Categories on Metafilter and AskMe? July 3, 2004 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Why doesn't the green or the blue have categories like the grey?
posted by smackfu to Feature Requests at 11:05 AM (29 comments total)

Because the grey is for specific topics and the green and blue are not. If it doesn't fit into one of the categories it shouldn't be posted here.

A category list for MeFi or AskMe would resemble a Yahoo! directory. Think about it.
posted by mcwetboy at 11:24 AM on July 3, 2004

Could have phrased the above better. Let me try that again.

Categories are inherently limiting; that's why I have to keep adding new ones on the ol' blog, because I keep writing new posts that don't fit in the old categories. On MetaTalk that's a good thing, because it's for discussing topics specific to MetaFilter, and there are only so many of those.

But on the green and the blue, that would be a problem, because there would always be something out there that wouldn't fit well into a single category. (I've run into that problem on, for example, when creating new tribes that don't fit into their categories.) So either the post gets misfiled (which makes sorting by categories useless), or you have to constantly add new categories (which makes the list of categories too large to be useful, and a real chore to maintain), or it doesn't get posted (since posters might think that something that doesn't fit into the listed categories "doesn't belong").

A good search function should be sufficient, so long as people take care to write posts that aren't ridiculously cryptic. The problem is when posters are cute and write these three-word posts that don't tell you a thing unless you click on the link (and you hope to god it's not BAM! horse goatse). These posts aren't searchable. A well-written post shouldn't need extra keyword or category tags. (I raised this point two and a half years ago.)
posted by mcwetboy at 11:35 AM on July 3, 2004

Or we could just have and
posted by pieoverdone at 11:41 AM on July 3, 2004

The first post was perfectly clear, no need to go all Bligh on us now *grin*. But I think in the long run Ask could do with some top level categories, even if it's just "computer" and "non-computer", for filtering purposes.
posted by fvw at 11:43 AM on July 3, 2004

I noticed 'Categories/Keywords' on the right side of that linkbar at the top of the AskMe page. But it's not clickable yet, so it must be in progress.
posted by attackthetaxi at 11:51 AM on July 3, 2004

posted by mcwetboy at 11:56 AM on July 3, 2004

The problem of things not fitting in categories is quickly solved by adding an other/etc. category -- and if you start to notice a lot of posts on one topic in the 'other' category, give them their own section.
posted by reklaw at 12:34 PM on July 3, 2004

We could just have a "Category" field like title, link, description. They we could make up our own!
posted by ODiV at 1:01 PM on July 3, 2004

What problem would this solve?
posted by gleuschk at 1:28 PM on July 3, 2004

It has already solved the problem of nearly going without a MeTa post for an entire day.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 3:18 PM on July 3, 2004

The problem this would solve is that some of us who enjoy AskMeFi would prefer it if they could get a setup so that they didn't have to see the 383rd person who can't get windows to boot after they installed their pretty new spyware (not that there's anything wrong with that).
posted by fvw at 3:31 PM on July 3, 2004

Nice one, mcwetboy.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:36 PM on July 3, 2004

mcwetboy, I love your drop-down menu! I hope you don't mind if I add a few categories (most of which I actually enjoy participating in, but which I like to make fun of as well:

posted by iconomy at 3:46 PM on July 3, 2004 [2 favorites]

Much better!
posted by mcwetboy at 3:48 PM on July 3, 2004

New competition: how many of iconomy's categories can you hit in a single post?

fvw, doesn't it seem reasonable to expect that there would be a high correlation between people who don't want to read about unbootable spyware-infested computers and those people who are most qualify to help the sufferers? So perhaps it wouldn't be such a good idea, from the point of view of the purpose of the site, to build into the site a way for answerers to ignore the questions they're most qualified to address. They're free to ignore them, of course, but I'm saying there's no need to code that in.
posted by gleuschk at 4:20 PM on July 3, 2004

Also, keep in mind that the restrictions that Matt's thinking of adding (one question per week etc. etc.) will keep volume down, and will make people take questions more seriously. The next spyware victim might say to themselves "well, maybe I'll have a look to see if this has been asked before" instead of just posting liberally.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 4:42 PM on July 3, 2004

mcwetboy & iconomy have started an excellent new craze. Customized rop down menus in all threads!

Look there's a sloution to all of these site problems. Let's just lock Haughey in a room someplace & feed him in return for ponies. He'll soon knuckle down.
posted by i_cola at 5:18 PM on July 3, 2004

There's also a solution...
posted by i_cola at 5:34 PM on July 3, 2004

This has been discussed at length, recently. Free keywords (a la Gmail or as I understand it) and toplevel categories only are Matt's plan apparently, and one I reckon is just right.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:17 PM on July 3, 2004

iconomy: Hey, I really did need some good recipes. Sheesh! And it was, in a way, like one of those "I'm going to Bumfuck" questions: veganism is a strange and foreign land.

Of course, I loathe the travel questions even while understanding and accepting their utility.
posted by majick at 11:26 PM on July 3, 2004

posted by johnny novak at 2:28 AM on July 4, 2004 [1 favorite]

Well played!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:39 AM on July 4, 2004

I really did need some good recipes.

I know...I gave you some! How did they turn out?
posted by iconomy at 10:20 AM on July 4, 2004

I'll take "those that from a long way off look like flies" for 200, Alex.
(I think I may have a shot at Ken Jennings with these categories)
posted by wendell at 11:39 AM on July 4, 2004

I have a friend who's broken his computer just before taking his sick cat to Bumfuck. So what colour should he dye his hair?
posted by dodgygeezer at 1:02 PM on July 4, 2004

Is he dead? Because if not, I don't know if we can help him.
posted by chicobangs at 1:33 PM on July 4, 2004

Octarine, obviously.
posted by fvw at 2:43 PM on July 4, 2004

posted by signal at 1:00 PM on July 5, 2004

And yes, very well played johnny.
posted by signal at 1:05 PM on July 5, 2004

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