[MeFi Site Update] May 17th May 17, 2023 2:29 PM   Subscribe

Hi there, MetaFilter!

Welcome to your monthly Site Update!

You’ll find some updates regarding the site below. I’m looking forward to your feedback and questions.

Reminder: I will be the only mod monitoring this thread so please be patient as I reply to your feedback and questions.


– MetaFilter LLC has finalized our operating agreement, just one more bit of legal compliance.
– There was a bit of a backlog in depositing paper check donations that has been cleared up. Sorry for any inconvenience.


- On-call moderation on weekends during US daytime has now been replaced with regular mod coverage thanks to last year’s fundraising.
- We’ve been listening to your feedback on the usability of the FAQ and there are several changes on the way: Brandon has started reviewing the current FAQs to reorganize and update them. Also, as mentioned previously, we’ve updated the FAQ entry about username changes.
- We have been receiving several flags and feedback about ChatGPT and other AI generated comments and responses. Unless there are strong objections, we are planning to add a line against AI generated comments in the Guidelines. The main reason for this being that a big part of the spirit of MeFi is the wisdom shared by its members and we want to discourage AI comments replacing it.

Site Content

- As mentioned in the previous thread, the Community Guidelines, Microaggressions and Content Policy are due for a revision that adjusts to the present. Essentially, we want to be more explicit about how MeFi does not allow content that discriminates against people based on age, appearance, body shape, ethnicity, disability, gender identity, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Please note that these changes will be changes in the text for now, not in the structure of said pages. Please feel free to put your feedback in here and I will share a draft of the new version as I gather feedback from all of you.

Technical changes

- We’ve added a new category called 'Upcoming Media” in Fanfare. More details here.
- Added FanFare to sitewide search.
- We have received some Security reports that are now being worked on by frimble
- Fixed a bug in the MeTa archives and category displays.
- Shows that you post about in FanFare can now be added to “My FanFare” upon posting.
- Frimble is still working on improving the flag UI, this is a long process as this has to be changed in several places but progress is being made.
- 404 Errors in the MetaTalk Archives and other pages have been fixed.

BIPOC Advisory Board

- Minutes through Meeting #10 are now available on the BIPOC Board Page and we’re working to make it simpler to update.
- The remaining minutes should be available as soon as they are approved by the Board

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 2:29 PM (42 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

"Added FanFare to sitewide search."

Whoa, that wasn't part of sitewide search?

That sounds like possibly a pretty big task - and whether it was or not, it's great to include Fanfare content in search.

Thanks for doing that!

... and thanks for the very informative site update, loup! It's great to see so many things progressing in so many different areas of MetaFilter.

Thanks to everyone involved in admin, moderation, content, tech, and the BIPOC Advisory Board for everything you've been doing!
posted by kristi at 5:31 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]

we want to be more explicit about how MeFi does not allow content that discriminates against people based on age, appearance, body shape, ethnicity, disability, gender identity, race, religion, and sexual orientation.

The content policy page already includes:
Discrimination: Any type of discrimination or offensive content based on (but not limited to) age, appearance, body shape, ethnicity, disability, gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation.
How can that be made more explicit?
posted by saeculorum at 5:37 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]

So #10 meeting of the BIPOC Board is Oct. 2022.
Could we post the most recent minutes and work backwards so that we have a more recent accounting of Board activity?

Is there anything folks can volunteer to do that would help with this backlog?
posted by calgirl at 11:07 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]

a big part of the spirit of MeFi is the wisdom shared by its members and we want to discourage AI comments replacing it.

Thank you for this!
I moderate on a Linux forum and we've just implemented a No-AI-answers rule as well. Our reasoning is that anyone who wants the input of ChatGPT or similar can go get that elsewhere; on our forum, members try to help other members. That means: people, on both ends.

Recently a member thought that writing a prompt that started with "You are now a Linux expert with decennia of experience, and know all the ins and out of Linux" would actually make ChatGPT a Linux expert. There is so much confusion on what this kind of technology can or cannot do.

I'm very happy that MetaFilter has a clear position on this.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:14 AM on May 18 [25 favorites]

a big part of the spirit of MeFi is the wisdom shared by its members and we want to discourage AI comments replacing it.

