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MetaTalk post: I don't have kids, but I DO have your answer...
particularly on topics people love talking about

I think this is the core issue. It's easy for folks to get excited about a topic they like and feel like they might have an answer to. From there, you read through a question and at some point you have an a ha! sort of moment when a possible answer occurs to you, and you skip on down to the comment box to chuck that answer into the thread without finishing off the question text itself and giving your... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by cortex at 7:59 AM on December 31, 2011
MetaTalk post: If your website is full of assholes, it's your fault
I'm pretty sure that as the number of users per moderator decreases toward one, the chances of having to bail the user out of jail increases likewise toward that value.
posted to MetaTalk by cortex at 6:43 PM on December 30, 2011
Any chance you could run a quick query on the settings database and tell us what percentage of Mefites use the Professional White Background

Sure. Of the 15,266 members who have visited the site within the last 30 days, 1,840 currently have their preference set to the plain theme. So around 12%. But keep in mind that the preference is cookie-based. So it's possible for people to have their profile currently set to the default theme, yet they're using... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by pb at 6:30 PM on December 29, 2011
MetaTalk post: EditMe
Could such a feature be added to the entire MetaFilter site at some point?

This is sort of a non-starter for all the reasons we've been having such trouble with envisioning an edit window feature. Quora handles this, if I recall correctly, by showing you the edit and letting you accept it, reject it or make a new/different edit, is that right? I've found it occasionally helpful there, frequently obnoxious in practice [i.e. someone telling me my... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 6:33 AM on December 30, 2011
MetaTalk post: Bad deletion.
Of course I believe you that you say No a lot, but I wish you said it more, especially when it's an established user getting frustrated and spiteful that the thread is not going perfectly.

We aren't really disagreeing on this front; it's just made tricky by the fact that "saying no" means everybody collectively preemptively deciding to say no, which is more of a hardline unified front thing than the normal case-by-case,... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by cortex at 8:25 AM on December 28, 2011
Why didn't you all say No here?

Probably, and I'm just speaking for restless_nomad here, because the thread was already flagged into judgment call territory [i.e. where it could go either way, not so many flags as to be a "the community has spoken" situation] and "poster's request" as a deletion reason is usually preferable to "this is sort of thin and people seem not to like it." This post had the additional... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 8:18 AM on December 28, 2011
Repeat after me:

"Sorry, we're not going to be able to delete that at this time, due to there already being a thread going which seems to be benefiting the community."

Trust us, we do this. We don't do it all the time, but our first response to a "Poster's request" sort of deletion is to say something like this. And usually in AskMe, you get one "Get out of AskMe free" card and then you're done.... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 7:51 AM on December 28, 2011
Is there any data on what proportion of the MeFi membership the flaggy people represent?

Typical power function distribution: a few people flag a lot, a larger group flags a middling amount, a larger group yet flags only sparingly. Breaks down roughly like a hundred, a thousand, and ten thousand users, respectively; last I looked there were about ten thousand total users who had flagged something at some point.
posted to MetaTalk by cortex at 6:25 AM on December 28, 2011
Flags are removed from the admin flag list once they've been dealt with so that every single moderator doesn't need to check out the same flag(s) on a post or comment. Sometimes we leave them alone to see if they gather more flags.

For example, there might be a single flag on something, and a mod looks at the comment/post and doesn't see a problem with it. Instead of clearing the flag (which means either it's been deleted and nobody has to deal with it, or someone has... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by taz at 3:57 AM on December 28, 2011

We're not going to tell people to not flag stuff, though we will sometimes tell people it's okay to flag less [like if you're flagging ten comments in a thread, we're probably checking it out after the first three or four. We remove flags by hand so flagging every single offending comment in a problematic thread can be overkill] and also that yeah they should consider flagging as a "note to mod team" in some way. So you can flag bad jokes if... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 11:48 PM on December 27, 2011
One of the things we're paid to do is keep an eye on the flags. A metafilter where the only stuff we took action on was stuff we saw ourselves would either be (a) a metafilter where lots of stuff that needed attention didn't get it because we didn't see it or (b) a metafilter where we spent all day systematically scouring every update to every thread trying to spot trouble without any external guidance. (a) would be a mess, (b) would get you burnt out mods in no time flat and probably still a... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by cortex at 8:12 PM on December 27, 2011
My problem with the flagging system is its lack of transparency.

I hear that, but the lack of constant public scrutiny on flags is by my reckoning one of the main things that keeps the system from being a constant source of horrible rules-lawyering But This Had Less/More Flags Than This/That/Th'other noise. We aim for being pretty transparent about stuff around here as a general rule; the things that aren't completely transparent are that way mostly... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by cortex at 6:37 PM on December 27, 2011
MetaTalk post: Hard work and learning
Here's how you make a Beleaguered Mod

1 oz scotch
Moment of consideration
A couple more oz scotch
posted to MetaTalk by cortex at 10:12 AM on December 24, 2011
MetaTalk post: A "staff" indicator for taz
We try pretty hard to use the staff style when making "knock it off"-type comments and that seems to work out. The first six weeks or so I'd sometimes get flagged leaving a mod note but that's pretty much disappeared, so I'm guessing people have picked up on my status just fine.

