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The past 20 posts to MetaTalk


Metatalktail Hour: Tradition!

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 00:28:43 GMT

Good Saturday Evening, MetaFilter! This week's Metatalktail conversation starter is, What is your favorite personal/family/friend group/societal tradition?

Remember, they're conversation starters, not conversation limiters, so you can talk about any sociable/personal/sharing thing on your mind -- we're here to kibbitz! Except politics, the bouncers hate politics.

If you have ideas for Metatalktail conversation starters for future weeks, memail or e-mail me, I'm going to start a list. :)

call-in show: Ask A Moderator

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:12:20 GMT

For the next podcast episode, I think it'd be fun to do another call-in show. This time: Ask A Moderator! Drop us a voicemail at (505) 663-6334, that's (505) 663-MEFI, with a question about MetaFilter, moderation, being a mod, or whatever, and we'll try and give you an answer!

We had a lot of fun when I asked for calls and included y'alls messages in our New Years episode, so let's do it again!

Based on guidance from last time and the experience of processing those messages, some key bits:

1. Speak up! Phone audio quality is pretty garbage by default, so help keep things decipherable.
2. That goes double for names and especially usernames, which can be tricky to decipher over the phone.
3. Introduce yourself, ask your question, and keep it concise!
4. If you super mess it up, it's okay to nix it and call back.

The number goes straight to voicemail, so don't expect a human or worry about having to talk to one.

We'll use/answer as many calls as we can and if your question is for a particular mod we'll see if we can arrange for them to answer (but it might be me or jessamyn answering by proxy), but running time, audio quality, repeat questions, etc. may mean we don't get everybody on the recording.

We're planning to podcast middle of next week, so try and get your calls in by Monday or so if you want the best chance of it getting it used. Worst case scenario we can bank some for the future though, and I'm keeping the voicemail box up full-time in any case if you randomly want to drop the mods a friendly line whenever.

Article on predictions and gender

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:41:45 GMT

I'm trying to find an article I'm pretty sure I saw on here in the last year or so about the gender differences in predictions of the future but my search fu is failing me.

I think it was based on an analysis of the accuracy of male and female predications from the early 20th century. Essentially the men had predicted fairly outlandish tech that didn't come to pass while the woman made pretty accurate social predictions.

Comment on Smart Contracts?

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 22:20:42 GMT

I'm trying to find a comment I remember reading about smart contracts, along the lines of the concept of a human-free "objective" contract being incoherent because ultimately humans have to design these smart contracts. I've searched the threads on smart contracts, Ethereum, and other likely topics with no luck. Does anyone happen to have an idea of the comment I'm talking about? Thanks!

Pogues protest song in mega election thread?

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 16:15:51 GMT

In one of the December election threads, someone made a passing reference to a Pogues song, and I can't find it. If memory serves, the comment didn't mention them by name, but said something to the effect of "I never thought I'd be singing xxxxx, but it's relevant again." The only things I can recall were that it was from one of the 1980s albums and it wasn't "Fairytale of New York". If anyone can help jog my memory, I'd be much obliged. Thanks!

So whatcha workin' on?

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 16:13:09 GMT

I want to talk about "local action" for all the MeFites who have ideas, need ideas, or just want to share cool ideas you've seen out there.So I'm not exactly sure how to frame this MeTa, so forgive me for the wall o' text. Recently I posted "the most depressing askme ever" and I know that there are MeFites literally all over the world who are ready to join the resistance. MeFi has been everything lately, I've seen several inspirational comments that I will just drop here if that's ok: "I still feel like the only real thing I can do is just go sit somewhere in public and invite other people to sit with me until this is fixed. That's all I got." "I know how you feel. It helps me to think of my parents and grandparents who lived through world wars and missile crises where the outcome was uncertain. They survived. I think it's time for us all to find the inner warrior and to stand up and face whatever crap life is about to throw at us. It's our time to be heroes!" "I think the most cathartic thing to do is find the method in which you can fight the good fight ... Whether its giving money, volunteering, running for office or getting involved with journalism there is a way that you can fight back. It is also the way that you can access the hope and determination of people who feel the exact same way you do." There are tons more like these. Then there's Mrs. P, who wins three gold-plated internets for walking the walk: "It feels kind of silly and pointless because if it's just me there for half an hour a day it doesn't feel like it's accomplishing a whole lot and to be honest I feel so awkward and weird just walking there by myself with a sign but then this horrifying administration does literally anything and I feel like I have to do whatever I can to push back." What I'm doing: On Groundhog Day I organized a Read-in in my city's largest park, and I made contact with about 10 people. Even though none of my friends and family showed, we had a great time and received some pretty positive feedback. I'm hoping to advertise more and have a larger crowd for the second event. (I'll be giving away t-shirts that say "Reading is Resistance" and I'm hoping to get some printed materials from a local enviro non-profit.) I was surprised to have to explain to a few what a "read-in" was supposed to be, but basically it's a sit-in, right? My favorite comment was that it was like "a public event for introverts" and I think that's key. I read in the NYT this week 'not everyone wants to go to a demonstration' (exact quote), and I am happy to have come up with something that is drawing interest without being divisive. I am in the Deep South, after all. Then I started writing a zine. Now, I wrote my first play in 6th grade, but I'm not a writer. This is just fun, venting, experimentation? The zine includes flash fiction, poems, and 5 removable protest posters (8.5 x 14) that can be colored in and mounted on posterboard for all your protesting needs! And I'm giving it away, with hope that Volume II will be a community effort -- with proceeds going to charity. This is totally in my wheelhouse and I feel like I'm DOING SOMETHING, even if it's only encouraging people to read and make art. It's been very therapeutic. I'll be distributing the zine around my city and I have at least one friend on the coast who is willing to distribute if I send copies her way. So why am I posting this? Because I believe in this resistance. Because I marched against Prop 187 in 1994 and I can't believe I still have to protest this shit. Because I have ideas, and you have ideas, and there are a million ways for nerds and artists and introverts to make a difference right now. Our ideas are not dumb! Personally -- I have several dogs in this fight: I'm a small business owner, covered by the Medicaid expansion. My SO is getting quality healthcare for the first time in his life, and it's because of that that our family is in tact[...]

Metatalktail Hour: Media Week!

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 00:06:51 GMT

Happy Saturday, MetaFilter! This week's Metatalktail conversation starter is, What book/movie/play/song/WHATEVER has you excited right now? What popular things are worth our time? What overlooked things have we yet to discover?

As always, share whatever sociable/personal things you'd like to, don't feel like you have to restrict yourself to media consumption! Only politics is off-limits and only because the bouncers are very anti-political-talk.

2017 "No Spending" Challenge: February Update

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 18:27:11 GMT

This is a bit late, but we wanted to share the progress of the 2017 Metafilter "No Spending" Challenge so far!

[If you'd still like to join, membership is always open on the Google Group!]

We asked participants to share their financial and spending successes so far this year, if willing, so that they could be shared here with the rest of the community:

From MeFite kalimac:
"I came in under-budget on a lot of my line items (thanks YNAB!), but the biggest thing has been being inspired to find different ways to accomplish my goals. Remembering to check the library first, or waiting three days until I make a purchase. I worried that I'm really nickel-and-diming myself; does it make *that* much of a difference to go and work in a library rather than a coffeeshop? (Answer: yes, yes it does.) But I've got a little bit of money to spend on fun stuff; it's just rationing myself to not blowing it all on impulse purchases. Knowing that I've got a whole community to support me has made that hella lot easier!"

From an anonymous MeFite:
"... I bought little more than the bare minimum of groceries in January, and saved 63% of my pay. So I can now buy a 2.5 year old car in cash before my current rattler runs out of rego at the end of February."

From another anon MeFite:
"Here it is Feb 06 and I've brought my lunch every work day since the new year!"

For me, I've managed to create and stick to a budget on YNAB, stop window shopping (both online and in brick and mortar stores), and stop impulse buying when I'm stressed out. The first three weeks were the toughest, but it now feels a lot more natural to say "no" to a tempting purchase.

