Editing posts and stuff! June 15, 2022 1:23 AM   Subscribe

I know Metafilter has long thing about not wanting to edit comments but I totally garbled a recent AskMe post. A simple Edit window would have fixed it. I asked a similar request for comments and it was resoundanly rejected. I can email mods but every other site/forum/chat thing has an edit window and a history so you can see the post edit history (perhaps not a comment). Frankly Metafilter is hard to use compared to other sites and is not a great text editor. Rather than putting this on the remaining mods can we just implement this for just posts themselves and with a history we can see abuse!

Things suggested/gripes:

1.Use Word or something but that's become increasingly a barrier to entry due to their subscription model. Not to mention no other site does that and huge turn off to a lot of people.

2. Ask mods, but they're overworked and I feel guilty.

3. No other site I know of has a simple edit window, how it works behind the scenes I don't know but all those sites (StackOverflow, Reddit, etc. aren't collapsing).

4. if there's a history and people abuse it just ban or give them a time out. I'm talking about proofreading simple grammatical errors.

5. Gmail and I'm sure other actively proofread and do a good job. I don't know how but is there a simple plugin that can at least give squiggly red lines at the very least or suggest what you're trying to say? Sounds simplistic but this is a solved problem.

Comments can be malicious but I don't think people will materially change FPP posts or ASKmes to troll or change the topic. If they do we can ban or time out given the offense. I think it would really improve Metafilter and make people.

May I suggest one other thing: instead of doing this development internally with an overloaded frimble we maybe solicit outside bids? In most my engagements internal resources through no fault of their own are dealing with other things so maybe we need to start outsourcing operations? Sorry if this is being done currently but a lot of times outside consultancies not only are "stauff aug" but will provide strategic organizational initiatives.

One final addendum: I usually keep my requests pithy in regular correspondence but on Metafilter I'm extra careful to be mindful of people's various issues. This leads to, for lack of better term, garbled text as I rewrite, rewrite just to make sure I don't offend (this is a good thing!) So this maybe part of the problem. In any case this 1999 rich text box needs a little love.
posted by geoff. to Feature Requests at 1:23 AM (101 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Hey there! Frimble may have thoughts on this that they will share later, but I'd like to address it from a moderator point of view:

What we learned from introducing the 5-minute edit window on comments is that many, many, many people will never ever ever ever ever ever read the note that says USE THIS FOR TYPOS AND SMALL CHANGES ONLY in bright red with fireworks flaring. I can't count the number of mefi mails I sent out to people pointing out that they were not using the edit window correctly (changing actual content instead of errors). Hundreds? Maybe? Probably not, but it sure felt like it. Eventually we just started responding to complaints about misuse rather than monitoring.

From my point of view, making occasional edits for people who request it is waaaaaay less complicated and time consuming than dealing with complaints from people about how other people are editing their posts, and then making a decision to delete / restore / ignore, and making a mod comment in the thread about either of the first two choices so people won't be confused, plus contacting and explaining to the person who was complained about. Not to mention first having to go through the thread to see what the problem is, where it happened, and what the history of the post was before the editing and who responded to the original text instead of the edited text, and how much of a problem that does or does not present in the thread.

Re: "just ban or give them a time out" ... okay, sorry, but I really am LOLing. Please trust me that there is no conceivable proper home for the word "just" in this statement. If you think moderating is stressful and wrought now (it is!) wait until we start banning or temp-banning people for making changes in the little box we give them to make changes in! Nononono.

The spellcheck idea would be great, but remember, this is Metafilter, hand coded for over 20 years! We do not have plug-ins. This is a frimble-addressable issue.

I'm 100% sympathetic to the problem of typo blindness in the post window, even after previewing. It is the blight man was born for. Or maybe the blight man was born for is the existential fear of death, I always get those two confused. But seriously, I also cannot seem to escape little mistakes even after previewing seemingly dozens of times, so I totally get you on the pain here, and am absolutely not dismissing your thoughts. Just sharing some of the this-end issues.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:58 AM on June 15 [44 favorites]


Thanks Taz for the thoughtful response. I know CF is not great. I'm not smart but there's a lot of people here who are. I guess this is a larger problem of instead of an overhaul incremental improvements. There's got to be smart people here who can figure this out (maybe Frimble!) but the post window is the main method of engagement. Again, this is simply a whoops I did something stupid not I want to change entire thread. But you did a good explanation why this is not feasible. Maybe someone can come along and say yeah this is something we can achieve simply no one has thought of?
posted by geoff. at 2:22 AM on June 15 [4 favorites]


There already is an edit window for posts (and comments!), it's called "preview"
posted by chavenet at 2:44 AM on June 15 [19 favorites]


My poorly written thesis is that "preview" is really not intuitive and I bet many people skip it. It also doesn't correct grammar and spelling like modern things. The fact some people use other tools to compose posts reinforces this.
posted by geoff. at 2:48 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]


I write posts that are fairly long and contain lots of made-up words and minor formatting. This usually requires 2-3 passes through the preview to make sure everything is correct and the links work. I have visual issues, and I occasionally miss things, which I mostly ignore unless it’s something really egregious, then I call the mods.

