MetaFilter FAQ. February 9, 2001 6:01 PM   Subscribe

I've made mumblings about this elsewhere, but I'm trying to compile a MetaFilter FAQ in the hopes that it'll help new users figure out just what the heck's going on here. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I don't know everything. You can find the raw XML file here. If there's anything you'd like to add, or seek clarification on or wish you'd known about when you started joining in the conversations, please let me know.

Also, let me know your MeFi username, e-mail address and URL (if you feel like sharing) so I can give credit where credit's due.
posted by cCranium to MetaFilter-Related at 6:01 PM (17 comments total)

Hey, this looks great so far. I would point out, due to my own idiosyncratic preferences, that the "allowed HTML" section might be ammended to include escaped entities and the < em> and < strong> formatting tags, which are my personal favorites.
posted by anildash at 12:40 AM on February 10, 2001

Agree. There seem to be some issues regarding the munging of entities, though, that might be addressed (when you preview, the "&" in some entities gets replaced by &, and > gets replaced by '>'.

Does your proto-DTD leave room for multiple elements for a question? I think that would be a good idea.

posted by rodii at 9:53 AM on February 10, 2001

Shoot, hit post instead of preview and hashed up my point. Again:

(when you preview, the "&" in some entities gets replaced by &, and > gets replaced by '>'.)

Also, terminologywise: I think people use "post" "thread" "link" and "comment" in overlapping ways that get a little confusing sometimes. It might be a good idea to have a consistent vocabulary in the FAQ.

More questions (I'm brainstorming here, feel free to ignore or revise:
What do people mean when they write "more inside"? Inside what?

Is it really double-posting if an earlier thread is over a week | a month | a year old?

Why is self-linking bad? Is it OK in comments?

Can I post a link to an existing discussion on [Slashdot etc.]?

What are good ways of referring to earlier discussions (the equivalent of including with > in email/usenet)?

How do I link to an earlier comment? An earlier thread?

Help! I'm being abused! What should I do?
posted by rodii at 10:07 AM on February 10, 2001

Goddammit. This time I carefully relaces all the &'s with, uh, the entity that resolves to &, you know, ampersand-amp-semicolon, and MF still screwed me up. Maybe I've inadvertently made my point. . . :(
posted by rodii at 10:09 AM on February 10, 2001

rodii: i know what you mean :)
when you hit post/preview, MeFi replaces your &amp; with &

(did i do it right?)
posted by pnevares at 12:54 PM on February 10, 2001

anildash: thanks, I just plunked some html in there quickly.

rodii: there, uh, isn't actually a dtd yet. :-) I figured I'd wait until it was fleshed out a bit so I could encounter suggestions like yours on how to expand it.

I'll add in all these ideas (and more if they get posted here, hint hint) this weekend. Also, if anyone has expansion on answers (like anildashes) let me know.
posted by cCranium at 1:08 PM on February 10, 2001

I know, I meant the "implied" DTD. You don't need a DTD anyway. And I meant "multiple answers" for a question, not multiple elements, which wouldn't make sense. My typo disease seems expecially bad today. Thanks for your forbearance.
posted by rodii at 1:30 PM on February 10, 2001

Yeah, I'd planned on allowing for multiple answers. I've too often seen FAQS that have "and blah blah blah adds..." in an answer block to not.
posted by cCranium at 6:36 PM on February 10, 2001

Two quick notes:

First, I hope my brevity isn't being taken for harshness. It's been a busy weekend, and I'm trying to get a lot done, so I'm probably not responding as well as I should be.

Secondly, and more importantly, rodii's raised some excellent questions. I'm quite certain that I don't have all the answers, and what I do know is that I can't answer them all properly, so if anyone wants to tackle an answer, please do so.
posted by cCranium at 7:01 PM on February 10, 2001

This is probably overkill, but we're geeks, right? So at least it may be interesting: a DTD for FAQs, from Rick Jelliffe.
posted by rodii at 9:50 AM on February 11, 2001

What about, "Who is mathowie and why is he so important?" :)
posted by hijinx at 10:06 AM on February 11, 2001

There is one like that there, but it's pretty bare right now. If anyone wants to add some glorious praises, be my guest. :-)
posted by cCranium at 1:33 PM on February 11, 2001

i always like 'God of MetaFilter' for Matt. plus, it makes a nice, idolatrous image when you think about the Philistines and their 'false gods' :-)

proposed answer for 'Help, I'm being abused. What should I do.'


First, ask yourself, 'Do I deserve it?' Many of us say inflammatory things on MetaFilter from time to time. Most of us sometimes post quickly and miss something. Often, the best thing to do is to fess up and move on.

Second, bring a thick skin. This is pretty no-holds-barred discussion. There's a certain amount of heat you have to be able to stand to cook in this kitchen.

Third, you can hope that some other members will take up your cause if you've been wronged.

Fourth, defend yourself. When you get to this stage it's usually best to not make personal attacks, even if someone else has. Be rational. Being rational might just be as respected at MetaFilter as being clever.


this might be long. i'm open to editing or something entirely different. good work, cC.
posted by Sean Meade at 10:33 AM on February 12, 2001

rodii: Wow, that DTD's really good. I think I'm going to have to see if I can't wrangle the current file into that.
posted by cCranium at 5:56 PM on February 12, 2001

cC, you've been busy! I sat down to think about answering my qestions, and you (and Sean) have handled them.

Only problem: with my name listed on all those questions, people are going to be asking "who's this moron rodii and what's with all the friggin' questions??" Can we make up some fake names (you know, Claude Balls, I.P. Nightly kind of stuff) so I won't look like a *total* idiot? :)
posted by rodii at 8:20 PM on February 12, 2001

Yeah, I was thinking about that. "asked-by" is such poor terminology, but I want to give credit for the suggestion. I can changed "asked-by" to "suggested-by" which has slightly less negative connotations.

But before I do that, I'm going to wait until I have a while to digest that DTD and see if it doesn't offer a reasonable alternative. If I end up not using it (the laziness factor may come into play :-) I'll be sure to use "suggested-by" or "contributed-by" or some alternative someone suggests. :-)

If you want to add or offer suggestions to any of the answers, please do so.
posted by cCranium at 6:20 AM on February 13, 2001

I think the point of *frequently* in FAQ is that many people ask those questions, so "asked-by" isn't as important as "answered-by". I don't especially need credit anyway-- you're doing all the work.

The idea I like best in the QAML DTD is the "gist" attribute--a three to five word summary for interface-challenged people like WAP users. I'll be using that idea on other projects.
posted by rodii at 6:55 AM on February 13, 2001

« Older Links appearing as default-blue   |   Sorting options Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments