[MeFi Site Update] February 23rd February 23, 2022 1:51 PM   Subscribe

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

- Brand & Marketing Deck and and overall Marketing Strategy
I’m making some adjustments based on the feedback provided and sharing the deck with the rest of the mods for review. After this, the plan is to start breaking this down in smaller projects that I’ll report here.

- BIPOC Advisory Board
A few Board members are only available starting March so Thyme is working out the logistics and will plan to have a guaranteed meeting date set for March. I’ll Let you know as soon as it is scheduled.

- Improvements to the Signup flow
I have not been able to hand over the last draft to the team yet. I’ll prioritize it for this week.

- Flagging (UX) Changes
This is still ongoing. Frimble will report as soon as there are any releases.

- Removing the limit of questions you can post in ASK

- Technical Changes
Frimble has been working on several backend changes including:
- Improved and new flag alerts for mods
- Improved formatting for flags
- Added a proper duplicate check for Fanfare Books
- Added disambiguation for same-named shows, movies, etc. in FanFare
- Prep work for supporting more Fanfare categories

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 1:51 PM (21 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Thank you! The Idea more of those in the next weeks and we're all working collectively towards that.
posted by loup (staff) at 2:51 PM on February 23, 2022 [5 favorites]

There were some issues that came up over the past couple days in the previous update thread. Any chance those could please be addressed in this thread since that one was closed?

And if the answer to that question is, "you’re welcome to open a separate MetaTalk thread for it," then can I please get some assurance that it would pass through the moderation queue for MetaTalk posts? Because I can't open a separate MetaTalk thread on my own; it has to be done via the moderation queue.
posted by carsonb at 3:35 PM on February 23, 2022 [10 favorites]

Reminder: I will be the only mod actively monitoring this thread

Feedback: past update threads have also included this boilerplate text, and there is great opportunity for improvement in its accuracy.
posted by Drastic at 4:09 PM on February 23, 2022 [7 favorites]

Echoing carsonb, it looks like the last update thread closed with a note about trying to improve MetaTalk itself, which seems like it should be added to the list of things in progress, even if the other unresolved issues from that thread are left as-is.
posted by snofoam at 5:13 PM on February 23, 2022 [4 favorites]

Just a reminder that as hurt as you might feel, others too are hurt. And as broken and dysfunctional as you might find yourself after the last two years, so too are others broken and not at their best. Please be kind, and try and to remember the imperfect humanity we all experience.
posted by Stanczyk at 5:15 PM on February 23, 2022 [9 favorites]

There were some issues that came up over the past couple days in the previous update thread. Any chance those could please be addressed in this thread since that one was closed?

- I’d support a separate MetaTalk thread rather than discussing them in this one (for the sake of consistency). Ideally, the site updates would stick to feedback and questions regarding the specific projects and technical changes being worked on. That being said, as LM mentioned when she closed the thread, we (the mods) need to talk and discuss necessary changes so I would ask you to wait before you submit a new thread about those issues, solely because none of the mods would be in a good position to step in and address those issues until we all have talked about the previous thread and possible changes/next steps.

If it works for you I can commit to report back after we meet and take it from there. I just want to avoid a situation where you would create another thread but will still have to wait to get any feedback.

Feedback: past update threads have also included this boilerplate text, and there is great opportunity for improvement in its accuracy.
- As a matter of fact, a slight wording change was made for this particular update, but it is true, I'm the only mod actively monitoring these threads, the rest of the team generally read through them to stay informed and step in when I flag something for them to evaluate or comment.
posted by loup (staff) at 8:22 PM on February 23, 2022 [15 favorites]

Thanks loup, I think that makes sense.
posted by carsonb at 8:34 PM on February 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

the rest of the team generally read through them to stay informed

It feels weird to read that, because the idea that the mods were not reading these threads was troublesome to me, so I asked about it a few times, and never got any indication that this might be the case. It would have been good to know. I still don't know if anyone's actually read all the way through the big, meaty threads that inspired the shutdown of MetaTalk, and given how much feedback of substance was in there, that seems important too.