I do a bunch of my composing in Word, but that’s because I tend to write posts over weeks or months, where it’s impractical to leave the new post window open.

Does the system work adequately? Yes. Could the interface be fancier? Sure. Does MetaFilter have a long list of things to work on where this is towards the bottom? Definitely.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:42 AM on June 15 [21 favorites]


Most browsers have spell-checking built in. I'm in Firefox on an ancient Macbook, and Macbook is underlined in red right now. If your browser isn't catching spelling errors, maybe change browsers?
posted by hydropsyche at 4:28 AM on June 15 [8 favorites]


I'd prefer a tiny edit window (one minute, even!) for front page posts but I hear ya. I was really for this while reading because we all make mistakes, but Preview does allow editing. I think there could be improvements to it though.

(Did you know that the front page posting says you needent put a link in the 1st section, if you're building links in the description? HOWEVER, you cannot post AT ALL unless there is a link in the 1st part. Discovered this when posting Inky Depths and forgot to email a mod about it.)
posted by tiny frying pan at 4:31 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]


Ask mods, but they're overworked and I feel guilty.

I do not feel guilty when I use the Contact form to ask mods to fix a little wording problem in one of my posts because I am polite about it and because I figure at least it's a pretty emotionally easy little task, compared to a lot of their moderation work!

When I am composing something longish like a multi-paragraph post or comment, I usually compose it in a plain text editor on my computer first. Is notepad.exe or a similar plain text editor still built into Windows? (no subscription required)
posted by brainwane at 4:39 AM on June 15 [6 favorites]


tiny frying pan, I’ve run into that link requirement before as well. I frequently compose a post with an introductory paragraph, in which it only makes sense to link something much broader than the primary, interesting link. I feel like stuffing a general Wikipedia link, or something, in that first paragraph waters down the post; it’s not a link I actually want people to read (and Wikipedia or other generalist sources are often flat wrong about botany).

So, I either split the first paragraph into two using <br> tags, which is at best stretching the intent of the rules (and undiscoverable). Or, I’ve even hidden that first link… making it the period at the end, and linking it to nothing. I would like to be able to bold or highlight the “main” links among the reference links, but Metafilter CSS doesn’t display bolded links…

Suffice it to say, the basic writing experience is pretty rocky. It takes persistence to post to the front page.
posted by thoroughburro at 4:52 AM on June 15 [4 favorites]


I actually think the form for posting is a barrier itself. That there are two text boxes you’re meant to split your single post into, in addition to a title, tags, and a separate link field nobody uses (for posting a link with no writing or context?) would make anyone do a double take.
posted by thoroughburro at 5:04 AM on June 15 [8 favorites]


HOWEVER, you cannot post AT ALL unless there is a link in the 1st part.

I run into this pretty often in my podcast round ups. It's a little annoying, but I see why it's there -- not having a link in the first paragraph leads to a lot more "mystery meat" kind of posts where it's "ugh, I have to click on a link to see the link? Great."
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:05 AM on June 15 [5 favorites]


That there are two text boxes you’re meant to split your single post into, in addition to a title, tags, and a separate link field nobody uses (for posting a link with no writing or context?) would make anyone do a double take.

FWIW, I've often used that when posting. Not that I post often, but when I do...
posted by jacquilynne at 5:19 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]


Interesting! I’ve never been able to picture what using that would actually do. I stand corrected that nobody uses it.
posted by thoroughburro at 5:22 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


is there a simple plugin that can at least give squiggly red lines at the very least or suggest what you're trying to say?

As mentioned above, spellcheck is either a built-in option or available as a plug-in in at least the major browsers. There are also plugins like grammarly, wordtune, and a bunch of others that are more along the lines of "suggest what you're trying to say".

I assume you mentioned Word because of its spellcheck and grammar check, but it's not unique in having those. The grammar checking on Google docs (which is free) seems better to me, though far from perfect, and there are probably a bunch of other free options. There's also libreoffice as an offline alternative - not sure how the grammar check is.

If a post isn't urgent, sometimes the best thing to do to catch mistakes or lack of clarity is just leave it sitting for a while and then come back, at least a few hours later or the next day, and check what you wrote. Other proofreading strategies are reading what you wrote out loud and working backwards from the end to the beginning.
posted by trig at 5:34 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]


I understand the ask, and I've seen your posts and comments enough to know that you wouldn't abuse what you're asking for. But personally, I find it maddening when a post or comment is edited but the responses to the unedited post are still there. Not even in terms of content change. Just something like "Ablany is the capital of New York", corrected to Albany, but with a comment saying "I think you meant Albany". For the reader who gets there late, that reads as "Albany is the capital of New York"/"I think you meant Albany". And without the context, I'm thinking "well, yeah, that's why they said Albany in the OP", not realizing that it didn't originally say Albany. At best, it feels like people are having a different conversation that you're not a part of. At worst, it feels surrealist. For things like legal AskMes, the first few comments are always "it depends on what jurisdiction you're in", and so editing the post to note the jurisdiction would make those comments seem really bizarre. AskMe, especially, is a reference material of value to more than just the Asker, so having too much of that could really make the reference aspect of old AskMes less useful.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:32 AM on June 15 [7 favorites]


