MeFi Contacts Feature June 16, 2004 11:54 AM   Subscribe

MeFi contacts stuff is back online and here's what it looks like in action. It is displaying the last 10 contributions in the last month from your contacts in all three sections of the site, as well as a list of their URLs if you want to read their blogs. I'll be adding recent comments from contacts as well, but I thought this was at the point where it was cool enough to share.
posted by mathowie to Feature Requests at 11:54 AM (122 comments total)

I like how "friends" are called "links." That's really what Internet relationships are based on, after all.

I'd like my contacts page to replace my profile page as the default when someone clicks on my name.
posted by djacobs at 11:58 AM on June 16, 2004


URL's seem to be listed arbitrarily and not in the same order as contacts. also, mine is displaying my own URL. but great work, matt!
posted by quonsar at 12:05 PM on June 16, 2004


Oh, also, I'm thinking of adding a syndication feed for that page, so you can basically watch all your contacts from a feed reader.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:15 PM on June 16, 2004


Okay, this is probably a really stupid question, but how do you list people as contacts? My page says I don't have any links to anyone else, and no one links to me, but not how to change that. I have no doubt this has already been discussed, but I don't know where.
posted by deadcowdan at 12:18 PM on June 16, 2004


dan, go to someones page that you want to add, there will be a "Add as Contact" link.
posted by quonsar at 12:21 PM on June 16, 2004


also matt, i just realized that my URL is listed because madamjujujive is a contact. [doh!]
posted by quonsar at 12:22 PM on June 16, 2004


*turns beet red as the obvious is explained
posted by deadcowdan at 12:24 PM on June 16, 2004


I'll eventually add a [+] thing next to all usernames that lets you add contacts instantly from anywhere.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:25 PM on June 16, 2004


Oh my! How colourful that page is! Seems fun, thank you for the new toys!
posted by loquax at 12:26 PM on June 16, 2004


I like the colors, but using the "plain text" theme under Customize, the text on the green and blue sections of the page is really hard to read.
posted by hyperizer at 12:33 PM on June 16, 2004


Excellently cool, Matt! Thanks.
posted by soyjoy at 12:43 PM on June 16, 2004


Matt, we also need little [x]'s beside usernames in the contact list so we can delete them instantly as well.
posted by brownpau at 12:47 PM on June 16, 2004


This really is pretty great. Thanks mathowie and timeistight!
posted by hama7 at 12:59 PM on June 16, 2004


and no one links to me

one wonders why.


no, just kidding. I linked you!
posted by matteo at 1:05 PM on June 16, 2004


Also, Matt, how abot a [w] beside the name so we can write them a little note, and a [c] for when we'd like to place a curse upon their families? And a [4] for when we think they're acting like four year olds? And --

Okay, okay.

This is a spectacular new toy, Matt and Timeistight. Thanks!
posted by chicobangs at 1:09 PM on June 16, 2004


I'll give you something to delete, brownpau.
posted by sudama at 1:17 PM on June 16, 2004


Huh. I never knew matt dated fishfucker as a child. The more you know.
posted by graventy at 1:29 PM on June 16, 2004


I respectfully dissent.

By adding contacts and bookmarking the contact page, this system can have the effect of a whitelist killfile. Metafilter is about the links and discussion, not about the personalities. I don't like the direction this is going.
posted by PrinceValium at 1:35 PM on June 16, 2004


This is a cool addition. Insert buttkissing comment here (but I mean it)
posted by angry modem at 1:38 PM on June 16, 2004


Under "Inspirational" please add "Abject, groveling hero-worship". Unless there's no room, in which case make it just "hero-worship".
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:49 PM on June 16, 2004


Looks up from a gmail party and notices metafilter crystalizing and foaming out of the test tube.
posted by JohnR at 2:01 PM on June 16, 2004


this is great , i'll add loads of people soon !
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:05 PM on June 16, 2004


I don't get the "cool," and it seems to me that it leads the site in precisely the wrong direction, but I won't poop on y'all's party. Enjoy.

Me, I'll wait for a stable server, a search that works, correct copyright dates, and other such fundamentals.
posted by rushmc at 2:05 PM on June 16, 2004


Minor detail: the fancy-nancy title tags in the URL column are showing up on top of the "mathowie links to these users" column, about 400 pixels left and 100 pixels up on my screen. Mozilla 1.6, KDE 3.2.
posted by Johnny Assay at 2:06 PM on June 16, 2004


Most excellent. Thanks, Matt!

One more pony, perhaps? It'd be great to have some sort of indication of whose URL is whose. Something like:

mathowie -- http://a.wholelottanothing.org
posted by Vidiot at 2:09 PM on June 16, 2004


Server is much more stable, check. Search works good enough for me, and Google picks up the slack. Correct copyright dates? You know those don't actually mean anything in any court of law, right?

This isn't a killfile or a way to ignore folks, it's just a tool to track new threads and comments from people you like to read. Sort of like a filter on metafilter.

I just wanted a way to highlight all questions posted to Ask MeFi by my friends, since I had missed a bunch by not reading it 24/7, and this tool will give me precisely that.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:09 PM on June 16, 2004


Never mind...I just figured out what Johnny Assay was talking about with the title tags...

*hangs head in shame*
posted by Vidiot at 2:11 PM on June 16, 2004


Me, I'll wait for a stable server, a search that works, correct copyright dates, and other such fundamentals.

It's just the way these things work. People want to add cool stuff. No-one wants to get bogged down in details that no-one cares about anyway.

Like all programs, MeFi will expand until it can read email. And then maybe someone'll get round to fixing the bugs, but don't count on it.

If you ask me, mefi has been without some sort of killfile (or 'filter', if you want) mechanism for too long. The way it was just leads to people getting upset about others' posts and everyone pulling the thing in a hundred different directions constantly. I think this development will be positive, although I suspect it might change the character of the place slightly.
posted by reklaw at 2:13 PM on June 16, 2004


Hey! How are people putting in custom tags?
posted by loquax at 2:17 PM on June 16, 2004


okay, I'm having a little too much fun goofing around with this. Thanks, Matt.
posted by whatnot at 2:23 PM on June 16, 2004


The copyright dates are wrong? Oh god I've been living a lieeeeeeee!!!
posted by Stan Chin at 2:29 PM on June 16, 2004


Ah, now I see what you mean. Can't say I'll use it because I don't like or know anyone. But it looks pretty cool. Well done.
posted by squealy at 2:32 PM on June 16, 2004


Ooooh, did a few test adds, and will probably do more tomorrow (or when I'm home next).
posted by drezdn at 2:34 PM on June 16, 2004


Matt, isn't this directly against the design philosophy that led you to put user names under comments?
posted by NortonDC at 2:44 PM on June 16, 2004


Norton, I don't see it as a way to ignore people, I see it as a tool to help you find stuff people wrote (and establish relationship crap that we can do cool stuff with later -- like producing a blogroll of your contacts like I did this morning).

If I bookmarked the link to "all MetaFilter threads posted by NortonDC" in my browser, does that make mozilla one giant killfile?

I'm trying out new technology developed on sites like Flickr and kinja to solve a problem I was having -- losing track of posts by people I know -- and I figured others might have the same problem and might benefit from the solution. I don't think it'll change the dynamics of the site because I don't see it as a useful tool to ignore people, it's a way to help people here follow stuff they like and not let it fall through the cracks.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:57 PM on June 16, 2004


Way cool. I'm going to add a few people later on, hopefully they won't react in a "who the hell is that guy and why is he stalking me?" manner. :)
posted by soundofsuburbia at 3:07 PM on June 16, 2004


Correct copyright dates? You know those don't actually mean anything in any court of law, right?

It can actually be used to show that an alleged infringer had notice and can be used to determine statutory damages. Most likely very minor, but what the hell.

Oh, and thanks for the new features.
posted by anathema at 3:12 PM on June 16, 2004


So are we allowed to put in custom tags or not? I'm confused.
posted by loquax at 3:14 PM on June 16, 2004


Matt, based upon my observation of other long-lived online communities, a whole lot of people, especially old-timers, would greatly prefer to filter what interaction they see down to their clique. There's nothing keeping someone from adding forty or so friends, bookmarking that page, and never returning to the real MeFi again. They'll still have to deal with people they don't want to see in those threads, but it is a big step toward avoiding people you don't want to see.

Which is perfectly fine, in my book. I mean, for some purposes. I thought you had something in mind for MeFi that was incompatible with those. Surely usernames at the beginning of posts and comments is trivial in the direction of filtering compared to this?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:20 PM on June 16, 2004


There's nothing keeping someone from adding forty or so friends, bookmarking that page, and never returning to the real MeFi again.