A generic mod account is not a good idea - the individual accountability is a fundamental part of the culture, and taking that away would be a massive change. The only times I've seen... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by restless_nomad at 12:17 PM on December 23, 2011
But you're otherwise comfortable with your contributions being statused?

What? No. People do all sorts of up/down status jockeying on this site for various reasons. My point is that we don't feel comfortable with our contributions on the rest of the site, at times when we're just interacting like users, having some sort of "a mod said this!" indicator. I'm aware that we can't totally divorce ourselves entirely from the fact that we work... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 11:45 AM on December 23, 2011
We waver about how much we need to work on issues where there isn't much evidence that in their current state they're actually causing problems. We sort of break down the userbase in this way

- know who the mods are and want them indicated - there are greasemonkey scripts that do this quite well
- know who the mods are and don't want them indicated - the current state of affairs except for MeTa
- don't know who the mods are and want them indicated... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 9:12 AM on December 23, 2011
But shouldn't the mods have them in the rest of the site

We don't think so, no. The small-tags-and-brackets, while usable by anyone, pretty much indicates "this is when a mod is speaking as a mod" and the rest of the time we interact on the site just like normal people. There are some notable exceptions to this [i.e. times when our participation and our mod-particpation overlaps a little] but we've gotten no indication that this is... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 8:26 AM on December 23, 2011
I seem to remember the reason that staff tags aren't in the blue/green being that the mods wanted to engage with the site in a user capacity as well as a staff capacity...
posted to MetaTalk by cranberrymonger at 8:17 AM on December 23, 2011
MetaTalk post: What percentage of FPP links get clicked?
the mods would like the percentage of clickthroughs to be more rather than less

We'd like people to read the links, sure. They definitely should consider reading some of the links before commenting. That said, some people don't and it's fine and we all muddle on together. I want people to like the posts here, at a personal level. I literally do not care at all about the percentage of clickthroughs of individual links. I'm not sure how much more clear... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 5:08 PM on December 22, 2011
MetaTalk post: AskMe Dis-ad-biguation
The ad layouts are heavily suggested by Google's Adsense team to me and I've turned down a lot of the options they've fielded towards me (stuff like an ad every five-10 comments or so). We used to put them between the question and the first answer, but for a lot of long questions that meant the first ad was way below the fold. Putting them in between the More Inside section made the placement more consistent and the revenue was steady. There's a steady drop off in revenue with how far down the... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by mathowie at 2:00 PM on December 17, 2011
MetaTalk post: AskMe in the classroom
Technically the questions are copyrighted by the original authors. This is really only a thing if you wanted, say, to reproduce them in a textbook, you'd have to get permission from the questions' authors, not just the site. Using the questions as inspiration seems totally fine. I'd be crystal clear, though, that the answers are just people from the internet [some of whom may be quite knowledgeable and some of whom may not be] and not in any way the definitive right answer.... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 7:09 AM on December 17, 2011
MetaTalk post: Scheduled Maintenance Saturday
I heard they're planning to implement a threaded comment system.

Not ambitious enough. With the new site up, every comment will actually be a nano-site with its own subdomain; threads will henceforth be called "web rings"; and you'll be able to use an on-site micro-transaction system to give your (or others') nano-sites more prominent placement within any given web ring for only ten cents per bump.
posted to MetaTalk by cortex at 3:26 PM on December 15, 2011
MetaTalk post: Should a joke-heavy thread on a serious topic be thinned out?
Insisting she correct her admitted mistake is a terminal offense here?

Being an aggressive jerk is certainly a frownable one. Failing to have any sense of how this place works beyond whatever weird narrow imagined site dynamic you're operating on the illusion of doesn't really help things.

Go to bed or go for a walk or whatever makes sense in your time zone. You've done the freakout-over-moderation thing enough times at this... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by cortex at 10:28 PM on December 14, 2011
Hey, it's me.

I've read about a third of the comments, but I'll put this here before I read the rest, and try to answer whatever I can.

SO, to begin with, I responded to some flags on that thread and deleted a couple of things that seemed just jokey derailing and then saw a comment about it being hard to follow the thread because of the jokes, and tried to clean that up a bit... but then I realized that it was basically all jokes, pretty much the... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by taz at 9:22 PM on December 14, 2011
MetaTalk post: How will I search for my favorite pony?
Sorry I misspoke unliteral, it uses tags from posts you've commented on as well as posts you favorited.
posted to MetaTalk by pb at 2:51 PM on December 13, 2011
MeFi post: Forever Analytical
Folks, it's really okay to just not comment in a thread about a single video that you can't or won't watch.
posted to MetaFilter by cortex at 8:15 AM on December 13, 2011
MetaTalk post: Deleted Questions
Great content that Google indexes aggressively.