I do sometimes think it would be helpful for AskMe in particular if there was an "Edited to Add" box for some of those key details like jurisdiction that someone might not have known they needed to include that would then append the information to the bottom of the question rather than leaving it as just a comment from the OP in the stream of the thread. I think that would make it a lot more visible to people and avoid a lot of the cognitive annoyance since it could be clearly marked as added information.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:39 AM on June 15 [31 favorites]


I should have said, my workaround for post editing is to flag my own post with a note, the note requesting the edit. It doesn’t provide instant gratification, but the edit has always been made within a few hours. (Thanks mods!)
posted by thoroughburro at 6:52 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]


Preview is not intuitive? I stubbed my toe brain on this. It's...it's preview. How can it not be intuitive? It's right there, next to the button that says Post Comment. I honestly don't mean to sound snarky here, maybe "intuitive" isn't the right word, but, like, doesn't "Preview" solve the problem geoff. is talking about?

How about changing the button to read Preview/Last Chance to Edit Before Posting?
posted by scratch at 7:02 AM on June 15 [15 favorites]


Sometimes I think there should be two post submission types/pages/thingies. One for a Fast Track Post, a one link beauty, cute puppies and kittens or a Twitter goof or quick stuff like that. And then the other, the long complicated form for those of us who are making an epic post.
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:12 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


wait can we not edit comments anymore? test
posted by lazaruslong at 7:12 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


okay no yeah we can still edit comments -- i'm a little confused by the post here, is it just a brain fart and all instances of the word 'comment' here should be replaced with 'post'?
posted by lazaruslong at 7:14 AM on June 15


IIRC there was a time when Preview was required before clicking Post. Like MetaChat still does. It's one extra click, but it is a friendly reminder that once you click Post you have a limited time to make an edit. Enough community members spoke up to change that to the ability to simply click Post. But the option is still there to click Preview.

I think there are plenty of tools available to handle the grammar and typos that don't require coding them into the site.

As someone who beats themselves up for even the tiniest of typos I understand the desire, but I think this isn't something that should be changed. There is Preview, there is an edit window, there is the ability to post an update in the form of another comment -- that doesn't disrupt the timeline or the confuse others. In the case of a FPP, there is the ability to contact the moderators, or as mentioned above, flagging one's own post to request an edit.
posted by terrapin at 7:52 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]


The short and simple answer is: asking a mod to edit your typos in a post is much simpler for the overall site than (a) implementing a post edit window (b) managing the edit window's use and (c) dealing with those who do abuse it. The mods have said repeatedly they don't mind being asked. Every time I've done it, they've been pretty quick and seemingly happy to do it. For metafilter, it is also a solved problem - just solved in a way that's unique to metafilter. That's what makes metafilter so special - it is unique to the rest of the internet.
posted by cgg at 8:16 AM on June 15 [8 favorites]


Ask mods, but they're overworked and I feel guilty.

The job has stressors, certainly, but the mods do have time to help with this sort of thing unless there is some weird raging fire on the website somewhere. Taz's assertions about how people use the edit window we have now are very accurate (as kevinbelt has also observed). The amusing thing, to me, about the edit window was one of the reasons we finally got it was that mods had always been able to edit their own or others' comments (to fix things when requested etc) and mathowie noticed that it was a feature he occasionally used and liked. And so at some point he got over his own objections and implemented it. And it mostly works but we do see a lot of people being hinky with it.

thoroughburro's approach to flag with small edit requests will also work well. This isn't so much what frimble can and can't do, but just about prioritizing a scarce-resources situation for what will have optimal utility for the site--stuff like improving mobile flagging and back end stuff to improve mod notifications, things mentioned in the site updates. I know it's not great to hear a response that's like "Just let typos bother you less" because it's easier said than done, but sometimes part of the "meet the site partway" approach is exactly that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:33 AM on June 15 [14 favorites]


Whenever I'm doing something remotely complicated here (or almost anywhere online) I open a plain text editor and do the heavy lifting there (I use BBEdit because I am old and use a Mac, but TextEdit or Notepad or any number of Windows plain text editors available for cheap or free would also do the job). I specifically don't recommend doing HTML in Word, even on web sites with 'paste from Word' functions that try to clean up Word's messes. If you need grammar and spelling help the best plan of attack is to write the plain text in your editor of choice, but don't start adding links until you're in the edit window here or a real HTML editor. Pasting HTML from Word is asking for trouble.

And yeah, Preview is your friend. Honestly I didn't know you could create an FPP here without using Preview first.
posted by fedward at 8:40 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]


I do get OP's point on outsourcing in a weird way. My "not going to happen probably" pony is a skunkworks site. Somebody provides a beefy for development server, there's an up to date copy of the MetaFilter database and assets as they are, some sort of "another council", a bit of back and forth capability. A playground for weird development....

I tend to work at the data level, others work at the UI/UX level, others at the policy levels, others at the enterprise level. MetaFilter doesn't have the staff/funding for that complexity. It wold be cool though if there was a MetaFilter 2.0 that just manifested replacing the old MetaFilter. Same data, different backend, cooler features.