Those people stopped visiting metafilter long ago. Seriously, I have access to everyone's last visit date stamp and almost all the old-timers left long ago. If this brings anyone back, it'll be adding users to the site, not taking them away.

I'm working on all sorts of ways to help people organize content on this site. There's a ton of content here that can be described in all sorts of ways. Finding the most important (to you) or "best" (to you) content is definitely the goal. This is one new way, and I think it's a help and not a hinderance, and I don't think it's going to turn people to just read their friends only (personally, I'll just hit my profile page once every few days to see if I missed any posts).

I'm also working on an amazon lists style system where you can save your favorite threads and describe them however you see fit, and group them as necessary. You might be able to do something like create a "best posts on finding music" list or "three posts on how to get an ipod working on a PC" or "everything ever said about communist art". I believe this sort of organization system could help people find interesting stuf as well.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:37 PM on June 16, 2004


Call this a crazy drunk idea, but here it goes:

Metafilter becomes all about the new fad of social networking, but mostly in the respect of linking to interesting things. That way, all the politocodouchebags get to have their cake and cornhole it too, while people like me who generally like the superbly absurdly fucked-up shit of the net © get to have a blast too. That is, the concentration is on what we all individually find interesting, because it really is very subjective...not absolute, as we can see from the current state of things. Just a thought, and maybe some ideas can be pulled from that. I think this contacts thing is a superb addition, a needed evolution, and a step in the right direction.
posted by angry modem at 3:53 PM on June 16, 2004


Given that many good ideas around here have been killed because of usually one guy complaining incessantly, I say fuck them all because this new feature qualifies for bee's knees, and potentially-- cat's pajamas.
posted by Stan Chin at 3:58 PM on June 16, 2004


I'm just pleased as punch with this addition; when I saw it sneakily show up on the user profile pages a few days ago, I was anxious to see where it led, and I love it. The notion of an RSS feed that's generated off of the contacts page is even cooler still!

(And for all of you who are expressing negative thoughts about this change, I implore you to remember that Matt is a single person, not a company, and he didn't anticipate the needs of the change, and he has a bum ticker... oh, wait, what website am I on?)
posted by delfuego at 4:03 PM on June 16, 2004


Server is much more stable, check.
Yes, the server is more stable, but a little bit slow. Do you think it can handle the new features? Can we help?

where you can save your favorite threads and describe them however you see fit, and group them as necessary
Please go ahead, it is a nice pony to have. I had enough of bookmarking MeFi pages.

I am able to see other people contact pages from an URL on their user page. I can access mine if I play with the URL, but there is no link on my user page. Is it a bug or a feature?
posted by MzB at 4:23 PM on June 16, 2004


This baby...it vibrates?

Seriously, what's going on here with Pretty Generic?
posted by piskycritter at 4:24 PM on June 16, 2004


Seriously, what's going on here with Pretty Generic?

See! That's what I was asking! Can one do that? How does one do that? Should I be ashamed for asking?
posted by loquax at 4:44 PM on June 16, 2004


Oh well. Back to the drawing board.
posted by timeistight at 4:47 PM on June 16, 2004


Awesome tool Matt. I have been on MeFi a long time, but only read the headlines anymore. This is a clever "hook" for me to check out the site more. Nicely done, as usual!
posted by artlung at 4:59 PM on June 16, 2004


What I meant by "can" is: Matt, do you want us using your new pony in such a caprecious manner?
posted by loquax at 5:02 PM on June 16, 2004


Oh well. The baby is gone. But it was there. And it was vibrating. Loquax saw it! Honest.

So I still want to know how they did it. Probably some cabalistic coding to which I am not privy. So is this kind of customization kosher?
posted by piskycritter at 5:14 PM on June 16, 2004


I removed the ability to add free form junk to the descriptions, any crazy relationship stuff will just be ignored by the database.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:17 PM on June 16, 2004


[this is cool]

Thanks, Matt. Now stand back, folks -- I got me an unruly boner over the new featurettes in the pipeline!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:18 PM on June 16, 2004


Probably some cabalistic coding

I think we didn't get in with the right clique fast enough piskycritter. Want to start a new and better cabal, one that above all else follows the rules?
posted by loquax at 5:19 PM on June 16, 2004


hey what's going on...?! how come there are tonnes of crazy designations in some people's contact lists... oh, they must be using the "what's your nickname" box on their customize page, to fiddle with the layout, the way i do to make my user page perty, yes...?

quonsar's page is hella funny, heh.

i have to say i share a teeny bit of prince valium's concerns, and eb's too...
posted by t r a c y at 5:25 PM on June 16, 2004


I'm lovin' it.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:29 PM on June 16, 2004


Freeform, Go Nuts!
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:35 PM on June 16, 2004


aww shucks, people's contact pages are going back to normal. boooooring. and *gasp* quonsar deleted me..! and after i turned all those tits up for him, hmmph. i hate you all.

