26 FAQ tagged with MetaTalk


Someone threatened me or threatened to harm themselves. What should I do?

Threats are not okay on MetaFilter. If you believe you are being threatened by another user, please disengage and contact the mods. Threatening or harassing people over MeFi Mail or indirectly via profile page comments is potentially a bannable offense. You can block MeFi Mail on a per-user basis by scrolling to the bottom of a MeFi Mail from them and clicking "[Block this sender]" To unblock users you can go to your Contacts page on MeFi Mail and click "manage blocked senders" at the bottom of the page.

Threats of self-harm impact our ability to keep people's personal information private and are not okay on MetaFilter. There is a wiki page of resources for people who feel that they are in crisis or need professional help: ThereIsHelp. Suicide threats in comments, MeFi Mail, or on profile pages will be dealt with quickly. Please contact the mods if someone on the site appears to be threatening self-harm or suicide.
(tags: ) June 4, 2012 - permalink - back to questions

What should I know about privacy at Metafilter?

Moderators have access to your sign-up information and other information, such as your IP address. That information may be used for site purposes (such as checking out potential spammers), but it is kept strictly private from other members and the wider internet. This means that if you choose not to display your real name, email address or location to other members, moderators will not reveal it. Mods also will not reveal the identity of second (sockpuppet) accounts as linked to your main account if you do not reveal this.

Members are also expected to respect each other's privacy in certain basic ways. Members' profile page information is not visible to search engines and should not be brought over to the rest of MetaFilter. Similarly, copying and pasting MefiMail to any other part of the site without the writer's permission is a bannable offense.

In emergencies--cases where someone has threatened to harm themselves, or if we are contacted by law enforcement--we cannot guarantee user privacy. Likewise, the Anonymous question function in Ask Metafilter is only intended to keep your details anonymous from the MeFi community, not to provide absolute anonymity--see here for details.

Metafilter occasionally allows use of site data for academic study and there is an Infodump available for number crunchers. Members can download a copy of their site activity as a text file (see links at the bottom of your Preferences page).

Your posts, questions, and comments here are visible to the whole internet, and they will remain associated with your username permanently. If you need to ask about things that you want kept separate from your main username, you can get a second account that you use just for that.
(tags: ) December 12, 2012 - permalink - back to questions

I have a request for a new feature. Should I post it to MetaTalk?

MetaTalk is the perfect place to ask. There is even an entire category dedicated to it. You can look through that MetaTalk category, or at the Mefi Wiki category Mod explanations, which has a short list of some previously denied feature requests, to see if your idea has been discussed before.

You can also use the contact form to ask the mods directly.
(tags: ) March 6, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

The site seems down or really slow, is there a status blog?

The status.metafilter.com blog is maintained by mathowie and pb and mostly reflects major outages or maintenance work. Feel free to get in touch via the contact form if you feel that something seems to not be working.
(tags: ) March 6, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

Why are some MetaTalk threads closed?

There are a few reasons why MetaTalk threads are closed. The main reason is for threads with very specific requests -- typo fixes, double post deletions -- that don't require additional discussion once the problem is solved. These can often be resolved more simply with an email or IM to an admin. Sometimes a thread duplicates an existing open MetaTalk thread, devolves into noise and/or a trainwreck, or was a joke thread to begin with. MeTa posts that are just updates from closed posts on MetaFilter are often closed with the suggestion to make a new post if the update is a big deal, but not use MetaTalk as a place for posts that aren't right for MetaFilter.

Very rarely a MetaTalk thread will be deleted rather than closed.
(tags: ) April 20, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

What is MetaTalk for?

MetaTalk is the part of the site for talking about the site itself. People often use it for discussing policy and etiquette questions with the mods and other users, making feature requests, or asking questions about the site itself. Sometimes it's used for pointing out a notable media mention of MetaFilter or a MeFite, or announcing a site event like a contest. Other times it's just used for finding MeFites in other places such as online games or other activities.

Here are some things to think about before posting to MetaTalk:

-Do not post to MetaTalk if you really just want to ask the mods a question or bring something to their attention. (For example if you are curious about something, but don't necessarily want a community discussion about it.) The best way to do this is always to use the contact form, which will reach whoever is on duty.

- Please make bug reports after you have tried some basic troubleshooting steps and only if you feel that your problem may affect other MeFites. (The contact form is a good option here too.)