More ability to say "well volunteered, prove it" and then being able to yep it into place.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:10 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


I oppose this, but then again, I oppose when people button and are able to delete their entire posting history. Changes history.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:16 PM on June 15 [6 favorites]


It's sort of a derail, but: As someone who manages non-open development projects, I often get people saying "if you don't have time, I bet I can implement $FEATURE really easily if you just give me access" And it sounds simple, but it isn't. There are many concerns, but some of the larger and more practical ones are things like
* how do you test and validate this 3rd party code?
* Can you trust this 3rd party? Can you trust their code?
* What happens if the 3rd party - inadvertently or otherwise - makes a coding error that screws up the site?"
Not saying it's impossible, just that it presents some not insignificant challenges, especially with an ancient, bespoke, and fragile codebase. (No disrespect intended.)
posted by buxtonbluecat at 12:51 PM on June 15 [7 favorites]


I'm a little confused ... all instances of the word 'comment' here should be replaced with 'post'?

That's what this thread looks like to me, is this conclusion correct?

I oppose when people button and are able to delete their entire posting history.

Really, that's allowed? I think that's outrageous. And futile -‌- you can't hide whatever it is you're attempting; it can all be dredged up with the Wayback Machine.
posted by Rash at 1:09 PM on June 15


The edit window is a great feature but, as limited as it is, it does get abused to some degree already. It doesn't seem to get abused to the extent expected based on the outrage that ensued when it was introduced - as far as I know, the predicted cats living with dogs hasn't come to pass as yet, but I regularly see people skirting the line with changes to the tone or content of comments. I'd prefer the edit window had an additional trigger to close it - when another comment is made, the edit window closes no matter how little time has elapsed. But that's not at all necessary and there are approximately 11,483 changes more important.

I am now a little confused also - I thought we were talking about comment editing, but maybe this was actually about editing posts? If so, I don't think that should or needs to be a thing. As frustrating as it is to spot an error the instant the post button is clicked, the work involved to make a change is far in excess of the overall benefit for the small number of posts here.
posted by dg at 1:25 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


For people who didn’t follow the original discussions, the current account deletion policy was put in place as a safety measure in response to users who were subject to intense harassment and other risks, especially trans people. Some of the context is in threads here and here and here and here, from July and August 2020.
posted by mbrubeck at 1:53 PM on June 15 [29 favorites]


Really, that's allowed? I think that's outrageous. And futile -‌- you can't hide whatever it is you're attempting; it can all be dredged up with the Wayback Machine.

Relatively new option. Controversial upon introduction. Probably not a fight you want to start up again.
posted by atoxyl at 2:56 PM on June 15 [6 favorites]


Really, that's allowed? I think that's outrageous. And futile -‌- you can't hide whatever it is you're attempting; it can all be dredged up with the Wayback Machine.
posted by Rash An hour ago [+] [!]


as they say, eponysterical
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:57 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


What we learned from introducing the 5-minute edit window on comments is that many, many, many people will never ever ever ever ever ever read the note that says USE THIS FOR TYPOS AND SMALL CHANGES ONLY in bright red with fireworks flaring.

How much do people actually manage to abuse this in five minutes that it’s a real problem? Yeah, sometimes things move fast enough that edits can be a source of confusion. But not that often, these days, and presumably edits were implemented in the first place based on the premise that poorly formed comments are a greater source of confusion. I don’t see a ton of evidence that this premise has proved incorrect.
posted by atoxyl at 3:01 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


thing is when you're in preview and let's say you want to add something so you open another browser and you add some text into the preview preview it, post it and still something's wrong. so preview is not an editing tool, I know it's supposed to be, but I would like to see an edit window for an FFP. cool thing about mods cleaning up your post a bit is they are really cool about it so no problem there it's just I know it's like you don't want to bother them. I think there's a difference between abusing and misusing edit window. abusing would be changing a lot of text, using it for some nefarious reason. misusing is what I do maybe others do too but so yeah I'm guilty of that you know I think I've actually put in a link in the edit window so it's not really cool but I'm just going to ramble a little bit cuz it's hot out.
posted by clavdivs at 3:13 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


You can preview over and over and over though, after each additional thing you forgot. (I would also like a small edit window for a FPP. I don't see any abuse happening with, say, a 3 min edit window).
posted by tiny frying pan at 4:01 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


presumably edits were implemented in the first place based on the premise that poorly formed comments are a greater source of confusion.

I think it was more like it was stupid not to give this power to users (which they wanted) just because some users might be jerks with it.

And we've seen very little jerkish behavior but definitely some people editing in ways that change the comments which, in fast moving threads, is not great. Very rarely malicious but occasionally. Complicated for mods, sometimes a small community issue. And sometimes people will just add whole sentences when they should just make a second comment. You can do a lot in five minutes. I was surprised.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:51 PM on June 15 [6 favorites]


And sometimes people will just add whole sentences when they should just make a second comment.

I've done that. It's from habit. This might be the best website on the whole internet, but it's not the only one. Most frown on serial posts when you could have just edited in what you wanted to say (If it's been a short time an the conversation hasn't moved on).

