[MeFi Site Update] Apr 12th April 12, 2021 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Hello Metafilter! Welcome to another update on the state of the site and the things we are working on. I’ve asked the team to allow me to take ownership of the site updates from now on so that we can streamline the process. Comments will be turned on this time as an attempt to have better ways to track feedback from the community.

For these threads to be constructive, we need them to stay focused, so we’ll be deleting off topic comments in this thread. If you have any questions or feedback not related to this particular update, please Contact Us instead. If you want to discuss a particular subject not covered here with the community, you’re welcome to open a separate MetaTalk thread for it.

General

Things that happened since last update…

- We did a couple non-pranky April 1st things: a collaborative Exquisite Corpse storytelling thread and a downloadable activity book called Uncle Mefi’s Big Book of Beans.

- MetaFilter Music challenges are back, as greenish returns as volunteer Music wrangler; thanks so much, greenish! If you’re interested in participating or just listening to or discussing music made by MeFites, come check it out!

- Mod notes style change should be ready to go out and released sin the next few days. Stay tuned!

- We’ve moved off of Google Analytics for web traffic stats and analysis to a different, less problematic service. We’ve never made significant use of GA, and with Google’s moves toward a FLoC approach to user data tracking (here’s an EFF roundup of some of that context ) now is a good time to move away from their service.

- Privacy Policy - We continue to work on drafts with our attorneys.

- Small cosmetic note: with restless_nomad back into MeFi retirement, we’ve gotten her “staff” tag updated to the traditional “retired” now.

- The Community Guidelines, Microaggressions Page, and Content Policy have all been updated. The idea was to add extra info based on the feedback we have received from the community and to make sure they were more readable, concise, and consistent. Feel free to post any feedback on the last versions in this thread.

Advisory Board Update:

The third BIPOC Advisory board meeting is scheduled for April 27th.
Thyme will post the meeting agenda closer to the meeting on the board page here.

A few things Thyme and team plan to address in the next couple meetings with the input of the board:

- Ways to make MeFi a more welcoming space for BIPOC users and encouraging the participation of new BIPOC members.

- Continuing to work with outside entities (like our diversity and inclusion consultant) to continue learning and making an active effort to be different and better as a moderating team.

If any BIPOC users are interested in joining the board, we’d love to have you! Please Complete this Google Form.

I will be the only mod monitoring this thread so please be patient if it takes some time for me to reply in this thread. We’re planning to continue the schedule of every other Monday, so the next update post will be April 25.
posted by loup (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 1:03 PM (24 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

Comments will be turned on this time as an attempt to have better ways to track feedback from the community.

Seems like a good change--thanks for that.
posted by box at 2:45 PM on April 12 [14 favorites]


The "Microagressions" link goes to the "Content Policy" page.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:53 PM on April 12


Fixed the link for the Microaggressions page. Thanks!
posted by loup (staff) at 3:07 PM on April 12


That microagressions page is awesome - a great combination of clear, concise and comprehensive.

Can we link to it as an exemplar, or use the language in our own texts (I'm thinking here of guidelines for a syllabus or college discussion group)?
posted by lalochezia at 6:05 PM on April 12


- We’ve moved off of Google Analytics for web traffic stats and analysis to a different, less problematic service. We’ve never made significant use of GA, and with Google’s moves toward a FLoC approach to user data tracking (here’s an EFF roundup of some of that context ) now is a good time to move away from their service.
I've been away for a little/long while and very barely back for a little/short while but I do really like this on general principle and the impulse behind it. Cheers for the update, regardless!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 6:11 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


I appreciate the updates on the BIPOC board and efforts there.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 7:55 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this update, loup!

Would you be willing to share what analytics service is replacing Google Analytics?

Thanks!
posted by kristi at 10:09 PM on April 12


I agree with box that allowing comments in the update threads is a very welcome change. Thank you for taking over this process.
posted by Night_owl at 5:47 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


Would you be willing to share what analytics service is replacing Google Analytics?

We've moved over to a self-hosted Matomo (formerly Piwik) server, specifically collecting only aggregate stats: nothing about individual visits or use of the site.
posted by frimble (staff) at 10:22 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


- Can we link to it as an exemplar, or use the language in our own texts?
Definitely! These 3 pages are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License so you can redistribute the content and/or modify it as long as you follow the license terms.
posted by loup (staff) at 2:02 PM on April 13 [9 favorites]


Glad to hear Metafilter’s using Piwik! I have not used them since the last time I ran a public-facing website (my grad school research group’s, circa 2010 — also because I distrusted Google, heh!) but it was great at the time, and I hope it works well for the site!
posted by Alterscape at 9:17 PM on April 13


Comments will be turned on this time as an attempt to have better ways to track feedback from the community.

I also want to say I'm pleased and relieved that this is happening. The blocks on engagement this past year have been troubling and demotivating.

With respect to tracking feedback, what is the workflow? Are issues raised in comments being recorded and reviewed together with other mods? Is there a timeline we can expect for responsiveness on that (like, before the next update, within a month, etc.)? Will the system restless_nomad started of recapping the issues you identify be revived, or will there be some alternative to allow members to see which issues are on the radar?
posted by trig at 2:58 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


Re: Tracking Feedback

- I'll be tracking it separately and reviewing it with the team weekly.