This is actually sometimes the problem. People who only know AskMe as the funny little question closet on the side of MetaFilter can get confused and surprised when they see their question topping Google for their family member's rare disease or problematic personality tic. The people who ask to have their questions closed usually fall into a few categories

- I've grown up and... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 7:54 PM on December 12, 2011
We can't force them to leave them open if they don't want. I mean literally we can but technically that would be a mod nightmare. Usually when someone asks us to close their question we offer them some other alternatives like 1) going for a walk and ignoring the question or 2) anonymizing it if maybe it's embarrassing. There are also some cases where a question is so contentious that closing/deleting it is actually going to create more attention for it by creating a MeTa thread about it. So we... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 6:29 PM on December 12, 2011
MetaTalk post: I'm a fan of descriptive names, personally
It stopped being a community weblog when the 3rd or 4th moderator was hired

Depending on how you count, that was either in 2006 or in the middle of this year. The moderation level really hasn't changed much--though people's perception of it definitely has--it's just become more round the clock so it's more consistent around the globe. And in the same time the active population of the site has increased maybe tenfold? It's difficult to play... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 8:25 AM on December 6, 2011
Several of us mods have said a number of times now that your post is at its core totally fine and with a little bit of editing to remove the first-person perspective stuff would be totally not a be problem at all.

We've all said this, as have dozens of community members. The community aspect of the weblog is what determines the weblog aspect of it. The site was started in 1999 so that mathowie and his friends could have a place to share links... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 7:38 AM on December 6, 2011
Hey, Net Prophet, it looks like you probably haven't had a lot of experience with Metatalk since it looks like your first comments were from yesterday, so let me tell you that it can be pretty rough and tumble here, since it's the place where we both hash out ideas and problems with the site, and also address things that are upsetting people, so it can be sort of fast and furious – and often harsh about suggestions or complaints. It's not personal, and most everyone here has taken their... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by taz at 5:52 AM on December 6, 2011
MetaTalk post: Outrageous Spontaneous Filings
Yeah, seriously not loving that article, although it's nice when mainstream articles attempt to describe what I do - it makes conversations with the family easier.

I will say, though, that you guys are the best. I get the occasional "Sorry people are being shitty" memail, and while that's sweet, "shitty" is relative - while I was still part-time here, my other part-time job was moderating a major game company's Facebook pages for $8 an hour. After a... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by restless_nomad at 11:27 AM on December 1, 2011
MetaTalk post: mathowie interviews CmdrTaco
Thanks all, I liked it too. I basically had no direction to go so I just started by asking him a question I've always wanted to ask him, what he thought of me totally copying slashdot in the early days and thinking I could do it better.

What surprised me most was hearing he even has a resume and him saying it was time to look for a job. I figured a game-changer like Malda would have news organizations beating his door down to consult or collaborate with him on internet... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by mathowie at 8:58 AM on December 1, 2011
MetaTalk post: Help with links
I seems like I've seen MeTalks asking for the pony that would automatically make naked URLs links... Why was that rejected?

Because we don't want people dumping naked links into threads. It doesn't look good, it eats up space, it has less information than a properly-constructed link (which always has the url available anyway via hover/point-and-hold).

Learning to make a proper link is not a lot of work, and we'd much, much... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by cortex at 7:26 AM on November 28, 2011
MetaTalk post: mod abuse
The question is mods: How many of these do you have stored in the hopper now that metatalk thread's are held prior to approval? This is going to be a long weekend.

It's been interesting, actually. There's been a couple of gimmes (Secret Quonsar thread, mix cd thread) and a couple of things that were more contact form issues in the middle of the night that if the posters end up really wanting a metatalk thread after talking it out with us a little on... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by cortex at 10:43 AM on November 25, 2011
I think this is the post you are referring to? It's a single link blog op ed post to a link that is already in the larger Thanksgiving/Black Friday post a little further down the page. It's got all the "if your post is going to be about X, please make sure you make a good post about it and not just toss a link up and say 'discuss'" touchstones. And no there is not a list. We discuss what the general topics are here in MetaTalk all the time, but there's no specific list. General topics... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 10:15 AM on November 25, 2011
If you disagree with a deletion and want to talk about it, sending us a note at the contact form or talking about that reasoning in metatalk is fine. It's definitely more helpful than objecting about something you claim not to care about to complain non-specifically about not liking taz writing something in a deletion reason that the existing mod staff has more or less said as well in any number of deletions. I do not think there is a taz-related problem here.... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by cortex at 10:13 AM on November 25, 2011
MeFi post: “Nothing she does is memorable, because she does so much.”
A hundred years ago we rarely left the same neighbourhood and our neighbours probably had the same upbringing, religion, and culinary tastes as we did. They thought pretty much the same way. A thousand years ago it was the same. Ten thousand years ago, it was the same. These days our neighbourhood is online and we hang around with people of the same interests and intellectual style as we do. Tribalism is nothing new. Television allowed the few with TV cameras to force their viewpoints on the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by seanmpuckett at 7:16 AM on November 24, 2011
MetaTalk post: Are drive-by questioners becoming a problem?
Could you elaborate on this a bit?