I am another MeFite in support of this policy.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:48 AM on May 18 [9 favorites]

I’m a little dismayed by the wording “discourage” rather than outright “disallow,” but I suppose if you can’t prove something is LLM-sourced, you can’t exactly ban it.
posted by rikschell at 7:46 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]

There’s an FFP about names that could be considered unusual used by Quakers. Is this a micro aggression?
posted by Ideefixe at 3:01 PM on May 18 [3 favorites]

Naw, Quakers have a sense of humour.
I can offer a 19th, 20th and 21st century example.
posted by clavdivs at 3:11 PM on May 18 [8 favorites]

The update on meeting minutes is that we have been working as a group to get the minutes 11-15 updated asynchronously. That is hard to do with every person's individual work schedule and capacity but it has been getting done.

The updates include issues of privacy, plus several agenda points in the minutes that needed to be revisited due to questions/clarification required but have been unaddressed as we needed the input of a particular person who has been unavailable. This has prolonged things by a few months since we only meet once a month. Our meeting at the end of this month will address those concerns and we should have all of the minutes finalized and sent out for publishing by the end of the month.

We were going to have at least a few more minutes finalized this week actually, as that was our agreed upon timeline as a group, but I was hit with COVID this week and have been unable to make those changes, that's completely on me. I asked the board for support and they have been kind enough to support with getting things finalized so that's being addressed, but things should be smoothed out and ready to go after our meeting this month. I hope this helps and am eager for us to have a more consistent flow with getting meeting minutes cleaned up and sent out.
posted by travelingthyme (staff) at 7:14 PM on May 18 [3 favorites]

Trust me, there are few if any Quakers who would take that as a microaggression. More likely they’d start using them as affectionate nicknames.
posted by holborne at 6:29 AM on May 19 [12 favorites]

So would FPPs about names used by certain groups be considered acceptable and even humorous?
posted by Ideefixe at 10:34 AM on May 19

Seems like it should depend on the group and the societal power/marginalization dynamics of that group.
posted by lapis at 10:49 AM on May 19 [13 favorites]

True. Holbourne, I'll send a memail about 'Bayard Taylors Quaker widow' sort of a hootananny.
posted by clavdivs at 2:20 PM on May 19

No, you know what, you’re right. It’s a microaggression against white European Christians, a notably powerless and persecuted group. I just thank god someone on MetaFilter is finally joining the likes of people such as Mike Pence and Franklin Graham in denouncing this sort of thing.
posted by holborne at 6:06 PM on May 19 [12 favorites]

So would FPPs about names used by certain groups be considered acceptable and even humorous?

Why don’t you start a MeTa thread about this matter that is entirely irrelevant to this thread?
posted by Ahmad Khani at 7:17 PM on May 19 [33 favorites]

It’s a microaggression against white European Christians...

I'm not sure reducing it down to 'white European Christians' is a useful framing - the Quakers were an oppressed minority for a good chunk of history. Not necessarily particularly relevant here, but the general point stands especially in light of how ethnic conflict between Christian denominations has all but defined the political landscape and modern history of some European countries.

So: the Quakers are not an oppressed group because the Quakers are not an oppressed group (currently), not because there is no such thing as a white European Christian who is oppressed for their particular version of that identity.
posted by Dysk at 8:56 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]

The goal is one day, one of these centuries, to get to the point where we can all poke fun of each other without doing harm because prejudice and bigotry and marginalization and oppression and all that will be as long-past, and feel as far-away and almost quaint, as anti-Quakerism.

Seriously, the sooner we put all the fucking hatred and exploitation to rest, the sooner we can get back to joking with innocent abandon.
posted by trig at 3:36 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]

Soooooooo, how about this site update thread?
posted by terrapin at 9:27 AM on May 20 [9 favorites]

We put them out every month so that the members of this community--many of whom support the site financially--can see whats been happening on the back end. The threads are what the community members decide to make of them. Avoiding them because they often go sideways is a thing that may have happened before my time but is not going to be happening now.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:49 AM on May 20 [16 favorites]

Regarding AI-generated comments here, the moderation of this seems largely dependent on the user openly admitting to using such tools. Automated detection is apparently unreliable, and I wonder if there's been any discussion around how to handle ambiguity without straining mod resources attempting to conclusively determine if something is AI or not-AI.
posted by otsebyatina at 9:59 AM on May 20

I think that will be a pretty straightforward issue. People can flag stuff which seems AI generated. If it's something which was actually written by a human but the writing is so poor/strange that it's mistaken for AI text, it's probably not going to be a great loss if it's deleted by a mod.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 3:09 PM on May 20 [5 favorites]

I will also say that the Quakers also have a tradition of being able to extremely firmly stick up for themselves (and others), and also that given their recent shift toward ecumenism that covers non-religious people, in 2023 they only marginally count as Christian. [I am not a Friend but am related to one]. When you insult the Quakers, whooo, you find out; you will be told; ‘Friend, you have been heard’.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 12:05 AM on May 21 [12 favorites]

Friend-adjacent speaks my mind.
posted by holborne at 5:02 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]

Also, Quakers will be the first to say "you may have a point there, I plan to reflect on your words."
posted by Miko at 9:33 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]

As someone who still identifies as a Quaker, and attended Meeting weekly for most of my life, I can firmly say there is no microaggression in the silly Quaker names, and we are cool if you need a target for some silliness or humor.

