What is the difference between MetaFilter and AskMeFi? August 24, 2022 9:03 AM   Subscribe

1)When do post on MetaFilter and when on AskMeFi? I can't decide which one to post my questions on? I read many questions on both but they all look general (any topic except about the website itself) to me. 2)What is "Uptime"? I see it in the "category" below 3)Why doesn't the category list AskMeFi, and MetaTalk Couldn't the question/request be specific to MetaTalk for example? 4)"My request requires community input and cannot be addressed by contacting MetaFilter staff." I checked the box because you have to in order to post but I don't think that it can't be addressed by the staff, I just find the community could answer it sooner, and others may have the same question.
posted by nfub to MetaFilter-Related at 9:03 AM (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Metafilter: "I found this cool link" where link could be multiple, be video, but in the end you are really saying "Hey, look at this I think it is worth your time"

Ask: "I have a question to which I have yet to find an answer. Help!"

MetaTalk: "I have a question / issue / something to say about *.metafilter.com"

That's how I see it.
posted by I shot a fox in Skyrim and it made me sad at 9:26 AM on August 24 [31 favorites]


Hi nfub! Welcome to MeFi.

1)When do post on MetaFilter and when on AskMeFi? I can't decide which one to post my questions on? I read many questions on both but they all look general (any topic except about the website itself) to me.

MetaFilter is for posting interesting links, AskMeFi is for crowdsourcing answers to questions that you have. There are FAQ entries with advice on making good posts to both.

What makes a good front page post to MetaFilter?
What makes a good question for Ask MetaFilter?

2)What is "Uptime"? I see it in the "category" below

It's uptime in the computer service sense. Metatalk is for discussions about Metafilter.com as a whole - the uptime category is usually for posts about the site being down or unreachable.

3)Why doesn't the category list AskMeFi, and MetaTalk Couldn't the question/request be specific to MetaTalk for example?

One of the slightly ambiguous things is that we sometimes use Metafilter to refer to the subsite where we make interesting posts, and sometimes to the service /organization as a whole. This is probably an artifact of the interesting links subsite predating all the other things like Metatalk and AskMefi. On the question of the category list - they're intentionally general, and also date back quite some time. They're not for routing the question to the AskMeFi department, but (mostly) for sorting it into general categories for later viewing.

4)"My request requires community input and cannot be addressed by contacting MetaFilter staff." I checked the box because you have to in order to post but I don't think that it can't be addressed by the staff, I just find the community could answer it sooner, and others may have the same question.

That's perfectly valid! Generally, MetaTalk is for stuff that requires the input of the MeFi community as a whole, but for smaller stuff, the mods are best placed to field the question.
posted by zamboni at 9:29 AM on August 24 [5 favorites]


Metafilter is a community weblog, it is generally for people sharing cool stuff not for asking questions.

AskMetafilter is a subsite (sister site?) that came later and is for asking questions of the community. Similar to Quora or Answers.com.

MetaTalk is for questions and discussion about the site itself, usually tech problems or questions about user behavior or moderation.

"uptime" is only a category on MetaTalk and refers to site uptime, meaning is the website working and accessible. You can see posts in that category here. It's mainly to inform users about downtime or tech problems.

Regarding the "should I just contact staff?" checkbox it's just a speedbump to see if a full MetaTalk post is necessary. The contact page is for just asking site staff a question ("hey, how do I fix this broken link in my post?" or "why was my comment deleted?" whereas a MetaTalk post is asking the community as a whole about something (or sometimes informing the community of new site policy or news).
posted by Wretch729 at 9:33 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Something that I noticed while answering 1) - both of the what makes a good post/question FAQs point to material that's no longer on the Guidelines page after it was repurposed to focus on community guidelines. We should probably get around to fixing that.
According to the guidelines page "A good post to MetaFilter is something that meets the following criteria: most people haven't seen it before, there is something interesting about the content on the page, and it might warrant discussion from others."
Here are some guidelines. Often the key to getting good answers in Ask MetaFilter is spending some time crafting a good question.
posted by zamboni at 9:34 AM on August 24 [3 favorites]


Metafilter is a community. Welcome, nfub!

It can be a bit confusing but as you can see there are always people to help navigate the site.

If you have anymore specific questions about how things work you may wish to consider using the Contact Us link found at the bottom of every page on the site. That will reach a moderator (aka mod) who will be able to answer any site-related question you have. Those questions won’t be as public as this one.
posted by terrapin at 11:00 AM on August 24


Mod note: One deleted. This thread might not be the perfect place for kind of kidding but kind of not comments.
posted by loup (staff) at 12:43 PM on August 24 [21 favorites]


Welcome!

MetaTalk (the gray site you're on now) is for asking questions about MetaFilter, or starting threads to talk to other site members.

Ask MetaFilter (the green site where you've already posted a few questions) is for asking questions about everything else in the world.

