Transition Team Post #3 June 27, 2022 4:37 PM   Subscribe

Update on how we're processing the user survey, and a couple of community questions related to it.

Hi everyone! Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey. We received over 900 responses. We've separated out the questions onto individual sheets and are going through tagging the responses so we can get some numbers to go with the nuance.

As it stands, we’ll still be able to make the July 17 date for a general overview of the survey, but it may not be as complete as we’d been hoping. A number of folks have had to cut back significantly or withdraw entirely from the Transition Team. This means we’re moving slower through the responses.

So this is a community question! The survey was advertised as being ONLY viewed by the Transition Team (see our initial roster here) and potentially mods/jessamyn. We’d like to open up the data-review to a few other trusted folks to help process this, to make sure we have an absolutely complete picture before we finalize anything about the future steering committee. Since this is a change from how we advertised the survey, we’d like to hear from the community as to whether or not we can accept help on this (to get things moving quicker/on time) or not (in which case it’ll all get done but may take substantially longer).

As a reminder, there is no directly identifiable personal data on the survey. A response row looks like this:

Timestamp | Q1 response | Q2 response | etc…

No emails, no names, no usernames (unless someone wrote one in, and even then we can’t verify that identity).

So….

Question 1: Are you okay with us taking on a few more people to assist with processing the survey? These folk would just be working on the survey and not broader TT stuff (without more conversation/input, at the very minimum)

Question 2: Are you interested in doing some of this work? (we’ve got a list of folks to try reaching out to, but doesn’t hurt to get some more!)

The other update we have right now is that we're going to be meeting with MF staff in the next couple of weeks to discuss how the steering committee/advisory board might function, clearly delineate roles and responsibilities, and start actually pulling this together. Expect more details on how the main event is going to look in a few weeks.

Hope you’re all hanging in there.
posted by curious nu to MetaFilter-Related at 4:37 PM (85 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

1. Yes, of course. This makes the most sense. My hunch is that you are being way over-cautious in asking but then again, I've been here. I get it.

2. Nope, barely keeping things together with all the everything right now. But thanks for asking!
posted by Glinn at 4:51 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


1. 100% okay with this.

2. Yes, MeMail me!
posted by kimberussell at 5:02 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


1. I think this makes perfect sense, especially since the Transition Team is somewhat reduced.

2. I am afraid the next 6 weeks are going to be tied up with a rather brutal project, so I can’t take on anything else.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:03 PM on June 27


I'm okay with this and would like to help, if I can. It's hard to imagine how big a task it is to sort free form responses! I'm sure it's a looming and intimidating pile.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:15 PM on June 27


1. Totally fine with the change.
2. Sorry, have some pretty heavy shit going on right now.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:16 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


It's hard to imagine how big a task it is to sort free form responses!

It's not too bad, just looking at each individual response, assigning some tags to it and keeping track of the tags on a master list you've created (or that someone else has). I usually have music or tv reruns going in a separate window. A bit tedious but endlessly interesting to see read the responses.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:36 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


Oh okay - I don't mind tedious.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:43 PM on June 27


1. Y
2. N
posted by briank at 5:55 PM on June 27


1) yeah, makes sense
2) apologies, can't help out atm

Thanks again for the work you're doing. It's terrific that the team is checking in, soliciting help, and taking the time to explain the need for more eyeballs on the anonymous survey results.

I think a request for feedback on this proposed change is a banner and/or sidebar contender. Perhaps another AskMe, too, especially if there was an uptick in survey submissions as readers were reminded of the deadline? MetaTalk is well-nigh invisible to many. Would like to ward off a lot of hollerin' over transparency later, if folks miss this particular post.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:56 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


1. Yes, of course: "many hands make light work."

2. No bandwidth that I can honestly commit. Godspeed to y'all, though.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:09 PM on June 27


1. Definitely OK.

2. Yes, I’m off work currently, and very interested in helping speed this along. MeMail me if I can help.
posted by valleys at 6:39 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]


As a respondent who has paid no attention to who's on the transition team, I can't imagine objecting to adding more reviewers. (I absolutely cannot volunteer. Thanks to those who can.) I'm impressed that you're asking.
posted by eotvos at 6:39 PM on June 27


1. Sure
2. No, but thanks for asking!!
posted by Gray Duck at 6:41 PM on June 27


1. Okey-dokey.
2. Sure, I could use the distraction, honestly.
posted by Mizu at 7:15 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


