[MeFi Site Update] July 8th July 6, 2022 10:00 PM   Subscribe

Hi there, Metafilter! Happy Wednesday! You’ll find some updates regarding the site below. I’m looking forward to your feedback and questions.

- MeFi User Survey

The Transition Team is going over the Survey results, and I will be meeting with them on Sunday to go over the next steps. You can keep following the Transition Team's efforts here.

- Site changes.
Several background fixes.
Frimble is continuing the work with the flagging UI/UX.
Automatic MeFi mails are now coming from me instead of cortex.
We’re still trying to fix the bug in Chrome iOS.
Fixed the paragraph in the Content Policy that was reported in the previous update.
We’re planning to simplify the UI for posting in the blue, the idea is to remove the “Link URL” and “Link Text” fields and only keep the “Post Title”, “Description”, “Extended Description” and “Tags”. The purpose of this is to make the process easier. Let us know if you have any questions or feedback about this change.

- BIPOC Advisory Board
The May meeting minute should be posted on the site in the next couple of days and the June Meeting minute is being approved by the Board.

The tools I asked frimble to create for the BIPOC Board have been created and I will be testing them before releasing them to the Board in the next monthly meeting. More details will be made available after that.

Also, we reviewed some new applications to join the Board with its members and will be onboarding them soon. If you are interested in joining the BIPOC Advisory Board please remember to fill out this form.

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 10:00 PM (56 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Automatic MeFi mails are now coming from me instead of cortex.

Hey! I made a sockpuppet a few days ago and noticed the welcome email was coming from the cortex. Just mentioning in case y'all missed that specific automatic email.

Otherwise, shout out to all the people that joined the counting up the survey results, 'cause it definitely looks like we'll be done on time instead of next year, heh! THANK YOU!

New rule going forward: Bring in volunteers who are skilled in whatever needs to be done on Transition Team/Steering Community work. Several of the newer people were absolute wizards with tabulating and using spreadsheets and it made a huge difference!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:46 AM on July 7 [10 favorites]


I heartily support the plan to simplify the UI for posting on the blue! (In the blue? On the blue? Amidst the blue?)

I am quite familiar with techy things and have posted a lot on all kinds of websites, and I have managed more than once to completely botch a post. The existing UI is just not what my brain expects.

It may be a smallish change (or, actually, it may not), but I think anything that makes things easier for people and leads to success instead of frustration is an excellent thing.

Thanks for planning to do that, and thanks for this great update! I think these recent regular updates have been helpful and encouraging and informative, and I appreciate them!
posted by kristi at 7:50 AM on July 7 [4 favorites]


I support simplifying the UI on the blue. I would be surprised if many people these days posted using those two fields. However, I think you should leave behind some text explaining the change for those who did use those fields.
posted by michaelh at 8:39 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


Getting a you-posted-something response from loup was a nice surprise. Getting rid of the link stuff in post form sounds great. It doesn't bother me, but I can't imagine anyone has used it in a long time. Everything sounds great. Cheers!
posted by eotvos at 11:04 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


I like the proposed simplified UI for MeFi posts.

I don't feel like an explanation for the change on the page itself is necessary for me, but if people want one, that seems fine too.
posted by box at 11:26 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


Maybe the few comments are because it’s summer for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, but I think not. From my limited perspective, it seems as though the machinery of change is going relatively smoothly. I love that we get these reports regularly, as promised. Many thanks for your service, loup, and many thanks to the volunteers on the transition team and/or BIPOC Advisory Board. I much appreciate your efforts!
posted by Bella Donna at 12:19 PM on July 7 [5 favorites]


That's a great change, those redundant fields have been a missing stair for ages. Thanks.
posted by Miko at 1:09 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


I'm in favor of the UI change.

In general, I'm in favor of any technical changes that help to modernize MetaFilter.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:46 PM on July 7 [3 favorites]


Is there any possibility, under the new ownership, of revisiting the possibility of getting more people involved in development work (possibly volunteers from the community)? I understand that this is something that would be difficult and slow things down at first, but I think it would be worth it in the long run, and seems in line with the direction things have been moving.
posted by wesleyac at 3:53 PM on July 7 [5 favorites]


Love the planned changes to the post page on the blue! Thanks for the continued updates.
posted by twelve cent archie at 4:47 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


revisiting the possibility of getting more people involved in development work

Yes. Once the Steering Committee is established, they can set some priorities. A priority of mine is "no single points of failure" just in general and having more people who were empowered to help with some dev stuff (understanding that's a process, and also understanding we are not going to talk more about it here because it's a ways off) would help that.

Big fan of the new Blue posting UI idea.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:05 PM on July 7 [17 favorites]


Whatever changes are made to the UI, my fervent hope is that having gobs of MetaFilter tabs open in my browser will continue to NOT cause Safari to appear in my list of apps Using Significant Energy. I enjoy reading Vulture articles but I don't leave them open the way I do MetaFilter posts.
posted by kingless at 4:22 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Strong UI change support here
posted by knapah at 5:05 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


During the Potato Panic, I used the old "Link URL" and "Link text" fields for the first time, and was like "haha how quaint," so even though I have used them recently, I won't miss them.
posted by rikschell at 5:31 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


However, I think you should leave behind some text explaining the change for those who did use those fields.