- If you are raising a concern about a specific user or a specific thread, please make your post specific. Link to the example you are talking about, and explain your concern without provocative language and phrasing if you want people to take your post seriously. If you are tempted to post just in order to vent, consider taking some time to cool off first.
(tags: ) December 10, 2012 - permalink - back to questions

I want help finding an old post or comment. Where should I post this question?

Post it to MetaTalk.
(tags: ) December 13, 2012 - permalink - back to questions

What does a single period in a comment by itself mean?

It's MeFi shorthand for a moment of silence and is usually used in obituary threads.
(tags: ) February 23, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

How soon can I post again after making a post?

After you have posted a thread (a post in MetaFilter, a question in AskMetafilter, etc), you have to wait this long before posting a second thread in that same area of the site. There is no similar limit for comments.

MetaFilter - 24 hours
AskMetafilter - one week
Projects - one month
Music - 24 hours
Jobs - 24 hours between posting job Openings; you can only post one Availability total
Podcast - only admins post the podcast
IRL - no time limit, but you can have no more than 10 active IRL threads at a time
MetaTalk - one week

Note that these waiting periods are per-person, not per-account, so if you have two accounts you still can only post at these intervals. Using two accounts to get around the posting limits is against the rules and may result in your post being deleted and your second account closed.
(tags: ) March 6, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

How do I make a link? Can I use HTML in my posts?

If you know how to use HTML, you can use an abbreviated list of HTML tags in your posts, including a, b, blockquote, center, em, i, li, ol, pre, small, strike, strong, sub, sup, and ul. You can just type them into the compose/comment box.

To add italics, for example, you would type: <em>italicized word</em>
which shows as: italicized word

To add a link to example.com you would type: <a href="http://example.com">here is a link to example.com</a>
which shows as: here is a link to example.com

If you use a modern browser, you'll see B/I/link buttons below the compose/comment box that you can use to add basic formatting. To make a link using the button, you highlight the word or phrase you want to be the link text (like the phrase "here is a link to example.com" above), click the link button, and type or paste the URL into the box that appears.

UBB code does not work in MetaFilter. Not all HTML is allowed. If you stick to simple text formatting (b, strong, i, em, a) and lists (ul/li/ol) you'll be ok. Things like tables, embedded video code, javascript, images, and inline styles will be stripped out. There is also a restriction on using html to make the words "posted by" in small size in comments to keep people from making comments looking like they're being posted by others.

Here's a short screencast showing how to use the buttons to insert HTML for you:




(tags: ) March 6, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

If a thread has been deleted, can I still find it someplace?

Yes. Threads that are deleted from MetaFilter, MetaTalk or AskMetaFilter still show up at their old URLs with the reasons for deletion written in, but they no longer show up any other place on the site. They are also closed to new comments. In extremely unusual instances a thread will be removed with no trace.

If your post was deleted, check your Mefi Mail. If you received a Mefi Mail automatic reminder message when your post went up, that message will have the URL of your post. Go to that URL and you will be able to see the post and a brief note about why it was deleted.

If you have questions about a deleted or missing post, please use the contact form to ask a moderator directly.
(tags: ) March 6, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

If a comment has been deleted, can I still find it someplace?

No. Deleted comments are unviewable, though they still exist in the database. cortex explains the nuances of what does or doesn't exist where in the realm of deleted stuff in this comment.
(tags: ) March 6, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

How do I link to a specific comment?

Every comment has a permalink associated with it. If you click on the timestamp on a comment, the URL that shows in your browser's address bar is the permanent link to that comment.
(tags: ) May 19, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

How do I edit or delete my post?

You can't delete or edit your own post once you've submitted it, so be sure to use the preview and spellcheck features. If you want to fix an error or have your post removed, you must request this of the moderators by using the contact form.

Do not post a question to AskMetafilter assuming you can have it removed once it has been answered. This is unfair to the people who answered the question and diminishes the usefulness of the site.
(tags: ) August 22, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

My HTML seemed to work in the live preview but didn't come through correctly. Is this a bug or intentional?

The live preview seen below the comment forms shows a real-time approximation of your comment, but does not go through the extensive text filtering done on the server side. As a result, it's possible to place almost any HTML code into a comment and reproduce it in the live preview area, but that code is stripped out once the comment is posted to the site.