1.Y
2.Y. I work for beer although truth be told, I often have to supply my own beer.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:27 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Adding reviewers sounds smart.
posted by michaelh at 9:35 PM on June 27


Q #1 yes, do get help, of course!
Q#2 No, too much going on right now already.
posted by 15L06 at 9:59 PM on June 27


curious nu, we’re in touch already, so yes of course. thank you for flying up the bat symbol. (the potato symbol? the bean plate symbol? what is our symbol these days?)
posted by mochapickle at 9:59 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


1. Go right ahead
2. Sure I can help
posted by Lesium at 11:01 PM on June 27


1. Yes, makes sense.
2. Sorry, no bandwidth
posted by dbmcd at 12:24 AM on June 28


1. Yes
2. Don’t have the spoons currently!
posted by ellieBOA at 1:11 AM on June 28


1. Yes! Please get help.

2. Baby due very soon so no thanks (though this kind of thing is appealing to my interests/skillset.)

Yay Transition Team!
posted by freethefeet at 3:20 AM on June 28 [2 favorites]


1. Yes, I have no problems with getting more help. We want less burnout, not more.

2. Good lord, I wish I could, but I shouldn't even be looking at the site right now. Too much to do, all at once. Best of luck, and thanks for the work you're doing.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:46 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


1. Yup, go for it.
2. I don't have the bandwidth right now but if you're keeping a list for future needs, say after August when my current time-sucking work thing should be done, feel free to stick me in the "great at mindless data entry/organization tasks" column.
posted by Stacey at 5:25 AM on June 28


1. Cool with me
2. I wish, but not right now
posted by lazaruslong at 5:31 AM on June 28


Yes
No
Thanks
posted by bondcliff at 6:15 AM on June 28


1. 100% fine with me. I can imagine a situation where this could cause a problem for someone, but it’s an exceedingly remote edge case.
2. Yes, I’d be interested in helping.
posted by daisyace at 6:45 AM on June 28


1. Fine by me.
2. Might want some more detail before committing, but happy to help if I'm able.

Thanks for asking!
posted by box at 7:09 AM on June 28


1.) Please, as someone who filled it out, get any and all eyes upon it
2.) If you get to a pinch, I can free up some time to assist, but let the more available and enthusiastic go first :)
posted by deezil at 7:17 AM on June 28


1. Yes.
2. Yes, at least a little. Please add me to the pool or memail me.

Thanks for the thoughtfulness, caution, and practicality in this update & query. (The other communication about transition stuff has felt similarly thoughtful & clear, which I've appreciated!)
posted by miles per flower at 7:43 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


1. Yes
2. Sure, I'm happy to help.
posted by emelenjr at 7:53 AM on June 28


1. Yes, no problem with that at all.
2. Yes, if you need me, please MeMail.
posted by rpfields at 7:55 AM on June 28


1. I think it's a great idea - I've done response coding in the past, and it is a grind.
2. I wish I could but no, not this summer.

Thanks so much for asking!
posted by Lyn Never at 7:58 AM on June 28


1. Yes
2. Yes, and you should recruit any other backtaggers who are still around.
posted by donnagirl at 8:09 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


1. Yes, this is fine
2. Can’t right now, alas.
posted by eirias at 9:13 AM on June 28


1) Yes.
2) I'd need to know what kind of time commitment is involved to say yes to that. (Backtagger emerita)
3) Thanks to all who do serve; this is important work and I appreciate each one of you.
posted by Lynsey at 9:15 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


1) Yes
2) No
posted by grouse at 9:56 AM on June 28


As one of the people who forgot how crazy this time of year is for me it's extremely heartening to see the permission and the support in this thread. I know however things move forward, community engagement like this will bring a lot to the table.
posted by warriorqueen at 10:27 AM on June 28 [5 favorites]


1. 100% okay with this.

2. No. But Thank You for asking.
posted by Faintdreams at 11:00 AM on June 28


1) yes, thanks for asking
2) helping would be of interest to me but i'm already mentally exhausted by (gestures broadly) and can't this time.
posted by ApathyGirl at 11:12 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


1. Sounds good; thanks for taking the ethical path and checking
2. If you need additional help, happy to. I’ve got plenty of experience with qualitative coding (and the quant side too for that matter) and I’m all compliant with Citi (IRB) training
posted by librarylis at 11:37 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Any chance we could see a copy of the questions (no answers). I don't think there is anything of concern but i can't remember what was asked.
posted by Mitheral at 11:51 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


1) That is very fine.
2) No, not at the moment.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:11 PM on June 28


I would love to help! I have training and experience with this & id love to!
posted by bleep at 1:10 PM on June 28


Is this effort something that would benefit from any kind of automation? The amount of time I have in the next few weeks is probably not enough that I'd be valuable tagging responses, but probably IS enough to make a dent in whatever scripting/automation y'all are using to sort data.

