AskMe: inline comments about the suitability or presentation are especially unwelcome March 24, 2004 1:39 AM   Subscribe

Dear No. 1: Maybe it's time for a little policy action. I think of AskMe much more in terms of archival value than I do MeFi, mostly because a great deal of the information shared there is anecdotal and experience-related, and as such is not wholly dependent on web links that may change or disappear. It seems that this is going to be a resource that will be referred to quite often in results for common searches, and in this way far less ephemeral than MeFi or MeTa. Therefore, I'm thinking that inline comments about the suitability or presentation of a posted question are especially unwelcome.

I understand that it will be overbearing and ridiculous to bring every single question of this sort to MeTa, but still, I think that in the long run it will be strange and distracting to have these asides remaining in the threads that survive to see another day, especially because they tend to drift off into discussions involving the complaint, and because the person complaining may have just been suffering from wrong-side-of-the-bed syndrome, the effects of which usually fade rapidly into obscurity on the blue and gray pages (and the inclusion of which is explicitly or implicitly more "built into" their more conversational structure), but which I suspect will end up being more "sticky", as well as oddly jarring, in the green. I also think that it will probably become impossible for you to monitor everything and delete all bad posts/comments one by one. [More, believe it or not...]
posted by taz to Bugs at 1:39 AM (27 comments total)

So, I'm wondering: A) Should we establish a ground rule that criticisms of AskMe posts will take place elsewhere? and B) Would it be good to have an actual "AxeMe" page solely for pointing out AskMe posts or comments that members feel should be "axed"? All other AskMe discussion regarding general policy, development, feature requests, etc. could continue to be raised here, but if someone feels that a post or comment is so egregious that it should definitely be deleted, they can go to a page specifically for that purpose, which might make it easier to scan the complaints for actionable offenses... I'm not necessarily sold on "B" as a solution, but I'm trying to think of something constructive that might help facilitate "A" without crushing MeTa.

Sorry about "bugs" - I always do that.
posted by taz at 1:40 AM on March 24, 2004


We need another MetaTalk? *shudders*

Difficult to find a decent solution to this problem, which I have also noticed, without having someone poised above the delete button on each thread in case anyone strays from the subject more than is mandated. On the whole AskMe has, I think, done quite well and people have generally refrained quite admirably from the snarkiness that inhabits MetaFilter (to the point where it has evolved from a bug to a feature and MeFi would not be the same without it). I doubt that it is possible (or even desirable) to turn AskMe into a sterile, just-the-facts-and-mind-your-lip kind of place, given its roots.

One downside of taking tangential discussions outside would be that, in the future, we will all be finding results from our searches and going "what the hell was someone doing asking this stupid question and why did someone else not chew this person a new one for asking it, instead everyone is chiming in with serious answers that my three-year-old would have laughed at", thereby negating the value of the answers to some extent.

Would a new category in MeTa (AskMe-related) help to focus things a little? Maybe even a link from AskMe to an AskMe-related category-filtered page to keep things a bit specific without too much in the way of coding or database fiddling. If it ever becomes necessary to split AskMe off completely, this would also allow the related MeTa threads to be split with it. Kind of putting everything in the right boxes in case we want to move some of the boxes around later.

While I am all for making sure that AskMe stays as useful as possible, there is a point where it could become so sterile and boring that none of us would want to go there - short attention spans and all that.

Good question, though.
posted by dg at 2:10 AM on March 24, 2004


I'm definitely not going to be sheepdogging this thread, but I want to respond to this one, dg. I agree with you completely that I don't want AskMe to be some inert, sterile thing; I even wanted to mention that in this post, but it is overlong as it is, so I tried to stay focused. I love the fact that AskMe is personal, slightly irreverent, and generally in keeping with the whole site-personality, but mostly minus the nastiest bits. My personal preferences for AskMe are definitely way-liberal.

I also think think that the MeTa category idea, as a filtered link from AskMe sounds great, but wouldn't it still have the problem of pushing other MeFi discussions really quickly off the MeTa main page if the frequency becomes (as I fear, without recourse to inline comments) completely overbearing?
posted by taz at 2:26 AM on March 24, 2004


Yeah, that is a potential problem (or perhaps not such a problem?). One solution would be to increase the number of threads showing on MeTa, which is hard-coded and, I imagine, fairly easy to do. Another would be to shrug and figure that some threads stay in place too long as it is.

There is never a solution that fixes everything.
posted by dg at 3:15 AM on March 24, 2004


I have just recently had to put up with non-helpful posting on my threads as I am sure others have in the past. This is bullshit; Metatalk and Mefi are where you can talk your shit or amaze yourself with some smart comment that really shows your intellectualism over your bad acne and cheetos encrusted fingers, typing haphazardly over your Tandy IBM compatible basement computer. I get so sick of seeing people asking questions and getting hand fed snarks in reply. I vote for the A option.
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:50 AM on March 24, 2004


Whoa! taz drops a bomb on MeTa. I scrolled down and saw 'taz' and it was the last name I would have expected. Well, taz REALLY REALLY loves AskMe. Make no mistake, she's quite sincere.
posted by Shane at 5:27 AM on March 24, 2004


I have just recently had to put up with non-helpful posting on my threads as I am sure others have in the past. This is bullshit;

sober thismorning, eh, keyser?
posted by quonsar at 5:42 AM on March 24, 2004


Fwiw, I disagree that AskMe threads must be kept as spotless of editorial commentary as the six o'clock news. It's an imperfect world, and we can deal with it. Matt's warning at the bottom of the page should be enough to curb most people in most circumstances. I don't think we need a special page for AskMe problems, and I further suggest that if we build one, we will get more problems, so that it won't look blank, and the time suck will be enormous.