If you are wondering if your HTML code will display properly, please use the Preview button before your post. The Preview button will render things like &lt; into < however, so before you post, you have to re-type things like angle brackets into their &lt; format. We are aware that this is a less-than-perfect solution.
(tags: ) October 17, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

What is the etiquette concerning members' or non-members' personal details and profile information?

User profile pages on MetaFilter are not indexed by Google. This means if someone's profile says that they live in a certain city or gives their real name, that information is not considered "public" on the site. Bringing a user's personal details into an unrelated thread to hector or harass them (especially details from other websites that they participate in) is generally considered not okay. Use care when deciding to bring someone's personal information into a thread, and try to err on the side of mentioning without linking.

Bringing WHOIS and other personal information into a thread [i.e. "Here's this guy's phone number!"] is also not okay. We harbor no illusions that this stuff isn't available, but bringing it into a thread can cause trouble for the site and creates an atmosphere that we'd rather avoid. When in doubt, please feel free to ask a mod.
(tags: ) August 20, 2009 - permalink - back to questions

How do I edit or delete my comment? What are the rules about the edit function?

Once you post a comment you'll have five minutes to fix any typos. Click the 'Edit' link in the comment byline to edit your comment. After five minutes, the Edit link no longer appears next to the comment. At that point, you can use the contact form to ask a moderator to make the changes for you.

Please keep in mind that this feature exists to fix typos only. Please do not use the "Edited to add" notation that is used on some other websites. If you need to make changes to the meaning of your comment (including fixing a factually incorrect statement, or just adding another thought), please just post another comment to clarify.

If you want to delete a comment after you make it, do not use the edit feature. Flag it or use the contact form to reach the mods, who can delete it for you.

Moderators can see the previous versions of comments and will be able to check if a user is making content changes or otherwise misusing the edit function.
(tags: ) October 1, 2012 - permalink - back to questions

What are meetups? Can I be alerted if there's one in my area?

Meetups are when people who know each other from MetaFilter get together in real life. The meetings are usually pretty informal, and happen all over the world. The subsite IRL exists for planning and organizing meetups and other events. Upcoming meetups are listed in the sidebar of MetaTalk as well. See here for more details.

Users can opt to be notified of meetups happening in their area in their user profile preferences. To do this, select "Receive IRL alerts?" under Contact Preferences. This feature will only work if you have entered a location for yourself.
(tags: ) April 20, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

Where can I find a list of common lingo and Mefi-specific abbreviations?

The MetaFilter wiki is a good place to get an idea of the in jokes that people use on MetaFilter. You may also want to check out the Orientation page for other things that might be useful for a new user.
(tags: ) January 19, 2008 - permalink - back to questions

I'm having a problem, might be a bug. What should I try before contacting the mods or posting to MetaTalk?

There are a few things you should try before contacting the mods or reporting a bug in MetaTalk.

1. Clear your cache and do a hard refresh. Here are Wikipedia's instructions on how to do this with various browsers.
2. Log out and log back in again.
3. See if the problem persists across multiple computers and/or internet connections and/or browsers if you can.
4. Check to see if you are running browser extensions that may interfere with site features. Try disabling them.
5. Make sure you are allowing googleapis.com and cloudfront.net to run scripts on the site. [Why?]
6. Check to see if you are in Private Browsing mode, which can sometimes cause weird site behaviors.

If none of these have any effect, feel free to contact us via the Contact Form. Post a bug report to MetaTalk if you feel the problem is one that may affect many users.
(tags: ) January 14, 2011 - permalink - back to questions

What is flagging? How can I flag a post/comment for the moderators to look at?

Members have the ability to flag posts and comments for a variety of reasons. Flags alert the mods to problem posts and comments, and indicate the level of severity of a problem post.

To flag something, click the [!] link by the post or comment.

When you flag something, the flag goes into a queue read by the mods. All flag reasons go into the same queue, so don't get stressed about the exact reason for flagging. If you think your reason for flagging will be hard to understand (for example a non-obvious problem with a link) you can use the contact form to explain.

Moderators will look at every flagged item, but not every flag will result in obvious action. Even those flags can be helpful, though, for example putting a contentious discussion on the mod's radar, or allowing the mod to email someone behind the scenes.

There is no need to flag 20 comments in a thread, because a moderator will read the thread when checking out the first few flags; please flag only the most important. Flags are generally used for current comments and threads, so flagging old posts and comments doesn't usually result in any action. Here is a good summary of when to consider using the flag feature.