Yep, we should always leave a note when making a change to the UI. There's zero reason to leave people in the dark by not saying anything when making changes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:45 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


We’re planning to simplify the UI for posting in the blue, the idea is to remove the “Link URL” and “Link Text” fields and only keep the “Post Title”, “Description”, “Extended Description” and “Tags”. The purpose of this is to make the process easier.

LOVE this. Can't wait to do a new post without that. Thank you!
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:55 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I was going to post this as a pony request to MeTa as the site is under new ownership (😁) but I’ll post here: can we pretty please get the mustard yellow link color of old back? I know it probably won’t go anywhere; I’ve asked a couple times over the years since it changed.

I know it’s been a long time, but also pretty please? Even as an option. I’ve always hated the switch to green links; the green and blue color pallet is so boring and was indicative of a specific web design aesthetic popular at the time it switched.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 6:52 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


While I'll probably stick with the plain, I would absolutely welcome some condiment-themed themes.

Why stop with mustard? I want pesto, wasabi, chimichurri!
posted by box at 6:57 AM on July 8 [4 favorites]


Thank you, loup!
posted by mochapickle at 7:16 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


A priority of mine is "no single points of failure"

I'm very very happy to see this is a priority. I think a lot of the site issues highlighted in these threads have originated in a cycle of "Only person X can work on issue Y, and person X is already overloaded and/or burned out, which means nothing gets done on issue Y, which leads to frustrated users accusing person X and Metafilter as a whole of not caring about issue Y, which makes person X more burned out and less able to make progress on issue Y".

I think adopting a "no single points of failure" approach will help short-circuit that cycle at basically every step.
posted by firechicago at 8:32 AM on July 8 [19 favorites]


condiment-themed themes.

I look forward with anticipation to our glorious Hot Dog Stand future.
posted by zamboni at 8:57 AM on July 8 [4 favorites]


Now I really wish I had picked up hot dogs at the grocery on the way home... :/
posted by one4themoment at 1:07 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


can we pretty please get the mustard yellow link color of old back

Just because I believe in setting expectations: this is pretty much a no unless there's a big redesign which is unlikely. Someone may be able to help you with a way that you can see the site with the colors that you want. I'll admit, I'm team Professional White Background (sorry!) so it's all whites and blues to me.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:45 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


You can keep following the Transition Team's efforts here.

Minor formatting note: I gather there should be a link at the word “here”, but there isn’t
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 2:49 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Fixed that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:51 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


condiment-themed themes.

I look forward with anticipation to our glorious Hot Dog Stand future.


Like this?

Just because I believe in setting expectations: this is pretty much a no unless there's a big redesign which is unlikely. Someone may be able to help you with a way that you can see the site with the colors that you want.

Yes, I can set a user style sheet. But it's not the same.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 3:25 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


I don't even go here but I will say: Classic theme 4eva, mustard + Verdana all day
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:31 PM on July 8 [14 favorites]


Like this?

Missed opportunity to style the "Help fund MeFi!" button to look like a hot dog.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:45 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


can we pretty please get the mustard yellow link color of old back

Classic theme still has yellow links though I don't recall if the colour is the link colour of old.
posted by Mitheral at 6:47 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


Missed opportunity to style the "Help fund MeFi!" button to look like a hot dog.

I wanted to put a hotdog where it had the dark mode option; but realized after about an hour and a half that I spent waaay to long on a silly joke already and stopped.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 8:02 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


“We’re planning to simplify the UI for posting in the blue, the idea is to remove the “Link URL” and “Link Text” fields and only keep the “Post Title”, “Description”, “Extended Description” and “Tags”. The purpose of this is to make the process easier. Let us know if you have any questions or feedback about this change.”

Sad face. I see I’m alone in the chorus, but that makes it much harder to post for me. Plonking in a sentence and a link was a very accessible way to make a post, much more so than reliably highlighting and then linking. It was a great accessibility feature and I’m sad to see it going away during disability pride month, of all times.

That it wasn’t something people with better motor control used doesn’t mean it wasn’t useful and great. Maybe it can live on as a simplified fpp generator on a different page?

I think far more than 80% of my posts on my previous account used that method alone. Sure raises the bar for making posts.
posted by Bottlecap at 10:27 AM on July 10 [6 favorites]


That it wasn’t something people with better motor control used doesn’t mean it wasn’t useful and great.

Speaking for myself only, it actually required more effort from me when posting, because I prefer not to make single-link posts. So I had to put dummy text in, preview, and then remove the dummy text and post. More steps, more motor control, more time, more challenge. The suggestion to make it an access option is a good idea if poss, but just wanted to point out that it wasn't necessarily easier in a universal design sense.
posted by Miko at 10:34 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


So I had to put dummy text in

I do not think the current posting flow requires dummy text in those boxes for people composing their posts in the description field? Check next time and see.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:29 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Hmmm I'm rethinking my support after hearing that it could be an accessibility issue for people. I do think faster posting is also mostly a net good and I do like posting links in comments with the handy link grabber.
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:49 AM on July 10


jessamyn is correct. No text is required -- dummy or otherwise --in the first 3 fields for a new post.