Keep up the great work, everyone!

What to call the Trump?

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 16:40:53 GMT

We've gone back and forth in the election threads for over a year now. And plenty MeTa ink has already been spilled alternately bemoaning and re-litigating names for his Trumpiness, how annoying nicknames are, why some people want them, etc. etc. It's been recently argued that his name is already pretty silly for the English. From Lord Dampnut to [], this topic seems done to death. Can we just settle this and put it in the damn wiki? Has it already been? Isn't this a better place than the unwieldy election threads?

Buckt stung

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 17:06:43 GMT

Research breakthrough from Mefi's own Buckt - ant butt rides [project) - 2013.

A moment of mod appreciation

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:20 GMT

I didn't realize how much I'd learned from this community about how to moderate a community...until the community I moderate started talking politics. What skills have you realized you honed on MetaFilter without noticing it?

I moderate a private forum that's had some forum drama lately, and I've been pleasantly surprised by how intuitive the questions of how to deal with the drama as a moderator have felt to me. In my years of lurking and posting on Mefi I feel I've acquired an almost instinctive sense for when to mod post to remind people to cool it, how to attempt to surgically remove a counterproductive exchange without maiming the thread around it, and when to close up a thread that's gotten out of hand. I even realized I had a mental list of "subjects this forum doesn't do well" and was monitoring threads on those topics more closely right out the gate.

This has been a marked contrast with my fellow moderators who seem to be at a bit of a loss as this forum has historically been a pretty low-drama place. I'm taken aback that I may have learned something useful on Mefi over the years beyond "should I eat this wheel of brie I left out in the yard for six weeks y/n". I thought I was just wasting time on here, dammit! I had no intention of picking up any valuable life skills!

All of which is to say: thanks, mod team, for showing me how it's done. You guys are the gold standard and I'm glad I could learn from the best.

But now I'm curious: what skills have you learned on Mefi without realizing it until suddenly you were able to rise to the occasion with those skills in a moment of need?

MeFi Fantasy Baseball 2017: Dynasty Edition

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 23:22:39 GMT

Major League Baseball Spring training starts this week, and I was wondering if there might be some interest in starting a fantasy baseball dynasty league. I've participated in cgk's redraft league for a few years, and it's been a lot of fun, but I thought the addition of a dynasty element might appeal to some of the more seasoned spreadsheet athletes out there. Details below.

For those who aren't aware: a dynasty league means you carry over your entire roster (or as much of it as you want) from season to season, which allows for an element of somewhat long-term planning with your roster. If you have some bad luck and you're buried in the standings by July, you can load up on high-upside prospects and try to build a team to contend for the next season.

Of course, with rosters carrying over from year-to-year, there would be an expectation (or at least a hope!) that everyone would try to commit to remaining in the league beyond the 2017 season. Of course there's no way of enforcing this, and if someone does have to leave, we'd look for a new owner to take the team over the following season.

Aside from keeping players from year-to-year, there would be few differences from the redraft league that many of us played in last year, so it should be familiar to those who played before. The one exception is that I would like to move from that 5x6 format (with holds as the 6th category) to a more standard 5x5 setup with "net saves plus holds" -- in other words (saves) - (blown saves) + (holds) -- replacing the usual saves category. The justification for that is that closers are a giant pain in the butt to find in a lot of leagues, so it makes sense to expand the pool of useful relievers for the league a bit.

I was planning to host it on Yahoo and shoot for something in the 10-14 team range if possible, but that depends on interest of course, which is why I'm posting here. We can talk about the details -- draft time, any other format question, etc. once we get a headcount of who's interested.

(I tried to reach out to cgk over MeMail a few weeks ago but didn't get a response, so cgk, if you're out there, I hope you're cool with this!)

Should we change our norms around what makes a good answer in AskMe?