Keyser, I'm not sure what possessed you to make the subject of your TWENTY SEVENTH AskMe post alcohol after your last MeTa thread was deleted, and I don't normally buy into the "s/he was asking for it" philosophy, but c'mon, man. It's getting to the point where I see a post of yours in AskMe and I wait for people to attack, because you're using it so much, and I don't think you mean for that to be happening.
posted by onlyconnect at 5:47 AM on March 24, 2004


I have just recently had to put up with non-helpful posting on my threads as I am sure others have in the past. This is bullshit;

What, you mean you've had to wade through a couple of less than serious responses to get your free advice? You poor thing.

I agree that AskMe should have an overwhelming signal to noise ratio, but getting all indignant about it is childish.

Also, your questions suck. *I'm* sick of your silly, googleable requests taking pushing good questions down the page. IMO, you abuse AskMe far more than quonsar. So there.
posted by jpoulos at 6:49 AM on March 24, 2004


It's not an egregious problem. If it threatens to become one, #1 will fix it. He's already said (repeatedly) that fixes/updates/ponies are coming. I have no reason to doubt him.
posted by Vidiot at 6:52 AM on March 24, 2004


Whoa, MeTalk and AxeMe, that should keep those of us who are Drinkers of the Whine more than satiated. ;-P
posted by mischief at 7:11 AM on March 24, 2004


I get so sick of seeing people asking questions and getting hand fed snarks in reply.

Then quit asking such fucking stupid questions.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:43 AM on March 24, 2004


Also: MetaWhinge.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:43 AM on March 24, 2004


Coming Soon To A Metafilter Near You!

HexMe: Where members hurl curses at each other.

MaxMe: Where "Super-Sized" answers are encouraged-- even required.

PaxMe: Where members attempt to make peace with one another.

SaxMe: A new page devoted to members who love Jazz and Film Noir.

TaxiMe: Where cab-driving members regale us with hilarious stories of drivin' the streets.

WaxMe: A special place devoted to wax: car waxing, surfboard waxing, bikini waxing-- anything at all that has to do with wax. Members are asked to take their comments about tallow elsewhere.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:01 AM on March 24, 2004


It's a pretty big pony, but I wonder what would happen if the poster of an AskMe question had delete power over the posts in their thread?
posted by majcher at 10:11 AM on March 24, 2004


Damn fine idea, majcher.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:35 AM on March 24, 2004


I like that idea. I wonder how hard it would be.
posted by timeistight at 10:49 AM on March 24, 2004


I think it's a bad idea. It will just generate further disputes. Also, it will set a precedent for allowing people to edit their posts edit elsewhere on the site.
posted by crunchburger at 10:49 AM on March 24, 2004


Except that AskMe posts belong to the community, not the specific poster. One person's silly aside may be another person's nugget of useful information. Why not just simply enforce self-restraint, instead of arbitrary deletions?
posted by BlueTrain at 10:53 AM on March 24, 2004


I also think think that the MeTa category idea, as a filtered link from AskMe sounds great, but wouldn't it still have the problem of pushing other MeFi discussions really quickly off the MeTa main page if the frequency becomes (as I fear, without recourse to inline comments) completely overbearing?

I'm not talking about this thread in particular, but this would be easily solved if everyone stopped making all the god-awful metatalk threads that have cropped up in the last couple weeks.

I have just recently had to put up with non-helpful posting on my threads as I am sure others have in the past. This is bullshit; Metatalk and Mefi are where you can talk your shit or amaze yourself with some smart comment that really shows your intellectualism over your bad acne and cheetos encrusted fingers, typing haphazardly over your Tandy IBM compatible basement computer. I get so sick of seeing people asking questions and getting hand fed snarks in reply. I vote for the A option.

Your thread looked like a Bacardi advertisement about two hours after the Campari advertisement, so you can only expect that there might be a few off-hand comments about the validity of such threads, given the nature of the internet.
posted by The God Complex at 12:14 PM on March 24, 2004


Metatalk and Mefi are where you can talk your shit or amaze yourself with some smart comment that really shows your intellectualism over your bad acne and cheetos encrusted fingers,

It's actually a congealed tub of cheetos and flat pepsi, as I've mentioned before. Has anyone here ever tried pepsi? What about cheetos? As a combination, I find they stimulate the palate and wonder if you agree.
posted by The God Complex at 12:17 PM on March 24, 2004


I want royalties on that comedy, Gravy! (Although it's more a case of great minds think alike, of course.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:44 PM on March 24, 2004


FaxMe, Stavros!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:25 PM on March 24, 2004


Inline comments of the nature taz brought up should be a bannable offence , if you want to make a comment of that sort , post it to meta and we can all discuss the validity of the post.
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:53 PM on March 24, 2004


er.....ignore above comment.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:12 AM on March 25, 2004


I think this is a worthy question, taz, but my feeling is that it butts up against the issue of how tightly you can control a community and still expect them to function and produce interesting results. Who says that AxMe would ever have become what it is now without some inline self-policing? On some level, you have to acknowledge that although you detest the inline commenting, it has been part of the platform up until now, and may have contributed to the service you love so much.

Online communities can be teased, coaxed, encouraged, penalized, rewarded, etc. but they're not on push-button remote control vis-a-vis ground rules of the kind you suggest in (A). In other words, a great idea but I doubt it would work.
posted by scarabic at 10:45 AM on March 25, 2004


What about moderation or ratings, such as slashdot? I seem to remember it being discussed and discarded for the blue, but it seems like it would make sense for something like AskMe.
posted by dejah420 at 9:54 PM on March 25, 2004


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