Here's my understanding of the MetaTalk categories:
- Bugs: for when you'd like to discuss something that might be broken
- Feature Requests: for when you'd like MetaFilter.com to be updated to do something differently
- Etiquette/Policy: for when you'd like the site members or the moderators to change how they use the site
- Uptime: for discussing downtime, I guess. Probably just used by the staff at this point?
- Metafilter-related: like the Grab Bag category on Ask MetaFilter, it's for fun questions or conversation that doesn't fit into the other categories

It's fine to check the box that says "my question requires community input" because you want there to be community discussion about your question, even if you think the staff could also answer it. "Requires" just means that you want it to be a community topic or a public question for the community's benefit, in that case. If you check the box and it turns out the staff doesn't want it to become a public post, they'll reply to you about it, and it's not a big deal if this happens.
posted by michaelh at 1:52 PM on August 24


Hey nfub, I'd noticed earlier this week that you'd posted a question to ask.metafilter.com that got deleted with a pretty vague deletion reason given: "This isn't an appropriate question for Ask MetaFilter."

Writing this just in case that was the initial impetus for your set of MetaTalk questions here:

If you're curious about precisely why the question wasn't considered appropriate, you could reach out directly to the moderator who deleted it by clicking the "send MeFi Mail" link on their profile page, but my guess is it fell under the rules against "chatfilter" that you can read a bit more about at this link. (Your question seemed to be more about sharing your opinion, wondering if others agree, than about finding the answer to a solveable problem, and AskMetafilter questions generally need to really be the latter.)
posted by nobody at 7:10 PM on August 24 [3 favorites]


And a good way to get a chatfilter "how about this topic?" discussion going may be on the blue (metafilter.com) by making a post about the topic with some interesting links and a sentence or two of your opinion.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 3:48 AM on August 25 [2 favorites]


Good idea to put any editorializing in front page posts (The Blue, Metafilter) in the more inside section or as a comment. Helps keep the the post about the subject and not the posters thoughts on the subject which can go badly.
posted by Mitheral at 7:22 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Thanks Everyone, Very helpful answers, esp. re. what makes it not appropriate in AskMeFi could be:
"...if your motivation for asking the question is 'I would like to participate in a discussion about X,' then you shouldn't be doing it in AskMe. If your motivation is 'I would like others to explain X to me,' then you're probably OK." (from FAQ page where I was led to)
posted by nfub at 4:51 PM on August 26 [2 favorites]


To continue: How long is the editing period by the way? And how do I highlight the username of each person who responded to me?
And Is it possible to put this part (what is not about the question) in whisper (formatting) mode?
posted by nfub at 5:13 PM on August 26


And Is it possible to put this part (what is not about the question) in whisper (formatting) mode?

The answer to this and many other formatting/interface questions is going to be 'no'. MeFi is by design fairly simple, no threading, no native way to respond directly to somebody, or follow somebody, etc.
It's a flat list of texts, that's pretty much it.

If you feel that some functionality is lacking, you might have luck with Greasemonkey or something like it.
posted by signal at 5:21 PM on August 26


The editing window is five minutes. It's intended to be used just for typos and the like, so if you add to or significantly modify your post with it, people may be slightly disgruntled. If you want to edit a comment after that window, you can use the flag button (the "[!]" under the comment) and select "flag with note" and explain the change you want to make, and a mod will make it. (Yes I know this process sucks and is really bizarre and I hope it changes at some point, but it is what it is for the moment).

It's not possible to highlight a username in any official way — people sometimes bold usernames to make them stand out, but that doesn't notify the user or anything like that.

I'm not sure what you mean by "whisper mode" — I sometime use the <details> and <summary> html tags when I want a large bit of text to not interrupt the flow of a conversation, but that's slightly different. It looks like this:


Some hidden text (click to expand)
Hello! There's some extra text here.


People also sometimes use the <small> tag for a somewhat similar purpose, to indicate that a comment (often a pun or joke) is unimportant, but that's generally discouraged, since it can be quite hard to read for some people. That looks like this, for reference:

Here is a example sentence of small text, which generally shouldn't be used, since it's somewhat hard to read.
posted by wesleyac at 6:28 PM on August 26 [3 favorites]


Hello and welcome nfub!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:13 PM on August 26


Welcome nfub!

Glad you are here!

If you reach out directly (i.e. memail), I am sure anyone in this thread will be happy to help you figure the ins and outs.

I am happy to help as well, but I just started a new job where I'll be in training for (at least) 3 months, so can't respond very quickly. Still, if you don't mind a day or two lag for an answer, I'll be here.

Definitely glad to have you aboard!
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 7:41 PM on August 26


You can also link to another person's comment by right-clicking the timestamp at the bottom of their comment, choose "copy link address", then type in their name or part of their comment, highlight that text, then click the blue link thinger below and paste the link there. (Sorry if this is too basic.)

I agree the small tag is handy (another example). I use it occasionally even though not everyone loves it.
posted by Glinn at 8:40 PM on August 26 [1 favorite]


-Thank you all so much. Beautiful. You do have whisper mode. I like it it helps me to skip it if I'm in a rush and get to it later.
-You can respond directly to each person, using bold that's good. It doesn't need to be highlighted.
I have another question but I have to post a question.

Thanks all!
posted by nfub at 1:46 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


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