[and then I notice I did that and feel shame, but I get over it]
posted by ctmf at 6:36 PM on June 15 [10 favorites]


By "post" I meant the main post in the thread you can't edit and is a bit dated. Comments are another bag of worms as there's already an edit window and I would wager abuse is higher. Regarding outsourcing, while I realize resources are limited a lot of company take this approach and I was throwing it out as a one time opex fee versus hiring expensive developers.
posted by geoff. at 7:00 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


When mods edit a post / question blue or green, there really should be a mod note explaining the change. Doing it invisibly erodes confidence in the reliability of the discussion. When a reader returns to an ask to see a potentially damaging turn of phrase removed from the ask without any note that it was even updated, it can be confusing. This happened to me (as the reader) recently. Moderation log, please.
posted by Gotanda at 7:49 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


I hear that. I also think the counterpoint is that if a user makes an inadvertent gaffe or error that a mod can fix quickly, that means that there's not a huge derail about the turn of phrase (and this is just me being general and not me knowing what you're referring to). This would be one of those things that it would be great for an eventual Steering Committee to talk over.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:15 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I think the edit window is fine as it is. I've said it before in previous threads where this comes up, but I think it's better for Metafilter culture if we learn to be tolerant of people's mistakes, including our own. You can always follow up with another comment explaining the error and it's likely better than pretending the error didn't happen in the first place anyway.
posted by Aleyn at 8:32 PM on June 15 [10 favorites]


I just realized this is about editing posts, so the editing window part doesn't work for that, but I'd say my comment still stands, and tbh I think asking a mod to edit anything egregious in a post is fine.
posted by Aleyn at 8:35 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


When mods edit a post / question blue or green, there really should be a mod note explaining the change. Doing it invisibly erodes confidence in the reliability of the discussion.

In fairness, my FPP experience is that if it's editing a typo such as spelling mistakes in particular (which I regularly make in posts) then there's no note. In this recent post I simply spelt a word wrong and it was quickly corrected with no distraction.

But if there's a change to content, or changing a proper noun, or something that is likely to be comment-worthy in itself, then the mods have left a note. So in a music video post from last summer, it ended up with multiple mods - [1] [2] - editing the post and leaving comments.

I think it was Cortex(?) who some years ago said mod editing should try and take a "path of least anticipated drama" and I get that.
posted by Wordshore at 12:09 AM on June 16 [5 favorites]


buxtonbluecat, it's not so much of a derail as the OP mentioned the concept of outsourcing or just hive-mind sourcing certain improvements to the site. You're spot on with the 'non-open' and ancient codebase. But there has been things like the infodump, the gopher interface...

I tried to setup MetaChat ages ago, ran for about a year (free AWS instance), terribly awkward hacking to make it MeFi user's only. A little bit of up-front work could make it much easier to do things like automatic playlist generation for YouTube, Spotify, etc. Maybe even bit by bit replacing ancient things with newer things. It would make it easier to find help in the future.

MetaFilter will probably die the slow death of trying to find Cold Fusion talent. Time comes when legacy systems collapse.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:39 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


if we ever get to a future state in which members who are coders can contribute to an open source mefi codebase.....i will be stoked as fuck, and happily contribute to feature development forever
posted by lazaruslong at 3:11 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


> MetaFilter will probably die the slow death of trying to find Cold Fusion talent.

This is a oddly dramatic way to look at it… there is no need to “find talent” for a technology like Cold Fusion. Any reasonable full stack contractor (such as myself) could get up to speed with CF in a few days to a week. And another week or two to develop some familiarity with the Mefi codebase. Was frimble a CF developer, particularly?

Expensive to pay for that “up to speed” time, but not difficult. It’s not a lost technology; it’s documented, just unpopular.
posted by thoroughburro at 4:12 AM on June 16 [7 favorites]


What is Metafilter, but Cold Fusion persevering?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:32 AM on June 16 [19 favorites]


My painstakingly thought out proposal for MetaFilter updating its codebase is:

1) Wait for full immersion, tactile, haptic VR to become widespread.
2) Select a champion for each different tech stack.
3) Set up a highlander/battle royale/fortnight game scenario.
4) Each champion receives a random weapon to fight the other champions with. Chainsaw, rocket launcher, cast iron pan, broom, &c.
5) There can only be one.
6) Repeat the process but for development methodologies.
posted by signal at 6:08 AM on June 16 [6 favorites]


this week's sprint is....10km over flat ground wearing your VR rig
posted by lazaruslong at 6:15 AM on June 16 [4 favorites]


I don't want posts to be editable. Or tweets. Or Haskell variables.

Could the comment window please get cmd/ctrl+k to add links, though? (Or is there another shortcut?)
posted by michaelh at 8:43 AM on June 16


4) Each champion receives a random weapon to fight the other champions with. Chainsaw, rocket launcher, cast iron pan, broom, &c

Are you allowed to keep your weapon after victory to use in future duels?
posted by Jarcat at 8:44 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Could the comment window please get cmd/ctrl+k to add links, though? (Or is there another shortcut?)