(Same offer applies going forward, FWIW: I have two small children currently on summer vacation, which limits my available time quite a bit, but I can carve out some blocks of time for the ol' Beanplate)
posted by Mayor West at 1:57 PM on June 28


1. Yes
2. Not at this time

I think I know the answer to this, but with an N=900 there could be some consideration of sampling. But even if that's not desired, because the fullest engagement is desired, do give some thought to coding responses (at a later stage, don't have random volunteers code) so you have an easier time aggregating points of information.

I am sure people on the T Team or other supporters know how to do evaluation coding but if not I can give someone a 10 minute download on it.
posted by Miko at 2:06 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Any chance we could see a copy of the questions (no answers). I don't think there is anything of concern but i can't remember what was asked.

Sure, here you go:

Q1: We’d like to understand what MetaFilter means to individual users. In 1-3 sentences, please share a little bit about the purpose or role that MetaFilter serves in your life.

Q2: How do you currently feel about participating on MetaFilter?

Q3: What are three strengths of MetaFilter that set it apart from other online communities?

Q4: What is the biggest non-technical challenge you face when participating on MetaFilter?

Q5: What is the biggest technical challenge you face when using the MetaFilter website?

Q6: What do you want MetaFilter’s future to look like?

Q7: What’s one thing you wish were different about MetaFilter right now?

Q8: What’s one thing you hope never changes about MetaFilter?

Q9: What is your current membership status?

Q10: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Q11: Where did you see or hear about this survey?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:19 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Is this effort something that would benefit from any kind of automation? The amount of time I have in the next few weeks is probably not enough that I'd be valuable tagging responses, but probably IS enough to make a dent in whatever scripting/automation y'all are using to sort data.

Currently it's all by hand, no automation. Read the response, figure out what should be tagged, rinse and repeat! Have snacks and music or tv in the background.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:21 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


No problem with sharing as required.

Would love to dig into this and help out, but would only end up not having time to do it properly so, no but thanks for asking.
posted by dg at 4:11 PM on June 28


Yes and yes!
posted by okayokayigive at 6:18 PM on June 28


1. I don't know.

2. Oh yeah I want to help! This sounds so cool! Please let me help...
posted by amtho at 6:19 PM on June 28


1. I too have no problem.

2. I would be interested in helping, but am hesitant to say a firm yes until I understand what you're seeking to do with the answers.

Is it trying to lump free-forms into certain general camps of thought?

Is it some sort of text manipulation needed? I'm semi-good -- or semi-fair, at least -- about shuffling text around using regular expressions.
posted by MollyRealized at 6:23 PM on June 28


1. Yes

2. Sure, though it seems there are probably plenty volunteers already

Thanks for doing this!
posted by the primroses were over at 6:44 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Yes.
No.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:29 PM on June 28


1. Rock on, I trust you folks
2. No, sorry (gamedev)
Also: Thank you for doing this. Thank you for asking for my opinion. Thank you for asking for help. I appreciate you all, and I think the overwhelming majority / nearly everyone on the site does as well.
posted by Ryvar at 10:52 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


1. Fine with me.

2. I'm tempted, but it sounds like you have plenty of volunteers already. Hit me up if people fall through.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:15 AM on June 29


1. Yes.
2. Oh no, you don't want me for that.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:05 AM on June 29


1. Yes, no problem!
2. No, I'm not able to commit time right now.

Thanks to all who have and will take on this project!
posted by jaruwaan at 8:27 AM on June 29


1. Yes
2. No
3. Thank you for all your hard work!
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:48 AM on June 29


1. Yes
2. Yes, I'd love to help.
posted by victoriab at 9:10 AM on June 29


1) Yes!
2) No, I can't right now. But I'm really glad it's happened!
posted by hydropsyche at 10:31 AM on June 29


1. Yes! Go for it.
2. Yes, if you still need volunteers I can help.
posted by machine at 10:58 AM on June 29


1. Y
2. N

Thanks!
posted by snsranch at 12:04 PM on June 29


1. Yes
2. Not this time, but also thanks for asking, and for doing this!
posted by deludingmyself at 4:16 PM on June 29


I think a request for feedback on this proposed change is a banner and/or sidebar contender. Perhaps another AskMe, too, especially if there was an uptick in survey submissions as readers were reminded of the deadline? MetaTalk is well-nigh invisible to many. Would like to ward off a lot of hollerin' over transparency later, if folks miss this particular post.