If I'd run across it as a teenager I'd probably have tried to convince my mom to let me change my name to something from that list.
posted by Jarcat at 10:04 AM on May 22 [14 favorites]

The Quakers are good folk; this morning they are disrupting the AGM of Shell as part of their climate justice activism.

And at an inter-faith festival last summer in Somerset, their tent had some splendid coffee and walnut cake (they also spent a lot of time with the Druids and pagans at that event, and seemed to have more in common with them than with the evangelicals)(actually no-one had much in common with the evangelicals, and they mainly kept angrily to themselves in their tent in the far field corner, but that's drifting off Quaker-topic...).
posted by Wordshore at 6:20 AM on May 23 [10 favorites]

How did their cake compare to that of the Satanists?
posted by Ahmad Khani at 9:17 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]

which century.
posted by clavdivs at 10:21 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]

I think Wordshore had some in the last decade, although he could be time travelling
posted by Ahmad Khani at 10:46 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]

I don't want to jump on Wordshore here, but I have cakes baked by Quakers and Satanists (though not at the same time). Looking back, even though the Satanist was a baker by profession, the Quaker won, by a crumb (though both were excellent), if only because I am a sucker for caramel cake.
posted by thivaia at 12:08 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]

How did their cake compare to that of the Satanists?

In fairness I'm always biased towards a splendidly presented coffee and walnut cake so I can't give an independent comparison. Annoyingly I don't have pictures of either specific cake on Flickr, though I'm 90% sure this one is a different chocolate cake made by the same Satanist.

(Uh, this has maybe drifted a little from original post topic so here's a 2007 photograph of a MetaFilter cake by the site owner)
posted by Wordshore at 12:53 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]

This thread, in my opinion, has gone sideways in the best possible way. Possibly due to the jessamyn, Wordshore, and Quaker nexus. Looking forward to next month’s update. Thanks, loup!
posted by Bella Donna at 12:55 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]

Any chance "location" could be fit in to the content guidelines on discrimination?
posted by otsebyatina at 1:58 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]

location as far as userpage?
posted by clavdivs at 2:19 PM on May 24

Thinking more in terms of combatting the sort of "region bashing" that has been problematic in the past here on occasion.
posted by otsebyatina at 3:20 PM on May 24 [5 favorites]

That's a really good idea.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:41 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]

I forgot to swing by on May 22, my 23-year-anniversary on Metafilter so am sneaking in here to marvel that this place has been around for 40 percent of my life. I was 33 when I heard about it and signed up. I had one son at the time and now have four adult children. I’ve benefitted enormously from your advice and sharing. Despite the endless mild bickering so much good happens here.
posted by mecran01 at 6:56 PM on May 26 [11 favorites]

BIPOC Board notes are up through March now.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:06 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]

All meeting notes in 2023 give a File Not Found error. It appears the link is for 2022, and should be 2023. The files are there if I change the link to 2023.
posted by saeculorum at 6:17 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]

Whoops, thanks, we'll get that fixed up.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:23 AM on June 1 [1 favorite]

One suggestion: even if there's a delay before meeting minutes can be approved/formatted/posted, etc, consider mentioning the meeting on the Global BIPOC Board page right away, and not just waiting until minutes are approved. Otherwise, when the last update is many months ago it gives the appearance that the board has stopped meeting again. A placeholder like “Meeting #14 (April 2023) (minutes to come)” might help.
posted by JiBB at 11:59 AM on June 2 [2 favorites]

I may have a bug report to file on the RSS feed.

The description tag isn't being rendered correctly in my news reader (Newsblur). It seems that this may be due to the use of HTML tags within the description field without a CDATA container.

So something like this:

<description>Whee I have a <b>bold tag</b>.</description>

Should look like this:

<description><![CDATA[ Whee I have a <b>bold tag</b>. ]]></description>
posted by neuracnu at 3:54 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]

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