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 17:33:52 GMT

Hello fellow MeFites! I'm wondering if we can discuss as a community the possibility of shifting the site norms and policies around what makes a good AskMe answer. Is this something others would be interested in and what would be a good norm/policy for you?(First off, thanks cortex for beta reading this post for me!) The recent MeTa on increasing the Ask limit had a sidebar conversation around the amount of AskMe answers that don't really answer the question, are excessively chatty, or are just someone spitballing without any knowledge or expertise. I think these answers usually come from a place of trying to be helpful or share an idea to guide the asker toward what they're trying to find or do, but in reality they can be frustrating for the asker, and also frustrating for me as a reader when I'm interested in the answer to the question. The Best Answer function helps a little but it's disappointing when a really awesome question I'm intensely curious about has ten answers and none of them really address the question. I'd like to propose that focusing on providing only specific, helpful information in answers makes AskMe much more rewarding to use as an asker and as a reader, and also keeps discussions on topic and avoids chatfilter. (As a note, I think human relations AskMes are mostly irrelevant here because they are by nature subjective, but some of these topics do intersect, e.g. when a human relations question touches on a legal issue.) My proposal for a new definition of a "good" AskMe answer is that a good answer: 1. Comes from a place of specific factual knowledge or expertise. So for example, if the question is "What animals are legal to keep as pets in Thunder Bay, Ontario?" a good answer includes the relevant law that is specific to Thunder Bay*. 2. Takes into account ALL of the parameters of the question. So for example, if the question is "Where can I buy a green sweater with an English Bulldog in a women's size US M?" a good answer links to a sweater** that fits ALL of these things. 3. Assumes the answerer has already tried other ways to find the answer or solve the problem like Googling, using a different approach, asking an expert via Twitter, etc. 4. Respects that no experiences or background are universal, even to MeFi. This is admittedly the vaguest point but I think it covers a lot of things like remembering that everything from social norms, physical health, finances, and family background to applicable laws, time zone, language use, and climate vary widely across the group of people using the site. So in this case, a good answer would err on the side of asking a clarifying question when something seems odd about the OP's post, rather than making an assumption. Basically, if there's one unifying point that covers all of these, I think it's important to operate from a place of good faith on AskMe and assume that the asker phrased the question in a specific way for a reason. So even if there might be a more efficient or feasible way to do what they're trying to do, they really are looking for advice about how to do it in a specific and roundabout way! I think I'd much rather hear "this thing doesn't exist" than an answer that assumes I want a similar thing, and I'd rather hear "this isn't isn't possible to do in the way you specified" than an answer that assumes I didn't know a different way to do it. My impression has been that our community and the moderation policy favors an approach that's more like "all information is good, so more answers = more helpful," but as an asker I'd like to favor an approach that says "I'll only answer this question if I actually know the answer." So, what do folks think? Do others agree that we could skew more in this direction as a com[...]


Sun, 12 Feb 2017 00:41:17 GMT

It's Metatalktails time! By special request from rtha it's a recipe thread tonight! Food demands fellowship, so share your good feels, your favorite recipe, and/or your favorite meal this week.

For the love of God, Montserrat!

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 17:15:20 GMT

If you noticed a subtle font change on MetaFilter in the Modern theme in the last day or so, you're not hallucinating: one of the web fonts we use, Montserrat, got tweaked by its designer in a way that's affected us and a ton of other websites. Come inside for some details!

I was surprised and confused by a few inquiries and comments about the font on the front page yesterday because we haven't made any changes there; after the third apparent non-sequitur I went googling and found this github issue relating to Google's web font service.

Briefly: we use Montserrat for titles on the front page in the modern theme, and more specifically we use the "400" weight, which is—or rather has been—a fairly middling thickness type. We use it as a web font rather than one served locally on the server; at the time that Modern was put together, the reasoning was that Google's capacity to promptly and consistently serve up a font file, to those readers who don't already have a copy cached locally, exceeds our own. That's unlikely to change any time soon.

And Google didn't change how they serve the font. We still ask for Montserrat 400, they still give us Montserrat 400 the same way they always have.