Well, I'll start hollerin' - or at least beanplating - now.

From a very strict informed consent perspective, this is not the best way to do things. You promised a certain set of conditions to survey-takers regarding data review (only transition team members), and you are now changing those conditions (having "a few other trusted folks" review the data). The best way to ensure that consent is maintained is to re-contact the survey respondents and ask them for their consent to the new process. Instead, you are asking a different group of people for their opinions on this change: "we’d like to hear from the community as to whether or not we can accept help on this." The problem is that there is no way to verify that the people who give their opinions in this MeTa in any way represent the actual survey respondents, any more than asking FanFare users would.

From a practical perspective, this is Totally Fine. I recognize that it is unnecessarily time-consuming and probably impossible to re-contact survey respondents. It’s likely that most of the people who filled out the survey learned about it from MeTa, and that in fact the participants in this MeTa do represent the survey respondents. The original survey was anonymous, no personally identifying information was collected, and the proposed change is extremely unlikely to cause any harm to survey participants. This is a website survey, not a clinical trial. As far as I'm concerned, this isn't a big deal at all, the change that you propose is totally acceptable, and I appreciate your effort to solicit feedback on the matter.

The reason I bring it up is because it raises a larger issue that I encourage the transition team to consider moving forward: the role that MeTa plays in how the site is run. In the past, MeTa appeared to function as a sounding board and a means by which members of the community could give feedback to the mods, but decision-making (for better and for worse) was entirely up to the mods. As the site transitions towards being more community-run I think it is worth considering just how the “community” is represented in decision-making. The assumption underlying this post seems to be that MeTa respondents are "the community" and their collective assent to this change represents some sort of community will and/or assent. This is a perfectly fine assumption to make, but it's not the only way to do things, may not be the best way to do things, and may or may not represent what the entire spectrum of MeFi users want. I've never seen any data on this, but I have always assumed that MeTa participants are a small and probably unrepresentative subset of MeFites more generally (I'm happy to be corrected on this if I'm wrong). Whether or not MeTa should function as a sounding board, a proxy for the user base as a whole, or as a sort of extended steering committee, is a discussion worth having among the Transition Team. And, moving forward, it seems to me that full transparency on the relationship between MeTa, the Steering Committee, and site leadership would be A Good Thing.

All that said, I appreciate the Transition Team's heroic efforts at transparency and responding to community feedback already. My comments are given in the spirit of "additional food for thought" rather than criticism of what you are doing now.
posted by googly at 6:33 PM on June 29 [20 favorites]


1) yes
2) sure if you still need people
posted by lyssabee at 7:11 PM on June 29


As googly pointed out, this is not ideal. However, as they also noted, it's not a clinical trial. Having a BA in Sociology (and thus having done tons of surveys, stats, etc), part of this irks me but it's only because it's not strictly the right thing to do in an academic/clinical setting.

As such, I'm fine with it. Please get help as needed. And if you need an extra hand (even with all the volunteers in this thread), I would be happy to help out a bit.

Thank you so much for updating us, informing us and trying to get a good feel for what feels "okay". :)
posted by juliebug at 10:46 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]


So if anyone who is added to the "review survey" list is also added to the "transition team" then everything 's Jake, right?
posted by DanSachs at 2:40 AM on June 30


I'm glad that this survey was also promoted on AskMe, which seems like both the part of the site with the best curb appeal and also a place that, for many users, is the main point of interaction. I'm hopeful the transition team will continue to use Ask (and banners at the top of pages) as a place to announce things in the future.
posted by box at 5:38 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


I appreciate the candidness, and that was all on my mind re: changing parameters and I was reaaaaaally uncomfortable even asking. It's completely impossible to directly contact respondents because we didn't collect any of that information. MetaTalk seemed like an okay compromise to at least take the temperature of an invested group (not the only invested group! just one of them) who have specifically spoken up before about transparency and consistency in policies. If the sentiment had been more "Nope, just take longer to do it" that would be fine too (and likely would've included more sampling as we got to the initial deadline).