*stomps off back to the real world, slams virtual door real loud*
posted by t r a c y at 5:38 PM on June 16, 2004


Damn. I think I got the pony shot. Or rather, the mangy monkey that rode in on it. Filmgoerjuan, you can ignore my email now.
posted by piskycritter at 5:43 PM on June 16, 2004


It won't let me add people as just vanilla "friend" anymore.
posted by riffola at 5:43 PM on June 16, 2004


t r a c y i did not delete you. the metafilter grinch deleted you.
posted by quonsar at 5:45 PM on June 16, 2004


XFN: Xterminate Fun Now
posted by quonsar at 5:56 PM on June 16, 2004


Thank you very much, matt. This is a delightful and wonderful pony.
posted by beth at 6:06 PM on June 16, 2004


Great feature, Matt.

One suggestion/question: shouldn't the second two columns be reversed. IE, shouldn't the links to the contacts be to righ tof the username that they're linking to instead of to the right of the people who've linked to the user?
posted by dobbs at 6:17 PM on June 16, 2004


Ah, son of a gun.

I was hoping the freeform labels could stay, since the underlying XFN data was intact (at least on my contacts -- who knows what those other nuts were up to). So, I'm sorry to see them go.

But that aside, I'm a big fan of this pony. Thanks!
posted by ewagoner at 6:22 PM on June 16, 2004


neato!

I agree - it's not 'social networking' but "user X always makes me laugh, I wonder what they've posted recently but really don't want to read every thread on the site for the last few hours".

Nice work mathowie, and I think a *much* better use of your time than heavy-handed obsessive editing. Thanks for having good priorities!
posted by freebird at 6:34 PM on June 16, 2004


Ok, everything should work now, and no, you can't submit stuff that isn't in the form as it is.

As long as the relationship data stays standardized, I may be able to do stuff later one like say, let your friends that you've met in real life edit typos from your posts without my intervention.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:42 PM on June 16, 2004


A couple of things I've noticed...

1) On the form page it says "Add a ___ as a Contact"; shouldn't it just be "Add ___ as a Contact"?

2) None of the radio button fields selections are being added to my contact's profile.
posted by filmgoerjuan at 6:49 PM on June 16, 2004


juan, try again, it should work now.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:56 PM on June 16, 2004


We (me and trace) keep trying Matt, but it's just not working. Some selections work, but if you try to add a person as more than one thing (like spouse, sweetheart, friend) they won't all "take".
posted by zarah at 7:04 PM on June 16, 2004


The Friendship radio buttons are working for me, but the Geographical and Family are still not taking.
posted by filmgoerjuan at 7:20 PM on June 16, 2004


it's working for us now. i deleted cookies and cache, shut our browser down and started over again. seems to be all in order, whether that was useful to do or not.

t r a c y i did not delete you. the metafilter grinch deleted you.

yah i figured, but i couldn't let the opportunity to pitch a fit and make a melodramatic exit pass by unused 8-)
posted by t r a c y at 7:24 PM on June 16, 2004


Would it be overkill to have a category that indicates we know each other through something like the mefi cd swap? Maybe a mail category?
posted by gluechunk at 7:29 PM on June 16, 2004


following on gluechunk's thought, Matt - have you thought through the eventuality that people will hijack the linkability of users to create phony interest-based "users" just for the purpose of linking to them? Like what happened on Friendster? It's something to consider before signups open again.
posted by scarabic at 7:43 PM on June 16, 2004


Sorry to bug you Matt, but I found a flaw, until a person is linked back by someone they do not get the usercontact page, for example Otis (sorry Otis), yet someone like salmonberry with 0 links of her own gets that page. Shouldn't that page be created if you choose to have contacts? Rather than the other way around?
posted by riffola at 8:04 PM on June 16, 2004


yeah, riffola, I got that backwards. I'll fix it tonight.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:16 PM on June 16, 2004