But Montserrat 400 isn't Montserrat 400 anymore! The typeface was updated by the designer, and 400 is now a slightly thinner version of the typeface. They also provide a 500 weight, but in the new version that's a bit heavier than the old 400 we were using. At this point the current version of Montserrat doesn't have a where-we-were-before middle-ground style between the new 400 and 500.

It's been a bit of a surprise, and I don't have any idea whether it's something they will end up (a) reverting or (b) providing some sort of alternate weight or legacy workaround for. We could potentially revert to the older Montserrat ourselves and host it locally (and if you have an older version of Montserrat installed on your computer, or if your system is caching the previous one, you won't even see a difference). We could also just let it be.

And my initial inclination is to let it be; the difference is visible but still relatively subtle and I don't think it looks bad, so the simplest path in this particular case is probably to shake a fist in principle at the web font ecology but shrug about the actual outcome. I'll keep an eye on it and think about it.

But, so, yes: that is a thing that happened. The internet, everybody.

Multiple AskMe Posts a Week: An Ideas Whose Time Has Come

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 21:56:06 GMT

Comrades, I think it's time to revisit the idea of allowing users to post multiple AskMe questions in a week. In the past I have gone on record as being against this, but upon further reflection I realize it was merely kneejerk, reactionary fear of change. Let us embark together down this unknown road.

Reasons I think this would be good:

  • I would like to ask more questions
  • I think we'd get a wider variety of questions because people wouldn't only ask practical stuff, they could ask questions that maybe weren't urgent but they'd find really interesting like "Could they have invented a breast pump in medieval Europe, possibly using some sort of a bellows?" and they wouldn't feel like they were "wasting" their question
  • It'd be more chances to help people and helping people feels really good
  • I get bored sometimes and I'd like to have more questions to read

I don't know whether this would be best implemented by, say, allowing one question a day or two questions within a week or what (frimble, this would partially depend on what can be done logistically) but I would love community input.

Of course the big concern would be that this would be a burden for the mods but I don't think, as the Metafilter community currently exists, this is something that would be abused, but maybe I'm wrong! Perhaps we could have a trial period, like three weeks where people can ask a question every two days or whatever and then we can see how great it is and decide to stick with it? Your thoughts are welcome!

Add Some Music To Your Day

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 14:57:30 GMT

Following hot on the heels of The MetaFilter Podcast, I give you its scruffy, grumpy, band t-shirt wearing younger sibling, The MeFiMusic Podcast (episode 4), available now on Soundcloud!

Running unfashionably late but packed full of musical treats of an especially high calibre, humbly presented here for your aural enjoyment:

Apples and Walnuts - Grangousier
What Happens Next - not_on_display
Looks Like Rain (Remix of original by Morphine) - acridrabbit
Night Train To Memphis (by Roy Acuff Jr) - OverlappingElvis
My Heart As Your Home - Sokka shot first
Everything Is Fucked - cortex
Jar Full Of People - grumpybear69

As mentioned, the "Do What Scares You" challenge will continue to be open for submissions until the end of this month, so there's still time to conquer your fears in musical form.

Thanks to all the above who agreed to have their marvellous work included, and to everyone who posted stuff to MeFiMusic lately - the quality continues to be high. If you haven't been to The Black lately you are as the youth say "missing out".