Thanks for the feedback and support -- we'll contact a few folks that have responded and get them set up to help us sort through the results. If we do another survey we'll change the structure so that we don't run into this again.
posted by curious nu at 6:06 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


If extra hands are needed, I am available if instructions are given.
posted by doggod at 6:44 AM on June 30


1. Yes. Go for it.
2. Pass.
posted by adamvasco at 3:09 PM on June 30


Based on the description of MetaTalk in the footer of this page, which I can’t seem to cut and paste right now, MetaTalk is the appropriate place to post questions like this. It clearly seems like the right place to have these discussions. I think reminding or notifying people on other parts of the site about key things happening here is also a good idea. MetaTalk may not represent the whole user base, but it is reasonable to think it represents the part that is interested in discussing policy.
posted by snofoam at 5:08 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


1. Yes
2. Yes
posted by bendy at 6:57 PM on June 30


I think it's the part of the site that's interested in proactively discussing policy; that seems obvious from history. What's less clear is how well it captures the people who, for various reasons, aren't proactively coming to Metatalk - and I suspect there are more reasons than just not being aware of it.
posted by sagc at 6:27 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


1. Yes, absolutely
2. Sorry, no spare time at the moment
posted by litera scripta manet at 4:49 PM on July 1


I don't think you would find a huge amount of correlation between people who don't care to click on primary nab tabs and people who care about how the site is run.
posted by bleep at 5:35 PM on July 1


Also I would challenge the notion that consent has been violated in that The Transmission Team is a group of random concerned users sanctioned by the site owner. Anyone who they invite to help out with this will essentially become members to some degree of the transition team. It's still the data being used for the same purpose by the same organization. I don't think they email study participants every time someone quits or joins the study team.

Is nitpicking to this degree going to help anything if by your own admission we know they're doing their best with what they have? And if by your own reckoning you know it's not particularly helpful, what's to be gained?
posted by bleep at 5:41 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


*Because I don't want to be misunderstood, I'm not saying whoever they invite to help them are literally joining the transition team completely but I am saying they're joining the project even if in a limited temporary basis & would we rather accept that & maybe actually have good things happen or not accept anything and make good things 100x harder to find.
posted by bleep at 5:53 PM on July 1


Is nitpicking to this degree going to help anything if by your own admission we know they're doing their best with what they have? And if by your own reckoning you know it's not particularly helpful, what's to be gained?

Perhaps you missed the entire last paragraph of my comment, in which I explicitly said that I brought it up because it raises a larger issue that I do think is important, and worth having a discussion about. You might also have missed the part where I note that "my comments are given in the spirit of 'additional food for thought' rather than criticism of what you are doing now." And it's pretty weird to have my acknowledgment of the transition team's hard work thrown back in my face as some kind of 'admission.'

But hey, don't let actually reading my comment in good faith get in the way of whatever strange axe you seem to have to grind.
posted by googly at 7:44 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


1. Go for it.
2. Pass.

Notes: The aims of the steering committee have always faded into a fog. For instance, will questions be assigned a value, then reviewed, giving more weight to popular themes? The questions represent a particular framing. MetaFilter has always been steered, both by mods and by suggestions from readers. Readers mark comments, and mods look at our concerns. Mods review posts and, in some cases, remove a post (for various reasons).

Site conventions admonish us to be civil and choose our derails carefully. Certain biases are in play on the blue. Politically "liberal" views enjoy a bit more slack than politically "conservative" views. If this seems unfair, the tradeoff appears to be putting up with excessive booger-flicking, so it works for me. I miss the texture of the "old" MetaFilter, as it was (for me) in 2012 when I quit lurking.

I can't argue with the stated goals of the present steering committee. I filled out the survey, so my input adds a little more grist to the mill. As you have described the process, adding a few more bean counters to the crew doesn't seem to raise any issues for me.
posted by mule98J at 4:25 PM on July 2


For instance, will questions be assigned a value, then reviewed, giving more weight to popular themes?

No. This is just asking questions and seeing what the community says, so we (all of the community) can get an idea of what we collectively think about certain things.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:18 AM on July 4


Yes and yes!
posted by jasper411 at 8:26 PM on July 4


Quick cap on this update: mochapickle, bleep, kimberussell, librarylis, tiny frying pan, and valleys have all stepped in to help. They made a TON of progress over the last few days. We're still on track for the initial report in a couple of weeks and I'll make another post then.
posted by curious nu at 1:13 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


Which one was yes, go ahead and destroy Russia... or number 2?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:58 PM on July 5


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