I can certainly understand the general concerns of Norton, rushmc, et al. However, as Kottke observed some time ago, the volume of the conversations on MeFi, MeTa, and AskMetafilter requires the user to a) give up, b) selectively edit on the fly, or c) take the Irving Tobin route. Some time ago I created a personal portal with links to my favorite MeFi participants' user pages. When work or family priorities limit my surfing, I can at least get a feel for what's been happening by scanning the discussions joined by a few tried and true vets. Matt's solution is considerably more feature rich than my homegrown portal, and I would agree that, if anything, it will bring more people back to the blue than it drives away.

I also second the MefiSwap link idea, gluechunk.
posted by samuelad at 8:56 PM on June 16, 2004


Heh. The British Reserve ;-)
adrianhon & dash_slot-, who I met at the UKMeet, list me as 'aquaintance met' whereas CunningLinguist & Vidiot, who I met at the recent NYCMeet list me as 'friend met'.

Then again make that English Reserve. Sarge loves everyone...
posted by i_cola at 2:17 AM on June 17, 2004


Heh indeed, I was going to post about this earlier, there is something in me that feels a bit uncomfortable about quantifying interactions with others here, and I was planning to keep an eye out to see how other brits jumped on this.
posted by biffa at 3:45 AM on June 17, 2004


I figure if I'm still drinking with a person seven hours after first meeting them, that qualifies as "friend." Then again, I have terribly low standards and can be had for a few scotches.

Actually, I find the whole thing with quantifying "friend" vs "aquaintance" kind of icky so I just went with friend across the board.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:30 AM on June 17, 2004


I bet it has more to do with how long you stayed at each meet up and how personal conversation got... I've been to a few NYC meet ups, but I'm still an "acquaintance" to the folks who met me. Maybe that's just the "mdn reserve" at work tho'. I am half brit, actually...
posted by mdn at 5:47 AM on June 17, 2004


I started to add everyone I met either in #mefi or in person, and that list just ballooned out of control, and it was making the page load really slowly for me, so I had to trim down the list, and start anew.
posted by riffola at 6:11 AM on June 17, 2004


I should finish my thought before I hit "Preview" & "Post", I know I'll sound like a jerk for saying it, but I would love to be able to add everyone I know at MetaFilter to my list, but only track a select few, I really don't need to track every friend of mine. Also as Matt hinted above, that my friends would be able to have enough power eventually to be able to fix typos, etc, I would prefer it if that power was designated by me to a select few, rather than everyone in my list.

I have many friends, and I trust all of them, but I have levels of closeness and trust attached to all of them too, also I have a few close friends who I don't really need to track but there are a few people I don't know, such as waxpancake, who I would love to be able to follow on MeFi, while he is listed only as "muse" or something along that line in my list.
posted by riffola at 6:23 AM on June 17, 2004


I was going to get all happy over the fact that you have me in your list, Matt (you don't hate me!) but then I realised it's just an easy way to keep an eye on what I'm doing!!!!
posted by Blue Stone at 7:28 AM on June 17, 2004


People are going to use this pony differently. Some are going to use it as a true tracking tool for interesting conversations by people they respect or hate or trust or not, and others are doubtless going to merely let it be a personal posse monitoring system, a degrees-of-separation machine, and/or an internal/external portal page.

I have a few friends here (and mdn, we've now met at enough meetups that you certainly count), and I'm thrilled to have their latest work all in one place, but I'm not sure how much more taxonomy is required to clear the lowest bars of applicability.

Although it sounds like you have some ideas, Matt. And this setup as it stands now was unthinkable to my little mind even last week.

So show the way, Mister Meta-Muse. After you. No no, I insist.
posted by chicobangs at 7:29 AM on June 17, 2004


but I'm not sure how much more taxonomy is required to clear the lowest bars of applicability.

I'm wondering this too. While there's a list of people here whose comments I respect or enjoy...given that there are very few that I've met in real life, and that I'm not so much chatty, I feel cautious about just linking someone willy-nilly. Slashdot's "fan" designation seems somewhat appropriate, but I can't find anything that seems like this in the designations.
posted by weston at 8:01 AM on June 17, 2004


ha. well now I have friends. squeaky wheel, I guess. But the first five or six people who linked me all put "acquaintance met", including one person I spent late nights in the yearbook office with in high school (working on the yearbook! mostly... the only person I know from real life who somehow ended up at this site also).

