Updating crisis resource links, aka help for "There Is Help" December 12, 2023 2:57 PM   Subscribe

The Wiki's There Is Help page is a great service. It offers links for emergencies, mental health, grief, homelessness, general survival. But it was last updated in the summer of 2020.

It's not my area of expertise so I feel a bit uncomfortable suggesting it. But I do know there are people around here who might have a little knowledge and time to review some of the links, replace obsolete ones, or add new ones they know to be helpful.

Meanwhile, maybe someone who's reading this needs one or more of these services and doesn't know about the page. So it's probably worth mentioning in any case.
posted by tangerine to MetaFilter-Related at 2:57 PM (11 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

This is such a nice idea. Thanks tangerine. If people want to make some edits all you need to do is create a login. The MeFiWiki is an unofficial sort of "companion website" to MeFi which is hosted by MeFi's Own Pronoiac. There's some useful stuff in there and the ThereIsHelp page has historically been a place where people could get access to resources that might help them deal with challenges. If people feel like doing a little wiki cleanup, that would be a great place to spend sometime. No visual editor so there's a little bit of a learning curve but there's a lot of example text already there so copy/pasting should work for a lot of it. Thanks for the suggestion.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:01 PM on December 12, 2023 [4 favorites]

That page, specifically, is one I'm fiercely proud of and protective of.
posted by Pronoiac at 4:03 PM on December 12, 2023 [11 favorites]

About updating the page, what comes to mind:
* I can enable the visual editor. the software is due an update anyway.
* we could use the Talk/Discussion page to help coordinate and track progress - like, "I cleaned up *this section*" perhaps
* using other tools, I could add a note for every link, like "2023-12-12 - let's re-verify this", possibly as a comment, invisible to most viewers. I'm far than enthused about this, though; it feels like clutter.
posted by Pronoiac at 5:26 PM on December 12, 2023 [6 favorites]

One thing I would note for whoever is updating things is that Canada recently launched their national suicide prevention short dialing code -- 988.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:28 AM on December 13, 2023 [9 favorites]

Updated first-line info for 988 service per jacquilynne, but other links in Canada section need changes. (boy howdy, do I miss katra.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:52 PM on December 13, 2023 [3 favorites]

988 is now the suicide prevention number for the US as well.
posted by okayokayigive at 2:08 PM on December 13, 2023 [3 favorites]

I used ThereIsHelp twice recently to find resources for two friends in different countries. While it's a great resource, my experience was that there were many broken links so thanks for raising this, Tangerine.

I've run the page through an automated link checker and pasted the result into a Grist online spreadsheet. For anyone who doesn't want to create an account on the Wiki or isn't confident editing wikitext, this is a simple place anyone can enter a replacement for a broken link. If you just want to find a replacement link and paste it in, leave the 'Fixed on Wiki?' column blank and someone with a mefi wiki account will come along and fix the page later. If you edit the wiki, please fill in that column to show it's been done.

I've fixed or removed the first ten broken links out of the 64 the link checker found and I'll try to do more but hopefully some others will come in and share the work. The spreadsheet will keep track of what has been fixed and what hasn't.

Automated link checkers don't pick up all broken links, so people will still need to go through the page manually and check what is and isn't working. However, this first pass will fix a lot of the linkrot and make that later manual job a lot easier.


I noticed while finding replacement links for helplines that had ceased operation that findahelpline.com is an excellent and up-to-date resource for helplines in different countries for people with different needs and from different backgrounds. It seems to be both more comprehensive and more up to date than the helpline list (section 1) of ThereIsHelp.

Keeping ThereIsHelp up-to-date is a big job and I wonder if it might not be simpler to just link to findahelpline instead of maintaining section 1 and focus ThereIsHelp on sections 2 onwards instead. (links to non-helpline resources and AskMe threads etc.)
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:04 PM on December 15, 2023 [8 favorites]

fwiw I think there's merit in maintaining the Wiki page - it's so clearly coming from a good place that it makes you feel better just by knowing it exists - and the issue mentioned upthread can generally be resolved with just placing an early caveat that links/resources may be deprecated, please browse knowing that this is an ongoing effort, etc

I also think there's merit to directing folks in that message to a resource-laden site attached to some larger org that's more likely to maintain it like the (knock on wood) CDC page for Mental Health Resources or (knock on wood) SAMSHA
posted by paimapi at 4:24 PM on December 15, 2023 [2 favorites]

Thanks for flagging, Tangerine - I did a chunk of the domestic violence and abuse section way back when, and am amazed to see that was 8.5 years ago. I'll see if I can put some time into updating over the holiday season.
posted by penguin pie at 2:42 PM on December 19, 2023 [2 favorites]

I've made a start on reviewing the domestic violence and abuse section. I'll keep a note of what I do on the Talk page so people can check in there to avoid duplication.

(To find the talk page from the Wiki - click on the 'discussion' tab at the top. If you do that when you're logged in, you can choose to edit it, and add your comment at the top of the page. If you put four tildes like this ~~~~ at the end of your comment, the Wiki will automatically time and date stamp it and add your username when you save it, which is useful).
posted by penguin pie at 4:51 AM on December 20, 2023 [2 favorites]

I've just realised this thread will be closing very soon and I wanted to comment on the status of ThereIsHelp and the other support resources on the MeFi Wiki. I've put in a lot of hours fixing and deleting broken links since this thread was posted - and I want to draw attention to penguin pie who has done great work on the DV sections.

Despite chipping away most days over the holidays, all I've done is deal with the most surface issues of broken links - and I haven't even finished that. Also, I haven't checked existing links for outdated content, I haven't added new services, I haven't reorganised the duplicated sections and I haven't checked the textual content. I don't have the time or expertise to do these important tasks and without a team of volunteers willing to take ongoing responsibility for each section, ThereIsHelp in its present form will continue to rot away.

It's great that it exists but speaking as someone who has used the page to try to find resources for others, it's not good enough to be proud that Metafilter once created such a page, it needs to be a place that desperate people can use without finding outdated information and broken links.

I suggest that unless there's an ongoing effort to update and maintain these pages, the only responsible thing to do is to cut back on the more sprawling sections and narrow the focus to something sustainable. Sadly there isn't time before this thread closes to talk about what that means in practice but it would be great if someone wants to take the lead on organising such a discussion in another MetaTalk thread or elsewhere.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 3:37 PM on January 11 [4 favorites]

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