- When it comes to responsiveness, I still need to find the best way to go about it, not all feedback is actionable in the same way. So, I would hope to have a clearer idea in the next weeks and is already part of my goals to give the community an update with each site update.
posted by loup (staff) at 7:15 AM on April 14


That's a fair start, and a great feeling to have a question answered quickly and seriously. Thank you.
posted by trig at 7:26 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


- Mod notes style change should be ready to go out and released sin the next few days.

This is now live and you can read more about it here. Feel free to post any questions/comments about this change here.
posted by loup (staff) at 12:14 PM on April 14


Re: Tracking Feedback

- I'll be tracking it separately and reviewing it with the team weekly.


Will that be retroactive? The last big "difficult" thread in Meta had lots of good discussion of deep and fundamental issues (I will not recap, for fear of being deleted), and I think a lot of the folks here would love to hear back from mods on these things. At the time it was asked we talk amongst ourselves, but there was a lot of unresolved biz there!
posted by Meatbomb at 7:25 PM on April 14 [8 favorites]


Thank you all for the work you do.
posted by valkane at 12:49 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


I think the point is that intention doesn't matter as much as you think it does. There's a lot of microaggressive behavior that seems more like someone accidentally stepping on a foot and apologizing, but then going on to step on another foot, and another, and another, apologizing along the way but never seeming to learn to not step on feet. In cases like that, there seems to be a professed intention: all this foot-stepping is completely accidental; but there's a deeper intention expressed by the pattern, which might be unconscious but derives from a cluelessness so profound (and this is the kind of cluelessness privilege is designed to promulgate) that some kind of social responsibility needs to be enforced nevertheless. Does that make sense?
posted by rikschell at 9:46 AM on April 16 [18 favorites]


"Don't treat cultures and people as abstract aesthetic or academic concepts" is maybe criticizing some academic traditions (I'm looking at you, anthropology) but I read this more as a request to respect the fundamental humanity of everyone. There's an unfortunate history on this site of upper-middle-class white people in discussions talking about the circumstances of a group or culture in broad generalizations while members of that group are in the comments too. It's basically talking over people, and reducing their lived experience to a (often inaccurate/ignorant/ill-conceived) talking point, and it sucks, and we shouldn't do it, even if academics in the past did it. Our ability to share our hot takes should not be privileged over what people are telling us about their own experiences and values.

I've struggled how to write this, but I think it's important to say, so, y'all get my imperfect attempt to articulate my response.
posted by Alterscape at 10:35 AM on April 16 [16 favorites]


like someone accidentally stepping on a foot and apologizing, but then going on to step on another foot, and another, and another, apologizing along the way but never seeming to learn to not step on feet

Or to put it another way:

Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.
posted by automatronic at 1:08 PM on April 16 [6 favorites]


- Will the feedback tracking be retroactive?

This is a difficult one. I don’t want to over promise until I have a better sense of the feedback we are getting in the first updates moving forward and decide on what is the best approach to track and report back.

Going back to collect previous feedback as a first step seems to me like a titanic task that might make the process more complex. Once we have a solid system in place, going back to previous threads is the logical step to follow. So I will report back on this once I have a clearer picture.

- Now, regarding the microaggressions feedback please find my thought below:

"Don't treat cultures and people as abstract aesthetic or academic concepts." – I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to read/hear people’s comments explaining my culture, my experience, or my identity to me like some sort of academic topic. And this happens often to a lot of other folks in the site. So this is much in line with the “Speak for yourself, not others” section of the guidelines, the goal is not to stop people from participating but to allow the actual people affected to speak for themselves instead.

"It doesn't matter whether someone intends to be hurtful or not; it still hurts, and that's what counts." – This is worded like this intentionally, a more detailed explanation of why the hurt caused counts more than the intention of the person who caused it can be found under the “Re-centering” section.
posted by loup (staff) at 1:55 PM on April 16 [7 favorites]


1) "Don't treat cultures and people as abstract aesthetic or academic concepts." - this apparently forbids much normal academic and intellectual discussion (sociological, anthropological, psychological, artistic, philosophical, historical etc.)


Well, I guess it's been fifteen years or so since somebody argued that Asian Americans typically enter into arranged marriages, and when I said hold on, not a _single person I know_ has an arranged marriage, sneered 'nice anecdote, trying bringing a source ... like this article in the San Jose Mercury News from 1984.' But as you can tell ... I still remember that moment when my lived experience was trumped by a newspaper article.
posted by Comrade_robot at 4:34 PM on April 17 [12 favorites]


Bwithh: someone accidentally stepping on my foot and someone deliberately stepping on my foot.

I used to think so too, and then had a thought about this yesterday, which I'll share in case it's helpful.

A: "Ow, you stepped on my foot!"
--"Well jeez, I didn't MEAN to. It was just a mistake. Doesn't everyone step on someone else's foot sometimes?"

B: "Ow, you stepped on my foot!"
--"Oh god, I'm so sorry. I'm the absolute worst. I feel so awful. I won't be able to sleep at night anymore. Please, I'll do anything to make it up to you."

C: "Ow, you stepped on my foot!"
--"Oh no, I'm sorry! I'll watch where I'm going next time."

In examples A and B, the person's intent ends up not mattering...
posted by capricorn at 4:38 PM on April 18 [6 favorites]


I totally agree with the emphasis on re-centering, which I think is just good manners. I think to ignore intent, however, is problematic. I don't understand how you build a community without good faith.
posted by Violet Blue at 7:35 PM on April 25


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