It is hard to figure out how to organize it all, though. Plus I keep thinking I should add people when I go through threads, but then I start thinking, well eventually I'll just add everyone, and what's the point of that? it's fairly random so far. Also I'm not sure what an ideal number of contacts would be.
posted by mdn at 8:14 AM on June 17, 2004


I've more or less classified everyone the same way they classified me, just to avoid offense.

One person called me his "muse." Poor fellow.
posted by jonmc at 9:14 AM on June 17, 2004


No one is editing a single one of my typos, damnit, and if I have to excommunicate all of youse I will.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:29 AM on June 17, 2004


Why can't I view my list of contacts? I could last night, and now suddenly I can't.
posted by orange swan at 9:45 AM on June 17, 2004


Why can't I view my list of contacts? I could last night, and now suddenly I can't.

It's here. You have to link to someone to get the View contacts and contributions from contacts link to show up. See this.
posted by timeistight at 10:03 AM on June 17, 2004


I was going to get all happy over the fact that you have me in your list, Matt (you don't hate me!) but then I realised it's just an easy way to keep an eye on what I'm doing!!!!

Bluestone, if that is all it was I would have been on his list. I think it's safe for your happiness to ensue. ;-)
posted by konolia at 10:19 AM on June 17, 2004


What this clearly illustrates to me is how differently people view/use the site. None of this is of the least use or interest to me, but many others obviously like it. Interesting. It seems already the potential that I saw for offense is cropping up, as people don't list others who listed them or rate them lower. Why is it desirable for anyone but the user to be able to see his/her page anyway? If I DID want to track things in this way, I would certainly not feel free to do so honestly so long as the whole world could look in. Also, shouldn't there be an option to not allow anyone to link to you, should you not wish to be linked?
posted by rushmc at 10:50 AM on June 17, 2004


Don't worry, Rush... that probably won't be an issue for you.

I'll be adding recent comments from contacts as well, but I thought this was at the point where it was cool enough to share.

I suggest that more important than the questions people post in AskMefi are the answers... I think it's more important to see what people know than what they want to know, so maybe you could default to them instead.
posted by crunchland at 12:43 PM on June 17, 2004


What this clearly illustrates to me is how differently people view/use the site.

I think a lot of the attraction is just the "new toy" aspect. It will be interesting to see how much activity is devoted to it after a few weeks. Really the most useful thing at this stage to me is to have the list of blogs on one page, since I often forget who's where etc. The filtration thing doesn't seem that useful since it's so inexact (very few people always post what I like or never post what I like; sometimes it's about the link, other times the discussion; etc) and anyway I don't think I miss that many threads just because they scroll away (usually it's because I assume they're something different than what they are without checking - of course this will draw my attention to who the poster is, so maybe I'll give things a closer look -).

It seems already the potential that I saw for offense is cropping up, as people don't list others who listed them or rate them lower.

I doubt anyone really takes it seriously. It's just sort of funny how different people divide the categories. Some people choose one appellation for everyone (eg, everyone's sgt serenity's "sweetheart"); some carefully determine who belongs where, some would probably have chosen differently in a different mood, some just respond in kind etc.

Why is it desirable for anyone but the user to be able to see his/her page anyway?

interesting point; if this is truly just for the purpose of filtering metafilter, then the publicity of it is hardly warranted. On the other hand, it's kind of useful to be able to read other people's filters - I noticed how much or how little certain people posted (and to what degree their posts were things I was interested in) only after seeing a list of contacts that included them. Also, people you tend to find interesting tend to find interesting people interesting, so if you go to the contacts pages of people you like, you may be reminded of other people etc.

If I DID want to track things in this way, I would certainly not feel free to do so honestly so long as the whole world could look in.

you may be more concerned than necessary for the self esteem of your fellow travelers in this case. Or do you mean because you wouldn't want certain people to know you enjoy their posts?

Also, shouldn't there be an option to not allow anyone to link to you, should you not wish to be linked?

what harm does it do you?
And if you could choose not to be linked, shouldn't you be able to choose who can read what you write? And if you could do that - well, why would you post onto a public message board to start with...
posted by mdn at 1:12 PM on June 17, 2004


It seems already the potential that I saw for offense is cropping up, as people don't list others who listed them or rate them lower.