Whatever you guys come up with in your meeting, I really hope it is based on the idea of working with the community and not on the idea of yourselves as besieged by it. "Bad" MetaTalks don't just happen or come out of nowhere. The last thread, with its long mod silences, followed by some aggressive mod comments and ad hominem stuff by mods dragging out exactly the kind of baggage they said they didn't want into a thread where everyone else had been pretty careful not to do that, really demonstrates how the quality and presence or absence of mod interaction shapes the discourse.

We've written so much about that, specifically, over the past year - again, no idea if it's been read or discussed or internalized, since there's been little in the way of response to it; just always this feeling of speaking into a void.

It seems likely that the mod team is going to move again in the direction of even less user feedback and even less public discussion, and I hope not; I think that would be exactly the wrong direction. (For all the reasons brought up over and over before.)

There was some talk in the last thread of how the mods have got to professionalize. I think that's absolutely on point, but I want to say that acting like a professional doesn't mean adopting the defensive approach of corporate-style PR and unreachability. There's another kind of professionalism: the teacher who knows how to stay patient even with the "difficult" kids; the doctor who treats every patient seriously and with respect and doesn't preemptively dismiss them based on biases and frustrations accumulated over the years; everyone who works with challenging clients or customers and nonetheless doesn't lose sight of what the point of their work is, and of the fact that even frustrating people can have legitimate needs and points.

That's professionalism. If the point of this place is to build and serve a community, then I hope the need to include that community in non-trivial ways is prioritized, and not just seen as too difficult to bother doing right.
posted by trig at 1:31 AM on February 24, 2022 [22 favorites]

If it works for you I can commit to report back after we meet and take it from there. I just want to avoid a situation where you would create another thread but will still have to wait to get any feedback.

This is ok, but it would be best if you set some kind of timetable on when you might meet and report back.
posted by knapah at 2:02 AM on February 24, 2022

You're doing a great job. Thanks!
posted by From Bklyn at 8:17 AM on February 24, 2022 [9 favorites]

- Removing the limit of questions you can post in ASK

brb off to abuse our new privileges
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:25 PM on February 24, 2022 [6 favorites]

About Ask Me, I haven't come up with a question yet (I'd love a way to get back all of those questions I would have asked but didn't because they might not have been worth having to wait a week for an "important" question, but then later forgot), but I also don't see any notices anywhere (like the banner that's been used for just about anything recently). Seeing as how low-traffic MeTa is compared to the rest of the site (especially the sort of historical lack of crossover between AskMe and MeTa), would it be possible to get that noted somewhere people could see it? Like, sidebar on the Blue? Banner? Sidebar on Ask, if possible?

If we're looking at this as something that might drive more activity, I think it's a change that deserves bells and whistles to let people know.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:48 AM on February 25, 2022 [10 favorites]

Thanks, loup.

It's not included in the list, but I wanted to call out mods and the userbase alike for some of the recent initiatives that are helping to make Metafilter a friendlier place. The open threads, the double post jubilee, the user 22222 raffle, the regular newsletter, the Introduce Yourself thread, the continuing metatalktails -- there's a lot going on and it's really been fun. It's been especially nice to see some of the lurkier and newer people pop up and say hello.

There's no question there's big work Metafilter needs to continue as a whole, but I feel like knowing everyone a little better makes it easier to feel more at home here and also makes it easier to trust each other. It's my hope that it makes all the work ahead of us easier, too.

So thanks to everyone for being delightful. I love you all.
posted by mochapickle at 8:24 AM on February 25, 2022 [16 favorites]

Totally seconded, mochapickle - all of those things have reawakened my joy in MetaFilter, and I appreciate you pointing out how great they are!
posted by kristi at 11:50 AM on February 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

Delighted to see some sidebar action crop up!
posted by youarenothere at 6:10 PM on February 27, 2022

Hi, I just wanted to check in and see if there is any active monitoring of the thread going on. About a week ago I asked if there would be any announcement outside of this thread about the removal of the cap on AskMe. I haven't seen any response to that here, or any announcement anywhere else (side bar, banner at the top).