Ctrl+U opens the link dialog for me on Windows
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:07 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Ctrl+U opens the link dialog for me on Windows

Same on macOS (12.4)
posted by terrapin at 9:12 AM on June 16


This is not entirely related to the original post's idea, but if you're concerned about people abusing the edit window to drastically change the content of their comments/posts, have you considered adding a check for Levenshtein distance? It is by no means a total solution to the problem, but it would make it very easy to warn people (basically) "hey, you know the edit button is just for fixing typos, right?" if someone changes the content of their post by more than a little bit. Then you could either block the edit completely, or just redirect to some sort of interstitial page with the same warning in bigger, redder letters that you'd have to click through to actually make the edit.
posted by Mayor West at 9:19 AM on June 16


Ctrl+U opens the link dialog for me on Windows

I did not know this, thanks!
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:24 AM on June 16


If you hover over many of the links in MetaFilter (and elsewhere!) it often tells you what they do and other ways to do them. For example, the "link" button to the upper right of the comment or post box sez "Click (or type Control + U) to add a link to the selected text". Why it is "Control + U" and not the standard-issue "Control + K" is a MetaFilter mystery.

For bold and italic the hover over makes no mention of it, but the standard "Control + B" and "Control + I" will get you bold and italic too.
posted by chavenet at 9:30 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Ctrl+U opens the link dialog for me on Windows, Same on macOS (12.4)

Ah, cool! I might try to remap to cmd+k with Keyboard Maestro at some point, but I can do this.
posted by michaelh at 9:33 AM on June 16


MetaFilter will probably die the slow death of trying to find Cold Fusion talent.

I have experience with ColdFusion and an older version of the MetaFilter codebase.

How much do people actually manage to abuse this in five minutes that it’s a real problem?

I was one of founders of the SportsFilter spinoff, and the developer. We had time-limited editable posts, and after an initial goof-off period people used it responsibly.

Preview is not intuitive? I stubbed my toe brain on this. It's...it's preview. How can it not be intuitive? It's right there, next to the button that says Post Comment.

What if there wasn't a Post Comment button and you had to preview?

is it just a brain fart and all instances of the word 'comment' here should be replaced with 'post'?

It should. In my day you understood you were reading a comment on a post on a blog. Now people say "blog" to mean "post on a blog" and "post" sometimes means "comment." English major + web developer = pedant.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:16 PM on June 16 [9 favorites]


...and I just made a minor edit to my comment.

What if there was a note that said the post had been edited, with a link to show the original?
posted by kirkaracha at 1:18 PM on June 16 [6 favorites]


It seems contradictory to argue that people should not be able to edit their posts/comments because they should be held accountable to their original posts/comments, and that moderators should be deleting posts/comments with no way of holding people accountable for making them.

It seems like a simple way for all users to see edit histories of all posts/comments would fix the accountability issue on the user-edited end.
posted by lapis at 1:21 PM on June 16 [3 favorites]


Preview is not intuitive? I stubbed my toe brain on this. It's...it's preview. How can it not be intuitive? It's right there, next to the button that says Post Comment.

What if there wasn't a Post Comment button and you had to preview?


Hey, that's what I was getting at, but I didn't realize until you said it!

What if there was a note that said the post had been edited, with a link to show the original?


I foresee confusion.
posted by scratch at 3:49 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]


I just leave a title or tags off my first writing of a post to force there to only be a Preview button. Leaving either blank prevents you from being able to post, so I don't fill them in until I've previewed and edited things. This comment is kinda worthless, but I guess I just wanted to share how I force myself to actually use the Preview button because it really is how you get to edit for as long as you want.
posted by Bottlecap at 4:03 PM on June 16 [12 favorites]


if you're concerned about people abusing the edit window to drastically change the content of their comments/posts, have you considered adding a check for Levenshtein distance?

I believe this is already implemented in the mod view, or it was - comment from when the edit function was first released. And the edit history is saved, but not publicly viewable.
posted by Glier's Goetta at 1:51 AM on June 17 [3 favorites]


Some errors seem to hide in a sort of cognitive blind spot, remain stubbornly invisible in the preview window, and only become obvious after the post is live. I don’t know whether it’s the fact of the post’s public visibility, or just the passing of time, that flips the switch. Maybe a 5(?)-minute delay between hitting [post] and the moment that it actually goes live, during which one can still make edits, but with any change resetting the clock?
posted by jon1270 at 4:48 AM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Why it is "Control + U" and not the standard-issue "Control + K" is a MetaFilter mystery.

I think this was last considered in 2011, and they didn't want to override Control + K going to the browser search bar.
posted by yuwtze at 12:31 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


So, just posted a slightly off-the-cuff FPP. 5 passes through the preview for formatting + a message to the mods about a bad link. Easy as pie. If I’d had an edit window, I would just have kept fussing.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:49 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


I wonder if all the mefi users with social anxiety aren't posting in this thread to support the ability to edit posts yourself because of, well, social anxiety.

I wonder if all the mefi users who are unwilling to bother mods about a simple edit to a post aren't posting in this thread because of an unwillingness to bother anyone about the simple ability to make an edit to a post.

The mods can be 100% friendly and accessible. They could be perfect! But if someone isn't emotionally in a position to reach out to them, they're not going to do it. And I bet Metafilter has an above-average number of users who experience social anxiety and/or don't want to be a bother.

