[MeFi Site Update] December 1st December 1, 2021 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Hello Metafilter! Please find more details on the state of the site below. Reminder: I will be the only mod monitoring this thread so please be patient as I reply to your feedback and questions.

- Marketing/Growth Plan
I brought this up to the larger team last week and I’m meeting with Cortex this week to present the main proposals I’ve gathered from some Marketing experts and analyze how we want to move forward. This mainly involves some changes to brand marketing as well as a Social Media marketing plan.

- BIPOC Advisory Board
A message proposing some changes to the cadence and format of the upcoming meetings should go out to the BIPOC Advisory Board in the next few days. Once we have feedback from the Board I'll provide more details.

- Improvements to the Signup flow
I’m still going over copy changes and plan to move on to flow changes later this week.

- Flagging (UX)
I’ve asked frimble about this and this is something that is already being worked on. The only caveat is that it isn’t something we can change quickly. All changes to the flag UX require going over about 2 decades of code and this needs to be changed in several places in slightly different ways so it will take a while to be changed, tested, and deployed.

We've been discussing pushing this out to the 50 most-visited pages and then cleaning up the rest in a longer-term way. We also looked at the feasibility of accepting help from users but the reality of it is that it might actually slow down the process.

- MeFi Newsletter
EM has started working on the next newsletter and we’ll push it out once it is ready.

- Gift Accounts
You can now invite friends to join MetaFilter here. This will allow the people you refer to join the site without having to pay the signup fee. We will also put the link in the footer for logged-in users as well.

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.
posted by loup (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 11:52 AM (21 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

How does the gifting work? Are these free accounts? Or does the gifter pay the sign-up fee?
posted by chavenet at 12:34 PM on December 1, 2021


Mod note: These are free accounts. Let us know if you have any questions or feedback about how it works.
posted by loup (staff) at 1:25 PM on December 1, 2021 [5 favorites]


If you're logged in, then you can give someone a gift account for free. You go to the gift account webpage and put in your friend's email address, and then you get the following and don't have to pay anything:
Thanks for taking the time to give a gift account. Gift accounts are free to give out for MetaFilter members. In a few minutes your friend will receive an email letting them know how to login and comment on MetaFilter.

You're sending a gift account to: [example email]
If you're not logged in, then you have to pay $5 to give the gift account. You go to the gift account webpage and put in your friend's email address, and then you are asked to pay the $5 fee:
Thanks for taking the time to give a gift account. The gift membership is pending payment and will be enabled once payment has been completed. Simply follow the link below, pay at paypal, and in a few minutes your friend will receive an email letting them know how to login and comment on MetaFilter.
At least that's the implementation right now -- which is why it's ok to publicly share the URL. It's not possible for non-logged-in users to use it to give themselves accounts at no cost.

(Mods, please do correct any misapprehensions I have here!)
posted by brainwane at 1:33 PM on December 1, 2021 [5 favorites]


I clicked on the gift account link: it lists me as having given a gift account already (?) and it says "waiting for your payment" (??). (I referred my spouse, many years ago; she has an active account.)

Also, the payment link sends payment to paypal at haughey dot com. Really, still?
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:36 PM on December 1, 2021 [6 favorites]


"Social Media marketing plan" sounds promising. I've suggested a few times simply adding FB and Twitter sharing icons (plus mail) in the "posted by" line would result in quite a bit more exposure for Metafilter content, at zero cost.
posted by beagle at 2:31 PM on December 1, 2021 [6 favorites]


Super quick feedback. Love you. Response not required.
posted by Stanczyk at 2:50 PM on December 1, 2021 [3 favorites]


Thank you, loup!
posted by mochapickle at 2:58 PM on December 1, 2021


Social Media marketing plan.

Thumbs up to this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:14 PM on December 1, 2021 [8 favorites]


Awesome, on several fronts. Have the marketing people been apprised about the new gifting feature? (I personally feel like it should be much more prominently announced, like in a banner, on social media, in an email to members, as a giant button rather than a footer link, etc. - it's genuinely big news! - but maybe it makes sense to make sure all the kinks are ironed out first.)

ETA: What kind of tracking are you doing or planning regarding gift account takeup? And will that information be made public in any way?
posted by trig at 4:25 PM on December 1, 2021 [3 favorites]


We also looked at the feasibility of accepting help from users but the reality of it is that it might actually slow down the process.

Well yes, in the short term it absolutely would, but that's the nature of developing software in a team environment. There's always going to be a hit to short-term productivity as new folk(s) get up to speed, but then velocity increases to match capacity.