As I said, I think this is a big deal, and should be celebrated as such. It's something that members have wanted for a long time, and is worth letting people know about. It's pretty well established that MetaTalk is much less visited than the other main subsites, and there is a very good chance that many people missed this update. When we're looking for things to drive interaction with the site, this is a pretty big one, and deserves a bit more fanfare than it seems to have gotten.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:03 PM on March 2, 2022 [7 favorites]

Mod note: Popping in with a quick check-in: it's been a really hectic several days and we haven't gotten to an announcement about the Ask change yet. It's a good change but also not time-sensitive to announce, so it'll be a Soon thing rather than a Right Now thing, is all.

On the site update schedule: loup is out for the week traveling for another obligation and so likely will push a new post until next week, rather than this coming Wednesday.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:01 AM on March 6, 2022

Thanks for the note, I guess, but… damn. Do you guys realize how disheartening it is to feel like a sucker for believing that these threads are actually being monitored? It’s right there in the post, that loup would be checking in, and oops, no, they’re out of town, and we didn’t bother to let anyone know?

I get that you’re busy. I get that things are hectic. I get that you’re all stretched pretty thin, but damn, I hope you can understand how frustrating it is, making a comment about a (seemingly simple) positive thing you guys could do to show actual progress made on making the site better, waiting for a response, trying to figure out if I should post a follow up, and then finding out, nope, the thread really hasn’t been monitored like we were told it would be.

At this point, it’s hard not to understand why so many users are frustrated. I hope you can see that the time we take to join these threads and participate in them, even when (maybe especially when?) tempers flare is because we care about this site and want it to thrive.

You guys came up with the idea of the regular update posts, and said, hey, let’s do this conversation here, and we’ll listen, and we mostly agreed. Then it was post after post of pretty much “we’re working on things” with little of the transparency that was hoped for. These threads are a lot quieter now because there frankly isn’t much worth seeing, but there was at least the idea that someone was at least watching over them to see what’s happening, and oops, no, guess that’s not exactly true. I hope, honestly, that you take this and see that this is the kind of thing that kills trust in the mods among the user base. For whatever my voice is worth here, damn, I like this place, and I had hoped, over years of being here, finally feeling comfortable enough to take part in these discussions that I was in some way helping to make the site better. At this point, it’s hard not to feel foolish in continuing to hold out hope.

All I ask, at this point, is at least drop the boilerplate about the threads being monitored. If something comes up and you can’t be find the time to make a comment that things have changed, then it pretty clearly wasn’t being monitored, right?
posted by Ghidorah at 3:18 PM on March 6, 2022 [19 favorites]

We covered it (Ask restrictions lifted announcement) on Sunday at our staff meeting and I planned to post it yesterday, but had several things to handle first, so I'm posting today. The reason we didn't post it right away is that not only the tech end is involved; we also had to check any place in the site like FAQ or guidelines or boilerplate replies, etc., that mention the restrictions and change that first, as well as checking related issues (for example, the one-week waiting period for new users and need to post at least one comment before being able to make a post). With frimble's help, I managed to do that while still on shift yesterday, but no time left to make the announcement thread, and other things I had to attend to off-duty.

If people aren't aware, we are severely reduced in man hours and staff. I'm on half the hours I used to be, and I do still do a lot of stuff of my off-time that I don't add to the timesheet, but it's neverending, and I have a grave health situation at home. I'm so burnt out, I'm crispy, but when people are enjoying the site because of our efforts, it renews my energy, and I do a lot of things I don't get paid for, basically.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:05 AM on March 8, 2022 [10 favorites]

taz, I truly feel for you right now. My heart breaks to read that last paragraph. This is not a good situation. I hope you are finding a way through to safety and stability.

I can only speak for myself, but I think it's pretty safe to say that the overwhelming majority of the people here want to support you and the team, the community, and the site itself. I'm not sure how best we can do that. At the very least, please know that you and the team's efforts are indeed appreciated. That's not nearly enough of what's needed though!
posted by iamkimiam at 9:12 AM on March 8, 2022 [7 favorites]

Mod note: I'm just dropping by to confirm that I'm still around and monitoring this thread. There are important announcements to make once I'm back, I'm just currently stuck on a conference from 7AM to 10PM each day.
posted by loup (staff) at 11:37 AM on March 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

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