's not easy or practical to hand things over. These have always been unofficial DIY blogs (cj_ managing these isn't the first iteration over the years) and if someone feels like rigging up a new one that's totally fine too. Probably some useful lessons learned about parsing the RSS feed over the years but the basic mechanic ("look for gaps in otherwise sequential MeFi/Ask postids") is really simple.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:47 AM on June 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Alterscape, if you feel like it'd be appropriate to check in about that that'd be totally welcome too.

If you end up checking in with them, whether they're able to hand stuff over or not, tell them thanks.
posted by zamboni at 8:56 AM on June 26, 2020 [9 favorites]

As someone with the most recently deleted post I DON"T MISS IT AT ALL THANKS
posted by zenon at 10:45 AM on June 26, 2020 [5 favorites]

I enjoyed looking at them as an informative way to understand why certain posts and asks were getting deleted to better understand what's worth posting and what isn't going to be up to par.
posted by acidnova at 2:10 PM on June 26, 2020 [13 favorites]

Ditto acidnova, with a note that what goes and why changes over time.

But that means someone would need to re-claim that role, either getting the sites passed forward from cj_, or starting something new.

Is there an easy way to automate this, or is it something most easily done by hand, checking for deletions on the sites via Deleted Posts add-on or looking for missing digits in the orderly sequence of things?
posted by filthy light thief at 2:34 PM on June 26, 2020

I don't know anything in particular about how implementing it automatically would be best done. I know over the history of these blogs it wasn't always automated; back in the day when puke&cry was maintaining a version of them I'm pretty sure he just updated them manually every day or two. Which works but means the failure point is someone getting busy or distracted or dealing with a hardship, hence the appeal of automatically working from the RSS feed or whatnot.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:49 PM on June 26, 2020

I've been playing around with a really ugly script that finds deleted posts from the RSS feed and turns them into a simple blog. If cj_ doesn't want to maintain this anymore, I can set that up using something like GitHub Actions so it should (until something breaks somewhere of course) update itself.
posted by zachlipton at 3:29 PM on June 26, 2020 [4 favorites]

I really miss the Deleted AskMe site and would love to see it return, so thanks for this question.
posted by holborne at 5:10 PM on June 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Hi all -- there's a working userscript for this on the mefiscripts github. I updated Plutor's old script and it still works with the Tampermonkey browser add-on / extension.

It's called Mefi Deleted Posts (Restyled) and allows you to see deleted posts on the front page of MeFi/Ask/etc. I edited the styling to make the deletion reason stand out from the post: example image. It also worked with Greasemonkey in the past, but I haven't tested it with the latest Greasemonkey version.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 5:13 PM on June 26, 2020 [3 favorites]

For those who prefer blogs, here's a start of a new version of the MeFi Deleted Posts blog: https://mefi-deleted.github.io/. It updates automatically on a schedule by scanning the RSS feed for gaps in the post ids.

If people find this useful, I'll expand it to include the green over the weekend, make it a little less ugly, maybe backfill older deleted posts to fill in the gap so that one post is less lonely.

(zenon, my sincere apologies for singling out your post with this—it's the only gap from the posts on the RSS feed)
posted by zachlipton at 8:53 PM on June 26, 2020 [32 favorites]

As a complete ignoramus on things technical, can someone advise me how I would go about installing these scripts on a Kindle? Or even whether I could? Kindle uses Silk as its browser, so would I have to change to something else?
Sorry for the stupid questions - I'm good at asking them but pretty useless at everything else techy.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 2:38 AM on June 27, 2020

I’d appreciate the expansion to AskMe as well. Looks good so far - thank you!
posted by Stacey at 4:57 AM on June 27, 2020 [3 favorites]

Yes, thank you, zachlipton!! I've missed the deleted posts and questions pages. I definitely found them useful - they really helped me understand what was and wasn't appropriate on Metafilter. If you have the time to make one for AskMe as well, that would be great. Thanks again!
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 12:10 PM on June 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

Count me in as another person who is kind of fascinated by the deletions. I'll be so happy to see them accessible again. Thanks!
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:15 PM on June 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

Rangefinder... it's working great for me. Thanks!!!
posted by kathrynm at 12:55 PM on June 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

I also would appreciate an expansion to include AskMe. Thanks for doing this!
posted by holborne at 1:08 PM on June 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

Another thanks to you, zachlipton - that's a great site, and it's really nice to have the Ask deletions as well.

posted by kristi at 6:47 PM on June 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

AskMe deletions are on the site, though not distinguished visibly right now. I also fixed a few issues where some deleted threads were missing or disappeared. I'll improve the visuals on the blog and clean up a few known issues, and pull requests are welcome if you want to make any improvements.

I think I'm going to stick with purposefully leaving the usernames of deleted posts off, unlike the old blog. They're easily visible just a click away on the post ID, and I like keeping the focus on the deletion and providing transparency of moderator actions rather than shaming people for having their posts deleted.
posted by zachlipton at 6:47 PM on June 29, 2020 [9 favorites]

Incredible! Thanks so much, zachlipton! I also like the removal of the username—nice work!
posted by stillmoving at 4:13 AM on July 1, 2020

> can someone advise me how I would go about installing these scripts on a Kindle? Or even whether I could? Kindle uses Silk as its browser, so would I have to change to something else?

Martha My Dear Prudence - I don't have a Kindle so I can't say for sure, but it sounds Firefox is available to install for Kindle Fire (example -- it appears you'll need to switch some security settings though). After Firefox is installed, you can then go into the Firefox menu to look for an "Add-ons" option (for instance on Firefox for Android, the menu has an "Add-ons" option that offers a link to "Browse Firefox's Recommended Extensions"). See if you can install the Greasemonkey or Tampermonkey extension.

If you can, then go to the userscript page to install the script. For instance, if a script is on github, go to the individual script page, then select "Raw" link near the top to see if you get a prompt to install the script.

(Again I haven't tried this on a Kindle, so I don't know if or how well it would work)
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 1:08 AM on July 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

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