Ask MetaFilter. June 7, 2001 8:34 AM   Subscribe

Ask MetaFilter.

There have been more than a few times when I wanted to one of those "Does anyone know...?" type of questions to the community, and I couldn't think of an appropriate place for it. Asking a question on the front page seemed like a dumb idea (and one that would open me to ridicule), and I couldn't think of a proper place to put it on MetaTalk. So how 'bout a link on the front page that sez Ask MetaFilter. Click on it, you can ask a question ("Does anyone know...?"), and generate a discussion.

Granted, it could be abused by smartasses and idiots, but I think the community on the whole would swiftly punish actions like that.

There are a bunch of smart people here with very different backgrounds and educations, and I think something like this could be very cool and simple to implement.
posted by RakDaddy to Feature Requests at 8:34 AM (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I think you're asking Metafilter to be something it's not.

It would be cool and simple, but grafting odd parts onto something that works fine as is doesn't seem like a good idea to me.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:42 AM on June 7, 2001

Adam, it does detract from what the site does normally, and takes it into a realm of being like a mailing list.

It could be done, if controlled, so it's always and obviously a sort of "thing over there we also do, but not the primary function of the site."

Slashdot does this by picking very few questions and doing like one every few days that people can help answer. If it were allowed to run unhindered, people could just sort of hang out on the question threads and chit-chat all day, mailing list style.

So if I did this, I'd have to be very careful in how I go about implementing it, but I'll admit even I've wanted this when I was about to buy a DVD player or get my car fixed.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:20 AM on June 7, 2001

If it were a metatalk "discussion area," people could post questions as new threads. Anyone who wanted to offer their advice could go there, anyone who didn't wouldn't have to.
I've also been thinking about something like this for a little while. Having an area in metatalk seems like the most non-invasive way about it.
posted by modofo at 12:09 PM on June 7, 2001

Yeah, I'm sure you wouldn't need the extra headache, Matt. "Let's see...not only do I have to make sure there aren't any idiots posting useless things to the front page, now I have to make sure no one is asking Dumb Questions." ;-)

But I don't see how this would be changed what MeFi is. Yeah, on the surface, it's a public blog. But it's evolved into a community with some pretty impressive heads. Seems a shame not to be able to pick their brains for occasional knowledge.

Maybe another site, Matt? I mean, it'd sure beat sitting around and watching "Charlie's Angels" for the umpteenth time...
posted by RakDaddy at 12:15 PM on June 7, 2001

If you really want to know something, why not do some of your own research, present it, and ask for other links and feedback?

Of course, this is only advised if you come up with something interesting.
posted by chaz at 6:38 AM on June 8, 2001

Not that Matt wants to deal with it, but what is needed is someone filtering the questions and posting good ones on a regular basis for users to respond to. Like maybe once a week, Matt or someone he trusts could select a question from the set submitted (through a webpage or through email) the week before (or from any time) and post it up on an site, which would behave just like a regular mefi thread. There would be a notice in the sideblog or somesuch about each new question and people could go answer or learn the answer. Occasionally the question could be something silly, but usually it would be something serious and interesting to the mefi community.
posted by daveadams at 1:49 PM on June 8, 2001

And when I say "what is needed," I mean, "if I were to implement an ask.metafilter site, this is how I would go about it without having spent a lot of time on the idea."
posted by daveadams at 1:50 PM on June 8, 2001

Would walling off a separate section --, maybe -- be an appropriate place to have this sort of thing?
posted by snarkout at 3:13 PM on June 8, 2001

I like the way that sounds. Makes us sound like one collective consciousness. I am the Borg. Resistance is futile.
posted by fooljay at 7:23 PM on June 8, 2001

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