Like, if it's too much trouble for the mods, it's ok to leave it at that. But just because it's fine and easy for many users doesn't mean it's fine or easy for everyone, and that's something worth acknowledging.
posted by aniola at 5:35 PM on June 17 [11 favorites]


I actually do have serious, diagnosed social anxiety, for one. It doesn’t extend to asynchronous communication, for me (but it does to instant messaging). Others may be different.
posted by thoroughburro at 6:07 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


I have serious diagnosed social anxiety as well that shows up all the time in how I do and don't interact here. I would never in a million years have used the contact form to request an edit, but something about the "flag with note" option completely short circuits that for me and I will cheerfully and with minimal anxiety use that for any typos that affect meaning.

I don't think the ability to edit posts would be a bad thing, overall, but I can't say it would make my list of the top twenty changes I'd prefer site leadership to spend time on. The tools we have seem good enough to me for the moment, given the need to prioritize.
posted by Stacey at 6:35 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


Oh, and the text entry is a bit on the janky side with regards to HTML entities, tag stripping code probably. Why still no markdown! If it's not a home full of cows, it's a home full of ponies (or actual horses).
posted by zengargoyle at 8:38 AM on June 18


Ask is a bit different and more informal than the front page, but throughout Metafilter there is an expectation that posts be thoughtfully crafted. This is one of the ways that Metafilter is different from Reddit, for example. A post that needs significant editing beyond a minor typo or two after hitting the post button arguably has not been thoughtfully crafted.

[Post = starts a thread on the front page or on Ask.]
posted by eviemath at 4:50 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


I think it's fine to just post a "whoops" in the first comment, TBH. I don't want people to stress about having perfect posts or anything, I'd rather people just have fun with it, like they would with idk a mistake in a game of charades or something, or accidentally calling your dog the cat's name. Life is short and there are so many things that have to be "perfect." I hope people don't feel like mefi posts are one of those things.

So, I think that an edit button wouldn't be terrible or anything, but I think it would be a mixed bag in terms of benefits. I would rather people just normalize making mistakes sometimes.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:16 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


Just to say I really love this idea and find it worth further unpacking;

Maybe a 5(?)-minute delay between hitting [post] and the moment that it actually goes live, during which one can still make edits, but with any change resetting the clock?
posted by Miko at 5:38 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


This thread is going way too long for a simple request to not bother the mods for silly typos. They said they don’t mind and they’re great at being responsive so, I think case is closed. I do think Metatalk would benefit from more incremental improvement suggestions to see what people like or not. It can’t hurt!
posted by geoff. at 5:54 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


It can’t hurt!

I do not believe this to be true in all cases, but laying out the details is more than I have the energy for at the moment/would likely get fighty or more personal than is allowed.
posted by eviemath at 3:43 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


I don't know why minor or even major suggestions would create drama? I mean this is an application and people have feature requests that come to fruition or don't all the time. It shouldn't be fighty and should be encouraged I think! Please correct me if I'm wrong but I'm in the "no idea is stupid or too far fetched just throw it out there" and if it works it works and if it doesn't it doesn't.

I respect you don't have the energy to explain it but maybe a line or two as to why you feel this isn't the case? I don't think we want this to be a closed clique where only certain people can suggest things. I suggest stupid things all the time!
posted by geoff. at 8:21 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


This thread is going way too long for a simple request to not bother the mods for silly typos.

As with all things Metafilter, if a person is feeling something on the site is too silly or whatever they can always skip it, and engage with the site in the way they feel is worthwhile.

Everything is important to someone, so there's no need to disparage fellow community members for what they care about.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:45 AM on June 21 [8 favorites]


Sorry I didn't mean to disparage anyone's opinion! I think that came off as too glib!
posted by geoff. at 9:18 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


To clarify: the person who commented that the original request was silly is the OP. It’s self-deprecation.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:39 AM on June 21 [6 favorites]


I think it's a fine feature request, but you have to understand it would change how people use the site and not everyone is in favor. There is going to be some discussion. For quick suggestions with no discussion from others, the contact form is probably the way to go.

I get that you see a concerning meta-trend where there is extended discussion about most of these requests, and probably see users like me as part of the problem. Totally understand the frustration.
posted by michaelh at 10:29 AM on June 21


For what it’s worth, I abandon about 75% of my attempted comments because mefi has an annoying misfeature on iOS where the keyboard will disappear, and the cursor is apparently still within the edit window.

I can save / post a half-completed comment, but without being able to copy-paste, followed by back and then clicking around again, I have found no reliable way to get back into a mode where I can type on my iPad short of plugging in a physical keyboard.

One of many things that just pulverizes any urge I have to participate on mefi.

On other systems, I will post, then edit and finish (usually after a fast edit to add a “still in progress” note). On mefi, I abandon and go away for a couple weeks.
posted by DaveP at 2:46 PM on June 21 [3 favorites]


> I respect you don't have the energy to explain it but maybe a line or two as to why you feel this isn't the case?

That's not how respect works. That's how badgering works.

When you write a post here you can preview and preview and preview your writing as much as you want - it's built into the system. So, if you're getting it wrong again and again and again is that the system's fault?

I'm also pretty sure "case closed!" is not how Metatalk works. You created some drama and now you want the drama to stop. You want people to respond but you want to determine how they respond. "But my voice!" is not the way to proceed here.