FIAMO stands for "flag it and move on" and is a good first step with problematic posts or comments.

The "fantastic post" flag alerts the admins to particularly good posts or comments. Sometimes these are highlighted on the MetaFilter sidebar or the Best Of Metafilter blog.
(tags: ) March 6, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

I need to get in touch with a site admin in a hurry. How do I do this?

Here is a link to the Contact Form. It will reach whoever is working; this is the quickest way to get most problems resolved. When you use the contact form, an email is sent to all of the admins, and whoever is working will respond. The response will go to your email address, not to MeFi Mail.

Do not use MeFi Mail to get in touch with an admin in a hurry. Admins often disable MeFi Mail when they're not available to handle site issues.

IM or chat is another other good way to get through to the site admins in a hurry:
AIM: mathowie, jeremypreacher
gtalk: mathowie, nnncortex, taz.at.mefi, pbausch, jpreacher, gee.email, lobstermittens
(tags: ) March 6, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

Who is in charge here? Are there admins and moderators like other sites?

The moderators are: mathowie, cortex, pb, vacapinta, restless_nomad, taz, goodnewsfortheinsane, LobsterMitten. jessamyn is retired.

The best way to reach a moderator is to use the contact form, which emails all of the mods. The site is staffed 24/7, and the contact form will reach whoever is on duty.

All the moderators are also regular site members, so you may see them around participating just like anyone else. When a moderator leaves an official moderation comment, the comment will appear [in small type, in square brackets]. You can confirm someone is a moderator by looking at their profile page. They'll have a "staff" badge under their profile picture. The "staff" badge also shows up next to their name on comments in the MetaTalk area of the site (if the person was a mod at the time of the comment; it does not show up on old comments from before the person became a mod).

Some history: MetaFilter was created by Matt Haughey (mathowie) in 1999. He was the sole admin of the site until 2005 when Jessamyn West (jessamyn) started helping keep Ask MetaFilter on track. In March 2007 Josh Millard (cortex) started helping out around the place. pb keeps the back end running smoothly and does bugfixes and feature builds. In May 2008 vacapinta became the unofficial "Midnight Mod", checking in a few times during the North American night, and in April 2011 Jeremy Preacher (restless_nomad) came on to keep an eye on things over the weekend. October 1, 2011 saw the first regular non-US mod when taz joined the team. In 2012 LobsterMitten and goodnewsfortheinsane joined the team as "floater" mods. In May 2014, due to a budget crunch, jessamyn retired, and LM and gnfti cut back hours sharply. All of the mods watch the flags pile up, delete questionable posts, occasionally post to the sideblog/Best Of blog, and settle any disputes that might arise.
(tags: ) March 20, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

How does advertising on MetaFilter work?

MetaFilter carries a bit of advertising space devoted to Google's Adsense keyword-matching text and image ads, and small image ads on the front pages of subsites from The Deck Network. If you are a member of MetaFilter, you won't see any ads on comment threads but you may see the occasional small ad on the front pages of each subsite (which you can turn off). Ads from Google's Adsense program are automatically generated and matched and aren't approved ahead of time.

If you spot an annoying, obnoxious, and/or offensive ad, your best bet is to note the URL of the site it's pointing to... then use the contact form to let us know where you saw the ad, what it said, and the URL of the site it led to, and we'll be able to filter it out of the ad system.

If you'd like to place an ad on MetaFilter, follow the link on Google Ads to place one directly on this site.
(tags: ) June 19, 2008 - permalink - back to questions

I think I found a bug. Should I post it to MetaTalk?

If it needs to be discussed by the user base, feel free to post it to MetaTalk. If it's just something that you think the admins should know about, use the contact form.
(tags: ) January 3, 2009 - permalink - back to questions

Who owns the copyright on MetaFilter content?

On the footer of every MetaFilter page is: © 1999-2014 MetaFilter Network Inc. All posts are © their original authors. What this means is that people own their own content. So if you wanted to publish a book of your own MetaFilter comments, you could. However if you wanted to publish a book of other people's MetaFilter comments you'd need to speak with those individual users; MetaFilter is not the owner of the copyright of that content. People have, however, granted MetaFilter the right to display their comments. MetaFilter will generally go after websites that are making wholsale reproductions of MetaFilter content, but limited content quoting is considered fair use and will be treated as such.
(tags: ) June 20, 2012 - permalink - back to questions