It also has the potential for pleasant surprise, as when I discovered that quonsar considers me a friend. (If he's pulling my leg, I don't want to know.) Completely changed my attitude about him.

rushmc, perhaps if you read the XFN background and FAQ it would relieve some of your concerns. Also, look at RubHub and blo.gs to see some applications for this type of data.
posted by timeistight at 1:34 PM on June 17, 2004


I've noticed that some users have this link:

View contacts and contributions from contacts

And some do not. Is this a bug or a feature?
posted by hama7 at 2:00 PM on June 17, 2004


hama7, you have to link to someone to get the View contacts and contributions from contacts link to show up. See this.
posted by timeistight at 2:15 PM on June 17, 2004


All right everyone - now that we have the contacts feature, do you know what time it is?

Why, it's time to play Six Degrees of MetaSeparation!
posted by orange swan at 2:23 PM on June 17, 2004


This would be a lot more useful if under the FRIENDSHIP option appeared the radials, for "Disgusting GIT", "Sworn Blood Enemy" and "Rival For The Affections Of My Beloved". That would certainly spice things up a bit ...

(/tongue in cheek)
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:32 PM on June 17, 2004


the 'Professional' and 'Family' categories do not work at all.
posted by quonsar at 2:49 PM on June 17, 2004


orange swan's suggestion just piqued my interest. Is anyone likely to keep a record of how the interactions/connections develop over time? I'm sure it would be of interest to some academic somewhere.
posted by biffa at 2:51 PM on June 17, 2004


correction: under Professional, "colleagues" works, i'm not sure about "co-worker". under Family, "child" works, "parent" and "spouse" do not.
posted by quonsar at 3:48 PM on June 17, 2004


That's weird; mine's the opposite: "co-worker" works but "colleague" doesn't.
posted by timeistight at 4:00 PM on June 17, 2004


that IS weird.
posted by quonsar at 4:31 PM on June 17, 2004


i tried to list juju as 'colleague' and, because she listed me as 'child' i tried to list her as 'parent'. no dice in either case.
posted by quonsar at 4:32 PM on June 17, 2004


spouse and colleague aren't working for me either... they were when the feature was initially launched but since then, not.
posted by t r a c y at 4:44 PM on June 17, 2004


For me, "co-worker" works, but "colleague" doesn't. Neither does "spouse" or "neighbor".
posted by Melinika at 4:58 PM on June 17, 2004


hama7, you have to link to someone

Thanks for the answer, and a great feature, timeistight. The funny thing is, I could see the link yesterday, but the server (or my connection) was so slow I didn't have the time/patience to link to other members. Today it's gone.

tried to list juju as 'colleague' and, because she listed me as 'child' i tried to list her as 'parent'. no dice in either case.

quonsar: how did you link to me as "commie" yesterday, given the standardized, click-the-dot style link format to other users?

Or is that a caliper bleeb super haxor secret? How is it done?
posted by hama7 at 5:07 PM on June 17, 2004


I doubt anyone really takes it seriously.

Given how many things people here already find to take offense to (and develop "grudges" over), I have my doubts about that. But I hope you're right.

you may be more concerned than necessary for the self esteem of your fellow travelers in this case.

I am a bit, but more important is the fact that I think comments should stand and be judged on their own, and not reacted negatively to because someone is upset with their author because of how they were/weren't linked to in a social context. This feature accentuates the social aspect of the site, and I think if anything it should be diminished, so that is my primary concern.

if you could choose not to be linked, shouldn't you be able to choose who can read what you write? And if you could do that - well, why would you post onto a public message board to start with...

You may have a point there...I certainly believe that people should be free to link to or repurpose any content that others contribute online (within the appropriate limits of copyright). And yet, I'm not sure that choosing to contribute posts and comments should necessarily commit one to be involved against one's wishes in a social clique thing, which is more than one signed on for. I'll have to think further on this one.
posted by rushmc at 5:30 PM on June 17, 2004


quonsar: how did you link to me as "commie" yesterday, given the standardized, click-the-dot style link format to other users?

let's just say that early versions of the code weren't especially picky about the data being returned by the form. things have been tightened up a smidge since then :-)
posted by quonsar at 7:33 PM on June 17, 2004