You weren't glib. You were rude.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 8:09 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Also, referring to people stating that they have concerns as “drama” is quite dismissive.
posted by eviemath at 8:35 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


But to give slightly more explanation, geoff., there is a practical difference between having relatively less privileged members of a community request structural changes that assist their participation, and having relatively privileged members make such requests. I hesitated to go into details because in my experience, when someone says something general on the internet (also applied in teaching, in my classroom, eg. when talking about study skills or something), generally the people who the advice or comment doesn't apply to will be more likely to pay attention and change their behavior thinking that it does apply to them, and the people who the advice or comment does not apply to will be more likely to ignore it or believe that it does not apply to them. The only way around that is to be more specific, eg. to say "I am talking about you, specifically, OP", but that is frowned upon (even in MetaTalk) by our mods. So let me try to split the difference and state:

we almost certainly don't need able-bodied, upper middle/middle management class or above, technically literate, white men making more suggestions for what they think would improve Metafilter.

(But also I have opinions about the relationship between this MetaTalk about your recent Ask in which you were arguing with replies, that I won't go into detail about to try to avoid making the mods too unhappy with me.)
posted by eviemath at 8:45 AM on June 22


we almost certainly don't need able-bodied, upper middle/middle management class or above, technically literate, white men making more suggestions for what they think would improve Metafilter.

I'd like to think I have as much right to make suggestions about what I think would improve Metafilter as anyone.
posted by DanSachs at 4:27 PM on June 22 [6 favorites]


Sounds like something an able-bodied, upper middle/middle management class or above, technically literate, white man would say.
posted by kevinbelt at 4:33 PM on June 22


(But also I have opinions about the relationship between this MetaTalk about your recent Ask in which you were arguing with replies, that I won't go into detail about to try to avoid making the mods too unhappy with me.)

This is just axe grinding.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:49 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


Mod note: A couple deleted. Let's keep this thread on track folks. Now's a great time to also take a break from the thread if you've been commenting in here frequently.
posted by travelingthyme (staff) at 6:20 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


I guess it's MetaTalk and people tend to get fighty here but it was a pretty straightforward request from geoff and I'm baffled by a lot of the responses that have showed up towards the bottom of this thread.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:18 PM on June 22 [11 favorites]


Davep - I have run into that weird behavior on iOS. You can hit preview and the keyboard comes back.
posted by Bottlecap at 1:03 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]

I guess it's MetaTalk and people tend to get fighty here but it was a pretty straightforward request from geoff and I'm baffled by a lot of the responses that have showed up towards the bottom of this thread.
When you consider the details of how that might be implemented, the time taken to do it, the cost, the additional tasks that would be handed to the mods, it's not a straightforward request.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:47 AM on June 23


The request is straightforward. The implementation isn't, which is why it's a request and not a demand. But such requests are one of the more common types of post here on MetaTalk. That's... kind of what MetaTalk is for. Any change takes time to plan, code, test, etc. - everyone knows that - and management is free to disregard the request, but that's not a reason for users to stop making suggestions.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:41 AM on June 23 [8 favorites]


I guess it's MetaTalk and people tend to get fighty here but it was a pretty straightforward request from geoff and I'm baffled by a lot of the responses that have showed up towards the bottom of this thread.

Lately it's common that people are responding to people's posts on other sites so there's a lot of missing context. IDK if that's going on here but it sometimes is.

I personally don't think it's great behavior to (1) make a post on metatalk (2) say elsewhere that you can't wait to be told you're a monster and that you expect drama etc etc etc and that you don't want to have to take other people's "weird eccentricities" into account (3) then say after a relatively conflict free thread that it's going "too long," basically criticizing people who bothered to reply to your feature request because idk they didn't preform drama for you like you cynically anticipated

So idk maybe people are reacting to that. IDK IDK
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:37 AM on June 23 [5 favorites]


Lately it's common that people are responding to people's posts on other sites so there's a lot of missing context. IDK if that's going on here but it sometimes is.

Perhaps we could make it a standard practice that people respond to posts on the site where they are made, or if that is not practical, at least link to what it is they are talking about? I'm clearly out of the loop because the last few posts here are bewildering to me.
posted by rpfields at 8:20 AM on June 23 [3 favorites]


Look I post on Reddit under my name "mefigeoff" so there'a no confusion. There's nothing I say there I wouldn'd say here except it is a bit easier to use on my phone. This is weirdly getting off topcic and I would again like to thank the mods for responding to my initial request.
posted by geoff. at 8:33 AM on June 23 [2 favorites]


I'm obviously the op and I have no idea what you're talking about. Even if it is not within the rules can you message me?
posted by geoff. at 8:53 AM on June 23


Depends. I don’t want to argue the validity of my opinion. If I message you to satisfy your curiosity, will you simply accept it, either take it into consideration or not as you prefer or see fit, and not badger me about it?
posted by eviemath at 8:57 AM on June 23


I mean message me or not but I don't think at this point it should be public.
posted by geoff. at 9:02 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]


rpfields: the last few posts here are bewildering to me

Just wait till you see the next five.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:27 AM on June 23 [9 favorites]


So, um, I'm going to close this up. I have no idea what's going on, but whatever it is it's definitely not doing what we hope to be doing here. (Productively dIscussing site issues and ideas, fwiw.)
posted by taz (staff) at 9:49 AM on June 23 [10 favorites]


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