This doesn't belong here. May 17, 2004 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Not a question. Should have been posted as a comment to the original (still-open) thread. Can the MetaFilter backend accommodate moving a post (and subsequent comments) to within another thread?
posted by Danelope to Etiquette/Policy at 8:30 AM (9 comments total)

Should have been posted as a comment to the original (still-open) thread.

There is no way to sort by recent comments, so the term "still-open" is merely a formality. Nobody would ever see it if it were posted in there.

AskMe definitely needs a "follow-up" sidebar.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:38 AM on May 17, 2004

I moved stuff over and yeah, a follow-up sidebar would be good. Also sorting by recent comments.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:52 AM on May 17, 2004

I moved stuff over

the metafilter back end is a living breathing person! and here i always thought it was a database and some code!

this is my mathowie appreciation week!
posted by quonsar at 11:18 AM on May 17, 2004

Would it also be helpful to add a "resolved" button where the author of an askme can label it as resolved?
posted by crazy finger at 11:32 AM on May 17, 2004

Also, could we have violent punishments for people suggesting features for AskMeFi that have already been suggested and discussed to death more than five times?

posted by fvw at 11:44 AM on May 17, 2004

(My first MeTa callout--today, I have become a man.)

Joining the two threads is all well and good, but the question this brings up is--what should be the proper protocol for updating AskMe threads until Matt implements all the new gewgaws? To summarize the problem:

--several posters within the original thread asked me to update it once the problem was resolved;

--posting within the original thread itself wouldn't have been noticed for the reason described by PrinceValium above: there's no way to sort by recent comments (and it's unreasonable to expect members to continue to check buried threads for two weeks);

--posting within the grey would have used up valuable real estate that's reserved for callouts (though, since updating the AskMe thread indirectly resulted in a MeTa callout thread anyway, the point is arguably moot);

--not permitting posters to update threads with their success stories at all seems to be unnecessarily doctrinaire. (Was I successful? Oh, yes--yes, indeedy.)

As AskMe currently functions, posting within the green and linking to the original thread is the only workable solution.
posted by Prospero at 11:50 AM on May 17, 2004

It wasn't really a call-out, Prospero, and I attempted to convey that impression with the tone of my post. I didn't want the information to be deleted; just transferred to its proper venue.

The question in my mind is, "Is it honestly important for people to see a follow-up message?" For any given question, there is a small segment of the MetaFilter population who comment, and fewer still actively follow each thread in hopes of seeing its resolution. The number of people who would benefit from (or are interested in) reading such a follow-up are exceedingly limited.

How would this handful of users ever see the thread's conclusion? They could use the bookmark functionality already integrated into their Web browser. I don't feel it unreasonable for a MetaFilter reader to bookmark the discussions that interest them and periodically check for further developments. This process would require their attention for at most thirty days, after which individual threads are closed. To the best of my knowledge, Internet Explorer and Mozilla-based browsers even offer the ability to automate the update-checking process. There is very little impetus for Matt to spend hours writing code (or reviewing updates to the sidebar) when a solution is readily available.

The question once again is, "Is it honestly important for people to see a follow-up message?" Why is my Ask MetaFilter question so important that it requires more than one thread, particularly when a subsequent thread isn't asking a specific question (and therefore disregards the purpose of this resource in the first place)? If we each determine the relevance and necessity of our own follow-ups, what is to stop tens or hundreds or thousands of users from making a similar judgement and thus choking out actual questions? Voluntarily posting follow-ups anywhere on MetaFilter except their original thread is a slippery slope, and sets a precedent for what could rapidly turn into systemic abuse.

This is my mindset when addressing the issue and, while I by no means assume it is gospel, expecting a negligible amount of work from the people who benefit from the site seems the simplest way to avoid the proverbial "tragedy of the commons".
posted by Danelope at 7:34 PM on May 17, 2004

Would it also be helpful to add a "resolved" button where the author of an askme can label it as resolved?

No. The original poster should not be allowed to close a thread because the answer they assume to be correct might in fact be very wrong, and other members would have no means to correct a closed thread outside of the purely optional user e-mail (or contacting Matt and giving him another chore.) If a thread can be voluntarily closed, there must also be a mechanism by which it can be voluntarily re-opened, and there must be some means to regulate the frequency with which this process may happen.

Also, why should conversation stop simply because the thread's creator deigned it complete? Do we allow this luxury elsewhere on MetaFilter? Would this feature accomplish anything beyond excluding latecomers who provide valuable related (or tangentially related, or wholly unrelated) information? Wouldn't this feature effectively prevent follow-ups altogether?
posted by Danelope at 7:44 PM on May 17, 2004

My suggestion - a resolved askme feature - isn't meant to close a thread. Rather, this would create the possibility for users to see which questions were un-resolved. That way, questions that didn't get answers will be more visible and will be more likely to get answered.
posted by crazy finger at 9:16 PM on May 17, 2004

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