Sure. I think there are a lot of people who view the "one question per week" as more of an allotment as opposed to an upper limit. So they ask a lot of questions that are sort of "Well it's time for my question, so I guess I'll ask..." or you get people who have clearly ongoing unsettling things in their lives and so they'll ask "Okay here's what has happened since my last question last week,... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 12:16 PM on November 23, 2011
Is there infodump data on this? Say average number of questions per day and answers per question over time?

That data is totally in the infodump, yeah, in raw form. If someone wanted to do a little datawankery it'd be easy enough to put together a chart of average questions and answers per unit time; a little more ambitious would be to put together a metric for write-only type accounts if someone really wanted to investigate any trends in that.... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by cortex at 7:28 AM on November 23, 2011
Also, people have sock puppets.

This is what I think most of the time when I see a many-question no-answer account. If you have a sock puppet that is just for asking questions that aren't associated with your username and adding the occasional non-associated comment, we're fine with that and in fact happier than we would be if you were using two accounts at the same time all over the site.

But yeah I don't see it as much of a... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 7:17 AM on November 23, 2011
I think that asking an interesting question by itself is contributing to the community.
posted to MetaTalk by empath at 5:56 AM on November 23, 2011
MetaTalk post: A couple changes to make making Greasemonkey scripts more straightforward, please?
I'm sorry, we're not likely to change things on this scale for the sole purpose of making Greasemonkey scripts easier to code. I feel your pain—I remix the Web quite a bit to get things working the way I want. Sometimes selecting just the right thing is a challenge.

Unlike a uniform machine with interchangeable parts, MetaFilter has grown organically over the years. You'll find subtle differences between all of the subsites. Classes are used oddly here and... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by pb at 10:54 PM on November 22, 2011
MetaTalk post: MetaTalk Holiday Post Queue
I hope it doesn't have to become permanent.

I really hope this doesn't turn into a "don't make it permanent!" discussion because that is not the plan. MeTa is for the community to talk about stuff with the community, period. It's also the one place on the site where we feel we need to be in attendance a good deal of our active time on MeFi for a few reasons

1. Open MeTa threads tend to have new questions pop up as... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 12:13 PM on November 22, 2011
delay them until later?

Mostly this. Generally speaking it's fine to have some topic drift around MeTa posts. However, the nearly-not-moderated aspect of this site means that leaving threads open for possibly several hours before anyone from the mod team looks at them could be problematic. Historically, Thanksgiving is one of the days when people sometimes go off the rails here. No big deal, certainly, but we'd like to make sure that posts are okayed... [more]
posted to MetaTalk by jessamyn at 9:54 AM on November 22, 2011
enjoy your time with your friends and families! i like this idea.
posted to MetaTalk by anya32 at 9:25 AM on November 22, 2011
I would support this occuring year-round (if it doesn't end up adding more work to the moderators) - there are a lot of MetaTalk threads that could be resolved by using the contact form.
posted to MetaTalk by muddgirl at 9:25 AM on November 22, 2011
I wondered what would break the 3 days of no metatalk posts... irony abounds!

That said, this is a good idea.
posted to MetaTalk by tomswift at 9:20 AM on November 22, 2011
Ask MeFi post: How to turn audio and slides into a video
Look into SlideShare.com. The specific type of presentation you want to create is a slidecast. You upload the slides, upload audio, then use their tool to synchronize slides to the audio. SlideShare provides public access URLs, like YouTube. (I'm not sure if they support PDF but they might.)
posted to Ask MetaFilter by seanmpuckett at 6:54 PM on November 21, 2011 marked best answer
MeFi post: Hey, hey, hey.. Gooood-bye!
James Fallows | The Atlantic:"I can't see any legitimate basis for police action like what is shown here. Watch that first minute and think how we'd react if we saw it coming from some riot-control unit in China, or in Syria. The calm of the officer who walks up and in a leisurely way pepper-sprays unarmed and passive people right in the face? We'd think: this is what happens when authority is unaccountable and has lost any sense of human connection to a subject population. That's what I... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by ericb at 12:34 PM on November 19, 2011
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