Title Reference

125: It's Been A Weird, Weird Time

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 04:14:11 GMT

This episode of Best of the Web, jessamyn and I catch up on the last month-ish on MetaFilter, and I mostly manage not to lapse into grumpy ranting about the state of the world, mostly. Also, we get voicemail from Greg_Ace, Wordshore, wenestvedt, and a mystery caller with an update re: bananas. This episode covers January 3rd through February 7th and runs about 90 minutes.Helpful LinksPodcast FeedSubscribe with iTunesDirect mp3 downloadMisc - 125 is a cube and two distinct sums of squares (100 + 25 and 121 + 4). Good job 125! - the 54-year marathon - fuck you cat fingers - individual groundhogs, rodents, and mammals - ReadMe? More like UpdateMe amirite Jobs - Icelandfilter: Can someone send me a phone book? by The Pluto Gangsta - PHP Coder to convert/implement an administrative dashboard by sandra_s Projects - Two Asians talk about all of this shit. by Errant - Trailer for Ginevra by tessmartin - I built a multi-plane animation stand by tessmartin - Inauguration Livestream by cortex - You are personally inconvenienced by a protest action you support. How should you react? by duffell - Wikinaut by Operation Afterglow - Super Whippy by Grangousier - Transona Five Deluxe Remaster by Annika Cicada - Free fonts from the 90s! by ardgedee - Reaction GIF Generator by loquacious crouton (MeFi Post) MetaFilter - Reaction GIF Generator by phunniemee - "Drink plenty of water and use moisturizer every single day." by Sokka shot first - IMDB message boards RIP by Clustercuss - a comment by cms - I thought these were jeans! by Mchelly - i lik the bred by yasaman - They Shut it Down by Joseph Gurl - "He just died, that's all" by jessamyn - oh no by HeroZero - Pressure!! by vibratory manner of working - Putting My Foot Down by eotvos - You wonder what the thing is that's gonna be the moment you're proud of by How the runs scored - a comment by bluemilker - moods are a thing for cattle and loveplay by cortex - Can you see a pattern forming here? by chainsofreedom Ask MeFi - Please recommend The Best Cat Fountain EVAR. by misanthropicsarah - a comment by jamaro - a comment by Polychrome - How Does Spaghetti Squash Do The Thing? by Rush-That-Speaks - a comment by julthumbscrew - I'm gonna move that rock by silsurf - Quiet Books from Diverse Authors by Think_Long - Hidden Gems of Non-US TV by forkisbetter - Short American horror fiction by authors who aren't white men? by dersins - Bio-horror tech sci fi thrillers of the past few years? by turbid dahlia - Do Mice Eat Human Semen? by Anonymous - Costume ideas featuring Roller Shoes (or at least including them) by Metro Gnome MetaTalk - WomensMarch 2: Electric Boogaloo? by sciatrix - Chill out in some Metatalktail hour posts - You made it, you're proud of it; let's see it! by Greg Nog - Let's have a Love-In! by billiebee - Testing out a new US Politics sidebar widget by cortex - This is what MeFite democracy looks like! by ignignokt (in which, barchan on quitting her job) - the delightful side of MetaFilter by amnesia and magnets IRL - Come watch me wince in pain! by bibliogrrl Music This episode features: - Moon Patrol! by erikgrande - additional Moon Patrol - even more Moon Patrol FanFare - Special Event: Superbowl LI: Patriots vs. Falcons by Eyebrows McGee [...]

the delightful side of MetaFilter

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 22:15:35 GMT

Please share the MeFi post/discussion that has *delighted* you the most, in an irrepressible smile-inducing sort of way. It can be old or new, brief or epic, an FPP whose comments devolved into a series of terrible puns, an in-joke-filled post about your favorite show on FanFare, an Ask about naming a really cute pet, the IRL where you met your SO... whatever you've seen discussed or discovered by this community that has given you a frisson of sans schadenfreude delight, I'd love to see or be reminded of it, too. Here's to brighter days.

This 100% snark-free MeTa was brought to you by i lik the bred and Malibu Crypto.

MF Wiki + adding political resources

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 18:01:04 GMT

Hey mods and fellow MeFites. Apologies if this has been discussed recently but I didn't find anything. I have two questions: Can we make it easier to find the Mefi Wiki? And is it okay to add a page of links to groups like so there's a central list of progressive activism resources?

1. Can we make it easier to find the MetaFilter Wiki? There is a tremendous amount of useful info there but unless you've already bookmarked it and especially if you are new it's hard to find. I think this is one of those "curse of knowledge" things. People who know about it know about it and so it may not seem urgent to make it more visible.

2. I've never contributed to a wiki before. Because of the election threads (thanks for adding them to the sidebar!), there are links to useful political resources spread across a bunch of different threads. I'd like to compile a page for the wiki that includes as many links to groups (, etc.) as possible. Is that an okay thing to add? Am I the only one who might find it useful?