Small bug: The link to the contacts page only appears on the userpages of those who have contacts. However, even without this this page is of interest as it shows incoming links, which say just as much about someone. (I think… Though I'm still not sure how I got to be four panel's muse (though I'm (no doubt misplacedly) flattered nonetheless). The fact that I only show up on contacts pages with lots and lots of MeTa posts is more worrying perhaps.)
posted by fvw at 10:07 PM on June 17, 2004


Most cool! Only one thing missing that I can see - what if I want to label someone as an adversary? Enemy may be more appropriate at times, but there are surely plenty of people who want to label someone as other than friend or acqaintance lest they be judged so.
posted by dg at 1:27 AM on June 18, 2004


If you want someone to be an enemy, you could link to them as "child". Or maybe "crush", as in "I wish I could crush them"...
posted by reklaw at 3:21 AM on June 18, 2004


incoming links, which say just as much about someone...

+

the many calls for an enemy marker

equals I rest my case about what people want to and will try to use this feature for, despite your intent for it...
posted by rushmc at 9:07 AM on June 18, 2004


rush, why do you care? Really? As long as we are all having fun-and we are, btw.


Lighten up, hon. (Besides, I linked to you. )
posted by konolia at 11:01 AM on June 18, 2004


I come to MetaFilter to read, and I would love to have tools to streamline my reading. I do like simple categories, such as like-to-read, met-in-person, colleague, family member, but I would gladly skip them in favor of, well, filters. I use several devices, so having such features built into MeFi is very attractive.

To echo comments above: Improve convenience of add/delete links. List the URLs in the same order as the list of people they refer to. I love that the URLs are listed in one place for me, too. Letting others edit my posts, no matter how I select them, doesn't sound good to me. But hey if it solves a problem Matt has, go for it, since I assume it's not mandatory.

My wish list: Something, dare I say it, more like LJ. LJ has one category for links: "Friends." Lame and loaded, but it lets you define subgroups privately (although I'd like to have a public option for such groupings, too). In LJ the custom friends list is usually for locking entries to specific readers. On MeFi, I would like to be able to track, in groups, people who tend to post neat stuff or who tend to comment in an interesting way.

LJ also lets you bookmark entries and collect them by keyword, making them public or private on a per-entry basis. This is something I would love to be able to do in MeFi, rather than relying on a (or in my case, more than one) client-side bookmarks list(s).

Remember how just moments ago, scarabic was calling for us to have more fun as a group? Then the contacts thing got rolled out, and we sure as hell did. The mischievous part is gone, but for those of us who are ready to use flagging to track the activity of folks we really enjoy (and don't want to lose in this voluminous site) - this will continue to be a neat thing.
posted by caitlinb at 12:56 PM on June 18, 2004


rush, why do you care? Really? As long as we are all having fun-and we are, btw.

There are lots of ways of "having fun" with the site that have been deemed undesirable and, in some cases, forbidden or coded to be impossible. Therefore it stands to reason that "having fun" is not sufficient justification for behavior here.
posted by rushmc at 5:13 PM on June 18, 2004


Letting others edit my posts, no matter how I select them, doesn't sound good to me.

Um, everybody, I'm 99% sure Matt was kidding about that. Think about it.

I don't know if this feature was necessary, but I have to agree with caitlinb: it's fun.
posted by languagehat at 6:40 PM on June 18, 2004


she had to die, she had to
posted by bargle at 7:11 PM on June 18, 2004


Um, everybody, I'm 99% sure Matt was kidding about that. Think about it.

Why is it so strange to consider creating groups with shared access? As a user here, I don't see a sufficient advantage (now). As a site maintainer, I might have a specific idea in mind for expanding such access. Especially after conversations about stuff like MoJo, to name a single example.

I don't really know what goes on in Matt's head, except he seems like a strangely patient person. Some of the implications of this contact stuff already seem pretty far from what I thought MetaFilter was about, so I'm not making too many assumptions about where he's going with it.
posted by caitlinb at 1:15 PM on June 19, 2004


Not sure if you're still popping in here matt, but on my userpage, the users I link to and their blogs are not in the same row. So Jessamyn, for instance, is forth down in the first column but her blog is the first one in the sites column (because the three people above her do not have sites). Not sure if this is intentional, but it would seem to me more useful for things to read properly when I put a ruler up to the screen.
posted by dobbs at 11:47 PM on June 20, 2004


Contacts: This user links to 16533 MetaFilter user(s).
although maybe I should be glad I'm not one of the other 809
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:31 PM on June 21, 2004


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