I still prefer the proposed new UI for new posts. Even after over 20 years I find the current post UI confusing.
posted by terrapin at 12:36 PM on July 10


I believe titles are required and you won't be able to get from preview to post without one.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:12 PM on July 10


(OH yeah don't get me wrong, I also find it confusing as is and I've been here over 20 years)
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:27 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


"Sad face. I see I’m alone in the chorus, but that makes it much harder to post for me. Plonking in a sentence and a link was a very accessible way to make a post, much more so than reliably highlighting and then linking. It was a great accessibility feature and I’m sad to see it going away during disability pride month, of all times."

It's not a big deal to me, but I use the current interface a lot and appreciate that it's a very simple way to do a single link post. Just plop the info in and boom, you're done!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:49 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


I'll admit, I'm team Professional White Background (sorry!) so it's all whites and blues to me.

Ha! I thought I was the only one.
posted by tangerine at 2:53 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


I just want to say this again with a little more zest: taking away those fields dramatically increases the barrier to posting. Rather than taking them away, I think it would be good to streamline the wording to make it clear how to make a post either using them or not using them. Taking away the easiest option and only allowing the one that requires technical knowledge and familiarity with a WYSIWYG text box is NOT going to help with the barrier to entry here and it’s a major step backwards in accessibility. I really truly hope this change will be reconsidered and a different solution for the confusion found. I don’t think there’s been any stats posted (or even known) about how often single link posts are constructed using it, and the only feedback is the narrow slice of members that read the gray.

One might be able to back construct a guess by seeing how many single posts there are and how many of those have the link first.

Please put the brakes in this pending some more investigation.
posted by Bottlecap at 8:57 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


A rough count of the last week gives me around 20 posts that could have been constructed using those two fields (link first and then text, single link). I admit that it was a fast scan and it’s possible that I counted some that appeared to be a single link that were multiple. But just to underscore that I don’t think it’s a supposition that should be made without metrics of some kind and could actively break posting for people. Please don’t let accessibility be the last concern on the plate.
posted by Bottlecap at 9:04 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


There's probably a more elegant way to handle it, though - a button that pops up sequential text boxes, and then autofills the actual post? Because there seem to be both people who are saying that the current design is an accessibility issue, and those who say any change is an issue.
posted by sagc at 5:28 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


The more I think about this, I wonder...even for posting a comment - how many "newer web people" even know how to insert a link, with all these < and > and such? I love that I do know, although it makes me an Old, but...there are definitely ways we could make things easier here.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:15 AM on July 11


Even on mobile, there's a "link" button. Of course, it relies on you to make the chain -> link connection, but there is a one-button linking process.
posted by sagc at 7:31 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Yeah...and then you have to know the html part. That's what I was saying.
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:50 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


The more I think about this, I wonder...even for posting a comment - how many "newer web people" even know how to insert a link, with all these < and > and such?

I was just stopping by to say that. This is quite evident on a daily basis in AskMe and sometimes the blue, with people just putting links into the text like this https://www.metafilter.com/ and often adding that they don't know how to create links.

Maybe a little "How to Hyperlink Text" tutorial could be set up, and linked to from all post pages and even comment boxes.
posted by beagle at 9:35 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Maybe a "skip the fields; just post a link!" button that would populate the to-be-renamed description field?
posted by michaelh at 11:56 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


The proposed change to the posting ux would be a good candidate for doing it as a beta test to gather feedback before just going ahead with it.
posted by bleep at 1:54 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Yeah, from a hallway-testing point of view, we’ve heard some voices in support and also a very specific critique. This indicates to me that the proposed change is not a “quick win” that helps all and harms none.
posted by sixswitch at 2:49 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


Yeah...and then you have to know the html part. That's what I was saying.

I don't understand what you are saying. You don't have to construct the link as a clickable link. The button will do that for you just like it does here.
You do need to know the link (or paste it). But you don't need to type your own HTML.

Maybe the link button (bottom right of the entry box) needs to be made more visible?
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:30 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


You either have to be coordinated enough to highlight the text you want to link or know where in the html to type the text after you insert a link. That’s the missing stair, as it were. I usually paste in the link and then spend some good amount of time getting myself to the right spot in the html, but again that does require fine motor control. And knowledge of html. It’s just more likely to work out right than trying to highlight for me.
posted by Bottlecap at 2:24 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Yep. The link button starts out great, but then requires knowledge and coordination instead of doing all the work for you.
posted by tiny frying pan at 4:45 AM on July 12


Today I learned that there is a link button. That might actually be handy.
posted by eotvos at 11:57 PM on July 12


I look forward with anticipation to our glorious Hot Dog Stand future.

Darn it. A belated correction:

I look forward with anticipation relish to our glorious Hot Dog Stand future.

Those responsible have been sacked.
posted by zamboni at 2:39 PM on July 13 [5 favorites]


And those responsible for the sacking?
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 7:04 AM on July 15


This comment been completed in an entirely different style at great expense and at the last minute.
posted by zamboni at 7:46 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


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