And, hopefully, as the process of onboarding and upskilling new folks is figured out, DOCUMENTED, and bedded down, the up-front cost should diminish markedly.

The benefits of multiple skilled hands helping out around here shouldn't be discounted.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:40 PM on December 1, 2021 [6 favorites]


It's good to see progress on several fronts here!

Accepting help via code shouldn't be part of an existing undertaking, it should be its own thing. Don't let it slow down existing deliverables. It sounds huge and daunting but it's also extremely easy to overthink.

The best way of thinking about it is that you need to adjust your internal development process to to be pull request based using github or gitlab or similar. Once you've done this, it's pretty straightforward to have a public version of the repo that accepts PRs that can eventually be merged back to the private version that gets released.

You don't need to do any work preparing to make the code public beyond ensuring it doesn't contain any secrets such as API keys, passwords, etc. This is something that you need to do anyway or you will end up hacked sooner or later. It's just how things are these days. You need a readme that describes the prerequisites and lists the commands needed to compile and run the code. Don't sweat whether ColdFusion is hard to install or whatever issues there are with that. Just provide the info. You also need a policy around accepting contributions. There are a million out there to use as a starting point. Pick a favorite big OSS project and start there.

I think this should be treated as a separate line item and given priority because otherwise, what's inevitably going to happen is that you'll generate a bunch of new ideas for marketing etc and then there will have to be a discussion about how to prioritize it all and what has to wait and the moment will slip further away. You need to get to a point where you can accept help ASAP.
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:35 PM on December 1, 2021 [4 favorites]


There's suddenly 20 new FPPs, were a bunch in a queue? I'm not complaining, it's nice to see so much activity but it feels unusual!
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:02 PM on December 1, 2021 [2 favorites]


This is all really excellent news!

A little while ago, there was discussion of potentially removing or lowering the two-per-week limit for Asks. Are there still plans to do that? If so, what's the timeline for that look like?
posted by wesleyac at 7:48 PM on December 1, 2021 [1 favorite]


What kind of tracking are you doing or planning regarding gift account takeup? And will that information be made public in any way?

loup mentioned there was a question about this, so some off-hand thoughts: the gift account system has always tracked internally invites sent by any given user to any given email address, and matches that up with activated accounts (so I can e.g. see if and when any given gift account invite I generated turned into someone joining, or could resend the invite if they hadn't joined yet). It's also traditionally been a very low-volume feature so we've never bothered to track numbers as a regular thing.

But it should be pretty doable to set up a little monitoring query now that we've rolled out the free version, and providing some aggregate numbers about that in a future update seems reasonable.

I clicked on the gift account link: it lists me as having given a gift account already (?) and it says "waiting for your payment" (??). (I referred my spouse, many years ago; she has an active account.)

Who knows! is probably the best answer we have at the moment for legacy gift oddities like that. I've got a similar thing in my own list, for an account I set up for myself for administrative stuff years ago, and I have no idea why I did it that way. If anyone has an oddity like this they want us to look at (or potentially clean up for neatness' sake), toss it to the contact form and we can work with frimble to see what's what.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:00 PM on December 1, 2021


Today seems like the most positive day on Mefi in years. Thank you to the mods who seem to (finally?) be making more progress, thank you to all the FP posters, thank you to everyone not giving up...now if we can only keep it up.
posted by blue shadows at 10:57 PM on December 1, 2021 [3 favorites]


There's suddenly 20 new FPPs, were a bunch in a queue?

Only MetaTalk has a queue!

These are all great, positive changes, thank you!
posted by ellieBOA at 12:19 AM on December 2, 2021


I am aware of MetaTalk's queue. Wondering how yesterday scored such a robust front page, hoping it wasn't a fluke, or that it was a new posting initiative. Will try to think of a post myself.
posted by tiny frying pan at 4:18 AM on December 2, 2021


People who'd like to make more front page posts: I think "post something interesting from your bookmarks" continues to be a great idea.
posted by brainwane at 4:57 AM on December 2, 2021 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: I have no idea why I did it that way.
posted by Melismata at 8:43 AM on December 2, 2021 [3 favorites]


Oh, fucking wonderful! Thank you!
posted by sciatrix at 2:55 PM on December 6, 2021


Mod note: Hi everyone! I wanted to pop in here just to let you know that things are still moving. Although things are busy and the end of the year is around the corner, I hope to have some good news and updates for next week. Then the update for December 30th will probably be a bit more general given the holidays but we'll pick back up and keep the ball rolling on these projects.
posted by loup (staff) at 1:30 PM on December 9, 2021 [5 favorites]


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